Our unusual humidity continued, so I collected water from the drip off of the air conditioner for several days this week and used it to water the potted fruit trees on the back patio.

We had rain! This is turning out to be the oddest weather year. Normally I can count one day in January and one day in July when it will rain for about an hour or two, and then 3-4 days when we will get literally less than 30 seconds of rain, and that’s it for the year. I am very grateful that we are getting rain, and clouds. I’m grateful it’s 105º and not 115º like it has been for us so many Septembers before. (I am very curious if our first frost will be mid-November this year, or if it will still wait until mid-December, as it usually does. I am watching the weather carefully as I wait until it is cool enough to plant lettuce again for a fall crop. I am really looking forward to having salad again!)

The water company sent out a newsletter this week. They say that the last 10 years have been a drought (I live in one of the driest deserts in the world, and I’ve been here 13 years, so I figured this was normal for here) with hotter temperatures and less rain.

I don’t know if that means that 14 years ago, things were cooler and wetter, but I have never seen rain before in September. It’s certainly been a lot significantly cooler the last two summers than it’s ever been since I moved here.

I turned off the water to the garden a few days. Usually I have to wait until mid-October for that.

We enjoyed two huge rainbows this week, both in the same place in the sky!

I mended several articles of clothing.

I planted more seeds in the garden for flowers, food, and herbs.

I treated for ants using items I have on hand. For those of you who asked on Facebook–the cinnamon kept the ants from coming back in the same hole. It hasn’t stopped the ones outside (which is where most of the problem lies–in the garden). The borax/sugar/water mix drowned a few inside, but I didn’t see any dead ones outside. I’ll be trying it again outside, but I did talk to my friend about the anteater. She said anteaters eat about 22,000 ants a day. I said she should bring one over! She said they usually don’t like American ants, though. But she still might bring one. She also told me hedgehogs eat ants and other bugs, and right now she has a baby hedgehog at her house. If she ends up bringing over an anteater or a hedgehog I’ll take pictures!

I made some birthday gifts for Liberty with supplies that I already had on hand; some were repurposed, some were from other people’s stashes that they shared, and some things I had purchased last year and months earlier.

I said yes to a reader who asked if I wanted some things from her pantry that she was getting rid of since she was moving.

My friend with chickens gave me two dozen eggs. I will use some this week for Liberty’s birthday cake.

I was given a medium-sized watermelon by someone who received it from a neighbor. She said it was more than she could eat by herself. My family ate all of it with dinner one night.

I made a myriad of things this week, including cornbread muffins, French bread, Greek yogurt, granola, tomato basil soup, Swiss chard soup, and pizza. I sprouted some alfalfa seeds and ate them with homemade salad dressing.

My husband and I watched a couple episodes of shows on Hulu.

The children camped out in the backyard one night.

I cut zinnias from the front yard and the backyard to enjoy in the house.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I think it depends on the type of oil used. My dad is a mechanic, and we have always been particular about using only Valvoline in our vehicles. I honestly don’t know that it matters, but that is what we do. When you go somewhere and get an oil change under $20, they are using whatever oil they get the cheapest, certainly not Valvoline. We also do our own oil changes for this reason. We can get a jug of Valvoline and a filter at Walmart for around the $22 mentioned. My husband is a shop teacher and will usually take our vehicles in and do it at work.

  2. Mandy is that the UW swap shop ? They have great deals. My son lives in Madison and they post offerings on the facebook .Also if they are the big zuchinni with the hardened skin they will keep for quite awhile in unheated garage up until freezing weather. Then you can just use those first for the next couple of months and you don’t have to put so much in the freezer.

  3. Can I ask a question?I was looking for local apple u-pick places but I have only found one and prices were $2.00 per pound. That seems crazy expensive to me. What kind of prices for u-pick apples does everyone pay?Thanks!

