Zinnias in Milk Bottles The Prudent Homemaker

Note: My camera died last week. All images on this post are from years past.

I cut the first of the zinnias from the garden. I recently read that cutting the first zinnias and dahlias helps them to branch out to make more. I do this same thing on bushes and trees but didn’t know it applied to these particular flowers. As each zinnia plant flowered, I have cut the first one to bring inside. The article I read also said that both of these flowers will make more flowers the more you cut them, so I plan to cut many to bring inside (leaving some to decorate the garden as well).

I picked the rest of the peaches from my tree.

I canned 4 quarts of peaches.

I cut green onions, chives, and Swiss chard from the garden.

Grapes The Prudent Homemaker

I picked a basket of grapes from the garden. Our grape harvest is very small this year.

Apples in wire basket The Prudent Homemaker

I picked apples from my tree.

Swiss Chard Seeds The Prudent Homemaker

I gathered Swiss chard seeds and poppy seeds from the garden.

I picked a small basket of figs from our tree. This is the second crop this year from my Mission fig (one of the reasons why I chose this particular type of fig is that it crops twice a year).

I planted more seeds in the garden to replace seedlings that were eaten or died, so that I can still (hopefully!) have a harvest of those things from the garden. I also planted more basil seeds and more Armenian cucumber seeds in the garden.

Last week was the first week of monsoon season. Temperatures dropped 20 degrees to 94 ºF. This was a huge blessing to the garden. We had three days where we could open the windows again in the mornings and evenings, so we saved by not having the run the air conditioner for those hours. This was a savings of about $15. Update: I just received my energy review from the electric company. I saved $52 last week in electric compared to my usage of the week before. Last week’s electricity usage was $57; the week before was $109 for the week. Cooler temperatures and turning off the a/c when it was 3 degrees cooler outside at night (it was 76º at night) made a big difference in my bill.

The first few days of the week were humid.  I collected 4 to 5 gallons of water a day from the air conditioner drip during those days by putting an ice cream bucket under the pipes where the water drips. I used this water to water potted plants in the garden.

Rainwater The Prudent Homemaker

It rained a bit on three different days. I collected water in buckets. I was able to skip a few watering cycles in the garden.

All of my little bits of water saving have really added up. I received the water bill for June’s water usage, and the amount used was significantly lower than the previous year, even though we had a hotter than usual June with days above 110º.

I spent some time organizing. 

I made French bread.

I made peach pie popsicles once and peach and yogurt popsicles twice.

My husband and son were gone all week at Scout camp. Since we are a one car family, I was home all week. I had forgotten that we had checked out movies from the library that have a one week check out time (books are 3 weeks). Winter renewed the movies online.

I watched 3 episodes of a new show, “Crimson Field”, on Pbs.org. I also watched the first three episodes of “Poldark” on Pbs.org.

I embroidered two onesies as gifts for a friend’s twins. I also made two bibs for the babies using material that I had on hand.

What did you do to save money last week?



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  1. I hung out a load of laundry.

    I combined a store coupon and a manufactures coupon at family dollar to purchase toilet paper and the package came with 6 bonus rolls. I plan to do it again before the deal ends next payday.

    We walked with a friend in a parade and watched a the end and my children got some free candy.

    My sister in love has agreed to give me her old cell phone as she got a new one if my husband sets it up for her.

    I accepted a dress and cardigan from a friend…she ordered it and it did not fit her.

    I purchased ground beef on sale and will spend the next rainy day processing it into freezer meals.

    We washed our truck instead of going to the car wash.

    I reworked my budget and am going back to not carrying the credit card and using cash only for groceries, eating out, paper products, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items.

    My son was given a pair of dress shoes.

    We have been only using our air conditioner on really hot days, we have been opening windows otherwise.

    My uncle took a bunch of us to a movie.

    I am so thankful for friends and family that are always willing to help out!

  2. I canned 6qts peaches(peaches 88c lb-have more to can today,wasn’t ripe enough other day) and made 2 1/2pts peach preserves w the too ripe ones…showing my friend how to can peaches in the process. 🙂 I bought milk $1 for a half gal last week. Going to attempt farmers cheese tonight. (One just turned sour from us not being home and we had used a little for cereal the other day-will use in the cheese or bake w it.) I made vanilla pudding, peach smoothies(along w popsicles), bought tp and laundry detergent on a good sale. Borrowed from library and used freebie Redbox code. My grandma gave me q[quote][/quote]t jars from her stash. Traded 7 cucumbers, 2 bell peppers, and a zucchini for jelly I made. Got a zucchini from my grandma. Bought bananas on clearance 29c a lb. Going to make some bread/muffins.

  3. We needed a new coil for our geothermal system. We have exactly one service provider for geothermal systems here in the boonies. While we weren’t happy to pay the $850 service charge (for the several hours required to install the coil) plus the $206 initial service call charge to diagnose the problem, we were happy that the warranty covered the cost of the coil itself. I did research service costs for similar repairs to geothermal systems, and these were in line with what is usually billed and even a little less than that billed in some parts of the country. After learning what we saved on the coil, the service call costs suddenly seemed frugal, and I felt virtuous! Unfortunately, getting the new coil under warranty extended the repair time to two weeks to get the new coil straight from the manufacturer. Our service provider said that we could get it sooner if we paid the $2,000-3,000 cost for the coil since they wouldn’t have to wait on clearance from the manufacturer, a possible DTPA violation. However, when we have only one provider who has already decided that the town a few miles down the road is too far to service, you don’t rattle the boat too much. We don’t want to risk their refusing to service us. Not even my attorney husband. When you’re older and dealing with chronic illness, you decide which battles to fight and whether the energies you expend in angry arguments are likely to produce the results you want. This one wasn’t.

    Those two weeks featured humid days with highs in the mid 90’s and overnight lows in the 78-82 range. We were left with profound gratitude that we have air conditioning, that we could pay for the repairs even though it was a pinch after a previous month when we also had lots of repair costs, and that we had family and friends who were generous and caring. I was also personally left with a sense of the physicality of dealing with that kind of heat. I was also reminded how much time it takes to monitor outside temperatures and decide when to open windows at night, when to close them in the mornings, and whether it was better to open them when a strong wind blew through the area but that wind that carried lots of moisture. We do that anyway, but we don’t do it with the urgency to make the right decision that we were feeling the last two weeks. I was also reminded–because of my auto-immune disease–how tough this can be on some people who cannot afford to cool their homes. I think my next free donation monies will go toward helping with energy costs for others.

    We gladly received about two pounds of sweet cherries from a friend. We also very gladly accepted an invitation to stay with our youngest daughter and her family for a few days. We brought the cherries with us, and they were enjoyed by all. Because I’m vegan, I bring my food with us. This time I brought the ingredients and not the finished meals, so I could cook at her house. When we returned home, we timed a visit to my brother nearby so that we were out of the house in the hottest two hours of the day. He graciously allowed me to bring ingredients for (vegan) brownies so that I could bake them and not heat up our house. I also made a pot of rice while I was there. We spent another day at another daughter’s lake house. A neighbor brought over vegan ice cream to help us get through the heat. We returned the favor by bringing her half of our first picking of figs. Figs on one of our two trees ripens well before the other and also before this neighbor’s. We, too, used Marivene’s trick of hanging laundry inside the house to cool rooms by evaporation. If I placed the rack in my office, the room that gets the most afternoon sunlight, evaporation would cool the room by about 0.6-1.0 degrees. That’s not quite as much as Marivene sees, but, believe me, 87.2 degrees feels a whole lot better than 88.2 degrees!

  4. We too have been enjoying several days of cooler weather enabling us to open windows and keep the house cool for several hours in the morning. I harvested 40lbs of roma’s from the garden (from plants which I started from seed). I used the tomatoes along with onions, garlic, peppers, basil, and oregano from the garden to can 8 quarts of spaghetti sauce. I also harvested beets from the garden and was able to can 13 pints. My husband and I recieved two free movie tickets as a gift several months ago and we finally got around to using those to to have a free date night. My family will also be taking advantage of free admission day to our local county fair this week. Tickets are normally $9.00 per person so for our family of 5 this is a tremendous savings.

  5. Am always amazed at how much you get done in the week, Brandy. Thanks as always for sharing.

    My frugals – canned 7 pints plus a bonus for the refrigerator of apricot jam (apricots $1/lb); canned 4 pints dilly beans and froze 3 servings of green beans from my garden. Planning to prep cucumbers, onion and bell pepper today to can hot dog relish tomorrow. The cucumbers and onion are from my garden. Great year here for cucumbers.

    Ate meals at home even when I really wanted to stop into fast food. Took water in my thermos when running errands. Seems trivial but not planning for food or beverages while out were some of the ways I used to spend money mindlessly.

    Shared the watering at the community garden with another friend which meant I didn’t go every day and saved gas.

    Signed up for a jam making session at church. Should be a lot of fun and a time to meet other like-minded people.

    Went grocery shopping but kept to my list. Mostly bought the loss leaders at the store to replenish my pantry.

    A little bit of a fail – bought some canning jars and then found out from two different friends that each had jars they would have given me. Note to self – ask around before buying new.

    Brandy – could you post pictures and instructions for the baby bibs?

  6. Love these posts! What do you do with the figs?

    Also, we tried to plant watermelons and cantaloupe, but the birds broke them all open and ate the fruit! How do you keep birds away from your fruit crops?

    You’re lucky to get the rain! We’ve had very little rain so far this monsoon season.

  7. As I noted above, my camera broke last week, so I cannot take pictures until I buy a new one.

    Baby bibs are really simple; if you have one you can copy it but if not a quick search on Pinterest will yield several tutorials with patterns. I like to close mine with a button and a buttonhole rather than velcro; it’s harder for a baby to take off by himself, and the velcro doesn’t irritate the back of the baby’s neck, nor get caught in his hair or on things in the wash.

  8. Fig sauce, fig jam, and rosemary fig ice cream.

    The birds always get a portion of my fruit–sometimes much more than I would like. I have to be diligent about picking and shooing them several times a day when the fruit is ripe. They got most of the few grapes that I did get this year.

  9. Brandy, Do you have an internet group in your area called “Next door (name of your neighborhood”) and/or a Facebook group called “buy nothing ______”? If so, you can post asking if someone has a camera they can give or loan you. I belong to both groups in Seattle and it’s amazing what you can get and give. I’ve been give a free treadmill and have given away so many things.

  10. Not that I know of. I did know that the time would come when my camera would give out; it’s several years old. I will need to purchase a new body on which I can use my lenses. There are some features I’d like to have in the new one (better ISO range in particular).

  11. Sorry to hear about your camera, Brandy. I hope you are able to get another one soon. Your photos are always so beautiful.

    It finally cooled down last week after several weeks of hot weather for our area. It is a welcome relief. And it’s nice to be able to open the windows instead of keeping everything closed up all day.

