May Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

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I mended seven leaks in the drip irrigation. I had accidentally cut these last year when pruning hedges.

I planted seeds for Armenian cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, and Thai basil in the garden.

I harvested apricots, lemons, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, green onions, garlic chives, oregano, parsley, and chocolate mint from the garden.

May Roses and Honeysuckle The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside.

My husband and I had an at-home date night playing a game of Rummikub. My mom found that she had a duplicate of this game when she went through her closets earlier this year when I had a garage sale, and we kept the game back from the sale.

I redeemed free coupons from the grocery store Monopoly game tickets for five free 8-ounce cans of tomato sauce, three pounds of egg noodles, four free store-brand AAA batteries, two small bags of potato chips, a bag of free hamburger buns, two free containers of aspirin, and an 8-ounce container of sour cream.

I used a coupon for a buy one, get one bottle of shampoo to get a free bottle of shampoo.

My sister-in-law is moving house and downsizing. She offered to let me go through several boxes of children’s clothes before she had a garage sale. I found several pairs of jeans for daughters number 2 and 3 (they wear the same size, plus my second daughter is very hard on clothes, which has meant a shortage of clothing for a few years for these two daughters; it seems they are always wearing everything through!) I also found a few other clothing items for other children.

My children helped their aunt with her garage sale on the actual day, and in return, she allowed them each several items to keep from her sale. They brought home several more items of clothing.

My husband arranged to borrow the bike rack that his brother made for the same sister for us to use at our house. There isn’t a place for it at her new house and she’s not using it right now. My husband was planning to make one for us with his brother; this will work well for us for now without any outlay of money.

My husband cut my hair for me.

My husband painted our front doors.

Katy Apricots The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Love the pictures as always, and great score with all the free items from the grocery Monopoly game!

    My week was nice and productive too:
    – I bought green apples on sale and used kale from my freezer, to make inexpensive Green Apple & Kale Smoothies. A very frugal dinner and easy to throw together after work! (
    – I picked and dried some oregano from my balcony garden and added it to my pantry.
    – I finally had the energy to do a trade again, using my local trading app. The app has recently created a digital currency and to start everyone off, they gave each user 1000 points (equivalent to $10). I traded the points for a very nice 3-piece hand soap, lotion, and cream set, which I will regift. I was very pleased with the trade!
    – I also traded two bnib metal puzzles (that I had in my gift drawer from a previous trade) for a black raspberry bush seedling. Made me happy!
    – I found a false charge on my credit card, which I disputed, and should be able to get that refunded once the fraud investigation in finished. In the meantime, the company is couriering me a new card free of charge (I put as many purchases as possible on my credit card to get points, but always pay it in full each time).
    – When I use my Starbucks card from Swagbucks, I use it during promos to get the most points to redeem for free products. I noticed that I didn’t receive the points that I should have last time, so I followed up with it online and they made the adjustment. That tipped me over the edge so that I was eligible for another free reward, which I redeemed for a free super-healthy vegan lunch. Perfect timing, as I didn’t have time to make lunch that day.
    – I emailed the help desk for the rebate app that I use, Checkout51, when the rebate advertised in the email didn’t show up in the app. Turns out they mixed up the U.S. email with the Canadian one, but they gave me a $1 for my trouble. I was happy with the return on 30 seconds of my time!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 certificate to Old Navy.
    – I combined a free offer of $5 worth of points plus an offer of free shipping, to get a onesie from Indigo/Chapters for 25 cents. The only charge was the tax of 25 cents, which I paid using paypal money I earned taking surveys. Am slowly preparing for baby on a budget!
    – I washed the backpack that I take to work, and it came out super-clean! I hope it will last for at least another few years. I have another bag that I could use, but I want to keep it to use as a diaper bag (one less thing to purchase).
    – My workplace was given a nice gift in a pretty ceramic pot; no one wanted it so I took it home. I’ll either use it on my balcony, gift it with a plant inside it, or trade it.
    – I boiled some kidney beans and made some enchiladas, using salsa I bought on sale, some grated cheese from my freezer, and a couple of broken taco shells that I crumbled over the top. Yummy and enough for many meals this week. Does anyone have any advice on cooking kidney beans? I can cook other beans from scratch but no matter how much I soak and boil my kidney beans, they’re always slightly crunchy.
    – I added the leftover enchilada filling into lasagna sauce/filling I was making. Worked perfectly, it stretched the filling, and it didn’t change the flavour of the sauce!
    – I made a batch of homemade yoghurt, enough for several weeks worth of breakfasts.
    – I made several loaves of chocolate chip banana bread for snacks for the week. I was supposed to use 4 eggs for two loaves, but only had two eggs, so that’s what I used. I just added in some extra oil and water and the loaves were fine. I prefer when I can make them with 2 eggs per loaf, but this will do.
    – I made several pitchers of herbal sun tea with tea gifted to me.
    – A friend let me pick a gladiola from her garden. It’s currently sitting on the entryway table, looking pretty. I do love fresh flowers in a home!
    – I ordered a baby box for free from If you live in Ontario and are expecting a child, you can get a box free. It comes with a matching mattress and mattress cover, and functions like the more traditional wicker “Moses baskets”. I used paypal funds from doing surveys to pay for the shipping, but you can pick it up for free (I just don’t have the energy right now). I had been planning on buying a wicker basket, but now I’m only out of pocket $15 for shipping, and I’ve got a bed that baby can use until 6 months of age and that is designed to provide a super-safe sleeping space. The baby box is a movement that’s spreading across the world, so it’s worth googling if you’re expecting a child.
    – Instead of a rocking chair, I bought a much less expensive chair from IKEA, the one with the molded wood frame. It’s flexible enough to create a bit of a rocking motion, perfect for a colicky newborn, but there’s no way any little fingers could get pinched under a runner. There’s a slight recline to it, so I can rest during night feedings. Plus, it will function as extra guest seating, as it can be easily pulled out of the baby room. I’m working on sewing a cover for it (using material from my sewing stash), so that if it gets spit-up on it, it can easily be washed without staining the original cushions. I’m using it now beside my bed, so that I can elevate my feet on the bed when I sit in it each evening. (I didn’t bother buying a footstool).

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

  2. Thank-you for your inspiration, Brandy!!! God has blessed you and now others with your prudent and beautiful ways. I look forward to your weekly posts! In Him,robyn

  3. My husband accepted a used I-phone from my brother( which he had bought for $2!). Today I am lending my brother my National Parks Pass as he is taking my daughter and her boyfriend hiking in the mountains for her 19th birthday. DH and I filled the car up at Costco as they have the cheapest prices around for gas. I have been summoned to appear for jury duty on Thursday and if selected I will receive $50 per day plus travel expenses-truthfully though I kind of hope I am not chosen as I don’t really like the idea of not being in charge of my own schedule and possibly being sequestered for days.

  4. Those apricots and flowers are so beautiful!
    We sold our canoe. The money goes into our Alaska vacation fund. My husband did some more handyman work, and that money will also go into our vacation fund.
    We harvested lettuce, rhubarb, radishes, baby arugula, and green onions from the garden.
    I mended three shirts for my husband, and remade the skirt I bought at last weekend’s garage sale – it was a wrap linen maxi skirt and I made it into a knee-length skirt that zips at the back. The zipper was one I had removed from some other garment and kept to use later.
    I did a survey that is supposed to pay $20.
    I visited the thrift store with a friend. She let me go through her donation box and gave me a brand-new T-shirt and a packet of bobbie pins. I bought a pair of capris and a brand new pair of pajamas.
    Saturday I was blessed to have a day to sew. I made another packing cube for our suitcase, and a new top to go with my new skirt.

  5. It may not be that children are hard on clothing so much as , manufacturers have changed the way they make clothing and they make up so that they do not last as long materials are not as sturdy.

    I notice this in our clothing as well and I know that we change right when we get home from church and school and still the clothing does not last , I don’t wash items after ever single wearing. Underclothing gets washed for that reason.

  6. This is our second year gardening Indiana, but having so many large trees seem to block our garden. I’m still hoping the change in layout will give us more yield. Our large trees cost roughly $ 1,000 each to get cut because of their height. I’m still saving for the one that takes most of the sunlight away from the garden.

    My friend gave me chocolate mint to plant and some cut oregano and lemon thyme to dry and enjoy soon!

    I cut both of my boys’hair.

    We have stocked our freezer thanks to my farming uncle the cost breakdown is more than half of what I’ve been paying at the grocery. And with the garden producing our grocery money should be greatly reduced this year!

    I bought kids clothes on sale and using the store credit card points. Using this cc wisely on gas and groceries has been helpful. Kids grow so fast!

    Lots of nature walks at near by nature preserves has been a lot of free entertainment!

  7. Been waiting patiently for baby’s. Did I miss it?
    Or is there a reason??? I I. Miss your updates of other children. Garden updates okay…

  8. Mom and I have taking advantage of the beautiful weather by eating at the boat launch of a local state park and high on the hill overlooking a beach of a local county park.

