My mom offered me some gourds that she bought from a farmer (in Oregon earlier this week). I was to choose 5 for myself, so I chose the 5 above and put them in a shallow bowl on my entry table.

I cut and brought in three huge bunches of basil.

I cut Armenian cucumbers and green onions from the garden. I cut up one Armenian cucumber and put it into two pints, and covered it with pickle brine from other pickles I had previously canned (that we ate this week) and put those two pints in the fridge.

I planted radish, beet, and parsley seeds in the garden. Hopefully these will come up; the other seeds I planted during a cool spell a couple of weeks ago never germinated, as the weather quickly returned to temperatures over 100ºF.

A wonderful storm came through and gave us some good rain. (It’s now rained twice this month; this is highly unusual for here. Normally it rains one good day in January and one day in July, each for a few hours. About 5 other days  in the year are about 30 seconds of rain.) I turned off the drip system and sprinklers so that they wouldn’t come on the next two days. I have never seen a storm like this in Las Vegas; it was like watching a summer storm over the plains states.  Even though it rains so infrequently here that the houses do not have rain gutters, I collected 16 gallons of rainwater in buckets to use to water my potted plants from below the valleys on the roof where the rainwater flows more heavily.

I was able to have the air conditioner off for a good portion of the day on Saturday, which saved about $7 in electricity. I am looking forward to the cooler days in the coming months that will allow me to lower my electric bill. In a month, we won’t need to run it at all, but I will keep it off for as many extra hours as possible this month. A summer month of electricity is $13 a day, while a day when I don’t run it (in the spring) is less than $3 a day. We still have several more hot days coming (it was 100º several days this week) but each extra hour I can keep from running the air conditioner will add up, resulting in a $100 or more savings on the next month’s electric bill.

I found a book that I was planning to buy for Ezrom for Christmas in the clearance section of a bookstore for $2.99!

I used a gift card that I received years ago (but didn’t have that store in our area) while on our trip to purchase a container of face lotion, 3 dozen eggs, and some candy (the candy will be a gift to my husband.

Before we left on our trip, I reprogrammed the air conditioner to 84º, so it would run less while we were gone (turning it off would have meant the house was over 100º, as it was over 100ºF outside. When it gets that hot inside, cabinets and door frames can be damaged by the heat). When we returned, I reprogrammed it back to 79ºF.

In the early mornings (when we returned), I turned off the air conditioner and opened up the windows for several hours to keep the house cool and freshen the air.

I updated my garage sale list in preparation for the neighborhood garage sale that I shop each October. I now have a tally of  how many of each item of clothing I need.

I worked out an arrangement to have piano lessons for Wren for trade. I will watch the piano teacher’s children in exchange for a lesson every two weeks. Wren was wanting lessons and our piano teacher suggested this to us this week. My mom pays for a lesson for Winter and Liberty (every two weeks, rather than every week, to keep the cost down) and paying for another child to have piano lessons was not in her budget or mine. I will watch her two youngest while my other two have their lessons (our piano teacher comes to the house, so she can bring her children with her).

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Andrea, on almost everything, I can say how much we use for a year (having gone over a year without shopping, I learned fairly well), but flour is still one item that I haven’t pinpointed exactly. I know it’s a large amount, and I know that it is growing as our family grows. With some thought, though, I would estimate it at 400 pounds a year, as I think back on how often I buy flour and how much I buy at a time.

  2. * my son found a book he wanted at the school book sale ($13.99…eek!) which I requested for him at the library* used my dehydrator to make apple chips sprinkled with cinnamon (so yummy!)* returned a few items that didn’t work for us* cashed in some swag bucks for amazon gift cards* sold an item on ebay* bought pumpkins @ .18/#; I’m not sure they will get much cheaper* I cleaned a desk drawer and found a gift card I thought I had lost!

  3. I love the gourds. Brandy do you have the same problem with growing squash or gourds or pumpkins as you do with growing cucumbers? The Writer’s Almanac blog today had an instalment on the dedication of the Hoover Dam on this day in 1935 . President Roosevelt was there at Boulder City with 12000 spectators and it was 102°F. I remember visiting the dam on our first visit to Las Vegas. It was very impressive.

