Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments For the End of March

Snow Peas in Colander The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested snow peas, Meyer lemons, parsley, and green onions from the garden.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

My neighbor brought over three boxes of chili mixes that had expired that she no longer wanted. I put all three kinds together to make enough for us for one meal, and rather than adding the 6 cups of chicken they called for combined, I added 4 cups of leftover black beans that I had in the fridge and 2 extra cups of canned diced tomatoes (in addition to the 4 required cups of diced tomatoes I needed to add).  I sent her home with some lemons from my trees.

I studied French using free online sources.

My husband and I had a date night at home.

I printed coloring pages from free websites for my youngest children.

I opened the windows and let in the fresh air at the end of the week when the wind stopped. Our outside temperatures rose 20 degrees Fahrenheit from Sunday through Sunday. It was 84°F (29°C) outside and 80° inside the house almost all day on Easter, but I didn’t turn on the air conditioner (we started using our ceiling fans and were just warm for the day).

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

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97 Comments

  1. Your chili sounds delicious, Brandy! I always love putting a delicious meal together from seemingly disparate things.

    My week was more productive than lately, thank goodness!
    – I went back to work this past week after three weeks off ill. Yay! I didn’t pack my lunch for work one day (too tired the night before and too much in a hurry the morning of), but luckily my workplace ordered pizza for the office. V. serendipitous!
    – The last few weeks one of the few things I could stomach was my mother’s Greek vegetable salad. She made it for me twice (having family in the same city is so wonderful), and this weekend I actually “cooked” for the first time in three weeks and made a triple batch. I’ve packed it up for work lunches for the week, and for a few dinners too. Not enough energy to post it on my blog, but I hope to do so in the next week. Super-healthy and super-easy to toss together, and the most expensive ingredient is the feta cheese.
    – I also put together 5 baggies of my favourite smoothie ingredients together and tossed it in the freezer (www.approachingfood.com/foodie-trends-hemp-seed-antioxidant-smoothie-bowl/ less the goji berry powder and hemp seeds, which makes it much more affordable). I’ll add milk or homemade yoghurt to it, blend it, and eat it for a quick dinner through out the week. It took about half an hour of prep to make the smoothie baggies and the Greek salad, and now I’m set for the work week for lunches and dinners, so if I’m feeling ill and not up to cooking, I won’t have to resort to having my husband buy takeout on his way home, as I’m pretty sure we’re currently all out of casseroles from my freezer.
    – Someone brought a bag of mini Lindt rabbits to work as a gift. Instead of eating some, I took 3 home to give to my family at Easter. Better for my waistline and good for my wallet!
    – I pulled more meals from the freezer, including my favourite Portobello Pesto Pasta Bake (http://approachingfood.com/pesto-portobello-pasta-bake/ my husband loves it and doesn’t mind that we’ve had it several times in the past few weeks). And yet the freezer seems like it’s not getting any emptier! Guess I had more crammed in there than I realized!
    – My mum kindly ran some errands for me when she was in my end of the city. Saved me a huge amount of time and energy, which I appreciated so much.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon. I earn a $5 gc roughly every week and I’m saving them up for a larger purchase (probably a meat/bread/veggie slicer).
    – My parents gave my husband and I a plant for Easter: a Colandiva! I’ve never heard of it before, but apparently it’s essentially a kolanchoe with double blooms.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

  2. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 . The snow peas look so lovely I can’t wait to plant ours shortly too once the weather cools a little.

    Here is how we saved money in our household last week –

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 24.46% of the way there.
    – We are pleased with our progress in the month of March saving 61.37% of our combined after tax incomes including bank interest.

    Trading –
    – A friend gave us 14 lemons for a future trade for some silver beet from our gardens saving us $9.10 over purchasing them.

    Food and clothing purchases –
    – Found 2 new flannelette shirts and 2 webbing belts on special for DH saving $45.90 over purchasing them at normal prices.
    – Whilst in town on other errands we found 2 x 2lt BBQ sauce on half price special for $3ea and 25% off the price of our 5 deodorants and combined this saving with a further 5% off using our roadside assist grocery card saving $14.93 on usual prices. These were on this months shopping list anyway.

    Home organisation –
    – Topped up our kitchen pantries with tinned pears, lychees, diced tomatoes, corn kernels and champignons from our supply room, it is good to have paid for advanced food stores now to be able to do that :). While we were there we sorted them all into oldest to the front and newest to the back as they had got mixed up over time.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested the last 25 cucumbers from the gardens saving us $62.50 over purchasing them and used them for juices and eating fresh.
    – Picked more French lavender from the gardens to dry for household use and for sale on the internet.
    – Planted a 7mt row of onion and capsicum seeds, a 5mt row of carrots, a 2mt row of silver beet and a 10mt row of green bush bean seeds in the vegetable gardens.
    – We purchased another 3 cubic metres of cow manure for two other vegetable gardens for $25 saving $557.85 over purchasing it by the bag and then unloaded, spread and plowed it into 2 garden beds saving another $203.68 over hiring a gardener to do it.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made two pans worth of double chocolate walnut brownies and a quadruple batch of granola from items in our pantries saving $ 147.86 over purchasing the same amount premade in the shops. Yes chocolate brownies cost a fortune in the shops here 😮 .
    – Processed our herbs picked from the gardens that we were drying making 55g of thyme and 70g of sage saving $13.88 over purchasing them, some we will keep for household use and the rest I have listed on the internet for sale.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone 🙂 .

    Sewingcreations15

  3. I cooked a turkey from the freezer, made a stuffing using leftover bread crusts also from the freezer, a compote of dried cranberries and chopped apple. mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, a fruit salad, homemade dinner rolls from the freezer, and our first asparagus from the garden for our Easter dinner. Later in the evening we watched an Easter special on television and had a slice of cheesecake for our Easter dessert. It was a very nice Easter meal and best of all will be the wonderful leftover turkey.

  4. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted so I may not remember everything. We survived our frugal March. Aside from eating out for a friend’s birthday I did not eat out. I am returning a pair of boots I bought on sale as the inside part sheds. We went through the freezer and started taking out some items to eat. I also tried to not do any grocery shopping the last few weeks. We cooked a turkey that had bought around Thanksgiving. It gave us plenty of meat plus I will use the bones for broth.

    We clipped the dogs nails. They need to be done professionally but this gets us through a few weeks first. I cut the pill pockets in 1/3s since they’re so long on their own.

    My husband bought home some leftovers from work that no one wanted. We also brought home leftovers from a family dinner (family was going to throw them away).

    We drove to a Park but because we stuck to one side of the park, didn’t have to pay for parking.

    Frugal fail: misread the gas sign so thought we were getting gas a lot cheaper but as we were paying by credit card, it was almost 10 cents more. It was still the price we would have paid in our town to fill up (we were in another state) but we thought we were saving at first.

  5. I had a very successful trip to a new-to-me thrift store in the next town over. I was looking for tops to replace badly worn items. I came home with four tops and a lovely jacket, which I can wear to a special event I have coming up next week.

    I bought a ham on sale for Easter. I waited until I found my favorite kind at a great price. There will be lots of leftovers!

  6. I would say Spring and sprung but I am looking at 4 inches of snow covering my flowers (that have not bloomed) rhubarb and strawberries here. I did find rhubarb and strawberries at 209 but haven’t found the asparagus they told me was there.
    We have been able to turn the furnace off a couple days during the week. I actually kept track daily to make sure that I remembered what I was doing frugal. I rountinely use what ever is in the frig to make another meal and subsitute beans for meat also. We had another death so have to go to the viewing today.
    Blessed Be
    http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/04/every-day-choices.html

  7. 1. We were in decluttering mode this week and I finally talked my husband into selling his beer making supplies(which he has not used in over 7 years) so hopefully that will bring in some much needed money for April bills.
    2. I found some great deals at the thrift store on spring clothes. A pretty dress for my daughter for under $5 and two almost new button down shirts for my son for $2 a piece.
    3. While cleaning out closets this week, I also found some toys I had stored for later, so my son has been enjoying those all week.
    4. I snatched up a waffle maker from my mother’s giveaway pile, as well as, an electric skillet and a small griddle.
    5. I had a low spend week this past week, so I put the money I did not spend into the bank to save for upcoming April bills.

