The opportunity to go on a short vacation arose and we decided to take a trip to San Diego.

To save money on a place to stay, we found an Air B&B to stay in–a little house with enough beds for everyone and one bathroom. It was our first time staying in an Air B&B house, and we would definitely do it again! For three nights, it cost us what one hotel stay for all of us would have cost. Plus, it had a full-size washer and dryer, which was really nice. We used it every day to wash swimsuits, towels, and clothing.

I did a ton of batch cooking last week for two days before we left, making blueberry muffins and banana bread muffins, soup, hard-boiled eggs, cooking pork roast, making barbecue sauce for the roast, making and freezing enough smoothie for one morning, making two kinds of cookies (including one with homemade fig jam), and making potato salad for three meals. We know that you can’t bring fresh fruits and vegetables across the state lines into California, so I made things where the fruits and vegetables were canned, frozen, or baked. This meant I didn’t have to purchase as many fresh fruits and vegetables on the trip. We stopped at a couple of grocery stores in California for some more foods, comparing prices and buying items on sale. We bought a few things we wouldn’t normally buy, but we chose carefully to make our money go as far as possible. For example, I had planned to buy grapes, but grapes were $2.49 a pound. Instead, we bought bananas for $0.69 a pound and a few Gala apples at $1.49 a pound (my normal apple purchase price is $0.99 a pound on sale, but needing some fruit, we chose the least expensive type of apple and bought just enough for our trip). I bought roma tomatoes as they were the least expensive type they had, along with lettuce.

We compared prices to go the Birch Aquarium at Scripps as inexpensively as possible. They had a family membership option that included free guest passes (one time only use). Choosing this option saved us almost $50 on our entrance costs.

We went to two beaches and parked in areas that had free parking.

We went to Balboa Park twice. We chose to pay for the puppet show there, and everything else we saw was free, including seeing the gardens, the lily pond, the fountain, exploring the huge trees, and checking out the Timken Art Museum. One of the museum docents was there, which was wonderful. She as able to answer questions my 14-year-old son had about a painting and she told him many more details as well. My children enjoyed the scavenger hunt activity that they had for children there as well. The art museum included works by Rembrandt, Peter Brugel the Elder, Van Dyck, Fragonard, Benjamin West, Albert Bierstadt, and more.

We had a picnic in Balboa Park on our last day, and drove home from there.

On our way home, as we stopped for gas, we chose the less expensive gas station in a place where we had a choice of two gas stations. We were surprised that the place that was $0.20 more a gallon was packed with customers instead of the lower-cost place across the street.



We stopped at a park on the way home to eat our picnic dinner. The children were able to play on the playground as a nice break from the drive.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Sounds like a perfectly lovely vacation !
    I finished another lap quilt this week using my new to me long arm machine. Here’s a photo: I will keep this one. I gave the one I finished last week and posted to my friend who has colon cancer. It is nice having more of these quilts finished so they are available as gifts!

    We also used up some regular bricks we were given to extend the bricks along the side of the house so it will be a nice place to place chairs for another sitting area!

    Here is the beginning of our BBQ Buffet Counter!
    The top is old hardwood flooring from 3rd floor bathroom remodel. Braces and supports from recycled fencing and deck. We’ll mortar and top counter with a daughter’s ceramic tiles from her garage(to match BBQ counters) Then moldings/facings from leftover used cedar fencing!
    Oh, and before I forget, the pavers underneath that will fill the entire area between BBQ, gazebo and courtyard area are courtesy of some sweet friends (1200 free pavers) and will finish off that area with a really upscale look!! Here’s a photo of it: and then later:

    Did a bit of bulk cooking- 2 full pans of lasagna and a gallon of chili to have ready for our busy week where I might not have as much time to cook!

    We were able to make an extra principal payment this week on our mortgage. So we’ve brought our mortgage down by 2 full payments so far this month.

    We’ve also sold some things and added the money from those to our savings account!

    We finished the final concrete step that go from the sidewalk to front porch. I showed photos 2 weeks ago when we started. Here’s a photo as Hubs finished pouring the final step. Later this week we will put the sealing coat over the whole group of steps And that will complete the project! $75 for the materials for the whole thing!

    Everything is put on hold for today and Tuesday as Hubs is having a heart procedure and will stay overnight at hospital. It went well and hopefully, within 6 weeks he will be off blood thinners for good. Since he retired and we are on a Medicare supplement for Rx, we have been paying between $200-$400 a month for his blood thinner (where before we had a zero copay! ?). So this is an exciting frugal event!

    All in all, a very good week!

    1. @gardenpat – have you looked into the GoodRx card? It’s a free prescription card that gives discounts on lots of prescriptions. There’s also apps that allow you to compare pharmacy prices s

  2. My sister and her husband have six children, and my Mom described her family preparing for a trip as like planning the moon landing. Thank you for describing your trip! I like to hear about places I haven’t been to, especially family-friendly places to visit. I hadn’t heard of the Timken Art Museum before.

    1. It’s a long weekend in Victoria, Australia and I have two additional days off. We also chose to go away. We are driving from Melbourne to a little town called Eden, about 6 hours drive away. To travel frugally we did the following:-
      1. Looked up a web site called petrol spy that provides all the prices for fuel within a certain post. I was able to find the cheapest place to get fuel close to me in Melbourne and along our journey.
      2. We took our own food most of it was bought on sale.
      3. We chose a place that has lots of free activities. We can go swimming at the beach, walking in state forests, playing lawn chess, playing mini golf, bird watching, whale watching and climbing an old light house.
      4. We’re staying at a place that is a little off the beaten track, there is a more popular tourist town an hour up the road, so our caravan park accomodation is more affordable.
      5. Like Brandy we pre cooked most of our food so that we could spend more time having fun.

      After this holiday, it’s back to work for the long haul to Christmas.

      Happy frugaling folks

  3. So, so glad you were able to take your family on a vacation together, and experience so many new things! (Also, the food you packed sounds so yummy!)

    My frugal week:
    – Using my local trading app and the bok choy I got so cheaply, I traded a batch of my Ginger Garlic Veg Soup ( for a $15 gc to Subway. I then used it with a two-for-one coupon, to buy dinner for myself and my husband, plus I still have some leftover on the card. I also traded some digital currency for a sealed container of an over-the-counter product that I use, as well as two BNIB packages of white tops from Carter’s (two undershirts and two white t-shirts) which are the perfect size for my daughter to grow in to.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Amazon, as well as redeeming pampers reward points for a $5 gc to Amazon.
    – I combined a sale on tp with a manufacturer’s promo to get a $10 gc to Swiss Chalet.
    – I used the FlashFood App (a Canadian app) to buy two mystery boxes of produce worth $40, for $8. The boxes contained 2 zucchinis, a bag of kiwis, turmeric, 2 bags of bok choy, an orange, an apple, lemons, a lime, a carton of organic grapes, several tomatoes, and a papaya. Definitely worth $8. The kiwis were perfect to give to my daughter who has a cold as they’re super-high in vit C, and the turmeric was perfect to turn into an immune-boosting beverage when I caught my daughter’s cold. I also tried a vegan yoghurt, for $1. Neither my husband nor I liked it, so I threw it in a smoothie where the taste was masked. No waste!
    – I made bruschetta using the tomatoes I got so cheaply from the FlashFood app, and some hot dog buns my sister gave me last week (that I quickly toasted from frozen while I mixed up the topping), some olive oil gifted to me, and some fresh oregano from my garden. I shared it with my mum when she visited.
    – I baked a batch of my Gluten-Free Brownies ( to use up some ground oatmeal in my pantry that my daughter didn’t like, and gave some to my mum as well.
    – I harvested about a cup of green grape tomatoes from my balcony garden, along with some rosemary, rhubarb, and basil. I used the basil to make basil mayo.
    – I made microwave potato chips for a snack one evening, and was impressed with how tasty they were! Definitely something that I’ll be repeating. I served them with the basil mayo I had made, as the dip was made with super-thick Belgian /Dutch style mayo.
    – I also made a quick Irish Soda Bread, that didn’t use eggs or sugar, so quite frugal (plus I was out of eggs!). My husband loved it, so I’ll be making it again.
    – I went to a rummage sale and bought an Eric Carle hardcover book for my daughter for a $1. It’s in brand-new condition! I love building up a library for her so inexpensively! I was also able to buy several antique canning jars with glass lids. One was made in 1960, and two were made in 1958. I love them because they have a made in Canada stamp on them, in addition to the manufacturing date. I will have to replace the rubber seals in order to use them as canning jars, but I will likely just use them as pantry storage containers. The three jars (two pint jars and a quart jar) were $2 total, so roughly what I would have paid for new jars anyway.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

        1. Thanks for the freebie information. No Krispy Kreme here but near my daughter away at college, so I forward her the information.

    1. Margaret, what is “basil mayonnaise?” Do you make regular mayonnaise and then blend in fresh basil? Or is there a special recipe? I didn’t see anything listed on your blog.

      1. It’s regular mayo with chiffonaded basil mixed in! Just chop up some fresh basil, stir it into the mayo, let sit for a few hours or preferably overnight, then stir again and use it to uo the flavour profile of anything you use mayo for! I love to use it as a spread on focaccia, when topped with roasted red peppers, but it would be amazing on freshly baked white bread with freshly picked homegrown tomatoes. You can easily make mayo yourself if you’re avoiding the processed kind that contains sugar, and it’s certainly cheaper to make mayo than to buy it. I use the recipe from the ‘Don’t Waste the Crumbs’ website often. Even for those who don’t like mayo on their sandwiches, basil mayo will change your mind!

        1. Thank you, Mrs. Margaret, I will be trying basil mayonnaise. I do have to blend my own to avoid the sugar and throwing in a fresh basil leaf will be easy.

  4. I am so glad you got to coastal San Diego with your family. The next time you visit, check out Free Flight in Del Mar by the fairgrounds. Birds, lots of birds. Little kids, especially, will find it fascinating.

    The colleges have or had a joint water sports education center on Mission Bay. The courses aren’t cheap, but if your teens (or you) want to learn to surf or sail, that’s one place you can learn from experts. I took an inexpensive boating safety class there when I lived in Pacific Beach. Most of my classmates were lifeguards and the instructor was their boss. I felt very safe the night we ventured out into the ocean on small boats so we could learn what the navigation aids looked like in the dark.

    We saved some this week when we ate out by eating only at drive thrus that had coupons or other specials.

    Mom wanted a ride through the countryside so I took her to our nearest bakery outlet. Whole grain bread for 50 cents a loaf. Whole wheat bagels, hotdog and hamburger buns for $1 a bag. All items were still fresh.

    Our bank messed up and restricted access to many safety deposit boxes for over a week last December. At the time, they said we’d get a free year as compensation for the inconvenience. But then the bill came in the mail last month. What? It took two phone calls on my part, a mention to our favorite teller, a frustrating interaction with an automated bot that was clueless, an email, and finally a return call from the person at the branch who could straighten things out. We, in theory, are all set until next fall but I’ll be asking a teller in a week to double-check to make sure their recorss don’t indicate that we owe the bank the box rent.

    CVS has been very generous with coupons for things mom and I buy frequently. I redeemed another 40% off and $5 off a $10 coupon this evening. The savings paid for our dinner.

