Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

White Garden in Late September The Prudent Homemaker

I mended an item of clothing.

I harvested pears, a handful of tiny tomatoes, garlic chives, chocolate mint, and basil from the garden. I dried some basil for us to use throughout the year.

My mom and I went through her kitchen drawers for duplicates and unused items, and found several things that Winter can take with her to college, so we packed those away in the box I have started for her.

I used warm-up water from the shower to water potted fruit trees on the patio.

I try to make sure that all of my garden purchases are made at the lowest prices. Our local nursery has lower prices to start with on items than the big box stores (typically $1 to $2 lower per 1-gallon plants and $10-$15 lower on 5-gallon plants) and then they have sales on top of that. I watch their ads online (their sales run Fridays through Wednesdays) and I also know when things are generally on sale by month as well. I purchased some fruit trees on sale to replace those that have died in the garden. I purchased grass seed on sale to fill in the bare spots in the yard, which I can do when it cools down some more. I also purchased manure on sale to add to the garden and to use on the grass.  When I was there, the manager told me they would be having a Saturday in October where they will be giving a free viola plant to anyone who comes in! I typically don’t shop there on Saturdays (I like to go during a weekday when it’s quieter), but I will watch the ads online and make sure to stop by for my free plant (update: It’s a buy any item get one free viola on October 7th).

I wear sandals here more than half of the year. I purchased two pairs of sandals on clearance; they should last me two years. I signed up for their app in the store to save an additional $10 off my purchase.

The aerator in our kitchen faucet completely disintegrated. My husband called the company to order a replacement. They said they would send him one for free!

My son changed out the air filters in the house so that the air conditioner run more efficiently.

Another son attended a free robotics class at the local library.

Fall gave us a beautiful preview by showing up on the first official day of fall! Temperatures will go back up starting on Monday, but for two days we were able to turn off the air conditioning completely and even turn off the fans those two days. On the other days, I opened the windows at 5 am and was able to keep them open until 10 a.m. each day before it reached above 79º in the house (we keep our air conditioner set at 79ºF).

I read the expected weather forecast for the next three months for the U.S. (you can read it here).  I’m planning my garden planting a little differently as it should be warmer here than usual (we normally don’t even see a frost until December, so I’m not sure what this means for us this year). I’ll plant more chard first and wait a bit longer for lettuce if I have to (I read the weather online each day and also check soil temperatures so that I can plant). I typically plant my fall garden the first two weeks of October, so I will watch and see what soil temperatures are to make sure it’s not too hot to plant so that I don’t waste seeds.

I resisted buying items I don’t need that weren’t part of my planned purchases. With one of the items that I was tempted to purchase (it was $2), I stopped to think about what I really wanted to buy that cost the same amount of money. This made it easier to walk away.

My husband and I enjoyed a date night at home, playing a card game together after the children were in bed.

I studied French online for free.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared what I did to find joy during the week. This past week, my greatest joy was serving a refugee family in my city (I am SO glad that I have been studying French, as one member of the family speaks French–as a fourth language–and it has been invaluable to be able to communicate with this family.)  If you’re looking for a way to serve others in your area, check out justserve.org.

 

What did you do to save money and find joy last week?

 

 

This Post Has 169 Comments

  1. Cindi

    Brandy, that is so wonderful that you were able to help a refugee family. I’m sure it was a blessing for them to communicate with you in French. Thank you for the weather link as well. That will be useful to me in planning for the next few months as well.
    I had some minor surgery Monday – the hospital is two hours away, which meant we were up early and home late, but I was thankful everything went smoothly and I was able to come home the same day. Last week I cooked a bunch of meals ahead so my husband was able to simply heat things up for the couple of days I didn’t feel like cooking, and I could do the heating up later in the week as I continued to mend. A friend also brought us a pot of soup, which we had for dinner one night, with some homemade bread. Another neighbor dropped off banana bread, which we enjoyed for breakfast.
    I checked out books and audiobooks from the library ahead of time, which I enjoyed while resting most days. And now we have several thousand dollars in medical bills to pay off, but the hospital has worked out a payment plan for us and we will be diligent about paying it down. I’m so thankful we had insurance to cover most of the bills.
    My husband did some odd jobs for neighbors – they were grateful for the help and paid him a little bit, so the extra money will come in handy.
    We harvested tomatoes, lettuce, okra, collard greens, onions, chard and a few strawberries from the garden. We had our first hard frost, so I had to bring in my two big potted geraniums. I cut all the blooms and made a big arrangement for the table. I picked all the green tomatoes and put them in a cardboard box where at least some of them should ripen.
    A neighbor cut down a tree and gave us the wood. This brings our stock up to about 6 cords. Since we burn about 4 cords a year, we have a head start on next year’s supplies.
    I knit a pair of slippers for my MIL from yarn I unraveled from a sweater. I also knit a couple of dish cloths and a hat, using yarn a friend gave me.
    My husband took my car in to have the tires rotated (free where we bought the tires) then purchased the supplies to change the oil and air filter himself.
    My husband cut my hair.
    One of my biggest blessings this week is to live in a neighborhood where everyone is so neighborly. We have only lived here a little over three years, yet have made so many good friends.

  2. You get so much done during the week, Brandy! I love that despite everything you do for your family and your blog, you still find time to help others. Truly inspirational.

    My frugal week was as follows:
    – I made coconut buttercream topped cupcakes this week! (http://approachingfood.com/coconut-buttercream-frosting/) I had run out of shortening, and substituted in coconut oil and it was AH-MAZE-ING! I brought some in to work and sent some in to work with the DH and the feedback was awesome! A delicious way to add a coconut flavour naturally!
    – My mom gave me an extra bag of compost that she didn’t need and was just keeping in her garden shed. At the end of the gardening season, I plan to dump out all the earth from my pots on to the balcony, add in the compost, mix it all up, and repot the planters. I think enriching the soil will mean better production next year. Any other ideas to enrich the soil? I occasionally try ‘compost tea’ from my banana peels and produce peelings etc., and I hope to add some in used coffee grounds too.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded: some wooden containers that were going to be recycled, for a bag of organic oats; a box of gluten-free pasta (from a previous trade) for some ziploc bags and a winter headband (brand-new with tags on) that I will put away as a gift for a child that I know; some tea that was gifted to me and some bath fizzies that I don’t use, for a bag of mixed nuts and a large box of crayons (also set aside for a gift). The bag of nuts included macadamia nuts and I will probably pick those out to make white chocolate macadamia nut cookies for my husband for a treat at one point, as those are his favourite cookies (which I never make because they’re not very healthy, and but mostly because macadamia nuts are expensive).
    – Made a three-bean salad, using some cans of beans that I had traded for previously (I think two of the three cans of beans had been traded for), an onion from my cheapest-price-of-the-year bag of onions I bought last week, and a couple of other pantry items. It made enough for a week’s worth of work lunches, and only cost about $2 (and most of that was the ½ jar of pimentos that I used).
    – I canned several quarts of peaches, and used the leftover canning syrup to sweeten iced tea.
    – Chopped up and froze the remainder of the organic celery that I traded for two weeks ago.
    – Made Brandy’s lemon poppyseed muffins, using the juice and zest from the lemons that I traded for a few weeks ago, and froze them for future snacks.
    – Made chocolate chip banana bread, and froze it for future snacks. Bananas are generally the cheapest fruit in the stores, currently at 59 cents (Canadian)/lb.
    – Made Brandy’s rosemary olive oil bread, using rosemary from my balcony garden
    – Used some of the bread dough as a base for several individual-sized pizzas, using my homemade pizza sauce that I had in the freezer, and grated cheese (bought in blocks on sale then grated and frozen). I also used up the last of a can of black olives that I had in my fridge. Then I froze the pizzas for future fast meals.
    – Blanched and froze several pounds of carrots. I still have fresh ones, so I’ll use those first before I eat the frozen ones, and that should last me a good while.
    – Chopped and froze several pounds of onions. This will last me until the spring, I think.
    – I made Swedish meatballs with cream sauce, using the last of the sour cream that I traded for a few weeks ago.
    – My DH and I had an inexpensive date night – we used a gift certificate that I earned in a trade last week to go out for dinner, and then used two gift certificates that I got free with purchase this week, to go to the movies afterwards. It was lovely!
    – I made a batch of yoghurt
    – I cut some overgrown variegated green and white branches from some bushes at my work, and arranged them at home in a vase, to brighten up my entryway table.

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

  3. Jo

    We saved a good bit of money by looking online to find out how to clean out a clogged a/c condensation line, and cleaned it ourselves.
    I juiced grapes from our vines and froze the juice.
    We go to church in a different town from where we live, and I packed egg salad sandwiches on homemade bread for our lunch, instead of us getting deli food at the grocery store when we shop after church.
    I loaned my carpet cleaner to my daughter — sharing items is frugal for us all.
    I was tasked with providing rolls for a family gathering, so I made them instead of buying 2 or 3 dozen. One batch of dough produced 30 rolls.
    I bought my vitamins and supplements at Vitamin Shoppe through Swagbucks. I would have bought the vitamins and supplements anyway, and I made about 300 Swagbucks ($3.00) because they were giving multiple Swagbucks for every dollar I spent. The Vitamin Shoppe had a sale going plus I got free shipping.
    I found a sale on pastured meat and bought several pounds. I know the regular prices at several places, so I could confirm that this was a deal.
    I don’t like to use bleach in my laundry because we are on a septic tank, I really hate the way it smells, and it is too easy to have a little spill that ruins something colored. I started soaking my whites in a four gallon free-to-me bucket, using my hottest tap water, oxygen bleach, borax, and a few tablespoons of dishwasher powder. I already keep all of those things on hand. I soak the whites for about an hour and wash them on hot, then hang them in the sun whenever possible. They are staying nice and white, so I’m replacing white items less often. I also wash my clothes in homemade laundry detergent, which doesn’t work for some, but luckily works with my water and washer.
    I find my joy lately whenever we have a slightly cooler morning, in the many birthdays we’ve celebrated recently, and in the fact that our car is now paid off. We hope to not have to finance one again, even though the interest rate was quite low. It’s just nicer having a paid for car.

  4. Rhonda A.

    Brandy, I found your comment about fall showing up on the first day of fall very interesting. Here in southern Ontario, we had one of the hottest days we’ve seen all summer…on the first day of fall! People headed to the beaches for relief this past weekend, which is unheard of at the end of September around here. Many schools don’t have AC, and the children are suffering with this heat. Thankfully not the case for DD’s school. Cooler temperatures are expected later this week, so it won’t last long. Oh, and I’m glad you were able to help out a refugee family this week. I’m sure they appreciated meeting new people in a sea of strangers, especially one they could communicate with!

    Another busy week of frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included hot turkey sandwiches with corn, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with salad, beef low main stir-fry (made with leftover steak) with veggie spring rolls, and chicken fingers with white rice and green/waxed beans.
    *Frugal fail: Made the mistake of asking hubby for dinner suggestions one night and ended up being coerced into getting take out pizza. He said that’s what he wanted but didn’t want to go get it. I said “guess we’re not getting it then” (knowing he wouldn’t go get it). My mother perked up and said “if you pay for it, I’ll go get it”. Ugh! The next night, when my mom and I went to the cooking class, hubby and DD had fast food. Hubby works as a cook in a restaurant so no excuse for not cooking! On Friday we had a late afternoon Dr appointment. Hubby refused to cook dinner again, so more takeout. *sign* This is how my family conspires against my frugal efforts.
    *Cooked the free crab-apples and strained off 4 cups of juice. I then mixed this juice with 8 cups of peach juice (made from peach pits and skins), along with 2 cups of honey, 2 cups of sugar and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, and cooked it into a lovely, thick peach syrup. I was able to can 4 pints and 1 half pint to add to my pantry.
    *Canned 10 pints plus 1 half pint of bumbleberry jam (strawberry, raspberry and blueberry) and 4 pints plus 1 half pint of peach jelly (from leftover peach juice).
    *Cut up and froze 2 butternut squash.
    *I decided to hold off on buying more meat for the freezer at the moment. We need to defrost the freezer, and have little room in the other freezer to move things. So we will try and eat it down a bit. Instead, I used some of my grocery money to stock up on non-food items, like laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap and freezer bags (medium and large size), all of which happened to be on sale at Costco this week.
    *Called about some feta cheese which developed yucky mold in it, despite being months away from the best before date (1st time that happened to me), and the container was barely used. I was credited $6 worth of points on my loyalty card, which made me happy. I almost just threw it out without inquiring!
    *Was able to get DD signed up for another ABA course (for Autistic children). This one is on Healthy Living. Topic will include making healthy food choices, learning to cook, hygiene, first aid/home safety, exercise and 2 bonus classes on healthy sexuality that are optional. Cannot stress how glad I am that she will be doing this ABA course! Knowing how to take care of herself is one of my biggest anxieties for when she becomes an adult. There is no cost for her to attend.
    *We delivered bundles of sticks from our yard to the pioneer village, for use as kindling. They were pretty much out of kindling, too! While there, my mom and I collected some tomatoes from the garden (3 red and 3 green) for my mom to enjoy, plus a sad little cucumber and a small handful of green beans to give to our Guinea pig. We also collected some rose-hips, so I can try making rose-hip jelly for the first time. Never tried it before, nor have my co-workers, so I plan to share some with them.
    *My mother and I attended a healthy cooking class, through the PHIT program DD is attending for her weight issues. We paid $10 each, but each received $10 gift cards for the grocery store chain that hosted the cooking class. We also had a free dinner, which was a sampling of what was made. Gleaned some ideas (she made a spinach and red cabbage salad that was really tasty and I learned how to properly cut a butternut squash after I cut up 2 for the freezer), but not too much I wasn’t already doing or knew about (like cooking an extra chicken and using the meat to make lunches or other healthy dinners, or adding veggies to familiar dishes to encourage the veggie hating child to eat them).
    *Used the $20 in gift cards to stock up on food and non-food supplies while grocery shopping.
    *Picked up a free “mug cake” with coupon at one grocery store. DD happily ate the cake for dessert one night. Wouldn’t normally buy this for $1, though! I’d rater buy a regular cake mix that feeds more than one person, for the same price!
    *Using 2 coupons, I was able to save $100 off a new 3-in-one coat for winter/spring/fall. Still expensive, but it’s very good quality and hopefully will last me several years.
    *The microwave blew up (caught on fire inside while DD was trying to make popcorn). Thankfully we had a second microwave already, so it was pulled out, saving us from buying a new one!
    *Replaced broken hooks on 2 bras to extend their wear, avoiding having to buy new ones.
    *Worked the Canada 150/50th Anniversary event at my work on Sunday. My mom brought DD to the event for free. They also picked up 2 free reusable water bottles, perfect for DD to use for school. I brought home 2 big paper bags filled to the max with free cobs of corn (didn’t count but more than 2 dozen) left over after the event! Now I need to process them all for the freezer.

    Looking forward to catching up with all my frugal friends! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  5. tadpole

    Good morning everyone!