    We ran out of instant coffee and our bottom-of-the-line electric coffeemaker died this week. Horrors! I wanted the counter space for my old hot air popcorn maker anyway since popcorn is our favorite snack. We have mug-top filters so we still had one easy way to make coffee. But I tried making coffee bags by placing a scoopful of ground coffee (1 T per 6 ounces of water) in the middle of an ordinary paper coffee filter, gathering up the filter around the grounds, giving it a twist, and tying it with a white thread. I placed my coffee bag in a mug, filled it with water, and then heated it in our 700-watt microwave for 2.5 minutes, 30 seconds longer than I usually did with instant coffee. I plan on buying some white filters and then color-coding a week’s worth of coffee bags, unbleached and decaffeinated for mom, white and regular for me. No more instant coffee with its mysterious ingredients used to make it. Easy-peasy first thing in the morning. This tip might be helpful if you don’t normally drink coffee but have houseguests that do. You won’t need to keep a coffee pot or coffee maker around just in case.

    Brandy, the flower arrangement is very pretty.

  9. Margaret, I was always told that if your beans (any kind of dried ones) stay slightly crunchy, after cooking, they are too old. No amount of cooking will soften them totally. You probably need to change where you are buying them from to get a “fresher” bean.

  10. Your garden harvest is lovely. We’re still getting the early things, and it looks like we’ll get our first cucumber this week. I’ve been harvesting broccoli, asparagus, peas, herbs, mulberries and a few raspberries. So many seeds and plants were put in the ground recently, I’ve lost track. We’re getting more than the usual rain, which should help everything settle in well. At the grocery store, I received 15% off my purchases, because their loyalty card reader wasn’t working. Our little chicks are growing well. I look forward to reading everyone’s comments.

  11. All meals at home. Brought snacks when going to town. Busy un-packing things. Been making frugal dishes using what we have for the most part. Picking Asparagus just about daily. Freezing some for winter. Gifted asparagus to a neighbor and was gifted oranges in return. Used a library for recording some of my husbands music.

  12. At my house, this particular child has always put holes in the knees of her jeans. Even my boys aren’t as hard on their jeans as she is. Her sisters don’t have the same trouble. Thankfully, most of the year here, she can wear jean shorts–problem solved!

  13. Brandy, I love the arrangement on the table. You did an awesome job on it. Also, we love to play Rummikub. Another game we have started playing is Nerts. It’s a fast card game and it’s so fun. You might want to check it out. I don’t have any frugal accomplishments to post as we are on a trip ($$) but my children did raise money for the trip selling Amish bread to aunts and other friends. Hopefully I will be back next week with frugal accomplishments (ie. “Recovering from vacation”).

  14. Be very careful lending out your national parks pass rangers are now instructed to look at id and if the person is not in the car they can take the pass and keep it.

    Just FYI

  15. We had a pretty frugal week this past week. We enjoyed our first week of our CSA share, with loads of greens and green onions. I’ve enjoyed them in eggs and with quiche all week.

    I love reading about your garden! It’s so inspiring, and makes me want to challenge myself in our new house to do more vertical planting along walls. I’m also trying to find some ways to integrate more ornamental edibles into my flower gardens, like tricolor sage and some chives. (I love the look of the little purple chive flowers, and they’re a pretty addition to a salad too.)

    Here are the rest of our adventures:

  16. Beautiful pictures. I love the flowers and the apricots look delicious!

    Here are my accomplishments for the last week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate up leftovers from brother-in-law’s memorial service. Also froze some for later. Only ate out once for dinner and once for a lunch date with hubby.
    • Worked 12 contract hours. Took my lunch on the days I went in. Found out the contract work will probably last through the rest of the year.
    • The open enrollment period for my husband’s medical insurance was this month. I changed our coverage and our premium will be $50 less, plus we will now have an HSA that we have not previously had. This will help with taxes as the money will be taken out pre-tax.
    • Got a free Vitamin water from the Friday Freebie.
    • Bought very few groceries as I am trying to eat up what we have in the pantry and freezer. Had a couple of random gift cards that I had used most of, so I used those up finally. I had about $16 left on them, so that helped with the little I did buy.
    • Used up a very ripe banana in a peanut butter and banana smoothie.
    • Took my Dad for our weekly meal out but instead of lunch we had breakfast. Cost of meal was about ½ of what I usually pay.
    • Had 60c/gal. off gas from grocery rewards. Hubby used it when filling up his truck, as it has a bigger gas tank than our car.
    • Hubby needed new shirts for his trip to Switzerland. We went to the VF Factory Outlet and purchased 4 shirts for him and 6 pairs of panties for me and only paid $88 as they had a deal that if I signed up for their loyalty program I would receive 10% off, so in addition to the clothes being priced right, we saved another $10.
    • Because my husband had to travel to Switzerland for work, the flight went on my credit card, as will all of his other expenses, so we will get the points for that. I’m on track to get another companion pass next year.
    • Received 10 greeting cards free from one of the charities I support.
    • Got some Ibotta rebates.
    • Found a toy truck w/ a matchbox car on the clearance rack for $2.49. I will give that to my grandson for his birthday in November.
    • My son came to town and had a few things he didn’t need anymore that he gave to me including a casserole dish, a coffee mug and a brand new deck of cards.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  17. This is the week that we are doing a complete reno on the 3rd floor bathroom – we gutted it and have a new jacuzzi tub (90% off regular price after discounts from the place our daughter works! $2500 tub for $200 because it was “bisque” color and they had wanted more of a “sand” color so they refused it!)
    We spent our Friday date night at Home Depot picking out the materials for the reno. We spent about $800. having the stuff delivered would cost $79 and not be possible before next Thursday, we opted to rent their truck ($19) at 6 AM the next morning when they would have all our supplies ready to load in!
    Everything went as planned until we were unloading and noticed that the 5 backer boards for the walls around tub/shower didn’t have the grid that we were shown it would have . They were about $13.50 each. We loaded them into our van and returned to store with truck and van. I checked and found out that the manufacturer had stopped selling the gridded board at Home Depot in that thickness and the sales people in flooring (who were actually quite knowledgeable) did not know that.
    I asked if there could be any adjustment because of the change since these were about $4 more expensive per board than the other brand because they were more user friendly. I was polite and friendly and just let them respond. I hoped that maybe we would be given maybe a credit of a dollar or two per board.
    Imagine my surprise when the flooring manager asked how we would feel about a $200 credit!! We were in shock! She went up to Customer Service counter with us and I figured they would not agree. Instead, she changed it to $245 plus tax credit!!! So we got about $267 taken off our bill!!!
    We are in shock!!! But pleased and grateful!!! That pays for 2/3 of the cost for the radiant floor heating and programmable thermostat that we bought for the floor!!
    So proud that my CA daughter that I just visited and mentored on grocery shopping and pantry building/meal prep posted this on Facebook: “Channeling my mother (Pat J. Lewis) today. Ground beef was on a great sale so I bought 15lbs. One became hamburger patties and the other became cooked and seasoned beef in 1lb baggies to pull out when I need to make something.” She also bought 2 flats of strawberries on sale and flash froze those too! Don’t know if I can take credit for her success but I will anyway ! Lol!
    I ordered (2) 40pound boxes of Zaycon boneless skinless chicken breast which will come in October for 99 cents a pound!! This is different from previous sales because you don’t need to be a new customer to get that price plus you can order more than 1 case (in a single order) and get the sale price on your whole order not just on first case!
    The box has 4 ten pound bags in it, making it easy to split with friends if someone doesn’t want the whole 40 pounds! Here is the link and promo code: and the promo code is: CHICKEN2018. I’ve ordered from them before and this time I ordered 80 pounds! So I spent $79.20 for 80 pounds of beautiful boneless skinless chicken breast! The promotion code goes until June 30, 2018!
    I bought 2 watermelons at Kroger’s for $1.99 and (8) 38 oz bottles of Heinz (we are ketchup snobs!! Lol!) ketchup for $1.88 bottle, but WAIT! I had peeling coupons for $1/2 bringing price down to $1.38 each, but WAIT…. if you bought 2 bottles, you got a free 16 oz Oscar Mayer hot dog package, so I got 4 pounds of OM hot dogs besides!! Let the BBQ begin!!!
    Still getting 4 dozen eggs/ week from our chickens. Still washing out ziploc bags,
    When I looked over our accounts, I saw that in the past 4 weeks, we have added over $1000 to our savings and paid down about $1400 on our debt!
    All in all, a very good week!

