Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Week of November

Frugal Accomplishments for the Last Week of November

I replaced the elastic in two pairs of sweat pants for my 3-year-old. These were hand-me-downs from my older boys. They’ve been sitting in storage for 11 years, so the elastic needed to be replaced. I had previously purchased bulk elastic on sale from Wawak for this purpose.

I kept the sprinklers and drip irrigation off all week because rain was expected. We received a measurable amount of rain over a couple of days.

I harvested lemons from the garden; we made lemonade and lemon meringue pie, plus I zested all the lemons we used and dried the zest. I made enough dried zest last year to make enough lemon pepper seasoning for the year, and I plan to do that again this year.

I also harvested pomegranates, chives, and basil from the garden.

I baked my own pies for Thanksgiving; I made lemon meringue, pumpkin, and pecan pies.

I picked up a turkey for $0.46 a pound at Winco when I went to buy potatoes and milk.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for an Amazon gift card, which I used to buy Christmas gifts for my children.

Before buying new church shoes for my girls, we went through the shoes that we have. Church shoes are worn for such a short time and are in good condition because of that. We had shoes for three of my girls (one, that I bought last year, was a women’s size 4. This year the same daughter wears an 8! She’s 11 and it’s getting increasingly more difficult to find her shoes that she likes that are in a young enough style for her age when she has larger feet than I do. I did a lot of looking online for her but I didn’t find anything yet.) I’m glad that just one child will need church shoes for this winter.

We combined errands while driving to conserve gas.

I gave my husband a haircut.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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This Post Has 110 Comments

  1. Holly

    Beautiful family photographs.
    While I can use a voice recorder app on my phone, I learned this past week that other people cannot hear me when I speak on phone calls and Facebook messenger. I spent many hours one day trying to get the phone to work. The next morning, I tested it again, gave up and ordered a new phone from Best Buy, then conversed on the phone with my sister, canceled the order, and then the phone went silent again. Argh! I tried it one last time when I was two towns away, just in case there was a glitch in a local cell phone tower. No. Then I searched for a newer version of my phone and found it for $59.99 on hsn.com including free slowpoke shipping. I never expected to get a deal there, but I did. I get a new phone (which I will try to not drop on a wood floor from a height), a charger, a battery pack so I can recharge the phone away from an outlet, a phone case, and (drumroll!) a full year of Tracfone service, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, and 1500 MB of data. I know I’ll be able to transfer the minutes, messages, and data on my broken phone to my new phone and I might be able to move the 5 months of service it has left. Budget score! Because I cannot leave mom home alone except for 30 minutes or so unless I have a working cell phone, I handed over an additional $13 to get the phone a week sooner.
    I learned it is possible to bake in the microwave a serving of Jiffy corn mix in less than 2.5 minutes. Two servings in less time than it takes to heat up soup on the stove. Being able to prepare single servings of baked goods in the microwave will be a future time and money saver.
    Otherwise, we mostly saved money by not shopping very much. I am postponing grocery shopping until all the perishables from the last shopping trip either have been frozen, prepped for cooking, or eaten. We are out of sliced cheese now, so we’ll be grocery shopping by Monday.
    I was able to walk out to the mail box today at a brisk pace, with a spring in my step, and without pain. I fell many years ago and have had a lot of pain and weakness when standing, walking, climbing stairs, and moving around ever since. The $25 I spent a couple of weeks ago on a sacroiliac belt was such a good investment. The increase in functionality and decrease in pain feels like a miracle. I’ve been teary eyed several times this week like the boy in the news story when he got to see colors for the first time because of special glasses. I now just have the usual pains and morning stiffness of a sedentary overweight 60-something with a bit of arthritis.
    Mom and I have been watching a course on nutrition via my Great Courses Plus subscription. I took three nutrition courses at a community college over 15 years ago hoping I would get motivated to lose weight. So much for that idea. But my weight has been affecting my health so I must change my calorie surplus into a deficit. The course by an experienced R.D. is very practical and covers many topics that were not covered in depth in my earlier courses and updates other topics with recent developments. Now I need to apply just a bit of what I’ve learned.
    I hope we all have a productive and thrifty first week of December.

    1. Lorna

      Brandy I am glad you found church shoes for three of your girls from shoes you had there. I relate to the daughter will larger feet as I too had larger feet than the average girl of my age as I was tall. Beautiful that you harvested so much for your garden and were able to preserve it and get a Turkey at a wonderful price too :).

      Our savings added up to $160.60 last week :).

      Purchases –
      – Purchased a gift card for groceries from RACQ saving 5% or $7.90.
      – Put in another order for a small fuel gift card through RACQ saving another 5% or $1.80.
      – Filled 6 jerry cans of fuel and took advantage of our 4c per litre discount with our rewards card saving $5.62 on usual prices.
      – Saved $5.50 by getting two free samples as a taste tester for a supermarket.
      – Did an online order with Pharmacy online for allergy medications and iron tablets for a year using a 10 % off site wide promotion and clearance specials saving $59.08 on cost we pay locally in pharmacies.
      – Put in a pick up order with Woolworths on their Black Friday online sale promotion saving $29.50 on usual costs.

      Online listings –
      – Listed 28 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $46.20 on usual prices.

      Earnings –
      – Made $32 from the sale of a handmade baby blanket and some saved pumpkin seeds on eBay.

      Finances –
      – Paid an extra smaller payment off our home mortgage saving time and interest on our home loan.
      – Banked extra money into our 3 month living expenses emergency account bringing us to 57.11% of the way there.

      In the kitchen –
      – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

      Water preservation –
      – Used every drop of grey water to water something as well as saved shower water to fill drink bottles and clean with.

      Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

      Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  2. PennyP

    What beautiful photographs over the last few days.
    Brandy I feel for you with regard to your daughter’s shoe size! We struggled with the same issue as both my daughters are very tall. The eldest shot up to 6 foot as a preteen and had size 9 feet. There were several years when it was so hard to find appropriate shoes and clothing in her size and it took much searching to clothe her. I don’t have any helpful hints really except that finding larger sizes was more likely online than in physical shops. Both girls are now beautiful statuesque women. Good luck!

  3. Cindy in the South

    Lovely picture of you and your daughter! I cooked several of the 57 pumpkins I got for $5. I think I am down to 46 lol. I made several turkey noodle casserole from leftovers and froze them. I also made turkey noodle soup with leftover pumpkin and carrots. I have plenty of pumpkin seeds to snack on for the week. I also made turkey salad. I made a tremendous amount of food for Thanksgiving and divided it between four households of my family. I really only kept the turkey carcass. I gave the rolls, gravy, most of the pumpkin, turkey, white cake, mulberry chocolate cake, cornbread dressing, spinach dip, artichoke dip, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, to my sons who were able to attend, and other males in the family. I cut and dyed my hair, with $3 dye. I walked at the free local river park. I am low on food supplies( for me) so I will stock up during the month of December. I will not need any vitamin A with all my pumpkins….lol. I did get a backup $3 alarm clock at Walmart because we keep having power outages. It has been in the 70’s here so that has saved on the power bill. I have no idea why our power keeps going off. That is one reason why I rely on canned and dried goods and don’t have a freezer (except for the top part of the fridge) here. I did buy two pair of tights for the price of one to wear for work. Y’all have a blessed week!

    1. E Tallent

      Hi Cindy…wow! What a deal on all of those pumpkins! I benefited from a similar deal several years ago, and was able to successful “can” them. We had real, genuine pumpkin in our pantry for a very long time. Have you considered this? Best wishes!

    2. Rose

      Wow! 57 pumpkins! I would love to hear how you managed with the rest of that wonderful produce.

  4. Ashley

    On Black Friday, our Kroger had fresh turkeys marked down to .29 cents a pound! I bought 6 for my freezer. This will be a great source of meat for our family of 6. This is the 2nd year I’ve found them marked down.

    1. Lisa

      What a great deal on the turkeys! I found many years ago that i could get all kinds of markdown meats right after Thanksgiving. The grocery stores tend to be very slow the few days after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I just didn’t make it to the stores after Thanksgiving this year.

  5. Cindy in the South

    Casseroles… sigh. I promise I typed that originally.

  6. Jenifer

    Beautiful photo, a mother’s hug is so comforting even long after childhood.

    I told the mister to hold off on an impulse buy, that would have required another purchase with it.I’m glad he did, as it wasn’t needed.
    We hosted thanksgiving dinner after the traditional holiday, and served lasagna, other family members brought salads, garlic bread and pies. This kept cost and stress low.
    We painted rocks that I found in my backyard asa family craft that day. Some were reluctant, but then really got into their painting what idea had popped in their head.
    The mister and I had a healthy discussion on a Christmas wish list for a parent. They are requesting clothing items way out of our price range and there is pressure to buy. We will either contribute a gift card or go with another gift we found that is more fitting for the budget.
    I admire those here who make a list for items to look for, especially gifts. I’m never confident that the receiver would want something 10 months after mentioning it (they then purchased or lost interest all together), but I did start making a list for next years Christmas. Hoping I can find some good deals, or score at a thrift store this time.
    I rooted clippings from a house plant to create more.
    Hoping everyone has a peaceful week!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I start making the lists early, but I check back closer to Christmas and birthdays. Tastes do change (especially in young children) but I try to write something down whenever they mention it. I keep the lists on my phone; I used to keep them in a little notebook.

  7. What a great idea to make lemon pepper, with your homegrown lemons. I purchased a couple of presents using amazon GC’s received through swagbucks. A pumpkin pie was made for Thanksgiving, using our pumpkin, and fresh whipped cream made. Our winter squash was used in succotash.
    A $5 reward was used at Walgreens, and $1 cat food coupon. I bartered soap for three gifts. The last of our fresh tromboncino squash and a little eggplant, along with our basil and tomatoes was used in pasta sauce. My favorite frugal accomplishment was removing a sticky residue from my massage table, caused by sitting in it’s case. It saved me having to purchase a new one for several hundred dollars. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/12/thankful-frugal-accomplishments.html

  8. Marcia

    We celebrated Thanksgiving with our neighbors, split the cooking, and the leftovers. I’d like to say we skipped black Friday shopping, but it really we adopted a dog from the humane society.

