Frugal Accomplishments for the Second Week of January 2019

Frugal Accomplishments for the Second Week of January 2019

I turned off the irrigation to the garden when it rained the day before we are supposed to water, saving a day’s water outside. I also collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water potted plants on my patio. I harvested lemons and Swiss chard from the garden. I got some free exercise and work done at the same time by working in the garden. I pruned rose bushes, tidied parts of the garden, and planted some of the bulbs I had bought on clearance about 6 weeks ago. I dug two euyonomous branches that had rooted in the garden and planted them elsewhere to grow new bushes. I trimmed branches from my bushes and brought them inside for some fresh greenery on the table. The weather felt springlike, and I loved having arrangements on the table that made it feel like spring inside. I needed some manure to refresh the garden soil. Our nursery gives a 10% discount when you buy 10 or more bags. I bought 12 bags to get the discount. I took my 2-year-old with me to the nursery as a mommy-son date. He really enjoyed looking at the turtles and fish in their pond, riding around in the wagon, and checking out the flowers and trees. I had a video call with a friend in France. We haven’t talked for 3 years, and at that point, I was struggling to remember enough French to have a conversation (and she was struggling to hold her newborn twins while we talked!) This time we spoke easily. She remarked on my much improved French skills and I only forgot one word (“frugality”), which I remembered after a moment and was able to say. Since I’m not buying food right now as we eat down our freezers and pantry, I was able to toss the grocery ads and coupons and work towards my goal of keeping a tidy desk. I worked diligently to keep my four main areas of clutter down this week, and while they weren’t perfect, they were significantly better, which made me feel more content and gave me more time to do other things. I have decided to deal with ALL the mail immediately upon bringing it in each day, as this is the largest paper issue I have at my desk. I watched several videos on YouTube to learn some new Photoshop skills. I’ll have to practice them, but I am happy to have found a great free resource that taught skills I saw advertised elsewhere this week for $100 to $400. We went to the library and the park. I never realized it until just a few months ago, but the libraries near here have parks on the backside, so a trip to one can easily be a trip to both with no extra gas spent for a separate trip.   What did you do to save money last week?

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This Post Has 137 Comments

  1. Sophie

    Bonjour Brandy,
    que diriez-vous de publier en français une fois de temps en temps?

    Sophie

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Salut Sophie!

      J’ai vue tes commentaires le semaine passe et je voudrias te dire que se searit tellement difficile. J’ai pas des accents sur mon clavier! Et en plus, le pluspart de mes lisants ne parle que de l’anglais. Tu es bienvenue d’ecrire toutes tes commentaires en francais si tu les preferes. Je puisse te repondre en francais (sans accents, malheursement) si tu le veut.

      1. Margie from Toronto

        I have the same problem when trying to email in Gaelic – we use accents as well and it gets tricky. I’m just happy that I could read and understand both these entries! Don’t ask me to speak though! 🙂

      2. Carol Anne Dessaix

        Brandy this is Carol from Australia re the French accents problem. If you type into your search bar “french accents using ALT button’ it gives you a number of alternatives you can print out and stick in front of your computer which is what I do .. 20 years ago I studied french at uni and used this method for all assignments. it is not hard to do and after a while you remember the.. hope this helps and i would love to read your french readers replies.

      3. Betsy

        I understand this too . I’m fluent in Spanish and picked up many similar words

      4. Sophie

        D’accord Brandy, bonne idée!

      5. Lisa Doucette

        Change ton clavier. En bas par ta main droite.

  2. Susan M.

    *I paid cash for Christmas purchases—no unexpected bills in January, yea!
    *I accepted a “new” old sewing machine—a treadle! Am having fun as I learn how to restore it just a bit.
    *I was able to shop for free at a thrift shop that I volunteer at.
    *I purchased a large amount of Christian books at a used book store, instead of paying brand new prices. Some will be for me, and some for gifts for my children.
    *I worked on using up some foods in my freezer, instead of only making “new” food. My eat-from-the-freezer challenge continues!

    More on my blog! Looking forward to reading what everyone has been up to!
    https://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2019/01/frugal-friday-week-of-january-6-12-2019.html

    -Susan M.

    1. Patricia

      Love reading both entries in French! I’m from Canada…need I say more!?

    2. Hi Susan, We are working on our treadle machine too! So far we have replaced the belt and oiled everything. I’m working on threading and the bobbin. Took a break last night but I’m ready again this morning. So fun and they are so pretty.

      1. Susan M.

        I have bought my new belt, but have been too scared to cut it to put on! So avoiding that as long as I can! Currently just finished gluing down loose wood veneer. Next up will be cabinet work to hide/repair some of the water staining!

  3. Anne

    Lovely to see a picture of the middle girls. And Octavius looks so old.

  4. Jo

    I love the photos! We also had a lovely springlike day this weekend, which I enjoyed very much. It’s not that it’s a relief from the cold — in Florida our cold days are scattered throughout the winter amidst warm-ish days — but it was nice to be warm without being too warm or too muggy, just fresh and pleasant. The cold is coming back today, though.
    My frugal things:
    I kept my grocery list small. I am trying to stick to sale items and to things which will stretch to more than one meal.
    I was able to hang out sheets and a load of clothes in the nice weather.
    I’m de-cluttering as well. I have an embarrassingly large amount of books to sell, give or donate, plus some kitchen items — so far. I have more to go through.
    I need a few things for the house to help with organizing. I looked in our Goodwill and didn’t find any, but I’ll look in other thrift stores before buying new. Plus, I have a birthday coming up, and I can always ask for one of those things — they are all small.
    I contacted Swagbucks about uncredited SB’s for some shopping I did. Not only did I get them, they immediately added some other shopping I had just done online. I do much of this shopping for work, but shopping through SB gives me the SB credits, plus I often get discounts from their site.
    I’ve stayed on top of my insurance, which isn’t easy.
    Have a lovely week!

    1. Rachel Hughes

      No, where in Florida do you live? I am in the Panama City area.

  5. Becky

    -I was super busy and did not have time to shop on my normal day, which is Friday. That saved me money and worked well with my January goal of using things from the pantry, freezers and home-canning cupboards. I did run to the store earlier in the week for a few items I needed for a dinner I was helping with for the high school youth group at church, and used that opportunity to buy a little more produce for salads. I was able to use quite a few items up while I cooked meals, according to plan. I do have a small grocery budget for January, and so far, so good. I’m well under it.
    -My husband and I joined my sister and her husband in cooking a formal dinner for the high school kids at church. I have not finished the post showcasing that dinner, but I will soon. The youth pastor asked my sister for a nice dinner with “courses” and “real plates.” She said we could do that, and the 2 families brainstormed and came up with a plan, involving 4 appetizers, fancy drinks involving various flavorings and juices mixed with seltzer water, salad, a main course, 2 desserts and coffee and candy at the end. My sister and I cooked all week, my husband barbecued one appetizer, chicken, fish and garlic green beans. In the meanwhile, my brother-in-law rearranged their entire family/living room to accommodate 3 huge tables to seat the 23 or 24 kids that came and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. We used between 120-130 plates over the course of the evening, all of which were ours or we borrowed. We also rounded up enough silverware and glasses by digging deep. Thankfully, there were 12 college-age and adult helpers there who came to make the fancy drinks, plate the food and serve the courses. It was a lot of work, but super fun! The kids then went ice skating, and we collapsed! My daughter was able to wear the dress I made her in October, and her fee was completely covered by the work projects she participated in during the recent holiday break. She worked 3 times at various jobs, so her youth group account is plump right now:)
    -Pictures of the desserts I made are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com
    -I looked at back issues of food magazines to find a few recipes to make with foods I already had.
    -We usually work on Tuesdays, but my niece that we work with is away for a couple of days, so there was a potential for a lower paycheck. We were able to make up the hours this weekend, so will have the amount of hours we need in the end.
    -I drink a great deal of Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Tea. As usual, I get at least 3 cups of tea from each bag by just continuing to add hot water to the cup when it gets low. It is pretty powerful for the first cup, but gets very close to hot water by the time I change bags.
    -I have continued to look at U-Tube videos, read tutorials and books and practice what I”m learning on the blog I have. I will be changing things up frequently as I learn, and will eventually change hosts. I’m saving a lot of money by learning skills so that I have to hire out as little as possible when I do that change.
    -I found ham for 77c/lb and bought 2 to feed the college-age kids at church on Tuesday. It’s just coincidence that our turn came up this week–we haven’t fed that group since November, but I guess it’s our week to cook! We are making this one super easy. Ham, beans cooked with a little ham broth, canned corn, brownies, green salad and water. We are given a budget for that group and I love to stay pretty far under it each time, if possible, so was delighted to get the ham for such a reasonable price.

  6. Margie from Toronto

    I’ve been trying to write things down so that I don’t forget when I go to comment here!
    I organized a Potluck lunch at church to celebrate the Epiphany and people were very generous so a free lunch was had by over 100 people. I also accumulated 3 extra hours of work because of all the preparations needed for this event.

    I stayed home on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday so no money spent on those days.

