February 2019 in the garden

This has been a very different year in the garden.

Our normal first frost date is November 15th, but the earliest I have ever seen a frost here is December 3rd (and as late as December 15th). Our last frost date is February 15th.

This year we had snow in late February, after we would have been planting tomatoes in the garden. It doesn’t usually snow here.

And this week, in October, we had a warning about our first frost. In the twenty years I have lived in Las Vegas, I have never seen an October frost.

Normally, the roses and the tomatoes start to flower again in October because it finally cools down enough to them to flower. We harvest green and sometimes red tomatoes in December.

Because of the frost warnings, I harvested basil, peppermint, and lemon verbena to dry to use this winter. I harvested cucumbers. I cut grape leaves and chard to use in a lemony chicken and dumpling soup.

No frost came, so the basil and other herbs will keep growing until then.

My husband attended a day’s worth of continuing education classes, as they are required to keep his real estate license active. He likes to sign up for free classes as well as back to back classes hosted at the same place. This was a back to back class situation–two classes, one day, and they provided breakfast (bagels) and lunch (smoked brisket!!!) along with the classes.

We asked my mom and she had an old, worn bottom sheet (the elastic was shot) that was in just the color we needed for my daughter Liberty’s Statue of Liberty costume.

I downloaded a free guide for photographers and watched some YouTube videos on photography and editing to continue to improve my craft.

I cooked pinto beans and black beans in my solar oven. We ate some fresh and the rest I froze to use in future meals.

I purchased some long-sleeved shirts on sale online for my girls. I have two daughters a year and a half apart in age who wear the same size. Most of the things I had in that size for my first daughter were used to start with, and my eldest wore them out. I needed a new wardrobe quickly for both girls. I found shirts for $5 (regular price) at Target. They both love jeggings, but the local Targets I went to last week only had three pairs in their size, so I ordered the rest online, going through Rakuten to get a small amount of cash back. I also ordered a few things from The Children’s Place on sale, including a few more shirts for $3.97 each. I found a shirt there that I will gift one daughter for Christmas; she didn’t see it as I ordered it, and it has both unicorns and stars, which she loves right now. I also ordered a few things for my two youngest girls on sale from there as well. Both orders had free shipping.

I went to Winco to purchase some of their bulk candy on sale for Halloween. I bought a little extra to put aside for Christmas stockings. We had six children come to our door this year, so I had even more candy than I had planned leftover to put aside for stockings.

While I was there, I bought a turkey. They have a sale right now of one turkey for $0.68 a pound with any purchase (additional turkeys are $1.28 a pound). They also have a deal where if you spend $100 in one transaction, you can get a free turkey. I bought one turkey and will pick up a few more this month at that price.

I also purchased frozen petite peas on sale (their brand) in a two-pound bag for $1 a pound, which is my stock up price.

I read a e-book (The Orphan’s Tale) from the library on my phone using the free Libby app. I had requested this book several weeks ago. I like that when the book becomes available, I receive an email telling me that the book is in.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. -I took the car to the next town over to have the winter tires put on. The mechanic stores the tires for me, and one of the tires had a flat when it was stored. I had them check to see if it could be repaired, which it could, so this saved me having to replace the two rear tires at $180 apiece. (The tires have to be replaced in twos for safety, so the wear is even.) Because the tires were already off the rims, I was only charged $5.90 for the plug and nothing extra for labor. It would have cost $90 to $100 if I had had it done separately.

    -While I was in the next town over, I bought a roasting chicken on sale and several boxes of a type of cookie I can’t buy in my own village. These were also on sale. I also returned library books and got a couple of new ones. I managed to find a book I had misplaced on the very last day I could have it out after two renewals.

    -I stopped at my local drugstore to get a new toothbrush after the infection I had in my mouth. Toothbrushes were on sale at 40% off!

    -When I took the cat into the vet last week, I saw that the specialty cat foods were 15% off for the rest of the month. I normally wouldn’t buy cat food until the middle of November, but I went in early and saved $11 on the bag of food.

    -I ordered sprinkles for Christmas cookies online that are quite different than anything I can buy locally. It will save me driving around town looking for them when I am in the city.

      1. Certainly. It is sweetapolita.com. There is a Canadian internet store, too, which is what I ordered from: sweetapolitashop.ca. The sprinkles are prettier than regular sprinkles.

  2. This year has been a bit startling weather wise. I see it has been a bit more challenging for your garden. Impressive in keeping going!

    It’s been a quiet week here. I found a couple coins that I added to the change jar. Cooked up more food from the freezer and made sure not to have food waste. Dehydrated apple pieces for future baking using up a couple sad apples. We were able to find some treats, bread, veggies and milk this week at the expired table. A blessing to be sure.

    Am back walking with the dogs for exercise even with the cold and snow. I am going to add some indoor core exercises and online stretching this week as well. I think I will start a checklist to be sure I keep at rebuilding my strength.

    I finally organized the last cupboard in the house (there is actually very little storage in this house, I’m just slow). I tackled the one under the bathroom sink and was able to sort out what is there. I found plenty of sundry items that we can use up rather than keep buying. A very good project.

    November is looking to be really tight financially, so I’m planning ahead to not spend anything unnecessarily. Most of Christmas is bought, so that is a relief.


  3. We had a lot of snow early last week – about a foot over two days, and record low temperatures. We stayed home and were very grateful for our wood stove. On Thursday, my husband left for Houston to visit his family for a week. I sent a bunch of food with him, as his mom isn’t really able to cook anymore and I wanted to give his sister a break from cooking so much. He took my car, since it gets much better gas mileage than his truck. I took advantage of having so much time to myself to complete some projects around the house – I went through my closet and pulled out two bags of clothing to donate, and painted a nightstand, using paint leftover from something else. I cleaned and organized my freezer and took inventory of what I have to make meals. I knitted my husband a hat for Christmas, did some mending, and cut out a shirt to sew for him. I read books from the library, watched movies with Amazon Prime and ate various odds and ends from the freezer.

  4. It was an odd garden year here as well. I love that Liberty dressed up as the Statue of Liberty. We had our first frost last week, so I picked the tender things in anticipation of that… tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, tromboncino squash, figs, lettuce, lemon balm, lemon verbena and lima beans. I harvested thyme, and dried it, and picked swiss chard and kale. Trying to get rid of a respiratory infection, I made vampire slayer’s soup, which used 4 full heads of our garlic, plus some diced. It was most definitely potent, but it did seem to turn things around. We dug our sweet potatoes, and were very happy with our harvest. I foraged a giant puffball mushroom near our pond, and found a recipe for a cheesy pasta bake for it. I gathered green bean, and scarlet & peach runner bean seeds for planting. My niece and I joined a free group hike yesterday, to the highest point in our county. The view was beautiful.

      1. I’ve heard there’s a lingering respiratory infection going around, which I guess is what I’ve had, and maybe you too. I hope the soup helps you. Just a warning, though we love garlic, it was too potent for my husband, who only managed a few sips. I had it for dinner and the next lunch, and do feel it made a difference. Hope you’re both well soon.

  5. Congrats on continuing to garden in the desert despite the very unusual weather! You really could write a book about desert gardening!
    My frugal week:
    – I made healthy (sugar & oil-free) yet delicious wholegrain pancakes (http://approachingfood.com/clean-eating-whole-grain-pancakes/) for breakfasts for my daughter, using homemade yoghurt & homemade applesauce. I froze them & just pop them into the toaster to heat them up.
    – I used up the last of a bottle of red wine to make a chocolate red wine snacking cake. It’s the best way to use up red wine that I’ve found to date!
    – I made a large batch of egg roll in a bowl for my husband, using the ground pork that I bought very inexpensively from the flash food app. I had frozen it until a sale on coleslaw came on. The entire batch (about 5 generous meals) cost about $5.
    – I made an eggless spice cake (http://approachingfood.com/vegan-coconut-apple-spice-cake/).
    – I had a cake fail (this is what happens when you are trying to quadruple a recipe for self-raising flour in the middle of doubling a recipe for egg-free vanilla cake, while watching an active baby – I forgot to add half the flour) but turned it into cake pops.
    – I turned a broken pillowcase (broken beyond repair) into cleaning rags.
    – I made bacon and egg pasta for my sister and husband, using pantry items. I had bacon in my freezer from a grocery promo in the summer, plus I had stocked up on eggs on sale previously, and even made my own pasta. Very much a pantry meal!
    – I took my daughter trick-or-treating wearing a pineapple costume that I had traded for
    – I threw my daughter a first birthday party! I expect to only celebrate it with immediate family for the next few years, so I wanted to have a nice little bash this time, but on a budget. In total, I spent $175 & that included food for 30-plus people (salads, chips, cupcakes, cake, cotton candy, pop & juice, biscuits for the babies, & catered sandwiches), decorations (balloons, banners, dessert table), party room, gifts, her birthday outfit, party favours, everything! It was a really nice party & I have so many happy memories. I would have been able to cut the costs to about $100 for everything, if I had made my own sandwiches (if I baked my own bread & purchased cold cuts & such via the flash food app), but decided to give myself a break. I’ll share the details, as it gives an idea of how to throw a nice children’s party on a budget ($100 for a nice party for 30 plus people is pretty decent I think). Location: my sister’s condo party room (free). Invites: evite.com (free). Decorations: carnival theme. I had a package of cupcake wrappers & animal pick toppers that I had picked up at a bakery sale for $1 (normally $16). I baked chocolate cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream & salted caramel sauce, & placed them in a cupcake display stand ($1 at the $ store). I had a dessert table (a folding plastic table I had, covered in a plastic table cloth (25 cents at a rummage sale). I hung a carnival tent canopy over it, a children’s bed canopy from IKEA ($15 on kijiji.ca including delivery). I plan to resell it. I had carnival-themed napkins (traded for using the bunz app) & party favours displayed. I displayed additional cupcakes on silver cardboard cake trays (traded for) covered in paper doilies leftover from my daughter’s baptism. And my favourite bit, a cotton candy machine (traded for) with birthday cake flavoured cotton candy sugar (traded for) so guests could make their own cotton candy (using sturdy colourful plastic straws from the $ store as sticks). I made a vanilla cake with homemade peach preserves & vanilla buttercream filling, & topped it with a carnival tent topper made of chocolate (chocolate purchased from Bulk Barn using coupons). My friends thought I bought the cake! For a smash cake, we just gave my daughter one of the cupcakes. I also made chocolate mustaches on sticks to use as photo props! (I traded for the mold, purchased the chocolate on sale, & already had the sticks in my baking stash.) I purchased 10 fancy clear balloons filled with colourful confetti from wish.com for $2 & had them filled with helium at a local store, with balloon weights purchased from the $ store. (To buy balloons & weights at the same store that filled the balloons would have cost $15 more.) I also purchased a 12-month photo banner for $2 from wish.com (Amazon sells it for over $10), filled with photos I took of my daughter over the past year. A friend of mine gave me a happy birthday banner leftover from her daughter’s birthday (I gave her $10 worth of formula rebate coupons I received in the mail as a thank you). I also had a balloon with my daughter’s first initial that I had traded for. I put packages of baby crackers, purchased on sale, in cylindrical glass vases my mom & I have. Favours: bags (purchased at bulk barn using a coupon) of homemade caramel corn (tied with reused ribbons) & as the babies left, I cut balloons off the bunches & gave them to them. Food: I ordered sandwiches several weeks in advance & then received a $10 off coupon in the mail for a different grocery store caterer half a week before the party, so I cancelled the original order & switched to the new one. I spent the same amount of money but ended up getting a lot more food (my parents, friends, & sister all went home with several meals worth off food). This was the most expensive part, & the cost could have been cut by 75% if I had made them myself. I made two huge bowls of potato salad (potatoes on sale for $2/10lb) & two huge bowls of pasta salad (pasta purchased at 50 cents/lb). I bought chips on sale. I used air miles & also loyalty points to reduce grocery costs. Presents: I used swagbucks to reduce the cost of two baby toys purchased from amazon ($35 before gc applied, so free shipping), wrapped in reused wrapping paper & ribbon. Birthday outfit: an adorable outfit from wish.com for $6 (a onesie that said ‘1’ & had flowers & such on it) with a matching tutu & headband (the same outfit is sold at Babies R Us for about $25). Sorry for long post, but I wanted to show that it is possible to have a really nice party on a budget with some planning, price comparison, time, and ingenuity.

