Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Mission Figs in basketThe Prudent Homemaker

We harvested peaches, figs, basil, and two Armenian cucumbers from the garden.

I froze peaches from the garden.

I stocked up on chicken thighs for $0.67 a pound. That’s the lowest price I ever see them here and I don’t see them that low very often (only a couple of times a year). They had both legs and thighs on sale for the same price. I bought thighs, as they have a smaller bone and give me more meat for the price.

I bought some books at the thrift store for our library. Two of them will be part of my birthday gifts for my daughter Liberty. One has a main character named Libby (which is Liberty’s nickname) so I thought that would be a fun gift.

I also picked up a dress for $6. The dress is one I had seen online from a store that also has a local storefront. It was two sizes smaller than my current size, but I decided to buy it anyway. If I don’t lose the weight, I can pass it on to a daughter, but as I was really wanting this particular dress, it’s good motivation to be more diligent on losing weight. I’ve been lax lately and my weight went up a few pounds. Now I am thinking about wearing the dress each time I eat (so I am eating more mindfully) and I lost weight this week! The dress also was a great motivator to do a little exercise in the garden right after sunset (it’s still 100 degrees after sunset but at least the sun is not burning me during that time) and pull some weeds that are getting out of hand, as I haven’t had time to get out there for a while.

My eldest son got a job at the thrift store. He found out that each month he will get a small amount of credit to use at the store in addition to his pay. He plans to use that for clothing needs and kitchen items for when he goes away to college.

I cooked a turkey from the freezer.

While we are always looking for ways to save money at home, we also look for ways to save money in our business. We have been at the same location for many years. Our agents usually do all of their work from their home office or are out showing houses to clients. They rarely need to come into the office (and don’t even have to come in to pick up checks, as we can mail those to them). We have decided to move our office to a smaller location. The cost is more per square foot, but it has several things included, including utilities, so between the smaller space and no longer having to pay for utilities, we’ll save $675 a month. Because we anticipated that one day we would need to move to a smaller place, my husband long ago negotiated his rent contract from a yearly contract to a month-to-month contract so that he could leave when he was ready.

I watched two free webinars on marketing. I have been watching different webinars over the last few months, but I didn’t mention those as I didn’t feel like I learned anything from them. The ones I watched this past week were both very good and I felt like they were a good use of my time. I was able to listen to one of them (which was two hours long) while working in the garden.

I attended a baby shower and a wedding on Saturday. I wrapped both gifts with paper I had bought at the Dollar Tree and used curling ribbon that I had been given years ago. For the baby shower, I used a plain index card as my card, which I attached to the ribbon and signed my name to. For the wedding, I used a plain fold-over card that I bought in bulk over 15 years ago. I would rather spend more money on the gift than the card, so I don’t buy printed gift cards. The plain cards can be used as thank you notes or for any other reason.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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200 Comments

  1. My frugal things for last week
    – picking up the book Where the Wind Leads thru the Inter library loan and another book thru the library Fire in the Sky
    – staying in most of the week
    – my husband took lunch everyday he worked
    – I received a $10 gift card thru the survey site survey junkie. I used it at Walmart for dog treats
    – we ate in all week but after Mass on Saturday, we picked up McDonalds. I told my husband, no more chicken sandwich from there – it was awful!
    – walked dogs early before it gets too hot for free exercise
    That’s all I can think of. Looking forward to reading everyone’s post to see how they saved.

    1. I love having blank cards on hand. My husband bought me a beautiful set for Christmas last year, so now I am ready with saw card at a moment’s notice.

  2. I shredded 3 zucchini I had harvested from our garden to make 3 different zucchini cakes/cupcakes! Lunchbox zucchini cake, Coconut orange zucchini cake and Double chocolate zucchini cupcakes! I kept a few of each in fridge for enjoying now and the rest were individually packaged for the freezer for later!

    I found a leftover piece of London broil in fridge (about 6” square) and put it through the grinder and added BBQ sauce to it and filled 7 leftover cocktail croissants to make 7 portions of BBQ beef croissants!

    Used a dozen hard boiled eggs from fridge and made deviled eggs!
    I used Gas Buddy app on my phone to get gas in my car when I was running errands- $2.19/ gallon instead of $2.79 by my house!

    Took $16 cash to bank from selling a couple little things in my decluttering frenzy! Put that money into our savings account. Silly little amount? Maybe. But it’s amazing how those little amounts add up!!

    Gave away zippers, buttons, fabrics, hand quilting frames and stands to friends who would love them and asked me for them when I offered them openly on Facebook. Happy to see them finding use rather than gathering dust in my sewing room!

    We got our glasses Rx from our optometrist (our daughter-in-law) and then hubs went on Zenni to pick some out. Found what he wanted but just before he sent order in, I suggested he go through Rakuten Ebates where I have an account. He decided he would set up his own Ebates account and because he used my referral link: https://go.ebat.es/imsk/xrhaOybTZD , I got a $25 referral bonus AND he got a $10 sign up bonus to his account plus the 2% purchase rebate. Many other online stores have higher rebate percentages, but any time I can get a rebate that I don’t have to fill out special forms to use, I consider it “found” money!! That brought his bi-focal glasses price down to around $48 instead of the $400 it was last time going through Wal-Mart! All of the online glasses stores are accessible through Ebates as well as all kinds of other online retail stores (Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, etc), hotels, travel, etc. and you can use any sales or promo codes or things like Kohl’s cash that you have in addition! To me, that’s a Win-Win!

    Our blackberry bush continues to grow and give us more blackberries! It’s hard to believe I bought this as a tiny stick with 2 leaves that was in a quart milk carton kind of container at Sam’s Club last Spring for $6.98! https://pin.it/yhk6gazfjw4xm7. I also gave starts from it to my daughter for their land!

    I bought house brand “Grand “ Buttermilk refrigerated tube biscuits on clearance for 59 cents! (I bought 10 tubes!). They make 8 large biscuits which I am using to make bacon, egg and cheese breakfast biscuits! https://pin.it/p3jw47wtzwg6na. These are perfect grab and go breakfasts and the 7-1/2 cent per biscuit cost was my only OOP because I had everything else in my pantry! Grateful to our chicken who still provide us with eggs 7 days a week!

    Our BBQ cabinets are nearing completion- almost completely built from free materials we were given over the years! The wastebasket shown inside in the photo is on a roll-out shelf that uses some old drawer slides that hubs harvested over the years from old cabinets/drawers. He has a tote filled with extra ones in several sizes. https://pin.it/w2e2bnlq3rbxrn. After the doors are all on completely, we will build a “buffet” table serving area on the back side of the BBQ between the pergola uprights! It will also use leftover tiles from our daughter garage for the countertop and more free used cedar 4×4’s we got free on Craigslist a year or two ago! So, we will get something useful PLUS declutter a stack of wood that’s been waiting for a project to move from “idea” stage to actual completion in real life! That’s always the challenge!!

    All in all, a nice week!

    1. Gardenpat, I love your outdoor kitchen! Also, would you please post the recipe or a link for coconut orange zucchini cake? It sounds de-lish! Thank you!

    2. I feel I must stop visiting this blog comment space as everyone is so creative and outstanding! Gardenpat, your shredded zucchini reminded me a few zucchinis I threw to the garbage bin last year… And the discussion about using the mint in last week´s post… all I can think of is to give peppermint tea to my 4 children! Yet we live in an organic farm half of the time… I married a farmer.

      1. When I first started reading this blog, I was really struggling financially. I read several blogs that suggested shopping seasonally for groceries. That to me meant buy seasonal fruit and veggies. It wasn’t until I read Brandy’s blog that I realized there were many different foods that were sold seasonally, like turkey, ham, baking supplies, condiments, etc. It was a huge revelation for me! I’ve had many “why didn’t I think of that” moments while reading this blog throughout the years. So don’t give up…there are always new things to learn, even for us who have been doing this for a long time!!!

  3. Six-seventy-five a month will go a long way toward college expenses for your crew! Well done, Brandy and Steve!

    It was a slow week here. My husband had bilateral hip ablations Tuesday and I had one in my back Wednesday. We were both sedated, and it took awhile to wake up and get past it and actually do anything! This was our week–
    *Our insurance covers back ablations, but not hips, meaning Mike was a cash patient. He discovered that having the procedure done at a stand-alone surgery center, vs. the hospital, costs half as much. The total price would be $1,500 for one side or $1,800 for both. Needless to say, he had both done at once at the surgery center. The downside is that there is some injection site discomfort and it was x 2 for him. The good news is that he is getting relief…me, not so much. But it will continue to improve for about two weeks.
    *I machine-darned pin holes in yet another cotton knit top of my daughter’s. The mends are all but invisible. I also darned 3 little holes in a sheet the same way. I shortened two new pairs of pants for myself and the sleeves on a new blouse (I have short arms and legs, so this is my lot in life).
    *I canned 6 pints of beans from the garden and have 5 more ready to go today. We also had a couple of dinners’ worth of beans. I have had 4 pickings so far, and the beans are winding down. Not bad for a 2×6 ft. space!
    *I picked 8 more ripe tomatoes and got a colander full of green tomatoes when I pruned the tops off my plants. I have a bunch of pink tomatoes still on the vine. My tomatoes are not doing well this year because of some kind of wilt. I won’t be composting the tomato vines.
    *I was placing an order on Amazon (new sheets, LOL) and realized I had not gone through Brandy’s site. Then I had what I thought was a brilliant idea–I went to Amazon through her site and bookmarked it, then searched for the sheets. Every time I bring up Amazon with my bookmark, I’m automatically going through Brandy’s site.
    *We went to the Bethany Hamilton documentary movie at the $3 cinema. She is a very courageous and inspiring young woman and the surfing photography is fantastic. My daughter didn’t let out a peep during the movie and my husband stayed awake! We saw a preview for Yesterday and I definitely plan to see it.
    Hope everyone is having a fun and frugal week!

    1. Maxine, you make a good point for helping to keep a medical procedure somewhat frugal by going to a surgery center rather than a hospital. I am a few years shy of Medicare age and required cataract surgery this summer. As much as I would have liked to have waited until then to have the procedure, my eyesight was suffering and it needed to be done now. I was scheduled to have it done until I found out our insurance would not cover it. The cost was going to be $16,000 for both eyes. I nearly fell over when they told me this was the cost for a self pay. The largest part of this cost was for the hospital with the rest of it being for the surgeon fee and the anesthesia fee. Fortunately our insurance company had a representative who called around for a more affordable way to go. I ended up having the surgeries done in a facility that had their own surgery center. The cost for both eyes was $4500. A big difference.

      1. Excellent point, Maxine! I had a procedure done back in May at a surgery center and my out of pocket total was around $1200, which was considerably less than it would have been at an actual hospital. I also discovered that even with surgery centers, there was still some variance in price. It pays to check around!

      2. Kim, my husband and I had been having these procedures at the hospital all winter (I’ve had seven), and did not know the price difference. We chose the hospital solely for convenience. If they had told us of the price difference when we had insurance, we would have used the surgery center. We get it that these choices ultimately affect the cost of insurance.

  4. Hi Everyone!

    Here are our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * Made more homemade bread.

    * Made red beans and rice, using ham stock from the freezer. I didn’t have any more frozen celery, so I just left it out, but I dug up a bag of frozen green bell pepper from the depths of the freezer. I also cubed up a bit of ham and added it to the dish.

    * I prepped lunches for the week- my SO got burrito bowls and I took some more freezer leftovers.

    * I made homemade yogurt and granola. The granola I made using mashed frozen bananas (I edited the Banana granola recipe from Budget Bytes), oatmeal, peanut butter, raisins, vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon. I saved some of the whey, which I will try to use to make more yogurt.

    * Decided to not purchase some items and just buy a few that we needed. I also took advantage of a sale on some items I had been watching for a while, and used a coupon code for a free item.

    * Price matched an item at our pet supply store, saving $30.

    * Signed up for my university’s free employment website, and am currently in the process of listing my skills, etc.

    I think that’s all of the places we save for the week.

    I hope you all have a great week!

  5. Was gifted homegrown produce, enough for 1 meal so no waste. Not sure if it is frugal but started making polenta with a fried egg on top for super quick meals after long shifts. Mended a shirt. Am trying so hard to turn off lights, but the hubby put a kitchen one on a timer so I dont come home to a completely dark house. Still saving for my vacation in a few weeks.

    1. We installed motion detect lights where ever it was practical–as soon as I enter the hallway or the porch, for example, the lights go on and shut off a few minutes after not detecting movement. Won’t work for some rooms but I am pleased by the savings—and the convenience of leaving the laundry room with an arm full of clothes and not having to struggle to turn off the lights.

  6. That sounds like a great job that your son got at the thrift store. What a fun and useful perk to get store credit!

    *We harvested a small amount from our small garden: Yellow & patty pan squash, 1 cucumber, a handful of green beans, 2 roma tomatoes, and yellow potatoes. My in-laws also gifted us some green beans so I was able to freeze 1 quart of those for later. I had gotten peaches cheap and froze part of them for smoothies along with the last of the plums and bananas that were past their prime.
    *My husband gave the dogs haircuts and also trimmed their nails.
    *I baked 1 loaf of bread for sandwiches instead of buying a loaf at the store.
    *Received a payment from Ebates/Rakuten and also a tiny amount for trying out the transcription work on Rev.com.
    *Added leftover vegetables to the soup container in the freezer, and made breadcrumbs out of the last 2 slices of stale bread to add to the freezer.
    *Redeemed Swagbucks for $25 Amazon gift card. We’ll use this for household/grocery items and put that much from our budget into savings.
    *Found free nonfiction kids book collection at the library on the giveaway table. Someone had dropped them off, and they looked brand new. I gifted them to my nephew for his 8th birthday, wrapped in wrapping paper from our stash, used a card from our stash, and put in a $5 for the big item he’s saving up for.
    *Worked on my blog/community by researching and DIY as there are no funds to put into this (plus I consider it a hobby and not a business venture at this point!)
    *Decluttered a bit by giving away a mirror and dollhouse.

  7. Wow, Brandy! That will be great savings for the business. Fantastic!

    We had some company that had been planned for quite some time. Since they are dear friends whom I don’t mind seeing when ill and they were willing to do whatever needed to be done to keep the germs away from me, they still came. They shortened their trip to 3 nights. We used up lots of freezer foods for meals and they were able to do free activities each day so I could rest. All went well!

    I have been trying to not spend any more money since I am not going to be working for some months. We are tightening our belt even more. It is going to be tough going, so I am thankful for your site and community. Getting ill can be very expensive!

    Took the time to organize lots during the week before our friends arrived. This was liberating to sort through some things that have not been a priority yet needed to be done. I found that by moving a larger container onto the kitchen counter next to the stove, I could put all of the kitchen utensils in one place. I found we have duplicates but am just keeping them there for now. And, it gives us more room in the limited drawer space we have. Slowly, I will be organizing the kitchen – which is way too small with too little storage. We will make due as is usual.

    I’m upping my exercise and finding that a checklist really helps me keep track of what I’ve been doing and still need to do for the day. All are free and all are very much needed to get my strength back.

    My son was slow at work today and invited his sister and me out for a quick lunch at the “food truck” near his work. It was delicious elk burgers and burritos. The portions were so much that we brought home leftovers for my husband for later. My son has been wanting to do this little outing all summer and it worked today. He leaves for college in just over a week.

    Happy Frugaling Friends!

    1. You may want to consider getting rid of the duplicates in a garage sale. You could possibly put aside enough things to pay a utility bill from the proceeds from your sale.

    2. What a sweet son to take you two to the food truck! You must have been a good parent for him to want to spend time with you when he does not have to!

      1. Mable,
        I am very blessed to have two children who do want to be with me. Life has been a bit rough in the past decade amd it seems to have drawn us together rather than split us apart. For that I am eternally thankful.

        Thank you for your kind comments and reminding me of what is important in life.
        Trish

  8. I am seeking bean recipe where the beans taste is covered up. Examples are: not-refried beans and taco seasoned lentils (thanks Becky!).

    This past week I have focused on my blessings instead of stressing over the check that did not come in or my minivan that had to towed home (Thankful for our AAA membership and free towing and I was only a mile from home at the bank.) I am enjoying my kids and husband instead of being sick with worry and tired from lack of sleep. Much better way to spend my time! I have kept busy cleaning. The kids loved our simple meals. When I went to the store for 5 dozen eggs the lady behind me paid for it. What a blessing! The green bean and lettuce plants are coming up and we are getting a handfuls of cherry tomatoes each day.