  8. This has been a relatively quiet week for us!
    We continue to enjoy eggs from our 8 hens and get over 17-1/2 dozen eggs a month from them! It was easy to use 3 dozen of them for deviled eggs to take to our family Easter dinner yesterday! Even after that and selling 4 dozen eggs last week, I still have 21 dozen in my basement fridge!
    If you remember, a couple weeks back I was able to buy 9 quarts of plain yogurt for a total of $2. So this week I made up more yogurt into breakfast and snacks by adding caramel apple, strawberry or raspberry jam into individual serving containers for the grab and go containers in my fridge!
    I also used some of the plain yogurt as a sour cream substitute in the beef stroganoff I made for dinner!
    I packaged the leftover stroganoff and green beans into individual meal containers but still had leftover noodles without extra sauce so I “recycled” the noodles into a taco bake casserole for dinner two nights later and it was well received! The leftovers from that casserole went into individual meal containers so our leftovers have given us lunch and “you’re on your own” dinners!
    Last summer some friends gave us one of the “old time” popcorn poppers that they had been given but never used! They “knew” that we would make use of it and so, during the summer and fall we set it up on it’s wheeled base on our front porch and made popcorn as we would sit out there and relax. I got the idea a couple weeks ago to bring the machine itself inside without the base and put it on a table in our family room! We have been enjoying popcorn (I had over 50 pounds in my storage) while relaxing and watching a movie! Definitely been a cheap snack and so entertainingto watch as it’s being made!
    Got a simple recipe to DIY eyeglass cleaner using just 3 ingredients that are always on my shelf! It came from our Aussie friends in their “Cheapskates Newsletter”. Cost me literally pennies to replace my $6 store bottle (and I used my empty store bottle with spritzer to fill up with the DIY solution!
    Also found online a recipe for a Pam cooking spray substitute using an aluminum spritz bottle from Sollar Tree and ingredients that again, cost me literally pennies and that I already had on my shelf! Cha-ching!! Even at 66, I’m finding ever day that there is so much more to learn and so many inexpensive, healthy, eco-friendly but easy to do alternatives out there that make life even nicer!! What great times we live in!!
    The rest of the week has been normal routine savings! When I “zero-ed out” our checking account balance when our direct deposit pay came in, it gave me $168 extra to put into savings and another $168 to pay down next debt on our list! We are stunned at how quickly the savings is adding up in our account and how the next to last debt is dwindling just by small bits at a time!!
    Hope everyone else’s week has been great!

  9. I steam cleaned the carpets on my own saving about $80 to rent the machine. I stretched the bottoms bits of cleaners, lotion and bbq sauce. I sold some items on ebay and craigslist. I am looking to list more this week. I deep cleaned the house ( I was going to hire help as it felt like too much work/ instead I just broke it down into small tasks and got it done.) I returned an item to the store that got put away and I almost missed the return by date but it turned out I still had like 5 days left the item would never get worn so It was good that I return it. I am clearing the clutter out of the house. I couldn’t find the plastic Easter eggs and baskets that I knew I had saved and I almost ran to the store to buy more but I stuck with it and found them and reused! I shopped at the thrift store to purchase items needed for my spring wardrobe. I did not waste food we reused all scraps saving a lot at the grocery!

  10. One of my sons gave me a bone-in ham for my birthday (I was delighted, he knows I love ham) and I cooked it for Easter, along with my figs. I made potatoes salad, coleslaw, and no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. I have enough for lunch all week and I am grateful for that. I have a death in the family, the older relatives are gradually dying, and it is sad, but I am grateful to have had them in my life. I attended the funeral service, and gave a talk honoring my deceased uncle. Family traveled in from afar, and it was nice to see folks I do not get to see very often. I only had to travel for an hour and a half. My aunt offered to pay for a hotel room for me (and my cousin) but we declined, because we did not want her to spend the money. So, that was frugal for her. Frugality is about saving everyone cash because money is hard to come by. I walked in the neighborhood, and tried to stay out of the stores except for stuff that I really needed. As Brandy says, you can always find ways to cut back, and I am making an even bigger effort, so that I can retire in four years, hopefully. My goal is to have my mortgage paid off by then.

  11. Could you provide some advice about cloches for seedlings? Do you vent yours? At what temperature do you remove them? Thank you!

  12. We had a fairly quiet week at home last week due to a bug. I had a few good finds on pants at the thrift store after looking for some for three months. I read How to be a Victorian from the library OverDrive system. Originally, the library didn’t have this title but they had a link that allowed me to request it for purchase. About two weeks later I received an email from the library indicating they purchased it! I didn’t realize that was an option, but I will remember this in the future.

    We considered making a large purchase, and decided against it and will instead use what we have and make do to keep costs down. I felt a huge sigh of relief in this, and I’m glad we plan to make a strategic decision later rather than a rash one now as a stopgap.

    We decided to put together some ‘community care packages’ for our homeless population- which has exponentially increased over the last two years. We came up with some ideas as to what we should include in these care packages, and I plan to call our homeless gear center to see if they have any additional ideas. We hesitate to give money as we have done this before and seen the same person go to the liquor store. We understand that we gave freely with the knowledge that he could spend it on anything he chose, but it isn’t how we want to spend our hard earned money and feel that there is a better way. We hope to gather the items from second hand stores, the dollar store, in multi-packs, etc. and keep them in our cars.

    I hope everyone has a great week, and enjoyed their family Easter celebrations!

  13. Cindy, I’m sorry for your loss. I hope you are able to take some time for yourself this week for a reprieve. Take care.

  14. Hi Gardenpat, Would you mind sharing your eyeglass cleaner? I have tried one formula online that didn’t work and would love to try another!

  15. I had a dog who was on medication that had to be given in pill pockets — they are so expensive. I ended up making them from a recipe I found on the internet. The dog liked them just as well and they were so much cheaper, so you might try that. I made a big batch and kept them in the freezer.

  16. Brandy, that photo of the snow peas is so beautiful. I love how you added the blossom and leaves to the photo to add interest.
    This week I baked whole wheat bread, brownies, and made a batch of granola. I ended up burning half the batch of granola – which is not frugal!
    I got a 12-pound ham at Easter sales for $10. We are just now using the last of the frozen leftovers from our Christmas ham, so the timing is good. This ham will make many meals for the two of us.
    I decorated a wreath for spring, using items from my craft closet. I didn’t have any spring-colored ribbon, so I cut fabric and ironed two pieces together with iron-on interfacing to stiffen it. It made a very pretty ribbon – I cut the edges with pinking shears to finish it.
    I watched Call the Midwife for free on PBS. I listened to audiobooks I downloaded from the library. I finished the quilt I have been making for my niece’s first baby – I bought the flannel and batting for this at JoAnn’s Black Friday sale.
    My husband built another bed for me in the greenhouse. We had to buy the materials to do this, but I will be able to plant more in the greenhouse now. Last year voles and chipmunks ate so much of what I planted outside. In the greenhouse I have one bed that is 18 inches wide and 12 feet long, and one that is 18 inches wide and 8 feet long, plus I can plant in big planters in the middle, and gutters along each side. My husband got a free load of composted horse manure from a neighbor to help fill the bed. I planted snow peas in one of the gutters (the ones with the beautiful purple and white flowers that Brandy showed last week.) The English peas I planted last week are coming up, as is the broccoli. And my tomato seeds I planted in the house are finally coming up! I checked the soil temperature in my raised beds, but they are not quite warm enough to plant yet. (This is frugal because I have learned from past mistakes that if I plant too early, the seed just rots.)
    The handle of one of my kitchen knives split. My husband made a new handle for it from a deer antler one of the dogs found on one of our hikes.

  17. Upgraded the emergency credit card. It now will have no yearly fee.

    Made a wreath for a fundraiser raffle using supplies on hand

    Reused plastic eggs and baskets from previous Easter

    Replaced a ripped curtain with a rollup shade that we never hung

    Purchased a couple groupons for the trampoline park and movie theatre for half price

    Hubby went overboard on meat for Easter but it should stretch several days this week for lunch for him and dinner. I plan on sticking to using what we have in the freezer and pantry for the rest of the week, minus a handful of things needed at the store(mostly fruit and lunch items for the 11yo)

  18. Our cabbages are big enough to pick, and as the weather warms, we will probably go ahead and do that. We should have ten heads of cabbage, half of which are purple cabbage. I don’t know about elsewhere, but purple cabbage is always much more expensive at the stores here.
    I wore thrifted clothes for Easter Sunday, feeling very nicely dressed as I did so. The items I wore were all higher-end brands in classic styles, that I never would have afforded at their new prices.
    I hung out several loads of laundry in our currently great weather.
    I just realized recently that I’ve not had to use the store’s plastic shopping bags in about 4 months now. I have consistently remembered to bring mine from the car to the store so it looks like I finally have the habit. I only use washable bags, in nylon or cotton, for food safety reasons.
    I needed a very small amount of spice, so I got it at the bulk bins at the food coop rather than buying the pre-packaged bottle that would go stale before I finished it, and cost more per ounce.
    My new job doesn’t currently have a 401K (they are a small company and are looking into getting one) so I set up a direct draft on my account to go to my rollover IRA from my last job’s 401K. I don’t get the pre-tax benefit yet, but I am still saving!

