Monday, July 14, 2014

Simple Blessings From the Garden: Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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The garden's abundance this week was wonderful. I picked peaches and figs from the trees. I cut grapes and cucumbers from the vines, picked tomatoes, cut green onions, parsley, and basil.

I also dug my garlic (later than I should have!). Being spring planted, the garlic is small; I will keep it to plant again in fall for a harvest next spring.

I shared grapes with a couple of neighbors.

A friend, from whom I won a basket of tomatoes at the service auction, had such an abundance in her greenhouse that she gave me 3 1/2 baskets of tomatoes, plus a small head of cabbage and a few small cucumbers. I canned 11 quarts of tomatoes and we ate the rest fresh.

I made sauerkraut  (with the cabbage I was given) for the first time. It was incredibly easy. I am going to let it ferment a little longer still; the Ball canning book says to let it sit 3-6 weeks before canning. I may can it or I may end up just refrigerating it. I have been wanting to try making sauerkraut for a long time. This was so easy that I will definitely make some for canning in the future.

I made 17 pints of dill pickles with the Armenian cucumbers from the garden.

I canned 12 quarts of peaches and  9 quarts of grape juice.

I planted some more seeds in the garden in blank spots.

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary with a nice meal at home. We used a gift card that we were given years ago to go to lunch later in the week.

Williams-Sonoma was across the street, and I needed to replace my silicone spatulas (I really like their spatulas and the ones I had for a decade finally wore out). I had received an email in the mail for 15% off my entire purchase from them (since I hadn't bought anything from them in so long!), which was perfect timing, since I had planned to stop by while we were across the street. When we got there, I found out that the spatulas I wanted were 20% off. I was able to use the coupon on top of the sale to get 3 spatulas for $16.51 with tax. I use these every day and I was thrilled to get such a great deal on them.

I used some Zulily referral credit that I had to order a couple of Christmas gifts for two children for nothing out of pocket.

I needed a couple of items from Michael's to make some things for Cyrus' birthday. I went on their site before going to see if they had a 40% off coupon that I could print. They had a 50% off coupon that was for that day only! When I clicked on it, I saw that they had some other coupons as well for a few of the items that I needed. I purchased some bulk paintbrushes with a 40% off coupon on brushes. These will be used for art assignments for the children.  I purchased some  stretch beading elastic with a 40% off jewelry making supplies coupon, which I'll use to make Christmas gifts for the girls.They also had a 20% off Wilton baking items, which helped with the cake decorating items I was buying.

I combined that trip with one to Kohl's, where I used a $10 off $10 coupon to get some underclothing for a daughter for $2.16 out of pocket.

I did not purchase any food or toiletries last week.

The electric company sends me weekly emails telling me how much my bill is so far and how much (based on my usage so far for the month) they think my bill will be for the week. Last week brought several "cooler" days (only 101º!) with cooler mornings. I keep the house at 79-80ºF. It was 77º outside (and 79º inside) several mornings when I got up, so I turned off the air conditioners for a few hours and opened up the house. It made a difference; the electric company was predicting a bill of $454 this month according to the first week's usage; this week it lowered that estimate to $428. (For those of you who are wondering, our electric company has been raising rates every quarter for over a decade.When we first moved here, our first summer bill was $520. I made several changes: I turned off the desktop computer at night, turned the air conditioner up to 79º from 77º, turned the ceiling fans (of which we have 10)off when we weren't in the room, and turned off the kitchen lights, save the ones over the table, during dinner, which reduced our bill to around $323. I've kept it that low through last summer--7 years--despite the increases, by continuing to find small ways to cut our usage. In summer we only turn on the lights for an hour or less. This year the rates have started to catch up with me, but I am grateful to have made the changes, so that our bill is not several hundred dollars more.)

Our cooler weather was also much more humid than the rest of the year (but normal for mid-July here). I was able to collect 4 gallons of water a day from the air conditioner. That, combined with water from the shower and from cooking/rinsing fruits and vegetables, was enough to water the potted trees and plants without needing additional water.

Sunday the weather returned to normal; it was 115º yesterday on my mom's back porch (she lives next door; her back yard touches our side yard). This morning it was 88º by my front door when I got up at 5 a.m. I'm grateful for the break in the weather that we had last week!

Our compost is breaking down and while it is not ready yet, I can see that this time we will be successful. My husband purchased another trash can for me to use to start some more compost. I started with some shredded advertisements, peach skins from canning, and some grass clippings. I am excited to be able to add compost into the garden.

I watched a couple of episodes of Foyle's War for free on Hulu.

Ivory watched several episodes of Little Einsteins on Disney Junior. (I had no idea when I worked for Disney Online that one day my children would use it!)

I printed coloring pictures and activity pages from last week's Dover Sampler for the children to color.

Sources: Graham Thomas roses from David Austin. Small mint julep cups from One Kings Lane. Glass jar with lid containing cotton swabs from Target. Cut glass jar with lid containing cotton balls, 50 cents at a garage sale. Blue bottle from my mom; I refill it with my lotion. Silver tray from a garage sale, $5. Blue lidded box was a Christmas gift years ago. 

I cut roses from the garden to put in my bathroom.

Sources: Casa Blanca Lilies from Van Engelen, clock from Pottery Barn. Glass jar was a gift from a friend. The Jesse Willcox Smith image is a card I purchased years ago, in a 50 cent garage sale frame. Lamp was purchased 15 years ago.

I cut lilies from the garden to put on my beside table.

I got a clock working that we had had trouble with. I bought this clock years and years ago and the alarm was constantly going off (user error, I'm sure!). Sometime after that, the knob to set the alarm and the time got lost (since I had to take the clock back off in order to get it to stop going off), and it had been sitting unused in my bedside drawer for at least 9 years. I used a pair of tweezers to set the time, and was able to turn the alarm portion off. I can now enjoy it at last!

What did you do to save money last week?


  1. Last week we were in Kentucky for church camp. This is what I did to keep my week of travel as frugal as possible.

    1. Turned off and unplugged everything I could at my house to make sure no electricity was wasted through "phantom load".
    2. Split the cost of a rental car with another couple that was going. We charter a bus for the trip through fundraisers, but the youth have to be at the camp earlier than we do and they stay MUCH later than I can handle. Last year, we stayed with the bus and were completely exhausted when we got back. We rented a car for us to use while there, but split the cost with another couple and were very careful with the mileage, since we had to refill the tank before turning it in. By doing that, we were able to save quite a bit of money, and gain a good bit of much needed sleep!
    3. Went to the grocery store after picking up the rental and stocked up on sandwich items, water, etc. so that we did not have to run to the vending machines or fast food places when we got hungry at the hotel. The camp serves two meals a day and the hotel we stay at has an excellent complimentary breakfast that we took advantage of each morning.
    4. Used the hotel's free internet service during our stay to check email, read blogs, etc. so that I did not use any of my data plan.
    5. Accepted some tomatoes from a lady in our church for our lunch of BLT sandwiches yesterday after the morning service.
    6. I signed up to become a "gold member" of the car rental place which will give me a free upgrade on my next rental from them. Sign up was free and it also allowed my husband to be listed as a driver without an additional cost on the rental.

    By doing some prep work and careful spending, we were able to come home with $100.00 of our budgeted money for camp. We also have decided to set $20.00 per week aside for camp next year, so that we aren't straining the budget when it's time to leave next July. Although fundraisers helped raise a lot of the expenses, we still have to pay for some of the room and of course food and rental car. We did not start saving until May this year so it was a bit of struggle through June. It worked out, but we will be better prepared next year as far as spreading the saving out over the course of the year instead of a couple of months.

    Have a blessed week!

  2. This past week we eat from the pantry, worked on clustering all shopping trips, and enjoyed the library on Saturday, harvest rain water for flushing, and I got to work mowing the lawn on Sunday. Out biggest accomplishment is probably being happy with what we have =)

    1. Being happy with what you have is one of the greatest accomplishments!

    2. Yes…being happy with what you have is a huge accomplishment! We ate from the pantry/freezers too!

  3. Wow can't believe no one has commented yet.

    Brandy.. your photography is first class, enjoy seeing it each week.

    My frugals.. working still. Today I found chicken burger reduced for clearance half price, bought 7 lbs. will use one tonight to make taco's. Tomorrow I will make a meatloaf, the rest will go in the deep freezer for meals later. I also got organic chicken breast on sale half price.. I cook my dogs 2 whole chickens every week so these will replace the whole chickens for their meals this week, cost about the same as a regular whole chicken but easier for me to cook than deboning 2 chickens. Found organic banana's marked down half price so bought those instead of the fresh green ones that aren't organic and higher priced. 44 cents for the organic on clearance, 59 cents a lb. for the green ones that haven't ripened yet. I eat banana's the days I work for breakfast and for a snack at work along with a PB&J sandwich for lunches. Today it rained, my rain barrel is full, my overflow trash can I use for under a roof gutter than overflows down the side of the house, the 50 gallon can catches it and today I used 10 gallons of rain water to mop my floors.. free water!

    1. Ground chicken for tacos is delicious! We prefer that over beef or turkey but don't find it on sale or marked down often.

  4. I am hoping to be able to can dill pickles this year with my 5-year-old son as he loves them. What is the recipe/ Web site you use for these? I doubt we will be able to make that many pints (SO jealous!) but wanted to know a simple recipe for canning them since never done them before. Our cucumbers are the most struggling in the garden at this point, so not sure we will even have enough to make, but I wanted to try. I so appreciate your blog and wisdom!

    1. Most recipes call for 9-11 pounds of cucumbers, which is a lot! I actually used the Mrs. Wages mix to make these, as I have had trouble growing dill successfully, due to out hot temperatures. I want to try again from scratch, though. All of those were with 1 package of Mrs. Wages. There are recipes on the Ball canning site (

    2. Thank you so much! I will look into the Mrs. Wages mix and on the canning site.

    3. It might also be frugal to buy the cucumbers now when they are cheapest than to buy pickles during the winter. Just a thought. I live in a farming area and do take advantage of cheap prices when available, even though I'm cutting my garden size due to the aging of it's owners.