  18. Brandy, you’ve been a busy girl (as always) and the picture of your baby is adorable! Here was my week (big spending, but big saving, too)–
    • Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends are big sale weekends for major appliances. I need a refrigerator and washing machine for the new house. I got a killer deal on both (which are Energy Star rated) plus a 5% discount for using our Lowe’s CC = $49.94 extra savings on the fridge and $36.95 on the washer. BTW, I never buy appliances with all the bells and whistles. I did spring for a bottom freezer, though.
    • All 3 of us had dental hygiene appointments. We have dental coverage as an add-on to our Medadvantage plans. We break even with two hygiene appointments per year. If we need additional dental work, we are money ahead. And we each came home with a new toothbrush, dental floss and travel-size toothpaste. The dentist also gave DD a free electric toothbrush.
    • A friend gave me two beautiful wool blankets from New Zealand that belonged to her mother.
    • I saved $5.92 by buying returned items from the Amazon warehouse instead of “new.” (They were just in opened packages).
    • I received a check for $160 for elections board pay, which was $10 more than expected. I had taken an additional training and didn’t realize I would be paid for it.
    • I used a GC received for Mother’s Day to buy a royal purple smoke tree. With the remaining $8, I went to the historical museum plant sale and bought what would have been about $50 in plants. The 4 inch pots were .50 and the 1 gallon size were $1. Love plant sales!
    • We always eat dinner out on Thursdays because we are away from home. All other meals were cooked and eaten at home.
    • Stocked up on Memorial Day loss leaders at the grocery store.

  19. Last week was rather crazy in more than one way!

    * I cooked food in advance so that we would have food to eat even when I came home later.
    * We made do as much as possible with a fan instead of turning on the A/C.
    * I attended a vendor event for free and used products I already had at home for people to sample.
    * God led me to stop at a gas station that I was driving by to fill up on gasoline to save time and money later.
    * Instead of running to the bank constantly, I set up online payments for my clients.
    * We kept eating the chicken I purchased marked down.
    * We were glad to find out we could use a $5 off $50 coupon for a special order at the store. 🙂
    * We opened windows for fresh air and for a gentle breeze through the house.
    * To save time and money, I scheduled a few appointments close together in time and location.
    * My husband took all his lunches to work with him.
    * We recycled very durable plastic bottles to freeze water instead of purchasing ice for a day-long activity.

  20. Switched our ceiling fans from winter-setting, (air goes up to disturb warm air at the ceiling), to summer, (air goes down). Fans have a small switch on the side that moves from up to down. This was an easy thing to do, except STRONGLY recommend dusting the fan blades BEFORE making the switch, as they will otherwise clean themselves when spinning the other direction.
    Delightful name for your son! And glad you have that decision made!

  21. Sounds like you had a great week, Brandy. Between the free clothing and the free items from the Monopoly game, that’s quite a savings! The apricots look delicious, too.

    This week, our families frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included beef stew with dumplings (mmm, dumplings…my favourite!), BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with tater tots and corn, hot chicken sandwiches with carrots, cheese & spinach manicotti baked in white sauce and topped with mozzarella & cheddar cheese, BBQ chicken breasts on a bun with choice of toppings and leftover mixed veggies, hard boiled eggs (some made egg salad with their boiled eggs) with KD, and ham steaks with white rice and green beans.
    *Reminded my mom to save the carrot peelings for making broth. I keep a zip-lock bag in the freezer for saving veggie scraps for this purpose.
    *Best grocery deal this week was purchasing a 1.2kg box of breaded popcorn chicken that was on sale for $6.88, but used a $4 coupon to get it for around $3. DD loves to make this for herself, along with onion rings, for lunch on the weekend. I will happily buy convenience foods if it means DD can practice cooking with the oven!
    *Received a bag of free popcorn form work when there was a bunch of unsold leftovers one day. I shared it with DD.
    *When the skies started to look like a thunderstorm was rolling in, I quickly boiled some eggs up as a back up plan for dinner, in case we lost hydro. I knew if we didn’t use them for egg salad sandwiches that night, we would use them for a quick breakfast item during the week. However, the boiled eggs were well received, paired with a cheap box of KD. The entire 1/2 dozen were all eaten up.
    *Made extra white rice with dinner one night, in the hopes of using the leftovers to making up a batch of fried rice to use for lunches this week. Last time I tried to do this, DD and her friend ate so much white rice, I didn’t have enough to make the fried rice. At least it was cheap!
    *Planted oregano, carrot and watermelon seeds in the garden. Also ran string up the trellis to help support the peas that have sprouted quite nicely. This pretty much filled in the empty spots in the garden for now. Most of the seeds I planted previously are already coming up, which makes me very happy. They are predicting a hot dry summer for our area, so fingers crossed that everything does reasonably well this year!
    *Trained a new employee this week in the Fife cabin (our 1st settler’s cabin, circa. 1825). We made 3 sister’s soup (corn, beans & squash) one day over the fire pit, which was yummy. The next day, we decided to try our hand at making bannock on a fry pan, over hot coals from the fire pit. This was the 1st time I had made it over an open fire. The bannock was soo gooood, we ended up making a second batch! One of the senior staff is vegan, and was thrilled that she could enjoy some baking from the village (most of the things we make contain milk and eggs). Another seasonal staff member was equally thrilled to sample the bannock, as she is trying to eliminate sugar from her diet and the recipe contained no sugar. It was nice to get such good feedback from a 1st attempt! It is equally nice is knowing if we lost power, I am developing skills of how to make bread from very simple ingredients and learning to cook using very basic cooking methods.
    *Took DD and her friend to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto as part of her birthday celebration (her B-day was May 16th). We packed drinks and snacks for the car ride there and back. I used my Attractions Ontario reciprocating card to get me in for free and a discount for DDs friend. Hubby got in for free as DDs support person, but we paid full price for DD. So we paid just under $70 for 3 adults and 1 child (under 13 yrs) to get in to a major Toronto attraction…that is an amazing deal! The girls had a great time, especially the shrimp “touch tanks” where the shrimp nibbled the dead skin on their hands (it tickles). On the way home, we had lunch at Denny’s, where the girls ordered chocolate peanut butter milkshakes with their meals (basically they were soft serve ice cream, but oh so tasty). Then we walked over to Chuck E. Cheese in the same plaza for some more fun. We don’t have Chuck E Cheese where we live, so this was a huge treat for the girls. I quickly found an on-line coupon to use with my smart phone, which saved us some money. Despite it being very busy (more than 1 birthday party and mostly little kids running around), they still had lots of fun there too. Overall, it was a wonderful day trip!
    *Hubby and I bought a new camera in anticipation of using it for our European trip we are planning. We bought it at Costco, which had it on discount since the camera was actually last years model. The camera also came with a 16GB memory card and a leather carrying case. It is pocket sized and light weight, but has a 40X zoom lens that pops out and the digital viewing screen flips up so we can take selfies (not necessarily a selling point for us, but it will come in handy, since hubby is horrible at taking pictures and this may be the only way I make it into any of the shots). It cost over $400, but a nice investment piece. Hubby said it is my birthday and Christmas present for this year. Thanks, hunny! Now I just have to practice with it before we go!

    That everything I recorded this week. Looking forward to all your inspiring comments. Have a great week, everyone!!!

  22. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia and hope you have all had a good week :). Brandy what a blessing the clothing for the children was as well as your wonderful harvests from the gardens.

    This week was mainly internet grocery shopping using discount e-vouchers and other vouchers we got in the mail and a little gardening.

    Home organisation –
    – Re-organised the store room and put full storage buckets of food in another room on the floor as I had put my back out picking them up of the top shelves. We also went through the storage shelves and rearranged those to put like items with like such as tinned fruits on one shelf and stacked items. This should give us more room for our large grocery order coming on Thursday.

    Financial and free eBay listings –
    – Saved a little more money into our house deposit account but we are still at the same percentage saved. This should increase this week though with our pays.
    – Listed 10 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased 2 x $350 E-Vouchers for $600 for groceries and used both saving $100 in grocery costs.
    – One we used for our 2 monthly grocery shop and turned that into an additional $24 savings by buying a 10kg bag of rice on 50% off special, 2 body washes on special and 8 tins of long life vegetables and meat also on special.
    – The other E-Voucher I used on staples that never come on special to stock up our food storage on cocoa, white sugar, powdered milk, scouring sponges, metal scouring pads, tinned baked beans and tinned corn to a 12 month level. We also stocked up on tinned two fruits and tinned mangoes to bring us up to a 7 month level and butter up to a 4 month level. Still more to go but we are happy with our progress so far.
    – We also took advantage of another $15 off $100 purchase grocery voucher and I turned this into savings of $34.14 by buying 2 x probiotic tablets for DH on 50% off special that he was running low on.
    – Thursday is going to be a huge day of putting away $700 worth of groceries when the delivery driver arrives as we got free delivery included with the vouchers. This will be a test to see what and where we can store and stack things on our food storage shelves in our second small pantry room.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested 100kg of sweet potatoes organically grown in the gardens saving $975 over purchasing organic varieties in the supermarkets.

    Other frugal things –
    – Saved shower warm up and dish rinsing water to water the newly planted seeds in the gardens, used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water the lawns all week, heated our home and boiled our kettle for cuppas on the slow combustion stove with free to us firewood sourced, cut and split by us from a friends property nearby, only turned on the electric hot water system when water needed heating, cleaned with saved flannel rags rather than using paper towels and homemade cleaning products.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).


