Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Two Weeks

Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Two Weeks

My biggest frugal accomplishment for this past week was not paying a designer to redo my website, but instead taking the time to learn how to use a completely new program on my own. I did have to pay quite a bit to have my content all moved over from a completely different platform (about half a year’s income from the site!), but then I did all of the redesign work myself.

I am still making changes to the way things look and work on the website (I have a lot of pages to redo, as they came over a bit wonky), and I’m still learning (and searching) for where everything is and how to do it all. I’m sure things will look a little strange until I get everything figured out. I could wait until I’m completely done, but the moving of data took 5 more days than I thought it would (I couldn’t start my part until they were done) and I don’t want to continue to wait to post. Please bear with me as I continue to change things around.

We started decorating for Christmas using decorations that I’ve purchased on sale in past years, including our twelve-year-old faux tree and several faux wreaths.

My eldest daughter found free sheet music for the piano of the Downton Abbey theme. She’ll perform this piece as a Christmas gift to her grandparents.

My eldest son cut and dyed his own hair. He also went horseback riding for free. He has been working with a friend’s horse; the horse hasn’t been ridden in quite some time and has become extremely skittish, especially around cars. The couple who owns the horse are older and not often able to ride her.

My husband gave the next eldest son a haircut and cut my hair as well for me.

We picked five colanders of green tomatoes from the garden. These will ripen over the next couple of months in our cool garage. I used some in a batch that I made and canned of giardiniera.

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

We had a small amount of rain, enabling me to skip watering the potted plants and to turn off our irrigation for several days on both weeks.

I continued to use the free app, Lose It!, to track my eating and exercise. Since I started using it a month ago, I have lost 8.4 pounds. My initial goal was to lose 10 pounds between November 9th (when I started tracking my meals on the app) and the end of the year. I still want to lose an additional 15 pounds after the first 10, so I’ve made changes to the app to reflect that goal.

I went to cancel the free trial of a site that I had been testing out for school, and when I went to cancel it, the site offered me 5 months free, so I said yes.

I ordered bulbs from the garden from my favorite bulk seller, Van Engelen. At the end of the season, they place all of their remaining bulbs on sale. They sell at wholesale prices and the sale was an additional 40% off. The remaining bulbs sell out fast; I wasn’t able to get all of the bulbs I would have ordered on clearance just two days after receiving their email, but I still was able to get many new bulbs to beautify my garden for years to come.

I purchased 30 pounds of clementines on sale for 5 pounds for $3.99. I also purchased 5 gallons of ice cream, on sale half off for $2.99 a gallon when you buy 5 gallons.

My mom found a couple of books in a series at a garage sale that interested her. She asked for some more used books in the series for Christmas. I found a book that was a combination of the first three books in the series in hardcover, used, on Amazon and ordered that for her.

I used a $20 off coupon to save money on some LED Christmas lights at Target. I bought items on sale for 20% off and received an additional 10% off by choosing the ship to store option. Since the store is super close, this was an additional money saver for me. We haven’t had many Christmas lights for many years and now we will have LED lights that use 80% less electricity and should last us many years.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Amazon, which I used to order a gift.

I hired a high school student who teaches violin to teach my 12-year-old daughter. She charges $12 for a half hour lesson. Our piano teacher recommended her (she is actually learning to play the violin from her). High school student music teachers are a great way to find beginning level music teachers for children for less. Our new teacher is the first chair violin student at the local high school.

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

 

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This Post Has 92 Comments

  1. Randy Simper

    Way to go ya Lil’l shmarty!

  2. Cari Mostert

    Longtime reader, first-time commenter. Your skills continue to amaze, Brandy. What an amazing job you’ve done on your website! I’m moving mine to a new theme next week and you’ve given me the courage to continue – as I use it for business, I was stressing. As always you are an inspiration. Thank you for all the hard work you put in to keep it all running smoothly. I, for one, read everything you give us and eagerly wait for more. Oh, and your pics are exquisite!
    Cari (in South Africa)

  3. Mrs T

    Congratulations Brandy the site looks beautiful. Very happy that you are posting again.

  4. Peggy

    Blog looks great! So happy to see your post this morning. Have missed them!

  5. Myra

    SO glad you are back! I have been checking every. single. day for a new post. This morning when I clicked on my favorites, it said it couldn’t find the server and I almost panicked lol, but I found you! Love the new design.

  6. tanja

    good for you….finding it all out by yourself. It is easy to say: I can’t do that, but then you must just motivate yourself to learn to do the thing you want.
    I t takes time and patience, you are doing great!
    Missed reading your blog, But waited patiently….
    Greetings Tanja (netherlands)

  7. Joan

    Congratulations on your “new” look. I really enjoy reading your blog. Have a blessed day.

  8. Jenifer

    Congrats on the learning and applying!

    Technically it was frugal – but a true folly. I could have bought an Aldi $5 pizza for dinner on a night of a long day. Instead, I decided to revisit making my own. Stopped on the way home for a tomato – I just needed a salad with tomato to go with said pizza. Get home to realize 15 mins later we were out of cheese – so back to the same store I went, same cashier – who couldn’t help but raise and eyebrow. Still managed to get a work out in before dinner (albeit a shorter one) and the pizza I made was still $2 less (but more time consuming).

    I used some pretty non funny holiday cards – right now my family really needs a laugh, so I printed a few funny holiday themed cartoons and pasted them inside the cards.

    Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

  9. Diana

    I don’t care if the pages are wonky , I am just so happy that your blog is up and running again. When there are no posts it’s like not hearing from a friend.

    1. Heidi Louise

      What a lovely way to describe it, Diana!
      I use only a laptop and the pictures are huge. That is not a bad thing at all!
      I wondered when I saw the slender typeface if I would be able to see it, but it is large enough and spaced apart so it isn’t a problem.

  10. D in Moneta

    Brandy, your new designs and photos are a feast for the eyes! So worth the wait and thank you for all that you do for us!

    1. Maxine

      Heidi Louise (and everyone else), if you need bigger type, press Ctrl +. To make it smaller, Ctrl -. I just had my second cataract surgery and I’m trying to get used to wearing reading glasses. I have had progressive bifocals for nearly 30 years and they spoiled me!

      1. Heidi Louise

        Maxine– YES! I learned that several years ago, and think that keyboard tip can never be shared too often.

  11. Hilogene in Az

    I am a long time reader too, and was getting worried when you didn’t post. Then this morning I thought, I bet she is changing her website, and voila, there it is! I love the look of all the white spaces! Most websites are so dark, gloomy and jam packed with words and colors. Your old one, and this new one, is bright and airy! Looks great. Thank you for keeping such a calming look.

    Congratulations on doing the work yourself! I respect your ability to tackle projects and get them done. As Cari said, you are an inspiration. I get tried or out of enthusiasm when faced with tasks, and often think of you and know that you would make the time, and you are 500 times busier than me. Thank you for being a positive example of what is possible :). And thank you for this blog and the community it creates. I missed it over the past 10 days.

    My frugal accomplishments: I created a solid view of our 2019 budget, but need to make some spending cuts. My husband is 72, I am 62 and we have learned that getting in better physical shape is hugely important. So we are spending money to go to a gym and have a personal trainer. That expense needs to be offset, we were able this year to cover the cost but need to figure out next year’s plan. To quote my husband’s cardiologist, think of exercise as medicine!

  12. K

    Congratulations on the new site look, Brandy! It looks wonderful, and saving the money from not paying someone else is just the cherry on top!

    Our frugal accomplishments for the past few weeks:

    * Several times, we were tempted to get fast food/go out to eat, but each time were able to say no to ourselves and enjoy food at home instead.

    * I’ve successfully made buttermilk biscuits twice now, using “infinite buttermilk”- that is, a single buttermilk culture that I keep adding more milk to (I included instructions below). This means that I can use buttermilk in whatever recipes I want, without having to add vinegar to milk (so the acid in the buttermilk comes from lactic acid, not acetic acid, plus it’s a hair cheaper). Here’s the way to have an infinite supply of buttermilk (I learned the process from Bev from the “Our Half Acre Homestead” youtube channel): add fresh milk to a near-empty container of buttermilk, shake well, then leave to culture for about 12 hours on the kitchen counter. Afterwards, refrigerate, and use within a few weeks. It will be the consistency of thin yogurt.

    * I made an order to San Fransisco Herb Co, for items for gifts as well as to add to my tea/spice collection. I found out that a family friend loves to use Kraft Mac n cheese powder on her popcorn, so since SF Herb Co sells it in bulk, I was able to get some for her, as well as cocoa and other supplies for making homemade food gifts. I’ll be making various hot cocoa mixes/latte mixes, and a special spice blend.

    * My SO has saved money by making me a Christmas gift this year- I don’t yet know what it is, but I asked for some homemade art, since they’re talented in that area and I love the gifts they’ve made for me in the past 🙂

    * My SO also decided to go visit their mother before Christmas this year, both to visit but also to get their guitars from her house. They wanted to get back into music, but instead of buying new, they’ll be using their (good-quality) older guitars, which, despite probably needing to be re-strung, should end up being the much cheaper option.

  13. Lynn from NC Outer Banks

    I was so delighted to see your post and the site back up and running. Like others, I’ve missed you and had been checking back frequently! Congrats on learning all of the technological info to be able to make the changes yourself. The site looks great. Welcome back 🙂

  14. Jo

    Excellent! I’m happy to find you again!
    I’m still redeeming Swagbucks to buy or help buy gifts.
    I found a great sale on shoes for my hard-to-fit husband. He’s short — 5’8″ –but even for that height, his feet are small (Thanks to his mom, who wore size 4’s! We are in the US, so US sizing.) He wears 7.5 narrow, and finding boys’ shoes that are narrow enough, or men’s shoes that are short enough, is a challenge. When I saw these for $29, I jumped on them and bought him two pairs in different colors. They even come with a warranty. I don’t dare complain much about finding shoes for him, though, because his poor adult niece wears a 3.5!
    I am decorating with what I have and with things from my yard, as I’ve done every year for a long time. We did purchase all LED lights on an after Christmas sale a few years back, and I never see any bump in my electric bill for Christmas now. Plus, they keep working, year after year.
    Congratulations on the new site, Brandy!