    1. That’s a party I’d like to have (and I’m way over one years old)!
      Again, I love reading all your bartering finds

    2. The party sounds great! I think I throwing big parties is so much fun! I remember you talking about the theme even several months ago. I’m sure you couldn’t have pulled the party off inexpensively if you had waited until the last minute to start looking for things.

      1. Thanks, Sarah! Wow, you have a good memory! Yes, I was working on collecting all the decor and such over several months, to try to trade for as much as possible, plus wish.com is quite inexpensive, but it does take a while to ship. It was a bunch of work, but it also made me so happy! Next year will just be family though. I remember reading on your blog about your husband Dan putting up birthday decorations for your kids to wake up to; these are the memories that make a great childhood!

        1. As a friend does for her family: Cake for breakfast!
          Doesn’t hurt once a year, and is definitely memorable.

          1. The year that my son Aaron turned 8, I’d given birth to his baby brother only a day before. So I was discharged from the hospital on his birthday. We stopped at the grocery store and got a few special food items to celebrate. Dinner wasn’t served until 9 pm and no one wanted cake and ice cream that late, so we had it for breakfast the next morning. It definitely was memorable!

  6. We’ve really enjoyed the cooler weather here as well!

    My accomplishments last week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 7 times. Dinners included tacos and beans made with leftovers from the event I attended last week; ramen with chicken; spaghetti with spaghetti squash and one Italian sausage link; and steak, baked potato and zucchini (twice) and BLT’s. My sister was in town so I had my Dad and some of my siblings over for dinner on Saturday. I made BBQ chicken thighs and legs, potato salad and a veggie tray. My siblings also brought chips and dip, a green salad and dessert.
    • One night we went to a memorial get together for our friends. There was food leftover and I was able to take home a lot.
    • Hung 4 of 7 loads of laundry.
    • Worked 19 ½ contract hours.
    • Took Dad out to lunch, but we only had time for Wendy’s, so it was cheap. I had a taco salad and it came with 2 small containers of sour cream and a small bag of tortilla chips. I saved all of these.
    • Used up the last of some face wash by cutting the bottom of the tube. It lasted me a whole week! Also did the same with a tube of toothpaste.
    • Booked flights and bought a gift card for a client for my boss using my credit card, so I got points. Also bought the gift card at our local Kroger store, so I got 4x the gas points on that as well.
    • Got a few Ibotta points, as well as Coin Out and Fetch Reward points.

    Have a great week!

  7. Your tomatoes look good! When we lived in Vegas (so many years ago), I remember snow and frost early but mostly the cold rain. We had our first hard frost last night here in central NC. Glad I went out over the weekend and gathered up some basil, late green peepers and okra. Dried the basil and added to jar of some I already processed during the past season, already ate the green peppers on a homemade pizza Saturday night and put the okra up in the freezer with a boxed cornbread coating for frying later. This is what I did earlier in the week:
    – Made a batch of pancakes from a DIY pancake mix.
    -Made a batch of laundry booster using epsom salt, baking soda and essential oils.
    -Sold $104 of items on Ebay-Put more on site.
    -Was invited to a church food ministry where they give out SO MUCH food and the catch for being invited was that I could take what I wanted but I Have to pass most of it on to other people or groups who need food. Win Win situation!!
    – Worked a few days more last week. There was a Halloween decorating contest at work and I was asked to do our call center. Most of the decorations came from “downstairs” of already bought and company items. I had a budget of $100 and I made it under with $98. I will get reimbursed for the cost. The hourly wage of working the extra days will come in handy for the holiday season.
    -Drained and put the cover on the backyard pool- saved us a lot of money over the years for summer entertainment.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week!

  8. We have had a great deal of rain lately(we needed it), so rain jackets were in order for my son and me . We have two very large Newfoundland puppies who require several walks and playtime each day—even the rainy ones. This summer I saw an Eddie Bauer sale on rain jackets—one retailed for $299, the other for $199. Managed to get them both for $39 each! I literately squeal when we put them on now—as only a true bargain hunter/saver would do!

  9. Rather unseasonable temperatures all around, I guess, because we had a weird October (warm and then suddenly 30-40, then back up to 40-50). We’re back to 30-40 again, and haven’t yet gotten our first proper snow of the season, though we have gotten a few flakes occasionally.

    Our Frugal Accomplishments:

    * This last Saturday was the day where my SO’s work offered a 25% off discount at a particular Sam’s Club for 3 hours. There was a limit of up to $750 for the discount. Also, it stacked with instant savings and an extra $25 off discount offered by my SO’s work, so we ended up paying $524 for nearly $750 in various food and household items. I bought most of the meat we will eat this year, butter, cheese, flour, rice, beans, other baking supplies, cat litter, other cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and more. Our freezers are completely full!

    * I meal planned for the month. I only need to purchase a handful of items.

    * We have continued to eat leftovers from the freezer to make room for all the items from Sam’s Club. I found many servings of soups that I’ve been able to take for lunch, so it saves me time on my meal prep every week too!

    * One of our cats gained a bit of weight, so we’ve reduced the amount of food we’re giving her and the other cat by 2 tbsp. It’s not a huge difference cost-wise per day, but it still adds up over time! Not to mention the health benefits for our cat being at a lower weight.

    * I have avoided turning on the heat and AC these last few weeks- when it gets hot in our apartment, I am able to open the window and cool our apartment down, and when it gets cool, I bake something for dinner.

    * I made a large batch of enchiladas using homemade sauce, homemade tomatillo salsa, cream cheese, black beans, onion, and corn tortillas. It fed us for several days and every time, we were happy to eat them! I also made a batch of apple crisp to use up some apples sitting in our fridge.

    * I continue to bake bread every week. This week’s is rosemary and olive oil!

    * I found out that I will be able to continue working for my internship until the end of December. For most of October, my supervisor and I were not sure the project was going to continue (long story), so getting this news was a relief. This money will be used to help rebuild our emergency fund.

    * We saved money on a friend’s wedding by not staying the night at a hotel (which would have cost us $150, plus the cost of a cat sitter). This allowed us to be more generous on the gift we gave them while still saving money overall.

    * I was able to use a gift card I received for my birthday to purchase a card (and a tie for my SO) prior to the wedding, and otherwise we wore some of our nicest clothes. I also packed food for the drive to and from the wedding, so we didn’t have to purchase anything while we were on the road.

    I’m sure there’s more I’ve done, but I can’t remember anymore off of the top of my head. Have a great week everyone!

  10. Wow I can’t believe no one has commented yet I always enjoy reading everyones before I post mine. I canned 9 1/2 pints of Salsa with tomatoes from my garden. We cooked all meals from home. I collected 3 baskets of green tomatoes from my garden before the frost got them, now just waiting for them to turn red so I can “Can” more Salsa. Sunday we went to our church which is a hour drive round trip and service is in the afternoon.. we planned what we would have for dinner when we came home so as not to be tempted to stop and by fast food. We only bought absolutely what we needed from the grocery store and saved about $60 this week. Husband is trying to stop drinking Diet Pepsi and drinking water instead.. that will save us around $50.00 a month sure hope he can do it, its very unhealthy but his choice. I am reading a fascinating book that I ordered Becoming Self Reliant by Ken Larson. I also found a good cookbook at the thrift store Soups, Stews and Breads it has some pretty good recipes in it always looking for inspiration for something a little different..

  11. I pressure canned 32 pints of chicken chunks using the chicken I got last week on sale. I got around 3/4 pound of chicken (I pack tight) in each jar, so my cost was about $1 for 16 oz. I haven’t priced canned chicken lately, but I’m thinking that this must be less than the store price! And it’s a good way to diversify my food storage! I still have (and will continue to have) chicken in my freezer. But in case of power outage/freezer malfunction or just to save freezer space for other things, this works for me and my family doesn’t notice the difference! Well, to be honest, I was the biggest skeptic and I’m amazed to say that I totally love it and don’t notice a difference in taste! I realized that my pint jars of canned meats (chicken, beef and pork chunks) are on my top shelf in the basement and are difficult to access because I am short, so Saturday I did some thinking and with Hub’s logical help, I was able to move all the meats ( about 100 pints) from that top shelf and fill that top shelf with packs of bottled water and excess quarts of tomatoes. The shelving unit that those came from was where I moved my meats and even had room for my pints of canned chili. And now they are at eye level and I can easily reach them and keep a quick inventory at the same time! No money spent on this change but this will reward us in having our food storage more efficient and will more than make up for my sore shoulders and back! Lol!!

    I’m about to bind the 3rd quilt that a client sent over after using Lenni to quilt it! Like the others- a baby quilt and a table runner, this top had been waiting almost 14 years! I’ve been able to get the 3 done in about one day! https://pin.it/2p65bi7msz5d2f. And now, I added missing borders to this little string quilt and got it quilted and bound for same client so she now has 4 quilts completely ready for use in just 1 week! https://pin.it/hi2mrx3qd63wun. Same client started a king size QAYG quilt many years ago as well and after piecing the top into individual rows, she quilted 2 of the 7 rows and had them done with the other 5 rows still loose and unquilted. My daughter took the 2 quilted rows home and carefully seam ripped the quilting and I sewed the other 5 rows into 1 large quilt top. This week the two rows she had will return here and I’ll add those to the quilt top so there is 1 complete top. We made sure stitching all through it is secure and we will load it on our longarm with new batting and a new backing and get it quilted up! Actually, my daughter will do the quilting on this one while I continue with other projects.Business is picking up for the holidays. I have 2 lap quilts and 2 table runners to make for another repeat client and 2 drawstring bags to make up for another. 2 more soup Cozie sets were picked up by someone else today with an order for a larger set to fit dinner plates. So, looks like the sewing machine and longarm will be kept busy! ?

