Butterfly The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut flowers and branches from the garden for several arrangements in the house.

Zinnia Arrangement September The Prudent Homemaker Zinnia, lavender, basil, passionfruit leaves on the new table runner I made

White September Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

Euyonomus branches The Prudent Homemaker

My husband picked up 4 wood pallets from the curb that someone was throwing out.

I smoothed and saved the brown paper that came in a box with something I ordered. My family is loving using brown paper more than wrapping paper for gifts. With a little ironing on low heat, this paper will work for several packages.

My husband gave himself a haircut.  Our trimmers have been well worth the price! He’s only paid for 3 haircuts in the last 15 years, and those were before we bought hair trimmers.

Blowing Bubbles The Prudent Homemaker 

I listened to music on Pandora while I worked in the kitchen.

Four lemons on one of my lemon trees split and ripened early. (Normally I harvest them in December.) The split spots were quickly infested with bugs. I  cut out those spots and the rest of each lemon was ripe and just fine. I grated the zests and dried them, and then I squeezed the juice and made lemonade with the lemons. This particular tree is loaded quite heavily this year, so I expect that more will do the same thing before December. Right now they are ripening at the size of a “normal” lemon that you buy from the store, but they come December they are usually closer to the size of oranges!

Band The Prudent Homemaker

I planted more bean seeds in the garden. I planted both red noodle beans seeds (purchased) and asparagus yard-long beans (collected from my garden in years past and found earlier this year tucked in a drawer in my laundry room). The asparagus yard-long beans are just a long green bean. I know they are viable, as I planted some earlier this year and they are growing, and they are what I harvested this week. It was warm enough (103º/39º ) that a few seedlings came up before the end of the week. 

I also cut a handful of beans from the garden, and I picked a few that I had missed that had already gone to seed. I collected the seeds from those ones.

I cut garlic chives from the garden.

Pears The Prudent Homemaker 

I picked pears from the garden.

About a month ago, a neighbor shared some salmon with us that her husband had caught on a fishing trip to Alaska. I pulled a piece out of the freezer to cook this week. I saved the skin, and cut it into small pieces to use to fertilize my garden.

My husband took the boys camping in the mountains This will help both of them to fulfill some of their scouting requirements. They had a wild horse come right by them! They also saw a doe and her fawn not much further away.

My husband and I had a date out. We used a buy one get one free coupon for our meal, and paid for it with a gift card that we’ve had for years.  There is enought left on the gift card that if we had another buy one get one free coupon we could go out again, or else use it for a dessert date.

Boston Map The Prudent Homemaker

I read several new stories and articles from the new Pottermore out loud  to my family.

I used Duolingo to study French for free.

I spoke with friends in France via a Facebook video call. We spoke for two hours for free. 


What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. Wow, your photos are beautiful! Love all that you are getting from your garden too. Mine is ready to rest for the winter. I composted it all, pulled leftover weeds I didn’t want to return next year and pulled up plants. I thought of planting garlic to overwinter, but I decided that I wanted the very limited space in the garden for something else (like turnips) next year, so I called it good for the year.

    Our week was busy around here. My list for the week can be found here…


    I also just want to add that reading everyone’s comments on here really is the highlight of my week. Thank you so much for hosting such a cool community, Brandy!

  2. That butterfly picture is amazing. I love Skype. I remember when I was a kid and ‘video phones’ were a thing of the future. Who knew that it would end up being so easy…and free!

    A couple of months ago, my husband celebrated ten years of working at a large software company. Last Friday, the company held a party at Seattle’s baseball stadium for all company employees who were celebrating their tenth anniversary. Food and drinks were available, along with all sorts of fun activities. I’m not really a baseball fan, but it was fun to be on the field and see the stadium. Free parking was provided (along with taxi vouchers for those who needed a ride home). We drove there, so the only cost to attend was gas and the bridge toll. We both had a great time.

    As for frugal accomplishments last week, I forgot to keep a list, so I’ll see what I can remember:
    – I walked to work and took my lunch on the days that I worked.
    – We had some nice weather, so I was able to continue preparing my garden for winter. I picked chives and some holy basil that I will use for tea.
    – I met with my sister and a friend at a coffee shop, and enjoyed some great conversation for the price of a cup of coffee.
    – I used refrigerator remnants to make a nice shredded salad out of a broccoli stem, a couple carrots, a pickle and mayo. It was pretty tasty. Otherwise I cooked from the pantry and used vegetables from my CSA share and the freezer.
    – We enjoyed watching birds on our patio. We have bird feeders and a hummingbird feeder. This is such a fun activity. We also spotted a baby muskrat that somehow made its way up to our condo complex (which is on a large hill).
    – I was able to obtain two months of a prescription medication that I use for our emergency kit. I had extra refills on this medication due to a mixup, so I paid cash for two months’ worth so I could have it on hand should it ever be needed. It took a bit of explaining at the pharmacy to get them to understand that I wanted to pay cash for 60 pills at once, but when I finally was able to talk to the pharmacist and explained that it was for an emergency kit, she immediately understood.
    – My husband received a free Lego poster when he bought something, and we sent it to my 7-year-old nephew. He will love it.
    – I checked out the Jas. Townsend YouTube page that Brandy talked about last week. I watched a bunch of the cooking videos and really enjoyed them. I also watched an episode of a British series I like on Hulu for free.
    – I talked to a friend in Holland on Skype.
    – I picked a small bouquet of flowers when I went to pick up my CSA vegetables. I am not so great at flower arranging but they still look cheery and nice. I also picked chard and two kinds of kale from the U-pick greens area. We are allowed 10 leaves of each kind of green per week.

    I look forward to this post every week. Now I’m going to read about everyone else’s frugal accomplishments.

  3. Hello everyone!
    -We only used 3/4 tank of gas in two weeks. It would have been less but my husband had to make a short trip to see his stepfather who had a heart attack and was in the hospital.

    -went to the Pumpkin Patch for my birthday. It had free admission and we spent less than $20 on fresh apple cider donuts and tickets for the plethora of bouncy houses for our daughter. I also got some Christmas gift ideas I can make myself from their gift shop :)!

    -made liquid soap from some of my soap nuts. I LOVE THIS! 20 soap nuts to 2 cups of water ( I doubled the recipe), boil one hour, strain and use. I put it into a large half gallon mason jar. I use this for laundry and I can use cold water.The soap nuts in the little bag need warm water to work. I also use this liquid to clean the entire house and put 10 TBS of the liquid soap nuts, 1 TBS of natural dish soap in a repurposed peanut butter jar and filled with water to use for dish soap. works great! My husband is totally against homemade dish soap because it doesn’t bubble. this bubbles and will stretch the natural stuff I have to use and is cheap! Win ‘Win!

    -My husband bought me new pajamas, slippers, and tootsie rolls (my fave) for my birthday. I had been saying for quite awhile I needed new pajamas and slippers but he knows I am to cheap to buy them lol. My mom found my great grandma’s chocolate cake recipe in an old recipe box! He made it for my birthday cake. It was like they were there with me! SO delicious!

    -I harvested more basil, parsley, and tomatoes. I have TWO little baby butternut squashes growing. I don’t know if they’ll mature before winter but we’ll see.

    We have more pumpkins growing on vines we thought were going to be done soon. I took all the dehydrated basil and parsley and powdered it in the blender. I have two pint size mason jars full ( I think it’s pint size). I have Kale that will be picked any day now, at least the ones not eaten by caterpillars. I thinned out my beet sprouts in one raised bed.

    -I switched car insurance companies, which will save me almost $100 per month! I have the same exact coverage, too. Yay!

    -I put our onions from our garden in the legs of washed and repurposed pantyhose to store for winter.

    -I sewed 2 more handkercheifs

    -I saved more items to be sent in to Terracycle. I plan on using the money I am earning for a Christmas gift for my daughter or mom.

    – I continue to use the solar lamp in the bathroom, use different water saving techniques, turn things off and unplug as many lights/appliances, etc as possible, and do all the other “regular” stuff on a daily basis.

    -We made all meals from scratch except lunch on my birthday, which was planned. I took all my meals to work in reusable containers.

    -I used my reusable menstrual products last week so no money out of pocket for those 🙂

    Have a great week everyone!

  4. I love those long pieces of brown paper they are putting into packages. I’ve used them to cover the ground while I spray painted my chairs, I let the kids color on them, we’ve also used them as wrapping paper. So many uses for them!

    Are the Duolingo lessons helping you speak to your French friends? I had restarted some French lessons on there about a year ago, but haven’t had time for it lately. I do enjoy doing that little something for myself.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week: http://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-this-week-5/

  5. I love the pictures of the kids. For blowing even bigger bubbles, try opening a can from both ends (lid and bottom), dipping one end in the bubble mix (you will beed to pour it in a dish) and blowing on the other end. Even a tomato paste can gives good size bubbles. We did on a balcony at the beach on year with a 28 ounce can and heard people on other balconies calling to the people in their apartments to come look at the size of the bubbles. This is one of many items from The Tightwad Gazette that we used.

    I made all meals at home, except for lunch on Tuesday when a co-worker and I took our boss out for a birthday lunch at Golden Corral because his wife absolutely refuses to go there (or pretty much any other buffet) and he swore it was on his “bucket list” The restaurant was very clean, the food fresh and we had a good time. We also took advantage of the new “buy a 22 ounce container for $1.99 and take home all the food you can fit in it”. I took mostly salad and had a great lunch the next day. I also got the senior buffet price; being 60 or older has some perks.

    I peeled, diced, and froze a peck of tomatoes. I’ll can most of them when the weather is colder and I have more time because the gardening work will be done.

    Speaking of the gardens, I finished weeding and mulching a hillside flower garden that was totally overgrown a month ago. I bought spring bulbs at Aldi’s to plant in another large, grassless, and weedy area under my two tall pine trees. I want to make this into another flower garden next year and a local master gardener suggested this as the first step. I’m about halfway through cleaning out the weeds from this area and hope to finish it this coming weekend. I’ve also checked some books out from the library to start planning that garden (as opposed to my usual “seat of my pants” method).

    I didn’t buy much in groceries this week. I did get free “buy the pound” cookies from Wegman’s because they wouldn’t weigh correctly at the checkout counter and the clerk didn’t want to hold up the express lane getting someone over to figure it out. There were only 4 cookies so it didn’t cost the store that much either. I’ve taken to buying the cookies this way, even though they are much more expensive than a package that weighs the same, because I can control the number I have and keep it small. I do not have much, if any, willpower when it comes to sweets and this lets me have a little treat on one day instead of spoiling the entire week as I continue to lose weight. It’s slow and steady, but I’ve lost 42 pounds now, which is about 1/3 of what I want to lose. Giving up bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, and some desserts has made all the difference. I still need to really cut back on the desserts, especially at work.

    I watched my daughter’s university football team online. As an FCS school, they are not on major network TV games, but they are very good (ranked #1 or #2 in the FCS, depending on the poll) and fun to watch, which helps a lot since my NFL team, usually a powerhouse, is not good this year. I realized I was wasting too much time on the computer or other junk activities while watching TV, so I blew the dust off my mending basket yesterday and mended holes in two dish clothes, 5 socks, and some other items. There are a few other pieces left and when I’m done with all of those, I’ll blow even more dust off my long neglected cross stitching.
    I worked from home two days, instead of the usual one, which saves about 1 1/3 gallons of gas a day, as well as general wear and tear on the car.