    I made another batch of raspberry jam. I’m almost done with jam for the year, but I still want to make a few jars of apricot jam. I checked with my favorite vendor at the farmer’s market about seconds of apricots, and she told me to check back at their farm stand this week and they would have some then. That will save me some money.

    The CSA I belong to allows you to pick a certain number of flowers each week with your vegetable share. I picked several dahlias and some zinnias, which I have displayed in thrift store vases and vintage jars. So pretty.

    I found a nice pair of shorts for my husband at the thrift store for $7, and two tank tops for under $3 each.

    Since I had nasal surgery earlier this year, we have already reached the $3000 deductible on our health insurance. I also have a chronic knee/hip issue that I have seen several doctors about over the past few years, but the problem persists. A very good physical therapist was recommended to me, and I decided to start seeing him once a week, with the hopes of finally resolving this issue. It has been three weeks so far, and already I am noticing a difference. Physical therapy is expensive, but the costs are manageable because the insurance deductible has been fulfilled. My goal is to be able to do all (or at least most) of the active things I enjoy doing, without pain. I’m in my 40s, and losing a degree of mobility at this age has been frustrating.

    Otherwise, I cooked at home and continued to stock up on staples. I bought coconut oil, a 25 lb bag of lentils, corn meal, olive oil, olives, salt and sugar for my pantry (all of which are stored under the bed and in other odd places in our condo). I plan to can a bunch of vegetables a bit later in the season.

    My garden plot continues to do well. I picked a few tomatoes, onions, strawberries and squash. I think I may have a bumper crop of green beans this year. I overplanted, because last year some animal ate half the plants. This did not happen this year, so they are all coming up. I got 30 lbs of beans last year from a 4 x 4 foot square in the garden….here’s hoping for a similar harvest this year (I planted two 4 x 4 squares this time).

    I look forward to reading about everyone else’s week. 🙂

  12. Those grapes look delicious! I can’t wait for my vines to produce! Last week:
    I made yogurt, granola, cinnamon/raisin bread, banana bread, stir fry with added green onions, zucchini and yellow squash from the garden. This will make several work lunches for me. I also purchased some clearance flavored yogurts to use in smoothies or snacks. All meals were cooked from scratch and ate at home. I took all my meals and snacks to work with me, drank free coffee and water, and made coffee in the morning at home.

    I took cash to the grocery store. This made me really think about how much I was spending. I normally spend $100+ at this particular store, I spent $78 this time. I prefer olive oil, however this time I could not justify the $20 for the metal container. I spent $3 on vegetable oil instead.

    The grocery store trip was the only driving we did besides work.

    I used saved water to water plants indoors and out.

    I harvested 8 zucchini, 3 yellow squash, green onions, basil from the garden.

    I cut a LOT of the leaves off the zucchini and yellow squash plants. this works better than making the homemade spray for powdery mildew. I have a spot in an obscure corner of the yard I throw them in.

    I used a few coupons this shopping trip. I saved $3.

    Our main car is overheating every time we use it. We will park that one and use the second/spare car instead until I have $150 for a water pump. My husband will do the work himself.

    My son, daughter in law, and a friend came over for dinner to celebrate my son’s 21st birthday. We cooked food we already had and finished off a carrot cake. My daughter in law is due in 5 weeks!! She had to go to the ER due to having contractions. They gave her 3 shots to stop the contractions. She probably won’t make it 5 more weeks.

    Due to rain, schedules, etc I got behind on the laundry. I used the dryer instead of the racks to dry the clothes to save my sanity.

    I found a coupon for Family Dollar in the newspaper, $5 off $25 of specific brands of household items. Some of the items match coupons I have. I plan on purchasing toilet paper with this deal to stock up.

    Used apple cider vinegar to relieve LOTS of mosquito bites.

    Used a very large, saved and empty dog food bag (plastic) for trash.

    Harvested and dried catnip for tea for myself and our cat, who really enjoys catnip lol. The tea is good when your sick. It helps relax you and helps you sleep.

    I bought some of the powdered tomato/chicken boullion. I finally found it! I am using it for the first time today in rice 🙂

    Have a good week everyone!

  13. Library will also have books w patterns. Though you can Google simple patterns for bibs. If you want simple…burp cloths are always good too. Use flannel material (old t-shirts are nice and soft too) and sew rectangles.

  14. I’ve heard of netting. Not sure how well it would work. Or the safety of the birds. Supposed to keep from getting to all the crop. Especially in trees. Might be able to put poles around the melons and box in w the netting.

  15. I went Goodwill shopping last week while the kids were gone and hit on some great deals. I got several items of clothing for myself and a couple for DD for school. Plus a book, a photo album that matches the kind I use every year, and a pretty coffee cup. I’m such a minimalist I realized that I didn’t have a cup to serve tea to the boyfriend in! Only my one cup! Lol. So I bought a spare.

    We ate peaches off our tree. Unfortunately we picked them too late so most of them went bad. But we did have enough still good to eat for snacks for a few days. When I realized the last four were about to turn I made them into a peach crumble.

    Took the kids to some free events at the library.

    I added a teaching certification to what I already have (in Texas you can get certified by test if you already have a valid certificate in another subject). This actually cost me quite a bit of money, but since I anticipate a move in the next couple of years, I’m considering it an investment. I’m trying to add a couple more certifications over the next year so I have plenty of job options when we move. I’m super proud of myself for passing the test!

    My mom was cleaning out her fabric and I can’t resist fabric (in spite of the fact that I hate sewing. Weird.). I picked out enough to make about 18 baby quilts. I’ll watch sales for soft backing material. A couple will go to friends and family having babies, and the rest will be donated to babies in the NICU, I think, that is, if I ever get around to actually making them.

  16. Not listing frugal accomplishments but hoping Brandy and our other frugal friends can give me some of their wisdom and guidance. In light of the discussion about preparing for natural disasters and other unforeseen events, I have been thinking a lot about adding to my pantry and freezer. And the freezer is where I need guidance. In 2008, I lost everything in my standing freezer and 2 freezer compartments of refrigerators. Since then I have added to the freezers, but used very little. So I am faced with food that COULD BE up to 8 years old in the freezer (of course, it varies from recent to 8 years old). So can you help me figure out what to keep and pitch? How many years can you comfortably keep frozen food? Meat/veggies/fruit? Does home frozen versus commercially frozen food keep longer? Other than freezer burn, what should I be watching for? Is there a way to use something that is freezer burned (I have heard that cooking with tomatos helps reduce the flavor/texture issued). I have known for quite a while that I need to do something….but not sure what. I would so appreciate everyone’s advice! I love knowing this community will help me to do the safe and frugal thing. Thanks Brandy for all you do!

  17. Brandy I am so sorry to hear that your camera died. Your photos are always so beautiful and I know you love taking pictures.

    Hope you are able to get exactly the camera body you want very soon.

  18. I love the flowers in the milk bottles – simple but beautiful!

    I had contacted Schoola about not receiving one of the items I ordered using the $15 referral credit, and they sent me another $15 credit even though the shirt I didn’t receive was only $4.50!! I also got a $10 credit for creating a shopping list or collection. I was able to use both credits together, so I ordered 5 more blouses for work for $28 less the $25 credits I had and free shipping, so I paid only $3 OOP!! This is a huge blessing since I need to dress professionally for work.

    I found 2 pennies on the ground and added them to my change jar.

    I really really felt like going out to eat one day after work when I had to make a couple of stops on the way home…but I didn’t. We came home and had leftovers from the July 4 BBQ instead.

    I completed 2 Pinecone surveys.

    I combined errands. I went to JCP to get a new bathing suit skirt bottom (mine was 5 years old and worn out). I went during the door busters and got one 60% off. I also shopped the sale racks and bought a blouse on clearance so I could use a $10 off $25 coupon. I paid for it with gift card I had left, so no OOP and still have some left on the gift card. I signed up for Lane Bryant text messages and got a $10 coupon, so I bought a pair of panties for $1.61 OOP. I went to Victoria’s Secret and got a free pair of panties with a coupon. At CVS, I got 2 body wash, toothpaste, 2 bottles of Gatorade, and a 9V battery for the smoke detector for 91cents OOP after sales, coupons and bucks and I got $6 in bucks to use next time.

    I cut the budget down to just the basics for the rest of the month due to some dental work I had to pay for.

    I relisted an item on ebay that didn’t sell in an auction. I listed it as a buy it now with make an offer feature for 30 days. Hopefully it sells that way since the work is already done for the listing.

    I put a stitch in 3 wrap and cowlneck summer blouses I wear to work so they wouldn’t open up so far down.

    I made a small batch of pear sauce out of some pears that needed to be used up.

  19. I guess in this day and age …. repair is out of the question? DW has an older Canon that uses regular film and we had a heck of a time getting it repaired a couple of years back and it wasn’t cheap….Now she takes more pictures with her I-pad than anything else.

  20. I chuckled when I read your comment about storing things in odd places. We do the same in our small house 🙂

  21. We already tried to repair it last week. The repair that was supposed to work did not fix it. It had another problem, too. I knew it was going to have to be replaced at some point and I had started saving towards a replacement.

  22. Huh! I didn’t know that about zinnia’s! How funny. I’ve always brought ours in. However, we have two new cats like to eat the leaves. So I am really not enjoying them as much as they are displayed in hiding places. I’ve decided to give them to friends.

    We traveled cross country last week for my parents 50th Anniversary. None of it was cheap or frugal as it was a pre-planned trip by my brother. However, we over-budgeted the entire trip and came way under which was a blessing. I figure this isn’t going to happen every day and it was fun so it was worth the money.

    When we got home, I went to the grocery for some staple items and I stayed under budget.

    Enjoyed our neighborhood pool a couple of days when we got back.

    That’s really it since most of it was the trip.

    Have a good week!

  23. I’m so sorry about your camera Brandy. You take the most beautiful pictures, and I can’t wait until you have a new/fixed camera to start doing so again. We had a week of ups and downs here. Mostly ups, but it seems like every time we take two steps forward, we have to take one back.

    Frugal Accomplishments:
    -Bought school supplies on super discount at Walmart and Office Depot. My mom is also shipping me a big box of supplies that should last at least two semesters. I’m hoping to not have to buy anything else until next fall.
    -Redeemed my swag-bucks for 10 amazon credit. One of my college texts in on amazon used for $40 so I am going to try to build it up to that before school starts.
    -Saved water by turning off the sprinklers and letting mother nature water the garden. We’ve gotten an unusual amount of rain here, but the garden, the grass, and my water bill is loving it.
    -Did our normal frugal things: ate at home, dried clothes on the line, etc.

    Frugal Fails:
    -Ate out for dinner once this week. It had been a month since we had eaten out, and it was in the budget. I’m glad we did, but it wasn’t exactly frugal
    – Hubby’s car needed a brake job. Apparently with pads, rotors, and calipers it is going to cost upwards of $1300. We JUST had the money to cover it, so I’m kind of stressed out.

