Lemon Branches and Lemons The Prudent Homemaker

I worked pruning, weeding, and tidying the garden. 

I cut branches from the garden to enjoy inside.

I picked more Meyer lemons from our trees.

I dug and transplanted several new “bushes” from one place in the garden to another where I am starting a hedge. These only have one rooted stem, but it is well rooted and they should do well in their new place. After they have been growing in their new spot for a while, I will cut the single branch on each to force them to send forth new branches. It will take about 5 years for them to grow into a hedge.

I sowed seeds for larkspur, poppies, bells of Ireland, and lettuce in the garden.

I resisted the temptation to buy more flower seeds online. I put everything in my cart, looked at the total, decided it wasn’t in the budget, and closed the browser. I have plenty of seeds to plant already.

I downloaded and read five e-books from the library.

I purchased the vitamins I had on my list at Target on sale, plus used an additional 5% off Cartwheel discount to get the price lower. I brought my own bags for $0.05 off my total per bag.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Sam’s Club gift card. I’ll use this towards my grocery purchases this month.

My husband and I used the last two movie passes we received for Christmas of 2016 to go on a date.

A neighbor threw out a men’s bicycle in great condition. It was missing only a few bolts (it was in pieces). We rescued it from the trash. We will either use it (after getting new bolts) or use the pieces on our existing bicycles. (The sun disintegrates seats here, so a new seat is always welcome!)

My husband repaired our side gate.

My son replaced a broken valve connector in the garden.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water our potted plants.

We enjoyed tomatoes from the garden. The green ones I picked in December have been ripening, and they are wonderful! 


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  1. Are there any seeds in particular you were looking to get? I have more than I can use from getting steep discount at a Dollar General near me. If I have them, I’d be happy to mail them.

  2. So jealous of your tomatoes!!! 🙂

    We stayed home this weekend, except for one trip to the store for flu medicine, Gatorade, and a redbox.. My husband has the flu, so between taking care of him and entertaining young children who can’t go outside and play (way too cold in Virginia!!), I was grateful for the red box movie as a brief distraction so I could get some things done in the kitchen.

    Made a triple batch of chili for the freezer, as well as a huge batch of pineapple chicken salad for work lunches this week. Made homemade Graham crackers, but they came out too thick- so, I crumbled them up, made a pie crust, and made homemade chocolate pudding pie. The kids will be delighted after dinner tonight.

    Have been keeping the thermostat at 64, and turning on the gas logs to heat up the house periodically. We’ve been eating lots of inexpensive soups and stews to keep bellies full and warm, along with homemade bread.

    Last week my husband and I commuted to work together, which saved a tank of gas. I had to out in two extra hours to make it work, but two hours of sitting around my office is worth the $40 savings per week, and I think we will be doing it every week, now. I used that time to menu plan and day dream about my spring garden plans.

    Stay warm everyone!

  3. Fresh lemons off the tree sound heavenly to me right now!

    Living frugally in urban Seattle:

    -I stuck to my grocery budget and preplanned meals, including some new vegetarian recipes to save money. I was definitely the biggest fan among my family of the no meat meals. I’ll keep trying some new things.

    -It was a rainy cold weekend, so we stayed in and finished some house projects and also watched movies and read books from the library. I also took my youngest son to the theater for a promised movie. We went to the matinee show, walked to the theater, and brought in our own snacks to save money.

    -I made homemade bread for the week, saving me time and grocery money.

    -I decided not to put any more money in my oldest son’s school lunch account for the year. He is a picky eater with severe sensory issues and I use it only for emergencies – when there is nothing in the house I know he will eat. I have another strategy in mind. I don’t think he eats much of the school food anyway, and it’s not a cheap meal.

    -I put away some money in savings towards expenses for our move and new house purchase this summer.

  4. I actually avoided the grocery store other than milk & a few fresh veggies to cut for homemade pizzas we made for friends that visited while they were here from Alaska (Great Commision missionary using aviation license 😉 ). Hubby found them in the discount produce area, so we chopped all, used what we wanted & then I dehydrated the rest.

    I went shopping yesterday & spotted 3# bags of carrots for 2/$3 sale. I grabbed these & I am dehydrating slices for my Alaskan friend’s. Things cost about 4x as much than they do here in Cincinnati area (where they were before becoming missionaries in Alaska). I will be grabbing deals as I’m able, dehydrating & vacuum packing to be able to ship to them here & there. I can’t commit to a monthly stipend, but I can still help by spending little bit here & little bit there.

    Thanks for always inspiring & encouraging! I can’t wait to read more responses from fellow followers.

  5. I haven’t posted here in a while but I have been reading! I need some inspiration so I came back! We had gotten off on a tangent of spending more money than we should have. We found out that his company has been bought out so we don’t know the fate of his job right now. So we have been cutting back a lot since Christmas. Here is what I accomplished this past week:

    We too had a movie gift card. I’ll three of us went to the movies yesterday. There is $10 left so I am going to be on the lookout for specialty movies as they sometimes play old movies and it’s just a few dollars to get in.

    It was so cold, I’m in South Carolina, and we pretty much stayed In all week. We play board games, watched movies, and baked some goodies.

    Used some CVS extra bucks that I had been rolling over since the Black Friday sale. With the last purchase, I am pretty sure we have enough toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner for the rest of the year. I also picked up some make up items and I have more than enough to get me through a couple of years!

    Checked out some books at the library. One of them is on troubleshooting my garden. I can’t go do anything right now as the ground is frozen but we are going to replace the soil this year. I don’t do a Winter garden as my family doesn’t care for the produce that comes out of it. I just do spring through fall. So hopefully we will rise to normal temperatures and we are going to raise the beds as well.

    Picked up some produce at Aldi at my price point. Bananas were $.33 a pound and potatoes were less than two dollars for 10 pounds. The family has been requesting Gnocci and I’ll do that this week!

    Have a great week!

  6. Alissa, that is so sweet of you! Unfortunately, I don’t think you will have these. They were some specific varieties from Floret Seeds. I haven’t seen these varieties much elsewhere except for one flower, which is why I was excited for her seed launch on January 2nd (lots of things sold out in 20 minutes!) But it’s okay! I think I still have plenty of seeds on hand to plant. I will just have to wait until another year.

  7. Last week was a good week of getting back to normal after the holidays. It still had a little bit of holiday feeling, as New Year’s Day was Monday, but by Tuesday, we were mostly back to the daily grind. One thing that was different was that my 17 year old daughter had taken a short job, just for her winter break, washing dishes at the place where one of our older daughters work–they just needed someone for that short time. They got mixed up and scheduled her for one more week, and so she worked a few hours during the day and did her school work in the evenings. So, that left me and my niece to do school during the days, and so we did, but also spent some fun time curling her hair one day. Free, fun for us both, and a great way to spend our spare time. (I didn’t want to pile on the schoolwork last week–this week that will happen). And, the daughter working got another unexpected week of wages.

    I did some extra cleaning. It doesn’t save money, but makes me feel good to have things better organized.

    We finally bought a microwave. It’s just a basic one. We got a middle of the road one as far as price, with few bells and whistles, and it’s going to to just what we need. I’m glad we waited until my husband had time to go to a favorite store way out in a little town in the country–we’ve shopped there for years, they have good prices, great customer service, etc. They are just out of the way a little bit. He had another errand in that direction, so did both at once. I feel like I’m back in the lap of luxury–it’s so easy to warm things up now:). I will say I used each and every tip given to me from these comments to heat my food over the past month–so thanks!

    We received our 1/4 beef from the butcher. We buy beef each year from a farmer, and cut our order to 1/4 this year, as we aren’t eating as much as we used to.

    I put the rest, and pictures on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-2018-weekly-update-and-saving-money/

  8. Working in the garden sounds wonderful! As do home-grown fresh tomatoes!

    My week went well:
    – I made quick pesto focaccia (approachingfood.com/super-easy-pesto-focaccia/) for dinner using a jar of pesto gifted to me. The DH loved it, and I served it with taco soup from my freezer. An easy and frugal dinner, and I packed up the leftovers for my lunch the next day.
    – I contacted Indigo/Chapters about an order not arriving; they gave me a $25 credit for the delay. Whoohoo!
    – I made a batch of pink velvet cupcakes. I also made three tiny cakes rounds and froze them for cake emergencies (i.e. family or friends are coming over and I need a small dessert quickly).
    – I did yoga at home using you-tube videos
    – I cat-sat for cash. I also received a box of herbal tea, which is perfect, as my husband only drinks herbal teas, and I was almost out.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a bottle of balsamic vinegar gifted to me (I have lots in my pantry right now) for a box of chocolates than I plan to re-gift, a bag of skittles, and some silver-coloured plastic utensils. I plan to turn the spoons into chocolate-dipped stir-sticks for gifts in the future.
    – I was given two solid chocolate bars, and added them to my baking supplies, and was also given a box of shortbread which I’ve put aside either as a gift for my mum who loves shortbread, or to keep hidden in the pantry for snacking emergencies.
    – I made a batch of yoghurt.
    – I sewed two pencil cases for two little girls, using a pillow case with a jammed zipper that was always annoying me. The front of the pillow case was cloud patterned so I used that as the outside, and the back was solid blue, and I used that as the inside. I had two different coloured blue zippers in my craft stash, so no OTC!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gift card to Starbucks.
    – I made low-fat tortilla chips using some homemade tortillas I had frozen from my last batch (I just cut them up and baked them in the oven), and I made guacamole using avocados I had frozen a year ago.
    – I baked a Dutch apple pie for a family dinner, using peeled and sliced apples from my freezer. It was a hit! It reminded my mom of the appel tarts my Opa used to bake, and the entire tart was gone by the end of the night.
    – I went shopping (carpooled with family) and bought some items on sale, including 10 kg of flour for under $5, regular sugar at $1.44/pkg (cheapest possible), sweet potatoes at 57 cents/lb, and canned tomatoes at 97 cents/large container (not a #10). I’m now stocked up on baking supplies, canned goods, fresh fruit, and basically everything, for the month. I may need to buy some milk towards the end of the month, but other than that, I’m good.
    – I took my parents to Costco so that they could buy some items using my card (I get my card as part of my work benefits), and bought a few items there, including clementines at $1/lb.
    – My sister gave me some spices and coupons that she couldn’t use, my mom gave me a box of Hickory Farms chocolate pretzels, and I gave my mom a calendar and some cards that I couldn’t use.
    – I traded 6 cupcakes for a pair of thermal socks (my mom gave me the same pair for Christmas, and I love them!) I used cupcake wrappers bought using Swagbucks gift cards, and cupcake boxes given to me.
    – I traded a pair of wooden salad tongs that were given to me and that I didn’t want, for two large bags of dried beans. I’m set for beans for the next few years!
    – I fixed a broken Christmas figurine, instead of tossing it.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  9. Last month we were able to add some money to our savings account. We also paid extra on our mortgage, bringing the total paid to 25.4% in 8 months. We have also started gathering up information regarding our taxes. I’m hoping we won’t have to pay as much in as I have saved. But we won’t know until our appointment in March.

    My husband and I have both been sick – which means medicines and doctor’s appointments to pay for. We have a sinking fund for this, but it was still more than we had in there. For some reason, my husband’s insurance didn’t cover one of the prescriptions. That one prescription ended up being almost $60! Anyway, we are starting to feel better, so I guess it’s working. We have mostly eaten leftovers and simple meals since we haven’t really felt like cooking or eating.

    We also had 3 snow days – 2 last week and 1 today. So that’s three less days I’ve had to drive to work.

    We borrowed my parents’ Sam’s club card to buy some items for my husband’s birthday party. We also bought some additional groceries for our house. We spent a bit more than planned, but still within the monthly budget. I’ll just have to be careful moving forward.

    I made a large batch of chicken broth – 15 pint jars. Between that and what I have in the pantry, I shouldn’t need anymore for the year. I also made a cheap pasta meal since we had lots of pasta and sauce to use. There were plenty of leftovers, so we should get several more meals off that one.

    I skipped a gourmet coffee, which I wanted badly. But I saved money by just making some at work.

    I made January’s grocery plan and I won’t have to buy too much. Just a few staples that we need every week.

    I am still working on planning my husband’s birthday party. I need to figure out the cake details and a few more side dishes. I will have to by buns closer to the party time.

  10. We borrowed books and DVDs from the library.
    My husband worked almost every single day; he is a stay-at-home dad and homeschool parent to our two children, however, he does a lot of side gigs either with the kids in tow or when I’m home from work. He completed 2 mystery shops – going places we already needed to go (gas station and a grocery store). He is the nursery attendant at our church and worked 3 days there. He also donated plasma and received $90 total for two times. He also received a bonus from the church for his work in the nursery.
    I earned Swagbucks and completed activities on Crowdtap. I did enough activities on Crowdtap that I received a $5 amazon gift card. I also earned and redeemed Recyclebank points for two free magazine subscriptions and a coupon for a free gallon of milk.
    I’m a licensed Zumba instructor so I teach classes, but I also attend classes. The normal class I attend had their punch cards on sale, so I saved $10 by getting it on sale.
    We had many items on our grocery list Saturday as we eat a Whole30 meal plan most days of the year. Some items we needed to get were on sale, which was a nice surprise. We made a trip (40 minutes each way) to hit up the stores that sell the items we need and it was a fun shopping day. We bought dinner for the kids at McDonald’s (it was budgeted), and we packed food for ourselves. We all had good fun.

