Octavius Playing in the Mud The Prudent Homemaker

At the case-lot sale, I purchased two cases of canned tuna fish, a case of green beans, and a case of corn. The next time I stock up on corn and green beans will be during the Thanksgiving sales. 

I also bought a package of mini-marshmallows on sale at the same store. I checked my receipt as I was leaving and noticed that they had rung up as the regular price. I had the store refund me the overcharge.

We celebrated my daughter’s birthday with homemade brownies from scratch and ice cream purchased on sale for $3.99 a gallon. 

I used the solar oven to cook a batch of beans one day and to roast a chicken another day. I used the chicken broth and leftover bits of chicken with the beans to make a soup. Cooking the chicken in the solar oven with a lid on it (you can get the same effect in the oven) with the breast-side down have juicy meat that was falling off the bones and the chicken made its own broth, saving me time and energy making broth another day.

My son attended his third week of a free ACT prep class.

I gave two sons a haircut.

One of my orchids rebloomed. I moved it from my bathroom (where I keep my unblooming orchids) near my desk to enjoy it.

I used items we had on hand to stage a home for sale that I was photographing for my husband.

The house was near Smart and Final. I’m rarely in that part of town, so we went there afterward and I purchased 4 gallons of rice vinegar ($8.88 a gallon when you purchase 4 or more gallons) and 2 large bottles of molasses.

What did you do to save money this past week?


A little note: I found out that I do have skin cancer. I’ll be having surgery next week.

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  1. Oh no. I am so sorry you are going thru this. Both of my parents had skin cancer years ago and are fine now. You are in my prayers, as always. Please try to get some extra rest. I know it is easier said then done but your body needs to heal.

    Can I ask what you payed for a case of tuna and how many cans and how big the cans are? I am almost out of tuna and have been looking for it for a while but haven’t seen any. I bought a bushel of corn for $21 at a farm out east. I made 20 bags of corn for the freezer. We have had it twice already and I still have 16 ears left. I also made 10 small jars of corn cob jelly, 5 plain and 5 spiced. I have enough stock to make another batch. I have been using all the garden veggies. I made salsa, relish, pickles, pickled peppers, and more sauce. We will be eating very well this winter.

    My husband and youngest daughter went to a Jets football game for free. A vendor invited Hubby and a guest. It was a suite with food and drinks. They only had to pay for travel and parking. They had a great time. My daughter had never been to a game before. Because they were in a suite, 2 cheerleaders came and took pictures with everyone.

    The rest of my week is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-frugal-list-week-of-september-10-2018.html

  2. Brandy, my dad has had all three kinds of skin cancer. He is fair skinned, and spent a lifetime in the sun as a lifeguard, career Naval Officer, and recreational boater. He has never had a recurrence after having a patch surgically removed. He also gets checked every six months to make sure any spots are detected early. As a former lifeguard and sun lover, myself, I started getting checked annually when I turned 40, just to be on the safe side. I hope your surgery goes well, you recover quickly, and you also never have a recurrence. It’s scary, but it is also very treatable when caught and monitored. Thinking of you while you undergo your treatment.

  3. Prayers that the skin cancer will be gotten totally and without issues. I had a friend that had melanoma on her arm and had surgery. Has been two years now and so far no problems or recurrence. God bless you in all you do for those of us on the blog and your own beautiful family. Godspeed.

  4. I’m so glad you got the spots checked out and will pray that the doctors can remove all of it.

    I darned a hand knit dishcloth that someone in my family ran through the garbage disposal, creating a hole. I knit two baby hats to add to my gift stash (teaching myself new skills in the process) and finished knitting a teen/adult hat for a holiday gift. We had a memorial to attend some distance from our home, so afterward we did an errand that we’d been putting off until we could combine trips. I continue to borrow print books and ebooks from the library. I made homemade pizza for a nice family meal.

  5. Brandy, I’m sorry to learn you have skin cancer. What a bummer! Hoping for (and expecting) a full recovery for you. I also hope that school has gotten easier for you.

    This was the second week in a row that I didn’t buy anything for the new house! I did all of the usual frugal stuff. Just to explain, one of the things I do consistently is [i]not spending money for things that were meant to be thrown away[/i]. In other words, I don’t buy paper towels (I use rags) or many other disposables. When I do have a disposable, I recycle it…unless I’m able to reuse it first.

    That said, it was a pretty typical week of use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. No food waste again this week!

    I divided my peonies to make more plants and was given some more perennials, including Autumn Joy sedum and short, dark purple irises.

    We finished painting trim on the garden shed yesterday, mostly using leftover paint from building thiis house. We filled the seams in the floor with Fix-All (so old that it had a price of $1.19 on the box!) and I plan to lay a piece of leftover sheet vinyl over it in the next few days. We planted a free hydrangea underneath the shed window, and it looks fab. I had planned to buy a window box and now I don’t have to.

    My credit union is giving members $1 for every day they use their debit card this month. I made $5 on it this week, and $3 the week before. I spent very little this week, except for groceries, and only drove a few miles.

    I paid my bills online and saved postage.

    I bought a whole chicken for .99 lb., which is my go-to price. I have learned to split them myself when I buy one and the meatcutter isn’t available to do it for me. I will cook half the bird tomorrow and freeze the other half for later. This is how this small family of 2-3 handles those monster chickens that are now being sold as “fryers.”

  6. Love the photo! Your children sure are photogenic.

    Good luck with the skin cancer surgery, been through it twice, and other than a bit of a very small scar, and wearing bandages for a few days, all went well. Living in a sunny climate has its costs…

  7. Best of luck with the surgery next week! I know many people who have had skin cancer, and they easily had it removed. I actually knew one person who seemed to get a new patch of it every year or so (she was in her 80’s) and kept having bits of facial skin removed. Once it healed, you couldn’t tell that there had been surgery done. I know another person who (in his 40’s) had one patch of skin cancer removed and almost 15 years later has never had another recurrence. Am glad you were able to catch it early! By the way, once the site is healed, if there is a slight scar, sometimes vitamin E oil rubbed on the skin helps soften and lighten any scar.

    Am impressed that you managed to do all your frugal accomplishments while still teaching your kids, helping your other kids with homework, celebrating a birthday, AND staging and photographing a house for your husband! Impressive as always!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I couldn’t find lactose-free milk at the grocery store, so I made cashew milk from some raw cashews in my pantry instead, and used that with my morning cereal this week.
    – I made caffeine-free iced tea from tea gifted to me
    – Several times at lunch, I wasn’t able to eat the cheese sandwich I had packed (due to pregnancy nausea or such), so I would take it home and turn it into grilled cheese for my dinner.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gf to Starbucks. I then added the gc amount to my registered Starbucks card, so that I will get reward points when I spend it, which I will eventually redeem for free product.
    – My mom and sister threw me a wonderful baby shower! There was some food leftover so we all took some home. I packed the sandwiches, fruit, and veggies for lunches and dinners for the next few days, and turned the cookies into ice cream sandwiches. My sister used the party room at her condo and they only require a security deposit not a fee, so there was no charge to use the room and it was able to accommodate everyone easily. My mom brought over some of my late aunt and late grandmother’s fine china tea cups, and I made tea cup posies for centrepieces using some roses and baby’s breath, stuck into floral foam. They turned out super nicely (my mom and my sister were both impressed) and it was a way to incorporate my aunt and grandmother into the celebration. The chairs in the party room were damaged so my mum bought a fabric remnant and cut them into strips, and I tied them on the chair backs so as to cover the damage, the way tulle is sometimes used at weddings. It turned out really elegantly. I was even able to negotiate an additional discount on the fabric since there was a small stain on one end. My sister had the guests write notes and gave them to me and I will string them into a banner to decorate the nursery. While my sister and mum planned and carried out the shower, I did organize one ‘game’, a cookie decorating contest! Using swagbucks, I had ordered a onesie-shaped cookie cutter, and I made plain sugar cookies in the shape of onesies, along with several icing bags (ordered previously online from China using paypal money I earned doing surveys) of my homemade buttercream (http://approachingfood.com/the-only-buttercream-recipe-youll-ever-need/) in several colours. I also pulled out some decorations (silver dragees, homemade sanding sugar, and pink and white hearts) from my pantry supplies. Since I knew everyone would arrive at slightly different times, and because my friends are so diverse, I wanted to have something for everyone to do to keep them busy and give them something to chat about. So I had everyone decorate a onesie cookie, and once everyone had arrived, they all voted for the one they thought was best. Then they were able to take the cookie home (mostly to their kids or partner) in a little baby footprint patterned cellophane bag, tied with a ribbon (I had previously traded for the ribbon). I only had to purchase the cellophane bags, which I did from a bulk store using a $3 off $10 coupon. The cookie and icing ingredients I already had in my pantry (I buy icing sugar, flour, butter, etc. on sale and stock up). I didn’t realize that I had run out of baking powder, but I made do with a cream of tartar and baking soda concoction. The prize was a bottle of (very nice) wine from my husband’s wine collection. I packaged the wine in a wine sack/bag that I had previously sewn out of a cloth bag that I had been given as a promo and wouldn’t use. The activity reflected who I am, and everyone really liked it, so I was pleased! Plus, it was all done quite frugally!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  8. Brandy, I will pray for you that the skin cancer is easy to fix and not too painful. Goodness knows your plate is full right now. Wishing you a sense of deep calm.

    I finally downloaded duolingo! It’s so much fun!im using it as a timer for myself nursing the baby-one lesson for each side 🙂 I have a friend here who is French/she moved here in college. She’s fun to practice with! I felt too shy about it before, but now that I’m practicing with diluolingo, I asked her if she would, and she was more than happy!

  9. Brandy..I’m sorry you have the skin cancer. Will be praying for you. You still had a great frugal week.
    I found chicken thighs .88 bought several for winter.
    Found large eye of round roast $1.99. Will freeze for soups..stews for winter.
    Apples .99 so got a few and enjoyed sliced for snacks
    Free from store 2 boxes of granola bars
    Tomato plant still giving us fresh plum tomatoes
    My husband found two dusty old mirrors free. We cleaned and polished and placed in our home.

  10. You will be in my prayers this upcoming week, Brandy. I hope you can get some rest after the surgery. We’ve had a quiet time as of late and I’m really enjoying it. We only go out when necessary and try to do all errands when we are out. We ate all meals at home and my husband took a packed lunch to work each day. We had my DS’s birthday party yesterday with homemade cupcakes and squares. As usual, my mom sent home leftovers from Sunday dinner.

    Hope everyone has a frugal week!

  11. So sorry to hear of your diagnosis Brandy. Praying that the process for removal goes smoothly and you are able to recover quickly.

    Each week I try so hard to make wise choices but feel that I am falling short on the frugal front. I split a pound of ground turkey between two dinners. I made a batch of tortilla soup and spaghetti with it. I always pack my meal full of veggies as that is my first choice to eat, I just know that I lack on protein, so I try and eat one meal of protein a day. So, I threw in the half pound of turkey in each of the meals.
    We had some bad weather this weekend and my boss told me if I didn’t want to work Saturday, I didn’t have to. I braved the roads and made it into work. Saturday’s are only half days but 4 hours of work is better than nothing. That added to the 8 extra hours I worked last week will be nice on my next paycheck.
    I am meeting a family tomorrow to start babysitting for 1 to 2 nights a month when they want to go out to dinner. Every little bit adds up.
    I submitted grocery purchases on my ibotta and receipt hog apps.

  12. Forgot to mention–Penney’s sent me a two-month bill with a $25 penalty for not having paid the month before. I never got the previous bill, possibly because mail was supposed to be forwarded from our previous address. I called to complain and asked them to remove the $25 charge…which they did. It always pays to ask to have charges of this type waived. If you’re a good customer, they will do it.

  13. WOW! Your shower sounds wonderful and so creative and frugal!! I envy your creativity. That is a talent I am sorely lacking.

  14. I am sorry to hear about your skin cancer. I had it on my nose twice–nine months apart–but nothing since then (10+ years). You will heal up nicely, I’m sure!! (But if you are having the Mohs procedure and your doctor asks if you want to see it before he bandages it, JUST SAY NO!!
    I just wanted to say, thank you for such a lovely blog. Your home is like Ethan Allen on a Dollar Tree budget, and that’s really impressive. Most frugal-minded blogs don’t have the same elegance.
    Also, I don’t know how you manage as you do, but if you ever decide to take a several-month blog hiatus, I am guessing that I am not the only reader who would happily wait. Congratulations on that new baby and Happy Monday 🙂

  15. Sorry to hear about the skin cancer, Brandy. Saying a prayer that all goes well with the surgery!

    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.
    • Ate dinner in 6 times, including salmon, baked potatoes and zucchini; tostadas (twice); red chicken enchiladas and corn on the cob; grilled pork chops with baked potatoes and sautéed yellow squash; steak, baked potatoes and zucchini. Only ate out on our Trivia League night.
    • Worked 4.25 contract hours.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.
    • We have a small commuter car for Hubby that gets better gas mileage than his truck. He hadn’t been driving it because the AC wasn’t blowing cold enough (a necessity here in Phoenix.) He finally had the time to repair it and is now driving it to work most days.
    • Continue to eat up what we have in the freezer and in storage. Just about the only things I am buying are dairy and fresh fruits and vegetables and any really good deals on the clearance racks.
    • Dad was back in the hospital this week. (Still going to be ok, praise God.) But that meant a few more days at the hospital for me, waiting around for doctors to tell us results of tests, etc. Brought all my food from home instead of buying food in the cafeteria. Also read library books while I was there.
    • Hubby washed our car instead of taking it to the car wash.
    • Hubby went dove hunting and got a few. We will have these as appetizers one night.
    • Lots of fruit on sale this week. Got grapes, strawberries, peaches and blueberries, all for rock bottom prices and a bag of apples and some bananas from the clearance bin. Also got laundry detergent, cereal and apple juice for 99c/ item. Got my Friday Freebie too, which was a protein bar.
    • Paid enough extra on the mortgage to take a payment off of the end.
    • The cereal had a deal for sending in for a free book. I sent in for 3 and will give those to my Grandson for Christmas.
    • Hubby brought his lunch to work 3 out of 5 days. One of the days he didn’t, he received a free lunch at work. On the day he purchased, he got a very cheap take out meal. Since my Dad was in the hospital, I didn’t take him out to lunch this week like I normally do. Not how I want it, but it was a savings.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  16. I’m so sorry to hear it was cancerous – I will be praying for complete removal and a speedy recovery!

    My daughter needed a metronome for band so I downloaded a free app for her Kindle Fire. I also used digital credit (from delaying Prime deliveries) to get a Bible memorization app that was recommended for school for 99 cents.

