It’s been a whirlwind of a week as things have been changing multiple times a day in regards to Covid-19.

We watched the governor speak live on a local news station’s website which we cast from the computer to the television (we have not had cable television for over 13 years and read our news online).

Tuesday I had gone to Winco and bought more broccoli; it was on sale for $0.78 a pound this time. I bought three more bags. That is a fantastic price and we all like broccoli at my house. This is the season for it, which is why it is lower-priced this time of year. I plan to blanch and freeze some of it this week, if we don’t eat it all (with so many at home, we ate through two bags the previous week). I also purchased mandarins on sale there for $1.19 for a 2-pound bag. I have never seen them lower than $1 a pound on sale, so I was quite surprised. I bought 6 pounds as they are rarely decent this time of year, but they are wonderful and I wish I had purchased more. I also picked up some brown rice (they sell it in bulk), tomatoes for $0.99 a pound, and some lettuce. I purchased some gummy bears for my two youngest for their upcoming birthdays in April and May, so that I don’t have to go back for that.

Thursday morning I went to Smith’s to buy chicken thighs and whole chickens for $0.78 a pound. That is my stock-up price and I have been waiting for this sale. Before I left, I checked on my neighbors who are in their 80’s to see if they needed anything. They have not been going anywhere at all and are even getting their medicine mailed to them (a great option to stay away from the pharmacy!) Please check on your neighbors and see if they need anything!

Smith’s also had boneless pork roast for $0.99 a pound, which is another stock-up price. I added these and the chicken to my freezer to replace what we have been eating of the same items. While I have kept my personal purchase price per pound for meat at $2.00 a pound or less for years, I won’t buy chicken above $1 a pound. By buying at the lowest prices, I can buy a lot more meat in my budget. This means I have pretty much stopped purchasing beef, as it has gone above $3 a pound most of the time. They had corned beef on sale for St. Patrick’s day (a once a year sale; I can’t even find it to purchase the rest of the year) for $2.49 a pound, but I decided that it was not worth making an exception. I also purchased two gallons of milk.

We received lots rain this week, which was wonderful for both the garden and the water levels in Lake Mead. I didn’t have to water the garden all week.

In between the rain, I washed our bedding and hung it out to dry.

I harvested green onions, lettuce, and lemons from the garden.

I planted seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers and spinach. I plan to grow more Swiss chard, green onions, cucumbers, and lettuce this year. These grow prolifically here and the chard and green onions can be harvested continually all year. Should our income stop, I will have both of these fresh to harvest every week to add to what we have in our pantry and freezers. If you have even a little space for a garden–even pots–I would encourage you to plant these two things. It’s so nice to have something fresh while staying home from the stores, and so many people are going to be affected economically from what is happening. You cut them and they grow right back. You can even do this with green onion roots from the store to give yourself a head start.

I made a trip to the nursery, where people stayed further away from one another, and the cashier wore gloves and constantly sprayed and wiped down the counter. I was able to purchase the plants on the sale that I had been waiting for, and I picked up a free tomato plant as well. Some pots that I had been admiring the last time I was there, that had been $20, were marked down to $4.99, so I bought two. I replanted the dragon toes agave plants that I had been growing (baby plants that were given to me by my dad from a plant he had purchased) into these pots, as they had outgrown the pots I had them in.

I’m done shopping for a while. I don’t see the new to do more right now, so I can stay home and work on projects at home and in the garden.

Because we homeschool and my husband already works from home most days, we won’t have much extra time. However, if you’ve just gained your commute times, your school driving times, and maybe you’re even home from work, check back soon for a post of 50 things you can do while you’re at home. I’m often asked how I get so much done, and not having those commute times, and going shopping as infrequently as possible is what gives me the time to get stuff done. If you haven’t made a plan yet for what to do during this time of isolation at home, make sure to read the next post! In addition, I’ll be sharing some fun things on my Facebook page!

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. My Kroger’s had their packaged deli meats on sale for $1.99 each (9 ounces) and an idea formed in my mind. My guys aren’t regular sandwich eaters these days- they’ve been spoiled by the lunch grab and go drawer in my new fridge that I keep all of our dinner leftovers and things I’ve made in bulk (beef and bean burritos, etc), yogurt. I keep a good supply of tortillas here at home. I even freeze packages if I buy a huge amount because of an outrageous sale. So I remembered that on a road trip up north a couple years ago, I bought a marked down tray of turkey pinwheels. (We always, like you, take food, water with us so we don’t have to buy fast food on the way.) The pinwheels were quite tasty and well worth the cost because it gave me a great money saving idea! I looked at the ingredients on the tray as well as “dissected” visually the pinwheel! Next trip up north, I made our own version, but instead of cutting them into short pinwheels, I just cut the roll in half! So this time, I looked up on Pinterest “pinwheels” and here’s what I made: and I chilled in fridge for 10 minutes and cut in half. The 2 halves were then put into a labeled ziploc bag with 6 assorted ones going into fridge, the rest into the freezer.
    We got our company bonus for the 5 months Hubs worked last year before retiring.Taxes took out about a third! ☹️ But we won’t complain because it was an unexpected windfall. We calculated for tithing (we use our Qualified Charitable Distribution from our IRA to pay our tithing for the whole year directly so we aren’t taxed for distribution. With the remainder after taxes, I was still able to make 3 additional principal payments on our mortgage with another bit to put into savings! Those little bits do add up!
    Peanut butter and Prego spaghetti sauce were on sale this week for my 99 cent price point and since we are constantly rotating our food storage (by using it every day), I bought 11 jars (90 cents each) of Prego and the 5 peanut butters (99 cents) that I had digital coupon for. Although the stores had some things out of stock and depleted and were filled with customers at times I would have normally been alone, I was Ohio-proud of how polite and kind customers were to each other! “Can I help you reach that?” and smiles and pleasant chatting in checkout lines was the norm!
    Our chickens’ egg production is going up now that the days are warmer and brighter and this Friday we will pick up 2 new “started hens” from the hatchery about an hour from here. I’m too impatient for eggs to start with baby chicks and am happy to buy my hens who have been vaccinated and are certified healthy and disease free. We chose Plymouth Barred Rocks for their huge eggs and high egg production. We already have 2 of this variety. So that will be a fun outing! We will take some of those pinwheels to eat along the way because they travel well!
    I made 2 chicken pot pies this week- we ate part of one for dinner and then portioned the rest into microwaveable containers from Dollar Tree to go into our grab and go drawer in fridge for lunches and also YOYO dinners. I actually used up a partial jar of home canned chicken from fridge and a package of cooked up turkey chunks leftover from Thanksgiving turkeys in the freezer! Yum!
    Hubs went to cardiologist for his follow-up and everything looks great from September surgery so on March 23, he will be totally off the Rx blood thinners! 1 regular aspirin a day and that’s it! $ savings but also a relief to know how well he’s doing!
    My Sheet of Stamps quilt is growing! It’s bigger than this photo now and I only have 3 small rows to finish sewing up! It’s a large king size – 116” x 116” and our biggest beds are queen size so I’m not sure what I’ll do with this one! I loved the pattern and HAD to make it! Lol!
    Got another quilting order for our longarm. This one is coming from Minnesota. We will have it quilted for her and have it shipped back within a week of when it arrives. She is pleased and we extended our 1.5 cent/square inch quilting sale through Easter. A couple other sales for too so it gives us some fun things to do!
    We work the election on Tuesday as poll workers. That will bring in another $163 each and they are really expecting a low turn out with the candidates thinned out and concerns about health. More people will be doing absentee ballots. So we aren’t concerned about being in a crowd for that.
    All in all, a good week to reflect and remember all the blessings we have and to find ways to help others who haven’t been as fortunate!

    1. Thank you for the pin wheel roll ups idea! Earlier today I was wondering what I could make to use up some of the odds and ends in the fridge before they go bad. And I was specifically thinking of some deli ham, cream cheese and tortillas! Your post was like the answer to my prayers. I have never made them before but they are what is for dinner tonight! Thanks again!

      1. Mable- We are poll workers for Tuesday’s Primary Election and I plan to take some of those since they are so easy to pack! I’m looking forward to making more varieties this week!

  2. Hi Brandy and all, I hope everyone is as prepared as possible for the current situation. We’re evaluating things as the days go on; my fiance works as the environmental director at a local hospital and they have at least 1 case of the virus in isolation there. Since this situation is so fluid, what we’re currently doing may not work later this week or next, so we’re basically just trying to stay calm and be prepared for changes.

    Last week I made it a point to clean out the pantry. It stays pretty neat on the shelves, but there is space at the bottom that had become a catch all for things that didn’t have a home. I straightened it up, took inventory of things and made notes on my phone of items that needed to be bought.

    My fiance was on vacation last week (I work part time from home) so we went to the nearby mountains twice during the “staycation”. I boiled eggs for egg salad, and used a smoked salmon fillet I had to make salmon dip, and we packed a picnic lunch for both days to take with us, saving the expense of drive-thru on our way there or back. For entertainment while in the mountains, my fiance did some fly fishing and I walked trails. The only cost of the 2 day trips to the mountains was the gas it took to get there.

    In preparation for possibly staying home for the next few weeks, I went ahead and stocked up on 60 additional pounds of cat litter from PetCo, a 50 pound bag of Dog Chow, ground pork (.75/lb), canned goods that I was running low on, frozen veggies, toiletries and allergy medication. We usually get my stepkids every other weekend, this past weekend being one of them, and the schools decided on Saturday to close their district for at least the next 2 weeks. We are keeping the kids at least an additional week, tentatively, depending on the situation at the hospital. We will play it by ear and see how it goes, but now my menu plan needs to include 3 meals x 5 people a day, plus occasional snacks for the kiddos, which is different from my usual 2-3 meals a day for 2 people. I have a turkey thawing now to cook later this week. I needed the freezer space and I am looking forward to all the future meals this turkey will provide.