    All the comments last week about parents assisting their university age children to attend with little debt/no debt made me smile. My parents insisted I go to university and I got the traditional loans to cover the cost. In 10 more years I will be loan free.

    1. I’m glad you like those lentil tacos!

      This week, I made homemade refried beans, which have lots of flavor from the assorted peppers and onion I put in when I cook them. I just put in what I have–a mixture of hot and sweet, plus salt. I don’t make it hot, but there is definitely flavor in them. After they are cooked, I blend them with the stick blender and the family loves them!

      I also cooked some beans and left them whole. I will make some rice/bean burritos to freeze for my daughter to eat quickly when she needs to grab and go.

    2. Renee, I have wrote this suggestion many times, but will share it again. I cook a drained can of chickpeas (can also make from dried cook ckickpeas if you’d like) with BBQ sauce (just pour some in) with a little water added (the chickpeas suck up the moisture while cooking, which is why I add a bit of extra liquid). Cook them until they soften, about 15-20 minute. They taste amazing! I use them to make wraps, with lettuce, cheese and a bit of ranch dressing. You can add whatever favourite veggies you have on hand, though. These can also be used to top a salad as well. They taste good cold, so you can make a big batch up and keep them in the fridge if you’d like. I also cook black beans with taco seasoning, which make great bean and cheese burritos!

      1. Forgot another suggestion that I haven’t posted in a while. You could make 3 sister’s soup! It is made with corn, beans and squash. There are lots of recipes on line to follow. However, I make it by cooking the squash (any type) in the soup stock (chicken or veggie stock work best), then mash once the squash is cooked. Alternatively, you can mix a can of pumpkin puree with the soup stock. Add a can of drained beans (you choice of type, use whatever you have on hand) and some corn (frozen or canned). Season with your favourite herbs/spices that you have on hand (dried or fresh), like sage, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, etc. Simmer until beans are cooked and serve.

    3. Hi Renee! One of my favorite ways to use beans – specifically pintos – is to cook them & make refried beans, then mix them 50/50 with ground turkey or beef and seasonings for taco filling. It stretches the meat, the beans add texture, and you won’t even notice they are there. Garbanzo beans/chickpeas also make a great snack when roasted & seasoned, almost like a puffed wheat or corn snack.

    4. I have recently been putting red lentils in my homemade spaghetti sauce. It is so yummy and gives it a “meaty” texture.

  9. Maxine, if your tomatoes have the wilt, the soil will be infected, so be sure to move your tomatoes next year.
    Brandy, the move to a smaller office space is a fantastic idea. It was so smart of your husband to negotiate his lease the way he did so that he can move easily. And the thrift store perq is another win. It’s great that your son got that job; it will be so helpful.
    I don’t feel so frugal these days, but I keep trying to save where I can.
    I kept my grocery shopping down this week, paying about $60 less than normal. I need to get creative and keep that going for the rest of this month. I am having less meat this week and also using more of what I have.
    I had almost a half of a head of cabbage left after making a meal. We are a little tired of cole slaw, so I pounded and salted it and set it up to make sauerkraut in a Mason jar. I found out that putting it in a ziptop freezer bag and rolling it with a rolling pin is a lot faster than pounding it in a bowl. I just washed the bag after I was done and will re-use it.
    One of my grandkids started her first day of school wearing shoes I gave her this spring. They were from a pricey children’s store that was going out of business, and I got them for $5.
    I had bananas getting too ripe, so I sliced and froze them. They make great “ice cream” and milkshakes.
    I had grape tomatoes that my husband normally loves to snack on, but his appetite was bad this past week and he ate very few. I can’t eat a lot of tomatoes and often avoid them, so I put them in the dehydrator before they went bad.
    I keep carrying on with the frugal methods — I would hate to think what kind of money I would be spending if I didn’t. Thanks all for the inspirations I get here.

  10. How fabulous about your son’s job! Store credit is a truly useful work perk. Plus, sometimes working at a thrift store means that you get first access to buy items for sale, so you might consider giving him your garage sale list, in case he comes across anything you’re looking for. Or he could even do some reselling online. And what a savings for your real estate business — that will buy a lot of groceries or pay a lot of tuition!

    My frugal week:
    – I made a batch of homemade Korean-style dumplings. I made the wrappers myself out of flour and water, and then made the filling using up the last of the Chinese cabbage I had bought several weeks ago, plus some green onions from my mum’s garden (and a few other ingredients from my cupboards). I used ginger powder as I didn’t have fresh ginger at the time. Quite inexpensive and I was able to make several meals out of it. I made a simple but tasty dipping sauce from soy sauce and rice vinegar.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a homemade vegan apple pie (http://approachingfood.com/shortbread-crumble-apple-pie/) for a BNIB cut glass pedestal bowl and a BN bag of wheat bran. I will likely use the glass bowl as a gift. I used a recycled aluminum pie plate that my mum had and didn’t need, to bake the pie in, instead of buying one from the dollar store. I also traded a small cheesecake for some digital currency and some super-fancy cocktail napkins. I bought the graham cracker crumbs on sale from a bulk store, the cream cheese and eggs were from my stock-up when both were on sale, and the topping was a mixture of homemade strawberry preserves (made from super-discounted strawberries) and foraged serviceberries. The tray I used was previously traded for.
    – I used the wheat bran that I traded for, in a triple batch of my granola.
    – I also made another batch of my curried cream of squash soup (http://approachingfood.com/curried-cream-of-squash/), and a batch of flourless chocolate chocolate chip cookies.
    – I added used coffee grounds from my dad to my fig tree, as I think the issue with the leaves that I’ve been having is a nitrogen issue. Hopefully it stops the leaf drop and chlorosis!
    – I used the FlashFood app (in 405 locations in Canada) to buy discounted food. I bought 20 lbs of pitted cherries, a litre of organic milk, and a bag of specialty marshmallows, all for $12 and change! I gave 10lbs of cherries to my mum. I love saving money on food!
    – I baked a pizza (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/), using up the last of some spaghetti sauce for the pizza sauce, and a knob of cheese that had hardened. No waste, plus I was able to feed my mum dinner. I also served carrots stick (organic carrots that I had traded for) with a homemade ranch dip (http://approachingfood.com/the-purest-ranch-dressing-youll-ever-make-foodie-accomplishment-awards/).
    – My husband and I went on a family date to an inexpensive Sunday tea at a local historical museum/inn. Paying for tea meant that we got free entrance to the museum, which we normally would have had to pay for, so I was able to show my daughter a pioneer inn and explore it myself. The staff very kindly also gave my daughter a free cup of milk. I also picked up some information about local free family programs, and am writing it into my agenda so I don’t forget to take advantage of it.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Margaret,

      Tuition for Winter is completely covered by her Pell Grant now, as we have chosen a less expensive school where the tuition is about $3000 per semester. We will need to pay for my son’s tuition but that is thankfully $175 a semester. Real Estate sales are down by 1000 fewer houses being sold per month in the tri-city area over last year, and this is the busy season. Houses on the market are sitting, and the Feds lowered interest rates. Things appear to be slowing down. Moving to a smaller office was our plan for such a scenario, and the difference may be a difference on paying our utility bills at home if the market continues to slow. We had a month to month lease so that when we saw such an event occurring, we could be proactive in lowering our expenses. We’d like to use some of that money towards advertising, but we will see what the market does.

      1. It is fantastic that Winter’s tuition is completely covered!!! And your long-term foresight and planning are truly inspirational. I hope your real estate and photography businesses both do really well — you guys certainly are hard workers!

      2. The silver lining in the business slowdown is that you’ve had a lot of practice at this. I remember being blindsided the first few times my husband got laid off because of the snow, or the small paychecks due to hours being cut from the bad weather. Fast foreward 16 years, I plan for that to happen,

  11. Nothing too exciting on the frugal front this week, but then again, “nothing too exciting” is extremely frugal.

    This week was our 26th wedding anniversary and we simply drove to the Oregon coast for the day. We ate lunch at our favorite Mexican food cart, which far surpasses any of the area restaurants. I’d been there the week before with my son and was gifted a huge box of yellow plums by the owner’s daughter which I used to make jam. I gifted them a jar, which they were very happy with.

    I also sold a number of thrifted items through Facebook Marketplace including a $5 Goodwill dresser which I was able to flip for $175.

    Of course I blogged about other frugal activities here:

    http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/five-frugal-things-464/

  12. Sounds like a nice find on the dress, and what a way to motivate yourself!

    We had a busy week last week. My husband had to travel for work several days. He pays for everything on his company credit card, so at least there is no out of pocket expense for us. We found a random piece of gold jewelry in some old things, and ended up selling it to an estate jeweler for $700. That was certainly a nice infusion into the budget! We bought a few more items to stay stocked up on groceries & general household supplies. Did the usual things – ate most meals at home, took my lunches to work etc.

    It has been extremely hot here the last few days – around 100-105 – so we are fighting that the best we can. Keeping all the blinds & curtains drawn and running the portable a/c units all day in addition to our central unit. I have been turning the central unit up to 82 so it does not run nonstop, and letting the portable units cool the rooms we’re actually using. The humidity is high enough outside, and we have indoor pets, that I do not feel comfortable turning it up any higher. We do keep ceiling fans going all the time to keep the air circulating, which also helps with comfort. Tomorrow is supposed to be our hottest day, but we’re also supposed to cool down a bit (only to the upper 90s!) after that. I am so envious of the people who I see talking about bidding farewell to summer. Sometimes we are in the 90s into November.

    We made the decision to get rid of our microwave, since we rarely use it. It was an older model that we’d been given by friends 10+ years ago when they moved, and it was extremely large. In fact, we had forgotten just how big it was until we pulled it out from the corner! We put it out at the curb with a “free, works!” sign on it, hoping someone may be able to use it. We were able to use that counter space for several other appliances. We’ve decided that if we end up missing it, we will purchase a much smaller one at a later time.

    1. Forgot to mention, I’m still hang-drying most laundry on indoor racks. With all of the air circulation in the house between ceiling fans and a/c, I can hang a load in the morning & it is dry by the time I get home from work, or I’ll hang it after work & then fold it the next morning. Saves money and the heat of running the dryer! The only thing I always dryer is towels – my husband does not like “crunchy” towels (personally I love them, feels like extra exfoliation haha). I have found that if I run the towels for a while in the dryer, and then let them finish out air-drying, they seem to come out non-crunchy, so I’m experimenting with that rather than running a full cycle.

      I also forgot to add here – I have accumulated several free grocery item coupons we will not use. Two are for free salad dressings (Bitten and Twisted Ranch), high value $2.50 off a jar of Heinz mayo, and one is a free Cool Whip birthday cake tub (I think this is pink vanilla flavored cool whip with sprinkles in it). I believe all of these items can be found at Walmart, but not sure. I am willing to mail these to someone here – US only, if you think you could use them. My gmail handle is kitteh1975 if you want them, just send me an email with your address.

      1. Pam, I wash towels in the morning … put them in the dryer (with the door left open so I’ll remember), and then run the dryer when I go to bed at night. That seems to work! They dry out some just sitting, but don’t get smelly and are done in the dryer in no time. I like running the dryer at night when the heat won’t warm up the house any more. In the winter, it simply takes less time. Not sure if this will help in your Texas humidity or not.

  13. How wonderful to find a smaller space to move the business to, with such great savings. It’s great to see another of your children with frugal leanings. I’ve thought before that a job at a thrift store would be fun. I’ve been harvesting cucumbers, tromboncino squash, yellow squash and zucchini, eggplant, green beans, lima beans, basil, chives, rosemary, hazelnuts, and an occasional apple. I made my first ever almond milk, and dehydrated the remaining pulp for flour. Some was enjoyed with homemade granola this morning. All laundry was hung on the line. Elderberries were harvested, and a tincture started with them. I received a $5 voucher from ebay for reporting an item guaranteed to deliver by a certain date did not. I look forward to reading all the comments. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/08/mushrooms-computer-woes-frugal.html

  14. Your figs look wonderful!!!
    I brought breakfast and lunch to work the 4 days I worked this week. this may sound repetitive, but I have young co-workers who buy breakfast and lunch everyday. I want to act like their mother and say – do you know what you are doing? Are you working so you can eat out? Grow up and learn to take care of yourself.
    One day I went to the garden before work and picked carrots, a pepper, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes for lunch. then just brought a slice of cheese and I was in heaven.
    Picked excess lettuce and zucchini one morning and brought them to work. The young co-workers who do cook, were very appreciative. they always tell me the next day what they make with what I brought the day before.
    Made veggie chow mein with cabbage, carrots and onions from the garden. Used angel hair pasta I previously bought for 50¢. I figure with the 3 ribs of celery, soy sauce, oil and brown sugar, as well as the pasta it probably cost me around $1.25 to make a huge batch. This was lunch and/or dinner for several days.
    One of our local stores, which I do not frequent very often had cans of sliced olives for 50¢ a can. these were for the 6.5 oz cans – not the small ones. I got 24 cans.
    I put zucchini chunks in the dehydrator to dry. will add to soups this winter.
    Spent a couple of hours with my mom on Friday – helping her go through things. I brought home a big glass jar of oatmeal and four empty, old glass coffee jars. she wasn’t sure if they had belonged to my grandmother or great- grandmother.
    Gave some lettuce, garlic and 2 peppers to my former neighbor when they stopped by. Also gave them some greens for their chickens. They in turn had brought me 3 dozen fresh eggs from their chickens.
    Had our first BLT of the summer with our first large garden tomato, lettuce from the garden and on sale bacon. I put cucumber on mine instead of lettuce. Like that extra bit of crunch.
    Shelled the rest of the pinto beans. Ended up with almost 2 gallons of shelled beans.
    Ate all dinners at home except Friday night. We had tickets to Les Miserables in Spokane, and went to dinner before time. We went to Applebees with a gift card I had. Our 44th wedding anniversary is coming up. we figured we just celebrated a little bit early.
    Went to the library for more books on CD to listen to during my commute. I find if I am listening to a book, I don’t get upset with traffic. I just get to listen to an extra chapter that way.
    Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. Nancy, I had to laugh about your coworkers eating lunch out everyday. I work full-time in an office in a downtown metro area, and I bring my lunch, coffee & snacks all the time – many of us here do. However I have 2-3 coworkers who eat out every single day – and it’s usually not even inexpensive fast food, but full service restaurants! Even if you spend $15/day on lunch (which is probably a low estimate), that’s $75/week! I could buy a lot of groceries and make a lot of lunches with that same $75. And of course they are the ones always complaining about financial issues and being broke. I hate to judge, but sometimes I just want to shake them. Perhaps bringing in your garden extras and talking with your younger coworkers, you can be a good influence on their habits.

  15. Still eating out of the freezer and garden, so only bought milk and Caesar salad dressing this week. I make our other dressings but somehow my Caesar never comes out quite right. I finally decided to stop obsessing over a $4.99 bottle of dressing that will last us a month.

    Husband volunteered at the Senior Games and there were extra T-shirts left over so he scored a free one for each of us. Also came home with a 2 liter bottle of root beer, from the same place. Plus, they fed him the first day. He knew none of that before he showed up at the venue, so he was very pleased by these items.

    Next door neighbor brought over a salmon, one of many they caught this past weekend. They had not spoken to me for a few weeks. I saw their daughter get frustrated with their dog, who was tied up so could not get away, punch the poor dog with a closed fist full on the snout. I felt like I had to say something to the parents because the child is about 6 and the dog is huge—one of these days he is going to take his revenge. I tried to be diplomatic but no matter how you look at it, I was criticizing their child. They said their daughter would never do such a thing and avoided eye contact from then on. When they brought over the salmon, the mom said after she stopped being insulted, she asked the little girl and she admitted doing it and she said she hates the dog because she has to clean up his poop. I have to admire someone who follows up and sorts out disagreements. She said they have decided that each of the parents will clean up poop, too, so she only has to do it every third week. I am relieved as I don’t like spats between neighbors.

    We had cukes coming out our ears this week, so I canned 16 jars and also made two jars of refrigerator pickles since we will eat those up in two weeks so not worth canning them. Plus I can reuse old Clausen pickle jar for refrigerator pickles instead of more expensive canning jars and lids.

