Snake Melon The Prudent Homemaker

Armenian cucumber in the garden; you can see why these are also called “Snake melons.” I have never had one grow like this before, but it sure looks interesting! 

I read eight more Hamish Macbeth books in e-book form from the library. I love that the e-books mean I don’t even have to drive to the library and spend money on gas!

I sowed seeds for zucchini. I haven’t had one plant grow yet this year, despite multiple plantings, but hopefully, I will have some success this time and be able to have a harvest in a couple of months. Our first frost is usually in December, so I have enough time for the plants to get large and then start flowering when it cools below 90 in mid-October.

I collected poppy seeds and larkspur seeds from the garden to plant next year.

I gave one son and two daughters a haircut.

My husband and I had a date night at home after the children were in bed with root beer floats (the ice cream previously purchased on sale for $3.99 a gallon and root beer for $0.69 a 2-liter bottle) while we played three games of Sequence.

I  picked an Armenian cucumber from the garden.

I went to the dollar store to purchase some needed items, including bobby pins and hair elastics. I noted that the store now carries name brands; the exact same size package of bobby pins is $3.99 at Walmart.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. That is one cool looking cucumber! I hope your zucchini seeds srpout and flourish for you this time, Brandy! Glad you have found a new book series to enjoy, especially one which is so easily accessible for you. The rootbeer floats sound delicious!

    This week was filled with spending, but for necessary things like new shoes for DD (part of school clothes shopping) and lots of groceries that should last us a while. This week, our frugal accomplishments for our family included:
    *Meals made at home included hamburger helper, chicken pot pie (bought at Costco for a bit of a change in menu), cheddar sausages with corn on the cob and flavoured rice, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and corn, homemade chicken fried rice with spring rolls, and ham steaks with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies.
    *Went to Costco to pick up some needed items on my list, got an oil change on my vehicle and I filled the tank up for $1.18/litre (it was around $1.23/litre at other gas stations in town). We also had lunch there, which cost $7.25 for both my mom and I, plus I brought home my leftovers for DD to enjoy. I love Costco!
    *I did a big grocery shopping trip to several stores this weekend. These groceries should last for the better part of 2 weeks, with the exception of needing milk and a few produce. I may pick up some things in the mean time, if there are good sales on items I am trying to stock up on (like peanut butter!).
    *On Saturday morning, while waiting for my mom to get ready to go grocery shopping with me, I used the time to prepare a big pot of white rice (cooked up 5 cups of dry rice) and a pot of BBQ chickpeas (used a quart jar of home-canned chickpeas and BBQ sauce from the pantry). The chickpeas will be used to make BBQ chickpea wraps for my work lunches over the next week. The white rice was used later in the day to make a huge batch of chicken fried rice for dinner (I added 1 chicken breast, lots of veggies and bean sprouts to make it a very balanced meal) and leftovers were then available as another lunch option for whomever wanted it. We’re trying to encourage DD to choose healthier lunch options, instead of the “quick fix” high carb/fat items she has been drawn to all summer.
    *Things I received free from work included a freezie on a very hot day, popcorn, 2 ripe tomatoes from the garden, treats made in the village, a cookie, a granola bar and a bag of beef & lamb gyro meat balls (left over after an event on Sunday…they were made by a local chef and given out as samples to visitors).
    *Took DD and her friend swimming at the wellness centre on one of my days off this week. It cost me $15 but worth the money. Swimming is so relaxing, yet a great way to get some exercise.
    *My co-worker that I have been mentoring is really starting to embrace being frugal. She’s realizing how much it benefits her finances and is enjoying the challenge of finding ways to save. She can’t wait to try some new recipes for things she loves to eat at restaurants (she wants to try making pho soup). She even planned a simple get together with other co-works at her house instead of going out to a bar for overpriced drinks. It makes me very happy to see her so enthusiastic about being a better stewart of her money!

    Hope you all had a wonderful, frugal filled week. I look forward to catching up with you all!

  2. Hi Brandy and that is an interesting looking cucumber indeed 🙂 .

    I do the same when we go to new stores we write the prices down of things we see and compare with other stores we previously have shopped at. This week we found another discount variety store that has opened up in town that has really good prices on knee braces and medical supplies as well as gas lighter fluid we use to fill our BBQ and candle lighter with. It pays to investigate new options on a regular basis to save where we can.

    Our savings added up to $90.75 last week.

    Here is how we organised our home, what we got accomplished and saved last week –

    Home organisation –
    – Deep cleaned 5 rooms in our home as well as the front veranda and decluttered at the same time due to red dust storms here ready for our rental inspection on Monday. 2 more rooms to go yay !.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Pantry stock ups-
    – Purchased 10 more tins of smoked chicken and another 12 pk of toilet paper over and above our usual stocks.

    Gifts and blessings –
    – A friend gave us around 2 metres of wire mesh as a thank you for giving him a back brace that was now too large for DH saving us $32.50 over purchasing it.

    Finances and earnings –
    – Banked more money into our home deposit account bringing us to 27.22% of the way there.
    – Made $22.42 from the sale of 50 g of dried English lavender picked and dried from the gardens, 400 capsicum seeds saved from the gardens and 40 sugar baby watermelon seeds also saved from the gardens.
    – Listed 12 more items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $19.80 on usual listing fee prices.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked another 1.1 kg of cherry tomatoes and harvested our first of season broccoli head weighing 238 g saving $16.02 on usual prices in the supermarket.
    – Mulched and weeded 2 ornamental flower beds and mulched them with a mixture of Lucerne hay and dried grass clippings to save on hay usage.

    Water preservation –
    – Used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water the household lawns all week.
    – Used dish rinsing, damp dusting and shower warm up water to water the fruit trees on the back veranda and supplement water vegetable plants in the garden beds.

    Usual frugal things we do –
    – Washed out clip seal freezer bags to reuse, hung washing on the clothes line, washed all clothing in cold water to save power use, unplugged appliances from power points when not in use, only turned on the electric hot water system when our water needed heating and boiled water on top of our slow combustion fireplace for our morning cuppas.

    Hope everyone has a great week ahead :).


  3. Received wine from a co-worker who was moving. I may regift it to a friend for Christmas

    Ate leftovers at work from a going away party 2 days.

    Trying to pay more attention to my grocery spending.

    Received $5 for completing a Nielsen ratings survey.

    I got free earrings from Stella and Dot for my birthday month. Of course I had to make a purchase but had planned to buy jewelry for a gift for a friend anyway. The free earrings will be used as a Christmas present as well.

    Redeemed 4 free items using coupons from H-E-B and a $3 off $30 purchase! I am coming to love H-E-B over Walmart.

    Downloaded several ebooks from our local library.

  4. Hi Brandy! I love getting ebooks from the library too, since my nearest library, while in walking distance, is only open for regular hours during the school year! I also get audiobooks to listen to while on the train.

    We had an exciting Friday night- my SO found a cat outside that was obviously a house cat, so we bought some food and a litter box and such and got the cat set up for the night until we could take him to the vet to see if he was chipped. Luckily, he was, and we were able to reunite cat and owner on Saturday morning! 🙂 Plus, the owner offered us cash as a thank you, though we only accepted enough to cover the cost of the items we had purchased.

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week:

    * I made a batch of yogurt from a gallon of milk and a cup of starter. I think my starter was a bit old, since the yogurt turned out runnier than usual. Does anyone have suggestions for freeze-dried starter that isn’t super expensive? I know you can get more than one use out of good starters (i.e., not the store bought yogurt I’m buying), but since I make yogurt so infrequently, I’m curious if anyone’s had success freezing their own yogurt from one of these starters to use for their next batch?

    * I got a free pizza lunch on campus for stopping by an activity hosted by my department. I rarely have pizza, so it was a nice treat!

    * I got another audiobook from the library this week, so that I could continue to listen to something during my commute.

    * I signed up to take an online course through Coursera to learn Python. This is a coding language that is a requirement/recommended skill for a job I would potentially like to have in industry, and since I am not sure that I want to stay in academia for my career, I am trying to keep my options open.

    * We spent some time getting our apartment put together more, to beautify our every day life. We rearranged items in baskets, put together our headboard for our bed, and did an almost-full deep clean of our apartment. The only thing we didn’t do was steam mop the floors, since our floors didn’t need it. it’s so nice to come home to a clean and put together apartment!

    * I claimed nearly $90 in Amazon gift cards from various reward services (like Swagbucks), so that I could make a big purchase of a few wants/needs without impacting our budget. I tend to save up for a few big purchases per year, so after I make this purchase, I will save up for holiday shopping next. Speaking of Swagbucks, what is the best method for earning SB? I never seem to qualify for surveys, it seems, so I’m wondering what others do to earn SB at a faster pace than the occasional survey?

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  5. Rhonda,
    I want to thank you for your craving earlier this summer for fried rice. You had wanted some for a bit but never had enough leftover rice. Your comments gave me an additional option for my leftover rice. I most often use the leftover rice in soups–but no one wants soup in the summer in my house. We tried fried rice and the kids love it and the husband tolerates it so it’s a win at our house. Great way to get rid of little bits of leftovers too. We’ve added it to our menu plan.

  6. Hi Brandy…I love your blog and get some great tips from you and your readers. I am trying to get into prepping good ahead. This week I am determined to do salads in jars.I am ,73 and my thought process is slowing so I need to make more lists particularly inventory of the fridge and freezer. I love ebooks too but have started using audiobooks. I put my kindle in my apron pocket and my dad buds in my ears. Your photos are so beautiful.

  7. I have zucchinis coming out of my ears here! Our climate is more temperate, and zucchinis typically run amok. I have canned zucchini and yellow squash, zucchini pickles, and made several loaves of zucchini bread for the freezer. I finally got enough tomatoes at the same time to can a batch of tomato sauce. We’ve picked sweet corn several time for dinner, canned corn is very cheap to buy, so it doesn’t pay to use my limited garden space growing enough to preserve, I put in a few plants so we can enjoy some corn on the cob fresh. I do the canning and baking after dark when it is cooler to avoid heating up the house. I attended a free outdoors art show. I worked an extra day and will put the pay into savings.

  8. In my experience making yogurt, the higher the fat content of the milk the firmer the yogurt. I had good luck with store bought as a starter and I used the crockpot method. Stirring also breaks the bonds and makes it super runny. I made a big batch in the crockpot and then tried to disturb it as little as possible but the last serving or two were always a bit runnny. Smoothie time! Or you can add some plain gelatin after it is done fermenting if you really want it to set. Like a panna cotta.

  9. That’s an excellent snaky cucumber! Your challenge is zucchini; mine is swiss chard this year. The few that actually came up have stayed the same 3″ size for months. Though I’ve grown them successfully lots of years, I may have to resort to buying seedlings this year. When I lived without a/c, sometimes a root beer or orange float was all I could handle for dinner. Not often, but on sweltering days, it and vegan jello sometimes got me through.

  10. From the side, I think the cucumber looks part of a tire! Never saw anything like it and very impressed.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping sales and using coupons/rebates when possible. Last week was busy for me because I spent 3 days in NYC to attend the BlogHer conference. The city is very expensive and I didn’t buy anything extra. Once I returned home, I found some great deals at the drugstore like $0.99 laundry soap, $0.99 contact solution, free candy, free colgate and free Hello toothpaste that makes your teeth black (from charcoal) and more. All of deals with prices here:

  11. I struggle with growing zucchini also. I have two big, beautiful plants but very poor pollination. This week I did pick my very first zucchini — so I am hoping you will realize a harvest soon also!
    This week from the garden I also harvested tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, onion, mint, carrots, radishes, oregano, and collards and chard. I froze four packages of collards and one of chard to eat this winter. I planted lettuce seed and transplanted cabbage and broccoli seedlings.
    I saved the water from blanching the chard and collards and used it to water the flowers growing in pots on my front porch.
    My husband wears a lot of black T-shirts, which tend to fade after a while. I re-dyed half a dozen shirts and a pair of shorts with Rit dye.
    I cut flowers from the yard to decorate the house.
    I listened to audiobooks downloaded from the library.

  12. I had a frugal/not frugal week this past week.
    K., I usually get my Swagbucks through surveys, but sometimes I have a hard time qualifying, other times I don’t. I also earn bucks through purchases, such as Vitamin Shoppe and Alibris (used books). I can even earn Swagbucks when buying office supplies for my office, at Office Depot/Office Max, by going through Swagbuck’s site. Those, and internet searches, are how I earn mine.
    So, speaking of Swagbucks, I bought another $25 Amazon card for $22, and added it to my Amazon balance. I have about $20 more of Swagbucks earned, and will add that soon. I need to get upholstery foam, which is expensive. After that, Swagbucks will start buying some of my Christmas gifts.
    I painted the final coat of paint on the exterior of our new door, and have started on the interior side. I finished painting one of our garage sale kitchen chairs and will start de-glossing a second one next, while this first one cures.
    We finally had days without rain or with only a late afternoon rain, so that I could hang a good bit of my laundry.
    I kept my grocery bill down again by sticking to my list and thinking of ways to use what we have.
    Gas prices just shot up by about 10 cents all over the city where I work and the town where I live, but a gas station in the middle of nowhere, which I pass on my daily commute through farm land and forested areas, is still at the old price, so I am filling up there.
    I trimmed by bangs.
    Our church is collecting school supplies for local children in need, and I shopped the tax-free weekend with all the school supply sales. I was able to get a sack full of supplies to donate for $7.00.
    Not so frugal — my husband was down to a pair of rain shoes, some dress shoes that hurt his feet, and a pair of old loafers that the soles were falling off. We went shoe shopping and bought him two casual pairs and one dress pair, new. I have tried to find him used shoes — I buy them for myself a lot — but his mother had tiny feet, so he wears a 7.5 or 8 narrow, and finding a used man’s shoe in that size, in good shape, has proved impossible. Kids’ shoes are normally too wide for him and/or beat up. It’s hard enough to find them new, so when we found all three pairs on sale, we jumped on it. I put them on my cash-back card and will send the payment for them to the CC this week.
    Cheers, everyone!

  13. Hi everyone,
    Brandy, glad you had a chance to get some reading done. It’s so relaxing & yet energizing.
    Beyond my usual activities I had a busy week in the garden. This is the year of the string bean. I picked 3 times this week. Froze them since the kids are getting a little tired of eating them daily (unless they’re snacking on the raw ones–ha ha). Also harvested beets and 3 cucumbers. I pulled out the pea plants and weeded. We never planted for a fall harvest but since a lot of plants ended early I have a lot of extra space. I will try to plant some more lettuce, some spinach, and swill chard. Maybe onions.
    Our family went across the river to Canada for a family get together that included a supper of roast pig and fresh potatoes plus all kinds of sides & desserts. Great to see the extended family.
    Had labwork done & had to increase Thyroid meds again.
    My sister & her husband came up from out of state for the week. She’s like a mother hen & spoiled us all week. She bought the kids all kinds of snacks (things I never buy which makes it more special) and also gave them a couple of notebooks each with pens. She gave me laundry detergent, liquid soap, paper towels, tissues and magnetic memo pads Plus they helped me clean my string beans. Feeling very blessed.
    It was my birthday so I made a cake for my husband & kids to eat (I’m not a cake person). My Dad bought me an ice cream cake, my husband gave me some flowers, my oldest daughter gave me a set of Rachel Ray pots & pans and my in laws dropped off a zucchini bread. I also received phone calls from my son in the Marines, my other sister and one of my brothers. I also got a card from my godparents. All in all a very blessed week.