    We dug through some donated clothing for new stuff that fits my 7 year old. For entertainment on the rainy weekend, we played games and watched movies we own, and walked the dog.

    1. Cindi

      Congratulations on your new dog! Adopting is so rewarding, I find.

  9. Hilogene in Az

    Good morning Brandy! I just adore your photos! Especially the ones of you and your kids!

    Last week we cooked turkey twice, so now there is lots of sliced turkey in the freezer for various future meals. I did a freezer and pantry inventory to top off canned and frozen vegetables during the holiday sales.

    I have a friend whose husband recently passed away. He was sick for years and I had assumed over that time period they would have worked together to make sure she knew what she needed to know when he passed. Apparently they never had those discussions…sigh. Things like monthly bills, where key documents were kept, when various bills are due to be paid etc. so she is like a baby bird in the nest, at age 75, she is overwhelmed. She has a water leak in her house, I mentioned house insurance should cover some of the damage, after deductibles, She found an expired home insurance policy, expired last year, and will call Monday to see if there is another one. So for all the people in relationships, please sit down and make sure each person knows where the key information is kept! You do not want to be 75, recently widowed, and helpless! Since I am the finance person in our house, I made an excel list for my husband listing all bills, where they come from (mail or email) and when they are due and approximately how much. I have one drawer where all our wills and passports are kept. Truthfully, if I pass away, I think he will be overwhelmed, but at least it is all in one spot and he could get help to go through the paperwork.

    1. PJGT

      I agree! I have all of our papers organized and appropriately labeled in the file cabinet except for the important papers in the fire box. Now I am starting to re-do our notebook system that has copies of everything. I copy what is in our wallets so that if they are lost what is in there will be replaced easier. It’s a bit time consuming, but I relish having everything in order and accessible.

    2. Lisa

      Oh wow! That does sound overwhelming! One thing my husband and I make sure to jot down for each other is log-ins and passwords. Especially when we need to change them!

  10. Tina

    I made a very easy Thanksgiving spread for my family using a turkey purchased on sale last year at 49 cents a pound, sweet potato casserole from the freezer that was made at Easter using potatoes purchased on sale, green beans, cranberry sauce, stuffing. We had this meal the day before Thanksgiving actually and used leftovers on a Thanksgiving Day hike! It was fun and different. Because I used things made ahead, the preparation was very low stress and was a very relaxing holiday. The next day I made turkey and rice soup using the leftover turkey bones. We’ve done the typical things to save money: washing out our baggies, turning off lights, grouping errands. We purchased a used vehicle this week. Our car has over 200k miles on it and needs repair work that may run a couple of thousand more than the car is valued. It is a 15 year old vehicle that we purchased new. We have been saving for months and it was nice to pay cash and have no debt. We are selling the old car (fully disclosing all that is wrong with it). We hope to get $1000 for the old car and will use that to start saving anew. DH and I talked about how far we’ve come as thrifty folks—we paid so much for that original car (plus financing) just to have something new. Our “new to us” vehicle is in great shape and we carefully researched the make/model. We think we got a good deal…and no extra debt. We used Christmas decorations that we have on hand. I want a wreath for an inside wall. I researched how to use things from the Dollar Tree to make one I want…but it hit me that I could use a wire coat hanger and old wreaths we have on hand to make what I want for nothing oop. We are working on our 2020 budget and looking at ways to save more money in the coming year. I’ve also been stocking up on food with all the great sales!

    1. Lisa

      So smart about the car! Changing to buying good used cars makes a big difference in your finances. Our financial lives changes when we stopped buying new cars on payments and started paying cash for good used cars. New cars just lose too much of their value too fast. Get ready for greatness!

  11. Elizabeth M.

    What a beautiful picture. My mother used to wrap her arms around me, and say, “Ma belle petite fille. ” I am 65 years old, and can still feel her arms around me when I think of it.

    This was a busy week, with a dental appointment, and trying to get everything I needed to done in a couple of days before heading to meetings in the city. The dentist was paid largely by my seniors’ insurance.

    Hotel, meals, parking and travel for my meetings were paid for or will be reimbursed, so I had several days of free meals, including two lovely dinners out at very nice restaurants., which were both walking distance away from our hotel. We paid for wine if we had it with dinner, and that was it. Very productive strategic planning meetings, so the trip was interesting. The hotel and restaurants and many of the downtown buildings were beautifully decorated. I love to see the lights and all the shiny decorations! One hotel whose restaurant we went to had a two-and-a-half-story gingerbread house!

    I have ordered Christmas chocolates online. I had planned to pick them up when I was in the city, but the only time I had free was on Black Friday, and I didn’t feel up to the parking lots of busy malls to do this. My frugal fail cost me $10 for shipping.

    Ibuprofen was on sale, so I bought two bottles when I restocked this week.

    My pantry and fridge-freezer are full, so I will skip doing a grocery order this month. I’ll just pick up a few things closer to Christmas, and if I see any really good sale on anything I need. I have very little driving to do this month, but gas is very inexpensive at the moment, so I am planning to fill the tank anyway. The price tends to get much higher as we get nearer Christmas travel season.

  12. I love that photo of you and your daughter! It really shows what a great relationship you guys have. So very sweet!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I used leftover spinach and split pea dal (stew) to make Garlicky Indian Flatbreads (http://approachingfood.com/garlicky-indian-flatbread/). They’re very much like roti, but technically are paranthas (basically an Indian version of a roti). A very inexpensive, easy, and healthy flatbread, and my daughter likes them too!
    – I redeemed $50 in loyalty points to stock up on some pharmacy items.
    – I baked a batch of eggless chocolate chip cookies, a batch of brownies (using cocoa instead of baking chocolate, as it’s cheaper), and a batch of cranberry almond granola.
    – I went to a fundraising indoor garage sale, and picked up a practically new pair of running shoes, a wool scarf, a bracelet, a bra, and a children’s bookshelf, for $5 total.
    – I baked an apple pie for my dad’s birthday, using discounted apples from the flash food app. I turned the leftover pie crust and streusel topping into cookies by cutting the dough into circles, topping it with homemade peach jam, and topping with streusel. I froze them unbaked, and will bake them just before adding them to my Christmas baked goods tins in a few weeks.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded 6 mini toothpaste samples (free from my dentist over two years), a pair of headphones that my husband didn’t want, and 4 loaves of homemade chocolate chip banana bread, for $75 worth of BNIB beauty products (3 nail polishes, 3 face masks, 4 hair masks, and 12 mini face masks, 2 lip balms, and a fancy razor). I will be using most of these as Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers for family and friends.
    – I made several Hawaiian pizzas (my husband’s favourite) using some ham bought on sale and making my own crusts (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/). An entire pizza probably cost less than $2 total. I served them with salad with homemade Italian dressing.
    – I made peanut butter cups (http://approachingfood.com/healthier-for-you-peanut-butter-cups-wine-bonbons/) to put in my Christmas cookie tins (by making candy, I can do a bit here and there around childcare, as opposed to all at once closer to Christmas). I used ingredients bought in bulk and on sale.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Shirley

      Margaret, I have a question about your pizza dough. In the description you mention spreading the dough, but in the comments you agree to rolling it out. So, should it be rolled out on a floured surface using a rolling pin (which I don’t have), or could it be spread and pulled into shape with our fingers (as in those pizza kits). I’m anxious to try it; it could really be a game changer. Thanks, Margaret.

      1. Hi Shirley! I press the dough out with my fingers. I just dump the blob onto the oiled pizza tray and use the palm of my hand to press it out into the corners/edges of the tray. If it seems a bit elasticky, press it out as much as you can, then wait 2 minutes or so (so the gluten in the flour can relax), and press it out more. It’s really a super-duper easy and frugal recipe, and always a hit at my house. Let me know how it goes and if you have any other questions!

        1. Shirley

          Thank you for explaining this, Margaret. It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about cooking, but I’m really looking forward to making it.

  13. Sandra Hughes

    I bought a turkey for 29 cents a pound. it was $6.98. Every time we go to the dentist, we get a free toothbrush. My husband has to use a different kind, so I donate the ones he doesn’t use instead of having to buy one for the senior citizen we “adopt.” I bought some items on Amazon Black Friday. Other than that, I was probably pretty extravagant. I need to cut expenses but this time of year is really hard.

  14. Mable

    Could you share the recipe for lemon pepper seasoning? I tried to find it in your recipe section but could not. I feel for your daughter—I was six feet tall and wore a size 10 shoe at 11, and always had trouble finding age appropriate clothing and shoes. I stopped growing soon after, and now love being so tall (6’2″) and am happy that manufacturers have recognized that there are tall and large-footed women, but it can make for some hard adolescent years.

    We were very thrifty, food wise, in September and October, so we had extra money for November’s holiday feast and enough to stock up during the sales on cupboard items like sugar and flour. I keep track of our monthly spending and for the last five years, we have reduced our spending every year even with prices going up. A good part of that is this blog, both you and the tips readers mention—we have become much wiser in how we shop, how much we garden and preserve for the rest of the year, and in what we eat. And it turns out that with spending less we are eating in a more healthy fashion—more soups, homemade breads made without sugar and preservatives, and almost no eating out. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thank all of your for your contributions to our savings!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Mable, it’s pepper, lemon zest, and salt. I tried a ratio last year from Pinterest that I didn’t love. I used it anyway. It had too much pepper. I am just going to eyeball it and taste test it this time. I just added the dried lemon zest to the bottle this week and I will add in some salt and pepper next time I add zest to the bottle. There is a bit left from last year, but for now, I am just going to shake it up and it should be about right.