    Hope you all had frugal and productive weeks last week. Can’t wait to read all the replies!!

  3. My contract jobs are mostly work from home, and one was completed (until this fall) this past week. So I will have a little added time to my daily routine. Thankfully, with Spring arriving the usual urge to Spring clean should get done in a more timely manner.
    I also joined a quilt along and will be using fabrics in my stash.
    It’s a small quilt when done and even on step one of the first block I learned something new!
    I am grateful for this community always helping me refresh my homemaking skills that we can keep our household running smoothly during this time.

  4. I thought about you often this week, and how much I have learned from this site. Following you all these years, I’ve been much better about stocking up — and about cooking from my pantry. The stores here are empty of almost all meat,flour, sugar, and many, many other staples, but I sat down and made a menu of meals we can eat for a month from what I had here at the house. I could easily get another month or more worth of meals — I just got tired of thinking and writing.

    Our library is undergoing a major remodel, which will require putting half the collection into storage. With the coronavirus epidemic, they will be closing their doors today, I believe. On Friday they sent an email to all patrons to come in and check out as many books as possible — they won’t be due until July 1. My husband and I ventured out Sunday afternoon and brought home about 30 books — fiction, biographies, cookbooks, craft books, gardening books. Several other people were there with lists and the librarian said they hope not to have to put many books in storage.

    My seedlings are doing well under the grow light, but yesterday I went ahead and planted lettuce, radishes and peas in the greenhouse. It’s very early and they may yet freeze, but we’ve been having warmer than usual temperatures and these are very cold hardy plants. The peas I planted are for pea shoots, which are delicious stir-fried and should be ready in about 3 weeks. I really wanted to get something fresh to eat started to supplement the frozen and canned vegetables I have on hand. (I also have carrots and cabbage, which should keep a long time in the refrigerator.)

    We postponed a trip to Texas to see my husband’s parents. We’ve made a list of projects we want to get done around the house, but I look forward to reading your upcoming list. Thank you again for all you do.

      1. Cindi, I’ll be planting peas for pea shoots this year as well. I’ve also heard they are good in a salad as well. I usually get my pea plants in too late and then it gets too hot right when they are producing and they turn brown and die. I’m hoping to get more use of them by harvesting the pea shoots.

        1. Ours asked people to not return books and they are closed until further notice. E-books and other online services are still available.

    1. Our library is closed as well. I am getting ready to plant my peas, then lettuce and onions. It seems many people are trying growing their own food this year; I was on Amazon looking for seeds and many are saying “due to the coronavirus…” and they will take longer to send and won’t be the same seeds on the packet. What strange times we are living in.

  5. I do not have a paid job outside the home so life for me continues much as usual. We are working on house projects and in the garden. I planted lettuce, kale and arugula from 6 packs ahead of the rain we’ve had the last 2 days. I have seeds of all of those started in the house but I wanted some that were near ready to harvest, in case it got harder to go shopping.
    I have been finishing some sewing projects, one was a pair of pants which needed a new waistband. I had started that project last summer and then it got packed and disappeared. Now it is finished and I have another pair of pants available to wear. I bought a summer dress at Goodwill.
    I got a free quart of paint at Kelly Moore with a coupon.
    Blessing to all. I appreciate this community so much.

  6. The past few weeks have been weeks of stocking up and spending, anticipating a period of isolation. I’m near Seattle, just once city over from epicenter in our state. I just saw this morning that our governor is shutting down all bars and restaurants. I think they may even go to more extreme measures eventually, but in any case we are prepared.

    My husband has been working at home for a week and a half. My office (small medical practice) is still open. We will see what happens. I have things to do in case my work is closed. I purchased some fabric to sew some wardrobe items, and have several other sewing projects planned based on fabric I already have. Awhile back, I bought an online drawing course, so I can work through that if I have a lot of time on my hands. The weather this week is supposed to be nice, so we can walk outside for exercise. The gym I go to is still open, however, I decided last week it was better not to go there (even though I would like to).

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – Cooked at home: including a big batch of broccoli soup, brisket, and muffins. Used various items from the freezer to make meals. I found a bag of pinto beans in the freezer from a couple years ago, so I made refried beans. They tasted fine.
    – Purchased items my husband can quickly heat up for lunch. This is not necessarily the cheapest option, but otherwise he will forget to eat when he is home. He usually eats at his work cafeteria when he is at the office.
    – Spent some time sewing. I am currently making a denim skirt from fabric I had on hand.
    – Returned an unneeded item to the store.
    – Started a new batch of sprouts.
    – Bought some lettuce seeds, and some seed starting mix. I live in a condo, but I can at least plant some lettuce in pots. I will start the seeds inside because we haven’t passed our frost date yet.
    – Bought a large package of coffee beans at Costco so my husband can have his coffee. I stocked up on herbal and black tea as well.
    – Found some jeans that fit, and they were on sale for $20 a pair (had to order them from Kohls). The pair I currently wear are no longer suitable for wearing to work. It has taken me several months to find some jeans that actually fit well.
    – Visited my mom, and made sure she was set in case she is stuck at home. She shared some muffins with me.

    Take care, everyone, and stay safe in these uncertain times.

    1. One more thing. I have also been writing down five good things that have happened each day. This is an easy way to keep my spirits up.

      1. I think this is a brilliant idea. Years ago, during a very difficult spell of time, I did the same and it made a world of difference in how I personally felt and responded to life. Excellent reminder to me to do the same when so many worrying things are ongoing.

      2. Tina,
        I use this questionnaire as a gratitude journal. Changed my routine for the better. It serves as a tool for self-knowledge. It points my fails and success. Or out some toxic attitudes of people of conviviality, which allows to change the my posture, or keep distance for a while.
        1. What experiences, however mundane, gave you pleasure?
        2. What praise and feedback did you receive?
        3. What were the moments of pure good fortune?
        4. What were your achievements, however small?
        5. What made you feel grateful?
        6. How did you express kindness?

    2. One of our local doctors and a vet’s office have instituted a new way to get to the doctor. They ask people to park in their lot, call to say they have arrived, and they will be called when a waiting room is empty and has been wiped down. I thought it was a pretty novel way of trying to keep ill people even safer.

  7. We are blessed that our life isn’t going to change much here either. I just will continue on isolation longer, and my husband and son are working in IT which will probably be busy as everyone is depending on their computers, phones and internet now. I’m glad these very knowledgeable men are there to help! They know the sanitary drill to keep me safe from illness as I’m immune compromised and they are being very diligent. We are all stocked up, but that didn’t stop me from having my son add 5 lbs. of butter and 4 dozen eggs to our fridge. I really wish I could raise chickens here.

    *I’m mending two pair of Pj pants with rips in the knees
    *I’m still cooking and baking from the freezer and storage
    *I went to the expired table and found two pre-made meals and a variety of breads. I had wondered if there would be anything with all the frenzied buying going on. Glad to be one of the pantry people since we are keeping a very close watch on our money right now!
    *Dehydrated a sad looking apple and a couple sweet peppers from last week that we didn’t use. That 5$ thrift shop dehydrator has really earned it’s keep!
    *We finished our taxes and have a refund coming. We thought we might have to pay, but thankfully do not!
    *Found and added a couple quarters to the change jar
    *refilled foods and spices from my pantry into the smaller kitchen containers. I realized how useful the different sized funnels I’ve collected really are. No food waste there.
    * Continued to exercise at home. Working on eating less!
    * reading a book from my son’s kindle unlimited that I really wanted to read (actually one of three written by a man who solo circumnavigated the world twice in a sailboat the size of ours that is sitting waiting to be worked on 2000 miles away from where we live in the mountains – it’s a retirement project!)
    *using the library’s free options to watch movies and listen to books on tape while I work on projects around the house
    *sewing away on the projects I bought when Joanne Fabrics was having such a deep discount and I stopped in after one of my radiation sessions. Feeling good about having planned ahead with projects even though I thought I was going to be off isolation this week.
    *Asked and got permission to have my bloodwork done here and didn’t have to travel to the Cancer Institute saving money on gas and am relieved to be safe. All is looking good, so next apt. is June.
    *dug out my sprouting seeds and container now that I can eat raw foods again. Will start them today
    *also found and brought out the soil, growing containers and seeds to start some herbs indoors. Still a little early for starting anything for the gardening pots here. As you can tell, I’m super excited to be able to have plants inside again and that I can eat salad!

    I’m praying for your readers here, Brandy, and for your family. You are all my virtual friends. Be well and blessed.

    1. Praise God that you are past the worst part and can now just stay home and get better and better! Nice your immune system will keep getting better and better each day. I’m hoping to get some sewing done during this time of isolation, as well. However, they just closed Oregon schools for an additional 4 weeks…..I’m going to be homeschooling my special needs nephew….so maybe not so much sewing:)

      1. Thank you Becky. While others will be experiencing decompression from busy, busy lives, we will be busy at home. Blessing to you and yours.


  8. Well, it HAS been a week, hasn’t it? Life has gone on but it really has been different this time.

    We had glorious weather most of this past week and I was able to turn off the heat from Tuesday through today. The high today will be only 63 (it was in the high 70ies and 80ies) but it is supposed to go back up starting tomorrow. I checked my electric use for last week and my average use was 11.5 kWh per day. On days that the heat runs, it’s around 30.