  11. I attended a training to become a facilitator in a youth program at our church and was able to drive to the location vs. having to go to another city. I also saved on hotel as a church member offered “hospitality” to me and another attendee,we stayedin a beautiful home in Tucson and had free fresh coffee each morning. And lively conversation! The Church provided ALL our meals (healthy vegetarian!!) for 3 days!! I enjoyed baked potatoes with vegetarian chili over them,spinach salads, curried chickpeas. I got my certification and made new friends.I did not spend money on anything but gas. I made friends in Tucson who I will be able to stay with in the future if we travel down that way, and I offered my guest room to friends i met there as well.

  12. I signed up for the free Every Dollar app and so far I’m really liking it. It’s so easy to just enter my purchases on my phone as soon as they are made, instead of trying to keep all my receipts together until I have time to enter it on a spreadsheet. One glance, and I can see how my budget is going.
    I avoided several purchases, talking myself out of impulse buying. It was close, but I managed it.
    I have purchased half a hog for the freezer, which we’ll be getting soon. The price per pound is so much lower this way, and the pigs are always pastured, fed organically, and humanely raised and slaughtered by a small farmer and his hard-working wife, adorable toddler, and amusing dogs. I just couldn’t afford this much pastured pork from a place like Whole Foods.
    We’ve had several hard freezes and an ice storm here in Florida, so I put frost cloth over our cabbages and they are fine. I put my worm bucket in the insulated well pump house, which is warmer by about 10-20 degrees than the outside, and the worms are fine, too. I used worm castings to improve the soil in our raised bed for this spring.
    I needed a notebook to carry with me to note symptoms for a condition I am tracking — I found a pocket sized notebook at the house with only a couple of pages used, so that is my “new” notebook.

  13. Hello all! Frugal accomplishments for the first week of January:

    1. I cooked a ham that my husband was given from his employer for our holiday lunch. I also cooked the traditional black eyed peas and cabbage, very frugal purchases. I also made cornbread from my pantry supplies. We ate leftovers the next day.
    2. I went back to work on Wednesday. Brought lunch so that I would not be tempted to eat out.
    3. My dryer finally quit. We have had to dry loads of laundry several times to get them to dry completely, which is not frugal in the way of the light bill. This dryer is very old and the part to fix it was only a hundred dollars less than a brand new dryer that was on sale at Lowe’s. We went with the new dryer. Not necessarily a “frugal” as far as saving money up front, but it will even out in the long run.
    4. Cooked all meals at home.
    5. Spent 16.00 at the Friday sales at my grocery store and bought sugar, milk, frozen vegetables, and toilet tissue that was on sale.

    That’s all I can think of. Have a great week.

  14. I have my January paychecks allocated to where I need to spend them. It leaves me $20/week to buy fresh foods which I will only buy on sale. The rest of our food will come from the pantry.
    Hubby has been bad influence for eating out, wanting pizza last night, but I declined.
    I totaled all my garden spending and it was about $1800 for 25 fruit trees, 35 grapes, strawberries, asparagus, and gooseberry and currants, raspberries, etc. I may have to spend another $1200 for insect netting. Thus I hope it will be worth $3000, which is $300/year for 10 years of fruit. I figure about $2/day is my cost for the 25 weeks of production june-oct. If my garden is successful I think $2/day for as much fresh fruit that my family of 4 wants to eat is worth the effort. I’m in Iowa.

  15. The men’s bicycle was a great find! This time of year, it’s easy to “need” lots of flower seeds. Well done on resisting. This is our first day above freezing in a while, and there’s still snow on the ground, so I’ve not harvested any greens lately. Hopefully, all or most survived the extreme temps. Otherwise, I’ve pulled butternut and cushaw squash, and sweet potatoes from the root cellar, and prepared those, as well as canned and frozen garden produce. I’ve cooked several things on top of our wood stove, saving propane. We still have a small amount of our tomatoes, picked green in October, the latest ever. I’m looking forward to everyone’s comments, and happy to be joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/01/a-little-snow-frugal-accomplishments.html

  16. I was considering these seeds all last year and planning to purchase some seeds from Floret when they became available on January 2nd. It’s going to be a tight month and I just don’t see them being in the budget. So they weren’t an impulse buy; I know this company had specific flower seeds I have been wanting to add to the garden. It’s okay, though; I think I still have plenty of other seeds and I can still fill the garden with what I have! I plan to grow more flowers this year; last year I had hoped to, but I was unable to get them all planted in time, so I have lots of seeds left. Plus, I collected seeds from the flowers I did plant, so I have more of those types!

  17. This has been a pretty uneventful week. I cooked from scratch, ate all meals at home, baked bread, and hung laundry on a rack in front of the wood stove to dry. My husband and I read books we downloaded from the library and worked on a jigsaw puzzle that was a Christmas gift.
    I did swing by Target to take a look at their 90% off Christmas clearance. I bought 3 gift bags for 20 cents each, a large jar of cashews marked down from $16.99 to $5.09 and a S’well stainless water bottle for $2.49. Only the rose gold color was marked down (regularly $25!). I wanted this to keep tea in – it’s supposed to keep it hot for 12 hours – we’ll see.
    I had enough MyPoints to get a $20 Amazon GC and I used this to purchased Dr. Bronner’s soap that was on sale. My supply was running low, so this sale was timely.
    I found a stupidly obvious solution to a problem I had been wrestling with. I share it here in case other people are as blind to obvious solutions as I am. I have a quilt I made years ago on our bed, but it is getting very worn at the top, especially on my husband’s side. I’ve patched the fraying material several times, and I’m making a new quilt, but it will be some time before it is done, as I don’t have a lot of time to work on it. The quilt has a wide border around three sides and a different, narrower border at the top edge. I was to the point where I thought I’d have to buy something to use on the bed until I could finish the new quilt. Then, the other morning while I was making the bed, I decided to turn the quilt around. The narrow “top” border is hidden by the footboard at the end of the bed and the center medallion looks the same no matter which way it’s turned. The new ‘top’ edge isn’t worn at all and it looks fine. Duh! I wish I had thought of this months ago.

  18. Hi Brandy,
    I have had a small table top clock in my family room for several years now. I use it in the mornings to track my time and make it out the door to work on time each day. Last week I kept arriving to work a few minutes later than I had thought I would. It turns out the clock had stopped working. New batteries did not help the situation so it was time to buy a new one. I needed one asap as I can’t be late to work. I checked at a few different stores but couldn’t find anything to fit my needs so I went to check at Home Goods. I found one there that is working fine and got me to work on time today.

    The best part was that I was able to purchase several Christmas gifts for great prices. I vowed to work on purchasing Christmas gifts throughout the year to making my shopping less stressful than it was this year. I purchased seven Christmas gifts for an average cost of $6 each. These are the same type of gifts I bought this year for Christmas but paid four times that amount because I bought so late in the season. I also purchased a box of nice Christmas cards for $2.

    My grandson’s birthday is tomorrow so I was in need of some orange ribbon to tie up his gift. Orange is his favorite color. Orange was being a difficult color to find and when I did find some- it was too expensive. I finally found some on sale for $2. This was enough to use on my gift and then my son brought over his gift and I put some of the orange ribbon around it also. I still have enough ribbon left over for a couple more gifts. He is the type of kid that notices those little touches and they really make his day more special.

    Although I spent some money, I had budgeted for it out of my Christmas funds and it went far further than I imagined so I have a much better start to my Christmas shopping this year. Being organized and having a plan is key to reducing stress and having a great Christmas I can feel good about.

    I found some beautiful taper candles on sale for $1 each. I purchased four of them and plan to use some of my wood supply to make gifts. I plan to take a small round of wood, drill holes the size of the candle and cover the wood with greens and cones from my yard and add a bow from ribbon I already have. I did this for my mom and sister this Christmas and they really enjoyed the flower arrangement with the candles and the fresh greens lasted weeks. The four dollars in candles will make two gifts so $2 per gift which fits nicely into my budget.

    I hope to stay on task and continue to purchase or make nice gifts at rock bottom prices throughout the year so that Christmas will be a lot less stressful for me this year. This was one of my main goals for 2018 so it feels good to be getting a good start.

    I never would have found those gifts on sale if it wasn’t for my clock giving out- it forced me to go shopping which I don’t really enjoy doing.

  19. The horrible cold snap that we have had should be over today. In my old age, this was the first time I realized I couldn’t turn the thermostat up just because it was there. I believe that a small space heater for the bedroom and possibly a kerosene heater for any power outages may be on my wishlist for future swagbucks. I am doing well in my attempt to have future savings. I have read and re-read my square foot gardening book and look forward to setting this up. Tax refund money will pay for the soil and I have other materials I can salvage. I have decided that a low glycemic diet is what my daughter and I need to follow. I have 100.00 left from my last and final SNAP allotment and plan on stocking up on flax,coconut and almond flours. Lots of veggies for the freezer and we will be good to go. I am not spending any money other than swagbucks or other such rewards. I used two Kohls birthday 5.00 rewards ( my daughter and I have birthdays real soon) to buy three stockings that match the small one college daughter has. They were marked down to 2.69. I need one more , but they seem to have them every year, so I will look next year. I used a 10.00 gift card to Wal-Mart and picked up 3 shoebox size Xmas boxes to use for my three children every year from now own. The holiday purchases will be simplified each year from now on. The boxes were 1.00 a piece. I got my daughter a 24 pack of their holiday iced sugar cookies for 1.25. I put them in the freezer. Some cleaners and a tin of cappuccino used that one all up. I used some high dollar coupons I received in the mail to buy 6 boxes of popcorn for 10 cents a piece. I was delighted that they each had a Redbox code on them and will let sugar cookie use them. Movies and copy paper for drawing are what makes her happiest. I did a deal at Best Buy for Christmas where if you spent 10 you got 10 back in January. Good for three deals. I spent 32.00 on movies and just received my 30.00 back. I will use it for more movies for sugar cookies birthday in three weeks. She usually keeps a wishlist of movies. Meanwhile I continue to keep the thermostat down,hang my laundry out and cook at home. I will do my taxes myself like i did last year. I have always paid close to 600.00 and I just am not going to do that anymore. 75.00 was set aside in this month’s budget and all I need to do is submit them. I am proud that I have gotten past my anxiety about doing these things. My sugar cookie is coming home tomorrow from her month long Christmas trip. I am so excited. I missed her. I will time my arrival at the airport as close as I can to keep the parking fee down. She will want to eat when she arrives and I have several coupons available to use on the long drive home. I hope everyone is snug and warm.

  20. This week I turned the thermostat down to 50 degrees at night and 62 during the daytime. I spent an afternoon inventorying the food in my pantry and freezers. I turns out that we have enough food to last a very long time, apart from fresh produce and milk. During my food inventory, I discovered that we had a massive amount of butter in our deep freezer. I used some of the butter to make homemade croissants for the first time. I made 6 dozen muffins from ingredients I had on hand, purchased on sale. I put over half of the muffins in the freezer to eat later. The heat from baking helped warm the house. I have been timing my showers to help avoid wasting hot water. I discovered that I can take a complete shower in under 3 minutes! I searched for my dishwasher manual online and discovered that my dishwasher actually uses MORE water when I run a “light” wash load than when I select “normal” wash, so I’ve been running my dishwasher on “normal” loads since. I started washing all of our clothes in cold water on the shortest cycle possible. I’ve been monitoring our daily electric usage online. This past week, I saved all of our laundry for one day and then I discovered that doing a week’s worth of laundry more than doubled our electric usage. It turns out that we have a very energy inefficient clothes dryer. We did the math and figured if we buy an inexpensive energy efficient clothes dryer, it will pay for itself in electric savings in about 2 years. We are planning to buy one when my husband gets his next bonus check, in the mean time I started hanging laundry to dry indoors on a drying rack. I’m considering ways to hang some lines or drying racks indoors that won’t look junky (we live in a rainy area, so outdoor lines aren’t feasible). My cell phone has been having some trouble lately with the Bluetooth and GPS. I did some research online and found what I thought was the problem. It turns out that the part was inexpensive to purchase, but replacing it would be time consuming. I went to the store to see how much it would cost to repair it. They didn’t want to repair it for me and were saying that I could get a new phone for $300 or if I insisted, they had a guy in another store who would do the repair for $200+ an hour. I balked and told them I’d have my husband fix it for me, since either way I was looking at spending several hundred dollars. I ordered a repair kit online for $20 and my husband spent about an hour and a half one afternoon fixing it for me. I watched the kids and made sure they didn’t go anywhere near him while he was fixing me phone. It works perfectly now and we saved at least $200!!! I’m thrilled!

  21. I love how you are using patience and what you have on hand to make a new hedge. Hoping for super growth this year for you!

