Monday, July 28, 2014

Wedding Gifts and Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments


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Last week Winter cut and brought in grapes from the garden. The Thompson's seedless grapes in the basket above weighed 20 pounds! We have filled that basket more than once this year from the same grape vine.

She also brought in some seeded grapes from the garden.

A friend of mine called and offered me 2 baskets full of tomatoes from her garden. This is the friend I mentioned previously who has a greenhouse with a swamp cooler to keep her garden cool during the summer. This was a wonderful blessing, since it is getting too hot to get many tomatoes from our garden now.

I cut two Armenian cucumbers from the garden. I don't get many, but since they are so large, they go a long way!

I made yogurt, banana bread muffins, French bread, chocolate chip cookies, and pasta salad last week.

I used $29 in coupons this week to purchase toiletry items on sale at Target, plus I received another $30 in gift cards to use on a future visit. I am set for several months with some of the items that I purchased.

I also bought a few back to school items on sale this week, and used another $5 in coupons for those.


We attended my brother's wedding last week. I made this burlap pillow for them (just like one his wife had pinned on Pinterest!) using burlap, muslin, and stuffing that I already had. I transferred the words with Citra Solv.


I also gifted them a set of kitchen towels, which I had made earlier. I transferred the image of two birds onto them with Citra Solv. Their wedding had both burlap and birds as part of the theme. 


I also finished making a purse for myself to take to the wedding! I used a leftover fabric scrap that I had from modifying my dress to make a purse that would match. I had just enough fabric to make the purse and the lining, as well as a little pocket inside. I had some thin batting on hand that I used in between the layers. I used this purse frame. I added the purse chain from another purse I already had. I may leave this chain on it, or get another one at some future date, or else I will just keep it as a clutch, which was my original plan. The purse cost me $3.95 to make (including tax). I will use it many more times, starting with taking it to church.

My brother and his beautiful bride
What did you do to save money last week?

112 comments:

  1. What a happy looking couple. The bride's dress is gorgeous!

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  2. A lovely couple! Hope you enjoyed your trip!

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  3. Coupon-wise I only saved about 33%, which is not great for me. But it happens every summer after I've been out of town. It takes me a while to get back in the swing. I did however do fantastic collecting more gas points. Lately my store has had extra deals because we have several new grocery store chains in the area (competition is amazing!). So gas deals have been popping up on things like fresh fruit, veg and things like frozen veg, dairy, etc. They used to only include things I don't eat (Pop Tarts- no criticism if you eat them but I just dont so I could never take advantage).

    Continue to use fans to keep the AC higher and am a crazy lady about turning lights off or just not using them at all during the day unless really necessary for a task. (read: sewing requires extra light, getting ice water at noon with plenty of light from the window does not....it took me a while to realize I don't need the light on to get a glass of water...slow learner- ha)

    Use shower cap about every other day when hair doesn't really need to be washed. Saves products and water because my showers are so short on those days.

    Mend a pair of shorts. Also took a few things to mend for my dad instead of him paying someone or buying new. It's the least Ican do for all he does for me.

    Started re-mulching areas of the garden where the straw mulch has composted. It keeps the weeds out, moisture in and eventually composts to build up my not so great community garden soil.

    I planted my last seeds of the year- beets, broccoli, pak choi, peas, soy beans and carrots. I neglected to mark anything though so let's home I remember what's what so I don't weed it all like I did last year.

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  4. Gah- hit publish too fast.

    I re-though my to-can list. Fewer jams. More unique things to have on had as hostess gifts and desert treats.

    I used my crock-pot to cook dinner. Actually I think it's my favorite summer kitchen tool. Saves energy and saves from adding heat into the house. Plus it's so convenient to have a meal ready for me.

    I made a homemade gourmet pizza. I used what I had on hand too. It was a fraction of the price of a regular pizza, not to mention a gourmet pizza of the same level.

    Hopefully I get back to my normal great couponing self this week...

    KK @ www.preppypinkcrocodile.com

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  5. Congratulations to your brother and his wife. Beautiful photo of them.

    I've been using soda bottles, partially buried in the bed, to water my nasturtiums. Finally got a bloom! Doing the same with my rosemary and it's doing better, too.

    Hand pollinated a pumpkin flower. The kids are excited to grow their own pumpkin, it doesn't have much time to grow before Halloween, but the kids will be happy that we grew it.

    Harvested lettuce and green onions.

    Made french bread and rosemary olive oil bread. Shared half of the rosemary bread with some friends. Made flour tortillas. I liked this recipe better than others I've tried and the family loved them (my 9 year-old helped make them. We used them for tacos, stretching the pound of ground beef with a half cup of lentils, cooked and rinsed.

    Cooked three gifted turkey legs. We had BBQ turkey sandwiches (on homemade bread). and enough meat for two more meals this week.

    We made 3 batches of Cookies, one because I wanted them, the second and third because my 9 year -old wanted to try himself, first, no-bake cookies, I don't think he cooked them long enough as they never set, so he tried chocolate chip and accidentally quadrupled a recipe that is large enough we don't double it. Lots of cookies are in the freezer.

    My husband sanded and we stained our wooden play set. It's about seven years old and was really getting worn. Now looks new and the kids love it again! We had to buy the sand paper, but the stain was left over and given to us when friends moved out of state

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    1. I love having cookie dough in the freezer! We have milk and cookies once a week; sometimes I just couldn't be bothered baking; so having the dough already there and ready to go makes things so much easier. Smart kid, your boy!

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    2. For years I;ve frozen cookie dough in balls. It's especially awesome in the winter when two hot cookies fresh from the oven is the perfect after dinner treat. It prevents me from eating two dozen! I just ball up the dough like normal on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once solid, toss them all in a zip top baggie.

      KK @ www.preppypinkcrocodile.com

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    3. One year the children carved green pumpkins. The few orange ones I got I wanted to save. Nowadays though it seems a trend to grow odd colored pumpkins. At night with the candles lit you can't tell what color they are.

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  6. We stocked up on ice cream bars for summer, using a local clearance grocery store's deal of $1.99 for a box of 24. These are good-quality name-brand ice creams too. We got three boxes, and now we just have to wait for it to get warm enough to eat them.

    My children have been invited to a couple of birthday parties. They're at that transition age where a lot of things I'd stockpiled in the birthday box are almost too small for their friends; so I've made sure to dig right through to the bottom of the box to get rid of those things before they outgrow them altogether.

    Guilty confession time: Over here, they have these great but mega-expensive magazines for kids, with wonderful toys on the front. A local newsagent will send back the front covers of the magazines, and then repackage the toys in grab bags for 50 cents each. I've got some great stuff this way - little Lego kits (those were by far the best!), lip gloss sets, etc. I've gotten into the habit of going there whenever I'm over that way and spending $1 on grab bags, and then sticking the stuff in a huge bin for stocking stuffers/Easter baskets. Cheap fillers, right? Well, yeah, sure . . . but over the weekend I went through the box and sorted them into Easter baskets and stocking fillers and, uh, I'm all set through 2016. Yeah. I think I can stop buying for a while now!

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    1. We also went to the library van on the way home from school. My son is working on "m" with speech therapy now; I spoke with the librarian and she's ordered in some "m" books for us. Her granddaughter's other grandmother is deaf so she's wonderfully encouraging with our son. Now we just have to wait until Thursday to pick up the "m" books - until then we're making do; we do have quite a large children's book collection! (My mother in law buys them at an auction for $5 a box - and a box might have 50 or so books.)

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    2. Madiyjo, are they that cheap now because winter by you ? The store flyer here is advertising them at a box of 12 for $2.99, reg price 4.99 .

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  7. How nice that you made an item from the bride's Pinterest board. I will have to remember that tip. I took your advice and made fig preserves with some of the figs from our tree. Here is my post with my other savings from the past week: http://ahomeinthecountry.blogspot.com/2014/07/weekly-savings_28.html

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  8. What a lovely couple!

    Here are my frugal highs from last week:
    1. Received a payment of $136.31 for purchases made via my Amazon store.
    2. Scored a free roll of paper towels at CVS.
    3. Used lettuce from my garden to make salad one night.
    4. Received a SavingStar cash back payment of $6.94. (I earned cash back on my purchase of grapes, Fiber One cereal, and Fiber One granola bars this week.)
    5. Earned a $0.25 cash back credit from Checkout 51 on my purchase of bananas.
    6. Watched the first two episodes of Six Feet Under, Season Three on DVD from the library.
    7. Picked up some unsold items at the local children's consignment store, plus a credit of - brace yourself - $3.39. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

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    1. + $3.39 is better than -$3.39 :). My father jokes on small amounts like that with "If it was on the street you would bend over to pick it up!"

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  9. Such a beautiful couple -I love her dress! Your presents to them were so nicely made also!

    I forgot to write any thing down so here is a list off the top of my head:

    Made Homemade Greek Yogurt in a Crockpot

    Also made yogurt cheese (wonderful on Wasa crackers)

    Made Banana Muffins this morning -froze left overs.