  14. I freeze store bought yogurt in ice cube trays. I use two ‘cubes’ of the starter to make a batch of yogurt. That’s good for a 3 quart batch.
    I make yogurt by placing three one-quart jars on top of a heating pad set to low/medium. Then I invert my largest stock pot over those jars and cover everything with a large towel.

  15. Nice cucumber! I was given 2 bushels of yellow squash and 1 bushel of broccoli from my produce market on Saturday! I am grating up the broccoli for broccoli slaw since I have as much as I need in my freezer as broccoli flowerets already! I am grating someof the yellow squash to use like zucchini in bread, muffins, cake, cookies, etc! I will also slice some to dehydrate into chips and thicker slice some for soups/stews.
    I gave a friend my Meijer’s preferred customer coupon for free eggs since my chickens are keeping us in eggs ( usually have about 20 dozen in the basement fridge!). Sent one of my daughters ( a schoolteacher with 3 teenagers) home with 4 dozen of our eggs so she can bulk cook Breakfast Burritos for her family as an easy healthier morning alternative!
    I was given several baguettes and made Ranch Chicken stuffed baguettes using shredded chicken that I made and had in my freezer with homemade Ranch dressing mix . Was able to make about 10 long baguettes. Wrapped some in foil and sent 2 home with a friend whose wife is away for a couple weeks!
    I made a baby quilt using scraps and some yardage a friend gave me for the backing and binding. Into the gift cupboard it goes!
    I made a scrappy little bag that used up 80 of my 2” squares. And, no, that’s not a store- that photo shows a bit of my fabric stash on their shelves.
    I’ve been using up things in my freezer to rotate the oldest things and make room for new things!
    I just emptied washed and put back into totes the last of my 80 quarts of grape juice that I canned in 2001! I have already put several of those jars back into service canning diced tomatoes!
    I also canned 15 pints of beans – kidney, black and pinto to replenish my supply on the shelf and use up more of my dry beans that i have stored! Our diet is healthier and our food budget is bigger because of making use of these!
    A friend was interested in a book we love called Grow a Little Fruit Tree which teaches how to grow more fruit trees in a smaller space. She found a large quilt top at a yard sale that she decided to send me as a gift, so I gifted her an extra copy of the book! We were both delighted!!! Definitely a happy barter!!
    All in all, it’s been a great week!

  16. We are still eating a lot from the garden. I canned 7 more quarts of green beans and 2 quarts of roasted garlic pasta sauce. I’ve canned close to 200 jars of food this year. And I haven’t even started on apples, yet. In the next couple weeks, I will start with applesauce, apple butter, apple pie filling, apple juice, and apple cider.

    I made a meal plan for the month and that requires minimal grocery shopping.

    I paid 2 bills online.

    We went out to eat one night and had plenty of leftover food. We brought it home and ate two more meals off of the leftovers.

    I worked an extra 45 minutes at work. I get paid hourly, so all those extra 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there add up.

    I did not go to the grand opening of a new clothing store in town.

    I read a couple books about our town’s history for fun. Now I’m working on writing up some of my family’s history.

    That’s about it, besides the same old same old stuff.

  17. Those cucumbers are so interesting! I’m going to try them one of these years.

    We had a fairly frugal week. I’ve been tracking our expenses closely and other than gas, we’re doing well at staying within our budget (I definitely need to increase the gas budget next month!).

    I took my daughter shopping at Goodwill for a back-to-school outfit. She doesn’t need new clothes but she does like to get something special for the first day, and I’m ok with that. She didn’t find a full outfit but got a cute jacket and a hoodie. Then we went to Fred Meyer, which has almost all their clothes on clearance right now because of a remodel, and she found a top for about 70% off. I had to order a skirt for her on Amazon – she’s 9 but wears juniors/women’s clothes and we can never find appropriate-length skirts in the stores for her. Now…I have to get her shoes. That will be a little spendy! This will likely be the last year I can buy shoes at the stores (she already wears a women’s 11) so I’m going to do my best to find good deals.

    No garden harvest this week – everything is growing SLOWLY – I assume because of our continual heat. We got veggies and fruit from the farmer’s market, though. Our neighbor gave us three big zucchini’s – he gave them to my daughter while she was out watering and told her to tell us we weren’t allowed to give them back, LOL! I’ll shred and freeze for fritters and bread.

    I made bread crumbs from old ends that I’ve frozen (nobody here will eat the ends, unless it’s a hot loaf of fresh bread!). Fred Meyer had chicken thighs on sale for 88 cents a pound so I bought three packages. I froze them for now but when I have time I’ll cook the meat and shred it for future meals and make stock out of the bones.

    My husband had the opportunity to work a little overtime. Probably more coming his way since they have a big project going on at work right now. I’m trying to build up our savings and up our mortgage paydown so it’ll all go to that.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  18. My garden is producing well now–at least what has survived to this point. I am getting lots of cherry tomatoes, kale, Swiss chard, some cauliflower, broccoli, yellow squash, and cucumbers. I will do some small batch canning of pickle relish and tomatoes. The table grapes are also starting to ripen and I will dehydrate some of them when they are ready. I need to make kale chips, blanch and freeze the chard, broccoli, and cauliflower and start harvesting herbs. Today I will make bread and also zucchini bread, and deliver bags of cherry tomatoes and squash to my neighbors.

    My sauerkraut is almost ready to can. My kombucha is producing enough to keep me happy.

    I am going to my neighbor’s house tonight to pick pears, which I will dehydrate because I have enough bottled from previous years.

    I salvaged some blue tape from a renovation project to place around a shelf that needed painting so I didn’t need to use any fresh tape for my paint job.

  19. Hi Brandy,

    I have been following your blog for a long time now but never commented. This is my first time ever that I post a comment at a blog.
    Your frugal ways are presented in such an elegant frame with beautiful pictures which are both very appealing to me.
    Here my frugal achievements during the last week:
    1. Walking the dog in the surrounding woods of my city I foraged about 1 kg of blackberries.
    2. Again while walking the dog in rainy and very windy weather I found a dishtowel oh the highest quality which I took and washed and added to my stack of dishtowels. There was no way of telling from which house or balcony the dishtowelast dropped.
    3. I accepted the kind offer of two friends to pick up their weekly farmshare (all organic) because they were out of town.
    4. Foraged blackberries where turned into a blackberry crumble, 2 Zucchinis of the farmshare were turned into zucchini bread. 2 Zucchinis, all of the potatoes, all of the tomatoes where used for a moussaka with minced lamb – all three dishes baked in the oven at the same time (using the hot air program. This works well, the flavours do not mingle) to save time and electricity. Lettuce
    from the farmshare accompanied the moussaka, the blackberry crumble was served as dessert. The whole meal was served when I had friends come over for dinner.
    5. There was a free pile in my street. I collected a dish rack in the perfect size and of metal ( no plastic). My old wooden on had just fallen apart….
    I do not own a dishwasher so it was pretty cool to come across a new to me dishtowel and new to me dishtowel rack.
    That’s all for now. I am looking forward to reading the comments.

  20. My tomatoes are finally ripening so I am picking one large one each day. Expensive tomatoes when cost of the plant is factored in but lovely to eat. The smoke is better today –– at least temporarily so that is a relief. I’m buying toilet paper which is on sale as each package has gone up to $12.99 while on sale it is 2 packages for $10.00. Cheese slices are on sale –– it’s convenient for me as it’s hard to slice cheese with the broken arm. I did not make it to the farmers’ market last Saturday due to smoke. One of the grocery stores has local (B.C.) peaches for 10 pounds for $10 which for here is a great price.

  21. I go through swagbucks to order a lot of my dog and cat and chicken feed etc. from Walmart. Before that I never had many points. They deliver it to my gate and I don’t have to go to town. Be careful as some stuff is higher than in the store though.

  22. I was able to stay under my weekly budget! Yes!
    Had to doctor appointments that I was able to use the HSA from my husband’s work. My son is turning 9 this coming Saturday and having a pool party I found boogie boards for $2.99 at Aldi down from $6.99 these will be party favors. I was able to buy 3 tubes of toothpaste for $0.46! And liquid laundry soap 32 loads for $0.99. My husband traveled this week so I was able to stretch our food budget for the first time in a long time. Hoping to keep the trend of low spending for the rest of the month.

  23. I watch swagbucks videos on a separate tab on my laptop, while reading blogs. Occasionally I qualify for a survey. And any time I shop online, I go through Swagbucks Shop feature first. Just DO NOT shop for anything you were not going to buy anyway!:) I also use it as my search engine, which generally adds a few points each day. It doesn’t make a fortune, but I can usually get a $25 gift card each month. I save them up to use at Christmas time!

  24. Wow! That cucumber looks huge! I have been wanting to try growing that type since I haven’t had luck with other types, but I always hesitate purchasing yet another bunch of seeds when I’m not sure If it will grow well for me. Where do you buy the seeds from, if you don’t mind me asking? I would love to be able to purchase just enough to try my hand at before committing to a boatload of them, lol! So, if they sell small quantities, even better!

    I got a visual image of you and hubby sharing your root beer float with two straws, ala 1950’s soda shoppe style:D! I have indulged in a few of those myself lately, only in a diet version, yummy!

  25. Brandy, I enjoy your wonderful posts so much! Also everyone’s comments!
    Last night I hosted our church youth group and made homemade chocolate chip cookies and tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers from the garden for a vegetable tray. I did not go to the store for broccoli or cauliflower or snow peas or anything else to make the vegetable tray more exciting. And you know what? The kids ate what I had and loved it! I think a lot of the way I save money is in what I DON’T buy!
    I had planted blue lake green bean seeds in mid-July. That way when the beans are producing in September, the weather is cooler for picking and the bugs are almost non-existent. Also, they are not ready at the same time as everything else in the garden, so it’s easier to process them! However, the deer went down the row of seedlings and ate almost every one of them! So I replanted them on August 1 and they are coming up beautifully now. We’ll see if the deer will leave them alone this time!
    My new favorite food is riced cauliflower. I didn’t think I would like it at first, but it is wonderful! A frozen bag only takes 4 or 5 minutes to cook and I use it like I would use rice in any dish. My favorite ways so far are rice and beans with salsa and also shrimp scampi.
    I got my propane gas tank filled at the summer fill price, which saved quite a bit over waiting until cold weather.
    Washed laundry in cold water, hung the clothes on the line, but dried my towels in the dryer. I do use wool dryer balls and I haven’t bought fabric softener in years!
    I hope everyone is enjoying these last days of summer!

  26. That is one interesting looking cucumber! I wonder if it will taste like a cucumber or more like a melon.

    Last week was extremely busy and I am very glad to have this week off. I will be continuing to paint the bedroom, and our new doors are scheduled for installation on Thursday and Friday. I want to get as much painting done before then.

    The party I put together for my departing co-worker was a success. She was very pleased, everyone loved the peanut butter chocolate pie, and I even got paid for the hours I put into planning the party (I wasn’t sure that was going to happen, but I wanted to do something nice for my co-worker in any case).

    I belong to a CSA at a local farm, and they have a u-pick area for greens and herbs. Every week I pick some swiss chard to use or freeze. So, every couple of weeks, I make a big batch of “green soup”, starting with sautéed onion and garlic, and adding in whatever greens I have, plus other random things in the fridge (turnips, zucchini, fennel, etc.). After that, I add homemade broth, and then puree it all once the veggies are cooked. I freeze the soup in one-serving containers, and use it for my work lunches. I can grab a container of soup and make a sandwich, which takes very little time in the morning. Thankfully I don’t mind eating the same thing over and over. It just simplifies my life right now, and that’s what I need.

    My sister came over last Thursday and we swam in our condo pool. It was a nice way to spend some time together, at no cost.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  27. That’s an amazing cucumber Brandy!! I’ve been really thinking hard about living the frugal lifestyle when all around are spending money and doing the fun stuff we can’t afford to do. I was rather down about it last week but I’ve picked myself back up and I’m back on track now mentally as well as practically. Eldest son has just gone away with friends after completing his NCS (3 week volunteering/community scheme here in the U.K. which only cost £50 for food, board and activities, he eats so much the grocery bill went down considerably whilst he was away so I count that as a win

  28. I prepared 4 meals for myself with free items from the freezer. 1 package of turkey kielbasa and a half bag of frozen seasoned curly fries. I will eat this with fresh uncut veggies crunches and dinners this week.
    My hubby and I eat different foods. He is very strict about what he puts in his body and we meal prep on Sundays for his meals for the week. One thing he eats is steamed beets. I found a can of beets in the pantry this week so I added that to his meals and did not have to buy beets this week.
    Avoiding going to the salon for a haircut. Still out of work so not seeing people much means no need to really style my hair that often. Most days my hair is pulled back anyways. I don’t have the skills to cut my own hair and it is very curly so a straight across the back cut is out of the question. It has to be layered. I can go at least another month maybe 2 before needing a cut.

  29. I love HEB. When we moved to Texas a few years ago I was so excited about the store giving coupons away! Most the time I find that the free items are things I have on my list or use on a regular basis anyway. Be sure to check the digital coupons as well as the in-store coupons. On their digital coupons, they had a free box of cereal the other day and you didn’t have to buy anything to get it. It really provides you with a lot of great savings.

  30. This week, I cleaned out my laundry room and basement. In doing so, I found a LOT of usable stuff that I didn’t know we had. Laundry detergent samples, enough crayons that my daughter will never need crayons again, SO many pens and pencils (still in the package, even!), deodorant for my husband, batteries, eyedrops, a Walmart gift card… It was a HUGE project, but I’m extremely happy with the results, and pretty excited about all the stuff I unearthed. Cleaning these two rooms took up the bulk of my week, and I still have more organizing to do down there.

    I needed to buy a mop this week and found an inexpensive one at Family Dollar. I’ve been using the many tomatoes that came from our garden- I’ll be using more with dinner tonight! I picked up a few Christmas gifts at yard sales this week, including a sewing pattern that I’m hoping to use to make my daughter a gift. We redeemed our coupons and gift card we got for joining Costco, so we came home with several items that didn’t cost us anything out of pocket.

    Onward to a new week! 🙂

  31. I spent the week cutting grass and weeds on my double lot. The weather held in my favor, and both my body and lawnmower held up, so I was able to meet the deadline given by the village office. We have had rain over the weekend and sunshine this morning, so I will be out there mowing again tomorrow to keep up. I used the rain to get some rest, since I was very tired. I did some reading, and watched a couple of movies I rented.

    I needed to replace some facecloths. I normally buy good quality ones, but I end up using them to clean up when a pet is very sick or there is some bad spill, and then discarding them. I found a package of 6 lower quality ones for $5 at the discount store. Very nice colors, and actually softer fabric than I thought they would be, so this may be a better solution.

    Over the weekend, I had a rare craving for ginger cookies with candied ginger in them, an impossible thing in a small village like mine. Funnily enough, later that day I saw a really good brand of them in the same discount store as the facecloths, at a very reasonable price. I need to spend some time looking at what food they have there, since there are often items for people on a strict budget, with things like pasta and canned food. Some are national brands, and some are discount brands. They have 10% off for seniors once a month, so it would be a good chance to stock up there on anything I use regularly if I can find a decent quality product.

