Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Half of October

I read three library e-books that I requested months ago. I had to wait my turn, but they were well worth it!

I harvested pears, pomegranates, chives, and mint from the garden.

We gave a son a haircut.

I spoke with Winter at college using the free Duo app.

I made several meatless meals, including chili and black bean soup, which we had over several days. I cooked a chicken one day and made chicken noodle soup another day.

My husband fixed our dryer. It took a while for him to be able to work on it, because in order to get to it to take it apart, he needed to move the washer. He went to shut the water off, and the handle broke off in his hand. It had disintegrated! We then found out that our new neighbors had the same problem when they moved in a month ago–but they had a huge water leak when that happened. We are so thankful to have not had a water leak along with this! The water box is actually drywalled into the wall, so it had to be cut out. My husband has replaced the drywall and will sand and retexture this week. We had to have a plumber in to fix the water issue–it took over a week and a half just to get someone in, but we are thankful that we didn’t have to shut the water off all that time while waiting. I guess the handles have been through their lifespan in our neighborhood! (I do remember everyone in the neighborhood replacing water heaters within a few months of each other a few years back!)

This was by far our largest savings, as a new dryer would have been around $700.

My brother came to visit as a surprise for my mother’s birthday. He brought us two huge bags of pomegranates from his own tree. We’ll enjoy both his and ours over the coming weeks.

I purchased bone-in chicken thighs on sale for $0.88 a pound. I also purchased cream cheese on sale for $0.98 a package (I bought 36 packages). These are both stock-up prices for me.

I purchased 6-packs of violas to plant in the garden at the local nursery, rather than purchase individual 4-inch pots, which they also sell. The smaller plants grow quickly enough. Violas (as well as pansies) grow and flower from October through April here, so I’ll be able to enjoy them for a long time. The prices at the local nursery are considerably cheaper than Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart (about $1 to $2 less per 6-pack).

My eldest son picked up some books for himself and for us at the thrift store where he works and used his employee discount. He usually rides the bus home, but he had quite a few books, so my husband picked him up. While there, my husband found a shirt for himself.

What did you do to save money the past two weeks?

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163 Comments

  1. Hi Brandy!
    I’m so glad you posted this week.
    I also cooked a chicken. I bought it for 68 cents a lb. We enjoyed that and today I am going to boil the bones, pick off the chicken and either make chicken and dumpling or chicken and rice soup with veggies too.
    We borrowed books and movies from the library.
    Went to a couple mobile food pantries for fruit and veggies.
    Made more payment plans for medical bills.
    My husband is working a day of overtime a week to help pay bills i’m glad he enjoys his job
    Learned that beans are good for diabetics which is good because I enjoy them and they are cheap.
    Enjoying sunsets in Kansas.

    1. Hi Tammy,

      I woke up to an incredible sunrise the other day! Got an email from a neighbour saying how lovely it was! Glad you can get veggies and fruit. I’ve often thought that with the cost of food here we should have a subsidized minimum amount to spend just on fruit and veggies here.

      It sounds like you have everything under control — more than I can say for myself (see post). Ann

      1. Hi Ann,
        Food is getting expensive here too. . It is nice to have a mobile food pantry to go to. Glad you enjoyed a sunrise. It sounds like you have been very busy with your book. Hope you are well.

  2. As we have a short growing season, I am still visiting my local farmer’s market and canning just about anything I can get for cheap or free. I finished hot sauce, apple sauce, apple rosemary jam and pickled beets this week. I also changed my method of labeling jars so I can hopefully reduce waste. I found a small box of jars from our move and had to trash them unfortunately.
    My mom fell and broke her femur. I am currently staying several hours a day with her so I am crocheting dish clothes, and doing stitching to fill up any time that I have over there. I also canned one of the days last week there. I sorted through some old sheets and made rags, thrifted and repurposed from them.
    My sister gave us old beer that I plan to use for the garden. She also gave me some assorted gorceries she didn’t like. It can be hard to live by yourself and try new things.
    My brother gave me a bale of hay in exchange for some spicy mustard and a promise of strawberries next year.
    I read 2 books from the library and picked up a free recipe book.

  3. Wow, that’s quite a saga with the dryer! It’s good you’ve got that behind you, with all the laundry you have to do. I’m still harvesting from the garden, including eggplant, tromboncino squash, peppers, tomatoes, lima beans, kale, pumpkins and a fig. We had a big firewood day on Saturday, bringing home 3 pick up and 2 trailer loads home, offered to us by friends. We should be able to get the remainder within a half a day, then on to the next friend who has offered firewood. It’s been an unusual year, to have several offers of free firewood, and such a blessing to us. I tried using my homemade soap as shampoo, which worked just fine. I’m so happy to see your post, and look forward to seeing what everyone else is up to. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-late-october-garden-frugal.html

  4. I bought two small packs of my favorite coffee at a deep discount, and maple syrup that was on sale. I’ll use the maple syrup on pancakes and oatmeal as a treat at Christmastime.

    An unexpected expense was taking a cat to the vet. Once he was there, he showed no signs of any pain or discomfort, but he enjoyed the visit, once he got out of his carrier. He let everyone poke and prod him, and then explored the examining room. He seems to be feeling a little better at home, so I hope he is on the mend without a diagnosis. Otherwise, he will go back for tests. It was a relief to have my emergency fund topped up, so I didn’t have to worry about how to pay for the vet visit or the cost of tests or treatment he might need.

    I have had a bad tooth infection this week. I was glad to have applied for the Alberta Seniors Benefit, since the dental insurance covered all but $2.90 of the dentist’s fee. My free Seniors Blue Cross paid 70% of the cost of the antibiotics.

    Two antibiotics were prescribed, one of which is taken four times a day without food. This means there is quite a bit of time each day when I can’t eat snacks. I also haven’t been able to eat any crunchy snacks or drink any alcohol. This is all very good for keeping to a healthy eating plan, and saving money on food. I did indulge in a big mug of hot chocolate, using my own mix rather than a store-bought one. Really very good and comforting at the end of a difficult week.

    I am expecting a copy of the Lemonaid Guide to New and Used Cars, which I ordered from Amazon. I want to start researching used cars, since the days of my current car may be numbered.

    The last couple of days have been snowy, and the weather has turned to winter temperatures. It always takes some getting used to. I’m not there yet.

    1. Hi Elizabeth M.
      I’m not sure where you are in Alberta but just thought I’d mention that with a Calgary public library card you can access things like Consumer reports for free. The Alberta Seniors Benefit is great — I used it in the past but went slightly over the income limit so cannot do so now. Still with the eyeglass benefit and my private insurance it meant I paid nothing for my $400 multifocals from Bon Look. When I hit my face on the wall (an accident a couple of months ago), my glasses survived so I was relieved. My head survived too — even luckier! Ann

      1. Thanks, Ann. I can get Consumer Reports and other reference materials for major purchases at my local library, which has some and can order others in. For buying a car, I can take quite a long time to do this, and carry this particular book even when I’m shopping for the car. I’ve been known to ask the sales rep for a minute to check what it says about the model and year! So, it’s better for me to have my own copy that I don’t worry about keeping it in pristine condition.

        You sound like you have had some adventures lately. Stay safe!

        Elizabeth

  5. You are back! I missed you and this community and was hoping all was well with you. The story of the dryer repair made me think of “If you give a mouse a cookie….!” So glad there were no water leaks. Water seems so innocuous but can do so much damage. The red in the pomegranates is jewel-like.

    My biggest frugal wins these past two weeks are:

    • Hung all loads of laundry out to dry – I haven’t used my dryer since 1 August!
    • My October electric bill showed usage dropped 44% versus last year! Not using the clothes dryer at all and keeping the heat off is making a big difference. The inside of my house has been as low as 59 degrees in the morning but I’m trying to make it to 1 November before turning on the heat.
    • I took advantage of a grocery store offer to buy a $50 gift card to one of five select stores and get a $10 coupon for groceries to use the upcoming week. I bought my son a Cabela’s card for Christmas.
    • Bought cheese and dish washing liquid in bulk which were on a stock-up price.
    • I carpooled to a volunteer meeting which was an hour away
    • I’m trying something new and made a meal plan for the entire month of November. We’ll see how it goes! I didn’t plan by day but instead a list of meals based on what I have on hand, what I anticipate will be in season and on sale, and favorite meals. I then made a rough list of what we will need.
    • Patched my asphalt driveway with a special product and it worked really well. Hopefully the patches will hold through the snowy winter.
    • Borrowed an extra pan from my neighbor rather than buying a new one. I was baking to help cater an event.
    • All meals made from scratch and eaten at home included: spaghetti carbonara to use up egg yolks leftover from baking for the catering event, oatmeal with flax seed and fruit I froze during the summer, chicken with lemon and capers with asparagus, cream of asparagus soup, broccoli, cheese and wild rice casserole, rice pudding with apples and raisins, fried rice with ham and lots of veggies, beef ramen, and spanakopita
    • Posted 12 items on EBay and made profit of $13.49 selling two. Relisted the items that didn’t sell.
    • listened to several audiobooks for free on hoopla

    1. I am interested in what you used to patch the asphalt driveway. I will have to do the same once the dandelions growing in my new driveway are killed off.

  6. Glad to hear that your dryer has been fixed and a potential water leak averted. Those are the best frugal accomplishments!

    The grill (free to us and repainted) at our cabin where my son stays needs replacing. As the oven /stove in the cabin died, the grill is primary for cooking. My very thrifty son found a better replacement that he can use indoors (a stainless steel cook top) and just keep the grill for the burner. He doesn’t cook all that much and has both a microwave and toaster oven to use as well. This allows us to keep to our cabin improvement schedule where we will put in a kitchenette someday and replace the outdoor grill for free or less than buying new right now.

    Dehydrated, froze and cooked with free peppers. Replenished rolls, Bagels, bananas and lettuce for free from the expired table. This week I did buy an on sale roast that was still a bit more than what I expected. I went to the grocery store for the second time in many months but the first time locally since July. My how prices have gone up. I just thought my family was not shopping as wisely as they could have for the little we have been buying, but it seems that is only part of the higher costs. Still making our way through the canned goods. Makes for some interesting meals.

    Heading in for my last treatment and am thankful to stay at my husband’s cousin’s condo for the night. Only one more trip expected in December for final tests to be sure I’m cured. Thank you for all the thought and prayers of this community.

    Blessings

    1. Trish! Final Treatment!! Hang in there my friend. You are almost done! Much love and grace to you and your family!
      Patricia/Fl

  7. Sold bag of ribbon for $15. My items on marketplace are at a standstill but I made my mom $70 in the last week and a half. She’s using this towards the kids Christmas (she gives them $30 each) so this is a sizable chunk she doesn’t have to take out of her social security check. Plus, it’s clearing out clutter we had put back for a yardsale. Hopefully, we move the rest of her items pretty quickly.

    Received 2 pairs of jeans for free. a size big but still wearable.

    Brought home several things my mom didn’t want….2 containers of fruit slices candy, box of snack cakes, 1/2 bag of potatoes, lots of snack cup jello, 3 marshmallow cream, 3 evaporated milk , 2 boxes mini can sprite, 3 pot pies.

    Used cups for free refills at amusement park, saving $16

    Waited until pumpkins were marked down to buy for carving, saving $1.25 each

    Saved pumpkin seeds for roasting

    Used a coupon for buy one get one admission to a volleyball game

    We’ve been staying home as much as possible, eating in, combining errands, and hubby is doing good taking coffee and breakfast with him in the mornings.

  8. How do you/will you use all those pomegranates? It’s not a fruit I have experience with other than using in fruit salads. Thanks.

    1. We mostly just eat them fresh! One of my daughters eats one every day and would have several a day if I let her (but then no one else would get one!) They are also delicious in desserts, as well as fruit salads. I like them on top of a green salad. They also are wonderful cooked over chicken.

  9. Those pomegranates are just bursting with juicy arils! Looks so delicious! And I’m glad that you were able to get your dryer fixed.