    Started harvesting from the garden -zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers! I have made use for everything I harvested so far -made zucchini noodles, cucumber boats, and tomorrow stuffed peppers. I also give to my daughter and her family.


    Hung out laundry as much as possible (rainy and chilly)

    Made blueberry and cherry jam for next winter.

    That's all I can remember have a wonderful week!



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  10. Beautiful Bride and Groom! Love that you replicated something from her Pinterest board! I had a somewhat frugal week this past week and hope to continue this week too! I try to share my frugal activities each week on my blog if interested ... http://frugalinflorida.blogspot.com/2014/07/frugal-activities-23.html ... I love reading what everyone else is doing!

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  11. I have been reading this blog for a while but this is the first time I've commented. I really enjoy reading about everyone's frugal activities. I'm probably not the typical reader: condo-dweller, married but no kids. Frugality allows us to live a good life on a single income.

    Here's my list of frugal activities for last week:

    - I cooked all but one meal at home. We go out once a week.
    - I made yogurt and bone broth.
    - My mom found some canning jars at a thrift store for me. I have her buy them for me when she finds them for 25 cents. A lot of the thrift stores around here (Seattle area) sell them for 99 cents - you can buy them new, with lids and rings, cheaper than that.
    - I harvested produce from my plot at the community garden.
    - I dried herbs from the community garden and from my CSA share.
    - I read an e-book from the library and listened to podcasts online.
    - I found a nice piece of fabric at a thrift store for $3.99. It was probably $40 new. It will be enough to make some pants or a jacket for cooler weather.
    - I made cashew milk (soaked cashews, pureed them in the food processor with a little water, and drained them). I saved the pulp in a bag in the freezer, and when the bag was full, I defrosted the pulp and dried it on low in the oven. I then made a paleo-type cashew bread from the cashew meal.
    - I collected water from washing vegetables and used it to water my plants on the patio (water collection was inspired by this blog and people's comments - thanks!)
    - I put food waste in my worm bin (yes, we have a worm bin in our condo), and composted the rest in our city's composting program.
    - I made fermented zucchini pickles.
    - I made several batches of water kefir, flavored with mushy blueberries I had frozen for this purpose.
    - I soaked a huge batch beans and one of lentils. I cooked the beans and froze the extra ones. I froze the soaked lentils uncooked. (I know you don't have to soak lentils, but it makes them more easily digestible).
    - I used a Wonder Bag (thermal cooker) to cook the beans. You cook them on the stove for 15 minutes, and then put them in the Wonder Bag for several hours. I have to put them on the bathroom counter because the thing is huge and my kitchen is tiny and I have very little counter space. I received the Wonder Bag as a gift, but you can find patterns and instructions to make thermal cookers online.

    I look forward to read everyone else's frugal accomplishments!

    Tina in the NW

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    1. The Wonder Bag sounds neat. I have made and used in the past what was called a Hay Box cooker... something from the depression farm days, only I did not use hay. Same principle though. Get a large cardboard box and line it with an old comforter or blankets ( or hay) the more the better. Heat up your beans/roast, etc in a cast iron dutch oven, preferably. Place inside the box and surround with blankets. Place blanket or comforter on top also and place lid on box if you have one.. Let set all day and your food is cooked Now because of the cardboard and blankets, etc I did use this outside (just in case of some type of fire hazard, etc), but had no problems. Amazing how it held the heat and cooked the food while using no energy.

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  12. I adore that pillow! I have been looking for some inspiration to spruce up our living room, so I may make one for myself!

    I'm not sure my comment from last week posted. My husband got a new job! It's here in town, so we are saving quite a bit in gas, as it's only 3 miles from the house. The best part, though, is that the job is at our local coop grocer, so we are going to be able to save 15% on anything we buy, like groceries! And, if we order in advance, we get an extra 10% off case orders, AND we pay cost plus 10% for anything from the wellness section (so shampoo, toothpaste, moisturizer). Such a huge blessing!

    Also, because my husband is now working in town, we pulled our son out of his school's aftercare program, saving us $2000 for the school year.

    I have canned 12 jars of pickles from our garden cucumbers, and 18 pints of green beans. Tomatoes should be coming in next week, so I'll be making lots of salsa.

    I got a coupon for REI. My son attends a Waldorf school and needs outdoor gear, so I went with a friend and got him a raincoat for $20 off (it was also on sale) as well as a pair of sneakers that were on sale. I have a bunch of outgrown fall clothing that I am selling in a consignment sale, so I should come out even or a bit ahead.

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    1. Wow! Congratulations! And what a great blessing that job will be in so many ways! How wonderful for your family!

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    2. What a great deal you got with husband's new job! Multiple blessings!

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  13. Beautiful gifts!

    I made spanish rice and beans with leftover chicken, and we had burrito bowls for dinner twice. We used the leftovers tonight for tacos and will have it tomorrow too (it made a lot).

    I went out for a glass of wine with a friend. Her husband belongs to a winery, so our glass of wine is free. They invited me over for dinner after. My older son was at a sleepover and my husband had the younger one settled, so I went. They served Kobe steaks and vegetables. And sent me home with leftovers. My friends are very into permaculture and gardening. They sent me home with about 8 avocados from their tree and a pound of honey from their bees (which they've had for a few months).

    I am hoping to return the favor by having them over for dinner soon. I made several pints of blueberry freezer jam earlier in the season (from berries we picked at a farm), and I think I'll make them a loaf of your rosemary olive oil bread.

    We had some fun this weekend by going to the beach - we went to the beach with free parking. We went early so there was still parking. We took snacks (didn't end up eating them, but ate them for lunch at home). All in all, it was a free trip. Only thing to make it cheaper would have been to walk there (it's about 1.5 miles from our house, but it's a really steep climb on the way home).

    The city has a free summer camp program this summer. It includes breakfast and lunch. My son likes it so much we canceled 2 other weeks at a different camp. All in all, the camp is saving us about 8 weeks of camp at $150+ per week. We ended up just needing two weeks of camp, and we are taking 1.5 weeks off for vacation. This is good because my company has had two layoffs in the last year, and my new job hunt is not going well.

    My daycare provider sent over a big pile of building blocks for my older son.

    I got working again on a blanket I was knitting for a friend who was due to have a baby on Aug 1. She had the baby last week. It's about the size of a diaper. So I doubt it will be done any time soon. I am going to make a blanket instead, from flannel that I have.

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  14. It was a nice week for us money wise. We finally rented our last PA home after trying to list it for sale for several months in a tough real estate market. Apparently people are having trouble getting mortgages (Brandy is that true for your husband?). I knew we were doing well when we had 6 rental apps in one week. We rented it for $200.00 over the last rent we received for it (we did A LOT of work) and now it has two visiting professors (a married couple from Spain) for possibly the next two years. Whew! It has been under reno since last Sept and we made some big changes such as fresh paint throughout and hardwood floors, plus a much needed new sidewalk. It's a BIG relief!

    My husband purchased a "nest" device for our AC/heater that allows you to really control usage and we changed electric providers. Central TX has a lot of independent providers with better rate than the local big company. We didn't know that when we moved in

    I line dried laundry. We received 2 dozen eggs from my husband's co worker in exchange for a jar of homemade peach preserves.

    I finished and mailed off my niece's homemade b day present (an appliqued t shirt dress). I made a photo mailer for some photos for my Mom out of recycled cardboard.

    I love your brother's photo! The bride is lovely! This week we are headed to Maine (from TX) to my brother's wedding. My SIl, her daughter and a cousin are coming to stay with the twin sets. It is the first time I've ever been away from all 4 kids. It is our Christmas gift from my SIL. Although the trip is not the most frugal, the memories will be priceless. I hope everyone has a good week!

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    1. It's true across the nation. Continual changes to the mortgage lending laws, high student loan debt, and unemployment mean there are not a lot of people buying right now. Also, banks (Chase is the first; others are likely to follow) are stopping giving FHA loans because of legal changes, which will mean a lot of people won't qualify for loans unless they have 20% down--which most people do not have.

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    2. The housing market in Seattle is crazy right now! It is very competitive getting in houses. Most places in my neighborhood have been sold in two weeks for considerable amounts over the asking price. Rents are continuing to climb as well. Very hard to find a one bedroom even in an older building for less than $1000 per month here.

      Seattle has been expensive for years, but it's getting crazy. I'm so lucky I got into my house when I did!

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    3. Seattle is doing much better than many areas of the country.

      In Vegas, the average time on the market for a house is 90 days right now. It has slowed way down.

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    4. Miss Frugal, I feel your pain! We moved to the San Francisco Bay Area last year and it was quite a shock. My in-laws live in a house built in 1964, they've been there since '74, and it hasn't been upgraded much and it's worth 1.6 million, yes, Million! We've been forced to rent because the houses we can afford to buy are about 1000 sqft with no yard. It's been hard learning to deal with the crazy real estate market out here.

