Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Two Weeks

 

Wren on Halloween The Prudent Homemaker

My children used costumes and costume elements we had on hand for their Halloween costumes. One of the costumes my 13-year-old son had put together earlier this for his sister (I shared it in an earlier post) but he realized a particular hat we had worked as a musketeer hat, so he went as a musketeer, combining clothes he had with dress up elements from other costumes.

Ezrom Halloween The Prudent Homemaker

I signed up for a free one-month trial at Adapted Mind to check out their reading comprehension, math, and science programs. I have been looking to add more reading comprehension activities into our homeschool lessons, and with so many grades to teach, having something that corrects the answers for me is really helpful for my time. I’m not sure that I want to pay for this site after the trial is over, so I did a search for free reading comprehension sites, and found quite a few (this page lists 11). I’ll be checking these out rather than purchasing some new reading comprehension workbooks, which is what I had been considering.

I had a video call via Facebook with a friend in France. He had a friend there when we spoke, and his friend said that my French was perfect! I know I still make mistakes, but I had no problem understanding or being understood. The French study I began a few years back to help me remember has really paid off. I continue to learn new words and expressions by doing more free online studying.

I canned 8 pints of sweet pickle relish using Armenian cucumbers from the garden, onions purchased on sale at $0.38 a pound, and bell peppers that were given to us.

I gave a son a haircut.

I downloaded the free Lose It! app to help me count calories after a reader mentioned it. It’s really fantastic. It also counts calories burned through exercise, including housecleaning, gardening, and breastfeeding, which are my own personal calorie burners (Nursing a baby didn’t burn much, and I had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t losing much that way, so the confirmation of my feelings about that was interesting). I like that I can scan a UPC code and it can immediately give me all of the information about a food that way. I have been a little lax about my calorie intake (in other words, a little too generous in my portions and munching while cooking) and so have not been losing baby weight like I had hoped. This has given me a new motivation and I have set a weight loss goal between now and the end of the year. I’ll set two more next year, but I like having some short-term goals to achieve rather than just a final weight-loss goal, as it helps to motivate me.

I decided to hold off on some purchases to see if they go on sale on Black Friday. I am also noticing that some stores are having pre-Black Friday deals, so I am watching the ads carefully.

I needed to mail in the children’s homeschool notifications, which require them to be sent return receipt (and return receipt requires an additional certified mail sending). The postal clerk asked if I wanted to buy stamps. She told me first class stamps are going to go up in January or February by 5 cents each. I purchased additional stamps, as U.S. first-class stamps carry a “forver” rate, meaning that even though they are $0.50 each now, when the rate goes up to $0.55 each, they will be worth $0.55. I remember this was such a strange concept when they started doing this a couple of decades ago, but now it is a mini-investment. I pay most bills online/automatically, but I also send some perosnal notes and so even if the stamps last me a few years and the rate increases again, I will have stamps.

 

What have you done the past two weeks to save money?

 

 

 

 

 

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147 Comments

  1. Brandy! You are amazing. Losing weight is so hard. I wish you luck. I not been saving much. But my husband started a 2nd job today…also he starts his PA program the end if this month. We were able to consolidate bills from 3 to 1 and save over $800 per month. Looking for deals for Thanksgiving this week. My daughter turns 11 on the 24th and I am planning a frugal party for her. I was also able to get a Christmas tree for $98 at Lowe’s $100 off!

  2. I love your children’s costumes!

    I had a meeting on the other side of the state and while I was there I made a Costco run (we don’t have Costcos on my side of Colorado) and stocked up on meat, flour, olive oil, peanut butter, vinegar, and a few other items. Nice to have the freezer full again.
    The green tomatoes I picked before the freeze have been ripening rapidly. We haven’t been able to eat them as fast as they ripen, so I have been stashing the ripe ones in a bag in the freezer. Wednesday I took out all the frozen tomatoes and made a big batch of spaghetti sauce in my Instant Pot. We had some for dinner that evening and I froze four pints for future use.
    For a date night we attended a play by the local community theatre group – a comedy. Tickets were only $10 each and we ate at home before we went.
    Enjoyed reading several books from the library – or free Kindle reads – and listening to audiobooks.
    My biggest money-saver last week was signing up for another year of health insurance through the exchange. I moved from a silver plan to a bronze plan this year, saving $400 a month in premiums. I was so grateful for this savings – and the coverage is still very good.
    We’re still eating chard and parsnips from the garden. I have big, beautiful broccoli plants in the greenhouse that I hope will make heads. I am covering them with frost cloth on really cold nights, hoping to keep them going until they can produce. I watered the greenhouse and inside plants with water from my rain barrels. (Once they freeze solid, this won’t be possible.)
    I had some extra money in the budget, so I made a bulk meat order and a big order from Bob’s Red Mill while they were having a 25% off sale. The freezer is very full and we should be set for a while.
    I cashed in some survey points for Amazon gift cards and used them to purchase a couple of Christmas gifts. I also knit two more scarves and a couple of dishcloths for gifts.
    I baked sandwich bread and French bread.

  3. Awesome costumes! You also gave me motivation to keep up my Spanish practice (it would help me with a few colleagues).
    I use – used printer paper to print mailing labels on. I have also started cutting the Dollar Store tissue paper in half for my online sales (half a sheet is more than plenty).
    I used unwanted bumper stickers (from Penzsy, restaurants visited) as reinforcement tape to mail a package. The post office clerk loved the ingenuity and colorfulness.
    We had family visiting – who needed their children babysat. I picked up 3 “fancy” dresses at my pay by the pound for the little girl to play dress up with. The dresses were about a dollar each and provided hours of entertainment. She is quite excited to visit and play princess scientist again this winter.

    Brandy, am so grateful you took/had time and were able to get the problem fixed.

  4. Great costumes! I love that your kids can be creative and make up their own costumes.

    My frugal accomplishments for the past two weeks:
    – Firstly, I want to say thank you so much for all the well wishes on the previous frugal accomplishments post! I was so touched that so many people wished me and my brand-new bebe well! This community Brandy has put together is the best! Thank you again!
    – In terms of frugal accomplishments, I made baked potatoes with broccoli and homemade cheese sauce for dinner one night before the baby arrived, and then turned the leftovers, with a few additions, into 5-Minute Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potato Soup (http://approachingfood.com/5-minute-easy-cheesy-broccoli-baked-potato-soup/). So, so yummy and so, so easy! I pulled out the last of it for dinner tonight.
    – When I was admitted to emerg two weeks ago, I stayed long enough that it eventually became meal time. Apparently too many meals had been ordered, so my mum (who took me to emerg while my DH stayed with our newborn) was given a meal as well. Not paying for dinner = winning!
    – My sister has been staying with me during the weekdays for a few days a week while my DH is at work (I had some complications after my daughter’s birth, so I’m weak and my mom and sister are taking turns helping me out for a few weeks while I regain my strength.) She’s been making meals for me, which are greatly appreciated. Prior to making a meal, she looked into my freezer and re-arranged every single thing. She called it organizing my freezer; I called it well-intentioned. She wasn’t able to put everything back in because she just couldn’t get it to fit, so I told her to pull out a bag of bread crusts that had been given to me by my mother after Thanksgiving, and taught her how to turn them into breadcrumbs (toast in the oven, then blend in a blender. Easy peasy). I was also able to teach her another frugal trick: if you have wilted carrots, soak them in ice water for several hours and they’ll firm right up! I had her soak them in cold water in the fridge overnight and the next day they were firm again, and turned in to carrot sticks which lasted several days.
    – I also taught my sister how to make baked sweet potato fries, and how to blanch and freeze carrots. With her help, I’ve added 5 lbs of carrots to my freezer, enough for several months.
    – My husband redeemed $80 worth of loyalty points for groceries.
    – There a few good deals on produce this week, so I had my husband pick up 10 lbs of potatoes for $1, and 10 lbs of carrots for $3.
    – I made more ice cream sandwiches using ice cream on sale.
    – My sister gave me a hand cream that she didn’t like, as well as some jewelry she no longer wanted. I kept a bracelet for myself, along with a necklace and earring set, and set aside the other bracelets and earrings to package up as Christmas gifts to family friends (the kids will appreciate the brighter colour bracelets, and the mother will appreciate the shinier bracelet and earring set).
    – I lent my mother a book that I had finished reading, and returned some magazines of hers that I had borrowed for convalescence reading.
    – My husband borrowed a stud-finder from my parents as opposed to purchasing one ourselves.
    – I redeemed Pinecone Research points for $5 to my paypal account.
    – I ordered a custom-sized dress online, using a 35% off coupon code for first-time customers, and used the $5 from my paypal account to reduce my OOP costs as well. My husband wanted me to get a new dress for his yearly Christmas work party as I wore the same dress two years in a row, so I will wear this dress to that, as well as to my baby’s baptism in January. It’s a dress that can be dressed up or down, so it should be useful for lots of occasions and seasons.
    – Redeemed swagbucks for a $10 gc to Indigo.
    – I used my digital currency from my trading app to buy some groceries from a higher end store that I normally would not frequent: organic juices, organic vegetables (I chose ‘ripe & ugly’ produce to get 25% off), free-run/range eggs, Spanish tapenade, chorizo for my husband, and lunch for my mother and I. I love free groceries!
    – I made English muffin pizzas using English muffins on sale and homemade sauce from the freezer. Made for easy and inexpensive meals.
    – I also pulled some Carrot Ginger Stew with Quinoa (http://approachingfood.com/carrot-ginger-stew/) from my freezer. My sister and I enjoyed it for several meals. So thankful for frozen meals!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a dozen chocolate chip cookies (made with the eggs that I had gotten free) for a sealed 4kg jug of a name brand shampoo.
    – I then served the remaining cookies to two guests who dropped by to see the baby. I didn’t have anything in the house to serve with tea, so baking those cookies did double duty (to trade & to serve to guests).
    – I made a double-batch of laundry detergent.
    – A friend gave me a bouquet of flowers on my daughter’s birth. The flowers wilted, but I took the greenery and arranged it in a crystal bud vase (gotten free at a wedding expo many years ago) to create a new arrangement in my entranceway that will last for a few more weeks.
    – I double-checked prices on different types of freezer bags at the Dollar Store. By choosing the package that was Christmas-themed, I was able to get 3 more freezer bags for the same price. I’m happy to use Christmas-themed bags year round, if it saves money.
    – Twice, instead of getting take-out for a quick meal as my husband wanted, I pulled out a frozen pizza which I had bought on sale for $2 last week.
    – My husband and I had what I call a 5-minute date: I printed out something cute from the datingdivas website to give to him to make him smile, and we shared a bottle of chilled sparkling juice that I had bought on sale many months ago. It was frugal, it nurtured our relationship, and it was the right length for a date for exhausted parents of a newborn!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

  5. Loving the costumes, so creative!

    I’ve decided that I’m going to quit my job at the end of this school year. I’ve really been unhappy with it for awhile. And I’d like to be able to take most of the summer off to spend with my kids before heading back into the job market. So I have some big incentives to hunker down and live as frugally as possible for the next few months:

    -I received a Burley bike trailer off my Buy Nothing group. The trailer itself is in excellent condition, but the wheels were off – which was an easy fix! I don’t have babies to haul, but I’m using it for errands around town and grocery shopping. I gave away the stroller attachments on Craigslist to someone who could use them.

    -The weather is cooling down, so it’s harder for me to get outside in the early morning to run. I don’t love the gym enough to pay for a membership, so I downloaded some free HIIT exercise apps. My two favorite so far are Nike Training Club and Seven (because they are all 7 minute workouts).

    -My best friend and I went for an urban hike to spend time together….only cost was the gas to get to the park and if I had planned better, I might have rode my bike there!

    -Similarly, my husband and I had a free date to the Dia de los Muertos exhibit and celebration at the Portland Art Museum. We took public transportation to avoid paying for gas and parking downtown.

    – I received $150 in Amazon gift cards for referrals. $50 for referring a friend who bought a Rad e-bike (the Rad Wagon was a purchase a couple of years ago so that I could bike with my disabled son — and it pretty much acts as our second car now). And $100 for joining Personal Capital through a referral. I’ve noticed the Personal Capital referral is down to $20 now, but I was still able to get the $100. So far, I like the site — it aggregates and tracks your income and net worth, gives suggestions on how to invest better, etc. It is free as well – although I think there are additional investment services you can
    pay for if you are interested (I’m not!) Anyways, I plan to put all of this free money towards Christmas presents for our kids and other family.

    – I thought of three Christmas gifts I can make for free. One for my son, one for my sister and one for my husband. I am still trying to figure out low-cost or free gifts for teachers and neighbors. I’m trying to avoid gifting baked goods – but honestly, that is probably what I do best!

    – I put Christmas DVDs on hold at the library for holiday movie nights. I’ve learned to do this early, otherwise, the queue gets long and we don’t get them until well after the holidays are over.