    Went to a moving/garage sale and bought two large cases of toilet paper for $10 a case!

    The husband and I were tired one evening and the car tried to turn into a fast food joint but we prevailed and went home to perfectly adequate leftovers.

    1. Thank you for telling the neighbors about their daughter’s behavior. As parents, it is difficult to hear sometimes, but oh so necessary both for the child and the dog.

    2. Yes, Thank you for speaking up. My mother once saw a little girl at a party who was teasing a boxer dog by stepping on its toes. She, of course reprimanded the child, for cruelty to the dog but apparently the child did not listen, and later the dog attacked the child and tore her face quite badly. Unfortunately, the dog was killed. I wonder if my mother had spoken to the child’s parents things would have turned out differently. I always have felt sorry for the dog.

    3. I always get great reviews on this ceaser dressing.
      1 c. Mayo
      1 T. Lemon juice
      1/2 t. Worcestershire
      1/4 t. Garlic powder
      1/4 t. Salt
      1/8 t. Pepper
      Stir together

  16. Great deal on moving the office. When my daughter and her boyfriend moved outside Portland, OR, they looked at a number of apartment complexes, which is quite interesting when you are in SC… They finally chose a place with good reviews and many items included in the rent, including internet, cable, water, and sewer, as well as with a washer and dryer in the apartment. The rent was about $50 more than other places but having those items included saved them a lot more. They are also near the train station and other public transportation and really like the place.

    I haven’t posted in the last couple weeks because I was preparing for a 3 day visit from friends and then entertaining them. We ate two meals out, including one at a restaurant on Shem Creek in Charleston. If you are going to eat out, why not go to a place with good food where you can see pelicans, pleasure boaters, kayakers, and paddle boarders? A dolphin even showed up to complete the view. I paid for that meal and my friend paid for breakfast at Waffle House (I left the tip). We HAD to go to Waffle House (LOL) because her kids had never been there. They loved it. We ate easy meals the rest of the time, such as rotisserie chicken and pre-made mashed potatoes from the store. We toured Charleston and walked in the local park, looking at the bronze sculptures that are installed there. We also spurred the local economy with some shopping but I did control my spending there.

    I am still planning to retire in January (especially since we are getting a new benefits package and my vacation will be cut from 28 days a year to 22 – that doesn’t benefit me!) and knew I would need a new personal laptop. I bought one during SC’s sales tax free weekend because computers and accessories are not taxed during that period. The laptop was on sale as well and even though it was not the least expensive one they had, I price compared and got everything I needed and wanted for $850 (solid state drive, touch screen, lots of storage, convertible to a tablet, lightweight, very good reviews, etc.) I keep my electronics for a long time – my old smart phone was 4 years old and I replaced it only because it was having trouble charging – so I don’t regret spending the money at all. I also bought a protection package and paid for it to get all the coverage I want on my laptop and phone. The annual subscription covers 5 devices so my daughter installed it on her phone and laptop and her boyfriend installed it on his laptop. I downloaded Open Office rather that pay for the Microsoft Office suite.

    My daughter is also able to use my premium subscription to TuneIn radio to listen to the radio broadcast of her NFL team without paying additional money. The Baltimore Ravens just don’t broadcast in Oregon! TuneIn confirmed that she can listen to one stream while I listen to another one, such as MLB or NHL, at no additional cost and she plans to take advantage of podcasts and radio stations as well, just as I do.

    It’s been pretty hot and humid here (this morning at 8 a.m. it was 87 degrees with a feels like temp of 102 because of the humidity) so it’s been harder to control AC use, especially when the friends were visiting but with a kWh cost of less than 12 cents all in, using an extra 100 kWh to stay comfortable is worth it. I ate all meals at home (preparing enough for leftovers) except for one sandwich from Subway, prepped salad fixings and flavored cream cheeses for easy meals and snacks, and made overnight French toast using some stale bread. I did not put the sugar topping on it before baking to save both cost and calories. Instead, I tossed on some strawberries and blueberries before baking and used a bit of syrup when eating it. The heat also means I don’t go out as much, either in the car or just outside, so the garden will need some attention later this week when it will allegedly cool off (I’ve heard that before!) I read or listened to several books using my ScribD subscription, Hoopla, Libby, and Overdrive. I also picked up a book – a real, physical book! – from the library and dumped my shredding into the locked bins they provide for the citizenry.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful and frugal week. Keep on being prudent!

    1. Mari,
      Your Waffle House story made me smile. My husband has friends from Ohio that make a yearly trek down here to Louisiana to duck hunt and Waffle House is a MUST do for them!!

      Heather in L.A.

    2. Mari,
      Have you been to the Low Country Fish Camp restaurant in Summerville? They have all you can eat shrimp on Tuesdays. It’s not a very pricey restaurant and very casual atmosphere. They also have a nice Sunday brunch. I love Shem Creek!

      1. No, I have not been there but I know exactly where it is and will be going based on your recommendation. Thanks!

        Do you live in Summerville? I do.

    3. Mari,
      The author, Dorethea Benton Frank specializes in stories in and around Charleston. She has a novel called Shem Creek.
      I live her novels, so it was exciting to hear that you CAN truly see dolphins at restaurants along Shem Creek.

      1. Cool, I will have to check them out. I have been there several times and, yes, the dolphins do come into the creek, especially when the shrimp boats come in

  17. I have done my usual of turning off lights…not using the car…running full dishwasher and washing machine. These things are second nature to me.
    I sold a costume out of my Etsy shop for $100.50. Etsy now takes over 8%, but it is still cash money.
    I accepted milk and salad makings.
    I have been babying our apples, pears (which are not doing well), pecans and almonds just to look out 2 days ago and see one of the apple trees totally stripped of apples. They are not laying on the ground. The apples are just gone. I have no idea what has happened, but there were about 50 to sixty apples on that tree to have it denuded overnight.
    All of the pies and applesauce I was planning for…gone.
    I claimed a $25.oo gift card on Amazon from Swagbucks. This will be used later during the holidays.
    I bought a gift for my daughter (her birthday is the 27th) and compression gloves for myself paying for it with Amazon reward points making them free.
    We ate all meals at home.
    My daughter came to visit and she brought me lots of books and a lovely carrying bag. The “bee bag” had a loose button, but I can fix that easily. The bag looks new and I will use it to carry my sewing to the monthly meetings.
    We are still cutting mint and drying it for the winter.
    We painted a half-round “pan hanger”. I have been using it for years, but it was pitiful to look at. It is now painted black and looks brand new.
    My grandson has taught me to use my firestick. As soon as I am comfortable with using it I will cancel cable. This will save me over $60.00 a month.
    I guess that is all I can remember at this time.

    1. Is your apple tree in your front yard? Do any of your neighbors have security cameras that might have caught an animal or human taking them?

      1. Mari, no one has a security camera. I’m pretty sure they were picked. I’m unsure why anyone would do that, but there you are.

    2. Becky,
      I am so sorry to hear about your apples being taken. That happened to my parents a couple years ago. My dad happened to glance out the window and an adult and an older child were stripping his apple tree. My dad is in his 80s but he went out and demanded that they leave which they did.
      He said had they knocked on his door and asked nicely, he would have allowed them to pick a couple bags. People don’t seem to have much respect for private property anymore. It is really sad.
      I am sorry for your experience and hope it doesn’t happen again.

    3. That happened to me with cornet my old house. I had several rows of beautiful corn. Went to work, it was in garden. I came home, and not an ear left. I figured they must have needed the food more than I did but I have not had a garden since. OF course, the birds (thousands, or so it seems…starlings) here have ruined my soil, and over 3/4 of my lot is shaded so, I just keep the farmer’s in business by buying their produce.

    4. We have squirrels in our neighborhood that actually pick our neighbors apples! We saw them!
      Hilarious to watch but not so much if you want to pick the apples for yourself….
      The tree is a dwarf and then they ran along our fence (holding the apple) to get to wherever they were storing them. When they ran out of room wherever they were hiding them, they starting leaving them on the fence slats. Thankfully, our neighbors were not too interested in harvesting them. We usually get about a 1/2 bushel from our neighbors each year so they don’t have to clean them up from the yard. We trade them for our abundant tomatoes.

      So sorry have mystery apple thieves – hopefully it’s the squirrels and not humans.
      Lea

  18. That is a huge savings for your business! My money-saving activities were small, but will still help a bit. We harvested beets, potatoes, green chile and bell peppers from the garden and froze several bags of Harvard beets and roasted green chile. I will chop and freeze some of the bell peppers later. I am having surgery tomorrow so I roasted two whole chickens for my family to work on for a few days in case I don’t feel like cooking. I combined several errands today to save gas money. I don’t comment often but I do find so many tips and much inspiration in the comments here.

  19. Good move on the office space savings! Can you get copies of the utility bills from the previous tenants’ use? Somehow, I can’t picture your husband using a lot of electricity wastefully. Thus, if the landlord wants to raise the rent in the future, you can point out that he is a model tenant, and prove it by comparing the bills.

    1. It’s all included at the new place, at it is a large building and the offices are small. No one gets individual utility bills. The bathrooms are shared for all of the businesses located there. Because it’s included, it’s more per square foot. Rents always go up and we know it will eventually, but for now we’re locked in to our current price for two years.

  20. Hello,
    I am from Arkansas and absolutely love your blog. However, I have one request would you please consider YouTube?! Even if it is just a seasonal garden tour. I would love to see an update on your gardens. If you choose not to do this I understand, but maybe an update on the blog then. You have a beautiful family, home, and blog. You inspire me to be a better homemaker! Thank you so much for your time.
    Brittney

    1. Video editing is a lot of work! And taking a video with 8 children in the background. . . . you wouldn’t be able to hear me! I sorely need to get the garden weeded, but when I get caught up (and there are a lot, as it’s so hard to get out there when it’s 109!) I hope to share some short videos on my Instagram feed from my phone!

  21. So many to list but I cut my husband’s hair and I follow the grocery ads closely (btw if your in Arizona I lead the Arizona frugal food on fb) spent $38 on food for the week. I also inventoried all my food so I could spend very little at the grocery store. Using my rewards i got a free case of bottled water

  22. Frugal doings on vacation in NC:
    Enjoying the beautiful beaches
    Loving the gas that’s a whole DOLLAR cheaper than CA.
    Sewing the projects I brought with me.
    Visiting new thrift stores. I bought a few things to sell on eBay. And a wool pea coat for myself. I dropped it at the dry cleaners already, it’s half the price here.
    Enjoying the awesome prices at Aldi. Eating beans and rice, cucumbers from the garden, cheap bananas. Eating all meals but one (in 2.5 weeks) at home.
    Flying Southwest-love the free checked bags.

    1. Kara, people traveling the east coast who plan ahead try to not stop in NC for gas because SC and southern Virginia are about 50 cents lower per gallon. Our local price is around $2.30/gallon with some lower and some higher.

  23. Here’s some from last week

    Hubby made a big pot of gumbo and ate on it for several days. Me and the 12yo were happy with salads or sandwiches when he was eating on his soup. When he had his fill, I froze the leftovers.

    My mom sent over a case and a half of water she no longer wanted. Hubby won’t drink it so the opened case I told the 12yo and teen to drink, and the unopened case will go to the 12yos cross country coach.

    Hubby changed his spark plugs, wires, and air filter on his truck himself.

    I had to see the dr. in order to get my prescription renewed and opted for the nurse practitioner since the visit is cheaper.

    I found a few more packages of Cesar dog food for half priced and purchased all they had that I think my dog would eat.

    The neighbor brought over more tomatoes and peppers. Everything went into the freezer until I’m ready to use them.

    We have season passes to a local water park. We had free guest passes to use, so I let my 12yo invite 2 friends. I stopped at McDonald’s beforehand to feed them($20), then we brought in empty water bottles to refill, plus I have a cup I paid for at the beginning of the season that gets unlimited soda refills, and I only purchased 1 funnel cake fr the 3 of them to share ($6) so it was a fairly cheap day of fun.

  24. I always am thrilled to hear about others having great savings. I am finding that as grocery prices rise, I’m having to evaluate my price points for purchases. I continue to eliminate as many items from our home as I can. Dish soap is something that simply just doesn’t last in my home. I’ve decided a bar of zote soap works great and will not be purchasing anymore liquid. I need to make a couple car repairs. The brakes and AC need to be done. Of course it makes me sad but I’m grateful I can afford it. My house taxes have crept up as well as my insurance premium. I’m disputing the house taxes and if it works I will be happy and if not, I will adjust next year’s savings to accommodate the increase. Seems like I’m juggling things to handle the issues. I rescued a small three drawer plastic cabinet from the dump. It turned out to be taped shut with the wheels sealed envelope in a package in one of the drawers. Perhaps it was new. I found a black car seat cover hanging over a receptical and brought it home. My car has a small tear in the seam of the driver’s seat. I’m going to repair it and put the seat cover on it. I traded my daughter some Swagbucks for cash. I purchased a gift card and received a 15.00 bonus. By combining a code and coupon, I bought a new replacement microwave for 2.00. The next day Amazon sent an email with another 15.00 code. While searching for diapers a pop up offered me a case for 50 percent off. I purchased a 200 count for nothing with the discount and the 15.00 award. Baby Henry should have enough size 3’s to do him in that size . In 8 months I’ve been able to diaper him for little to nothing. Such a blessing. Earlier this year Sam’s apparently had a glitch with a promotion. I had quite a bit of trouble getting mine resolved. This week I received a postcard asking me to return the card to the store and I would receive a 45.00 gift card for my trouble. I redeemed the card for a new comforter for sugar cookie. It’s not really great quality but she will be happy. The money I had planned to spend will be put to my car repairs. I redeemed receipts for 8 gogurts for 4 movie tickets. I bought these on sale for 99 cents so 8.00 for four movie tickets is a great bargain.

  25. Great monthly savings for the business. Have you thought of requiring direct deposit for your employees ? It was on printing and postage. It has been required by both mine and my husband’s employers for many years.
    We seem to been spending more than saving lately. Home maintenance can be expensive.
    I was able to pick up organic strawberries 1lb packages 4/$5 and blueberries 12 pints for $9.99. Almost all went into the freezer. We’ve been enjoying home grown tomatoes, delicious!

    1. Our agents are technically independent contractors, not employees, which changes some things. No one gets a regular paycheck, so when they have a sale, they are always anxious to get their check. Some will come in to get it but they still work from home, and some have us mail it to them. Most come in.

  26. I have been reading this blog and all the comments for about 5 years. I feel like all of you are great friends. I decided I needed to post as for now our friendship is all one sided. This week I harvested apricots from a co-workers tree for free. I made 2 batches of apricot vanilla jam and froze 4 large ziplock bags of cleaned and pitted apricots. My son and grandchildren harvested choke cherries from the front yard, beating the birds for a change. I made 2 batches of choke cherry jelly. Part of the jam and jelly will be given as Christmas gifts to my siblings.
    I brought my lunches from home for work all week. I also carpooled to work 1 day. My mother cleaned out her cupboards and freezer, gifting me frozen and canned foods. I cut old tee shirts into strips and I am knitting new bathroom rugs from them. The top part of the tee shirts and sleeves I cut into rags. I have stopped buying paper towels and we are using rags instead. I put 2 hospital bills in 1 envelope and reused the other envelope to pay a different bill. I just wrote the address on a piece of paper and slid it into the window of the envelope. I called a drug company and signed up for their savings program making my $246 co-pay a $ 10 co-pay.
    That is all I can remember at this time. I thank you Brandy and all of you who comment . I check each post daily for new comments and each Monday for a new post.

    1. Hi Trudee:
      Just want to share a tip when reusing envelopes. Please make sure before using that the envelope is not encoded with a postal address. I used to work at the main office of a company and processed all incoming mail and account payments. The return envelopes that we sent to our customers with their bills were addressed and encoded (looks similar to a bar code on the bottom front of the envelope and a small bar code square half way between the return address and stamp locations). These envelopes would be mailed to us no matter what the address was changed to. I would have to black out the encoding with a sharpie marker and ask the Post Office to process manually and sometimes I would still get it back again. This could cause delayed payments.
      If you do have an encoded envelope just cross off the encoded areas or unseal it and use it inside out. You could also do what my MIL does and use it as a notepad.

