Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Fourth Week in November

The Alnwick Rose The Prudent Homemaker

I cut Swiss chard, basil,  and garlic chives from the garden.

I sewed and made presents for my children using fabric and supplies I had on hand.

I sewed two Christmas stockings as a wedding gift using fabric I was given.

I mended a hole in a shirt.

I began decorating for Christmas using decorations I purchased in the past.

My eldest is taking university courses online. She can take the quizzes for courses online, but her tests have to be taken in front of a local university proctor. Most charge $25 per test. She found that the local LDS Institute of Religion offers free proctoring, which will save us hundreds of dollars. She took her first test this week.  The location is not close (but none of the proctors are) but it is close to the Boy Scout office, so my husband was able to combine the trip to pick up some paperwork for my second son’s Eagle Scout project (which was just approved!)

My husband enjoyed reading one of the books I purchased for him in October for $0.25.

I said yes to the offer of some hand-me-down scooters from a friend who had outgrown them. It ended up including a rip stick, for which my 12-year-old son was delighted.

I made buttermilk pie early in the week, using some buttermilk my mom had leftover that needed to be used right away (and she was going out of town). 

I enjoyed a magazine that came in the mail from a free subscription. It has several recipes that I look forward to trying.

My husband fixed our leaky toilet before it cost us a huge water bill. I used part of one of the Lowe’s gift cards that I’ve been saving for when we need repairs that I earned on Swagbucks to pay for the part.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a Sam’s Club gift card.

I returned an item.

I cut a daughter’s hair and my youngest son’s hair.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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118 Comments

  1. That is a really good find on the free proctor. Good luck to Winter with her tests.
    This week was all about Thanksgiving dinner and Black Friday shopping – so not the most frugal. But I did managed a few money-saving activities.
    A new book is out by one of my husband’s favorite authors. I persuaded him to put the book on hold at our local library. We were able to pick it up Saturday.
    I made Thanksgiving dinner and we invited friends to eat with us. I sent some of the leftovers with them and we ate the rest over the next couple of days, except turkey. I packaged up 8 bags of turkey and froze them for future meals. Then I made 6 quarts of stock from the carcass.
    I hit a couple of stores for Black Friday to pick up some gifts and items to make gifts. I turned in Pine Cone points for some gift cards, which helped defray my out of pocket costs.
    I made another couple of Christmas gifts – only a couple more to go!
    I mended a pair of jeans and one of my husband’s shirts.
    We ate cabbage and the last of the chard from the garden.

  2. That proctor find will make such a huge difference! Fantastic!

    I took advantage of some Black Friday online sales, so I [b]feel[/b] like we spent a lot of money, but we actually didn’t. Ordered backstock of tea for husband and herbal teas for myself; a few foods for our food storage and some can organizers for the pantry; and some batteries for our stock & a First Aid kit for my daughter for Christmas (it came with a mini kit that is TSA-compliant, handy for when she flies to her dad’s house).

    Continued with navy showers, cloth wipes, drying clothes on the drying racks, and my daughter’s free art class at the college, as well as reading library books & e-books.

    Got a Great Courses Plus catalog in the mail and spotted a coupon on it where we’ll get a discount for prepaying for the full year for 2018.

    My son used a Gamestop gift card from his birthday this summer to choose some new (to him) games, which he and his dad enjoyed testing out over Thanksgiving weekend. We did not travel for Thanksgiving, so no fuel or lodging costs.

    Took two free FEMA Independent Study courses, one of which is about helping community members become more prepared and included free blackline masters for handouts (which I can use during the classes I’ll be teaching our homeschool group this winter).

    Found a combo deal on subscriptions to two magazines I’ve been buying at the base store – planning to subscribe to save vs the cover prices.

    Hope everyone had a safe and lovely weekend and those celebrating Thanksgiving had a great one!

  3. Just because it is the holidays doesn’t mean I should waste money. My money savings for the week of Thanksgiving:

    *My computer was slowly crashing due to me spilling coffee on the keyboard. Rather than buying a new one (I refuse not to drink and type), I accepted Joshua’s offer to give me his old one. Outdated, slow and free fits my lifestyle. All the keys are in the wrong place and it is driving me crazy. They are not wrong, it is me who is messed up. As my old computer slowly died, my sons installed a program so the sticking keys (multiple coffee spills) could be reprogramed and worked by other keys. I remarked the keys with fingernail polish and tape. No one else could use my computer without screaming; I was happy.

    *I did pre-Black Friday shopping at JCPenney and found a shirt for my oldest son Joshua on clearance for $4.90 and a jacket marked down from $50 to $20 then used the $10 coupon to make it $10. I gave them to him as a trade for his computer.

    *I also shopped the online sales at JCPenney and was able to get a sweater for $5 for Scooter when we clip his fur. Joshua is size 4XLT and finding him nice work clothes is difficult. Penney’s is the best place I have found. Black Friday I was able to get great deals for him and added Scooter’s sweater to his order to save me shipping charges.

    *While everyone was home, I had my sons go into the attic and pull everything out. It was a mess. Every box was sorted and labeled. They, ok we, me included have used the attic as a dumping ground for anything we don’t want to handle. I have a truckload ready to go to the dump, another load to donate to charity and Joshua loaded up his car to take things to a friend with children. We did not get to the shelves or dressers in their rooms or the shed out back, but it was a good start. Dustin (graduating) and Reese (Internship is ending) will be moving back home next month. We needed room to store the new junk they will be bringing.

    *Thanksgiving was exhausting but successful. Almost everything was either from the summer garden or from the pantry. I cooked from scratch, froze the dishes and then cooked early in the morning so it was ready when everyone arrived. The difficult part was when guests canceled at the last minute throwing everything into confusion. On Tuesday night while driving home from work I decided to move our celebrations to Wednesday instead of Thursday. This provided someone to drive Nana and also created leftovers for my sons who arrived home early. I shared details on how I managed everything.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/11/thanksgiving-preparations.html

    *Since I was busy and tired, Scooter volunteered to write a post about his Thanksgiving day. It was difficult for him because he met one of his cousins who was visiting from Alabama and he did not obey the house rules.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/11/scooters-difficult-thanksgiving.html

    *Last week a big storm blew through and knocked 4 shingles off of our house. We drafted our sons while they were home to seal the empty spots. It should buy us a little time before we need to get another roof. This is an expense we were not expecting. We hoped the house had a 30-year roof, but it seems it is only a 20 year. Darn.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/11/roofer-reese.html

    It appears two of my sons will be moving back home. Dustin has graduated and Reese’s internship has ended. Has it only been a year since I collapsed in tears and suffered from empty nest syndrome? I thought I was over it and now they return to do it to me again! I guess I can’t be pleased.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/01/empty-nest.html

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  4. I found that our local library had a book I had been considering purchasing, so I checked it out from the library instead! That saved me $22 plus shipping. I also went Black Friday shopping with a list of several clothing items our family needed. Found one of the things on my list for our daughter, normally $50 but on sale for $25. Used two coupons on that item, which brought my total price for it down to $12. It is now wrapped up and tucked away to be a Christmas present, which also saves us from needing to purchase a present for her.

  5. A beautiful picture as always. I got a root canal today and got a 20% discount because the endodontist is my neighbor. Really didn’t want to cook dinner tonight but made myself make crockpot chicken and carrots with a marked down package of chicken thighs from Aldi. Dinner for the 5 of us for less than $5. Got a Great Clip haircut using a coupon. No I don’t cut my hair or let my husband do it. Decided to stop the $50 for a hair cut since I have natural curly hair and most mistakes don’t last long. Had to go out to lunch because a meeting that I thought would be an hour was four hours and my diabetic son has to eat at certain times. Managed to keep it under $10 and then was able to fill up with gas using my Kroger points saving 20 cents a gallon. This helped offset lunch a little.
    Went to daughter’s for Thanksgiving and they sent us home with all the leftovers since they don’t eat leftovers! Had a wonderful meal with them the next day. Cooked on on sale pork roast that fed us for 3 meals. Shopped at Aldi’s.

  6. I know it takes a lot of work to get to Eagle Scout. Congratulations! I wonder if the local library offers free proctoring?
    I haven’t been doing any shopping but grocery shopping for my diet. Just basic vegetables and protein. i bought most of what I needed at aldi. i lost 11 lbs this past week, even though I ate a bit of stuffing at Thanksgiving! What fun! I am feeling great!
    Been wearing my aunt’s clothes. Glad to have the winter clothes. I hope to shrink out of them soon.
    Started teaching great nephews today! I love my job and they had fun too!
    I will be going to the toy library for educational toys for them and my grandchildren.
    Free exercise playing Head and Shoulders knees and toes, Ring around the Rosy and all the other games and activities I do with my great nephews and grandchildren. I needed a nap today. But now I feel great!
    Instead of buying school supplies. I used supplies I had on hand.
    I only bought a couple expo markers from the Dollar tree. I also bought a package of small notepads. A dollar is a good deal.
    Because my blood sugar seems to be stable on this diet. I am not craving junk that costs extra money. I haven’t been having health issues. I am able to wait until I cook something healthy.
    My husbands job called him to work overtime. I take that to be a good sign they will keep him. My husband called back to say yes, but they had already got someone else. But at least they know he is willing. He also studied this week for his job. He is working so hard.
    House is coming along. Boxes are slowly being packed and some things are being donated.
    Free Entertainment at the library.
    I did take my son out one day. It was a special treat for him and me. I enjoyed his company. I ate one/fourth of my meal and brought the rest back for my husband to take to work.

  7. I love a great cheap book.
    I accepted a huge long neck squash that was a BOGO from a friend. She joked that she picked the largest freebie for me because she knew I would gladly roast and freeze it.
    It has been a lot of doctors office waiting rooms for family that take hours. I traced initials on a piece of repurposed linen and embroidered crewl work inside the letter I made one for each “patient” as a little pick me up from being poked and prodded all day long (tests).
    I took some leftover cranberry relish (jello like with bits of berries, orange and pear) and made your cranberry orange muffins with it. Followed your recipe with the exception of relish instead of dried cranberries. These muffins are so delicious! Thank you!