    Pretty eventful week here, but I know next week will be better.

  24. I am doing really well in July (so far) as far as frugality goes. It gets easier and easier ;). I think after a while it truly does become a second nature and feels natural to NOT want to carelessly spend money.
    I have not bought any clothing since April and I am also working on cooking as much as possible using what I have on hand instead of keeping buying new products. I cooked all meals from scratch and enjoyed time with friends in a park instead of going out.

    My weekly update is here:

    Have a great Sunday everyone!

  25. Hello everyone, first time poster. We have had a bit of rain everyday here in Kentucky which has helped with watering the garden. I harvested zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, basil, rosemary and the first of our cherry tomatoes. At the grocery store I found blueberries for.. 65 cents a pint. I bought tons and froze most of them. We also picked up four pork loins at $1.49 a pound. We are a family of seven and getting meat for that price had me giddy all day!

  26. I carried coffee in my thermos while I was running errands in town on a morning last week that was rainy and cold instead of purchasing a cup. My husband and I painted our utility trailer. It was looking rough but with lots of sanding and brushing on a new coat of an oil base paint it looks really good. It took many days and lots of elbow grease! It should last us several years longer.

    I was thankful I had stocked up on macaronni at Sam’s Club last week. A dear friend of ours that attends the church where we worship is dying of cancer. His wife and I are close and I wanted to be of a blessing to them. I made Macaronni and Cheese and put some of the sirloin tip beef I had purchased in the crock pot and cooked it till it was tender. I also made some egg salad and chicken salad and was able to provide several days of meals for them during this tiring and exhausting time. I had saved containers that normally would have been thrown out and took the food in them that way she didn’t have the burden of returning dishes to me.

    We finally got a few days without rain so was able to plant 3 small rows of green beans this weekend. It is supposed to rain tonight. Some gardens here are just not doing good because they are so wet like mine but thankfully I have friends whose gardens are more gravelly and they are sharing with us. Have a blessed week.

  27. The weather here has been sporadic with not enough rain for the 300+ forest fires we have burning up here right now. We are finally getting some rain here the last couple of days, though, so hopefully that will help aid the firefighters.

    I want to thank you, Brandy, for your advice to bury the offshoots of my mint plant to help it spread faster. I wasn’t burying the offshoots well enough on my own, as I wasn’t sure I was doing, but when you suggested it I started burying them better and it is working great!

    My list for the week can be found here…


  28. Well the biggest thing I can think of you are going to face is freezer burn and with freezer burned meat that old it’s going to be dry in a lot of cases.

    The best thing I can think to offer in the way of advice is try slow cooking the meat in with BBQ sauce or some other really STRONG flavored sauce to help detract the flavor of the freezer burned meat.

    Open the bag from the freezer and smell the meat. If it smells to heavily of freezer burn that you immediately recoil? Throw it away is my best advice as nothing I’ve ever tried has helped cover the flavor at that point.

    Fruits and veggies I don’t freeze for longer than a year. Meat, if wrapped in freezer paper and in a freezer bag I’ll keep up to a year without too many worries about freezer burn. But, honestly, now a days I try my best to make sure to only keep about three months worth of meat in the freezer at a time to avoid things getting buried too deeply and them getting really badly freezer burned.

    The most frugal thing I can suggest overall, though? Learn from this experience and tone back the amount of frozen items you keep. I had to do that when we moved from our old home and I ended up giving away a small chest freezer we had because we didn’t have room for it here. I found a lot of food I forgot I had at the bottom of that freezer and ended up having to throw it away, so I try to make darned sure to keep food in my freezers now that I will definitely use in a reasonable time to avoid that happening again.

    Sorry I can’t be of more help. I hope you can salvage some of the older food. Good luck!

  29. I was wondering how the situation with the blouse would work out for you. What a great resolution to your problem! Glad you were able to get so many more clothes with the credit too. Awesome :).

    Wish we could use Schoola (they don’t ship to Alaska)…also wish I could transfer my sign up credit to someone else who could use it *laugh*.

  30. Denise, the biggest issue with meat in a freezer is whether or not it remained frozen solid. If you have an automatic defrost cycle on your freezer, it partially thaws the food when that cycle runs, & that “ages/freezer burns” things far more quickly. If the items have been frozen solid, they should be fine. I would just use the oldest first. Meat would be your most expensive loss. If I notice a little freezer burn on the edge of a piece of meat, I usually cook that meat in the crock pot, with the burn edge down, or else just trim off that edge, if it isn’t a large area. Crock potting the meat seems to “fix” a light freezer burn. Veggies can be simmered in soups, & fruits can be used in pies or cobblers, where it cooks in liquid that will rehydrate the dehydrated areas (aka freezer burned)

  31. Finished sewing the webbing straps on the patio swing – it is useable again!

    Harvested rhubarb, blackberries, gooseberries, onions, garlic, dandelion leaves & roots. Made another batch of the rhubarb, red currants & strawberry jam. Made a batch of gooseberry jam. Dehydrated the dandelion leaves & root.

    Used the reclaimed water from the downspouts on the garden & berry beds. We have had quite a bit of rain, which has been a blessing, so there has been lots of reclaimed water for the blackberry bed.

    Pruned the grapevines that were growing over the front of the trellis. If I let them grow down in front, it makes the grapes harder to pick & it also makes the trellis less stable, since it adds weight in an area not designed to bear weight.

    Continued to hang laundry inside to help cool the house.

    Cashed in a pine cone survey check.

    Our middle daughter, who is expecting, came to visit for a few days & we sorted thru the “baby tubs” from the cubby. She picked out the items she wanted to take home with her & use. When she is done, she will bring back anything in good shape & it will go back into the tubs for her other siblings to utilize. Having 2 boy & 2 girl tubs has saved all of us hundreds of dollars over the years. Some of the items she is taking back with her to use are items she purchased for her oldest sister, when the sister’s first baby was born.

  32. I love reading all of the comments. Our daughter and her husband were here for the week. I taught her to make jam so we made two batches of strawberry rhubarb jam and two batches of raspberry jam we split and they went home with jam and she learned how to make it as well. We made a pattern from a tshirt she had and made her another again teaching her. We live in a small town in iowa 1400 people and we stopped in at the little market and they had free ripe bananas so we took a box full and we froze them overnight then put them in another thick aldi’s bag so banana flav doesn’t invade everything else. I froze peas and canned 8 pints of green beans bringing my total to 21 pints a small amt but with you all in drought i hate to say too much rain limited them. I finished a knitted dish cloth my aim is to replace my old ones. But now it is time to work on Christmas gifts. On the freezer comment what i do is rotate by canning meat. I do a lot of canning and drying and vac sealing dry things right now i have cherries and grapes in dehydrator i put in yesterday they were left over from the kids being here. If you have frozen veggies like green beans or mixed veggies you can put them right into the dehydrator as prep work has been done in order to freeze them that might help with freezer you could make jams or fruit leather or smoothies from frozen fruit. I am the provident living leader in my ward so i press rotation a lot. Canning meat is very easy to do have to pressure can tho don’t do it otherwise. i would get on it as soon as you can as you want good food in the freezer when you need to live off it. I have a friend in Canada and she says they are having a beef shortage they have been having many forest fires which is making that worse those fires are hurting our air quality here making a haze and coughing. So i guess i am saying can what you can from that freezer our little market sells pints of beef and also pints of chicken $6.95 a pint ouch but neat to see since i can mine it makes your storage versatile no food fatigue. Unless you can or buy those pints you are limited in canned meats at the stores….becky in central Iowa

  33. I still love your photos, even if they are not new ones. I hope you find the perfect camera at the perfect price really soon, Brandy!

    My MIL made it through her toe amputation surgery just fine and came home from hospital today. We hope she learned her lesson from this and won’t be so stubborn about seeing her Dr. We have a “family” trip (MIL, her three sons and their significant others) to Las Vegas the first week on August. Hope she’s healed enough to go! Anyways, here are my frugal accomplishments this week:

    *Bought a flat of local raspberries from the farmers market for $60 (up from $50 last year). I can’t wait until I have my own place and can grow my own raspberry bushes. Anyways, the flat made 5 pints and 1 half pint of raspberry jam, 2 pints plus 1 half pint of raspberry/blueberry jam (to use up some blueberries in the freezer), and 2 pints plus 1 half pint of strawberry/raspberry jam (to use up some frozen strawberries) in total. I made my jam with no-sugar needed pectin and sweetened with ½ cup of honey and ½ cup of maple syrup.

    *Gleaned a large bunch of fresh rhubarb from the gardens at my work. After being inspired last week by another commenter, I found a recipe for cinnamon rhubarb jam on line and tried it with the free rhubarb. I modified the recipe by using no-sugar needed pectin and sweetened it with 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of maple syrup (in stead of 6 ½ cups of sugar and regular pectin as called for in the recipe). It made 7 half pints of jam. I think it would taste really nice pared with baked brie cheese at Christmas or with cream cheese on a bagel. I decided to make half pints only as I think I might give these as Christmas presents this year.

    *We finally had sunshine this week, (along with humidity, unfortunately:p) which has helped to ripen some things in my garden. I picked a bunch of peas, enough for about 2 servings, but there are still more developing on the vines. The green and waxed beans are also on their way. I should be doing some blanching in the next week or two, with the blancher I bought at auction for a couple dollars. Looking forward to trying it out!

    *My daughter had lots of fun at a free day camp for kids on the autism spectrum this week. The camp focused on friendship skills and she even made a new friend with many similar interests! We might be hosting a play date this week, now that the camp is over.

    *My husband brought home some chocolate milk from my MIL’s fridge, since she is in hospital. She didn’t want it to spoil and go to waste before she go home.

    *Bought a one week parking pass at the hospital, since my MIL had surgery and we knew she would be there for at least a few days. This saved on parking costs big time and allowed my husband to come and go as he needed throughout the day. He took a cooler with drinks in it so he didn’t have to buy them there.

    *Trimmed by bangs myself, and saved paying for a haircut.

    I’m sure there are more, but it’s been a busy week and I just can’t think of any more right now. Hope everyone has a wonderful week. I look forward to reading all your comments!:D

  34. When I used my bonus reward points at Kmart to purchase a decent frying pan for the RV, I also purchased a new pair of jeans for myself (first time in 5 years that I have purchased new clothing for myself!) That brought the purchase up to the amount needed for the gas discount coupon. We are saving it to purchase gas for “the bus” when we go up North to Mackinac. .30 off 🙂

    I noticed we are LOADED in grapes again this year so I will have to plan around when they are ripe so I make sure I get them before the yellow jackets and birds do. They are seeded Concords so we make juice and jelly from them.

    I have to make up 2 baby bath towels for gifts for my cousins new twins – boy and girl. I will also make up some towel bibs as well. I already have all of the supplies – I buy them when they are deeply discounted during the new year or back to college sales.

