Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Week of 2016

I enjoyed plenty of fresh air this week as I worked in the garden, planting the bulbs that I ordered back in June that have been prechilling in my refrigerator since October. 

I trimmed some bushes and used some of the clipped pieces to (hopefully!) start some new bushes by pulling off the bottom leaves and sticking them in the ground. I’ve rooted new plants in the past by doing this. (It takes 4-5 years to have a full-sized plant this way).

I decided to make some changes to part of the white garden. In the winter the garden is in full shade (for months)  and in summer the hot sun has been burning plants to a crisp. My original plan for that part of the garden is not working well as the plants I put there are dying in our intense summer sun and 110º+ temperatures. I went to the nursery and bought some new plants for the garden on sale–some annuals that will last for 5 months and a few bushes on sale. I still need several more bushes for this area, but they did not have enough in stock. I’ll watch for when they have more and purchase them on sale. In the next few months, the nursery usually mails out several $10 off coupons, so I’ll combine those with sales to purchase the remaining bushes as they become available.

I went through Ebates to get cash back on a purchase I made through Overstock. I signed up for Overstock’s email to get a 10% coupon to use on my purchase. When I checked my email, they sent a 12% coupon! I used that to make my purchase and I will get 2% cash back through Ebates.

Green Earrings and Bracelet The Prudent Homemaker

I made myself a new pair of earrings using some inexpensive findings I had and some beads I bought years ago at a garage sale. These match the bracelet I made for myself in September.

I cut iceberg roses from the garden for the house. I’ve left a few buds on to finish opening to cut next week when I started pruning the roses back this week.

I cooked a turkey which we enjoyed for several meals.

We’re having a simple celebration at home this evening, playing a card game while the children are asleep.

 

What did you do to save money for the last week of 2016?

 

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52 Comments

  1. I have been using the timed cycle on my dryer and then setting my kitchen timer since my laundry room is not inside my house. I am hoping that will make a difference on the gas and electric bills.
    We were able to get my husband’s sodas for 38¢ each combining sales and coupons. We only bought 4. We also got small oranges for 10¢ each. only bought 20 but if they are good, I will go back for more. I don’t have a lot of room in my fridge for them, but I think they will be okay in my back room that we don’t heat.
    Using our fuel points, we got gas for both vehicles and our lawn mower jug for $1.09 per gallon! We got a month’s worth of gas for 1/2 of budgeted gas money.
    I found a recipe for cornbread that I want to try but since DH doesn’t eat cornbread and I don’t want to freeze 3/4 of a pan, I am trying to figure out how to just use half. How do you half an egg?

  2. We had a great week. We did lots of activities with the kids at the beginning of the week, spent one evening with friends, and then spent a lot of time at home during the last part of the week. During those days, we rested a lot, and spent time cleaning and organizing as well.

    I did a lot of cooking from my pantry this week and worked on some projects. I wrote about it on my blog: https://wordpress.com/post/beckyathome.wordpress.com/6392

  3. I went to a half off sale at Volunteers of America (thrift store) and bought some beautiful cloth napkins rings and cloth napkins to replace my homemade ones. Also bought some books for 30 cents each. In our area, VOA has 50 percent off everything on the last Tuesday of every month, which I love!

    Another frugal thing I did was save our Christmas tree to feed to the goats.

  4. Hello Brandy and everyone and happy New Year 🙂 .

    Our frugal accomplishments for the last part of 2016 were to –

    – Collect more leaves to mulch our garden beds with instead of buying hay.
    – Collected enough leaves to mulch 4 x 5 metre rows in our largest vegetable bed and mulched 1 strawberry patch.
    – Trench composted half a 5 metre garden bed with saved kitchen vegetable scraps.
    – Planted another 5mt row of sweet corn seed.
    – Transplanted basil seedlings from pots to our tomato garden bed.
    – Supplement watered our vegetable seedlings in the garden beds with rain water as we are on water restrictions.
    – Harvested corn, cherry tomatoes, beetroot and beans from the gardens.
    – Purchased 2 pairs of needed sandals on Boxing Day sales for $10 for both pairs saving $12.
    – Went to purchase DH’s favourite Eau De Cologne and they were out of stock so got a raincheck on them at the same 50% off sale price next time I go into town and will pick them up then.
    – Used solar lanterns to light the home at night rather than using mains powered lights.

  5. You can scramble & put half in a ice cube tray. Once frozen, you can pop out & keep cube in a ziptop baggy until a recipe needs or you cook up scrambled eggs. I don’t know how long it’s good for in freezer, but we never went more than a month without using them anyways. We do this with eggs nearing “date” or on steep discount sales so that we don’t lose them/waste $

  6. Happy New Year everyone!
    Kitchen:
    We cooked meals from food we had in the pantry/cupboards/fridge/freezers and ate at home. My husband brought home a free pizza from work that no one wanted.
    Sliced and froze clearance bananas for smoothies so they wouldn’t go to waste.
    I did go to the grocery store once but only purchased clearance vegetables and fruits, my husband’s favorite soda using a great sale and coupons, and freezer bags using a sale and coupons. (Family Dollar now has online coupons – smart coupons- you create an account, load the coupons to your account, and put your phone number in at checkout. Easy Peasy and I don’t have to purchase a Sunday paper 🙂 )

    I made bread twice, powdered milk to mix with half a jug of whole milk, pancakes, fried potatoes and hotdogs, homemade scalloped potatoes and ham, among other things.