    This week my province raised its minimum wage meaning that I now make a little more every hour and as you know, every little bit helps.
    I used zucchini from my garden to make a loaf of double chocolate zucchini bread. I replaced the oil in the recipe with plum butter I made using plums from my neighbor’s tree. It is so good.

    I gratefully received a box of frozen chicken breasts from my mom, a rose from her garden, and a second hand iron that I will keep on hand as a spare.

    Have a great week.
    https://hiproofbarn.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/frugal-endeavors-73/#more-2911

  6. Ellie's friend from Canada

    A friend dropped off the last bunch of free veggies – corn on the cob, chard, potatoes, carrots, zucchini. They were free because the subscribers to the veggie plan were on holiday so couldn’t pick up their weekly allotment. Instead my friend did and then shared them. I bought “buy one, get one free” for cheese and frozen blueberries.

    I will be taking a course on financial planning for retirement.

    I found great joy in seeing some perennial fall-blooming chrysanthemums in bloom. There were planted many years ago by my mother. At first they bloomed, then for many years, they came back but didn’t bloom. So it is with joy that I see that they have bloomed this year. I found joy in organizing a luncheon for an organization that raises money for scholarships, grant and loans for women. It is a joy to have most things organized.

    A little parcel arrived in the mail for me. What a surprise to receive a little necklace from a friend from South Korea. And with it a note (handmade according to a 150 year old tradition) that says “to celebrate our friendship”. And greater joy that my friends have moved back to Canada now.

    And a little surprise parcel that I am told is on its way from a German friend who attended Andrea Bocelli’s outdoor concert in Italy. I love waiting in expectation for its arrival, whatever it might be!

    I am hoping for a one day trip to the mountains to see the larches turning gold. It is a short period when they are at their prime. A friend has suggested we go next week. Another friend wants me to go to the farmers’ market next week with her –– I always find great joy in going to the market but to see all of the fall produce, the colourful squashes, pumpkins etc. I hope there are still some Italian prune plums for me to put in the freezer and something for me to make jam or jelly.

    There is a good crop of Mayday berries in my yard. I am hoping that some of the Evening Grosbeaks that are now rare here
    will pass through and enjoy them. Almost every year a few arrive on October 23, almost like clockwork. And yesterday, I saw a new generation of butterfly in my yard. This species of butterfly hibernates so eauty in the fall and beauty for next spring.

    Joy every way you look.

  7. Holly

    Our town now has Family Dollar, Dollar General, and (drumroll) Dollar Tree. (While I’d love to have my favorite, the 99 Cents Only store, I am not holding my breath that they’ll ever expand to Michigan. Sigh. A more realistic hope, I think, is for an Aldi to open less than 16 miles away.) While the third store was under construction, somebody wrote to the local paper, complaining that there was no need for it. But the Dollar Tree parking lot has been full since the store opened so, obviously, other residents don’t agree. I scored on the summer clearance at one of the other dollar stores. There is going to be another baby in our family. I bought two outfits for the little dude and one for his “big” brother for $6 and change ($27 regular price). I have to find things on super sale to send as presents across the country, to make them worth the expense of sending. I also got three of the larger greenhouse-style covered seed starting trays for about $3.65 ($15 regular price). I just hope my brown thumbs turn green by next spring. We have been having record-setting warmth but, despite the humidity, the temperature has been dropping like a rock once the sun goes down so our house hasn’t been getting too uncomfortable. I need the ceiling fan on for a couple of hours in the evening, that is all. It has been nice not having to run the furnace this month. I am continuing to plod through the Pimsleur Ojibwe language lessons I borrow from the library electronically. I am a visual learner so the going is very slow with an aural-only course. There are five or more dialects of Ojibwe spoken in North America. I have read that the speaker of one dialect can understand the others. I really hope that is true for second-language learners too.
    Have any of you seen the Allstate Insurance commercials where a wayward pet causes all sorts of damage like a house fire or a flood? This weekend, our neighbor didn’t for once put her cute little dog’s collar on that is needed for their Invisible Fence because it was such a hot day. The dog decided this was its long-awaited opportunity to explore the neighborhood on its own. It, whom I have never seen more than 30 feet from its front door, made the long dash across its front yard and highway with the neighbor’s husband in hot pursuit. They both made it across the road (Speed limit 55 mph) safely but the little dog thought it was great fun to play tag in the next door neighbor’s front yard. A kind woman driving by pulled over on the shoulder, off the road, parked, and got out, intending to help coral the dog. Somebody plowed into her parked car, pushing it into the ditch (and totalling it) before somehow getting into an accident with one or two other cars coming from the other direction. At least three cars were towed away, never to be driven again. Three people were taken to the nearest hospital to be checked out. They probably will be waking up sore for a few days.

  8. I always love to read about how others find joy. It helps with my own practice of gratitude! I found joy in a weekend camp out with my whole family. It was fun to reconnect, since we haven’t seen much of each other lately.

    And your thought about what else costs $2 that you’d like to have is such a great practice. These days I remind myself that I’d love to be $2 closer to debt free than anything else. Every little bit helps!

    Here are the ways we saved this week: https://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-week-93/

  9. Jen G

    I loved hearing about your service to the refugee family! A good reminder to me to check the justserve.org website more frequently!

    Living frugally in urban Seattle:

    – Weather is still warm and dry so we continue to ride our bikes around town and leave our car in the carport. We’ve spent less than $10 on gas in the last month! I’m mostly trying to preserve the life of our car which is almost ten years old and we bought used with a fair number of miles on it. Unfortunately, we are not very handy car mechanics so we buy Hondas, drive them sparingly and hope for the best!

    – Great finds at our neighborhood thrift store: four pairs of pants for my growing tweens (all brand name) and a fall sweater for me for $10. I replaced the buttons on the sweater with cuter ones in my stash and I can’t wait to wear it when the weather chills.

    -My mom visited from Portland and brought apples from her tree. I’m sticking them in school lunches and will make an apple crisp or two.

    – My youngest son signed up for two free after school activities: A STEM club and the Ultimate Frisbee team.

    – I was paid to attend an education conference on Saturday and got a free lunch too! (but sadly, had to drive my car)

  10. Cindy in the South

    I have been eating a soft taco of beans and rice at night for supper. I ran out of tomatoes, and decided to add tomato paste, with a bunch of spices. It was fine. I also added sour cream, onions, and a little homemade ranch dressing to the taco. I continue to make bologna sandwiches for lunch, and eat raw carrots with peanut butter for a snack. I make “lazy” hash browns for breakfast. I chop up a potato and cook it in a cast iron skillet, with a little oil and salt, in the oven. When the potato is done, I add an egg, and turn the oven off, and put the skillet lid back on the food. It is ready in a couple of minutes and there is little mess. I did not go grocery shopping. I continue to keep my air conditioner off, even though it is 90 here during the day.

  11. Samantha

    These posts continue to be such an inspiration, and I’ve learned so much from your blog! It has truly been a blessing. This is my first time posting my frugal accomplishments, so here it goes!

    -I took my car in for an oil change and 200k mile tune up, and my mechanic said I needed a new timing belt and kit (which would’ve cost about $1000). Instead of approving the purchase right away on the phone, I asked to give him a call back and dug up the paperwork the previous owner gave to me. Buried in the stack was a receipt for the timing belt replacement! Taking a minute to sift through the file saved $1000. Since my mechanic didn’t have record of the timing belt change on file, he simply recommended it because it should have been ‘time’ according to the number of miles the car had. Phew. I’m going to try and work with my neighbor to see if he can teach me how to change my oil next time and do some basic repairs.
    -Instead of buying a new (used) car, we’ve decided to keep this one and see how far we can take it. At 200k miles it’s getting up there, but we routinely see the same car and year selling for $3k-$4k with over 280k miles on them (and still running).
    -I repaired a rug instead of pitching it and buying a new one. The stitching came undone in the wash but I was able to hand sew it with a similar color thread and you can hardly tell.
    -I asked my mother if we could do a fall clothing swap before we donate our items separately to the Goodwill. She got a nice pair of winter boots from me and I received two long sleeve shirts that fit nicely. It helps that we’re the same size in shoes and most clothes!
    -Since using Brandy’s brilliant methods of food storage, I was able to cook over two week’s worth of food for my parents while my mother recovers from an eye surgery. I was also able to batch cook and made nearly a month’s worth of freezer meals for our friends who are expecting their first baby in October. This came from my food storage purchased on sale and didn’t cost anything extra. I used up foods that I needed to rotate out as well. I used Brandy’s quiche, white bean soup, and white bean alfredo recipes in addition to others as well to help keep costs down. I also froze some of these meals for us at home when I’m too tired to cook.
    -I visited a discount grocer a town over at the beginning of the month, and they had organic free range eggs by the dozen for $0.99. This brand sells for $3.99 here usually. I bought 10 dozen and after all my cooking/baking/freezing this month I still have 2 dozen left in the fridge!
    -I mended some “unpaper” towels that I made from bath towels and a tablecloth to replace our paper towels in the kitchen. They work great!
    -I reorganized our basement pantry and food storage and took inventory. I have a much better idea where our gaps are and what we’ll need to fill in for the winter.
    -I’ve started to make a list of items we need for winter (we live in the West and it hits us hard). I should’ve done this over the summer, but at least I can get a bit of a jump start with the rest of the garage sales and at the thrift stores.
    -I’m making a plan to finally put together our 72 hour kits based off of Brandy’s and other’s recommendations. The recent emergencies in Texas, Florida, Mexico and Puerto Rico are reminding me that this a priority.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  12. Samantha

    Hi Rhonda,
    My dad’s family is Native American (Navajo mom and Apache dad) and we make a rosehip jam/jelly that’s called ‘champe’. We pick wild rosehips that grow along a river in mid October after a good hard freeze (makes the berries sweeter) and it’s delightful! It has a wonderfully earthy and slightly tangy flavor. It’s so unique and much better homemade than what the stores sell.

  13. Southern Sarah

    Hello!
    This week I pulled out 3 dinners from frozen meals.
    When I needed to use a PC instead of a MAC (which I have) I was able to use a friends laptop.
    Hung my sheets and 2 loads of laundry out on the line to dry instead of using the electric dryer.
    Pulled sweet potatoes from the garden.
    Kept my Costco bill to under 100$ for the month for food.
    Made bakes goods from the mixes I have in pantry.

  14. Hi Miss Brandy! I am doing a little giveaway over on my Avon Lady TJ Facebook page if you would like to share it with your readers. It’s a necklace and earring set. I thought of you & all your sweet readers that take the time to share their knowledge that I get so much out of week after week. It could be something they keep for themselves if they win, or give as a gift. Now off to reading this post! ~TJ

  15. It’s been super hot here in Wisconsin the past few days; started right after we took the window a/c unit out of the office, of course. Today its supposed to start cooling down so yesterday I washed the outside of our windows on our 2-story house with the hose. It seemed like a good day to get drenched. Because of this blog, I will also be figuring out how to pickle my nasturtium pods, saving us the $2/year we spend on capers….. The rest is here: http://www.marybethdanielson.com/content/mindful-chickens-9-26-17

  16. Megan Z.

    I recently went on vacation with my parents. We were able to drive around in my dad’s car so did not have to rent a vehicle. A friend from church let us stay at their vacation home so did not have to pay for any hotels. We were able to get into the National Parks for free as my parents have the Senior Pass (thanks to whomever mentioned this previously as my mom got hers for $10). We fixed several meals at the house so only ate out a few times. Overall it was a very frugal trip.

    Upon returning home I only picked up a few things from the grocery store and have been trying to eat from the pantry as much as possible. My husband had to have his wisdom teeth taken out so he has not been eating much and then only eating soup/mashed potatoes when he does eat.

    We have 1 more car payment plus paying a little extra and then both cars will be paid off. Unfortunately we now have the dental bill to pay off but if all goes as planned, should have it paid off in a few months.

    It has been very hot in Georgia (temperatures in the high 80’s) so it does not feel like fall although some leaves are falling and starting to change colors. We may go apple picking this weekend anyway. I can’t wait to make apple pie and other fall desserts. For now I’ll burn my fall-scented candles!

  17. Melonie K.

    It has gotten slightly cooler in our area, so I’m excited to say that I was able to open the doors/windows 2 mornings and 3 evenings last week. Sunday night I was able to get the house down to 73F and it only went up 1 degree overnight. My daughter has a class in another town, which keeps us out of the house most of the day – we got home yesterday afternoon and the thermostat read 77F. I keep it set at 79F, so the AC didn’t run the entire time we were gone. Woohoo!

    Received our “bill” from our Housing utility company – we came in under everyone else’s usage again, so we will receive a rebate of the difference ($23) in a couple of weeks. I usually put the rebates straight into savings; yesterday I decided that I will save them up for a Sun Oven. Since our stove is natural gas, being able to switch to a Sun Oven or other outdoor cooking option would mean I would use even less than our neighbors (and get more back on the utility “bill”) each month. All the better if I can pay for it with the rebates themselves, plus it is something I’ve wanted for years for our family preparedness efforts – to be able to use one anytime would be better.

    Took an acquaintance to the city for a medical appointment – she has a hard time driving that far and staying awake. That city has the closest Barnes & Noble, which I’ve wanted to go check out but am unwilling to use the diesel just for “fun”. Instead we had a big outing where our kids (and we moms) got some time to visit during the commute, I helped her with childcare during the appointment, and we popped by the bookstore afterward. My son and I chose a few items and received 20% off with the member card my parents have. I did have an extra expense – we got home much later than expected and I was exhausted, so I ordered pizza delivery. I did, however, make sure to use coupons on the website, paid cash from our “kitty”, and got points toward a free pizza in the future.

    My husband has continued riding his bike to work, saving gas in his car and getting plenty of exercise thanks to the hills between our house and his work building.

    Clipped the dog’s nails at home. Normally I take her to the vet for this. While it is a fairly small charge, it is stressful for her no matter who does it – might as well save the cash and earn a skill for myself to boot.

    Attended a free tour of a local ranch with my family, hosted by the local food co-op. We have purchased meats from this rancher at the farmers market and were delighted to have this opportunity to visit their ranch and learn about their wind & solar systems and their desert-hardy animals (Criollo cattle and Navajo churro sheep). We toured their 100+ year old adobe home and learned about how they heat and cool without an HVAC system and thoroughly enjoyed their work shed, where they spin and weave wool from their sheep into rugs, blankets, and more. The representative from the food co-op supplied snacks and water; when she learned we had to get back on the road (the tour went over), she gave us an entire big bottle of water and bowls of food to share as a family. The ranchers graciously allowed us to take photos during the tour, which will serve us well as we plan to incorporate many of these passive and active solar options when my husband retires from the military and we own our own home. Our only expense was the diesel to get there in our truck.

    Borrowed multiple books from several libraries via Overdrive. One library purchased a book I recommended, based on a recommendation to buy it by a family member; they automatically placed a hold on it for me. I was able to download the book within days of their purchase, saving myself the cash ($12.99 for the ebook or $17.70 for hardcover per Amazon).

    Participated in a free preparedness challenge, which helped me assess our family’s needs for this new area (we’ve only been here 4 months) and where I need to save up to stock up.

