Snowdrop The Prudent Homemaker

Spring has arrived, and it is lovely.

I planted seeds in the garden for leeks, parsley, lettuce, and radishes.

We harvested Swiss chard and beet greens from the garden for meals almost every day. 

I used two $5 off coupons at the nursery. I bought another Katy apricot tree (which was on sale) and I bought some sod to repair some places in the grass that died last year.

I accepted two hand-me-down cardigans from my mom.

I learned new expressions and words in French from Pinterest. You can find my French Pinterest board here.

I used Duolingo to strengthen my French skills.

I picked up two library books that I had requested.

My husband and I had two date nights at home.

My husband mended my broken metal Kitchen Aid whisk attachment by welding the broken part.

I enjoyed being outside while working in the lovely spring weather. I took several moments to pause and listen to the birds that were singing in the garden.

The beautiful weather has meant a start to garage sale season. My mom went to several sales and brought back a few things for my family that were on my list, including a blue and white vase. Once they added in everything they were buying and renegotiated the price, the vase was essentially free! I’ve put in on a shelf in the library for now to enjoy without flowers in it.


What did you do to save money and find joy this past week?

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  1. The thing I did the most was cook from my freezers, home-canning cupboard and pantry and from a bunch of food that was given to us. I made lots of good things for the family to eat and for the extended family dinner we have every Sunday. I had more time than other members of the family this weekend, so gladly made lasagna, salad and broccoli. Other times, others cook more. It all works out and benefits us all.

    My husband pitched in and helped with cooking, grocery shopping, etc. and helped a lot to keep us on track with the budget.

    I’ve been working on my garden plans and hope to order seeds soon.

  2. I’m really enjoying your blog. Thank you. I found a cute blank journal free in one of my storage boxes and use it to write down all the ways in which money is saved each day. This week alone I found pretty heavy material in storage to cover my sofa pillows for Spring. My daughter will help with the sewing. I found pretty pink print felt I will attempt to make small tissue holders for gifts.
    I was able to get a few small items inexpensive to mail out Valentine’s grands. I received a beautiful little baby dress and bib and homemade burp cloth out of the felt..a bag and pretty tissue I had all to give as gift. Another needed gift I was given free vera Bradley soaps and found a free bag and tissue.
    Was able to cook from things we had. Grocery had
    10 lbs of potatoes.99. Bought 3. Had shredded cheese
    .99 a bag. Stocked up.
    Used coupon for my husband and I to have a lunch
    Cleaned and reorganize pantry… closet.
    Better to see needed items. Watched the geese fly overhead and enjoyed some sunshine.

  3. We are starting seeds this week for our cold growers…I am jealous about Spring like weather. Pennsylvania can’t make up its mind…But it is warmer this week.

    Our chickens have been moved to their new house which is a bit confusing for them. It hasn’t affected egg production. My husband accidentally broke their heated water bowl so it was off to Tractor Supply for a new one.

    My eldest son took a part time job at a grocery store which means he gets first dibs at the reduced baked goods and knows about meat sales before they are announced.

    I’m busy working through many sewing projects. I was asked to speak recently about vetting news sources for a professional group I belong to and it became a blog post
    You can find it here: :
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  4. Our frugal accomplishments are
    -we ate every meal at home. Even when I had wanted to not eat at home and eat out. I did the money in my head and said no way we are eating at home even though I feel like eating out.
    -worked on our February budget. Decided to lower our grocery bill to just $60 this month. We will see how that goes.
    -picked up two free grocery items that I hadn’t collected yet which was a free can of soup and a free box of macaroni and cheese.
    -received some coupons in the mail for a free jimmy dean sausage and a free Thomas muffins as well as some discounts on some other items. More than likely won’t use those coupons for the other items. I had until April to use them.
    -hubby won a free $50 gift card to a BBQ place out here from his work in their monthly raffle they just started.

  5. big unfrugal of the week- having to purchase a new stove/oven. My husband is a fixer-up guy and we replaced the oven part we thought was bad.. well, turned out to be more than that and almost caught fire!! … I found a stove/oven on sale and no stores ( I think I called 9!) carry them in stock even though they had floor models – which they would not let me buy. We could not wait the 7-10 days + delivery arrangements 🙁 so we found Lowes had the ‘upgraded’ (convection oven is the big difference) version in stock. I did purchase online using Ebates so I could just drive there and get it loaded. .. Hubby says he will try and sell it to recoup some cost/

    I purchased the last of the baby items online (using ebates- glad to remember to start using them again, I had forgotten, the link is now in my favorites bar!) and got everything shipped for free. Saving time, and gas and extra store stop… Baby due in 10 days! I think I shall continue to do this post baby for awhile!

    Made 1 batch of banana chocolate chip muffins and 1 batch of pumpkin muffins for the freezer. I wrote out all the food/meal ideas from what I have put up in the freezer for post baby.

    Ate out ZERO times this weekend!!

    Used Best Buy rewards to purchase new ink and computer paper.. only paid 5.31 out of pocket… went through ebates so it was actually less than $5!

    Taxes done and received this last week, just enough money to have hubby take 2 weeks off for FMLA (unpaid) when baby #4 comes, a blessing for me!!

    renewed Costco membership. I made sure to try to stay in monthly budget even with bulk purchases.. the next month or two I should really see extra money in our food category!

    continued using free printables for homeschool … a lot found via pinterest.

    went through kids clothes. my girls were born may and june, so I was able to dig out old big sisters clothes… I only will need to purchase her some shorts/skirts this summer not a whole new wardrobe!! yay!

    decluttering the house AKA nesting 🙂 I found some construction paper and stickers for the kids. We all will sit down and make each other Valentine’s Day cards.

