Table Grapes The Prudent Homemaker

We picked peaches, apricots, and grapes from the garden.

I canned 4 quarts of applesauce, 10 1/2 pints apricot vanilla jam, 9 quarts of peaches, and 9 quarts of grape juice from our garden produce. I canned 4 quarts of cranberry juice and 4 1/2 pints of cranberry sauce with cranberries I had bought in November and froze.

I sliced and froze several quarts of peaches and two quarts of apricots from our trees.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card.

I combined coupons, sales, and Target cartwheel offers to save on toiletries.

I needed some new cooking pots after 16 years of marriage. I decided to see if they had what I needed while I was at Target. To my surprise, they had the pots I was wanting to get on sale, so I was able to save $22 on 3 individual pots.

I went through several items in the house and found several bags’ worth of items to donate to the thrift store. I love that such a simple thing can bring more happiness and peace by making our lives less cluttered.

We rearranged some furniture in the house. 

I returned two shirts that my husband bought that he didn’t like the fit of.

I cut apple branches for a simple arrangement on my entry table. I also cut a single dahlia for an arrangement in the house.

My girls accepted some hand-me-downs from a cousin.

Picking Apricots The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. You were busy this past week! I donated a couple huge bags of clothes. It feels so nice to get them out of my home, but it also makes me happy to know that the items are going to people that need them. I went to and requested three free shipping bags, and they include the shipping label so all I had to do was drop them off when filled.

    We attended a free lavender festival. My little one enjoyed putting his hands in the huge container of dried lavender. They also had a mini apple orchard, and he had so much fun collecting the fallen apples.

    We tried going to a free puppet show at the library, but he couldn’t stay still.

    My mom brought over some toddler sized tables and chairs for outside (that she had from her old home daycare) and he was so excited. He went right to work making mud pies. 🙂

    Here are some other frugal efforts from last week. Have a great week everyone!

  2. Bravo for having cookware that lasts 16 years! We have a Calphalon set that we’d eventually like to replace with higher quality stainless pots and pans.

    This week:

    1. Mr. Picky Pincher got a free oil change and tire rotation as part of his free vehicle service contract with Toyota. Unfortunately this was the last free oil change, so we’ll have to start paying for them now. It was a good two years!

    2. We cooked a couple of new vegetarian dishes and LOVED them! One was a faro, asparagus, and kale mixture with hazelnuts, and the other was a warm orange Mexican salad. They were outside our comfort zone, but they were vegetarian and tasty–and cheap!

    3. Instead of buying tortillas at the store for $3, I made them at home. I cooked them just slightly in the cast iron skillet, and stored them in the fridge to eat throughout the week.

    4. We watched a movie that we rented for free from the library.

    5. We went for a lovely walk in the park on Saturday. We were waiting for the Toyota to get its oil change, so we met up with family at a nearby park for a walk.

    6. I made blueberry syrup from the bulk blueberries I bought last week.

    7. I cooked spaghetti squash. We’re eating spaghetti squash lo mein for dinner tomorrow, so I cooked it ahead of time to save my weeknight sanity.

    8. I cooked a big batch of pancakes and froze them. I shouldn’t have to make pancakes for another 2 weeks.

    9. I made lots of delightful eclairs and profiteroles as our sweet treats this week, using what I had lying around the house. The flavors were nutella coffee, maple brown sugar and bacon, blueberry lemon, caprese (savory), and green onion and bacon (savory).

    10. Mr. Picky Pincher made a huge batch of homemade beans. We’ll freeze these and have beans for another 2 months. And they’re much tastier and healthier than canned beans from the store!

  3. What kind of grapes can you grow where you are, I am in Florida, it’s pretty hot here too, we are very humid here esp. Lately. All I have been told we can grow is muscadine grapes, not sure if any others would grow here… do you think grape juice can be made and canned from muscadines?

  4. I signed up for Amazon’s Audible trial and got two free audio books. I’ve been entering discharges for work (I’m an insurance nurse who telecommutes) which is usually done by nonclinical staff, but I am able to do it on weekends and evenings when I don’t need child care, and at my same nurse hourly rate. I picked up three shifts on top of that, since I am stockpiling money for August, when I won’t be able to work as much.

  5. This week what was spent not going anywhere. My husband ran all errands and did grocery shopping. We live 10 miles from town, so that saves gas. I will combine errands this week, with a trip to the doctor.

    I am sewing my daughter some things from my stash.

    All meals were made at home last week.

    Changing our cable to a program that saves us have of the normal cost, with many more channels.

    Sewing and embroidering a pillow and blanket from my stash for a doll bed that belinged to my neice, to give to my daughter. The doll bed needed to be sanded down and re-painted from wear and tear.

    Put up 2 bushels of lady finger peas in my freezer. My dad used to grow our peas, but has found it is easier and costs less (ours used to take alot of spray, to keep them viable) for us to buy these from a local produce store.

    Watched some movies on Amazon Prime with husband.

    We have been swamped with medical bills, once again. It is very discouraging! However, will pay minimum on each bill, as they don’t charge interest.

    Spent $15 on A-Z Sewing book and will use blogs, pinterest, and youtube to perfect sewing, instead of costly sewing classes that would also cost overnight travel. I have been sewing since Jr High, but need more practice to make my clothing more professional in appearance.

    Joined an online group of a religious author and speaker that is coming out with a new book. This gives me access to preview her book, with some additional goodies and discounts.

    Brandy, what are some tricks and tips you use? Your gifts and clothing are always swoon worthy!!

  6. That’s great the pans you wanted were on sale at Target. So nice when that happens. My pans are an assortment of hand-me-downs and thrift store finds. I think that would drive most people crazy but I love it.

    I had last week off from work which was so nice. These last few months have been so busy. One day, I took the bus to downtown Seattle and just walked around by myself. I brought a sandwich and had a little picnic (I did buy a pickle from the pickle store and it was delicious). I went down to the waterfront and enjoyed people and seagull watching. It was a fun day.

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – We continued to eat snap peas I harvested from my garden (five pounds so far). I also have a CSA vegetable share, and their pea crop failed this year due to weather issues (hot spring weather followed by flooding). I was happy I planted so many, because we really enjoy fresh peas. I shared some with my mom and my sister.
    – I met up with two friends I rarely see. We met at a park, visited a farmers market, then went out to dinner (budgeted expense). I went early and enjoyed sitting in the sunshine in the park.
    – I bought an inexpensive foraging tool on Amazon, which will allow me to pick plums and apples from some trees in the park. I should also be able to use it to pick hazelnuts from a tree I found by accident.
    – We enjoyed watching many different kind of birds on our patio, including three types of woodpeckers, two species of hummingbirds, along with sparrows, chickadees, juncos, etc. It’s so fun to watch parent birds with their fledglings.
    – The vegetable CSA had the flower fields open for the first time this year, so I was able to pick a few zinnias. There will be more varieties of flowers later.
    – I boxed up the jam I have made and cut up cardboard to make lids for two boxes. I don’t have a lot of space to store canned goods, and boxes work pretty well for me.
    – On Saturday, I ran errands by bike. I bought five pounds of apricots at the farmer’s market (which weren’t quite ripe, but I will make jam once they are soft). The vendor gave me a bunch of free cherries as well. I had packed a lunch and rode to the park to eat it under a tree. There was a festival downtown in our city, and the traffic was a mess, so taking my bike was a good option (plus riding my bike is always fun).

    Have a good week, everyone.

  7. Good Morning Brandy~

    I cut seeds from my lettuce and chard plants. Pulled 1/2 of my beets from the garden and will pickle.. think I may have enough for 4 1/2 pts. planting more lettuce seeds. Found 3 artichokes on my plant~ so excited!! as they do not really grow well here in the NW. Cut back on our grocery bill for this month and only bought needed supplies.. have saved 1/2 on our bill for the month. Cooking from your pantry menu for this month to save 🙂 . Found apricots at a fruit stand for .99/lb, and I canned 12 jars of your vanilla apricot ( low sugar) jam. Also found loganberries, and canned another 12 jars of jam, made a crisp for desert and froze 1/2 gallon of berries for this winter to make a pie. Cut my own hair, stayed home for a couple of weeks and not worked so I saved on gas. Enjoying home time! Had family over for dinner last night and used pantry items for our dinner. Called our cable company and cut out a lot of channels and now will save $45.00/month. My husband likes to watch the golf and sports channel. We may give cable up completely in the near future..still debating. We have had rain for a few days which saves on our water bill for watering the veggie garden.

    Have a wonderful week~
    Patty from the NW

  8. It seems odd to not be canning already this year, but I expect it will be here soon enough. We have tiny squash & eggplant, picked the first cucumber yesterday, the beans are loaded with blossoms & tomatoes are just starting to turn color. I tried making a wrap with swiss chard, which I liked, but he didn’t. My many years old thrifted food processor’s lid finally broke beyond repair. I was happy to find that Amazon’s best seller was so inexpensive ($26.24 with free shipping), with great reviews on Amazon & by a consumer group. Thanks for taking time in what are sure to be busy days to continue these posts. Joining in here:

  9. That was a good amount of canning to get done. I always enjoy the pictures you include in your posts. They are so peaceful.