    Meals were cooked from the pantry and fridge (except the big city trip day), stretching out our need to go to the commissary several more days.

    Ordered some herbal “teas” online from a company that offers free shipping on all orders and reward points to save toward future purchase.

    Ordered some household cleaning and personal hygiene items online that the commissary here doesn’t carry – discounted off retail and free shipping.

    When we went to the food co-op the prior weekend to sign up for the ranch tour, I picked up vitamins and supplements and used our monthly 5% member coupon on them. (Normally I go during their military discount day, but we were all sick then, so we missed it.)

    Had cold and allergy medicine on hand, so with all 4 family members sniffling, didn’t “have to” go buy any medicines. I did choose to restock one cold syrup that was getting low, as I’d hate to be without if we need it again, but bought the store generic version for several dollars less than the name brand.

    Taught a parent-tot yoga class for our homeschool group while my kids participated in the PE class for older kids. Free class for everyone and I got a good workout too!

  18. tina

    It’s fall ~~~ yay!

    * harvested tomatoes from my garden ~ made salsa and froze the rest.. too overwhelmed to deal with them right now :/
    * used some very very ripe bananas for banana bread
    * made an apple crisp with sale apples
    * my daughter is expecting in December and was gifted some very nice and useful items, also gifted more clothes that she can use which we shared with another family 🙂
    * rented a college textbook ~ the second one needed had no rental option 🙁
    * made crockpot chicken and dumplings for the first time ~ so good and easy!!
    * i’m thinking about trying to use my crockpot for dinner once per week
    * took my son to the eye glass place to get them fixed for free. Frustrated with these new glasses as he has only had them a few months and we’ve taken him back twice to get them repaired.
    * received a box of full size products to try in return for my review. Loved some, didn’t others but it was fun to try them 🙂
    * I had a send a fax this week (who faxes anymore….LOL) anyway, I found a way to send a fax via my computer for free.

  19. Yikes! These kind of things happening are where the saying of “No good deed goes unpunished” must come from. Scary!

  20. Athanasia

    I have never heard of freezing celery. What do you plan to do with it when it thaws? All I could think of would be cream of celery soup.

  21. My husband told me he’d seen our forecast was for a colder, wetter winter, so we’ll see what that brings. My joy this week was spending time with him in a quick getaway to the NC mountains. While there, I was able to buy some pre-loved gifts…a hand carved helicopter for a great nephew, and two slate trays for food gifts for $10 total. I’m happy to be joining you and this wonderful community of folks here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/09/more-natural-dyeing-frugal.html

  22. Juls Owings

    I can understand your Hubby not wanting to cook. As a chef the last thing I want to do after working in the kitchen all day is cook. We solved the problem with doing semi homemade meals that Hubby saw on Food network. If you can premake pizza crusts for the freezer, or other things along that line. I can chili to put over fritos(Hubby eats them I don’t) , baked potatoes, tortilla chips, even salad for a taco salad. Think a little out of the box of what he wants when you can’t cook.

  23. Roberta in So. Cal.

    We’ve had several occasions in the past where Hubs contacted a company about a broken item, and at the company replaced/repaired it for free (ex: baseball glove, transom windows, sliding door handle). It never hurts to ask!

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate mostly vegetarian meals (including spaghetti w/ cannellini beans in red sauce on Monday when I was [u]really[/u] tempted to just go buy fast food; unfortunately, I succumbed three other times).

    * Made bread, ginger snaps, and Italian salad dressing.

    * Harvested three kinds of lettuce; Roma, cherry, and yellow pear tomatoes; bell peppers; and an orange some critter knocked off our tree, which is now ripening on the counter–I hope! Made a tasty salad.

    * Collected eggs from our hens; we’re getting anywhere from two to four a day.

    * While shopping at Sprouts, the manager of the butcher counter offered me a free link of sausage if I bought a link. I was already planning to buy one link, so I gladly accepted the second. Hubs and son were very happy, as we rarely have sausage.

    Joyful and Frugal:

    We attended a free jazz concert at the university where my husband works.

    For any of you who live near a college or university, I suggest you check out their websites for frugal entertainment opportunities. We’ve attended drama productions, music recitals and concerts, art exhibitions, hands-on music, history, and science days for kids, historical/literary exhibitions, and presentations/lectures on people such as John Muir (as well as sporting events). Most of these events have been free to the public, although a few we’ve enjoyed with a faculty discount. Also, our university offers alumni and student discounts (as well as faculty/staff discounts) for many of the activities they do charge for. I assume other schools do the same. It’s worth looking into at any rate.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  24. Laurie in AZ

    Jamie, I like your mindset that you would love to be $2 closer to being debt free. Good to remember!

  25. Jennifer

    It is so hot in Maine right now, especially for the fall on the coast. Yesterday and today have been 90. And there hasn’t been hardly any rain so my flowers are suffering terribly.

    I baked cookies to find joy and watched some videos about editing photos in Photoshop, which I’m having a lot of fun learning.

    I made BLT’s for dinner using tomatoes and lettuce from the garden.

    Also, how is it possible that you’re preparing Winter for college already?

    Also, how do you check your soil temperatures?

  26. Laurie in AZ

    Brandy, thank you for the weather link. It didn’t make me happy that we will be unseasonably warm here in AZ, but at least I know what to prepare for!

    Frugal accomplishments – Week of 9/17/17
    • Received 2 free calendars in the mail.
    • Received a $5 Starbucks gift card from mortgage company we are working with.
    • Got a coupon for $10 off $10 off at JC Penney. When I went, they were having a great sale. I got 3 exercise shirts for $3.91 total. Receipt says I saved $74.38. 2 are for me, 1 is for my daughter for Christmas.
    • Usually I use 2 pumps of dish liquid for a sink of dishes. I tried just 1 and it worked perfectly.
    • I’ve decided to track how many items out of freezer I use. Items used: 6. Items added: 0. Ate the oldest items first. Dinners included grilled pork ribs with baked potato and corn on the cob, Leftovers soup, French dip with green beans and tater tots, bean burritos with salsa, jalapeno cheddar sausage with pintos and jalapenos and steak with baked potatoes and broccoli. We did 1 date night and ate out. Items off of pantry shelf: 7. Items added: 0. Was careful with my clearance items purchases.
    • Got my free yogurt and a free coffee drink from Kroger’s free download Friday.
    • Used free toiletries, coffee, tea and jelly
    • Canned 6 pints of tomatoes from the tomatoes my friend gave me a couple of months ago. I didn’t have time to can them then, so I stuck them in ziplocs and into the freezer.
    • Took Dad for our weekly lunch. Had my grandson with me. He had the idea to go to Village Inn as on Wednesdays, you get a free piece of pie with any other purchase. So we got our pie to go. He took his home with him and I got a piece for myself and one for my husband (my grandson’s piece). A nice treat. And since we went for brunch, it was less expensive.
    • Hubby didn’t pay for lunch 3 times this week. He brought his lunch on Monday, on Wednesday the company paid for pizza and salad at a going away party for another employee and then on Thursday, he ate leftover pizza and salad, so Wednesday and Thursday were even more frugal, as they were free!
    • Made $50 dollars babysitting my grandson.
    • Hung out 4 loads of laundry.
    • Found more wine on clearance. Same as I bought last week, but this time only $2.02 per bottle. It tastes good enough. I bought as many as I could as it keeps!
    • It cooled off here this weekend too, so we were able to open the windows for a few hours. Temps will be going back up, but it is nice while it is lasting.
    • Wrote up my meal plan for this week.

    Have a wonderful Autumn week, everyone!

  27. Jenny

    Shouldn’t laugh, but…

  28. Nina

    Brandy, a long while back you had written about the British series, Home Fires and I greatly enjoyed watching that for free. A show recommended to me was Back In Time For Dinner, also from the UK. Have you seen the show online? A family’s home is redecorated to a particular decade and the family eats the foods of that era, while dressing in the clothes of that time as well, with support people also providing additional education on such matters as rationing, home appliances, etc. I can send the link if you would like.

  29. Juls Owings

    Brandy what board games do you play with your Hubby? We are looking at different games to do at home when he retires but clueless of board games for 2 players.

    First day of fall the temp was the hottest it had been all summer.Might get some relief when Hurricane Maria moves on out and allows the cold front to move in. Sure need rain. I told Hubby I would water the mums but not the rest of it as it’s coming to the end of the season anyways.
    JOY: seeing some family I hadn’t seen a while, not being in hospital after Crohn’s flared up due to serious allergy attack, between the drainage and the allergy meds Crohny had a fit. Can’t blame him but I really really didn’t want to be in the hospital again. Hubby and I passed the crud ( like the allergies weren’t enough) to each other but not to other family members… hum, that might be their joy. The sun is shining, my dog is by my side and I can use my right arm a little more today than yesterday. We have figured out why sometimes we have wasted food…usually when both of us are sick or one is getting well when the other one gets sick. I found joy each day as I read through this blog and all the comments. I find joy in the sharing of the wisdom, the mess ups and the how to get through it, the you are not alone …we are here attitude. Blessing of each and everyone and especially you Brandy and your family sharing you with us.

    My shoulder surgery affected my CP and I can’t put my hand behind my back… can’t raise my hand to take an oath, can’t scratch the back side on my other arm. They are thinking 6 mos to a year to get it back…I’m am glad I didn’t lose it completely…that is a joy.

    I made tomato slurry to collect tomato seeds from some heirloom field tomatoes a friend gave us. He didn’t know for sure what they were just field tomatoes picked by machines and that the company collects the seeds to replant…. they are a paste tomato, looks like a Roma due to the size. I haven’t ever tried to grow tomatoes from other tomatoes so this is something new for me to try. Tomatoes is my biggest expense of the plants.

    I gave a friend some of my fabric as she is friends with a quilter that is quilting for hurricane children.

    I focused on what I can do in the kitchen to stretch the food dollars. I have found a place in the kitchen frig freezer to put a scrap bag and then decided it needed to be a hard container as it will fill up with odds and ends if I don’t do that.
    http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2017/09/kitchen-scraps.html
    http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2017/09/done-this-week.html

  30. Katy Wolk-Stanley

    We just completed sending both our kids off to college in their apartments, so my frugal attention had been on setting up everything needed for the goal. However, now I can enjoy my empty nest again, so my frugal things have been enjoying time with my husband and ramping up paid work. Saving money is great, but making money is equally important.

    By the way, I’m very happy that I live in rain drenched Oregon where water falls freely from the sky and it’s easy to survive without air conditioning!

    I wrote about my recent frugal choices here:

    http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/five-frugal-things-317/

  31. I’ll have to check out that weather site. I have always referenced the Farmer’s Almanac for planting & weather insight. Are the two similar or how do they differ?

    Here’s my little frugal list: http://tjssweethome.blogspot.com/2017/09/five-frugal-things-september-22-2017.html

    Our only vehicle is having unknown issues and has been parked for 2+ weeks (thank heavens for being able to use our daughters car in a pinch). Hubby only wants to use the dealership for repairs and they were flooded during Harvey so we are waiting for their service center to reopen. I only say this because, having this looming over us could make my little money saving efforts feel inconsequential but I refuse to get discouraged. I just have to keep reminding myself that it all adds up!~TJ

  32. Becky

    During this past week, I did nothing I consider extra or special to save money. It was just another week of forging ahead, using many habits I have to live within our means. I canned a little, made fig jam, picked veggies from my dwindling garden, used the library, cooked lots of meals, etc. Although nothing was exciting, it all adds up and gives me a feeling of contentment.

    I am almost done restocking the pantry with both home-canned items and purchased things. I had used up quite a few things, so replaced them since I was able to do that. Next month, our income will be quite low, so I will be drawing on the stockpile.

    We moved all our wood down to our house from my sister’s house and realized we did not have enough for the winter, but we were close. When my husband started scouting around for a possible place to go cut some more, 2 of his friends confided that they have saved about a cord from our old house for us! And, they cut and split it already. AND, they brought it here yesterday–at lease 1 large trailer full. Wasn’t that nice? What a blessing!! Once we get that stacked up, we will have enough for the winter. Then, we will need to cut more for next year–but WOW!

    I know how much of a blessing it is to become friends with others from a different country. I’m glad you are getting the opportunity. My friend from Africa puts me to shame when it comes to frugality!!! When I went up there to visit this past week, she dressed her little daughter up for me in native costume–the picture is so cute. https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/saving-money-and-weekly-update-sept-23-2017/
    I am learning a lot from her. One of the things I am learning is to find so much joy in such ordinary things. Her little girl was just beaming with pride, showing me her outfit! She makes us injera bread and lentils and is so gracious to us with her hospitality. Her bravery at moving here to a land where everything is different and strange and hard to understand humbles me.

    I know that whatever help you were able to offer was so gladly received. I can tell from reading this blog for so long that you, too, and your children, will learn and be blessed more than you ever thought by helping them. I hope you get more chances.
    I’m sure you will find, as I have, that most of the things needed are not monetary, but a listening ear, a little help understanding hard things and paperwork, and a little friendship in time, to combat being lonely and homesick.

  33. TJ ~ TJ'S Sweet Home

    Rhonda, I feel your pain, lol! My husband has certain “requirements” that are non negotiable as far as he’s concerned. That makes it harder for me to pinch those pennies, but not impossible. Stay strong my Frugal friend, stay strong!;)

  34. Marybeth

    Congrats on a paid for car. We don’t have a car payment and I don’t ever want one again.

  35. Linda Higgy

    Brandy, Kohls has small appliances on sale with a rebate, that brings the price down to $4.95 approx. It includes a 1 1/2 qt slow cooker. Just the size for a party of one! Just make sure the bowl comes out to wash.

  36. Mable

    Cooked a pumpkin up to get puree for pumpkin bread for a potluck. Used the leftover puree to make peanut butter/pumpkin dog treats. Toasted the seeds for snacks. Used the guts to make two loaves of pumpkin guts bread. Threw the skin in the compost. Was pretty proud of myself for using 100% of the pumpkin!

    Cut husband’s hair

    Husband cut my hair

    Spent no money on groceries except for milk for two weeks. Ate some odd combinations to use up stuff in freezer and cupboards but we survived.

    Got an oil change free by doing a mystery shop

    Got a pumpkin latte free by doing a mystery shop at a bookstore

    Planted garlic for next summer’s harvest

    Forced myself to wait until a book I wanted arrived at the library, rather than buying it. That was hard!

    Thing that gave me joy this week: Months ago I tracked down the address of my 4th grade teacher and sent her a letter telling her how huge an impact she had on my life. My parents were going through a terrible conflict-ridden divorce and she took me under her wing. She is in an inpatient hospice care facility and I received a letter back telling me that my letter was the best thing that had happened to her recently and that she often wondered if her life as a teacher had been worth anything. Tucked in the same envelope was a note from the facility, saying she had died before being able to mail the letter but when they found it and read it, they wanted to be sure I received it. I cried like a baby—I am so happy that I took the small amount of time to tell her how much she meant to me.

  37. Cara

    Hydrogen peroxide from the beauty supply store is pretty expensive by the gallon. I find the white (thick) one works well on tile grout because it will stay on vertical surfaces, while the clear (thin) one works well for soaking whites.

