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I harvested parsley, rosemary, a bay leaf,  garlic chives, spinach, Meyer lemons, and lettuce from the garden.

I gave two daughters each a haircut.

I unsubscribed from several promotional email lists. I don’t have any plans to buy anything from these companies any time soon, and deleting the constant emails (one sent three a week!) takes time that I could be using to do something productive.

I studied French using free online sources.

Peppa Pig Cupcake Cake The Prudent Homemaker

We had a simple and frugal Peppa Pig birthday party for my youngest daughter at home. I made a cupcake cake for her.

Saturday was the day for the semi-annual community garage sale for several communities in my area. I went with my list, looking for items we need and want. There were fewer sales than usual this year, but I still managed to find a few items on my list, including a dress for me ($3), some white onesies for the new baby ($0.25 each), some shorts and pants for my youngest son (7 for $5, plus she threw in a brand-new undershirt and some random diapers and pull-ups in his size), a basket that I’ll use for organizing in a closet ($2), two shirts and two pairs of jeans for a daughter ($0.50 each), a lade for my eldest’s college box ($0.50), a hand-chopper for the kitchen ($1), 6 ice-cube trays ($1), a skirt for my eldest ($2; I’m saving it to give her as a birthday gift), and some wooden cooking toys ($2) that I used as a gift for my daughter’s birthday). 

I also found this vintage loveliness for $6.50; The lacquered tray was $0.50, and the other items were $1 each:

Vintage jewelry The Prudent Homemaker

The weather was extremely windy last week, but the strong winds brought some cooler temperatures. We had the windows open as often as possible to keep the house cool.

Our neighbor must have been cleaning out her freezer; she brought over several random items from her freezer and gave them to us, which we will definitely enjoy.

I watched an episode of “Call the Midwife” for free on

My husband and I had a date night at home playing a game of Sequence I purchased at a garage sale last year for $2 (we had worn our old one out).


What did you do to save money last week?



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  1. Great Peppa Pig cake! Your daughter must have loved it!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I made a Veggie and Goat Cheese Quiche for my lunches for the coming week ( I called it that-and-that quiche, because I used up bits of leftovers of this and that, including some dehydrated arugula, a bit of goat cheese, and sautéed vegetables. Easy, high in protein, and it used up the bits of this and that from my fridge!
    – I actually properly cooked this week, after a month of not cooking! I made cheese gougeres, baba ghanoush, and pita bread as my contributions to my cookbook supperclub’s latest get-together. My husband couldn’t find gruyere cheese (he does the shopping from a list I give him) so I used some block gouda (waaaay cheaper than wedge Gouda). Aside from the cheese, the other ingredients were pretty inexpensive, and I have lots of baba ghanoush leftover for meals and snacks for the week. I love being part of this cookbook supperclub. It’s a great way to stretch my cooking skills, eat great food, and meet up with friends, all inexpensively. We rotate hosting the event (every two or three months), and all the host has to provide is drinks and tableware. We all borrow the cookbook from the library (we’re sure to choose a cookbook that the library has lots of) so we’re not out any money (except for ingredients, but usually there’s enough leftover for a family meal anyway).
    – I sewed a hole in the uniform sweater of one of my colleagues. Frugal for her!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon.
    – I gave some food that I couldn’t finish (some purchased quinoa salad and some of my homemade baba ghanoush) to a colleague, who greatly appreciated it.
    – I made a batch of pancakes, enough for two meals, so that’ll save me some time and energy.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

  2. We are vacationing in Kauai, Hawaii, to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary last month. Our DD, DS and DDIL are with us. Hawaii is beautiful, but there is nothing cheap about it! Food costs 2-3x as much as on the mainland, and restaurant meals are at least double. We have a condo and planned to eat breakfast and lunch here, and dinner out…partly for cheap but mostly for convenience (if you eat 3 meals a day in a restaurant, how do you find time to do or see anything else?).

    However, I made the mistake of turning DH and DS loose in the grocery store, LOL. I told them I didn’t care how much we spent for groceries, but I definitely care about what doesn’t get eaten. As a result, we had a big spaghetti dinner at the condo last night and DDIL is making her famous clam chowder for dinner tonight. Eating in is going to save us a ton of money, although it didn’t look that way at the grocery store. DS and DDIL are doing most of the cooking; DD unloads the DW; and DH and I wash the dishes. It’s a nice vacation for me!

    My biggest frugal accomplishment is my DS! He married last fall for the first time at age 39. He was used to going out with friends a lot just for something to do, same for DDIL, and I wondered how they would do once they were married. Now they go grocery shopping together once a week, using the Smith’s app on her phone, and cook together every night and pack lunches for the next day. From Thanksgiving through the end of March, DS ate lunch out 5 times…always because he’d forgotten his lunch at home. This is huge!! Although both can cook, they spend more on groceries than I would (they haven’t learned to omit ingredients and make substitutions) but it’s still so much less than going out. Also, they saved a ton of money this winter, paid off his 2017 truck and made a dent in her student loans.

    The only other frugal accomplishment was being able to check our luggage free because we have the Alaska Airlines credit card and were flying Alaska. This perk saved us $75 coming and will save us another $75 going home. There was a time when we dragged luggage all over the airport(s) and hoisted it into the overhead bins, but we are a few years past that now.

    One last thing: I needed shorts for the trip and cut off and hemmed a pair of jeans that needed repairs, anyway.

  3. I absolutely love your Peppa Pig cupcake cake! What a neat idea.

    We have been cooking at home and today is the first day I made a real meal in my new kitchen on the farm! I am so happy! Movers will be coming this month to move us out of the apartment! We will be saving lots of money now. Not much time left to finish packing.
    I haven’t been doing any shopping other than a few groceries and toilet paper. I have been using the library. My husband got a free class on the internet to use his recording program for the music he has been writing. I have been using the internet for recipe ideas. And I have been thinking of ways to use my skills to make money. I am looking forward to having a garden this year on our little farm. I love going in the backyard for food instead of a grocery store and saving money. I am looking forward to having chickens and maybe some animals.
    I want to thank those of you who have prayed for me. Life is going much better now.

  4. Forgot to mention, I used a salad spinner for the first time at the condo to wash lettuce. Wow, if you don’t have one, you need to put it on your wish list! I’m getting one and DS is getting one for his birthday in July, LOL. Being able to wash a whole head of lettuce at once will make a huge difference in how many salads we eat. In the past, I have washed greens, wrapped them in a towel and put them through the spin cycle of my washing machine…but this is so much easier and I’m not left with a wet towel. You can even use the top of the spinner for a salad bowl.

    Brandy, loved your bargains!

  5. I pruned my scented geranium bush and put several cuttings in the ground to root. I have some that I started a few weeks ago and they are all doing well. I have several starts in a pot too, which I’ll pot individually and give as gifts when they are bigger.

    I made Meyer lemon marmalade from our own lemons and am taking a jar as a hostess gift when I stay with a friend. Also an aloe plant that was a baby from my huge aloe. I’d potted it in the fall.

    I mended 2 holes in a cardigan that oldest daughter left behind (she didn’t like it) and gave the cardigan to my youngest daughter who is trying to expand her ‘business’ wardrobe

    I bought a box of Kashi granola bars for $1 at Grocery Outlet for a care package.

    I dropped a donation at AmVets thrift store and found 2 shirts for myself.

    Thank you, Brandi, for your lovely posts, and thank you to everyone who comments. It’s an encouraging community.

  6. A very busy week.

    I had a bank appointment and needed some documents signed by a commissioner of oaths. The person who normally does this at a real estate agency and charges $20 for it was away, so I went somewhere else nearby the bank, who did not charge me anything at all.

    A few months ago, I lost a set of keys. This week, I found them pinned on the bulletin board at a local grocery store. Melting snow helps us find all kinds of things. This will save me the cost of re-keying one of the doors in my house, though I have already replaced the post office box key.

    I attended a meeting where supper was served.

    Spent the afternoon at the opening of a permanent exhibit of art by the indigenous group of seven artists. Met the two remaining artists in the group, and one of them gave my group a tour of the exhibit. Dinner afterwards was put on by the culinary arts students at the college whose board I sit on, using many local ingredients. They were so excited to be preparing dinner for a major event. A lovely day, with no cost other than the gas for getting to the next town over.

    Had a hard time finding transcription work this week, though I spent a lot of time looking, but finally scraped together enough to be able to pay the electric bill tomorrow.

    Read a library book and spent a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon sleeping in the sunshine, to get some badly needed rest. My two cats curled up with me. They are enjoying all the signs of spring, now that the snow is finally beginning to melt.

  7. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Wonderful garage sale finds you had Brandy and what a gorgeous Peppa Pig birthday cake being so beautiful I would hate to see a piece eaten from it :).

    Home organisation –
    – We did a major deep clean of every room in the home as well as pressure cleaned the outside verandas, house and window screens it all sparkles again and smells a lot less dusty. We also re-organised and swept the 3 bay garage as well.

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

    In the gardens –
    – Pruned all the rose bushes, basil and sweet potato vines back in the gardens.
    – We planted 62 broad bean seeds and a 9mt row of Australian garlic in the vegetable gardens from saved seeds and garlic bulbs from our last crops saving around $10 over purchasing them.
    – DH mowed and whipper snipped the house and back paddock lawns.
    – We used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water the house lawns all week as it is so dry here the grass snaps under your feet even though we did have 4mm of rain a few days ago.
    – Saved dish rinsing water to water newly planted vegetable seeds in the gardens.

    Financial –
    – Redid our budget to take into account massive price rises here and increased our grocery budget to $150 per fortnight from $103. Good news is that we did have a pay rise in my pension of $25 a month and DH will get another pay rise in June tied to CPI. Even still our pays are not keeping up with inflation here but we do our best to shop 50% off and more specials, clearance or secondhand items where we can, and fortunately our savings are earning more interest as we save more to offset price rises slightly.
    – Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 24.76% of the way there.
    – DH and I earned an extra $57 this week, DH from a mowing, trimming and weed spraying job and some from me for the sale of saved garden seeds on the internet. DH put purchased some more weed killer and the rest into our home cash emergency fund to top it up after our car battery purchase and I put earned money into the bank to recover some funds used for a bulk pantry food stock up in February.

    Purchases –
    – We purchased a new back brace for DH on special and used a bulk medical script to buy a months worth of medication for DH saving $111.90 on usual prices on the back braces and buying his pain medication by the box instead on in bulk.

    Hoping everyone else has had a wonderful week and have found some ways to save as well :).