  23. Beautiful flowers!

    This week I found a few cents for my piggy bank, have eaten out of the freezer and pantry, had a friend’s daughter trim my hair, did my own nails, found some spectacular discounts at the sale section at the grocery store, and resisted stopping for snacks when out.

    I’ve been sticking to my eating plan and am beginning to see results. There is but a month before I leave for home. Quite a bit to do. Nor much time to shop even if I wasn’t on a no-spend couple weeks. Except groceries, as needed or super bargains found.

    Happy frugal-ing!

  24. So glad to hear that you had such a good time at the Aquarium. I’ve been twice and really enjoyed it.

    I have done some open fire cooking with the Ontario Historical Society – and while everything came out great I could not get the smell of smoke out of my clothes!

  25. I got as many errands done as possible last week while I still have use of my monthly transit pass.
    I continued to use up items from the freezer and only bought fruit & vegetables plus milk.
    I did full loads of laundry and then line dried as much as possible.
    I volunteered for 2 days at my church book sale and I also donated books. I resisted buying any new books as I still have a huge number in my “to be read” pile. I brought my water bottle and my lunch on both days.
    I spent Saturday with a friend touring a number of free venues during “Doors Open Toronto”.
    I submitted my May hours & receipts for the little job that I have with the church.
    I was accepted to work at a polling station for our upcoming Provincial election day and I will also be paid for the training day.

  26. I have never been able to cook kidney beans well either. I don’t care for them myself, and when the kids were still at home, they insisted I buy the canned ones instead. Now it’s only my husband eating kidney beans, so I just buy the canned ones still. I bought them the same place I buy other beans, so I don’t know why they would be any more stale than the other kinds of beans.

  27. Wonderful pictures as always, Brandy. I especially have been loving the honeysuckle in the flower arrangements-reminds me of smelling and tasting the honeysuckle with my brother in my grandparents’ backyard.
    I’ve not posted here in forever, but I’ve been reading everyone else’s posts. My husband changed to a slightly higher paying job in January, which means that now we’re hopefully going to be able to pay for life insurance, and possibly travel a bit next year when he gets some paid vacation time. We met with a financial adviser and I’ve been rethinking and rededicating myself to being mindful of my frugal accomplishments. These are from the past 2 to 3 weeks.

    -Walked to accomplish several errands, including the drugstore, dropping library books at the collection bin, and the post office. Stopped at two Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood and picked up 4 books, including two 1960’s editions of Bobbsey Twins books. Will read them and then share them with my sister-in-law.
    -Read 9 library books and watched a DVD from the library.
    -Redeemed Bing points for a $5 Target gift card, and used it for normal Target shopping.
    -Did a survey for CVS and got $10 ECBs, which we used for toilet paper. Did another one this week and got $5 ECB for later.
    -Found 27 cents in April and 31 cents in May, so far.
    -Bought some #10 cans of diced tomatoes at Smart & Final. They were on sale for 60 cents cheaper than I expected, so bought 4 cans instead of 2.
    -Had a $3 reward at Boudin, plus a free loaf of sourdough on my rewards card, so bought a large loaf of their multigrain bread and two pounds of sourdough for $7.68. Ripped up one loaf of sourdough and set it out to dry, and used it with the diced tomatoes for Brandy’s amazing Tuscan Tomato Bread soup. (Also had the same soup for 3 lunches and froze 3 portions for later.)
    -Diced and froze fresh mushrooms that were getting pretty sad looking. Happy that I caught them before they went completely bad.
    -My husband used zip ties to mend an iPhone cord and the disintegrating cutlery basket in our ancient dishwasher (originally a portable unit we got for the circa-1932 house we had rented, then installed in the house we bought/live in now. It’s 19 years old, and has been patched together so many ways…)
    -I mended a pair of my husband’s cargo shorts and a bra hook.
    -We had to replace a very worn out soft sided cooler. Before throwing it away, I remembered how Brandy’s husband mended an item with a piece of nylon strap of some kind, so I ended up cutting and saving a good length of strap, along with a grommet and three plastic parts, and put them away for possible future use.
    -My husband took apart and blew out the compressor to our air conditioning unit with the leaf blower himself, and put a piece of screen fabric on the top so less debris should fall into it from now on.
    -My husband won a door prize at a business event. It was mostly golf-related stuff. We don’t golf, but I put aside the golf ball, some golf tees and a cleat cleaner for either my dad or my brother. Put the other items in the Donate box.
    -My husband also attended a breakfast where the centerpieces were fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. He was able to take home a big red bell pepper and a small basil plant. The basil plant is sitting in a sunny windowsill now!
    -My husband glued a broken hairbrush back together for me. It’s probably almost 25 years old (!) but pretty much brand new, as it was being stored in a bin of cold weather items, for whatever reason… I’d been using it for probably 9 months, and then I leaned on it in a weird way with my wrist. Luckily it was in a spot that was reglue-able!
    -Bought a few loss leaders at the local grocery store, when we went to self checkout, someone had left a Catalina for a free 1 dozen store brand eggs! Grabbed the coupon and went and got eggs, which were $2.89.
    -My husband picked up my prescriptions at Costco, and didn’t buy anything else, even though we wanted to. He did bring the empty Kirkland (Costco house brand) eyeglass cleaner bottles and got two refilled ones. The eyeglass cleaner there is a lifetime supply when you buy the pump bottles.
    -Used 3 scraps of paper to write down the items for this list!
    I’m going to try to be better at keeping track and posting these. Thanks to all who read this and hope it’s helpful to someone 🙂

  28. You know, I think you’re right! I actually got these in a sealed bag in a trade a few months ago, and I guess they’re too old. Ah well. I’ll add them to my parent’s compost heap, and that way they’re not entirely wasted. Thanks, Becky!

  29. Congratulations again on the baby boy. What a blessing!
    It was a good frugal week.
    My mom gave me some underwear she didn’t like the fit of. I know most people turn their noses up at secondhand underwear, but a) it’s clean, and b) it’s from my mom.
    Took the kids to swim at my aunt’s house, and she gave them an ice cream bar.
    We ate almost all of our leftovers with very little food waste.
    Found some good deals at the .99 only store: lunch meat, marked down bread, strawberries, and raspberries.
    Sent a thank you note using a notecard I bought at a garage sale in a package of misc. stationery.
    Tried to buy gas at cheaper gas stations.
    Trying to organize to prep for a garage sale.
    I am trying to drink more water and less soda; this will hopefully help me lose a little weight and be healthier at the same time!
    Listened to lots of music using Pandora.
    Realized we have a lot of chalk and bubbles, which will be fun this summer!
    Gratefully accepted some leftovers from a party: grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and some rolls. I will get another night off from cooking, yay!
    My mom babysat so that I got to volunteer at the school’s field day. My kids were excited to see me there.
    I got to buy the .99 ice cream sandwiches at Kroger, which we took to the neighborhood pool and shared with other children.

  30. We had a busy week because we were finishing up all the work for homeschool, and I corrected and scored for hours. It all needs to be turned in on Wednesday, so that my daughter can graduate. We are going through a diploma program, and they need time to get it all down to make sure she is finished and they can give her the diploma. I will still homeschool my niece next year.

    In the meanwhile, my other niece graduated from her special needs program. So, I attended that and was amazed when she gave a speech for everybody. She did great! I will now start working with her during some weekdays, as she is done with school. My work schedule will be very different for the next 3 weeks until public school is out. Then, it will change again for summer. So, as long as I remember to read my schedule each day, I should be ok. I will be getting a few extra hours in this month. My niece is struggling a little bit with all the changes, and I am, too! When the schedule changes, I have to focus in, or I forget things. I am considering continuing to use my written calendar, which works well for me to see the big picture, but adding in a phone calendar so I have it when I go places so I can check dates more easily. One thing I will do with my niece is take her to the senior center once a week where she has been volunteering while at school, so she can continue to volunteer. She helps with the Meals on Wheels program there. We want to keep a little of her life the same, since so much is changing. It should be interesting.

    I cooked many, many things this week. We had a family birthday party for several family members on Sunday after church. So, my husband BBQ’d steak and chicken, and I made potato salad and pasta salad. Others brought other food. At home, I made refried beans, mixed bean soup, extra cooked beans, and chili. I chose not to shop this weekend, as I had foods from my sorting that I wanted to use up. I’m running low on a few fresh things, but have substituted when I could, and am now getting lettuce from the garden, which will help.

    I also worked in the garden and yard quite a bit, and cleaned for hours, organizing my storage shelves in the garage. I cooked foods that were needing to be used, including lots and lots of dry beans. I still have many more. They were tucked away in every corner of the shelves. There are a couple of things I am low on, and will re-stock them before long.

    I hope to get the rest of the garage cleaned this week. Because we use it for storage, and kind of like an extra living room for the kids, it has become quite cluttered.