  15. Juls Owings

    So proud of you for continuing to learn how to do things for your self in the technical field. Hubby smiled when I told him your site was back up.

    I have truly missed my “friends” here on this site…

    We put timers on the outside Christmas lights (all LED) on the front of the house and the wreath on the barn. We turn off the back porch lights when we let the dogs out for the last time at night and turn them on in the morning when we feed the dogs (in mudroom) and off when it’s light.

    We continue to use candles or oil lamp to eat by at dinner. I put a taller oil lamp on the table that Hubby lit this morning and he decided he would rather have his morning coffee by the oil lamp than turn on a LED over head light.

    We have met with our financial adviser and I am reworking our budget. We are also looking at a 4 season garden and “salad” items are costing us our arm and leg from late Oct to mid April, sometimes in to May.
    This is last week’s frugal.

    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/12/frugal-week.html

  16. Becky

    I admire your hard work and ability to learn how to do the skills to change over to a new platform. I know I’m going to have to learn how to start on a platform soon–I’ve almost used up the room on the free blog I started on and it’s time to learn how to do it a different way. I keep putting it off because I know that it’s going to take a lot of time that I’m having a hard time carving out of my schedule. So, I feel encouraged that you were able to do such a big thing–far bigger than what mine will be.

    There is a feeling about the Christmas season for me–I always feel that I’m not very frugal, because I’m spending more money than usual buying gifts. But, when I examine it carefully, I am doing ok. In all actuality, we have spent less than normal preparing for Christmas this year. We purposefully cut way back on our gift giving because we have less income than we did in the past. We have also made several gifts. I started with canning the abundance of garden zucchini into zucchini dill chips last summer. I also made jam and plum sauce and regular dill pickles, with the idea of gifting them. It was nice to have those out of the way early. Than, I used some fabric I had from before we moved here to sew up a few items. I did a couple of trips to JoAnn’s for thread, a very small amount of fabric, a few patterns on sale, and a small amount of ribbons/etc. Again, it was scaled back quite a bit from what I would have purchased a few years ago, but obviously it saved money overall to use what I had and supplement thread, elastic, etc. I’ve been watching out for clearance items that I could gift. After the summer, I was able to find nice BBQ items for pennies on the dollar for my nephew. We’ve ordered a few items from the web for various ones, but our gift card purchasing was way down this year. My husband has made beautiful cutting boards from re-claimed pallets and scrap wood he picks up for free from the various wood places in town. They leave the scraps out in bins for anyone to take. He’s also made wooden sticks with notches in them for use in pushing or pulling items out of the oven.

    We cooked a lot at home. I’m finding that making a big pot of soup weekly and just scooping out a bowl to warm up frequently until it’s gone is really saving me both time and money. The other day, I had soup for both breakfast and lunch–I was just in that much of a hurry! I figure that’s a good way to use those frozen and canned garden veggies and get them inside of me when I’m in such a rush. I found ham for $1.27/lb and got another one. We’ve been eating it and then I cut up the rest, put the bone in the crockpot with water overnight for broth, and saved a lot of slices for tomorrow, when we are having friends of ours over. It is a large family, and at last count 11 of them are coming, so my husband is cooking a very small turkey that I found lurking in the bottom of the chest freezer from last Thanksgiving time to go with the ham. After eating an early lunch, we are going to the church Christmas program with our friends. It’s all ages, a large choir, drama, children singing–I’m looking forward to it.

    I’m on a lower grocery budget this month than last month. I have purchased some of the super low-priced stock-up items though, since the sales are so amazing these days.

    I mailed off another package to my daughter who has moved to Hawaii. I used another flat-rate box, which saves a lot on postage. One thing I sent was more spices. I was happy to hear that she and her 2 room mates have used a lot of what I sent before–it means they are cooking! She is in a tourist town and cannot find a place near-by that sells bulk spices, but I have lots that I get that way, saving quite a lot of money for her. Recently, she realized that they didn’t have a thermometer when one of the other girls got sick, so I sent one of those that my husband found at the Dollar Store a while back. He bought a couple, and the one we used worked fine, so I was glad to send her one. There is no Dollar Store near where she lives. I just sent odds and ends to fill the box–things like a cookie mix from the mark-down rack at the store, and dish towels crammed into every spare crack, as they are still low on those. I have a few I can spare.

    My daughter and niece went to an ugly sweater contest party at church. They were quite creative:). Got to love the thrift stores and the Dollar Store!

    I put pictures of the sweaters and more details on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-december-9-2018/

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Becky, you’re using WordPress. That’s what I just changed to. I was using a completely different program for the last 10 years. I much prefer WordPress; there are so many more options! As long as you are willing to have the extra length in your blog name, you may still have some free options. My host has a free option for WordPress blogs. It’s called Cloud Access. I don’t use the free option but you might want to check it out and see if it will work for you.

      1. Becky

        Thank you so much for the information. Since 3 or so years ago, I had to email you and ask you how to properly comment on this blog using my blog linked to my name because I simply did not know how, I’m super happy with how far I’ve come. So, since I’m intimidated a little by all the computer knowledge that I don’t have, I keep putting it off. I have been reading books on the subject, though, and feel that I am learning a lot with each one I read. I don’t mind paying a fee, but the cost is very high to go with the next “step” up after the free WordPress blog, using them as the host, so I’ve determined I want to blog using WordPress, since I love it, but get a different web host/platform (not sure of the correct term). I will certainly look at the Cloud Access one. The option I would want from their site is over $100 per month, and I know I can’t/won’t pay that! I told my husband that it didn’t matter how many times someone clicked an Amazon link, and I received a few pennies each time, I would likely never, ever, get enough clicks to pay for that big of a fee:). Perhaps I just have little faith in my blogging abilities, but I prefer to think I’m just practical:). Even if I did, I would likely want to keep the money.

        I also really dislike trying to read blogs where you cannot read the articles because every 2 seconds ads are popping up in the way, and flashing bright neon colors rapidly, so that’s one reason I am going to be willing to pay a fee–so I can control that. I love the balance you have with the ads on your site. There are a few, which makes complete sense, but you can read your most excellent content and see the pictures so well. Thank you for all the hard work I know you had to do to make the change.

  17. Congrats on the new site! I’m don’t find the back end of blogging intuitive at all, so I applaud your perseverance!

    I had a pretty productive two weeks, I think:
    – I defrosted a batch of Super-Easy Alphabet Soup (http://approachingfood.com/super-easy-alphabet-soup/) , that I had made before the baby was born. Easy for lunches!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread (made with a flax seed egg – flax seed that was previously traded for), for a 4-piece set of BNIB products from The Body Shop. I’ll regift it this Christmas. I also traded a dozen vanilla buttercream cupcakes (vegan cupcakes, as I had run out of eggs) and half a dozen peanut butter and banana cookies, for 2 EOS lip balms, 2 Nivea lip balms, another type of lip balm, a mascara, Easter themed cellophane bags and Valentine’s day cellophane bags, all BNIB of course. The lip balms will be part of my Christmas gifts to my friends’ children, and to some family friends. I also traded two dozen sugar cookies for some of the digital currency that the app uses, which I will later redeem for groceries. I wrapped the cupcakes and cookies in packaging that I had traded for last year.
    – I made a Portobello Mushroom and Pesto Pasta Bake (http://approachingfood.com/pesto-portobello-pasta-bake/) , using breadcrumbs made from some bread crusts my mother sent home with me after Thanksgiving, and the last of several different packages of pasta.
    – I made another batch of Easy Mennonite Pickled Beets (http://approachingfood.com/everything-is-coming-up-beets-easy-mennonite-pickled-beets/), and ate them almost entirely myself. Delicious and beet-ily nutritious!
    – I returned a dress that I had ordered, and decided to use one that I already had.
    – I got a free e-book using a promo code emailed to me from harlequin.com.
    – I made two-tone chocolate-covered spoons using silver-coloured plastic spoons I had traded for last year as well as some chocolate wafers I bought on sale a few weeks ago. I’ll be using these as Christmas gifts for colleagues/bosses, to tie up with bags of homemade cookies.
    – I purchased $15 of baking supplies from my local bulk store (including a chocolate-covered cookie mold on sale for $1) and got a $5 gc to use next time.
    – I made many batches of eggless chocolate chip cookies, wrapped in leftover wrapping from my baby shower, to give to my husband’s colleagues at work as a thank you for some work they had done. Homemade cookies are always a popular thank you gift!
    – I used a free promo code from Walmart online to print an 8×10 photo of my parents and my MIL with my baby. I might give it to my MIL for Christmas, or I just might keep it myself!
    – I darned several socks, and reused Ziploc bags several times.
    – I made chocolate-covered oreos using oreos and chocolate wafers bought on sale and the mold bought on sale. I’ll use these as part of my annual cookie/candy tins that I give to a few people for Christmas or as a hostess gift.
    – I dug through my sewing stash and starting setting aside notions to use when sewing my baby’s baptismal gown, including iron-on interfacing (as well as sew on interfacing – I can’t decide which to use yet) and an embroidered and beaded lacey butterfly patch. I also purchased the fabric, most of it at 50% off.
    – I went through my gift/toy stash and gave a metal puzzle (BNIB) to my MIL to give to a relative when she goes back home.
    – I made a batch of yoghurt.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as usual!

  18. M J Allen

    I was so thrilled to turn on my computer this morning and find you. I have been looking everyday with anticipation that you would be back. You are such an encouragement to me. You are like a wonderful friend who has been out of touch but is now back. I feel so blessed!!! Thank You?

  19. Jeananne Lybbert

    Your website looks great! And the pictures are wonderful! Way to go!
    Merry Christmas! I hope your holidays are blessed.