    Tuesday I returned books to the library & picked up some holds, did some banking, paid a bill and then continued on to the church for a number of meetings – all on one transit fare. We were also treated to supper at church because of the number of meetings on the go that evening.

    Friday I did go out to get some fresh air and to pick up some milk – my only purchase for the week!

    Did more exercising using YouTube videos and my own small weights.

    Finished two more library books.

    Made, soup, baked a batch of sweet potatoes, roasted some beets and hard boiled some eggs – all as a way to prep meals ahead of time.

    Have to say that you do have lovely children – so photogenic!

    1. Jeannie

      Becky, I can’t wait to see the pictures!

      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    2. I’m always so impressed with how you combine your ttc trips onto one fare! How does that work? It has to be all in one direction, right?

  7. Maxine

    Darling picture of your girls, Brandy! And I would gladly take Octavius anywhere he wanted to go!

    I didn’t do anything last week that required much effort because I had a cold and just didn’t feel like doing anything. That in itself was frugal….

    I made a pot of turkey vegetable soup (using stock made from the Thanksgiving bird) for lunches over the weekend and any day(s) this week that we don’t have leftovers. I am doing this to simplify my life, but it’s also dead cheap!

    I bought 20 lbs. of oranges for .59 lb.

    I sewed the last two sets of curtains needed at my new home. The bathroom curtains weren’t cheap, but I bought the fabric a year ago so I’ve forgotten how much it cost! The office/sewing room curtains were very cheap because the fabric was 108″ wide and so was the lining. I bought both with 50% off coupons at Jo-Ann’s. The clip-on curtain rings. cost more than the fabric and lining put together! The curtain rod is one I bought years ago for my old house and didn’t use.

    This wasn’t frugal for me, but I used my son’s rewards number from Smith’s to make a purchase at Fred Meyer. My son uses the fuel points (I buy gas at Costco). Interesting thing…I shopped at Fred Meyer a lot until they remodeled the store and I still can’t find anything. I went today for a specific item and decided to save myself a trip to Winco and buy the few items I needed at Freddy’s. I pay attention to prices and noticed that everything I bought (except for the advertised item) cost .50 to $1 more than what I would pay at Winco.

    1. Jen G

      I’ve noticed the same thing. Winco prices are hard to beat around here. Do you live in the PNW? Unfortunately, there is a Fred Meyers less than a mile away that I can bike to, but the nearest Winco is about six miles away, usually in lots of traffic, so it’s hard to justify the trip when I have so much to do (and honestly, I hate driving). I have been more diligent about downloading coupons from the FM website onto my card, so that has helped me some.

      1. Maxine

        I was born and raised in Portland, where we had a neighborhood FM even in the early ’50s. It had parking on the roof!! I have lived in northern Idaho for the past 30 years. I shop at the Coeur d’Alene Fred Meyer. Winco is about the same distance away for me.

    2. Diana E

      I live in Gresham, Oregon and I no longer go to the Fred Meyer here unless I absolutely have to! They remodeled recently and the lay out makes absolutely no sense. The few times I have gone in, there is always some young person waiting to convince me I need to take some gadget to scan my groceries as I shop and then bag them. No thank you! I’ll go to Winco, save a ton of money, they’ll scan it and I’ll gladly bag it! The sad part is, when I have been in there, they aren’t busy and I think of all of the jobs lost. (Part of the remodel was to put in more self scan station and remove the checkers but they still raised prices.)

  8. Kim-Pacific Northwest

    I went to thrift store and purchased 6 valentines, one for each family member and a spool of red cloth ribbon – all for less than $2. These valentine cards are Hallmark quality. I have always made a special dinner for Valentine’s Day and have a Valentine card at each place setting. I was very happy to find these at such a discount. The red ribbon will be enough to do most of my Christmas gifts this year- it was .49!!
    We have had enough food left from holidays that I haven’t done regular grocery shopping for the last few weeks-just the basics like milk and cheese.
    We had a few days of sunshine so my husband weeded our front gravel pathway and then I spread regular table salt on the walkway which will help prevent weeds from growing back. This is a cheap weed killer and will save us time by not having to weed this area over and over.
    My husband also washed my car by hand- saving money by not taking it through the car wash. While he was washing car, I took a large amount of moss off the edges of our drive way. This is far easier to do when the moss is very moist. It rains here so much in the Pacific Northwest that moss removal is a constant chore. Lastly, my husband was able to get some free fire wood from a friend who had a tree come down in our last storm. It is really nice maple wood which burns nice and slow. That will get us started on next year’s wood supply for our wood stove.
    We are enjoying a few more days of sunshine here and then back to the rain. Rain is knitting weather for me so I am looking forward to finishing a scarf I have on the needles. The scarf will go to the Union Gospel Mission which hands them out to the homeless.

  9. Jenifer

    The causal portraits look beautiful Brandy.
    Congrats on a smoother French conversation. My job has me speaking with a bi-lingual person for an hour each week. Last week I asked if we could speak in his native language. Thankfully, he is very patient. But he did offer to converse anytime (native tongue) because he would like me to become bi-lingual as well.

    We went out less again last week, which saved.

    My car – the heat does not really work and its frigid right now. I have been living with this for 2 winters. I asked my local garage if they could possibly fix it, they gave it an honest effort but weren’t able to. He charged me a third of what it took for the day. It has to be a weird issue that I opted to just keep a lap blanket in the car for anyone and me. It would be wiser to invest in a new to me car – so I am opting to save for that.

    One parent had outpatient surgery – I packed a lunch for me and the parents since we were advised it would be a 3 hour affair. All went well and the lunch helped keep nerves calmed and fed a very hungry patient. PB&J with apple slices and hot tea in a large thermos.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week!

    1. Jeannie Morris

      Jenifer, I had a car once that had a heater and window defroster that did not work. They make car heaters that plug into the cigarette lighter.

      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  10. Cindi

    I always enjoy seeing your photos of your beautiful children.
    I made homemade bread, hamburger buns, and pancake syrup. I cooked big batches of dried pintos and dried limas, used part of them in meals this week and froze the rest to use later. I made a double-batch of macaroni and cheese and froze part of it for later.
    I sewed three new pair of panties, using materials I had on hand.
    I dried the roses my husband gave me for our anniversary last month and combined them with dried lavender and mint from my garden, some dried lemon peel, cinnamon and cloves and made a big jar of lovely-smelling potpourri.
    We had a date day at the local skijoring festivals (skiers racing around a course, pulled by horses.) It was a very fun afternoon — $6 each admission and we each had a cup of hot chocolate for $2. While there we ran into friends – she works at the local hot springs and offered to comp our admission, so after the festival we were able to soak for free to warm up. Then we came home and had chili and cornbread – a truly lovely day.

  11. Lorna

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    That is wonderful the local libraries have parks out the back of them and it will be just one trip for you. The pictures of your girls and Octavious are beautiful and they all look so happy :). I love to hear children laugh and have fun. Glad your new goals for organisation are working better for you. We have been eating down our pantry and freezers since we moved but now will be the time to top the pantries back up again as I don’t like to see them getting too low as we live in an area that can and does get cut off by flooding although unfortunately we are in drought here at the moment .

    Our savings last week added up to $1275.69 :).

    Blessings –
    – Our neighbour who was overrun with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and Chinese egg plant and beans gave us around 5 kg of tomatoes, around a kilo of cucumbers, 500 g of string beans and about 500 g of Chinese
    eggplant. We blanched and froze most of it in meal sized portions and washed the tomatoes and froze them whole. She also had some whiting fillets and cod as her family and boyfriend like fishing but she doesn’t eat a lot of fish so she kindly gave us about .5kg of each and said she will bring us more from her family when she visits them. What a lovely neighbour she is too :).

    Finances & Purchases –
    – DH earned $20 from a mowing job he did which we will save to buy some more whipper snipper cord with.
    – I paid all of our home loan fees and charges and extra part payments too paying off 1.66% off the capital of the home loan.
    – We purchased 8 pairs of jeans for $9 per pair delivered, 12 pr of underwear on special for 0.75c ea including delivery from Kmart along with a 70 cm fan saving $181.89 over buying them locally in the shops. Jeans are getting horrendously high in prices here ranging for $19 – $40 per pair 😮 and we only want to use some for gardening and work clothing and some for good wear.

    Repurposing, making things, house repairs and maintenance –
    – I saved a leather glove from a pair where one was worn out and then promptly lost 1 out of a pair in the yard and was able to make up a pair with the one that I saved.
    – DH made a coat and hat rack out of a 1.39mt piece of Merbau decking and varnish we had and coat hooks we purchased for a good price saving $40.42 over buying an equivalent sized one in the hardware store.
    – DH fixed 2 leaks in outdoor pipes and taps by not buying any parts and using electrical tape and screwing a tap fitting tighter saving us $160 over calling a plumber to do it for us.
    – We fixed one of the shed doors that wasn’t shutting due to ground swelling from the previous owners running the grey water into the sullage pit. We took the door off, cut it down shorter, cut a nitch in it so it closed around the pipe coming out the door and painted the hinge area that had no paint and the bottom of the door (with paint we had) and rehung it with new screws we had as the others were falling out. This saved us $135 over hiring a handyman to do this for us.
    – We purchased sullage hose, connectors and a sprinkler to link the grey water to a sprinkler to water the lawns and fruit and berry trees with it. This saved us $80 + parts over getting a plumber in to do it for us.
    – We filled in huge dog dig holes from the previous tenants in the shed by chipping the dirt with hoes, picks and shovels and levelling it with our levelling tool saving us another $360 over hiring a handyman to do it for us.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a double batch of white sauce mix we also use for making homemade chocolate pudding from food storage saving $93.02 over purchasing the premade powder in the shops.
    – Cooked a double batch of chocolate brownies from premade brownie mix saving $66.18 over purchasing them by the slice in local cafe’s.

