Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Two Weeks

There was no frugal accomplishments post last week because my computer died. I’m still waiting for a new one to show up. Thanks to my eldest son, I’ve found a workaround so that I can edit photos and posts until I have a working computer again (though it takes a lot longer, so I’m glad the new computer should be here by the end of the week!) Thankfully everything is backed up and I haven’t lost anything.

I harvested green onions,garlic chives, Meyer lemons, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I covered more seedlings with jars to help them to grow faster in the garden.

I accepted two used garden pots for the garden from my parents.

Nightgown Detail The Prudent Homemaker

Flannel-backed satin nightgown

I sewed birthday gifts for a daughter using fabric I had on hand.

I mended a shirt and a dress. I replaced the elastic in three pairs of sweatpants for my youngest. I had elastic that I had bought in bulk on sale that I used to replace the worn elastic. I also replaced the elastic in a pair of dress pants for him.

I turned three long-sleeved blouses into short-sleeved blouses for a daughter. Short-sleeved blouses are more practical in our climate, and the long-sleeved blouses had been passed down to my fourth daughter with almost no wear because of that. Now she has three like-new blouses to wear. I added the buttons from the cuffs to my button jar.

I went through several drawers and cabinets in the house and ruthlessly decided on items to purge that hadn’t been used in the last year. To make it easy for myself, I went through one cabinet or one to two drawers a day. I added these items to our garage sale piles. and started pricing items for my sale later this month. My mom also went through her house in the same way and added more things to my garage sale items. Several of my cabinets and drawers are now more organized, which is a great feeling.

Our piano teacher came to the house for lessons and saw our garage sale items stacked by the front door. She asked if she could buy items ahead of time. Of course! I sold her a game for $1. She also told me she had a bunch of items I could have for my sale that she’ll bring by for me.

Eyelet Dress Bodice The Prudent Homemaker

Making the vintage-style eyelet dress bodice using the $1 bedskirt I purchased at a garage sale last fall.

I used the $20 gift card I earned from Target in February as a wedding gift for a couple who is registered at Target.

My mom takes a woman grocery shopping each week. The two of them give me all of their Monopoly pieces from the two stores in our area that are currently giving out game pieces (a promotional game). So far I have a couple of instant winners: a free donut or bagel and a free bottle of aspirin. Since my husband’s office is in the same parking lot as one of these stores, I gave him the coupons; he can enjoy the donut and I’ll add the aspirin to our medicine shelf.

I combined coupons, sales, and Target cartwheel offers to purchase the Easter candy for less that I will use to fill Easter eggs.

I gave two of my sons a haircut and my husband cut his own hair.

My eldest daughter was asked to work as a server for a wedding luncheon. Not only did she get paid, but at the end of the luncheon, the servers got to take home leftover cooked meat. She brought home a tray of cooked, diced chicken.

My eldest son watched the RootsTech conference online, where he was able to listen to several speakers as well as watch several online classes for free.

 

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

 

 

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178 Comments

  1. I adore embroidered/eyelet fabric and am so pleased you are making several things from the $1 bed skirt that you snapped up. It’s so feminine. I’m sure the daughters are over the moon with the creations.

  2. Hi everyone. I need to make it a point to post more often. I read weekly and just love all of the helpful hints I’ve gathered over the years.

    Anyway, a month ago my washer decided to die mid-cycle, filling the laundry room with smoke that smelled of burning parts. That washer was in the laundry room when I moved into my house nearly 2 years ago, and is much smaller capacity than my “real” washer (that I brought with me when I moved but have been keeping in the garage) so I’m in the midst of a total laundry room renovation. I am doing most of the work myself, along with SOs help, and my parents will help me install new paneling next weekend. Once that’s up, I’ll add shelves and have a lot more usable space to stockpile. Plus, my new chest freezer that was one of my Christmas gifts should fit in there!!

    I have been hauling my laundry to my parents house for the last few weeks to use their machines since we’re in the middle of the laundry reno. She has a large capacity washer without an agitator, so what would have been 3+ loads for me in my old (now dead!!) washer, is only 1 load at her place. I’m saving on time AND money. My office is in her house, so i’m there almost daily anyway, so even though it would be quicker to do multiple loads at once at a laundromat, I am too frugal to spend the money on that when I can have access to her machines until we get my laundry room back up and running!

    Another frugal win: I am fencing off 2 more portions of my yard. My entire backyard is already fenced along the perimeter, but I am going to fence off another section within the backyard for the future garden area and an area for my clotheslines. I have leftover wire fencing from a previous project that is 6′ tall, but I can easily use a grinder to cut it in half, making it 3′ tall and doubling the amount of usable fencing material I’ll have. Basically I need to keep my 2 pups out of the garden area, then out of the kids play area since we bought them one of those above ground inflatable pools for the spring and summer. That’s a project that we’ll complete soon.

    I went out of town on Friday and was able to stop by some discount grocers we don’t have here locally. Back when I lived in the area I was visiting, the discount grocer was a lifesaver. Money was always an issue back then, and without this store, there’s no way I could have afforded to have groceries some weeks. I stopped in Friday and stocked up on canned goods and the like. I don’t get to this area often anymore but I enjoyed my time there on Friday. I packed my lunch bag too, as to avoid having to eat out all 3 meals. I gave up fast food for Lent, so I did have to have a “real” meal at a restaurant before starting the 4 hour drive home, but the rest of the meals that day were out of my little cooler bag.

    I pruned up my mums from last autumn. Well, actually, I think the ones in the big pots are from 2016. They’re sold as annuals here but they’ve always come back for me, even when I lived in Maryland. I just broke off the dead parts, watered them, put them back on the porch in the sun. Looking good already!! I also checked some other perennials I bought on clearance last fall but never got planted. Some of them are salvageable and already growing. I’ll put them in pots until I can get my front beds ready.

    That’s all I can think of. I am hoping I’ll get back to where I used to be soon. It’s been chaos here for months!!

  3. I returned bottles and milk cartons for the deposits, which added $8 to my cash on hand.

    I made meals with the what was on hand. That included orzo, cooked in chicken stock, one time with chicken added and one time with it not. It also included potato pancakes for supper one evening, but which left enough leftovers to serve with scrambled eggs the next morning.

    I used an online tax program, which lets you decide what you will pay, to prepare my taxes. The suggested price range is less than what most programs sell for. The form is auto-filled by Canada’s tax department with all the tax slips that they have received electronically. The taxes will be several hundred dollars less than I expected, so this was very good news.

    After waiting 3 and a half weeks, I finally got my computer back from the repair shop, so that I was able to start doing transcription again. This is a big relief income-wise.

    I attended my book club, which costs me only the price of gas. I also attended my college board meeting in person, which allows me to be paid for the travel expense as well as the meeting. It was the first time in a while that both the car was working and the weather was good enough for the drive there.

    Hope you all have a good week.

  4. I haven’t been getting the Monopoly pieces this year. I wonder why? In any event, won lots of free items last year.

    This week we repurposed last year’s science fair board for this year’s project. I made big batches of fried rice, pasta, and bean burritos for the week. Still have leftover Curry lentil carrot soup in the freezer from last week.

    I also made homemade gluten free muffins. I found that the super expensive store up the hill from my house has the cheapest GF flour in town, in the bulk bins. Also made homemade salad dressing.

  5. Sounds like a productive two weeks, despite the computer issue. Glad you’re posting again, as I’m sure many, many others are! And thanks as always, for all the work you do.

    My two weeks were pretty busy, although the next week will be very quiet:
    – I made fancy-pants (yet surprisingly easy) Goat Cheese & Arugula Pizza (http://approachingfood.com/goat-cheese-arugula-pizza/) – way, way cheaper than ready-made! Plus, I was able to make it using leftover arugula and the end of a package of goat cheese. Winning!
    – I made one batch of dough, and split it over the goat cheese & arugula pizza and another pizza I made (using homemade tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, and pepperoni from my freezer that I had traded for previously). Two meals for the labour of one!
    – My sister gave me a package of homemade Italian sausages. My husband will enjoy them over the next week.
    – My sister also gave me a shampoo and conditioner that she didn’t like. I’ll alternate using my regular shampoo and this one, to stretch my regular (and favourite) shampoo.
    – I sewed a hole in my favourite yoga pants. My mother didn’t even notice the patch until I pointed it out to her, and even then she didn’t realize it was a mended tear, so I was pleased that the pants are presentable for public again.
    – I made a batch of herbal iced tea using tea gifted to me and some sugar packets saved from a hotel stay a number of months ago.
    – I made Parmesan & Paprika Potato Wedges (http://approachingfood.com/budget-friendly-parmesan-paprika-potato-wedges/), except I used slices instead of wedges. There was enough for several meals.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gift card to Starbucks.
    – I cooked a back bacon roast that I had traded for previously. My husband ate it over quite a few meals, and I also froze some to top pizzas with.
    – I was looking at my kitchen counter just now, and realized that I had a frugal house tip to share. For my wedding a few years ago, I had purchased some prettily patterned china plates as well as some glass candle-holders, on sale days at a local thrift store. I then glued the china plate on top of the glass candleholder, to create a very elegant footed display plate. I had made several, and use one on either side of my fruit bowl, to hold the fruit for the week (80% of my food budget is fruit, seriously). A very easy way to add some elegance to your home, and one that you can customize to meet your décor style, for the cost of a dollar or so.
    – I was reading through Brandy’s archives, and came across a simple tip: I added some water to a face lotion bottle, to get the last bit out. I usually just cut the bottom off, but due to the bottle’s shape and the strength of the plastic, this was easier. I got another week’s worth of face lotion out of the bottle.
    – I gave my mother a bag of caramel corn that I didn‘t particularly want. Out of the house means less temptation for the DH and I!
    – I redeemed Air Miles to get $10 worth of groceries free (salsa and tortillas). Combined with what I had at home, I made burritos, taco salads, and taco bowls for several meals, which I was craving. Yum! I was able to use some leftover frozen beans in sauce in the burritos, to stretch the soy ‘meat’. I also used leftover spice from a food box because I hadn’t realized I had run out of taco spice, and didn’t want to mix up another batch just yet. The tortillas were the same price for large or small tortillas, so I took the large ones, and traced smaller circles on them. Then I used the smaller circles for burritos and shaped taco bowls, and then cut and baked the leftover tortilla bits into chips to toss over taco salads. Three different types of meals (including a week’s worth of lunches) using the same ingredients!
    – I used a giftcard from Swagbucks for Starbucks to buy a small guac container there when there was a promotion, and then used it to make loaded nachos (I made baked tortillas chips using the tortillas I mentioned above), along with the last of the salsa, some grated cheese from my freezer, and some sour cream that was on sale. Yummy!
    – I made a raspberry cheesecake pie (so incredibly yummy) using graham cracker crumbs I had traded for previously. I traded a single slice (wrapped nicely in a takeout box I previously traded for, along with a plastic fork leftover from a lunch out and a re-used plastic bag from my workplace) for a package of 100 extra large cupcake wrappers.
    – I made a batch of yoghurt, which is perfect, because I just ran out of breakfast cereal.
    – When I ate several cans of peaches, I mixed the syrup from the peaches with yoghurt, which made a sweetened yoghurt drink, perfect for a breakfast on the go.
    – I also made a double-batch of granola, using whatever I had in my pantry. I usually add in things like pepitas and maple syrup, but I didn’t have those in my pantry so I just did a coconut, almond, and cranberry granola, which is delicious.
    – I had planned to go on vacation, so I preserved some of the produce I had in my kitchen so it wouldn’t go bad. I zested and juiced the lemons, and made a whole bunch of lemonade as well as freezing some zest. I also dehydrated my arugula so I can use it as greens powder in my smoothies in the summer (thanks to the reader who gave me the tip!).
    – Due to some health issues, I won’t be going on the vacation, but happily, my husband and parents still are. We had planned to take them to the Grand Canyon, on a budget. We had a free suite stay in Vegas (we received it free with a large purchase), and so only had to pay for airfare (and my husband found a good deal). We booked a bus tour to the Grand Canyon that included lunch and breakfast (and pick up from where we would be staying), and bought tickets to a show that has been out for a while, in order to get cheaper tickets. Other than that, my parents and husband will just be walking around looking at things, as none of us gamble. My mum will enjoy the indoor gardens (free entrance) at some of the casinos and my dad will enjoy the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. My husband will celebrate his birthday while there, so hopefully he will get a free treat at a restaurant or so. Neither of my parents really travelled while raising us, so I wanted them to go on a nice, if not super-fancy trip, while they still have the health to do so. My husband previously took his mother there when he was single, and enjoyed doing so. And of course, my husband and I budgeted in order to do so. I was able to get a refund for my show and tour tickets, and once I get a doctor’s note ($35), I should be able to get a refund for the plane ticket. I estimate I might be out maybe $75 including the cost of the doctor’s note, but I’m still very happy that I was able to get most things refunded.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  6. My eldest just barely turned 16 and right now is studying heavily with college classes and to take the GED (which is required to apply for FAFSA as she is a homeschool student). We would prefer that right now she spend more time studying so that she can have good grades on her college transcript. She works odd jobs for people and has for years (cleaning houses, occasional babysitting, and other jobs), and because she doesn’t have a regular position somewhere, she is one of the people available to take those jobs. She did look into working at several nearby places, but every place she looked won’t hire anyone younger than 18.

    My eldest son is 14. He works odd jobs as well but has also had regular jobs working for a neighbor who is out of town for 6 months of the year (he watches the house and checks for leaks, and saved the owner from getting a ticket once) and pet sits for another woman in our neighborhood when she goes out of town.

    From the age of 12, our children attend camp and work to earn their own money for camp. This year I have four children who will be going to camp. Even though they’re too young to work a traditional job, they’ll all have money for camp by the time the money is due.

  7. 1. I had a laundry basket full of mending, so I turned on a movie and then another and finished all the mending. I don’t like mending.
    2. A friend who is about the same size bought three pair of underpants that are called bicycle shorts because they extend part way down the thigh. She wore one pair for one day and decided she hated them and the company would not take back the two left over from the three pack she’d opened. She washed and bleached the pair she’d worn and then offered me all three pair. I said an enthusiastic yes! I love the bicycle style underwear, which my husband calls my granny panties. Good thing he loves me anyway.
    3. A local restaurant supply store advertised 10 pounds of frozen sliced and spiced chicken breast for $18. I have never seen the price of $1.80 a pound for boneless, sliced chicken breasts, already marinated with middle eastern spices. Luckily I had money left over from last month’s food budget so we bought two boxes. 20 pounds is a lot but having that much meat at a reasonable price is a real gift from heaven.
    4. I ordered seeds for spring and the company sent me 10 packages, instead of one, of scallions. I called them and they told me to just keep them (they had not charged me for them, just for one).
    5. I received $9.97 from a class action lawsuit that I filed on about four years ago. I’d forgotten about it. Every penny counts, I can remember times when $9.97 would have made the difference between having food and not having any.
    6. Traded some of the scallion seeds for eggs with a neighbor who has chickens–a dozen eggs for five packs!
    7. Cleaned my kitchen cupboards, as in taking everything out to wipe down the inside shelves. I don’t do this very often. Found a dozen cans of extra stuffed ravioli that I don’t even remember buying. Not my favorite thing to eat but we are sharing a can for dinner every other night to get through them. They expired in mid 2017 but still taste as good/awful as usual. The price was still on them: 85 cents a can. Cheap eats.
    8. Went to a meeting where everyone buys a ticket for $2. At the end of the meeting, the agency takes half and the person whose ticket is drawn gets the other half. I don’t gamble but this is a harmless fundraiser for a tiny agency. I won, for the first time, $24.

  8. Ok, this is probably a silly question, but what do you use the aspirin for? I don’t know why, but we’ve always used Tylenol and Aleve (or store brands) for pain killers. I do take baby aspirin daily, as the doctor told me to, but this is a higher dose. I won a bottle, too.