    My frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks:
    – I harvested basil from my balcony garden, and turned in into basil mayo (http://approachingfood.com/basil-mayo/) using the last of the container of high-end mayo I got free in a grocery promo earlier in the summer. Served with microwave potato chips (made from potatoes that I stocked up on in fall sales), it’s a frugal yet delicious treat, but on a slice of homemade white bread with homegrown tomatoes, it’s incredibly yummy! (And makes for a frugal sandwich, especially if you make your own mayo, grow your own tomatoes, and bake your own bread.)
    – My husband, my daughter, and I went on vacation last week, along with my parents and sister. We went to a beach in Florida, to be close to some of my husband’s relatives, and I tried to be frugal despite being on vacay. We rented a suite (and were able to wash our clothes in the suite), and made almost all of our meals, which definitely saved us money. I made up a menu ahead of time, to streamline shopping (and to avoid impulse grocery purchases). We used the resort bbq to have a family bbq one evening. We bought steaks to bbq, but that was still cheaper than eating out. We made easy meals, like my easy bean enchiladas (a 20 minute meal), BLTs, breakfast for dinner, etc. Meal planning in advance helped me to make sure that anything bought would be used up by the end of our stay. Ex., we bought bacon so I made blts one day and pancakes with bacon another day. Cheese and tortillas were two of the ingredients in my enchiladas and I turned the leftover tortillas and cheese into breakfast burritos, which also used up leftover steak. I packed reuseable water bottles and baby food bought on sale in Canada. Most of the time was spent with family and relatives on the actual beach, which was right outside our hotel, so I didn’t pay for any excursions (although some of my family members did). I reused some of my daughter’s bath toys (stacking cups) as beach toys (they’re easily sterilized). For gifts, we brought things like Canadian kid’s clothes (purchased from the sale rack), photobooks (purchased at a great price online), and maple syrup (purchased on sale). My husband and I sat through a timeshare presentation and got a gc which we used to rent cabanas on the beach for my parents and his relatives (as they’re a bit older and needed to sit in chairs as opposed to towels in the sand). We were also able to get discounted tickets for the excursions for family. I don’t know if I’ll be able to travel with my parents again, so I was very grateful to be able to do so this time, as well as meeting my husband’s relatives.
    – I used the leftover chicken from a dinner out with my husband, and turned it into chicken pot pie for my husband and daughter (I made mini pot pies for my daughter – sooooo cute). I used the broth that I had made previously from the bones, as part of the roux.
    – I turned a small pumpkin into baby food for my daughter, and saved some to make a pumpkin pie smoothie for myself.
    – I added a zipper to my daughter’s sun/water protection outfit, so that she can still wear it (it was tight to get on over her head – a design flaw, I think). I used a zipper that I had in my stash, and it matches perfectly.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded two dozen cupcakes for a S.A.D. lamp. I’m going to send it to a friend of mine, to help her combat the winter blues. I packaged the cupcakes in a box I saved from a purchase using the flash food app.
    – I picked green tomatoes and a few cuca-melons from my garden, as well as some morning glory seeds.
    – I made a batch of peanut butter and chocolate dessert squares. They are extremely fattening (and delicious!) so I gave a bunch away to friends/family.
    – I made another red wine & chocolate cake, to use up some red wine leftover from when guests came over several weeks ago. I still have enough to make one or two more cakes.
    – I made fudge (a variation of this recipe http://approachingfood.com/fruit-and-nut-chocolate-fudge-clusters/ – just no add-ins) using pantry ingredients.
    – I made a pizza (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/) to use up leftover bits from my fridge (the last bit of pasta sauce, which I thinned to stretch it, plus a few olives, and some grated cheese from the freezer).
    – I redeemed Air Miles for $10 in groceries (milk and cheese) from one store, and redeemed Optimuum points at another store for $20 in groceries (pop, pasta, dressing, mayo, pickles, veggies, and flour) for my daughter’s birthday party.
    – I got a prepaid $5 gc by submitting a grocery receipt online. I’ll use it towards groceries.
    – I used the FlashFoodApp (apparently now also available in some states!) to buy a package of turkey slices, a package of ground pork, and a package of vegetarian ‘chicken’ burgers, all for $9 Cdn.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Margaret – it’s so kind of you to send a S.A.D lamp to your friend. I have one which helps me through the low light levels of the British winter. Hope she finds it as useful as I do.

      1. I use a. Happy Lamp here during our long Wisconsin winters and find that it helps. I put it on the table as we do our homeschool. When we lived in California for 3 years, I was amazed at how well I felt year round. The sun shining all year really made a difference.

        1. My sister had one when she moved from NM to OH in the US. From over 300 days of sunshine to gloomy skies. She would put it on her desk and work and then place it so if she sat in a chair to read or watch TV it was on. It was like a regular lamp. She noticed a distinct difference. This was on the recommendation of her pre-doctoral advisor – sis was getting a PhD in psychology and was concerned about having a major depressive episode. This worked like a miracle.

        2. Hi Margaret
          I use it for at least half an hour every morning, as early as I can. An hour is even better. If you use them later in the day they disrupt your sleep pattern later on and you can’t get to sleep at the right time at night. You have to be close to them – I expect the manufacturers instructions can be found on the internet but mine needs to be within 15 inches of my face. I’m convinced it helps. Hope this is helpful for you and your friend.

    2. You know, Margaret, buying the right amount of groceries while on vacation was one of my biggest challenges during our recent vacation as well. I agree that eating in is so much cheaper, but I really, really didn’t want to buy a lot of extra and then throw it away. It sounds like you did great. I felt good about how we did, although I can always improve. There were just a few items left over at the end.

      1. Well, we tried not to waste, but there was a teeny little bit at the end.\, like half a container of cooking oil. Just not of things like ice cream! (I will sacrifice my waistline and eat that all!) Glad you were able to buy the right amount of groceries while in Hawaii. I know that they’re super-duper expensive over there!

  10. I read these posts quite often, but rarely comment. This week was a good week – my husband and son went to an Ox Roast for Order of the Arrow (actually they roasted a beef, but they used to roast an ox, so they name has stuck), and they were sent home with lots of leftover meat. It took us a little while to pick through it, sorting the fat from the good meat, but once we did, we had 3 larger bowls of meat. My son is doing low carb, and he ate some for lunch, and I made meat and brown gravy for dinner one night. That was not eaten all up, so the leftovers from that dinner, plus a large bag was vacuum packed and frozen for future meals. My husband bagged a deer on Friday, and that helped fill the freezer. The butcher he took it to is a friend of his and charged us $20 less than usual. This Friday we are going to stay a fancy resort in the next county over as I won a free night from our county library’s summer reading challenge. He also traded my daughter’s old car and his truck, both of which needed work, for a new-to-us work truck, requiring no money for the trade and lowering our insurance payment $50 a month. Other than that, it was just the usual of eating at home, reading library books or books I already own, and enjoying family time.

  11. I have been totally preoccupied with our book. We received information from the provincial archives that somewhat pulled the rug out from under the book — so three chapters now have to be rewritten because the premise we worked on is incorrect. Better to find out before it went to the printers.
    A friend had looked for one of the documents for about ten years; I had looked for another document for about a year. Then both turned up unexpectedly in the most unusual places. We had to write to one of our granting agencies to explain why there will be changes in the manuscript.

    I was so wrapped up in the rewriting that I absent-mindedly raced to the store for groceries before it was going to snow and I bought and spent more than planned. In the meantime, I hadn’t thought about the funds to get home. I was sitting outside waiting for my cab when I suddenly realized that I would have problems. I must have had a very curious expression or gasped slightly because a lady passing by asked if I were all right. I explained that I had just been calculating and realized I had a problem — whereupon she offered me a ride home but due to allergies (cats and dogs had been in the car) I had to decline and whereupon she handed me a twenty dollar bill for cab fare home. I asked her name and where I could drop off the $20 to repay her but she said not to worry about repaying. I googled her when I got home. She is a real estate agent so I will do something nice for her at Christmas. I was so touched I was very misty eyed as she left. Sometimes, often, the goodness of people amazes me. I will pay it forward, of course. Ann

      1. Thanks Tammy! I am getting better but still feel weak and still have sore throat problems. It’s the only time in my life that I have been caught so short. She was heaven-sent! How are you? Feeling better? I sure hope so!

    1. Ann, your story made me smile. Some days I feel that the world is just going downward so it’s just lovely to hear a story of someone helping out another.

    2. That was so sweet of the lady to help you out. What a kind thing to do for someone. I like to keep a bit of cash in my wallet that I call my “back up cash”. If I go over the amount I have for groceries, or have to pay cash for something I had planned to use interact for or any other type of emergency, I always have this cash to use, just in case. I realize money is tight for you right now. However, if you can swing keeping a $20 bill in your wallet as “back up cash” it might come in handy in the future.

      1. Hi Rhonda,

        Thanks for the advice. Usually I do have some back-up money in my wallet but I had forgotten to replenish it after having used it unexpectedly a while ago.

  12. I am so glad you were able to post this.week.
    The chimney damper fixer was a no-show. Now we’ll have to hire (after the busy season when he will give us the senior discount) another local chimney cleaner who also installs the type of damper we have with its “lifetime” warranty. He should know how to fix it. Sigh.
    I read the book $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America last night. I had been totally worrying about the impact my years of momcare are going to have on my retirement as I now realize that my social security check, after I deduct all the healthcare coverage I am going to have to purchase that my mother gets for just $35.34/month courtesy of my father’s employment that ended in 1973, won’t be any bigger than that of my 96-year-old mom–and I ate through my retirement account already. The book made me realise that my life could be so much worse. I don’t know if I had mentioned it earlier, but I had also read Living on Half a Dime a Day by Sarah Elizabeth Harper Monmouth earlier this month. I found it online so I could read it for free.
    To help with one of my health conditions (not serious, but irritating, literally), I found a long list of foods to eliminate from my diet on the Cleveland Clinic website. Of course, the foods on the list are my favorites and the current mainstays of my diet. It is going to be a big adjustment.
    Augason Farms had quite the sale over the weekend and I got five months of food for $150: One one-month bucket and 48 assorted pouches that combined are supposed to feed four people for one month. Cheap insurance. I need to review and organize what I have stored in the basement. I think I just need to add oil (to rotate!) and multiple vitamins to have enough food for two for a year. One less thing to worry about. I usually buy long-term food storage only when it is 75% off.
    I also bought two little bay laurel plants from Amazon.com. If they average two new leaves a month, I won’t have to buy bay leaves again for as long as they live I almost ordered an entire collection of herb plants from a Canadian nursery before shipping season shuts down for the winter. But.then I did the thrifty thing and reminded myself that I have seeds, pots, soil, and even some lights to try growing them myself from seeds with no more money spent. If I fail over the winter, I can always order plants from them in the spring.
    This is the week I also have to bring some of my mint and all of my summer flower bulbs indoors. We’ve had a hard freeze but the mint was in à sheltered spot and the bulbs are buried in pots so they are not frozen yet.
    Does anybody have suggestions for medical alert systems? I am not convinced my mom now could telephone 9-1-1 for help which makes me worry when I leave her for even short errands. I want her to be able to press a button on her wrist to talk to a human.
    Yippee! An Aldi is opening about 12 miles away from here next month. That’s about ten miles closer than the nearest.Aldi has.been.

    1. Apple watch has a feature that detects a hard fall, gives you 45 seconds to notify that you are okay and if you don’t they call the designated person or 911.

    2. Holly, my mom has lifeline alert. You do need a Landline to operate it. Last year I had her switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan. Her 4 prescriptions are Tier 1 and covered 100. Saved her about $900 a year. In 2020 they are going to cover Personal Emergency Notifications. She pays around $45 a month now for Lifeline so that will be another good savings. It also covers a free gym membership. Might check into it?

    3. One thought about getting a lifeline. If the person wears it on a wrist, and has a stroke affecting the opposite side of the body, he or she may not be able to press it. Strokes usually only affect one side of the body. You can get around this by having a pendant — then presumably the non-affected side could reach the pendant to press it. Or, get a system which records and alerts for falls as someone has described above. Even that type of system is not 100% foolproof — a friend just fell to the ground and the system did not activate but I suspect it was because my friend just slumped to the ground and had a gentle landing. In any case, a medical alert lifeline system is well-worth the expense. Ann

  13. On Monday evening we arrived home after a 20 day cross country trip (over 7,000 miles of driving.) We had a great time visiting family and friends across the country and visiting a variety of places and parks. We saved money by staying 10 of the nights with family and friends. We ate out in restaurants for only 12 meals (out of a possible 60 meals). We ate lots of breakfasts and lunches from food we brought with us, including bringing a cooler. We enjoyed 4 U.S. National Park sites – Effigy Mounds (IA), Shenandoah NP (VA), Delaware Water Gap (PA) and Thomas Cole House (NY). We stayed on the shores of the Mississippi River, at the beach on the Outer Banks of N.C., in the Catskills (great color and weather!) and the Poconos. We stayed in old town Quebec in a charming but pricey hotel (better priced for U.S. dollars due to the exchange rate) and walked many miles enjoying Quebec. We also went to Niagara Falls, staying on the Canadian side.

    On a trip to Winco (Billings, MT), I stocked up for holiday baking needs with items like whole wheat flour, a variety of nuts and dried fruits, corn meal and spices. Albertson’s had a baking sale also so I bought eggs, butter, sugar, etc. and got free eggs and butter. The baking has begun! So far I have made peanut brittle, lots of corn muffins, blueberry muffins, golden walnut pumpkin loaves and muffins, soul cakes (sort of short bread cookies with autumn spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom) and apple crisp. I have planned candy – buckeyes and chocolate covered pretzels with holiday sprinkles, a variety of cookies and brownies and Queens Cake – a rich colonial pound cake recipe from Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

    1. Hi Wyoming Gal. Glad you made it to my neck of the woods (Outer Banks of NC). Hope you had a great stay while here and enjoyed our continuing lovely warm weather. Your trip sounded wonderful! My husband and I made a similar cross county trip many years ago, which was so fun getting to see our beautiful country. All the best!

      1. Hi Lynn,

        Oh we love the Outer Banks. We lived in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia for many years so we spent a lot of time at the beaches of N.C. This time it was nice and warm but cloudy and some rain.. I didn’t care – as I took walks, especially along the beach. Last summer we spent a long weekend on Ocracoke Island (we were seasonal rangers at Shenandoah Natl. Park), but we are sorry to learn that the island was badly damaged by a recent hurricane.

        1. Wyoming Gal, well then welcome back to the OBX! Yes, Ocracoke was hit very hard with Hurricane Dorian. Current access remains limited to permanent residents and property owners. They are hoping to restore access to visitors by Thanksgiving, but we will see. Terrible, terrible flooding in such a lovely place.