    Hoping everyone had an equally good week :).

    Sewingcreations15

  12. I

    We had company for dinner on Saturday and I decided to make the meal from what we had on hand rather than run to the grocery store. We served ham, scalloped potatoes, frozen veg, cut up raw veg and homemade dip-DH made a loaf of bread and I made a fruit crumble with custard sauce. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and we had leftovers for lunch for the 2 of us for 2 days including using the leftover ham, mushrooms and peppers on a homemade pizza last night. I really enjoy cooking once and eating 2 or 3 times from the same meal.

    Last week a favourite meal 2 or 3 times, was turkey quesadillas using frozen turkey from Christmas, black beans, wraps, cheese, salsa, sour cream etc. Again using what I had on hand.

    I have also been making a few homemade soups-cream of broccoli, cauliflower and lentil to use up veggies on hand.

    I started back to work last week PT as a Grade 1 assistant 2 hrs per day at a private school a 10 minute walk away. It is easy enough to walk there and back and I also get free exercise enroute unless the weather is bitterly cold. Although 10 hrs a week is not a lot of money, I do enjoy working with the children and keeping more active and busy. The money will be saved for later use.

    DH and I are planning a long road trip this summer to visit our daughter who will be working a long way away. We decided not to fly and rent a car as we think it will save $ and give us more flexibility. Even with the cost of some accomodation enroute, food and gas we think we will save over the cost of airfare. Currently researching best routes and accomodations enroute-once we arrive in the area we have lots of people to visit/stay with.

  13. Great photos as always! I love that you can combine a library and park trip into one!

    My week was pretty busy, but I managed to get some frugal stuff done:
    – I made Cherry Vanilla Oreo Mini Cheesecakes (http://approachingfood.com/cherry-vanilla-oreo-no-bake-mini-cheesecakes/) and sent one to my sister and another one home with my mom. They’re deliciously rich, so I’ve been trying to get my MIL to eat them to get some calories in her.
    – I need to have oral surgery done, and won’t be able to nurse for several days, so I’ve been pumping and freezing lots of milk to avoid having to buy formula. I ran out of space in my freezer (not hard to do), so my sister has kindly been keeping my (literal) overflow in her freezer.
    – We put together a reception for friends and family after my daughter’s baptism this weekend. I made Brandy’s taco soup and white bean and rosemary soup (using homegrown rosemary), and also served salad, lasagna, buns, and a cracker/cheese/meat tray and a fruit tray. I made a shaped cupcake pull-apart cake for dessert, out of chocolate cupcakes and my buttercream icing (https://approachingfood.com/the-only-buttercream-recipe-youll-ever-need/). I decorated it with gold-coloured almonds that my mother gave to me (it had been a bonbonierre from her friend’s event and she thought I might use it in baking some time – I did!) and also with my baby’s name spelled out in chocolate writing. We bought the buns from an outlet store, so they were very affordable. My husband initially wanted to take everyone out to a restaurant, but I convinced him that we should host it ourselves, and it saved us several hundreds of dollars (which is good, as I have dental surgery coming up that isn’t covered by either of our work insurances). While I did use disposable plates (traded for) and other disposable eating items (purchased), I used my mother’s table cloth, my own crystal dishes and silver serving spoons, and borrowed my mother’s heating tray, to make for a very elegant buffet meal. I also borrowed my sister’s coffee maker and crock pot (as I only have one), and she gave me coffee cups leftover from when she hosted my baby shower. As the leather (pleather?) chairs in my sister’s condo party room were cracked, I used the chair covers that I used for my baby shower to cover them, only I sewed them into pillow case type chair covers, as opposed to tying them into bows. They looked quite nice, especially as they are silver-ish, which tied in with the theme nicely. I made labels for the bonbonierre boxes using word perfect, and arranged them on a silver cake tray (traded for previously) and placed them over a soft tulle rosette that I had sewn. It was an elegant way to display them, I thought! It was a bit of work, but it ended up being an elegant and intimate event, and I was happy with the celebration.
    – We ate leftovers from the baptism for several days, and gave leftovers to my sister and my parents too.
    – I’ve been cooking meat for my MIL, and am making dishes that work for both myself and my meat-eating DH and MIL. One of my favourites is to make baked potatoes topped with steamed broccoli and homemade cheese sauce (https://approachingfood.com/cheesy-cheese-sauce-and-why-i-ate-all-the-broccoli/). Then I just have to add in some meat for the meat-eaters, and I bake extra potatoes and make extra cheese sauce, and turn the leftovers into Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potato Soup for the next day.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Amazon.
    – I downloaded the Wendy’s app to get a free cheeseburger (I plan to delete the app shortly), and gave it to my MIL. I believe it is also honoured in the U.S., for any readers who want a free cheeseburger.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  14. Rhonda A.

    Brandy, would you be willing to share which of your children are in the photos? They have grown so much I’m not sure who is who anymore! Sounds like you had a very productive week, though. Learning new Photoshop techniques would be very useful and fun!

    This week, frugal accomplishments for our home included:
    *Meals made at home included tacos, chicken low mien stir fry with veggie spring rolls, hamburger helper with green beans, “make-your-own” pizza, cheddar sausages with mashed potatoes and choice between coleslaw or leftover corn/carrots mix, cheese tortellini pasta with pesto (brother brought pesto when he moved in, 1st time for us trying it…I think family liked it), and garlic butter steak bits (new recipe, see below) with white rice and green/yellow bean mix.
    *Made blackberry muffins from scratch (recipe link: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/blackberry_muffins/) using a pack of blackberries that were on sale for $1 and some expired sour cream that needed using but was still good. These were used in DD and friend’s lunches this past week. Extras were enjoyed by the rest of the family.
    *Tried a new recipe this week, Garlic Butter Steak Bits (recipe link: https://www.awesomerecipes.us/2018/07/steak-bites-with-garlic-butter.html). I used stewing beef, cut into small chunks, instead of the steak. It was a quick and easy meal, which I love. The family gave their approval and said it was good enough to do again. I have lots of frozen stewing beef I bought on sale, so not a problem!
    *I made Maple Oatmeal Muffins from scratch (https://bunnyswarmoven.net/maple-oatmeal-muffins/) to enjoy this week. Since I didn’t have walnuts, I substituted pecans that needed using up. DD’s school is nut free, so these are only for enjoying at home. For school lunches, I made Cherry Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie Bars (recipe link: https://www.thisisnotdietfood.com/cherry-chocolate-chip-shortbread-cookie-bars/) to use up some candied cherries left over from making Christmas fruitcake. The left over egg yolks (shortcake bars called for 2 egg whites only) were used to make lemon tarts with a boxed pie filling from the pantry and pre-made tart shells we had in the freezer. We enjoyed these for dessert.
    *Deals I bought to add to our pantry this week included 4 boxes of Shreddies cereal @ $1.88/box, small bag of pearl barley @ $1.47 (we were out) and 7 pks of bagels @ $0.44/6 bagels.
    *Of course on the 1st day back to school, DD came down with some flu like digestive system upset. We had her stay home, made her tea and fed her simple meals of rice and barley from the pantry, all of which she loved. The second day, she was still having problems, but the threat of freezing rain resulted in a snow day. Day 3 started with the bus being late, so I took DD to school because she thought she had missed it. Then we got the dreaded call, saying she had a massive meltdown and we needed to get there ASAP or they would call the police. I spent quite some time at the school on Thursday morning, addressing several issues. The principal is listening and trying to be supportive, but there are some problems with some staff. I’m waiting to see if they get resolved. DD is not patient, understanding or co-operative with this kind of stuff and is definitely struggling right now which impacts the whole family.
    *Used my gym membership 4 times this week. Tried an Osteofit class on Tuesday (free with membership), to see if I could do it without flaring up the degenerative disk in my back. Of course, it was my leg muscles that I WAY over worked. That was after only 1/2 the class. We were supposed to do Aquafit, but a child contaminated the pool (use your imagination) and it had to be shut down for cleaning. I could barely walk or use the stairs when I was done. I was in so much pain, it was a few days before I could even consider exercising again! I have decided to try it 1 more time, before I make a decision on whether it is right for me.
    *Went for a physical with my Dr. He ordered more blood work and I will need to see him again in 2 months to follow up with my diabetes. Due to our healthcare here in Canada, no money OOP for any of this. Not only am I thankful that we don’t have to pay, I’m also thankful we don’t have the massive amounts of paperwork and constant phone calls that most of you post about!
    *Found several more gift items for my stash that were on clearance at 50% off. Most worked out to be about $5 each, and are useful items to have in your home. The gift stash is starting to get nicely replenished.