    I have kept up my meal planning and have been cooking easy meals from home. We’ve dramatically cut back our eating out this month, including last night when I got home tired from a weekend trip and threw together a quick pasta dish instead of running out for burgers.

    I got three free lunches at work last week. Today I was supposed to go out with a friend but she had to cancel, which left me without food for lunch. I was able to run an errand for work that took me within a couple of miles of my house so I swung by and picked up some leftovers to eat back at the office.

    My daughter started with a new piano teacher. Her former teacher retired unexpectedly. The new teacher was willing to let her continue using her old books so I didn’t have to buy a new set.

  17. That picture of your son is lovely. So sorry to hear about the skin cancer. Good luck with the surgery next week. Will be sending positive thoughts your way.

    I had a good week last week, with a couple of frugal fails. I was home sick one day, and I decided to sew a shirt. It was a pattern I had used very recently, so I was familiar with how it’s put together (it is a dressy t-shirt with a built in scarf). Well, I have learned not to sew when I am sick. I screwed up the shirt, and it was not fixable. Luckily, I had enough fabric left to make another one (and luckily the fabric was not expensive to begin with).

    The other frugal fail had to do with our new stove we had installed a few months ago. The layout of the burners is opposite to what it was on the old stove (the large front burner used to be on the left, now it’s on the right). This has led to us (mainly me) turning on the wrong burner, because we were used to the old layout. This weekend, my husband made the same mistake and almost burned out my favorite pan. I managed to salvage it, thankfully. Hopefully we won’t keep making this mistake.

    Frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I bought 11 lbs of tomatoes at the farmers market for $28. They gave me a bulk discount (this is a good price for organic tomatoes here). I canned 7 half pints of very spicy salsa, and froze five quarts of tomato chunks for later.
    – A few weeks ago, I made nightshade free hot sauce for my brother in law’s birthday (I keep forgetting to list this here). He has celiac disease and can’t eat nightshades either. I used this recipe http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2017/05/nightshade-free-hot-sauce-recipe-paleo.html, and added 1 tbsp of Szechwan peppercorns to make it hotter. It turned out great and my brother in law was very appreciative.
    – One night I had an earache, and I remembered reading on here about how you can use garlic ear oil for this. It was late at night, so I looked online for a recipe, and made my own. I was very impressed that it worked so well – my earache was gone the next day. 🙂
    – I picked greens as part of my CSA vegetable share, and blanched and froze them for later.
    – I chopped more poblano and jalapeno peppers for the freezer.
    – I mixed up solution for our hummingbird feeder. I do this every week but forget to list it.
    – I made a big batch of curried tomato soup for my lunches, and froze it in individual servings.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments this week.

  18. What a great find! I miss finding things for free on the side of the road. Back where I am from, it was a treasure hunt. Where we live now, it just isn’t the way. I never see anything on the curb worth picking up anymore. Some of my best finds were patio furniture, a couple of camping chairs, some potted plants and pool toys.

  19. Brandy I hope you have a quick recovery from your surgery. Thank you for keeping up with your blog during this time. We all look forward to reading and commenting on Mondays!

    A few frugal things this week:

    made SB goals X3
    listed and sold items on local FB buy & sell; made $57
    accepted additional work at home hours from my occasional office job, also worked in the office for 5 hours

    This week I found I was very mindful not to waste my time. I was thinking of how busy Brandy’s life is and realized that I could get more done. I continued to clean and declutter my home, listing a few items for resale. I decided that the money I earn from selling extra stuff will eventually go to new carpet for our basement. It nice to have a goal to work towards.

    Wishing all a frugal & joyful week.


  20. Brandy:
    I will keep you in my prayers for complete healing and also total elimination of all anxiety about the surgery and recovery.

  21. My husband had his first bout of skin cancer over 24 years ago after we moved to Ohio. It was malignant and so, because it was on his face, he was referred to a plastic surgeon. I’ll never forget the dermatologist who originally did the biopsy and confirmed it! She said, “You’re not from Ohio, are you?” Days are more dreary here and she was right! Dave is an Az pioneer boy and grew up there in the days before sunscreen and since he is blonde and Fair-skinned, he has regular dates with his dermatologist at least every 6 months, but almost always just to take care of pre-cancer! Do wear sunscreen and a hat when you’re outside (although I’m sure you already do)! I’m sure your surgery will go well!
    This week I’ve sold another 8 Scrappy Bags online and we got our website up and user-friendly (our Facebook site was becoming harder to use!) So we are now at HandmadeinOldeTowne.com . The best part is that by making my Scrappy Bags, I’m using up scraps from my fabric stash, rather than yardage and I don’t have to buy any supplies! I can “shop” without any cash outlay!! And it’s decluttering my sewing room! Here are a couple I just made: https://pin.it/wekgu4u655p6mf and here’s another : https://pin.it/3323qmfgqz4agu
    And should they stop selling, I can use them as Christmas presents for the 11 kids, their spouses and the 34 grandkids! That would take over 50! Lol!!

    We have 2 volunteer Roma tomatoes that are right up next to the chicken coop that are producing baskets of beautiful Roma’s! My Roma’s that I carefully planted in my lovely raised bed garden barely produced! Ironic!

    The chickens keep producing, although it’s around 3-1/2 dozen eggs a week-down from the 4 dozen over the winter! But, it is still wonderful and it’s now been over a year since we bought an egg from the store!

    Made all of meals at home, often using leftovers in other dishes to enjoy! Chopped up homemade French fries went into a new breakfast burrito that I was making in bulk! I made up more cookie mix as I used the last of the previous batch to make peanut butter cookies. Every time I was in a hurry or tired from a long day and thought about bringing dinner in from a restaurant, I would get a simple idea for a dinner I could get ready and sit down to using what I already had in my food storage and had it ready to eat in less time! Money and time savings- that’s my favorite!
    We wanted to organize the laundry room better and had the idea of using heavy duty plastic totes and a metal shelving unit. Hubby thought it would involve a trip to Target or Sam’s Club, but I found empty totes in the basement as well as a nice metal shelving unit there that I had just emptied last week. So now, our chicken feed is all in totes and my pressure canner and steam canner are on those shelves too, which makes it easier for me to get them out to use! I love being blessed to have things like the shelves and totes that we could use for the organizing without having to buy anything!!! And it looks so nice in there now!
    More of the usual frugal stuff here, planning and mapping out errands to not backtrack to save gas. I started a blog to help some of my friends start or refine their food storage. About 7 years ago, at Church, we spent almost a year making a notebook to keep as a reference. So, rather than trying to print it for the ones who wanted it, I started writing the 21 stepsons then having links to PDFs I’ve made for the page. Theantorthegrasshopper.blogspot.com
    All free.
    Great job, Brandi and others who have already posted this week! As always, you each inspire and motivate me try harder!

  22. Brandy, I am so sorry to hear about your skin cancer. I will pray for complete healing.

    On August 8th, our 16 year old son was in a devastating single vehicle crash. He was airlifted to the trauma center in the next big city. He suffered a tibia/fibia fracture with 4 different breaks, a spinal and neck fracture and a severe head injury. Praise the Lord he is doing much better. To say the last few weeks have been stressful is an understatement. We have been so blessed with over $200 in gift cards for restaurants from friends and family, my mom has brought us countless meals and my mother-in-law has came over many times to watch him, sometimes just so I could take a shower. Someone also mowed our 3 acre yard, we want to thank them, but so far no one has confessed!!

    So know we are dealing with medical bills. I think we are up to $126,000 with more coming in daily. It is very stressful. I was kinda freaking out until I remembered that our insurance has a max out of pocket of $6,000 after our deductible. I am cutting everything, and living very frugally, so glad for our already frugal lifestyle that we are able to handle this bump in the road.

  23. Dear Brandy,

    I am very sorry to hear you have skin cancer~ thankful you will be having surgery soon to remove it. My aunt had this as well, and had a successful surgery~I am lifting you in prayers for complete healing and a very quick recovery for you.
    It is wonderful that you have case lot sales where you live, I do not think we have this opportunity here where I live. I may research to see if there is a town near by we could benefit from buying for storage. Usually I buy from Costco about every 3 months the basics of what my husband and I need.
    I have had a medical bill that I am paying on so my personal home budget is decreased for about 10 more months. I also will be paying in now starting in November for Medicare and supplemental now from my disability income. Because of this financial situation, I’ve had to rebudget and plan for 10 months of my monthly household finances. Thankfully, I am able to read where you have cut back, and to go on a more frugal menu plan. THANK YOU!!! While this time seems difficult for me, you create a beautiful hope in how you have structured your menus, and writings of encouragement on your blog and website. You don’t know how much a blessing you are to me~ and I am sure to others.
    I spent 1/2 of what my food budget normally was for our groceries this month. Took a calculator with me, and bought sales only and needs only. I am relieved. We also went to Costco and purchased a few items for the pantry to last us 3 months . I was pleased in what we spent for the month.
    We had a meeting at our Church on Sunday with a free lunch. I pulled out a bag of old clothes from the garage to purge and bring to Good will, and found some clothing I can still use. I made your homemade laundry soap.
    Take good care of yourself Brandy~ my heart in hugging you while you are going through so much at this time. Rest in the Lord~ as he is the Healer.
    Patty from the NW

  24. Good luck with the health situation. I’m hoping for the very best for you. I am glad you are surrounded with a family that will be so supportive as you get through this.

    A strange week, starting with bad vertigo and an upset stomach, which really reduced how much I could do for several days. Fortunately, there was a leftover skillet of rice and eggs and vegetables, and quite a few pantry and freezer items that could be made into easy on the stomach meals with very little effort.

    I missed cancelling a subscription on time, and had no cash. Planned to take bottles and milk cartons back for deposit refunds, so I could buy cat food, but it snowed for two days. Very, very rare for it to be this early. Between that and the illness, I just couldn’t go to the bottle depot. I cooked some meals for the cats instead of buying cat food.. They are not crazy about people food, but ate enough to keep going. I’m glad there was enough food that they would eat. The good news is the cat with stomach problems had no problems when eating home cooking.

    I missed two paid meetings, which will lower my income for next month. However, I was asked to do a 45 minute phone interview with my electricity company this week. I did that today, and a $50 gift card is on its way. Also managed to do enough transcription so I could buy cat food and gas to get to another meeting this week.

    The snow is gone and the world has stopped spinning in my head, so I’m happy with that.

  25. So sorry to hear about your cancer and surgery. I hope the surgery takes care of it.
    I did not have a frugal week. We had some unexpected home repairs in the 4 figure range. Trying to think positive though so I also:
    Packed lunches for my husband and I all week, and for my son 3 days out of 5.
    Used a coupon to get bananas for 29 cents a pound. Bought extras to freeze for smoothies.
    Enjoyed free entertainment this last weekend via a trip to the library and fishing (already had the equipment and license).
    Paid a doctor bill in full on time and received a 10% discount for doing so.

  26. Oh Brandy so sorry you need surgery. I’ll be praying for you. As many have said, you’ll have them removed and are very likely to be fine. Please let us your caring readers and fans know if you need help with your medical bills. I feel like it would be the least we can do.

  27. I’m gathering from comments that your cancer screening came back positive. Add me to the list of well-wishers for a complete recovery! You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  28. I’m sorry to hear that your results were positive for skin cancer. I’m praying for you and your family for successful surgery and rest and healing.

    I have more apples to dry and will try to get half of them in the dryer tomorrow. I made apple syrup from the peels and cores and quite like it. I cleaned out the fridge prior to grocery shopping and saved those scraps for the pigs my son feeds as part of his job. The pigs will also get some windfall apples from my friend’s yard, saving the friend an extra-heavy garbage can. I think of these activities as feeding my future dinner.

    The mountains to the south of our home are on fire. I made sure I have photos of all the furniture and appliances in the house so that if we have to evacuate I have the information I need should I have to file an insurance claim. Thus far no homes have burned and my area is not at immediate risk. Still doesn’t hurt to be prepared! We’ve been watching the helicopters and planes dump water and fire retardant most of the day. Free entertainment for the 5 year old!

  29. Hello Frugal Friends,

    Brandy, I am sorry to hear of your cancer and praying for a quick, full recovery.

    I had a good frugal week. Here are the highlights:
    – I have been cleaning out everything… Bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen. We are decluttering and getting rid of stuff. It helps to see what we really have and not buy more stuff.
    – I used a gift card to have a nice birthday lunch with my (13!) year old at Red Robin. He also got a free ice cream and Happy Birthday sang to him.
    – I ordered a free tree from arborday.org! I am so excited to get a free tree! I need one in our back yard. I saw a flyer in the library that told about our local utilities partnering with them. We pick it up in October.
    – I ordered lots of free samples. They are all on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/09/17/10-freebies-today-9-17-18/
    – I made lots of food from scratch including: chicken, hamburgers, tacos, burritos, and lots of rice.
    – I am using what I can from my garden including lots of swiss chard, a few squash and zucchini.
    That’s about it! I hope everyone has a healthy, wonderful, week!

  30. I’m also praying for your quick recovery from this surgery and no re-occurrence of the skin cancer afterwards. The best part of being as busy as you are right now is that you don’t have much time to dwell on this! At least it would be for me:). Still, I’m sure you are ready for it to be over with as soon as possible.

    I love the great deal you got on tuna–that’s an amazing price and lots of sandwiches or casseroles or patty melts or salads for very little money! I’m sure your crew can go through several cans of green beans at once–I know we sure have no trouble polishing off a quart and there are only a few of us eating around here anymore.

    The biggest frugal thing this week was an entire trailer of split and dried and chopped firewood that friends dropped off for us, absolutely free, out of the kindness of their hearts. They know my husband is struggling physically right now, and they wanted to help us out, so they’ve been chopping wood for us from the forest. How kind. It’s hard to express how thankful I am. I got a lot of free exercise this week stacking it in the back shed. There’s a picture of the wood on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/09/16/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-sept-15-2018/

    My canning project continues. I did more tomatoes (with more to go as they ripen or I can scrounge them), plum sauce, salsa, and chicken-rice soup.

    I made more raspberry-pear popsicles. There has been a small handful of raspberries every few days, so one day I combined them with some canned pears that really, really are not getting any younger and need to be used. I didn’t can more this year, and won’t until these are all gone.

    We cooked and ate at home as usual, with one exception. We went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate our 36th anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long, but it has. I feel so blessed that it’s been so long and we are still as much in love as we were so long ago.

    I’m very thankful for health insurance, as we had several doctor’s appointments this week.

    I haven’t shopped much for groceries for several weeks. I made up for it this week. I loaded coupons onto my phone from the 2 stores I wanted to go to on Friday for the bulk of the shopping. I checked Ibotta and made sure I was pairing coupons with the Ibotta rebates. I used the Bottle Drop kiosk at one store and cashed out $50 in bottle refunds I had been saving. The program on those kiosks give you an extra 20% so I got $10 in absolutely free groceries. I used a $5/50 at Safeway. I picked up several free items, mostly from Safeway, but one from Fred Meyers. In the end, that day, I spent around $140 cash for over $300 worth of groceries, according to the receipts.