      1. Thank you. I did not know that. I will save them for the water bill. It gets hand delivered so it doesn’t go through the mail.

    2. Glad you’re commenting now, TruDee! And your choke cherry jelly sounds so yummy! I had to google choke cherries to learn what they looked like, and I think they grow in my area. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them when I’m out walking, and who knows, maybe I’ll find a free source of fruit, so thanks for sharing!

        1. My patents had a chokecherry tree, though left all the fruit for the birds, except for a couple of daring moments when we kids tried them. They also had a highbush cranberry, which I had forgotten about until you prompted me to think of the chokecherry. Didn’t taste good raw at all, but looked very pretty.

    3. TruDee, thank you for posting. My paternal grandmother had a chokecherry tree in her yard and we always persisted in trying to eat a berry and she always said “you’ll be sorry” . Oh well, children. We did love the jelly though that she made, and the pancake syrup. The house is still owned by one of my uncles and when the chokecherry died of old age they replaced with an apple tree.

      1. I love chokecherry jelly. It’s good t know that the leaves, pits and stems are poisonous. Don’t crush the pits.
        When you make juice for , I believe that the heat and boiling neutralizes the pits. Also, never let a child use
        chokecherry wood as a blow-gun and don’t burn chokecherry wood or be exposed to the smoke.

        I haven’t checked to see if there is a crop this year in my woods but if there is I probably won’t make jelly due to the injured arm.

  27. It seemed like a busy week, mostly I think because I told my husband we were going to the adjacent county fair (three times the size of our county’s) early in the week, when we had showers and storms every day, and I kept working around the house and saying “Friday” is the day it’s supposed to be the best weather for us to go. I caught up somewhat on some cleaning, laundry, and some cooking, so that Friday was a great day to go! My grandaughter wanted to meet us there, so that we could meet her new boyfriend! Apparently they have been dating for a couple months and everything about their relationship is PERFECT! at this time. He seemed quite nice to me, and attractive with a warm smile. He will be teaching part time at the university where I graduated and where DGD graduated also. He is a writer and his first book will be coming out shortly with a second to follow. He is working on the third, but it is not sold yet. For 28 years old, I think he’s doing quite well.
    She will also be changing employment soon–her boss sold their agency to a larger company, but she has been talking with another agency and thinks she will move to that one. The boss did not give them any warning and just called them together one day and said “you’re now working for XXXX comapny.” Grandaughter thought “that’s what you think” –she had been considering a move since last winter and had already interviewed with an all female agency. I don’t think that will be her first choice.
    She also has worked at a thrift store while in college. They had a certain quota to meet every day they worked, and if they exceeded the quota, they got a set amount of a bonus. She did quite well with that amount, especially when starting her working wardrobe. I remember a bright pink linen summer dress that looked stunning on her, which she got entirely from her credit balance–no “real” money! When she got tired of something, she would take it back to the store and “sell” it back to them. She was really into fashion in those years so it saved us tons of money. She know where all the better quality clothes are at various thrift shops, too. Her latest discovery is estate sales–she needed extra linens for guests and got some wonderful bargains at estate sales.
    We enjoyed the fair a lot and may even go back another day, depending on how this week goes. My sister had a large family reunion on Saturday and fed us all dinner! Many of her grandchildren visited from out of town the same weekend, and all three sets of her twin great-grands were there at the same time. I’m not sure she got the picture she wanted , as they didn’t seem to be awake at the same time. One set is almost a year old, one is just over a year old, and the oldest are nearly 15! Four little ones sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings makes for schedules disrupted, and they had been to see Niagara Falls the evening before.
    Today was a medical appointment for me, and everything was fine. Tomorrow I think I will attempt to make my husband some cinnamon rolls I promised him, as it is supposed to rain. After that we should have good weather so we will see where he wants to go this week.
    Last week I did get a rotisserie chicken, which was on sale, and for $4.99 we had three dinners from it. The last one was tonight, the end of the chicken pot pie I made from the leftovers. That and a big bowl of black bean, corn, and jalapeno salad fed us for most of last week, along with two partial bags of Tostidos chips from the cupboard. (I didn’t realize there were TWO partial bags.) A frugal week for food used up! I made a pan of brownies that seemed to last quite a long time as well. I did also make one night of spare ribs with rice and fresh beets. The beets lasted longer than one meal!

    I hope this week turns out as well. The weather is supposed to remain somewhat cool and dry after tomorrow so it should be a good week to explore in the car!! My husband’s favorite way to spend time this summer. I did get him trimming some bushes outdooors a couple days and need more done this week, which I have to trade off with discoveries made by driving new places! Kind of like bribing him with trips after he does a certain amount of work for me. He is not capable of doing as much as he used to, so I have to supervise and direct his “work”. So far it’s working for both of us!

  28. The last few weeks have been hectic, but I continue to embrace frugality as much as possible. My husband and I restocked his work supplies. He drinks Gatorade during the heat, and we were able to pick up 2 cases for only 30% of regular price. I stocked up on cereal bars on sale for $1 per box, mangoes for the dehydrator for $0.49 each, and grapes for $0.69 a pound.
    I treated one of the cats at home with complete healing, and purchased a medication for our dog with a discount of 30% off. I purchased some quality essential oils at a significant discount ahead of school and germ season starting back, and prepared a meal for a friend with a sick child—all ingredients from my freezer/pantry. I dehydrated garden bell peppers and some cilantro left over from canning salsa. They will go in the pantry for winter storage.
    I have been decluttering and set aside some candle holders for donation. I saved the old wax to melt down for “new” candles later. Lastly, I cut my hair, saving a little bit of money. I think that is it—at least all I can think of right now. Have a great week, and happy saving!

  29. I love sending greeting cards. Probably send 20-30 in average month and 200+ at Christmas. Local discount store chain is closing tons of locations. Bought 100 cards for 10 cents each, all Hallmark and regular retail .99—7.99. Already started using them. One of my Book Club members is now in senior care center and I send him one each week from the club. So excited to find some new ones for him and at dirt cheap prices. Plus got a $15 pack of stickers for outside of envelopes for only .90 at local liquidation chain.

    1. TCR – Excellent! We must keep the USPS in business! (If you are in the U.S., though I think Canada Post also has problems as people have switched to electronic mailings).
      I love sending cards, especially surprising people with them. I like writing postcards as well. Thrift stores and yard sales are often good sources for cards, though they are often freebie ones sent from charitable organizations that are surprisingly unattractive.

      1. i introduced my mom Postcrossing. She loved it and has sent (and received) over 1 000 postcards. It costs but she is so interested!

  30. You always have such great ideas for making your future better, while enjoying your present time! It’s a real skill:)

    My week was full of crazy, fun activities, most of which involved large herds of children in one form or another, as tends to happen in my world. Except Monday:). It was my birthday and I was treated to breakfast from my sisters, niece, nephew and mother, then my husband drove just me, myself, I (and the dog) down to the coast and back. After that, a friend dropped some goodies by. Totally spoiled. Rotten.

    My husband and I worked a lot with my nephew and niece. Because my daughter was at camp, we needed to make sure my nephew had things to do to keep him busy so he wouldn’t miss her so much. My husband took him to the $1 kid movies and then the library. I took him to a children’s museum one day. I was able to use a reciprocal pass from the OMSI membership my sister got for me. I take her kids so many places that she chose to make this choice affordable for me.. I put lots of pictures of my week on my blog:http://beckyathome.com.

    I got lots of inexpensive grocery items this week. I am preparing for a time in the near future where I’m in charge of several meals for a group and am gathering up whatever is seriously on sale so I can.

    We have decided to homeschool my daughter. This was a long, hard decision, but I’ve now got all the curriculum I need, a mix between things I had, things bought used and a very few new items.

    I preserved what I could from the garden.

    I did a little weeding.

    I cooked a lot of beans 2 ways–refrued beans and beans to stay in the fridge in a bowl for inexpensive burritos later in the week.

    1. I love the “large herds of children. The few times I have had to herd children, it was like trying to herd kittens!

  31. Feeling frustrated at our money situation then I looked out the window and saw the most amazing red sunset dancing around the clouds with streams of light shining through. It filled the sky! My husband and I went out to enjoy it. We aren’t going anywhere being careful not to spend money on gas or anything else. I made a plan to pay our bills for the next two months and I am glad I did. We will pay our bills, including taxes, God willing. I’m glad to have the plan even though It shows just how tight we are. I plan on continuing to make one so that I can pay the next six month taxes and maybe not be as tight while saving for it. My husband is working a day of overtime this week. That will help. I have been too tired to do much. I needed new cpap equipment. Without it I can’t function. Because I value my health, I am going to order what I need. In the meantime my husband has taped my mask together. It seems to be working for now. Just wish we had better health insurance. That, I miss the most.
    I took my son to the library for movies. Visited family and they gave us some meat. My other son gave our grandson spending money to use when he was with us. My dad came by today and is going to help us work on the house this week.
    Picked basil.peppers and cucumbers. I plan on going to a mobile food pantry tomorrow as our funds are extremely low. I hope to have enough money for gas to go to the appointments we need to go to this week and not put it on credit card. We are trying not to use our credit card. Rather, we are trying to pay them off. My son bought toilet paper this week. Used my pressure cooker to cook beans this week.

    1. Tammy, when I first started reading this blog, we too were having a lot of financial problems. I know how difficult your situation is. However, the commitment you have to paying down bills will make a difference in the future. It may take a while, but things will improve with time if you continue on this path. Be proud of what you are doing, accept this is where you are for now but it’s not forever, and just take 1 day at a time. Remember, if there is anything you need support or help with a solution to a problem, you have a whole community here that may have suggestions. You can do this! In the mean time, if you have Pinterest (if you don’t, I highly recommend it…it’s free, great entertainment and an awesome place to find super cheap meal ideas, as well as ways to save money you might not have thought of), try searching for “Snap food challenge” or “Food Stamp challenge”. It was a challenge that was popular a few years ago where those with good incomes tried to grocery shop and prepare meals with the amount of money provided by the SNAP program. I bet you can do a lot better that many of those people!

      1. Rhonda,
        Thank-you for your kind words. I just got back from a long day a doctors offices and hospital. I have two large ovarian cysts. Today they did a sonogram and took blood to test for antigens for cancer. I’m supposed to get an MRI and see an ob gyn as soon as possible. They are setting it all up for me. it was very painful this morning in my abdomen and down into my leg. Anyway I want to thank you Rhonda and Jill, And Thank-you Brandy.

        1. Blood tests are negative for Cancer! Yeah! They said “according to this test.” So I still need more done. But I’m happy that test came back negative.

        2. I’m sorry you are experiencing medical issues right now, Tammy. Several years ago, they found the hints of an ovarian cyst in my mom’s abdomen. They did a hysterectomy to remove it. My mom opted to have a full hysterectomy, to avoid having further problems and the possiblility of a second surgery later (she was starting menopause anyways). When they removed it, they were surprised at how large it actually was! The cyst was filled with fluid, so it didn’t show up well on imaging. It turned out to be benign, and it’s removal helped with the bladder leakage problem she was experiencing then, as the large cyst was no longer pressing on her bladder. Although it is not ideal to have medical problems, I hope your situation works out similar to my mother’s and there is no cancer. It saddens me, however, to think of the cost you will incur for just receiving this medical help. Keep positive and please know we are thinking of you.

          1. Tammy, when you go to the hospital, ask if Hill-Burton funds are available to help pay for your care. If the hospital has received federal help for building projects in about the last 50 years (and that is virtually every nonprofit hospital in the US), it must provide a certain amount of charitable care each year. The problem is, the year runs from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, and when they have distributed the required amount of money, they can stop until January again. It is not good news that you will need surgery in the last half of the year. However, specifically asking about Hill-Burton (makes them think you know what you are doing, LOL) should open a conversation about what help is available to you. Good luck and God bless!

    2. Tammy- I love that God made nature free! It is so encouraging and refreshing and peaceful. This is really important for me when our income is extremely tight, because it just wears me out. Hugs you are not alone! That is what got me for a while. Feeling alone. We pay bills, buy the cheapest food possible and then have no or very little money left after that. It has been this way for many, many years. I am a stay at home homeschool mom to 4 kids. I kept praying to God and then other families appeared in my life that live within 5 miles of me who like to hang out, let the kids play or go to the playground 1 mile from our house. I rarely purchase clothes for the kids. Others gladly offer us clothing. I find great sales when I shop for food and my tiny tomato garden has been very successful this year. I write down my blessings. It has made me realize money in the bank account is one blessing of many and life is still very enjoyable when there is little money to go around. God’s provisions are many.

      1. Renee,
        Thanks for writing. I do feel alone sometimes then God reminds me that I am not alone. I love that God made nature free too. Thanks for reminding me about God’s provisions. it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But when I think about how God has done so much in my life, I’m able to feel a sense of calm. I actually couldn’t sleep this evening and I came to Brandy’s site. I love the positiveness and the camaraderie and the frugal tips! Now I should be able to sleep a bit better. I’m so glad to have people to talk to here.

    3. Hi Tammy,

      you really need to publish books — your first sentence about the sunset is so beautiful! Tammy, I’m sorry to hear that you have two ovarian cysts. I had several (small benign ones) over the years and they can be really painful. I often think of you and your struggles. Your plan sounds good, and it is good to get your cpap equipment sorted out. You’ll feel a lot better. It is great that nature is free! Today I was waiting for my handibus to go to the archives when I saw a flock of migrating warblers. They did not come through in the spring so I had been worried but today they came through on their return. It made me smile the whole day! I am sleep deprived because an owl hooted outside my bedroom window for several hours one night. Still, I am glad he was there! Take care and know you have friends on this blog. Thoughts and prayers for you. Ann

      1. Ann,
        Thank-you for your prayers. I just wrote you a note but then my internet was off. Don’t know if it went through. I guess I am not out of the clear for the possibility of cancer. My doctor said there is not a 100% accurate test. But I choose to be happy with the results that I got so far. The migrating warblers sound lovely. As does the owl, even if it interrupted sleep. Thanks for being a friend. And you know, I would like to publish books, so thank-you for your kind words.

    4. Tammy, definitely ask the doctor and hospital about financial assistance. Is it possible for you to get on the state Medicaid? Also, perhaps the CPAP manufacturer will give you free equipment, like some pharmaceutical companies give free prescriptions to those in need. It’s worth a call. When one is tired, it is much more difficult to deal with difficult situations. You have a roof over your head, food on the table and clothes on your back. When I was destitute with seven children, I used to listen to the wind and be so thankful there was a roof to protect us. This is a wonderful community that is very supportive and non-judgmental. There are so many people who have been there, or are there, but don’t have the skills to help themselves. Your faith is also a great support, though, sometimes, it can be hard to hold on to. Pinterest is great, as are articles and recipes from the Great Depression and WWII. Just think, so many people lived this way then; in a way it made it easier having so many in the same boat. You are in my prayers. And…just an interesting aside, try frying up sauerkraut and cooked macaroni in butter with a little bit of brown sugar, or frying spaghetti and it’s sauce. These were staples during tough times and my kids still love them today. 🙂

      1. Laura S. Thank you for your ideas and prayers it is much appreciated. I had not even thought of contacting the cpap manufacturer.