    I started a master shopping list for October and the last quarter of the year and made up a written “to do” list for the first time in months, which helped keep me on track with what I wanted to accomplish.

  6. Frugal finds:
    milk gallon .99cents
    organic cherry tomatoes .89
    mushrooms .39
    Frugal fail:
    Went out to eat to many time. (My daughter hurt her wrist and was at doc and hospital for x ray- had to come back went out to eat and then it after it all and said and done bought pizza for supper. couple more times after that).
    I cleaned out my freezer and cupboards and pantry. Oh the food and money I wasted.
    My daughter will be having allergies test done and that 5 appt at $40. for every appt.

  7. Your garden is as beautiful and as much of an inspiration as ever, Brandy, and you always photograph it so well. Amazing!

    It was another busy week here but things stayed even keel despite my being sick. My daughter took care of the house work the day I was totally out of commission and she and my husband took care of meals using items from the pantry. Thankfully my illness was short-lived and didn’t require a doctor’s visit.

    Here’s my list:

    -I have done well restocking the pantry of late and it is paying off. I purchased minimal groceries this week, mostly fresh items like milk and produce, and didn’t need to make any special trips for food or medicine while I was ill.
    -I packed snacks and water to take to my daughter’s cross country meet. It was a smaller meet and near enough that I didn’t have to do a full car picnic.
    -I made my “secret” homemade burrito recipe for my son while he was home visiting from university. I had everything I needed in the pantry and freezer. Even with his appetite we had enough for two meals.
    -We are still getting tomatoes from the raised bed and enjoyed some with the burritos.
    -I cut the last of the celery from the Junk Garden and saved the leaves to make Junk Stock.
    -I continued planning and shopping for Christmas and birthday gifts.
    -I created some DIY gift certificates for gifts of service and/or time. They are posted at AChatOverCoffee.com and may be downloaded if anybody wants them.

  8. Your pictures are amazing, like always!

    I need to pull out my camera soon! I would like to buy a tripod and do family photos this fall (with all the leaves on the ground) in our new backyard!

    We fixed out water heater ourselves! .. Thanks to YouTube! .We spent a few dollars on sandpaper. And the pilot light hasn’t went out since! It will need replaced, but thankful that a good cleaning is what it needed for now!

    I lowered our grocery bill for the month of Sept and used the extra to buy supplies to finish our master bedroom- only need carpet and done! .. Thankful for our experience that we haven’t had to hire any help! Just investing in tools that will be used in future projects.

    I cooked a ham that I bought months ago on sale. We ate dinner and then I chopped and vacuum sealed the rest. (another 8 dinners +leftovers). Made broth from the bone and then used broth to make ham and bean soup; only using ham fell from the bone.

    Made bread.

    When we bought our house they gave me a worksheet that had electric and gas bill cost every month last year. I used that and budgeted the average number, and in the last 4 months I have been under that!

  9. I don’t think my comment actually went through. If it did, sorry for the repeat. Now I need to remember what I wrote and remember to hit the Submit button.

    -I did a pincecone survey
    -I found containers of Land O Lakes hot chocolate on clearance at Walmart. They were $0.75 each. I bought two. I thought about buying more but we already have a robust hot chocolate supply. I’ve had hot chocolate go bad on me before and I didn’t want that to happen again. It’s always a sad day when anything chocolate has be thrown out.
    -I went to a soup potluck. I made ham, potato, and corn chowder using ingredients I had on hand. The ham is from a ham I bought for really cheap in January.
    -It has been cold and rainy here. That means the a/c isn’t running. It’s not quite cold enough for the heat pump to be turned on but it is chilly. I added an extra blanket to the bed. I am wearing sweatshirts and slippers and I am plenty warm.
    -I redeemed some savingstar offers.
    -I found an expensive nail polish on clearance for $1.25 at the grocery store so I splurged and bought it. Then I gave myself a pedicure. It’s a very pretty colour and it makes me happy. Well worth the splurge!

    I also had some frugal fails. Since I am still trying to figure out this whole gluten free lifestyle, I’ve been trying different recipes, flours, and mixes to figure out which ones work and taste the best. I had to throw out a batch of pancakes and a loaf of homemade bread. BUT I figure this experimenting will save us money in the long run so I just need to accept the fact that some food is going to turn out poorly and will need to be tossed. Thankfully everything I have purchased so far has been on sale. That helps a lot.

  10. We are finally getting some fall weather in South Mississippi! Not much, but temperatures are a little cooler so not having to run my air as much.
    Frugal accomplishments… Let’s see…
    1. Cut use of air conditioners with the cooler weather.
    2. Diligently measured my laundry soap. I have been using liquid in my HE washer, but I find that I use more than needed. I was told not to use powdered in mine, but I tried it this week and so far, so good and I can control the amounts MUCH better than with the liquid.
    3. NO EATING OUT! This is a HUGE accomplishment for us! That has been our biggest battle over being frugal.
    4. With gas prices so low, I was able to fill my car, which still had about a quarter of a tank in it, for 20.00. That will last me for two weeks.
    5. Spent only 60.00 in groceries and toiletries. Down from 100.00 per week and I have a good store in my pantry now. I can really start watching sales now and only stocking up when something is on sale. It took me a bit to get here, but it was worth it.
    6. Forgot to mention this one, but we paid our car off early! I even got a little refund check from it because I had been paying a little extra every month and I use automatic online payment so the last payment was a little more than what we owed, so we got a refund! Yay!
    7. Redid our phone service and it saved us about 30.00 per month. I was very happy to see the phone bill go down.
    8. Attended a workshop, brought my own lunch instead of eating out, which is what we usually do on workshop days, and drank only the drinks provided for the workshops.
    I think that’s all for now! Have a great week!

  11. My frugals so far this week? I am pressure canning as I type the second batch of carrots. I bought them 99 cents a lb. (baby carrots) cut them into smaller pieces and am canning them. I bought 5 lbs. and it made 11 pints of carrots. We will use these this winter in vegetable soups and way cheaper than buying store canned and mine has no salt added. I made peanut butter fudge yesterday. All meals planned for home this week till friday.. we always buy pizza with a coupon of course on Fridays. I got my flu shot free at Krogers today, renewed a coupon for reduced cost on one of my meds. I also harvested more green tomatoes from my garden Saturday and have them sitting on a table in my craft room ripening. I’ll wait till they turn red, use some for salads and freeze the rest. We were very blessed this year with a large abundance of tomatoes. I found out this morning.. something has been taste testing my tomatoes I had on the front porch to change color. We couldn’t figure it out but dh saw a rat on the porch this morning.. Yikes!!! Unfortunately our neighborhood has been having problems with these guys for years.. I have a sewer hole right next to my house in a alley so they hang out there and come up and get what they can to eat. So no more tomatoes on the front porch. They don’t seem to like the green ones nor do they like my habanero plants.

  12. Cooked most meals at home. We had one meal out on Friday night. We have been home all week, this weekend we did the yard work, trimmed the trees, and covered some of garden with mulch. It is still in the high 90’s here. Hit 98 on Saturday. So it is not easy to be out sometimes working in the heat. I hung out the laundry, I washed the blankets that will be used this winter. I got some more chicken on sale at the Randal’s grocery. They had whole split breasts on sale for .88 a pound. I got 10 packs. I broke it up into 5 breasts per pack. That gives us each 1 for a meal and 1 left over for hubby’s lunch the next day. My lemon trees are putting on. I took some lemons to use now and some I cut up and put into the freezer. (I juiced them and kept the peals for putting into vinegar)
    Had good coupons for Bounty paper towels. Got them at Dollar Tree. I don’t use paper towels but I know the animal shelter does. I will donate them along with a load of towels I had in a box from my mother. When she passed away I and we cleaned her house there were a lot of towels that were not in very good shape, but were not rags either. I thought that the shelter could use them.
    Next month we will have to go to Sam’s. I am making my list.
    I am making my Christmas list. I am making some pillow cases, cross stitched kitchen towels, and an apron for family. Getting my grandson’s Christmas shopping done too.

  13. I took my kids bowling and found out that certain days of the week, one of our base bowling alleys has a “free game” special – if you eat lunch there and take them your receipt, you get a free game to bowl. Granted you have to pay for your lunch, but we had done the opposite – paid for an hour of bowling THEN went and ate. Now I know to switch the order and show them my food receipt if I’ve budgeted to eat there! The other alley has $1.50 bowling on a certain day so we’ll alternate depending on the budget (the $1.50 each is much less, but the facility is not as nice and has shorter hours).

    We went to both our base and our county libraries; the kids were able to use the computers there to save on our internet expenses at home and we picked up lots and lots of holds. We are definitely starting to be known by certain librarians – one took the time to invite my daughter to come back to the teen meet-up (she had stopped going over the summer due to schedule conflicts, but now the day has changed). Another librarian had a good laugh when I showed up to pick up holds; I told him I had more holds and he responded “Nooo, not YOU! I don’t believe it.” :p Free laughs along with the DVDs I was checking out.

    My daughter and I started CERT training with a local agency – we carried our lunch, snacks and drinks and the training manual was supplied. The director encouraged everyone in family groups to go ahead and take one for each person vs sharing; that gives my daughter a manual to refer to when she is older and out of the house (she’s 14). There is no fee for the training, just my fuel costs to get there.

  14. Pottermore looks to be very interesting. I’ve bookmarked it to explore. The simple beauty of your photos are always such a pleasure. Your eye is surely one of an artist. Your comment about using the brown paper for wrapping paper had me saying “why didn’t I think of that”? Joseph’s shop gets quite a lot of packages delivered, often with the brown paper. I mostly use bubble wrap for shipping my shop items, as much of the items are breakable, so I’ve only kept a couple pieces of paper, but now I know what to do with the excess. I’ve wanted to play a bit more with stamping, too… even saw a lovely example of a stamp using okra that I want to try, so thank you for a brilliant suggestion. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/09/sound-healing-and-frugal-accomplishments.html

  15. What a stunning picture of the butterfly, Brandy! So beautiful!!! It was also nice to read that you had a lovely date out with your husband. It’s nice to get out and be together alone every once in a while.

    I’ve had a pretty busy week this week. So without further delay, here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *My mother decided to clean the living room/dining room this week. We dragged the area rug out to the back deck and I shampooed the carpet. We left it outside to dry while she cleaned.

    *While my mother cleaned, I gutted, cleaned and reorganized the spice cabinet that resides in the dining room area, off of the kitchen. There were some herbs that had up to 3 different jars and several bags of herbs/spices that didn’t have jars, and some jars that were more than half empty. I was able to move some smaller amounts of herbs into smaller jars, wash out and reuse larger jars for some of the herbs/spices in bags and even repurposed some glass jars for a few of the spices with larger quantities. I reorganized the shelves so that finding things will be much easier when cooking or baking. This took much longer than I anticipated, but I’m so glad it is done! Pantry is next on my list.

    *Blanched and froze the extra broccoli and most of the carrots I bought on sale last week (left some to use as fresh carrots). I froze the carrot peeling and left over broccoli stems to use later for making stock. Also, after doing some research, I decided to cut up and freezer the butternut squash in uncooked cubes, to maximize the flexibility of use.

    *Canned three pints of pears in a light honey vanilla syrup. This is the first time I’ve tried canning pears, so we’ll see how they taste later in the winter.

