Pears in Silver Bowl The Prudent Homemaker


Thank you, everyone, for your kind and encouraging comments and emails last week. I really enjoyed them!

Here’s what we did to save money last week:

My husband cut my hair for me. It took all of 3 minutes–less time than it would have taken me to gather my purse and keys and get in the car to go somewhere to have it cut–and it didn’t cost me anything either!

I gave the baby a haircut.

My husband cut his hair.

I harvested basil, green onions, Armenian cucumbers, Swiss chard, a handful of almonds from our new almond tree that I planted in spring (it’s tiny still),  a few tomatoes, and pears from our garden.

I canned a batch of relish.

I planted seeds from the Armenian cucumbers I picked to replace a bunch of vines that died this past week. It’s still hot enough to pick come November, so I may be able to harvest again around November. I’m hoping it’s not too hot for these to germinate; it may be.

Olive branches and pears The Prudent Homemaker

We had a small bit of rain, right during the eclipse! I put out buckets and collected over 5 gallons of water from the roof runoff. I used this to water my potted plants in the garden. 

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water potted plants as well.

The rain brought a return of humidity and cooler temperatures for a few hours, allowing me to turn off the air conditioner for a few hours. Once the air conditioner was back on, I was able to collect more than 10 gallons of water from the air conditioner drip.

I reprogrammed our thermostats to 80ºF (26.6ºC) at night. I had them set at 79º. This will make a slight difference in our electricity usage. We’ll be using the air conditioner well into October; it’s going to be well over 100º all of September (it was 109º here Saturday and 113º (45ºC) here Sunday).

We enjoyed swimming at my sister-in-law’s house. 

I went to the library book sale and spent $4 on several used books for the children (several of which will be used for school). I love building my library inexpensively!

There is a local play audition that is a collaboration between two churches here. Several of my children want to audition. Before auditions, they are hosting two free workshops for children to learn how to audition (which my children attended this past week) as well as one on acting, which my children will attend next month.

My husband and I enjoyed two dates out using gift cards that we were given.

What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. It is always such a pleasure to read your new posts each week. For many of us it is a highlight that encourages us to continue in our mission to be good homemakers and good stewards of the bounty we have received. Thank you for sharing your home and family life with all of us.

    I have been drying raisins and herbs this past week. I also cook with fresh herbs as well as making fresh herb tea, good both hot and cold. I made a banana cream pie with very ripe bananas and pastry dough that was already in the refrigerator. A delicious dessert with on hand ingredients. All meals were cooked at home this week. We changed out auto insurance a month ago (big savings) and then got a rebate check last week. It’s already in the bank. Fall is almost here. The nights are longer and the mornings are cooler. I have been opening windows to air out the house for a few hours every morning and then closing them up as the temperature begins rising. My husband brought home a couple of peaches that someone brought to an activity he attended. They were very large and we shared them twice for breakfast. I’ve been watching my cantaloupe plant and finally decided to pick one to see if it was ready. It wasn’t super big, but it has turned out to be one of the most flavorful melons I can remember. We will enjoy fresh melon for breakfast this week. I canned 12 half pints of plum jelly this past week from juice leftover after making plum puree for baking. The jelly is so pretty that I plan to give some of it away in Christmas baskets. I saved the canning water for house plants and color bowls.

  2. It was a pretty frugal week around here. My natural gas and electric bill was $28.01 less than last month’s bill and also $28 under budget. As I noted last week, I’m really working to control the utility costs and it’s nice that it’s paying off. My goal is to go another $8 less this month; which would take the bill under $70, $21 of which is fees for the gas and electric meters. We are supposed to be in the 70ies every day this week so no AC will be needed. Sleeping with open windows and temps in the mid 50ies is wonderful.

    My daughter’s birthday is in September and the one thing she wanted was an iPhone 7 with a lot more storage than her old iPhone 6, which had 16 GB of storage. I updated our cell phone plan (which we still share even though she is living on her own now) and got her an early present of an iPhone 7 with 128 GB. She loves it and it actually reduced our cell phone bill by more than $20 a month since we are renting the phone from the cell company rather than buying it. We have found that when you try to resell the phones back to the cell phone carriers or even online, you really don’t get back that much money and it’s definitely no more than the difference between what you paid for it and what you would have paid to rent it and that’s if you are lucky. We still kept unlimited data, texting, and now have unlimited calling, not that we make that many calls on our cell phones. If/when I upgrade my phone, we will go back up and closer to our old payment but I have no need to change my phone at this time.

    All meals were eaten at home, except for a work potluck BBQ. I took 2 pounds of strawberries and gave those that were left over to a co-worker whose 5 year old son loves them. She had a baby in May at 24.5 weeks gestation and that infant was just moved from the NICU at one hospital to a rehab hospital where they are trying to lower his oxygen use, get him used to taking a bottle, etc., so they can finally bring him home. This new place is about 40 minutes driving time each way from her home (more if there is traffic) and she’s been under stress for months so I think any little thing we can do to help her out is appreciated. Food is covered for them at least. Frankly, I can’t even imagine the stress she is under or the stress for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, for that matter.

    I’ve been downloading more and more library e-books to my tablet rather than going to the library to check them out. This is true for both written and audio versions of books. I’m also using a service they have to read many magazines online, although not all the ones I want to read (such as Consumer Reports and This Old House) are available. This saves gas and if the book is available provides immediate gratification even if the library is closed at that time.

    I used a gift card I earned from credit card points to buy replacement bulbs for my outside security lights and other gift cards I earned through a health app at work to buy various grocery and household items from Walmart.

    Finally, I’ve been really working on a realistic budget and sticking to it to ensure that I don’t overspend and am putting more money into savings and putting aside money for things that will be needed in the future, such as car repairs and maintenance, annual vet visits for my cats, and annual real estate taxes (I do not have escrow on my mortgage so I am responsible for the tax payments when the bill is received).

    I hope everyone has a wonderfully frugal and blessed week.

  3. We purchased some groceries at the local food co-op during a monsoon sale, where we got an extra 15% off as members.

    I got back to meal planning and cooked all suppers from what I had on hand. Doing the same thing this week, with a few small additions into the cupboards to change things up.

    Checked out DVDs from the library and ebooks on the library’s Overdrive account.

    Consolidated errands to save diesel; my husband rode his bike to work one day instead of using gas from his car.

    I drove with a lady from church for our Visiting Teaching route; this week she will be picking me up and driving to our last appointment, so we have split the fuel costs.

    Withdrew from a horseback riding field trip that would have been $25 per child; took them to the base stable for rides just as a family for $10 each instead.

    Took my son to the golf course to use the putting green – they did not charge us since that’s all he wanted to do. Connected with another homeschool family whose son is interested in golf lessons; if we can set up semi-private lessons instead of private, it would be less per lesson for each family, but still only be two students vs a big group.

    Had a play day and a park day with new friends – free entertainment for the kids and time to chat for us moms.

  4. Trying to live frugally from urban Seattle. This week I:
    -helped my mom and sister at their garage sale down in Portland. I sold $12 worth of toys my kids had outgrown and I came home with a bunch of needed and fun items for free including new drinking glasses, some gorgeous fabric that I plan to use for pillows and cloth napkins, a cutting board, a turkey roaster, heart-shaped cake pans, and some cute Christmas decorations my sister had made with her vinyl machine. I was also able to put together a bag of free clothes and shoes for my best friend’s 2 year old.
    -my kids and I found fun free things to do in Portland: the eclipse (haha!), pianos in the park, and hiking (both urban hiking and outdoor hiking). We took turns cooking meals with my mom to avoid eating out.
    -My son completed a summer reading program through U of Washington and sent in for his free UW baseball cap (a hot commodity among middle schoolers in Seattle).
    -My mom sent us back to Seattle with produce from her garden that we’ve been eating all week.
    -We biked all week and kept our car in our carport after we returned from Portland.
    -I picked blackberries around our neighborhood to make jam.
    -I received two gorgeous summer dresses just in my size from my Buy Nothing group.
    -I decided to fill my IRA for the year and put off buying new furniture for the house (our furniture is mostly used IKEA furniture but it functions fine and still looks ok).

  5. You are brave to let your husband cut your hair. 😮 I have short hair so my husband trims my neckline but that is it. I do cut his hair for him using clippers. My DIL is a stylist so she highlights and cuts my hair for me. Major savings!

  6. I had to go to a conference out of town. I packed food to eat for lunch for several days (breakfast and dinner were included in the conference fee.)
    I bartered some books for part of my conference fee.
    I took a gift to a friend I knew I would see at the conference. It was a book I knew he would love – I got it at the library book sale for 50 cents, and wrapped it in brown paper saved from a package, tied with a ribbon cut from fabric scraps.
    I froze several packages of chard and collard greens.
    I gathered mushrooms from my yard (Shaggy Manes – a yummy, white mushroom) and sautéed them and froze them to eat later.
    We are leaving tomorrow to visit friends and relatives over the next 8 days. I’m packing food for lunches on the road, though we will eat a couple of dinners out. We have a couple coming to stay at our house while we are gone. They will look after the dogs and garden in exchange for a free vacation in our area, so no money exchanged, but a win for everyone.
    I cut flowers for the house.
    I had some zucchini that was getting old, so I shredded it and put it in the freezer.

  7. Brandy,
    Hope all of your children enjoy their auditions and get an Awesome part.
    Our frugal accomplishments this week included:
    – Collected tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, basil, oregano, blueberries and blackberries from the garden.
    – Completed 3 rebate offers, 2 of which are still current and good throughout the US. Both rebates are completed
    using your phone or email, so no postage. $7 back from purchasing 3 Evol items (this can be done up to 3 times and other items can be purchased like Udi’s and Glutino ) I purchased a combination of 3 frozen burritos , making them all free. The next rebate is for reimbursement of a gallon of milk with the purchase of 4 general mills cereal.
    I purchased 4 Honey nut cheerios for .67 cents a box (after coupon) and was reimbursed via pay pal my $5 Organic milk purchase.
    – Planted a few more fall garden items.
    -Accepted a bag of excess produce from a neighbor.
    -Composted as many things as possible as we have to pay for trash removal.
    – Cut my daughter’s hair.
    -Returned my library books on time.
    -Listed and sold 2 items on local Facebook site, listed several free items as well. I am so much happier when I release an old item as I bring a new item into our home.

    I hope everyone has a wonderfully blessed week!

  8. I waited until there was a sale on water softener salt at the local supply store to use my $5 off anything coupon before it expired. Consequently, I got four 40# bags of salt for just $9. I use the plain pelletized salt and, following the instructions on the bottle of Iron Out, use less than 25 cents of powdered Iron Out per 40 pounds of salt to “make” the rust remover softener salt our well water requires. That two-minute step saves us at least $1 per bag, usually more.

    Our neighbor gifted us with tomatoes, cucumbers, and three kinds of squash. His wife also gave us a tray of delicious zucchini, poppyseed, lemon muffins. To preserve the cucumbers for a few weeks, I made quick refrigerator pickles, two quarts made with vinegar, sugar, and fresh dill seed, and one quart from the vinegar and spices from a jar of purchased pickles. I introduced my mom to zucchini fritters made from complete pancake mix and a little milk. Zucchini, chicken, carrot, onion, stuffing casserole is the main dish today. The only moisture came from melted butter, sour cream, and condensed mushroom soup. I baked it with the lid on, fearing it would be too dry. No. Too moist. It is back in the oven to dry out a bit with the loaf of bread that is baking. We enjoyed $1 ice cream cones a couple of times at Culvers as cheap treats.

    I love your still life photographs. Thank you for your encouraging posts.

  9. I’m so happy for you Brandy that you’ve gotten some rain! We’ve had an abnormally cool summer here in New England, so I’ve only had to run the air conditioner 3 times and I had to put the heat on yesterday morning! We had a pretty typical week this week which was welcome after all of the money it seems we’ve had to spend unexpectedly. Joining in here:

  10. Brandy, I am still in shock over your monthly water bill! Yikes! I live in Phoenix so assumed Las Vegas had similar rates, but apparently not ;(. Our electric bill is crazy but not the water bill.