  8. 1. I am a voracious reader and feel I have just about exhausted the local library of books in which I’m interested. I decided to work my way through my own library and reread my favorites. It’s working quite well.
    2. We dine out with friends every two weeks and this time of year gift cards for our favorite restaurants all come with bonuses. We always buy several, then amortize the expense over the next few months.
    3. We adopted a stray cat a few months ago and are feeding him a high quality, but pricey, cat food. We found we could get it for one-third less by ordering it online by the case. We adjusted our budget so we are stockpiling his favorite flavors.
    4. We binge watched the recently released season of “Longmire” on Netflix, then canceled Netflix. We feel like we have exhausted it for anything we like.
    5. We live in a very warm climate but are taking a trip around Christmas to where there might very well be snow. The truth is we both have plenty of warm things to take care of us as we are far too old to be spending much time outside and certainly won’t be rolling in the snow. 😀 So I’m not even going to buy the tights at Costco I had my eye on.
    6. My elderly sister has found herself in the hospital with a serious case of pneumonia. She lives in Belgium. (Me in CA.) It’s wonderful, and free, to be able to Skype her every morning to see how she’s doing and to make her feel treasured.

  9. Wow! You had a productive week!
    I made a double batch of cookie dough, and a single batch, and froze them in cookie size balls. Since we’re going down state for the holidays, this will be nice to bake for the trip and to share. I’d like to have several more frozen.
    We watched a movie on Netflix while my son was visiting that we all enjoyed. It was called My Life As a Courgette (Zucchini). It was only about an hour long and was very kid friendly. My husband didn’t sleep through it so that’s always a plus!
    Since we’ve been having some sunny weather, I was able to open the front door to let the warmth in. It really brightens up the house and the dog loves it!
    I sold a few things on eBay.
    The son who visited over Thanksgiving waited til he was with us to send in his last check to the government for his school bill. He saved over 16,000.00 in interest! He was accepted to another school if he decides to go for a Masters degree. He would cash-flow that bill.
    I used a one dollar coupon for gas.
    I saved the boiled/rinse water from eggs to wash dishes.
    I filled my empty lotion bottle and added water to thin it. I did the same with the hand soap bottle. For that, I use shampoo I won in a raffle for 5.00. I only use it for hand soap since it’s not good for my hair. But, for a gallon of soap the price is right!
    Here’s a story about trying to buy discounted meat. One store, an hour away, regularly has coupons on meat that is going out of date. The coupons usually start at .50 and run up to 3.00 for something that is expensive to start with. I went to find boneless chicken breasts. I found three packages with 5.00 off coupons. The packages were only 2.00 and change. (Originally 5.99 lb. the packages were less than half a pound.) Knowing this won’t fly, I stop someone from the meat dept. and point it out. He shows it to a second person who goes looking for the man who put the stickers on the meat. I joke that I know I won’t get it free but it would be nice to have a dollar off. The man comes back while he’s taking the stickers off. The person who originally put them on is gone. He can’t sell them to me unless I pay FULL price! I turned that down in a NY minute. Walking away, I cross paths with a manager and tell him the story. He ‘offers’ to sell me the legs for .50 off. No thanks, I wanted the boneless breasts. There were a few others that were marked wrong but they didn’t even check the packages after I pointed them out. I think, next time, i’d take my chances at the register. They all had a good laugh at my expense.
    On another note, my son has a discount store near his home down state. On his way back from visiting us, he stopped for groceries. He called me to tell me that they had mozzarella, in water, usually 8.99 per package, for 1.00 each! How many did I want? All of them! He laughed. He bought four for himself and ten for me. He’ll put them in the freezer and i’ll get them when we see him in a few weeks. What a great deal! You know i’m Visiting that store when I get there!
    Have a fabulously, frugal week!

  10. I downloaded the currently free Kindle book, Medicine Men, Extreme Appalachian Doctoring, and read it straight through. I grew up in a neighborhood with many families, some from a town mentioned in the book, from Appalachia who moved north to work in the auto plants, so the book’s many stories brought memories back of some people I met in my youth. The book made me appreciate even more the creature comforts we currently enjoy and mourn an aspect of medical care that has been lost in recent decades.

    I received the 60-watt equivalent LED bulbs and a sturdy stepladder late in the week. The kitchen and living room are now well lit. The bedrooms will all be done soon. I had replaced the light bulbs in the half bath with the 60-watt LED equivalents but the light was glaringly bright. Today, I found $1 40-watt equivalent LED bulbs, limit 12, at our local Goodwill. So I put in 40-watt equivalent bulbs in the half-bath and bathroom fixtures. Both rooms are brightly lit now, but not overwhelmingly so. So far, I LOVE the LED bulbs, especially when compared to CFL bulbs. I look forward to seeing the impact of these changes on the electricity bill.

    We have been harvesting and eating a few cherry tomatoes from the two plants I brought inside before the hard frost and look forward to eating many more. It has been a treat to eat homegrown fresh tomatoes so late in the fall.

    We took advantage of Dollar General and Kroger sales (and the Kroger freebies) to stock up. The Kroger points’ gas discount of 20 cents a gallon saved us $2.40 for one fill up.

    Provided we don’t eat out tomorrow, during the past four weeks, we stayed a total of $30 under the USDA’s Thrifty budget of $81/week for food for our household. So, now our new goal for all food (groceries and restaurant meals) is going to reduced for the next four weeks. I have already spent $37 on a large cheese, sausage, and goodies tray from Figis that will be delivered in about a week. We have full cupboards and a stuffed refrigerator so I don’t think we will be feeling at all deprived spending about $60 a week on food the next three weeks and $75 the fourth week.

    I finally need to use part of the “clothing ration points” we have been stockpiling over the last seven months, calculating points received and points spent the way the British had to during World War 2 as a way of being more mindful about our clothing purchases. Mom is getting one pair of therapeutic support hose in the mail. Additionally, I bought a skein (3.5 ounces) of hot pink wool for 99 cents at Goodwill. As soon as mom knew the yarn was 100% wool, she “ordered” a crocheted hat to brighten up her outfit when she wears her black coat. She knows I like to crochet.

    Thank you all for sharing your thrifty achievements. I really enjoy reading the blog entries and all the readers’ comments.

  11. Thank you again for your encouraging blog. Here are a few frugal accomplishments this week.
    . Our daughters job gave a coupon for a Free turkey for thanksgiving.
    . I was able to use dried herbs from our garden on a roast and with our turkey.
    . I used Quiche i had put in freezer this summer for
    Thanksgiving breakfast.
    . The grocery in our town gives out a free product every so often by special word of the day. This week we were able to get several half gallon containers Free.
    . I decorated for Christmas with things i had. Painted branches from my yard silver put in tall container.
    . Someone put lights on our house for Free…for advertising.
    . I made lavender sachets for Christmas gifts
    Using material i had n lavender from our garden.
    . Im making several soups from Brandys recipes.

  12. I haven’t been especially frugal lately. We bought a house and have spent money to get it to what I want. But we love the house and are so happy the search is finally over.

    * Our dining room set was handed down from my MIL. It is good quality (Thomasville) but the chairs were pretty dated and not attractive. We kept the table and ordered chairs. The chairs I really wanted were $250 per chair. I couldn’t justify spending $2000 just on dining room chairs. Instead I found some for $70 per chair that will do. Also found a very nice china cabinet that matches well enough. While unpacking and putting things in there, I realized that it has become an homage to the women in my life. A teapot from my husband’s grandmother, my aunt’s china, a couple of my mother’s wedding gifts, a teacup from my MIL, a teapot I got from my late sister when she passed and a teacup in my daughter’s china pattern. I love it!

    * Thanksgiving was at my place. We had 17 people. I got the turkey for 79 cents/lb. I bought 2 and will cook the 2nd one after the beginning of the year. I provided most of the food, but I loved every second of the cooking. Quite a bit of the ingredients I had purchased on clearance so the cost wasn’t too bad.

    * Friday my daughter came over and helped me undecorated Thanksgiving and decorate for Christmas (with décor we already have), as on Saturday we hosted the family again for Christmas for my siblings, Dad and I. We had 20 over for that. We did buy a new artificial tree, but it was on sale and we will be able to use it for many years to come. I cooked 3 soups for that. One was turkey noodle soup that I made with the carcass from Thanksgiving. I also used the leftover carrots and celery from the veggie tray from Thanksgiving. Also made potato soup and chili. My SIL brought a meat and cheese tray and bread and everyone else rounded out the menu. I made a few batches of cookies that we had for dessert. Now, since we hosted, we are eating leftovers all week! I was also able to put a meal’s worth of soup in the freezer.

    * Used free toiletries, coffee and tea.

    * I was going to buy a new bedspread for the guest room, but changed my mind and am now using the bedspread that I got from my Dad when we moved him into assisted living and he switched to a twin bed. I decided to make that room my “tea room” as I have a lot of teapots, teacups and other frilly stuff. My late sister and late mother and I used to have tea once a week. It was our thing. My whole house used to be decorated in florals, etc. Now the rest of the house is decorated in an autumnal theme and is almost a little on the masculine side. So this room will be my feminine room. And I already have all the décor, so no money will need to be spent.

    * Ran only full loads of laundry and dishes.

    * Found a lot of canned goods (veggies and cream of mushroom soup) on the clearance rack. I’m sure with the holidays they brought a lot more of that kind of stuff in. I’m sure in a few weeks there will also be a ton of stuffing, etc. on clearance. I even got dented cans of cranberry sauce prior to Thanksgiving.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  13. How nice for your sons to be coming home. I miss my daughter–she just got married in October. Our son moved out for a year and then came back and has been back for 2 years. He was going to move out again this fall, but he just about emptied his savings to pay off his student loan. Yay! Now he is saving for a house and it looks like he will be with us for a while. That’s ok!

    I hope you can repair the roof and keep it for a little while!

  14. We have successfully passed the code officer’s inspection. He doesn’t charge like the electrician does, so we are thankful for that small savings! My DH has made it home and is back at work. For these things we are rather thankful.

    I am happy to report that we have enough clothing to get through winter this year. So grateful!