    *I anticipated home cooked meals might be a problem this week, due to my busy schedule this week. However, I was pleasantly surprised! We did buy a rotisserie chicken meal deal from the grocery store one night. The left over chicken was used for other meals, including my daughter’s school lunch and the carcass was frozen to make broth later, when I have time. BUT, I was able to make home made pizza from scratch, tacos, lasagne (from freezer, pre-made from scratch a few weeks ago), BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with pasta salad, roast beef with mashed potatoes and corn (my mom made this while I worked all day Sunday –thanks mom!), and I even tried a new recipe called Cheesy Chicken Crescent Bake to use up the leftover chicken and some expired crescent rolls in my fridge (here’s the recipe if any ones interested: http://www.sweetlittlebluebird.com/2014/10/cheesy-chicken-crescent-bake.html).

    *Went to our local Handweavers & Spinners guild meeting and paid my membership dues for the season. At the meeting, we learned about Zentangle drawing. For those of you who are homeschooling and want an interesting art project, or those who are looking for a fun relaxation technique, you may want to check this out. There is lots of info about Zentangle on the internet. It is very easy to do, even if you are not creatively inclined. Here’s one of many web links that explains how to Zentangle to get you started: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Zentangle (I could totally see this as simple art to frame for decorating a space on a limited budget)

    *My mom and I volunteered at the pioneer village I work at. We helped peel and core apples to make 12 roasting pans of apple crisp for the Applefest event that took place this past Sunday (which I worked at as a paid interpreter). We helped ourselves to some lovely treats provided and had some free leftovers from another meeting for lunch, as a thank you for helping.

    *Performed the last 2 shows of the historic walk on Thursday and Friday night to a full house (25 people one night and 28 the next). Receive a check for my participation in the walk. Also worked just over 8 hours at the special event on Sunday, which was insanely busy! Still recouping from that one!

    *Signed up to go to a free pumpkin festival event next month, through Autism Ontario. Also received an email from them that there will be a FREE showing of the new Star Wars movie will be taking place in December (they turn down the volume and keep the theatre a little more lit to accommodate sensory issues). We marked the date down on the calendar when we can sign up for that, as my husband is a huge Star Wars fan. We have most, if not all, of the other Star Wars movies on DVD, so we will have to watch them with my daughter before we go to see the new movie. Funny, I remember going to the movie theatre to see the original Star Wars trilogy movies when I was young…gosh, does that make me old?

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments, as always. Wishing everyone a lovely week!

  16. Mandy, what nice birthday presents…getting what you really need is always the best. Plus your family recipe chocolate cake is, well, the icing on the cake, as they say.

  17. Mari, boy do I understand the whole sweets temptation thing. My husband and I once saw several partially eaten packages of cookies at his nephew’s house. We were stunned, as a package of cookies at our house, once opened, dies a quick death. We deal with this by almost never buying sweets to bring home and I no longer bake because we are unable to eat one or two (or three.) We are retired and fall to temptation sometimes when we are out and about, usually traveling. We just returned from a road trip and one day we got one of those vanilla ice cream cones that are dipped in chocolate that quickly hardens. It was delicious and fun and I have not had one of those since I was a kid back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

    Congratulations on your weight loss.

  18. Melonie, I am glad to hear such a happy report on your libraries and librarians…we are no longer the stern…”ssssh, be quiet” people of past years.

  19. Your flower arrangements look awesome! Since we’ve moved from the country to an apartment in the city, I miss all the bouquets I used to make. I don’t hugely miss weeding, I have to admit.

    This week I mended a pair of summer pants that had a big rip in the fanny. They are so comfy, I just couldn’t bare to toss them yet. I figure a long shirt will cover the patched area. For my birthday I got a $60 gift card for Amazon. I used it to buy a new pair of walking shoes, which came to almost exactly that amount. My husband and I are walking for exercise – probably about four miles a day. A couple of days ago when we went walking I found a dollar on the sidewalk. Several weeks ago I found $20. Last week I found a dime and two pennies. I asked my husband ‘why does he think I’m finding all this money?’ Well, we came to the conclusion that it is either because I am always looking down or that people are always losing money when they pull their smart phones out of their pocket.

    I made two cute aprons from some oversized kitchen dish towels that I found on sale at a local kitchen store for $5 each. They are the cute type with ruffles and stuff.

    I have been doing Duolingo for French for several months. I just started a once a week French class, taught by a native French speaker, so that I get a little more practice speaking it. I’ve loaded numerous books onto my Kindle from the local library. My neighbor across the hall loves France as much as us. So last night we had a cooperative French dinner. She did appetizers, Provencal tomato salad, and clafoutis. I did Beef Bourguignon and homemade French bread. I really feel like it was better than any of the local French restaurants would have been. The beef dish turns stew meat into something very elegant. I recommend the recipe on a site called “Easy French Cooking”.

    We had a $20 gift card for Costco so my husband got some lettuce, mustard and a new umbrella for when our rain starts up.

    I guess that’s all for this week.

  20. *I purchased pork that was on sale so can freeze several pork loins for future use. It was a great price and we probably saved $15.
    *I made my husband dinner for our anniversary instead of eating out.
    *I made chicken with cream/broth garlic sauce. We had a lot of sauce leftover so I will use that the next time I make corn chowder.
    *Took the meat off of chicken bones to use for another meal. Also made bone broth in the crockpot.
    *We recently moved into a new house and needed a garbage can. We wanted a nice one so went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and used a 20% coupon to save $10.
    *Prepared enough food over the weekend for my husband to bring lunch to work this week.
    *Put a book on hold from the library that I want to read.
    *Aside from buying the trash can and groceries, spent no other money!

  21. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I’ve had to pay much more attention to my spending lately. I am poised to become a stay at home mom, coming from working full time. If anyone has any suggestions as to what else I could be doing to save money, I would appreciate it!
    -My mother gave me several boxes of pasta that she had bought to use when she had house guests. She didn’t end up using them, so she gave them to me.
    -I’ve been using up the menstrual supplies I have on hand and will not be buying more, since I have a supply of cloth ones to use.
    -My husband found a large oriental rug on front porch forum for only $30. We had been looking at some for our kids room thAt were much more money. The kids room gets cold, so this will help!
    -I have been upping my usage of swagbucks. I downloaded the tv app on my phone and have been getting lots of points from that. I just let it run while I’m cooking or folding laundry.
    -I returned a shirt and vest for my daughter that were an impulse purchase. $31 back in my pocket!
    -Since the weather has cooled considerably, we have not been using the air conditioner, or the heat. I just looked at the forecast for the next week and it looks like the highs will be in the 50s (I live in Vermont), so we may have to use the heat a bit.
    -Redeemed $12 from saving star.
    -Found a pair of work pants for my husband that he desperately needed on deep discount. Only problem is they were too long, so I hemmed them and now they’re perfect.
    -Did the usual stuff: walked to errands I could, took my daughter to our local playground for some free entertainment, stayed home when we could, etc.
    Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

  22. *Found kitten found for the new babies at 1/2 off. It is a higher end brand but not the one I normally feed our cats so I just mixed it in to make it all go further. I plan to get more of it this week when I get paid.
    *Made vinyl dog beds for our pups to lay on outside while we are camping. The old beagle in particular really appreciates them. I had picked up the vinyl free on Craigslist and the stuffing came from a bunch of old pillows that were too lumpy to sleep on. I made the inserts our of old mismatched pillow cases. NO out of pocket costs 🙂
    * I needed to recover the foam mattress in the bus’ pull-out couch so I headed to Salvation Army to pick up a couple twin sheets. Instead I found a twin duvet cover so all I had to do was stuff the foam in it 🙂 AND it was 1/2 off which made it only $1.50 which was less than what 2 sheets would have cost me (and a lot less labor/time 🙂 )
    *On the same trip I also found an up-opened roll of parchment paper for .50 cents and another pantry can organizer for $1.99.
    * I sold off 13 sewing machines which were part of a lot we had bought in order to get the machines I wanted. We sold them for $100 which is what we paid for the original lot and the machines I kept are workhorses which will help me not get so darn frustrated sewing vinyl and heavy canvas (canopies and pontoon furniture + upholstery).
    * Started making grape juice – the air here smells heavily of all my ripe grapes – its lovely!
    * My husband got our chipper running so now we can deal with all the brush we have piled up around here and mulch around all my raised garden beds so it looks nicer for the neighbors (and me) to look at and keep the tall grasses from growing up between them.
    * Made a tomato basil soup recipe to use up a lot of the over ripe tomatoes. Not a favorite of anyone of the family but I didn’t want anymore to go to waste!
    * Painted 2 printer paper boxes with lids for my new fabric storage. They will be used in place of the plastic bins that don’t match and hopefully it will make the room feel more organized and cohesive which helps me be more creative. I “only” need about 8 more boxes to finish it off LOL!
    * Moved an old table out to the rabbit barn to be used for potting plants as well as trimming bunny nails. That will make it easier for my back and knees to keep up on things. It is a much taller height than a regular table (something I made years ago for a stand for a guinea pig cage) and I just hadn’t found a new use for it.
    * Put all my hardened off onions into old pantyhose for storage.

  23. I’ve always felt bad throwing that brown paper away and always thought that there must be a use for it. Thanks for the tip!

    I had a very busy week this week and I didn’t get everything done that I had planned to. I am a substitute teacher for our local school district and I was called several times this week to fill in for teachers in the elementary and middle schools. Each day I brought a lunch from home so that I didn’t have to buy food from the cafeteria.

    The gardening season is just about over for this year (in Northern New England). I’ve started cleaning up the garden, but still have quite a bit to do.

    I picked more carrots this week and there are still a lot more to pick. I love fresh carrots and I don’t think I could ever get tired of them.

    I also picked more banana peppers to make pickled peppers. Surprisingly, the pepper plants have held up well to the colder fall temperatures and the light frosts. I was hoping that a few more small peppers that are on the plants would ripen, but I’m not sure if they will before the temperatures get colder.

    The boys helped me rake leaves and I added them to the compost.

    While I was making pickled banana peppers, I saved the seeds and dried them to plant next year.

    My husband put the air conditioner away. We haven’t turned the heat on yet, but with temperatures in the low sixties today we know it won’t be long before we’ll be needing it.

    I cut the boys’ hair.


  24. Another set of wonderful photographs! Thank you for sharing them.

    Cooked all but two meals at home, one of which was a cooked chicken from Costco. Finally got buckets and gamma lids for the flour and rice I had bought to expand our pantry! A great feeling to have that set aside now, in easily accessible containers. Thanks for the guidance on what to use. I have been expanding the pantry and finally my husband went to get something and noticed the significant increase in our stockpile. It really is a good feeling to have supplies set aside in an organized and logical manner, much of which was purchased at good prices.

    In speaking with various friends and acquaintances about the economy and stock market, I have been astonished at how many of them, like us, are now all in cash, versus stocks. Interesting how that is happening quietly, just like stocking pantries…

  25. Hello Brandy and one and all from Australia.

    Here are our frugal accomplishments for last week –

    In the garden –
    – weeded front vegetable garden bed and 1 of 2 vegetable gardens in back paddock.
    – picked some ripe greenfeast peas while I was weeding for raw snacks for my husband & I.
    – Picked 3/4’s of a bucket of lovely ripe plump broad beans & put more supports up to hold them as they had grown so big.
    – picked 6 huge fruit tree garden pots of spinach, & silverbeet
    – cleared & dug out all spinach plants that had gone to seed.
    – Made 3 x 5 layer compost piles with vegetable offcuts from silverbeet & spinach.