    I had phone calls from two older relatives, who called to tell me about seeing or talking to my sister on her birthday last week. She is doing well at the long-term care home she went into in February, which is a great relief. They wanted to tell me all about their conversations with her. I find hard to hear this on top of the conversations I have with her, because though happy, she is very confused, but understand why it is important to them to have someone to report to. I also received birthday cards this week from these same two relatives. I guess marking my sister’s birthday reminded them both that they had missed my birthday two months ago!

  32. That is one awesome looking cucumber/melon! I wish those would grow here (I’d need a greenhouse). They are such a neat plant to grow! Sorry about the zucchini not growing, but I’ll send positive energy your way to hope this latest batch grows for you!

    My life is hectic right now. The daughter is starting junior high this week, so we have open houses to go to, back to school stuff to get on top of special things for my son’s ABA class on top of normal expenses. I am praying the husband’s paycheck is good tomorrow as the mortgage comes out of that paycheck, we will still need enough money to live on the next two weeks and after having car problems and my husband getting gas we are tapped out. Definitely having anxiety at the moment.

    I have been busy around here, though with cleaning, organizing and the like. My adventures this week can be found here…

  33. Wow! That cucumber is giant!! I hope your zucchini works this time. I don’t have luck with any squash or zucchinis in my garden- they bugs always come a callin’. Here is my frugal list for the week:
    -Won a $10 gift certificate to from a work drawing-put in the Christmas envelope.
    -Cleaned out DH and my clothes and took to local second hand store. Using for tax write off. DS room is next!
    -Took some food to the local food bank that was either free or cheap from using coupons at the store on double coupon up to $2 days.
    -When I dropped stuff off at the OCIM-our local food bank, there was free fresh produce for the taking. I took 2 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 2 green peppers, 2 red pepper and 4 large beets. Later I roasted the beets with carrots and herbs from the garden and added the squash and zucchini to the free stir-fry kit I got last week from grocery store.
    -Made more roasted tomato and basil soup base. added it to already frozen stock.
    -Made a batch of homemade fresh salsa using crop from garden, gifted green chili, and stock from the pantry.
    -Made a batch of pancakes using leftover sweet potatoes and cooked apples from previous dinner. I also had some cooking pears that I had bought cheap so I cooked them up, mashed them and made another batch of pancakes. Thank goodness for pumpkin spice-DS loves them!!
    -Cooked a batch of green beans from the garden in InstaPot with ham I got on sale and onions. Stocked it in freezer for future meals.
    -Went to Target to buy underwear for the boys and there promo- buy 3 pkgs and get a free $5 gift certificate. I put the certificate in the Christmas envelope.
    -DS was at day camp all week and they offered free snacks at pick up for everybody-including the parents.
    -Used the points I accumulated from the boxes of cereal I donated at the beginning off the week on Kellogg Family Rewards page and ordered 10 free books for Christmas gifts. I also redeemed points on same sight to get 2 free lip gloss to put up for gifts.
    -DH was gifted a “used but nothing wrong with it” phone from his best friend as a bday gift. DH’s phone was handed down to me. Good deal for both of us=we both got BETTER phones and no money was exchanged.
    -Still working everyday racking up points on all internet sites to get rebates, free items and free gift certificates.
    -DH found a man in town to replace the rubber along Herbie’s windows for a very good price. Save DH so much money- he can now haggle for a good price on the tires and engine repair.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week!!

  34. I’d never heard of Armenian cucumbers until you mentioned them Brandy – are they similar to other cucumbers on the inside?
    It is still hot & humid here with crazy thunderstorms that have caused a lot of flooded basements here in the city. I live on the 4th floor of a small apt. building so didn’t have any issues although I’ve had to do a quick run around on more than one occasion to get all the windows closed in time!
    Last week wasn’t a very frugal week as my iron died (can’t complain as I’ve had it for at least 20 years) but then I got tempted by a sale and also bought a mini food processor 3.5 cups – but I hope to make much more use out of this one than the big one that someone gave me as a gift. And both items were on at 40% off plus I got another 15% Senior discount as I hit the right day at the dept. store so really I got both for the price of one. I also had to get my hair done – cut & coloured – I had already stretched it to about 3 weeks beyond when it should have been done and with hopefully some job interviews coming up it really needed to be done. I managed to keep a couple of social outings to just coffee rather than a meal but it was also a busy week socially so cost a few extra dollars.
    I did manage to find and freeze more peppers that were on at a good price and stocked up on more pantry items that I found at sale prices as well so shopping was not a total loss.
    I did stay home for a couple of days so no spending, picked up more books at the library, cooked meals at home and picked up some extra hours at my little part-time job so I did manage a few frugal things.
    I also managed to get more items out of the apt. – books to the Social Club exchange table and a lot of shredding out to the recycling. I just feel as though I should have accomplished more but the humidity just drains me so I do what I can.
    Looking forward to reading all the comments – love to hear what everyone has been up to.

  35. Hello everybody. I have a really stupid question, but please keep in mind that I’m 70 and I struggle with some (a lot) of the new technology. I keep reading about all of you getting your library books on Kindle and that saves a trip to the library. I so want to do that. However, I’ve gone to my library site and can’t figure out how to do it. I have a Kindle, but it doesn’t have anything special on it that I can tell. Do I need to go to some store and get an app downloaded so I can receive library books? Do I need an upgraded Kindle? Thanks for all your help and I’m going to sign myself Anon, to save on the embarrassment.

  36. I’ve almost given up on Swagbucks. They’ve made it so hard to accumulate points! If I can, I sometimes just let the videos run on my computer while I do other activities, but mostly now I just use the printed coupons to get points.

  37. Brandy, I appreciate how you share that you repeatedly plant seeds (zucchini) without success yet you don’t give up but keep trying. It is an encouragement to me as a gardener because so many things I try fail also.

    All my money saving efforts this week have been spent working in the kitchen harvesting food from the garden. All 15 of my melons ripened within 3 days!!! They were different varieties and different sizes, yet they still somehow managed this amazing feat. I think they conspired together late at night in the dark while I was not watching. Every time someone walks in the kitchen searching for food, I shove a melon in their face.

    Since I don’t have much news, I will share how my son Reese saved money. We received the “dreaded 4:00 a.m. phone call” from him this week. No, he was not drunk and needing to be bailed out of jail, his truck would not start while trying to leave for work. (No child can understand the terror their mother feels when the phone rings in the middle of the night and they hear, “I need your help.”) His truck would not start. His father walked him through varies steps and they realized the battery was dead. We brainstormed solutions and he (I am so proud) chose the cheapest way!!! He walked one mile with the dead battery in his backpack to the nearest store and traded it in for a new one. Then he walked back and installed it in his truck himself. He did lose one day’s work but he used the extra time to look for a newer, and hopefully cheaper apartment. He did not have any friends to call because he has only lived in this town for a few months and is not sure he will stay. His optimism was amazing as he dealt with this problem. He said the following to me:
    “I am glad it is not snowing.”
    “I am glad I have a credit card with good credit and can use it for emergencies.”
    “I am glad I have saved money so this won’t be a big problem.”
    “I am glad I chose to pay an extra $5 a month for internet on my phone so I can find the nearest auto parts store.”
    “I am glad I have not missed any other days at work.”
    He said all of that before the sun came up.

    Since I have been busy in the garden, Reese offered to write a money saving post for me. He shared how he built a dehydrator using cheap parts and junk. He did not take his dehydrator with him when he left home because he was traveling light. Living alone, he often has fruit go bad so he likes to dehydrate the leftovers to take for his lunch.

    PS: If anyone chooses to comment, realize it will be a while before Reese can respond. He has to wait until he is where he can get free internet access since his saves the time on his phone for emergencies.

  38. I take my yougurt and drain it by placing it in a cheese cloth inside a colander. This makes it thicker. Then I freeze the whey and use it as a starter the next time I make yougurt. My starter is from store brands and I seem to be able to do this for about one year before it becomes too weak.


  39. We were gifted some items by amazing friends, and had some fun events to attend as well. I’ve started a volunteer position that is challenging but should give back to this great community we currently live in – I’m super excited about it!

    As always, I so enjoy these posts and the comments. In fact, last week I spent my time reading and enjoying, and forgot to comment and post my own list. Oops! Here it is, if anyone wants to travel “back in time”. 😉

  40. Love that cucumber! Do they taste like regular cukes? And I could do with a rootbeer float right about now, too!

    In addition to the usual frugal stuff, this was my week–
    When I set up garbage service at our new home, I got the smallest (and cheapest) wheelie bin they had. I also got the largest recycling bin (also the cheapest). This week the garbage bin was only a little over half full, and the recycling bin was full and overflowing. Good for the environment and good for my wallet!

    I paid my bills online to save time and stamps.

    I wear wool socks all winter. I sorted the ones I already have and discarded the socks that were beyond redemption. I discovered I have enough socks to see me through the winter without buying more.

    I used a coupon from our Bright Beginnings (like Welcome Wagon) visit to subscribe to the newspaper for 10 weeks for $25. The regular price is $20 month. I haven’t taken the paper for a year and I’ve missed it. (My degree is in print journalism, which makes me part of a dying breed. But it also makes me want to support any newspaper that still publishes 7 days a week).

    This didn’t benefit me, but I hope it blessed somebody else. I listed two items on freecycle and they were gone in minutes. The freecycle here isn’t very active, but I hope things will get better, and posting items is the best way to start.

    This was the best one. DH picked up an Rx from ShopKo and got two coupons on the register tape: one for $10 off $40 purchase, and another for $10 off $20 purchase. The second coupon could be stacked, and the first one expired the next day. We didn’t really need anything right away, but I’d been giving some thought to filling an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. I had already been buying school supplies for cheap for OCC. Using the coupons, I bought a soccer ball for under $6, more school supplies (for pennies), hygiene items (also for pennies) and a pair of jeans for DD. Everything was either on sale or clearance, and I had a hard time coming up with $40.60 in purchases…which I got for $20.60. By the way, does anyone know how to let the air out of a soccer ball? It isn’t going to fit in the shoebox until I do! (I also bought an inflater to put the air back in).

    (Note about Operation Christmas Child boxes: I was reading blog comments about this. One woman posted that she was so excited, she went out and spent $140 to fill a box! She stressed buying good quality items, and I agree…but I couldn’t spend $140 if I tried! Mine will cost on the low side of $20-$25 and include the soccer ball and pump).

  41. I always check swagbucks before ordering anything online. I also do crave and some of the videos usually when I am sitting and doing something else… like mending,ironing , I have done it during meal prep. I don’t just do swag bucks. I have the swagbucks button extension so it can pop up if there is a code available. I noticed I qualify better on surveys early morning or late night. I don’t get referrers like Brandy as no one I know uses computers and doesn’t like it on their phones.

  42. Well I didn’t do much frugal wise but what I did was well worth it as I spent over half the week in the hospital with my Crohn’s. Got 5% off hospital bill by prepaying estimated balance which I know was on the low side. Hubby ate what was in the frig to keep it from going to waste.We pushed hard enough that the head contractor offered to sue the subcontractor that messed up some things in the house and got the subcontractor to agree to fix them this week. If sub doesn’t , head contractor is hiring the repairs done and suing, keeping us out of the mess created. We found a contractor to finish the north and south lofts and is coming in this weekend to do it so it’s off my list. His son is coming to help and they just gave a flat charge and discounted what they normally charge when I offered to have food and pop there for their lunches.
    Not much else… I would say I miss my gardens and the bounty but I was glad we only had tomatoes out for hubby to deal with. He gave them away since I am not up to canning for a couple more weeks.

  43. Carol,
    I’ve always made lists…and lists…and lists. I find they free my mind to think! Welcome to the club

  44. I just picked my vacationing neighbour’s garden. I harvested peas, purple beans that turn green when you cook them, and strawberries and raspberries. This will all go nicely with some BBQ steak we are treating ourselves to tonight. DD comes back later in the week from her summer job in another province and we will get organized to move her back to her new apt on the coast for second year of uni-my the summer just flew by. I might be a bit bored come fall so if so I might do a little work here and there.

  45. What time do your older children go to bed? My daughter is now 35, but at 15 or thereabouts, she often went to bed at the same time as us, about 10 ish. At that point we didn’t have evening time onmour own unless she was out atva friend’s house .

  46. I love that it is super cheap (if I was living on a super tight buget, this would make the cut), so easy to make, I can fill it with lots of healthy veggies, it tastes great as leftovers (perfect lunch item) and it helps keep my cravings for Chinese food at bay!;) I’m glad your family enjoyed it, too.

  47. Brandy – I am soooo excited to finally write of a frugal accomplishment this week and it is a good one. Safeway had Challenge Butter on sale for 2 pounds for $3 (limit 2). I went online and noticed Challenge Butter’s website had a coupon for 50 cents per purchase. Safeway doubles manufacturer’s coupons up to a dollar. The butter was essentially $1.50 a pound. I printed out two coupons (actually six – I bought my Mom and sister two also under their numbers). I had to pay each one separately but at $1.50 with a coupon that doubled to a dollar, I paid 50 CENTS per pound!! I doubt I will be able to pull anything near that off again but I was surely happy. It taught me a valuable lesson. ALWAYS look online when you need something that is a name brand on sale and check for a coupon. Usually I buy store brand.

  48. Hi Brandy and others:
    Your root beer floats sound great.
    I was able to make a loaf of zucchini bread for the freezer. I made a batch of brownies for lunches and I dried a batch of green onions and a green pepper. I dried the veggies outside on the patio on a covered tray- yes it was so hot they dried quickly.
    I was able to catch a sale at Lobby Hobby and purchase new handles for the free dresser I got earlier this summer. I cleaned and sanded the dresser and added a coat of sealer and new handles. It looks really nice and should work great for my daughter’s home. The best part is it only cost me $10 for 5 new heavy duty handles. I already had the sealer so $10 for a much needed dresser for my daughter. She is currently storing her clothes in the linen closet so this will be a big improvement for her.
    My grandson has been asking me for fish for Christmas. He wants a few fish in a bowl. I went to Restore and found a small aquarium set new, still in the box marked $40 but I got it for $15. So $15 for the grandson’s main Christmas gift plus the cost of a couple fish.

    I had a real scare last Friday while at work. A brush fire started nearby and quickly spread very, very close to the building I work in. We were ready to evacuate but fortunately, several fire trucks and helicopter with a water bucket were able to get it under control after a couple hours. It was crazy to be right in the middle of a wildfire fire fighting operation. I could see it all from the window of my office. I am so thankful to God that nobody was hurt or injured and no buildings were lost. It gives you a very uneasy feeling and made me realize this is exactly why those of us on this blog are always prepping. You just never know. I was quickly able to form an evacuation plan in my head. I knew of 4 children and a disabled person I would evacuate with me and care for until family could pick them up. My building happens to be right next to a daycare so the 4 children I would have picked up from the daycare to make sure they got out safely. The disabled person lives in a house just down the street so I would check on her on the way out with the children. I can honestly say, I had never thought of needing a plan for this type of an emergency. There are only 2 ways out of this area and one was on fire so that only left one way out… glad it didn’t come to evacuation because that could have gotten ugly really fast.
    Thanks to Brandy and this blog community, I would have had a full pantry ready at my home to feed the extra people I would have evacuated with me. That was a comforting thought.