    We are living off our storage without cooking much. The unfortunate side effect is weight gain. We have work to do!

    I have watched some free shows when working, and it continues to be a small pleasure.

    Three weeks and my son will have finished strong. He has fallen in the past and now needs to have successes. God is good! I am very thankful to be able to be here to assist where needed.

    I love our old dog, but dislike the incontinence that comes with old doggie age. I’m going to have to be more observant and viligant.

    Using wood has reduced our heating costs significantly. I just need to keep cutting it!

    Trying not to spend much money. Just a few necessities and some Christmas presents as the opportunity arises.

    Happy frugal week everyone.

  15. Your pictures! So beautiful.

    I had a good week and enjoyed being off of work for 4 days and spending time with family.

    I borrowed audiobooks from the library using the overdrive app. LOVE IT! Free audio books and don’t even have to go to the library.

    I joined Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilt “On Ringo Lake”. It is the first mystery quilt I have ever done and I was able to pull together the fabrics from my stash–fabric I had on hand. It is fun! Can’t wait until the next clue comes out this Friday.

    We are on the last week of our No Spend November. It has been a good month and I will share my lessons learned in an upcoming post. Needless to say, I will need to do a major grocery shopping trip in early December. But, I am going to be intentional and stock up sensibly. I will also continue to use up other things we have on hand.

    Come by for a visit: frugalhappyhome.com

    I love that I have been meeting other readers from The Prudent Homemaker!

  16. Brandy–can’t wait to hear about your December grocery shopping plans. I need to be mindful when stocking up in December–we are out of almost everything after our No Spend November.

  17. What a fun idea for a wedding gift – Christmas stockings! I love your creativity!

    I feel like I had more unfrugal accomplishments than frugal ones this week….a couple our own doing, a couple just bad luck….but I will focus on the positive:

    Frugal living from urban Seattle:

    – I brought two sides plus cranberries to my mom’s house for Thankgiving, but got to enjoy leftovers for the rest of the week, since we were staying with her.
    – I packed up a lunch of turkey and cranberry sandwiches, crackers, fruit and water for our holiday trip home to avoid fast food.
    – I bought nothing on Black Friday – or the rest of the weekend – and instead spent the day exploring neighborhoods in anticipation of our upcoming move with my husband and kids.
    – My kids brought home free flashing lights for their backpacks, saving me a purchase (in December it is dark when they go to school and dark by the time they get out of school in Seattle and they are crossing multiple streets to get home from our neighborhood middle school).
    – My mom gave me a quilt she had made as a belated birthday gift.
    – The Monday before Thanksgiving, I made a vegetable soup with vegetables left in my bins and some of your olive oil rosemary bread, which somehow still turned out amazing even though I didn’t get it to rise properly.
    – I am cleverly trying to buy all of our Christmas gifts using Amazon gift cards that we either earned, gifted or traded. So far it is mostly working.
    – I am gathering materials to make gifts for teachers and a couple for my sons. Sometimes I spend more to make things and then they don’t turn out great, so I’m being very careful this time and only using recycled fabric/materials.

  18. I got an instant pot on black Friday. I’ve been eyeing them for some time. It is specifically to help with a new meal plan I am working on. I will let you know how it works out.

    I finished wrapping almost all Christmas gifts to avoid last minute impulse/panic purchases.

    I redeemed $170 worth of Optimum Points and got $40 worth of points back.

    I put together a christening gift with items on hand.

    I made tags for my lavender bath salts with supplies I already had.

    This is my last week of infant care leave. I will try to keep posting when I can…but I will always be lurking around 🙂

    I refer to all of you as “my frugal friends” when talking to my husband.

    I posted about my frugal accomplishments here:

    http://www.lifefreedomfamily.com/2017/11/the-great-grocery-project-mid-november.html?m=1

  19. That free proctor is fabulous! What a savings!

    My week was pretty productive too!
    – I had purchased a pumpkin for 99 cents a month ago, and finally had a chance to cook it up this week. I roasted part of it, and made delicious Maple-Glazed Roasted Pumpkin (http://approachingfood.com/maple-glazed-roast-pumpkin/). I also roasted the seeds with garlic powder, oil, and salt, and ate those for snacks for a few days. I put the rest in the slow cooker and turned it into pumpkin puree. I plan to make several dishes with that puree, including pumpkin pie, chocolate chip pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin gnocchi. If I have any pumpkin puree left after that, I might try making pumpkin ravioli. Pretty good for 99 cents!
    – A colleague was giving away some lip balms that she didn’t want. I accepted them and will re-gift them as part of a Christmas present for the children of a family I am friends with.
    – I redeemed Pinecone Research Rewards for $5 to my paypal account.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gift card to Starbucks.
    – I visited some family friends on the weekend and brought them some gifts that I had traded for, re-gifted, or purchased using Swagbucks cards. I gave: a large package of crayons, candies, lollipops, a bath fizzy and fancy soap for the mother, a dress for one girl, and top and pants for another girl, a teddy bear for the baby, and a winter headband for the mother as well. One of the girls had a tooth fall out while I was there so the ‘tooth fairy’ brought her a $10 Swagbucks card to Old Navy (I rarely carry cash or else I would have put a few dollars under her pillow). I also baked some vanilla cupcakes (one of the children can’t eat chocolate) and brought those over as well. I used up some leftover buttercream icing in different colours to decorate the tops with flowers, and packaged them up in cupcake boxes that I got free once. Oh, and the cupcake wrappers were Canadian-themed ones that I bought from Amazon using Swagbucks. I put the gifts in gift bags that I had re-used or traded for. The entire gift cost me about $11.50 OOP. I find it fun to put together inexpensive gifts, so I was pleased! They sent me home with tons of delicious food, enough for my husband to eat for dinner every day for the week. So generous of them! They also taught me how to make a cinnamon and cardamom tea, and sent me home with the makings for it, so I could make it for my husband. Very sweet!
    – I made creamy potato cheddar soup, loosely based on Brandy’s recipe, using up a number of leftovers in my fridge. My husband loved it and it made lots for the next week.
    – I made a pimento pea and mushroom casserole, using up some leftovers in my fridge and freezer as well.
    – I made some lebneh (yoghurt cheese) using some homemade yoghurt. I plan to use it in a recipe instead of cream cheese. I drank the whey that drained out – high in protein, so why not?
    – I made a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip walnut cookies, and froze half the dough for last minute cookie emergencies. I used oatmeal that I had traded for a couple of months ago, walnuts and whole wheat flour bought in bulk, and chocolate chips from Costco (cheapest source I’ve found so far).
    – I baked a banana cake for my work colleagues. Bananas are inexpensive, and I used walnuts bought in bulk and chocolate gifted to me to top it with. I also used homemade yoghurt instead of the sour cream called for. Turned out great!
    – A colleague gave me two brand-new children’s sleepers to give to a family I’m friends with for Christmas. The sleepers are a bit big, but the girls can grow into them.
    – I baked a cake for my dad’s birthday, using some Almond Cream Sherry gifted to me years ago, instead of the Amaretto the recipe called for. My family LOVES this recipe and it is the new request for each birthday celebration we have. And I’m glad to find a way to use up the alcohol, as it’s not something the DH and I would drink. I had my family over for tea and cake to celebrate my dad’s birthday. We drank tea gifted to me, and used our china teacups and cut-glass plates to make it fancier. And, I packaged up the gifts in re-used paper bags. I sent my parents home with the leftover cake and some chocolate and marzipan croissants from my freezer. An inexpensive celebration, but full of laughter, inside jokes, and love.
    – I darned a hole in one of my socks, and sewed up a cuff on a shirt of the DH’s.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded an unused couples-time kit that had been a belated wedding gift, for several transit tokens. I love decluttering and getting useful things in return!
    – I also traded some boxes I got for free from my workplace, for a container of salami sticks from Costco. I sliced up the salami sticks into small chunks, froze almost all of it to use on pizzas for the DH. I think there’s enough for at least half a year’s worth of pizzas! This is a real treat for the DH as I never prepare meat (although he’s more than welcome to prepare his own, he rarely does).
    – I grated up a stick of mozzarella and froze it to use on future pizzas. This way neither the DH or I snack on it.
    – And then I made a pizza (only half a recipe since I ran out of flour, so I just made a thin crust pizza) using leftover home-canned tomato sauce, some of the grated cheese, and some of the chopped salami on the DH’s half. He loved it, which made me happy!