        Tammy Littlejohn

  32. I love that your son is working in the thrift store! What a great job to have!

    My accomplishments last 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 7 times. We had steak, zucchini and baked potato (twice); Soup made from my freezer leftovers container and biscuits; ham hash with green pepper and onion with a fried egg (I had canned the ham 5 years ago, but didn’t like how it had gotten a little tough, so I have had 6 pint jars just sitting in the pantry. Decided to try it minced up in hash. Worked out fine. Also, I baked the potatoes for the hash the night we had steak so I only had the oven on once); used the leftover soup and leftover ham and hash to make a completely different soup one night (I pureed the soup and then added the leftover hash, red pepper flakes, curry powder and peanut butter to make a faux West African curry soup. I was pretty proud of that one, as the idea of just the soup again was not appealing to me. I know it was a success because my husband had seconds!); hamburger and rice casserole with beansprouts, carrots and celery; and grilled salmon, baked potato and asparagus. Used saved bacon grease to saute my zucchini and also to cook the hash in.
    • Worked 27 ½ contract hours. Just found out that another department wants my services too for a while so I will be getting more hours in. I will much prefer that contract work compared to the other work I have been doing.
    • Brought my lunch every time I went into the office except for the day the company brought in lunch for everyone. Hubby also brought his lunch to work all week except for Friday, when his company brought in lunch for the staff.
    • Hung 4 of 5 loads of laundry.
    • We are going to Italy again in November! Found a Groupon that was a great deal. Our best friends are going with us. With the money I make doing contract work, I have been putting ½ in a vacation account and ½ towards our mortgage. In March we went to Rome, Florence and Venice. This time we will be going to Milan. We are excited! My friend and I were reminiscing about how far we’ve come since raising our kids and trying to stretch every dollar just to feed and clothe our family. Now we are able to enjoy the fruits of our labors! But I am still going to pinch pennies everywhere else to be able to pay cash for these trips!
    • Found a dime.
    • Frugal fail, but lesson learned. I filled my gas tank in a neighboring city (just 3 miles away, we live close to the border) then passed another station a mile from our house. The gas was 8c less per gallon closer to home from the same chain. No more filling up there!
    • Took Dad out to lunch this week. Not frugal, but we did go for Mexican food, which wasn’t too expensive. I hadn’t taken him out in a while and I used to do it weekly, so I am still ahead. It is just easier to do on the days I have to take him to Dr. appointments, which I did this week.
    • Saved by not buying an insulated lunch bag. Had it in my basket but changed my mind at the cashier. I have plenty of other bags to carry my lunch in and there is a refrigerator at work, so I don’t need it insulated.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.
    • Grocery deals included 2 loaves of Orowheat bread for 74c each, 2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish for 25c/bag, 6# of thin cut petite sirloins for $13.88 total (Albertson’s was having a buy 1 get 3 free offer and there were 4 on the clearance rack for 30% off!), 2 dozen eggs for 59c/dozen; a single serve smoothie for free, a 12 pack of sparkling water for free, 28 more cans of sparkling water for 10 c/can off the clearance rack, a can of corn for 29c, an energy bar and a bag of chips, both free.
    • I got 3 teacups and saucers for a total of $2.28 from Goodwill. They are black and white and will look great on my Halloween tea table.
    • We have some coffee in the freezer that my husband didn’t care for (bags that make 1 pot each.) I mixed 1 bag into his big can of coffee. It will stretch the good coffee and use up the other. With this ratio, you can’t tell the difference.
    • Took the last of our tomatoes (too hot to grow now) and roasted them with home grown fresh basil and rosemary, garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper then blended them up to make a nice sauce.
    • Ordered the free book I earned from the summer reading program at the library. While there I found out that I also earned a shaved ice from Bahama Bucks and a one time day use pass for any of the Arizona state parks.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. I love that you said you are going to Italy in one sentence, then continuing to be frugal, then finding a dime! How wonderful! I hope that our frugal ways get us to Europe in the future, too!

      1. Thanks, Brandy! Yes, I will always pick up money off the street! Every penny counts towards whatever we each decide is important to us. Some people want nicer clothes or cars, etc. than I do. And that’s ok for them. But I want to TRAVEL!

        One thing we always did was live off of one income for necessities. First I stayed home with the kids and didn’t work, then when they were old enough, I went back to work and whatever I earned was for extras. We paid cash for our kids college and for my daughter’s wedding. Now it is our turn!

        You’ll get to Europe again someday!

  33. I live in Australia and I am stunned by your prices. Your figs look so beautiful. Today I saw some in the supermarket and they were $2 each. these fruit were about 1 inch across and looked pretty wizened.

    My efforts this last week include buy petrol just before the price went up to $1.68 per litre or quart. I bought it at $1.27. Our freezer had a failure and I lost all our meat which included meat set aside for Christmas. I managed to buy some chicken at 45% discount. For $10I bought 5 chicken thighs and three half breasts. Passionfruit and parsley are all I have at present. Extra fruit was frozen for use in the off season. I care for my mother and our meals are problematic. I often write plans which are vetoed but yesterday mum asked me to set a plan so I did. I bought some toddler books for my granddaughter for $2 and a book for mum at the same price. I walked away from lovely scrapbooking papers on sale as I really do have enough. I need to make a plan for the end of year birthdays and Christmas gifts.

    1. I’m so sorry about losing your freezer and all that meat! That happened to us a few years ago and I remember being so disappointed.

    2. Susan, I am sorry too, to hear of the freezer and food loss. I hope you will find many good bargains. I don’t know a lot about Australia but I feel I should know more. All I know came from 3 movies…THE RABBIT PROOF FENCE, WE OF THE NEVER-NEVER and THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER. I did recently read a very enjoyable book THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN by Kate Morton and that started out in Australia. I feel it must be very hot and dry there, but so much coast line and ocean to enjoy. If any one has reading suggestions for me I would love to hear them.

    3. Just a note for those who ever have a freezer fail. If you catch it while the meat is still cold, but has thawed or partially thawed, you can cook the meat, then refreeze it to minimize loss. I nearly lost a bunch of breakfast sausages, due to the door on the freezer being left open a crack. They were still cold, but had partially thawed, so not safe to refreeze. I cooked them all up, then refroze the whole lot. It turned into a really great convenience, as I could just pull them out a few at a time and reheat in the microwave as needed! However, if the meat is room temperature, and you don’t know how long it has been like that, it’s most likely a write off and not worth the risk of getting sick from.

  34. Congratulations on the money savings for your husband’s business & your son’s job!
    Last week I dropped off a leather purse & pair of shoes to the shoe repair shop. Both shoes & purse are favorites of mine and good quality so the price of repair is worth it to add a few more years of use. Our garden is producing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers & zucchini. I made zucchini egg muffins to freeze for breakfasts, zucchini chocolate cake, freezer pickles, cucumber vinegar salad & tomato sandwiches. We received a $5.00 Barnes & Noble gift card as part of a rewards program from our phone company. I went online & found a Halloween kid’s book for $4.80, I like to give books to my niece and great niece, so I ordered 2 books, & applied the gift card. The books qualified for free shipping so I purchased 2 gifts for $4.60. So, my Halloween spending is nearly complete & the Moms will be happy that it’s not a bunch of candy.
    Biggest savings : Our dryer stopped heating. After some trial & error my husband was able to find the problem, purchase the parts & get it back up & running for about $60.00.

  35. Congratulations to your eldest son on starting his new job. Now you have an inside source if you are looking for specific items! What a great price for the chicken, Brandy. I’m sure you were able to get quite a bit for your freezer at that price! That is also a huge savings each month for the new office space. I’m sure that will make a huge impact for your business!

    Our frugal accomplishments for our household this week included:
    *Meals made at home included chicken low mien stir-fry with veggie spring rolls, spaghetti with choice of meat sauce or plain pasta sauce, “piggies in a blanket” (breakfast sausages and cheese crescent rolls) with Knorr pasta side dish and carrots, sub sandwiches (choice of fillings) with potato chips, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with corn on the cob, and BBQ’d cheddar sausages & hotdogs with corn on the cob.
    *Hubby had pizza out for lunch one day. They made a mistake on his order, and he ended up with 2 pizzas for the price of one. He brought home the extra pizza and gave it to my brother to have for his lunch. Hubby also won 2 free movie passes from the bottle of diet coke that came with the pizza! Apparently it was a very profitable lunch out.
    *Hubby bought 24 cobs of fresh corn at the grocery store for $0.10/ear during a 2 day sale. It was so good!
    *Ordered 2 boxes of peaches from our local grocery store. The peaches are 2nds but each 25lb box is only $12. I will pick them up later this month, then can them up for the winter.
    *From my garden, I harvested green/yellow beans, peas (including some died peas to save as seed for next year), a handful of pickling cucumbers, 1 ripe tomato, 4 beets and dill seed.
    *My brother brought home leftover pizza after volunteering at an event where they were fed. Grateful for an easy work lunch that day!
    *I worked an extra 5 hours at a special event this weekend. It was called “When Death Was in Fashion”. The entire village was put into mourning. All mirrors were covered with black veils, all clocks were stopped, and if you weren’t wearing a “mourning outfit”, you had to wear a black ribbon on your arm in honour of the dead. All manor of Victorian mourning practices were featured/discussed in the different buildings. We even had a Dr discussing embalming practices in one building and death photography in another! There was also a fashion show of various mourning clothing costumes, with the public invited to come dressed in a costume and enter the fashion show along with our costumed staff/volunteers and volunteers from another museum.
    *Hubby and I attended another free concert this week. It was an AC/DC tribute band. We had dinner out, and shared a meal, as we have several times this summer. There were no freebies again, but the free concert was excellent. For the first time in a while, I was cold despite wearing capris and a knit sweater while wrapped in 2 blankets! Fall is definitely on it’s way. Whoohoo!!!!

    Sending everyone best wishes for a great week!

    1. I don’t know where you live, but I am so envious of your weather! Our temperature right now is 103. Ugh! Also, the mourning event sounds so interesting and fun.

      1. I live in Ontario, Canada. We had a stretch of heat in the summer with temps close to yours including the high humidity, and I was working out in it at a pioneer village. I know how bad it feels! I assure you, however, I will be envious of your weather in the middle of winter.

        1. I sympathize with you Rhonda — I can’t imagine having to wear pioneer heavy clothes in the sweltering humidity! Ann

  36. We have a heat index of 115 today and already a heat index of 90 at 6 a.m. I did a 30 minute walk early before work because it will be just too hot later in the day after work. I am trying to use up the meat in my freezer before my trip late next week, so I made a bacon, spinach, and tomato sandwich for breakfast. I brought my lunch of ground beef, noodle,s and cream of mushroom soup. Simple but it will be satisfying. I cooked up the catfish to eat for supper this week. The air conditioner broke at work and has been off for several days, for like the fourth time this summer. It will be miserable, but keeping the lights off will help somewhat. The old houses with the high ceilings, and cross ventilation (think dog trot style) work better in this heat, than the squat, compact, industrial type 50’s buildings. It is much cooler at home, than at work. I just try to keep the lights off at home, and shut unused rooms.

  37. Hi all! This is my first comment on here. I’ve been following this blog and all your comments for a few months now, and look forward to Brandy’s posts every week. I’m learning so much!
    This week I harvested zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, basil and mint from my garden. My mother-in-law gave my son a hair cut. My husband worked on my car. My kids and I went out of town to visit a friend and we took all our kids to a state park for the day. We had a whole day of fun, brought food with us, learned some things about waterfalls and only had to pay the fee for parking. The next day we went to a U-Pick blueberry farm and picked the most beautiful blueberries for $1.50 per pound. That is really cheap for around here. The farm was located in a beautiful setting. We had a picnic and our kids were able to play. My kids and I picked about 14 pounds. I made 6 jars of jam, some blueberry muffins and froze the rest.
    My son also had a birthday this week. I made a cake and bought some ice cream and we invited our local relatives over.
    In addition to that, I cooked at home using my garden produce and made homemade bread in my bread machine.

  38. Great move with the business Brandy.

    The biggest frugal thing we did this week was I didn’t go to the hospital for my Crohn’s attack saving $7000. But it’s been a rough ride at home . Hubby did his own laundry and hung it on the clothes line. He ate leftovers from the freezer and told me we were down to next to nothing and would have to cook something tomorrow. I put 3 lb roll of hamburger gotten foe $1,99/lb in frig to make meatloaf and meatballs for meals this week . Something I can eat since food choices at this point a limited..

    Garden produced 2 zucchini, 1 patty pan 1 spag squash and some cherry tomatoes. A friend told me to dig 6 inches down and test the soil there (top soil has 0 nitrogen 0 potash) before we hauled dirt in. Will be doing that this week… as today it’s raining first time in over 7 days. I have cracks in the ground wider that the thickness of my hand.

    I did get the pantry reorganized and cleaned before I went down. Have a list including amounts needed to restock for the year. I even put empty canning jars in the area I need spag sauce and pickled beets that I will can myself. E our Amish neighbor said his brother had plenty of seconds on tomatoes(not perfect for selling at auction) and sent message to tell me to stop by. Maybe this weekend when I am better.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/08/frugal-crohns-attack.html

    1. Juls,
      Ugh, I have Crohn’s, too, and just went through a partial blockage at home last week, saving myself a few thousand dollars as well. Best of luck to you and Jen — we’ll get through this!

    2. My sister, daughter, and I have Ulcerative Colitis which is similar, plus the Ankylosing Spondylitis Arthritis. My mom had Crohn’s and my dad had UC. I hope you feel better soon. Gut issues are the worst.

  39. We had overnight guests who were travelling through. In anticipation of their arrival, we completed several repairs/ improvements/ fluffs that were on the list and for which we already had the supplies, but we never made time for.

    Still eating out of the freezer and trying to make a dent in the eggs. Made a breakfast bread rollup (ham, egg and cheese in pizza dough) from found ham and cheese. Found chocolate, cooked roast beef, mystery ground meat, ground pork and beef, and Italian sausage became beef stroganoff, lasagna Bolognese, gyros, chocolate mousse, and sausage sandwiches. Turned leftover take out fish into fish tacos. I am enjoying the freezer challenge immensely – already plotting how to use other items I found for next week.

    My decluttering of glassware apparently got out of control as I couldn’t find anything acceptable to serve my guests the chocolate mousse in – then it occurred to me to use martini glasses. Elegant presentation and I didn’t need to go buy or borrow glassware.

    Dryer has been ordered, it will take 2 weeks to arrive. I have been invited to a friends for dinner tonight and she told me to bring my laundry and I can use her dryer. This will help me reduce trips to the laundromat to dry. I will bring some of the chocolate mousse for dessert, as it is her favorite.
    Worked out at the base gym for free. Took water in my travel mug.

    Ordered a zippable fabric bag to hold wrapping paper and another to hold wreaths/ door decoration, so I can declutter the loft. Probably could have found something cheaper, but clearing the clutter from the desk is important to me right now.

    Purchased an $8 “extra” bottle of wine to bring my total high enough to use a $20 coupon. I will enjoy the wine and the discount.

    Ran out of 1 eye’s contacts a week before my appointment. Went to Walmart and asked if I could buy just 1 lens instead of a whole box and they just gave it to me.
    The heat is just ridiculous here. AC is running nonstop trying to keep the place habitable. Glad I have yearly averaged billing so it doesn’t slaughter my budget this month.

  40. Good job, everyone!
    I do not have much to report. I mended some clothes. I got a bunch of free children’s´ clothing from one consignment shop, where they have “free” box (items which will not sell will sometimes be put there by the sellers, instead of taking them back to home). I bought bed for my son from discount campaign. I bought used printer/scanner for my schoolkids. I took apples to church (we have abundance) and let people know they can come and pick them.
    I used some bird net bought last year to protect my strawberries.
    I do not have budget nor will to shop for clothes for myself. I shop in my wardrobe, as I have lost most of the baby weight and can wear some clothes again after 1,5-2 years.
    We cooked lamb meat and potatoes twice in the oven (we have our own organic lambs as well as potatoes).
    Got 2 free Digiboxes from my mom for someone in need.

  41. -I took my car into the repair shop for the fifth time over the last month, and it is now working well, without a check engine light on. I started the summer with an axle that needed repair. I also wanted to do some preventative maintenance and three other parts have needed replacement. The car is a 2006 model, so I am not too concerned that some work has been needed. I am saving to replace the car in the spring, if all goes well, so I am wanting to keep it in good repair until then.

    -Not having a car I could take on the highway for several months has got me out of the habit of road trips. The weather has also been rainy so often, that there haven’t been any summer day trips, except to the auto repair place in the next town over. I have been making a lot of purchases, but either locally or online, with free shipping. Normally I use two tanks of gas a month in the summer, but this month, I still have more than half a tank left from the first tank I bought, with my next pension payments only two weeks away. I don’t have any trips planned in that time, so I should start the month well ahead of the game.

    -I spent some extra money available to put food in my pantry and freezer again. I did most of the shopping on the first Tuesday of the month, where there is 10% off. I will add some depth to what is on the shelves as I see good sales. That starts this week, since pasta and pasta sauce are on a buy one, get one free sale.

    -I have bought a few items for the kitchen, replacing water and wine glasses and cereal bowls which had broken over time. I bought a colander. I have always just poured water off of vegetables or pasta right from the pot, but there always seems to be some waste that way. I just have to make smaller portions, now that some isn’t being wasted. I was especially excited, because I’ve bought a stand mixer, which I’ve wanted for many, many years. It was $150 off the retail price, When I check the internet though, the price was what it normally seems to sell for online.