    My husband and I talked about having a small garage sale, soon, too. There are just so many things cluttering up this little house, and he has gone through some more things in the shop, so this may be the time as there is no rummage sale at church this year, as there was last year. I told him that even if we got $50 or $100, it would be worth it to me.

    People are giving me their Monopoly tickets as well, and I’ve bought a few super inexpensive items from that store(which is unusual because it’s out of my way) because they have been having a little price war with a new store in that area so I got a few tickets as well. There was a $10/$50 on my app today, so I loaded it, and bought a few items for me, and a few for a dinner we are putting together for the college age at church, which we will be reimbursed for, which brought me up to the $50. (We got most of what was needed at Cash and Carry and the little still needed at this store and another, where prices were best for those items). Cases of water were $1.50 for 28 bottles, so I got the 2 allowed. I got 2–1/2 gallons of milk for 89c each, and 2lbs of cheese for $4.80 (will use on Tuesday, so will be paid back for that one–but glad to get a good deal for them, too.) I got all the free items, and the $5 that we could not believe we won. What I can’t use, I’ll share. I’m putting that $5 in the envelope that we will take camping next time we go towards a dinner out on our trip. That will probably be in June, so I have plenty of time to save change so there is enough for a meal. I try to do my grocery shopping on the weekends, and stocked up pretty good last weekend, so only needed a few items. I spent around $21 this weekend, and should have no trouble getting through the week. I turned down some items that were good deals, such as Oreos for $1.99, Ritz for $1.99, etc. As much as they would have been nice, we didn’t need them, and I had plenty of other food people could eat.

    I’m still on track to stay on the budget I set for groceries, which is a little lower this month than sometimes (but not rock bottom), because I want to pay off the rest of my daughter’s braces, plus a couple of other unexpectedly large medical bills that came in.

    We were blessed with some unexpected blessings. One was new kitchen towels from both my sister and my aunt. Mine have been walking off. (Nobody did it, though— I asked and they have no idea where they went–oh brother:)!). I put pictures of some of them on my blog–some fancy, some plain.
    https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/03/04/weekly-update-saving-money-new-towel-week-march-3-2018/

    Today, when we were shopping after church for the above mentioned items, my husband went out to put our groceries in the car while I redeemed the $5 worth of tickets at customer service. A man randomly walked up to him and said he had bought 25 pounds of onions, removed the few he wanted, he was sorry a few were soft, but there were lots left and did my husband want them. Sure he did!!! Rob sorted the main part of 25 lbs of onions when we got home, put lots in the bucket for fresh use, set a few aside for my sister, and chopped and froze several baggies with any that were going soft or partially starting to “go”!

    I made coleslaw from cabbage that has overwintered in my garden. I also made potato salad from potatoes that were 99c/10 lbs last week in the price war, and eggs I got from Costco for less than $1/dozen. That made a great Sunday family dinner with the meat my sister had, and the ice cream from my aunt. Simple, because most was made yesterday. During the week, I made turkey meatloaf, pickles and pickled beets, salads, chicken-rice soup, garlic green beans from home-frozen beans, home-canned fruit, and a casserole from some kielbasa I got on sale a while back mixed with home-frozen broccoli, tomato sauce, rice, frozen peppers…I spiced it up with some Italian seasoning and put mozzarella on top. It was all really good. I popped popcorn a couple of times as well for snacks.

    While at work one afternoon, I helped my autistic niece make peanut butter cookies. We used their ingredients, I ate several, and enjoyed having cookies without having a lot of yummy cookies at my house, because I know I would have eaten many more:). Another day, I took most of the ingredients for a gluten-free blondie and we made that for a group of high-schoolers who were coming over there that evening. I wasn’t sure they had all needed ingredients, so I took any I wasn’t sure about. My sister needed a gluten-free snack, and it was a win-win activity for that afternoon. I’m excited that my niece is showing an interest in baking right now, as that is a good skill for her to learn. She wants to measure, dump, and pour, but not stir! It’s a good step in the right direction:). Another new thing we’ve been doing is working on loading the washer. I’m so proud of her.

    The little plants in the greenhouse are growing well, which excites me. I never get over the miracle of tiny seeds becoming plants!

  9. My husband says aspirin is the only thing that works for his headaches (I tried giving him other things but they didn’t work). He almost [i]never[/i] takes any kind of painkiller, so the one bottle of aspirin that I have for him really needs to be tossed as it is rather old.

    Aspirin is also good to have on hand in case of a heart attack, so I am happy to have some in the house just in case I would ever need to give it him or one of my parents.

  10. This week I was given another 10 pounds of fresh green beans (Last week I bought 20 pounds for $2!) so I dehydrated that too! At the same place I was given a bushel box filled with “heads” of salad lettuce greens that will be chopped up and given as fresh treats to my laying hens! They in turn convert that into about 4 dozen eggs for me! I sold 4 dozen of my excess eggs to a friend for $10, so that paid for the dry feed I give them for the month! Oh how we love our chickens!

    I bought ten pounds of green onions that I have been cutting and using their green tops in cooking and plan to plant the white ends with their roots directly into my garden tomorrow! I have four of them on my windowsill already planted that are giving me everlasting green cuttings for cooking! My $2 investment has given me over 100 individual green onions to plant!!

    I found free bricks on Freecycle and made two trips which retrieved over 500. I am using those to extend and expand my brick walkway in the yard! Like your shed, I find that if I spend an hour on it every day that the weather allows, it moves along quickly!! Amazing what those little bits of time can add up to when working on a big project!
    https://pin.it/6urdl7xwojix6v

    I finished a quilt for a client (she provided materials and supplies) which brought in an extra $200. https://pin.it/nvttlimkr4bocn She’s pleased, I’m pleased and after tithing, the rest of the money gets added to our savings and to debt repayment! Again, it’s surprising to see how little dribs and drabs of money can add up to big progress on both!!
    Another client picked up her first of two matching bookcases on Saturday and loved it so much that she’s now ordered a third one!
    Our soap making client picked up her custom soap cutter to slice her blocks of soap easily and evenly and is so pleased that she’s telling her other soap-making friends which may result in more sales!
    We are pleased with how the Lord has been blessing our little side business!

    I made a copycat Panera broccoli cheese soup using leftover broccoli from my freezer and dehydrated carrots from my pantry served in bread bowls and then later in the week, made a roux to thicken some of the leftover soup to serve as a broccoli cheddar sauce on baked potatoes! All of our meals were at home using ingredients we already had. My only food expense was $7 at the produce market.

    I was able to watch some free crafts classes too this weekend and have been amazed at how much there is to learn and how easy it is to get that learning with the “magic” of technology!

  11. Your sewing is beautiful, and inspires me, Brandy. I love how creative you are in making use of such beautiful, non “standard” fabric. I’m happy to have sewn my first pieces of clothing recently, but I have a long way to go. Because of comments here, I recently bought citrus fertilizer for my potted lemons. I’m the world’s worst about keeping things fed as I should, and am hoping this may help me eventually get some lemons. We planted our potatoes and garlic in the garden today. I’m delighted to see a Frugal Accomplishments post, and am happy to be joining in https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/03/early-march-blooms-frugal.html.

  12. Cooked at home every meal but one in the last two weeks. Today grandkids wanted to make something so I made homemade french fries. My almost 4 year old granddaughter told me it was better than McDonalds and that I should have a restaurant at my house or take my french fries to McDonalds so everyone could eat better fries! My 6 year old grandson agreed. They make me smile!
    Son gave us a box of groceries that they would not use because they are on a diet. We gladly accepted as this was before payday. What a sweet son! My other son came over to eat instead of going out.
    Spent time at home and free entertainment. Read books and worked on computer. Husband worked on keyboard writing music. Worked on building house. Did laundry at our house while working on it instead of the laundry mat at our apartment.
    Enjoyed sunrises and sunsets.
    Bought a pretty dress at a thrift store for very little. It is in perfect condition. I’m looking forward to wearing it.
    Visited family and played boardgames.
    Husband went grocery shopping for me so we won’t eat out.
    Will make a meal plan from what he bought.
    Listened to pandora for free.
    Curbed my desire to buy things I don’t really need. Thinking about wants vs needs.
    Got invited to eat lunch at a church we visited today. Enjoyed it and will be going back.
    Reclaiming my kitchen, feeling better, so I can enjoy cooking again. Started soaking dishes or washing as I cook. Making it easier. Plus husband has been helping me on his days off. Sweet man. Grandson helped dry some dishes today and both grandchildren helped me sweep the floor. They really enjoyed helping and I was happy to have the help! Both grandchildren cleared off the table too and put away all their toys. They were great helpers!

  13. I’m appreciative that you posted this, even though I’m sure it wasn’t an easy work around! I look forward to your writing and photos each week.

    This last week, I was able to repair our furnace which went out (while it was in the teens outside) by using some fine sand paper on a flame sensor and cleaning the unit overall. I hope the repair is the only thing wrong with it, but it seems to be working again. It boosted my confidence a little knowing I could watch a you tube video and learn a new skill.

    I worked quite a lot from home last week, but I did manage to finish putting together the rest of our long term food storage items. I found a great deal on gamma lids and ordered a few for flour and sugar for easier access.

    I also read The Book Thief from the library, and began another book, The Curious Christian.We enjoyed a nice meal with my in-laws that treated us to a new restaurant in town that was delightful! I’m looking forward to planting some seeds at the end of the month and enjoying more sunshine outside as the temperature increase.

  14. My aunt sent me her Instant Pot that she doesn’t use. I’ve always wanted to try one out and now I get to for free.

    I darned a hole in the elbow of my husband’s wool sweater, and reinforced the other elbow that didn’t yet have a hole yet. I darned a pair of smart wool socks, and taught my daughter how to darn hers after she asked.

    I used dish soap to get old bacon grease stains out of a pair of my husband’s work pants. They are hanging on the drying rack right now, I haven’t seen how well this worked yet.

    We caught rain in our rain barrels and used it to water our fruit trees, and also the plants that we moved this week. We also turned off the sprinklers.

    I added an underskirt with lace edging to lengthen a dress my daughter bought at the consignment store for her college formal. It was far too short but a style that she absolutely loved and is normally very expensive. She was pleased with the alteration. I mended the zip on the same daughter’s rain jacket.

    I found a Life Is Good women’s t-shirt, an LLBean dress shirt for my husband and a dress that I cut off to make a skirt at the thrift store for 25 cents each. Each is in perfect condition. Our thrift store puts the oldest items on clearance the last couple days of each month, each priced 25 cents. I have a note on my calendar at the end of each month so I don’t forget to go.

  15. Adding an aspirin to vases of cut flowers is supposed to extend their life. Maybe you could use the aspirin you were tossing anyway and see if it works.

  16. Margaret,

    Do you have a place to grow fruit at your home? I don’t know how cold you get there but I would think some fruits must grow in your region and would help lower your grocery budget considerably (such as apples, pears, cloudberries, blueberries, and seaberries).

    I’m sorry you won’t be able to come to our city.

    The conservatory and the fountains at the Bellagio (both free) are our favorite things to see downtown. When people come to visit we always take them there.

    We had a cold spell all last month after extremely warm temperatures in January and the beginning of February, but it should be warming up mid-week, so whenever they come, the weather should be beautiful! The Grand Canyon is fairly mild most of the year (but can be colder before May; it won’t feel cold to your family, though!)

  17. Margaret, I am sorry you are unable to go on vacation with your family. Hopefully, your health issues will improve.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  18. I have refused to drive the 45 minutes to shop and have been very careful at our local shops. We were finally at the end of our meat in the freezer and I went to the store to find BOGO sales! And a number of reduced packages. Thus, I was able to stick to the budget. I’m planning ahead for a couple of upcoming expenses in the next couple months.

    We have just had a great deal of snow and were off from school, college and activities. Nice and frugal.

    I am on a mission to organize our cabin and my DS put up a shelf for me using the least expensive brackets I could find at the store and a “found” board. It is already less cluttered, and the shelf is hidden in the back closet.

    I went to the local thrift shop looking for a tea kettle to replace ours that broke, but did not find one. I put my name on a requested item sheet, so do hope to have one come in soon. I did find, however, a couple of organizing items that are great. A shoe holder that hangs on the closet rod, a basket, a wooden box with a cover, a wooden bowl that is wide and flat, and a set of new corner shelves with the hardware!

    Found a quarter, continue to eat a bag of bruised apples by cutting out the bruises, hemmed, mended, and used 3 coupons at the store. It is rare that I find coupons for groceries as we eat as little processed foods as possible.

    Seeds I was looking for I stumbled on four for a dollar and two for a dollar. Happy days. God has just blessed us so!

    A friend really loves her rice cooker. As I have a couple 25 lb bags to eat up, I wondered if I’d fare better with our water issues using one. Does anyone have any advice about rice cookers? I have never used one before.

  19. Once again, I must thank everyone for all their suggestions in a post a while back regarding my Mom losing her eyesight. The ideas have been so very helpful. Friday my son brought her home after her long winter stay at my sister’s house out of state. The following day I visited her. It was a difficult day made much easier since I felt prepared to deal with her difficulties. As she shared her problems, I was able to give suggestions and together we tried different things. When I called her today, she had found a store bought frozen casserole in her freezer and could not read the directions. She was able to make out the company’s logo so I went online, found the directions and read them to her. She was able to cook it by herself because we had already discussed the stove knobs. It was a relief to her to still be able to cook a meal.

    I must again thank everyone who offered suggestions.

    As for frugal news, I have been spending my time handling Mom’s affairs and it seems my money saving activities were on autopilot. After reading Mom’s mail to her, paying her bills, balancing her checkbook and checking on her investments, it made me realize how important it is to be frugal. The day will come when we are too old to make money and must be able to live on what we have invested and saved. Every little bit of saved money adds up over the years and makes a HUGE difference in comfort and quality of life later. I am even more resolved to continue with my frugal lifestyle. I see how it matters.

    I also shared the successes and failures this past month in my winter garden. When the sunshone for a few days I got excited.

    https://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/02/februarys-garden-2018.html

    Then the weather turned cold, rainy and I whined.

    https://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/03/winter-has-returned.html

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  20. I love that your kids earn their money for camp each year. I usually make my kids earn half – but maybe I’m being too easy on them 😉

    Living Frugally from Urban Seattle:

    *All the kids in public school in Seattle have a week off of school mid-February. It’s called MidWinter Break. It is an opportunity to head south and see sunshine for the first time in months….literally, months. I had purchased tickets months ago to take my boys down to LA to visit their abuelos (my husband’s parents are immigrants from Mexico). I purchased the tickets far enough out that I got an excellent price on them, but they definitely weren’t free. To save money on the trip, we used public transportation to get to the places we wanted to visit, including the beach. There is a metro station next to my in-law’s home and this saved gas, time in traffic, and most of all, steep parking fees. We didn’t visit the expensive parks, but saw interesting places such as Chinatown, some Mexican markets, and had plenty of beach time. The abuelos took us out to eat a few times, but otherwise we ate at home and enjoyed the great produce in abundance year around in LA. My boys spent a lot of time with their abuelos, practicing their Spanish as well. When we got home, we took a day at the end of the week to enjoy the snow up in the mountains. Once again, we didn’t go to an overpriced ski resort to sled, but found a great hill on the backtrails. A fun, but relatively frugal week!

    *Between more careful meal planning, and some Mexican food sent home with us from my mother-in-law, I’ve managed to shave my grocery budget by about 25% over the last two weeks. I’ve also been baking bread, which saves over half the cost of my regular store-bought bread.

    *We found an intern at my husband’s company to rent our “guest room and bath” for the next month while she is finishing up her internship. I already put her rent check directly into savings for use towards the new home we hope to purchase this summer.

    *I sewed more cloth napkins for our family to avoid buying paper napkins from leftover fabric.