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    5. Until recently, we had bought only one house in our lives, and sold none. Since my Mom passed in January, we had her house to clean out and sell. We were very lucky. The next door neighbor had mentioned once that they might be interested for their daughter if we ever sold it. My nephew approached him--and a couple other possibilities--and got one hit from Craig's list. He showed it to 4 people, and the neighbor's son bought it. (Guess we were too late for the daughter.) It came as totally out of the blue for the buyer, but their mortgage was approved and the closing is on Thursday. It's taken us 6 months to clean it out and it was a lot of work, but we did get very nearly our asking price, so we're very relieved to be almost finished with it. We will give my nephew something for selling it, but it will be less than an agent's full commission. (He has had some experience with buying and renting business properties but is no longer working at it.) The real estate market didn't crash nearly as badly here as in most of the US with the depression.

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    6. Melissa, I have heard the same thing about Vancouver, BC. Seattle is not quite that bad. The house across the street from me that was VERY outdated (think 1950s never updated) and very small sold for $380 in less than two weeks. I live in a lesser expensive neighborhood. The new homeowner has probably put 40-50 grand into it already!

      The sellers of the home were selling for their deceased father. They are from Vancouver BC and said a house like that would easily be a million there. That boggles my mind!

      If the house was a few miles north it could have easily sold for another $100k!

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    7. Yeah, we live in Santa Barbara and it is nuts here. Totally nuts. My office mate just bought a house (he's in escrow). 3BR, 2BA, $655,000 (very few updates in the last 30 years), and I can tell you that it's a good $100k or more under market.

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    8. Don't immediately discount a small home. My family of 5 lives in a 944 sq ft 1949 home. It is not always ideal but it saves on utilities, etc. We have a 50 x 100 yard so we are still able to put in a garden. Our mtg is under $600 / month.

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    9. Brandy, that is interesting about the FHA loans no longer being offered many places. My husband is a new agent here in Ohio, and I have not heard of that yet. If that is true here, that will not be good at all for him! The average day on the market here is already 98 days.

      On another note, I am thankful we live in a low cost of living area, modest homes here only average 100k.

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    10. Rachel, have your husband watch The National Real Estate Post each weekday for real news about what is going on in the market. They just spoke about this.

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    11. Thanks for that tip. We will look into it!

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  15. Last week we went to CVS and got a free roll of paper towels and 6 bars of soap for $1 after sales, coupons and bucks. I used a gift card to pay so no out of pocket. We went to Wawa and got a free yogurt/fruit/granola parfait and a free donut. We went to Harbor Freight and I bought some paintbrushes on sale for 50cents each and got a free tape measure and set of screwdrivers. We went to Aldi and spent $34 and stocked up and got potatoes (5lb for $1.79), tortillas/soft tacos, tissues, dried cranberries, laundry detergent, and an ice cream cake for my daughter’s birthday.

    I replaced the molding on the outside of the patio sliding doors. Before replacing the molding I filled the gaps with expanding spray foam, then caulked, then painted. I already had the caulk and paint. The molding and spray foam cost $23. We paid for that with a store credit we had from some returns so no money out of pocket. I’m so glad to get that done - it should save on energy usage and that’s where a lot of lizards were finding their way in, plus a huge wolf spider.

    I spent several hours after work weeding and beginning to prepare beds for fall planting.

    I signed up for text alerts for my prescriptions at CVS and earned $5 extra bucks.

    I had some plums and cherries that needed to be used up, so I turned them into a fruit crumble.

    There was only 3 hours of overtime available last week, so I used my free time to take a couple of free online training sessions through my work. Hopefully it will increase my productivity and my paychecks.

    I increased my CSA share back to weekly from every other week. I’m not getting enough from my garden right now. The CSA is the cheapest way to get organic veggies and fruits.

    I needed a new headset for work. It was almost $60 on Amazon, but I applied for the Amazon Visa Card for which they gave me a $70 amazon credit, so I got the headset free and have $10 left to spend another time.

    When I get bell peppers in the CSA, I chop them and add them to a gallon ziplock in the freezer. The bag was full, so I pulled them out, carmelized them in the crockpot and refroze in half cup portions so they are ready to use.

    Have a great frugal week everyone!

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    1. They say if you have lizards you won't have snakes - maybe you should encourage the lizards! :-) Although snakes are better at eating the spiders . . .

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    2. I love Wawa! I wasn't aware they were in FL, I've only seen it in PA, MD and VA

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    3. Maydijo - I encourage all the lizards, and spiders, and snakes...to stay outside where they belong! lol

      MAJ - We love Wawa too! The first one they opened here is 1/2 mile from us. They are opening more all over town now so they keep having coupons in the paper for free things. We lived on Wawa when we first closed on our house and were spending every spare minute clearing the place out and renovating before we could move in.

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  16. I read Stowaway per your suggestion and enjoyed it so much that I picked up another Karen Hesse book "Out of the Dust", which I liked even more. It was a YA version of Grapes of Wrath, which is in my top 5 fave books of all time. All from the library.
    I continue to glean fruit and have about 50 jars of food of stuff I got for free. The only food I have paid for for canning is strawberries, which are in the freezer still.
    I am hosting a family reunion party this weekend and am saying yes to people that want to contribute food. I will be making huge bowls of guacamole and salsa using avocados from friends trees and tomatoes from my garden.
    I worked an additional day today.
    My husband just saved half his burrito (as I type), talking to himself, "Why wouldn't I save this?"

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    1. I'm so glad that you liked the book!

      How wonderful that you canned 50 jars of gleaned food!

      Your husband's comment made me smile. Waste not, want not!

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    2. Christie

      What is a YA version of the dust bowl? Did you mean VA for the state of Virginia?

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    3. Oh shoot I forgot to hit Notify Me.

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    4. Anna - YA is Young Adult.
      It took me a while to find the answer to that so when people ask, I am the one raising my hand with my tukus off the chair saying I know I know!

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  17. I seem to be having trouble posting again, so I am trying going thru again-

    Harvested gooseberries & green onions from the garden. Mixed more of our home bottled grape juice & home bottled cranberry juice. Used the spent cranberries in gluten free muffins two different times, & reduced the water by half.

    Cooked another of the pre-seasoned roasts in the crock pot to avoid heating up the house. I bought these a while back from the bargain basket for $1 each. This one was a pork tenderloin, but some were applewood smoked turkey tenderloins or lemon garlic turkey tenderloins. All of them cook up just fine in the crock.

    Took 6 more red 12” patio pavers to my oldest daughter when I exchanged our oldest granddaughter for our oldest grandson on Monday, along with a bag of free “grounds for gardeners”. Took 6 more pavers & another bag of grounds when I took our grandson home on Friday.

    Purchased 7 one-pound packages of ground turkey, packaged in “logs”, from the bargain basket & threw them right in the freezer. These were shared with my oldest daughter & her family.
    *Reclaimed water from the kitchen for garden use, & also reclaimed water from the buckets under the downspouts. We had several brief showers, but there was some water in the buckets, so I used it.

    Picked up “grounds for gardeners”. This summer, they have started packaging them in 10 pound silver sacks, placed in a basket by the door, which makes it very convenient, & sometimes I can pick up more than 1 bag. For those who remember when this store manager didn’t want to save them, polite persistence has paid off. I stopped to ask if they had “grounds for gardeners” at least every 2 weeks. This store does not save them year round, but they do save & package them during late spring & all summer. Because of where the store is located, I pass it almost any time I run an errand, & we always stop by on our way back home with a grandchild, to pick up some for their mother.

    While our grandson was here, I paid him to remove an Alberta Spruce that was hitting the overhang above it. There were 10 wasp nests in the tree, but this year none of them were active, because I set out a trap early (in front of it) & caught the queens. Last year, there were 25 nests in the tree we took out, & they were active – it took us all day! He also dug out a portion of the area on the north side of the house, laid down weed fabric & covered it with bark (purchased over 3 months ago on a “spring” sale. At 13, he is too young to be “employed”, but this helps him earn money for his mission fund, & he did things that are hard for me to do with my knees. He helped me catch up on general weeding & pruning. He helped me thin the peach tree (since he is taller than I, & can reach the upper branches easily), & helped me roll up & put away the woven wire covering over the strawberry bed, making it much easier to weed the bed. I showed him how to mix old manure 1:1 with coffee grounds & use a trowel to fling it among the raspberry canes & the currant & gooseberry bushes, & he fertilized those for me, since they are done bearing. The raspberries will bear again in fall, & I will get more if I fertilize them lightly now.

    Purchased 9 more one-pound packages(“logs”) of ground turkey from the meat bargain basket, marked $1 each. Five packages also had coupons for 55 cents off on them, so my final cost was 69 cents a pound for all 9 pounds. They went right into the freezer again.

    Accepted grass clippings again from my neighbor, & used them as mulch on the top tier & on some perimeter plantings.

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    1. Amazing deal on the turkey! My husband got some of the grounds in silver bags a while back as well. I was pleased.

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    2. Marivene I still have problems publishing too. That's why last week I did my frugal post in three parts, so I wouldn't loose all. I noticed if it says after "ACCOUNT" just Google (I use Google, it might say something else for others) when I push publish that is when post disappears. If my name is in the box the it publishes. This morning comment never published and it said Google...my name is in box now so if my theory holds when I push publish, this will go through. Here goes.......