  6. Nothing like a successful week to get you pumped up for the next! I think it’s so awesome that your husband was able to weld your kitchen aid attachment. Such a useful skill!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – Made two batches of my grandmother’s chocolate vla (Dutch chocolate pudding) and packed it for lunches. Egg-free, it’s quite frugal! The most expensive ingredient is the cocoa powder, and it can be made with pantry ingredients (I used real milk, but you could use reconstituted powdered milk). Easy to make, easy to eat, and fancy enough for a dinner party if you top individual servings with whipped cream and chocolate shavings!
    – Made 2 batches of iced tea using tea bags gifted to me
    – Added water to a shampoo bottle to get the last bit out, for two shampoo bottles
    – Baked a spiced apple cake with raisins to celebrate our wedding anniversary (had everything in the pantry and needed to use up some apples). I also put up a paper bunting that says “te amo”, and left little stickies with love notes around the house. Frugal, and it got the job done! (The DH loved it.:)
    – Cut open a hand cream container to get the last little bit out.
    – My workplace provided lunch for me for two days, which is always a little treat
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for $25 to my paypal account
    – Got a $10 Amazon gift card for a survey I did several months ago
    – Made another batch of Swiss Chard soup with preserved lemon, when my sister came over for dinner, and served it with homemade oatmeal bread, plus Brandy’s lemon poppyseed muffins for dessert. Healthy, delicious, and frugal! Plus lots of leftovers for lunches the next day.
    – Sent my sister home with a container of ravioli soup, enough for two meals for her. And I get to clean out my fridge!
    – Used homemade citrus vinegar to clean behind my stove. Cleaned and disinfected for pennies!
    – Made a batch of blueberry jam to mix with my homemade yoghurt, using blueberries from my freezer.
    – Read 17 e-books from my public library system. For free! I do love the library.

    And that’s it! Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

  7. I planted snowdrops for the first time just a few years ago, and added more last year. I love them! I’ve noticed some of the leaves poking up, so hopefully they’ll be blooming before long here. I put a pot of dried beans on the woodstove yesterday, which we’ll be eating tonight. I haven’t been very good about cooking dry beans this winter, and wanted to take advantage of the woodstove to cook them while I have the opportunity. I made your swiss chard soup last week. We had a little left after a few meals, so I decided to freeze it in ice cube trays, and try adding a cube or two to other soups and dishes that could use more flavor. Joining in here:

  8. I keep returning to your blog 🙂 You have a lot of tips about saving money and that’s what I need. It’s a other way of thinking…but I’m getting there 🙂 I love this section “frugal accomplishments” and I try to write mine down in my Bulletjournal.
    I love the things you make and remake and I also love what your daughter makes (so young and so talented) it’s nice to come here and be able to learn a lot from someone who knows what it’s like to have a very small budget!!! with warm regards, Angela

  9. It’s so wonderful to sit down with a cup of tea and read your posts and the comments to them. It’s like sitting down with friends.

    Yesterday was the first time for the last couple months I was able to walk the perimeter with the dogs. I’ve had problems with walking between cold wet weather and deformed spine. It was warmer and dry even though the breeze was brisk. We all loved it, especially the older dog,Miss Kira, as it’s something her and I did together daily after I brought her home from the shelter she had lived in for 5 yrs. She was spoiled as she had became THEIR PET, long story short..she had been brought back twice due to owners losing their homes and once because she brought the owner a dead duck…she’s a lab/retriever…all I could think was DUH, she’s been a great dog and helped train Rascal when we rescued him when he was 6 wks old. SHE pranced all the way around perimeter(about 1/3rd of a mile).She’s 12-14 yrs old now and he is 4 yrs old. Guess this old woman needs to keep up with the old woman dog . 😉 I enjoyed the time I spent with my Dad. I cherish it more since Mom and Pop died a few years ago.

    Frugal work is here

  10. I made 40lb of marmalade, some of which I will sell at carboot sale.have renegotiated several utilities, downwards!
    Also potted several spider plant babies for carboot sale.
    Made throws and a skirt for son’s girlfriend.

  11. Redeemed a coupon for a free six-pack of small cans of Coke. I had to pay the tax and the can deposit (88 cents), though I’ll see the deposit back when I take back the cans. I don’t drink soft drinks during the winter, but on hot summer days I’ll be glad I have these.

    Needed some lab work done before a doctor’s appointment next week. I usually get this done in the city, and combine it with other errands or appointments. I only needed to do this one thing, so I thought I would check if I could get it done locally, though its in a different health region. It turns out I could at the local hospital, which saved $30 on gas plus a few hours of driving time.

    Was asked to work an extra afternoon shift last week. It was very hectic and a couple of customers were grumpy, which is very unusual in our small town. When I got home, I made a nice roast chicken supper, and then went to bed very early. Can’t let the grumpiness spread.

    I commited to buying a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) share from a vegetable farm about 40 miles away. I have bought a share from this farm before and they have a really nice selection of produce and are good to deal with. They’ve agreed to let me pick my box of produce up every two weeks instead of every week through the summer. That will save gas and time. Even in the summer, a lot of produce we buy in Northern Alberta comes from the US and Mexico. With everything going on, I wanted to make sure I had a local supply too. I also like supporting a few local farmers directly.

  12. Washed the clothes & hung most of them to dry on the racks, both to increase the humidity in the house when it is so dry in the winter & to save money.

    Removed the library stickers from more books purchased second hand & cleaned the books.

    Used a coupon to have the oil changed in my car, which saved me $20. That night, my husband took the car to have the tires rotated, & came home to announce that it wasn’t shifting properly, so he made an appointment at the dealership. I was glad I had saved the coupons attached to the Christmas card from the dealership, because one of them was for $50 off any service. I drove in to meet him after work at the dealership, then we drove home together, to save on the gas money. I was not pleased to have to spend money on the car, but I was pleased to be able to take off $70 with coupons.

    Cooked & ate all meals at home. Dehydrated more of the elderberries from the freezer. Purchased 7 one-pound packages of ground beef marked down to over 50% off from the mark down bin & put all but one in the freezer, in the spot where the frozen elderberries used to be. Used the one I kept out for dinner that night.

    Mended a few items. I had planned to mend a pair of capris, but the fabric was wo worn that I threw them out instead.

    Purchased a brand new, size 2T, fancy white dress at Deseret Industries, with the original tag from Jolene’s still on it. It had sheer ruffles at the waist, with little circles of pearls that had been sewn on, & was marked down to $4 (from $58 original price on the tag), & will be Little Stuff’s Easter dress this year, with the addition of a pastel bow. The evening of the day I bought it, I showed it to her mother over skype, & we decided to get one in each available size, so I went back to both of the Deseret Industries stores near me, for the sizes that were available. There were several styles, so I bought a variety. When Jolene’s closed in August, they apparently donated all the remaining inventory to Deseret Industries to sell. The store was famous in Utah for having lovely little dresses that were not super-short, & that had short sleeves.

    Finished preparing our taxes; small state refund, with some $ owed the federal government. Because we owe money this year, I will not file until a few days before the deadline, because I want the interest on those funds for the first quarter of the year, instead of giving it to the government.

  13. I made homemade vegetable soup, stove top sticky sugar figs, and cornbread. I made enough for supper all week. I also made up mashed potatoes with potatoes that were about to go back and I also used up a block of no fat cream cheese I did not care for. However, the cream cheese in the potatoes, combined with garlic, sea salt, and black pepper tasted great! I made toasted pumpkin seeds from a free pumpkin. I paid on significant medical bills for one of my kids, but I am just happy he is alive, so no complaints. I bought dog food, cat food, dish soap, Dollar General toilet paper, and used the $5 off $25 coupon. I enjoyed music on my little radio at the house. I really just went to work and home after work.

  14. Since I am an apartment-dweller, there isn’t a great way to do gardening myself. However, I found a community garden that allows you to have a plot for free! In addition, they offer free use of tools and even free seeds. I’m really excited to get started (I live in MO, so we’ve got a bit before gardening season) and that’s been my biggest accomplishment this week. I also used coupons to save about 50% on my grocery bill this week.

  15. We had no money the majority of the week so it was easy to be frugal 😉

    My mom bought us a couple things we needed and I swapped her a pack of toilet paper and bar soap out of my stock

    Sold a couple cake pans and made $15 (which I needed in the gas tank for activities

  16. Becky, we use cottage cheese all the time in lasagna. I have never made it with ricotta.
    I like to have homemade soup handy too.

  17. Rachel, congratulations on the new stove. That’s not something you can get by without too easily. You do sound like you are nesting…I pray everything goes well for you the next couple weeks.

  18. Just a note to let you know that I tried Brandy’s French bread recipe and it worked wonderfully. We wanted it to make garlic bread for our spaghetti dinner and I had enough time so thought I would give it a try. I did decrease the recipe by 1/4 as 8-10 C of flour is beyond my mixer capacity, but I kept the yeast amount the same. I made 3 long loaves instead of 4. They were fluffy inside and lovely crispy outside. We ate most of one loaf fresh while it was hot. The other 2 were made into garlic bread…one was used, one frozen.

    I am not used to a bread recipe that is just flour, water, salt and yeast. My recipes always have honey or molasses or sugar or butter or oil or eggs or milk or some combo of the above. So this really is a very economical bread recipe.

  19. I started this month by making a month’s menu plan of dinner. First I factored in what I already have so no new costs, then I shopped (or so I hope) for the entire month. I got some good sale prices this week $1.69 for a gallon of milk, .99 for a ten pound bag of potatoes, .77 a pound for whole chickens, .33 for burritos individually wrapped, and frozen fish was bogo. Those were the best prices. I stocked up on lots of other stuff with decent prices. I’ve budgeted $300 for the month (family of five) and have intentions of making it all last. I didn’t get all the meat that I need due to prices, but still have $45 on hand to buy that.

    We have been binge watching Longmire on Netflix for entertainment. The weather is still cold so we’ve been staying home most of the time and eating all meals from scratch.

  20. These weekly posts always inspire me. Had some successes and failures this week. I ate leftovers for lunch two days – some soup that wasn’t my favorite, but I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. I cashed in some survey points for a Home Depot gift card. We want to install backsplash in the kitchen behind the stove and this will help defray the cost. My husband purchased oil for my car while it was on sale and to take advantage of a rebate. The oil won’t need changing for another month, but he saved about 40% making the purchase now. Our snowblower broke and my husband ordered the parts and was able to repair it. I made homemade bread, muffins and hummus.

    We went out of town for the weekend to see friends. We packed a lunch for the drive, used credit card points to pay for the hotel room for one night, and had a great time. They bought our dinner and we had lunch out the next day at Costco. We got home late last night, so we did buy pizza – a splurge that reminded me what a great deal homemade pizza is. We spent quite a bit at Costco, but no junk food or anything that will be wasted — we did buy some chew toys for the puppy and a pair of cargo shorts for my husband.

    One joy was that we took the dogs with us on this trip and they did great! So well behaved. Our hotel was within walking distance of trails and we were able to take the dogs for long walks both days, so they rested in the hotel while we were out. Another joy is that we have had a lot of birds at our feeders and are enjoying watching them.

  21. Hello Everyone!
    I used free yoga videos to exercise
    I made toothpaste, face wash, shower cleaner, whipped body butter, deodorant, and homemade “vapo-rub”.
    I made baked chicken and carrots using homemade “cream of anything” soup, Asian style ribs, honey whole wheat bread, “maid-rite” sandwiches and fried potatoes, potato soup with lots of garlic (to help us heal from our various illnesses) and chicken nuggets, cheese crackers, cinnamon raisin bread, waffles, ranch dip, potato pancakes using the leftover potato soup, healthi-er chocolate muffins, and ate leftovers and drank lots of herbal tea.
    I went to the grocery store for a few things and found Applegate organic turkey dogs for $1.99 (normally between $4 and $5 each) so I picked up 3 for the freezer.
    I made a meal plan for the next two weeks using a free printable
    Have a good week everyone!

  22. This past week was a good week, weather was excellent, we were healthy, and our spending was light. We ate all our meals but one at home. I updated our freezer inventory and made a list of all of our cooked meals, and we worked our way through most of them. Have made a February dinner meal plan using what I have in the freezer and pantry, so should have minimal new shopping.

    We had a Super Bowl party yesterday, I made chili and pulled pork from meats in the freezer (bought on sale months ago), baked my first cake ever (I just turned 60…so an old dog can learn a new trick), baked a pie…and all the invited guests brought either appetizers, wine/soda, or side dishes. How fun to have a party for 12 people and I ended up spending less than $10 at the grocery store.

    As a side comment, I bought a 25 lb bag of bread flour at sams club last week for 5.70 I believe. When I was at our local Kroger store this morning, I looked at a 5 lb bag of bread flour, price was $5.59! Amazing. I know Brandy can get her per loaf cost to $0.25, when I do our bread, I don’t buy all the items in such bulk but still manage to get our costs down to $0.50-.70. Brandy, thank you again, I would not have even tried if not for your blog!

  23. The food cooperative that we belong to has a once a month member special of 10% off the entire bill. So we used it for the more expensive items we needed like shampoo and fish oil. A local store was having after holiday frozen turkeys on sale. I found an organic one for $10.00 and it was previously $43.00. We got a coupon in the mail for $20 off $50 for groceries at a store I’ve never been to so we used that to buy some staples.

    My project of turning a man’s shirt into one for me was an absolute failure. If I ever try to do that again I will take it apart at the seams and totally recut it from a woman’s
    pattern. It wasn’t a total loss as I took the pitiful looking shirt and cut it into squares for potholders. They turned out cute and are in my gift drawer. I found clothing patterns for the French medieval fair for half price. Plus I found a linen/cotton blend of off-white material for $5.00 per yard. The tunic I am making for my husband is almost complete. I am reading Rick Steve’s French phrase book/dictionary to brush up on my French. I
    highly recommend this book.

    I am reading an ebook of the 5th in the Poldark series from the library. Love that series! We are watching a series for free on Amazon Prime. At our library’s book sale shelf I found 5 books from an author I love for $1 each. They were hardcover and looked new.

    For fun we have been bird watching, since we live across the street from a lake. We have seen over 20 different types of waterfowl. We are recording each new bird in a notebook. It is great exercise and fresh air.

    Lastly, we went to a baby shower for a young couple from India. It was a really great cultural experience. The women were all dressed in lovely saris. People brought fairly modest gifts. It seemed more about celebrating the new parents to be and I felt rather touched by the whole thing. They had dinner for everyone; a feast really. When the shower was over, all the guests were given a gift bag with small presents and chocolates. Their baby girl was born 2 days later (10 days early).

  24. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Here is our frugal accomplishments for the week –

    – Paid our electricity bill out of my pay rather than withdrawing money from our high interest savings account so we get the added bonus interest for this month.
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 2 homemade batches of yoghurt saving $5.56 over purchasing it.
    – Made 3 batches of homemade stain remover saving $80.67 over buying the equivalent in the supermarket.

    Groceries –
    – Picked up 2 x 3kg of oranges reduced by $1 ea saving $2.
    – Picked cheaper versions of products we needed to buy saving $3.57.
    – With the savings we purchased ice-cream and bananas and still came in under our grocery budget.

    Garden –
    – Picked cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and beetroot from the gardens.

    Water –
    – Watered our lawns with saved grey water from our washing machine and showers without using any town water.

    Electricity –
    – Used our solar lanterns at night instead of turning on any mains powered lights.
    – Took advantage of the hot weather to have bbq’s with my husband out in the yard in the late evening where there was a lovely cool breeze blowing and watch the sunset.

  25. What beautiful flowers! I love spring!

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Continued w/ the pantry challenge. Our fridge looks great, and the pantry is starting to show quite a bit of space. The freezers are still way too full.

    * Ate home-prepared meals all but two times.

    * Collected eggs. Our hens aren’t up to full production yet, but it’s so nice to have fresh eggs again.

    * Made cranberry-orange compote, bread, and trail mix.

    * Opened the doors/windows on the days it was 70F or over. Kept the thermostat set at 68F the rest of the time.

    * Hemmed and mended son’s scout pants, sewed merit badges on son’s sash, sewed various patches on Hubby’s scout shirt.

    * Kept the sprinklers turned off (they’ve been off over a month now), and watered the potted plants by hand using rinse/warm-up water.

    * Harvested sage, thyme, Swiss chard, green onions, radishes, and lemons from the garden.

    * Hubs replaced our leaking kitchen faucet. Faucets are not cheap, unfortunately, but at least he could do the labor (and we’re not wasting water/collecting the drips).

    * Paid bills online.

    Joyful Activities:

    * Browsed through gardening books and cookbooks.

    * Sang a Sunday school song (“The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock”), complete w/ hand motions, with my son. He’s now almost a teenager now, so it’s really not something we do anymore. It was spontaneous fun, and we both laughed.

    * Went on long walks w/ my husband.

    * Baked cookies for my family.

    * Enjoyed the cyclamen, daffodils, and hyacinth that are blooming along our front walkway.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  26. Made all meals at home and took lunch to work. I updated (and typed!) my pantry list to better know what I have on hand and what is needed as we work to ensure we have a year’s worth of food on hand (I love it!). I’m stocking up as quickly as I can but while trying to be mindful of my budget as well. I was able to take home leftover juice from a meeting–2 half bottles! I used items from my gift closet to put together 2 gifts. I started a savings jar using change found around the house to work toward a special Christmas event we want to attend this year. Used a $10 off $10 gift card from Staples. I didn’t need any office supplies but found a good buy on dish detergent of all things.

  27. Did you know that some KitchenAid parts have a lifetime replacement guarantee? Not sure if that would’ve qualified, but I try to always contact the manufacturer when something breaks to double check. When my Pyrex mixing bowl broke, they sent a free replacement.

    I continue to stay frugal by using coupons, shopping the sales, and using rebates whenever possible. Last week I founds lots of freebies: hair conditioner, toothpaste and razor cartridges. Target had a huge home clearance and I found curtains discounted to only $6.98. (I know a lot of you ladies are wonderful at sewing, but I’m terrible!) All of my deals with pics can be found here:

  28. I would love to be part of a CSA, but they’re so expensive! The one closest to me is triple the price of the grocery store and has very inconvenient pick-up hours, only once a week. Wish there were more options because the concept is awesome.

  29. My husband and I took a ten day trip to Hong Kong to see my son and our 4 grandchildren, which was wonderful. However we are in our 60’s and decided we would rather pay for high priced Business Class airline tickets than suffer through a 17 hr. flight one way sitting in cramped coach seats. My husband cashed in the frequent flier miles we have saved by paying as many bills and purchases as possible with credit cards (they are paid off in full each month) and by taking advantage of new credit card offers with high miles bonuses. (One of them earned us 100K miles just for signing up to use it.) So doing that saved us one entire round trip $6,500 airline ticket, and then he found a 20% discount online for the other. It was still a total cost of approx $5K, but we did not have to pay for any hotels, and thus considered it to be well worth the expense to hug our family again. By the way, our first experience in flying international Business Class was wonderful–we never felt more pampered and well fed, and best of all we arrived happy and rested after each end of the flight. This is not a recommendation for anyone who would not be disciplined in their credit card spening and immediate payoff each month. But we know one couple who has skillfully used this method to fly all over the world at no cost with four children.

  30. This week has been a good one! We paid off my surgeon and now have only 2 hospital bills left. We were able to pay down $823 of our debts this past two weeks. By monitoring our spending and bringing in extra $$ from side jobs! $9 more from Pinecone and another $85 from woodworking order!

    The three of us ate a $65 lunch at Red Robin for free because we were their “pretend” customers to help train their staff prior to their opening this week! What fun plus we brought home leftovers which became a second meal!!!

    I got 20 pounds of BLSL chicken breast cut into chunks and cooked up to package for freezer, sweet chili lime chicken tenders and pretzel ranch chicken tenders. Convenient? Oh, yes! But also used up some pretzels that were no longer crunchy, a bit of orange marmalade in fridge and some of my DIY ranch dressing mix!

    I made two more lap size quilt from scraps this week and have been asked to make two baby quilts for a client.
    We are excited to add baby chickens to our urban “farm” in two weeks! Who would have thought that our “farm” with a dozen fruit trees, berry bushes, 500+ SFGarden and now chickens would be right in the heart of our downtown home?!!!!

    We are continuing to be grateful for our cars that run so well and are so reliable! We are grateful that once the flu bug and sinus infections left us in early January that our good health is an every day blessing! And even though winter will linger here for several more weeks, there are days like today that will break the record high temp and be a balmy (although rainy) 64 degrees! Tomorrow temp will only go up to 29- Welcome to Ohio!!! Lol!

  31. I froze figs I picked from my mother’s tree last summer, so the figs are free. I simply put them in a pot on top of the stove with water, sugar and a little butter, stirring occasionally, and let them cook down to a kinda sticky mixture. Do watch them or they will burn. I eat them like I would preserves, on cornbread or biscuits. SiInce I never measure anything, I do not know how much sugar I put in, but lets just say I always put in a lot….lol

  32. Hi y’all!

    This week, I was disappointed by some setbacks to our financial goals and kind of wallowed in self pity(the setbacks were due to mistakes that I made). It was nice to have my sister visit and to talk it over. My husband was very supportive as well. It made me want to try even harder to watch where our money goes and to be joyful in creative, thoughtful giving.

    This week:
    – earned money for outgrown children’s clothes- my Instagram acct is great for this!!!
    – spoke at a church retreat for our university ministry leaders. Enjoyed breakfast and an awesome fleece pullover as a gift!
    – spent Sat night with a friend and her son. Instead of going out, we hung out at her home while our boys played.
    – hosted our supper club with chili made from pantry/freezer items; had enough left over for lunches
    – planned all meals and grocery purchases for February- it really helps me to be organized
    – deposited money that I earned from the Ibotta app and selling things online via Paypal- used this to buy a wedding gift
    – hosted my mom for lunch
    – hosted an alumni as an overnight guest. He was a guest speaker in my husband’s class and we really enjoyed having him- he really enjoyed breakfast and not paying for a hotel!
    – combined coupons and clearance prices at our local supermarket to get some GREAT deals. Even the cashier remarked on the total. I had a good laugh.
    – paid off our credit card!
    – our son worked with his grandaddy to earn money toward an upcoming school field trip to overnight camp
    – attended a birthday party hosted by a local museum for Laura Ingals Wilder- costumes, crafts, snacks- so much fun for free!
    – returned unused items to Home depot, “bought” black and clear spray paint
    – took down some rusted exterior light fixtures & spray painted them- “new” lights for free!
    – prepared communion trays for our church as a family
    – attended a birthday party for my two year old niece at my parents’ home- good food and cute kids!
    – assembled four gifts with items I’d been saving and tacked on a $10 gift card to one. Total OOP was the gift card. Birthday gifts may be my new hobby, lol.
    – gave clearance plants(Lowe’s garden ctr) wrapped in brown paper and ribbons to school teachers and volunteers
    – washed some suit pants to save on the dry cleaning bill- they turned out great!
    – received the results from our home’s appraisal and were notified that we would no longer have to pay PMI. Yes!!!!

    I think that’s about it. We spent a lot of time with family and friends this week which always boosts my spirits! Thank you for hosting, Brandy. I love to read the post and alllllllll of the comments.

  33. Brandy, I am always amazed by your gardens! This is the time of year when I get into “garden dreaming” and live vicariously through others like you, and books. It’s still too cold here to consider starting anything from seed, and we always have the wildlife to contend with, so I have to be careful about what we plant in the gardens.

    We had a really great past two weeks, frugally! So nice to have a stretch without unexpected expenses.

    The highlights were probably the gleaning from the food pantry, which has really cut down on our grocery bills. (The gleaning is taking mostly produce or dairy items that won’t last from when they are picked up from grocery stores on Saturday until the pantry opens on Wednesdays. We certainly don’t want to take items from the clients who really need the food.)

    I hope you’ll stop by and visit!

  34. I love reading these posts and all the comments!
    We ate all meals at home. I made vegetable beef soup out of leftover beef and vegetables from the freezer. I also made stir fry using leftover chicken from the freezer.
    My daughter and I are splitting a Zaycon order of chicken breasts @ $1.69 per pound. They will be here at the end of the month. I will use the chicken I already have in the freezer first.
    I have not gone out except to go to work or kids to school saving money and gas.
    I paid bills online.
    Have a great week everyone!

  35. Marivene – I know you live in our neck of the woods – Do elderberries do well here? I am always amazed with the variety of things you grow.

  36. My tip today doesn’t necessarily save money, but has saved my family some difficulties on long road trips. I keep a clean, empty gallon sized paint can with lid, with some bathroom tissues, wet wipes and plastic bags in it, in each of our vehicles. Comes in handy for car sickness and bathroom emergencies during long trips, especially during long unexpected delays due to snow removal, car trouble or road closures due to accidents. I used to keep a large coffee can with lid, but a paint can with a wide lip works better if one needs to actually sit on the can (pardon the pun.)

    Thank you, Brandy, for hosting this site!

  37. Ruthie, our elderberries have done very well. You need to have 2 varieties. I planted Nova & York. The year that the 2nd variety bloomed for the first time, the yield tripled. They do spread like a weed, so plan carefully where you plant them.

  38. Rachelle – congrats on finding a community garden. I’m in an apartment as well. It was quite an adjustment for me and I still miss the yard from my house. Do you have any outdoor space? I have a little by my front door and also I have a little side yard to this apartment. I have been experimenting with growing edibles in both 5- gallon buckets as well as pots I’ve found at the curbside garbage. I ended up buying the buckets at home depot and putting some drainage holes in them. It’s been a fun experiment. I also have space in a community garden – am jealous that yours is free!! My fee is small though for all I get from it.

  39. Brandy, I’m so glad your husband was able to fix the broken kitchen aid attachment. Those are so expensive to buy! Love your snow drop flower. Beautiful photography always! I also want to thank you for sharing your gardening fails with your accomplishments. It make me realize that not everything will be successful in a garden, so it’s OK to let it go and try something else!

    Well we’re finally back from our 2 week vacation to California. I’ve been following the blog posts whenever I go a few minutes to read, but haven’t posted much due to time. So, here are our frugal accomplishments while on vacation are:
    *On our way to the Toronto hotel, we decided to stop at a mall to kill some time. We were lucky enough to find a beautiful dress for my daughter that will be perfect for her upcoming grade 8 graduation. I am so, So, SO happy as I thought it was going to be a BIG ordeal (not to mention expensive) to find her a dress that would fit, look youthful and that she would like. The best part…it was on sale for just under $34! Whoo Hoo!!!!
    *We bought sandwiches and drinks at the airport to take with us on the plane. Unfortunately we cannot take food from home (airport & cross boarder customs/security rules). This was cheaper than buying something on the plane.
    *We shopped for groceries a few time and used these grcoery items for our lunches, saving a significant amount over buying every meal. Since it was a holiday, and the U.S. has products than Canada, we bought a few more expensive items to try. My daughter loved trying cheese whiz in a can! I also bought more expensive, individually wrapped items for convenience since we didn’t have use of a normal kitchen, including pre-cooked bacon. We warmed it in the microwave 2 mornings at our San Francisco hotel, which didn’t offer breakfast.
    *Our hotel in Long Beach offered breakfast in the A.M., a big bowl of candy at the desk and free snacks in the evening for guests (never had evening snacks offered before – they even had free wine if you wanted). We took advantage of what they had to offer as much as possible (we passed on the wine…not big drinkers).
    *We bought Go L.A. passes which were a pay one price for a number of attractions in the area. The cost was $1000 for 3 passes to use over 5 days, which seems like a lot. However, it saved us at least a couple hundred dollars over what we would have spent if we paid inidividually for all the attractions we went to. We used the card for entrance to Universal Studios, Warner Brothers Studio tour, whale watching boat cruise, harbour tour boat cruise, various city bus tours, unlimited rides at Santa Monica Pier, L.A. zoo, and an aquarium. There were so many other things we could have done, but just didn’t have time to squeeze everything in. Totally worth the initial cost!!!
    *At Universal studios, we were concerned that the line ups might be a problem for our daughter, who is on the autism spectrum (long, crowed lines equals huge, dramatic, very loud and uncontrolable meltdowns for autistic kids – not very fun for anyone including those around us). We’ve learned over time that many attractions do offer special needs accomodations. So we went to guest services with a letter of diagnosis to ask if there was anything they offered. We were given a pass which allowed us to enter the quick access line. Normally guests pay extra for this privilage (as in a couple hundrend dollars more), but we were able to get this for free due to her disablility. Cannot express how thankful we are for this pass, as it made our day so much more enjoyable!
    *The drive up the California cost (from L.A. to San Francisco) was so breath taking, and completely free other than the gas. But it unexpectedly became an exilerating adventure. The recent rains were causing rock slides, which we saw lots of evidence of along the way (just a bit un-nerving). Eventually we came to a section of highway that was completely closed. We asked at a campground how we could get around it and they suggested a road, but warned it was quite twisty. They didn’t tell us it was more of a narrow side road that twisted and snaked up the side of the mountain, no side rails to be found, and went up so high our ears were popping from the elevation. My husband white knuckled the drive while I tried not to look around as I kept having anxiety attacks from the sheer, straight down drop looming so close to the road edge (my paniced gasps only made my husband more nervous). We drove into the clouds, up to almost the top of the mountain (the peak at one point was just above the road), around hairpin turns about every few feet, and with more evidence of rock slides along the way before finally descending. So glad we didn’t plunge to our death….I mean…when it was finally over. But I did get some amazing photos, including some of a crystal clear mountain stream. Plus we have an ingrained memory of our terrifying adventure on my husbands 48th birthday.

    Joyful & Memorable activities:
    *Watched dolphins, whales & sea lions swimming in their natural environment (not in a tank) for the first time ever…absolutely amazing!
    *Observing an entire beach covered with hundreds of Elephant seals and their young in their natural environment.
    *Almost having a squirrel run up my leg…he was so friendly and got so close I was a bit nervous about how close he was actually willing to get! I think he was seriously considering getting into our car too…that would have made for another memory if he had!
    *Watching the sun set over the pacific ocean…glorious!
    *Capturing numerous photos of the stunning California coastline and mountains.
    *Spent some wonderful time with my family exploring a part of the world we’ve never seen before. We made some awesome memories that will last a lifetime…such a blessing.
    *Got a sunburn in the middle of winter…most pleasurable pain I’ve had in long time!

    Well, we just got back and my husbands mother & brother have both asked if we’d be interested in going to the Netherlands in a couple years (his grandfather fought there in WWII and his grandmother was a war bride from Amsterdam). Oh boy…*sigh*…visiting there is on our bucket list too. I guess we’ll really need to knuckle down on our savings again!

  40. Finally, feeling well enough that I did something!
    *Made all meals at home- pork chops and onion potatoes, scrambled egg sandwiches, sloppy joes, chicken & rice soup, tuna casserole, veggie soup, & chicken enchiladas.
    *Used up our rain barrel water supply. We’re still catching water from shower/sink.
    *Stocked up on peanut butter when it was $1 per 16 oz. jar. I remember when the jars were 18 oz. :p
    *Bought my first stocking stuffer for Christmas! A 6 in 1 screwdriver was B1G1 so I got two for 1.99. My brother will be thrilled and it was only a buck with that deal!
    *Used a good coupon at the market and got a bag of shredded cabbage & bananas for only 53 cents!
    *Hung all laundry. Saved money and gave us some desperately needed humidity. We need rain here on the southern plains!

    Still getting back into the swing of things, but it’s so nice to feel productive again. Being sick is no fun!!

  41. Linda: I would be interested in the name of the CC that gave u 100,000 miles. My DD and I travel for her tumbling and trampoline team. Like you I pay mine off every month. U can email me at

  42. I saw snowdrops blooming in a yard today…I have just got to break down and go to a proper source for ordering bulbs and get some! Life’s too short to live without flowers, isn’t it?

  43. Would you mind sharing your source(s) of medieval patterns? My son’s school will have a “medieval history day” this year, and I’m pretty sure he will need a period costume. (Last year’s ancient history costume was a toga, so I could manage that without a pattern.) My sewing skills are so-so. Thus, I need plenty of lead time. Ha!

    (If any other readers have ideas/sources as well, I’d be more than happy to hear them.)

  44. We have lovely daffodils blooming here just now. They do make me heart happy to see them nodding in the breeze! My peas I planted have done nothing at all. I am going to try and replant them and see if putting them in the flower pot will help. Fingers crossed. Highlight of week last week was using overtime funds to fill our property tax sub account through Nov 2017. I just need to set aside the December portion and that account will be filled. I also pushed money into a tire fund and took money leftover from our carpet fund into that account. I need just about the same amount as for taxes to finish that fund off. I was so happy to share those two balances with John, which was needed. His county is talking of privatizing for the third or fourth time in as many years. I think we both see the writing on the wall this time. If it doesn’t happen this year it most likely will come next year. So to set money aside just now for future needs certainly seems more prudent than ever.

  45. I did the same old ordinary frugal things until today–I made a loaf of banana bread and baked it as three mini-loaves. Two will be going into the freezer for the future. The two of us are eating less and less at a time as we get older, and this way I can be sure we will use it ALL up. I am looking forward to several kinds of breads being available in the freezer after a while. I just got the mini-loaf pans for Christmas.

  46. I just got a butterick pattern at a local fabric store, Pacific Fabrics. All the major pattern companies have medieval patterns under the Costume section of the pattern books. I only looked for adult patterns so I don’t know what they have for kids. Joann fabrics regularly has patterns on sale.

    That being said, I have put together medieval outfits for my grandsons without patterns.
    Once I took 2 of my husband’s old t-shirts and cut the sleeves off. I took craft acrylic paint in gray and painted interlocking circles of ‘chain mail’ on the front. I probably added a design in the center like a simple red templar cross. I cut strips along the bottom of the shirts. Just add brown sweat pants and instant costume. If you have some brown material scraps you could make small money pouches. My daughter-in- law , at one time, took some silver yarn and knit square chain mail pull over vests for the boys.

    One year I made the boys some shields. I made a shield pattern and traced it on plywood. My husband cut them out for me. I found some Coats of Arms designs and painted them on the shields. I screwed cupboard door handles to the back so they had something to hold onto. These were a big hit.

    Also, Pinterest has a huge amount of posts on Medieval clothing. It might give you some great ideas.

  47. Not sure if your son would be interested, but you could consider making a medieval monk costume for him. They are very simple outfits and require just basic sewing skills to make. For shoes you just need a pair of Birkenstock type sandals!

  48. Laurie, it was some kind of Mastercard that no longer offers that. However we are constantly watching for good deaks, which we usually find by offers in the mail like that one was. As soon as we spend enough to stisfy the requirements on that card we start usung another. We aren’t very talented at it yet, but we need to learn gst because now we have a daughter and her husband moving to Scotland in August! You can Google or look on youtube I’m sure and find websites that help you learn to use credit crds for travel miles.

  49. I made a batch of yogurt in my cooler (I love doing this – so easy and so much cheaper than the good store yogurt!). I also finished fermenting my first batch of homemade sauerkraut. Turned out pretty well.

    I successfully tracked every penny we spent for one month. It’s been ages since I’ve done that! We were over in some of our budget categories and under in others, but overall were just $2 over our total budget for the month. Left me $99 to transfer to our mortgage principle (and there’s $99 we don’t have to pay interest on!).

    We ate most meals at home, and my daughter and I took leftovers in our lunches (my husband takes frozen entrees because their easier for him to deal with at work, but I stock up on those when I find them on sale).

    I found high quality, cage free eggs reduced to $1.89 a dozen so I stocked up!

    My daughter had a hole in her practically brand-new sock. I was able to mend it for her and the stitched part doesn’t bother her toe (thank goodness).

    Our church had a bingo night, so for $5 my daughter and I had dinner and a fun time. I won a $10 ice cream gift card in the raffle drawing.

    We’re planning a summer road trip. I joined AAA to get the hotel discounts (they more than paid for the membership), but I also stopped into their office yesterday and they loaded me up with maps, travel brochures, and those books that have everything to see and do in the different cities and towns. All included with the price of the membership.

    Starting to dream about my garden – I’m ready to be done with winter!

  50. The prices here compare more with farmers’ markets and organic produce prices than grocery stores. Though none seem to be cheap, the CSAs really vary by price. Some are crazy! Mine has a lot more variety than what I can get in the local stores, and lots of heirloom varieties. It is a very short season here (ten weeks of produce) and then I offset the prices with bulk buys of potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash and blueberries for freezing.

    A much less expensive option are what are called Good Food Boxes. (They have different names in different places.) It is sort of a coop buying program for produce. There is usually a meat box too. It is designed to make these items available affordably. These have lots of produce bought from local farmers but supplement it with other purchases. The contact is through food banks or social services agencies, though they are meant for everyone who wants healthy food on a budget. You pay about ten days before, and then get a box of food. One I used to participate in gave you $5 off your next box if you helped pack, and served lunch to people who helped pack. There is a more expensive organic version through one of our local farmers’ markets, which tells you which farms the food is coming from.

  51. Rachel, we did the same thing painting our exterior light fixtures! They turned out great & I was so excited. We had just painted our house and I did not want to buy new ones- for expense and because I really liked the ones we had. I’d recommend that to anyone. They look brand new…so shiny and pretty!

  52. Love the flowers!
    – continued nursing the baby and started to pump a little to build supply for when I go back to work
    – signed up for more coupons and samples for formula
    – started walking again today on our treadmill. Might not sound frugal but working out helps keep me content and also keeps me fit so the clothes I have keep working for me
    – ate meals from the freezer
    – switched the baby to cloth diapers
    – washed and hung diapers for both kids
    – returned a gift that although thoughtful was a duplicate
    – took a quick survey for work to qualify for a possible gift card
    – did our taxes- owed this year because a consulting job didn’t take out taxes. At least we set it aside!

  53. Thanks for the information, ideas, and inspiration. Sounds like I need to make a trip to Jo-Ann’s. 🙂

  54. As the monks were some of the few literate people in the Middle Ages (and my son wants to be a writer), that might be a good option. He had a pair of sandals that might work as well (providing they still fit!).

    If I can swing “Chaucer,” that might work as well . . . .

    I need to start researching.

  55. I love Costco. I find so many things there that I would normally buy. They are carrying organic. I got a 10# of organic carrots for .60 a lb. I always use them before they go bad. They have large bags of frozen fruit, vegetable, flours, grains. It saves on the grocery budget

  56. I agree. It seems like friends. There is a common bond with these lovely women. I find most people don’t want to take the time to save money or cook. They must have more money than time. I get so much information and great ideas. Thanks to all.

  57. Love you Rachie! You’re doing a great job! I would be over the moon to not have to pay PMI anymore. You’re such a good example to me, and don’t let the setbacks get you. You are so creative with your side streams of income. Love, your sister

  58. Hello Brandy, you write about spring arriving, well in our country the tempreture is still below 0 celcius. No seeding for me that means. That will be in March, some seeds can have a bit of frost so I will sowe them end of Februari (broad beans and marrow fat peas). In the Netherlands it is save seeding everything after 15 mai. (green beans and tomatos and cougettes etc.)
    Here are some frugal accomplishment from me the last few weeks. Lot of mending I did For myself and others, including puting in a new zipper in somebody’s winterjacket. Finished 2 paer of socks, 1 for me and one for our farmer friend in exchange for milk. Almost always cooking from scratch. One night we picked up Chinees, witch is very differend to your Chinees. Our Chinees is mixed with Indonesian kitchen, as indonesia was once a colonie from the Netherlands.
    Used up an opend can of fruits, by putting it in some greek yogurt ready to eat in a bowl. (then the childeren do take it, but when they have to do that themselfes….?)
    Used 1 whole chicken for 3 meals, once we ate the legs and wings, with patatoes end brocolli, some filet I used to put into the NASI (first boil the rice, then fry the rice with fine chopped vegetables, with chicken or whatever meat or no meat, poor some peanut sauce over it and a fryed egg) The 3 meal was ragout we ate with french bread.
    Line dried al the laundry, always. I dont even own a dryer anymore.
    This evening we had homemade Spatzle with cheese, and I made a big pan of splitpea soup to eat on Sunday when we will be helping my sister and her husband to move (and paint the house).
    And we had somebody over from a company in solar pannels, because we have inherited some money from my fatherinlaw who passed away last oktober. We have decided to put up 10 panels so that will save us a lot on the electricity bill.
    These are the things I remember doing frugally, I should write it down to remember better maybe.
    Nice weekend everybody.
    Tanja from the Netherlands

  59. Hi Rhonda from Australia and I am glad you and your family had a wonderful time 🙂 .

    My parents had a holiday home near the ocean where we went for school holidays and I used to catch the waves in and bodysurf with dolphins on either side of me catching the wave in with me. They are such beautiful playful inquisitive creatures 😀 .

  60. Tanja,

    I wondered if you might want to be pen pals? My mother is Dutch and I’d love to hear all about the Netherlands! if so, email me at Graigtiso – at sign-

  61. Unfortunately, no outdoor space that is useable. We are surrounded by concrete on all four sides of the building for parking. And we aren’t allowed to leave things like potted plants outside, sadly. You aren’t even allowed to hang dry clothing on your railing outside. And there isn’t enough light in our 3 windows to put anything in them to grow. So community garden it is then!

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