    *We had a rat eat through our car’s wiring over Christmas, costing several hundreds of dollars worth of damage to our car. I decided to file an insurance claim on it, but I wasn’t very hopeful it was covered. We received a check for the full cost of repairs last week. So glad I decided to give it a try.

  21. I apologize if this has been said, but the GED is no longer required for FAFSA from homeschool students. You may want it for another reason but you can skip it for college entrance or the FAFSA.

  22. Thanks so much, Jeannie. I will be fine in time, no matter what happens. And I’m super-thankful to have a husband and parents who appreciate each others company so much. I know they’ll have a great time (my husband will tease my dad, my mom will laugh, and my dad will smile because my mom is laughing), and that makes me happy. 🙂

  23. My daughter said the heirloom tomato plant farm instructed her to add an aspirin and some crushed eggshells in the hole she digs when planting little tomato plants. I suppose that is meant to prevent soil diseases. I use expired aspirin for this.

  24. I am so happy to be back on track financially due to the tax refund. Sadly, it took every penny to right my wrongs but the stress is relieved. I took money and put up so I won’t have this same problem reoccur. I went to the thrift store and bought myself summer clothes. My weight gain is substantial and I don’t fit into any of my clothes. It just happen to be everything half off day so I really stretched my 40.00. I bought 30 pieces and got some really pretty stuff. After not having the heat or a.c. on all month, my bill was still 130.00. I am dumbfounded. I kept the lights off and tried to keep things unplugged. Tomorrow when college boy goes to work, I am going to sneak and turn down the water heater. I didn’t install this one so I have no idea what it is set on. I turned the hot water off to the washing machine. I was happy it wasn’t 300.00 but I would like it to be lower. My goal at the moment is to save 50% of our small disability checks. Living off of 500.00 a month is tight but doable. I managed to add 30 lbs of ground turkey at $1.00 a lb to my freezer. I also found 10 cans red salmon at 3.00 and 3.50 lb frozen salmon to add to my stockpile. I am so grateful to have a full pantry and the ability to add good deals to it. All the great ideas and support have meant so much to me the last couple of months.

  25. Thanks so much for all your great suggestions, Brandy! It’s due to your blog that I’m now trying to grow produce on my balcony, and I plan to buy a lemon tree and hopefully a fig tree too this year (although of course it’ll take years to grow and they won’t grow super-big in a pot — but I’ve researched it and it should be possible to grow in Toronto, albeit with some work). I’ve taken your advice to heart about making the best usage of space, so I’m trying to grow up. I figured out today that I could probably grow strawberries in a pallet leaning again the glass window on my balcony, which will be one more thing I can cram on my balcony! I also thought about how you grow your peas onto your trellises, and thought I might try turning a dollar store tomato cage into the pea plant trellis (and use my existing wire trellis on my wall for nasturtiums). I already grow herbs, swiss chard, radishes, sweet potato greens, and tomatoes successfully, with peas, carrots, and nasturtiums not so successfully, and lettuce not at all (not enough light). My husband gave me some heirloom seeds for Christmas (does he know me or what?) so I am also going to try two new things this year: cuca-melons (my sister grew them successfully last year in the same city, so I know they’ll grow), and ground cherries (which I researched and are supposed to grow well in cooler areas). Oh, and bush peppers too! I’m hoping to possibly buy a small blueberry bush and start some rhubarb too (which would take time to establish but would be great in future years), depending on how far my gift cards stretch and how good the sales are. I’ve learnt a lot from last year’s gardening and from reading all your posts, so thanks very much!

    Glad to hear that beautiful weather awaits my family! I know they’ll appreciate some bright sun after a grey winter.

    Thanks again for all the work you do with your blog!

  26. Brandy, let me add just a little more. Aspirin is an NSAID, like Advil and Aleve, but we–like your husband–find it much more effective. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory (inflammation is often the cause of pain). I am old enough to remember when aspirin was the only game in town. That changed 35+ years ago when researchers found that aspirin could be harmful to children (but not adults…most of whom can take it safely). Tylenol does not have anti-inflammatory properties. It is strictly a painkiller…and for me, not a very good one. Too much Tylenol can cause liver problems.

  27. I live out in the sticks, an hour’s drive to town. As always, staying home for 5 out of 7 days makes it a lot harder to spend!

    I wash all of my dishes on the short one-hour cycle and they come out fine. I’ve only had to re-wash two bowls in nearly 3 months. I cleaned the filter of my DW (it’s a Kenmore made by Bosch) and it was a snap–just lifts out.

    I spent $53 at the grocery store (Winco). This included some meat. It also included 3 packages of Krusteaz cookie mix for .25 each! And enough bulk cinnamon to refill the bottle for just pennies.

    I returned an unopened bottle of molasses that I didn’t need. (I loathe molasses in any form and would never use it up). I also returned a shirt I bought on clearance that didn’t fit as well as I thought. Total: $8.91.

    We eat dinner out on Thursday nights because of when and where we have to pick up our daughter. Other than that, all meals were cooked and eaten at home. I made a weekly menu and followed it.

    I paid my bills online. It’s faster and saves on postage. My electric bill was lower than last month.

    Still learning to install and use apps on my phone for store $aving$. No app savings to report this week.

    My only spending for the week–besides groceries and dinner–was a thrift store buy: 2 glass mugs for .35 each; 1/2 yard fabric, $1; and a package of buttons for .50 = $2.20 plus tax.

    I asked on freecycle for plastic nursery pots, but have not received any responses. I also offered our satellite TV dish and receiver, but also no responses yet.

  28. I’m glad your computer is coming soon. We also had one quit about the same time. We took ours to the repair shop and had to have a new hard drive installed. The repair man said the hard drive now would run better than the old one used to. It’s a relieve to have it running again!
    I have never flannel backed a nightgown but that seems like a great thing to do. I love how pretty the nightgown is but it will be warm also.
    Here are my frugal ways for a couple of weeks: http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/03/my-frugal-ways-3418.html

  29. I read all posts but I am so bad at posting my own. Here are a few things we saved money on over the last month.

    -went to the cheese store of a local cheese factory. Got sliced American cheese 3# for $6.97. Also got 1# bricks of sharp cheddar for $2 each, limit 2. Repackaged sliced cheese in 4 packages and froze. Also froze the cheddar for later use.
    -made my grand daughter an outfit for her birthday, a shirt and a skirt with shorts attached. The shirt and skirt were material from a thrift shop, each piece 50 cents. The short material was from a 2 pillow cases bought at a garage sale for 50 cents. So for $1.50, some time, thread and elastic she has a new outfit. Plus I enjoyed making it!
    -cooked a ham from the freezer, sliced leftover meat for sandwiches with my meat cutter and made split pea soup and dumplings with the ham bone.
    -made my husband’s favorite soup-old family recipe-Nookla soup, basically chicken soup with egg dumplings. Cheap to make, meatless. Recipe handed down over the generations-German in origin.
    -shopped with the sales at Fresh Thyme-this time of the year trying to eat out of the freezer and pantry. Using up home canned goods and emptying freezer. So mainly bought fresh produce. Carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, zucchini, blueberries, bananas, oranges, and apples.
    – meals made-split pea soup, nookla soup, Asian chicken lettuce wraps, ham dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy and green bean casserole, spaghetti (regular and gluten free) with home canned spaghetti sauce. Able to freeze extra soups, spaghetti sauce, and chicken mixture for wraps. Easy meals in the freezer.
    -made mini muffins for church (4 kinds) using ingredients on hand. Signed up for treats for Sunday school. Used up some things in the pantry-coconut, coconut milk, and dried egg whites.
    -cleaned out pantry. Washed all shelves, rearranged. No waste. Did inventory of home canned goods. Moved some canned goods up from the basement to restock. Now need to go thru the other 2 canning areas. I keep main canned goods- tomato products, soups, veggies, and jams in the pantry. The pickles are in the den in the bottom of the TV corner cupboard and the fruits, juices, and meats are in my guest room in a cupboard. Yes I can a lot of our food!
    – took 2 laundry baskets of empty jars out to the shed. I store the empties in rubbermaid containers in an outdoor shed. The containers were empty this fall and we were eating canned goods so I could have the jars to recan more garden produce.
    -I have been buying more jars this winter at the thrift stores at 25 cents each, in pints and 1/2 pints. Will also look for more at garage sales. I also can and give jars to my parents and both of my girls. Although the one daughter lives closer-1 1/2 hrs away and she is learning to can and we will buy bulk and can together. The oldest daughter loves the home canned but lives 7 hours away and at this time has no interest in learning.
    -took a break this last weekend, met at a water park in Wisconsin Dells with our kids and grandkids. Got our rooms with water park admission included at a discount. Went for 2 nights and 3 days. Ate one meal out-Saturday supper. We all brought coolers with food and beverages and ate in our hotel rooms. Grandkids had a blast! And all in all a pretty frugal weekend of fun!

    Have a great week, looking forward to reading all the posts!

  30. I had to laugh about the bike shorts because just today, I went out and bought two pairs to wear under dresses and skirts. 😀

  31. My oldest is also working on her GED after being homeschooled. I didn’t realize it was required for FAFSA. I’m so glad you mentioned it! My daughter is 18 and has worked very part time teaching swimming lessons year round for a community park district since she was 15. This job has made her eligible for grant money in our county to pay for her GED testing and potentially some college if she continues to qualify. They may also arrange a paid internship for her. She is working on becoming a nurse. We were so excited for her to receive these unexpected benefits, it will really help her college money to stretch.

    Also wanted to mention that we brought home a free sewing machine yesterday. As we drove home from a shopping trip, we noticed a big pile of stuff on the sidewalk with a free sign. We circled the block and found a like new Singer from 1985 with a case full of notions. I’ve been looking for something like this but the new ones are not in my price range right now. All it needed was a little bit of sewing machine oil and it’s up and running. This will also go to my daughter for when she leaves home. I always read about other people’s great finds and never usually find any myself. . . So grateful!

  32. I have made it a point to list something every day on our local yardsale site or ebay. Not only am I cleaning out, but making money. I sold two dresses. I will take the rest by Style Encore, a resale shop, and see if they will buy them. This week I also sold some metal and wood wall hangings for $10 each. I bought them at a garage sale about 9 years ago for $5 each. I took a load of things I didn’t sell to the thrift store and got a tax receipt. I sold three antique windup toys, none of the windups worked, for $176. I also sold an antique wood box, the lining was in rough shape, for $10. I used that money to buy shirts and stabilizer for my embroidery business.

    I sold 11 embroidered bunnies, two embroidered shirts, 8 tea towels, a bowl cozy, and a key fob from my embroidery business.

    Cut my husband’s hair

    Cooked all meals at home. I bought a pork loin and cut chops and put them in the freezer. My husband redeemed points from our credit card and got $475 in Wal-Mart cards. I got gas and spent $150 at Sam’s on sugar, loin, apples, sweet potatoes, sausage, frozen vegetables, Greek yogurt, etc.

  33. Stacey, one of my readers just said over on Facebook that she did NOT have to have the GED for FAFSA. She said a homeschool high school transcript worked fine for her daughter applying to school and that that they are supposed to be accepted in all 50 states now as well as for the military. I looked over a FAFSA handout last night that I got at the library and it looks like it might not be required (though the financial aid class we went to was telling us to have it). So you may be able to forego it. We still plan on having our daughter take it; we’ll have to see about the other children.

    Also, a higher score on the GED can help with college acceptance, especially for homeschooled students.

  34. All of those attending camp from their troop/group at church were told they should each earn all of their money for camp. Camp fees vary by year and by camp; the Scout camps can sometimes be about four times more expensive than the local camp for the girls (depending on what camp the girls go to too, of course). Last year our Boy Scout troop finally started selling camp cards, which tons of other troops in the city have done. They are a great way for the boys to earn their camp money; the cards sell for $5. They are a discount card for several local stores and one of the discounts includes $5 off the local grocery store, so people are often willing to purchase them.

  35. We tried repairing it but even after the repairs were made it still didn’t work. It was 4 years old so I wasn’t totally surprised; I had figured I might need a new one this year.

    Flannel backed satin is not a real warm fabric; it is just really soft on the inside. It will work fine for warm weather. It sounds warm, but it is just a thin weave on the back side of the satin that makes it extremely comfortable. I bought this a few years back at Joann’s.

  36. I haven’t posted in about three weeks because things have been very hectic here. My FIL was rushed to the hospital in Houston, very ill and not expected to live. My husband flew down to be with his family and two days later I drove down. Fortunately, my FIL pulled through, and was eventually transferred to a rehab hospital. The last-minute flight and my two-day drive (including overnight in a hotel) were expensive. Then, when we got to Houston, though I tried to cook as much as possible, we ate out much more than usual. We ended up buying a mattress topper for my in-law’s guest bed, which was so uncomfortable I was practically in tears from the back pain. (The topper helped a lot.) Then my husband ended up having to do some plumbing work for them and we bought the parts. My husband also repaired his father’s truck and bought those parts. My husband and I both got sick and ended up spending money at the drugstore to buy vitamin C, zinc lozenges, and other things to fight a cold. I ended up with bronchitis and needed to see a doctor – but anyone I saw here in Texas would be out-of-network for our insurance. Then I discovered the health insurance has a tele-medicine branch. For $35, I was able to consult with a physician online – early on a rainy Sunday morning. She called in some prescriptions and I am already feeling better.
    We have been doing what we can to save while we are here – the tele-medicine visit was a frugal choice, and we have been packing food to take to the hospital each day and cooking at home as much as possible. We are still in Houston but I expect to head home this weekend, as I have a doctor’s apt. next week that would be difficult to reschedule. His father may get to come home late this week or early next week and my husband will stay to get him settled.

  37. As a long-time lurker, it’s time to post and say “thanks” to Brandy and everyone who shares here. Specifically, thank you to the reader (I’m sorry for not remembering your name) who posted a few weeks ago about the homemade Peanut Butter and Jelly game. I made several for my grand-babies and took one when I visited for a grand-daughter’s 3rd birthday last week. As she learned to play, the giggling increased until she finally made up a little “cheer” dance that she does whenever she rolls the dice. Beyond adorable and a great gift to her mama who is sick in bed for awhile. So, thank you for that gift, fellow-reader. Another set of your game is going to a little 5 y.o. boy who had clubfoot surgery and will be in a wheelchair for 6 weeks. I’m sure it will brighten his days! Have a beautiful week, everyone!

  38. I saw at least one person post about this but I’ll add my two cents. My older daughter just finished the college application process with FAFSA. She did not have to take the GED (we are also homeschoolers) in order to complete the FAFSA. Of course, in Texas, homeschooling is considered a private school so she receives a diploma from our “private school”. That may not be the case in your state. Hope this is helpful. I found the college application process challenging as homeschoolers, but we had excellent results so I can’t complain!

  39. Hi, Brandy and Stacey, six of my homeschool students have attended and/or graduated college (BYU) and never needed the GED for FAFSA or entry. Every college has different requirements, so be sure to check the specifics for your desired school. In some areas, the GED for a young person is actually considered a detriment–again, it depends on what you are pursuing and with whom. But, in our 24 years of homeschooling, the GED hasn’t been needed and our son currently at BYU just completed the annual FAFSA update. (I’m not anti-GED, just sharing my experience.)

  40. I have read many times about trades in food items. How do you do this? I would not know who to trade anything with

  41. Not only am I happy to see your frugal accomplishments, Brandy, I am thrilled to see you have some sewing projects! Hope you are planning on an upcoming sewing post featuring photographs of your lovely work. I’m always so inspired by what you make! This may sound strange, but do you think you could include the blouses that you turned into short sleeves in a post. I’m interested in seeing how they look. If you have any tricks on how you decide the length of the sleeve, I’d be interested in that info too (even if it is just written…I realize you may have not taken pictures during the process). I love gleaning simple sewing skills and trick from your projects!