    This was my first week of full time hours at the grocery store. I always find that your first couple of weeks of working full time after a prolonged period of time off is very tiring. However, I still managed to do a few things to save us some money.

    I cut the man’s hair – again. I wish my hair was this thick and grew this fast.

    I used one of my days off to pick currants and Saskatoons. I gathered almost a whole bucket full of black currants. I made a syrup to turn into ribena. It was such a hit that I went back and picked more currants to make black currant jelly.

    This week I added three pints of Saskatoon pie filling, a jar of vegetable bouillon, and a couple of pints of black currant concentrate to my pantry. This might not seem like a lot, but there are only two of us, and I believe that every jar represents money I won’t have to spend in the future. One jar or one dollar – it all adds up.

    We went out into the bush to look for wild raspberries and thimbleberries. They weren’t ready yet, but we came back with a truck load (about ½ cord) of really good firewood.

    Got a free loaf of free bread at work. Something went wrong and it wasn’t quite good enough to sell to the public.

    We had family visit and we were able to gift them with potatoes from the garden and canning from the pantry.

    Have a good week everyone!

  10. I always marvel at your fruit trees! They make me smile! I’m really hoping that I can find peaches on sale soon. For living in peach country, (SC), I can’t find a good deal this year. We had a ton of Spring rain that made the Peach trees not thrive this year…including my only one.

    I decided a few weeks ago that I am going to stop all of the weekly grocery trips. We have more than enough food and with all of the back to school things we are going to buy, I’m glad I decided. I am going to make a trip to Target for some back to school supplies.

    Also this week I:
    -Made a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls
    -Made homemade Pesto with basil from the garden. Used it with homemade pizza dough for a caprese pizza.
    -Made all but one meal homemade
    -Harvested a lot of oregano and parsley and dried it to use this winter.
    -Harvested tomatoes, yellow squash, pimento peppers, anaheim peppers, and jalapenos peppers.
    -Cut Zinna’s and Roses to use in the house.
    -Cat sat for a friend and before she left for her trip, she left me some tomatoes, lettuce, and a large seedless cucumber.
    -Splurged on a meal out. There are only three of us and at least every other week we let a place deal with our messes and food prep. While it may not be fathomable to most, and it isn’t always to us, we try to do it when we can. We went to our favorite fast food place, Culvers. We all got kids meals that were burgers and fries with a scoop of homemade custard. FYI, this restaurant encourages the kids meal for all ages! :0)
    -Did Swagbucks every day and redeemed some points for a $10 gift card (there was a pop sale on Amazon gift cards last week I happened to catch). Usually I just wait for the $25 discounted one.
    -Ordered my daughter a lunchbox and waterbottle for school using Swagbucks.

    That’s about it, have a great week! I’m ready for our heat to start going down so apples will grow here! I’d love some of yours!

  11. 1. Stayed home.
    2. Repaired a pair of pants and put buttons on a shirt that I had taken off of another shirt that had an ink stain on it for my son for church camp.
    3. Cooked all meals at home.
    4. The local carhop type restaurant in my town had half price ice cream cones on Thursdsy so we went for an after dinner treat.
    5. I collect old books. My husband stopped by a garage sale saturday on his way home from the store and got me a novel, two Jewish prayer books, and a book of poetry all from the 1920s for a dollar each. I went back and for a Singer sewing book from 1949 and another novel from 1950 for 50 cents each. I am also redecorating my bathroom in birds and found three reproduction Victorian nature prints of birds that will go in there perfectly and got all three for a dollar. Now I just have to find mats and frames for them.
    I think that’s all. Have a great week!

  12. I took my lunch and snacks to work with me. I ran out of instant coffee at work ( I am the only coffee drinker) so I brought tea bags rather than spend money to buy more instant coffee. I drank water all day. I was able to take a magazine home that was no longer wanted in the waiting room.

    I planted parsley seeds in the garden. I harvested the 3 small broccoli crowns and the leaves. I blanched and froze the leaves in ice cube trays to use in place of kale in my smoothies or in soups. I made broccoli/cheese soup from the crowns and small leaves. I composted the thick stems but used the smaller stems in the soup as well. I harvested lettuce for a salad. I have 3 little unexpected strawberry babies on one of my 2 new strawberry plants. We harvested more black raspberries and that should be it for this year. I have LOTS of bags of them in my chest freezer.

    I made broccoli/cheese soup, peach pie popsicles, Brandy’s recipe for beef strogonof ( big hit with my hubby), lemon chia seed muffins, biscuits and gravy (scratch made biscuits AND sausage from ground pork using homegrown or bulk purchased spices), and we had breakfast for dinner a couple times. I took leftovers to work and made sure to use the leftovers up to avoid food waste. I also made yogurt from powdered milk.

    I hung the laundry on the lines to dry. Took navy showers, filled the rinse pan to rinse the dishes then poured it out in the garden, let daughter play in the water from the hose while I was watering the garden to rinse off dirt rather than fill the tub. I also poured cooled off water from cooking veggies or veggie rinse water on plants outside.

    I watched a free show on youtube. My daughter and I went to the library and borrowed several books and magazines. From the summer reading program she got a small bag of chips and a squishy ball.

    I combined errands and planned my route to save gas.

    I gave my mom some jars of salsa and bags of popcorn that we would not eat. I also gave a coworker some salsa. I got it free but we don’t eat it.

    My vet is about 15 minutes from where I work so I used my lunch hour one day last week to pick up another bag of cat food (prescription) for my cat. My job is a 25 minute drive from home so I did not want to make an unnecessary trip on my day off.

    We sold our second car and purchased a truck from a friend’s mom! It needs a couple minor repairs but no big deal. We have wanted a truck for 3 years but haven’t found one in our price range until last week.

    I turned the air conditioners off for two days due to temps cooling down, however it has heated up again so we turned them back on. We make sure to turn off lights and appliances, we found another thing we could unplug behind the tv that we don’t use.

    Couponing: Oxyclean laundry soap for .99 cents per bottle (Walgreens, coupon was in last Sundays paper), toothbrushes for .99 each, razors for $3 per pack for the 5 blade ones.

    I was forced to buy some bee/wasp spray for the wasps infesting our yard. They had taken up residence in a bench and our eaves. We have not sprayed the eaves yet but the bench is done. I also have to spray the underside of my daughter’s slide, they are starting to build homes there, too. Wasps are bad this year!

    We had a professional come and give us an estimate on our ac/furnace problems. He estimates $500+. The coils on top of the furnace are clogged. My hubby is trying to clean them himself, carefully, with a toothbrush, however it is a small area to get into. The “professional” was extremely rude and kept trying to get me to have more done to spend more money, eventually stating I “should probably just have the central air unit replaced entirely”. I thanked him for his time and said I would call them if I wanted them to do the work. The AC and furnace are only 6 years old, they were replaced shortly before we bought our house.

    Have a great and frugal week everyone! I look forward to reading everyone else’s accomplishments!

  13. Picked kale and carrots from the garden. Picked free cherries at my mom’s house.

    Made muffins, donuts, biscuits.

    Bought 60 lbs of wheat and 30 lbs of sugar for $.10/lb from a yard sale/moving sale. I also got a free 45 lb. bucket of wheat that my mom’s neighbor was giving away. The wheat is a few years old, but should still be perfectly fine.

    Got some hand me down kid clothes from my sister and free books from another sister.

  14. Invited my husband’s grandparents to dinner at our house last night, instead they had us come to their house for dinner. While we were there my husband and I went out and picked enough cherry plums to fill 1.5 gallon ziploc bags. Put them in the freezer to make jam with in a month or two. (Along with the other four bags that they had me pick last week when I was there)! A couple friends and I combine supplies & efforts to make Christmas gift bags each year, the jam will be part of those. 🙂 We’re very blessed to still have this set of grandparents and enjoy visiting with them whenever we see them!

    We’ve been de-cluttering the house working towards selling our home and moving. This will not be a quick process but will definitely be worth it. I hope to have a yard sale sometime in August, but we have a lot more to go through than we thought we owned. In the last two weeks I sold approx $550 worth of items (approx 20 listings) on Facebook/Craigslist. That money was put towards some debt we need to pay down prior to the move (in the last month we’ve paid almost $4k off through paychecks & selling things). We now have around $15k left that I would like to pay off without touching the proceeds from selling our house. My goal is to try to do that in the next six months (it will most likely not happen, but I find having the goal helps my momentum).

    Picked up two free items as Safeway last week, and only bought the needed bread & milk while I was there. Going to hopefully pick up two more freebies today when I run down to get milk today.

    Went on a family date night to dinner & movie using gift cards we had been given, oop $8 for tip.

    Finishing up remodeling the front bathroom. We’ve been very blessed with family helping us install tile flooring & vanity so the costs have been much lower (we paid $600+ for the labor on the small bathroom remodel when a contractor did it – and the bigger bathroom looks just as nice with us having done it). I’m proud of us because in the past if there were small things that we didn’t use my husband would just throw them in the garage/away or give them to someone. This time he has kept each receipt and returned the item when he was on his way to or from work! Not huge money, but it all adds up!