    I used a big can of turkey chunks that I wanted to rotate out of my food storage to make Max & Erma’s chicken tortilla soup. Of course, no one noticed that it was turkey rather than chicken! I still had 1/3 of the can left over so this morning I used it to make cranberry pecan chicken salad for sandwiches and wraps! Yay!!! No waste!!
    I picked some more of my volunteer Romaine lettuce from the garden to put on the sandwiches too!
    I’m letting the chickens out each day that isn’t raining to forage in the yard! They love it and we have had as many bugs or weeds to worry about! Even though they are molting for the winter, we are still getting a couple dozen eggs a week!
    Our son-in-law has been suggesting to us for a while that we move some of our savings (that we have been growing bit by bit and is now more than we’ve ever had at one time that wasn’t just “passing through”! ?) into savings that would yield a higher interest rate. So, we researched and after asking his opinion (he retired at 35 and they are debt free and mortgage free), we picked a high interest savings account to put about 1/3 of our regular passbook savings into. We took another 1/3 and through the company that handles our retirement money, we invested in a 3 month government Treasury bond. That way, we can choose every 3 months to take it out and put it into something else or just let it roll over. Sounds complicated, but it really wasn’t! To put it in perspective- currently that 2/3 of our savings account was getting 16 cents a month in interest. Now it will get $20 a month in interest!! So, over a year, it goes from $1.92 in interest to $240 per year! That was definitely worth the switch! And we still left 1/3 of our savings in our original bank where we can immediately transfer it into our checking account if needed. We are pretty pleased with that!

    We used our Staples rewards $5 to buy a black ink cartridge for our printer so we have 2 ahead. We also used $5 CVS rewards to buy some medical supplies we needed to replenish. The trick for us is always trying to remember those and use them before they expire!!

    I used my $20 Kohl’s cash to buy a sweater for myself on sale so even with shipping it only cost me $7! So, I’m pleased, especially since our weather has turned cold!

    All in all, a very good week!


    1. I have been inspired by your soup cozies! We are on a very tight budget for Christmas and I’ve decided to make soup cozies and canned soup and bread as gifts for extended family. I had to order cotton backing and thread but I have plenty of cotton fabric. I’m looking forward to getting started!

      1. Good for you, Sarah!! I think, for me, over the years, looking at our tight budget (we raised 11 kids) as a challenge/game rather than a deprivation really helped! It encouraged us to be more creative and we felt the satisfaction of finding solutions when we couldn’t afford to just buy something !
        You’re opening up to a whole wide world of creativity! Enjoy!!

      2. Sarah @SweetSimplicityMom, I love your Christmas gift idea! It’s perfect for the busy holiday season — anyone would be happy to receive homemade soup, fresh bread, and a soup cozy. Not only is it delicious and thoughtful, but it’s also dinner in a busy season! I really love the gift idea!

    2. Your canned goods supply sounds so great! I love reading your comments each week and see the quilts you complete. I think I will start saving for a Lenni!

  12. I flew to a national free conference for work and it just happened to be held in the city where my new grandbaby lives! I was so happy to see my family, again, and to attend the conference. It was beautiful fall weather, but the day after I left, it snowed with record cold there! I stayed for free at my daughter’s house, so that made my boss happy since he didn’t have to pay for the lodging….free conference and free lodging makes for a happy boss….lol! When I got back home, I made a fruit compote out of free figs and mulberries, and ate this over brie and French toast. I bought a turkey at Walmart for 78 cents a lb, not as good as your price Brandy, but it was reasonable so I went ahead and got it for Thanksgiving. I have bought most of my extras food items I cook for Thanksgiving every year that my family loves, and expects. I make my list early so I don’t forget anything. I make turkey with carrots, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes with cream cheese, spinach dip, artichoke dip, green bean casserole, corn dish, mac and cheese, rolls or biscuits with gravy, English pea salad, pumpkin pudding, a simple cake, and maybe banana bread. I think I just lack the onions that go in several of the dishes, and the potatoes. I usually make ham with a blackstrap molasses fig sauce at Christmas, with some of the same side dishes, so I bought double on the artichokes and ingredients for the spinach dip.

  13. I spent 4 days in the Portland area last week, so I wasn’t home to save or spend $$$. My husband stayed home with the dogs and I made him a big pot of beef stew before I left. He filled out the week eating homemade TV dinners made from leftover turkey and ham. This was my week–
    — I flew back from Portland for only 5,000 frequent flyer miles and again checked my suitcase free with the Alaska Airlines CC.
    — My gift-a-month for October was a potholder for my son’s Christmas stocking. I used the embroidered graphic from a T-shirt on one side and two prints (from my BFF’s stash) for the other side and the binding. Cost: $0.
    — I was given a NWT Christmas tablecloth that is exactly what I have been wanting…a retro poinsettia print. I was also given several pieces of fabric and a panel with a Christmas apron to cut and sew.
    — We stopped at Shari’s to get a lemon meringue pie for my husband’s birthday. (He was 75 on Halloween). We have a Shari’s club card, and after the purchase of 12 whole pies, the 13th is free. We have been members for years and years, and this was (finally) the 13th pie!

  14. My neighbor gave me a black, like-new small size carry-on luggage that had a crooked zipper tooth in one corner. Somehow, I got one zipper placed on both ends. The luggage works fine when both zippers meet at the trouble spot, which I marked with green fabric pen.
    I use a lot of the thicker sized rubber band that used to bind our newspaper each day. Now they are much thinner. This week I had a lightbulb moment to just use three at a time. Works great.
    I rescued my two favorite over-stretched turtle neck tops by cutting half of the neck off. I cut off the inner layer of double fabric. I aligned the outer fabric edge with the seam and stitched. Now I have two tee shirt-finished neckline tops.
    Thank you, Brandy, for creating and maintaining this beautiful space for kindred folks to come together! I am eternally grateful for your hard work.

  15. This has been a strange garden year for us too. We had rain late so planted later than we wanted and then had snow in late September. First time since 1926. However, the only things that did not do well were the cucumbers and the cabbage.
    Picked the last of the thyme, put in the dehydrator, and then stripped the leaves when dry.
    My SIL moved into a new to her house last month. she did not want her gorgeous Italian leather couch. Guess where it is now? In my living room, with one of the quilts made by either my DH’s mother or grandmother over the back of it. When my DH’s family were cleaning out the parent’s house, no one wanted the quilts, so I ended up with four of them. I will find uses for them, even if it is for picnic blankets in the summer.
    I have had a pretty bad cold the last two weeks, and it makes it hard for my brain to work. Since I am a CPA, I rely on my brain at work. That being said, on the days I did work last week, I took breakfast and lunch to work.
    We had bean and cheese burritos for dinner one night and lunch the next day.
    I got 9 colored peppers and 2 heads of cauliflower at the Fred Meyer ugly produce section for a total of $5.00
    I washed two of the quilts I got from my MIL house.
    Made garlic herb cheese dip – yummy. Winco had cream cheese for 98¢ per 8 oz. package – got 4. Used one, plus some mozzarella cheese, garlic and oregano from the garden for the dip.
    Got 2 lb. blocks of Tillamook medium cheese for $4.99. This is my favorite cheese.
    Dug and cleaned the carrots from the garden. We filled a small wheelbarrow. This was one raised bed, and the last produce to pick from the garden.
    Made honey sesame chicken for dinner, to go along with veggie chow mein I made.
    Made a big batch of cream of cauliflower soup with the 2 cauliflowers purchased for $1.00 each. Added a grated carrot from those we just picked. This is to take for lunches this week.
    Had popcorn for a snack.
    Hope everyone has a good week coming up.

  16. I stand in awe – again – of your creative industriousness. I’m so glad you have been able to learn and launch a new business this fall in order to help your family financially.

    • Hung all loads of laundry out to dry
    • Meals included: copycat Zuppa Toscana, chicken taco soup, apple crisp x 2, asparagus soup, pork chops with apples and onions
    • I cracked and finally turned on the heat for a few hours on 10/29 – the first time this year. My house was 55 degrees inside!
    • Returned a sweater that I decided I didn’t need and found a Columbia black fleece jacket for almost the same price.
    • Bought several Christmas presents including sets of 21 Sharpie pens in a huge range of colors for $4.99.
    • Mapped out what to buy each person on my Christmas list and how much it will cost.
    • Took a free webinar
    • Brought my lunch and carpooled to another volunteer meeting over an hour away.
    • Did a sewing repair on the fabric collection bag for our mulching leaf vacuum
    • Repaired the container I use for washing bras in the washing machine
    • Vacuumed leaves and dumped the mulched leaves on the garden – people in my area charge $150 to remove leaves from 1/3 acre properties.
    • Sold 4 items on Ebay for a net profit of $23 – this allowed me to purchase some Christmas presents for “free”.

  17. This was a difficult year for many of us gardeners, I think. It was too hot for me to get out and do much container gardening, and it rained way too much for a long while, then was way too dry with unseasonably late heat, seeing the mid-90’s in October here in North Florida. I feel lucky to have gotten anything from our trees and bushes, and am sad that I couldn’t build the bigger container gardens that I wanted, but I wasn’t about to go toiling in the high heat and humidity that we had this year, worse than I can remember in a long, long, long time.
    My frugal items:
    One of my kids and I split the cost of a Christmas present for another one of my kids. (They are adults) I also got a 10 percent off coupon and free shipping when I ordered. We like to go in together on gifts for each other, as we can get a really nice gift without anyone paying too much.
    I used Swagbucks to buy a water testing kit for my fish pond. It got neglected some this spring with all my husband’s health issues going on, and some of the fish are showing signs of stress now. I have bought most of my pond supplies for fixing the issue by using Swagbucks.
    I had a sudden memory this weekend of Brandy’s post about making the button-trimmed hairpins, and I have a stash of buttons at home. I’ll be using that idea for the pre-teen girls in my family, for part of their Christmas gifts.
    I hung several loads of laundry out on the line this weekend. I can tell that the air is dryer — the laundry dried so much more quickly.
    I jumped through every hoop, crossed every “t” and dotted every “i” and finally got my husband qualified for Medicaid. My main concern was that, unless his health unexpectedly improves, we are looking at an assisted living facility eventually, and I can’t pay $3,000-$4,000 a month for him to live there. As it is, they will start helping with future medical bills (not our existing ones) and we will be able to get some home care, which he needs, as I still have to work, and I can’t afford the $2000-$2,500/month which it was going to cost me for a home aide , using the cheapest option.
    The usual — we don’t eat out, I pack my lunch, I’m wearing second-hand clothes, and I don’t shop for fun.

    1. If your husband was in the service, the VA could possibly help. This happened with a friend’s mother– her husband was in the service.

  18. Used coupon for a free venus razor. Saved $12.97

    Used coupon for $1.50 off a can of shaving cream, only spent .47. I don’t use it myself so I’ll give it to the 22yo in her Christmas stocking.

    The drain in the basement ended up clogged. Plumbers wanted $150-$200 just to come look at the problem. Hubby rented an electric auger for $45 and had it cleaned out in 15 minutes.