    2. Wyoming Gal,
      What a wonderful trip. Many of the places you visited are places I’d like to go. I have always wanted to go to Quebec City but now my bad knees would limit walking on cobblestones and climbing stairs. Still what a beautiful time of year to go. Right up there on my wish list are the Outer banks, North Carolina AND Shenandoah National Park. Because of pre-existing medical conditions, I would not be able to get valid travel medical insurance so have to stay put but I love seeing photos of the red maple leaves etc.

      1. Ellie’s friend, you (and anyone else who would like!) can get some great views of our Outer Banks while sitting right in your comfortable home north of the border! Do a search for webcams in the Outer Banks. Most are live. One of the best is from Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, NC. It shows beautiful ocean views. As you watch it, the camera pans for wide views of the pier (My husband and I just got back from walking its 1000 feet!) and the ocean. When I just checked on it I saw the mesmerizing waves, pelicans diving, gulls flying and a truck with fisherman moving down the beach. Other points of interest might be Ocracoke Island where you can watch ferries come and go, Rodanthe, Hatteras, Duck and Manteo. About every town and village has a webcam. Since you are a history buff, you might want to visit the websites of many of our historical sites. There are lovely pictures for you to view. Some of those are at the Wright Brothers Memorial (without having to climb the steep hill), Roanoke Island Festival Park, Jockey’s Ridge and the Lost Colony. When you get a chance, check it out! It’s the next best thing to being here. The Outer Banks is a lovely area so I hope you enjoy your “visit”!

  14. It’s been tough I bet without your dryer and now the water. I love how you think how it could have been worse so you were good. I love to think like that too.
    We are having great luck when we trash pick lately. This week we got some great outdoor furniture. Not sure why people throw it away but I’m happy we found it.
    Here are the rest of my frugal ways
    https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2019/10/my-frugal-ways-this-week-102719.html

  15. Good to see you posting; I was afraid you might be finding keeping 2 blogs going too much work. Does anyone else feel more frugal in the Fall? I always feel like stocking up and putting by in the Fall. It must be a leftover bit of DNA from frugal relatives of the past.
    The past few weeks have had some good points like eating food from the freezers for most meals. Since we are fortunate enough to go South for a few months of the winter, I need to be diligent about eating things that could get freezer burned.
    I feel like a tech whiz since I figured out how to download an audio book to my iPhone. Now I listen to the book as I go for a walk and it helps relieve the boredom so I walk a bit further. This should help with my newly diagnosed high blood pressure. It’s not too high, but we are trying to get it under control now rather than later.
    I’m still picking Swiss Chard from the garden since we haven’t yet had a hard frost. And my DH is using frozen Kale from the garden for his smoothies. I clipped the cherry tomato bushes that still had tomatoes waiting to ripen.Those are now indoors and ripening a few each day. I already had a whole sheet pan ready and roasted them for the freezer. A little roasted tomato, a little parmesan with pasta makes a quick and tasty meal. . I also cooked a package of Canary beans I brought home from Florida in the spring. I put them in bags and froze them for later usage.
    I had bought a bunch of coriander for a recipe and usually it just goes to mush before I get to use it all up. This time I let it dry and put it in a jar. The same with a package of fresh thyme. This week I’ll be doing something with the last of my basil. I already have enough pesto so perhaps I’ll just freeze some leaves in either butter or oil.
    We have several giant oak trees on our property and this year it’s a bumper crop of acorns to gather up. I use my battery powered leaf blower to blow them out to the street before gathering them in cans for trash day. I saved a bowl full of acorn tops to make a garland with felted balls. That’s this week’s craft activity.
    I’ve made a couple of net produce bags to try; my kids are very much against using too many plastic produce bags. I’ll see if they hold up to usage and maybe make some for Xmas stockings.
    There was an excellent sale price on Campbell’s Tomato Soup at .49/can. I bought a mixed case lot with a few mushroom soup and vegetable soups at the same price. I’ve tried making home made tomato soup but we like the Campbell’s best.
    The top rack of my dishwasher that is about 5 years old broke. My husband bought the part online, looked up the repair on Youtube and fixed it. That saved at least $200 in a repair bill. Repairmen want more than $100 just to cross your threshold.
    DH has been helping two of our kids with some repairs to their own houses. My daughter collected enough wood from her brother’s house front porch repair to re-do the floor of her own much smaller front porch. She did hire a carpenter friend to re-do the uprights. She has primired the new porch and it looks great. Her Dad taught her how to install a new porch light and a new dining room light as well. And at her brother’s house, he learned how to install new porch flooring and sealed it up before the colder weather has set in.
    My outside windows were getting super dirty with all the renovation work on neighbouring houses. Rather than hiring a window cleaner, I bought a gadget like a mop head with cloth, attached an extendable pole and washed the windows with a bit of TSP in water. A spray with the hose after and it looks like a professional job. I’m quite pleased with myself that I can still do some work myself. I know that some day I’ll need help but it feels good to still do it myself.
    Looking forward to hearing everyone’s news.

    1. The fall is a wonderful time to stock up on sales that can really save money in the long run! I think that if one’s budget allows a larger grocery bill in November and December, it can be a blessing for the rest of the year!

  16. I am now waiting for an oil change and mom’s at home. I wrote down how to phone for help (9-1-1, a neighbor, my sister, and me) and drew pictures of the keys to press to initiate and end a call. I told her to keep the instructions under the phone, both on her walker tray, and her walker next to her when I’m not home. For now, I feel comfortable she can follow the written directions. But a medical alert system is in our future.

  17. I am glad to see you posting this week, Brandy and everyone. Beautiful pomegranates.
    I continue to harvest peppers, oregano, basil, rosemary, and mint. At a school fundraiser, I bought a blackberry bush, pomegranate bush, and large pot of mint, all for a fraction of the cost they would have been through a store. The plants are high-quality ones from our local university agriculture department. We attended two free events—the grand opening of a new campus in our university system, and the other was the 75th Birthday Celebration of Smokey the Bear. At both events, we received free, quality T-shirts, snacks, and very welcome bottles of ice-cold water. At the Smokey the Bear celebration we also won a small Green Ash tree and four tickets to the George Bush Presidential Library. We will use the tickets during the Christmas holidays.
    On the Frugal Food Front, I topped a corn casserole with leftover cornbread crumbs mixed with a little oil, thyme, and salt to make it even more delicious. I used leftover tomatoes, green beans, and mashed potatoes to create a vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie. Leftover zucchini muffins and raisin oatmeal bread became the crumbs for an Apple Betty.
    I bought a name brand all-weather jacket for $4. Using thrifted fabric in our university licensed print and thrifted denim skirts and blue jeans bought on half-price day, I made 20 bowl cozies and 6 baby bibs I will try to sell locally.
    Currently, we are in the midst of multiple health crises, involving my elderly in-laws, two of our children, and two of our grandchildren. So grateful for the unfailing love of our Lord.

    1. Tejas,

      I pray that health will be restored to your family members. That’s a lot to go through. Love and hugs to you!

      1. Karen, thank you so much! My 89 year-old FIL just had hip replacement surgery and went directly home after only 24 hours!!! MIL is 91, legally blind, barely able to walk, mild dementia. All the “help” they assured everyone was in place, never was, at all. We are the closest children, 2 hours away. Trying to get immediate care for them, plus find long-term care for two very resistant people is a challenge. In addition to having two children with a number of disabling health issues, we have 3 extremely high-needs grandkids, two with chronic, severe issues. I feel like we are Triple-Decker Parents! ?

  18. Brandy,
    I was so happy to see your new post. Sorry to hear about the water issue and dryer problems. I’m glad your son was able to purchase some books for himself and the family.
    This morning it was only 29 degrees when I left for work. We are having beautiful cold, dry, sunshine filled days followed by beautiful sunsets. It is a real joy!
    My son purchased a table-top hydroponic herb garden. It produces a huge amount of herbs. He brings out his harvest and I dry it and put in jars for him. I think we have enough now for the family for the winter.
    I purchase canned pumpkin to feed to my dog (I make my own dog food). I finally found some for a reasonable price and bought all 6 cans the store had. I will bake up our Halloween pumpkin and use that for my dog food as well.
    I read 3 awesome books from the library. One I really liked was about Ben and Erin Napier from HGTV. The name of the book is Do Something Good and I highly recommend it. It is their life story and they are very down to earth people and enjoy making beautiful things out of next to nothing, much like Brandy.
    Even though it has been chilly out, my husband hand-washed both of our vehicles. We went to visit our new-born nephew who lives about an hour away and on the way home we were both very hungry so we decided to drive through and I was able to use a gift card to pay for our meal. I had been saving that gift card for almost a year. It came in very handy that day.
    I was in a store picking up a few needed items and found a roll of Christmas wrapping paper that I really loved. It was very high quality and could be used for more than just Christmas. I put it in the bottom of my cart. Everything was checked out and paid for and then I realized I forgot about the wrapping paper. I had a store gift card from a return months ago and it had enough left on it to pay for the wrapping paper. I am excited to use this paper as I have lots of ribbon that will go great with it. I like making my packages look extra special for as little costs as possible. All my ribbon comes from thrift stores or garage sales.
    I agree with others that Fall does make me feel more like living as frugally as possible and stocking up for the winter whenever possible.

  19. First, I want to say thank you to everyone who left me well wishes and prayers two weeks ago. I am so grateful and I appreciate it so much! Things are slowly starting to level out and I am grateful. We still have some serious issues that need to be resolved but things are rolling along in the meantime.
    Here’s a short summary of some frugal things in the last two weeks:
    * A friend gave my husband and our son winter coats (one leather) and several sweaters for my husband and our son and daughter. She had been cleaning out her house, downsizing after her husband passed away.
    * I found a few snapdragons in my garden while cleaning it out for winter. We had had three hard freezes so I was very surprised to see them and now we have a lovely bouquet on our table.
    * Our children were Confirmed at church this past week (we’re Lutheran) and we had leftover from the afternoon open house for lunch the next two days.
    * Our children wore dress clothes they already owned for Confirmation and we purchased them my family’s traditional confirmation gift (engraved Bibles) rather than some of the more extravagant gifts their classmates received. We then used the bibles as a guest book – asking guests to write a note in each and sign it – for their open house.
    * I was able to find two things my children have been asking for at a local second-hand store for a fraction of the price of retail. These were tucked away for Christmas presents.
    * I also purchased some needed office supplies at the second-hand store, also for a fraction of retail price.
    * Our son was able to play Paintball with friends for free as a friend borrowed paintball guns and facemasks for a free and fun birthday party for several 14-year-old boys.
    * I dug the last of the carrots from our garden. I dug 15lbs and will be using them fresh and then blanching and freezing the rest.
    There is probably other things but that’s what I can think of right now.
    So glad that you were able to get your water issue taken care of without having a water leak, Brandy! What a pain to deal with.

    Have a wonderful week everyone,
    Lea

  20. I went to a pick your own apple farm in the mountains and came away with a bushel of apples for $23. I spent the last week canning them. I now have plenty of apple butter, applesauce, apple preserves, and apple pie filling to last me the year.

    I was gifted a gallon of apple cider that I boiled down to make boiled cider. We don’t really care to drink apple cider in my house but the boiled cider will get tons of uses and will keep for ages in the fridge. I throw a bit in anywhere I want an apple cinnamon type flavor in food (Oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, scones, doughnuts, to flavor buttercream for cakes…) As a bonus the house smelled heavenly on Saturday when I was making it.

    We had friends over on Saturday for games. One of them brought along a box of bagels and there were enough leftover for breakfast the next day and this morning.

    I chose a slower shipping option on a recent Amazon order and received a free book credit in exchange.

    I dug into my yarn stores and started a new throw blanket project that I will gift to one of my sons for Christmas.

    I was able to open the windows and enjoy the breeze on Sunday. We’ve had our heat on for the last week or so but Sunday I woke up to pouring rain that transitioned to beautiful sunshine and warm breezes for the afternoon. The cats were thrilled to sit on the window ledges and watch the squirrels running around in the yard.

    I was at Kohls making a return and decided to swing by the boys clearance rack where I found a lot of athletic shorts and shirts on clearance.

  21. *We had a family vacation to the Smokies that was very frugal. I brought all our own food.
    *I helped my daughter film a video for a charity fundraiser she is involved in. This is instead of my running her all over town posting advertising posters. I think so far, this may be turning out to be a better way for her to raise awareness for the charity the children are raising money for! We will see in another two weeks after the Play-a-Thon is over!
    *I added some beautiful roses to my garden at 75% off! This was a huge blessing for me, and I truly thank God for it!