    I noticed our electric usage was lower again this year over last year. We only run the air conditioning when we are truly miserable from the humidity. It also has helped that it has been rather cool this year so far so I don’t have to run the large fan we have built into the wall of our rabbit shed.

    My daughter decided to not show at fair her final year. While this is sad, it also will save us the camping fee we would have had to pay while staying out there.

    I am slowing getting pea pods to freeze – lots of blossoms but not many pods yet. The tomatoes are blossoming as are the peppers (even have a couple peppers started). However, my cauliflower and cabbage just are not doing well even though the temps are cooler. Not a single head formed on any of them yet 🙁

    FINALLY got my potatoes in the ground.

    Purchased some wide mouth quarts on sale – I only had the narrow ones which can be a pain to fill – and my vacuum sealer top only fits the wide mouth. I plan to make up a bunch of freeze dried meals for both my prepping and for camping.

    Instead of purchasing new spices for “the bus”, I chose to purchase some very inexpensive spice jars and fill them from the extra large jars I keep in the pantry.

    Put 7 dozen eggs in the freezer – 4 of ducks and 3 of chickens – I am trying to plan ahead to the winter when they don’t lay as regularly.

    Brought home my free turkeys to raise for our thanksgiving table this year. Due to the AI outbreak, I don’t know what turkey prices will be. I do know it will be cheaper than the free ranged, hormone/antibiotic free ones will cost per pound.

    I brought shampoo home from work and gave both dogs their bathes at home rather than take them to the kennel. I don’t want to risk them picking up the “dog flu” that has been diagnosed in our county. We haven’t had any pets come down with it at the kennel but it’s cheaper to avoid other dogs than the vet bills would be if they’d get it.

    Used my employee discount and purchased the dogs flea, tick and heartworm meds.

    I love all your photos Brandy – they are wonderful inspiration as well as motivation – I hope you can find another camera soon.

  35. Brandy, I have enjoyed your blog since discovering it sometime ago, and I am sorry to read about your camera. Have you considered contacting camera companies and offering them an ad on your blog in exchange for a camera? It would be a win/win for both you and the camera company. Thank you for the things you teach us.

  36. With a small living space, you have to be creative. My previous residence was 450 square feet, and I had a small pantry there too. 🙂

  37. Due to Brandy’s comment in a post last week about stocking up the pantry, I spent quite a bit of time thinking through what I needed to have, then set out listing items to buy. Propane, water and a trip to Sams club for rice and other staples. About half done with the list, but at least enough that I am less crazed…now is need to organize what I have to make sure I know what and where everything is. Thanks also to this blog, I now make our bread -via bread machine- but today I mixed it in the machine and baked it in the oven! Pretty soon I may do it all by hand. 😉 Thanks to everyone here for the comments and inspiration.

  38. We had a scare with water in the basement, and thought we’d be on the hook for a grand at least. After conferring with a plumber and having him scope our drains, and having the a/c guy out, my husband repaired the problem himself, and spent 120, saving us $390 dollars on a plumber. We needed an extra pump and some tubing to divert water to our laundry sink. Thank goodness. We had blackberries and tomatoes from our garden. We made about 100 dollars on eBay. We took the children to the national aquarium and saved on our tickets by buying them ahead. We planned our trip to avoid tolls when possible. I packed our drinks and snacks( we did get icecream, it was HOT). The jellyfish were beautiful. We took two large donations to Goodwill, and kept the receipts for our taxes. We avoided the temptation to go out to dinner today, after a tiring round of cleaning/clearing/sorting and had pasta instead. We bought some pillows on clearance. The children had a great time playing with toys we had packed away two years ago, we came across them in a back corner of the basement. Basement shopping is the best. We are delighted to have enough data in to lower our budgeted utility amount by fifty dollars a month. We had some problems with our meter and after the gas company came out to correct, had a seventy dollar credit.

  39. Thank you for sharing the info about cutting zinnias. I will cut a bouquet tomorrow! I cut a good amount of swiss chard, and intend to try your swiss chard soup recipe. I wonder if you ever freeze chard? I haven’t so far, but with so much coming in from the garden right now, I think I may try it. I’m thinking there should be no noticeable difference in soup at least. How wonderful you are getting some rain. No amount of watering beats a good rain. I did dehydrate carrots last week, and look forward to trying different ways to use them. I noticed some of our grapes are starting to turn this week. I’ll keep an eye on them, and hope to be picking some soon. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/07/gratitude-and-frugal-accomplishments.html

  40. I am sorry about your camera. I hope a great deal comes your way! And don’t forget to write it off for taxes.

    This week I was able to harvest radishes, peas, beans, lettuces, garlic, and swiss chard. I froze swiss chard. I have decided to start keeping a list of what is in the freezer so that it all gets eaten by next spring. This is my first garden season with a chest freezer. My husband found it at an estate sale for $25. I also harvest spinach seeds and pea seeds. we picked wild black berries as well.

    We took up a lot of our front landscaping. I was able to to get shrubs for about half of what they were at another store thanks to a sale. I will fill in the rest as plants go on clearance. From regrading our soil, I was able to make two new beds with great soil from composted wood chips. One bed will be my herb garden, and the other we are hoping to put some interesting fruiting shrub (honeyberries, quince, seaberries, etc.).

  41. * our weather has finally cooled off and we have gotten some rain
    * went to the blueberry patch and picked 15#’s of blueberries. Froze some and will eat some fresh; the berry season wasn’t very good this year (strawberries/raspberries) so I am glad we were able to get some blueberries
    * bought some strawberries for .99/# and was able to freeze some
    * got a free iced coffee drink with a store coupon
    * after many, many months of trying we finally sold our pop up tent trailer, this is such a big blessing
    * my daughter turned 16 last thursday, used a coupon and gift card for lunch to lessen our expense
    * sold another item on eBay
    * had a free red box rental and rented McFarland USA, very good movie, highly recommend!
    * I am really trying to stock my pantry, slowly but surely

  42. I freeze chard all the time. I just clean, cut and blanch. then of course cool it in an ice water bath. The biggest thing is to get as much water as possible drained out of it. then just package and freeze.

  43. Did your squash already have powdery mildew, or are you preemptively pruning them to prevent it? Powdery mildew has been a huge problem for me in the past so I would love strategies for dealing with it. Thanks.

  44. Mandy, did you know that you can use vinegar on your skin as a bug repellent? The vinegar smell goes away fast for us but the bugs still smell it and stay away.

  45. i froze 3 gallon ziplock bags of summer squash, dehydrated a quart bag (after dehydrated). have a large amount left to make some relish. i also froze three quart bags of red hulled peas, made 2 quarts of bread and butter pickles for my grandson. froze 4 bags of cut up tomatoes to make sauce later, also froze 3 bags of roma tomatoes for sauces. my garden is at a standstill right now, it;s been so hot and no rain. we had a little rain today and i water it every day. have dehydrated some chard, basil, dill, thyme. need to gather basil this week and some chard,but this will be a busy week, have three dr. appts. . enjoy your blog, and hope you and your family have a beautiful week. god bless

  46. Last week I Buckeyes in by hand enough water from our blue plastic drums ( like 44 gallon drums) to fill the top loader for the week’s wash. Then saved the rinse water for the next wash when it comes. We are in the midst of winter here and though our rainfall has been well below average ( heading into a drought period Australia wide) we have quite a few large rainwater tanks which give us a good supply. None are plumbed into the house and my husband usually sets up the transfer pump to get water into the washing machine but he was out and I gained ‘weight bearing’ exercise for free

  47. I personally would not eat food from a freezer that was 8 years old. I have had stomach surgery and must be very careful what I eat because I can get infections super easy. But I do not believe I would throw it away either. If you have a pet it could make good pet food. I have found some things in my freezers (we have 3) that are older than I would eat. Food that is frost burned. I cook it in the oven with a bit of water (or slow cooker) and then grind it up in a food processor to mix into my dogs food. We have done animal rescue here in our home for years. There are dogs galore here. At this time 6. Most are very old and the chance of adoption is almost zero. That being said I am not going to throw them out. They are lives too. So we take care of them.

    My frugal accomplishments this week have been just the norm around here. Ate at home, we used rain water from our barrels to water the garden. Used bath water too. The garden has been very good to us this year. I have canned and put up more tomatoes than we can use in a year so we took about 20 pounds to church with us this morning and gave them away for friends. I took the extra squash and shredded it for my dog’s food.

    I made some dish towels, some place mats, and napkins for some dear friends who are moving into their FIRST new home. They have always rented. Finally they built a house and will move next week. I know they are so excited.

    We worked in our yard too to trim back the crept myrtles that are growing so close to the house. They are now almost 1/2 the size they were. They are very strong and will do fine with this late prune. Of coarse the look ugly now, but then next year they will be just beautiful. Cut about 8 yellow roses from my bush to have on my kitchen table.

    I read 2 books. I also made 3 chickens and deboned them for meals later in the month. Made broth from the bones. Froze it for use later.

  48. Clara, I recently read an article about milk and water being good for powdery mildew. I think the ratio Is 9:1 but cheek this out on line.

  49. Just a FYI…Chick-fil-a is having their cow appreciation day this Tuesday, 14 July, in our area (North Alabama). If you dress up like a cow you can get a free meal. You can go to their website to print out things to use for your costume. My family dressed up last year and we all received free meals and it was fun to see how everyone else dressed up.

  50. I (wait for it…) WEEDED AGAIN! My list seems rather boring when I keep listing the same things over and over, but it reminds me that frugality is something I’m doing for the long haul and it’s isn’t always exiciting. But it is rewarding. The good thing is that I have been able to harvest berries, lettuce, a few tomatoes, tons of zucchini. I canned 10 more pints of raspberries. I froze quite a few strawberries and boisenberries/blackberries.

    I fed a lot of bolting lettuce to the chickens, turkeys, and ducks. I helped catch an escaping turkey–TWICE! Those things are wily, but are very expensive at this point as we’ve had them and fed them a while–don’t want the coyotes to get them. We clipped their wings–hope it does the trick.

    I didn’t work much this week. I didn’t get paid, either, since I’m self-employed. I just used the stock pile we collected late spring, garden veggies, and home-preserved foods and we ate like kings and queens. We bought a little milk and a package of hamburger buns. We did not spend much on entertainment, etc. We watched library movies, read books, sewed–things like that.

    I started an embroidered dish towel. I stamped a few and will work on them inbetween things in anticipation of some weddings in the fall. I will keep one for myself as well.

    I finished a skirt for one daughter.

    I used Wednesday morning, when I usually work, to paint the upstairs bathroom. I finished the main walls and this week, I hope to do the trim. I am not an experienced painter, so it took me a long time. I hope to get better at it since there are many more rooms that could use painting.