    On Monday, Memorial Day, we went on a rock-throwing, fishing trip with 2 of our children and our nephew. I wrote about that here, with lots of pictures: It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time, with an unexpected bit of adventure thrown in. My nephew caught a fish, and one of my daughters did, too. There were lots of rocks and sticks thrown into the lake, and we had a nice picnic. We dropped our nephew off at his house with both fish and a rock and some large sticks. He was happy! His mom was a good sport:)

    I put my weekly update here:

  31. Thanks for updates, everybody!
    I have a question – what antiperspirant/deodorant would you suggest for teenager? Is there a way to make something by yourself, at home? Thanks!

  32. What a magnificent name for your little baby boy!

    I picked up free chillies and parsley from our local produce cart.

    It was National Volunteer Week and I was invited to two lovely afternoon teas with free food and drinks.

    Twice, I baked several things at once to fully utilise the oven, then opened it to warm the kitchen.

    We put the winter bedding on our bed to keep us cosy without using the heater.

    I was in hospital for an overnight sleep study and received free breakfast and lunch. My husband drove me there to avoid parking fees.

    Two friends invited me for lunches. Once, I bought lunch out for my friend and myself as we were out all day.

    All other meals were made at home using up leftovers and free ingredients. My husband took lunches to work. We are still reducing our overall food intake.

    We made kale chips for the first time using up leftovers kale. We won’t repeat that but ate them all anyway rather than throwing them out. We also used some potato pieces that were too small to make fries and turned them into chips.

    I volunteered once and will be reimbursed.

    We completed our weekly delivery round and found two recycling bottles.

    I bulk-cooked chickpeas in the slow cooker and froze them in portion sizes.

    I froze some leftovers before they spoilt.

    My husband received two free pens at work.

    I boiled extra veggies with dinner one night and used them to make myself some healthy lunches.

    We bought a new car and traded in our old one.

    I scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom using vinegar, bicarb soda and old rags.

    My husband and I used a free gym trial and showered there.

    We washed three full loads of laundry and dried everything on racks. We ran three full loads of dishes, saved the warm-up water when hand-washing dishes, rinsed out Ziploc bags and used our curtains to keep the house as warm as possible.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week!

  33. My seasonal job in a National Park is to work in an entrance station. Janet is correct that what you are planning is against the rules and one person who has signed the pass and has photo ID must be in the vehicle for the pass to admit the party. Only the two signers of the pass may use it to admit their party. If you absolutely are unable to pay, I recommend entering very early – 6 a.m. or so or very late. Otherwise – plan to pay or don’t go.

  34. One day this week was especially fun. My daughter homeschools our two granddaughters (ages 8 and 7) and they have been reading the Little House books. A local park had a Laura Ingalls Wilder Day and they invited me to come along. We packed our lunches to take with us and enjoyed a presentation about LIW, a real log cabin, a train ride, a blacksmith shop, a pottery shop, and a one-room schoolhouse. It was a very fun day!

    I gave my husband a haircut.

    My husband grilled some chicken and added other meats and vegetables to the grill to eat later in the week. It has been very warm here the last few days and staying out of the kitchen for cooking is high on the list. 🙂

  35. The weather here is exceptional warm, 27/30 dgs celcius. Normal at this time of the year is 18 dgs .
    So I had to water the pots outside, luckely we have a rain barrel to take the water from. The is doing great but needs a lot of water to, There is a didg where we can take the water from. Already eating strawberry’s from the garden, not that much, but enough to eat with some yoghurt. I was given some rhubarb, so I cooked it with some apples that where going bad into rhubarb/apple sauce.
    My husband fixed our beach umbrella.
    My bos gave me his old apple I-pad, he bought a bigger one ( and faster one ofcourse).
    We had an other birthdayparty! (we are al having our birthdays in april and may, my two boys even on the same day though they are 4 years apart) I made pasta salad, couscous salas, greensalad with goatcheese and walnuts, garlic sauce, marinaded the chicken filet myself, little packages with fish and vegetables. And some leftover meat from the last birthdayparty. Also made sangria wich was a present the last birthday. It was a 3ltr box of sangria wine, put into karafs with fruit and sparklingwater. It tasted wunderfull with the Spanish tempertures…..!
    Still there where leftovers wich we ate the following 2 days.

    Enjoy your little baby boy Brandy, they grow up so quickly.
    Tanja from the netherlands

  36. I call it “Ode de Campfire”. People didn’t bath in the 1800s like we do today. I am convinced the smell of campfire was what they used to mask their offensive body odour! LOL

  37. It was opening weekend for our pools so admission was only $1(versus $3 ). Took the 11yo for an afternoon of fun

    Went to the movies with hubby and thanks to our Regal reward points, it only cost $3.48 for both of us! Def a nice surprise

    My mom gave me a family pack of chicken legs she didn’t want and some cupcakes.

    Neighbor brought over a Walmart sized bag full of yummy Romaine lettuce and baby spinach from her family farm

    Hubby’s boss sent us 2 dozen eggs from his chickens(I keep him in supply of egg cartons in exchange)

    Our car insurance was up for renewal so checked around for a better rate. I ended up switching to another company that was $80 less per month

    We’ve been eating from the freezer so our grocery bill has only been around $50 a week. We are starting to get to the last bits of stuff so I’m afraid of what our grocery bill is going to be when I need to replace the meat.

  38. These posts are always such a bright spot in my week! This is such a wonderful place to be inspired and cheer others on.
    My husband and I just returned from a trip to Ireland and it was wonderful! While this wasn’t a frugal accomplishment by any means, we did stick to our budget while there. That’s big for anyone!
    My FIL sent over tons of starts to plant in our garden—we only had to purchase basil this year. Score! We have also enjoyed lots of rain lately so no need to water.
    I gratefully accepted a bag of cast-off clothing from a girlfriend. I was able to add a few things to my summer wardrobe because of her generosity. A few weeks ago she also sent a huge bag of winter clothing. In the fall it will be like I have a new wardrobe.
    Someone mentioned lending a park pass to a relative for a day out. Our local libraries carry special activity bags from our local state parks. When you check out one of these bags, they give you a parking pass to use for the week. Check it out and see if your library has something similar.
    Have a great week everyone! Brandy, congratulations on your precious boy, Hamish. What a blessing!

  39. April,
    When you go to replace the meat watch for great sale just yesterday I found ground beef 98/100 on sale for $3.99 per pound angus grass fed beef the store had 15 % off for veterans day for military (which we are and I used a coupon $4.00 off when you spend 40) I stocked up on packages up to $40.00 and now I have some great priced beef in the freezer for the summer.

  40. *Continued to harvest rhubarb, stewing some of it & freezing for future use. Made & ate lots of strawberry rhubarb jello, which is a favorite here.

    *Placed the large netting over the cherry tree, to keep the birds from decimating the crop. This takes 2 people, so we did it while our daughter was visiting.

    *Mowed the lawn & continued saving the clippings to use as mulch over the garden.

    *Continued to fill at least one tree tub with weeds per day, to keep the weeds under control. Over Memorial Day, our youngest daughter was home & we had several weeding sessions. The garbage can at the curb for pickup is completely full as a result

    *Utilized some of the Memorial Day sales to restock the pantry in areas where we were low. One of the promotions running locally let us buy lemon lime soda for just about half price, & receive a free tub of Red Button ice cream as well. That was a pleasant surprise.

    My daughter & I sorted thru my heirloom seeds. She is renting a garden plot again this year, & wanted to plant carrots, parsnips, beets & bush beans in a “canning garden”. I had extra seeds for all the things she needed, so she took some back with her. Last year I let a parsnip that had been missed when we dug out the roots the year before, sprout & go to seed. Oh my goodness! The plant was a magnet for ants & aphids, was nearly as tall as I am, and had seed umbrels galore. As soon as the umbrels were mature enough to harvest, I cut an ice cream bucket full of them & let them finish drying on a shelf in the garage, while I cut down the plant. It filled most of the garbage can for two weeks, & I was glad to have it out of the garden, but now we have sufficient seeds for multiple years, for anyone in the family who wants them. I like using parsnips along with carrots & potatoes when baking a chicken or a roast, or in a root vegetable mix with potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots & onions.

    *Our daughter shopped the house at Mom’s to find a couple of pictures we were not using, rather than buy pictures for the walls in her apartment. One of the pictures she took back is a photo she took of of Second Dam in Logan, Utah, when she was in college. I had ordered it to fit a large frame I purchased at DI, & painted gloss black to cover some stains on the linen inset in the frame. It was a casualty of DH wanting to move the bookcases downstairs, which eliminated the spot where the picture had hung on my walls. Her roommate just married last month, & our daughter has elected to keep the apartment without a roommate, so she is gradually filling in the spaces from the items her roommate owned.

  41. I used to have this problem until I started cooking all of my beans in a pressure cooker (which was a wedding gift!). Now they cook beautifully, even without soaking, in ~30 minutes.