    Frugal items last week

    -Ate out only one meal (lunch)
    -Made homemade bread twice, blueberry coffee cake and corn muffins
    -Made three large batches of bean and pea soups with lots frozen for future meals. I am cooking healthier meals with less animal protein, both for health and cost, and my husband, the meat eater ;), will gladly eat bean soups (black bean, pinto bean, 15 bean, split pea), so I have been serving a lot of those meals. Tastes wonderful, super thrifty and easily frozen.
    -Cooked up sausages and ground sausage and froze for future meals
    -Continued exercising at home
    -Cleaned out my closet and created another goodwill box
    -Went to a local thrift store looking for shirts, didn’t find any at a reasonable price but my husband found a computer monitor for $5 that is in perfect shape.
    -My husband is a veteran and got his annual checkup and Rx refills done last week through the VA, free due to his service.
    -Spent the weekend at home, super hot here on Phoenix, so it was nice to avoid the heat by staying in the AC plus staying in cost nothing 😉
    -used $0.30 discount from Fry’s grocery stores (Kroger) on diesel fuel, our final price for diesel was less than $2.00 a gallon!

  11. It’s pear time!
    We harvested about 20 or so pears from our pear tree, and I’ve made and canned pear sauce from them. A lot of them are blemished inside, and we aren’t sure why, but the weather has been horrible for them this year, and the tree is still fighting off a rust disease, so that may be the reason. We still got enough good pear flesh to make about a quart and a half of sauce. If the crows don’t beat us to them, we may get about 20 more pears. That’s better than we thought we would get after the freeze this spring.
    I spotted what looked like a section of a dollar bill on the ground while out and about. It turned out to be a folded, squashed and dirtied complete dollar bill. Then I found a dime the next day.
    I found an error on my shopping receipt again this week, after having one last week. This one was only 32 cents, but I didn’t see any reason to let it go, especially as I was still in the store. It was refunded in just a couple of minutes.
    I cut my own hair weekend before last, but I’ll cut my husband’s hair this week. It truly saves time and money, Brandy, I agree.
    I signed up for a survey on Swagbucks and have been pre-qualified so far. If I get to complete it tonight, I’ll make $50 in Swagbucks.
    I just took the second half of a bag of dry cat food out of the freezer and put it in the kibble container. About half of a 15 pound bag is all I can use at a time before it gets too stale for my cats to eat, so I always freeze the other half as soon as I open the bag.
    I helped my husband change the blades on our riding mower this weekend. It’s not fun and it’s dirty work, but it’s so much faster and cheaper than getting a shop to do it, especially when counting having to load it up on the trailer, get it to the shop, wait a day for them to change the blades, then load it back up and bring it back home. And of course, one has to pay the shop for labor.

  12. Brandy …I want to thank you and your family of sharing your wisdom and knowledge with all of us. We have a friend that had a massive heart attack and not only survived but is better than before. He does have a pacemaker and can no longer work around some of the welding machines. He didn’t feel he could go on long term disability as the company was wanting because his wife quit working several years ago when they started raising their 3 grandkids, 2 that have special needs. After I shared your website and his wife checked it and then browbeat him(his words) into checking it out, he accepted the disability package and within a month has more money in the bank and more food in the house than he did while working 50 hrs a week at a very good paying job.The grandkids are planting a fall garden and baking from scratch.

    I harvested from our own gardens and then went to the Amish produce auction and got more including 10 inch potted mums for $2. We bought close to $1000 for $340, yeah I priced it out to see if we were actually saving.

    We went on to your bulk and grains page and clicked on the supplier (Now Rainy Day Foods online) you bought your dried cheese from….. good thing is they were having a sale, we had money still left from the auction so spent it . We definitely got more than dried cheese.Still with the sale we saved enough to pay the shipping. Since I ordered instant milk, we won’t be making any last minute runs to the store for milk and buying other things along with it.

    I’ve had 3 cold packers and my pressure canner going for 3 days with more still to can. I had to take the day to let my arm rest as it’s not recovered from surgery and I pushed the limits. SO I went to Krogers and picked up toilet paper and paper towels they had buy 5 and save $5 after marking it down to about half price…I had coupons for all of it. I also picked up a chuck roast (buy 1 get 1) and it’s roasting right now. I’ll put potatoes with it an hour before it’s time to eat. Leftovers will be beef and noodles for a couple meals and what I call the blue plate special, sliced meat over mashed potatoes or stuffing/dressing and gravy with some veggie and cole slaw or salad.IF I get enough broth from it I’ll add mushrooms and barley for soup for another meal…works with the way I’m canning.

    Prayers and Blessings pour over you and yours.

  13. Hello!
    -This past week I spent half of my usual grocery budget. I’m working on clearing out what we have built up in the freezer.
    -I claimed almost $20 in iBotta rebates. JoAnne Fabrics gives 10% back on total purchase as does Petsmart.
    -All of the children were away from home this past weekend so I picked up an additional shift at work Saturday evening
    -I made the choice not to purchase some things I wanted because they weren’t needs.
    -I put money into savings
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  14. We went to California Md last weekend. It was Awesome!!! The bed at the hotel was awful and the hotel gave us a big discount after they came to the room and saw just how awful it was. We ate the breakfast at the hotel and I saved half of mine which I ate this morning. We had lunch on the water and bought just a salad and saved half of that which hubby just ate for his lunch. I bought some fresh produce at a stand and we had that for snacks on the road and last night after dinner. We went to four parks (all of which we have passes for thanks to Senior citizen golden passes and Beautiful America pass.) We took two hikes and lots of photos. I earned $100 last week working for people. I have been doing free sales on craigslist and I’m so dishearted by how difficult it is to gift people good useable items. I will make two boxes for the folks in Houston. My roses are blooming again ! Grandson got three free books from his summer reading program. I got two new to me sweaters from the Salvation army for work days. Got gasoline for .05 a gallon cheaper on the way home . Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

  15. School started this week for us. My little guy is in kindergarten.

    Biggest thing: replacing preschool with after care will save $820 a month.

    Smaller: learned that all students at our elementary will get free lunch this year. For two kids that’s $990 for the year.

  16. I read the magazines you mentioned on my Kindle with Texture. I used a trial and then a Groupon for it.

  17. I hope your children all get parts in the play, Brandy. That would be such a wonderful experience for all of them. I’m so envious of your almond tree. What a wonderful addition to your edible garden.

    Our weather is nicely swinging towards fall type temperatures. The mornings are cool, warm with a nice breeze during the day, and cool enough at night that I’m considering switching to my winter PJ’s to sleep in. I LOVE fall, so this is perfect weather in my books! Frugal accomplishments for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included sloppy Joe’s with salad, breaded chicken burgers with salad, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with potato chips, and BBQ chicken breasts with herb roasted potato chunks and corn-on-the-cob.
    *Free produce picked from the gardens at work included a bunch of cherry tomatoes, and 2 cucumbers.
    *On Thursday, my mom picked up the 75lbs of peaches I ordered and I gave her the $39 to pay for them. The next day was my day off, so we spent all day canning them up. We now have 22 quarts of canned peach slices. We collected the peelings and pits in a large stock pot, boiled them down with some water, strained the juice using my jelly bags, then froze the juice to make peach syrup or peach jelly later (we were too tired to do anything more after preparing and canning 75lbs of peaches!). I also put 2 large freezer bags filled with peach pieces that were soft or bits cut from the pit into the freezer to make jam later.
    *After hearing on the news that our gas prices might go up do to the hurricane hitting Texas, I did a dash over to Costco for a fill up. Since I was there, I also stopped for some needed grocery items, including a few stock up items that were on sale.
    *Enjoyed a free appreciation luncheon for the staff at my work this week.
    *One of my co-workers brought a pair of solar eclipse glasses to work on Monday and let everyone have a turn at seeing the eclipse. It was only partial in our area, but still really cool!
    *Tried my hand at making three sisters soup (corn, beans and squash) over an open fire. I brought a can of corn, and a can of white kidney beans from my pantry, and bag of homemade poultry soup stock from the freezer to make the soup. The squash and some baby corn was fresh from the gardens at work. Only added a bit of salt, as the early pioneers did not have well developed gardens yet (no onions or cultivated herbs yet), and most of their food was basic and bland. Turned out amazing, though my homemade stock really helped with the flavour. I let all my co-workers and the volunteers sample it. We often talk about the soup, but many of us had never actually tried it.
    *My husband took me on a small excursion to Campbellford, ON on Saturday for my birthday. We stopped at the bakery for a dozen of the most amazing doughnuts, plus I filled a large plastic shopping bag with “day old” baked goods (they still were very fresh for a day old!). I picked 2 loaves of bread (whole wheat and I think the other is cracked wheat), a dozen hamburger buns, 1/2 dozen 6″ sub/sausage rolls, a dozen whole wheat dinner rolls, 1/2 dozen Chelsea buns, 4 cheese biscuits, 1 bagel and 1 flat bread, all for $10! We then stopped at the chocolate factory and bought 10lbs of broken caramel bars ($10/5lb box) and a bag of unwrapped caramel swirls for $2 (put them with baking supplies as I’m thinking of using them to make cookies). Then we swung over to the Empire Cheese Factory and bought some garlic cheese curds, a small bock of mozzarella with jalapeno & red chillie cheese (hubby’s pick – no worries that someone else will eat it as it is VERY spicy), and a huge block of 4 year old white cheddar cheese (expensive but my absolute favourite cheese!) for a total around $50. Afterwards, we stopped at the small farmers market where we bought a dozen peaches & cream corn for $6 (sign suggested it might be a fundraiser for the food bank), then looked through an antique store where I picked up the most adorable Christmas gift for my mother….a cement pig sprawled out on it’s back with it’s curly tail between it’s legs, perfect for her garden, back deck or in the house ($35).
    *Frugal fail: Two nights of take out, then going out to dinner for my birthday was more than I like for eating out in one week. Also noticing more food waste than normal. I will soon be home more, starting the second week of September, so I hope to get this under control soon!

    As always, looking forward to all the wonderful ideas shared here every week. Have a lovely week filled with lots of joyful, frugal moments everyone!:D

  18. Hello all! Last week I was home most days. Only went out for Mass and a doctors appt. during both times out, I did grocery shopping.
    I made banana nut muffins for the first time, which I will make again but smaller.
    We watched a free movie on tv one night.
    All meals were made at home and my husband took leftovers for lunch.
    At the end of the week, I hurt my back and was not able to do much for two days. I am doing a lot better now. Have a good week all.

  19. I freeze my dog’s food as well! My dog is on a vet prescription diet and the food went ‘off’ quickly so freezing it was my solution. Glad to read that I’m not alone!! Most people, including the vet, think I’m a little over the top for doing it.

  20. I want to say Thanks, as well, for all your work you do on this blog. I don’t always write each week but your posts are always an encouragement.
    The green beans have started to come in. My first picking yielded enough for dinner and four servings for the freezer. I’m also enjoying the 2nd harvest of strawberries. Also picked: cherry tomatoes, summer squash, chard, cucumber, hot peppers, green sweet pepper and beets. Some neighbors were away and I watered their gardens. With permission, I picked some more cucumber and hot peppers. All of these were canned. It’s amazing what three small garden plots will produce – about 4ftX 8ft for each.
    Other savings – not going to the thrift store; turning off lights every time I left the room; no air conditioning for most of the week; eating all meals at home and working on eating down my pantry/freezer.
    The not-so frugal. My washer needs to be replaced. I bought what I could afford and it’s not worth trying to repair it.

  21. Dear your table setting…very fresh and seasonal. Thank you again for your wisdom. Here are a a few frugal accomplishments .
    . Baked French bread and made homemade potato soup
    On a cooler evening.
    . Picked more basil..thyme..rosemary to dry.
    . Made basil oil…basil mayo..
    . Made a round loaf of oatmeal honey bread .first time
    . Gathered fresh stems of leaves to fill house vases
    . Pulled out simple decor for Fall of things I have.
    . Gave a gift to friend in hospital using things I have
    .Re did my front porch chairs covering with large pillow cases and adding orange n white pillows
    . Made all meals at home
    . Colored my hair. Did my nails
    . Company coming this week…prepared homemade
    Biscotti to enjoy with coffee..almond filled short bread cookies..brownies to have for dessert.
    . Husband having a serious angiogram this week..plan on taking my coffee and snacks along to hospital. Simple
    Meal chicken salad prepared ahead in fridge.