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  20. We have been tucking cash away for months now for a trip to Chicago to hit a couple restaurants that were featured on the show Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. This was something hubby and I were planning to do when our daughter graduated high-school and both kids moved out (not just Chicago, but other states too ). Well, life threw a rather large wrench in our plans when hubby’s health took a dive. We decided that it was something we weren’t going to put off any longer as you never know what may happen tomorrow. He is being referred back to a heart doctor as his heart is now pumping too fast and not very efficiently, his shoulder pain is not improving and tomorrow we see the cancer doc for a blood draw to make sure his “numbers” are still where they’re supposed to be. Like I said – you never know what tomorrow may bring.
    Unknown to me, our son bought tickets for all three of us to see my favorite artist at Chicago Theater (Amy Lee with Evanescence AND an orchestra!!). So, we are going to Chicago Thursday!! I am sooooo stinking excited but of course, that sets off my anxiety and stomach disorder! LOL I will be well medicated but we will be there! My mom is taking our old beagle overnight and our daughter will be in and out multiple times to let our Danes out. I was worried about my daughter being able to handle them if the female Dane and the Beagle got in another big fight – this way I will have one less thing to worry me and both are a lot cheaper than a boarding kennel.
    So….we narrowed down our restaurant choices for lunch and dinner (I love when the menu’s with prices are online!) to places that can handle my food intolerance’s AND are reasonably priced (by Chicago standards). We also are checking out all our parking options ahead of time due to hubby not being able to walk very far. He does have a handicap placard but we still want to plan it out as best we can.
    Other things done:
    *The quail LOVE the meat ends I bring home from work (from slicing deli meat) as well as a bunch of greens we received from a food pantry – they were not a mix we liked (lettuce was bitter) but the ducks and quail sure loved it and it didn’t go to waste. I had turned off the light I had on in the shed where the quail are but they stopped laying almost immediately – so until I can find a very cheap LED Christmas light strand, the fluorescent will stay on. They are slowly starting to lay again.
    *I bought 40#’s of sugar for .99 cents/4 lb package (so .25 cents a pound) This should get us thru til next summer. I would have bought more but they had a limit of 10 bags. I also picked up the powdered and brown sugars I was about out of for 4#/$2. We purchased two 36 roll packs of TP as well – didn’t really want to spend the money on that right now, but it was needed and at the right price (.39 cents a roll – anything under .41 cents is a buy it price for us). I also bought several bags of chocolate chips ($1.50 a bag) but I made sure to check my freezer first – I had plenty of white chocolate, baking chocolate AND the Hershey’s kisses I needed saved from when they went on clearance last year.
    *My MIL sent us home with turkey, potatoes, stuffing and gravy which the guys finished off quickly.
    *I made snickerdoodle cookies from pantry supplies for the tree and town lighting event at work. I work in a very tiny town called Cannonsburg – it doesn’t have a stop light or even a stop sign but everyone knows the place due to the old Honey Creek Inn that is a restaurant (and upstairs it still has the rooms that would have been for overnight guests – they’re offices now), the Gristmill (yes, it was actually a flour mill) which has the deli, breakfast restaurant, meat case (which includes the smoked meats) and small grocery as well as the gas station and then across the street is the Bottle Shop for alcohol. We jokingly call my boss Mr. Cannonsburg because he has worked his tail off to rebuild the old buildings and make it a destination stop (well and he pretty much owns the town hehe).
    *We just learned today that the wells used by the trailer park behind us (5 of them) came back clear! So, at least we don’t have contaminated water to deal with as well 🙂 YEAH!!!! Although, the municipal water hubby grew up on and his parents still are on is not good – although the township says otherwise…..it’s a HUGE mess in the area right now.
    *We used a coupon when we bought the dogs food and got 5 pounds free.
    *I did not go anywhere but work on Black Friday and only got the grocery deals on Saturday morning before work. I checked all the ads but I felt there wasn’t anything at a good enough price to deal with the mess of people and traffic. We aren’t going to do any gifts this year anyways other than the “goodie baskets” I make up of baked goods.
    *All our meals (except Thanksgiving) have been made at home from things on hand or from the mobile food pantry we attended. I am planning on making a small batch of applesauce with the apples we were given but they aren’t a kind hubby likes and the 10 pounds of potatoes I am planning on shredding for hash-browns and making some mashed to freeze for future meals when we are short on time.
    *Today was warmish (for November in Michigan) so I was able to get the roof panel that blew off the greenhouse (supposed to be an automatic vent) taped into place using Gorilla tape (LOL) and repair 2 other panels for the winter. My plants that I have put in there are now under a second cover of clear plastic. I am hoping that using a second layer will keep them warm enough to keep producing enough for me to trim off what I need (chives). I also have a couple mints in there as well. I was planning on more but life happened.
    *I made for soap for the pump bottles out of the small hotel soaps we were given at one of the pantry’s. It smells wonderful.
    And I think that’s it. Hope you all have a good week! And Brandy – thank you so much for this blog. I look forward to the post every week and love to read about everyone else’s weeks too.

  21. How wonderful you learned about the free LDS proctors. I found two pots of marked down pansies for $3 ea, and planted them in a bed near our door, to cheer us as we come and go. I’ve been enjoying library books, and a PBS series online, both of which I’m pretty sure I learned of here. The series I’m watching is Further Back in Time for Dinner, and the books are The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won. Small and simple pleasures, though I’m sorry I don’t remember who shared them. I’m happy to be joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/11/late-november-frugal-accomplishments.html

  22. I continue to get great produce deals at the market. This week I brought home spinach, honeydew melons, blackberries, raspberries, red bell peppers, 6 pounds of pre-chopped onions, some apples, bushel of turnip greens, box of cilantro and other things for $10! I have shredded my bushel of yellow squash and made some delightful breakfast bread with some of it! I will make mini-loaves (I have a pan that makes 24 mini loaves at a time!) using that recipe to give out to our ladies who attend our Dec activity along with a fabric woven star ornament! Our activity budget is zero until January so these two DIY gifts for our 48 ladies will only cost me the time to make them! All the materials/ingredients are here at home!
    We took delivery on our two new jetted tubs for our last 2 bathrooms’ DIY remodel, the retail on them as almost $9000 and we spent less than $400!! We are excited to get this done, especially since the tubs are in my dining room!! https://pin.it/

    We had 11 extras staying with us for the long Thanksgiving weekend, including 6 teenagers and 1 pre-teen! Those kids inhaled food!!! I was so glad that I had pre made French bread pizzas, muffins, etc in the freezer ready to pull out! I shudder to think what it would have cost at Kroger’s or, even worse, at a take out place!!!

    I finished the 6th of seven vintage quilts for a client. My food processor broke and I was able to replace it today at Kohl’s online and with all my discounts, brought my price from over $70 to $20!! So grateful!
    We roasted marshmallows over the fire pit on Friday late afternoon and let the chickens out so the grandkids could see them up close! It was a memory making time!!

    We’ve been able to share our produce and old with others in need this week and are grateful for the chance to do this as a result of having a full pantry!

    Hope everyone else is doing well!

  23. I received an Apple pie as a thank you. It was partly eaten Friday night when my daughter had friends over and 2 spent the night. I made two pies on Wednesday, while my husband went to pick our daughter from college. My husband made Thanksgiving dinner and soup with some of the leftovers. My daughter and I did some Black Friday shopping. She did some online ordering. I did some grocery shopping one day last week and dropped off donations on the same day.
    While my daughter was home, she went thru some of her things. I have a pile of books to either sell or donate.
    That is all I can think of. I hope all had a safe weekend. Have a good week all!

  24. My week was eventful but not very frugal. I had made an appointment on Tuesday to have a stent put in, since a slot was available and I wanted to get it over with ASAP. Had found out the previous Tuesday that it was absolutely necessary after several weeks of tests. Checked into hospital at 8 AM. Procedure was done at 7 PM (there was an emergency that took the surgical team 4 hours of their time during the day–common as it’s a teaching hospital and a regional stroke center.) They had given me additional blood thinners as the ones I took for a week prior to the surgery did not do enough. In the process of getting me into my recovery bed, they nudged my incision and it began oozing blood which wouldn’t stop, and my BP was running way too high. So I didn’t get to even see much of my post room–my granddaughter said “This is nicer than some hotels I’ve stayed at.” At 1:30 AM I was moved to the surgical ICU where they were able to get my BP down–slowly, but successfully. I’ve never been in ICU before and it is quite nice indeed. I happened to have 2 nurses because one was training, so there was no waiting for much of anything! I was back to normal by morning, although they delayed my release until late afternoon so they could send in people from several departments to make sure every base was covered and I had no weaknesses anywhere that would show up after I got home. I’m recovering well and just requiring a little more rest than usual. Problem was this 16.5 lb turkey at home was defrosted and ready to cook–and I couldn’t even lift it. My daughter, who has never cooked a turkey ever, made the entire dinner, with not much help from her daughter until they got to the clean up. We had a fine dinner, even though there was no time to make pie, so granddaughter brought one from a bakery near her. It was quite good–mixed summer fruits–and beautifully made. I still hope to make a pumpkin pie as soon as I am able–possibly tomorrow, since I am not quite ready for yoga class yet. I still managed to do a little online shopping between naps, so I got some shopping done without setting foot in stores–I never do Black Friday and probably never will. Too chaotic. Nothing I need that’s worth risking my life for!! My shopping is coming along fine. I have a sewing project I want to do for my daughter but I have to figure out a way to keep her from popping in at least daily!! We had no energy to eat out, so we managed between leftovers and easy meals to feed ourselves until I actually could cook yesterday and today. So it was an exciting week. My husband hates hospitals, so I think he was more stressed about the whole thing than I was. He needed as much extra sleep as I did! Everything is going well, for which I am MOST thankful.

  25. I have successfully frozen buttermilk. Thawed it still made great pancakes.
    I have a New kitchen in the last 3-4 months – so not much saving. Christmas shopping almost done. Have 90% of stuff for baking Christmas goodies. Found 6 boxes of toothpicks when cleaning out old cupboards. :pHelping plan 60th Anniversary party for parents Dec 30. So hopefully back on track Jan. 1, 2018.

  26. Great find about the proctors. Excellent that a leak was fixed. A silent toilet leak once cost me $700 in utility bills
    but, luckily, the utility forgave that debt. I haven’t saved any money this week but didn’t spend any either.

  27. When I returned the item (at Lowe’s too) and was getting my change, I told the woman there what I was getting, and she said a two-week toilet leak cost her $800! The part to fix it was only $2, she said. I’m hoping the water bill is not too high for the leaking that it did before we noticed it and were able to repair it.

  28. I kind of cheated on Thanksgiving but college boy did not notice. My pie, and ham were already cooked, I bought Stouffers Mac and cheese and green beans went in the crockpot. I had a bag of dough for rolls in the freezer. Sugar cookie went with her boyfriend and college girl went with her roommate’s . Dinner was purchased with coupons and a competitors coupon for 10.00 off a 30 dollar purchase.
    I spent a week preparing for a big grocery store run. We started at one end of the road and worked out way back home. I was able to take my Snap of 200.00 and buy 500 dollars worth of food. I am blessed to have internet to search every deal available to me.
    I used my swagbucks to buy my instapot. I am so excited. I also got college boy a much desired computer part. I found a craft site I loved but did not want to spend 5.00 a month on. On black Friday there was a special for 3 months for 1dollar. I bought myself a gift.
    Sugar cookies young man has a birthday this week. I used the friends suggestions here for his gift. I got 2 coffees and 4 creamers bogo. He has a lovely Coca Cola coffee cup that I paid 40 cents for. I will bake him my cream cheese banana nut bread and he will be thrilled. All his favorite things. College boy also has a birthday coming. I bought him a 5 lb birthday cookie from David’s cookies using a QVC 10.00 coupon with free shipping. I may be his hero now. I consider this purchase a luxury item and not necessary but I am so thrifty on everything else that a treat is actually in my budget. I have spent so little on Christmas that I am shocked. I really love my swagbucks.
    I love that so many people find ways that meet their needs , and bless their lives. I have so little money but we are blessed in every way imaginable.