    One ancient frugal story about fruit and governmental inspection stations. When I was a teen, mom bought a big bag of oranges in Michigan at Krogers for our trip around Lake Superior. The oranges made it into Canada without a problem. But when we tried to bring the last dozen or so back across the border into Minnesota, the customs guy said “No.” Protestations that they came from the United States fell on deaf ears. Then, my dad asked if we could pull aside, eat them all, and give the guard the peels. He said we could. That’s what we did. We each ate ate least three oranges as we were parked right at the border. (It definitely was not a busy crossing that day.)

    Check out when the San Diego Zoo offers free admission to children before you plan your next trip.

    1. Holly, is the free admission only for residents? I saw a few things that were that way but I didn’t know the zoon had anything! I will have to look!

    2. It looks like it’s an October thing. There see to be a lot of free things in San Diego in October!

      1. I’m a long three-day drive away from there nowadays and for over a decade but I think the October free admittance for kids to the zoo is not restricted to locals. You’ll have to confirm it with the San Diego Zoo and the wild animal park out by Escondido. In Escondido, you’ll have to pay for parking unless policies have changed.

  5. Lovely vacation in one of my favorite places. So glad your children were able to experience the ocean and the area around SD. There were 5 kids in my family and we took many, many day and longer trips. Staying in very inexpensive places (off season, small towns and locally owned), took lots of food to eat (sandwiches, homemade cookies, fruit, etc.) and going to a lot of free places (most of the Civil War battlefields and most beaches are free). We have such amazing memories of those trips! You are giving a life long gift to your children – and to you and your husband.

    1. My parents took us on many trips as well. Where we live, there isn’t much until you are willing to drive 6 hours minimum in any direction, so there isn’t a lot for day trips. Living somewhere else, I can see how we would take a lot more small trips than we can now.

      1. When we lived in CO we didn’t take as many day or longer trips -other than to our grandparents 4 hour away. A yearly trip to the mts to see the Aspen was about it. When I was 16 my dad had a chance to take a job in D.C. – a great job that was to last no more than two years. My folks talked about it and then asked me if I would be okay with it (the ‘Little M’s” – all our names started with M – were 11, 9, 8, 7) as we had moved so much. I said a resounding YES as it really seemed like an adventure. So off we went – my brothers were the two youngest went with my parents in their unairconditioned Pontiac that was filled with all the worldly possessions we had (long story) and we three girls stayed with grandparents until we could fly to join our parents and brothers. Given it was to be only a two year program my folks decided to take full advantage of being near D.C. We lived in MD, just across the line from D.C. Every single weekend we were off (after my parents bought a larger car with AC, lol). Ham sandwiches, a tin of Utz potato chips, homemade cookies and usually apples – lemonade or water for us and a huge thermos of coffee for my folks. Mom had developed a passionate interest in the Civil War so we went to many battlefields, Harper’s Ferry, etc. The ocean in off season and the many museums during the winter (still taking a picnic with us as the places to eat were 1. awful and 2. expensive at that time). In the end my parents ended up staying in the D.C. area for over 20 years – we all graduated from HS in MD and my youngest brother still lives there. I agree that there are places where it takes at least a three hour drive to see anything ‘different’. As we travel in our R.V. we’re learning to base ourselves near someplace with a lot to see and do within an hour or two. And I still pack a picnic and snacks along with water and tea. The big treat now is to stop at McDs to use the restrooms and get a large unsweet iced tea with light ice! Brandy – I have been reading your blog for years and I have to say I feel that you have changed my life for the better. Not just about how to be frugal and prudent but how to live a beautiful life. Thank you so much. Mary

      2. Last fall, my family took a road trip that originated in Las Vegas. We drove in a big circle–Las Vegas to Los Angeles to Palm Springs to Phoenix back to Las Vegas. I was braced for Palm Springs to be hideously expensive, but we arrived on a Thursday and discovered there were quite a few free and low-cost activities in the area: we visited the art museum, browsed the huge outdoor street market, and enjoyed the mid-century architecture. I was sorry we couldn’t stay longer–there were apparently free gardens and museums and star gazing parties (led by the Astronomical Society of the Desert) that we didn’t have time to see. It was a good reminder to me that places I perceive as prohibitively “fancy” can still be affordable, if everything is scheduled juuuust right. (Or you just breeze into town and luck out, like we did.)

        1. I have a friend in the D.C area and she shares some amazing day trips that they take. I would love to do them! But, I do have the advantage of living in a state without state income tax 🙂 so that is a blessing.

  6. Is it possible the station you used had gas with a higher ethanol content? Whatever the case, sounds like a great break from the routine. Lovely pictures!

    1. I don’t know! The lower-priced one was Circle K and the higher one was Chevron. Chevron always seems to be higher everywhere I go.

  7. -I attended the Louise Penny presentation in the city. She was absolutely delightful, very, very funny and warm and smart. She talked about how she came to write the books she did, and then answered questions, which were also warm and funny. There was a chance to donate to the local Alzheimer’s association, since her husband died three years ago from dementia, and she was matching the donations. This was also a huge boost to the independent bookstore that put on this event, since retail has been sorely tested in recent years, due to the economy and the rise of Amazon. The event was sold out, with maybe 250 to 300 people having paid for their tickets and most bought the hardcover book as well. A really fun afternoon. We received a 20% off coupon for the book store for the next month, so I will have to think if there is anything I want to buy. I am back in the city next week for an optometrist appointment, so will have a chance to use it if I wish.

    -Gas prices were 10 cents more a liter (about 38 cents a gallon) in the city than where I live. I bought just what I needed to get home
    and decided to fill the tank when I got home. I have had a lot of driving this week, so low gas prices have really helped.

    -I took my car into the garage because the check engine light was on again. It turns out a part I had replaced last month is failing again, but it is covered by a warranty. I have had two extra trips to the town next door, and no doubt will have to pay the labor, but it is a saving nevertheless. I had a free coffee and read a new decorating magazine while I was there, and I stopped at my favorite library in that town as well on my way home.

    1. Ohhh – Louise Penny. How wonderful. I am struggling with waiting for her latest to come out in paperback and am hoping that my wonderful library supporting used bookstore will have her latest in hardback. Not having a great used bookstore near by has been interesting! She seems so charming and wise and authentic – which comes across through her writing.

      1. The last book of hers I ordered through Alberta’s interprovincial library loan service, I was 120th on the request list. Fortunately, nobody kept the book very long, and it only took a few months to see it. Definitely a shorter wait than for the paperback!

        1. Hi Elizabeth M.

          I didn’t realize that Alberta has an interprovincial library loan service. Great to know! Ann

  8. The trip looks wonderful; great opportunity to enjoy moments to recreate while you are enjoying some recreation.
    This week:
    -Enjoyed a one night get away with an economical package that included a meal. It was a nice 90 mile drive thru the great fall colors and we took goodies for breakfast and lunch. The 24 hours away cost us $55 which even included the gas cost.
    – Installed a bi-fold door in our basement face-lift project. We did all the work ourselves-built a closet, dry-walled, installed all the trim, stained and varnished it before we installed, and now can enjoy our labors and the money that we saved doing it ourselves.
    -Cherished a shelf that my deceased dad had made from a fallen tree from our families property. We hung it up after I put a coat of varnish on it and the ant holes in the wood look so amazing.
    -Disappointed that I broke a terrarium that I had recently transplanted new plants into. I gathered the plants and tucked them into dirt until I could find a new glass bowl, at a good price, and now can’t wait for it to fill in a look amazing.
    -Brought out a few of my fall decorations; hung a harvest wreath by the door, a little hot glue and a few more pine cones etc. and it looks like new.
    -Downloaded a newly released Ebook, 1 week after it came out. I was on the pre-release list at our public library…I really enjoy ebooks downloaded.
    -Managed to get our 2 weeks of garbage into one bag. Local landfill charges $4 per bag. We work hard to recycle and compost as much as possible .
    -Got a shrink wrapper as a gift and started using it to freeze meat.
    -Have a great week…stay frugal everyone.

  9. What a wonderful vacation! I had a jury murder trial last week so definitely no spending except for gas. I keep almonds, dried cherries, etc in my office but really didn’t get a break long enough to go grab any. My office is downstairs and the courtroom is upstairs so I was running steps all week dealing with witnesses.. I actually lost a couple of pounds….lol. On Sunday, I had a minor family emergency with an elderly aunt and had to drive four hours, one way. Luckily, I was able to go back home the same day but it made for a long day and I was already exhausted from the past week at work. I did stop and grab an appetizer at Captain D’s for $2.99 on the way home, in addition to gas. I always look for the cheapest gas also. I found one station with gas for $2.24 a gallon.

  10. How wonderful that you were able to take a vacation! I have had great luck staying at Airbnb locations too.

    Once again, I did a bunch of cooking to stock up the freezer. At a farm stand I bought seconds of heirloom tomatoes for $1 a pound, and made a huge batch of tomato soup. I bought several pounds of ground beef, cooked it with onions and froze it for future meals. Every fall, our local health food co-op sends out coupons for the month, and the one this week was for B1G1 salmon. I rarely buy fish, but I did buy two pounds and made salmon patties. Here’s the recipe I used: . These are really good. I also made a variation of pimento cheese spread that I’m sure was completely inauthentic but still delicious.

    My fun inexpensive outing for the week was to visit a local museum that had an exhibition about the history of fashion and clothing manufacture in Seattle. My grandmother was a seamstress during the Great Depression and I love sewing, so I really enjoyed it. I belong to the American Sewing Guild, and this was one of their get togethers that a member organized. I don’t go to their events very often, but it was fun to see something of interest with others who love sewing and fashion. We were able to get free admission to the museum (due to some special offer), but the charge for the special exhibition was $12. It was totally worth it. They had a lot of clothing on display, and various short videos about the history of the industry. I was able to take the bus to downtown Seattle, so I didn’t have to pay for parking.

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – Fixed a pair of headphones with electrical tape (for the second time).
    – Donated a bag of clothing to the thrift store.
    – Dropped off several old towels at a pet shelter.
    – Exercised at home some days using dance and cardio drumming exercises on YouTube.
    – Went to the gym on other days to exercise, and also used the sauna twice (I love the sauna when it’s damp and rainy outside).
    – Shared CSA vegetables and other food with my mom. She got her cast off of her wrist and is doing well.
    – Read e-books from the library, and stopped by to check out a physical book.
    – Cooked at home, made water kefir, brought my lunch to work, did crosswords and word puzzles from the newspaper that my mom saves for me.

    Happy Fall, everyone. This is my favorite season!

  11. What a wonderful and educational vacation you had. Glad you had the opportunity to go. I forgot to tell you last week that I was glad you had found your new refrigerator.
    I went to a thrift store last week and found a black dress with a short sleeve jacket someone had ordered from the Rommans catalog. It was my size and was only $2. I canned 27 quarts of grape juice over the weekend. Now on to applesauce. We moved to this house almost 3 years ago. We owned the farm that was on 3 sides of it, and the road in front. Our neighbors wife had died 6 years ago, and after 3 years he decided to sell. His kids didn’t want it so he ask us. I was in need of a 1 story house because of my knees, so we bought it. Our son now lives in our old farmhouse. It had very steep stairs and the bath was on 1st floor and bedrooms on 2nd. This house is on 1.53 acres.. There are grape vines and a small orchard of 9 trees. 7 different Apple trees, a peach tree and a pear tree. When I made applesauce in August from the early tree I froze it. We brought our hot water bath canner here when we moved, and I think my daughter borrowed it. She couldn’t find it, so I needed one for the juice.
    I called different stores and found that Tractor supply had the enamel ones for $9.99. I went to Krogers first and got a gift card to get my 4x fuel points, then went to Tractor supply and got 2 canners
    and some jar lids. This house also has a nice cellar behind the house, and all her canning jars are still there. I have a lot of jars at our old house, but I’ll use these first. I’ve also been saving toilet paper rolls to stuff with dryer lint to start fires for the fireplace insert. Haven’t needed it yet for it has been in the 80s and low 90s. We got a light shower this afternoon. It is the first rain this month.
    I mentioned last week about the Flexible Spending Account. I received a bill yesterday for a doctor appointment I had. It was $23+. By paying It today by phone, I got a discount and only paid 21.
    Hope everyone has a nice first week of fall. Can’t wait to see more comments.