    Water
    filled sink halfway when doing dishes
    did not turn the faucets on all the way, just a low flow, when rinsing dishes, washing potatoes etc.
    used egg boiling water to water my houseplants (after it cooled)
    used leftover water from cups at night to fill the animal’s water dish
    only ran the washer when it was full

    Electricity
    kept all lights off if not in that room
    made sure to unplug everything that was not being used (an extra lamp in the living room, chargers, the dryer, etc)
    line dried most loads of laundry. My husband washed and dried one load in the dryer ( he won’t use the drying racks) and I put one dark load in for 20 minutes to remove the animal hair then finished drying on the racks.
    Used the battery operated lights in the bathroom rather than the electric light most of the time

    Miscellaneous
    Not frugal but I had two job interviews this past week! One company does document scanning for the Veteran’s Department and data entry and the other for Probation and Parole agent 🙂 I have a good feeling that I will get one of these! Staying positive and saying prayers.

    For now my daughter and I get health insurance from the state (until I get one of those above mentioned jobs 🙂 ). I had to send in our financial paperwork for a review so I took the envelope to get weighed so I wouldn’t waste stamps/money.

    I earned .13 cents back with Walmart savings catcher (I had to buy printer ink to print several documents to take with me for my interview with Probation and Parole as the library was closed)

    I had 5 days off from work and except for my interviews and 1 store trip I stayed home. I got some cleaning and decluttering projects done that have been on my list for awhile and rested. My husband was able to pick up some more hours at his job to make up for me being off.

    I downloaded a free book to my kindle
    I received 3 free magazines in the mail
    I watered down our shampoo when it reached the halfway empty point. It works better now than at full strength!
    I make sure to use my measuring cups and spoons to avoid over use of products (dish soap, laundry soap, fabric softener, etc).
    The coupons I mentioned using above were printed from swagbucks so I should receive 10 points per coupon.
    That’s all I can remember. I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Blessings to everyone in this new year!

  7. Happy New Year, Everyone. I hope you are are very blessed this coming year.
    We, too, had a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, which we liked. I watched the Call the Midwife Christmas Special, streaming it from PBS.Org.
    I made chocolate pudding from some milk that was starting to turn. I had purchased a bag of lemons before Christmas, intending to make lemon bars, but changed my mind. The lemons were starting to get soft, so I squeezed them and froze the juice in an ice cube tray to use later. I spent three afternoons organizing my craft room. I sorted the larger pieces of fabric and pulled some out for specific projects, then cut all the smaller pieces into 5”, 3” and 2” squares. I saved the trimmings to use as pillow stuffing. I made a needle case for my knitting needles and put all the circular needles in a three-ring binder. I cancelled my Audible membership to save money and have been downloading books from the library. I like to listen to the audiobooks while I knit, sew, or do housework. I mended a pair of pants.

  8. Went all the way through the month of December without buying any gas for the car. I still have a quarter of a tank left. My goal is to buy one tank a month, so I am very happy to miss a month.

  9. Happy New Year Everyone!:D

    The earrings are beautiful, Brandy. I’m sure they will get lots of wear over the new year. Although I do not have the ability to garden like most of the readers (I live with my mother so I’m restricted to what I can do), I love reading all of the frugal ideas you have on how to develop one. I’m going to file away the idea of cutting branches from an existing bush/tree and sticking it into the ground to start another. What a great way to expand, without extra costs of buying more plants!

    I’ve had a quiet week of leisure over the last week. It feels good to have some down time now that my job is on hiatus until April. My daughter is also enjoying her break from school. I think she was really needing it. This weeks frugal accomplishments included:

    *Shaved up all 4 hams I bought last week and packaged it up with the food saver for the freezer. My brother brought a ham his work gave him for Christmas, so we shaved it up and packaged it for him as well. We now have lots of ham to use over the next few months.
    *I packaged up all the leftover turkey with the food saver and put it into the freezer for future meals of soups, casserols and/or hot turkey sandwiches. My family gets sick of turkey rather quickly, so this made more sense than having it sit in the fridge uneaten for days)
    *We were invited to a potluck famiy get together one night. I made chicken bacon ranch pasta bake from pantry/freezer stock as well as took some of the extra Christmas goodies on a treat tray. We had lots of fun playing Apples to Apples. I brought home the leftovers which became part of our meal the next night. Overall, a really nice, fun, frugal evening of entertainment!
    *Meals made at home included make-your-own pizzas (x2), leftovers night (there were lots!), breaded chicken patties with green beans and choice of potato wedges or sweet potato fries, grilled cheese sandwhiches with pickles and potato chips, and a variety of party finger foods to celebrate on New Years day.
    *My daughter and her respite worker decided to try making cheese fondue this week. I found an easy recipe on Pinterest for them to make. I also bought them a discounted crusty bagette and pulled one chicken breast from the freezer for them to saute up for dipping. I had never tried it before, but it was really yummy! My daughter even enjoyed using the left over fondue as a cheese spread on bread. I add this as an occasional treat to our menu options list.
    *I empties out my freezers of all the chicken and turkey carcasses and most of the veggie scraps that I saved over several months to make a HUGE batch of poultry soup stock in my largest stockpot. I was able to make up a dozen premeasured 2 cup bags of stock. Right before Christmas, I had used the last bag of chicken stock from the freezer, so this will keep me going for months!
    *Took advantage of boxing day sales to buy some new clothing for myself (including some much needed new bras), my husband (he decided to retire some jeans that he’s had since well before our daughter was born), my daughter and my mother. I also bought some discounted craft ribbon that were marked as “Christmas” but could be used for other times of the year and a couple gifts to add to my “gift pantry”. We found the boxing day sales this year to be a bit disappointing overall, though.
    *My husband and I went to see the new Star Wars movie at the theater while he was off over the Christmas holidays. We used a movie pass my brother gave me for my birthday in the summer, which included popcorn and drinks. My daughter, mother and brother were all offered to go with us, but they all declined. So we had a nice date with just the 2 of us.
    *Packed away all the gift bags and tissue paper I managed to save after opening the Christmas gifts to reuse for another year.
    *Hemmed up a new pair of lounge pants for my husband that were way too long, and replaced a broken hook on another bra.