    Just a note to any parents that are struggling with picky eaters. As many of you know, my DD is Autistic, which means we struggle with sensory issues, including food taste, textures etc. I am also a picky eater and have been my whole life. I always hated how everyone make me feel bad I did not like certain foods. Because of this, I have never forced DD to eat foods she doesn’t like. However, I have always encouraged her to try new foods when opportunities presented themselves. I found she had to be in the right frame of mind to try something (i.e. interested and open to trying new food at that moment). Sometimes if she didn’t like a food the 1st time, I would wait until she had forgotten about it, then offered it again. It was always OK not to like every food…we all have our likes and dislikes. She is now 15 yrs old. In the last year or so, her tastes have suddenly changed. This week she decided she actually likes cream cheese, which she previously refused to eat! So parents, please be patient when presenting new foods and don’t make trying new foods or refusal of new foods a negative thing. Eventually your picky eater may change their tastes, too.

    Hope you all have a lovely, frugal, and joy filled week everyone!

    1. Jennifer Caldwell

      Parent of an Aspie here and I can so relate! For years he wouldn’t hardly eat anything. Then he started eating a few things here and there due to cooking class at school when he was about thirteen. Suddenly he turned 15 and he is eating pickles, lettuce and onion on his hamburger!!! He is also more willing to try a bite of something. He is still very picky and prefers to prepare his own food his way, but I’m thrilled and amazed by his progress!

  15. Gardenpat

    This week, I replenished my supplies in the kitchen using my bulk food storagevin the basement! I made 8 pounds of brown sugar to refill my kitchen canister, made new batches of cookie mix and brownie mix. Refilled flour canister and made more non aerosol spray Pam substitute. Used some of my shredded chicken breast in freezer to make cranberry pecan poppyseed chicken salad and used it on 8 croissants that we were given. I made a double batch of banana peanut butter bars to use up some ripe bananas. I also made 22 sausage egg cheese breakfast burritos and a dozen hash brown, egg, sausage cheese cups for easy breakfast options. I labeled some for fridge and froze some of the others.
    We are still eating from our pantry/freezer this month.
    After a busy day on Saturday making those things, I made a simple dinner from the pantry- spaghetti with spaghetti sauce, homemade garlic bread from sourdough bread given to us, veggies from freezer. On Sunday, we used the leftover spaghetti sauce, added meatballs from the freezer and leftover hot dog buns to make meatball subs! Tonight I used the leftover spaghetti noodles and made chicken tetrazzini as the entree!! Definitely in that “use it up” mode!!
    Great week for our business too with Soup Cozies and Flannel Softies (Kleenex substitutes) selling well on our HandmadeinOldeTowne.com website! They have been a way to “Use it Up” with my huge volume of fabric scraps while building our savings and paying down our debt before hubby retires in 4-1/2 months! Every sale puts $2.70 into our savings and the same amount to pay down debt. Sounds like tiny, insignificant amounts? But, I can tell you that it really adds up!!
    My chickens are ramping up their egg production after a drastic drop while they were molting and getting their winter feathers! I spent 2 hours on Friday winterizing their coop by tacking up heavy plastic around the lower 3 foot of the perimeter! It was cold while I did it but the next day we got about 6” of snow and with this plastic up, the snow didn’t get blown into the coop and their sandy floor stayed dry! Glad I was able to get it done BEFORE the storm came in!
    Finding ways to declutter more so that we can become more organized and efficient!
    Pat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Jennifer Caldwell

      Hi, Pat. I saw something on Pinterest and thought of you: coffee cup covers! It was like a quilted thing that wrapped around and fastened to keep your cup warm and your hands from not burning.

    2. Nell

      Hello GardenPat! Would you be willing to share any of your recipes or a link to them, please? I am from central Ohio as well and so enjoy reading how you manage your resources. Many thanks!

  16. Hilogene in Az

    Another set of great photos! Thank you for posting them, I am astonished at how grown up everyone is…especially Octavius…but that is because I started reading your blog before he was born so I can date myself :). I also read the French post and your answer and was happy to understand them! Many years have passed since college French for me.

    I too am working through our freezer and pantry so this month grocery spending should be quite small. We do need coffee beans and so we won’t end the month at zero but pretty close.

  17. Shelley Jones

    Well overall I was $90 under budget! I had 2 no spend days which is my goal for 2019 (per week). Gas was very cheap…it has since gone up! I shopped the ads and saved where I could. I try so hard to watch YouTube videos to lower my grocery budget…but my husband was raised steak and potatoes so I have little luck.

    1. Rhonda A.

      My family likes their meat too, Shelley. I find the trick is to stock up when you see a sale on meat. Having a freezer (I love my up-right, but a chest freezer will work too) and a food saver (it definitely helps with freezer burn) are worth the investment costs in my humble opinion. Ham, turkey, ckicken and other roasts can be cooked, then cut down into steaks (e.g. ham steaks), sliced, cubed, shredded and/or slaved into luncheon meat. I even read somewhere that the wings can be removed from a whole chicken and packaged separate until you have enough collected to make a meal of chicken wings! To stretch the meat, try making dishes where the meat is incororated into the dish so you can use less, such as soups, stir-frys or casseroles.

      Since I seem to be the only one who is willing to eat beans, I’ve found incorporating those into my lunches helps decrease the meat consumption. I also sneak in meatless meals sometimes, like cream of broccoli soup, veggie fried rice, spaghetti with just pasta sauce or an egg/cheese and veggie casserole. When I first started serving homemade soup, I would make homemade bread or biscuits to go with it, and/or I would make a really nice dessertt that night. Those were huge treats, which worked as a reward for eating a meal they less prefered. Hope this helps a bit!

      1. Rhonda, can you post the recipe that you use for veggie fried rice again? I made it once and really liked it but forgot to save the recipe and while I’ve made other versions, I really liked the spiciness of the one you posted. Thanks in advance!

        1. Rhonda A.

          Of course! I have the recipe pinned on my Pinterest account. Here is the recipe link for the fried rice: https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/best-fried-rice/.
          Just a note for others who may be interested, this recipe is vegetarian, very budget friendly and deliciously filling (really hits the spot when we crave Chinese food). We have added bits of leftover meat (usually chicken, but ham and beef would work) to this recipe with great success. I often add more veggies than called for, to make it even more healthy. You can also change up the type of veggies if you wish. So feel free to add what you have (fresh, frozen and canned will work), such as mushrooms, peppers, peas, beans, bean sprouts, corn, baby corn, cabbage, asperagus, broccoli, etc. You can also vary how many eggs you add, depending on your preference (I usually add 1-2, but if I’m making a bigger batch, I add more accodringly)

  18. Jeannie

    Brandy, I especially enjoyed last week’s post about creating your ideal life. I read everyone’s post and it has caused much soul searching. What is my ideal life and what can I do to attain it? I don’t know and that is the problem. It has caused me many hours of thought and I thank you for asking the question. I will continue to search.

    The last few weeks have been hectic and I have been in survival mode. I made a long out of state trip to my sister’s house to stay with Mom while my sister and her family went out of town for a while. They signed the papers to sell Mom’s house as they were leaving (not expecting anything to happen) but it sold within hours of being posted. The highest bidder is paying cash and wants the house now. Closing is this Friday. As soon as I got home it has been a wild, frantic panic to get her house cleaned out. We are moving many things into my basement and into a rented storage unit so we can sort through it later. I have spent this year trying to get my basement cleared from all the stuff my three sons left when they moved out. Now the empty space is full again!!!!

    The upside is that I have found the empty hole where all my plastic bowls have disappeared into over the years. When I got down on my hands and knees to clean out the large, deep cabinet in my Mom’s kitchen, I discovered all my lost bowls. It seems whenever I took her a meal, she washed the bowl and assumed it was hers. They are cheap bowls from the dollar store so they all look the same. I just kept buying more bowls as I needed them. At least I have room to store them now. I don’t think I will ever buy a new storage bowl again.

    So my biggest cost saving thing I have done is that I am taking the time to sort through everything to see what can be salvaged, recycled or donated to charity and not just sending it all to the dump. That would have been so much easier.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  19. Libby

    Love the sisterly love in the photo. I think one of your girls is wearing Tour Eiffel earrings! Man time flies – I can’t believe how big Octavius is, but what a cutie.