  6. Last week I was trying to complete a quilt top but realized I would need to add additional borders to make the quilt the correct size. I thought about buying more fabric which would have cost another $75 plus the batting and quilt thread. I had just reread several of your articles so I gave it some thought for a day or two to see what I could come up with instead of going to the store. I have been trying to declutter and reduce the amount of fabrics I have on hand. I went through my fabric stash and found several pieces that worked with the quilt top saving me the $75. I used a 60% off coupon at Joann Fabrics to get the thread and ran to Walmart next door for the batting. In all I spent $12 versus the $75. And I used up some of my fabric stash.
    I have also been feeding us mostly from the pantry, stayed home at least 3-4 days a week, watched our use of electricity, and kept the heat on a lower temperature. We also turned our credit card points into gift cards for several Christmas gifts. We had done a big vacation in September in honor of our 40th anniversary, my 60th birthday and my retirement. We had saved up to pay cash for the trip but used the card while gone and paid it in full upon our return. We had a lot of points!
    Brandy, I just want to say if it weren’t for your website I probably would not have tried to problem solve my quilt situation. Reading your articles I know that one truly frugal strategy is to be patient which gives a person time to think of possible solutions. I am trying to make November a no spend month, other than a few groceries and the usual bills. We only have a year or two left on our mortgage, depending on how our new income plays out (Retirement for teachers is pretty sad, but it is better than nothing.). I am trying to be as frugal as I can in order to free up money to wipe the mortgage out. I love reading your accomplishments posts and your monthly shopping plans. Your website helps keep me on track and motivated. Thank you for taking the time to make all this possible.

  7. Such wonderful costumes! I canned sweet pickle relish for the first time this year, and have been using it to make Thousand Island dressing. Before our first hard freeze this weekend, I picked a large bunch of spearmint. Today I have it infusing, and intend to make mint syrup with it. I have a niece that loves my cold mint tea, so I thought I’d try canning this up as for gifts. I’m so happy to see a Frugal Accomplishments post, and look forward to all the comments. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/11/first-freeze-frugal-accomplishments.html

  8. Our little one was so good and stayed in until after my due date so I qualified for paid maternity leave!
    – submitted paperwork for maternity leave
    – paid some extra on our mortgage that we had been storing up in case mat leave didn’t work out
    – borrowed an extra breast pump from a good friend so I don’t have to heft one back and forth to work once I start
    – breastfed. And breastfed. And breastfed. And then for a change, breastfed some more (10 lb baby!)
    – gratefully accepted free food from kind friends
    – thought through and priced out gifts for our family for Christmas
    – canceled some extra help for our dog in December while we are away for the holiday
    – did some extra scratch work figuring out what we should do for childcare when I restart work
    – staggered help from my mom, my in laws, and an occasional babysitter to try to stay sane and not super sleep deprived. I’ve got to say, it’s feeling much better this time around. I’m not very good with the newborn period but this first week has been better than the others.
    – continue to drink tons of water to stay hydrated and to keep up my milk supply

  9. It’s two weeks and I can’t really think of what I’ve done. The larger issue has been keeping better track of what we spend and allocating extra $$$ through December to increase pantry and freezer (remember, we ate everything up when we moved twice last year). All of our bills this month were in the usual range, but utilities are less in this smaller home. As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing.”

    I have been buying case goods and meat when they come on sale. Last week, I bought 3 boneless chuck roasts for $2.98 lb. (my go-to price) and a case of canned clams for .88 can. I froze two roasts and cut the other up into cubes for a couple of packages of stew beef. I reused plastic bread and produce bags for freezing, which is one of the “usual frugal things” here. I suck the air out with a straw and seal with a twist tie.

    When I was at Winco, just buying what we needed to get through the weekend, I noticed that they have started their turkey promotion–spend $100 and get one free. I came home and immediately started my list. Without including meat that might be on sale, I should easily be able to make $100, because I know I’ll be buying $58.19 in case sales just to start. Now I think I have figured out how to get a second free turkey! While I am shopping today, I’m going to price out dog food, which we buy in 31 lb. bags. I’ll go back near Thanksgiving to top up groceries and buy dog food to take me over the top! I priced our dogs’ brand online, and if Winco has it for under $34, it’s a go. (I realize if I pay more for things just to get to $100, that turkey really isn’t free. Fortunately, Winco has the lowest prices in town)

    We have also decided to decorate our home for Christmas. I have only done this a few times before, because I suffer from clinical depression, and before I got on meds, I just couldn’t do anything extra. But my kids always loved it, and our 41-y-o daughter is developmentally disabled. She is also having problems with depression just now, and I think doing up the house will cheer her up. It won’t go to the underlying problem, but it will make her happy for a day or two or three…and it will be worth it. I measured the house yesterday and determined how many strings of lights we will need. At my age (early 70s) I would never come out ahead on LED lights, so I hit the thrift stores looking for lights. St. Vinnies’s is selling lights for $1 a string and yesterday was half-price day! I plan to hit St. Vinnie’s in the next town over on Wednesday, which is half-price day there. We discussed how to hang lights on the cheap and will use small finishing nails and leave them up for future years.

    GREAT PICTURES of your costumed kids, Brandy. None of my kids’ costumes came even close!

  10. What colorful and detailed costumes your kids came up with out of their dress up box! I love seeing kids imaginations displayed like that.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer last month so we’ve been spending a lot of money on gas, tolls, parking, and copays. The hospital system I’m using charges for parking in a lot of its locations and doesn’t validate and being sandwiched between Baltimore and DC makes it hard to go very far without hitting a toll. I’ve had to stop my second job and since it was contract work they don’t think they’ll be able to hold it for me until I’m finished treatment. I start chemo this week and will have 20 weeks of infusions followed by surgery and radiation but I’ve had to have several preparatory procedures that put weight bearing restrictions on my arms. We will be fine financially and in the long run this will set us back but it won’t knock us down. I wish this weren’t happening right in the middle of the holiday season but there’s no such thing as a good time for bad news.

    -I joined a helping hands site on Facebook and was able to donate several old clothing items of my children’s to women in need including a winter coat in excellent condition and some toddler clothes I still had boxed away.
    -My oncologist recommended replacing my toothbrush after each chemo session. At my dental cleaning last week I mentioned this to my hygienist who was kind enough to give me a bag full of the sample toothbrushes to take home with me. This saves me the cost of 16 new toothbrushes.
    -I cleaned out my closet and set aside a pile of clothes that no longer fit me for donation.
    -I mended the button two pairs of pants
    -The change in weather combined with the earlier darkness has kept us inside most of the time. We’ve been having a lot of soups and sandwiched for dinner and I’ve been enjoying a lot of rest.

  11. I love those costumes! The colors are beautiful. I love those shades of blue and they complement your kids’ complexions.

    I hung out or hung on racks as much laundry as I could. I wash with homemade laundry detergent.

    I printed off some coupons for some items we use — batteries, inter-dental picks, and freezer bags. I haven’t seen a store that will double coupons in ages, but I’ll hope to combine these with a sale to maximize their benefit. And of course, use them before they expire. Printing gives me a few Swagbucks, and using them will give me more.

    I bought another gift with Swagbucks and have about $14 from Swagbucks left in my account on Amazon. Like Brandy, I am watching for early sales.

    I finally bought a new stove, which is not so frugal, but mine was dead and I don’t cook well without one! I shopped for almost four weeks, before finally finding one with the features I want, but not the ones I don’t need, at a good promotional price compared to the other places I looked. As a bonus, the store throws in the power cord, which I would have to buy at other stores. I saved $167 on the same model of stove and the time for it to arrive at the store is 2 days compared to 2 to 4 weeks. I’m finding that white appliances are getting harder to find in some models, and the sales all seem to be on regular stainless steel. Fingerprint-resistant stainless and black stainless are still pricey. I have all white appliances already, and I prefer them, so it was worth the hunt to me.

    I put the stove on my cash back credit card, and will pay that with savings.

    I have hung in there using my little 2-burner drop in cook top, and refused to buy ready-to-eat food all the time while trying to locate a new stove. We’ve had one meal from a restaurant since my stove broke, and that’s because we were traveling.

    Glad to see the site if functioning again!

  12. So happy to read your accomplishments this week, Brandy. Really missed all the posts while the website was being fixed. The costumes look amazing!

    I’ve had a busy 2 weeks, so lots to report. Sorry, this one will be long! Our frugal accomplishments for the past 2 week included:
    *Meals made at home included homemade beef stew (lots of potatoes and frozen veggies tossed in) with dumplings, chicken “hamburger” helper with corn, ham steaks with mashed potatoes and carrots, homemade lasagna, tacos (beef or black bean), breaded chicken fingers/burgers (made extra fingers for DD & friend’s school lunch) with skillet cheese gnocchi and broccoli with homemade cheese sauce, canned soup from the pantry with toasted English muffin or bread & butter, sloppy Joes with homemade roasted potato chunks, chicken fried rice with veggie spring rolls, pasta & homemade pasta sauce with meatballs (sauce made by my brother), roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots, and crock pot creamy ranch chicken (new recipe, see below) with corn.
    *My mom baked 2 loaves of Banana Bread to use up some over ripe bananas, 1 plain and 1 with chocolate chips. I requested we keep them nut free, so I can use them for DD’s school lunches if needed. Both were wrapped and frozen for future use.
    *I used the leftover Halloween chip bags as the treat in DD and friend’s lunch 1 week. Made a pan of oatmeal chocolate chip bars (recipe link: https://jamiecooksitup.net/2015/05/chewy-chocolate-chip-oatmeal-bars-and-17-chocolate-chip-recipes-for-national-chocolate-chip-day/comment-page-1/#comment-418798) from pantry items, to use for lunches this coming week. Leftovers were used for dessert.
    *Cut up the pie pumpkin and carved the Jack’O’Lantern at the same time. Cooked the pie pumpkin into puree without burning it this time…Whoohoo!!! I saved all the pumpkin seeds and roasted them at the same time as dinner, saving energy costs.
    *Went shopping for candy the day after Halloween, to help restock my candy stash. Christmas is coming, after all, and I want to have lots of cheap goodies to fill all those stockings.
    *Used the “cookie sheet trick” posted by Leigh Ann a couple weeks ago, to cover my homemade lasagna instead of using aluminum foil. Now I just have to make it a regular habit!
    *Tried a new recipe, crock pot creamy ranch chicken (https://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/crock-pot-creamy-ranch-chicken/). I substituted cheddar soup as we like it better as the “cream soup” in recipes. My crock pot is not big, so I just made potatoes and chicken in it and paired the meal with a side of corn. It was similar in taste to making baked chicken smothered in soup. Everyone seemed to like it. I may use this recipe again, as it is perfect for busy days.
    *My brother quit is job. He has been unhappy there for a long time and finally had enough. I can relate to his frustration, as I too have been in a job I hated in the past. He has decided he wants to move away from Ottawa and closer to here. Thankful for our deep pantry and freezers as we feed 1 more person. Applications are going out, 2 interviews so far. We cleaned, decluttered and re-organized DD’s “play room” to make room for my brother. He’s basically living here for now. We are working with DD to slowly purge a lot of toys she no longer plays with (not easy for an Autistic kid). We used furniture we already had to switch up the space. Only bought a cheap blind to cover the small basement window for privacy. It now looks like a comfy bed sitting room with a faux fireplace. DD loves it! She is insistent that she share the space with her uncle. If she had her way, it would be her bedroom.
    *Recently, DD was vomiting blood, which resulted in a Dr’s visit and some meds. She’s had vomiting issues for 2 years now. While on the meds, she had no vomiting at all. As soon as the meds were done, she went back to vomiting. So, we had a follow up visit and the Dr can leave her on these meds long term…Whoohoo!!!!! I am so glad we found a solution to this problem. Thankfully, the meds are also covered under our healthcare, so no cost OOP either.
    *DD went trick or treating with friends this year. Yes, she was one of those annoying teens (she’s a big 15 yrs old) that show up looking for free candy. However, I didn’t discourage it. She never had many friends when she was younger, and missed out on a lot of group activities most “normal” children enjoy. I viewed this as a great social opportunity and she had a blast hanging out with other teens with similar interests to her.
    *DD attended the 1st of 5 free cooking sessions organized through the PHIT program. The course teaches teens and parents how to make/cook simple healthy food. They were given canning jars (which will be reused each week) and made overnight oats for a quick and healthy breakfast idea. They also sliced apples into rings (looked like little bagels), spread peanut butter, wow butter or sun-butter onto one side, sprinkled with granola and made them into little apple sandwiches as a healthy snack. DD seemed to like the program and was thrilled she had some food items to take home to try. She wasn’t a fan of the yoghurt they used in the overnight oats. I love that she can try the recipes, including ingredients we don’t normally buy, to see if she actually likes it before I invest in buying it!
    *DD also attended a cooking class through Autism Ontario on Friday. They made appetizers including pizza rolls, taco cups, and lemon tarts with a “from scratch” lemon filling. Delicious and I even brought home leftovers. I’m most excited about the lemon tart filling. The recipe calls for eggs, lemon juice, sugar and butter…that’s it! We have these ingredients in our pantry all the time. I’m going to be making these a lot!