    • Put a third wool blanket on my bed
    • Taped a piece of flexible Styrofoam packing material to bottom of front door to help block drafts
    • Put rolled up towels in front of outside doors
    • Wrapped bubble wrap around some pipes down in basement
    • Kept the heat up all day & night during the Winter Storm Grayson in case we lost power (thank goodness we didn’t).
    • Cooked Massaman curry with chicken and veggies and brown rice, made chicken broth with slow cooker, made apple crisp, baked peanut butter cookies, tried new recipe, Greek lemon chicken soup with spinach and rice, from a library cookbook, made homemade pizza
    • Repaired three Christmas decorations
    • Shoveled snow by hand – ugghh
    • Updated monthly net worth spreadsheet
    • Returned three small, unopened items to Michaels for a refund of $8.48
    • Washed plastic Ziploc bags
    • On Sunday, when it was -20, ate breakfast in bed  to stay warm
    • Made a pot scrubber using the net bag in which navel oranges were packed by loosely knotting it over and over
    • Made swag goal x 7 – first time I’ve ever earned a “winning streak” bonus.
    • Colored my hair at home
    • Hung laundry up to dry, which also helps hydrate the air since we have forced hot air heat
    • Spent a total of $7.35 at the grocery store for the entire week: lettuce, apples, and zucchini. All other food came out of pantry and freezer.

  22. Beautiful picture, Brandy!

    • Spent New Year’s Eve at home. Made a nice dinner and watched a movie I already own with the Hubby.
    • Used free coffee, tea and toiletries and washed Ziploc bags.
    • Turned off the heat in the house.
    • Had lunch out on NYE day and used a BOGO entrée coupon.
    • Leftovers for dinner including turkey noodle soup & salad; turkey enchiladas made with broken taco shells instead of tortillas and home canned turkey (bought at lowest price last Thanksgiving), enchilada sauce, salsa and corn all bought on clearance; leftover roast Beef & Gravy and peas; Ham steak (bought at Easter), Au Gratin Potatoes (bought on clearance with coupons) and green beans (home canned). Grilled pork chops on Friday and steak on Saturday. Last night I had a can of chicken noodle soup, as Hubby left on a business trip and I am sick. Ate dinner at home on our Trivia night instead of ordering at the bar.
    • Inventoried all my freezers (1 deep freeze, 1 top freezer on extra fridge and kitchen refrigerator freezer.) Since I was inventorying the deep freeze, I went ahead and defrosted it as well. Updated my freezer spreadsheet.
    • Cut up some older celery and carrots and put them in the freezer for soups.
    • Organized Christmas gift wrap and (reused) bags, tissue and bows. I should not have to buy any through next year.
    • Received a wine gift basket from my MIL. I saved all the shredded paper to use in gift bags in place of tissue paper in gift bags, the beautiful ribbon and wooden box.
    • Helped a friend pack up her house for moving. She gave me a small, foldable wood and iron table and 4 folding chairs, a brand new frame, a brand new set of 3 rubber balls for my grandson, a church key can opener (this had been on my list to buy), a candle and 2 decorative plates. She also paid for lunch.
    • Got some decorative Christmas items 70%-90% off as well as 2 cans of beef bouillon powder, 3 cans of tomato sauce and 3 cans of chili on clearance. The chili will be great for Hubby to put in his desk for those days when we don’t have time to pack his lunch. Also got some olive oil on clearance and there was an Ibotta rebate on it as well.
    • Hubby used a refillable water bottle every week and took his lunch on Wednesday (sandwich and leftover salad) and Thursday (free tuna my daughter had gotten from work.)
    • Took Dad out to lunch. Ordered the special instead of what I really wanted. It was chicken fajitas. I ate two fajitas only, then boxed up the black beans they came with and added the rest of the onions, peppers, chicken, pico de gallo and salsa and took home the serving of black beans and had that for lunch the next day.
    • Resisted the urge to buy some sox that were on sale. I have so many already and I only wear sox for 3 months a year.
    • Ordered some fitness equipment I wanted. Saved $1 by ordering one color over another. Used Ibotta, so I will be getting a rebate on it too.
    • Had 4 leftover breadsticks from Olive Garden from last week. I sliced them up, tossed them in a little olive oil and garlic powder then toasted them in the oven for about 10 minutes. This made a quart jar full of croutons.
    • Got organic broccoli and cauliflower on sale for 97c/lb. Blanched and put in freezer. 3# bag of gala apples were 99c, so I got one of those too. Also got 5-oz. packages of shredded cheese for 99c each and a free Lara bar. Went to the P.O.W.W.O.W. (Produce On Wheels Without Waste). It is the local program that rescues produce going to waste and sells it to the public through churches, etc. You get 60 lbs. of produce for $10. I got 20 Roma tomatoes, 5 eggplant, a bunch of chives, 5 green bell peppers, 20 jalapenos, 3# of green beans, 2 honey dew melons, 10 yellow squash, 3 spaghetti squash and 7 gray squash. They also included 2 rolls of paper towels. I gave my daughter some of the squash and tomatoes. I blanched and froze most of the remaining yellow squash and dehydrated the chives. I cooked and froze the spaghetti squash. I will can the green beans and jalapenos and dehydrated the eggplant this week.
    • Hit some more after Christmas sales and got a number of items we will need next year including 3 white elephant gifts, a gift for my son-in-law, a gift for my daughter and gifts for a couple of friends we see 3 – 4 times a year. The wives always exchange something small, so I have those gifts for 2 occasions and only spent $26 for 4 gifts. Retail would have been $80. Got some Yankee Candle votives for 75% off also. I will use these decorating my new home.
    • When moving I found that I had A LOT of hotel soaps that I haven’t used. I prefer body wash in the shower. I’m running low on liquid hand soap, I decided to put bar soap in the bathrooms instead. I found 2 cute small plates I already owned and put those in the guest bathroom (there are 2 sinks in there) and then found a small plain white soap dish while I was out shopping for $1.99 for the ½ bath. I just need to find 2 more small soap dishes for the master bath, but will look around at Goodwill for those. I shouldn’t have to buy hand soap again for years!
    • Used $5 reward at Walgreen’s on foot cream my husband needed. There was also a $2 in store coupon.
    • Saved $5 by paying our car insurance for the full year vs. month to month.
    • Hubby received a $100 Amazon gift card from his boss.
    • Signed up for a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card. We currently use my husband’s credit card for all purchases and pay it off each month. We are very disciplined to do this, so I am not concerned about getting another credit card. We got out of the debt hole many years ago and will never go there again. We will use this one for 3 months, as I will then earn 40,000 points plus $100 credit. I will use these points for gift cards for Christmas presents.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  23. Here’s my frugal accomplishments for the first week of January.

    We had our extended family Christmas celebrations on New Year’s weekend. Brought back leftovers from both sides, which were incorporated into breakfasts/lunch/dinners for the week: Pulled pork (froze some for future use), havarti cheese slices, banana bread, pecan and pumpkin pie.

    Used a Shutterfly coupon code plus free shipping to order part of next year’s Christmas cards with a holiday photo for a discount. Went through Upromise for cash back.

    Organized my physical coupon storage; replaced the three-ring binder where I keep newspaper inserts in sheet protectors, which was falling apart, with a “new” binder (i.e., it came out of my home office storage and was one my daughter previously used for school).

    Checked gift card balances.

    Registered daughter for a week of summer horse camp; saved $100 by paying in full by end of December.

    Went to a movie on New Year’s Day. I had ordered tickets and food online through my AMC Stubs membership (I rarely make any purchases without some kind of discount code/cash back option/loyalty card). Food is supposed to be delivered to your seat within 10 minutes of the time you specify. It wasn’t, so I had to go out to the lobby and follow up on that, then carry popcorn and drinks back while trying not to spill them. I talked to the manager afterward (nicely) who offered me a refund on the cost of the food. (Also noted: even though I waited the full 10 minutes, which I had set for movie start time — which is really “preview start time” — they were still in the midst of showing previews by the time I got back to the theater, so I didn’t miss any of the movie.)

    Put up the three free calendars I received. (One from my insurance company; one from National Wildlife; one from Unity.)

  24. Glad the holidays and their spending is over so things can get back to normal.
    Took the dogs to get free nail trims at the pet supply store. Attended a free movie and a Zumba class at the base. Had a free Chiropractor appointment due to my monthly prepay and missed appointments due to the holiday closures.
    Had a few days off work due to the freezing temperatures. Stayed home and ate from the fridge/freezer and binged on Netflix. Kept the heat at 65 at home , cooked things that took a long time, baked bread and ran a cleaning cycle on the oven to warm the house up a bit more.
    Nearly froze to death chaperoning a basketball game at my school. The gym’s heat was broken, it was 22 outside, and I was at the door selling tickets. Coach took pity on me and brought me a cup of hot cocoa.
    Had friends in for Sunday dinner (it was my turn). Made a meal for them primarily out of my freezer and pantries; they provided wine and a salad. Splurged on some fresh berries to make a light dessert that was loved by all.
    I need to finish my Christmas sewing and bet the last box mailed out. I know I’m late, but better late than never.

  25. Yay for a new-to-your family bike! Do your kids have to provide their own bikes when they go on their missions? (We’re not LDS, so I don’t know how that works.)

    I’m glad to say I’m back in the groove of writing things down, so here goes.

    Frugal Efforts

    * Ate mostly home-prepped meals. (We did eat out after church on Sunday, and Hubs bought a salad at work one day. Otherwise we ate at home/took packed lunches.) This continues to be a challenge for us. One goal for 2018 is to improve significantly in this area for both financial and health reasons.

    * Participated in the pantry challenge hosted by Jessica at GoodCheapEats. Planning for this, and the accountability resulting from daily postings, has helped with the above point.

    * Paid bills online. Postage is going up again this year (maybe it’s already gone into effect?), so I’m glad I have this option.

    * Hubs “rescued” a wooden trellis a neighbor had out for the trash. He’ll use it in the garden for peas or cucumbers.

    * Printed out and analyzed the annual spending reports (both 2016 and 2017) to find more places to trim the budget. While there are definitely some areas of waste/poor choices, I was pleased to see that in many areas we had actually cut our spending in 2017. That was encouraging.

    * Made split pea soup, minestrone soup, whole wheat bread, “breakfast” bread, rosemary focaccia, ranch dip, pizza, orange chicken, and tacos.

    * Son collected recycling items to raise funds for his Eagle project. When we took them in, he made $82.

    * Hubs took son to various businesses to ask for gift-in-kind donations for son’s Eagle project. Son received lots of support.

    * Son printed up some free sheet music.

    * The weather has been unseasonably warm here, so we opened up windows and doors whenever possible and kept the thermostat set for 68F otherwise. It’s also been really dry, so I expect we’ll be back on drought restrictions later in the year. Our habit of collecting warm-up/rinse water continues.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  26. Why not trim your quilt and use the trimmings from the borders to rebind it?

    They’ll match exactly that way. Sure, you’ll have a slightly smaller quilt, but the damage will be gone, and you’ll have a ‘new’ piece.

  27. Wow! You did a lot of garden work this week! I’m a wee bit envious since we’re warmer than we have been (right around freezing) but won’t be able to get to anything outside until May-ish. I’ll live vicariously through your photos until then!

    You mentioned picking tomatoes with a freeze. If it’s a “light freeze”, you can just cover the plants with a blanket, tarp, drop cloth, etc and then remove it once the freeze is past. We typically do this down to about 25F or so, especially close to the house or walls that can hold heat. Then the tomatoes can ripen on the vine and we don’t have to have quite as many tomatoes ripening in the house! We do this with beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, etc. too.

    Not much frugal “stuff” going on past our typical weekly doing (eating at home, using reusable cloth napkins/towels/etc., and the like) but you can read what our family did this last week here:

    Blessings on your new year,

  28. It has been very chilly in the deep South, and I do not remember it being this cold for this long in years, which means a higher heating bill, and a higher water bill. I ended up in the hospital for a couple of days, which is not frugal, except that I ate there, when I was allowed to eat again….lol. I went in thirds on the present for the grandchild, with the other grandmother, and the parents of the grandchild. I ate beans made from dried lima beans and they were good.

  29. I’ve been doing my taxes myself for a few years. I buy the Basic version of TurboTax. It’s what works for me and their ‘interview’ setting takes me through everything. You can buy it on line and download it. Once I used it the first year, there was no longer any need to go to a ‘professional’.
    Also, I’m in my 60s and now get quite chilled. I use an electric lap blanket made by Sunbeam. I got it on sale for $39Cdn. You might consider one in addition to any space heaters.

  30. this week I canned 36 pints of : Sweet and sour sauce, Spicy Asian orange sauce and pineapple chunks. My daughter found Hershey’s baking cocoa (8 oz canisters) for 99 cents on mark down at her store and she is trading 10 of them to me for more sweet and sour sauce!
    I spent $26 this week on groceries- $4.98 total for 5 eight ounce blocks of extra sharp cheddar cheese, 1 free Larabar and Campbell’s cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups for 25 cents each! I bought 48 CoC and 24 CoM!! That will be enough for a year for us! I bought $3.98 worth of fresh salad greens that would have been between $7 and $11 more if I bought them elsewhere!
    My iPhone battery needed replacing so my son took it to the Apple Store where they replaced it ($79) . Unfortunately, when I tried to use it when he brought it home, the “home” button no linger worked at all (it had been fine before!) He took it back the next day and they agreed that it was their fault so this week they will be getting in a new iPhone (a 5c like mine which I love,) for NO charge!! I am happy!
    We went over our list of four goals for 2018 in each of 6 categories and compared them. Now we have decided on the first two categories and will go over the next two categories tonight. Then Tuesday the last 2 areas!
    It’s exciting planning for the month to see how we can move each goal along!!
    All meals at home, many using and recreating leftovers in fridge into new entrees!
    It’s been fun living on our reserves here at home and not feeling the need to go buy more food! It is good for our budget too!!
    I made a quilt out of vintage 1930’s nine patch blocks that I got from an estate sale and will now list it for sale on our business site-HandmadeinOldeTowne.
    I am working on an upholstery job for a client and hope to have it finished by the weekend! We finished and got paid for two more of our woodworking part of the business.
    We are happy without progress this week!