  19. *I’ve been cleaning out some shelves and reorganizing things in my house. I love opening the door of a pantry or closet and seeing everything looking so much neater. I combined together items that I had two (or three) of on the shelf. I don’t know how that happened – plus they had been opened and used.

    *I’ve been wanting to add a few more Easter decorations – just a few at a time. But I went to a thrift store on Friday and found a found some items. They were 20% off. I spent $17 and am thrilled with the new pieces. My goal is to keep everything for each holiday to 1 large 18 gallon tub (except Christmas).

    *Easter dinner cost $13 out of my grocery budget last week. I had on already purchased or canned everything else we used. Everyone was happy and full 🙂

    *I did have one unexpected expense last week. I had to drive to Park City, UT for a doctor appointment. My insurance won’t allow me to see this doctor in Salt Lake. But I ate breakfast before I went and took a snack. My car was already filled with the gas needed. I stayed home more the rest of the week to try and offset some of the cost of the gas. I ran my other errands on Friday. My mom came with me for the drive and we had a lovely time talking.

    *My college kids came home for the Easter weekend. All meals were made at home and activities were done at home. We enjoyed talking and watching movies. It was really nice to enjoy everyone’s company.

    *A neighbor gifted me some basil seeds with an all in one planting pot. I have been diligently spritzing it with water and keeping it in a sunny spot. Just yesterday I saw some green shoots! I don’t grow my own herbs and am excited to try this out 🙂

    I hope everyone has a lovely week. Brandy – your pictures are again beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration.

  20. The biggest frugal thing that we did last month, was to downsize our storage unit. DH went through his stuff and we were able to either sell or dispose alot of it. The cost of the storage unit went from $182 a month to $89, and its closer to home. That will help us tremendously. I learned some big lessons recently, one being meal planning in my head isnt really working and that I need to do a better job of putting it on paper. The other one being, do not take my husband to the store with me when we are out of protein. Its happened several times in the passed few weeks that we were out of meat and I needed something to make for that nights meal, so we go to the store and walk out of there having spent $25 to $30. I only have a budget of $50 a week!!!!! Last week we wound up having breakfast for dinner 3 times. Last week I scored 50 half pints of 1% milk for $1. I made yogurt in the instant pot several times. I also made a potato soup. Ive been on the hunt for potatoes for less than 30¢ lb, but hadnt been able to find any. I had a bag of simply potatoes to use, and I also used instant mashed potatoes that I had gotten cheap. Nobody could tell the difference. I did get a 10lb bag at aldi for $2.29 today. Oh I finally did our taxes. I bought the turbo tax software at Staples. It was $84 so I price matched from amazon for $74.99. I then paid with $40 in staples rewards so it was $25 plus tax out of pocket. I then did the taxes and we are getting money back!!!! Yaaay!!! first time in quite a few years that we havent owed money.

  21. Things have been a bit disjointed here for the last month.
    My daughter and her two children have moved back into the house. As happy as I am to have them here it does cost more.
    We are all trying to adjust to the changes.
    With that said we are trying to find new ways to lower bills (besides me saying…”Turn off the lights please.”).
    I have been sewing and selling faerie costumes this month. I made an extra $100.00.
    The largest savings I had was buying fabric for $2.00 a yard. This was very good cotton fabric that sells for around $12 to $13 a yard here. Being a seamstress this is like gold in my pocket.
    I removed cable from one TV. The kids use the fire stick and other alternatives. My bill was reduced for one month before the cable company raised the price by $10.00. It is still lower than before, but I am considering removing cable completely.
    I am eating all meals at home (or from home if I am out). We did a festival and brought all of the food we needed from home. Festival foods are so expensive.
    There isn’t much more to say at this time. I read and re-read these comments every month. I need all the help I can get right now to adjust to our new normal.
    Thanks for all of the ideas and help.

  22. My grandnephew who spent several days in PICU after a life flight is back home and just fine. My sister now has an even lower opinion of the local consulting pediatrician who dismissed the baby’s illness as simply RSV and suggested he be sent home from the local hospital’s emergency department the day he took the life flight to the children’s hospital than she had nearly a decade ago after the same doctor dismissed her then-toddler’s multiple problems as asthma the same day he was diagnosed with heart failure due to a previously unknown ASD. Two major mistakes in the same family by the same doctor. Guess who is not the family’s pediatrician. Thankfully, no long-term damage was caused by either mistake. All is well that ends well. My niece is scheduled for a big block of volunteer work while on maternity leave that is the last step before she becomes an RN. So it is a really good thing for her family’s finances that the baby bounced back to health so fast.

    Mom’s leg wound is on the mend too. It looks better each time I take off the bandage and flush it with warm water that I have temperature-tested on my wrist first. She is getting slightly better at keeping her leg elevated so the skin on the rest of her leg is looking less shiny and stretched. I have repurposed a Styrofoam cooler as her footstool. While it is not as high as the doctor recommends, it is far higher than her usual wooden one and is lightweight so she can easily reposition it. I think I will be making a fitted cover for it from fleece and add some padding (more height :)) to the top. I am grateful DollarTree sells inexpensive rolls of gauze. Mom has been stuck wearing velcro-adjustable slippers outside of the house because nothing else of hers fit. Yesterday, I asked her to try on one of my shoes. Eureka! Her swollen foot can wear my black leather 9W slip-on that is the same height as her black leather, quite a bit smaller, oxford. She might have two different shoes on her feet when we go to the store, but at least she now has an option other than shower shoes. If the edema persists, we will go adjustable sandal shopping. But since the swelling is going down, we have hopes she will be back in her usual shoes soon.

    We no longer need to buy coffee filters. I put the filter basket saved from a broken small coffeemaker in our Melita on-top-of-the-mug pour-over gizmo instead of a paper filter or we make coffee in a one-mug coffeemaker we bought at
    Family Dollar that included its own permanent filter and that uses ordinary ground coffee. This results in a tiny savings. But I like not having to have a tin full of coffee filters hanging out on the kitchen counter.

    I saved a few dollars on printer ink at Office Depot. I had received an email informing me that I had $8 in awards that expired Saturday. But I didn’t realize that I had to jump through a hoop to use the discount. I drove to the store in the rain and tried to check out. No discount. I attempted to use their wireless network via my new Norton VPN to show her the email. When that didn’t work, I ate into my precious reserve of prepaid phone data and showed the clerk the email. No good. She needed the coupon code and I couldn’t give her that without signing into my Office Depot account which I couldn’t do at the store. I left empty-handed and ready to start a one-person boycott. I went home, reset my password, learned I could have the ink delivered for free, and ordered it with the $8 off. The clerk told me that, at least in the store, they price match with Walmart. But I haven’t tried to get the price match and don’t know if I can online. AftermI post this, I will try to get the price match by contacting customer service at OfficeDepot.com.

    We lease the water softener in the basement and the reverse osmosis filter by the kitchen sink. That isn’t particularly cost effective, by a long shot. But it does greatly reduce hassles caused by the minerals in our well water. I had been very slow this winter about adding salt to the softener. The water level in the salt reservoir had gone way up and I feared it was broken or a valve hadn’t been turned back on after we had the well pressure tank gauge replaced. So I arranged for a free service call. The man came and explained to me that is what happens when there is not enough salt in the tank-and the excess water causes the salt to be used even more rapidly than it normally would. Since he was onsite, he also replaced some worn-but-still-functuoning parts inside the softener so it will work more efficiently. He had four bags of regular salt on his truck. I asked to buy them to save recovering-from-a-bug me from having to lug 160# of salt down the stairs. He said they aren’t the type with the iron-reducing additive. I said that wasn’t a problem because I add 1/4 cup of Iron Out powder as the package directs with each 40# bag of regular softener salt. The additive costs no more than a quarter per big bag of salt when I add it myself versus $1.50 or more if I buy the softener salt with the additive already in it.

    I hope to take advantage of the free lunch participating Little Caesar stores are offering today between 11:30 and 1:00. Gotta go. Bye!

    I things go well for all of you this week!

  23. Wow, fresh produce already from your garden! We just received more snow this morning…definitely no gardening happening here yet. That was so nice of your neighbour to gift the chili kits with your family, and that you had enough pantry supplies to make a nice meal with them.