  12. How nice that you got to take a vacation! It sounds wonderful!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • My daughter brought me back tea, coffee and hotel toiletries from a business trip she took last week.
    • Had my semi-annual dentist appointment and happily took the free toothbrush and floss.
    • Ate in 5 times. One night my daughter had us over for dinner and one night we had dinner at Hubby’s uncle’s house. The rest of the week we had chili; green pork enchiladas and lettuce; chicken fettucine alfredo with cauliflower and broccoli; Cajun rice & beans with sausage; and grilled pork chops with zucchini and baked potatoes. We continued to eat out of the pantry and freezer.
    • Thought you all might like my zucchini recipe. I saute the zucchini in a small amount of bacon grease, then when it is almost done, I add about a tablespoon of shelled sunflower seeds (I keep a jar in the freezer just for this.) Delicious and a good way to use up zucchini!
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads of laundry.
    • Worked 22 contract hours. Was able to work from home all but 2 of the days.
    • Found a penny.
    • My boss bought me lunch one day. I brought my lunch the other day I went into the office.
    • Needed to get a couple of prescriptions refilled. I signed up for the Kroger prescription plan for $36 and saved at least $20 on one of the prescriptions. I will save more throughout the rest of the year.
    • Took my Dad out for our weekly lunch. I remembered to only drink water and ordered my dish a la carte, so saved a couple of dollars there as well.
    • Got 2 Carhartt t-shirts for my husband on clearance for a total of $10.74 including tax.
    • Our A/C unit’s condensation pipe wasn’t working properly. Hubby fixed it with $25 worth of parts. I can’t even imagine how much a service call to an A/C tech would have been. I have to give my Hubby extra kudos here, as he had to do the work up in our attic while it was still in the 100’s here! He also fixed our landscape drip system with $10.77 worth of parts. Again, how much would it have been if he had had to call in a plumber?
    • Kept grocery bill to under an average of $25/week.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.
    • Kept my grocery bill to just over $25. This month’s average is still below $25/week.

    I hope you all have a wonderful week!

      1. Flora, I saw your comment from last week that you live in the mountains of Randolph County. I live in Upshur County! Small world, isn’t it, made smaller by the internet. 🙂

  13. I forgot to mention that I love the black and white pictures of your children. They definitely seem to be enjoying themselves. My husband is the oldest of 11 children. I never knew how his mother did it. I am an only child. Opposites do attract. It was quite a change for me. His mom had 2 sets of twins as her last children. My husband is 20 years older than the twin boys. The twin girls were 2 when the boys were born. The boys were 3 when we got married.

    1. I am the elder of 2. My husband is the youngest of 6 (his older sister is 11 years his senior). I never imagined having a big family, but you learn as you go!

      1. I agree on the opposites attracting! I am the oldest of 6, my husband is the youngest of 5. My husband and I are close in age, because with him, the four oldest are all 2-3 years apart and he is 13 years younger that the next youngest one!

  14. Had my first week of work which is opposite end of the main stores. Which kept me from spending. Ate all meals at home except one which was planned. Made wet burritos frozen half for another supper. Hubby and I end up getting sick end up buying some meds and pop.

  15. That is great you got to take a trip with your family.

    I haven’t posted frugal things for awhile. Seems like so many expensive things here.
    Frugal things in the last week
    – I bought chicken for .99 lb, grapes .77 lb, and some other fruits but can not remember what I paid….
    – I read books from the library
    – washed clothes full loads in cold water early in the mornings
    – used dishwasher with full loads early
    – washed ziplock bags and reused
    – ate in all week except a $5 dinner on Friday night
    I can not think of anything else. I look forward to reading how everyone has saved.
    We are having a very rare lightning and thunderstorm now

    1. We got one today too! So odd this time of year! We didn’t have any rain at all in July. That’s two years in a row. Normally in July, we have a few hours of afternoon rain on one day in the middle of the month.

  16. I picked up a free sofa table and 2 free shirts that may fit our son.
    I planted some free flower seeds for winter.
    I used the coupon for free photo cards at Walgreens to print pictures that I’d taken at the coast. They turned out beautifully. I like to send notes in the mail and free cards are great!
    I found a patio table on Craigslist. They were asking $60, I offered $35 and it was accepted. I have been looking for one for a while. I also picked up some free 2×4’s listed on Craigslist.
    I have been sticking to the grocery budget. I tend to regularly creep over it, just by a bit, here and there. I am not doing that any more.
    Have a good week!

  17. What a fun and beautiful vacation! I also love staying in AirBnBs. Besides the cost savings and kitchen/laundry access, I always feel like I get a better sense of the local area than I would if I stayed in a hotel and the owners are always friendly and interesting to talk to.

    Living frugally in Portland:

    I am still harvesting tomatoes and onions and making and freezing pasta sauce. I also harvested the seeds from my sunflowers to plant next year. Should I confess I had to watch a youtube video to figure out how to do it exactly? I did! My sunflowers made me so happy this year!

    I am still trying to figure out a frugal and efficient work commute. I live 10 miles from my job. The most frugal commute would be biking back and forth, but it takes 50 minutes each way with tons of hills. The bus takes about 60 minutes and costs $5 round trip. The light rail is $5 as well but requires a bike ride to keep it under 70 minutes. Driving is always the most expensive but takes 20 minutes there, 40 minutes home. Right now I’m committing to riding my bike at least 3X per week and driving 2X per week.

    I turned a family walk into a grocery run, bringing along extra backpacks for the schlep home with groceries (in Portland you are charged for paper grocery bags – plastic bags are illegal). This will be our last run to our beloved and walkable Fred Meyer as the workers are going on strike and we want to support them — they work hard and are always helpful and friendly.

    I am slowly working on my living room and still committed to a frugal redo. I found an awesome wicker stand curbside that would be perfect next to our couch and I have some spray paint that will make it look like new. A fun thing about Portland is that everyone puts free stuff out curbside for the taking – even in the nicest neighborhoods. No need for a free sign – if it’s on the curb it is up for grabs. People even put out their garden produce and other food. But you have to be quick because of all the rain!

    I realized that my oldest son and I have the same size in shoes so when I was in need of some new runners this week, I skipped the department store and shopped from his closet. His abuelos (grandparents) always send him multiple pairs! I also was able to get him a much-needed rain jacket from my Buy Nothing group for free.

  18. Your trip sounds so exciting! I am glad for you and your family. Lovely photos too. Thank you for sharing.

    I discovered that a charity at the hospital will pay part of the COBRA expenses. This is such a relief. All funds help.

    We have eaten from the free expired food table yet again. This week we found a large number of vegetables that I have made into ratatouille, steamed cauliflower, mixed veggies for a peanut sauce and hot peppers to stuff. I also made some applesauce from a few sad looking apples and banana chips from very ripe bananas. This certainly helps me to keep on my healthy eating. All the sugary goodies were taken, but we don’t need those.

    The rest of the week has been spent mostly resting. I’ve great news from the doctors as the cancer is pretty much gone, but the treatment will continue to the end to be sure it is all gone. All that is left is one spot in the center of my core. I thank you all for your continued prayers.

    My daughter has a week off of caretaking as she attended a wedding – we had already bought her flight to get to it and she has stopped to stay with friends on the way back. In the medical emergency last summer, we totally forgot that I was going to drive her one leg of the journey. Suddenly, she didn’t have a ticket for that part of her trip back. I was able to get her a ticket for the next day using my airline miles I’ve been saving. I’m so glad it worked out fine as it can be difficult bring a caretaker and a break is in order.

    We continue to do what we can to be frugal. I’m enjoying the crackle of the wood fire especially knowing it is providing free heat.


      1. Than you for the kind wishes, Ann, Patricia and Margaret. I’m so glad of the good news as these final treatments are expected to be the worst. Having great news definitely helps me deal with the infusion side effects – which for me are, thankfully, mostly just fatigue. I am rewatching Call the Midwife on my daughter’s Netflix account. It’s like visiting with old friends while resting up.

        1. Trish, I love Call the Midwife! Good way to recover from the fatigue of the treatments.
          Grace to you.

  19. Well, you definitely had a better week than I did! (Not that mine was bad, but I didn’t get to go to San Diego). Love all of the pictures…especially Little Shovel Man! I’m glad you were all able to go.

    This was my week–
    * I canned 5 more pints of excess tomatoes = 19 pints. One didn’t seal, so it’s in the fridge and we will eat it first. These are probably the last of the canned tomatoes, since we pulled up 3 of the 4 plants. We are still eating fresh tomatoes.
    * I tried and failed to darn a hole in the toe of my daughter’s favorite socks (they have Oreos on them, LOL). In desperation, I pulled the sock over the free arm of my sewing machine and machine-darned it with a 3-step zigzag stitch. I don’t know how it will hold up, but at least I tried.
    * I shortened the sleeves on a jeans jacket that I got on clearance at Ross for $16.99. I started by trying to remove the cuff, cutting off the sleeve and re-sewing the cuff, but after about an inch of ripping a flat felled seam, I decided to do it quick and dirty. I took a tuck on the inside of the fabric and sewed it right next to the stitching–the same way you would take up the length of a pair of jeans to leave the original hem. They aren’t perfect, but no one else will know and I’m happy with the result.
    * I used a rain check for 6 more cases of #2 cans of fruit @ .42 per can. I also got butter for $1.99 lb., a frozen turkey breast for .98 lb. and a 2 lb. brick of cheddar cheese for $3.99.
    * We periodically play the credit card game for frequent flyer miles. My husband and I each got 60,000 airline miles for getting new CCs. We rarely buy airline tickets. Since we pay all of our bills in full every month, it doesn’t cost us anything and hasn’t changed our credit scores, either.
    * A friend gave us a large bowl of grapes she picked from vines on her employer’s property. Another friend gave me about a bushel of apples, with more to come if I want them (probably not).
    I joined a Buy Nothing group. I don’t really need anything, but I do have some good stuff to give away!

    I hope everyone here is having a great week!

  20. We are on a vacation as well! We drove 5 hours south to North Carolina. Spent three days in Raleigh and two on the Outer Banks. I spent the day before we left getting dinners ready to take with us. The AirBnBs we looked at were more expensive per night than a hotel with a kitchen, so we decided to do the hotels and free breakfasts. I brought our Instant Pot with us, but there were enough pans in the hotel so I didn’t need to use it. In Raleigh we went to the science museum (free) and turns out it was Bug Fest, so there were lots of extra activities for kids. There were also lots of people, but we all had fun. We drove out to the ocean from Raleigh and stopped at a very authentic North Carolina BBQ joint for lunch. All the cotton fields are almost ready to be harvested so to see acres and acres of white was so neat! At the Outer Banks, we stayed at a hotel just a block away from the beach and were able to walk to the beach. I think all the parking is free and since it’s the off season (and because of the hurricane 2 weeks ago) everything was pretty quiet. We stayed one night and spent most of the time playing in the ocean. It was a perfect memory making vacation!