  20. tadpole

    Yay – my blog reader decided that it would finally show me when you have posted something new. I have missed you!
    Congrats on the weight loss. I am learning just how hard it can be to shed extra pounds. And you are learning a new web program! You really are my frugal sensei.
    Life here as been pretty much the same as it always is. We keep on keeping on.
    Here a report of last weeks frugal accomplishments: https://hiproofbarn.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/frugal-endeavors-christmas-is-coming/
    Have a great week.

  21. Elizabeth M.

    -Went to the next town over to get the winter tires put on my car and get the oil changed. While there, I stopped at the library to return and pick up a few books. I also stopped at the thrift store and bought a light jacket and top. The items go together, but also mix and match with other things I have. They will be great to give me some variety to wear to meetings and other events.
    -Bought a couple of packages of orzo on sale. I use it in soup and cook it in chicken stock as a side dish, a main dish for lunch, or with cubed chicken and or feta cheese bits for supper. It keeps the chicken taste much better than rice, though more expensive.
    -I wanted to make a small donation to the local Santa’s Anonymous, which buys Christmas dinners and gifts for kids and adults and seniors in the village and area I live in. One of the local grocery stores was matching donations up to a certain total, so I put five two toonies in the donation box, so my money would go twice as far. (Toonies are two-dollar Canadian coins.)
    -A frugal fail was one of the four boxes of 12 pieces of fish I had bought turned out to be six pieces of fish and chips. I had to buy a few more servings of meat to take me to the next shopping trip on December 4.
    -The price of fuel went down 13% this week (even more in the city). Apparently, Alberta oil doesn’t have enough working pipelines to ship it away. Tough on many working people here, but easy on my pocketbook until they get it sorted out.
    -Drove to a medical appointment in the city. While I was there, I stopped at a discount produce store, and bought 20 lb of potatoes for $4.98 Canadian (less than $4.00 US), a couple of winter squash, turnips, and raspberries. That’s the last of the produce I need for storage now. It is time to start eating it in earnest.
    -The next day I drove back to the city for meetings, which included two nights’ stay in a very nice hotel and all meals. Both dinners were in lovely restaurants. I spent the afternoon after the meetings going to very good thrift shop, where I bought a pair of pants and a nice shirt to wear to meetings and other events, and four nice matching wine glasses. I was looking for a branch of my favorite chocolate store close by to pick up Christmas chocolates. It turned out there was one a short distance up a cross-street from the thrift store. It saved me $10 in shipping costs by buying it in person, and several dollars in gas from driving to the branch I normally go to.
    -I only had $17 ($13.60 US) left for my “monthly” grocery shop at 10% off. I bought a package of frozen fish, three jars of Classico pasta sauce, and two one-kilo (2.2lb) bags of Green Giant frozen vegetables, with sale prices that saved me more than half of regular prices. I ended up spending $14. Since then, I had enough cash come in to buy some meat, including a turkey at 88 cents/lb and more frozen fish on sale.

  22. Julie Walker

    I’m glad you are back! I had a $10 coupon from CVS drugstore and found a cute shirt to buy. I had been needing a longer shirt to wear with leggings. I found bulbs marked 70% off at Lowes. I planted hyacinths and fresias. I used recycled gift bags instead of wrapping paper for gifts, and sent cards I got free from charities trying to get donations. I always check them out with Charity Rater before donating. I am re-gifting new gifts for a Dirty Santa game. I am also cleaning out my freezer so I won’t waste any food. I do that at the end of every year. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  23. Jen G

    The new site is beautiful! I’m so impressed you learned it all so quickly!

    I am loving my frugal Christmas. Some years I feel overwhelmed with work and obligations, but this year has been more relaxed so far.

    *We did buy a fresh tree (not as big of splurge in Oregon where there are Christmas tree farms everywhere, so prices are low). I was able to get a tree stand and tree topper free from my Buy Nothing neighborhood group. I used ribbon and ornaments we already had to decorate it. I LOVE having the smell of the fresh tree in our home, even if the falling needles drive my batty!

    *I was able to save up Amazon gift card money from a survey, through a Personal Capital promotion and a couple other referrals, to purchase all my gifts, except one for my husband. I took advantage of the Winco bulk bins and used another Target gift card to buy candy and stocking stuffers. I’d also bought some discounted after-Halloween candy as well to use for stockings. This was fortuitous as we had an unexpected expense pop up this month. Knowing I had spent very little on Christmas helped relieve the potential stress.

    * I cross-stitched Portland-themed ornaments for teacher and neighbor gifts with the help of this free site: https://www.pic2pat.com/index.en.html I already had some small hoops and ribbon to frame the finished cross stitch inside and make them into ornaments.

    *Both of my boys have December birthdays so we combined their parties into one large family party. I have no idea why I’d never done that in the past! It saved me money and time. I was able to invest more energy into the single party so I think it turned out really fun.

    *My neighborhood Fred Meyers (Krogers) has some great coupons this month, including a buy $40 of groceries and get $10 off. This can be combined with coupons, so I’ve been carefully grocery shopping each week to take full advantage. I bike there and back and haul groceries in my Burley bike trailer. Most of the discount grocery stores are far away from me, so this is a great way to save on food costs and gas, and get a little exercise as well.

    *I’ve been trying to plan a frugal winter break for my kids. They get 2+ weeks off this year and we won’t be traveling. I put a bunch of books and movies on hold at the library and they quickly arrived. I’ve also made a list of other free or almost free events to attend. My kids get to ride city public transportation for free with their student body cards, so we will take full advantage of that.

  24. Faith Dossett

    You have the most beautiful blog of all the blogs that I read!! And I’m serious! Not only are your pictures of professional quality, but so is your writing. I admire you for raising children, teaching morals and value as well as education, raising a beautiful/bountiful garden and flowers/plants, teaching conservation of our natural resources by example, finding time and energy for date nights, keeping house, and all this with a baby of just a few months. If only I had had you as an example/mentor when I was a young mother/housewife — and I only had one child! I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, and I pray that 2019 is a really good year for all of you.

  25. Tina S.

    Welcome back! The new website looks great. Hope it works better for you. So glad everything is up and running again.

    Here are some frugal accomplishments from the last few weeks:
    – Picked greens from the field at my CSA share farm. I froze collards and kale, and made a big batch of green soup for the freezer.
    – Used the Christmas decorations I had to trim my tree and decorate our condo. Bought a pretty wreath at the thrift store for $1.50 and put it on my front door.
    – Made 24 small Christmas stocking ornaments for my co-workers and family. Used fabric and items I had, and only spent $5 on supplies. I embroidered names on the first 10 ornaments, then switched to initials because my arm hurt. The ornaments turned out great and everyone loved them.
    – My scissors and pincushion kept sliding off my sewing table. I found a small piece of non slip carpet underlay, and used that on the table to keep everything from sliding off. Works great!
    – Picked the last rose from our rosebush (in December in Seattle!) Totally enjoyed this last burst of summer in the house.
    – Bought a few things at the thrift store (plus I had a 30% off coupon): a tshirt for $3.50 that normally sells for $50, a piece of Christmas fabric, and two beautiful scarves (one silk).
    – Cooked from home nearly every day. My husband hurt his back so we haven’t been able to have our weekly date nights out.
    – Got free gloves at the Eddie Bauer Outlet because they sent me a rewards coupon.
    – Met my sister at Michael’s and found a 25% off coupon laying on a table when I walked in. Used the coupon and a gift card someone had given me to pay for my entire purchase. Gave my sister the gift card so she could use the remaining $5. Win-win for everyone.
    – My health food store sent out a coupon for BIGI steak. We really enjoyed it.
    – Used the oven wisely to cook a meatloaf while I was cooking something else. Saved me time and energy.

    There’s more, but I need to get ready for work. Looking forward to reading all the comments!

  26. Tammy

    Brandy,
    It is so nice to see your blog running again.
    We have been frugal. Making meals at home. Went to see a free music light show at a church. Family came to visit and we played games together. Only bought what we had to buy grocery wise… very little. Finding that if I go to town at all I need to pack snacks and when I go work for my son I bring some food as well. We went to a mobile food pantry and it was very helpful. Processed everything we couldn’t eat right away so as not to go to waste. Everything was very ripe, almost out of date or already out of date. We must have at least 6 hens! We got 6 eggs yesterday as well as today. Not sure if the other two are hens, probably. It is funny that we didn’t know what they were. We are learning.
    My mom gave us some kleenexes. I finally got on an antibiotic after being sick for weeks. Feeling much,much better. Missing my grandkids. When I was sick I couldn’t have them over. Looking forward to their next visit. Miss my other son too. I haven’t got to visit him either.
    Going over ideas that were given for Christmas presents for my grandkids. I think I will make a crown for each of them and let them have separate days with us as king or queen for the day. Then I can do things like make homemade play dough with them and take them to a park, if it is warm or library, make some good food. Have a picnic. I also have some books that I am going to give them for Christmas. I also have some great nephews. I am considering making homemade play dough for them. Then for the rest of the family I am going to provide services such as babysitting or cleaning house. I know both would be appreciated. And for my husband I am going to make a coupon book with things to do together. It should be fun! I am glad I already have the ingredients for play dough. Including food coloring. I just found my food coloring a few days ago.
    We have two sets of sheets for our bed. One has a tear in it that is truly beyond repair as it is from being worn. The other set is also pretty worn. So I will be on the lookout for sheets. We really have needed them for awhile. I may just use the top sheet as a bottom sheet. Considering sewing some elastic to hold the sheets on to the bed. I am not a seamstress so the task seems a bit daunting. But I could give it a try. I haven’t priced elastic yet.
    I still haven’t colored my hair. It really looks awful. I’m afraid of ruining it myself. I may call or text my hair dresser and ask her how much it is to just touch it up. I have a couple inches of growth now. I feel vain, wanting my hair to look decent when funds are tight. But I actually think it would make my husband happy too if I take care of myself. Actually i think i will color it today myself.

