Last week I had three family members gone at camp for the majority of the week. I took on many of their chores myself, so my list for this week is much shorter than usual. When everyone asks how I get so much done, it really is because everyone helps with chores.

We picked figs from the garden this week. I canned 5 pints of fig jam (one batch), and cut and froze figs to make 3 more batches this week.

Artichokes in Basket The Prudent Homemaker 

We picked apples and blackberries from the garden. I cut artichokes, garlic chives, basil, and New Zealand spinach from the garden. I cut one bunch of Red Flame grapes from the vine. I spent time covering several bunches with paper bags to prevent the birds from getting to them, so hopefully we will get some more this year.

I planted seeds in the garden for food and flowers.

I used two 40% off coupons at Joann’s for some fabric for Winter to make herself some pajamas and to line a dress I am planning to make for myself.

We donated items to the thrift store and received a receipt for our taxes.

I mended a tent.

Winter took some free samples of toiletries with her to use at camp.

I watched several French videos on YouTube to improve my French comprehension skills.

I made popsicles several times for snacks, using fruit from the garden.


 What did you do to save money last week?



Similar Posts


  1. I bought 20 dozen eggs at $0.50/dozen. Also purchased strawberries at $1.39/lb. I will need more, but purchased what I could last week. I’m not going to freeze as many as usual because it seems to be a good year for wild berries. I’ll freeze/preserve those instead.

    Altered a skirt and dress of mine into skirts for my oldest daughter. I still have a lot on my sewing to do list, but my very fussy 3 month old is making it difficult.

    Used my upholstery cleaner to clean the living room furniture, making it look nice.

    We did 2 day trips. One hiking in a national forest (coopers rock). The other we went to a farmers market, a discount grocery store, a national historic place (Casselman River Bridge), and a free artisan village where we learned about different crafts as well as area history. We took food with us both days.

    We mowed and trimmed our yard as well as a neighbor’s. Our neighbors bring us all of their scrap metal, so my husband hauled a load in today and earned $39. He also worked an extra 4 hours at a side job last week.

  2. Good Monday Morning Brandy,

    This last week I did not work as I am On Call RN and can make my own schedule, so I saved gas with my car as I did not drive much. I stayed home to work on chores and projects as we are getting ready for a family visit next week. I will have 3 weeks off total! So grateful~ I usually only work between 4-6 days/month~ as I am semi retired now at 61. Nursing is becoming a bit hard physically now at this age and I may fully retire by November..not sure yet.

    My husband and I stayed at home this last weekend and worked on the yard.I am very happy to see the yard finally coming together after 2 1/2 years. Love my nystertions ( thank you for your suggestion) and lavender is lovely. 🙂 They are so big and beautiful! I added many other flowers this year and the yard is very pleasant. We popped up our canvas gazebo a couple of weeks ago, so now we are enjoying our lunches and dinners outside.

    Our BBQ grill is over 7 years old and rusted now..although we kept it covered through out the heavy winter rains all these years. It has been a good BBQ but needs a lot of work. We went to Home Depot to price burner covers, and new grates. These are so expensive. Also the bottom pan of the BBQ is rusted too. After pricing all of the needs for the old BBQ, we decided to purchase a new one with a warranty at a comparable price as the parts to fix the old one. Each year now we will put the new BBQ into the storage shed for the winters in hopes of preserving it for about 10 years and not rust. The sales person at HD explained that even if we cover it and it is outside, the continued moisture here in the NW can seep up into the parts. We have 3 major BBQ parties planned this year with about 15-20 people attending, so we felt this would be a good investment. I wanted one with a burner on the side, in case we loose electricity in the winters which typically happens with our storms each year. It comes in mighty handy to cook on when we are without power for a few days.

    I am continuing to harvest lots of kale, lettuce, chard and onions from my garden. So, salads and soups will be the menus for this next week. Today I will make your minestrone soup. I have several frozen meats I had purchased on sale through out the year to use until this coming Fall. Then I will buy more turkey and chicken.

    I have decided to cut back on my grocery bill to $75.00/month now since it is just my husband and myself to feed.I probably could cut back more however I have some food allergies and need to by gluten free foods which are more expensive. I usually pay for our monthly food bill out of my pay . My husband pays for needs at Costco every couple of months when we stock up on canned broth, tomatoes, flour, and large packages of frozen veggies. He is mostly vegetarian ( eats meat about once a month) so he usually takes rice and frozen veggies for his lunch to work. It is a good balance for us. I usually buy 2 meats /month for myself and cook lots of veggies dinners. I love your veggie meal recipes 🙂

    I will be planting more flower and veggie seeds this week, and trimming our front yard bushes. I have loved staying home this last week and will be this week as well before family visits.

    Have a wonderful and blessed week~
    Patty from the NW

  3. Cut rhubarb to stew & use in gelatin as a salad. I also sliced & dehydrated some as well.

    We ate salads made from two kinds of lettuce, spinach, green onions & sugar pea pods, all from our own garden, along with a few grape tomatoes from the store. I love being able to walk outside & pick our food 30 minutes before we eat it.

    Finished thinning the peaches on two of the trees. I am still working on the 3rd. I have thinned over 10 gallons of peaches from these trees, starting when the peaches were the sizer of the tip of my little finger. Now they are the size of the first joint of my thumb. The trees really set the fruit heavily this year.

    Pulled weeds sufficient to fill at least 2 tree pots every day except Sunday.

    Accepted grass clippings from the neighbor again to use as mulch.

    Set 9 more Lodgestones per day for the edge of the back perimeter bed. I am down to the last 7 stones, & it is raining today.

    Planted 3 hills of heirloom corn seed, & a small row of heirloom pimentos. I want to see if the varieties will grow here. If they will, those plantings will give me enough seed to plant more next year.

    Mailed some Connecticut field pumpkin seeds that were extras to my oldest daughter.

    Bought 3 one-pound packages of grass-fed, organic, non-antibiotic beef from the bargain basket for $2.50 each.

    We chose to celebrate our youngest daughter’s birthday & my husband’s birthday together, since their birthdays are only two days apart. We used some coupon offers to go to Sizzler.

  4. Your kids will be well prepared for adulthood by helping out at home. I am one of five and always cooked for myself and younger siblings, did my own laundry, and had chores to do. I moved out on my own at 19 and did just fine on my own.

    I made my own vegetable stock and made pinto beans from dried in my slow cookers. I am potty training our toddler using the same potty seat we’ve had for 7 years and the hand-me-down toddler underpants from her older sister. We got our money’s worth at the library this week, with lots of movies, books, and a last minute save when my internet was disconnected and I had to do grad school homework by Saturday at midnight.

  5. The artichokes are gorgeous!
    From reading here – I finally felt comfortable washing our wool rug runner and small wool rug in the washer. I used cold wash. They turned out beautifully. I a little stiff wrinkled, so I laid them flat and ran the iron over them a few times. They look like new!
    I made 6 half pints of your Vanilla Apricot Jam. I found apricots for 99¢ per pound at a discount grocery. I like adding a large tablespoon of these jams to my oatmeal.
    I tried a Buy a GC, get a free movie ticket deal (Red Robin) to see if it would really save us money. I was mostly interested in getting the free ticket – I am glad I tried it, but cost wise even with a free ticket, $4 left on a prior GC – the movie with a few treats was $31. We still have the food GC – which might turn into a gift for a family member.
    I tried a new rhubarb muffin recipe and really enjoyed it. Even better it uses less ingredients and oil over butter. It made the fluffiest cake like muffins. We have plenty of rhubarb growing and I am constantly trying to find the tastiest/cheapest recipes to make great use of this free plant (it had been gifted to us).
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  6. I bought 3 dozen eggs for .49 per dozen. I did do some couponing this week, but only for items that cost under $1. I purchased another shelving unit on sale for $19 because I needed more storage space for my pantry. Unless items are free this week I do not plan to do any shopping other then buying a gallon of milk on sale for .98. When I do have to or need to shop I combine all my trips on the same day or on the way home from work to save gas.

    My mom and I had a rummage sale last Saturday but it was so hot people were not out so we are having it again this coming Saturday. My mom and I exchanged a couple of things for us each to keep.

    I saved warm up water from the shower and used it to water the garden and used my daughter’s mostly clean bathwater to give our dog a bath. I also dump the dish rinse water onto the fruit trees/bushes. Now that it has warmed up I have begun taking “navy showers” again to try to help offset the water we use in the garden.

    I took my meals and snacks to work with me all week in reusable containers. I washed and reused the zip top bags I used.