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  15. I live in Northern Canada, zone 3. Our frugal accomplishments this week:

    * It rained many days this week so we didn’t water the garden from the hose. We watered it from the rain barrels on the few days it didn’t rain. And the water we save up in the house (that would usually go towards watering the garden) was added to the washing machine or used to flush the toilet.
    * Picked strawberries at a local farm. Canned, dehydrated, froze and ate them fresh all week. I also made some strawberry muffins and strawberry rhubarb cobbler.
    * A neighbour’s rhubarb patch was growing out of control. I offered to pick and share whatever I made with it. He told me to help myself to as much as I wanted. He even suggested I dig up half and replant it in my yard! This task is on my “to do” list this week. I made a large batch of rhubarb sauce with what I harvested.
    * We stuck to our $20 / week grocery budget (a limitation as part of our “no spend” month)
    * We had a yard sale and sold items on Kijiji. We listed the yard sale for free online with our local newspaper and walked to put up posters on nearby busy streets. We’ve made over $100 to date with still more items waiting to be sold.
    * My husband wants to teach our kids to golf. He mentioned this to a co-worker who gave us a full set of kids golf clubs free. It was very very generous!
    * Ate all meals at home (mostly from our pantry) and are starting to harvest veg from the garden (finally!!)

    I love the photo of Ezrom picking fruit. You are an inspiration Brandy! I’m excited for the day our trees produce as much.

  16. I learned to can chicken with my mother in law. I canned some currant jam from my garden. My mother in law taught my 9 year old daughter to quilt and I am encouraging her to continue to build the skill. I cleaned out the backroom and was able to have friends over and the kiddos had a place to play and have a sleepover. I picked more currants for currant jam. I took the kids to the library when I had extra kids for a free outing. I gave a friend visiting from Europe a box of craft supplies that I cobbled together from all the craft supplies I have in the house. I kept the house clean so we would WANT to be home instead of needing to go out. I traveled 800 miles by myself (with the kid) to visit family instead of spending the money on a plane ticket. It was a good week!

  17. I am in sc and all we can grow right now is muscadines. I don’t grow them but my uncle does. If I can get some, I make jam. You can make juice although I am not a fan of it but of course that’s personal preference.

  18. I had a sundress that is a basic pullover sleeveless shift, but it had tie-backs that were oddly placed and created a funny “wide-hipped” look. I was about to re-donate it (it was thrifted) when I realized I could just open the side seams and remove the ties. Two minutes later, it became an A-line shift and looks fine.
    I harvested chamomile blossoms from my plant and I’m drying them.
    I rescued a shirt that had persistent grease stains. It took three times, but they are finally gone and I can wear it again — it was a good shirt.
    My brother-in-law is going to gift us with worms and get us started worm composting. He had to buy his starter worms, so it’s nice to get them free. We’ll be visiting them in a couple of weeks.
    Starting a purge of my household stuff to see what can go. I gave my daughter the stored stuff out of her old room; I’m still not sure how we ended up keeping it for so long — she’s been living in her own place for a decade now! I hope to sell some things.
    Looking for the best way to protect our grapes from squirrels and raccoons. The past two years, we’ve lost our entire grape crop to critters. We need to protect the fig tree soon, too. The birds and squirrels both go after them.

  19. We were out of town and cooked most of our meals at a relative’s house. That saved a ton! This week we will eat squash and parsley from the garden and enjoy cutting some flowers for inside.

  20. I hope some day to have a bunch of fruit trees and bushes like you have, Brandy. I have to buy the house first, though. All in good time.:D

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:

    *Meals made at home included homemade chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, white rice and green beans, sloppy Joe’s with salad, breaded chicken wraps (cut up chicken fingers) with choice of filling, rice and corn, bacon sandwiches with coleslaw, ham & cheese crescent rolls with cold salads, and BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with salad. I took various leftovers in my lunch for work.

    *Attended 2 free Musicfest concert series in our city, including performances by “I Mother Earth” and “Gowan”.

    *My daughter attended a free ABA therapy camp (½ days) this week for ASD teens to develop her social and conversational skills this week. From the sounds of it, she’s was quite the personality in the class. She was the only one who said she actually wanted to be there (everyone else said their parents made them go) and was an enthusiastic participant in the group. She really loved being videotaped acting out the correct and incorrect ways of social conversations. So proud of her! They were rewarded with make-your-own ice cream Sundays on the last day for good participation.

    *My daughter and her respite worker visited my work this week. They brought a picnic lunch with them to enjoy. It did not cost them anything to get in, because I work at the pioneer village. They made dipped beeswax candles at the cabin I was interpreting in and my daughter enjoyed a free cookie baked by one of the other interpreters. The only cost was the purchase of a butter tart and a glass of lemonade at the hotel.

    *Canadian Tire had a sale on gas this week. Both my husband and I were able to fill the tanks of our vehicles for $0.10 less per litre than listed price!

    *Our supervisors took pity on us again as we worked through yet another heat wave. We received free full sized Mr. Freezes at lunch to help keep us cool and hydrated!

    *Found $1 on the ground at my work, buried in the grass. Free money!!!

    *Collected black raspberries that were ripe from the bushes twice at work. Not enough to make a batch of jam yet but I could mix them with other fruit. The bush is full of unripe berries, so I will try and get more next week.

    *This week was grocery shopping week. Some of the deals included 5 bunches of broccoli for $0.99/bunch, pears for $0.97/lb, a loaf of bread marked 50% off making it $1.50 for the loaf, a package of hamburger buns for $0.98/12 pack, and 2 packages of spaghetti for $1/900g.

    *Steam blanched all 5 broccoli bunches and froze for use in winter. Chopped up and froze the leftover stems for making broth.

    *It was my mother’s birthday this week. My daughter and her respite worker made a brownie layer cake with 2 brownie mixes and chocolate icing from the pantry. My husband bought her a $100 gift card for her favourite clothing store…not frugal but she has given us so much, including a place to live and daily help with our daughter. We also took her out to dinner, but my brother insisted on picking up the tab for all of us. We sent him home with more food from our pantry.

    *I started putting together a Christmas gift for our niece. It is a brand new recipe binder I bought at a recycle sale for $1. I am adding some of our favourite recipes to it. She graduated from high school this year and is taking a year off before attending college. I thought this would be a perfect gift for her to start out with.

    Looking forward to reading about everyone’s week. Hope you all have a wonderful week!:D

  21. I’m so sorry things are hard right now. I lost my dad five years ago and it still hurts, so I understand how you feel about losing your loved one :(.

    You’re doing great on the money saving front, though. And congrats on the free movie tickets! You’re right. You all could use a break. Hugs shot in your general direction!

  22. Wow, that was a LOT of canning and harvesting you did last week! I can’t imagine doing all of that with a newborn as well. I remember how exhausted I was and doing any type of breast feeding on top of it just makes it worse. I’m glad you have help, though with the kids and all. Great work! I remember the taste of home canned grape juice. We made some every year when I was a kid out of our couple of grape vines. Yum!

    My list for the week can be found here…

  23. Yes. I cut it and followed the instructions I found on the Swan Hill Dahlias site for cutting it. It made a difference! Before that when I tried cutting them they would wilt right away. Now I know the trick! (160-180º water in a metal container for an hour with the blossom sticking out above the container). I just put it in a single bud vase. When more open, I hope to have photos!

  24. I have Thompsons’ seedess, Red Flame, the above pictured table grape that was mislabed (it said Red Flame and they’re obviously not) and some concords. This is the first year we are getting any concords, but if I don’t get out and cover them with paper bags soon we won’t get any.

    The juice from these bigs ones is just okay–not fantastic– but I use it for cooking, mix it with the cranberry juice for drinking, and mix it for smoothies and popsicles.

    I think you can make juice from any grapes; you can choose whether to sugar it or not and how to use it later. Some will taste better alone than others.

  25. I used the one in the Ball Blue Book. But after I made juice, I made cranbery sauce with the same cranberries, rather than discarding them. I’ve never done cranberry sauce before and boy was it EASY! Just cranberries, water and sugar.

  26. I combined some trips and was able to pick free raspberries on our way home from doctors appointment an hour away. I packed lunches and snacks and timed it so naps could happen in the car. We were able to pick about 10 lbs of raspberries and left some for the owner (her stipulation to pick for free.) My boys loved playing with the chickens and digging in the dirt at the farm.

    We made it back home just in time to pick up our WIC farmer’s market checks. This is a new thing for me and it will be such a blessing for our family. We’ll be able to get produce from our local farmer’s market through WIC.

    I made ricotta cheese from extra milk and vinegar and used it for easy lasagne.

    I also thawed a turkey in the fridge that we got for free from a neighbor who is moving. I’ll cook it tomorrow.

    My boys got two free books from the library for reading during the summer reading program. They’ll be able to get two more books before the summer is over.

    I noticed yesterday that a new pediatric dentist is opening in our town! If they accept our insurance, it’ll save us three hours of round trip travel for my son’s dental needs.

  27. We are changing over to Sling Tv. For $40, you can get tons of sports channels, along with many more. We were paying more than double that price, for much less channels with Dish network.

  28. I have never thought of turning those on-sale cranberries from the holidays into juice and sauce. You have inspired me to stock up when they go on sale this fall and give it a try. Thank you!