  15. Susan from Cincinnati

    We received a Master Card debit card from Hyundai because they had misled consumers with mpg claims on our model of car. The card was for $234. Paid for our Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant with the card.
    I wanted to see a large train display decorated for Christmas. The Cincinnati Museum Center has a large display but would cost us $74 for the 5 of us to see it. Instead we went to a large nursery that grows cyclamen from scratch. I have always wanted to see their large green house and they had a wonderful Christmas train display, Christmas decorations and hundreds of cyclamens of so many varieties. I bought a huge plant for $12.90 with bright red flowers and heart shaped white leaves with green hearts in the middle of the leaf. Paid for with Master Card debit card from Hyundai.
    Go great deals from CVS by stacking extra bucks with buy one/get one and 20% of order. Got a free large bottle of mouth wash and my daughter’s personal hygiene products for the month for $3.73.
    Did not buy groceries this week except for bananas and carrots. Ate what I had at home. If we ran out something we just ate something else. My one son ate all of his gluten free bread so no bread for him until tomorrow (Monday). He had to eat bananas, rice, or applesauce for snacks. He sometimes eats a loaf of bread a day!
    My husband fixed the hatch back door on my Toyota van that kept coming down on us. The electronic struts were worn out. Prices of $300 to $400 to fix. He found the parts, watched You Tube tutorials and replaced them in about 10 minutes!
    Found some college t-shirts, Florida Gators, at huge sale price yesterday. I was going to buy them anyway for Christmas but now I saved a lot of money.
    Lots of cooking at home. The 5 of us eat 3 meals a day here so this is a huge savings. One son gets a free meal at work for lunch. I always pack my husbands lunch.
    Took my grandson and 3 adult kids with special needs to the Art Museum, it’s free, and Ipacked a picnic lunch. We ate in the car because it was raining but had a beautiful view of the Ohio River.

    1. Lynd

      I don’t know if you have Costco there? They have two Schar GF loaves of bread for $6.99. Trader Joe’s has GF bread for $3.99 a loaf.

  16. Gardenpat

    This week has gone so quickly! We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with a bit over 40 of our kids/grandkids and a few others! I brought the “Why Pay Outrageous Prices For Honey-Baked Ham” recipe for slow roasting my 10 pound boneless ham with maple syrup and cloves! It’s a family favorite! No of food and fun!
    We relaxed with family on Friday and then 4 of my daughters and I went to JoAnns for their sale. Because they had a big sign over the quilting rulers that said 60% off all sewing notions, I asked the clerk if these were included . Since the signs were over two separate areas with quilting rulers, she scanned them but said they weren’t the 60% off. However, she told me that since the signs had been there that she would tell the cashiers to override the price to reflect the 60% discount on my rulers. I had chosen 2 slotted rulers that retailed for $59.99 each and 2 others that retailed for $29.99 each! I will keep 1 of the larger ones that cost $24 rather than $60! My daughter is buying the other large one. Each of the 2 smaller rulers were given to two of our daughters as birthday gifts (December and January)and those only cost $12 each after the discount! But wait, we also had a 25% discount on you total purchase coupon which I used that meant the $60 rulers were only $18 and the $30 rulers were only $9!! Not a bad price for birthday gifts that they really wanted and I am thrilled to replace my broken 12” slotted ruler with an 18” one that cost $18 (instead of $60!) But wait! That wasn’t all!! Ibotta had a 5% rebate which gave me another $4 off !!! Definitely worth the trip over!
    We celebrated with breakfast out and then my 4 daughters and I went to Meijers and picked up sugar- 4 pound bags for 99 cents each! I got 40 pounds to replenish my buckets! Pretty much set with baking supplies. Also bought another 22 pound turkey for 33 cents a pound (about $7.50) for the 1 daughter to take back to St Louis today so they can cook it up for their freezer meals and sandwiches!

    Got an order for 3 more Soup Cozies.
    With the excess for the month in our budget, I zero-ed out that balance and made 3 more principal payments on our mortgage which after including today’s regular monthly payment added up to 18 mortgage payments in just these past 4 months! Out amount left has gone down by $4000 in these 4 months and we are excited to continue this momentum!!
    I’ve made some bulk muffin mix For our everyday use as well as some apple muffin mix in quart jars for gifts!
    Our new fridge lets me organize our leftovers into one drawer so that we can easily see them and use them up! And for the first time ever we have ice and water hooked up and working from it! We feel quite spoiled! The electric company comes next week to pick up the old fridge and give us $50 for recycling it!
    We also got a BofA credit card that will give us $200 if, within 3 months, we charge $1000. We will just divert some purchases and then immediately pay them from our budget when the bill comes! Easy $200!
    Hope everyone is having a great week!

    Pat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Lisa

      Congratulations on your extra mortgage payments!

    2. Leslie

      Garden Pat,

      Can you post your ham recipe, please? What part of St. Louis does your daughter live in? I am in South County. Thank you.

      Leslie

  17. Mandy

    I have the same issue with my 9 year old daughter’s shoes. She is 9 years old and wears a women’s size 7.

    I wanted a new Christmas tree. We have had the same “fake”white tree for 9 years. A branch is missing. But I talked myself out of the purchase of a new fake tree or a real one.
    I made a garland using dehydrated orange slices that I dehydrated myself, cinnamon sticks I’ve had for 3 years in my pantry, and thin candle wicking left over from several years ago when I used to make my own candles. I put the leftover dried orange slices onto ornament hooks I already had and hung them along the garland.
    I did purchase a new angel for the top of the tree (silver, metal, and glittery) for $3

    We have Sling for television. I changed the subscription and am now saving$15 per month.

    I utilized my public library for books and audio books to listen to at work. I do data entry and listen to books most of day. I listen to 4 or 5 books per week. At $20 to $35 per book that is out of my budget to buy them. I went “old school” and purchased a small cd player/radio to use with my earbuds. I listen to the news first thing in the morning and The Dave Ramsey show in the afternoon. I am using his method to pay off debt. Hubby is NOT on board at all. We have always kept our finances separate for several reasons so I am doing it on my own. I have listed all our debts and am working on my $1000 emergency fund.

    I purchased my daughter 3 winter shirts and 1 winter dress from one of our local second hand store.

    I have been waiting to get to work to drink my coffee during the week because they offer it free to employees. This saves money on my grocery budget. I have made sure to eat a good breakfast and pack lunch and snacks to take to work with me. I drink water all day after my coffee.

    My husband bought us dinner one night and I used a coupon to a local fast food restaurant to have a mommy/daughter date for cheap one night. All other meals were cooked and eaten at home.

    I asked my husband and daughter to give me a short Christmas present wish list. I don’t want to waste my money on presents they don’t like or want.

    I did not shop on black friday.

    We did not renew our daughter’s swimming lesson contract. Our goal was for her to be able to swim and not drown. She accomplished that.

    I clean vinegar and baking soda. I poured the hot vinegar/water down the shower drain to help prevent clogs. I have been putting veggie/fruit scraps, dust/dirt/hair/etc from the vacuum canister (bagless) into my composter. I have been putting egg shells directly into the raised bed I grow tomatoes in. Hopefully in the spring I will have some compost to use in my garden beds.

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. Cindi

      Your garland sounds beautiful!

  18. Tejas

    I harvested and dried oregano and basil from the garden. I used previously dried red peppers from my garden to make a small Christmas wreath.
    I finally got around to shortening the sleeves on multiple blouses and shirts I bought from thrift stores over the last year.
    I cooked everything from scratch for our Thanksgiving dinner. We had turkey and gravy, cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, rolls, butternut squash pie, and pecan cobbler. The turkey was .39 a pound, and the perfectly fresh green beans were .33 a pound on the markdown table at my produce store. Other than the turkey and gravy, the complete meal was vegan and mostly organic. It fed 10 people for two complete meals, and four adults for another meal. All for only $50. It would have certainly been less, had I used non-organic ingredients.
    For our second Thanksgiving Dinner with my sister at her home, we had a taco dinner. I cooked two lbs. of pintos for refried beans, made a double batch of taco rice, and made two chocolate chip chocolate snack cakes. All ingredients from my pantry. The pico de gallo I made used tomatoes and green peppers from the markdown baskets.
    I bought an extra turkey at .39 a pound for my freezer. I plan to make turkey and dumplings this week from the first carcass I froze.
    My 3 children under 30 and 3 grandkids aged 10,12, and 17 discovered the joys of dumpster diving while waiting on the Thanksgiving dinner to cook. We live in a community with a very large university and lots of upscale apartments. In just an hour (no actual diving in dumpsters!) they brought home $1500 worth of sterling silver jewelry, electronics, knife sets, name brand clothing with tags, shoes, and a Kindle Fire. They were proudly giving items to everyone, putting some away for Christmas gifts, and planning to sell what they couldn’t use. For after dinner, they took everyone’s blood pressure with the kit they brought home. It was like Christmas! I can just see that this will become our new Thanksgiving tradition! It was a wonderful day of blessings.

    1. Anne

      I have always wanted to dumpster dive, but have never had the courage. Perhaps if I was in a group of six, I would.

      Also I live in a senior community out in the suburbs. But, oh, if I lived in a college town……..

    2. Mandy

      I used to dumpster dive. I don’t have the time now (I only go at night when there is a smaller chance of getting caught lol) but it is so much fun! Great finds!

  19. K

    Oooh, those pies sound delicious! Reminds me of my grandma- her lemon meringue pie was amazing!

    Our Frugal Accomplishments for the Week:

    * I prepped meals for my SO since I was out of town for Thanksgiving but they had to stay for work.

    * We were going to get the tires changed over to our snow tires this weekend, but we got snowed out of doing so. Luckily, we made the decision to not follow through before the snow started, because we ended up getting a foot of snow! Staying out of the snow minimizes the chances of an accident or getting stuck somewhere.

    * I made several loaves of bread- potato, honey wheat, and quinoa and flax bread.

    * I was able to bring home the bones from my family’s turkey and ham- the ham bone is being used in split pea soup, and the turkey was split into two freezer bags for two future soups this month.

    * I meal planned for the month. The total cost of everything I need for the month (as well as several items for Christmas gifts) will be under $150.

    * I ordered pet food before Thanksgiving. Every month, I’ve been buying a bit extra of wet food (to get up to the total budget amount), and I was able to buy all of the cat food we need to last us until January using November’s cat food budget, which means I can save December’s cat food budget.