  4. We paid $20 or $23 per box, depending on size of the apples. I’m guessing on the weight, but I’m figuring about 25 lbs at least, probably more. It was equilivent to a banana box, since that is what they transferred them into. From the box of medium sized apples, we got more jars of applesauce than from the one box of large-sized apples because the large ones use up more space. Even the medium ones seemed very big to me and worked up just fine. These were already picked, so I would expect u-pick to be much less than $1 per pound. You can buy grocery store apples around here for much less than $2/lb.I live in Oregon, in the Wilamette Valley.

  5. Paula, so sorry to hear of your loss. As hard as it is, knowing that she is at peace with our Lord and is forever in your heart can be a blessing at this time. You will get through this, be strong, be faithful and be glad she was your Mom. My prayers are with you and your family.

  6. My husband has always changed the oil himself. It is really a fairly simple procedure which is why should not cost too much if you go somewhere to have it done. Our recycling facility takes the used oil. You just drop it off in cartons during open hours and is no charge. If you live in the city you drop off your leaves and twigs and grass clippings, garden scraps too as they do not go to land fill. The recycling center composts all the yard waste and chips up the branches for mulch to use in the parks.

  7. Thanks those are great ideas. My son loves muffins. I wish he would eat beans — but maybe he will like them this time, we all have to get used to new things.

  8. I went shopping this week for the first time since 8/25.I bought $154.00 worth of food I hope it last for 3 weeks at least.I did a return to the store saving us $7.00. I accepted free food, saving us likely at least $30.00 I only had one sale this week and it was a very small one but last week I had a large sale late in the week.I did not run errands this week except the one major trip to the store.Saving tons on gas. It is really difficult to stay home with all the things that pop up that are mandatory to be at meetings etc. I made some people angry but I stayed home saving the gas. We had date day at home last week due to illness mostly. (We had planned on going to the park to take photos but we just couldn’t make it) I hung the laundry up on the drying rack. I used coupons at the store getting soap free,veggies free and low cost peanut butter, and very low cost toilet paper, using $27.00 worth of coupons ! It was great to find that many that worked for us as lately I have not been able to find many to use.Turned up the air at home.Watching electric usage. Cut hubby’s hair. Made one homemade birthday gift and used up all our food scraps.

  9. thanks for your kind words, Linda Higgins. It was definitely her time to go. She had been in a lot of pain. Losing the second parent is really a sad and life changing milestone. She was the last of the four parents for my husband and myself.

  10. Our percolater was a wedding present so is thirty plus years old now. It still makes coffee just fine. That was back when still made in U.S. too bad you now have to replace every few years. It makes twelve cups so we just use nowadays when have company. We have a small stove top one we use most days.Nothing electric to break.

  11. Celia I think baking a cake is quite frugal. Even if you only bake a one layer, then halve it across the middle, fill with some jam and then dusted with powder sugar. Very pretty and dainty. And all from stuff you have on hand. There are recipes out there from DEpression and world War ll that make cakes with no egg, limited sugar. I have read a book by M.F.K.Fisher called HOW TO COOK A WOLF and though a bit dated now is fascinating reading of just how economical one cAn be. Just my opinion.

  12. I am always encouraged by your list of accomplishments. It seems I can easily zip through my week and not look back at what I’ve done. You’ve made me aware that I really need to take time and make a list, just for the encouragement of what I’ve needed to do.I see you made Greek yogurt. 🙂 Ever since I’ve learned to make crock pot yogurt, its made a difference on our food bill. I get our milk from a local dairy store for 2.99 gal. So, for about 1.50 I have 1/2 gallon of Greek yogurt. The cheapest I can buy it at Wal-Mart is 3.95 quart. That’s the equivalent of paying 8.00 for it… A savings of nearly 6.50 per batch.I then use the Greek yogurt for other grocery items too. If I strain it through a fine weave cotton cloth, I can thicken it to make a yogurt cheese (which is a great substitute for cream cheese). If I need sour cream, I can use the yogurt as is, or strain it just enough to thicken it also. I use the liquid whey that’s strained off for making bread (lots of protein) and I soak grains such as oatmeal in it for my chickens. Probiotics are really good in keeping their digestive system healthy.My daughter and I are frugal vegetarians, so I use vegetable stock for many of the dishes I cook. This is my favorite recipe that uses vegetable scraps that I always seem to have around. The difference in this one, is that you cook the vegetables on high in oil before adding liquid. Its made a huge difference and I get compliments on the flavor. The only thing I do differently is use dried herbs. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Basic-Vegetable-Stock/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=basic%20vegetable%20stock&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20PageI feed the leftover cooked vegetables to my chickens, which they love better than raw. Its saved me on chicken feed!I’ve been saving swagbacks for one thing or another I need. We’ve been remodeling our bathroom slowly but surely. I have been using my swagbucks lately to buy Lowes gift cards. After 2 months, I bought $80 worth of gift cards to pay for my slate vinyl tile flooring. I installed this week and we love it! Right now I’m saving for more gift cards to pay for the trim and baseboards. Its nice to be seeing progress.We love thrift store shopping! Living in the country, we don’t always get to hit yard sales, especially with the price of gas right now. Its fun and its saved us a ton. This week, I found a Cuisinart 2 quart ice cream maker for $15. It was higher than I wanted to pay, but it was in perfect condition like it was new. I brought it home and did some research. It sells on Amazon for $89! We like good ice cream, but its always at a premium price. We’ve made 2 batches so far, one using peaches we already had for peach ice cream. The other using plain cocoa for chocolate and chopped nuts. They both tasted wonderful and I am looking forward to this being added as our family “treat” :)One of this things I’ve learned over the years of being frugal, is that fun needs to be factored in or you get the burn outs over time. Most of the time we find a free movie rental, free Kindle book or some other types of treat to help us stay encouraged. Brandy, I love how you make birthdays special right down to the smallest fun detail. I know it takes sacrifice, but your kids will one day understand the love you’ve poured into making their day special. I’ve heard so many people use the excuse that they’re broke and can’t do this or that. That’s when I say they need to use creativity and NOT money to make something from the heart. It takes time, but so does making wine from grapes, and cheese from milk. 🙂

  13. First, Paula, I am so sorry for your loss. Second, Brandy, thank you again for this ministry. Well, I didn’t always keep up with savings, but we keep striving, right?So, stopped at Tuesday Morning for their clearance, picked up several baby items at ~$2 a set. There are several friends who recently have had or are expecting babies, so I bought and wrapped several. Swim goggles were also on sale, at $.20 each, I picked up all they had left (3). There were two items around the same price for gifts for the children. We made, rather than purchased items for a fairy garden for my daughter. Wire from signs were bent for a tiny arbor ($12 at the store!), and took a mini birdhouse and hot glued “slate” shingles and rock basement. My mother’s house supplied the moss from her yard.I am using Malabar spinach from the garden, the tomatoes are still suffering in the heat. Chickens are doing well producing eggs (Thank you for the bacon idea and quiche recipe Brandy!) and they were well fed when we were preparing firewood. So many bugs! I used Peppermint from the garden for tea. Stayed in two days. Went to the close Lowes for the fire truck wood project, (ours is always sold out online), but many registered are no-shows. We also picked up paint chips for a craft there. Our local thrift store has 10 adult articles of clothing for $10, and since I only found 6 items for our family I picked up 4 lined linen skirts to share. I have been trying more recipes that use what I have in the pantry. We sold our camper, which we had kept in case of evacuation, but we have a teepee tent now. I helped my mom sell her couch, we don’t get the money, she does, but I helped save them money. I feel pretty happy about that!

  14. I had a few frugal accomplishments last week. We ran out of toilet paper and paper towels, and I was able to buy both on sale and with coupons. I bought some groceries bogo and with coupons. I picked a few more habaneros. They are only coming up a few at a time, which is weird because we planted them all at the same time. My husband picked basil and made a pesto out of it. We started planting for the fall: kale seeds. We still need to purchase collard green and spinach seeds. We also put down more bell pepper seeds. We are hoping those will give us a little something before the frost hits. I also shopped at Kohl’s and purchased 3 tops on clearance with a 20% off coupon and $5 Kohl reward. It was a good week.

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