    Our frugal accomplishments for the last 2 weeks included:
    *Meals made at home included Stromboli (from freezer) with salad and mini cherry tarts, tortellini Alfredo bake (freezer meal), chicken shepherds pie (made with leftover rotisserie chicken) with homemade apple crisp for dessert (from freezer), tacos (choice between ground beef or black bean), beef barley soup (made from frozen leftover roast beef) with homemade garlic bread, garlic chicken wraps with homemade herb roasted potato chunks and peas, breaded chicken burgers/strips with flavoured rice and broccoli, sloppy Joe’s with coleslaw, grilled cheese sandwiches with cold salads (potato and pasta) and corn, hot chicken sandwiches with corn, “piggies in a blanket” (using pre-cooked breakfast sausages from the freezer) with coleslaw and hash brown patties, lasagna, and “cracked out” chicken & rice casserole with broccoli.
    *Made a homemade pie crust and used leftover beef stew (from the previous week) to make a beef pot pie (unbaked) for the freezer. Ensured no food waste and created another healthy, frugal freezer meal for us. Used the leftover scraps of pie crust and some homemade cherry jam to make 7 mini cherry tarts (used a mini muffin pan), for dessert that night.
    *Cooked extra pearled barley when I prepared it for the soup as DD loves to eat it plain. Must teach her how to make it some day.
    *Made a boxed cake mix into cupcakes when DD had a friend over. I then gave the job of icing and decorating the cupcakes to the girls for a fun activity. They got pretty creative, but had lots of fun.
    *Made a batch of lemon raspberry muffins, using pantry ingredients (recipe link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/251934/lemon-raspberry-muffins/?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=etg_517728541). Disappointed in the lemon flavour. The raspberries help save the taste a bit. DD didn’t like them at all. Probably won’t make these again. Gave my brother the last 5 to take home.
    *Chopped up an entire cabbage head and packaged it in a big Ziploc baggie in the fridge to use for coleslaw. This makes it more convenient to use, and we find it keeps well for a few weeks.
    *Prepared 2 pans of lasagna at the same time, 1 for the freezer and 1 for dinner. This not only saves me time, I also stretched the ground beef over both pans, making it more frugal.
    *Stock up on quite a few pantry items with a $1 sale at my regular grocery store.
    *Received the $25 gift card from Loblaws from the bread price fixing scandal. Certainly doesn’t nearly cover the amount I’ve over paid on bread over the last 10+ years the price fixing has been going on, but it is a start.
    *While attending a meeting at my work for a volunteer project I’m involved with, I was given my Christmas gift from my employer (some very nice hand cream, whipped body cream and a chap stick produced by a local company). Apparently it was delivered the day after our last day of school program. Oh well, a nice surprise anyways.
    *My mom and I have had much discussion over the best way to create a vegetable garden in our back yard this year, since we didn’t get time to do it last summer. We decided raised garden beds would make it easy to keep the grass trimmed up around it. I wanted to use materials to build the beds that would withstand the elements over time, not rot easily, and be cost effective. My mom found pre-fab plastic raised garden structures, 4ft x 4ft sized, 2 in the box for $90 at Costco. We decided this would work perfect for what we wanted, and bought 2 boxes (so 4 raised garden beds total, we are splitting the cost). We hope to construct our garden space in April in preparation for planting in May. Now I need to start planning what to plant in the space once it is built!
    *I had bought a fan with a USB plug from Amazon as a Christmas present for DD. When it arrived, the fan wouldn’t work. I contacted Amazon and was refunded the money, but they didn’t request the fan to be sent back. When my brother came up to visit, I asked him if he would take a look and see if he could get it working (he has always liked to take things apart and tinker with motors). I figured it was no loss if he couldn’t. However, to my great delight, he was able to solder a loose wire and now it works! Thanks to my brother, DD scored a free fan…Whoohoo!!!

    Looking forward to catching up with everyone’s frugal accomplishments this week. Have a wonderful week everyone!

  42. Rhonda,

    I just used another blouse in the same size that had short sleeves and used that to measure sleeve length. I added enough to that length to allow me to turn the fabric under twice before hemming the sleeves. Then I folded the blouse in half and cut both sleeves at once. Then I ironed over the sleeves from the inside and sewed them on the machine. It’s a pretty quick process.

  43. It has been a long time since I have posted here. The really bad flu hit our home hard….I am still on the very end of it which morphed into a cold. I barely managed to do anything for 2 weeks, however! I did manage to harvest green onions, garlic chives, Meyer lemons and avocadoes from the yard. Made homemade granola, salsa, and I am experimenting now with homemade fermented cabbage. Trying my hand at landcape architecture now. Our front yard really needs a makeover and I will see if hubby and I can handle most of it!

  44. I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting accomplishments since the only internet we have is a limited amount on my phone and it’s not nearly as easy to type on. But I’m so encouraged by reading others’ lists that I’m going to try to remember to add my own each week.

    I made 3 skirts and a top as a birthday present for a friend’s toddler. We only wear long skirts/dresses and they are difficult to find for little girls and this friend doesn’t sew so I hope it will be a blessing.

    We accepted hand-me-downs for our oldest daughter who is hard to fit. Several items I had already purchased in my haste. It was a reminder to wait on the Lord to provide, as this isn’t the first time that specific needed items have been gifted to us.

    Accepted leftover chicken from our church fellowship meal. I’ll make a casserole with it.

    My husband’s cousin gave us a junk pick-up truck. He has back problems and needed plow brackets removed from it to use on another truck. My husband removed the brackets and then sold the truck to a neighbor to use for parts for $200. We’ll add the money to the savings account.

    I finally got sheets made for the new baby’s crib. Now we just wait (I’m due the 25th.)

  45. 1. Kroger had great deals this week on triple zero yogurt, 32 oz of block cheese, salad dressing, and macaroni and cheese, so I stocked up…maybe a little too much:)
    2. I bought a pair of yoga pants, a shirt, and two nice children’s hardback books all for under $8 at the thrift store this week.
    3. We have been feeding our Guinea pig lots of clover this week that is growing like crazy in our yard
    4. Quit buying expensive coffee creamer again…maybe it will stick this time!
    5. After cleaning out my son’s closet I realized he will not need any new spring/summer clothes this year because he has only grown taller over the winter

  46. Blessings to you as you and your husband help aging parents. We spent one summer helping my husband’s parents after his father had heart surgery. Repairing and assisting in their business…at great financial cost to us. That’s what families do; however, it definitely would have been easier had we lived closer. Many if my high school classmates are going through similar times.

  47. Oh my, I had to really laugh at this. I don’t believe I have even heard the word “hickey” since I was in high school. That was during the last ice age. 😀

  48. Thank you Brandy for posting on Facebook to let us know you were okay. I’m sorry that your computer died – a large expense I know you don’t need right now. Kudos to your son for finding a temporary work around! Thank you again for the community you have created here on the internet.

    • Made daily swag goal x 2
    • Cooked a pot of beef with barley soup, a pot of chicken taco soup, a pot of steel cut oats with flax seed and peach slices that I froze last August, couscous salad with cucumbers, feta, and lemon vinaigrette, a white pizza from scratch and topped it with garlic, spinach, and some leftover ricotta, and made knockwurst with sauerkraut
    • Hand washed two wool sweaters and hung them outside to dry
    • Grouped errands when I had to drive 45 minutes away – this included being able to stop at three grocery stores and just buy their loss leaders
    • Itemized and donated a box of stuff to Goodwill
    • Decluttered hall bookcase
    • Washed plastic bags to reuse
    • Stood my ground at Walgreens when I was told I couldn’t use two Clairol coupons on the same transaction. The coupons required 3 boxes of hair color to be purchased, and I was purchasing four boxes. Manager finally agreed with me – total value of the two coupons was $7.00. After walking out of the store I noticed that the 20x rewards coupon hadn’t rung up. Went back in, waited for the manager again, and the reward points were added to my account.
    • Was invited to an Oscar party and brought a dish using ingredients I had on hand.
    • Did my taxes – after owing last year I am so grateful to be getting a small return this year.
    • Watched HGTV online for free as we do not subscribe to cable
    • Washed a wool blanket in washing machine in cold water and hung it up to dry

  49. Advil or Aleve can cause gastric ulcerations. I can no longer take these, since I had gastric by-pass surgery. I suspect this would also effect anyone that has had any type of surgery or on-going issues with their gastro-intestinal system. Aspirin thins the blood, which is good for those with certain heart conditions but bad for those who have clotting issues. Then there are allergies to consider as well. All of these meds have their positives and negatives. That’s why it’s good to have choices… so we can pick the right meds for each medical or individuals specific needs.

  50. I’m so glad to see this post! My favorite post of the week – and right after receiving my favorite newsletter at the beginning of the month, from another frugalite. Yay!

    Here’s my accomplishments for this past week:
    http://meloniek.com/2018/03/frugal-accomplishments-week-ending-4-march-2018/

    And for the week before:
    http://meloniek.com/2018/02/frugal-accomplishments-week-ending-25-feb-2018/

    Looking forward to reading through everyone’s comments and posts! Happy Monday, everyone! 😀

  51. Sounds like vampire electronics… Water heater with a tank that is electric can be a huge one. Turn off ALL computers/printers etc also. ALSO check what you are paying for as ours here is 8 ¢ and is going up to 12¢ at the home we are buying.Propane is going up $1./gal also…

  52. Have you thought about calling your utility company to see if they offer free energy audits? If so, it might help you figure out why your bill is so high. Just a thought, but does your college-age son have a computer or other mobile devices? Maybe he’s not shutting down the computer at night or maybe he’s leaving chargers plugged in, even when he’s not charging anything. I seem to constantly remind my kids of this. They think it’s no big deal, but phantom power can use a lot of electricity. Another thing you can do (if you’re not already doing it), is to put things like your TV on a power strip. Then make sure the power strip is off at night. Even when the TV is off, it’s still using phantom power.

  53. Went away for my sister’s birthday. She booked an Airbnb place at Port Fairy. We prepared and ate all meals there. The weather temperatures were quite cold.
    The dog (my furbaby) had to have 5 teeth out. This was not frugal and it was very disappointing because I brush his teeth daily. One tooth was at the front of his mouth and the others were at the back. The back teeth are hard to access. I’m going to talk to the vet to see what else I can do.
    I read on a blog from Capetown what one lady does to save water while washing clothes. (Capetown folk are on 50 litres per day water restrictions) I thought I would give it a try myself. It’s hard work lugging buckets of water about and ensuring the machine does use mains water.
    But undoubtedly very frugal.

  54. Congrats Lilli for getting out from underneath the financial stress. What a great feeling 🙂

    I have a Kill A Watt meter and found if very interesting to plug it into different appliances/electronics to see what is using a lot of juice. I know some libraries have this meter to lend out or maybe a neighbor has one? I found the “phantom” usage of my TV when off was $10 per month. I put it onto a strip and now the strip is shut off unless we are actually watching TV.

  55. I thought it was kind of funny that it was on the list, too. It’s definitely more a teenager type problem…too late for that advice now (not that I ever had much issues with this to start with)! But there were some other great uses, so I thought I’d pass on the info.

  56. My nephew had started a physical therapy assistant’s program utilizing financial aid (and probably a Pell grant) at a community college and had completed quite a few classes successfully. Good, even excellent grades. But he had fallen hard for a young woman who lived four hours away. He quit college after the end of the semester and moved to her city. He assumed he’d be able to take up his studies more or less where he left off at one of that county’s community colleges. Mistake. The fact that he had been mostly home schooled with a diploma from a non-accredited high school stopped him from enrolling in any of the community college’s courses, at least with financial aid, without him passing the GED. He thought that was ridiculous since he had been a high school graduate at least a decade by then and had proven that he could easily handle college-level work. He instead went to a private college for medical assisting on a grant that would have been forgiven if he had completed the entire program. He aced all the classes. But the fool setting up internships at the school thought that because my nephew didn’t have a regular job but rather was in a band with enough gigs to pay his bills, he should do only a full-time internship instead of a part-time one available to employed students. He tried, and failed. There are only so many hours in a day and he was a married man by then. So he now has a sizeable student loan to repay with no credentials to show for it. He still earns his living as a musician. My sister and her husband wised up regarding the importance of regional accreditation at the high school level for their next three home-schooled kids. The next oldest got her degree from an almost local regionally accredited school geared towards home schoolers. Girls two and three both got their regionally accredited high school diplomas from Penn Foster because it was the cheapest option. While some states restrict access to financial aid from Penn Foster graduates, my youngest niece got some Pell grants in her state while she completed her nursing associate’s degree.

    In a posting on March shopping plans, I was going to use the $15 off $50 coupon Dollar General had offered through March 10. But Sunday, when I was planning my shopping trip, I noticed the $15 electronic coupon had vanished. Today, I got in contact with a Dollar General customer service representative. They had run into a systems or technical difficulty and removed it. Sigh!

  57. I earned enough Swagbucks to buy a $25 Amazon card for $22, and I’m busy building up the leftover bucks for my next card.
    I put industrial strength sticky-back Velcro tape, that my husband had bought a while back, on another washable mop pad, all four of which are losing their ability to stick to the “hook” on the mop head. I tried a different pattern for the tape this time, to see which one works best. So far, both mop pads that I’ve Velcro’d are sticking well, but I think the second tape configuration is going to be the best. That sticky back is really good — I’ve washed both mop heads (by hand, usually) several times, and the tape is still firmly on.
    The hem pulled out of a dress the other day. I have the navy thread already, so it will be a quick fix, and I had the tan thread to re-hem some slacks that lost their hem. I swear the hemming thread in some of these clothes today is like spider web.
    I pack leftovers for lunch every single day, either from the fridge or the freezer. I reconcile the credit card statements for my employer — some users easily spend $100+ a week eating out every single day, just for lunch.
    I’m sanding and painting some furniture, instead of having it done. I’ll re-upholster chair seats, too.
    I’m happy to see some of our perennial herbs, fruit trees and plants returning after a rather wild winter’s weather — flooding, dry spells, snow, ice, and unseasonably warm, all in one winter.
    Brandy, I’m always inspired by your gardening and sewing. I have a couple of small sewing projects — maybe I’ll get going on them, now. I have the fabric, so I can get started any time.

  58. Margaret, I saw on a local cooking show a visit to a restaurant that grows it’s own greens etc. They took pallets and nailed rows of capped rain gutters up and down. Those of course will not decay like the pallets. Pallets are junk wood and unless you know the provenance they might not even be safe. So this way they are only being used as the support.

    I am sorry you will miss out on your vacation, but with social media your family can almost make it seem like you are there with instant pictures and videos. Enjoy those and plan your next vacation while recuperating.

  59. Becky, funny about the towels.

    I read on a blog recently where she stores her cabbages hung up by their roots in her
    root cellar and they lasted well. I am going to try that next year. We can’t keep ours in the ground as it’s too cold.

  60. Brandy,
    I hope you get your new computer soon. I love hearing how well your children are doing. It really makes me smile.
    My son brought me some of his mending. I sewed a button back on one of his button up shirts and mended a hole in one of his sweaters. These are both items he wears to work so that should help him make it through the rest of our cooler weather without having to purchase anything new.
    I cashed in some reward points for a $15 Macy’s gift card.
    I cashed in some other reward points and got a Christmas gift for my grandson and an emergency radio for our emergency supplies.
    I rarely take the time to hassle with these reward points so I was proud of myself for making the time.
    I have a special needs cousin who I noticed was really admiring the younger girl’s American Girl dolls that they got for Christmas this year. (at our family Christmas gathering) I thought to myself at the time that she would probably really like to have one of her own but her single mom is raising two boys she adopted so funds are tight. I wish I could buy her an American Girl doll but I don’t have those type of funds either but this weekend I was shopping and found the Target version of the doll at Home Goods on clearance for $15. I purchased one for her for next Christmas and can’t wait to see her face when she opens it. God does provide!
    My husband purchased a fresh crab at the Safeway Friday $5 special and I made a huge crab salad along with a loaf of french bread that fed six of us for dinner and then dinner again for my husband and I.
    I found some winter hats and gloves for $1 a piece on clearance so I purchased a set for each of my nephews for Christmas. I will purchase a small toy to go with them.
    I had a medium sized boxwood plant in a metal planter outside of my garage and the metal planter was getting rusted out and needed to be re-placed but a large pot is so expensive. I found a metal planter with the cocoa mat liner in the size I needed for $8. I re-potted the boxwood and it looks so much nicer. This should last at least 3-4 seasons is our very wet climate.
    We had a beautiful, sunny day this Saturday so we spent the day outside. My husband pruned one of our large apple trees and I painted our fence. It felt nice to get a start on Spring projects. I used paint and brushes I already had so no expense but it sure looks better.
    Have a great week everyone.