  29. We ate lettuce, peas, chard, carrots and parsnips from the garden. I pulled up the last of the pea vines to make more room for the green beans. I also discovered that the plants the nursery sold us as sweet potatoes are probably cucumbers! My husband bought them when he was running errands in town and they were labeled sweet potatoes. At the time they were so small I couldn’t tell, but as they grew I knew they were not sweet potatoes. We don’t need more cucumbers and I am annoyed because it’s too late to plant more sweet potatoes, but oh well — next year I’ll make my own sweet potato slips, which I should have done in the first place.

    We attended a free presentation on Frontier Medicine on Tuesday, a free concert in the park on Thursday, and a free talk on Women in Colorado History on Saturday – the perks of living in a tourist area.

    We cut another cord of wood in the National Forest. My husband has already split about half of it.

    The fan in my Subaru started making a loud noise. My husband took it apart and found a dead mouse – and the mouse’s nest. Fortunately, he got to it before it started to rot. He cleaned everything up and replaced the cabin air filter. He put a few drops of peppermint oil on the filter – it deters mice and it smells much better than dead mouse! The filter was $18 – the labor to take everything apart and diagnose the problem would have been at least 10 times that, and probably more.

    I had to buy a new pedal for my sewing machine. Once I received it in the mail, I finished the skirt and dress I had cut out. I still need to hem the dress.

  30. We have had some high humidity with high heat days so when it was cooler a couple of mornings I opened the windows and got some fresh air into the house. It’s so refreshing to me to sit in front of the window in the morning with a cooler breeze coming in.

    I shopped the loss leaders at the grocery store and I did it on my way home from work one day to save on gas.

    On Friday night my husband met me at our daughter and son-in-law’s house (I came from work and he came from home) and we went swimming with the grandkids.

    We have an extra stove in our basement. All except one vent is open year round down there, which has saved us lots of money on utilities. I used that stove for my baking this week. It keeps the rest of the house from heating up and working the air conditioner harder than it needs to.

    In May I opened a special savings account for Christmas -better late than never! 😉 It will go a long way in paying for gifts this year.

    My husband ran over a nail at work and it caused his fairly new tire to go flat. He went back to the place where he got the tire and they replaced it for free.

  31. Last week was a good one, no unexpected expenses and no appliances breaking! Ate all but one meal at home, made bread and cooked meals in big enough quantities that I could freeze extra portions. Had six people over for dinner Friday night, made a large batch of chili, and guests brought all the other items. While I still had to buy a few minor ingredients for the chili, I had 90 percent of what I needed! I love having a well stocked freezer and pantry! I was going to use a new untried recipe for the chili and my husband convinced me to NOT experiment with our six friends….So I made the usual recipe and everyone was happy. I still want to try the new recipe but he was right to avoid the risk! I am not naturally gifted at cooking so I have a higher percentage of odd tasting food 😉

  32. Quick Google search netted lots of interesting information about muscadines. It seems like they can be used as any other grape.

  33. We are reeling right now from the arrest of the person who was both of our kid’s rowing coach, for video taping the girls changing – disappointment and betrayal are the main emotions – shock……we just cannot wrap our heads around it – we entrusted our daughter to him while she was at the boat house……so with that said – we are failing a bit on the frugal front 🙁 and have eaten out a few nights.
    * We did pick up a large RV refrigerator that runs on both propane and electric for free
    * We found used foam for one of the trailers dinette and couch area for 1/3 the cost of new
    * I picked peas, purple cauliflower (one finally grew a head!), baby carrots and cilantro
    * I moved some landscape ties around to make the chicken area look more “finished” to anyone looking in the yard. I also moved more lava rocks from the front to the chicken area as well – they work better for mulch around the poultry – they scratch wood mulch everywhere.
    * I moved dirt from a failed raised bed area into my new blueberry planter so I shouldn’t have to buy much top soil + my Dad just told me to fill up bags with the oak leaf mulch he has at his house to raise the acidity of the soil which will cost me nothing.
    * I chipped a big pile of branches and used it to mulch between my raised garden beds.
    * I bought whole chickens for .67 cents a pound and 80/20 ground beef for $1.99 a pound.
    That is about it – my brain is just too overwhelmed to remember anything else right now 🙁

  34. Not sure where you are in SC but Harris Teeter has Macbee SC grown peaches for .99 / lb through tomorrow only. That’s our lowest price per pound for the year from the grocer’s but some peach farms will sell seconds a box full … at a lower price per lb . Good luck!

  35. Last week:
    Sold $35 worth of items through a facebook garage sale
    Baked bread and made freezer pb&j
    Ate beans and rice 3x
    And…this one is new for me….I dyed some work pants. I had a pair of black slacks that were considerably faded, instead of buying a pair to replace them I bought a pack of clothing dye for $1.88 and viola…they look like new! I am so happy with the result! This would also be good for thrift store or garage sale finds since a used black garment is so often very faded.

  36. Cindi, you can also use the cranberries for baking, such as muffins or sweet bread. If you have a dehydrator, you could also dry them for a more pantry stable baking supply.

  37. Andrea, last year someone commented that they made cinnamon rhubarb jam. It sounded so good that I looked up a recipe through Pinterest to try. It tasted so good, I used it as Christmas gifts. It would be really good served on top of brie cheese at a party or on a bagel with cream cheese.

  38. We were blessed with mild weather last week, so we were able to refrain from using the AC for five whole days. When we did have to turn it on, we kept the thermostat set at 80, so it didn’t run for long. It’s due to warm back up again, but we’ve been thankful for the break.

    Other frugal efforts include:

    * Eating at home all but two meals.

    * Making yogurt.

    * Making honey-mustard dressing (the guys’ new favorite).

    * Harvesting oregano, purple basil, yellow squash, zucchini, lettuce, radishes, green onions, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes. (We’ve enjoyed some really nice salads.)

    * Making bread.

    * Watching “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS.

    * Swimming at a friend’s house (son did this).

    * Making a folding camp table. (Hubs did this.)

    * Collecting rinse and “warm-up” water, and using it and water from the rain barrels to water pots.

    * Washing and reusing ziplock bags (we generally do this; just haven’t mentioned it before).

    * Buying a Hawaiian shirt at the thrift store for $5.49. (Son needs one for Scout camp.)

    * Attending a community theater play ($17 for the three of us–including parking–plus we got to support the daughter of friends who was among the cast).

    * Buying three BIG bags of yarn and a box of embroidery floss at a yard sale. I spent $20 total. Not sure that was the very best price I could have gotten, but since new skeins of yarn run about $2 each on sale, I think it’s ok. I don’t do much yard-saling, so I’m not a terribly experienced negotiator. 🙂

  39. My accomplishments are;
    Convinced my sons a school, which requires year round enrollment, to allow him to skip summer saving lots on school costs. I did sign him up for some summer camps which costs some money but much much less.
    Made all lunches at home instead of buying while we were out.
    Took advantage of the free library program and got some great coupons for kids activities.
    Took my kids to a matinee and brought snacks.
    Cooked meals from the freezer.
    Used my mother as a babysitter instead of asking the girl who lives with us, my mother loves my children and asks to see them so i don’t feel bad even though my kids aren’t easy, very sweet but young boys are active!
    Decided to wait a few days before taking my dog to the vet when she had a limp leg. I had my sister who is a vet tech check her out and she said it was most likely a sprain or twist, no broken bones. She was almost better the next day and is back to 100% now.
    Asked a friend who has a little girl to save the baby clothes for me so if I have a girl I won’t need a thing!

  40. Hi Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 .

    How wonderful you were able to preserve so much of your home produce, we are doing likewise with sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and advanced spring onions which we cut and froze. The rest of most of the bulbs we trimmed the roots and replanted them in another spot, so no seeds and they are growing already 🙂 . We use onions and spring onions for pest deterrents down the middle of our large garden beds.

    On to what we have done this week on the frugal front –

    Groceries –
    – Purchased a lovely mirrored clock on sale as ours broke down for $5, saving $4 on retail prices.

    In the kitchen –
    – Preserved by blanching 8 smaller pumpkins picked from the garden storing under the house into 5.8 kg of pumpkin puree in portioned lots for the freezer and advanced food storage.

    – Washed and diced spring onions picked from the garden making 1.46 kg of leaves and onion bulbs portioned into bags as a sliced onion substitute for the freezer and advanced food stocks.

    – Cooked 2 apple pies from scratch using tinned pie apples and food storage. 1 went to church for a baptism and the other one lasted us for 6 desserts for DH & I for tea.

    – Cooked a large batch of pumpkin soup from puree in the freezer, spring onions picked from the gardens, and pantry storage. This lasted DH & I 2 nights for tea, and we took the other half to church for Soup Sunday to add to the table.

    – Cooked all bread from food storage items in the bread machine for the week.

    – Cooked all meals from scratch using food stored in the home and produce from the gardens.

    In the garden –

    – Picked strawberries, cherry tomatoes and spring onions.

    – Removed old parsley plants in the gardens and cut the leaves off & dug into the gardens for compost.

    – Weeded one garden bed 9 x 2 metres in size.

    – Amended the soil in an empty garden bed 5 x 2 metres with cow and horse manure, parsley leaves and compost.