    Someone gave my mom a bunch of fruit cups, applesauce, jello, etc she doesn’t like so she sent them to us. It’s about 2 weeks of stuff to send with the 12yo for lunch so that’ll save some $

    Didn’t make any money myself selling stuff this week but made my mom another $40. (and cleared out 3 boxes of items). Since she’s on disability, the extra $ helps her stock up on stuff needed(she’s made enough to cover $30 for each grandkid for Christmas and it doesn’t come out of her check).

    Found some dip mixes in the freezer so I made 2 different ones for snacking

  19. ~I received two pairs of free Smartwool socks, plus a free ear warmer from LLBean. They are already being such a blessing as our weather has turned quite cold!
    ~I picked all of our tomatoes before it frosted at night. Now I am attempting to ripen them inside. We will see how it goes, as I have never ripened such green ones inside before. We are near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
    ~I picked a free rose from my yard before the killer frost.
    ~Our family attended our church barn party! It was so much fun! Free food, fellowship, laughter, etc.!

    More details and lots of pictures on my blog here:

    I love reading everyone’s comments! You are all my “frugal buddies!” So good to be able to encourage one another to keep blessing our families with different opportunities that God gives us!

    1. Hi Susan,

      I too am currently ripening my tomatoes inside. A tip I’ve read is to place already red tomatoes in the bag (we use a brown supermarket bag) with the green tomatoes. We have had so many ripen with this method. I buy a small bag of “on the vine” tomatoes and put them in there. Works like a charm! Hope this helps.


    2. Susan M I also picked about 2 dozen green tomatoes before frost. A friend told me to spread them out on paper bags on my counter to ripen them and it’s working! Thought I’d share. ? And I hope you see this.

  20. I think weather everywhere has been rather odd as of late. It was interesting to read how the variations in weather has affected your area, though. At least your garden did give you produce. Some summers, our temperatures can be so extreme, we hardly get anything! When you swing from cold, super wet conditions to extremely high humidity with little rain, then to early snow, it’s bound to do a number on our gardens. Sadly, extreme seems to be the new norm these days. Glad you were able to purchase some inexpensive new clothing items, Christmas gifts and cheap groceries this week. I always loved buying clothes from A Children’s Place for my daughter, too, when she was younger. They have such cute styles, high quality clothes and all at amazing prices!

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included: pasta with pasta sauce; “make-your-own” pizza; homemade lasagna (choice between meat & cheese or cheese & spinach); breaded chicken fingers/burgers, mashed potatoes, and broccoli; cheddar sausages, flavoured rice and green beans; baked glazed ham with potato wedges and corn; and a leftover’s night, which helped clear out the abundance of previously made food in our fridge before some of it went bad.
    *Bagged lunches this week included: Tuna sandwich, sliced pears, yoghurt, banana bar; cold meat & cheese sandwich, home canned peaches, yoghurt, banana bar; hummus with crackers, apple, banana bar; leftover lasagna, home canned peaches, yoghurt, banana bar.
    *The kitchen received a deep cleaning this week. We washed down everything, including the insides of the cabinets. I took the opportunity to reorganize everything, relocating a few items to other places in our home and purging items that just don’t get used. We still have a few cupboards to do, but already the kitchen is so much easier to find things…if we can remember what area we moved it to, LOL.
    *Worked an 8 hour shift this week. Happy to get the hours!
    *We went shopping the day after Halloween. I picked up some great deals on candy. Some was put out to enjoy now, even though we really didn’t need more candy. Some was put away to use for Christmas stocking stuffers and for DD to share with classmates as a Christmas treat. I even found a box of mini rice crispy treats for super cheap, which we will use when we need to take quick, portable snacks with us or I need an easy lunch treat due to a busy schedule.
    *Hubby and I found trays with 2 cooked black forest hams (600g each ham) on each tray for $5/tray. We bought 4 trays ($20 for 8 hams!), as we were completely out of ham in the freezer. We baked 1 for dinner that night, froze 4 hams whole for future meals, then shaved & diced the last 3 hams and froze in portioned packages for sandwich meat or for use in soups/casseroles. So thankful to find this deal when we did. I thought we’d have to wait until after Christmas to find this kind of price on hams!
    *Took some time this week to relax a little. Sometimes I need to take a break, breath and remember taking time for myself is perfectly OK. I especially enjoyed the extra naps this past weekend. I feel like my batteries are getting a bit more recharged after a very busy fall.

    Hope you all have a wonderful week, my frugal friends!

    1. Rhonda, I love your reminder to just stop and breathe! I love being productive but taking breaks is a good thing too! I am going to work on my kitchen this week as well, a helpful thing to do before the holidays come!

    2. Hi Rhonda. I think it was you who posted the chicken-potato ranch casserole that you had fixed for your family. I had everything I needed for the recipe and fixed it last night. It was a hit with my husband! (like your family, we like lots of variety 🙂 Thank you very much for posting it! Have a great week.

  21. I am hoping my recent decisions will end up saving me money. I have impatiently searched for a replacement car for over a month. I purposely chose an older Honda with extremely low miles. My car insurance went down 66% . The car has complete service records on it . Thankfully it also has new tires. I hope that this will be the last vehicle I need to purchase in my lifetime. Overall this was not a pleasant search. I looked at over 300 carfaxs. I had $50.00 in rewards from Sears . I was not impressed with Sears ither. They had almost no baby clothes in size 12 months in the store or online. I was able to purchase baby Henry a miniature suit marked down to $8.00. He was christened at church so this outfit suited the occasion. His sweet mother has no idea what a christening gown is . I also picked him up a couple nice infant toys to use in the car . I’ve sent one to him and am holding one back for his birthday. I used swagbucks to buy him pants and long sleeved onesies from Carter’s giving him 3 new outfits. We found 3 outfits at the thrift store for $1.50 a piece. I also signed up for a Rakuten deal. With a $10.00 sign up bonus , a $10.00 Target bonus and a $10.00 Target coupon, I purchased 3 more Carter’s outfits for only $10.00 out of pocket. These are 3 piece outfits that are heavy winter clothes. As time passes I find they really do have a harder time than I imagined.

    1. Bless you Lilliana for your ongoing caring for baby Henry, I love how you work so hard to do things to care for him!

  22. Felt like an expensive weekend and I’m not sure how/ where it went off the rails…

    Stopped by Hobby Lobby and Michaels for a few (late) Thanksgiving decorations. Also picked up 3 large decorative boxes (80%off!!) to use as I continue to KonMari my closets and still stayed under budget.

    Pet store – cat litter and food were on sale and well below budget this week. The dogs favorite bones were not so they are doing without. Bought a new long cardigan, a sweater, new underthings(on sale), and a pair of jeans(at 1/2 price). Sadly the sweater and cardigan were full price. Spent $160, but got $50 as a coupon to spend next week. I still need a couple of sweaters for the new season. The clothes were budgeted.

    Also picked up sheet stays to (hopefully) avoid buying a new set, 2 bags of after Halloween candy, and 2 storage baskets I needed for my office. Not specifically budgeted, but within the misc. home and office category. Spent more than usual at the grocery store, but I will be away next weekend with no time to shop for the coming week and several items are intended for last minute entertaining or invitations over the next 2 months (cheeses, artichokes, fancy crackers, amarna cherries, frozen appetizers, etc. ). Nothing was “fresh” so it will keep and I will not shop next week and I am away for 10 days for Thanksgiving.

    Took the dog to the vet. He’s overweight (no surprise to me) so he’s on a diet. The puppy is still not housebroken. We are now trying the bell method. Got free samples of 3 different kinds of dog treats and 2 cat treats when I went to buy the bell and check on training classes. He’s a hound/ Great Dane mix and so far is not as trainable as the other dogs I have had.

    Picked up candles and wax cubes at Walmart for a fraction of the usual price. My husband likes the ritual of lighting the candles at night when we are staying home.

    Ate meals in. I didn’t even have lunch (or coffee) out while shopping! Attended a free preview of Midway (Great movie!). Treated myself to a $3 fancy coffee, so skipped the popcorn.

    Changed the AC, fridge and water filters to better the quality and lengthen the life of our equipment. Changed all of the smoke detector batteries. Rotated all the shut off valves inside and out. Cleaned the dishwasher, the washing machine, and did a deep clean of my new dryer. Installed new vent hose on the dryer.

    Put on an extra layer and resisted turning on the heat even when it was 62 in my living room. I’ m in the Deep South so 62 is very cold for here. I can hear you Alaska people laughing at me 🙂

    1. Jennifer, I wrap my green tomatoes seperatly in newspaper and put them in a box or basket. I put the basket in a cool place and check it about once a week or more. They ripen slowly. We live in Michigan and I picked the last tomatoes about 3 weeks ago. I think I will have some ripen for the Thanksgiving table.

    2. Our Great Dane / Shepard mix took almost a year to potty train. Most difficult puppy I’ve ever had to train. After he turned a year old, he took to training with commands much better. Definitely one of the smartest dogs though, and listens with a higher level of intelligence than our other dog (who potty trained in just a couple of days as a puppy). Good luck!!!

  23. Brandy,

    What interesting weather you are having. It’s unusually cold here in the Midwest as well.

    Here is what we did to save money:
    * I signed up for a taco salad for our Mexican potluck because I could make one that my husband and I would eat and would not need to bring extra food for us. I added beans and rice (delicious and low cost) and received a few compliments on my salad.
    * I’ve been comparing prices between three stores to save even more money.
    * I asked a store if they would order something for me that they usually do not carry. They did, and I received a discount!
    * I listened to two audio books from our library using the hoopla app. These audio books made driving and housework more enjoyable!
    * I requested several books through our library’s inter-loan system.
    * A dear friend recommended an excellent YouTube channel for homemaking inspiration. It was a joy to learn how to be a better home manager.
    * I combined several errands into one trip to save time and money.
    * My friends and I took walks together for fellowship and free exercise!

  24. Winter is knocking at our door. We are still trying to do the things that are listed on our energy audit. Hubby went in the one side (aka Knee wall) attic and found holes in the boards that separated the attic from the porch roof. Tons of air coming from there. He spent 4 hrs closing the hole and didn’t even get to putting the air barrier in there as he planned. As suggested by the man that did the audit we are using cardboard as the air block since there is no moisture where it is , it will be fine. I saved the cardboard boxes we used when we moved last fall and Son 2 saved his boxes from things he bought including his new frig.The only thing we bought for this project is staples for the hand gun.

    We finished bring in the last of the garden, A few hot peppers and about 20 medium cabbages. I now have 10 cabbages wrapped in my frig, 15 cups of freezer slaw and 30 plus cups of parboiled cabbage. Probably will get a bit tired of cabbage if I don’t figure out ways to fix it differently.

    We finally got propane for our heating season. I prepaid for a set amount of gallons so the price will not go above that but if the currant price is lower we get the lower price. We saved $50.60 this fill with the lesser price.

    I scheduled several tests that I will needing to be done this year since my out of pocket is paid in full . I am saving $220 on my back injections along with $600 for my next blood work and not touching the mammogram and the dexa study (bone test) that I don’t know how much I will save on those.