    4. AO, pickles are the easiest canning thing to start with, I think. Don't hold your cucumbers for too long, try to process the same day picked. Make sure to cut off the blossom end. If you are doing dill and have access to the burpless cukes they are very nice for making consistent sized wedges to fit in the jar, also for slices if making bread and butter, for example. I know they cost more to buy, usually. As a beginner don't try any of the recipes that call for brining over a period of days, just as a suggestion. Make sure you use the correct salt...canning salt is cheap and keeps forever. Use a tried and true recipe like the Ball Blue Book (or their website, as mentioned). Also you can make easy refrigerator pickles too, though those will not carry you through the year. Mixes are OK, but I usually have all the spices on hand. If you can find a place to buy fresh dill (farmer market or grocer) that is great. Good luck.

  5. That is a mammoth cucumber! And your garden produce sounds great.

    Last week, I:
    - Worked a lot.

    Began acquiring school supplies for next year slowly, as sales started.

    Filled out surveys, read library books.

    Marked a line on lid of all laundry detergents indicating not to fill beyond.

    Husband sent one of his white T-shirts to day camp with daughter for tie-dye day instead of making purchase.

    Had husband make squash-cranberry muffins with pureed squash that had been in freezer, dried cranberries from cupboard originally bought for Girl Scout snacks. Froze some of the resulting muffins as we won't be able to eat the whole batch before they go bad. Will thaw/reheat in microwave for my breakfasts.

    Thawed a container of last year's raspberries from freezer to use as ice cream topping (and to make space for this year's crop in a few weeks). Used some of last year's blueberries from freezer for a quick meal of blueberry pancakes. Blueberries are starting to ripen here.

    Took my daughter to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2"; went to a matinee for cheaper pricing and used a free movie ticket pass for my adult ticket. (Had received when we went to see "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" and the power went off in the theater during the middle of the movie.)

    Saved netting bag from onions to use as dish scrubber.

  6. Hello everyone! That armenian cucumber looks delicious! I have a question first: I made a batch of mulberry jam that didn't set (despite following the recipe exactly). I have the "syrup" in jars in the fridge right now, but could I re-heat it and use more pectin to make it thicker? Or is it to late and I will have to find something else to do with it? Thanks in advance!
    Last week:
    -I only spent $45 total at the grocery store, I did not do any bulk purchasing and only bought absolute necessities
    -I enrolled in my bank's online bill pay and set up all but one bill to be paid this way, saving me checks, stamps,envelopes, "convenience fees" , and time!
    -I am VERY allergic to mosquitos (i get HUGE welts from their bites that are extremely painful and itchy) I was practically eaten alive Saturday morning while berry picking with my daughter. I have treated the bites with home remedies and most are healing nicely.
    -We used cinder blocks we already had on our property to create an enclosed area around one of our potato plants and filled it with soil. We have 4 more potato plants to do this too, but purchasing the soil will have to wait until next week.
    - we had a left over night last night to use up several containers that were in the fridge. My husband doesn't care for most leftovers, so I made his in to a hot meatloaf sandwich with some of the homemade leftover mac n cheese. I made a gravy packet we have had in the cupboard for months. I also made milk, banana bread with previously frozen bananas. I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot and turned the carcass into chicken broth. My husband made homemade chicken and dumplings (made from scratch dumplings..yum!) with the chicken. He made lasagna, from scratch mac n cheese with left over rib meat added (he's a true carnivore lol), and homemade lemonade from freshly squeezed lemons (it's supposed to help with kidney stones, which he has been/is experiencing LOTS of problems with for months).
    -signed up for a free membership. Printed off some preschool sheets for my daughter
    -printed some free coloring pages from (wallykazam is a new favorite)
    -I put a hold on several books from Brandy's kindergarten homeschool curriculum from her website at our library. We took a break from "school" for awhile but have begun again. She 's only 3 so we are continuing preschool work. I STILL can't get her to properly hold a pencil though LOL
    -Watched 3 episodes of a TV show for free on amazon instant prime
    -used one $5 amazon gift card code from swagbucks to order a Preschool workbook for my daughter, paid $0 out of pocket.
    -my husband bought two bales of hay ( or straw, not sure which) and spread it in the garden to help control weeds. So far it's working great.
    -put crushed egg shells on the ground around my two tomato plants for calcium and to keep crawley bugs off of them
    -didn't have to water the garden at all last week due to the rain
    -my husband found a plant stand on a curb that looks like a marble pillar, but it's made of wood. There is nothing wrong with it and I love it. I just need to clean it up and bring it into the house.
    - received a pair of new capri's from my mom for free. She didn't like the way they fit.
    I know there is more but that's all I can remember at this time. I have to start writing them down again.
    Have a great week everyone! I can't wait to read everyone's accomplishments!

    1. One more thing: We have $3600 left to completely pay off our house! I am so excited! I will be budgeting to pay extra so we can pay off our house faster.

    2. Way to go! How many years have you been paying on it? I checked ours this morning and have 21 years and 10 months left. I hope to start paying a little extra on it to pay it off quicker.

    3. Congrats Mandy. That is an amazing accomplishment!!

    4. We purchased the house from family when my grandmother passed 3 years ago. We got it ridiculously cheap. She had no life insurance so they just needed enough to cover the funeral/burial expenses. The house was not livable when he first purchased it and have put in $1000's of dollars to first make it livable and then repair lots of damage from neglect. So while we haven't been paying on our house for long it has been a stressful journey and that money will soon be able to be reallocated to more much needed repairs.

    5. Mandy, did you use liquid or powder? I thought it said right on the insert what to do after 24 hours or so if does not set. If not you could check the SureJel website.

    6. My sister told me that when canning fruits, you must make sure that the sugar you use is cane sugar and not beet sugar or the recipe will not work. Hope this helps.

    7. Athanasia - I used liquid for the first time. I've always used powder before and not had a problem.
      Cindy - I used regular cane sugar, just plain sugar from the store :)
      Thank you everyone!

    8. Cindy, that may be a myth as re' sugar. I know that I use both and have never had a jelly not set.

    9. Mandy, you can always use it as pancake/waffle syrup or pour over ice cream. Also did you water bath it? If it is waterbathed and the seals are good then it should be self stable, if you should want to just use as a syrup.

  7. Congrats on having a great week! I had a good week overall. Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    My mom is in town, and she has been cooking up a storm and freezing meals for me. I am extremely grateful for this. It will help me out a lot when school starts and the semester gets busy.
    I worked from home to save on gas.
    I composted.
    I tended to the garden. My thai basil is not doing very good but some of the sweet basil seeds are thriving. The ginger is going strong and the pepper and eggplant plants are doing okay. I hope at least one plant of each make it.
    I sold my car that had been sitting for over a year. I didn’t ask for a lot for it, and I am glad it is gone. It was definitely an eye sore.
    I also sold some fabric I planned to sell last year but did not have time to. The money will go towards bills.
    I mowed the lawn and collected the grass for mulch.

  8. I was away for almost two weeks and was crazy pants busy the few weeks prior so I've not posted on here in a long while. Then when I came home on Weds, I came down with a virus that has knocked me out. Yesterday was my first day out to get groceries because my fridge was empty and all I wanted were grapes. So I guess not shopping bc I was sick was frugal. But I'm back on the bandwagon this week!

    I love all of your garden posts! So inspiring!!

    My frugal to do list is to try to find a new job in FL (or from home allowing me to move back to my hometown in FL). My heart is with my family there and the only (big) thing that stands in my way is a job. Wish me luck...

    1. Good luck to you in your search and wishing you great success!


    2. Good luck in finding a new job!

    3. Good luck in the job hunt!! I'd LOVE to find a work-from-home job too!!

    4. Being sick is one way to save money......Sorry! I tried it myself this week:(

    5. Preppy , I so pray it works out for you to be located closer to your family. Best wishes for your job search.

  9. As always, I loved the pictures :) Your daughter is so beautiful and that cucumber must be so useful! Last week, I was able to find a book needed for a new area study in the library, but it is consultation only, you cannot take it home. So, I planned my schedule and was able to go there and read some pages (about 20%). I am planned to go there once a week and have the book read in 5 weeks. I harvested turmeric in a vase and was amazed by how many little roots that small vase had. My tomatoes plants are going Ok and I can see a lot (around 20) little tomatoes coming. I harvested sage, cilantro and mint as well. I made rosemary olive oil bread and graham crackers and cooked a lot from scratch. I had some problems with leftovers and non scheduled expenses, but I am trying to do better this week. Have all a blessing week!

  10. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    First what a wonderful harvest of produce. Not only is the food abundant and healthy but beautiful and enjoyable as well. The flowers are lovely and the placement of them within your house so lovingly arranged for enjoyment. The pictures are extraordinarily detailed and focused.

    Do you practice taking your photographs and do you have to repeat taking them till you get what you are looking for?