  8. Love the cake!!!!

    *We went to a baseball game with our neighbors. We took the subway and got general admission tickets. We found good seats next to the kiddy area and let the kids play.
    * Went to the swimming pool with friends. It was $13 for 3 adults and 2 kids. We took a packed lunch and had a fun time. There’s also a spa that we took advantage of.
    *My friend took advantage of my hairdressing skills and I had her apply hair coloring to mine.
    *With the warmer weather we’ve spent alot of time in the park.
    *I made $10 selling clothes that are too small for my son.
    *I bought 8 packs of jalapeno peppers on sale but they weren’t spicy. I made a mild pineapple salsa, cooked with some, and froze the rest to use later. I think I’ll use them as substitutes for bell peppers.
    *I donated some clothes that were too small for my son to a single mom.
    *I made several loaves of bread.
    *We ate at home as much as possible.

  9. What a nice sharing neighbor you have. Your cupcake cake made me smile. We had a big gardening weekend, preparing and planting beds of carrots, beets, lettuce, arugula and spinach. I harvested herbs- dandelion and yellow dock for medicine, and violet leaves and flowers, which are infusing in olive oil and will be one of the ingredients in facial lotion. I harvested asparagus, which we enjoyed roasted in the oven and grilled. Home grown crowder peas and okra were cooked. Vegetable broth was canned and black olives recanned from a #10 can. I experimented with a natural dye found while walking with the pups.

  10. Salad spinners are awesome!

    Brandy, I love your vintage finds. Is that magazine from the 1940s? Beautiful illustrations.

    So, I just want to say I really look forward to everyone’s comments each week. My family has been riding the edge financially for awhile and at times it is just exhausting. We did well for a long time, but then a few big medical bills come along and your eleven year old van dies, and suddenly things are difficult. I feel like we’ve been limping along and now suddenly I have to choose which bills to pay each month. My husband is the eternal optimist, which I appreciate, but I don’t always share his confidence that everything will work out. Your posts and comments help me to stay positive and proactive. I am learning that there is always more to do, and that frugality and creativity are powerful tools.

    This week we cooked meals at home. I’m hoping to teach all my kids to cook from scratch because it’s a good skill to have. Right now we are working on breakfasts that can be prepared ahead so that no one has to panic in the morning because we’ve run out of milk or bread. Not a good way to start the day.

    We are using the library a lot more for all of our reading and entertainment, and loving the online reservation system.

    We are trying to start some tomatoes from seed this year, but I am not sure how that is going. Even with a grow mat and lights, they look a bit spindly. We took a seed starting class through the local park district this past February and learned a lot, but it’s all so new and hard to process. My seed potatoes came, and I am expecting rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries this week. So fingers crossed and here’s hoping the crazy weather settles down soon.

  11. I always love garage sale season and enjoyed all the bargains you were able to get!
    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    My husband refinished a small bookcase that was given to us by a neighbor many years ago. It came out so well it hardly looks like the same piece of furniture.

    My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. Instead of going out we bought two nice steaks and put them on the grill. We also had a baked potato, roasted zucchini, rolls, and homemade blackberry cheesecake. Total cost for the meal was $20.00 with leftovers. We couldn’t have bought one meal at a restaurant for that amount of money and we were sure to really like the cooking. Instead of wasting the charcoal and wood chips after the steaks were done, we put a whole chicken on the grill that we got for 77 cents per pound. We now have several meals for the week.

    I made tomato soup from some frozen tomatoes that we bought last summer. It was delicious.

    I used two exercise videos that my daughter gave to me.

    We took our lunch to work everyday except one. My company provided lunch one day for the whole office.

    I made laundry soap.

  12. 1. Found great deals on mushrooms, cheese! and cereal. I also discovered they were clearancing out my favorite coffee creamer for 25% I bought 4 to tide me over until I find them in another store.
    2. Discovered two free homeschooling sites Khan academy and The Good and the beautiful
    3. Gave away almost 100 children’s books at our homeschool co-op. They were series books that my daughter had outgrown but did not love enough to keep. This saves me shelf space and brings joy to other children, which is priceless:)
    4. Bought only groceries this week
    5. Paid my car and home insurance annual/semi-annual premiums in one lump payment, which will save me almost $80 this year

  13. I LOVE to watch Call the Midwife. As a nurse myself, I find it fascinating. I’d love to practice that kind of nursing again. I’m in graduate school to become a family nurse practitioner and would love to find a job where I can make house the elderly shut-ins, house bound persons..etc, just like in the olden days!

    Brandy, what game did you play with your husband?

  14. Even with some unexpected twists and turns this week (our son-in-law went to ER on Wed morning and was admitted to ICU with sepsis from a previous strep infection) there have been many frugal things to balance out the buying lunch at hospital for daughter and her in-laws and delivery pizza for dinner for kiddos.
    On Tuesday, a lady contacted me about a baby quilt I had for sale that I made from vintage blocks. I had listed it 3 times previously over the last 4 months with people interested but no sale. I had just relisted it (same price) on Monday night and on Tuesday she wanted it. Even though she was local, she had been under the weather and opted for USPS shipping. I told her how to do that from our Facebook site and after seeing the site she also bought a set of 4 soup cozies! She promptly paid online and I shipped it out in a regional priority box! So that was an extra $100 coming in!
    A commenter on your blog has mentioned listing things for sale on eBay when they had free listing promos. I looked into it and they had a promo going on last Wed/Thursday for up to 50 free listings. So late Wed night, after being at the hospital all day, I was still “wired” and couldn’t sleep, so I looked around my sewing room and kitchen and found a fruit/veg strainer attachment for my Kitchenaid that I had never used and still had in the box (how embarrassing!!), a set of 4 matching embroidered vintage table runners, a quilt kit that included precut fabric for 11 of the 12 blocks and a set of 4 matching embroidered linen napkins. The auctions end this Tuesday night and all but one are definitely sold and there are 6 watchers on each so final sales may go up from what they are currently, but right now that’s over $50 for stuff that was just taking up space!!!
    I have a set for of 2 soup cozies that will be paid for by a client this week when she picks up her 2nd bookcase (of 3) that we built her. She saw ours and added this to her bookcase order so that will add another $10 to her order! I am still able to make these with fabric from my huge stash and cotton batting trimmings from the quilts I make!! So it’s helping clear and organize my sewing room with each sale!

  15. The cupcakes came out amazing. That would have cost a small fortune if you bought that in a bakery. Glad you were able to get some things from your garage sale list. We had a busy week here. Had 3 nice days so heat got shut off and windows were opened.
    Laundry was hung outside finally.
    My son and I did a bunch of work in the garden and yard. Now it is cold again and is raining buckets.
    Hubby and I helped at a Cancer Fundraiser and won some prizes too.
    My son brought lots of leftovers home from his job.
    I cooked lots of yummy food this week.
    We are cat and house sitting for friends too.
    The rest of my week is here:

  16. Not a stupendously frugal week here. I ate out twice that I should have had more willpower and just gone and cooked something.

    Picked up a small treat and local vegetables at the farmers market for my dinner party Sunday.

    Used a groupon bought months ago for a facial and a massage at a beauty school. Total cost was less than the tip would have been for 1 service at a regular spa.

    Attended a free movie preview and then a $4 movie at the base. I Feel Pretty was hysterical.

    Attempting lentil sloppy joes this week as I have leftover rolls and I found a bag of tater tots int he freezer. I will use 1/2 lentils and 1/2 ground beef, as I’m not sure about the lentils in this. The other 1/2 lb of beef will be used in tacos mixed with black beans. Other meals for the week are leftover chicken and artichokes and a white bean dip with vegetables and baguette. If there are leftover lentils I will turn them into soup.

    Weather here is weird. Usually it is 85+ by now. This morning it was 48.

  17. I had a very productive week. I’ve felt my heart returning to my homemaking now my pregnancy is over. I have a very sweet and content little guy, which helps a lot!

    On my kitchen day, I roasted a ham and a turkey, baked sandwich bread and rolls, made yogurt and granola, made breakfast pizza and chicken (turkey) enchiladas for meals for my husband when he works. I also made a peach blueberry crisp.

    Our family has a weekly goals paper that we keep on the refrigerator. On Sunday evenings we then go over it as a family and see how many goals we were able to meet. One of the goals is to cook 3 things instead of buying them. This week, my 3 were tortillas, taco seasoning, and a copycat garlic salad dressing that aldi sells and my children adore (it turned out great!).

    I continue to keep up with the housework. I’m less tempted to spend unnecessarily when my home is kept up with.

    My husband rexharged the air conditioner in his car. He’s also been working on cleaning and organizing the garage so that he can find what he needs when he needs it.

    Hubby took firewood to his elderly grandparents and accepted sweet rolls and dinner rolls as payment. We also accepted leftover quick bread and dessert bars from my mom.

    Today (16th) is our anniversary. On Saturday, my mother in law came to watch our 7 oldest children and we were able to go on a date. We went for groceries and stopped at the local creamery for ice cream (spent $6.36 there). There was a time we wouldn’t have been satisfied with the simplicity of a date like that. I’m glad we’ve grown up some over these years together.

  18. What a beautiful cupcake cake! The yard sale items you photographed look like they would keep me entertained for hours.

    It has been a very crazy few weeks – days where even an extra penny would have helped – but thankfully (so thankful) after Saturday the light at the end of the tunnel started to shine through. I was able to pick up a few more hours at the job and applied that money to my last car payment! Now to start setting aside future car payments for the next few or more years. It feels so good to have that debt done. I didn’t have money set a side when my current car was purchased, I don’t intend on repeating that.

    PA weather has been a roller coaster so I am hoping to finally plant peas and lettuce this week (for me, that is about a month later than usual).

    I was able to find 3 books to put aside for gifts for the holidays purchased at a thrift store. I bought a sewing magazine dirt cheap off of Ebay that has 3 sewing patterns ready to cut to make 3-4 gifts. My husband even found a very thoughtful gift for his mom – sticking to the budget set. It was pretty cool to watch him find this and likes the idea of the “hunt”.

    Last week it was discussed here to have about 10 days worth of clothing – Those comments last week really got me excited. By Thursday I really paired down my closet and listed on Ebay. That money paid a part of the electric bill. It is a very liberating feeling.

  19. Margaret, I tried a new recipe for goat cheese mini quiche last week! I went to three stores looking for the cheese but used extra sharp when I couldn’t find it. (I never would have thought that goat cheese is not considered mainstream.) My recipe was so-so, so I won’t be making it again. Happy to hear yours was so good!

  20. Medical bills and a dead car–how frustrating!

    If your bills are hospital bills, call to see if your hospital has any kind of financial assistance. Some do, some don’t. Those that do will have you show proof of income and if you qualify, they can reduce your bill dramatically and then make payment arrangements with you. Doctors will sometimes also offer a lower rate once the hospital has approved the reduction. We did this a couple of years ago. Other hospitals we have dealt with only offered 10% off if the amount was paid in full in 30 days, but when my daughter broke her arm two years ago yesterday, the hospital explained their policy to me and it was a huge help in reducing the amount owed.

    I hope you have some powdered milk in your storage so that you can use it for cooking. Muffins are a good item to cook ahead. Waffles and pancakes work that way, too. If you don’t have milk and it isn’t in the budget right now, you can still make them all with water in place of milk for the liquid.