    * I planned out the gifts I want to make this year. I have a few items I have to buy, but most gifts will be homemade, including several spice blends, caramel corn, and latte mixes (total cost will be under $250 for 10 people + pets). I try to not spend more than $30 per person (preferably $25 or less), so I’m right on budget. I also should not need to buy any wrapping supplies, since I have a lot left over from previous years. I’ve been saving up spice containers all year, so that I don’t have to buy as many containers for this.

    * I carpooled with my uncle up to my parent’s house, saving the cost of a bus ticket.

    Have a great week, everyone! Enjoy the snow if you get any (though be careful driving)!

  20. Maxine

    I love all of the family photos you posted over the past few days, Brandy. You are right–your husband has a good eye for composition.
    This was Thanksgiving week at our house–
    * We had Thanksgiving dinner at the home of neighborhood friends. There were 10 of us present. I only had to bring a pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce ( both homemade). Our hostess, instead of having people take home the leftovers of what they brought, put everything on the counter and encouraged us to make ourselves a meal and take it home. As a result, we had leftovers for lunch Friday.
    * I was awake at 5:40 a.m. Wednesday and decided, what the heck, I’d go to JoAnn’s Black Friday sale, which started at 6 a.m. I had goobered up the flannel pajama pants I was making for my daughter-in-law, and I was able to replace the fabric for 50% off. I also bought 10 yards of nylon netting to protect my berries from birds and my dog. I was home at 6:25!
    * I mended the tote bag that my daughter uses every day and hinted to her brother that she could use a new one for Christmas. I also mended a bath towel.
    * I received my $190 paycheck for being chief elections judge in the precinct where our vacation home is located.
    * I traced two sewing patterns on tissue gift wrap–not the best paper for this, but it’s what I had. (If I ever use them again, I’ll transfer the pieces to freezer paper).
    *I bought 12 jars of peanut butter for .99 each at Fred Meyer with digital coupon. Cheapest I have seen in many a moon. I am starting to get the hang of digital.

    My gift-a-month for November was pajama pants, although I have to buy elastic before I can finish them. I realize you don’t have time to do this every day, but when you do make a gift, I would love for you to post it here. If you wanted to, you could intersperse current posts with previous gift-a-day posts, or link to them. I am 73 years old and this is only my third year of making presents for people, and I’m loving it. I only have basic cooking and sewing skills, but I’ve found things to make that I am capable of doing well. (Fear of failure is what previously stymied me).

    1. Max--again

      This is a suggestion for a last-minute gift for an adult. A few years ago I gave my son “dinner and a movie”–which was a pan of homemade lasagne, bag of salad, loaf of French bread and homemade dessert, plus a Redbox rental. It was easy, not too expensive and even had some pizazz!

      1. Ava

        Maxine, I love your “dinner and a movie” gift! I think I’ll be doing this for several people this season.

    2. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I have not yet made any gifts this year. Between a very needy baby of the family and my time spent editing photos for clients, I have not had time to do much in the garden or do much sewing or canning this year. I hope to be able to make at least a few gifts with the supplies I already have, but so far I have not yet. I still have photos to edit for clients before I can start sewing.

      1. Cindi

        It is wonderful that you are getting clients for your photography business. At this season of your life, making presents and canning will have to wait.

  21. Mary

    I love reading all the money-saving tips. Here are my frugal accomplishments for last week:
    -I made chicken stock using carcasses from the freezer and veggies from my kids’ 4H garden. I freeze the stock in my jumbo muffin tin. Each puck is about 1 cup.
    -I found 80% lean ground beef at Walmart for $1.88 a lb. I bought 7 lbs.
    -My husband and I watched a movie on Netflix using the free subscription we got from our mobile carrier.
    -We celebrated my husband’s birthday. My kids made a cake using ingredients we had on hand.
    -We saw a hockey game using tickets we got from https://www.vettix.org/ref/823862 VetTix is an organization that provides donated tickets for concerts, sporting events, performing arts, educational and family activities to currently serving Military, Veterans and families of troops KIA. There is also a sister site for currently serving and retired law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs and 911 Dispatchers called https://www.1sttix.org/ref/823862 We did have to pay a small fee to transfer the tickets to our name, and for parking. We spent about $20, but our tickets alone would have cost $200 for our family of 7.

  22. Libby

    I was watching this winter storm make its way across the country and saw that LV was getting rain and snow. Glad you were able to save on irrigation. I, too, save the zest from lemons (that I purchase) and add them to your blueberry muffin recipe. I had never thought of make lemon pepper – thanks for the idea!
    • Made swag goal x 2
    • Baked a leftover pumpkin from Halloween decorations and used it to make Thanksgiving pies
    • Brought home the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving dinner and made stock using the slow cooker
    • Homemade meals included: chicken ramen, knockwurst and sauerkraut casserole, asparagus soup, cheese quesadillas, Zuppa Toscana using the turkey stock rather than chicken stock, and risotto using turkey stock
    • Hung laundry to dry outside when the sun was shining and inside the house once it started snowing. I broke down and used the dryer for the first time since 31 July. The flannel sheets don’t dry fast enough when hung up in the winter time.
    • Borrowed movies from the library
    • Went Black Friday shopping and only bought things on my list like undies and a flat vegetable grater
    • Updated monthly networth spreadsheet

  23. Kara

    We had company for Thanksgiving. Everyone brought something. In past years I did not ask people to bring much. This year I shared out the food list much better
    My daughter said that the Red Cross will come and install smoke detectors for free. The labor and detector are free. She and her roommates just had someone in to do theirs. I am going to call them tomorrow for our house.
    I attended a household goods/clothes swap. I brought some things, and I came away with about double what I brought, all of them needed items for free! This was put on by a Zero Waste action group.
    We have had lovely rain. My husband has dug some shallow ‘river’ beds and a ‘pooling’ spot in our no-water front yard. That will help concentrate the rainwater around the plants, letting them get more than if it was all allowed to run straight off the property.
    I was paid $50 for a magazine submission.

    1. Shirley

      Kara, that’s so exciting being paid for a magazine submission! Do you regularly do freelance writing?

  24. Kim

    I remember being in 5th grade and my mom taking me shopping for new church shoes so I could play at my piano recital. My older sister was APPALLED when I came home with some very low heels. NOT FAIR she exclaimed!!! My poor mom gently explained in very diplomatic terms something like this: It was the best we could do considering the size shoe she needs. (Translation: Her feet are growing at an alarming rate and I am doing the best I can!!! Teehee.)

  25. PJGT

    I understand about being so busy. I’ve not had the energy to make any presents or can. With that in mind, its been a challenge to find presents with purpose and not cost much. We made it through November financially and December looks to be difficult as well. At least my husband has had more work than expected, so we have been able to cover incidentals as they occurred. I am so thankful!

    I had a locking journal (and added encouraging notes and drawings throughout) saved out for our nieces’ birthday. To that we added three pair of tween earrings that my older niece had made and wanted to send along. The shipping was the costliest part of the gift even though we mailed it as slow and cheaply as possible. I mailed it early enough to have the present to my son by Thanksgiving so he could give them to her when they celebrated her birthday. Success!

    My niece who has been here helping to caretake has driven back to her father’s house for the holidays. We all miss her and were really blessed to have her here to help.

    For Thanksgiving we went to a scrumptious dinner for only 10$ a person. My second outing with people around since I became ill. Today was the third as we went to the local art museum that is free the first Sunday of the month. It was festive with a band, cookies and hot drinks, and ornament making. My daughter and I made ornaments for our tree. And we wandered the art museum as well. A fun time. I do have to rest up after, but it is good to get out.

    Today I wore a knit winter hat and no wig. As my hair grows in, that seems to be my go-to option. I do have the wigs to rely on when I need them. I’ve heard that some women just wear hats while their hair grows in. I think that is what is going to work best – especially since it is winter now.

    My husband did get to the expired food table this week and brought home a loaf of bread, 4 rolls, 4 tubes of crescent rolls, a number of sad apples, 5 overripe bananas, chocolate milk and low fat milk. This abundance really helps. I also shopped a little and was able to buy items on sale or discount that we needed. Two of the items that were on sale were sold out, so I have rainchecks for them. My niece left a little bit of witch hazel that I am going to use to make another batch of my essential oil yoga mat cleaner. I have found so many frugal items at the Dollar Tree this week. I expect that they appear cheaper because our grocery store items have risen so much. I am trying to put by as much food as I am able as I see prices rising and harvest yields down this year. Blessed!

    1. Patricia Koernig

      Trish,
      Although I do not have details, I have heard of giving english classes to Chinese students. It is done online. The hours can be a bit challenging due to the time difference, but you are able to make your own schedule. Perhaps, it is something to look into as you get your strength back, and continue to heal. Sending you love.
      Patricia/Fl

      1. PJGT

        Patricia,

        I have looked at this as I have the certification to teach English as a foreign language; however, I need to get out of the house a bit in these long winters. Good idea!

        Trish

  26. Cara

    We had a semi-potluck Thanksgiving on Saturday because my partner was on call Thursday. We made a nut loaf (with free nuts from our volunteer work), cranberry sauce with frozen organic cranberries that we’d found on sale years ago & kept frozen, mashed “potatoes” (actually tropical yams for lower starch) and Gary made a sweet potato and a pecan pie. Others brought salad and a vegetable. It was nice, and not much money, but a lot of work getting the house cleaned up!

    I also found 3 pairs of pants at the thrift store (rare for me to find a small enough size that isn’t childish) and was able to take care of our ailing cat at home, giving subcutaneous lactated ringer’s and homeopathic remedies to help her. My holistic veterinarian friend (w/whom I used to work came to the house to examine her. We insisted he accept payment, but we’d saved so much not taking her to the regular vet, that it still was less expensive.

    For those of you who have lemons or limes and want an easy, delicious recipe for —-ade, I tried this one and enjoyed it. Instead of sugar, I used a few drops of liquid stevia. And since the rinds are consumed (yes!) I highly suggest you use organic citrus.

    https://www.themediterraneandish.com/mint-lemonade-recipe/

    Happy holidays to all, and thank you again, Brandy, for the touching and beautiful photographs and for making the time to host this blog.