    My life has been quiet of late. My kids are bored inside on hot days and active on days it rains. The weather goes back and forth. I feel like I lam the entertainment console for these active children. My sick child is doing well. She has two MD appointment this week--$120 for the two visits. I have the bills as line items in my budget so I have cash to pay the MDs upfront

    I continue to plan and get ready for my oldest going off to college. With so many events going on in our family frugality is a must. I will follow some of Miss Mandy's advice in getting our electric bill down.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments:

    Kept the thermostat at 80 F
    Turned off all the lights
    Avoided using the oven in the day and only at low energy times
    Kept the shades closed during the day to decrease the heat
    Spent $28 on food last week--staples, fruits, vegetables including $5 spent at the Farmer's Market and stockpiling purchases
    Stockpiling items OOP $3 for 2 large bottles of Downy Fabric Softener, 1 12-pack of Angel Soft double size rolls TP and a bag on named brand candy
    Used food from the freezer I made at the beginning of July
    Shredded 2 large, large zucchinis I bought at the Farmer's Market to store in the freezer (future bread and muffins)
    Went to a 50 movie theater
    Went to a free movie
    Went to an free outdoor concert
    Went to free museum art events
    Checked books and videos out from the library
    Down loaded a Kindle book on crafts
    Harvested sage, oregano, basil, mint and last of lettuce
    Served dinner to the less fortunate and was invited to sit and eat with them (free meal)

    Frugal Back to School Clothes Project:
    Infinity scarf
    Re-purposed 2 PJ bottoms
    Made a knit infinity scarf from the PJ leggings of one
    Re-purposed a skirt and made an infinity scarf from the fabric leftover from the hem
    Ruffled scarf (created like another store bought ruffled scarf)
    3 Tier skirt
    Simple skirt
    Matching fabric for skirt and infinity scarf

    All clothing items were sewn from materials, clothes, sewing supplies I had on hand. I did not go out and purchase any items to create the clothing. This was an experiment to see what I could create my own back to school clothing for the kids and I. I will continue my sewing and re-purposing of clothes for a week 2. I have made a list of clothing items and a few other items that kids need or requested. I went to Kohl's and used a $10/$10 (my sister sent to me) and found 5 knit tops on sale--OOP less that $1.. Most of the tops will be for later use in the fall but can go with my winter creations.

    Blessings to all. For those sending their children back to school or continuing homeschooling or off to college, best wishes as preparations as a new school year begin (or at least here in my area).


    1. Hello Anna,
      I just wanted you to know that I continue to pray for you and your family. I think everyone can learn a lesson from you that no matter how difficult things get in a person's life to never give up and keep looking for solutions. You continue to inspire me with your strength, determination, and creativity. I am so glad that your sick daughter is feeling ok at the moment and you have another daughter going to college! So many blessings!

    2. Oh dear! That was Miss Brandy not Miss Mandy! How silly!

    3. Dear Miss Mandy (Barnes),

      Thank you for the support. Miss Brandy and the readers of her blog have become part of my family. All of you are blessing.

      Many good things happen can happen if you let yourself open to them. Maybe the good things are "hidden" but looking for them keeps us humble. Serving dinner to those who have less than I do reminds me how fortunate I am.

      Blessing to you and everyone.


    4. Anna,

      Just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for your sweet daughter too! I really admire you for your positive attitude! I always enjoy reading your posts because it reminds me how blessed I am that I have health insurance which covers doctors visits and all I have to pay is a $25 co-pay. I don't even have to pay that because I can use my husbands benefit card to pay the Dr's office copay. So thank you for that reminder!!!

      Blessings to you dear Anna!!

    5. I cut out a pair of shorts for back to school with things I had on hand. Thanks for the inspiration!

    6. Anna, your clothing repurposing sounds frugal and fun. There is a blog NDAD (New Dress A Day) with each day a "new" item from something found at a rummage sale, thrift store, Grandma's attic etc.

    7. Dear Miss Kelly, Miss Becky, and Miss Athanasia,

      Thank you for the prayers and kind thoughts.

      Thank you for sharing your inspiration about your project. I am humbled.

      Thank you for the blog address. I will definitely check it out.



  11. I would definitely not want your electric bill. Mine is half that and I hate it :) Of course, you probably wouldn't want my heating bill in the winter here in Michigan either ;)

    I collected wild raspberries we found growing in our yard. I was excited to find them because we have almost no pears, apples, and grapes this year on our property. They are old trees that were here when we came, and I think the winter was too hard on them. At least I was able to collect berries!

    I picked the first green beans out of my garden! This was our first year to put in a little garden. We have definitely learned a little of what to do and what not to do for next year. It is so exciting to pick your own food!

    A family member dropped off some fruit they were afraid would go bad and milk for us. They were going to the hospital for a planned c-section to have their 3rd child. I watched the other 2 children for one of the days while they were gone.

    We went swimming in the backyard.

    I found a purse at a garage sale for 50 cents. I have been wanting a nice brown one.

    We went out for a treat one warm night and spent only 1.50 on 3 ice cream cones.

    We enjoyed a chemistry program for children at the library. My oldest son really enjoyed it. We also borrowed some books from the library to read.

    I downloaded 2 free children's books on my Kindle and one free game for the kids. I also downloaded a free Sudoku puzzle game for myself.

    I went to a concert with a few friends. The cost for my ticket was $28. I used $20 of birthday money and $8 of my monthly spending money to attend. We all went together in one vehicle. We stopped for dinner before and my goal was to only spend $10 of my monthly spending money on my meal so I would have a little left for the rest of the month. It came to $9.95, but a friend snatched the bill out of my hand and paid for it!

    We only had the air on one night this week. Looking at the weather I think we will not have it on at all this coming week.

    Because we knew we were traveling to a wedding this weekend we did not go to town as we usually do once per week.

    1. Sandra,

      Can you invest in a wood-burning stove? That would be a great blessing to you in the winter, and if you get one that you can cook on, it can save you even more--plus be a way to cook during power outages.

      Are your trees and vines dead? Did they leaf out at all?

    2. There are a lot of people that do that around here where we live. I honestly haven't looked into it much because we do currently rent a home for just a little longer until we are ready to purchase a home. I am not sure how that would do with our allergies. My husband has severe allergies and we both have asthma since childhood (although mine is usually fine now that I am older). I don't know if that would affect them?

      As for the trees, they are not dead and there are leaves, they just did not produce any fruit. We did lose a couple branches off the apple trees due to the ice storm we had. Last year, however, there was an over abundance of fruit-so much so I was sharing with two other friends and we are still eating the fruit and jam I canned! The year prior to last (2012) we also had no fruit because of an early heat up in March and then a frost and cool down. I guess all of Michigan took a hit then. The only thing I can figure for this year was because we had one of the worst winters on record and I have very old trees?

    3. Wood burning stoves are great here. We have a free standing one in our living room in the small house and it has a single burner plate on the top, and there is room to set a kettle also to keep food or beverage warm. The big house still has its c.1910 Monarch wood cook stove side by side with the still working Wedgewood gas stove (6 burners, double oven, warming oven, broiler etc. I miss it, though my daughter says come and cook whenever I want.)

      I never learned to cook well on the Monarch, neither did my mother but my Grandma sure preferred it, especially in the winter, she would have it cooking like crazy every day. There would always be a kettle of soup and a pot of coffee hot and steaming.

      As for a little extra heat in the winter, we have an electrical radiator that is very safe...if is filled with mineral oil which the electricity heats. It is nice for a quick warm up of a cold spot. It does use electricity but it gives off heat once it warms up for quite awhile.

  12. Our Frugal attempts this week:

    • We haven’t purchased feed for our chickens in about a month! I get free bread ends from the jail I work at, and that along with fruits & veggies from our Bountiful Baskets, scraps that our preacher’s wife gives us, and weeds from our yard, they are doing well!
    • Since our local farmer’s market opened this week, I stopped before church Wednesday night to see the faires. There wasn’t much, but bought 3 different kinds of squash (3 for a $1)….the summer squash & zucchini went to the chickens.
    • I purchased freezer bags to freeze some meat last week and on Saturday, I decided it was a waste to just throw them away so I turned them inside out, washed them and hung them on the line to dry! (I know, people have been doing this for decades, but my mother never bought them so I was never taught to reuse them!)
    • One of the frugal attempts we did may seem to be a splurge but definitely wasn’t! I am part of a rural yard sale group on facebook for a place that is about 40 miles away. I decided to be part of this group 1) because I’m not worried about driving distances 2) I figured that if anyone was going to be get rid of the old kitchen gadgets that I want, it would be someone out there! I was right! Someone was selling an old Pan American wood cook stove that was in their parents’ cabin. They were asking $50 for it. Others commented before I saw it, but they were quibbling about $10. Even though it meant I had to rearrange some payments that were going out, we bought the stove for $50! I figured that you don’t see these very often, and when you do, they won’t be priced anywhere near $50! We are creating a summer kitchen in our shed so that cooking won’t heat up the house in the summer and it will be a great place to do canning no matter the time of year!
    • While they were figuring how to load the stove onto our truck, I noticed that they were setting up for a yard sale. I was allowed to take a look at their wares. The gentleman gave me great prices!!! I got a hurricane oil lamp for 50 cents, a marble rolling pin for $1, a crock (I want to make sauerkraut too) with a lid for $1 and two small oil lanterns for $1 ea.
    • One of our church families had their 4th baby this week and we needed to make some meal for them. I was able to pull some frozen veggies from the deep freeze and some potatoes and make a shepherd’s pie for the first time. Definitely need to keep that recipe in the back of my mind for our family.
    • I did make homemade mac & cheese as well as cups of pudding, jello & cut up watermelon for son’s lunches at Boys & Girls Club this week.
    • Sunday after church, our family went fishing. Well, my husband did. The boy has decided that he doesn’t really like fishing, so he sat in the water and tried to catch crawdads. We took food that we had at home and I grilled lunch for us. Instead of going to the state park nearby that costs $5 for a day visit, we went to a local place that didn’t cost a dime! It has covered pavilions with grills and electricity close enough to the water to allow me to get lunch ready while the guys went to the water. It’s definitely a place we need to go to more often!