    1. Lisa, I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip to my home state of North Carolina and our Outer Banks. You’re right-the cotton fields are unique and I love to see them. Some years they have to sub as our “snow” 🙂 You picked a wonderful time of year to visit the Outer Banks. With our still warm weather, absence of crowds, 70 miles of beautiful beaches, and yes, free parking, the off season is one of our favorite times. My husband and I enjoyed the afternoon at the beach today. Come back anytime!

  21. I harvested all of my tomatoes — there were only 20 and all but one were still green. I picked them because we are supposed to have snow by the end of the week. Hopefully, it will only be flurries. We are going to have a 20º drop in temperature by then. Only about half my trees have changed colour. My gardener came over and weeded for two hours — then she gave it to me saying she’d had a fantastic summer.

    I have finally been trying to sort out stuff and unpack the 50 boxes. I made a lot of progress today even if I didn’t get out there early. I filled one whole recycling bin. I recycled a lot of old, not so very good, photos but found a few treasures to keep.

    Tomorrow my window washer is coming. He will put my fountain away for the winter and clean the eavestroughs which desperately need it. I may have to get him to do it twice but in light of the forecast think it’s wise to get him sooner.

    Margie from Toronto — Interesting about your Rogers problems. my server is Telus — neither of my accounts is working but there as an hour wait on the phone today and I just couldn’t wait. I’m trying to maximize my sorting time outside while the weather is nice which means today and tomorrow.

    More about frugal savings later.

    1. I just read about the expected snow storm that is to hit Alberta & Saskatchewan. The report said it could be one people talk about for decades. I certainly hope it is not as bad as they are predicting. But in case it is, I hope you are well prepared for whatever hits your area, Anne! I’ll be thinking of you and will watch with interest how this all turns out.

  22. It was lovely reading about your trip Brandy and the photos of your beautiful children are just gorgeous!
    Kindest wishes,
    Wendy (NZ)

  23. What a wonderful sounding trip! I love air bnb too. Often you can find great deals. I used our figs and pawpaws in smoothies or a fruit salad most days. I cleaned the chicken coop, and gathered fresh herbs to add to their nest boxes and floor. The pups were bathed with homemade soap. I harvested the first of the fall kale, as well as tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, lima beans, pawpaws, chard, peppers and figs. Tomatoes were canned, and the rest were used in meals. Happy Fall!

  24. Hubby brought home 3 mini pumpkins, 4 gourds, and several tomatoes from a job he worked on

    Received $19.31 rebate from menards . I’ll save it for necessities when money is tight.

    Received a 2.38 starkist tuna rebate from their settlement. Far cry from the $25 I thought it was supposed to pay out, but something is better than nothing

    I got a free cheeseburger from a local convenience store on National Cheeseburger day. Paired with a free drink from reward points and chips at home, it was a cheap lunch.

    Cleaned out my moms cabinets, I brought home items she didn’t want: 2 boxes carnation instant breakfast, chips, bay leaves, sweet and sour sauce, tea.

    The youngest was gone to a friend’s so hubby and I used the time to go out to eat . Our bill was under $30 and both of us had leftovers for lunch the next day.

    FINALLY received a raise at work. Having your pay regulated by the state sucks. I’m not sure if it’ll hit this paycheck or the next

    Enjoyed an afternoon out at a cross country meet

    As usual, we ate mostly at home, combined errands , and kept ac off as much as I could(cooler temps finally hit this week so it’ll be off even more)

    Not so frugal: signed the 12yo for a recreational volleyball league

    1. Hi April,
      Since you mentioned a cross country meet, I thought I’d tell you about a great Christian movie that has cross country @ the center of it. It is “Overcomer” by the Kendrick brothers. It is their best movie to date.
      My husband was a cross country runner in college and he enjoyed it too.

      1. I didn’t know about this movie! I have watched several others they have made. I will look this one up!

  25. What lovely pics and so glad you got away for a family trip. We love airbnb too and find it more economical and roomier than hotels, Last week went to visit our daughter on the coast and stayed overnight in a 2 bedroom suite with a full kitchen and laundry for less than a hotel room. On a road trip today to help my friends with their tiny newborn preemie for a few days-I love newborns.

  26. I love black and white photos!
    I had major surgery 3 weeks ago and have been healing quickly but I have still had to take it easy. I have been off work for 3 weeks and have 3 more weeks before I go back to work. To prepare for this (I knew this surgery was going to happen this year) I signed up for short term disability insurance during open enrollment. We had 3 paychecks one month instead of 2 so I put the “extra” into savings. I also stocked up my pantry as much as I could.
    – I hung up a few loads of laundry. We have had a lot of rain and the humidity is high so the laundry wouldn’t dry completely on my racks so I had to use the dryer sometimes.
    -I have made all meals at home (instead of ordering delivery)
    -I made bread twice, chocolate hummus (daughter’s favorite snack), kale chips (to use up kale that was turning color), muffins (added in leftover pumpkin spice oatmeal), rice crispy treats (had the supplies in the cabinet for a year and needed using up), peach pie popsicles, creamy chicken enchiladas, tempeh tacos, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and veggies, various sandwiches for my daughter’s school lunch (although she did eat hot lunch several times over the last couple weeks on the days they were serving something she would eat), salisbury steak with mashed potatoes, chicken and dumplings.
    – I made a menu for the week using several of Brandy’s recipes
    -I’ve used citrus vinegar to clean the house with and baking soda rather than buying commercial cleaners.
    -My mom got a job where I work (data entry home worker) and used me as a referral. After 90 days I get a $300 bonus 🙂 And she gets to work from home, which is what she has always wanted.
    -I borrowed books and movies from the library.
    -Stayed home when I didn’t NEED to go somewhere
    -Used coupons at Wendy’s to get my daughter and I free frosty jr’s for a treat one afternoon
    -I took her to a local business that is like a small chuck e cheese with bouncy houses for the kids. I had a $1 off coupon I used. She was going crazy being inside for so many days due to rain. I got quiet reading time while she bounced for 2 hours.
    -I’ve been walking at a local park for free.
    -I’ve been taking my daughter to the park to play whenever I feel up to it and it’s not raining.
    -I have to take a tylenol/ibuprofen combo for chronic pain (per my doctor). I found I can get them from Family Dollar for half price compared to Walgreens
    -We only had to run the A/C 2 days last week. I have been able to just run the oscillating fan otherwise with the windows open.
    -I got 3 free magazine subscriptions using Recyclebank
    -I’ve made more of an effort to wash out and reuse zip top baggies
    -I’ve used the scalding hot water after boiling veggies or pasta outside on weeds to kill them
    -I found 2 half bags of bird seed. Our bird feeder broke so I just put the seeds in a suet tray after the suet was gone.
    -I have harvested basil, oregano, echinacea leaves for tea, mullein for tea, green onions, tomatoes, and green beans from my garden. I have saved basil and green onion seeds and replanted most of them already. I also saved the cut off tops of organic strawberries that had seeds on them. I planted them in an unused section of a raised bed. Hopefully this will create some new strawberry plants. If not it will break down and fertilize the soil. I saw another blogger do this and thought I would try it. I have also been dehydrating thinly sliced apples I purchased cheap to save for winter.
    Have a great week everyone!

  27. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos of your vacation. How wonderful that you and your family could go! I’ve used Air BnB a few times and really enjoyed it.
    I saw “Downton Abbey” the movie last week with a friend who gave me a ticket to go with her.
    I led a hike and baked cookies for the other hikers from items in my pantry.
    I canned 7 pints of tomatoes from my garden.
    I finished knitting a Fair Isle sweater last night. I started it a year ago. I had no idea how much work it would be and also took the summer off from knitting it because it is wool and very warm. I’ll block it in the next day or two and it will be ready for wearing. It’s lovely and I am very proud of myself for doing it as a rather new knitter!
    My sister and I spent some time at my mother’s house cleaning some items out of her basement. My mother is on hospice. I resisted the urge to take stuff that I don’t really need, but I took an old cast iron skillet, some freezer containers, and old wooden spools for thread that I am turning in to an art project. I also took a back seat of stuff to the thrift store (my sister took a load as well).
    Read books from the library. I also am using the computer at the library because it has Microsoft Office programs that my home computer doesn’t. I have updated my resume an and also working on a presentation for nest week that needs PowerPoint.
    Enjoy autumn!

  28. Okay, I just want to snatch up that boy and take him home with me. He is so adorable in hat and suspenders! All your kids look great, but babies are special. It’s so nice that your family got to take a little vacation. I’m sure everyone really enjoyed it.

    Ellie’s friend, I assume eavestroughs are what I call gutters. Your name makes perfect sense but I’d never heard it used. I like hearing what other areas and countries call things — one of the many benefits of reading this blog!

    I had a frugal fail recently, but I’m going to say it wasn’t my fault. The hospital told me I could take my husband home last Friday, so I drove two hours there, only to see that he would not be able to manage at home, on which his doctors agreed, but no one could could convince him to go to a rehab facility instead of straight home. Finally, one of them convinced him, so I didn’t take him home after all. That meant that I was there much longer than anticipated. I had brought a snack, but I needed an evening meal and their cafeteria closes at 4 p.m. (!). I also had to run out and buy him some more pajamas. Naturally, I couldn’t find any on sale and didn’t have time to look much; I don’t know the town well, either. I ended up paying fifty dollars for a pajama set, a tee-shirt and two pajama pants, ouch.

    I also started back on a more restricted diet for my autoimmune disease, because of the stress I’m under with my husband’s health issues. It should help reduce inflammation. That means a more expensive diet for a few weeks, but I’m looking for ways to make it less expensive. For instance, where the meal plan calls for canned salmon, I substituted tuna.

    I was able to hang out most of my laundry this weekend. We actually need rain, but the clear skies and lower humidity dried my laundry nicely.

    I used Swagbucks to pay for half of a birthday gift.

    I won a free meal at a local restaurant for having volunteered for some outreach opportunities at church. Of course, I didn’t volunteer just to try to win something, but it’s a nice bonus. I probably can’t eat there for a while due to my diet restrictions, but it doesn’t expire, so I’ll use it later or give it as a gift.

    I watched a few shows on Roku for free, thanks to the Roku given to me for my birthday earlier this year.

    I polished my black leather sale-purchased flats, which I wear to work a lot and they look new again. Polish is a cheap way to keep shoes looking great, and the polish in the cans lasts for years.

    I cooked several things at once in the oven this weekend, to save energy, heat, and time. We are still reaching 90 most days, although we are really enjoying our cool spell of nights that are finally dipping into the sixties.

    I gathered up the toiletries from my husband’s hospital room that he doesn’t use or uses his own from home — toothpaste, toothbrush, mouth wash, shampoo, body wash, lotion, comb, etc., and took them to church to give to the women’s crisis centers. The hospital won’t re-use them even if still sealed, so this means someone gets the use of them.

    As we say around here, Happy Fall, y’all!

    1. Hi Jo,

      I thought eavestroughs was the North American term but both the terms “eavestroughs” and “gutters” are used in Canada.