    To help me improve my eating habits (rather than grabbing and going) I have created a meal plan, including the nights I have to make dinner at home. This will also help reduce food waste, which has once again gotten more than I find acceptable. I was grabbing to many processed foods and junk foods and my health has been suffering for it. I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot, made broth from the bones/skin, made Brandy’s Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, used some on my salad greens, and will make chicken soup with the rest. I also plan on using up the mashed potato leftovers to make potato pancakes.

    I used two buy one get one free coupons at Salvation Army to purchase my daughter some much needed pajamas and a dress. I also purchased a “new” purchase because my old one was hopelessly broken and could not be fixed again.

    I shared some food and coffee I got for free with my mom to help her budget.

    I purchased my husband’s father’s day gift for him today. After LOTS of research I decided to purchase him golf lessons. He has said many many times in the past that his golf game is “terrible” and wished he could take lessons. 🙂 I hope he likes this gift. I researched for two weeks to find the best price/deal.

    I was able to take a couple magazines home from work after they were no longer wanted in the waiting room.
    That’s it for last week. Have a great week!

  7. I have a 2 year old and 3 month old. I bring home $650/month. After student loan of $300 and $45 cell phone and $27 life insurance and $50 gas, my budget is $280 for food, toiletries, etc. At the end of the year my private student loan will be paid off but until then I am trying to stick to this budget. My husband pays all other bills and occasionally he pays for going out to eat. He is also paying for a hotel when we go to my sister’s wedding in a couple weeks. I have a stash of laundry detergent, ridex, toilet paper, kleenexes, paper towels, dish soap, garbage bags, diapers and wipes that I am going to use until the end of the year so i shouldnt have unplanned for expenses. It is very hard for me to stick to this budget. Yesterday we went to Wal-Mart and I saw their deck furniture. We dont have any for our wooden deck and my husband splurged and bought $100 table and umbrella with folding chairs. They are cheap but if we fold the chairs and umbrella and store them in our garage, they should last 5+ years. Even though my husband spends his money on me Istill feel like im cheating and not aactually sticking to my no spending goal.

  8. I meant to say $200 / month on food. This is where I feel I have the most control over our budget. So I have been focusing on cooking desserts and meals ahead of actually needing them. I try to use rice, the meat in our deep freeze which includes deer and beef from inlaws who have a pasture, and I try to shop the loss leaders only.

  9. This week:
    * I had a medical procedure done and needed my husband to drive me home, so his mom came to babysit our children. Free childcare and my kids were happy to be with grandma
    *I always wait to pay my medical bills until I receive my EOB in the mail and make sure insurance has made all the adjustments. I was reminded this week why it’s a good thing to do this…many of my medical bills from my back surgery are coming in and when I went to pay a few, I found insurance had paid even more than I originally planned. Waiting prevented me from overpaying and having to get reimbursed (which usually takes forever!)
    *both of my daughters earned a $175 scholarship towards summer camp-almost half of the amt. for a week at camp.
    *I signed myself and my 3 children up for the summer reading club at the library. There are lots of great prizes available for minutes read and upon signing up, we got free Chipotle coupons
    *went on a day trip to a free nature preserve this week…this special place had a children’s garden, fossil dig, riverwalk, biodome and beautiful gardens. All 3 of my children had a wonderful time exploring and being outside.
    *my daughter had a softball game this week-the field is right around the corner from our house. We ate dinner before we went over to the game and took water bottles with us. It was free entertainment and my dad gave my other 2 children $1.00 for the concession stand.
    *our neighbor brought our family a quart of fresh strawberries ‘just because’ 🙂
    * went swimming at my parents house and ate dinner together
    *bought cantaloupe for $1.19 each, found organic basil on managers special for $1.99 and bought 2 boxes to make pesto and freeze
    *the air conditioner hasn’t run for most of the week. We have had beautiful weather in NWOhio and I have been able to leave the windows open much of the day. Even thought it gets quite humid in the summer, our house stays relatively cool because of the giant shade trees in our yard.
    *Our children attended VBS at our church this week and my husband and I volunteered all week too. They got a free music CD of VBS songs, made some nice crafts and had great snacks every night.
    *finalized June’s budget (a little late) Although we won’t make much progress this month with our emergency fund, we will be able to pay off a substantial amt. in medical bills and finish paying for our family 4th of July get-away with cash.
    *my mom gave me some children’s toy magazines she got in the mail-thinking I might like to “look at them!” When I got home, I promptly put them in the recycling bin so I wouldn’t be tempted to buy or want something we really don’t need.
    *continued to do all my usual: composting, recycling, washing/reusing baggies, meals at home, saying ‘no’, staying out of stores, turning off lights.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  10. Your website is my favorite inspiration each day. I also try to garden. I have rhubarb, green onions, pear trees and 3 varieties of grapes. I plant a few carrots and have one tomatoe plant and some green peppers and potatoes, but I dont usually get too much from garden, it is more a hobby until my plums, grapes, and pears start producing.

  11. Ooh, I can’t wait until our fig tree is big enough to to give us fruit for jam!

    Our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    When my husband injured himself (it was severe, but far from life-threatening), we had the presence of mind to go to urgent care instead of an emergency room. Much quicker care, and 1/3 the co-pay. He is healing nicely.

    A friend of mine let me stay with her while I attended a conference, instead of my having to pay for a hotel. That was completely unexpected, and the timing couldn’t have been better for us: instead of being stretched to our limit and stressed out this month, we have the breathing room of a normal month. What a blessing!

    I was voluntarily bumped from my flight. In exchange, I got a better (direct!) flight, and $444 in airline credit, to be used within a year!

    I used a car-sharing service instead of a taxi from the airport. Much less expensive. And on the way back, I shared a car with a colleague who was on the same flight home!

    When our expensive vacuum died just out of warranty, my husband called the manufacturer. For a $25 processing fee plus the cost of shipping back out old one, we got a brand-new machine. And it’s a newer model than our “old” one!

  12. So with a $50 / week budget Itry to buy fresh fruit and veggies, dairy products, and ingredients I may need to help me use up the food in my storage. This is a challenge to come up with recipes to use my food storage. My husband eats meat every meal so iI try to add a steamable veggie from the freezer.and a filler like rice. But my cooking is boring and we crave carry out pizza and Subcity or jimmy johns.

  13. I cooked two big batches of beans this week, black and pinto beans. I made some into refried beans, froze a lot of bags. My kids wanted to go to a different park to play at, not the one closest to home. We walked instead of driving, it was about a mile and a half walk. They enjoyed the novelty of different playground equipment. We went to a city festival hot air balloon launch. It was too windy to actually launch the balloons, but it was fun to watch them inflate, and they had free donuts and a bounce house that the kids enjoyed. I planted corn in my garden. Not really practical in my smallish space, but one son really wanted to try growing it. I’m sure we will also supplement with corn from the local stands. I harvested radishes, beet greens, arugula, kale, a few strawberries and raspberries, and lots and lots of lettuce and sugar snap peas. I am planning on freezing some of the peas since my kids are not eating them as fast as they usually do.

  14. My plan has been to keep eating from the freezer to works towards an empty freezer in October, so I can defrost in time for the fall sales. However, pork loins were on sale for $0.99 lb and so four of them jumped into the freezer. I have never seen that low a price since I have been tracking, and I cut them up for chops, stew meat and roasts!

    Otherwise did the usual frugal activities like cooking from scratch and eating at home. We have a travel trailer that we bought three years ago, and never used due to my husbands back problems. He is feeling better so we are working on getting it ready for a vacation this summer. my husband is very good with mechanical things, thankfully, since RV’s seem to require huge amounts of care. Hopefully in the next two weeks we can take a trip. I am starting to plan out meals to cook and freeze now so that we can leave with a full freezer to make dinners on the road easier.

  15. I realize you didn’t mention muslin in this post, but I have some questions for you. You seem to use muslin a lot – how light weight is it? Can you see right through it? I haven’t found it anywhere local where I can see / feel it myself, but I’ve found some great deals on line and am thinking about buying some. It seems to me like it is the weight of a thin bed sheet – is this correct? Do you think it would work well to line fabric messenger bags? Do you think it would work well to line little patchwork skirts? You introduced me to the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, and I am making items for them year round, but the items do add up. Muslin seems an inexpensive way to stretch the fabrics that I already have on hand.
    Also, I love artichokes! Yours pictured are so lovely though, I’d hate to eat them!

  16. Hubby took a week of vacation so we could work on some projects at home and enjoy the beautiful weather! We finished building and installing the front and back fences! We used leftover pieces to build our new 4 foot wide gate and then removed all the chain link fencing along the back. The new back fencing adds an additional 3 foot across our back yard line! We got a ton of weeding done and even used spray paint to mark off where the fire pit will be dug!