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  18. I found filters for the refrigerator for less than 1/2 of what we pay now. They are a generic filter and the more you buy the less they are. We bought 3 for about $17 each. We shared one with my In-laws and 2 for us. It's been 2 weeks and they work great.

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  19. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    The pillow and other wedding items are lovely. I hope the trip was wonderful for you and your family. The bride and groom are dressed so nicely. The bride is beautiful. Congratulations to the happy couple. I hope you will share a bit of your trip with your readers some time.

    Life has been very busy preparing to return to my job and launching a child into college. The most frugal accomplishment is staying within budget considering medical expenses/bills and college costs. I worked 2 part time jobs and brought in a significant amount of funds to help meet August expenses. I hope after September our finances will settle into a more predictable budget plan.

    I have an extensive list of goals and my biggest frugal accomplishment would be is to get all my goals accomplished this week.

    I made several items and am continuing my Frugal Back to School Clothes projects. I did have a couple of projects not go as I planned so I had to reconsider a couple of projects. Week 3 is in progress. Wish me luck as time is getting tight as the date for school return is nearing.

    Best wishes to everyone,

    Anna

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  20. I have made your swiss chard soup twice in the past week. I loved it as well as my 18 year old daughter and husband (who I'm surprised about liking it). I also made whole wheat bread, french bread buns, zucchini bread. I harvested swiss chard, a couple of tomatoes, zucchini, basil and arugula. A friend mailed me a wicker vintage purse that is in need of a new lining and handles, so I'm excited about that challenge.

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  21. I froze quite a few peaches this past week. Today, my sister brought me 2 more boxes of peaches. They are the "tail end" of the New Havens from her orchard, and some are really ugly since she cleaned the trees. I'm thrilled to get them, and the price is certainly right! I've already made peach jam and spiced peach-blueberry jam, so we will eat some and probably end up with more frozen ones. What a blessing.My older daughter made some mini pies with some. I really have enough frozen, so I'll just have extra and maybe "push" peach smoothies this coming year. The remaininb blueberries have been dealt with as well.

    I weeded and weeded and weeded, especially on Saturday. I picked zucchini, green beans for eating, a few cucumbers and lettuce. I may have to make pickles tomorrow, I'm not sure what's ready exactly.

    I got some flannel for $2.49/yard from Jo'Ann's. I would love to get a couple of Christmas presents started (p.j.'s for nieces). I have an autistic niece who loves the Oregon State Beavers, horses and animal prints of any sort. There was orange and black cheetah spots printed flannel. What could be better. She keeps asking me to make p.j.'s, so I'm going to try to get it done sooner, instead of later.

    I helped my granddaughter finish her skirt for the 4=H fair. I finished an eyelet top for her to wear with that skirt in the 4-H fashion show.

    I worked more this week already and have students scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday. Last week the church I usually use on Mondays and Wednesdays was busy and I could not teach piano there. So, I only did a few lessons last week at my home. I only get paid when I work, so it will be nice to work this week. I did enjoy having more time to work around the house, though.

    Our granddaughter was accepted into a special camp for foster children. We only had to pay $20 for the week. She left today and will be back Friday. I'm hoping she has a wonderful time.

    She is missing a front tooth, even though she's 10. It's up in there, and needs to be brought down by oral surgery, then orthodontia. We've been fiddling around with this for months, waiting for the state to figure out their plan (no use putting on braces if she's not staying here), then paperwork and more paperwork, etc. We finally are at a point where we need to get an $89 exam done(paid for by us), then more paperwork, then they will probably pay for this to get done. We were told (by our DHS worker) to go through these channels first, then if we were denied, plan to pay for this procedure. We will do that, but will try this route first. Either way, the braces are going to be done. She can't go around with no tooth much longer. There are just so many other places for our $ to go that it would be a big help if they could pay for this one.

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  22. Hello all! Beautiful pillow and kitchen towels. Last week I went to a neighbor of my mother's and helped my sister pick peas. I received 6 five gallon buckets of peas. I am still shelling peas and quickly filling my freezer. My sister also sent me a bucket of tomatoes, some peppers, and a butternut squash. I stayed home most of the week to save on gas since I have to go back to work this week, only going out twice last week to run errands. I have been practicing on my no knead artisan bread, my goal is to not have to buy bread at all. Hand sewing a new apron right now from some leftover fabric of the dress I made two weeks ago, it just needs the ties sewed on. That's all I can think of right now.

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    1. I shelled out a LOT fewer peas than that and it took forever! So, good for you. They taste really good, though, which is why I do it.

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  23. What a beautiful couple! And the purse you made is gorgeous! I wish I had your talent with sewing. I am working on it though :)
    Last week we spent money to save money. I received a large, very much a surprise, deposit from my ex husband through child support (he never paid while my son was growing up, he's 20 now.- then my husband and I have our 3 year old. In case anyone was wondering lol.
    I purchased a set of pet hair clippers for our golden retriever so I can cut her hair at home. I attempted this once with my husband's clippers and it did not go so well because her hair was so thick and long. I had to pretty much shave her because her hair was so long and she had some mats but she looks good!
    We also purchased a new lawn mower, on sale with a rebate and a 2 year warranty, because our old one we've had for several years is broken. We purchased a trellis panel for my blackberry vines, two pear trees and an apple tree, and two Russian Sage bushes, all marked down on sale or clearance.
    I set aside our property tax money that is due next month so I don't have to worry about it anymore. We went to the grocery store and stocked up. Other than milk, and probably not even that because I bought cans of powdered milk for the pantry, we won't need groceries for at least two months. We also found a local source for grass fed/pastured beef!! AND they deliver for $20. They are about an hour away from us and a long car ride with our daughter is NOT fun. We took advantage and ordered a quarter cow. That's all we have room for right now but included all the cuts we wanted plus some organs to make dog food with. I also purchased new stainless steel water bottles for us all, a stain steel cup for my daughter, and stainless steel straws (I have wanted these for a couple years but could never justify spending the money), and a lid to use on mason jars to make them portable drink holders. I found a book I've wanted for a penny.
    My husband bought me a coffee grinder at a rummage sale for $4 a couple weeks ago. I used for the first time and LOVE IT! It works like brand new.
    My mom gave me some of her dressier clothes for work, she does not have to dress up for work anymore and had TONS of clothing. I have a rule that for everything I bring in, one thing has to go out. I managed to find a few things to get rid of from the closet. I will donate these to Goodwill.
    I am also working on getting rid of plastic in our home. I have put away all the plastic food containers. I can't get rid of things to quickly, it makes my husband upset (he's a pack rat). So for now they are hidden. I want more Pyrex and have been using my mason jars. I have a "thing " for mason jars lol.
    My husband found a bunch of old picture frames in a trunk we inherited with the house and made collages from several of the photos we have taken over the years.He hung them on the wall as a surprise for me when I got home from work yesterday. I love it! and can now see our pictures all the time.
    Last week wasn't very frugal, BUT with the purchases we made it will save us money. I was very blessed to receive that money when I did.

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    1. If you can wait until November, Black Friday sales ALWAYS include a Pyrex deal of some kind. Usually all the department stores (Kohl's, Younkers, etc.) will have a set of Pyrex with lids for $5. This is really the time to buy them because the rest of the year you'll be hard-pressed to find deals as good as these! My husband was reluctant to let go of his plastic containers, so we put them in the basement in a box. Just having them down there made him happier about the transition to all-glass containers in the kitchen, and we haven't touched them since (it has been 10 months)

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    2. Thank you Ellie! I will wait until I find a good deal. We have to 2 Pyrex containers right now and lots of large and small mason jars.
      That is why I didn't recycle/donate the plastic right away, it would make my hubby to anxious. So they are stored away, out of site hopefully forever! :)

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    3. Forgot a few things:
      -harvested cucumbers,yellow squash, zucchini, peas, green beans, chard, chives, parsley, thyme, green onions from the garden
      -made another batch of laundry soap from supplies I had on hand
      -continue rinse out ziploc bags, save "warm up" water, keep lights off.
      -We did not need to use the air conditioning as we only had one hot day.
      -took all my coffee and food to work, drank water all day
      -stocked up on some clearance priced, organic snacks
      -I was sending all junk mail back. The price for return postage was supposed to be included in the original postage. Our mailman told my husband they have just been throwing the returned mail away! SO I have been calling and emailing the companies to remove us from their mailing list. SO much paper waste/forests being devastated!
      -keep lights off unless absolutely have to turn one on.
      That's it, I think! Have a great week everyone!

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    4. I am using my wide mouth mason jars for storing leftovers instead of plastic, but my husband prefers to take his lunch in plastic bowls. In our home this is a win-win because I use the jars to store the leftovers and he uses the plastic to save money on breakfast and lunch by taking those leftovers. The plastic is used to the end and is then recycled. When I need new ones I get them from the thrift store or from freecycle dot org.