    Could you use some more garden seeds for this year?

  21. Your anniversary meal sounds wonderful. What a good idea to keep on grilling while you had charcoal and wood chips going!

  22. I’ve been reading but haven’t posted in quite awhile. My mother fell in January and broke her hip. She developed several complications, including pneumonia. It was a rough time, two months in the hospital. She moved to a nursing home for rehab on April 4th. This is in a town about an hour away. I don’t know sometimes if I’m coming or going! We have done well eating meals at home, I have grabbed take out a few times. For lunch on the go I usually get the $1 chicken sandwich and $1 coke at McDonald’s.
    We now have new insurance. I was shocked to find that my lyrica is $1200 for a 90 day refill! I only take half the prescribed amount since the full amount effects my memory. So it will last longer. My husband broke a tooth on his bridge and had to have a new one. $4700!! Part of that went on our FSA debit card, and the rest on our credit card. I am thankful that frugal living all these years have allowed us to save. So we won’t feel these expenses too badly.
    My husband gives blood and platelets a lot, and they always give him free movie passes, so that is nice.
    We are expecting a granddaughter in September! I am working on a blanket in cross stitch and embroidery. I bought at Joann’s with a coupon.
    Love everyone’s posts! Brandy, love the Peppa the pig cupcakes!

  23. Stacey, I’m sorry you are having such a harsh struggle financially right now. It sounds like you are making some very wise decisions, though. Teaching your children to cook is a great way to connect as a family, can be used as a frugal entertainment for them, and they will learn some very valuable life skills doing it! Also, very wise investments with rhubarb, asparagus and strawberry plants. Those garden additions just keep on giving every single year. I hope you are able to get them well established so your family can benefit from years of healthy, homegrown produce that are quite expensive to buy. Gardening doesn’t come easily to me either. I just keep trying the best I can each year. At least it’s only a small investment for the seeds.

    This community is a wonderful wealth of knowledge and support. If you ever have a question or just need some support with a particular issue, don’t be afraid to post it. There are plenty of us here that would be happy to help in any way we can. Hugs and best wishes from Canada!

  24. I love that there is an exclamation point behind the word, cheese. I feel the same way about cheese, too.:D LOL

  25. It was a very quiet week as I had a very limited budget but a good time to catch up on laundry and housework. A bit of investment money came through a couple of days early so I made two trips to the grocery store on Friday to start restocking – topped up my transit pass and purchased a few non-food items that were on sale and will be added to the six month’s worth of supplies that I like to have on hand.
    I did meet friends for supper on Friday night but split a salad and some pizza with one of the other girls. Our theatre tickets were already paid for through our yearly subscription and I paid for next year’s tickets (out of the extra $) so this means that I still have 2 plays to look forward to over the next couple of months and 7 to look forward to starting in next October. We do usually go out to eat beforehand (although nowhere too expensive) but I may have to pass on a few of the dinners next year if funds are still so tight – they will understand.
    We have had a terrible ice storm raging all weekend and were advised not to go out unless truly necessary – I stayed home (and will not venture out today either) so that has saved me some transit fares that would have normally been used.
    I continued to use up items from the freezer so I’m finally starting to see some space opening up in there. I also had a lot of green apples that needed to be used so I cooked up large slices in a bit of butter and sugar, cooled them and then packaged them up for the freezer – I will use them later to top pancakes or to make crumbles – waste not, want not!
    Otherwise I amused myself by reading from the pile of books I already own, watching some Netflix and chatting with friends over the phone.
    PS – Love the cake! You are very talented.

  26. I went to a book sale this weekend that our library holds. I was able to get some travel books for $1 each. I refrained from buying any fiction books as I have so many and check others out from the library. I didn’t see what I really wanted (Rick Steves guidebook on Germany) but had it for $3.64 with free shipping. It is a few years old but much cheaper than buying new.

    We have a busy week ahead with the start of a gospel meeting. I made a big batch of rice and we cooked a pork butt so now have food for the week. We can freeze any leftover pork if don’t eat it all. It wasn’t as cheap as I like to normally get but we initially bought it for a party and then didn’t use so at least it saves me from having to cook this week.

    We had a very busy day yesterday with church and a funeral. Neither of us wanted to eat the food we are planning to eat this week so we tossed around a few ideas of restaurants to eat at. I remembered that my husband had points for a free pizza so we did that instead.

    I bought some trees and a hydrangea online. The nursery was having a 20% off sale plus if you spent over a certain limit you got free shipping. I am waiting for the trees to arrive but we’ve already planted the hydrangea. We previously had a maple tree that ended up cracking in half so had to be removed- when we first moved to our house I waited for it to turn a beautiful autumn color but instead it turned an ugly brown. I was so disappointed (former FL girl who loves fall) so the #1 requirement for the new maple tree was fall color. I ordered one that turns orange-red. I won’t wish for fall to arrive as I’m still waiting for spring!

    My irises have finally started to bloom. I planted the bulbs for the first time this past fall so it has been exciting to see the change every day. I will probably bring a few inside for a free floral arrangement.

    We’ve had a few days without the heat coming on. Unfortunately, today we woke up to 38 degree temps but the rest of the week looks like it will be great- I can’t wait to finally open some windows.

  27. Have been trying to use fruits and veggies from the freezer instead of buying fresh, Son and wife came for lunch yesterday had a great visit, I made hot rolls, they enjoyed and home made jelly homemade noodles and beef and mashed potatoes used apple sauce from freezer and frozen peas, and made a chocolate pie from scratch, cheated, made a graham cracker crust,
    Told my sister in law about a garage sale in a close nearby town, everything $l.00 a bag I got several t shirts to use to made a quilit top, she ask me before hand what I was looking for and told her my list which included story books for the great grands, she went to a sale the day before and they had a box of little kids books “free” Can’t beat that, and there was two or three sets of books for 2nd grade girls in chapter books, great grand daughter was excited, she loves to read!

  28. Stacey: I understand how you can get down, and I am glad you have a husband who helps you be positive! Wish you all the best!
    For the spindly tomatoes, I think tomato plants are supposed to be planted deep, with most of the stem underground as well as the roots and just a few inches at the top showing. So once they get in the ground, they should be fine. Someone else would know more than me if they should be pinched back once when planted as well.

  29. Laurie,

    I never responded last week. I live in Huntersville, north of Charlotte. We have tons of yellow dock. How do you use it medicinally. Does comfrey grow around you? I have not located here.

  30. Megan,

    I am not sure what zone you are in, but if you are in a warmer zone, most trees don’t turn color in the fall, as it is the cold that makes them turn.

    We have very little fall color here, and what we do have doesn’t come until right before the first frost in December.

    Given the temperatures you mention, that’s probably not your issue, but I wanted to mention it in case it affected you or anyone else.

  31. The Peppa Pig cake made be smile! It is clever and fun…..and I bet delicious! I love seeing your yard sale finds.
    • Made swag goal x 3
    • Using rocks which I gathered on the beach, I decorated kindness rocks for a raffle donation
    • Watched 2 episodes of Call the Midwife on PBS for free
    • Hung laundry up to dry inside. It was nice enough outside but the pollen is terrible and I am allergic
    • Made pad thai, I found some ground pork at the very bottom of my chest freezer and I made Italian wedding soup with it.
    • Had an interview 35 minutes away and combined with errands on the way home

  32. *This post covers the last two weeks. I had thought that I was just repetitively battling the same “bug” going around the neighborhood, but about midnight the day after Easter, my husband took me into the ER, since I was repeatedly tossing my cookies – yet again. The ER ran a CT scan, which revealed among other things, a badly inflamed gallbladder, full of stones. It was removed later that day. I am grateful that we have good insurance from my husband’s employment, and that I had my Medicare A card. Since I was admitted to the hospital, between the two, we do not even have a co-pay & the care I received was excellent. This is a real financial blessing for us, since one of the cars needed a repair, & a hospital bill in the same month would have been tight.

    *We have had rain or snow frequently enough that I did not need to worry at all about watering, since the heavens simply did it for me. The daffodils, tulips & grape hyacinths are in bloom, along with the forsythia & the fruit trees, so there is loveliness outside every window. I cut a small spray of grape hyacinths, & put them in a small, hobnailed white milk glass vase, set between a small lamp and a photo of our youngest grandson in this mother’s arms, all on a rectangular lace doily, sitting on a small 3 drawer chest near the door in our front room. It makes me smile every time I look at them.

    *Our grocery bill has decreased for the last two weeks, given that learning to eat again after gallbladder removal involves a lot of ice chips, plain gelatin, and gelatin mixed with fruit. Applesauce in red jello has been a particularly well tolerated form. In spite of the fact that they supposedly bind bile salts well, red beets were a terrible choice! I love beets, & still had some from the garden last year in the freezer. They tasted so good that I had two small helpings – and was absolutely miserable for the next 24 hours, unable to keep anything down. I rebooted back to ice chips, then clear liquids, etc. Since we have oodles of home canned fruit, and plenty of gelatin in the pantry, it has made life fairly simple as far as my food needs are concerned. DH is eating whatever sounds good to him, & enjoying some of the things he likes that are not my favorites. I am once again grateful for the blessing of a “deep” pantry, & being able to supply our needs without needing to constantly run to the store, while recuperating from surgery.

  33. With my husband’s Rx for Pradaxa, the insurance was not covering much of the cost and I read on someone’s blog that they had a similar situation with a different medication. She suggested doing a google search for “ ———(name of drug) “promo code or coupon”. I did that and found a savings card from the manufacturer (renewable every year) that as long as we had non-government insurance, we were eligible! There were NO income restrictions that would exclude anyone. For us, the first 6 months, it reduced our co-pay to $10/ month. The second six months, it went down to $5/month and since then, there has been NO co-pay!
    It might not work for your Rx, but for the 5 minutes or less it takes to google, to me it would be worth it just in case!
    Good luck!!

  34. A salad spinner had been on my list for years. I found a small one at a yard sale a while ago for .25 cents. So happy to have it, although a larger one would make for fewer spins.

  35. Hi Kara,
    Your meyer lemon marmalade sounds wonderful! Would you mind sharing your recipe? I tried an orange and lemon previously and neither quite turned out. Thank you!

  36. You might also try moving the plants much closer to the grow light (mine almost touch my plants). That keeps the plants from having to strain so hard to reach the sunlight – leading to spindly plants!

  37. Stacey, it sounds like you are doing everything you can- and handling it all exceptionally well! I think there are lots of different kinds of optimists, some are maybe just more practical than others! 😉

    For breakfasts, we have done a number of very low cost meals that can be made ahead and frozen then tossed in a microwave or toaster oven (I try and toss in the fridge the night before for an even faster bake): egg muffins with leftover veggies or meats- I really water down the egg to stretch it, oatmeal bakes (budget bytes has these recipes), quiche slices, breakfast scramble with odds and ends, homemade english muffins with butter/jam/fruit/peanut butter, breakfast burritos with potatoes (with or without eggs), homemade yogurt and granola, bagels, etc. I find that if I take the time on Saturday to make two or three large breakfast batches and freeze them, then we are in much better shape for the week if it gets hectic.