  22. We picked a model harvest of plums, a little sooner than we wanted to pick them, but the squirrels would not leave them alone. They are in brown paper bags to ripen a bit more, then I will make beautiful red plum syrup with them. Excellent on french toast, waffles, pancakes, over ice cream, over cheese cake, and it makes a lovely small gift. For some reason, commercial syrup has gone through the roof, so I save quite a bit making homemade fruit syrups.

  23. Goodmorning Brandy,
    I love the photo of your family dining table, it always looks so beautiful.
    To save money this week I-
    Dried all the washing on the line
    Saved the warm up water from the showers for the potted figs out the front
    Cooked from scratch every night
    Went to the markets to buy some herbs and tea, the herbs are so much cheaper and fresher than the supermarket, than tea isn’t thought. The reason I buy it from the market is because I can take my own jar and they will fill it for me, reducing the amount of packaging coming into the house, so it is still a win for me
    Rode my bike to run errands close by
    Cleaned the house using home made cleaners
    Tidied the fridge so I could see exactly what we had and what needed using up
    I have started back to work after some long service leave, so I have started to pack my lunch again
    And that’s all I can think of at the mo.
    Have a lovely day.

  24. This past week we were forced to be frugal since my husband was not paid for two pay periods. He was finally paid, but there are so many expenses this month. I’m actually glad this month is almost over!

    I took my son out to eat as he has finished a very tough job and has successfully transfered colleges. We had leftovers for lunch and took the scraps home for the doggies.

    I cut my hair and trimmed my son’s as well. My son has lost over 30 lbs and needed clothing for college. I bought what I could at thrift shops, but the rest we had to buy at the store. At least we did what we could price wise and accumulated points on his store card. Book wise, we were able to buy second hand books on amazon for his classes. My daughter’s books were covered by her book scholarship, so she was able to buy them at the book store on campus. I sold my daughter’s summer school textbooks online. I’m amazed at the difference in offers when using a comparison website. They are all packaged and mailed for free.

    We stored my daughter’s things for college in a storage unit over the summer. This year she found someone to split the cost. She also had some volunteer help unloading the unit. Really great!

    My son is able to use his backpack and has enough school supplies to use for the year. This is a relief since we have had to take the vehicle he just bought in to have a noise checked out. It is much less than we expected at just over a hundred dollars. Thankful! A new thing for us, commuting to college.

    Found out that I am paid for two extra conference days. I had to cancel long term plans and was able to sell my tickets for what I paid! Wonderful news. I am blessed! This job is so needed and I get to work with long time friends. I did have to buy lunch for two days, but will be able to bring my own food from now on.

    The weather is getting colder, so today I bought a kit to vent the dryer inside. The dryer is in the garage at the moment so it will be helpful. So much of our life is in fluctuation right now that I’m just happy to move ahead on something.

    I bought some clothing at the thrift store to wear at work. When I was back home, I packed some of my clothing for winter and have them ready to be mailed east.

    Found some jars of sauces marked down 75%. They will help make some less expensive cuts of meats go further. I love finding sauces on sale as I find it impossible to convince myself to buy them at the overpriced full price. Some sauces I can replicate, but others I just cannot get right.

    Not the best frugal week, but still doing our best! My siblings are squabbling and I’m trying not to get caught in the crossfire. It’s adding tension and stress to my life that I don’t want or need. I find that it is difficult to be frugal and not overeat under stress; however this community here keeps me going. We all have difficulties and are supporting each other. Thanks everyone and have a frugal week!

  25. I went to a fabulous exhibit at the museum for $4.00. on my new card for low income people. Usual admission is $16.00. I bought picture frames for half price for the photos that I hope to sell. They look great! I was treated to lunch at a pizza place by a friend. Another friend is giving me food from their fridge they cannot use when they go camping.

    I bought sugar at half price for making jam. I paid for my gardener to put mulch on the church’s memorial garden. She gave me her contractor’s discounted price on the mulch. I also qualified as low income for total 100% basic dental coverage (fillings, root canals, hygiene). My new plan I pay for covers non basic items. One of the dentists finally agreed to direct bill the insurance so I don’t have to pay upfront (I couldn’t afford to do that anyway).

  26. This past week was a very busy one as we had activities almost every night. My husband went to a baseball game Tuesday after a friend invited him, then his work gave him free tickets so we went Friday night with friends. Our tickets came with $10 and I was able to bring water into the ballpark so my meal was only 50 cents.
    We were invited out to eat for a friend’s birthday. We both ate the complimentary salad and then had appetizers so our meal was fairly cheap.
    I went to the grocery store and purchased a lot on sale. I am starting a new diet which can be somewhat pricey but if it heals, I’m all for it. We have a stocked up pantry so I will continue to use up what I can eat while on the diet.
    I painted our bathroom- it is almost finished with the renovation. I don’t know what we would have paid someone as this is only a half-bath but I imagine it would have been at least $1500 with parts and labor. I’ve seen quote for a guest bathroom anywhere from $2000 to 5000 so this seems fairly in line with that.
    I checked out some books from the library and placed more on hold. I harvested tomatoes. Everything else is struggling so I’m hoping the cooler weather and rain that is on the way will help. I wasn’t a huge fan of the tomatoes I grew this year but someone suggested slow-roasting them. I tried that yesterday and they were amazing. I read you can slow roast ones you have frozen so I plan on doing that when it gets cooler.
    I said “no” to a big clothing sale. I decided that I didn’t need or want anything.
    I opened the windows and turned off the AC- it’s a win win because I get to enjoy the great breeze but also save money. The leaves are starting to change and drop here- it seems really early but it is making me long for sweaters and hot tea.

  27. I can commiserate with you about the eclipse. We had gray, overcast skies with drizzling rain that day. We only noticed that it seemed a tiny bit darker during the time it passed our area.
    While I have our frugal doings listed on my own site, I wanted to share this sort of frugal thing, though it cost money, ha ha! We’ve been considering purchasing a 4-wheeler ATV for a couple of years. We can get quite a bit of snow here in northern MN and our snowblowers never seem to make it through a full winter and we don’t have a truck and plow. After about 7 years we managed to save $5000. I saw that our local auto dealership listed a used ATV on Craigslist for $5200. It was exactly the make and model we were leaning towards the most, too, and included a winch. So we dug out our cash stash and headed down to the dealer. When I made the offer to the sales gal she seemed to hesitate a little uncertainly but said maybe we could work something out. When we sat at her desk I pulled the envelope of cash out of my pocket and said, “Really, that is all I’ve got. $5000 cash exactly”. Now, I think there’s something about seeing a pile of hundreds because she was no longer unsure and said, “Yeah, we can do that, I think.” In the end, tax and whatever other fees they like to add, amounted to exactly $5000. Even better? The next day she called and told us to come pick up the snowblade that the person who’d traded the ATV in had left there, too, which was unexpected. It never, ever hurts to offer less than asking price, especially if there’s a pile of cash in sight.:)

  28. I recently received a gift wrapped in old pattern paper. You know that tissue-y paper in clothing patterns? And the ribbon was bias tape!! I love the creativity.

  29. Thanks for the tip. I can get the hard copies at the library but I do like the convenience of free online.

  30. I LOVE library book sales 🙂 Our annual sale is coming up in September and I have money set aside in the budget. I love the quote you have on your book page.

    I feel like I do the same small things every week and it bums me out a bit that there isn’t anything spectacular to write about and then I remember that slow and steady wins the race. So here’s to being a tortoise 🙂
    • Made swag goal x3
    • Washed ziplock bags to reuse
    • Froze 19.9 lbs bananas & composted the peels
    • Hung all laundry outside to dry
    • I wanted to repaint the back outside stair railing with a Rustoleum-type paint. I was delighted to find our local hardware store carries a pint size. I bought it and the railing looks a thousand times better. The paint cost more per gallon, but it was the right size and less out of pocket cost then the quart or gallon sizes.
    • Took down the shower curtain liner that had yuck growing on it. Washed it with bleach and hot water in the washing machine on a fast wash cycle. It looks brand new again.

  31. Today was my first day of my ‘month of home and health’. I think I mentioned that I was feeling overwhelmed with too much outside the home. I felt my home and life starting to suffer. So, I changed up my schedule for the next month and dove in today. It’s not about laying around doing nothing, but the opposite. I’m playing catch up so I’m working more. But, without the outside activities, I can work awhile, do light jobs, back to the work, light jobs, etc. without having to stop, shower, change clothes, & go. There was one day that I actually took 4 showers because my day was so broken up and it was hot so I kept getting all sweaty. While 3 of the showers were super quick rinser showers, it was the whole idea that I couldn’t do what I needed to at one time. Anyway, I apologize, I’m just venting my frustrations….at myself, too, for taking on too much and forgetting I’m not 30 anymore!!! First day and I already felt better emotionally so I think I’m on the right track.
    This week, I did have a few perks:
    *Received a $6 rebate check and will be sending out for another one for $4.
    *Got a free box of instant mac n cheese, a free box of dryer sheets, & a free candy bar.
    *Some cool mornings have allowed us to open the windows for about 5 hrs. Fresh air and no a/c
    *I was given some free fabric and I think I have enough to make myself a simple skirt for fall.
    *I found a fair deal on blueberries so I’m freezing 2 large cookie sheets of them for my favorite oatmeal.
    *I treated myself to a pretty decent mini bouquet of flowers in the store clearance section for .99 cents.
    *Sent out 3 greeting cards and 2 gifts….all made by me!

    Thanks for all the ideas, Brandy and fellow posters! If I can’t use it exactly the same, I often find I can tweak it to work for us!! 🙂

  32. “A small bit of rain….” LOL reading this from Houston, remembering living in Las Vegas. Thank you for a bit of non-food related news and things to an to do when we can garden again!

  33. Check her blog. Just water bath cancers, but you have to look at the picture! She’s BUSY! I am impressed!

  34. I continue to read all the very old posts. I have continued to glean them for any helpful hints. Although my money is as balanced as I can get it, I find that my attitude could be adjusted about having meatless meals. This idea would help my budget and I doubt my family will suffer. I always assumed they wouldn’t like it, so I just haven’t tried. That’s a poor excuse. I am checking out prescription options for myself and believe I have found a winner. I only keep medical insurance to cover those prescriptions but the premium and co-pays are just too much. Some of my co-pays are more than the generic prices. I bought TP this week and milk. I found a large Yankee candle that had never been used. It was missing the wick. I paid 60 cents for it at the thrift store. I chipped it out of the jar to use as was melts. It smells so good. My favorite old tip so far is about buying a case of pizza crusts from the Sam’s Club deli. I checked today and 20 are 16.00. I just can’t get the hang of homemade pizza so this will be a happy compromise. I paid 20.00 for my male cat to get fixed at the low cost clinic. I can buy the cocker spaniels shots for 118.00 vs 350.00 at the big name vet. I am so happy I checked them out. My college daughter will reimburse me for this lovely puppies expenses.

  35. Juls, I have left a few comments on your blog but I’m not sure if you’ve seen them. I really appreciated your post about why you are the way you are. We all have our reasons, and I learn so much from everyone here.

  36. Rachel the news coming out of Houston is horrifying. Prayers that you and yours are safe.

    I’ve been thinking about Brandy’s emergency prep packs on and off all day.