  13. Back in 1995 I was working as an office manager and one of my duties was to go to the post office for stamps. The day before postage was to go up in price, I went there and requested a roll of 100 stamps. The Postmaster looked a bit confused and asked me if I realized there would be a rate increase the next day. I was quite confident when I told him “Of course! That’s why I’m buying them now!”. As you can imagine, this has been the running joke in my family for years (my husband has told it to everyone) but I had the last laugh when Forever stamps were introduced. I was just a little premature in my vision!

  14. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy I am glad you were able to find free resources online for reading and comprehension rather than paying for them and good idea buying up the stamps at a cheaper price too. We also use a lot of peppers in our home for homemade pizzas and pasta salads.

    ur Vicky challenge added up to $494.31 in savings last week.

    Home organising –
    – We have now packed 3/4’s of our belongings into boxes ready for the move 🙂 and our removalist gave us some free boxes to use as we had almost run out of the ones we saved.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a cheesecake from homemade condensed milk saving $69.78 over purchasing the equivalent quality in the shops. We used Woolworths home brand one and surprisingly the cheesecake turned out not as sweet, which we liked better, as when we use the Philadephia one (I think Philly has a lot of sugar in it).
    – Made a chicken, mushroom and corn pie including pastry from leftover roasted chicken. One 2 + kg chicken lasted us 5 meals for the 2 of us.
    – We were able to give some service to some dear friends. The wife had fallen over on concrete and has concussion and horrid bruising and she cares for her husband who has the beginnings of Alzheimers. We rang them and asked them if we could cook them a huge roast chicken and garden picked pumpkin and sweet potato for them and they accepted. This will most likely feed them for 4 to 5 days without the wife cooking anything and we also took over some fresh silver beet from our gardens and gave her some arnica cream for her bruising out of our medical supplies. Seeing the smile on their faces was truly worth it and it helped us use up some meat in the freezer prior to us moving :).

    Finances –
    – Listed 22 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $36.30.
    – Spent a lot of money on items we needed for our forever home, medical kit and cat needs 😮 .

    Fuel –
    – Filled up 2 machinery jerry cans of fuel using a 5% off Racq e- gift card and combined that with 4c off per litre using our supermarket rewards card saving $7.08 on usual prices.
    – Filled up another 3 jerry cans of fuel for our cars at an independant service station saving $6.80 on prices at other service stations in the area. We have now increased our fuel storage by 2 more jerry cans in preparation for us moving out of town.

    Purchases eek –
    – Purchased 2 brushcutter safety helmets with visor and neck protection flap using a $10 off eBay voucher.
    – Ordered 1 years supply of Arnica cream, iron tablets and peroxide from our online pharmacy using a 5% off promotion saving $9.47 on their usual prices. In our local chemist the arnica cream here is $6 per tube dearer so just there we saved $78.57 and the iron tablets are $4 per box dearer in the local chemist saving another $24 :).
    – Purchased a years supply of flea and tick prevention for the cat using a 5% off promotion on eBay saving $31.71 over purchasing it from our local veterinary clinic.

    Starting to get rather sore muscles from packing and running but we will both oh so use the arnica cream tonight after showers :). One month and one day until settlement and moving into our new home.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15

  15. The costumes are very nice. It’s great that you have good bits and pieces that combine so well. No one from our house dressed up this year–our youngest helped out at a harvest party at church, and didn’t want to wear a costume, which was optional for helpers.

    As I mentioned a few days ago, my husband has lost 52 lbs so far using the Lose It app. Clearly, it works well for him, and I hope it works well for you, too.

    The strangest thing we did this week to save money was have a security system installed. There was a special deal where we would actually pay less each month with the security system, then if we kept our services the same as they were. And, this price is locked in for 2 years. Then, we can re-evaluate if we want it or not. (If we move or something, although we have no plans to do so, we would just need to keep 1 service from the company to avoid penalties–and would probably always get internet so we’re good).

    We worked extra hours this weekend, as my nephew and daughter had no school today, and niece had no program. We took them and their sister to volunteer at an Operation Shoebox drop-off site at the church, and our nieces really had fun. Our nephew hung in there for a while, then my husband took him home, but at least he was exposed to the project. The niece that I homeschool and my youngest daughter and I spent quite a bit of time putting together the 2 boxes the 2 families did together. It was good to have 2 families combining resources to make better boxes than I could have done alone.

    McDonald’s has been offering free 6-piece chicken nuggets when the Portland Trail Blazers have scored over 100 points. So, we have been buying (or rather gratefully accepting for free) those nuggets now and then for either my daughter, nephew or niece–whoever is hanging around with us on the day they are offered.

    It has turned cold, and we are burning the wood our friends brought us as a gift.

    The rest of the savings, as well as my weekly happenings and pictures are at: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/11/11/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-november-10-2018/

  16. I love the children’s costumes. Your daughter is beautiful? Which one is that? I don’t recall seeing the “middle” daughters’ photos lately. All your children are so nice looking and so creative. If you wouldn’t mind, I wish you’d share your canning recipe for your sweet pickle relish. I had wanted to make sone this year, but with everything else that was canned this year, that fell by the wayside. Hope you have a productive week. …..Vicky in Ky

  17. I saw some gold painted pinecones and wanted to buy them, but I figured I could buy a spray can of paint and just use mine from our tree and just fleck them gold. I could do a whole lot more that way. I want to make some cinnamon pinecones soon because they are really expensive. They are nice to decorate with. I recently saw a funny Facebook post showing a loaf of bread. The writer said that when he was growing up his mom used plain bread for his hamburger bun, his hotdog bun, his garlic bread, dinner roll, etc. It got me tickled because I don’t remember having buns or fancy bread either. Yesterday I made copycat Applebees’ Chicken Penne, and I used leftover hotdog buns for breadsticks. I wish I lived close to a bread outlet store. I do freeze some bread, but it takes up a lot of space. I read that Americans waste almost 40% of their food, but I never throw food away. I can always give it to the dog, but I usually eat leftovers for breakfast.

  18. Brandy, it’s so nice to have you back commenting in Internet-land!

    It was a difficult week last week, with something (and often several somethings) EVERY SINGLE DAY. I saved money the most by refusing to eat out, even though we could have easily justified it. Instead, I relied on the crockpot and freezer pizza to keep things going.
    Instead of movies out, we bought several DVDs of TV Western episodes: $2 each from the library’s used book room. I also checked out some videos from the library of more recent movies and TV series. These are perfect for a mental vacation away from some of the stresses and strains. (Our daughter and son’s mom died in hospice Monday night, which definitely complicated things…we needed to keep the commitments we’d made, and help them, as well.)
    We went to the annual church Thanksgiving supper, fighting snow and ice to do it — but we renewed a lot of old friendships, and I sold 3 copies of my new book. Also, I brought back a leftovers box of turkey and mashed potatoes that will feed us at least one ‘free’ meal, if not two.
    Tonight, we’re heading to Golden Corral to get the free Veteran’s Day meal for Husband — who spent six years in the Navy. We’ll have to pay for me…but it won’t be that much. I’m looking forward to a much more peaceful week the next seven days. Who knows — it may actually happen!

  19. What a lovely day to find the Prudent Homemaker in my news feed. I love the children’s costumes. I managed to walk out the door as a large group of trick or treaters pulled up into the cul de sac. I split the whole bag amongst them and they were delighted with the lady who gave out handfuls of candy. I think next year we will decorate and sit outside. I don’t mind children coming from other areas to have fun. This has pretty much turned into a no spend month. Sugar cookies copayments for medical is adding up. I signed her up for some additional Medicare supplements that are no charge to her and will benefit us. We filled multiple new prescriptions. I thought to check prices for them against her measly 3.50 copayments and found using a coupon is 66% cheaper when buying a 90 day supply. I would much rather pay 3.00 for 90 days than 3.50 for each months supply. It is sad I had to find this out on my own and that the drugstores don’t help. Sugar cookie has very few requests in life. Paper to draw on and movies to watch are about all she desires. I found her a 60 day trial to Hulu/ Spotify for 99 cents. A 90 day subscription to Amazons kindle unlimited for 99 cents. My favorite treat this month is to an odd company for books. I can download several of the Darling Dahlias to listen to or read for free for 30 days. I may keep This one for a second month to finish this series up. This is the only place I have found them. Sugar cookie requested several dvds from the Redbox machine. I found a happy compromise. I signed up for a 30 day trial of Netflix DVD by mail. She can watch some of the new releases and I don’t have to drive to return them. Her entertainment cost me two dollars this month ! We haven’t turned the heat on yet although that won’t last much longer. This month is a make do, substitute or do without month. It will be rough, but the house taxes are paid. This time last year, I was in the hole. I’m grateful that I can pull solutions out of thin air. We found a suitable birthday gift in the closet and sugar cookie attended a party. We have all the fixins in the house for Thansgiving dinner . I’m grateful for wool socks , long John’s and the sweatshirts I bought over the summer. We are warm and snug. Finally heard from my son. He has been injured and most likely returning home. It may be one of the shortest tours of duty served. Grateful he wasn’t killed and am processing his college paperwork as I write. I pray he is not emotionally devastated. I hope everyone is happy. Jeannie, I have a 20 lb cat you can borrow. There’s not a critter of any kind around here. He catches everything. Brings them to the door each time. It’s a shame we can’t eat them. Gross ! Butters is a great warrior !

  20. Last week, here is what we did:

    * Used the car with better gas mileage for driving longer distances
    * Used what we had on hand to make chili for a potluck
    * Used a gift card to purchase some groceries
    * Cooked all my husband’s breakfasts and lunches
    * Turned off lights when they were not being used
    * Used natural remedies to keep ourselves feeling well in the suddenly cold weather
    *

  21. Butter was on sale for $3.00 a lb (around $2.40 US), which is rock-bottom where I live. There was a limit of 2, on a sale that ran for four days. I went back a second time, which gives me enough butter for a bit of Christmas baking and dinner. The store is only three blocks away, so it didn’t take much time or gas to do that.

    I did my monthly grocery shopping and saved 10% on my order. There were good sales on toilet paper, brown rice, canola oil and olive oil. I focused mostly on buying chicken and fish, since I am trying to eat lighter before the Christmas season comes. I also bought a standing rib roast for Christmas dinner. It was on sale, but definitely was not a bargain.

    Used the last of the Canadian Thanksgiving turkey in a stir-fry with vegetables and brown rice.

    Renewed my library card, which cost $15, at the library at the next town over. Yes, we pay for library cards. The librarian had a number of new books that were right up my alley, so I took them out. I then met a friend for coffee in the same town. It was great to catch up with someone who I hadn’t had a chance to talk with in a long time.

    A partial rebate of GST (sales tax) that I had followed up on in September, after it was sent to a closed bank account, was deposited into my correct bank account. They had put a hold on it when the wrong bank returned it. I still don’t know why, but the person I talked to asked them to release it, and they did, though it took them a few weeks to “look” at it. I am happy to have $111 that I hadn’t counted on.

    I attended my book club meeting. The club members didn’t enjoy the book I chose, but we had an enthusiastic and wide-ranging discussion, so it was okay in the end.

  22. We had a very hectic and unfrugal week as my husband and I unexpectedly drove 11 hrs each way through the mountains to help our 19 year old daughter move into a new apt near her uni. Unfortunately it turned out that the place she was living in was not working out at all. As she was going from furnished to unfurnished we took as much as we could fit in our car and also purchased a few items there-at least we now feel she is in a healthier living situation and she was extremely grateful for the help. Luckily we had good weather for the drive and enjoyed the fall colours at the lower elevations. It was also fortunate that neither of us were working this week so the timing was good. We slept on a memory foam mattress topper on the floor and had no internet set up right away in the new place-boy do we appreciate our bed and internet now that we are home!

  23. 1. Opted to stay in Saturday night for dinner and a movie at home. The movie was rented for free using a Redbox code. Dinner was frozen pizza that was purchased with coupons. If we do eat out, it’s on a Saturday night but we were both in the mood to cozy up in our warm pj’s and have a night in.
    2. Worked an extra full day, opened 2 days and stayed late 1 day last week totalling 11 extra hours on my pay check. I have already been asked to work an extra day this week and I of course said yes.
    3. Submitted $6.35 in ibotta rebates from grocery shopping on items I was already picking up. I love it when I am able to save additional money.
    4. Working on cutting squares of material I have on hand and that I was recently given to me from my mom. I am going to make a bed spread for our bed in our new home using the 9 patch disappearing quilt pattern. I have never made this one but am very excited to see it finished.

  24. Sweet costumes! Homemade costumes are the best, I think.

    We closed our storm windows this week, so hopefully that’ll help keep our heating bills down. I did yoga via YouTube, I bought a new dress and cardigan at the thrift store during their election day sale (along with a few books, mostly the for the kids but a few for me as well), and I baked two baguettes to send to my son as a contribution for his school’s World Language Night dinner (and with the leftovers he brought home, I used our garden tomatoes to make bruschetta!). I read library books and free books on my Kindle, I picked up two weeks’ worth of Free Friday Downloads at the grocery store, and my daughter had fun playing in the snow in the backyard. The week was kind of quiet in terms of productive activity due to my (planned) trip to day surgery at my pain doctor’s office on Thursday, but hopefully this week will pick up.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  25. We made almost all meals at home. i cooked a chicken and made sandwiches then boiled the bones and made chicken noodle soup. Spent time with grandkids at their house. Used the library to fax something. Borrowed books from library. Used internet for information, mostly recipes and entertainment. Being careful to use leftovers. Trying not to drive unless necessary.