    I hope things look up very soon, but you should be so proud of yourself for being so proactive and hardworking! It’s easy to get bogged down by it all, but you can do it!

  38. Maybe it is just me but my entire life I have had 2 pairs of pants that work for winter and 2 pairs of shorts that work for summer one dress and about 14 tops for each season.

    I have a total of 8 pairs of shoes and 3 coats

    Shoes are one pair every day one pair of dress shoes one pair of hiking boots one pair of sandals one pair of dress boots one pair of flip flops a pair of slippers and a pair of sneakers. Thats it !

    Coats are one winter dress coat , one winter coat to work in , one spring /rain coat That is it.

    I have seven tops for summer and seven for winter one bra (I hand wash it out every night along with the pants I wear for the day)
    I have 14 pairs of socks , one bathing suit. One cover up for said bathing suit, 2 pairs of ph’s one for summer one for winter.
    I don’t have and never have had a closet full of clothing not sure where people find the money for more. It is expensive and hard to find good pieces and half of mine is from thrift stores too.

    I don’t buy shoes second hand but the rest I will get second hand. I get some as gifts.
    If I get a new one I gift one old one to someone or gift it to goodwill most of my items are not useable after I have them because I wear them all of the time.

  39. Brandy,
    Love your Peppa Pig birthday cake- you are so very creative. I am glad you found so many needed items at the garage sale.

    My husband and son-in-law both have April birthdays. I stopped in at the Habitat for Humanity store and purchased four very nice, high quality like new patio chairs for a total of $40. One chair new costs over $50. I gave my husband two of them and my son-in-law the other two. I then had a very good coupon for Lowe’s that was about to expire so I went there and got my adult son two patio chairs for his birthday in June. New patio chairs all around this year. We live in the Pacific Northwest and with our wet weather outdoor furniture really takes a beating even if you store it under cover for the winter.

    Brandy, thanks to you and everyone else for making this my must read blog each week. It has greatly improved my quality of life.

  40. Last week I made $205 I spent over $100 on hubbies birthday so I had only $80 left to put in the bank. I am up again this week which is nice. This week is Grandson’s Birthday he is 7 tomorrow. I bought a very very big batch of bubbles, a science book on bubbles bought at a yard sale, I got a tshirt with points off of Thread up and I got other books at a yard sale and his main gift is a surprise from his Grandad which he got on two discounts at Michael’s .

    So total spent on kid toys for said birthday is 12.00 not too bad and the gifts are all wrapped with leftover paper and ribbons and in his favorite color red.

    The other day I stopped at a gas station there was a young girl there she was carrying a purse that cost over $1,200 dollars she dropped a $10 out of it and I handed it to her and she said just keep it I don’t want it after it has been on the floor. Wow !
    I was thinking do you want to drop more ! LOL !!!!

    I used two of the 15 off of $100 at the grocery store and bought a lot of meat to restock the freezer. I also got 8 packages of Eggs for .77 cents each.

    Hubby has lost two teeth this past few weeks total cost in dentistry over $2000 plus we had to buy a special chair for him to be able to sleep at night he has breathing problems , leg problems and back issues so total cost $1,400 so yes we could use a few low cash weeks.

    LIfe is getting so expensive in our area we are just about 7 miles from dc I am so glad we all live together we could not afford anything if we did not have each other to help each other out in times of need.

    Only debt we have is for our car and it is not much plus it is 0% interest and the only debt my son and his wife have are for about half of the car they had to buy when the twins came and it is at a very very low interest so other than that we all do okay. It takes a lot of belt tightening. My son has been selling things like crazy on ebay and amazon. I am planing a yard sale and selling things off craigslist.

  41. I’m in zone 7 in north Georgia. Although somewhat more muted than farther up north, we do get beautiful fall colors. All the other trees around us turn gorgeous shades but our old maple did not. I guess it is a blessing in disguise that it fell and could be replaced.

  42. What a great themed bday cake and items from garage sales!! Not much going on this week at our house- just working a lot. But here is a few frugal things I did accomplish:
    – Made vegetable broth from all the scrapes I had been saving in the freezer. Froze it in ice trays for better storage in freezer and I can take out what I need.
    -Made snack mix using nuts, dried fruit and candy I had in pantry.
    -Made homemade salsa- Lots of it!! (Need to can some tomorrow on my day off or give some away as gifts…)
    -Used the ground up dehydrated orange peels from a couple of weeks in making a baking soda cleaning powder.
    -Made a big batch of French toast from the 2 loaves of bread I gleamed from the free table at work several weeks ago that I was saving in the freezer with the free eggs I got last week.
    -Mailed off a $3.99 rebate request.
    -Finding other ways to sell items that are not selling on Ebay. We live out in the country and not sensible to do a yard sale.
    -Gifted a KFC dinner. Will pick the chicken off the bones on the leftovers to make chicken salad.
    Have a blessed week!!

  43. That cake is adorable!! And you scored some great garage sale finds.
    I was out of town for half of last week. The woman I sometimes carpool with wanted to leave a day early and the extra night’s hotel would have been more than the gas I would have saved, so I drove by myself. I listened to an audiobook I downloaded from the library on the way there. I took food to eat for the meals that weren’t included in the retreat.
    Before I left for the retreat, I got my hair cut, using the last bit on a gift card I purchased 18 months ago at a discount, so my only out of pocket was the tip.
    We set out two native elderberry trees and a blueberry bush. The blueberry is to replace one my puppy destroyed last year – she is older now and no longer so destructive. I hope to eventually get elderberries to make elderberry syrup.
    I recycled some glass jars I had saved to hold cotton balls, Q-tips, and bandages in the bathroom, similar to these: They look pretty sitting out and they get rid of some of the clutter in the cabinets.
    I finished knitting a pair of hiking socks.
    My husband used scrap wood to make some over-sized wooden trivets to keep potted plants up off the deck. This helps prevent them staining the deck boards.
    We visited the local hot springs. We were prepared to pay, but when we walked in our friend who works there was at the front desk and she comped our admission (every employee is allowed a number of free passes each month.)

  44. I have no idea who the pig is – but it’s adorable!!! You found such amazing deals too 🙂 I love a good garage sale-

    *My husband and I had a date night and used a gift card plus a coupon to that restaurant. OOP was $8. It was fun and I loved the food. My husband had been gone for training for 3 weeks. It’s nice to have him home again.

    *I ordered Zaycon chicken. I had a credit plus I found a code to use. Was able to get the 40# chicken for $1.42/lb. That’s a really good price for chicken breasts for me. Pick up is in June which will give me time to finish up the chicken I still have in the freezer. We have 2 packages of thighs, 1 package of drumsticks, 3 whole chickens and 2 bags of chicken breasts to use up.

    *We are doing family pictures this next week. We have a family member who takes the pictures and gives us a discount. I am using clothing we already have on hand for the most part.

    *We had leftovers in our fridge of this and that. I spent Friday morning hard boiling eggs, making casseroles and burritos to use up the last of everything. Everything was eaten over the weekend.

    *I started seeds of flowers and herbs inside on Saturday morning. A few have already started to sprout! I’ve never seen that happen before. I’m hoping to have enough flowers that I don’t need to buy any this year from the nursery. My daughter helped me plant and label everything. We used straws and scrap paper for the labels.

    *I spent more in groceries this past week – but my savings/coupons total was $149.56. And there are times we have to stock up. Picked up free items from the store that were listed for the week.

    *Made all lunches, dinners, breakfast at home. Except for the date night.

    Hope everyone has a great week!!! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  45. I so sympathize with the medical bills and car failure. It sounds like you are doing all you can. I offer hope to you as someone who has come out the other side. Last year was really tough for us — lots of medical bills. When I did our taxes I was kind of astonished that we made it through on so little income. But we did, and thing are better now, so I hope the same for you!

  46. Money spending focus this month is on toiletries and cleaning needs. I’ve bought deodrant, shampoo and conditioner this week from the grocery outlet. I bought tooth paste and toilet paper kast week.
    It was 11 celsius this morning so I turned on the heater. The cold is definitely beginning. Sigh.

    The fence between myself and my neighbours came down due to safety reasons. My neighbours want insurance to pay for the fence to be rebuilt so it will take a long time for anything to happen. I have put up temporary fencing using star droppers found in the at the back of my neighbours place, trellis wire (15.00) weed matting ($11.00) and cable ties ($2.99). Hopefully this temporary fencing will last until they figure out how to pay for their part of the fence. I check the fence every day and my dad gave me stronger cable ties to keep everything attached if necessary.
    Hope everyone has a happy frugal week.

  47. That’s one cute cake, Brandy! I have to admit, though, when I first looked at the picture, I was only looking at the upper part of Peppa Pig’s head and thought you had created a pink monster. It wasn’t until I scrolled down that I realized what you had actually made…LOL! It sounds like you found some excellent garage sale items at really great prices. The jewelry is particularly lovely. Are you planning to keep them for yourself or use them as gifts?

    We’ve had an extremely chaotic week emotionally. DD had yet another incident at school (no police but she did punch someone). The incident caused DD to express suicidal thoughts and this time hid a kitchen knife in her room. We then had to go into suicide watch for a few days until we felt she was stabilized. Had a VERY heated discussion on the phone with the school principle, where I was accused of many things, including not being supportive of the school and not being a good parent. Was so furious after our conversation, I contacted a lawyer’s office for legal advice (still awaiting a call back). Today, I had a meeting at the school, including principle, support staff from school board and head of special education department for the entire school board. After the meeting, had personal conversations with some of the support staff that are helping with DD. They expressed to me that they are seeing many of the concerns I am upset about and assured me that things WILL be changing. Feeling cautiously optimistic about DD returning to school tomorrow, but changes may take some time, so we will see.