  31. Thanks, Kitty B! It meant a lot to me to be able to incorporate my aunt and grandmother into the celebrations in some way. I did something similar at my wedding shower years ago; it was a tea party and we used my aunt’s and grandmother’s Sunday tea cups. My mum said that my aunt and grandmother would have gotten a kick out of it, so I was pleased, especially as my aunt died between my engagement and wedding, and was so disappointed to be missing the wedding. But she did choose one of her handkerchiefs to give to me so that I could tuck it into my bridal bouquet when I got married, so she knew that I would be carrying her memory with me down the aisle. 🙂

  32. Thanks, Mable! I remember something Brandy once wrote, about how anyone can do something creative, whether it is as simple as baking a loaf of bread or as complicated as…I forget. Point is, we’re all creative in different ways! 🙂

  33. Oh Brandy, I’m so sorry it wasn’t the outcome you were praying for. I certainly hope your surgery goes well, and they are able to get all the cancer removed. Are you able to call upon your family and church community to help you and your family as you recoup after surgery? There are a lot of moving parts in your household that require your attention on a daily basis. They will need covering as you recover. I sincerely wish you all the best for the most positive outcome with your health. This entire community will be rooting from you from all over the world.

    Frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Meals made at home included cheese tortellini Alfredo with homemade garlic bread (used up various buns from the freezer), taco bake with salad, homemade fried rice with spring rolls (also made chicken fingers for DD), BBQ cheddar sausages or hot dogs on a bun with potato chips, “make your own” pizza, eggs Florentine (eggs scrambles with chopped spinach [and sauteed onion if desired] on toasted English muffin with slices of provolone [or Swiss] cheese and all topped with Hollandaise sauce…yum!) with broccoli salad, and BBQ chicken breasts on a bun (2 Costco chicken breasts split in half fed 4 “adults”) with corn and baked apple crisp (from the freezer).
    *Sliced up the 6 smoked hams I bought on sale last week. Added to the freezer 7 meal sized packages of ham steaks, 3 packages of diced ham to use in casserole dishes and 3 small packages of shaved ham for sandwiches. So 6 hams gave me enough meat for at least 13 meals.
    *Did a Costco run, as my hubby needed an oil change on his car. I noticed a sign that sirlion tip roasts would be discounted $5.50/package (2 roasts per pack). It is rare to see beef with discounts like this at Costco, so we picked up 2 packages and my mom bought a 3rd package. We now have 6 beef roasts in the freezer, which should last most of the winter.
    *Grocery shopping highlights included 20 lbs of carrots for $1.97/10lb bag (will be blanching and freezing these for winter meals), 10lb bag of yellow potatoes for $1.97/10lb bag, a package of seasoned roast beef cold meat “ends” for $6/1kg package (repackaged and froze in 4 family sized meals for making French beef dip sandwiches), grapes for $0.99lb, 2 bunches of fresh broccoli for $0.97/bunch, 6 packs of chicken bacon for $3/pack (froze 5 for future use) and 4 boxes of bacon dipper crackers on 50% off clearance making them $0.99/box. Unfortunately noticed that milk prices have increased from $4.27 to $4.55/4L (1 gallon). Good thing I keep a well stocked pantry. It will help with the food price increases that we will be seeing over the next few months!
    *Sent extra lunches for DD’s friend 3 times this week. Also sent some extra food from our pantry on Friday for her friend to eat over the weekend.
    *At DD’s request, made banana chocolate chip muffins for lunches this upcoming week (recipe link: https://www.interweave.com/article/spinning/inspiration-everywhere-handspun-yarn-tapestry-weaving/?utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wt-alo-pt-161205-BoxWeavingHandspun). I had some ripe bananas that needed using up and this recipe called for 4 bananas, which means more healthy fruit per muffin!
    *DD attended a free cooking class through Autism Ontario potentials program on Friday evening. They cooked Greek inspired cuisine. DD enjoyed the hummus and the lemon herb chicken they made. We brought home the recipes they used.
    *On Saturday, DD was not feeling well. We weren’t sure if it was a migraine or the flu. I made some white rice for her to eat, as it is gentle on the stomach. She only ate a little. Eventually the headache went away, thus proving it was a migraine. The next day, I decided to make up a batch of fried rice from the leftover white rice (heavy on the veggies) for DD’s and friends lunch on Monday. Put it directly into the containers, so DD wouldn’t eat it before Monday. Cheap and healthy!
    *Trimmed my bangs myself, to extend time between having a professional haircut.
    *Went for a walk around our neighbourhood for some free exercise.
    *Cleaned up some of the garden. Collected anything from the heritage plants that went to seed (beans, peas and cucumbers) to save for another year.
    *My mom had a tree cut down in our front yard that had been there since before they bought the house 42 years ago. We sat outside and watched them take it down. Felt sad after it was gone. It was like loosing a part of my childhood.
    *Frugal things I do all the time that I don’t think about: water potted flowers with water leftover in drinking bottles, wash out and reuse Ziploc freezer bags (they are heavier and work better for reuse), dry clothes on the line when weather co-operates, stock up on seasonal and sale items to maintain our pantry stock, use Pinterest to research new recipes and new ideas for being frugal, watch for sale items that would make great gifts and maintain a “gift stash” to pull from as needed, and buy candy/chocolate on sale/clearance to maintain a “candy stash” (I utilize this at Christmas, Easter, when we travel/go on day trips or occasionally when we just need a little treat).

    All the best to everyone, for a wonderful week ahead.

  34. Brandy, I’m adding my prayers to all of those above that your surgery goes well and that your recovery time is minimal. Skin cancer runs in my family full of Scotch Irish blood and my mom, aunts, grandparents all have had spots removed. I slather on spf 100 when I’m in the sun, but still will burn which is easy to do in eastern SC where summer lasts from March through October.

    Last week was possibly the least frugal week in some time as we were hardcore prepping for Hurricane Florence. Thankfully for my area it didn’t come in as strong as they predicted, but I feel for those in other areas. I had to buy a lot of water, shelf stable foods, pet foods, etc etc. When Hurricane Matthew came through in Oct 2016, I was without electricity or water for a week, so I was not having a repeat of that experience. All of the stuff I purchased can be used though so it wasn’t a waste, just wasn’t frugal or even the kinds of products I would normally buy.

    I guess my biggest frugal accomplishment for the week were picking a handful of cherry tomatoes off my plants. Also, my dad brought over 2 frozen turkeys he’s been holding for me in his freezer. I used them to take up space in my chest freezer in case of a power outage. I figured a full freezer would stay colder longer than a half filled freezer. I also filled up 10 plastic storage bins with water (I’m on a well) to use for toilet flushing and washing, and then filled up every stockpot and Tupperware container I had with tap water, in case the 3 cases (24 bottles each) of water and 10 gallon size jugs ran out. I’m glad the storm has moved out of the area and I can get back to a normal schedule.

  35. Brandy,

    I am so sorry to hear that it’s skin cancer … I hope everything goes smoothly and you’re able to recover quickly. Sending virtual brownies for you and your family 🙂

    Blessings and peace,

  36. I’d be interested in how you split them. We are two people and even a 5# bird is too much–and we don’t especially like leftover chicken frozen after cooking.

  37. I’m so sorry that your son has been injured. My son had a traumatic Brain injury playing football in 2006 and couldn’t walk or talk or feed himself. He also had seizures. We had him sent to the Madonna Brain Institute in Lincoln, Nebraska not long after he came out of a coma. My parents stayed there and my other son and I drove there every weekend to visit. They helped a lot. Of course, he has had much therapy since then and now can walk and talk, he has friends.
    I am glad he is alive. It is amazing how many people cared and helped when it happened. I didn’t leave the hospital for 4 days when it first happened. Finally I went home to sleep and shower. Then back to the hospital. It has been a long road to now. But I am so happy to have him around. As well as my other son.

  38. Brandy,

    I will pray for you and your family. May you have a quick and complete recovery from surgery and cancer.

    Here are our frugal accomplishments
    ~ Unplugging the computer each night
    ~ Intentionally sending homemade lunch with my husband every work day
    ~ Gratefully signing up for a webinar at the introductory price
    ~ Joyfully keeping the A/C off and running the fan instead when it got too warm
    ~ Gladly using paper and sticky notes gifted to me
    ~ Using gift cards for some necessary purchases
    ~ Thoughtfully ending invitations for an event through Evite.com; it’s a definite upgrade from Facebook invitations without the cost of mailing printed invitations.
    ~ Joyfully sharing a meal with my parents on Saturday; we were soberly reminded how blessed we were to be all together.
    ~ Strategically running errands in conjunction with appointments
    ~ Prudently using what food we had on hand to make meals
    ~ Wisely doing our best to eat produce before it went bad
    ~ Boldly asking for my brother’s help with a vendor event. Instead of saying he’ll show up, he offered to make a video of different testimonials to play on his tablet AND come to help me out!

  39. Brandy,
    I’m sorry that you have skin cancer. I pray that it heals. You have been in my thoughts. I do love your blog.

    Hubby made homemade pickles. Utilized the library. Cooked soups. Trying to use everything we have instead of buying, including groceries. Cooked chicken black bean chili with everything I had on hand. Made Indian dishes with beans and potatoes and wonderful spices that I already have. Made Dosas with chickpea flour. Made soups and froze half for later.
    Utilized food pantry as the little bit of money i am making is all that we have coming in. Hopefully unemployment money comes in and Hubby can get something worked out.
    Turned off lights except above us. Turned up air conditioning to a higher temp so as not to use as much energy. Electric bill was higher than we had hoped this month with all the added fees. Glad we have propane already for cooking.
    Glad that we have insurance this month. Will be going to the dentist tomorrow. Hubby needs to also.

  40. Praying for you. This is not what you need when you are so busy, but God is good all the time. Praying you are sustained in this busy season and stressful medical time.

  41. Oh no. I’m so sorry to hear that your biopsy came up with cancer. You’ll definitely be in my thoughts; please let us know how you’re doing.

    I finished knitting another Christmas gift today out of what was basically scrap yarn. It turned out so nice and my husband’s going to love it. I tucked it away into my gift stash and began another gift, this time for my daughter, out of yarn from my yarn boxes. I used leftovers to make my son lunches, which went into the freezer and will be pulled out and packed every night so I don’t have to stress about what to make him for lunch. I also made him a batch of cinnamon baked oatmeal for his breakfasts; I just toss a square into the microwave in the morning, which makes mornings so much easier. I also cooked my family a chicken that another family member gave us for free, so they all enjoyed that.

    I received two skeins of free yarn in the mail after complaining to a company about issues I had with their yarn. They were extremely attentive and responsive, and the replacement yarn they sent me was beautiful. I was extremely happy with their customer service. I tossed a large batch of cherry tomatoes from our garden into the dehydrator; they’re really tasty when they’re dehydrated! I also came in under budget again this week for groceries, so that made me pretty happy.

    Wishing you all the best, Brandy. Please take care of yourself, and give yourself time to heal after surgery.

  42. While a positive diagnosis is not the best possible outcome, the skin cancers today are extremely controllable. My husband has had three or four removed by the Mohs procedure. His biggest problem was being allergic to the antibiotic ointment he was putting on it! We found a different one that worked. Since then, once a year visits include spraying any suspicious spots with liquid nitrogen, and no further problems. Since I am very fair, I also went to be checked and have only had a few pre-cancerous spots taken care of. I hope your treatment is as easy!
    Last week I got a boneless pork loin for $1.49 a lb, cut it myself and froze it. This coming week butt portion hams are $1.09 a lb, so I will be adding one of those to the freezer as well. Also got some canned goods which are normally $1.99 each for 88 cents each. I bought as many as I thought I could fit in the cupboard–space is limited. Sept-Dec are the best time for pantry stocking in this area and I’m taking advantage as much as possible. We don’t go out to eat much after the weather turns cold here–just too much trouble. The last peaches I bought were dead ripe so I was forced to make my husband a peach pie (which he loves)–it was so good it didn’t last long. The rest of the basket are being eaten on cereal daily. Also bought some new crop apples to make applesauce. The weather has been really hot here but sunset comes early anyhow, so it does feel a bit fall like. Hoping your sleep is improving—I am a night owl who keeps myself awake when I should be sleeping. Sleep comes more easily when your children are small and keep you exhausted!

  43. Jenn,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your son’s accident. I hope he makes a full recovery. Wonderful to hear of the care bestowed on your family during all of this. Prayers for you, your son and Brandy as well.

  44. On my, I have had you on my mind all day. I am so happy that you had this checked out early and I will also pray that it is simple, uncomplicated and will cause you no more stress. My life is a constant state of frugalness. At this point we continue to do any and everything we can to spend no money. I bought a gallon of Clorox bleach that was 4.50 and I almost fell over backwards. I rarely use it and was flabbergasted at the price. While on the clothes line my very expensive Ralph Lauren comforter mildewed. ( a purchase from my former life) I am going to soak it in the bathtub in an attempt to salvage it. The laundry mat machine is 7.00 so I will try this first. If it works, great and if not, that’s fine too. I noticed a bag of zip lock baggies is missing some zippers and others have 2 or 3 zippers. I will call the company tomorrow to see if they will replace them. I steadily work on swagbucks to increase my rewards. So far I have enough to cover our hotel room to see my son graduate Army basic training. I also booked an Airbnb to stay Thanksgiving with him at his next army base for his next schooling. With a 40.00 coupon, I rented a small cottage for 140.00 for three nights. Booking early was the key. I send two cards and a letter a week to him. I am grateful for my random stockpile of cards I have picked up at the thrift store. Right now my priority is his graduation, thanksgiving and Xmas with him. Thankfully his school is only three hours away so once he returns from basic training, a visit will be doable as a tank of gas round trip will be 30.00. Once he leaves school , there is no telling where he will be. Probably South Korea. He is happy, loves the Army and I can only hope he makes it through basic training with no problems. Sugar cookie has been looking at your photos Jeannie, and wants to visit the Amish. I will send blessings to everyone who is struggling. I hope tomorrow is better for you.

  45. Oh, your baby shower sounds wonderful and it’s an inspired use of teacups. And I love the idea of a cookie decorating contest. Ann

  46. Brandy, if anyone can pull through all of this with a positive outlook it will be you. I continue to be amazed by everything you do and the beauty you bring into your family’s (and ours) lives! You will continue to be in my thoughts.

    My frugal accomplishments this week:

    Picked 1.5 gallon freezer bags full of blackberries!