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    5. I love plastic Rubbermaid and Tupperware containers as well as the freezer ones don't know the name but they are made in the USA. However I don't heat them just use them for storage. I have been buying Pyrex though slowly. For heating things up I use old vintage Correlle or Corningware casserole dishes. Dh takes a stainless steele container to work each day with his chili (he's weird he takes chili to work every single day). He also takes a small pyrex bowl of fruit each day for lunch. I will say I'm disappointed in Anchor Hocking, same style as Pyrex but their lids don't fit snugly and will leak so I have a set of 4 of those that will be going in the yard sale next year.

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    6. I love my mason jars and my husband is trying really hard to ditch the plastic too :) We need more mason jars though lol!
      I've never heard of Anchor Hocking but will make sure I avoid them. Thanks for the heads up!

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    7. Anna and Mandy, I don't have a problem with Anchor-Hocking at all. Two of my oldest bread pans are A/H and they are at least 60 years old. I also have 3 pie plates and 2 covered casserole dishes, 2 round baking dishes and lots and lots of green Depression glass. I don't see a difference in durability or usage compared to my Corning Ware and Pyrex pieces.
      I know my nested set of 4 Pyrex bowls is 30 years old as they were a wedding present along with set of 3 Corning French white covered casseroles.

      Too bad yours were a disappointment. I wonder if they are just not made as well now a days as unfortunately is the case with many items.

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  24. so many grapes!! ..your purse turned out adorable! and I love the bird detail!!
    my biggest frugal accomplishments this week was unplugging everything from outlets except out fridge and chest freezer. I also turned off our thermostat as we are out if town . before we left we ate out of the fridge and pantry to eliminate wasted food. I bought groceries for breakfast and lunches.

    received a free magazine in the mail, washed out and saved some bags from my foodsaver, used less yeast in bread making, made freezer jam (I would love to can but currently living in an apartment doesn't give us space, but thankful for our big chest freezer we have space for!) - I made 1/2 pints of blueberry, peach vanilla, strawberry, and peach plum jam.! the blueberries we got when we took the kids blueberry picking - the only cost was the amount of blueberries we picked $6 !

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    1. Faith , canning actually doesn't take as much space as you might think. You can store the cases of empty jars under a bed, and your canned goods would just go into your cupboards in place of store bought items or back into the empty boxes under bed until needed. You can also can in small batches too, so use the smaller size canner, or a larger regular kettle. Only supplies needed are a jar lifter, a canning funnel and I store those in the canner during off season.

      There are a couple blogs I have read where the writers live in places like NYC in small apartments and can. One I can think of is FOOD IN JARS and it looks like she has about 2 sq ft of counter space and the tiniest stove. It's lucky you are able to fit in a freezer.

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    2. I second what Athanasia said. I live in a small condo with a tiny kitchen, yet I canned and stored 100 pints of food last summer. You just need creative storage solutions. :)

      I've got a box of homemade jam under the kitchen table (with close to 40 half pints in it), along with jars stacked in bookshelves....Last year I stored my canned food in the boxes the jars came in, with dishtowels covering each layer. I had two stacks, five boxes high. It wasn't fancy, but it worked.

      Tina in the NW

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    3. I store my full canning jars in a basement that I have to go outside to access. I bring a few at a time up into my home using a basket like the ones in a grocery store used when you buy a few groceries (so it's strong). Although you probably don't have a basement, you might be able to store a few boxes somewhere (garage, storage area) and just bring a few into the kitchen at a time. I don't know your situation, so it may not work, but might be worth a try.

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  25. What lovely wedding gifts that show so much love! We are in a spendy phase this month as we deal with some maintenance issues for our yard and helping my father in law with his move to assisted living. We are trying to keep costs down for both as much as we can though. So we used a 10% off store gift card bought online to buy supplies for the yard. Hubby talked to some people doing tree work across the street and got a much lower price for removing cut up tree trunks from 3 felled trees on the outskirts of our lot than the arborists were quoting -actually about 50% less. They are removing it all right now and as a bonus they moved our broken ping pong table to the curb so I can have it hauled away by the county.

    Hubby is spending the next week on the other side of the country helping his Dad make decisions as to what to take to his new assisted living home and helping him get settled. We used an airline credit from a cousin and other decisions were made to keep the cost of this last minute trip as low as possible. Otherwise we keep on with everyday frugal choices so we can afford these and other things that we want to include in our life.

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    1. That's great that your hubby is helping his dad with the move & transition ... it can be difficult as I found out when I had to move my dad.

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  26. What beautiful presents! I'm sure they will remind them of their wedding for years to come.

    Here's what I did this week:
    --Made big batch of homemade granola
    --Taught Big Brother to drink less water at night so he can sleep in cloth training pants and a rubber cover instead of a Pull-Up. More dry mornings!
    --Checked as an eAudiobook from the library and started learning Spanish for free!

    Mr. FP made us blueberry pancakes for an at-home special Sunday morning treat.

    I was all set to mend a bunch of my cloth diaper wipes/nose-wiping rags that are separating at the edges, but then my mother said she was making me some brand-new ones as a present. I will give the worn ones away via Freecycle or a cloth diaper swap.

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    1. Frugalparagon.. why not save those old wipes/rags for dusting and cleaning? Cloth diapers especially are great for cleaning around the house with.

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    2. I second that. My MIL gave me some cloth diapers when my oldest was born. She's 8 now. We are on tank water (the only water we get is what we collect from rainwater) and we simply don't have the water for cloth diapers, especially back then when we were in the middle of a huge drought. I cut them up and use them as cleaning rags. Eight years on they're still going strong.

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  27. Looking forward - my son is starting Kindergarten, meaning my long term commitment with daycare is finally coming to an end. I've written the last check for daycare and it feels strange. My cost for aftercare at his school will be about 1/4 of what I'm paying now for full time daycare. I'm relieved and anxious for his first day of school in three weeks.

    This week my son is also going to gymnastics camp. His daycare allows one week off per year without paying as a vacation week for the families. I decided to use this option and send him to gymnastics camp for the week which is the same cost as his regular daycare. There is no savings, but no extra money spent. I picked my son up yesterday and he was smiling from ear to ear. He also slept like a rock last night!

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  28. Congratulations to your brother and sister-in-law. She looks stunning and what a beautiful dress and bouquet! I love those blush roses!
    This past week has been made up mainly of conservation efforts. I have continued to collect water from the A/C spout and shower as well as my rinse basin from washing dishes. The A/C spout has picked up again, thankfully. I don't really understand how it can be so active some days and other days there is hardly anything, but I'm not complaining! I also used the reserved water to add to my washing machine a couple of times. I'm hoping that will help with our bill, too. Last night I tried something a little "over the top". I actually waited until my husband and daughter went out to run an errand for school supplies to do it. After I bathed our youngest, I scooped out her bath water and watered the grapefruit tree, the strawberry plants and what is left of our garden plants. There was so much water!
    I found myself using another reader's idea last week, too. I read a comment that they were redecorating their home using items from other parts of the house. I had purchased some new chairs for our breakfast bar, but it made the room seem a little dark so I took the dark curtains down and moved them into our bedroom. We had light curtains in our bedroom, but unfortunately when I went to hang them in the family room, they weren't long enough. I did end up purchasing new curtains for the family room and, even though they are a light color, they have the darkening material on the back of them and have been helping keep the room cooler during the day. Now the room is brighter and cooler at the same time! It's too soon to know the impact on our electric bill, but I am hoping to see it come down a few dollars at least.
    Cooked from scratch except one night when we got trapped in a storm---yikes! We were headed to a free movie night at a friend's church and weren't close to home when the storm hit. So much for the "free" movie. At least we still made it after the storm died down, but I wish we had been able to make it home for dinner beforehand. Can't win 'em all, but still managed to bake lots of bread and made graham crackers. Last night I made split-pea soup with a ham bone I had in the freezer and today I need to make yogurt.
    Went to the scratch-n-dent store for boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.59/pound. I love these chicken breasts because they don't have the injected solution in them and they are trimmed up so nicely! I barely cut anything off of them which makes it so much easier. Found some pasta there for a good price, too. I'll be happy to close out our grocery budget on Friday. I don't like seeing these numbers because this budget has been open for over six weeks due to the pay cycles. This Friday I'll get back to a four-week cycle and it will more closely follow the month we're in, too. Right now it's looking like our budget for August will be under $200! I'm so excited about that! It's mainly due to the stocking up I've been able to do on the baking items such as flour, butter and oats (and cat food!).
    My daughter and three of her friends hosted a "Littles" Summer Camp for kids from 3-7 years of age. She made $65 to put toward her 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. as well as learning some entrepreneurial skills! They had a great time and are looking forward to doing it again next summer.
    I guess that's mostly it...I feel like I always remember other things after I send my post, but I'm pretty sure that does it for me! Have a great week everyone!

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  29. Beautiful photo of your brother and his bride!

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  30. I loved all of the special details you put into Cyrus’s birthday party that you shared with us last week! What a wonderful way to make him feel so loved!