  61. We all use rice cookers. My oldest son’s inlaws are Chinese and that is all they use, also. It is one less thing to think about when cooking, leaves a burner free, and they last forever (in our experiences). We make rice a couple times a week and I use it for brown, white and sushi rice.

  62. Bummer about your computer, Brandy! Hope your new one arrives soon!

    Nice that your hubby got to enjoy a donut treat for free!

    I had a pretty good two weeks. I was finally feeling healthy again, but unfortunately on Sunday, I came back down with the crud I had all of January and most of February.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for the last 2 weeks.

    • Used free tea, coffee and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Got 3 – 12 oz. packages of coffee for free from work. They are expired and the office only uses k-cups now. I don’t care if they are expired. Perfect timing too, as I was down to just one 12 oz. package of coffee in the freezer! Also ate free snacks at work.
    • Took my lunch on the days I worked. Hubby took his lunch 8 times. My company provided lunch one day.
    • Ate dinner in 10 times. Had steak, baked potatoes, once with broccoli, once with asparagus; West African turkey curry soup twice; manicotti; and pork chops, baked potatoes and yellow squash; teriyaki beef with broccoli; chili I had frozen at Christmas; hot dogs, corn and tater tots/French fries (I had 1 serving of each left in the freezer); tostadas; and Hamburger Helper, cottage cheese and green beans. When I made the teriyaki beef and broccoli, I cooked a double batch of rice, which I then used to make a batch of spicy rice to which I added the leftover cut up pork chops to take in my lunches.
    • Ate out on our Trivia night but used a gift certificate. Also won another $30 gift certificate for use another night. Played Trivia a 2nd night and ate out but won a $10 gift certificate to use another night. Went to Trivia again and won another $30 gift certificate to that place.
    • Found a rebate gift card that still had $9.17 on it. Used it on groceries.
    • Canned 8 pts. of pintos and jalapenos and 4 pts. and 4 – ½ pts. of kidney beans.
    • Got 2 lbs. butter for $1.99/lb and found lunchmeat and hot dogs on clearance 50% off. Also got 4 cans of corn, 2 cans of green beans, 2 cans of tomatoes and 1 can of tomato sauce for 29c each, a can of mandarin oranges, a can of fruit cocktail and a can of mini ravioli (for my husband to keep in his desk at work for emergencies) for 49c each, a large can of enchilada sauce for $1.19, a free Lindor egg, Clif Bar and a candy bar on the Friday Freebies. Ibotta had a $1.20 rebate for Chobani yogurt and I only paid $1, so I actually made 20c on that one. Got 2 dozen Grade B eggs for $1.49 each. Grade B eggs are just eggs that have been repackaged by the grocery store when eggs crack in the containers. I actually got a dozen “Eggland’s Best” eggs and brown eggs, which also cost more. Other good buys include 6 lbs. of asparagus for 77c/lb and strawberries for 99c/qt, which I froze and 2 bottles of ranch dressing on the clearance rack. One of them I had a coupon for. I paid $1.29 and $1.19 for them. Hubby has been taking a lot of salads to work as his lunch, so this is great.
    • Worked 28 ½ hours contract work.
    • Paid extra on the mortgage and was able to knock 6 payments off our 30-year mortgage. This makes a total of 10 months so far and we only bought the house in October! We debated getting a 15-year mortgage, but we went with a 30-year as we wanted to be sure the payment was low enough in case we need to rent it out later. My goal is to have it paid off in 10 years.
    • Saved the lid off a mayonnaise jar. It fits perfectly on canning jar and I use canning jars to store things like nuts, etc.
    • Paid a bill online, saving a stamp.
    • Found a picture, 3 vases, 3 candles, a few assorted black frames and a shadow box for décor at Goodwill for under $33 total. Also found 3 matching candle holders, a flannel shirt for my Son-in-law, a blouse for my Daughter and a blouse for myself at 70% off clearance.
    • Grandson will start potty training soon. I found a potty chair on clearance.
    • Realized I forgot to use a $5 off $50 coupon at the grocery store. Went back and they gave it to me.
    • Made homemade pancake syrup with sugar, water and Mapeline flavoring. So much cheaper than buying a bottle and so easy!
    • Made mock “Crystal Lite” with a packet of kool-aid I had gotten on clearance for 9c and 24 packets of Splenda I have gotten for free over the years. Just to be clear, I don’t steal these. These are from the hotel rooms and from work. The company I worked (and contract for) do conferences and sponsors send in product. What doesn’t get used at the conference we are free to have.
    • Daughter just finished a conference and brought me some goodies: a 2 pack of razors, a case of Clamato, a 6 pack of Snapple Lemon Iced Tea, 3 packages of beef jerky, 3 beef sticks, a bag of popped popcorn, a small bag of Cheez-its, 2 small bags of veggie stix snacks, a small container of Pringles and 10 pens.
    • Had a dentist appointment this week. Got a free travel toothpaste. Found out I have to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth now, which bummed me out, as I always get such a good deal on toothpaste and Sensodyne is expensive! But while I was at the dollar store, I found some for only $1! And it the active ingredients are the same! Whew!
    • It really chilled down here in Phoenix these past 2 weeks. I resisted the urge to turn on the heater and just dressed warmer and used the gas fireplace instead.
    • Made menu plan for these weeks. Based them on using up the oldest items in the freezer.
    • Was able to get some Ibotta rebates on items purchased this week.
    • Hubby noticed that a neighborhood near us was having a neighborhood wide yard sale, so we drove around there on Saturday. Not many were being held, but we did find an estate sale where I bought a few very old books for décor, a Thanksgiving towel, pumpkin salt & pepper shakers and a brand new little gift package with recipe cards, note pad and apple cookie cutter that I can give as a gift. Total came to less than $8.

    Hope everyone has a fantastic, frugal week!

  63. Not just when we are too old, Jeannie. Both my husband and I have had catastrophic illnesses, he at 28 and I at 32. Each time, despite having insurance, our out of pocket costs ate up all of our savings and then maxed out our credit cards. Each time we rebuilt but if we had not been frugal from the first days of our marriage, we would have gone bankrupt each time cancer hit.

  64. Oh, Mable. I am so sorry. It could happen to anyone of us at any time. Being prepared makes all the difference between a comfortable life and a miserable one. Why others can’t see the wisdom of being frugal is beyond me.
    Jeannie

  65. It is still winter here in Fairbanks, although our community garden just had their organizing meeting. My husband finished the shoveling from our last snow this morning, then it started snowing again! All Sam’s clubs in Alaska closed. Some of our regular stores have had problems keeping inventory up because of shipping issues. We just made a mandatory trip to Wasilla for a meeting. On the way, we stopped at a new Three Bears store in Healy. We found my son’s favorite soy sauce there which is unavailable in Fairbanks. I bought 3 bottles there. He is lactose intolerant so eats a lot of rice in place of mashed potatoes. We checked out Costco in Anchorage as they are supposed to be coming in the fall. We found most things will be available. Haven’t found a replacement for Pom tissue though–still have a years worth. we have used Sam’s brand for many years so it is hard to find a replacement for a reasonable cost.

    We were treated to a meal at a fancy restaurant last week. It served as a small wedding reception for a couple who had just been married by my husband. It was nice to have the experience but I kept thinking of how much real food I could buy for the over priced meals!

    I too missed your blog last week Brandy! Even when we are house bound by weather, it is like a visit from friends.

  66. I think the big one here was that one of my friends sent her son to public high school because he wanted to go into the military and the recruiter said they don’t take GEDs. I don’t think that is across the board, but it was for whatever branch he wanted to go into at that time.

  67. We are very blessed that my husband’s sister and her husband live only a short distance from his parents — they do the bulk of day-to-day care. Her husband has to have a heart procedure tomorrow, so poor thing, she is pulled both ways. We are trying to do what we can.

  68. Once I started using a rice cooker, I’ve never made rice in a saucepan. I found my first one at the thrift store. I’ve also purchased them at WalMart during their back to school sales in the fall. I also cook my oatmeal in it for breakfast.

  69. Corinne, I don’t remember seeing the post about the game. Could you or someone tell me where/when it was? I would like to get the details. Thanks

  70. My biggest frugal win this week came from being extra attentive with my shopping. First, I wrote out a shopping list and went on the 10% off day at the local grocery store. As I put items into my cart, I wrote the price of the item on my list which is something I’ve rarely done in the past.
    When I got home, I compared my shopping list with the prices to the receipt. I had been overcharged by $5 on an item. I went back to the store this afternoon. The store refunded the entire price of the purchase: $14.99. The price difference was because the label on the shelf was from last week’s sale. The computer was changed but not the shelf price. I’m really glad that I paid attention and went back today. If I had waited until tomorrow which I was tempted to do, the store might have taken the shelf label down.

  71. Thanks for the heads up re the pallets, Athanasia! I know some can be chemically-treated, so if I can’t find one that I know is ok, I will likely stack large dollar store buckets of dirt with holes cut out, and a pole through the centre, to make a tall and inexpensive strawberry pot. I’ve seen the gutter idea and love it, but I’m not allowed to attach anything to the walls of my balcony (my wire trellis is glued-on and can be removed), and at any rate, my balcony is crammed (artistically, I like to think!) with a trellis on one wall, a metal bookshelf full of pots on the other wall, and pots lined up two deep or stacked on and under a metal-work bench, on the balcony side. The only space available would be half-covering the glass entrance door/wall, so either a moveable pallet garden or a stacked strawberry pot it is! (If there was a roof to my balcony, I’d be hanging upside down strawberry and tomato plants from it — I really want to make the best and most artistic use of my space!) I have seen those rain gutter garden though, and think they’re fabulous for small backyards with fences. And they can be made very pretty too! Thanks again!

  72. Hi H! I use a local trading app (also on fb) called Bunz. But I’m pretty sure to local to my region in Canada. I’ve heard that there are fb no-waste and trade groups, so I suggest looking around on fb to see what is local to your area. Best of luck!

  73. Hi H! I use a local trading app (also on fb) called Bunz. But I’m pretty sure to local to my region in Canada. I’ve heard that there are fb no-waste and trade groups, so I suggest looking around on fb to see what is local to your area. Best of luck!

  74. Hi Marybeth! Despite Canada’s renowned health care, not all services are covered by our provincial health care coverage, with doctor’s notes being one of them. I suspect that the rationale is that it’s not medically necessary, just useful (or in some cases, necessary but not medically necessary) and therefore some doctors charge for them.

  75. Brandy, so glad you are back. When you didn’t post last week I popped over to Facebook. Thank you for posting there otherwise we would have worried. You are very reliable about posting so unfortunately we worry when you don’t. This list is for the last 3 weeks. Mid February break happened here and I was very busy with work and spending time with my daughter.
    -My son has been keeping us well stocked with bread, bagels, pastries, muffins and cookies leftover from his job. They let him bring anything leftover at the end of the night otherwise it goes in the garbage. Son and the other employees take lots but some still ends up in the garbage. I have been giving stuff to family, friends and co-workers as my freezers are full and if I eat it all I will gain a ton of weight.
    -Every time I go to Aldi lately I have been finding carts in the lot. I always return them and take the quarters. It all adds up.
    -Coin jar was full so I brought it to the credit union. They have a free coin machine for members. I had $57.38. I deposited it into our saving account.
    -Family and friends have been very generous. A friend gave us 4 bags of veggie chips that she got for 10 cents each. BIL gave us some beer leftover from a party they had.
    -We watched Greatest Showman and Black Panther at work for free with my employee passes. Got my free popcorn and shared it with family. Brought our own drinks. Gave 2 of my passes to my nephew so he could go see a movie with a friend. Got 2 promotional t-shirts at work for different movies. A friend offered me hers as she wouldn’t fit into. I asked my family if they wanted it. My nephew said yes.
    -Made my own Valentine cards for Hubby. Used old heart shaped tins and leftover valentine’s from when the kids were younger for them. Made us a very nice dinner at home.
    -Got shampoo/conditioner samples in the mail. Also got a visa GC from P&G after I called them in January about a problem I had with a product.
    -My son likes very strong coffee. I reused one of his pods on accident and the coffee was fine for me. I have deliberately done it several times since. All of the grounds are going in my garden and the pods I have been saving as seed starters. They are perfect and already have a hole in them for drainage. I will start my seeds indoors later this month.
    -My husband had a big work meeting one night. When he was leaving he noticed that all of the leftover food was sitting out. He asked about it and was told to take some. He told the other 2 people still at work to take some too or it would go in the garbage. He came home with a full tray of sandwiches. Tuna salad, chicken salad, roast beef, turkey, ham, grilled chicken and grilled veggies. I didn’t cook all weekend which was great as I worked all weekend. I brought and extra to work for a co-worker that is having some financial issues. We had a nice lunch together.
    -Cooked most meals. Did get a pizza one night(Lent) but I used a coupon as it was a new place and they had sent them out. I had worked all day so it made my life a little easier. I had budgeted for it ahead of time.
    -Found lots of change
    -My son got meals at work 3x because they asked him to stay late so they feed you if you stay.
    -My husband did a big install so his job picked up dinner for him since he worked till 11pm. He brought home the leftovers.
    -Got a medical book at GW for $3.25. It was originally $40.
    -Had a leak from our bathtub into our basement. My FIL is a retired plumber. He came over during my daughter’s school break so she was able to let him in. My husband and I were able to work. He fixed it with supplies he already had.
    -Worked a church event. Came home with 3 trays of leftover food and a case of beer.
    -Sold several items on eBay. Shipped in used packaging. Listed more items.
    -Cooked my last pumpkin from October. Froze 22 pounds.
    -Came in under grocery budget for February
    -Made 2 salad dressings and put them in old jars.
    -Got 5 boxes of expired tea from my job that they were going to throw out.
    -Brought food to work/school, hung laundry, batched errands, mended items, shopped sales, used coupons, ate leftovers and all the other day to day things.
    Have a frugal week everyone!

  76. I’ve been using the DT toothpaste for several years and love it! (Well, as much as anyone can love toothpaste.) it really helps the budget! Sensodyne starts at over 5.00 here! That’s crazy!

  77. I’ve been using dried beans instead of canned. I realized tahini paste (for three batches of hummus) was the same price as premade hummus, so I’ve been making that from scratch. I switched to all generics. I’ve been getting better at telling my kids no when they ask for extra treats that we really shouldn’t indulge in every day. I mended a pair of leggings for my middle daughter. I made applesauce with clearance apples. I made 7 months worth of jelly for my pantry. I’m working on making a good sandwich bread (not there yet).

  78. Alaska Gram, I have made mashed potatoes without milk and butter for years. After boiling the potatoes, drain the cooking water off into a coffee mug or other container, then add it back into the potatoes a little at a time as you mash them and whip them up. My family loves them!

  79. Brandy! Happy to hear the computer issue has been resolved. I’m at a loss when mine acts up. And, I don’t run an awesome website!
    I used less water this month so the bill went down by 10.00. I hope to keep this up every month. When it’s an estimated bill, all bets are off.