    1. Tammy

      So excited! My hairdresser only has time to do my roots which is exactly what I wanted! so it will cost much less. Yeah!

      1. Maxine

        Tammy, I am going to make a dreaded suggestion and you don’t have to answer…but have you ever thought about going gray? It probably won’t be as bad as you think! If you wear your hair short, or get it cut, and fluff it up, it will grow out in about 3 months and won’t look too groady along the way. I was 62 when I did this and had NO IDEA what I would see. (I had been coloring it for about 20 years). To my surprise, I have gray hair that most people say is beautiful! If you don’t like it, you can always color it again…and if your hair is short, you can probably DIY. Speaking of DIY, have you ever tried the Clairol product that is made just for touching up roots?

        1. Tammy

          Maxine,
          My grandma really had beautiful white hair when she went grey. And I know a lot of women wear their hair grey and look beautiful. I am not ready for that. I’m 49 and my hair is very very long, which is how my husband likes it. I actually have enjoyed short hair in the past. But I was so happy when my hairdresser told me that all she had time for was my roots. She is so sweet. My hair is long and auburn. It used to be blond. Once when I dyed it myself I actually ended up with a ring all the way around my head where I missed putting product. It was awful. Thanks for your suggestions though. I was so glad to invest in my hair today. It made my husband happy as well. I haven’t tried the clairol product that is just for touching up roots. I’m so afraid of ruining my hair. Someday I hope I have hair the beautiful white that my grandma had. I’m just not ready for it yet.

  27. Gardenpat

    About 10 days ago we made an unplanned trip down to Houston (about 1200 miles) for 5 days. We had booked a flight to go down in Feb 2019 and with special promos on SW Rapids Rewards were only paying $81 for round trip for 2 of us, but this came up and we rebooked our flight to leave within 4 days!! So we used the credit we had and paid another $700 to get the 2 of us down there quickly. Our son-in-law had just been called on Sunday evening to be the new Bishop and so we flew down on Thursday to be there for his ordination the following Sunday! As the credit card company used to say: “Priceless!” And a good reminder why we have savings! The trip was wonderful. We frugally packed snacks/meals to carry with us on the actual trip, so we didn’t have to buy airport food at airport prices! We treated our daughter and son-in-law to breakfast at a Whataburger on Friday while the kids were at school but then , they treated us to dinner (and all other meals) the rest of the time! This is the reason we live frugally – so we can, within reason, pay for something unexpected, but important!

    In the meantime, our side business, http://handmadeinoldetowne.com/ has really been doing well and since we put 1/2 of our earnings from it (after the business gets it’s 20% and tithing 10%) into savings and 1/2 to pay down Hospital bill, our savings will start building back up, bit by bit! It may seem like silly little amounts each time, but I’ve been astounded at how they can really add up! In the 6 weeks since we started selling our Soup Cozies, we have sold over 83 sets of 2 and it looks like we may hit 100 sets by Christmas! We are hopeful! We started a line of Christmas ones on Friday and by Saturday night only had one left! https://pin.it/rja7umi5gz4w5k. So now, it’s back to cutting more out and sewing them up by this jolly old elf! Lol!!! I’ve given myself a deadline that after Sat. Dec 14, I won’t be making new ones until the New Year so I can enjoy my family over the holidays. I will still fill orders for existing inventory of the Cozies plus the flannel Softies- https://pin.it/jqidh2pabhbxqj. https://pin.it/kn2vk776eqsjpa. It’s been a great way to use up some of my excess fabric while bringing in a few dollars!

    At our local Kroger’s and Meijer’s stores I was able to replenish my chocolate chip supply with several varieties of Hershey’s! Hopefully, I won’t need to buy more for a year! But at about $1/ bag, it was definitely stocking up time!! We also restocked our supply of Prego (we are spaghetti sauce snobs!) and about 20 pounds more of ground beef also on sale for over 50% of their normal price. Hubby is surprised when talking to coworkers that they don’t bother with getting some extra groceries to keep in stock when they are on a good sale price but rather buy what they need/want without a list or menu even!

    At the produce market, I got 2 five pound bags of diced celery for $1/bag so my dehydrator is happily humming and I will add this dried celery to some I already have! This is SO handy when I’m making something in the crockpot or instant pot and saves money!
    Our chickens keep laying so we still have an ongoing supply of eggs to carry us hopefully through the winter! I’m grateful for them so I don’t mind (too much!) trudging out to change their water and feed them extra greens (twice a day)and closing them in at night.

    1. LynnDinKY

      Would be willing to give a little more detail on how dehydrate and store the celery? I have been wondering if this could be done. I waste so much celery and I want to change that.

      1. Gardenpat

        When I bought the celery it was already diced up. All I did was spread it on my dehydrator sheets and set the temperature to 135 degrees for about 6 hours. Then I put it into a half gallon mason jar and vacuum seal the lid! Easy-peasy!,

  28. Megan Z.

    I’m glad to see the blog post and know that everything is ok with you and your family.
    – My husband and I went to Germany and Austria to see the Christmas Markets. We had a wonderful time. We mainly ate at the markets so did not spend too much money eating out. We bought a few souvenirs but nothing terribly pricy. Unfortunately we had to board our dogs so that was a fairly hefty bill we returned to.
    – Our freezer is very full so aside from possibly buying some vegetables, will not be doing any shopping this week.
    – I put a lot of books on hold at the library before we left.
    – I went to the movies with a friend. We went on a Tuesday night as that was the only day available. I signed up for the AMC stubs program and my ticket was $5.

  29. Cindi

    Yay! Having your blog back is like an early Christmas present. I have missed you and everyone else who posts here (I always follow the links to posters’ blogs, also.)
    The new site is beautiful and I love the pictures — your eldest sure looks like his dad! And how great that he is helping out the older couple, and the horse — and himself!
    A neighbor was moving and put most of the contents of his garage out for the trash pickup. Rather than see all that go to the landfill, my husband asked permission to take everything. Lots of garden implements, water hose, a filing cabinet, etc. We are keeping some and will share the rest with other neighbors or donate to the Humane Society thrift store. Everything is clean and in good shape. The poor man said he was just too exhausted to deal with it all.
    We cut our Christmas tree from the national forest for an $8 permit. We packed a lunch and had a nice outing hunting for it. I sent Christmas cards using Forever stamps I purchased at a discount on Ebay. I bought the cards themselves — fancy ones with matching envelopes — at the thrift store for 50 cents and have lots left over for next year.
    I completed a survey and was rewarded a $20 Amazon gift card.
    City Market (Kroger affiliate) had a three-day sale with 4 lb. bags of sugar for 99 cents, limit 5. I snagged these, cage free eggs, yogurt, and 5 packs of Philadelphia cream cheese for rock bottom prices. The week before I stocked up on canned milk, brown sugar, and cooking oil. I’m thankful my pantry is full enough I can use my grocery money for stocking up during sales like this.
    I carpooled to rehearsal and performance of a Christmas concert in which I performed. For the three nights we were performing, my dear husband ate leftovers I had previously frozen in meal-sized portions. I ate a sandwich in the afternoon before I left (we had to be at the theatre two hours before the show) and a snack when I got home.
    I made homemade bread, French bread, and cocoa mix, turned stale bread into breadcrumbs, and made about a gallon of chicken stock from chicken bones and vegetable scraps I have been saving in the freezer. I cooked up big batches of brown rice and pinto beans and froze them in meal-sized portions.
    I purchased a beautiful Talbot’s sweater, embroidered with flowers, at the local thrift store for $1.

  30. Cindy

    Brandy, I love the new look of the website. I want you to know that your blog is one of my favorites to read, I always check it first and read every word, even the comment and replies. I know it was a lot of work on your part to get it here but thank you for doing it for us, your readers. You inspire me and have made me realize that you can have beautiful things on a shoestring budget. Thanks again, Cindy

  31. Lisa

    Your webpage is so full of light! And not just because of the white-space, it is uplifting and inviting and truly beautiful and good. You are brave to step outside your comfort zone to try new things! I am learning to do that and it’s not my favorite thing, but sometimes necessary.

    Although I am a full-time mama and homeschool mama, I decided to apply for a job that had very flexible hours. I had an interview this week, and it was definitely outside my comfort zone. Even if nothing comes from this, it was good to get practice in an interview. If my husband were to die tomorrow, we would be okay with his life insurance. But, if he were permanently disabled, it would be hard to survive and still pay down our student loans, etc, with disability insurance. If I’m able to do this job, I can start to build a resume and have some network options (my husband suffers from a chronic illness and is a doctor, so the stress of his job is a worry.)

    I received two large bags of good quality clothes from a friend. They are very nice brands and quality fabrics, classic styles, so that will last me awhile. I also accepted two toddler puzzles from another friend and those will be Christmas presents for the 2-year-old.

    I used some movie gift cards I won from our library’s summer reading program to have a family outing to the movies! The gift cards covered the movie tickets and popcorn!

    We attended a homeschool science club activity at our local library. I visited with a friend while my children attended the free class. We checked out some books before heading home.

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas with your family!

    1. Heidi Louise

      Lisa: Good for you on the job search! If you’re like me, any questions that stumped you at the interview are ones that you will be ready for next time.
      I’m guessing from the way you wrote about life insurance that you know if your husband’s life insurance policies include any kind of disability payout, aside from separate disability insurance. And I hope you don’t have to use any of it for many many years!