    Last week I:
    - Found red potatoes marked down at the grocery store – 6lbs for $0.99
    - canned 21 quarts of peaches. This brings our total to 21 quarts and 24 pints of peaches
    - I’ve been saving the syrup from the peaches that we have opened up throughout the year. I pour the syrup into ice cube trays and freeze it. This week I made a smoothie using some of this peach syrup, some frozen peaches, and milk. It was refreshing and delicious!
    - I canned 20 half-pints of rosemary rhubarb jelly from rhubarb that was given to me and rosemary from my mom’s herb garden.
    - I went to help my mother-in-law with her big vegetable garden. I came home with about 5 cups of raspberries, a huge bowl of sugar snap peas, 4lbs of beets, 4 small onions, and tons of green beans. I’m going to pickle 3lbs of the beets and some of the green beans, the rest will be eaten fresh.
    - My mom and I had to run an errand at church. While we were there, she showed me the herbs that a lady planted for the parishioners, and told me how no one was taking them. We harvested 7 different kinds of herbs, and once at home, hung them all to dry. My mom also sent me home with some chamomile and mint from her garden.
    - I bought a ham and sliced it for sandwiches. I froze some of the slices since we won’t eat it all before it goes bad
    - I have been looking for a large embroidery hoop for some time. I really like the heavy-duty plastic ones, but they are really expensive. The other day at Hobby Lobby I decided to go look in the clearance section, and I found a 14” hoop. Originally $22, I paid $4.50. I was so happy with this unexpected find!

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    1. The rosemary rhubarb jelly sounds intriguing - what do you use it on?

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    2. This is my first year canning it, since I got so much rhubarb for free and needed to find a use for it! I think it could go savory or sweet. It would make a nice glaze over a pound cake, but I can also see it with cheese and crackers or as a meat glaze. It is also the prettiest bright pink color!

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  31. Fabulous wedding gifts!!

    I have been so busy so I feel like I haven't been very frugal lately. The good news is that I had a training course Mon-Thur last week (paid for by my boss) and they provided breakfast and lunch. That was really nice, we even got to go out for lunch.

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  32. This week has been one to experiment with lowering our grocery bill by not buying snack foods and other treats we normally buy. We have ate out of our garden for a lot of meals. I purchased ground beef for $1.99/lb and packaged it up. I checked all the grocery adds to see if anything is cheaper than Aldi's. This week our local store had canned veggies and pork and beans for .29/can. I purchased one case of green beans and one of p&b. Aldi's prices were .49/can this week.

    I decided that going out for my birthday cost too much so we stayed home. I work part time and they are having a lunch for July birthdays and I'm invited. They also invited my two girls too!

    The next two weeks will be great on our budget as we can live without air conditioning. It has been an unusual year of cooler weather in the Midwest and it will only be low 80's. I normally cannot tolerate even that heat but with the attic fan running, I can find a cooler room to work in by the afternoon. I also will use the crockpot to fix dinners in.

    We have lived 2 weeks without cable! It was weird at first but we found that we really love PBS create channel and documentaries on Netflix. The house has been quiet and it is nice on my brain(MS).
    Thanks for sharing all your ideas!

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    1. Mom at home.. we gave up cable several years ago. We watch the local free stations which has added over the past year or so 3 new channels that show old classics like Dennis The Menace. We only watch TV during the week from 4 to 6pm then the TV is turned off and it's peaceful. Oh and we watch the morning news 5am to 6am. Weekends sigh! dh will watch oldies most of the day and into the evening but giving up that $90 dollar a month bill was great, I'm sure a lot more than that now days. We have Netflix too.. this summer we cut it down to just streaming as we don't watch TV much, should really have just canceled the whole thing till winter as we aren't really using the streaming right now either.

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  33. The bride is beautiful, the groom handsome. I am sure they will have an amazing life.
    I saved a good deal of money buying under wear, under shirts, and jeans for my grandsons. I have 2 coupons from JCPenny. Evan's school supplies are all brought. I always order from the school, it is cheaper (they buy in bulk and pass on the savings) Gavin is going to be a freshman in high school. I am not sure what he will need.
    Our garden is about fizzled out, it is over 100 here everyday. I am getting limes from my 2 trees. I am still using bath water to water the trees and some plants,
    We did SPEND some unexpected money. At church some friends had a puppy that had been dumped on their property. They asked us to take her as they just can not afford any more animals. She is a tiny dog, no idea what kind she is. We took her to the vet to be checked for disease. She is now a happy member of the family. I gave her the name Lilly Grace.
    Since Jan. 1 of this year I have saved every $5.00 bill we have received in change. I counted it last night. We have $1,125 so far. I am tickled with that.
    I made our meals at home. I have started making some Christmas gifts. I hope to be done with Christmas gift buying before Thanksgiving.

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    1. Roxie.. God bless you for rescuing the pup. I work as a volunteer at a shelter and it's heartbreaking to see so many animals put down if they aren't adopted in the designated time frame (not my shelter we're a no kill but I am listed with many across our state). So thank you for taking in the pup, your rewards will be great with all that love it has to give back to you and your family. And that is totally awesome on the $5 saving plan!

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  34. The purse is lovely, and your sister in law is a gorgeous bride! That smile on her face says it all!

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  35. I love the photo of your brother and his bride. Did you take that photo Brandy? I really admire your photography skills.

    We have been blessed by an abundance of apricots on our tree this year. I think it has been an excellent year for apricots here in Utah since I know of many trees that are overloaded this year. I have made 4 batches of jam, dehydrated some and have frozen apricots also to use in smoothies. I have enough jam to give away at Christmas time to our neighbors and friends.

    We had to install a new HVAC system in May. I was hoping to put that off for a year, but the system needed too many expensive repairs. I was pleased to see that our electric bill for last month was $100 less than what we had paid a year ago. We are watching our pennies right now so we can build up funds for some other repair we need to do for the house.

    My most fun frugal project was a shawl that I finished knitting last week. It was made from yarn that I inherited from my grandmother that had a price label from Goodwill that said 39 cents. It's a fine wool yarn and made into a nice lightweight shawl that I used last Sunday in church as the air conditioning in our chapel is too cool for me. I love the connection to my grandmother--she was a very frugal person and I learned a lot from her. I know she would be very pleased.

    I also spent some time making notecards with paper supplies that my daughter gave to me when she moved. It's nice to have cards available to send notes to family members, we are all scattered around the country.

    I enjoy reading everyone's comments each week although I don't always comment. I get a lot of good ideas from what others share here. Thanks so much for providing this blog for us Brandy!

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    1. I did take the photo. I sat on the aisle seat.

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  36. Congratulations to your brother and best wishes to your new sister-in-law! Your purse is lovely. How do you attach the fabric to the frame?

    This week's thrifty deeds:

    Bought 12 pounds of organic, non-GMO cane sugar for 50 cents a pound on the reduced for quick sale aisle at Wal-Mart.

    Picked and froze red currants and blueberries from our own bushes.

    Also picked black currants and made Cassis to put in Christmas hampers.

    Our neighbor let us pick her gooseberries and I canned chutney from them.

    Picked a bushel of windfall apples from the neighbor's orchard and canned apple juice from them.

    Ate mainly from the garden.

    As always, hung the laundry on the line (we don't own a dryer).

    Made homemade rye bread and gave a loaf to the neighbor as a thank you gift.

    The main way we saved money this week was by not doing things; like not eating out while shopping, not using the car, not running the AC, not turning the lights on at night, etc.

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    1. This was a sew-in frame, so I sewed it in (on the drive to the wedding!) Most frames are glue-in frames.

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    2. Thanks for answering, Brandi! I've seen these beautiful frames in the stores, but never knew how the fabric was attached. I have a piece of one hundred year old silk that I have been saving for a special project. This just might fit the bill!

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    3. Jane, that would be a great way to use a piece of silk! It doesn't take much, and you could use something else for the lining if you wanted to.

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  37. How sweet that the wedding gifts will remind often of the wedding! You do elegant needlework, Brandy! Makes me mindful of my own promise to myself to begin embroidery once more. Here are my frugal accomplishes for last week: http://bluehousejournal.blogspot.com/2014/07/my-frugal-weekliving-well-july-19-25.html

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  38. A good friend of mine and I made homemade food baskets for gifts last Christmas, they were a hit and we plan to do it again this year. So far we've gleaned blackberries from two different locations and already have 4.5 gallon bags full in the freezer! My dad is also watching for us and brought a large box of pears and a smaller box of apples over this last weekend. The pears we've already prepped and frozen, the apples I intend to make applesauce with (and then use the peels/cores to make apple peel jelly)!

    This same friend and I have been going to garage sales roughly every other weekend. A few weekends ago we were lucky and found approx. 100 pint size jars (antique ones and neat shapes). The woman wanted $.25 each, but dropped to $20 for the group since we took them all. We'll get new rings/lids and use these to can our gifts! I already used a $5 off coupon at Ace and was able to pick up two boxes of lids (24 total) for $1.05 after the coupon.