  26. So sorry to hear of your diagnosis – I’m sure that everyone here will be thinking of you and hoping for a quick recovery. Good luck with everything.

  27. Over the last 2 weeks, my right shoulder has been painful, and I haven’t been very enthusiastic about menu planning. I did manage to make two large batches of soups, and one batch of chili, and split them up and froze into meal portions. So even though I didn’t make us many dinners, I still created more meals for the future. We ended up eating sandwiches and cereal, it wasn’t nearly as healthy, but the best we could do.

    The freezer is almost empty! Yeah! A big accomplishment since there are only two of us, so a freezer can hold a lot of months of food!

    I always have a list of things to do…and find it a bit demoralizing:). So for the past two weeks, I have pulled two items off the list to accomplish (they don’t need to be completed, just started or scheduled). Last week I got my two done, and this week looks good too. Aiming to sell things this month to create a bit of extra money.

  28. Love the costumes and thanks for the heads up about the stamps. I’ll have to stock up on stamps too!
    We had a frugal date night and went out to Outback with the Gift card I bought and a coupon. Total bill for two steak dinners was $17.00. Somehow saving money on a date is fun (and delicious)!
    Here are the ways I’ve saved this past week
    https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/11/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-111118.html

  29. Sending Prayers your way Stephanie! Kick that cancer butt on out !!!
    15 years ago at this same time I started treatment for breastfeeding cancer myself . It’s tough but you can do it . Hang in there.

  30. Great costumes! (And I hope the mustache washed off quickly).
    I dislike online shopping but took advantage of Amazon’s free shipping on all orders. It is to continue for an indefinite amount of time, probably in competition with other online retailers, and they also currently offer a free month of Prime.
    I made a note in my calendar to remember the postage increase, though for big things like wedding invitations, the second-ounce stamp is going down in price, instead of up like first class. Postcards stay the same.
    We replaced our front screen door over the summer, and the temperature is dropping quickly now so I can figure out if there are still air leaks that need to be blocked.
    I went to the thrift store without my family and spent almost two hours looking at everything that I always have to rush through when we go together. And I didn’t buy much of anything, so it was more entertainment than expense.

  31. Stephanie, you will be in my prayers. I am sorry you are going through this, I hope you get treatment behind you and are back to your old self very soon!

  32. Love the costumes! Your kids are so creative, which is a great asset to have. Thanks for the reminder about the stamps, I will have to pick some up.

    I missed reading everyone’s frugal accomplishments last week. Glad the blog is back up and working properly.

    Frugal stuff I did:
    – Fixed a wire mesh strainer with stainless steel wire. The base had come off and I managed to reattach it.
    – We ate many things form the freezer. I made several batches of bone broth and two kinds of soup: broccoli/greens soup and curried pumpkin/cauliflower soup. We also ate a few things I had prepared and frozen earlier.
    – The CSA I am a member of has finished for the year, but members can pick greens from their fields all fall/winter (as long as the greens survive). I stopped by and picked a huge bag, and froze enough for six future meals.
    – Made pulled pork. Ate some for dinner, then made two pans of enchiladas, one of which I froze for later.
    – Repurposed some tomatillo salsa I made (which I did not think tasted good) into enchilada sauce for the enchiladas I made. Worked great.
    – Bought chicken breasts, buy one get one free. I rarely make chicken because my husband can no longer eat it. I cooked it and froze it for my lunches.
    – Purchased two of the largest pomegranates I have ever seen, two for $5. That’s a pretty good price here.
    – Rescued a nice dish drainer from the garbage, cleaned it up and took it to work. We are glad to use it there.
    – Took out the beautiful fall tablecloth I made last year and we are enjoying having it on the table.
    – Hemmed a pair of thrift store pants. Spent some time sewing the shirt I am making my husband for Christmas. I bought the fabric, but already had the pattern. I made two t-shirts for myself, using fabric I had purchased on clearance.
    – Registered for a free craft class at the library.
    – Made a few doctor’s appointments before the end of the year. Had a women’s health visit with a new practitioner, who was unfortunately not respectful of some of the personal health choices I had made (such as not getting a flu shot). I called the clinic later and spoke to the manager. I was very polite, but I stated that I would not be returning to the clinic because, instead of respecting my personal choices, the practitioner had lectured me about what I should do with my body. The manager was very receptive to my feedback, and said she would speak to the practitioner.
    – Went to the dermatologist, who biopsied a bump on my chin. He doesn’t think it’s skin cancer, but if it is, it’s not the fatal kind. Anyway, I was glad to have that looked at.
    – Finished my ivy trimming project on the trees near my work.

    Hope everyone else has a great week.

  33. Lilliana,

    Our library system has both audiobooks and e-books that you can download for free using the Overdrive app. Perhaps your library has that option as well? Ours had the Darling Dahlias both to read and to listen to. I liked that I didn’t have to go get them from the library, too.

  34. Love the costumes and so glad that the technical difficulties have been resolved.
    .Kept grocery shopping to a minimum and used up pantry & freezer stock
    .Made a big pot of home made soup
    .Enjoyed some free meals at church while working
    .Attended a free taping for an upcoming Christmas TV special (lots of filming here in Toronto)
    .Enjoyed an afternoon discussion group as part of my social club options – we enjoyed lovely coffee and treats for free
    .Renegotiated my Cable & Internet contract to save about$30/month
    .Started my Christmas baking – quite a few quick bread loaves (many different varieties) already in the freezer
    .Did some redecorating using items I already had on hand
    .Only household purchase was a new doormat from IKEA – went for the mat & napkins and only bought those two items!

  35. I think that anyone that reads this post isn’t heart stricken at this news. Please try and stay upbeat and positive. There is much good news on this front. I am amazed at how you are still functioning and keeping busy. Good for you.

  36. Hello Everyone,

    I am happy to see you back and enjoying your Thankful Series.
    Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    – Well we moved into a new house. I am trying to be as frugal as possible in the process. We researched moving companies and packed and moved as much as we possibly could beforehand.
    – I have continued to make all meals at home except on the moving day itself. Someone from church also gave us 2 pot pies for dinners to have on hand which was very helpful.
    – We had to give away our 3 chickens since our new HOA does not allow them. Which is sad but, the house is worth it. I will miss them though. We gave them to a friend who has chickens and gave her the coop as well which she loved.
    – We packed an Operation Christmas Child Box with thoughtful, inexpensive gifts. I try to catch items year round on sale. I was able to get a lot of on sale, stuffed toys, after Easter. I will put one in our box and donate the rest to church where we are packing multiple boxes.
    – I signed up for a bunch of freebies, which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/11/12/9-freebies-today-11-12-18/
    – I also downloaded lots of free Kindle books which are also on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/11/11/17-free-kindle-books-today-11-11-18/
    – I started making a crochet unicorn for my niece for Christmas. I am trying to make more gifts this year.
    – I have not shopped very much since I have been very busy with the house preparations. We are eating a lot out of the fridge, pantry and freezer still.
    I hope everyone has a great week!
    Liz

  37. Bonjour Brandy,
    je suis bien contente que vous aimiez le français!
    Je ne suis pas française mais québécoise.
    J’habite par contre dans un milieu anglophone (Alberta, Canada).
    On échange en français si vous voulez,
    Sophie

  38. You have such a creative and artistic family. Those costumes are awesome!

    Our Frugal Efforts (two weeks):

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals including Cheesy-Mexi Lentil Mac, Hawaiian pizza, bean and cheese burritos, pasta w/ fresh sauce (basically ratatouille), quinoa black bean tacos, tortellini soup, and–of course–leftovers.

    * Harvested tomatoes, two small and one medium zucchini, two small eggplants (the only ones we got this year), some bell peppers, lemons, butternut squash, and one sad, split pomegranate.

    * Made several loaves of bread, ranch dip, no-bake energy bars, peanut butter, and peanut butter-banana smoothies.

    * Son wore the same costume as he did last year (Hogwarts student). We bought one bag of candy from Sam’s, gave it out early, and then went to the home of friends.

    * Paid bills online.

    * Hubs washed the cars and the dog.

    * Hubs and I both got flu shots at the health fair at his work. Son had received his earlier at his annual physical.

    * I worked in the front yard, deadheading roses and weeding. I collected one bucket full and then stopped, thinking of Marivene all the while. I was pleased with the amount of work I got done. I think I need to apply this strategy to all of the decluttering I need to do around the house.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  39. Brandy, your daughter looks like a princess- I love her hair – and your son is swashbuckling debonair! I’m glad your site is up again.

    There have been some great sales at my local supermarket on chicken breasts, beef & shrimp. I have qualified for a free turkey or ham thru the supermarket’s rewards points and have already donated it to a local food pantry (the store does it, I just chose the item to be donated and customer service swiped my loyalty card). My DD will be cooking a free range turkey for all of us. I was able to get for free or for only a few pennies by combining store sale, store’s super coupons & manufacturers coupons: Colgate Advanced toothpaste, Colgate Total mouthwash, johnson toilet bowl cleaner, carefree feminine products, Energizer batteries, townhouse crackers, & POM pomogranites! I already have a year’s supply of the Total toothpaste & mouthwash so will be donating it to a friend who collects personal care items & sends it to our military.

    On Saturday eve DH & I went to a dance/dinner fundraiser hosted by our local veterans club which included trays of assorted sandwiches for each table, bottled water, soda, wine, coffee & cake and live music – mostly 70’s & 80’s pop songs performed by a local band. Tix were $25 each & we also spent $10 for raffle tickets. Not too frugal a date night but we had a fun time dancing, hanging out with 4 other couples that we are good friends with & net proceeds went to a good cause. DH also won a bottle of wine 🙂

    I studied Italian and French in high school & at university (as electives). My Italian is still excellent, but my French is getting rusty. I thank you for the duolingo site you mentioned a few weeks ago and the sites you posted above.

  40. Stephanie N., sending you positive thoughts and prayers as you go thru this journey. One of my dearest friends was diagnosed 6 years ago and underwent chemo & radiation. She is doing very well and was back to her active lifestyle in no time. Please take care of yourself and please don’t be shy about asking for help from your friends and family if you feel you need it wether it be with childcare, cooking, cleaning, running errands etc. I’m sure they will be glad to help in any way they can.

  41. I’m sorry to hear of your diagnosis, Stephanie. Best wishes for you during the coming months!

    When my aunt went through treatment, her weight fluctuated significantly (both up and down), so you might consider keeping the clothes that don’t currently fit.

  42. I have been ill with a terrible flu/cold so haven’t done much. I had to give up duo lingo temporarily due to a constant headache. I am just beginning to start again. I love it and am grateful to Brandy for introducing us to it. I have now learned 3,000 Italian words in my quest to become trilingual. I received the new Andrea Bocelli cd Sì and managed to get the stuck cd out of my cd player so I have been enjoying it. Amazon.ca had sent me a note first saying delivery time would be from 1 to 4 months on my pre-ordered copy. Then shortly after, they said that they could not supply it at all. I decided to pursue it because there were all sorts of versions still online. I ended up with the deluxe edition and gift certificates that meant it did not cost me more than my original order. Lo and behold, a mere 4 days after ordering, the 2 cds were delivered to me last night. One is a Christmas gift.

  43. I meant to mention that I really appreciate the new Bocelli cd and especially how he has interwoven classical pieces into his songs. Very different and greatly enjoyed.

  44. Hi Liz, I am writing to you about the Christmas shoe boxes. We do those as well. Our Pastor just got back from Uganda where they were distributing 400 boxes in the village he went to. They gave out all the boxes they had to those children in the compound and discovered hundreds more outside the compound waiting…they had no more boxes to give …he was heart broken. He shared this last week when he had returned from his trip. We are redoubling our efforts to send more next year…those who received them were so happy and grateful. .we are hoping to send more so there are enough to go around. I thought you should know how much the gift of the Christmas shoe boxes mean to those who received them. Wishing you a blessed holiday season…kind regards Gaila

  45. My Winco shop came in at $113 and I got a free 20 lb. turkey. This didn’t include any meat because the only cheap meat was turkey! I am definitely going for a second bird! The dogs will be needing food within two weeks, anyway, so I’ll buy two bags. Which should last a couple of months. I’ve already made a list. My pantry and new little freezer are filling fast!

  46. The costumes are so creative! We used to have a costume box that we would keep all the past years’ costumes in so that they could be passed down or reworked for another child the following year!
    For some reason, my comments have not posted so I’ll try posting them again and hope they work!

    It’s been a busy week! Here in Ohio, Fall has definitely arrived! The weather has been rainy and wet, dark and dreary! It’s hard to believe that it’s going to be Thanksgiving in just a few short weeks!