  27. Cindi

    We had a quiet, frugal Thanksgiving at home. I froze packages of leftover turkey meat for future meals, and the turkey carcass, which I’ll turn into broth soon. We did do some Black Friday shopping, making some planned purchases. Our church adopts a family for the holiday, and we have pledged to give new bedding to our region’s women and children’s shelter, so I was able to get linens and items for our ‘adopted’ family at a big discount on Black Friday. My husband purchased two badly-needed pairs of new jeans – he lost weight in the past year and only a couple of pairs of his old jeans still fit. We also purchased an artificial Christmas tree. It has always been our tradition to cut a tree in the National Forest, which costs only a few dollars and is a fun adventure. But as we get older, we’re looking to simplify, and buying an artificial, pre-lit tree is one way to do so. We were able to get one for $79 that is 7 ½ feet, so great for us. I was able to get the two items my husband wanted – a Kindle and a fishing reel – on sale on Amazon, using a gift card I received for doing an online focus group. I wrapped presents using brown paper I had saved and ironed, and plaid ribbon purchased at Joann’s Black Friday sale. They turned out very nice.

  28. Melissa V

    I feel your frustration in finding shoes only my problem is for myself – I wear an 11 wide due to bunions and severe hammer toes (my left foot is being “restructured” in January). I CANNOT wear any type of heel and all the women’s dress shoes seem to have outrageous heels! For myself, I have found Sketchers to have good shoes but they aren’t always that dressy – more casual office type. And the problem with online shopping for clothing and shoes is the chance it won’t fit UGGG very frustrating. My mom had to have my feet fitted at one of the higher end shops in town when I got into highshcool – we paid a lot out front (by that age I was helping pay for some items) but the shoes did last me well into college.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I have wide feet myself and I usually have to buy online. Naturalizer and Comfortiva both make wides and they carry flats. They’re expensive, so I look for sales.

    2. Gayle

      After an ankle injury my podiatrist highly recommended Vionic shoes..they are expensive but you can try on in the store and order from Amazon… think they have 20% off Cyber Monday from Vionic directly….you would not believe how life changing these shoes are!!

    3. JoJo

      Melissa V, have you ever tried Zappos online for shoes? I have extremely narrow feet and Zappos has been a godsend for me because they offer free shipping and free returns!!!

  29. Lisa

    We enjoyed Thanksgiving with a large group and I made it home with a turkey carcass which I made broth and then turkey soup out of. It’s enough for several meals for our family of 5 and my mother-in-law. We ar living with her to save money while we house hunt. We are in the process of buying our first home and it’s exciting and overwhelming! We aren’t planning to buy any extra furniture until we can pay cash for it, (or find it for free!) but we will need to buy a washer and dryer and perhaps a fridge? We’ll see!
    My 3-year-old lost the Velcro on his shoe and Grandma was able to sew it back on through the vinyl-type material with her heavy duty machine. I’m hoping it will last through the winter.
    I checked out the Tightwad Gazette from the library and have enjoyed reading through it. Between that book and this blog, I have all sorts of ideas to up my game!

  30. Alethea in Central VA

    I hope you can find church shoes that are appropriate for your daughter. My daughter has large feet and it was always a struggle. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were bbq chicken with roasted potatoes and broccoli, grilled steak with baked potatoes and tossed salad, spaghetti with garlic bread.
    *Helped with our church’s Thanksgiving meal and took home leftover ham.
    *Made a pumpkin, a pecan and a double-layer chocolate pie for Thanksgiving. Also made 2 batches of bread machine yeast rolls. Everything was from the pantry.
    *Decorated for Christmas using things I already have. Also found I should have plenty of leftover Christmas cards and wrapping paper for this year.
    *Brought home turkey, broccoli casserole and stuffing from Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s house. I left him some pie and rolls.
    *Ate a free spaghetti dinner at church one night.
    *Sent a sympathy card and two “thinking of you” cards from my stash.
    *Ordered Christmas gifts on sale from Kohl’s stacking 2 coupon codes and receiving free shipping. Also went though Rakuten earning cash back.

  31. Marcia Richards

    I understand your predicament. I have a very needy husband with dementia. He is not much of a baby, but he needs a lot of help with certain things around the house. He cannot take direction except for one thing at a time. He cannot “find” things that are right in front of his face. He is getting lost in his own head—he doesn’t communicate well, he doesn’t use words to say what he is feeling—I have to ask several questions to understand what he wants or what he was attempting to do. This is much of what takes up my time. He is teaching me to be more patient, and to think about the process of doing things one step at a time. He was helping me to make the bed with clean sheets the other day, and it was a challenging task for him. I use the suspender clip elastics on the corners of the fitted sheet, which is otherwise just a bit too short for our mattress (since we put a mattress topper on it) and it’s a challenge for me to be able to instruct him one step at a time — you have to have the clips right side up on the sheet you’re putting on. It would be faster to do it myself, although I am arthritic and it involves stretching sore muscles. Anyhow, we did the job!
    We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at little extra cost. Turkeys were .49 cents a pound with a $25 order. Ours was only about 14 pounds because there were only 6 of us. (Actually 5, as my son in law was sick and DD took foor home for him.) Tradition in our household is for each family to get 1/3 of the leftovers unless they want less of something. Squash and green beans were left for us. Pie went quickly but I made another pumpkin pie today–the pumpkin brand I prefer comes in a larger can than I need and makes two pies and still some leftover for a recipe of muffins. We always greatly enjoy the second pie, which we don’t have to share. I don’t make pumpkin pie except at Thanksgiving time, although I don’t know why I don’t. I guess mostly it’s because we enjoy so many different pies that there isn’t time to make more than a couple of each kind in season.
    My Christmas shopping is going fairly slowly, but I do have a few things for each person so far. Since my DD and her husband are well supplied with most material items I will get them a gift card for the movies in addition to the gifts I have purchased. They manage to stretch a $50 gc (which I buy for $40 from the supermarket where I normally shop) to last most of the year by going to the Tuesday cheap matinee. All I need to do is buy my groceries and I get a point for every $100 I spend. They give us almost 3 whole months to earn points–last year I bought several for gifts. I believe they also bought themselves one, since they save so much by having one. They like to stop at a certain sup shop afterwards and take home a sub to share. Last year I bought them a gift card for there also. Have to check how much I’ve already spent to know if I have enough budget left to do that again this year.
    Many of the things I have already bought were on sale or discounted by 40 to 50 % before Black Friday. I’ve bought most on line as there is no easy way to shop with my husband along for the ride unless I know exactly what I want and can get it quickly and leave. He is more willing to shop now than he has ever been but it’s not something he really enjoys. My DD will take him shopping for items for me–items carefully explained to her before hand, and he will think it was his idea. My only real needs this year seem to be jeans or dress pants. Edema in my legs–which I have two doctors working on–has made my current ones a bit tight but they are quite nearly worn out as well.
    Our store did have some cut up turkey parts on sale the day after Thanksgiving (I assume leftover fresh turkeys are cut up so they will sell.) They were not especially cheap and I have a whole breast in the freezer, so decided against buying any more right now. My husband doesn’t like turkey as much as I do.
    Since I keep my Thanksgiving dinner simple, it is not very costly either. Cornbread stuffing from cornbread I made. Butternut squash was already mashed and frozen from the half bushel I bought at harvest time. Frozen green beans, broccoli has looked horrible lately. Whole cranberry sauce from a bag of frozen that I bought last year and didn’t use. (Cranberry apple pie is excellent but I never got it made.) I’ll pick up another pound next time I shop. Mashed potatoes. Gravy also homemade. My grandaughter’s beloved yeast rolls, also made from scratch. Pumpkin and chocolate cream pies. Whipped cream. One can of the dreaded jellied cranberry stuff that DD gets to take home with her afterwards! No sweet potaotes as most of us don’t care for them.
    My weekend of NOT SHOPPING allowed me to catch up on laundry, take husband for a ride, get the normal grocery shopping done, and read SOME of the newspapers full of ads instead of news. Today we had an ice storm followed by more snow tonight and tomorrow. No need to go anywhere tomorrow either! My only appointment this week is on Wednesday!

    1. PJGT

      Marcia,

      I admire your tenacity and great attitude. My husband’s family has dementia and it looks to be quite time consuming. Prayers for you and your family.

      I also love your notes on what you didn’t buy. That’s so frugal. I feel like I’ve scored a major goal when I don’t shop or I don’t buy something. Way to go.

      Trish

    2. Jenifer

      Marcia,
      I’m glad you comment when you do. My mom is my fathers care taker. Your comments help me understand her mindset easier which has definitely helped me communicate with her better which in turn helps her get her needs met.
      Pumpkin muffins sound delightful right now and a perfect way to use up the portion I have left.
      Thank you!

  32. Polly

    *I found celery for 39 cents a head to use in my sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving. Also bought in-house Italian sausage from the gourmet supermarket for $2.98/lb which is a steal around here. The recipe I loosely follow calls for two sticks of butter, but I’ve reduced it down to two tablespoons, and it’s just as good.
    *One of the departments at work was redecorating, and giving away free framed black and white photography. I picked out a gorgeous picture of a vineyard around the corner from my home that I pass by every day. I’ll hang it in one of my spare bedrooms.
    ^I was also able to pick up $10 tickets through my job to see a performance of both Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the re composition by Max Richter, which is a favorite piece of music. The seats were fabulous – center orchestra – and had a face value of $85.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      WOW on the tickets! I love that piece. Enjoy your concert!