    As for frugal accomplishments, this week they included:
    *Meals made at home included option between hamburger helper or turkey tater tot casserole, hot chicken sandwiches with leftover veggies and coleslaw, homemade potato soup (used some of the homemade broth that didn’t seal properly), homemade chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, rice (1/2 flavoured, 1/2 white to stretch the more expensive flavoured rice) and carrots, grilled cheese sandwiches with leftover potato soup, and breaded chicken fingers with homemade fried rice (made from leftover rice) and veggie spring rolls.
    *After spending all day Sunday boiling up poultry carcasses and soaking an entire 1.8kg bag of dried chickpeas, I spent ALL day Monday pressure canning the homemade broth and prepared chickpeas (I made sure to use my reusable tattler lids to decrease canning costs). Three batches later, I have 6 quarts of chickpeas, 5 quarts of turkey broth and 5 pints of chicken broth to add to my pantry. I also cooked up a pot of chickpeas that I was going to can in a pint jar until I realized that it could not be canned with the chicken broth due to 2 different processing times. Frugal Fail: I was still canning by the time dinner rolled around and the kitchen was under siege with it all. So we opted to get fish & chip takeout for dinner (DD’s absolute favourite dinner). However, we ordered a 4 piece dinner for 2 which stretched perfectly for the entire family, and was half the cost of buying 4 individual meals!
    *Unfortunately, I had some seal failures…1 quart of chickpeas, 2 quarts of turkey broth and 1 pint of chicken broth. I had DD try the cooked chickpeas and she seemed to like them! She mashed some of them with some mayo to make a sandwich filling one day for lunch. I cooked the rest in BBQ sauce, froze half and kept the rest in the fridge to use in wraps this coming week. I used 1 quart of turkey broth to make soup this week. The other 2 jars of broth were divided into 2 cup portions and froze for future use.
    *Tricked the family into eating leftover soup one night. I asked for their help in deciding on what to make for dinner. I told them that if they couldn’t decide, I would be making grilled cheese sandwiches. Hubby said that was fine with some soup. DD chimed in and asked that we have a soup she liked. I said, “Well, there is leftover potato soup. We can have that.” They sighed and grudgingly agreed. So, we did well with eating up leftovers this week…Yay!!!
    *Cooked extra chicken with dinner one night. Used the leftovers to make 6 individual sized, uncooked tater tot casseroles for the freezer. These are perfect for DD to make for herself for lunch or for those occasional dinners when the rest of the family are having something she doesn’t like (the rest of us are not fans of her beloved tater tot casserole, so I consider this a fair).
    *With the prediction of a nasty storm headed for us, I made sure to pick up some groceries and other necessities to see us through, including buying extra milk in case the storm shut everything down for an extended period of time. The prediction was that the storm would have the potential for dangerous driving conditions, severe ice/freezing rain that could cause extensive damage, high winds and possible wide spread hydro outages. The ice storm started Friday night and lasted the whole weekend. We did get pretty bad weather, but thankfully it turned out to be mainly ice pellets and sleet…that was until Sunday night. This morning we woke up to downed tree limbs, cancelled school buses, slippery road conditions, and some areas did loose hydro (thankfully not us). They’re predicting another snow storm in the next day or two…lucky us!
    *DD had blood work taken at the hospital on Saturday, to monitor her diabetes. Hubby drove us, as the weather was questionable, and dropped us off before finding a free place to part while we went in, saving us the $6 parking fee. Since we live in Canada, the blood work is covered under our health coverage, so no cost OOP.

    Hoping this week is better than the last one. Reading everyone’s comments definitely help improve my mood, so I thank you all for that glimmer of happiness!

  48. I do hope you will share your favourite things you did or saw while on vacation. I’m glad you are enjoying your 50th anniversary vacation, Maxine!

  49. Were you on the south shore? The north shore had devastating flooding . I hope you are able to enjoy your trip.

  50. Yes, we are at Poipu Beach. We have been under at least 3 flash flooding warnings since Thursday, but it has only sprinkled here, and all of the flooding has been at the north end of the island.

    Let me add that I just opened the Monopoly game pieces from our big grocery shop at the Lihue Safeway, and I won 3 free items. When I get home, I will go to Safeway for an 8 ounce carton of sour cream, a 3 pack of organic microwave popcorn and an individual package of Ferraro Rochet chocolates. That last one’s mine!

  51. So sorry you had to have your gall bladder removed, but you will feel better once you learn what you can/can’t eat. I have learned that if I am going to eat something high fat (think Mexican, my fave) I do it for lunch so that if my body doesn’t particularly care for all that fat I get over it before going to bed rather than eating it for dinner and being up all night and miserable. Good luck in figuring it out!

  52. Thanks, Libby! Our Aldi’s is over an hour away. I hope to get there sometime this week. I will definitely pick one up since I have another recipe that calls for it. I just think it’s weird that no-one close carries goat cheese!

  53. Last night I made a copy-cat recipe for a dish I really like at Applebee’s. The recipe wasn’t cheap to make, but it was cheaper than going to eat at Applebee’s. It made enough that we can eat it for several meals.

    I found a coupon for $10 off an allergy medicine that my husband takes, but I did some research and found out the generic would still be cheaper – even with the coupon. So I didn’t buy any.

    I shopped the “Penny Pincher” coupon book that a local grocery store puts out to get some good grocery deals.

    I found a product that I use regularly for $4 less at the grocery store than Walmart. So I’ll start buying it there from now on. The grocery store is never cheaper on toiletry items unless I have a coupon. So I was happy to see that this was just their regular price!

    Insurance covered a prescription 100%

    I also bought a birthday gift for my nephew. I stayed under budget for the gift, but still got him a nice present.

  54. Sorry to hear that it was such an exhausting week – and it must be so frightening for you when your daughter expresses suicidal thoughts. I know that schools here in Ontario try to incorporate all students into the public school system but I wondered if they offer any other alternatives that might be easier for your daughter to cope with? I believe that she is a young teen? Those years are so full of emotion anyway that it must be even more difficult for her. I don’t understand why the principal would say you are a bad mother – that seems to be right out of line – but he does have to consider all the pupils under his care and is no doubt under pressure from the other parents involved. I hope that it gets resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
    This weekend’s weather has been awful down here in the city – we lost power twice yesterday but it came back fairly quickly in my area – apparently I’m very lucky as a big area just slightly east of me has been out since 2:30am this morning – just going to check the news to see if they are back up as yet. I had done my grocery shopping for everything I’d need to get through it so no need to venture out. I have to go out to appointments tomorrow and I’m dreading having to look out my boots again – the slush is making it a total mess at the moment. Good luck this week.

  55. Here is an alternate view about clothing. I spend less than $100 a year on shoes and clothing, including warm coats. But I have many clothes – 70 sweaters, 50 blouses, 30 pairs of pants, 40 pairs of footwear, 8 warm coats, etc. I do have lots of storage. I make sure that I wear each garment at least once every year and I do organize everything at least once a year and donate items that I won’t wear in the future. I have some really nice items that are previously owned, though often not previously worn and I also buy things that are really, really reduced in price. For example I bought a pair of new black leather Talbot’s loafers a few months ago for $19, with an original price of $129. I had a coupon and they were reduced for an end of season sale. I wear almost nothing out because I rotate everything all the time. Maybe occasionally something gets a little ratty after 5 years or so and I donate it or throw it away or I cut it up for a rag. I did have a pair of leather pumps wear out recently that were about 15 years old. But I certainly have many items that are 15 years old or more. I get much too bored with only a few items. And really, if you wear classic clothes – like v neck cashmere sweaters, a line wool skirts, corduroy jeans, leather ballet flats – they don’t get dated like cold shoulder tops or extreme styles.

  56. Marivene, So nice to hear you’re doing well after major surgery! What a blessing to have great insurance, too!

  57. The adorable birthday cake makes me long for more children. Had I been blessed , I would have had dozens. Perhaps one day there will be a grandchild . Life is pretty quiet here in my house. The A.C. and heat have not been on for over ten weeks now. The weather continues to be neutral so I hope to continue having it off for a while longer. I bought two wire shelves to add to my laundry room for $1.01. I have some of the end caps to hang them so that was an inexpensive solution to my storage problem. I wanted to read a book about homemade dog food by a certain vet but definitely did not want to buy it. I actually found it on Amazon for free. I looked at some other subjects I was interested in and gleaned quite a bit of valuable information from several other Kindle free books. I am finding that the salvage stores here are starting to put out hurricane food supply kits. These boxes are a dollar and packed with food. I bought ten boxes. They each have two cans of chef boy ardee. 3 puddings, 3 fruit cups, cereal, milk boxes, granola/snack bars and an assortment of nuts. Well worth the one dollar. My college children will appreciate them on weeks when they have a tight budget. Gasoline has steadily rose in price since last fall. My monthly budget now covers half the month. Simple solution is to drive half the amount. We continue to live with what we have and be content.

  58. Peppa looks wonderful! I know many people that would love to buy that for their child’s birthday! I appreciate that you choose to learn new skills and try it yourself- quite a lovely success!

    The last couple of weeks were expensive. We bought a new to us car that has provided a great sense of relief. The car replaces the same make and model but a new year. The old car had 205k+ miles and I am confident this car will last that long or longer. Even with the large purchase we did our best to be frugal.

    [*] Read two ebooks from the library
    [*] Built a hoop house for under $15 to start vegetable seeds and extend the growing season. I’m hoping this will replace the need for purchasing vegetable starts at the nursery (usually tomatoes and peppers).
    [*]Made a liquid dishwashing machine detergent from items on hand as I ran out and didn’t want to buy anymore.
    [*] Continued eating down the freezer to make way for summer garden harvests.

    Hope everyone has a nice week.

  59. Jerri, until the month before, I had never had any troubles at all digestively. If I had, it would be easier now to know what to avoid!

  60. Greetings!
    We’re at the end of our usual April snownado. We’ve gotten about 10” with snow still coming down. Needless to say, i’m tucked into the house watching yoootuuube video’s. Very frugal!
    Love the cupcake cake! Such a talent you have! I have yard sale envy, too! There is an auction this weekend, if the weather co-operates for us.
    I paid a bill at our local bank which saved a stamp and check. I have a couple more to pay this week.
    I’m still saving water from the shower and dehumidifier to flush.
    I ran out of paper cupcake liners. I did use oil in the next batches but don’t care to scrub so much. I ordered several boxes from the co-op. In the meantime, I went to a thrift store and found three used packages of liners! One was unopened and all for a quarter each. I love it when the universe sends you what you need!
    I talked my husband into cutting my hair. Since it’s been shorter lately, I ask him to cut it more often. He’s still doing a great job and the price is right!
    I went to Michael’s armed with two coupons. I used those and got most everything else on sale. I did pay full price (2.99) for waxed linen thread I wanted. It was the last package and Michael’s is an hour away.
    I sold an item on eBay and walked and exercised at home and the neighborhood.
    Wishing everyone a fabulous week!

  61. I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s difficulties, Rhonda. I really feel for both her and you. Are there any alternative schools available to her in the school system? I know Toronto has a number, but I also know Peterborough may be different (I used to live there about 20 years ago). Does your contact at CAMH have any suggestions?

    I have a family member who has their own struggles, and they ended up dropping out of school early. While their life path hasn’t been typical compared to their peers, they’re happy with their life, and my take-away is that life doesn’t have to be conventional to be a happy, healthy, or successful one. Your daughter is clearly growing (she has a good friend now, with whom she does social things) and learning (such as learning kitchen skills), and even though her path might be a bit different from some of her peers and perhaps different from what you envisioned for her as a child, with you as her advocate, I’m confident that in time she will come out on the other side of all these difficulties. The most important thing is that she knows she is loved and supported by her family. Hang in there. We’re all thinking of you.