  32. Becky Pratt

    At this time of year you have to be really diligent to stay prudent with your money
    I have scoured ads for items the grandbabies want for Christmas. I have found boots for $19.98 each that cost $69.99 for the 2 boys. That is an amazing savings for shoes. The boys are step-brothers…both 11. They are hard to buy for sometimes. I got boots for their sisters for the same price. Stylish and sturdy. The kids will outgrow them before they wear out.
    As I live alone again food shopping is much less expensive. I still look for bargains everywhere and clip coupons to help with the prices. I use a package instant mashed potatoes when I am physically bad. On sale they cost me 88 cents a package. That package feeds me for two meals. Well…2 days ago I saw them in the store on sale for 50 cents a package. This was a surprise sale as the other “flavors” were sI
    I signed up for part C and D Medicare insurance. It will be “free” to me and it pays for my meds. It isn’t the best ins. in the world, but it is the best I could get for where I live and the money I have. A week after I signed up I found out I will have a penalty since I didn’t sign up when I first could. It will cost me under $30 a month. *sigh* I save more than that a month on my meds so it is still a win for me.
    I didn’t know that I had to get it right away or get penalized. If you are coming up to SS age please sign up for everything you can when you first can.
    Brandy I like this blog layout so much better.
    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Juhlin

      I just wanted to point out that if you still have employer provided health insurance directly through your own job or your spouse’s job you do not have to pay the penalty when you sign up for Medicare any time after turning 65. The employer has to provide proof that you had insurance between when you turned 65 and when you sign up but there is no penalty ever. I did than as my husband is younger and I was on his insurance until he retired.

  33. Sheena

    Lovely to see you back Brandy. I have realised how much I enjoy reading your blog and all the comments. I have realised that I think of you and the commenters as friends ( that’s a lovely feeling).

    As usual I don’t know what I have done to be frugal over the last few weeks. Will try to remember.

    I have wrapped Christmas presents for the children which I have collected over the last year as well as those sent down with me after visiting my family in Scotland in October). One child ( the easiest to buy for) had more than the others so I held some back for her February birthday. My children do not have to have exactly the same number of presents ( they realise some cost than others) but I try to keep in the same ballpark. I bought gift boxes (£5 for 10 that fit inside each other so easy to store) at the end of a car boot sale I was selling at in the summer. I will reuse these for years. I never buy presents before Christmas as I buy what I really think people will want over the year.This is much cheaper as a lot of gifts are on sale/ from charity shops.

    Our Christmas tree is being used for the second year. Next year I will break even costwise. I bought lights at a charity shop ( they test them before selling them). I am crocheting angel ornaments with silver metallic wool bought on sale.

    I made a ‘granny garland’ ( crochet pattern on Pinterest) out of odd pieces of wool. Will give this to the youngest child as part of her Christmas. I will make her a duvet cover and pillowcase out of bright yellow brushed cotton my mother was given by an elderly relative. She loves yellow so this will be a great present.

    My tumble dryer broke 2 weeks before Black Friday. I held on and bought a A++ rated one ( my sister and BIL had checked and they save money in the long run).

    I had a wonderful find ( I think). I went in to a local garden/ hardware store. I found a lot of plants reduced ( including pink orchids in pink ceramic pots for £2 which will be Christmas presents for daughters) and then at the till noticed a set of shelves off to one side. I found seeds for £0.25 a pack ( 25 pence). I bought approximately 40 packs of seeds all with sow by dates of 2020/2021 for £0.25 each. I grew lettuce last year so want to increase garden yield next year. There were huge bags of daffodil bulbs and I bought 2 for £0.25 each! I’m planting tomorrow.

    I’m sure there is more but that’s another post. Lovely to see you ( and everyone else) again Brandy.

  34. Becky Pratt

    I was just sitting here thinking about a Christmas that was almost 40 years ago.
    My son had asked for a gift that was out of my price range. I also didn’t have the skills to make the item he wanted.
    A friend of mine was at the house one day when I was cleaning out the garage. When she saw all of the toys I was going to sell she asked me if I would barter with her. Those toys for the giant fabric crab (like a huge pillow) for my son.
    Please remember that bartering is a legitimate way to pay for items.
    We all have skills that are worth something.
    I barter all of the time. In fact I barter so much that I often forget that it is a prudent thing to do.
    Save your money…ask people if they will barter with you.
    It is easier than you think.

    1. Tammy

      What a good idea Becky!

    2. Kim-Pacific Northwest

      Yes, my husband got a lovely fresh Christmas flower arrangement by trading a wreath he had made with a florist. I am going to deliver this fresh floral arrangement to my mother today after work. This will be part of her Christmas present and will make her house smell and look great. No out of pocket cost to us just some of my husband’s time to make the wreath.

  35. Debby in Kansas, USA

    Yay! You’re back. My first reaction when your blog opened on my screen was, “Ooooh la la, it looks so fancy!” It’s quite elegant & I’m so impressed you did it all. I love the scrolling pics & such. It reminded me of things I read here and had long forgotten!

  36. Marybeth

    It looks great. Take your time getting it done. Enjoy the holidays and then worry about it.

  37. Jeannie

    Welcome back, Brandy. The blog looks great. I read it on my laptop and the letters are nice and large. I have missed reading it every week.

    My biggest news, and it is really BIG! My husband took 5 or 6 steps a few days ago without any pain in his hip! The stem cell treatment seems to be working. We are still holding our breaths. The doctor said they continue to grow for up to a year and has encouraged us even though we are impatient for an improvement.

    We are timbering the land we purchased years ago for our retirement and using the money from the harvested trees for the medical expenses. I shared pictures of my walk on the land when my son took me to inspect. It was hard to see the destruction but it will make the forest and my husband better.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/12/necessary-destruction.html

    Again, I am so glad you are back Brandy.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. Yay! So pleased about your husband’s improving health! And what a good idea to timber the land and use that money for medical expenses. Very interesting blog post! 🙂

    2. Heidi Louise

      Jeannie: That is big news! I hope your husband’s healing continues.
      In your blog post, you talked about the abandoned cemetery on your forested property. If you are so inclined, (or perhaps could find a boy/girl scout who needs a project), you could archive the photos and information from the cemetery on one of the online cemetery rosters. Or maybe your county historical society keeps some kind of cemetery records and the information could be filed there.
      P.S. I forgot to say earlier– Love the Christmas car photo, Brandy!

      1. Jeannie

        Thank you, Margaret. We are eager for the treatment to work and are not being patient with our doctor. I guess you could say we keep nagging him. He gives the same answer, “it takes time,” but it is so important to us. We hope we aren’t imagining this tiny improvement.
        Jeannie

      2. Jeannie

        Thank you for the suggestions, Heidi. I would love to post the pictures and the GPS location somewhere to save the information. I tried searching the man’s name but could not figure out much. When we first purchased the land the paper marker was readable, now it is not. I wish we had written down the dates then. We spoke to the family when we bought the land but they showed no interest in returning for visits. The descendants had inherited the land, didn’t want it and I don’t think ever knew those burried. Even so, I will search a bit more to see what I can find.
        Jeannie

  38. Texas Silver

    Your handsome son looks dashing next to his steed. Does he saddle & bridle the horse also? Here in Texas we take our horses seriously. Glad to see a cowboy with boots in Nevada!

  39. LynnDinKY

    I’m happy to see you back ! I was missing your posts and everyone’s comments. We had an early Christmas this year since we are a blended family with grown children who have blended families. So in order to have everyone there we celebrated early. We cut back on the gift cards from $100 to $75 and I’m sure that next year we’ll cut it back even more. ( my dh has plans to retire) I was able to shop some early sales and for two of the granddaughters I found two scrapbook kits for $5. It was in a huge box and they loved it. I wrapped the presents in paper that I had from last year. For my class on Wed nights, I shopped the Dollar Tree and put them in Christmas bags that have been used before. I wasn’t going to buy bags on top of the presents. I think the biggest savings is I resigned from teaching at church. Next Wed. is my last time. No more snacks, crafts, prizes and trips to pay for. and most of all, less stress. I have also been buying the sales at Krogers, using what I already have to make Christmas treats and I’m going to start working on using up what we have in the freezer. One last thing. My dh received a gift card for $15 from his company and my eldest received a spiral ham from his company.

  40. Lillianna

    Brandy , I love the new blog . The font is beautiful and the whole page is just pretty. I’ve never thought much about the appearance of a blog but this one reminds me of you. Dainty and feminine.
    We have had so many blessings rain down on us this week like a summer storm . Sugar cookie was seen by a specialist and he has said her pancreatic tumor has shrunk to the size of a pin prick with no treatment. There is no explanation for this. The most bizarre thing happened to us. A local actor/ producer here in Atlanta paid off all the layaway balances at two different Walmarts. Somewhere to the tune of 400 thousand dollars. My very small layaway was covered in this incredible generosity. I have received three secret Santa gifts this week. Each one has left me sobbing at my mailbox . These gracious gifts have allowed me to completely catch up on our little bit of utilities . Sugar cookie has lost so much weight that she really needed new clothes. Not being wasteful, we immediately sought out items at a salvage store and several thrift stores. She bought 3 pairs of pants , 10 new shirts , a wallet and a brand new pair of shoes for 60.00 . She will be traveling soon to Virginia and the cold weather clothing is very much appreciated. I have tucked the rest of the cash away and it will not be spent. I have 600.00 left and it has been a very long time since we have had anything much leftover at the end of the month. I am so grateful for the kindness that has been shown to me. Christmas will be quiet at home this year. Army boy will be arriving soon for holiday leave. He has a gift card that I have been saving all year to give to him. Sugar cookie has the 85.00 Nintendo that Tyler Perry so graciously paid for. College girl has several odds and ends that were purchased over the course of the year and will be delighted with them. I spent maybe 15.00. I was not tempted to spend any of my gifts on the holiday season.
    I continue to be frugal each week doing all the regular things we normally do. Sugar cookie has new insurance. I am reading and learning how to maximize her benefits. It looks like we can receive 90 day prescriptions for free for most of her needs. We also can order over the counter type products each month for free. I’m trying to decide which items are the best choices to make. Some of her vitamins etc, she can get by prescription so I wouldn’t want to use it for that. Other items we usually get at the salvage store and it’s a much better option. I intend to maximize these benefits. I believe I can easily save 50 to 75 dollars a month by carefully planning this out. Each week I treasure each and every post. I learn not only frugal knowledge but grace and patience . I hope that everyone is having a kind and gentle week.