    We cleaned the garage. During the school year, we are tremendously busy and things tend to get piled in there. The entire family was expected to help, if home, and we sorted, recycled, swept, etc. We donated boxes of things people had cleaned out from other rooms and put in there “for now.” I found some old school books that were set aside. My husband took them to the used curriculum store and now I have $110 credit! Yea! What they did not want, we donated to a thrift store. I am not using the same packaged curriculum I usually do and bought most of what I need for this year already, much of it used, so I am cutting down my homeschool cost from about $800-$1000 down to around $400. (Math was almost $200 alone) It will take more work on my part, but I think I have figured out how to carve the extra time out of my schedule. If I come across extra money during the year, I intend to buy fun science experiment kits, etc.–things to liven things up.

  51. This week, I found that Country Mart/Price Chopper has can of vegetables for .39 . I bought 6 dozen cases.. Also, split chicken breast are on sale for 1.39#.. Can’t think of anything else right now!!

  52. About Schoola, I just wanted to add my experience. I used a $5 credit (plus free shipping) to order a t-shirt. When it arrived I discovered it was a maternity top, but wasn’t listed as such. I e-mailed the company to explain the problem and they gave me a $15 credit toward another order, and also refunded the shipping for that second order. I feel they went above and beyond to rectify the error. Just wanted to pass along a good word about the company. : )

  53. That’s a fantastic price for blueberries! I’m right there with you on being giddy at cheap meat prices. Several times I have found ground beef on clearance for $1.50/lb. or less, and my local Ralphs frequently marks down packages of bacon to $1. Scored 30 packages a couple months ago and stocked the freezer. There are four males in my house that love bacon, so I was very happy!

  54. I second the blanching and freezing. Place your chard in boiling water for like three minutes and then scoop immediately into ice water for another three minutes. I just then take a slotted spoon and remove the chard, let as much water as I can drain off of it and then place it in serving sizes in freezer bags. I then place those freezer bags inside another freezer bag marked “chard” with the date. That way I can just pull out the one big bag, grab as much chard as I need for a side for dinner or for soup or whatever and put the rest back in the freezer. I keep chard (or this year it’s going to be kale) all through our Alaskan winter without issues (9 months on average). It works great :).

    To reheat just microwave it until hot or cook on the stovetop like you would frozen spinach.

  55. Are you sure it’s the water pump and not the thermostat? Every time I’ve had a car that chronically overheats, the problem has been the thermostat. If you replace it yourself, the part is probably under $10.

  56. Sounds like you had a wonderully frugal week Brandy. I hope you are able to replace your camera without it costing too much. Here in Melbourne Australia it is quite cold. We have to keep the curtains and blinds mostly closed to keep the warmth in. Here’s what I got up to last week –

    * Cleaned the inside of the dishwasher with bi carb and vinegar and wiped it down with Miracle Spray

    * Made muffin sized quiches with tomatoes given to us and silverbeet from our garden.

    * Made some apple rose pastries with apples given to us. The pastries were for a church lunch.

    * Made chunky roast beef and vegetable soup using left over roast beef and vegetables given to us.

    * Megan made a double batch of lunchbox chocoalte choc chip muffins for school and home snacks.

    * Picked a big bowl of lemons from our tree. I’ll let them sit for about a week before juicing. I did juice some older lemons and froze the juice in ice cube trays.

    * Picked silverbeet to put in a spag bol sauce. My girls were not happy about this as they don’t like silverbeet. I’m in the process of having major dental work done and I can’t chew things very well so the shredded silverbeet was perfect for me.

    * Megan made a big pot of chunky chicken noodle soup to help me feel better after the dental work on Tuesday. She used chicken stock I’d made in the slow cooker and frozen months ago. I lived on this soup for a few days. Very yummy.

    * Picked a bunch of daisies from the garden to brighten up my kitchen.

    * Mended and altered two tops for Megan.

    * Only spent $4 at the shops on milk. This is the third week running that we’ve only needed milk. We still have plenty of fruit and veg in the fridge and freezer plus we have been blessed with some.

    * Did the usual frugal things with saving the washing machine water and drying clothes on clothes horses..

    I have a few photos on my blog of some of these tasks http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/this-weeks-frugal-tasks-11th-july-2015.html

  57. Denise

    I know the 2008 we lost everything in our deep freezer too we are in Ohio to. My best advice is anything that far back “If in doubt, throw it out” is the best advice. I would not trust anything that old. I try not to stock a lot of meats in the summer months because of our electricity failures with storms. I wouldn’t feed it to my dogs either.. it could mean a very costly trip to the Vet for food poisoning.

  58. Darlene.. That is something frugal I do all the time and never think to mention. I take a thermos of coffee to work with me everyday. We have a coffee pot there but I don’t like drip dry coffee and since no one drinks coffee at work but me most of the time (one girl drinks instant occasionally) I would have to bring coffee in to work anyways or go buy expensive coffee next door at Noodles and Company. I also take bottled water to work and keep in our fridge.. made the mistake of not having any one day, the pizza place close to us charges $1.65 for one bottle Ouch! try not to make that mistake again.

  59. Hope you find a good bargain on a new camera, Brandy. I know you will!

    Frugal accomplishments for the week:

    Bought 10 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.89/ lb. Canned it up.

    Harvested peas, broccoli, cauliflower, a few peppers, strawberries, raspberries and herbs from the garden.

    Dried some broccoli and cauliflower.

    Did some fireside cookery, Saved on electricity and kept the house cool.

    Bought a nice cast iron pot with legs and a flat lid for cooking outside at an estate sale for only $15.

    Bought several sweaters and two skirts for $13 from a thrift shop. Looking towards fall already.

    Bought a like-new winter coat at a garage sale for $5.

    Unraveled a sweater that I bought at the thrift store sale for 17 cents to use the yarn for a pair of mittens.

    As usual, used the gray water for flushing toilets and watering the flower garden, hung laundry on the line, turned of all the electricity at night, ate from the garden, and pantry. Walked more and used the car less.

  60. – Bought buy one get one free tortilla chips to bring to two parties
    – Bought 3 pints of blueberries at aldi for 89 cents each and 3 of strawberries for 99 cents each
    – Made double batch of strawberry blueberry jicama salsa for two parties
    – Got 80 cents rebate on Ibotta
    – Had dinner at my aunts (where I brought one of the salsas) and a boat ride
    – Boat rides, tubing, and dinner at friend’s lake house (where I brought the other salsa)
    – Went to ihop with daughter and her friend for 57 cent short stacks and only spent $5
    – Daughter wanted sushi so took her to 50% off sushi Monday’s at restuarant down the street
    – Went to free Meijer gardens Tuesday concert (free for members) and brought snacks and water for a fun, free date night
    – Had a $20 reward at Meijer, plus $5 off $50, plus $10 while using Meijer card to pay for groceries
    – Listed two lots of daughter’s clothes on ebay that sold for $35
    – Made sausage, spinach and bean soup as part of using what we have (didn’t want grilled sausages)
    – Used a coupon at Firestone for a $20 oil change
    – Got to go to the summer pops concert for free with tix from my aunt, plus they brought dinner and we got a boat ride and kids stayed by themselves saving us money we would have had to pay a sitter (love that they are now at an age they can stay home alone)
    – Bought kids flip flops on sale for 30% off, plus mperks coupon for 25% off (they both needed a pair)
    – Kids did another workout class (included with their pool membership)
    – Vacuumed and cleaned the inside of my car
    – Bought a big pack of pluots at Sam’s normally $6.99, marked down to $1.89
    – Bought clearance cover ups for daughter and myself for $6.81 each for our upcoming vacation
    – Went to Target so daughter could use her gift card from a Christmas gift and resisted the urge to buy clearanced sneakers and a clearance lantern for myself
    – redeemed coupons for free chicken, salsa and cupcakes at Sam’s
    – daughter wanted to go to On the Border for lunch but I made her a ham and cheese quesadilla instead
    – husband bought a strong bonding glue to fix the tears in the Thule car top carrier to try to avoid buying a new one

  61. Brandy, you might be able to deduct part of the cost of the camera for business use. When I worked for myself doing translation and editing, I had a few items that that were for both business and personal use. My tax preparer told me to determine the percentage of the business use of these items (in my case, it was 50%), and then I was able to deduct 50% of the cost as a business expense. You might check into it.

  62. Congratulations to your parents!

    It’s sometimes hard to be at the mercy of others on expenditures, but this sounds like one that was important for you and others.

  63. CeCee, I’m feeling your same pain because of our air conditioner repairs this month (and riding lawn mower and roof last month). Congratulate yourself that you could manage it, although I understand that it hurt to spend that money.

  64. Congratulations, Marivene, on finishing those straps! You must be relieved to be through with the work and enjoying the result. Congratulations, too, on the upcoming birth of another grandchild.

  65. I cashed in my swag bucks and received a $25 coupon for 2200 swags. With a $25 dollar gift card for Wal-Mart my husband won at work I had a total of $50. I used this to stock up on oil , salt an other things for my pantry. I also placed an order with Emergency Essentials. We
    are having as many free meals as possible these include Antelope and beet greens from the garden . Last night we had radishes and a salad with spinach and green onions with homemade dressing . I added 2 hard boiled eggs to the salad for protein since we worked in the garden most of the day.
    We have 2/12 acres and my riding lawn mower broke it was going to be about $750 for repairs but because it took so long 6 weeks ( ugh ) the repairman only charged me $300 for parts plus he delivered it back to me saving me gas. Made for some long days mowing but worth the savings. We will be doing business with him again !
    Have been able to pay for all my medical bills in full so far. Hopefully they will slow down now that I have a diagnosis.
    Not getting much done on our old house lately but that’s ok. We are putting the money we had for the remodel away and doing the work as we get extra money. Instant gratification is over rated anyway lol My husband has been eyeing a new shower at Menards so that may be next. My original 1956 kitchen is getting comfortable to me but will have to do something in the near future because the cupboards are in really sad shape.
    Thanks for all the comments I read every week they keep me on track.

  66. My dad had picked up a very nice pair of Italian leather dress shoes at an estate sale, that ended up not fitting him. Surprisingly, they do fit my husband very nicely even though my dad had attempted to stretch them out!

    I ran into a friend I don’t get to see too often, and in catching her up on what’s going on with the family I mentioned that my oldest son has started working a (second) job in which he’ll get paid as if he’s self-employed. My friend is a former IRS accountant and passed on some very helpful information about how he should prepare for next year’s tax season.

    I have been utilizing the library quite a bit the last few weeks, and just this morning discovered a new title I’m interested in and found out the library has it too. I’ll go by there tomorrow when I’m planning some other errands.