    The weather here coupled with the holidays coming up quickly has been great for my little business! I’ve sold another 21 sets of microwave Soup Cozies this week which means I’ve made up or have cut out “kits” to make over 100 sets (200 individual Cozies)!! https://pin.it/u5vpmrqs4rt7bs. And still my stash doesn’t show much decrease in volume!!! Many of you readers told me last week that my price point of $7.50/set was too low, but my main goal has been to reduce clutter and excess fabric and the actual money coming in from it was just a nice bonus! So no one worries that I’ll be giving up all my fabric storage, here are a few links to fabric I haven’t even touched in any of my marketing of Scrappy Bags, Flannel Softies or Soup Cozies!! https://pin.it/de445wrn5q3ezv. https://pin.it/dhnuma2euuoowd. https://pin.it/odrkqi4owvk4ti. https://pin.it/yffwxqdqo5z3rm. This doesn’t show my huge drawers of fabric scraps sorted by color that are less than a yard each or the multiple 32 gallon plastic totes that are filled with fabric (which I am trying to use up!) This has been phenomenal as a way to add bits to our savings account as well as reducing in small bits hubby’s heart surgery bill! Every extra dollar or two gets us closer to our retirement goal in 7 months! 2 of my 3 sewing machines ended up in the shop- 1 just needed a timing adjustment (it’s first trip to the shop in over 15 years!!) and the other that I use daily was just fuses that needed replacing rather than the upper motor they thought it might be (which would have still been only $100 to have them replace!) ! How grateful I am that we invested in good solid machines that take so much use and abuse from me!

    We’ve been trying to use up food in our two full freezers so we’ve been eating from scratch meals all week! Since I’ve been occupied with business, it’s been great to not run to the store to buy ingredients for meals/snacks! Money and time saver- my favorite kind of thing! Lol! I’ve also been grateful for my crockpot and my instant pot that have let me put in ingredients and then just forget about them until dinner time! What a luxury that our grandmas never had!!

    In this season of gratefulness, I’m also grateful for my car and my minivan! They are both 13 years old, paid for at the time we bought them 5 years ago and now both have over 213K miles on them! We have traveled many places in them including long distance (8 hour) road trips as well as hauled all kinds of bargains we’ve found (free pallets, free bricks, etc)!! We routinely maintain them but feel like we have been so blessed!

    Our daughter flew in Sunday from the West Coast to see the home that we picked out for her family and her husband flew out a couple weeks ago to see and then put into contract! With the marvels of technology, she had been able to “see” the property but was happy to see it in person as the inspections were being done! It is on 13 acres and both the house and barn were built just 2 years ago! It has a great basement divided into 4 rooms, including a room for food storage! When we met the owner yesterday while the inspector was there, he was so gracious and told us about his job transfer to another state. When we were back in our realtors office, she got an email with photos from the seller showing things they would be willing to give or sell to our daughter! These included kids’ beds, dressers, an upright freezer all for free! There are 6 bedrooms in the house and 4 are kids’ rooms so this means that they won’t have the expense of shipping or buying those things! This has been such an easy purchase even though they have been long distance for much of it! When they come for Christmas, they can actually stay in their new house for those 3 weeks, rather than at our house! The beds mean that they won’t have to sleep on air mattresses since their actual move won’t be until the school year ends in late May!
    Our youngest son is working as a poll worker today which will pay him $168. I was scheduled to work also, but when our daughter told us that she was flying out just from Sunday night until Wednesday morning, I had to call off! Fortunately, it gave them enough time to get a replacement and they said they would be calling us to work again in the May elections!

    So the week has flown by and now, while it’s still dark out and the house is quiet, I need to get back to sewing!
    Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  47. Homemade costumes are the best!

    I am continuing to look for ways to save money. The company I have worked for the last 7 ½ years has decided to consolidate all of their Midwest offices into one in downtown Chicago. I have decided to take the job which will completely change my commute from a 1 ½ hour car ride each day to a train ride and walking several blocks each day. In addition, it will mean an increased commute expense of $100 each month, but the wear and tear on my car will be minimal now. It will be a change for this small city girl for sure! Any advice or tips are welcome.

    My husband made chicken noodle soup from chicken thighs we had gotten a couple months ago for 67 cents per pound. It was delicious. We bought our Thanksgiving turkey for 37 cents per pound this week with a $25 purchase. We will buy another one for the freezer.

    I made homemade granola for eating with our yogurt.

    My husband helped me to recover the removable pads on our dining room chairs with fabric I got on clearance at Joann Fabrics. We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and the new fabric makes the dining room look fresher. I also got some silk flowers that were discounted at Big Lots as well as new throw pillows for the couch, buy one get one 50% off.

    I made laundry soap and fabric softener. Both will last us at least a couple of months.

    We took our lunches to work each day. We usually pack leftovers or a salad.

    I cut my husband’s hair.

  48. Sending you wishes for the best possible outcome from your treatments, Stephanie. In the mean time, take care of yourself.

  49. My quarterly water bill arrived and it was $30 lower than it had been due to eliminating the extra rinse cycle on my laundry. That’s $10 per month which is fairly significant when you realize I’m doing laundry for only 1 person.

    I got a free box of pasta and a free half gallon of almond milk through rewards coupons at my grocery store. I had a $5 off a $15 purchase at another store which I used entirely on groceries. I kept the purchase to exactly $15 in order to maximize the percentage off.

    I trimmed my own hair.

    I found a camp stove toaster at the thrift store, sill new in its box, for $1. It’s a small item but something that’s been on my “nice to have” list for a while.

    Since I found out about some expensive car repairs that are needed, I’ve kept my spending to bills and necessities.

  50. I introduced my neighbor to a scratch and dent store (she drove). I was able to buy apples for .20 a pound. a few cans of sparkling water for .25 each and a pumpkin pie for $1.50.

    Make vegetable broth from the stash of veggie scraps that were in the freezer.

    Made a batch of granola.

    Went to art museum last week when they had their free admission day, saving $12 off admission price.

    Sold a piece of art.

    Got $30 in store credit while helping my mom buy books to give as Christmas presents.

  51. One of my kids was born on Halloween so we don’t really celebrate it on the day. Our small town does a Main Street candy walk, where all of the businesses pass out candy and other gifts on the Thursday before Halloween. Now we do bags of candy at home, watch a movie and make pie plates full of homemade loaded nachos. It’s amazing. For the Halloween birthday we went to Olive Garden for never ending pasta bowls and then thrifting. Is it weird that my kids like to go thrift shopping on their birthdays? Sometimes we go to museums, or plays, last year we drove to a Japanese Garden and toured an historic mansion, but they always want to go to thrift stores, antique stores and book stores.

    This visit, we found a silver tabletop Christmas tree, which my daughter bought me for my birthday and the couch we were searching for. The same exact couch we looked at new in the furniture store. A Flexsteel Dana. This one was only four years old and has a decent neutral floral fabric. It retails around $1500. We paid $56. Unbelievable. I’m so grateful. We can redo the family room for less than $100 and nobody has to sit on the floor for Thanksgiving.

    I’m looking for advice about saving on vision and dental care without insurance coverage. We had our benefit enrollment and the choices were very expensive. It seems like the premiums keep getting higher and higher and the coverage provided is less and less. We have high deductible medical and put money into our HSA, but it would be good to try to make that money go as far as possible. We have some local dentists that offer special plans through their own practice almost like a membership. Has anyone tried one of these?

  52. I’ll be praying for strength during treatment and a complete recovery. I hope you’ll post back here each week to let us cheer you on!

  53. My goodness – you still sound so busy – even with the newborn – and so organized! I know what you mean about the organization of the freezer – I only have the unit above my apt. sized fridge (about 3/4 size) and friends are always amazed at what I can get in there – but it is a real skill! 🙂
    So glad to hear that your mom and sister have been able to give you such a lot of help and company – I hope this means that you can get the occasional nap during the day in order to recover your strength. Continued good luck with everything and enjoy the little one.

  54. You always have so much on the go Rhonda – it is very kind of you to help out your brother but I am sure that he is very appreciative.
    It sounds as though DD is doing so much more this year and really enjoying herself – it is wonderful that you encourage her to do as much as possible and she sounds much more willing to try out new things and even new tastes (which I know can be difficult for autistic children) – continued good luck.

  55. Where do you live Elizabeth? I am truly shocked that you pay for your library card – I take our libraries here in Toronto for granted and they offer amazing facilities & opportunities for both learning and socializing. I know that we pay for them through our taxes but it truly feels as though it’s free.

  56. This is always a massive grocery shopping time for me. I think you posted on instagram a filled grocery cart. Mine will probably be very similar. Although the cost will be high this is such a great time to stock up and save money in the long run. I went through all the ads earlier and wrote down what was cheapest. My stores are all close together so I have no problem going to several to get the best deals.

    I have started receiving a ton of email ads. I am trying to convince myself that I do not need any clothing and deleting the emails. Sometimes it can be hard because I love a good deal!

    My garden is officially done. We had several inches of rain (at once) as well as almost freezing temperatures that killed everything. I brought my Meyer Lemon tree inside and am hoping the lemons on it will continue to ripen. Anyone know?

    We threw a party and had several leftovers. This gave my husband and I a few days of meals. I also took pantry items and made a big batch of soup.

  57. I listen to the Classical Music Station here in Toronto and they have been playing selections from it and it is lovely – glad you finally received it and can now enjoy it at your leisure. Hope you are feeling better now – but rest is always the best thing so don’t try to do too much.

  58. I used commuting time to read and I always noticed others who knit or crocheted. If you pack your lunch I’d suggest adding a thermos of coffee or tea to enjoy along the way – and of course, comfortable shoes for the walk (free exercise). You might also want to check about opportunities to walk underground – Chicago is often even colder than Toronto and here (especially in the downtown core) many buildings are linked via an underground walkway – along with many shops & restaurants and it is a very popular way to get around in the middle of winter!

  59. Frugal wins
    Av kept both the heat and AC off as the weather has been nice
    Hung clothes
    Used reusable silicone bags or mason jars to package leftovers
    Kept lights off unless I was actively in the room
    Took breakfast and lunch to work with me
    Took water or hot tea with me on every errand
    Charged my phone at work
    Showered at the gym
    Dyed my own hair
    Attended 2 free movie previews on base
    Attended 1 $4 movie on base
    Attended a wine and cheese party. Brought a bottle of wine. Hosted some friends for dinner – we ate leftovers from a wine and cheese party from the night before. I made dessert.
    I am still on the same tank of gas.
    Picked up 2 books I wanted at the used book store for half price (I checked the library first and they aren’t anywhere in the system)
    I’m still on the same tank of gas (3 weeks now trying for a month)
    Restocked baking supplies on BOGO, sales, and with coupons to meet the $30 minimum to take advantage of the $.49 lb turkey deal. Twice.
    I started the Christmas cookie balking early.
    Took advantage of the Veteran’s day sales to buy some supplies at Lowe’d and Bed bath and Beyond.

    Less Frugal (but sorta funny)
    The cat threw up on the bedroom cable box and shorted it out and then the living room TV died. The SAME DAY. Then I tried to turn on the brand new AC and it wouldn’t come on.
    AC people came out and will fix it today – under warranty – so free. The cable people came out to replace the cable box (for free). While they were there, we talked and I changed the cable/ internet/phone bundle plan to drop my bill by $20 a month for 2 years and quadruple our internet speed. In 2 years when the promotion is over, I’ll change it again. Bought a new, bigger Smart TV on an early Black Friday sale for less than the 10 year old one I replaced cost me new.
    Now to deal with the neurotic cat who throws up anytime we have a visitor in the house…
    Went out to lunch once and dinner once
    Restocked the wine cellar for the holidays.
    Bought a new green velvet holiday dress. It was on sale, but I didn’t strictly need it.
    Picked up some Thanksgiving decorations at 50% off
    Since I will miss 2 chiropractor appointments this month I am paying by the visit instead of for the month (losing my discount). She must change her billing method due to insurance compliance so it may start to cost more. She won’t know until December. If so, I will reconsider the weekly chiropractor and 1 monthly massage to 2 massages and 2 chiropractor appointments a month which would keep my bill the same.

  60. Stephanie, I am sorry to hear of your cancer diagnosis. I am a 9 (?) year survivor and the advances medical doctors have made are amazing. Do take care of yourself.
    Jeannie

  61. Good for you for speaking up about the doctor! I, too, had a bad experience with a new primary care doctor when I went for my annual checkup this year. I ended up asking to be transferred to another physician — but I’m still paying off the $1400 in unnecessary medical tests the first doctor ordered. I will be wiser and speak up louder next time.

  62. I have to figure out how to write on the photos for Instagram stories and how to put multiple photos on there. That cart was $87.37. I bought 80 pounds of pasta, 2 turkeys (18.56 pounds and 19 pounds), 30 cans of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, and 30 cans of vegetables (4 cans of corn and 26 cans of green beans) all on sale.

    My Meyer lemons will continue to ripen from now until December; they are just starting to get ripe but are not quite there yet. I leave them on the tree until they are ripe and they will be fine through April if cool. I used to pick them all but now I don’t as I had too many one year and left them and they were fine even when it got down to 28 degrees.