  4. Paraphrasing from the local extension services expert, Linn Mills, “When it gets above 90º, flowers stop forming on tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, squash, etc. We have 5 months of above 90º temperatures.” The only cucumber that has grown for me is the Armenian cucumber; it actually flowers in the summer.102º on the last day of September sounds pretty normal to me. It was 104º here last week. The storm brought in some cooler temperatures, but the mercury is already rising again; it should be in the upper 90’s this week.Usually fall arrives on October 31st every year. It comes in with a big wind that blows in cooler temperatures in the 70’s. Last year it was early and arrived on the 28th, but we can pretty much count on it being on Halloween, which is always ironic to me, since that is also the day Nevada became a state. I’ve never tried growing gourds, but pumpkins are really difficult for me. Usually squash bugs will kill them before they even flower, or after they have only flowered once. All squash here tends to produce a handful of male flowers, and almost no female flowers at all. My butternut squash vine had 2 female flowers this year. I hand-pollinated them and they still didn’t give me any fruit this year.

  5. Debbie …Delicious sounding…I am so back into the cooking baking mood with the cooler weather. My youngest and I are on the sofa now with the two dogs and several quilts. The oven has been on for about 3 hours what with baking dinner (salmon puff, baked potatoes…10 of them for leftovers naturally, and 4 squash halves followed by apple crisp and 2loaves of banana bread). Right now we’re toasting the squash of us will have to get up soon to check them. On the stove are white beans cooking. I want to dry that dip recipe.My son emailed me picture and recipe of soup he and his sister made a couple days ago called Cabbage Roll Soup..They said it was easy and good.

  6. I signed up for Swag Bucks, but I’m really not sure what I’m supposed to do to earn credit. Do I just search the way I do on Google – for anything or things in particular? Will it tell me if I’ve earned anything. I didn’t think the information was very clear and since I’m somewhat “computer challenged”, I just wasn’t sure.

  7. Gardenpat, congratulations on the black walnut haul! Have you worked with them before? We work on them outside, wearing gloves and clothing we don’t care about. Using vices from my husband’s work shop helps too. He makes his own black walnut stain (for wood). You can save the husks/shells to burn for heat. The nutmeat when you get to it makes delicious tortes, cookies and candy.

  8. The grocer last year was running butter at $1.98/lb , one per purchase, so I’d stop everyday on way home from work until I had 30 pounds stocked up. This year it is $2.98/lb special for the exact same brand. It will be $30 more for same amount butter.

  9. Yes, you can search. After a few searches it will tell you if you have won any Swagbucks and you type in the code to add them to your account. When you have enough, you can redeem them for a gift card. There are other ways to earn them, too; the daily poll gives you one point per day. Here is part 3 (it links to parts 1 and 2) of how to earn more Swagbucks from another blogger:

  10. Everything in Australia will kill you. If it’s not the snakes it’s the drop bears.The only poisonous toads I know of off-hand are cane toads, which aren’t harmful to people. They’re ugly as sin.

  11. Well, we saved quite a bit of money on food this week by going to the discount grocers and stocking up – name brand cake mixes for 25 cents, big jars of fruit for $2 a carton, rice for 25 cents for 700 grams, etc. Then we spent big on tickets for our next vacation – we’re going to the US, via Fiji. The tickets were a good $800 cheaper than the next-cheapest option, and we get to include Fiji in the trip, and we were able to bundle them up with accomodation so we can salary package the lot (meaning we saved nearly $3000 on airfares all-up – and for once in our lives we’re flying an airline that will actually feed us, and we get a baggage allowance!), and we put them on the credit card that also comes with free travel insurance (always a must when we travel to the US since health care is so expensive), so it could’ve worse. Oh, then we accidently broke our new bathroom sink and had to buy a replacement. Maybe not such a great frugal week. But what the heck. We’re going to Disneyland.

  12. Oooh, pumpkin would be perfect this time of year. I am having to eliminate my usual autumn colors on the front porch now, as they clash with pink! Will go for evergreens and white (painted) pumpkins.

