My white Iceberg roses turn this lovely shade of pink when it gets cold.


I worked diligently to organize my four main areas of clutter to keep me more content in my home (without spending anything).

I saved shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants in the garden.

I cut green onions, peppermint, and oregano from the garden.

I got a good amount of exercise just in my backyard. We had our first frost this week (about a month later than normal) and I spent time pulling out all of the tomato plants that died in the frost. I also began pruning the grape vines and rose bushes.  I filled six trash cans in about 4 hours. I won’t be able to do more until after the trash man comes, but I have lots of pruning to do. January is my busiest month in the garden. I’ll prune grape vines, rose bushes, and fruit trees.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card. I’m saving for something for myself this year, so I’m going to redeem 2200 Swagbucks for an Amazon card every time I have enough (you can only redeem one discounted $25 gift card a month for 2200 points; after that it costs 2500 points. I just wait until the next month if I am lucky enough to have more).

I helped and encouraged my husband to learn how to do something himself that he was seriously considering hiring someone to do.

My youngest reader wanted a Bible of her own to read with us during our study. My eldest son had an extra one in like-new condition that had been given to him that he was able to give to her, which delighted her.

I decided to not order any vegetable or herb seeds this year, as I have enough between leftover seeds and what I have collected from our garden. I ordered some flower seeds from just one place this year. That will be my total ordering for this spring. I have plenty to fill the garden!

I decided to keep our food purchases for the next 3-4 months limited to potatoes, margarine, carrots, and sour cream. We’ll eat from our very full freezers and pantry along with a few things from the garden. This time of year is our slow time for income, and I have no more room to stock up on deals, anyway! It’s a great time to eat from what we have stored. If we needed to, we could go for the whole year without doing any shopping, as we have before. I have no idea what our income will be this year, but because we have food stored and a garden, I know we won’t go hungry even if we didn’t have any income for the year.

I purchased three like-new blouses and a like-new skirt for myself at the thrift store. January is always a really great time to shop at the thrift store, as people have often made large donations before the end of the year and as they organize their closets at the beginning of the month. I made sure to only buy clothing items that I really loved. I also purchased 4 used books for my children, including a Newberry Award Winner. I have slowly been purchasing used copies of different Newberry Medal books and Honor books over the years to add to our library.

On Cyber Monday, I had bought myself a new church dress 50% off. I thought it would be washable on the delicate cycle (it’s velveteen). The dress came and the tag said, “Dry Clean only.” I wanted to try washing it on the delicate cycle anyway but wasn’t sure if I would ruin it. While at church, the baby became sick–and threw up all over my dress! At that point, I figured I may as well try washing the dress! I washed it on delicate with other delicate items, gave it a second rinse with a low spin just in case, and hung it to dry. It came out beautifully, like I had figured when I purchased it. I use the delicate cycle on my washing machine to wash many items, which I hang to dry.

What did you do to save money for the first week of 2019?

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Organized Pantry

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  1. Hello there. Its been awhile since I have commented (the homeschool year always leaves me busy) and as usual, I continue to be impressed by your dedication to living within your means! I glean so much from these posts.

    Purchased pork loin on sale for $1.69/ lb.

    Bought two sweaters for myself at 1/2 price at Kohls with a Christmas gift card. Both are thick, well made sweaters and fully cotton which I like. No weird, scratchy material. I’m constantly on the move with 6 littles and the cotton breathes well.

    Bought several bags of oranges at $1.99/4 lb bag.

    Bought plenty of gala apples at $1.50/3 lb bag. Some of the more ripe I immediately turned into applesauce which was needed when 2 children were recovering from the flu.

    Continue to use the garlic ear oil you recommended awhile back during the cold season. Haven’t needed any ear ache associated antibiotics for 2 years now since we’ve began using it.

    Reviewed/organized medicine cabinet. Needed to purchase very little in order to stay on top of the inevitable winter time sickness. I’m convinced organization is a necessary tool to save money (and sanity!).

    Was going to purchase new boots for myself, but again some cleaning/organizing unearthed a pair I had purchased several years ago.

    Found two pair of like-new shorts, 1 pair of Ralph Lauren dress pants for my eldest son for the warmer season at the thrift store. I believe I paid $4 total. Also found two pair of warm pajamas for my another child at $2 each.

    Started making my mother’s French bread on a 2x weekly basis to help round out the meals for our growing brood. I haven’t figured the cost per loaf, but I buy my flour in bulk at $8/25lb bag and it is good stuff! Very fresh. I purchase from Gordon’s which is a local restaurant provider. It is closer than our Sam’s Club and there is no membership fee. Their prices are very comparable and worth the gas/time savings on the items marked a little higher. Its become a great resource for my beans, flour, popcorn, and spice purchases.

    Purchased eggs at 69 cents/dozen. Milk at 99 cents/gallon.

    We’ve been helping support my brother in law who is going through a tough time, so my mother in law brought us 20 lbs of ground beef purchased at $1.79 .lb! I thought it was worth mentioning because that is a wonderful price. The lowest I have ever seen it. I’m making note and keeping my eyes peeled in the future.

    My mother in law passed along a gift card to a local donut shop she didn’t need, so I was able to purchase a dozen donuts after church last Sunday for nothing out of pocket. Of course, the children were thrilled.

    Normally I make our pizza for next to nothing. However I was hit with a migraine last Wed. so my husband picked up 1/2 price pizza for us on the way home from work. Another reminder for me to keep some freezer meals stashed for emergency/sick days.

    Brandy, do you have any go to meals for sick/recovery times when you can barely pull yourself off the couch? Would love for you to share if you do.

  2. That’s a good tip about washing the dress on delicate. I have found I can wash many things in my machine — I’ve washed our leather-palmed ski gloves in the machine and leather athletic shoes and they come out fine.
    We ate at home and stayed out of stores. We went skiing one day – we used lift tickets we bought at a discount pre-season, packed a lunch from home, and ate a meal I had put in the freezer for just such a time as this when we got home. My husband tuned my skies himself before we left. He had previously won a free professional tune for his skis. Skiing is an expensive hobby, so we do everything we can to make it less so.
    I downloaded free audio books from the library and listened to them while I knit a pair of socks using up yarn leftover from other socks. I ended up with a striped pair in various shades of blue and purple. I have lots of bits of sock yarn to make other striped pairs and look forward to doing so in the future.

    1. I’ve started turning my washer to the “spin” cycle and running it again at the end of every load. I’m not sure, but I like to think it cuts down a little on drying time to whirl the clothes around one extra time in the washer, especially heavier items.

  3. I really like that you are so open about income fluctuations, Brandy. It presents frugality born out of necessity as something to be valued (as it should be!) and not something to be ashamed of.

    I tried my best to be frugal this week too:
    – Inspired by Brandy’s Christmas luncheon tray, I used homegrown rosemary (I took the plants in from outside for the winter) to garnish the appetizer tray that I made when my family came over for NYE. I pulled together items leftover from Christmas and things I had in the fridge/pantry. I put a photo of it in the link below.
    – We ate NYE get-together leftovers for several days.
    – I used a three-quarters wheel of brie cheese purchased on sale before Christmas and not finished on NYE, some of the cranberry sauce I made last week, and a homemade pie crust, to make a pastry-wrapped baked brie with cranberries. (
    – I made a large tray of scalloped potatoes, using the potatoes that I bought on sale last week (10 lbs for $1.97 or so). I used my meat slicer to slice the potatoes, which made it much easier to slice them thinly, which made it quicker to cook.
    – I also used my food slicer to slice some eggplant, and turned that into eggplant parmesan, using breadcrumbs made from the crusts my mother gave to me after Thanksgiving dinner, and homegrown oregano.
    – And I sliced up a whole bunch of onions using the slicer since I had it out, and froze them for future use.
    – I’ve been making a lot of chocolate milk using my homemade hot fudge sauce. So yummy!
    – I made a huge batch of rice and made rice pudding and chicken fried rice. When my sister came over to baby-sit, I sent her home with the leftover chicken fried rice, enough for a few lunches for her.
    – I sewed my daughter’s baptismal dress. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out! I’ve combined pin tucks, scallop stitching, and lace, for a traditional looking dress. It has a flowing two-layer (satiny-fabric and tulle) skirt with lace edging. She’ll also wear the bonnet I sewed for her and a hand-knit sweater gifted to her by my mother’s colleague.
    – I took the fabric I had used to tie bows on chairs at my baby shower, and hemmed the edges, to make them more polished. I plan to re-use them at my daughter’s baptismal reception. My sister will host it at her condo party room, as there is no fee to use her room (and there is with my building). I used e-vite to send invitations for free.
    – I bought candy to fill the bonbonierre boxes for the baptism, using a $5 of $15 coupon at a local bulk store. My MIL also bought candies to bring back to her home country as gifts, from the Bulk Store. We’ll be sending leftover bonbonierre boxes (flat and unfolded), along with candies home with her, so that she can give baptismal souvenirs to relatives.
    – I used velvet ribbon that I had traded for, to wrap up some cookbooks for friends that I will be seeing next month (we couldn’t get together before the holidays).
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a baby nasal aspirator (I already had one) gifted to me, plus a few chocolate-covered oreos, for a pair of BNWT baby gap jeans. They’re in a size that she will grow into.
    – My MIL is ill and not eating much, but we finally convinced her to try a meal replacement drink, just to slow down the weight loss. We found once that she likes and we purchased it on sale ($6.50 off a 6-pack) and my husband purchased it using his credit card which will give back 3x the loyalty points.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. I am always so impressed with all that you accomplish – along with looking after a new baby! The baptismal outfit sounds lovely – and having it made by mom makes it even more special.
      I hope that your MIL feels a bit better now that you are getting more nutrition into her. Good luck.

      1. Thanks, Margie! I’m trying my best to accomplish as much as I can, but I’m definitely tired! 🙂 Am happy with the dress though. A labour of love for sure. And my MIL does actually feel a bit better, thanks! I think finishing up this round of chemo and eating a bit more has helped her not feel so rotten. Am still trying to cook meals that pique her appetite, so my grocery bill has definitely gone up, but in this case, it’s worth it!

  4. Brandy, I’m so curious what you are saving your gift cards for? I’m sure whatever it is, you’ve put a lot of thought into before deciding you want to buy it. That was so kind of your son to give his sister one of his extra Bibles. The fact that her older brother gave it to her must make it even more special. Also glad you were able to find some new-to-you clothing items at the thrift store as well as some new reading material for your children. Always nice when you can find something you love at a really good price.

    Well, we survived the holidays again this year. Tomorrow, DD returns to school. This is more complicated for an Autistic child than the average child. I expect the next month or two to be wrought with difficult behaviours. By the time she gets back into the routine, they have exams, then she starts a new semester with all new subjects. Ugh! At least she is looking forward to going back…that might help a bit…maybe.

    Frugal accomplishments for this week, including New Years, included:
    *Meals made at home included a selection of appetizers for our New Years Eve dinner (as is our tradition at our house), baked ham with homemade scalloped potatoes, carrots and coleslaw, pasta with meat sauce, breaded chicken fingers/chicken burgers with Knorr noodles & sauce and corn, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs (my brother offered to BBQ when we had a “warm” spell, but still had snow on the ground) with seasoned roasted potato chunks and coleslaw, and crockpot meatballs cooked in a grape jelly/ketchup sauce (1st time trying it) with rice and corn.
    *Several years ago, I lamented to my mom how there were all these delicious looking appetizers and recipes that came out around Christmas, but we never went anywhere or had parties at our house where we could enjoy such luxuries. So we decided that year we would have an appetizer “dinner” on New Years. After all, we never go out on New Years. This became our way to celebrate at home and make the evening a bit more special. This year we bought many of the items we enjoyed (chicken wings, stuffed jalapenos, breaded mozzarella sticks, and baked potato skins, much of which I bought on sale), but I also made some as well (homemade baked spinach dip, devilled eggs and Caesar salad). However, in the past, I have made a more frugal spread by looked up recipes and making what I could from my own pantry and items I could buy on sale. It’s a simple way to make the evening more festive and fun!
    *I picked up 4 smoked hams (700g) for $1.99 each (normal sale price for these would be $5-$6 each!) from a local discount grocery store. I had recently bought 6 hams for $2.99 and froze them whole. So these hams were shaven into luncheon meat and frozen in usable portions. At the same store, I also found bags for M & M’s for $0.99 each (bought 4 to use in baking), chocolate covered pretzels for $0.99/bag (bought 2 for my candy stash), small pkgs of Jalapenos Poppers for $0.99 each (bought 2 since DD discovered over holidays that she likes them, as does her daddy), and 1kg jars of peanut butter for $2.99 (short dated, only bought 4).
    *Although many choose to do no-spend months in January, I find grocery stores are quite aware many families do not have a lot to spend after the holidays. In turn they offer amazing deals that are perfect for restocking the pantry. So I purposely plan to stock up with whatever January sales I can find. This week, I was able to stock up on 10 pks of pasta @ $0.67/900g (almost 2 lbs/pk), 5 boxes of breaded chicken (strips and burgers…one of the few things that everyone will eat without complaint) @ $4.88/800g (1.7lb) box, Kraft dinner @ $5.88/12 box pk, apples @ $3.88/6lb bag, 10 pks of English crumpets @ $1.00/6 pk (DD LOVES these), 6 jars of peanut butter @ $2.99 (not short dated) and 3 cucumbers @ $0.75 each.
    *While browsing Pinterest, I found a great craft idea, which I pinned as an idea for gift giving. I wanted to share it, for those who are looking to add handmade items to their gift shash. It is a hand-sewn jar opener, that would be really cheap to make several for giving! A note for those with limited funds, recycled material from old clothing could easily be used to make this. Here is the link, for those who may be interested:
    *Made sure to use the free 1 week pass to the YMCA as much as possible. We ended up using it 5 of the seven days over the holidays when we needed the exercise the most. I admit, there was some forcing of the child to go swimming on more than 1 occasion. But I think she enjoyed it once she was there with her friend. I don’t feel yucky and bloated, like I gained a bunch of weight, as I normally do after the holiday indulgences. A huge frugal win with this one!
    *I signed up for a family membership to our local wellness center for the next 3 months. Along with myself, I added my brother, DD and her friend to the membership. My brother is still looking for work, but wants to work on getting more healthy (he is quite overweight and has multiple health issues because of this). By taking out a family membership, I was able to get him access to use of the facility at a minimum cost. I added DD’s friend because DD refuses to do anything unless she has her friend with her and her friend’s family has money issues, so I would be paying for her anyways. I hope to get lots of use out of this membership, to help improve my activity level before we go backpacking in Europe in April! Besides, improving my health is always a good investment.