    Love reading everyone’s comments and gathering wisdom and fellowship.
    Blessed Be Juls

    We decided last month to try to live on what we would have coming in on social security. We came in under budget even though I was over budget in groceries

    1. I make veggie lo mein with cabbage, carrots and onions from our garden. Recipe is on Good Cheap Eats website.

    2. Try researching Dutch, Polish, German, Russian and Ukranian cuisine. They have many popular and classic dishes that utilize cabbage in them!

  25. I am thankful that on a cold day I was able to make a soul-warming soup. All afternoon as I tried to finish revising the 3 chapters of the book that need rewriting (because after we finished we then found documents we’ve been searching for for years and that changed the whole premise), I was wafted away on the aromas of the soup cooking. Carrots (10 pounds for $3.50), cabbage, ground lamb, onions (10 pounds for $3.50), potatoes, barley (a divine food if there ever were one), all simmering away. It was going to be split pea soup but somehow just didn’t quite make it… 5 jars left over for future meals. I love how the windows get steamed up…

    I am thankful that there was only an inch of snow and I could shovel it one handedly. And that the birds discovered the sunflower seeds. Usually they hear me shovelling and come right away but they were off somewhere… They are feeding very heavily — more snow tomorrow.

    1. Ellie’s Friend – I love barley! I remembered my dad making beef barley soup – a staple he learned growing up on the ranch. A few years ago a friend made a barley casserole and I was hooked again. Turns out barley is one of the ancient grains and very healthy. Looking for more recipes. My one problem is that I an only find small bags at the grocery store or Trader Joe’s (their 10 minute barley is good in a pinch) so may have to go to the interweb.


    2. Hi Ellie’s friend. I remain amazed at all of the additional information you keep discovering in your quest to complete your book. Very interesting! I also admire your perseverance and drive for accuracy and completeness.

      I responded late last week to your post in the Frugal Accomplishments re: travels. I mentioned some ways that you, and others, could “visit” my NC Outer Banks. If you’re interested, check out that in last week’s post.

      Hope everyone will have a happy, frugal week. And as always, thank you Brandy for facilitating this gathering of kind people!

  26. Glad to catch up with everyone after a couple of weeks – I really miss hearing from everyone when Brandy has the occasional week off.
    Brandy – wonderful photos as always – best of luck with the new business. You always manage to find such great bargains and accomplish so much – I feel like a total sloth in comparison! 🙂

    I worked 25 hours at the office and did a lot of volunteer work last week but still managed to get my apt. tidied, did 6 loads of laundry – only the towels went into the dryer – cleaned out the fridge and reorganized the freezer. I also made another pot of soup – made a big pot of chilli, roasted a tray of vegetables and made a mix of ground pork with chopped veg and hoisin sauce to use up a lot of bits & pieces.

    I was the lucky recipient of a couple of lunches out – a friend took me out to a favourite restaurant as a thank you for a lot of clothing that I gave her over the past couple of years. She was headed to retirement and was reluctant to buy many new items and since I had already retired and didn’t need formal office wear, I was happy to pass things along. I went to visit my 88 year old uncle and he insisted on treating me to lunch. He is still in excellent health – walks 3 miles per day – looks after his condo himself but is a bit lonely since my aunt died last Spring. Family do live nearby and visit often and he has a fairly good social life but we like to keep an eye on him.

    I’m grateful for Loyalty Points – cashed in about $70 worth of points this past week – plus cashed in my coin jar – $68 – so I have been able to stock up on a lot of food and non-food items for my stockpile. Aside from some milk and salad greens, I should be able to stay out of the grocery store until Sunday at the earliest.

    I have more items looked out to donate to the church so that will clear out more stuff – not a bad week!

  27. Greetings!
    Beautiful picture, Brandy! Like everyone else, I’m amazed at all you do and accomplish!
    We had a long distance funeral to attend. It was unexpected, mostly because I really didn’t expect him to pass away. We spent quite a bit of money on the hotel and travel, about 1000 miles each way, but we had the savings for it. We took snacks to cut some of the cost. Gas was MUCH cheaper then here so that helped, too. We wore old clothes that still fit, thankfully. We were able to stay at a sons for a night, there and back, which was a huge savings.
    I cut open a tube of sunscreen, that I wear all year, and got several extra days use.
    My husband and I each got a check for a class action lawsuit from State Farm insurance. A week before that, I got a check for a different class action lawsuit which I shared with my husband. ?
    I found a gift card I had forgotten about. It had 50.00 on it so it went into the pot for Christmas gifts. I hope that doesn’t happen again! Forgetting…..
    About half-way through this year, i went from being paid in cash to getting on the payroll. With this change, I started earning vacation pay. When I hit 40 hours, I have to take the pay or miss building up new hours. So, i put in for the vacation pay this week. This will come in handy since my husband has to cut his hours due to the pain in his feet. It will help with the last of the Christmas buying, too.
    I stopped into Target for two items and came across their after Halloween sale. I bought too many bags of candy. Some will be used for Christmas goodie plates. Some will be added to the grandchildren’s gifts over the next year. The rest are being consumed way too quickly! We only had two trick-or-treaters!
    I’m still trying to get our water bill lower. It seems to be a losing prospect. We had to buy a new washer and dryer, that are a lot more efficient, but the bill didn’t budge. I hope this is the month something positive happens. I’m always collecting the shower water and using egg water for dishes.
    That’s about it for my memory. Wishing everyone a frugal week, ahead!

    1. One-third of indoor water usage comes from the toilets! Low-flow toilets and shorter showers with low-flow heads make a difference on indoor water usage.

      Most water usage is outside. Sprinklers use the most water. Drip irrigation helps a ton with outside water usage.

  28. Took my car to store where I bought new tires. They checked air in each tire, rotated & balanced tires all for free. I always buy my tires there as they offer this service plus free flat tire repair.
    Got my car inspected at business that offers a free car wash w/ inspection.
    Got my cat large cans of food (22oz) for 1$ apiece at Dollar General. (I got my cat at the Humane Society for 5$. He eats dollar food.) My frugal pet.
    Got my hair cut (after 6 months with no trim) at the local beauty school for 11$. That included hair wash & blow dry style. (I give the student a nice tip also.)
    Traveled to a convention. Got a room for one night. The 2nd night I slept on a fold out sofa in one of the attendees room. Ate the free breakfast that came w/ the room. Ate a light supper in the Hospitality Room that was provided. (Had a cold so was not that hungry.) A bargain trip.
    That’s all I can think of for now.

  29. I’m beginning to identify items that I can sell on Gumtree and eBay, because I don’t use them. These items will hopefully help in purchasing Christmas items. I have a $25.00 voucher from doing swag buck surveys. I will continue to do the surveys for additional cash that will all go to Christmas.
    I’ve almost eaten down my fridge/freezer so that I can restock this coming weekend.
    Frugal fail, my last loaf of bread really didn’t work out. The dog ate the results over a two week period. I’m going to get fresh yeast, I think that is where the problem lies.
    Continuing to walk 12500 steps per day to get my $5.00 a week grocery voucher. This weeks voucher will go on the yeast.
    Happy frugaling folks

  30. Brandy I am glad you didn’t get the frost and can continue to pick from your gardens for longer 🙂 . All of the clothing and turkeys purchased on specials are a true blessing. Glad you were able to download some more information to increase your knowledge of photography.

    Our savings added up to $73.40 last week :).

    Money earned –
    – Earned $12 from the sale of a homemade journal cover on eBay.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased 2 e-gift cards from RACQ for groceries saving $9.60.
    – Did a little shopping for half price specials at Woolworths saving $43.40 on usual prices.
    – Used one gift card and with specials and a $15 off promotional code saved $17 on usual prices.
    – From IGA picked up 5 x 6pk of a combo of wholemeal and grain bread rolls and really nice large kiwi fruit saving $3.40 on usual prices.

    Pantry stocking –
    – Stocked up on 10 large packets of pasta and sauces on half price special , 4 x 10 lts of water, and 5 x 6pk of bread rolls.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Water savings –
    – Used grey water pumped from the grey water tank to water most of the front lawn and fruit and berry trees.
    – Used cleanish dish rinsing/vegetable steaming water to water potted herb and fruit trees.
    – Used saved shower warm up water to fill hand washing bottles and clean the bathrooms and toilets with.

    Hope everyone has had a wonderful week of savings and building up their homes as well :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  31. Thank you all for sharing!
    I did not accomplish much. Can I ask about pomegranates? We only buy them and occasionally. I must be very careful while preparing them for eating, as they kind of spray red juice everywhere, as you know what I mean. How do you avoid making a mess? Even one drop of juice can go to quite a far and leave a stain. Thank you!

    1. I wear an apron! They are messy; I usually have red juice sprayed on my face and neck after opening them.

      1. Margaret, I agree! That was quite an interesting video. Thank you for sharing. I will try it this way when I next buy a pomegranate.

  32. We finally had our killing frost here last week, and so we spent quite a bit of time over the weekend cleaning up the garden. My daughter put some leaves over her dahlia bulbs after cutting off the dead stalks. Around here it doesn’t get cold enough to kill them most years. It’s a bit of a gamble, but it usually pays off. One of these years, we will need to dig them up and divide them, though. I also was able to clip and trip and remove debris until I had both a huge compost pile and a yard debris bin full. I have a goal to fill that bin with branches and things each week. I make it about 1/2 the time.

    Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    We cooked meals at home. On Halloween, we took food over to my sister’s house, ate, then Rob took the kids out. I handed out my sister’s candy until they were home and ready to take over the job. My niece just wants to dress up in here tiger pajamas and sit in the van with Rob and eat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups while they drive up and down the street. It’s so cute. That’s what she has wanted to do for the past 2-3 years. My nephew had Patsy, my daughter, take him from door to door for about 30-45 minutes, then he was done. It was easy, and frugal as their parents provided all the candy. We grabbed a small handful of candy to take home just in case anyone knocked on our door, and only 2 kids did, since we were not home during the early part of the evening. My girls ate the rest of the candy and we were done for the year. I just couldn’t bring a big bag of candy into the house this year, due to my husband’s diet–too tempting:)

    We spent quite a bit of time ferrying my older daughter around as she has quite a bit to do since coming back from Hawaii last Monday. She has a place rented and we are getting things over there so she can move in before long. To complicate matters, her old job immediately put her on the schedule as soon as they knew she was coming back, so she started work right away and needed rides to and from there. It’s been a whirlwind, for sure, but we are making progress.

    I bought cereal for $1/box.

  33. We had frost warnings, but this weekend we have freeze warnings. We have turned on the heat, keeping it at 62 during the day and 64 when hubby is home. I just wear sweaters and leggings under my skirts to keep warm.

    We have been doing more repairs and renovations in preparation for my daughter and her family coming for two months in December, plus, we will have two sons here with their families. Yesterday we got new carpet in one bedroom, which was not cheap, but it was 20 years old and had been through two floods. I feel better knowing it is not dusty or having any residual mold issues that would harm anyone. We moved a large chest in that room to use as a dresser so we will not need to find one. I am working hard on purging, organizing and assessing the whole house, room by room. Do we have enough blankets, sheets, pillows and towels for 15 people? I will be washing and getting it all ready in the next two weeks. With three kids living out of the state and country, there are more things to consider than when they all lived at home. I have four local, as in a 45 minute radius and three out of town.