    I have more details, plus pictures and my daughter’s three minute video all linked on my blog here:
    https://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/b/post-preview?token=APq4FmCJIyYPXa9C1wsSZxEKmWzPpfaOemMqPIVUuqyPQCDUwgtQKdHheHV9SdE_HoW2cwJ_2rjQJMvjRvp_fCW7NVbRPTMfk_ZBNXo-ZH4bHVVL46EPSebA6OlxfpEtp5vwJ-W8t6tl&postId=8693297694996079251&type=POST

  22. Such beautiful pomegranates! We love them but I only purchase them as special treats when they’re on sale or marked down. I want to plant 2 next year in pots since I’m not sure they’d be okay here in zone 7. Do you have any tips for me in growing pomegranates, Brandy?
    I had my baby Aviana Grace born 5 days early on Oct. 2. She is perfect and I’m relishing in those newborn cuddles! My mom came from WI to help out for 2 weeks and that was amazing! She helped me with cooking down some pig and chicken fat I had in the freezer now I can utilize that. We made a batch of s/f ketchup (10 pint) with ingredients I had on hand. Also she started digging our sweet potatoes so we enjoyed a few meals of those along with fresh green beans. Frost is predicted this weekend so we’ll need to finish up the garden this week. I’ve been chopping and freezing green,poblano, Serrano and jalapeno peppers and want to premake pepper poppers to freeze as well.
    My husband found a stove and dishwasher in great condition on marketplace he paid $300 for both. He hopes to build a new kitchen cabinet set this winter for us so this was a blessing!
    I went to super doubles at Harris Teeter and saved close to $80.
    The baby needed to go to a chiropractor twice so I chose a great chiropractor for $20 a visit instead of another one for $45 a visit.
    We went to a yard sale and I got a grocery bag full of baby clothes for $5 and 2 dresses for $4 as well as a nice leather coat for $4 and 4 Andy Griffith dvds for $.75 each.
    I thought we won’t get a harvest of pecans from our 10 trees but I’ve been seeing a few good ones dropping after all!

    1. I don’t know how pomegranates handle frost, so you’ll want to make sure they will grow in a zone 7. I grow a few in pots; they don’t give me many nor get very large compared to the tree in the ground, but I am grateful to have them.

      Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!

      1. Thank you for your insight Brandy! I thought I’d put them in big pots so I could put them in my green house over winter but I’ll research them more.
        Thank you! Babies are such little God sent miracles.

    2. Mari, I’m in zone 7, and have been growing dwarf pomegranates. They bloom, but I have yet to get fruit. They’re still pretty small ( 2′), but have survived several NC winters. They’re a little late to come out in the spring compared to other things, so don’t give up on them if you decide to grow them.

  23. These past 2 weeks have been kind of a blur. Two round trips to urologist with Hubs. He’s still in major discomfort and pain and he’s having bleeding because of blood thinners he takes. It’s now been 4 weeks post-op and so we are looking forward to healthier times around the corner! I’ve had a sinus infection too with the abrupt change in temperature/seasons! My nose has definitely been grateful to have flannel Softies https://pin.it/3h2qhafd4ujrur to use rather than the boxes and boxes of Kleenex I would have gone through!

    This has slowed down our progress on outside projects. But I was able to manage getting a bit more done. It made me feel better to see a photo from 2 years ago- https://pin.it/3mutwdup3lygd7
    And then look at a few photos from Saturday. https://pin.it/3sfhpenvlkfplb and then a close up of my “helpers as I dig up dirt and lay paver bricks! Lol! https://pin.it/5vcnv7oy52gje7. And a final one looking at how I ended on Monday! https://pin.it/26sriq62dapdbn

    I filled a Soup Cozie order https://pin.it/7rnvaq6yyyna55 ! Thanks, Nancy! And took time to add and edit more new things to our website including our machine quilting service.
    I found an awesome website that has free quilt patterns- Quiltedtwins.com and I printed off a pattern for a big king size quilt 116” x 116” called Sheet of Stamps. It is scrappy and uses 2” wide pieces. https://pin.it/l7xxufza7o767s Here’s my progress so far: https://pin.it/djvbchcocqnsvt. My daughter came over and quilted these 2 quilts on our longarm- https://pin.it/gnwm5kjifa4uaa , https://pin.it/bnqj6453l2kmdk and https://pin.it/pl7wbngkzpfy4f.

    Someone else asked us to quilt up some tops that she had tucked away for years and here are the first 2 I quilted and bound for her yesterday: https://pin.it/vgwohogle6f6zs and https://pin.it/ordzd4ahgo2sdg, https://pin.it/4q3lz75fuuzgyf. So we are now officially open for business quilting other people’s quilts!

    I bought a 40 pound box of bananas for $5, 15 pounds of tomatoes for $3. I split them with my daughter so my portion was only $4 for half the bananas and tomatoes! I need to make 36 mini banana breads so some of the bananas will go for that and I’ll make and freeze banana muffin batter and freeze plain bananas so I’ll have some to use later on!
    We’ve been eating from our pantry each day. I was concerned that I had run out of pint mason jars but at the week’s end, we had used over a dozen in our regular meals. So my supply of pint jars ready for canning is steady as we routinely rotate what we have canned! That’s been a good feeling!
    Got the 30 pounds of peanuts vacuumed sealed with oxy absorber packets for added measure and put down on one of our basement pantry shelves. https://pin.it/wzkyibjxmq3c6w

    At my Kroger’s, using their sales + $5/5 items + ibotta, I got 5 boxes of Krusteaz buttermilk pancake mix free plus a $1.55 moneymaker!! I usually make my own pancake mix, but it says each box makes 9 servings, so that’s 45 servings of 3 pancakes per servings that are free!

    On Saturday, I drove my chest freezer down to my schoolteacher daughter along with 10 pounds of the bananas and 15 pounds of the chicken I just got on sale!

    Fresh Thyme had their BL chicken breast in packages of about 5 pounds for $1.29/pound so I got some for 3 of my daughters who work or have littles at home that make it harder to shop, including the daughter I just delivered the chest freezer to! They will freeze theirs into smaller portions and I am canning 32 pints (2 batches) of chicken chunks for my pantry shelves! When I went to Hub’s Dr to pick up more urology supplies, I stopped at the Fresh Thyme up there to purchase the rest of the chicken for myself and daughter coming down on Wednesday. To my surprise, there were 8 five pound packages of the on-sale chicken with $1 off coupons on them! I had planned to buy 6 packages- 4 for my daughter and 2 more for me, but since that brought the price down to under $1/ pound, I bought all 8!! I will freeze my extra 2!

    Certainly feeling watched over and blessed! Hope everyone else has had a wonderful 2 weeks!

    Gardenpat
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. I have a closet full of king tops awaiting quilting. I will contact you about getting them on your list for after the 1st of the year. 🙂

      1. Jennifer O- We will look forward to hearing from you! I smile every time I quilt a king size quilt because it’s so fun to see a quilt top that size actually get finished and ready to put on a bed!
        Just send us a message at HandmadeinOldeTowne.com ! Thanks for thinking of us!

        1. I bought a lot of material ( a tan bordered with Scottish terriers) that I intended to quilt but never got to doing it. Now with the broken tendon, I doubt that I’ll ever be able to do it. It is large, probably for a queen and not sure I could afford to have someone to do it but is it a possibility?

          Ann

    2. Pat–thanks for the QuiltedTwins site suggestion! I just recently completed a quilt using 2″ squares that I have been cutting from scraps. I have already started cutting more as I use up fabric for other projects, so it would be nice to have another scrappy pattern to use them. The pattern I have used is called Scrappy Squares and it came from a magazine many years ago.
      I love your bowl cozies and plan on making some for Christmas gifts. I have never heard of the softies–are they like handkerchiefs?
      What type of longarm do you have? I have gotten to where I don’t like quilting on my domestic machine–especially for larger quilts. I pay a friend who has a longarm business, but I have been thinking I would start saving for a longarm. I have probably 6 quilt tops waiting to be quilted.
      Enjoyed your comments!
      I hope to update my blog soon and put some pictures of my projects. I haven’t touched my blog in years….should have kept it up since I started it way back at the beginning of blogs! 2007 ish.

      1. Lisa- Glad you liked Quilted Twins website! They have so many great (free) scrap quilt patterns! The Softies we sell are an eco-friendly alternative to disposable Kleenex, similar in some ways. You can get a description of them at our website: HandmadeinOldeTowne.com.
        My daughter and I bought an APQS Lenni and couldn’t be more pleased! Their customer service is amazing whether you buy an APQS machine from a dealer or a private party. They have an amazing warranty and are built to last through heavy duty use! Can you tell we are fans? I have had other short-arms and mid-arms and feel like this was worth the investment. Hope this helps!

  24. Brandy, thank goodness you didn’t lose your water. I wonder how many of your neighbors will be going through the same thing soon? It makes me think of my mom and dad, who bought a pre-fab house in their retirement, and 20 years after their purchase, just like a timer went off, the furnace, water heater, central a/c unit, dishwasher, garbage disposal and built-in microwave all died in less than a year. Two of those items even died in the same week. I’m hoping you have better luck than that! My dad was like your husband, very handy, and he installed most of the replacements himself or with a little help, as old as he was.
    I went thrift store shopping and found a perfect silicone-over-steel soup ladle, just right for using with my not-French enameled cast iron Dutch oven. I think I paid $1.99 for the ladle.
    My daughter went through her closet and gifted me with a huge armload of work wear, about 2/3’s of which I can use. That was wonderful.
    I was accepted as part of a study group to try an anti-aging skin cream (there are some advantages to being older, after all) and I will get paid for it.
    I’m watching for the sales to start, too, so I can stock up. I saw organic cranberries at $4.99 a package recently, but I know they’ll go on sale soon.
    I continue to look for gifts on sale for the holidays.
    My gifted leather purse is starting to crack in the seams and handles, and the shoulder strap is broken. I’m checking thrift stores for a new one.
    I made my own toilet bowl cleaner by using an empty bottle with a flip cap, a pint of white vinegar and a few squirts of Ultra Dawn, all of which I already had.
    Here’s to everyone having a thrifty week.

  25. So glad to see the new post, Brandy! I, too, really missed reading everyone’s comments last week. Sounds like you had quite the adventure with your dryer. I’m sure you are relieved it is now fixed. How kind of your brother to bring you fresh pomegranates along with his a surprise visit. Good food and good company is always fun. Sounds like your son is doing well with his job! I hope everyone enjoyed the new books.

    This week, our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included: Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings & choice of 2 different homemade pies; homemade cream of broccoli & cheese soup; breakfast sausages with rice, corn and leftover coleslaw; cheesy ham & broccoli rice skillet (Recipe link: https://iowagirleats.com/2017/12/12/cheesy-ham-and-broccoli-rice-skillet/?print-recipe&utm_source=RSS+FEED&utm_campaign=8b4be5e829-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_532f8a161f-8b4be5e829-84116821. I substituted a can of ham flakes with no complaints); choice between breaded chicken or chicken wings with Knorr pasta side dish and green/yellow bean mix; loaded potato ranch chicken casserole (see below); chicken low mien stir-fry with veggie spring rolls; breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, choice between french fries or sweet potato fries (with homemade garlic sirachia dip), and corn; homemade chicken barley vegetable soup (used leftover veggies in fridge & 1/2 chicken breast) with homemade bannock; tacos (choice of beef or lentil taco filling); and chicken fried rice (used other 1/2 chicken breast) with veggie spring rolls.
    *Bagged lunches this week included: Leftover turkey & stuffing, leftover beets, yoghurt and a slice of lemon meringue pie; leftover beef stew, leftover beets, yogurt, and a slice of lemon meringue pie; grapes and leftover popcorn (the class was doing a free hot lunch this day, so I only sent back up snacks); leftover chicken strips (purposely made extra), leftover cream of broccoli & cheese soup, grapes, yoghurt, black bean brownie; leftover chicken low mien stir-fry, grapes, yoghurt, black bean brownie; leftover chicken barley veggie soup, leftover barley, applesauce, yoghurt, black bean brownie; BBQ chickpea wrap, grapes, yoghurt, black bean brownie.
    *Processed the last of the apples, from the 2 bushels I bought a week ago, plus some received for free from my work, into more applesauce. Canned 6 quarts and 1 pint, plus put an almost full quart into the fridge, because I didn’t want to run the canner for just 1 jar. No worries, DD loves applesauce, so it won’t last long in the fridge. This was the last of the canning I needed to do this fall…as far as it sits at the moment anyway! Whoohoo!!! So glad to be done that chore.
    *Added 2 meal-sized bags of cooked turkey to the freezer, to use in future meals. I am finding our family likes turkey, but only in small doses with long breaks between.
    *Tried 2 new recipes, for bagged lunch snacks. Black Bean Blender Brownies (recipe link: https://www.isabeleats.com/mexican-black-bean-blender-brownies/) using a pint of home-canned black beans. I don’t have a blender, but my stick blender worked fine. Just a note, this recipe calls for absolutely no flour, is high in protein and is super cheap to make!!!! It does have a really strong taste of cinnamon, but the amount can be adjusted to taste. Otherwise, it’s pretty tasty with an interesting, fluffy texture! Banana Bars” (recipe link: https://www.wellplated.com/banana-bars/), were quite tasty, despite the fact the recipe only calls for 1/3 cup of sugar! If you are looking for healthier baked goods, definitely give this recipe a try.
    *Another new recipe I tried this week was Loaded Potato Ranch Chicken Casserole (recipe link: https://www.thecountrycook.net/loaded-potato-ranch-chicken-casserole?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes). Yup, family is revolting over repetitive meals again. Anyways, to keep the costs lower, I used only 1 Costco sized chicken breast diced up for the entire casserole (about 2 “normal sized” chicken breasts). It was very good…no leftovers! This recipe is not hard to make but has a long cooking time (about an hour, plus requires taking the pan out several time throughout the cooking process). So if you want to try this recipe, make sure you plan it for a day you have the time.
    *I cooked up the jar of chickpeas laguishing in the fridge that had a seal failure. I drained and rinsed the chickpeas, placed them in a pot with a generous helping of BBQ sauce and a bit of water, then simmered until chickpeas softened. Used it in a wrap with lettuce/spinach mix, ranch dressing, and a sprinkle of grated cheese. So cheap, healthy and oh so delicious!!! Leftovers keep well in the fridge and taste good hot or cold in wraps, as a topping on a salad or even just by themselves.
    *Tried lentil tacos. DD wasn’t a huge fan, and I prefer the black bean tacos over lentil tacos. We won’t be repeating the lentil tacos in the future, but we are still thinking up other ways to use lentils in place of ground beef. I did some calculating. A 4lb bag was only $3.50 at Walmart, equivalent to about 8 cups. Each cup of dry lentils makes 3 cups of cooked. That means a $0.44 cup of dry lentils makes enough to replace a 1lb of ground beef in a typical recipe. That’s quite a savings over ground beef, and it’s shelf stable!
    *We are trying to encourage DD to eat snacks higher in protein/fruits/veggies and lower in carbs. To give her an easy, healthy snack option for this coming week, I made up fruit filled jello cups, using sugar free jello and a can of fruit cocktail, all from my pantry. I used the fruit juice from the can in place of the cold water, when making up the jello, for a little added nutrients and flavour. Convenience is the key to modifying eating habits. I plan to incorporate making weekly snack options, along with the baked treats for lunches.
    *Cleaned out the bean plants from the garden, and harvested seeds to use next year. Harvested another pie pumpkin, before cleaning out that garden bed as well. Bought a bale of straw and winterized the strawberry bed. We covered the bed with burlap to keep the straw from blowing away and to add an extra layer of protection for the plants. Deer netting was taken down and stored away for winter. All of the garden chores for the vegetable garden are now completed for this year.
    *The living room/dining room was deep cleaned this week, including walls, all furniture, curtains & floors. The spices/baking supplies cabinet was cleaned & re-organized, making it easier to find things. The walls and floor in the hallway were also cleaned.
    *We believed DD’s urinary tract infection didn’t fully clear up from the first round of antibiotics. Another visit to the Dr’s office and she has a second round with a different antibiotic. Hopefully, this will clear it up! Thankfully no money OOP for the appointment nor the meds.
    *Gave a few clothing items lingering in my closet to my brother’s girlfriend. She is currently visiting for 6 months from the states. Due to luggage restrictions, she wasn’t able to bring much with her. With it getting colder, she’s in need of some warmer clothes. The warm knit sweater I gave her was especially appreciated!
    *Cut my own bangs to further delay getting a hair cut.
    *Worked 3 shifts, an 8 hour day shift and 2 evening shifts at our “All Hallows Eve” special event. During the special event shifts, I had to go in before dinner time, so the rest of the family were on their own when it came to dinner. I was given 2 free candy apples that were leftover at the end of the second night. DD and I enjoyed them as a very special treat!
    *And now for a big announcement! For those of you who enjoy watching Murdoch Mysteries, you will be interested to know this year’s Halloween episode was actually filmed at Lang Pioneer Village where I work. I previously mentioned we were being scouted as a possible filming location. Well, they did actually film there in August. We were sworn to secrecy about the filming, thus why I haven’t posted about it until now. In fact, we weren’t even allowed to be on site while they filmed. The seasonal staff had 2 days off while they rented the village, with security monitoring strict access (so, no, I didn’t meet any of the actors). At this point, the episode should be airing soon, so I think it is safe to make the announcement. Other filming locations in addition to our village were used. However, I know the General Store and Fife cabin (both buildings I often interpret in), a couple other building and outdoor areas were filmed on our site. I admit, I don’t normally watch this show. However, I can’t wait to watch this episode to see how they transformed our village!