  67. I harvested tomatoes of several varieties, cucumbers, basil, thyme, cilantro, parsley, blackberries and strawberries from our garden. DH continued building the garden fence himself (almost finished). Built up stockpile using combination of store specials, paper and digital coupons and scanning clearance racks. Froze blueberries I purchased at a good price. Put used coffee grounds around our blueberry bush that has never borne fruit (we’ve had it 3-4 years maybe?). Dried some thyme. Did quite a bit of reading about building a stockpile as well as alternate methods of cooking and storing foods without electricity. Learned a lot! Bought a recipe book for cast iron cooking since I have a lot of cast iron (skillets, Dutch oven, cornbread “ears” pan much of which I inherited). The thing is you can cook with it outside in a fire, or on your grill and we can use it on top of our wood stove. This cookbook gives instructions for both outdoor and indoor cooking. It’s called Dutch Oven & Cast Iron Cooking. The author gives helpful tips for purchasing old cookware and how to restore it.

    Another helpful resource for me this past week is a book called Pearls of Kitchen Wisdom by Deborah Tukua. Tons of good ideas in there including how to store eggs without refrigeration and so forth.

    Related to the above, I did a complete inventory of our pantry and freezers so I can use up what’s oldest and know which items I’m low on.

    DH repaired cruise control in one of our vehicles as well as fixing a faulty window opening mechanism. I had a number of frugal fails, unfortunately, but I’m trying to focus on successes and hope to do better this week! Brandy, I sure hope you can find a good deal on a new camera body. You have such a gift for photography that I know you must miss being able to take pictures!

  68. I harvested Swiss chard, a few small cucumbers, a few strawberries, and some herbs from the garden. We planted a tomato seedling and the following seeds: cucumber, green beans, pumpkins, butternut squash, basil, zucchini, and cantaloupe.

    Yesterday I wanted to make some things for breakfasts and the kids lunchboxes without heating up the kitchen. I made rice pudding in the crockpot, gluten free carrot cake bread in the bread machine, and some no-bake peanut butter oat energy balls.

    I mended one of my son’s shirts. My husband took 2 pairs of shoes to the shoe repair place. They were good quality shoes with a lot of life left so it was definitely worth it. My daughter needed bigger tap shoes, and we were able to trade in her old pair for a bigger size at her dance studio (love this)!

    I bought some organic chicken breasts for 50% off yesterday at Safeway. They were nearing their “sell-by” date so I put them in the crockpot with butter and lemon juice (lemon came from my mother-in-law’s tree) and we will have them for dinner tonight.

    I borrowed several items from a friend for an upcoming camping trip so I don’t have to buy them.

  69. I would not eat something that is 8 years old, especially meat!

    With meat, I would just look for visible signs of freezer burn, and dates. Honestly any meat over 2 years old, I would throw out. If it’s within 1-2 years & freezer burned, you can try trimming off the freezer burned edges & cooking in a crock pot or low/slow on the stove if you don’t have a crock pot. I have found that tomato-based recipes or those with wine or acidic sauce will really help salvage the meat. I do Italian-style pulled pork or beef with freezer burned meats (basically a can of tomatoes, a jar of pepperoncini peppers with juice, some Italian seasoning & cook on low for 8-12 hours) works best.

    For veggies, I’d just do a visual check. As I said, I have to say 2 years would probably be my cutoff mark for saving vs. throwing away.

    I don’t think commercial vs. home frozen matters. I would rely more on the packaging & how well it is sealed.

  70. Thanks to Debbie in FL post last week, I had a use for strawberries that needed to be attended to.

    Picked a bunch of zucchini from my garden and canned curry zucchini pickles.

    Kmart was offering double coupons last week, so I was able to get some items with the double coupon bonus.

    Hit Panera Bread for my free birthday pastry and did treat myself to their hibiscus tea – so delicious!

    To those that fly and pack meals – are there any rules? I will be flying a little more this year and was wondering if I could pack ham & cheese sandwiches and chips in baggies? I don’t care for airport food and the last flight – the flight food was just as desirable. I just don’t want to get in trouble at the security check points.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  71. Oh Brandy, where did you purchase that beautiful turquoise pot you were gathering water in? What a pretty picture!

  72. We got a tear in our Thule car carrier. I called them and they replaced it for free. They have great customer service.

  73. We’ve found that the rules for food sort of follow those for toiletries. By that I mean that anything liquid or gel (and sometimes even just not solid like yogurt and applesauce) have to be in containers 3 oz or smaller. That said, when we flew in December, our kids each had single serve 4oz applesauce cups in their lunchboxes and we had no problems. One time, we were at an airport where they made us throw out the freezer packs for the lunchboxes, but it only happened the one time, and it was a smaller airport. Other than that, anything “solid” (ham, cheese, bread, chips) should be fine. Once in awhile the airlines will request that passengers refrain from eating nuts or food w/ nuts if someone who is allergic is on the flight. As the mom of two allergic kids, I appreciate this, even though I know it can be frustrating for other passengers. Just in case, you might want to avoid nuts or PBJ.

  74. Rhonda, there are leg trollys you can get for your MIL on the trip. It will allow her to keep up with everyone but not put pressure on her foot, if it is still a problem. Kind of like a skate board for the bent leg! Glad your kiddo had fun at camp. Such a blessing for the special kids in all of our lives.

  75. Hi Jordan’s Mom, just wanted to let you know I have almost the same things, in different sizes. Mine are enameled pots purchased at my local Hispanic store. I love my tamale steamer, which is perfect for boiling water bathes, pint size, It comes with it’s own rack. Sometimes they can be pricey, but waiting for a sale is an option.

  76. I commend you for your patience on waiting for those blue pots to become clearanced!

    -line dry as usual
    -still potty training son
    -cleaning schedule was really good, I spread things out really well
    -waiting for my husband new employer to get the ball rolling on the interview, he’s basically hired but still need to go through all the formalities
    -back to my own bible study
    -learned about cilantro seeds are called coriander seeds and that I should have planted a bunch of seeds since I just want the leaves for food, so i have since replanted and the other one i will let go to seed
    -bought my son a watering can that was 50% off at target, he has loved helping me water the flowers!
    -I also bought the hand shovel kit as well-this will come in handy next year when we can hopefully have a garden somewhere
    -found a water park just from exploring, never knew it was there, we were actually searching for the “beach” lol and just for giggles we now call it the beach
    -menu planned for the week
    -made a shopping list
    -fixed the back lock myself

    love reading the comments

  77. Hope I’m not too late to post! I haven’t had time to come on here until now.

    -I took advantage of some great sales last week to stock up on laundry detergent, toothpaste, and Husband’s deodorant.
    -Someone from Husband’s church gave us a number of large zucchinis and a couple squash. I am the only one in our house who eats either so I shredded most of the zucchini and put it in the freezer in two cup portions. This allows me to make zucchini bread in the middle of winter without having to buy out of season and expensive zucchini.
    -I worked 5 extra hours
    -I cleaned out my pantry. Now I know exactly what I have and what I need to stock up on.

  78. I also freeze chard and also beet tops just like Erika described. I also use these in recipes calling for spinach.

  79. We already had powder mildew. I’ve used all the homemade sprays and this works the best.
    We have already replaced the thermostats in both cars. I wish it was something cheap to fix lol
    Thanks for the vinegar tip, I will definitely try it!

  80. Last week my daughter was at camp.
    Didnt do much cooking. My hubby had plans so monday my aunt took me out to eat. Tuesday I ate frozen waffles. Wednesday and Thursday I got the flu. Friday hubby and I went on date. Saturday was a long day grab a bite to eat, Was traveling to pick up daughter from camp. Sunday I made subs.
    My daughter came home from camp with hand and foot virus and ear infection.
    I clean out my hubby truck inside and out (it was his father’s day present)
    decluttering the house.
    Going to start making my bread and buns. My friend called me. Said she was cleaning out her camper from last summer. Found a package of hot dog buns that were never been open. They had no mold or discoloration to them and they were just starting to get hard.
    Save gas didn’t go anyhwere last week
    laundry online
    Clean out the ice box and finally had nothing to go to waste.

  81. I don’t mind looking at the same pictures again, but I hope you will be able to get your new camera as soon as you can.

    My summary is for the last 2-3 weeks again. I read and re-read the column and then never get around to writing my submission. We’re having a nice thunder storm now…we had a dry spell for almost a week and then last night and tonight, back to normal.

    We have harvested kohlrabi, lettuce, arugula, banana peppers, radishes, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, beets, zucchini, still getting peas which is later than usual. Picked basil, rosemary, cilantro, parsley and mint. Our strawberry field did very well for it’s first year of picking. We got about 32 pints worth. They just finished last week. Now our raspberries are ready and so are gooseberries. We have also had slicing cucumbers. Everything else is still growing and doing well. Asparagus is done, but we pulled some last rhubarb for a custard pie.

    Did the usual of recycling, composting, mending, not shopping, We did do some traveling, as we normally do more in the summer. Went to two auctions, delivered some finished wood projects, went to a funeral for the mother in law of my oldest brother, watched the 4th of July parade in town (something we normally don’t do) because the route was altered and went right past a co-worker’s house. Had a nice holiday celebration later at a cousin’s house with fireworks. Went up north for 2 days to the reunion of my maternal grandfather’s side. It was held up on lake property they own. It abuts a county park and forest, so they rented out half the campground, including the group sites. There was swimming and hiking and fishing and cooking outdoors and seeing relatives we don’t see that often. We (husband and I) camped in our VW bus, the kids all took tents.

    Went to Target with youngest to buy gum, which sounds silly, but she likes a certain flavor and that is the only place that carries it. She was prepared to spend the 1.29 per pack and stock up but at the checkout the cashier asked if we had the cartwheel because they were 50 cents each that way. I said no, but she said she would give us the price anyways and told us how to sign up later. So she bought 12 packs. Went to the grocer and bought white mushrooms for our shish kebabs. We had all the other needed vegetables. Used double coupons and bought shampoo, deodorant, contac lens solution and ziploc freezer bags (also on sale).

    Made white bread, oatmeal raisin cookies, brownies, nachos, Spanish rice, bean burritos, baked beans, chicken shish kebabs with onion, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, banana peppers. Used the left over grilled vegetables in sandwiches with some Swiss cheese. HEated them in the Geo Foreman grill. Made spaghetti sauce, grilled cheese, cheesey broccoli rice (using up broccoli from last year harvest), fake crab pasta salad, hummus, Asian slaw, 4 bean salad, macaroni and cheese. We took all our food and beverages to the campout and also food for the potluck tables to share…I made cupcakes and sweet and sour cole slaw and brought 4 bags of pretzels that were BOGO,

  82. This week has been a mixed bag, sometimes weeks are like that..

    On the frugal side we harvested Swiss chard, oregano, basil, mint, rosemary( I cut these and display as cut flowers, when they start to go I then dry them or make flavored salts or in the case of the mint, sugar.. These will be Christmas gifts). I also harvested tomatoes, red noodles beans, cucumbers( Armenian and regular).