  49. Armenian cukes are a wonder, performing in your climate as well as mine in interior Alaska. We are eating from garden and freezer, so no money spent on groceries in at least two weeks. I would love to make it another two weeks. Did two mystery shops, earning gas and bottled water plus a small incentive. Made the spicy tomato jam from Food in Jars blog and it turned out wonderfully—although it is very, very hot (which I like. Most foods seem bland to me…) Made enough to give as Christmas gifts. Also canned pickles and relish, for us and for gifts. I love having a garden large enough to feed us, as well as make gifts. We have an abundance of raspberries, but sadly they never make it into jam or the freezer because we eat them all right after picking them; ditto for strawberries. Had a date night, using a gift card someone gave us over two years ago; I cannot remember the last time we went to see a movie at a theater and even had movie popcorn. Finally, we like a lot of what Netflix streaming offers but don’t use it enough to justify a full time subscription. Instead, we get it a month at a time, about every four months, and then go through the list of movies I want to see that I have been keeping since last time we had it. And this week the movie version of one of my favorite books came out: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. If you have not heard of it, it takes place during and after WWII and is set in Nazi occupied Guernsey as well as post war London. A group of people form a book club to hide a pork dinner and then keep it going even after they have consumed the forbidden meat. It really is a good film for family, not gory, based on history, and thought provoking.

  50. I saved money by buying 10 packs of Knorr rice for $10 and getting a free rotisserie chicken at Winn-Dixie. Of course they charged me wrong on another item and I will tell them next time. They seem to do that a lot. I’ve learned to always check my receipt. I saved scrap wood to make a raised garden bed. I also got donated cardboard to place on bottom to prevent weeds. I’ve been buying all my flowers at Lowe’s on their markdown rack. I bought a used Food Saver and will try to save meat longer in the freezer. I try to eat lunch before I run errands so I’m not tempted to go through a drive-thru. I never eat out without a coupon anyway. Mostly I save money by staying home.

  51. When you announced the name of your youngest, I actually thought of the Hamish MacBeth mysteries – it’s been quite a while since I read them, but I remember liking them very much. If you enjoy “cozy” mysteries, you might like the Patricia Wentworth mysteries that feature Miss Silver, a retired governess-turned-private-enquiry-agent. They are dated now, but that’s part of what I enjoy – they are period pieces with delightful characters and wonderful settings. Mentioning them makes me want to re-read some, immediately.

    Our refrigerator gave out, requiring an expensive repair that was still better than having to replace the entire unit. Because the repair required turning the entire machine off for 48 hours, I lost everything in the freezer as well. I cooked as much as possible to avoid waste, but it was still very discouraging.

    We spent one night out of town for business purposes and were able to use points for a completely free night at very pleasant, clean, comfortable hotel. Breakfast was included and it was a very nice one with plenty of variety and good-quality options.

    I continue to collect warm-up water from showers, and water from rinsing produce, using it to water the herb garden and potted plants. I harvested and used basil, oregano, dill, and several types of mint in various dishes, and cut lavender and geraniums to enjoy in bouquets around the house, augmenting them with mint and lemon balm, which makes for pretty and fragrant arrangements.

  52. For some reason or the other, I find myself particularly grumpy. I think between the horrific medical issues in my daughter s life and my own physical pain, it just seems to weigh heavy on me. I reached out to a couple of people this week who had some serious issues. Although I didn’t spend any money it was time consuming. I hope these people are a little less burdened. College girl came home to attend a baby shower. I was able to provide her with lovely wrappings for her presents that had been rescued recently from a trash pile. I don’t see how anyone can toss Hallmark gift bags away. Oh my, I have definitely transformed into my great grandmother. She was a tightwad. My father claims she never let you use but two squares of tissue and they were single ply. College boy has called and said his flight to his boot camp leaves in the morning. He says he is officially in the Army. After 6 false starts, I thought I was prepared but atlas I am not. I will miss him. He is the good one ! I found a huge source of Coke caps today. I casually glanced at a post from them and was delighted to see that Coke has a new promotion. For 15 coke cap codes you can receive a 1 day pass to the Atlanta Coca Cola World. Sugar cookies young man friend is a huge fan of Coke memorabilia. I am hoping that the dates will coincide with his upcoming birthday and we can use this as part of a gift for him. Lunch and an afternoon out would be inexpensive for me. So when you read this, please imagine me with my trusty magnifying glass entering all 45 of those tiny ridiculously tiny codes at their website. One little character at a time. Frugalness is my middle name. It is easy to be frugal when there just is no extra money to spend at this very moment . Oh the things I will do to bring a smile to their lives. Now, off to gather a huge amount of caps as the construction workers have left for the day and they will be everywhere ! I decided to try a new supplement. It doesn’t seem to have relieved the issue I was hoping for but my nerve pain seems to have disappeared completely. Amazing. I spent last week looking at all the links you fellow posters have left behind. I have enjoyed reading so many of your stories. Your honesty makes me feel so much less alone in this world. Be blessed everyone.

  53. Love the picture of the cucumber!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • DD brought me some more toiletries from her travels to stock up my supply. She is more particular about the brands she uses so she gives them to me. I’ll take them!
    • Ate dinner in 6 times. Had single serving containers of leftovers from the freezer one night; hot dogs and baked beans; a frozen pizza with salad; tostadas; pulled pork with coleslaw; and steak with baked potato and zucchini. The night we ate out was our Trivia league night and we used a gift certificate we won a previous week so it only cost us the tip.
    • When we had the pulled pork last week, I was able to freeze 2 meal size containers of leftovers plus send 2 meal size containers home with my DD.
    • Brought our lunches to work every day. Hubby took the rest of the pulled pork that I didn’t freeze a couple of days.
    • Worked 10 hours contract work.
    • Forgot to mention this last week. My husband’s birthday was Saturday. He loves monkeys, so I took a birthday card that I had received for free from a charity I support that had a picture of a kitten and puppy on it and found a couple of monkey faces on the internet, printed them and glued them to the faces of the kitten and puppy. He thought it was really funny and it saved me the money it would have cost to buy a card.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates.
    • Found a new daily devotional to use next year at Goodwill. It was senior discount day, so it only cost me $2.24.
    • My grandson’s is outgrowing the toys in his toy box at my house, so I have picked up a few items at the dollar store to replenish. Plus my friend gave me her toy ukulele that she used for her costume at last week’s mystery party.
    • We are throwing a mystery party with some other friends in a couple of weeks. All my husband needed was a hat for his costume, which I found at the dollar store for $1. I got what I needed for my costume at Goodwill for a total of $16.59. And one of the items is a skirt that I will wear again. Also found décor for it for a total of $8.46. While I was at Goodwill I also found a basket for one of my bathrooms that I have needed. It only cost me $2.99.
    • Continue to use up items from the freezer by being creative.
    • Had to skip going out to lunch with Dad this week due to other commitments, so saved the money I would normally spend on that.
    • Got cherries on sale again for 97c/lb. Pitted and froze about a gallons worth. Also got a meal replacement shake as a Friday Freebie.
    • Needed to buy some triple antibiotic ointment and found it at the dollar store instead of paying full price at the grocery store.
    • Checked out books from the library.
    • Bought a 25# bag of pinto beans at Winco. Canned 24 pints. We love these for quick meals!

    Have a great week everyone!

  54. Hello Everyone,

    That is a cool cucumber!

    We had a good, frugal, week. Here are some highlights:
    – I worked an extra job to cover for a friend that was out of town. I will add this money to a get away for my husband and my 20th anniversary.
    – My son did more yard work for someone to earn for school clothes that are more expensive than what I want to buy.
    – We watched a free movie at church and I helped prepare popcorn and nachos to sell to raise money for our women’s ministry.
    – I am sorting through my daughter’s outgrown clothes. I will give some of these to friends who also have little girls.
    – I have been picking from the garden what I can despite the hail damage.
    – I waited for 6 hours in line for a grant organization who was giving financial help for people who lost items to hail damage. I was towards the end of the group who made it and recieved some assistance. It was well worth it and very generous of the organization.
    – I sent for some free samples which are on my blog at:
    – I was able to get several great deals at the King Soopers (Kroger) Mega Event. I was able to get free women’s pads, free Finish dishwashing tabs, $.49 bags of meatballs, free suave shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo and conditioners are money makers so I used the overage to get some lunch meat for my children’s packed lunches for school. There is also a great deal on toilet cleaner that makes it a money maker but I haven’t found any in stock. I post these on my Instagram feed, which you can find on my website, if anyone is on Instagram!
    – We are back to packing daily lunches, prepping quick breakfasts, laying out clothes the night before and all of those great time/ money/ sanity saving back to school hacks!
    – I also ordered a free magnet and coaster set from Shutterfly. There was a free $25.00 code on Ibotta. This will make a great gift for the holidays. I am trying to start planning for holiday gifts by using free codes, coupon deals, and free stuff I find online. This helps stretch the money at Christmas time.

    Blessings to all this week,

  55. Not a supremely frugal week this last week, as I had to drive to my mother’s house 150 miles away again, in order to assist her with getting a medical procedure done. As I said before, she is 95, and lives alone. I am happy I am able to help.

    Made 4 more loaves of herb bread.

    Picked cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, onions, and broccoli from the garden. Picked cilantro, basil, rosemary, oregano and parsley from the garden.

    Brought lunch to work each day except one.

    Had popcorn for snacks, as well as cucumbers and tomatoes.

    Slept in our basement bedroom on hot nights. (We don’t have air conditioning). It got up to 107 degrees last week. That is really hot in Eastern Washington. Might have broken records.

    Tried to stay out of the smoke – we are surrounded by fires – so staying out of the smoke is healthy.

    My DH joined a gym that is part of the “Silver Sneakers” program. His medicare supplement pays the fees. He just has to be sure to go at least 8 times a month.

    Only did full loads of laundry and dishes. Wear clothes, other than socks and underwear, more than once – only wash them when they are dirty.

    Got my hair cut with a coupon. Only have to cut it about twice a year.

    Neighbor gave me 2 dozen eggs from her chickens.

    I know there must be more, but that is all I can think of for now. Hope everyone has a great week!

  56. I am away with Hubby, my son and my youngest daughter. We are using my sister’s timeshare since she rarely uses it. If you don’t use the weeks you lose them so we are happy to use them. We are cooking most meals in the unit. There are lots of free activities and amenities so we are using all of them. Trying to keep costs as low as possible but still have a great time. My sister is watching our dog and a friend is watching my house and garden. I brought lots of garden produce to use while away. Also brought food from home that I had previously cooked and froze to have easy dinners. It is a vacation after all. We did go food shopping but I signed up for the stores card to get all of the discounts. Just spending quality time with each other. The rest of my week is here:

  57. BLACK TOOTHPASTE TO MAKE BLACK TEETH???? Am I missing something here? Since I am always far behind the times, never up-to-date, or follow the latest styles – is black teeth a new thing? I have heard everything old is new again and if you wait long enough whatever you own will eventually be back in style. So do I need to drop my expensive dental plan and let my teeth turn black to be in style?
    Just wondering.
    Old fashioned Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry…where I am always unaware of the latest fads.

  58. I was happy–and mad–that I finally made some phone calls. A newer garbage hauler charges about 27.00 less per bill (quarterly) so I called my current hauler to cancel. They were willing to lower my bill to even less than the newer company. (we still went with the new “little guy” though). Next I called our phone company/internet provider and told them I was considering Spectrum (formerly Time Warner). They couldn’t quite match the Spectrum price, but did reduce my phone bill by 20.00 monthly. I am still considering switching to Spectrum because they provide a new modem for free (and we need one) but want to get more feedback from people in my area. Either way, I am thrilled that my bills were lowered–but mad at myself for not looking into this sooner!
    Happy Monday 🙂

  59. I am doing a baby shower, and I went to the grocery shopping center and did my annual harvest of their lavender. Then I cut up a sheet with a darling print (vintage) and made 50 sachets for favors after i dried and sifted the lavender through the plastic shelf liner with the holes in it. I get a lot of lavender from various public places around town.

  60. I love Armenian cucumbers! I cooked a large 24# turkey from the freezer yesterday and did it upside down like your recipe. Worked great. I also made your hot pepper jelly with jalapenos and bell peppers I was given from someone’s garden. We ate some of it with the turkey. Yum. I made dill pickles and “crystal” pickles with pickling cukes I was given for helping in a large garden.

  61. Brandy,

    Thank you for the ebook idea. I should take a look at ebooks our library offers! It’s a blessing not to have to remember to return them.

    Here is what we did this week:
    * We left the A/C off all week and used the fan to stay cool when needed. Needless to say, I am ready for some cooler fall weather. 🙂
    * I successfully completed my cleanse and saved money on food because I was eating less of it.
    * One of my friends had a baby. I made one freezer meal and will ask another friend who lives closer to her to take it to her. It will save me 2 hours of driving time.
    * It was fun to use food I had on hand to make a meal for a potluck. It was all eaten too!
    * It was neat to combine errands when possible to avoid leaving the house multiple times.
    * I made appointments as much as possible next to each other in time and location to save stress, driving time, and gas money.
    * I took two walks with two friends. It was free vitamin D, exercise, and fellowship. 🙂

  62. I’m so impressed with your giant twisting zucchini! Also with your ability to run a home, raise 9 children, homeschool them, and still read 8 books in a week! That’s some time management skills right there!

    My frugal accomplishments for the past week:
    – I pulled out some freezer meals this past week, including my go-to of enchiladas ( and smoothies ( I love that I can blend up whatever dried greens I have in my cupboard as part of the smoothie, for extra nutrition.
    – I traded a framed print (that I had gotten as part of a lot in a previous trade) for a hand cream that I will set aside to give to a family friend. And, I traded two banana bread cupcakes with buttercream icing, for a BNIB mini Jenga game. I will set this aside to give to some children I know next time I see them. The rest of the banana bread batter I used to make a loaf and cut it up for snacks for work for the week. I only made enough buttercream for the two cupcakes (plus one more for my DH). I also traded a loaf of homemade white bread for a bottle of white wine (I will keep it to use as a hostess gift in the future). I made two loaves of bread, and kept one for the DH and I, so it was practical in terms of time usage, as well.
    – Very excitingly, I was able to trade a $10 gc to Starbucks (purchased using a Swagbucks gc) for a BNIB Lenox Christmas serving tray. These regularly retail for $60 but can be found on sale for $30 (plus shipping, etc.). So I got a really, really good deal on the trade! I’ve set it aside to give as a Christmas gift to my best friend’s family. This is definitely one of the best trades I’ve done to date!
    – I redeemed some Pinecone Research rewards for $5 to my paypal account.
    – And, I received my first baby shower gift: cloth diapers with bamboo inserts! I’m so excited about this! This will save us lots of money vs disposables, as our utilities are included in our condo maintenance fees. I have some disposables already set aside for me to use when baby first arrives, but I hope to only use cloth after that. A very practical shower gift and so appreciated!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as usuall!

  63. I’ve had no problem using frozen homemade yogurt to start a new batch of yogurt. Hope it works for you too 🙂

  64. High school starts at 7 a.m. here and they attend a religion class at 6 a.m. (there are 300+ students at that, divided into smaller classes) and leave at 5:20 a.m. to get there, so they are up at 4:45 like I am. They go to bed as soon as possible. They are usually in bed by 8:00 or 8:30 if we are running behind.