    In the kitchen –
    – Washed, blanched & froze 1 x 300g of broad beans.
    – Washed, blanched & froze 12 x 280g of spinach.
    – Washed, blanched & froze 6 x 250g of silverbeet.
    – Made a huge vegetable bake from cauliflower, spinach, turnips, broccoli & peas from the garden that made 2 nights side dishes for tea for the 2 of us.

    Water preservation in water restriction times-
    – Used around 120lts of vegetable washing & steaming water to water front yard lawn seed planted.
    – Used all of our shower water & washing machine water all week to water lawn seed planted in front & back yards.

    Online hobby sewing business –
    – Made a a5 journal cover & eye mask to replace items sold previously.

    Have a wonderful week one and all :).

  26. For our Sunday dinner I made a roast chicken and will make chicken salad and chicken soup from the leftover meat. I will also make broth from the bones.
    I made cooked black beans and from some of them made bean burgers for later in the week and froze the rest in baggies.
    I made homemade bread and yogurt.
    I stocked up on large cans of tomatoes and dry beans for the pantry.
    I also stocked up on toothpaste and toothbrushes that were 10 for a dollar.
    Our youngest grandson turned one this past week so we had a birthday party to go to! It was so much fun to watch him eat his cake. My daughter sent some leftover food home with us.
    My husband was given a raise and when he received his last paycheck we were very surprised to see that he also got retroactive pay from the time he asked for the raise until the present! What a blessing that was. We were able to pay off a credit card with the extra money.
    After being in the hospital for 32 days for chemo for leukemia my mom was able to go home with normal white blood cell count! She is starting feel back to normal after a very rough week. Another blessing! I am working on a blizzard fleece blanket for her.

  27. We had a really great frugal day – We combined errands. We went to CVS and got 2 toothpaste and a Starbucks Refresher. Spent $1.01 OOP and got $5.50 in Bucks to use next time.

    Then we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a free large iced coffee from a coupon they emailed me. Went to the mall to go to Lane Bryant and picked up the 6 pairs of socks I got using a gift card they sent me and paid $1.89 OOP (had shipped to the store for free). Got a free birthday pretzel from Auntie Annes (drank the free Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with it). Went to Sephora and got a free eye liner with a coupon they sent me in the mail. Went to Victoria’s Secret and got a free panty. Went to Godiva and got 3 small candy bars and 1 large for 29cents OOP with SOs birthday coupon. Went to Dillards and bought 2 of my rosacea cleansers and got the free gift set plus another extra foundation sample.

    The Sephora eye liner and Clinique GWP I put away for my daughter for one of her holiday gifts. Macy’s GWP is next month and I’ll get more of my rosacea moisturizer, also putting the GWP away for my daughter’s gift. That will give me enough of what I use anyway for the year and will make a nice gift for my daughter that cost me nothing extra.

    Then we came home and had a free Olive Garden dinner with leftovers I brought home from a catered lunch at work on the Friday before– chicken parm for SO and alfredo ziti for me, garlic breadsticks, and even the Olive Garden salad. Then for dessert we split a Panera pecan sticky roll (also leftover from work).

    Worked on clearing out the storage unit so we can downsize. Brought home 5 totes to go through, only have 1 to put back in. Sold 2 of my sons old high school home school textbooks to Amazon for $30. Listed the rest on Facebook Garage sale page. Also listed for sale 2 totes of homemade costumes. Gifted most of my Halloween decorations to a woman at work with small children who is starting over – my kids are grown so I’m simplifying the holidays.

    I completed a Pinecone survey. And they sent me a product to try and then complete another survey about it. Very excited to get this product as it’s something I would love to be able to buy but I’m keeping shopping to a bare minimum.

    Free in the mail – Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

    Have a great week!

  28. Jess, that’s great that you are getting to stay home! I have been home now for almost 14 years and I love every minute of it. A huge thing to save money is to stay home as much as possible. I keep a list of errands that I need to do when I go to town. Then I do everything I can. Usually I try to make this day be Friday, since that is my grocery day. Sometimes I might be gone for hours but it really does help with gas savings. Also not eating out. That adds up so fast. I have found that doing surveys does provide some income. I just cashed in a check from Pinecone Research for $93.00, which does help.

  29. i got mini croissants marked down at Krogers- packáge of 8 for 99 cents instead of the marked $3.49/package! I. Bought 3 packages! I had a little plastic microwave gadget that you put one or two eggs in to scramble and you can add ham, sausage or bacon (precooked). Takes just under one minute and the scrambled eggs come out in a perfect round size that’s much easier to put in a croissant or English muffin! Added slice of cheese on top of that into croissant and Voila! 24 breakfasts to go in under 30 minutes!!! I figure my cost was about a quarter per breakfast! Froze extras in ziploc baggies!

    The day before my son-in-law’s father’s funeral, we went to an Amsh produce auction that I frequent. We got there late but I was able to get 8 beautiful mums ( the $25+ size elsewhere) for $4 each for the funeral!
    They also had premade bouquets of a dozen long stemmed roses with baby’s breath and greenery, marked $15/bouquet. I was able to bid $3/bouquet and bought 4 dozen long stemmed red roses for a total of $12. Combined with two Goodwill vases that cost me under $2, I made two beautiful flower arrangements for the funeral as well- total spent for the two was $14! The last funeral we sent flowers for cost us over $125! We had opted not to do flowers and instead donate $350 to a family fund since his widow is raising 4 granddaughters.

    On Saturday night, around 8:30 pm, one of our married sons asked what time they should arrive for our family dinner since our son-in-law & daughter and 2 kids from Houston were here for the funeral! We hadn’t planned a “family” dinner Sunday night because we had all gone to the funeral and dinner afterwards at the church on Sat! You see, this meant there would be 35 of us at our house for the dinner ( all but 3 of our kids with their kids,)!!

    I didn’t want to run to the store after the long funeral day, so I made food from my pantry- a south of the border entree with frozen shredded chicken breast, corn tortillas, onions, salsa verde and homemade cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups. Baked ham slices, fresh cherry and plum tomatoes from garden. The 7 daughters/daughters-in-law brought side dishes and desserts and there was enough and to spare and everyone ate well!

    I bought 2 more boneless pork loins for $1.49/pound and had the butcher cut 1 in half for roasts. And he cut the other into chops! For my $17 I got several meals worth of pork! Amazing to realize there is no waste to it and it’s half the price per pound of ground beef!

    Harvested more peppers and tomatoes from the garden, sorted and gave away several things (fabric and notions and patterns) to my daughters and dils . They were things I didn’t need and it helped declutter my sewing room! They will put them to good use!

    Lots of meals from scratch! All in all a very good week!!

  30. I love your “band.” Creativity in all things is wonderful.
    Turned 10 ink cartridges into Staples for the credit. Used my last one for 30 rolls of t.p, 4 boxes of tissues and 1 roll of paper towels. Out of pocket was $1.07.

    Made pasta with tomatoes, chard, green onions, basil and garlic from the garden. added a little bacon and parmesan cheese for added flavor. YUM!

    Had BLTs for dinner twice.

    Brought lunch to work each day.

    We were expecting cold weather, so my DH stripped the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini while I worked on Saturday. We did get our first frost Sat. night, so was glad he did that.

    Picked the rest of the corn. Traded some with a neighbor for 2 dozen eggs. What a treat. She was surprised we still had corn, so a treat for them too. Froze 21 1-cup bags of corn. 1 cup is enough for a meal for DH and me. If the boys are home, I just take out more than one bag. I freeze them in sandwich bags – a cup each, after blanching and cutting off the cob. then squeeze all the air out, and put as many sandwich bags as possible in a freezer bag.

    Had BLTs for dinner twice.

    Had popcorn for a snack one time. I love popcorn, but am supposed to limit my intake per my oncologist. Therefore, I have it once week as a snack.

    Made soup, and had for dinner and lunches.

    Roasted red bell peppers.

    Have another batch of tomatoes drying. I cut grape tomatoes in half then put in a bowl. Add a little olive oil, salt, pepper, dried basil and oregano and then dry them.

    Picked onions and carrots as needed.

    That is about it. Have a good week everyone. I love reading everyone’s accomplishments. Gives me so many ideas.


  31. Hello everyone! Beautiful as always Brandy.
    It is spring here and the weather has been beautiful. I have been spring cleaning, washing and line drying all my linens and everything not nailed down!
    Also planting… every available space with herbs, spinach, tomatoes etc. I have been working on Christmas presents. I really think if you start early and make things then Christmas is a joy, not expensive and so much fun. In October I start on the cooking ie Christmas fruit cakes as these keep and actually improve over time. I am working on a lot of low cost but lovely gifts.
    Also this helps me build up my pantry. What is saved in one area can build up another!
    Have a great week! Love Annabel.xxx http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/

  32. Brandy, I am using the laptop now to write this and I checked the home page and had no problems at all using the drop down menus (as mentioned in previous post). Yes, it must be a Kindle problem. The Kindle may be convenient for when I want to sit in my chair with legs up, but it certainly has it’s share of idiosyncracies.

  33. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos. I especially like the detail of the butterfly and flower.

    I was able to bring home from work a large container of strawberries, some sliced apples and sliced cucumbers.

    I harvested parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (are you humming yet), dill and chives from the garden and tied them in bundles to dry. I also gave a bunch of sage and rosemary to our neighbors.

    I picked hot peppers, beans, tomatoes, a cuke, and tomatillos from the garden. I roasted and pureed the tomatillos and put the bags into the freezer.

    I harvested lettuce seeds.

    I canned nine half pints of bruschetta topping, 19 quarts of grape juice (I had to buy the grapes because the people who give us their grapes didn’t have a good crop) and three quarts of tomato juice.

    My birthday was last week and I was taken to lunch by my mother and aunt. A friend also gave me ten lovely peaches. I also had a work lunch where I was treated to the meal.

    I borrowed “Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a day” by Leanne Brown from the library. Really good tips on affordable food. It is written with the intention of helping those who are on food stamps, but seems like it would be helpful for anyone trying to keep food budgets down.

    Went on two hikes (carpooled to the destination) and enjoyed beautiful autumn weather.

    Watched much of the solar eclipse last night, although it was partly cloudy. A friend brought a telescope so we could get a better view. Really a beautiful sight!

    Have a wonderful, inspirational week everyone!

  34. Beautiful photos, and it’s so nice to see your garden is attracting monarch butterflies! Their natural habitats are shrinking, so I’m happy to see them getting some nourishment from your garden!

    Last week:

    My husband and I split a meal on a daytime date. It was plenty of food for both of us, and we enjoyed trying someplace new.

    My Diva cup made its monthly appearance last week, as it has for a decade. That’s a lot of saved money and landfill space!

    I went to the dentist while it was still covered by our soon-to-be-ending dental insurance, and had a full checkup and cleaning. Dental problems are painful and expensive… preventative care is frugal!

    We finally sat down and planned out our first-ever Fall garden. I’m looking forward to greens, beets, carrots, cauliflower and scallions this year!

    We hosted a game night for friends, and had a wonderful evening trying a fun new game.