  38. Jennifer, she is taking online college classes now, plans to take the GED, and hopes to transfer once she has 24 credits of Independent Study classes. I went into more details in last week’s post.

    I check my soil temperatures with a thermometer. You just need a thermometer that goes down to freezing temperatures and has a probe about 4-6″ long. A meat thermometer will work, but not all go that low. Walmart carries one that does and it is about $5. I got the exact same one with a handful of other kitchen tools at a garage sale for $0.25.

  39. I haven’t heard of this one. It sounds interesting! (And what a bummer that Home Fires was canceled and ended up with such a cliffhanger!)

  40. Linda, is that this week? I though they ony had this deal at Christmas. Do you have more info (like someone’s blog post on it) or should I just check out their website/go to the store?

    The crockpot actually sounds too small for her (she wants to make a large pot of beans at once to eat from all week, or cook a whole chicken while she’s in class that she can eat all week) but I am interested in knowing what other appliances are part of this deal.

  41. Holly

    I was so sad to see the ambulance drive off with lights but no siren. But then the neighbor told me there were no obvious injuries. Whew! That’s when I found everything to be more funny than sad. When I told my sister about this, she told me about the time her dog accidentally flooded her house. Since the helpful lady was legally parked, her deductible probably will be paid for by the person who got distracted, hit the parked car, and then overcorrected.

    I think I got caught by who/whom and used the wrong word-or autocorrect burned me again. And you “corral a dog.” Can you tell I am not a rancher?

  42. Holly

    I killed two engines with broken timing belts. (The first broke a little prematurely and the second, in the used replacement engine, happened because I was too dumb to insist on a new timing belt in it so I would know when it would need replacing.) So, I had my mom replace her car’s timing belt a bit early quite a few years ago. 100,000 miles later, we had the replace-it or risk-it decision to make like you. The car’s trade-in value is only a few hundred dollars more than the timing belt cost but we decided to do it, hoping to get at least another year out of the car if not many more. I don’t trust it enough to drive it out of towing distance to my favorite mechanic, but it has been good at getting us from point a to point b within thirty miles or so.

  43. SheilaS

    Mabel, that was so sweet and kind that you got to let her know she touched your life. How about that staff that forwarded her letter to you? This story has brought tears to my eyes.

  44. Marivene

    I finished dehydrating the last of the prune plums. Dehydrated a few beets, & am continuing to work on dehydrating the rest of the apples. I am on the last box of them. I also dried several bananas that were turning brown.

    Harvested Early Girl and Yellow Pear tomatoes, as well as green beans. The green beans have tapered off now that the night temps are below 50 degrees, & they are no longer setting blossoms. Harvested the onion seed that has been drying in the heads on a plate, along with the seed peas & the seed pole beans. I plant heirloom (open pollinated) seed & save my own for the next year. Began to shell the dry corn seed, into a glass pie plate, so it can continue to dry thoroughly. I planted about a tablespoon full of the seed this year, to rejuvenate it, & picked 37 ears, some of which were small, but others were good sized. I estimate that I will have between 3-4 cups of seed when it is all dried.

    I picked up 2 more apple boxes at Fresh Market, and cut them down to hold quart jars. I use the trimmings to make dividers, like those that used to come in boxes of jar, to keep the jars from knocking into each other. Since we live near several fault lines in earthquake country along the Wasatch Front, this protects the jars from breaking.

    Watching the destruction in Puerto Rico, my husband & I had a conversation about the challenges of sanitation after various natural disasters, & I decided to purchase some of the Gerber reusable baby wipes from Walmart. I have saved several of the rigid plastic containers from regular wipes, & after washing them, I will fan fold the flannel wipes into these containers. They will then “live” in the 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat topper, on a high shelf in the garage. I will continue to hem more flannel wipes from scrap flannel, but this is something we decided we wanted “done” now.

    I bought a boiled wool cape on clearance for over 60% off.

    I redid the blackberry bed, & made a “fence” in front of the canes using two t-posts & some old metal tomato supports that are curled, heavy metal, then pruned the blackberry canes to a manageable height, and to force the laterals come spring.

    Utilized some local sales to stock up on various dish soaps & laundry items.

    I made some comfrey salve.

  45. Athanasia

    Joy is everywhere, but we did especially enjoy our dinner Friday night at our oldest son’s house. We went over as soon as I finished at school and everyone had fun swimming in their pool. The weather was way above normal, 90 F, which on the first day of Fall was warmer than we had all Summer. We ladies had the pool first with the 3 little children (granddaughters Anna Joy and Dora and nephew Henry) and it was a lot of fun. (We all have modest swim outfits but normally don’t swim in mixed company) The men started the cookout, got the meat grilling, then while we finished up dinner they took over the pool. I brought carrot cake cupcakes with the rosette frosting on top in yellow and orange. I used shredded zucchini instead in the recipe, but it was my carrot cake recipe.

  46. Nina

    Oh, I was so disappointed, too. It was such a quality program.

    Here is the link for Back In Time for Dinner. There are several time periods they cover but the one I started with was post WWII. What I liked about the series is that the family makes insightful comments about what they are experiencing and the clothing was an added treat. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2jujx8

  47. Jennifer

    Frozen celery can be used wherever you use fresh celery. It’s a really easy way to add celery and to preserve stuff that is not getting used. just chop it up, freeze it in a freezer bag and break off the amount you want.

  48. Terry calkins

    Still working on a pantry challenge that has gone on all year. There is so much gone out of my pantry and freezer, but still lots left. I cook all meals at home. Our chickens keep us in eggs so breakfast is pretty much free.
    I bought a cookie jar recently at the thrift store. This morning I baked cookies using a cake mix and filled that jar. I wrapped it in an orange tablecloth I made. I folded it so it looked like a pumpkin. Then I made a ring of silk autumn leaves and paddle wire that can be used as a candle ring, and used that to decorate the top. I took it to town and dropped it off for a birthday gift for an adult grandson.
    Garden is winding down but we are still enjoying lots of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash and the first of the winter squash. Weather is perfect. We have so much to be thankful for

  49. Terry calkins

    Still working on a pantry challenge that has gone on all year. There is so much gone out of my pantry and freezer, but still lots left. I cook all meals at home. Our chickens keep us in eggs so breakfast is pretty much free.
    I bought a cookie jar recently at the thrift store. This morning I baked cookies using a cake mix and filled that jar. I wrapped it in an orange tablecloth I made. I folded it so it looked like a pumpkin. Then I made a ring of silk autumn leaves and paddle wire that can be used as a candle ring, and used that to decorate the top. I took it to town and dropped it off for a birthday gift for an adult grandson.
    Garden is winding down but we are still enjoying lots of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash and the first of the winter squash. Weather is perfect. We have so much to be thankful for

  50. Gardenpat

    Here in Ohio we have been experiencing the unseasonably high temps- in the 90’s this week!
    But I still was able to can 9 pints of hot pepper mustard, 8 more pints of Rotel and refashioned several leftovers in the fridge into totally new meals ! I resisted going the take-out route and instead found easy and quick meals that were not same-old, same-old!
    A friend came over today to see my food storage and see the mixes (dry as well as canned ) that I make. She has an incredible food storage and with her husband out of work for the past 19 months, they have been able to live on their food storage and still have enough to last longer still! I was humbled that she wanted to glean ideas from me!! I gave her my home canned teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce, Sweet and Sour sauce,pineapple chunks, hot pepper mustard, sweet chili sauce, enchilada sauce and salsa verde! My dry mixes- French onion soup mix, ranch dressing mix,Italian seasoning mix, zesty Italian seasoning mix, garlic bread seasoning,taco seasoning, chili seasoning, cream of chicken soup mix, cream of mushroom soup mix , Jiffy cornbread mix, brownie mix, cookie mix. Most of the others I use, she also makes! I hadn’t realized just how many “shortcuts” I have to make using my food storage cheaper and easier and faster than take-out on a day that I’m worn out!! Coupled with freezer meals, canned and frozen meats that are already cooked and ready to use, I feel pretty blessed!!
    We are still getting 6- 7 eggs/day and after researching found that in the fridge, these eggs with unwashed shells can stay fresh for several (6 – 7) months! This is exciting to us because everyone has told us that our hens will really slow down on egg production when winter comes!! We can just hold back eggs in our basement fridge to get us through!!! I already have a rotation system where I’m always using the oldest eggs first, so the ones that get saved will always be the newest ones!!

    We are doing well with our side business and are grateful for all the orders that we’ve had! We continue to have unexpected good “luck” with acquiring supplies for free or at greatly reduced costs! Of course, we know that there was no “luck” involved with this at all- it was all tender blessings and opportunities given to us by a living Heavenly Father!
    A friend called today to ask if I would like several bags of fabric!! Certainly I would!!!

  51. Shirley

    Mable…I have tears streaming down my cheeks after reading your post. It is so wonderful that she got your letter in time to know that she did make a difference, one that has been treasured for a number of years! It must have been an amazing comfort to her, doubly so in her last days. It’s a good reminder to let others know how much they mean to us while we still can.

  52. I have frozen chopped celery many times. The texture is fine in cooked dishes, but obviously not raw. I put mine in soups, stuffing, inside the cavity of a chicken or turkey before roasting, etc.

  53. ellie's friend from Canada

    Am misty-eyed reading about your teacher, Mable. How wonderful that you wrote a letter to her, a letter that meant the world to her, I am sure and how wonderful she read it and was able to reply… Lovely!

  54. katie

    I would love to know your ideas on college in general. Will you send every child to college? How do you feel about student loans? With so much unemployment in the country and having no extra money, we are not telling our 4 kids to go unless they truly want to. If we had the money to help, we would, but we simply can’t. This would be a great blog post if you could do it.

  55. I plan to use it in soups, stews, and things like lentil burgers. I’ve dehydrated celery before but found it stringy and tough when rehydrated. Freezing will cause the cells to burst and I’m hoping that will make it more tender. And cream of celery soup sounds delicious! I just didn’t want it to go to waste as I couldn’t use it all fresh.

  56. Oh, this reminds me that I need to get some sandals as well! I’ve worn my cheapo pair down to where they’ve started leaving black crusties on my feet. Not good! I’m looking for a more high quality pair that’s both comfy and cute (for a deal, of course).

    This week:

    1. I used leftover whey from my homemade yogurt to make soaked whole wheat bread.

    2. I dehydrated some bananas, blueberries, and grapes that were about to go bad.

    3. I turned some soon-to-be-expired milk into homemade ricotta, which I used to make lasagna.

    4. Our garden seedlings are thriving! Soon we’ll plant them in our raised beds and hope that we get a ton of greens and squash in the coming months!

    5. I cleaned our car myself, washing the outside and detailing the inside with our Shop-Vac and Armor All.

  57. Marybeth

    I use it for chicken noodle soup and chicken pot pie.

  58. Libby

    So many of the soups we enjoy start with onions, carrots, and celery. When these are low priced, I buy them, chop them up, and put them in the freezer. It makes it so much faster for me to make soup!

  59. Sarah

    Hi Brandy! This is still my favorite post to read every week, and I follow a number of other posters as well! We found great joy in having a big turkey dinner with my parents this week. Joining in with my frugal accomplishments here: https://wordpress.com/post/frugalfive.com/638

  60. Annie-Blake

    -harvesting tomatoes, and eating lots of salads and spaghetti bolognese based dishes;
    -didn’t purchase new clothes or shoes for myself – it has been over 2 years since I have purchased any;
    -received a large bag of summer and winter clothes for my daughter which was a huge blessing;
    -next week I am planning on taking my children to an aquatic centre that has water slides and interactive water toys in the pool for a total cost of $9.50. This is much better than taking them to the big water themepark where adult admission is around $80. Plus it is only a 7 minute drive away and I will make a day out of it. The aquatic centre is right on the beach so we will take our bikes and have a picnic afterwards;
    -my daughter and I haven’t had a haircut for over 10 months and really starting to need one. Hoping to book in cuts closer to Christmas;
    -now that we finally have the internet at our house (after 2 years without it!) my mobile phone decides to break! I can only answer it intermittently as it just keeps freezing. I need to buy a new one but need to put this purchase off for as long as possible. With the internet, I have had to cut our budget by $40 a month to pay for the internet bill;
    -grocery shopping this week was $50;
    -line drying clothes as per usual, not buying anything besides essential items and keeping electricity usage to bare minimum;
    -received a $10 gift card for some market research that can be used at many big box department stores and grocery stores. I will redeem this at Christmas time as it will allow me to purchase some extra special food items for Christmas day lunch.

    I find joy in being. I find joy in my 2 children and husband. I am grateful for my blessings and this life of privilege. It is an honor to be a Mom.

  61. Lorna

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    I thought I would start off this week with the joys and blessings we had this week. We had a homeless 4 – 6 month old female kitten turn up on our back doorstep that someone had apparently dumped probably around 4 – 5 days previously. Not a frugal accomplishment at all but however she has given us great joy by leaping and bounding around for the last two days and insisting on pats and cuddles regularly. She has a beautiful nature but is very timid and was very hungry and thirsty when we found her, needless to say she has been fed and watered and appears more happy and healthy. Yet another reason for food storage 😀 may I add, as she has been fed on tinned chicken in spring water the last few days and today we will get her some tinned kitten food from the supermarket.

    Our frugal accomplishments last week included –

    Purchases –
    – Purchased new on winter clearance racks 4 long sleeved t-shirts, a pair of shorts, and a summer broiderie anglaise like cotton peasant top on special for $60 saving $83 on usual clothing prices here.

    Home hair cuts –
    – DH cut my hair at home saving $80 on usual prices of getting my hair cut in the hair salon.

    In the garden –
    – Picked 5kg of broad beans from the gardens saving $30.90 over purchasing them in the shops.

    Firewood –
    – Cut 1.5 cubic metres of free ironbark hardwood firewood from a friends property saving $225 over purchasing it and it is now cut, split and stacked on the front veranda ready for next winter.

    In the kitchen –
    – Blanched and froze the garden picked broad beans making 5 more meals of beans in the freezer for the two of us.

    Electricity savings –
    – Only turned on the hot water system for 7hrs this week and used our solar lanterns to light our home at night saving $10.54 in electricity costs.

    Have a wonderful week everyone 🙂 .