    I’m looking forward to reading about everyone’s last week of 2016. Wishing you all a healthy, joyous, and prosperous 2017!

  10. Awesome jewelry!! I make jewelry to wear all the time!! I love it.

    I collected on my free ranch dressing, free cake mix, and my free 7-up from Ralph’s when they had their freebies.

    I made all meals at home except for Christmas and the day after since we with family both of those days.
    I made a pot of soup that out some into the freezer for a later meal.
    I made homemade sloppy Joes since I did not have the canned sloppy joe mix. I made my mix from scratch since I had all the ingredients. And it tasted way better. My hubby wants the sloppy Joe’s from scratch from now on. So I won’t be buying the cans anymore for it. I did the calculations on what I used and how much a can costs here and it’s cheaper to make it then to buy the can.
    I got some gift cards for Christmas that I will use when I need to buy something.
    I made plans for my garden to do in January.
    I read a book that I have been wanting to read for months.
    Didn’t go anywhere for New Year’s Evenwe stayed home and enjoyed being at home with each other.

  11. I did all of my normal things to save money. Used my drying racks to do laundry. Everyone was home last week all week (except Gavin, 16 year old grandson got job at local grocery store in the deli dept.) so we had 3 meals a day at home. Used grocery store points to get 20 cents a gallon off gas. (we traveled out of town for Christmas so this saved us a bit)
    Got all tax information together. Used coupons for FREE bath soap at Dollar Tree. Cleaned out the linen closet and made a donation to Goodwill and got a tax statement….got 2 free books on my Kindle and a friend gave me a coupon for a free coffee at Starbucks.

  12. Beautiful jewelry Brandy! I always replenish my work wardrobe the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.I lucked out and found three summer Le Suit skirt suits, in great condition, for $3.00 a piece, in my size! I work, several times a month, in a county about an hour from where I usually work, in a very old upstairs unairconditioned courtroom, in the deep, humid, hot South, for hours at a time. I have no break, for lunch. It is sweltering, The large windows are always open but it does not help much. I say all this to say what a blessing it is to have these three short sleeved suits! I also found a pair of pants I can wear to work at the Salvation Army for $3.00. I also was looking for a leather jacket and found one in perfect shape at the thrift store. Sadly, it cost $19.00 but I needed it, and it fit. I also got a Talbot blouse in perfect shape for $2.00. I was needing all of the above, and I am so happy to replenish my work wardrobe. I always buy a replacement purse when I am using my last purse. I am currently using a $3.00. Liz Claiborne purse purchased at the thrift store. I went to the thrift store to buy a replacement purse for when this one wears out. I saw one I liked but it did not have a tag on it. I was a little irritated that it had this metal emblem with a designer name on it, but did not have my glasses on, and did not bother to read the name. I took it to the checkout lady, and she shrugged her shoulders, did not look at the name either and said I could have it for $1.99. I was happy it was a dollar cheaper than the purse I am currently carrying. I got home, put on my glasses and it says it is a Louis Vutton ( I am not at home, so not sure on correct spelling). I have no idea if it is real, but it appeared to be well constructed, and I bought it in a college town where some wealthy kids go to school. Anyhoo, I was certainly shocked and I will enjoy the purse, …lol. I enjoyed a talk by the Bishop on financial self reliance. Happy New Year everyone!

  13. 1. My kids are grown, so I finally purged some items from my kitchen I no longer use. I sent our kids a photo of the items first, just in case. My daughter claimed the soup tureen, it holds memories for her. She even remembers the kind of soup I made. That warms my heart. 🙂
    2. Making crock pot split pea soup. Was envious of the ham sales I read about, but none near me, so using kielbasa marked down to 1.50. This pot of soup will cost me less than 5 dollars, I’m thinking closer to 4, since the dried peas were a dollar, and I have rewrap shelf veggies and garden veggies.
    3. Made chili for NYE. Now we have two soups to eat off of for a few days.
    4. Using coupons to put together a food treat basket for a family member’s gift. Local honey, nice teas, maybe some biscuits.
    5. Using the broccoli leaves in all of the soups and smoothies. I’m so excited to grow my own food. Not near as much as you do Brandy, but it feels so good to eat what we’ve grown.