  13. I love your pictures, especially the peaches. I feel bad that I live on a 2000 acre farm and we do not have a single inch of it dedicated to gardening things we would eat. I went to free beading class at library and made a necklace and matching earrings. Lots of check outs from library: books and magazines and tv series on dvd's. IMO the library is one of the best uses of our tax $ and our system here in North MS is fantastic, rarely do I ever want something that don't have or can't borrow from associated library for me. I have friends whose daughter is headed to college this fall and she has never been to the library in their town, that is unbelievable to me. I love love love all things Hallmark, local office supply store is shutting down the Hallmark side of their business so I am purchasing all sorts of happies for friends for at least 75% of and greeting cards for 50 cents ( some cards started at $7). We have been sharing meals/cooking with my sister who lives 2 miles/3 minutes away so we won't have leftovers, cooking is so much easier with her help and we don't eat leftovers so much less wasteful when there are none. I do not have children so a lot of postings would never apply to me but I love reading your blogand all the people's comments. One of my best frugal accomplishments ever is helping my nephew with his college financial aid work papers for past 5 years. I took care of paperwork and he took care of maintaining his grades. He was able to graduate in 4 years and owes no money, as a matter of fact he received a $1200 refund upongraduation. I would encourage readers to always apply even if you don't think your child will qualify, you never know what aid js available.

  14. You will love having your own compost. It is amazing to get such rich soil from scraps and cast offs. Here is my post of weekly savings:

    1. I'm so stealing your idea of using a pool noodle for pipe insulation!

    2. I used a pool noodle to make a sprinkler for my daughter. I have also used a pool noodle to make a homemade wreath form. Wreath forms at the craft store are expensive.

  15. That beautiful dresser/counter with the blue glass and silver – inspiring!
    We saved $20.00 from this quarter’s water bill. I want to give credit to the navy showers that a commenter had made as a major reason why.
    I was able to pull my garlic. They were my first, a little smaller than what I am used to buying but it was a success. I planted a dozen last year. This planting season I will triple that.
    Pulled beets – enough for 2 people. Saved the tops (blanched then diced) for a soup this winter.
    Picked Romaine lettuce that I was sure was going to be sour (from the heat) but surprisingly it wasn’t. There was enough for 2 large salads and sandwiches. I did soak it in ice water for a half hour before placing it in my salad spinner to dry. I have read that helps.
    Tried another lentil recipe and was a success with my husband.
    The bananas I bought last week over ripened before we could eat them all, so the remaining squishy ones will become banana muffins.
    I am hoping to get more beans and beets planted this week.
    Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

  16. Wow - what lovely garden bounty!

    1. Received a $130 payment for items purchased via my Amazon store.
    2. Used a $19 store credit to to get a 2.8 cubic feet bag of potting soil and two small tomato plants for $3.49.
    3. Went back to the garden store the next day, and picked up a six-pack of (very small) tomato plants for $0.99!
    4. Received a $0.25 Checkout 51 credit for my purchase of green bell peppers.
    5. Dropped a few items off at the local children's consignment store.
    6. Picked up a free roll of Scott toilet paper at CVS via the SavingStar Friday Freebie.
    7. Also picked up two Starbucks Refreshers for free after coupons and SavingStar cash back.
    8. Set aside Your Money or Your Life - I decided I really need a break from personal finance books - and started reading The Forsythe Saga. It's three novels in one, so I may be working on it for a while!

    1. DebtGal: I hope you will go back reading YMOYL. I read it in 1992 and have followed the steps ever since. I'm on the speaker's bureau and will be giving a talk next Monday here. You did great with all your savings this week!

  17. It had been a bit since I've commented, so I will share a few of my frugal things.
    ---Shopped when grocery store gave monthly 10% discount for seniors. Bought mostly items that were already on sale or almost never go on sale. Used coupons and got 10 packs of pasta for free, along with some other free items. I plan to donate extras to our church's food pantry.
    ---I visited the still tasty site Brandy mentioned and kept from tossing some canned goods that had passed their date. I discard anything questionable, but these should be fine.
    ---I planted sweet potato slips and am saving the extras for my son-in-law. I think there are enough for him to share with others at the community garden, as well.
    ---I sewed 2 buttons from my button jar onto the seatbelt of our car making it much easier for my husband to use. The I original one has broken off.
    ---My husband noticed a charge we questioned on bank statement. I called and will be credited $50 along with not incurring that annual fee going forward.
    ---I harvested 2 Armenian cucumbers. They are minis compared to Brandy's, but I was happy to get them. I had been watching to see if they would grow bigger, but they seemed to be done. Maybe it is because they are in a large pot, rather than the ground.
    ---I replaced the elastic in two swimsuits for my husband. They are favorites that were in good shape otherwise, so I was really happy to be able to make them usable with a simple repair.
    ---We have been having our summer monsoons. Several really made messes with pine needles, branches, leaves and dirt, but we finally got one with a nice rain. It was good to turn the water off and know the trees and plants had a good soaking for free. It also cooled the temperature down a bit.
    ---Continuing to cook a lot at home, use electricity at "off peak" times and other frugal ventures.
    ---Thank you Brandy and other frugal commentors!

  18. Harvested about ½ cup of ripe blackberries, one of which was huge, a few berries at a time. I washed & froze most of them to accumulate enough to “use”. Picked red raspberries, a few at a time, as well. Picked a few ripe blueberries, which we ate. Picked & juiced more of the ripe gooseberries. Used reclaimed water from the kitchen sink to hand water the 4 hills of baby squash & the blackberry bed. Rinsing out pitchers goes thru a lot of water, & I am glad not to waste it. We had rain 3 times this week, so I did not need to water those days.

    Our youngest granddaughter came back from Idaho & spent a couple of days before flying home to Georgia with her mother. Since we were driving them to Salt Lake to the airport, we went on to Logan, to have a specialized repair done on the Park Ave.

    Our daughter in law left behind a belt, a skirt & a pair of capris that did not fit her the way she wanted, & asked me to find a new home for them. All three should fit our oldest granddaughter.

    Thinned the apples on the CandyCrisp tree with the help of my little granddaughter before they left. She quite enjoyed putting the little apples in the bucket. At not quite 3, everything is an adventure.

    Accepted 2 large trout from a neighbor who fishes a lot. He gave us 2 several weeks ago, & I made garlic buttered trout - - they were so delicious! We used to eat trout a lot when we lived in Idaho & I fished regularly with the children.

    My youngest grandson came to visit for a few days, & helped me prune a large forsythia bush that needed trimmed on the north side. I pruned & he ran the prunings over to the garbage can with his young, strong legs!

    1. "At not quite 3, evertthing is an adventure"...I love that!
      its so true. we forget as adults until we see it thru an eye of a child.

  19. My husband finished his professional qualification, and got a pay raise. The boss has also promised another pay raise in December; and he's asking my husband to take out a couple of certificates which will make him much more profitable for the company and also should increase his wage further, above and beyond the raises he's already received/been promised.

    The AFL (Australian Rules Football) is having their annual multicultural round this week. As a promotion they offered free tickets to people born overseas. Finally, being an immigrant has come in handy for something! We have 4 free tickets to our team's game this weekend - it'll be the first time our kids will have ever been to a match; and the savings is considerable. (I say "our" team; it's really "his" team; but his family rule growing up was that if you didn't barrack for this team, you had to sleep in the chook shed - with the chickens - so there's considerable pressure to support this team.)

    My daughter's having a birthday and a birthday party this weekend too; it's going to be a very busy weekend. I've done her party on the cheap, making the invites by altering a printable I found on-line; using goody-bag toppers I found on-line and pairing them with admittedly boring (but cheap!) brown paper bags - they worked best with the toppers anyway; buying candy and other items for prizes/the goody bag on deep discount; etc. I've got several craft activities for my daughter and her friends to do, all but one using materials I already had on-hand. Now I just have to survive a sleep-over with 10 very excited little girls . . . I've offered to house-swap with the other mums for the night but they just laugh at me.

    My daughter also won a great prize for her school's walk-a-thon, she got a free pass to an indoor play centre. We'd already promised the kids we'd take them sometime this winter, so now we only have to pay for one ticket instead of two. Taking them to the indoor play centre was one of their Christmas presents from their grandparents - we gave them a year of experiences rather than 'stuff' and this was one of the experiences.

    I wrapped some Christmas presents over the weekend. (Don't mock me. I was raised in the northern hemisphere. Whenever the cold weather hits I think, Time to get ready for Christmas - even though it's only July.) I'm done with Christmas shopping, apart from a few presents for my husband; and I'm well under budget - I've spent maybe 40% of what I'd thought I'd spend. Having the extra in the budget is nice because it means if there is something the kids absolutely, positively must have, we can get it for them; but so far that's never happened.

    We got our power bill . . . For this quarter it was $189; according to the power company we use less energy than one person living in a one-bedroom apartment. Half the bill is the connection fee, and we even get a discount on that since, by law, they can't charge you more in a connection fee than you use in electricity, and we use so little electricity. And that's with our solar panels being out of commission at the moment (we think we're going to need a new inverter).

  20. That fruit looks so is winter here so same old apples for us!

    Congratulations on getting the clock working. It must be a real feeling of accomplishment to finally enjoy it. We have been having similar (alarm going off) issues with our timer in the shower. My husband eventually took the battery out and put it back in....and they stopped!

    I have listed my frugal accomplishments on my blog.

    1. It really is wonderful to finally be able to enjoy the clock.

      Any chance of getting oranges?

  21. I did all the usual stuff but most of my frugal savings came from shopping last week. We combined all errands and didn’t have to go far from the house, and got some great deals this week!

    We went to Walgreens and got 2 Dawn dish detergents for 74cents each and used a $1 rewards buck towards the price, so only 58cents out of pocket for both and a Peak Gold Sweet tea that was free after rewards. We also got the deal to buy two $20 Steak and Shake gift cards and get a $10 Walgreens gift card. We’ll use those for date nights.

    We went to Save A Lot and I stocked up on 10 pounds of lentils (89cents a pound) and got 2 pineapples on sale for $1.49 each and I had two 50cent coupons off Del Monte fresh produce coupons I printed a couple months ago, so the pineapples were only 99cents each! I sliced one to eat fresh and cut the other and froze the chunks to add to sweet and sour stir fry.