    – Planted a 5 x 2 metre garden bed with saved spring onion bulbs with the roots trimmed from our freezing, winter peas and broccoli seeds.

    – Made 2 large layers of compost with pumpkin peels and spring onion leaf trimmings.

    Fuel –

    – Cut 2 large tree boughs measuring 10 ft long and 18″ in diameter for firewood for free from a friends farm locally, and shall split this afternoon to add to our firewood supplies on the front veranda for this winter and some for next. We shall be getting more over the next coming weeks to increase our supplies.

    – Purchased fuel at the low end of the price cycle saving $2.63 on normal prices.

    Electricity savings –

    – Turned off all unused appliances in the house when not in use.

    – Did our laundry on a cold rather than warm wash in the washing machine in off peak electricity times at night to save on electricity costs.

    Craft Earnings –

    – Paid our monthly phone and internet bill of $77.48 with craft money earned. This in turn allows us to bank the same amount as extra savings to buy our home with cash as it is not coming out of our usual budget.

  41. Hi Julia,
    Besides clothes I have also dyed curtains, sheets and lightweight blankets. It saves so much money! 🙂

  42. Oh Melissa, I am so sorry your daughter’s privacy was unknowingly invaded by someone she should have been able to trust. I would be just as upset if it had happened to my daughter. I hope with time you will be able to work through some of the emotional roller coaster your entire family must be feeling right now. However, I’m sure this is going to take more than a bit time. My thought are with you.:(

  43. Now that is brilliant! I have no idea why I never thought to do that! Thank you – I have a pair of black and a pair of navy pants that fit well and I was not looking forward to trying to replace them since I have such a hard time finding something that fits my waist and butt well!

  44. Thank you Paige.. I will look into Sling TV~ We are paying too much for our cable so thank you again for this information.
    🙂 Patty

  45. *I treated myself to a used book – Readers Digest Traditional Wisdom Rediscovered. Just simple everyday practical tips. I like it a lot. Not overwhelming and I don’t have many people to ask for sage house/health keeping advice from.
    *Bought the book with Bing Rewards – converted into an Amazon GC.
    *We have been invited over to friends and some unplanned after work scheduling has made making dinner not needed this week and last. If we weren’t fed, we just made PBJs.
    *Cat fur around the veggie plants has kept the rabbits away.
    *Embroidering a pillow with an initial, similar to one of Brandy’s gift ideas for a wedding gift. I had done this before for another couple and it was well received. The material for this pillow is a reclaimed silk/cashmere table runner that had a few holes throughout. I found it for a quarter (it was simply to soft to pass up) and cut a front, back and backing for the front around the holes. There are small pieces left I was thinking of sewing into sachet size pillows.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful & cool week!

  46. I am so sorry that this happened to you. I hope he is never allowed to be around children again. You could look into seeing a counselor that could help your daughter work though the tough emotions that must come from having her privacy violated. Sending prayers for her to find strength and peace.

  47. I gave my husband and three sons haircuts. My mother bought me some meat at good prices at our local Super Kmart which is in the process of closing. I paid all bills on time and paid off my son’s library fines (which I had him do work for). All meals and coffee were made at home. We had a no spend week other than bills because there wasn’t anything left to spend. We spent a few evenings playing cards and Yahtzee and Scrabble. I have a question for all of you though…What to do you use for rinsing in the bathroom. I don’t like for us all to share a cup and don’t have room for individual ones so I purchase 3oz paper cups. I don’t like the expense of the waste. I can’t imagine what you would do with a whole bunch of kids!

  48. My list for the last couple of weeks. Had some ups and downs. In June, we paid almost $900 OOP for medical bills. We actually have fantastic insurance, but with my back surgery, 2 ER Visits, lab work, etc…we still owe a lot. It was a bummer to pay so much out of pocket, but I am thankful we have the money to pay these bills as they come in. Plus, I know it won’t be forever and once the medical bills are finished (hopefully August!), we can get back to piling all that money in our emergency fund.
    1. Went to Family Camp over July 4th. Everything was included in our cost (lodging, food, activities, etc.) We budget for this all year long and it was a great time away and spent with family! Also meant 4 days away from home using electricity and food from grocery budget.
    2. A Fresh Thyme store opened in our area recently- lots of fantastic deals on produce. Got peaches for $0.49/lb among other things.
    3. Stopped at an Amish-run grocery store. Found Cologate little boy toothbrushes for $0.69/each. Bought all they had. I won’t need to buy my son any toothbrushes for awhile.
    4. Took my kids to see ‘Finding Dory’ on the discount day at the movie theater. With the purchase of a ticket, we all got free popcorn. Also used a ‘free movie’ coupon on one of the tickets.
    5. We were $200 below budget on food in June!
    6. Fixed a pair of earrings that have been broke a long time. I dug out my jewelry making kit and found replacement parts. I love the earrings and am so glad I thought to fix them instead of throwing them away.
    7. While at Barnes and Noble, said ‘no’ to my children’s requests to buy new books. Ordered said books from the library instead when we got home.
    8. Made more scrap paper out of mis-printed computer paper
    9. Did all our usual….library, recycled, stayed home, ate meals at home, turn off lights, played outside, used our neighbors pool, bike rides for entertainment, etc.
    Have a great week! 🙂

  49. Thank you! I’ll check it out this evening. I’m at the state line pretty much in Charlotte so we tend to be a bit higher than average. I’ve seen 1.29/lb but that’s higher than last season. I’ll def go tonight. I’d love some peach jam!

  50. I made homemade cranberry sauce last year and I was so shocked by how easy it was! I used orange juice instead of water and cut the sugar called for in the recipe. I’ve never even liked cranberry sauce, but this stuff was delicious!

  51. One way to get cooking pots that last a lifetime is to buy cast iron. My husband and I purchased a set of le Creuset pots when we got married 14 years ago – they will last my lifetime and can be passed down to one of my children or grandchildren when I die. Le Creuset warranties their pans forever – if anything ever happens to them they will replace, even if you bought them at an outlet (which we did). And you can often find deals on ebay or at Goodwill on used. Cast iron is safe, heats evenly, and is environmentally friendly!

  52. I did a quadruple whammy today. I saved gas by walking to the store a mile away to pick up my freebie of a 22 oz. bag of cheese tortellini, and bought other sale items that I could carry home. I got in my daily exercise in a useful way. On my way home, I also did my service project to beautify my neighborhood by picking up littered water bottles and soft drink cans to recycle for cash.

  53. Mandy, I don’t know what your cat’s condition is, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask your vet if they are aware of any cat food company surveys on that particular type. Some years ago, our sweet Doxie had heart failure and had to give her an expensive food and meds after her hospitalization. The vet (a doggy cardiologist in Beverly Hills, I swear!) must have seen my face turn green when all of the bills were tallied and he asked if I’d be willing to do surveys for the very pricey food in exchange for some free cans. I readily agreed. Turns out that I got a month’s worth for answering about five easy questions about how my dog approached it, ate it, etc. I didn’t even pay postage. That case was sold for more than $40 per month!!! I did the surveys monthly until she died 16 months later. Food savings? $640 if I did the math right. He said they didn’t ask everyone, just those they thought needed the financial help. I guess my Ford Ranger in a crowd of Jaguars gave me away! Anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

  54. I gave up cable 4 years ago now and don’t miss it. I have Netflix and I do splurge in the spring for my sports loving son and get CBS so he can watch college basketball for $5.99 a month, no minimum monthly contract. Just something to consider if some of the sports that your husband likes is on CBS or another channel you might be able to get that channel for a low monthly cost (at least less than cable).

  55. HI Amy,
    Have you considered buying a digital tv antenna (good one to put on the roof costs $50-you aim it towards the antennas on south mountain)? You can get about 60 channels, about 30 are in English. And this will pickup all the major networks like CBS, ABC, PBS plus a host of others. The only cost is to buy the antenna, the broadcasts are free. We use the antennae for the broadcast channels and also have a Roku box that plugs into our tv so we can get Netflix and Amazon prime. Monthly cost is only for Netflix and Amazon prime. Huge savings from when we had cable for $70 a month.

    I am not sure if you have line of sight to south mountain, so it depends where you live in Phx. Worse case, if the antenna won’t get strong signals you could return it to the store. We got our antenna at Frys electronics.

  56. I know how you feel about those medical bills. I have had many health problems since I was young now 44. Since deductibles have sky rocketed I have applied for financial assistance at the 2 hospitals I have had all my stuff done at. Last year they paid over $2,000 and this year they paid over $1700. My smaller bills I pay off when I can and do this twice a month. Never pay your bills in full without asking for financial assistance. You would be amazed. I have also made many pay meant plans with the hospitals and told them exactly what I could afford. So be it if it is $50.mos. They will get their money in due time. May Brandy could do a post on health insurance and they ways they save in order to pay off medical bills.

  57. Tina NW, have you picked hazelnuts before? Don’t wait too long or the squirrels will take them all. Pick them while husks still greenish then let cure. Hazelnuts are so delicious.

  58. Paige, I agree with Laurie about asking the hospital for financial aid. They have forms you can fill out and they’ll ask for info like last month’s bank statements, your tax returns, and have you fill out a form or two with your regular expenses and family size. You can apply for financial aid whether or not you have insurance. They will run the numbers and can tell you how much of a discount you qualify for.

