Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

We started school again this week on August 1st, according to the plan I had made to start then, despite the fact that my youngest was sick. I spent a lot of time holding him and still managed to start school, which was a blessing. It’s too hot to be outside much, so we can start school two weeks earlier than the public schools and enjoy some time off when the weather is beautiful.

Winter rented her textbooks for her classes from a local place that her roommates told her about. They’re cheaper than the university bookstore. She called us to tell us that she only spent $5.30 on books for summer term!

Our biggest savings of the week was finding out that Winter was awarded Pell Grants for fall and winter semesters.

We registered Cyrus, my eldest son, for his fall university concurrent enrollment classes through the same university (BYU-I). Taking classes at home is $35 a credit for high school students. It cost us $175 total for his first five credit hours.

I downloaded a free app that I can use for my photography business.

I read two ebooks from the library that I had requested after they became available, and I requested several more ebooks to read in the future.

We harvested peaches, grapes, figs and from the garden. I froze peaches and dried figs.

I made smoothies several times this past week, using peaches from the garden, juice, and frozen fruit that has been in the freezer for a while. I am making my way through all of the older things in the freezer to make room for the new, fresh fruit that I am putting in there. It was 109 this past week, so smoothies were the perfect thing. We had them at breakfast some days and for snacks on other days. We also popped popcorn on the stove for snacks. I made cupcakes from scratch one afternoon.

Because it is humid this time of year, I am able to collect the condensation from the air conditioner that drips on the opposite side of the house. I put a plastic bucket underneath the pipes and empty several gallons a day from it onto my plants.

I used shower warm-up water to water potted plants as well.

I asked the next child who has a birthday what she would like. At first, she couldn’t think of anything. A few days later, she came back with an extremely long list, giving me plenty of ideas for her birthday and Christmas! I shared the ideas with my mom and with Winter so that they would also know what to give her. I ordered a necklace for her that she had picked out last year on Amazon, using my Amazon credit. There is a chance it won’t come in time, in which case I’ll give it to her for Christmas. I also started planning a gift to make.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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151 Comments

  1. Way to go, Winter! That was a great deal! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were bbq pork sandwiches with corn on the cob, cheeseburgers with mac & cheese, tomato basil fettuccine with garlic bread, crockpot beef fajitas with corn on the cob, stromboli, grilled steak with baked potatoes and salad.
    *Attended a bridal shower/cook-out and brought corn on the cob to share. Took home leftover corn along with several hot dogs, hamburgers and a loaf of zucchini bread we were given.
    *Made a loaf of lemon blueberry bread as a thank you for friends who let us borrow their window AC. Baked a second loaf along with it and took several pieces wrapped up as a hostess gift to the couple throwing the shower we attended. Used the rest as snacks at work.
    *Within the last two weeks, the AC went out in my car and our house as well as the lawn mower dying unexpectedly. We were able to get everything fixed, but agreed that we would need to tighten up on spending. When I went back to work after vacation, my boss called me into his office and gave me a bonus (which more than covers all of those expenses). What a blessing!! And we decided we will still tighten down on spending!
    *Accepted tomatoes and cucumbers from my dad and fresh corn from my boss.
    *Let my college son know that the grocery store he shops at is starting to take off 5 cents for each reusable bag you use. I have a few bags he can have. He was excited!
    *Accepted a piece of cake my boss brought back after his lunch one day.
    *Had a free pizza lunch at work one day.
    *Was made aware of a family that was running out of food for the month and was able to use a little money left over in our grocery budget to buy them a few things to get them through.
    *Checked to see if mine and my husband’s information was compromised in the Equifax breach. Both were so we each registered for the $125 settlement. Fingers crossed!
    *Attended a fundraising event which served a barbecue dinner with dessert. We did donate, but it was nice for our money to go to a cause instead of a restaurant.
    *Went to Kroger and bought ground beef for $1.99/lb and other sale items. Also purchased a gift card for my niece’s birthday there to earn 4x fuel points. We earned $.20 off per gallon on gas and used that to fill up.
    *After I got home, I noticed there was an item on my Kroger receipt that did not look familiar. There was nothing extra in my bags. I googled the abbreviation and it looks like it was some kind of dog food (we don’t even have a dog!). When I filled out my online survey for 50 fuel points, I made a note about what happened. Hopefully, I will hear from them as I live 30 minutes away and don’t go in that direction often.
    *My husband bought filters and oil for oil changes while they were on special and applied $5 in rewards that he had earned.
    *My husband went by the shop where he bought his tires and had them rotated for free.
    *Entered receipts in Ibotta and Fetch Rewards.
    *Accepted four nice baskets (that I can use for gifts) and a nice messenger bag (which I will offer to my son) from my mom.

    1. Call the store and tell them you were charged for an item you didn’t purchase. I live 30 minutes from the grocery store also, and I always explain this and they tell me no problem– stop by the courtesy desk next time I am in. I have never had a problem getting a refund.

      1. Thanks for the advice, Cindi! It’s in the next town over so I may not be there for a month or two, but I will give them a call and see what they say.

        1. Make a note on your receipt of the date, time, and name of the employee you spoke to. Those contemporaneous notes strengthen your claim when you show up a amonth or two later. Different chains have different levels of flexibility for later refunds.

      2. Kroger Corporate will put the money on your shoppers card immediately and it will be there to use next time you are in store.

    2. I would recommend calling the grocery store directly on the extra charge. (Normally the online survey info goes to corporate and the local store may not even get to see what you submit.). Hopefully they’ll make a note in customer service and you can be refunded when you go in next!

  2. I guess I won’t complain too much about our heat here in the 90’s (although our humidity makes it feel hotter!) when hearing about your 109 degrees!!

    With some of the money I got for selling off things in my sewing room as I decluttered, I was able to make an extra principal payment on our mortgage of about $237! Our mortgage now is $39K after that payment and I marked off that line on our amortization schedule that I printed off! I know it seems like just 1 little extra month’s principal payment, but we have a goal of making at least 1 extra one each month ! If we do just that, our mortgage will be paid off in just 5 years! But…..if we can bump it up higher, we could be mortgage free in 2-1/2 years or sooner! Fingers crossed!! The great thing is, also, that in the 26 years we’ve lived here, our neighborhood housing prices have appreciated dramatically and our house has become a real asset if we should ever need to leave it!

    Our first harvest from one of our little fruit tree orchard that we started 3 years ago, gave us 15 pounds of beautiful freestone peaches! Using the Grow A Little Fruit Tree method of planting and pruning, I was able to pick all the peaches without a ladder or step stool and didn’t even get on my tiptoes! I am only 5’2” but we keep the trees pruned to about 6-1/2 feet tall ! That way, especially as we are getting older, we won’t ever need to use ladders to harvest our fruit!

    As I decluttered my sewing room, I found a tote that was filled with 5 brand new still in package black-out, insulated curtains and 5 brand new curtain rods! I bought them on sale at Kohl’s 3 years ago for my 5 sewing room windows. Last night, hubby and I took 30 minutes to put up the first 3 sets for the front windows and now this morning, we will put up the final 2 for the back windows! Crazy that it’s been that long and isn’t a big time consuming thing to do and yet, somehow doing it fell between the cracks! This decluttering has been like a treasure hunt!!

    One of my daughters and I pooled our money and bought a 2014 long-arm quilting machine from APQS factory headquarters. They service it completely and give us a 3 year warranty plus free classes! We spent this past weekend down in Louisville, KY taking 10 hours of training classes! Their customer service and helpfulness are unsurpassed! So, next week, a big semi-truck will be delivering our machine and frame and my sewing room will have a new addition! I probably have 50 quilt tops just waiting to be quilted. My daughter is sewing a king size quilt for their new bed so she is excited about using this too! The classes we took even went over in detail the business side of long arm quilting- including actual sample of customer invoice with pricing, avoiding pitfalls of miscommunication with customers, etc. So we are excited to move this new machine into a new stream of income! I’ve been quilting for other people for years but this will reduce my labor time and expand the size quilts I am willing to do for other people! APQS even had ROI charts (return on investment) to show how many quilts of a certain size we would need to do for other people to pay for our machine cost over 1 or 2 years! We are excited about that possibility as well and have written up a contract between the 2 of us outlining who pays how much and how much our business will take off the top from the labor income (We settled on 20%) to allow for buying supplies like patterns/parts that may be needed in the future. The customer invoice has line items for designated materials costs- thread, batting,etc and separate line items for labor costs which will make bookkeeping much easier! All materials costs will go into business account. Can you tell that we are excited?!!!!

    More weeding the Marivene way and the yard is looking better and better! We’ve invite 5 people over to BBQ here this Saturday so that’s giving us the motivation to finish up the cabinets by the BBQ! We may not have buffet table completed (all using recycled materials) but we have a good start on it by cutting and prepping inside in our workshop and going out to work on it in the early morning and after dinner time. That way we can let the chickens out to forage too!

    Just paid the final amount of Dave’s insurance deductible for the yearnow that we’re on Medicare and a supplement. The deductible is only $185 for the whole year (instead of over $7K with our private employer insurance when he was working!) We are astounded and thrilled!

    I had a fortune cookie with dinner in KY on Friday night that said: “No need to worry! You will always have everything that you need!” I am so grateful for the abundance of blessings I’ve been showered with! Hope you always have everything you need too!

    1. Congrats on the long-arm machine. When you’re ready, please share your contact info (if that’s ok, Brandy). I probably have a dozen tops that need quilting and have been looking for someone for a while.
      The medicare supplement is a huge deal. It will certainly ease your minds in retirement.

    2. Gardenpat, I so enjoy reading your posts! I made a note of the fruit tree method you’re using as I’d like to start planting our orchard this fall if finances permit. We hope to stay in this home for the rest of our lives so it seems prudent to follow a plan such as yours so we can harvest the fruit as long as possible. Congratulations on the new quilting equipment and best wishes to you and your daughter in this new adventure!

      1. The book we use is Grow A Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small Space, Easy Harvest Fruit Trees by Ann Ralph.
        Not knowing if we would like the book ( you probably know how that can be- a book sounds good or great cover photo but then it’s a dud and you’ve spent $$ and regret it), we checked our public library and sure enough they had a copy! Within 30 minutes of starting to read the book, we knew we wanted our own copy! It was just under $17 on Amazon. It’s now just over $7.50 there now! If you check it out and decide you’d like to buy a copy, I’d suggest you go through Brandy’s Amazon affiliate link here on her website. Doesn’t cost you extra to do that and she gets a small “thank-you” for all she does!

    3. So exciting about your long arm! I love to quilt also and my dream is to one day buy a long arm. Can you tell me, is yours used? How did you find out about the factory and what they had there? Is there a website? Wishing you the best of luck with your business….I bet it will be great!

  3. In my school district, our high school, where my son will be a sophomore, has a program with Kent State University, where they can earn FREE college credits to which they can apply when they graduate. high school. One local grad earned 56 college credits through this program and she will enter Kent State as a junior this fall. Saving 2 years of college tuition!

  4. Brandy, YAHOO! for getting the Pell Grants and for figuring out the most economical way for your children to get a higher education. However, I think the knowledge they have received from you on how to live a thrifty and successful life is the biggest blessing.

    This week hasn’t been much different than last week. I seem to be doing the same things over and over again but I realize consistency is what makes a difference.

    *The garden continues to produce and I continue to freeze and can. I save my quart freezer bags and use them over and over. Some bags have multiple writing so you have to figure out which label applies to what is inside. Mystery adds excitement.

    *I was able to save 30% by using coupons and sales at Dollar General.

    *At Kroger, I saved almost 50% by sticking to a list and only getting what I had coupons for and what was on sale. Mostly we are eating out of the garden.

    *I purchased another swing for the front porch (something I can’t live without) and saved 50% by searching around on different sites on the internet.

    *The biggest savings (I think) was helping our sons decide how to handle their investments in the stock market. We (my husband) did the research then sent them news videos about how volatile it is right now. It’s impossible to really know what to do. They are risk-takers, we (Bill and I) are cautious, so our advice is not always what they want to hear.