  14. The plan for the week before Christmas is pretty much the same every year: try to keep up with the housework, make one batch of cookies per day, wrap any remaining gifts, and generally stay home and don’t spend money. I was pretty successful. I have been very tired lately (part stress, part health I think) so the staying home part was pretty easy. I only went out for my two yoga classes for the week , and did all errands while I was out for those. Major errands were just picking up prescription refills and getting a few grocery items. I ended up making 4 kinds of cookies, which is plenty. DD and DGD took some home with them and I took some to my sister. She gave me some of hers and I think I ended up with more than I took to her. Happens every year!! For the first time I can remember I DID NOT make cut out cookies. I made drop sugar cookies instead–which we traditionally ice and put coconut on. (Some get sprinkles or colored sugar for the non-coconut lovers.) Everyone likes those just as well and they take way less time and effort than cut outs. I also made half a recipe of chocolate chip (from dough I had frozen a few weeks ago–two people don’t need a whole recipe of those!), and the usual Russian Tea Cakes, and our favorite Raspberry Ribbons. (Similar to a shortbread with a raspberry jelly topping.) There are plenty left and everyone has been eating them. I succeeded in staying out of stores, but I did order online the after-Christmas wrapping paper on sale (enough for 2 years in one order) and a pair of half price sneakers for me, which is the price I generally buy them at. We have not eaten out in well over a week: once a week is budgeted as entertainment, but we had no time. It always makes me happy to spend Christmas Eve quietly watching TV or reading instead of rushing about like a mad woman. Success!!

  15. Working in the garden sounds heavenly, but will have to wait here. We’re having cold, rainy days for the next several days. It’s cheering to see your nasturtium, and the Queen of Sweden rose in your other post is beautiful! I’m sure I’ve yet to grow a rose that looked so perfect! We’re eating vegi’s we grew for dinner tonight… sweet potatoes, collards, crowder peas and corn. May 2017 bring many good things to us all! Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/01/a-fresh-new-year-frugal-things.html

  16. This morning went over the system we use to keep track of every penny we spend—I enter in the amounts each day before bedtime, and if it is tax deductible I number the receipt and put it in our tax envelope. Anyway, in 2016 we spent about $212 less on food per month; in 2017 I am going to continue to work on bringing it down by another $100 a month. I also keep track of freebies every month—money we save by using coupons or ebates or sales or credit card points (we pay off the card every month) or fuel points, etc. Well, in 2016, we saved $4013.17 in freebies—free money, basically. Both these accomplishments make me want to work even harder to save money. Having the exact figures also helps with convincing the husband that waiting for sales and picking up the Friday freebies from Fred Meyer is really worth it. We are going to start the year by having a no-buy food month for January, except for milk. We have so much stockpiled that I need to rotate some of it out before it gets too old.

    The other frugal things I did were the usual, like reusing plastic bags, taking sacks into the grocery store with us to earn the 5 cents off per bag, shutting off lights and hanging up clothes that don’t need to be dried (the husband likes his towels to come from the dryer and he asks for so little that I feel like he deserves this small indulgence).

  17. My husband and I went to the Salvation Army on 1/2 price day and purchases bar stools for our new home.
    I planned menus for the next week and went to the grocery store. I purchased only those items on my list.
    I went shopping with my daughter for her wedding dress and we found exactly what she wanted. We stayed on budget for the dress.
    As I write this comment, I have two crockpots going with meals for the next couple of days.

    Check out my 2017 goals here:

    http://www.frugalhappyhome.com/12-goals-2017-week-1-52/

  18. Love that jewellery, Brandy!

    My list for the week:
    – I made pita bread from scratch for the first time. Way easier than I thought! I added ground flax seed and psyllium husk to texturize the outside and to make it extra healthy.
    – Made Fattoush Salad (and blogged about it!), which is a way to use up stale pita bread. Fattoush is like the Mediterranean version of Panzanella salad.
    – Ground up flax seeds in my blender, as my spice grinder bit the dust several months ago.
    – Made protein-rich energy bites from pantry ingredients, to eat as snacks when I’m hungry.
    – Made a kale smoothie for my breakfast (tastes like nutty ice cream, even if it is green), using up some frozen bananas, pears, and kale, and some freshly ground flax seed, and yoghurt, along with a couple of other items.
    – Made a batch of yoghurt.
    – Cat-sat for cash, and also received a box of cookies which I plan to re-gift to low-income senior.
    – Got a Christmas bonus from work and applied it straight to the mortgage! So satisfying.
    – Turned some old ice cream and some cake crumbs into ice cream bites (scoops of ice cream rolled in cake crumbs and frozen). Easy for snacking and great for portion control! Also great for slowly clearing out my freezer!
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 Old Navy gift certificate
    – Saved some hotel-sized lotions and soaps and set them aside to send to my MIL
    – Didn’t pack lunch for work today, but ate crackers and cheese given to my colleagues and I by some generous clients.
    – Made tea for myself at work using a free tea bag and saved packets of sugar from staff meetings. Saved myself the cost of a diet pepsi (which, since I buy them in bulk, on sale, is about 35 cents each), which I drink instead of coffee.
    – Accepted a coupon from my mother for a free packet of dishwasher cleanser after rebate.
    – Spent New Year’s Day at my parents, who kindly sent us home with leftovers.
    – Dropped off some packages at my sister’s, who kindly sent us home with a half bottle of wine. This is perfect, because I don’t drink wine, so my husband never opens a bottle, as he can’t drink it all by himself. So, a treat for the DH!