  35. Hello frugal peoples! Here are some frugal highlights of our week:
    ~I bought a bell pepper plant a couple weeks ago and it hasn’t grown much, so I went to the big box store to see what I should be looking for from some more mature bell pepper plants they carry. I talked with the employee there who called the supervisor…I guess the should I was complaining (???) but I was just doing some research. Anyway, the supervisor came and talked with me a little bit about bell peppers and ended up giving me a bell pepper plant that was a bit more mature. I thanked him but told him that I’d be happy to pay for the plant I had in my cart, that I wasn’t complaining, and just doing more research as a novice. He said that I seems like I should have seen at least SOME growth and that the store would replace my other one. Yay for free plants!
    ~I inventoried the children’s clothes stash for fall/winter and found that the two girls will need nothing more than a pair of sneakers and a pair of jeans each. My youngest boy needs a few more things since I don’t have any hand-me-downs for him. But we are set for a while so I have plenty of time to look for deals. 😉
    ~I got paid for a Nielsen survey that I participated in and they sent me another one. I have to log my radio-listening time for a week and they will send me the rest of the compensation…not a lot but still more than I had before.
    ~Hubby and I re-worked our spending plans as we found out that our house payment will increase due to property taxes increasing and all our utilities are increasing because of the taxes and actual cost increases as well. We feel like we have hit a triple whammy on this because it will result in our expenses going up approximately $75 per month. Ouch! But we managed to fix the numbers so we come out even better than before. 🙂
    ~I finished my auction item to be sold on FB. It turned out so cute. It’s a crochet star-shaped blanket with red, white and blue rounds.
    ~I went to the library the other day and checked out a few books about pioneers and settlers. I’ve read just about every finance book on the shelf but still find myself thirsting for more knowledge. I thought that perhaps I should read diaries of those who have thrived in difficult times (like early settlers, the Amish, etc.) and see how they made do. It helps ward of discontentment and I find it fascinating.
    ~I found a few YouTube channels that are inspiring to me…we have been moving more toward minimalism in some regards and I want to learn more. Hubby and I want to learn to live off very little materially with the exception of food, water, fuel, and clothes. I have always hated clutter and find myself extremely irritable and distracted when I feel things are messy.

    I think that’s all for me. Take care everyone and have a wonderful week! 😀

  36. After the turmoil of my husband losing his job and the shock I felt, I started getting my brain settled down towards the end of the week. We are now ready to start moving forward. First, our relatives really, really don’t want us to feel like we have to make any drastic changes right now, so they are willing to put their money where their mouths are–they are simply paying or offering to pay for everything from the house payment, to food, etc. We don’t need them to pay anything right now. However, some things were given to us, I’m sure to encourage us and show love to us. 1) Dance shoes 2) gift cards for VISA cash, Amazon, JoAnn’s, McDonald’s, Fred Meyers, Bob’s Red Mill, Home Depot 3) around 15-20 brand new shirts and 3 pairs jeans for 1 daughter (she was supposed to get to go shopping with me when this happened) I NEVER would have bought her that many, or that quality of clothing.4) Our brakes were fixed for free on our car 5) Our furnace has always had a problem and costs $50+ to run per day during the winter. The air conditioner could be ran for a much lower price. We have had people out before with no luck. A friend looked at it a while back and said it would be over $1200 to fix. He got the part and spent the entire day here fixing it for free, as a gift. 6)numerous cards, phone calls and texts showing support. 7)movie tickets for the movie “War Room.” 8)tea, 9)an apron 10) chocolate.

    On Friday night, we were invited to dinner with 2 couples and to go to the local high school football game. It cost a small fee to get in, but we did not buy snacks, drinks, etc. I took a salad to the dinner.

    On Sunday, we went to church with one of my sisters. Afterwards, we went back to their house and made lunch while they finished up at church. I took potato salad, a small watermelon I got for around $2.50, and green beans from the garden. She thawed various meats she had–chicken, hot dogs, and steaks and my husband BBQed them.

    We curtailed the eating out.

    I picked lots of produce from the garden. It’s winding down, but there is still quite a bit down there.

    Both my husband and I filled out paperwork to become a provider for adults with disabilities, so that in a few months, when processed, we can watch my niece for a few days for money. (We do this anyway for free all the time, but there is some money available for her care that my sister has to use or lose, so she thought we should sign up now, to hopefully use some by February.) We are exploring possibilities, but this would put us on a registry to possible watch other disabled people on occasion–have to see if it works out in the future, but we are knocking on every door right now.

    We got milk for 99C 1/2 gallon. We got cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese for 99 C. We got some inexpensive items at Grocery Outlet. We do not love the gluten-free flour we got, but it was only $4 for a LARGE bag
    . I LOVE the Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 flour and will get some more soon.

  37. I live with my mother, so she’s part of my household family. I appreciate all the help I get when it comes to raising my Asperger’s daughter!

  38. wow! what a nice surprise that was for the extra money! and way to spend it wisely!! …. the old us would have seen that money as “free” money and spend it on something silly, now we know better!

  39. Hi Tiffany and good on you & your husband fixing the numbers on an additional expenditure of $75 a month in your mortgage payment, increased taxes and tariffs on your utilities.

    My husband and I have just done the same thing after purchasing a large steamer we needed to blanch our large crops of vegetables in, and purchasing bulk garden fertilizer, lime, manure & urea to save on cost per unit prices. In all we have worked out that everything spent will be paid back from the usual budget by 3rd of November. So that means we will have clawed back $443.86 in 6 weeks.

    There is always ways to cut expenses if you really look at every one of your expenses in detail. In our case a well stocked pantry, freezer full of meat with food for 6 months ahead, plenty of clothing, and ample gardening supplies all bought in bulk help. We are able to cut back on our grocery spend, gardening, prepping & clothing expenses to allow for our new much needed purchases.

  40. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    My job has been keeping me very busy this fall. Between kids and work not much time for myself. Still paying on medical bills as usual. I feel accomplished these days as far as getting things paid on time at least. In October, I plan on not going grocery shopping except for some fruits and vegetables, milk, or paper products.

    My frugal accomplishment list is:
    Spent $25 on groceries this week
    Bargain shopped at CVS and made a profit of $6
    Got a free cooking lesson and a free nice cookbook
    Went to see a fitness trainer for free and got 2 t-shirts for free
    Did a 5K run (and I did run but not fast) that was paid for and got 1 free t-shirt plus several bags from the vendors
    Got 4 Halloween scarves for $1/scarf at DT (as compared to Hallmark where they were $15 or more)
    Crocheted a fall colored afghan
    Crocheted numerous scarves using patterns off the internet
    Kept electric bill down by $61 as compared to last year bill

    Best wishes for a wonderful week


  41. Staying home is definitely a great way to save money, but it may also be a great way to drive a newly at home mother nuts! I suggest planning your days. Work always has a flow even if it doesn’t have a written schedule of events. Make your days have a flow, and your week too. Plan trips to the library, and trips to park, find a walking buddy (maybe another stay at home mom). Investigate playgroups in your area, they are as much for mom as for the kiddo’s.
    I have been home for 14 yrs myself and I was and still am a very extroverted person, thriving on interaction with others. If I had stayed home all the time, I would have ended up going back to work outside the home. If your an introvert you may not have that issue.
    Don’t forget to pack water bottles when you go out, because on the occasions you don’t you will find yourself or kid thirsty,
    Buy foaming soap dispensers, they are worth the initial extra cost because you then water down your normal hand soaps and they go 3-4x longer. This also applies to kids body soap and saving an empty conditioner bottle to water down your conditioner is great too, kids especially have tendency to over use all soaps and conditioners.

  42. I love the band picture!
    I canned 2 and half more pints of tomato sauce, this is it for the year since my plants called it quits. There is a farm stand near my office selling her produce cheap, and I am debating buying tomatoes to can more, but if I do that would mean buying another pack of canning jars.

    Was given a beautiful eggplant, and made paninis with what I had on hand. It was so filling my husband was so surprised it was a meatless meal.

    I was tempted to buy a bag of chips to go with the paninis, but instead made shoe string baked fries with potatoes from my pantry. It didn’t involve anymore time to make than it would have to make the stop to get the over priced chips. This is something I hope becomes second nature to me.

    Clipping herbs to dry. It will soon be time to bring in the plants for the fall/winter.

    Started carrying the same lunch everyday (beans & rice). This is making life SO MUCH easier. It is filling, delicious, cheap and instead of using leftovers for lunches, they are being used as leftovers (saves even more time!) I just make a batch of rice and beans for the week. If I am feeling cheeky, some days I will add a pinch of cheese or a dollop of salsa to the lunch portion.

    Have been using Duolingo for refreshing my Spanish. Thank you for the suggestion!

    Added walking my neighborhood into my workout rotation. It is hilly so it is a good workout. Also, gets me out of the empty house in the evening and I am meeting my neighbors and enjoying the small talk. The fresh air is doing my mind wonders – all free!!!!

    Cleaning out and selling what I can. I can’t say I will every be an minimalist…maybe just more balanced.

    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  43. Find your local used stores in the area and start shopping there for dishes, kids clothes and any cloth or yarn you might need (if they aren’t too expensive). I haven’t bought kid’s clothes new much in years. If you do buy new, keep your eye out online for deep discounts to Land’s End and other clothing sites. I’ve gotten a year’s worth of clothes for my kids, including winter boots and three season jackets for about 100.00 in the past through Land’s End.

  44. -Cooked and ate all meals at home.
    -Stayed on budget for grocery and household items shopping.
    -Put just under $100 in our savings account.
    -Over the past couple of weeks, I have cut our gas costs by 30% by combining errands and staying home more.
    -My husband was able to pick up an extra bit of work. We’re so thankful as this means he can purchase new work boots. His were getting pretty bad. He works in construction and in an effort to stop the boots from leaking so badly, he had the work crew spray the soles of his boots with asphalt lol.
    -In going over September’s expenditures, I discovered we actually spent $102 less than in August on groceries and $240 less on gas! I’m confident we can do even better.
    -Used money that was given to me for my birthday to buy 8 sleepers, 5 onesies, 6 pairs of socks, a jacket, and a hat for our new baby due at the beginning of March. We’re not finding out the gender, so I’ve decided that will be enough to get us through the first few weeks. I’m happy to be done with baby shopping because we’re coming up on my husband’s slow season and it’s one less thing to worry about.
    -My grandmother called to let us know they are having some dead trees removed and they will give them to us for firewood.

  45. I am glad you brought up Duolingo, I was trying to recall it for someone.
    Have you ever tried just wrapping the box tops/lids of gifts? It’s a great way to stretch wrapping paper and you can reuse the bow as well. Plus, there is the added benefit of the tree or table looking beautiful after opening things instead of seeing a whole bunch of jumbled boxes spilling tissue. My family always did it. You just have to teach people to lift the lid.

    We are still adjusting to my husband’s new position and hours( adjusting to the extra money no problem), it is making dinner very difficult. He now gets home 20 minutes before the children’s bedtime which makes dinner hard and they are totally amped up by him getting home instead of calming down for bed. I have been trying feeding them at five instead of 6:30, and getting them into their pajamas etc before he gets home. Then i have a snack waiting for him but then we don’t eat til 8;30. ICK. I hope it’s only for a year.
    Anyhow, we have had some unintentionally frugal dinners due to being too exhausted to cook.
    I roasted a pumpkin with my three year old and saved the seeds to plant. I made soup and two loaves of bread and froze a cup for something else.

  46. I don’t comment every week, so in the last couple of weeks, I have really worked hard at saving money as my family is in difficult financial circumstances this month. I received a check back for a payment that I had made on a medical bill – I had written a letter that told them of the circumstances with the insurance company and how I was given the wrong information, and that I didn’t feel that I should have to pay. They agreed! That is almost a $100/month savings. I immediately went to the store and got groceries and some much needed non food items.