  63. Hello Brandy and all!
    I bought candy on the morning after Halloween and popped the bags into the spare fridge. I will use the fun size chocolate bars to fill the drawers in my wooden advent calendar. I have four grandchildren who live near me and it gets expensive to find candy that is nice and they will enjoy.
    I bought my Thanksgiving turkey and a spiral ham on sale (buy the ham and get the turkey for free) I have most of the Thanksgiving dinner purchased but still have a few more things to get. We live in San Antonio, TX which has the basic training center for the entire US Air Force. The community is very supportive of our military personnel and has a program called Operation Home Cooking where you can sign up to have airmen in basic training share your holiday dinner. We have done this for years and enjoy it very much. The young people, many away from home for the first time, enjoy just being off the base and it means a great deal to them to be with a family, even if it’s not their own, for the day. A family did this for my son more than 20 years ago and he still remember how good it felt. That being said, active healthy young people require lots of good food so I try to have appetizers out early (we pick them up at 8 am and they had breakfast much earlier!) because we don’t usually have dinner until about 2 pm.
    I have almost emptied the big freezer and the spare fridge….the only things left are holiday items. This will be a big savings because I will be able to leave them turned off when I leave on December 6th. I will be overseas for three months visiting my daughter so the the more I can unplug or turn off the better. I suspend internet and phone service and turn the heat down to 60F.
    I have almost finished all of my Christmas gift sewing. My house has been a bit untidy during all this creativity….I cut out in the dining room, sew in the kitchen, and iron and press in the family room….but is gradually getting back in order as I finish up the last few projects. I am using up my fabric stash so this all cost me very little, probably under $10, and I have made gifts for everyone in the family that they will enjoy and use.
    The brakes in my son’s car went out and he needed to order parts to repair it so he has borrowed my car for several days. I have saved money by not going anywhere and, in addition, the gas tank in my car was half full and he will wash and vacumn the car and fill the tank when he returns it.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  64. Stephanie, we pray for the best possible results of your surgery and treatment and for the wisdom and healing hands of your nurses and doctors. Blessings to you this holiday season and may you be surrounded with love and peace.

  65. One thing you might consider Marley is a like minded couple to live with you during retirement there are many websites that are joining folks I am a retired school teacher we live with my son but frankly I would rather have joined with a like minded older couple.

  66. Vicky, the BALL BLUE BOOK canning guide has a good recipe for pickle relish and I have used it every year for innumerable years.

  67. Margie, I live just outside the city limit. We have a county library that is free for us to use, but it is quite a distance from where we live, thus very inconvenient. The city library is much closer for us. Because we don’t pay taxes to the city, we can go in and use their facilites for free (like computers, internet, or read books/magazines at the library), but would have to pay for a library card for the privilage of borrowing anything to take home. This is one of the main reasons I don’t use a library. The other is the severe lack of free parking. If I have to pay for parking, it’s not really free to use, is it?

  68. “She called it organizing my freezer; I called it well-intentioned.” This made me laugh out loud!

    We got a new refrigerator/freezer last week – our old one completely died so we had to get a new one – and my husband was home when it was delivered. He texted me a photo of all the things he could not get back in. I texted back – put it in a cooler. I’ll see when I get home. He was shocked when it all fit!

    Congratulations on the baby! And wishing you a full and blessed recovery from your difficult delivery.
    Lea

  69. At the grocery store found boneless, skinless chicken for 99 cents a lb. butter 2.29 lb cream cheese 8 oz. 69 cents. Turkey 39 cents a lb.

  70. Ha ha! Liz, I read this as “I made a 5 gallon bucket of homemade laundry soap and cooked it in our pumpkin from Halloween.”!!!!

    That’s a lot of soap! How long will that last you?

  71. It has been a tough and interesting week for us. My FIL (91) died on Sunday, 11/4 and then the fires in S. Cal started on 11/8. Did not directly threaten our home or lives fortunately.
    1. As we are cleaning out my FIL’s apartment in an assisted living facility we have brought home items we can use. Paper towels, band aids, tools, and a TV that can connect to WiFi so we can stream radio stations. I’m excited about that and the fact that we can then pass on a TV to a cousin to upgrade hers for free. We also are bringing home a cabinet that will free up a table to put our CD player and receiver on so more music in our lives. I really like that almost new CDs can be purchased at the Friends of the Library store for very little.
    2. We chose to evacuate when we could see the flames from the fire nearest us because we were afraid the only open freeway might close and we wouldn’t be able to get to the funeral. We were able to stay with our son and DIL for 2 nights with our dog too. And of course they fed us.
    3. We have been pretty much staying home other than going to work on the apartment clear out so that has been frugal.

    Frugal for others. We have been able to give food and other items to family and friends as we clear the apartment. Also a lot of items to Goodwill. That feels really nice.

  72. Your comment about being patient as a frugal strategy makes me think of a lady I ran into at Wal-Mart today. We were both browsing the clearance aisle and she spotted something on the bottom shelf that she commented aloud that she had been needing. She asked me how much it was
    I told her the tag said .39! She was ecstatic and said, it paid off for me to wait to buy this. Full price it was almost $10. It wasn’t even my frugal score but made me feel good that she got such joy out of finding a great bargain.

  73. Organized, hah! I mean, thank you! My goal each day is modest: nurse and take care of the baby, do one load of laundry, and…one other thing. Some days that paperwork, some days that’s making a meal. But it’s thanks to my sis and mom that I’m getting a few hours of sleep during the mornings! I appreciate them so much!

    And yes, it is a real skill to fit everything inside a freezer on top of a fridge (that’s what I have). And a useful skill too! 🙂 Go, us! 🙂

  74. Thanks, Jeannie! But it’s thanks to my mom and sister that I can do anything besides keep the baby clean, fed, and happy! And I certainly couldn’t have done even that entirely without their help last week! I’m definitely super-thankful for them!

  75. Brandy,
    Lovely photographs of your growing children. They’re all so photogenic!
    My frugalness included saving dehumidifier water to wash dishes. My husband gave me the raised eyebrow look but I’ve kept at it. (We have a dehumidifier in the basement as well as the main floor. The basement water gets dumped into the sump pump usually.) When I boil eggs i’ll use that water for dishes, too.
    For the most part, we’ve been eating meals at home. I still throw too much food away although i’m always working on it. We just picked up our half pig so we have enough meat to last a good long while.
    I’ve been working an extra day and a half each week. The money comes in handy.
    I went through the gifts to see what I had and what I needed. I’m pretty well set with just a few small things to get. The post lady and two garbage men, plus my husbands two bosses should be the end of it.
    I continue to walk and do yoga stretches at home for exercise. Having a dog really keeps me motivated when it’s 17 degrees! (Blah!)
    We had FaceTime and phone calls with grand babies and grandchildren. (And adult children!) That is such a blessing and I am so grateful!
    I made a quadruple batch of pie crust and froze them for future use. I also made a quadruple batch of crisp topping, a double batch of homemade shake’nbake and a single batch of pancake mix. All was added to the freezer which is bursting at the seams.
    We signed up for another year of insurance through the ACA. It went up for us just a bit. Last year it was free so we can’t complain too much. It’s a whole lot better then nothing
    Of course, I still wash the baggies, save shower water and a few other things I can’t remember.
    Have an amazing week!

  76. The favorite homemade gift I received was a neck warmer. Basically a tube filled with rice and lavender that I heat in the microwave when I have a sore neck or am cold. I know folks who make them with buckwheat instead of rice. My friend who made it used leftover material scraps and it is both lovely and useful.

  77. Stephanie: The Simple Dollar website today had an article titled “Cancer patients can now defer student loans without accruing interest.” I am not sure if you have such loans, of course. I just thought that this would be such great news for people going through treatments. The legislation was signed in September and the program is still being figured out.

  78. We are very careful about food waste. Having grown up in a farm, I am acutely aware of how much work goes into producing food and refuse to waste it! Good for the frugal budget, too.

  79. My prayers are coming your way. I am a survivor of 14 years! Be strong and when you can’t be anymore pray and rest!

  80. So glad to see your blog up and running this week, Brandy! It is a great source of inspiration so please accept my thanks for taking the time to devote to The Prudent Homemaker.

    I started my week off by accepting some hours at my occasional office job;
    Used the swagbucks site to earn and redeem for gift cards for Christmas;
    Listed and sold quite a few items on Facebook buy/sell group. Found a gift for my daughter on the same site that I put away for Christmas.
    Used an app to talk to my daughter long-distance for free.
    Tried to talk to my husbands family about limiting Christmas gifts this year; I will bring it up again to see if they are interested in downsizing the gift-giving.
    Used points to redeem $10 off my grocery bill.
    Received a cheque for $20 from doing surveys.

    Thanks to all who have left their comments, always look forward to reading.

  81. Stacey: For vision care, make sure you choose the appropriate professional of an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, depending on the age of the patient and what screenings are needed. Children probably don’t need vision disease screenings as often as adults? (Someone will correct me on this if I am wrong, I’m sure!). Check if your medical coverage covers an ophthalmologist? If you’ve met your deductible, then add on those appointments.
    I don’t have experience with local dental coverages that you asked about.

  82. Thanks, Margie. Today I managed to climb up and down the stairs and did some laundry. I had been listening to Bocelli on his posts on You Tube. For the cd that is a Christmas present, I’m glad I’ll have lots of time to get it in the mail. I keep feeling like I’m just getting this illness back so I will be staying in bed for the next few days. I made my photo Christmas cards so I will probably address them while I’m in bed. I have invited a couple of friends for the Christmas day dinner at the church as I know they have no family nearby this year. A few friends brought items back from their trips abroad so I have a couple of items for the travel auction that raises scholarship money. Now I just have to get better…

  83. Great blog, always so inspired and feeling supported when reading.
    -All meals were made at home except for one that we paid for with a gift certificate that we had been given over a year ago.
    -My DH repaired the electrical cord for the vacuum cleaner, one hour of work, and it was running.
    -Passed on sending a Thanksgiving card and decided to deliver it with a personal visit.
    -Made a squash for dinner before it went bad.
    -Have faithfully turned our heat down to 62 each evening, and have added 3 blankets to our bed.
    -Painted and varnished the woodwork in our living room. We had to purchase the products however, did the work ourselves.
    -Hand addressed our Christmas card envelopes, no need to purchase or print mailing labels.
    -Streamed movies for free-skipped renting at RedBox.
    -Cleaned out 3 kitchen cabinets and felt pride when everything was cleaned and organized.
    -Shopped the loss leaders at the Grocery Store and continue to stock up the pantry.
    -Went to book club, borrowed the book from the library and enjoyed great conversation with others in the group.
    -Shoveled our sidewalk and driveway.
    -Rearranged pictures in the living room, using what we had, it looks fresh and new with no money spent.
    -At the thrift shop found a pillow and a toy for our granddaughter for Christmas.
    -Found some ornaments at the thrift store for an ornament exchange at a future holiday party.
    So many things to be thankful for and feeling blessed with what we have been given.

  84. Awesome costumes! I wish I could sew like that.
    My frugal accomplishments during the last couple weeks – we cooked all of our meals from scratch, mostly with no or just a little meat. While doing so, I used as much from my freezer and pantry as possible. Also, I picked the last (still green) mini-tomatoes (about 6 lbs) to let them ripen indoors. It is a variety called red pear (it also comes in yellow), and despite a very hot summer here in SW-Germany that didn’t seem to end until this morning when the chilly temperatures came in, they haven’t stopped producing until now.
    I have a chili plant on the balcony which I hope to get through the winter indoors, as well as African Blue basil.
    This week, our grocery store has a bargain price on ground beef (1.50 per lb), which I hope to lower with a 10% off coupon that the store distributed. Meat and potatoe prices have gone up terribly, due to the hot and dry summer.

  85. Thank you for the suggestions, Margie from Toronto! Very much appreciated. I have been wanting to take up crocheting again, so this would be a great opportunity. Chicago does have an underground path to walk called the Ped Way that I will look into using. It will be very handy on especially cold days. It has taken me a couple of weeks to get used to the idea of a different way of commuting to work but I am determined to be positive about it.

  86. A new stove absolutely is frugal if it saves you time and stress. New ones are more efficient than older ones too (if it helps)

  87. I live in Alberta. The library card does give me ready access to library loans from every library in Alberta, for borrowing both books and DVDs. I can also get a library membership at the major city libraries at no additional cost. I definitely get my money’s worth in the amount I borrow.

    Every library sets its own fees. Next year I’ll have a senior membership, which is $10, though some libraries don’t charge for seniors memberships.

    No provincial sales tax here, though, so I think I’m ahead.

  88. We have a beautiful library in the village I live in, but I belong to the library in the next town over. This is a frugal fail, because of the gas I use, but I simply like the book selection much more, and it is a chance to socialize with people over there who I’ve known for a long time. I can return books to either location though, which is handy if the driving is bad or I am feeling too lazy.

    Both places have lots of free parking, though.

  89. So sorry to hear of your diagnosis. These can be long days and if your oncologist and/or cancer center have resources please use them. The hospital I retired from has an excellent Cancer Ctr. and they have ongoing activities – exercise, mediation, support and self care – for the patient and the family and support system. Interesting on the tooth brush issue – I am going to see if local dentists would donate toothbrushes to the center. It is in a hospital that has a lot of medicaire and medicaid patients.