  37. Gorgeous photos and great post as always, Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – Redeemed a Starbucks reward for a super healthy salad. Normally costs $10, but free with my points! Free makes a yummy lunch taste even better!
    – I picked a whole bunch of cherry tomatoes from my garden. I love fresh tomatoes!
    – I made some Sesame Garlic Stir-Fried Kale! I used kale that I had traded some bath products for, some garlic that my sister had given me, so the only thing I used from my pantry was splash of veg oil and sesame oil, and sprinkle of hot pepper flakes.
    – I saved the gold ribbon from a box of chocolates, to add to my gift-wrapping supplies.
    – I cut some greenery I saw while walking home after work, and arranged it in a mint julep cup, with my floral frog, a la Brandy. I see it every time I walk by the door, and it’s so pretty! I only cut branches that were overgrown from some bushes in front of an office beside my workplace, so the office got some free hedge trimming, and I got some free greenery – win, win!
    – After Brandy posted about cake decorating (LOVED that Neapolitan cake, btw!), I realized that not everyone knows how to ice a cake. Also, as I’m working my way through the assignments for a blogging course that I’m taking, and one of my plans was to do a post about how to ice a cake, it just reinforced for me that I’m on the right path with evolving and growing my blog. So, I present, how to ice a fancy-pants cake, aka Cake Decorating 101! ( As I’m all about not wasting food, I added in some leftover cappuccino buttercream icing that I had in my freezer. Also, I didn’t have cream at home, so I used evaporated milk plus some oil with chocolate chips to make a sort of ganache. Cream would definitely have made it better, but this was still good!
    – I was able to take a 4-day vacation last week with my husband and some friends! The DH and I are lucky enough to have a leetle extra income (plus we deliberately live below our means, in a condo and using public transit, as compared to most of my friends with their huge homes and multiple cars. No judgement though – we all of us are happy with our choices!) We went to…Vegas! I was able to find us some good deals online plus we had saved for it. On vacation, I was able to do some things to try to be as economical as possible. We bought food and kept it in our hotel room, as opposed to eating out all the time, plus we ate out at places like McDonald’s or a mall food court as opposed to fancy restaurants. We were able to visit the Grand Canyon (something I really, really wanted to do), via bus tour (I booked a tour to the west rim of the canyon, which was cheaper than any of the other locations. Also, it included a box breakfast, a hot lunch, and a bottle of water). All of the other people we travelled with took a helicopter tour of the Canyon, but by taking a bus tour, we saved $500. I used my phone to take photos, but didn’t buy a data roaming package and so didn’t have access to email or anything (and didn’t need to), so that saved $15 right there! I brought a water bottle (that I got via my local trading app) and kept filling it up at our hotel, and so didn’t have to buy drinks to stay hydrated (which as Brandy knows, is important in that heat!) The DH and I were able to get a free breakfast plus free tickets to go on a ride (a giant ferris wheel type thingy like the Eye of London), by sitting through a time-presentation, so that saved $75. We don’t gamble, so the only money we spent in a casino was a total of $1. We took overnight flights to maximize the amount of time we could spend on vacation, and also to decrease the cost of the flight, plus we only packed carry-on luggage to avoid paying for checked baggage. I downloaded e-books from the public library onto my e-reader to read on the plane, instead of paying for in-flight entertainment or buying books or magazines, plus I read my friend’s book on the way back. While walking around, a lot of stores were handing out skin cream samples, so I accepted them. I plan to either give them to my sister or mom, or trade them on my local trading app. And of course, I took the hotel shampoos, etc. back home with me. Most of our time on vacation was spent walking around looking at things, which doesn’t cost anything. We did buy a bus pass to use for a few hours, and then passed it on to my friends to once we were done, saving them the cost of buying one. For souvenirs, I walked to a souvenir shop off the strip (cheaper) and bought postcards and pencils for my family, for a total of $1.50. The only souvenirs for ourselves are the photos that we took. The DH wanted to bring something in for his office, as most of his colleagues bring in candy or souvenirs for everyone when they travel, so we bought some coin and card-shaped chocolates. I then came home, baked a chocolate cake, and stuck the Vegas-themed chocolates on the top. I took a photo for my blog, and sent it in to work with my husband. Everyone loves cake, and this was a way to bring a Vegas-themed souvenir-type gift to his work without breaking the bank! I feel very lucky to have been able to take the trip, but was also thankful to come home to my condo. The glitz of Vegas is not really my thing; although the beauty of the Grand Canyon (and the gorgeous hills and the bright sunlight of Vegas) totally was! Again, Brandy, I am so impressed with how you keep your water and a/c bills so low, while still growing so much food and all your flowers and greenery. Seriously impressive.
    – A client at my workplace gifted me some Chocolate Martini tea – very nice of her!
    – I cut open a hand cream container to use up the very last of it.
    – Made a white wine cream sauce for some pasta, using some white wine leftover from a past family celebration, as well as some leftover evaporated milk. The DH loved it (and I rather liked it myself).
    – I picked some mint from my parents garden, and dried it for tea.
    – Frugal fail: I picked a whole basket of apples from my parents garden, peeled them, and simmered them up for applesauce. And then burnt the applesauce! I was so annoyed at myself. Ah well. No use crying over spilt milk!
    – Made a batch of tea from some tea bags leftover from a camping trip in the winter. I sweetened it with leftover ‘light syrup’ from some canned mandarins, as well as the syrup from some home-canned peaches. I also used some of the syrup to sweeten some homemade lemonade.

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  38. Brandy, it is great to hear that you were able to enjoy some date nights with your husband.

    The highlight of my week was that the weather cooled off slightly AND I have lost about 60 pounds postpartum. This combo meant that I was finally able to fit back into some of my jeans and feel like a human. I still want to lose about 10 more pounds. I’d love to share my weight loss secrets but I have none. With both pregnancies I ballooned into a human marshmallow with severe swelling for no apparent reason. Both times the weight slowly faded away…although I still feel like a human jelly roll. Ha!

    I thought of so many of you ladies this week because I read an article about how Martha Stewart organizes her day, and it mentioned several habits I’ve read about here such as coffee grinds and eggshells in the garden, Scraps for hens, etc.

    We saved money this week by stretching our groceries, eating from the garden, etc. I made what I call Poor Man’s Tuna Helper by boiling a bag of egg noodles and mixing it with sour cream, ranch mix, and tuna, then baking it for 40 minutes. It’s one of those emergency pantry meals :).

    Other ways we saved can be found here:

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  39. I decided to quit coloring my hair. I’m 51 and have mousey brown hair with quite a bit of gray at the temples. Salincomiring and/or highlights is too expensive and because of the highlights (put in over a year ago) home coloring doesn’t take well.

    I’m going cold turkey (no highlights, lowlights or blending colors) and will keep my hair chin length until the last of the highlights and chocolate brown grow out/get cut off.

    Made a revised budget.
    Cut more from grocery budget so now will spend no more than 75 per month for food, cleaning supplies and paper products for my household of one.
    By maximizing errands I can spend only $20 per month on gas for my car (including to and from work)

    Temps have been in the upper 60s/low 70s during the day so no a/c needed. Windows wide open when I am home and st night.

    Unplugging tv, toaster, microwave when not in use.

    Charging cell phone in carbon wsy to work.

    Those are my most recent frugal activities

  40. I knew I would be expanding my garden for next spring. Husband has been scavenging suitable wood and for two years I have been working three compost piles, to the point of soliciting grass clippings from neighbors who don’t use herbicides on their lawns. Today we “harvested” the compost piles—we filled our three wheelbarrows a total of five times each. This was enough to fill two huge raised beds with no money expended for dirt. Two years of planning finally paid off—now I cannot wait for next spring, even though I am not done harvesting this summer’s bounty!

    I cut husband’s hair. He cut mine.

    Took three boxes of books, puzzles, DVDs and CDs to a non-profit resale place that supports literacy. Tax receipt plus reduced clutter

    Canned roasted tomatoes, made sauerkraut, made and canned jams from raspberries, blue berries and honeyberries in our yard.

    Have not purchased any groceries but milk for three weeks now, to eat down some of the older stuff in freezer and cupboard. Amazing what I have unearthed in both those places!

    Had guests over twice and each time made the entire meal using things I already had, instead of rushing out to buy special appetizers or such. People seemed to like the meals, even without fancy, expensive cheeses or crackers.

    Someone left three gigantic warehouse store sized jars of peanut butter in the staff room, with a sign to take them. I took one, waited a week and no one took the others. So, at a staff meeting I asked if anyone wanted them and no one did. I have enough peanut butter to last a year now!

  41. This week was active and we:

    -made banana bread
    -made lentil, tomato, capsicum, cauliflower and chickpea soup and froze some
    -got some very needed items for my birthday, saving us over $200
    -cut meat consumption down drastically
    -washed our only car
    -went to the beach and took our bicycles
    -used a $50 voucher for the weeks groceries, leaving me $7 out of pocket
    -was gifted a chocolate bar
    -read two books from the library
    -went to playgroup
    -did the usual line drying, not buying things, being as energy & water efficient as we can, going for walks and to the duck pond and park with my children, cooking everything from scratch (except for bread, pasta and yoghurt)
    -did not need to fill up our only car with petrol
    -my daughter was gifted a set of pencils and a colouring book and we also received 2 bottles of water and a handful of sealed candy from a free event we attended
    -still no internet and hoping to have it connected by November 2017. It will increase our outgoing expenditure so I am going to have to look at what areas I can cut down our expenses

  42. Libby,
    I’m a tortoise, too!
    I always feel so virtuous when I wash the liner. Plus, it saves about 5.00 over buying a new one!

  43. A friend told me about a sale @Meijers – raspberries – 2 baskets/$1!!! So I bought enough to make 42 jars of jam! I had all the other ingredients and jars already in my pantry!!

    I also pressure canned 10 pints of black beans, 8 pints of kidney beans and 4 pints of white beans to replenish my pantry shelf! I store 100 pounds of each of those as dry beans but I live the convenience of opening a jar to use immediately in a recipe!!
    Sold another outside bench so that brought in more $$! I had assumed that the season for selling our outdoor line of wood furniture would be ending since summer is basically over but I guess I’ll just keep that advertised since I just got another request for one! Our orders keep growing for our set of 3 fall pumpkins that we make out of reclaimed wood! On Craigslist today, we picked up almost 500 board foot of cedar fencing for free that we will use in our business! That represents thousands of dollars worth of material!

    With the greens I got for free for our chickens, there were also 3 big bunches of carrots with wilted tops! I cut the tops off for the chickens and peeled and shredded the carrots for us to enjoy in carrot cake!!! There were also 6 big bunches of broccoli that I washed and cut up and blanched in boiling water and then packaged in 3 quart ziploc freezer bags! For free!!

    A friend gave me a bag with handpieced quilt blocks for the 1930’s-1940’s and so I started sorting through them. I found 30 bow tie blocks so I sewed then together and then quilted it up! The batting and backing were in my stash! It turned out amazing- very vintage- and I put it up for sale on our Facebook site!
    I got 4 more pounds of strawberries @ 88cents/pound so I froze those whole for slushes!

    I made 6 more bacon, egg and cheese McMuffins for breakfast. I packaged up dinner leftovers each night into lunch portions to go!

    We are gettin 21 eggs a week from our chickens and enjoying them thoroughly! I hard boiled a dozen more in my instant pot to keep in the fridge for an say snack! A friend crocheted an egg carrying apron for me as a surprise gift!! It’s adorable! Of course I would have to have a lot more chickens to fill the 18 egg pockets at one time!! Lol !!

    I canned 7 quarts of tomatoes from our garden!
    Our side business brought in an extra $300 this week! We found out what my husband’s company pension (separate from our 401K will be each month when he retires and that it will continue until both of us have passed away! This means retirement looks much better in 21 months than we thought!
    All in all, a very good week!

  44. I accidentally ordered an 18 # bag of dry food for our cat, who eats 1/4 cup per day of it along with canned food. My husband and I divided it up into Foodsaver bags so it would stay fresh until we can use it all, one bag at a time. I just wasn’t thinking straight and didn’t realize how much 18#s of cat food is! I ordered on, which is a good deal for anyone who is interested. Delivery within a couple days, and no shipping costs if you meet the minimum order. No lugging home large bags of litter either!

  45. I think that my list of frugal accomplishments should always start with mentioning that I read the comments after Brandy’s posts. I always learn something new and I always feel inspired by all your knowledge.
    Thanks everyone!
    This week was pretty uneventful. I canned my peaches for the year, saving the peels and pits in the freezer to make jelly later this winter when life slows down.
    We watched the eclipse at work. I did cobble together a pinhole viewer and it worked pretty well, but not as well as the special googles one of the stock boys brought. We all took turns covering for each other and looking through the googles at the show in the sky.

    Have a great week everyone.

  46. Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy I am glad you had some much needed rain there which will help with watering your gardens.

    Here is how we have saved this week –

    Purchases –
    – Purchased our grocery gift card at 5% off face value saving $10 off next months grocery shop.
    – Bought stainless steel pegs from money earned from selling saved garden seeds from our gardens on the internet saving $28.82 over purchasing them elsewhere.

    Financial –
    – Saved more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us up to 21.34% of the way there.

    Garden machinery maintenance savings –
    – After ringing around for the best price we put our ride on lawn mower in for it’s service at another dealer saving $39 over the regular place we sent it to.
    – Put in our 2 chainsaws for a service and said no to them sharpening the chains saving us $18 as we are doing it ourselves after finding out the right angle to sharpen them on.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made 1.85lts of orange juice cordial from oranges found on special saving $3.39 over purchasing the similar amount in the shops.
    – Saved $8.91 in electricity costs by using our solar lanterns to light our home each night and only turning on the electric hot water system once every 3 days. The water in the hot water system stays hot for that period of time 😀 .