    We’ve had a very busy Easter weekend. DD has had lots of fun, frugal activities to keep her entertained. I think she’s going to be awful tired when she returns to school tomorrow. Won’t expect much work being done. Our family had the following frugal accomplishments this week:
    *Meals made at home included cheese tortellini with choice of red or white sauce (made 1/2 the tortellini into a freezer meal for later use), baked chicken smothered in cheddar cheese soup with mashed potatoes and corn/green bean/wax bean mix, beef French dip sandwiches (new recipe – see below) with salad, sloppy Joe’s with herb roasted potato chunks and coleslaw, roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings and 2 homemade pies for dessert, and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.
    *Tried making frozen yogurt for the first time with our new ice cream Kitchen Aid mixer attachment we received as a Christmas gift. It didn’t go as well as planned, but I learned quite a bit for the next time. Oh well…live and learn.
    *I tried yet another new recipe for dinner this week, easy French dip sandwiches (recipe link: http://cincyshopper.com/easy-french-dip-sandwiches/). I had bought some sliced roast beef luncheon meat on sale at a super low price a while ago, and froze it, but we never actually used it. To change up our dinner choices, I decided it was time to give this recipe a whirl. I did go out and buy a stick of crusty french loaf to make these (because I didn’t plan ahead), but it wasn’t too expensive. I also substituted Swiss cheese for the provolone, since we already had it on hand. Not sure why I waited so long to make these…it was amazing! Everybody enjoyed the meal, so I will be adding yet another dinner option to our family favourites meal list. Best of all, I’m pretty sure we have more of that meat in the freezer to use up.
    *Bought 3 packages of eggs when they went on sale for $2.50/18 pack (cheaper than my normal best price). We already had over 3 dozen eggs in the fridge. It was interesting trying to fit them all in the fridge! I made 14 hard boiled eggs in an effort to fit them all in. Three were used to make egg salad sandwiches that day for lunch. The rest were dyed for Easter by DD and her friend using an egg dying kit I had previously bought on clearance and tucked away. DD’s friend took 6 eggs home with her. The rest will be used for breakfast or lunch over the next few days.
    *Made up DD’s Easter basket with chocolate, candy and other treats I had picked up on sale (many of which I had bought after various holidays). I also made up some little baggies of the extra treats and placed them in a basket for the adults to enjoy. I gifted some to DD’s friend as well.
    *Hosted a small Easter dinner with our immediate family, plus my MIL, brother and DD’s friend. Most of the meal was bought on sale or from our pantry. We baked 2 homemade pies from our freezer for dessert, a peach and an apple. I plan to package up the leftover turkey for the freezer or I might prepare some freezer meals if I find time.
    *I brought up more home canned items from downstairs and noted we are almost out of poultry broth. I have a bunch of bones and veggie trimmings in the freezer ready to be used. So, I will try and make up more in the next week or two.
    *DD and a friend joined a free scavenger hunt at the zoo that was organized by the PHIT program. The idea is to encourage the children and families to get out and exercise with fun activities. The kids were given a sheet of questions about animal facts that could be found on the various animal information boards throughout the zoo. If they answered all the questions, they were entered into a draw to win prizes. Despite the rain, DD and her friend had lots of fun searching for the answers, some of the time by themselves, some of the times with our help. To our surprise, both the girls ended up winning a prize! DD won a reusable bag with a large metal reusable water bottle, sidewalk chalk and small container of bubble juice. Her friend won a reusable bag with a water pitcher (that has a diffuser for fresh fruit/veg to flavour the water) and a mini soccer ball. We also gifted DD’s friend 2 reusable water bottles we had picked up for free and were not using, plus a water resistant jacket that no longer fit DD as she didn’t have one.
    *We allowed DD’s friend to sleep over, for some more frugal fun. The girls really enjoyed each other’s company.
    *Gifted a few pantry items to my brother when he headed home after visiting for Easter.

    Looking forward to catching up and learning lots from everyone. Hope you all have a great week ahead!

  24. I had a week of break where I didn’t go anywhere except to the doctor for a regular checkup . It was not as productive as I would have liked, but was very frugal. Lots of rest and snow! Easter Sunday went well with my inlaws and we brought home leftovers. My MIL bought my son a unit specific AFROTC sweatshirt. This made me very happy as he was going to be the only one without. Life didn’t used to be like this and I do, at times, get discouraged. I just keep going and count my blessings. Being naturally frugal and having this community to share the small victories with are two of them!

    It snowed again today. Just wondering when spring will finally arrive. Your photos are so encouraging.

    I found a few coins, used some leftover meat for the dogs’ food (we have one really finicky dog who we’ve had to take to the vet for not eating!), found some needed items at the thrift shop.

    Today I finally finish all of my annual (and past due!) doctor and dental appointments. Aging is interesting as I’m blessed to be super healthy…just trying to catch up and keep up with preventive care. Now to replace my glasses and have a dental implant.

    My MIL gave us a huge bag of broccoli. I think I’m going to try drying it as we have not turned the freezer on and do not intend to. It’s really useful to store dog food away from the rodents and, with only two if us, we do not need the chest freezer. We use my son’s college dorm fridge/freezer in our cabin and only have just turned the hand-me-down fridge in the garage. The freezer no longer works in that fridge, so I use it for rodent proof storage as well.

    Have a fantastic frugal week!

  25. We had a very productive week around here, as my husband was on spring vacation from his job at the school, and the kids had no school (homeschooled ones and public schooled ones alike). My husband and I had a little get-away at the beginning of the week, and we enjoyed it very much. Then, we plunged wholeheartedly into projects.

    I did hours and hours of cooking and cleaning in preparation for Easter at our house. Most of the extended family was away on vacation, so I hosted this time. I was especially glad that a cousin was able to come that I had not seen for quite some time.

    I saw that it was going to start raining again, so did 2 sessions in my garden. I only had a short window of opportunity where it was dry enough to till with our tiny tiller so I could plant. My husband got me started the first time, and I figured it out the second time. I tilled in some steer manure from bags in both small places I tilled to enrich the soil. I hardened off my cabbage and broccoli plants I’d grown in the greenhouse and got some of them planted. I also planted early veggies such as carrots, beets, artichokes, snow peas, spinach, 3 kinds of lettuce and potatoes. I was so glad I did because it started raining a day earlier than expected. Everything will get nice and damp and come up without much attention from me at all. Later, we will till up the rest of the garden with the larger tiller, which tills deeper.

    My husband decided to have a garage sale, despite the fact that I had 2 appointments on that day. I helped him set up, helped in the middle of the day, but he did the bulk of the work. He hauled a lot of items down here in the van that he had stored in my brother-in-law’s barn when we moved a couple of springs ago, and were between houses for that entire summer. He had brought some more another day, and now that barn is cleaned out. Thank goodness. He sold a large item by listing it on Craig’s List on the same day so people could come look at it during the garage sale, and also sold a couple hundred dollars worth of little things. I added some junky household items and one of the girls cleaned out some clothes, but most of the money earned was from his stuff. He offered to take me out to dinner with some of this “found” money, but we both decided to hold off for another time. We were both exhausted!

    Grocery shopping was expensive this week because we were hosting Easter for many people who had special eating needs, and it was very nice for my Mom to help pitch in with cash for that purpose, as she couldn’t be here to help cook it. My aunt brought the huge basket of plastic eggs she saves from year to year, filled with lots of candy, as usual.

    I had let the fridge get quite empty before our little get-away, so I needed to restock veggies and dairy. I think I went to the store 4 times this week! Unheard of!!! We also celebrated 2 family birthdays on Sunday, and while the gluten-free, dairy free, egg-free cake looked lovely, it turned out awful! Thankfully, there were some cookies and an apple crisp as well, and those got eaten!

    I have a picture of the cake on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/weekly-update-happy-easter-2018/

  26. This week I retire from my full time career position. I have worked full time for 41 years. Much of that time I have been a human resources manager/director/vice president, etc. (I was a part time worker and SAHM for one year of our 42 year marriage and I had summer jobs and part time on-campus work when I was in college.) I will no longer be responsible for fixing the problems with my hair on fire. (Woo-hoo!)
    I am very healthy and looking forward to new adventures. My husband and I are going to work in an east coast National Park for the National Park Service, seasonally. He starts a bit before me, so he has already started the cross country drive. I will leave in one more week.

    So, only this time, I will suggest to people that are scared about being able to afford retirement a few things. Participate in the workplace retirement plan as much as you can, and always to get the “match”. Start as early as you can possibly afford. Invest in building your skills. Value an employer that helps you further your education. Pay off your mortgage. Buy your vehicles with cash as soon as you can. Don’t forget to have fun, travel, make family memories. Pay as much of your kid’s college educations as you can afford. The world is getting to be a tougher place to make a living without an excellent education. Be open to change.

  27. Thanks you Samantha. My uncle was 92 and lived a long, good life. He was suffering at the end, and I am just glad he has gone on to be with the Lord, and is not suffering anymore. He was a World War 11 vet, having enlisted at a very young age.