    This last weekend we went to a neighborhood sale and each found some neat kitchen tools that we've been wanting. She got a brand new Nordicware minin bundt pan (makes six at a time) for $3, and I scored a set of three antique cookie stamps for $1! The best deal though was a Nintendo DS Lite with a case and TEN games for $5!!! Everything works perfectly. She is keeping a handful of the games for her daughter's Christmas stocking, and then I will re-sell the rest of the lot for a profit (some of the games are geared for adults and aren't appropriate for our kiddos). My son is asking for a Nintendo 2DS for Christmas from Santa (which I already purchased with my recent eBay sales); so I will use the profit from the lot to purchase him a game that he will like for a Christmas gift! I've already started my Christmas shopping and am pleased to be almost done with my children and a few of the others on my list!

    Another thing this week is that one of my daughter's prek teachers asked me to make a cake for her son's birthday. I gave her a deal compared to the local bakeries and did a half sheet cake with pop out sports balls (covered in homemade fondant) for $40. Supplies and product for the cake were pretty expensive and I only made around $15 profit, so I don't think that I'll do it again (took me more than half a day of labor, not really worth my time financially). But it was fun and I think they will definitely enjoy it. I've never sold one of my products before (usually donate for kids' schools or make for their birthdays), so this a new try at making some extra cash.

    On that same note, I told one of my daycare families that I would provide care for their daughter on Fridays this school year. I was going to be closed on Fridays so that I could run errands that day, but their Friday care fell through and I didn't want to lose their family (luckily I can take this child with me if needed though I prefer not to). At $35 a day, that will bring in some extra cash each month!

    Love these posts!

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  39. Those grapes look so yummy!

    Lately:

    * we recently moved so we are doing a lot of things around our new house ~ painting, yard work, changing fixtures, etc
    * picked up a box of apricots for .99/#...ate lots and made some freezer jam!
    * daughter and I went and picked 7# of fresh green beans, most are in the freezer now
    * also bought peaches, cherries, and blueberries in bulk and froze
    * bought 40# ground beef from zaycon
    * a friend new I was looking for more cloth napkins and gifted me 4 she wasn't going to use
    * did a photo shoot with my children in our new yard. Got some great shots :)

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  40. Thank you to the person I ask about what YA meant, never would have guessed it meant Young Adult.

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  41. I always think that the husband and I don't live frugally but this week I kept track and here goes.
    *made home made pizza this Saturday night
    *filled up gas tanks at HEB which gives an 11 cent per gallon discount is you use their gift card. This discount continues through the summer and we just reload the gift card when it gets low
    *we took a weekend trip to Houston. While not particularly frugal we did get a free full breakfast the first day. We ate out but we shared an entree each time. We are getting older and really don't need a full entree. But when we do this we tip as if we bought two entrees. Don't want to stiff the waitperson.
    *packed drinks and snacks for the car trip. I hate to pay gas station prices for drinks
    *combined trips to the nearest town to do shopping.
    *cooked at home except during that Houston trip
    *watered outdoor potted plants with water from the rain barrels
    *had a toenail removed. Not frugal but the doc ordered antibacterial ointment, cloth like Band-aids for the recovery, and a new basin for soaking the toe. I purchased all these in store brands and saved about $5.00.

    I am sure there is more but, of course, I can't remember now. My husband and I are both retired and am trying to live on the retirement pay. Some times it's easy and sometimes not. But it is a good life.

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    1. Ow, the toe nail? I've had joints replaced but the thought of anything being done to a toenail or fingernail makes me feel sick. I hope it was a quick recovery.

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  42. cleaned out and defrosted my chest freezer. The bread dough did not stay frozen so today I made bagels, cinnamon rolls and a loaf of bread. I also found some things I had forgotten about. Made my weekly meal plan and started to thaw items in my fridge for later this week.

    went out of town but were able to stay with family so no hotel costs

    purchased blueberries for 1.88 a pint and 6oz raspberries for 1.74 and cereal for 1.72 a box, combining sales and coupons. Milk was .99/gallon on clearance. Cream cheese was 1.19. Purchased a lot as the sell by date is October. Yogurt was .40 each if you purchased 10 and I had a coupon for 40 cents off of 6. I brought my own bags as well as one store gives 5 cents per bag off your total.

    make zucchini muffins from a free zucchini. Frozen enough for two more batches.

    My husband caught two more lake trout this week. I have been vacuum sealing ti all. I am storing it in the chest freezer.

    asked at a local store if they had a coupon as I had forgotten to print one. They gave me one for 20% off.

    brought a bag of books to a used book store and was given $17 in store credit. I purchased a couple of books today for myself and my son.

    took a shower etc without the light on

    had 8 errands to run today. I wrote them in order of location to minimize the amount of gas used.

    My mother in law gave my sons three shirts she had gotten on clearance.

    used the air compressor to clean out the filter for our shop vac instead of replacing it.

    purchased cans of tuna for .44 each with a sale and coupons. I purchased 9 cans.

    a friend of ours has a bear permit or this fall and we are saving fish bones and heads to give him for bait. Not frugal for us but frugal for him

    burned some wood for a friend and at the same time burned a box of financial documents that I did not want to throw way or pay to have shredded. I need to get better at shredding a little at a time at home so it does not build up

    took my sister in law (8 hours away) out of town for an appointment and as a thank you, she paid for everything. It was a nice treat.

    used a gift certificate we had been given for dinner out . Cost us $7 total for dinner.

    Cashed in some of my kelloggs family rewards for a $10 itunes gift card.

    downloaded free books to my kindle

    trimmed my own bangs

    made some foamy soap with a dispenser I had saved and liquid hand soap with water

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  43. For some reason, I only seem to make it on to the computer for this every other week. Even so, I read the comments every week. It inspires me to do a little more. Thank you to everyone!
    These are my accomplishments for the last two weeks:
    -I received 7 tomato/cherry tomato starts and 4 sweet pepper/jalapeno pepper starts from one of my husband's coworkers who over-planted his balcony garden. They are still pretty young, so I hope the growing season here in CA is long enough for them to produce. I sent a bag full of zucchini and crookneck squash with my husband to give to his coworker as thanks.
    -I've been harvesting squash and zucchini every day, at least 5 zucchini and 5-10 squash a DAY! We're running out of ideas of how to use it all up. We've been able to give a lot away. One gentleman at church thanked me and asked if I'd like some of his plums when they ripen. Of course, I said yes! I also have a friend that offered to exchange some of her onions for my squash because her plants died. Again, I said yes!
    - While I was at the farmer's market, I asked one of the vendors what price she would give me if I bought a box of tomatoes. Regular price is 2.50/lb, she said 1.50/lb. When I mentioned that I wanted to do sauce, she showed me a box of tomatoes that had small blemishes and said she'd let me have them for .50/lb. I took them! Unfortunately, two days later, when I could can them they were half gone bad. I ended up with 4 pints of pizza sauce. The vendor says I can get more of the tomatoes this Saturday and I will be sure to can them that day!
    - I got a large box of secondhand clothes from my sister for my son. I went through them and pulled out the clothes that fit now and put those that are too large (3T and he's only 18mo!) away in a storage container.
    - I cut out and sewed together a jumper (dress for those not in the US) for my daughter for Christmas. The fabric came from a skirt that I no longer wear and I already had the thread. I only had to buy the pattern and buttons.
    - I made a bracelet for my daughter for Christmas with beads from a broken necklace and elastic thread on hand.
    - I repaired a barrette
    - Used my grocery card to get .10/gallon off. I used it when my tank was completely empty.
    - Did the things that are now becoming habit: thermostat set to 80 during the day, line drying most clothes, showering during the day so I don't have to turn the lights on, baking bread, cooking most meals from scratch.
    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

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  44. Congratulations to your brother Ms. Brandy. Your new sister-in-law looked absolutely beautiful. I get so teary eyed at even the thought of a wedding. So much happiness and love.

    We have been very busy lately with the husband acclimatizing to the new job. Due to this, I did not get a chance to post my accomplishments for two weeks so this is a summary of our efforts.

    -We have continued to stick to our "pantry challenge" this month in order to save the funds to replace items that were stolen from my husband's car several months ago. Our grocery savings enabled us to replace almost everything that was stolen. We have even looked at this as a reality check to our grocery shopping. We assumed that in order to eat a "real food" diet we had to have an open ended budget. So many people believe that eating healthy is more expensive. Now we realize that it can be cheaper and a budget really helps!

    -Along the lines of food I have cooked every meal at home except for one these last two weeks. The only meal I didn't cook at home was my husband's birthday dinner. We had planned on dining out that night, but instead some good friends offered to grill us some steaks as a birthday present. We gladly accepted, and had free dinner and great company for his birthday. These same friends also offered as much free garden produce as we would like. They have a huge garden with just two people, and would rather me use it/can it than it go to waste. I gladly accepted some zucchini that were ready, and told them to call me any time that they had a surplus.

    - A local park has been hosting a "Food Truck Friday" event in town featuring live music. It is free to go to. We pack a picnic, tip the band, and sit on a blanket enjoying the music, Very frugal date night.

    -I had been looking for new towels for our bathroom because our old ones seemed musky. They always had a smell. After looking online I learned that they often collect detergent residue after several hundred washes and that leads to a funky smell. I tried an experiment washing them once in hot water and vinegar, then once in hot water and baking soda (with NO detergent). This worked like a charm. My several year old towels that were in great shape, but smelled funky are now like BRAND NEW!! No Smell!!