    I made a big batch of breakfast sausage seasoning and used some to make pork sausage crumbles. The rest went into a jar I labeled. The breakfast sausage crumbles went into ziploc freezer bags and some went into 17 egg,sausage cheese breakfast burritos for easy breakfasts!

    We made and sold 5 more state outlines from pallet wood! That brought in an extra $75!

    We gave our 209 pound English Mastiff a bath outside on Sat. in an inflatable kiddie pool we bought for $5 at Target at the end of summer! It took 3 of us to get him shampooed and rinsed and dried but it saved us over $50!!!

    Made and used more freezer meals! Used up several bits of things in the fridge before they went bad!
    All in all, a very good week!

  17. Your efforts sound similar to mine! I have 6 dozen eggs inmy fridge as they were on sale for 77 cents and then 50 cents and iI couldnt pass those up!
    The garage sales in our area were last weekend but I avoided them to not spend money.
    I am also tryi.g to plan ahead of time to have food that is ready at our finger tips.

  18. Hi Lily!

    I buy muslin at Joann fabrics. I try to buy it when it is 50% off, or use a coupon to make it so. It is 100% cotton and is similar to a sheet. It is not sheer. It is great for lining. It is sold in the quilt section for the back side of quilts. I think it would be great as lining for messenger bags and for skirts. Like any fabric, I would wash and dry it before using to make sure it is preshrunk before cutting.

  19. Just before I opened your post, I got artichokes out to cook. I didn’t grow them, however. Yours are beautiful! Today I’ve gathered kale, chard, purslane, blackberries & red clover blossoms. I washed laundry with homemade soap and rainwater & hung it on the line. Since yesterday, we’ve had either 4 or 5 chicks born. I haven’t been able to determine yet. Cute little fluffballs!

  20. I too used the coupons at buy fabric at Joann’s on Sunday after church. (we have to pass it to get to our church, so it is just easy to stop on the way home) I got fabric for a new blouse and shorts for the boys.
    Spent less than $70 at the grocery store. Stocked up on eggs, milk, and some cheese. Also brought some bacon. We have so many tomatoes coming in right now that we plan bacon and tomato sandwiches on the menu this week. That is a family favorite.
    Lined dried all my clothes except my husband’s work clothes. Used water from our rain barrels to water the plants. I cut off 3 pair of my older jeans to make long shorts for myself. (I don’t wear shorts really, these are just below my knee) It is hot and very humid here right now. It has hit 100 everyday for the past week with a humidity level of about 90%. That is miserable. Just miserable.
    There was a coupon in the paper last week for Yardly soap. To save $1.00 per bar. I had 4 coupons. I got the soap at Dollar Tree and it was FREE….I love the lavender soap. It smells so good. I opened a couple of bars and put them into my drawers.
    Got David’s father’s day gift. He is going to get a new wallet with his name embossed on it. With a coupon and points from Amazon it was FREE too. Grandsons will be very proud to give it to him.
    Baked a ham and cut it for sandwich meat. We had a meal of it too with scalloped potatoes and cucumber salad. It was good.
    Made salsa from lots of the tomatoes. Shredded squash for dog food. We also eat lots of squash too.

  21. I had a section of fencing and the post fall over, storm plus rotting, so as a 74 senior on her own, I dismantled the whole section, cemented in a new post and am now recutting the old boards for staining and reinstalling. Budget was low due to having new roofing installed, so I am eating mostly from my pantry and freezer. It is not easy to do but I just remember the ant who could move mountains … a tiny bit every day and progress happens. I’m off to find more discard lumber behind Canadian Tire store, sure has helped me with this project! Total cost to date under $15 for the post and quick set cement. lovely artichokes Brandi.
    ann lee s

  22. Your dog bathing experience made my day, Gardenpat! I can just visualize the three of you trying to convince a 209lb mastiff to stay still while you scrub him down!:D

  23. Love your photography!

    We had a pretty quiet week, and there was nothing particularly exciting in terms of frugal living, but we continue to plug away at it.

    * Made trail mix.
    * Made bread.
    * Saved the “warm up” water from showers and dish rinse water (and we even had enough of a drizzle one day to top off the rain barrels).
    * Opened up doors/windows and used ceiling fans to limit AC use. So far, our electricity usage is 10% lower over last year at this time, but the forecast calls for some unusually hot weather next week so that will probably change. 🙁
    * Had a backyard BBQ birthday celebration for our son. Hubs grilled, and we had simple sides and homemade cake. The kids played, and the adults visited.
    * Accepted a bag a peaches from friends. (We have peaches on our tree this year–after none last year–but they won’t ripen until August. Then it will be our turn to share with friends.)

  24. I hope your children enjoyed their camp experiences this week, Brandy! Such a beautiful picture of your artichokes, too.

    I wanted to share a project that my daughter (who is currently in grade 7) is currently working on at school, as I think it is just brilliant! The students are pretending to be part of a fictitious town, called “Perryville”. They all had to pick an occupation from a hat which told them what they did and how much money they made per hour (my daughter is a carpenter that makes $25/hr). With this wage in mind, they now have to develop a budget for housing, transportation, food, pets (if they chose to have them- surprisingly my animal loving child decided not to have any because they cost too much money!:o), furniture, necessary household items, etc. They had to make a pretend resume (my daughter’s former employer was Barack Obama – we’re Canadian, but she liked the name:p) and will have to interview for a job. She used fliers to make a grocery list of items to buy (her list included 10 jars of peanut butter and 10 boxes of KD – just like Mom’s list when things are on sale;)). My daughter even offered to let a boy live with her because he was sick when they started the project, so joined in late ( yeah, it’s a bit concerning how quick she was to take in a male room mate:o). Anyways, I just LOVE that they are learning such a great life skill with this project that I thought I would share, for those that home school or are just wanting a fun project to work on over the summer!

    My frugal accomplishments for this week are:

    *Cut more fresh oregano from the garden at work to dry in my dehydrator. I thought I had a fair amount last time, but it dried down to about ¼ cup. We use a lot of oregano, especially when we make chicken souvlaki, so the more the better for my pantry.

    *Meals prepared this week at home included pasta with cheddar sausage and choice of red or white sauce, meat balls in Diana sauce with mashed potatoes and carrots, leftover night, soup and sandwiches, breaded chicken strips with loaded baked potatoes and leftover veggies, and BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with potato wedges.

    *Took lunches and an insulated cup with ice water to work as usual. Ate yummy samplings of baked goods made in the village as part of my lunch as well.

    *This was grocery shopping week. Awesome deals I found included English cucumber 2 for $0.47 each, pasta sauce 12 cans for $0.88/can, bottled water 4 cases for $0.97/15 bottles (used for emergency supply and for day trips), bagels 6 packs for $0.44/4 bagels, pasta 8 bags for $1/900g, and English muffins 8 packs for $1/6 muffins.

    *We harvested spinach from the garden and dandelion greens from the yard to feed our Guinea pig, saving us an untimely trip to the grocery store for Guinea food.

    *My husband and I participated in a Dragon Boat race this weekend. Our daughter came with us to cheer our team on. We packed a cooler with lots of drinks and lunch items to save money. They even had a tent offering free messages for the participating rowers, which of course I made sure to sign up for. We had free exercise and a fun day outing, all while supporting the Breast Cancer fundraiser!

    That’s about it for us. Thank you to everyone for some great frugal ideas. I love reading all your accomplishments. Have an awesome week everyone!

  25. Okay, after MONTHS of reading your blog (and others!), I FINALLY wrote down all of my frugal accomplishments for the past week. Can I just say…I am really impressed with myself! 🙂 I apologize for the length, but it was a very productive week on the frugal front!

    1) Kids are taking swim lessons again this summer. Rather than buy more ear drying drops (helps prevent swimmer’s ear), I used filled the empty container with a homemade solution (half rubbing alcohol, half white vinegar). Their swimsuits were purchased used, and their lessons are scheduled at the same time to reduce time away from home & driving. The lessons themselves are not frugal (private), but we live on a lake and feel the investment is well worth it to help the kids be confident and safe in the water.

    2) Planned & ate all meals at home (except free ones noted below) and used all leftovers. No food waste! One example I’m proud of is using the leftover meat from the previous week’s roast chicken to make chicken teriyaki (homemade teriyake sauce) and THEN using the carcass to make homemade chicken stock.

    3) Spent $169 on groceries for a 2-3 week period for family of 4. This is helped by the fact that I shop at the military commissary, use coupons and combine with deals when possible, apply Ibotta & Checkout 51 rebates when possible, and this week I snagged an AMAZING deal on chicken (literally less than TEN CENTS per package!!!). I’ll go into detail on that in your shopping post. 🙂 I also printed and used coupons from “My Points” to save $ and earn points.