    While at Save A Lot I bought 4 big metallic insulated cooler bags. Each bag was $1.19. I’m going to use them to seal up and insulate around the pipes that go up into the attic in the closet where the A/C fan/air handler is. The heat comes down into the hallway from the attic and the blown in insulation falls into the closet. I spent $5.10 for all 4 bags. BIG THANK YOU TO READER LIBBY WW who gave me the idea last week when she used an insulated bag from a goose to seal up next to her window A/C. I looked at Home Depot but couldn’t find anything to use, nothing that was sold in small pieces anyway.

    Then we went next door to Harbor Freight Tools and bought a big roll of duct tape to use for the above project. It was about $4 and change, so for $10 total I can get the closet insulation project done! We also used coupons to get a free 6 piece set of screwdrivers and a free tape measure. I can keep those in my garden shed so I don’t have to run in the house when I have little things to do outside. BIG THANK YOU TO THE READERS that posted about the Harbor Freight Tools coupons and where to find them. Now that I know where to look, I’ve accumulated a bunch of them and we’ll be stopping in every time we do errands to get freebies!

    We went to CVS and I got 2 packages of 10 disposable razors that were buy 1 get 1 50% off, had a 50cent extra buck from quarterly rewards, had two $2 off coupons, so total with tax was $2.39, and then I paid that with a gift card I got a couple weeks ago from cashing in hotel reward points that were expiring, so 20 razors and nothing out of pocket!

    Then the last stop was Publix. There was a $2 coupon in the paper for seafood and I had 2 coupons. Shrimp skewers were on sale 4/$5,so I got 4 skewers for $1 after coupons. Each skewer had 5 large shrimp on them.

    I did some jobs around the house from my cheap/free to do list – touching up paint outside where I caulked the windows, cleaned the windows, touched up molding inside, replaced the filter and battery in the kitchen faucet.

    I worked 4 hours overtime.

    Now that my health conditions have stabilized , I’m getting serious about losing the 20 pounds I gained. I signed up for the free version of Fitday to track my calories and exercise. I’m going to use what I have at home already, hand weights, bike, stretchy bands, etc. I’m going to measure what I eat and watch portions. I’m not going to buy any special “diet” food. Does anyone have any weight loss/healthy living blogs they like?

    Have a great week everyone.

    1., and, are both excellent healthy living blogs!!

    2. Spark people is a very useful website for exercise, cooking, food tracking and community. Free.

    3. Thank you Jenifer - I'll check those blogs out this evening!

    4. Thank you Jackie - I've used Spark to look up calories but didn't know they had cooking and community sections also!

  22. Brandy,
    Would it be worth it to add Solar to your home? It is huge in San Diego. It seems every other house is adding it.

    1. Yes, but it's quite the investment at around $15,000 to $30,000. I would love to do it! It's not something we can do yet.

    2. We got our 1 kw solar panel system about 4 or 5 years ago, for a total cost of $200, and it paid for itself straight away. Of course at that price it's hard not to have it pay for itself! Check into the sort of feedback tarrif you get; they've been falling like crazy here, but you might find it makes enough of a difference to make the solar panels affordable. Our feed-in tarrif is set for life at a rate that is about 5x more than the current price per kw we pay for electricity; we got in when it was at a peak level and they can't change it on us. Now it's the same or in some cases less than the price the companies charge per kw/electricity, which makes solar much less affordable. If you do proceed, make sure you position your panels carefully (if any portion of the panel is in the shadow, you get no power at all from that panel, so check for trees, neighbouring roofs, etc.). Also, keep in mind that the power companies will try to claw back any savings - here, they are complaining that so many people are putting on solar panels, they have to charge everyone a bigger service fee and more per unit for energy, because they aren't selling enough electricity.

    3. Each state here has different laws. In Nevada there are some problems with still being connected to the grid; if you put 1000 kw on the grid, they can also charge you like you USED 1000 kw from the grid! Also if the power company people get hurt using the stuff that you add to the grid, you will be responsible for their medical bills. I learned all of this recently from our friend and neighbor who has a solar company. (His whole house is off-grid). It was really informative, but also a bit of a downer, seeing the risks with it.

      Also, our roof is not south facing; it is east/west facing, which is not as effective. It would help, but it would miss the best of the sun that way.

      From what I learned, we would need to buy batteries (car batteries) to store anything and it's a minimum $12,000 to get started. I imagine there are other options out there, but I haven't learned about them yet.

    4. You shouldn't need to go the car battery route unless you wanted to go off-grid. Our solar panels feed into an inverter which feeds into the house. It was all installed professionally; it's not a DIY job. This is also one area where a big inverter won't save you money - in other words if you're putting in a 1kw system don't get a 5 kw inverter. Get a bigger inverter as you upgrade the system.

      In Nevada you'd also have to worry about the panels over-heating, which they can do if it's too hot. Then they switch themselves off and don't produce anything. You can always look at making a windmill; one design uses an old washing machine motor and PVC pipes. They aren't terribly attractive; and the one my husband made broke fairly quickly - the wind was too strong for the PVC pipe blades. Still, people have reported being able to generate 1 - 2 kw/day that way. Depending on your household usage that may or may not sound like much - we use about 3.8 kw/day; so for us it's a big chunk of our usage.

      Our 1 kw solar panel system, at its peak in the summer, can produce about 4 kw/day - our roof isn't facing the right way either. So if you get the right price, it's still worth doing; but if you're having to spend $30,000, well, you're looking at about 5 years of power bills right there. (Still, if you can add it to your mortgage and take advantage of the very low interest rates right now, it might still be worth it.)

      The CSIRO has developed a roofing material that is actually solar panels; I can't wait until it's commercially available/affordable.

    5. I know each state is different but I was just doing research on solar pannels for my dad last month and was surprised/impressed at the options. Many companies no longer require you to actually buy the pannels. If you can, that's the best option in the long run. But there were several other options including paying a monthly fee to essentially lease or long term buy them. You might look into it again if you've not don't it recently.


    6. I do know about leasing, but as with a car, I think buying would be best in the long run :)

    7. Maydijo,

      Your electric usage is incredibly low! I know it is winter there, but I don;t know how you use so little! We have natural gas for cooking, for the dryer, for the hot water heater, and for central heat. We keep the lights off almost all the time; in the summer, they are on for less than an hour a day.

      I looked at our bills to see how much power we use (good to know for looking at solar!) In the winter we use 22 kw a day and in the summer we use 68! I don't know how you only use 3.8 kw a day!

      You're right about the overheating problem; it is a problem here.

      We did talk to our friend about wind, too. He has solar and several windmills (many people know who he is because they have seen his windmills). It can get quite windy here; we get 50 mph gusts every few months and 30 mph winds a lot. He said that the windmills work best when it is actually mus less windy; more a gentle breeze. We have talked about putting in one of these as well; they do generate quite a bit less power compared to solar.

      You're right in that we don't have to have the batteries if we still want to be connected to the grid.

      We still have a lot to learn about our best options.

      It's definitely something that we want to do still. The rates are continuing to increase every quarter still, and our power company was recently bought by Warren Buffet. After that happened, I heard a lot of concern in town that our bills would double, since they had heard that he did that elsewhere after buying power companies in other states (That may just be a rumor, but if it's true, it's a huge deal!). If that happens, it would make the investment of buying solar panels even more important.

    8. Our electric supplier here is charging an extra fee, as customers are conserving so much that they claim they can't afford to keep the rates lower. Since we have had deregulation in New York for over 12 years, I changed to a different supplier for the electricity itself. (We still pay the utility for distribution of power.) Last time I checked, we really weren't saving anything, but at least the power company I choose is using greener methods to generate the power. I kind of think they have us over a barrel---high rates made us conserve so they raised the rates???? Makes no sense to me. I wanted to go solar back in the 70's but my husband talked me out of it because it was so expensive. I wonder now if it would have been wiser to pay then or pay now? BIG ANNOYANCE FACTOR to me, but we're already in our 70's, and I think our window of opportunity has passed.

    9. Our winter bills are more expensive than our summer bills; in the summer there are maybe 5 days where we want to run the a/c, but winters get cold here. Cold of course is relative - the daytime temps are anywhere from 9 to 22 C and the nighttime temps often hover around freezing - but Australian homes are not designed for the cold. I don't know anyone with central heat/air; everyone uses space heaters, wood stoves, or reverse cycle units. We have a wood stove which does a great job heating half the house and a reverse cycle which does a great job heating the other half of the house, but we try not to use it. During the day temperatures aren't too bad, you can just pull on a sweater and keep busy and you don't need heat. It starts getting really cold after the kids go to bed, so DH and I have to cuddle on the couch under blankets, because what's the point of turning on the heater for just a couple of hours?

      But keep in mind our family is smaller; both adults work outside the home; and the kids are in school - so we just aren't home as much. We use only CFL light-bulbs; have a gas oven; never use our dryer; have a solar hot water heater, and when we have to replace an appliance, we purposefully buy the best we can afford with the highest energy rating. More than half of our electricity bill is the fridge and freezer. We aren't willing to go without a fridge and freezer; and short of that there's not a lot we can do to make it lower!

    10. Maydijo, thanks for that insight!

      We are looking at switching to LED bulbs (we just did our first one). The house lights out front, which are required to be on all night, were built to go on with a sensor; there are no street lights here; those are CFS.

      It will take years to recoup the money on LEDS, since we turn on the lights so little.

      With a large family, it really helps to have more fridge space; our appliances are pretty low energy users, but still, one alone would use what you use in a month! I also wash a lot of loads of laundry.

      Our house was built with two air conditioning units, so that definitely uses a lot of power!