    I made two pots of beans and used them in soups and refrigerated beans, and froze some. I did meal prep this weekend and it is really helping as I am working every day. I love looking in the fridge and seeing my containers neatly stacked with sliced eggies, salad, soup prep and snacks. When I get home the last thing I want to do is fix a meal.

    We have a newly reopened library five minutes from my house. I found three books on Christmas planning, gift making and recipes. I want to be on top of things as we have five November and five December birthdays and the holidays to cook and plan for. With my daughter and family coming I want to be present to enjoy the new baby and all the family, and preplanning is the key to that, and making every occasion as simple as possible. We do not do elaborate, expensive gifts. Yesterday I made lotion bars for the first time and was pleased with how easy and quick they are to make. I am making bags for each of the daughters, DIL’s and son’s girlfriends with salve, lotion bars, arnica cream and scrubs.

    I am grateful for your work Brandy and sharing your life with us in such enjoyable ways!

  34. Ladies, my husband has most likely lost his job. He is/was the sole provider. I have been a homemaker for over 20 years. I simply am lost on how to re-enter the job market. I would appreciate any tips and advice on how any of you dealt with job loss as well as going back to work. My husbands salary was enough that even if we both found full time jobs, it won’t cover the loss of income. I am so very overwhelmed. Prayers are very appreciated as well. God willing, it will only be a lay off for a few months. It’s highly doubtful as they have fired over a dozen people but I know God sees us. I don’t know what we are going to do.

    1. Douai, I am so sorry to hear that!

      I cannot tell you much about re-entering the job market; hopefully, others can. I now have a business, but being self-employed is different than working for someone else.

      I can say that you can always apply immediately for seasonal retail work locally. Most of those applications, if not all, will be online. While it won’t cover your bills, it’s a chance of having something coming in right away.

      Read about how resumes have changed and what they want now; it is very different than it was 20 years ago.

      I can talk about some other aspects.

      If you can cut anything at all right now, cut it immediately to make what money you have in the bank last longer to pay your mortgage and utilities. Cut cable; cut any subscription services (Netflix, etc.); cut ALL eating out, cut out grocery purchases and cleaning supply purchases and use what you have stored, only buying the bare minimum if you really have to buy something; cut all clothing purchases; cut any unnecessary driving to save gas; turn down the heat if you’re using it already and put more blankets on the beds. Pay careful attention to your utility usage, turning off all lights when you’re not directly under them. Even something as simple as turning off the kitchen lights and only having the lights on over the kitchen table can save you quite a bit ($20 a month, in my case!) These are things that you can control, and the savings can be enough to make what you have in the bank last for the things you have to have, like a roof over your head and running water.

      Consider long-term aspects. If you need to downsize, sell things off, etc. Even small things, like selling items on your local Facebook marketplace, can bring in immediate funds for keeping the lights on.

      1. Thank you Brandy. I have already cut Netflix and Hulu as well as planned for a basically no grocery budget for the month. Funny enough I made a list on priorities in spending which went mortgage, water, gas for the home, electricity and then fuel for vehicles. I figure if we keep a roof over our head and have running water and natural gas then we can survive. It won’t be pretty but I did it when I was a child and my parents were broke. I’m already looking at what can I sell off. I also have applied to two jobs online. In a couple days I will be applying for other that are in walking distance. Thank you for your advice. I truly appreciate it.

    2. Douai – I am so sorry to hear this! (Please excuse the long list here; it is what I’ve learned in the last two years). Brandy is spot-on with the expense-cutting basics. You will have to change from a big view of “enough money” to matching up small bits of income and savings to meet your needs.

      When looking for work, look at what you do/have done and who you know. Does your church or a social organization use part- or full-time people? Are there places you shop often where you would like to work? Is there something you have always wanted to try? Someone you admire who you could join? Personality, meaning being friendly and dependable, is always a hire-able plus.
      Do you speak another language as well as English? (I’m trying to remember what you wrote in previous postings; did you just move back to the U.S. or am I thinking of someone else?). If so, look for places that might need a translator, not just for written things, but for assisting with meetings such as at schools, support agencies, courts, lawyers, etc.
      You said you were a homemaker: Do you sew? Arrange with a local dry cleaner or department store to put up a notice that you are available to do alterations, or put up a signs at other public places. Do not undercharge!– find out what the going rates for simple things like hems, buttons, and zipper replacements are in your community, and charge close to that.
      Do you have a big house? Can you rent out space in it? Your garage for someone’s off-season vehicle storage? Change your own vehicle/s to be less expensive? Help with cooking for upcoming holiday months if you know any caterers? Find places that need help with clean-up after big events? Do you like children? Emergency day care (such as for children who need to stay only for a day or two while they recover from illness so they are healthy enough to go back to their regular places or school) is in huge demand.

      Job searching is so different in the age of the internet! If you go to a website for any business or service-such as your library, you can see a section for job postings. I personally never found anything helpful in the conglomerated=national job posting websites, but did when looking for information at specific employers websites or for the national organization for my profession.
      You don’t have to meet every qualification exactly, (I’ve read that women in particular are shy about applying for positions where they don’t meet every qualification, whereas men are more likely to just charge ahead). Be able to explain how you are willing to learn. Remember that you don’t have to know everything going in, as the new employer will train you on whatever their systems are. In spite of how intimidating interviewing may sound, many employers are much more informal about it than you would expect, especially at small placees.
      Think through what you have done as a homemaker and break it down into valuable skills: Organized people, things, schedules, maintained equipment, supported people, handled a budget. Do the same for any volunteer work you have done. Google search for information to help you as well!

      If you are in the states, make sure your husband files for unemployment as soon as possible. In Indiana, (presume this is sort of the norm), receiving unemployment payments (ours was weekly, on a Visa card, for up to six months) required doing three job search activities a week, plus periodic meeting with someone in the regional employment office and learning more about job searching through their programs. You can also use those search and help services as well as him.
      Ditto if in the states: My husband and I were laid off abruptly, and didn’t make the mental switch to being low-income people quickly enough in the one key area of health insurance. We went on COBRA, which is staying on the same insurance plan, paying both the employer and the employee costs, thus doubling our previous monthly premium. What we should have done was recognized that we had almost no income and gone on the healthcare marketplace immediately. Loss of employer benefits is a “qualifying event”. When we finally realized this, our huge COBRA costs dropped to almost nothing because of a huge healthcare tax credit. Free assistance is available to help you find health care plans.
      While he is still employed, what benefits can you make use of? Get ahead on health care or check-ups? Use any discounts? Make sure he/you understands whatever he is being offered by his employer if he is laid off, in terms of his retirement accounts, etc. He doesn’t have to sign anything until he has had time to study it. Make sure he gets names and contact information for people who can be references for him, copies of his assessment reports if they did them on him, copies of projects he worked on if possible, whatever else he can get to prove he was a good employee.

      I wish you all the best at these uncertain times! I feel bossy writing so much, You and your husband will have to talk about who you are and who you want to be in new ways, and how to become those things. Job loss is amazingly stressful– expect a time almost like mourning– and you need to work together. If you have children or family members who are affected, be matter-of-fact and hopeful with them as well. Small children will recognize that something is going on and need realistic reassurances, (you have each other, your home, their schools, your faith, whatever will reassure them, and you). Government assistance for children is available for school meals and health care– use it. One day at a time– Blessings to you!

    3. Douai,

      Did your husband receive any outplacement counseling and/or severance? If he did there may be some info in there that is helpful. In any event have your husband go immediately to the workforce center. These are run by each state. They have all sorts of information and can offer help. They may have information on other resources as well – community food banks, local resource centers, etc. Catholic Social Services, for example, has information about social services, including counseling and some financial help. They help everyone, not just Catholics.

      Apply for unemployment insurance now. There is generally a waiting period and will depend on whether or not there was any form of payout (vacation pay, severance pay, etc.).

      I am assuming that he worked for a company that has benefits. You will have access to COBRA benefits but in many instances that can be more expensive that insurance purchased on the marketplace (differs from state to state). The workforce center may be able to help there as well.

      Have your husband concentrate on his resume. There are a lot of resources on Pinterest and online that can help. Also – sit down and make a list of everyone you know. This may feel awkward but it is networking. Networking is not just people that you’ve worked with – it is friends, family, people at church, people you know from school, social groups, religious organizations. Do not hesitate to reach out to everyone. The fact he was laid off is familiar to too many people and many will want to help.

      Have your husband, and you, make a list of all of your skills. Not just “work” skills but those that can be bartered or things that can be done for immediate money.

      It is important to have an understanding of where you are right now. Making lists of all of what you have on: food, cleaning supplies, pet supplies (if you have one), first aid/medications, your clothing, tools of any sort. What this can do is help you see that you have a sense of where you have holes to plug and where you have some cushion/comfort.

      Have that a firm and frank discussion with those that will be impacted – children for example. It will need to be age appropriate of course but keeping them in the dark isn’t helpful. Making them part of the plan can help them feel more empowered.

      See if the workforce center has any information on “displaced homemaker” resources. Many women put their careers on hold and then return to the workplace. They tend to undervalue their skills and abilities. If you have done any volunteering see that as work experience!

      And this is so important. I’ve been laid off a couple of times (working in high tech was quite the roller coaster!). For you and your husband find those things that can bring you comfort and joy. Taking a walk together knowing that you are coming home to a cup of tea for example. Find a person that you trust and is supportive and reach out to them regularly. Having a caring support system is so very important. They are your champions, cheerleaders.

      Thinking of you and holding you in prayer and love.


      1. Heidi Louise, S. Co Mary, Wyoming Gal, Margaret, Patricia Koenig, & PJGT, – thank you all for such a informative replies! I have screen shot all replies and will be utilizing them to the best of my ability. There were several questions, I apologize for not answering them, I assume most of them were simply launching measures to share all your thoughts. You all shared so much, especially in regarding to if we will need unemployment and where to look for insurance help, which is one of my major concerns. I don’t have much ability in regards to sewing, second language, hobbies that can be turned into selling things. I do have a can do attitude (most of the time, I’ve been crying and having moments of despair) and I know attitude is the biggest thing to get my foot in the door somewhere. I know everything will be okay in the end. Thank you all, very, very much – and Brandy too. I’ve been rereading your posts on saving on food. Thank you all so very much for all the tips and information. I so much appreciate it.

        – Doaui

    4. If the reason for the job loss is a lay off or reduction in force, an important first step is to apply for unemployment compensation. Find out about any severance pay or pay for accumulated time off, such as vacation or PTI (paid time off). If you are in the U.S., finding out about health insurance continuation is very important also. Your husband’s company human resources department should be able to give the specifics for pay that is coming and health insurance.

      In the U.S. another good step is to register with the state Employment Services (there is some variation in name of this agency depending on the state you live in.) All states have online employment listing and offer the opportunity to post your resume for any jobs that you are interested in.