  65. I cooked and cooked and cooked last week. Besides feeding my family, we had agreed to cook some food for a college retreat the college age at church were going on. (I was reimbursed for the ingredients–they just needed me to cook some things up for them to take).

    My garden keeps producing. I keep preserving.

    Brandy, if only I could share zucchini with you and some of your readers! I think I’m up to over 70 so far, maybe 75 or 80, I’m losing track, and just can’t keep up with them. Although I preserve a bunch of them yearly in various ways, there is a limit to how many we can use. I’m going to wish I had some fresh ones this winter, but I’ll need to enjoy them now. My watermelons, on the other hand, are a bust. I guess last year was my only triumph for now:)

    I continue working hard at my lowered grocery budget. In the past 2 weeks, I have spent $30. This is not sustainable, of course–$15 per week–but I’m just hanging on to the rest of the money for a Costco run. It has only been possible because of the huge amount of produce we are eating, and my well-stocked cupboards and freezers. Days like yesterday help, too. For Family Sunday Dinner, my sister had some salmon she wanted to use up, and I brought potato salad, using garden potatoes. She also asked me to make some for the teen-age gathering she was hosting that evening. It was just a get-together after their evening church Bible Study. They had burgers, chicken and steak on the BBQ and they visited and kayaked on the river afterwards. She asked my husband to BBQ, which he did, and we enjoyed dinner with the teens. So, the only food I needed to make/bring for the day was potato salad (I made a HUGE batch) and tomatoes from my garden and cherry tomatoes from my other sister’s garden.

    I made some pillowcases for a friend’s birthday gift.

    I unexpectedly ended up doing something fun and unusual and actually earned a little money while doing it!

    Pictures are on my blog:

  66. Found some real deals at our local Kroger store (King Soopers). Name brand bacon – full pound packages (so many are 12 oz. now) for $2.79, brie cheese (a huge treat for me) for $2.50 a package, ‘designer’ bread for $1.49, Starburst gummies .79 per large bag, big bags of chips for $1.77 (a treat for us to have with summer sandwiches and hamburgers), Kraft mayo for $1.99 and most amazing of all HP Ink cartridges for $6.99 each (weirdly each one was a slightly different prices but I know they are regularly $23 or higher – their date was earlier this year but I worked in high tech for years and they are hermitically sealed and should be good for a year or two beyond their date).
    Stopped at the day old bread store and bought all this for $4.25: two loaves of sandwich bread, whole grain large hamburger buns, name brand hoagie rolls and name brand sourdough. I don’t make bread as it is just the two of us and we rarely eat a whole loaf in a week. I wrap loaves in manageable amounts and freeze it. Just pull it out as we need it.

    The local farmers markets are selling their produce for higher than last year – the drought is bad this year in SE Colorado and there isn’t as much water as in past years. I really don’t mind paying a little more as I know from experience that it is hard work. It is so great to have fresh produce that doesn’t have to travel miles and for the most part minimal chemicals. The bacon is a huge treat for real BLTs – my very favorite cold sandwich. I stopped and bought 6 ears of corn, a few tomatoes and some green beans (for green beans southern style – cooked forever with bacon, onion and lots of pepper – a seasonal treat that we love but don’t have regularly).

    My biggest, happiest, most frabjous find were books for $1.00 at Dollar Tree! The selection was amazing. Part of our spending plan is that each of us has an allowance for our own fun stuff. I budget $20.00 for books – our local library has a great used store and has hardback books for $2.00 – each month is based on the alphabet – this month is D, E F. For only $13.00 I bought 13 books! Some are best sellers and some are great Penguin imprint books from the UK and even a translated best seller from France – “My Wish List” by Gregoire Delacourt. I read it in one sitting today and really enjoyed it. I can sell or donate them after reading. I love to read and this makes me feel “rich” in ways beyond money.

    This week I plan to cook three pounds of the bacon at once and then freeze amounts to take out for individual meals. We really don’t like the smell of bacon that lingers so long after cooking so I am going to take out my electric skillet and cook it on our covered front porch. I am using my Instant Pot a lot more – learning as I go. Took some really tough stew meat out that was from last year’s quarter beef – made a beef in gravy to put over noodles. All ingredients were things I had on hand (dried mushrooms that I bought in bulk, homemade broth and can of cream of mushroom soup that I’d bought for 50 cents awhile ago) and it really was delicious. I’ve left the stew meat as it is so tough but this took only an hour and was so tender.

    I know a lot of folks don’t consume alcohol but I did want to share an experiment. We really like lemoncllo and it is very expensive to buy. I found a recipe online and am trying it out. Found organic lemons at Trader Joes for the zest and cheap vodka. I juiced the lemons after taking just the peel off (no white can be used so I used a veggie peeler) and froze it. It takes a month to cure – will have to see what transpires! If it works I may look for a recipe using melons – we had it in Greece on our cruise of a lifetime and it was amazing.

    And finally – we stopped our satellite service! Using Amazon Prime, Netflix and Sling. Love it! Watching lots of great shows that we wouldn’t normally even think of – British shows, old movies and tv shows. I’ve even found cooking, gardening and ‘house’ shows. No regrets!!!

  67. Wow! That’s early. I didn’t realise your children went to high school. I thought you home schooled them. No wonder they go to bed early

  68. I love your cucumber, Brandy! We had a very quiet week last week. I am busy stocking our pantry shelves and freezer with sale items and they are both getting really full so we’ll eat into the fall with very little grocery shopping. Fall will be busier when we are back to homeschooling and my son is involved in a couple of activities so it will be nice to be able to shop less. My mom sent home from Sunday dinner the leftovers, a box of turkey burgers, and some local peaches. We are very blessed to have her do this each week as that food often goes a long way for us. I received another beauty sample in the mail. The basket is overflowing at this point and will carry me well into the winter without having to buy any shampoo, etc.

    We had to run the air conditioner only a couple of times last week. I am looking forward to September when it is slightly cooler and we won’t need either air conditioning or the heat on!

    Hope everyone has a lovely week!

  69. I continue to harvest and can and freeze. This week I did 6 half pints of salsa verde, 7 pints ground beef in broth, 12 pints green beans, got my crock going of sauerkraut, froze Swiss chard and kale, also froze a vegie combination of onions, yellow and green zucchini, and eggplant. Also made and froze 40 cabbage rolls. Picking many zucchini and cucumbers. Eating fresh and giving away some. Eating a few tomatoes, they should be ripening all at once in the next week or so.

    Made a table runner and placemats for my daughter from a set of curtains she had. When they moved they went from two windows in the living room to one. So she had a set of curtains she didn’t need. She asked me to sew a table runner and placemats. So I did a set for her and for me. The curtains were a gold leaf print. It will be nice for fall.

    Mended my pile of clothes, this is something I’m not fond of so they tend to pile up. Now it is cleared out!

    Went through my pantry and organized. I have an instant pot that I love and use regularly. Got rid of the Cuisinart egg maker (gift) and the rice steamer (another gift) as the instant pot does both of them nicely and these two appliances were taking up room and not being used.

    Made some coconut milk ice cream, will use this to make some popsicles. I have my grand kids this weekend and they are lactose intolerant so this will be a cool treat for them.

    Had dinner out Sunday for my husband’s birthday-paid for by my mother in law. Haven’t eaten out in a while, so nice. Leftovers were brought home.

    Except the above all meals made at home-country sausages, hashbrowns, and green beans; grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches and vinegar cucumbers; spaghetti with red sauce, garlic toast, and Kansas cucumbers; ham and fried eggs; and barbequed pork ribs, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob. Just love all the fresh produce!!

    Also loving the farm markets!! I have a different one I can go to everyday in the area. This week I bought two loaves of fermented sourdough bread (I am gluten intolerant but I can eat this bread because of the fermentation process!), some organic Italian sausage, cabbage for the sauerkraut, and I ordered 1/2 bushel little cucumbers to make dill pickles with.

    It is hot and dry here in Minnesota, unfortunately I am watering the garden and flowers. Supposed to cool down next week. Starting to see color in the trees.

    Have a great week everyone!!

    Julie T

  70. We tried growing peppers this year without success. We will try again next year and we will also try growing zucchini.

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    We have had a busy week. My mother came to visit from Tennessee. For her Mother’s Day gift, my brother bought her an airline ticket to Indiana.

    On Sunday we hosted a dinner for the family so the grandchildren and great-grandchildren could see my mom. We provided the main entree and everyone brought sides and desserts. Three of our grandchildren (ages 9, 7, and 7) picked lots of cherry tomatoes while they were here. I sent what they picked home with them. None of them have gardens and they were very excited to pick food!

    On Monday we had spaghetti for dinner. I pulled out the sauce from the freezer and added a salad. On Tuesday night, my oldest daughter hosted a family get-together. My mom and I brought a homemade cheesecake for dessert. On Wednesday night we had a taco salad. For breakfasts we ate eggs, toast, bagels, and cereal. For lunches I made a chicken soup. We also had sandwiches and salads.

    I harvested green beans twice, cherry and regular tomatoes three or four times, and basil. I finally saw our green hummingbird very briefly. My husband has see her several times.

    A co-worker gifted me with a small eggplant. I made a ratatouille with zucchini, onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, basil, black olives, and the eggplant.

  71. I was happy–and mad–that I finally made some phone calls. A newer garbage hauler charges about 27.00 less per bill (quarterly) so I called my current hauler to cancel. They were willing to lower my bill to even less than the newer company. (we still went with the new “little guy” though). Next I called our phone company/internet provider and told them I was considering Spectrum (formerly Time Warner). They couldn’t quite match the Spectrum price, but did reduce my phone bill by 20.00 monthly. I am still considering switching to Spectrum because they provide a new modem for free (and we need one) but want to get more feedback from people in my area. Either way, I am thrilled that my bills were lowered–but mad at myself for not looking into this sooner!

    Also, I finally ditched the paper towels and cut up a bunch of flour sack tea towels into squares. Instead of buying the “perfect container” for them, I looked around and shopped from my garage to find an old, wide-mouth cookie jar.

    It has been a thoroughly effortless switch and, again, I should have done this years ago.

    Happy Monday 🙂

  72. Hay Brandy, I am going to order some armenian cucumber seeds to, they look wunderfull. I dont know if they’ll grow in our colder climat. But who knows…if we have a summer like this one they will definitly succeed.
    I harvested lots of vegetables from my garden. Pickeled some cucumbers and already gave them away as I was visiting some relatives.
    I had a lovely day on the lakes in our province ( friesland) on the boat of and with my sister and her husband. Watching SKUTSJESILEN
    this is a sailing competition with very old original sailingship from the netherlands, this takes two weeks, and the games are on a diverend lake every day. As I was younger I stayed with them for 1 week or so, it brings back memory’s as we had a boat to, back in the days with my parents. It was a frugal visit, we just eat on there boat, homecooked food nothing fancy.
    We also have been on a short vacation in a zelfcatering little home, the weather was beatftull and we eat home made diners and lunches every day.
    I mended two pair of jeans for both sons.
    Made rice dessert, wich turned out delicious.
    Had leftover soup and buns with ham/cheese one day, after doing catering in the townhouse for a group of hiking lady’s.
    Made my sister a quilted table runner.
    Finished knitting a pair of socks for my daughter.
    Live is so much easier when the weather is nice and sunny!
    Have a good week everyone.
    Greetings , Tanja From the netherlands

  73. I am still on a no spend so aside from groceries and home repair items haven’t bought anything.

    I had a group come over to watch the new Guernsey movie on netflix. We’d all read the book so enjoyed critiquing the movie. I made taco salad for everyone. Most of the ingredients I had purchased on sale a few weeks ago or got from my garden. Aside from the beef it was a very economical meal. I asked two of the ladies to bring dessert and someone else brought a side so saved me from having to make them.

    Last night I made beef enchiladas using freezer ingredients. I was hungry and didn’t take the time to fill each tortilla. Instead I used them like lasagna noodles with filling on top. It worked perfectly.

    I read some books from the library and found an ebook for a series I’ve been wanting to read. I’m not as big a fan of ebooks (I love to flip a physical page) but if it’s the way I can read a certain book, it’s doable.

    This morning was 67 and felt like fall. Wonderful!

  74. Brandy, What do you read your e-books on? I have a smart phone and a laptop, but have considered aquireing a Kindle to read from. I was wondering what works best?

  75. We had a good, frugal week!
    I took the kids to swim at my aunt’s house, which everyone enjoyed.
    Neighbors were looking for a dog sitter, so I volunteered my oldest to do it. She still needed some help, but it was a great way for the kids to earn money. We don’t have pets and got to enjoy someone else’s for a couple of days.
    Continued to sell items on facebook. It can be slow going, but it’s worth it, I think.
    Went through our uniform box to get uniforms in larger sizes for the kids. I buy ahead when we see them at the church thrift store, and my mom kindly replaced a patch for me. This saves so much over buying them new.
    Used giftcard from returning kids clothes given as gifts to buy socks and underwear, which was on sale. A relative periodically buys the kids new clothes, but they often don’t fit or are styles/pictures/sayings we don’t wear. I try to return them to Carter’s or Gymboree and save those giftcards for things the kids really need.
    We ate simple meals and avoided most food waste.
    I took the kids to Half Price Books, where they redeemed the summer reading log for a $5 voucher. They each got a free Melissa and Doug reusable sticker book.
    We enjoyed a new park we’d never visited before, and I took our own snacks to enjoy.
    Bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    Received some baby formula coupons, which I sold on ebay. I nurse the baby and am lucky to not need to buy formula.
    Kids got a free cookie from the bakery and free banana from the produce section when we shopped at Kroger.
    Kids enjoyed some cereal my sister gave us, that her kids didn’t like.
    I took the kids on a walk in the neighborhood when it was raining. They got to use umbrellas and splash in puddles, which was great, free entertainment.

  76. I made fried rice (with frozen peas) and homemade shrimp sauce. I am taking that to work and that will be my lunch today. I wore a thrifted $1 black dress to yet another funeral on Saturday. I have tried to keep the air off as much as possible, even with days of a 108 heat index, I just turn the air on until the house feels cool. My electric bill was $52 for my all electric house, not too bad. I bought $1 reading glasses at the Dollar Tree. I am going to wear a thrifted dress to work today. I am totally trying to plan for retirement, which is looming on the horizon. There are a lot of variables involved, such as health issues. Retirement could be tomorrow, or as late as 43 months from now. A lot depends on health and finances, like everything in life.

  77. What a lovely gift of cloth diapers! We loved ours and it saved an untold amount of money through the years between the diapers and the cloth training pants. Ours, too, were a gift from my mom.