    I will enjoy catching up with you all this week. Have a good week everyone!

    1. I tried mixing in 1/4 cup of lentil to 12 oz ground beef. Husband didn’t notice. If I go “full lentil” he will refuse to eat it, but the 1.4 and then 1/3 c to 10 oz beef goes unnoticed. Now I automatically freeze the ground beef in 10 and 12 oz portions and fill in with beans, lentils. or a vegetable mix.

  26. Those pomegranates are beautiful! We sure enjoy them when we can get them at a reasonable price.

    I winterized the chicken’s coop and yard so they will hopefully stay happy enough to produce eggs for us. My granddaughter says she loves to give the chickens treats so they will give us eggs. She has fun checking for eggs and bringing them in. We have snow on the ground today so I’m grateful I had time to get the coop taken care of.

    We went through the kids’ fall/winter wardrobes and found that we needed to replace one vest. Found one on sale! I passed two large garbage bags of outgrown clothing to a friend whose children are just growing into those sizes. It feels good to have the clothing sorted through and heavier jackets and gloves available.

    I baked bread, muffins, rolls, cookies, and made popcorn balls for a dear friend who is battling cancer. She has four young boys and they were so excited! I’m so grateful my mother insisted I learn to make bread and that my aunt and cousin worked endlessly to teach me how. I also took a loaf of bread to my newest neighbor to thank her for sharing her wonderful Mexican dishes with my family. We found out the six year old adores tamales and enchiladas. Who knew?!

    I packed up leftovers and froze them so the workers in the family have food for lunches and breakfasts so they don’t have to stop at the c store and spend needlessly. I think it has finally clicked for my son because the men he works with always comment on how good his food smells at lunchtime. They also comment that they wish they knew how to cook better. Again, grateful my parents thought cooking was important to teach me.

    Rather than turning up the heat in the house, I made rice packs for all of us. We heat them up at bedtime and it’s just enough warmth to help the kids fall asleep quickly. I use my rice packs to help with sore muscles and minor aches and pains rather than taking medication. I seem to have more aches when the weather gets cold. I think we skipped fall and went straight to winter here. I also heat a rice pack up and place it in my pocket when it’s time to walk my grandson out to the bus. I find that keeping my hands warm helps me be more productive. Once my hands are cold I have a hard time feeling like I’m warm until I go to bed at night. I opened the drapes and blinds on the east side of the house in the mornings to take advantage of the sunshine. I opened the west side in the afternoons. I appreciate the natural light.

    I’m trying to limit my internet usage to finding recipes, reading the news, paying bills, and reading blogs such as this one. I need to use my time more wisely.

    Have a wonderful frugal week.

    1. One doctor told me that it was an old wives tale that people’s bones can foretell when the weather will be changing but I know (in my bones, ha!) that he is wrong. My fingers and toes start to ache terribly and those rice packs get a real workout during those times! I have made some and given them as Christmas gifts because I find them so comforting.

      1. Yesterday while sitting in the archives, the weather suddenly changed and within two hours I could barely walk because my bones hurt so much. As it was Hallowe’en, when I got home, I just put out the candy on my gardening bench so I would not have to go to the door. Moreover, I didn’t want any small child unexpectedly encountering the deer or the bobcat who also use my driveway. Anyway, the weather changed back overnight, and I am perfectly fine today. So, Mable, I love your comment and play on words about knowing it “in your bones”. Ann

        If birds can know when a storm is arriving in 2 or 3 days, why can’t our bones let us know?

    2. Jerri that is so nice of you to bring food to your sick friend. Four young children and going through a serious illness sounds so trying for everyone. I didn’t learn how to cook or bake at home so I insisted that my four boys learn how. Two of them are out of the house now and can take care of themselves very well. They all learn how to make my grandfathers’s bread (he taught me how as he was a baker by profession).

  27. I’m so glad to see a post this week! I love to learn more ways to save.

    I haven’t posted in awhile. I flew across country a few weeks ago to visit with my mom and siblings. It was so much fun and my moms new place is awesome for her. I saved in my travels there using my reusable water bottle, thanks to the suggestion of many readers, and bringing snacks. On the way home, it did not work as well with security issues and not much time for filling water bottle. I did a online Q&A about oj the night before my trip and earned a $25 Starbucks card and used a part of it waiting for my connecting flight home. I stayed with my mom while visiting so I didn’t have lodging fees and did not have to worry about food. I did do some clothes and shoe shopping, as PA has no sales tax.
    Other savings, since my husband was working while I traveled, he was able to take care of things at home, dogs, mail, bills and his Dad. I earned at $25 gift card thru swagbucks but can not remember for where, lol! Oh a big earn thru a survey site that took awhile was $75 or $85 to Amazon. So I was able to order some things we needed then had college ave daughter what she needed. I signed up for Carepass thru CVS $5 a month and you get $10 ECBs to use once a month. I shop there so often using coupons it’s worth it. I’m sure there’s more but that is all I can think of right now! I’m looking forward to hear how everyone has saved.

  28. Great news on the dryer, Brandy! And those pomegranate pictures are amazing!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 13 times, continuing to use up things I already have. Dinners included steak, baked potato and zucchini (3x); soup made with leftover scraps I’d saved in the freezer; rice and hamburger casserole; frozen pizza; chicken noodle soup and cornbread; honey mustard pork chops with baked potatoes and green beans; leftover roast beef and gravy from the freezer with boiled potatoes and peas; pork tacos made with leftover carnitas from the freezer with corn; grilled chicken with pesto linguini and zucchini; and homemade pizza. and grilled chicken breasts, baked potato and asparagus.
    • Hung 7 of 12 loads of laundry.
    • Worked 40 contract hours.
    • Brought my lunch the days I went into the office to work. Two of the days the company brought in breakfast.
    • Took my Dad to breakfast instead of lunch and also used the Pay with Ibotta app.
    • Since I signed up for Shop Kicks, I went to Wal-Mart and spent time scanning items on the list. Earned enough for a $5 Amazon gift card. I’m going to continue to save up points and then cash them out at Christmas. I do the same with my Ibotta rebates and will with the other 2 apps I recently signed up for also, on which I’ve earned a $3 gift card and over $3 cash by scanning my receipts.
    • Walked on our treadmill for free exercise.
    • Harvested 3 small bell peppers from our garden.
    • Ordered a gift card for our niece who just had a baby using Southwest points.
    • I babysat my granddaughter two extra days and was paid for them. My daughter and I have an agreement that I will watch the baby one day a week for “Nana Time” unpaid. If they need more, they will pay me. They are trying to keep her out of day care until she is one. My SIL has his own business working from home as a graphic designer/web developer, but he gets pretty busy, so my extra day helps them. I don’t feel guilty about taking the $ from them, as I could be earning more at my contract job if I wanted to do that instead. But it is a help for them. And I do get the snuggles!
    • Got 9 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 99c/lb, chicken quarters for 77c/lb, honeycrisp apples for 49c/lb and 2 bottles of laundry detergent for 64c each.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  29. My mouth watered looking at those pomegranates!
    What books did you read? I am always looking for new books to request from the library.
    My husband and I cleaned up the garden beds and greenhouse in preparation for winter. My husband also split another two cords of firewood. We have all we need for winter in the woodshed now.
    I earned a $120 Amazon gift card doing a three-day online focus group. I used the money to stock up on some groceries – tomato paste, coconut oil, dog treats, and some other things.
    My husband and I had dinner out, using a gift certificate friends had given us.
    Our friend who works at the local hot springs invited us to spend the day at the springs, her treat. This saved us $30 and we had a great time hanging out with our friends. While I was there, I was admiring her Hydro-flask water bottle and told her I’d been keeping my eye out for a used one at the local thrift store. She presented me with one that had been left in the lost property box over the 10 day deadline. All I had to do was clean it up and I have a great new-to-me water bottle.

  30. We hit the buy one get one meat sales. Used our Kroger points for fuel. Hung the wash on the clothes line. Turned furnace off when it was warm during the day and closed the house up before the sun set to keep the heat in. Ate from home and I inventoried the pantry. Found a few things I thought was one place that was NO place. Also found some things I didn’t know we had so moved them to where they should have been put,Along with a reminder that when I am sick and Hubby puts things away they don’t go where I want them. BUT for the most part we are stocked for about a year. I Have one freezer almost empty for turkeys and hams . I mended 2 jeans and 3 shirts. Made arrangements for my granddaughter to get her senior pictures taken by a friend of our son since her dad refused to take her after he promised her he would. Daughter has custody now so we stepped in to pay for the pictures. Glad we had been frugal this year and kept up with the savings accounts even though we are retired.
    Glad to see this post Brandy as I wondered if something was wrong… besides the dryer issue.

    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/10/no-appetite-fatigue.html

  31. Hi Brandy and I am so glad your husband was able to fix the dryer without having to buy another one, what a huge saving. Not good the water main handle literally falling off though. Blessings abounded with seeing your brother and new books coming from your wonderful son who found them and was thoughtful in buying them and bringing them home. So glad you were able to pick a lot from your gardens and find good deals on chicken and cream cheese.

    We found a leak in our mains tap but it is leaking before it gets to our meter so the council will have to fix it at their cost. We also stocked up on groceries on 2 occasions and built our food storage up substantially using a $15 off promo code for an online purchase of $160 or more and coupling that with our further 5% off using our roadside assist gift card giving us a total discount of 14.37 % on everything. We figured we saved close to $100 on normal prices coupling the discounts with 50% off weekly special items we use on our shopping list 🙂 .

    Our savings added up to $98.62 in savings last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a batch of condensed milk, a lemon cheesecake, a double batch of choc chip and coconut biscuits and a double batch of chocolate brownies saving $61.72 on buying premade commercially made items in the shops.

    Home spring cleaning –
    – Finished deep cleaning and spring cleaning the lounge room and it now sparkles.

    Internet listings –
    – Listed 20 homemade items on eBay on a free listing promotion saving $33 on usual prices.