  28. Continued to strip the dry needles from the cut fir branches along the back perimeter. Watered the garden by hand using a sprinkling can filled from the rain barrel & the warm up water from the kitchen sink. Cut daffodils twice to fill vases inside the house.

    We sold our 0.26 acre water right back to the water association. We had kept it & paid the fees for years so that I could legally collect our rainwater for the garden, since that was how the law was written. The laws have been changed & I am allowed to collect more than I need without a water right. The fees went up from $4 to $25, so it was time to sell.

    Made the traditional orange & yellow gelatin in low glass sherbets for part or our Easter dinner. We have had this on the table since we first married over 40 years ago. I used the Wexford glass fruit bowls for our Easter baskets this year. They were already on the buffet, they look pretty with a bit of the green Easter grass inside, & hold enough for a treat without overdoing it.

  29. Happy Post-Easter & Post-Conference Weekend!

    Trying to be frugal from from Urban Seattle:

    -I limited my Easter budget to $5 for my two kids. I decorated some plain brown gift bags I had on hand, added some colorful paper shavings for “fluff” and bought their favorite candies at the dollar store. They are too old for the toys and plastic junk and I don’t like to store easter baskets in our small space.

    -We used the rainy weekend to do a thorough house cleaning and some baking. We aren’t big ham fans, so I made a turkey had frozen after receiving it as a gift from my Buy Nothing group last January, sale asparagus and potatoes and homemade rolls. We have enough leftovers for a better part of the week, and I will make bone broth for turkey noodle soup for the end of the week.

    -We received baked goods from a jewish friend who had to get rid of her flour in preparation for Passover. It was very thoughtful and provided cookies for dessert and sack lunches for the week. I’m trying to think of something to send in return!

    – We rode our bikes for transportation last week, including carrying six laptops on my back to my teaching job! (my husband had taken both of our panniers for his commute). It rained over the weekend, so we did use our car on Saturday to run a few errands, but combined them. Sunday we stayed home.

    – I realized my husband gets a New York Times subscription through his job, so I am going to cancel ours (I feel a little guilty doing this, because I feel it is important to support good journalism). It will save us $15/month.

    -I went through my clothes for spring and created some “new” outfits, rather than going shopping for new clothes.

    -My husband downloaded the 7-minute workout app (for free) in an attempt to add some extra fitness to his bike commutes. I really like the app as well and will likely use it.

    -In my downtime this week, I read books from the library, as well as the little free library on our block, listened to free podcasts and watched The Crown on Netflix (Netflix has a fee, but we watch it enough to justify the cost and we don’t have cable). I also went through our books this week and donated a pile to our Little Free Library.

    -My son needed a specific book for Language Arts that parents were required to buy, as the teacher wants the kids to write notes in the margins (book: On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – about WWII and the Japanese community in Seattle). I asked around my neighborhood and a neighbor is gifting us a copy!

    Hope everyone has a happy, frugal week!

  30. Holly,
    The cashers can access your rewards without you doing anything!!! Maybe you had a new cashier. All I do is hand them my card or phone number if I dont feel like digging the card out. I tell them I want to use my rewards to pay for this. They access it and apply it.

  31. Holly, what is ASD? I am glad your grandnephew is back home. It is so stressful when children are sick, for all concerned.

    Good thinking on the shoe substitution. It is also much safer for your mother to be wearing a shoe than a shower sandal. The elderly are at such a risk for falls.

    My mother in law used to have a problem with stasis ulcers and her doctor would wrap her leg with an unna boot in the office and that worked very well to clear up the issue.

  32. I think homemade tastes so much better then store bought. I love chocolate brownies with walnuts. So jealous of all of your fresh cucumbers. Can’t wait for mine this summer. Great trade with your friend.

  33. Hi Brandy! I’ve been blogging my frugal accomplishments every day over at my blog, but these are my highlights: Today I am making ham pot pies from leftover Easter ham and making ham broth from the ham bone and bits. This morning I reserved aquarium passes for free from our library’s website and I have been listening to a free digital audiobook from the library while working in the kitchen. On Saturday, I went to Fred Meyer (our Kroger affiliate) and got, among other items, three free items with coupons (hot sauce, a protein bar, and a chocolate egg) and 18 pounds of butter on sale for $1.99 a pound (this is the lowest price I’ve been able to find on butter). On Friday, we paid an extra $1,000 toward our mortgage principle. By making extra payments toward our principle, we are hoping to have our mortgage paid in full in 3 years.

  34. ASD, Atrial Septal Defect, hole in heart wall. A diuretic quickly eliminated the heart failure in the toddler. His parents used the time they had to research options for closing the hole. They decided on a minimally invasive up-the-artery patch. Their little boy, who used to be at the bottom of the height and weight charts, soon ended up being a big kid, catching up in size within a year after the defect was fixed the summer before he went to kindergarten.

    The podiatrist had wrapped mom’s leg with the Unna boot when a very big, but previously unnoticed, water blister broke. It worked so effectively that the dermatologist, since retired, the following week asked where the water blister had been before he could see it. A week later, we went to the podiatrist for another Unna boot. He put it on but he wanted her to wear compression socks instead of coming back each week. We bought the hose after her leg was measured by the fitter at the medical supply store. But we (I) tore her tissue-like skin the first time trying to put on the sock. We then went to the regular doctor who wanted me to use water to rinse the wound and gauze to wrap it with and for my mom to keep the limb elevated to reduce the swelling. I absolutely loved what the Unna boot did for her foot and leg. She still has weeping edema. I don’t know if Medicare would cover the cost of the bandaging when the skin is intact.

    The $8.01 was not applied to my account at Office Depot before I got to the store. I had to go through some steps at home starting with the email for it to be usable. The clerk at the store had brought up my account using our phone number. I had asked her to get the manager (at the next register) but she was so very, very sure I had to have some special number that I didn’t insist that she do so. I spoke with a customer service representative by phone this afternoon about the price match with Walmart.com. She said I just need to call back when I have received the ink to get the $4 off.

    The free Little Caesar lunch was delicious.

  35. Laurie, I am unable to post comments on your blog, put wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading it. Be well!

  36. Small sliced chunks of super cheap hotdogs also work. Just keep them in the freezer and take out weiner at a time.

  37. Jen, I thought the book sounded interesting but I could not find it in our public library catalog. I did find HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford. The description sounds the same so I put a hold on it. Goodreads gives it an average rating or 4 out of 5. Thank you for the book idea.

  38. For the eye glass cleaner, I still had my little travel size spritz bottle from the eye doctor ( even though it was empty). It had cost me $6 when it was full.
    I re-used that bottle althoughyoucould pick up a little travel size spritz bottle pretty cheaply.
    Fill the empty bottle 3/4 of the way up with rubbing alcohol. Add 2 drops of dishwashing liquid and fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Shake it up to blend it. It’s now ready to use!
    Cost? Pennies! Results? I’ve been using it every day for a week and it’s been awesome!!!

  39. I shopped mostly from the pantry and freezer and the few groceries purchased (mostly fruit & veg) was bought with store loyalty points. I ate all meals at home and made clam chowder for the first time, along with poaching a couple of chicken breasts, making two turkey loaves, and using up the last of the couscous – measured out and froze 3 servings for later use and made a lovely salad with the rest (I’ll finish it tomorrow).
    Didn’t do anything special for Easter this year (aside from going to church) so that saved some money. A friend and I did make a trip to a large greenhouse complex here in the middle of the city (Allen Gardens) – they have an orchid house and also feature succulents & cactus along with two houses full of Spring flowers (including some special Easter exhibits). The colours & smells were amazing and made us both very happy. These greenhouses are open all year round, feature rotating exhibits, and are completely free. We then walked about half a mile to a favourite pub where my friend treated for lunch. She doesn’t entertain at home while I do and I had brought the main bit of lunch to her mom’s for a visit a couple of weeks ago so this was her returning the favour – which was very nice of her.
    I also received my Cable/Internet bill and tentatively opened it. There had been major issue last month and this month’s bill was supposed to be a total credit but I was sceptical. Well, I had a pleasant surprise as not only was the $145 completely credited back, but I also have a $10 credit that will carry over to next month! Score! I resisted going out to a movie and watched Netflix and YouTube instead – along with my restored cable options (and since baseball season has started and I am a huge Blue Jays fan this makes me very happy)!