    1. So pleased that things are looking up for you, Lillianna! Fantastic news about Sugar Cookie’s tumour! 🙂

    2. Margie from Toronto

      That is wonderful news about Sugar Cookie – what a wonderful Christmas present for the whole family!

    3. Patricia Koernig

      Wonderful news, Lilliana!
      Patricia/Fl

    4. Terri W.

      Lillianna, that is such good news! Sugar Cookie’s tumor shrinking is such a miracle! I loved hearing about it! Also, God will bless those people who helped you ! It is always such a relief to have some breathing room at the end of the month! Especially in December! Have a very merry Christmas with your family!

    5. Becky

      I’m so excited to hear that this month has been an easier one for you! I understand how exciting it must be for you to have a few hundred dollars squirreled away, because it gives you a little peace of mind in case of something breaking or needing to be paid. That was so nice of the lawyer to pay off the lay-away items and you actually had some things on lay-away! (I’ve never used that service before, so could only think that I would have been out in the cold on that deal, if it happened around here!).

      It sounds like you are ready for Christmas, more than I am. I have a few more things I’d really like to make if I can somehow squeeze out some time this week. What I want to do the most is to sew some fleece remnants I bought on super-sale into some hats for a few people. It’s not time-consuming, but I need my machine out. We had planned company today, and my niece and nephew over for 5 days last weekend, so all my sewing things have been put away for a couple of weeks now. That’s over (and boy did we enjoy ourselves today with our friends we seldom see) and I can get the machine back out and get to work.

      I’m glad your son gets to come home. I sure hope he feels better from his injury he sustained. I’m sure you will love getting your “mama hands” on him to make sure for yourself.

  41. So glad to see you back up. It’s looking beautiful. Your photos are always a treat to see. Let’s see, we’ve heated with wood, and collected rainwater. I hung laundry on the line, but it’s been so damp, I had to put the loads in the dryer to finish them off. I canned lentils on a snow day. These were older beans that did not want to soften, and I used directions I’ve used for several years, which work great. I’ve checked both swagbucks and ebates for online orders, and went through whoever was giving the most cash back. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone is up to! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/12/canning-old-dried-beans-frugal.html

  42. Margie from Toronto

    So happy to see you back up and running with a lovely new look! I have missed you and missed hearing from all the others who comment each week. I will take some time tomorrow and really take a more in-depth look at how things are now set up.
    Since I am now travelling to family for the holidays I did buy gifts for each of the great nieces (3) and great nephews (2) but that’s really the most of it. I have decided to buy gift certificates for the Documentary Film theatre for the few friends that I do buy for. A friend treated me to a belated birthday gift of tickets to see “Nothing Like a Dame” (features Judy Dench, Eileen Atkins, Maggie Smith & Joan Plowright) – it was wonderful and very funny. She also treated me to a cappuccino and a blueberry square afterwards so it was a lovely afternoon. We saw previews for so many other films that we’d like to see that the gift certificates will be very much appreciated.
    I made a big pot of soup and had that for lunch all week and I plan on making another pot tomorrow. In fact I think most lunches for the next couple of months will be soup and an apple as I want to eat more simply this coming year.
    I had not intended to buy meat when I hit the grocery store for a couple of specific items last week but they had pork hocks on sale for 50% off (2 to a pack so I’ve split them – froze them and they will make two pots of split pea soup). I also found large, marinated pork tenderloins for 50% off so I bought two – froze one and cooked the other that evening. It made 4 generous meals for me and two additional ones for my elderly neighbour. I wish I could have bought more but there is just no room in my freezer! Other than that I only bought some dairy and some veg. The week before I managed to stock up on some pantry items that were on special and which also gained me a lot of loyalty points. I’m saving these points up for either February or March’s grocery purchases as money is going to be a bit tight.
    I had a free lunch courtesy of my social club this week and we have served a lunch after Advent meditation services for the past two Wednesdays and will do the same for next week. We generally donate $5 and it is certainly worth it.
    At Coffee Fellowship this past Sunday there were a lot of leftovers from two events earlier in the week so I put those out, along with some hot appetizers and a number of baked goods that people had contributed – it looked like a full lunch! I knew we’d need more than normal as it was our Inter-generational Christmas pageant and many of the kiddies had been there since 9am. There were also a lot of additional aunts, uncles & grandparents so lots more mouths to feed but I don’t think anyone went hungry.
    My SIL was in town for a few meetings so we met at a mall she likes and had a good visit. She bought a few things but I just window shopped and enjoyed the amazing decorations. I had treated her to lunch at our last meeting so this time she treated me.
    I decided not to put up my little tree this year as I will be away for 5 days and I’m not doing any entertaining beforehand. I have set out some nice glass bowls and vases filled with glass balls, I’ll get a couple of nice poinsettia this week and with the cards that will be enough in my small apt. I am going to concentrate on organizing and cleaning over the next couple of days so that I can start the New Year off right!

  43. Roberta in So. Cal.

    Yay! So glad you’re back. I’m glad you didn’t wait until everything was “perfect” before posting again. I was getting impatient (and then worried, and then I checked Facebook and realized what was happening). Your photography is so beautiful–I’m glad the pictures are bigger with this new platform. (Sometimes, if I’m feeling a bit down, I’ll stop by your site just to enjoy the beautiful photos. They always cheer me up and remind me to look for the beauty around me.)

  44. Maxine

    Brandy, it’s beautiful! Thank you for taking the time to learn the program. When you didn’t post for two weeks, I was afraid that you had illness at your house. I’m glad you didn’t!

    In two weeks, I’ve mostly forgotten my frugal accomplishments. However, in general, I’m spending less on Christmas and more on groceries. I have taken advantage of many, many loss leaders to stock my pantry and freezer. Winco has had butt half hams for $1.28 since before Thanksgiving. Last week, they were .88 lb., and I bought a second ham for the freezer.

    For the past few years, I have spent $125-$150 per person for presents for 4 people. I can afford to do this, but this year I challenged myself to DO AS WELL for le$$…AND I HAVE. My husband and adult son are both getting used gifts; my daughter, son and daughter-in-law are all getting homemade gifts. I’ve bought a few new things, too. It’s all good.

    In the past week, I’ve sewed a kimono top for my daughter and a gathered skirt for a friend’s granddaughter. I repurposed a set of newish curtains from our old house for the skirt. I also used the clip-on rings from the old curtains on the new ones I made for my daughter’s room. For stocking stuffers, next Monday I go into production of bath bombs! (Note: my doctor told me NOT to make slime. Her kids ruined her new sofa with slime!).

    I thankfully received a vintage red brocade tablecloth from a friend. I have an oval table, and it looks fabulous! (My husband even said so). My friend got it for $1.50 on half-price day at St. Vinnie’s and made a point of telling me so!

    We bought our first fake Christmas tree for $79 at ShopKo on Black Friday, and it’s a beauty. Except for $10.50 spent at thrift stores for outdoor lights, we used what we already had for decorations. At my old house, I had a plant shelf at the old house that I used to fill with poinsettias. It didn’t take me long to get tired of buying live plants every year and have them drop leaves from Day 1, and need to be watered daily from a stepladder. A couple of years ago, a friend talked me into buying fake poinsettias, which I have saved from year to year. This year, I have 9 of them massed on top of my kitchen cabinets. Our new house has an open plan and you can see them from the living room. From a distance, you absolutely cannot tell they are fakes! (Except that they don’t drop leaves and the stepladder is put away).

    Our biggest frugal accomplishment was deciding to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Jackson Hole, WY, during the week BEFORE Christmas, instead of the week after. Our condo rent is 50% less than usual, just because of the change in dates. The change came about because of the kids’ work schedules, but in the future, we will plan on going before Christmas. We will be arriving home on Christmas Eve.

    On Christmas night, we’ve invited 3 friends to join us for a potluck. The menu is totally unplanned and each person has agreed to keep a secret. We will simply enjoy whatever shows up! Even if it’s all desserts, LOL. This is definitely low-stress entertaining!

    About two weeks ago, I got tired of having floor appliances that needed fixing. I have an older Dyson that needed a new part (arguably the most expensive Dyson part), which I was able to buy on ebay for $20.50 plus $16 shipping. We are keeping it in my daughter’s closet so that we don’t have to lug a vacuum up and down stairs to vacuum her room. We have a Bissell carpet cleaner that was damaged in moving and storage. We took it to the authorized repair shop and they are able to repair it for $70. I also have a Hoover hard-floor cleaner that wouldn’t spray. The Hoover guy said it needed a new nozzle, and is replacing it for $30. (He said I probably damaged it by using vinegar in the wash water). None of this is cheap, but in both cases, the repairs are costing 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of new machines.

    Finally, I run Chrome with Google as my home page. Underneath the search bar (in the middle of the page) the logos of the pages I regularly visit are shown. When Brandy changed her page, the logo changed from theprudenthomemaker to Time-Warner. (I have broadband through Spectrum, aka Time-Warner, but I don’t know if this has anything to do with it). When I click on the box, a Time-Warner search engine comes up. The blog is halfway down the page, and when I click on it, the same page comes up again. The only way I got to the blog was (by luck) clicking on an article about Brandy in her alumni magazine. There was a link to the blog–I clicked on it–and here I am. Where this Time-Warner thing came from, I don’t know. I couldn’t find anything in the Windows control panel to delete. I think it is probably a plug-in or extension, but I can’t find Tools on the Google page. (I think they have changed the Google home page). I’ll keep looking, but I thought I would mention this in case others are experiencing this same weirdness. And if anyone knows how to fix it, please respond to this long, long post! Thanks for staying with me this long! And Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Maxine, I don’t know why you saw that. The favicon (the bee image) is the same and the URL never changed. I only changed what program I was using for my site (I went from Joomla to WordPress). My hosting service was the same place. You might want to try deleting your link and putting in a new one. I use Chrome too and have had no issues.