    I had a blind taste test with my family over the cucumbers.. The Armenian vs. the regular.. the Armenian won hands down.

    I had to pull up my last zucchini and squash, the bugs had taken over and even after a heavy dose of insecticide they still were making mush out of the plants.. I will plant Malabar spinach and cabbage in place of.

    The figs are almost ripe and I have been steadily picking blueberries. I have been trading garden goodies for eggs. It’s a win win.

    I have been having bad migraines lately.. I have had them since I was 15 and know my triggers by heart, but lately they have had no discernible pattern, my Dr. requested a few tests to rule out some hormone and thyroid issues. I also have an ultrasound scheduled for this friday. Nothing serious but to see if I am a candidate for a procedure that would take the place of a surgery. At least my deductible has already been met.

    We celebrated my husbands birthday and Fourth of July Saturday, both were belated but when so many family members work shift work, ya gotta be flexible. We rented a pavilion at a park nearby and grilled hot dogs and sausages.. The good thing is that I found all the meat marked down dramatically since it was after the Fourth.

    I also made side dishes like potato salad from gifted red potatoes, etc. that used things I had on hand. The only real expense was the homemade ice cream, but soooo worth the expense.

    My DD and DH replaced the front shocks on DD Jeep( it was purchased on the cheap and is a work in progress), she called around to the different local parts houses and located the best price. Not only did she learn how to call around for pricing but the skill to replace the parts. She was so proud of herself, we required her to have basic car knowledge( oil change, tire change, jumping off a car, checking fluid levels, etc. before receiving her license and now require her to know about the up keep. Not too bad for a 16 year old.

    Continuing to clean and sort through the house; while it is hard work, just the mental weight decluttering gives is worth it.

    Finishing up more Christmas gifts.

    Hope everyone is having a safe and productive week.

  83. I saw one of those leg trolleys for the first time not that long ago. I’m not sure if it would be good or not as the pressure of leaning on the leg/knee may cut off too much circulation, especially considering the diabetes. It’s a great idea though!

    As for the camp, I actually had to fight with the organizers to allow her to go. They were concerned her behaviours may be too “disruptive” for the other children. I told them this was a violation of her rights as a disabled child, not to mention this camp was specifically designed for children on the Autism spectrum, so they should be properly prepared to deal with such behaviours. My daughter did go, she was very well behaved, had no major issues, was an active participant and thoroughly enjoyed herself. I am very proud of my daughter for showing them how wrong they were to prejudge her. I really hope these people learned something from this.

  84. CarlaM, thank you for the book suggestions. I work in a Pioneer Village. The book on Dutch Oven & Cast Iron Cooking sound like it would be very useful reference book. Do you happen to know the author?

  85. There may be some concerns with food if the flights are international. It might be wise to check with authorities just so you are clear on what is considered OK and what isn’t.

  86. This is what I did this week to keep our household expenses under control.

    Monday – Cut out a camisole from an old tee shirt using a tutorial I found of the internet years ago. I’ve been making camisole this way for a few years now and I am always happy with the results.

    Tuesday – Finished my latest table runner. I had a few more left over quilt patches so I made a small pillow and a book holder/door using another tutorial found online.

    I made too much banana bread to use up some bananas that were starting to go bad. I gave a loaf to my neighbor and she sent over some berries from her garden as a thank you.

    Wednesday – took in the recycling ($3 in my wallet) Ran a few errands in town and then worked on my computer in the library while taking advantage of their air conditioning. We installed my super duper new clothes line! Very exciting.

    Thursday – Grocery shopping day and since I’m going back to work part-time starting on Monday, I decided on a splurge at the thrifts store. I found several skeins of cotton yarn to crochet washcloths, one Christmas gift for $2.49 and a clock for my sewing room, as I tend to lose track of time while I’m stitching away. We reinvented leftovers for dinner. I also started an excel spreadsheet so that I can more closely monitor what we spend and where we spend it. I think I am pretty frugal and careful, but I think it is good to test our assumptions every once and a while by examining the cold, hard, data.

    Friday – gratefully received more eggs from my mom. Used the duck eggs to make a lemon loaf to give to my youngest as a housewarming present. Harvested our first chili pepper and the tomatoes in the garden are starting to turn red.

  87. Using a friend’s condo for mini vacay. Brought a ton of library books to read during middle of day when it is too hot to go out. I don’t cook so I’m going our for lunch each day but went to grocery after I got here for breakfast pastries and sandwich fixings for supper each night. Frugal fail: tried to go to Krispy Kreme last week for BOGO 78 cent dozen day but it was way too busy and crowded. Our local elementary school caught fire and 15 classrooms burned. I bought a ton of books for 95% off at Burkes Outlet to donate to teachers. Plus it was senior day so I got another 15% off.

  88. Rhonda, it is edited by Peg Couch. I believe she is who would be listed as “author.” It would be a great reference book for you because there are antique cast iron pieces featured throughout the book, some of which I’ve never seen before and I am in my late 50’s! Really interesting. The book is published by Fox Chapel Publishing. It is paperback, but has glossy pages with beautiful photography throughout. I bought mine at Tractor Supply. 🙂

  89. Good luck with your camera shopping. I so enjoy your pictures – even the non-current ones.

    I took breakfast and lunch to work all wee, except for Thursday, where I was treated to lunch by our financial advisor. It was a lovely lunch in a lovely setting .

    Found strawberries for 99¢ a pound. Got 2, as we just wanted them fresh. Son was home visiting, and treated for dinner one night, when we were just going to have sandwiches. He brought Chinese home.

    Dug our garlic. This is about 3 weeks early, but it has been so hot, that it had to come up.

    We finally had rain on Saturday. We had not had any measurable precipitation since June 1st. It was a very hot June – actually the hottest on record in Eastern Washington.

    Made a chicken stir fry for dinner one night. Used some of the Zaycon chicken I had frozen in a marinade, broccoli ad green beans from the freezer from last year’s garden, snow peas and garlic from this year’s garden, and some carrots and onions.

    Went to the library to get books and books on CD to listen to while traveling.

    Weeded the corn and cucumbers. Picked a half bucket of snow peas.

    Made chicken spaghetti for DH to have while I a out of town working.

    Have a great week everyone.

  90. I’m sorry about your camera. Your photography is so lovely.
    Frugal efforts-cut flowers from my Belinda’s Dream rosebush and zinnias. I made a turkey I bought after Christmas for 50cents/lb. The olive salad for the turkey muffuletas’s contained pesto made with my homegrown basil and pecans from my Mom’s tree. I made a fig topping* and placed over cream cheese for an appetizer (it would go great over vanilla icecream). The figs were from my neighbors tree, and the pecans my Mom’s once again. I made rosemary crackers** to serve with the fig/cheese appetizer. the rosemary is homegrown as well.
    * http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2012/08/figs-and-cheese/
    ** http://elanaspantry.com/rosemary-crackers/
    I purchased some items at the Goodwill and am making alterations.
    Thank you for the inspiration!!

  91. I want to eat at your house! Everytime you post what you cook, I get hungry:)

    Our garden is quite a bit behind yours–must have a different growing season, but I’m loving using the vegetables that I do have to spark things up! It sounds like you had a wonderful campout.

  92. We have a Dutch oven cookbook too and we bought it at the same time as we bought the Dutch oven…it was put out by Lodge I think. We bought in St George Utah on a vacation trip. Cast iron is very useful…we use it in the fire pit or in the oven. We don’t have a fireplace. We have several fry pans and have used the smaller one on our wood stove. Our old house still has the big old wood cook stove in it. I can remember my grandma using it.

  93. Thanks Ms. Linda. It did hurt to spend the money because some of it was ear marked for a few school supplies with the stellar deals right now, but having brakes is much much more important. I just have to remember that God has a plan, and I’m sure his plan doesn’t include me swerving into a ditch because my breaks don’t work 😉

  94. This is my first time posting and I just want to say that I look forward each week to see what everybody has been up to!
    Although I wish I didn’t have to live frugally I do get a big “kick” out of seeing each week how I was able to “save”.

    Some of my frugal “accomplishments”:

    *Have been keeping my blinds and curtains closed during the day so the air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard (I now have a credit on my PSE&G budget bill)
    *Garden is finally producing well and have been able to “pick” my dinner for several nights!
    *Took a paid vacation day from my job and worked for a friend for some extra cash and with that money I stocked up on meat for the freezer. (I feel RICH when I have a stocked pantry and freezer)
    *Take lunch to work everyday (leftovers) and also keep teabags there as well so no “additional” money is spent.
    *Make myself a list of “errands” that need to be done so while I am “out” I can map out where I can “stop” on my journey and not waste any additional gas.

    Thank you Brandy and everyone else that keep me inspired!

  95. I love when people share what frugal food they made for the week, whether it be a meal or something they added to the pantry and how they use it. It always gives me ideas of what to make for my family. This inspiration has been such a blessing for us. I’ve looked up so many different recipe ideas because of comments like these!

  96. TCR, that was so nice of you to help out the school by buying some new books to replace what was lost! Sounds like you were able to get them at a super cheap price as well.

  97. I’m so sorry about your camera! Mine is still working, but Google changed the way they let those of us using a Chromebook upload, so it took me a few tries to figure that out. I am going to look into whether or not I can grow figs here. I love them! My frugal accomplishments are posted here: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/07/last-weeks-savings-and-summer-fun.html

    I’m glad to hear I can cut zinnias and get more – I have two that have started blooming. 🙂

  98. We must live in the same town because our elementary school burned also. GLAD to see another Southerner reading
    Brandi’s blog. Our town is really rallying to help our school! I read this every week and really love it!

  99. Discovered last week that I had a tick on my back for almost 3 weeks. Over 2 weeks before I had DH take a look at it because I couldn’t see it. He thought it was an insect bite that I had. Scratched too hard at, causing it to bleed because he thought it was stabbed over. Come to find out, it was a tick! I had been having major joint pain and headaches and lethargy during that 3 weeks and had seen the Bulls-eye pattern around the “scab”. I finally decided to pull the scab off since it only seemed to be hanging on at one point. Imagine my surprise when I saw the “scab” moving when I set it on the side of the bathtub! I quickly put it into a ziplock bag AND a jar and went to my doctor! While the blood work and antibiotics that have followed have not been fun, I am incredibly blessed that I actually found the tick and was able to give it to my doctor so there was no doubt about what had happened and how to treat it!
    We took apart the metal tubular framework of one of our old yard swings and coupled with some other metal things from the basement took them to a nearby recycling facility and came home with $70! Saw an online local ad for a guy who sells used lawn mowers and asked if he would like to buy 2 non-working weed whackers as well as a non working lawn mower that had been in our basement for 2+ years! He did and paid us! Target and Krogers both made mistakes on my purchases by not giving me a gift card back or money directly off my total for purchases I just made. Had to go to customer service for them to make it right and they gave me cash! At the end of Saturday, I had accumulated about $140!!! When we have an unexpected addition to our $$, I take 50% and put it into our savings account and use the other 50% to pay extra on the debt we are snowballing! It doesn’t matter if it’s $5 or $140- the principle for our house is the same. Half gets added to savings, have goes to paying down debt! Great feeling!!!