    I intended to grocery shop last Monday and spend about $40. After being in Aldi’s for all of 5 minutes, I threw that out the window and spent $132 because there is no way I’m going back in a store before I need to unless I drive by and see the parking lot is not packed and it’s the middle of the day when most people are working. I didn’t horde, but I did buy an extra dozen eggs, an extra gallon of milk, one more package of cheddar cheese, etc. I have made an offer on Nextdoor to join others in picking up groceries and “stuff” for people who cannot get out or get it delivered and order online for pickup. For produce, I will go to the roadside stand in town until I need to go to the grocery store itself.

    I mowed the lawn, saving $50-60 over the cost of hiring someone. I’ve also started weeding garden beds and will be going to Home Depot today, 3/16, to pick up plants (veggies, herbs, and flowers).

    My daughter and her fiancee have decided to cancel their plane reservations for a wedding in Maryland in mid-April. The groom is an old friend and fortunately totally understands. They would be traveling from Oregon through Seattle and they don’t want to take a chance that they will have to self-quarantine for 2 weeks when they return. This is saving me at least $500 because I won’t be driving to Maryland to see them. I also laughed when my daughter told me she gave 5 rolls of toilet paper to a friend. She was well stocked after buying it last SEPTEMBER during a great sale and using her birthday gift card to Target (yes, really, toilet paper for her birthday! Who knew back then how smart THAT would be). In addition, there was a mix up on the toilet paper sent to her employer, so there were 72 rolls put out for employees to take if they wanted it. She took a few and that’s what she gave the very grateful friend.

    I set up a subscription to for $10/month to be able to stream several news networks with a more conservative bent (and one or two that are totally out there that I’ll never watch!) It also has a couple channel likes Sony Movies and Pop and I watched “The Eagle Has Landed” last night. Great book and the movie was very well done as well.

    I went to my town’s St. Patrick’s Day outdoor celebration on Saturday. Attendance by both vendors and attendees was down but it was still a fun occasion. I wanted to eat from a food truck to support them but only one was there and I don’t like what they were serving so I went to a local restaurant and sat on the outdoor patio. I’m trying to determine how much I can afford to spend to support local stores and restaurants without harming my own budget. I’m retired and my income is definitely less than it was when I was working but I still have money and the vast majority of my retirement money is invested conservatively so I have not lost much in the stock market – yet. The other question is which stores and restaurants I like the most and want to support the most. I will also be spending less entertainment money at this point because most events where I would be spending it have been canceled or postponed. If I do eat at a restaurant, either sit down outside or takeout, I will be overtipping the server/person who fixes my takeout order.

    I think that’s about it. I really look forward to your post on 50 things to do while at home. I know I plan to do yard work, work on the sampler quilt for my quilting class, reorganize my pantry, and organize a few other areas of my house while I finish spring cleaning. After I finish all that, I have more cross-stitch and sewing projects to do as well. For people who like jigsaw puzzles, I also suggest, which is free and puzzles start at 9 pieces and go up to several hundred (although you better have a big monitor for those!)

    Have a safe and healthy week.

    1. Hi Mari, I play puzzles at It’s free and you can even add your own pictures and make the size puzzle you want. Enjoy!

  9. It sounds like you were able to get some great sales on groceries. And some welcome rain too. We pulled up our broccoli, as well as a bed of collards and one of winter greens, to make room for new plantings. They were all on their way out, and we are getting several meals out of them. I also harvested lettuce, rosemary, oregano and chickweed. A good amount of usnea was found while on my walks, enough to fill up the tincture jar. New batches of thieves vinegar were started, and older batches were strained and bottled. I tried making toothpaste for the first time, from a recipe that was hanging in the dentist’s waiting room. I’m finishing up some store bought first, so have not tried it yet. My husband started seeds of tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, and we worked on a new bed for some of my dye plants. I made another small bed near the garden for pollinator plants. We grilled out yesterday. I pulled the last of our eggplant slices from the freezer, and a bag of okra to grill, and made a salad with the winter greens. I am looking for all the helpful and hopeful things going on in the world, of which there are many. I hope the world will be a better place on the other side. Be well, everyone.

  10. What a week! I hope everyone here is well-prepared for what will likely be a wild 2-3 week ride! Who knew.
    Not much to report for last week, but there’s this–

    I don’t recall getting a bill from Lowe’s last month, and I didn’t pay them. This month I got a bill with a late fee! I called and they waived the fee. Another reason to be nice…they didn’t have to do this! This saved $11.

    I spent 13 hours Tuesday as an election worker. I was exhausted when we finished. I will get paid $190 for this.

    I spent $160 at Winco Wednesday, mostly because I hadn’t shopped in 3-4 weeks and we were out of a lot of things. In addition to the usual stuff, good deals (corned beef) and all-new produce, I also topped up my beans, cornmeal and oats from the bulk department, a 12-pack of TP and a gallon of bleach, which I was low on. (We do not have wipes or hand sanitizer, and I’m fine with that). I only bought a few pounds of bulk items in total, and I’m now all set for up to a couple of months if the worst hits. I bought jars of queen green olives for .99! Wish I had bought more. I bought a tray of 5 dozen eggs and will continue to top up eggs when I do my weekly shopping.

  11. I get paid once a month. I pay my bills and buy groceries during this week. I was surprised to find the shelves almost bare of the simple basics.
    I understand that things are “scary”, but this is crazy stuff. I have been looking online and putting out feelers to see if I can find the basics like flour, sugar…things like that.
    My daughter, Lyric, works in the Tom Thumb bakery and said they hadn’t had a truck in a couple of days. She is going to shop the basics for me.
    If it were just me here I would be fine, but my daughter, Windee, and her babies live here now too.
    It hasn’t been a frugal week.
    We have been working to get Gaby her first car. Gaby goes to school a town over so this was an ultimate money )and time) saverfor us. We found one that was a very good price. She had it 5 days and another teen hit her so hard it totalled the new car. The GOOD NEWS is that both girls walked away with minor injuries. Both missed the next day of school due to minor concussions.
    We live in a small town of 1000 people. We have Covid-19 in the next town. The spring break has been extended an extra week there so the school can deep clean the school and the busses.
    Brandy, with your gardening help we should all be growing some basic fruit and veg since it looks like things will be hard for a while.
    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Becky,

      Don’t panic! A lot of the bigger stores are restocking shelves daily. But I had best luck going to a mid-sized or smaller store.

    2. I noted that the groceries in our areas were packed today but the Dollar General was not. I won’t tell you the shelves were loaded, there were but three loaves of bread but I was able to get my mom a loaf that doesn’t have a best by date until end of March, which is pretty good, since she is particularly picky about using foods before those best by dates roll around. My point being that while groceries may be out of things, you might try places that are not traditional foodstores if you really need something basic like drugstores, dollar stores, etc.

  12. We have been working on getting more in the house. This crisis has put having much more in perspective.
    We have a pig almost ready for pick-up. My grandson’s show pig which one grand champion in his group. This will give us meat for quiet a few months.
    I had just let things get too empty for what is going on.
    I love the picture of the puddle-splashing boys.

  13. You have no idea how many times I have said in the past week how grateful I am for what I have learned from this community. I did make a grocery run, and added a few extra things that were on sale to my cart, but did not do crazy shopping to stock up because frankly, I didn’t need to. It’s our spring break this week, and we had not planned a vacation anyway. I am currently working on starting a small garden in some raised beds with green beans, lettuce or spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Just starting, I don’t want to overwhelm myself . Going to use this extra time to declutter, clean, and organize. We very seldom eat out, so that isn’t going to affect us anyway. Staying home is a way of life for us anyway, so unless our work places decide to take off for two weeks, it will be business as usual here.

    1. Myra,

      I like your “in a pinch” philosophy. Years ago I realized that if we stored what we ate, we’d be hungry in hard times because we ate almost all fresh foods. I started changing our eating to include storage goods and started storing those foods. Now my motto is eat what you store…with lots of fresh foods as well.

  14. Great deal on the broccoli, Brandy! I like to go to Winco and purchase their bulk items too. We went on Saturday and all beans and rice from the bulk area were completely out. I was down to my last pound of pinto beans and was lucky enough to find 3 2# bags on the bottom shelf shoved all the way to the back. I also went to Wal-mart, Albertson’s and our local Kroger store on Friday. So many shelves cleared! Luckily, I am one of those people who always have a great stockpile, so I am not panicked.

    I told my sister a couple of months ago that my frugal philosophy is “If I would use it in a pinch, why not use it now and save money?” An example of this is my using hotel shampoos and soap. If I was out of shampoo and my only option was a bottle of hotel shampoo, I would be thankful to have it, right? Hubby is on board with that now, with the virus situation, and is drinking up some instant coffee I have had in the pantry. We have the other coffee to brew, but we are “living in a pinch” mindset right now. It sort of makes it a game too, which is always good.

    Hubby had to go into work today, but will be working from home the rest of the week. The company my daughter works for is having everyone in the office work from home until at least the end of the month. They had to cancel a large conference that was supposed to take place next week. A hard it, as it is the largest conference they produce.

    We are going to do the “social distancing” for as long as we have to. Unfortunately, it looks like it may be a long while.