    Looking forward to catching up and learning from my favourite people. This community is truly amazing! Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. My sisters often do an appetizer meal on Christmas Eve and it’s something that their kids have loved for years! Given the large meal to come I think everyone enjoys the opportunity to pick and choose and not overdo it before the big day!

      1. I really enjoy the finger foods. It makes the night a bit more festive, because it is food we rarely get to enjoy. Feels like a party but all comfy in my PJs!

    2. I usually find, like you, that January is an excellent month foe sales on food. I haven’t see that yet this year, but we did have many more excellent sale prices in November and December, so I have nothing to complain about. Here’s hoping, though.

      1. Lots of time for great deals, still. I find the deals in January are very random. I never know what I might find on sale in the flyers. I just keep an open mind, watch to see what great deals come up and buy within my set grocery budget. It certainly helps to provide some variety with our pantry and meal options.

    3. Rhonda – Many thanks for posting the link to the jar opener. It is adorable and would make a great gift as you’ve suggested. I have all of the materials on hand, including left over rubber shelf liner, so I will be getting started on these soon.

      1. DonnaMarie, I’m glad you found this project as interesting as I did. I thoguht of making some matching potholders and maybe a matching tea towel to give as a set, or add a jar or two of home canned food, depending on how big you want to make the gift. Just remember, DO NOT iron the seams flat. It will melt the rubber shelf liner. Just use your fingertips to flatten the seams, then sew to finish the hem.

  5. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    I am glad Brandy you have been able to buy a new dress and other clothing for yourself and are saving your swagbucks for an item for yourself as you truly deserve something special being such a busy Mum.

    Our savings last week added up to $239.06.

    We have not purchased anything apart from a few soft drinks at the local RSL club, really reasonable prices, to celebrate us finding the floor with no boxes in the home anymore, yay, apart from a couple of small ones for storing some items :).

    Finances –
    – We have paid off 1.66% off the capital and are in advance in payments on our home loan since the start date being the 19th of December. I chose to pay all of the setup bank loan fees off straight away so we don’t incur any interest on them.

    Home Organisation –
    – Finished unpacking & setting up the sewing, lounge and rumpus room in the home. I am ready now to sew some more and organised and rolled up my rolls of ribbons in a new box which was a cut down moving box and reused an old tuppleware container to store all of my threads.
    – We reused a pine shelf we had to create a wall shelf for all of our music CD’s in the lounge room and mounted it with wall plugs and screws we already had.
    – We replaced all of the tap washers in the home which were not changed in an eon and we had to persuade getting the taps off with a hammer to break up the calcification (just get a bigger hammer we always say 🙂 ). It took a couple of hours saving us $103.80 over getting a plumber in to do it for us and they would have charged more with parts added in.
    – Another trip to the tip to drop off all of the cardboard boxes ( we put them in a charity bin to help them raise funds) and the old TV antenna we had replaced with a new one.
    – DH repaired the kitchen table by putting in more screws we had here as well.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone :).


  6. I have pulled my ham out of the freezer and sliced it for lunches this week at work. I made homemade cornbread to go with the ham. I made a fig sauce to go with the ham, since figs and mulberries are my main fruits I eat during the winter. I get both free from trees at my house and at my mom’s house. I made turnip greens from greens I had purchased a while back for $1. I also pulled out of the freezer some of the pumpkin I had cooked and divided into individual servings. I prefer sweet potatoes and winter squash, but huge pumpkins were on sale right after Halloween for $1, and that one pumpkin will last me all month! I also enjoyed cooking the seeds. Hmmm….maybe I like pumpkin as well as sweet potatoes after all… Gas was $1.69 when I went to visit my kid, so I filled up. It is higher where I live, about $1.99. I will never understand why houses are three times as much where my children live, compared to where I live (actually, now four times as much), but gas is so much cheaper up there! Eggs are cheaper up there also, but chicken is much cheaper where I live. Go figure! I froze my leftover black eyed peas after eating on them for a week. I will enjoy them later in the month. I fell and sprained???? my finger and had difficulty playing the piano at church, but I managed to get through it. I am trying not to go to the doctor, I hope it is not broken. I just do not want to pay for a copay. I enjoyed listening to music on the radio on the public broadcasting station. It is almost 70 degrees here today, so I am enjoying the sunshine. Y’all have a blessed week!

    1. Cindy in the South,
      I’m not offering medical advice! However, one of my daughters sprained a finger years ago. It was black and blue when she finally showed it to me. I drove 45 miles to the base hospital only to have it confirmed that she’d sprained it. Their treatment … tape the sprained finger to the adjacent finger. It healed just fine and is part of our family story. Hope you recover quickly and can play the piano!

        1. I broke my finger once when I fell hiking. I used a finger splint from the grocery store and it healed on its own just fine.

        2. Cindy,

          I’ve had a couple of really bad foot and ankle sprains. I grow comfrey in my garden. Because I couldn’t walk I had my husband blend the plants with water in the blender. I packed it around my foot, then wrapped plastic wrap around it and then put an old tee shirt around that.

          I didn’t do that the first time I injured my foot and it took forever to heal. I did it the second time I injured it. The injury was more severe and healed much quicker.

          If you don’t have comfrey, you can buy dried comfrey in bulk from a health food store.

          Hope that helps.

          1. I can confirm how good comfrey is. I grow it and make comfrey balm. It is amazing on sprains, breaks, joint issues etc. But you need a balm with loads of comfrey in it. I don’t like what i see in the chemists. So definitely try a poultice of leaves. It will really help.

  7. Thanks for your continued inspiration Brandy-the use of your pantry and preparedness for income fluctuation is a blessing for you and your family.
    -Here in the midwest we have had a week of warm weather and have not yet had to fill gas tank to heat our house.
    -Saved unused ends of break loaf and air dried it to make bread ctumbs rather than using the over to dry.
    -Keeping the lights off as much as possible, the day light hours are getting longer.
    -Reviewed our year end finances and evaluated year to date all expenses by line item. We saw a decrease in groceries, auto fuel, and clothing. However, health costs won the prize for our greatest expense.
    -I sewed a cloth rattle/toy for my grand daughter. I found the pattern in a library book and was pleased with how fun it was to create.
    -Today I found a deep discounted simple dress pattern with sizes 6 mo. to 4 T. I want to sew a few dresses for DGD from my statsh. I know my DD will appreciate having new dresses for spring. I have been watching at the local thrift store for patterns however haven’t had any luck.
    -I am working on a “wish” list of items to keep an eye out for at rummage sales, thrift store etc.
    -DH is a “do-it” yourself kind of guy and rather than pay a contractor will tackle most anything. Our bathroom floor was in bad shape. He just finished installing a tile floor that looks great. We found the tile on a great clearance sale and installed it while there was a break in the winter weather so we could cut the tile outside.
    -Continue to water and keep my patio plants alive during the winter months. I have a Boston Fern that I hang on my porch that is 3 years old and still going strong. Since we moved I now have windows that have natural light-no more grow lights for us.
    -Clipped the local shopper coupons for $4 off gas during the month. I saved $48 using these free coupons last year.
    -Got a great buy on coffee-BIG value can for $3.99. I plan to buy another one to add to my pantry.
    -I feel blessed as the New Year 2019 is off and running. I am inspired by so many on this site for their dedication to a family focused lifestyle that is not measured in material needs but in core values. Onward.

  8. Beautiful flowers, Brandy! And good for you for the organization! My aim is to organize some area of the house every week.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Cut the bottom off a toothpaste tube to get the last amount. Lasted another 2 days.
    • I have been making a concerted effort of trying to use up stuff I already have. I am really looking at all the “little bits of this and that” and trying to find ways to use them up. Am only purchasing what I absolutely need at the grocery store right now.
    • Made pinto beans in my InstantPot for the first time. Added garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper and chicken bouillon. It was so easy and the results were fantastic and since beans are one of hubby’s favorite foods, this is a keeper recipe and I will make them a lot more often. I made them to serve alongside a pork roast we had on New Year’s Day, but next time, I will just skip the meat and serve the beans.
    • Organized my pantry, deep freezer and the 2 refrigerator freezers and got a good idea of what is in there for future meal planning. Updated a spreadsheet with all freezer items.
    • Hubby brought lunch to work 1 day and had his lunch paid for the other 2 days he went in.
    • Instead of taking my Dad out for our weekly lunch, since he now lives closer to me, we had lunch at my house. I served homemade turkey noodle soup, which is one of his favorites. There was a movie he wanted to see on Netflix (he doesn’t have that and we do), so I set him up to watch the movie while I made lunch and did his laundry. I had made a bundt cake the day before with some apples that needed to be used up and some sliced almonds I had in the freezer for a while, so I served that as dessert. He loved that too. The food at the Assisted Living place he lives is ok, but not ever as good as home cooked. When my sister and mother were alive, we used to have tea with each other every week, taking turns setting beautiful tables and serving wonderful dishes we had taken time to prepare. I love to do this kind of thing and have really missed doing it. Now I am taking tea with my Dad. It felt so good to do it again. And so much cheaper than a meal out!
    • Worked 7 hours contract work. This job is great for me, as my boss is completely flexible of when I want to come in or work from home and how many hours I get in. He upped my hourly rate yesterday too. Am very grateful for this opportunity for this, as I have to be available for my Dad and taking him to Dr. appts. etc.
    • Son-in-law smoked a salmon on New Year’s Eve and brought some over to us. It was delicious. One of my favorite foods! We had that with some Havarti cheese my Dad got for us for Christmas as our appetizer that night.
    • Set up my budget again. Had gotten out of the habit of paying attention to it.
    • Got a great deal on laundry detergent at Walgreen’s. It was BOGO for the bigger bottle of Sun brand, then I had a $5 reward. I paid $5.76 for 4 big bottles. That will last me a while.
    • Ate dinner in most days, including steak, baked potatoes and broccoli (twice); pork roast with beans; pork stroganoff made with leftover roast with peas; skillets made with leftover steak and potatoes; and spaghetti. Just ordered pizza and wings in on Friday, as we were both exhausted. I did have a free pizza coming, so we just had to pay for the wings.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  9. What beautiful roses. I need to prune our rosebush, which we inherited from the previous owners when we moved into this condo. It has thrived for years now, even though I don’t do much to take care of it.
    That’s great about successfully washing your new dress. Since I buy a lot of things at thrift stores, I generally risk washing “dry clean only” clothing in the washing machine, and I haven’t had a problem yet.

    The Seattle area had a big windstorm last night, and we are currently without power. It’s been out for 12 hours now, and the power company has no idea when it will be fixed. So I took the perishable items from our fridge and drove to my work (one mile away) to put them in the fridge there. I’m using my work computer to type this, and I am charging my phone here too. A few years ago, I bought a small butane stove which can be used indoors (as long as I crack a window so the fire alarm doesn’t go off). I was able to use it to heat water and make some things to eat this morning. Since we almost always lose power in storms, this has been a worthwhile investment.

    I left my frugal accomplishment list at home, but here’s what I can remember:
    – Cooked a large pot of broth, and saved the fat that solidified on top after I refrigerated it. I will use this for cooking. (I am someone who thinks animal fat is good for you).
    – My co-worker received a bouquet of roses from a client, which she gave to me for helping her out with a task she was unable to do alone.
    – Brought excess Christmas candy to work to share with co-workers and patients.
    – Brought gently used magazines to work for the waiting area.
    – Had a simple New Year’s Eve at home. My boss gave me some champagne to celebrate with. (I love champagne).
    – Frugal fail: I did a load of wash, but forgot to put half the clothes in. Had to do another load. 🙁
    – Felt like working on a sewing project, so I made some doll clothes from fabric scraps I had on hand.
    – Worked on a puzzle with my husband.
    – Did all the things I usually do: cooked from home, ate from pantry/freezer, brought my lunch to work, made water kefir and kombucha, watched DVDs we already own and streamed shows from Netflix, read blogs and websites on my phone and the computer.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Our power thankfully came back on a few hours after I posted this.
      Here are the other things from my frugal accomplishment list (now that I have it in front of me):
      – Bought some Meyer lemons and blood oranges (my favorite). Once I got them home, I washed them in warm soapy water and let them air dry. I have found that, if I do this before I put them in the fridge, they don’t get moldy. I used to lose a fair amount of citrus to mold before I discovered this trick.
      – Used baking soda to get residue off of my iron. I just put a bit of baking soda on a damp washcloth, and gently scrubbed off the residue from the slightly warm iron. I then wiped of the plate with plain water. This worked great. My iron has a stainless steel plate, not sure if this would work on other types of irons.
      – The bar of our wooden towel rack was coming loose at one end. It is actually held in place with a screw, but if I unscrew the whole thing from the wall, it’s not going back up. So I glued the bar in place and crossed my fingers. It seems to be holding, so yay!

    2. Laurie,
      You can use two screens with your Netflix subscription. If your dad has a smart tv he can use it, or use it with a roku, or watch on a computer or tablet. I actually pay a bit extra ($14.99 per month) and have 4 screens so my niece at college and my daughter overseas and I can all use it at the same time. He just needs to have your password to sign in. This is completely okay with Netflix and is not dishonest in any way.

  10. I am slowly reading through the Newberry medal books from my library… well, the ones I’m interested in. I also redeemed 2200 SB for an amazon GC today, though forgot to add it to my post. Good job on cleaning your dress at home. I also try washing them at home, and being mine are thrifted items, I’m not out much. So far, it’s turned out OK. The silk may not have the same sheen as if dry cleaned, but that’s OK with me. I’ve done some mending and sewing this week. I finally got our tree down today, and Christmas put back in the attic. It feels so much better, like there’s room to breathe again.

  11. Hello all! Happy New Year! Frugal accomplishments are off to a good start! This is what I did last week:
    1. Our light bill went up almost 40 dollars during December. I was very upset. We have a programmable thermostat and I had went on YouTube to learn how to program it and left it on. Prior to that, we had been turning it off during the day while everyone was gone. We will be going back to turning it off everyday!
    2. I am unplugging every nonessential item from the wall. We only plug the item, including the microwave, if we need it.
    3. Eating from the pantry and freezer this week. I went to Sam’s and bought a few items that were already scheduled to be bought, but no extra groceries. I was able to create five meals from what I had on hand, and could probably make more if I really though about it, LOL.
    4. Stayed home most of last week. I made one trip to town on Friday and combined all of my errands in that trip.
    5. Used my Sam’s card to purchase gas before leaving Sam’s to get it for 1.91 a gallon, compared to 2.09 in other places nearby.
    6. I have a Swiffer mop to use on my ceramic tile floors. Swiffer pads are expensive! I bought a pile of cheap microfiber cloths that would fit my Swiffer mop and I wet one with a solution of hot water and cleaner I already had on hand and place it on the mop. Works just fine and I just wash the cloth when I am done. The cloths I bought came in three colors, so I use one color for dusting, one color for polishing mirrors and windows, and one for the floors.
    7. I have lost about 20 pounds, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes. Last week I purchased some clothes on our church “swap shop” group for 16.50. This week, I purchased 11 more items for 2.75. (They were .25 each item). So, for about 20 dollars, I have purchased 24 new items for my closet in my new size.

    I think that is all for this week. Everyone have a great week ahead. It is back to work for me so I will be back to packing lunches and looking for ways to save even more money!

      1. Hi Tammy,

        I wrote a reply to you about weight loss but it didn’t get published (I don’t think) so I’ll repeat a couple of things I found useful. Don’t drink soft drinks (not even diet ones). Eat an orange rather than drink orange juice. I agree with Brandy’s comment about drink water more. Eat less carbohydrates and more protein and make sure you get a little fat each day. Eat 5-7 veggies and fruits every day and especially folate containing ones (green salads, avocado, broccoli, peas). I watch the amount of sodium I eat. Not eating fast foods helps (although I don’t think you eat out much). I read a scientific study that supports the idea that you should eat your bigger meals at breakfast and lunch and not at suppertime as the body reacts to calories differently if eaten during the day than at night. Good luck in your efforts! I myself lost a lot of weight. Ann

  12. I checked here daily to read Brandy’s and others frugal ways as we know in 5 yrs our income will be 1/6th that it is today.
    We went over our finances and decided where we would cut. Hubby has been packing his lunch daily for his temp. job, he also let a few of the new co workers that he was looking for odd jobs and what that could be. I started spending time daily on what to plant and where to plant with this being our first year here.. We are eating from the pantry and the time we ate out I used a coupon. I did some restock of medical items saving 40%. Both of my doctors changed my meds dropping my cost about half. We went to a neighborhood meet and greet the other night, I got asked if I work . I answered no , I hang my laundry on the kitchen porch clothesline for a hobby. It got a laugh but definitely clued in the others that it might not be a good thing to ask that question. The one mother almost 90 answered she was sitting around drawing govt assistance… she’s on Social Security but helped with the laughter.

  13. I saved money by staying out of the stores as much as possible! Paid all the first of the month bills and worked extra hours at the small PT job that I have but it is going to be a tight few months. I will take inspiration from you Brandy – you are truly amazing! And yes, it is nice to know that you were able to buy a few things for yourself and that those Amazon cards that you earn will purchase something for you later in the year.

    Any food that I did purchase was either REALLY needed, on sale and/or earned me loyalty points. I too will be eating out of the freezer and pantry as much as possible for the next 3 months with minimum money being spent in January & February, and then Loyalty points being used for March’s groceries. I am tracking and writing down everything that I spend so it should be interesting.

    I cooked items from scratch all week – including a shepherd’s pie for today’s Potluck Lunch at Church and only treated myself to 1 small coffee while out last Friday. I regifted a couple of things as a) I wouldn’t use them and b) I knew that the recipients would enjoy them. I did tell both that they were regifts and they were still very happy with the items and they are no longer hanging around in my space.

    Gratefully received some grapes and apples from my neighbour (I often cook for him as he is 82 and he likes to repay me by bringing me fruit & veg from the Chinese Market he visits almost daily).

    I exercised using Youtube videos, read books from the library and watched Netflix as entertainment so no money spent.

  14. This has been a whirlwind week! On Sunday 2 of our daughters and their families (11 in all) who stayed with us for 10 days over the holidays left to go back home. That just left us with the last daughter and her family (5 people) who stayed for 3 weeks and just flew out this morning at 4:30 AM!
    So for the past 2-3 weeks we have been feeding up to 16 extra people! Thank goodness for our pantry and freezer!
    Like so many others, we are trying to have a use it up or no/low spend month for food as well as any other purchases. We paid our annual property taxes and also paid off several bills in full. We now have 5 months until retirement so I’m trying to do everything I can to help us be well prepared financially.
    We flew out for 2 -1/2 days to Colorado to visit our son and his family. It was pricey even using Priceline because we made our reservations at the last minute but their oldest son was leaving 2 days after we left to report for his 2 year Church mission and we didn’t know when the next time would be to see him and his 4 siblings all at the same time and place since they are all teenagers! So the trip was pricey but priceless and we immediately paid it off this week!
    I’m back to making more Soup Cozies and flannel Softies for our business to try to build our inventory back up . Here’s a link to a photo of the ones I made this week. And here is one of my shoeboxes with new Softies.
    I heard about a couple good books that people were recommending and instead of buying them, I found them at our local library and reserved them to pick up tomorrow! That saved me over $30 just for those 2 books!
    Our chickens are increasing their egg production and we are excited to go through our second winter without having to buy eggs in the store! What a blessing!
    Just had potato soup from the instant pot for dinner! Using up ingredients already here at home. It’s fun seeing what we can make for meals using just our food storage!
    Hope everyone else is having a frugal week!

    Pat in Ohio

  15. Hello Frugal Friends,

    This week I listed and sold a few items on FB buy/sell site and earned $40;
    I made a birthday card for MIL from supplies and tools from craft stash;
    I was able to redeem my swagbucks for a $50 Amazon giftcard; I am planning to use for a few practical items to lower my grocery/household costs this month;
    I cut my husband’s hair;
    I worked 4 hours at my occasional office job;
    I accepted 2 poinsettia plants from my office, I didn’t want the plants but the large bronze decorative pots that the plants came in were very nice. They also had a separate interior pot inside. I will use the soil and plant pots in the spring. I also accepted 2 additional plant pots as no one else wanted these items. The extra pots were a bright metallic red and I may use for Canada Day display or next Christmas.
    I have stayed home and away from the stores, not spending anything.
    Thank you Brandy for this inspiring website, wishing everyone a frugal start to the new year!

  16. -Read free books on my Kindle app on my laptop.

    -Shoveled snow for exercise, and didn’t need to hire anyone to do the job.

    -When the temperature got milder, I unplugged the block heater on the car for several days. This saves huge amounts on the cost of electricity.

    -Received a quarterly $75 carbon tax rebate.

    -Spending very small amounts on groceries, since there is plenty of food in the house. Roasted winter vegetables are a favorite at the moment.

    -Made hot chocolate mix.

  17. It is an inspiration to see so many making use of what they have and making the most out of what they have. The photograph of the roses is lovely. I am just beginning our frugal journey and get inspired by all those that post. Our frugal accomplishments for the last week:
    1. I took home extra food from a catering job that couldn’t be used at our restaurant.
    2. I made bread instead of buying it.
    3. I made our menu consist largely of bean dishes. We tried the black bean burgers, and two other soups. I am excited to keep adding more bean dishes to our rotation.
    4. I bought some extra chuck roasts that were buy one get one free at the store. I’ve also been restricting myself to fruit that is in season and on sale.
    5. I did an inventory of our stored food and determined what we would need to purchase to have what we need for our family. My dream is to shop from my pantry and not from the store. That feels so much more secure.

  18. Thank you to Brandy and all contributors for this community. Keeping track of my frugal accomplishments has really helped me be more mindful of my spending. This week’s accomplishments were:
    *Made cheesy garlic bread for a New Year’s Eve snack using a loaf of French bread bought for $.49 and cheese bought on sale.
    *Hosted family for game night using games we already own. Served chili (using kidney beans I cooked myself) which was easy and inexpensive for a crowd. Also served leftover cake from a dinner we hosted earlier in the week. We have also enjoyed cheese dip and salsa that our daughter brought and left.
    *We had some fish left that we didn’t particularly like the taste of. I was able to use it in fish tacos to mask the taste.
    *Cut pretty scenes and verses out of Christmas cards that we received. I will use them as gift tags next year.
    *Printed a free shipping label to return two pieces of clothing that didn’t fit my son. The nearest Old Navy is an hour away, so this saves time and gas.
    *Took some leftover cookies and citrus that my cousin left here to work and shared it with the guys so it didn’t go to waste.
    *Accepted a nice leather couch from a friend who is moving.
    *While I cooked a ham (that was bought on sale during the holidays), I also put in a chocolate cake and a coffee cake at the same time to save on electricity. We’ll have the chocolate cake for dessert tonight and I’ll freeze the coffee cake for the future.
    *Earned $2 reward at Food Lion while purchasing $10 of on-sale groceries.
    *Purchased London broil for $2.99/lb. and boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.79/lb. Not great deals, but not too bad.
    *Cleaned house using vinegar and ammonia. Also used microfiber cloths to clean mirrors instead of paper towels.
    Hope everyone has a productive week!

  19. I watched part of a preview of an online drawing course and learned several things that should greatly improve the quality of my drawings. The full course costs “only” the same amount as a daily Grande from Starbucks for a year. Instead of signing up for the course, I ordered two of the skilled artist’s books, used, on for less than the cost of one week of Starbuck’s coffee–much more within my price range. Now to get busy drawing!
    I went shopping at our local Goodwill today and got a stretch velvet blouse in black for $1 and a Brooks Brothers’ 100% Scottish lambswool Argyle v-neck pullover for $2.24. When I bought it, I thought it would be for my brother-in-law or turned into mittens and legwarmers if he didn’t want it. My sister didn’t think he needed another wool sweater in the middle of the Mohave desert. So I tried on the sweater. It fits me and won’t require any alterations, not even to the shoulders. It is so soft and warm. I also got two new pairs of name brand navy blue uniform pants in size 16 and 16 Plus for my nephew for fifty cents each. I thought they were boys’ pants until I went online and learned the size would have been 16 Hefty for a boy. Oops! I also have great-nieces just a bit younger than my nephew. Since the pants are nonreturnable, I think they’ll be getting them instead.
    My mother continues to be on the mend. The other night we drove to town. She wanted a bite to eat. So we went into the local Coney Island. She ordered decaf before she realised the coffee cost over $2. But we saved on the rest of the little meal by ordering one Detroit coney dog and taking advantage of $1.50 soup and $1.50 fries that optionally came with the dog. The tab, with the senior discount, totalled only $8.31. As a practice, we never tip less than $1 a person for any food. So we parted with $10.31. Mom was so glad to be out and about and to see the families with all their kids at the small restaurant. One dad motioned for his preteen son to hop out of his seat and hold one door open for my mother with her walker. The boy had to be chilly without his coat on but he was so polite. The waitress held open the second door. This was only the third time we have eaten at a restaurant since June.
    I love jalapeño poppers. I tried the ones sold at Dollar Tree amd they aren’t bad at all but the ingredient list is so long. But I came up with an acceptable substitute this week: Corn tortillas, cheddar cheese, soft cream cheese and jalapeño slices can be turned into quesadillas and then sliced into sixths or eighths. Yum.
    I was glad to read the recommendation for Gordon Food Service or GFS flour by anotjer reader. While the GFS stores are a bit out of the way for us, we do drive by one occasionally.
    I hope you all have a peaceful and thrifty week.

  20. Oh, I have two stories to add on washing dry clean only clothing.
    The first was from my childhood. I had a new spring synthetic-fiber coat on when I fell off the swing at school into a big mud puddle. I called my mom with my lunch money and she picked me up. With nothing to lose, she popped the coat into the washer and helped me get cleaned up before I headed back to class. I had frightened my teacher because I left school without letting the principal know. The coat came out fine.
    Long ago, I was wearing a designer hot pink silk dress while holding somebody else’s baby who needed a sudden diaper change. I thought the dress was ruined but it washed up fine. A silk scarf, also hot pink, by the same designer lost its zing when I washed it by hand. So caution is in order.
    I started handwashing secondhand wool skirts when it became cheaper to buy them than to dryclean them. They became softer and the acetate linings sometimes changed color. But the skirts were still very wearable. Even my wool-blend coat has been maxhine washed. Its polyester lining handled water well.

  21. I’m so glad you were able to wash the dress. I’ve successfully been able to wash dry clean only clothes a couple of times too.
    This past week we started our no/low spend January. It’s not been as easy as previous years for some reason but we will save some money to go towards our little 40 anniversary vacation later in the Spring. Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments:

  22. Good job on washing the dress, Brandy. I don’t dry clean much to begin with, but I get a lot braver about washing when I feel I have nothing to lose. I don’t think I have ever ruined anything by washing it, but I wrecked the cushion covers on a sofa once by having them dry cleaned. The dry cleaning chemicals ate up the backing of the fabric.

    I had two no-drive, no-spend days this week.

    I made a batch of Miracle Spray. It’s the best cleaner I’ve ever used. It’s “da bomb” in bathrooms and everywhere else.

    I cut my daughter’s bangs. I wish I had learned to cut hair when my kids were little. I still can’t cut hair, but I will do bangs.

    All 3 of us had dental hygiene appointments and received free toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, etc. We have dental insurance add-on to our Medicare MedAdvantage plans and break even with two cleanings per year. It should be a good deal for us this year because my husband and I both need additional work done. 🙁

    This wasn’t frugal for me, but I re-sewed the neck binding on a friend’s T-shirt. Mending has been a real moneysaver for me.

    Yesterday I baked the rest of the sweet potatoes bought at Thanksgiving and mashed and froze them for future meals. I baked potatoes and later fried them for dinner with half a package of smoked sausage…which would not have been enough meat if I hadn’t mixed it with the spuds. I also made Brandy’s white bean/rosemary soup. I will probably reduce the amount of dried rosemary next time I make it, but I will definitely make it again! My goal is to make a big pot of soup every weekend for lunches during the week.

    I paid my bills online and saved $3 in stamps.

    When I bought my freezer a few months ago, Sears would give me $60 if I used their credit card. There was a huge mix-up and I didn’t get the $60. I sent a complaint letter and they credited me $60. This morning, I called and Citibank (which has the Sears card) is mailing me a check for the $60.

    I am still having problems reaching this site. I get an error message when I type in the URL.The only way I have been able to get in is to find the old webpage on Google and, from there, clicking on the re-direct (is that what it is called?) to the current site. Is anyone else having this problem?

    1. Maxine, I had the same problem for this site until I started typing it in without the “www” before I had to delete and then redo my bookmark. You might try that.

  23. I have enjoyed watching the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It is very inspirational – not only to simplify the material around you but also to think about improving the peace of your home.

    I read 2 books my daughter lent me which I would recommend – Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman (Newberry Honor)and Where’d you Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple (funny). I also borrowed a newer J.A.Jance – Field of Bones – from the library and recommend it to Joanna Brady fans.

    I was the host for coffee hour today at my church. I love eggnog, but hate to spend $5 or more for a half gallon. When it was marked down to $3, I bought a container, enjoyed several glasses, but then what? I ended up making eggnog muffins (for the coffee hour) and eggnog bread pudding (which was probably the more successful recipe.) For coffee hour I made biscotti, deviled eggs, small ham sandwiches using leftover holiday ham and leftover white house rolls I had frozen. I had purchased some holiday cookies that were reduced by 75% so I dipped some of those in chocolate coating (marked down to $1 for almost 2 lbs.) and decorated with holiday sprinkles (from 2017 Christmas mark downs). I decorated with The centerpiece was the three gifts from the Magi for Epiphany.

  24. Brandy,
    I love your flowers! I think it is great that your young reader asked for a Bible and that your son had one for her.
    I have enjoyed using many of the sites you suggested to study French this week. I just laughed and laughed at some of them, My husband enjoyed it too. He used to talk to me in French or write French poetry for me.
    I’ve lost 1 lb tracking my calories on Lose It the last few days.. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is more tomorrow. Because I weighed myself after I ate and I had not gained weight. The Lose it app has kept me accountable. I want to lose 2 lbs a week. I’ve been cleaning when I wanted to eat. Looked at videos that people suggested. Some I will have to work up to. But then I caught a cold and have not exercised much the last couple days. I hope this one is short lived.
    Chickens have been laying eggs, lots of eggs!
    Got invited to do a reading of my work. Excited and a bit nervous. But I accepted.
    I’m not getting many hours this week. But hubby got a raise! Started on the 1st.
    Working on not purchasing things. Making do.
    Enjoyed some beautiful weather for winter around here. Glad to enjoy some sunlight. Enjoyed some beautiful sunsets this week.
    Enjoyed hot chocolate as a treat one evening with hubby at home.
    Popped popcorn another evening.

    1. Aren’t they funny? I have really enjoyed them.

      A cold can be good. You’re too tired to cook so you don’t eat much 🙂

      Two pounds a week is a lot to lose in a week. You’ve set a high goal for yourself. The general rule of thumb is 1/2 to 1 pound a week. That said, you can lose two pounds a week if you keep with it and set new habits. You’ll probably feel really hungry at that rate. I know, because I set my goal at a pound and a half the last few months. I try to eat less on the days I don’t do any much physically but the closer I get to my goal, I really have to do a fair amount of housework and/or gardening to have enough calories for dinner if I want to lose at that rate. It’s been a good reminder for me that when I was that hin before, I often felt hungry during the day–and that was okay. I don’t have to feel full all the time. I don’t have to have multiple helpings of things. I didn’t eat that way when I was younger and thinner. If I eat that way now, I won’t get thinner! So I try to eat like I did then, and then I am able to stay on track and lose weight.

      1. I often felt hungry when I was thin too. i have been a bit hungry this week. But I think it is doable. I did lose another pound! So 2 this week. I am happy! You are right about not feeling like cooking with a cold.

        1. Hi Tammy,

          My comments about weight loss did not get published but went into the cybervoid …. who knows?

          I resubmitted an abbreviated version as a reply in this blog post but to an earlier comment. Hope you get it. I sympathize with you about your cold as I too, now have one. After having had flu for a month, I now have a cold. The weather has turned colder so I won’t be sitting outside for the bird photos. Am happy I got some outstanding photos of birds I don’t usually see…Time to learn Italian on duolingo. After Italian, I am going to brush up on my French. Hope you recover from the cold quickly.

          1. I hope you get better soon too Ann. I’m glad you got some great pictures of unusual birds. I think it would be fun to learn Italian too! Have Fun.

  25. First time commenting.
    – Bought secondhand text book for DS for $5 saving $35, and will pick up another on Tuesday for $15, saving $65.
    – Got rebate for husbands work shoes that I purchased for Christmas for $55.
    – Used left over ham bone to make lentil soup. Picked beans in Mum’s garden.
    – Dried all clothes on washing line, it’s been over 100 every day so no problem there!
    Looking foward to getting more ideas from everyone!

  26. I love all the positive reinforcement I feel reading these posts. I have a lovely comforter with quite a bit of mildew on it. While debating whether to toss it out, I decided to toss it in the bathtub that is full of water from my last shower. Normally I would flush the toilet with that water all week. Today I added a gallon of bleach and the comforter. Nothing loss if it doesn’t come clean or if it bleaches it a different color. I removed a 12 in clog of hair from the kitchen drain. Former owners must have washed their hair in sink. Nasty job but someone had to clean it out . Dog has fleas. I shaved her and bathed her with good flea soap. I found good flea meds a salvage store for 11.00. That covers dog and my cat. Funny thing is this wasn’t saving money ! They were things that had to be done and I wasn’t about to part with my little savings to handle the issues. I guess it’s all about perspective. So finally, all the kids are away at once. Sugar cookie will return in 5 weeks. I shut all but two breakers off and am in full savings mode. I haven’t turned a light on in a week. I love my solar lightbulbs. The winter is mild so I’m not cold. I have managed to get my water bill as low as we can. My lights won’t budge under a 100.00. I’m beginning to wonder if it is like my water bill and that the rates are just really high and our usage is as low as we can go. We will see. The only electricity being used is for the freezer, refrigerator and internet box. I’ve joined along with the government in my own shut down. I’m curious as how low I can get. I have 125.00 coming in with swagbucks. I am finally buying paint and mini blinds with it. I hope to start painting this week. I hope to accomplish a great deal with any and all materials I have tucked away. By checking prices on my paint, I got my 5 gallon bucket cheaper at a competitor. I only saved 12.99 but that was enough to purchase a 12 pack of good plate hangers for a walk I want to decorate. I have carefully inventoried our stockpile. I will use the small allotment of sugar cookies Snap to complete any healthy food needs we may have just in case the shutdown continues. So grateful I can control her diabetes with what we have on hand. So while in the dark, I can read on my tablet and stream on a tablet. Every day when I go outside to walk the dog, I hang my light bulbs out. They are a lot like a small child I am tending. I have to make sure that I feed them and keep up with them. They can’t stay out in the rain and I have to make sure they aren’t hiding from me. ( where I may have misplaced them) Those light bulbs remind me of college girl as a child. Very needy. Have a good week frugal friends. Many changes are coming my way. I thought somehow life was easy and slow in old age. Maybe when I’m 99.

    1. My 3 kids have disabilities and they have both Medicaid and Medicare. One has Type 1 diabetes. The government shut down should not affect her getting her medication for diabetes.

  27. Your roses are stunningly gorgeous Brandy. I stand in admiration of your full pantry and freezers so that you can limit spending for 3-4 months to only those four items. You are amazing!

    • Had a medical appointment 40 minutes away so combined with errands including Aldi. While in this county, I also found gas for $2.29 and filled the tank. Gas price in my home town was $2.62.
    • One of my Christmas presents to my apartment-dwelling 21 year old son was four homemade meals for his freezer. I made good on the presents this past week so did A LOT of cooking: made chicken taco soup, homemade potato skins, a large pot of chili, risotto with spinach, arugula and gorgonzola, stuffed shells, chicken with lemon & capers, watercress soup and baked Brandy’s blueberry muffins.
    • Cooked dry kidney beans in slow cooker.
    • Frugal fail: when I was making the pot of chili, I discovered that 2 cans of tomatoes in my pantry had use-by dates of January 2017. I ended up pouring the contents into my compost bin. Some foods I feel comfortable eating long after the use-by date, but I remember hearing years ago that tomatoes are a “high risk” food and to respect the date. Does anyone know if this is true? Any site recommendations for finding out? Thanks!
    • Knotted up the mesh bag navel oranges came in and used as a dishwashing scrubbie
    • Used solar lantern to read in bed
    • Bought a discounted bunch of pale, slimy looking green onions for $0.39 (regular winter price in my area is $1.50). I peeled off the slimy parts and plunked the bunch into a glass of water in a southern facing window. Six days later all the onions were dark green, standing upright, and had grown an inch!
    • Hung three loads of laundry out to dry. My pants were frozen stiff when I brought them in!
    • Had an expired Groupon but was able to get credit for amount paid. I found a butcher shop a few towns away that had an offer and used all the credit plus paid $1.00 OOP. I’ll have a $25 certificate to use at the butcher shop, which will come in handy as I’m doing a no-spend month for January.
    • Kept thermostat on 58 all day. Wore wool socks, boots, wool sweater layered with L/S tshirt underneath and a scarf. Resisted temptation to turn on electric space heater. Our electric company’s rates are increasing 19% starting in January.
    • Practicing at home “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”
    • Returned an item that wasn’t used for Christmas
    • Purchased vitamins at Walgreens BOGO plus used $2 coupon and $5 rewards points – my OOP including tax was $9.64 rather than the full price $35
    • Rather than meeting a friend for chai at a local shop, which is what we normally do, we went for a walk instead.
    • One of our fabric window shades has mold/mildew on it. I soaked it in a bleach solution in the bathtub and hung it outside to dry. I wanted to try this rather than spend $$ replacing it. It worked well and the shade does not appear to have any damage from the water/bleach bath.
    • Washed living room drapes in the washing machine using delicate cycle and hung them out to dry. My mother and I sewed these drapes years ago so I know the fabric had been washed (and in theory pre-shrunk) before they were sewn. I don’t think I would do this if the lined drapes had been store-purchased. Unlined drapes are fair game!
    • Washed Ziplock bags to reuse – my least favorite frugal chore!
    • I use HR Block tax software to do my taxes. Had a coupon code good for $10 off if purchased early and I remembered to go through Swagbucks to earn points.

    1. Libby, commercially canned goods are generally good for years after the “best by” date on the can, as long as the can is not bulging or showing signs of rust. The quality may have decreased slightly, but the contents are still safe to eat. I have never heard that about tomatoes – but they may be referring to home canned ones, not ones from the store.

      On a side note, if you suspect canned goods are contaminated with botulism spores, do not empty the contents into a compost pile. Here’s a link about how to dispose of them properly:

      1. Tomatoes and pineapple (likely sauerkraut too) can eat through cans faster than most other foods. The white lining, which has its own drawbacks, might slow down the process. Just inspect your cans regularly for degradation. When in doubt, throw them out.

    2. Libby, I agree with Tina. Check the can for dents, bulges, leaks and inspect the product inside by smelling and looking for any signs of mold. I just opened a can of Hunt’s brand diced tomatoes from the pantry with an expiration date of 2015. Absolutely nothing wrong with them. I mixed them into a bean salad that I have been eating on for a week or longer and am still very much alive and well. If it was home canned and that old that might be a different matter. Again, you would check for any signs of the product being bad. Consumer Reports magazine even did an article in the past several months on those dates that are on products and if it is still okay to eat. They were of the conclusion that it was if no issues were noted. If the product tastes bad then don’t eat it but also don’t rely on those use by, sell by, best by expiration dates.

    3. Hi Libby,

      I constantly use ‘Still Tasty’ to see how long things can be expected to last ( they list unopened, opened and frozen). I’ve saved a ton with this info. Hope it helps!

    4. Libby, I stockpile groceries. I occasionally have outdated items because we just didn’t eat something as fast as I had anticipated. I do rotate my supplies. I’m all the many years of having good storage, I have only had a couple jars of spaghetti sauce go bad. There was absolutely no doubt that it was bad. It smelled off. Perhaps that’s what you would call rancid? Apparently tomatoes products and things in oil will go bad. Like tuna in oil and peanut butter. I always check the container for any unusual appearance, I sniff it and will taste it if it doesn’t smell bad. We currently are eating canned peas that expired two years ago. There is suppose to be a uniform dating system going into place. I was told the only items to avoid completely were baby formula and other items for an infant if expired. I figure for the most part if an item was good yesterday it probably is good today.

  28. Thank you for this post, Brandy! I also just re-read your post from several years ago on addressing frugal weight-loss. Very inspirational, and helpful to reset my thinking and motivate me to achieve some weight-loss goals by ‘thinking outside of the the box’, so to speak. (Such as gardening, and doing what you love, to lose weight…rather than walking/running, etc…)
    With that being said, our family began 2019 on a social media fast. (This is not a rant against social media or those who use it, at all…it was just surprising that we all came to the same conclusion separately, but for different reasons) Our goal is to make the entire year without using social media at all…(I do not count reading your blog the same thing!). This includes all the normal culprits…FB, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter…my kids (older teenagers) have even deleted Pinterest and YouTube. (I did not go that far as I use both as a reference for recipes, tips, cleaning/mending/DIY etc… So, though technically NOT a monetary “frugal” act, it can turn into one. Also, it has definitely helped us to see how much time we were wasting on social media, which is time better spent on other things. Both of my kids say they feel as though they have tapped into more creative thinking, and are enjoying the quiet…as well as no longer feeling like they have to keep up with what their friends are doing. I find that to be true for myself as well.
    The other thing that happened this past week, is possibly a little more controversial…but I share it in the spirit of helpfulness, and hope that someone else may gain a benefit from it. (It’s also another large part of the reason why I did not delete YouTube) I should state emphatically, I AM NOT trying to sell anything…
    I have been suffering from serious pain in both feet for quite some time. Finally, after stepping wrong on the threshold of my kitchen door…my husband encouraged me to see my doctor. I should state that 2018 was a VERY expensive year for us, medically…three separate surgeries for different family members. We are only half-way through paying off some of the things that came our way. The last thing I wanted to do was see another doctor…but I could barely walk. After X-Raying one of my feet, they discovered 3 large bone spurs on one heel, one very large one on the bottom of my heel, and two on the back of my heel…my primary doctor immediately sent me to a Podiatrist (I have nothing against Podiatrists, or doctors in general…just hate spending the money to go see them…) I was a little concerned after seeing the XRay, and was not at all sure of what I would be told. The Podiatrist explained to me (and then encouraged me to go home and research on my own) the treatments for these spurs. My husband and I were both in shock at how easily they could be treated, and truth be told, we didn’t really believe him at first. (I should mention that the Podiatrist Xrayed BOTH feet and found that the left heel mirrored the right one…which is why walking/running has been “too much” for me, due to the pain that it causes…another reason I found your weight-loss link so encouraging…I was stuck in a box, thinking that walking was about the only way to loose weight. I’ve been sedentary for a while now, having recovered from a major surgery in August, only to have the spurs flare up…2018 was not a good year.) Even housework has been excruciating.
    Long story short…he said that the bone spurs on the bottom of my heel were technically Plantars Fasciatis, and that the ones on the back sides of both heels were, in reality, Achilles Tendonitis…I had not known that. I never knew that the two were linked. He went over a plan of treatment, and told me that the majority of the pain was coming from the inflammation and not the bone spurs themselves…
    I came home and read everything I could find, watched about 30 separate videos on YouTube, and made the decision to follow through with doctor’s orders (which seemed a little sketchy at first, considering the levels of pain…) Sure enough, following his advice, while addressing the inflammation (Aleve, is usually considered great for inflammation as an over-the-counter remedy…), I felt relief within a week. Having carried on with his instructions, and finding some stretching videos (for free) on YouTube, I am still recovering QUICKLY and feeling relief in my feet that I hadn’t felt in years.
    Before I go further, I understand that this could be controversial, but this is how I plan to approach it. I DID have a doctor check me out, and then encourage me to follow-through with more research at home…I DID NOT self-diagnose, and I AM seeing great benefit in the span of two weeks…so much so that I wore low-heels to church on Sunday morning for the first time in over 2 years.
    So, the Frugal part of this is that, in lieu of repeatedly seeing this Podiatrist every two weeks, paying for the co-pay, for him to talk to me for 10 minutes only asking how my pain levels are…I took that same amount of money for one visit ($45/copay, every visit) and invested in Plantars Fascitis boots for sleeping. I will continue to stretch and massage my feet as directed by him, and the countless other resources I found, and give myself about 6 months to see if I can become pain-free. I seriously think I can do this…as everything that I read/saw/heard has lead me to believe that (unless it’s a MAJOR issue requiring surgery, mine’s not) this is what he will continue to tell me…and I don’t need to continue to pay $100/month for that.
    Read it and follow through or ignore it at your own discretion…but if it can help someone else, then it is entirely worth sharing. I am no doctor, and do not claim to be. But, now that I know what is causing this pain, and how to help myself fix it…it can be done easily and at an extremely lower cost than jumping through a ton of medical hoops. I have found the YouTube channel “The Physical Therapy Videos” with Bob and Brad (“the two most famous physical therapists on the internet” 🙂 ) to be exceptionally helpful, not just for this issue, but for multiple ones.

    Best Regards!

    1. Thanks for sharing your health story! While I don’t suffer from that condition, I do have a lot of lower back pain so will be checking out the physical therapy channel you recommended.

      I’m of the belief that we can work in conjunction with modern medicine by also using home remedies, natural solutions, etc. I’m not convinced there’s a “right or wrong” way and every person, situation, circumstance, issue is different.

      I personally treated what I believe to be the onset of either a kidney infection or possibly even kidney stones at home recently by following a suggested regimen of compresses with certain essential oils and a course of lemon water followed by olive oil with lemon water for 2 days. Within 2 hours of starting this regimen, I had relief from the pain and discomfort and now 2 weeks later, I have had no recurrence. Of course, it may have been something completely unrelated to a kidney infection, but I still was able to have relief in a healthy way, although I decided from the moment I woke up with the pain that if my natural solutions were not successful by the end of that day that I would go to the doctor the next day.

      1. Thank you, Jenny! Like you, I believe in a ‘mix’ of modern medicine with a heavier emphasis on home remedies…I have followed that course for years, and had much success. I am fortunate to live in a VERY small town, and have known my doctor for over 25 years, ever since I was a small child. She is supportive of my approach, so when she sees me coming, she knows something is wrong. 🙂
        I hope that you have good luck with the YouTube channel. They have TONS of information on back issues…it is my sincere hope that you find something that helps you. Plus, they are dry humored and quick witted…I enjoy listening to their banter.
        I’m interested in your kidney infection/stone story. My husband suffers from chronic kidney stones…has for over 20 years. We saw his urologist three days ago, and found that he has three small ones in one kidney…this after he thought he had already passed them. Poor guy. Would you please be willing to share the details of your remedy, or a link to it? He has told me, at this point, that he feels like this is probably the route he needs to take in order to help….I’ve had him doing cranberry juice and lemon water (not together) for about a year. The GOOD NEWS is that no new stones have formed…that leads me to believe that this is working. The bad news is that the ones that are there have been there for a whole year, and are remnants from a very large stone that he had to have a lithotripsy for….(hence, one of our three ‘surgeries’) They haven’t budged, and he’s in a lot of pain whenever he does anything physical. We live on a 325 acre cattle farm, with this being one of our busiest times of the year…hence, constant pain.
        Probably TMI, but I would SO appreciate it if you could share with me what you did? Please?

        Thanks for letting us talk this out, Brandy!

        1. I don’t mind at all to share! This is straight out of the book “Modern Essentials: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils,” and I have found this book to be a great resource. I just updated to the most recent version that came out in October 2018 but the older versions are a bit cheaper. I got mine on Amazon in case anyone is looking!

          For prevention: Drink a glass of water with 1 teaspoon lemon juice daily. Also drinking plenty of water daily should help prevent them.
          (Sounds like this is working for you!!!)

          For treatment: (Part 1) Make a hot compress and add lemon, eucalyptus and juniper berry essential oils. Place over kidney area on back. (I wet a hand towel and microwaved it until hot and then just did a couple drops of each oil onto the towel. Place it across my lower back/kidney area and covered with a larger towel and laid in the recliner. I did 3 rounds of this a couple hours apart on the day that I was feeling the pain and discomfort. If I did it again, I would dilute the oils with a liquid carrier oil, such as olive oil or fractionated coconut oil, before putting that onto the towel. I did have some sensitivity on my skin where these oils were concentrated, but it didn’t have a long term effect.)

          (Part 2): Drink 1/2 cup distilled water with juice from 1/2 lemon every 30 minutes for 6 hours. Then take 2 tablespoons light extra virgin olive oil with the juice from 1 whole lemon, and repeat daily until stone passes.

          I did both Parts 1 & 2 for one full day and had complete relief from the pain within a matter of a couple of hours. I didn’t continue after the 2nd day and haven’t had a recurrence so that tells me it either was effective or that wasn’t the problem at all! lol But either way, I hope this helps your husband 🙂

          1. Jenny, thank you! He has had some people that he works with try to explain to him a “home remedy”…but when he tried to get more info it was unclear and unhelpful. I’m fairly certain that the olive oil/lemon juice part of this was similar to what they were trying to describe, but even that ended up sounding very complicated coming from the other source. (It was a little weird.) As for the rest of it…completely do-able. I’m thankful that this helped you, and am hopeful that this will help my husband as well. I really do appreciate you taking the time to reply. Thank you, and have a very blessed day!

  29. Brandy…you are amazing! I am working really hard to keep expenses low. We have pizza every week. Instead of 2 I bought 1 and it was enough for my family. Gas is very low and instead of spending $40 per week this week I spent $20! I was able to keep my food expenses low this week as well. Keep up the great work.

    1. Shelley, have you ever tried making homemade pizza? Not hard to do, and tastes pretty good. Might save you some money, instead of buying it every week!

    2. We love making homemade pizza (although there is one pizza place in our local small town that I adore…but pricey and probably more calories than our homemade version!)

      Our younger daughter, who is 13, recently started making the pizzas all on her own. We make the dough in our KitchenAid stand mixer, but she gets it all mixed up and then when it’s ready to pat into the pan and add toppings, she does that now, too. What a luxury for me, as it’s like getting an entire night off and not even many dishes to wash after!

  30. Those flowers are lovely! At this time of year, my yard and garden are pretty much a sea of soggy grass and mud, so it’s nice to see some beautiful flowers:)

    My grocery plan is working! I have been making do, even though there are now things on my list, such as waxed paper and foil, and I sent my husband to the store with a $20 bill and told him to get whatever produce he could with that. He stayed under it by getting tomatoes off the reduced produce rack, a bag of potatoes, a few green onions, and of course, more lettuce, as he is eating piles of salad each week. Then, after church yesterday, there was a big tote of sprouting potatoes, and some celery for people to take. It’s easy to cut off the sprouts from the potatoes, so I ended up with about 10 lbs of those to use this week, plus 2 celery stalks. So, now we have potatoes for baking and for mashing or whatever.

    I made potato salad with my older potatoes that were sprouting.

    I’m on a “use-it-up” project of my own. My freezers, pantry and canning cupboards are also stuffed, and this is a good month to use a bunch of it up. I hope to find creative ways to use some of the odds and ends up. To do that, I have to NOT buy some of the things I normally would as often as usual. One example of this is bananas. We have lots of canned fruit, but if I buy bananas my daughter just eats banana after banana. She really loves them. So, I’m trying to shop every 2 weeks and she can eat bananas the first week and canned peaches and applesauce the second week, which she also loves. They just aren’t as handy to grab since she has to get a bowl for them. I also have quite a few things that might get old if I don’t target them for meals, but I tend to grab the fastest and quckest thing to cook as well. I think everyone does. So, it’s plan, plan, plan and I will have success, a little cleaner and more organized food storage, and maybe even a little extra money at the end of the month. We’ll see:)

    Pictures of my week are at; I spent quite a bit of time over the holidays messing around with my blog, and am still figuring out what I am doing. I have made some changes and will be making lots more. I suppose that’s saving me money from hiring someone to do it, but what a learning curve I’m on!

  31. Hi, all! Thank you, Brandy, and all those who comment for helping me come up with new frugal inspiration 🙂 Our family’s frugal accomplishments for last week:

    -Ordered dog flea/tick medicine through new online portal from vet. Only saved $1 over previous pricing but got free shipping and don’t need to make a special trip to the vet, which is 22 miles one way.
    -Started cutting cardboard packaging (boxes from Chewy order, etc) into strips for starting fires in our wood stove. This saves $10 per month during the winter since we aren’t buying the fire starters.
    -Checked the pantry, fridge and freezer for what we have on hand that needs used up and based our menu plan on that and the sale ads. ALDI was, as usual, best prices for this week so only went there. They were out of the 2 cuts of meat that were on sale, so I improvised and got 2 whole chickens, which are the cheapest $ per pound and are very versatile so I knew I could alter my menu plan easily to accommodate the change. With this change, I ended up spending only half of my allotted weekly grocery spending and only ⅓ of my weekly household cash as we only needed toilet paper.
    -Put all coins and the savings from our cash budget categories (groceries and household) into our new savings jar. We plan to empty this at the end of each month to see how much we came in under budget in cash categories and to try to help keep extra cash from slipping through our fingers. We recently made an exact financial plan to follow in order of our priorities, starting with rebuilding our emergency fund and then moving on to debt payoff. If we maintain our current income, which is very likely, we can be completely debt free in 8 years. This includes a large amount owed on my husband’s work truck and then a HUGE amount on student loans. Slow and steady!
    -Combined errands with my mom so we only made 1 trip to town this week. Gas is pretty cheap right now, but I’m trying to stay in the habit of making fewer trips so when it goes back up I don’t have to adjust my gas budget.
    -DH installed our new cook stove. The oven on my free-to-me old stove quit the week before Christmas and I comparison shopped online to find a replacement. We saved approximately $150 by installing it ourselves. He also picked it up from the store where we had used the free ship to store option so we only had his gas for the trip as the cost of getting it to us. (There was no way to combine this trip with any other required errands, but sometimes it works like that! lol) I put the old one on the local Facebook sale site for free, but will take it to sell for scrap if nobody wants it.
    -Sent 2 cards from my free-to-me card stash to friends who I wanted to encourage this week. The price of stamps was the only cost involved.
    -Sold DH’s old work truck that had lived a long life and served us well. We found a guy who buys vehicles to sell the parts and he gave us $600 plus a huge piece of thick steel that DH will use to fix the bucket on our backhoe, saving another $250 on the price of that. The money from this sale almost covered the cost of our new cook stove.
    -I’ve been trying to remember to shut off the internet each night before bed and take out the battery from my wireless mouse when I’m done working for the day and shut down the computer to save on electric and battery replacements.
    -I realized last week that I’m doing a small load of white clothes every other week that are just socks and undies. I do a load of white/light towels every week so decided to combine these and save the extra costs of that small load.

    I’ve also been putting thought into a garden this spring, as well as homemade gifts for this new year, so I hope to get plans started for both of those ongoing projects this week.

  32. This past week we were fortunate enough to do bulk shopping for my mother. She also paid for out groceries as well. I purchased several large packages of meet that & broke down & put in the freezer. This will last us several months. We were also went to a play using tickets that were gifted to us. We will see another one next weekend. I started using an organic vegetable delivery service this week. I get a 20% discount through my work. A part of my order was missing. I called the company & they gave me a $15 credit ofc my next order. My son needed new pj’s. I found a great clearance sale on line & was able to purchase four pairs for less than the price of one with free shipping. Twice a year my husband and I go through every closet & drawer in the house. This search yielded several forgotten items as well as a good pile to donate. I now have enough for my niece’s princess birthday party next month. I was also able to shop after christmas sales and purchase 60% of the gifts I will need for Christmas at rock bottom prices. This also will save my sanity and tons of time during the holidays!

  33. Hello
    It seems everyone is eating from the pantry/freezer on here, I’m trying my best to only buy essentials (dairy, fruit and veg) fingers crossed I’ll make it to pay day (28.1.19)! Frugal wins for last week were – I coloured my own hair saving at least £40 and I’ve received compliments about it so it must look good; saved some of the conditioner that came with the dye kit and usd it the next time I washed my hair; went to in laws for dinner and took home some roast beef leftovers which fed DH and DS1 at lunch today; researched and took a new mobile phone package for the 4 of us which bizarrely saves us money for 4 new iPhone XRs instead of the iPhone 6s’ that we had previously, we also get 1x free Spotify, 1 x free amazon prime and 1 x free sports package for the TV, so weird to get top of the range stuff cheaper than our old phones. Back to work on Wednesday after almost 3 weeks holiday, it’s going to be tough having to get up when the alarm goes off. Good news is that my supervisor has brought an office microwave so it’s home made soup for my lunches from now on. That’ll help with saving the pennies as well as shifting the extra pounds sitting on my hips after the excesses of Christmas ??. Happy frugaling to you all! Xx

  34. Had a good week thinking about how to save money. Made ham and bean soup with a leftover ham bone and rosemary from the garden. Turned out great–and into many meals. I took some to my mom and aunt and made cornbread to go with it.

    I had been saving the quarters the commemorate each state and had been working on that project for years. I finally realized I wouldn’t ever finish it and those who likely received those collections would just pull the quarters from the coin books and cash them in. So I spent time pulling out the quarters and took them to the bank and added $315.50 to savings! I’ve listed the coin collection books and hope to sell them.

    My husband and I went snowshoeing for the first time on Saturday with friends who are experienced. We had to rent snow shoes, but we had a great time and learned how to do it. When we got home, we were tired and I ended up making a wonderful ramen for us using stuff in the fridge (I roasted broccoli and green onions to bring out their flavor and also added boiled eggs to the ramen) plus some dried chanterelle mushrooms and their liquid to the broth.

    Made applesauce from 8 apples that were losing their texture.

    Received $77.77 rebate in savings for using my credit card for purchases over the last three months (I put everything I can on it and pay it off in full).

    Today’s project is to make snake door stops for three places where cold air is coming through. I am planning on using a bottom sheet that has lost its elastic for the fabric and wheat from my pantry.

    While putting away the Christmas decorations I got rid of one tub full of items. I am working on decluttering my house this winter. I also watched the Marie Kondo episodes on tidying up on Netflix while working on a knitting project.

  35. On New Year’s Day, I sat outside in the +9 degree C weather — no wind, so it was balmy! I was so lucky as a bright red house finch came to the feeder and I got a beautiful photo of him. I don’t usually have them in my yard as they prefer a neighbour’s yard down the street and where I often hear them in the spring. So this winter I’ve had photos of Mountain Chickadees, a Brown Creeper and a House Finch, all of which are uncommon in my yard. The weather has turned colder so that’s all the photography for awhile. I had a lot of remorse about having to but a new camera and am really glad now that I did although it was a hardship at the time.

    A friend picked up ten pounds of apples for me for $1 per pound. The next day the price had gone up to $2.99/pound or $3.99 per pound depending on the variety. I’m hoping they last into February although I eat one every day so I may run out sooner. I also stocked up on egg-free pasta at half-price.

    I received my GST and my carbon tax rebates. I was planning on using them but forgot about an automatic, one-time debit that came through and wiped them out.

    I am going to order Walmart’s case of Primo soup as it is at least 50% less per can that way than just in the grocery stores.

    I was given a Butterball turkey breast at Christmas so I am going to bake that and put the extra in the freezer for quick meals. Butterball said that once baked it can be put in the freezer again.

  36. This week I joined a No Spend 2019 group on Facebook and it has truly given me pause and brought many of my spending habits to light! I’ve always thought myself pretty thrifty but there are still many ways I can improve.
    1) We mainly stayed home and this saved us lots of money.
    2) I purposed to eat our freezer and pantry down and spent only $38 for some basic items this week. We’ve had some creative meals!
    3) A son went with his friend and his mother to the movies. She bought their matinee tickets and I sent a gift card we had for their refreshments. They had a nice time.
    4) I accepted some milk and cereal my mother had bought but then realized she wouldn’t use in time.
    5) I really wanted a greenery swag for my fireplace after I removed my Christmas decor because the mantle looked quite bare. Instead I sewed a fabric garland out of my stash.
    6) I cut off the onesie snaps on four of a daughter’ Shirts and sewed a ruffle to the bottom to turn them into shirts.
    7) We didn’t eat out or get takeout drinks even once this week which is huge for us.
    8) I used and refilled my homemade laundry detergent.
    9) bathed my little daughters in one tub of water.
    10)Went to get some free fabric from a lady that offered it on a local page and not only did she give me that but a yard and a half of burlap and a whole tub of other fabric she no longer wanted!
    11) returned a pair of leggings I’d bought before the holidays and when I opened them to put them on for church Sunday they had a small run in them already!
    12) have decided to stain and seal a portion of our back fence ourselves rather than using the professional group for $240 that our neighbor has hired for his portion.
    13) borrowed several books on the library’s online borrow service.
    14) We celebrated my daughter’s 4th birthday with a family party. I decorated using an inflatable cake my husband bought 15 years ago that we drag out every birthday. We also used Mermaid decorations I bought at the end of summer on deep discount. I made her cake and we had hot dogs. She was quite pleased.
    15) Husband and I went cancelled several subscriptions, including Hulu, that we no longer needed and he made a commitment to work out more frequently for health and for keeping his gym membership.
    I know there is more but that’s all I remember for now! Frugal week to all of you and thanks so much to Brandy for sharing her thoughts and hosting this post!

  37. My frugal accomplishment was purchasing 4 presents for Christmas 2019 at thrift stores for 4 family members still in shrink-wrap! 🙂
    I’m trying hard not to charge on my credit cards to buy Christmas 2019. I’m tired of “dumb” debt for me in 2019.

  38. Hi, I have commented sporadically before but not very regularly. I also find that there is so much great information in the comments that it takes me a while to read through them all, so I often get behind as life gets busy – I have missed several months over the past year. I know that reading (and, ideally, commenting) more regularly will be inspirational; I have kept up with reading the past couple of weeks and have started taking notes of ideas spurred by the comments that may work for implementing in my life.

    That said, here are some frugal accomplishments for the first week of January:
    – We came back from our holiday travels to see family in Iowa a day earlier than planned due to the freezing rain weather forecast on our planned travel day. This meant that we paid for one less day/night of boarding our dog, as we were able to pick her up early (family would make her stay in an unheated farm outbuilding, and this is a short-furred indoor dog, who also has a tendency to chase after cars – not a good option when there is no enclosed fence area to keep her in the farmhouse yard).
    – Husband took the dog to the vet for a booster shot and only got one month’s worth of needed refills for heartworm and flea and tick medications. This will cover this month and give me time to research discounted medication options for next.
    – I took dog in for nail trim at PetSmart and used a coupon to save $5 off the service.
    – Daughter (age 12) received a “Make Your Own Dog Treats” kit for Christmas and she spent part of her break using one of the recipes that came with the kit. We had all the ingredients on hand. The beef broth/peanut butter “cookies” were very well-received by her and the dog. I also got to spend some quality time with her helping her make them. I tried a bit of the dough before baking – while all the ingredients are human quality food, it’s not a taste I would recommend. ☺ (And yes, these first four are all about the dog – it’s how my brain works to group like topics together.)
    – Our immediate family Christmas dinner had consisted of a portion of a ham given to us free by my work. There are 3 of us, and it was a 20-lb. ham. There was a lot leftover. Post-Christmas, I froze some in slices and used the food processor to grind up the remaining that we didn’t just eat as leftovers. (I grind it with pretty big chunks, as we like it that way.) I ended up with 30 cups of ground ham in my freezer, stored in 2-cup containers. We used the first container in the first week of January to make ham and bean soup, and then ham salad. I also spent some time this weekend looking through cookbooks for ham recipes to create a variety.
    – We also ate a loaf of homemade bread pulled from the freezer, and a fruit salad made with canned pineapples and oranges we had on hand, plus the remains of a jar of sour cream that was partially used for a recipe at a family gathering and then intentionally left behind – to relatives who wouldn’t eat it. I took it home with us, packing it with a freezer pack in a soft-sided cooler for the travel.
    – We went to see the new Mary Poppins movie on New Year’s Day, using loyalty program points from the theater to save money on the concessions (shared large popcorn and drinks), which functioned as dinner.
    – Although tempted, I did not sign up for the January exercise program at our local community center, but instead, inspired by last week’s comments here, committed to doing bursts of activity at home and as able. (This saves not only money but time of driving to a different location and being away from home even more than my job and other commitments.) I want to get more fit; I pulled out an exercise band purchased several years ago and did at least 6 bicep curls (three for each side) with it daily, the idea being that small commitments are easier to keep up with and if I do more, that’s a bonus. Plus other exercise – like carrying loads of laundry up and down stairs, disassembling the Christmas tree, etc. – contributes as well.
    – The budgeting/spend tracking program I had been using,, went out of business the end of 2018. I had enough notice to download all my data, but need to find a new program. For now, I am simultaneously trying out EveryDollar and BudgetTracker to see if I like them. (Both have both free and paid versions.)
    – I received free return address labels and a notepad in a mailing soliciting donations.
    – I ordered mouthwash, a copper tumbler for rinsing, and a flossing toothbrush from Amazon for nothing out of pocket. I won an Amazon gift card through a survey group a few months ago. Better oral care is on my goal list for the year.

    1. Joanna, you don’t have to justify leaving your dog in a kennel. Taking care of animals when we are away from home is a need, not a want.

      I was at Costco today and bought Cosequin for our Westies (who spent the week before Christmas in a boarding kennel). They also sell Frontline–a box of 8 single doses for $76.99–their own brand of Pill Pockets, and a few other items.They are shelved by the dog food. If you are a Costco member, you can order these items online if you don’t live near a warehouse.

      1. Maxine, thanks for the tip. We are not Costco members; the last time I investigated, it was not worth it as the bulk items didn’t really fit our needs and I was doing pretty well at getting good prices through couponing at “regular” grocery stores. I may look into it again to see if it is a better fit at this stage of our lives.

        1. Hi, Joanna!

          I saw that recently started selling some additional brands and versions of pet medication. Previously I could only get it through the vet, but now Chewy has it so I can get it shipped free and it costs less than at our vet.

  39. The youngest stayed with my mil for right at a week after Christmas so me and hubby enjoyed quiet time. We stayed home for the most part when we weren’t working,reading or watching tv, eating mostly on a big pot of chili, with a lunch date at a Chinese restaurant to break it up, bringing home leftovers for that evening

    Rented 3 redbox movies using discount codes

    Our youngest turned 12 on the 3rd, and she received plenty of stuff for Christmas, so hubby found her a case for rifle at Bass Pro outlet for $10 and I found a shirt she wanted for the same price. My mil gave her a sock loom and yarn, and a sand art kit. She also received cash from her brother, uncle and my mom (which she ended up buying more clothes with)

    I wrapped her presents in leftover Christmas paper

    I bought a 4 pack of wrapping paper at Walmart for $1.34 for next year

    Not so frugal—I did end up having to buy a cake because I didn’t have time to make it, and we took her and her best friend out to dinner

    Walmart also had turkeys marked down to .50 a pound. I purchased a fairly large one for $9. I’ll have hubby grill it in a few months

    We seen an ad at Sam’s that plus members get 1 free car wash per day, so hubby cancelled his $25 a month unlimited wash membership at a local car wash.

    My mom sent over a bag of chicken legs she had cooked for my brother that ended up not wanting them. I pulled all the meat off for chicken and dumplings, the bones are in the freezer to make stock.

    My mom also sent over half a box of bisquick and 2 of the gallon jugs of syrup she no longer wants.

  40. I stayed out of the stores 5 days last week. Hope to match that this week. Also, only took car to town once last week. Found ground turkey reg. 5.99 on clearance 1.99. Made hm tomato soup instead of running to the store. Taste just like Campbell soup .Still without a job so watch what we spend closely. We save our change for year. Took it and cash it and put in our going out to eat fund.

  41. Hello everyone … I comment, but haven’t gotten in the habit of posting my frugal things. I’m going to see how this works. We’re currently on vacation, much needed and paid for. We’ve been eating meals in the room, shopping at the local grocery stores, and eating out some. Eating out is not really a big deal to me while on vacation. Yesterday, I found .73 in the coin return at the self-service check-out. Our flight arrived in the evening and I knew we’d want to eat something in the room once we got to our hotel. The room has a microwave, coffee pot, and refrigerator. I packed (in checked luggage), a pouch of pre-cooked rice & lentils, a small can of corn, and 2 small cans of chicken. When we got here, I microwaved everything, mixed it together, and 10 minutes later we were eating and it was reasonably tasty! I also put together 2 packets of overnight oats, including dry milk, and we had that for breakfast. Then, it was off to the grocery store.
    I, too, often wash “dry clean only” clothes. I just hang them up to dry and then iron, if needed.
    I wanted to mention two things I did over the holidays that worked extremely well. First, we had family staying with us for Christmas and I knew Christmas morning would be a rush and the kids would be hungry. That last thing I did before going to bed Christmas Eve was make biscuits and gravy. The gravy went in my crockpot on warm. In the morning when the kids got up, I put the biscuits in my 5 qt crockpot and set it to high. In an hour, the biscuits were hot and just like “out of the oven.” My family was overjoyed! Breakfast went off without a hitch. Later, we did finger food as well and only sat down for dessert. That worked so much better with the size of the group.
    Our thanksgiving was small, but I still had a huge turkey. Rather than simmer the entire carcass after we’d had our fill of leftovers, I divided it up. All of the remaining white meat went into my 2 qt crockpot with a can of spicy tomatoes. I then shredded it and packaged it for meals such as tacos. I put the dark meat pieces into my 5 qt crockpot along with veggie scraps from the freezer and made broth. That batch became a basic turkey soup – carrots, onions, celery, & turkey. I froze it in meal size portions and will either add noodles or rice when we eat it. The back of the turkey went into my 4 qt crockpot along with scrap veggies and became turkey tortilla soup. This strategy made it so much more manageable and I wasn’t overwhelmed with broth given minimal freezer space. My counter did look like the crockpots had taken over. LOL
    Happy New Year everyone!

  42. We need to focus & pay down debt this year so while I read & take inspiration from Brandy & everyone else on a regular basis I’m going to start to post to hold myself accountable.
    -Made menu plan for the week from the pantry & freezer
    -Reduced the grocery budget. Using the reduction wisely by taking advantage of the sales on staples: canned beans 3/$1.00, pasta 2/$1.00, 28 oz crushed tomatoes $.69.
    -Accepted breaded fish from my SIL who overbought & chicken soup because she overcooked!
    -Started a basement cleanout: 2 garbage bags, 1 box to Goodwill & repurposed a cabinet for my husband to keep his paperwork in, instead of buying something.
    -I travel during the day for my job so I am combining errands as I go (dropping off donations when I pass Goodwill, stopping at grocery store, post office, etc) This saves me time & gas and is perfectly acceptable to my boss since we do not get scheduled breaks & lunch time.
    -I am going to check with our utility providers to see if there is a reduction in rate for off peak hours as so many here mention. If there is , they do not publicize it in the monthly statement.
    -Continue to be mindful & inspired by this thoughtful, kind, frugal community!

  43. How beautiful your roses are, Brandy!

    This week was not very frugal since we had to go to Tennessee for my dad’s funeral. Thank you to all that expressed sympathy, prayers, and condolences. It was a difficult week but a blessing to see so many honor my dad’s life.

    While in Tennessee my mom, sister, and I went to the very large thrift store nearby. I found 2 shirts, a nice Italian storage jar, a picture frame, brand-new socks, and a blow dryer. When we got to the check-out my mom insisted on paying for my things.

    I found out yesterday that I won’t have to be commuting to Chicago each day for work which would have cost at least an extra $100 each month. I was offered a local position with my company that would give me a large mileage check each month on top of my regular pay. I will be saving and paying off debt with the extra income. I would also be able to come home for lunch each day. I am very relieved about this and am looking forward to a less stressful day.

  44. I’d love to hear more about your four main areas of clutter and any organizing you’ve been doing! I find that being organized really helps me save money as I don’t have to replace lost items, and can think outside the box and use what I have!

  45. Hello to everyone! This week was an attempt to get back on a regular schedule after the holidays. This week’s frugal accomplishments include:
    1. I paid several bills online to avoid writing a check and postage.
    2. My husband had New Year’s Eve day off from work. We spent the day together running errands, and went to lunch at a local chinese buffet. We used a
    gift card to pay for our lunch. While running errands we took advantage of after Christmas clearance sales to buy a couple of gifts for next year at 50%
    off. My goal this year is to purchase the majority of gifts for Christmas, throughout the year, on deep sales and with gift cards.
    3. Spent a quiet New Year’s Eve at home watching television.
    4. My husband is self employed, so we are reliant on the Healthcare exchange for health insurance. This is not ideal, and the coverage that we qualify
    for(based on family size and income) is horrible. The best option for us this year had a zero monthly payment, but we are responsible for 100% of our
    medical bills for the first $6.500.00 per person (with a cap of $8,500.00 major family medical). This includes all office visits,emergency care, and
    prescriptions. I have a few medical conditions (nothing serious) that require yearly visits to specialists, and monthly prescriptions. We have set up an
    account at our credit union (that pays a 2% yearly divident) that we will deposit a monthly amount into ( what we paid for health insurance last year,
    so it will not affect our budget). Because it’s not a specific health savings plan we are not required to use it all by the end of the year. This account will
    be fully funded with the major medical amounts by May.
    5. Our Fred Meyer Pharmacy (Kroger affliate) offers a program that will defer some of the cost of my monthly prescriptions. You pay a $36.00 yearly fee,
    and then one of the two medications will only cost $3.00 per month (the other is $9.65 regular cost). The yearly fee is the monthly cost of that
    prescription. I have signed up, and I have to admit that this is a huge relief. I have been worrying about the increased cost.
    6. We are eating from our pantry and freezers this month, as well. I am allowing $30.00 a week for milk and fresh produce. We need to use up home
    canned food, potatoes, and items out of our chest freezer. My goal this Spring is to purchase a new chest freezer. Our current freezer is a hand me
    down from my hubby’s Grandmother. It is at least 50 years old. The seal around the lid does not work properly, and I know it’s not energy efficient.
    7. All meals were eaten at home, except for the New Year’s Eve lunch date.
    8. I made home made disinfecting cleaner, and am using cleaning rags cut from my boys old white cotton t shirts to replace Clorox wipes in the
    bathroom. I have poured the cleaner into small spray bottles (bought at the Dollar Tree). The spray bottle and a stack of rags sit in a basket on the back
    of the toilet. I spray down the sink and toilet with the solution everyday. I wipe the sink area first, and then the toilet. When I’m done I toss the used
    rag into the laundry.
    9. I listen to frugal/ debt free vlogs on YouTube, as I clean, do chores, and cook. Listening to other peoples ideas on frugality helps keep me focused and
    thinking of ways to streamline our own budget/ lifestyle.
    10. We kept the thermostat between 62 – 68 degrees, washed most laundry in cold water. Nicely reminded the teenager to shorten his showers, and rinsed out Ziploc bags for reuse.
    Thank you everyone for all the great ideas. I really enjoy reading your posts!

    1. What is the name of the Fred Meyer (Kroger) RX program you mentioned? I am very interested.
      Also, which YouTube vlogs are your favorites?

  46. We had a scaled-back Christmas this year, and no one seemed to mind. We wrapped gifts in paper we’ve been using for about 5 years – an after-Christmas sale purchase that has really lasted. Family members were happy with their gifts and everyone had a pleasant and relaxing day. THAT was MY best gift.

    With the exception of some tree lights to replace some strands that had gone dead in storage, I bought no decorations. I went through boxes and changed things up with decorations that hadn’t been used in several years, and received a number of very kind compliments on how pretty the house looked.

    My mother brought the main course on Christmas Day. She says that after all the years of hosting holiday get-togethers, she’s so pleased to pass the torch that providing the roast is the least she can do. I was able to send everyone on their way with leftovers, and still had plenty for us, which we’ve been putting to good use.

    I was given a wonderful gift of homemade chili, pasta sauce, and fresh eggs from church friends – we enjoyed their gifts throughout the holidays. I must send a thank-you note.

    My husband received a generous gift card to a high-end restaurant (one we would not think of going to as a rule) as a thank you for some contracting work he completed. We also received several movie passes as Christmas gifts, so we are set for date nights for a while. We feel very indulged!

    A gift to my husband came wrapped in really pretty paper. I scanned and saved the pattern before recycling the paper and may use that to make my own cards in the future.

    My husband attended a college football bowl game with friends, courtesy of one friend’s alumni tickets. I mended a large rip in a favorite duffle bag, using dental floss (a tip I read about years ago). It’s strong, and as a bonus, minty fresh! We’ve had rain, so we turned off the sprinklers. I did purchase Christmas wrap on clearance, to replace the paper we finally used up. I hope this purchase lasts as long! I found a few clothing items my daughter had been wanting for my grandchild, in exactly the right size, 50¢/p at the hospice thrift store. My youngest sent several boxes of his favorite growing-up books to younger cousins, who are exactly the right age to enjoy them. We use media mail to ship books – very inexpensive, as long as your package isn’t time-sensitive.

    We put some time and energy into researching our insurance options, and made some changes we believe will benefit us financially and improve our quality of care.

  47. As a few people said they are re-purposing old Christmas cards, and of course, cards from other holidays would work;

    A friend had some small boxes that she bought (very inexpensively) at a craft sale. They were made from old cards. The top of the box was the card front, with the edges folded down about 3/4″ and fastened to make the corners. The bottom was the other half of the card, with the verse facing up, and the edges folded up to make the corners of the box bottom. (Can’t you see how I am gesturing to describe this?). Perhaps the bottom was trimmed about 1/8″ all around to be smaller than the lid before it was folded, so the lid would fit over it neatly.

    Hers were made from some pretty cards and were the right size for holding gift cards in folders or small presents. Whoever made them used cards with signatures, which were rather amusing to read, though I suppose you could use cardstock or somehow cover up the words.

    I cut up old cards from previous years and made bookmarks, using tassels I made from Brandy’s directions in her gift posts.

  48. Back at the rustic cabin and back to work. Glad to be working and very, very thankful for it. Your roses are lovely. I do remember the days when I had gardens that supplied us with fresh flowers. In a few years, I expect to have such a garden once again. As soon as our DS graduates college and is off to the Air Force.

    While gone, I took a bag of freezer items to the faculty freezer so I could shut down the mini fridge/freezer we use at the cabin. Worked like a charm. Food is back in our freezer now. Shut everything down while gone so expecting a lower electric bill in the future.

    Able to heat with wood for the most part. As a bonus, I’ve been scouring the yard for kindling and cleaning up debris from intense wind as well. When the weather is especially bitter, we do have an electric room heater for the cabin. Electric is so much more expensive here than out west where we have hydroelectric. (Side comment for all those who use a woodstove…one very frugal way to start a fire with damp kindling is to use a toilet paper roll stuffed with dryer lint)

    Heading into another year of debt payoff and savings building. So not happy to be in this spot, but determined to return to where we were. So far, we have been beyond blessed and are so very thankful.

    STILL one size from my goal. I have a very nice wardrobe in my goal size that I love wearing. Keeping on! Determined!

    Stopped and visited a couple days with my daughter at her own place in Chicago on my way back. I budgeted money to buy her groceries and we were able to find amazing deals and sales at her local grocery store. She doesn’t have a car in the city and walks or takes public transportation, so there is but one store to shop at. I expect they may have over ordered for the holidays, and we benefited!

    My right heel hurts after a day on my feet at work. I will start stretching again, and will look at the videos suggested. Thank you to all those who supplied information.

    Picked up a free wooden sleigh style headboard and metal bed thingies from a freecycle poster. I did have to drive ye old farm truck to get it, but I’ve always wanted one and we have need of both. I’m very happy to get the guest/visiting daughter’s bed off the floor.

    Otherwise, I am contentedly spending a quiet evening reading this blog by the wood fire. Happy frugal-ing friends.

  49. Brandy I love your beautiful roses. My fresh flowers in the house were all free too. My son got a large free poinsettia from work and I won a small one at a holiday party. Both still beautiful. My 3 kids got a gift of an amaryllis bulb which they planted in November. One is blooming and the other should bloom soon. Hosted a simple New Year’s party for kids and their friends and parents, 7 young adults with Down syndrome. Served sloppy joes and salad. Other parents each brought an appetizer and I made a bundt cake from a boxed mix and frosting I had been given at church. Added chocolate chips to the cake mix and made it with milk, butter and extra vanilla extract. Drizzled cake with softened frosting and then shaved a Hershey bar over the top adding left over candy around the top too. Checked out my pantry and made white bean and bacon soup with 1 cup of dried white beans. Added left over cooked potatoes and carrots and had enough for lunch. Then found 2 cups of dried red beans and made red beans and kielbasa sausage over rice for last night’s dinner in my crockpot. The recipe called for Creole seasoning, which I didn’t have, so Googled it and made my own with dried herbs. I was able to control spice level too. I served it over rice. My husband loved it! Enough for the 5 of us for dinner and hubby’s lunch today. Found turkey breast on clearance at Target so making in crockpot on Friday for dinner and lunches this weekend. I also made huge frying pan of stove top lasagna leaving out ground meat bc I didn’t have any. It has sour cream and mozzarella cheese in it so still very rich and satisfying. Enough for dinner, several lunches, and breakfast for my son today. Used gift cards to meet kids friends for dinner. We do this every Monday as a social outing for them. Up to 10 young adults with special needs sit at their own table, order, socialize, and pay their bill. We parents have our own table too and do the same thing:) We had an unexpected $600 car bill for a tune up. It bothers me to have to pay so much for a repair but am thankful for an emergency fund that will pay it. Speaking of emergency I went for my physical on Friday and since I was experiencing numbness in my face and left arm and my EKG was slightly off my doc sent my right to the Emergency Room to be tested for a stroke or heart attack. After blood work, CAT scan, and chest x-ray they ruled out those two things and came up with a pinched nerve in my neck and put me on prednisone for 6 days. Now I am just waiting on that bill. Hoping that Medicare will pay most of it. Celebrated Epiphany with a special meal and then did the hot cocoa walk in our neighborhood starting at 6pm. The neighborhood was lined with luminaries. Just lovely. Putting away Christmas decorations and decluttering. Happy frugaling.

  50. Wonderful goals. I like your pretty nightstand. Brandy, you might enjoy looking at at the Instagram account, tomanychildren. (Yes, one letter o there.) She is an English woman with 12 children, ranging from 2 to about 21 years old. Her husband left her a couple years ago. She has a lovely account of her life. She manages without a dishwasher, dryer, and microwave! She is very brave, and her photos are lovely too.

    I’m fascinated how large families like yours and hers manage.

  51. I hope to get a chance to read all the lovely posts. It is a bit more challenging on my phone, than a computer. And I thought you might not know, but when I google your site and click on it, it says the connection is not private and warns of information being stolen. ?

  52. 1. Repotted my Christmas cactus into a bigger pot I already had and found just enough potting soil in an old bag to top it off
    2. Used essential oils and over the counter medicines to avoid the doctor’s office after we contracted the plague..true story:)
    3. Bought a new to me pair of pajamas at the thrift store for $4
    4. Stayed home for 5 long days (with sick and whiny children) and earned martyr status by not losing my temper
    5. Found lots of great workout videos on YouTube to spice up my fitness routine

  53. Last week I saved money by recycling Christmas cards given to me into new Christmas cards to use for next year. I picked the cards that didn’t have personal messages or photos of people. I cut them into ornament, window, and snow globe shapes and used colored paper scraps to frame them. My favorite were the glitter cards turned into snow globes. I saved the pieces of the cards that were left and, this week, I recycled those into gift tags. I cut them into gift tag shapes and added a backing with borders using colored paper scraps. My husband told me both the cards and the tags turned out really nice. I loved being able to put my crafting skills to use in the evenings in a way that takes care of a need in a frugal way.

    The temperatures have been below zero so we closed off our upstairs loft to retain the heat in the living quarters better. I hung curtains over the open part of the loft. They are heavy winter curtains that were damaged but still block the air nicely. It’s meant that I’ve worked on the dining room table this week rather than my office but it makes a big difference in our heating bill.

  54. I was sick last week – so we definitely saved money by not having our usual date night, or errand running, or anything because I was out of it. Makes me appreciate the times I do feel well.

    I have been struggling with adjusting to not having many people at home. There are 4 of us and I am buying too much produce and making meals that are too big for us to finish. I freeze and re-do leftovers, but there was still so much being tossed out in my opinion. All three of our freezers are FULL – so why am I shopping? This week I drastically changed my shopping for groceries. It’s been 6 months of trying to figure this out – so this week I went with bare minimum so I could really see what we are eating in a week. If we run out of produce then I will supplement with canned goods until I can go to the store. I did have to throw out 2 avocados that had hidden themselves away and died a horrible death evidently.

    *I cooked up the last 1/2 of a bag of spinach and used it in scrambled eggs and the last of it in a dish of fried rice. Seven brown bananas were turned into 2 loaves of Banana Cinnamon Chip Bread and 1 loaf of Banana Chocolate PB Bread. I froze all three loaves. I hardboiled the last 6 eggs to use for snacks or egg salad sandwiches. I added the leftover broccoli into another casserole that hadn’t been entirely eaten and froze the leftovers of that to give to my college kids. I also froze leftover taco soup to give to my college kids. I shredded the last of a bag of mini carrots and added that to the fried rice and the broccoli casserole. I shredded a zucchini that was heading south and added that to the taco soup. I washed and froze blueberries that hadn’t been eaten during the week. Washed the last of the weeks grapes and included those in our meals. I sent the rest of a birthday pie home with the college daughter – who didn’t want it. I told her to share with her roommates or her boyfriend. The birthday meal that wasn’t finished will be our dinner on Sunday – roast, mashed potatoes and gravy. Dessert will be ice cream – we have 15 tubs of it! My husband found a good sale price and bought a bunch. Just getting those tubs of ice cream out of our freezer over the next couple of months would make some room.

    *I found pajama bottoms on clearance for $5/pair. I ordered 3 for next Christmas for my girls.

    *I went to Hobby Lobby for clearance items to buy some new throw pillows and to buy one picture frame because it was sale priced for $15. I’ve been buying these on sale one at a time to frame our puzzles that we finish. I’m using it as artwork in our newly finished family room. I have one more to buy.

    *It was my daughter’s birthday. Stayed in budget for gifts and supplemented with free items that I have socked away over the past year. Her birthday dinner was very frugal in that everything was made with food we already had at home. Plus side – helped clean out space in the freezer.

    Thanks for the helpful ideas. Hope you all have a wonderful week.

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