    July’s Garden – http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2019/07/julys-garden-2019.html
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. I do that with my ziplock bags, too. They will last a long time and we sometimes get a laugh reading what has been in there before. Of course, I confused my sister-in-law when I asked her to get some muffins from the freezer and she brought the bag in and said “It looks like muffins, but it’s labeled cornbread.”

      1. Cindi, my brother is hilarious when I do that to him. I will take him muffins, but the bag might say green beans. He will argue and say he really wanted green beans, not muffins. He will continue until I threaten to take it away, anything to irritate me.
        Jeannie

      2. In my house the joke is “could be meat, could be cake”. Since I rarely remember to label things I pop in the freezer, it can be an adventure when we pull things to defrost and eat.

          1. Well, I have never heard George Carlin do the routine so I went to youtube and watched it. I had a good laugh. He was describing our family except that I am the official “sniffer”. Everyone brings anything suspicious to me to be sniffed. How did we ever make it without Youtube?
            Jeannie

        1. After I pulled out what I thought was cauliflower soup to take to work and ended up with lemon juice instead I label my food in the freezer carefully!

          1. Another one here with freezer mistakes. I asked my husband to get a baggie of chili out of the freezer for me to take to work for lunch. He is color-blind. It turned out to be pumpkin pulp! I now keep several Sharpies attached to the side of the freezer, so I have no excuse not to label things.

        2. I’m enjoying these– I kept wondering for months why my husband never used the brown gravy in the plastic container in the freezer. Turned out, he knew nothing about it, and it was chocolate frosting from when I made too much.

      3. I had to laugh at these freezer stories! I am very careful about labeling my freezer goods, but I remember my mom telling a story about mistakenly giving my dad a frozen chunk of raw ground beef wrapped in foil, instead of something else for his lunch. Apparently he unwrapped it while talking to someone and wasn’t paying attention, and took a big bite before he figured it out. LOL. Maybe that story is why I’m so adamant about my labeling now.

          1. These freezer stories have me laughing! I have too many times try to guess what something is. Definitely need a better identification system in our house!

          2. I’m also loving all these freezer stories! I have the same problem. I need a better identification system!

  5. Cooking at home. Celebrated my grandsons birthday at our house this week. Made popcorn. Bought popsicles. Watched a movie from redox for his birthday because our local library was closed that day.
    I have made list of expenses bills going out vs money coming in. It is so tight but our tight budget should allow for saving for taxes and propane. We were able to make payments on hospital bill. That is a relief. I found that I can save on cpap supplies online. My husband has been helping with cooking. I am very grateful. Hopefully we won’t have any surprise bills.

    1. Tammy – re: CPAP: On another forum someone said she found they could get on a reduced electrical plan if someone in their house used certain medical devices. She was surprised to find that CPAP machines were included, and gratefully lowered her bill.

      1. Heidi Louise Thank you. I texted my foster sister as her son has equipment . She called her electric co and got a discount. As they are retired every penny helps.. Her son was born at 5 months and lungs ruined by pure Oxygen that hospital gave him.

  6. That’s wonderful news about the Pell grants! And Winter’s textbooks too. That makes sense to start school now, and be able to have lovely days off. The flexibility of home schooling seems to be one of its great benefits. Keeping the garden harvested, and doing something with what I harvest is keeping me busy. My niece visited with her young son today. She wanted him to be exposed to all the growing things here. He helped harvest a few cherry tomatoes, tromboncino squash, cucumbers, pears, potatoes, lima beans and hazelnuts. I sent them home with cucumbers, squash and eggs. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/08/mushrooms-nc-zoo-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. Tromboncino squash (aka Zuchetta rampicante) is the best tasting squash I ever grew! Yummy both green and when it gets hard like a butternut squash. And so interesting with that long neck. It does well here in heat and humidity.

      1. Same here, Cara. I do prefer butternut for winter squash, but it is definitely my favorite summer squash. Probably because we grow it on a trellis, it always outlasts the yellow and zucchini squash plants, which succumb to borers or rot.

  7. Brandy that is great news about the grants! Also, I agree with Jeannie – on the thrift lessons!
    This past week has not been very frugal so I’m trying to concentrate on the frugal things.
    The heat has been terrible here – 115 today so I’m not wanting to go out much. Frugal things done
    – washing full loads and drying on racks what I can
    – washing ziplock bags to reuse
    – walking dogs around 6 AM for free exercise
    – eating in all week
    – husband took lunch from home, on days he worked
    – I was able to use $20 off at a stock up trip at Sams Club.
    – still using up things from our freezer

    That’s all I can think of. Have a good week all.

  8. It’s great to hear Winter is doing well at university. It’s such an exciting time in life.
    Last week wasn’t very frugal but we tried to make the best of it. We went to Japan for a short vacation and visited Tokyo Disneyland. Disneyland is never “cheap” but the Tokyo park is cheaper than any other Disney park.
    *We carried a refillable thermos that we kept ice in. We refilled it throughout the day with water from the drinking fountains.
    *We carried our own snacks for times when we had the munchies.
    *We took public transportation and stayed at a budget hotel which had free breakfast, a microwave and laundry facilities that we took advantage of.
    *I hung the laundry in the bathroom overnight then dried in the dryer to keep the dryer time short.
    *A couple meals were bento box meals. They are tasty and $3-5 each. A bargain in Japan.
    *Instead of boarding our pets we found out our 12 year old neighbor was looking to make extra cash pet sitting this summer. She was a more affordable option.
    *We got free valet parking with our credit card.
    *We used the Priority Plus card to get free access to the business class lounge where we ate lunch before our flight.
    *We brought beans, a mini grinder, and an airpresso for coffee instead of buying it each morning.
    *We stayed out of the gift shops!!!
    *We visited a local park and playground.
    It was a fun but exhausting trip!

  9. You’ve had a great week, Brandy! Hope the baby is feeling better.

    This was my week–
    *Last week I had the first picking in the garden and got (to my surprise) a gallon of green beans and 3 tomatoes. Later I discovered another ripe tomato. We ate the tomatoes and some of the beans for dinner for a couple of nights. I had a second picking later in the week and got almost as many beans again. I canned 6 pints of beans. My husband snapped them for me.
    *My husband and I went to our vacation home for a few days. I discovered about 2 dozen pint canning jars and also brought home 2 unopened sticks of Crisco, in case I want to make a pie. (Pie is never far from my mind, LOL).
    *I paid 5 bills online, saving $2.50 in postage (I bought my stamps before the price went up, otherwise would have been $2.75).
    *Heads up–This week Office Max/Office Depot has the free Duracell/Energizer battery deal again–buy and get 100% back in Rewards dollars. Up to $42! I always use this deal for Christmas stocking stuffers for my adult kids. The rebate gets credited to your Rewards account in only 2-3 days. I’ll use the rebate to buy printer ink.

    My son and DDIL’s adoption of the German shepherd fell through, however I’d already mailed the dog blanket. DDIL loves it! They are still looking for a shepherd or shepherd mix from the various rescues. Also, if I find a way to get the stuff to them without paying, I have a dog bowl, two Kongs and two tie-outs left from our dearly departed big dogs (we now have 2 little dogs). Our son lived with us when we had all of the big dogs…so I think he will enjoy having his dog use their stuff.

    1. Update here on the battery deal–at my Office Max, it was limit 4 rebates with no dollar cap. I spent $50. The money will stay in my Rewards account for 90 days.

  10. Congratulations Winter on the grants!! That’s so exciting 😀

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * I made soup using stock from chicken thighs I had cooked for my SO’s lunches, and I saved the bones in my stock bag in the freezer to make more later.

    * I made homemade buns and bread to go with the soup and the BBQ chicken (that I made with the chicken thighs).

    * I pulled leftovers from the freezer for lunches for the week. I have a couple more containers of soup in there, and one more lunch serving of BBQ chicken, and then we will be out of leftovers in the freezer!

    * I cut the tops off my carrots from my CSA box and froze them to use in a soup. I also cut off the greens from my fresh onions and used those in dishes as well.

    * I purchased cherries for $1.59/lb, peaches for 78c/lb, bananas for 44c/lb, and grapes for 78c/lb. These (along with some frozen fruit and some canned fruit) should take us through at least the first 2/3 of the month for fruit options. Our CSA box keeps us in fresh vegetables, so I did not have to purchase much for vegetables this month (just some potatoes and carrots).

    * We repurposed the box our toilet paper comes in as a perch for our cat. It’s currently her favorite piece of furniture!

    * I purchased a food chopper (the kind you push down on), to help me when I’m preparing large quantities of produce. I was also debating getting a spiralizer, but this chopper came with a blade for spiralizing so I saved my $ and kitchen space.

    I think that’s mostly everything for the week!

    Have a great week everyone!

  11. Is that one of your cafe au lait dahlias, Brandy? It’s gorgeous! I had to look closely to realize that the glint is actually from a ring. Such a great photo! And congrats to Winter on receiving the scholarships — what great news!

    I’m looking for some fig tree advice from the gardeners in this community. The leaves on my potted fig tree are turning yellow. I googled it and it looks like either too much water or not enough water. But if I don’t water it every day, the rest of the leaves (only the centre ones are yellow) will visibly wilt yet perk up as soon as I water it. Does that mean it’s too dry? Should I water it twice a day? A few other plants on my balcony also have yellow-ish leaves. Does that mean a soil deficiency? Or also a watering issue? I’ve googled it and just can’t seem to find an answer, and I would absolutely hate for my much-wanted fig tree to die. TIA!

    My frugal week:
    – I made a batch of Baileys Chocolate Cherry Swirl Ice Cream (http://approachingfood.com/baileys-chocolate-cherry-swirl-ice-cream/), using the second sample of the Bailey’s Chocolate Cherry Liqueur I got free in a trade, cherries I bought on sale and froze, leftover cream, and leftover homemade chocolate shell. So, so decadent! And way more affordable than the equivalent in high end ice cream from the store.
    – I found out that the Sobey’s grocery store near my home offers a free piece of fruit for kids, so when I went to pick up an item, I fed some banana to my daughter. I used the leftover banana to make a half batch of banana muffins, and used leftover egg yolks instead of a whole egg. Wasn’t a perfect batch, but when split, toasted and spread with homemade lemon curd, it was delicious!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded some baby washcloths that I don’t use for a nail polish and some BNIB coloured pens. I also traded some cheddar biscuits for a basil plant. I made the biscuits using cheese I had bought on sale, grated, and frozen; honey instead of sugar as I was out; the last of some buttermilk powder I had in my pantry, instead of milk; and frozen green onions that I had grown myself. Later in the week I traded some homemade butter tarts for some digital currency and an ice tray. I ran out of corn syrup, so I substituted in white sugar and water with a dash of honey for flavour, and they turned out great. And finally, I traded a miniskirt that I wore in university (now ‘vintage’!) and some candied almonds leftover from my daughter’s baptism months ago, for a child’s paddle painted with a loon by a local artist. I plan to hang it in my daughter’s nursery.
    – I redeemed loyalty points for $20 worth of groceries, and was able to use a 20% off e-coupon when buying items at my local bulk store.
    – I bought heavily discounted strawberries (two large clamshells for $2) and turned them into strawberry preserves.
    – I made kung pao chickpeas in my slow-cooker (very inexpensive, especially as I used home-dehydrated red peppers instead of fresh), and served it with rice I got for free using coupons a few months ago. It made enough for several meals and I was also able to give some to my sister.
    – I made homemade caramel sauce using some of the cream leftover from the carton I’ve been using for a few weeks. I plan to host friends for a homemade ice cream waffle bar later in the summer, so I thought it would be the perfect way to use up some of the cream.
    – I made chocolate snack cake and brought some to a friend as a last-minute hostess gift.
    – I had my sister over for dinner, and made a variation of Becky’s yummy lentil taco filling – it was delicious, plus it used up the last bit of salsa in my fridge.
    – I started a free trial of Amazon prime, and made a note in my calendar to cancel it in 29 days. So I got free shipping when I ordered a number of items, the overall cost of which I lowered with a gc from Swagbucks and a coupon. One of these items was a phone case – definitely cheaper to buy one on sale from Amazon with a coupon than to buy one from a brick and mortar chain store.
    – As I had Amazon prime, I read one of the books available through prime for free, about growing lemons in my zone.
    – I redeemed swagbucks for a $10 gc to Old Navy
    – I ran out of milk for my usual cereal breakfast, so I made ginger drop cakes from an old recipe book. No eggs or milk needed, plus I was able to use up some old and very thick molasses. Instead of raisins, I used dates. Turned out great!
    – I wanted to mention for Canadian readers that there is an app called FlashFood which lets you buy short-dated food for super-cheap. In Toronto, it’s mostly in Loblaws stores. I haven’t used it as it’s not close to me, but there are definitely some great deals available!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

    1. Yellow leaves can also be caused by overwatering. If the leaves are yellow but the veins are dark green, it’s an iron deficiency. Somewhere on my Edible Landsacping Pinterest board is a a pin with leaves and explaining different signs of different mineral deficiencies. But first, make sure it’s not because you’re overwatering!