      Winters are mild here; we only need the heat for a couple of months, but wood burning fireplaces and stoves are illegal here unless you have an older house--and most of this city was built in the last 20-30 years.

      Our stove, oven, water heater, dryer, and heat are all natural gas, so that's just the other things. You certainly have me thinking, though, about what we can change to use less power! That will serve us well now and if we are able to have some solar in the future, since we won't need as much.

    11. You can only do what you can do. We managed to get our long-life bulbs on a really good, never-to-be-repeated sale. We just about cleared out the store and still have plenty in the pantry. They are mega-expensive to buy and in our experience actually don't last a lot longer; but they are so much cheaper to run. We also try not to leave the lights on if we're not in a room; but our house is pretty dark, so we pretty much always need a few lights on.

      Our 17-year-old fridge will probably be the next major appliance to go. Unfortunately fridges still aren't terribly environmentally friendly; but we'll get the most energy-effecient model we can afford. As I said you can only do what you can do; and I'm not willing to go without a fridge - I think for us it would end up costing us a lot more money than it would save. Other people's circumstances may differ, of course, and if they can get by without a fridge, more power to them.

      Back when the GFC hit the prime minster at the time put out a plan for every home to get either free insulation or a free solar hot water heater. We can't really insulate our home but our hot water heater was getting up there, so we jumped on that one and got our hot water heater for free (installation and everything). Another part of the plan was free solar panels - it turned out they were only free if you live in the cities, otherwise you had to pay for transport; that's how we got ours for $200. My husband did all the research, found the best deals, and we made sure we took advantage of both. A lot of people just didn't bother. My feeling is, if the government is giving something away, you might as well take advantage of it (since you're paying for it anyway).

      I do find that Americans like to keep their homes very warm in the winter. When our daughter was a toddler we went back to the US to visit my family, stopping off in Singapore on the way there and on the way back. When we were in Utah at my parents' house my husband said to be a couple of times, "If it was this hot in Singapore I'd have the air conditioning on." Certainly it's very nice to be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter when there's a foot of snow on the ground; but it's not strictly speaking necessary.

  23. Brandy,
    Beautiful pictures, as usual! The rainbow picture reminded me that my husband and I saw a rainbow last week that came down in front of the trees and touched the ground in the cow pasture! I had never seen the "end of the rainbow" before, and it was amazing to see it! Didn't see any pot of gold, though! Ha!
    I got books from the library this week, cooked from scratch mostly, almost collected enough Swagbucks for $25 paypal, gathered an average of 5 eggs each day from my 8 hens.They lay better when the weather is not so hot and humid.
    I harvested 8 zucchinis, several cucumbers, kale, jalepeno peppers and 4 heads of cabbage from the garden. Our 3 year old apple tree has 3 apples on it! They are growing bigger every day!
    I also dug my garlic that was given to me last year as a small clump already growing that I transplanted. I got 9 HUGE heads of garlic! They are wonderful!

    1. That is really amazing that you saw the end of the rainbow touching the ground!

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  25. Hi Ms. Brandy! I actually kept track of my frugal accomplishments, and I feel like I have quite the list.

    -Listed three items in eBay and sold three other items. With the ease of using a smart phone eBay is my new favorite money maker :)
    - Hand washed all dishes. This is my new thing. I get charged a flat rate for water so I never was concerned about using the dishwasher. Then I learned how much energy they use!! Now we are hand washing 90% of the time.
    -Organized our storage some more. I am almost finished. I am using my organizing time to decide about selling certain items. I hope to make enough selling items to put towards a scooter/mo-ped for my husbands short commute to work.
    -Made my menu plan for our continued "pantry challenge" month. We are doing very good on spending almost nothing on groceries this month.
    -We changed our own blinker bulb in my hubs' car. The mechanic wanted to charge $40! The bulb is only 4.99. So we bought one and figured it out ourselves
    -We worked out five times. I stretched five mornings. Most importantly, I really upped my water intake. Being healthy definitely saves you from doctor's bills.
    -Most importantly we called the cable company. After much frustration we got our cable/internet bill cut in half! It is lower than when we originally signed up for cable/internet. We called with the intention of cancelling completely because of the insane price hikes, but the customer service offered us internet and cable for pretty much just the price of internet. We knew that we were going to get internet from a company eventually so we caved and accepted the deal. I just hope we don't have to have the same conversation 12 months from now.

    1. Wow! What great work, Cecile!

      The scooter saves so much on gas. Plus, if you get one under 50ccs, you don't have to register and insure it, which is a huge savings versus having a car.

  26. I discovered that with the cost of butter rising again, Walmart has their house brand in a two pound pack that makes the butter $1.25 a pound cheaper than buying in one pound packages.

    My other item is only frugal in that we refuse to be deterred from getting a refund for an item that "died" under warranty. We had a portable radio/ CD player/ tape player/recorder from Walmart that we had bought the extra warranty on. My husband was in the middle of recording something this weekend when the record function quit working.

    When we took it back to the store, along with the warranty, we were shocked to find that you could no longer return items to the store if it was more than 90 days after the sale. We had to call a warranty place, have them email us a shipping label and print it out, and still have to take it to a UPS terminal and wait for a Walmart gift card to be mailed to us.

    This is highly unsatisfactory. I grew up near the original Walmart and the home office. My whole life nearly, Walmart has accepted defective items returned to the store and you could get the replacement item that day and get on with your life.

    This is such an inconvenience to the customer. When an appliance of any kind has to be returned, you have a right to expect an immediate replacement. I think the purpose of this is partly to discourage people from actually getting replacements, as it is too much trouble, and you need your coffee pot, vacuum, toaster, whatever at once, not in a couple of weeks or so!!!

    1. Usually those "rules" are put in place by the manufacturer, not Walmart. That is why some things can be replaced right away and some not. Walmart has to do what it needs to do in order to get their money back.

    2. It definitely seems a change in policy, since I have shopped at their stores, and returned things, since the time when they only had a handful of stores. In over four decades, this is the only time I have not been able to get an immediate replacement OR a cash refund.

      Not only did I, the victim of an item that did not live up to its warranty, have to be inconvenienced packing an object and wasting a lot of gas to get to a terminal, I only have the option of a Walmart gift card, so I am forced to get the replacement there and risk going through all this again sometime. We still have a couple of items with their warranty, but in the future, we will try to buy somewhere else, even if it costs more, to avoid this ridiculous situation. All that gas I burned today wasn't free. And it blew my whole day.

  27. Wow! You had a busy week! Lovely pictures of all your canning.

    Here's what I did this week:
    --Rode bike everywhere to save on gas
    --Stopped using "heated dry" on the dishwasher
    --Put off grocery shopping a few more days by recombining what we have on hand
    --Went to some local yard sales. Picked up a total of 4 boys' shirts for next year for $2
    --Talked husband out of putting boys in toddler soccer. Instead, he bought some mini-goals at a yard sale for $2 and looked up some fun toddler drills online.
    --Biked to free sample day at the bread outlet. We all enjoyed free donuts and also picked up some nearly out-of-date bread dirt cheap to put in the freezer. (Husband does not like homemade bread.)
    --Found next-size-up shoes for both boys on clearance at Target for $6 a pair!

  28. I did not cook very good meals this week since my husband and I were both down with the flu for several days. We ate very little, and mostly odds and ends. It saved on groceries, for sure. At one point, after taking one child to a therapy appointment I did not choose to have her miss, I bought $3 worth of McDonald hamburgers and handed them out for lunch so I could crawl back into bed. Thank goodness for that option when I needed it:)

    Although I missed one partial day of work last week (I don't get paid when I don't work), I was able to return to work today, my busiest day of the week.

    The garden has produced several small tomatoes this past week. We also got our first 2 summer squash. I had a package of mixed summer squash seeds from Pinetree Seeds that was very old and I planted anyway just in case. Several germinated and one I picked was a round ball zucchini and one was more traditional, but striped. Yesterday, I picked one final batch of peas and snow peas. I lost a bunch due to being sick, but harvested enough for 2 more meals, in addition to the 19 pints we froze a couple of weeks ago. Now I need to pull up the spent vines, renew the soil in those beds with compost and plant fall crops.

    I made salads from our garden. One daughter used basil from the garden for a recipe she was testing. I picked and froze raspberries. We have a small crop this year, so I am doing it in batches. Hopefully, I will get a bunch tomorrow since one daughter wants to make berry syrup. I'll see.

    I weeded out the new strawberry bed I planted this spring. I planted Tristar everbearing, from Territorial. I got about 1/2-3/4 cup of berries while I was weeding. They are growing vigorously and starting to send off many runners. Even the runners are starting to bloom, so I probably will get a bunch by fall and tons next year. I hope to dig up one badly overgrown bed I have, renew the dirt, and take a bunch of those runners to make another bed for next year.

    My latest plantings of beans, lettuce, and corn are up well. Other crops are close to ripening.

    I sewed 2 matching aprons from supplies I had on hand. They will be for the 2 oldest to wear at the county fair during one of their contests, a contest they will do together as a team. I took the 2 youngest shopping tonight and found great deals. They are going to be in the 4H fashion show and need to match the skirts they sewed with shoes, etc. One needed a top and I am sewing the other top with fabric I had already. The shoes were on 40% off the clearance price, so were VERY reasonable. Now they both need to finish their skirts, I need to make the top, and we need to take pictures of them in their outfits.

    My husband picked up some school supplies for very reasonable. He also grabbed some jeans for $6/pair for our granddaughter for school, but they were too tight. One pair that was $12 did fit, so he is returning the rest and hopes to get one more of the one that did fit. 2 pairs that fit would be amazing.

    With one girl away at camp this week, I took time to read to each of the remaining 2 individually. They love it even though they are 10 and 14. Other frugal entertainments included library books, movies, Kindle tv shows, a walk, colored pencils and detailed coloring books (i.e. old-time dolls), crafts received for birthday, lots of cooking practice, sewing lessons (granddaughter's 1st pillowcase is done), and quite a bit of piano practice/playing.