    I did not know about this with past hospital bills; I wish I had. It took years to pay them off.

    We just had a couple of hospital visits in the last 2 months, and I was very grateful to learn about what help is available. While not everyone will discount (the ambulance company gives no discounts whatsoever) and some will only give a partial discount, it is worth asking to see if you qualify for anything.

    As far as planning for gifts: Pinterest is a HUGE help! I love putting together tutorials and project ideas together for gifts. I’ll pin styles and details I like from store-bought items to incorporate into homemade gifts as well.

  59. Actually, four birds with one stone is a better phrase to use here. Whammy has a negative connotation, and saving money is a good thing!

  60. A few more helpful hints on medical expenses:

    I don’t know if you’re aware, but some air medi-vac companies sell memberships. We pay roughly $50 a year, and this covers our family of four should one of us need to be air lifted to a hospital (obviously using just this companies life flights). We live about just under an hour south of the OR border/6 hours north of San Francisco and if anything major happens, you have to be airlifted, which can easily run $100K for one flight. This membership is a huge peace of mind for us with where we live. I don’t know of any similar programs for ambulance companies, but want to mention this incase anyone else is in a similar situation to ours!

    Also, at least for me… When the hospital has decided to lower a bill for me, the ER Doctor lowered his the same percentage. (Because the doctor, labs, anesthesiologist, etc all bill separately from the actual hospital). Make sure you ask each office that bills you! They won’t discount automatically, I had to have the hospital send over the financial aid approval forms. (Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, always send in the forms. We never qualify for anything, but our local hospital always reduces my bill by at least 20-30%, in the past up to 50%)!

  61. But if you have any type of wrist or arm issues – good luck lifting it 🙁 I would love to use it as I am always anemic and need the iron but I can hardly lift a regular pan anymore due to my wrists just not having any strength in them anymore.

  62. She already has a psychologist she sees but right now she is 3 hours away from us at a camp helping to run the infirmary. She is taking it well – just kinda has the ewwwwww feeling right now. Hopefully she continues to be so busy up there that she doesn’t have too much time to dwell on it and since we still don’t know the full extent (as in how long he was doing this or whether anything was shared or uploaded) we really don’t know if she is/was directly affected. When he goes before the judge again in late July, we may find out more. My husband thinks that we will be notified if she shows up on any recordings.
    Thank you for the prayers!

  63. We bought an android box for our TV, and absolutely LOVE it. It basically turns your TV into a computer. The initial cost for the box can vary, depending on which one you buy. We bought ours for around $70 on, but there are cheaper ones and often is cheaper than what we can get it for in Canada. Once you have the unit, there are no monthly fees like cable or Netflix. I do suggest buying a wireless mouse to use with the unit. It will make it much easier to use the unit!

    We use KODI Exodus to stream all TV shows and movies on the box. It doesn’t take long before current shows and movies are downloaded for streaming. Current TV shows are up within 1 day of airing (often within 1 hour) and sometimes movies become available BEFORE they are out of the cinemas! This has saved us a lot of money as we don’t feel the need to go to the movies anymore. We just wait until they are available to watch on KODI, then watch them at home, in our comfy PJs, lounging on our comfy couch.

    If you can’t afford to buy an android box, you can download KODI Exodus onto a computer for free (there are instructions on line for how to do this). My brother even downloaded the app onto his smart phone. Of course, you can always connect your computer to your TV so you watch it on a big screen.

  64. What a lovely post – your beautiful photos always remind me of still life paintings! I am delighted to have stumbled on your blog.

    I can’t say I have done anything frugal this week as we have moved house and to say it has been expensive is an understatement! But now we have land, I hope to have fruit trees and veg like yours.


  65. Well, it sounds a bit silly when I write it, but the kids can either make do with what water they can bring up with their toothbrushes, scoop up a bit of water with their hands to rinse out their mouths with, or bend over and get a mouthful of water directly from the faucet. It’s how I grew up, and how all my kids have done it that way. Because that’s what everyone is used to, on the rare occasions I have bought little paper cups, they just sit there and get in the way and end up getting tossed.

  66. I’ve had a very busy few days, as the U-Pick peaches are ripe here on my sister’s farm where we are staying. So, we’ve been down helping at the stand for many hours per day. We’ve also enjoyed eating peaches to our hearts’ content! This variety is done now, and we will have a break for a couple of weeks while the next one ripens.

    We picked a large bowl of wild blackberries last night. I hope to make berry crisp today.

    The garden is going wild and so far, my sister and I have canned 14 quarts of green beans. There will be many, many more tomorrow to can. There are 2 peppers getting ripe, and lettuce, zucchini, etc. going wild. Still no cucumbers, corn, or large ripe tomatoes. So, much more goodness to come!

    We are still house hunting. So, our expenses for things like garbage service, land line telephone, etc. continue to be low, since we have no house, yet. We will go again Friday for yet another round of searching. Sooner or later everyone will get a house and leave one for us, I keep telling myself. In the meanwhile, we are spending enormous amounts of time looking on the internet and going from house to house with no success. They are either in need of too many repairs, or gone within 1-3 days of listing.

  67. The garden is starting to look really good- should be harvesting cucumbers late this week or next!, tomatoes are growing, but still green, kale got infested but is making a comeback after spraying with sal suds/ neem oil and cutting off leaves.

    Sold 2 items on FB garage sale site, both items were found while cleaning storage unit. made $35.

    only went out to eat once this past weekend. And I had a bit of leftover for my breakfast with eggs!

    after my husband listening to dave ramsey’s book Legacy on audible he is very much (more) on board paying down debt.

    We almost had an emergency with our van, but my husband caught it before something bad happened.. but costed 4 new tires.

    We have an extra paycheck this month and Friday we will be paying off 2 debts. and I will be finishing cleaning out our storage unit which frees up $200 a month! .. We are so thankful and really trying to be better stewards of our money,.,, we are also having a cutting of credit cards soon!!

    Really trying to come up with a better food/household budget. Cooking even more from scratch…

    Burned old tax papers what we don’t need. And signed up a few more bills for paperless billing.

  68. What an excellent week you had! Bless you. Our garden is just starting to produce here in SW Missouri. We’re seeing a few little salad tomatoes. There are lots on the vines. I hope we get to can this year—at least salsa.

    You can read about my thrifty week here:

    God bless you!
    Mrs. Laura Lane
    Harvest Lane Cottage
    Doing what I can with what I’ve got where I am…
    on a short shoestring budget.

  69. This is for the less squeamish amongst us, but what we do is stick our mouths under the faucet and grab a gulp of water to rinse with. We don’t touch the faucet with our mouths, of course. It takes less water than even half-filling a cup.

  70. Becky,

    Have you considered using a Real Estate agent?

    My husband is able to set up searches for his clients in our local MLS that have what they want, and it automatically emails them every day with any new houses that come up within their search parameters (number of beds/baths, square footage, price, specific zip code or neighborhood, 1 or 2 story, lots size, pool, etc.). Then they can see the houses right away when they come up. In a market where houses are selling quickly, it is even more helpful to have this. It costs a buyer nothing to use an agent (they are paid by the seller) and you also then have someone to help represent you to help the sale go smoothly (having the sellers’ agent do this is not a good idea, because then legally they cannot give advice to either the seller or the buyer).

    There is no need to spend hours searching online. The agent can have the search automatically set for you, and can also make sure the houses you’re going to see are available; a lot of houses you see online are already pending, but they will still come up in searches for the average person. The agent can also call ahead of time for you to make sure that, in a market like you’re experiencing, the seller hasn’t accepted any other offers before the listing availability has changed online. My husband always calls the agent to make sure, because when houses are going fast, it’s possible that the other agent already has 5 offers to present that night to the sellers.

  71. My parents had an abundance of fruit and vegetables and brought them to us, what a blessing!. Our local grocery store offers a ‘free’ item each week and this week was a 2 lb. bag of lemons. I’ll be cutting up lemons for sun tea and water. My mother-in-law moved a few years ago and gave me her old sun tea glass container from the 70’s, it gets a lot of use at our house in the summer months! We were able to get 30 cents of each gallon of gas (30 gallons) using some rewards points that accumulated from a grocery store, making it $1.59/gallon. I received a notification by Barnes & Noble that I had a $15 credit on my account due to a lawsuit settlement with B&N and Apple (I use a Nook and always download free books or load gift cards I’ve received as gifts). I was able to purchase a book I’ve been wanting that included free shipping. I’ve made all meals from home with the exception of one, my husband and I had a date night using a gift card and watched a movie on Netflix when we got home. My oldest is continuing working this summer at a youth camp where all meals and room are provided and she is paid each week. I am encouraged weekly by this website and it continues to keep me on a frugal path as well as helping me be aware of all that I am blessed with each week!

  72. I definitely recommend trying the clothing dye. I used RIT it worked perfectly…and if it doesn’t turn out…well…you didn’t waste a ton of money.

  73. I usually use Rit, but I recently found a couple of other brands at Hobby Lobby for about half the cost. I’m hoping to use one by the weekend. I’ll post my results and the brand.