  29. Hello,

    Just thought I would mention to you regarding your elderly dog, I saw on Facebook a dog who was kept in diapers held in place by the dog wearing suspenders. I don’t know if your dog would chew off the diaper, maybe a cloth one would be better, unless it would chew and swallow that too. Just thought I would mention this to you…christine

  30. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 . Very happy that Winter was able to get free proctoring services through the church too and the benefit that will bring to your families budget.

    Here is how we have saved and been frugal in the fourth week of November –

    We have heard that our grocery prices will be going up significantly next year in Australia due to grain shortages, extra freight costs to bring in grains and other vegetables and products from the southern states and overseas, droughts, floods and predicted lowering of our dollar against the U.S dollar. Sigh that is going to mean a lot of pain for many Australian budgets and especially those with high debt. Fortunately we have no debt and have savings but are on a low pension income, but I feel for everyone else who is going to struggle 🙁 .

    So on that note we are still building our food storage up to a 12 month level but had an uneasy feeling some months ago and started stocking up in earnest as I saw available needed grocery specials come up.

    Service –
    – Was able to supply excess volunteer sugar baby watermelon seedlings to 2 families for their gardens.
    – Happy I could supply some fresh honeycomb from the beehives on our property and some arnica cream to a friends family who was sick with a cold virus going around and her husband who was having trouble with muscular cramps through long hours worked.

    Blessings –
    – Our friends the apiarist was cleaning out his hives to put more cells in and had to rid the hives of honeycomb. He gave us 2 large 3kg tubs of fresh honeycomb for our pantry.

    Finances –
    – This month we have exceeded our target for building our house savings over and above what our budget says even though we had 2 large bills to pay.

    Groceries –
    – Stocked up on a further 8kg of flour, 9kg of raw sugar which we are now up to a 12 month level on, 5kg of rice, and 4.5kg of rolled oats and a 24 x 600ml pack of bottled water.
    – Used our roadside assistance gift card discount to save $10 off our 6 weekly grocery shop.
    – Compared prices in another grocery store today and found out I can purchase our crackers at 26c per pack cheaper than the current store we purchase them from now.

    House tidying and organising –
    – Deep cleaned the lounge room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and toilet including scrubbing tiles and grout with citrus vinegar, damp dusting blinds and furniture and polishing furniture, cleaning walls and the outsides of cupboards, cleaning windows, shower screens and oven door, mopping and cleaning the oven and trays. We used nothing other than saved flannelette rags, dishwashing liquid, a small amount of ammonia and a little methylated spirits for cleaning the oven out and polishing it.
    – We passed yet another quarterly rental house inspection with flying colours 😀 .

    In the gardens –
    – Replanted volunteer sweet corn, marigolds and sugar baby watermelon seedlings in the gardens in rows. These made another 2 x 5mt rows of marigolds in our large 10 x 5mt garden bed, a 5mt row of sweet corn, and 1 x 5mt rows of sugar baby watermelons in the gardens.

    Water Preservation –
    – Used rainwater from our tanks to clean walls and damp dust inside the house with and then put the water on parts of the lawn.
    – Took advantage of using our vegetable steaming and dish rinsing water to water new seeds and seedlings planted in the gardens.

    Electricity savings –
    – Only turned on our electric hot water service for 7hrs this week as we are in the beginning of summer here and have worked out the water stays hot enough for 4 days at a time.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  31. If your dog is a male you can put ‘diapers’ on them. We make belly bands – just a strip of frabic (use something fairly heavy or line it) and use velcro. We women’s incontinent pads but have used rags in the past. I think there is a verson for female dogs as well – probably something you can find via google or pinterest. Sure saves a lot of headaches.1

  32. Hopefully, your bill on’t be too high but if it is, contact your utilities company and tell them you fixed it promptly as soon as you knew it was leaking and can they forgive the bill. Good luck!

  33. Good news that the stent procedure went all right, in spite of the incision.bleeding problem. Congratulations to your daughter for her turkey success! And nice you were home for Thanksgiving. Blessings! Ann

  34. Fingers crossed, Tammy, that they will keep your husband. It sounds like things are looking up or progressing.
    I’ve been thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. Ann

  35. It is so inspiring how you and your family always find free or cheap ways to fulfill a need 🙂

    I have stayed home unless I absolutely had to go somewhere. No time or money wasted.
    We have made a turkey and a ham this past week. We actually made the ham on Thanksgiving. My mother in law gave us a turkey she had gotten for free, but we let it thaw to soon so we cooked that before Thanksgiving. I made broth from the turkey carcass. I made ham/bean soup, turkey and noodles, ham sandwiches and froze the rest of the meat so it doesn’t go bad before we can eat it. We also had kielbasa with rice, scalloped potatoes and ham. We have eaten all meals at home, cooked from scratch, and taken homemade lunches to work and school. I also drank free ice water or coffee while at work.

    I hung up most loads of clothes on my racks and only washed full loads in cold water.

    I saved the warm up water from the shower and used it to flush the toilet. I used the leftover water in drinking glasses to water house plants. I also put fertilizer/plant spikes into my houseplants to help them through the winter.

    I ordered a few things from Amazon that marked down in price that had been in my wish list for awhile for Christmas presents. I have two people done. So far all presents were under my price point. I also plan on making something (not sure what yet, maybe Mexican hot cocoa mix?) to give with presents.

    I rolled up a couple of towels and put them in front of the doors to reduce cold air coming in.

    I made more solution for my homemade Clorox wipes (vinegar and water).
    Have a great week everyone!

  36. Frugal Accomplishments at our house from the last couple of weeks:

    Our next-door-neighbor daughter brought over some potato soup that we enjoyed for dinner one night.

    Our oldest daughter gave me a beautiful winter coat that she no longer wore.

    For frugal dinners we made a spatchcock chicken (this is the way I will be making a whole chicken from now on!). After our dinner I took all the meat off the bones for future meals and I saved the bones in the freezer for making broth. I have also been saving ends and peels from vegetables for broth.

    Our biggest frugal find was the two turkeys we bought for 37 cents per pound. We ate one for Thanksgiving dinner and the other is in the freezer. I found fresh cranberries for 89 cents. I used one bag for cranberry salad and I froze the other.

    We had lots of leftovers from Thansgiving dinner that we shared with our guests to take home. I made a turkey potpie from our leftover turkey and gravy.

    I went to Joann Fabrics on Black Friday and found flannel for making pocket reading pillows for our grandchildren. In the pockets I will insert a book and a small toy.

  37. when I was taking tests it was hard to find someone local. A preacher from another church finally contacted the university and applied to proctor due to the amount of students in our area. Glad she found someone

  38. 1. Said yes to leftovers
    2. Used the last bits of many different items (including some very pesky Chapstick)
    3. Scored a great deal on a Christmas gift ($0.49)
    4. Remembered to use expiring gas points
    5. Heated with free firewood
    Head over to my blog to see more details!

  39. I’m glad your children are feeling better enough that you could get some sewing done and presents made, Brandy. It was very nice of your friend to pass along the scooters to your boys. The scooters sound like they are being treasured already! I hope Winter is enjoying her college course.

    We’ve had a busy week. Frugal accomplishments in our home this week included:
    *Meals made at home this week included breaded stuffed chicken breasts with green/wax bean mix and choice of french fries or sweet potato fries, chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, flavoured rice and broccoli, pasta bake (1 with sausage and red sauce, 1 with cauliflower and white sauce, both topped with mozzarella, then baked), roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots, and breaded chicken burgers with potato wedges and corn.
    *Had a late afternoon appointment I had to go to imediately after work. Unfortunately, there was no way around getting take out (since family would rather have the takeout, they don’t make effort to help). We picked up Chinese food, which is expensive but leftovers stretch over several meals. It tasted good, even if it wasn’t good for the pocket book.
    *My brother, who lives on a fairly tight budget, was visiting this weekend. When he left, we gave him some food to help him out, including 2 cans of tomatoes from our pantry (which needed to be used up anyways), some homemade jam, 5 eggs, and a few other items. So thankful we have plenty to share!
    *I made a batch of Oatmeal Jam Bars (recipe link: http://www.swankyrecipes.com/strawberry-oatmeal-jam-bars.html). The recipe called for a specific type of jam/fruit spread. I substituted a 1/2 pint jar of homemade, low sugar bumbleberry jam instead. They tasted good! The bars will be used for DD’s school lunches and my work lunches this coming week. Any leftover are up for grabs! (note: I no longer buy packaged cookies, granola bars or any other prepackaged treats for lunches. I make them each week instead).
    *I repaired another broken hook on one of my bras. The hooks often get damaged in the wash, but the bra is still in good condition.
    *Our friend “Dan the computer man” was able to retrieve the files from our old computer. He only charged me $25 for his service. Best $25 I’ve ever spent! DD and I watched some videos of her when she was 5 and 6 years old, as well as some she made herself around that age. Both of us had a really good laugh, sometimes hard enough for tears.
    *DD was invited to a birthday party. She used her own money to buy a gift for her friend. I also gave her a movie pass I had that I could not use for DD (she was too old), but the brthday girl was still young enough to use. DD went to the movies with the birthday girl after the party and used my mom’s scene points to get in for free. It was lovely to see DD so happy.
    *We shopped for the birthday gift on Black Friday, which gave me the opportunity to do some detective work on what DD might want for Christmas (she’s quite vocal on what she likes when shopping for others). She even made an off-handed comment about really missing the Kernels popcorn her old school used to sell as a fundraiser as they had a particular flavour she really liked. Hubby and I had already planned to go Christmas shopping later that day. We, of course, bought a few items DD had pointed out, incuding her favourite popcorn seasoning to put in her stocking. That will definitely be a nice surprise!

    I’m still working my way through the comments, but I enjoy reading them each day. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  40. How interesting on the clothes rations! I hope you share more as time goes by. I love hearing stories about how people made do and even modern stories of people replicating the experience.