  40. Open windows & fresh air!! Can’t wait! 6.5 inches of snow this morning….”poor man’s fertilizer.” I’m really hoping this is the last storm until December, but am practicing knowing what is in my control and what is not 😀 Your snow peas look luscious.
    • My son replaced the low beam headlight bulbs in my car
    • Bought two pairs of dress slacks, one dressy top, and one casual top at Talbots outlet store. I paid $8.30 OOP after using a $15 promotional coupon and three of the gift cards I found when I was decluttering earlier in March.
    • Frugal fail – I met a friend for lunch at a place she suggested. I ordered a grilled cheese off the blackboard with no prices and almost choked after eating the sandwich when it rang up as $9.95. No pickles, no chips – just a sandwich on a plate.
    • Made swag goal x 2
    • Turned bottle of DW soap over and propped up under my sink so the dregs will get used in the next DW run
    • Made cream of asparagus soup, pizza, roasted carrots & zucchini along with a roast from the freezer, made broccoli/wild rice casserole from Smitten Kitchen using a box of wild rice I found while decluttering the kitchen.
    • Cut open tube of moisturizer to get last bits out
    • Updated net worth spreadsheet
    • Mended my winter gloves that I wear when shoveling snow
    • Streamed free entertainment on the internet

  41. This was not a frugal time for us! My FIL turned 80 and the family held a surprise party for him. We also gave him a new tv to replace one that was on its way out. Not a cheap weekend but it’s not every day you turn 80 and this man deserves all the best we can give him! He does so much to encourage our family.
    Our cars are pretty old (14 and 15) and our largest vehicle began making a pretty scary noise on the way home from the party. We find out Wednesday what the problem is. Hopefully it can be repaired easily but the reality is we need at least one newer car. It is on its second engine and I am reluctant to put too much more money into it knowing that it is nearing the end of its usefulness. We haven’t had a car payment for a decade but haven’t saved for a new one because we have been paying off our mortgage (4 to go!). Not looking forward to this process AT ALL!
    I love all the encouraging posts! This blog is one of my favorite things to read. Thank you, Brandy!
    ❤️

  42. I have so enjoyed your beautiful Spring pictures and ideas to bring beauty to your life simply. Life has been
    Busy here but I try and stop and remember your words.
    A few frugal accomplishments these past few weeks:
    . Made meals from pantry and freezer
    . Decorated for Spring n Easter with what I had
    . Eggs on sale .60 dozen
    . Free ice cream at grocery..able to get 3..Free Snapple
    …..free drink at grocery.
    . Went through closet ..gave away some things and brought cooler clothing in.
    . Was able to purchase candy ECT for Easter watching sales early. Thank you Brandy.
    . Watched some teaching Free online on various topics I am interested for summer.
    . I have a few projects to paint to add to summer patio.
    . Cleaned out some of front flower garden before the cold set back in.

  43. Sorry…yes, that is the book! I always get the title incorrect! I hope you enjoy reading it! It was a fun read because I live in Seattle and love WWII history and stories, but I think it would be enjoyable to many.

  44. Hi Terry! Do you, by chance, live in Seattle? Your frugal week looks a lot like mine…FM coupons, reserving free passes to museums through the library, etc. I do most of my grocery shopping at Fred Meyers and try and take advantage of all the deals. Did you receive those coupons by mail or on their website? Just curious if I’m missing out on any deals… I do get the mailed coupons, but I think they customize those based on previous purchases. Thanks!

  45. Holly, Medicare does still pay for Unna boots when physician ordered along with ordered home health care RN visits. With a good home health care company, all visits (one per week for Unna boots) and medical supplies are covered 100%. No out of pocket with good company. Also, Dr. Scholl’s makes some nice knee high compression socks that are soft and less likely to tear skin; assorted colors too.

  46. Becky, my husband is retired and a TV addict. We were spending $120 month on DirecTV, which we could afford. However, we bought a digital antenna for the local channels and spending $35 month for DirecTV Now (almost the same lineup we had before–it’s $50 if you want sports), $10.95 for Netflix and using Amazon Prime for $0 (since we have Amazon Prime for shipping). We also have taken free trials and canceled after a month. He has far more TV choices than he ever had with satellite! Streaming is TV of the future, and the sooner you climb on the bandwagon, the sooner you will start $aving. We have DSL and occasionally it stops for a few seconds to catch up, but it’s no big deal. When we move in June, we will be able to get broadband.

    This was my week:
    (1) Once again, I stayed home 5 of 7 days. This saved gas, and–to some extent–money. I would have saved more if I’d stayed off Amazon, LOL. Which segues to…

    (2) DD lost her iPod Shuffle (which will likely turn up eventually) and I ordered a refurbished model for her, saving about 1/3. I also placed an order for two items and my new friend, the Honey app, automatically found the best deals for me, saving me about $9. Then, I used $14.28 in Amazon rewards, and finally, saved $1 (paid in Amazon Video credit) by choosing no-rush shipping. Total: $24.28 saved. I put an item on Honey’s price drop list for 60 days and they’ve already e-mailed me of a $7 drop. Since I’m not in any hurry, I’m letting it ride for another month or two. It’s easy to save money when you’re spending, isn’t it? When you aren’t spending, not so much.

    (3) The girls were dragging and needed some support (two years since I’d bought a bra) so I took my gift card to Macy’s and got a fitting. The bra was $40 and it was buy one, get one 1/2 price, and I spent $60 with $51.36 gift card applied. I came home and ordered two more just like them for $19.88 each, no sales tax, free shipping. Saving on 2 more bras: $40.24. See italicized comment above.

    (4) I stopped at Harbor Freight to buy a socket wrench set and small blue tarp. I pulled up the HF app and got 20% off the $6.99 sockets. Then the clerk told me if I took the next-smaller size of tarp, I could get it free with any purchase. Saving: $1.38 on sockets and $2.99 on the tarp = $4.37.

    (5) The loss leader last week was shank hams for .77 lb. with $50 purchase at Super One. I had a list and was all set to go there when I happened to drive by Winco, which is cheaper on everything. Their shank hams were .97, but butt hams–which have a lot more meat–were only $1.07 (the price difference is usually more than .10 lb). I did a little math and realized the ham at .77 would save me $2 at most, and I’d have to spend $50 at a higher-priced store to get it. So, I bought everything at Winco, and I think I saved ca$h, although I couldn’t tell you how much.

    (6) DD, who is developmentally disabled, broke her glasses and they couldn’t be repaired. The optician had ONE frame the lenses would fit…and it was $155! I explained that DD is on Medicaid and couldn’t afford $155 for a frame (while thinking I might order new frames and lenses from Zenni dot com). He found a used frame that fit, and didn’t charge us for it!

    I’m looking forward to spring! Oh, that’s right, it’s here! It snowed three times today.

  47. Forgot to mention, DH and I fixed the leg of our $15 solid oak coffee table. It has claw feet and one of the pedestals came apart. I glued it with Gorilla glue, he sanded off the excess and reassembled it. I had a stain pen and went over the seam and it is a completely invisible repair!

  48. Hi Everyone, long time lurker but first time post.
    My frugal accomplishments from Australia
    Recycled shower water to water newly planted lawn.
    Got magazines from library vs buying in news agent for free.
    Bought heartworm tablets online vs vet saving $50 for puppy.
    Bought wine for guests at Aldi vs liquor store, guests raved about quality.
    Hung all washing outside to dry on line.
    Mended school uniform shorts instead of replacing by moving buttons.
    Frugal fail- forgot to fill car up on cheap petrol day and had to pay extortion prices. I miss petrol prices in the US!

  49. Happy Easter eveyone. I have a freezer full of meals again thanks to batch cooking over the Easter break. I took two additional days off outside of the public holidays. So April will hopefully be a frugal month.
    I have 22 library books borrowed to keep me entertained when I’m not working.

    For last Christmas my mum gave me a $100.00 gift voucher to see items at the Melbourne Art Centre. I booked in Verve, a triple bill ballet in June and La Boheme in November. I had to pay an extra $18.00; but I’m very excited to see them both for only $18.00.

    We are moving into winter and I’m going to cover my windows facing the back yard with bubble wrap.

    All the best for the coming week.

  50. Brandy, you are an inspiration of how you cook with what you have instead of wishing you had something else. Just yesterday I made chicken and bean soup with mostly beans.

    * I combined errands as much as possible.
    * I made salad for a potluck using what we had at home.
    * I kept the lights off as much as possible at home.
    * I delivered product to a client when I would see him next at a meeting.
    * We drove our car with excellent gas mileage when we traveled longer distances.
    * We gladly ate leftovers and ate most meals at home.
    * I brought my water bottle to a meeting in a restaurant rather than paying $4 for tea.
    * I stayed home as much as possible!
    * Most days I worked from home.
    * When I was under the weather a little, I used natural remedies I already had at home to feel better.