    I made brown sugar, watered down the dish soap and lotion, walked with friends and exercised at home and got two books from the library to read rather then order them from amazon or eBay.

    I’ve watched Sherlock on Netflix and a few documentaries on yoootuuube

    When I needed garlic toast, I used old hamburger buns and made my own garlic butter. The extra butter was frozen for another meal.

    I cleaned the baking cupboard and donated several items that I knew I wouldn’t use.

    Making my husband’s boxed brownie mix, I pulled 1/4 cup of the dry out of the box and replaced it with a 1/4 cup of a hot chocolate we don’t care for. The oil is replaced with puréed pumpkin. I’ve saved the 1/4 cups til I get 13, the amount of a full package and start all over again.

    I didn’t have enough ranch dressing for a chicken dish so I added the end of a container of Caesar’s dressing and my husband said it was delicious!

    The Dollar Tree had organic, fire roasted tomatoes 2/1.00 so I bought 4 cases. I also bought several cases of soups at Aldi’s on my last trip. While there, the Meijer next door had gas for 45 cents cheaper then our town. Needless to say, I filled up.
    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  80. I am sure your sister-in-law was glad you came and helped as much as you could. I say this as a daughter living with her 94-year-old mom far from her siblings. I hope your father-in-law feels as much like his old self as possible as soon as possible and can enjoy his repaired truck. The fact that his son fixed it and the plumbing for him makes the repairs extra special.

    Mom and I did stick to the $43/week food budget four weeks in a row. But then today happened. We ordered Arby’s 2/$5 fish sandwiches and a small shake for mom and then drove to the mill pond (all the ice is out) and watched the ducks while we ate. The bachelor ducks were trying to impress the ladies and one duck had to explain to one of the bachelors that the cutie by his side was already taken. Oh, the righteous indignation displayed by a bundle of feathers! Unfortunately, we had gotten to Arby’s after 5 p.m., which meant the milkshake had cost $2-something instead of $1. The McDonald’s in that town offers free coffee on Mondays with no purchase required. Mom got her free decaf. Then we went to Walmart to pick up some over-the-counter medicines and personal care products that had been ordered online. $20 of the order was covered by Swagbuck’s gift cards. But then we fell off the thrift wagon, hard. We wandered through Walmart, throwing things in the cart, to the tune of $65. $10 of the $65 was for paper products. Another $3.50 was for plants and bird food. We spent $6.70+$51.50 or $58.20 for food during one outing. And we have five more days of this week to go. Oops. We can still keep to the $43/week budget only if we are super scrooges next week to make up for this evening. Fortunately, our cupboards and refrigerator are back to being stuffed. One thing I did do this evening that MIGHT save us quite a bit in the future: I bought both generic and Nabisco graham crackers. Mom thinks she only likes the name brand. I told her that she is going to be doing a side-by-side taste testing with the crackers on plates with the boxes nowhere in sight. I am hoping she won’t be able to tell which is which because she eats a lot of graham crackers.

    I love reading all posts and associated comments and especially look forward to seeing the finished outfits made with the eyelet.

  81. Athanasia,
    Thank you for answering my unasked question…I never thought of the different types of rice. I’m going to look for one.
    Trish

  82. SJ,
    I eat oatmeal almost everyday. Great to know that a rice cooker makes oatmeal as well. Seems versatile…my idea of a good appliance.
    Thank you,
    Trish

  83. Well said, Alaska Gram, this blog is like getting together with friends and I was amazed at how much I missed last week. (BTW, I have fond memories of visiting Anchorage from my teaching experience in Allakaket years ago).

  84. I’m always impressed by your sewing skills Brandy.
    I went to the local salvage grocery store and found blueberries for .83 a pint and strawberries for .66 a pound . I picked up 12 blueberries and 6 strawberries which I cleaned and put in the freezers. I also found turkey Italian sausages for .99 for a 19 Oz package. I removed the casing, fried it up and packaged it up to use for pizzas. I also picked up the free stuff at local grocery store and used the chobani coupon for a free 2 pkg of smooth yogurt. Have a great week everyone!

  85. We also use aspirin on a pimple. Just dissolve an aspirin in the palm of you hand with a few drops of water to make a paste. Cover the pimple and the next morning it’s gone.

  86. In addition to Kim’s idea, real butter only contains trace amounts of lactose; many lactose-intolerant people can tolerate it. All of my children were sensitive to milk, cheese, ice cream, etc in my diet as nursing babies, but butter was never an issue because it is almost all fat.

  87. I want to put in mine even before I have to chance to read everyone else’s, or I am going to forget. Last week a friend from church posted on our facebook group that she had paid for a mosaic workshop for herself & her sister, but her sister had to cancel. She couldn’t get a refund so she wanted someone to go with her. I thought it sounded like fun we attended an all day workshop on Saturday. Muffins and hot coffee, tea, or cocoa were provided when we got there at 10am. After a little instruction we were allowed to choose our projects. I was a little concerned when I saw the projects were priced $70-$100 for the materials, but my friend said she had pre-paid so we got started 🙂 The instructor served a light lunch at 1pm and we worked until 4pm. We even went back a few days later to grout our projects. I am really pleased with my project. I am not usually artistic, so it was really fun to try something new. As a thank you to my friend I made her a little gift basket that included a book that we had discussed while we were working that I had more than one copy of and a loaf of banana bread out of my freezer.

    My other accomplishments are (as usual) centered around the food budget. Whole chickens were on sale for $.88/ lb at the grocery store in the shopping center where my kids take martial arts on Tuesday evening. Tuesday was the last day of the sale and after 5pm any unsold items are marked 50% off, so I purchased 8 for $.44/ lb. I usually cook 2 at a time; we eat one for dinner, I pick off all the meat from both. Usually I can get 2 more meals out of the meat and then I cook the carcasses in the crockpot with the contents of the veggie bag that I keep in the freezer (usually onion skins, limp celery, carrot ends etc) for chicken broth to use in soups.

    The other big sale item was the 50% off beef sale. On $5 Friday this meant 2lbs of tri-tip for $5 (or $2.50/ lb.) This was the price for the whole untrimmed in the bag or the prepackaged trimmed & marinated. The packaged/ marinated tri-tips were not marked, and they were buried under the other pre-packaged meat. They still had their $8.99/ lb price tag on them. Once I found them I requested the meat department re-price them. I took all 9 packages. The packages were between 1.5-2.5 lbs each. I grilled one for lunches this week on sandwiches, in tortillas or on salads. I am looking forward to having these in the freezer for Summer grilling. Several other cuts of beef that were on sale were not available at the time so I got a rain check for London Broil @ $2.39/ lb and beef chuck roast at $2.49/ lb. Usually my preferred price for boneless meat is $1.99/ lb, but I haven’t seen beef at that price in many years. The rain checks allow me to get the sale price over the next 90 days, so I don’t have to make room in my food budget this month, but I can use them one at a time.

    My 20 year old daughter is back home after 2 years at college due to health issues. She is enrolled in a medical assistant program at our local community college and they require her to wear scrubs for several of her lab technique classes. Friday morning is my usual errand day so we combined our usual errands (library, groceries, post office, etc.) with checking out the offerings at 3 different thrift stores. She found 2 pairs of solid scrub bottoms (which she needed to hem because she is 4′ 10″) and 4 different scrub tops to mix & match. All were around $5 each which is more than I like to pay for used clothes, but certainly less than the $15-$30/ piece that could be found on various websites and/ or professional uniform places. They were also better quality than the ones we saw at Walmart for around $10/ piece.

    Husband and youngest daughter spent Friday night & all day Saturday at a youth conference for the youth of our church. At the end of the conference the leaders were asked to take home the extra food. None of the other leaders wanted any of it so husband brought it all home. There was a large Costco pizza, 2 cases of bottled water, 2 unopened veggie trays, a case and 1/2 of bottled water, 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies (also from Costco) and 48 individually wrapped granola bars in a giant pink plastic bucket. The person who brought the granola bars and the plastic bucket didn’t want them. I used the cauliflower & broccoli from the veggie trays to make a big pot of broccoli, potato & cheese soup because I knew my kids would eat those things fresh the way they will eat the carrots, celery, peppers & snap peas. Those veggies have been lunches & snacks with homemade ranch dressing (made with plain yogurt) and homemade hummus. I was asked to bring treats to the kids youth choir activity on Sunday and the Costco cookies worked well for that.

    My daughter who is going to school is also working 2 jobs, so on Tuesday/ Thursday she will work one job from 4am-9am, have classes from 9:30am-3:30pm and then work her second job from 5pm-11pm. I have been trying to keep things that she can grab for quick meals or snacks. The wrapped granola bars will be a treat for her to take instead of buying something.

    Middle daughter is learning to manage some things for herself and has found herself with library fines. She has signed up to volunteer on Saturday to clean the library & repair books for fine forgiveness. I just hope the lesson sticks.

    I had some topical flea prevention medication left over from our 59lb border collie who passed away in 2016 that I didn’t think I could use for our 7lb toy fox terrier. I did a search online and I discovered the correct dose for the smaller dog and I used an empty syringe (no needle) to measure and apply the correct amount. With the 3 monthly doses I had left for the bigger dog lasting about 3 doses each for the little dog I will be saving a considerable amount of money.

    Our youngest needed a consultation with the oral surgeon. He has to have the same oral surgery that his oldest sister had about 10 years ago. At the time husband’s work didn’t pay for dental insurance, now they do. Instead of the surgery costing $1200 it will cost us around $500.

  88. we put everything we can on our credit card that gives us points. We pay it off every month. We usually use it for travel, last year we flew my son home from Washington State. He is in the Army. We usually have money for one ticket a year plus about $600 we cash out in Amazon or Walmart cards.

  89. My husband has a dairy allergy and we eat tons of mashed potatoes. If we have company I do chicken stock with non-dairy butter. If its just us I do soy milk and non-dairy butter. I use these 2 ingredients as substations for milk products all the time.

  90. I used to burn my rice all the time before we got a rice cooker. I like the Aroma brand. We also throw fresh veggies like chopped up asparagus into the cooker with our rice for pilafs, and it steams nicely and adds flavor. I never thought to use it for oatmeal. Great idea!

  91. I grated a bunch of hotel soaps that were given out at the food pantry and made about a quart and half of liquid soap to refill all the empty pumps at the sinks.
    We used a $5 off coupon and a buy one bag get a small bag free of dog food. Both bags of dog food also had coupons on them for free cans of dog food – those went into the BoB for the pets.
    I have continued to bring home all of the bread ends and produce bits from work for my poultry (quail and ducks).
    We used 3 coupons for free Chobani yogurt – which came in very handy as I just got done with a round of antibiotics.
    I came down with acute bronchitis due to getting a face full of smoke off the meat smoker at work. I toughed it out for a week but ended up at the urgent care on a Sunday. Thankfully, since this urgent care is in the same building as my primary doctor, it didn’t cost me anything out of pocket except for the prescription cough med that wasn’t covered. I have inhalant type allergies and have to wear a mask now whenever I do things as simple as change the cat box litter (we have 7 boxes for our 5 cats – and I’m the only one who does it!) or any type of sanding or cleaning out my bird’s coops. Needless to say, I am no longer taking meat off the smoker for the time being!
    I used reclaimed wood to make a raised stand for 5 of the cat boxes. As I get older, it is becoming harder and harder on my back to keep up with them so this will make things easier for me (I won’t ever be without a cat if I can help it 🙂 )
    I planted the bulbs of the green onions that I had trimmed the green stems from for cooking, out in my greenhouse. The chives are already growing fast and I have planted broccoli, peas, lettuce and bunching onion in there as well. I used empty plastic coffee cans for pots and just drilled some drainage holes in the bottom. I also used reclaimed wood from the kid’s swing set and made 2 beds underneath the shelves as well.
    Hubby managed to find and then fix one of the legs of his drone that he uses to take photos for realtors – it got stuck in a tree in our front yard and we had to use our truck to break off the branch to get it down. At least it was in OUR yard and not at a job site! He thinks the power lines running over our front yard interfered with the signal from the controller.
    My hubby picked up a free leather sectional that fits much, much better in the family room. The recliner is also much more comfortable for his back. I am hoping to reuse the wood from the 30+ year old sectional for building and will save the good foam for upholstery projects.
    I mended 2 pairs of jeans (when you have large thighs, the inner thigh areas of jeans wears out long before the rest :/ ), put elastic in another pair, mended one shirt and cut down another 2 that had gotten far to large for me. I am almost done with the pile of projects!
    Hubby found a person who does vehicle repairs as a side business to do the ball joints on his truck. It was about 1/3 the cost of what the repair garage had quoted him.
    I managed to find another can organizer and a basket to match ones I already have for the pantry.
    The birds are all starting to sing their Spring songs 🙂 The Sand-hill Cranes flew over us once last week, the Canada Geese are all making their way back to the area and the Red-winged Blackbirds are singing in the swamp by work but I haven’t seen a Robin or Bluebird yet – and after days of welcomed sun and warmth, we woke up to snow today LOL – Michigan weather, where you’ll get all 4 seasons w/o a 24 hour period!
    Have a great week everyone!

  92. Someone online once told me she buys graham crackers at her dollar store at really amazing prices. I am sure she said they were a name brand. I remember because she bought them regularly for an elderly neighbor, whose name was Mr. Christie. (Apparently even Mr. Christie sometimes needs cookies from a store.)

  93. I also use vegetable or chicken stock to mash potatoes and they taste great so perhaps that is an option.

  94. Ghee (or clarified butter) is often tolerated well by people who can’t tolerate lactose. Easy directions to make it are on the internet, or it can be bought commercially, which I hear is even more allergen-free than the kind made at home. I have some lactose intolerance, but find I can use raw dairy products without the issues of lactose intolerance, although that doesn’t work for everyone.

  95. Brandy and others: GED is not required for financial aid (FAFSA) for home educated students. Home school students receive a high school diploma and have a high school transcript, therefore are high school graduates. GED is for students who have not graduated from high school. All of our children have graduated from our home school and were accepted at state university. Now, all 4 are in university- oldest- PhD Virginia Tech, 2nd- Medical school- Quillen Medical School, Eastern Tennessee State University, 3rd DVM- PhD University of Tennessee Knoxville, 4th- Senior University of Tennessee Martin.
    Please check requirements in your state and with the university your child wants to attend for admission and financial aid requirements. Most admission and financial aid counselors are familiar with home school requirements.

  96. Hi Brandy:

    I love the photos. I can’t wait to see the finished eyelet bodice..is it a Winter project? I love her work. Hopefully you will post about it.

    The answer that was posed by a reader above…the military will not accept homeschool transcripts UNLESS they are affiliated with an online academy that gives a regular diploma and that is case by case. They do accept GEDs but they are not considered as desirable as a high school diploma. There is a work around…if you have college credits those will usually suffice and bump up the recruiting category (for example a GED is recruiting category Bravo but college transcripts can make an applicant an alpha.)

    The school where my son takes piano is offering free 6 week cycles of classes for parents. They are group classes and meet weekly. I’m taking guitar, so I’m pretty excited about that.

    We are fostering a greyhound through a local greyhound rescue. Ours is 23 months old and a failed racer. He came from a track in FL. He is absolutely delightful. Very friendly and loving.

    We had a Nor’Easter last week which took out our 12 foot flagpole. The winds literally snapped the pole at the base. We are expecting a second norEaster tonight and 8-14 inches of snow. 🙁 (I’m tired of snow). March storms here can be crippling because the snow tends to be heavy and wet. My daughters’ school is still without power from the Friday storm. Luckily, they were able to divert the staff and children to another site.

    Years ago, I gave my brother a DNA test as a gift. He spit in the tube, mailed it and lost the log on. In the process of moving his office he found the results which were very surprising. you can read about the results here: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2018/02/the-dna-test/

  97. The white bodice is a dress I made for my daughter’s birthday. Our weather turned cold (we had several frosts after our last frost date, which is unusual, and was odder still as it was in the upper 70’s at the beginning of February). Once the weather is a bit warmer I hope to share several dresses in a post.