      1. Thanks so much, Brandy! I’ve looked up your pin and I think it might be a nitrogen deficiency. I’m going to try to supplement the soil with coffee grounds until I can get to a store to buy a proper fruit tree food. I really don’t want this tree to die; it would be such a waste. Thanks again!

      1. Absolutely, Cathi! It’s from a 1917 cookbook called ‘1000 Ways to Please a Husband’. I used chopped dates instead of raisins, and it was fantastic! Very cake-like (i.e. a very fine crumb) as opposed to a muffin. https://books.google.ca/books?id=4T7DAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA286&lpg=PA286&dq=ginger+drop+cake+thousand+ways+to+please+a+husband&source=bl&ots=1bJXNRsNsI&sig=ACfU3U0ewF4IGkIzZdGnNkdYx7B4Di4PSQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiQw5K2zfTjAhVSGs0KHUZcCtYQ6AEwAHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=ginger%20drop%20cake%20thousand%20ways%20to%20please%20a%20husband&f=false They stayed well in my fridge, and I suspect they would freeze well too.

  12. Congratulations to Winter. That is wonderful news for all of you.
    Is there some significance to the ring in the flower photo? It’s very pretty.
    This week we enjoyed rainbow chard, onions, thyme, mint, zucchini, a jalapeno pepper and the first tomatoes from our garden. I planted lettuce and carrots and hope the seeds will come up. We had rain several times and I was able to leave the irrigation to the garden off for 6 days.
    We purchased pie cherries for $3 a pound — enough for 7 cups of cherry jam and 2 cherry pies. I also picked a couple of gallons of wild apricots and canned 11 cups of Brandy’s apricot-vanilla jam and made apricot granola bars. Finally, we purchased 24 ears of sweet corn from a local farmer. We ate some and I froze 3 very full quart freezer bags full of kernels.
    We stopped by a local Mennonite store and I was able to purchase oats, molasses, dried cranberries and cornmeal for good prices.
    We attended a free concert in the park and went hiking one day for entertainment.

    1. I was just testing out ring shots with the dahlias from the garden. I don’t have a macro lens yet so I am limited with what I can capture.

      1. Brandi, you can get a very inexpensive set of macro rings for about $10 on amazon that will allow your current lenses to act as macro lenses. Very handy, especially if you just need macro for the occasional ring shot!

  13. For the first time I have planted a fall crop using cinder blocks: I’ve planted Bush Green Beans, snow peas, 2 types of pickling cucumbers, lettuce and tomorrow a cabbage that they are also called kale from Tuscany. The green beans have sprouted as did the first set of cucumbers just planted the second type today. We have had 3 appliances break down over the past month the microwave, the hot water tank and today my dryer thanking God we have the funds to replace. The dryer I was not to out of sorts over since it’s summer and I have a clothesline outside just hung everything that was in the washer outside and did a second load which also dried. Husbands jeans were a little stiff and slightly wrinkled so I ironed them. So we will take our time with getting the dryer instead of just rushing right out and buying one it will be this week but no sense of urgency I could totally see not using the dryer at all in the summer.. hubby likes his towels softened but I personally could make do. My tomato plants are growing well and I have canned up 6 quarts of tomatoes so far plus we’ve been eating them everyday I sure will miss them when the season is over.

    1. You could wait until the Labor Day sales. Usually, the deals are only if you buy a set, and I never buy a set. I just replace the one that is out. But sometimes there are still deals to be had then, too!

    2. Speed Queen has a deal right now with an extended parts and labor warranty. Right now instead of 3 or 5 years parts and labor and 25 years parts, you get 10 years parts and labor and 25 years on parts. The dryers are pricey, but with that warranty, it might be worth a look.

    3. When something similar happened in our household last fall, I called it the Appliance Apocalypse! We were very fortunate to take advantage of Black Friday sales at Lowe’s along with a military discount. Made a huge difference!

    4. When we have had to buy new appliances from Lowes or Home Depot, we priced them and then went to Safeway and got gift cards sufficient to cover the cost. We used a credit card so we got points for the purchase. We ended up getting 25 gallons of gas for $2 off PER GALLON due to the gift card purchases. We also paid off the credit card that evening via the internet, so points but no interest payments. We have done the same thing with large scale construction projects, like our deck addition. Just a thought for how to maximize what you do spend, in case you had not thought of it yourself.

    5. I live in North Carolina and for as long as I can remember I’ve hung clothes out to dry. I look at the weather and plan accordingly. During the winter I have drying racks that I use indoors and the clothes not only dry overnight but add moisture to the air so we feel warmer during the colder months. I’d be okay never owning a dryer, I use it so seldom but then again, it’s just my husband and myself.

  14. FRUGAL 8/5
    * Cut flowers from the garden
    * An orchid we were given as a gift has rebloomed, so we can continue enjoying it!
    * Line drying a load of clothes (0.25 savings)

    FRUGAL 8/4
    * Meal prepped breakfast and morning snacks for five days
    * Filled up our smaller car’s gas tank at the debit-card-only gas station, which is as much as .50 cheaper per gallon than other nearby gas stations

    FRUGAL 8/3

    * Purchased an aloe vera at the supermarket that had three pups included with the main plant; separated and repotted the pups to nurture and someday share.
    * Drove our e-cargo bike to the mall to buy school supplies, saved $1 in gasoline.
    * Son’s new shoes were 25 percent off thanks to a back-to-school sale.

  15. Congratulations on Winter’s financial aid. It is such a relief, isn’t it?

    We sent a gift package to a dear friend who had surgery: a small bottle of maple syrup and 4 granola bars we had on hand, a book from the library sale and a couple of other on sale items as well as some candy.

    Went to the free food table and found bread, cookies for my DH and a number of different kinds of veggies. I also found a bag of cheddar flavored mini-ricecakes that my daughter and I snacked on.

    My daughter has had to shop for me as I’m immune compromised at the moment. She found stuffing for some pillows I wish to make for a dollar. She also has been doing very well on the little we are buying. We did have a birthday bash for my mother and myself as our upcoming birthdays are consecutive. The dinner used up steaks given to us from the freezer and quiche (more like cheese pies) using frozen piecrusts that were originally free. We all ate leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day.

    I ordered the backing, batting and 2 yards of fabric for a quilt I’m making. Using Joanne’s coupons with 3$ shipping really helped keep the cost lower. I have all of the rest of the fabric needed.

    I am also making the matching pillow to a felt Christmas set of decorative pillows. I’ve been going to do this second pillow for a couple of years. Finally getting to it. I just need one piece of white felt and am having difficulty finding it. Hoping to solve this delima soon!

    I second Garden Pat’s sentiments about decluttering and finishing up projects that, for some reason or no reason, have been laid aside. That is my goal from now till Christmas. Finish getting my house in order. I’m going to be here for 5 more months in recovery. Might as well have something to show for it!

    Cut my hair off today so as to not have to deal with it falling out. I have A LOT of hair. Sad, but necessary. I’ve kerchiefs, beanies, a straw hat and a cowboy hat. I’m pretty set. I did have to start buying a wig and the necessary materials that go with it. Sometimes I ride along on errands and need something for the car. Otherwise, it just feels like I’ve put my hair back…until I pass by a mirror. The family is taking it well. I have very high cheek bones and bright blue eyes. Maybe that helps me not look too odd.

    I mended a pair of leggings. Found a number of items to mend in a bag. My DH and DS will not be short khakis when I have them all hemmed. They were all bought for a couple dollars at the thrift shop. Started sewing the tree farm quilt top. Settled that my son’s financial aid is all set for fall. He is in the final week of summer school and it is going well. The summer bill is all zeroed out.

    Happy frugal-ing friends

  16. Winter is rocking the college money savings—so impressive! And hurray for the pell grant!

    So here is what I did this week (my first week ever of tracking how I saved money!):

    Strawberries were on sale for $1.50/lb, so I bought 8 lbs and made freezer jam (except it never set properly, and is kind of runny…?) Also, I cooked my first EVER batch of dry beans and froze them. I felt like Tom Hanks in Castaway when he’s all, “I have made fire!” 😉 What took me so long? I’ll never buy canned beans again!

    My husband and I celebrated our 11th anniversary by going out to dinner using a coupon, and then binged half a season of Stranger Things—much cheaper than the bed and breakfast we had previously discussed!

    We ordered a replacement gasket for our refrigerator—a previously unplanned expense. But we had sat down the first of the month and created a detailed budget, so we managed to shift things around and NOT put it on the credit card! Win! Also, we completely paid off a credit card this week, and I am determined that its balance stays at zero!

    My friend and I cleaned my carpets using her machine instead of hiring someone, which we’ve done in the past. Another friend gave me her son’s old Scout shirt since my son is advancing to Webelos.

    Before we found out about the refrigerator repair, I bought a deli slicer for $20 through our local classifieds—just in time for the back to school sandwich rush! I am so excited! I will never buy a ridiculously overpriced pack of pre-sliced cheese again! I’m so excited for a turkey or ham to go on sale!

    I have a question for you, Brandy. After you slice the meat, can you refreeze it? I’m not sure if our family of five could make it through the whole thing before it went bad…

    Also, what are everyone’s favorite Pandora stations? I’ve been in the kitchen more this week than I have been in ages, and I need something fun and/or peaceful to listen to!

    1. We have refrozen it. You’re cooking it and then freezing it. Also, that “fresh” meat that the grocery store has is always frozen. I’ve noticed that they bring it out frozen for the fresh section.

      It sounds like you needed to cook your jam longer and test it for readiness. It cooks for a long time and you feel like you’re burning your arm for about 20 minutes while you stir, but then it will set.

      My main Pandora stations are 90’s Alternative Radio and Big Band Orchestra.

    2. Darcy, the liquidy jam can also be used as strawberry sauce, and poured over pound cake, cheese cake, ice cream, yoghurt etc. It’s not a loss! Also, once you’ve cooked the meat, you can refreeze it safely. I love my meat slicer! You did very well with your first recorded frugal week, Darcy. Keep up the great job!!!!

  17. I ordered shorts and t-shirts from Land’s End at 40% off. They arrived in time to give me several more weeks of summer wear from them.

    The car has been in four times for repair, once at the garage’s expense . It seems to be running well, for the first time in a very long time, though one more part needs to be installed. The goal is to replace it in the spring.

    I ordered Acorn TV, which has mostly British but some other European TV. I love it. Many shows I haven’t had a chance to see. I have a trial of Amazon Prime, but I have seen most of what I want to see on it, and what I order tends to be an exception for the free shipping, so I will be cancelling this before the trial expires.

    Tomorrow, I am doing my monthly grocery shop at 10% off. I have some extra cash this month, and will replace the staples that I ran down in May, June and early July. I have been going to the local farmer’s market every two weeks since mid-July. It is wonderful to enjoy fresh local produce, like fresh peas, as well as some amazing local products like bacon and stuffed potatoes.