    Facebook & eBay sales profit this week = $60.50

    Found two needed items (in like new condition) at yard sales, saving me from buying them new (an estimated savings of $40)! Also found 16 jelly jars for $.10 each at a sale, and the owner gave me a deal on the total sale price (I also found a FireKing dish to resell and my mom found two things at this sale) without being asked! In all (I went to a town wide yard sale) I purchased approx 15 things to resell and a few to keep. It was a great garage sale weekend!

  47. Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    Brandy you did so well with the case lot sales and all that you purchased at such low prices, that is certainly the way to do it and stock up when the prices are so low to save a lot in your budget. I am sorry to hear about your skin cancer diagnosis and will pray for your recovery and for it not to reoccur.

    Exciting news is our house deposit is reaching the level where we are now starting to look at properties to buy and will continue to save until we find something suitable. It has been a long road of saving but it will be worth it we have seen one property today which wasn’t really suitable but will continue the hunt for something in our goal price bracket 🙂 .

    Our savings added up to $407.35 this week :).

    Finances and listings –
    – Listed 15 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $24.75 over usual listing costs.

    – Earned $12.91 from the sale of 100 g of thyme picked and dried from the gardens.

    Purchases –
    – With money earned from the sale of handmade items and herbs I purchased off eBay 2 parts of the tightwad gazette saving $59.62 on new prices, 2 wrist guards saving $3.90 and 2 knee guards saving $1.42 on usual prices.

    Groceries –
    – Did our last part of our 3 monthly shop and ended up being $172.30 under our grocery budget for the 3 months yay !. Buying only when things are on special is paying off and our pantry stockpile is growing steadily :).
    – I saved a further $19.70 by buying specials over and above the $40 saved using our $240 for $200 Woolworths e-voucher.
    – We topped up above our usual stocks on 12 tins of mango slices, 11 bottles of sarsparilla, 12 pkts of baking chocolate chips, 1 container of cottage cheese, 1 carton of wet cat food and 2 pkts of dry cat food.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested 29 bunches of silver beet and 2 kg of broccoli from the gardens saving $112.75 over purchasing them in the shops. We blanched and froze these giving us 23 more double meals of silver beet and 2 more double meals of broccoli. Our silver beet is likely going to bolt with the heat so we try and stock the freezer in the cooler months for summer.
    – Started white onion, carrot, cucumber and capsicum seeds in pots on the veranda and the onions, carrot and cucumber seeds are already sprouting :). We started them in pots as our frosts here are just over and this gives us a head start for the vegetable gardens.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


  48. We’ve been home from vacation for 10 very busy days. Our garden, unwatched while we were gone went into hyper drive. We picked hundreds of pounds of veggies and fruit the next day. Most of it was shared or hauled to the mission. Even so I have been canning and freezing every day.
    My freezers are now completely full. After processing another batch of pickles today and a canner of tomatoes I have just a few empty jars left.
    My widowed brother brought me his mending. It took me several hours to complete. He graciously allows us to use his lake house. We haven’t been there this year. Decided we should go as snow will likely fall there soon. We plan to leave in the morning. My brother will join us for a couple days. I have purchased special steaks and some extra treats so I can fix extra special meals for all of us while we are there.
    Our Goodwill store has a dollar price on one color ticket every Monday. Sometimes I can find some excellent buys. Last week I got a down coat and a velour pullover for 1$ each. Today I got two flannel shirts.
    I have been calling closets and cabinets and delivering my donations each Monday. Between those receipts and the receipts from donating vegetables and fruit to the mission we will have some deductions for our taxes.
    We continue to eat all meals at home. There’s no food waste here after scraps are fed to the chickens and the dog.
    Frugal living is so ingrained for us I don’t think we can live any other way. It looks like one of our rentals will be sold by the end of October. That will finish our house debt and pay off our car. It will be so nice to have freedom from debt now that we are in our senior years. God is good.
    My prayers for all who are sick or struggling. Our strength is in a loving God.

  49. I am feeling overwhelmed this morning with the amount of debt we have. Not going into a long story, but need to be as frugal as possible. I joined the Don’t buy anything club, right before I had to stock up for the hurricane. This is my first time posting, I look forward to learning new ways to spend less. Thankful we were spared from the hurricane and the tornados. Have a thrifty day!

  50. Brandy, I am praying for your speedy recovery! I am so sorry you’re sick, but if it’s any consolation, I know 3 people who have beaten skin cancer. You are strong and you can do it. So many people who care about you, and are sending good wishes your way.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping sales and using coupons/rebates when possible. Recent finds include a 24-pack of water for $0.99, apples for $0.88/LB, Tide pods for $0.94, turkey breast for $0.99/LB, free Halloween candy, free toothbrushes, free shampoo, and much more. All of my transactions with price breakdown here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-9-8-18/

  51. Brandy,

    What a shock to you, I’m sure, but prayers that it will be totally removed and gone forever. So good you had it checked out. You have a lot of people praying for you.

    I made chicken soup with some frozen okra, corn, pasta and frozen green beans. A different combination but very good and stretched the chicken for another couple of meals. I am thinking of buying freeze dried food in pails (large cans) of prepared food such as chicken primavera etc for emergency food rations. I also hope to prepare a backpack with supplies to take in case of urgent situations. I am going to try to have extra medicines in it, first aid, spare clothes, a space blanket, etc. I am just starting to assemble it. I want to make several jars of soup for the freezer in case I have surgery. Using a can opener is too hard but I could manage opening a mason jar.

    Again, we are all hoping and praying for a good outcome.

  52. Its great you can work with your husband to contribute into your income, using your talents! May be great change in routine too!

  53. I am sorry to hear that your biopsy came back positive, Brandy, but so glad that your insurance will cover the surgery. Good insurance is such a blessing!

  54. You will remain in my prayers for the best possible outcome. You seem to be getting more than your share of bumps in the road lately. We made it through Florence with about 11″ in rain. We were very lucky, only losing power for around 3 hours. The last heavy rain yesterday sent many fish in our very full pond out the emergency overflow, so my husband and I caught at least 200 of them by hand and put them back in the pond. It was quite the adventure. There was much flooding yesterday in the roads surrounding us. We expect much of our garden will rot, but will know more as the days go by. I’ve been enjoying a free series on Prime, called Pioneer Quest. Wishing everyone a good week. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/09/hurricane-florence-frugal.html

  55. You will be in my prayers as you face surgery! You are being proactive. This has tho be scary…but success rates are very good!

  56. Brandy I have been following your blog for a number of years and I really admire you. So sorry to hear about your cancer.

  57. So sorry to read that you have skin cancer. My father had skin cancer and he made a full recovery. I will pray that you make a full recovery too. May God bless you and keep you safe.

  58. 1. Received our Book-It Reading Program coupons in the mail…my son is looking forward to pizza:)
    2. Got a great deal on cereal at Kroger and we will also receive five new books thru a Kellogg’s reading program thanks to the purchase
    3. Used Kroger e-coupons to lower my grocery bill by $10
    4. Took snacks and lunches to the park and on errands this week
    5. Loaded up on library books to get us thru the week

  59. Hi Brandy, My thoughts and prayers are with you too for a successful operation. My Dad has just had a lump removed a few weeks ago and he is now fine. Warmest regards, Wendy (NZ)

  60. Sorry to hear about the skin cancer. My husband has had several spots removed over the years (10 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan will do that to your skin), but never a recurrence in an area removed.

    Lots of spending here this week. Mostly done with saved money, but some is deliberately on credit to help build it.

    New 2nd floor AC installed. It should be more efficient and actually keep the second floor cool. Now to bug bomb for the bugs that came to live there while the windows were open (screened but still) and then scrub every surface on the second floor with bleach and wash everything (high humidity = mold)… in my NEW Speed Queen washing machine. Donated the old washer (turns out it was a $20 part but a LOT of labor) and a (working) dryer (I had 2 dryers) to the battered women’s shelter. Washed every piece of clothing, toweling, and bedding in the house in the new machine. Generated a substantial Salvation Army pile in the process. Made my last trip to the laundromat hopefully for a while with the big comforters. The laundromat is expensive!!

    Florence was the impetus for my husband finally buying the whole house generator we’ve been eyeing for a while. It is dual fuel so now we’re looking into having a propane tank buried and a concrete path/ pad built for it to make it easier for me to handle if he’s not here.

    Attended free Zumba classes and a movie on base. I have started showering at the base after my workout to save on my water bill. Looked into cutting my TV bill, but the channels I watch most are on the most expensive tier. I am going to look into a firestick. Reviewed my gas and electric bills to see if there are cheaper plans or options. Signed up for a free kindle unlimited account. I may cancel at the end of the free period if I’m not reading enough, but right now I am.

    Picked up BBQ one night and they had a pint of chicken salad as a special. Split the BBQ into 2 meals and the chicken salad into 3 more lunches. Wasn’t terribly hungry one night so just ate some snacky odds and ends from the fridge. Took my breakfast and lunch to work each day. Been doing better on both the eating out and throwing away food fronts, but I still have room to improve. Very limited groceries, but I did get BOGO donuts to take into work. Sometimes my staff just needs donuts!

  61. Tabitha, what is it that makes you feel you are falling short on? Perhaps we could offer some suggestions if we had a better idea of what you are stuggling with.

  62. Prayers for you! My husband and I just went through this very procedure during the summer on his face, right above his eyebrow. We were terrified, but his dermatologist was wonderful and got it on the first go! He has been given a clean bill of health and doesn’t have to go back for six months. We are so thankful it was caught early enough. He has a small scar, but I told him I would rather see that scar everyday for the rest of his life than to lose him to something as treatable as skin cancer. Please let me encourage all of your readers to keep a check on any suspicious mark or spot. The spot that we actually were concerned about turned out to be nothing, this skin cancer was simply a small red spot on his face that had been there for years.
    Frugal accomplishments, which I have not written about in some time, are all about our new house that we purchased in August. The house itself was an excellent deal. I was given a beautiful china cabinet, one that I priced for about 1200 dollars online. They just wanted it gone. My husband found decor at thrift stores and garage sales for practically nothing. I bought a canvas for my living room for less than 20 dollars. Our table was 120 from an auction. My lamps in the living room, which have crystal bases, cost me 22.00 at an auction. The paint for the entire house was 50.00. It may seem like we have been spending a lot, but we have saved a ton of money by shopping at thrift stores, garage sales, and the auction in order to purchase needed items. We got our first light bill. This house is almost a thousand more square feet than our other house, so I was really, really worried that the light bill would be astronomical. It wasn’t. It was actually cheaper than our other house! To try and make it even lower this month, we turned down the water heaters. The previous owners had them set at 135 degrees and the water was scalding. We have two water heaters, so that pulls a lot of electricity in order to keep it that hot. We turned them down to 115 and we will see what it does to the light bill.

    Have a blessed week!

  63. Not a frugal week for us. My Yukon (that we were already trying to replace) gave out. We made the trip to my mil’s to pick up her husbands truck that he wanted to go to the teen so I would have something to drive until we could reach our down payment goal. We had to replace the wipers($25), and ball joint($100), then the transmission messed up. $60 to tow it home and there will be another charge to tow it to repair shop. (The boy will pay us back, it’s just frustrating to have $ going out). I’m now in hubby’s boss’s truck.

    I missed 2 days of work which means smaller paycheck

    Used some found gift cards for our date night Starbucks

    Hubby’s boss sent over 50 fresh eggs, yum.

    Hubby is taking some stuff to the dump and neighbor is paying half to add a couple items

    Neighbor borrowed our lawnmower and filled up one of our gas cans for letting him use it

  64. Praying for your son and family. When my oldest was 13 she was in 2 hospitals for 11 days. Total bill was $113,000. With our insurance it was $1,000. She did have PT and OT for another year so the copays were OOP. Don’t worry about the bills right now. You have enough to deal with. Focus on your son and yourself. Stay healthy so you an take care of him. Everything else will sort itself out.

  65. After reading your post Brandy, I prayed for you and for a successful surgery and complete healing. My mom had skin cancer on her face in different areas about 20 years ago and had it removed and it has never came back. Thank you for introducing me to library e-books on my cell phone. I have been enjoying them. I also started reading the Darling Dahlias series after someone posted about it here, but had to take it out of the library as a hard copy. It was not available in e-books. Love all the time period details, recipes and hints too! It’s such a fun series. To save money this past week I have been trying to be more creative in the kitchen and use things we have so I don’t have to go out and spend money on groceries. I am also trying to do the same with cleaning products.

  66. Brandy, I am joing in praying for an easy, non-complicated skin cancer surgery, complete healing, and a bit of rest and calm. I had never heard of a case lot sale before. What kind of store sells them? Is the sale advertised somehow? It sounds great, but I don’t know where to find such a sale. Thank you.

  67. Best wishes for a complete recovery, Brandy. So many of us here have dealt with skin cancer and I’m sorry you have to go through this.

    As you are a fan of history, George Washington was diagnosed with skin cancer and it was seen as an affliction of farmers and those who spent a lot of time outside. His physician burned it off. With what, I’m not sure, but it makes me thankful to live in this day of Moh’s surgery, sterile technique and anesthetic.

  68. Brandy,
    I always read your blog and have read through your past posts, so much that I feel as if I know you. I am praying for you for healing, strength and peace.

  69. Hi Brandy,
    Praying all goes well with surgery. Sounds like you had an amazingly busy week!
    As far as my family. My husband was visiting his father and was gone for 5 nights…which means super cheap dinners at my house.
    Also was able to score 5 ALL laundry soup for $5…the bottles we’re 33 loads so that should last my family almost 3 months. Also got 3 boxes of cereal for $0.99
    Also got 2 jammies and shorts and leggings for my kids for $20 shipped which is a great deal. Finally my daughter went to a sleepover and I was able to buy the gift for half off. Overall I spent my money for the week but feel like I got a lot of deals.

  70. Good health prayers for all. I put prickly pear fruits in a blender after I washed them. Then through a sieve. I had about three fourths gallon of juice to do something with later. First time doing it the easier way. At first I was depressed because I didn’t have my propane stove anymore so I googled and found Carolyn J. niethammer’s way of fixing them. I ordered her The Prickly Pear Cookbook used from Abebooks.

  71. Hello Frugal Friends,

    Brandy, I am very sorry for your diagnosis and will be praying for a quick, full recovery.