  29. We made a down payment on "a tiny house"... which equates to a cute little "Amish style" cabin that we will live in until our house is complete. The best part is that we will have no rent (!!!), for the next year, just the payment on the tiny house ($130 per month). We are getting creative with electricity, since the power company wants to charge us well over 5000 to bring power in. I actually got to take a shower in the dark this am.. (the bulb blew in the bathroom, and I am not tall enough to change it). A preview of things to come.. and showering by the moonlight was pretty darn cool. i did purchase a few antique oil lanterns that I am excited to use moving forward. I wold like to put a few drops of a scented oil in with the lamp oil, to keep things smelling fresh and nice.
    I am having to downsize everything.. we are going into about 400 sq ft for the next year or so. I set one of my goals for this week to be taking a few loads to Goodwill.
    I have been wanting to make a new quilt for our bed. I have looked at fabric, however, it hit me that I had 7 king size solid white flat sheets. I am toying with the idea of dying them (if anyone has used the RIT dye, please let me know how it worked), and then just purchasing some small squares of accent fabric. I've also never made a quilt before... so this should all be a learning experience. However once we move, we will not have tv.. so I've got to find something to occupy my time. I might as well learn something useful!
    I recieved a beautiful pink zinnia from my neighbor in a tiny vase. I have not saved seeds in the past, but after seeing her Zinnia's and Marigolds, (both of which she grew by seed), I am certainly going to start. We also have arranged a trade... I have a large (ENORMOUS!) wine cabinet(it holds 300 bottles of wine), and she has an antique wood burning cook stove that is gorgeous. I will not be able to take the cabinet with me, and I am trying to hold my bill on a storage unti down to the smallest unit. By making the swap, I will be able to use the stove for cooking, and for heating our cabin. I was a little sad at first, because the wine cabinet was a Valentine's day gift, but I know it's the right thing to do.
    Have a great week! Love the beautiful picture of you reading to the children!

    1. Rit dye I have had a lot of success with, some boo boos. I would suggest if you are going to dye to have patches in different colors, use a similar color family. There will be some bleeding. Always wash on cold to prevent bleeding. Do not wash with anything you would be afraid would be ruined if the dye bled. And finally, The colors alone are usually 30% lighter to the color match on the bottle, exception being the reds. Best of luck!

    2. Rit dye works just fine. I find it a clothes-saver frequently! My granddaughter had a dusty rose cardigan that she wore to work and splashed bleach on. I used color remover first, because she wanted it a light pink. The color remover brought it to a creamy yellow-beige which I knew would go great in her wardrobe, so I took it for her to see without dying it pink. She loved it--and the buttonholes stayed darker than the sweater, so they were a tan color.
      She brought me another sweater that looked like possibly it went through the washing machine with a lipstick in the pocket. I got ALL the stains out without resorting to ANY dye and handed it back like new. I had a pair of denim capris of mine which were fading badly and I'm on the chunky side--not the best look. I overdyed them navy, and while not perfection, they certainly look lots better than they did before and are fine for running errands around town.
      If using a darker color, don't go too short on the amount of dye--two packages sometimes will do better than one on a larger size item. I use either the on the stove or in the washer directions and have not had any problems. Even dying is the hardest to accomplish, so stir well or give it lots of room in the washer so the color takes evenly. Darker colors are harder to get even, in my opinion.
      PS--I saved another sweater just by removing all the buttons and replacing them with better ones. The granddaughter is 22 and apparently has little patience with laundry. I keep telling her "smaller" loads, but she doesn't listen. For others inexperienced in such things--sunlight is a great stain remover, especially on spaghettis sauce stains. Leave it out for a day or two if necessary, but not so long the item fades like it does in very hot places! I find that pouring the detergent directly on the stain improves the chances of it coming out also.

    3. how exciting to live in a "tiny" house and have a "tiny" payment!
      there is a new show, on cable, about "tiny" house living and im so intrigued.
      hope to hear more about how ur adjusting to downsizing....Adriana

  30. I had a very frugal week, combining sales and coupons for many cheap and free items. I found a big bag of oranges for only $0.99, Ginger ale 12-packs for $1.00 each, Free angel soft and popcorn, $0.50 Tropicana and much more. Everyone is welcome to join me on Super Savings Saturday. Full details and pics here:

    1. Great deals! I'm jealous of your ginger ale deal! :)

  31. I look forward to reading this post every week. Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - stayed under our grocery budget
    - ate all of our meals at home except for one lunch out that was paid for by family
    - hosted a yard sale and made some extra cash while decluttering our home at the same time
    - harvested several cucumbers and a few cherry tomatoes from the garden
    - donated leftover yard sale items to receive a tax deductible receipt
    - collected water in our rain barrel
    - received a free magazine in the mail
    - husband rode his bike to work several days
    - made homemade french bread, pumpkin muffins, and 2 berry pies
    - saved $20 on this month's water bill
    That's about it!

  32. Brandy: I love your photos! How did Winter enjoy camp? Is she back?

    This week I baked blueberry muffins, orange bread, I need to make bagels tomorrow. I line dried all laundry (which i love). I made 6 pints of veggie stock using vegetable scraps. I made a crockpot full of pinto beans for refried beans.

    My older twins are turning 4 so I made them appliqued birthday tshirts (with the number 4 on it). I started tshirt dresses in the same vein for my nieces who are 4 and 2 in August for their present. Although not so frugal, their present is a trip to Dallas to Medieval Times (we used the military discount) and hotel points for the trip. My SIL is keeping the little twins overnight so the boys can have one on one time.

    I ordered school backpacks for my boys from Lands' End using a discount and a rebate :) there was even enough to get them monogrammed with a combo of discounts.

    I am so happy, I figured out that if we do strawbale gardening on the top of our driveway (which we don't use) it will not disturb the grass in our rental property. In other news, i am in the process of renting out one of our house in PA. It was up for sale but the market is bad as people are having trouble getting approved for mortgages these days so it is more economical to rent it.

    On a happy note, my husband is on days in the ER for the next three months. (Army Nurses in our ER rotate every 3 months). We are thrilled by this, even if it is only for 3 months. It is a great help to have him home at night.

    Of interest, last week I mentioned the research of depressive symptoms using niacin. One of my clients decided to try and reports a 75% reduction in depressive symptoms using 200g once per day. it is enough to use as a basis for our research study! What a benefit this could be for our Department of defense population.

    Have a great week!

    1. That is pretty smart using your driveway for a raised garden!

      I wanted to say thank you for the Niacin information last week. I have a family member who suffers from minor depression ( does not feel it is strong enough for prescription medication) she has had some improvement with SAMe, but that is a little pricey. She has started taking the Niacin last week.

    2. Thank you! I'm glad it could be helpful. I was really surprised to learn about it but thrilled that it might help so many. I hope it helps your family member!

  33. We came back from vacation last week and transitioned back into the swing of things… so I haven’t had a chance to post in the last few weeks! Our vacation was fun, but it feels nice to get back into my routine :-)
    Last week I…
    - Made 4 loaves of Rosemary-Olive Oil bread to use up some fresh rosemary in the fridge. I usually like to use my bread machine but I woke up early one morning and started these by hand before work. I still used my KitchenAid to do the kneading for me (in two batches, that dough is too big for my KitchenAid to handle) and they turned out really well! With 4 loaves in the oven, I couldn’t put a pan of water in there too, so instead I opened the oven door slightly a few times and misted them with a water bottle I keep for exactly this purpose. The resulting loaves were soft and fluffy on the inside and had a wonderfully crunchy crust! We froze one, ate 2, and gave one to my parents (who reported eating the entire loaf in one day!)
    - One of the first things I did upon returning from vacation was to meal plan to get back into our routine and to grocery shop to make sure we didn’t have any excuses not to eat at home
    - My husband and I ran some errands and I had him stop at Walgreens so that I could use up some Register Rewards before they expired. I almost forgot about them!
    - I canned 24 pints of peaches in vanilla syrup. We eat these as dessert in the winter. Also, my MIL asked me if I wanted to come and pick her raspberry bushes, and I canned 18 cups of raspberry jam from the berries I picked.
    - I caught a sunburn while raspberry picking, so I cut off a piece of my aloe plant at home to treat the burn
    - We had a few cooler days, so we opened the windows to air out the house. We are still gathering quotes for an air conditioner, but so far it hasn’t been too hot in our house (even when I canned!), since we run the fan attached to our heater to circulate the basement air up to the rest of the house
    - We “re-decorated” using furniture that was in our house but elsewhere. We rotated the kitchen table 90 degrees and added a shelf in the kitchen to act as decoration/storage. It now holds all of my vintage pyrex bowls. I use these everyday when I cook, so they aren’t just there to look pretty! I also moved a big comfy chair from my office into our living room. We would really like to get a new couch, but other priorities come first. So in the meantime, we are making the place as comfortable and pretty as we can with what we have. It is actually a lot of fun to see how we can repurpose what we already have!
    - While redecorating, I moved around some house plants. I broke a piece of a hanging plant, so I put it in water in the hope that it will root and I will be able to plant it.
    - We had a gift card to a restaurant, and since we haven’t eaten out in a long time, we decided to have a date night. We had a great time, and my meal was so big, it actually fed me for 4 leftover meals! (I made extra rice).
    - I went to my parents’ house to help my mom and had a lovely dinner there too. One of her friend’s daughters is getting married, and they asked if they would be able to use the pew bows from my wedding. So my mom and I fluffed and steamed them all in preparation for the wedding
    - While there, I gathered some mint from my parents’ garden, and my mom urged me to pick some daisies too, which are now brightening our kitchen. She told me I should come back anytime I want more, since they will only last about another month
    - We used a gift card to purchase a few things we needed for the house from Bed, Bath & Beyond, and used coupons too! (Did you know their coupons never expire?!)