    Free items –
    – Received a free 80 g sample of pine nuts for taste testing at a supermarket saving $3.90 on usual prices.

    In the gardens –
    – Weeded 4 garden beds and replanted some lettuce, beetroot, basil and corn seeds that didn’t come up.
    – Dh spade edged some garden beds, I raked up dried leaves around the yard and DH ran over them with the catcher mower to shred them. We will use these in combination with dry glass clippings to mulch the gardens with.

    Water preservation –
    – We continue to use ours and the neighbour’s grey water to water the mulberry, fruit trees and some lawns with to save on town water usage.
    – Our outhouse is also getting good use to save on town water usage as well.

    Wallaby feeding –
    – I continue to prune shrubbery to feed our swamp and other wallabies as well as give them bread ends. Our swamp wallaby is no longer dribbling as his face abscess has burst by itself and he has put on condition with all the shrubbery I have given him.

    Hope everyone has had a wonderful week 🙂 .

    Sewingcreations15.

  32. I love the pomegranate pictures. That is a fruit that I rarely buy or eat. I know that we enjoy many great fruits where I live, so I’m not complaining. I still love looking at what I consider “exotic” fruits and seeing how other people use them.

    I was able to pick a few cherry tomatoes from my garden. The weather apps have been promising freezing weather for a couple of weeks now, and it finally dropped to about 29 last night. So, I’m guessing I really have picked the last, but I’ll go out there and see soon, just to make sure. Pictures are on my blog:
    http://beckyathome.com

    I did some deep cleaning.

    We cooked all our meals here. I did a 2-week shop and so far have only needed milk and a couple of small items, and the 2 weeks will be over in a couple of days.

    I took my aunt on a quilt shop hop. She had been wanting to go so we took our first opportunity. We took our own lunches, drove around to the shops and enjoyed looking at the beautiful fall leaves along the way. At each shop we were given a free kit for a block. We were also entered into drawings, but I’m not holding my breath–the fun day was enough for me.

    We picked up our daughter from the airport early this morning after her all-night flight. She’s back in the area now, and we are facing a busy couple of weeks as we get her transitioned into the place she rented. And, she wants me to teach her to drive. And, she got her old job back and starts Wednesday, but needs rides since she can’t drive yet. And,…..you get the idea…exciting times once again!

  33. I was getting worried with no post last week! I’m not feeling particularly frugal these days. Still, I:
    – used cloth diapers and packed lunches and left overs in Tupperware
    – filled up gas at the cheapest place I could
    – priced out kid swim lessons (a luxury I know) and ended up joining the Y and only signing the eldest up for lessons right now. The younger two we’ve brought twice to “family swim” time
    – called and asked for a refund from a company
    – participated in an employer sponsored plan to get a flex spending contribution of 300
    – closely watched our budget
    – tried to eat at h9me as often as possible
    – had a nice date night out which was NOT frugal and normally bothers me how much it cost. I’m trying to relish the fun time we had instead of dwell on the money we spent!
    – I’m trying to get better/more consistent with swagbucks, I don’t know how you all earn so much, but I’m at least doing the daily poll every day!

  34. Brandy I’m so glad that you didn’t have a water problem. I can’t believe the water shut off handle just broke off. I can imagine the look on your husband’s face!

    Well, I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland. Our first measurable snow of the season. I’m glad I got outside yesterday to harvest the last of our lettuce. I left the rest of the leeks in the garden and hope they will be okay for a bit. I harvested a few and need to make leek and goat cheese quick and potato leek soup before I harvest more. My pie pumpkins have been curing on the front porch, but now i think I will bring them in and bake them as the boys have been asking for pumpkin pie. My husband is a bit busy traveling to see his sick father so we are trying to squeeze in winter preparations. We got the rest of the garden basically cleaned up. We just need to wait for some hard freezes and then we will put straw over the strawberries and asparagus patch. We also need to get some more bags of mulch to put on the blueberries and fruit trees. I will look for the warmest day in the upcoming week or so to go out and cut down most of my perennials. Every year I do this I think to myself , “Why do I have so many flowers, they are such work?” Well, it only takes a few months of hibernating in the winter and I am looking at gardening catalogs and dreaming up new plantings for the next year! Other than that, I just need to bring my porch furniture in and store it in the basement. I always wait until the last to do this as I am a bit sad that “porch sitting” has to wait until later in April. I washed all of our sheets and hung them out on the line. I think my line drying is done for the year. I remember when I was growing up, my mother would put the laundry out even in the middle of the winter where it froze stiff. She would then bring it in and finish drying on the line in our basement.

    My thoughts are turning inside now. I am overdue in sorting out our winter gear and putting our summer sandals away. It looks like I just have to replace a hat and a few sets of gloves. For the first time, I think my boys don’t need anything new as they are in men’s sizes now.

    I made two large batches of bar soap….pine peppermint and cinnamon oats & honey. The soap makes excellent gifts and I like to go around and give extra bars to people as I seen them or when I am running errands. I didn’t get around to making laundry soap, but will do that this week. With my youngest son’s soccer season over, I will have more time now! Have a lovely week everyone!

    1. He walked out of the laundry room about five minutes after starting and said, “Well, I’m done.” I was confused and then he told me what happened. He was done because at that point there was nothing he could do until we had the water issue fixed!

  35. Happy birthday to me today!

    I am working hard trying to save $7,000 and I am proud of me for doing it! The original owner of our house neglected to paint our wooden windows and frames when the house was built. They only had the factory primer. We didn’t realize it until it was too late and the damage was already done. I tried painting, but it never held. My husband wants to have the windows all replaced so we got an estimate from a reputable company and the quote was $6,000 to $7,000. My husband wanted (and still does) all new windows. (He does not feel well enough to deal with the problem.) I decided to research and try to tackle the problem myself. I am removing one window at a time (we have 13 total) and sanding it back down to the original wood, replacing rotten pieces, priming, painting with the best paint on the market, and restoring the windows. My big splurge was spending almost $70 for one can of paint! I told the young salesman I am an old, fat woman climbing up a ladder three stories (I will never do this again), give me the best money can buy! It is a HUGE job. I have to wait until the weather is perfect because many times the window must stay out overnight to cure. I have three left to go.

    I just wanted to brag because I have learned how to use an orbital sander, my first power tool, and I love using it! I can’t wait to finish with the windows so I can sand something else!

    Who said you can’t teach an old dog a new skill?

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry
    PS; I’m not posting pictures on my blog of my windows because they look the same only minus the chipping paint. Instead, I chose to post pictures of a horse eating my hat.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/

      1. Thank you, Laura, for the compliment but the horses are not mine. They belong to a local breeder who is leasing our land for his mares. As they get close to their due dates, he takes them back to his barn. They come and go but each one has a different personality. I love watching them but I am glad I don’t have to care for them. It is all I can do to take care of my windows.
        Jeannie

        1. Thank you, Texasilver, but it is now 10 1/2 done (yes, I am bragging again). One more is sanded and ready to paint but the weather has dropped from 74 degrees (F) this morning to 29 tonight. All painting has stopped. There is no way I can take a window out now!
          Jeannie

    1. Oh Jeannie!
      You make me laugh with your comment to the salesman! Good for you, in being willing to tackle such a huge job! I admire you very much, but do please take care when on that ladder! I read your horse-eating-hat blog—the pictures are hilarious and you always make me laugh! I finally posted on my blog this week, after a long summer absence. With our extreme heat in Tennessee, our garden did not fare too well. We had three baby watermelons grow from the seeds you graciously sent me, but sadly the vine died so they never reached full size. Some critter tore into those baby melons, though, and cleaned them out squeaky clean! The shell left looks like a smooth bowl, so I guess at least SOMEONE enjoyed some watermelon!

      1. Thank you Susan, I wondered if anyone had any luck with my watermelon seeds. I sure didn’t. Mine started out great then the drought and heat killed mine too (also in Tennessee). I am hoping next year is better.
        Jeannie

        1. Hope springs eternal in the heart of a gardener! Next year can always be a better year! In the meantime, being outside and caring for our garden was good for all of us!

    2. Jeannie: Happy birthday to you! And congratulations on learning your new big skills, and sticking with them to the end!

      1. Heidi Louise, I’m not finished yet. I am working on the worst one today, which is taking forever as I am trying to beat the rain coming in this evening. I might be drying it with the blow dryer on the kitchen table!
        Jeannie

    3. Jeannie, you are an inspiration! The thought of paying 7k for new windows made me gasp. And then to see that you are doing it yourself!! Great job! It doesn’t sound like fun, but when it’s done you’ll be so proud of yourself!

      1. Happy Birthday, Jeannie! And wow, soooo impressive about the window frames! I actually googled how to replace rotten wood in frames as I was so curious as to how to do it. Did you use epoxy wood filler, or remove the frames and cut out and glue in pieces of wood? You really are ‘earning’ that 7K!

        1. Margaret, some of them are fine (under the roof on the front porch or facing north) but others are rough. I wasn’t sure what to expect until I took each one out. Most of them just have peeling paint, a few have rotten spots under the paint, but one is really rough. I am scraping off the paint, then sanding down to the original wood. If there is a rotten spot, I dig it out and fill it with a wood filler. There is hardware on the edges that hold the window in the track so I remove them, squirt wood glue down in the hole, then add longer screws. I also paint the outside frame which holds the window in place. That has taken quite a bit of creative twisting, leaning outside and painting backward. I held a mirror out the window with one hand while I painted outside with the other hand. It’s all white so if I mess up, no big deal. My creative gymnastic positions kept me from having to use the ladder this time.
          Yesterday I removed the worst one and pieces of rotten wood fell off on the carpet as we pulled it out. The whole bottom right corner is gone. An area about 3 inches wide by 4 inches long and one inch deep was completely rotten. It was also warped where water had gotten into the wood. It is beyond my skill level. It needs to have the glass removed and new wood strips replaced; however, I don’t have the woodworking tools for that. It would cost a fortune to hire someone to do the labor. I decided to do wood filler as best as I can so it will look good, then we will never raise it again. When we go to sell the house someday, we will declare it and give a discount on the price. I don’t want to do to the next owners what has been done to me. I might revisit this someday when my skills improve, but for now, this is the best option. What was disappointing is that as I leaned out the windows, I discovered the paint is cracked and beginning to peel on the gutters. It can’t be seen when standing on the ground but it is bad. It will require going up three stories on a ladder to paint, unless I can climb up on the roof, lay down and reach over…hmm. A challange for another day.
          Jeannie

          1. Jeannie,
            I think you should treat yourself to having someone paint your gutters. After you’ve done the windows, going up three storeys on a ladder is not worth the risk. Congrats on the windows. Ann

      2. Daniela, when the salesman quoted the price, it made my heart stop! When I asked him the reason for the expense, he said they don’t make windows like mine anymore and they would have to tear out the whole frame. Other salesmen said the same thing. My husband insisted we replace all of them, not just a few because it would lower the value of our house. I wanted to swap them around and have the new ones only on one side but he wouldn’t have it. I didn’t get finished today and the storm is blowing in. My poor husband is having to take out a window which is protected by the porch, put it in the upstairs unfinished empty frame, and then tape cardboard and plastic over the empty window frame on the porch. The two drying windows are sitting on the kitchen table and I keep saying, “saving $7,000, saving $7,000, saving $7,000” as we trip over the mess.
        My son Dustin came home with my birthday present, bubble bath and Epsom salt. He knew I would want to soak my tired, sore muscles in a hot bath and he is right!
        Jeannie

        1. When I replaced the windows in my house I wish they were only $7,000! I just about died when I got the quotes. I’m in a hurricane zone and the triple-pane, argon filled, mylar reflecting, impact resistant windows I needed for storms and energy efficiency were ridiculous! I just sputterred and kept saying “I paid less for my car!) My hand actually shook writing the check.

    4. Laura I am THRILLED you shared your accomplishments with the windows
      I feel as we age people think we can’t do everything
      I resent that, we can learn new things

      1. Oh, Jennifer, that hurts! Perhaps you could justify it and say those windows are for your safety and they might save your life during a hurricane someday…maybe (trying to cheer you up) but I can’t say that. My damage was due to someone else (the previous owner) being lazy. If he had painted after he installed the windows, the damage would never have happened. The new windows would not have improved the value of my house either since these are good quality but they were never maintained and allowed to weather.
        Maintaining a roof over your head is expensive. It’s hard being a grownup.
        Jeannie

      2. Pam, I don’t have problems with people telling me I can’t do anything because I am old, I have problems with ME telling MYSELF that I can’t do something because I am old. Getting out of bed in the morning is hard work and it’s not going to get easier. Oh well, I just need to work smarter not harder, after all, gray hair is a sign of wisdom and knowledge.
        Jeannie
        PS: I have lots of gray hair when I forget to color it.

    5. Jeannie, that’s awesome! It makes me tired thinking about it…. up & down three stories worth of ladder multiple times, plus all the work on the ground. You deserve a standing ovation for that frugal accomplishment!