  31. This is my second post. I found rooting hormone for $1 on clearance at Walmart so I’m attempting to root out raspberries, gooseberries, currants and plums. I spent $5 for seed starter mix also. I hope something roots out! Our shop stays at 40 degrees with the heater so I will leave the cuttings in there until spring. I think it take 3 months+ for cuttings to develop roots. I tried unsuccessfully to root out cuttings from wild plum last winter without using hormone. I hope I have better luck.
    My 3 year old helped me and had a blast stomping through the snow to tske cuttings so if anything it was a good activity for her.
    I’m envious of you Brandy! I wish I could have such a large family!! Still pushing for #3 🙂
    Do you find it gets easier when there are older children to help out with the younger ones? My 3 and almost 2 year old are so much work, I can’t imagine more than 2 under 4 at a time!

  32. I might have saved about $2000 by making two phone calls today. I woke up Saturday morning to no water. We had just had the longest coldest cold snap since 1979 so I wasn’t sure if the problem was frozen pipes or dead well pump. I just knew the circuit breaker had not popped so there was nothing to switch to turn the water back on. A January thaw was coming so I planned on waiting until this coming Friday to decide who was going to do the replacement of the well pump if we still had no water. I had two estimates for well pump replacement from well experts from a month ago when the circuit breaker had been switching off too frequently. But then there was a stretch of two-three weeks when everything appeared to be fine. Saturday, I sent them emails letting them know why I had not followed up on the estimates earlier and asking the lowest cost guy if he included a replacement pipe like the significantly more expensive guy. Silence from the lower cost guy-maybe he is on vacation or doesn’t check his email except on weekday evenings. I decided to get a third estimate this week and so (Phone call one) I asked my round the corner neighbor if they had a favorite well guy. They did. (Phone call two) I asked their favorite well guy for an estimate. He would not provide one without a $60 service call to come out and diagnose the problem. I asked if the $60 would apply to the replacement if we went with him. he said yes and I gulped and said come on over. He came over, got out his multimeter, and started testing. Our pressure tank switch was dead. It cost a total of $130 to replace it and give us running water again. Our well pump is old and might be failing soon. But for now, we have running water and one problem fixed.

    Expenses were higher this weekend because of the well problem. We ate take out two nights. I had to wash clothes at the laundromat, and bought disposable plates, cups, and bowls, aluminum foil, oven baking bags, wet wipes for people and hard surfaces, cases of bottled water, jugs of water, and a seven-gallon water can. I have a second seven-gallon water container waiting for me at Walmart. I think I will return the foil, baking bags, and hard surface wet wipes since they have not been opened. I think I will still pick up the second seven-gallon water container because it will be a good addition to our emergency supplies. I purchased it with Swagbucks.

    The gallon of water per person per day commonly suggested to have on hand for emergencies is very low if you plan on doing ANY dishwashing. I was able to wash a trayful using snow to start, about three cups of water to wash the dishes with a soapy rag, and a small teakettleful of boiling water to rinse. It takes about 2.5 gallons of water to flush a toilet once and, believe me, you will want to flush it a second time immediately if you are trying to flush it just once a day. Plan accordingly.

    Because of the cold snap, I researched best winter room temperatures for old people. I found a British review-of-the-published-papers paper. No cooler than 68 at night and no cooler than 72 during the day. Being cooler can increase blood pressure and stroke incidence, and increase breathing difficulties for asthmatics and COPD sufferers. So, mom wins the battle of the thermostat in this house. It will be 70-71 at night and 73 during the day with a space heater set at 75 and aimed at her on whenever she wishes. My room is a bit cooler because I keep the vent and the door closed. Fewer strokes, practically priceless.

  33. Roberta,

    Not every missionary uses a bicycle. I used public transportation as a missionary. If a bicycle is needed, it is purchased in the area.

    Home Depot in our area has a specific budget for donating to Eagle Scout projects. My eldest son had his materials donated for his project.

  34. Our freezes here are usually light freezes. We pulled our plants. I will plant new plants next month in the garden and I will direct seed squash, cuucmbers, and beans. Peas make it through our frosts without being covered. I have several fall-planted snow peas coming up in the garden now.

  35. Holly,

    The emergency drinking water amount of 1 gallon per person per day is just the amount for drinking. It’s not for washing or anything else. We have water that we can drink as well as non-potable water stored for flushing the toilet and other needs.

  36. Sounds like you had a very nice week Brandy!

    Frugal things we did:
    *Used our 80 cents/gallon to fill our empty gas tanks. The limit was 35 gallons per purchase. My husband had 6 5 gallon tanks to fill. He put the last 5 gallons in his truck so we could get the full 80 cents off. I had that many points because Kroger sent me coupons for double/triple/quadruple points that were reusable and still are through the end of January.

    *We have 3 birthdays this month. I have a set budget and have not gone over that amount.

    *I was able to only spend 1/2 of my budgeted grocery amount for last week. The other 1/2 will go into my grocery savings account. I use that money when I need to stock up and/or case lot sales and amazing low prices on things we use.

    *I made all meals at home and used up the last of holiday rolls, meat, etc. We had hamburger rolls, ham and swiss pasta, quesadillas and taco soup.

    *The only piano teacher I am able to find for my girls is my mom! She lives about 25 minutes away. We decided to take December off from lessons and then we have all been sick the past two weeks. So I saved gas money by not driving down. My mom doesn’t want to be paid, but likes Amazon gift cards. I give her a $25 one every month. That keeps her stocked in new books – which she then shares with me. The girls love spending time with Grandma too.

    *I did some small repairs around the house so that my husband didn’t need to do it. I’m not super handy but I can tighten screws and change light bulbs. The light bulbs were purchased several years ago on clearance.

    *I needed more clothes hangers. Our store had a package on sale for $1 but they were out of stock. This same chain has a larger store 1 mile away another direction. I went there and they were in stock but for .19 cents more. I showed them my store ad on my phone and they gave me the $1 price. I bought 2. I had other errands in that direction so it didn’t add to my driving.

    *My son wanted a bag to hold his new scriptures. I was pretty sure I had purchased this for him a few years ago. He couldn’t find it. I went to look and found it behind his headboard. Dusty – but useable. 🙂

    *We have all been sick with colds and stomach bugs. I have spoken to many doctors over the years about the best things to have on hand and paid attention to what works for us. The basic things we need aren’t expensive and can easily be kept in stock. I was very grateful to have these things on hand and not have to run out to the store for anything. I also used to get very confused on what to buy and wasted money some years on lots of different remedies. Just simplifying and using the same stuff has worked well and saves me so much time, energy and money. When my son called from college asking what he should do for his cold, I told him what he needed to get. Much cheaper way of doing things and it works!

    *Stopped by the library for books and also re-read books that I have at home.

    Thank you to everyone for all their great ideas. I just love reading what everyone else does to be frugal and careful with money. Thank you for your inspiration. I hope you all have a wonderful and happy week.

  37. my son puts his feet (with socks on) on a heating pad on low in his VERY cold (50°) office at home. Said as long as his feet stayed warm he was warm.Hubby bought me a heating pad that “wraps” around my shoulders to use when I get cold. If my back is cold I HURT. Mom used to put hot water in a plastic bottle and wrap it in cloth and use that to keep warm

  38. Brandy, that is such a pretty blue and white vase you used for your floral display! Nice find on the discarded bike as well.

    Thankfully DD and I have both recouped from our cold quickly and felt much better by the end of the week. Our frugal accomplishments for the first week of 2018 included:
    *Meals made at home included homemade lasagna, shepherd’s pie (used up leftover roast beef), garlic chicken wraps (only used 1 Costco sized chicken breast for 4 people), pepperoni stroboli, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with flavoured rice and corn, and hot turkey sandwiches (used leftover Christmas turkey from freezer).
    *Prepared homemade lasagna for dinner one night, and made a second small pan at the same time for the freezer. Also the recipe for the stomboli made 2, so I placed 1 in the freezer for a future meal as well.
    *Flavoured rice is rather expensive, but DD prefers it to white rice. So I tried mixing 1/2 white rice and 1/2 flavoured rice, then prepared per instructions to cut the serving cost and extend the flavoured rice further. The rice still had the flavour, just not quite as strong. Thankfully, DD didn’t seem to notice.
    *To help teach DD some necessary life skills (following a recipe, measuring, and using the oven), I had her help me make a batch of blueberry muffins to use this coming week in her school lunches. It was a battle to get her to help, but she did it! I think she is starting to feel a bit more comfortable with using the stove.
    *On New Years Day, Hubby and I went to the theatre to watch the newest Star Wars movie. I had previously bought movie passes (which included popcorn and drinks) when I noticed they were on sale on at Costco just before Christmas. I knew hubby would want to go over the holidays, so this made our outing even cheaper! DD was invited, but she declined as she was still not feeling well.
    *I attended a meeting which included a free light luncheon. I attended another meeting, and won a small prize.
    *Stayed home most of the week, as the temperatures were cold enough to discourage unnecessary outings.
    *Was so thrilled to discover the second season of “Better Late than Never” had started. I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine and there is no better cure than this show. The show features William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman, along with their younger side kick Jeff Dye, who go in vacation together…and proves that men never actually grow up. One of the funniest show I’ve ever watched, hands down!!! (Note: For those interested, the first season should already be available on netflix, hulu, etc. and is only 4 episodes long…perfect for binge watching on a cold winter’s day!).

    Hope you all have a lovely week!

  39. Dear friends, thank you for all the kind words. I have kept 2 pairs of socks on my feet and have kept the heating pad on them too. I think that if my pain level wasn’t so high from my recent fall that I could deal with the cold better. I will be 54 in a week. I don’t think of being old but my body disagrees with me. I need to be mindful of safety and not fall anymore. I think my car wreck 18 months ago has left me wobbly.

  40. I envy your time in the garden – it finally hit 0C here today – the warmest it’s been in about a month! Have to say – I was getting a bit tired of Minus 22C even without the wind!
    Last Tuesday I had a couple of girlfriends over for lunch rather than going out. I made stew, mashed potatoes & veg – and then pound cake with strawberries & cream for dessert. The only thing I had to buy was some wine and the frozen strawberries – everything else was in the fridge, freezer or pantry.
    On Wednesday I grouped a lot of errands and a tiny bit of grocery shopping, plus a social outing all on the one day so I bought a transit day pass instead of using individual tokens/tickets saving at least 3 fares.
    Thursday I was invited to lunch at a friend’s apt. and I was able to regift her a box of fancy teas (I prefer strong, black tea while she loves all kinds of herbal ones) so I was able to take a hostess gift which I knew she’d appreciate.
    Friday I cancelled a social engagement as I wasn’t feeling well so saved he cost of a dinner out.
    Sunday a friend offered to take me along to the grocery store – I hadn’t planned on going back until this week but with the car I was able to buy a lot of heavier vegetables than I could manage on the subway. We di have brunch out but even with a generous tip I only spent $12 out of my monthly allowance and I’m still on track to stay within my $60 allotment for groceries this week.
    I also took the time to inventory my fridge, freezer (just the top of my fridge) and pantry. I did have to throw out a couple of items that had expired but it probably only amounted to about $4 and I managed to catch a number of other items that will expire shortly so I moved all those items in to the kitchen so I use them within the next week or so.
    I also used some rags that I’d cut up from some old towels to clean the pantry rather than using paper towels.
    Did a batch cook of chicken, rice & greens when I got home last night using items in the fridge and the pantry.

  41. I did not order seeds. I did keep the catalogs so as I start landscaping the new house I can look for fresh ideas.

    We stayed home mostly this week, sighed with relief because we felt like we did nothing but run since Hubby retired Dec 1st.
    Our offer on the Amish house we looked at was accepted. It’s an hour away so our realtor is doing most of the leg work for us so we don’t have to drive an hour one way, get information someone needs from the county and then drive back. It’s a 2 minute phone call and a 5 min round trip for her to get it. We needed the septic cleaned and tested and she made the phone calls to get us the best price, ends up the guy is a neighbor sort of as he is on the road west of us but his house is almost directly behind us so he isn’t charging a travel charge like he usually does. Sort of a Welcome to the neighborhood thing. The Amish neighbor saw some people messing around the place late last night so he went over and checked out what was going on. Guess the people checking the well didn’t follow their boss’s (our contractor)orders to test the well Monday morning (respectiful as the Amish keep Sunday as GOD’s day) so this morning the Amish neighbor stopped in and told our realtor and she dealt with it. The two guys got their waged docked AND had to go apoligized to the neighbor and seller for being disrespectful. They did know better as both have worked with Amish.
    Rest of what seems very little of frugal is here.http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/01/jan-frugal.html

  42. That should have been $60 for the month for groceries NOT per week – buying only what I absolutely need this month!

  43. Brandy, we only had nine gallons of borderline potable water (and a 24-pack of older bottled water) and four 24-packs of drinking water on hand at the start of Saturday morning. A 24-pack of half-liters should keep the two of us hydrated for at least two days, maybe three. Knowing what I know now, I will view seven gallons of nonpotable water as a day’s supply if we are continuing to use a flush toilet. Two gallons will suffice if we go the portable hassock route-laundry not included. (And even if we go the hassock toilet route immediately for a long-duration event, we will want at least five to ten gallons on hand to clear out the toilets after we realise there is a water shortage.) I will be keeping 20-21 gallons in three containers, seven one-gallon containers (to use and to refill the larger containers under certain circumstances), and at least four, more ideally ten, 24-packs on hand going forward. We live near the headwaters of three rivers and have many ponds, swamps, and lakes nearby. A life-threatening water shortage is not high on my list of worries. But we were oh so glad and relieved when I ran upstairs to flush the toilets!