    And that’s it, I think! As always, can’t wait to read about everyone else’s accomplishments!

  19. By the way, Brandy, I just love the fabric that you used on the apron pictured on your sewing projects tab to the right! I enjoy sewing and quilting. Aprons are so much fun to make!

  20. Hello Brandy!

    Can I just say that i’m jealous of your warmer climate when I look at your gardening list. It is so cold here, it will be another two months until we can plant even the heartiest of greens without a cold frame.

    Our big garden news is that one of our cream legbar chickens laid her first blue egg! I’m so in love with it, I won’t let the family eat it, i’m still happy looking at it. Silly, i know.

    Like other readers, I loved the Call the Midwife Christmas special. This holiday season has been so social for us, i was happy to sit alone late on Christmas eve to watch it. I discovered a new group, Elenyi on Spotify, so I’ve enjoyed their music.

    Today was our daughters’ fourth birthday. I made hoppin john (the Emeril version) for dinner as is our tradition. Most Pennsylvanians traditionally eat pork and sauerkraut but I’m only lukewarm on most sauerkraut. I always do chocolate fondue as a dessert en lieu of a cake. I serve in a chip and dip bowl with the dipping treats (strawberries, bananas, pound cake and marshmallows) spread out where the chips would go. I find it easier and less risky for little kids to eat from. I keep the rest of the fondue warm on the double boiler. It’s always a big hit.

    My goals for the new year include sewing and more sewing. I have been loving the arrival of all my gardening catalogues for the new year. As a student of comparative religions, we attended a new church service (LDS) at the invitation of a friend. I also have a new blog post on the reflections of an interfaith child during the holidays. http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/01/notes-from-an-interfaith-child/.

    Happy New Year!

  21. The last week of 2016. This year has just flown by. I was able to bring my own food and drink to work which saved me money from buying drinks at the vending machine. I work in a state prison and normally we are not allowed to bring in our own food and drink, so we must purchase drinks at exorbitant prices and eat the ‘prison’ food which isn’t healthy at all…mainly cheap carbs, like pasta, potatoes, etc.

    I got several magazines in the mail FREE from Recyclebank and my Verizon Wireless rewards points.

    I was able to save $ on a gift for my son. He wanted a Tempurpedic pillow and after Christmas they were 25% off. So I placed my order and it’s on it’s way!

    We ate simple meals at home, save for one lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse as I’d received a $25 gift card for Christmas.

    I was able to use my Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday to take two paid days off during this past week to break up my 7 night in a row stretch. It was much needed. When I’m off work, I tend to stay at home, save for a few small errands in town.

    Watched college and NFL football at home.

  22. My husband and I went out to eat using a gift card from our daughter and son-in-law. It was so nice to be served and the food was delicious.

    I was offered another position at work and a raise. It will take lots of on-the-job training and hard work but it will be worth it in the end and will give me more options in my field. I feel very blessed.

    I went to the dollar store and got Christmas items for half price. I won’t have to buy wrapping paper, gift bags or cards next year.

    My husband’s medical bills have come in from when he hurt his back. We called the hospital and they are willing to take payments. We will have to pull in our belts some but it is doable.

    I needed some dress slacks for work and I haven’t been successful at finding any at the thrift stores so I took a 15% off coupon and Christmas gift money to JC Penney’s and found a pair of the Worthington brand. They were tagged at $38.00 and all of the other pants of that brand were $24.99, so we were questioning the price. The clerk checked with her manager and since they were an online return and not sold in the store we got the clearance price of $9.97. It often pays to question the pricing at stores. We have gotten many good deals this way.

    I got cashback from Ebates for some online purchases.

  23. Cindy, it could be a real bag and make you a good deal of money if you are willing to sell it. There is a site called ‘threadup’ that sells name brand hand bags for big money and they pay you good money for the bag. I once got a Kate Spade bag and it made me several $$$$. Just an idea.

  24. This post covers 2 weeks. Our middle daughter came for the week after Christmas. Her husband travels often for work, & he brought home the flu to the family. All of them had he flu shot this year, but this was a strain of flu A that was not in the vaccine. Her husband recovered while he was on the last sales trip, but my daughter is still nursing, so the toddler was fine, but she was quite ill. Her asthma kicked in & she developed pneumonia. Things improved when she started a Z-pack, but she needed some serious sleep & rest. Enter Grandma stage left. We put her momma in a room of her own, & Grandma took care of Little Stuff while her momma slept, with help from Auntie & Grandpa. I kept a pan of water simmering on the stove, to which I added the peels from the clementines we ate, along with a cinnamon stick & a few cloves. We ran a humidifier in the bedroom for her nonstop, since the air is dry in Utah, & she recovered fairly quickly. Many asthma meds cannot be taken while nursing, since they decrease the milk supply, or pass thru to the baby.