    I ordered a ticket for a presentation by Louise Penny, who is a favorite author of mysteries set in Quebec. It is a Saturday afternoon in September, which means I can have lunch out beforehand, and drive back from the city while it is still light out. Much more reasonably priced that any of the concerts or plays that I looked at.

    1. Ooh– Louise Penny! Her next book comes out August 27.
      I really admire the questions of morality she brings up in her books about Armand Gamache and his assistant, Jean-Guy. As a traditional American English speaker, it took me a long time to “hear” the pronunciation of his name in French as I read, rather than the simplified “Jean Guy”, meaning “Guy who wears jeans.” She has a pronunciation guide on her website.

      1. The recurring characters and locations in her mystery series feel very real to me. My mother grew up not so far from where the series is placed, so it feels a lot like home to me. The issues are very much of today, though, so it is always interesting to hear what she is addressing. A combination of nostalgia, friendship, and enough darkness to make me think. The presentation is related to her new book. I’ll get a signed copy after all the years of library copies.

        1. A friend and I did a driving holiday to the Eastern Townships a couple of summers ago just to go to “Three Pines”. She lives in Lac Brome and the bookstore and “restaurant” are located there and many other small villages in the area have bits & pieces taken from them. The bookstore is wonderful – they have a whole section dedicated to Louise Penny and her new books are launched there each year as a fundraiser.
          We even went to visit the Abbey that was the inspiration for the setting in one book – it is absolutely amazing, on beautiful ground and the monks really do sing Gregorian Chants all day long. For those in the US it is quite close to Lake Champlain – near the border with Vermont and it is a gorgeous part of Canada.
          Another friend helps with a bus tour that goes to all the locations from the book – they run usually in July and September and usually sell out very quickly.

        2. My maternal grandfather emigrated from that area when he was in his early 20’s! One brother moved to the States but the rest of his siblings remained in Canada. I wrote via email to Louise many years ago – around the time of her second or third book and she replied! She wrote a lovely long letter – very personalized. I told her that her writing had created such strong visual images for me of that area. My grandfather didn’t talk much about it but my grandmother and one of his sisters became dear friends and wrote each other weekly for over 50 years. My grandparents took their four children up there several times, including to the “lake house” which was near the original family farm. I love her books and am looking forward to the new one! Mary

  18. Our week was busy, but mostly because my husband wanted to be out and about when the weather was beautiful. We went to the county fair one day, and for a long three hour ride another day. It started as maybe we’d go to the corn festival an hour away, but we drove around for the whole afternoon instead. The day between the two excursions we had done some gardening, pulling out some large weeds (last summer we were both busy with medical appointments and didn’t get things done) so we have a good handle on what else needs doing now. My muscles didn’t feel like a lot of walking again, and husband was willing to just ride around, so it worked out all right. We did stop at a local diner for dinner on the way back. I have decided that the budget can stand a few meals out when I have to entertain the husband full time. No vacations are in sight for this year. I just don’t want to take him to unfamiliar places when he is confused enough at home.
    And my other helper, my daughter, has broken her ankle! We had just talked last week about working together to clean the kitchen windows, inside and out, wash the blinds and the curtains, and caulk around the windows outside. We have been getting a lot of flies in those windows and had to buy a supply of various cures for that. The main cure will be cleaning and caulking but that will be put off for another month or so now. DD and her girlfriend were walking for exercise, and went a different route than she normally takes, and she backed up into a cement barrier she wasn’t aware was there. So it will be a while before she is back to normal. She sent me photos of her foot and it is mightly black and blue the length of her foot and up into the ankle area too. It is an avulsion fracture, which is a bit more complicated than a plain old fracture. She is in an air spint and on crutches and can’t drive at the moment, although it is her left foot.
    We did have a great stretch of sunny days—well over a week—but the chance of rain is back tomorrow. We need the rain at this point, and frankly, I need some more kitchen time. My husband’s needs come first, but he wants sweets these days and I’d rather bake them myself than buy them at the store. Cheaper and better tasting for the most part. We can have a ride tomorrow to the pharmacy to pick up pills and to the farm market to get some needed produce for a salad I want to make tomorrow with more tomatoes than I have right now–and black beans, corn, etc. I think a pan of brownies will hold us over and be quick to make, too. We did have a blueberry pie last week that I made.
    I’m behind in my newspaper and magazine reading also. Papers are piling up around me!
    I think staying home and watching it rain for a few days will allow me to catch up with myself and the house this week. I hope so, anyhow.

  19. Hi Brandy and everyone. I love reading your blog (and site), the comments and the beautiful photography. Your kids are SO adorable!

    Well here in NZ we are heading into Spring which is always one of my favourite times of the year. I am busy planning the garden and will be sowing some of the seeds I saved in the Autumn such as Painted Mountain corn, sunflowers, broad beans and more.

    We’re also eating a lot out of the deep freeze and pantry, much of it produce from the last year and to me it’s fun and rewarding seeing how long we can go without spending money on food although each week we do buy milk and sometimes bananas – mostly though we are blessed to have everything on hand.

    I found some lovely coffee mugs which had been $10 each marked down to $2 so I bought 10 of them to give as presents in the future.

    Have a wonderful week everyone. It’s a lot cooler here, been below zero some nights as we come to the end of winter.

  20. I missed last week so I have a longer list this time around. I went to the grocery store early on the weekend because I couldn’t sleep (they are open 24 hours) & the meat department had just placed coupons on items with that day’s sell by date. I was able to save $13.00 & stock the freezer for a few weeks. Earned 35 cents off a gallon of gas & filled my tank. We cancelled a service that we no longer use saving us $250.00 over the course of a year. I cut open a lotion, toothpaste & makeup to use every bit up. These items lasted for days after they were no longer squeezable. I celebrated a month of not purchasing coffee or lunch during work. I travel almost daily & it is easy to fall into the drive thru trap. By packing lunch the night before I’m saving money & eating better. We transferred a credit card debt to a card with 0% interest for a limited time & have budgeted to pay it off within the months allotted. I went to yard sales on Saturday & bought a NWT gift for my niece. Original price was $15.00, I paid $5.00. Nothing else was purchased, at 1 time I’d go to yard sales & come home with things that I didn’t really need just because they were cheap. Now, I make a list & if it’s not something we could truly use I don’t buy.
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s accomplishments, you all are truly inspirational!

  21. Congrats to Winter for receiving the school grants and finding an inexpensive way to get her school textbooks! How exciting your eldest son is now starting with college courses. What is he thinking of taking in post secondary, if you don’t mind sharing? It’s amazing to think of your children starting school in the middle of summer. However, your reason is a vaild one. Since they are stuck inside anyways, might as well do something productive, then have a break when the weather is cooler and they can enjoy the outdoors.

    We’ve had a very busy, heavy eating out, kind of week. Unfortunately that happens from time to time in our household. Hubby starts back to work soon. I suspect the eating out will slow down as soon as that happens. Our frugal accomplishments list for this week is:
    *Meals made at home included beef stew with bread and butter, tacos, BBQ’d cheddar sausages with flavoured rice, and breakfast bowls (see below).
    *At work this week, I tried making potato cakes for the first time. You take leftover mashed potatoes (I literally dug up and cooked potatoes over the fire 1 day to make the mashed potatoes, then stuck them in the fridge to make the potato cakes another day), add a small amount of finely diced onion cooked in butter/oil (I don’t like onion, so I opted just to add a bit of oil to the potatoes), salt & pepper, and enough flour to make a stiff dough. The recipe said to roll it in a log and slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds (I just formed patties with my hands), then cook in greased fry pan until golden on each side. So cheap, easy, vegan friendly, and even could be make gluten free by subing in an appropriate flour! If I was to make this at home (aka modernize the recipe), I would season with garlic and/or Lowery’s seasoning salt (or the knock off version as it’s much cheaper) and add some grated cheese. Chives and/or other herbs could also be used to add flavour and you could add bacon or cook in bacon grease, which would also add flavour. I thought I would share for those looking for recipes to try on a limited budget, thought anyone would enjoy these!
    *When my brother and hubby were not home for dinner one night, I took the opportunity to make breakfast bowls for dinner (they won’t eat them). I made plain white rice for the base (normally I make roasted herbed potato chunks, but thought we would try rice this time), topped with scrambled eggs with spinach, bacon bits, cheese and Hollandaise sauce. So good, inexpensive and very filling! Breakfast bowls can be personalized to taste or work with what you have, such as adding peppers and onions to the eggs, throw in some tomatoes, eliminate the bacon or cheese if prefered, top with salsa instead of Hollandaise sauce, etc.
    *Made smoothie popsicles from frozen/canned fruit I already had. I blended together (no measurement, just whatever I felt would be enough) frozen raspberries, frozen blueberries, canned pineapple, some pineapple juice from the canned pineapples, 2 individual yoghurt containers and a little bit of sugar (DD found it a bit sour for her taste without the sugar) with my handheld blender stick, then poured it into 8 reusable popsicle moulds. They are very healthy, which is why I like when DD eats these over other snack foods!
    *Returned a recalled product to Costco and received a full refund (they contacted us about the recall, which is so nice!). While there, we picked up a bunch of things we were running low on. It was a big shop, but a necessary one.
    *Hubby and I went to another free concert. The band this time was 54-40 (lots of hits 80’s & 90’s with this band, including “One Gun” and “Ocean Pearl”). We had dinner out, but shared a platter which had plenty for both of us. We brought snacks and drinks from home, to enjoy during the evening preformance. The music was amazing and I knew almost all the songs they played. Also picked up more free stuff, including an insulated lunch bag, a key chain light, another reusable straw (gave to DD’s friend), a magnetic clip, 2 snack sized bags of chips, 2 frizbees (for the dog), and 2 pens.
    *My mom and I went to a free concert on the weekend. It was a Tom Petty tribute band. I took my mom out to dinner, as she is always paying for everyone else. Took drinks and snacks from home to enjoy later in the evening. There were no free give aways that night, but we did enjoy the show.
    *Our biggest excitement this week was buying a brand new 2019 Hyundai Tuscon! Yes, this wasn’t very frugal. However, since the vehicle is brand new, we hope it will last us a very long time, and therefore will work out to be a savings in the long run. The improved gas mileage over our current 2008 Tuscon will definitely be appreciated. We have an extended warrenty for 8 years, in case anything (like computer chips) happen to fail, opted to have rustproofing to help keep it in good shape, had a trailer hitch put on to expand it’s usefullness and we were able to get 0% financing on the loan. Hubby chose to buy this as an early birthday present for me…I’m very pleased with my gift!!!

    Always a preasure reading everyone’s comments. You all enspire me every single week!

    1. Rhonda, my friend’s children in Arizona started public school two weeks ago! And the schools here start on August 12th. They changed the semesters here for the children to end before Christmas break, but that’s so close to Christmas (December 20th) and I want to have more time off in December as well to enjoy doing some things as a family.

  22. Congrats on the Pell Grants. Those are a great bonus as college tuition can really add up.

    I am home alone again, as my husband is in Miami for his last semester for his PhD. LAST SEMESTER EVER!

    I am working on clearing out the upright freezer before the holiday sales begin (hoped to have it done before hurricane season, but that didn’t’ happen). I still have a turkey from last year! This week I found a bag of diced ham so I made macaroni and cheese with ham, a quiche, and a pot of ham and corn chowder (using found corn too!). I also found some freezer burned chicken thighs so I made broth and used the chicken in soup, chicken salad, tacos and a broccoli chicken and rice casserole (the broccoli was also a freezer find). Made overnight oats with various fruits and nuts found in the freezer. This is keeping my grocery budget very low.

    The litany of things breaking continues. Now it is the dryer. I bought the new washer last year and declined the dryer since mine worked fine, but now the door handle broke, the timer doesn’t work, and the heating element has gone out. I will go ahead and buy the matching dryer now as Speed Queen is offering a 10 year warranty for parts and labor (instead of 5) right now, plus 25 years on parts.