  62. Good luck with the healing gall bladder. My granddaughter had hers out at 21, after ignoring it for about a year. Her mother had hers out in the past year–as they found a lot of stones while diagnosing some other problems. It is a hassle to learn what and when to eat again but worth the trouble, as they are both doing so much better now. Doesn’t take too many tries of a “wrong” food to learn to forego the temptation.

    I had a busy week, for a couple reasons. One was a very unexpected death in the family–my nephew’s wife who was only 49. She was a heavy smoker and the doctor had wanted her in the hospital but she was too busy to take any time for herself. I didn’t know she also had emphysema, but she did, and she died in her sleep one night. This is going to set off a bunch of changes—her husband is totally blind, she had custody of one grandchild, and her daughter is physically handicapped also, but not totally. In addition, the memorial service turned out to be in the middle of a windy and sleety ice storm which lasted most of the weekend. Several siblings of my nephew drove 5-7 hours to get here and found the last half hour the worse road conditions of all! We all got there and back safely and drove very carefully.

    My sister (mother in law of the deceased) was pretty much a basket case herself, so my other sister and I took her out for a LONG lunch and grieving conversation one day. I started some spring cleaning in and around my other housework tasks, so now have things in a slight uproar in a couple rooms. I am just unable to finish a room in one day anymore–especially when it’s our bedroom and we’re both kind of pack rats with clothes and things. I did throw out about four pair of my “sloppy weather” shoes, and gave my sister three pair of still nearly new ones that she can wear. I recently decided the next wider width was more comfortable, so now I’m down to only 2 pair of my favorite every day shoes. I only buy them on super low sales, though, so will get some more towards the end of summer. My husband had a birthday last week as well (76 now) –I have not made his birthday pie yet, but I’ve promised him one. One sister sent him half a dozen very large doughnuts from our favorite shop. We usually split one as they are that big. Once the doughnuts are gone I will think about his pie. My daughter and grand-daughter took us all out to Dad’s favorite BBQ restaurant, where we ordered sparsely and still took food home! I ordered a sandwich and fries, and we fed all five of us with fries and still left some on the plate! Very generous servings. Three ordered sandwiches; two whole dinners.

    Today I had to travel to the dentist in cold heavy rain, which turned to snow before I started home. I was forced to stop for gas as well, if I actually wanted to be sure of making it all the way home. I usually do that when I go to the grocery store but it was nasty and cold that day too.

    There is no spring happening here. Several large lakes now exist that were farm fields just a couple days ago. We got about 2 inches in the last 24 hours–my sympathy to the lady who got only 4 mm. We’d be happy to send you some of ours if only it worked that way. I won’t be getting seeds in for another month as wet as it looks now. Cool weather crops could go in now if you didn’t sink into the ground on the way to the garden. I can still work on spring cleaning in the meantime. Amazing how much dust collects in a 105 year old house between deep cleanings!

  63. I called around locally for prices on all season tires and found some locally that were similar in pricing as online. We had them installed Saturday. Total cost was $400 but we had planned for that. Now that my snow tires are off the car I hope to see Spring soon. I had 2 of my boys stay home from school with some kind of bug. They ate soup & crackers from the pantry. Relied on wood heat during the day. For most afternoons was able to let the fire die down and rely on the sun to keep us warm. Trying to work thru the chest freezer so that it will be empty by this summer. I need to defrost it and give it a good wash. Once I do that I can stock it up and put in some freezer meals. I found a lot of holes in variety in both the freezer and the pantry. Will concentrate on restocking the pantry for the most part.
    I organized my bill filing system. Also started to gather meal options so I can meal plan. I continued to spring clean and declutter throughout the week. Some items were set aside to sell at a later point, some items donated and some thrown out. My husband and I continued to eat leftovers for lunch. I combined my shopping errands with the day I went to pick up my tires. In addition to the regular shopping I stocked up on 5 brownie mixes, 2 whole chickens for 89 cents a lb (1 was for freezer) and toilet paper. Saturday I found out I was approved for unemployment. Grateful for the phone call from my oldest daughter. She lives about 7 hours away.

  64. Salad spinners are so useful. I have 3, though only 1 still has a working top to operate the spinners. They’re old and we wore
    them out. I still use them all. They are just like seives/ colanders except that after you wash the fruits or vegetables and drain the water off you can set the strainer portion
    back in the base and it collects any other water drops. They are so handy in the summer with all the fresh produce.

  65. I harvested green onion, kale, and arugula from my garden. I made zucchini muffins and pumpkin muffins to use up veggies from the freezer.

    My husband had been watching the online classifieds for a while and most of the used basketball stands were $100 or more! He finally found one for $30. Our family has been having a lot of fun with it, playing out in the driveway most days after dinner.

    We had a lunch date. My mom watched our youngest kids while my husband and I went to one of our favorite restaurants. We split a meal to save on calories in addition to money!

  66. Stacey April 16, 2018
    lights should be within a couple inches of plants(I made this mistake).I also repotted them when they got about 6 inches tall, took the bottom leaves off and planted them in pots so only the top leaves were showing. That helped a lot. This is the first year I am growing tomato seeds from my own heirloom tomato plants. Talk to all that provided medical services. I understand the 11 yr of van dying… our 2001 ford is only got a couple months if that before it goes completely down, only drive it if necessary as it’s not real safe. The 1998 truck has needed replaced for a couple years, our mechanic has limped it for us while we were in a bankruptcy.

  67. Waffles, pancakes and muffins can be made without milk or eggs. Look up vegan recipes. They use applesauce instead. I always make double batches and have the kids put them in the toaster for easy breakfasts on school days. Let people know that you are willing to take leftovers. I have gotten free food from so many different organizations, GS, BS, schools, church. They are always happy to give the food away instead of throwing it out.
    If your tomato plants are very thin try putting them into a bigger pot. Put some crushed egg shells in the soil for extra calcium. Lettuce and herbs are very easy to grow and worth it. Lots of bang for your buck. String beans are easy to and produce a lot. I have gotten seeds at Dollar Tree, 4 packs for a dollar. They have all grown fine for me.
    Good luck.

  68. Ms.Flathat April 16, 2018
    this is also what I do . I also turn my hanging clothes so the hanger is backwards at the first of the season (I change out since I am in OH which we are now in what our local weather station is calling sprinter (spring/winter) and anything I don’t wear gets gone at the end of the season. No excuses allowed LOL I have clothes I wore 20 yrs ago

  69. Happy Anniversary! Great job on making 3 new items. Taco seasoning is so easy to make. I keep a jar of it ready to go. We had taco’s last night.

  70. Happy Anniversary to you and your husband. 50…very nice. May you have many many more to celebrate.

  71. Brandy, great buy on the ice cube trays. I use mine all the time, but never for ice! I freeze leftover juice, yogurt, etc. that would go bad and use these in my smoothies.

    My frugal accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Found bags of beef jerky on the clearance rack for $2/bag. Bought all 7. Also got 2 boxes of instant oatmeal for $1.39/box. Not the lowest price I’ve ever spent, but good enough. These are great for me to take to work. My grandson loves them too.
    • At our mystery party last week, one of the guests brought plates of cookies with some blue table/balloon weights with stars on them on them. The plates are made to look like sliver trays. I’ll use the weights on the 4th of July and I also saved the plates as she did not want them back.
    • Replaced the pump top on my liquid foundation makeup with a flat topped lid (I have an assortment of lids of different sizes for this purpose) and turned it upside down so I can get the last remnants of the foundation.
    • Cut my cotton rounds in half for use in removing my makeup. Instead of using 2 cotton rounds/day, I only need to use 1 ½.
    • We are already needing our air conditioning, but I used ceiling fans to help keep us cool so we didn’t have to turn it down as much. We did get 2 days reprieve this week as it was nice enough to open windows instead. Hubby set the timers on the adjustable thermostats to maximize the savings.
    • Needed to raise our bed an inch so I can store my gift wrap boxes under it easily. Hubby used some wood he already had to make risers. And it was wood he had gotten for free.
    • Took aluminum cans to the recycling center. We made $11, but have determined it is too much mess, work and time to do again. We will just put them in our recycling can that the city picks up. When we lived in the NW, we got 5c per can or bottle and it was very easy to do. If we ever get back up there we will do that again.
    • Brought my lunch both times I went into the office. Hubby brought his 4 out of 5 times and the 5th was a $1.50 hot dog and drink from Costco. He used leftover veggies from the veggie tray someone brought to our mystery party on his salads. What he didn’t use, I put in the freezer for soup.
    • Ate dinner at home most of the week. Had leftovers from our mystery party twice; grilled pork chops with pasta and corn; grilled chicken and pasta (which produced 2 leftovers for my work lunches.) On Tuesday at our weekly trivia league night I had something off the Happy Hour menu for only $5. On Friday, nephew and his wife were here overnight and for dinner. Hubby wanted to treat them to a nice dinner but instead of going out, I found 4 steaks on clearance and we had those with baked potatoes, asparagus, salad and ice cream. What would have cost over $150 if we had gone out only cost around $40, including wine.
    • Got the Kroger Friday Freebie of a pack of Tic Tac Gum, which will go in a Christmas stocking. Also used a store coupon to get a free roll of paper towels and $1 off $4 of produce. I bought some apples off the clearance bin – 8 apples for $1.
    • Just found out that Costco accepts VISA (and has since 2016…who knew???). We will now be able to get points on our credit card when we shop there. We put everything we can on our card and pay it off every month.
    • Walked for exercise 5 times.
    • Paid extra on our mortgage and knocked off another 5 months. Worked 16 ½ contract hours.
    • Got some Ibotta rebates.
    • In my quest to read all of the Agatha Christie books in order of when they were published, I finished a library book and put the next one on hold. Until that one comes in I am reading a book I already own but haven’t read. Also checked out some books for my grandson when we went to the free toddler story time.
    • Sent 2 cards I had received free from a charity I support to friends.
    • I had some leftover yarn, so I crocheted a small blanket for my grandson’s teddy bear that he has here. He loved it!
    • Found a soccer ball on clearance for $5 that I put in my Christmas gift box for my grandson.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  72. I paid my taxes. So, I have been eating from my fridge. I made beans and hamburger soup (watered down chili) in the crockpot, dandelion greens, potatoes, eggs, cheese toast. carrots, turnips, etc. I made a white cake and icing for dessert. I may not be buying groceries, but I want for nothing. I did not realize how packed I was with food, that needs to be eaten. I am still working on my frozen mulberries from last year (and the tree will probably have new berries ready in a couple of weeks). I think I see a mulberry cobbler in my future…lol. I wore a thrifted but in very good shape bright pink skirt suite that I purchased for $3.00 at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. They have the best prices around. I trimmed my own hair and did my own nails. I cleaned out my car, and cleaned up my house. A tidy house makes me so happy! I listened to bluegrass, classical, blues, and gospel music on the Public Broadcasting Station. I ran out of toothpaste and have been using baking soda. My teeth are actually whiter…lol. Really, toothpaste is the only item I need at the moment, and I could go get it if I wanted to, but I want to see how my teeth do with the baking soda.