    • On my way home from the bank, I stopped by a “free” pile at the end of someone’s driveway. I picked up: a sofa console table, a Staffordshire white ironware oval platter with markings showing made between 1850-1876, a floral plastic tray, wooden magazine holder, and a wooden “whatnot” shelf. I’m going to sell the platter on Ebay, keep the table, and donate the rest to charity.
    • Hung laundry out to dry and it froze again! It does get mostly dry and then I put the drying racks up in the house and let it finish drying overnight.
    • Made Massaman curry and brown rice, ham & broccoli quiche, zucchini parmesan chips, homemade pizza, banana chia seed pudding to use up things in the house but also to up my calcium intake, pulled the last roast out of the freezer and cooked it with roasted broccoli, sweet potato slices, sliced potatoes, and onions. DELICIOUS.
    • Bought a sofa and loveseat for $50 from Craigslist and brought them home via my son’s pick-up truck. Did some quick sewing repairs to the sofa cushions then washed the cushion covers in my washing machine. Steam cleaned the rest of the surfaces.
    • Baked chocolate chip cookies to thank the “muscle” for helping to move the sofa and loveseat.
    • Made swag goal x 2
    • Watched a movie I ordered through inter-library loan.
    • Cashed in Swagbucks for $25 Amazon gift card.
    • A few weeks ago I filled out a Nielsen survey and the letter said they would mail me $5 as a thank you. A crisp $5 bill arrived this week!
    • Cashed in grocery store loyalty rewards for a $15 gift card. My total OOP grocery spend this year is $30.60.
    • Stood in Walgreens with a fistful of coupons ranging from $1 – $4, my calculator, chewable vitamins were on sale some at BOGO and some BOGO 50% and bottle sizes ranging from 30 – 80 servings. It took me over five minutes to calculate the cost per vitamin for several different brands. The costs ranged from $0.11 to $0.32. I ended up buying two bottles of the $0.11 chewable vitamins!
    • Bought cat litter and used $5 off loyalty coupon I had earned over the past six months.
    • An electrician’s apprentice, who is a good friend of my son, worked with my son and replaced a 66 year old electrical wire in my house and hung a new overhead kitchen light. They saved me several hundred dollars.

  20. piggykr

    I’ve tried to hang up as much laundry as I can.
    I decided to try and cook instead of getting takeout.
    I went to the hospital for some lab work and check up and got a work discount.
    My friend came over with her son for a playdate.
    I had dinner at a friends house. We decided its easier with kids than going out.
    I bought some yarn to crochet from Alliexpress. Its much cheaper even if the quality control isn’t always perfect.
    I crocheted baby booties, a bib, and several wash cloths for a friend who is expecting in few months. I also plan to make a sweater for her as well.
    I went to a swap and got for FREE a pair of shorts, a tshirt, several books for a friend, a bowl, a Hulk figurine, a pair of socks, a spiderman mask, a clown mask, two Razor scooters than need a couple repairs, and a Fisher-Price Karokee machine that I found for almost $400 on Amazon!!!
    We are trying to eat from the pantry and freezer as much as possible to reduce food spoilage.
    I’ve also passed on a few unwanted food items to a friend who recently lost her job. She needs them more than I do right now.

  21. Mable

    It has been between 21 and 44 below zero at our house this past week, although it is up to minus 7 right now. As a result, we have used a lot of extra oil for heating, so I cashed out Swagbucks that I had been hoarding and it should pay for the extra fuel fill we will be getting every day now. Did not have to leave the house so stayed in for four days, which means less gas used, and husband managed to arrange things so he only had to leave once. Even the dogs didn’t want to go outside to pee! Also saved by eating from the cupboard and freezer, which we are trying to do this month anyway but there is no temptation to go out to eat or go to the grocery store at these temperatures! Husband and I trimmed each other’s hair, and husband trimmed up the dogs so they would drag in less snow when they did go out.

    1. Sheena

      Gosh- just checked those temperatures in Celsius. That is cold. Where do you live? I find imagining other people’s experiences fascinating.

  22. Laurie

    This past week has been disheartening. Our finances changed for the worse in two ways resulting in $400 less income per the month. Thankfully, we’ve been making many changes over the past few months and will be able to adjust. There simply is no extra money which means we will have to be diligent about the budget and our spending. I mapped out the next four months in bills being sure to include extras that don’t hit every month such as the garbage bill and water softner bill. Now I can see exactly what I will have to spend on groceries, gas, and household items each month. I also reduced my data plan drastically on my phone. I’ve considered calling other bills to see if adjustments can be made, but I think they are as low as possible already. One thing we’ve been really good about is eating leftovers. The leftovers that don’t get eaten are going in to the freezer for another time when they seem appealing again. Some other things we’ve done to save are giving the dog a haircut and nail trim ourselves, eating in all meals, packing lunches, cooking from scratch, and combining trips when we need to go somewhere. It is not exciting, but it makes it work. Hope everyone has a good week with plenty of positives.

    1. Robert

      Laurie ,

      Is there anyway you could take in a renter ? I see so many baby boomers on the verg of loosing homes and other baby boomers who need a place to live if they could just get together they could save each other.

  23. I’ve worked on using home canned items in the pantry, as well as frozen items. I wish the freezer food was going down a little quicker, but at least there’s progress. I’d be using more of it, but hubby doesn’t want what I suggest sometimes. Two loads of laundry were hung on the line, and I received a coupon for a free can of dog food in the mail today. I spent more than the usual time on swagbucks today, as there’s a challenge going on, but got more points for doing so. Library books are being enjoyed, and free Pandora music. Our kitchen faucet stopped working 10 days ago. So far, Moen has sent us 5 free parts, but the one we were pretty sure we needed is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Hope that fixes it, as I’m tired of not having a working kitchen sink. I look forward to reading all the comments. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-littlest-egg-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. Ellie's friend from Canada

      Hi Laurie,

      Do you think Moen guarantees faucets for life? I have one that just gives me the barest trickle f water now. For years, until recently, it worked perfectly. Ann

      1. Maxine

        Ann, Moen faucets have a lifetime warranty in the US…not sure about Canada. But it would certainly be worth a call to their 800 number to find out. If it is under warranty, they will mail you the parts at no charge. Which is a good thing, because genuine Moen parts are hard to find. I guess they figure if it is a lifetime warranty, and they send you the parts, there is no reason to bother with retailing replacement parts.

        1. Ellie's friend from Canada

          thanks Maxine!

  24. Tina S.

    We have had some sunshine here in the Seattle area the last few days, which is a welcome break from the gray and rain of our winter. I actually sat out on our patio yesterday at lunchtime (it gets super warm out there). So nice to have a picnic so early in the year.

    I have been having some issues that started in September following some dental work: getting dizzy when I read or use the computer, being completely drained at the end of the day and barely able to function the next day, being overwhelmed by stuff that never fazed me before, being extremely hungry (eating more but no weight gain), along with general fatigue. It wasn’t getting better, so I went to see my doctor (naturopath). Apparently this is a “thing”, and it sometimes follows dental work. My doctor explained that toxins can easily enter your system via your mouth and accumulate in your brain, causing problems. People can end up having these symptoms, but don’t connect it with a dental procedure they may have had. Anyway, he gave me a bottle of detox herbs to take and told me to sit in a dry sauna (there’s one at my gym) three times a week, which should eliminate the toxins from my system. Hopefully that will due the trick. I wanted to include this here so people know this can happen. My dentist had never heard of anything like this happening, but apparently, it’s not unusual.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – A taillight was out on my car, so I stopped by have my mechanic take a look at it. He unexpectedly fixed it for free.
    – We had a free plumbing inspection from the small company that bought out the plumber I used to use. I only had to pay $30 for the service fee. One of the owners of the company did the inspection, and was here for a couple hours. I asked him a bunch of questions, which was very helpful. They are giving us a quote for some work that we need to have done. Our 40 year old kitchen sink is failing, so we need to have that replaced, along with the master shutoff valve to our condo. It will be expensive, but we have funds set aside for this.
    – Used the sauna at the gym.
    – Met my mom and sister at a grocery store that has a Starbucks. Had a nice time talking for the price of one tea.
    – Cooked from home even though I didn’t feel like it. I prepped things for dinner in advance so I could easily fix them when I got home.
    – Took a walk at a favorite park on a sunny day. Enjoyed this immensely.

    Looking forward to reading all the comments!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Two weeks after my cancer surgery, all the hair where I had been injected with lidocaine fell out. The doctors have told me they have never heard of this, but there is no other reason for the hair to fall out. I have a huge bald spot. A search online told me that people can sometimes have a reaction to it (when they injected me, my head sizzled like eggs frying and I was in extreme pain and crying. The doctor thought I was in nervous hysterics! but I was trying not to scream from the pain). The hair has not started growing back. All of which is to say, good for you for looking at the cause. I think sometimes the doctor may not know because no one else has had that reaction that they know of–but it’s still happening to YOU, and that should be taken into account. I hope everything your naturopath has recommended helps. I wish our insurance covered a naturopath.

      1. Maxine

        ((( Brandy )))

      2. Tina S.

        Thanks, Brandy. I hope your hair grows back. How awful that your injections were so painful.

      3. Gail C.

        While it is rare to suffer hair loss from the injection, it is not unheard of. Usually the hair grows back after a while. You should report
        this side effect to the FDA.