  90. I love those costumes! You are definitely passing on your creativity and resourcefulness to your babies.
    Good luck on your weight loss journey! I refuse to calorie count, since I feel like I am starving all the time when I do, and then food, and my next meal or snack, becomes all I can concetrate on (I have a problem

  91. Better to take a couple of extra days now to rest and recover than have it hang on into the holiday season. Keep warm, do your cards and get better.

  92. When I had a 75 minute, one way commute, I enrolled in a van pool. I picked up the van about 1/4 mile from my house. My ‘stop’ was where the van parked and was across the street from my office. If I had driven my car, my parking space at the office would have been farther away.
    The van pool was sponsored by the county I lived in in WA state. Another bonus was that as a ‘regular’ rider, I could sign up to use the van at lunch time and pay an additional $0,20/mile for my personal use. I used my morning time to power nap and the evening ride home to listen to music.

  93. Ahh I love those costumes!!!

    This week:

    1. I’ve come down with some weird cold this week, so I’ve been staying at home. Today I ate soup bought for .25 on the sale rack. It was delicious! I paired it with homemade bread from my freezer.

    2. We paid off our car today!!! How’s that for frugal? 🙂 We’ll now have an extra $350/mo to our name. It’s going straight into savings. Ahhh, feels good.

    3. I have a coupon to a gas station for a free coffee drink. I’ll use it if I feel well enough to leave the house. Otherwise, I might end up giving it to hubs to use.

    4. I also went to Costco this week. They had some really good deals on High Brew iced coffee, so I snatched those up. I was tempted by the Costco food court, but like a good girl, I waited to eat until I got home.

    5. I cooked a frittatta yesterday using odds and ends from the fridge and freezer. I’ve never made one before, but man, it’s an awesome way to use up weird bits of food.

  94. Stacey, my late husband’s practice offered such a program. Honestly I never felt that they were much of a bargain. Generally the offices set prices were so high that the membership price really didn’t provide much of a discount. I would suggest that you call around and get a cash price for yearly cleanings. If you ever need dental work, I would check around and price it out. My husband’s price for a root canal was a couple thousand. You could drive 30 miles away over the state line and get it for 600.00. I think of dental work like car repairs. I always compare prices. If you have a dental college nearby, that might be an option although they are few and far apart. Preventive care is best. Flossing is an incredible preventive action that will help greatly. Sadly affordable dental care is usually not available. Annual vision care is much more affordable. We have many places here in Atlanta where you can get an exam and a pair of glasses for 80.00. As I have aged, I find seeing an ophthalmologist to be more important. Medical issues that should have been diagnosed earlier were missed at a chain optician. At age 50, I had to have cataract surgery. I pay 75.00 for an exam and purchase any prescription glasses for my family online at Zenni optical. My doctor understands my financial limitations and happily provides me with a prescription. The last pair of bifocals I bought at a chain were 600.00.

  95. Thank you for your list, and your excellent ideas. Good luck with your employment decisions!

    I once saw, just in passing, the simplest and easiest idea for teachers: a ream of paper, tied with a pretty ribbon and a note of gratitude. I remember thinking, “For $2-$3 when I go to the grocery or pharmacy, and a simple note, I can help a teacher who probably has to buy her/his own paper and supplies…? Why didn’t I think of this myself??” Then this year, our church did a “paper drive”, collecting reams of paper for the teachers at the local elementary school.

  96. Go, Butters! Our kitty was the same – a real warrior who “contributed” to the household by bringing all her conquests to “share” with us (one morning I found 4 rats, lined up neatly in front of the dryer, and our girl bringing a fifth through the cat door to add to the count). Even when she was nearly 20, too old and frail to go outside, the rodents somehow knew she was here and never came around. Since we lost her last year, they have come into the attic, curse it! How do they know?? I hesitate to adopt another cat, because my son-in-law is allergic. But I surely miss my old fighting girl.

    Bless you, Lillianna, and thank you to your son for his sacrifice and his service.

  97. Please check on whether dental and vision is covered through your insurance, even without the rider. It is my understanding that one of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act is that basic vision and dental must be covered under general medical insurance for children age 18 and under. I’m not entirely sure it’s still in effect (we have our appointment the end of this month so haven’t had an appointment this year), but it was such a blessing for us! We can’t get vision coverage and our children both need glasses, with our son having a much large and uncommon problem with one eye. We had to pay something for glasses, but part was covered and so was the exam.

    Lea

  98. Heidi Louise, many years ago I worked at a university that had a College of Optometry (there aren’t many of them). I learned that optometrists measure vision and screen for disease, but are not licensed to treat diseases. In some states–but not all–optometrists can put drops in the patient’s eyes. They must have 4 years of college plus 4 years of optometry training. Their degree is Doctor of Optometry, or OD. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have completed additional training and a residency and primarily treat diseases of the eye and perform surgery.

    I have mostly used optometrists for the past 50 years. I have found they give more direct patient care, whereas MDs have their assistants perform most of the tests and pop in at the end to verify the results. It always seems to take A LOT LONGER to have an exam with an ophthalmologist–like 2 hours vs. 20-30 minutes for an optometrist.

    Two weeks ago, I had a cataract removed by an ophthalmologist and will have the second eye done the week after Thanksgiving. Both my sister and my daughter had strabismus (crossed eyes) and were operated on by ophthalmologists.

    This is way more than you wanted to know, right?

  99. Thanks, Maxine! I appreciate you writing. My family goes to a wonderful optometrist in our small town, and I would like to keep her in business, (rather than driving 45 minutes to a quick-stop vision center that isn’t prepared for my extremely strong prescription anyway). She does disease screening in annual check-ups, and has a strong network of ophthalmologists in the region that she can make referrals to. She was able to accept our insurance after our employer changed companies.

  100. Stephanie- I have just gotten that diagnosis as well. I’ve had a lumpectomy, lymph node surgery and (today) a medi-port installed all in the last six weeks. My first chemo is Friday the 16th. And I am pre-emptively cutting my hair tomorrow. Since I already have severe psoriasis, I am concerned what will happen with my skin during this but I’m trusting God that it will work out.
    Best wishes to you and remember to rest!

  101. So exciting I can’t wait until you move in and get the gardens and house perfect for you. I have several questions (sorry); your online pharmacy, who do you use and what do you use for flea/tick treatment? I’m interested in the online pharmacy to save costs and I’m going to qld over Christmas with my dog and I’m a little concerned about ticks. Is there a special tick treatment you can get? And can you spray gardens to reduce/kill ticks?

  102. I don’t have a list of frugal saves. I forgot to use coupons at the checkout yesterday which really made me angry. However the cashier caught that I had gave her a extra $20 in payment because the bills are new and stuck together. She is one of my favorites at this store and this is just one more reason I appreciate her.

    I saved a total of $61.26 from this weeks grocery bill. I bought extra canned goods which were half off, used coupons and bought discount meats.

    My son and I tried to cut down a large tree out in front of our home. We got all the limbs down but the biggest and largest two was impossible to safely cut down. I was still up there trying to figure out how we were going to cut this tree down when a woman stopped and took pictures. I was A little concerned this women was taking pictures but was more focused on not falling down off the ladder. A few minutes later this young man showed up with a trailer and told me he cut trees for a living and could he cut my tree down for me, no charge. I asked him what would he charge normally and asked if he could take half. He told me he would be back in a hour or so because he had a previous business appointment. He came back but had helpers with him. I saw the car with the woman who was taking pictures and it turned out his mama called him up and told him to come help me! I tried to offer the money several times but he kept refusing. It was such a blessing to have him finish the job for me as well decline the money (the last of my grocery budget). It was really a reminder that God takes care of His children. I thank God for people like Taylor too. He was so gracious and kind as well as his employees and mother.

    My uncle was supposed to start chemo this past Tuesday. I got a text later on that night stating the drs told my Uncle that chemo was fruitless. The cancer was moving too fast to make a difference. So now we just wait for the end, making my Uncle as comfortable as we can. It is all so shocking. As horrific as all this has been, I am thankful to our Heavenly Father that our family made a spur of the moment trip to visit my Aunt and Uncle last month. This was before we knew he had cancer, he was in pain while we were visiting but the drs thought he was suffering from constipation. He actually said he felt better during our visit than he had in awhile. I told him to get his liver and gallbladder checked because I thought he looked jaundiced. Turns out jaundice is a symptom of pancreatic cancer. I am so thankful we got to see my Uncle before he passed on. He is a Christian so I know we will meet again one day. Those of you inclined to, please keep my Aunt and Uncle in your prayers. They can really use them, prayers of comfort and mercy to get through this time.

  103. Thank you for the kind words, Margie. We actually live with my mom in her “already paid for” house. Since it is my mom’s house, I’m not about to argue with my brother joining the household. I know how living here it has helped us, financially. I hope we can help my brother do the same. I think he feels he needs to move out as quickly as possible. We’ve done everything we can to help him feel at home, so hopefully he will stay for a while to save up some money to get ahead a little first. Besides, he is much more knowledgable than my husband when it comes to fixing things around the house. I consider that his contribution. My mom keeps lining up projects for him to do…LOL!

    As for DD, she is still having some difficulties this year. It’s the school’s reaction to her issues that is making a big difference. She’s not riddled with anxiety and depression like she was as last year. So we are able to sign her up for activities and know that she will most likely be able to attend, participate willingly, and even have fun sometimes. I’m glad she is willing to try new foods. We’ve always made it clear that it is ok to not like something, but we want her to at least try it before she decides she doesn’t like it. She also is learning how to handle not liking something with grace in the presents of other. That is a BIG lesson for her to learn, and I am so proud of how well she does this. Some days are better than others, but she does well with these concepts for an Autistic child.

  104. I would have to go out to the library and sign up for a card first. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive in a direction I rarely go. Thus why I don’t use the library. I find other resources to do research on things I’m interested in, like recipes or craft ideas. I’m not an avid reader, but when I do take a notion to read, I have a small collection of books around the house that I eventually want to read. So a library visit is not really high on my priority list.

  105. Congrats on paying off your car! It is a good feeling, isn’t it? We paid off our last car loan in 2009 and have kept our promise to not have another one.

  106. Here is how I have saved over the past few weeks:
    FOOD: Bought 20 lbs of fresh, perfect veggies, including green beans, brussel sprouts, cabbage, butternut squash, and pumpkins for a total of only $7, by shopping the markdown baskets at our local fresh produce store. Trimmed, blanched, and froze the 8 lbs. of green beans, saving the trimmings to add to the saved onion skins, carrot stems, red pepper tops, and celery leaves, to make a big pot of veggie broth for the freezer to use to make our Thanksgiving Cornbread Dressing (stuffing.) From a 3.50 package of chicken, I made one meal of chicken for 4 adults, Chicken Pot Pie for 12 people, and Chicken Noodle Soup for 12. This week I have bought more chicken for the same price to make Chicken and Dumplings for 12 (cost less than $2 for the huge pot!) and Chicken Croquettes for 6. I put two bags of cooked, diced chicken meat in the freezer for two more meals and made a big pot of broth with the bones and vegetable peelings for Chicken and Rice Soup. When Dollar General had their sale last week on canned veggies, 3 for $1, I stocked up on corn, peas, and green beans. Stocked up also on .50 cans of evaporated milk from Aldi. Bought my Thanksgiving turkey for .42 lb., sweet potatoes .25 lb. Son is giving me pecans from his backyard tree. All Thanksgiving foods bought or taken care of. Started making yogurt. Make simple cornstarch puddings (vanilla and chocolate) that don’t call for butter or eggs, so save them for other meals. Cook and bake breads and desserts vegan as much as possible to save on butter and eggs. Make my own olive oil, whole wheat baking mix to make breads, cornbread, pancakes, tortillas, muffins, dumplings, cookies, and brownies with. Saves so much and is soooo much healthier for us. Picked 16 green and red peppers from my garden before the big freeze we got several nights ago. Arranged in a pretty, glass pedestal bowl, they are our first Christmas decor!
    NONFOOD SHOPPING: Bought 10 yards of cute, assorted Christmas fabric at the thrift store for a total of $1.50 to make various Christmas gifts from! Shopped Dollar Tree for Christmas presents, finding quite a few goodies for our adult kids, grandkids, and friends.
    MAKING: I am loving my new, dark gray heather “shkirt” made from an extra large man’s long sleeve, polo shirt. From one leftover sleeve I am making a neck warmer with a large wooden button, and from the other sleeve, I will have enough for fun elbow patches for a sweater and pockets for another shirt I am making from another $1.50 men’s shirt, this time a dark red and gray flannel. I also carefully dissected the knit collar and cuffs to use on the flannel shirt that I will be making into a tunic. I am having fun being a fashion designer from repurposing old, thrifted clothes! Other than Dollar Tree gifts and 3 small gift cards, this year all my gifts for our 5 kids and 3 grandkids, and friends and other relatives must be handmade by me. In addition to making plum jam from plums from my freezer and homemade breads, I have to find the time to make from materials I have on hand: a rag quilt, fabric baskets, winter/Christmas sweater pillows from old sweaters and tapestry placemats, market bags, cocoa mix, and beef jerky. I better get busy!!!!
    LIFE: Cancelled plans for hubby and I to attend college homecoming to take advantage of a weekend without rain to clean out the garage. In addition to finding 3 good window screens from the previous owner, we found an extra microwave to replace our old one that the numbers didn’t work, and found items to sell for a little money to help pay large, never-ending, medical bills. I also found two bolts of fabric from when I made couch covers 25 years ago that I can use to make needed curtains for the living room.
    Looking forward to spending a grateful Thanksgiving with our family at our home next week.