  41. Hello all! Not much in way of frugal accomplishments other than Black Friday shopping. I had a specific list of items that I needed and that was all I bought. No impulse purchases. No “oh, it’s a great deal so I need it” purchase. I bought a 6 piece comforter set for 29.99. (Mine is 10 years old and starting to wear thin). Some perfume that was regularly 40.00. The Black Friday price was 2/25 so I split it with my daughter-in-law. And two new bras for 14.99 each, regularly 38.00 each. Belk’s had a five piece luggage set for 39.99 and I was super excited about that until I saw how small the luggage was. I left it. It was still a good buy but would not cover my needs at all, so it would have not been a frugal purchase for us. My luggage is a wedding gift of 25 years and while it has been excellent luggage, it needs to be replaced, so I will continue searching. We have no trips planned until March, and that will be for our 25th wedding anniversary, so I have time to look.

    Battling illness right now. Thankfully, I have insurance and I only had to pay 28.00 out of pocket for the visit and the antibiotic.

    That’s it for this week! Everyone have a wonderful week.

  42. The flower is beautiful. We are still looking for a home to buy. We did drive bys 3 (we drive by because there is no sense having the realtor show us the house if the land isn’t how we want or the neighbor’s house is real close) on the way to Hubby’s parents. I mended a dog toy twice. Hubby darned 2 set of socks.We ate from the pantry except once. I replaced my daughter’s and my crock pots that died at Tday dinner on cyber Monday for the same price as 1 with the sale between my discounts and the sale. I process extra turkey #1 and started extra turkey #2 which will be canned today. Extra turkey #3 will be roasted (using Brandy’s method)today. I added 2 meals of beef roast for noodles/frittatas etc, 4 meal of sliced beef roast and 6 meals of sliced ham to the freezers from meat I have cooked.We made a menu based on the pantry and are going to try to stick to it since Hubby retires Friday.I found if I plan a loose menu we will not even think of eating out. SCORE. I didn’t use the last Aldi’s coupon(buy $35 get $5 off). Didn’t really need anything except milk and it’s not worth the gas money spent to go for milk and add enough to use the coupon. We used what Christmas lights we had instead of buying new to replace the ones that didn’t work any more. http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2017/11/frugal-buys-and-menu.html

  43. I went to purchase a book at a used bookstore. My mom had credit at the store and told me to use it so I got the book for free.

    While we were out we debated going to lunch but instead went home and made fried rice with leftovers from dinner. Yummy and frugal.

    I was given turkey bones from 2 families along with 3 bags of turkey meat. I was also given a ham bone that still has a lot of meat on it. All of this will go into the freezer. I did take some turkey and turkey stock and made a lemon turkey orzo soup with it.

    I bought a few things online during Black Friday but did not go to any of the stores as I normally do. I had been eyeing some of the items for a while so happy to save over 50%.

    My husband found a deal on a tv- ours fried during a recent storm. We decided that we are getting by with what we have and don’t need a new tv right now.

    We had a friend come walk the dogs while we went to a wedding. We’ve walked his dogs before so it was a great free trade.

    I would love some new Christmas decorations but I’m Using what I have in different ways for now.

  44. Lisa, it was wise of your son to pay off his student loan instead of letting the interest build up. It was probably your encouragement that helped him to decide. Good job.

    I do not mind any of my sons living here as long as they are working and saving for something important. Reese saved almost all of his salary from his internship even though he was completely supporting himself. He had no cable TV, internet, fancy cell phone (TracFone), cooked for himself and took his lunch to work. Dustin has managed to make it through 6 years of engineering college (VERY HARD CLASSES) without any debt. Well, no debt to anyone but his Dad. And Joshua is staying with Nana and is helping her. As long as each one is trying, I will help. The day they start blowing their money and living off of us, they are OUT.

    Jeannie @GetMeToTheCountry

  45. Flex Seal! I will tell Bill so he can buy it. I don’t know what he used. It was what we had in the garage from when the roof leaked around the chimney a few years ago. He tried to buy new shingles but they would only sell them in a packet and Bill only wanted 4 so he walked away.
    Thanks for the tip.
    Jeannie @GetMeToTheCountry

  46. Brandy, I noticed oatmeal is on your breakfast menu. How do you make it? Mine always seems to turn out kind of thick and has the texture of glue.

  47. You can always add more water if you like a thinner oatmeal. We no longer measure other than to measure 2 cups of oats to a certain line in the pan for water 🙂 I don’t know how much it is, but it’s much more water than it says on the package, as I like it thinner.

  48. We had a really good week, frugally speaking. Probably the most biggest surprise was the smoked turkey we were given after Thanksgiving. It was such a nice treat, especially since we didn’t host Thanksgiving. We’re looking forward to turkey and cheese quesadillas tonight with roasted veggies. We’ll have turkey enchiladas and turkey soup next week.

    It was also wonderful pulling out our Christmas decorations and seeing the boys’ faces light up when the lights were plugged in and the ornaments were unwrapped. Little man loved unwrapping ornaments, saying it was like tiny presents. It was so nice to revisit cherished things, and to know that we save money by using the same decorations each year.

    Check out the rest of our frugal accomplishments here:
    https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2017/11/frugal-accompilshments.html?_sm_au_=isVK7kF0LKRRZWZQ

  49. I signed my [home schooled] daughter up for three college classes at our local community college. If approved by the school district, they will be paid 100% including books. This will bring her total college credits to 18 that we will have gotten for free. She is our fourth child and this has helped with overall tuition expenses over the years! Our two oldest kids also began college classes while in high school and graduated a year early with their bachelors degrees.
    We decorated my husband’s store front windows at his office with things we had on hand: a Christmas tree I purchased from Salvation Army a few years ago, a postage stamp quilt I bought from a garage sale for $5 for the tree skirt, wrapped boxes for presents with brown paper and bakers twine, an old fashioned sled I picked up at Goodwill after Christmas a couple of years ago. The other window was a cozy book reading nook theme. We used a leather chair that was in my husband’s office, a cozy throw, vintage books on a small table, coffee mug with his company’s name on it.
    I made a couple of outdoor pots using flower pots that still had soil in them from summer. I cut spruce tips, pine branches, curly willow and red dogwood from around our property. I did this last year too adding some artificial berries for color to a hanging basket and hung it outside my dad’s window at the nursing home he lives at, on a shepherd’s hook. It gave him something to look at.
    I listed 12 sweaters on eBay that were my sons’. They were in excellent used condition and were either too small or just not wanted anymore. I priced most of them at $10 + shipping. Most weigh under one pound so I used First Class shipping as the option. I mail them in a poly bag so packaging doesn’t add any weight. Two have already sold and I have made $30 this week.
    I cut my husband’s and son’s hair.

  50. We traveled to our daughter’s for Thanksgiving, a 6 hour trip. We took Christmas gifts for them and treated the grandkids to a movie and Painting with a Twist. We also went to see the lights in old St. Augustine. Beautiful!! So the trip was an expense.
    Yesterday I visited a Goodwill outlet. My first time there. Clothing is $1.79 a lb. I bought a nice pair of jeans for myself, a cardigan for my daughter, a nice blue towel with a white scalloped edge, some vintage print Christmas wrapping paper, and two baskets for organizing my craft table, and a table runner with a fish/sea theme to cross stitch. It will be a Christmas gift for our daughter for next year. I spent $5.78. I will definitely go back! Everything was in bins, so you have to dig, but better deals than the regular Goodwill stores.
    My husband and I are revisiting the idea of becoming a one car family. I sell Avon part time, but I can pass out books and deliver orders once or twice a week. I’ll just have to take my husband to work. We will keep our van and sell our truck and maybe the motorcycle. Lots of savings by not paying for gas, insurance, oil changes and repairs on a second vehicle.
    They just opened a Luckys market here. I went just to check it out. I thought the organic frozen veggies were a good deal, and the meat looked like it was a decent price. But that was about it.

  51. Hi Laurie,
    Not sure where in Arizona you live, but American discount foods, in Phoenix, is selling boneless skinless chicken breasts for about $0.75 a pound. The box is 40 lbs, and all the breasts come frozen together. When I bought them two years ago I thawed the block out in the fridge then rebagged and refroze and they last us almost two years!

  52. So glad you are recovering well – definitely an eventful week! 🙂 Sounds like your family really pulled together for the holiday to help. I’m sure your husband is thrilled you are back home and doing well. Hope you both get plenty of rest; very necessary for your recovery and his peace of mind.

  53. Jennifer that is an amazing way of repurposing cranberry relish. I didn’t make it this year as most of it goes to waste after the holiday is over. Now it has a purpose and I will be making it again. Would be great in a loaf of bread!!

  54. Momsav, $16,000.00 saved on interest by your son! You win the gold star for best savings performance for the week.
    Jeannie @ GetMetoTheCountry

  55. Jeannie – put it out there that you are in need of just a few shingles – many, many people have the leftovers from roofing their house stashed away. Maybe try Craigslist as well?

  56. Carin,

    What type of oatmeal are you cooking – instant, quick, traditional rolled, or steel cut? How long to cook them depends on the type, and you may be cooking them too long for the type. The longer you cook, the “gluier” they get, in my experience. We usually use traditional or steel cut rather than the instant or quick, which I do not care for the texture of.

    Lea

  57. I bought 3 turkeys at .48/lb. Each one required an additional $30.00 purchase to get that price, so I took advantage of sales to stock up on pasta, flour, sugar, eggs, socks and underwear. The only black friday shopping I did was at Joanns, Simplicity pattern were 1.00 each, so I was able to get a few more I had been wanting, along with some flannel for baby blankets, fleece for pajama pants, an some cotton blends for me- all the fabric was 70% off, along with DMC floss at 32 cents each. I found black dress pants and shoes for my son (he needs these for his band uniform) at the thrift store on 25% off Monday.

    Combined with items I already have, Christmas shopping is done, the pantry is well stocked, so I don’t anticipate buying much (except some produce) until the ham goes on sale around Christmas.