  62. Marybeth

    The garden is going crazy with tomatoes. I’m going to be canning them again tomorrow.
    -Picked too many tomatoes to count, peppers, corn, cucumbers and string beans. Freezers are full and shelves are getting there.
    -Went to my husbands work picnic. We help at it every year. 140 people were signed up to come. 88 showed up. They had so much food leftover. Very few people stayed to help clean up and even fewer wanted to bring anything home. I don’t say no to free food so we came home with tons. We got 40 cooked burgers, 2 packs of buns, a tray of lettuce, tomatoes and onions , a tray of German potato salad, 4 veggie burgers, 2 trays of pulled pork (they roasted a pig), a tray of corn on the cob and 4 cans of lemonade. We ate it all week and I froze most of the burgers, corn and half the pulled pork.
    -A friend at work is having some financial problems. I called and asked if he wanted some of the above food. He happily took some. I also made him up a box of food from my food storage to help him along. I also brought some of the above food to my manager so that she didn’t have to cook for her kids after work since she was working till 8pm. She was so grateful that she got me a milkshake.
    -Made extra waffles and pancakes for easy breakfasts on school days.
    -Saved $18 with coupons on groceries and earned $2.75 with Ibotta
    -My son and his girlfriend went to visit my sister. They went to the arboretum for free because my sister has a membership. They all brought their own sandwiches for lunch. My sister treated them to Starbucks after. She then gave them some leftover snacks that she didn’t want to keep in the house because she didn’t want to eat them. They used them for snacks all week.
    -Brought lots of leftovers to work this week.
    -Hung laundry, washed Ziplocs, turned lights off, and opened the windows
    -Hubby brought home several rolls and bagels from work
    -Went to Goodwill and got 6 items off of my want list. 2 are Christmas gifts. I was so happy!
    -Bought 2 packs of peppers (1 red & 1 yellow) from the reduced produce rack. They were $3 total, 12 peppers. I used 2 to turn the leftover pilled pork into fajitas and I chopped the rest in put them in the freezer.
    -Was asked to work at the last minute literally. Someone didn’t show up. So my manager treated me to lunch.

    What brought me joy this week was this blog. Brandy, you do an amazing job. Thank you. I loved all the comments this week and kept checking back all week to see what everyone was saying. There is an amazing community here. I feel like I have friends all over the world. Where we live is not known to be thrifty. Some people look at me like I’m crazy while I sit there thinking that they are the crazy ones. Here I feel like I can be open and honest with my week. Thank you all of you. Have a wonderful and thrifty week!

  63. Mandy

    Hello Brandy and fellow readers! The weather has me concerned. I don’t know what to expect here (Northern Illinois).
    I started my new job yesterday 🙂 My last day at my old job was last Wednesday. I spent Thursday through Sunday trying to prepare for this week to reduce my stress. Monday was also my birthday and my Aunt took myself, my daughter, and my mom out for brunch at a local diner. Monday night after work my husband, daughter and I enjoyed a favorite meal at home and ate cake 🙂

    I’ve harvested and dehydrated green onions several times, tomatoes, parsley, oregano. I am still freezing the tomatoes for when I have time to turn them all into sauce.

    *Made eggs/sausage/hash browns/toast, I made creamy chicken enchiladas using leftover chicken, leftover cream of chicken soup from a different recipe, free cheese and cheap tortillas. I used the rest of the leftover chicken in creamy chicken and rice soup, taco soup (using leftover corn and bulk purchased beans), peach pie popsicles, turkey burgers with carrots, chicken tenders from my husband’s job. My new employer provided a pizza lunch for us on my first day (my training group was a group of 15).

    *I took my food and coffee to work with me. I packed my daughter’s cold lunch from home every school day. I again prepped all week’s worth of her lunches at once to make the week easier.

    *I washed and return both sets of scrubs. Not frugal for me but they will be reused by someone else who needs them and not wasted.

    *I harvested and dehydrated oregano and parsley. I harvested, sliced, and dehydrated green onions. I picked more ripe tomatoes.

    * I submitted the paperwork and application for a home improvement grant from the city I live in. I received a call requesting more paperwork which I promptly submitted. I am supposed to hear the decision “soon”. I have been working with the city for this grant for 3 months now. I hope we qualify for something.

    *I line dried or used my drying racks for several loads of laundry.

    *I cancelled a streaming service I was trying out. I really like it but don’t want to spend $30 a month right now on something not necessary.

    * I used free online videos to exercise to and went to the city park one morning to walk around the lake after I took my daughter to school. (it’s right by our house).

  64. Marybeth

    Hi to another Marybeth. There aren’t that many of us.

  65. Tina, would you mind sharing how you sent the fax via computer? I rarely have to send faxes anymore but when I do, it’s a hassle. Luckily the UPS store is nearby that I can have faxes sent from but they charge a fee (understandable), and the gas money/wear and tear on our vehicle and my time, all add up. TIA!

  66. Marivene

    Frozen celery can be added to vegetable soups, chicken & rice casseroles, and stiffing for either chicken or turkey.

  67. Jo

    Well done walking away from those items! It’s especially hard when they “only” cost $2.

    [list]
    This week I was paid to attend training for work. We have to be paid a minimum of one hour and the session only lasted thirty minutes so it was free money.
    [/list]
    [list]
    I picked up a free 250g packet of high quality cheese and some grocery specials that were half price. We had the cheese on ham & cheese toasties for work lunches, it was an awesome treat.
    [/list]
    [list]
    After a long day, my husband offered to buy pizza for dinner but we managed to cook at home instead. All meals were prepared at home and lunches taken to work except for one day when I forgot that I had an appointment after work. I used homegrown chives in one of our dinners.
    [/list]
    [list]
    I picked my husband up from work one night as I was in the area anyway. It saved us a bus ticket.
    [/list]
    [list]
    We sold an item online for $10 but the buyer ended up giving my husband $20! She said that she really loved the item and that he had been so pleasant to deal with.
    [/list]
    [list]
    We finally started our garden renovations! Surprisingly, it only took us half a day to overhaul our patio area. We planted succulents I was given for free and herb bushes to hopefully eliminate the need to buy herbs. All plants were watered from our rainwater tank. I’m also trying to roots some plants to form a hedge in the front yard at no cost.
    [/list]
    [list]
    I reduced the water temperature for my showers, hopefully it will reflect on the next gas bill.
    [/list]
    [list]
    We only turned the heater on once last week and that was two hours after our self-imposed time!
    [/list]
    [list]
    Someone gave away free baskets which will come in handy for gift-giving.
    [/list]
    [list]
    My coworker surprised me with delicious cake! My other coworker and I continue to carpool which turns out to be a really pleasant time to chat and get to know each other better.
    [/list]
    [list]
    I was able to hang all our washing outside this week! It wasn’t a savings as such because in bad weather they get hung inside due to the lack of a dryer. But I love the smell of sundried washing and it saves so much time because everything dries quicker in a nice breeze.
    [/list]

  68. PJGT

    We had a very hot week here. Usually the temperatures are starting to chill, but we have been experiencing extraordinary heat. I took a fan to work to see if I can relieve the heat stress in my classroom. I’ll bring it back when I’m done.

    We were unexpectedly frugal as we had just donated the very old and expensive to run air-conditioner at the end of the season. So, I’ve been using fans and “suffering” through. Saving lots on electricity, but not very productive!

    My son cut his hair a bit shorter and I trimmed it up match his AFROTC regulations. We have all the hair cutting and trimming equipment, so it went well. He had to a buy black only gym bag and a black only backpack to carry when wearing his cadet uniform. He was able to use a 10$ off coupon he received from his birthday college clothing purchases for the backpack and he used a gifted he received for his birthday for the gym bag.

    My BIL and family had a picnic celebration that my son was able to attend with my inlaws. He came back with some bottles of water, cans of Seltzer, sandwiches (we took the bread off and have been eating the meat and cheese as he cannot have too much bread and he’d rather have the pizza), leftover pizza that we froze in baggies for later, and blueberry muffins. Tickled that he sees the value in leftovers!

    My MIL bought my son dog food for his pups, granola bars for his lunch and ketchup. Very thankful.

    My husband’s aunts have thought of us recently. One aunt is remodeling her kitchen and gave us a full size fridge. We have been using my son’s college one successfully if not too comfortably. So unexpected! I’m glad we just kept on keeping on! Now we have a free fridge in great condition and not too old :). The other aunt is moving and sent some items that were just perfect for a friend of ours. We were able to drop them off to her as well. She also sent us two boxes of food items and teas that she cannot take. The food is pretty processed, but are appreciated. We will use them either when we need to bring a dish to a gathering or sparingly. Grateful for all food!

    I have lost some weight and am able to wear enough of my wardrobe to work without purchasing anything. Thankful for being able to make that work. Still downsizing to get the final size and a half off. Definitely need to be more aware in the future. I’m not as young as I used to be!

    Had to buy some things at a chain store and found canning lids on clearance. The manager rang them in to get the sale and also have me an extra 5.00 off my order using a coupon at the register. We are so blessed!

    We still have amazon prime and it more than pays for itself with college texts and other purchases. We have become pretty good at comparing prices and getting our books for less. Only my daughter buys her books at the college bookstore because she is given a book scholarship that covers the cost. Now that her photography courses are over, our supply outlay should be much less. Photography supplies and lab fees are very costly.

    I watched some prime videos for free while doing paperwork.

    I am trying to work on training my son’s pups to obey me better, so we go on walks together almost every day. It is working. I figure that my husband and I will have the dogs when our son starts his military career, so I’d better get the pups to listen to me.

    Am finding so much joy in teaching again. I continue to look for those students who need a little extra attention throughout the day.

    Glad that the weather is cooperating for your garden, Brandy. Have a blessed week everyone!

  69. Marybeth

    We love Racko, Mind Trap, Mancala, Yahtzee and various card games.

  70. Miss Mable, what a sweet story about your teacher! We may never know the impact we have on others lives sometimes with our words or deeds. I learned that long ago when someone told me that something I had long forgotten saying, had stuck with them and made a positive difference in their life.

    I used to love doing mystery shops! I miss doing them but life’s circumstances have changed so I haven’t done them in a long time. I also miss doing product demonstrations at our local Target and Sam’s Club, but taking care of hubby is my priority these days. Seasons.

    Do you have a special recipe for your dog treats? Those sound like something my Dollface would love. I make her food (which isn’t necessarily inexpensive but I feel better feeding her real, good food) and have been toying with making her treats once these store bought ones run out.

  71. ellie's friend from Canada

    Samantha,

    Would you be able to please share the champe recipe with us? I’d really appreciate it! Ann

  72. this week i finished drying the three bushels of apples two friends let me pick they were small buggie ones took twice as long our peaches were ready before the apples got finished still having a lot of peach jam i only made one batch peach jam and i pulled two of the bags of raspberries from freezer and made two batches of rasp/peach jam variety is good. froze reat of peaches fifteen or so were not yet ripe we will just eat them when they ripen. we now have our first cooler day it has been wicked hot here in central iowa.

    ? what do you do with your garlic chives?

    the joy i had two weeks ago our ward went to Nauvoo for a temple trip for over fifty years i had been searching to find my real dad i last saw when i was six i have done family history on all lines but i could not get my father’s info my mother bitter over divorce would not help so i did all i could our oldest loves doing genealogy as much as i do she had me tell a memory when i was three being in Wisconsin with his parents she found someone who matched with my three yr memory and had me talk to her she was very helpful helped me find a dna test on sale i took it and i showed up right after own daughters it was that close she helped with info my dad was the only child of six to marry and have kids this family had all their work done all the way back but these siblings either had to wait or have a direct descendant which was me i felt this whole batch wanted done at once an i was abt dead with fibro but got them done and sealed to their parents my grandparents this was hard had bad pain for a week but gave me more joy then i can say families truly are forever.

    i wish we could have an extra growing season but growing snowballs is all.

    i have been sewing on project bags from one of the free craftsy classes for Christmas gifts… and knitting socks for gifts too.

    went to library when in town got three free mysteries, some cooking magazines free and a twenty dollar knitting book free i try to stop in when close. tomorrow i make bread. also this last week i bought ten boxes of mushrooms from aldi .69 a box i wash and use an egg slicer to slice and dehydrate them slicing myself saved ten dollars. at another store frozen veggies ten bags .68 each i like to open and dump on dehydrator racks and dry that is all i could afford. but blessed to be able to do them. http://frugalmeasures.blogspot.com/2017/09/monday-message_25.html scroll a bit down to see how i do the mushrooms.

  73. Tammy

    I freeze celery all of the time. I use it in soups, casseroles, and stir fries. The trick is use fresh celery not celery that is limp.

  74. Maxine

    Brandy, starting a box for Winter reminded me of when I did the same for DS. When my mother died, her better pots and pans, casserole dishes and a basic supply of her kitchen gadgets went into the box. DS took my MIL’s circa 1948 Revereware pots when she passed, and I am using my mom’s pots and pans at our vacation home. DS still uses the Revere and my mom’s cast iron frying pans, every single day. (He married a woman who has a “thing” for cast iron, too).

    I start my week on a different day than you, so I hope I didn’t report any of this last week:

    The biggie is that we sold our house!

    When we drove home from DS’s wedding, we drove straight through instead of stopping along the way, as we sometimes do. Saved a night in a motel and some meals. The night before we left, I cooked dinner with what we had left…some strange combinations, but no one complained.

    I cashed in some frequent flyer miles to get 3 tickets to Portland in November to visit family and friends. I normally do not “waste” my miles on short trips, but this was a super deal…and it saves us two long days of driving. I also rented the cheapest car I could find online. The cost of the car is about what it would cost us to drive to Portland (where I lived for 40 years). Staying with family when we get there.

    We bought a used washer and dryer a few weeks ago for our vacation home, where we are living while our new, smaller home is being built. It has a super capacity tub and I was able to wash 3 normal loads in only two loads, saving water, electricity and detergent. I slung the wool blanket over the front porch railing to dry.

    I got my water bill and it was a LOT lower than last month’s. We’ve turned off the sprinklers for the season and had quite a bit of rain last week. All good.

    I’m the one in the family that always goes around turning off lights. I was extra vigilant last week.

    Sold a stand mixer on craigslist for $100. It was worth $125, but it had been advertised for a long time and, hey, I’m moving!

    I mended a sheet and the patch is almost invisible.

    We are at our “old” house for 10 days. Besides turning off the heat, I also remembered to turn off the water heater at the vacation place.

    Hope you all have a good and frugal week!

  75. Becky

    How special! You will be forever grateful that you wrote that letter!

    I read occasionally about you (and others) doing those mystery shops. How do you sign up for that? It has occured to me that I live in town now, so that might be something I could actually do. When I lived so far out, I just disregarded the idea because of all the driving that would have been involved.

  76. Florrie

    I really enjoyed reading your post and all of the comments last week. I’m sure that Winter will live up to her name and do very well in the cold at college. I can picture her inspiring others around her along the way, the same way you are inspiring all of us!

    Frugal doings:
    – I have a self-appointed job of supplying my very senior aunt with jigsaw puzzles. She can do 250 piece puzzles due to space constraints. I do 1,000 piece ones; so after completion, I have been breaking one into four parts along the picture’s natural lines and bagging each section separately. She happily passes each day doing puzzles and is not bothered by the lack of two distinct borders. 500 piece puzzles are halved. I also use white strips to divide the box pictures accordingly so she can see which frame she is working on.
    -We have been using wet chamois-looking towels around our necks on very hot days. They have kept us from wilting.

    Frugal thought:
    – I once asked my brother if he picks up pennies when he sees them on the ground. His reply was a yes. Why? Because if something costs a dollar and if he had 99 cents, he wouldn’t be able to buy it. True that!

  77. Jenny

    I really hope your health issues resolve themselves sooner than 6 months to a year. I’m actually impressed with how much you accomplish given you don’t have full operational use of your arm.