    Have a great week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  47. I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s frugal activities. In addition to the usual stuff, here is what I did:
    (1) My old computer kicked the bucket. I ordered a new one online from Best Buy. It was on clearance and reduced from $599 to $479. But I bought one in an opened box, which reduced the price to $421. It arrived the same day the old one breathed its last.

    (2) Picked a handful of blueberries from the bush I planted last year.

    (3) Picked a bucket of pears from one of my two dwarf pear trees (the other tree is a few days behind). As soon as they finish ripening, I plan to can them.

    (4) The W&D at our vacation home (where we are living for the next 6-8 months) were both on their last legs. The dryer sounded like a threshing machine and the washer was stopping mid-cycle. They were about 25 years old and I got them free to begin with. Last week, I bought a set of used KitchenAids for $275. They were asking $300, I thought they were worth about $250, but there is a lot to be said for buying something used that is spotlessly clean and only 3 miles away.

    (5) Been doing a good job of using up leftovers and not throwing away food. Still eating down the freezer and pantry, and spending $40-$50 week on milk, bread, produce, etc., and things we run out of. I have been feeding the compost pile all week.

    (6) Reduced water consumption by 1/3 by re-programming the sprinkler system. This should result in about a 50% savings because it will eliminate the surcharge on the entire bill. Been doing little things to conserve and reuse household water. Also unplugging the computer and other things that use energy even when not in use.

    (7) At Goodwill, I bought a pair of Ellen Tracy black dress pumps, white and gray Keds Mary Janes and red leather flip flops for $19 total–all in like-new condition.

    (8) Saved 15% by reserving in advance a room at LaQuinta on the way to DS’s wedding next month in Wyoming..

    (9) I need some hardware items, but decided to wait until I was near a hardware store vs. the instant gratification of driving 40 miles RT to get what I need.

    (10) Saved the best for last–gratefully received 3 pieces of free pie!

  48. It has been a busy week here putting up the harvest. I picked all the remaining peaches from our mature dwarf tree, because the birds were pecking at them. They are ripe enough to finish ripening in boxes on the dining room floor, under the kitchen counter, where the birds cannot get to them this year the tree yielded over 3 bushel, nearly 3 1/2. We already put up a bushel from our Red Haven trees, & it sounds like a lot, but when we eat what we produce, & I share with our daughters, it is about right.

    Picked the remaining pears & continued to dehydrate them in slices as they ripen, again, in a box on the dining room floor. Picked & brought in the prune plums, again, because the birds would not leave them alone, so they are close enough to finish indoors. Enjoyed the first picking of green beans; I do love fresh green beans!

    The dehydrator is running mixed loads these days with the last of the grapes, pear slices as they ripen, & the occasional banana that is getting over ripe, with tray of elderberries here & there. I have been running it on the patio table to keep the house cool, but we now have a fire burning up one of the canyons, so every morning & evening, the smoke smell is pretty thick outside when the canyon wind comes down. That has cut into the amount of time I can run the dehydrator each day, down from about 14 hours to 8-9 hours, so it takes longer. This week I will dig & prep some of the beets for dehydrating as well, to take the place of the raisins that are almost done. I try to process a full set of 10 trays when I run the dehydrator. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, I keep up with the harvest better.

    I have started watching for bandanas again at the thrift stores. We lived in Idaho when Yellowstone had the big fires a few decades back, & a wet bandana over the face helped my children, who all had asthma, breathe far more easily when they were outside. They played cowboys a lot that year!

    Picked up more wide mouth mason jars at Deseret Industries to hold dried pears & raisins. When my oldest daughter comes over for her next medical appointment, she will bring me some of her empty jars as well, & I will trade her for full jars. She has more jars than I do, which is more than just a few, but by trading back & forth, everyone in the family benefits. I can grow fruit here much better than she can, but she can raise meat, which I cannot. The extended family economy works for us.

    I pruned back the forsythia in the front yard after I pulled the garbage can to the curb for the pickup, because the bushes need pruned back again & there was room to fit some pruning in the top,of the garbage can. Our garbage rates went up again a few months back, so I try to plan carefully so we do not need more than one can.

    I picked some of our Maypole crab apples that are 2″ across, & cut the flesh from the core, then popped the pieces into freezer bags to wait until later in the fall when I am not so busy. I will juice them & make crab apple jelly to use in our saucy meatballs recipes.

    We looked at our FSA, & realized we were probably not going to use all we set aside this year, so I ordered a second pair of orthotics (I can get 2 pair per year), and scheduled an eye exam for new glasses. I also had a growth on my cheek checked out by derm, since our FSA is a use it or lose it. My husband had a wart frozen off. These are some things that need done, but could have waited a year if need be, so we do them when the funds are there in the FSA.

    I have continued to make and/or buy the presents for the upcoming holiday season, & most of those are at the ready to wrap stage. One of things that I did that was new this year was to make sure I used every 25% off coupon in the Deseret Book flyers. One of our young grandchildren loves the small Latter Day Design figures, but they are $5.99 each. The coupon takes off a buck & a half, which doesn’t sound like that much, until I start buying one with every coupon. Several of them together make a very nice present for birthdays or Christmas. The child loves them, her parents love them (they go in their “Sunday box” of religious toys for Sunday play), & it spreads out the cost over multiple months, plus reducing it with the coupon. I have saved & used my pine cone research $3 checks for these, & have a small assortment now.

  49. Brandy, your pears look beautiful and delicious! Our pears were pitiful this year.

    We collected 33 eggs and sold 2 dozen.
    We harvested cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, figs, chili peppers, tomatillos, lemon thyme, basil, oregano, dill seed, Asian pears, peaches, and the first apple (I picked it up off the ground and ate it).
    I canned 12 pints of dill relish and fermented six 1 1/2 pint jars of dill pickles. I processed the relish in 2 batches over the course of 2 days, but I reused the same canner water for both batches (then used it to water outdoor plants). We also dried herbs and zucchini slices.
    I was gifted apples and wine grapes (we freeze these and feed them to the chickens to help cool them when it’s really hot) from my boss. We ordered an extra box of beef and additional ground beef from our beef club. This really saves us little or no money, but the quality of local grassfed beef can’t be matched and we have enough beef to last us at least to the end of the year.
    Mom cut Dad’s hair.
    On Sunday, we went to a restaurant for lunch and parked in front of the thrift store across the street. After lunch we decided to look in the thrift store for a few minutes. It was “all clothing is $1” day and I bought 3 casual tops for work and 2 nice blouses. Mom bought 3 tops and also two drinking glasses for $1 each.
    The best deal of the week was my sister’s. My sister, our mom and I have been sharing one computer for years. My sister’s co-worker found out and the co-worker’s husband, who puts together and sells computers on the side, sold her a computer. I don’t know what this computer would retail for, but it included the computer itself with our favorite version of windows on it, wifi capability, speakers, subwoofer, keyboard, monitor, printer, and computer desk. We knew the price he quoted was well below what the computer was worth and my sister didn’t want him to take a big loss on it, so she actually rounded up what she paid for it. She still only paid $300 for the whole set up; amazing!!!

  50. This week was a quiet one and reminded me that all the little things do add up!

    I packed snacks and water whenever I went out and combined trips as much as possible.
    My friend and I had a cheap day out by going thrift shopping and then watching a movie at her house.
    I continued to only wash full loads of washing and dishes and attempted to do this mostly at night. We have a solar system and get a really good rebate. So for us it’s worth it to sell the electricity during the day when we produce it and “buy it back” at night for less. This makes me feel slightly better about my one big splurge in winter: Long hot showers!
    On a nice day, I planted the garlic seeds we were given last week. Harvested some chives for dinner one night and dried some of our rosemary to refill the herb jar.
    All meals were made at home and we used up all leftovers. We were invited to friend’s houses for dinner twice this week. We brought cupcakes for dessert which were made with gifted lemons and limes and some leftover cream cheese.
    When filling up my car, I paid with a gift card that was bought at 5% off and also earned points on my rewards card. I also did our monthly grocery shop and earned enough points to save $10 next time!
    We picked up fruit and herbs from the free carts around town again. My husband’s grandma gave us a whole stack of old newspapers which we use in our cats litter boxes.
    My husband mowed the lawn and washed one of our cars.

    That’s it, looking forward to reading everyone else’s comments!

  51. I haven’t posted in so long because it has not been a particularly frugal Summer for us due to constant car trouble. We are normally a one car family but with one of our daughters home for the Summer we have been a 2 car family. She is working 2 jobs and both cars have been taking turns being out of commission. Between the two cars we have needed a tow 3X! The frugal part comes in because husband has replaced a timing belt & oil pump in the one car and is replacing the brakes on the other car. I will forever be thankful to have married a man who can fix almost anything.
    This week’s frugal activities:
    My 40# of pears arrived. This is a once a year purchase and we get the pears for $0.75/lb. This is a fantastic price for fruit. My kids don’t eat canned pears, so I put them in groups of 6 in special produce bags that absorb ethylene gas (that I found at a yard sale inexpensively) and keep them in the bottom of the refrigerator. This method keeps them fresh for months.
    I helped at a funeral for a sweet family friend and we used all the lovely things we used for our daughter’s wedding last year including a beautiful glass water dispenser, several cake platters and serving trays. We bought them all used at yard sales & thrift shops. After the funeral I brought home several bags of green salad, an unused container of baby spinach, the consolidated contents of several veggie trays and an unopened costco size package of sliced cheese, that no one else wanted to take home.
    It is supposed to be over 100 degrees every day for the next week. This is very unusual for our area. We don’t have A/C because we don’t get many days with temperatures that high. I prepped as many cold dinners ahead of time as possible because it is all to tempting to send someone out for fast food when everyone is so drained from the heat.
    Because it is my birthday month my daughter & I went to both of the high end cosmetic stores in the area. I am a member of their rewards programs but I never buy anything. Once a year they offer me a birthday present. This year the birthday gift at one store was a small lipstick, a cream blush & a mascara. The birthday gift at the other store was an eyeshadow palette. I will use the mascara and the lipstick and the other items will be gifts for my daughters.
    My son is growing out of his clothes in leaps & bounds so I keep a running list of what I am looking for for him. I found 2 white dress shirts for $3 each, and 2 pairs of dress shoes that look like new for $5 each. One pair is 1/2 size larger than his current size and the other is a whole size larger. Our scouts go on a 30-50 mile backpacking trip every summer and at the same thrift store I found a pair of hiking boot with the tags still on. They were a very expensive brand name ($130!) and with the coupon I received they were $9. They are a size larger. Right now my 14 year old daughter & 12 year old son wear the same size in hiking boots. They shared a pair this year. With one the boots went 43 miles and with the other the boots hiked 22 miles. Someone will wear the new boots next Summer.
    I mended a hole in my daughter’s quilt. I added an eyelet lace ruffle to the bottom of a skirt another daughter found at a thrift store to make it long enough for her to wear comfortably. I changed the buttons on a shirt when it lost one & I could find a match. I kept the old button in the button jar for future use.
    Have a great week everyone.

  52. Continues to be busy with juggling work hours, garden harvest, and helping my parents.

    Ate all meals at home this week. We try and eat out no more than 2 times a month. Meals made-Unstuffed cabbage soup (from the freezer), grilled cheese, breakfast for dinner-hash browns, sausage links, and eggs, BBQ ribs (pressure cooked in instant pot) then grilled, grilled hamburgers and German potato salad, lettuce salads, caprese salad, vinegar cucumbers, and Kansas cucumber salad.

    Bought 2 dozen farm eggs for $2 a dozen. My grandkids like to come to my house and have “brown eggs”.

    I have $45 left of my $100 I use for groceries every other week. This week I bought large container Greek yogurt, bananas, butter, ice cream, blueberries, sour dough bread, and spent about $20 at farm market.

    Went to a couple of thrift stores on the way to my parents house. Breaks up the 4 hour trip. Bought red Keds tennis shoes with the tags on for $3, flannel shirt, new with tags on $4, several items for grandkids from the fifty cents clearance area-$3 total, wide mouth canning jar-50 cents, and non canning larger glass jar (for food storage)-50 cents.