    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. We had steak, baked potato, broccoli; Polish sausage, sauerkraut and boiled potatoes; Hamburger Helper with green beans and cottage cheese; turkey tacos and corn; leftover white bean & ham soup from the freezer; tostadas and corn; steak baked, baked potato and sautéed Swiss chard I was sick this week, and one day Hubby had to work late. I told him if he wanted to pick something up for dinner he could, but he said, “No, I’ll make it.” Saved us at least $15.
    • Hubby took his lunch to work all week. I ate leftovers at home. He also worked from home one day, saving gas money.
    • We had a trip to Germany scheduled for this month with our best friends, but with the Coronavirus scare, we decided to cancel. Unfortunately we lost some of our money on that (the airline change fee,) but the travel agency has made an exception for this and we will be able to use the remainder of the money on a different trip as long as we book within 18 months. Better safe than sorry. We had to cancel within 7 days to get the credit for the trip and we didn’t want to wait until the last minute.
    • Picked up 70# of produce for $12 at the produce rescue charity. I got carrots, English cucumbers, red bell peppers, snacking peppers, heirloom tomatoes and gray squash. I spent this weekend processing most of it. I dehydrated the bell peppers, sliced and froze most of the snacking peppers, froze the gray squash both in slices and grated. I also got a watermelon.
    • Good deals included 4 – 8 oz. pkgs. Grated cheese for 74c and 5 – 8 oz. packages of grated cheese for 99c. I also got some products free via Ibotta and a bottle of salad dressing from a free coupon from Kroger.
    • I’m crocheting an afghan for my granddaughter. I worked on that this week.
    • Hubby planted our vegetable garden for the season.
    • I did buy some extra eggs, which I coated with mineral oil to make them last longer.

    Stay well, everyone!

  15. We’ve had a very relaxed week. DH started a new construction job and it’s going well and not too far from home so saving a bit of gas money for the next couple of weeks. I ride to town for errands with my mom since I can’t drive right now with my eyesight issues, and we only did 1 trip to the far away shopping town and one trip to the tiny local community for a library visit. We’re very blessed to have a fabulous, albeit small, library so close to home. My 14yo homeschooling daughter volunteers there each week so we also do our book drop off and pick up at that time. I ordered new-to-me books from there for the inter-library loan so will have more books next week. I cleaned off my bookshelves and took a box of books to set outside the library in the hallway of the community center. Most of the books disappeared on voting day as that’s also the voting location for our area. My husband and I did make the trip there before he went to work Tuesday morning and voted. I have mentally earmarked working in the voting area for a future job that’s close to home and not every day if it comes to that.

    I ended up getting 201 Swagbucks one day this week and it occurred to me that if I did that each day, I could buy ALL of our household and health/beauty stuff, along with part of our groceries, just from Swagbucks points. So now I’ve set a goal to hit that each day. Since I’m not working right now, this isn’t a waste of time in my opinion. I mostly did it last night while watching TV with my husband. I did meet the goal for today as well.

    I planted tomato and pepper seeds this week. There were 5 different varieties of tomatoes, two of which were free packets, and I only did 1 variety of sweet peppers. I used leftover seed starting mix from last year and saved food containers like mushroom, lettuce and strawberry containers. If I end up with a big germination rate, then I can share or maybe even sell the extra seedlings.

    I tried two homemade items this week, a bleach alternative and a shampoo for thin hair, and thought both of them worked well enough to forego buying the store bought items.

    I was a bit under the grocery budget this week but may use that extra next week if needed. We’re still doing well with not wasting any of that precious food we’re spending money on so I’m pleased with that.

    More decluttering in tiny increments was done this week. The desk is completely cleaned off with the trash emptied and a few items from the “save to use later” shelf were put into the recycle box.
    *More on my blog!

  16. I did a little grocery shopping last week, buying extra milk, eggs, cheese, and potato chips (comfort food!) I was already stocked up on cleaning supplies but did buy two boxes of kleenex as I was a little low and if someone in our house gets sick, we can toss them after a single use. I also bought a whole chicken for .97 a pound.
    We are putting our house on the market a week earlier than planned, just for peace of mind, so I am spending this week deep cleaning and organizing. Many of the items on your “50 Things to Do” list will be done. I am anxious to get our house sold, but I think it will turn out fine. Our financial future depends on it.
    I also worked out of town last week, so I should be getting a nice check for that work. I do have work that I can do from home as well, so my income shouldn’t be impacted for a few weeks.
    I’m so grateful that we are prepared for our own health and can help our others as well. While the times are changing, I feel peace right now.
    Be well, my friends.

  17. Two of my children were unexpectedly laid of (chef at restaurant just started job and now restaurant has closed for the time being because of Coronavirus precautions, and construction worker where job fell through because of financing related to stock market), my daughter is home with her baby, and the youngest is still in school and has a part time job.) So, I am financially helping the three oldest now with food, utilities, and a little bit towards their mortgage payments, etc. While my retirement plans have been definitely put on hold, I feel extremely blessed to have paid off my house last year and now have the ability to help them. If I had to still make my mortgage payment, I could not help them with these unexpected emergencies. So, I am not complaining. After all, that is what family is for, and these kids all helped me with my mother when she had alzheimers and pancreatic cancer. I am still enjoying the pumpkins I have talked about earlier ($5 for 57 small pumpkins after Halloween, I am down to about 24), eating lentils, Dandelion greens, and grits. Life is good. My work cancelled all jury trials and while I have to sometimes still go to court for emergency hearings, and to office meet with victims and their families, we are also telecommuting a little bit and trying to practice social distancing with the general public. It has not been too successful, or I have been told off with ugly words several times, but I keep politely trying..

    1. Just a suggestion but maybe your son who is a chef could start preparing frozen meals at home and other son could deliver them to shut in seniors.Just a thought.

  18. 1. We got two bags of books from the library to see us through the next few weeks…just in case our library shuts down.
    2. My mom dropped off milk, sour cream, and eggs for us from her stockpile because the stores were packed and I refuse to pay Dollar General prices for those items. My mom is wonderful! I babysit my autistic sister often for her so she insists on no reimbursement, but I cram the money in her purse anyways:)
    3. My husband switched to a new credit card company to maximize cash back rewards on his business trips. Not sure if it will payoff this year due to travel restrictions??
    4. I bookmarked lots of free educational sites to try out with my kids during the school shutdown. We homeschool anyways, but free and new is always nice.
    5. Enjoyed a cookout with my extended family before the quarantines started and received a nice goody bag from my sister that included a large Reese’s egg…it will not last long!

  19. I made lemon chicken using chicken thighs that were on sale, and lemons from a sale the previous week. I had hoped to buy fish, but there weren’t any kinds I liked at a reasonable price, but I was happy to find another use. Lemon chicken is one of my favorite meals. I made pancakes with berries from the freezer. I tend to make the batter too thick, which results in sort of stodgy pancakes. This time I remembered to add extra liquid, and had nice thin ones. I mixed up some cinnamon sugar to have on the pancakes and on oatmeal.

    I attended a board meeeting by phone for the regional college whose board I sit on. It was an important meeting, since we were discussing how the college was budgeting around major cutbacks in government funding, and how it was preparing to handle CO-VID 19. College classes were ended today by the government, though administration staff will still be working.

    I made two visits to the local library this week. Once was to see if I could find a few books to enjoy while at home more (I did find three), and the second was to print out an expense and honorarium form for my board meeting, complete it and then scan it and send it in. I hope this means I’ll have the payment at the end of the month, as long as administrative staff continue to work at the college.

    I’m in good shape now to limit leaving the house for anything other than essentials. I’ll need to restock some kinds of food next week. The two local grocery stores haven’t been having any trouble staying stocked. I think being in a rural location, customers regularly tend to buy groceries for longer periods and not be quite so short in supplies. Also, a lot of people go into the city to do their major stock-ups. We saw shortages a couple of years ago when 50,000 forest fire evacuees travelled through our 1,000 person village (we were the first stop on their way out), but the stores were able to re-stock each day.

    The electricity bill was a pleasant surprise for the second month in a row: $8 less than last month, and $35 better than the same month last year, even though the cost of electricity is about 25% higher than then! We did have warmer weather, but I like to think I was managing things better too. The February and March bills are normally the highest of the year, so there will start to be more cash each month now until later fall. Though we have warm summers, they are not really so hot we need air conditioning at home. Running fans doesn’t have very much impact. I haven’t seen the heating bill, which comes as part of the municipal utility bill, but I imagine it will be similarly relatively low.

  20. Hi everyone! I did not mean to fall off the grid this past winter, and I am glad to be back! I am thankful my husband and I know how/had the ability to go bulk grocery shopping so we are not going to need to go grocery shopping the next two months. I am thankful for the knowledge we have on living from our pantry and how to keep busy at home when one can’t go out. I am planning my garden. Something normal!

  21. I love that you are posting happy things as well — such a welcome thing, especially right now! Yay, rain for the desert!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made Apple Cinnamon Blender Pancakes as well as smoothies, for breakfasts this week ( I like to make a big batch of pancakes and freeze them, then pop them into the toaster for quick breakfasts. And if I have leftover smoothie in my blender after I pour my daughter and I our servings, I will freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then I just have to pop those smoothie cubes into the blender for an instant smoothie next time.
    – I spent $13.50 on the Flash Food app, and got a club pack of healthy roasted ham (PC Blue Menu Free From), a large box of produce, a round of brie, and a package of European spreadable cheese.
    – I bought a small box of Dare crackers at the Dollar Store for $1, and made a cheese and crackers platter for an indoor picnic/family date with my husband and daughter on the weekend, using the two different cheeses I got from the Flash Food app, plus some nuts and fruit we already had. Inexpensive, but still a nice treat!
    – I redeemed $10 in loyalty points, and $20 in Air Miles, to reduce my grocery bill this week.
    – I baked brownies, chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, lemon poppyseed muffins, and hamburger buns.
    – The frame on my e-reader broke, but I glued it back together using superglue.
    – I wrote a review for a children’s book on, and got a $10 gc to Amazon.
    – I reloaded my Starbucks card, but saved $2.50 on a $10 reload. I only buy Starbucks with gift cards from Swagbucks, but it made more sense to redeem 750 sb for $10 to my paypal account, than to redeem 1000 sb for a $10 Starbucks gc. So I got the $10 cash, and then reloaded my Starbucks card using the $10, via paypal. Still no money OOP, but an extra $2.50 on my Starbucks card!
    – My husband’s office sent all its staff to work from home, and send staff home with the lunch fixings that are usually kept in the fridge. A package of cheese slices, half a loaf of bread, 4 tomatoes, a dozen apples, and two mini yoghurts were all he was able to carry home, but that will definitely be a help!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!!!