  78. Jenny

    Oh man, even I’m feeling teary over this.

  79. kim

    I’m making pumpkin pie from scratch and using up old yogurt I had frozen. I grew the pumpkin.
    I bought 3 used workout DVDs for $10 free shipping online. Two are for strengthening your back and helping back pain. I’m hoping doing these over the next year will mitigate my lower back pain that I have postpartum. (Youngest is now 19 months so its time I do something more and not just hope it goes away.)
    I have lost 15 lbs since June and am hoping to lose 13 more to be 120 lbs. I’m only 5 ft so this is a healthy weight. Cutting calories has saved me a lot of groceries. I used to eat as much as my husband.
    I’m cooking from the pantry. I have everything that expires by 2017 on my kitchen counter. I’m not buying groceries until its gone.
    I found a girls bike for $10 on craigslist. We drove 13 miles to get it in our nearest town. Its so cute!!! I have a 3 year old and 18 month girls so they will both eventually ride it. Their dad spruced it up and oiled it.
    My plan is to have $4000 extra towards mortgage by end of year (I only make $10000 but am putting $300 each month towards MTG). My only other monthly bills are $58 gas, $300 grocery, life insurance, and taxes. This is a huge frugal goal for me! If I make it habit, I may continue paying $300 extra each month through 2018.

  80. kim

    This made me cry! Im glad you wrote her also. My parents also divorced when I was 10 and it was very rough. Teachers do make a difference as they provide stability that isn’t always there 🙂

  81. Jennifer O

    I never thought of getting peroxide from the beauty supply store. Thanks!

  82. Jennifer O

    For years we looked at things as how many panels of sheet rock or how many windows that would buy. That finally got my mother out of demanding I come home (1000 miles one way) for every holiday, bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party, housewarming, graduation, etc.

  83. Katie,

    A post that answers most of your questions is written and is almost finished, actually. I need to get some photos for it and finish it up.

    I don’t think that college is for everyone; for some, trade school might be better. We aren’t fans of debt and both my husband and I received undergraduate degrees without incurring debt.

  84. Jennifer O

    I struggle balancing frugal with indulging in the treats and luxuries our income allows. Even so, I had a mostly frugal week (for us) here.
    Attended a free planetarium exhibit at the local library.
    Went to the VFW for Friday happy hour (always cheap), and used my calendar card for a cheap dinner at chickfila one night.
    Went to the base gym for Zumba 3 days. This is free to us.
    Due to several issues, my chiropractor appointment this week was free. She recommended a massage to loosen things up some more so we can make more progress on my back. Rather than use her in-house masseuse (pricey), I made an appointment at a spa school.
    Due to the chiropractor’s suggestion and (my own desires) I did a half day Spa day on Saturday (massage, facial, haircut/style, brows, and pedicure). It is in the city (45 minutes away), but since it is a school it is cheaper, and I found a groupon, so $400+ of pampering at any other spa cost me $50 (including the groupon and tips). I have not been in a few months, so it was a true treat.
    Since I was already in the city, I had lunch at the Saturday Arts Market. I walked around, but nothing even tempted me. I walked about the thrift store, but saw nothing I needed. I also stopped at the farmer’s market and picked up some apples, a basket of blackberries for $1, and some sad vegetables for the chickens (free). It was funny reading about your $2 pass since while I was at the farmer’s market I was less disciplined, and indulged in a $2 Italian ice. Aldi’s was another story. I was able to restock my staple cheeses, some things my pantry was low on, and a couple of bottles of rose that were highly rated. I always spend more there than I plan, but even with this trip, my September grocery bill was only $70 and I stocked things into my fridge, freezer, and pantry to use in future weeks/months.
    One of my backyard chickens died. This will reduce my egg production, but not cripple my budget as I usually trade the eggs for treats from other people.
    I gratefully received a bag of cat food from a colleague. Her cat didn’t like it and my new rescue cat doesn’t care. I also gratefully received some fancy homemade soap.
    Tonight, I will attend a wine tasting. For $5 I will get to taste, visit, and take home the glass. A friend will drive.
    My biggest blessing this week (and several previous ones) is the neighbor boy who comes and helps me do little things around the house, yard, and chicken coop while my husband is away.

  85. Diana in Indiana

    Frugal choices this week:
    – used a free carwash coupon
    – used the crockpot for 3 meals so they were quick and easy after work. The other 2 were quick pasta/sauce/veggie meals.
    – packed lunch daily
    – an overnight guest left her shampoo in my shower. I called to let her know and she said to keep it. It will last me several months.
    – Hubs and I have been working on a 1000 piece garage sale puzzle
    – loaned my son some money so he can get caught up on bills and not continue to pay late fees. More frugal for him than a payday loan. We talked about living within his means, etc.

  86. Jean

    Cindy, I do the same thing with my breakfast and lunch. Smoothies for breakfast and soup or salad for lunch, depending on the season.It makes it so easy to shop,my list rarely changes much, and I do not have to waste time making decisions. Dinners do vary, not lot a whole lot. This way I use my garden produce and I have no waste!

  87. Athanasia

    So, seriously everyone, will it not be just a mush when it thaws? I use celery all the time and always have it on hand. I have also mentioned in past that it is my husbands favorite snack with peanut butter on it. I dry it to add to soups etc, so that works for me. Just curious about the outcome of the freeze thaw cycle.

  88. Athanasia

    Is this a BBC show? Nice thing is often they come back years later and do a reunion show. They did this with 2 shows I watched, TO THE MANOR BORN and THE VICAR OF DIBLEY. I think they may have do in the THE GOOD NEIGHBORS also. I would highly recommend the 3rd show as regards the connection to here with frugality and self-sufficiency. These are all comedies and so so funny. Maybe HOME FIRES will be finished off eventually.

  89. Athanasia

    Kim, congratulations on the healthy weight loss.

  90. Mary

    Hi all! I really have enjoyed reading everyone’s post and I think I learn new things that I can do to save more!
    Last week frugal ways –
    Both my husband and I were not feeling well. Husband for one day and I for 3 days. Not eating sure saves $!
    Solar is finally running!!! We are so happy and looking forward to much lower electric bills.
    Albertsons had a good deal on steak – which we rarely buy. I think I paid $17 normally is $40. I split in half, freezing one half. My husband grilled them Sat. We ate with potatoes and broccoli we already had. I made fajitas with the leftover steak for another night.
    I had 2 follow up appts (not frugal but one I do not have to go back for 1 year the other 6 months).
    We finally had shutters put on the inside of our house – like blinds. Not very frugal up front but it will help cool our house but most important give us privacy! We have been here since late June so feel things are coming together.

    Joy – being able to communicate with my daughter who is in here 1st year of college.
    Being able to walk our dogs and enjoy the sunrise.
    Enjoyed our steak dinner and movie at home with my husband.
    Have a good frugal week all!

  91. Anne

    ACH! Home Fires was canceled? I didn’t know.

  92. Mary beth Danielson

    When I was in high school.. there were THREE Mary Beth’s in my class. Born in the 50’s; named after relatives….

  93. Athanasia

    Rhonda, what does the ABA and the PHIT stand for?

    I suppose your husband , the chef, would be like the saying my father always used… The shoemakers children go barefoot… He’s busy/had enough of cooking after doing his job for others.

    We had that same 90 F weather for beginning of Fall. Our schools have no air conditioning either. The humidity did not help.

  94. Roberta in So. Cal.

    How will you use your okra? Hubs planted some this year, and apart from gumbo I have no idea what to do with it.

  95. Annaliese

    It was a stock up week here in my house. One of our local supermarkets is having their 25 cent refund promo if you buy their named products. You can buy 40 items and get $10 back to use on next purchase. So far I have only spent $50.00 out of pocket and parlayed $30.00 plus coupons of free items. My pantry closet is stacked full. I planned it out to where I got holiday supplies in the bunch too.
    Last Thursday after cooking lunch at Reality Center-that’s where my adult autistic son goes for socialization and work study every week and I volunteer to cook lunch for about 50 -60 people- I brought home so much produce from the shares they have at a local farm. I put up 9 pints of green tomato chow-chow, cut-seeded and chopped up green peppers to put in freezer for future dishes, made 4 pints of green tomato and strawberry jam and more okra. I save a few of the green tomatoes for my enjoyment and obsession of fried green tomatoes. Will be handing in receipts and getting some more of that grocery money back.
    I am going to San Fran with my hubby next week while he works the Oracle convention. His work is paying for the hotel which is one of the 5 star ones. We went on Groupon and found some great pricing on things for me to do while he was at work and the days following when we can enjoy a vacation. We went thru Swagbucks and got will receive points that I am saving up to do Christmas shopping with.
    Cashed in some PTO hours at work.
    Not so good news on the car- found out the engine and clutch will have to be replaced and was quoted 7K for the job. We are thinking that is way too much so we will be looking to sale it for parts and buying another car towards the end of October. We still have the truck and hubby is borrowing a car from his mom that she doesn’t use.
    Still picking cherry tomatoes and herbs from garden. Made some herb compound butter and placed in freezer for future use.
    Received coupons in the mail for future grocery shopping and several of them were for free items.
    I had been looking for a pocketbook with my Scottish clan colors and found one. It has to be made and the shipping was free. Used my Paypal money from selling stuff and am quite happy with the purchase. It has to be custom made but I can wait for it!!
    Still racking up points and rebates for holiday shopping thru phone apps and am up to $71-Plus the points from Swagbucks. My goal is to get almost all of my holiday shopping done with these great apps.
    Have a great week!

  96. Roberta in So. Cal.

    I, too, freeze celery all the time. Like others, I use it in soups and when I make homemade stock.

  97. kim

    I forgot to add cell phone as expense $45, as well as other necessities like car oil and filter, soap, laundry detergent, tp, etc are included in my $300 monthly grocery budget. My hubby usually buys a year of cellphone coverage for my birthday, so I don’t include this. So $658 monthly income (husband pays all other bills)-$58gas-$300food, etc-$300extra to mortgage.
    I’m really good at not wasting food. I’ll eat anything if its not rotten. Right now I’m waiting for Thanksgiving and Christmas grocery sales.
    I have been really amazed at how things “come your way” when you need them. Like getting offered free apples, pumpkins, and blueberries.

  98. Maxine

    I just checked the Old Farmers’ Almanac site a few hours ago. They say that they base their forecasts on sunspot activity, acknowledging that most others do not. They said that they factor in other considerations. Their worldwide forecast is for a colder winter, but not necessarily colder than historical averages. The intermountain area, where I live, is predicted to have a cold and snowy winter. Our snowy winter last year was the first we had since around 2008. However, it was not particularly cold, but it was long (the groundhog was right!).

  99. Wyoming Gal

    I went to the same sale at JC Penney with my $10 off coupon. I bought a pair of dressy slacks, a pair of exercise shorts and a pair of chino shorts for my grandson. I spent $1.98 for items originally $102. Of course I had to drive to the “big city” to do this (Billings, MT), although I was running other errands and having a day out. I listened to a Geraldine Brooks book on CD from the library during the drive.

  100. Hilogene in Az

    Hi Brandy and all,

    —made bread at home and continued meal planning based on what we have in the freezer and pantry. Still limiting eating out to one meal a week.
    —Bought five ladies business casual shirts for $13.25 at a thrift store
    —Bought a bread machine at a local goodwill for $3.99, needed exterior clean up but the inside showed very little wear and had the instruction booklet. I use a bread machine weekly and have found that these low end machines only last a year before the bearings either leak or seize. My husband has tried to find repair parts but it would cost more for him to buy parts and do the labor himself than to just buy a used machine at a thrift store. The high end bread machines (which say they are more reliable) are over $200 and that is beyond what bread is worth to me :).
    —continued to do very limited grocery shopping. For the first time every…our grocery spending will be less than $130 for the month. Yeah!!! Thank you Brandy and all those on this blog for the information and encouragement to learn how to eat well for so little!
    —bought an instant pot and am starting to learn where it excels. We eat five different bean soups so I think that will be the huge time saver…so far, the jury is out on whether it was worth buying but we are only about half way through our trials of all of its capabilities.

  101. Marisa

    Brandy,
    I hope you get a good laugh out of this:
    -Attended a Real Estate broker open house and was given two huge to-go containers of leftover food. I happily took them home and did not have to cook dinner=)
    -Shopped and cooked mostly from my pantry last week with the exception of some stock up black bean paste(for a Korean dish I make) and the to go food.
    -Found some vegetarian Worcestershire sauce at the Asian store for 1/2 the price of a regular store.
    -Found a costume for my youngest son for $7.
    -Drove the Electric car as much as possible because it saves us so much money.
    -Switching our internet/phone service will save us about $60/month(we do not have cable)
    -Switching our cell phone plans and saving $150/month.
    -Keeping the heat off except two times even though it has dropped about 30 degree in just 7 days.

  102. Rhonda A.

    Unless you live in Canada where we no longer have pennies!:D

  103. Athanasia

    Oh, here this is. I start and then run out of time and I am not good at saving my post.

    We were celebrating my older son’s father and mother in laws birthdays. They are only a couple days apart so they always celebrate together. My daughter in law and her parents are all really that is of that family. There are distant relatives in China but no one else in the country…no cousins, aunts etc and she is an only child. They are included along in everything we do. Also there was my husband’s youngest sister and her husband and son Henry. They often join with us as she was only 7 when we got married and she is more like a big sister to my children then an aunt. At times she has lived with us.

    We did all the usual of composting, recycling, hanging out laundry, gardening, canning, using up leftovers, mending, eating at home, cooking and baking. Took my car in for it’s 20,000 mile checkup and it was covered with no extra charges. Received a $36 rebate back on typing paper. At the grocer 3 of the last 4 times I checked my receipt the register rang up an item wrong from the shelf and advertised price. I had to get money back at customer service. I have been picking up the free Friday items but they are always kind of too too…too overproccessed, too artificial, not things I would even consider buying. The shelf stable items are all going into the food donation bag for when the Boy Scouts come around before Thanksgiving.

    Our missionary Patti that we had for the summer had a nice send-off and arrived safely back for her new school year. She was able to sew 7 new dresses, bought probably 2 years worth of underwear. She found 5 pair of sandals at various rummage sales or from church members. She went to the dentist while here and his office gave her a dozen each of toothpaste, floss and toothbrushes. She also was able to update her glasses. She wanted a new pillow and some linens so that was also bought for her by church members. She packed everything into her carryon piece that was allowed so as to not worry about loss or theft. It was nice for her to be here for the almost 3 months…her father is here but in a nursing facility and unwell and her brother and his wife are here. She lived with us as we had the room the others did not. She’s closer to my age than my daughter but they did have fun in their free time and an extra pair of helping hands is wonderful.

    Some of the things made the last 2 weeks were the zucchini cupcakes with frosting, lemon meringue pie, white bread, zucchini pancakes, plum kuchen, oatmeal raisin cookies, banana mini muffins, coleslaws, cucumber salads, tomato basil and mozzarella salad, tabouleh, tuna macaroni salad, fresh rolls with rice paper wrapper and sliced vegetables and cilantro and fake crab meat inside. When we were not having our record heat wave last weekend and it was normal Fall temperature earlier I made 8 quarts of vegetable wild rice soup. We had fresh corn on the cob, green beans, tomatoes at almost every meal. Grilled cheese twice, hot dogs on the grill once, BLTs twice.