    In Nevada, home schools do not operate under an umbrella school (such as in Tennessee, where another reader commented from) so we don’t have an accredited school issuing a diploma as part of the high school. For our eldest, our plan is for her to take the GED. She is also taking several online college classes from an accredited university, which will give her a college transcript for applying to the school of her choice.

  98. Thank you! That looks fun and I am going to show it to my mother. It looks like something she might like to have when visiting the great grandchildren or when they are here. Light enough she could slip it into her tote bag.

  99. Stephanie, I feel your pain! I had a regular cold start the day after Christmas, then 2 weeks later I had 2 good days then came down with what I believe was the flu. I had all symptoms except the fever. Down hard for 2 weeks, coughing for another 2 weeks. Just when I was starting to feel better, I’ve come down with it again, just not as hard. Mostly chest congestion with coughing and fatigue. I think this year’s cold & flu season is the worst I’ve ever seen.

    I am so tired of feeling sick! But I know I could have things a lot worse and know that this too shall pass! Hope you are feeling better soon.

  100. Good for you getting all that food that would’ve been thrown out! I’m always surprised when no one else wants stuff like that. I take it any time I can get it!

  101. I suspect that is the first Frugal Drone Repair comment ever made on this site….
    What proportions of water and soap do you use when making liquid soap from bars? Thank you!

  102. The Marine Corps does not take GED’s. In a light recruiting era like we are in now, GED’s aren’t taken by any of the services. If you get an AA (after your GED) then they will, but just a GED no. In a heavy recruiting cycle (think after 9/11) the requirement change and GED’s are taken (except by the Marine Corps).

  103. I love reading this blog. We have been financially negative for the last 3months. We had high hopes of this year being different, but we are feeling broken right now. We are trying our best and both work full-time, but things are not good financially. We are having to be very frugal.

  104. I have never posted my frugal accomplishments so this is a first for me. Last week it was time to order checks. I noted that there was an easy online order form that would save a trip to the branch. After typing all of our information in, the order would be thirteen dollars more than the last order I placed. I decided to wait and ask at the local branch if it would be cheaper for them to order for me. When I handed the teller the form, she told me they had a new much cheaper company and they would order them for me. Total savings ended up being $28! We also practiced frugality by eating more at home, using up leftovers, and not shopping unnecessarily. I found chicken breast on sale and purchased two packages to break into smaller servings. I now have six different meal portions in the freezer.

  105. I never thought to cover up plants to help them grow faster! I used to start seeds in plastic baggies with moist paper towels, but they always were shocked during transplant. I’ll have to give that a go. 🙂

    This week:

    1. I’m having surgery in a few days and planned as much money-saving measures as I could. I stocked up on soups and smoothies so I could independently feed myself while recovering. I really didn’t buy much for the actual recovery. I questioned tons of people who had the procedure done so I’d know what I could and couldn’t go without. It’s always funny how we tend to over-prepare by buying things. Information saves you money. 🙂

    2. I’m drinking homemade kombucha right now. It’s a great way to build my immune system and have a nice, refreshing afternoon drink.

    3. We’re going on two trips later this year. I used a discounted gift card site to buy airline gift cards at a discounted rate. We saved $60 alone doing this. I also put the charges on our 2.5% cashback rewards credit card. All in all, we’ll see a 10% discount. It’s not huge or anything, but it adds up.

    4. We’ve been very good about eating homemade meals and snacks over the last few weeks. Woohoo!

    5. Our garden is also growing! We have several types of lettuce, beans, butternut squash, melons, cucumbers, okra, green onions, cilantro, chives, catnip, lemon trees, and an herb garden. Everything is still small now, but in a few weeks I’m sure we’ll be inundated with produce. And that’s a good problem to have. 😉

  106. Stephanie,

    I am so sorry to hear that things are negative for you right now. Is there anything else that you can cut? Even tiny cuts add up to something for which you don’t have to go into the negative. Can you eat from your pantry and freezers and not go shopping right now? Can you visit a food pantry to help round out what you have in your pantry? Can you sell items that you are no longer using, perhaps through Craig’s List or a local Facebook group? Are there family members who could help you for a bit in any way? Can you find more ways to reduce your utility usage?

    I know it may seem like you have cut everything. My husband and I have found there is always something more that we can cut, even when it seems impossible to cut more. Ofttimes the cuts are tiny, but they add up to be a lot when put all together, and they often make the difference to keeping things in the positive.

    I hope things improve for you soon.

  107. I can’t remember the last time I entered an update. It seems like about 2 months. Just been busy.

    We have done all the usual of mending, recycling, using up leftovers, cooking and baking at home, hanging laundry to dry, composting. We used the wood burning stove for supplemental heat…the wood is sourced from our tree lots, scrap from husband’s carpentry business, nut shells.

    Husband traveled to our younger son’s town to get in on the sturgeon spearing for a day with Markus and his friends. I sent them along hot coffee, ice water, meat and cabbage turnovers, peanut butter cookies and brownie bites (brownies made in mini muffin pans) for their lunch and snacks.

    In the last couple months we attended 3 funerals each time making a donation to their memorial to the church. Attended one baby dedication of grand niece on husband’s side. Visited one family after birth of their baby (5th), part of my husband’s extended family who have been relocating to our state. We took them 3 loaves of cranberry orange bread, 2 with nuts and one without. We found a pretty plaque with Psalm 91:11 For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. It had a floral trim on it of violets and lily of the valley so that would be good for over a little girl’s bed. They named her Mary Clare. We attended the Love banquet at church, a fund raiser for the youth group. I gave them a 25 bag of rice that they needed for one of their recipes.

    Oh, ran out of time…

  108. Once I remember when a price rang up wrong, according to the shelf listed price, I told the cashier, so she had one of the young guys check it out. He came back and said “”No, that’s right.” I said “Really?” as the reason I got it was the price I had seen. He said, “Come, I’ll show you.” That should have been a clue right there! Sure enough it was the computer price. Hmmmm. I think he was one of the people who are supposed to keep such things updated and did a quick switch so he didn’t get in trouble.

  109. I noticed in some online photos there were baskets to be filled with veggies and put on the rice while cooking. Have you a rice cooker like this, or do you just mix the veggies in?

  110. Thanks for your kind reply. We have been eating from our pantry and freezer. It is about gone. I hope to have enough this week to do a small bit of shopping. I am going to gather unused household items and try to sell them. We are also going to see what else we can cut down on.

  111. *I really don’t know exactly what amount of each there were – maybe a 1 cup of soap and I just dumped a couple cups of hot water on it and let it get gooey and then whisked it, adding more boiling water as I went until I had the right consistency.
    *Drones are still very new to the general population – racing drones are for the young to fly….way too fast for old eyes but the drone he uses is made for taking good photos and videos. He has a pilots license already (not current, but you never lose it unless the FAA actually takes it away) so getting a commercial drone license was not difficult for him. There have been some “bumps in the road” with the rules and regulations but he has followed all the rules so he can call the control tower at the international airport and is allowed to fly with in the 5 mile radius (until some idiot ruins it by trying to fly into a plane…..). We have had the police called on us once but the officer just informed the person that as long as WE were on public property (this was a business), we were allowed to fly the DRONE anywhere we wanted……and as he went to get into his cruiser, he told us “by the way, the sidewalk is public property” LOL Like I said, he follows all the rules (and has watched many videos of interactions with law enforcement) so we don’t run into any problems.

  112. Lilli, Libby’s comment about her tv being $10 a month of vampire power really made me think. I don’t know what size tv she has, but for that much money, it would be worth me switching to a power strip within just a couple of months.

    I did a bit of searching online about vampire power costs and I found this chart that might help you lower your electric bill from vampire costs: http://www.savewithsrp.com/advice/appliance/energyvampires.aspx

    I realized I never thought about turning off my router and modem at night after seeing this chart. That would be helpful!

  113. Lilli,
    I think you said before that you are in Washington state. I was thinking that perhaps you would qualify for weatherization help because of your income level. That would make your house more energy efficient and help you save money on your electric bill as well. Here is what I found for getting help in Washington state: http://www.commerce.wa.gov/growing-the-economy/energy/weatherization-and-energy-efficiency/
    If you are elsewhere, you can search for your state name and low income energy assistance, and then look for weatherization programs.

    Another thought would be to start changing out your lightbulbs to LED bulbs. Your dollar store may even carry them. Start replacing them slowly as you are able to, starting with the rooms where you use the lights the most frequently. This should significantly reduce your lighting costs. Your weatherization assistance/energy assistance program may provide lightbulbs as well; they may be flourescents (but LEDS will use even less power).

  114. The USAF can and will accept homeschool students. They just have to be graduates This was the case 20 years ago when I enlisted and after talking with those I served with it is still the same. As the parent, you issue your child a high school diploma and give a transcript if the recruiter requests it. If your state does not allow for that then they’ll need a diploma from whatever approved homeschool program your state has. If the homeschool student gets a GED it makes it a lot harder for the recruiters to get them in. Other branches of the military have similar rules.

  115. I echo fellow readers in that I wait for the blog and it gives me incredible joy to read everyone’s thoughts and ideas
    Stephanie I felt terrible that you are having such a hard time and struggling so now
    Love reading everyone’s thoughts and sharing how you do things to save money, get thru hard situations, share information that helps one another
    Thank you Brandy for such great writing and a wonderful place to come

  116. I hate to waste food, and it was delicious! There were over 200 people at the church event. If think 10 people took home stuff. Some of it was never even opened. I’m happy to be the one that took it home. I brought a tray with me to work the next day and my coworkers ate it all. I did keep all of the beer though. I rarely buy it but my husband will happily drink it.

  117. I am sorry you are going thru this. Stay strong. Tell everyone you know that you are happy to take any food such as leftovers from events or just expired canned/boxed food. I have gotten so much over the years because everyone knows that I’ll take it. I have been given food when people have passed away or moved out of town. A friend cleaned out her pantry and found expired stuff. I took it(pasta does not go bad). I have gotten things from free tables at garage sales. I also forage. We have tons of raspberries and mulberries on public property near me so I pick away. Friends and family give me their uncut pumpkins . I just cooked my last one. You have to let people know otherwise it doesn’t work. We are all praying for you. Good luck!

  118. It’s good to see you back! Here are our accomplishments for the last fortnight.

    [list]
    We combined errands whenever possible and made sure to take our reusable water bottles. Unfortunately, mine broke but my husband spotted an affordable replacement a few days later.
    [/list]

    [list]
    Most meals were made at home, using up leftovers and odd bits. I usually only meal-plan for dinners but we are going away for six weeks at the end of the month. So in an effort to use up most food, I made a plan for the month including all meals and drink options. This also saved hugely on this month’s grocery shop as minimal ingredients were needed. I stumbled across clearance bread and meat which further reduced costs.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I ran a quick empty dishwasher cycle to disinfect it with vinegar.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We started saving brown packing paper to use as gift wrap.
    [/list]

    [list]
    The air-conditioner was on for 12 hours total and the ceiling fan ran three nights.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I claimed reimbursements for work-related fuel expenses and also got reimbursed for my volunteer work.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I had defrosted some meat but then our plans changed and we were not going to use it in time. I cooked it to prolong its lifespan so we could use it later.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We had our monthly dates in the last week of February and the first week of March so that was a little expensive. But the yearly arts festival is on and we love it! One week we had entrées only and shared a dessert, then saw a comedy show on the 50% off day. We also walked there for half an hour to avoid parking fees. The next week we used a 25% voucher for our meal and I had gifted my husband tickets to a show for his birthday.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We continue to deliver catalogues every week and pick up all recycling bottles we encounter on our walk.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I borrowed a garment steamer from my MIL to avoid paying for the dry cleaner.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We are taking full advantage of our new private health insurance and have enjoyed minimal payments at the dentist and podiatrist this fortnight.
    [/list]

    [list]
    Our friends asked for our help when moving house. As a thank-you, they bought dinner and we took home some leftovers.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I had a manicure and pedicure at home.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I had to pay for an expensive bridesmaid dress but in turn, my friend bought lunch to sweeten the deal. 😉
    [/list]

    [list]
    My husband was expected to bring a treat into work on his birthday and wanted to buy something as we were low on baking ingredients. But I got creative and used a lot of substitutions to whip up some cupcakes that were well received. I also made his favourite treat – lime jelly and custard – using custard powder on hand.
    [/list]

    [list]
    My in-laws invited us to their place for my husband’s birthday dinner and sent us home with leftovers.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I picked up free plums, nectarines, pears, lemons, spring onions, chilli, sage and cherry tomatoes from our local produce carts.
    [/list]

    [list]
    It was time to soak all towels and tea towels in bleach and stain remover for a day, then wash them at 90°C to extend their life span. I do this every few months and it helps so much.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We were lucky and found our niece’s Easter present at the thrift store. I also found a bird-print dress to wear to a zoo-themed hen’s day, happy days!
    [/list]

    [list]
    I only bought needed household items, pharmacy items and gifts, put back “wants” and mostly window-shopped.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I have been a bit more spendy with my personal allowance lately and have felt bad. But when I added it up, it was still a reasonably moderate amount and my husband reminded me that this is exactly what our allowances are for.
    [/list]

    [list]
    My husband worked in the yard instead of paying someone although I’m sure he thought about doing that. 😉
    [/list]

    [list]
    We have gotten a lot better at running our dishwasher and washing machine at the cheapest times even though it is a bit more inconvenient.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I did find a container of spoilt home-made yoghurt in the fridge. It is only a small loss but food waste is my pet peeve…
    [/list]

    [list]
    I’m trying to get into the habit of sweeping our tiled floors instead of vacuuming and am slowly getting better at remembering.
    [/list]

    [list]
    All washing was air-dried, warm-up water saved so soak dishes and many Ziploc bags cleaned and reused.
    [/list]

    The last while has felt more spendy but I can’t exactly pin-point why. It has me motivated to try and see if we can cut back somewhere or if it’s just my mindset that makes me feel we’re spending more.

  119. Stephanie, I’m sorry you are having such a hard time financially right now. Brandy had some great ideas, but I thought I’d add another suggestion. Is there any way you can barter for some of the things you need. Perhaps a friend, family member or co-worker who is going on vacation and would be willing pay you or trade you some food supplies for watching their home/pets while they are gone. Or perhaps someone is moving and could really use your help. Being present when someone is moving can put you in a position to pick up all sorts of goodies for free! Or maybe you or your husband has a skill or talent that you can use to make a bit of extra cash on the side. I know it’s tough when both of you work full time. So look for “one off” job opportunities that only take up only a few hours of your time. Even a little bit of irregular cash flow can help with buying some groceries or paying off a bill.

    Is there a bartering or free-cycle group in your area? You might be able to trade items you don’t need for things you do need, like food (Margaret, one of the regular commenters does this all the time). Perhaps someone is offering free food or the opportunity to glean free food in your area. Also, if you have specific needs, don’t be afraid to put out the word you are looking for it. For instance, if you desperately need a new piece of furniture or more canning jars, let people know. Sometimes a friend or co-worker has a family member who is moving (or passed away) and they need to get rid of household items or they just have stuff in their basement/garage collecting dust. Often they are willing to giving it away, so they don’t have to deal with it anymore. It’s amazing what you might be able to pick up for free, if people know you need it.

    When everything seems just too overwhelming, remember to breath…it does help! It may take time to find people to barter with, so keep looking for those opportunities even if they don’t present themselves at first. As for changing your financial situation, the year isn’t done yet, so there is still time to get it headed the right direction.

  120. Stephanie, you don’t have to answer this, but are you just struggling through a bad situation (medical bills, etc.), or are you in so deep you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel? If you don’t have a plan to end this, perhaps it is time to make one, and implement it. Go to the library and get Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover.” Read it and start!