    Received 2 five gallon buckets of apples free!! Made 18 pints of apple sauce. Only out of pocket money for this was 4c sugar, flats for canning, and gas from the stove. Gotta love it!!

    Continue with garden produce- cleaned and froze green, red, and yellow peppers, peeled and sliced the last of the kolarabi, harvested one more cabbage, chopped and froze for soup this winter. I have 4 large flat Dutch head cabbage left. This will make sauerkraut in my crock this next weekend. Getting a few tomatoes for eating. Looks like they will all ripen at once!! Then there will be a tomato canning frenzy!!

    Hope you have a great week!!

  53. Hi Brandy,

    I just found your blog last week. I really enjoy reading your awesome money saving ideas (especially on groceries) and your family is just beautiful! I’m also a novice gardener and love your beautiful garden pictures. As a Christian, wife and mother, it’s nice to find like-minded people to learn from 🙂
    This past weekend, I visited my aunt, which resulted in some produce from her garden and some fresh herbs, as well as a gardening book. Her gifts were very useful as some of it was produce I don’t have. I made stewed tomatoes from the bounty and plan on making baba ganoush this week. My best friend joined my husband and I for dinner and a movie at my house on Saturday instead of going out somewhere, which of course saved money. I made homemade Chinese food instead of takeout because I’ve been craving it and was very happy with the results.
    I found a way to save $40 on my renter’s insurance, which I wouldn’t have looked into if I hadn’t found your blog! I also learned ways to lower my grocery bills from your blog and have applied that knowledge in the past couple of weeks, saving me even more money. I have an upcoming court appearance which I’m a little nervous about but I hope to put into practice some of your frugal ideas to help with the expense. I’m trusting God with the outcome.
    Hope you have a blessed day, and I look forward to reading your blog.

    In Christ,

  54. Sounds like you had a lot of great money-saving adventures! I love how you cut your hair at home. 🙂 I need to teach myself how to trim my hair; right now I’m only confident in trimming bangs.

    This week:

    1. I switched our bedding with the bedding in the guest room. Ours was a little worn, and now we can go a few more years without replacing our sheets / comforter.

    2. I mended a strap for our fitted sheets instead of tossing it or buying a new one.

    3. I’ve been working out in our bonus room using free YouTube videos.

    4. I did my nails at home instead of going to the salon.

    5. I baked lemon-cheesecake flavored macarons. Delish!

  55. Here are my top three frugal accomplishments for the week:

    1) Organized an elementary school reunion kickball game for my daughter’s entire elementary school grade. They are entering 7th grade this year, and they attended the same elementary school from kindergarten through 5th grade. There were a total of 30 students in her grade. We were able to contact 27 of them. Fourteen kids showed up for the game, and it was one of the best events of our summer! These kids have been friends since kindergarten, and they are still friends even though they now attend a larger middle school and don’t get to see each other as often as they did when they were younger. We asked each family to bring either juice, cookies, or cupcakes to share. We made cupcakes and brought those. It was a great day for the kids, and the moms had a chance to chat and catch up. I always tell my daughter how priceless childhood friends are. It was so nice for the kids to have a fun day that didn’t cost anything!
    2) Bought a pair of Hollister jeans at Savers for $3.49 for my daughter for back to school. The exact same jeans at Hollister cost $25.
    3) Served my family tortillas with beans, cheese, and salsa. No meat. Not everyone loved this, and not everyone even wanted to try this, but I will keep serving this.
    Thank you, Brandy, for all of your wisdom and excellent ideas. I am going to try a few of your recipes in the next few weeks. I truly enjoy reading your posts and all of the great comments from your readers. Good luck to your children in their auditions!

  56. I’m glad to see I’m not alone, too! I get some odd looks when people open my freezer and see a huge Hefty 2 gallon bag of dry cat food or dog food in the freezer.
    I’m glad to hear from both of you!

  57. We did the almost exact same buying a new car. It is amazing when you say that is my budget and you have cash how the price comes to that price.

  58. Tara,

    I just love your statement “not everyone loved this, not everyone was even willing to try it, but I will keep serving it”

    My family is so picky. Then they wonder why food cost so much ! DUH

  59. hehehehe That made me chuckle good 🙂 We buy the biggest bags we can for both the dogs and the cats – we go thru 33 pounds of dog food in 10 days and a 15 pound bag of cat food about the same time. I work so they stay fed but they give so much more back to us that I can’t imagine not having them (well okay – except for the freak cat who skulks around here and only comes out once a day for attention)
    This a great way for people to save because the per pound cost is usually cheaper for the larger bags! I am going to pass this hint on to my parents as they only have 2 little dogs and one cat.

  60. Good morning!

    It’s been a while since I commented here, or posted on my own blog for that matter. Summer has been harder than anticipated!

    Here’s my link to my Frugal Friday post last Friday. The highlights: pickles made and the solar eclipse!

    Thanks so much for the weekly encouragement with your posts, Brandy. It’s been a blessing this summer!
    Have a wonderful week everyone,

  61. I wonder if I could substitute canned pumpkin for the squash, and add a can of beans, and a can of corn plus chicken broth to make the three sisters soup….I have that on hand and your soup sounds delicious! It turns out my personal email and facebook were hacked, so I have been annoyed but that is a modern annoyance. Since I never buy anything on line, nor do I bank on line, the hackers were out of luck with me…lol. I made basic pinto dried beans, carrots, and rice, and a homemade shrimp sauce. I have used this and eaten it by itself, and I have also jazzed it up with fresh tomatoes and onions, salsa, and sour cream with tortillas for variety. I am trying to incorporate more beans in my diet. I already eat peanut butter every day and hummus, so I think the legumes are covered in my I basically just worked and slept this week. I did enjoy at church the talk of a return missionary who recently served in Brazil. I love these glimpses into other places that I will probably never see. Y’all have a beautiful week!

  62. Haha, my eyes actually read it as canners anyway. I will look at the picture….
    OK, that looks a lot like my drive on group canning days, but I never would work alone!! That is impressive.

  63. Thanks Margaret! Your trip to Vegas sounds awesome. I’m glad you got to visit the Grand Canyon. I will definitely make good use of your post about cake decorating !

  64. I need to make a note of the 3 sisters soup. I’ve grown 3 sisters before and never thought about putting them together. I have dehydrated zucchini and dehydrated yellow squash right now in the pantry.

  65. Marivene, I googled and landed on the LDS bookstore and saw the figurines. There is quite a variety. The name Helaman sounded familar…that had something to do with a parade a couple years ago that was posted?? That is what I am thinking.

  66. Great ideas from everyone’s posts. We are doing the usual stuff and a few extras.
    1. Getting ready for our 9 1/2 mo old granddaughter to visit for a couple of days. They will only visit here a couple of times a year so I am taking it slow on getting a toy supply. Found a board book at the Friends of the Library sale and the drugstore had balls on sale for $1. I figure that a ball is good for pushing and crawling after now and can be a plaything for lots of years. I can get out plastic containers that nest too. She will bring some toys I am sure.
    2. DH is in the process of buying a laptop and carefully selected the best value one for what he needs. We are sending the second one back today. Both had defects – one in the keyboard and one in the set up software. He is going to shop locally and try to get one for even less.
    3. I went to the $5 yoga class in my rec center today and am trying to make that a weekly practice. Otherwise walking and exercising at home.
    4. Continue to make sure we eat up leftovers whether for lunch or as planned over dinner items.

  67. We have been making the Kansas city cucumbers…did I get the recipe from you? I also googled multiple pictures of flat Dutch cabbage and they all look round as can be so I am confused. Even the description from the seed companies call them flat. Where are they flat? I like the size though especially…12 pound heads!!

  68. I used to live at Helaman Halls at BYU as a very naive 17 year old freshman…..40 years ago this month…wow…I cannot believe it has been that long ago!!! I am really showing my age….lol

  69. Happy Tuesday, frugal-minded friends. I haven’t participated in several weeks but my life is slowly getting back to normal. My SO moved in in May, along with his 3 small kids who spend their summer with him, and his sister was visiting from Germany, so I went from a single person, to a family of 6. His sister returned home in late July, and the kids went back to their mom Friday a week ago. I miss them but am enjoying some quiet time, too. Plus, I am getting my house thoroughly cleaned for the first time in months! lol

    Frugal accomplishments for last week —
    * Bought 5 pounds of hamburger at Aldi and divided it up into 5 meals. Used 1.5 pounds for meatloaf one night, then divided up the remaining 3.5 pounds into 4 separate packages for future meals.
    * Bought pork loin for $7.99 and cut it into 11 thick, boneless chops. Used 4 for dinner last night, to make stuffed pork chops, and packaged the others for future use.
    * Bought package of chicken thighs for $3.00. Will boil them, shred the meat, and use some for chicken and dumplins and package the rest for future use.
    * Bought 2 16oz bags of baby carrots for 49 cents each; chopped and blanched and froze them in 2 cup portions for future use. I need to run to Aldi today to buy several more bags. I want to have a good stockpile of frozen carrots to use in soups and stews this winter.
    *Bought 2 dozen eggs, which continue to be .47/dozen. I make egg salad often, and each time I boil a dozen, which gives me enough salad for the week for SOs breakfast.

    Found a jacket at Goodwill on Friday and paid $4.99 for it. Listed it on eBay yesterday afternoon and it sold today for $43 + shipping.

    Continued to keep lights off, a/c turned up to 80, combined errands when possible, and generally stayed home as much as possible. I am expecting to use more gas soon though as I am moving my home office back to my parent’s house, since I have no room here anymore since both spare rooms are now housing kid stuff. Plus, when home I feel obligated to stop working and do chores or whatnot, and at least if I am across town (11 miles) I am forced to focus on work!! More work = more money so the gas consumption will equal out in the end, I suppose.

    I haven’t checked our electric usage for the past week, but I am sure it will be going down at least some. My bill last month was $230+, which is a lot for me. I don’t think my bill was ever over $150 when it was just me living here. Thankfully, it’s been overcast and relatively cool here the past 2 days, so I’ve had the ac off completely and the windows open. Additionally, I am doing a lot less wash, now that it’s back to being just the 2 of us, instead of 5 or 6, and we’re using a lot less hot water for showers. Woohoo!!

  70. I use gallon sized generic ziplocks from WalMart to store the food in.

    I’m also really enjoying finding others who do this with their pet food!

  71. Athanasia, you are remembering the Sons of Helaman entry in the parade, a few years back. The one that loves these is a granddaughter, which I find interesting. The boys could always take it or leave it. The figures are based on the Book of Mormon stories. The designer tells on the website how he designed toys for some major manufacturers, & when he saw kids at church playing with action figures, he thought it was sad that there didn’t seem to be any more church- appropriate toys, so he designed some. The smaller sized set are 3.5 inches tall, because they were designed to fit in a child’s pocket! They are a bit pricey, but other than the Fisher Price Little People Noah’s Ark & Nativity, he’s correct- there is not a lot out there for religious toys for kids. Little Stuff combines hers with her FPLP & can tell quite a variety of scripture stories. She uses Ammon from the LDD set with the sheep from the ark & nativity, and a spare shepherd as the robber. Her version is way cuter than what is actually in the pages. When Ammon saves the sheep in her version, they jump up in the air & yell “Yay!”

  72. They are more oblong or oval, hard to explain. Here in Minnesota they grow well and large!! I would guess each one is about 10# each. Will make 2 big crocks of sauerkraut. I will be getting muscles from using my old fashioned kraut cutter for sure!! Yes you got the Kansas cucumber recipe from me, love it especially the second day. I think it is better the second day and third day -if it lasts that long!

  73. My partner found Winco coupons on the back page of the UVU student newspaper. $27 of free groceries. We used them a few times. All processed food, but we are on the tail end of our one paycheck season, and the treats are welcomed.

  74. I burned my apples once and ruined a batch of applesauce. Now I either use a crock pot, with the lid propped up about half way through to evaporate some of the liquid, or I bake the peeled sliced apple pieces in a shallow pan at about 350 degrees, stirring every 20 minutes or son until I reach the consistency I want. If you are using sour apples, mixing some sugar in before roasting will lead to a nice and tasty caramelization.