    When they went back home, I washed all the bedding in hot water (obviously), then set the pillows without their cases in direct sunlight for a couple of hours on each side, so the UV light could disinfect them. Wiped down the hard surfaces in the room where our daughter slept & coughed over everything. AFter they left, I also cut all the clementine peels into thin strips & set them on a plate in that room to dry. It made the room smell faintly or the citrus oil in the peels, which is also a disinfectant.

    Made a meatloaf using the tomato jam I put up instead of the ketchup called for in the recipe. It turned out well & everyone liked it.

    Sewed one of the large yellow triangle buttons I bought at the thrift store onto the little cloth bag that holds one of the scout cooking kits in our emergency bag. I had closed it with a large safety pin before, & left the safety pin there, too, since safety pins have a wide variety of uses.

    Replaced the “real” wreath on the front door with a metal five-pointed star, painted black. The start was purchased a few years ago at a yard sale for pennies, & I painted it black because the paint job on it was ugly. The mixed pine wreath on the door was turning brown, even tho I misted it daily, so I moved it to hang over one of the posts, against the white vinyl fence along the back of our property. From over 30 feet, it still looks good, & the needles will drop into one of the growing beds, where they will be useful. The wreath was an experiment this year; one which I will not repeat. Rescued a small Christmas tree from curbside & set it in the northside barked area to drop its needles to acidify the soil.

    Continued to watch & picked up fisher price little people at reduced prices on Ebay, shopping for gifts for 2017. On one trip to the “old” thrift store before Christmas, I picked up a Fisher Price Noah’s ark for $1.50, and a Fisher Price Farm for $1.50, plus 4 more shapes for the “shape sorter”, another “bale of hay” for the wise men’s camels, & 2 more Duplo blocks. The cashier charged me 50 cents for all the shapes, hay bale & blocks. Some of these items will be part of birthday or Christmas gifts for 2017.

    On a second trip to the “new” thrift store, one town closer to me, I picked up another Noah Ark base for 50 cents, plus 2 sheep, a pig & a giraffe in a bag for 75 cents.

    At the thrift in my town, I found a glass cake dome for $3.99 (to use as another cloche in the garden to extend the growing season), & a shape sorter with all the shapes inside for $1.99.

    I found a large bag with quite a few Duplos in it at the “old” thrift after Christmas. The week immediately before & after Christmas here are heavy donation times where I live. On 2 of these trips, the week before Christmas, the thrift stores were nearly empty when I was there, which almost never happens. Usually the aisles are packed, so it makes me wonder if 1) the economy has recovered sufficiently here that people are no longer shopping “thrift”, 2) if funds are tight enough that even thrift prices are too much,or 3) more people simply bought way ahead & were “done” by the week before Christmas.

    Baked cinnamon rolls multiple times, & froze some each time, for breakfast on Christmas morning & thru the week. Did the same thing with dinner rolls. It makes meals so much simpler for lots of people to just pull out rolls & microwave them.

  25. Lovely earrings and bracelet you made. We had a very nice Christmas that included several days of celebrating with family. We were gifted some leftovers from one party. (a whole pizza and large antipasto) to add to what I placed in the fridge and freezer from the party we hosted.

    Our families were very generous in their gift giving to my boys. They shouldn’t have any needs for sometime!

    I gratefully accepted a box of brownie mix, muffin mux, and 4 bags of chocolate chips from my mom.

    I purchased a pair of sneakers on Amazon for one of my boys for $15 in the next size up. These were marked down over $30!

    Have a great week everyone!

  26. My husband was hit by a stomach virus on New Year’s Eve, so we ended up canceling our dinner date and saving the cost of that. I was thrilled to find the Call The Midwife holiday special was on the PBS app, so I snuggled under the blanket with a fire going and watched that instead.

  27. We bought a spiral ham and a butterball turkey on Christmas eve at Walmart. Both of them were 99¢ a lb. Unfortunately both of them have been eaten already!!! I made 15 bean soup cajun soup with the hambone. That was really good, next time I will add more beans and hopefully it will last longer, it was really thick and you couldnt tell there wasnt a lot of meat. I made a cake and icing from scratch, I made a cornbread from scratch. Last Friday I was feeling pretty sad, (dont have money to spend) and I followed Brandy’s recipe for french bread….lol well didnt exactly follow because I had to wing it a few times. The bread was so good, it helped a lot. But it only lasted 2 days. I made bananna bread night before last. We stopped at a different walmart an hour ago for eggs….$1.08 a dozen…..I’ll pass! We have enough to last untill I can get to aldi or the local walmart tomorrow. We just got six 5lb bags of french fries for $8.62. They are assorted and you dont always know what you are getting. This time 3 of the bags were hashbrowns. I am thrilled with that because its something different and I can do them up with onions & peppers. As far of the fries, does anyone have any ideas to use them? cheese is out. (cant afford it). I tried an egg casserole with fries on the bottom but I didnt cook them first so the casserole was on the gross side. We ate it though. I got my husband to eat grits. This is a huge plus and it might save us some money if he eats it for a meal!!! He will eat a few pounds of meat a day as long as we have it in the fridge. I’m still trying to not spend any money because we don’t know whats going on with our renters. Can’t wait till they move in and I get a rent payment. Our savings is dwindling fast. Looking foreward to reading all your ideas!