    4) Purchased over $83 worth of items at CVS (vitamins, hair color, light bulbs, batteries) and paid just over $16! I did several transactions to make the most of my ExtraBux. Plus, I had received an email from CVS for a survey. It literally took me 5 minutes and I was awarded a $10 ExtraBux reward. Whoo hoo!

    5) I drank only water all week (as usual). I take my resuable 24 oz cup & straw wherever I go. We purchased 5 gallon containers of water due to very hard water plus drilling near our home, so we don’t entirely trust the tap water. I prepaid our water account at the store where we purchase the water to save 5%.

    6) Cashed out over $20 I had earned at Ibotta to my PayPal account. My husband had just run out of his cologne. I looked online and the brand/type/size he wanted retails for ~$69. I checked Craigslist and Facebook first in case anyone was selling it. No luck. So, I found it on for just over $23, paid using my PayPal $ which made it FREE! Oh, and I went through a cash back shopping portal (I use Mr. Rebates & Ebates, depending on which pays more), so I earned a rebate also.

    7) Continued to sign up for freebies from FreeFlys and Freebie Select. Continued to earn points on MyPoints and Inbox Dollars by using the search bar, doing surveys, and confirming emails. Continued to earn points on e-Rewards by doing surveys. Continued to earn points on RecycleBank by clicking through the quizzes.

    8) During my day of CVS & grocery errands, I ate lunch out completely free. Our local Chick-fil-A was promoting the new mobile app. If you downloaded the app, you earned a free regular or grilled chicken sandwich. Done! The same day, I was texted that week’s reward/discount for Subway. It was a free large iced tea, no purchase necessary. So, I went to CFA & got my sandwich and then to the next shopping center over to get my free Subway drink. All free! And kept me from filling my grocery cart with junk food. 🙂

    9) On National Donut Day I took the kids to the newly opened Krispy Kreme near us for our free donuts (no purchase necessary). The promotion said it was only good for the original glazed, but since it was a brand new store, when we got there they said we could pick out ANY donut we wanted. So, of course the kids chose chocolate with sprinkles. And I chose the “cherry pie” donut. The kids also received balloons & a “donut maker’s” hat.

    10) I took my kids to the library for some books and DVD (we don’t have cable but have Netflix & Hulu. But, the movie my daughter wanted to watch was only available to rent on those sites, so off to the library we went!) While there, we signed up for the summer reading program and filled out a “tic tac toe” board. As a thank you, we were given a free tote bag, TWO coupons for a FREE kid’s meal at Chipotle, and entry into the grand prize drawing at the end of the summer.

    11) Completed the final requirements to earn the $250 Wellness Award from my husband’s employer. It will be deposited into our HSA in January. This was for me. I am still trying to decide if I will do his tasks for him to earn his (because he totally won’t). We are each eligible to earn $250, for a total of $500.

    12) We have been trying to sell one of our rental properties for over a year now (out of town). Our last offer fell through due to a plumbing leak under the house. We just paid $5k to get it fixed – oof! Rather than mail a check, I called the plumbing vendor (small business) to see if I could pay via CC to earn rewards. He said sure! The bonus is we received another offer on the house a couple of days after this, and this one should be good to go. Whoo hoo! We’ve been carrying this house without a tenant since last June so it will be a giant monthly raise when the house is sold.

    13) I scored 2 free tickets to a movie screening of The Conjuring 2 because we belong to AMC Stubs Rewards. I don’t like scary movies, so my husband went alone. He loved it!

    14) I won $40 in gift cards to a nice restaurant in town by participating in their photo caption contest on FB. I was the runner-up. I also won 2 free tickets to a big-name concert that is happening next week by submitting an online entry (it is a at a local bar – the act is still famous but no longer a stadium draw). So, we planned a date night for next week using the free dinner gift cards and free concert tickets! We should be able to do dinner without spending any $ out of pocket.

    15) My Mom wanted to attend a relative’s graduation, so I provided her with buddy passes to fly standby for free (my husband is a commercial airline pilot).

    16) I finally convinced my husband to downgrade the size of our trash cart which will save us $5/month. We also decided to purchase a yard cart from the city (one-time purchase, ours to keep, no monthly fee) rather than buy the yard bags. Then I thought, “hey, I should check to see if someone is selling theirs!” Yep, bought one off FB for $30 rather than the $80 it would’ve cost to order through the city.

    17) Worked 2 hours from home. I earn a very high hourly rate, so even a little work adds up. I work on an as-needed basis for my company since I’m now primarily a SAHM.

    18) Sold a very nice bathing suit that no longer fits on FB for $45.

    19) Cut both kids’ hair. Saved $12/haircut plus tip. I was getting tired of paying for my son to get horrible haircuts. My daughter’s is easy – just a trim.

    20) Took my kids to TWO FREE outdoor movies this past week. Brought our own snacks and drinks to both. They had a blast and got to stay up super late, which was fun for them, but not so much for me the next day when they were cranky. 🙂 At the 2nd movie (different location than the first), we were given FREE Chick-Fil-A for dinner for being one of the 1st 100 guests (I had made sure to get there extra early!). 🙂

    21) Since I am capable of paying for something ONCE in awhile :), I rewarded my kids for being so patient with me driving away to sell my FB item & pick up the yard cart, that I got them each a soft serve ice cream cone at QuikTrip for only 79 cents each. Everywhere else it’s at least $1/cone.

    22) I had already planned on taking my kids to the local bounce house place at some point this summer. It is usually $8/kid but I spotted a Living Social deal where I got it for $6.32 total for both kids instead of $16. Plus, I went through a cash back shopping portal to earn a rebate.

    23) My daughter had received a gift certificate for a 90-minute kid’d cooking class as a birthday gift from a grandparent. I planned to schedule her to go at some point this summer. I thought my son might enjoy it also now that he’s getting older, so when I saw a Groupon deal for it, I jumped. I got it for 50% off, $18 instead of $36. I went through a cash back shopping portal to earn rebates.

    24) I found 30 cents at the gym. Usually it’s just a penny, so I was very excited!

    25) Attended a friend’s bbq/pool party, where I was asked to bring dips. We were running late, so rather than just buying them as I was tempted, I found two recipes that I made in 5 minutes using ingredients I already had on hand. And they were really good!

    26) I am trying really hard to reduce paper towel use. I hid them away and cut up some old flannel burp clothes, towels, etc. to use as clean up. I also bought some cloth napkins at Goodwill rather than use paper towels as napkins. So far, so good!

    27) This one wasn’t from this past week – it was from last month, but it was so good I had to share. A local children’s magazines has coupons for a free mini bundt cake from a local bakery. The bakery will take multiple coupons at once. Unfortunately, the location closer to me doesn’t take the coupons, only the one about 25 minutes away. But, it was worth the drive, because I scored 15 mini bundt cakes in a variety of flavors to donate to Teacher Appreciation Week back in May for FREE. These retail for $4.95 EACH. That was a $75 savings! These cakes are SO GOOD and they are all individually wrapped with cute ribbons. The teachers were gushing over them.

  26. Me too! After eggs being so expensive for so long (they were $3 and $4 a dozen here all winter) I have been stocking up on all the good sales recently.

  27. We continue to use our own labor to prep our house for sale this coming April. The guest room is done for the cost of some paint and rearranging of furniture that we already had. The sun porch needed two new windows but my husband is doing the finishing work and painting himself. I washed some storm windows and started prepping a bathroom to paint. A regular thing we do is to do our own yard work so I heavily pruned gardenias and my husband cut back ivy. I am being careful to use up all leftovers. We are donating what we are not going to move or giving it to friends. Getting receipts for the donations for tax purposes and joy from giving to friends.

  28. *We went camping for a few days as a much-looked-forward-to getaway. We spent four days at a beautiful spot in the National Forest, hiking and relaxing. Camping in the National Forest is free and we took food from home, so our only cost was the gas to get there.’
    *Strawberries were on sale for $1.50 lb and I had four 50 cent coupons, which my store will double to $1, so I was able to buy 4 pounds of strawberries for 50 cents a pound. We put some in homemade ice cream, some in a strawberry-rhubarb crisp and I froze the rest.
    *I gave myself a pedicure. I thought it looked almost as nice as the professional one I would pay $35 for.
    *For Father’s Day I made my FIL his favorite candied pecans — something I have not made in about 5 years. I had to buy a jar of Tang for the recipe, but it will probably keep indefinitely. I also made him four muslin handkerchiefs and monogrammed them, and a homemade card. I think he will like the personal and almost-free gift.
    * Made homemade bread, hamburger buns and pizza, as well as all meals at home.
    * Cut flowers from the yard for an arrangement for the table. (You so inspire me, Brandy!)
    * Planted beans, popcorn and butterbeans, as well as more chard and lettuce. The arugula has bolted and I’m hoping to get some seed from it to plant in the fall.
    * Attended our annual electric co-op meeting. They had a free barbecue dinner and everyone who attended received a free LED light bulb and a $10 bill credit.
    * We have had rain showers every few days, so I have not had to water the garden and I have used water from my rain barrels to water the plants on the porch.