    Here are our frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I took my son, who just turned 13, out for a birthday lunch at Red Robin. I had a gift card so most of it was covered. He also got a free ice cream sunday and they sang Happy Birthday to him.
    – I have been cleaning, decluttering and getting rid of stuff. This helps save money by me knowing where things are and not buying more items.
    – I have been using what produce I can from the garden. I made several loaves of zuchinni bread. I am also using swiss chard, lettuce and herbs as much as I can.
    – I am trying to propegate my basil plant before the winter comes and it is dead.
    – I have cooked a lot at home including hamburgers, chicken, burritos, tacos, and lots of rice.
    – I sent away for a lot of freebies which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/09/17/10-freebies-today-9-17-18/
    – I am using chicken eggs from my backyard chickens.
    – I was able to get a free tree from arborday.org and a partnership with our city. I saw the poster in the library and logged on and got one! I am so excited because we need to replace a dead tree. It will be here in October.
    That’s all I can think of!
    I wish everyone a healthy, frugal week.

  72. Lorna, my Swiss chard/silverbeet always bolts in late spring (April), but then I replant at the same time and it grows all summer here in the heat without bolting until the next spring. It is really hot here in summer (46°C) but it doesn’t bolt then. If I plant the end of winter/early spring (January here) it will still bolt in April, but the April planted seeds grow throughout the heat. I never freeze it because I have it all year. I know your climate is similar; you may want to try planting some new seeds when you are pulling the bolted plants.

  73. Local grocery store had tuna is 59 cents and whole chicken 69 cent a lb. Still eating out of the freezer. Need to take inventory in freezer in the next or two. My hours at work went from 40 to 28 hrs. Looks like in the next week or two I won’t be working. Its a mix blessing but at peace with it.

  74. I have bookmarked your blog, Gardenpat, and look forward to reading it! I’m always looking for great suggestions or new ideas on building and maintaining my pantry. I’m sure I will enjoy reading every post!

  75. Brandy – I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you deal with the skin cancer. Good luck on the surgery, and hopefully you will get enough rest to allow your body to heal.

    I made my DH’s favorite end of the summer dish. His Italian grandmother called it “meatball special.” It is made with small meatballs, zucchini, potatoes, peas and onions and cooked in tomato paste and/or sauce with Italian seasoning. I also added carrots, green beans and a little broccoli, as that what is in the garden right now. It is basically an end of the garden meatball stew. His grandmother passed away in 1987, so I have been making it for him since then. I am glad to keep this family recipe alive.

    Last weekend was a huge one for produce from the garden. We picked, cooked and stripped over 60 ears of corn. I put them in small bags of 1 cup each, then fill a gallon freezer bag with the small bags. That way, I just pull out what I need. I also made pesto from our basil and garlic. My mother has a walnut tree, and I was able to use walnut that we cracked last year in the pesto, rather than buying pine nuts. Turned out great. I froze them in 1/2 cup dollops on a silicon mat, then packaged them when they were frozen. They kind of look like hockey pucks, so I call them pesto pucks. I got 24 of them.

    I made 3 jars of dill pickles and 4 jars of refrigerator pickles. This all with cucumbers, garlic, dill, onions and hot peppers from our garden. I froze broccoli. I cooked it and again put it in 1 cup increments in small bags, then put these in larger freezer bags. There are only two of us who live at home. We provide for my sons, sisters and my mother when they visit.

    I made baked potatoes and potato corn chowder. I am having the chowder for lunches this week, while DH is having the “meatball special” mentioned above.

    We had BLTs for dinner several times. We enjoy them now, as in the winter, we don’t have tomatoes worth eating.

    We have been picking zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, lettuce, and carrots from the garden. Basil and oregano are drying. Next will be parsley. I will be picking and freezing cilantro to use in winter.

    It seems that most of my work this week, other than going to my actual job, involved the garden. I stayed caught up with laundry and dishes, and kept the kitchen clean – but the rest of the house could use a good clean. I guess that is what is done after the first hard frost, and we lose the garden.

  76. Marcia, it’s not hard. Place the bird on the cutting board breast side up. Using kitchen scissors, slice lengthwise through the breastbone as far as you can. Turn it over and slice lengthwise through the backbones. Assuming your scissors are as dull as mine, you probably didn’t get all the way with your scissors. Now take a cleaver or French knife and finish the job, one side at a time. Bingo! A perfect split chicken! I usually eat one and freeze the other half. When I thaw the frozen half, if I want pieces rather than half a chicken, I just take off the wing and leg/thigh and finish cutting it up.

    The easiest way, however, is to ask the meatcutter to split it for you. They do this with their saw and it only takes a minute. I have never been refused, nor have I ever been charged for this service…even when the chickens were on sale dirt-cheap. I have found that meatcutters generally like to do extra services for people (especially women, LOL) who act like they know what they are doing. I would have done this last week, but I shopped after the meat department had closed.

    When I am on this topic, I don’t like round steak. Top sirloin tastes better and is much more tender. (“Petite” sirloin, as it is usually called where I live, is bottom sirloin and tastes good, but is not as tender). When top sirloin is on special for $4 lb., I buy and freeze it. Since I like to use it for chicken fried (country fried) steaks, I ask the meatcutter to run it through the tenderizer twice. It is very tender and doesn’t fall apart like cube steak bought in packages…it is always a better cut of meat and usually cheaper, too. You can do this with round steak, but–as I said–I don’t care for round steak. (Top round is more tender than “London broil,” which is bottom round), Thanks to my dad (1909-1986) for all of this info. I think most people in his age group knew this stuff.

  77. Brandy, I am so sorry to hear that it was cancer. I well remember the shock I felt when I got the call that the flaky place on my face was actually cancer. At that time, my husband was going through radiation for prostate cancer. Once my shock wore off, I told people that I was jealous of him getting all the attention with his cancer, so I grew my own. It seemed to lighten the atmosphere a lot, since people really felt bad about us both needing treatment for cancer. I had the Moh’s procedure then plastic surgery the same day. I agree, don’t look at it before the plastic surgeon does his work! However, it’s been about 3 years, and now I have to really raise my eyebrows high for people to be able to see the small fine white scars stretched on my nose, right between my eyes. The surgeon did a great job. I pray yours goes very well.
    We took (free) delivery on a replacement dishwasher this week, and my husband is bravely tackling the installation to avoid a $150.00 fee. A few years back, he could have done this easily, but his physical health has taken a downward turn, and a couple of recent severe hypoglycemic episodes have left him having trouble focusing his thoughts. He can do it, but it’s slow. We opted for a less-exciting dishwasher this time, but maybe this will bring less things to break down. We’ve had poor luck on nicer dishwashers.
    I used dried beans and my pressure cooker to make “baked” beans this weekend. It was 96 deg. both days this weekend, far too warm to use the oven, and the crockpot already had a job to do, making bone broth. Yesterday morning it was still 78 deg. before sunup — I’m so ready for autumn. We are keeping the air conditioning at 79 to save on our electric usage.
    The autoimmune medication that my doctor wants me to start using (and keep using indefinitely) is very expensive. For the first two doses (I would take six a year) my co-pay after insurance would be $806 — and this takes into account that my deductible is already met. This medication is paid through my medical, not my pharmacy plan. I contacted the manufacturer’s assistance line, and they’ve accepted me to get assistance. They will cover the cost of my co-pay except for $5, for up to $20,000. After that, there are some other assistance programs I might be eligible for. Let’s hope so! I have fought off taking any of this kind of medication for 10 years, but I’m at the point that I have to do something, so right now, this is my best case scenario.
    I have enough Swagbucks to buy another gift card. I’m trying to decide where I want to use this money — it will probably go to Christmas gifts. I love getting nice gifts for FREE.
    Best of luck Brandy!

  78. Beautiful photo, as always!
    I’m so sorry it was a positive diagnosis, Brandy. My husband’s mother and father have both had many “patches” removed and nothing has ever spread. I’m sure that this will be the case for you as well but I’m praying for you anyway. I hope everything goes very smoothly and your anxiety is limited.
    This was *not* a frugal week.
    The water softener died and it cost us $165 for someone to come to the house just to pronounce it dead. My dh had been working on it, but it eventually went beyond his ability to fix and/or diagnose. That’s because the company that makes and sells this model have proprietary designs and you have to use tools specifically made for them. Which we don’t have, of course. A new unit will cost over $2k. It would appear that our hard water is wrecking our dishwasher so I’m trying to wash most things by hand but sometimes I’m just lazy and chuck the dishes in there and pretend it’s all okay. Argh!!
    My Kindle died. While I was reading a book on it and it was charging. It just…stopped. My techie kids have tried every little trick, to no avail. It’s dead. To top it off my 8 year old Samsung phone started shutting down, just because, as well.
    My 25 Year old Cuisinart food processor broke.
    The dogs pulled a piece of the wood which separates the front walk from the front garden bed off in such a manner that I’m not even sure how to repair it.
    The exhaust system on my van started rattling in a very menacing way.
    One of commuter cars that the kids use to get back and forth to their college classes died pretty spectacularly on the road while my daughter was driving it. The tow was $100. Even with AAA since they don’t service many of the roads in our area. The repair will either be A. Impossible or B. Ridiculously expensive. Waiting on that. Yay.
    We went to the law office that handles our wills, etc. and had a meeting to update them. I’m positive this will cost over $500.
    I redid my budget. I hadn’t even looked at it all summer because…summer! And it turned out that I was $650 over budget EVERY MONTH. Yup. EVERY MONTH. Which explains my credit card bill. So. A reckoning is at hand. I’m working out the new budget now and scheduling a family meeting for this Saturday so we can go over all of the changes that nobody is going to like. LOL! Well, all I can say is…it was a fun summer!!
    I’m staying positive. My husband is employed and our health is good. I’ve had to do a major financial turn around before and I can do it again; I’m not afraid of tightening the belt nor am I afraid of saying, no, no and no. I’m only a little afraid that I might do it again next summer. 😉
    Have a great week everyone.

  79. Tammy,
    I’ve been thinking of you a lot. Sorry to hear that your husband isn’t working (at the moment) and hope his health issues are sorted out. The pickles and soups sound lovely. Courage, something will come your way. Ann

  80. It’s a lot of fun. We dont look for it purposely it’s just there. I think we should get more to see what we can find.

  81. I’m praying that your surgery goes smoothly and that your recovery is swift.

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate out only one time. Meals at home included burrito bowls, Tuscan White Bean Pasta, Southwest Chicken Skillet, the last of the black bean burgers from the freezer, and leftovers–of course. We enjoyed more Jello w/ whipped cream for dessert.

    * Harvested kale; red, green, and purple bell peppers; basil; yellow summer squash.

    * Did not go grocery shopping. I thought I might have to run into the store before payday for some milk and fruit, but we were able to get by with what we had.

    * Made peanut butter. (I’m not sure how frugal this is, as I’m pretty sure I could find cheap peanut butter for less per pound than I could find peanuts, but by making it myself I can control the ingredients.)

    * Crocheted some new dishwashing cloths.

    * Made sun tea.

    * The weather has been nicer, so we’ve been able to get by with only minimal AC usage.

    * Fed the chickens kitchen scraps and collected eggs.

    * Composted what the hens couldn’t eat.

    * Watched DVDs from the library.

    * Made three loaves of bread.

    * Tossed celery tops and leftover rice in the freezer to use in future stocks and soups.

    * Hubs rode his bike to work one day and worked from home one day.

    * Made yogurt.

    * One of the scouts in our troop works at a local deli and brought us some mac & cheese, potato salad, and artichoke hearts.

    * Paid bills online.

    * Continued to save rinse and warm-up water.

    * Enjoyed watching the hummingbirds and butterflies flitting around our backyard.

    So here are a couple of questions: What is a case lot sale? How does one find out about them? (I assume it is a sale of cases of canned goods, but I’ve never seen anything like that advertised here. As there are only three of us, I’m not sure I even need to buy an entire case of anything–although we do go through a lot of tomatoes.)

  82. The French might be good for the baby as well! The more children hear a language when they are babies, (or even before they are born), the easier it is for them to learn the other language when they are older. It must be something about having internalized the sounds and rhythms. Humans are such marvelous creations.

  83. Sandra: Best wishes to you as you make life changes! I am glad you were spared the bad weather, so you can get back to your plans. It might be slow going, yet you can do this.

  84. Ann,
    Thank-you. My husband already had an interview today and I think he has landed a job! I am so happy! He was only out of work for a week. He will be able to be off his feet in his new job. He is going to training today. Just hours after the interview. They really liked him. I am thrilled!
    The pickles were good! And I just love soup.
    Ann Thanks for thinking of me. Tammy

  85. Your soup sounds good too! Good idea to gather things for emergencies. I really need to do the same. I hope your arm gets better.

  86. Brandy,
    I’m so excited! My husband has found a job! He has been on sick leave for so long and now only a week without pay. He found a job that pays much less but he can be off his feet. I’m just happy he will have a job. I hope he likes it. I’m just happy he tried so hard. He is a hard worker. Anyway he just called me after the interview and is going to training today.

    I think it great that you help stage your husbands houses. You can really decorate. So I am absolutely certain that it makes a difference in sales.

    Wishing you the best in everything.

  87. We were gone for several days on the marathon drive to visit my father, (a round trip to both sets of parents is 2000 miles). Turned down or off what appliances we could while away from home. We packed snacks, including sale purchases, and filled water bottles along the way. Our motels had very good included breakfasts to bring down the price. I appreciate that motels now let guests decide whether or not to replace the sheets and towels each day. I wouldn’t do so at home and don’t require it on the road, either. Let the motels be frugal as well as save resources!
    Dad is looking through all his assets and making sure they are all in the best shape for when he is gone, certainly a form of frugality to avoid costs to us some day. I went with him to the lawyer’s and found it quietly funny that the lawyer kept saying: “If you pass” such-and-such will happen. Nice to think of Dad living forever.
    While at Dad’s, I happened on an article about how to “stage” one’s home for sale. It suggested having all wall colors visible from the front entrance the same color, preferably neutral, for better “flow”; taking down screens and stacking them neatly in the basement, thus letting in more light but showing they are included (too much work!); having at last one electronic system that connects to a phone, like thermostat or locks, to show the house is modernized even if old. One suggestion I might be able to do some day is having signs with words in a few of the rooms, like a framed “Family” or “Love,” etc., to give viewers a focal point. A friend changed all her light bulbs to LEDs when they were showing their house, and it really brightened things up.
    Best wishes to you, Brandy, and to readers who are facing physical challenges! Letting family and friends help is so important in crisis times.

  88. The only store here that has case-lot sales in Smith’s. They have them twice a year. They are in Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, and I think in Idaho. Utah has more stores that have case-lot sales. Our Smith’s is a Kroger affiliate, but I have never heard of other Kroger affiliates having these (yours would be Ralph’s, but I don’t think they have case-lot sales). Smith’s had them before Kroger bought them out and they continue to have them still. The ads are an extra page that comes with the regular grocery ad for that store. Our grocery ads come in the mail here on Tuesdays (sales here run Wednesdays through Tuesdays).