  42. I have never heard that beans get too old to cook. I certainly would not throw them away just because of an expiration date. I keep mine in jars that I have filled either from the bulk bins or plastic bag from dried bean section at grocer. I have never looked at expiry date. No matter the bean, I bring them to a boil, cook for 2 min, cover and let sit for 2 hours. Then drain and cover with fresh water and cook till done. I’ve never had a crunchy bean. Don’t add salt to cooking water.

  43. I make my own deodorant using this recipe:
    6 TBSP coconut oil
    1/4 cup baking soda
    1/4 cup arrowroot powder
    (optional: a few drops of essential oil of choice)
    Mix well and store in small container or jar. Apply a pea sized amount to each armpit. It may sting if applied immediately after shaving.

    This works great for me, and it’s very inexpensive to make.

  44. Athanasia, beans have a long storage life of many years, but if they are 10 years old, they will not soften. Baking soda added while cooking can help old beans (like 5-7 years old) but at 10 years, they are too hard. They can cook for 2 and even 3 days, all day long, and never soften.

    That said, you can have the same experience with new beans if you don’t rinse them after soaking. You can NOT pre-soak and put them on to cook without a problem, but if you pre-soak overnight and try to cook in the same water, the same thing will happen. I did this recently. I normally don’t pre-soak my beans and just put them on to cook. I recently (i.e. a couple of weeks ago) decided to presoak and then put them straight on to cook without rinsing, in the same water. They cooked all day and didn’t soften. I figured out my problem and rinsed them, then put them on to cook with no water the next day. They still never softened. It was very odd; I knew the beans were good as I had cooked them before without a problem. Now I know better than to do that.

    Salt added–yes, you’re right, they won’t soften. I did that the first time I cooked beans, cooking them all day. My friend told me what I had done wrong (it was my first time cooking dried beans as a college student) and I learned that I had to throw them out.

  45. What wonderful finds!
    My car died; this happens when you pay it off (lol!)
    Thankfully, some extra money came in from a side job. It helps with the above.
    I rented a car only on days where getting a free ride wasn’t feasible (no public transit available). My dad has been pretty awesome dropping me off at the rental office, I treated him to a coffee at Dunkin‘ Donuts which ended up being free because of my birthday (rewards program) he found some free change while we waited for the coffee.
    We had a simple family cookout to celebrate my birthday. With everyone’s food “allergies” I was able to make two side dishes that fit everyone’s requirements, thankfully just shopping my pantry.
    I’ve been watering my garden with collected water.
    We recently watched a documentary on Faberge eggs, so interesting and we learned a lot. I found that a museum nearby has 2 on display. Free admission to boot! I’m planning a day trip where gas would be the only expense. Now, I just need my car up and running…

  46. Either cook the beans in your pressure cooker, or can them in a pressure canner. Even old beans will soften when canned. They need to be soaked first, drained, then put in the jar, but do not fill past half way, as they will swell as they cook. Fill the air with desired liquid ( no salt) and pressure for the time & at the proper pressure for you elevation.

  47. I’m not Rhonda, but I’m curious as to her answer. The only thing I could come up with is Kraft Dinner.

  48. I found that the running budget I keep in my head just didn’t match the actual deductions from my bank account. It only takes a dollar or two here or there and yonder to throw it off. I totally reworked my budget to accommodate the increases in gasoline prices. We have a couple new prescription co payments and with the potential for the electric bill to rise, I had to find a way to cover it. I did not renew my Amazon Prime and let our streaming services for tv go. I have decided to pull out spending money for the month in cash. I labeled a small accordian file with various categories so I can have a complete visual sight of what we have budgeted. I think this may help sugar cookie . She seems to think that if mommy has a card, she can just keep swiping. I started rolling drug store rewards last week. I invested 5.00 and bought much needed cold medicine. That reward then bought razors. I don’t much enjoy this but it will provide needed items. I redeemed 30 Pepsi caps for a Chuck E Cheese 30.00 giftcard. Sugar cookie will enjoy this. I used Coca Cola caps to get a movie ticket, popcorn and a soda for free. We don’t buy soda but I am amazed at the bottles just laying around. And no, I am not too proud to pick them up. Sugar cookies medical issues are draining me. The few treats I can find her make her smile so. I guess this is frugalness at its lowest. I am hoping to use Swagbucks this week to get my car oil changed. I love Swagbucks. I have been doing surveys frequently and find that they seem to generate one after the other and our often connected. I hope you are all having great weeks. Looks like the hurricane has us scheduled for rain all week.

  49. I picked 13lbs of organic blackberries for free (from a friend’s enormous patch). I have been invited to pick more. I will freeze what we don’t eat fresh/in a cobbler/give away right now. They are delicious. I am trying to be grateful for the good things that come out of our incredibly hot weather.
    Swam in our pool for the first time this summer. Bought a new swimsuit, I need a tall, for 50% off. They last me several years, and I swim several times every day 5 months of the year.
    Making several gifts.

    Something I’d like to work on-grilling outdoors more in the summer to keep the heat outside!

  50. I’ve harvested about 4 pounds of strawberries, more rhubarb, and more asparagus. We froze more rhubarb. I didn’t really do too much on the frugal front other than the usual – paying bills online, watching electricity usage, etc. We tried not to use too much gas this weekend since the prices were raised for Memorial Day. We helped my sister move and she bought us lunch. We just turned on our air conditioning yesterday. That’s about it.

  51. Brandy,
    I really enjoyed seeing the picture of the new baby.
    I had a good frugal week. My freezer left a puddle of water on the floor so I defrosted and cleaned it out and re-organized as I put all the food back in. Left out a whole chicken which will feed us for several days.
    Went to the thrift store and got a brand new packet of colored printer paper for .79. I keep a craft box for my grandson and I will add this paper to that. I also got two packets of plain white note cards for .49 each. I will use these to make my own cards for birthdays and such. I also picked up a nice metal vase for .49. I filled it with roses from my garden and put it on my grandmother’s graveside for Memorial Day.
    I picked up two wooden chairs for free at a garage sale. One is a ladder back chair with a woven rush seat that is coming apart. I plain to make a new seat for it. The other I may take apart and use pieces for another project.
    I helped my son do some yard work at his place. He lives alone and I know working by yourself gets old so my husband and I try to give him a hand when we can.
    My husband and I and our new puppy managed a few hours on the beach- we sat and read our books while our puppy played happily. We really needed that rest and relaxation-free except for the $15 of gas.
    Love hearing from everyone.

  52. Lilli, one year when working for my family business the resession had hit the business SO hard…and because I had picked up every Coke cap I could find on walks, parking lots, rummaging through near by neighborhood recycle bins (and boy did I get strange looks, thankfully, I didn’t live there) that year, I was able to get everyone in my family a gift all thanks to those Coke caps. It might have been frugalness at its lowest but it did wonders for my morale. In my mind what you’re doing for your family makes you a rockstar!

  53. Lilli, you can get free shipping on Amazon for any order over $25. I know someone who starts a shopping cart and keeps adding to it until it reaches $25, then she buys. Also, I’ve heard there is a Prime program for people with disabilities that costs about 50% less and is billed monthly. I couldn’t find anything on it, but you might. Personally, I’m thinking free shipping on $25 orders might cause me to let my Prime membership lapse. It’s gone up to $119 year.

  54. Hi Jenny,
    We live in South Australia where we receive 10 cents for every bottle, can and drink carton that is returned to the depot. They then recycle the materials. So we pick them up whenever we find them during our walks as it’s easy free money. 🙂

  55. Hello Frugal Friends!
    We had a fun, frugal week at our house. Here are some of the highlights:
    – This weekend I went to a food coop to get some items. The cost was $25 a share. I was able to get a whole flat of strawberries, 3 spaghetti squash, baked goods, cabbage, 2 romaine lettuce packs, crackers, mushrooms, spinach, radishes, protein bars, tea, 2 large packages of tortillas, blackberries, and more…. The total would have been around $100. This was an awesome savings. I also was able to get 25 or so chicken patties for $5.00 from this same coop. I haven’t went to this one before, but hopefully it will come around again!
    – I paid $10 for two parking spots in a community garage sale this weekend. I am making the kids go through their clothes and items to sell what we don’t need.
    – I also sawed up some free pallets to make the rustic looking Colorado signs. I put this on my blog if you are interested to see what I did. The pallets I was able to get from a poster on Facebook Marketplace.
    – I finished planting my garden. My husband made me 3 garden boxes a few years ago and last year, we added an herb garden. I planted squash, zucchini, lots of herbs, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, swiss chard, cucumbers, carrots, and radishes. I live in Colorado so we constantly have to water. I love having a garden though.
    – I cashed out some money on some apps that I use and did some mystery shopping. If you would like to read it is:
    – We went to a hotel water park for one night this weekend. It was a lot of fun and not very frugal. But, I figure that is why we spend less on some things so we can enjoy others. It is all about personal priorities.
    I hope you have a blessed week!