  29. I don’t know if you work outside the home or not, but I try to keep any new recipes I see that look like something we would like. I cut them out (or print them) and put them in a pile until I don’t know what to make for dinner. Then I will pull one out and -if I have the ingredients–make it to try. I do keep a large pantry and might buy a needed ingredient ahead if it requires something I don’t have. Mostly I stick to things I am likely to have on hand. Not every recipe gets a return performance, but sometimes they do, and sometimes they are added to the regular rotation.

  30. Stephanie, you may try the 3 sisters method since you’ve already planted corn. It allows you to plant corn, vining beans and squash all in the same amount of space as corn alone. It shouldn’t matter that the corn is already planted if you marked it. I’ve had many years of gardening in small space. 🙂

  31. Once again I stayed out of most stores, even thrift shops, as we are severely in need of a declutter instead. I made all meals at home except for being invited one night to a 75th birthday party for our friend. I didn’t bake much–one cake, but we did have fresh pineapple and locally grown strawberries which provided snacks and desserts. I made bread also, but I do that every week.
    Our big problem was one that kept us busy all week and is not resolved yet. We have mice. We bought three different kinds of traps, and had to put new hoses in the dishwasher (husband did the work) and the dishwasher is working but the mice are not being caught. We won’t wait more than another day or two before calling in an exterminator–although we do have a cat to protect in case we need to do that. We cannot find where they are–only where they have been, and they reproduce so quickly we just can’t imagine why we’re not catching any. (We caught 3 when the problem started, but there are MORE, we’re certain of that!)
    The house is 105 years old and we have seen the occasional mouse in the basement over the years, but this is more serious than that. And we’ve had enough. Maybe I’ll call tomorrow. There just seems to be no catching them.
    Today I enlisted husband’s help in the garden—he does NOT like gardening but he is stronger than I am. We weeded a large flower bed and he trimmed two blue spruces and a badly overgrown forsythia. I pulled the smaller weeds while he focused on the ones too big for me to handle. I do have a couple bare spots and I might go to the nursery and see if there are perennials on sale as I am close to it when I finish my yoga class tomorrow. He has actually volunteered to trim another blue spruce tomorrow, and I have found a couple more large weeds in another bed what will need his help. I want to still plant a few flowers but I really need to get at it. I did put some Romaine lettuce in a large pot which will sit in the sun. There is more to do than I can finish these days, but we did get a lot done together today. Weather should be good all week–except one day for rain, which we badly need.
    Last week I did a couple afternoons out with friends, so this week I need to get back to getting some WORK accomplished. Still, I like to do both. One friend has cancer and I don’t want to miss out on time to spend together. Just started on a new drug and it’s a “second chance” type of drug, after problems arose with the side effects from almost 3 years on the first one. Hoping for good results but fearing the future for my friend, already seeing a little downhill movement in health.

    Hoping for some good gardening days this week–I need to catch up.

  32. It has been a rather rough week with my husband sick. He had to go to the doctor for an infection and missed 3 days of work (he does not get sick pay). He went back to work today and hopefully is taking it easy. Thankfully we have a HSA that paid for the prescriptions.

    We are eating more vegetarian meals in order to save money. This week I tried a quinoa/black bean burger recipe. I got the quinoa on clearance at Aldi for $1.00 for a 16-ounce bag a few months ago and I bought the dried black beans at the dollar store and cooked them in bulk in the slow-cooker. I also made macaroni and cheese with broccoli from scratch.

    I made yogurt in the slow-cooker. I made a cake over the weekend for our dessert rather than buying something easy on the way home on Friday. I also made muffins with cranberries that I bought after Thanksgiving last year for 50 cents and froze.

    I reached the 5-year milestone at work and was given a choice of anything I wanted in the company catalog. My blender, which was a gift, is on it’s last legs so I chose a new blender from the catalog.

    My dad and step-mother gifted us with some money and it was enough to pad out our emergency fund. What a blessing!

    I mended some clothes for work. I picked mint from the garden for tea.

  33. I, too, look forward to this post and everyone’s comments. Reading what’s written gives me the inspiration to keep being frugal, day in and day out.
    My biggest frugal win this week is my garden. I harvested strawberries daily. Not in any huge quantity, but enough for a serving for me and a baggie for the freezer. I also harvested radish for radish and feta salad with a ginger vinaigrette dressing. Garlic scapes were trimmed as well. Beets and lettuce are just coming in and will be ready next week. I planted seeds for turnip and chard. A friend gifted me three tomato plants that had grown in her garden from last year’s dropped fruit.

    I continue to record what I’ve spent in my 3-ring binder. I had a few ‘in’ days where I stayed at home and reorganized some closets. I’m working at turning the lights out and the tv off when I leave the room. Made all but one meal at home and three meals from my pantry items.
    Wishing everyone a frugal week.

  34. Hello! I will admit to be throwing a pity party for one. My dear husband was very sick with a gastrointestinal virus that nearly sent him to the er due to dehydration. Thankfully the medication worked and free was able to keep fluids down, but he lost a week of much needed work. That and apparently some bills were missed in the chaos. I’m beating myself up at this point.
    Last week was camp, I volunteer so my scout goes free and little brother goes to “camp” for $35.
    We couldn’t bear to throw out 1/2 of a 5lb bag of carrots that the girls didn’t eat at camp, so I took home and roasted them. Yum!
    Free dinner at the cast party for daughter’s play Friday night.
    Rented two movies from the library.

  35. Me too! I bought 3 dozen a few days ago and already had two dozen in the fridge from last week….officially ran out of room for eggs 🙂

  36. My major frugal accomplishment last week involved finding out that an appeal that I had filed with my medical insurance for a claim they had denied had been approved. The situation had been going on for nearly a year, and they had denied the claim three times. Someone in the insurance business told me that a claim will be denied three times before it is approved. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but it is what happened in my case. I have to wait to see how they process the claim, but I could be reimbursed for around $1800. I count that as a huge victory! 🙂

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – My husband has a Nespresso machine (this is definitely NOT frugal, but he is a huge fan the coffee it makes). It stopped functioning, but I did research and called customer service and got it working again. Husband was very happy.
    – I cleaned out a tall bookshelf in our back bedroom. I have some books to sell back to the local used bookstore, and now there is lots of space to store various kitchen items that don’t fit into the kitchen (our condo kitchen is tiny and counter space is minimal). Things are a lot less cluttered now. Yay!
    – I picked a few peas from my community garden plot, one large green onion, and a small bunch of lavender. Another gardener shared a few leeks with me, and I gave her some lavender in return. I planted starts of anise hyssop, parsley and one zucchini. I transplanted two carnations I had on my patio at home, because some critter ate all the flowers. I will have more peas soon, and my beans are coming up nicely too. I also collected some chive seeds.
    – I rescued a reusable shopping bag from the library. Someone had left it right outside of the entrance. There was nothing wrong with it except for a small rip in a seam I will stitch up on the sewing machine.
    – I wanted a French press mug to make coffee at work. I had been looking for a few weeks, and I finally found a brand new one at the thrift store for $2. My boss gave me a $5 Starbucks gift card, so I bought a half pound of coffee for a minimal amount out of pocket.

    Now I’m going to read about everyone else’s frugal accomplishments.

  37. I don’t feel like I do a lot of extra money saving things cuz they’re so normal now! I hang all of our laundry. Daytime thermostat is set at 80- you gotta love a basement! I’m a strict errand combiner and work everything around my church & volunteering activities. My husband is a great finder of treasures… curbside… Last week he brought home a discarded and holey hose that will now complete our nearly-free dri p irrigation system that covers all the borders/beds on our 1/3 acre. We took out DVD ‘s from the library.

  38. This past week was going well until Saturday when the motor in our air conditioner blew. It was 101 degrees with humidity (sc). We had to call emergency repair. Since it was the weekend, I couldn’t get proper quotes so I did the best that I could by asking around as to who was the cheapest. It is fixed and we did pay it off. The next couple of months will be interesting.

    Luckily, I had been to the store and purchased everything for my husbands birthday tomorrow. He requested lasagna and I’m making Italian Cream Cake. Used two free coupons for high quality pecans and walnuts. (my husbands company just bought this company). I’ll use the pecans on the cake and walnuts for French toast on Father’s Day. Bought a ton of fruit at aldi as well as a couple of staples.