    Was able to gift a friend who just moved into her own place (nasty separation/divorce) several boxes of food stuffs from my pantry to get her kitted out.

    We put in an above ground pool this year and I was gifted several filters by someone who bought the wrong size. They declined payment, so I gave two jars of jam as a thank you.

    Several months ago I demanded an audit of my previous mortgage servicer through the bankruptcy court as my math did not jive with theirs when it was sold to the new servicer. The audit found that they owed me over $1000 and the court ruled that they had to make the adjustment back to the original dates I sent the money, resulting in almost $5,000 savings on my mortgage balance.

  23. Wonderful news on the Pell Grant! So happy for Cyrus also! I put two of my rugs on my front bushes. Obviously, I don’t have an HOA…lol. I knew we had a rainstorm approaching. They were washed very well. I left them there for the sun to dry them out and they were dry in a few hours. I added water to my hot sauce to make it last longer. I bought $40 worth of groceries and all my meat for the month: catfish nuggets, chicken thighs, chicken livers, beef liver, bacon, summer squash, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, okra, bread. I made chicken with onion, potatoes and frozen carrots I had on hand, in the crockpot. I will be eating that for lunch all week. I had cooked pinto beans in the crock pot over the weekend. I was given a bag of lime flavored tortilla chips, and I have been making nachos with grated cheese, tomatoes, pinto beans, spinach, sour cream and picante sauce for super at night. I have been walking every day I can. I played the piano at church. I am not very good, but it helps to keep my skills up. Make a joyful “noise” to the Lord…. sometimes I feel my playing and singing are just that, joyful, but a noise…..lol

  24. It’s great that Winter got that and found a good place to rent her books. Since you are still harvesting Brandy I am guessing the grasshoppers didn’t eat everything. 🙂 . I am still at my son’s cat sitting until this weekend. He is with in 3 yrs of retiring and I was thinking that meant I would retire as cat sitter… he is at class for military and thinks when he retires out that he wants to be an instructor for the military…. I might not be retiring out as cat sitter if he has to travel like some of the instructors told him they do. We will see, he really isn’t sure what he is going to do but finally took my advice on
    how to invest his 401K and thanked me last night as he earned more since Jan than he did the last 2 yrs. He was invested in BONDS SIGH SIGH SIGH.

    I told Hubby about GardenPat method of growing fruit trees as we would like to do so but are in our 60s…. so we might actually start doing that next year.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/08/frugal-moments.html

    Just sewing curtains, table cloths and napkins… still
    Everyone have a great day

    1. A semi-dwarf tree that is one year old (in a 5-gallon container) will start yielding fruit in 3 years. Some trees take longer (such as nuts) but it’s still worth planting them in your 60’s!

      1. Absolutely the same way we thought about it, Brandy!!
        The Grow a Little Fruit Tree method in the book of the same name actually suggests that you select fruit trees by the taste of that variety of fruit as well as what is well suited for your climate. They suggest Not to plant dwarf trees because the emphasis was placed on producing a tree for it’s size rather than for the taste or high fruit yield. So most of our trees were full size varieties in 5 gallon pots! Scared us to death after planting them to follow the directions and photos in the book that had us prune them immediately to only about knee high!!! Yikes!! But the book is based on years of research at UC Davis and the author’s experimentation.
        Really fascinating stuff and we are starting to see the “fruits” of our labor!!!

  25. Congratulations to Winter on receiving more financial aid and for the great deal on books! We have been blessed with our oldest daughter having received her college education free to us. She is a senior this year and will graduate completely debt free. The first 2 years were spent at the closest community college and she received Pell grant and scholarships, which paid all of her fees plus gave her money back. These last 2 years she went to the state university which is 4 hours from us. With the Pell grant and scholarships, her tuition was covered, but the University of Missouri started a new program last year where students who receive Pell grant and qualify for the honors program can also receive free room and board. So her last 2 years are completely free and she gets quite a bit back as a refund for personal expenses. We’ve been very blessed!
    ***********************************************************************************
    For those who might be interested, I came across this information on another frugal site that talks about how children can earn a bachelor’s degree while getting their high school diploma for as little as $3100. This family homeschools, but I think it’s applicable for others as well. My younger daughter is homeschooling starting this year (8th grade) and we are now looking into this.
    ***********************************************************************
    Here are some of our frugal accomplishments for last week:
    *Took a yummy and frugal side dish with items on hand to the church potluck – broccoli-pea salad. It was well-enjoyed I think because the bowl came home empty!
    *Sent my resume for substitute library staff at our local county library district. There are 5 libraries in our county. We are 4 miles from the closest one, but for all of the others, they pay mileage if you work there so it would work out to be well-compensated. Plus I love spending time in the library.
    *I spent 3 hours filling out an application for our local medical system foundation to see if we can get a discount on the brain MRI that I had done recently. The total bill was $5037 so I would appreciate any help at all on that. This is a program for uninsured people, but you have to also fill out a Medicaid application and get a denial letter on that before they will process the foundation application so it was a bit time consuming.
    *The wonderful librarian at our nearest library asked if I’d like to have her order any homeschool books since she knew we were starting that this school year with our younger daughter. That was a blessing.
    *I volunteered to read at the library during a summer reading program event for children, and they let me do my printing for free which was a nice surprise.
    *I found that another fairly local library does the inter-library loan for free with other libraries in our state. They gave me an account so I can go online from home and mark items to have sent to the local library. A very nice service!
    *Sent my older daughter and her friend with PB&J sandwiches and homemade cookies for their trip to a concert in Chicago. They were trying to do the trip as cheaply as possible so were appreciative of the food.
    *Made my husband’s lunch each day this week. I’m sure it gets a bit monotonous for him, but I appreciate his willingness to just eat whatever I can put together to send 🙂
    *Used up homemade breadcrumbs from freezer in Parmesan chicken strips. I baked them this time, and we all really liked them that way so will do it like that from now on rather than in oil on the stovetop.
    *Made homemade laundry detergent with the last of the ingredients I had on hand from last time. This should last awhile, especially since our older daughter is going back to school in 2 weeks.
    *We signed up for the Equifax data breach settlement. We’ll put that into savings. Also discovered our older daughter qualified as well.
    Wishing everyone a blessed (and cool) week!

      1. Thank you for the link! I will be checking it out to see if there are any other options that will work for us with our younger children.

      2. A homeschooled young lady from my church told me that when she graduated early from high school at age 16, instead of getting a full time job to save money for college, she spent many hours/week applying for scholarships and grants, and writing essays (which she used more than once for different scholarships). By the end of the year, she was able to secure enough scholarship money to pay for a 4-year engineering degree at a state college, plus living expenses. She did a lot of research on getting scholarship money and writing essays from books at the library. The amount of money she secured in scholarships far outweighed the money she could have made/saved working a full time job somewhere. Her parents were thrilled, and she continued to live at home while she did this. Just another option for high schoolers getting ready for college.

    1. Hi, Jenny,
      I think last week you said you were using some frugal curriculum? Would you be willing to share what that is?

  26. Hoping your little one is feeling much better.

    I used a half off up to $10 at CVS for some pepto, and they had a coupon that allowed me to get the mister his favorite candy bar for a quarter.
    I used a $10 off $10 Staples coupon to buy printer paper (on sale) a game on clearance for a gift and some letter stickers to make homemade cards with. I noticed they have Starbucks and Dunkin coffee there, so the next coupon like that I will use on coffee for a gift.

    The grocery budget for the month has been reached. Thankful, enough green beans grew for dinner (more are coming in) and 5 mini tomatoes which I used in a salad for myself. I was given 2 juicy tomatoes. I took a sad zucchini and sadder potatoes and made the zucchini/potato cakes from your recipes. They certainly did not taste sad! I also made a pot of Cuban beans and rice.

    Met a friend for a trail walk, she brought a thermos of iced coffee for the picnic tables after. It was great to talk, sweat and just take in the scenery.

    Have a great week everyone!

  27. Congratulations to Winter! That is terrific!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 6 times. I was sick most of the week so most of the meals were easily cooked by my husband. We had steak and baked potato; top ramen with leftover steak; frozen pizza; canned soup; spaghetti with Italian sausage sauce; grilled pork loin chops with zucchini and baked potatoes. Hubby’s birthday was Sunday, so we ate out on Saturday night with DD, son-in-law and grandson. Went back to DD’s for Hubby’s birthday pie, which my daughter bought. Froze all leftovers for weekday lunches.
    • Worked 7 contract hours. Not very many this week, since I was sick.
    • We got a wonderful thunderstorm this week, which cooled us down and we were able to turn off the sprinklers for a couple of days.
    • Saved the bag from a box of cereal to reuse.
    • Bought minimal groceries.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates on some Amazon purchases we needed to make.
    • Got 6 keychain/bottle openers free from work leftover from a conference.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  28. Congrats to Winter for finding a $5.30 source for her summer textbooks! Also for the Pell Grants. What a relief for all of you. And Cyrus starting college too! Some weeks have themes and this past week was education for your family 🙂

    • Made swag goal x 2
    • Kept AC off until the inside of the house reached 82 with 78% humidity then I cracked.
    • Used a 20% off-all-produce coupon and loaded up.
    • Hung all laundry out to dry.
    • Put a bunch of green onions from the store into a glass with a little water. I usually get three “cuttings” worth by doing this.
    • Using Hoopla and my library card, I downloaded an audio book onto my phone to listen to while trimming bushes outside. “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” is the story of the wife of C.S. Lewis and so far it is very interesting but for adults only. Joy Davidman Lewis wrote beautiful sonnets and snippets are included in the book.
    • Watched older seasons of HGTV for free on my laptop
    • Local peaches are ripe so I purchased a bushel and have been slicing and freezing like mad.

  29. July was an expensive month – transmission had to be rebuilt on one car, tires changed on another car due to dry rot (that 13-year-old car was a gift to us and had only 20,000 miles, but the tires were original to the car and were cracking, and so they had to be replaced so we could drive it while the transmission was being repaired), a broken windshield on a third vehicle and two of those cars are up for tag renewal. All at the same time we’re getting a child ready to go to college for his first year. Ugh, bad timing. SO – we will severely limit spending in August and September to replenish our emergency fund. But in the meantime, I have found some really great deals for the college kid at an estate sale, including a $5 Keuring that I cleaned up so it’s good as new – it’s cheaper than a thrift store coffee pot. I’ve been gradually collecting dorm items since about April, so I can confidently say we’re sending him well equipped while spending the least amount possible. Frugality/savings is a mindset that has to span the long term (lean times as well as times of abundance) to be most effective, so we are careful spenders as a habit. But some of the things we’ve done this week are eating breakfast for dinner using ingredients we had on hand, choosing menus based on what’s in the freezer and pantry, saying ‘not yet’ to some of my kids’ requests for new clothing (they have enough to wear until the weather changes) and stocking up on laundry detergent while it was on sale for just $1.98 per jug (saving $5 EACH). I’ll also be repairing some clothing items to put back into the kids’ rotation and shop from our stash of school supplies rather than buying anything new unless I absolutely have to. August is always a little hectic with back to school, but we’ll keep our eye on the long-term goal of replenishing our funds.

    1. Great deal on the Keurig! When my son started using a Keurig, I found a reusable cup that he could use regular coffee in. This keeps the cost/serving down! I think I got it at the dollar store.