    I was given two boxes of canning jars with rings and lids. One new and one used. I am planning on getting some apples and canning some crock pot apple butter later this month.

    Friday, I am leaving for a week for a sort of free vacation. It is for a fraternal organization convention (I am an officer in our local branch). ALL expenses are paid except two nights dinner and our own personal sight-seeing and spending money during our free time. It is held every 4 years. It is really the only vacation I ever get so I am looking forward to it. My mother is going as well.

    I was able to stock up on some meat this month and I am still getting some tomatoes from my garden here and there. The weather is turning cooler quickly so soon we will cut it all down and get it ready for winter.

    Speaking of wrapping paper, whenever someone gives/gets a gift in my extended family, we usually use gift bags and save them. We have been passing some of the same gift bags back and forth for years. All that is needed is a little tissue paper. The only things that get wrapped are large items that may not fit in a bag.

    I finished crocheting an afghan for a friend for a Christmas gift (using yarn that my mom gave me) and I am currently crocheting a baby afghan for a gift and then I will start another afghan for a Christmas gift for another friend. I am planning on spending as little as possible this year but still want to give nice gifts. I will spend what I can on my three kids and try to give homemade gifts for the rest.

    I saved the foam hand soap pumps that were empty from my office and brought them home and refilled them with good dish soap mixed with water for our two bathrooms. Then I purchased a huge bottle of lemon dish soap (that is terrible for washing the dishes) at the dollar store for a buck and am using that one in the kitchen.

    We ate all meals at home, with the exception of my youngest son who gets breakfast and lunch free at school (all students do). Kept doing all the little things that are too numerous to list. Trying to stay upbeat and being grateful for all the things we have and especially for family and friends.

    There are many more little things to list.

  47. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone having so much love and support after loosing a job. That is truly amazing, Becky. I really hope everything works out for your family.

  48. Today I went to an Amish Bent and Dent store. I found 2 bigs cans of mashed sweet potatoes there for 75 cents a can. I will make my pumpkin bread recipe and substitute them for the pumpkin. I also got apples there for 10.00 a bushel. They are so nice. I was so blessed to find them. I got 3 bushels. Our weather is getting colder so they will keep quite a while as I make sauce and freeze them for apple crisp and pie. A local potato farmer sells red potatoes for 10.00 for 50 pounds so I got a bag. Our son had an event for church so he took 15 baked potatoes as his dish to share. My garden did not do good this year. We rototilled it up early and I have been putting my grass and leave clippings from the lawnmower mulcher on it to keep the weeds from regrowing and to help make the soil better. Have a wonderful and blessed week. Love the pictures!

  49. We are finally getting into a smooth transition to the new school year. The first six weeks are always an adjustment, but very thankful for a great school. My summary is from the last couple of weeks. The most exciting frugal accomplishment was four free tickets to the Auburn/LSU football game! We have a family reunion for this event very year, but we never buy tickets as the price keeps increasing. We pay for our hotel, but the free tickets were a nice surprise. My husband brought us home supper leftover from a big lunch with his job. I sold a bunch of clothes, etc at my regular bi yearly children’s consignment sale. I made more than I spent there for my children and used the leftover for my son’s new shoes and new Auburn shirt for my daughter. I can wear it when she outgrows it. She is almost twelve and my height. So clothes shopping is getting interesting! As a surprise, I found a huge bucket of clearance toys, etc at Walgreens all priced at just .25 cents. So I bought a bunch of stuff for the Christmas child shoe boxes that are organized under Samaritans Purse. We were hoping to see the super blood moon, but it was totally invisible here . This provided a nice history lesson to learn about the historical events that surrounded the previous Tetrads, or four blood moons in short time period. That is about it. For the most part, I feel like we’ve survived the bumpiest part of the school year!

  50. Rhonda,
    We do feel very blessed by the outpouring of love we have received. I am determined to count my blessings. That’s why I numbered them.

    We know it will work out. We have a deep faith in God and truly believe that He can take even the hardest things and turn them to good. It took me a few days before my knowledge caught up with my emotion, though:) I know it won’t be easy, but we will survive. The hardest thing is the uncertainty–not knowing what’s next–but I guess I’m practicing faith right now. I either believe that God can take care of us, or I don’t. I’m choosing to believe that he is our Provider. I think the outpouring of love has been a gift from God to my husband, especially. Almost everyone who has called, or written, or emailed, or texted, or facebooked has shared a story of a time when my husband has been there for them and they want to be there for us at this time. It is touching.

  51. Becky – you might check into being respite providers for foster families. Also, depending on where you live, you could also provide housing to international students. I was a homestay parent for the last six years my son lived at home. I was cooking for a teenager and his friends so what was one more mouth to feed? I found the experience to be very rewarding and it also provided some compensation each month. The advantage to being a homestay family was that the school we worked with screened the students and collected all the money. The school would then deposit our monthly fee directly into our account. We never had to collect money from our student-boarder. To get started, I just opened the phone book (dating myself) and started calling schools.

  52. Beautiful Pictures-so lovely.
    This week we were able to:
    -Eat at home, had enough for a meal of “left overs” on Thursday.
    -Spent the weekend painting the trim of our exterior windows. So glad it’s done before winter here in Wisconsin.
    -I found a “new” dress for an upcoming wedding on the super discount rack, plus had a % off coupon, and a special birthday credit. I’m so excited, have shoes, purse, earrings that will work with it. DH checked his clothes and he doesn’t need to buy anything.
    -Cleaning out our house for a future retirement change/downsizing in a couple of years. DD and DS are getting goodies I have saved for them for years.
    -Picked cukes from the garden, not many left.
    -Unplugged and shut off lights.
    -DH went with a list to one grocery store and I to another on our way home from work, saving gas and time.
    -Opened windows in the house to let air in-we don’t have air conditioning and find ways to stay cool.
    -I made half a batch of “apple slices” and froze the dough that I had left for another dessert in a few weeks.
    That’s it for now.

  53. Hi Melissa. I belong to the Root Connection. The farm is in north Redmond but they also have drop points in Lynnwood and north Seattle. I’ve been really happy with them. Please note though, that in the Seattle area, a CSA is not going to be the most frugal option for vegetables. (That said, I think my CSA share is worth every penny.)


  54. I am HOOKED on DuoLingo! We went to Quebec and Montreal in the summer which prompted me to relearn my very rusty French. I’ve been on there for about 7 weeks now, and I feel so much more confident in my skills. And I have improved my vocabulary tremendously. I try to spend 30 minutes or so on it per day. And then add in other French activities throughout the day like listeing to a French CD (from the library) or watching a DVD that I’ve seen but set to the French language. I should be done with my French tree in about 10 days and then I plan to do the reverse tree (French to English) that a lot of people recommend doing.

  55. If you want to mix it up, try taco style lentils and rice. Taco seasonings added to brown rice and lentils, and I cook it in beef broth for extra flavor. Delicious with your favorite taco toppings, and a nice change of pace…and lentils are cheap 🙂

  56. Garden pal: DO you freeze those breakfast sandwiches, or were making them for a crowd? I am tempted to make some of those but worry that the texture of the eggs will be “off.” Do they really taste like fresh? How long do you microwave them for? Thanks for any information.

  57. Hi there! I have rosacea as well – what products do you use? I have used Murad but can’t afford it and don’t want to get involved in the online monthly product deal.

  58. I am usually just a “lurker” but we have buckled down here so I am going to try to do more than just lurk 🙂 This past week I have used disposable diapers (bought from ebay on the cheap), tracked electric usage, hung laundry (including diapers), and meal planned. I have also started shopping for a month rather than weekly. I try and make it a challenge to go as long as I can before hitting the grocery store (only ten minute stop) for produce so I am not tempted to buy more. Our businesses are down so trying to conserve where we can. It is not always easy. I had been shopping at Sam’s but after checking prices and looking at the time I had available decided to switch to Aldi’s. By shopping at Aldi’s, I can buy some snacks for cheap that I just don’t have time to make. For me, Sams has better prices if I can cook from scratch but I haven’t been able to due to time constraints lately. I am searching for Christmas gifts with a Wow factor for little money. It seems like a lot after writing it down.

  59. Hello, I enjoy your blog very much. I was just wondering though if you leave a tip for the servers when you eat out with a gift card or coupon that makes it free or close to that for you and your husband. Just curious on how whether you leave a tip and how you feel about the etiquette of that. Thanks.

  60. Those are good ideas. We are already certified foster parents at this time, so could probably get that going pretty easily. The only thing we have to be super careful about is if it would disrupt our family too much. We are really noticing a regression in our youngest. Even though we have had her for 2 years, she is extremely anxious about this job loss. In her past, that meant disaster and it’s hard for her to get over so many years of turmoil. I had a big talk with her tonight, hoping to reassure her that we do things differenty. So, another thing to think about. Right now, that’s what we are doing–brainstorming options. I love hearing all the ideas from everyone. If my husband really does choose to go back to school (he talked to his college today about this option), we are probably going to have to do many small jobs instead of one big one, as well as downsize quite a bit. He’s exploring options right now. It’s too soon for him to know what he wants to do yet.

    In the meanwhile, I’m working as I can at piano teaching my usual students, and putting away garden produce right and left. Tonight, I am sitting here typing with burning hands from processing peppers for several hours (ladies, seriously, use the gloves they recommend:))But, I have jalepenos, anchos, aneheims, and long squiggly sweet peppers frozen now. There are more to do, but that’s all I needed to do today. I also made Italian tomato sauce from the Ball Blue Book because I have used, given away, etc., tomatoes, and still had more…. I actually used the food processer to blend up the tomatoes and other ingredients, added salt(none was called for for whatever reason) and thickened it up with tomato paste (bought by the gallon at Cash and Carry) and canned 18 pints in my pressure cooker, stacked in 2 layers with a rack in between. I was able to use lots of herbs from my herb bed, but ended up adding both garlic powder and Italian seasoning to make it stronger.

  61. Thank you for the encouragement and GOOD FOR YOU GUYS AS WELL!

    At first, I thought that there was absolutely nothing else we could cut and that we’d just have to deal with it, but when I looked at the cost daily of our menus, I was so surprised at how much we could cut/substitute! I have the worst time trying to grow our own produce…I’m still working on that. But I know that once I get it down, that will be an area that we can save even further. I’m always in awe of you who can get a bumper crop of goods. I’m just happy that my plants are still alive. :p. My strawberry plants are growing slowly but no actual berries yet. *sigh* We pay more for strawberries every month than Netflix and Amazon Prime combined. 😀

  62. Hi,
    Here is a gluten free pancake recipe I’ve used for years that you might want to try. I think it’s actually a Betty crocker recipe from an old cookbook. I just subbed out the gf flours for the regular flour. Here it goes:

    Favorite Pancakes
    2/3 c. rice flour (I use brown)
    1/3 c. tapioca flour
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp. oil
    1 egg
    1 c. buttermilk

    Mix like regular pancakes. Do NOT add xanthan gum, they get really gummy and have a weird texture (I learned this the hard way!). Cook on a hot griddle. I think they are exactly the same, or pretty close, to regular pancakes. Hope this is helpful Michelle.

  63. It depends on the restaurant. For this, yes, we left a tip, so not totally free but also not very much. If it’s a sit-down place where you should pay a tip, then yes, of course we leave one.