    The pole beans have been extra productive this year. Finished all the green and wax bean canning earlier so these, besides eating steamed and raw, I have made dilled beans, used in the vegetable soup, I froze 27 quarts. We are still canning tomato, making tomato juice and salsa, making jalapeno poppers for the freezer, stuffing bell peppers for the freezer. Our zucchini is still producing. Our sweet corn canning is done but now freezing by the quart and have 21 of those. Made 7 more pints of corn relish. Picked up pears and plums from an aunt and a cousin. All the pears are in the refrigerator and will take them out as I want. Made plum sauce and plum jam. Oldest daughter cleaned out another bed and found a good 15 pounds of beets we missed. Our tenants have been putting in a lot of help and are getting and enjoying their share of the produce and learning to garden and can.

    We received a surprise from the tenants, very nice one. They had only planned on renting for two years, then buying a house. They have asked if they can stay indefinitely so they can save even more and they now want a rural property. We said yes, of course. It is only a one room, one bath and kitchenette over our old garage, but they seem very happy up there. My husband and I lived up in that apartment after we were married so I have many good memories of the place and I am glad someone else feels the same.

  104. Linda Higgy

    The ad was in the paper, don’t remember which day. I will check my papers and get back to you…ok, got it. Sale starts today, Wed 9/27. Mini blender, mini chopper and the slow cooker. Towels are $2.99 each and also big bed pillows. Also, twin size flannel, fleece or microfiber sheets 1/2 off. Wow, Hamilton Beach 6 qt slow cooker for14.99 after $7.00 rebate. Kohl’s Lowest Prices of the Season flyer. Good until Sunday, 10/1.

  105. Lilli

    I have been blessed with a lovely week. I have stretched my 300.00 allotment for groceries into at least double or triple in value. I honestly didn’t add it up. I used it buying loss leaders, bogo’s, coupons, double coupons, competitor coupons and store coupons. Whew ! It was a busy week. I added
    150 lbs meat to my stockpile.
    100 lbs sugar ( .25 Cents Lb)
    10 lbs butter ( 2.50 Lb )
    10 free cream cheesee
    10 free yogurts
    10 free Blueberry Pancake Mixes.
    I got 8 Cans of tomatoes for 8 cents a can. I will collecting about 48 more this week.
    2 )I switched my cellphone service over to Sprint for a year of unlimited free talk, text ,and data. I have encouraged college boy and girl to follow suit. It cost me 3.00 for the Sim card and I assume I will pay 2 or 3 dollars a month tax on the service.
    3 ) The Honest Co had their BOGO package sale. I bought 8 shampoos and 2 conditioners for 45.00 and got 35.00 in Swagbucks. I am unable to use most products so I was thrilled to get this . College boy and I will have enough for quite a while. The brand I normally buy is 8.50 a bottle.
    4 ) I bought college daughter two pairs of boots/shoes for Xmas. I paid 30.00 and got back 40.00 in swagbucks.
    5 ) I won a 25.00 Carvel ice cream cake on one of my favorite coupon blogs. We will use it in a few weeks for college boys birthday.
    6 ) I try to be kind and gentle each day. I was speaking to a lady in Aldi’s about all the butter I bought. As we continued to talk in the parking lot about me couponing, I gave her some of the ham chunks and coffee creamer I had picked up at Publix. I donated a small amount to a go fund me for a special needs man in our town. I am so proud that our community was able to pay off the balloon payment due on his house. His mother passed last year and she had done her best to make him secure .We had other people donate parts and labor to make repairs to his home and truck.140 people raised 10 thousand dollars. It only takes a small amount to impact others lives.

  106. K

    Oh man! It’s been a super long time since I posted here, but life’s been just that busy 😀 Here’s some things we’ve been doing to be more frugal:

    * We renewed our membership to Sam’s Club and with it got several items for free or close to free- between introductory offers and instant savings, we spent $28 for the following: a rotisserie chicken, a 40 count pack of bottled water, a fresh veggie tray, 3 lbs of bananas, 15 cheese, bacon, and beef frozen hamburger patties, a 48 oz package of string cheese, a 200-count package of garbage bags, a package of those individual chip bags, hamburger buns, a pineapple, a package of fresh-baked croissants, and a package of chocolate chip cookies. We don’t usually buy a lot of these items, but we’ll use them in lunches and such, plus we’ll freeze any perishables that we won’t use right away. I broke down the chicken and put half of the meat in the freezer for enchiladas, and I also packaged up the carcass and put that in the freezer. I’ll use the remaining chicken in a couple dishes this week- maybe fried rice and chicken and rice soup.

    * Aldi had zucchinis and mushrooms on sale last week, so I bought extras of both and put them through the dehydrator. I shredded the zucchini (great for adding to soups) and sliced the mushrooms (great for stroganoff and soups/chilis). Mushrooms are usually $1.29 or more per 8 oz container at Aldi (and more at other stores), so when they go for 69c per package, I try to stock up. The zucchini were 89c per 24 oz package.

    * We’re eating down our freezer as usual. We’re aiming for a $160 budget next month, so I’ve trying to write up a meal plan that doesn’t require many items to purchase. We’ll need fruits and veggies, but I think we’re good on pantry staples and meat, so there shouldn’t be any big purchases next month.

    * Instead of doing something money related to celebrate my birthday coming up, instead we decided to go walk around a nearby park in the morning and rearrange the living room. It’s not glamorous but I’ve been wanting to redo the living room setup for a while! I also updated my wish list for those who feel they need to buy me a gift (like my mom) with some more practical items- I’m hoping for an immersion blender. In a perfect world (where I had way more counter space than I do currently), I’d ask for a second hand bread maker, but I have no good place to put it currently so it’s staying off my wishlist.

    That’s everything, I think! I hope everyone has a good rest of their week!

  107. Melissa V

    Our daughters little car is sitting dead in our drive due to a broken timing belt :/ It will cost more to put a new engine in it than the car is worth. For now she is driving my inlaws 2nd vehicle. Our son’s first car also had to be scrapped due to a timing belt breaking. It used to be you could fix alot of things yourself, but now with all the computer tech in them, many fixes are beyond my hubby’s skills (or strength) to do.

  108. Melissa V

    I had pelvic and stomach physical therapy after my hysterectomy the end of April – I was hoping it would help with incontinence and putting things back where they belonged (I also had 2 prolapses repaired) but as a bonus, my back pain is gone! Strengthening the stomach muscles helps support the back – it was a much appreciated bonus as I have only had one incident of throwing my back out of whack this summer even while doing a lot of heavy physical yard work and demolition of 2 trailers. Last summer I was lucky to even be able to garden.

  109. Melissa V

    * I gave away my last 2 chickens. This will help with the feed bill as I won’t have to buy three different types of feed (layer, game bird and duck). My ducks have started laying and the quail should be soon so I will no longer have to pay the extremely high prices for duck and quail eggs. Out of the 12 quail we have, I believe only 3 are males (YES) so it will be easy to break them up into breeding groups and not have to worry about the males killing each other.
    * It FINALLY cooled off and I shut the AC down – hopefully for the year. We probably won’t need heat for at least a month yet – 6 weeks if we’re lucky.
    * We managed to cram all our daughter’s things from her apartment into 2 vehicles so we only had to make one trip which saved gas. I also told her that, no, she was NOT leaving her almost new pans there for the other girl – that she would at some point again have her own apartment and she will need pans (insert the eye rolling emoji). In her defense, she is sick with some upper respiratory virus and one of her friends just passed suddenly last weekend so she isn’t thinking straight.
    * It’s not really frugal, but we may need a filter system on our well of some sort. We found out that we may be in the contaminated area of an old dump site (chemicals from Wolverine World Wide – shoe manufacturer). We will call the health department tomorrow to find out how to get our well tested. We are probably fine since we are uphill but your never know as these dump sites are only just now coming to light. Hopefully, the testing will be free if we are in the risk area.
    * I pressure washed our entire patio and all the old railing I put around it + the wooden steps. What else do you do when it’s 90+ degrees out?? LOL Now I need to find the gallon of wood sealer I know we have stored here [i]somewhere[/i] and re-seal it all. Since the patio is on the North side of our house, it doesn’t get any sun next to house so it turns green as does the siding in spots and the wood steps. It gets very slippery so before winter I try to get it all taken care of. It also will make it last longer.
    * I brought in 10 red peppers (heat really helped with getting them ripe before frost!) and another quart of cherry tomatoes. I also brought in all the dried green bean pods to save the seeds for next year. I have to grab all of the cannelloni and black beans as well before the mice get them all. My pumpkins are a very strange dull orange with netting that almost looks like a canelope so I am thinking I may have a cross breed with another winter squash (I saved seeds from a pumpkin I picked up free for poultry food last year)
    * Completed another small sewing job and had a customer drop off her fabric for some RV cushions which will be a larger payout when it’s finished.
    * Cut a very old comforter in half and then sewed it closed to use as a dog blanket – they wash easier if they are twin size or smaller. I also line dried all of the dogs bedding again (they actually have more than we do!)
    * Our old beagle has started peeing her bed sometimes and is drinking a lot more water. I used some old vinyl to put down under her blankets so it won’t go thru to the carpet. She also peed on a section of the big couch and it ran under the cushion so I took it outside and pressure washed it (surprised the 35+ year old fabric held up!) and scrubbed it with enzyme cleaner. It seems to have worked and the hot, dry weather dried it in no time. All of the foam from the cushions is wrapped in plastic trash bags so that any messes don’t ruin the foam (we learned to do this years ago since it’s rather expensive to replace) and the covers have been washed so many times, they are starting to disintegrate. Yes, it is rather noisy but we don’t have people over much and we’re the only ones who actually sit on that couch with the pups. I also took some odd colored vinyl and laid that down under the cushions so that won’t happen again. And since I know how to sew maybe I ought to replace those covers……seems I never get to sewing projects for our house.
    * I returned zippers that my Mom had purchased and used the money to get the one I needed for her cousins winter coat that I am fixing for her.
    * Purchased the dog’s food while it was still on sale saving us $10.
    * Wanted to buy a really nice Pier One rug I found at the thrift store but ultimately put it back as it wasn’t anything I needed. That decision saved me $4.
    * We stayed out of the grocery store except for milk and made ALL meals at home (which is huge for us).
    I found joy this week in spending time with my pups outside in the cooler evening temps and watching the sun set. The moon is only a few hours behind it this time of year and was a lovely pinky orange color (probably due to the wildfires unfortunately). I had fun playing a computer game with my hubby and spending time talking over future plans.

    PS Kim – thank you for the idea of pulling all of the expiring food out where it can be seen and used!!

  110. Chris M

    Mable … so happy you could connect with your teacher. As a teacher, your caring act really touched my heart as I know it did hers! Blessings …

  111. Juls Owings

    you have to have a dedicated phone line to use as server. Some companies will allow you to use your home line but charge more than UPS does. Check your phone company first before you fax….you tube has how to do it.

  112. momsav

    Athanasia, I always love reading your comments;you have so much going on! (Much like the fabulous Brandy!)
    I like that you used zucchini instead of carrots in your carrot cake! I thought I was clever using it in my husband’s brownies. Yesterday, I added a bit of shredded eggplant to the spaghetti sauce. Neither of us like eggplant. (It came in the CSA basket.) Now that all of this hiding vegetables in plain sight is on my radar, I plan on doing this as often as possible. Have a fabulous day!
    Debbie

  113. Jo

    Roberta, we freeze it whole, we slice and sauté it, it can be breaded and fried but that’s not for everyone, we pickle it (and it’s yummy that way to me) and it can be cooked with chopped or stewed tomatoes, which my dad always loved. Hope you enjoy it!

  114. Tracy-Jayne Timberlake

    I grow, chop and freeze my own celery all the time. I add it to whatever I’m cooking frozen – don’t thaw first – and I don’t use it raw (for salad). It’s absolutely fine, you won’t know the difference actually. It’s easy to break apart the pieces when frozen too, just use a spoon or knife to scrape the right amount into your soup or stew or casserole from the frozen ‘clump’.

  115. Tracy-Jayne Timberlake

    Heading into summer here in the Southern Hemisphere.
    I planted out tomato, basil, chard, pepper, eggplant and broccoli plants that I started from seed. I mulched the veggie gardens and fruit trees with stable manure I got for free from a riding friend. This feeds the plants while protecting moisture in the soil (we are in one of the worst droughts in South Africa’s history).
    I used carrots, chard, green onions, lettuce and herbs from the garden.
    I mended a few items of clothing and went through the stash of items I carefully put away from my older son to find clothing for my younger son. I also asked friends for items they were might be getting rid of as their children, who are slightly older than mine, grow. I’ve been given lovely things!
    I’ve exclusively cloth-diapered the baby during the day. I used to run the diapers through a rinse cycle in the washer before washing them but now use bath water to rinse them, saving water and electricity.
    We continue to use water caught in buckets in the shower or from the bath to flush toilets.
    My daughter found a beautiful shirt at the charity store for the equivalent of $2. We also found two nice movies for about $1 each and packed these away for Christmas gifts. I gave her a $25 budget to buy some clothing for herself at the mall and she bought new jeans, a skirt and two beautiful shirts.
    I baked bread instead of buying several times. Homemade bread is not only cheaper, but healthier and more filling than store loaves.
    I sold a few books I didn’t want anymore. I saved that money in our tax-free savings account as we haven’t been able to save up to the annual limit this year.
    We sold a car! My daughter moved to upstate New York to attend college there (on full sponsorship) and since she was the only one who really used our second car, we sold it. This reduces our monthly expenses and we used the money to pay off debt we’ve been struggling to pay down.
    I’ve focussed on making low-cost afternoon snacks for our growing children, such as popcorn and muffins.
    I’ve been more mindful of fuel usage, and have grouped errands together, asked my husband to pick things up for me while he has been out and accepted lifts offered by others traveling to same destinations.

  116. Rhonda A.

    ABA stands for Applied Behaviour Analysis. It is a method used to teach behaviour modification that works particularly well for children on the Autism spectrum, but can also be used for anyone.

    I don’t remember what PHIT stands for, but it is a program run through our local hospital for children who have weight issues. The program brings together a number of different health professionals (Pediatrician, Nurse Practitioner, Dietician, Social Worker, etc.) to support the child and family in developing a healthier lifestyle. Often when a child is overweight, there are many factors that contribute to the problem (stress, anxiety, emotional issues/trauma, food sensory issues, physical disabilities, medical issues, social/economic issue, etc.). The team evaluates each individual child, then develops an individual plan of action that will help for their specific needs.

    As for my husband, I understand that he cooks all day and doesn’t want to cook at home. But, I didn’t ask him to cook a gourmet meal. I would have been happy if he had popped chicken fingers and fries in the oven. Eating out so much does non of us any favours, not to mention the hits to our budget!

  117. Roberta in So. Cal.

    Thanks, Jo.