  33. Lillianna

    The only thing that I needed to buy for our Thanksgiving meal was a ham. I searched the sales ads and purchased the best deal. I took my trash to the local dump. I asked for several items piled outside of an overflowing bin. The attendant let me take a Rubbermaid tall laundry basket , a medium size tote and a black tv cabinet. These were items on my wants list and with a little spray cleaner they cleaned up nicely. I left behind a box of various Doug and Melissa wooden toys on the ground in a box figuring someone else would see them and want them . My college daughter gifted me the free one year of Disney service she received from Verizon on her cellphone service. That will be sugar cookies Christmas present. I gifted college girl my Insta pot that is brand new in the box that I have never used in two years. She mentioned while looking online at sales that she wanted one. I enjoyed our regifting session. We took a couple gift cards I had redeemed from swagbucks and did online black Friday shopping. It was nice to purchase random wanted items at heavily discounted prices. My favorite item is a brownie pan that bakes brownies with lots of edges. I purchased a 3 month discounted Audible subscription with a swagbucks gift card and received a 15.00 Amazon gift card. Between the two of us we had $28.00 in Amazon credit. We bought baby Henry 3 Carter’s sleepers and a 4 piece Carter outfit. All in all, I was pleased to have spent very little out of pocket this week. With all the various promotions, I was able to maximize my gift card from swagbucks. Other than my running shoes, I haven’t bought shoes in many years. I shopped at swagbucks and used a link to shoefab. I bought 4 pairs of shoes on sale for a total of 45.00. I got free shipping and will receive 25.00 back in swagbucks. This is a company with connections to the Kardashian s and the shoes are decent. My son’s close friend has parents who bought a new car. They have offered my son first dibs on their other car. I’m sure they will give him a good deal and I’m very grateful. Our search for cars the last 8 months has been horrible. I kept reminding him to be patient for the right car. This will be the 4th car I have bought in 8 months. Mine, college girl, my mother and now son. Needless to say, I will be having a few spend less months in my near future. I was very proud that other than my gift cards from Swagbucks , the only money I spent was 100.00 on a new ladder. That was half price and now I won’t need to pay anyone to clean my gutters. Have a great week friends.

  34. Tina S.

    We had our Thanksgiving at home, with just the two of us. My husband was on call for work, so he had to stay close to home. Earlier in the day, my mom and I drove up to see my local sister and her family for a while. For dinner, we had turkey breast, twice baked potatoes, roasted vegetables, homemade cranberry sauce, and rolls made from scratch. My husband requested a pumpkin ice cream dessert that his mom used to make. I asked her for the recipe, but she couldn’t find it, so I made a Betty Crocker version I found online. It was pretty close to the original, so my husband was happy.

    We had lots of leftovers so I shared them with my mom. I made extra twice baked potatoes (yum). I have been enjoying lots of turkey sandwiches, and I will put some turkey in the freezer too.

    I had a nice outing on Friday to see a nightly 20 minute holiday parade that runs from Black Friday to Christmas Eve. It’s free, and I hadn’t seen it in years. I really enjoyed it, and it was fun to see all the kids there too. On Saturday, I went up to a local garden center to see their display of many colors of poinsettias. They also give out free samples of Danish kringle and coffee or tea. This year, I am going to attend as many free holiday festivities as I can. Next weekend is our city’s holiday event, with carolers and lots of other activities. Should be fun!

    Otherwise, I read library books, ate from the freezer, used up some vegetables in the fridge that needed to be used, listened to podcasts, watched videos on YouTube and shows on Netflix, made water kefir. My frugal plans for the coming week are to get out all my Christmas decorations and my tree, and put everything up. I’m also going to make a wreath. I have the wreath form already, and I bought some silver branch decorations (the condo association had our doors painted a dark color, so a wreath would not be visible without a contrast color). I can get evergreen branches, cedar and holly for free (all from local plants). I already have floral wire. So that will be fun.

    Have a great week, everyone.

  35. Mary in AZ

    My savings for last week –
    I baked 2 pies, apple and pecan.
    My husband cooked on Thanksgiving & with leftovers made soup. FIL bought pizza one night for dinner. I did no Black Friday shopping. Sat I got a few things at CVS for $3 vitamins, gum and toothpaste I went back to CVS with FIL’s Extra bucks and got a bunch of chocolate for Christmas baking for $6. I’m doing swagbucks, iBotta, Checkout51, Receipthog & Shopkick, hoping to earn enough so I can cash out and get my college daughter Christmas gifts. $ has been tight. I combined errands with going to the library to find more books to read.
    We are still waiting to hear on refinancing. Such a long process.
    I continue to enjoy everyone’s posts. Have a good week everyone!

  36. Melissa Y

    We hosted Thanksgiving as we always do. We provided turkey purchase at .37/lb, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, & shrimp wrapped in bacon as an appetizer. Guests contributed stuffing, meatballs & ziti, broccoli ice casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie and chocolate pie. Everyone took home the leftovers of their choice. I made stock from the carcass which I then turned into soup, a turkey potpie, mashed potato casserole, and the 4 of us enjoyed plates of leftovers for the rest of our meals. My oldest friend who usually joins on Thanksgiving was unable to attend so she sent me a beautiful floral arrangement. My BIL woks for a spring water company & gave us a case of bottled water, it’s good to keep on hand for emergencies. He also gave me a coffee sample that he was given but would not use. Working our way though the freezer & pantry for another week, will not need to grocery shop until Saturday. Did not shop Black Friday, haven’t done in years, as most of my gift shopping is complete. Our past few months hadn’t seemed particularly frugal, but then I realized that so many of the things we do have become part of our rhythm of life are saving us money. Eating at home, packing lunches, drinking water, not buying coffee out, shutting off lights, keeping heat low, batching errands, stocking a pantry & freezer, no food waste, shopping 2nd. hand, home & car repair & maintenance, etc, all of this is just normal life. I am challenging myself in 2020 to find new ways to save & stretch our money & budget even further,

  37. Becky

    I’m glad to hear that your photography business is taking off! That must feel great after all the effort you have put into it.

    Just like most of the ladies on this blog, I made turkey-noodle soup with the turkey bone broth. I also made ham and beans from the ham bone. We used the white beans the weekend before as pie weights when my daughter was baking, and I wasn’t sure if they would cook up well after being baked. I’m happy to report that they cooked up fine! So they were not wasted.

    My daughter painted a cute flowerpot and planted up a spider plant “baby” from her bigger plant in it. Pictures are on my blog:http://beckyathome.com
    This idea would make a great Christmas gift. I worked on some potholders, kitchen towels with sewed tops, embroidered dish towels and made a couple of pillowcases for gifts.

    I read a couple of free books I had downloaded.

    I’m enjoying burning the wood we’ve gathered for free, as it is very cold here right now.

  38. Juhli

    We had a quiet Thanksgiving week but ate really well. I tried some new recipes – Green lentil and Sweet Potato soup that was nicely spicy and a mostly veggie beef stew were both hits. We were just the 2 of us on Thanksgiving so I made a turkey loaf, sweet potato and coleslaw which we enjoyed along with pumpkin pie. Our son and DIL had a Friendsgiving on Saturday that was also our celebration with them so I made a cinnamon apple galette and pumpkin ginger cookies. I love to back but don’t want it in the house to eat LOL so this was perfect.

    We have decided to attend 3 holiday music events this season and make donations at each. The first was yesterday and was a university chorus singing an amazing selection of works. Awesome voices and organ accompanist. We plan to attend a chamber orchestra and high school chorus event and a community band event this coming weekend. So looking forward to it. We also love live theater and the little local volunteer one has season tickets on sale now for a great price so I am contemplating doing that as well. Supporting local arts is where I am willing to spend for entertainment.

    Enjoy reading everyone’s accomplishments and seeing how different our lives are in different places, circumstances and ages. Great ideas here.

    The library and my book club friends continue to provide more reading material than I can get through. I do love having a stack of books waiting to be read. I’m on another clothes shopping fast and hope to make it to Spring without spending on clothing unless I truly have a need that can’t be met with what I have in my small wardrobe There are a lot of fun wardrobe challenges out there to help you use what you have in different ways if you are like me and get bored with wearing the same combos repeatedly. I’m doing a 10 items for 10 days one right now and the first day was a new combo so I am quite happy. Fortunately my husband does not get bored and pretty much wears the same thing every day.

  39. Jennifer Caldwell

    Hi, Brandy,

    Just thought I’d mention re: shoes…my daughter is a women’s 8.5 and she just discovered this weekend that if women’s sizes convert down 1.5 sizes to children’s, in other words, she can wear a girl’s 7. She was thrilled as she was able to purchase some Nikes in the children’s section for less than the adult shoes. You might try children’s 6.5 or 7 and see if she fits that?

    Best of luck! I can relate! Her foot went up to a size 10 at age 11, but then reduced down to size 8.5. It was rough finding shoes that fit and she liked.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Jennifer, I’ve never seen a girl’s size larger than a 6. Are these just in tennis shoes? I’m looking for dress shoes.

  40. Rebecca

    Can you please do a post on how you use swagbucks? Thanks

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      There have been a large number of comments on this subject in the past. Lilliana in particular really does wonderfully with it.

    2. Lillianna

      Hi Rebecca ! I absolutely love Swagbucks and have been participating in them for 10 years. I average $50.00 to $200.00 a month. Some months I spend more time than others on it. There are many ways to earn swagbucks. Different people utilize different methods. There are many methods described on the internet. Google and it will show you many methods. There are Facebook groups . Reddit has a long ongoing discussion about it. I buy deals from the Discover page. Recently I earned $35.00 for trying a month of Hulu that cost me $6.00 . That was a $29.00 profit. We tried the Sirius radio for $8.00 and made a profit of $32.00. If we try it and don’t like it, we cancel. I didn’t keep the Sirius because I simply was unable to figure out how to use it. I do surveys. I just received a $300.00 item to review. Although I cannot disclose details, it was greatly welcomed into our home and we were allowed to keep it. If anyone would love to up their swagbucks, I would love to help you. I also coupon extremely well. Please contact me at ….. lilliannapickles@gmail.com. I also do not have a referral link but Brandy does !!!!

  41. April

    I understand the issues with girls and big shoe sizes….my oldest wore a size 11 or 12 in high school and could never find anything cute in her size(she’s 6’2). My 12yo is approaching women’s size 8(my son has a size 13)

    Ate Thanksgiving leftovers for several days. The ham bone is in the freezer for beans this week

    My mother in law had a bag of books she said I could take what I wanted so I brought home 3 I hadn’t read

    Used Walmart grocery pick up to avoid temptations

    Purchased dvds on my list for cheap during black Friday sales

    Got several items on Christmas list on sale.

    Brought home my mom’s Turkey carcass and meat she didn’t want. Put it all in the freezer to deal with at a later time

    Sold a few items on Facebook marketplace

    Used reward points for a free pizza.