  44. Usually if a medicine isn’t covered the pharmacy will tell you when you drop off the prescription, or they will tell you
    that your policy will pay for the generic but not the name brand. You should look on your insurance website or call them
    and question it–you might be able to get reimbursed for at least some of the cost. Glad you are feeling better now.

  45. I love Every Dollar. All of my kids use it for their budgets. Never to young to start. I can check them when I get a few minutes.

  46. Hi Holly and I thought I would offer you some advice on water storage per person as my husband was in the Australian Military. The government supplied their field troops 10lts or 2.64 gallons per day and this would be a more accurate figure of what to store per person in a total grid down situation say after a cyclone, flood etc. This amount would give you enough water to do all of the things you mentioned for each person in your household and what we store here.

  47. Margaret, I love that!…..”snacking emergencies”…. 🙂

    I love shortbread…I’d need to create a snacking emergency!!

  48. This past week we were inundated with record-breaking -40C wind chill weather and are now dealing with 30 cm of snow so far today! So, we just decided (because we can as we are retired) to stay inside.
    This week we didn’t go to the store at all. In fact, for the past few weeks we have been eating down our freezer storage. Run out of milk? Use the powdered milk. Running out of eggs? Use the last one to make muffins for breakfast because we are also running out of bread. Made sure those muffins included chocolate chips so my husband would eat them:D
    Renewed our library books online so we didn’t have to drive out to the library.
    My husband just used our snow blower to clean the driveway out of our newest neighbours….not very frugal but very neighbourly. The wife is pregnant with her second child and was very thankful as her husband hadn’t gotten home from work yet and she was really unable to do it herself.
    Phoned our service provider for our internet and got $10 off per month!
    Have a great week everyone!

  49. Holly, I just recently read a suggestion for storing non-potable water to use for cleaning, etc. during emergencies. It suggested using empty laundry soap bottles. I buy the big bottles of laundry soap that have a tap on them. These would be useful, as they have a nice handle for carrying and you could sit it on your counter with the tap over the sink to use as needed. Though I would pass along this frugal idea for storing water.

  50. I think it is cute that you fill your cart with seed for more flowers. I too love to plant and can over spend my budget with flowers.

  51. Most people have non-potable water in their hot water tanks. Turn off the power, attach a hose to the tank and open the spigot at the bottom of the tank as if you were draining it for maintenance.

  52. I like your idea. We usually buy our laundry detergent in the 40 loads for $1 bottles from Dollar Tree. But I might buy the next two bottles elsewhere to get the dispensers. They sound like they would fit on the counters much more nicely than the squat 7-gallon water containers would. Thank you. Using Wet Wipes to clean our hands got old really fast.

  53. Hi Holly and most welcome and that amount includes bathing, washing clothing and dishes, for toileting in grid down you would use a 20lt storage bucket with toilet seat on and lined with a plastic garbage bag and put on sawdust, peat moss etc between layers 🙂 and dig a large hole to dispose of away from the house or your camp if it ever came to that.

    Oh dear now I am going back to the old outhouse toilets I had when I was a young child, nonetheless still good knowledge to have 😮 .

  54. I love the P.O.W.WO.W.! I hope that comes to Mich. some day! I had a duh moment with breadsticks turned into croutons. I save bread ends for croutons or crumbs, chips crumbs etc. but it never dawned on me to make croutons out of stale breadsticks! If it was a snake….Thanks for the wake-up!

  55. I made a small list of items that we needed and stocked up on them on the first – got the best deals we could using Target and Walgreen’s deals. Since then I’ve tried not to make any other purchases; I’m participating in both a No Spend Month and a Pantry Challenge this month. My hope is that I’ll have a nice chunk left from it in the checking account for my husband to put on the principal on his car. I’m excited to have also picked up a few freebies and to have helped my daughter save on some gifts she was purchasing with her funds:

  56. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 . So wonderful that you were able to get the new to you bike and can use the parts off it or as is for the children what a blessing. It must be vitamin buying time as we did that too also on huge specials using vouchers. I too understand about working to a budget but sometimes it is for the best and as we say we can always get that later if we have extra in our budget.

    Oh boy what a busy week we have had a busy week as there has been sales everywhere on items we usually order on the internet mainly but also in stores such as vitamins, minerals, work boots, kitchenware, towels, tea towels, bed sheets and garden tools so we got what we needed as our prices here in our small country town are exorbitant and stocked ahead too.

    So here is how we saved and maximised our small budget for the week and in fact for most of the year –

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

    In the garden-
    – Picked 900g of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $11.25 over purchasing them.
    – Amended 2 vegetable garden beds with 7 cubic metres of horse manure purchased from a local horse stud for $40 saving $440 over purchasing it in smaller bags here locally.

    Savings for our home deposit –
    – Added more money to our savings account.

    Medical –
    – Ordered 12 – 14 months of most of our vitamins, minerals and herbal creams through an online pharmacy using a 10% off purchase voucher saving $78.26 over what we usually purchase them for here. We put money away in our budget so we can purchase these once a year and usually in January.
    – Ordered 14 months worth of vitamin C off eBay saving $14.76 on usual prices.

    Other purchases –
    – Whilst pricing star pickets from a local metal fabrication factory we found a post driver on super special for $49 and it was the last one so we purchased it saving $45 over what we usually pay in other stores. This is something we have needed for some time but put off purchasing as the price was so high so we are glad now we have it for putting posts in the garden with.
    – We have decided to buy a pair of high ankle leather and canvas work boots each (venomous snakes here) each year so we have backup supplies for when ours wear out. Found them on eBay at a really cheap price with a 10% off voucher saving $189.10 over purchasing them locally.

    Savings on eBay listings –
    – Took advantage of free listings and saved $16.50 on usual listing costs.

    Electricity savings –
    – By using our solar lanterns and only turning on our electric hot water system on once a week we saved around $7.50 in electricity this week.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  57. As always I learnt a few more tricks by reading the comments here.
    Thanks for the discussion on emergency water use.

    Like many people in North America, I spent this week battling the weather and trying to stay warm. As a result, I crocheted myself a new scarf using yarn from my stash and a free pattern I found online while huddled in front of my fire.

    Meals came mainly from the pantry and freezer, laundry was hung in front of the wood fire to dry, and I packed my lunch and water to work each day.

    Our greatest frugal blessing came in the form of our truck warranty. Once again, it saved us from an expensive repair. I am so glad that once upon a time we were in a position to buy a newer vehicle with coverage.

    I hope you all have a great week.

  58. I may do that later. As it is, it barely fits the bed as is, and if I trim it, it won’t fit at all. but that is a good idea.

  59. I just found Floret seeds a few weeks ago when I did an online search for planting pale pink tulips in a potager (the direction I’m taking my small garden). She has gorgeous flower varieties! I’ve seen some of the varieties put out by Botanical Interests and also Renee’s Garden seeds. I’ve found them for sale at one or two nurseries and at Whole Foods. Maybe you’ll get lucky and you’ll find a seed pack or two for this year!

  60. Brandy,

    As I read through your accomplishments, I am inspired to do more…if you can do all the gardening, cooking, cleaning, teaching, keeping up with your fabulous blog and everything else, and also be brewing up a new baby, I can get off my lazy butt and do more :). I am in awe of you, seriously. Thank you for keeping up this blog and community when I am sure you could use the extra time in many other ways.

    Frugal accomplishments

    -Ate all but one meal at home, cooking from scratch.
    -Made a new recipe, black eyed peas and ham, that turned out well!
    -Updated the freezer inventory and organized the pantry.
    -The local scratch and dent store had its annual sale on pinto beans so bought the limit of 8 pounds. They also had a great price on a few other “nice to have” items like shredded wheat cereal and Girardhelli chocolate :). Set our January food budget at $200 so am keeping an eagle eye out the rest of the month.
    -perhaps the title of this next section should be…spending money today to hopefully avoid high health care costs later….My husband and I had a long conversation about the wisdom of joining the local gym and getting a trainer to help guide us into a better state, we decided to do it and joined in late December. I have budgeted for this, but find that I am so used to a bare bones budget that this expense seems luxurious. But we are 61 and 70 years old and have not been exercising…we are convinced we need to get back into reasonable shape. It is astonishing how much strength, flexibility and balance I have lost in the last few years.
    -finished creating our 2018 budget and started getting organized for tax time.

  61. Aren’t garden tomatoes the best? I rarely buy tomatoes from a store anymore. If we can’t get them from the farmers market or grow them, we tend go without.
    I fertilized the indoor lemon tree with fertilizer I bought with the tree. At a T. or two at a time, eight pounds should last a lifetime!
    I redeemed CC points for a 25$ gift card to Target
    We’ve both been battling colds here. So, we’ve been self treating with items at home. Mine seems to be on round two. I may have to get out the big guns!
    Even while sick, i’ve been walking and doing yoga at home for free. If i don’t feel better soon I may have to take a few days off. I hate to admit defeat but I know I tend to push too hard.
    My daughter loves all things OZ. My sister is a seamstress who happens to have a broken furnace. Trying to earn money to fix it, she put the word out that she would make lap quilts for a fee. I had to have her make an OZ quilt. This will be saved for next Christmas or my daughters birthday.(early Jan.) And, while going through the rabbit hole that is the web, I found an old OZ book that would be a nice accompaniment to the quilt. (10$) Not the best time to spend money but one gift is done already.
    While at my sons we went thrifting, like you do! I found a loose weave, 100% wool sweater. I’ve been deconstructing it to make dryer balls. I’m finding that it’s time consuming. And, since I looked through the whole rack and only found one, i’m Thinking these types of sweaters may be hard to come by. I had thought I might make some balls for each of my three children as part of a Christmas gift for next year. After getting started, i’m thinking that may have been an ambitious idea! At this rate, it will take me a loooong time.
    I checked several on-line stores for an herbal I want. I discovered that the cheapest price is from the co-op where I work! That never happens so i’m happy to support the home team on this one!
    I collected warm-up water for flushing and washed baggies and cereal bags. We ate all meals at home, except for a late Christmas dinner for my husband.
    Have a fabulous week!

  62. I am overwhelmed with seed company options. I am on the East coast. Can anyone suggest a company. Prices are way more than I thought. I really need to prepare.

  63. Margie, I can’t imagine only spending $60 per month on groceries in Canada. I spend $200 per month. I get very basic thins and it is only for a single person. What do you buy for $60 per month?

  64. I love looking at seeds but like you I have so many that I really don’t need more.
    -Made a big pot of chili. Did twice the amount of beans to stretch it out. No one said anything. Put it on a bed of rice. Froze half for future use.
    -Made your Minestrone soup with potato pancakes. They loved it.
    -Made sausage and peppers with peppers I froze from my garden. Put it on bread that my son brought home from work. Had an extra sausage so I chopped it up and tossed in into the leftover minestrone. My husband loved it.
    -Made potato and corn chowder. Called for bacon but have lots of ham so used that instead. Called for heavy cream. Didn’t have any so used condensed milk. Tasted great. Potatoes and corn are still going strong from farm stand back in October
    -Used a gift card we received to buy a pizza. Still has enough for 2 more.
    -Made spaghetti with veggies that were getting older in the fridge. Used sauce that I canned over the summer. Ate bread that my son brought home from work.
    -Made pancakes, French toast and steel cut oats. Made extra to have as easy breakfasts before work and school.
    -Got asked to work an extra shift since someone else was sick. My manager treated me to lunch as a thank you.
    -Went to work even though it was snowing. Manager treated everyone to pizza for coming in. I got caught up on lots of paperwork since it was a very slow day.
    -My son brought home bread and pastries from work. He was asked to work longer one day as someone didn’t show up. His manager gave him a free meal as a thank you.
    -Got paid a small Christmas bonus( for not calling out or showing up late that week).
    -Found $1.15 so far this year.
    -Used a $10 off coupon to get my husband a shirt. Spent $4 cash. Used $10 off coupon for another store and spent $2 to get him socks.
    -Took my daughter for her yearly physical. Its fully covered under our insurance.
    -Brought lunch to work all week.
    -Snow blower died half way through my husband doing the driveway. Son helped him finish it. Husband ordered a new part for $15 and fixed himself. It is running great now.
    -Cleaned out a closet. Have some stuff to list on EBay and some to donate.
    -Used lots of blankets to help keep the heat lower.
    -Spent $26.46 on groceries this week.
    -Had 3 no spend days
    -Hubby and I sat down and figured out our goals for 2018. Together we can do it!