      1. I was born in Kentucky and now live in Florida, and all I’ve ever heard is “gutters.” Now further north, that may be different. Author Erma Bombeck used to write about “spouting,” but I never actually heard anyone call it that in person. She was from Ohio, if I remember correctly.

      2. Eavestroughs are on houses and gutters are at the edge of the roadways….that’s the terminology in Canada . We have a winter home in Florida and I have to remember to say gutters.


  29. It’s so exciting that you got to take a trip! I’ll bet it was a super fun experience. The air B and B is such a great option that was not available when we had so many kids at home. We would end up getting suites for tons of money and still had kids on the floor at times… many better options available now days:)

    I spent the week doing homeschool and working. Not glamorous, but I love having a few “normal” weeks in my life. I did work quite a bit extra with my nephew and niece, as he was sick and stayed home from school, and the kid’ dad was away on a trip. I will reap the financial benefits from that in October.

    I sent my husband to the store for a few items, but we didn’t need many groceries again this week. There were no super sales we could not live without. During the month of August, it felt as if I was buying groceries constantly. There were a couple of reasons for that, but I must be caught up at last. Whew!

    I was able to pick a few veggies from the garden. It’s almost done for the season, so every little veggie is like an extra treat at this point.

    My sister invited my daughter and I and some friends to a farm where there are fall activities. It’s something we would not usually do because of the cost, and it was very nice of her to gift us a day there–she wants my daughter to have some fun field trips this year, and is already searching out more to do later in the year. It was super nice of her to include my daughter’s friend, too. They had a blast. Pictures are on my blog:

    My daughter is still showing a renewed interest in cooking, and made some gluten-free calzones using a Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust mix someone gave us a while back. It’s been nice to eat some different foods, nice to use up an item that has been sitting around, and nice to see her showing an interest.

  30. Hi Everyone, long time admirer of Brandy’s blog and first time commenter. I’m a 50 something hairdresser & nanny. I had to raise 4 children by myself after my husband died of cancer shortly after our 15 wedding anniversary. Another son died 5 years after that, cancer as well.
    Frugality has had to be my middle name. We were unprepared with enough life insurance because we were still very young. I went from a full time homemaker to what now. I needed to be with my kids so my 2 careers were born and a stint cleaning houses. Whatever kept me home enough to be available for my kids. It’s a rough road and sometimes I don’t know how I have gotten along, except for the grace of God. He is my strength.
    The kids are raided now but 6 years ago I had to start caring for my mom. She is 95 now. I’ve also had kids move back in to get more education or save for a house.
    I’ve never had money to give them but a place to stay and my frugal ways with food have sure helped.
    This week I wanted to go to the fair really badly. There was a 2 for 1 day but I didn’t have anyone to go with. No problem, I sat at the gate till I saw an odd number of people and asked if 1 would like to spilt the cost of 1 ticket. She was thrilled and so was I. Lots of walking around enjoying the crafts and animals. I brought my own food so a cheap few hours and a nice brake.
    I had to have a repair on my refrigerator. I tried 3 times from Utube to fix it and finally gave up. The repairman did exactly the same thing as I did and says it’s a defect with no fix. I was so upset at wasting money. I negotiated with him for a huge discount because I had cash to give him. Lessened the hurt a bit.
    Cooking pie pumpkins and butternut squash to put in the freezer for all the lovely fall breads. I look forward to this season and it’s so much cheaper and more delicious if you use fresh. I’m also dehydrating herbs from my garden and cheap apples. House smells wonderful.
    Happy frugaling to all,

    1. I love that you approached someone and got them into the fair for half price! What a great idea!

    2. Cindy,

      You are truly an inspiration. It is hard enough to be a mother at the best of times but even harder when you’ve been widowed. I’m sure your children
      have great admiration and love for you. I can smell the autumn aromas in your kitchen!
      I, too, love the idea that you waited for a person to come along to split the ticket cost with!

  31. How wonderful you were able to have a family vacation at the beach, Brandy! Living in a desert, I’m sure it was lots of fun for all your children to be in such a different environment than home. Sounds like you did an amazing job at keeping the trip affordable. Loved seeing all your pictures as well!

    It’s been a busy week, with no signs of it letting up anytime soon. Our frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Dinners made at home included: chicken fingers/popcorn chicken with curly fries and green/yellow beans; BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with pickles and potato chips; breakfast sausages and broccoli topped with homemade cheese sauce; waffles topped with peaches (some also used homemade jam), whipped cream and syrup (we were low on maple syrup, but I pulled out sugar free pancake syrup from my well stocked pantry); sloppy Joe’s with corn; and sub sandwiches with homemade coleslaw.
    *School lunches this week included: tuna sandwich, cheese curd, apple slices and a homemade oatmeal chocolate chip muffin; leftover BBQ hotdog (with bun and side of mustard), apple, yoghurt, an oatmeal chocolate chip muffin and some leftover popcorn from the previous evening; baked potato ( I pre-cooked it in microwave for DD, but could make it in microwave at work) with butter & cheese on the side, apple, yoghurt, and an oatmeal chocolate chip muffin; and a tuna sandwich (2nd time this week, it’s her favourite), apple, yoghurt, and an oatmeal chocolate chip muffin.
    *Pulled out a bunch of frozen fruit from previous year (2016-2018) and used it to make multiple batches of low sugar jam. Took 2 days to make it all into jam. I made 4 pints & a half pint of raspberry jam, 6 pints & 2 half pints of raspberry peach mango jam, 2 pints & a half pint or peach jam, 2 pints & a half pint of raspberry peach cherry jam, 2 pints & a half pint of strawberry pineapple jam, 2 pints & 2 half pints of strawberry pineapple peach mango jam, 4 pints & 2 half pints of strawberry rhubarb jam, 2 pints & a half pint of strawberry peach black current jam, and 2 pint & a half pint of strawberry peach jam.
    *Made pumpkin bars (recipe link: using up the last of my pureed pumpkin from last year. I even made the homemade cream cheese frosting, to use up a brick of cream cheese that has been languishing in the fridge for a while. It made enough to use for Sunday dessert, DD’s school lunches, and left overs for everyone to enjoy this coming week. The cake was quite delicious. I found the icing a bit too sweet for my taste, but DD commented on how much she liked it. It is noted the original recipe used half the amount of icing, which might be better if I made it again.
    *With groceries this week, I bought 40lbs of carrots, 10lbs of beets and 10lbs of yellow potatoes, all of which were on sale for $1.97/10lb bag. I plan to blanch and freeze the majority of the carrots and can up the beets for winter use. By buying these super awesome deals every year in the fall, and preserving enough to last us through the winter, I save a lot of money on food costs. In the winter, a 3 lb bag of carrots costs $2-3 or often more!
    *Bought 6 bags of white sugar when it went on sale for $1/2kg bag at Walmart this week. I didn’t need the sugar. But at that price, I will happily stock up my pantry! Sugar doesn’t spoil, and I have gotten into the habit of sealing the sugar bags in food saver bags before placing in storage, to keep dust and moisture out. It works really well!
    *Found clearance bananas for $0.49 for a tray that contained 6 medium bananas. Grabbed them up to use for making some baked goods this week. Not sure what yet, but I’ll find something to use them in for that price! At the same store, I found NutriGrain breakfast bars on clearance for $0.99/box of 8. I bought 4 boxes, to use as easy, portable snacks.
    *With some room in the upright freezers (after removing a bunch of frozen fruit, poultry bones and veggie scraps over the last couple weeks), an empty freezer above our second fridge and a bit of room in our kitchen freezer, we were able to transfer contents around to defrost and clean both upright freezers this week. Only a few items needed to be purged, which I’m happy about. It was a 2 day adventure as well (my mom worked at this while I cooked & canned the jam), but we’re glad it’s done.
    *While the weather was warm, we pulled all the area rugs and smaller throw carpets onto the deck and steam cleaned them. We left them out on the deck to dry for the day, which also helps to air them out. The clean rugs were set aside, rolled up, until we have time to clean the rooms.
    *My husband, mom and I watches a new Netflix series called “Unbelievable”. It was VERY interesting! It’s based on true events about a police investigation into women who were violently raped. I highly recommend watching it, although I do admit it may be very hard for some to watch. The title is absolutely fitting for the series!
    *Finally convinced DD to watch the movie “Ready Player One”. I LOVE this movie and have watched it several times already! Just a note for anyone who’s interested, this movie’s content is designed for family/pre-teen age group (though it will definitely appeal to those who grew up in the 1980s), and even covers some internet safety rules as part of the movie. We also watched “Yesterday” which was really good as well. I think I remember someone else recommended this movie as well.
    *My mom, hubby and I have been watching America’s Got Talent and we were all thrilled this week to see Kodi Lee win this season. If you haven’t been watching, I highly suggest watching this video that includes all of his beautiful performances: He is blind and autistic, but his musical talent is absolutely out of this world!!!!
    *Hubby picked up an extra shift this week, when someone called in sick, resulting in paid overtime hours. He’s happy to do the extra time.
    *Bought a pair of sandals for myself on clearance for $5. I will tuck them away for next summer.
    *Went to a charity event at the mall with my mom and daughter this weekend. They sell tickets ($5 ahead of time or $10 at the door) which goes to various charities invited to participate (they change each year, so lots of charities can benefit). In turn, the stores have special offers for the evening, free give aways and there are draw prizes to be won. We paid $15 total for our tickets, and walked away with $30 in gift cards for the mall. I was able to pick up 2 stocking stuffers, and my mom picked up 2 calendars. We also learned about a new place in the mall that will be offering classes on video game design, computer animation, and other media art. DD wants to be an artist, specifically doing cartoon animation. We spoke to the gentleman who has started the business. He has several years experience in the media arts industry and wants to pass on his knowledge to children, teens and young adults wishing a career in media arts. He may even be willing to offer private lessons, which would work best for my autistic daughter. We were so excited to learn of such an opportunity, right here in our city!!!!

    Hope you all have a wonderful week everyone!

    1. You did great this week! I always enjoy this time of year, where the freezers and cupboards finish filling up.

      Good job on getting those freezers emptied and that fruit into jam. I SO need to defrost mine, too.

  32. I haven’t commented in a while, but I do check here every week. Not too much on the frugal front other than the usual. We eat at home, buy the cheapest possible, and use what we have. I love autumn. It’s my favorite season so my house is decorated to the max. I took all of the fall decor out the beginning of September and realized, I have way too much. I had 8 huge boxes of stuff. I pared it down to 2 and will be putting the rest in a garage sale. I always buy a new wreath for the door, but decided to use the one I had from last year as there is nothing.wrong with it.

    I love the 1940’s era. I enjoy reading and studying about the American homefront during WW2 because that generation was definitely a “make do and mend” generation out of necessity. This past weekend, one of the local businesses hosted a “Star Spangled Celebration” to honor veterans that was free to the public. This is a variety type show that mimics the shows during World War 2. A trio known as “The Victory Belles” which are part of the World War 2 Museum in New Orleans, LA, is the highlight of the show. We saw them last year and I was over the moon, so when I saw the advertisement for it this weekend, I was so excited. It’s a free show that highlights my favorite era and music. It was a magical evening. My youngest grandson adores Captain America, who was also there so he was elated to meet his favorite superhero and get a picture with him, both of them in Captain America costume. (I did not realize the Captain America character was created in this time period, very interesting!)