  75. Cindy, you can use any type of squash, any type of beans and any type of corn you’d like. A poultry based broth or vegetable broth would work best, whatever you have on hand is fine. Most recipes on-line call for things like onions and other seasoning to be added, which you are welcome to include. I didn’t for mine, since early pioneers had very little variety in their gardens when they first started out in our area (potatoes, turnip and the 3 sisters mainly). Most of the seasoning for the batch I made came from the delicious homemade poultry stock, made from chicken carcasses, turkey carcasses plus all the juices and leftover bits of stuffing from the pan, the giblets & neck from the turkey, whatever veggie peelings/scraps I had saved in a freezer bag, an onion and a couple whole dried bay leaves thrown in for good measure. The soup is a complete, nutritious, balanced and very frugal meal!

  76. In the early 1800s, canning jars had not been invented yet. Most pioneers had to travel over very rough terrain, so crockery pots didn’t always travel well. Most early pioneers would dry much of their harvest to preserve it for winter, including the corn, beans and squash. I would think the yellow squash might be better for this soup, but a combo of the two might taste good as well! It’s a pretty basic soup, so feel free to experiment by adding different squash and beans, whichever are your favourites or what you have on hand.

  77. Tara, you are so right about how priceless are childhood friends. Mary has been my best friend since she was 8 and I was 9. She is now 70 and I am 71. Distance hasn’t changed anything–for nearly 30 years, I have lived in northern Idaho while she has remained in the Portland area. When I went to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion last winter, Mary took the train with me to Minnesota! Anyone who would take a train to Minnesota in the dead of winter is a true friend! I have several other childhood friends and well. Whenever I go to a high school reunion (not often), the kids that went to my grade school always hang together. We might not have been the best of friends as children, but we share the same history. Your kickball game sounds like a blast!

  78. I just had the privilege of visiting Las Vegas (we’re not gambling people either) and the Grand Canyon a couple years ago. Pretty impressive, but rather scary standing near the edge with no guard rails! We also did the Skywalk, which was definitely panic inducing (I have a hard time climbing a tall ladder). How was the heat when you were there? I had always heard a dry heat wasn’t as bad as humid weather. My experience taught me that over 100F it just still insanely HOT, dry or not! Don’t know how you deal with that all the time, Brandy.:p

  79. Congrats on the weight loss, J. Loved your Poor Man’s Tuna Helper idea. Wondering if it would work with leftover chicken.

  80. Dear Brandy:
    I want to let you know how much your blog means to me, and how helpful and hopeful it is as well. Even when things become more challenging for you, you appreciate and wisely use what you do have. In addition to all your recipes, how-to’s and words of encouragement, I appreciate that you do not prattle on about what big savings/deals there are to be had on websites, stores, etc., because you are not buying things – like me!! I wrote a few weeks ago in response to your article about being a one car family, how we had recently become one as well due to the demise of our old minivan. And I am still riding my bicycle, and my husband is still driving our daughter to school, and we are making things work. Instead of worrying about what we don’t have/want, we are truly thankful for what we do have. Thank you for being a reminder through your blog that we always will get by. With sincere thanks!!!

  81. Hi Rhonda! I absolutely loved the Grand Canyon, but was also struck by how easily one could fall. I got quite close to the edge, which made my husband worry, but I was still quite safe. And, I also did the Skywalk! My husband is like you, and not a fan of heights, but once he walked off back to the exit, and I (and a new friend we made on the tour) had fun jumping up and down on it (albeit gingerly). I skipped the professional photo souvenirs that the attraction sold though. They were way overpriced, and also, the memory of it is enough for me.

    The heat was HOT while we were there, but not as bad as I was expecting. I took a super-wide brim hat with me, and between that and drinking lots of water, wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts, and popping in and out of air-conditioned places, I was absolutely fine. I really think my wide-brimmed hat helped a lot, as my husband and friends definitely felt the heat more than I did, and I’m usually quite sensitive to heat. I can totally understand how hard it would be to grow a garden in that heat though, and why roses would grow smaller. Definitely different than gardening in more temperate zones.

  82. Update: I made your soup because it was rainy last night, and using the “spirit” of the pioneers to use what I had on hand…lol, I used pumpkin, beans, and corn…but mine were all canned. I added salt, and chicken broth (made with bullion, because that is what I had on hand)…it was delicious (I admit I cheated and added a little sugar because I always do when I cook canned corn)!!!! Thanks so much! Since I had purchased the can of pumpkin for 10 cents, on sale last year, and the can of beans, and corn, were 50 cents a piece, it was a very cheap and good soup. I will be making it again!

  83. While I’ve not colored my hair for a few years now, I, too, am letting my mouse-brown hair with a bit of white at the temples go natural for good. Although two of my friends keep suggesting that I color my hair, ha ha. But I work with a couple of women that have gray hair and I think it is so beautiful, I am keeping my fingers crossed that mine will look as great. So, kudos to you!

  84. Jenny, when Little Stuff plays with her FP Noah’s ark (which cost me a whopping buck fifty at DI), she lines up the animals & they talk to each other before they go in the ark “I want to go! Do you want to go? Me, too! I want to go, too! ” It’s adorable.

  85. I second what Thrifty Lisa says! I truest appreciate your blog and the encouragement I receive from your posts and others comments. Thank you!

  86. Our weather is still extra hot–I’m looking forward to fall!

    I’ve been canning, canning, canning, too. I will be interested in seeing what you do with your peach juice.

  87. I have been canning and freezing food for the past couple of weeks. It is consuming hours and hours of my time, but the results are starting to pile up! I put the last of the peaches in the canner last night, have finished the pears, and have some applesauce to finish up this morning. I have frozen beans, berries, and broccoli. Last night, I picked some tomatoes, so those go in the canner next. Although it is hard work–often done early in the morning or late at night because I have other commitments during the day, it is rewarding to me and I love doing it.

    My husband and I have racked up many, many hours this summer caring for my nephew. I had though this summer would be tougher, finanacially, because he works for the school district and didn’t work this summer, but the extra hours that were needed kept us rolling right along. In fact, the money I had set aside last spring to get us through the summer has remained untouched! It’s not much, but I’m not complaining! It’s never a problem to have a bit of $ set aside–something will come up that empties that envelope quickly–it always does:)

    He goes back to work on Tuesday, and I start homeschooling Wednesday, and our nephew goes back to school Wednesday as well, so I will get fewer hours starting next week.

    Our daughter that goes to school needed a few clothes. I was unsuccessful in finding jeans that fit her, so my sister tackled the job. She took her shopping yesterday and bought her several outfits, all a gift from auntie. How kind. We were both grateful.

    I’ve planted a fall garden, and saw a couple of lettuce sprouts poking up when I checked yesterday. I’m hoping the rest will pop up–it’s been awfully hot around here, but I’ve kept it moist. I have some kale, lettuce, snow peas, cilantro and basil that are all about 3 inches tall now from the last planting. The only thing that did not germinate from that planting was spinich, and I replanted that. I’ve been pulling up some plants that are finished and there are a few more to go–like the pickling cucumbers. They seem to be done. I’m super excited because we have eaten 2 watermelon from our garden. It’s been so hot we actually got some. That is rare here, and I only planted them because one of the kids really wanted to try. We have also been getting canteloupes. They are small, but tasty.

    I’ve been making menu plans and following them during August. I spent only $93 for the month of August on groceries for our daily meals, and used any remaining $ to buy things to preserve, such as apples for applesauce, and tuna from the Pacific Ocean to can. I’m very pleased with what I did. You can see pictures on my blog if rows of canning jars are interesting to you:) (I do have to laugh at myself–I am easily amused I guess, but love to see the jars lined up and I actually love canning!) I’m still not done canning, so I guess there’s lots more “fun” in my future.

  88. Margaret the cake sounds delicious and festive. I am glad you enjoyed your frugal vacation despite the hot weather. I suppose it is also cheaper to visit this time of year, too, rather than cooler times.

    I still am not able to read your blog. The side banner of 6 downward symbols on the left side blocks the beginning of all but one row of text, so I would have to read one line at a time, then move to the next. I have tried it on my desk top and my kindle and it is the same. So I am always glad that you put all your doings right here so that I can read them.

  89. J, how nice about the weight loss! You must feel just great. I am glad.

    We make a similar casserole but when we saute the onions and celery we also add in chopped zucchini.

  90. I forgot one! Two years ago my husband had a terrible case of chronic bronchitis that led to a diagnosis of adult onset asthma. In addition to carrying a rescue inhaler he takes an OTC medication daily. Because it is OTC it is not covered by our insurance so it costs about $1.25 per dose. He tried not taking it, but that led to an emergency room visit that cost $100 and a follow up treatment that cost $30. I try to watch for sales or coupons but they are few & far between. Last week I had to go pick up a library book at a different branch & knowing I was going to be across town, I made a list of sale items to pick up at the store next door. When I got to the store I found the clearance table and there were boxes & boxes of that medication! It was on a small sale (down to about $1/dose,) plus the 50% off clearance price, plus the coupons I always take with me shopping. I decided that we would eat all pantry meals this week & I used all my planned grocery $$ plus my “surprise sale” $20 that I keep in my wallet. I bought all 9 boxes which will last about the next 9 months.
    Thanks to the things I have learned from this blog I was able to take advantage of this sale. I have learned to always have meals in the pantry that are bare bones when I can’t go shopping. I have learned to combine errands and look at other stores nearby when I am in an unusual part of town. I appreciate all the support & knowledge gleaned from this community.

  91. I feel like I’m leaking money right now getting my teenager ready to start high school.

    But, I did harvest more basil and tomatoes from the garden. I cut dahlias for a bouquet (the first dahlias I’ve ever grown from tuber and I must confess that I am quite proud of myself).
    I made a quiche using leftover deli meat—which I don’t usually buy–but it’s a long story. Anyway, the quiche was delicious. I had a slice for breakfast every day. I don’t know why I fell out of the habit of making those. They’re so good and filling.

  92. I’m going to have to make these additions for my nephew, so that he can appreciate the full emotional content of these moments. Please congratulate your grand daughter on her awesome story telling skills.

  93. Becky, I’m hoping to make and can up some peach syrup to use on pancakes or waffles, but I’m having a hard time finding a low sugar recipe. I can make a low sugar peach jelly using the no sugar needed pectin, if nothing else. We struggle with diabetes, so I really don’t want or need high sugar products, even if they are homemade. So, if anyone has any suggestions on how to make a low sugar syrup that can be canned, I’d be interested in hearing from you!

  94. Very resourceful, Amber. I like to think I would have done the same. I know I would have bought extra, though.

  95. I know how it feels to be leaking money for high school. I had three that were each 10 months apart. Between $100 calculators and other school supplies, AP fees, and SAT and ACT testing fees, College applications and club fees as well as sports fees. I went totally broke and I’m not kidding I had to declare bankruptcy. I did manage to get them all through college but it was very very expensive.

    One rule I learned well when a kid calls home to say they need money for let’s say a book, or food. I learned early and fast they need 1/3 of what they ask for. My daughter had a math book stolen and yes she needed a new math book but she was working and she had some extra money from that, she also was able to sell some items just like she had notice Mom doing for years to cover cost so I sent her 1/3 of what the book cost and somehow she managed to get herself a book for the course. It always somehow worked out 1/3 is what they truly need. Even if they have to eat one more meal of pasta they will get by somehow. (One piece of advice I got early on Parent’s can not borrow for retirement/ Children can borrow for college)

    Bless all of you ladies and Thanks again Brandy for all that you do.

  96. I just had a request from one of my co-workers to make the soup again before we finish for the season. I’m planning to make it on Sunday. We also discussed having those working in the houses make things to go with it, so we can all enjoy a nice, homemade lunch.

  97. Love your ‘surprise sale $20’ kept in your wallet. I’m going to use that idea.

    I’ve learned to cruise the grocery store aisle’s for ‘this store only’ sale notices.

  98. I’m always so amazed by what you are able to grow in such a harsh climate. And–wow!–that’s quite a significant amount of water you were able to collect as well.

    We continue to do the regular things to save a little here and there. The biggest help this past week came thanks to the weather. It continued to stay mild, and we were able to go without the AC for nearly the whole week. That’s good, because we’re in the midst of a heat wave this week and are using the AC more than usual. I’m hoping that the savings earlier in the billing cycle will help to offset our current usage.

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate home-prepared meals all but two times.

    * Hubs washed the cars.

    * Did not need the AC for 6 days.

    * Hubs trimmed a tree and then chipped up the trimmings for mulch.