  22. Hi to all. Boy what a lot to deal with now… life goes on and we will do what we can.

    My daughter was on Spring Break so she came home for a few days. I was busy making her favorite things to eat and also was watching dogs last week. While watching dogs I pinched a nerve… so I have been resting and hope to feel better soon.

    My husband and I made a Sam’s Club trip and surprised that we were able to get all we planned but an iTunes card. We are set for staying out of stores I think My husband still has to go to work and is taking his coffee and lunch everyday. We continue to eat from our pantry, had no meals out.

    While our daughter was home, I noticed her tires did not look good, so right before heading back to school she got 2 new tires. I forgot to give her normal necessary things like toilet paper. She was not able to find any… even Amazon did not have . Yikes!

    I hope all has a good week & Stay healthy!

  23. Also noticed on visa statement 4 purchases not authorized for over 1,000 dollars on software, I called my credit card to get it credited and a new card is on its way.

  24. *Well, this has certainly been an interesting past few days! I am Communications Director for a large metropolitan church, in one of the cities with Coronavirus cases. Last week we decided to cancel worship and all meetings/activities until the end of March. In my 23+ years here, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this, and it was a massive flurry of work for me to get the word out. The congregation has been incredibly supportive and nobody has complained, so that’s positive. Office remains open (at least for now), so I’m there and working. It’s quiet so I’m able to catch up on quite a few projects. My husband recently started a new job (which he loves!) and it is business as usual for them; it’s a fairly small facility that isn’t open to the public, so no crowds or anything. Unfortunately on Friday he picked up his car from being serviced and someone ran into him, so we’re down to 1 vehicle for a time while that’s repaired. We have insurance and a second vehicle so it’s manageable, but just one more thing to add into the mix. We also lost a good chunk of money out of our retirement accounts due to the stock fluctuations from the virus. Scary times.

    * Last week before things got really bad here, I decided to finalize some grocery and supply shopping just to make sure we were fully stocked up. Like Brandy and many of us here, I keep a well-stocked pantry & household all the time, and we could have survived just fine on what we had for a while if need be. However, I wanted to top off on some things we needed so I could avoid the stores for a time if things went downhill. Picked up powdered milk, beans, extra cat litter and food, spices, a few snack items. I also went ahead and bought another pack of toilet paper even though we didn’t really need it, “just in case.” Boy am I glad I did! Stores here have been wiped out of it for days and there are reports of people fighting over it. I just can’t figure out what people are doing with these huge amounts of toilet paper. Also, bottled water, hand soap, and cleaning supplies are impossible to find anywhere right now. I’m just glad we are healthy and set on what we need. I feel life will become more restrictive over the next few days and weeks. I hope everyone here stays safe and healthy!

  25. My mom sent over a lot of things, including a pack of shredded cheese, cereal, diced ham, onions, clementines, apple juice, french fries, and a metal water bottle

    I recorded several movies on free hbo/cinemax preview weekend, saving $ renting from redbox or getting them as dvds from Netflix.

    My husband brought home 2 dozen eggs from his boss.

    Filled up my truck with $1.95 a gallon gas.

    Our Directv DVR pooped out on us, but since I pay for the protection plan, it was replaced without additional $.

    I keep trudging along decluttering the house. It paid off finding some hand sanitizer.

    I’m worried more about the economic implications from this virus, hubby’s work as a mason depends on people having extra money to spend. I barely bring home $300 every 2 weeks so I definitely can’t keep us afloat!

  26. Savings and being frugal pretty much went out the window. My parents health is critical so I made a huge grocery shop for them. My mother was worried she wouldn’t have enough Poise pads so I picked up 10 more huge packs. I am so grateful each time I am able to pick those up at the Salvage store. I am starting to see pollen on my car so I stocked up on various products for sugar cookie. At 75% off my savings in the Salvage store may have barely covered my haul from the grocery store. Mom’s stockpile has gradually dwindled as she doesn’t go out often anymore. My happy moment of the day was finding 4 packs of HP ink for $2.099 a pack. While we sit home away from people I can do some genealogy research for my father. I received a shipment of powdered milk a few weeks ago. I was very disappointed to find it leaking as this was intended for long term storage. Due to the mad stockpiling the company was unable to replace it. They issued me a store credit that I happily accepted. I’m going to keep the milk and see how we can use it. Perhaps yogurt?.I’ll have to research it. I also found 5 charges on my new credit card. Those were quickly returned and my card reissued. I find these things happening more frequently than in past years. I’m glad I looked. I’ve ordered more paint brushes with my milk store credit. If it would just stop raining , I could get some work finished in my house. I picked up 7 packs of 4 rolls of Scott tp to hand out if needed. College girl said all she could find to buy was a bag of baby wipes. I have a cardiac of items to unload. Mainly very large bags of pet supplies. I feel blessed to have learned so much here. We have everything we need including medications for a year. I may have nickled and dimed my way to stability. Now, what does one do when everything in the house is tended to ? I earn swagbucks. I think a steam mop might be nice in the future. Good luck everyone. Washy washy .

    1. My husband used to kid me about my habit of checking our credit cards on line every Monday and Friday (if I don’t schedule things, they get away from me) to see about unauthorized purchases. So far we have had to replace cards four times in the last year! And he used to kid me about always wanting to have five cases of toilet paper in the house “just in case,” replenishing the stock when ever a case was used up. Last night he said he’d make dinner. When I asked what was being served he said, “You Were Right About The Toilet Paper Humble Pie.” He made a lovely chicken pot pie; he does not cook very often, so this was a nice treat. But even nicer was him admitting that some of my stockpiling ways for tough times or an emergency are to our benefit now.

      1. Mabel last year I bought 150 rolls of Scott tp when it was on sale for a quarter a roll. I find the average price here to be up to 80 cents a roll now. I added those to what was in my stockpile. Everyone laughs at me until they don’t laugh anymore. My insecurities always keep me prepared. It’s the too many tp club. Better to have and share than have none.

  27. Our pantry wasn’t very well-stocked. I made a quick menu and figured I could make two to three weeks of dinners using what we had. Some of them would be very…creative. Hubby and I went shopping and took advantage of the great deal on whole chickens and pork at Smith’s. Some of the chickens were marked $0.69 per pound instead of the sale price of $0.78, so I got the less expensive ones. On everything we did buy to make our pantry better stocked, we tried to find the best deals from what was available. I’d been super-focused on keeping my grocery budget low and didn’t leave a lot of room for restocking. We’ll get by just fine for a good while now, but I learned a lesson: I need to keep my pantry more well-stocked!

  28. The last few weeks have been busy, now everything has changed. We are fairly well stocked, but I would ave bougt more rice and pinto beans. There is no rice available in Fairbanks. We will manage. My husband said w, but our governor hae had another 25 pound of rice. In the near futuee, I will check myself even though it is difficult for me to get downstairs. We still have a quantity of potatoes and lot of pasta, If things get back to normal, we will buy 50-0und of rice ahead. I’m thnakful for our supply of extra food! One thing I have done for years is to have hot chocolate mix available if we cannot get fresh milk. My son and I have been drinking this during te winter for a warm beverage. I know my grand son doesn’t get much milk, so I have been fixing some for him also so e has some calcium.
    Because of the corona virus, I’m postponing my next trip to Kaktovik. I did send a box of craft supplies to a teacher there so the girls can work on things and hopefully be less bored. Some of this was given to me by a 90+ friend who was downsizing. I was happy to find a use for it! Te latest I had eard was that one of the alternate school sites was almost useable but school is cancelled everywhere in state at least until the end of te month. children are getting breakfasts and lunches at one of the hotels in town.
    We still had church on Sunday since we are a small worshipping community. Today our Council is meeting to discuss the situation. We expect that I will have to stay at home in the future since I am over 70, diabetic, and have bad lungs from my mother’s smoking when I was young.
    Thanks to all in this community for your updates and ideas! Staying home is not as bad as it would be with your ideas and friendship! Brandy, special thanks to you for faitfully keeping us going and your frugal ideas! Blessings to all.

  29. Brandy you have done so well topping your pantry with great specials on meat and produce 🙂 . I am glad you got the plants you were after for the gardens too at a greatly reduced prices. The boys look like they are having great fun jumping in the puddles.

    Our savings added up to $80.75 last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 2 loaves of bread in the bread making machine saving $7 on buying the bread locally.
    – Made a batch of 29 double chocolate muffins saving $20.78 over purchasing them in the supermarkets.