  118. kim

    That is great you got PT to restore muscles! I’m realizing my abs are completely gone which is why my back hurts and when I had a cold, when I coughed too hard, I was still experiencing incontinence 18 months postpartum. I can’t really afford chiropractic or PT so I’m taking the route of using a DVD called “yoga for back pain” and “strengthening your back”. I had a colonoscopy because my digestion wasn’t the same postpartum, but eating less and losing weight has helped. I’m only 31!!! I hate to know what I’ll feel like at 60!
    I’m glad to hear you were able to do so much gardening!

  119. Roberta in So. Cal.

    So glad to hear about the eggs (would you mind sharing your source/s re: egg storage?). Our four girls produce more eggs than the three of us can quickly consume, and I’ve been hesitant to use eggs that are more than one month old. I’ve read that they can be frozen out of their shells, but right now I don’t have the freezer space. :p

  120. kim

    No problem! It has to be done! I’m one of those people that have to see things that aren’t done in order to finish them. I have a closet full of clothes but rewear the same things because I’m too lazy to go find something else. I’m also bad at opening cupboard doors and looking through them!

  121. Laurie in AZ

    That’s fantastic! Love those deals!

  122. Laurie in AZ

    What a nice thing to do for your teacher!

    Also, thank you for mentioning pumpkin gut bread! I never thought of doing that! I found a recipe on line that I will use this fall.

  123. I freeze it whole as well, and either fresh or frozen, we love it on the grill or in the wok with oil and a good amount of salt, cooked until it’s soft and browning. When we cook it that way, there’s no slime :o). I also love to add some cut pieces to vegetable soup.

  124. Leslie

    I am new to to your blog and website, and am enjoying it immensely! Thank you for your tips, especially related to food storage and saving money on groceries. I joined Sam’s after reading your 40 Cents a Day posts, and stocked up! I am loving being able to cook from my pantry so often, especially as a new vegetarian. Tonight, we tried your Meatless Chicken Fried Steak, and it was delicious! Wow! Even my meat-loving husband enjoyed it. This week, I have made up jars of homemade skillet lasagna mix to keep in my pantry for those days when we would love to eat out and skip cooking altogether. It’s my go-to fast food. I was traveling for part of the week, and bought fresh food to eat on the road, rather than eat out. I did a little more stocking up at Sam’s, and have stayed true to cooking from scratch and saving in that way. I also made, and then used, my vegetable scraps stock (I keep a large bag in the freezer to save otherwise thrown – away scraps, then make veg stock once it is full) to make a delicious vegetable soup. I also made up a large batch of my kitchen/bath cleanser (baking soda with clove essential oil this time) and gave away a set of my cleanser with my homemade ‘windex’ as a gift to a new friend. So, that’s my week of saving money so far! Thanks again for the wonderful website.

  125. Rhonda A.

    If you coat the outer shell with oil, lard, or even dip in a thin layer of wax, the eggs can last for a year or more. The shell has microscopic pours that allow oxygen in. If you seal up the pours, it will preserve the eggs for a very long time. We do this demo at our pioneer village, as this was how they kept their eggs for extended periods of time. The eggs need to be kept in a cool environment. Before the advent of central heating, most pantries were quite cool. Today a fridge might be best, as our homes are warmer. They actually talk about this in one of the episodes of either Victorian Farm or Edwardian Farm (can’t remember which one), where they store the eggs in a pail of lye based liquid. You can find info on how to do this by googling how to store eggs long term.

  126. Heath

    Marivene, I really enjoy your comments and always look for them.

  127. Joan

    Hi Cindi,
    I read your comment about the blessing of having good neighbors. I moved into a new area about two years ago and only one neighbor came and welcomed us. Unfortunately they have since moved. A few weeks ago, a new family moved in and I decided to bake some blueberry muffins and say hi. I guess to have a good neighbor you need to be a good neighbor. Have a blessed day.

  128. Athanasia

    Rhonda, chicken fingers and fries sound good. With honey mustard. I think we avoid the carry out so easy as we are rural and to go in to get carry out is a good bit of time, the food would be cold and also, no one delivers out here.

    Thanks for the explanation of the classes. I trust your daughter benefits from them…PHIT sounds like a good program.

  129. Janet

    I cried like a baby for the rest of the morning when I read that.

    Especially since I’m starting to wonder if I have made a difference.

  130. Athanasia

    Friend, we enjoy bird watching also. We will see the Sandhill Crane migration soon.

  131. Athanasia

    Meghan, that sounds like an extra-enjoyable vacation…no big bills to pay when you get back home! What National Parks did you see?

  132. Marivene

    Thank you, Heath. That is nice to know.

  133. Athanasia

    Six month to a year sound like too long! I pray for a much much speedier healing.

  134. Ellie

    Hi Katie, I bought my niece, who is a high school senior, a book called The Graduate Survival Guide from DaveRamsey.com It has a DVD in it and talks about going to school debt free and the importance of budgeting. We watched it together and it was VERY helpful in encouraging her to stay home and do community college for her “core” classes.
    While many people are blessed to have financial help from their parents for college, many families can’t afford it. The book also encourages students to apply for as many grants and scholarships as possible, as well as to work while they attend classes. I wish the title of the book were different, however as most would be college students need this information by the beginning of their senior year, before they take on student loans or miss the opportunity to apply for scholarships.Hope this info. helps you out. 😀

  135. Ellie

    Back in Time for Dinner, is VERY interesting to watch. 😀

  136. Ellie

    We play Scrabble quite often. It takes about to play with just the two of us.

  137. Roberta in So. Cal.

    Thanks, Laurie.

  138. Roberta in So. Cal.

    Wow. That’s amazing! I always love the things I learn on this blog.

  139. Marcia R.

    My sister now has 6 children, and 29 grands and great grands. She loves those $10 off $10 coupons—she will shop every single day if necessary to make sure each of them has a holiday gift from her! As a widow, she has a limited budget and she makes the most of all those coupons! I don’t always shop with mine, but if nothing else is needed, I will buy underwear or socks as you know eventually those wear out!

  140. Marcia R.

    I loved The Vicar of Dibley and did not know they did a reunion show. I will have to keep an eye out for it in the schedule, as they often repeat special shows. Thank you for the information.

  141. Cindy in the South

    I always love your comments!

  142. Kim

    love hearing about your community helping out the special needs man. I enjoy that type of giving the very best because you can see that 100 percent goes directly to the person in need immediately.

  143. Cindi

    Roberta, it is so cool here I have to grow a miniature variety of okra in my greenhouse, so I don’t get a great deal of it. I grow it specifically to fry — dust it with flour and season salt and pan-fry in bacon grease until crispy. It is a dish my mother made and it always makes me think of her. (If I get enough, I also make okra, tomatoes and onions — all three stewed together with a little garlic and a pinch of sugar.)

  144. Cindi

    I make rose hip syrup in the fall and use it to sweeten my morning tea all winter for an extra dose of Vitamin C. During World War II the government encouraged people to make rose hip syrup and give it to children as a vitamin tonic.

  145. Cindi

    Your cookie jar pumpkin sounds so cute — and a great gift!

  146. Lorna

    Marybeth never feel alone as we have the same thing here with people around us looking at us like we are a bit crazy too 🙂 and in a likewise area where most do not practice frugality. You are spreading your frugality and love to yourself and others by giving service sharing the food in your well stocked pantry and other food that would otherwise have been wasted.

    Bear in mind that because of our lifestyle that most come to us when they are in trouble and need assistance because we grow our own vegetable gardens and have enough stored for us and a few others who may need it. Thinking now that both you and I are definitely not the crazy ones as we know how to live within and under our budgets. A well stocked pantry and a productive garden will feed multitudes of people including our own families.

    With love from Australia.

  147. Roberta in So. Cal.

    Thanks, Cindi.

  148. Andrea Q

    I love cannellini beans, in part because they are a great non-dairy/cheap source of calcium. I never thought to put them in pasta sauce though. Thanks for the idea!

  149. Susan O

    Last week was a little different for us because my sister (who is never sick) came home from work on Tuesday very ill. Wednesday she ended up in the ER with a kidney stone that didn’t pass until Monday morning. Most of our time was spent keeping her comfortable while she waited. However, some frugal things were accomplished:
    We collected 32 eggs; we sold 1 1/2 dozen and delivered another 1 1/2 dozen to a family who had pre-paid.
    We harvested cucumbers, zucchini, tomatillos, tomatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers, figs, and apples.
    I baked 2 loaves each of savory and sweet zucchini bread.
    Monday (the day before she got sick) was my sister’s birthday. My mom was at the grocery store that day and, instead of buying a big cake just for the 4 of us, she saw a large piece of birthday cake and bought that for us to share, instead. We also ended up with leftover cake from the party they had for her at the preschool where she works. Mom made vanilla ice cream to go with the cake.
    I cut my sister’s and my mom’s hair; Mom cut mine.
    We had unseasonably cool weather last week and the air conditioner only went on for a few minutes on Saturday afternoon; it was off the rest of the week. Not so much this week.
    I made “jello” from scratch a couple of times when my sister wasn’t up to eating solids. She also sipped my home-made chicken stock and my mom made her soup from leftover chicken, home-made stock, and some veggies.
    We did the normal things like hanging out laundry, cooking from scratch, doing the bi-weekly grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and Grocery Outlet, opening the windows at night, etc.

  150. Terri C

    Cindi something I tried when I was doing a food challenge, was to mix canned diced tomatoes with raw chopped onion. This was a very good substitute for salsa or pico de gallo. So much so that when I find myself lacking fresh tomatoes to dice, I now turn to this simple little ‘relish’ to use on Mexican inspired dishes.

  151. Terri C

    I saw several of these episodes after a reader recommended them to me. Excellent series and you really do have a better feel for how stringent rationing was in England at the time. In fact the post WWII years were more stringent than the war years were!

  152. TerriC

    I’ve been reading the past few weeks but haven’t posted a link to my own savings. My excuse is that I mean to do it at the beginning of each week when I read that Brandy has a new post up but then I don’t go to the blog until Friday evening as a rule, lol.

    This week I did a pantry inventory with a twist. I not only noted what I had on hand but what I thought I might need for it to last six months. I was surprised to find I had need of loads of some things and to buy no more of others. It was an eye opening task to do it in that way. On grocery day I filled several gaps, not completely but most I was able to pull up to a three month supply. We needed few groceries this past week and it seemed a good time to get ahead.

    Brandy must concur with the Revereware cookware. My mom still has the set my grandparents gave her 60 years ago. I have a set she gave me 20 years ago and it’s as good as new. Well worth the investment and mine is just a smaller five pot set.

    my blog: http://www.bluehousejournal.blogspot.com

  153. Jenny

    HA this is helpful. I usually keep eggs in the fridge. But now I’m going to oil them as well.

  154. Jenna

    I colored my own hair saving $180. I cut hubby’s hair, I worked 2 days and held three sales this past week. I saved using coupons at the grocery and I watched my grandchildren saving money spent on babysitters, I used up leftovers and I polished shoes and glued one pair to save . I grouped together the errands and did the Target deal for the Pand G products . We used a coupon for date day but I also spluged and we spent money on a boat ride which was awesome! This week we will go to the park and have a picnic and a hike. The weather is perfect for it. I only bought what we needed and did no other shopping returned a few items we did not need and I am continuing to watch the electric and water usage and clear out the clutter in the home.

  155. Jenna

    I took a unused nail polish to a friend and some scented dryer sheets and some washer type fabric softner to a friends she gifted me $30 dollars with of grocery store coupons.
    We ate at home all days and we line dried some clothing.
    Clearing out clutter and organizing things has been what I have been doing with all of my free time.
    I’m working on getting into nursing school and this old lady is hoping to be admitted.

  156. Marybeth

    Thank you for you sweet comment. I am not alone on my journey to being deft free and financially independent. My husband and family share the same vision. I just think that if I lived somewhere else I would have friends (in person) that would have the same values. You can only try to help someone so many times. I was always taught that you should teach someone to fish motto. Its Ok. My husband and I will be having to much fun when we retire to listen to their complaints.

    My oldest lives out of state with 2 other girls. She makes about half of what they make and they are the ones always saying how they have no money. She just shakes her head. Another generation of thrifty. Love my girl!

  157. Tara from Massachusetts

    Hi Brandy,

    I just read Mable’s post about the letter she sent to her former teacher. I almost cried reading it. I named my oldest daughter Charlotte (who is now 14) after my second grade teacher, Charlotte Fleming. My teacher was an amazing individual who taught me the meaning of excellence and the tremendous amount of effort involved in pursuing excellence. I cannot express in words how much of an impact this teacher had on me. She died before I was able to let her know that I named my daughter after her. My teacher never married or had children, and it breaks my heart that I never shared with her how much she meant to me. I am so blessed to have had this amazing teacher in my life, and I am doubly blessed that I have such a loving daughter with a beautiful, priceless name! Mable, thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure your letter brought so much peace and joy to your former teacher.

  158. Sandra

    Frozen celery, like frozen onions or peppers will not be crunchy when it is defrosted, but it will be fine for cooking.

  159. Stephanie N.

    TJ-
    If you have a printer with a scanning option there are websites now where you can upload an image and they will e-fax what you need to the number. I had to do this a couple of months ago, the first fax was free as a promotion and then after that they would have charged around $1/page.

  160. Lorna

    Most welcome Marybeth 🙂 .

    I do have a two close friends who do live our more frugal lifestyle and of course have my husband who lives and practices it too but on the whole most of our friends do not.

    That is what we do is pass on our gardening knowledge to others, teach them about homemade cleaning products and encourage them to learn more than us provide for them all the time as well. Yes a lot of the people we help have been on much higher incomes than us and suffered from job loss. I feel sad that it is an immediate crisis for them as they have not planned ahead at all with some savings or extra food too.

    Sounds like you have done a great job with your children and have taught them well. Keep up the great work that you are doing.

  161. HappyHappy

    The week brought many blessings and much to be thankful for….
    -Put big knee patches that I created from old jeans for my work jeans.
    -Made homemade chilli from tomatoes that my SIL gave us from her garden.
    -Got 3.5 yards of quality quilt cotton at a rummage sale for $1.50.
    -Found big boxes of “snaps” for bibs I am making for .50 while it would have been $15.00 at Walmart.
    -Made bread crumbs from unused bread, made homemade stuffing.
    -Revamped our “recycling” center in the garage, using plastic tote boxes and didn’t purchase anything new.
    -Enjoyed a “fish fry’ out on a Friday night, ordered water with lemon, and skipped the cocktail.
    -Friend gave us apples from her yard, enjoyed making an apple pie.
    -Saved $25 when we noticed our car was registered in the wrong county, got it changed, and save.
    -Stopped drinking “flavored bagged coffee” and are back to non-flavored cans of coffee.
    -Read 10 magazines on-line using my Amazon Prime account-no subscription necessary.
    It’s a new week, hope to continue with saving habits.

  162. Janice Collins

    Hi Brandy, I’ve been following your inspirational and helpful blog for sometime.. I would love to relearn French. How are you learning it?
    ThAnk you so much for all you do.
    Janice

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