  107. Jenny thank you for your well wishes we are starting to move things into the outdoor sheds now after gettting permission from the current owners :).

    The online pharmacy we use can be found here – https://www.pharmacyonline.com.au/ . We use this online pharmacy for most things (Arnica cream, iron tablets etc) and they tend to have a 5 – 10 % off sale in November and again in January I noticed. If you sign up they will send you information on when the sales are. Like most things check what your local prices are as not all things are cheaper.

    You cannot spray gardens to kill ticks unfortunately and they are just more prolific near creeks or waterways where we are moving too. I found that you can get flea and tick prevention for both dogs and cats much cheaper on eBay than we can get locally here. We are using the Bravecto brand of flea tick prevention which I think they have for both dogs and cats on Ebay as it was the one recommended by our vet as it kills the newest strain of fleas ?, not sure how many strains there are 🙂 .

    Hope this helps.

    Sewingcreations15.

  108. Great costumes ☺

    This week I shopped my linen cupboard for Christmas presents and wrapped them using supplies on hand.

    I have gifts for 13 people, including our two children, totalling $214. Wrapping paper and gift tags cost an estimated $3.50.

    I have written a list of free local christmas activities to attend throughout December. This includes christmas markets, nativity reenactment, fireworks, a christmas festival, a trip to the North Pole on a flying train, writing and posting letters to Santa and viewing decorated houses and churches.

    I have started thinking about our Christmas day festivities and meal with family. There will be 11 people at our house on Christmas day and I have decided to keep the food simple. It has been a big last few months for my family and I feel this will be perfect. I have budgeted $50 total for food and will ask all family members to please bring a plate. Instead of a big meal I am going to do a few platters of food and people can just nibble. I will do a fruit platter (lots of stone fruit like peaches, plums and nectarines as well as the berry family), cheeses, crackers, slices of ham and salami, dips etc. I am still thinking about dessert options.

    We will re-use our 10 year old tree and decorations that are starting to look a little ratty. Most baubles are broken but will do the job. The tree is looking sparse! It may not be picture perfect but it is colorful, joyous and many decorations made by my children.

    We will listen and sing along to Petit Papa Noel about 200 times throughout the season ☺

    On Christmas Eve my children, as per usual, each assemble and decorate their own gingerbread house. I then use these as the table centrepieces on christmas day.

    The christmas book advent is also ready to go.

    This past week I have:
    -attended two market research projects, earning $240 for a total of 4.5 hours of chatting. I also ate free sandwiches, cakes, crackers, cheese, water and tea.

    -taken my children to the waterfront with their bicycles and a packed picnic. They rode, played at two separate playgrounds and then we had a picnic under the tree.

    -did a large grocery shop, spending $180 for the fortnight. This is a higher spend than my usual budgeted $120 but we had no meat left. I stocked up on many items so it will last quite some time. This usual $120 includes food (meat, vege, fruit etc), toiletries and cleaning and sanitary products. As a result of this extra spend, I have lowered the next fornightly shopping budget to $60.

    -cooked 3 different meals at once. This saves time and use of oven, stove etc. I made beef goulash, chicken and bacon pastries and a dense salad.

  109. My biggest frugal save is my husband convincing the auto insurance to fix rather than total our fully owned vehicle that he hit a deer with. We are so thankful!!!!

    I had free to me appointments today using a sick day from work. School was closed due to snow, so I get my sick day back

  110. King County (ie Seattle) was the sponsor of the van pool. They let each van organize themselves however the riders wanted and had very few rules. One was their payment each month. The other was that each driver had to take a driving course and be certified through the county. Our vanpool had 14 monthly seats available plus the driver. We took turns driving one way every two weeks. I paid for my monthly ‘membership’ even if I couldn’t ride every day. As long as I rode the van for half the month, I came out ahead of driving myself.
    Other van pools I knew of had a designated driver who rode for free in exchange for driving.It was a great system.

  111. I loved the tree story, Douai! Does your store let you bring your receipt and coupons back to make an adjustment when you forget?

    Best blessings to your aunt and uncle and extended family. May the messages of Thanksgiving and Christmas provide comfort and peace to you all.

  112. We are having solar panels installed so our energy bill will only be $8.80 a month just to stay connected to the grid. With the tax write off we hope to have the panels paid off in two years!
    Like everyone,cooked all meals at home and stopped emails that entice me to buy goods that I no longer need.
    Since I retired in August , really trimmed down gift giving this year to mostly our grand children and a small but useful gift for our grown kids. Keeping it very simple. I love this blog Brandy. It takes me days but I read and learn so much from all the comments. Happy thanksgiving everyone.

  113. I am very thankful for your beautiful blog and website. I have been inspired by all of your creativity and ingenuity.
    So far this month I have done the following to save:
    *Today my daughter and I ran five errands and were able to get a lot accomplished with less gas used due to the proximity of 2 locations to each other and the other three near each other. I took her to Goodwill where she purchased pants for work and a gift for a friend. We also went to the Dollar Tree that is across the street. We drove to another location and went to CVS to pick up my daughter’s prescription and we both got our flu shots (free with our insurance). Next door is a Kroger and she bought herself some dairy free ice cream. In the same complex is the bank I needed to visit.
    *For Christmas shopping, I have been using my Discover card and at Amazon, I receive 5% cash back. (All purchase so far are paid off and I am nearly done shopping – thankfully under budget so far.) I also have opted to get a No Rush shipping $1 several times and was able to buy the Incredibles 2 for less than $2. I also waited on an item that I wanted to buy my oldest son and it was on sale for 25% off yesterday, so I ordered it. (Yet again, no rush shipping opted.) My youngest son (who still believes in Santa -probably his last year) wanted a gift beyond my typical budget or I would not have been able to buy him much else, so I was able to get it $60 off by applying for an Amazon store card. I have since paid off that card and closed the account. Every year we give a member of my husband’s family a fruit basket to have delivered to him out of state; this year I found a coupon code for free shipping for this gift. I took advantage of Buy 3, get three items at Bath and Body works as well as a 20% off on face masks for gifts for my mother and daughter. I also bought a set of 5 pretty dish towels that I will use to wrap food gifts to my mom and my brother’s new girlfriend. (Fudge and 7 layer cookie bars — I will purchase the ingredients at Aldi and make them before Christmas.)
    *Grocery budget: Due to the time of year and the fact that my husband receives 3 paychecks in November, I increased our monthly grocery budget for our family of 6 (4 adults, 2 children -aged 9 and 12) from 850 to 1060 this month only. I was able to get quite a few items from Sam’s to stock up our supplies of paper goods/cleaning/personal hygiene – like razor blades ($5 off), men’s deodorant, toilet bowl cleaner ($2.50 off), furniture polish, etc. I had a negative experience this past spring at Sam’s with their raw boneless skinless chicken breasts and I left a negative review online. They reached out to me and offered to refund my money, so I was able to use that $25 toward my groceries at Sam’s. I also purchased stamps before the price goes up and 2 rotisserie chickens for three different meals as well as chicken stock (that I have since frozen). At Kroger, I was able to get my husband’s pop for $1.99/12 pack. I got 10 boxes of Creamette pasta for $0.49/each and an additional $1 off coupon for purchasing 3. The spices were BOGO, so I was able to get 2 largish containers of minced onion for the pantry.
    *Clothing: My husband needed new shoes for work, so we shopped at Kohl’s with a 20% off coupon. While he was trying on a pair, I found a second pair on clearance for $13.99. So, we bought 2 pairs for a total of $67.76. I got $10 in Kohl’s bucks that I used today to get two 17 oz candles for free. (Marked $4.99 each – no tax charged.) I went to Goodwill and found 6 pairs of pants for my husband and 12 year old. The 12 year old has grown 4 inches taller in the last year and has outgrown some of his pants, so he got 3 new pairs and my husband got 3. I found a skirt and a sweater for myself. Total spent at Goodwill $38.31.
    *Cooking: In addition to making 3 meals from the two rotisserie chickens, I was able to make chicken stock to freeze. I divided it up into 1 cup and 2 cup containers to use for recipes later this month. I menu planned for the month of November and purchased most groceries at the beginning of the month. I made a ham last week and was able to save and freeze enough to use in another 3 meals. Last night we used some of the ham in hash browns for dinner. One night this week I noticed that we had an abundance of leftovers, so we had leftovers for dinner instead of lentil stew. I can save the lentils to use next month for a dinner. I had already planned a meal for leftovers for the month, so this is a bonus. I chopped carrots and onions and froze them for use in fried rice later this month (another ham meal). I made 9 freezer meals November 1, so that has helped with meals. I made pumpkin bread and banana bread from things I had on hand. I pack my husband’s lunch with leftovers at dinner time; if there are no leftovers, he usually has a sandwich. I make him breakfast (eggs and lunch meat/ham wrapped in a tortilla) every morning.
    *Free: I have been using Duolingo to improve my Spanish. I also found a channel on YouTube that has spanish. I practice daily.
    *I exercised twice this week at home using DVD’s I owned. I also read books we owned and watched a few movies we own.
    *My aunt is moving from Ohio to Florida this week and will be living with her daughter, so I accepted some items she was trying to get rid of. She gave me two tote bags of yarn (15 skeins), 3 crochet books (2 large with many patterns), a set of crochet hooks, a crystal bowl with wooden apples, and a glass pumpkin with a lid. She also gave my mom 2 end tables for my sons’ bedroom.
    *My mom gave me two coats and a purse she no longer wants. One of the coats needed a button sewed on it, so that was an easy fix. I haven’t had a “new” coat in 8 years, so it was nice to have a new one. The purse is a nice fall/winter one, so I was able to put away my summer purse (a Vera Bradley purchased at our neighborhood garage sale). My mom loves gadgets, but doesn’t always use them after she buys them, so she gave me her new air fryer and a cookbook for it.
    *A local orchard advertised on facebook 2 weeks ago that they were having their last you pick for the season. We weren’t able to make it that weekend. But, they advertised the following week that all apples were FREE! My younger sons had never been apple picking, so we took advantage of the opportunity. We were able to get about 100 apples (in three reusable shopping bags). There were many, many apples on the trees so we didn’t feel bad taking that many. (We saw people there with laundry baskets and tubs.) I made applesauce and apple butter. I gave probably 3# of apples and some of the applesauce and apple butter to my neighbor, too.
    *We went to the Ohio History Center in Columbus for free as we are members. They had an exhibit of WWI that my younger boys wanted to see. On the way home, we drove past Shrum Mound (a native American mound). As members this year, we have visited 19 sites of 58 and marked them off in our “passport” offered by the Ohio Historical Society. We packed our lunch to eat on the way home.
    *The Dayton Book Fair advertised on facebook Monday that all books were free for the price of a $1 a person admission. For the four of us, we were able to get 186 books for only $4. I am giving 15 of them to my mom. It was the fourth and final day of the book fair, so a lot of them had been picked over. They said that whatever was left was going to recycling! People were loading up their cars/trucks, and someone even rented a U-Haul trailer. My husband found a book that he can use for a graduate school class that usually costs $140. I found two books by authors I was looking for in addition to a lot of classics and kids books. My 12 year old found a really neat book that is full of historic front pages of the New York Times from 1920-1975. I reorganized our existing books and now have some to share with my retired school teacher neighbor and her teacher daughter.
    *While my husband was walking the dog today, he was able to get a seed pod (with the permission of the owner) of ornamental grass he wants to plant.
    *Utilities -I have tried to save on the gas bill (we have gas heating). I have set it at 67 during the day and 62 at night. Fortunately, that has paid off this first cold month of fall in Ohio. We were able to save about 23% on our bill. We have level billing, but any extra savings is great. The gas company does adjust the monthly amount if necessary. Hopefully, this will add up in a positive manner. My husband used plastic we already owned to cover some windows. I also have opted to bake a few times (electric stove) to increase the temperature some in the house. To save on the electric bill, I always hang all clothing and only dry towels/sheets/and tablecloths in the dryer. This month I have learned that I have the same results drying lighter items (not towels) on a cooler/shorter setting. Needless to say, I am very diligent about turning off lights and appliances that aren’t in use.

  114. Just a quick addition to reading comprehension (this is more for higher order sorts of reading, of course): I use CommonLit in my classroom. It pairs with almost any text (fiction, non-fiction, seminal U.S. documents, etc). It has SAT style comprehension questions at the end.

    I use it regularly with my students to support close reading and to develop annotation strategies. I teach at a college-prep high school.

  115. Heidi Louise,

    I’ve not thought to ask about the coupons. I will ask and see for future reference. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Thank you for the sweet message about my Auntie and a Uncle. He passed on Saturday. He was my favorite Uncle and will be missed dearly.

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