    Really just hung out at home otherwise. Lots of board games and pool visits (our neighborhood has one). Have a great week!

  39. Hi Jennifer,
    Would you please share your new rhubarb muffin recipe? I too am always on the lookout for new rhubarb recipes. Thanks.

  40. I’m working with a 4×4 ft bed for my corn. I do have pole beans planted in another box, but I may plant some with the corn too to have more. I’m not sure if 4×4 is enough space to put some squash in there too, but I do have some butternut seeds I could try. I suppose I could let it grow out of the box onto the ground surrounding. That’s what we did with our watermelon last summer (which was another child’s request, experiment; it didn’t go too well, was fun to try once, but not worth doing again).

  41. I have been fighting for a few weeks with feelings of not wanting to be frugal—I want to buy what I want at the grocery store and JoAnn’s. I want to go out to eat several times a week, I want to buy what I want from the bookstore…This seems to happen about once a year, where I just lose my enthusiasm for saving. I try to reframe it as being a good steward of what God has given, but that doesn’t seem to help. You always seem to be able to maintain such a positive outlook, Brandi, as do all the other contributors. We are not wanting for anything, with a paid off mortgage and money in an emergency fund, so I can’t even get motivated by some feeling of desperation that if I am not frugal the family will suffer. I have not fallen off the wagon yet, so to speak, but my heart is not in it. I am looking for ways to inspire myself, or is this normal and people just get over it and back on track.

  42. Hello Brandy and all from Australia, where it is cold, frosty and wood fire weather 🙂 .

    This weeks frugal accomplishments are –

    – Purchased 15 tins of lychees on special saving $10.50 on usual prices.
    – Topped up on much needed towelling tea towels for $1 ea.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all bread from scratch in our bread maker with plain flour, saving 0.78c per loaf over using bread flour.
    – Made a bacon and spinach quiche with vegetables picked from our gardens and storage from the pantries.
    – Baked 24 chocolate chip muffins using commercial packet mixes purchased on special.
    – Made an apple pie using home storage from the pantries and fridge.
    – Made carrot and beetroot juice for the 2 of us from vegetables picked from the gardens.
    – Washed, cut , blanched a froze 2 kg of spinach from the gardens to top up the freezer.

    Craft earning frugalities –
    – Made enough from my sewing internet stores to pay for the phone and internet bill for the month.

    In the garden –
    – planted a 2mt square patch of carrot seeds in the garden with seeds purchased for 0.56c a pack on special on the internet saving $1 a pack .
    – Made more layers of compost from vegetable and juice scraps from the house.
    – Replanted some of a patch of broad beans hit by late summer heat.
    – Picked spinach, silver beet, pumpkins, snow peas, peas, beetroot and carrots from our now free to us organic gardens.

    Water Preservation –
    – Used grey water from the showers and washing machine to water the lawns around the house, saving on town/ tank water use.
    – Supplement watered all new seeds and newly sprouted vegetable seedlings in the garden with tank water, saving on town water use.

    Power Savings –
    – Turned off all power points to items not being used.
    – Started doing our washing at night to hang out in the mornings, and having showers at night too. This saves money on electricity which is cheaper at night time.

  43. I have to chime in, too! Except my sale price was 88 cents. I bought six dozen. I wish i’d bought more!

  44. Hi, Kim!
    It sounds to me like you’re doing pretty good with your budget. Paying off school debt is a big deal!

  45. Hi Brandy, maybe some people have told you already (sorry for repeating it) but zucchini flowers are edible. Fry them up or sauté them or stuff them. I was given New Zealand spinach seeds and harvested some today. There’s another heat loving variety you might be interested in called red Malabar spinach. It grows up vine like. Mine have started to come up. It’s really pretty looking with the red “veins”. Love your website and I mostly just read. But thought I’d share those with you.

  46. That’s funny, Jennifer, I was thinking the same thing when I read Stephanie’s comment. Stephanie, if you try this, there is a lovely native story about the 3 sisters that you can tell your children and you can make the 3 sister’s soup (corn, beans and squash) with the harvest. You can google the story and the recipe if you’re interested!

  47. This past weekend was quite busy for us! We’ve started house hunting this week and will be out of town next week, so we had to do most of our meal prep over the past weekend.

    -Mr. Picky Pincher made veggie and chicken stock. The veggie stock is made from frozen inedible veggie scraps, so it’s pretty much free for us to make!
    -We made chicken tortilla soup with the veggie stock and froze it. This will be a great warm meal for a crazy week.
    -I started sewing a shirt with the cheap fabric I got at Goodwill. I’m still learning how to sew, so it’s lucky I got such a good deal on the materials in case I mess up.
    -I baked a few loaves of ciabatta bread for my SIL’s bake sale.
    -I made a batch of yogurt, and shared it with some of Mr. Picky Pincher’s friends and a coworker. Share the wealth!
    -Mr. Picky Pincher sewed some amazing reusable produce bags. We bought the materials from Joann’s with a coupon, so that was a plus.
    -I made homemade pancakes and blueberry syrup. I made a double batch of pancakes and froze them for quick breakfasts.
    -I baked a batch of cranberry almond muffins. I set aside some to munch on this week and froze a few in loaves for later.

  48. Ashlee, we use it mostly to make a fruit tea by pouring boiling water over the rhubarb, but you can rehydrate it by covering it with boiling water & letting it sit for a bit, then use it to make anything you would used stewed or frozen rhubarb to make. I dehydrate it because it takes less space that way & my freezer is usually full of meat.

    A few decades ago, I wondered why rhubarb was such a big thing in pioneer gardens & why they even brought such a sour plant west, when there would be no sugar there to sweeten it. It is even mentioned int he “Little House” books. Come to find out that one reason the pioneers brought rhubarb corms west was because rhubarb kills cholera. Cholera killed 40% of those who died on the trails.

    Even in modern times, in the event of an extended grid failure, one of the more important details is that the sewage pumps would cease to work. In some communities, that means that sewage would back up into homes, making it impossible to stay there. Sewage issues would mean a rise in deaths from cholera, typhoid, & other fecally passed diseases. Several years ago I added that line item to our house insurance, but I also checked to see if our community required valves to prevent back flow in the sewer lines & it does. That’s when I started dehydrating our excess rhubarb. We like the tea; it can kill cholera, & we have it in a form that is easy to share with others.

  49. That is a good idea. I have a bunch of old cook books made by churches in my hometown so Iwould rthink they would have good recipes but I hate wasting food when no one will eat my cooking.

  50. One of the best things people can do to save money is swap with those they know. When Family Reunion time comes it should be viewed as a chance to have a large swap as well. Anytime you see family and friends you all should consider swap. Swap beats purchase anytime!
    Large class reunions should be set up this way as well.

    It just makes sense if folks are going to gather that they should bring items to swap.

  51. I’ve noticed several people over the past few weeks saying they make their own yogurt. I would love to do this but mine has failed Everytime
    Would anyone mind sharing their recipe or technique for making it? Thanks so much, Lynn

  52. Egg sales are rare in my area so I stock up when I can! My mission is to build my pantry so we could potentially survive at least one year off of it.

  53. My daughter and I also gathered and dehydrated black raspberry leaves that grow on our property. It will have similar properties of red raspberry leaf when I drink it as a tea.

  54. Lorna, thank you for reminding me I can use AP flour in my bread machine. I buy the high gluten in bulk, which is near my office, but since my office is closing in a year I was just thinking yesterday how I needed to find a new source soon. Now, not!

  55. Usually those old “church” cookbooks are full of “tried-and-true” recipes that have stood the test of time. Pick out a couple of recipes for items you know your family will like. Follow the recipes exactly and practice making them until you have mastered those items. Then……pick out two more recipes and do the same thing. Pretty soon, you will have two weeks worth of recipes that you can consistently produce for your family’s enjoyment.

    Learning to cook meals homemade is the BASIC SKILL in saving money for your family. It is almost impossible to live frugally if you are spending $30+ each day for someone else (Subway, Chipotle, Pizza Hut, Kroger deli, etc.) to cook your family meals. Let your family members know, “Nothing says LOVIN’ like something from the OVEN!” and ask for their patience/understanding as you learn to cook for them. Good luck!

  56. HI, Lynn.

    I’m new at making homemade yogurt, and so far so good. I follow the instructions found in [i]Yogurt Culture[/i] by Cheryl Sternman Rule. It’s available through Amazon, but I checked it out from the library before buying my own copy. (If your local library doesn’t have a copy, you can ask for an interlibrary loan.) I also bought a yogurt maker online on sale, but it’s really not essential. I’ve made bigger batches in a sauce pot using the “closed oven” method described in the book. Both methods work fine.

    The book also includes a troubleshooting/FAQs section that might help.