    * Hubs fixed a drip line for some of our shrubs.

    * Harvested a cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, and an eggplant. (We had ratatouille for two meals.)

    * Continued with all of the regular things: saving warm-up/rinse water, using cloth napkins, baking bread, doing our own yard work/house cleaning (that seems like a no-brainer, but most of our neighbors hire out for those chores), composting, walking the dog for exercise, etc.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  99. We just came home from a 13 day vacation to Washington, Oregon and Northern California. Were we frugal or not? I think some of both. The dh and I drove our Honda Fit so we wen t more than 3500 miles with a gas cost of $240. We camped 7 nights for $100 We visited 3 national parks – redwoods, crater lake and Lassen volcanic and 3 national monuments with no admission fee due to lifetime pass.But 2. Nights at historic crater lake lodge was almost $500!! Overall we spent $1600 (5 total nights in motels and lodges.It was funandsome parts were spectacular including total eclipse in western Oregon, but frugal? Do not know.

  100. Gardenpat,

    You are so lucky that the pension continues until both of you have passed away as that is unusual these days. What a blessing!

  101. Jenny, she turns 2 next month. She has no idea what storytelling skills are; she just calls it the way she sees it.

  102. I’ve tried to keep our meals simple and cheap this week even though I didn’t really have a plan. During September, we will be eating from our pantry and freezer. We will also be doing some stocking up. I have 40 pounds of Zaycon chicken coming mid-October (I traded a weekend babysitting three little boys for a box of chicken

  103. Hi Athanasia! Thanks for your feedback re my blog! I’ve checked with the company that provides the social share plug-in (which is what those symbols on the left side of the text are), and they’ve confirmed that it’s installed correctly. I’ve checked it on different laptops, and both apple and android phones and it shows up correctly. I suspect that it might be the device you are viewing it on, or the program that you are using to access the internet, that is causing the problem. Are you viewing it on a kindle? If you are, try viewing it on a laptop or desktop computer at one point — it should show up properly then. Again, thanks for the feedback! 🙂

  104. A number of frugal fails this week.
    -Work is very stressful and busy so I bought lunches rather than using what I have at home.
    -Because work was stressful I bought and ate chocolate bars all week.
    -I’m trying to exercise more because I’m eating more, so I purchased a gym membership rather than thinking of free ways to exercise.
    This blog has been a bit of a break from thinking about work. And I can’t wait for the weekend.

  105. In light of what is happening in Houston this week. I think we should all count our blessings more this week. I also think Brandy’s 72 hour kits are a great idea for our families.

  106. My hubby and I wanted to do this same trip that you just did we calculated we could not do it for less that $5,000 so yes I would say you were frugal. It is very expensive to get to the parks and food and lodging and gas do cost. Plus it is supposed to be fun if it is an adventure so we always end up spending a little. We would have to drive from DC so I’m not certain we can make the trip. It sounds awesome!!! I guess we will live vicariously through your trip!

  107. Amber, We are joining you on the car issues, all wheel drive car lost transfer case so now 2 wheel drive AND it needs TWO catalytic converters AND a muffler….for a very limited amt of driving like only when we have to pick up Dad who can’t get in the truck WHICH now has worn out brakes for the second time this year (free replacement) AND transmission is burning fluid AND the rear tires need replaced AND the sway bars are needing replaced . Our mechanic wrote it out with prices and in order of safety first. SIGH… My kids drive over an hour to use our mechanic as he is FRUGAL but safe and takes payments WITHOUT interest. He did say he would start looking for replacements for us.

  108. Brandy
    I cannot say how much I enjoy your blog. As someone new to being frugal I have tried your recipies and found them tasteful and easy to make.
    This week I used two free cards for take out coffee and surpised my husband with one .
    Donated clothing that was not worn.
    Started meal planning/grocery list..sounds simple but have not done this in the past. Made all meals at home. This has not been the norm at my home but I am getting better at this. On that note made an after dinner treat with items on hand.
    Mended some items rather than buy new.

  109. Amber ask the doctor for a prescription for the OTC meds. A lot of time the ins will pay if it it is written as a prescription. Might be the generic brand of it though.

  110. came close to bankruptcy with 4 graduating the same year (2 were graduating early). Lucky our school didn’t charge for sports or extra activities because we passed the levy so they wouldn’t. Still the youngest 2 that graduated early were actually taking college classes… I worked 3 jobs and Hubby worked 2. All the kids worked 20 hrs a week during school and 30 in summer. Hubby’s ex mother in law said something about us borrowing on his 401k to pay for the one boy (her grandson but she didn’t think the girls should go to college at all), his ex responded (to her own mother) how about you paying for all of the 6 kids with your retirement? Nothing was said again.

  111. Jenny I am sorry you are having a bad week….make the choc bars dark choc so you get some health benefits in there…
    I thought for a minute my son had wrote your post. He’s the sergeant for the physical training and the unit admin for the civilian side. He started buying a healthier lunch (Bob Evan take out for example or Wendy’s salad) and splitting for either his dinner or the next day’s lunch.

  112. Margaret, the six symbol banner blocked me the same way as Athanasia, on both my husband’s Ipad, which is an Apple device, & my desktop. I went to your blog to check, because this happens to me frequently on blog sites & new sites. My solution is simple. I read other blogs, or other news sites.

  113. As a Texan, I have counted my blessings so many times this week. I’m in West Texas but a Texan is a Texan. Our fellow brothers and sisters of our beloved state are in need and thankfully many are stepping up to help. Thank you for thinking of those that have lost everything, and sometimes more. The devastation is more than my heart can comprehend.

    Lone Star State Mama

  114. This week I planted a Autumn garden. I’m not really a gardener but I’m hoping for a little something, even if just for the encouragement.

    I used the last of my homemade lotion from years ago. I can’t remember the recipe which is disappointing because I really enjoyed the lotion on my hands and feet at night!

    As a birthday present to me, my daughters did laundry all month (I love gifts that are action such as doing something for me. Trinkets are nice but showing love is best!) so daughters saved us money since they hung all the laundry outside on the line.

    I purchased sheets at the thrift store instead of buying garden fabric to protect my garden from future frost.

    I found a dress that was very expensive looking for my daughter. It was only $10. Normal price is quadruple that.

    By using the rewards program at a local store we saved .60 off each gallon of gas. My husband has me meet him at the gas station. I fill up first while one of the children holds the nozzle, then husband tops of his car and what is left of the 25 gallon limit is put into gas cans. Yesterday we saved $15.00 off our fuel purchase.

    Bought 3 whole chickens at .67 a pound. Finished deboning them today, dividing and freezing what won’t be eaten tomorrow.

    Milk was 1.97 a gallon. I wished I had more room in the fridge to buy two! Alas I only bought one.

    Made my own Elderberry syrup. For the first time I cooked it in the crockpot outside. Worked like a charm. The house didn’t smell like Elderberry which made my family happy.

    Saved $10 off dog food.

    Mended a belt loop on my husband’s pants. He is very happy with the results!

    Altered a skirt for my youngest so she can finally wear it.

    Saved $32 on potting soil due to Target having a cleareance sale. I was really thankful about that as I only had a specific budget. The clearance sale allowed me to get everything I needed.

    Frugal Fail: accidentally signed up to Amazon Prime. Thankfully it allows only one month subscriptions. That will teach me to sign up for a free trial of tv programming. Since I accidentally signed up I decided to buy anything I was keeping a list on for short term future. I bought my gardening seeds as well as a backpack that was sorely needed. Our old backpack lasted for 5 years. It is ripping as well as the zipper not working well. I also got takeout dinner. We are doing so much better in this area of our lives but still more than we feel comfortable spending.

    That’s all I can think of right now. God bless you Brandy for having this forum for everyone. I’m always inspired by several of the comments each week. It has helped me be a better steward of our finances. You also encourage me to get out of my comfort zone and try things I’m not used to doing, like gardening.

  115. Hi everyone! I wanted to take a brief moment to stop by and give my thoughts, prayers and well wishes to any of my neighbors here that have been affected by Harvey. We WILL make it through together! We’re Texas strong y’all, never forget that! And the sun is shining again for a lot of us!

    I can’t wait until I get a minute or two to read all your comments this post but for now, family duties call!~TJ

  116. Rhonda, I meant to give you an update earlier but forgot. We did use the rag dolls as a craft for the Wednesday night reading club activity. They set up 3 long church tables in the hall , laid out all the supplies. She had a couple examples to follow including a boy version. The boy one had braided legs and was in blues, grays, beige, and browns etc. 34 children participated. Thank you for the idea.

  117. Marivene, I can remember back to being maybe 5 and visiting my great grandmother Emma (my mother’s mother’s mother) who dressed all in black. There was no such a thing as a Sunday toy or play time. My sister and I had to sit still and listen to the adults talk, in Swiss German, mind you. And no wiggling.

  118. We grow a lot of cabbage as it keeps well in the root cellar. I do like sauerkraut but we did not eat it growing up. My husband’s family does and his sister has been teaching me to make it. Plus we eat so much cabbage I like to have about 40 head. I know we have cabbage everyday in some dish or other.

  119. We grow Brunswick’s. They average 5lbs each and are very cold hardy for our short season. . I will mention the flat Dutch to my oldest girl for when we plan for next year.

  120. As your next door neighbor state wise, y’all are in our prayers and we are donating and volunteering. Louisiana knows a thing or two about hurricanes. While you do know they are coming, the destruction can be hit or miss. We went through Katrina just fine, Rita though…she took my parents roof completely off. Just to give a sense of geography, I live in the north part of the state. The flooding we endured last year has resulted in a long rebuild also. But we do learn what is truly important. My husband is on the disaster relief list at work(he works for a power company), he may very well end up in Houston or the Woodlands.

  121. Becky I love to can too, though I am not a fabulous gardener. I let others do that work. I did enjoy looking at the pictures of your jars, yes. The canned tuna sounds wonderful.

    The pictures of building the church made me think of the Sidney Poitiers movie LILIES OF THE FIELDS.

  122. Athanasia, I can remember visiting my mother’s parents, who were staunch Presbyterians, & for whom Sunday was somewhat rigid as well. Although I was raised as a Congregationalist, not a Presbyterian, there was no wiggling in my father’s pew, either, thru a sermon that lasted an hour an a half.

    I love watching Little Stuff learn thru play, & I love that the ark was bought second hand, & that I can use coupons for the LDD figures.

  123. Heather,

    I have lived thru a tornado as well as lived in a small town where it flooded. I will take the tornado any day. It is dangerous and deadly but over in moments. The flood lingers and you never know from day to day, at least for the first few weeks.

    Thank you to your husband for his giving of himself in times of need. And you too, knowing you are a partrom him during these times.


  124. We asked but because it is an unusual use for this med the Dr wasn’t willing. It was actually an emergency room Dr who suggested we try it when other, more traditional, medications weren’t working. Then when we saw our regular doctor he disagreed with the ER Dr. We were at our wit’s end with my husband needing the rescue inhaler almost every night & being unable to do any of the very active things he loves to do, so we thought, “what the heck?” and tried it.

  125. You can make that substitute, but might be interested to note that our canned ‘pumpkin’ is actually not pumpkin at all. We’ve been eating canned squash all these years!

  126. My husband has always been one of those meat and potato sorts but this year he did a Daniel fast, so there was no meat for 21 days. I found a number of new to us recipes that he truly liked a lot which are now in our recipe rotation. That said, I find it easier to do meat free meals in cooler weather as most are quite hardy meals.

  127. Thus why you can substitute canned pumpkin (make sure it is not pumpkin pie filling, though). It’s all squash, no matter what type you use. One of my co-workers baked a “pumpkin” pie at work using the heritage squash from our gardens. It tastes great!

  128. I just started this week holding sales off of craigslist for $1.00 so far so good. I post the item put it on the porch and ask that they put the $1.00 under the door mat. I look at it this way if they take the item I just donated it. If they leave me $1.00 I will spend it wisely. I read about a lady doing this for $5.00 so I adjusted it for my area and so far so good. I have had six sales so far. Not much cash but it is something. I also feel like I am getting good useable items to those in need this way.

  129. I am in Iowa and am trying to grow honey berries in pots. Where are you growing yours? I’ve read mixed reviews about growing them successfully. I noticed that coffee grounds help a lot to keep soil in pots acidic. Any suggestions?

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