  30. It’s amazing that you still get fruit with the weather being that hot. And what a great deal on the text books! That’s unheard of.
    Our public schools also offer college classes for free here. My great-niece started college at 18 as a junior because of it, and although the program was more limited back when my kids were in school, they were each able to accumulate about 20-24 hours of college for free. Every little bit helps.
    I ordered some organic-rated weed killer from a company we’ve used for several years, Spray and Grow. They were knocked out by a hurricane a couple of years ago, so this order was the first I’ve made in a while. They reminded me that I had a credit of over $11 from a previous order, and applied it to this order. I had forgotten all about it, and considering what they had been through, I would have forgiven them for having lost that information.
    I wanted baked beans to serve with hot dogs. I made it from dried beans I already had, cooking in the crock pot for heat/electric savings.
    I found non-GMO-fed whole chickens on sale for $1 per pound. I bought the limit, which was only 6 pounds, unfortunately. The store also had organic bananas for $0.29 a pound, so I bought up to the limit of those. This was at an Earth Fare which had just remodeled and was holding a special sale.
    I cleaned out and restarted my two kombucha brewers. This is the easiest and cheapest way to get this probiotic drink, which easily costs $3 a pint in stores. I pay about 15 cents a pint, even using organic sugar and tea. When brewing tea for both brewers, I use four tablespoons of tea to make the first batch, then re-use those tea leaves plus two tablespoons of fresh tea leaves for the second batch.
    I’ve been hanging out laundry, but it is very hot and we have pop-up showers a lot lately, so I’ve started hanging more of it on my folding rack inside.
    We will have lunch provided to us by a client at work this Thursday. I’m looking forward to that — no packing a lunch that day and it’s free to us.
    Of course, the usual stuff goes on — packing lunches, buying used, making cleaners and laundry soap, avoiding stores unless needed. It all adds up.

    1. Jo, you sound like you are in the southeast with Earth Fare. I bought the same sale items and will get this weeks items too. I also make my own kombucha. I have been using the few stray strawberries to flavor for the second ferment along with cinnamon. We have missed the pop up showers though in Charlotte folks have gotten soaked.

  31. Kudos to Winter for doing so well and the Pell grants!

    * This past week we cooked & ate most meals at home. Meals included Swedish meatballs with egg noodles in my instant pot, poppy seed chicken casserole (pre-cooked the chicken in the instant pot) with steamed rice & glazed carrots, skillet beef lasagna with green beans, and shredded pork tacos. I made lemon bars to have something sweet around the house. Brought my lunch & snacks to work, as always.

    * Still very hot here – most days are around 100, however we had a nice “cold front” this weekend and highs were only around 90 with cloudy skies. Our central air and the 2 portable units have been working overtime with the heat lately, so it was good to give them a little bit of a break. I found a pair of heavy drapes we were not using, and hung them over one of the living room windows. That particular window gets a lot of morning sun and not much shade, and although we have plantation shutters, the window still gets quite warm. I am hopeful that the heavy drapes over the shutters will act as a second layer of insulation against the heat.

    * We spent $10 to go see a movie at a local museum. They have an IMAX dome and show Hollywood movies (usually older blockbusters) during the summer for $5/person. This past Saturday was the last week, so we saw Jaws. We took our own movie candy from home. It was a fun and inexpensive date night.

    * Other random things: I received a bonus check at work for covering extra duties while another employee was out on medical leave. We received $6 in Amazon credit as a reward through our cell phone provider. We went supply & grocery shopping and restocked our pantry and freezers, and I purchased items for work lunches & snacks for the next several weeks. I purchased 2 dresses for work off the clearance rack at Target, and my husband found 3 pair of jeans on clearance. We pre-purchased several Christmas gifts. I received a free kitchen appliance (digital air fryer oven) to test & review as part of a consumer panel I’m a member of (TryIt sampling if anyone is curious – there is an application process). Very anxious to try that out and hoping it may reduce some oven usage during summer. Gave myself a manicure, pedicure, and colored my hair at home.

    * I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  32. Congratulations to your daughter on her Pell Grant. We were able to get our youngest son through college debt free. Our oldest son was in the military and had the GI bill when he got out. An individual has a lot more freedom to decide what they would like to do if they don’t have student loan debt hanging over them.
    Our garden is finally starting to really produce. We picked zucchini, chard, green onions, broccoli, green beans, basil, oregano, chives, parsley, thyme and rosemary. I thinned a row of carrots and we ate them. I gave the carrot tops to my neighbor’s horses.
    Made spaghetti aioli one night with garlic, snow peas, zucchini, green onions and chard from the garden. Added a few purchased mushrooms and ate over linguine that I had purchased for 49¢ awhile back.
    Brought breakfast and lunch to work all week.
    Made 14 sausage biscuits to have for breakfasts all week for both of us.
    Put chives and zucchini in the dehydrator.
    Used my dishwasher overnight, and only when full.
    Picked a large amount of lettuce.
    Made homemade Italian salad dressing.
    Had popcorn for snack one time.
    Picked a few cherry tomatoes. They don’t make it very far. They get eaten in the garden as they are picked.
    Received 2 dozen eggs from a neighbor. I gave her some lettuce and zucchini.
    Changed out of “work” clothes as soon as I got home from work each day, and into WORK clothes so I could spend time in the garden. I call it “dirt therapy.”
    We will be getting to about 97 degrees this week. I know many of you have it much hotter, but we don’t have air conditioning. We typically only have 10-12 days a year of 90 degrees or warmer. Most likely will sleep in the basement for a few nights.
    The broccoli is gorgeous this year, and the corn is starting to produce ears. The onions look great. The only thing not looking real good are the green beans, but that’s okay. Each year some things grow well and others don’t – such is the life of a gardener.
    Hope everyone has a great week.

  33. That’s great news about the Pell Grants. I’ve been working through my freezer stash too.

    I took a short trip several weeks ago to a lavender festival in NW Washington state. I stayed in a hotel two nights, and only went out to eat twice. I brought food with me and ate in my room for several meals. I visited five lavender farms, the Olympic Game Farm (a wildlife park that was used by Disney Studios in the 1960s, but was turned into a park/reserve in the early 1970s) and a state park. The weather was great and I really enjoyed myself. I had been wanting to do this for a long time.

    We hired a second front desk person at my work, and she is working out well. I am very relieved because it was too much work for me to do alone. My sister is in town this week from Las Vegas, so I am able to take a couple days off and let the other person handle everything.

    I haven’t been keeping track of my frugal accomplishments, but this is what I can remember:
    – Froze shredded zucchini from my farm share (CSA). I have more to shred and freeze. I think I will try making zucchini tots too (like tater tots, I found a recipe online).
    – Canned a few pints of cherries for the winter. Made refrigerator pickled cherries too (thought this sounded interesting).
    – Sewed two pairs of culottes from my fabric stash. So comfortable!
    – Ordered some sewing supplies from Wawak.
    – Found a large muumuu (Hawaiian dress) from a thrift store for $10 (it’s not a cheap thrift store, but they have nice things). The dress is probably 50 years old and the fabric is gorgeous. I’m going to make myself a top out of the fabric.
    – My nephew who is visiting asked if I could sew a suit for one of his stuffed animals. So I made a little suit, a shirt, a tie, and a little hat. My nephew loved it! I adapted some doll clothes patterns I found free online.
    – Seattle had its annual Seafair festival this past weekend. There are hydroplane races and an air show by the Blue Angels, among other activities. I went to a park close to the festivities, and was able to see part of the airshow. I did this on Saturday and Sunday. Lots of fun and free.
    – Pickled wild blueberries. We had some last night and I put the rest in my oatmeal this morning. So good!

    I’m off to meet my sister and nephew for a day off fun. Have a good week, everyone!

  34. I love reading Brandy’s posts and all the comments. Thank you all!
    We are going through a very rough patch, health -wise. Our oldest daughter who lives two blocks from us had an extremely large ovarian tumor removed the previous week, and we are praising God it was benign. The surgery was at a large medical center 2 hours away. The very next morning, my husband had a minor surgery locally, also benign results, but he couldn’t drive for a week. All the while we (I)are juggling our hospitalized daughter’s three high-needs children. After getting both patients home(12 hours of driving for me for multiple round trips) I needed to take over all cooking and laundry and taxi-ing kids to their appointments. Then I became very ill myself. At this point, not sure if it is my Ulcerative Colitis or Diverticulitis, but I am pretty much home and bed-bound. We were blessed with an extremely large meal that the 8 of us ate for two o meals, and I had a full roast chicken left that I put in the freezer. Medical bills, duaghter’s bills (She can’t work for 6 weeks, so has no income.), back-to-school clothes, school supplies, and glasses for the grandkids, car repairs, everything is happening at once. I had bought several pounds of strawberries last week to make jam, but never made it out of bed all weekend. Had a good day yesterday, so salvaged every strawberry I could and cut and sugared in a large, stainless steel bowl in the refrigerator with hopes of canning them today. Unfortunately, the extreme pain started again during the night and is still restricting me. I do hope all these strawberries don’t go to waste! Our best news is that hubby and I celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary. When I feel better, we will do something fun. I hope everyone has a good week.

    1. I’m sorry to hear of all the health issues and bills that your family is facing, Tejas. Re the strawberries, just freeze them until you’re better! I’ve easily made jam from frozen strawberries. Not an issue at all!

    2. Hope you feel better soon, Tejas. I am always amazed at all you accomplish, despite your difficult circumstances. Sending you and yours much grace.
      Patricia/FL

    3. You have my prayers. Things will get better and pray instant healing for you to keep on being the glue for your family.

      Trish

    4. Please look after yourself – just do what absolutely has to be done to get through this rough patch. Hope all of you start to feel better soon.

      1. Margaret, Patria, Trish, and Margie—
        I am truly humbled by your kind words and prayers for me and my family. When I read your comments, it literally brought tears to my eyes. I stopped and thanked God for you and asked His blessings be upon each of you. I am happy to say that I am feeling much better, and I even managed to get my strawberries made into jam! Thank you so much for caring about me. Your words really touched my heart.

  35. I have no funds for new clothes so i focus on post-baby weight loss. You can not buy good figure. Yet it costs no money – eating less.

    1. If you need clothes, until you lose all the weight you want, you might see if there is a Seventh-day Adventist Community Service Center close by you. They pass on donated clothes to people in the community at no cost. There are a rare few that charge small amounts for the clothes like a thrift store, but in most of them, the clothes are free. They have whatever people in the community donate, so you never know what they might have. It’s just a thought. I know what it was like to have nothing to wear that fit for a while. I think I had a bathrobe I could get into after one pregnancy:)

      1. I “second” the suggestion to see if there is a Seventh-day Adventist Community Center. We have one in our town that is run as a thrift store, but one half of the thrift store they have everything marked to .75 cents! The “expensive” side may be $3.50 for an item, and they also have a program for needy where they will give you store credit and you can pick out what you need for free.

  36. Just trying to think. This is for the last few weeks (at least).

    Usual savings of not using tumble dryer, taking lunch ( I keep my eyes open and buy reduced microwaveable ready meals) to work, no takeaways ( 1 in 6 months), and only buying reduced rack meat ( savings 50-75%).

    The children and I visited friends in Switzerland- we stayed with them and had a lovely time in Basel. We were able to walk into Germany ( basically a paint mark or sign on the road-felt odd, found myself thinking about history). Accommodation cost nothing, our friends collected us from and helped us to the airport by tram. I paid £140 for return airfares for the 4 of us. I paid for meals out- the husband of our friends ( my late husband’s best friend) snuck in and paid for 1 meal.

    I did buy Birkenstock’s in Germany! Yes – favourite shoe in it’s birthplace! Love Birkenstocks! Even though in reduced basket ( yup I was good) still a treat sort of price. But that was holiday present. Did spend on shoes for children. The Germans are good at shoes-did I mention that best shoe ever made ( Birkenstock’s) comes from there? ?

    My sister dogsat for me. Rescue angel loves his aunt ( although did think it was great to wake her at 4.00 am to let him out- he knows better than to try that with me, those threats to make him into a rug tend to emerge!)She has become vegetarian so I pointed her in direction of vegetarian food I have bought for daughter ( reduced). When she arrived we had lovely dinner with vegetarian lasagne ( homemade) for her and my daughter. Such a relaxed holiday. My sister was able to work from my home so no working time lost for her. I paid her fares. So grateful.

    My tiny sewing business has started to make a tiny amount of money- yes! This is the hobby so making money is a bonus.

    The adhoc work I am doing is paying very well and I am getting a lot of work. In the near future ( next year) I am going to have to make a big decision. Not sure what it will be.

    Chest freezer proving to be great. I’ve stocked it with food. We are fully supplied for whatever the future holds.