  65. *I ordered a free puzzle last week from Shutterfly, using a free gift code that was only good for 24 hours. I have learned to “make” my projects, then wait for a free code. I used pictures of Christ and the nativity that were free to download for a time on the LDS.org website. As a result, we now have a nice assortment of religious puzzles for our “Sunday box” for the grandchildren, that cost only the shipping.

    *I continued to collect curb side Christmas trees, with permission, to use to acidity some of my growing beds. I have collected 5 trees thus far, and there is one more that I am trying to contact the owner about.

    *I scattered the eggshells from baking & from making pickled eggs in the planting beds, to add calcium to the soil. I also continued to sliver the orange peels to scatter in the beds that need to be acidified.

    *I am nearly done knitting a white blanket for our new grandson to use when he is blessed at the end of the month. There are only a few more design rows, so I should finish the blanket in a few more days. I bought the yarn at the after Christmas sale at Joann’s for $1.99 per skein, which was less than half price.

    *I bought a nice turkey roast from the meat markdown bin for 60% off. These days, I buy nearly all our meat from the mark down bin, on the last day of sale, for over 50% off, then bring it home & freeze it. We also eat less meat, but meat is just so expensive, & this is how I cut the cost to less than half.

    *I have been cleaning out the things we no longer use & that no longer fit, & donating them.

    *I started working on our taxes. I do them using a tax preparation software, & find that if I work on it a little at a time, as the 1099s and the W2s arrive, I can usually have them done well before the tax deadline without a lot of stress.

  66. My husband made very tasty lasagna for New Year’s Eve. We watched Silverado at home for entertainment – our New Year’s Eve tradition.

    For my birthday we drove to “the big city” which is Billings MT to see “The Darkest Hour” (Excellent), do a little shopping and eat dinner out. The frugal parts were buying my birthday gift on sale (towels) and going to the matinee. The theater was really understaffed so the wait for refreshments was so long and they are so expensive! (5.79 for a small soda) So I ate the orange in my handbag rather than buy snacks.

  67. That’s surprising about the dishwasher. Thanks for sharing that!

    How long has it been since you vacuumed out the exhaust hose of your dryer? Or had it professionally cleaned (or equivalent–you may be able to do it yourself with YouTube for help)? We vacuum our exhaust hose every six months and it always makes a difference. Last time, we took apart the sections in the attic and vacuumed as far as we could reach with the shop vac. It cut the dry time by 20 minutes on a load of towels.

    Except towels, I dry almost everything for 15-20 minutes and then hang it on drying racks and hangers. It’s better for the environment, better for our clothes and better for our budget. There are a ton of great ideas for drying clothes indoors on Pinterest and on many frugal blogs and forums.

  68. – We had 16″ of snow on Thursday with high winds and freezing temps until Sat. Saved money by not going out.
    – On Tuesday went to ShopRite – having their can-can sale. Bought Heinz baked beans cans for 79 cents each – regular price is almost double that. Progresso soups for 88 cents a can less than 1/2 reg. price.
    – Fresh produce & fruits very expensive here but still buy them since important to our health and we like them.
    – Ate most meals at home. On Wednesday had lunch with two friends (we have lunch together several time a month & we each take turns choosing restaurants) at a local diner where the coffee was not included in price of the meal -we paid $2 each for a cup of coffee so in future will avoid this place and go to diner that includes the coffee/tea in the cost of the meal (and their prices are the same for the food).
    – Not frugal – thermostat at 70 day & night due to bitter cold/wind. Don’t want pipes to freeze.
    – Paid extra on the mortgage
    I enjoy reading all your posts. Have a good week.

  69. I totally have snacking emergencies! I’m a night owl due to insomnia, so I’m often hungry at night and craving sugar. I usually fill up on naturally sweet fruit, but sometimes nothing but a delicious baked carb will do. That’s when I break out the emergency snacks! 🙂

  70. Glad you were able to save so much with a few phone calls!

    You can flush a toilet with as little as two quarts. Google for directions.

    Newer, low-flow toilets use half what traditional toilets do. Because we pay for water, we replaced the most used toilet in our home when it was having issues (rather than fix it, which would have saved us money in the short term). The new toilet was $300 installed a few years ago. That might be something to consider if you run in to toilet issues.

    Similar to Rhonda’s suggestion, you can also store water in gallon vinegar bottles. I use a fair number of those for cleaning and canning. When buying drinking water, it is usually cheaper to buy gallon jugs than the smaller bottles, and so much better for the environment, too. I find the gallons easier to store, as well. We have a combination of 5-gallon jugs, gallons and then non-potable small random containers.

  71. Maybe if you trimmed it, you could sew on a new border to make it bigger?
    I know both my mom and I have fixed my nephew’s baby quilt as it has worn out, but I must say our efforts are not pretty…so far I’ve replaced the back by sewing another layer of cloth over the worn out one. She went to great trouble and sewed an entire new top to match the one she made so many years ago (that part is really cute), and just sewed it on over the top of the old one, and sewed all over with a machine to hold it all together. He insisted on her leaving the frayed edge–it’s part of his comfort. So, it’s a pretty new top, with frayed “strings” hanging all over, and a flannel back that really doesn’t match very well, but he liked the cars printed on it. Over the course of a couple of years, we got it so he could keep using it! Sometimes, a kid knows what he wants, and only wants that! Because he is special needs, he still uses it daily, and cannot sleep without it. We both felt good knowing we had “fixed” something so important to him.

    Good luck with making your new quilt. I’m sure it will be beautiful.

  72. You make it sound so effortless…”I just made a quilt out of pieces I found at an estate sale.” I’m sure it’s lovely, and am amazed at how much quilting you get done!

  73. We workimed on our 2018 goals and took a big step by completing one the first week of 2018.

    We are now debt free except for our mortgage!

    Come see the. Rest of the story at frugalhappyhome.com

  74. I have no doubt that your garden will look beautiful nonetheless!

    Our low spend January is going well food-wise and we are using up a ton of older foods and leftovers. All but one meal were prepared at home and my husband took lunches to work most days. One day he decided to buy lunch from his allowance. I ate the meal I had packed for him so no loss there.

    The air-conditioner was turned on for a total of 6.75 hours and we let the ceiling fan in the bedroom run for two nights.

    I fixed some Christmas baubles that our cats had played with. The baubles were only missing the strings so it was easily fixed.

    I am much less tempted by grocery specials now that I am not working anymore and have to make a special trip instead of stopping on my way home. But last week I spotted a deal too good to pass up and my husband picked it up on his way home.

    I combined all my errands and made sure to bring my reusable water bottle. I bought a frying pan at over 60% off. We had been in desperate need for a new pan for a while but kept putting it off until we found a good deal on a high quality pan. I also happened to come across a massive clearance sale at my sister’s favourite store and found her the perfect birthday present at 1/3 of the usual cost.

    I took some time one night to wrap all presents and write all birthday cards that could be taken in our luggage and given to my relatives when we go for our big trip this year. Doing this will save a small fortune in postage as the fees have been raised yet again… All presents were wrapped in saved boxes, bags and ribbons.

    I was finally brave enough to make my own jam! We had too many apricots given to us so this was the perfect opportunity to try. We also still had a free lemon lingering around and my MIL gave me some glass jars. It was a mixed success, as I burnt a good portion of the jam and only yielded 2 1/2 glasses which then set like a brick… It tastes delicious though and I know where I went wrong so will try again. It took me several days to scrub my burnt pot but boiling water and dishwashing liquid finally did the trick.

    My husband and I spent Saturday visiting his aunt and uncle at their caravan park. We all had a great time on their jet ski and enjoying the sun. We brought soft drinks and some of the free apricots and also paid for hot chips for lunch which was very economical. They rounded the lunch out with some salads and sweets and sent us home with leftovers. They also gave us a new plastic tub for our garden waste as they had borrowed our old one and the handle broke.

    I gave away a book for free on FB and the lady who picked it up surprised me with a Ziploc bag full of herbs from her garden!

    We had a weird cut-out in our living room wall where the old owners had put their stereo and sound system. We finally built a door for it from a cheap piece of plywood, some nails and leftover paint and it looks so much better.

    We kept up with our usual frugal habits which is easier at the moment since I’m not working.

    Whisking everyone a great week!

  75. Wishing everyone a great week, not whisking. 😀 Altough, if I could whisk together a magic potion that guaranteed everyone a good week, I would!

  76. When we use the heater in the evenings I put 2 chairs in the lounge room put a broom across the top and put skirts, shirts tops, blouses onto hangers then hang them on the broom stick doesn’t take long for them to dry out and very easy to unassembled in the mornings,

  77. Take a tube sock, put dry rice in it, tie a knot in the end, then microwave for a couple of minutes, it stays hot/warm for quite a while. I use it for moist heat for my back, shoulder and other pains but my grandson loves to snuggle with it. Lol It is super cheap if you buy the off brand rice, 1 – 1 1/2 pounds of rice should be more than enough. You can also put it in the freezer to use as an ice pack.

  78. Lilli, for the most inexpensive options, you can check your local dollar store and also look for seed swaps in your city. Often larger cities will have programs (usually via non-profits) to hand out or trade or sell seeds inexpensively. And as Brandy recommends, heirloom seeds that you can grow and collect the seeds from are best, as it means you won’t need to purchase them the next year! One of my friends has even successfully grown veggies from store-bought veggies: she bought green peppers (I’m pretty sure they were organic heirloom, as the store she bought from was a higher-end store), saved the seeds, and then regrew a whole bunch on her balcony the next year. I ate one of those peppers, and saved the seeds and grew seedlings myself! (My plants never did produce veggies, but I think that’s due to the lack of direct sunlight.) Best of luck! With your skill at finding great deals, I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully!

  79. This week I made a few meals using frozen Christmas leftovers. We have had a heat wave here so instead of buying small glass bottles of soft drinks I washed and reused making up different cordials which were nice and cold in the fridge. I was given a $25 store card and small gift set for Christmas from my employer which I picked up today, I got a free loaf of bread from a bakery with their loyalty card and I got 2 free products from another company for using their loyalty card.

    In the kitchen ive made 8 jars of apricot jam with another batch to go I have figs ready to use and hope to have time to do a batch of strawberry jam as well, I made a chocolate cake and we have been eating left over shortbread biscuits which were dirt cheap after Christmas. By juicing and freezing our food wastage is zero for this month. I made chicken stock with our leftovers and frozen scrap veggies and peelings. Spending on food last week was only a few dollars.

    I picked up a few more gifts for birthdays Christmas and Valentines day at about 75% off so I was happy with that. I bought Christmas decorations online to have engraved for Christmas they were much cheaper than this year 2016 cost me $25 for 3 engraved decorations last year they jumped in price to $42 for 3. I got a much better deal for 2018. I also picked up beautiful Christmas Tee Shirts from 0 to mens 4xL marked down to 50 cents at a department store. I managed to catch up on a few online surveys earning a few dollars and I am really happy on my start to 2018. My target is to find $2000 by August and so far I have $248 banked and more in the coin jar to bank.

  80. Pet Supplies Plus does this twice a month. It is a chain, but I don’t know if the free nail trims are just our location or a chain-wide thing.

  81. 1. Bought only a little groceries this week and nothing else
    2. Found a lot of freebies and combined sales/coupons to buy a good amount of things to donate for my $5 weekly challenge.
    3. Used my own blend of thieves oil to help my son get over his cold…way cheaper than premixed varieties
    4. Stocked up on cheese for $0.99…thanks to Kroger!
    5. Sold a product on teachers pay teachers. I haven’t sold any for awhile due to the holidays so I was excited:)

  82. That $60 is only for January Ellie 🙂 I have a lot of meat and HM meals in the freezer (just top of the fridge) – fruit & veg and cheese in the fridge and lots of dried and canned items in the pantry so I am concentrating on using those up this month – or at least making a dent. The $60 is for dairy and fresh fruit & veg. I’ve got about a 6 month supply of toiletries and cleaning supplies on hand so no need to buy any of those items either.
    As a couple of you have noted – our prices are considerably higher north of the border – I cannot even imagine getting things for the prices that many of you in the US list as normal.
    The USDA frugal weekly amount for a single woman my age in $37.50 US – about $46 Cdn at the current exchange rate and my normal budget (including non food items) comes in at around that amount – roughly $180 to $200 per month.
    For February I’m hoping to manage on about $120/month as I’ll still have meat in the freezer and dried and canned items to work through. Again, I anticipate spending mostly on dairy – a bit of bread (I’m on low carbs) – fruit & veg (fresh & frozen). By March I’ll be back to $200/month.
    My hope is that every few months I can concentrate on using up what I have and lowering my monthly bill – I’ll either put the saved money aside or buy gift cards that I can put aside for future emergencies. I was forced into an early retirement so money is very tight at the moment although I’m hoping to find some part-time work soon. I believe you are in a similar situation Ellie so I wish you luck in 2018.