  34. Brandy, I can't express what joy it brings me to read your sweet words and look at your beautiful photos. You are such a precious blessing. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. Apples of gold.

  35. Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    - went to Trader Joe's and purchased some frozen meals to put into the freezer for nights we want take out convenience but at a lower price than real take out
    - ordered several free items from the daily free item alert that I receive from All You magazine
    - continued knitting dish cloths for my kitchen themed Christmas presents for the ladies on my Christmas list
    -redeemed a couple of iBotta rebates...planning to convert to paypal for a movie date with my teenage daughter when I have enough $$$ saved up
    - got back into the routine of meeting my daily goals on Swagbucks- I have decided to purchase a dehydrator with my Amazon credits that I save up- I am still researching which one I want but am leaning toward the Nesco FD-1040 which is a 1000 watt model. If anyone has information to share on dehydrators, please do
    - ordered 16 pounds of strawberries with my bountiful basket in order to make strawberry jam but since my knee surgery was this past Friday, I haven't gotten it done- my daughter and I have been eating fresh strawberries by the pound so I had better get this done tonight before all the strawberries are gone! I am considering adding on the apricots offered as an add on this week- my Dad took apricots out of our orchards years ago so I never make apricot jam- if I get them, I could also dry some in the new dehydrator if I get it ordered also...decisions, decisions...
    -sold an item on eBay which is a first for me
    -didn't go anywhere this past weekend since I was recovering from the knee surgery so we saved on gas

    Have a great week everybody!

    1. The Excalibur is fantastic! The heating unit is in the back, so you don't have to change out trays all the time; everything dries evenly. In addition, NOTHING STICKS and the center part of each tray is removable for easy washing. I have borrowed other dehydrators before and was frustrated with those problems. I was recommended this one by someone who uses hers a lot. It was worth it! I have a link to it on the right-hand column of this blog, in fact. It's really low in price right now; I've seen it as much as $75 more on Amazon than it is right now.

    2. I have an excalibur dehydrator and it is awesome!

  36. We were on vacation last week with my husband's family so my frugal accomplishments center around that. My in-laws had some money set aside for a whole family vacation so they graciously paid the rental cost for the house where we all stayed. We had a great time seeing the sites and spending time with family.

    - We drove our Prius so got 45+ mpg on our 10 hr drive.
    - Each family brought or bought food so we ate all breakfasts and dinners and a couple of our lunches at the house.
    -I brought food I had previously bought on sale so got little food specifically for the trip.
    - My BIL is in the military so we were able to use his military ID to get reduced rates for many activities/attractions.
    -On the drive up we ate sandwiches and fruit we had packed for lunch. On the way back, I grabbed a big sub sandwich and a bag of baby carrots at Wal-mart and my husband, toddler, and I shared that for lunch.
    -There was an evening activity the rest of the family went to, but we were ready for some downtime so relaxed at the house and made s'mores instead.

  37. I have always envied your ability to garden much, much more of the year than I can up here in Maine. But, I'm a wimp. Heat and I don't get along. And up here, we never, ever have "dry" heat. It's always humid.

    Your electric bill just helped me put some things into perspective. I may have a very short growing season (June-September/October) but even in winter when the furnace is running all the time, the highest my electric bill has ever been was $145. And that was a month we had -15 temps most days. I average closer to $80 in the summer and $120 in the winter.

    1. Our winters hover right above freezing and will go below freezing for a few weeks twice during the winter, most years. In the winter we have to use lights more, since it is dark earlier, and our winter bills are around $130.

      We don't need winter clothing, though! Every area has its challenges.

  38. I haven't posted for a while, so this is a complalation of several weeks.
    - the garden is really starting to produce. I've picked several cherry tomatoes, 3 green beans, various herbs, and a ton of zucchini and squash. I was able to take zucchini to 2 friends, take a yummy side of sautéed zucchini and squash with fresh herbs to my in-laws, and grate 23 cups of zucchini to be put in the freezer for future baking. I'm still struggling with keeping up with it!
    - we were able to take several free/nearly free excursions. My husband's work rented Great America for a day. We got admission, all midway games and rides, lunch, and concessions for free. It was great! My SIL treated our family to a morning at the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point while we were visiting. It was crowded and noisy, but the kids loved it.

    1. Melissa, you can make some great zucchini relish with your supply. It tastes just like pickle relish, looks just like pickle relish but doesn't cost like pickle relish! A great way to use it up without making everyone sick of zucchini!

    2. We like zucchini but my theory is eat it while it's young and in it's highest growing season. Later on I let them enlarge and even let some grow to the 1 1/2 ft to 2ft with a hard shell. Those keep very well for months in the root cellar. Right now we eat them every day, like grilled or in a sauteed mixed vegetables or fresh with ranch dip, breaded and baked like fries. I don't start grating up for the freezer and storage until later. My favorite size to use them is when they are 6" to 8" long. But you have to be vigilant in picking.

  39. Hopefully this will come right after my other comment!
    - for the 4th we went to a free community celebration. There were rides, games, bingo, and face painting all for free. We only paid for lunch for me and DH. The kids preferred the pb&j sandwiches packed by my sister.
    - my MIL gave me to large new tubes of toothpaste. My husband won't use them, he's picky, but I will!
    - stocked up on some basics so my grocery trips will be for incidentals
    - finally broke down and bought a Nutrimill wheat grinder

  40. I love reading everyone's comments each week and seeing what you are all doing to be more frugal and mindful. I've been tracking and posting my own frugal and non frugal activities as I think it really does keep me a little more in line with what my goals are ;-) I've shared this past weeks at ... I'm so envious of all that have a garden that is thriving right now!

  41. This summer I have lowered the air-conditioning part of my electric bill over 30% by turning the air-conditioning on only between the hours of 9pm & 9am, when it is cooler. I have 3 air conditioners, one for each zone, (I live in Texas) I only turn them on for 3-6 hours each. I set the temperature 5 degrees below what I would normally have set the thermostat. The temperature slowly rises 8-10 degrees inside the house during the day and the humidity stays low even on very humid days. So instead of the temp being 78 all day long it now is 73 in the morning and slowly rises to 81-83.
    When it gets warm I turn on a fan and have a cold glass of water.
    Thanks Brandy for your blog. You continue to be a blessing for many people.

  42. Thanks to a generous co-worker I now have beautiful apricot jam for the year. I had sugar and pectin in the pantry, empty jars on my shelf, so all it cost me was my time, electricity, and water. Feeling grateful.

  43. hello everyone!
    a few days ago I posted my last wks...but it never appeared. some technical difficulties last wk.:(
    -I received 2 peach loaves for getting a neighbors mail. they were delicious!! she gets them at a grocery store we don't have here, wegmans.
    -my youngest got her first job. yay! it is about 1.5 so if necessary, she is able to bike.
    for her uniform, she needs khaki or jean shorts. I was able to reuse an old pair of jeans for shorts and bought 3 from goodwill on military discount day.
    -last wk I made chicken burgers w/ ground chicken I got for free using mobile coupon and quick sale. I used homemade bread crumbs from bread ends that I had frozen to make the crumbs with.
    -my hubby got a small performance bonus ($450) all the supervisors did and also got a raise. he has been working overtime. avging about 10 per wk.
    -we will be leaving at the end of the month to fix up our rental. my hubby is using his vacation and hopefully we will be able to sell quickly. we have been covering a $250 shortage each month in rent and managing fees so we are praying for a potential buyer.
    -I made dishwasher tabs and washed a few baggies.
    -I have not been making my swagbucks goal. it seems to have gotten harder so I am giving myself a break after doing it everyday for 2 months. I had averaged $25 every 2 wks. I will be getting my last $25 in a couple of days.
    -I cashed out $25 in ibotta(my hubby and I have the app) and $5 in savingstar.
    -my oldest and I went to 7-11 on 7/11 for a free slurpee. also signed up for their app which gives out treats each day from 7/11 til 7/23 I believe.
    -I have been planning my meals out each wk.
    hope every one has a productively frugal wk!!-Adriana

  44. my favorite frugal thing last was dressing up like cows at chick-fil-a. So fun and each family member received a free meal and drink. pictures and more accomplishments here:

  45. I really love your blog and your photography is fabulous. I am in Australia. So we are in mid winter. I also love that you get so many comments its like a community and chatty. So I would love to join in and get into the habit of considering my frugal accomplishments for the week.
    I have adult daughters and a lovely husband. We garden and I am crafty and make all my gifts etc. Plus cook from scratch. I am also a blogger and blog about saving money, crafts and happiness in general. This last week I would say my frugal accomplishments have been going through all my fabrics and planning what to make with what I have, crocheting cotton wash cloths, helping my husband re model our kitchen, and planning Christmas gifts I need to be making. With many thanks. Annabel.

    1. Annabel, I checked out your blog...I like bluebirds! They are in declining numbers here, unfortunately. We have about 10 nesting boxes for them on the property.

      I love what you did with the old wooden ladder. I did that with my old wooden ironing board, painted it lavender and use it on my summer porch as a shelf.

    2. Thank you Athanasia! We dont have real Bluebirds but we have blue wrens which are adorable and very friendly. If you could take photos of your nesting boxes and Bluebirds I would adore to see. I also dream of ever seeing a Hummingbird!
      My friend has just said I can have several more old wooden ladders from her Dads shed! He is very old and going into a home. I am so excited about what I can do with those! Thank you, it is nice to "meet"

    3. Annabel, the nesting boxes are out along the field divisions as they like that area. I can ask one of the girls to try and get a picture with their phone if out that way. We also have wood duck boxes. Those do a better job of attracting wood ducks because of the pond. Bluebirds are harder as they are often chased off by aggressive sparrows who will take their house.


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