      4. Jojo

        I firmly believe that modern allopathic medicine sometimes wants to force us into a “one size fits all” box!
        Brandy, you are SO correct when you say “sometimes the doctor may not know because no one else has had that reaction that they know of – but it’s still happening to YOU, and that should be taken into account.”
        That sentence alone could apply to my life. In the past 20 years, I have become extremely sensitive to chemicals, fragrances and medications.
        I have some cousins with varying degrees of this problem as well.
        Five years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and had major surgery, chemo, and radiation. I still have my port where I received the chemo infusions. There is a lidocaine/prilocaine cream I was to use around my port area before each infusion. Every 6 weeks, I go in to have the nurse flush out my port with saline solution and I was supposed to use the cream before that as well. My skin got to the point that it was bleeding from using the cream! I would rather stand a moment of pain than put up with what was happening to my skin!
        I’m so sorry to hear of your bad experience. I continue to keep you in my prayers.
        Please note: I’ve commented before as Jo, but I’ve seen another Jo (from Florida, I believe) in the comments, so I will comment as Jojo going forward.

      5. Lynn

        Brandi if your skin can tolerate it. Apple cider vinegar applied directly to the bald spot will help the hair grow back. I lost patches of hair during a very stressful time. Someone told me this and sure enough in a week I have peach fuzz growing again.

    2. Patricia Koernig

      Tina, so sorry to hear about your health issues. I hope what the naturopath recommends, solves the issue. If it doesn’t I would encourage you to check with a cardiologist. There is a side effect of dental work, where bacteria released can affect the heart (it is rare that it affects healthy people, but it can). My daughter who was born with a congenital heart issue has to have a massive dosage of antibiotic before having any kind of dental work. Sending you healing, and prayers.
      Patricia/FL

      1. Margie from Toronto

        I was going to mention the same thing Patricia – this is not something to mess with and, while a Naturopath may be a good choice in some instances – in this case I would urge antibiotics.

        1. Tina S.

          Thanks for the info. If the current treatment doesn’t work, my naturopath has a plan for the next steps, but I will certainly mention this to him. He’s not averse to Western medicine, and uses antibiotics and other drugs as needed.

    3. Susan

      Did he check you for diabetes? Those are some of the symptoms along with frequent urination and thirst.

      1. Tina S.

        Actually, that was the first thing he checked me for. My blood sugar was completely normal.

    4. Mable

      Tina, I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. However, my neighbor had to be medivaced to Seattle from Alaska just last week because he felt awful, went to a neuropathic healer, took vitamins and lots of steam baths…meanwhile, the infection from a root canal months earlier spread and his liver began to fail. It turned into a very, very expensive near-death experience, so I would be leery of not having a conventional physician check you out. I have a heart disorder and my physician always prescribes mega doses of antibiotics before even dental cleanings.

      1. Tina S.

        Thanks, Mable. I am actually familiar with root canals and the related issues that can arise. The dental work I had done was two crowns, not a root canal, but certainly this is something to consider. My doctor and I did go through a long list of questions about my symptoms. I don’t have a fever or any other signs of infection.

        So, we are starting with the detox herbs and the sauna, and I have to report back to him every week. Even after a few days, I am feeling better. As I said above, my naturopath (who is also my primary care provider) will prescribe antibiotics and other drugs if needed. Our state has very high standards for naturopathic physicians. I have had multiple horrible experiences with conventional medical doctors, so I choose not to go that route unless absolutely necessary.

        Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments. Much appreciated.

        1. Tina S.

          I wanted to clarify something about naturopathic physicians in our state (Washington). Here, they must have a doctorate from an accredited institution/university and be fully licensed. They are considered doctors, and can do most of what conventional doctors can do, with a few exceptions: they can’t prescribe opioid painkillers or certain classes of sleep drugs (like Ambien), and they aren’t allowed to treat cancer. But otherwise, they do what other doctors do: take your vitals, do in office testing and order labs, refer to specialists, make a diagnosis, prescribe herbs and drugs and other treatments, etc. My insurance allows a naturopath to be your primary care physician (but not all insurance plans do). Naturopaths vary in how they operate. Some will not prescribe conventional drugs and only do herbal/alternative treatment, but most of them are more conventional and do a mix of both. The advantage of seeing a naturopath is that they look at the whole picture holistically and try to find the cause, not just treat the symptoms.
          I know that many states do not have licensure requirements for naturopaths, but here the standards are very high. That being said, there are some naturopathic doctors who aren’t very good. I went through two sub-par ones before I found my current doctor, who I have been seeing for five years. And, of course, if I have an emergency, I don’t go see my naturopath, I go to urgent care or the ER.

    5. Tejas

      Tins S., I am so sorry to learn about your neurological reaction to your dental work. May I ask the name of the analgesia/anesthetic your dentist used? I have upcoming dental work, and I have a history of bad reactions to several meds. I hope you are starting to see improvement.

      1. Tina S.

        Thanks. I believe he used lidocaine, but that doesn’t normally bother me. I think it was more that I had multiple procedures in a short time window and had to be numbed up every single time. They usually have to inject me with close to the maximum dose of anesthetic, because it’s hard to get me numb. Plus I have very sensitive teeth, so that doesn’t help!
        It’s also possible it was something else during the procedure that caused the issue. I had two crowns put in, and there’s a whole process that has to be done to seat a crown, involving things like etching mediums and dental adhesives. So it could have been the anesthetic, but it could also have been something else.
        To be fair, I have had a lot of dental work done by this dentist over the last few years, with no prior issues. This is a freak thing that can happen. I just wanted people to be aware of it.

        1. Tejas

          Tina, I believe you are correct that it is not the lidocaine. I had forgotten about all the other chemicals involved. I think I have also read that if you have mercury fillings from the past, drilling them out creates mercury gas that can cause neurological issues. Unfortunately, when I had my last big dental work done to fix a broken molar, I developed osteonecrosis of the jaw. I was in severe pain for many months and had to take antibiotics for 18 months. My osteonecrosis of the jaw was directly the result of taking osteoporosis meds. I tend to get the really rare side effects from meds. I need more dental work soon and am naturally a bit apprehensive. Thank you for your reply, Tina.

  25. April

    Gas was fairly cheap here so I used another 10 cents off a gallon reward to fill up my truck for $35

    I’ve declared weekends as leftover days ..minimal work for me and stuff doesn’t go to waste

    We ate out once for breakfast and I used a coupon

    I washed my truck one time for free at Sam’s, then vacuumed it out at home with the shop vac

    My mom sent over a bunch of items this week
    6 boxes pantry liners
    11 floss
    5 bottles motrin
    18 toothbrushes
    3 cans soup
    52 ounce canister hot chocolate mix(which should hold my 12 yo over until spring)

    I have a very minimal grocery list this week and plan to stick to it

  26. Elizabeth M.

    -What a sweet picture.
    -Limited grocery purchases last week to a dozen eggs and a lb of ground meat.
    -Downloaded my library system’s free ebook app, and a mystery to read. Watched a movie on Netflix.
    -Attended a meeting the next town over by teleconference. It saved me buying gas, and two hours of driving time, though I won’t be paid for the travel expense, and I had to make my own dinner.
    -Have been having simple and quick to prepare meals at home, while I do some transcription, such as oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast and a small dish of pasta and pasta sauce at lunch.
    -Shoveled snow from the driveway.
    -Was able to help a young couple with a few dollars and some encouraging words. They are having trouble paying their rent after they both had a shortage of work at Christmas, and some car repairs, and they have several little ones at home.

  27. Sarah B.

    I have so been enjoying your posts and the wonderful comments, I thought I would try my hand at listing my frugal week.

    I’ve been trying to simplify my life enough that I can handle it. With two boys, 4 and 2, and another one in April, I struggle with keeping up. I’ve been trying to eat out of our freezer and be creative with the little things that might dress up a meal.

    Some frugal splurges came our way this week – avocados were .69 each, which is unheard of in Boston, and raspberries were 1.88/package. My family loves both, so it was a good time to indulge.

    I’ve been storing away a lot of the boys’ Christmas presents for later when they really need something new. Sometimes they get distracted after the initial unwrapping and forget about them, so I can swoop in and hide them for a few months down the line when they’ll be cherished and exciting.

    I’ve been doing some deep cleaning before the baby comes and laughing at myself how very satisfying it can be to clean the sides of one’s stove! It’s been fun watching youtube videos of cleaning tips.

    I managed to score a couple of cheap parking spaces downtown instead of paying for a parking lot. Makes a big difference around here!

    I gave our lemon and fig trees (indoor right now, due to Boston winters) a shower to treat some insects, and hope that the dish soap spritz has done the trick.

    We ate homemade bread from our stash of frozen French bread, made from the no-knead “Bread in 5” cookbook.

    I listened to free audiobooks on Librivox and downloaded some new free books from Project Gutenberg.

    Thanks, Brandy, for your post about one’s ideal life. I find that the idea keeps nudging me toward making good progress in things that lift my spirits.

    1. Laura S

      You are doing a great job! Everything little thing matters. Great idea about the boys’ toys!

  28. Tammy

    Husband is truly on board with not spending anything on extras. He put our expenses on paper and income I feel good in that he recognizes that we can’t spend anything extra over bills. I hope to get more hours this week. That will help. Last week I didn’t get any hours. Ugh.
    We are turning off lights.
    Turning down heat.
    Utilized library.
    Stayed home a lot.
    Cooked at home.
    Worked on home with what we had on hand.
    Used the Lose it app.
    Danced to music at home.
    We did go for a drive just to experience the beauty of the snowfall. And it was beautiful to see all the snow and ice on the trees.
    Getting eggs from chickens.,
    Made wonderful meals at home with hubby.