  28. Forgot to list that I bought some Margaret Hillert books, which are on the perpetual wish list for middle daughter (for her daughter) on Amazon on the 31st, the day before Amazon began collecting sales tax for Utah, & when all the winter/Christmas titles were on sale for a penny, with $3.99 S&H. These are the books my children used to learn to read. Back then I paid $3.50 each for papaerback & $6.50 each for hard cover, except when we ordered thru the school magazine sales, when they were $4 each. All of our children have some that are their own, & access to “Mom’s lending library” of about 25. My daughter would like to have a small collection of them, like I did, so her toddler will get a book or two every birthday & Christmas between now & kindergarten, just like she did. Books keep very well, so I buy as low as I can find.

  29. I was running out of conditioner and could get no more out of the top. So, I cut the bottle & was able to stretch it for a week longer by scooping out the remnants in the bottle. Just did the same thing with my makeup and I think I’ll get at least 2 weeks left as I don’t use a lot of makeup! I’m excited.

    Didn’t eat out; made a big batch of homemade rolls tonight. My DH wanted to go out to eat this past weekend but listened when I encouraged him on sticking with our budget.

  30. Hi Brandy,
    I am glad you had time to make something nice for yourself. I just finished a wool scarf for myself. I got the yarn from a big bag of yarn from a thrift store for $2.99. So the entire scarf came to about a dollar.

    I received a magazine offer in the mail. Three years of Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Living for $14 total ( and no shipping). I found a bunch of free puzzles in a free item area in our condo complex.

    A few weeks ago I found locally grown chicken at QFC for .59 per pound. I froze two which I will be using this month.
    I am going to try your hand at converting a man’s shirt into a woman’s shirt. Lots of tutorials online!

  31. I would use the whole egg as is. A normal large egg is 4 T volume and in something like cornbread there should be no problem. If you are worried, remove 2 T of other liquid and add the whole egg. Seems to me if you try putting 1/2 an egg somewhere like the freezer it’s never going to get used and then it is just wasted.

  32. Brandy,

    Your jewelry is lovely! I went online to Joanns and looked at the cost of making my own earring and was surprised at how inexpensively they can be made! I don’t know why I never thought of it! Even though I am I regular reader I have not posted here in quite some time. I figured the new year would be the perfect time to start sharing again! I get such motivation from this group to continue my frugal journey! And some great ideas too!

    In addition to our regular frugal activities (including but not limited to-drying laundry on racks, eating meals at home, keeping the heat down to save money on oil…) we saved money this week by:

    -using a $50 gift card to Olive Garden that we were given for 2 separate lunch dates
    -using a gift card to the movies that my DH was given at work to see the new Star Wars movie
    -I went to Joann’s right before Christmas to purchase some discounted Christmas fabric using a coupon for 20% off my entire order including sale items. I had used up my Christmas fabric stash to make Christmas aprons for the ladies a work. They were so well received that I decided to get more fabric for next year to make aprons for some other ladies on my list.
    -I went to the outlets in a neighboring state to buy a few badly needed things for myself. I usually buy from the Salvation Army but the sales were so good, and the neighboring state does not charge tax on clothing, that I went shopping the day after Christmas. I was able to buy 2 new pairs of shoes, 2 new bras, a new blazer and 2 new tops and saved about $120 overall! And these are good quality items that should last me a long time. As a matter of fact, one pair of the new shoes replaces another pair that I’ve have for over 20 years!
    -We went to Walmart for a few things and found their in store pizza marked down to $2.50. So we bought the only cheese pizza they had left and it’s in the fridge for a few dinner meals this week.
    -We also went to the local Adventist Health Food Store to stock up on a few things for the year. DH likes a vegetarian burger type thing that they sell so we got a case. At checkout the cashier tells us that since the case expired the previous day she can give it to us at half price. DH asked if she had another case and she did so we got 2 for 1. He’s happy. Me, I’m not a fan of this particular meat substitute, but was excited for the discount!
    -DH wanted spinach lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner. I was able to get everything on sale and used my homemade sauce. There was enough for us to have for Christmas Eve and another meal during the week as well as left overs to freeze for 2 more meals!
    -I cleaned and reorganized my sewing room. That was a much needed project! I needed some small storage boxes and decided that, instead of buying them at this time I would just use some shoe boxes I had on hand. They worked out great!
    -during the day I manage a small cardiology practice. I’ve been here for going on 15 years and the doctor is a wonderful employer. Since I’ve been here for so long I get 4 weeks vacation a year. He pays me for any unused vacation time at the end of the year and this year I received a check for 1&1/2 weeks pay. We used this to pay off a credit card. Now we only have 1 more left to pay off and we will be debt free except for the house!
    -My employer also gave me a $500 Christmas bonus and $100 gift card to a local Italian restaurant. Like I said, he’s a great boss and regularly tells the staff how much he appreciates us.