    -For many years, I have paid my monthly bills close to the due date, which has made for some scrambling, especially on the last few days of the month. I am now trying to pay the bills within a few days of them arriving. This is basically in two batches. Month end was quite a bit more relaxing this month with much less scurrying around.

    -Sadly, this is the first year where none of my utility bills has gone under $100 a month (Cdn). Usually in the summer there is a break for two or three months. Though electricity and heating bills have been lower (no air conditioning needed here), they just didn’t go below that magic number. I was especially disappointed in the electricity bill, since I didn’t have a computer running at all in July, and I haven’t turned the overhead fans on at all, because it just hasn’t been warm enough to need them on. Oh, well! I’ve done what was in my control.

    1. I try to buy items online with free shipping when I am buying new. When the shipping is free, it saves me gas and time!

      1. It’s true! Living as far as I do from the city, I am conscious that every trip there costs $32, so free shipping is definitely a saving. There is also the fact that I will spend money on other things if I go into the city. It applies to services as well. My doctor is in the city, but I found I could get lab work done a few blocks away from my house, and she can see the results right away. It saves me four hours of driving!

        When you have so many people to look after, I’m sure every minute you can save on errands is as important as every penny.

        1. I think everyone’s time is the most valuable asset they have. You can do more with your life–work more, enjoy more, read more, do more to save money–if you don’t have to run as many errands. It doesn’t matter if you have a big family or if you are a family of one. That is your time on this earth, and I think it’s good for each of us to make the most of it!

          1. Thanks Brandy for saying this. I only have one daughter who is away at college but we all have the same amount of time in a day. I feel the same ways about how my time is used. I prefer to read than be driving around doing errands as an example. So ordering things with free shipping, I love

  42. Those figs are beautiful. There were several fig trees on the south side of our house when I was growing up (Seattle area). The fruit looked very nice, but the birds got most of it, because we didn’t like figs!

    My sister and her son visited from Las Vegas last week. We did a bunch of local and family activities, and it was good to see her. Before she came, she had emailed a childhood friend who works for a local TV station, and asked if they gave tours (my nephew is very interested in TV shows and movies and how they are made). So we got a free personal tour of the station. We even were in the studio when they broadcast part of the local news. I thought it was really interesting.

    While my Las Vegas sister was here, my mom was having major back problems and then fell and broke her wrist. It was very stressful but luckily my sister was staying with her and could help out. After she went home, my other (local) sister and I have been trading off helping her. She needed a walker to keep her steady, so I posted on Nextdoor (a neighborhood social media app) asking whether anyone had one I could have, borrow or buy. Several people told me I could borrow one from our local senior center. So I went down there the next morning, and it turns out they have a small room filled with walkers, canes and other items that people can borrow for as long as they need them. I was so grateful, and this has been a lifesaver for my mom (she even said so). She is recovering, but will be in a cast for several weeks.

    Other frugal things:
    – Had family dinners at my mom’s when my sister and nephew were in town. We ate out a couple of times, but mostly we ate at home.
    – Sewed a couple more items from my fabric stash (this is keeping me sane at the moment).
    – Used up food from the freezer.
    – Took my lunch to work (I always do this).
    – Got extra veggies from my farm share (CSA) to use and freeze for later.
    – Bought some tomatoes at the farmers market to freeze and can. Also purchased some blueberries to freeze.
    – My husband got a bonus and raise.
    – Returned two items I didn’t need to Joann Fabrics. I also have a shirt to return to Land’s End, I just need to mail it.
    – Picked herbs and green onions from my patio garden.
    – Made water kefir and milk kefir.
    – Made a big batch of soup to use up some leftover greens. Froze the soup for future lunches.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  43. That’s wonderful you were able to save so much on your business! And congrats to your son on his new job! (Also, thanks so much for the 90’s alternative radio recommendation. It was like being transported back to high school and I loooove it!).
    -This week didn’t feel very frugal as I registered my daughter for high school. This is her first year, and my first high schooler, and my jaw about hit the floor when I saw the fees! On the bright side, her junior high paid for her AP Spanish Exam, which she thankfully passed, and can now take the concurrent enrollment Spanish classes at the high school. She’ll get very close to the credits needed for a Spanish minor for free by the time she graduates.
    –We gathered and ate eggs from our chickens. My younger two are entering their two favorites into the county fair, which means they got to bathe and groom their chickens this week. They had a ball, and that was all free fun!
    -We went to the new splash pad in my mom’s city and it was amazing! She also gave us some tomatoes and basil from her garden which we whipped up into some delicious bruschetta.
    -My husband sold some items we had in the local classifieds which helped balance out our budget with those crazy school fees.
    -I feel I had more ways that I wasn’t frugal this week, than ways I saved money. When I stress I start opting for convenience (which meant pizza for dinner), worrying what other people will think (which meant new outfits for all the kids for the in-law family pictures), and it all gets washed down with fountain Diet Cokes (which I would really, really love to give up). If I could somehow learn to manage my stress I think if would really help with my frugal goals! I am refocusing and motivated to get back on track.

  44. Seems like the same old / same old; but I am pleased that there were no additional or unexpected expenses this week.
    I continued to earn on Swagbucks and made my goal 3x this week;
    I used $20 in loyalty points towards my grocery bill this week;
    Organized my closet and found 10 items for donation or to sell;
    Continue to help family members purge, sort, donate and sell their items; I was excited to earn $270 this week.
    I took a last minuet shift for 8 hours at my occasional office job; Always helps to keep up with laundry/ironing when I get last minute calls to come into work.
    My Mum gifted us 2 litres of yummy ice cream;
    It rained enough that no watering was need for grass or garden.
    Thank you all for your inspiration!

  45. Neighbors gave us wood from a tree they had taken down. The wood has been sitting in a pile at their house for a year, so it will make good firewood for us this year.

    I picked another big bucket full of wild apricots from a tree growing in the highway right of way. They are sweet and delicious. The weather works out to produce apricots around here about every 5 years, so I always look forward to getting some during those rare years. I put most of this batch in the freezer.

    I purchased cucumbers from a farm stand and made 5 pints of sweet pickle relish.

    We enjoyed chard, green onions, mint, thyme, cherry tomatoes and zucchini from our garden. I froze two packages of chard for the winter. Last winter we really enjoyed eating the chard I froze, so I hope to put up more of it this summer.

    I pulled all my garlic and hung it to dry. I had such a great harvest this year I think I will skip planting it next year.

    One day my husband and I drove into the mountains to hike. We packed a lunch and afterwards took a scenic route home. It was a lovely, inexpensive outing.

    We purchased local peaches. I still have jam from last year, so decided to purchase only a flat, not a whole box. I was able to get a flat (about 7 pounds) for $10. The first place we stopped wanted $25 a flat, the second place $20. All the stands were on the same road, so it paid to drive just a little farther to find a better price. They are really delicious!

  46. I have been enjoying all your pictures this summer Brandy. You are very talented–they are magazine quality. I do not think you have ever mentioned it, but in my local area yearbook pictures are big business. I have been reading everyone’s comments this summer and they have been a great encouragement for me so thank you everyone.
    My family’s frugal activities for the month of July until last week were as follows:
    After a late start due to cooler and dryer conditions-than normal- we are eating from the garden. We have enjoyed lettuce, green/wax beans, beets, cucumbers, and onions. I have even frozen some of the string beans and beets.
    My sister came up from Florida. She blessed me with a lunch at a local restaurant and brought pizza for my family another night.
    Celebrated the 4th of July at my Sister in laws. She only wanted us to bring a salad. Had a great visit and the kids got to swim in her pool
    My oldest daughter came to visit during the 4th of July long weekend. Had not seen her since Christmas so I was happy. She brought her siblings to her boyfriend’s family camp at a local lake one afternoon. The kids got to swim and ride a seadoo.
    My oldest son returned from deployment and came home on leave. Since we won’t see him again until next summer we made the most of his visit. While he was here, my husband treated us to supper at a local tastee freeze (his annual treat). We also went to a family party in Canada. We enjoyed great company and food. It is also a good experience for my kids. It keeps them aware of their heritage since 95% of the conversation is in French.Before my son returned back to base he treated us to ice cream. The ice cream place accepts Canadian money at par so he used his leftover Canadian money.
    My son had left his car here during his deployment. His southern car did not like our northern winter and it killed the battery. We replaced his battery for him and filled his gas tank before he left.
    My youngest daughter and I picked wild strawberries in the field next to our house. While we munched on the strawberries the bugs munched on us. We also have enjoyed several walks.
    The rest of my summer has been bringing my kids to various Dr appointments (Dr, Dentist, orthodontist) Mostly routine. Some have been local, some about 1 hr away and a couple 4 hours away. I try to combine trips with my weekly errands when possible.
    My birthday was Sat. We celebrated on Thurs with cake before my son left. I received several cards and phone calls. I was also gifted with flowers, candy and an instapot. Our town was also celebrating their 150th birthday which coincided with their annual ploye festival and musky derby. There were various events all week with the final day being on my birthday. We enjoyed several free events on my birthday including a parade, tractor pulls, an antique car show & fireworks.
    My husband’s work week was shortened to 4 days plus he comes home 2 hrs earlier each day. Income down but on the plus side he is up to date & even ahead on all his tasks at home.
    Food costs have been high despite efforts to bring it down. Sales mostly limited to junk at local stores. My boys are both hitting growth spurts so food disappears quickly. I have been depleting my pantry.
    Our biggest expense this summer was purchasing & installing a heat pump. Of course my husband’s work schedule was reduced the week after our purchase. We consider this an investment to reduce heating costs-especially reducing the need for heating oil. During the winter we rely on wood heat but do use heating oil while we sleep and during the spring & fall. Since we heat 9 months of the year the oil bills can still be quite high. It does also provide us with airconditioning but since we’ve had a cool summer we have probably used that part for a total of 2 weeks.
    I will end with my biggest savings deal. Last week my local grocery store had sweet Italian sausage on sale because it was nearing the sell buy date. The price was 19 cents per lb. I bought all they had (8-1 lb pkgs). I spent a total of $1.55 for 8 lbs of meat. I saved $4 per lb.

  47. I haven’t commented for a long time but I read many of everyone’s wonderful posts. My husband and I were always going to travel when he retired. You never know what life will bring you and we ended up as my father’s guardians for seven years. He had Alzheimer’s and peacefully passed away in his sleep in March. I had just seen him two days previous and we hugged, saying ‘I love you.’ I will miss him but he was able to live to the ripe old age of 94.
    So my husband and I are leaving for a bit of an adventure in the next few weeks. We will be moving to the Canary Islands for three months. They are a chain of islands off the western coast of Africa and are owned by Spain. We did all the numbers and, even with the flight, we will save tons of money from where we live now which is near Seattle.
    Today we are cleaning our condo to get it ready to turn back to the owners. We are leaving it in better shape than we found it. I am a bit scared as the owners refused to give back the damage deposit to the last renters. $3,200 for a spot on the carpet they have photos showing they didn’t do. We got the spot off in 3 minutes with some stuff from Home Depot. In other words, I suspect the owners of being scam artists. So we are moving to an Air B&B for a couple weeks to make sure we get our deposit back.
    I am doing Duolingo to learn Spanish and found an awesome new JJill dress for my trip. At a consignment store sale rack and only $11. Tags still on it.
    We are being frugal in all the ways we can think of.

    1. Elisa,

      That sounds wonderful!

      I would encourage you to also check out some YouTube channels for Spanish learning. I have found that a combination of videos along with Duolingo has been very helpful for me!

    2. Your new adventure sounds amazing! We are 10 years away from Hubby retiring, but when he does, I would be tempted to do something similar to what you are doing! Congratulations!

    3. I look forward to hearing more about the Canary Islands – I have always wanted to visit there. Good luck getting the deposit back.

    4. Congratulations to you and your husband for finally living your dream, Elisa. Please post about your adventures in the Canary Islands. I am always looking for new places to visit! Hubby and I have discussed doing this in Europe, so we can travel to different places by train and see more countries. Some day…

      1. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments. Yes. I will make an effort to post reports of our trip
        I found an interesting site that listed the current prices of food in the Canary Islands . Bananas were listed at .43 per pound, apples at .65 per pound. cheese at 2.75 per pound. etc. The islands seem to have a big variety of climates so everything is grown from exotic fruits to coolet climate fruits like apples. Apparently there is a species of wild giant figs that grow everywhere. I was happy to learn that there are no poisonous snakes or insects.

        1. I visited one of the smaller Canary Islands about 15 years ago (La Palma). It was beautiful. These islands are a popular vacation destination for many parts of Europe. Enjoy your trip!

      2. We live in Northern Europe. Once I asked my boss, who had traveled a lot, where would he like to live. He said – “Cuba; but financially and otherwise – Slovenia. Affordable, good climate and nature + near home.” (for us).

    5. Congratulations on setting out on a wonderful adventure. I hope you’ll continue to post here so we can share in your experience.

  48. We love chicken thighs…they are so juicy! And congrats to your son on his job! Out frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were pan-seared cod with green beans and mac & cheese, chicken taquitos with corn, baked chicken with Italian seasoning, chicken wraps with chips.
    *Accepted a piece of carrot cake that my boss brought back after he went out to lunch.
    *Walked with a friend for free fellowship and exercise.
    *My college son made a quick trip home so I could cut his hair. He and my husband also changed his oil and got his tires rotated for free. He also brought his laundry home, saving the charges at the laundromat. I sent him home with reusable bags to be used for his grocery shopping.
    *Cut and colored (using 1/2 box for roots) my hair.
    *Traveled to SC to visit my brother’s family. It’s a 6 hour trip so we packed a meal for the way down. We had free breakfasts in the hotel while there. We also attended a rodeo (which was free) and watched my niece and nephew compete. So fun!
    *Received a free sub and fries for lunch one day at work. Cut the sub in half and saved the other half for my husband.
    *Baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to use as a snack and to feed my son. Also ordered 2 pizzas (5.99 each) while he was here and used a code for a free 2 liter soda. The 2 liter soda was flat and I let the pizza shop know. They told me to come by anytime for another soda and a FREE pizza.
    *I’m helping a friend throw a baby shower for a young lady we both know. We went to dinner to make plans and my friend paid for everyone. I did leave the tip. They decided to paint mason jars for decor. I was just at an event that had them, so I called the hostess and she is happy to let us borrow them.
    *Accepted 2 free Land’s End polos for work.

  49. *****Moving to a smaller office space sounds like a wise choice. I would have liked a book with my name in it when I was little, but can’t see how that could have happened. 🙂 I think Libby will be tickled for such a treat as that.

    *****I think our too hot summer is finally over. The excess heat did help the gardens catch up after the too wet beginning and delayed planting it seems. We have no less of a harvest. The last few weeks we have picked cauliflower, green beans, wax beans, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, sweet corn (as of this week), kale. peaches, red cabbage, green cabbage, various herbs. bell and hot peppers, tomatoes, kohlrabi, yellow onions, blackberries, blueberries and cantaloupe.

    *****Have been doing a lot of canning and freezing. Chopped and froze broccoli and cauliflower. Diced up eggplants, onions and peppers and zucchini, sauteed in olive oil, then packed in 1 and 2 cup freezer containers to use later to add to spaghetti sauce or for filling in lasagna. I like to get at least 20 minimum of these containers in freezer for the year. Froze green beans and wax beans. Also canned quarts of green bean-wax beam combo for making 4 bean salad. Canned sour dill pickles and bread and butter. Also made 1 half gallon jar of refrigerator dills. Will make another later on. Made bread and butter pickles. Made sweet gherkins. I buy those little cucumbers from a lady down the road as I like them only about 2 inches long and she can get me the quantity I need all in one batch. We cooked and diced beets and froze in pint bags and pickled beets were canned in quarts. It has been an excellent year for beets. Canned blackberries in quarts. and also froze in quarts. Put 12 quart bags of pitted sour cherries in freezer. Froze 12 quarts of blueberries and 11 pints bags.