  78. -I’ve been doing a lot of canning lately, and made cinnamon nectarine compote (a little more versatile for us than jam), vanilla peach jam and sauce, and almond cherry jam. I found some fantastic sales on produce for these recipes, thankfully, as my fruit trees got badly hit by hail and knocked most fruit down. I will have a few peaches in the coming weeks, and my raspberry and strawberry plants continue to produce.
    -I reuse the canning water to water plants on our deck.
    -I harvested tomatillos, tomatoes, zucchini, raspberries, strawberries, lavender, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, raspberry leaves, mint, eggplant, and peppers.
    -We installed two rain barrels on our gutter downspouts that have greatly reduced our water consumption. We have had unusually heavy, torrential rain this year and last and figured we would capitalize on it!
    -I hand sewed an orthopedic large bed for our dog using an old (but nice looking) comforter, filling, and foam pad I saved from old pillows. It cost nothing to make, and he loves it! Similar versions were selling for over $100! I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t know how to use a sewing machine, and sew everything by hand.
    -I harvested red and russet potatoes that I grew over the season from potatoes on hand that sprouted and had over 20lbs of potatoes. I made a very large batch of skillet breakfast potatoes with onions and red peppers for easy/quick breakfasts and sides.
    -I reorganized and overhauled our study so I have a much more organized and tidy workspace since I work from home Mondays through Thursdays.
    -The nonprofit I work at gave me a 25% increase, and we are so grateful for this blessing.
    -We were accepted into our city’s Xeriscape program as we want to redesign our front yard for both edible plants and xeriscape plants. Our city offers a rebate after completing the program of up to $0.75/square feet. We anticipate a $750 rebate will be cut our costs in half! We will complete the work ourselves, and only need materials and time. I will try and gather free items and use plant cuttings as much as possible.

    Brandy- you mentioned you purchased new pots and pans at Target. Mine are nearly there. I wonder if you would share what type or brands you purchased? Thank you!

    I hope everyone has a great week ahead!

  79. Brandy, that is a great photo, as usual. I love your photography!

    My accomplishments last week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • DD brought me some more toiletries from her travels to stock up my supply. She is more particular about the brands she uses so she gives them to me. I’ll take them!
    • Ate dinner in 6 times. Had single serving containers of leftovers from the freezer one night; hot dogs and baked beans; a frozen pizza with salad; tostadas; pulled pork with coleslaw; and steak with baked potato and zucchini. The night we ate out was our Trivia league night and we used a gift certificate we won a previous week so it only cost us the tip.
    • When we had the pulled pork last week, I was able to freeze 2 meal size containers of leftovers plus send 2 meal size containers home with my DD.
    • Brought our lunches to work every day. Hubby took the rest of the pulled pork that I didn’t freeze a couple of days.
    • Worked 10 hours contract work.
    • Forgot to mention this last week. My husband’s birthday was Saturday. He loves monkeys, so I took a birthday card that I had received for free from a charity I support that had a picture of a kitten and puppy on it and found a couple of monkey faces on the internet, printed them and glued them to the faces of the kitten and puppy. He thought it was really funny and it saved me the money it would have cost to buy a card.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates.
    • Found a new daily devotional to use next year at Goodwill. It was senior discount day, so it only cost me $2.24.
    • My grandson’s is outgrowing the toys in his toy box at my house, so I have picked up a few items at the dollar store to replenish. Plus my friend gave me her toy ukulele that she used for her costume at last week’s mystery party.
    • We are throwing a mystery party with some other friends in a couple of weeks. All my husband needed was a hat for his costume, which I found at the dollar store for $1. I got what I needed for my costume at Goodwill for a total of $16.59. And one of the items is a skirt that I will wear again. Also found décor for it for a total of $8.46. While I was at Goodwill I also found a basket for one of my bathrooms that I have needed. It only cost me $2.99.
    • Continue to use up items from the freezer by being creative.
    • Had to skip going out to lunch with Dad this week due to other commitments, so saved the money I would normally spend on that.
    • Got cherries on sale again for 97c/lb. Pitted and froze about a gallons worth. Also got a meal replacement shake as a Friday Freebie.
    • Needed to buy some triple antibiotic ointment and found it at the dollar store instead of paying full price at the grocery store.
    • Checked out books from the library.
    • Bought a 25# bag of pinto beans at Winco for 59c/lb. Canned 24 pints. We love these for quick meals!

    Have a great week everyone!

  80. We love having date nights at home! We are often so tired at night, it’s hard to feel motivated to go out late. When we do, it’s usually in the afternoon for lunch or a walk or errands while Grandma watches the children.

    I tried out a new method of paying down out debt (student loans). Normally, I’ll make one payment at the beginning of the month and then towards the end of the month, I’ll see what we have leftover in our different budgeting categories and then any extra is paid as an extra payment towards student loans. This month, after allocating our funds, I put all the “extra” in our debt repayment category. So now, if anything extra needs to get paid (our variable expenses) I have to move that amount out of the debt category. The math is exactly the same, but it’s helping us to see that if we choose one thing over another, we choose that thing over paying down debt. It’s a physiological game now, how close can we get zero variable expenses?! It helps me actually “see” what is going on and how extra purchases can affect our student loan repayment. It’s been a fun game!

    My mom was going to call a taxi/uber to take her to the airport at 5am, but offered to pay me for the “job.” Since my husband doesn’t leave for work until 7:30, there was plenty of time for me to take her to the airport and back before any children woke up! She also gave us some garden produce from her garden. We’ll go over everyday and water the garden and harvest whatever is ripe.

    I got an “educator’s card” library card from our public library. It’s available for homeschool families and the check out period is longer with no late fees. We’ll check out all our school books and videos on it. I’ll still use my regular card for personal books and date-night videos.

    Oh!! Speaking of the library! I was the grand prize winner for the summer reading program! I won a water bottle, t-shirt, gift cards to Amazon, local movie theater, and a local (very fancy!) restaurant!! I was so excited! Next week is my birthday, so we’ll be able to do something really fun!

  81. Marie, I have DSL through the telephone company at our vacation home, which is all that is available. I was able to get broadband from Spectrum at my new home. I can tell you there is no comparison–broadband wins hands down! Even if it costs a little more. We stream TV at both houses. With DSL, the TV is always stopping to catch up; broadband is much faster and there are no breaks at all.

    I can tell you that Spectrum is a pain to deal with. You cannot call your local office because they do not have incoming phone lines. When you phone, you go to a call center, which often does not know what is happening in your local community. If you go in person to the local Spectrum office, you’ll need to take a number and wait to be seen. However, once you are past that (and with new construction, it took me 4 visits) broadband is the way to go, especially for streaming and gaming.

    A caveat: Spectrum will try very hard to sell you a bundle with telephone and/or cable TV. We ONLY wanted internet and have found it is much cheaper to pay a lot for the service we want than to buy things we don’t want or need to get a package deal.

  82. A fairly ordinary week, continued to live below our means and be mindful of any waste. This week also included:

    received a $20 cheque from a survey site
    continued to work on swagbucks to redeem for Amazon gift cards to use for Christmas
    mended a blouse
    stained a wine box to use as a decorative storage box
    sold $50 worth of items on local FB sell site

    Wishing everyone a great week; always enjoy reading all comments!

  83. I read them on my phone. Our local library uses the Overdrive app, which is free. You connect to your library with your library card and can search for books that way. You can download them to your phone and read them without using data. The app keeps your place (even in multiple books at a time) and automatically returns them when they are due. You can also return them individually before that if you want to.

  84. I love homemade yogurt and since discovering how to successfully make it the way I like it, I’ve only been making it and not buying it.

    I keep homemade yogurt in quart canning jars in my fridge (strained). When I have just about 1/2 cup left in the last jar, I cook milk to 180 degrees (farenheit), then cool to 110. I stir some of the 110 degree milk into the jar and stir well to incorporate all the yogurt I can. Then add that back to the remainder of the milk. Stir gently. I wash my jars, pour in the yogurt/milk, and place the jars of milk/yogurt in the ceramic insert of my crockpot. Sometimes I add a jar of hot water with the other jars of milk/yogurt in the crockpot if my house is fairly cool. I wrap that vessel in a big towel and place in my unheated oven overnight. the next morning, I then refrigerate all jars of the now thick yogurt and head to work.

    After work, I dump the jars of cold/thick/unstrained yogurt into a colander lined with a tea towel and strain the yogurt for three hours. The strained yogurt gets scraped back to the jars and the whey I use for baking bread or watering plants.

    I love it this way. I eat it with a scoop of homemade jam and some homemade granola. Mmmmm! Works great every time and I don’t have to worry about freezing/thawing yogurt cultures. I even made the last batch with hardly any bits of remaining yogurt in my jar and it worked just fine! I think whole milk and straining is the key to yummy homemade, thick yogurt!

  85. Inadequate insulation is very common in Las Vegas tract homes. I’ve heard horror stories about entire exterior walls not being insulated at all. The shared walls/ceiling between the garage and house are another common spot where builders cut corners and don’t properly insulate. Oftentimes, adding attic insulation pays for itself in just a couple years.

    Have you ever used a kill-o-watt meter to see how much energy your major appliances use? It is very eye opening! Our library has them for patrons to borrow. Older refrigerators, upright freezers or window air conditioners use a lot of electricity.

  86. My house is 912 sq ft, and I live alone…lol. The roof is a white metal roof, and 2/3 of my house is shaded all summer because of the trees. I have thermal curtains. I am also at work 60 plus hours a week, and do not leave the air on while I am at work. I only have an electric window unit (that I purchased at Lowes for under $500 six and a half yrs ago) that both heats and cools. I shut the doors to my two bedrooms, and sleep in the living room, so really, I am only heating/cooling approximately 600 sq ft or less. I would probably be spending more than you on air if I lived in the desert without surrounding trees, and a large house full of kids …lol. I admire how low your bill is, considering your circumstances in the middle of the summer.

  87. I stayed out of the stores last week, which is such a big help in saving money. I’m saving up for a back to school shopping trip for my teenage son, who has grown out of nearly everything purchased in the past year.
    I saved sweet pea seeds.
    I took home a bunch of cucumbers my boss grew. I’m making refrigerator pickles with them as I haven’t yet found the courage to can.
    I said yes to working a couple of shifts at our country fair, which will give me a couple of passes as well as a bit of $$. Never worked at a fair before and I’m going to be helping set up and take down in the arts and crafts exhibit hall so I’m really looking forward to it.

  88. I participated in an insurance survey, which earned me a $15 Amazon reward. I cut my younger son’s hair. We shopped at home from our school/office supply stash (filled with items bought on clearance or reused items from previous school years). This is the third year that we have used the stash instead of having to go to the store for school supplies, and aside from loose-leaf paper and binders, our stash should last us for the next few years. Huge savings!

    We visited family out of town this past weekend, and there is an Amish store in their town. We always shop there when we have the opportunity because they offer bulk foods and salvage grocery/household goods at incredible prices. I stocked up on coffee for $1.99/lb, toothbrushes 5 for $1, hot sauce for $1/bottle, and granola and snack bars for $0.99/package of 8. I don’t usually buy snack bars, but our boys do sports after school and the bars are a great snack between school and practice, and at that price it made sense to stock up. I also found a hair accessory for $0.99 that I had been eyeballing at a local store for $5.99. I’m glad I waited!

    We found a great replacement car for my son, who totaled his car in a wreck a few weeks ago (not his fault). The insurance settlement is almost the same as the cost of the ‘new to us’ car, but the new car has half the mileage of the old car and is in much better shape. So we are looking at the wreck as a blessing, in a way, because we were able to upgrade the vehicle with very little out of pocket cost, and the car should last my son all the way through college and even beyond. The best part is that we bought from a friend of mine from my community choir who happened to post his ‘for sale’ on the same day we decided to start looking. The car is in like-new condition, but was priced well below similar cars available in our market. It was definitely God’s timing, a blessing to us and to my friend.

  89. Tanja: I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, where our growing season is short. This year our last frost was June 12 and right now it is already going down to 40 degrees at night. Yet I get a great crop of Armenian cucumbers every summer so I think they may do well for you, too. And they are never bitter, no matter how large they get.

  90. You might check your home owner insurance for reimbursement on the loss food in the freezer. It is not often but sometimes it is covered.

    We use the points all the time for an extra hotel visit if we go early enough and stay one night we can have two days away from home bring our own food use the hot tub and free breakfast and enjoy a mini vacation. We always visit areas with parks and we have free state and national park passes (Senior passes bought along time ago) We have had some great mini vacations. We like to hike to waterfalls which is a really awesome thing for us to do exercise take our lunch every falls is different and it is free and stay as long as you like take all the photos you wish and just sit and enjoy nature.

  91. You have had a busy holiday – but it sounds wonderful. I love i when I get a chance to be by the water – whether a lake or the sea. I hope that you haven’t had the super hot weather that the rest of Europe has been experiencing. Thank you for commenting so often – I love hearing from those readers outside of NA – just shows what a small world it really is these days.

  92. I put the homemade towels in a wicker basket that I had on hand and everyone uses them. I save the paper napkins I get when we go out to eat for frying bacon in the microwave and wiping off glass every now and then. IN this way I rarely use paper products.

  93. Thank you, Maxine, for that helpful reply…I’m glad I actually mentioned Spectrum by name. We don’t care about tv, but we do still want to keep our landline (at least til the last of the kiddos goes to college in two years) so we want the internet/phone bundle. I’m glad it’s worked out so well for you and I am strongly considering making the switch 🙂

  94. I’m also on the count down to retirement, and for the same reasons, I don’t know when it will be (health, etc). I have a “58” months written at the bottom of this month’s calendar page…which is outrageously optimistic! But who knows? The finance thing is still dicey unless I can continue working quite a while longer…meanwhile, thrifted clothes, garden, drive a 23-yr old car that even passed inspection! Here in South Louisiana, we have humid heat. I’m in a one bedroom apt. on the second floor of an uninsulated building and have an electric bill this month of $44.95.

  95. Hello,

    I am not sure where my comment went so I will try again! I am so sorry if it posts twice!
    I love the cucumber!!
    We had a frugal week, here are the highlights:
    – I did an extra job to cover for a friend who was on vacation. I will put this money aside for a trip for my husband and my 20th anniversary this year.
    – My son worked a landscaping job to help pay for some more expensive back to school clothes that I didn’t want to pay for.
    – I was able to get several great deals at King Soopers (Kroger) here with coupons. I got free toothpaste, free Suave shampoo and conditioners, $.49 bags of meatballs, free Finish dish tabs, and free women’s pads. The Suave was a money maker with coupons so I was able to get some lunch meat with the overage for my kids’ lunches. This is there “Mega Event” I think it should last another week.
    – I stood in line to get some “hail assistance” money that was granted by a local foundation. We have had so much damage this year so it was nice to get a little to pay back the emergency fund. I stood in line for 6 hours with my 7 year old. She was a trooper.
    – I continued to get freebies like magazines and samples. I have them listed on my blog at:
    – I did a Shutterfly deal from an Ibotta code that they had emailed me for $25.00 to spend. I still had to pay the shipping but I ordered some cute coasters and a magnet of my children for their grandparents. I will put this in my Christmas stash.
    – We ate meals at home to include beans and rice, whole chicken, meatballs for $.49, and a chicken soup.

    I hope everyone has a great week,

  96. Cheryl, I definitely love Heb over Walmart. The location nearest us has the free curbside Tues-Fri!! This will save me time with school right around the corner. I also love their meal deals where you get at least 5-6 free items to go along w a specific “main dish”.

  97. My elementary school children also go to bed at a reasonable hour; between 730/8 during the week and a bit later on Fridays and Saturdays. We recently visited with my brother and SIL who have a young (4 yrs old) child. They were complaining about how late he stays up: 3 AM!!! Oh, no.. children need their rest.