    -We have a large pickle jar that we have collected change in for years. We finally decided to cash it in last weekend only to be turned away by every bank we went to. So we opted to go to a Coin Star, They charge 10.9% to cash in change!!!! We then read the fine print and found out that if you get a gift card instead that it is free. So we saved about $40 in fees and we now have over $400 in our amazon account. We get several of our household goods and kindle books through amazon. So it was well worth the savings.

    -At my husband's new job there are two different coffee machines that they charge employees for. One is espresso at $1 a piece. One is coffee at 50cents a piece. It only took my husband a few of each to realize that this was not an affordable habit. So we shopped around and found him a refurbished coffee/espresso maker for $70 (regularly $299). WE figured it would pay for itself in 2 months or so.

    -Along the lines of everyday frugality we went to the gym 10 times in 14 days. We went to the dog park three times. We paid bills online or by phone (and saved stamps). My husband even started washing Ziploc bags of his own volition. Our hand washing dishes has continued with one or two moments of weakness.

    All in all it has been a frugal two weeks for us.

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  45. My frugals so far this week are: Working extra hours. Taking my dog for a walk, free exercise and peace of mind getting out in the cool morning air. Harvested 15 lbs. of apples today off my tree, have them peel, chopped and will can tomorrow morning as I am working this afternoon and evening and need to get a little nap in before I go (we get up here at 4:45am). All bills are paid on time. Dh wanted pizza for his birthday last night, got a coupon online sent to us by one place we frequent so saved $3 off, not great but definitely a good thing. Lunch this week has been leftovers from dinner for me. I am sure there is other stuff I'm forgetting will pop back in if I remember them. Oh used $5 in coupons yesterday at the store for items I had to buy anyways.

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    1. I used 6 gallons of rain water yesterday to mop my floors. I have a 50 gallon rain barrel which is full and a 50 gallon plastic Rubbermaid trash can that I keep under a gutter and didn't have enough room in the rain barrel for the extra water so mopped with it. Tomorrow I will use some to wash out my trash cans with. I need more gallon jugs to store the extra water, have ask neighbors but they never seem to remember.

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  46. Last week was a little tricky, due to the Market Basket strike here in New England. I always shop multiple stores, so it didn't upset me too much, but many people are very angry! By shopping the deals and using coupons I was able to get many freebies: paper towels, Dramamine, nail polish, and pudding. I also found $0.50 cereal, $0.40 frosting, and much more. Full details and pics here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-726/. Everyone is always welcome to join in!

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  47. Slow savings week but I did have some progress!

    I listed box tops for education, soup labels and similac coupons on ebay for a profit of $13 after shipping.
    I harvested a few late strawberries, tomato, and tons of basil from the garden.
    We are planning a move so I picked up free boxes listed on craigslist.
    Collected seeds from basil, borage confederate jasmine.
    Went through my old seed box to plan for a fall garden using only what I already have on hand.
    I finally earned enough swagbucks for a few amazon cards to order a reusable coffee filter.
    Made most meals from scratch.

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    Replies
    1. Jennifer, do you then give the money from the box tops and soup labels to the school?

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    2. Well we homeschool but we were able to put that money along with our collected change jar to purchase school supplies for the school supply drive at church. Thanks for your question.

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  48. Thanks for all the inspiration, everyone! Brandy, what a lovely photo of two glowing people.

    So far I've canned 12 quarts of tomato sauce. Made 2 gallon batches of salsa. We've enjoyed sliced fresh tomatoes with nearly every meal but breakfast.
    We always eat homemade meals. Made a double batch of oatmeal dinner rolls with leftover oatmeal.
    Shredded homegrown zucchini to fill 2 gallon bags. More to shred tomorrow.
    Made a large batch of granola today using leftover homemade pancake syrup to sweeten.

    Sewed a pair of shorts for 2 of my daughters. These were made from one large ladies' t-shirt that I picked up at a yard sale for 25 cents! Also sewed a skirt & matching shirt from a man's Tommy Hef. dress shirt for my 4 yr, old daughter. This shirt was purchased second-hand years ago.
    Mended 3 dresses and patched my 3 yr, old son's jeans.
    A mouse damaged a casual tablecloth so I made it into napkins. I got 15 cloth napkins!

    My husband was gifted 6 white t-shirts in his size. He purchased 2 bottles of Rit dye in his favorite colors for these shirts. I plan to dye them tomorrow.

    And my BIG deal: a free treadmill! A man in our church is moving and asked my husband to help. He gave away the treadmill as he's too busy to sell it. What a blessing! I prayed for this weeks ago in preparation for winter. We have a small bedroom but the machine just fits, also it folds up when not in use! God sure loves to give over and above what we desire.

    Blessings, Leslie








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    1. Leslie,
      When you shred zucchini into a gallon bag, does it stick together? Do you have a use for a gallon at one time? I have a lot to shred this year, it looks like a bumper crop, but I would never have a use for a gallon at once. I've been putting it into little bags or saved sour cream cartons, etc., but it would be handy to put it all in one bag to save bags, so I wondered if you know a trick.

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    2. Becky, I shred mine into smaller Ziploc and then put all in gallon size one. If you did not they would freeze solid into one inseparable chunk. I freeze in 2 cup measures and use the chunk as is for chili but if using for bread, cake etc I thaw first. When it thaws it looses moisture and is more like 1 cup after.

      I don't know if maybe she has a way to freeze the zucchini shreds separate, like shredded hash browns. Then I suppose you would be able to break a chunk off as needed. I'd be interested to hear.

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  49. I'm with Cindy. My husband and I live in a 1200 square foot ranch, built in 1977 that we bought in 1993 and had some work done on before moving in. No McMansion or huge mortgage for us. We are grateful to have a comfortable, respectable home that meets out needs.

    The home has appreciated a good bit since we bought it. We were never under water while we still had a mortgage. I think that happens more often when people over reach and go the McMansion route than it does when they just buy reasonable homes.

    The small size and old standard ceiling height of 8' means cheaper utilities. This cooler than normal summer, plus new insulation last year, has meant even more utility savings. (We used approximately 350 fewer KWH than for the same period last year.) I just got our electric bill today. The actual bill for the month was $98, the averaged payment is $57, and--unbelievably at this stage of summer--we are still running a credit of a little over a dollar from the averaged payments that built up over the winter.

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  50. I really like your photographs.
    I went to a 10 cent sale and I got a couple of wardrobes for my baby in the next two sizes and some professional clothes for me.
    I bought manager special pork loins for 1.99 a pound and I was in a city with an Aldi and I stocked up on their lean frozen turkey meat for 1.59 a pound.
    I was given a lot of corn from a friend. I blanched and froze 8 family size portions.
    I'm looking forward to harvest around here. I have several green tomatoes- I can't wait for a fresh tomato. :)

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  51. I just found your blog and I'm so excited to follow it! I'm a homemaker full time and about to welcome our first child into the family. Finances are frequently on my mind! I love learning about ways I can be saving money. I'm going to subscribe, thanks for the great content!

    -Mollie from hopeforhomemakers.com

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  52. I made your Rosemary Olive Oil bread finally. I was a little nervous on the hand kneading (I use a bread machine to make our bread) and my yeast is starting to sour, but they turned out beautifully. The taste was so good too! My husband commented after his second slice "I don't know who this Brandy is, but she gets 2 thumbs up from me!"
    Thank you. In the last 4 months being serious where money goes, this site has managed to convert my meat loving husband into a part time vegetarian and white artisan bread. Now if I could just get him to turn the lights off :)

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    1. That's funny Mary! My husband likes to keep the lights off at all times even at night. I ask him if we're living in a cave? LOL!!

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  53. Brandy,

    As usual your pictures are lovely and your brother and new sisterinlaw look particularly stunning!

    Our frugal activities have been hit and miss; we are spending alot of our time at our rental house getting it ready for a new tenant so our family schedule is a wreck! I took food and drinks over there so that we can grab a quick bite without being tempted to go get take out and that has worked out well.

    I have used some coupons when grocery shopping and I purchased 4 2.5 pound bags of boneless skinless frozen chicken at $1.69 per pound which is a good deal. I also got 2 packages of reduced price italian sausage and that went into the freezer as well. As soon as we are done with the chores at our rental, I will take an inventory of what is in the freezer and plan our meals around what I already have. I sold a couple of items on ebay; I am saving the money I make to spend on Christmas presents. I met my Swagbucks goals almost every day and transferred another $25 to my Amazon account. I earned some iBotta credit and transferred $20 to my paypal.

    I guess the most frugal longterm accomplishment is getting a new renter for our rental house; we won't have to pay the bills for the house starting tomorrow- yay!

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  54. My mother and I always froze the shredded zucchini in two cup portions, also, as that is what our zucchini bread recipe called for. For using in breads and cakes, we thawed in a bowl and put the entire contents of the bowl in the batter, because that liquid would still have been in the zucchini if you were using fresh. The first time I used frozen, I did not include the liquid and the cake was dry.

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