  73. Hi Stacy: I totally understand about huge medical bills and old vehicles. I slice up potatoes and bake them in the oven some mornings for homemade breakfast hash browns. Brandy’s soup recipes are good, as are any simple beans and rice soup recipes. Red beans and rice is a typical cajun meal ( I am showing my roots here), but you can use any beans you like. I just add typical cajun spices, or if you do not have that, cayenne pepper by itself kicks up the heat. I have found rice, oatmeal, beans, and cheap vegetables likes potatoes, carrots, onions, go a long way, especially in a water based soup. Hugs.

  74. Kelly, my younger son’s wife does exactly this job. She runs her own business and has one health aid and one physical therapist that works with her. She actually met my son through mutual patients/clients as he is a geriatric social worker.

  75. Sarah, that is such a good idea for the learning of 3 new items….very beneficial in the long run. Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!

  76. I’ve never listed my frugal accomplishments on here and thought I would give it a try! I love your blog(long time reader) and the Peppa Pig cake!
    –We came in under on last week’s grocery budget. I used the extra money to buy some items for food storage.
    –We got our income tax return, we will use the money to go towards my DD’s tuition next year.
    –I finally figured out our new budget. My husband was blessed with a bigger raise than he was expecting. I am trying to stay within our old budget and use the rest for savings/house repairs(such as a roof). We have all of our needs met with the old budget and I don’t want to be wasteful.
    –We were able to take my SIL and her 4 kids to the Children’s museum in town for free. We had extra tickets but they let us all in for free since it was within an hour of closing.
    –We were gifted some yummy beef bacon.
    –We made all meals at home last week. We focused on simple meals since it was a busy week and I didn’t want to be tempted to eat out.
    –My husband recently did a sleep study and has sleep apnea. He will need a CPAP machine which would have costed us a lot of money. My FIL happened to have an almost new CPAP machine he bought. They switched him to a different type of machine and he can’t use it. He will be sending it to us. We will only need to buy new tubing which is a big savings.

    Thanks for the opportunity to focus on the positive!

  77. Cute cake. We had 2 birthdays here last week. I made my son gluten free cupcakes with homemade chocolate frosting using cocoa powder. My picky eater son loved them. For my daughter’s birthday I got 18 mini cupcakes free because sale price wasn’t on the box. Bought 2 more boxes of cupcakes for 2.99 each. Her friends from her Special Olympics bowling team went out to dinner together, mostly moms and athletes, and I had enough cupcakes to serve 19 people plus other people in the restaurant. Everyone pays for their own dinner. I decorated cupcakes with pics and tied a birthday balloon on her chair that I got from the Dollar Tree. A great way to celebrate her 30th birthday.
    Shopped at Kroger’s today and got $62 worth of groceries for 35 cents. My husband was given a $50 gift card to Kroger for doing radio commercials for our local radio station for free. I had a $20 voucher for Gluten Free food.
    Saved $1 by dropping off bills when I was out any way. My husband wanted me to stop at the bakery and buy Schnecken, it’s a Cincinnati thing, a pan of swirled sweet rolls with raisins. It costs $8. I made him bread pudding with raisins for dinner tonight and will serve it with warm bourbon sauce. I had all ingredients at home.
    On vacation there was no one in Pennsylvania Turnpike toll booths to collect our money when we exited. Received a bill and a $25 penalty fee for not paying. Called and they removed penalty because we were not at fault. Gladly paid the rest of the bill over the phone saving another stamp:) I love everyone’s idea. Trying to be as frugal as possible while living with a non frugal husband. He did fill up my car with gas with reward points saving 50 cents per gallon.

  78. Susan, my 41-yo DD has been in Special Olympics for about 30 years. I think she is going to do bowling this fall. In the past she has mainly done x-c skiing and track & field. She isn’t any good in either of them, but she certainly has a good time!!

  79. Kelly, please take a look at working in the field of hospice & palliative care. It is a subspecialty for APN’s or RN’s. I had a many-year career as a CHPN (certified hospice & palliative nurse) doing both home care and hospital consults, and it was *immensely* satisfying, an extraordinary time to share with families. Many hospices are using APN’s as an adjunct to their medical director. I always felt that hospice had a great deal in common with midwifery: in both, you are using your skills to help both an individual and a family to a new place.

  80. Powdered milk is an excellent idea. I stopped buying it a few years ago because it got so expensive in my area. I’ve never tried replacing milk with water, but most of the flavor comes from the other ingredients, so that makes sense.

    I wish these things were more apparent to me. My mother worked and I think it was more efficient for her to prepare things herself instead of taking the time to teach me. She also didn’t care much for cooking or homemaking although she was a diligent and expert cleaner. Consequently I have been learning as I go, and often miss things that are obvious to others. I had never even heard of meal planning until a few years ago. That would have made such a huge difference to me when my kids were small.

    Also, in the moment, when things are stressful, I think my brain just shuts down sometimes. So thanks everyone, for all of your kind thoughts and useful suggestions. I learn so much here and appreciate hearing everyone’s stories and advice each week.

    Brandy, I live in zone 5. Your garden is so amazing to me. It is beautiful and so productive. My lot is mostly wooded and likes to flood. I have been reading about permaculture and trying to figure out how to apply that to my yard. We are renting a 10 x 20 plot in a local organic community garden this year, and at home I will be doing some raised beds and container planting. Have you already done some series on gardening? Your ability to produce so much food is really inspiring.

  81. Sorry to hear about your unexpected surgery. I had my gallbladder removed almost 15 years ago. It gets easier.

    At this point I can eat everything, but I have a few rules that I follow. For breakfast, l try to start with something mild like cereal or oatmeal to absorb some of the excess bile that’s been building up overnight. If I start with something richer or spicy/ sour I don’t feel well.

    I try to eat something every three or four hours. Again, this keeps the bile from building up in my stomach. If I wait too long, it can be painful.

    I don’t take a lot of fluid with a meal. I drink lots of water, just not at mealtime.

    If I’m going to have something richer like cheesecake, I have it at the end of a meal, not by itself.

    I hope this is helpful. Best wishes to you on your recovery.

  82. We had a simple third birthday party at home for our son. Mostly family, with Costco pizza and homemade cake. We gave him a small photo album with pictures of himself, which he loves.
    Our daughter had some type of mouth infection and her gums surrounding a baby and permanent tooth were inflamed. Our next door neighbor is a dentist, and he looked at it instead of me taking her to our dentist. He suggested swishing with warm salt water, and it cleared up on its own after a few days.
    I cut open the toothpaste tube to get the last little bit out.
    Bought some 90% off Cadbury eggs, my husband’s favorite. He could not tell that the Cadbury eggs I gave him for Easter had been in the freezer for 2 years(!), so hopefully these will last until next Easter, too.
    Did not get to go to a community garage sale due to rainy weather, but that’s ok.
    Sold a toy kitchen in a facebook group for my sister; she lets me keep half. Also got hand-me-downs from her daughters for my younger daughter.
    My mom bought my two oldest kids a field day shirt for their school.
    We ate bacon sandwiches instead of bacon and eggs. Eggs have gotten very expensive here. Saved bacon grease to use later.
    Used cloth diapers when home.
    Shared leftover birthday cake with one neighbor who gives me their coupon inserts since we don’t subscribe to the newspaper.

  83. Cutest cake ever!! It makes me happy to look at that cake! :p We love Peppa Pig around here. I actually went to the local citywide yard sale and picked up a Peppa Pig DVD for 50 cents. There weren’t many good finds due to colder than average temps and a terribly cloudy/misty day.

  84. thanks. still in the cast for my arm but am now home. learning to cope. I hope cast coms off in 3 weeks. I could use some spring weather!!!!

  85. I love your cake! It reminds me of the cakes my mother would decorate for me and my siblings.
    My frugal things last week –
    Paid off a loan with income tax money…. but now this week a new loan since my daughter needs a car.
    Made most meals at home and my husband took lunch each day to work.
    My daughter had some appts so I drove up to Phoenix and spent the night Early in the morning she drove us home, we got Satbucks with an earned gift card for our ride home She needs to come home once a month for appts so now that she has a car it will be easier for us all. She is a full time student and starting one job and looking for another one to help with bills.
    I stayed in most of the week.
    Saturday, my daughter & I shopped at Goodwill and found several things 1 beautiful New York & Company blouse for me for $4 and ents. axing everyone’s commseveral things for my daughter.
    I won a $100 gift card that I used to buy a Kroger gift card. I gave to my daughter to help her out.
    We picked some tomatoes from our garden and had a tomato sandwich for lunch.
    That was my week.

  86. It’s a great cake! There is nothing like a home made birthday cake. My daughter turned 18 on the weekend and we made her a cake in the shape of a cactus which fitted the Mexican food and piñata she also had.

    I picked up a push mower for $5 this morning from an op shop so I’m hoping this will not only save petrol money but make me fitter!

  87. The last couple of weeks have been crazy stressful. Last year my 20 year old was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder (Ehlers-Danlos) that has caused her to develop fibromyalgia. I spent much of last week going from doctor to doctor with her when she started having chest pains & palpitations. The week before that she randomly dislocated her knee while sleeping. Lots of tests & co-pays ($30 for the first doc then $50/ specialist.) Because it is so rare we have to go through a crazy amount of rigamarole to get a doctor to believe that there is something wrong. I am thankful that we have health insurance at all.

    2 weeks ago Husband’s work announced that the company is being sold. Husband is worried because it is cheaper to hire 2 20 year old engineers to do his job than to pay 48 year old him. We know lots of people at church in the same boat. Mostly I worry about not having health insurance, particularly for our daughter. Because of the prospect of not having insurance by next month, I got everyone into the dentist, our son had the oral surgery he needed, I got the glasses wearers in our family exams and new glasses if they were eligible and so on.

    Our oldest and her husband are graduating from college (BYU) next week which means a road trip to Utah. I have been making snack type foods ahead for the trip as well as prepping easy meals for the daughter who has to stay home for work/ school.

    Last year the same daughter was in a fender bender where the other party made a claim against our insurance. This month we got the new amount we will be paying. It went up $100 a month! On top of the additional $60 a month that it went up when she moved back in with us. Time to go shopping for new car insurance, but it is tough since we have had the same insurance company for more than 30 years.

    I browsed through the Microsoft Rewards program and got enough points for a $5 Amazon card. I think I will use it to get myself a Kindle book for the trip.