    2. Cindi

      Maxine, I use Chrome also and experienced the same problem you did — but I believe this is because Chrome ‘saves’ those favorite addresses that you visit most often. To get around this, I just type theprudenthomemaker.com into the search box and then click the link for the blog. If you do that for a few days, Chrome will learn the new address and you will once more be able to simply click on the link on the Chrome home page. I hope this helps. (I know the actual address is the same as before, but the route to get there is different — right now Chrome is trying to take that old route. It will learn the new route if you keep going there.)

    3. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Cindy is correct. You need to type in the homepage url and then if you want to come in on the blog page every time, make that your new bookmark on Chrome.

    4. Douai

      Hi there! My two oldest daughters are flower vendors. They both have shared that poinsettias rarely need watering. I’ve had mine for 3 weeks now and I’ve barely watered them, still looking beautiful. Just thought I would pass along the information in case you get live poinsettias in the future.

  45. MCC

    So glad you are back in business. What a lovely new site. Brandy you are one smart cookie and a hard worker.
    Take care and enjoy the holidays with your family.

  46. Athanasia

    I am glad to see the blog back.

  47. Susan from Cincinnati

    Welcome back! Like so many others I missed your blog and love the look of your new site. Trying to scale back for Christmas without feeling guilty. I am encouraged about how others are doing the same thing. My adult kids all have great jobs and everything they need so I need to put that guilt trip away:) Some frugal things: Because of your blog instead of running out to buy something I might need for a potluck I figured out what I can make from what I have. I made a corn salad made from 2 different recipes, canned corn, last of a cucumber, celery, and red onion with a vinegar based dressing that I added dill to. It was a hit and my husband wants me to make it for home so it will be on our Christmas menu. Scaling back on Christmas dinner with less sides and only one dessert. All recent clothes purchases have been made at a consignment shop where everything was 20% off already great prices. Found teacher gifts at church on a craft table. The money made goes right back into renovation for our church. Win/win. My sister needs nothing for Christmas but I wanted to give her a gift. My BF suggested a donation to the Humane Society where she lives. My sister has many cats and dogs and has fostered animals before. I went directly to the local website, made a donation in her name, and they send a beautiful card directly to her. When I got the receipt I found out that my donation was also tax deductible! Another win/win. My sister will be thrilled with her gift. Cooking at home and packing lunches for my family are some of the biggest ways I save money. Another way I save is just by saying no to myself when I shop at places like Target. Eyes straight ahead and follow my list:)

    1. Ava

      Susan,

      I did something similar – my friend loves elephants and over the years has been inundated with figurines etc, etc… last year kind of out of the blue, the idea hit me to donate to an elephant rescue organization in her name, rather than giving her another statue or calendar or kitchen towel… She was thrilled!

  48. J

    Another long time reader and first time commenter. Your new site works much better on my device and is beautiful. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful things with us.

  49. Jenny

    The new website looks great!
    Frugal accomplishments include joining a food waste program, which is an app called ‘ywaste’. If a restaurant has a little bit of food left they can advertise it on the website for a reduced price. You then agree to purchase at the reduced price. I bought two sandwiches and a Waldorf salad for .79 cents. This meant the restaurant didn’t have to throw this food out. And I ate for three meals.
    My garden is coming along, I have capsicums and squash. And loads of Rose’s for the house.

  50. Jenny

    Hey, and no more pages!!!! 🙂

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I KNOW! Isn’t it wonderful?!? I think it will make pages but I don’t know how many comments it has to be before it makes a new page. This was actually one of the (many) reasons I wanted to move platforms. The other way with 15 pages of comments was driving me nuts!

      Also, it automatically publishes my comments, instead of me having to go in and manually approve my own comments.

      1. Margie from Toronto

        Sorry to be a dissenter on this issue but I actually found the pages to be helpful. People post all week long so it made it much easier to figure out where I’d left off.
        I also noticed that when I reply to a comment that instead of taking me back to where I left off it takes me right back to the beginning of your post Brandy. Not an issue for people with just a few comments but you’ve got 72 at the moment so once I hit “post comment” for this I’ll be searching for where I left off.
        Not a criticism, – just an observation. Not sure if there’s anything that can be done regarding the “reply” issue but just thought I’d mention it Brandy. Thank you.

        1. PJGT

          Agreed. I’ve already been trying to think of a solution.

  51. Wyoming Gal

    I enjoy the exceptional photographs on this site as other readers have mentioned.

    I have enjoyed the excuse to bake the holidays bring. I made 14 dozen different cookies for 4 community event donations. I made ginger snaps, toll house cookies, oatmeal with craisins and brookies. (Here is the brookie (half brownie/half chocolate chip cookie) recipe that inspired me, though I used “mature” mixes that were in my pantry https://www.melskitchencafe.com/brookies/). I also baked biscotti for the first time and I loved the result. Here is that recipe https://www.budgetbytes.com/almond-apricot-biscotti/).

    When we were in Denver (flying from there was a lot cheaper for an international flight, so we drove to Denver from Wyoming), I stopped at Sprouts. I love that smaller grocery with great prices on their specials – bulk foods and fruits and vegetables. At home I don’t have good sources for bulk spices. So I loaded up on craisins, dried apricots, some spices, beans and lentils, canned pumpkin, fresh cranberries, sliced almonds and fresh fruits and veggies.

    I made about 6 quarts of turkey carcass broth and froze it after Thanksgiving. I add more vegetables and rice or noodles when I thaw one of the quart size containers to eat soup for a few days lunch. .

    I sewed a banner for my husband to display all the National Park pins and patches from the 250 plus sites we have visited. (He has had 2 other banners but his collection outgrew each of them, so he designed a new, bigger one.) This is one of his Christmas gifts.

  52. So CO Mary

    So glad you are back! Like many others I come to your blog for calm inspiration so many times and your pictures are so gorgeous. A feast for the eyes!

    I was shopping at King Soopers (my local Kroger) and there was a display for Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes – 28oz. for 50 cents US! And the sell by dates were in 2020! Woot woot! I bought ten to supplement the pantry. I also found boneless pork loin roasts for $1.88 a pound so I bought two – cut up one for making green chile and posole and one for cutting into three small roasts. Then when I went to Safeway (we were out that way for a doctor appointment so I went there for milk and some fresh fruit) I found boneless pork loin roasts and Hormel spiral cut hams for $1.27 a pound! Bought roast to cut into three pieces and baked the ham.

    SO grew up here and knows everyone – going back 3 generations. We are going to be leaving some of the cats here and needed someone to come in to look after them and just keep and eye on things. We live in a rural area that unfortunately has been hit hard by people who have come here for the pot and now we also have a lot of people who are unfortunately caught up in heroin and opioids. There have been break-ins all around us with people taking anything and everything. Long story but a neighbor SO has known since childhood mentioned that she has good friends who have been living in their 5th wheel while they work on flipping houses and ultimately hope to find one that they will own. Soooo – they are going to move their trailer to our place while we are gone and use the 50amp electric for power and use the shower and laundry here at the house. We had them over for “noshing” foods and I put out some of the ham, cheese I’d bought at Trader Joes and some nice bread from the freezer. Easy peasy and I am so much more at peace with being gone from here for any length of time.

    I went into our insurance (Medicare supplement through AARP United Healthcare) and found that each quarter we have been eligible for $40.00 in free OTC products. So frugal fail is that I didn’t find it before but frugal win in that I ordered this last quarter for each of us. I ordered one of each of a number of OTC products we use regularly to see what the quality is like and am very pleased with them. They are similar to the generic type products pharmacies have on their shelves. Next year it will be $80.00 each per quarter! That means that we will have minimal out of pocket for OTC meds, first aid products and even a raised toilet seat for our fifth wheel camper.

    We were going to be on the road for Christmas and then the next several months but have to delay due to some health issues with our dogs. So I got out the box I had packed for the trailer – small scale decorations, garland and small tree ornaments that I bought a couple of years ago for $1.70 for a packgae that included 10 ornaments and a tiny tree topper. I found a small prelit tree at Walmart for $10.00 so have that in the window – nicely decorated. I dug deep into the freezer and found a very small standing rib roast from the beef we bought last year. I will cook that along with sides made from pantry ingredients.

    Gifts were very simple this year. SOs family has a gathering in early December to celebrate her cousin’s daughter’s birthday. We’ve always bought gift cards but this year decided to do something different. We watched Boy’s Town with Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney one night and went on line to find more information about Boy’s Town. Now both boys and girls are part of their programs and they are located all over the US. We decided to donate to them in lieu of gift cards (NO ONE needs anything – all of the family are blessed with so much). SO wrote a lovely note about how their Mother/Grandmother/Great-grandmother had such a hard time in the 30’s when her husband died and she still had her youngest daughter (SO’s mother) at home. Everyone loved the idea and now this will become what all of us do – pick a charity focused on families and children and donate in the families name. I bought a few small things for SO and that is it!

  53. PJGT

    I’m happy your site is back up and all is well with your family. I did hope it was the site and nothing more serious. Good to be back sharing with like minded folk.

    I found some change and dropped it in the change jar, ate yummy fruitcake from the teacher’s lounge that someone brought in rather than buy any Christmas treats (I do love fruitcake), am eating our way through our tiny freezer in anticipation of unplugging the little fridge (sits on a counter size) to save on electric while we are back in Wyoming for Christmas, took my MIL up on her offer to shop at a big box store near her and now have paper goods stocked up, have figured out how to go 2 weeks between washes (unless something is super dirty), bought Christmas cards from the thrift store this year (something I think I will do every year as it is great recycling), restarted the kitchen composting when I finally found my bags for the compost bucket, continue to gather kindling and wood from the yard, and have happily spent little on decorations this year. I was able to add my God daughter to my Christmas giving by getting her presents from the thrift shop as I have been for everyone this year.