    Speaking of costumes…. we don’t celebrate Halloween but my two grandchildren LOVE to dress up in costumes, so we are always looking for cheap costumes to add to their dress up box. My youngest grandson’s Captain America costume, which he wears every day when he gets home from preschool, was much too small for him but he would not give it up. I had found one for 25.00 but was really not wanting to pay that much for a play costume, so I didn’t get it. My husband had to run an errand on Saturday and took the grandkids with him. They stopped by the party store, which had costumes “buy one, get one free” for 20.00. So he got two costumes for 10.00 each, a savings of 15.00 per costume. Win-win.

    I am looking forward to frugal evenings at home that include hot apple cider, coffee, or tea and homemade baked goods. I am looking forward to frugal family time that includes raking leaves, cleaning flower beds, and walks in (hopefully) cooler weather. I am looking forward to frugal camping trips. I am looking forward to restocking my baking pantry with flour, oil, cornmeal, and other baking items that go on sale this time of year so that I will be ready for another year of frugal cooking and baking. Have a blessed season.

  33. Brandy,
    So very glad to hear your family was able to take a vacation. Sounds like everyone had a good time.
    I harvested all my basil and made several batches of pesto which I froze to use all fall and winter. I shared some with my adult son.
    I was able to score 3 large boxwood plants at WalMart’s season close-out for $7.00 each. Normally these go for $30 and above each. I was really happy about that.
    My husband and I removed several large shurbs/trees that were just getting too difficult for us to maintain. They required climbing on a ladder a couple times a year to trim and shape. We just don’t want to do that at our age any more. We will replace with a low-growing shrub which will be easier to maintain. I call this gardening in place- which means we can continue to maintain this garden in our old age.
    I went to a few garage sales and got a nice like-new bath mat for $1 and a free vintage linen table runner.
    Wishing everyone a great week.

  34. The company I work for treated us to breakfast at Bob Evans. We are a small group and rarely get to see each other as we all work remotely so it was a good time of catching up.

    We got a quote on our homeowner’s and auto insurance from a local agent. With the new policy we will be saving over $1000 per year.

    For a birthday party we hosted for our son-in-law, daughter, and grandson who all have September birthdays, we served tacos and homemade cake and ice cream. I made pico de gallo from our homegrown tomatoes and jalapenos.

    After paying off our truck recently we are on a mission to live even more frugally and the next thing is paying off our credit cards. My husband will more than likely need a procedure done for his back so we are putting money aside for that.

  35. It was such a pleasure to read about your family’s vacation to San Diego, Brandy. I am so happy that you were able to go and the photos are wonderful. You have a way of doing what’s necessary to make a trip like this possible and successful for your family. I greatly admire the intentional way you run your household and bring beauty and precious memories to your loved ones. It is refreshing in this day and age.
    I am in my early 60s now. I grew up with Depression era parents who instilled thrifty values in me from a young age. I am thankful to all they taught me as I have never been in debt and know how to not spend beyond my means. They also taught me to be giving and generous.
    Anyhow, this past week my husband and I took a short vacation and flew Delta to get there. Despite being at the airport nearly 3 hours early, our suitcase was not put on the plane. It had to be expedited onto another plane and we didn’t see it until the next afternoon. Because we were seeing friends we hadn’t seen for 5 years in the morning, we made an early trip to the local drugstore to pick up some basic grooming items. It was bad enough we had to wear the same clothes for 2 days. We learned from the attendant at the rental car company that we could submit the receipt to the airline for what we had to purchase and they would refund us. When we went to the airport to return home we got there early and submitted our receipt. They didn’t ask questions and said we would receive a check in a few days which we did. I probably wouldn’t have done this except this is the 3rd time our bags have been lost and we are not big travelers. One time we were going to a funeral visitation and didn’t have our dress clothes until after the event was over. It can be very inconvenient.
    I was given a book from a friend while on our vacation. I read that one this week. I am now reading one that I took from our neighborhood book swap. We have an area in the clubhouse where you can take books you are done with or borrow books that others have left.
    One thing that happened this week that I hope helped somebody else’s frugal efforts .. When my son left home several years ago he left a large laundry hamper that had a retractable handle and was on wheels. I used it for several years in my last house. It was handy to wheel the laundry from one side of the house to the other. Now that I am in a smaller home it is easier to carry it to the laundry room so the hamper was just taking up space in the tiny guest room closet. I was wheeling it across the parking lot to the thrift store I was going to donate it to when I hear a lady calling to me from her car. She wanted to know if she could buy it from me before I donated it. She said she was 76 and had diabetes and it would make her life so much easier. I told her I would be happy to see it go to someone who could use it and she could just have it. She was so excited you would have thought I had just given her a million dollars. She must have thanked me five times. It really made me happy to know that something that had just been sitting in my house taking up space could make another life a bit easier.

    1. When I was a child, our luggage was lost over Christmas break going to St. Louis, Missouri, during a winter where it was 40 below. We did not receive it for about 4 days. My brother and I both became very ill. Even though I was small, though, I remember that my parents had talked to another woman on the flight, who mentioned that she had packed her coat in her suitcase. I have often wondered what happened to her!

  36. Brandy, thanks for the vacation stories and the exceptional photos! As someone mentioned above, your little boy with the shovels is cuter than a bug ;). I also loved seeing your kids near the huge tree and the photo of your two girls. Really great photos that brought a smile to my face.

    Frugal news from here…one of local stores has boneless skinsless chicken breasts on sale for $0.99/lb and country style (boneless) pork ribs for $0.79. So I bought four packages of each, split into portions, and froze most. My husband baked one portion of the ribs tonight and they were exceptional! It is so nice to have a fantastic meal at home that tastes better than going out ;). We baked one of our two remaining turkeys (from thanksgiving sales last year) last week, and split up into meal portions for the freezer and meals last week. Bit by bit we save on meat and fish by buying on sale and freezing.

    Many of our friends are complaining about large cable tv or cellular bills, so I offer them advice on alternatives. Alas, most folks don’t really want to change enough to save money. For example, we do not have cable anymore, We watch tv via an antennae and Roku/ internet. All of my friends say that can’t give up certain channels…so they pay $100+. I do not understand but then again, I will spend money on things important to me. And clearly cable tv isn’t one of them ;). I guess I need to remember we are all moving at the best pace we can. And as I type this, when I was 30, if someone had said to me to give up cable tv, I would have thought they were crazy. My priorities were certainly different then.

    Hope the monsoon has made it north to Vegas.

  37. Attended a wine dinner. Took advantage of the $10 take home meal. This gave me at least 3 meals worth of “leftovers”. With the addition of some mashed potatoes and broccoli, probably 4. Took a dessert to a friend’s BBQ. She sent me home with leftovers sufficient for 2 meals. A friend puppy sat for me so I could go out one evening. Picked up 2 new fall dresses on sale.

    Picked up medication refills at the base. No OOP. Love Tricare.

    Rereading old books from my personal library. Compiled a box to take to the used bookstore and a list of books I want. Trading some hardcovers for paperbacks to take up less space.

    Work on the house continues. Getting quotes for giving the built-ins in the living room a facelift/update versus replacing them. Making a list of plumbing issues for the plumber to take care of when he installs my new instant hot water. Making a list for the electrician as well. Ours will give better prices if they come for a half or whole day versus a 1 hour job, so it is worth making a full list. Hoping to schedule all 3 trades, the car service, plus the veterinarian for the same day.

    Received an invitation to attend a bourbon tasting , a round of golf, and a spa day at a golf/country club we were considering joining. We will take them up on the offer, but will NOT be joining as the initiation fee is ridiculous.

  38. The photos are great. I am glad you got the vacation with the kids.
    Not a real frugal week as 3 of our 3 dogs had to go to the vet, so we took the 3rd and had her check. Instead of the normal fee for office appt for 3 dogs, the Vet charged us for 1 as we had been in the week before. Rascal has a tumor, surgery probably in Nov ( est of cost given), Wilbur had a light stroke that only effects the left side on his mouth…didn’t slow down his eating at all. Charlotte fine.

    Hubby lost his hub cap on his truck that protects his lug nuts and had to order one. Got the truck maintenance done while there and found I was correct that he needed all 6 tires. They did tell him that he would need rotors on the brakes next time and quoted him a price so he could save up for it and it would be a 2 day job.

    We have been given lots of produce. I had ordered 100 lbs of tomatoes (some to share with mother in law) and the person gave us free 50 lbs of green tomatoes as he knew I freeze them in slices for winter and he was clearing his hoop house for the year.Two other Amish caught up with Hubby while he was out on jobs and gave him corn and more tomatoes.

    Our 4 rooms that had bad paint was repainted. Was suppose to be 4-7 days but the company sent top of paint line and it did the job in 1 coat , few fumes and dried in 1 hr so they could see how it was…. done in 5 hrs A crew of two that was very professional and GREAT at their work. Now I can fall clean and do the insulation stuff the energy audit showed needed done.
    Blessed be everyone

  39. I enjoyed reading about all the family vacations in this week’s post! I am fortunate that my parents prioritized travel when they could with the whole family.
    My favorite frugal find last week was a pre-made-veggie-and-dip tray at my grocery store, with carrots, celery, broccoli, pea pods, cherry tomatoes, and dip, for 99 cents. The regular price was $10.99! Some of the vegetables we ate with the dip and some I put in soup.
    My last fall plant, the Japanese Toad Lily, started blooming this week That is a sign of seasons changing. My petunias are still going strong; I got some pansies for a treat; my moonflowers bloom every few days. (I understand those are invasive in some parts of the continent, but they aren’t here).
    We powered through the paperwork and found health coverage for much less cost. Yea!
    Catching up on the comments here was my treat for the day, and now I need to get to work. I have a preliminary job interview tomorrow and have to do some preparatory research to get ready. I am not sure if taking the position, if offered, is a good move for our family, but we will see what opens up before us.

  40. How exciting for your family to go on a vacation! I’m so happy for you that finances and timing worked out.

    • Made ramen and used up leftover meat and veggies
    • Redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
    • Picked up books and a movie I ordered through interlibrary loan
    • Listened to a free webinar
    • Used a 50% coupon at Michaels
    • Baked two items and entered in our local agricultural fair: cinnamon star bread (KAF website) and tomato roulades (modified filling but used recipe on Assortment Blog). I had never made the cinnamon star bread before and it was relatively easy and looks so impressive! The hardest part was rolling out the circles to match each other exactly. If this wasn’t for a competition, then I wouldn’t have been so fussy. I won Best in Show for the tomato roulades!!
    • Listened to an audiobook on Hoopla for free while I picked 5 pounds of raspberries at a local farm
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Hung all loads of laundry out to dry

  41. 1. Entered coke codes & got 2 free movie tickets, 2 large drinks, & large popcorn. (I estimate worth about 50$ at the movie theatre.)
    2. Best friend gave me a bag of clothes to donate to my church’s clothes closet. She suggested look thru them 1st. Found several pairs of jeans & fall pants for me. A pair of shoes & shorts for my husband also were in the bag. The rest of items went to church.
    3. Used a credit card offer for 5$ off a 30$ purchase of gas. My little car barely holds 30$ worth so I drove until gas gauge low (watching carefully of course).
    4. Used my airline voucher (earned last year for giving up my seat) to book my ticket for Spring Break.
    5. Found an old Singer Sewing machine with wood cabinet on the curb in my neighborhood. It is 1970 vintage. It works & will be taken to my condo in FL so I will have it for clothing repairs, etc.
    That’s all I can think of for now!