      1. Laurie, thank you for the kind words. All my painting has come to a grinding halt because the weather has turned cold, down in the ’20s at night. It is just too cold for the paint to dry and I don’t want to risk it not working. All my supplies are piled up waiting for me to finish. My youngest son Reese has come home for the next two weeks for a visit and I will be letting the windows wait. Family time is more important.
        Jeannie

  36. Husband came home for most of one week. He took care of several small chores, so I didn’t have to call a repairman. Ate in all but three meals in the last 2 weeks (one was pizza, another burger on the run and the 3rd was my wine dinner night).
    Planned meals from the freezer and fridge, with an eye toward using up random items in both. Made a bacon, leek and blue cheese tart, pulled pork ragu, pulled pork nachos, pulled pork bowls, roast beef, beef pot pie, fish tacos, granola bars, breakfast burritos, tikka masala, minestrone, bourbon salmon, Greek Chicken and picadillo.

    Used open fridge items: cabbage, leeks, bacon, blue cheese, lettuce, salsa, last of the sour cream, corn tortillas, ½ red onion, celery, green olives, carrots, cheddar cheese, queso, and cojita
    Used freezer items: beans, roast beef, 2 bags of pulled pork, open corn, open peas, carrots, random fish filets, 2 pie crusts, pouch of guacamole, open package of andouille, found salmon, bag of chicken, open mixed vegetables, tikka masala sauce, and maduros
    Used pantry items – open bag of tortillas, random ends of rice and pasta, last bits of dried cranberries and raisins, dried cherries, cashews, almonds, mini chocolate chips, and brown sugar.
    Still need to cook that last turkey…

    Left AC on, but temps dropped so it really hasn’t run.

    Attended a wine dinner, di the take home meal as well. With leftover and the new meal I got 4 meals from it and I used my 50% off coupon (1 every 4 visits) to drop the price to $30 for those 4 meals plus the fellowship of my friends.

    Mylar packaged and sealed up a bunch of basmati rice, jasmine rice, Arborio rice, 3 kinds of dried beans, masa, and polenta. It will store better and we won’t have the pantry moth or bean weevil issues we have had in the past. It’s a nice feeling knowing that I just put the majority of 60+ meals into the pantry for a rainy day.

    Husband looked for our holiday items in the attic. After seeing the disaster (of his own making) he is now committed to cleaning up/out the attic. Put up most of the hurricane supplies we pre-positioned, poured the stored gas in his truck.

    Last night the handle snapped off the dog water faucet and sprayed by kitchen with water. Praise that I knew precisely where the shut off valve was and how to shut it off. Additional praise that the plumber came 1st thing this morning and fixed it (took him 10 minutes). While he was there, (and I had to pay for an hour’s service anyway… ) I had him install my instant hot water faucet in my kitchen and fix a running toilet. $104 well spent.

    1. Thank you Mary. My husband just asked me if I wanted to go out to eat for my birthday tonight. I raised my paint-covered head, stared at him through a fog of sawdust, and paused while he stood and looked at me. After a few seconds, he said, “Nevermind. We’ll wait for a better day.”
      Jeannie

  37. I’m blinking at the blurry screen as I type, recovering from an emergency visit to the eye doctor this morning, which included dilating the pupil in one eye. Did you know that brown eyes are harder to dilate than blue? My sisters benefit from that; I don’t. Takes two drops and more time.
    In realizing how much my parents modeled frugal living for me, I recognize that part of what I learned was how to treat professionals, such as the optometrist, auto mechanic, grocer, etc., we’ve interacted with this week. My husband is the same: Respect their time and expertise, pay bills promptly, ask questions as needed but don’t complain, be patient with delays, be friendly. Aside from being the right thing to do, that is also frugal, as I think we get better and more prompt service because of our attitudes.

    Most frugal actions seem normal here. Our slow cooker seems to be developing pre-crack lines in the ceramic insert, so we are watching for a new used one. This one was two dollars twenty years ago at a college student leftover stuff sale, so we have certainly got our money’s worth from it. I looked at ordering a new insert on line, but shipping would put the price higher than just buying a brand new one if I could even find the right size. This is a Rival brand– any suggestions on good basic slow cooker brands?

    In learning our new health insurance, I logged into the healthy activities part of the website and watched some short videos to earn points. I didn’t necessarily learn anything because my Dad is always sending me the magazines he gets about healthy living and giving me good fatherly instructions about fiber and sleep and exercise and such. But I did faithfully watch them. I don’t know that we will ever have enough points for anything large, yet as an incentive, we received a surprise in the mail of a good quality metal water bottle with the company name on it for participating.

    I brought in my outdoor edible potted plants: rosemary, parsley, and green onions, and cut all the basil to dry. I also have the kalanchoe plant that I cut way back last spring and now is huge! I need to figure out how to get enough sunlight for them to live for at least a few months inside, and maybe trick the kalanchoe into blooming.

    Glad to see the comments from everyone this week! I like imagining along with people’s vacation stories in particular.

    1. This time of year, you should be able to find good sales on Crockpots. Costco especially has great prices.

      1. Most of the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker models also have a ‘crockpot’ or ‘slow cooker’ setting.

          1. Thank you for the comments! I vaguely thought about Black Friday sales, but hadn’t thought about these being a cold-weather product, as people might think of using them more for stews and such, or buying them for Christmas presents.
            Or donating their old ones in January after they get new ones, so I would have a good selection at thrift stores….

  38. Last week I was in continuing education for 2 full days. Breakfast and lunch were provided each day.
    My DH and one of his sisters is finishing up cleaning their mother’s house to prepare to put it on the market. What people accumulate over 70 years. I am going to start going through my house and shop I think during the next year – slowly but surely, to make it easier on my kids.
    I had guests from overseas – a niece, her husband and their 11 month old. I haven’t been around young children much lately, and caught the baby’s cold. Missed 3 days of work – but that’s life.
    Made a spaghetti dinner with roasted red peppers (from our garden) and garlic bread (garlic also from the garden) while my DH’s entire family was here to discuss the sale of the house. Last family meal in the homestead. My two sons also came home, as they spent most holidays at this house growing up and also got to see almost all their aunts and uncles. (Only one uncle was missing)
    My DH and his sister spent almost 2 weeks, cleaning the house and garage, getting the yard into good shape, and just in general doing what the realtor asked. Saved the family, literally, thousands by only charging for dump fees, items used in making minor repairs and a tank of gas.
    One of our local stores has 8 oz packages of shredded cheese for 99¢. Got the limit of four.
    Made dinners at home each night. Nothing memorable – but we were fed and content.
    My brain is not fully functioning from my cold, so that is about all I can think of.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  39. We’re experiencing “real winter” – a two stage snow storm and cold temps (below 0 tonight!). Since we were in the mountains for most of September I was able to get a full on autumn fix. Its been warm here (S. Colorado) so the trees were just beginning to turn. We managed to get some yard work done prior to the storm so now we feel comfortable being inside.

    I did a deep dive of closets and sorted out my clothes. A good friend just started a job where she needs more “office” clothes than before and I was able to gift her with a number of jackets and tops. She emailed me and said they fit. After going through everything I realized that I could not buy another piece of clothing for literally years and be just fine. I do thrift almost all my clothing but it was sobering to realize that I really lack for nothing. Even underwear including tights.

    We had to take the 5th wheel in to a shop. When we left the RV park we found that we couldn’t get the black tank to empty. Ugh and yuck. The place we took it initially told us they would fit in the fixes we needed (most are minor – a light fixture, one of the stove burners, the cd player, etc.) but the black tank was a big must. No one would commit to fixing it but then the owner called a “guy he knows” who owns a septic company and he came out and emptied the tank. The RV place wouldn’t even work on it until that was taken care of. When I called to find out about the repairs they then told me that it could be months before they got to anything. There was a huge hail storm this summer and they have over 80 RVs to repair. Normally our autumns are pretty mild but now with a cycle of snow storms and cold they are way behind. We are planning on going south from Dec into late April and were quite taken aback. Sooooo – I decided to see if I could tackle anything myself. My boss at the RV park is very knowledgeable and said he could walk me through some stuff and then there is YouTube. So I am going to see what can get accomplished. I took inspiration from Jeannie and thought I can do this! Our insurance will cover some but a lot we’d have to pay for.

    Had a friend over on Sunday and I made ham/potato/corn chowder and apple turnovers. We’d talked about going out but it saved a lot to stay in. I found a ham on sale and baked it and made ham broth, soup, sandwiches and have ham to freeze. I won’t buy a turkey this year – with just two people and neither of us is a huge turkey lover it just doesn’t make sense. We decided to take our small chest freezer with us for our next trip – it will fit in the dining area of our rv. We were pretty good about eating in while we were gone but when we did go shopping we found that most food was 15-20%higher – and sometimes meat even more so. This will save a lot for us.

    After we analyzed our expenses we were basically ahead with our vacation! By working at the RV park and eating in most of the time and doing free activities we really didn’t spend anything out of the ordinary. The one big splurge was to spend the day at a hot springs in mid-July – I foolishly didn’t pack a picnic and even forgot our water bottles so that was an expensive lesson.

    All the usual – keeping the heat setting down (bundling up, using heated lap robes and baking/cooking using the oven), drinking tea and soda stream water, cooking from the pantry and freezer, full loads of laundry (that was one expense we hadn’t anticipated so need to see if we can get the washer/dryer combo fixed – a small on that came with the RV), reading, watching Amazon Prime, getting our doctoring done before the end of the year. Next year we plan to be on the farm from May through September so will put in a small garden. Cousins are very generous with produce – it is really his hobby/passion and they grow far more than they can eat and we treat them back in appreciation.

    Glad you are back Brandy! This community really helps me keep focused on what is important. My friend brought some Guideposts to read – I had somehow forgotten just how lovely they are. I don’t read and don’t watch TV shows or movies that are negative or depressing but sometimes the world does seem to spill over with all that is negative. Mary

    1. S. CO. Mary, bless your heart. If you are taking inspiration from me, you are in real trouble!
      Joking aside, it feels good to be able to accomplish something only an expensive “professional” could do. Youtube videos are fantastic plus googling instructional websites and asking people for information is how I do it. I am going to spend the money to get high quality, small tools that I can handle. My husband has power tools but they are big, powerful monsters! I can’t even pick them up! He tries to help me as I do things but his health won’t allow him to do much else. Our responsibilities seem to be changing. I am learning to do maintenance and he is doing the light housework.
      Now I am dreaming of other things I want to get done that have been cost-prohibitive.
      I look forward to hearing about what you accomplish and do feel free to brag.
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

      1. Jeannie – a suggestion about hand tools. Try finding tools that have a power cord and are not the battery operated ones. I’m a woman in my 60s and find that the tools with the batteries are just too heavy for me. I know the trend is to go with battery operated ones but some times the old tried and true methods work best.

        1. SJ in Vancouver, THANK YOU for that advice. It makes sense. Many of my husband’s tools are battery operated and I bet that’s the reason they are so heavy. I have been leery of using them because I don’t think I could control them. I will take your advice when I go shopping.
          Thanks again.
          Jeannie

    2. When I clean and organize my closet, I come to the same conclusion – that I won’t need to buy a thing for many years. I read that a moving company did a survey of the households they moved and found out that 85% of the clothes they moved hadn’t been worn in a year. This inspired me to try to wear everything in my closet at least once this year. Although I do have about a 3 size range (necessary for some yo-yoing in size), I am currently in the middle size and working on making it to the smallest size. I have noticed that I now expect to wear skinny style jeans and as I have lost weight and can wear my “old” jeans, I am surprised how roomy the legs and seats are. They are ok for around the house, but I’d rather be a little more stylish when I go out. I find that some clothes I have never cared much for, but there are certainly items I regret donating because I loved them and now they might fit me. Perhaps working in my church’s thrift store influences that – because they receive so many more donations than they can sell (they try to find other uses for the things they can’t sell) – but I used to feel I was really helping when I donate items and now I realize that only some items are a help and others are not.

      1. I’ve been experimenting with the 333 project, where you select 33 items of clothing, shoes, and jewelry and wear them for 3 months. You don’t need to include exercise clothes or sleepwear. I have found that it significantly reduces the amount of clothes that I wear and need and makes getting dressed much easier (I also don’t include jewelry because I like having a bit more variety)> Now that I am in my third round it helps me see what I haven’t worn or needed for the last 9 months so it is easier to get rid of a lot of my clothing.

  40. So thankful your husband was able to fix your dryer. I don’t think we can put a price on a handy husband! ?
    *Meals made were smothered chicken with green beans, chicken tacos with corn, shrimp with baked potatoes, roasted turkey with roasted potatoes/broccoli/cauliflower, sandwiches (turkey, peanut butter and jelly), turkey vegetable soup with grilled cheese, frozen pizza with potato chips, leftovers, cheeseburgers with mac and cheese, beef fajitas with nachos,
    *Reviewed our auto insurance policy and removed rental coverage, as we have an extra vehicle. Also chose to pay the year in full to save on installment fees.
    *Traveled 2 hours to visit our son in grad school. We timed it so we could stop at the Green Valley Book Fair (where I bought several Christmas presents at great prices!) and Sharp Shopper (a discount food store where we stocked up on pantry items). We did take our son out to lunch at Outback (which was NOT frugal at all, but we all drank water and did not get appetizers or desserts).
    *Used 3 tablecloths (2 green and 1 purple) from the Dollar Tree along with black and white construction paper I already had (for the eyes) as our decor for our church’s Trunk or Treat. Our trunk was a Ninja Turtle and we wore green shirts and bandanas so we would go with the theme.
    *Logged into our health insurance website and earned an activation reward that will save us $50 per pay period on health insurance.
    *Used 3 cards from my stash for Pastor Appreciation gifts. We purchased each pastor/wife a gift card and earned double gas points by getting them at Kroger.
    *Made pecan pie bars for our church’s Fall Fellowship and an apple cake for our Pastor Appeciation lunch. Helped clean up after the lunch and brought home peppers, hardboiled eggs, carrots and peas.
    *Changed the direction of all of our ceiling fans for the cooler months.