    But when we had the pizza coupon that we used recently, it wasn’t the kind of place where you give a tip; it was more a fast food place where no one leaves a tip, so a tip would have been strange. It was assembly line style with about 20 people who make your pizza (like a sub shop, but they pass the pizza on). We just had water to drink. Their free pizza deal was a promotional deal to get people in to try out their new place (and it worked well; the place had a line around two sides of the building inside the entire time we were there). Most people were buying several pizzas, but they didn’t mind at all that everyone had a coupon, nor that we just ordered the free pizza.

  64. I remember reading in “Fascinating Womanhood” and I can’t remember the author’s name that excessive anything wasn’t good. She spoke of excessive canning and sewing for example. They are good things but one can go overboard. She also said that always putting one’s family first and never thinking of other people’s needs wasn’t good either. I’m mentioning these things to keep things in perspective.

  65. Darcy, I am thankful your mother is doing better and back at home. She will certainly enjoy having that nice warm blanket once you have finished.

  66. Got kids on board with spending issues. They are now drinking water at lunch instead of milk.
    Not frugal but received tix to take the kids to holiday worls. We will also go see my parents.
    Trading 8 slim jeans for 8 regulars with another mom.
    Making a list of clothing needs for Christmas gifts.

  67. Gardenpat…I think that memorial to the family fund for the grandchildren/grandmother raising them sounds like an excellent idea. Plus you still had beautiful frugal arrangements of flowers, besides.

  68. Tiffany, I can recommend these following books…

    HOW TO COOK A WOLF by MFK Fisher, orig pub 1942, but re-issued
    GREAT DEPRESSION by Mildred Armstrong Kalish 2007

    Both very interesting reading.

  69. Becky, I am so sorry I missed part of the blog last week and did not realize the ordeal you were going through! I just went back to read the sections I missed. You sound like you have a wonderful family and so many true friends. God has your husband’s and your family’s future fully in His hands and I am looking forward to hearing how He works in your life.

  70. I looked it up…the author is Helen Andelin. This author is not familiar to me, nor do we carry any of her books in our library. The books look a bit older (20 years or so).

  71. Some restaurants do allow you to pay for a tip with the gift card, just the same as you could pay a tip with a credit card. (although perhaps not the one Brandy went to). Perhaps this is a reason to call ahead and ask the restaurant of their policy. Personally, when I give restaurant gift cards as gifts (particularly to elderly people on fixed incomes), I like to choose a restaurant that will allow the tip to be paid from the gift card.

  72. As others have said, I too enjoy all the pictures on your blog.

    We spent an enjoyable night out watching the lunar eclipse. It began at 8:07p here…the skies had been cloudy earlier, but that totally cleared off and we had a perfect view of the eclipse, many constellations and the Milky Way.

    We were cold enough last night that we used the wood stove for some heat. All the winter quilts are out, along with jackets and gloves and hats. No frost yet. Harvested broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, potatoes, butternut and acorn squash, pumpkins, apples. Picked parsley, mint, cilantro, rosemary, chives, and sage for cooking and drying. Gathered hickory nuts from trees in the woods…enough for almost 1 3/4 lb of nut meats. Given our share of hazelnuts from the family trees and that was 3 lb unshelled. Have black walnuts to deal with too. Picked more concord grapes.

    At the grocer bought milk 2 gal/5.00, butter 2 lb/5.00 x 4, radishes .99 cents for a very large bunch, bulk black peppercorns, bulk cannelini beans. Also bought for future use Cheeseits (2 boxes), Ohs (2 boxes), Chex cereals (8 boxes), bulk unsalted dry roast peanuts, pretzels (2 bags), MMs , all using double coupons and sale prices. These will be for making snack mixes for holiday season of Thanksgiving through New Year. I had a store flyer coupon for $5 off $50 purchase so used that too. Bought gas stations bananas .38 cents/lb.

    Looked over and mended the warmer clothes. Put out the winter rugs in the entry ways to house and garage. Husband and daughter and brother in law moved wood from far woodpiles up closer to house. They took screens off breezeway to garage and washed and put up the storm windows. Cousin came around and filled any holes in gravel drives and rolled them so when he plows this winter they will be smooth as possible.

    Canned more diced tomatoes in pints and tomato juice in quarts. Cooked and froze pumpkin in pint freezer bags, did 17 pints for later use. Will put other pie pumpkins in root cellar for first use. Picked more green tomatoes..green ones we picked last week are now red. Made more pesto for freezer, an 8oz jar and a 4 oz jar.
    Chopped and froze cauliflower and broccoli. Canned 6 qts and 1 pint of applesauce using mixed apples and 7 pints with yellow delicious. Oldest girl made more grape juice using the steamer and canned it in quarts. Finished making corn relish.

    Made the chard soup from your website for the first time. It was good. Made kale soup with recipe given to me by nephew’s fiance, soon to be wife. Made a wild rice-vegetable casserole and took that to potluck Sunday lunch at church. Baked 2 loaves white bread and one of molasses, 2 of banana-hickory nut bread, baked squash with apples, made cheese pizza topped with banana peppers, onions and leftover corn off the cob. Made baked rice pudding, sweet and sour red cabbage with apples, scalloped corn and peppers, stewed up tomatoes with peppers and onions and herbs using up some of the less than great tomatoes I didn’t want to use for canning. Made coleslaw. Cooked up a ring bologna given to me by sister in law when they were over at Labor Day. We are getting into our more cold weather type foods now, with more warm dishes, especially soup to go with every day sandwiches.

    Did the usual of washing out ziplocs, using up leftovers, composting, recycling. Set up the laundry racks in the basement for drying clothes over the winter. Got my rebate back on the furnace filters we bought of $8.00. Watched more episodes of MURDOCK MYSTERY on HULU. Attended Fall congregational meeting and we all enjoyed cookies and hot cider afterwards. Husband found a damaged pair of flannel lined work pants at the farm store for $5.00. I can easily mend them. Youngest girl and brother in law that lives with us made clove apples one afternoon for a craft. They smell so good in the clothes drawers. Received some tea and homemade shortbread from my Secret Sister from Church/School.

  73. Thank you. We truly believe that–it’s just hard right now. I’m actually excited to see where we are going to end up as well.

  74. This comment disappeared when I tried to post it….and has reappeared but not under the post I was trying to respond to….

  75. And both books are at my library and I have requested that they be shipped to my local branch. Thanks for the recommendations!

  76. I have gotten out of habit of keeping track of my frugal accomplishments. I found a new journal in my office supply closet and began to keep track again starting last week. It will be an encouragement for myself to attempt to be frugal in my actions and keep track of the many blessings. I received many free magazines, I found ten cents in the parking lot at work. I received a food donation of potato salad, pasta salad, spaghetti and a tray of deserts leftover from a funeral meal at my parish. Our neighbor brought over a bag of cucumbers and jalepeno peppers from their garden. The same neighbor gave us 5 pumpkins (one for each of our kids that still live at home). The pumpkins that they sell in our local stores sell for 6.99 each! I needed to replace my shoes for work this winter (so sad…time to put the sandals away). I found Dansco type shoes at a discount shoe store for $10.52, plus they are much more flexible and comfortable than the $120 name brand shoes that only lasted me about 6 months. We also bought a pair of sneakers with needed arch support for my daughter for $10 off. My kids are on school vacation for potato harvest. My son was able to get a job for the farmer that his grandfather works for. He was able to make more money than I made last week at my full time job (of course he worked a lot of hours) so he can put it in savings plus his grandfather brought him to work and back. His boss let him have a 50 pound bag of culled potatoes (which are potatoes that are mainly mishaped or are not considered store worthy). I had free coffee at work all week too. Made all meals at home with mainly water to drink most times.

    Your pictures are always lovely and I especially love the one’s of your children. I always look forward to your blog and especially everyone’s frugal accomplishments. It is always exciting to see and read about your daily life on your side of the country. Your gardening climate is completely different from my own.

  77. Brandy,

    Just curious to see how others respond to your lifestyle. Personal friends that is. I love this blog because it makes me realize that there is a lot of us out there that know how to stretch the money and make a simple life for ourselves. I have read your blog since you talked about your husband losing his job and so forth. Simple lifestyle does not equal an easy lifestyle, but one of quality and peacefulness knowing I am showing my children how to live within our means. I just recently had a conversation with a gentleman who does not get the lifestyle. Why cook from scratch, grow your food,etc. when you can buy it or eat for cheaper at McDonalds. Why wash out baggies to reuse when you can buy them. It seems to be a constant battle, then to be told I do not enjoy life. To me that is enjoyment. Knowing I can be self-sufficient, watch movies for free, and save my money for things I have to spend it on. Why is everyone these days so lazy to do things for themselves. I know I am not the only one,and so thankful for blogs like yours that make me feel so normal. Women who have husbands on the same page, and can work together, I hope you low how truly blessed you are, instead of doing it alone as I have over the last 10 years.I will continue to educate and be as frugal as I can, it feels right to me.Some people may never get it, but thank you for every one of you that does.

  78. Banana-hickory nut bread sounds so good, Anesthasia. I do have a question, though, that I have a feeling you can answer. Can you tell me if the black walnuts are the same type of walnut that you buy in the stores or are they different? If they are different, do they taste any different? I have looked up tutorials on how to harvest black walnuts, and it looks quite messy. I was curious if it is actually worth all the effort.

  79. I loved reading about your sons job. Good for him for making so much money! That was a lot of hard work, I’m sure. What a great score on the potatoes too…a welcome gift for your family I’m sure. I’m curious though…do all the children in your area get a school break for potato harvest, or did you just allow him to take the time off for the job?

  80. Carolin,

    It depends for most people on their own financial situation. Even true friends who are doing just fine don’t always understand when you are struggling, and even when you try to explain they don’t get it. There are people with whom I regularly associate (but who aren’t close friends) who don’t really know what our situation has been, and while I tried to explain it to a few people when situations came up, they couldn’t fathom it. One of these families eats fast food 5 nights a week; cooking from scratch seems very strange to them. Gardening where I live is very rare; I know a few people who garden, but they usually grow just a few things.

    I know a few people who are working to be more self-reliant, but most people I know do things very differently than we do. Most people I know are in very different financial situations; even if they cook from scratch, they are making more expensive foods, they also eat out regularly, and they take multiple trips every year (for example, most families I know locally have passes to Disneyland and visit there 4 to 6 times a year).

    Seeing others who are struggling who leave comments here helps me to see that I am certainly not alone. Lately I have noticed an increase in readers who are struggling; I am glad they are here!

    I would like to clarify something.

    My husband is the broker and owner of a real estate company. When we had no income for 8 months, he had not lost his job. The real estate market here just dried up very quickly; in fact, signs of it were starting at the end of 2006 and it hit here strongly at the beginning of 2007, as home prices started literally dropping $10,000 a month in value. Over 6000 real estate agents in the area turned in their licenses, rather than paying the fees to renew them. We lost over 35 agents and were down to 7 agents; the others were no longer having sales and turned in their licenses. We had no sales, either. We had also moved and listed our old home for sale. While homes before were at a shortage and were selling within a week, with values dropping and no one buying, it took 9 months for our house to sell, and it had dropped over $90,000 in value. During that time we had no sales, and two houses for which to pay, which quickly ate up our savings.

    Construction jobs (which were numerous here) went away, and the city reported 25% unemployment. 1 in 7 houses were in foreclosure.