  33. I was able to combine a sale, coupons and Extrabucks rewards to get two bottles of Tide dishwashing detergent for a total of $1.04 each!

    I got 4 more dozen of eggs at a local convenience store for 0.59/doz, XL eggs! We currently have 5 dozen right now.
    Those were my big ‘gets’ of the past week!

  34. I had a girlfriend come down from Alaska to be with family for Christmas. She brought me a box of fresh, frozen shrimp from Alaska as a Christmas gift. They tasted delicious and lasted my husband and I for 3 meals. I had several days off work over the holidays and I stayed home as much as possible and saved lots of gas in my car. Our temperatures here in Western Washington state have really gotten cold. I found a nice fleece scarf on sale for .98 cents and then because I am a smaller person and most normal scarves overwhelm me, I cut it in half length-wise and now have two scarves!
    Since I have been off work for several days, I find I am a far better steward of our food. I find creative ways to stretch it as far as possible. When I am working, I don’t have the energy or creativity and tend to use more food. Now that I am more aware of that, I will try to do more food prep on the weekends.

  35. Hubby had his (hopefully) last chemo the week before Christmas so now we are in a holding pattern until we can get the PET scan and echo-cardiogram done (that has been a scheduling nightmare between the cancer center and insurance…..I think it is finally straight now) so we opened a few bottles of wine New Years Eve that we have had stashed (note: don’t drink that much wine in one sitting when you have had NO alcohol in 7 months!…..I woke up meaner than hell the next morning!!) We enjoyed the evening making plans and watching Harry Potter LOL
    Since my hubby is an energy auditor by trade, he was aware of a low income program that will insulate and weather seal houses of low income households. Since he is unable to work, we now qualify! They came last week and over 2 days fully insulated the top 2 attics, fixed the improperly vented bathroom fans and sealed the rim-joist! They also repaired a roof leak and sealed a broken basement window that was covered when the previous owners poured a concrete patio over it. More than likely it was close to $5,000 dollars worth of work – now to see if it makes a difference in the heating bill!
    I sold some old Fontanini nativity figures that were from my childhood (my mother gave me new ones) – they were pretty worn since we were allowed to play with them but I was able to sell them for $30 which will pay a small medical bill.
    We ate all meals at home (or at least I did – hubby did go out for subway one night that I worked)
    I worked extra hours at work – not something I wanted to do because it wipes me out for days afterwords but we had a girl not show up and get fired so we all had to chip in and cover her shifts.
    I brought home a whole smoked chicken and several ends of pasta and veggie salads from work + 3 sausages that were getting too dried out to sell – I’ll steam them and they’ll be fine.
    Instead of throwing out a stainless trashcan that doesn’t work very well anymore (you step on the pedal and the lid pops off) I just cleaned it up really well and put it down by the fireplace for a place to put all the shrink wrap the wood bricks that we burn come in. It looks a lot better than the old plastic, no top one we were using.
    Instead of buying kerchiefs to wear over my hair at work, I sewed 2 + a modified snood cap. I sewed the rough side of velcro in the middle front of each one and they no longer slide back on my head and my hair does not get tangled in it – they just slide out like a comb 🙂 Total cost to me was $0 since I had everything left from other projects!
    I think that’s about it – Happy New Year everyone!

  36. Kim– You could season them several different ways. You could top them with chili or cut them into cubes and add them to soups or casseroles as well

  37. I was just thinking about another idea that maybe you could use those french fries in as well. There’s a restaurant that we sometime have breakfast at in our area that offers a “breakfast bowl”. I found this link to one similar in idea: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/431360470542908719/. My thought was that you could replace the potato chunks with baked french fries. I know the recipe calls for cheese, but it could be eliminated. The bowls we get have sauteed onions and peppers as one layer, then bacon, then the scrambles eggs topped with hollandaise sauce. It’s easy to play with this and make them whatever way you’d like with what you have on hand. It’s very filling and would make an excellent breakfast for dinner type of meal.

  38. Brandy, that bracelet and earring set is beautiful. Have you ever thought of selling jewelry that you make? I could easily see someone paying $25- 30 for that set. Could bring in a little extra cash.

  39. You can get many magazines free, including Better Homes and Gardens from freebizmag. I’ve gotten several. You don’t have to give them a credit card or anything. Hip2Save includes these on her site, but they also send out emails. Over time, they offer a pretty big variety of magazines, so you might watch them for others you are interested in.

  40. First, I want to say thank you for the reminders of the timed dryer. I had forgotten to use it for over a year and it just kept getting mentioned here. I am saving 50 minutes per load. Something that might seem so mundane – really is a reminder for the forgetful.

    I stretched 2 cooked chicken drums into 3 wraps by adding sprouts, a pinch of cheese and a small dice of tomatoes. What would have been one leftover meal turned into 3.
    My nephews made “Ugly Sweater Kits” for Christmas gifts. A box with construction paper cut outs, random trimmings and paper cut outs, a glue stick, a marker and pair of paper cutting scissors. I thought it was a really cool handmade gift – especially from 12 year olds. So I made my ugly sweaters and wrote on the back of them as a thank you notes. It was a relaxing activity, I wanted to show them I made them and it saved me from buying thank you notes.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

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