  56. Thanks for the advice, everyone! I’m going to try Brandy’s advice of adding some baking soda to the water, to see if that helps. I don’t have a pressure canner, and I’ve tried boiling the beans for literally two days, and they were still crunchy. I definitely rinse the beans after soaking, and I never add salt, so I suspect that they are indeed too old, but I’ll try the baking soda and hopefully they can be salvaged! Thanks again to everyone for their advice!

  57. April, why don’t you try the $5 pantry restock challenge. Each week, commit $5 to restocking your meat supply. Watch for sales and/or discounted meat and slowly buy some meat to restock your freezer. If you don’t find good deals or can’t find meat under $5, keep the $5 and roll it over into next weeks amount. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed with a big grocery bill. Once the meat is restocked, you can use the $5 to restock other pantry needs.

  58. Every week I put $20 in the car if it runs out before the end of the week we walk. This is the way that I have managed the hike in gas prices. When we go on vacation I budget for the gas and we always look for the lowest prices. The lowest price on gas right now in the nation is $1.59.9 per gallon of regular while we were away we found a station that was $160.9 we filled our empty tank. I saw many with up to five gas tanks that were large and two cars at that price. We just got back from this trip.

  59. Jenifer,

    Very well said! I use to save every nickel dime penny every coupon etc. Over 27 years the bank account I put the proceeds in turned over to $400 K (I didn’t get to have any part of that but that is a long story with an ex but it does add up !)
    $400K that is a home !

  60. All you ladies are Rock Stars when it comes to being Frugal for your families. The money does add up!
    Liz if you worked outside the home and had clothing to purchase , transportation, and food while away from home how much would you have to earn to be able to bank $125.48 for one week?
    On top of that you got to remain home for your family and be available for your families needs!
    Aces on earning that much in just one week!
    I keep a running tally for the year and some years I do ok and others I do better or worse.
    But if we all keep trying that is what counts!!!


  61. Dad (91) has never soaked his beans, rinsed and brought to boil and then simmered 5 hrs the least. Mother (80 when she died) always soaked in baking soda, rinsed and then brought to boil and then simmered 3 hrs. Mother in law does pressure cooker ALWAYS, rinses and tosses in pot.
    I have always salted the soaking water and the cooking water and always had softened beans even when they were over 10 yrs old (thank you Mother for hoarding dried beans LOL)

    Serious Eats did a testing on this so you can check it out

  62. I just love this weekly post. I get such great inspiration from you all. I feel like I’ve been completely off the frugal lifestyle for the last year, despite my efforts (recently!) to get back on track. Hope springs eternal!!

    My birthday was this past Tuesday. I opted to not go for dinner or anything even though my parents and sister/niece wanted to take me out. Instead, my folks brought over a pot pie from a grocery store and 6 cupcakes. I enjoyed the pot pie that night and had 2 of the cupcakes over the next couple of days. I gave my 3 stepchildren the remaining cupcakes while they were here this weekend. I am not fond of bakery icing — that gross, bitter, brightly colored stuff but the kids love it! My folks also gave me a generous check, which I’ve yet to put in the bank.

    My SO gave me an amazing and thoughtful gift. He bought for me a Kitchen Aid mixer. I have coveted one of those since I was 20, but have never felt right spending so much money on myself. I ended up with the basic white 4.5 qt version, even though I really wanted the mint blue one from Target. White is fine. And it was a very generous gift. I found some vinyl decals on Etsy in the Butterprint Pyrex design (which is my most collected vintage Pyrex pattern) so I will buy these and decorate my awesome new mixer. I seriously cried when I opened the box!! I guess 18 years of wishing and wanting finally paid off. He’s the best!!

    I redeemed a $10 Starbucks gift card with some of my swagbucks that have been sitting there unused for years. I still have 800+ to use up. I transferred the e-card to my Starbucks account and will save it to use when I can combine with other offers.

    I still haven’t received any response from Pinecone Research as to why I no longer get any surveys or mail from them. I have over 17,000 points sitting there, that I had been just accumulating for future use, that I suppose I will transfer to Paypal money. It appears my time with Pinecone is over, sadly.

    I planted some old seeds for various things last week, using leftover cardboard egg cartons I’d been stockpiling since December. I wrote on the ends with a water-soluble marker by accident, so I have no idea what’s growing in each container. Oops! It’s 8 cartons of mystery seeds. lol I will remember to use a different writing tool next time.

    My family is going on a cruise in 2 weeks. I desperately needed summer clothing so I went shopping on Friday to take advantage of the Memorial Day sales. I found shorts at Old Navy for $5.24!! I bought two other pair for $11 each. I went through my church dresses and found several things that would be appropriate for dinner while on the ship. I still need a few more articles of clothing so I will do that shopping this week, using coupons if possible.

  63. Krissy, all the things you repaired were an inspiration to me, I’m very quick to replace worn out items instead of thinking how to repair them. I was not raised frugally ,so there is a big learning curve lol!! My parents were not rich ,but worked hard and were never in debt ,so a good foundation just not overly thrifty! I love reading all of the comments here. I’m always thinking to myself brilliant idea with so many of the money saving ideas I find here

  64. Hi Margaret,
    I have encountered this (as Brandy describes below) with very old beans. We’re talking gifted end of the world beans more than 15+ years old :p. They sort of softened with baking soda, but not well. Instead, I used them to make heat socks for aches/pains (bean stuffed socks tossed in the microwave for a minute) which can be used over and over. I also used them as pie crust weights to pre-bake. You can get very creative with old beans- shaker musical toys for older kiddos, and I even recently encountered someone that used kidney beans for a litter replacement for the Breeze litter box system. I haven’t tried that last one myself, but people sure are creative!

  65. *I found that my grafted cherry tree (with 3 varieties on one plant) did not make it through our rough winter. I called the manager at Home Depot and asked if I could exchange it for another tree, and I was delighted that the manager said I could do an even exchange for it, and received two dwarf plum trees.
    *We had a massive hail storm (it hailed consistently for 45 minutes with quarter size hail). When it ended, it looked like it had snowed in our yard! Unfortunately, it obliterated our garden, and I’m still a little sad to go outside. I am reminded that I don’t decide the weather, and I have to accept the results and appreciate what we are left with. I still hope to get some grapes and peaches but that will likely be our fruit for the year. I’ll keep an eye out for good fruit sales and replant seeds for our greens. I don’t have any more funds set aside for new heirloom tomato, pepper, or eggplants so I’ll look for deals on those as well. Our growing season is quite short, but we’ll work with what we have. I may consider some sort of hail netting in the future as I continue to see the weather in my area getting more and more severe at each season.
    *We booked a short vacation to California using only credit card reward points, and found a good deal on a nice hotel. My mother-in-law will house/pet sit for us and we pay her $40 each day as she has no income.
    *We pay for my mother-in-law’s cell phone and service, and we’re going to switch her to Mint Sim- a low cost, straightforward provider that I’ve been personally using for some months with great results using an older smartphone my friend gave to me. You pay up front instead of monthly, but the savings are substantial.
    *My supervisor gave me some tea, chocolates, and a generous gift card to our favorite restaurant. It was such a thoughtful treat! We plan to have a date night this weekend and celebrate the end of the school year and start of summer!
    *We enjoyed a graduation party for my sister-in-law, but she asked us to bring sodas to contribute. We don’t drink soda ordinarily, but Safeway had a great sale and I was able to pick up what she requested for much less than normal.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and enjoyed the Memorial weekend!

  66. Thanks for replying, Rhonda! Now my curiosity is satisfied – I’m kind of a curiosity killed the cat kind of girl…


  67. Brandy, I store beans in the old half gallon size canning jars and I know that I just keep adding when I need more so I don’t really know how old they are. I have never checked an expiration date on the bags and if we buy at the bulk store well you never know. I doubt if I have any as old as 10 years. I do in the back of the cupboard have a premix of beans and seasonings that I won as a door prize YEARS ago at a wedding shower. It is for 15 bean soup. I should look at the date on that. As a test, if we have a day of cool weather I will cook it up and see what happens 🙂

    I don’t think I have ever heard of adding baking soda other than as a way to get rid of the the bean effects. But we always rinse after soaking which does the same thing.

  68. Sounds like a lot of work for this 3rd floor bathroom, but I am sure it will be nice. I have a jacuzzi type tub…it is one of the walk-into ones due to my arthritis but it is very very nice after a sore achey day.

    We did not have those deals at our Kroger affiliate store…watermelons were 3.99, there was no 4.99/24 pack soda as mentioned by another reader, no hot dog catsup deal. Though hot dogs were on sale, almost every brand. I did buy some for the freezer for emergencies. Other wise we prefer the old fashioned kind from the butcher shop. I did get a free bottle of catsup with a coupon but it wasn’t Heinz. Hellmans I think. Which was odd as I always buy Hellmans mayonnaise but catsup seems weird.

  69. My senior pass does not have my name or picture on it. I show ID each time so they can be certain that I am old enough. Just sayin’.