  89. Jenn – God bless you and your family at this frightening, frightening time. I was so sorry to read this, and so thankful to read that your son WILL recover. You are in my heart and prayers!!

  90. Just wanted to send you be-well-wishes, Brandy.

    Regarding orchids… I’m on my second one and hope not to kill the poor thing. It has bloomed and now has no stalks as I’d cut them when they shriveled and died back. One of the large leaves has died, too. But the others look okay so far. I just keep giving it a couple of ice cubes now and again and have my fingers crossed.

  91. Pat! Love your blog! And love the bags. I am thinking about investing in a small sewing machine to take with us when we travel in our 5th wheel. I have a Kenmore (really a Singer but sold by Sears) that is 35 years old. It works great but weighs a ton and with an RV weight is always a consideration. I haven’t done a lot of sewing in many years but am thinking it would be a nice activity to do. So I am wanting smaller projects and the bags really fit the bill. Plus I can find fabric that is reflective of the area (Southwest, coastal, mountains). These could be gifted to people we meet as tokens of appreciation. You really do amaze me in so many ways, but most of all for your positive attitude. I’ve followed Brandy for years and I seem to remember that several years ago you and your hubby had a tough financial patch (if that is incorrect I apologize for the confusion) and you’ve really are now just living but thriving. Mary

  92. Jenn – so sorry to hear of this. Glad that you have a support system. Will be thinking of you and sending healing thoughts. Mary

  93. What a time you’ve had. Don’t forget that many of the things that are broken don’t need to be replaced. I don’t have a dishwasher, a Kindle, a cell-phone or a Cuisinart, and don’t miss them. I have used my laptop as Kindle, but don’t even do that anymore.

    Good luck with your new budget. I am sure you and your family will sort out your priorities and get on track.

  94. I’m so sorry Brandi. I know how hard it is to have cancer with tiny children, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in the Spring. I’m also having surgery next week. I hope your surgery goes well and you won’t need too much intervention otherwise. I’ll be thinking of you and sending good thoughts. If you ever want to connect with a mama who knows what it’s like to go through cancer at a young age, with young children, I’d be happy to talk. Feel free to email me any time. My best to you.

  95. I guess I just feel as though I could be doing more than I am. For example, I know many people’s grocery budgets are much lower than ours and I know that each area is different. We only really have one grocery store and we do shop sales and such, I just think we could do better. My husband eats the same thing every week, so it’s pretty much we buy it whether it’s on Sale or not. We have gotten better at only eating out 1 to 2 times a month instead of 1 time a week. Again, I see some people don’t eat out at all. Each week I read through all the comments and have followed Brandys blog for several years. I glean as much as I can and am doing what I am able to do. Thanks for your help.

  96. Anytime you can get the product cheap, and buy a case, it’s a case lot sale for you! I do this with evaporated milk (I use it in tea) during the fall baking sales and Del Monte corn and green beans anytime I find them for .49 can (often at Target, and our Target has a very limited grocery section). Someone else commented that the best sales for canned goods are in the fall. I have found this to be true.

    That said, case sales are very common where I live (northern Idaho), although I don’t recall seeing them at Fred Meyer (Kroger affiliate). I just watch for good prices and buy big when I find them.

  97. Thank you Brandy, and you are right our climates are very similar 🙂 in temperatures.

    We do plant more seeds after the plants have bolted too and find they will last all year but the silver beet freezer stocks give us enough to make up for the gap while the plants are growing after the initial ones have bolted. We also keep extra frozen stocks for welfare purposes should anyone need it, as in our ward and in all Australian wards we have no storehouse as such, and the members are relied on sometimes to step in. If we see a need we email/text/phone the person concerned to come and pick up free either fresh or frozen vegetables from our home.

    Most years in October we do get fierce storms/mini tornadoes in our area that can devastate our vegetable gardens so the freezer stocks are a good stand in too if that happens. Currently we are in the grips of a devastating drought here and our town water allocation is going to be cut dramatically in November as it is predicted we will not have much rain to fill up our town’s dam. The freezer stocks are also for this purpose too should we not be able to have our vegetable gardens or have enough town water allocation to be able to grow or water anything. We are in a transitional period here in a rental and expect we will be buying our own property shortly so the frozen vegetables will be a stand in while we set up our new vegetable gardens in our new home once we settle in.

    Food storage is so multifaceted and we believe, even though we are on a lower income, that we should stock some things not only for us but also for the welfare of a few more people and insulate ourselves against any adverse weather conditions.

    Have a wonderful week 🙂 .

  98. Sandra we will be praying for your family in this transitional time and remember it will get better.

    Reading other contributors frugal tips and Brandy’s found under [b]Live[/b] at the top of the page along with Brandy’s recipes under [b]Cook[/b] at the top of the page will hold you in good stead.

    Keep smiling, don’t ever give up and put in place the best money saving strategies that will suit your families situation. One of our tips is to substitute one named brand item for a generic or cheaper brand grocery item at a time and try it to see if you like it. Not all of the generic brands are good but a majority are and do save you a lot of money over time. Another is to carefully go over your budget and work out what is an essential expense and what is not, and cut out some of the unnecessary expenses bit by bit, you would be surprised how much money you can save by doing this.

  99. My prayers are with you for a full recovery!

    As has become usual, this week was a frugal one.
    -found some change
    -used the clothesline that is finally up 🙂
    -dehydrated banana chips from 10 pounds of sale priced Bananas
    -went hiking (free) and am exercising at home
    -used water from the rain barrel in time for it to be refilled with the next shower
    -sent more items to the thrift store
    -gathered free tomatoes from a generous coworker
    -stacked more wood
    -planted some gifted lupin seeds

    Our rather usual week has been filled with gratitude! I’m very thankful for my job and that this year’s classes are fine. After a couple of truly awful years, I feel so blessed. My daughter is heading out on her own and received a job offer today. Yeah! My son is doing well at school and AFROTC. He gets to be home every night, and that makes us both very happy. Still praying for my husband.

    Happy frugal-ing, friends.

  100. It is not just hearing the sounds, the infants must be encouraged to repeat them. In studies done with Japanese and English speaking U.S. babies, both sets of kids lost the ability to make (or even hear) certain sounds in each other’s languages by the time they were less than two years old. They obviously can learn to speak the language, but except for a few exceptional individuals who appear to have unusual linguistic abilities, they will never be mistaken for native speakers.

  101. Maxine – wanted to thank you for this tip of splitting the bird in half! I have stopped buying whole chickens and instead paying a little more for pieces on markdown to have access to bones for broth but without having endless chicken that needs to be used up. I will give this a try!

  102. Very tough month financially. Medical bills from a surgery, the car needed expensive repairs in order to even run, and our furnace is spitting fuel each time it starts up. The furnace will have to be replaced. Living in northern Alaska, we are already in the midst of fall with frosts and such and don’t dare enter winter without a reliable furnace. (Plus I am afraid that spitting fuel will lead to a fire). I have canned up a storm and frozen everything we can’t can for one reason or another. Dehydrated a lot, too. Now we are eating whatever is finishing ripening on the counter, so a lot of tomato and cucumber based meals! I also walked over to a compost heap in the very end of the yard, one I was leaving to cook down all summer, and found not one but two spaghetti squash plants that must have started themselves from squash remains I tossed in the compost, and had a total of 11 good sized squash on them. I am thankful for that, since they will last without being processed and also are versatile vegetables. We also have a lot of other winter squash, over 200 pounds worth, so we won’t starve. It is just a little disheartening to have paid off every single bill, including our mortgage, over the last few years and now we will be thousands in debt again. I am too fragile from a recent surgery to do any work for months, so it is all up to my husband. I try to contribute the best I can with my baking and cooking in ways to save money, even though right now I can’t do that for more than about two hours a day. I am lucky that my husband never complains, even when we eat the same thing for days (like cauliflower soup four days this week) and that my bread is sometimes less than soft. When I apologize, all he ever says is, “Hey, toast it and put on butter and any bread is edible and tasty!” The only thing we are buying is milk, because he loves his milk and I refuse to take even that away from him after a day at work. I am lucky with friends; one was having a garage sale and came by and picked up things to add to the sale. I made over $100 from the sale of items that were just lying around in our storage room. I am lucky in most other ways, too; I just need to keep reminding myself that this is a temporary valley in an otherwise blessed life. One other really bright spot is that my sister, who is married to a wealthy surgeon, sent me a gift certificate to King Arthur for my birthday, for $500. I have not told her about my financial worries because she is generous to a fault and would end up trying to buy the furnace for us, so her sending a gift certificate that I can use for food supplies is a very lucky coincidence.

    Good luck on your respective cancer surgeries, Nikki and Brandy.

  103. Tabbie,
    It depends on your season and your budget. I do many things that are not considered terribly frugal by many people’s standards (eating out, having a housekeeper), but I am more frugal today than I was months ago and I am within my budget and my husband’s expectations.

    We are all in different seasons and financial means. As long as you and your husband are within your means and in alignment of expectations you’re doing great.

  104. Tabbie, your husband is making things really easy for you to save money, if he eats the same thing every week. When those items go on sale, buy several extra to create a nice pantry/freezer stock. Obviously, for some items this won’t work, like certain fresh produce or perishables, but you may be able to buy a 2 week supply when on sale, if it will keep. A pantry stock will save you big time on your grocery bill, without being too difficult. At first, you won’t see your grocery bill going down much at all. In fact it may take a few months! But once the stock builds up, you will find you don’t need to buy as much each week, because you already have a good supply on hand. Space may be a factor for you. In my honest opinion, where there is a will, there is a way. Even if I lived in a small apartment, I would find a way to store extra food. It’s that important to me.

    As for eating out, it is something we battle all the time at our house. My hubby LOVES eating out (he’s a cook, ironically). If you’ve been able to decrease your eating out to 1-2 times a month, that is an amazing accomplishment in my books!:D

  105. A physical therapist gave me one treatment for vertigo and it was gone. It had to do with realigning the crystals in my ears. I was amazed since I had suffered for quite awhile with the vertigo. An audiologist referred me to the physical therapist. I try to let people know about the treatment that is available from physical therapy for vertigo. The physical therapist must be trained to treat the vertigo.

  106. As many others have mentioned, we all seem to know of someone who has had skin cancer but caught early had excellent results – and you have a whole community of people praying for you and sending good thoughts your way so I hope that gives you a small amount of comfort Brandy.
    This past week was not frugal – I had friends here from Northern Ireland and there was a bit more socializing than I had originally planned – but as I only see them once a year or so I’ll let it go. Then I saw my second ophthalmologist and that was expensive. I had to purchase special eye drops ($44 and not on prescription) – then $16 for anti-septic skin wipes to use around my eyes – and finally an antibiotic cream that goes on my eyelashes at night (thankfully this was a prescription so only $6 dispensing fee)! And now I have to go for more tests as she suspects Graves disease is also an issue – I’ve had my thyroid checked in the past because of immune system issues but this time they will look specifically for Graves. Thank goodness all of this is covered by our Govt. Health plan here in Canada so no extra costs for doctor visits or tests.

    I’m trying to get back on track this week by staying home more but things are very tight and don’t look to be much better until I get some more PT work. I just have to remind myself that things could be worse and to be thankful for all that I do have – including this wonderful community that you have built Brandy – good luck with everything.

  107. Tabitha September 17, 2018
    If your Hubby is eats the same thing weekly (Daddy always ate bologna sandwich, chips and cookies 45 yrs for his lunch) then when it’s on sale stock for the month freezing the meat and bread and cookies if possible. Quit beating yourself up, this isn’t about who is better than who.

  108. Nikki, I’m sorry to hear you must have surgery for breast cancer. I had that experience 7 years ago. My prayers are that you will be strengthened for the path ahead, and you will have a successful outcome.

  109. Heidi September 18, 2018
    I thought for a minute you was our Daughter3 because it sounded just like what she has went through in the past 10 days only her 4 kids are in jr/high school. Prayers sweetie. It won’t happen again next summer if you set the budget and hold to it
    Blessed Be

  110. May blessings of health flow all over you Brandy. I’ve had skin cancer and surgery. Prayers for you and yours.
    I am glad you were able to get stuff at the case lot sale.
    Being frugal this past week has been off and on. I woke up one day with my eye swollen and went to eye doctor, she said sty and gave me meds. NEXT day both eyes were swollen shut so back to the doctor which end up being a different one and he ran tests and said I was positive for Staph. As long as no one stuck their finger in my eyes or used my tissue and I washed my hands all the time I would not pass it I went through the same thing 30 yrs ago with a horrible sty. Three days of high dosage steroids (which of course triggered my Crohn’s) and steroid cream my eyes are pretty good. Doctor thought I was over it but as I habitually clean my eyes twice a day he thought I might have flared it with saw dust or drywall dust during construction here.
    Since I couldn’t drive anywhere I worked more on my blog and focused on a new budget. I know that we have to get Hubby’s new welding stuff for him to start doing that before we get the new truck so I know exactly what we have to make the down payment.
    We came in under budget on 209 …low enough to pay for the house to be painted this weekend and MAYBE get part of the gravel…we are waiting for the painting to be done and the paneling upstairs before ordering the gravel.

    I did decided to do my Sam’s club shopping for our membership runs out next month

    We are changing our routines to fit the new season of our lives

  111. Hi to all. I am praying for all dealing with difficult things right now.

    I have not posted in a few weeks. I continue to do the frugal things I usually do, full wash loads, drying clothes on racks, husband takes his lunch to work and making dinners at home.

    Between three people we now have new food limits – no beans, pork, caffeine and dairy. So I am researching how to handle this new development. Also, one big non frugal thing in my family is dealing with college daughters car being repaired – it has taken two months and in the meantime we had to pay other ways for her to get around.

    The biggest frugal thing we have done is plant our fall garden and the watering setup has been expensive but in the long run will be worth it – we planted Lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and cucumbers. I am looking forward to produce in the next few months.

    This is all I have time for now. I enjoy reading all posts.

  112. I’ve had two bouts of malignant melanoma in my 20’s/early 30’s, so it’s not necessarily age related. One was serious and needed a skin graft, but the good news is that skin cancer is the most curable form of cancer!

    Good wishes from my family to yours.

  113. We are about to close on our first home and my hubby and I agreed we would purchase our bed frame and mattress new and the rest of our furniture used, garage sale and thrifts. We want a kind size bed for our room and used they are priced the same as brand new. We have been living and traveling in a fifth wheel for 4 years for his job so we have very little furniture. Seems silly to pay so much for furniture and as long as we can find something weblike that is good quality, I have no problem with it being second hand.
    A note on your water heater settings, our inspector had commented that the previous owners also had it set about 10 degrees too high and suggested turning it down. Saves on electricity and scorched bottoms in the shower.