    Bought some peaches and canned 7 quarts of peach pie filling. 47cents/pound! Will use them for peach crisp and peach cobblers (I don’t bake pie so) this is just enough to add some more variety to our food storage.

    Dried the last of our sweet cherries before they become over ripe to use in baking!
    Cooked up 7 pounds of lean ground beef that was marked down by 50% because the sell by date was the next day! Added an onion to it as it cooked, then bagged it into 8 quart size ziplock bags and put in freezer for future easy meals!

    All in all, a good week!

  100. Hi Kelly
    I am so confused about coriander and cilantro and can’t seem to find a straight answer. I have been given a small plant and told it is “coriander” does that mean its leaves are cilantro? Help! lol

  101. Nicole, the leaves are cilantro, the seeds are coriander. Harvest the leaves, let the rest go to seed and then harvest them for grinding. Win-win!

  102. Thank you Linda and Corinne – it’s something I’ve never grown before and only rarely cook with so I didn’t understand! Thanks so much!

  103. I have brought food on international flights many times, and never encountered any problems.

  104. My savings today.

    Krogers as well as Staples and I’m sure other stores are doing their back to school savings this week. I bought notebooks 70 count for 19 cents at Krogers. Also 10 pack of Bic ink pens 97 cents a pack. They have Pepsi on sale this week 3 for $9 which my husband drinks a lot of. Anyways they were out of 12 packs of Diet Pepsi. They had one 24 pack cube for $8.25. I ask the store mgr. if he could mark it down to the price of the 2 packs of Pepsi which he willingly did so I was able to get the sale price. More frugal savings I did today at http://frugallivingwithanna.blogspot.com/2014/04/todays-frugal-tuesday.html?spref=fb.

  105. Athanasia

    I have never heard of gooseberries till this year someone was giving them away on craigslist if you picked them. they lived over 40 miles away so not frugal to go there but they had a picture of them. Are they hard to grow? Are they invasive and what do they taste like? I’d appreciate any info. you can share. They sort of looked like a bush from what I saw, our local nurseries don’t seem to sell them which is why I’d never heard of them before.


  106. They do grow on a bush. They grow well in the Midwest. Not sure how they grow other places. They are not invasive. The bushes are somewhat similar to raspberry bushes, but will grow in shade. The berries are super sour when not ripe, and become sweeter as they ripen. When fully ripe, the berries taste a little like blueberries but are not as sweet. I’d say someone would like them who doesn’t like things that are too sweet, if that makes sense.

  107. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    I have not posted in quite awhile. I have been working two jobs and enjoying family in between. We also have been having health issues again requiring MD visits, ER visits and Urgent Care visits. This is our “new norm” in life but it is not fun. I decided I need to rethink and replan my financial situation. I am not sure what it will be but working two jobs is not helping but creating more finanical woes. I may write a post on medical bills and budgets–who knows! Other than that slice of our lives, the weather was beautiful and now is hot. Luckily one of the free activities around here is free movies so we have been attending those and free snacks are served for as well. We are lucky to have access to a pool so have been swimming. Other frugal activities:

    Bought 1 gallon milk for $1 so got 5 (put 3 in freezer)
    Bought 18 eggs/carton for $1 so got 2
    Bought lots of blueberries for the freezer at a reduced price
    Bought lots of strawberries for clearance price and make jam
    Shredded zucchini that I got for 50 cents at Farmer’s market (HUGE) for freezer (bread/muffins)
    Free summer activities: Library, movies, concerts, museums
    Reading books-kindle and library
    Electric bill 50% less than last year (cooler season this year)
    Bought crafts and frabric for $1/bag and got 3
    Bought staples that hopefully will last until September?
    Completed one afghan and started another

    Plan in place to create a minimal wardrobe for work from clothes on hand and from fabric/craft supplies. Funds are short as always.

    Hope everyone’s summer is going well and having some relaxation time.

    Best wishes,


  108. Erika, you are exactly right about cutting back on the amounts of frozen food I buy. I am in the process now of cleaning out those freezers. I am going to try to only buy things I actually use! Thanks for your comments!

  109. Marivene, Thanks for your suggestions. I had no idea that the automatic defrost cycle partially thaws food! I am working through the freezers and will definitely try the crock pot for the meat and even veggies to make stew. Thanks for your help. Denise

  110. To Roxie, AnnaInOhio and Pam B: Thanks for your comments. We can’t give the meat to our dog as she has an autoimmune disease that causes protein to attack her hind end. From all the advice here, I have decided to just try to work with anything 2 years or less old. And even then it will be a case by case basis. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. Hopefully I will be wiser and a better steward from now on. Anna, where in Ohio do you live? I am in Columbus (Worthington actually). Just wondered if we might be neighbors 🙂

  111. Gooseberries also grow in Ontario. The bush obviously can tolerate winter climates. Although I have never tried them myself, I just had this conversation with some of my co-workers. They said they are very sour, but are most commonly used to make gooseberry jam (sweetened with sugar of course).

  112. SO sorry to hear that you are experiencing medical difficulties Anna. Do you qualify for Charity Care through the hospital? It’s available to low-income families that don’t have an ability to pay. Definitely worth looking into.

  113. Laure and Rhonda…very good explanations of gooseberries. They do grow in shade, that is where ours are. Low to medium height bushes. You can make jam, pie. In my family, the older generations seem to enjoy them more than the younger. I’ll make one batch of jam, and a pie or two. But my aunts and uncles pick the majority of them. They’re not invasive…we do prune them a bit every year. We put them out at the farm stand and usually bought by older customers. Though we did have one young couple on their iphone googling gooseberry recipes while deciding whether to chance a basket.

  114. Becky, my oldest girl took over the gardens when she moved back here. They live next door. She started things in the greenhouse and used hoop houses and got everything off to an earlier than normal growth.

    Thanks, I think the same thing when I read some of the dishes others list that they have cooked…mine always seem so ordinary…the same old things we grew up with. I like to cook, but I am not an adventurous cook.

  115. Rhonda, same here! I think, well I never thought of combining those ingredients, or using that seasoning etc. I love pantry stories too…I used to read a blog that was just all pantries…I some how lost track of it.

  116. Heather, if the bugs get to your vines again you can try this. It’s kind of icky but works. Find the spot where you vine wilts and slit the stem open, dig out the squash vine borer which is living in there. Than bury the vine in the dirt at that point…to reseal up the cut. The vine won’t un-wilt, but it will continue to deliver nutrients down to whatever squash or zucchini has already started growing. I read this in Organic Gardening probably 20 years ago.

  117. Anna, I pray that you can persevere during this hard time of health and financial issues. Does your town have a “business clothes closet”? One of our churches in town, in the downtown area, has a free clothing closet of just the type of clothes you need. It is designed to help men and women find a nicer outfit for things like job interviews. Another town I have been to has a resale shop run by some women’s service group and those clothes are a little higher in price but of very nice quality. Every winter for church I am still using the black wool coat I bought there 14 years ago.

  118. If you were in England, both would be called “coriander”. The leaves would be “fresh coriander” and the seeds would be found up for “ground coriander”.

  119. With most of my energy going into searching for a job right now, and no income for extras, I am being frugal all around. For example:

    – Drinking water exclusively

    – Cooking meals for my dog. Yes, he’s an expense, but I have no children. He is my baby. I’ve been using up some softer veggies and things like soup meats for him. His coat has become so much nicer, and the cost beats the expensive, and not healthy, prescription diet he was on from the vets

    – I don’t like the heat (it makes me feel unwell) so typically, I’d have the A/C set in the lower 70s. I’ve been keeping it at 78 and my body has adjusted. We’ll see the impact on the electric bill. It also helps that we have not had much heat.

    – Saving tons of money on my water bill with all the unusual rain we are having. I haven’t even had to water my hanging baskets. The downside – weeds have taken over. I’ve weeding most of my beds four times all ready this year. Yikes. My veggies don’t want to ripen because they don’t see the sun.

    – I’ve been on a diet through a medically supervised weight loss program that is low carb. Given my income situation, I’ve added back some of the less expensive carbs like beans and grains.

    Would appreciate any prayers for finding a job quickly. We have the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest and it’s really a full time job to do a search.

  120. Hi Brandy and all who follow this site.

    I found your wonderful blog by searching the internet for frugal prepping and glad I did. We are members of the same church here in Australia and are trying to save for our first home together.

    A little about our happy family is that we are a forcibly retired couple, my husband is on a disability pension after being in a huge accident where a tank cut the APC or smaller truck vehicle in half. He was hanging out of the top turret of the vehicle and was catapulted out of the top and down a tank road with huge boulders on it. In total he has in hospital for 4 years being put back together, but as he said the leopard tank was written off :). As a result he is almost like the bionic man and equally as expensive and needless to say precious to me that he is still with us. As a result of these huge injuries I am on a carer’s pension and my husband on a military pension. Money is needless to say tight as we are renting.

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week are –
    -Cutting and collecting our own fire wood to use in our slow combustion stove – it is a frosty and cold winter here. We were blessed that the gentleman who owns the farm behind give us exclusive entry rights to cut, collect and take all the dead trees from his property and the wood for free.
    -After reading about buying bulk chickens cooking and freezing them and saving and freezing the leftovers, I checked our local grocery store specials and found chickens for half the usual price, what a blessing to us and we bought 5 family sized chickens. Each family chicken gives us 4 meals, 2 lots of chicken stock from the juices.
    – We will be making the lovely granola or toasted muesli recipe here in Australia tonight to save money.
    – We made paper fire bricks, with unused paper donated from all of our lovely ward members all summer long, and were blessed to have the fuel money and offer service to personally deliver these to a needy family in our ward to keep warm for the winter.
    – We picked silverbeet (chard), turnips, carrots, peas and parsley for our meals from our 100sq metre vegetable garden.
    – We stocked up on spices and whole chickens this fortnight in groceries.

    This site is so inspiring and I love to read and see how other families manage by being frugal such as ourselves :).

  121. Maggie, can you do some volunteer work while you are looking for employment? There are several things this will do. First is that you can put it on your resume which shows that you are willing and able to work. It can expand/reinforce your experiences and transferable skills (such as demonstrating you are a team player). You may develop another great reference to use on your resume. There may be people who know somewhere that is hiring (hidden job markets) or it may lead into a job where you are volunteering. And last, but certainly not least, it will help you feel more confident about yourself and your abilities which will come across in a positive way during an interview (not to mention it will make you feel good just helping out in your community). Remember, there are so many places you can volunteer, so pick one you think you would enjoy, even if it is not in your field of work. Hope this helps!

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