    One thing to keep in mind: Homemade yogurt is not as thick as commercial yogurt unless you drain the whey and make Greek yogurt. It’s also not nearly as sweet, but we actually prefer it.

    I also use a candy thermometer to determine the temperature of the milk, use whole milk, and use purchased plain yogurt as the starter. (I just haven’t experimented with using my own homemade yogurt as starter yet.)

    Hope you find success in your yogurt-making endeavors! 🙂

  57. Just had BLTs for lunch today (after reading your post yesterday). YUM! We haven’t had them in years, probably because we don’t often have bacon. Thanks for the reminder.

  58. 6/14/2016 If you have Big Lots stores in your area, they are carrying quite a few gluten free mixes this week. They are made with a combination of rice/corn flour. I hope this helps you out.

  59. Ugh, mice….I feel for you. I spent 12 years in an old (early 1900s), poorly maintained apartment (it was in Europe, so not necessarily up to US standards) with mice I could not get rid of. And I’m allergic to cats – the obvious solution. I tried traps, poison, closing every hole I could find with steel wool, and many other things, and still I could not get rid of them. The landlord didn’t care, and anyway mice were a plague all over the city. Good luck. Hope the exterminator solves your problem.

  60. Love that story! Stephanie, I would try the squash seeds …. close to an end but instead of 2-3 seeds per hill, just do 1 in several different spots. Good luck….. and you can never have too many beans! We’ve had some crazy cantelope/ watermelon fails too … but we never stop trying. This year I’m fighting ants while not using chemicals or pesticides… There is always several battles with Gardening. We keep learning!

  61. We continue to strive for fast food free living.. only broke down twice in the past 6 weeks and bought a pizza for $10 at Little Caesars. It was pretty shocking when I went through my check register and added up all the money we spent on fast food monthly for April and May. Over $200 in April and $128 for May. It adds up. I have willingly reduced my work shift to 4 days a week and been lucky enough to be in the stores mid week when meat seems to be reduced for clearance so have been able to get some good meat buys which has helped a lot. I found for a neighbor yesterday beef hamburger for 99 cents a lb. so I called her ask her if she wanted any and how much and she said 5 lbs. so I got those for her. My frugal failure was buying 10 lbs. of strawberries and not cutting them up quickly enough.. bought them Saturday by today they were completely covered in mold and found pack of chicken tenderloins in the bottom of the fridge past their exp. date by a week $3.55 that I threw out.. “when in doubt throw it out”. I’m so mad at myself for not being on top of this food waste.

  62. Jenifer, I tested the link I entered and it didn’t work. Do you know how to put it up for others to try?

  63. Hi Jenifer and you are most welcome for the reminder.

    For those not familiar with the fact you can use all purpose flour to make white bread in your bread makers here is what we do. Go by the recipe in your bread machine recipe book, double the yeast, double the sugar, double the bread improver, and add 5ml of extra water per 750 gm loaf that you make and put the water at 30 oC.

    What this effectively does is the extra bread improver brings the all purpose flour protein content to the same as bread flour and you get a wonderful loaf of white bread with the same protein content as one made with bread flour.

    Our bread flour is $2.25 per Kg here and our all purpose flour is 0.75c per kg. It is a huge saving on your bread making expenses. I am talking Australian pricing here, but usually the bread flours are substantially more expensive in most other countries too so it is well worth using the cheaper flour to make your bread especially if you have a large family and make a lot each week.

    We purchase our yeast and our bread improver at bulk wholesale costs from a restaurant supply company so the costs are very minimal to make bread in this way.

    Anyone not on the metric measurements as we are, just convert to imperial with one of many weight conversion charts on the internet. I hope this helps.

  64. I’ve had good luck freezing the excess store bought yogurt. I freeze the excess in ice cube trays and use 1 cube per quart of milk. Thaw the frozen cubes in a bowl on the counter and bring to room temperature. I follow the instructions found in the Tightwad Gazette book.
    I place my filled quart jars on a heating pad and cover the jars with my soup pot. Then I cover the whole lot with some towels. Incubation time is usually 6 hours on the low setting of the heating pad. I used to have a yogurt maker but needed make larger quantities of yogurt then the 6-single serve jars that came with the yogurt maker.
    I haven’t been successful using home-made yogurt as a starter for future batches. I’ve read, though, that it can be done.

  65. Kim, none of us were born with a spoon in our hand lol Practice makes perfect and don’t forget to use your spices! Boring is sometimes in reality only bland. What types of food do you like to get as take out? Mexican.. get some ground cumin, pepper flakes, chipotle pepper and dried cilantro. Taco seasoning can be used in beans, tacos, taco soup, diced pork. You can get spices for $1.00 at the Dollar store. Try different combos until you like what you did.
    Did you know you can buy Jimmy Johns bread for 50 cents a loaf? Pick up a few, cut them and freeze. When you crave one you can make your own at home. Try the recipes on Brandy’s site. Love her Spanish rice!
    Your husband is doing something nice for YOU, not FOR you. Bake him some cookies as a thank you. Have fun in the kitchen and relax. Your family won’t starve and you’ll soon be surprising everyone!!

  66. I never buy bread flour and always use unbleached all purpose. I add 2 Tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to every 6 cups of flour when making white bread. It’s a bit different for wheat and rye, but the instructions are right on the box. I don’t need to increase yeast or sugar. Maybe that is another option for you. If you can find the gluten anymore. My store stopped carrying it because they said no one wants gluten anymore. So we just pick it up at the natural food co-op now.

  67. Being frugal, reread Start Here and all the posted comments on this week’s frugal post. Also using the inserts out of cold cereal boxes; Hubby eats it before he goes to bed since he is 3rd shift, said oatmeal is too heavy before he sleeps.We get in on sale with coupons and he is very careful about not getting the kind that is high in sugar.Changed some antivirus and other programs on computers to save money but be better protected. OTHER stuff is at

  68. posting another here…. I want to thank you Brandi for your wisdom. I just reread you saving list and got to wondering how many I did and didn’t and why I didn’t. There are a couple things Hubby just won’t get on board with so it’s going to be another round of “let’s talk about a compromise” at least. It’s wonderful to have a “friend” that is supportive and encouraging as you are. Bless you and yours.

  69. I was struggling with this when my son pointed out I was over filling the frig and pushing things to the back. I raided my extra containers and corralled like items and put the stuff that needs dealt with the soonest on the shelf at eye level…works most the time. Might help you.

  70. I’ll have to try freezing my store-bought starter yogurt. I really like your ice cube tray idea. Now I just have to make some room in my freezer!

  71. Cats aren’t always a solution for mice. I worked in an animals shelter that was overrun with both cats and mice! We once had a mouse get into our house and when it ran at my cat, she jumped up and ran away. Not all cats are good mousers.:p

  72. Everything is growing rapidly and well. We have received much rain and warm weather.

    We continue to do the usual of composting, recycling, re-using. Life is quiet again now the wedding is over. My husband and I took a slightly delayed trip to celebrate our anniversary and went up to his family’s cabin Tuesday for an afternoon through the next noon. It is on a lake, rustic, but accessible enough for me that I can manage. My husband did all the cooking in the outdoor firepit, we bird watched, fished off the dock, listened to all the night sounds and star gazed. It was nice and peaceful.

    We have picked spinach, lettuces, radishes, rhubarb, pea shoots, green onions, last of the asparagus, and the first strawberries! The berries just started this week. Everything is planted, either transplants or seeds; some of the seeds in 2nd and 3rd plantings for consecutive harvests. I convinced my daughter to try growing celery this year and she agreed. We will see how that goes.

    The newlyweds should be back tomorrow. They went out through S. Dakota and are coming back via N. Dakota and northern Minn…they pickup truck camped. I hope they had good weather.

    Didn’t cook as much since gone a bit and had wedding food leftovers also. Made my late mother in law’s rhubarb jam recipe using strawberry jello…3 batches, as my husband likes it. Chopped and froze spinach into one packed cup portions for use in soups and other dishes. Made curried creamy spinach and garbanzos and naan with rice. Added spinach to scrambled eggs, to spaghetti sauce, made a bisquit quiche with it, made salad 2 x with the hot bacon dressing. Added it to regular lettuce salads. It is growing very well this year. Even put it on top of pizza. Made tuna shell noodle salad with peas and cheese cubes. Made peach kuchen and 2 loaves white bread and a butterscotch-banana pudding pie. Made beef shish kebab on the grill and broiled tofu in oven..served with rice pilaf and sauteed spinach, pea shoots and sesame seeds.