    I have been collecting the Safeway Monopoly tickets, but I really only use the coupons for the free items. So far I have collected 7 small cans of tomato sauce, 3 bottles of aspirin, 2 loaves of french bread, 6 seasoning packets for gravy, 2 boxes of organic animal crackers (for the trip), 2 free doughnuts, one 5# bag of flour, 2 small containers of greek yogurt, one container of sour cream, one brick of cream cheese and 5 water bottles (trip) all for free.

    I also collected several coupons for $2.00 off the whole roasted chicken that is so popular. I waited until the chicken was on sale for the $5 Friday deal and then I waited until the afternoon when they were marked 30% off down to $3.50 and then I used my $2 off coupon. I got 5 of them this way for $1.50 each. I picked all the meat off the bones and packaged it all up. I used 2 of the carcasses to make broth using the bag of veggies ends & bits I keep in the freezer. I smooshed the rest of the carcasses flat & put into the freezer to make chicken broth again when I run out.

    Boneless skinless chicken breasts were on sale for $1.49/ lb so I bought the max number of packages (4) and made 6 meals for the freezer.

    I hope everyone has a great week.

  88. Laurie,
    I would LOVE to know how you recanned your black olives. I tried googling it but couldn’t find anything on it. Thanks!

  89. Stacey, I think I was raised by your mother’s clone. My mom worked full time my entire childhood. She wasn’t particularly interested in cooking or baking, sewed only if she had to and she never, never did crafts, despite her mother being an excellent knitter. Subsequently, her idea of a meal plan was repeating the same meals over and over every single week, and they were usually “quick meals” or store bought convenience meals like pasta, chicken fingers, fish & fries, etc. However, she did teach me how to make a really good beef stew from scratch, and she tried to teach me how to make meringue for lemon meringue pie (not sure if I could repeat it or not…I really need to perfect that while I still have her tutelage). We sometimes had roast beef for Sunday dinner and she did cook & bake a bit for holidays. I mostly taught myself baking, cooking and canning by just following recipes. I learned how to do crafts/sewing through what I learned in school, some lessons from others and mostly trial & error. Regardless, I am proof that it is possible to learn these skills, if you have a desire to try.

    As for cleaning, well she was really good at keeping house. In fact she was so particular, we never did chores when we were kids as she preferred to just do it herself. I remember once my brother and I requesting to do chores to earn an allowance. She reluctantly agreed, gave us some chores to do, then criticized what we had done and refused to give us the whole amount of our allowance because the job was done poorly. Never did chores again until I was living on my own. I still step back and let my mom do the cleaning around the house. She often complains I don’t help, but there is good reason for that. Instead, I prefer to do the cooking and grocery shopping for the family. It just works better that way.

    In regards to powdered milk, I started buying it for my pantry a few years ago. Not sure what the cost difference is compared to regular milk (I pay $24 for a 2.5kg [5.5lb] bag, but have never calculated how much reconstituted milk it makes to compare prices), but I don’t really care. If we had an emergency and lost hydro for an extended period of time, regular milk would be impossible to get and we couldn’t keep it from spoiling anyways. Powdered milk, however, can be made up and used as needed for cooking with during a power outage. That was my main reason for why I originally bought it. Since then, I have realized how convenient it is to have it in the pantry. I use it ALL THE TIME to cook and bake with, and reserve the regular milk for drinking or use in cereal only. That way I don’t have to buy so much milk each week (we’re big milk drinkers, too). I’m so in practice with using powdered milk now, if we couldn’t afford to buy regular milk suddenly, we would not suffer from lack of calcium in our diet…as long as the powdered milk holds out. So, in my humble opinion, it is definitely worth revisiting the idea of keeping powdered milk in your pantry.

  90. I am glad you are home at last. I had wondered how you were when I didn’t see any comments from you. I hope your cast comes off soon too.

  91. We had a pretty good week last week. Things are coming along with getting the house ready for sale, and the realtor approved of the improvements, so now we just have to clean and stage things. It’s getting exciting, and I think we’re really ready for it! The new house plans are coming along, and we’re grateful to be working with a builder who understands our budget and our “green” goals.

    Here’s our accomplishments:

  92. Miss Brandy, your cupcake cake is so cute! It brought back memories of when I made my oldest son a “hamburger” birthday cake (layer cake decorated to look like a burger) [i]years [i]ago[/i][/i]. It was so hot that day (late June) that the frosting began melting and the layers started to “landslide”, lol! It still tasted good though, and luckily my son had a good sense of humor about it and appreciated mama’s effort. Good times.
    Happy birthday to the birthday girl! (I’m an April baby too! It’s a beautiful, wonderful month to celebrate in! ) ~TJ

  93. Autocorrect! Should be Starbucks and several things for my daughter from Goodwill. Total spent was $24
    I enjoy read everyone’s comments and learning from you all.

  94. TJ, my children still talk about the super special birthday cake I made my son. I baked him a box cake due to being tight on time and simply not having planned the evening well. The cake was iced and gorgeous. Later, I walked by it and a crack had formed in the top. Later, it broke in half. By the time dinner arrived, it was in quarters. I took 3 small Hot Wheels monster trucks and put on it. Each year, they nudge each other and joke about who received the best birthday cake. It is funny they talk about this one when I must have made every Wilton cake mold cake in history. The Barbie bride cake was spectacular. I love my babies and college girl still gets a Scooby doo cake each year.

  95. Love the cake!

    I’ve been concerned about things, so decided to step up my efforts to refill the pantry, fix what needs fixing and get the garden going as soon as the snow goes away. The worst that could happen is that we have everything tidy and orderly. And, that’s how I like things anyway.

    This past weekend was not frugal in the sense that I traveled to my daughter’s college for Mom’s weekend. Since she is graduating, I drove the 10 hours each way to bring back a carload saving the cost of a Uhaul trailer in a couple weeks. Driving costs the same as flying; just takes longer. I also stayed with her and we ate in all except for 2 meals in 3 days, and one was Mom’s brunch with her sorority. It was great fun! We did shop at a thrift store and I found a couple items that I needed. My daughter found a dress for her semiformal for under 5.00. It was fun listening to all the girls talking about their expensive dress buying stories and exchanging a knowing smile with my daughter about the dress she found at a “boutique”

  96. Brandy your daughter’s birthday cake is beautiful!
    We have continued to eat mostly from the freezer and pantry with our purchases being to fill holes in the pantry and fresh produce. Last week I was able to get 4lbs of ground pork for $.88. We ate all of our meals at home and repurposed leftovers into new meals or lunches. I used an ice cube tray to freeze homemade pizza sauce the other day and it worked great.
    I don’t think winter will ever end. It’s the middle of April and it is still cold, windy and rainy or snowing at least a couple of days a week. Ugh!! I was able to replant and clean out the green onions. The onions were pretty big and mushy but I cut up the green part and froze 3 cups. We are trying to root romaine lettuce and that it for gardening. One of the stores has 40lb bags of top soil for a dollar a bag so we will get some to fill the garden beds if it ever gets warm.
    I’ve continued to turn down the heat during the day, only run the dishwasher when full, do full loads of laundry,and turn of lights. I paid bills over the phone or online and combined all my errands in one trip.
    Have a great week everyone!!

  97. I have a collapsible salad spinner so it takes up less storage space. It is full size when open. I LOVE it!

  98. My supervisor bought a cake to serve on the last day I worked in that job. It was a hot day and the top layer slid halfway off the bottom layer when she was driving it to the office, and then the top layer cracked in half and fell partway off the bottom.

    It could have been repaired a bit, but it was served that way. All I could say was, “You broke my cake!” Your son sounds like he has better manners that I do. (lol)

  99. Rachel, is that correct on your Lyrica? Did your doctor give you the discount cards? The company (Pfizer) gives discount cards to the doctors offices when the company reps come by. I am looking at one of the cards now…I was at the doctor today and asked this question as I was interested in your comment. You enroll and you can get your Lyrica for $25 per month. if the doctor doesn’t have the cards (perhaps they don’t see reps…I go to a small doctors office and they do…they know that samples etc are important to patients and they don’t own/have interest in a pharmacy like the clinics do) it says go to You say you have insurance…this is for those with insurance.

  100. Things have been a little better here. My son starting work extra days at work, so he is able to pay the bills himself now.
    My husband and I had a last minute yard sale. We made around $100. What was left was donated to the Salvation Army. We used some of the money for animal supplies at Rural King. I have been holding onto the the extra cash in case we need anything.
    Checked out the free 4 person pass from our public library, for a local children’s museum. We will take the grandson there this weekend.
    I am going to post on the Facebook yard sale site my Cuisinart stainless steel cookware and food processor. The pot and pans are too heavy for me to use. It may bring in a few dollars.

    We had to get chicken parasite powder and dewormer for our chickens. They have lost most of their feathers. They are our egg source and we are praying that this will take care of the problem.

  101. We are waiting for our 20+ inches of snow to melt. It snowed all Saturday and Sunday. A cousin who plows the family properties plowed several times trying to keep ahead of the very heavy wet snow. My son in law was called out more than once for animals….in one case the barn roof had collapsed and trapped the dairy cows inside. I spent the weekend next door with my daughter and the babies. My husband had to go over to his sister’s and help his brother in law shovel off their roofs.

    Did all the usual of composting, recycling, using up leftovers. Bought gas getting .90 cent off per gallon with fuel points. Gas is 2.54/gal here. Friday before the storm came I bought 3 gallons of milk, lettuce, some batteries, 2 bags of oranges,
    for our 2 families. We had plenty of supplies for cooking and baking so I took care of all the meals. School was off Monday and late start on Tuesday. This was our second time in 2 weeks that school was cancelled for April snow storm. Now we just wait for the melt and hope for no flooding.

    Time to rock a baby….

  102. Brandy,
    I just made your Rosemary White Bean Soup. It is absolutely wonderful! It is definitely my favorite soup. I’m trying to be as frugal as possible so we can pay for movers to move us. Your recipes are great!

  103. Rhonda,

    That is too funny. What you shared about your mom sounded so familiar. My mom made 3-4 meals, the same meals, every week. Spaghetti, pot roast, chicken and rice soup, and steak. It was all good, but that was it. She bought a lot of convenience foods and lunch meat. The other nights we either went out to eat, or if my dad was traveling we might have popcorn or scrambled eggs for dinner. My dad hated leftovers so everything extra went down the disposal. Oh my gosh, the memories.

    She did do holidays, but she was often very put out about it. Very dramatic, everyone banned from the kitchen, slamming of doors and banging of pots, colorful language, the whole deal. One year our oven died and she hacked apart the turkey and cooked it in sections in the microwave. Total disaster in front of her mother-in-law. Tragic.

    So I too am always learning by trial and error. Thanks for sharing.

  104. I so wish I had an Aldi’s nearby or even an hour away. I would drive there to shop. The cheapest price on goat cheese at my local grocery is $4.99 for a small log–it’s maybe 3 ounces.

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