  74. Hi Hilogene!

    Yes, I have tried an antenna but I must be too far from South Mountain or too many other mountains in the way 😉 I am about half way between the north 101 and Cave Creek.

    I don’t know if you shop at Fry’s but I saw the coolest thing in my local Fry’s store. They now have a fruit stand for kids in the produce section. It was stocked with bananas and apples and a sign encouraging parents to have their kids snack on FREE fruit while they shopped! I thought that was such a great idea!

  75. Melissa you might want to look at ordering a “Lucky Iron Fish”
    They are iron ingots shaped into a fish shape. The fish is a good luck symbol in many Asian countries.
    Lucky Iron Fish was created as a project to increase iron levels in Asian populations which traditionally are quite low. You boil it in cooking water and receive your dietary iron.
    In addition when you purchase one, one is donated overseas.

  76. I appreciate the tips. Thank you so much. Well, here’s the deal. We have a real estate agent. I would never care to do this on my own. We are debating whether or not we should be getting another one. By the time she contacts us, some things are sold, and it seems like we are having a hard time communicating our exact needs to her, partly because we want more than we can afford. We have been cutting her some slack because there are simply very few properties that we can afford that we want, things are selling in 1-3 days (which is hardly her fault) and at first she did not seem to quite get the idea that we have such a strict budget. So, she thinks certain houses are a good deal, and they probably are, but we simply don’t have the money to pay for them. Things are going up $10,000-$30,000 in just a few weeks, which is not helping.

    To be fair to her, what we want, we probably can’t have on our budget unless we move very far out of town, and that would put us right back using tons of gas like we were before. We have to live with our reality right now and high expenses are not a good idea. So, we are choosing properties and asking to look at them, hoping that we can find one that we can both agree to compromise on. (I’m hoping for a little more room inside–the 1,100 square ft ones seem awfully small for all of us to live in, he is hoping for a little more property (like an acre or more and/or a shop) The last one we didn’t get, my aunt found. It needed too many repairs. We are going hunting again on Friday, and she sent us 2 or 3 of the 5 we are looking at. They are all in town and most don’t have shops or property. Most of them need some kind of work, which is also what we can afford. If a house is cheap enough, we are fine with renovating it a bit, because we would have enough money left over to do that. Otherwise, there’s no point in getting a “bring your hammer, needs TLC, only the handiest need apply” kind of house;) If we are going to fix it, the structure needs to be good.

    She has been very prompt in returning our calls/texts. She has sent several houses over by email. She has used quite a few hours on several days taking us around during a time when they are all super busy. She seems to finally get the idea that we will not go over our amount because we do not have it–that seems to be a novel concept to her–not sure she’s had many like us in that aspect. She is calling the other agents and making sure houses are available before we go and she sets up the house visits and gets us into the houses, draws up our offers, etc. (We’ve made 2 so far, but no luck) We’ve learned that Zillow is a great starting point, but everything on there isn’t actually available. Those are the reasons we are giving her a little more time. We are afraid it might be us, and the availability, not her. We are too inexperienced to know for sure.

    Even though we both want property, we are coming to realize that we may not get it again right now. So, we’ve started looking at things that are .2 acre or larger, in town, where before we set the parameters at a higher lot size. I’m hoping that will give me enough land to grow quite a bit. I do want you to know that your blog is helping me get through this hard truth. I really do appreciate knowing it can be done. I just keep thinking of all the things you manage to grow on your town lot and taking heart that I can do the same. For us, because we grew a large amount of our food, including much of our meat, eggs, and produce, we are losing a way of life, not just a little hobby that we did when we felt like it, and I admit, it’s painful. I’ve only lived in town for short periods of time before, in my entire life, and didn’t like it much. So, I will be praying for contentment. But, the bright side is that we do have enough $ to buy somewhere to live. It doesn’t take away the grieving over the loss of a way of life, but I do feel grateful. And, although living in a camper is cramped, I am grateful it’s a nice one, and that we can save all of the money for a house and not pay rent.

    I’ve heard prices may be lower in the fall and winter. Who knows, but I’m kind of hoping I will have a house by then, which is one reason I’ve been looking myself so much. Living in this camper may not feel so noble once the rainy season comes:)

  77. I’ve never heard of Kodi! We seem to be watching netflix a lot lately since we have a smart TV, do you know if we would need an android box if we have a smart TV? I was planning on bringing our cable down to the basic since we only use it to watch sports lately.

  78. Glad you have an agent!

    The market here was like that 10 years ago. It was crazy.

    Yes, Zillow is not going to help you. You need to have an agent searching the current listings.

    Strange about your agent trying to get you more than you can afford. It doesn’t make since to show you anything that is above the amount that you are pre-approved for (unless you are pre-approved for more than you want to spend). It sounds like she is trying to show you what she can since properties are going so fast. That’s a seller’s market you’re in and it is hard as a buyer to get something. Plus, rates are so low right now!

    I have a .24 acre lot, if that helps. I have 40+ fruit trees, berry bushes, grape vines, etc. I’ve got a one story house and with that, the driveway, and the patio, there isn’t a huge garden area, but I work to grow what I can. We’re not zoned for animals, even though there is room for chickens 🙂 But if you had a 1/2 acre place and the right zoning, you could still do goats,chickens, rabbits, and bees, and even a pig or two if you wanted. So if you end up with a smaller place, it may still work out well for you!

  79. We’ve never used cups or glasses…only cupped hand or right out of faucet, from as far back as I can remember through the present. My husband said they never had cups either. Seems unnecessary.

  80. Hi Tina, I agree with the idea of picking your hazelnuts early. We had some bushes in our yard and the bluejays would get them before me. My neighbor told me to pick them a bit early and then spread them out on a cookie sheet to finish ripening. It is funny because I am reading your post on the bus, as I go to Seattle – to the doctor’s and then spend some fun time down at the market.

  81. I’m not Becky, but showing people houses well above the price they want to spend is common here where we are. People find a way to get the extra $ approved after the fact or use family or something, I guess. We had a terrible time because we were approved for $60,000 over what we wanted to spend (i.e. actually could afford!) and they kept wanting us to spend another $100,000 or better. We switched agents 3 times. Finally got a good one and bought our house – lots of work, which was okay with us, a nice, though odd-shaped yard (0.22 acres) and a good layout with updated siding, windows and roof. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if we had caved and bought a higher-priced house.

    Keep up the hunting Becky! You’ll find a place that’s right for you!


  82. Thanks for all the encouragement! What we have is a certain amount of cash. We don’t want a loan. My husband is still unemployed, so clearly we would not qualify for a conventional one, anyway. But, that being said, we have a set amount we won’t go over. We have relatives that would loan us more, but we hope to avoid that if possible.We hope to stay under $200,000, including any repairs that are needed. Unfortunately, prices are pretty high in our part of Oregon and going up all the time. I’m glad to know that your .24 acres does all that. There are several places that we are looking at tomorrow that are .25/acres. I wasn’t sure how much area your lot contained. I think that unless we settle in one of the houses far from town, the towns themselves won’t allow animals, except chickens.

    Part of our overall plan is to significantly lower our expenses so that I can stay at home more, since we did end up adopting another child after we thought we were all done. That’s one reason we are being so stubborn about not borrowing any, or just a little if we absolutely have to. I have one more child to home-school for 2 more years, and now, one who will go to school for 6 more years. So, things change and we have to adjust accordingly.

  83. That’s awful, Lea!

    My husband is not a pushy person. I know some people really want to “sell” you the house, but a house is a huge purchase, and people really need to like it–not be talked into it.

    Also, what one person likes isn’t always what another does. My husband showed a couple a house with a HUGE, beautiful kitchen. He doesn’t usually comment, but this was so gorgeous that he couldn’t help but say how nice it would be to cook in such a big kitchen. The woman replied that she never cooked! It just goes to show that everyone’s priorities in a house are different.

    In 15 years in this business, I’ve only known him to have one client who was using family to up the purchase past what they could borrow, and that was something the couple told him when they went to buy the house (they were planning it).

    I agree that if you’re not happy with your agent, find another one!

  84. Finding something in that price range in Oregon is pretty hard! Prices are easily more than double that.

    Prices rising like that means you’re in a bubble; it is what happened last time. We watched it happen and they went up like crazy. Then they came down like crazy, too, dropping $10,000 a month in value. We were selling our home when that happened.

    If you decide to wait it out, you could rent (including a place for animals and a garden) until the bubble bursts and prices come back down.

    I hope you find a place, Becky! It would be a great peace of mind to live in a place where you have no mortgage.

  85. Becky – look carefully at zoning regulations about animals – there may be nothing in there about quail or rabbits which can provide both meat and eggs (granted it takes 3 quail eggs to equal one chicken egg :/ and they won’t hatch their own eggs – they bred that out of the domestic ones) and both are fairly quiet.

  86. If my brother can download it onto his smart phone, I’m assuming you can download the app onto a smart TV. I think my brother mentioned that he worked with someone who downloaded it onto his smart phone and somehow could link it to his smart TV, so he could use his phone like a remote. I have never used either, so I’m not much help on how you do that. I do know there are tutorials and YouTube videos explaining how to download it. I suggest some Google research to help you understand it.