    Sure there is more but can’t think of it at present.

  37. Brandy,
    So very happy to hear how well Winter is doing. What a blessing!
    One of our greatest accomplishments has been to provide our two children with college degrees from a private university completely debt free! It was hard work on our part- we took every extra income source we could, our kids worked part- time, we ate a lot of top ramen and used every frugal trick in the book. Even so, now that my husband is ready to retire in a few years, we realize we short-changed ourselves by making retirement savings a lower priority during those years of tuition payments but lucky for us we have in-grained frugal ways to help us through.
    We have gotten 1 gallon of blueberries from our single bush this summer- this is the best harvest yet. This will be enough to get us through until next season. We freeze them and use on oatmeal and in smoothies. I will supplement this with forged blackberries.
    My husband found a container of forgotten Christmas gingerbread cookies in the freezer. He said they tasted wonderful.
    I purchased a solid wood side table for 8 dollars at a garage sale. It is a very useful size.
    I dried 3 loads of laundry on the drying racks inside the house.
    I harvested rose hips and dried them- these will be used in tea this winter for extra vitamin C.
    We got some pink lemonade berries (a cross between blueberries and red huckleberries) from our bushes at our beach cabin. We ate them fresh and shared with our daughter and her family. I really like these berries so I might plant a couple more bushes.
    Several months ago I saw a listing for bundles of pine board. They were scraps from a cabinet making shop. I had my husband pick up 3 bundles for 15 dollars. He has made me two gift boxes out of them. One was for a wedding gift and the other was for a friend going thru a very difficult time. I put a very cheery sweatshirt in the one for my friend. Just being in a wooden gift box made it more special and personalized. He will make two more larger boxes for our adult kid’s grocery gift boxes for Christmas. Wooden boxes or nice baskets are so expensive in the store so getting four containers for $15 is really good and there will probably be enough wood for 1 more.
    Wishing everyone a good week.

    1. My husband is 56 and we are just starting with college–and we have a one-year-old! So applying for Pell Grants, having the children work, and choosing less expensive universities is key for helping them graduate debt-free, as my husband will be retirement age in 9 years. We did notice that Pell Grants also take into account how close in age parents are to retirement.

      Starting my photography business is a key part of our retirement plan. As I’m 13 years younger than my husband, I should be able to work more once he is no longer doing so. We anticipate him working into his 70’s, but another source of income with children in college, going on missions, and getting married is going to be needed. My very large goal is to be able to pay off our house in 8 1/2 years with my income. I have no idea how much I’ll make, but that is what I hope to do!

      1. I understand your plan, Brandy! We raised 11 children – they range in age from 47 to 29 now. During most of their growing up years, we didn’t put in to 401K even though company would match a small percentage because our money was being spent on our kids (nothing extravagant, just food, school, medical, missions, etc) it was only the past 6 or so years that we were able to “beef up” those contributions! Hubs waited until he was 70 this year to retire because of the bigger benefit that SS would pay him monthly. We hadn’t realized that as his non-working spouse that I would also get a monthly SS check equal to half of what his would have been if he had retired at full retirement age (66) . That was a help! We also were blessed with a company funded pension that we chose to take a lump sum at the beginning and opted for an amount that will come equally each month to whichever one of us lives the longest. We were able to pay off all debts/medical bills – including his new hearing aids which were unexpected (and never covered by insurance!) with the lump sum and still have a nice amount to add to our savings.
        We started, the last few years especially, to grow a little side business and actively add this to savings.
        Our wants/needs are modest by the world’s standards and that helps. But we were amazed that retirement has been do-able and we are now continuing to find ways to stretch our resources and also discovering new streams of income.
        It can be done, Brandy, and you are wise to be watching for/discovering opportunities to grow your income even in small ways now! Even as our kids were all at home, people would call us with one-time jobs that we could do! We’ve cleaned up construction sites (and besides being paid, were able to glean scrap materials for projects at home (That’s how our basement food storage shelves were able to be constructed from heavy 2 x 10s!)
        You live frugally now so it’s a habit that will be an asset at retirement! We’re all cheering you on!!

      2. Brandy- it sounds like you and your husband have been doing a lot of financial/future/retirement planning. Wishing you all the best in your new business and I applaud your efforts to obtain post secondary education for your children at a reasonable cost. We have only one living child, who is currently entering 3rd year of university, so I do know how expensive it can be (even with grants and student earnings).Like many parents, our goal is to have our daughter graduate with no or minimal student loans. We are in our 60’s and mostly retired already.

        In terms of frugal accomplishments this week I harvested potatoes and Saskatoon berries from the backyard. Next will be raspberries and apples. Yesterday I shopped for groceries on the once per month 15% off day. DH and I had an in depth financial discussion on Sunday regarding the best time to cash in retirement accounts and each take certain pensions to minimize income taxes/legally split income between the two of us and we have agreed on a plan. This is the last calendar year our income will affect our financially dependent daughters ability to apply for student grants so we had decided not to cash in/apply for certain amounts until she is considered an independent student 4 years after completing high school.

      3. Brandy,

        Thank you for sharing your plan to help finance your kids education and futures. You are such an inspiration with your hard work ethic, frugality and developing your skills to make this possible. You are one amazing mom and wife! Thanks for giving us a peak into your plan!

      4. Brandy, My sister is in almost exact same position as you are. She also started a photography business and is making some money at it now. Blessings to you and your family as you go through the college years and onwards!

  38. These are some of ours for July

    Our neighbor gave us 3 Walmart sized bags full of tomatoes plus zucchinis, cucumbers, and various peppers. Most of the tomatoes are in the freezer until I have time to make salsa and the peppers are being dried out.

    Hubby changed his back brakes and rotors himself saving a ton of labor charges

    While working for various people, hubby has brought home green beans, jalapenos, and more tomatoes(I barely had to buy produce this month)

    My mom has sent over a bunch of food…anything frozen and processed I tend to pass on to others but I’ve kept 3 family packs of chicken legs and a lot of snack items

    Used rewards for cents off gas

    Sold a few more items on marketplace. I hope it picks up because I still have a lot listed and really need the money

    Only rented a redbox movie if we had a code.

    Took the 12yo swimming at a local pool on $1 night. We ate dinner here(she took a friend), then they swam until 10pm.

    I found dog food my small dog eats marked down to just under half price a container (Cesar wet food) I bought him all they had in his favorite flavors(just over a months supply)

  39. Always enjoy reading your blog and the wonderful community that comments!
    This past week I spent helping my parents organizing and condensing some of the contents of their Acreage. Every day I left with a car load full of items to sell or donate. I earned $270 this week by selling items on local buy/sell site. I was able to keep a t shirt for myself and a nice light fixture which my husband will install in our home.
    I earned SB goal x 2;
    I put vinegar in my dishwashers rinse aid compartment when it was empty;
    I stopped at Shoppers Drugmart to purchase milk as it was the only item I needed; I received loyalty points on the purchase, and I can scan the receipt for 5 Swagbucks, and to my surprise the price of milk had been lowered at the store by .30 cents for a 4 litre jug. The cashier told me they had lowered prices to bring people into the store. Not sure if this for all Shoppers but it may be of interest to your Canadian readers.
    And all the usuals …. all snack, meals, drinks made or taken from home, no unnecessary spending, combine errands, close blinds/insulated curtains to keep heat out of house, etc, etc etc.

  40. We are eating a lot of steamed zucchini lately. I froze 6 cups of shredded zucchini also. I froze peppers and rhubarb this week. I dried basil. I canned bruschetta topping and 5 pints of green beans. I’m trying to drink more water.

    We cleaned out our freezer so I can find things more easily and I know what we have.

    I paid 3 bills online.

    I used fetchrewards and Ibotta

    We put money in retirement and HSA to reduce our taxes. We put money in a Roth, which will save us on taxes later.

    My mom bought me 6 new T-shirt’s when she was out and about. She refused to let me pay her for them.

    I’ve earned another 10 cents off per gallon. I will wait to use it until we have an empty tank and gas cans – that way we get the whole 20 gallons worth of savings.

  41. I am working on Halloween costumes this last few weeks.
    I make owl, bird, sloth and phoenix costumes for my shop.
    I sold an owl costume yesterday.
    I am also working on my granddaughter’s Halloween costume. She wants to be the Cheshire Cat. It is a ruffled skirt, furry tail and top.
    We went to goodwill and bought a wedding petticoat for $10.00. It is too small for her around the waist, but since it needs to be shortened I will remove part of the top and add elastic so it fits.
    I’m still looking for fur. The price of fake fur has gone sky-high in the last 2 years.
    We just decided to use some of the white fur I have and dye it. That will save me a hunk of money.
    I’ve made biscuits for breakfast instead of using toast. It is so easy to make drop biscuts. You can add cheese or fruit and make them different every day.
    I am quilt pattern tester occasionally…about once or twice a year. I am testing a pattern for an author that writes a quilt in each book. This time she is using her own fabric line so I got all of the fabric to make the quilt (which will be a Christma gift for my granddaughter). She also threw in a large amount of “sheep fabric” for fun.
    There are so many scraps left over (so far) that I will be able to make pillows for Halloween for gifts and for sale.
    The apple trees still look like they will be giving a lot of apples.
    Now, my pear tree, that has always given an abundance of pears looks awful this year. The pears are very small and the leaves are also. I don’t know why since it hasn’t been stressed. Any ideas what might be going on? I am at a loss.
    I have been given veg and cereal this week. I will take anything that is given to me. If I can’t use it I pass it on.
    I only used the car twice this week.
    The kids are getting ready to go beck to school. Gaby starts next week. She will be a sophmore.
    She is doing duel credit also. The college is paying for her since her grades are so good and her mother is single. We do have to pay for her books.
    Zayne is in 7th grade this year and he starts on the 26th.
    With both of them back in school I won’t be watching (read this feeding) them. *laughing* This will give me more money in my pocket.
    Windee (my youngest daughter) filled my gas tank because I had been picking Gaby up from her band two a days. It was much appreciated.
    There is more, but the news is coming on.

  42. It has been another hot, dry week here so the garden is looking a little sad. But, I have been able to pick zucchini, tomatoes, a few green beans, cucumbers and herbs. My pears are ant bitten and hard as can be,so have made sauce with them. My squash, cucumber, cilantro and parsley seedlings are making it with babying them along.

    I have a dear friend who broke her arm pretty badly, so I have been taking my chicken broth to her twice weekly, along with some food. She has let me pick figs, which I am eating and drying. Last time I asked her if I could get some chicken manure and she told me to fill a 5 gallon bucket. I am working to amend these bed and it is coming slowly. My daughter is giving me her compost when I go over twice weekly to take her youngest for a stroller walk. She generates more compost so I am very thankful.

    I did a Vitacost order where if you spent $100 dollars you got a $25 dollar coupon for an additional purchase. I needed some vitamins for the winter and some supplements for my sleep.

    At the end of a receipt at a local store, there was $5 off supplement with no minimum purchase. I can use that as there are always supplements to stock up on.

    I am drying my free figs to save for the winter in making bars, instead of dates. I have about used up my 50# bag of oats from two winters ago. I will need to restock soon, as my daughter and her husband and three kids are coming this winter from South America for two months. We will likely have oatmeal about every day for breakfast. I use it in my skinny monkey cookies that I make weekly, too.

    Blessings to each of you!

  43. Being sceptical I emailed a historical map over to an archaeologist and she replied that the map is really off so I spent many hours
    rewriting the section of the book that relies on and discusses that map. In preparing to take my computer in to be fixed, I backed up the book and research materials onto a usb/memory stick. It had plenty of space on it but somehow overwrote what was on the stick previously. unfortunately, it was the $800 of photos that our society purchased for the book. The good news is I had sent all of the photos to our printers as a backup. Whew!!

    Every time I try to sort the boxes outside the weather changes rapidly and I have stop. My last year’s lawn mowing teen who couldn’t mow my lawn for me this year did my boulevard for $10 — at least I won’t get fined by the city.