    Home deep cleaning –
    – Deep cleaned the last kitchen cabinet, stove, front of pantry doors and 2 freezers and fridge and oven. The whole kitchen is now deep cleaned and sparkling.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 4 blocks of old gold chocolate on half price special from Woolworths saving $10 on usual prices.
    – Ordered a Woolworths e-gift card saving 5% or $2.52 on usual prices.
    – Bought a Betta Home Living RACQ e-gift card for buying our bread maker saving 5% or $7.45 on usual prices.
    – Purchased 3 DVD’s on special saving $15 on usual prices.
    – Saved $18 on usual prices by buying 80 of each plastic knives, forks and spoons from a discount variety store rather than the local supermarket.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).


  30. Your photos are always so lovely Brandy, they make me smile!
    My daughter’s job shut down last Thursday so she has come home in order to save money. Much cheaper for her to live here rather than NYC. I did my regular grocery shopping & did not need to overbuy or stockpile due to the pantry & freezer I have been building up. I am very happy that the past few years I have moved away from packaged, processed foods and am able to cook so much more healthier and from scratch.
    My neighbor gave us a bag of dog treats that their dog did not like. One of the offices I manage had a free lunch presentation which I got to partake in. The caterer provided way too many seasoning packets for the french fries so I brought them home & used them when I made roasted potatoes. I made chicken broth overnight in the crockpot from a chicken carcass, a fritatta from odds & ends in the fridge and plan to make muffins from some bananas that are too squishy. I’m just hoping to make it through the next few weeks with my sanity intact as I work in healthcare management and due to so much misinformation (much of which comes from social media), people are truly panicking. Wishing everyone a healthy, safe, sane week!

  31. Life continues much like usual here in western Maryland. There have been several cases of covid-19 in the state, but none near us. Since we homeschool and I don’t work outside the home, my days haven’t changed. It’s a slow time of year for my husband so it’s not unusual to have him home, either.
    -I planted spinach, peas, and radishes. I’m not a good gardener but I’m trying!
    -used a half bushel of apples to make sauce. I still have about 2 bushel to use up.
    -I sent my husband to the store to get some things to “fill in the gaps” for the next couple of weeks. He was able to get most of what I wanted. I’m thankful for stocked pantries and freezers especially now.
    -We began remodelling our kitchen. My husband is building all the cabinets from scratch. It’s a lot of work, but it’s coming along nicely. We were able to buy light fixtures and the faucet from amazon, saving half over our local Lowe’s. We were able to get galvanized tiles for behind the stove on eBay for 1/4 the price I found elsewhere. Too cabinets are done. Next up is the lighting. Then the bottom cabinets which will be the most difficult. We removed a small wall which made the small room feel bigger. We are planning ways to incorporate more stotage, especially canned goods.
    -stayed home except one day. We took the van for an alignment and were told there were 3 parts that need replaced in the steering. The local auto parts store quoted us $445 for them, but we bought them on and paid $195, including 2 day shipping. My husband will install them himself. The alignment place didn’t charge us anything since they weren’t able to do the alignment.

  32. I feel so blessed! A friend stopped by with a gift of hand sanitizer — she and a group of neighbours made some and then have a distribution list of people (the elderly, immune compromised, etc) whom they then delivered it to. My friend also bought apples. Another friend is picking up a bunch of things — I had not bought extra laundry detergent or shampoo. She will pick everything up, drop it off, then I’ll pay her by interact e transfer. I am ill but probably not covid. What is so lovely is that so many of my friends have just emailed me asking what I need.

  33. We have a relatively low amount of cases here in Florida, but the schools are shut for two weeks anyway, and many church services, including my church’s, are cancelled and live streamed instead. Our office does a LOT of work with county and city government, and we are wondering if the local governments will close offices. Many of the usual springtime activities around the area, which are pretty big, are cancelled.
    I had a sudden thought that although many people bill-pay, draft or even text their tithes, the churches are still missing out on plate offerings. More budget effects. For those who can, an extra donation to the church might be in order.
    I live in a very poor area, and we have such a high population of low-income students that everyone, by law, is allowed to have a free breakfast and/or lunch at school if they choose. Now that schools are shut, many parents are having to scramble to provide two extra meals, five days a week for each child.
    My husband is at high risk should he get sick, and it’s been difficult to know what I should do. I need to continue to work, shop, run errands, etc. but I need to keep him safe as well. I try to keep my hands clean, but it can be hard. I must touch doorknobs in public a minimum of 2 dozen times a day. Then there is the mail box, the mail, gas pump, push to open doors, items in the stores… I keep washing and washing my hands.
    I haven’t stocked up. We had some things already, and we may eat creatively, but we won’t go hungry. I buy some products from a farm, so I can still get fresh milk, some meat, greens, etc. I had actually ordered a sample of a long-term storage food, for the times when we have hurricanes or extended power outages. Then the virus hit, so it’s taken me almost four weeks to finally hear that my sample is on the way, with the company’s apologies because they are slammed by panic buyers. Because of our summer storms, I wanted to stock up on some freeze dried items, but I may not be able to do so before hurricane season hits.
    I’ve mostly been frugal by not buying anything I don’t need.
    We had another good weekend for drying clothes outside, although it was ominously 10 degrees hotter than normal. I hung out all but one load.
    We’ve kept our air conditioning off, to conserve electricity and because my husband gets chilled so easily. I have windows open upstairs to draw hot air out of the house, and I run fans in the rooms we are occupying.
    I submitted my entry on Accelerant to see if I will qualify for a survey paying $175.
    I am building a list of things on Amazon that I need, but not urgently, for the next time I can redeem Swagbucks.
    I put a library book on hold for when it gets checked back in, but our libraries have shut down.
    We are making contingency plans if we are forced here at work to shut down.
    Good luck everyone, and stay well!

    1. Jo, thank you for mentioning that church offerings will be down right now due to services being canceled.

      My husband is a Pastor in the Lutheran church and we will be down to one paycheck this month and next due to this – we have two under ordinary circumstances. That means that portion of our income will be cut in half in March and April since the church needs the money to pay it’s other fixed expenses. We keep all our benefits, thankfully!

      I am grateful for having a full pantry/freezers and being able to cut down our non-fixed expenses for a while. I am working from home two days a week right now and that may end up being full time. That really helps with cutting down expenses. I am so grateful we have my income are able to budget almost all our fixed expenses from my paycheck.


    2. Hi Jo, take plastic bags of any sort you have at home with you, even sandwich bags. Use them over your hands to open dorms, use at gas pumps, etc. Discard when done with the task. This will help a lot. John st don’t keep them from task to task because the germs will be on them.

  34. Oh life is full of irony. The soup I ordered was dropped off by my friend. I had carefully checked online to make sure I was not
    allergic to anything. So when it came, I read the labels and I cannot eat it! The online soup is American and not the same as the Canadian.
    I had treated myself to cheap peanut free chocolate and lo and behold I cannot eat it either. I thought I might cry for a moment but then I just started to laugh. I will keep the soup and give it to a needy friend or other needy person. Just have to figure out a way to restock with some other soup.

  35. We are still working in central Virginia, but all schools are closed and church events are cancelled. Our frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made were pan-seared steak with macaroni, pancakes, oatmeal, cheeseburgers with homemade fries, garlic parmesan salmon with green beans and baked potatoes.
    *Took a walk for exercise and saw my neighbor outside. We sat on her front porch and talked as the sun set. That’s my kind of free entertainment!
    *My husband needed a trim nailer to finish the quarter round in our kitchen. He priced buying one at $80. He then checked with my boss (who has everything!) and was able to borrow one for free. It always pays to ask!
    *Bought office supplies for work through Rakuten. Also went through Rakuten to book a hotel room for a trip to SC to visit my brother’s family.
    *Stocked up on cough syrup, mucus pills and cough drops at Dollar Tree. I filled any gaps in the pantry at Kroger and bought a Granny Smith apple tree there which earned points to give me $.10/gallon off gas.
    *Hosted our youth pastor and his wife for dinner. We served crockpot beef fajitas with garlic/rosemary rice and brownies with ice cream for dessert.
    *Had dinner at a friend’s house one evening. She served white chicken chili soup and I brought tortilla chips and tangerines that I had bought on sale.

    1. I bought a Granny Smith a few years ago, and it sort of bloomed but didn’t set fruit. I read online that it needs a pollinator, which can be from different kinds of trees, so I got a Golden Delicious last summer and hope it helps.

      1. Heidi Louise, I too hope you get apples. The other way to get cross-pollination is to graft the scion wood from several varieties of apple trees onto one apple tree.

  36. About 3 weeks ago, we received our taxes back and started filling a stockpile list that we had been compiling since we knew we would be receiving a refund. I had let some items run down in my usual stockpile. I’m so glad that my husband, who was gathering the items from various stores, was able to get almost everything we wanted. We are extremely well stocked now, when you add it with my home-canned storage and 3 full freezers. It has been crazy how fast things disappeared. Last Friday, I went and did my normal, planned shopping at Safeway. I did buy some extra because it was all there, first thing in the morning. By the next morning, Saturday, my husband ran in to 2 stores for milk, which I had not realized we were out of, and ….wow!…things had changed. But he finally got some at the corner market near our house. We prefer fresh, but I do have lots of powdered I can use in a pinch.

    Once this craziness struck, my husband and daughter ventured into the stores and gathered up a few more items we thought would be useful, or fill in the stockpile even more. We also got produce. We only got what we could use before it will rot. I fear that quite a bit of this hastily purchased produce and other perishables, will end up rotting in peoples’ refrigerators. But, we will see how bad it gets. I imaging many fridges are bulging with dairy and veggies and fruit by now. I was very thankful we had started gathering before the virus problems. I spent 10-12 hours or more cleaning and organizing my stockpile, so I would know exactly what I had and what I needed. It’s a lot of work to keep things from going bad, but worth it to me.