    *****Still been getting together every Thursday with the girls and grandchildren and my mother and daughter in law Joy’s mother. Also sister in law and her son and my nephew’s wife and her son. The children play, we eat and talk and been doing some of the pickling projects as a group so everyone brings vegetables and supplies. It is nice having the 2 younger girls back at home and even though they are both working they try and fit in time when they can. Plus they can help me at night also. My oldest girl is way too busy growing the food and running the farm, really long hours this time of year. We don’t “make” her work, just give her their share of the proceeds. In fact this year she hired an Amish girl to work for them because 3 children under 3 is too much for my mother and me together. This girl has 5 sisters and 1 brother. I know we work hard, she works harder…she does almost all the cooking and cleaning and childcare and my mother (who also lives there) helps her. We drive her home every other Friday night (unless there is a wedding Friday she needs to be at, then we go Thursday night) (the Amish meet for church every other week) and Olivia picks her up early Monday am before work.

    1. Athanasia, I always find your posts so inspirational with how much your family grows and preserves every year. I love that you have little work bees to get the preserving done, and share in the fruits of your labour amongst everyone. Preserving is exhausting work, but it would be so much nicer working as a team to get it all done.

      1. Rhonda, so true help makes the project so much easier. Some things I still manage on my own, like smaller batches of things like corn relish, or dilled beans, or pickled peppers, freezing peach slices and berries, etc.. We are fortunate to have so much family in one area.

  50. Brandy,
    So very happy to hear your son has a job. Very smart decision about moving your business location!

    Safeway had pectin on sale and I had a coupon so I got two boxes of pectin for free and then my husband and I picked free blackberries so free blackberry jam which I will share with my adult children.

    This coming weekend we will be bringing my 95 year old father-in-law to stay with us for 4 days. He is in a facility and needed a break from there. This will be a huge undertaking for us as he requires 24/hr care and has lots of special needs. It is a good 8 hr round trip to get him here. He is looking forward to the outing and it may well be the last time. This will not be frugal for us at all as it requires a hotel stay and gas and food as our travel expenses but having time with him is priceless.

    I have been looking for a new light fixture for our kitchen for about 4 years now and just can’t find what I have in mind so I decided to make my own using a combo of the current fixture and some creative designing. I used the wire from a tomato cage and some fabric I already had. It turned out really nice and only cost the hot glue burn on my thumb.
    I pruned a tree and used the branches and some wildflowers to make a flower arrangement for our family room.

  51. Hi everyone,
    Please let me reiterate what a blessing this blog is, Brandy, as well as the generosity and camaraderie of the friends in the comments. You all inspire me. It has been a busy start to the school year, and I am a little behind my goals with re-acclimating to the routine of teaching, but there have been some opportunities to exercise my developing frugal mindset.

    ~paid for 2 major repairs on my car that had been put off as long as safely possible. It puts a crunch in the cash flow because I had budgeted to use that money for September bills, but that was out of an overabundance of caution since my regular pay already started. It’s a relief to budget conservatively and have more than enough for the unexpected. (Or the expected-but-delayed)

    ~packing lunches, snacks, and tea/coffee to bring to work every day.

    ~buying gallon jugs of filtered water to keep on hand at school rather than the small bottles. Even the larger bottles are unreasonably expensive, and create more waste as well. I get them for about .80, but can re-use the jug at a filling kiosk in the grocery store (filtered water) for less than that. I’m learning as I go, and am glad about making even small adjustments.

    ~I needed some professional-but-not-precious clothes to wear to work, that can get messy (I teach art to elementary kiddos) but still look put together. I went to a thrift store that sells good quality plus size clothing (tough to find in a thrift store!) and got some things to carry me through the fall at a fraction of retail cost.

    ~I turn off the AC whenever possible–usually overnight–to keep it cool enough (around 80-82) to stand. We are having ‘feels like’ temps as high as 109 down here, and with the humidity it’s largely unbearable to do much.

    ~I restarted my change jar. This past summer I emptied it for a gift card, and I’d like to build it back up over the year and do the same for next summer. I chose a gift card rather than cash at the coin machine because I could get the whole value put on a gift card rather than pay 11% as a service charge for cash. The gift card allowed me some nice social visits and some well-earned summer treats that I am researching how to duplicate at home.

    Thank you all for the ongoing encouragement and positive examples of living both frugally and beautifully.

  52. We got rain this evening! I am thrilled. Things are bone dry here, and I will not need to water tomorrow morning! I have lost two zucchini plants to squash bores, but there are three left. I have been picking cukes, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and green beans. Not tons of anything but enough for meals every day and I have been drying the tomatoes. We have had a few gnarly pears that I cooked up and gave to my daughter. I am making a batch of pear kombucha tonight.

    My neighbor brought over a load of herbicide free cow manure! I had used the last of it up and he is so kind to share. My daughter is saving her compost for me and I am getting the beds ready for the fall planting.

    My car had both rear doors handles break when kids yanked on them. My husband ordered new ones and my son installed them and I am so glad to have them working. I babysit kids and my grandkids and need those doors for loading and unloading kiddos.

    I sm continuing to bring broth to my friend with the broken arm and she lets me pick her fig tree. I have about a gallon of dried figs. One of the families I worked for had a small extra cabbage they gave me. I brought them beet greens, which they love, a beet, cucumber, tomatoes and a zucchini. I love swapping with friends, we all have things to bless others with.

    Thank you all for sharing from your lives, and Brandi thank you for bringing beauty to so many homes!

    The library has some books on kitchen gardening with food scraps, such a carrot tops and beet tops. But there are also a lot of other foods that I never thought about. I want to show my grandkids how this can be done, it would be a great homeschool science lesson on plant parts.

  53. I read all of your comments each week but rarely comment myself. I felt inspired to this week. Congrats on receiving the Pell Grants for Winter. We were able to qualify for some when our son went to college and they certainly helped. He did end up needing to take out some student loans but, by moving back home, he was able to pay those off in about 2 years.
    When our 2 grandsons were on the way we created a nursery for them at our house. As they are now a bit older we no longer had a need for some of the furniture and other items in the room. We were able to sell the convertible crib/toddler bed with mattress and bedding to a couple who has a 2 year old and is expecting again. We gave them a very good deal considering everything was virtually brand new, they were only used when the kids were at our house, but they needed it and were very grateful. We were happy to have been able to help bless another family with something they
    could use. It helped us as well since we wanted to give the boys more play space in the room and we had an unused twin bed in the basement to replace the crib. Mission accomplished! A friend of mine had gifted us a glider and ottoman she was no longer using when we created the nursery and we were able to sell that as well. Since it was free to us we came away money ahead. My niece has a 4 year old and a newborn so we ended up giving her the Bumbo we had and a toddler ATV that we had purchased for our grandson. He never enjoyed riding it so it was in like new condition and her older son will love riding it!
    Last, but not least, a grocery store in our neighborhood went out of business recently so we bought all the bags of dried beans we could for .10 cents per 1lb bag. We are plant based and eat beans everyday. Sad to see this location close but glad to get a good deal to restock our pantry.

  54. Brandy that was a huge saving on the rent for your husbands business well done. The lovely dress indeed is a motivator to be able to wear it and I am glad it has given you some inspiration. Pass on our congratulations to your eldest son for getting a new job. Your children are an inspiration for hard work which has no doubt been part of your wonderful upbringing of both your husband and yourself :). Glad you were able to get out in the garden as it is such a peaceful place at least for us.

    I have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, an extremely high heart rate and high cholesterol the last two being side effects from the hyperthyroidism and am getting used to the medications and have been a bit drained so not the usual things are being accomplished. I am also undergoing treatment for pre cancerous carcinomas on my face with a cream that I must say is very uncomfortable so I haven’t been allowed out in the sun as it reacts with the cream. Fortunately I am feeling a lot better now the medications are kicking in so I am hoping my energy levels improve.

    Our savings last week added up to $404.50 in savings :).

    Extra house payments, Income earned and eBay listings –
    – Paid an additional $175 mortgage payment off the home.
    – Listed 10 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.
    – Made $31 from the sale of some lace curtains we had in the home that I am replacing with home made cotton ones to keep the summer heat out.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch apart from one meal we ate out.

    Purchases –
    – From Kmart I purchased a wool blend coat for $15 and 2 cotton long sleeved t-shirts on clearance saving $47 on usual prices.
    – DH purchased 2 pairs of new jeans from BigW on sale for $7 a pair saving $26.00 on usual prices.
    – From Best and Less DH purchased 3 x 3 pk of work socks on special saving $15 on usual prices.

    Home organisation –
    – We realigned all the storage shelving units in food storage room so we have even walk through aisles.
    – Took everything off the shelves and reorganised it all in date order and spread out everything so it now has the right amount of room.
    – Did an inventory of the food storage room and pantries to see what we need to reach our food storage goals.

    Water preservation –
    – Saved the shower warm up water to fill up drink bottles for cleaning around the home.
    – Used the grey water from the grey water tank to water fruit and berry trees in the gardens and the neighbour’s for watering grass to green it up a bit.

    Medical –
    – Organised to get a thyroid scan to be bulk billed saving $300 if I had to pay for it.
    – I am undergoing pre skin cancer treatment for carcinomas on my face with cream probably saving a lot in medical bills for having skin cancers removed later on when they got worse.

    Hope everyone had a wonderful week of savings and productivity :).

    Sewingcreations15.

    1. Hi Lorna,
      My mom had pre-cancers on her face and the dermatologist told her to keep them covered with sunscreen. It worked! They got smaller and smaller and disappeared.

  55. Your figs look delicious! Belated congratulations to Winter on her Pell Grants and the terrific deal on her summer books (I am a University Professor and I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone getting them that cheap!). And, honestly, I’m a little jealous of your son’s new job. It’s probably better that I am not at the second hand store that frequently anyway! I really don’t need any more things. Congratulations to him on his job as well.

    We have been camping for the last two weeks at two different Minnesota State Parks (first one and then the other). A frugal way to enjoy several an extended vacation that we greatly enjoy for a fraction of the cost of a typical 2-week vacation! We spent very little outside of our normal food and gas budget for the two weeks, as we had saved and paid for the accommodations we had back in January. We did buy 4 Christmas gifts – small things and inexpensive that will be appreciated.

    You can read more here: http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2019/08/frugal-friday-beginning-of-august-2019.html

    One frugal-ish thing from this week that I’m super excited about: Our daughter ordered a custom made leather purse from a parishioner about two weeks ago. It arrived this week and is lovely! She saved her babysitting money for it. And even though it was expensive, it suits her to a T and I am sure she will use it for a long time (she bought it with the idea that she would use it all the way through college – she starts 9th grade very soon; approximately 8 years or so, maybe more).

    It’s been a rough week already (and it’s only Tuesday as I write) and I have been rather discouraged and frustrated. I appreciate being able to come here and be inspired every week! I feel like you all are a special group of friends and even refer to you all as such when speaking of you. Thank you so much Brandy and everyone.

    Lea

    1. Lea,
      When my daughter was 18 and starting university she purchased with her own money a North Face down coat.
      The pocket and front zippers gave out this winter. She returned the coat to the manufacturer and all the zippers were replaced free of charge. She’s 30 this year and this coat held up extremely well for the previous 12 years.
      We have a saying in our family when something like this occurs. “ It doesn’t owe me anything.”

    1. Jennifer: And sometimes leftovers are as good or better the second time they are served! In a television ad and somewhere online recently, I heard people describe their families as “poor” because they ate leftovers when they were growing up. That isn’t what I think at all.
      It means frugal shopping and budgeting time when cooking to plan for future meals, and not wasting food if it isn’t all eaten right away. Even if I was amazingly rich, I can’t imagine knowingly making too much food and giving myself permission to throw the extra away.

  56. I am down to very little cash for the rest of the month but have lots of chicken thighs bought on sale for my freezer so there will be lots of pasta and chicken until the end of the month. The potluck went well. I took a spinach salad, did not take the cold pasta salad, and bought fewer cold cuts than planned (as my friend couldn’t contribute due to health problems). In spite of everything going wrong before the dinner and meeting (one person got lost, one person was in tears on the phone so I suggested she have a nice bath, a nice dinner, and go to bed early and she was relieved not to come), the out of town visitor and her husband couldn’t get into the building because someone’s husband wasn’t yet home to let them in) — in spite of all that, once we sat down to eat we had a great meal and time.

    I was going to freeze some of the apricots I bought in the market last week but instead I ate them all over the past few days. I am trying to get the blueberries in the freezer and not into my mouth. I hope there will still be apricots when I have my monthly grocery money and I really hope for peaches. Then the freezer will be full for treats for the winter. I want to buy a case of pesticide free apples from the market soon too.

    I am going outside to enjoy the day — what remains of it. I was at the archives — only 6 more days to visit it before it moves to the university where I don’t want to go (too far, too big, too much walking on painful knees etc). I am truly almost done the book!

    1. Ellie’s Friend, when you make the chicken thighs, try to keep the bones if you can. They can be used to make a batch of chicken broth, so you can make a nice soup! Someone told me that roasting the bones in the oven before boiling them down gives a nicer flavour to the broth. I want to try this the next time I make broth. When funds are low, it’s a really good way to stretch what you have!

      1. Rhonda, that “someone” was exactly right! Not only will the broth have a better flavor, but it will be “cleaner,” too, with much less residue. I used to work upstairs from a caterer and food writer, and she told me this about 35 years ago. Sure improved my soup!

      2. Thanks Rhonda A.,

        Great minds think alike! I have several chicken carcasses in the freezer so I will be boiling them to make broth. Then with the cheap pasta, some frozen peas, and anything else on hand, I should stretch out the meals for a few days and I will have room for the blueberries in the small freezer.
        The chicken thighs I bought on sale are boneless. Ann

  57. 1. Started using a homemade lemon balm tincture for anxiety and so far it seems promising. Luckily I have lemon balm growing wild in my yard, so I only have to buy cheap vodka to make it.**I only take 1/2tsp twice a day, so it’s not intoxicating.
    2. My husband’s worker’s comp check has been to same as his original paycheck thanks to his company letting us pay taxes/insurance with sick pay.
    3. Bought pulled pork to feed in-laws and family before a performance last week. Saved at least $50 by going this route as compared to going out to a restaurant
    4. Found a lot of great ESL books at the library we can borrow, so that will save our church money when we start our ESL classes this fall.
    5. Delighted to find out that I already had all the books my third grader needed for homeschooling in our personal library. *I did borrow a Saxon math book from our co-op to fill in a gap.

    1. Elisabeth,
      I use lemon balm tea for that reason. I originally started out wanting to make the tincture, but never got that far. It certainly helps! So glad to “meet” someone else who uses it for that reason 🙂

        1. Yes, it does. Works like melatonin but faster. I usually have a small cup before bed and during the day (when needed) a diluted tall glass of room temp tea that I sip on throughout the day, that way I don’t feel sleepy or need a nap.

    2. Elizabeth, thank you for the Lemon balm tincture information. Will make it and try it out!
      Hope every one has a good week end.
      Patricia/Fl

  58. Brandy,
    Since utilities are included in the new office, have you thought about filling up some gallon or 5 gallon water jugs and using them to water your garden?
    It sound a little weird………I dont think its unethical either.

  59. I don’t ususally post a comment, but I would like to thank Brandy and the family of readers for all the inspiration that has helped me thru a really hard time in my family. I read the blog every week and look at the comments nearly every day for helpful ideas. Without the inspirations and helpful ideas we would have strugged even more. Again I want to say Thank you.

  60. Frugal

    8/11
    * ate apples, blackberries, goji berries, tomatoes from the backyard
    * someone left a like-new 14-cup Cuisinart food processor with many accessories on a corner near our house. I was just wishing for a new food processor since the one I bought for $5 at an estate sale broke a couple months ago! I haven’t tested it yet but feeling quite optimistic. They sell for $100+ new.

    8/12
    * Repotted baby succulents and plants grown from seed in plastic pots saved from previous plant purchases
    * Chopped up homegrown aloe Vera left over after a burn cure to flavor eater in the fridge.
    * Line dried three loads of clothes (.75 savings)
    * Cloth diapered the baby during the day

    8/13
    * Picked some purslane from a planter where it would be treated as weed
    * Harvested garlic greens, grapes, goji berries
    * Made a cup of herbal tea w some previously harvested lemon verbena
    * Used the free iNaturalist app to learn more about local flora and fauna
    * Caught water from a dripping faucet in a watering can and watered one of our container pineapples
    * Used free composted sawdust from ChipDrop to start Swiss chard seeds

    8/14
    * brought homemade grape soda to a potluck in a thrifted Coleman cooler
    * Ordered a replacement part for my broken Dustbuster rather than replace the whole works

    8/15
    * Cloth diapered all day
    * Picked up 7 T-shirts for my sons from another mom in our Buy Nothing Group
    * Made chocolate pudding pops for my kids with pudding mix bought on closeout. Each popsicle cost only 17 cents.