  114. Mo,
    If whole chickens are lots cheaper, you can always buy several, cut them up into pieces, such as legs, thighs, etc. and make broth from the backs and wings. I have even cut the breast off the bone before, not being super careful to get it all, and made broth from those bones. I have cut up several chickens before, right away from returning from the store, when they were super cheap, and re-packaged the pieces into meal-sized bags and then froze them. You can also roast a whole chicken, then when you are serving it cut the breast meat off the bones, and maybe even the thighs, letting the family chew the meat off of whichever things like drumsticks you want, (I don’t choose to make broth from those, but some people do) and make broth from the remaining bones, backs, and neck that is often in the bag, etc.

    After saying all that, around here chicken has been the same price per pound for whole ones, thighs and drumsticks and quarters, and sometimes even split breasts with bones. Recently, I got the bone-in breast, cut off most of the meat and canned it, and made broth from the bones, and canned it. I believe it was around 79c/lb, although my memory is choosing to let go of that exact number today:). It might have been lower. This week at Safeway, I can get 2 packages for 88c/lb of things or legs or quarters. I think it’s whole chickens, too. That’s a good price, so I will buy the 2 I am allowed. If you could find a good price on chicken in any form, you could make a lot of broth and freeze it if you are not into canning. Just ideas:)

  115. Mable, I am so sorry for all your troubles. I also should be in a pretty good position but I keep getting knocked down. The worse part is that the problems are all unusual out of the ordinary things. Sometimes I wonder if I just hid under the blanket if I could escape all these crazy things that find their way to my doorstep. Discovered today that some unknown object crashed into my extremely sturdy cedar mailbox and split it into pieces. I can only imagine one of the neighbor men playing ball with the kids, fell into it. I feel like my days are spent dodging lightning strike s. I hope things will calm down for the winter for you. I loved hearing about your squash. We rarely buy them due to price. Found them on sale this week for 44 cents a pound. I plan on getting several. Such a dull life I lead when I get excited for squash! I would love to hear from you. Lilliannapickles@gmail.com.

  116. Brandy,
    So sorry to hear of the skin cancer- my prayers are with you and your family. I am sending you hugs and wishing you rest and healing. I also want to thank you very, very much for continuing on with the blog during this stressful time. It is greatly appreciated by all of us.

    I was able to make 3 batches of pesto from my basil plants. I didn’t think I was going to get any pesto this year as my plants didn’t do well but then one of the plants really took off and tripled in size so that was a very nice surprise.

    I picked up a $5 wicker chair for my patio at a garage sale. I used up 4 different cans of black spray paint I had on hand- all cans were less than half full and were all different colors of black but the previously white wicker chair is now black and you would never know 4 different colors of black were used. The bonus is that those 4 cans of spray paint are now out of my way and went to a good use.

    I went around my yard yesterday and picked various flowers and greens that dry well and made up a very nice arrangement that is now sitting next to the back door to welcome guests and us every day. It turned out really well and cost me nothing but a little time and effort. It should last several months. I previously had a plant growing in a pot there but the plant will die with our first frost and the pot cannot be left out during our winter months.

    We had about a dozen nice pears left from our tree so I suggested my husband offer them to our neighbors who have 3 young children. They were delighted to get them.

    Really enjoy reading everyone’s comments- such an encouragement each week.

  117. Mable,
    I’m sorry you are having a tough month. As disheartening as it is to have to borrow for a new furnace, I don’t think you want to be in an Alaska winter without one! The good news is that all your other debts are paid, so it should be very do-able to just pay this off much sooner than if you had a house payment, etc.

    How kind that your sister gave you that gift card. Is King Arthur the flour company? So, will you order a lot of things like flour, mixes, etc., or is it something totally different in Alaska? Just curious:)

  118. Lillianna,
    It sounds like there was an explosion in a Ziplock zipper factory:). I’ve never seen bags with too many zippers/no zippers etc. Hopefully, they will replace them.

    It sounds like you have found some amazing deals for when you visit your son. I’m glad he is liking the army now that he has finally made it there! $140 for 3 nights sounds like a wonderful deal.

    Hopefully, you can save the comforter. I don’t use bleach much, either, but was able to save some towels and a sweatshirt that had picked up the most awful odor on our recent crabbing trip down at the coast. I washed those things 3 times, trying to get them to smell better with everything else, then resorted to bleach. Sadly, I ruined a pair of pants in the process, but everything else was saved.

    I love Jeannie’s photos, too. Right now she has some amazing ones of hummingbirds on her blog.

    We are having to think really hard about every penny right now, as well, just as many are. I understand how it is to really weigh each and every purchase. The Lord is providing. We have everything we need and lots of things we just want. I’m sensing it’s the same for you. When my husband met with our pastor the other day, he was sharing some of the ways God is providing for our daily needs. The pastor exclaimed, “You should be writing these things down.” He’s right. I should. I love reading your accounts, and am encouraged by them. It’s wonderful that there are so many of us on this blog that can share, and we can all encourage each other. You are not alone. Hang in there.

  119. What a list of things that went wrong for you. You might look into what digital books your public library has available.
    Our public library has no charge for a card. I just found time to watch 3 new movies on their streaming service (Kanopy).
    There are also a lot of books available online so as long as you have a library card and a computer or tablet you can access books, if your library has that available and you don’t need a kindle.

    You could phone your cell phone provider and tell them yours broke or is wearing out and ask what could they offer you as far as service plans including a new cell phone? Negotiate. Tell them you’ve had some unexpected expenses and cannot afford a lot. I ended up getting an iPhone 7 for no purchase cost (due to several mistakes they made which took ages to sort out) and a minimal increase in my monthly rate. Law office should be a priority. but ask if you could pay over 2 months. Make sure you have valid wills, enduring powers of attorney and living wills, etc. etc. Also get cheap term life insurance policies on each spouse, if you don’t already have it. Re dishwasher: run it after a few times with a cup of vinegar in it (but not with detergent). That will help with deposits from hard water. I don’t have a softener and our water is very hard. There are also tablets that you can but to clean our dishwasher. Good luck!

  120. Brandy, I am so sorry to hear about your skin cancer issue. I pray that the surgery will go well and that your recovery will be quick and as painless as possible! I’m glad you caught it early and I hope for the best for you.

  121. Mable, I have a house which has 2 furnaces in it. In 2010, the first one (always a problem with that due to a defective heat exchanger design) went and I bought it on credit with the furnace company for two year pay-out. Wouldn’t you know that at the beginning of year 2, furnace #2 (not a problem ever with that furnace) went and had to be replaced. I was beside myself (as I could not afford $7,000) but fortunately company #2 had a credit option and so I took the long payout. So check with the furnace installers what kind of financing they have, get a 10 year parts AND labour warranty, (I’ve used mine twice), and take it from there. At least now I have 2 high efficiency furnaces. Also, make sure a furnace company licensed to install and repair furnaces made by the brand you buy services the furnaces once a year otherwise the warranty is void.

  122. Mabel, While I am giving unsolicited advice, I would tell you the following. My house is an older home (1960). It had gas valve shutoffs on the pipes to the furnace which needed a wrench and super human strength to turn off. When my furnace was being serviced last year, the servicer made a mistake. (I can attest he is an excellent service fellow but he made a mistake). In a split second, there was a fireball which singed his eyebrows, etc. He could not turn off the gas quickly because of the need for wrench and time it would have taken. Bravely, he put his hand into the furnace and fixed the problem in an instant saving himself and my house. The answer is that you can have gas cocks which are levers which enable anyone to quickly shut off the gas. Of course, I now have such gas cock levers. It should be part of the building code to have these. I suggest you check this and when the new furnace (it if is a natural gas furnace) is installed that you have these put in. Of course my company put them in at a reduced price. Could be life-saving and save your house.

  123. Mabel,

    By the way, your husband is wonderful! I love his attitude towards the bread and he’s right, too! I hope you get better soon!
    Even though you worked hard to pay off mortgages and debts, things always come up so don’t stress too much. By the way, modern furnaces seem to have more problems than furnaces of 30 years ago which lasted forever. My parts and labour warranty has already saved me about $2,000 to replace a motor and something else that was faulty. With a parts and labour warranty for 10 years on a reputable furnace and company, you would not have to pay anything else except the annual servicing/maintenance checkup.

  124. I have been really stressed by my utility bill and got a notice of disconnection. I have always paid my bills in a timely fashion but this summer I had to water the huge spruce trees (60 years old) in the yard. We had just an inch of rain in July and little rain in August and I could not bear to see them die. And so, I spent $600 on water. I did not know how I was going to cope with this but I found out there is a government program which will cover this and I am so relieved. My neighbour down the street did not water and lost 6 lovely cedar shrubs. So sad.

  125. Some folks make a living (or supplement income) by trash picking around here. Usually men, older, with a pickup truck. They go through neighborhoods on trash day trying to stay ahead of the trucks. Random folks too just happen to see something it is there for the taking. Once anything is on the curb here on garbage day it is accessible by whomever sees it and gets to it first. Keeps a lot of stuff out of the landfill.

  126. Yes, we do purchase some of the items in bulk…rice, chicken etc. The fresh items, as you said, eggs, produce etc we must purchase each week. I think we are doing ok. Just wish we were able to do more I guess. We live in an rv and move around for his job so we are unable to grow our produce as others do but as you said, even in small spaces, you can find room to store bulk purchases that are less expensive such as rice. It helps that we are on the same page when it comes to our finances and our goals. Thank you so much for your encouragement and ideas.

  127. Thanks Jennifer O. for the encouragement. You are correct that everyone is at different places in their life. We are all just trying to do the best we can with what we have. I do not have a housekeeper as we live in an rv currently and cleaning less than 300 square feet is pretty simple

  128. What a wonderful baby shower! You did a great job being creative and FRUGAL!
    Sorry you are still a bit nauseous. It will pass and be replaced with sleep deprivation. That is good, not bad.


  129. Yes, I’ve read about this. It sounds like it is very effective. This was just a middle-ear infection, which lasts a short while and then is gone. It doesn’t happen any more often than every few years for me, when viruses are coming and going.

    The first time it happened, I didn’t know what was happening. I grabbed one of my dogs like we were Dorothy and Toto in the Wizard of Oz. Then I noticed that the dog wasn’t worried, and it occurred to me it was my head that was spinning and not the house.

  130. So glad you were able to find the Govt. program to help with such a huge bill! That must have been a shock.

  131. Thank you–I will try this next time the giant roasters are on sale, keeping in mind that having the butcher do it is the easiest of all!
    I do buy “top round” but I usually cut it myself into small chunks and cook it with beef broth and lots of sliced onions then serve it over mashed potatoes or noodles, making gravy from the beef broth–the onions sort of melt right into it. I’ll have to try it with sirloin, although the round does get quite tender. I buy beef on sale too, and then at least it’s a cheaper meal but still tasty. No $15 a pound steaks in my freezer 99% of the time!

  132. Sandra, if you need advice or have any kind of questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Every week I am humbled and in awe of the knowledge found and shared in this community!

  133. Hi Juls they have 3 books with all of the tightwad gazette issues condensed into them called Tightwad Gazette, Tightwad gazette II and Tightwad gazette III. Later also they have published a complete Tightwad Gazette which was all of the issues of tightwad gazette condensed with all the information from the tightwad gazette newsletters.

    I hope this helps and being in Australia we have different publications and availability to yourselves there in the States.

  134. Brandy,

    Thanks so much for posting the video clip of Hamish. How delightful. It brought a smile
    to me –– made my day, in fact. How lovely! Ann

  135. Dear Jenn, I am so sorry to read of your son’s accident. We pray for continued and complete healing. I am glad you have folks coming around to help in so many ways. It makes all the difference for your peace of mind.

  136. Hello

    I’m sorry you are having such a rough time. Good luck with the furnace. Can I ask how you store the spaghetti squash- is it just in a dark cool place? I’ve just recently found them in a grocer who often doesn’t have them so thinking of stocking up when he does. I’ve never seen them before last year and they aren’t in our supermarkets in the UK.

  137. Heidi,
    Hang in there. I was you a few months back. It does get better.

    I gave up on the kindle and just read on a free kindle app on my smartphone or Ipad. It works just as well.
    When my food processor broke (and my blender and my mandoline – told you I was you) we replaced them all with a Ninja system my husband found on QVC. We were able to pay for it in 4 installments. If you can hold out a month or so, the Christmas specials will start and you can probably get a better deal.

    I, too, will need to replace my water softener soon. Keep us updated on your selection please.

    Start now planning some frugal summer activities. If you make a list now, you may do better choosing cheaper fun options later.

  138. Prayers for a quick recovery from the skin cancer surgery. My father and sister both had it done, and they came out fine. My father had it twice.

  139. Our local grocery store has a case lot sale every fall. An order form is included with the weekly flyer. You fill it out and when the stuff comes in they call us and we go pick it up. They have canned veg., spaghetti sauce, tuna, canned fruit, dry pasta, soup and several other things. Very convenient for us as the bigger supermarket is 53 miles away to the east and west we have to go 70 miles, both ways over mountain passes.

  140. I read these posts faithfully each week but this is the first time I am commenting.
    Praying for you Brandy with regards to your upcoming surgery and recovery. Blessings to you and your family always.

  141. No, I was referring to the flour company. I love their products, as well as the fact that it is an employee owned company. However, the costs for shipping to Alaska stop me from ordering very often.

  142. When we got our new water heater several years ago, I insisted it be turned to 140 degrees (we have no children so there is no safety issue). I agree this is not frugal in the traditional sense, but I want my tap water to be HOT. We live in a condo that is very damp (we are in the rainy Pacific NW, and the bedroom/office walls are part subterranean). We have had mildew issues, so I have to wash our clothes on warm and towels on hot or the occasional sanitize cycle. If I don’t do this, they end up mildewing and smelling awful and I have to throw them away, which is decidedly not frugal.

    Our tap water from the reservoir is also very cold in the winter. From Nov-March, if I do laundry and run the dishwasher during the day and we both take showers at night, the last person’s shower (mine) isn’t very hot. The cold tap water has to mix with the water from the hot water heater, and you need more hot water in the winter to bring it up to the right temperature.

  143. Brandy,
    I’m so sorry to hear that your biopsy came back as skin cancer! Both my mother and father had aggressive melanoma a number of years ago, and also had the Mohs surgery. I’m happy to report that they both healed beautifully and are in their 70s and healthy. I have no doubt that you will heal well and recover. My mother had a larger portion of her arm removed, and found that Vitamin E oil helped a great deal to minimize scarring and I hardly notice it! Prayers to you and your family.

    I helped clear out my grandfather’s property over the weekend (he passed away this year). He was a prolific hoarder, and his property was very challenging to clear out. I landed up stepping on a very large rusted nail that went through my work boots and into my foot. Unfortunately the out of town ER visit for a tetanus shot and antibiotics was a little more expensive than I hoped, and it was not a very frugal week.