    We kept caring for our baby plants in the greenhouse. They will be a great start to the garden. Some early things are able to be grown now, with many more to follow.

    As of today, Oregon schools are closed until April 28. I had a feeling that was going to happen. So, the family made a good plan, and I will be homeschooling my special needs nephew few days a week, with his parents helping him the rest of the time. He has exactly 1 assignment from School, so far. We started it today. I will use books I have on hand, and books I can download. Other than this one assignment, no one cares exactly what he learns, just that he improves his reading, math, and other basics, but more importantly fills his mornings with a new routine that includes learning, reading, and productive activities. So, I looked through my bookshelves, on the internet, and….we are off, no money spent.

    I got books from the library before it shut down. I wish I had checked out more. But, I did download some digital books from the library for me, and to use for homeschool.

    Pictures are on my blog:

    My husband’s pre-operative meeting for surgery was postponed for 2 weeks. I’ll be surprised if they actually do it then. They are saying his surgery is not cancelled, but we can read the writing on the wall. And I quote, “Mr. Gepford, I really hope the 19 other people we’ve had to cancel surgeries for, including the 5 that were to be done today, won’t push your surgery back, but we will have to wait and see.” Yeah, right. It’s going to take a while longer. That’s what I’m sure will happen:(

    I’m very, very thankful that our job will not be affected by this corona virus, except to perhaps cause us to work more. The kids still need care, and the state is giving my nephew summer hours, effective immediately, so he has more hours available. So, there’s work for several of us who team up to care for these 2 kids. My niece had her IEP meeting with DD services today. It was done over computer, with her parents and myself joining in with her caseworker and her. I’m glad that was an option.

  37. Thank you Brandy for your insights and beautiful photo.
    These are UNUSUAL times and a moment to pause and review options can be very helpful.
    DH and I were on the road with our camper when my mom became seriously sick, we turned it around to the midwest and drove the 1500 miles in 3 days. We had all our own food and feel blessed to be home. With the corona virus we can’t enter hospital or rehab. facility or her eventual new assisted living facility. I am blessed to have 3 wonderful siblings who are level headed and very creative.
    We created a large list of projects to do while confined to our home. It is important to keep check of our the blessings in times like this.

  38. I thought I might give an inspirational quote from time to time: Here is part of an inspiring poetic paragraph by Andrea Bocelli on his Facebook today:

    Andrea Bocelli:

    “There is a home within each of us that is like no other, beautiful and welcoming, full of sunlight, with a blooming garden, a doorway to the world and a balcony that looks over an infinite universe. A home made up of wonder, the desire the [sic — to] share, love, and the certainty that this whole earthly realm is one big family.
 Let’s use this obligatory stay at home to seek it out, to discover the immeasurable beauty of what we hold inside and everything that we are”.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Italy.


    1. That’s lovely Anne.

      I saw a funny one yesterday “Our grandparents were asked to go to war – we’re being asked to sit on the couch”! Kind of puts it in perspective.

      Stay safe everyone.

      1. Hi Margie (from Toronto);
        I saw the one about our grandparents and sent it to several friends. I am ordering vegetable seeds although I don’t have much sunny space. I am trying to get our community association to have a bigger garden — they have the sunshine! see comments below!

  39. Hi Everyone, Today’s story title: Better Late Than Never! About a week ago I was hearing from friends around the country how crazy things were getting at their stores. I got a stockpile of things since we had a budget surplus. I’m glad that I did. We will be OK for awhile with what I was able to get. I was still a bit worried so I got out of the house (and the news!) and dug up ground for a garden. My oldest son is so strong now. He pick axed the ground and we built raised beds with some lumber I had collected on the swap. I picked up seeds at Dollar General and prayed as I planted them. We decided to try planting potatoes in a bin and followed directions I found online. I was able to use a old broken trashcan. My son belly-ached a little and said we should go to the store and buy something. I told him that we could use what we had. We were both pleased with the result. I think it will work especially since I don’t have the right soil here for root veggies.
    We’ve lived like this before, so the mind-shift wasn’t hard. Just after moving cross-country last year and getting new full time jobs, I hadn’t gotten things done!
    We have eaten all meals in for the week. My husband doesn’t love beans or lentils. I cooked up a batch of both, I showed him the equal portions and told him the lentils costs $1 and the ground beef $15. He was moved by my illustration. I mixed them half and half and after a taste test, he agreed it was a good compromise. I put 7 portions in the freezer.
    I’m not teaching now, but there has been assurance that I will continued to be paid. That’s nice. I switched off extra house payments and put that money to savings…. seems like saving as much as possible is a good plan!

    1. I love reading of Bec Bun’s gardening efforts. I have a spare old garbage can and will probably use it for growing potatoes. Thanks for the inspiration. I won’t have to buy seed potatoes as my organic potatoes are sprouting. And I will just cut them into quarters, each with an “eye” on it. I urge everyone on this site who can to grow veggies this summer and follow Brandy’s lead in canning! the virus is going to be here for awhile. Ann

      1. I, too, ordered and picked up even more seeds, and am actually going to start some plants indoors for the first time! Believe it or not, it’s snowing here today! Three weeks ago a little bird whispered in my ear and hubby and I did a huge stock-up. Since he had been gone for the year and kids were gone too, I used up what we had, so we were very low. I also ordered extra meds and supplements, and made sure the first aid was up-to-date. I agree that this is going to be our norm for much longer than we think. Since we live in Illinois, we are under a “shelter in place” order. Everything is closed except for essentials, even churches (we are attending online).

  40. Shopped locally this week. Our little grocery store was almost out of groceries on Wednesday. But I was able to get yogurt for my son. I’m glad I have flour so I can make bread if I need to. I also bought cornmeal and could make corn muffins. I’m diabetic. I have to watch my blood sugar numbers. So not much in the way of carbs for me. Ordered seeds online. i am looking forward to a garden this year. I’m not going to sell Asparagus this year. I will freeze or pickle it instead for the winter. I only made $100 dollars last year. It did nome in handy at the time. But then we didn’t have any for winter.
    Spending a lot of time at home. Schools were canceled in our state for the remainder of the school year. My son got the flu somehow. I will probably be next. I am glad he is recovering now. He felt much better yesterday. I did have some stomach pains last week and a bit of nausea. I’m hoping that was a mild version of the flu and I won’t have to experience it any more. My husbands truck brakes gave out. I am so glad he was not hurt. We had them fixed. I stayed in the car. Trying to avoid people. My husband is a bus driver. I pray that he does not get sick from the people on his bus. So far he is doing well. less people are riding it.
    Frugally, Turning off lights. Opened windows for fresh air. We plan to picnic today at the lake if there are no people there. If there are, we will picnic on our truck at our farm. Telephoning family instead of visiting them. Watched a movie at home for entertainment. Will be preparing the ground for a garden. Cooking at home. I am incorporating bean dishes into our menu at least three times a week. Hubby and I made black bean burgers, tuna patties. pea soup. Spaghetti with meat sauce, fish sticks, corn tortillas with a mixture of meat and cabbage and home made taco seasoning, Egg salad, Sausage and noodles, Fried potatoes.

          1. Hi Tammy,
            good to hear it wasn’t covid 19. Stay well. I ordered my garden seeds, just in case we need to grow our own vegetables.

  41. I refuse to be caught up in the toilet paper situation so got ahead of the curve. I bought an extra laundry detergent container (smaller size) and put the detergent into another container. I cut out rags from flannel sheets (wipe size) and put them in a basket. I filled the detergent container with mixture of bleach and water. Now, for #1, we use the wipes, and just put them in the bucket and put the cover on. The toilet paper for the rest. Sorry if this is too much information. Our toilet paper is lasting much longer. I will wash the rags with the bleach in a separate load. This is working out great with minimum upkeep or intrusion. This is not really about saving money—but more about fretting about the toilet paper situation. By the way—I am a classy person and if I am doing this—everyone else can do it—ha ha. I believe, however, that necessity is the mother of diminished scruples.

    1. Not sure bleach, even diluted, in contact with the skin is a good idea. Perhaps I’m misreading your methods.

  42. Brandy, you have two cute little boys. They look like they are having a great time.
    We continue to enjoy gorgeous weather and scenery all for free. I have been reminding myself to concentrate on it instead of thinking about things to worry about:) I have also been reading Psalms quite a bit. I especially like no. 23 and 91. Reading like that has really helped me. I think it is wonderful that the great God of the universe has promised to provide for me and my family.
    One of my money-saving things I do is try to cook from scratch, so this week, I made bread from some Prairie Gold white whole wheat I got at WinCo. I have found that if I add a tablespoon of gluten flour per loaf to the batch and mix it with my Bosch mixer, I can make bread 100% whole grain with no white flour. If I use a hand mixer to beat up the bread sponge and then mix the rest of the flour in by hand with no gluten flour, I usually need to make the batch with a cup or two of white flour to get it to turn out nicely. I like the super mild flavor of the white whole wheat, and Prairie Gold does make beautiful, golden-colored bread.
    Then I also tried a new recipe for pancakes made from rye flour that had 3/4 cup each of rye flour and white all-purpose flour, 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 3/4 t. salt, one egg that I substituted one flax egg (3T ground flax seed meal + 1T of water), 1 cup of milk (I used almond.), 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice and 2 tablespoons oil. The recipe also called for 2-3 T sugar, but I didn’t put that in. The company website is I haven’t done that much with rye flour before other than pumpernickel bread, but my husband likes rye, so I had bought a small amount of flour and had it on hand. For a topping, I sliced a very large apple with the peelings left on and put it in a bowl and heated it in the microwave to make if not quite as soft as applesauce. We put peanut butter on the pancakes and topped it with the apple and a little syrup, and it was quite good.
    I have been continuing to try to make meals almost strictly from ingredients we have on hand. I bought two or three things, but I usually buy things when they are on sale to save money, so I wasn’t worried about bare grocery shelves either, although I don’t have anywhere near the pantry you have.
    To get a few items we needed, I went to two different stores last week and this week late at night when I thought there wouldn’t be so many people there. I drove by Costco twice when I didn’t stop because I thought their parking lot was too full, and too many people would be in the store. Finally, in the middle of the week, when the tourists are typically at a lower ebb, I stopped at Costco and got some fruit we use in smoothies.