  83. Andrea, we’ve owned our home for less than a year, so we’ve never vacuumed out the exhaust house. I never even thought of that, I’ll see if my husband and I can do that.

    I’m finding that with some items, I need to dry them for a few minutes to get them completely dry.

  84. That’s s good idea. I found a couple places around the house that I can hang clothes on hangers to dry. They do dry better that way.

  85. Lmao…..not in Florida and not at CVS. The clerks at cvs told me to take it up with my insurance company. My insurance company told me 3 different times that Florida Blue is not accepted at cvs. (but they emailed me a list of pharmacies that I could go to which had the cvs’s in my area)…finally got it straightened out why the copay for a hormone replacement therapy patch for my 14 year old was $199 a month. Paid for for the first month but at $49 a patch for 4 patches that didnt stick, we got it switched to a generic birth control pill with no copay.

  86. Heidi Louise I store mine in a paper sack labeled and in a cool Dry place unless the seed specifies to refrigerate. I’ve a few that required that in the past.

  87. The one thing I learned from using a Colorado campground owner’s absolutely pristine outhouse, the only toilet on the property, was how effective a small shovelful of lime is at reducing unpleasant odors.

    Even though I !live in southeastern Michigan, we live less than two miles from a hand pump in a state recreation area. The parks still have some old-fashioned vault or pit toilets.

    One of my earliest memories was on driving back from a state park campground store with disinfectant needed because an uncoordinated preschooler (me) had tipped over the chamber pot in the tent. Oops! And one of the funniest memories was at an “up north” hardware store where my dad was buying a replacement chamber pot after we had forgotten to pack one on a later trip. (Yes, despite me, we still went camping.) The clerk told my dad that the girl scouts has just been there to buy the exact same type of enameled red and white pot to use for cooking.

    I am feeling contented with running water, sunshine pouring in the window, and a 94-year-old mom who wants to get out of the house NOW to enjoy the thaw. I hope everyone, especially Brandy, has a lovely week!

  88. I decided to do the same with seeds. I am going to be patient and find less expensive sources for seeds, plus I do have some.
    Made 5 minute artisan bread with Herbs de Provence with herbs we purchased in France last year.
    Converted Brandy’s Lemon poppy seed and another Chocolate chip muffin recipe into bread so I could get them done more quickly. We have 4 athletes in the house that are always eating.
    Cooked all meals at home.
    Finally discovered the trick to growing sprouts so now we have sprouts growing at home. My husband said they were the best he has ever had.
    Hubs repaired a pair of cycling pants
    Cut and colored my own hair
    Made cashew milk from cashews, then with the leftover nut meat, made pesto and cream cheese.
    Using up alot of what we have in the freezers
    Hubs taking a lunch I made for him everyday.
    Using the electric car as much as possible as it is much cheaper than gas.
    My son’s basketball academy gave us a discount and we gladly accepted.

  89. old outhouse is kind of funny as we just bought a house with a two seater outhouse. Hate it that it has to be removed because they built it over the septic tank and the Honey guy (LOL) can’t clean the tank as required by law with it there. We were hoping to be able to still use it when there was no power…back to the hunter’s toilet for that 😉

  90. Hilogene in Az joining the local gym is a Very good choice. My inlaws were just told that 80% of their health problems was caused by NOT working out and eating healthy. Told them to quit sitting and get off their butts even to move by walking around their property. Dad O is to the point he gets short of breathe walking to the mail box… $15,000 later with tons of tests to find out it’s because he starting sitting all the time.He is 81 Mom O is 82.

  91. Marivene – I’ve missed your comments here. Nice to see you back.
    Great idea about your Shutterfly projects and getting them ready ahead of time.

  92. Thanks Jennifer O. We don’t have that chain here. That’s a great service and my favorite price, free!

  93. I, too, was retired earlier then planned due to some health issues. For those in the Vancouver BC area, there is a nonprofit grocery store called the Quest Food Exchange. Clients have to be referred there. The referral process is very easy.
    The store is a retail store front and operates like a ‘day old’ bread outlet in the US. They are a mini grocery store, however, with meat, dairy, produce, and other selections. The prices are very low – like $0.10 per loaf of bread. There are 5 locations in the greater Vancouver Area.
    Perhaps the Toronto area has something similar. I found it through a local senior services agency.

  94. This is why I refuse to pay $3/day for a school lunch! My son won’t eat half of it so why spend the money. He likes his peanut butter sandwiches, applesauce cup, goldfish crackers & tea to drink.

  95. Amy, please share what products you keep on hand to fight colds and stomach bugs. I am always interested in finding new to me health ideas. Thanks, Penny S.

  96. Juls,
    Your comment made me smile…our neighbors are in their 80’s, a walk to them is to get into their car, and they eat probably once a week at McDonalds! Yikes! How they have lived so long is a mystery…

    Thanks to becoming frugal, cooking our meals at home, as well as me walking the dog every day, we are now both at a good weight and happily have given up most processed food! But ahead is the hard part of getting off our butts :). Now that I understand how diet affects health, I get sad standing in the supermarket checkout line seeing what people buy 🙁

  97. Thanks for answering my question. 🙂 Most of the kids we see in our neighborhood are on bicycles (perhaps because our public transportation isn’t the greatest here in the suburbs). Did you do your mission in France?

    The manager at Home Depot was on vacation when the guys went; we’re still waiting for him/her to get back. My son doesn’t need too much (mainly a couple of bags of cement), so we’re hoping for a positive response. My son was really nervous about asking people to donate things, but his confidence has grown with the positive responses he’s received. The biggest expenses for the project are plants (which the partnering organization is donating) and food/drinks for the volunteers (and he has gift-in-kind donations for that as well). We’ve found people are generally willing to help out when they know it’s for an Eagle project.

    How is your second son doing on his project?

  98. Happy New Year everyone!

    Your post got me to do a quick seed inventory and I need to replace a few, but have the minimum of what I need.
    This summer I would love to have a “thought out” design for my back yard. My mom gave me some garden magazines that feature shade gardens so I can start planning. I foresee no obstacle that will prevent me from getting things done in May (fingers crossed).

    Last week I drove to Kmart during some awful weather and had the most pleasant cashier. She just had the place buzzing with her great attitude. She circled the survey at the bottom of my receipt and bc she just made me feel so warm and happy, I promised I would fill it out. I did, and today got GC from the stores manager as a thank you for filling out the online survey. This is great since I put a few “needs” back last week to stay on budget.

    I have a budget of $10/pp for Christmas or Bday (handmade gift for the other). Thrifting, I found a well made high end bird feeder for $5 for a someone who swears they can never have enough bird feeders. I will keep an eye for $5 bird seed to add if feasible.

    I just want to say how grateful I am for this blog and community. Outside of here, I really feel like people look at me as if I have 3 heads when any conversation about money comes up.

  99. Johnny’s Selected Seeds or Fedco in Maine, High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Territorial Seed Co. I like Renee’s Garden, too, but have a difficult time finding their seeds locally.

  100. My biggest save this week was sour cream. We love sour cream but is is expensive and highly perishable. During a what if moment, I decided to divide one of those very large containers of sour cream from Sam’s club into pint glass jars and storing them in the back of the spare refrigerator. We opened the last jar this weekend, it had been stored for three moths and was still good. A bit of whey had separated out. I stirred it in and enjoyed. Amazing, I thought. I intend to do it again. 3 months of sour cream for $6 is reasonable for our budget.

  101. The Quest Food Exchange sounds great! Unfortunately, there isn’t anything like that in Toronto. I used to work with low-income seniors in the non-profit sector, and am still pretty plugged in. The closest thing would be if you lived in an apartment building that received services from a non-profit that had partnered with Second Harvest (random free groceries). One alternative, for those who are spry enough, is to volunteer with notfarfromthetree.org; they collect fruit (usually apples and various berries) from homeowners in Toronto during the summer and fall. One third collected goes to the homeowner, one third goes to the pickers, and one third is donated to non-profit partners (such as low-income seniors apartment buildings associated with non-profits ). One more option would be to join a seniors centre hot meal program for a combination of meal out/low cost meal; depending on program and location, they can be nice.

    By the way, anyone who is struggling and wants information on social services available to seniors living in Toronto is welcome to contact me by email and i’d be happy to point them in the direction of applicable services. That said, the commenters here all strike me as quite aware of resources and probably aren’t the target demographic of the agencies. But if anyone does need help, please do feel free to contact me!

  102. I found hams on clearance for $.69 lb , picked up to 2. One we sliced for sandwiches and cubed for potato chowder. The other is in the freezer for Easter. Also shopped the clearance sections for some Christmas ornaments , candy (in the freezer) and wrapping paper. Working on using up stuff in the freezer and canned goods. Hoping to spend less this month as I’m planning a trip out to see my son, daughter in law and grandchildren next month. Can’t wait to see them!

  103. I’m going to second Andrea’s recommendation! The second (and last) apartment we rented had a dryer that was SO slow. We called maintenance and they discovered that the entire pipe/hose/etc. was clogged as was the drum of the machine itself. A horrible fire hazard besides! It took them 3 hours to clean it all out!

    You can bet when we bought our house we had everything cleaned first thing!

    Best wishes,

  104. Hi SJ in Vancouver that is per person in your household per day in emergency situations. Not a lot of water but if you use canvas bucket showers, small basin for washing dishes in etc it works for each person. Our hot water is a almost 60 gallon one which is also good as a water source in grid down situations.

  105. SJ, wow, I wish we had a Quest Food Exchange, here! What a great idea! Margie, I am relieved to read your budgeting. I average about $180-200 per month. I thought I was being extravagant (although it feels like just making it) when I read your $60 for the month.

    One thing I like to do is to slather about half a tablespoon of plain yogourt on my face and neck. After about 15 minutes, all of the liquid is absorbed into the skin and wrinkles disappear. I’m not sure how good it is to do this and some people may find their skin is too sensitive to do this. It beats buying face cream (although I may start doing that, too).

    It has become cold here again (but not as cold as -40º) and there will be more snow. Shovelling is becoming my favourite form of exercise. Margie, you are right, in that money is very tight for me. I wasn’t forced into early retirement but am facing a cash-poor retirement.

    Yesterday, I went shopping for eyeglasses. I was in shock about the price for some of lenses at some stores. I do have insurance but hope to get progressive lenses and frames that will cost no more or not much more than the insurance. Any suggestions, Canadians, eh?

  106. I love the breadsticks idea, too! Coincidentally, my husband and I went to OG for supper yesterday. When they came by our table and asked if we’d like more breadsticks I told them yes (although we were stuffed to the gills) and we ended up bringing all three home. They will be made into croutons this afternoon to have in our salad at supper tonight. Thanks for that idea!

  107. If you can keep the outhouse building, you could just move it to a better location and dig a new hole. Tha’t what they did in the 1800s when the hole was full…fill it in, and move the outhouse over a new hole!

  108. This week’s accomplishments were mostly in accepting things from others. We were given…
    -9 whole chickens (I cooked them all, pulled the meat, and made broth for our freezer)
    -a pick-up truck load of firewood
    -a recliner (I’ve had a lot of fun rearranging as I’m getting “nesty”)
    -newspapers to start fires
    -leftover muffins and donuts from church
    -several oranges
    -a lot of newborn size diapers
    -a quart container of coffee creamer
    -some chocolate
    -3 boxes of cheerios (I’ll make cheerio bars for our homeschool group)

    I also used a gift card we received for Christmas to get a few groceries.

    I’ll do our monthly shopping next week so I’ve been seeing what we have and what we need and figuring out a budget.

  109. We’re in Virginia too and finally caved and turned the heat up to 69*. The kids have a little space heater in their room that we bought new a few years ago. Even though it has safety features on it to turn off if it overheats, I still get nervous about it. We put extra blankets on everyone’s bed and layered jammies but it’s been so dang cold!!! Luckily it’s beginning to “warm up” here in northern Virginia!

  110. I buy my glasses and lenses from LensCrafters. Not the cheapest by any means but the mid-price frames I buy last. They always do a nice job on the lenses.
    One way I save money is to not buy new frames with every prescription. I reuse the frames and have them make the new lenses from the new prescription. I usually have to talk them out of their sales pitch for new frames but they’ve always used the old frames eventually.
    I went to Costco a few years ago because they were the cheapest price. While the lenses were fine, the frames were bent after about 9 months. I’m in my 60s now and am not hard on my glasses. Perhaps I just had a bad experience with Costco but I never went back.
    I haven’t tried any on-line providers. Good luck.

  111. Jenifer,

    If you have a Winco Grocery Store near you, they should sell “critter mix” in the bulk section! At our location it is $.53 a pound. I can get a large bag for $4.

  112. There are some companies in my state that make hats and purses out of old wool sweaters. I have a sneaky suspicion that they have deals with the local charity shops to buy up all the wool sweaters they receive as donations because I find wood sweaters so rarely on the second-hand racks. I did score one cashmere sweater for my mom after two years of diligent searching at our nearby stores. I might start cruising the yard sales for wool sweaters in the spring.

    Dryer balls sounds like an excellent, thrifty use for recycled wool yarn. You’ll soon have gifts for your grown children.

  113. Thanks for the inspirational post, Brandy! I always love reading them and the comments. It’s nice to get some new ideas each week for how to save even more.