  87. Thank you. We are clinging to the fact that if we stand firm and don’t over-extend ourselves, even if it means that we don’t get everything we want, we will be able to have a lot more options as to what job my husband can afford to take. We also keep reminding ourselves that we can always get something now that works, even though it’s not perfect, and then re-sell in a few years if we can’t stand it.

    We have debated the rent issue. We will give this a little more time and see if we can find something first. We are afraid that we will use up our house money on rent and then have even less to use to buy a place. Hence—-the R.V. However, that is certainly a short-term solution, with 5 of us in here, and fall/winter coming on in rainy, rainy Oregon:) It’s working great for now. Rent costs a lot around here. There are apartments going for $1,200/month around here. Of course, there are some lower, too, but even the cheapest, scummiest ones are several hundred. A lot of people lost their homes during the past few years, so they are all renting, I’ve been told.

    We have also been told that prices should drop in the fall, but no one knows for sure, or by how much.

    I really appreciate the advice. Every other time we’ve bought a house, it was very easy. This time is more challenging. So, we will just keep plugging away at it until we find one. Right now, everyone is healthy, fed, have clothes and a roof over their heads, so we are grateful and thankful for what we do have.

  88. I made vegetable lasagna from the garden, and have started on the pickle canning. There is a good sale of round steak this week, so I canned 12 lbs for quick meals, and ground another 10 lbs with chicken and canned 14 lbs of ground “beef”.

    I redeemed swagbucks for amazon gift cards, and used these to purchase an outdoor play pen for my sons rabbit as a birthday gift ( he requested this). I still have enough to get another gift card, which his older sister will give him as her gift, so he can purchase some kindle books he wants.

    I used CVS extra bucks to get a package of diapers for the grandson and some shampoo and conditioner for 56 cents out of pocket! I also used a 50% coupon at Joanns and purchased 2 yards of 100% cotton white flannel, and have been working on making cloth maxi pads. Although we usually are able to get these very cheaply by using coupons and sales, both my daughter and I would like to have an emergency reuseable stash. I found a tutorial online for ones that have an outer envelope type cover with inserts. I”ll repurpose old t shirts for the outside of the inserts, and use rolled cotton for the middle layer.

    I was able to work an extra day last week, and will put the over time into savings.

  89. We had 3 days of steambath-like weather and then a storm came through yesterday and we are back to normal. So much easier to work outside now.

    Last week was such a short week. I know I included the 4th in with previous post so that makes week even shorter. We did all the usual of composting, recycling, eating at home, using up leftovers etc etc etc. Picked lettuces, edible pod peas, beets, green onions, broccoli, green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, dill, cilantro, parsley, mint, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, kohlrabi. Dug red potatoes.

    Attended one funeral where a lunch was provided after. We attended movie night at church and saw a Veggie Tales and SHEFFEY. We had a potluck. Church had hot dogs and buns for all; I brought ramen noodle coleslaw. Baked 2 loaves of white bread, one loaf of rye, raspberry-almond muffins, banana nut bread, macaroni and cheese, lots and lots of lettuce/vegetable salads, pizza, grilled fish and grilled vegetables, tapioca pudding with fresh raspberries, raspberry and nectarine kuchen.

  90. Congratulations on the arrival of your new bundle of joy! It has been a long time since I have been on and as always its a pleasure to see how much everyone is saving. I have learned a lot from reading your post Brandy along with everyone else.

    It has been a very expensive 8 months for me but I have been able to “survive” due to the fact that I have learned to live very frugally in the years past. In the past 8 months I have had to replace my heating system, roof and car along with the expense of a wedding.

    I did have to refinance my home but in the long run it is saving me money. I was paying over 6% interest and now I am at 4%. I only have my mortgage now (paid off my credit cards finally) and my heating system and roof are new so I feel worry free in the area. The car is used but it has less mileage so I should be able to get many more years out of it. My other car needed a lot of work and was 17 years old so it was time to look for something else.

    For the next 2 weeks I am challenging myself to do a NO SPEND period of time (minus gas for work & fresh milk). I am trying to keep up with putting money into savings for an emergency fund and also 6 months of monthly bills and before you know it the holidays will be upon us and I refuse to put myself into credit card debt. I am going to try to do 1 week each month of NO SPEND and hopefully save some more.

    This past week I have cooked all meals at home and brought lunch and snacks to work everyday.

    Gave myself a haircut.

    Kept the blinds closed during the day to keep the house cooler so the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to cool it down.

    Added compost around my vegetable plants from my compost pile.

    Visited the library and checked out a book, I love sitting outside in the yard with a good book and it helps pass the time on the weekends.

    Picked string beans from the garden….they are doing great but I am still waiting on zuchinni to produce. Usually I have so much I give some away and this year I haven’t gotten one yet.

    Looking forward to reading more ideas from all the readers!

  91. Hi Becky and I too am wishing you the best. I am a firm believer in life that something will come yours and my way at the right time, the right house at the right time.

    We are saving for our home with cash as we too don’t wish to borrow and if we do we want it to be a small amount as we are an older couple. So far we are doing well on our savings so we are truly blessed, starting again through greedy family members is very hard.

    In between times we are renting in the cheapest accommodation we could find in the area we wish to purchase in. It is a little workers cottage of 100 square metres and let me put it out there so incredibly small but we have made do by clever storage, stacking and the like to fit everything in. Maybe something you may want to consider is to rent a barely there house as we have to save the capital you have saved for your home, of course the RV would be a cheaper option with no rent being paid.

    The bonus here is that we are on .5 of an acre and can grow all of our own vegetables, herbs and berries and have made garden beds from scratch to accomplish that, along with purchasing collapsible water tanks for extra water etc. This saves us a lot in our budget as we have for the last 17 months been eating our vegetables, herbs and berries solely out of our gardens.

    At last count over the last 6 months we have been saving for our home 59.2% of our after tax combined income. We are wanting to save close to $300,000 and have in 2.5 years managed to save 16.66 % of our target.

    Keep your chin up and save save save as we are and keep us updated on how you go, we wish you all the luck and hope the property prices stop rising there. As Brandy has said too, what goes up must eventually come down too, especially in property prices that are fickle.

    Do the banks there have foreclosure sales of real estate and do the local councils have property sales when people don’t pay their property rates ?, it they do that may be a way of obtaining and buying a cheaper property too.

  92. Thanks for the encouragement, Lorna. I am not sure how the foreclosures work. We see them on the internet, but leave it up to our realtor to see if they are truly available, or just on there for some random reason. (I really don’t quite understand the whole internet realty sites–they don’t make a lot of sense. Some things on there are not truly for sale, etc.)

    We would love a 1/2 acre, even, but have had no success finding something like that in our price range. Yesterday, we looked at 5 properties, but probably won’t get any of those. 2 were in bad parts of town, we found out. We still have 3 girls at home, so-no. 1 already had an offer, so we would have had to try to outbid that person, plus is was sitting right next to I-V freeway. I liked one of them, but Rob didn’t. He knows more about structural issues and he said the roof was sagging, so needed new trusses, plus a roof. The bathroom was a room where everyone would have to pass through to get to other places, so not a good layout. The upstairs room had no exit, except through the bathroom. Hmmmm.

    The last one was the best one, but needed too much fixing for our budget. So, we keep looking.

  93. JD, I often use Dawn dish detergent to get out tough grease stains on my family’s clothes. I have even been successful getting the stains out even after the item has gone through the dryer.

  94. I think 1100 sq ft would be ok if the layout worked. Houses there seem to be enormously more expensive than here, but I think your job market is better. Since you have a good bit of rain, I would think you could container garden fairly easily. There is a website for someone who grows an enormous amount of food on a city lot in Low Angeles and of course, Brandy does the same. Maybe you could just have chickens??? I “settled” on a house I could afford, and I am glad I did because I have been able to help one of my kids when he became suddenly unemployed. I wanted to live in acreage in the country, and instead ended up on a noisy street in town in a transitional neighborhood. I am at peace with my decision and I pray you will be at peace with your decision. It was a complicated decision for me.Blessings to you.

  95. Hi Becky and I am not sure how the foreclosures work in the States, but here in Australia they put the reserve on what the banks are owed, so if there is only say $20,000 owed that is the reserve and you can pick it up depending on how many are bidding on the house usually for a good price. Also with council auctions here they sell the homes for a reserve of what is owing on the unpaid rates, so that too can be an incredibly low price.

    Consult with your realtor on what the rules are there in the States to find out the details over there, but an option well worth looking at both scenarios and mentioning to your realtor as cheaper options should this work for you.

    As I am a barterer by blood :p , keep putting in offers on places you do find suitable even with repairs. Like with the one with the saggy roof, put in an offer under what they are asking taking the cost repairs into consideration to be under the cash budget you have so you can do the repairs with what you have saved. Persistence is the key and not giving up 🙂 .

    Good luck and something will come your way soon hopefully 🙂 .

  96. Not much big this week.
    Celebrated getting rid of 500 things in my home by having a pizza and movie party at home with the kids. Got movies from library.
    Packed lunch and ate breakfast at home before our scout road trip instead of buying at the meet up at Dunkin donuts in the morning.
    Submitted receipt up health insurance. Even though I have a high deductible plan there is often a pricing adjustment so i may get a refund.

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