  13. Wow this isn’t even my blog, and each of you have expressed such kind and loving words…thank you so much….and my heart aches for those of you that listed you share a similar experience….I am soo soo sorry…you are right it will take time to make the family feel “right” again. I will keep in mind the advice from each of you in regards to our temporarily expansion of household members. I appreciate it all so much!

  14. MJ, I, too, am sorry for your loss. Losing people is always hard; I can’t imagine the feeling of losing someone because of a violent crime.My suggestion for your enlarged household would be to not be bashful about assigning some chores to others, and not wear yourself out trying to do it all.

  15. I just love reading everyone’s comments! Brandy, I love your gourds! I haven’t purchased any yet but I plan to this weekend. Last week was my daughter’s birthday- and we had family come to our house for dinner. She asked for pulled pork for her birthday dinner and I had the pork shoulder in my freezer so I pulled it out and we cooked it- it was so good! I purchased decorations and paper plates etc at the dollar store. My dad brought corn and boxes of apples, plums, and peaches so I am working on round 2 of canning jams etc. Apple butter is simmering on my stove as I type- my house smells heavenly! I made chicken noodle soup this week- I froze part of it after we ate it a couple of times- I was proud of myself for freezing it instead of letting it go to waste! October will be an “eat out of the freezer” month for us so that I can take advantage of the free/cheap turkeys in November. I am working on a meal plan for October using food we already have- I will purchase dairy and produce. Now that it is cooling down, the air conditioner isn’t coming on and it isn’t cold enough to turn the heater on yet either- I love fall and spring because our utility bills are lower. That is all I can think of at the moment- I hope everyone is having a great week!

  16. I wouldn’t exactly say this week has been frugal, but I’ve been able to get good prices on the things I needed/wanted.I decided to start taking a glucosamine/chondroitan/MSM blend and though it is one of the more expensive supplements, the drug store happened to have it for half price and I got enough to last three months. Best yet, it does seem to be helping me.I noticed that Walmart has a lot of coupons to print out on their site. Most are the same as in the Sunday paper inserts, but a few are high value if you happen to need them.I combined sales and a coupon at Hobby Lobby for card making materials. Late that night, I discovered that they had somehow not gotten one of the books of paper into my sack, but did charge me for it. We had to go by there anyway a couple of days later. They reviewed the security tape and admitted that I had been shorted the paper and gave it to me. That was $7 I didn’t get cheated out of.Today was my regular medical checkup, the first on my ACA insurance. This visit was no additional cost beyond my premiums. My six months followup (which I had forgone the last four years while uninsured), will just cost a small copay beyond my premiums. Knowing that there’s no way that unexpected illness can cost enough to ruin us is a big stress reliever.A friend is sending me a drawing that she did for me. She is very talented and her work is sought after. She said the work was 16″x20″. I went to Michael’s to look for a mat/frame combo. The lightweight inexpensive combos don’t come in that large a mat size. I was shocked at how large the frame itself would need to be. (This is going to turn out to be a very prominent piece of art!) They were $69, 40% off this week, with a coupon for an additional 15% off. I ended up getting the frame for under $30.It was still more than I had planned to pay, but not a bad deal. I could have just put it unmatted in a 16×20 poster frame, but wouldn’t risk that with an original artwork.I admatched at Walmart to get my husbands favorite Granny Smith apples at the Aldi’s price.

  17. Hi! I love your blog. Not just the beautiful pictures and the little window into your daily life, but the useful information and the lovely writing style as well. I am excited whenever I see your latest post in my email.I just looked over your potato soup recipe and I had a quick question for you. I see that you list sour cream as one of the ingredients. I am extremely lactose intolerant and cannot use dairy. There are great substitutions available for milk, cheese, and butter but I am having trouble finding something else to use as the cream cheese. Have you ever used anything else to replace that ingredient?Thanks so much. Have a lovely day.

  18. Around here, everyone makes their Halloween costumes oversize as they have to fit winter coats and stuff underneath. A couple times we have had snow on Halloween, but that is not common.

  19. Linda, the color was called Pumpkin Spice and it is not the bright Crayola crayon orange, but more muted. We like it. The house is white with “country” blue trim.

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