    We have very frugally (a bit of money at the start though) bought 4 studded snow tires for our Jeep and had one better all weather tire fixed so that we know have 2 sets of tires on rims for the driving year. Together these will last many seasons and will not incur any more garage costs as my son can switch them (honestly, I could do it if I absolutely was desperate, but hope to never need to!).

    Lastly, I am finally making a fur throw out of two old and not wearable mink coats and a piece of ripped wool fabric I owned. I was able to mend and resize the fabric since I have a new-to-me gifted sewing machine. The remainder of the blanket has to be hand- stitched. I’m using thread on a spool that I haven’t the foggiest idea where it came from. Maybe my grandmother? Fitting, I thought, as the furs are from that era as well. Waste not, want not. We will be stylishly warm snuggling on the couch. I have enough left to make a couple throw pillows assuming I can find forms at the thrift shop. I do not like the look of stuffing.

    Cutting our grocery shopping to the bone. I’m stocking pantry items on super sales, buying milk and little else. God will provide!

    Keep frugal-ing dear internet friends ?

  54. Douai

    It’s wonderful to see you up and running again. I was checking in often and boy, did I miss the fellowship!

    The things off the top of my head that I can remember….pork but was on sale for .88 so I bought 2. And then back another day to buy one more! I stumbled on ground beef for under $2 a pound so picked up several packages, one which I gave my daughter. My favorite store had baking items on sale so I bought several of this and several of that which resulted in a savings of almost $60. I bought a ITunes card which earned me double reward points. I bought 17 boxes of cereal, most which were at the price I’m willing to pay. Kelloggsfamilyrewards has a reward program where you earn points for each purchase. This isn’t limited to cereal but some of their other products. I rarely buy crackers and such so I can’t say what points you get for that. Anyway, my favorite store had a $15 off of street side service (they pick up the groceries and bring to vehicle). You had to purchase $75 to use the coupon so I purchased the cereal, canned pineapple that was on sale, oh – buy 4 cereal and get a free gallon of milk! I can’t remember all the items I purchased but when all was said and done I spent $69 and change and had purchased 68 items, averaging $1 an item. Now, my original total was over $90 but with the $15 discount, free milk and markdowns for this and that my total was the $69. I was ecstatic! On top of this, I get the Kellogg’s rewards and was able to get 3 pairs of socks from a current promotion of buying 3 boxes of cereal equals credit for one pair of socks. Limit is 4, which I already earned a pair recently. I now have all 4 pairs earned. I will save the socks coming for next years stocking stuffers.

    I’ve saved the best for last. We were doing a big shopping trip for groceries and some Christmas activity items at Walmart. While we were standing there a couple kept looking at us and watching us, my husband and myself. The cashier was about half through with ringing up our items and the lady came over and asked if they could purchase our items for us. I was stunned and looked at her and said “are you sure? We have a lot of items?” She handed me a card that had, ironically, my own banks logo on it and said Merry Christmas! I got all choked up and tried not to cry. I introduced myself and asked their names which was Cassie and Jonah. They were so sweet! Apparently my bank does this randomly around Christmas. They have always given a lot of money to the community being the awesome small town bank they are (we are actually a couple hundred thousand population but it feels like small town and they reinforce that idea). After all was said and done our total was $330 . I was and am so thankful. Our family has been through a trying last few months and this gesture was a reminder of Gods faithfulness. I took that card that Cassie and Jonah had given me and framed it to put on the wall. God is good. He doesn’t forget about His children.

    I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, just in case I don’t post again before Christmas. Brandy, you are so appreciated. Beyond words.

  55. Holly

    I was so glad to see the new results of the work you did on the blog Brandy.

    As recommended by the guy who did a free energy audit not long ago, I arranged for a furnace checkup and maintenance from a heating and cooling company that has been in business for decades and was running a special. The technician started working on the furnace and soon informed me that he was condemning it because he spotted a crack in the heat exchanger. He also said the way the water heater and furnace shared the chimney, it was amazing we hadn’t been poisoned. He changed the maintenance job into an inspection job and gave us an estimate on the cost for a new furnace. Keep in mind it is winter in Michigan with a 95-year-old in the house and a 30-year-old furnace. But we also had two carbon monoxide detectors, two small electric heaters, a fireplace, and an unvented gas heater in the sunroom. After the tech left, I called the utility with which we have a service contract and asked for one of their techs to come out to check the furnace. I thought he was also going to give us an estimate for a new furnace install but their techs don’t sell furnaces. We had a chilly night, down to 65 in the house, because I don’t run space heaters or the fireplace overnight. The utility tech arrived the next morning and, Surprise!, he couldn’t find anything wrong enough with the furnace to condemn it so he turned it back on. The way the two appliances share the chimney (one uses a pvc pipe in the chimney) does not meet the current code but was how things were done 30 years ago. Plus, he pointed out three or four features mom’s old high-efficiancy furnace has that are designed to shut down the furnace if its heat exchanger fails. I upgraded our service plan to cover partial replacement of the furnace if the first guy was right. I am also putting new carbon monoxide detectors in both bedrooms to supplement the others we have. I got two more estimates in case the furnace dies, and since I doubt we’ll go with the first or the last, I am going to get two more. We might have narrowly missed being taken in by a “crack in the heat exchanger” scam. Or maybe the first tech has really good vision….

    1. Jeannie

      Holly, it seems you have made the right decision to get more opinions. Good job being careful.
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  56. momsav

    Brandy! It’s so nice to see the site up and running. As everyone else has mentioned, awesome job! It feels easier and looks brighter, to me. I’m totally impressed!
    Your oldest son looks so much older, now. I admire anyone who can handle horses. They are way outside my comfort zone.
    For frugalness, I took two prescriptions to be renewed and two 25.00 coupons spit out! I have had these prescriptions for several years. I guess I’d not had them filled here.(Meijer) Since I wasn’t expecting this, I was a bit squirrelly trying to come up with a plan on the fly. I already had a coupon for free peppers if I spent 10.00. The peppers weren’t that great, and I didn’t really have a purpose for them, so I gave that coupon to a couple with peppers in their cart. Very appreciative. I also had a 5$ off 50.00 coupon I couldn’t use with the others. So, that went to a man with a cart full. I went down the cereal aisle looking for something my husband would eat. (Which is just about anything sugary.) I ended up with about 10 boxes of cereal that were all being discontinued. That, plus tomatoes and a few small things covered the first 25.00. The second 25.00 was spent on meatless entrees from the freezer. These were all on sale so I loaded up. I felt like I won the lottery!
    Target was having a one day sale on their gift cards, 10% off, up to 300.00. I was able to take advantage of this. We don’t shop Target often but these will help with gifts for others. I was able to pay with our credit card that offers cash back. I did shop at Target recently and used a cash back gift card I ordered some months ago.
    I was able to get a 10.00 gift card for 6.00 for a favorite little health food store. I bought fresh cabbage, bananas and a few other items. My bill was just over 3.00. This service is offered through the newspaper every other week. In the past, I’ve not been able to get the popular gift cards so this was nice! As well as the store coupon, I was also able to get a pizza coupon and a St. Vinnies gift card. All were used and enjoyed.
    All Christmas gifts have been purchased, wrapped and sent. The last of the cards went into the mail this AM. No new gift paper, tags or ribbon were bought this year. I did have to buy cards when I ran out. I got a box 50% off at Michael’s. If I go out on the 26th, I’ll look for more cards. This is the first time I’ve run out in probably twenty years! One of our local drugstores closed in Oct. I was able to pick up a huge supply of birthday and thank you cards. So, I’m all set, there!
    We haven’t been buying gifts to donate like we used to. This year, I decided we needed to bless others. We don’t make a lot of money but we make enough and have a savings. We took a day and went to Walmart. We had a lot of fun picking out several items to drop into the toys for tots barrels. I always put money into the red kettle and send a check to my favorite children’s hospital. But,sometimes we just need to do more! My husband used to take the kids and buy a cart of food to drop off. Since they’ve all left home, we’ve kind of dropped the ball.
    I guess the biggest ‘thing’ I’ve done, not necessarily the frugalist, is to sign up for social security. I’m claiming it before my full retirement age, so I don’t get much since I stayed home with kids for a lot of years. I’ll continue working my part-time job. My husband is a few years younger. When he retires, I’ll be bumped up a bit.
    We got a 25.00 rebate from our power co. for buying an energy efficient dehumidifier. We honestly didn’t think we’d receive it. So, nice bonus!
    My husband changed a bulb in my car for the blinker. He had to remove the battery but he got it done. I’m waiting for a call from the repair shop for a new gas tank. Mine is leaking and needs replacing. Not a cheap fix, unfortunately.
    That’s all the news fit to print. Stay well and safe this holiday season!

  57. cherie

    Wow I am so impressed that you did the website yourself! I hope you enjoyed th elearning of it [well tell us in a few months when the frustration level is less LOL] – great work!

  58. Marcia Richards

    I was also very happy to see you back today. I’ve been checking and assumed your system was the problem but it’s still great to see you back and know for sure nothing else has come up! The recent pictures of your older children show how quickly they are growing. I don’t realize how quickly the time goes until I see how everyone’s children are growing so tall.
    December has been busy but my daughter has been able to help out significantly! Today she took my husband Christmas shopping so he could buy gifts for me, since he can no longer drive. And another day she drove me to a fairly distant store we both wanted to visit, plus we enjoyed sharing a lunch at a well known German restaurant in that area. One lunch fed us both easily, German food being rather substantial, and we both got to eat pickled beets with it, which neither of our husbands appreciate! We also had time to visit Target, although we didn’t buy a lot. It did satisfy our needing to look around, though. Their prices seemed so high to me this year!
    I still have a few items to pick up, and maybe 20% more to wrap, but other than that am free to make cookies for the rest of this week. I enjoy the time more when I’m not overwhelmed with things to do and can move at a more leisurely pace. Enjoy your Christmas with your family, and thanks for spending your valuable time on your blog. I so appreciate coming to this oasis of calm!

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