    The market is slowly recovering here, but with home prices lower, it takes 6 to 8 home sales to equal the commission we used to receive on just 1 sale. This means that even with more sales, our income is much lower than it was 10 years ago. Because of the nature of sales, our income can vary a great deal each year; in 2011 and 2012 we made less than we did in 2007, the year we had 8 months without income (Those years we made a mere 25% of what we made when we purchased our home. Think about the percentage of your income that goes to your mortgage and you realize that that doesn’t leave much for anything besides a mortgage payment.) By then we had over 35 agents again, but sales were slow for everyone.

    Every year can be different for us, so being prepared with food in the pantry and the garden helps when sales are slow.

    We were frugal before all of this, which has helped us to stay where we are and make the most of it. Certainly my skills have improved, and I became a better seamstress, gardener, and cook because of all it. I am grateful for that!

    I think being wise stewards of what we have is always good; it can make what we have go further and make it possible for us to save up for what we really want (and also find a way to get the things we really want for less!) so even if one is not struggling to make ends meet, frugality is a blessing that can help one to achieve his goals.

  81. Hmm, I have never seen black walnuts meats actually in a store. But I would think they would be the same. They are horribly messy.

  82. Brandy, I agree with your outlook on living a frugal life and would like to add that when I am a good steward of the blessings God has entrusted to me I have great freedom (and reserve) to share with others. I am happiest when I am giving to others and have notice that common thread running through these postings. I love that! Sometimes we are the recipient and other times we are the Giver! It is a happy and fulfilling life. I love this blog!
    Thank you for sharing!!!

  83. Adding 1/3 cup of cooked pumpkin or winter squash to any gf pancake recipe, with a little cinnamon, cloves & ginger, makes a great pumpkin pancake. Nice for a change of flavor & they freeze well, too. The pumpkin can be fresh, canned, or frozen, but thaw first if frozen.

  84. Hi Brandy & I would like to echo your statements on what happened in the global financial crisis times and also to Carolin’s comments on people not understanding.

    We have in our home a role reversed household in which my husband has massive injuries from a military accident, and I was as they call it the bread winner of the household and worked and my husband (who was on a small military pension) stayed at home and did all of the housework etc.

    During the GFC that hit here in Australia in 2008 I lost my job as a furniture store manager as there was simply no-one with money to purchase anything. There was often days where only one person would come in to the shop. We were at that time left $40000 in debt due to damages to the home that I owned, damaged furniture that my sons had done (one with an addiction to the substance that is widely advertised on the television of late), back rates on that property that they hadn’t paid amongst other things. I had to move out of my own home due to the violence inflicted on me by my son in his drug rages and then moved back into the home after the damage was done. We had also purchased a new car which we had a loan on for an additional 22000 which left us owing $62000 all up. The house renovations & buying furniture were what my husband and I did for our honeymoon rather than have a honeymoon that we couldn’t afford.

    I went from that job a couple of months later to working in a chicken deli, where I worked 7 days a week for the same pay I was getting in my previous job to pay off the debts. We paid all the debts off, repaired the damage to the house and renovated in 5 years, and had the car fully paid for in 3yrs 6 months instead of the 5 yrs we had taken the car loan over.

    We did this only by living frugally, not buying clothing and making do, not eating out and making things from scratch, we even thought seriously if we could afford that extra tin of baked beans many times. I keep many stacked tins of baked beans very visible to me in my now well stocked pantry to remind me of those days and I now smile every time I look at the multiple tins and know how blessed we are.

    During the same time we were going through this I was talking to friends at church who had 6 children and their husband had lost a high paying job in the mining industry. The late teenage daughters to whom I was like a grandmother to, approached me and started crying, what do we do we were so used to buying what we wanted at any time, that included Burbury coats new on a regular basis. I said make do and told them my above story. I would go on the internet and show them the same coats in almost the same design in a lesser brand for $20 new on sale in stores and tell them of bargains in second hand stores I had seen for them. The older children got part time jobs to help out their parents to pay the bills and buy clothing.

    To cut a long story short this family had never had to live frugally, nor understood the concept even before, due to their previously good financial situation, but they did learn ever be it so hard a learning curve for them.

    In short if we all always practice this as a lifestyle choice and know how to do it, if we hit hard financial times or have been in them for some time, it will be but second nature to all of us and not be a shock :-).

  85. Thank you, Brandy. I think you should make this a separate blog post for those who might not read every comment. I know you have the one part about your history, but this one is interesting because most all of us have friends who don’t understand our pursuit of frugality, especially those of us with jobs.

  86. MFK is my favorite writer. There is a collection of some of her key works called “The Art of Eating”. Brandy – I think you would enjoy her work – she is the writer who spoke to my heart and influenced my love of all things French!

  87. I think they are slightly different. I know that my paternal Grandmother (“Pennsylvania Dutch”) said that the Black Walnuts had a deeper, richer flavor (as in Black Walnut Ice Cream) versus ‘regular’ walnuts.

  88. It has taken a turn for the chilly weather here. Brr.

    * since it really cools off at night we are using more blankets, socks, and sweatshirts to keep warm
    * I made some pumpkin bread that wasn’t getting eaten up as fast as I thought. I sliced it and froze individually so it is now be used in packed lunches.
    * made some brownies for the week ~ those were eaten up fast….:)
    * my daughter (high school jr.) started her dual enrollment at the college. I worked out a carpool with her friends mom so we each pick up the girls once per week (classes are only 2 times a week)
    * I had won 2 tickets to the movie theater so my daughter and I enjoyed a movie for free 🙂
    * we were able to find a few items on clearance at the grocery store. I always look in those bins!
    * I ordered a discounted rite aid card since I saw some upcoming sales on items I need to stock up on.
    * husband changed the oil in both vehicles

  89. Hi Susan and I have to agree with yours and my standing that I am happiest when I give to others too.

    Although we have lost our home to greedy family members, and are now living in rented accommodation and starting again and saving for a house in our late 40’s and early 50’s we are truly grateful and blessed for everything we have. We look around us at friends and neighbours so much worse off than us on a pension.

    My husband & I are wise stewards of all we have now have a small financial reserve ( for savings for our home and emergencies), 200 sq m of garden beds that produce enough beautiful vegetables for us plus more frozen storage for any hard times ahead along with a full pantry.

    We are truly blessed to be able to produce enough vegetables to occasionally give to others in need at church too. We are truly grateful we have now got ahead now, and are now not tossing up whether we could afford to buy a tin of baked beans.

  90. Brandy–I first found your website a year ago and it is the highpoint of my week! I live in Fairbanks, AK where we just had our second snowstorm of Sept. giving us a total of almost 18 inches. The last two years we had only a bit more all winter. We were blessed to only have a 4 hour power outage. My husband and I lived apart for a year and a half until a job opportunity came to him and he moved from WI to Fairbanks where we already had a house.
    I thought of Erika two weeks ago when we drove to Anchorage for 5 days. We enjoyed our day in Wasilla/Palmer. I rarely do well at second hand stores, but found 2 books, a fleece jacket for the grandson I care for, and best of all a broiler pan. Our stove came without one and they are impossible to find. In a store in Palmer, I found new pillowcases so we have extras. Most of what we own is in storage, so it was wonderful to fill in a few needs. In my down time I knit hats that I donate to charitable causes. We delivered 51 to a Native outreach. I’m behind where I would like to be, but will have close to 200 again this year. It is my way of giving back, especially while I still care for my grandson 40 or so hours a week.
    We garden in 2 community garden plots and 2 raised beds in our yard and so enjoyed this summer. We had radish, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Romanescu, zucchini, summer squash, beans, sugarsnap peas, turnips, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, (but sadly no Armenian) and a few onions. We ended up with about 5 5 gallon pails of potatoes and about a pail of carrots for this winter. Some extra produce went to our church where people could pick up our excess or the local food shelf. So many people appreciated the turnips! There are a few tricks to gardening in Alaska–starting beans and peas is one simple thing. Fresh produce is high priced, especially in Fairbanks where we are at the end of the delivery chain. We still have tomatoes ripening that were grown in pots.
    Our winter squash and pumpkins did not really produce.
    My husband works half-time and we are living comfortably after so many years of learning frugality. I learn from all the comments and thank you all! Even after years of living frugally, I still learn new things and wonder how I missed them! So grateful to whoever mentioned cutting pork loins for chops!

  91. The month of September has been a very expensive month for me but I am very thankful that I was able to make it through with no additional debt and have actually been able to pay off another small credit card. I am going to be extra careful for the month of October and try to save as much as I possibly can in every area. I already have taken care of Halloween treats for the neighborhood trick-or-treat’ers that will come and have already purchased a baby shower gift for a shower that will be coming up at the end of the month. Hopefully the only out of pocket expense will be for food and gas.

    Here are some of the frugal things I was able to do this past week:

    * I was able to buy two Christmas gifts using a 30% off coupon and the item was already on sale so I consider this a double win!

    * I also had a 30% off coupon at CVS so I decided to purchase supplements that I needed. Checked the coupons in the paper and found a $5 off coupon and when I scanned my customer care card there was also a $3 off coupon for supplements. I had an overall savings of $14.

    * Received a $5 off coupon in the mail for the store Buy Buy Baby. I have a baby shower coming up in October and the mother is registered there. I purchased the gift now so I could redeem the coupon….every penny counts!

    * I have officially turned off the central air conditioner….the days and nights are cooler and we can make due just with the ceiling fans at this point. I am hoping to be able to get to November without having to turn the heat on. Now I just have to go thru the house and close off all of the vents so when the weather gets cold we will not lose any heat through them and not get a cold draft. The large intake filter will be put inside a heavy duty garbage bag and inserted back into the space – since I just changed it the week before, it will keep it clean for next season and no draft will come thru either.

    * Was able to cut more basil and oregano from my garden. I will dry this batch of basil since I have plenty of Pesto frozen. Hoping this batch will be enough to carry me well into the spring.

    * Washed my car by hand and hopefully this weekend I will be able to clean the floor mats and floor.

    * Continue to walk the neighborhood for exercise.

    Look forward to this post every week…thank you!

  92. Oh, now I see…I thought you (Rhonda) meant you had seen black walnuts in store. No, they are not the same as the walnuts in the store…and yes the flavor is different. I like black walnuts better…I find the “regular” walnuts a little bitter, unless toasted. SCo Mary, thanks for answering Rhonda’s question.

  93. Hi Tiffany,

    Here’s another book recommendation for you — An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, by Tamar Adler. It’s sort of a cookbook, but more a philosophy about respecting the value and importance of food by using every single bit and cutting waste by incorporating bits and dabs into other meals. I found it tremendously inspiring and try to re-read it once in a while.

  94. All students are off from school. They start school in mid-August and then get just over 2 weeks off at the end of September and first week of October. My kids go back to school next Tuesday. While the kids are too young to work now a days it helps keep the school budget down if the buses run on the same schedule. It’s a hard day working 12 hours, especially if it’s your first official job, but now that it’s almost done he is getting used to it. Ha Ha.

  95. That is really interesting to learn. I believe it was common practice during the 19th century to have school breaks during harvest seasons (or at least in rural communities), as families required the help of their children to complete the tasks at hand. I had no idea this practice was still done in some areas! Thanks for the info and education, Lisa!

    As for the hard work, it may have been a lot at first, but it was a good lesson in appreciating what’s involved with earning a paycheck. Many young people never get the chance to learn this lesson. He should be proud of his accomplishments!

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