    Made sure to return library books on time to avoid late fees

  42. Jennifer Caldwell

    There are definitely size 7 youth dress shoes (just did a quick search on Amazon) but I bet they’re not as readily available.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I haven’t seen them. They must only be made by some companies!

  43. I remember those years when both of my girls feet grew like that! I never could understand why people would buy expensive shoes for children. ha ha
    We have big feet in the family though.
    Like you I baked my own pies again this year, coconut and apple. I also baked a lot of cupcakes for the granddaughter’s birthday. I’m glad all the sweets are gone now.
    Here are my frugal accomplishments: https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2019/12/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-12119.html

  44. Jo

    The pictures are so sweet. They will be a treasure.

    I feel you all on the shoes, but for the opposite problem — my oldest needed dress shoes her Freshman year of high school for church and for some school events, and she wore a woman’s size 4.5 AAAA (this is U.S. sizing). We finally found ONE pair of shoes after long searching, that both fit and were dressy. They cost us $75 and that was in 1996! When she graduated high school, she had finally reached size 6.5 AAA, but we found if we put inserts in her shoes plus heel pads, she wouldn’t “walk out” of an A-width shoe, which made it a little easier. We still were grateful we didn’t have her cousin’s problem though — even now, approaching 30 and being a mother, our niece still wears a size 3.

    We had Thanksgiving early, and we split up the cooking, so all I provided were some vegetable dishes and dessert, which was pretty cheap. That means no turkey carcass for me, but I have plenty of bones to make bone broth anyway. I just made some more last week.

    I received a clean-out bag from ThredUp, to see if they’ll buy any of my clothes again. If my clothes sell, I’ll get a credit. If they don’t, they’ll donate them, saving me a trip or two.

    I bought my first ever artificial tree, on sale plus with our veteran’s discount. It will pay for itself in less than 3 Christmases, and I made sure to get LED lights, as they last so much longer and use so much less electricity. The rest of my decor will be from the stuff I use every year and out of my yard.

    I normally get gas at Costco’s pumps, but I was traveling and needed to stop for gas. I found a Marathon station, where I got 3 cents off using my Farm Bureau membership card.

    I didn’t see anything I needed on Black Friday so I kept my money.

    I transported Christmas gifts when I traveled. It will save me the postage later.

    I sometimes — not always — have a knack for finding things on the internet that can be hard to find. I found something for a relative who had been searching for a year and could find either nothing, or if she found it, which was very rarely, the item would cost close to a hundred dollars. I found it for $35 with free shipping, and she got it in two days. Hooray!

  45. Karen

    I so enjoy reading your blog and just want to say that you are an amazing photographer!
    I know what you mean about shoe sizes. Our son at age 12 went from size 5 to size 10 in one year! He literally tripped walking across the room until he got used to his much bigger feet. Now as an adult he wears a size 12.
    I had some good luck at the thrift store on Black Friday. All bottoms (pants, skirts, etc) were 75% off. I scored some NYDJ jeans in my size for $1.25, flannel pajama pants for $o.50, and a snowsuit for a grandchild for $1.75. The snowsuit didn’t ring up at the discounted price, but the cashier nicely changed it for me.
    At Thanksgiving my daughter brought a Costco pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. It was excellent and she left us several pieces. The meal was thrifty with a discounted turkey, stuffing I made myself, cranberries and the makings of green bean casserole that I already had on hand.
    At the store I picked up a roast for $1.99 a pound. I bought a large one and cut it into thirds-one part for a small pot roast for the two of us and then cut the other two parts into stew meat portions. I can’t believe they charge $3.99 a pound for stew meat here!
    A big savings is that we put off getting a ductless heating system installed into our home. We had an estimate done, and although in the long run it would probably save us money and keep us warmer, it was just too much money for now. My husband really wanted it, but agreed to postpone.
    I put up our old four foot Christmas tree and duct taped it to the table so the cats won’t knock it over. The tree skirt is a thrift store round holiday table cloth. It looks very festive in the window.

  46. Tammi

    Kohls has a pair of SO brand “women’s boat ballet flats” in size 8 medium in taupe available online today with an extra 20 percent off( any way you pay )through December 4th which would make them $17.59. They look to be very similar in style to the ones that your daughter is wearing in the picture.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Thanks Tammi.I’ll check them out. It’s not for the daughter in the photo; she found a pair she likes in the box!

  47. sophie

    Allô Brandy,
    êtes-vous intéressée à partager votre recette d’assaisonnement poivre-citron?
    Nous cherchons une recette goûteuse depuis longtemps.

    Sophie

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Salut Sophie!

      Je n’ai pas une recette exacte. Je melange juste le poivre, le citron, et la peau sèche du citron.

  48. Jean

    Things are moving so quickly along with the late Thanksgiving. We have only brought out our Advent wreath as far as Christmas decorations go. Thanksgiving went well and I shared a lot of our turkey and still put two containers in the freezer and have had it for three meals. Post Thanksgiving was spent washing all of the sheet sets from family visiting and get them put back on. Our daughter and family are due on the 17th for ten weeks and that has been my focus. I put out a FB notice to the women at church about needing winter clothes for them and feel like we are making great progress toward having enough. I went to a local consignment kids store and got sleepers for 50% off for her baby. Used $10 off for two accounts and got wqrm free gloves for them as well.

    I have been making broth for the last few days and am thankful for easy soups to make with it. I am working on meal plans for December and we will have soup several times a week.

    Blessings to each of you, dear Ladies.

  49. Renee in KY

    We were getting very creative as we waited for payment from a job to come in (came this week). A friend offered us a 20-pound turkey! We were going to skip the pies. Then our friend whose plans fell through joined us for dinner and brought pies! I am hoping this month we can get our vehicle back up and running. It has been a long 3 months without it and I really miss our homeschool trips. Meanwhile, the kids and I enjoy the backyard and walking downtown (tiny downtown) and lots of read-a-louds. We are currently reading Thorton Burgess books. A new meal we have been eating is hamburger soup. Perfect for winter. Also lots of onion soup with brown rice for cold season.

    1. Stacey

      Are these the Mother West Wind books? My father read those to me when I was little and I loved them so much.

  50. Kim-Pacific Northwest

    Hello Brandy,
    I don’t normally do the drug store coupon specials. I went into RiteAid because this time of year they normally have some inexpensive toys and I needed a gift for a 5 month old boy. I found something suitable for $5 which made me happy but when the clerk rang up my purchase she told me I had $6 in bonus points I could use towards another purchase. I used the six dollars to buy two gift packs of Fancy Christmas candies for another gift I needed. That gift cost me nothing out of pocket. When that rang up, it gave me another $2 to spend. They had those large tins of popcorn on sale for $3.50 each so I got one for $1.50 out of pocket which will cross another name off my list. RiteAid turned out to be a very nice stop for my Christmas shopping.
    I got a skein of blue and a skein of white yarn at the thrift store for less than $1 for both! I used it to make a scarf for my middle school niece for Christmas. Those are her school colors. I should mention the needles I used to knit the scarf were also from the thrift store for .49.
    And last I want to mention how thankful I am that although I fell on our cement garage floor and injured my chin and right arm, I did not break anything! I am very sore and badly bruised but can function normally so that is much to be thankful for.

    1. PennyP

      Sorry to hear about your fall Kim, hope you’re mending now.

  51. Brandy, I just read that potato prices are expected to go up in price this year, due to weather issues which are creating a shortage, so if you or your readers use a lot of potatoes and have storage room, it might be worth it to stock up on them if you see them at a good price. Thought I’d pass the info on!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I read that yesterday! I think we will eat more rice this year if prices get too high.

    2. Marisa

      Margaret,
      I have read this too. Thank you for the reminder, we are going to stock up.

  52. Heidi Louise

    I bought the exact pants my son wears over Black Friday weekend, as I don’t think they ever get cheaper than those prices online, and we don’t live near a store for me to watch for sales.
    I re-did my Christmas wreath and hung it outside. I found evergreen branches that had blown down outside, and stuck them in the artificial green wreath I bought many years ago. It has wired branches, so I just twist things in to fill it out more. I had yard sale or clearance bells and ribbons, and where I needed a little more red, put in a strip from a mesh citrus bag.

  53. AvonLadyTJ

    I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Our daughter brought home food that was left over from them serving Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital she works at. We combined it with the few items we had made, (we had planned to simplify, keeping things small and low key this year) turning it into a feast we had not planned on. It resulted in several days worth of yummy leftovers!
    I took the bone from the turkey leg she brought home and made several cups of broth that I can use in other recipes in days to come. We ran out of the gravy she brought home, and since I didn’t have any drippings, I used some of that broth to add to the gravy I made out of butter & flour. This meal(s) gave me many opportunities to demonstrate stretching what we had, and making do, to my daughter. ♡
    I will be back later to read more comments!

  54. Texasilver

    We have been using a used picture tube tv for 10 yrs in the bedroom. It I got a Black Friday flat screen at SAMs 40″ for 159$. I signed up for a SAMs credit card for 55$ off my purchase. Will cancel the card after I pay the bill. Old tv was no longer compatible with Hulu, cable, etc. I put the old one one the curb & someone took it.
    Went to see a childhood friend on the weekend. Took her a lovely wreath (grapevine wreath w/ purple & magenta flowers) that I found as a hostess gift. She has taken in a foster child who is 11. I took the child a number of new nail polishes that I had (did not care for colors). Both seemed to like their gifts.
    Found a child’s play kitchen in very good condition. My neighbors put out nice things on their curb. I offered it to a work colleague for her grandchild.
    The parents were happy with kitchen, cleaned it up,& plan to give to the granddaughter for Christmas.
    I put my turkey carcass in the cockpot overnight & made a lg amt of broth. It’s in freezer now.
    I found some comforters when trashpicking. These are washed & will go to my church for the needy.
    My best friend says I am a natural born scavenger😟. Not sure if that’s a compliment.