      Good luck. Remember unemployment is quite low now and that favors job applicants. Many employers are eager for candidates to fill their open jobs.

    5. I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s job loss. I know it can be scary. I’m not sure where you’re located, but I know that often the public libraries in Canada have resume workshops and other programming to help people enter/re-enter the job force. Having friends review your resume can be handy as well (particularly if you have a friend in the field that you want to work in). Remember that while you may not have current job experience, you do have a lot of skills — running a household does take a lot of skill! So perhaps you can write up a skills-based resume, as opposed to the classic employment history one. There is a trend towards this type of resume, anyway. Plus, if you have ANY volunteer experience, you have to highlight that. Ever organize a meal train for your community/church? That’s “organized volunteers to provide food services to community members in need”. Took notes in a PTA meeting? “Utilized secretarial skills to create reference documents.” And so on and so forth. You have a lot more skills than you might think! It’s just a matter of finding the right way to present those skills to a potential employer. You’ve got this!

    6. You are in my prayers. I have been through this with my husband and I did not foresee that he would fall into a mental state where he wouldn’t work for years (this is the first year he has worked full-time in 5 years). Please follow all of the wonderful advice here on how to move forward successfully. It is stressful but doable, and you can do this!!!

    7. Douai, you have gotten so much good advice here. What I would do is to apply for Christmas retail work ASAP. It doesn’t pay much, but you could probably be working by next Monday and stay as long as you wanted (all of the stores where I live are hiring). This could reduce and delay dipping into savings while your husband applies for unemployment benefits and looks for work.

    8. Douai, I think you’ve already been given some great advice from Brandy and other commenters. Here’s mind:
      1. Whenever the panic sets in, sit down and take a moment to breathe! When you panic, you react. Right now you need to be pro-active, not reactive to this situation. Keeping calm and having a level head is one of the best things you can do, so you can think straight and deal with any obstacles in a positive, productive manor as they arise! Keep a positive attitude…you can and will make it through this difficult situation!!!
      2. In our area, there are Employment help centres, that have councellors you can speak to for free. I have participated in a “Job Finding Club”, hosted by these employment centres at least 2-3 times and found them extremely helpful! They teach you how to write a resume, cover letter, interviewing skills, what the job market is looking for, where to look for jobs, etc., not to mention helping you stay positive and hopeful while trying to fine employment! I would highly suggest looking into a place like this in your area. It will be helpful for both you and your husband.
      3. Do some research on things that will help you stay extra frugal while you are making everything stretch out as long as possible. Brandy has recipes on this website, which is a start. Look up recipes that require few ingredients and use what you have in your pantry and/or very cheap ingredients. This will help you stretch out your food stores for as long as possible. If you don’t have a Pinterest account, I highly recommend it. It’s free and has been an amazing resource for me. I can save the info I find useful to boards for quick reference later. Try searching Food Stamp or Living Below the Poverty Line Challenge, Struggle Meals, Cheap Meals, etc. So many great ideas to be found on there!
      4. Research ways to save on your household as well. Perhaps you can set up a drying rack (if you have one) or string an indoor clothes line, so you can dry at least some of your laundry without using any utilities. Maybe plant some seeds in pots to try growing some food indoors this winter, like chives, green onions, spinnach, leaf lettuce, maybe even a tomato or pepper plant. It might help provide some fresh food when you are just not able to buy it. Again, so many ideas to cut costs can be found, if you do some research!
      5. If you have already bought expensive Christmas presents, consider taking them back for a refund and make something for the recipient instead. Focusing on building a gift stash is a good use of your time, instead of sitting and worrying about everything.
      6. Keep commenting here every week! Ask if you need help with solving a problem or need ideas. This is one of the best resources you have access to, so keep using it!!!
      Hope this helps, Douai! Remember…you can do this!!!

    9. Douai,
      I’m sorry to hear about your husbands job loss. We went through the same thing. The other ladies have great ideas. I suggest writing a list of skills that both of you have or things you enjoy. You might be able to teach a skill. When this happened to us I not only looked or jobs, I looked up every available help we could get if we really needed it. My husband is making less than half of what he used to make now. And for a while he was without a job. Somehow we have made it. We drastically cut spending. Utilize food pantries occasionally.( Not enjoyable but it does help.) Put hospital bills on payment plans. Eat meals at home.
      My husband found a job he likes, pay is much less but he is happier. I still would like to find a way to make more money. I miss spending on things I want. But we have gotten accustomed to the low pay. I am working and that helps. Even though my pay is even less.

    10. I am so sorry to hear about the job loss and the stress it is creating. There are many good ideas about finding work, as generating income is the most critical. On the home front, there is one way to save some money, that I don’t believe I have seen mentioned here, but it saves us at least $10 a month. During a recent major clean-out, I found many cotton t-shirts no longer wearable. I had read on other sights about “family cloth,” used in place of toilet paper, but had never had the desire or courage to try it. Thanks to a month with no income, I decided to try it, cutting each shirt into rectangles. Used for Number 1 only, it has saved us on the amount of tp we buy. There is an adjustment period, as you learn that cloth absorbs slower than paper, and that it must be 100% cotton to absorb well. Used ones are kept in a zip bag by the commode and washed every couple of days. (You could also use for No.2, as we remember that toilet paper was not invented and widely available, until a little over a hundred years ago!) For those thinking of the gross factor, it’s really no different than washing underwear, and way better than washing diapers. There are also many websites that recommend cloth menstrual pads, though I have no need of those anymore. I hope that those who are struggling can be helped by this. You could certainly color code each family member’s supply and wash separately if you have concerns.

    11. First off I would like to tell you that we are all here to help in any way we can. Brandy has some of the best people that comment here. They have given such good advice already. I would add to contact your local church. They have so many amazing resources. I would ask them if they know of anyone that needs help at home. I help an elderly gentlemen at home. I go 3 days a week. I cook, clean and do his laundry. I take him out when he is up to it. We talk and play games together. I do not do anything health-related other then reminding him to take his pills. He has a nurse that comes in once a week. He lives in a large retirement community. I have been approached more times then I can count if I would like to take on other clients. I have also been asked this by the church. There is a huge need in senior care. You are already taking care of your home. The only difference is I am making an elderly man less lonely while I do this. You have all of the skills needed. Good luck. I will be praying for you.

  35. Found bags of mixed rolls – 6 in each bag for 53c. They are all more like hard rolls and some can be used as mini-garlic bread. I bought all 3 bags and then divided them up in bags of two. We really don’t eat a lot of bread. SO LOVES a local bread that is like the Italian style at Walmart – very white and soft (and zip a dee do daw nutritional value) that we buy in the summer for sandwiches – blts, tomato with mayo and Italian cold cut from our favorite Italian grocery store.

    Made some sweets – apple turnovers, banana bread, cherry turnovers. Will make my mom’s apple cake – it makes 2 8×8 so I make one and freeze one. I am NOT a baker but am trying to have something on hand for after supper with a cup of coffee or tea.

    Bought “funky” produce from the local grocery store – they put it in bags for 99c. Bought one of a cucumber, a rutabaga and 2 turnips. Will make soup from the root veggies and use the cucumber for a salad. Have the last of some tomatoes to use as well.

    Am going to make the Vampire slayer soup! There is a little bistro in town that is known for their garlic soup. I had my doubts but a friend convinced me to try it. Wow – it was so good.

    Went to SO’s cousins for the fall gathering. She is an incredible cook – full on Italian spread and desserts. She sent us home with three sausage rolls, cream puffs and cookies.

    The biggest thing is that we decided to not go away in our RV for the winter months. We’d planned to head south to TX – gulf coast and piney woods. After a lot of thought and prayer I finally came to peace with the fact that my right hip replacement really is a matter of when not if, and the sooner the better. I really wanted to see spring in the south again but being in pain (has moved to that from discomfort) would make the trip miserable. So I am re-researching our medicare supplement plans with surgery in mind. I am going to delay my bone marrow test and mammo until next year as I am not even close to the deductible this year so will put it all into next year.

    That has resulted in a lot of rethinking. We hadn’t really emptied our RV so will do that and really go through everything and use it up. Since we will be here in the spring and summer we will plan a garden. If we do take trips it will be at a month at a time or less.

    Lovely weather for today and tomorrow then cold so we’ll do some yard work that is left.

    1. Not to be too nosy, S CO Mary, and I know everyone’s situations are different, but have you considered checking with an independent insurance agent about Medicare supplements? Hubs retired in May this year and we looked at what his company offered as a supplement for retirees (not the COBRA option which is WAY expensive) and it seemed like a lot to pay but when we were looking at coverages, it got so confusing. So we asked some trusted friends who had retired 2 years earlier and had health challenges. (Wife had cancer, husband had some surgeries) They told us that they had an independent insurance agent who looked over their medical history and compared several companies for best rates/coverages. The agent doesn’t charge- it’s free to you.
      We ended up with company that has $185/year deductible as a supplement to our Medicare Part B for doctors, labs, etc.
      And our premiums are manageable – about $125 each/month!
      Hubs just had heart procedure 6 weeks ago and some urology complications that have meant lots of dr appts/supplies, etc. We paid his $185 deductible when he saw our family doctor and had some lab work. Since then, heart surgery, hospital in patient for 3 days, device implanted, urology appts, etc. Every explanation of benefits from these has shown the charge, what Medicare covered and then what our supplement covered and every single time it says- “Patient responsibility- zero $”. We are totally amazed at this and feel humbled and blessed.
      It may be worth it to have a free, professional check through the confusion of so many insurances just to make sure you’re getting the very best for you at the very best price!!

  36. *We went through household and pantry items to take stuff to our older daughter who just moved into her first apartment. It was a blessing to find stuff on hand that she can use right away and won’t have to purchase.
    *We have been conserving gas and not really driving too much. This is a double blessing because the less I go to town and to stores, generally the less I spend.
    *We’ve had a few small savings like a few dollars through Ibotta and Rakuten for items that were planned purchases. We also sold an item on ebay that was free to us so that went into savings.
    *I have been much better at using up every last piece of food and whittling our grocery bill down to what I suspect is the lowest it will go with my new nutritious eating plan for the MS diagnosis. I am really loving the bone broth I’ve been making from the chicken bones and leftover bits of organic vegetables. It’s really good!
    *We got the space heater for the large living area out of storage, and my husband used the Shop Vac to make sure it was clear of dust. We’re trying to only use it first thing in the morning to take the chill out of the living area while the fire in the wood stove gets hot enough to start heating the house.
    *I started using the free version of the Every Dollar app by Dave Ramsey. We’ve had a written budget for a long time, but I have a hard time keeping up with the tracking of spending to see how close we come to the plan each month. I started this last month and it’s definitely helping me track the spending in the different categories so we can make better budgeting decisions.
    I have a bit more on my blog! https://www.cozyhomemaking.com/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-end-of-october-2019/

  37. Hi to all! It finally cooled down enough here so we could turn off the a/c. I’m hoping it does not have to go back on for awhile.
    Ways I saved last week
    I washed full loads in washer & dishwasher.
    Ate in all week
    Walked dogs for exercise
    Started doing balance exercises – using Youtube instead of buying a book
    Earned some extra bonuses on Ibotta and got a $20 Walmart gift card which I saved to my Apple Wallet instead of printing out.
    We received our new couches! Had the old ones picked up by the company delivering the couches The new ones are so comfy … now have to find pillows. Just saw our Pier 1 is closing, so I’ll be looking there first
    That is all I can think of. Have a great frugal week all!