    The woman with whom I was going to share expenses with for Friday’s potluck has had a health problem and can’t go so I’m a bit strapped for cash.
    I’m thinking of changing my contribution. I also won’t be able to get a ride with her. The best laid plans.

    Will have to buy new external hard drive as my “friend” threw away my 2 external hard drives when she threw away my things last year. Not sure how I’m going to afford a new one…

    1. Can you save up Swagbucks to purchase some off Amazon? This is the external hard drive I bought earlier this year to store my RAW images. https://amzn.to/31veR9X I plan to get a second one for a backup in the future.

      1. thanks Brandi for the suggestions. I have never done Swagbucks so don’t know how but I will look into it.

      2. Another option to earn money online would be through rev.com, assuming your arm is up to all the typing. But it pays weekly into your paypal account! Best of luck!

        And I agree with Margie about changing your potluck contribution — saying that your friend is ill so you’d like to change your planned contribution should be more than enough explanation. Personally, I’ve found that as long as what I bring to a potluck is yummy, nobody really cares what it is!

        1. Hi Margaret,

          Thanks for the suggestion about rev.com. I have thought about it but I don’t think the arm is up to typing that much. In fact I have given up doing DuoLingo and learning Italian because pressing on the selection key repeatedly increases the pain in the arm. I was rather sad about giving up Duolingo because I had reached level 5 (the highest) in all of the first three sections and had 39,000 points which is high but I lacked the last section. I couldn’t quite explain the difference in doing Duolingo and normal typing as to my arm but my physio does Duolingo and she says it’s pushing on the button that is harder. My goal now is just to finish my book, which is almost done, and then greatly reduce the time I spend on typing emails etc. I have really pushed through on the book in case I had to have surgery but fixing the arm is hopeless and no surgery will be done. (actually not totally hopeless, the Israelis are doing stem cell repairing of tendons — even totally severed tendons like mine — but it is still experimental.

    2. Thank God you had the backups – your poor heart must have been pounding!
      And how frustrating to still find out about things that your “friend” threw away – it must be maddening. I hope that the rewrites are done soon and that you can finally get all those boxes sorted.
      If you need to do something cheaper for the Potluck then you should do so – just give the organizers a heads up – your friend being ill is enough of an explanation – no need to go into details. Hope it all works out for you.

  44. I feel like I say the same things over and over every time I post: eating out of the garden and freezer so no grocery shopping except for milk. (The husband will eat anything without complaint but he loves his milk so I am not about to ask him to give that up.) Reusing bags and foil. Taking advantage of things like wild raspberry bushes to pick quarts and turn them into jam and syrup. My backyard raspberries are gone now so I am off to the woods when I can. Picking rosehips for winter teas that are said to help prevent colds due to the vitamin C. Making our bread. Polishing shoes so they last longer. You all know what I mean!

    My blessings and savings this week are not self-made, they come from generous friends and neighbors. (It was my husband’s birthday, which explains much of the generosity. He is always willing to lend a helping hand with carpentry and it is nice to see he is appreciated for it. Another gallon of honey from a bee keeping friend. (I put it into smaller jars and give it in Christmas gift baskets, since we would never use what is now three gallons of honey in our cupboard!) For my husband’s birthday, his family sent a box of Omaha steaks. We rarely eat them as straight steaks but try to make them go further by using them in stir fries or Pho. A friend moved into a small condo with no freezer other than the one on the fridge, so she gave us what I would guess to be $200 worth of flour (she keeps it in the freezer so no bugs), almond flour, bread flour, and industrial sized bags of corn. Another friend knows that my husband loves chocolate chip cookies, so she brought over two dozen raw cookie dough, already shaped into cookies, so he can bake and eat them as he desires. I felt like it rained free food at our house and I am so very thankful for every bit of it. One other friend asked if she could donate to a charity in my husband’s name for his birthday and he asked that she send either toilet paper or tampons from Amazon to the local food bank. Those are items people on food assistance cannot buy and they are seldom donated. Years ago I volunteered at a homeless shelter and I remember being horrified and humbled when I found out this woman was using fast food napkins during her period. I have never forgotten that. I think that donation might have been the gift we loved the most because right now we don’t really have the funds to do that and yet the need is great.

  45. Brandi, your photos are beautiful. Can you give more specifics on the ways you are frugally improving your photography skill set? Like point out the specific courses/sites you are finding helpful? I also have a small photo business.

    My frugal accomplishment that I hope will help you too- I enrolled and completed the first six lessons in an online photo course (on using photoshop) offered through Gale Courses for free Online with my library card! I love this learning format so much more than just watching video tutorials. I also borrowed my moms card to enroll in some courses through Lynda.com, free with her card (my library doesn’t have Lynda).

    Oh, and I listened to old episodes of the Photo Feild Notes podcast while driving. Love all of the free info and entertainment available for free with podcasts!

  46. I have to add this …I have been cat sitting for the past 4 wks for Son 2, I send pics to Son 2 daily of his cats and my meals (sending pics of meals is something Son 2 and Daughter 4 and I do for each other regularly)… this morning he asked why is there a dish towel and dish cloth always on the table, I don’t put hot/warm plates on a table like his (not real wood) as it will mar the finish eventually which is why there is a dish towel where I sit to eat. I use the dish cloth as a napkin. Wash it out in the sink and hang it to dry on the oven handle. He uses paper towels.

  47. Hi Brandy,
    I look forward to your posts each week not only for the content but for the beautiful photos you take, you have such a creative eye. Your frugal and simple living message has been learnt well by your children, in this time of excessive consumption your blog is a joy to read and those life lessons will be cherished by your children and prevent them from becoming mindless consumers. To save money this week we-
    Ate a meal Of pea and ham soup from the freezer
    Made pancakes using the last of some sour cream to prevent waste
    Cleaned my home with home made cleaners
    Ate simply while hubby was away most of the week
    Made a bunch of flowers from supermarket flowers and locally found greenery as a gift
    Line dried all the washing
    Kept the warm up water from the showers to keep the big potted figs out the front hydrated
    Claimed a faulty lid from Tupperware, for the cost of freight they send you out a complete new container plus lid
    Claimed back our phone, health insurance and rates through Remserve
    Combined errands to save petrol
    And that’s all I can think of at the moment
    Have a lovely day,
    Fi

  48. I have only spent $50 on groceries for the past two weeks and much of what I bought was for the pantry so not too bad. I picked up some milk, eggs and salad greens tonight so really, I can get through the weekend (and I could get through the whole week if I had to ) without going to the grocery store – but I do want to buy some of the sale items this week so will add some money to the kitty tomorrow as I am due three cheques.

    I got 5 loads of laundry done without using the dryer once – my small drying rack has paid for itself many times over!

    I cleared out a lot of travel magazines by giving them to a friend whose husband has alzheimers – he reads very slowly and seems to find magazines easier to manage. Most of them are about Scotland and he loves them so I am taking in another bundle to her this Sunday.

    I am also taking in some “power necklaces” for some of the ladies who really like to dress up for church. I no longer work in a formal office and most of these necklaces have been sitting in a drawer for the past couple of years – better someone uses them. So that will be another few items decluttered!

    I did meet up with a friend for lunch on Saturday and we visited one of our favourite bookstores – yes, I did buy a couple of books (but one was used and very cheap) – and I do like to support independent bookstores when I can. It was all within my allowance but it meant that I didn’t have much to play with this week – but my choice.

    Walked up to City Hall with a few friends after church on Sunday and we had a lovely wander around as it was an Indian Festival (as in India) so we just picked up a few things to nibble on for lunch and had a look at all the booths – but didn’t buy anything.

    I continue to eat down the freezer – and then alternating with a couple of canned things from the pantry and eggs – I love eggs! It has gone down to about 80F today and is to stay like this for a few days so I may actually get to cook something this weekend!

    Congratulations to Winter on being so resourceful and determined – she is a real credit to your family.

    And I also love this week’s photo – it is just beautiful!

    1. Margie, check out the Flash Food app! I think you sometimes shop at Loblaws, so you could easily buy their super-discounted food. This week I bought 30 (!) pounds of pitted, fresh cherries, a container of organic milk, and a bag of PC maple marshmallows, for the grand total of $12 and change (I bought it t the St. Clair Loblaws). Each location has different items and it changes daily, but it’s a great way to stock up on more expensive items like produce or meat or dairy. I thought of you when I realized how handy it could be! And, it helps keep good food out of the landfill, so you get to feel good about helping the environment at the same time!

      1. Thank you for the tip – problem is – I don’t have a Smart Phone just a very basic and old cell phone – and frankly, can’t afford anything else at the moment.
        Is that the St. Clair West store next to the subway? That’s the Loblaws I usually shop at as well as my neighbourhood No Frills. Watch very carefully at that store they seem to have a lot of issues with items not scanning at the sale price! Happened again last night and it took them ages to get it sorted.

        1. Hey Margie! It’s actually not the St. Clair West store, but the store inside the building at St. Clair (right above one station exit, across the street from McDonald’s). I don’t know if it’s because of the neighbourhood, but I also saw a lot of discounted produce (including organic produce) on a half price rack by the exit to the storeroom. But if you have a friend who is also into frugality, and has a smartphone, it might be worth looking into. I like that you don’t have to go there to see if anything is on sale; you can check via the app, order it, and pay, and then just pick it up, so no wasted time going there to see if there are any deals.

          Oh, and I assume you know about SCOP, right? (https://canadianbudgetbinder.com/2012/09/26/scanning-code-of-practice-scop-in-canada/)

          1. I know the one you mean – I was actually there just a week ago – I’ll have to check back as it’s easy enough to get to. It’s just a good bit smaller than the St. Clair West shop. I’ll have to check out the half price rack.
            I certainly do know about SCOP! 🙂 In fact I’ve received a number of freebies over the past few months due to scan errors – believe me – I speak up when that happens.

  49. It was another good, frugal week!
    We opened a new account at an online bank where we received a $500 bonus for new accounts.
    My aunt gave us eggs from her chickens, and some extra kids shirts she didn’t need.
    We took a frugal camping trip.
    Bought loss leaders and mark downs, as usual.
    I washed the kids’ backpacks and lunch boxes for the next school year. Many of their school supplies can be reused, but the stores have great sales this time of year for us to buy extra crayons, markers, etc.
    We redeemed the Half Price Books summer reading log; each child received a $5 voucher for reading 300 minutes in July.
    We made cinnamon toast for breakfast one morning using stale hot dog buns.
    My dad replaced my daughter’s flat bicycle tire tube.
    Some generous friends invited us to the zoo with them, and admission was covered by their pass.
    I sold more on facebook marketplace, and on Mercari. An item or two a day really adds up, even if it’s small.

  50. * recharged the coolant in my van all by myself—a savings of $190 compared to having it done at Pep Boys for $250+.
    * lactofermented some green tomatoes my daughter picked too early
    * Ate previously homemade and frozen minestrone soup
    * Used our solar car and cargo bike to travel to speech therapy, lunch and school pickup without fossil fuels, saved $1
    * Filled out survey for free chicken sandwich at CFA
    * Finished reading ebook and returned it to the library
    * Repotted all my container pineapples with free composted wood chips from ChipDrop and saved plastic pots
    * was sent home some leftover cake from a memorial service reception; shared the cake with the kids the next day
    * Used leftover strawberry tops to start a fermented homemade soda last week, bottled and fridged today
    * Cut flowers from the garden
    * An orchid we were given as a gift has rebloomed, so we can continue enjoying it!
    * Line drying a load of clothes (0.25 savings)
    * Meal prepped breakfast and morning snacks for five days
    * Filled up our smaller car’s gas tank at the debit-card-only gas station, which is as much as .50 cheaper per gallon than other nearby gas station
    * Purchased an aloe vera at the supermarket that had three pups included with the main plant; separated and repotted the pups to nurture and someday share.
    * Drove our e-cargo bike to the mall to buy school supplies, saved $1 in gasoline.
    * Son’s new shoes were 25 percent off thanks to a back-to-school sale.
    * Cloth diapers and breastfeeding

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