    1. Jenifer

      Texasilver, that’s a high honor compliment. #facts

  55. Silver

    Hi Ladies! I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We hosted my brother and sister, and a dear family friend, and my husband loves to go all out when he entertains! He really enjoys decorating, cooking and setting up, so it was a really impressive spread. Knowing how he likes to be lavish with a wide variety of appetizers, I economized where I could. Several weeks ago I started buying the side dishes, paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery a bit here and there out of our grocery budget. My big contribution was cooking stuffing (Pepperidge Farm, a place where I wish I could live!) and making a sugar free fudge pie for me that nobody else would eat if they didn’t have to. And they didn’t! Since I have to, I did, and it was pretty decent when heated up. For everybody else, my honey made tiramisu, lucky ducks! For the entertainment, we watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, a true classic!

    My birthday was the next day, and no way did I even want to attempt to do my usual Fine Lady Day at the mall or ritzy down town area in the affluent next town over. (I normally like to treat myself to a modest bauble at Macy’s, hit the arcade, get some mini cookies at Mrs. Fields, and take pictures of us in front of the decorated Christmas trees.) So I’ve given myself an IOU to pretend I’m a millionaire lady on the town later in December, when some of the wildness dies down. So for my Black Friday Birthday, I had a simple and cozy day at the library, toasting myself like a marshmallow in front of their fireplace, reading the latest magazines and a book I bought for 50 cents. My big bucks ($18.00) were saved for take out, since my hard and fast rule is that I refuse to cook on my birthday, and I’d already declared I didn’t want Thanksgiving leftovers, either. (Leftovers were consumed this past weekend, AFTER my birthday.) It was my first birthday with Type II diabetes, so I made myself a chocolate cake made with Splenda and was able to get away with some real fluffy vanilla icing. and chocolate sprinkles. I still decorated it with silver candles, my vintage ballerinas, and a beautiful gold glitter carousel horse cut out I bought at the dollar store. To feel fancy, I wore my rhinestone tiara and used fancy china and crystal to serve the cake and “champagne”–diet ginger ale. Despite the lack of sugar, I did have a great birthday!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Happy Belated Birthday!

      That is so neat that your library has a fireplace!

      1. Silver

        Thank you! It was a lovely birthday! This particular library is really luxe–I felt like I was at a ski lodge relaxing in front of that fireplace!

    2. Maxine

      A husband that enjoys decorating, cooking and setting up–wow. Do you rent him out?

  56. Jean

    Texasilver, I love your scavenging finds! Why should we be ashamed of reusing useable items? It is looked down upon, but I don’t get the reckless attitude of tossing perfectly good items! What lovely finds and sharing them brings such joy! Good for you!

    1. Texasilver

      Thank you Jean! Most of the things I find I give to others. I found a new Yeti cup w/ lid. That I kept. I have a big load right now of old blankets, pet carriers, iodine & hydrogen packets (donated by my nursing students from their skills kit) to take to the Humane Society. I love animals. I ignore the “haters”.

  57. We rented a log splitter day after thanksgiving and got a really decent wood pile. I have been keeping the thermostat down and trying to use only wood heat from the fireplace during the day. Run heat only when sleeping or my husband turns the thermostat up haha.

    Making lots of handmade gifts this year to spend as little as I can. Keeping it simple though, things like teddies for the kids, homemade food gifts like bean soup in a jar, apple butter, homemade bread, rice packs and hand warmers (basically mini rice packs). Homemade cookies, wrapped peppermint sticks with ribbons. Very simple but very sweet.

    Raking pine needles up from the yard to use in the garden paths, hopefully to be a good preparation for the garden in spring. It’s a free and abundant resource where I live.

    The Lord has been good to provide some free meat for us recently.

    Considering a clothesline. Not sure if it is something I should seriously consider or not. Thoughts on that??

    1. Sheena

      I live in London Uk. During the summer months my clothesline is in constant use ( tumble dryer used in winter). It is my way of saving on electricity. You just need to watch the weather. I think it would depend on your weather as to whether you would use it a lot.

    2. Heidi Louise

      The clothesline will work if you make it as convenient as possible. When I moved mine onto our large back deck, rather than having to carry the basket down three steps and into the yard, I became much more likely to use it. Mine is very low tech, just rope tied between tree and post, not quite in full view of the windows. At our previous house, I could unhook the rope, which stretched across the backyard from tree to garage.
      It is amusing to read in these posts what different things people do and don’t hang outside. I never hang out underwear or socks, partly because my Mom didn’t. Our pants and shirts are mostly line dried, (when I am using it in the summer), and then tumbled in the dryer to break up the stiffness for about five minutes when they are almost dry. I like sheets and towels made scratchy in the air; some people do not.
      If your family has allergies, air dried clothing picks up pollen. Have fun experimenting!

  58. Stacey

    We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home. It was different this year with my daughter working, but she was able to get Thanksgiving off which I was really grateful for. Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday, mostly because we like to eat and because it doesn’t come with any emotional baggage that some of our other holidays have. So, Many years ago when the kids were smaller I came up with a written Thanksgiving plan that includes shopping ahead for sale prices, ordering ahead fresh turkey, and amazing potato rolls and danish from the local bakery, and recipes for the main meal, appetizers for the morning while we watch the Macys parade and 4-5 pies for dinner. Two apple, pumpkin, pecan, and sometimes chocolate. All of the cooking and prep takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday so there is nothing to do on Thanksgiving but put things in and out of the oven. Usually, my eldest daughter and I do all of the cooking, but she wasn’t available and my back is still limiting me quite a bit. We did do all of the shopping together, and she made the pies on Wednesday morning before she went to work, but my 14 and 16 year olds did the rest of Thanksgiving by themselves! I was truly amazed, and it was perfect, just like always. I couldn’t have done it any better myself. So surprise gift of not having to cook Thanksgiving this year. We did watch the parade and went for a walk after eating turkey, we watched movies in the evening and have lived off of the leftovers for the rest of the week. Lovely.
    We saved money by using the library and finding some groceries for free in some of the micro pantries that have gone up around town. Micro pantries are like little libraries, but instead of books, people leave shelf stable food in there, and sometimes hats, gloves, scarves when it gets cold out. I’m so grateful to see these in our area because our local food shelf cancelled their mobile pantry program this year. The food shelf has income restrictions and the mobile pantry didn’t , you only had to live in the county to use it. It was a good way to stretch our budget when we had lots of medical bills. Also, I think a lot of people struggle financially even when they make more income than the poverty level restrictions that you have to meet to participate in most programs in my area. Insurance costs are sky high, and we still have to meet a $3000-$8000 minimum before the insurance company begins to pay a percentage. I remember when gas prices were so high 10 years ago, it was difficult because my husband needed a lot of gas for his job that requires travel and we really leaned on that mobile pantry and another one at a church to get by. Anyway, I think micro pantries are great. They provide some variety that you might not have in your pantry at home, and I like that they are set up by private citizens, churches and businesses and open to anyone.

  59. Kelly

    This week if it is finally cool enough where we live in South Florida to turn off the AC and open the windows! I took our older two children to see Frozen 2 but we waited until a day our local theater offered seats for $5 each instead of the normal ticket price of almost $10. I had to sign up for their loyalty card to get the $5 deal but the card is free and came with a coupon for a discounted large popcorn. We ate at home before the movie so we bought nothing at consessions beyond the cheap popcorn, which was so large we couldn’t finish it! We went to a local beach/park/pool that requires a very pricey annual membership or day passes that would cost $30 for our family of 6, but my husband is a disabled veteran and was able to show his veteran ID card to get us in for free. My husband is an airline pilot and stays in hotels 10-15 nights a month, he brings home the little shampoos and soaps for us to use since the maids will toss them when a guest checks out. I gave my husband a haircut this week. My husband and I went on a lunch date while the kids were in school, saving us babysitter costs and allowing us to take advantage of lunch specials. I prefer going out to eat in the daytime anyways because we live at the beach so the ocean views are better in daylight!!! With all the sales going on right now, I was able to order some much needed new bedsheets for 45% off and free shipping. I bought white so I can bleach them and keep them looking new for longer. We just moved to South Florida a few months ago and realized we won’t need any of our long sleeved shirts while living here so I used my sewing machine to shorten sleeves on some kids shirts. I made banana bread 3 times with some old bananas and froze the rest for smoothies. Our yard has banana trees and we are going to be able to harvest them soon!

  60. Ellie's friend

    I received some long-awaited information from the McGill Archives that wasn’t available to the public over the summer until now. We are thrilled because there was a missing piece of the puzzle –– so I’m rewriting the chapter yet again but as the material has never been published before now, it is wonderful and I’m thankful to a student who sent it to me.

    I am planning a Christmas cookie fundraiser sale for our scholarship fund. It seems to be falling into place. I made 6 dozen rumballs. I’ve found a shortbread recipe that makes 80 cookies in a batch. I am thankful that my friend will let me bake over at her place. That way she can help me with taking the trays out of the oven…

  61. HappyHappy

    The photo is precious and filled with lots of love. Thanks for sharing Brandy.
    Thanksgiving has come and gone and still reflecting on the blessing of family and all that we have been given. Our daughter hosted and we all helped contribute. I saved, cubed, and baked extra expired bread for the dressing. I have done this for years and then if I am running low on bread crumbs I simply crush my stored and baked cubes. I also purchased and froze cranberries from a grower here in WI a few months ago and they made it to our table. I baked a pie from gifted apples.
    Our home is decorated and feeling cozy. I really enjoyed using what I have and arranged, rearranged, and then arranged again my decorations.
    We are keeping our holiday gift spending in check. I made fabric baskets to give to some on our list. I found gorgeous “Christmas Shop Fancy” ornaments at our local thrift shop and will give to our grown children.
    I am committed to using the holiday paper I have, iron tissue, and use my bows and ribbons.
    Its nice to sent Christmas cards and last year I saved each envelope that I got, I used these envelopes during the year for my Grocery List and put coupons inside. I reflect and smile when I use these envelopes and look at the return address in the corner.
    My husband is working on cleaning our basement and has found many useful treasures. I actually had an extra can of unopened paint that I returned and got an in-store credit-nice blessing.
    We have eaten meals at home and have lots of home improvement projects to keep us going strong.
    Have a good week.

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