    I also sympathize with the need to trim the budget. I love browsing gardening catalogs and sites and often end up dreaming bigger plans than our budget or time will allow.

    Here’s how we saved last week:

  114. That must be how it is manageable! My 3.5 year old is just starting to help a little with her younger sister who is almost 2. I contemplate another but feel waiting until kids are older would be easier…not sure!

  115. Rhonda, check out Brandy’s recipe for chicken rice. As good as the brand kind but cheaper and you can make a larger size.

  116. Brandy and I,

    Do you have single lenses or progressives? I have progressives so I am a little wary of ordering from Zenni or other online. Pearle Vision seems to have the best deal not online. 40% off the lenses or 2 for 1 pair at regular price of one. I’ve never dealt with Pearle so am not sure. It’s hard to judge how good the lenses are since they are made especially for Pearle.

  117. One set of my great-grandparents emigrated from Switzerland, and I’d love to visit there someday. It’s totally out of the budget now, so I have to be an armchair tourist.

    Glad to hear your son is progressing on his project. It’s such a great learning experience for boys.

  118. Hi, Lilli! I wanted to mention our experience with kerosene heaters. For me, they were very unwieldy, with the base tray being so much larger then the top. I’m about 5’4” and had a heck-of-a-time moving the thing. The smell when it was distinguished was nauseating to me, as well. We’ve had two over the years. Last year, we got a gas buddy? It uses one of those canisters that you screw in. The canisters last about 2 1/2 hours. We like this set-up much better even though it doesn’t last long. It wouldn’t be the best for long-term.

  119. I wear progressives – and yes they are expensive! I’ve always bought my frames from my optometrist as he doesn’t mark up – I pay cost even for designer frames. I was shocked to hear what friends were paying for glasses when I knew their prescriptions were nothing like mine – turns out they were paying hundreds of dollars for their designer frames – which are just a few pieces of plastic! I do still have additional benefits from where I worked (still figuring out if it’s worth it or not) but that will cover barely half the cost. I will need new glasses later this year and this time I think I am going to recycle some old frames (which I like and are in good shape) so that will save a few dollars. It’s a juggling act!

  120. Brandy, I was looking through some of your older posts and I fell in love with the Purple Sensation Lilac. I searched for it online and every person who had purchased it agreed it was stunning but it took from 3 to 5 years to begin to bloom. YIKES! You had a picture of a bloom in your yard and I assumed it was in its first season. Can you give me any info on this situation? Perhaps I would just need to pay more for a larger plant, which I am willing to do.

  121. I hang my underwear to dry over the doorknobs on the bedroom door & bedroom closet. I also use some metal over the door hooks that we purchased at Kmart & ShopKo in the bath section years ago. They are heavy duty & look nice, so I bought at least one for each bedroom, and a couple of spares. Later, I went back for more. During most of the year, there are two on each closet door (one facing in the closet & one facing out), and two on the bedroom door (one facing in & one facing out). I can hang something to dry on each single hook, but some of the ones on the closet doors are double hooks, with one hook below the other & I can hang two items on those. (At Christmas, some of the hooks get moved to hold wreaths on the outside of each of the bedroom doors, and on the coat closet & linen closet doors. I bought the wreaths years ago on clearance at 90% off after Christmas at our local ShopKo when we lived in Idaho.)

    I use those hooks to dry items at least every other day, & have done so since we moved into this house 11 years ago. They have saved us a fair amount of money in that time, besides adding a little moisture to our dry desert air. Did you know that flu virus can live a lot longer in dry air than in humid air? Just a little humidity adds a lot of protection in that area.

  122. Holly,
    My friend told me to soak them 24 hours, then ros twice a day. Don’t know why I couldn’t figure that out before

  123. I have picked out seeds and ended up closing the browser as well. I think I may be a seed hoarder.

    This week we had three plugs installed in our garage. Previously every time it rained my freezer would go out. After losing meat, we decided it was time to fix.

    We are eating from our pantry this month (good thing because those plugs were expensive). I did, however, take my accumulated laundry money (if you don’t empty your pockets it becomes mine) and purchased three spiral hams at .99 per lb to put in my empty freezer. I also stocked up on free shampoo using coupons and a catalina deal at Kroger. P & G is offering a $3 catalina when you buy 3 of their products. Buy three shampoos on sale for 1.99, use $3/3 manufacturer coupon and get a $3 catalina.

    I put a big dent in the pumpkins I bought in November for .25 and $1 a piece. I really wanted the seeds as they were heirloom, super cool looking and dense. Canning them is a bonus. I canned 7 quarts of plain cubed and 16 quarts of Tuscany pumpkin pasta sauce. I still have three pumpkins to go. I am saving the seeds to plant and share.

  124. I buy 90% of our meat from the mark down bin also. The other 10% is purchased when there is a fantastic sale price. I never pay full price for meat, as I freeze what I get and make my meal plan according to what is in the freezer. We save so much that way!

    I have found Safeway to have the best clearance offerings.

  125. Anne, I bought a potted plant that was just starting to bloom at the local nursery last year in March. Most potted shrubs and trees at the nursery are already 2 to 3 years old.

    The grower was Monrovia, and their plants are always MUCH more money (our local nursery carries some things from them, but not many, as their prices are three times what their other suppliers charge), but sometimes they are the only grower who has them. I paid $39.88 for it. You can order one from Monrovia’s website, but it is $84!!! I don’t know why their website prices are so much more.

    I will say that this lilac is different than any other lilac I have seen before; the flowers grow right on the main branches, rather than on the tips of the branches. This makes it difficult to cut to bring in to enjoy. I’m also not sure on the right way to prune this yet because of this. It’s beautiful, though!

  126. Thank you for the idea Linda. I have tried a similar idea before and DD was not a fan. Because she is on the Autism spectrum, she is very particular about food taste and texture. She is very good at detecting differences between brands of food, too. I tried a cheaper Walmart brand flavoured rice, but she didn’t like the taste and she refused to eat it. I couldn’t taste a huge difference, but she sure could. If it doen’t meet her approval, there is no point in forcing the issue.

  127. Thanks Diana & Brandy. I don’t have a Winco (I’m on the NE coast). There was a local hardware where I could buy loose seed by the pound, but they closed. I really miss that hardware store. Good thing is I have time with this – ha!

  128. This week…
    -DH fixed the spring in my sewing scissors and its like brand new. I have had it for 20 years and its better than ever.
    -Preparing for a shower, revamped a banner from a party hosted for me. Removed decorations with a razor blade, recut paper and recovered the cardboard, painted the cardboard flowers and then hot glued everything together.
    -Sewed 55 felt corner bookmarkers, packaged them with supplies already had.
    -Created signage for food table at shower using supplies had on hand.
    -Found an addition 8.99 monthly fee on a bill. Called, saved over $100 for the year by reading our bills and questioning. They were only going to refund 4.99 as I called in the middle of the billing cycle. More questions and got the full $8.99 removed.
    -Returned unused glue to store and got a 4.69 refund.
    -Clip gas coupons in our local free shopper. It’s saving me @2.00/week
    -Popped popcorn rather than be tempted to buy chips.
    -Turn the heat down from 70 to 62 at night-saving on our propane bill.
    -Drove our Prius rather than our truck to run errands in near by town, used one gallon of gas rather than the 3.
    -Mailed a deposit in for a park pavillion rental rather than driving 20 miles.
    -Didn’t wear makeup for 3 days.
    -Used movie passes for a 3-D movie, no extra charge.
    Stay frugal.

  129. I bought 8 huge red and gold Christmas ball decorations for $1 each. They came with large plastic snowflakes at no extra charge. These are for an outside tree next year. I will not do lights outside again. I bought 4 sdxc photo cards regularly $99 each for $29 each. Those will be the last purchases other than food and utilities for the rest of the year. I will be selling bird note cards, bird (penguin, bluebirds) and landscape posters, and postcards (grizzly bear, mountain sheep, chipmunks). I hope it is not a losing proposition. I hope to pay my property taxes this way.

  130. Hello everyone

    I have bought plants from Groupon and eBay in the past. I’ve never had a bad experience and they are generally much cheaper than the normal nursery prices ( did find a lot of shrubs at local B&Q discouted to £1 each few months ago but that was unfortunately a fluke).

    Of course the deals where I am (UK) probably are different from the American ones. There is a seller with Purple Sensation lilacs for £16.99-just checked.

    In terms of savings this week. I just went to drop off a load of children’s books/toys etc at a charity shop. We don’t get any tax rebates (from reading I think you do in America). It does make me feel better as it empties the house- these are items the children have outgrown and are not able to be sold ( good condition but used and not designer). While there I found birthday presents for my daughter who is turning 14 in February as well as items with tags still on them for the present drawer.

    I am watching the grocery bill closely. I don’t need any meats as I was lucky enough to find a huge load of reduced turkey last July- we are still eating our way through that! I made meatballs, bolognaise and burgers from the mince and we use steaks on sandwiches and meat in stirfrys. Of course the Christmas turkey and stock made from it is still in the freezer as well. I check the reduced racks if I go to a store and stock my freezer from there. I never buy meat for the full price. My freezer is full at the moment so just really buying milk and fruit and veg- my mother and sister gave me a dehydrator for Christmas so aim to dehydrate and can in the summer- wish me luck!

    I have just paid a big bill so watching everything very closely. Not going out, making meals from scratch etc. My daughter wants to take a few friends (3) ten pin bowling for her birthday so need to look into how to pay for that. I actually complained about a pizza (burnt) we had delivered last year ( haven’t had any since as kids were not impressed either- very frugal

  131. Sorry- typo

    ‘The company sent us a gift card which we can use to take her friends out after the bowling’ and that won’t cost much as a result.

  132. I am visiting Hawaii at the moment and the grocery prices are quite high. But I am enjoying the warmth and greenery and listening to the birds. I saved for this trip by babysitting little ones so I will enjoy it.

  133. Pinetree Garden seeds tends to be a little more inexpensive, often because the packages are smaller than some others. However, when it comes to peppers, etc., I don’t need very many seeds. Sometimes I order seeds from them, sometimes from Territorial, sometimes from Johnny’s, and sometimes buy from other places, including the Dollar Store.. When it doesn’t matter to me exactly what variety I’m getting, I’ll gladly buy cheap seeds. When it does, I am happy to pay more for things.

    I have not been able to grow my own seeds the past 2 years (into plants, like peppers, tomatoes, etc.). I could tell a huge difference in the purchased plants I got last year, than the favorite varieties I like to start from seeds myself. My husband plans to build me a mini-greenhouse this year, and I’ll be back to business. So, I’m ordering seeds soon. I need varieties that grow in a short summer, often cloudy, rarely super hot, etc., so it’s worth it to pay extra money to make sure I have success and have large yields. Each person would have to talk to people who live in their area to find out what kinds grow well where they live, if they want to have success.

  134. We’ve been watching the news with the incredible US temperatures in the -20s and below. Praying for all you folk.

  135. Didn’t go grocery shopping this week as I’m living off the garden and my frozen meals. Long life milk is keeping me in milk. Only two and a bit weeks to go of my no spend January.
    Praying for all the folk in freezing temperatures.

  136. Hilogene in AZ, we are about the same age and we try to walk 1 + mi each day. We fall off the wagon a few weeks at a time, off and on throughout the year, but both of us feel better when we walk. I just read an article in the AARP magazine that also said we (our age group) need to exercise for the rest of our lives to be healthier.

    I also want to send Congrats to Brandy and her family on the new blessing to come. I also am also inspired by Brandy’s frugal living.

  137. I know what you mean about people looking at you weird when you talk about saving money. I think we all have those kinds of people in our lives. That is what makes this site so great!

  138. I second Pinetree Garden seeds – outstanding quality and very reasonably priced. They have both open-pollinated and hybrid varieties. If you stick with open-pollinated you can start saving the seeds each year which should eventually mean you won’t [i]need[/i] to buy anymore….problem is there are always new varieties to try 🙂

  139. Do you have Ocean State Job Lot near you? They have a variety of inexpensive bird seed. Walmart near us also has a small bag for $2.50 which would be nice as a gift. Tractor Supply is a possibility, too, though I haven’t checked their prices lately.

  140. Traditional lilacs need to be pruned (when necessary) fairly soon after they finish blooming for the season, else you risk cutting off the start of next year’s blossoms. This seems fairly common for flowering shrubs.

  141. One of my goals is to step away from the brain drain of my phone and read more. I downloaded The Storm Before The Storm, a nonfiction book about the time just before the fall of the Roman Empire, and am zipping through as fast as I can now that the 2nd Poldark novel is available as my next digital download. I found out my library also allows me to make 7 digital music downloads as well, and I have downloaded some of my favorite jazz and classical pieces every week.

  142. We were also just in Hawaii. Not only were the food prices high, sometimes outrageously so, but the fruit and vegetable selection wasn’t what you would expect in a tropical paradise. Everyone says go to Costco.

  143. I peeled it and put it in a plastic baggie and sucked the air out of it and froze it for many, many, many months (a year?) and it was fine! I can’t remember whether I dipped it in lemon first. I may have. Or maybe not! But yes, it is possible to freeze avocados!

  144. How simple. I never thought about doing it. This is why I sit and read this blog. There is always a little golden nugget of information.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

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