    We have been making a lot of fruit smoothies with frozen fruit, maybe a banana, some flax seed meal, some wheat germ, a handful of spinach, and a scoop of dry fruit powder mix called Super Cleanse Organic Juice Cleanse from a company called Country Farms. It has 35 fruits and vegetables in it. We are trying to improve our immune systems, and with smoothies, we can eat a larger quantity of fruit and vegetables than we could if we just ate the whole fruit. We started doing this some time ago before the coronavirus pandemic. It’s interesting too, that in spite of what must be a substantial calorie increase, the extra fruit has not been adding extra pounds; we have not gained weight. Recently, I read that people with Type II diabetes aren’t even asked to limit how much fruit they eat. If that’s true I think it’s kind of interesting.
    This week I also dried shirts and pants in the dryer on air for about five or so minutes and then hung them up to dry in one bathroom. I put an extra shower curtain rod I found at a thrift store in between the ends of the shower stall to hang the clothes on, and then we just take showers in the other bathroom. I don’t have a clothesline outside, and it rains so much here that an outdoor clothesline isn’t that useful. I still dry the sheets and towels in the dryer because they are so bulky, and I don’t like scratchy towels. I tell myself every little bit helps, although I probably am not saving that much.
    Well, I pray you have a safe and beautiful week.
    Elizabeth H.

  43. Things are changing daily almost hourly here in New England. I work in health care so am considered essential personnel. Restaurants, movie theaters, schools all closed. The toilet paper shortage is a thing here as well.
    Fortunately we are well stocked with supplies for awhile 1-2 months (which is good for me). I home school my daughter so her education continues mostly as usual. She is sad that her home school groups have all been cancelled, but she is old enough that she can kind of understand why.
    I seem to have really gotten the hang of zeroing out my budget every two weeks ( I get paid twice/month) I have tried practicing this in other years, but with not a lot of success. For 2020, I have been within $2 each time. I made some small progress towards paying down a bill last week, but have mostly been adding to my savings since things started changing rapidly. I am also just driving to work and back thus saving on the gas budget.
    Stay healthy everyone !

  44. Ann, I really enjoyed your “necessity is the mother of diminished scruples” statement! And your idea of toilet paper substitute may come in handy!

  45. Brandy, I love the pictures of your little boys in their raincoats playing! It reminds me of my boys when they were little. They loved playing in the rain. I have been using your homemade laundry soap and I have been happy with it! We are in Wisconsin and have well water that is very cold all winter, so even if I wash in warm, the water is more lukewarm so the soap flakes tend not to dissolve. I solved this by putting a double batch of laundry soap into my big canning pot and added water to dissolve, then put that into a 5 gallon bucket and added more water and some orange essential oil. Well, it turned out to be a bit watery and seems like it all hadn’t really come together. I decided to use my “soaping only” immersion blender which I held toward the top of the bucket and then used a large spatula to bring up the stuff from the bottom. The watery laundry soap turned into a nicely gelled laundry soap! Since I make my own 100% coconut oil laundry bars to make this laundry soap, it is so cheap for me now! Thank you for the recipe. I do use some Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, up to one tbsp per load in addition to about 1/3 cup of the homemade laundry soap if I am washing towels or a particularly dirty/stinky load from my sons. I get the Sal Suds from Frontier Natural Co-op, where anyone can sign up for a wholesale account. I dilute the Sal Suds and found it to be a wonderful stain remover too.

    Well, I am fortunate that my husband can work from home. I am worried about my two oldest sons in Seattle and Nebraska, but I sent them care packages and will pray. All one can do. I homeschool our youngest so I will have a few hours more time every week as I don’t have to travel up into the suburbs for a few of his in person classes and I have also canceled all appts. I am spending the time doing some deep cleaning and getting my garden plans ready and vegetable seeds started indoors. Our natural food store is not allowed to sell anything out of the bulk bins anymore as the health dept shut that down. I order from a natural food co-op out of Oregon and am hoping I can add rice, pinto beans and powdered milk to my supply. They were out last month. It is called Azure Standard if anyone is interested in looking them up. They are supposed to be getting more stock in, hopefully. Otherwise, we are pretty well set, but like Ann, I am lower on tp and tissue than I would like and am thinking of doing the wipes with the flannel sheets too! I am also just busying myself in the kitchen.

    Other than checking on your family and neighbors, please consider making a donation to your local food pantry, if you can. I am praying for the world family.

    1. Karen,
      We’re in S. FL and use Frontier with free shipping (over $250, for our group)& Azure as a truck drop once per month. I like their values, and their selection (though they’re often out of things I want) and like supporting them instead of the large chains. I worry about Azure with this situation and hope they don’t go out of business. Cursed Wuhan virus!

  46. Only my second time commenting. Really enjoying your blog and reading the comments. So much inspiration and goodness from you and your readers. I too live in Washington state, hit hard by the virus. We are not in the city but south of it and are starting to see increases in local cases, mostly because of city’s ability to test now. I think we will continue to see increases for awhile. Our schools have been cancelled now for a week now. Kids are handling really well. I have 3, one with autism who is on the severe end. Services for him have ended for now but I’m working with him at home. Motivation is his weakness, so we are trying to be patient. We have taken family walks to get out of the house. I’m a stay at home mom so I’m used
    To being home, but I am also use to volunteering lot so this has been a challenge for me. Trying to pray and give it to god when my anxiety is too much. I try to be frugal and I’m learning lots from all you. My husband job is transferring from contract to actually employee and he is able to work mostly from home and right now all from home. This is such a blessing and the job comes with a increase in pay. I’m so grateful but plan on saving as much as we can because with all this uncertainty we don’t know what the job future holds. We stocked up on things you recommend flour, salt and oil. Made my family breakfast muffins so far. Couldn’t get yeast so sandwich bread will have to wait. Lots of pantry staples and have been cooking all from home. Been looking at your pantry recipes for inspiration, so thank you. TP has been difficult to get but was finally able to get some. Stay safe everyone and stay home if you can.

    1. Brandy,
      You might look up Chapati Bread. You can make it without yeast. Biscuits can be made without yeast also.

  47. I just wanted to mention something else I am doing to pass the time and makes me relax. I play the piano and sing. Anyone with an instrument could do that now. And everyone can sing. It is also very frugal. Looking at stars is relaxing. Also I love essential oils. I also enjoy cooking. Dishes not so much. But cooking is relaxing. I tell myself I am happy that i have dishes and food to put on the dishes. And I am happy about that. Sometimes cleaning is relaxing too! Having a clean home is very nice. I am also talking on the phone with family. I may find a way to Skype or FaceTime my Grandchildren. Just some ideas. I also hope to garden. I loved your 50 ideas Brandy. Oh yeah, looking up ideas about the depression era is interesting. I enjoyed watching videos of Clara. She was a woman in her 90’s. teaching people how to cook and talked about the depression.

  48. Thanks Brandy for telling us about the free audiobooks. I will be practicing my comprehension of spoken Italian. It is a beautiful day here so I am going outside for awhile and walking around the driveway loop. I am fairly well stocked with food — I am trying to use my current month’s groceries rather than my pantry. The British Prime Minister has just announced a 120 day self isolation for seniors and vulnerable people. The government will be delivering food parcels for those who are in need of that assistance if shut in. I am grateful for the most beautiful, sunny day, for having some supplies. A friend did my grocery shopping for me — I had asked for a small block of Crisco but he bought a huge tub! Pies, anyone? I only have a small freezer so
    no room to freeze pies. I read about making masks. I have some old heavy sheets I could do this with but no wiring of elastic. Hhhmmmm! Ann

    1. Ann, I saw some today that didn’t take wire and had cloth ties. I am going to see if I can find a pattern for those as well.

      You can make chicken pot pies and biscuits with the shortening (both cookies and crumpets/scones). It is shelf-stable so anywhere you would need butter in baking.

      1. Here is a cloth mask that seems to be well-constructed: It can be cut by hand, made with or without wire, and has cloth ties. While the lining the author uses is an ironed hepa filter, I’ve also heard that some tissues, wetted and then dried, can be used as well (single use, obviously).
        And here’s another version, that is much easier, at least in my mind. It also has cloth ties and no wire. This is the version that I’m trying to make myself.

  49. Hi Brandy,
    I’d love having a pattern without wire — I did find some plastic covered wire but don’t know if it would work. Yes, I have a lot of shortening! Thanks for suggestions re chicken pot pies, cookies, scones etc. Biscuits sound really good! Do I need to refrigerate Crisco?

    I saved $70 (including tip). I never made it outside to enjoy the day. Instead I had a shower and while my hair was still wet, I cut it! It was challenging using the arm with the broken tendon but I managed. It is more or less even, not perfect but feels a lot better. And no-one is going to see it anyway… Ann

    1. Shortening is shelf-stable, but it will last longer if kept cool. So if your place is heated, you could refrigerate it for a longer shelf life.

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