  70. Krissy and others that use Little Free Librarys, you can add books also. I keep a box of books in my car so that when I stop I have some to add for the ones I take. It is not a requirement, but it helps the patron of the box keep it nicely stocked. And thanks to all of you that use and support the library boxes…There is a blog you can follow if you are interested. They show all many and varied styles that folks have come up with over the years.

  71. Your senior pass has your signature which may even be legible enough to read your name. But even if it is not, your driver’s license should have a matching signature, which the ranger is going to look for as well as looking at the photo on the driver’s license to make sure that that person is in the car.

  72. Ooh, what clever ideas, Samantha! I just might try the beans-in-a-sock idea to make a heating pad for my neck. Thanks! I already have some chickpeas that I use for pie weights (I’ve used the same chickpeas for at least 5 years) but if I hadn’t, I totally would use that idea too! Thanks!

  73. Becky, here special needs students can continue in the public schools though age 21. Is that the same by you? Enjoyed reading about your fishing trip. Glad you finally found that lake. Your refried beans making is so much like mine. I use those same 2 cup containers. (I also have them up through 12 gallon size. So handy for freezing and storage.) I am looking forward to using the immersion blender on my next batch of beans.

  74. Thank you for your kind words, Sheila! We too are trying to get better with repairing things. My main impetus for posting this time was actually because I was so proud of my husband’s brainstorm on fixing the cutlery basket. I had multiple forks fall through so often that it was making me crazy (-ier)!

  75. Thanks for the reminder, Athenasia! I was on foot with just my little drawstring backpack, so I didn’t have any books with me to add. But I have a couple dozen that need to find a new home, so will take a couple with me next time I’m out. Incidentally, one of the books I have to get rid of is from the same book series as one of the books I picked up! I’m planning on putting my book at the same FLL as the one I got the other one from…hopefully whoever left it will find my book and we’ll have swapped! It’s always fun to see that people enjoy the same sorts of things, I’m certain if they like that book, they’ll love mine!

  76. I am thankful for this wonderful group of women who continue to inspire me in this journey of frugality. Thank you, Brandy, for your lovely photos and posts; they are so beautiful and my favorite blog to follow!

    We have had different family members visiting for three weeks, and have managed to not overspend due to a full freezer and pantry, and the garden giving us spring veggies. We have sugar peas, radishes, lettuce, kale, beet greens and chard going strong. I just picked our first zucchini this week. My little strawberry bed has put out from a pint to a quart daily and are petering out now.It is amazing how just having a few plants or bushes can give a small but steady stream of fruit. Not enough to can, but still putting fruit on the table daily. That makes me really happy as it is so fresh, and organic and no trips to the grocery to buy it. Hopefully with the strawberries dying out it will not. be long till the blackberries come on. I have a wild patch beside my garden that produces decently.

    I have been getting compost from my daughter and her family, and my pastor’s family and putting it straight into my garden trenches. I have been building a small 10×30 bed that was mulch from the power company, and it is growing my spring greens. I am continuing to add compost to it also, and hope by next summer for it to be in good shape and a fully operating bed!

    I have been harvesting lemon balm and peppermint and adding dandelion flowers to make a sun tea every other day, I flavor it with my homegrown stevia and it is delicious. It is my favorite drink along with my kombucha which I keep churning out. We do not hardly buy any beverages except for the occasional oj, and make do with freebies of milk from time to time, that I make into kefir.

    We have lots of lambsquarters growing wild, along its dandelions, that get used in smoothies, or sautéed daily. I am using chickweed and cleavers to make tinctures with too. So thankful to be learning about local wild plants to forage. There is an abundance and they are so nutritious and have multiple uses. This has become one of my favorite hobbies and things to study up on!

    We have had rain consistently for about two and a half weeks , so I have not watered at all, but the mosquitos are something fierce, I am hoping for some drier weather, yet the cool weather has been nice I admit.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week!

  77. All of our commercials here in Canada call it KD, so I thought I was safe in using just the letters. I also struggle with deciphering short hand. That’s why I usually make a point of writing the full word. Sorry for the confusion! (see, I’m apologizing like a good Canadian! ;))

  78. Lilli, I admire the way you find ways to get through the month. I was wondering how you redeem Pepsi and Coca Cola bottle caps?

  79. Oh my goodness folks-I do not live in the US and my Park’s pass is for the use of our family members-including my 19 year old dependent student daughter who was in the vehicle using it. It was not checked.

  80. I have a disabled access pass for the National Parks system and I need to show picture ID with it.

  81. Nature is a wonderful source of frugal entertainment! I don’t know if your area has rail to bike trails but they are common here. They criss cross the whole state…this is where the railway tracks have been removed and in summer are used for biking and walking or running. In the winter, snowmobiles and skiers use them. They are free…just look up the access points which will have a small parking lot adjoining. Because they were used by trains they are relatively level and avoid large hills. They sometimes go through the old rail tunnels which are very cool on a hot day. We have one that goes by our little town and is 15 or so miles long. I have actually ridden on it on a tandem bike so that I did not have to pedal so much. We also have a 1000 mile walking trail (skiing in winter) going through our area. That needs a state pass but a pass is cheaper than one movie date.

    Also, feeding the birds and squirrel is a economical source of entertainment, especially if you grow what you can yourself.

  82. Jo, just wondering, but how do you volunteer, yet then get paid for it? Is this a common thing?

  83. Kara, perhaps you should make some blackberry jam with your winfall of free berries to give as gifts next Christmas! You could make up a nice gift basket with the jam and perhaps a few other items (such as homemade bread, home sewn pot holders, a nice tea towel, or something like that). The jam would work well for both men and women, since it is a food item.

  84. Athanasia thank you for your kind thoughts 😀 .

    We managed to fit everything in with room to spare so we are happy with that. They were out of stock on around $87 worth of goods for which we have an online shopping credit for which I will use at a later date to stock up on more items we need when they come on special.

    Have a great week :).


  85. It’s definitely not common and I was surprised to find out about it after I had signed up. They reimburse $6 per shift because they can’t provide a meal break.

  86. Hi Diane, I am on my Kindle and have no clue how to post the links on it. I go to and Pepsi I don’t think all flavors have a code under the individual caps. Boxes have codes worth a couple more points. I believe Pepsi may let you enter only 5 codes per day and I am not sure about Coke. Make sure you read all the details. If you click on Cokes contest, several of them allow you to enter once per day online. I won a season pass to Six Flags last winter doing that. They all let you mail in a 3X5 card to enter the contests , but I don’t want to pay the postage. Also, the Dr Pepper bottles with the Jurassic Park logo has free tickets. I bought ( 10 ) 2 liters for 10.00 and redeemed for 5 tickets. I see that AMC theaters have a 5.00 Tuesday. I will have to check and see if ours offers that.

  87. I can bring in a car load with my pass. I think there is a limit to the number in actuality, but the two of us were always let in with the children, 5 of them. Back when they were young. We no longer all travel together like that now. But no one can use my pass should I not be in the group and I think that is perfectly acceptable.

  88. Laurie, wow, you have raspberries already! We won’t get those until mid July. My daughter said she thinks our strawberries will be delayed this year possibly not even until the beginning of July.

  89. Thanks Jo. I realized you must be in the southern hemisphere after you said you open up the oven to warm the kitchen. 🙂

  90. Lori, Happy Birthday, and a Kitchenaid mixer is a wonderful gift. Mine is now 25 years old and still works great. I used it 4-5 times a week, including kneading bread dough.

  91. Those apricots look so yummy!! Well again we had some automobile problems to fix. We own all of our cars and all of a sudden- everything needs to be fixed-LOL!! Here are the few things I got to be frugal on last week:
    – Went to a free Cancer Survival Dinner- chicken breast, boiled potatoes, salad and chocolate layer cake. Received a free tee shirt and won a very large fern plant in the raffle.
    -Donated a few things to the mail carriers food drive from stocked pantry.
    – Bought a gift certificate from Swagbucks for a wedding gift and got double points on the promo.
    – Sent a payment to the dentist bill and asked for the 3 months of finance charges to be removed- they usually do it since he is a cousin- saved $44.89.
    -Good price and deals on strawberries and blueberries. Froze for later use.
    -Did batch cooking of Mexican beef mixture- in freezer, 5 bags and one for the dinner that night.
    -Did another batch cooking- pancakes.
    -Gifted a can of red kidney beans, can of chickpeas and a large can of pimentos. Gifted from MIL- box of Rice Krispies treats, a couple of pkgs of microwave popcorn and a small bag of potato chips. Passing them on to the free table at work (except the chips).
    – Worked a lot due to the World Cup Soccer is coming up fast-took lunches and snacks since I worked open to close over the weekend.
    – Hubby and son went to in-laws for a spaghetti dinner mid week- brought home some leftovers.
    – In-laws had a cookout and since I had to work, hubby brought back some left overs.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week ahead!!

  92. Blackberry pancake syrup is another food item to make for gifts. There are also many blackberry chutney recipes on line, which can also be canned for gifts.

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