    1. I loved Sharp Shopper the summer I lived in the Harrisonburg (VA) area. There were always interesting surprises in that store. I tried a lot of products at very low prices that I would otherwise not try – such as Talenti Gelato. (Delicious, especially when a container is $1 not $5.)

  41. The first two days of last week were hard–I was sedated for an endoscopy and was draggy for two days. The last half of the week was a lot better. This was my week–

    •I cut off the cord off a broken Christmas decoration that I was throwing away. DH will use it to replace the cord on his mom’s kitchen clock. This clock is over 70 years old and still keeps time!
    •My gastro guy gave me a whole carton of very expensive medication samples for DD–48 tabs in all. Since she only uses this infrequently as a rescue, it should last 2-3 years.
    •I sent in the form from my insurance company to get a $35 Amazon GC for having had my annual wellness exam and flu shot. I plan to give the Amazon card as a Christmas gift. I could have gotten another $60 for a colonoscopy, but I’ll pass on that one, LOL.
    •I made a big jar of dry bread crumbs from stale bread and heels.
    •I got 5 dozen medium eggs for $2.98.
    * I flew down to Portland Sunday for only 5,000 frequent flyer miles. I was able to check my suitcase free because I have the airline’s branded CC. Made for a much easier trip!
    * I bought $25 worth of health products at Target and received a $5 GC, which I will use for a Christmas stocking stuffer.
    * I recycled a bunch of cardboard and dumped two garbage cans full of garden waste that I didn’t want to compost (because of wilt). I donated a garbage bag of clothing and housewares, hard floor cleaning machine, chandelier and wall-mount magazine rack for a total value of $174 to the Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store. It will come back to me as a $54 credit on my Idaho state income tax.

  42. Oops, now you all know the truth–I am a math midget. Should have read the donation was $154 and the tax credit will be $77.

    While I’m at it, I just want to say I’m proud of you, Jeannie!

  43. Hi Brandy! I so enjoy reading through your lists of frugal accomplishments. I have followed you for several years, and have found much motivation and encouragement within this little community that you’ve built. I was wondering, since you have now sent a daughter to college, and she has been there for a good bit of time, would you consider doing a specific post regarding the ways you approached/are still approaching frugal dorm living? We just signed my daughter up for university yesterday, and are beyond thrilled for her! But, the expenses will no-doubt begin to creep up quickly, and I have many suspicions that there are a lot of “hidden” costs that you don’t always know are there until they are right on top of you.
    I do remember you touching on this a few months back, regarding getting your daughter settled in, but I was wondering (hoping!!!) that you might be willing to go a little more in-depth with it, and possibly compare the initial ‘settling in’ to what her experience looks like now…definite situations to plan for? Things you may not have realized you couldn’t do as frugally as you wanted…so, how did you make the best of that situation? Day-to-day needs like toiletries/meals/etc…

    I’m afraid I’m asking for the moon here, but ANY help would be welcome.

    Blessings to you and your family!
    ~E Tallent

    1. She’s actually in an apartment, not a dorm, so she does all her own cooking. She was able to qualify for Pell Grants and as we chose an inexpensive school, her tuition and books are now covered completely. She rents books whenever possible from a bookstore just off campus that her roommates told her about. She prints papers at the less expensive place on campus (four cents a page instead of six cents a page). She works to pay for her food, toiletries, clothing, phone, and housing. Her job (she’s a janitor, so she cleans a campus building–stairs, windows, walls, classrooms, bathrooms, etc.) allows her the option to work a few Saturdays in addition to her regular hours if she wants to, and she works those as often as possible. She buys clothing used online from ThreadUp. She’s bid on boots from Ebay, which have kept her feet warm and dry in the snow. She has also bought some work clothes from the local Walmart.

      1. Brandy I was so impressed by all the practical and frugal things you have done and also Winter to get thru college

    2. Effie: Congratulations to your daughter! And your family for getting her ready for college!
      Do make sure to read all the information the school sends you, or puts on its website, about suggested things for residence hall rooms. Some rules are for safety reasons, such as no candles, cooking appliances that have heating elements, etc. Some are because there usually isn’t much for storage. Rules are generally very clear about furniture provided and what you can and can’t add. Different students make different purposes for their rooms: Some like to find other places to study, such as the library or empty classrooms, and use their rooms for socializing and sleeping.
      If she has a required meal plan, make sure to read that information carefully as well to see how many meals a week are included at which dining facilities.
      If people ask what your daughter might need or want for graduation gifts, guide them to practical or grown-up things she might want for school, work, or her room. A good pair of headsets might be one suggestion, as well as a little tiny toolbox, desk supplies, etc., which will make her popular if people ask to borrow them.
      Student wardrobes do not need to be glamorous, at all! Some of your costs will come down to how your daughter handles her own money while she is away, and how she is ready to do that: shopping for her own personal supplies, food, socializing, class needs, etc.

    3. Effie: Forgot one: The College Store is just about inevitably going to be MUCH more expensive than area stores like WalMart, Target, Dollar Stores, etc for personal products or school supplies or snack foods.
      It is also probably much more expensive for college branded merchandise, which in a college town is probably available cheaper at other stores, even thrift stores
      It is, however, a store, and they have sales and clearance items like any other, though probably over the summer, not in August when students arrive.

  44. As others are saying, I’m so thankful for this blog. This community means so much to me as I continue to learn frugal ways. We received a SS statement recently and saw that we will be able to live with pensions and SS once my husband reaches 70. Ideally, he would continue to work part-time so we can catch up a bit on savings. I would be working too, but am disabled by arthritis and sciatica. I do continue to volunteer serve a small congregation on Barter Island, north of the Alaska mainland.
    It is snowing and raining here today, so travel is a bit questionable for tomorrow when I hope to fly to Barter Island. It has been Nanook (polar bear) viewing season so I have not been there since August. The tourists take all the available spots during that time. I’ve missed the community! Once I am there, returning is based on flight conditions and weather. After experiencing an 87 mph storm last winter, I am thankful for the safety and security of the basic hotel where I stay. And eventually, the planes do fly in! We are all grateful when they do because all food and supplies come that way, except for fuel which is barged in once a year.
    We just made our big food shelf donation of potatoes for this year. We choose to, donate to a smaller food shelf which serves the North Pole where my husband serves a church. It is a good feeling to know that people can benefit from his garden and that we have plenty of potatoes for this winter. I just used our last frozen ham to make bean soup. The carrots, celery, and potatoes were all from our gardens and beans and ham were on hand. We only had to buy onions.
    Brandy, you enrich our lives with your blog! Many thanks for creating this community of friends!

  45. So happy to be a part of this wonderful community, reading everyone’s accomplishments (along with their struggles) is so inspiring! I have not posted in a few weeks, September was a budget buster. We had thought it was due to expenses related to helping our daughter move, her living situation deteriorated unexpectedly, but in reality it was eating out. When we looked back, we ate out 8 times in 1 month! This is so outside the norm for us, we let stress & fatigue decide our choices instead of common sense. So the past 2 weeks have been getting back on track, stocked the freezer with BOGO meat sales, menu planning & actually following it.

  46. Brandy,
    I just wanted to share that my husband’s disability finally got approved! I’m not sure when we will start getting money. But I am happy! It should make things so much easier for us.
    Tammy

  47. Hi Brandy & everyone,
    Love reading all the comments! I’m in rural Australia so we are fast approaching summer! Our days are getting hotter & we are in a terrible drought so lots of wind & dust storms. Warmer weather means I tend to wash in the afternoon & evening & hang out to dry overnight. It’s dry by the morning & I can get it in before the heat of the day. We really only use our dryer during wet weather which we haven’t had much of this year. Because we live in a rural area, (it’s a 35min drive to the next town or 1 hr to our bigger centre) we have a library truck that comes once a fortnight so today I took my 3 yr old to visit the library truck, (a semi-trailer that is a mini library inside) he loves to ‘buy’ books & dvds!! We try to go most fortnights.
    We have resisted getting takeaway this week, which I sometimes get when we have had a big week & I’m tired. I made do with what we had in the freezer, our budget will thank us, especially as we get closer to Christmas!!
    Looking forward to reading on with everyone especially as Christmas approaches.
    Amie

  48. Well, I’ve been spending time at the archives which is technically closed. The chief archivist is still there, though and makes appointments for research on Wednesdays. I asked him if I could use the long table to sort out the box of 300 photos (x7 copies of each = 2100 photos). Some may remember the story of how I came to have these photos. I had cold-called someone out of the blue whose genealogy efforts I’d read about online. I said we were distant cousins. He said he had a box of 300 photos but didn’t know whose line they were from. I said, read some of the names. He did and I said, “that’s my great grandmother, great uncle” etc. It turns out he had hired a genealogist to interview a woman who lived several thousand miles away from him, and that the woman had given the box to the interviewer to give to the man as “she had no children and no-one was interested”. As I had been looking for someone related to the woman he interviewed, he gave me the woman’s phone number. She gave me her niece’s phone number and I called her. I mentioned the box of 300 photos and within 15 minutes I had a phone call saying she wanted her photos. It turned out her mother had Alzheimer’s and should not have given the photos away. I told her I did not have the photos. to make this shorter, by luck a friend moved to the man’s small town and “liberated” the photos (after we waited 4 years for him to get them scanned). So I got them scanned but did not get them assembled into 7 albums before I broke my arm and could not label or assemble them. It is just so great that I can use the long tables at the archives to spread them all out and sort them. I am bound and determined that I will have it done and return them to the families whose photos they are. My research “colleague” (I can now use that term about him as he used it about me this week) stood on a chair in the archives and took a photo of the photos on the table. I just did not have the room to sort all the photos at home. I will keep one album, give one to a sibling as a Christmas gift, give one to a local museum (in exchange for info from the museum about a different side of the family), and send 4 plus originals to the owners. I hope I survive all of the labelling. Had I been smarter, I would have labelled all of the photos and printed those photos. It was only after the fact that I thought of it. Anyway I want to finish this before anything else happens…

    I mentioned Hallowe’een. On Hallowe’en day, I went to the store (London Drugs) and picked up 3 of the boxes of Hershey’s little chocolate bars — they are only made at Christmas and in a peanut free facility. I got the 3 boxes for 50% off. Had I waited till today I might have saved more but chances are all of the boxes would have been gone. They are the only chocolates I can eat — now to have the discipline to stash 2 of the boxes to save for the coming year. This used up money for me to pick up the jigsaw puzzle they made for me from one of my photos ( — a Christmas gift for my great nieces) but I did pick up the Christmas. cards they made from my photos. I explained to the photo counter about the chocolates and they are quite happy to let me pick up the rest of the things later in the month. They were super nice about it. And they had no idea Hershey’s only makes the peanut free (and egg-free) chocolates at Hallowe’en. I joined the rewards program at London Drugs.

    I went ahead and baked the ham that put me out of pocket and unintentionally over budget at the store last week. It is a maple flavoured birch smoked ham from Valbella (only available at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas). I was going to freeze it and bake it for our potluck at Christmas but I baked it and put 20 packages of sliced ham in the freezer for me. In addition, I am looking forward to making soup tomorrow or the next day out of an onion, a cabbage, carrots, split peas, barley, and the ham. I hope to freeze some jars of it, too. At the end of the month, I will buy another ham for the potluck. I had a hard time getting this ham in and out of the oven one-handedly but I managed.

    I have a few hats that are dry clean only. I think I’m just going to put them in my dryer for about two minutes and see if they survive.

    I started doing Italian on Duo Lingo again but find it hurts my arm a lot so stopped.

    I hope, finally, over the weekend to be able to sort a few boxes outside before it snows again (!) next week.

  49. So thankful to see your posting this week, it sounds like last week was full of challenges that you met with your usual grace and gratitude!

    Well we had our first frost last night! So yesterday I picked all the peppers, all green, and the tomatoes. I covered the lettuce and the fall crops hopefully are fine. I got six gallons of peppers, so I will be using them a lot and they store well in the fridge.

    My favorite frugal find was five brand new “Angelina Ballerina” books for $2.50 at our library used book rack. They will be Christmas gifts for a granddaughter. I always stop in even when just dropping off books, because they are the cheapest source of used books around here.

    I have some library books on DIY household and beauty recipes, that I plan to make for the daughters and DIL’s for Christmas. I want to do these soon

    and get moving on gifts, the weeks are flying by.

    I am using our gifted to us exercise bike, now that the mornings and evenings are dark, I want to get my exercise in however I can, this is a major priority for me. I did good in my 20’s and 40’s onward, and feel very young now that I am 60! Grateful that my husband takes exercise seriously and encourages me to be faithful! I even take my weights to two of my jobs, where the kids nap and my elderly client sleeps late in the morning. I do it right where I can hear and keep an eye out, but it is a great way to use that time.

    What a wonderful community you all are!

  50. Jean, you are an inspiration! And so many of you who contribute here are! It is great to have a husband who encourages one to exercise and so many of you mention husbands who are great handymen, able to repair and maintain things around the house and yard! There are also those who are single and showing such courage and fortitude in being frugal and accomplishing worthwhile things. I feel uplifted and strengthened. Thank you.

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