  38. I am on the lookout for well-priced turkeys and hams as well, since we just cooked our last ham from the freezer. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were shredded pork with tossed salad, pan-seared salmon with baked potatoes and green beans, meatloaf with mac and cheese and peas, grilled steak with corn on the cob and roasted cauliflower and broccoli, baked brown sugar/mustard ham with crockpot scalloped potatoes and green beans.
    *Cut my husband’s hair.
    *Cleaned out my large storage closet. Filled the back of my car with items for Goodwill. Moved a few things to the shelving in the garage. Now I have a cleared shelf for Christmas gifts as I buy them. Made note of the gifts I have already bought and updated my list of gifts I still need to buy.
    *Sewed the button back on a pair of my husband’s pants. Also cut the buttons off a few items that were being thrown out.
    *Made a crockpot full of garbanzo beans. I froze half and I am hoping to make dip out of the other half.
    *Used $2 rewards at grocery store that I had earned. Bought cheese at $3/lb (not great but not awful). Also bought 2 steaks marked down to $2/lb.
    *Bought a quilt for our guest room at the thrift store for $15. I was on the fence about how it would match the curtains, but it’s perfect! Also got a very nice frying pan for $5, a cake server for $2, a pair of jeans for $3 and a cute flannel shirt for $3. The prices weren’t great, but they were all quality items and I am happy with them.
    *Walked with a friend for free fellowship and exercise. With the time change, I believe this will be the last evening we can walk. ☹

  39. We were home all week ! Woo-hoo, since this was the first time since mid-April. I enjoyed returning to my volunteer activities such as volunteering at the public library, reading to preschoolers, cooking for the doctors and nurses at the free medical clinic (just one night) and helping with the community wide food drive for the local food pantry. Our food collection team (from my church) was treated to lunch at a local pizzeria after we finished our assigned territory by one of our team members.

    We had a special autumn service at church one evening. We were asked to bring autumn flavored treats and offered canned pumpkin and apples to bake with. I took both and made pumpkin bread and apple crisp. There were lots of leftovers so I took home the extra pumpkin bread and apple crisp.

    I hemmed a pair of pants for DH (he bought a pair of pants – first in about 4 years). I hemmed a pair of jeans for me (obtained out of my uniform allowance in the Park Service). I’m crocheting an afghan requested by DD for her birthday. I bought about a third of the yarn and am able to use yarn from my stash to complete the afghan. I hand washed 4 of my cashmere sweaters rather than taking them to the drycleaners. I haven’t taken anything to a drycleaner in 10 years. I have home dry cleaned my wool coats, suits, etc. When I wore a skirted suit to work everyday in the 1990 and 2000’s, I used to use a lot of dry cleaning. The world has changed! At my last job I could wear a skirt and blouse without pantyhose (i.e. bare legs) and no high heels required ever!

    The commonwealth of Virginia sent us $220 – because they are sending $110 to every taxpayer from 2018 and both DH and I worked for the Park Service in VA as a seasonal job that year. This year we worked in Wyoming and since there is no state income tax in WY, we certainly won’t be getting anything for 2019.

  40. It’s been a great, frugal week. These activities are actually from the past few weeks.
    Halloween: I took the kids to a Chickfila a few days before Halloween that gave a free kids meal to kids in costume. It was crowded, but we went early, before the free offer officially began, so that the kids could play on the playground. We ate as soon as they began giving away the free kids meals, then left. No dishes for me that night!
    The kids costumes were mostly hand-me-downs, garage sale dress up pieces, etc. My daughter did pick out a winter princess dress from Goodwill but it was only about $3 with my teacher discount. My youngest went as a jack-o-lantern, my fourth child to wear that costume.
    There were a lot of trunk or treat and carnival activities. We went to several, at our church, my older kids’ school, my younger son’s school, with the boy scouts, with a friend at their church, etc. My kids got a ton of candy. We recycled some of it by putting it in a bowl outside our front door for trick or treaters who came to our house. I let each child choose a small Ziploc bag of candy to keep, then culled some of the M&Ms and chocolate to use for baking, a little for Christmas stockings, then took the kids to a local dentist, who paid $1/#, up to 5#/child, and sends the candy to troops overseas. Win win win! Maybe this will keep me from eating as much as I usually do.
    I found a lot of great markdowns at the grocery store. Our .99 only store also had a lot of beef sausage (.99/12 oz) and low sodium Oscar Mayer bacon ($1.99/#), so I stocked up. These items are close to the sell by date, but that’s no issue for us.
    My mom generously mended my daughter’s uniform skirt for me, and passed on some food from her neighbor who moved. We got a lot of good stuff! Some of it went as far back as 2014, lol. I tossed what had bugs and froze a lot of the other. Many things (oil, powdered sugar, eggs, etc.) were actually on my grocery list.
    I continue to buy and sell at garage sales and ebay, mercari, and facebook marketplace. Most of my sales are small, turning $1 into $5 or $2 into $10, but small amounts add up.
    Two kids went to birthday parties, taking gifts from our gift closet.
    We carpooled to a girl scout event for my daughter, which saved gas.
    I subbed for a coworker, who teaches a class I used to teach.
    I bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    We went to a free fall festival at the church where my younger son goes to school. They had a lot of great activities, and the kids had a blast. There were food trucks there selling food, but we ate at home before we arrived, which was easier and much cheaper.
    We made a lot of pumpkin bread to share with friends. It’s called, “Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread,” from allrecipes.com. It’s so good. Each batch makes a large loaf for us, and three mini loaves that we share. The kids like it, and it smells great while baking. I bought a lot of marked down pumpkin last year. I have a few pie pumpkins on the front porch as decoration, but I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble of cooking them down. When I can get pumpkin puree for .50 can, I’m not sure it’s worth the time and very limited space in my freezer. If you’re in Houston and want some pumpkins, let me know.
    The air conditioner is back on, as it’s now in the 80s again. Looking forward to more cool days.
    I bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    I cleaned the shower with very hot vinegar mixed with Dawn (I think they call it Dawnegar?), and it worked well on soap scum after I left it for an hour.
    We loaned some camping gear to friends who went camping.
    Thank you, Brandy, for hosting this site for us to share our frugal lifestyles.
    Have a good week!

    1. Leigh Ann, if your pie pumpkins are small enough, you can just prick them with a fork, and bake them in the microwave like a potato. Then scoop out the insides and freeze. That’s what I do with squash and small pie pumpkins, and toss it into smoothies and baby food! Almost as easy as opening up a can.

  41. I just want to thank whoever posted the recipe for Double Chocolate Banana Applesauce muffins a few weeks ago. I did it in a loaf pan and have made it three times already. It helped use up some homemade applesauce that burnt and that taste spread throughout the pan. You can’t tell at all in this recipe, it just tastes like chocolate. So that was a frugal win! Thank you!

  42. This week: accepted some free meals at the school. My sons attend schools where all students get free breakfast and lunch. My younger son goes to after school care, and at his school, they also provide dinner to the students in after school care. It arrives around 4:45 pm. If you pick up between 5 and 5:30 pm (which spouse does), then the teachers will literally beg you to take the leftover food, so it isn’t wasted. At least once a week (if not 2-3 times), we end up accepting 1-4 individual meals (sometimes afternoon snacks). The food is delicious and very healthy. Alas, most of it has wheat, so I cannot eat it. But the kids can. You’d think it would help my grocery budget…but it doesn’t.

    I canceled one of my produce boxes this week (cannot keep up), and accepted some free collard greens from a neighbor (who also cannot keep up!) I picked up my new glasses from Costco – they were $260 (not terribly cheap, but cheaper than from a optometrists office, which quoted me $600 with insurance), and probably most of that will be reimbursed from insurance.

    Gardening – we only have planted two planter boxes, with lettuce, cucumbers, peas, carrots, radishes, and tomatoes. The lettuce is long gone, the carrots were tiny, the radishes were great. The two tomato plants!! I cannot keep up with them. We are finally down to < 10 tomatoes on the counter. Luckily? We lose some to the squirrels. Our cucumbers all of a sudden took off too. Still no frost yet, but I'm in So Cal, so no surprise there.

  43. I am in search of fleece lined blue jeans for my grandson. He wears a size 5 toddler, or a size 6 little boys. Last year Old Navy carried them but this year they don’t and I have not found them anywhere. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Penny S.

  44. We’ve been using our wood stove for heating when needed. We don’t need a lot of heat since we live in the Southeast US. (Tennessee) I also hang all of our laundry to dry. I’ve been monitoring our electric usage and our electric bill should be less than $75 for our house that is almost 2200 sq ft! That is our only monthly utility bill outside of phone and internet bills. We don’t pay for gas bills, water, sewer, or garbage pick up bills. I’ve found that being down to just one utility bill really helps me to get laser focused on reducing it.

    I had the septic tank pumped this week since we just bought our house in July and wanted to be on the safe side, as we didn’t know when it was pumped last. The company charged me $225 for the septic tank pumping. I also need to check the light in our well house to make sure that nothing is freezing.

    I cooked food for DH’s and my anniversary and we ate wonderful meals without ordering restaurant food. DH wanted to go somewhere for a date, so after eating, we headed out to Sonic. We pre-ordered a slushy on their app and got 50% off. We shared the one drink and only paid $1.98 for it.

    My husband and son plan to do some body work on our car to save money. The bumper is coming off and we’re going to order a salvage part and have them put it on.

    1. That is very nice to not have all of those other utility bills. We have water, gas, sewer, electric, and garbage.

  45. We have had a very frugal month. Since being laid off from work in September, I have been shopping only once a week at one store and keeping my weekly grocery budget at $60. I have also been monitoring our electricity usage daily. I am turning off lights and unplugging anything i can when not in use. Fortunately, the weather has been mild and we have not needed AC. Out heat is gas and we haven’t needed that much either. Our electric bill for the month (which ended two days ago) is only $79.57! That is almost half of what we normally pay. I looked back in our history and we have not had a bill before under $135. This shows how just paying attention really makes a difference.

    I started my new job last week (went back to a previous employer) and I am only working part-time. This is by choice and I am working two days on site and one day from home. I am very grateful for the work and to be able to have time at home.

    We cooked all meals at home this week (mostly over two days) and have plenty of leftovers for the week for dinners and lunches. Today I am making butternut squash soup.

    I won the chili cook-off at work yesterday and received a $25 Target gift card.

    Thank you, Brandy for your amazing blog and to everyone for posting comments.

    1. Lisa, good for you! Both for cutting that electric bill (wow) and taking a PT job with your former employer! If you continue your new frugal ways, I’ll bet you have as much money left at the end of the month with working 3 days instead of 5. And I’ll bet you’ll like having two more days off a week even more, too. Good luck to you!

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