  61. Congratulations to Brandy and everyone on your frugal accomplishments. It is a weekly joy and encouragement to see how everyone thrives, instead of simply survives. It all has to do with one’s outlook and attitude.
    After two really tough weeks with family surgeries and my severe GI attack, I pushed really hard to use up the fruits from my freezer to make jams when I had good days. I had zero room to freeze the strawberries I had bought before the surgeries, and when I became ill, I had been afraid I would lose all the strawberries. Fortunately, I canned 10 half-pints of jam from the fresh berries, plus 3 more half-pints from some already in the freezer. I used plums that had been frozen for two years to make 10 half-pints of plum jam. Although the recipe didn’t call for lemon juice, I added the juice of two lemons to really brighten up the taste. We love plum jam with pork, as a BBQ sauce, and as a replacement for cranberry sauce with turkey and dressing (Southern stuffing.) All last year I had frozen all peels from the organic apples I purchased last fall. Those Apple peelings, plus the peelings frozen last summer from organic peaches were used to make 7 half-pints of delicious Apple Peach Butter. I had 12 cups of peelings, which I cooked with 2 cups of apple juice in my crockpot on low for about 10 hours. Then I used my potato masher and immersion blender to get 5 cups of mush. Then I added the sugar and spices and cooked another 6 or so hours. My house smelled wonderful. It felt almost like fall, as the temperature hit only 99 that day, breaking a long streak of triple digits. (I definitely would not use regular apple peels for this recipe, since any pesticide residue would be too concentrated to be healthy.) In the freezer I found another bag of strawberries, a small bag of cherries, and an even smaller bag of blueberries I will use to make about 3 jars of mixed berry jam. I don’t use pectin in my jams at all, and the texture and taste turn out just great. I use old recipes and think it’s the longer cooking that does the trick. It does save, not having to buy pectin. I also canned 3 pints of bread and butter pickles. We only eat pickles on hamburgers and pulled pork sandwiches, so that will last us many months.
    School starts next week. I used the loyalty reward discount at Once Upon a Child to buy the 12 year old grandson 8 shirts and 6 pants for a total of $50. I used a buy one get one half-off to buy him 2 pairs of good shoes at Shoe Carnival. 16 year old grandson needed only new shoes and a water-resistant jacket (Lands End) which I got on clearance from Walmart.com. 10 year old granddaughter is already set, in the way of clothing. Since it was tax-free weekend in my state, I purchased all their school supplies.
    Coming up, my husband is retiring at the end of the month, then will have a medical consultation two hours away, regarding upcoming reconstructive surgery related to his recent surgery. Oldest daughter who had major surgery for her large ovarian tumor will return to work at the end of the month. My GI issues are continuing, and I have scheduled a colonoscopy a month away. That is a long time away, but once Hubby retires, he can help with the grandkids and drive them to and from school, instead of just me.
    I bought 12 canning jars at the thrift store for .25 each. I also bought 4 matching fall-colored soup mugs that I will gift to a family, along with bean soup mix in a jar for Thanksgiving. On a FB Buy and Sell Group I bought 12 large, colorful, kid’s blankets in excellent and new condition for a total of $50, saving $20, by buying the entire lot the person was offering for sale. I will gift those to 12 needy children at Christmas, along with a thrift store paperback book and pair of new socks. I am so excited to have found a way to bless them, and at a good price!
    I hope everyone has a good weekend!

    1. Tejas, hope you get some answers for your GI issues soon, and hopefully get some relief.
      Sending you love.
      Patricia/Fl

  62. Brandy what a wonderful way to save money on rent! I love all the ideas I get here from so many talented and creative women!
    This week we had to pay quite a bit in school fees to the junior high and high school. I have been able to offset rising costs with my seven kiddos getting bigger by making a minimalist meal plan. For the rest of this month and the fall we picked 7 favorite dinners and 7 favorite breakfasts- and assigned days to them. We can buy in bulk and batch bake to save time and money. The kiddos have loved it and it is easy to get variety in the seasonal side dishes we can add to them. Today was blueberry lemon scones and I was able to get a large bag of lemons on sale-zest and juice them and I’ll be able to use them each Thursday morning for the next few months. For lunch we always eat the leftovers and have pasta and sandwich things on hand with fruit and veggies to round it out. It saves me a lot of worry about what’s for dinner and making sure to get it done on time.
    This week we:
    -harvested carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, rosemary, tarragon, basil, Anaheim peppers, bell peppers, jalapeños and the last zucchini (squash bugs killed my plant).
    -planted two peony plants with some store credit I had at Home Depot.
    -bought some mini metal bowls and pans at the thrift store for $0.50 each for them to play in the sandbox and water table with.
    -bought a used sweater and a cute plaid long sleeve shirt for myself at the thrift store. I have lost about 32 lb since having my baby and am desperate to find things that fit and are a good price so I am so grateful to find these two items in my size.
    -bought hubby a shirt for half off on clearance in his favorite brand and size.
    -kept the air conditioner off for longer and opened the windows more when I could.
    -listened to free podcasts as I walked. I love to listen to a podcast and walk for about an hour each morning before it gets hot. The sunshine and fresh air and beautiful trees are just heavenly to see and walk in.
    -I found an old chalkboard and copper bowl at a thrift store I love to browse in. I had been wanting both times for awhile but the last few I had seen were too expensive.
    -I helped hubby set up some driplines in a garden bed that didn’t have them with a timer. Now my green beans and peas have adequate water and I’m not worried about drowning them as I tend to overwater when I do it by hand. We had the supplies already in the garage and just needed a bit of time to install them.
    -I was able to use leftovers to stretch a few meals out and keep the oven off,
    -we swam in our friends pool in exchange for the their boys getting tar kwon do lessons from my hubby. To swim in the public pool is very costly for all nine of this so we love our summertime trade.
    -hubby built some chicken perches out of leftover wood we had on hand for our chickens. We also found that they love the green tops of our carrots so after we finished making all the carrot top pesto we could we gave the rest to the ladies to peck at.
    -I used our homemade vinegar spray to clean the windows with our microfiber cloths we have so we just wash and repeat, no need to buy paper towels and cleaner.
    -I found that a magic eraser got all the black burned off bits off my baking pan and it’s as good as new!

    We are about to start school with a high schooler, junior high student, two elementary kiddos, a preschooler and two babies at home. I plan to walk them and have the big kids take the bus as long as we can till it snows and gets too cold here. I love to walk and it is so wonderful to chat and hear their excitement and stories as they head to school and then home with me after. The babies like to get out of the house too and enjoy sitting in the double stroller. My sons birthday is this Saturday and all he wants to do is swim in our friends pool and get an ice cream. I wanted to get him a bike for his birthday but after he saw how much it would cost he told me he is fine riding his older sisters rainbow bike. I had been more concerned about him having “a boy” bike to ride to school than he was. He is a sweetheart and all my kids have been very aware this past year of expenses when my hubby lost his second job. I have seen such gratitude and compassion and patience in them. They make me see what’s important and how to focus on that. It has been a hard year (selling furniture including our bed and kitchen table to make ends meet sometimes), but we have been changed in a way that could have only come from this trial. Our gratitude and joy for what we have is deeper. Our time together more special. Our creativity and problem solving greater. I feel blessed that we had this happen and are teaching our kids to be prepared financially as much as they can and to be frugal and grateful and work hard. We may still not have a bed and sleep on the couch, but our home is cool when it’s hot and we have food that is Yummy. Life is good!

  63. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon your Instagram feed and thus your blog, but I am so happy that I did. I am currently reading your series on 40 cents a Day and Edible Landscaping. Financially we do not need to grow our own food or be very, very careful with our food budget, but these have always been things I’ve tried to do. At some times more than others. It seems to me it is the right or just way to try to live. I’m currently growing very little, but if you can grow in such abundance in the desert then surely I can grow more in west-central Florida. Also, based on your beautiful garden I am trying to mix my edibles with non-edibles and planting more flowers. Thank you so much for your blog and I can only hope you keep writing and photographing for the beauty and knowledge it brings to us.

    1. Thanks Marianne!

      I highly recommend learning about your local growing calendar (for instance, strawberries are ripe in February in Florida as I understand) and plant accordingly. There are fruits that you can’t grow because they don’t get enough chilling hours, but there are other fruits that you CAN grow because they only grow in a climate where it doesn’t freeze. You can grow tropical fruits and flowers, and fall through spring will be your best growing time. I’ve seen some amazing gardens from Florida that are quite elegant and productive!

  64. HI! Recently we suffered frustrating car problems that burned up quite a bit of money and time–we paid half cash and half credit card to resolve the problem. It was important to get my husband back to working UBER and now we’re concentrating on getting back on track. We had to cut out a few things and re-do the budget to accommodate the set back. We canceled the BBQ for my husband’s birthday, (his idea, not mine.) which was actually a bit of a relief for me anyway! I do enjoy baking, so I’ll make him the cake of his choice, and I still have a bit of play money set aside to take him to lunch, maybe at the pizza by the slice place we enjoy. I still have his gift, and had made him an IOU to take him to the movies. We want to see Angel Has Fallen, and I have some gift cards to pay for our admission. I just love going out to the movies, especially since all the theaters in our area offer the luxury recliners! Besides enjoying the whole experience of the big screen, the kettle corn and icee’s (I bring my Milky Ways) , it really is fun being out with other people. There’s usually something to laugh about during and afterwards! Anyhoo, I hoarded away the gift cards I’d received for Christmas, my birthday, and Secretary’s Day, so we’re covered for some of the upcoming movies we want to see. Recently we used some to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood–what a fun and interesting movie, with the best ending! Plus Brad still looks great, woo! (But I still think my husband is the handsomest of all, even more than Jason Momoa. My husband thinks I’m feeding him baloney sandwiches when I tell him that, but he’s just very modest!)

    *I visited my father figure, the first time in a few weeks, and it was great seeing him again. I made Nestles’ brownies, which is the best recipe ever, very lovely deep dark chocolate…aaah! It was wonderful catching up with him and his caregiver, and I also got to play with his kitty, who is very sweet and nuzzly. After a hard week, it was a real respite that helped lift my mood. My father figure has a real fun and charming sense of humor, and is the best storyteller, so we always have a great time without spending a cent. Like the saying goes, “Laughter is an instant vacation!”

    *I finished a book from the library, Mistress of Mellyn, by Victoria Holt. Even though her books could use a strong dash of sugar and spice in the romance department, I enjoyed the story, and I really appreciate good writing and intelligent, resourceful heroines, which Victoria Holt does offer. I’m also nearing the end of a paperback I bought from the library for 50 cents. I will have to replenish my book supply before I get to the finish line! I can’t live without books or chocolate!

    *I made zucchini bisque, which came out great! I also did homemade iced tea, and bought the ice cream bars that were on sale. Instead of take out during the heat wave, which we do once in a while when we’re just too plain miserable to do anything, I had my husband cook a chicken dish early in the day while I was at work, and for another disgusting scorching night, we had frozen pizza bought on sale. I did eat out once with friends, but ordered a huge sandwich so I could eat it in halvsies and stretch it out for two days. I didn’t have time to make any cookies to go with my coffee at work (instant coffee– Starbucks macchiato it is not, but gets the job done will Friday, treat day!.), so I bought a Kit Kat, which a friend said goes perfectly with coffee. She was right!

    *With all the stress of the car and horrible deadlines at work, I did break down and buy e-cigarette cartridges…but it had been at least two or three months, and I’m gonna admit it, it felt wonderful and helped get me through a real rough patch. So I’m really not hating myself over it, though I’m going to give it a rest again.

    *My girlfriend treated me to a slice of Godiva Chocolate cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, and I nearly swooned–it was the best pick up ever, and I felt as fancy and ritzy as Melania Trump! I think that was that dessert was the best gift I’d received in quite a while, LOL! 🙂 It made me feel like a millionaire, and I enjoyed every single sinful bite! What a great friend who knows me well, and that’s a valuable blessing indeed.

    Have a great weekend, everybody, and stay cool!!!

  65. To Canadian readers, I was in Shoppers’ Drug mart yesterday and saw a gift box for $12.95 of several Burt’s Bees products. On the box it says it’s for teens and products would normally cost $50. (I can believe that). I didn’t buy it as I don’t have any money left for 13 days. I may go back for it though (if there are any left). I’d like one myself. It would make a great Christmas gift. It would be great to give as a philanthropic gift to a women’s shelter.

  66. Thanks Ellie-I will take a look. My frugal find today was a long down coat at a garage sale for $5-should be great for going out for walks during the winter. My DH was with me and he bought a hand held pastry blender for 50 cents-funny thing is that it still had the original price tag on of 55 cents so it obviously has been around for a long time. I also bought an extra plastic colander for 50 cents as occasionally I need two at once-also nice to have a spare so you don;t have to grab from the dishwasher and hand wash if you need it between loads-I know that is kind of lazy but… Anyway for $6 we had a successful shop at 3 garage sales.

  67. Congratulations Brandy on the wins for your children and on your forward-thinking business acumen! I am very thankful for this community and all I have been blessed with. This past week I threw a bridal shower for my youngest daughter. Actually her attendees did…but, somehow, most of it fell on me. 🙂 Both sisters live far away and the cousin was away working at camp until the end. Years ago I found these lovely Hazel Atlas pink crinoline dishes at a garage sale and have been collecting them since. I use them for special occasions and they are far cheaper than most new sets. Luckily, my daughter’s color theme for the shower was pink and champagne. I had also collected (with the shower in mind) martini and champagne (the short, squatty ones) glasses from Salavation Army. I set the tables with gold shot tablecloths and pink tablecloths, fanned the gold-shot cloth napkins I have and all the dishes and glassware (having a large family and garage sales through the years netted me 24 water glasses) made a beautiful table! We used my silverware. Nothing had to be bought that was plastic and disposable. I found a huge champagne glass vase (shaped like it was sand hit by lightening) on clearance at Home Goods. We filled this with pink and white roses, along with an assortment of smaller vases borrowed from a friend. Between that same friend and I, we had all the serving pieces we needed. Daughter’s future Nana and Aunt brought a punch bowl and water dispenser. Food (except the cupcakes) was homemade by future mother-in-law and I. I made those little cucumber sandwiches as I have an abundance in my garden. My son’s girlfriend dipped strawberries in chocolates found at Hobby Lobby on sale, then sprinkled them with an assortment of decorations we had. Nana brought a veggie plate. It was a throwback to the showers of the 50s and 60s. We received so many compliments on the beauty and intimacy of the setting. Nana is very particular and she was raving about it, especially the setting because she is tired of the restaurant showers. Party favors were little polaroids of the bride-to-be with each guest (one for the bride and one for the guest). These were taken against a shimmery gold backdrop borrowed from a friend with pink mini lights strung (already had). Printed photos of the couple were displayed all around. Luckily my husband had rescued many 1950s folding chairs from his mother’s and with four from future mother-in-law, we had all the seating needed. For the cost of the food ingredients, we had a wonderful shower! I felt like we saved a bundle having it here. Since most of that week was focused on the shower, that’s all I can remember. 🙂

  68. Wonderful reading everyone’s posts. My daughter gifted us with several pounds of ground beef from their last Steer. They take care of a farmer’s Black Angus herd twice a year and he gifts them with a cut and wrapped steer. Our neighbors share produce , so we have been blessed with extra goodies. My husband weed wacks in exchange for them ,they are elderly. We got tired of spending so much on gas. We have been saving to buy a little commuter car. We found a man that buys repo cars from the military. They have a lot of them here. When people get deployed they quit making the payments. We found a 2013 Kia Rio in perfect condition way below Kelley Blue Book. It gets 38/39 on the freeway. So nice to run errands and not watch the gas gauge go down. We are saving as much as we can as we approach retirement years. Someone was moving in our neighborhood and put a beautiful metal arbor out in the trash. My daughter and I brought home and sanded it and painted it with Copper spray paint I bought off Amazon. It turned out gorgeous can’t wait to use. Keep Frugaling everyone!

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