  98. Nice cucumber! I was given 2 bushels of yellow squash and 1 bushel of broccoli from my produce market on Saturday! I am grating up the broccoli for broccoli slaw since I have as much as I need in my freezer as broccoli flowerets already! I am grating someof the yellow squash to use like zucchini in bread, muffins, cake, cookies, etc! I will also slice some to dehydrate into chips and thicker slice some for soups/stews.
    I gave a friend my Meijer’s preferred customer coupon for free eggs since my chickens are keeping us in eggs ( usually have about 20 dozen in the basement fridge!). Sent one of my daughters ( a schoolteacher with 3 teenagers) home with 4 dozen of our eggs so she can bulk cook Breakfast Burritos for her family as an easy healthier morning alternative!
    I was given several baguettes and made Ranch Chicken stuffed baguettes using shredded chicken that I made and had in my freezer with homemade Ranch dressing mix . Was able to make about 10 long baguettes. Wrapped some in foil and sent 2 home with a friend whose wife is away for a couple weeks!
    I made a baby quilt using scraps and some yardage a friend gave me for the backing and binding. Into the gift cupboard it goes!
    I made a scrappy little bag that used up 80 of my 2” squares. And, no, that’s not a store- that photo shows a bit of my fabric stash on their shelves.
    I’ve been using up things in my freezer to rotate the oldest things and make room for new things!
    I just emptied washed and put back into totes the last of my 80 quarts of grape juice that I canned in 2001! I have already put several of those jars back into service canning diced tomatoes!
    A friend was interested in a book we love called Grow a Little Fruit Tree which teaches how to grow more fruit trees in a smaller space. She found a large quilt top at a yard sale that she decided to send me as a gift, so I gifted her an extra copy of the book! We were both delighted!!! Definitely a happy barter!!
    All in all, it’s been a great week!

  99. Thanks for the tip, Tabbie, on the free cereal I will look for that coupon. I was a little overwhelmed shopping there at first but once I figured the layout I’ve been good!

  100. Hello Anon. You need to sign into your libraries website. Once you find a book you like, scroll down until you find a digital copy of that book (it will say for “Kindle”) and see if it’s available to download. (sometimes you have to wait til it’s available. I can’t remember the finer points beyond that, but I do know that your librarian will be plenty knowledgeable and helpful enough to assist you. I would suggest taking your Kindle to the library with you if you get stuck.

  101. Joanne, I know that living costs are quite high in the UK. However, have you ever thought of traveling within your own country, just for some cheap fun? There are so many things to see and do, that are free. If you took a cooler of food and drinks, it would only cost the gas to go. Or, if you don’t want to drive, buy a cheap bus or train ticket to somewhere and spend the day looking around. I know in Britain and European countries, many people don’t travel far. In Canada, we don’t think twice about traveling 2 hours to somewhere. Toronto is about 2 hours from where we live. It’s not uncommon for people living here to have to go there for Dr’s appointments. My brother lives in Ottawa and travels around 4 hours to visit us fairly frequently! Where could you go in 2 or 4 hours from where you live?

  102. I wouldn’t know how to do it either and I’m relatively tech savvy. My suggestion is to go to your library with your Kindle and ask if someone there could help you get your Kindle set up, then show you how to use this service. No need to be embarrassed. I’m sure you are not the only one who doesn’t know how to do this. I would hope the library staff would be kind enough to help you get everything set up for this service.

  103. Go to your local library online. It will tell you to download an app. Ours is called overdrive. Just follow the instructions. If you still have trouble take your Kindle to the library. They can help you set it up. Happy reading

  104. Hi Anon, I think it’s going to depend on how your library has things set up. With ours, you have to check out an e-book (it takes a bunch of steps), then you are directed to log in to the Amazon website to check out the library book. Our library’s staff is very helpful, and if you take your Kindle with you when you stop by, they will show you how to do it step by step on your device. Can you call or visit your library? It’s going to be much easier if they explain it to you.

    If you have a basic Kindle, I don’t think you will need any special apps or an upgraded device. It’s just the process of checking the book out that can be confusing. Good luck!

  105. Tabbie, you said you live in a small town and jobs are scarce? I liked the idea someone else gave of sick child day care. Have you thought about a taxi service? They are popular here, one because we have many Amish who utilize it, and two we are also in a small town and many of the places folks need are in the larger towns. Like hospital, doctor offices, even grocery stores and other shopping. You just need a dependable vehicle easily accessible for the elderly…like not to high up to climb into and room for walker if needed. A minivan is useful if you are transporting families. Good luck in your search.

  106. Brandy,
    I have to thank you for showing that sometimes growing food is keeping at it and not giving up. I tried to grow tomatoes a couple of years ago and it just did not work. This year I started the tomatoes from seeds in the house(I live in the PNW) and they are coming in. We went on a vacation this year to Southern California so I decided to only grown one type of plant. I am also experimenting with starting a couple late summer plants. We will see how this goes!

    And I too, just love the dollar store. I buy pre-threaded tooth floss for my husband, they are $4.69 at my local Safeway for the same count of 60. I also buy almost all birthday cards(2/$1) and helium filled balloons. I found 13.9 ounces of Himalayan salt that would be $4.39 for 3.5 ounces, at my local Kroger store(QFC Here). I bought 30 of them=).

    My frugal accomplishments:
    -Planning meals for the week with my husband and sticking to our shopping list.
    -Used our electric car, instead of the mom-mobile to save $$$ on gas.
    -Saving jam jars, and pasta jars to re purpose for storing dry goods.
    -Making Oat milk(.33 cents)instead of buying almond milk($4.29) for a half gallon
    -Re-purposing the pulp from the oat milk into protein pancakes.
    -Taking a ferry to a small island for a day of fun out of school, inexpensive, entertainment. The ferry is by donation and parking was only $3. for the day. We make a huge lunch and snacks too.
    -My cousin was selling a barely been used stand up Kitchen-aide mixer with every imaginable attachment. I was out of town, so when it was delivered to my mother’s house she paid for it. I accepted this gift with grace. I have wanted one for about 20 years but could not justify the cost.

  107. What is the site that you use to enter in promo code for Coke products. My son has saved hundreds of tops. Also what supplement relieved nerve pain. It might help my husband’s back pain caused by nerve damage. Thanks, Susan

  108. Oooh– Well played!
    I don’t quite understand how the U.S. has a cheese surplus, and excess milk, yet butter prices have gone up dramatically. It must be something in how butter is made and stored; just seems counter-intuitive.

  109. You know, it never even occurred to me to check w/ our insurance, but it’s a great idea and I’ll do it. Thank you! We’re with USAA and they’ve been pretty good to us over the years, so there’s a chance they’ll work with us on this – and even if they don’t it certainly can’t hurt to ask.

    Yes – we love to do just what you described, including senior passes to parks and museums. Such a nice way to have a mini-getaway – inexpensive and refreshing to the spirit.

  110. Susan, the new site is The new supplement I tried is the over the counter Sam E in the US and not the prescription variety sold outside the US. I have horrible neck, back and leg pain even after 4 surgeries. All this residual nerve pain and my daily migraines have disappeared , I have only been taking it a week. Interesting and I don’t seem to have any side effects.

  111. Jeannie,
    I know the “momma terror” of the phone call and dreaded words. I am so glad it wasn’t something devastating…and I love your sons adoption of your lifestyle. My son is leaving for college for the first time in 2 weeks, it will be interesting to see where he “lands” in his lifestyle choice. He is however quite frugal with us, I love upbeat great son stories to show there is lots of hope for this next generation. It sounds like he has a great head on his shoulders…good job Mom and Dad!

  112. I give all of my coke codes to my Dad. He enjoys entering them and getting us gifts. I always seem to find them when I go for walks. People are such slobs. He also uses a magnifying glass to read the codes. Brandy has said there is always something more that you can do to save money and you prove that is true. We love the book Blumpoe the Grumpoe. It is a children’s book. It always made me smile. Good luck to your son. God bless him and your whole family.

  113. Erika, I know you live in Anchorage, but I have grown these outside in Fairbanks. Against the south facing side of the house and for the first few weeks, I have stakes in the pot that I use to hold up a clear 33 gallon garbage sack that I invert over the sticks so the plants are protected form the June winds. It is raining like crazy here, and has for the last few days and all last week, but I harvested two large ones today. Since Anchorage weather is milder, and you have a longer growing season by about two weeks, you may want to give them a try.

  114. Congrats on winning such a great prize. Happy early Birthday. Great job on paying extra on you student loans. Every extra dollar saves you money in the long run. We paid off over 100K in debt in less then 4 years following Dave Ramsey. Good luck.

  115. Hi Anon,
    I’m 43 and I recently took my Tablet in to the library and asked that very question! I felt really silly but the librarian was very kind, gave me a half-sheet of paper with simple step-by-step instructions and sat me in a nearby chair while I followed them. It was easy and now I get both digital and audio books easily from the library without worrying about late fees!


  116. First off, please don’t feel embarrassed!!! I’m 34, fairly good online and it took me years to figure out how to do it (and only because I was prompted by posts here). 🙂 I would really recommend checking with your librarian. Our online book system is through a completely different website than the one used for requesting physical books! Then there was the process of setting up that account and connecting it to my “local” library account. Very different from what some of the other readers are saying for their libraries. Best of luck!

  117. The smoke has been so bad here, too! In fact, yesterday and today, I was really choking up from just driving home out in the air. And, it was around 10 degrees cooler than they said it would be from the huge amounts of smoke in the air. Hopefully, it will clear out soon!!! I’m glad your smoke is clearing:)

  118. There is a butter shortage in Europe. The European market is willing to pay top price for butter from other countries to help meet demands. This means, the butter shortage effects everywhere and prices go up as a result.

  119. They are. The skins are thinner and are often ribbed. They don’t have spines. They can vary a lot; some are dark and some are light skinned (super pale green). They can get really large (24 inches long) and they don’t get bitter. The large ones will be hollow in the middle but they still taste wonderful and by letting them get bigger you can have more to eat. They are open-pollinated so you can replant your seeds from your large ones.

  120. We checked our insulation in the attic a few years ago as we were considering adding some but it is quite good. My house is not that old and we have double-paned windows. The main part of our house is facing south and west. My parents have the same house next-door but they are the next street over, so the main living area faces east, which makes for a lower bill. I have 11 ceiling fans in the house, and we have them running all night in 4 bedrooms. Our house has 2 a/c units plus a window unit in our panty in the garage (which is a room we built and insulated in our garage). We have two fridge/freezers plus a standing freezer, and we do 24 loads of laundry a week. Our rates go up every quarter, but when we moved to this house 12 years ago, our summer bill was $500. I got it down by $200 in summer by making changes. The rates have continued to rise, so we consume less energy now than before but the rising rates have increased our bill by over $250.

  121. We also made the fried rice and my daughter asked for the recipe even. Excellent idea and amazingly frugal! Thanks

  122. I am amazed how so many here remember their weekly frugal methods. If I don’t start the list on Day 1, I cannot possibly remember it all. That said, I will just add a few things here. I switched to all-natural deoderant 4 yrs. ago and find it lasts incredibly long, compared to regular kinds. One tube lasted me 24 months! My current tube of a different brand is at 12 months with still a lot left. I am in hot, humid, south central Texas, so having good deoderant is a must! Yes, it does take a month in the beginning for the body to readjust to natural methods of controlling armpit sweat, but after that, my pits have stayed under control and much healthier without dubious chemicals. So much cheaper in the long run. As far as replacing dishes, pots, and pans, thrift stores are the way to go. I began 5 yrs. ago thrift purchasing all the classic Revere Ware. The stuff is timeless and lasts forever. Just don’t wash it in a dishwasher. I have 5 large stockpots in varying sizes. Small, medium, large, xl, and bigger than I have ever seen skillets. Steam pans, double boilers, you name it. All have their correct lids. Bought for 3 of my kids, as well. As seniors move to assisted living, much of their good kitchen ware is donated to charity thrift stores. I have never paid more than $5 for the largest of the covered skillets. Stick with stainless steel. I still use my 42 yr. old Farberware, and some of my mom’s Revere Ware, too. As far as dishes, I buy mix and match thrift store white dishes. Just stay with a standard size, coloring, and pattern to coordinate. For winter we have mix and match burgandy and olive green plates. Yesterday I found organic strawberries at the 99c Store and bought 10 lbs. to make into jam tomorrow. I use Melissa K. Norris’s recipe for Low Sugar, No Pectin Strawberry Jam. Excited to can tomorrow!

  123. 1. Received a $2 Catalina at Kroger for buying $10 worth of Kroger brand items…will definitely do this deal again!
    2. Used my husband’s leftover per diem money from a business trip to add to my daughter’s college fund
    3. Reusing books we bought years ago to inspire my son’s love of reading
    4. Using Rocket languages for free, thanks to our library membership
    5. Found a $2 shirt for my daughter and a $3 study guide that covers all of the Chronicles of Narnia books (very excited about that find!)

  124. Elizabeth, if you can’t find candied ginger again it is very easy to make from scratch. As long as you can find fresh ginger in the store to start with.

  125. Hi Rhonda
    You are right we can vacation at home and we are going out next week to the National Memorial Arboretum (free entry and we’ll take snacks) but the price of petrol is very high at the moment £1:28 per litre (google says that’s $1:63

  126. Hi K,
    I freeze about a quarter cup of my whey and use that for the next batch. If I stick it in the fridge its ok for a week, but longer than that it makes my yogurt runny.

  127. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I do need them. All three are struggling with finding good jobs and they are not alone. It seems all of their friends are struggling also. The news keeps announcing how great the economy is, but we don’t see it.

    Your son will be successful in life because it appears he has already learned a thrifty lifestyle. It sounds like you have done a great job also! Congratulations on raising a frugal son. We, tightwads, have to encourage each other because the spendthrifts certainly don’t understand us. (I consider being called a tightwad a compliment.)


  128. Oh Kim, I am glad the fire was contained. I accidentally started a fire on our property years ago and it was terrifying. A live coal from the fireplace ashes dumped in the compost pile ignited the field. Within minutes it quickly spread across our field and headed toward the subdivision. Everyone who saw the smoke suddenly appeared and circled the fire in my field and together we fought it. I didn’t know there were so many people around me neither did I realize how many men carried shovels in their truck beds. I was completely unaware how a fire could move so fast but my country neighbors knew the danger and ran to help. I developed a deep respect for fire and have always been careful since. I never want to hear the fire chief ask me if he could see my fire permit as he was pulling out his ticket book.


  129. Lillianna, please add updates about whether Sam E is successful or not. I am interested in it since it might be good for my husband.


  130. Mable, thank you for mentioning this movie. My husband and I watched it last night and we both enjoyed it. We would never have known about it had you not written about it. We’ve got Netflix but are not always good at finding desired movies.

    I’m thinking maybe we should try Armenian cucumbers. We’ve not had good luck here in NC with conventional cukes. But if the Armenian ones can grow in AK and Las Vegas, maybe they’d grow here on the Outer Banks as well! Have a good weekend.

  131. Karen, I have large feet as well (wide foot as well as I take a ladies size 10). Just recently I went shoe shopping for new runners. I compaired women’s shoes to mens and found many of the styles so similar, you wouldn’t tell it was a man’s shoe versus a woman’s shoe. I know your daughter might not like it, but perhaps looking for unisex looking men’s runners (and sandals too) at the store might be a good frugal option in the future. Save the expensive “specialty sized” shoes for dress shoes only.