  29. * I combined several trips to save time, money, and gas.
    * By paying cash for our gas purchases, we saved $.05 per gallon!
    * When I turned the oven on, it was to bake at least two different foods at one time.
    * Instead of purchasing crackers, I gladly made them from scratch. They are healthier that way too!
    * We used our car with better gas mileage to drive farther distances.
    * I used what had had on hand to make food for a potluck and used leftovers for lunch the following day!
    * I began a 9-day cleanse (on day 6 now!) and walked with family and friends to get my exercise instead of joining a gym.
    * Last week I limited my grocery shopping because this week there are BOGO deals!

    1. Robert

      One of my favorite activities during snow fall is to go for a drive with hot chocolate in hand and put the windows down a bit.

  30. AmyD

    I made a two-week meal plan based on what was in my freezer and pantry. Only shopped for what we needed. I donated some food items we are not going to use to a food pantry in our town. We all have been sick over last week and this weekend — so we did not want to eat big meals — lots of soup, crackers, rice and scrambled egg/toast. So that allows some of our big meals to carry over to the menu for the next two weeks. We have been purging lots of stuff since last year for the big garage sales my sister-in-law hosts each spring, summer and fall. Last summer I made about $475.00 total on stuff I was not using. We worked on some other clutter we had and we have another big pile of items for the first Spring garage sale. Feels so good to get rid of items we don’t use or need. I spend any extra money we make or have to pay down debt. Someone gifted me a bag of russet potatoes, but I first two I peeled are greenish under the skin…. are those okay — if I peel further I do get to some white potato….

    1. Marybeth

      When I buy a 50 pound bag of russets at the local farm in the fall, many of them are still green. I have never had a problem with them. Just peel it off and cook it like you normally would.

      1. AMY L DUNHAM

        Thanks Marybeth — That is exactly what I did — and we were fine… Thanks for your advice!

  31. Holly

    I have enjoyed reading all the posts this week. I’ve been reading the book Frugal Luxuries. When I first received the book, I flipped through the pages and thought that the information within was too dated and too basic. I was wishing there was an easy way to return the book. But as I have been reading through it, my appreciation has been growing for what the author, Tracy McBride, wrote.
    My mom leaves lots of food on her plate. The other day, it was a sweet potato from lunch, and roasted veal, mashed potatoes, and gravy from dinner. The next day, I put her leftovers in the blender with boxed chicken broth and turned the rejects into a tasty soup with the addition of spices. She drank a large mugful readily and the rest is in the freezer for a lunch next week.

    1. Mable

      If you like BBC shows, you might want to take a look at Acorn.tv and Britbox.com. They each have a free trial that is well worth using. I sign up for a month every few months to catch up on new shows they are offering.

  32. Polly

    *I recently took a new job to get away from a horrible boss. It has meant a pay cut of several hundred dollars a month. However, right now there are many catered events happening, and the staff is welcome to leftover food which is saving me a ton. Most of the catering is ending at the end of this month, but it has been a real budget saver since I started in November. Peace of mind and grocery savings are a win-win.
    *Overdrive is the best thing since sliced bread. I’m currently reading a Churchill biography, a book about meditations for work, and an Italian canning cookbook. I haven’t purchased any new books in years, and am able to indulge my passion for free.
    *My $7,99 monthly Netflix subscription is my one real indulgence since I pulled the plug on cable six years ago. So many wonderful documentaries and BBC shows, I’ve recently become addicted to Father Brown and Marie Kondo’s new show. Her book didn’t really speak to me, but I binge watched the show and really picked up some wonderful tips. I happily spent the weekend reorganizing three different rooms, and can’t wait to keep going.

  33. The library and the park together is perfect! I was just thinking of our libraries and we are not as lucky with that situation. I love the picture of your daughter looking at books, she is excited to find that one book I could tell.
    We were able to take the granddaughter to a free story hour with Chase (Paw Patrol) where she received a new book. She loved it and we will be on the lookout for more of those fun things to do.

    Here are the my frugal activities:
    https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2019/01/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-11319.html
    Vickie

  34. Jenny R

    Brandy, your photos are lovely!

    I feel like we had a good week financially, with some frugal fails but still coming in under budget in most areas.

    -Both of my daughters and I have been making a list of items we’d like to find at the thrift stores and yard sales this season.
    -With our warm weather, I’ve been able to turn off the 2 space heaters we have for when the fire in the wood stove dies down, and we also haven’t needed to keep the wood stove going as much.
    -Washed baggies and foil to reuse.
    -Sent off a mail-in rebate. After the cost of my stamp and envelope I’ll only get back about $2.25, but every little bit helps!
    -Our older daughter had gotten a surprise extra $4.58 check from the insurance company paying off her car after it was written off as a total loss from an accident several weeks ago. She offered to us, so we put it straight into our emergency fund, as that’s our current focus on our step-by-step financial plan.
    -Didn’t have quite enough milk for the biscuits & gravy I planned to make for dinner one night so I did my usual 3 Tb flour shaken in a pint jar with the milk and after that went into the pan, I refilled the jar with water, shook and poured that into the pan for the missing milk. Turned out perfectly and no one could tell the difference. I just learned I can do half milk and half water in gravy! #lifechanging
    -Used empty dog food bag in place of a trash bag
    -Trying to get in the habit of not turning on lights if they aren’t really needed during the day
    -Tried to bake more than 1 item at a time in the oven

    1. Jennifer O

      I do the dog food bag thing too (and the chicken feed bag) I used to chalk it up to “too lazy to take it to the trash” and feel bad about it, but now I can think of it as saving me a plastic trash bag!

  35. Melissa Y

    Hello Everyone, I so look forward to Brandy’s post & all the replies.
    This week I have resolved to use up every bit of lotion, shampoo, etc we have before I buy more, including the sample sizes. Cut open an “empty” lotion bottle & have been using it for days! I made spice mixes: taco, ranch & Italian dressing. Cheaper & better for you than store bought. We purchase our dog food from a local feed store & saved the UPC code on the bag. For every 12 you save you earn a free bag-halfway there! Since I drive around for work I would often not pack a lunch & just pick something up at a drive -thru. I’ve taken my lunch & coffee so far everyday in January, better for my wallet & waistline. I’m no longer budgeting for lunch money. Decluttering & organizing saves money. This week I worked on my husband’s side of the basement & found several items we needed or could use: cooler bag for grocery store & golf towel, both just needed a good cleaning, file box that we can use to organize papers & brand new pack of colored pencils that I have been wanting. I resolved to watch less TV & I have started to print free coloring pages to work on to relax & unwind at night.

  36. Juls Owings

    Hubby really started being on board with being frugal. He has taken to lighting the oil lamp or the candles on the dining table instead of turning the lights on as I have plenty lamp oil and candles from where we cleared out Mother’s when she died. He also is adjusting to me not going to the store every week. At 2 wks now and starting to try for 3 if I find milk with a longer use by date. I use 4 gal a month.

    We are eating from the pantry. I now need carrots, celery and milk.

    Hubby said some of the guys asked about his thermos (it’s what I ordered that Brandy had looked ) and he told them the food stays hot . He puts hot water in it to sit while he heats up the food to put in it just as he does his coffee thermos. Several had told him the local gas station had good pizza and sandwiches but he continues to pack his lunch. The one that has children at home told him that the average cost of buying lunch was about $8. with a drink. Hubby just couldn’t imagine paying that when he can pack leftovers or soups and take a thermos of coffee and drink free water.

    I paid 2 % extra on the principle of our mortgage.

    I switched our trash service and got 2 wks free if we kept the dumpster until end of Jan and started regular in Feb. So we saved $33 this month and will save $48 a month after that compared to what we were spending this past year.

    Our auto ins agent got us a discount for me turning 60 this month and saved us $80 a month, $20 per vehicle .

    I ordered propane, they advised me we were averaging about 5% less than what is the norm for this house and my baking and canning. (doing broth now when I cook turkey or roasts). And here we were thinking we was using too much .

    I called our electric company as they do energy audits for $50. We are to schedule in April. That way we have all summer to work on what needs to be changed.Some I already have listed.

    I hung my laundry out to freeze dry daily LOL.

    I make sure when I am baking that I bake several things, and make sure I start with the lowest temperature and work to the highest.Sunday through Thursday I do casseroles and soups that Hubby can take in his thermos.

    The rest is here.

    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/01/i-know-i-am-going-to-forgetso.html

    1. Rhonda A.

      Juls, have you ever considered getting powdered milk for your pantry? I use my powdered milk for cooking and baking with, and save the fresh milk for drinking or in cereal. Having the powdered milk on hand might help you extend your time between having to purchase more groceries.