  42. Sounds like it was a nice little vacation! Since last time,
    *The gorilla glue worked on my daughter’s cleat which was good because the other shoe began to separate as well. So I fixed both shoes for about $5, and I still have the bottle of glue for future use.
    *My mother in law arrived today for a few day visit from out of state, my husband set up the extra bed previous owners left behind for her in the empty upstairs apartment, along with a side table. The bed is like new, and it’s nice that we didn’t have to make one of the kids sleep on the couch this visit.
    *We needed to buy two new toilets for the downstairs apartments so we went to Lowe’s and then Home Depot to price compare. We found one we liked at Lowe’s, but then found an even nicer one of the same brand on sale for $20 less at Home Depot. So we saved $43.20 by shopping around. I also signed up for text messages from Home Depot and received a $10 off $100 purchase coupon upping the savings to $53.20. He installed the first one today himself. We should use less water with these new ones.
    *We needed shampoo and a few groceries and I decided to use Walmart grocery pickup since I was already going to be near that store this afternoon. My order included a 12 oz bottle of shampoo and they didn’t have it in stock so they replaced it with the 26oz bottle of the same type of shampoo for no extra cost.
    *I started setting up the coffee maker for my husband the night before, so he can just plug it in and it will do its thing. He had stopped making it at home and started buying a cup of coffee on the way to work. It doesn’t bother him to spend $2 per day, but it does me so I decided I’d just take over it for him and save $10 per week.
    *Took advantage of the free art time at the library again
    *A friend loaned me a glass cake baking pan after I asked instead of buying one. I seem to be missing an entire box of baking dishes, I’ve checked boxes in storage and can’t seem to find it.
    *Our amazon prime subscription ended, and I chose not to continue it. We had gotten the student discount while my husband attended our local college, and me he is finished so we chose to drop it for now.
    *My older daughter was taken out to dinner with a friend’s family tonight. They sent her home with a whole BLT pizza for the rest of us (yum!). So instead of making dinner tonight, we just ate that and leftovers
    *Another friend gave us a few bags of arts and crafts supplies for the kids to use. They’ve been creating for days.
    *And another friend is giving us a toddler bed mattress for our toddler and a baby swing for the baby we are expecting.
    *And then another friend is also giving us some baby clothes.
    Writing this out is making me realize how great my friends are to me and my family. It’s really awesome.

    1. We have had another lovely week here with much cooler weather. I purchased Halloween candy this year for the trick or treaters at Kroger for 50% off.. Last year for the first time, we had quite a few children show up . I chose bags of candy that included a redemption code for a free movie ticket. We obtained 5 and will use them to see the new Adams family movie. I received a gift card in the mail for a survey I did. I once again chose to buy baby Henry more goods. While at a large salvage store I was able to get two large cases of diapers, a case of overnight diapers and a case of wipes. I think my sweetie is covered for about 9 more months. I checked all my swagbucks rewards and was missing one. They kindly added it in. I’m probably going to use them for Christmas shopping. I’m finding more frequently they don’t credit so I keep a close eye on them. I also am in the process of entering coke caps for free movie tickets. I used 4 different coupon companies to get 4 prescriptions for my daughter. It was annoying to use a different company for each prescription but it ended up being much cheaper that way. I bought canned beans this week for a quarter a can. I haven’t had any luck with dry beans, they are always hard. I’m hoping to get 100 cans of them. After finally getting all our back SS issues resolved, I had more good news. My disability was approved. I also was given medicare. I’m very grateful for always filing and paying my taxes. I never would have guessed I would be injured and disabled at age 50. I’m smiling big today. Sadly I witnessed a pet get hit by a car today right in front of the vet office. I stopped my car, stopped traffic and scooped her up. I ran her inside and handed her to the vet. She belongs to a very old lady who didn’t seem to understand what happened. I called tonight and she’s okay. This is where we take our puppy princess. I told the receptionist if that little old lady couldn’t afford that bill to call me. That lady was easily 75-80. I was traumatized by that. I don’t know what I would do without my cocker spaniel. Honestly I think she saved my life when I lost my husband and 3 youngest kids. I want to make sure that the lady and dog are secure. I’ve had so many blessings this month I just need to share. Life is full.of joy today.

      1. Lilliana, when you cook beans from dry, they take about 4-6 hours of cooking to soften. Do not add salt while cooking, or they will never soften.

        What is the deal with the candy and movie tickets? Which candy is that?

  43. FRUGAL
    * Made a flower arrangement from backyard flowers
    * Breastfeeding, cloth diapers, composting
    * E-bike and cargo bike trips where possible
    * Line drying (not enough but better than nothing)
    * Harvested black walnuts, yellow tomatoes, apples, figs and one tiny watermelon from the garden
    * SCRATCH COOKING: Homemade coffee, granola, peanut butter, yogurt, plus two homemade sodas (strawberry soda from strawberry tops, and pineapple soda from pineapple peels & cores), plus several main meals
    * Started lupines from seed and planted out some rooted spearmint that I’d collected from a mall parking lot
    * Picked up a hanging plant pot from a trash pile in an alley
    * Enjoying photographing bird and insect visitors to our yard and identifying them through the free iNaturalist app
    * Used a coupon code and bought factory seconds to save money on my favorite self-watering seed starting pots from Orta Kitchen Garden in Oakland
    * Parked at a meter instead of the more expensive underground lot when taking my kids to the pediatrician for their flu shots
    * Used rewards/points for “free” food at Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A
    * Got a free and fast flu shot for myself at a drive-through immunization event near my house
    * Made a roasted cauliflower crown and then crispy cauliflower leaves as well
    * Met a friend of a friend who just became a foster mom for a picnic at a park; our babies are the same age and we had a great time chatting
    * My neighbor is a very talented guitarist and we get to listen to him jam in his garage late at night after the kids are asleep. I’m not sure if he knows we can hear him but he’s very talented so it’s a treat!

    So glad you enjoyed your getaway and thanks for sharing with us

  44. So glad you were able to get away. It’s nice to be able to make memories. When my grown children talk of their fondest childhood memories, it always includes trips we were able to take (on the cheap!). Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were fried eggs with beef smoked sausage and biscuits, tomato basil fettuccine, broiled london broil with green beans and cheesy potatoes, cheeseburgers with corn on the cob, steak fajitas with corn on the cob, sauteed shrimp with baked potatoes.
    *Accepted a free lunch, a donut and a snack cake at work.
    *Walked with a friend for free fellowship and exercise.
    *Attended a gospel singing that had a meal provided.
    *Earned $2 reward at FL while buying salmon on sale for $4.99/lb.
    *Used $5 off $25 coupon at DG to get $5 worth of candy for free in preparation of our church’s trunk or treat.
    *Washed bathroom rugs, shower curtains and liners.
    *Ordered nasal decongestants from DT’s website that my local store doesn’t carry. They will be shipped to the store for free so I can pick them up.
    *Made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting all from the pantry and served that with meatballs from the freezer for bible study.
    *Met my daughter, son-in-law, brother’s family and parents at a town that is central to us all. We each picked up our own food and met at a historic picnic area.

  45. I’m so glad you got to take a vacation! Making memories for your children is something they’ll remember a long time. We love Air B&B too for a cheaper option!
    – I took an old carseat in to Wal-Mart and got the $30 gift card using it to buy needed groceries. So thankful!
    – we had lower 60* at night so I opened windows and used a fan to blow in the cooler air then closed them in the day.
    -line dried all laundry as usual
    -made our own ice cream with free farm milk
    – menu planned as usual and used up some more from fridge and freezer.
    -didn’t eat out all week but cooked each meal from scratch
    – I dried 5 quarts of apple slices and was wiser doing it in a room we don’t have the A/C vents open in.

  46. I’m glad you were able to take a nice vacation Brandy!

    I had surgery on Monday. I can’t believe how well I feel today. I had two tumors one the size of a football and the other a grapefruit. Pathology cane back as no cancer! But they said they are going to test all of it and let me know if it is cancer or nor. I am hopeful. So they didn’t see cancer in me but they didn’t test the entire tumors that day. I was terribly afraid of the pain. But pain meds are great! Our internet was down. My husband drove me to the library and I am using their internet. I’m feeling pretty good right now. I can’t lift a lot. I’m not supposed to do housework yet or drive for 3 weeks. But I can sit up. My big frugal event is that I only stayed in the hospital one night. And that I didn’t have a nerve block or epidural after surgery. I felt that the pain meds were enough. I’m truly amazed at what I can do already. I can walk better and breathe better than before the surgery. I’m in a bit of pain. I have no idea how much the tumors weighed. But I am going to ask on my follow-up appointment. I am blessed that my husband has taken care of me when he gets home from work and he had two vacation days off while I was in the hospital. my mom came by the last couple days and helped me too.. Tomorrow is my birthday and I am thinking about asking my mom if she would stop by a pantry for my birthday.

    1. I’m thinking of you, Tammy, and praying that the final test results will be good. It sounds like you are off to a good start on your recovery!

    2. Tammy, wow. Those were big tumors. So glad for you that they were not cancerous and hopeful that the final results will be the same. It’s wonderful that you feel so well already and haven’t required the more significant medications for pain management. Enjoy your birthday. Wishes for a speedy recovery!

    3. Tammy:
      So glad you are recovering well from the surgery! Much love to you always!
      Happy Birthday!

    4. Tammy,

      It was so good of you to visit the library to use its internet. I’ve been hoping and praying for a good result all week. So you can imagine my joy when I
      saw your post! I am happy that they were benign and hope and have my fingers crossed that the final result is the same. It’s great that you are feeling so much better and are doing so well! Take it easy for a few weeks, will you????

      And Happy Birthday! Don’t feel you have to go to the library but when you can keep us posted! I feel like dancing for joy! Ann

    5. Happy Birthday, Tammy!!! What a wonderful gift you were given this year. I, too, hope the tests come back confirmed negative for cancer. I’m so glad everything is working out and you are recovering from surgery so quickly. I most definitely agree, pain meds are amazing!!! Looking forward to hearing more of your frugal adventures soon, Tammy! For now, take the time to rest and heal.

  47. Last Thursday, I was laid off my job. I have been working for 40+ years and that has never happened. The company is having financial issues and they laid off 7 executives at once. I am now in need of a job, but I am unsure if I really even want to return to work. This event is a few years too early for me to retire (I am 55) and we were aggressively paying down our mortgage. We will not be able to continue to do that on my husband’s salary.
    I am trying to convince myself to enjoy the time off, but I have worked and been driven for my whole life.
    I am glad to come to this blog and get inspiration for living on less.
    This week, I have sold items on Mercari ($130), turned off the AC during the day, learned how to monitor our electricity usage online with the power company, bought mark-down meat, and I am going to be trying to use things up and not buy anything unless completely necessary.

    Thank you all for the inspiration.


    1. Lisa, I’m sorry to hear about your job.

      What a blessing that you have been aggressively paying down your mortgage. That will make it so much better for you as you head into the retirement years.

      If you think you want to stop working, why not be driven to learn some new skills that will help you to save money at the same time? Perhaps making bread, making some meatless soups, and starting some hobbies that you can use to make gifts for Christmas and needed items for your family. Do you have a garden? Fall is a wonderful time to plant fruit trees. If you don’t have a garden but have some sunny areas in grass, it’s a good time to clear a spot of grass and cover it for the winter with black plastic or cardboard in order to kill the grass there for your garden area in spring.