    Do you have a budget? (I know, it’s the dreaded “B” word). When you plan your budget, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can make big cuts right off the bat. In other words, if you are spending $600 for groceries, don’t think you can do it for $100…just because Brandy does! Maybe you can later, but not now. Write down realistic figures for necessities and then look for other places to cut. For instance, there is hardly an adult in America who couldn’t go for a year or more without buying new clothes. Do you eat out? Don’t. Cook all of your meals, and pack lunches for everyone. Don’t pay anyone for things you can do yourself. Reduce your budget to cover housing, utilities, food and transportation to work until things improve (a lot!).

    Let me tell you what I just did. We are old retired people and satellite TV has been a big part of my DH’s entertainment. We moved recently. I dropped our landline phone and newspaper delivery (because they wouldn’t deliver the paper this far out in the sticks) and moved from satellite to streaming TV. These steps saved about $1,000 per year right off the bat! As I have fine-tuned our streaming package, I’ve saved another $20 month, or $200 a year. Just by making these changes ONCE (well, twice, if you count the fine-tuning) we are saving $100 a month.

    Try to avoid contracts. Streaming is a month-to-month thing, no contracts. (Plus there are lots of free channels). Also, both DH and I have prepaid cell service–Tracfone for him (he uses about $8-$10 a month) and Straight Talk for me ($45 month unlimited). Resist the impulse to sign a new contract (or extend the one you already have) to get a phone upgrade. (Nothing is ever free). If we ever had to cut back to one phone, or no phones, we could do it because we don’t have contracts.

    I guess what I am saying is to get to the root cause of your problem and take steps to resolve it. The other ideas you have been given will help. Brandy is right–there are always things you can do, and the little things really do add up.

  121. Thank you! I have seen some fascinating drone-taken photos, very much gives a different view of the ordinary.

  122. That’s interesting. I did take a picture of the shelf price before I went to customer service, glad I did after reading your post.

  123. If you have a college or university nearby, you could host students or visiting faculty. Both pay fairly well and your tenants would be pre-screened. I was a host family to foreign exchange students for years and loved the experience. The school handled all of the money from the student and paid money into my checking account as I earned it. After expenses like food for the extra student, I made about $500/month.

  124. Holly,
    Is there any way you can purchase generic grahm crackers and just put them in the nabisco box?

  125. Rhonda,
    Thanks for all the great ideas. We are going to try some of these suggestions. It seems like many people in our area are struggling. I am praying it will change soon.

  126. Thank you Maxine. We had a few bills that took too much out of the bank as well as having to help a family member with their house payment. We got really in deep and behind. We have cut our grocery budget down and are looking at cutting our cellphone bill down. We have already gotten rid of cable and put an antenna up.

    We haven’t made a budget in a while, so we plan on doing that, as well as making menus.

  127. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished lace bodice that you are making!

    We just got back from a not-so-cheap vacation (although we tried to save money whenever possible), so I’ll be trying to save lots of money in the upcoming weeks. The first thing I did this morning was pay off all the credit cards we charged while on vacation (we use credit cards strategically to collect the cash back bonuses and I normally pay them off daily, but that wasn’t possible while on vacation). I hand dried two loads of dishes from the dishwasher. I hung up two loads of laundry to air dry and, of course, I washed them in cold water. I made a huge batch (about a gallon) of marinara sauce from scratch to go with the meatballs I’m making tomorrow. Yesterday I made a batch of washing soda in my toaster oven from baking soda (I use the washing soda instead of dishwasher detergent).

  128. Ladies, thanks for all your help . There are multiple items connected in the entertainment center in the family room. I actually have no idea what the kids are using in there. The tv in my room runs pretty much constantly. I am going to check out all the plugs tomorrow and buy power strips as needed. I think I need two and remember seeing some at one of our local outlets. I hadn’t really thought much about the bulbs because when I moved in in 2014, I installed LED’s. It appears that sugar cookies autistic young friend has exchanged them all out. I can’t really explain that other than light bulbs are one of his things …. I used the chart that Brandy linked to and was amazed at the vampire usage. These bills are horrible. My 18.00 of actual water usage came to 70.00 to pay with added fees. If I cut back any more, I am going to have to take my kids to the local park to shower in the water sprinklers.

  129. Stephanie, my husband fell on the job in Dec 2016, started getting Workmans Compensation benefits in January 2017 which were just a fraction of his pay. He kept telling the doctors that he hurt in his groin/hip but they kept insisting it was his back. He told them he knew back pain and it wasn’t his back. In May 2017 he had an MRI with contrast which showed he had a broken hip. They said he didn’t hurt it in the accident and in October 2017 they sent a check for one weeks benefits and we received a letter the next day stating he was able to work. Of course he couldn’t with a broken hip!
    I have fibromyalgia and a terrible back due to being rear ended in 2009 so my husband wanted me to take care of our home and he’d work. I’ve tried baking for a restaurant, paid good but I’d be flat on my back for days afterwards. Anyway we were left with no income, I paid what bills I could and bought a few groceries with what was left. We dropped cable, internet, decreased auto insurance, turn lights off, unplug appliances, etc. Thankfully outright vehicles are paid off and a few years ago we refinanced our mortgage for a lower monthly rate. We applied for and received SNAP for the second time in our 27 years of marriage. We also got Medicaid so he had hip replacement surgery on January 27th and have a lawyer for his Workmans Comp claim issue and to have Medicaid paid back. His doctor said his hip was the worst he’s ever seen in his career. My husband is only 48 years old.
    I racked my brain to figure out a way to make money and started babysitting one child, next week I will have the limit you are allowed. I am able to pay bills, buy my daughter clothes that she needed, buy food, etc. I work 7 days a week, keep children later than others do and even keep children overnight. I live in a small community so that helps because I know most people or a family member or friend. I made myself available for when people needed childcare. I remember how hard it can be to get safe, reliable and convenient childcare when I worked a crazy schedule. I pray you find something that will help bring you some relief soon.

  130. We have been working hard to minimize our expenses each month. We had to do some things to our house, so we are trying to offset that cost a bit. A client is also behind on paying my husband for the work he did, so we are having to deal with a reduced income for awhile. We’re eating out of the freezer a lot. We were invited to a dinner party and I made green beans to take – which we already had in our pantry from the garden this summer. People really seem to enjoy when I bring things from the garden. We also still have a lot of butternut squash that is still good. We’ll keep eating that stuff. For suppers for March, the only thing I needed to buy was lettuce. Later this month, I’ll probably plant the first of my lettuce and then we’ll have it all summer.

    My online store made an extra $1000 last month, which will help our household income – we’ll probably apply it to the mortgage. We also kept our gas budget lower last month. I’m not really sure how, but we did.

    Today, I was sick and didn’t go to work. It saved us gas. I am thankful to have a job that gives me paid sick days each year.

  131. So happy to see this post!! I missed it. I am glad you found a way to post while waiting for your new computer.
    I took the leaf out of my kitchen table and switched it’s location with my hutch to try to warm up my freezing kitchen. I don’t care for this arrangement, but it will only be for a little while longer. Since it is just the 3 of us the leaf will stay out of the table unless we need it.
    We ate all meals at home and took all lunches and snacks with us as needed. I had minimal food waste. I continued to track my grocery spending. My Feb. total was $182.71 and I was able to stock up on several things that will last a month or more.
    I combined all errands when I had to be out anyway and stayed home as much as possible saving money and gas.
    I’ve been turning the thermostat down during the day when I’m home alone, doing full loads of laundry and full loads of dishes at night in the dishwasher.

  132. Stephanie. You might consider reaching out to local services (Catholic Social Services for example – they are not for Catholics only and I know a lot of communities have social and/or faith based social relief agencies). They can provide access to food banks and other resources. They also might have financial counseling for assisting in setting up budgets, etc. It sounds like you’ve done a lot to address the issues you are facing. It is also important to remember to do self care. One of the things I absolutely love about Brandy and the incredible people who post and comment is that while facing adversity and sometimes almost overwhelmingly difficult situations they also find ways to take care of themselves and help those they love to think of self care. A cup of tea, a borrowed book or movie (keep the focus on the positive and uplifting!), wearing clothes that please them, spend time with a friend or family member are positive and supportive – these can help so much. And especially for you and your spouse to do together. Sometimes during my darkest days since I’ve discovered this blog I’ve returned here to read past posts and then catch up with new events. Brandy’s blog is truly a light when there is darkness and one feels broken. These amazing people feel like friends and when they lift you up they truly do so! Take care!

  133. Not really my frugal accomplishment but my sons. He just paid off nearly $22,000 worth of student loans in three and a half years! Every spare cent of his money went to this including all of his tax returns for the past few years. I am so proud of him!!!

  134. Yes, yes, yes! Do NOT go the GED route. It IS CONSIDERED A DETRIMENT …

    My eldest is graduating in May with a Liberal Arts Associates Degree and he was homeschooled all the way through high school. Your daughter needs a homeschool transcript and and test scores (ACT, SAT, etc). My son is fluent in French and will continue his education after his mission. He will be leaving at the beginning of June and will be learning a 3rd language.

    The military also accepts a homeschool transcript.

  135. Just as a bit of warning, we had our house weatherized in 2010. They did it so well that now it is TOO tight. We no longer have enough ventilation. It was a free program, but they refused to come back and fix it, saying we simply had too many people living in the house. We have 5 people in 944 sq ft with a full basement and two bathrooms so I don’t know if this is true, but the people we bought the house from were a family of four. Our gas and electric bills are great but we get a lot of condensation on windows and mold in some corners and closets that I have to constantly stay on top of in the Winter. We tried to use a dehumidifier but sadly it didn’t make much difference. We use exhaust fans whenever we can.

  136. Vickie, your comment about Marigolds reminded that there is a beautiful little girl that attends my church whose name is Marigold. I think that is such a pretty name!

  137. Thank you momsav. We actually have a similar plaque, same verse, but with the picture of a sleeping baby. We received it when our first daughter was born.

  138. That is fantastic! It is nice when we see our kids being smart and doing the frugal thing. It helps me to not worry about their future. I know that no matter what happens, they will be ok financially.

  139. We installed LED in our most used lights and found our light bill decreased by $11.00 a month! We live Oregon and I went to the Energy Trust of Oregon website and filled out a survey. They sent 8 LED canned light bulbs that we have in our kitchen and 8 or 10 LED regular bulbs along with shower heads. It saved us so much money and I still can’t believe how much it decreased our light bill! Maybe Washington (if that is where you live) has something similar.

  140. Cindy, this problem can become very severe. I refrained from adding extra insulation to my home when I rewired it. My house was a foreclosure that I purchased and I did all the work to it by myself. The condensation in the attic can build up and cause a great deal of structural damage . Wood and drywall will rot out and the costs can be massive. The mildew and mold are also dangerous and it grows like crazy. Perhaps someone could check the issue and a fan in the attic may help. There are many sites that address this issue. I hope you find a good solution. I use to inspect houses for reverse loans when they needed a structural engineer letter. I saw this problem often.

  141. We had a great week this past week! We did all our usual frugal things (hanging laundry, cooking at home, free entertainment, etc.), but we also put in an offer on the land we want, and it was accepted! So, now we just have to do the closing stuff and begin moving forward in earnest with selling our current home. Such huge steps, being that we thought our current home was our forever home! But super exciting too!

    Here’s the rest of our accomplishments, including buying birthday presents on the cheap:
    https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2018/03/frugal-accomplishments-first-week-of.html?_sm_au_=isV5Tq2323vVN776

  142. Thanks! We ended up paying more than we wanted for the land, so we’re really trying to make up for it by selling a lot on Craigslist and eBay. We need to clean out a lot anyway, so it’s good extra incentive.

  143. Stephanie, I just had two to mention that seemed different from all the good suggestion that you already received here.

    1) Is there a payment plan set up for the return of the funds you leant to a relative?

    2). Have you contacted your churchpastorelder board re your difficulties? I would think most churches would have a benevolent fund that they could draw from, either as a loan or direct gift. Also, we keep an unlocked food pantry, no questions asked, at church for the use of members and for non member youth group families.

  144. A couple years back, the center I volunteer at was donated some ground cherries. I made jelly out of them and the kids said it tasted just like grape jelly. Make sure to pit them.

  145. The laws on drones must vary somewhat by state, since ours are not the same as yours. Since I consider someone flying a drone over my home & back yard to be more than slightly intrusive, I am glad I live where I do.

  146. I am so glad you are back up, Brandy! When I get time, I love reading up on everyone’s frugal ways. It inspires me!! Here’s my last 2 weeks:
    #1- Ate out of the freezer and pantry- only went to store for milk, eggs, fresh veggies and fruit and a few free items. Simply we ate a lot of left-overs. freebies from grocery store= 6 containers of yogurt, 5 lb bag of potatoes. Gifted an orange, 2 apples and 2 bananas.
    Sold 5 things on EBay. Used that money to buy a gift card thru Swagbucks (got points) for a late bday gift for myself- went thru the vendor site on Swagbucks and got more added points to account.
    A beloved uncle passed and I bought a gc thru Swagbucks again (added points). The arrangement was a variety of flowers/plants that could be divided up between family and replanted in his memory. Split the cost of the gc between my siblings and got some cash back.
    Received more really good coupons in snail mail from Kroger for being a loyal customer.
    I am really loving the 5lb veggie box subscription I ordered from a company in Durham every other week. They take the “unsellable” stuff from farmers around the state and resell at a big fraction and the monies go to chartable organizations. I get veggies I wouldn’t normanlly buy and love looking for new recipes to make.
    Gifted some KFC for Sunday lunch.
    Added 45-50 items on Ebay while the site had no fees for a couple of days.
    #2- Decided to cut time at Reality for cooking every week due to I need to have time for myself.
    Bought a gc from Swagbucks for a birthday in the family. Got points added to account and they were having a double day so I got 2x of points.
    Sold 4 items on Ebay.
    Made a bulk mix for pancakes- then made a bulk supply of cooked pancakes to have on hand and in freezer. All the ingredients were in the pantry from a previous stock up trip where store had good prices and I had coupons and used my rebate apps to save more money.
    Gifted free laundry soap from MIL. She has a subscription to get a 10lb box every month and they don’t use it all before it comes again. It is an environment safe and allergy free one and the WHOLE family shares it.
    Used what I had in fridge, freezer and pantry for meals. Made a fully loaded cauliflower soup (bacon, cheese, etc.) in the Instant Pot. Ate on it for a couple of days with salad stuff left over from my 5lb veggie box.
    Worked a lot this past week. Took meals to work instead of buying them at the snack bar.
    Made homemade pizza while we watched the ACC games. All the snacks came from my “free” items from grocery store I have been saving up.
    Grocery Freebies= free big bag of popcorn, a bunch of bananas, (which I divided up and froze to use in baking and sliced some to take the place of ice cream with/topped them with chocolate hard shell syrup.) a few more containers of yogurt, a candy bars and a bottle of electrolyte drink (stocking up for sick days), 2 boxes of elbow mac and 2 Larabars.
    Have a blessed week!!

  147. Hi Brandy. My daughter worked in her University’s financial aid office for four years. She states that it’s best to check with the financial aid office regarding parameters for applying for grants. Here is the link for FAFSA that clearly outlines their acceptance of GED, Diploma or completed home schooling. https://fafsa.gov/help/fftoc03a.htm
    As a mother I recommend looking on Amazon and text book rental sites instead of buying text books out right. Will save you thousands!!!

  148. Brandy thank you for the link to the energy vampire site. It is very interesting. Something to note is his calculations for annual savings are based on 10 cents per kilowatt. My average kilowatt cost last year was 23.2 cents.

    I also should be clear that when I put the TV onto a strip several years ago, I also put: an older VCR, a DVD player, a Wii and an Xbox. Combined the savings was almost $10 per month.

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