  132. Since my DS gets heat rash from cloth diapers in the heat, we are using disposables. I stocked up at Target with a gift card. I bought stools off of FB Marketplace and recovered them. I cut up a fruit salad for a work luncheon instead of buying expensive and tasteless precut fruit. Scheduled a breakfast meeting instead of a catered lunch, which easily saved $100. My DH bought me a beautiful flower bouquet from Kroger for $5 instead of $40 from the flower shop- we are moving so I didn’t put much time into planting a cutting garden this summer and I adore fresh flowers. I also splurged on coffee out a few times and for my employees but we all needed a pick me up and I supported the local coffee shop. Exhausted from being up with a teething baby has otherwise kept me out of the stores. Continuing to use up extra pantry items before we move- made another hodgepodge fruit crisp and baked cranberry orange muffins from an old can of cranberry sauce. We own several businesses and are switching around insurance to commercial policies, which will save us thousands of dollars a year. It pays to make phone calls to different companies and compare pricing!

  133. Hi Mary-
    I’m in northern Colorado and I’ve also noticed our higher prices at the farmer’s markets. I agree that it’s always worth it though in terms of quality—particularly for heads of garlic if our crop was low which I can later use as seed garlic. If I make it to our markets I always ask for any ‘seconds’ or unappealing looking produce and it has yet to fail me. Once I bought a giant box full of Palisade peaches for $10 and had enough to can and freeze for smoothies. The peaches grew an extra node and made them ‘unsightly’, albeit abundantly delicious!

    I received an instant pot as a gift, and I’m wondering if you have any good recipes? I read that you can toss in dry (no soaking required) beans, dry rice, and frozen chicken breast for a 20 minute chicken burrito bowl—yum!

    Hope you enjoy the rest of our beautiful Colorado summer,

  134. Thanks for the tip, Rhonda – I wear a women’s 13 and have bought men’s shoes in the past too (oxfords as well as sneakers!). She wears boy’s shorts (to get the length) so I bet she wouldn’t balk at wearing men’s shoes! 🙂

  135. Hi Jennifer-
    I was very hesitant to can anything at all until I heard an episode of the Splendid Table and the host commented that the only way you can really get anyone sick with home canned vinegar based pickles and jams is if you crack someone over the head with it! It made me laugh and broke the ice around the task. Maybe try one well reviewed recipe and start small. I only do water bath canning of fruit and jams and pickled vegetables. I usually find enough good sales on canned meats and vegetables that I don’t bother pressure canning with them (we have a discount grocery with great prices). Good luck- you can do it and it’s so worth!

  136. I love reading about the produce everyone else grows! I have an unpredictable cherry tree, rhubarb in spring, and herbs in pots and yard, and admire your work from afar.
    At an out of town church charity shop, (visiting those in other towns is always so much more exciting), I found three napkins for a quarter each. They are a fringed woven check with an embroidered/appliqued orange Swedish horse, a design I like, probably originally expensive, and perhaps even unused. However, they are thicker and larger than I would use for a square napkin, and they would get worn more quickly with washing. Then I realized I can fold under the top and bottom edges a few inches and make them into placemats, which I will do on an upcoming car trip.
    I found a laminated map of the eastern United States marked a quarter at a yard sale. I glued it with Elmer’s to the top of the old desk I use, cutting it into wide strips to make a sort of collage since it wasn’t the right shape, and filling in a few gaps with decorative tape. It cheers me up, and now it doesn’t matter if I forget to use a beverage coaster.
    Husband has been mixing bread in the bread machine and baking it in the oven when the weather is cool. Lots of library books in and out. Just over three months to the next Inspector Gamache/Louise Penny. Combining shopping (more like sight-seeing) trips with out-of-town appointments this week. I lost two pounds in a month and am crediting it to eating frozen green grapes when I am hungry.

  137. Maxine, some child is going to love that soccer ball. So clever of you to deflate it and send an inflator. Please let us know how you are going to deflate it. I’m not sure but a vacuum might be an idea.

  138. Mable,
    thanks for the information. I am now going to definitely try growing Armenian cucumbers since I live in a cold climate! Ann

  139. The book sounds great. It is also a neat idea to espalier fruit trees against walls or fences to maximize space. I’ve often dreamt of having espaliered trees.

  140. I have sequestered myself in my bedroom for about 10 days. I have an air cleaning machine in the bedroom which filters out much of the smoke from the B.C. forest fires but due to allergies cannot go outside in it. One day, there was no smoke so sat outside and unpacked a box from my storage locker. The next day, since it was a blue sky, we thought of going to the mountains, drove 5 minutes to the west, then turned away because we could not see the mountains at all. We headed south and east and in a province where there was smoke everywhere ended up at a bird blind on a prairie slough/lake where we had a nice breeze through the blind and shade. I got a nice photo of a baby barn swallow (probably fledged only a day or so previously). Then we went to a weir to watch pelicans. Ironically, we missed the worst of the smoke in the city but the next day it was beyond horrible. It is bad again today and I am going to spend the day labelling family photos for a cousin. I bought a small bag of chips to replenish my sodium while outside (it was extremely hot). That has been my only expense for about 12 days. I see that Shoppers’ Drug has my favourite pasta (because it is egg-free) on sale for 4 packages for $5 so I will try to get there while it’s on sale and buy as many packages as possible to see me through the winter.

  141. I’m afraid that this week wasn’t frugal for us at all. Our fridge died which meant all the groceries in it went to rot. It took two weeks for the replacement part to arrive, which meant we had to eat out during that time. We had a lot of fast food, which is cheap but definitely not goof for our long term health.

    During that time, a pipe also burst and flooded our basement, where our water heater and central ac unit was. We had to hire a plumber and rent a pump. Where I am, we’re in a drought so it hurt to see all that water pouring down the storm drain but it was dirty water that could only be used to water the plants at best (which we did). We had to shut off the water for a couple days while the areas the pump couldn’t reach drained. The cost to dig up the pipes was bad enough but during that time, we had to buy bottled water to drink and figure out toiletry problems. My garden plants are almost completely dried up but there’s not much I can do about it. Construction is still going on.

    It was definitely a disheartening week as we spent all our vacation money on repairs but I learned to be very thankful for running water and a fridge! We were also thankful for the AC still working (our central ac broke before the flood and instead of repairing it, we got an external ac) and for the electricity still running.

  142. Terri W, I just did the Gillette razor deal. I spent 10.00 and will be getting $40.00 back. That’s a great profit maker for me. I am not much for using regular Gillette razors but my son is at basic training. Guess what he just requested ? I will ship these off to him and my profit margin will be applied towards a gift card to use on my travels to see him graduate from boot camp. I imagine I will Cantonese as I honestly don’t expect them to be any better than the ones in the store.

  143. I stopped using deodorant about a year ago. I shower daily and I haven’t had any problem with odor. I use dial anit-bacterial soap and so far so good:)

  144. Cecilia, although I am new being a commenter here, I am so sorry for all your problems this week. I admire your grit, determination, and attitude of gratitude. Prayers that the comimg week is much better for your household.

  145. It must be terrible with the smoke surrounding you for days on end. It’s pretty bad in Northern Ontario as well and people have been getting the same warnings to stay indoors. It must be awful – especially if you have breathing issues. I wish I could send you some of the rain we’ve been getting here in Toronto – had 3 major downpours today – kept having to run to close windows – and all the underpasses and parts of the subway have flooded again!

  146. Hi Maxine

    There are YouTube tutorials on deflating a soccer ball. The one I watched was a teenage boy ( and who would know better).



  147. Hi

    What brands of natural deodorant have you tried? I looked on Amazon and Salt of the Earth has good reviews.

  148. I’m not sure how to deflate a soccer ball, but have you tried sticking just the tip from the pump into the ball without the pump attached? I don’t know if it will work but worth a try.

  149. Tina, I also make the container of soup like you do but I do it a bit differently. I don’t trust my 20+ year old freezer and hesitate to fill it too full. I make a big pot of soup full of summer vegetables but instead, I can it using the reusable Tattler canning lids. When my sons were in college, I sent boxes full of the soup jars to them for survival food. They would put it in their backpacks in the early morning and would open the jar later for lunch and then eat the remainder for dinner. Their classes were far from their apartment and the only food choices would be expensive vending machines or the even more expensive cafeteria. We used the pint jars but now I wish I had purchased more of the short half-pint jars. Here at home we can put the extra in the refrigerator.

    I have never had any luck canning greens because my husband said they tasted slimy; however, maybe he won’t notice it if I blend everything. I like your suggestion and will give it a try.


  150. Becky, I wish you were closer so I could trade watermelons for zucchinis. I have given up trying to grow summer squash but for the first time ever, my melons are acting like your zucchinis. We picked the first watermelon this week (after picking the 15 melons that ripened within 3 days of each other) and it weighed 34.5 pounds!!!!!! It is the smallest one on the vine and there are two more that look larger. Never have I grown more that one or two watermelons actually worth eating.


  151. Our garden is doing well. I have frozen what I can and made pickles and. Relish. My freezers are full. I’m saving what empty jars I have left to can peaches. Since there are extra veggies left I have been sharing with extended family and friends. Yesterday I stopped at Fred Meyer. They had pork shoulder roast for 69 cents a pound. I bought one for the freezer and one to bone and grind. It. Made 7# of ground pork and a nice soup bone for just over 5$. Most of the ground pork is packaged and in the freezer. I saved 1# to make American sausage for breakfast. The grinder I used was a oster kitchen set I bought years ago at a garage sale for 5$. First time I have used it, but it did a great and speedy job. We’ve been suffering with many days over 100 accompanied with smoky skies. I normally love summer, but this year I’m ready for an early fall please. We need some rain or snow to help our fire fighters.
    We continue to clear out mom’s home. I have brought home many cleaning items and a few small keepsakes to share with my daughter’s.

  152. I learned to can with a water bath canner first. For an initial canning project, I would suggest trying to can something very easy, like homemade applesauce. If the jars don’t seal properly, at least you can freeze it. Once you get the hang of what you need to do, it becomes easier to apply that knowledge to other canning projects. The only way to learn, is to just do it!

    Just last year, I bought myself a pressure canner. I’m still learning to use it, but it was much more intimidating than water bath canning. After all, if done wrong, they can explode! But, as I said, the only way to learn is to do it. I find pressure canning extremely useful for canning homemade broth and batches of dried beans so they are quick to use in meals. Both are a huge savings over buying in the store! It also saves precious room in the freezer for other items. I prefer frozen veggies, as I can choose how much or how little I want to use.

  153. No freeze-dried suggestion from me. I purchase a pint of live culture yogurt, use maybe two tablespoons to a gallon of milk, then save some of that for the next batch. Not my original idea, but a dollar-stretching one is to freeze remainder of store-bought yogurt in an ice cube tray to save until the first batch no longer works satisfactorily. I think I’ve read that it can be dehydrated and reactivated for use.

  154. I have been taking Sam-E for years (mostly for my slight depression issues). Honestly, wouldn’t want to live without it. I usually wait until Costco has a sale (about every quarter) to stock up, as they have it the cheapest that way. It took about 2 months to really feel it’s affects, and if I don’t take it for a week, I feel how much my body misses it.

  155. Hi Margie,

    Thanks for your wishes of rain. I think we’ll get some tomorrow. Every day, I look out my window and see the most beautiful red, ripened apple crabs which are ready to be picked. They are plentiful and a gorgeous red. My window washer will help pick them with his ladder. The squirrels have been devastating my pear crop by taking big bites to see if they are ripe (they are not!) and I hope to beat them to my apple crabs. I have seen all the flooding damage in TO and hope you are all right. The smoke almost makes me wish for snow. (Not really) Ann

  156. I think we need to stop complaining. There are people losing their homes to those forest fires and farmers are despirate for those rains to water their crops so we can eat.

  157. Goodness, what a mess at your house! I’m glad you had the vacation money to help pay for all of that. I hope life gets back to normal soon for you and your family, Cecilia.

  158. Carol due to injuries I suffered in a car wreck, I find that I need to make notes constantly. Then I misplace them. I love my Kindle. It is my best friend. I went to apps and downloaded the yellow post it note app and now I can make multiple lists and keep up with everything.

  159. Rhonda, I am so happy for all the rain we receive on almost a daily basis. It keeps the house from getting as hot and I rarely need to turn my A.C. on. I find the beauty in my lush green grass. It’s tall and is growing like crazy. But, I can’t cut it when it is wet and therefore it is saving me the gas, and aches and pains I have from cutting it. I am getting so much better at finding the bright side of things. Hope all is going well this season for you.

  160. Thanks Tammy. I am a severe asthmatic so it is a serious problem with the smoke for me. It is not complaining, as Rhonda A. seems to suggest. The people (both in B.C. and California) who have lost their homes to fire and farmers desperate for water for crops are foremost in my mind, my prayers and sympathy. That does not diminish the fact that because of the heavy smoke outside, I cannot walk from my bedroom inside the house to the kitchen without getting asthma (and that’s inside the house). How bad the smoke is in my city sometimes depends on where in the city you are (the valleys are especially bad) but recently the whole city is affected and badly, at the high risk and beyond levels (10+). For peopIe without heart or lung problems, the high levels here are a mere inconvenience but for those with heart or lung problems it is life threatening. I also have great empathy with Margie from Toronto. She was not complaining about the rain but just stating a fact –– that there is flooding again. People have drowned when underpasses become flooded from flash floods. I know that from experience (and a very close call). I think our comments should be read in their proper context, not of complaining, but of stating the facts.

  161. Here, we are able to download books from the library on a computer (desktop, or laptop and I presume a tablet would work as well). I cannot answer your question about a Kindle but I eon’t have a Kindle and download books onto my computer.

  162. Hi Becky,

    Our smoke came back. The air currents (wind) are supposed to change direction which means the north west of the States may get more smoke. The problem with getting rain (desperately needed in B.C.) is that rainstorms have lightning strikes which start more fires during the storms. Snow really is beginning to sound good. I visited your blog –– very enjoyable reading and inspiring!

  163. Wow! That’s a lot:) my kids attend public school and while the list of classroom needs seem long we found we only spend about $10-15 each.

    This year however my daughter and son will start middle school and it is much more. $35 for an ASB card so she can participate in music/choir and $35 for the iPad protection plan.

    All kids get iPads and parents are responsible for them should they break or get stolen, $35 seemed like a bargain for a “just in case scenario”.

    Thankfully her backpack is still good but she is no longer in a uniform so clothing will cost a bit more.

    my youngest son is entering Kindergarten and needed new uniform clothes and thankful Walmart had awesome Prices on pants/polos $3 each polo and $5 for pants! Not bad. Spend about $45 with new socks too. Our school also has a free uniform day where parents can come and take/donate what they need or want.

    My oldest son has autism and some of the fees my daughter has he doesn’t need or participate in. He is greatly impacted by autism so he is in a self contained special needs class.

    I hope they enjoy school and you all do well with the change.

    Frugal stuff, stayed in below budget on groceries by over $40. Got our rebate from Fred Meyer which was almost $20, plus e-coupons and free Friday I saved another $21. Was able to take the difference and fill up my van and get .30 off each gallon.

    We are thinking of refinancing our home as well and are researching possibilities. Our healthcare costs have just skyrocketed and our income is less because of this. Trying to save as much as possible where we can.

    Have a great week!

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