  58. This week went to local salvation army store.I was able to find shoes for 2 dollar a pair look it up on online. They retail for 120, I also found a pair of slippers for a dollar and they retail for 90. Was able to pay off my daughter braces. My hubby got a deer we able to cut it up and package it ourselves. My hubby found bushel of tomatoes for 8. He bought 2. I was able to can salsa and tomato sauce which i froze.

  59. Wow! I’m impressed, Lili! Good going on the gifts! (And, the grocery loot!) I cannot get into the swagbucks thing so I live vicariously through everyone here!

  60. Settled back into our routine after Thanksgiving. Here are a few of our accomplishments:
    -Cashed in my coin jar and added the $17.00 to my Anniversary Fund.
    -Reused envelopes to send in refunds.
    -Ordered some invitations on Cyper Monday saving offer.
    -Save $75 on natural gas bill when I questioned a mathematical mistake. (So glad I kept notes and recalculated)
    -Clip and use parsley that I brought in and set on sunny window sill.
    -Decided to test bake cupcakes for a potluck that I will share at, if they turn out, use for a shower rather than ordering a cake. I am going to practice piping on the frosting.
    -Cut a tree for Outdoor decorating from our woods rather than purchase.
    -Repaired knit gloves when they got snagged.
    -Working on creating one Christmas gift this week.
    -Ate meals in and took a fruit snack when we ran errands.
    -Got a free wall calendar at our bank and account ledgers for check book.

  61. The window display sounds wonderful. There is nothing that puts me in the Christmas spirit faster than seeing someone make this kind of effort.

  62. Don’t you just love it that your DD points out things she would love to receive! This takes so much pain out of trying to decide on exactly the right gift. I am glad to see her bounce back from her difficult start to the school year. She has so many successes and it is hard that it is not always smooth sailing for her.

    These oatmeal jam bars sound perfect for me. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but it is nice to have something to satisfy the cravings when they come.

  63. It has been a while since I posted but these are the things that have been happening in my house for the last few weeks:
    *We are gifting a senior citizen in our community with Christmas this year (adopted through a community agency). I have many things in my pantry and gift closets to share and was able to purchase a nice lipstick set for $1 through CVS (the colors are neutral so I think anyone could use it). I’m creating a few gift bags: “From the Kitchen” will be canned goods, giving some laundry detergent and some soap, lotion, etc. My oop cost has been to purchase a $2 bag of Christmas candy basically. I’m glad to be able to do this and hope she will enjoy it.
    *Made Muffin mix from things in my pantry. This makes mornings so much easier…my own “packaged meal”.
    *Purchased almost a year supply of diced tomatoes at a bargain price.
    *Took family backpacking trip and camped. Only cost was gas to drive 2 hours.
    *Purchased Zaycon chicken order. It is enough meat to last 6-8 months and I’ve always been pleased with quality. I purchased during one of their sales so got a great price as well (better than I can do in grocery store)
    *Adjusted tax withholding and will receive $120 extra in my check each month now! I feel comfortable doing this as my hubby is still not working regularly. I will revisit it once he has more money coming in so that we don’t withhold too little.
    *My DH did pick up some new work (he is self-employed); used that check to build back up a little emergency fund
    *I’ve been taking advantage of sales to re-stock my pantry
    *My DH & I received our flu shots at Publix and each received a $10 gift card as part of their promotion. Our health insurance paid for the shot. It was the first time I’ve ever been “Paid” to get a shot! I hope to avoid the flu (I had it earlier this year and have never been so sick; don’t want a repeat of THAT experience).
    *My husband and I sat down and had a very honest conversation about our budget. We got back to the same page on some things and we have adjusted our budget to more accurately reflect our current situation. It was a hard conversation but I feel like we are now walking down the same path and our budget is more realistic. Maybe there isn’t as much money as we would like in some categories, but we know where we stand..and how to allocate going forward.
    *Took advantage of free items at CVS and Kroger; saving these for stocking stuffers

  64. Thank you for sharing the Kindle book. I just went and got it too! That’s an interesting concept of using clothing ration points. Both a book I’m reading and a series I’m watching are in the time of rationing.

  65. Check your local public library to see if they provide Hoopla Digital to patrons. If so, Hoopla has Great Courses that can be downloaded to a device for up to a month and they’re free!

  66. We didn’t achieve any mind-blowing goals last week but felt very accomplished nonetheless. 🙂

    [list]
    I worked an extra 10 hours and car-pooled to work once. One day, our work load was so busy that I convinced my manager to pay the meal break. I’m quite proud of this as I often have difficulties to speak up and ask for things like this.
    [/list]

    [list]
    All meals were made at home and I even convinced myself to prepare dinner one day ahead when we had a full day planned. This avoided the temptation to buy fast food. Work lunches consisted either of leftovers, sandwiches or random bits like tuna and instant noodles. We froze some leftovers that we couldn’t eat in time.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We only turned the air-conditioner on for one afternoon.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I took some time to work out our monthly summer menu and coordinating shopping list. We repeat this menu for around four months and then change it up. It puts shopping and cooking on autopilot and both my husband and I have come to love this system.
    [/list]

    [list]
    Whenever possible/ necessary, I combined errands and made sure to take my water bottle and snacks.
    [/list]

    [list]
    This week, we received two bananas from someone at my work and an outdoor chair and a drying rack from my SIL.
    [/list]

    [list]
    It rained heavily a few times during the week so we only watered from our rainwater tank once.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I FINALLY deep-cleaned the oven and stove with bicarb and vinegar. This has been on my list since August…
    [/list]

    [list]
    I made yoghurt in the slow cooker and dried some homegrown rosemary in the oven while it was already on for dinner.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I picked up free broad beans and oranges from the local produce carts.
    [/list]

    [list]
    Our grocery store deducted $10 off our monthly grocery shop as we had earned enough loyalty points. I went shopping two days earlier than planned as they were running a special promotion which earned me enough loyalty points to receive $10 off next time aswell.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I bought the last two Christmas gifts on my list on special and also bought a cheap birthday card. I refuse to pay more than $1 on these as they get thrown out anyway. Luckily, we have found a few shops over the years that sell cheap cards that are still beautiful.
    [/list]

    [list]
    My husband’s family celebrated Christmas early due to one of his uncles being very sick. We contributed a fruit and vegetable platter which we arranged ourselves rather than paying for a a pre-made one. There were enough leftovers to make fruit salad for work snacks for the whole week and for one vegetable lunch. We gave out Christmas cards with some of our wedding photos attached. We made sure that each family got at least one photo of themselves at our wedding and everyone liked their little present. One family gave us a really nice box of chocolates.
    [/list]

    [list]
    My family has started to send parcels from overseas for Christmas and they always make sure we have enough sweets to last us to Easter. 😀 It’s a treat we look forward to every year and it stops them from gifting unnecessary clutter.
    [/list]

    Seeing our accomplishments written down each week helps me realize how much we actually achieve. Thank you Brandy for providing this platform and everyone else for their valuable contributions.

  67. Melissa V.: Can you tell me what you do to turn hotel soaps into hand soap? I tried grating and putting in water but it lumps up. Any suggestions would be most appreciated as my husband travelled a lot for work so we have literally dozens upon dozens of those little bars. Thanks in advance.

  68. I love the sound of the Christmas displays you did at your husbands business. I have just been reading in Country Living magazine (UK) about a village in Yorkshire called Askrigg that puts on an advent display throughout December. 24 windows are decorated by villagers and one is revealed and lit up every day culminating in the Christmas Eve window at the church. It looks gloriously homemade and magical and brings the community together. I think you can view the magazine online if you’re interested.

  69. The bars are not very sweet either. So they may be a nice treat for you to try, Elizabeth!

    I’m very happy DD is doing better. It’s not perfect, but she’s definitely more her typical herself lately…challenging on the best of days

  70. I second the homemade belly band. I bought 1 to use as a sample to size up, but then made several of my own. You can also make the liners out of several layers of flannel, but the purchased washable liners aren’t very pricey.

  71. I was away for the week at Thanksgiving so partially frugal. I paid for my dog sitter, but they are cheaper than a kennel for 3 large dogs, 2 cats (that hate each other), and a flock of chickens.
    I drove the 18 hours (1 way) with my mother and her friend in their car. I did all of the driving. They refused gas money, or to let me pay for meals, or the overnight at the hotel. They also paid for my flight home.
    We stayed part of the week at my sisters house. She refuses money, or attempts at buying groceries, but gratefully accepts dish washing, cooking and wine, so I did both and bought her several nice bottles. I did sneak in a nice cheese plate that was gratefully enjoyed by all.
    I did some Black Friday shopping, as lighter clothes were massively marked down, and New Jersey has no sales tax on clothing. My cousin had a Macy’s card and that got us an additional 20% off plus another coupon for $25 off, so we put the items on her card and I gave her cash. I managed to pick up 6 new dresses, socks, and a pair of shoes for a little over $100.
    We found a shop going out of business and bought several baby items at 70% off the already clearance prices. As my brother and a cousin are both expecting little girls this spring/ summer we were able to buy clothes that will fit them at 3 months and 6 months at greatly discounted prices. Found 2 Halloween onsies for $.97! Too cute!
    Before I left, I bought 2 – 23 lb turkeys at $.49 lb. I will roast them at Christmas.

    I think I’m going to get an instant pot for my mother. She mentioned it several times this week. I wills start looking for a good price. Any suggestions?

  72. I just purchased “David Carr glover” piano books for $52 for 10 books to teach my girls piano. I’m going to do it myself although I only had 2.5 years of lessons as a child. I can read notes very slowly and play a book of Christmas carols. That’s about it! The girls are 3 years and 20 months. I will be learning with them!
    I’m on a no-spend grocery budget until 2018 as all my paychecks ate budgeted to go towards mortgage.
    I’m almost done Christmas shopping. Just maybe another $50 to buys gifts for my parents.
    Frugal things I’ve done include finding a ham for $1.48/lb marked down. I’m not sure if this is good price or not but it sure seemed good! It was maple cured and spiral cut so was super easy to cut off the bone and make sandwiches. It was precooked so I just cooked it for 2 hrs.
    I have 2 turkeys to roast sometime.
    I have been staying home and avoided black Friday. My sister got me a $7 crockpot for when mine stops working.
    Other than the usual, I’m just trying to get back to cooking from the pantry. We have 4 Christmases to attend in December so I’m not worried about running out of food at all!! I’m more worried about my weight gain of 3 lbs the last few months.