    Stopped at a dent and bent store on way back from cabin and picked up a few items….chia seeds, chocolate baking bars, roasted peeled chestnuts in a bag (they were really good), Thai peanut marinade sauce. Went back to the grocer and bought 5 lbs of the sale peaches as they were really good. Made up two unbaked pies and put them into freezer for later. Bought 2 gal of milk for 5.00, 2 lbs of butter for 5.00, 3 doz farm eggs, 2 bottles each of Vit D and Vit E for BOGO.

  73. Erika, I commented on one of your older posts about the red cabbage, in case you don’t see it.

  74. Rhonda, that sounds like a good project. Do you have year round school there in Ontario?

    Our 5th grade teacher does a marketing project every year. The children form companies, come up with product, logo, jingles, advertising. On the big day they set up their booths and the whole school takes turn coming through a class at a time. Parents too. Everyone is given a certain amount of “money” to shop. Then the young entrepreneurs have to be salespeople, make change, deal with the “public” it is a highly looked forward to project. All my children remember it fondly in retrospect, though they may have stressed over it at the time.

  75. Marcia, I pray you have many many more visits with your friend. Possibly, this time will be the medicine that works.

  76. Mrs PP, I enjoyed your post about the humongous cabbage. How it could have been that expensive though I don’t know. Have you, or actually Mr PP, finished it off? Just so you know we used almost 80 lbs of cabbage to make the slaw for my sister in law’s wedding.

  77. Greetings!
    *I made some powdered soap with homemade bar soap and have been using that about every other load. I buy cheap laundry soap, usually. For the very few times my husband does a load, he wants the liquid.
    *I’m still walking and trying to do 3 miles a day. I count walking with friends, the dog and working. I guess at working since i’m too cheap to buy a fit-bit. (Crazy money for those!)
    *Thinned sage and thyme and dried them. I’m working on thinning my two small apple trees. It looks like a bumper crop, relatively speaking, but i’m thrilled! It looks like the lemon tree i bought has a few more flowers. I take that to mean that it’s happy here, the new pot suits it and i’ll end up with more lemons!
    *I went looking in the forest for some logs to start mushroom spawn. I found three pieces that should work. The spawn should be here any day. I’ve tried this before, many years ago, but it wasn’t very good. We’ll see if the second time is the charm!
    *I’ve picked and froze some rhubarb. I transplanted this two years ago and it’s finally found a home it likes. I got to use my new-to-me seal-a-meal. I got it a month ago at a garage sale for a song!
    *I’ve been picking chive blossoms and putting them in vinegar. So good and easy!
    *I bought another bag of organic oranges. Oranges and vitamin C don’t agree with me. But, once in awhile my body craves it. I buy the organic so i can keep the peels and make candied orange peels closer to Christmas. No-one else in my little circle makes them so it’s always a welcomed gift.
    *We’ve been getting enough rain that my water barrel is always full (Knock wood) and i don’t have to water much. This should make for a bountiful blueberry harvest! Can’t wait!
    *Plus, i’ve been doing the usual; hanging laundry on dry days, saving shower water for the laundry, shopping sales.
    Have a wonderful week!

  78. School here goes to end of June. My daughter has only 1 1/2 weeks left before summer break. They start back to school right after labour day weekend in September.

    Our schools do similar projects like the one you described. Usually it’s high school kids I hear doing projects like that, though. Although the experience may be fun at the time, not everyone wants to be a business owner when they grow up. What I love about the project that my daughter is doing is that everyone will eventually need to use this. It’s incredibly practical. The project is making them think about things like the cost of living and future career choices, plus they are practicing real life math skills! Perfectly timed too as these are grade 7 & 8 students who are starting to think about what they want to do as careers now that they are entering high school.

  79. Hi Athanasia and thanks for the additional tip of the wheat gluten additive too, shall see if we can source that here in our small country town 🙂 .

  80. Here’s the direct link
    If that fails: Brown Sugar Rhubarb Muffins. (makes about 12 regular sized muffins).

    for the batter:
    2½ cups flour; 1¼ cups brown sugar, lightly packed; 1 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda;
    ½ teaspoon salt; 1½ cups rhubarb, chopped small; ½ cup oil; 1 egg; 1 teaspoon vanilla; 1 cup sour milk (or buttermilk); 1 recipe crumbs (see below)

    Stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. It’s okay if there are little lumps of brown sugar. Add the rhubarb and toss to coat.

    In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine, taking care not to over mix.

    Divide the batter into greased (or paper-lined) muffin tins (don’t over-fill them like I did—makes them nearly impossible to dump out afterward), sprinkle with the crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the tins. Serve warm, though leftovers are excellent, too.

    for the crumbs:
    ¼ cup each flour and brown sugar; ¼ teaspoon cinnamon; 1 tablespoon oil
    Put all ingredients in a bowl and mash together with a fork.

  81. Thanks for the encouragement. Sticking to a recipe is probably the key for me. I always try to “wing it” and end up with edible but not necessarily delicious food.

  82. Thanksfor the advice. Yes Idid know jimmy johns has day-old bread for 50 cents. We like to make a beef roast with an italian dressing packet and au ju packet in a crock pot and have french dip sandwiches. You can add swiss cheese also. That is one of a few of my tried and true meals!
    I should start writing things down so I have a list of meals thag I havent forgotten about. Thanks! I will have to try brandys recipes sometime.

  83. To d ay I made chicken salad which I have never made before. I am going to use grren onions from garden and finish picking rhubabr to make jam. My two year has been sick and vomiting so had to put frugality on hold for a day. At first Ithought she might have concussion from falling offthecouch so yesterday was a trip yto the ER…but found out it was a bad ear infection that had her acting strangely And vomiting.

  84. I had to boil a pot of water to sterilize some jars for herb-flavored oils, and the leftover water went straight to my sink to wash the dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher. Other times, it will go on the fire ant hills, but either way, I’m not wasting that heated water.
    We grew roselle starts from seed for a friend, and in turn the friend gave us some roselle jelly he’d made a few months earlier. He’d accidentally killed his roselle plants this year by over-mowing them and asked us to start some for him, since his efforts to start some had failed. He also let us keep several of the starts — we’re hoping to grow our own patch.
    It was simply too humid to hang clothes outside, so I opened up my drying rack and hung them inside.
    We picked our first eggplants from our plants and had eggplant parmesan — meat-free and so, so good.
    The pump on our fountain died. Since there are fish in the pond with it, we needed to get the water flowing without a long delay. My husband bought a new pump and installed and wired it himself, just like he did the first one. The last one lasted about 7 years going 24/7, so we hope this one, which is the same kind, will do as well as the old one. Not having to pay for installation saves us a lot of money.

  85. Hmm, Becky when I try to read your site now it won’t allow… says must sign in with word press. Have a password. Is that something new?

  86. I don’t know why it would do that. I certainly haven’t set it to do that for any reason. I’m sorry it does that. Sadly, I’m so new to the whole blogging thing (only started in October) that I would not have the faintest clue what to do about it. Any ideas?

  87. Thank you Jenifer. My youngest made more of them with her babysitting kids today for their cooking lesson. She set up for 3 batches so each could make their own. The kids are 9,10 and
    12. We all ate one batch warm, then she sent one batch with them and we kept a batch. Well see how they freeze. She wrapped them 6 and 6 in foil, then a zip lock.

  88. Isn’t that always the case that our sewing to do list is much longer than we have time for? Mine definitely is! I hope you are able to squeeze in a bit of sewing this week. Will your 3 month old sit in a Moby wrap or baby carrier? Your daytrips sound like so much fun!

  89. I saved money this week by buying 16 pints of blueberries for .99 a pint and raspberries for .77 a container. I froze them for the winter. I have been a vegetarian for 15 years and now a vegan for 1 yr. I save a lot of money not buying meat and dairy. I do cook for my meat eating husband. So I cook 2 different meals, but I feel so good and have a lot of energy. Most of my meals can be made so quick and easy. I use alot of greens, but if I am out I always have dehydrated or frozen foods. I also cook for my dog. I try to buy bulk food in quantity or sale produce and make a big batch. I moved last year so I am starting a garden again. I hope to get a lot of goodies this year. I wintered over my gerber daisies and geraniums so I didn’t have to buy annuals. I got 1 cubic yard of black premium mulch for free. I am also using the water from my pond to water. We are having a very dry spell so this is a great resource for us. When the herbs grow tall I will dehydrate them for later use. I am planting as many edible plants as I can as opposed to flowers. I love them but will cut back on them. Thanks to all for all the suggestions. Cathy

  90. My babies always liked the swing at that age and would nap in for quite awhile if kept swinging. Do you have a swing?

  91. Becky it is still doing it…if I click on your name or on the link it wants a wordpress password and acct info. Never did that before. If I go to google and enter Becky at home though it goes to your blog no problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *