I picked peaches, Mission figs, Bartlett pears, grapes, and apples from the garden this week.

We enjoyed some mushrooms that a friend gave to me (she received them in her CSA and she doesn’t like mushrooms).

I took some photos of the children.

I found a free online typing instruction course for Winter to use here. You can sign up individually, or sign up as a teacher with students, which is what I did. She and Cyrus started taking the course this week.

I made French bread, rosemary olive oil bread, an apple and fig crumble, blueberry muffinslemon poppyseed muffins, and crackers. I cooked a turkey and froze two bags of meat to use in other meals. I used my meat slicer to cut turkey for sandwiches. I boiled the bones to remove the last bits of the meat and to make broth. We had lentil sloppy joes, black bean and corn tacos, and a salad made with wheat berries.

I canned 4 quarts of grape juice from the grapes in our garden.

I continued to gather water from the air conditioner. Our humidity is back to normal (I found out it’s 16% here) , so instead of having the bucket filled 3-4 times a day, it took about a day and a half to get a full bucket. Whenever the bucket was full, I used the water to water my potted trees.

We had to have a repair done on our van, so my husband bought the part (a new alternator) and then paid someone to fix it; it cost us $44 for the labor. This saved us a lot on the repair.

I finished making a skirt for Winter from a piece of fabric that was given to me. I used a button from my button jar; the button was a vintage one that came to me when I received an older woman’s button jar as a gift.

My husband and I had our a date out. We have not been out on a date for over 2 years. My mom gave us a gift certificate to a restaurant, which we used for our dinner (I have not been out to eat for over 2 years; the last time we went was when she treated us 2 years ago). We also went to the movies, using a gift card that my husband received last year from a friend of his. (We caught a matinee, so if we get a chance to go in a year or two we have some left on the card). My parents watched the children while we were out, which made it possible for us to go.

What did you do to save money last week?

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25 Comments

  1. It’s been awhile since I have posted but here are a few of the frugal things I have done lately:We adopted a puppy from a rescue group (adoption fees include free neutering when she is old enough). My husband made her a dog tag at work…….which she promptly left teeth marks in and then we lost only to find it with the lawnmower….still readable though (saved us $6.50). I found her a bed at Ross for at least half of what we would have paid elsewhere. I also purchased a dog fence for her and paid for half of it with Amazon gift cards that I had earned. Her food dish we found at the dollar store.I have harvested Iciban (sp) eggplant, red bunching onions (the bulb parts are pretty big for this type of onion), sun gold cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, beets and leeks. I purchased the leeks as a plant (it had 60 + leeks in it) for only $2 back at the beginning of the season. I have used the produce to make potato leek soup, broccoli cheese soup, fried eggplant, eggplant parmesan, and pasta with the tomatoes and onions. We have also eaten plenty of it fresh (there is currently a bowl of carrot sticks sitting in water for snacks in the fridge).My son and I are putting together smoothie packs for the fridge. I picked up mangoes for 48 cents and strawberries for 1.49/lb. Those are currently sliced and freezing. Then we took some yogurt that I got for free and divided it up in a mini muffin pan (I have no ice cube trays…….I apparently threw those out when I went through my get rid of all the plastic kick).We are in the process of redoing our back yard. We built some raised garden beds around a spot that currently sits unfinished but will be a patio area. I have plans to make my own “bricks” with cement and a form but I also wanted to add shade. My original plans included a pergola…….but at $700-$1000 we decided to hold off on that for now and are instead going with a couple of sun sails which I picked up on Amazon for free using some gift cards that I had earned through Swagbucks and Checkpoints.I took the kids to some garage sales this weekend and I found some yarn for my husband and I (he knits and I crochet) and a couple books for my daughter. One of the books happens to be the second in the series and while I was talking to one of my friends on the phone about it she mentioned that she had bought the first one for her son who didn’t care for it. So, she gave the book to my daughter and she also brought over 4 half racks of diet Coke for me because she decided to stop drinking diet pop. I sent her home with an eggplant from the garden.I have been stocking up on school supplies with all these great sales. I also used coupons and register rewards from Walgreen’s to help offset the cost. A few months back I also saved up $50 in Walmart gift cards from Swagbucks and Checkpoints to help pay for some of the school supplies. We first raided the stockpile from last year and I was able to get about half of the needed supplies marked off the list just from that. We also make sure to collect a box of supplies to donate to the Y (last year they helped almost 900 local kids).I used the Old Navy app to get a water bottle for less than 30 cents (I filled it with a couple bottles of lotion that I got for free from Bath and Body works.) This will be a Christmas gift for one of my nieces. I also used the app on my husband’s phone to get my son a package of socks for school for only 3.50. A couple of my favorite stock ups from Costco lately are the packages of 3 good size jars of mandarin oranges for only 3.99 (I see lots of projects and uses for the empty jars in my future). I also like to save the juice and use it in smoothies. I also purchased a 2 person 72 hour kit on sale for 39.99. It includes food, fuel for cooking, cookware and water bottles and filters all in a storage bucket.

  2. I am a FOYLE’S WAR fan, so I might have recommended it. I have just started Season 2 of a British show called PIE IN THE SKY. It is about a semi retired police inspector who runs a restaurant. Very nice, no gore, lots of good looking food.

  3. Managed to stay within grocery budget this week though changes were made…1/ husband has decided to take lunch with him to work on more days then he does. His new job does not have a fantastic canteen and he is conscious of manhatten’s exorbitant prices…so we did buy. More fresh veggies and some cold meats for sandwiches to take… And fruit as we donot have fruit trees in our yard yet though that would be a thought…2/ babysat a friend’s two children for a couple days and kept them within my budget making homemade pizza and sauce for lunch which turned out great..also provided them entertainment and games which we had in our possession.3/ continue harvesting beefsteak tomatoes and nothing beats it in taste…froze some mint as cubes for later use…waiting for my Roma tomatoes to ripen and my squash and pumpkin to fruit as well but they are growing like crazy with lots of blooms…I know people eat the blooms but how do you know when to tear them off…4/ lots of freebie mags and a free coupon from P&G5/I got a payment from ebates which allowed me to get some more fill ins for our pantry …Thanks for using your site this way brandy, always a blessing n encouragement.Sheeba

  4. I desperately needed clothing since we moved to a much hotter climate.I waited until after the 4th of July for summer items to go on sale.I purchased 2 pairs of short using a coupon 10.00 each I got a dress using a coupon $20.00 I had my sandals repaired and I got 5 t-shirts as gifts as well as two hand me down tank tops and now that the sales are on back to school I got two additional items for $20.00 so now I have enough to get buy with for a year or more.I bought two good pens with coupons and was shocked to find out it was over $10.00

  5. I read your accomplishments every week but this is my first time commenting. I feel like I can’t save/be as frugal as the other commenters but here it goes. I’m just going to preface it with I’m a recent college grad living in the city…I created a a grocery list meal plan and stuck to it so hopefully I save on groceries.I try not to use my AC in my car unless it’s absolutely necessary to save gas.My little patio garden isn’t doing very well but I did get some tomatoes and cherry tomatoes thus far.I went to the farmers market and got peaches for 79 cents a lb! (perk of living in GA).I walked from my apt to the museum for their monthly free admission and saw the Rembrandt/Vermeer exhibit as well as the permanent collection. All your posts make me want to try harder on my garden, hopefully I have more to report next week! ~ Joanie

  6. I picked about 25 pounds of pears from a man who doesn’t want them. He wants me to come back next week and get the rest! We will be eating lots of pear sauce this winter. My kids love it. He also gave me the last of his peaches–about 10 pounds. My garden is in full swing–tomatoes, green beans, corn, peppers…. I have not needed to buy vegetables at the store for about 6 weeks.I ripped out some cucumber plants that had finished producing for me, thus creating room in my garden. I planted more seeds: green beans, cucumbers (late, but we’ll see), and sugar snap peas.My 4 yr old loves to swim but we have no public pool within 25 minutes. A Country Club 10 minutes away has a free “community night” on Friday. We have been going and having a great time! I have not bought a bathing suit in 5 years (since having my 2 kids). I found a great one at Ross for $15!I am trying to save because boatloads of money have been spent this summer on DIY stuff: landscaping and fencing in our front yard, installing new counters in our kitchen, refinishing and painting our cabinets, a new water softener and so much more….. Christie

  7. We got our power bill last week. (Because of a mistake on their end, it’s the first power bill we’ve recieved in about 3 1/2 years.) Our family of four lives quite comfortably and, according to the power company, uses nearly 2 kw a day less energy than a 1-person household. Despite electricity bills more than doubling in the last couple of years, our latest bill is roughly half the amount of our last bill. It was sad to see that little envelope in the mail; but we were pleased to see we’re doing so well with energy conservation.

  8. I feel a little better now. I thought that the $1.50/lb we paid to u-pick blueberries was outrageous. I found a place that was only $1/lb, but it was so far away, I would have spent more than I saved on gas for my van. We only picked 14 lbs, but it is enough for us for the winter.

  9. This week was a little more encouraging in the frugal department than some lately. Brandy, I’m glad you got to go out. As someone who is just approaching our 31st wedding anniversary, I think you are so wise to keep in touch with your husband. We don’t go out very often, alone, without children, but do take time to connect with each other daily. I picked and canned a load of dill pickles from the garden (7 quarts). I picked green beans. I don’t think there are anywhere near enough for a canner load, but I’ll do something with them tomorrow. I got a few early tomatoes and lots of slicing cucumbers. The chickens got in under the fence and killed the new lettuce. I’m frustrated with them.Today, my sister (who owns a u-pick peach orchard) called and encouraged me to come over and pick all I wanted. They are between varieties and what is left is not good enough quality or quantity to sell until the next variety comes on Saturday. So, we picked around 50 more pounds. We did last week as well, and I’ve frozen many and served them in bowls to company and family. I want to make jam this time and freeze and eat more, so it doesn’t matter to me if they are a little mushy or mealy, especially for the jam, or frozen for smoothies. What a blessing! These were New Havens (early, sweet, juicy), and I will can Elbertas in a few weeks when they get ripe. I drive a lot, due to how far we live from town. Today, I was able to stack errands and get the peaches, pick up a daughter from town, go to a fruit stand for a few items, and teach 2 piano lessons in town, thus more than paying for the gas for it all. Tomorrow, my lessons are at my house, saving even more. Because I am far out, over half of my lessons are in town. During the winter, I teach many lessons on Mondays in town, which is more efficient, but this is summer so most people only take in the fall/winter.I harvested a huge amount of broccoli from the garden. I froze 16 additional quart cartons, making my total 38 quarts from this year’s crop. I’m delighted. I can’t remember getting that much before, except maybe one time and the bugs were few and far between. It’s about done, except for side shoots, but my freezers are super full anyway, and it’s only Aug. 5! I’m going to have to take out a turkey, I think, and cook it to make more room.I picked and froze several more bags of razzberries.The girls are practicing for the upcoming 4-H cooking contests at fair. I had them pay for some of the ingredients from last year’s prize money they won at fair. It never covers it, but it helps, and they are learning skills as well.We loaned our camper to my sister for a week and drove it to the camp where she is helping out this week for her and set it up. My husband will go back and get it at the end of the week. This will save her and her husband hundreds of dollars in fees for food/lodging and she helped chip in for the sizeable gas bill. Even if she had not, we would have been happy to do it, she is so special to us. She is also there so her special needs child can go to regular camp, and not the $1000 per week Kiwanas one they have paid for in the past. The camp wanted to charge her and her husband the same amount as the child, unless they brought their own lodging and food.

  10. Brandy, do you ever have problems with wasps in your grapes? Since I built the arbor, we have far more grape clusters than usual, but we also have a lot more wasps. I began picking this morning, & nearly every cluster has some empty “shells” where the wasps have sucked out the insides of the grapes.

  11. Weather has turned a bit cooler…can’t believe it is still summer some days! We turned of AC one evening…and turned on a window fan to pull in outside air!Made triple batch of detergent and continue hanging out clothes. I use the dryer for my towels only as I just can’t stand how stiff they feel when we hang them out!Accepted 45 lbs (!) of tomatoes from a friend. I gave her some peach jam and local honey. The tomatoes are extra fun because she grew the bulk of them using “dead” plants that the store her husband works at let him have.Continue to make my homemade bread. I did buy bread once this past week because I just couldn’t make it and “needed” to make sandwiches given our schedule. My kids commented that it’s ok on occasion but they would rather have my bread. Love it!Free feta from store as they were giving out samples. Used it along with homemade bread crumbs (from homemade bread LOL) to make Tomatoes Napoli (bread crumbs mixed with butter herbs cheese on top of tomatoes; you melt the cheese in the oven and then serve). Don’t think I can make it very often as I couldn’t stop eating it!My husband starting stripping old grout around our kitchen sink so he can replace it with new. So thankful for him.

  12. I have just started using ebates, and I also have a Discover card. Often, if you shop through Shop Discover by logging in on their website, you get a better percentage back than by using ebates. I always check both, now. I also ordered from Lands End this week. Shop Discover had 10% cash back and ebates only had 6%, so I shopped through Shop Discover instead. It was nice to get this on top of the 25% Lands End discount.

  13. It’s not always the case; but often, if your towels get stiff when you hang them out to dry, it can be because you’re using too much detergent. Cut it half (your clothes will get just as clean, promise) and see if that works for you.

  14. Becky, I think deciding what is a good deal and what’s not really depends on the area of the country that you live. The least expensive fruit that we have been able to buy in my area this summer is peaches at $.99/lb. Paying the extra $.25/lb. for fresh blueberries was worth it to us in order to have fresh blueberries to stir into oatmeal and to make blueberry jam and blueberry pancakes. Making my own blueberry jam with blueberries at that price is a savings compared to buying it in the store.

  15. I got off track on blogging my frugal accomplishments, hopefully I can get back onto it soon. last week I bought 40 lbs of pears at .49 a lb, that would have been more awesome if I had already had my jars, but I had to buy jars, I got 36 pints 3 24 oz jars and 1 Quart.they look great.

  16. I received $22 internet rebates that I transferred to Amazon account for future use.Received a $1 off a beverage coupon for Starbucks that will use with my youngest. Will treat her to a tall frappucino when she is out doing errands with me this afternoon.Enjoyed pleasant evenings on the porch swing listening to sounds of the country. Getting cool enough to have a cup of hot tea again. Did some star gazing and watching for shooting stars. Husband is very knowledgeable re astronomy, weather etc. We set up the telescope.As usual listened to our favorite radio show…Prairie Home Companion Saturday nights and What do you Know with Michael Feldman on Saturday am and watched a couple episodes of DVD Pie in the Sky while working in the kitchen.Did blueberries with daughters. We order from MI. Canned about 28 half pints of jam and froze 15 quarts for pies and a number of pints. Cooked up 2 pints of blueberry sauce for pancakes etc and left everyone a big bowlful for eating and baking. We divvy it all out.Oldest son and GF stopped by after going to a couples wedding shower and left us some of the left over food…some bruschettas, cut up fruit and taco meat. They will package up rest for their lunches during the week. I gave them vegetables from the garden, some jam, a few of the sale peaches and nectarines, and several loaves of banana bread and zucchini bread and Mexican rice.Harvested zucchini, tomatoes, yellow squash, broccoli, beans, slicing cukes, the last of the carrots from my patio planter, eggplants, bell and hot peppers. Picked herbs as needed. Picked up 2 doz ears of sweetcorn from relative. Making sure using up the end of last years canning in all cooking this week. Cooked all from scratch. Chopped up 8 cups mixed of bell pepper, eggplant,onion red and scallions , carrots, even some green beans. Put 1/2 in one kettle, half in another and cooked each with garlic and olive oil. Added 1 qt tomato juice and 1 qt diced to each and Italian seasonings to one and Mexican seasonings and minced hot peppers to other. Had Mexican rice that night using the Mex seasoned sauce. Added a quart of froze sweetcorn (to finish off last years) and frozen cooked black beans. Had spaghetti another night, then mixed the left over spaghetti with sauce, cottage cheese, and grated mozzarella, eggs and parmesan . Packed into quiche dish for another meal. Saved a quart of sauce for next week. Made creamy dill cucumbers. Made sweet gerkhins.Dried mint, basil and dill weeds.Went for family reunion, mother’s side. Took a treble batch of 4 bean salad using my canned and frozen items and chopped fresh bell pepper and onion. We save the sauce after the beans are gone (oil, cider vinegar and sugar) and use it for salad dressing. Left my mother there as she will stay a week and visit with her siblings and their families longer. She will return via Greyhound. Used a $3 off coupon that was on back of grocery receipt to get a carwash for $4. Wax and everything. Will pick up my mother Sunday as she returns and family will gather at my house and have a cookout as old friends are spending the night on way from Chicago to Minnesota. Will be making shish kebab with garden vegetables. I will need to buy mushrooms…I was told today Aldi has good price. Still have enough bean salad. Will serve rice pilaf and yogurt. If we use beef it will be from dairy cow in previous life. That is all we have in freezer but makes good meat. Mended a worn spot in a quilt. Was able to just remove a few pieces and replace. Not too noticeable.

  17. Athanasia, if you are the one who ran across the term “carboot” in your reading, I stumbled across this link, which even has pictures.ournewlifeinthecountry.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/yay-its-done-final-car-boot-of-year.html

  18. OK Paula, it looks like a car boot sale is a flea market type thing rummage sale. Not just parking ones car along side the street and opening the trunk which was what I kept picturing.

  19. I think that our country should allow car boot sales in Walmart parking lots. Walmart should give back some to our communities and what a great way for everyone to share the wealth.I used Brandy’s window washing recipe and it works great!I made a double batch of Oatmeal cookies and I made some homemade tortilla chips for snacks. I skipped buying Lunches this past week and used up all the leftovers and the scraps. I still have more, so might do it again this week.

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