  73. I use boiling water after grating them up as well as add just a touch of Dawn dish soap. I also use my immersion blender on it. If it has sat for a bit it can get too thick so I just add a bit more hot water to it and shake it up really well.

  74. My husband has a Christmas wreath business where he makes fresh Christmas wreaths and ships them all over the U.S. and also sells locally. He does this in addition to his full time job and my full time job. Needless to say, this is a really busy time of year for us. There has been many times when we both felt too tired to cook but we did not give in to temptation and get take-out. Last night was one of those nights- we ended up having soup and sandwich- not the greatest dinner in the world but it filled us up and we didn’t spend needlessly. I view this as our biggest frugal win this week.
    I have two sisters and so the three of us agreed to pool our money and purchase our parents a new washer/dryer for Christmas. They really need a new set and are reluctant to spend the money themselves(they live on retirement funds only). I was a little worried about how much my contribution might be. My one sister tends to spend more freely than I do. I had been fretting over this for awhile so finally called my sister to discuss the matter and to my surprise, she was on the same page as me and we used sales/coupons to keep the cost even lower than I was hoping for! This really helped keep my Christmas budget in check.
    This year more than ever before, I am finding it very difficult to stay within my budget-everything seems to cost so much and sales here are really not sales at all. They mark up the price and then put it on sale so it ends up costing the same as it originally did- no sale to me! I was getting very depressed about the situation. I have since found some items that I could actually afford but oh the effort it takes to find something suitable at a price you can actually afford. I have not found on-line shopping to be much help at all. I know I live in one of the most expensive areas in the U.S. but it really hurts when it comes to Christmas shopping. I am doing some serious thinking on this matter and will have to make some drastic changes for next year. In past years, I have enjoyed shopping for each person on my list but this year there was no joy, just a lot of hard work. I think that is a sign that it is time to make some changes.

  75. Thanks, Jeannie, but it was all my son’s doing. He could’ve paid it off a few months earlier but he wanted to mail the last check with us in attendance. Since he’s such a HUGE Jimmie johns fan, my husband wrote to them about what he’s done and they sent him some souvenirs. My son kept a spread sheet on what the extra interest could have bought. He could have bought a LOT of Jimmie johns! Ha!

  76. Lorna–I look forward to reading your posts each week. We live in very different climates–I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. I enjoy reading about your garden harvests in our frozen winters! We are at the end of the supply chain so have to shop very carefully to save money and have adequate food available for the inevitable times when food is not available. Our normally high prices are either higher or not dropping to holiday lows. Next summer we will be planting differently because of this and we will shop in Anchorage when there on business trips. Celery grows well here and we will plant more to freeze for soups and stews this year. I especially enjoy hearing how your housing fund is growing but you make the most of your current situation. Also love hearing how you bless others with your excess.

  77. We took a road trip to Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, CO when a surgery for DH was cancelled or perhaps postponed.
    This beautiful part of the national park system is in the same geologic formation (the Colorado plateau) as Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands (all of which we have visited before.) We had sunny weather in the 50’s and 60’s. We stayed at a budget motel, took breakfast, snack and lunch food for picnics and ate out for 2 dinners. We really enjoyed the park, the hikes and the drive. We use hotels.com to make hotel reservations. I finished crocheting a baby blanket for a niece who is expecting in a few months while we drove.

    We used youtube to troubleshoot a chirping fire/radon detector, which was malfunctioning and had to be replaced. I also used youtube to find a “hack” for a zipper on a pair of jeans that wouldn’t stay up ( you take the ring from a small key ring, attach it to the tab on the zipper and put the ring in the button on the waistband of the jeans where the ring holds the zipper up but doesn’t show.)

  78. Hi, Brandy,
    I just wanted to pop on here to thank you for the Chicken Fried Steak recipe. It’s been a new favorite for months, now. I forget to mention it. Since we just finished dinner there was no excuse this time! It’s awesome! I use packets of the dried onion soup mix in place of the 1/4 cup dried onion; so good! I made a double batch so I could freeze two extra portions for another time. The gift that keeps on giving…

  79. We haven’t been doing so well with the budget lately. We’re in the stores more doing Christmas shopping and it’s leading to lots of impulse buys. And my husband bought several expensive tools this month, which I wasn’t completely happy about, but that’s another story.

    Anyway, we managed to buy all Christmas gifts within budget. I have also kept the grocery budget under by $77 for the month. I’m pretty proud of that.

    I got a free trial of Amazon Prime, so I finished my Christmas shopping online with free shipping to avoid temptation.

    It’s deer season right now where we live, so my husband and I have both been hunting. I shot a deer and that added about 25 lb of meat to our freezer.

    Hopefully, we’ll do better next month with the rest of our budget. I’m pretty disappointed as I was hoping to pay more on our mortgage this month. We’ve paid off almost 16% in about 7 months, but I was hoping for more because I know we can do better on our goal!

  80. Thank you for the idea! I will pass it on to my husband. I really hope we can put off roofing this house for a while.
    Jeannie

  81. Take some of the credit Momsav because he learned his money-saving habits from you! He knew you would be proud which is why he wanted to share mailing the check with you.
    Way to go!
    Jeannie

  82. The last minute cookie emergency made me smile. And I have the same philosophy, Margaret. My husband is welcome to prepare meat, but I do not. Impressive job on all those gifts for $11.50. I always enjoy reading your comments.

  83. I love reading about this busy time in your life! It takes me back to those hustle & bustle days of when my children were young. Life is very quiet and laid back now, and for the most part, I ain’t hating it, lol! I do miss being able to travel and other things we used to be able to do before my husband became disabled but, it’s a season. I’m learning to embrace it for what it is.
    I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving!
    My little list of frugal is here: http://tjssweethome.blogspot.com/2017/11/five-frugal-things-november-24-2017.html
    ~TJ

  84. Alaska Gram, I have had success in growing Afina Cutting celery deep into cold weather. It survived way longer than Utah Tall or any other kinds I have grown. Of course, my weather is WAY MILDER than yours so I am not sure if it would be much better.
    Jeannie @ GetMetoTheCountry

  85. That rose reminds me of the first pink rose we planted when we moved into our home twelve years ago. I don’t know what kind it is because it wasn’t tagged at the nursery, and it was the only one of its kind. I just HAD to have it though, because it’s full and cabbage-y and the fragrance is [i][b]dreamy[/b][/i]! Funny thing is, my husband and I love the scent but no one else (our kids mainly-I haven’t stuck one of the flowers in anyone else’s face & said “smell it!”, lol) can seem to smell the perfume.

  86. I too am eyeing the instant pots. The prices seem to vary quite a bit and I don’t know what a good price is or what features are important. I will continue to watch for comments before I decide.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  87. Momsav, I often buy things for my children on swagbucks. I bought college girl two pairs of shoes, we tried the dollar shave club that she loves. I signed up for trials of July and gamefly. I only do deals where I get my money back or make a profit. Then I use the gift cards I order to replace the cash I spent on the deal. There is always stuff at Wal-Mart or Amazon that I can use my gift cards on instead of my alloted amount of cash. The cats have to have food and it doesn’t much matter where I get it from. My best deal was a Honest co deal. I bought a package of 5 shampoos and got 5 free the next month. I got 30 dollars back in swagbucks. My out of pocket was 10 dollars. This product sells for 10 – 12 dollars a bottle. That made mine1 dollar a bottle. Try googling tips for swagbucks. There are a bunch of pages/Facebook dedicated to how to maximize your swag. I just bought puppy a barkbox for 5 dollars and collected 30 dollars in swagbucks. I keep a separate debit card for all online transactions and extremely careful to cancel any memberships that I am not interested in keeping. I hope you find a way to getmore. Even 10 or 15 dollars a month can help.

  88. Interlibrary loan is a wonderful thing, if there are books you want that your local library doesn’t have. Rereading favorites is always a pleasure, too.

  89. Jessica, Don’t be too hard on yourself. We’ve all been there, done that. Get back on the horse. Next time will be better. If not, get back on again. It’s never a straight line. It sounds to me like you’re doing a fabulous job! 16% is huge!

  90. Kim Heller My dad (age 90) and my grandkids (twenties and teens ) suggested gift cards of one of their favorite places I didn’t want to give cash. I ask for 3 of their favorite places to either eat or shop and will get them one card. I am thinking of making cards that say positive things about each of them.

  91. I’ve had very good luck buying high quality luggage at TJ Maxx. I travel a lot for business so the rolling bags are put to the test!

  92. I had a decent enough week but am feeling cautious with spending just now. We had a pretty good year overall and made a lot of headway but it feels like we’re spending a lot lately. I get this way every holiday though…and we’re not overspending, it’s what we budgeted for, but it just feels heavy due to house insurance and taxes coming in at the same time. I found new health care program and will pay a little less than last year. We have all of the major Christmas stuff done. I just need little bits to put in shoe boxes for the kids. We had a lot of people here for Thanksgiving and enjoyed ourselves immensely and were terribly glad to see them come and go, lol. I’ve been working steadily at stocking the pantry once more and have been blessed to find pineapple in natural juice on sale at several stores for 99c a 20 ounce can. This is one fruit we seem to go through a lot of and $1 has been my set price. I found whole wheat pasta for 88c on markdown. That was another add to the pantry item. My oldest son has been moved back to the east coast of Georgia from California. My youngest son is buying the property next door to me and he and his family will move here next year. My oldest daughter just graduated cosmetology school. My youngest daughter is finding new medications very helpful in managing her depression. I took on a very part time job helping my daughter in law with her at home sales products line and earned my first check this week. So all in all a grand week!

  93. Here in Ohio we can pay our property taxes monthly. We aren’t penalized if we miss a payment. Perhaps they have that where you live. You might try calling your tax office to find out. It really takes the sting out of the bill by paying it monthly.

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