  51. Oh Margaret, I do wish you could get well quickly. It is so depressing being ill for an extended time; however, in spite of it all, you have been able to accomplish so many cost saving things. Good job.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  52. I make up smoothie bags for the week too, but for our breakfasts. I add fruit, but also will add the following when I have them: shredded zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash, kale, spinach and apple cores (minus the seeds). I freeze a lot of fruit as it goes on sale. We seem to eat it best in smoothies. I also freeze yogurt in ice cube trays. Then when I put together my smoothie bag, I just have to add a couple of cubes to the bag. Then each night I take a couple of bags out of the freezer. In the morning, I dump it into the blender and add tablespoon or so of flax meal and about 1 cup of almond milk. I have used regular milk also, but I like the calorie saving of the almond milk. Delicious!

  53. Brandy, as usual, beautiful pictures!

    • Used free tea, coffee and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Resewed a seam on a stuffed animal.
    • Took my lunch to work all the days I went into the office. Hubby brought his lunch 4 times.
    • Worked 19 contract hours.
    • Resisted the urge to eat out the night my husband had to go to his mother’s to repair her toilet. Used up a freezer item instead.
    • Ate in most of the week. Only ate out at our weekly Trivia league night and a Saturday afternoon lunch.
    • Used up a couple of bread crusts that were in the freezer by making a single serving of French toast.
    • Got a ham and a NY strip roast on a great sale and got a free candy egg on the Friday Freebie.
    • It warmed up quite a bit here in Phoenix. I have to admit, I am NOT frugal when it comes to using my air conditioner. I run pretty warm as it is and would ideally be living in the Pacific Northwest, but my husband’s job is here in Phoenix, so I compensate by allowing myself the guilt free pleasure of air conditioning when I need it! I haven’t had to have it on all day tho. Have still been able to have the door open a little while in the morning and evening. And so far have not had to keep it running when we are not home.
    • For Easter dessert I had a cake mix and frosting that I had bought after Christmas on clearance. The cake had green and red speckles, but so what? The frosting was green. I used green sugar sprinkles on it and added 3 M&M’s that I had gotten from the dollar store on top.
    • Daughter gave me 9 vacuum packages of tuna that she had gotten free at a conference that expires in May. We will use them past the expiration date, but her husband is squeamish about that.
    • I increased my husbands 401k deduction by 1%. Once we get used to that I will up it again.
    • I didn’t go out to my Dad’s as I had to work, so that saved in gas and the lunch I buy him.
    • Filled my gas tank with 10c off per gallon from grocery rewards.

    Have a wonderful, frugal week everyone!

  54. Libby, I had that happen to me too. It was the smallest side salad, as in a bunny would have been starving after (for $10). I was with my mother in law and thankfully had 3 fun size candy bars in my purse. I housed those in the dressing room to keep me going until she dropped me off later that day. I sure hope it was an amazing toasted cheese sandwich!

  55. Jen G., I buy candy on sale after other holidays (Christmas, Valentines Day, etc.) and keep a “candy stash” to use for other holidays. I also gifted my daughter a pair of ear buds and flavoured water in her Easter basket, to lessen the sugar content. Just some ideas that might be helpful.

  56. Susan, a new TV sounds a good choice for you father in law. My mother is in her 80’s and she watches more TV as she gets older. She says it is easier than reading the magazines now and reading books. If she can get what she wants to read in large print, that works OK. She gets more channels than we do as she lives next door with my daughter. We just have an antenna, but the antenna fell off that house in a storm and it’s 3 stories and they decided just easier to get the cable. So now instead of telling us interesting facts from what she read she fills us in with interesting items she has seen on TV. Either way her mind is still working and being used.

    I wish you all many more years together.

  57. I gratefully accepted a dozen fresh eggs, and some cabbage, bell peppers, and potatoes from from some good friends who garden and raise chickens. I used all but the eggs for Easter dinner.

    We’ve been sick with spring colds, so for the first time in years, we skipped church and had a quiet Easter Sunday. Two of our four adult children showed up, so I cooked a fairly simple meal using items I had in the ‘fridge, freezer, and pantry – corned beef (I’d bought three at a very low sale price near St Patrick’s Day), steamed cabbage, potatoes (see above!), and a pasta salad for the vegan (fusilli mixed with stir-fried bell peppers, onions, and fresh tomatoes, tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar). Dessert was vegan orange/banana bread made using bananas that were going brown, and sweet oranges courtesy of my mother’s incredibly prolific tree. I froze the liquid from the corned beef to make soup later, and we are enjoying leftovers in the form of corned beef sandwiches.

    I picked fragrant Japanese Mock Orange (pittosporum), as well as lavender and apple mint, all of which grow in abundance in my yard and are flowering enthusiastically right now, to enjoy around the house (and gave my mother a bouquet as her “Easter basket”, which made her laugh – she gave me lots of oranges in return). I harvested parsley from the herb garden and used some fresh and dried the rest to use later. I harvested and dried lots of oregano.

    We paid a number of bills on line, saving postage, and earned airline points in the process (we use a card, then pay the card off immediately).

    My husband sold several items on eBay and set the money aside. We intend to use it for car repairs.

    I used Shutterfly freebie offers to create and order several gifts, which cost me only the shipping fee. My out-of-state children emailed several beautiful photos of my grandchild on Easter morning – I used my own printer to print several to frame. I have a stockpile of frames that I use and rotate when I want to change things up.

    We watched and thoroughly enjoyed Jesus Christ, Superstar, Live, as a nice de-escalating “date night”, then enjoyed a funny and reminiscent text exchange with my husband’s siblings, arguing about who was a better Jesus – John Legend or Ted Neeley. 😀

  58. I also like your comment about being frugal is saving everyone cash. My dad used to say that the difference between frugal and cheap is “Those who are frugal look out for everyone’s money. Those who are cheap only care about their own.”

  59. Thank you very much for the suggestion about which brand of socks to try. With a little bit of paper in the toe and an extra innersole in one shoe, mom was able to wear both of my shoes yesterday with a pair of regular nylons. Matching real shoes. 🙂 She walked around the outer aisles of the Kroger store with me. I had suggested first that she try the Amigo and then the bench by the cashiers. But she wanted to accompany me and use only her cane for support. Her left leg is slowly getting smaller as she is elevating her feet more. At some point, she likely will need a visiting nurse, especially in the middle of Michigan winters. But the longer she can safely make it out of the house for errands and visits to the local parks, the better off she will be. We have not been in a hurry to get a ramp installed off the front porch because we live on the edge of a town on the main road and a ramp sort of screams “disabled person lives here.” I don’t know if criminals see ramps and think “Don’t bother, they’re nearly always home” or if they think “Easy marks.” I wish the building codes would require ramps where lot sizes allow so that a ramp in the front of a house would imply nothing about its residents. A ramp with handrails would make it easier for mom to walk to the car and back.

    Right now, she is lobbying for popcorn. She decided a while ago to not learn how to use my hot air popcorn maker. So I am the designated popcorn popper.

  60. Brandy, that is a lovely amount of pea pods. I did buy some at the store to add to my relish tray for Easter and the small bag was 3.99. The larger bag was over 6.00. I think you have the equivalent of the larger at least.

    We did all the usual of cooking and baking at home, hanging some laundry, mending, composting, recycling, using up leftovers. Did not have to buy much in groceries to prepare for Easter dinner…we do a potluck. I did buy fresh vegetables for the relish tray…a box of mushrooms, 2 containers of grape tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, pea pods, red and green bell pepper, 2 cucumbers. I had the carrots and celery already.

    We had our school vacation last week. We ladies had an egg dying afternoon at my sister in law Susie’s, with son Henry, house. My brother in law Paulie is living with Susie and family now…will go to another sibling in May. I went and took granddaughter Dora, youngest daughter Olivia, daughter in law Joy brought her mother and her daughter Anna Joy, sister in law Annie came (she was the one who had been estranged from family for years and has reconnected). My mother stayed home with my oldest daughter Eliana who is now 37 weeks along. We dyed over 7 dozen eggs with “help” from the 3 little children and Paulie. They mostly played with Duplos and then added stickers to the ready eggs.

    We had the dinner at our house, setting up extra table in the sunroom and one in the living room. There were 23 of us (all 5 children and families were here) and 5 more with a church family…grandparents, parents and the toddler son and brother in law Bernie (married to Susie) had his parents over too. We cooked the hams earlier and sliced and put into a Nesco roaster to stay warm. We baked 2 pans of chicken stuffing (an Amish casserole), rolls, green bean casserole, scalloped corn casserole. I appreciate having a double oven. There were several jello salads, coleslaw, sweet and dill pickles, corn relish, pickled beets, pickled eggs, cheese and cracker tray. I did the relish tray with dill dip and hummus and I made 2 lemon meringue pies and frosted cutout cookies. Other desserts were a trifle, a German chocolate cake, a tres leches cake, and a pineapple upside down cake. With Eliana so pregnant and also getting over the flu we used our house so that she could go back home to a nice quiet house when she was ready and also, twins come early so who know when they decide.