    I was able to cook at home most of the week, and harvest tomatoes, zucchini, and tomatillos from the garden. I also canned mild salsa and mild tomatillo salsa.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  144. We just finished our expensive “birthday season” of nine birthdays in a 4-month period. Just in time to prepare for holiday expenses. This week I am:
    Sewing baby gifts for an upcoming shower for grand-nephew who will be here by Thanksgiving.
    Bought ground meat and divided up in half-pound portions for the freezer, some left raw, some cooked.
    Bought whole chickens. I cut mine into pieces before freezing sometimes. Not my favorite thing to do, but so thankful I don’t have to butcher live animals.
    Crumbed and froze leftover breads and muffins. Breadcrumbs can be a great addition, topping veggie casseroles that are used as a main dish. Breadcrumbs are also wonderful, topping fruit betties. Plum Betty is my favorite.
    Cancelling a few select followup medical appts. that I don’t feel are necessary right away to save $30 copays. Besides, I have just been referred to my sixth specialist, so I am certain there will be plenty of upcoming copays for tests.
    In anticipation of a possible 5 figure bill, I am spending every possible dollar to stock my pantry. I have already bought most holiday baking ingredients. I am wondering, though, is there some kind of formula to calculate how many pounds of dried beans, oats, flour, pantry items, etc., are needed per person per month? I would like to stock up for at least 6 months for my family of 5 adults, but I don’t know how, exactly. I make most everything from scratch, and know that part of the formula would be personal preference. I would be so thankful for any of you kind ladies’ help and suggestions, please and thanks.

  145. Jo, I am also in need of a replacement dishwasher, but I can’t seem to decide on what brand to purchase. I don’t need one that has lots of bells and whistles, but I do want one that cleans the dishes, is quiet and economical. If I may ask, what brand did you select and why that particular one. Thanks, Penny S.

  146. Thanks, Brandy and Maxine, for the info. I don’t think we have official case-lot sales here, but we do have a Grocery Outlet store not too far away, and I have been known to buy a case-worth of canned tomatoes and salsa there. 🙂

  147. I just loved the videos of your cute baby on Instagram! I showed my daughter too – who doesn’t love watching a cute baby giggle?

    *My local Kroger store is being remodeled. They had a HUGE section of closeout items. I bought 8 boxes of rings and lids for canning for $1/box. It was nice to walk away from the rest of it and just luck out on finding something I actually needed.

    *Made all meals at home except for our date night (for which we used a gift card and B1G1F coupon) Made beef roast & mashed potatoes, BLT sandwiches, quesadillas, taco soup (vegetarian style) and a big garden salad with homemade bread. Also packed all the lunches for the week using leftovers and other items already on hand.

    *Still doing small batch canning from the garden. My tomatoes do enough each week for 3-4 jars.

    *I’m sending out my son’s Christmas box by boat to the Philippines. The group I joined to ship these items groups things together. I only pay $16 to ship the box to him – plus the cost of the items in the box that I choose to put in for his Christmas. All items were purchased on sale and/or received the item for free or already had on hand. Used ebates to purchase a few items online for cash back.

    *Used a bookshelf that wasn’t being used to store DVDs in our new finished family room. Didn’t want to buy a DVD holder when I could use something I have on hand. Was able to fit our DVDs plus all our piano music on the shelves. It’s a solid wood bookshelf and very sturdy. It looks nice and also functional for our purposes.

    *We did buy a new ceiling fan for our bedroom. But we used ebates and waited for a sale (saving 1/2 price). The fan was too small for the size of our bedroom. We put our old one in another smaller bedroom. The light fixture from that smaller bedroom was used to replace a broken light fixture in our pantry. My husband did all the wiring needed from supplies he had on hand. He did have to buy a new light switch.

    *Rode my bike, weeded my yard to get my exercise in for the week.

    Thank you for your post Brandy! I hope your skin cancer issues are resolved quickly 🙂

  148. We follow Dave Ramsey’s plan and got out of debt except for our mortgage. We now have a fully funded emergency fund and are cash flowing our son’s college. It can be done with hard work and sacrifice. When we had so much debt, I was having panic attacks and couldn’t breathe. It does get better. I promise. Brandy and all of these other wonderful people have helped me in so many ways, from tips to morale support. You can do it Sandra!

  149. I’m not Jo, but I bought a Bosch and it is amazing. Standing in front of it your have to look to see if it is running and as long as you do a regular cleaning of the sprayer arms everything comes out spotless.

  150. Some of those people who have gardens cannot afford to travel around and see different parts of the country, like you and your husband have by living in an RV. In fact, many might be envious of your life. I think you are doing amazing with what you have access to in a very limited living space! Being frugal really is a slow learning process that is different for everyone. So don’t be so hard on yourself. You are already many steps ahead of the mass majority in our society. Remember, if you ever have a question or are in need of advice, this community is a wealth of knowledge to tap into…so don’t be afraid to ask!!!

  151. Your scrappy bags are amazing ! I would love a very large one!!! I also have a large amount of material I could send you if you need it.

    Where is your blog I would love to read it !

  152. Becky, what good friends you have to take care of getting you all that firewood. I enjoyed your canning adventures, as usual.

  153. I did buy a chicken cheap yesterday and they did cut it in half for me! Just under 6# was the smallest I found, so each half will probably make two meals for us–if not 2 dinners, at least 1 dinner and 1 lunch.

    And as I was looking at the hams on sale, a couple people were talking about them while they looked–an elderly man and a woman about 30ish. They were talking about bones in them, and I volunteered that the shank had the larger bone, while the butt generally has a smaller bone and more meat, for only ten cents a pound more. Neither of them seemed to know that information. Then I finished with my really frugal line—and when you’re down to the bone, you can make beans with that! (Or soup.) My little bit for education this week!

  154. Hi Tejas,
    I have used this site: http://www.thefoodguys.com/foodcalc.html. The LDS community frequently has sites and recommendations as well as food storage calculators that you can adapt (whether or not you’re mormon). You enter in your family size and it calculates yearly amounts for you to store. Of course, some of the recommendations might be a little beyond what you need but I find it helpful in planning. There are some ‘prepper’ sites, but some of them can be a little extreme.

    I also enjoy this site: http://preparedldsfamily.blogspot.com/2011/03/3-month-food-storage-calculator-and.html. Sorry for the long link. She has very good steps for starting out in food storage, and of course Brandy’s pantry photos are great inspiration. I keep the basics long-term like rice, wheat berries, beans, honey, and oats stored in long term food grade buckets and some in mylar bags. Beyond that I have a 3-12 month rotating food pantry. This is all for economic security and ease of meal planning. I never used to have this before reading Brandy’s blog, and it has been a huge benefit! Good luck as you begin to stock up! Grocery circulars and Sam’s Clubs are great buys.

  155. Brandy,
    Sending prayers to you and your family.
    Started a pork chop dinner this morning with onions and peppers from our garden. Will make Coleslaw as a side dish. Went on a 2 mile neighborhood walk today, free exercise.
    Take care,

  156. The Jewish lady, I have never heard of renting dresses before. That was interesting to read. I am guessing they are all high quality dresses.

  157. Nikki, I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis. We will pray for your upcoming surgery and complete healing. Thank you for letting us know.

  158. Thank you, Rhonda. I do not personally know anyone who has a pantry stock as large as mine, and mine is tiny when compared with others’ here. My best friend actually goes to the store daily to purchase food for their meals. I hope to save money in the long run, and be prepared for unexpected hardships, be it financial, weather, or health.

  159. Mabel, what a nice present from your sister. Wow ☺

    Just curious, but why do you live in Alaska? It sounds hard. Have you always been there? Visited and loved the side open spaces and moved there? Military? Followed a job?

  160. I thought my husband had a job. But they haven’t called back for some reason. They were supposed to call and tell him when he would start.

  161. Ann, Thank-you. For some reason he didn’t get a phone call back. It was one of those labor places that interview you and then try and place you somewhere. We are still waiting. But he is applying to other places too. I think we will be ok this month. It is next month I’m worried about and taxes will be due in December on our little farmhouse. I thought that when he wanted him to do training that he had a job. oh well.

  162. Hi Margie,

    Yes, I received confirmation that they will pay it. I am so relieved!
    I am glad I really watered because a neighbour did not and she lost 3 huge cedar trees
    that were in great shape and hard to get to survive here. So sad to see them dead.

    One deceptive thing was that we had so much snow this past winter that we all assumed there was a lot of water in the ground. I don’t think it went into the ground but melted into the storm sewers. The problem here is that you can spend $200 for water during drought conditions but then an equal amount gets puts on your bill for storm sewers as the assumption is that the water you used drains into the sewers instead of the ground. There is an unfairness there. Anyway, I am so relieved!

    I went to the cast clinic. Good news and bad news. The lower part of the fracture area has rejoined and is healing. The upper part is still separated. No surgery as if it went badly consequences would be dire. So I can only pray that upper part starts to heal and fracture rejoins.

  163. Keeping you in my thought and prayers for your upcoming surgery and recovery.

    While my son was in high school, and now while attending university, he was required to complete community service hours. I am not sure if the same requirement is in place in Utah. If so, is it possible for you to reach out to a local high school or university to request a student to provide task-specific assistance to you and your family as a part of their community service requirements?

  164. Penny, Hi, I also have a Bosch. I bought it because it is really quiet and because it uses a lot less water. Dishes are really clean. The only thing I hear (which is normal) is that there is a thud after a couple of minutes when it has started. It lasts for a second. Otherwise you do not even hear it at all (since my house is open concept I wanted one that was really really quiet and it is). I’m not sure whether all models have the thud but in my model it is normal. I love this dishwasher. One reason it is quieter than other models is it does not have a built in garburator like other makes. Instead, there is an easily removed little cylinder trap that you take out infrequently and wash under the tap. My only regret is that I didn’t get a model where there is a cutlery tray at the top. Mine has the baskets at the bottom. I agree with Jennifer O. that my Bosch is amazing. Very reliable. I think it probably is

  165. I gave up all brand name stuff for generics EXCEPT I thought I will NEVER give up my Heinz ketchup! ( I love ketchup.). Well, guess what? I gave up Heinz for Safeway’s own brand over a year ago and I like it just as well!

  166. Pat, I just checked out your “scrappy bags” and they’re awesome. Love your site and will be following it from now on.

  167. Hello Heidi – we too had a marathon drive this week, and I thought the same thing you did re: hotels/motels being conservative about washing linens. Sure, it saves them money, but it’s resourceful and responsible, and if they’re going to pass those savings on to me, all the better. And yes, we surely appreciated the surprisingly good breakfasts that were included.

    I didn’t always put effort into packing snacks for the road, but after following this site for a while, I started doing so and it’s made such a difference – both economically and in terms of making the drive more relaxing and pleasant.

  168. WOW! That was some damage to your poor arm! I hope that you can rest it enough to allow it to finally heal. Please be careful – I know that you’ve had some snow already so no falls! Take care.

  169. Maxine- is there an Aldis in your area? I buy any canned vegetables that don’t come from the garden there, along with cream soups, for .49 a can year round. Their canned fruits are also very reasonable. They carry only their own brands, don’t take coupons, you have to take your own bags, and a quarter for the cart (you get that back when you return the cart), but their prices on canned goods, flour, oil, nuts, and pasta are consistently the cheapest I’ve found.

  170. Ava: And perhaps the motels do pass along the savings, or at least, don’t have to increase their prices as quickly.
    Travel food has its own quirks: I love having beef jerky to eat in the car, yet never buy it for at home.
    If we have to stop to use the restrooms at a convenience gas station without buying gas, we will probably buy one snack item, and I just pay without thinking about the price. Rest areas are great frugal institutions!

  171. that should have said “I think it is probably 10 years old but has not had any problems — touch wood”.

  172. Don’t despair. There might be a reason for a delay in a phone call to you. Might work out yet.
    In the meantime, good to keep looking.

  173. Sandra,

    Save your receipts from the grocery store if you cook something or open something and it is bad , do not hesitate to return it. We don’t spend hard earned money on bad food. Also if items go on sale or have a coupon in a few days I will do returns or use the coupons with the receipt we save a lot in this manner as well.
    In addition comb through your home list everything you can for sale craigslist, amazon, ebay where ever you can. Make trades with friends as you can. Offer your services in your area. I have had 9 jobs in the last few days within walking distance of our home. I have earned $260 from these small odd jobs . I have earned another $660 from sales and an additional $70 in gift cards and cash back from things like swagbucks etc.. So watch for what you can do.

  174. Our furnace does not work either so we make do with wood and electric heaters it is freezing in the house we often wear winter coats and blankets and are cold but we do what we must.

  175. Brandy,

    I am so very very sorry to hear of your skin cancer at such a young age. Many thoughts and prayers for you health and recovery!

  176. Margie,

    I am wearing my sling to bed at night so I don’t move the arm in weird ways during a deep sleep. It is a serious fracture and more complicated than many. Praying that the upper part joins together and heals.

    We’ve had snow but, unlike Edmonton, it hasn’t stayed on the ground. We’re having “drizzle” “mizzle” or freezing drizzle too. I really dislike freezing rain.

    I will be careful. It was ironic that I slipped outside the doctor’s office!

    I have been watching all the damage in Ottawa and vicinity. Terrible! prayers for the injured.

  177. Wishing you a speedy recovery and sending best wishes to your 10 caregivers-to-be! I haven’t been keeping up with blogs and things as much right now as Life keeps getting in the way! Be well soon! Virtual hugs from my husband and me.

  178. Nope, no Aldi in Idaho! I’m not saying I wouldn’t like their veggies if I tried them, but I have gotten particular in my old age and, at this point, only like Del Monte. They taste the most like home-canned of any brand. I am not very brand-loyal to anything else, except Best Foods/Hellmann’s mayo. I have even quit insisting on Heinz ketchup, LOL.

  179. Just home from 5 days at my brothers lake house. Fishing was slow. We only brought home two that hubby will smoke. I packed all the food I thought we would need. We bought a pound of hamburger and a loaf of bread, otherwise we had enough. Brought home very little. I baked an apple cake while there that I left in the freezer for next trip.
    I found a recipe for apeach and rhubarb upside down cake. Those are things in my fridge so I made that today.
    Came home and picked many veggies from the garden. I will cantomatoes again tomorrow.
    The garden is slowing down, but still plenty for us as well as much more to share and donate.

  180. Brandy, Not sure when you are having this procedure-I’m praying for you and that God will give you peace and no worries.

  181. I am so sorry about your diagnosis. Prayers are being said for you and your family. I do so hope that it will require only a simple procedure, and that you will be good as new afterward!

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