    2. Lisa,

      So sorry to hear of your sudden job lost and pray that you are able to find ways to save and to be able to enjoy being at home. I will be thinking of you.

    3. Lisa:
      I am so sorry to hear of your company’s troubles, and that you were caught in their seemingly drastic way of dealing with them.
      Your losses are legitimate reasons to grieve, and it takes time to reconcile and re-balance yourself. Missing work and purpose and the people you worked with is a horrible feeling.
      You undoubtedly have skills from your experiences that you are so used to having that you might not realize how valuable you could be to another employer.
      In a similar situation, my husband and I found that people are kind and want to help, Certainly you will find ideas on this site!
      File for unemployment, (guessing you are in the states). Your employer paid that money in in the past for you to use now.

    4. Sorry to hear of your job loss. You will find many great ideas on how to save on this website. Another great resource is the Complete Tightwad Gazette book.

    5. Wow, lay off’s are so hard to handle. One minute you have a good paying job, the next you are wondering how you are going to make things work without that income. I totally understand you feelings of turmoil, Lisa! As you consider what to do, perhaps you could think about finding or creating a job that you could do into retirement. Is there somewhere you’d like to work, even if it is a lower paying job, that would pair well with your work life slowing down? This might be a great time to find a “fun job” with less stress involved. Alternatively, could you start your own small business, offering skills you’ve developed over those 40+ years of working in this business? By doing so, you could set your own pace and hours. More and more I am realizing when something like this happens, it is fate interveining and if I listen closely, the reasons for the intervention will come clear in time.
      In the intrim, looking at ways to be more purposeful with spending the money you do have coming in is always a wise move. It sounds like you were already on this track with trying to pay down your morgage. Obviously you will have to re-examine your strategy, but staying positive as you do will definitely help! Lots of great ideas shared here and we look forward to learning from you as well. Best wishes and good luck as you move forward from your job loss, Lisa!

    6. Lisa,

      This is tough. I am in a similar situation. I am hearing of more women our age losing their jobs at the point where we are supposed to be considered experts and at the top of our game. In my case, my position wasn’t replaced by a certified person, but a long-term and far less expensive college student substituting. However, I had been working away from home and, the lack of salary and COBRA payments notwithstanding, I am much happier to be back in my home. Hold in there and look for the positives – however small!


  48. Lisa,

    Sorry to hear that you’ve been laid off. It is remarkable that it has never happened in 40+ years! It happens to the best of people and the fact that the company did it because it was/in trouble may make it easier to explain and get a new job. I think you might look right away and apply elsewhere but enjoy the time off, too. I hope something comes along soon. In the meantime, enjoy some time for yourself. Ann

  49. We are having a major storm. I cancelled our scholarship, grant committee meeting and am glad I did so. My fear was that we’d get to the meeting but have freezing rain when we left for home. Better safe than sorry.

    Given the snow and the hard frost, I am glad that I harvested my tomatoes green about a week ago. I ate the first ones today.
    I am buying 10 pounds each of beets, potatoes, onions, and carrots. Price is 10 pounds for $3.47 (buying them at Superstore and No Frills — a friend is buying them for me). I plan on making lots of stews and soups for the freezer. I looked to see if Brandy had a recipe for onion soup but could not find one — I don’t think it will be too hard.

    The snow will probably melt quite quickly as the temperature starts going up on Tuesday. I had to hastily bring all the boxes I was sorting and recycling inside so the hall is full but as soon as I can sit outside again I’ll take them back outside and make progress.

    While the soups, stews etc. are cooking (I can hardly wait for the steamy aromas), I will resume labelling photos so I can assemble photo albums and finally mail them off. One will be a Christmas gift for my brother. That will clear out another whole box.

    I phoned Mount Royal (another university here) and asked about the Adobe InDesign course. Our printer said if I can lay the book out on Indesign it will save us a lot of money. MRU has a two day course on InDesign coming up and I think our society might pay for me to take it. I will hopefully negotiate it with the university that the book will be an assignment for the course and that if I cannot complete it during the course they will (hopefully) let me use the computer lab to finish it. It would be acquiring a new skill for me and hopefully at no cost.

    1. One onion per person 🙂 and cook them on low for 40 minutes until they are caramelized. Add broth and a little thyme. Pour into bowl. Top with slices of French bread covered with cheese (I would prefer Gruyere or Emmental, but I use mozzarella for price reasons) and put under the broiler until the cheese is browned.

      In Design is pretty awesome! I am still learning it (no course right now) and you’ll love it! There are also You Tube tutorials.

    2. Ann, I am in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and we are catching the edge of the big storm. It has snowed all day, with more due tomorrow. This is only the second time in my life I have ever seen snow in September.

      1. Hi Maxine, I’m in Calgary — at the moment, we haven’t received the full blast of this storm but further south and west it’s snowed a lot!
        Apparently it’s coming up from the south. We are supposed to get a lot today and tomorrow. We usually do get an early fall snowstorm; one can only hope that it all melts and we have a few weeks of lovely Indian summer! Stay safe and warm!

  50. It has been another hot , dry week here in N.C., we are in a moderate drought. So the watering seedlings continues hoping the seedlings make it. I am still hauling manure from my neighbor in buckets, and compost from my daughter to amend my beds. Tomatoes and peppers are the only things left to pick from the summer crops.

    I found s shirt on clearance that I needed for cooler days ahead.

    My husband taught a marriage seminar about 50 minutes away and we get to stay for free at the lodge where it is held. All the meals were covered and we even brought home some leftovers from the last meal, I took advantage of the treadmill there and we walked during his breaks.

    Brandy, what a lovely vacation you planned for your family! The photos are beautiful too. Hope you enjoyed yourselves!

    Hoping everyone has a blessed week, and it is fun to see some new names!

  51. Brandy,
    Thanks so much re onion soup. Do you think inDesign is hard to learn? I am going through my Mac Pages version of the book and making it into a Word format. In the middle of the night, I realized I have made an error in the text in one of the chapters so I am rewriting that chapter. Once it is in a Word format I should be able to import it into InDesign. I hope!

    1. What I’ve done so far isn’t too hard, but I’m using a template and modifying it. I would love to better understand creating my own things from scratch in it. It would go faster! It’s not overly difficult, though!

      1. Hi Brandy,

        I feel better about it thanks to your comments. I will be using some templates but hope to learn how to do it from scratch. Thanks, Ann

  52. What a busy week for most of you! Lisa, I hope you work out a satisfactory job situation soon, that is enjoyable for you also.
    Our past week was interrupted by a slight mishap my husband had, but with good results from it. We were out and I had stopped to use the ladies room and he was leaning on the wall opposite while waiting for me. Just as I came out of the ladies room, I saw him fall over to his right and on to the floor—and could see from the look on his face that there was nothing he could do to stop himself. He was wearing glasses and landed face first, breaking the glasses and getting a slash across his face just above the eyebrow. It bled quite profusely, as head wounds usually do. Staff members called an ambulance which took him to the hospital ER, which was only a block away. Another staff member showed me the interconnected walkways so that I arrived at the ER before he did, without having to go outdoors at all. They ended up admitting him overnight to investigate the reasons for his fall, which I found out from the ambulance crew was caused by an irregular heatbeat in the form of atrial fibrillation. It continued overnight while the doctors considered ways to convert him back to a normal rhythm. They started him on drugs and he converted himself, saving at least another day of hospital care as well as a possibly uncomfortable procedure! So we were able to bring him home the second day about dinner time. Since we live a whole hour’s drive away from where this occurred, we were happy to get home quickly.
    His dementia made him the patient from hell for the middle of the night nurses, and he was quite disoriented the whole time, actually. He was very uncooperative and confused when the family wasn’t there, and they had to send a nurse in to keep him company in the wee hours, or he would be attempting to get out of bed. My DD and grandaughter were distressed at seeing him act out some behaviors we don’t see at home. I said they might have sent him home because they didn’t want him there another night! My daughter and grandaughter and grandaughter’s boyfriend were there most of the same hours as I was, with a few extra for my grandaughter because she lives much closer to the hospital. It was great of them to spend so much time there and they were fetching us food and drinks, and bringing in better tasting stuff from their favorite stores too. I did give DGD some money towards all the things she brought us, but I don’t think it covered the expenses–just happened to be money I had with me. She handed me a sandwich that had a $7.99 price tag on it!! It was lovely turkey salad with cheese and cranberry sauce, and it was big enough so that my husband ate half and I ate half! They had withheld his breakfast for a test and it was tastier than what they sent him for lunch! Probably not on his cardiac diet which he is supposed to follow now. I’ve been on it for years but cheat a bit here and there. I was looking at my heart association cookbook today to see how to get back on track a bit more! I can’t stand low fat cheese so I cheat there a little, We don’t eat huge amounts of cheese, but when we do eat it, I make it count. I buy extra sharp cheddar so I can use less of it and still have some taste! Mozzerella is naturally lower fat, so much of what we use is that. I will review the diet plan and try to save more fat from our diet–wouldn’t hurt me at all to lose a few pounds–slowly of course.
    As soon as we got my husband into the car and out of the hospital, he began to be less confused. Also the first night at home, he slept 14 hours, very soundly! I almost couldn’t wake him up for his last pill of the day, but five minutes of nudging and calling finally did it! Yesterday he was much better and not eonfused at all. Mostly he can’t remember well, but is good with just me at home and able to do some basic things when reminded. He is not confused much at home and if he is, is not afraid to ask me to set him straight. Less willing to ask strangers.
    So we are pretty much back to normal now—with a couple new medications for him and a slightly stricter diet plan. We will have a visiting nurse for a month so that he transitions to the new plan and the nurse will watch his BP, heartbeat, etc. more carefully for that time.
    I was not happy at all with the one night I spent at home with just the cat! I didn’t even sleep as well in our bed without him. Transitioning to widowhood, according to my friends and one sister, is not as easy as it looks. I do think my husband has some time left before I need to think about that, but I do not look forward to it at all. In the meantime, I plan to get going better on the decluttering project as the weather cools–it will fill the hours and give me a good purpose to get things done.
    I did cook at home when we were home this week, and simply didn’t eat much when we were at the hospital. The food is good enough, it’s just that your whole schedule is thrown off by the situation. Rushing out in the morning with little or no breakfast and not missing it until lunch time, and then not wanting too much. I am completely turned off by LARGE servings offered by some places. Makes me feel like not eating at all. We are OLD and don’t need huge meals three times a day! We snack on apples or other fruit if hungry between meals. There was a Tim Horton’s in the hospital, and a warm bagel makes a fine lunch for me, not just a snack. Grandaughter offered us green smoothies which don’t appeal to me much, but I did taste one and they aren’t quite as awful as they look! She and the boyfriend drink them regularly. The boyfriend is 6’4″ and quite thin. I don’t think he ever fills that body all at once.
    Enough! I need to go plan a healthy dinner and get something out of the freezer to thaw. And write a couple checks and do my end of the month accounting.
    Those who are healthy should stay that way, and those recovering should continue to make progress!

    1. A bagel is often over 300 calories. I love bagels, but for my size, that is enough calories for a whole meal! And I would not be full with just a bagel.

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband, Marcia. I hope he heals well.

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