    Stayed around town for the Easter break. Olivia was home as her school had the same days off. We did do a one day trip last Monday over by husband’s family. Sap is running and his extended family has a maple syrup business. I visited a bit and left him there and Olivia joined (she teaches in the school that serves their church over there) and then she and her Dad drove back here Tuesday night smelling very mapley and smokey. I did some organizing for the upcoming holiday while they were gone and helped Eliana with some things at her house. Her mother in law came also and we did quite a big head start on her spring cleaning. She brought 2 granddaughters with her and between the 3 of them they washed all the walls and ceilings on the 1st floor and the stairway to the 2nd floor and stairs to basement.

    Last fall we had to disassemble our greenhouse as my husband and nephew needed an addition on the business. The greenhouse was on the backside of the workshop. As for now we have trestle tables set up in the old garage and my husband is collecting hanging lights and we think we will have to start all the seedlings in there. Our tenants are going to be helping; they live above the garage. They’re going to park outside for now so they don’t open and close the overhead doors but they are thinking on warm days later in spring they could probably open the doors to let in natural light. We have a mineral oil space heater…possibly will have to use that. It has been snowing all day here and is supposed to continue the night.

    Will finish later…

  61. There are about 6 cups in that picture. $1 a cup sounds about right; years ago I bought some snow peas at the store and they were about that much. I use that much in my pasta salad each time I make it. I’ve made it twice this year, plus I picked another 3 cups or so besides. I’ll have to tell that amount to my husband when we talk about how much things cost that I grow in the garden!

  62. Athanasia, You always have so much going on! What a large family; it’s nice to hear how everyone helps each other. You’re all so close. I loved how two came in smelling all ”mapley and smokey”!

  63. Samantha, did you mean Ruth Goodman’ s book? It is SO GOOD! I borrowed it from the library before we’d even watched the Farms shows, and then my parents bought it for me for Christmas!

  64. Greetings from Estonia. Here the last two months have been colder than in several years before, so we had to use a lot of electrical heating thingies and our power bills are thus… catastrophes. Now the weather is finally getting warmer and nicer, so I can focus again on important things in life instead of just trying to get warm.
    Last week and this week we are trying to eat as much from the pantry as possible.
    We went to see a movie about 50s in Estonia (if you ever get the chance to see “Little Comrade”, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6315438/ use it. It gives a good insight to how people suffered under Stalin’s regime; it is also suitable for children, age 7 and up) on a day when the tickets were cheapest.
    I bought some good-condition clothing items for children in thrift stores, paying about 1/4 of what they would have cost when bought new.
    We upholstered a 30-year-old rocking chair that we had standing in the storeroom. We only paid about 25 Euro for materials. A new rocking chair costs 200 euro when on sale. This work also gave our boys a chance to see, help and appreciate how hard it is to make real things with hands, so it was valuable family time.

  65. I felt so stupid! The sandwich was on quality homemade bread and was delicious and much more filling than your bunny salad 🙂 Good thing you had those emergency, back-up candy bars!

  66. Lovely post…as always…everyone here is so helpful, inspiring and generous with your knowledge and experiences! This week has been a mixed bag of frugality and expenses for us thanks to a long overdue trip to Costco! Aside from that, we cancelled our Netflix account (we were rarely using it), stopped by our favorite farmstand and found lots of bargains from their bargain bench: $6 for a flat of imperfect strawberries, large Roma tomatoes at 4 for $1, large bunches of kale for $2 each and much more! I spent a few mornings listening to audio books and podcasts while prepping our goodies for eating fresh and for future recipes and meals. We also ate from our freezer and pantry the week before the Costco trip! Thanks again to Brandy and you all for your kind and continued helpfulness and inspiration!

  67. I loved the book, “On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”! I also am trying to be frugal in urban Seattle, although I live just across the lake from you, in Kirkland (just as challenging). A ‘buy nothing’ club sounds like a good idea. Did a group of friends start it? I just read a subsequent comment – it probably was “The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” .

  68. We also cancelled our Netflix (movie) account as we now have Netflix streaming instead. We had run out of movies to watch and we’re not interested in seeing any of them twice usually.

    I mended a pillowcase that my Mom embroidered when she was young. I’m still using it 4 years after she passed at 96! I am actually using 4 of them but only 1 needed mending. My sister gave me a mending job which I haven’t done yet–she found a Buffalo Sabres (hockey team) jacket at the Goodwill for her grandson–like new except she didn’t realize the zipper was broken. I don’t have one that small but I will pick one up and she will have paid $1.40 plus the cost of a zipper. Those team items are expensive to buy. It’s a size 4 and grandson is 7 months at the moment–I have some time to fix it before it’s needed. We like to think ahead. Aside from those, there was nothing different I did this week although I did keep using the bags from cereal boxes to grate cheese onto, instead of buying waxed paper, and reuse my aluminum foil 2 or 3 times before discarding, as well as eating up all leftovers.

  69. I remember I had some coupons that came in the mail for the store that gave me a free Haagen Daaz (sp?) ice cream and a free box of crackers. Also 4.00 off a 20.00 produce purchase which I used. I forgot I bought radishes too and 4 fresh lemons.

    Some of the things I cooked last week was not much really. I did the relish tray for Easter, the hummus and the dill dip to go with, and I put extra cooked garbanzos in the freezer. I made the 2 lemon pies using crusts I had made and frozen earlier.

  70. I save all of my older faded pillow casess to use under my newer ones. By doubling the cases, my pillows stay fresh and last a long, long time. About once a month, I give my pillows a sun bath in the hot sun, turning once. Germs are killed, and the sun-kissed smell is so heavenly!

  71. I love the peas! We really enjoy them, but every time I’ve grown them, the rabbits and deer get them. At this point, I just get them in our CSA share, though in the new house, I think we’ll have less trouble with both of those since we’re not as close to the woods.

    Here are our frugal accomplishments for the week, including some sales of items that will build our emergency fund back up.

    https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2018/04/frugal-accomplishments-for-end-of-march.html?_sm_au_=isV48fRrSnq78VVj

  72. When we moved from Florida to Washington DC *(Yes I know that is the wrong way to move) Everyone says that !
    I used a piece of plywood over the spare tub to stack boxes while I worked on a few everyday. IT worked for us.
    I had the plywood board anyway so I used it and now it is under my bed.

  73. 1. Only purchased a few food items for myself this week to round out my meals. Using food given to me from friends headed out of town to meal plan.
    2. Purchased 2 pairs of dress pants on clearance for less than $17! I am looking to get back to working in the professional world and have only 1 pair of dress pants currently. This is a good start to inexpensively rebuilding my wardrobe appropriate for the working world.
    3. Not purchasing any tea or coffee until I have used up some of what I already have. I have 2 drawers full of tea, coffee, flavored coffee and hot cocoa packets. I have a bad habit of buying boxes of tea and only drinking a few cups, then buying more boxes of other flavors. I think I have enough to last me a few months currently!
    4. Picking up as many extra babysitting days as possible lately. Trying to bring in some extra cash to help pay down some bills.

  74. You can use plain popcorn and pop it in a lunch size brown bag on the popcorn setting. I usually put about 1/3 cup popcorn on the bag.
    Works great!

  75. I’m over here in NE Ohio DYING to know what you’ve named that beautiful baby boy! I’m sure you’ve chosen a great name as you have with your first 8!

    ~I received a $20 gift card to a local restaurant from my bosses at work in celebration of National Nurses Week-May 6-12th.

    ~Received a free travel mug with free coffee all week from a local convenience store chain for National Nurses Week. They had run out on the first day of the promotion but got another batch in due to the overwhelming response on Wednesday last week.

    ~Husband planted our small garden to include tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, squash and peas

    ~Planted the 10 trees we received as part of the National Arbor Day Foundation offering in January and planted them in various spots in our yard. We bought tree protectors to keep the local wildlife from eating them & destroying them.

    ~hung clothes in the basement to dry

    ~replaced the outside clothesline now that it’s warm enough to hang laundry out to dry

    ~received Real Simple and Good Housekeeping magazines free in the mail as part of Recyclebank rewards.

    ~Used Starbucks giftcard I won in an online contest last year for a Frappuccino

    ~accepted pizza from my parents to eat for dinner one night last week

    ~watched Call the Midwife on PBS

    ~watched my favorite show The Resident free on Fox the night it aired

    ~watched The Royal Wedding free on network tv.

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