      1. Jennifer O

        I second powdered milk. I use it in tea and for all of my baking. I’d probably use fresh if it were for drinking, but powdered works for everything else

      2. Juls Owings

        I use powder milk in dry mixes (like pancakes etc) but only fresh for drinking as I need the fat and the Vit D that comes in liquid milk. Our Amish neighbor this morning when he was dropping off his gas can for Hubby to get filled since Hubby works in town told us that if we are low on milk to come over. They milk twice a day and could spare some milk to get us through if needed. Hubby did say that he is going a different way to work and drives 2 blocks away from Save A Lot store so he could start picking up milk or what ever so I am not making a special trip to town

    2. Cindi

      And your husband’s home-cooked lunches are so much healthier than those gas station pizzas and sandwiches!

    3. Laura S

      Hello, I often use a gallon of milk for at least two weeks past date with no problem. When it goes bad you know it by the smell.

  37. I save $27 last week at Kroger thank to the Simple Truth coupon sale- so I bought everything I could using that brand.
    I cut my husband and two sons hair. I decluttered and organized the kitchen and have a few items to try and sell, I will only hold a couple weeks then donate— I tend to hang on and then end up just moving the clutter somewhere else.
    We have been enjoying many, many books from the library – I have started a list to buy that we’ve enjoyed. I will purchase on thriftbooks.com
    I sent in a Menards rebate.
    I requested $20 from Ibotta rebate app.
    I have redone our budget and it feels refreshing! We have already decided on where our tax money will go when the time comes.
    In 5 weeks we only ate away from home twice!
    A little time and research has saved me money from taking an online course.

  38. Kandace

    No huge frugal accomplishments to report. Like many of you, we are eating from the pantry and buying a fresh items from the grocery store to supplement what we have. I did include some grapes which were given to my church who provided a lunch after a funeral. A friend gave us a gift card to a local bakery so I used it for two loaves of bread. When the weather is good, I walk to run my errands to the library or the store. Each place is about a mile from home. I finished knitting a cowl for made, made from yarn that was 40% off. I have also started knitting items for the group knitting4peace using yarn in my stash. A group of fellow knitters are meeting monthly to knit and will donate what we have made over the last six months. Since my own expenses are down I made a donation to my local food bank that are helping furloughed government workers who need food because they aren’t being paid.

  39. Holly

    I have read milk can be frozen. You might need to use a cup or so from the gallon before you place it in the freezer. That way, you won’t have to go to the grocery store just for fresh milk. The boxed milk from Dollar Tree is quite good but at $2 a quart, it is more expensive than fresh around here. I have never bought a box that was not good for at least six months. Nido whole instant milk is also very good. It is useful to have on hand if a guest wants cream for her coffee.

    1. Jennifer O

      I love my Nido. I use it in my tea, for baking, and in casseroles.

      1. Libby

        I freeze milk all the time. I buy organic milk in a carton (not a plastic jug) when it goes on sale. I put the entire, unopened milk carton in the freezer and have never had any leaks. The sides do bulge out. It takes 24 hours to thaw in my refrigerator. I let the entire carton thaw before using as the times when I’ve been impatient I’ve gotten thin, watery milk. After the carton has thawed, I give it a good shake to reblend it. Good to drink, cook with, etc.

    2. Holly

      The boxed milk at Dollar Tree is $1 a quart, not $2.

  40. Jennifer O

    Used $.15 off per gallon to fill up my car (I only use 1 tank of gas a month)
    Packed my lunch and breakfast to take to work each day
    Recommitted myself to my Fly Lady routines as I have gotten lax and I need to declutter again with fresh eyes. Been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix, but I work 60+ hours a week and just don’t have time to do it all at once.
    Used my reusable gallon ziplocs several times
    Ordered floor cleaner in larger refill jug rather than small bottle
    Used a less favored DW detergent leftover rather than make a run to get my preferred brand
    Continued using trash bags without drawstrings because they were open – even though I hate them
    Bought a bag of small apples – I find I will eat a small apple and skip a large one for a piece of chocolate.
    I did the mending. We should get another season or two from the repairs.
    Most of the laundry gets hung and we vent the dryer into the house to cut down on the heating bill.
    Made 2 new crockpot recipes that my husband declared winners!
    Picked up a new dress at Old Navy for $12. I should get 2 or even 3 winters out of it.
    Fails
    Ate out twice – but used a coupon for one and split the other to make 2 meals.
    Made a new banana bread recipe – it didn’t work – was more like a spongy pudding. At least the chickens enjoyed it!
    Threw out some old leftovers. Must get better about that!

    My goals are: go to the gym 3 days a week
    have at least 3 no spend days a week.
    Only go to the VFW 1 time per week
    Only eat out 1 time per week

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Jennifer, I don’t think those were fails at all! Those were successes! Living frugally doesn’t mean you can never enjoy eating out. There are ways to save on eating out, and even if you’ve saved in other ways so that you have the money to enjoy somewhere expensive, you’ve budgeted for it.

      Your chickens ate the bread, so it wasn’t a fail! No waste is always a win!

  41. Laurie in AZ

    Wonderful photos! Your daughters look so happy!

    This week was more about just staying out of the stores and flat out not spending as opposed to actively saving.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 6 times. Used gift card for the meal we ate out. Continued to eat out of the freezer and pantry. Only bought fresh dairy and produce and a few things I need to use with the freezer and pantry items.
    • Got lots of fruit and veggies from a local charity that rescues fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to landfills. You get 60# of produce for $12. I got 32 oranges, 8 yellow squash, 5 zucchini, 11 cucumbers, 3 eggplant and a bushel of green beans. I canned the green beans – 60 pints! Since I spent the weekend doing this, I did not get my organizational goal of 1 thing each week met, but I think I spent the time wisely!
    • Worked 10 hours contract work.
    • Had our niece and her husband and my daughter and SIL over for dinner one night. Hubby really likes grilling steak for guests (can’t break him of this!) I kept the rest of the meal reasonable. Served with baked potatoes, yellow squash (see above) and made a chocolate bundt cake with ingredients I already had on hand. One thing about bundts, they look fancy, but are easy and cheap to do! Other meals included spaghetti with meat sauce, goulash made with the leftover spaghetti sauce, stir fry made with the leftover steak, quesadilla, and homemade pizza.
    • Used the library for checking out books and also for story time with my grandson. What a wonderful resource!

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  42. ms.p

    I made sour cream for the first time. I also made yogurt. I talk myself out of going to store for few items at least three times. I end up going to store twice this week. Once was because hubby had to go to dr (unplanned). He got two prescription. The auto system called to say prescription can be picked up. When I got there one was ready and the other one could come back tomorrow or wait 20 minutes. I waited and got some items. The next time I went to store was to get food that my hubby cant say no too. I needed him to eat. We stayed home all weekend and I worked on cleaning the pantry.

  43. Ellie's friend from Canada

    Brandy,

    Je voudrais vous dire qu’il existe un site Web pour les accents. Si vous utilisez un mac, allez sur le site “crazy french.com” et entrez le mot “accents”. Il vous donnera un tableau indiquant quelle lettre appuyer en maintenant “option” pour quel accent. Par exemple, appuyez sur option et “e” pour é.
    Ou appuyez sur “option” et “c” pour ç. Malheureusement, je ne sais pas comment le faire sur un PC mais si vous allez la recherche Google, pour savoir comment utiliser les accents français sur un PC, vous trouverez toute l’aide dont vous avez besoin. Aussi, c’est possible di “autospell” le mots. C’est-a-dire, il est égalemente possible de vérifier votre orthographe en configurant vos paramètres informatiques pour vérifier non seulement l’anglais mais également le français, si vous voulez.

  44. Alethea in Central VA

    I don’t have a lot to share this week because we spent on a long weekend at the lake. It was planned for and paid for in cash. My frugal accomplishments were:
    *Saved bacon grease when I fried up bacon. Will use this to flavor green beans.
    *Saved butter and margarine wrappers in a baggie in the freezer. Will use these to grease baking pans.
    *Paid bills with online banking saving stamps.
    *For our trip, we packed all food except for two planned meals out. Bought lunch specials for one meal and was able to use leftovers for dinner that night. Before going, we saw that snow/ice was predicted for the day that we were to come home, so we asked the owner if rescheduling was a possibility. She offered for us to stay an extra night for free!
    *Visited thrift stores while away and found Christmas tins to use for gifting cookies next year. Also found a huge/wide roll of ribbon for tree decorating. It doesn’t fit the color scheme of my tree, but I can cut it and use it for packages. Also found a brand new Woodwick candle and a gallon bag full of Spiced Cookie votive candles.

  45. Wyoming Gal

    This week I finished the work to make the transition from employer insurance to Medicare plus supplements since I just had my 65th birthday. I have decided to wait till full retirement age (66) to start receiving social security retirement income. So I have to send payments for Medicare B and D. (SS recipients usually have the premium deducted from their income.) The good news is that I can use my Health Savings Account (built up over the last 5 years with my and my employer’s contribution) to pay the premium. I also started a Medicare supplement policy with Cigna. The total monthly cost is about $225 for all coverages, much less than the $1000/month cost of my COBRA (after choosing to retire.)

    I had a $150 medical bill which I just received. When I called to pay by credit card I asked if there is a discount for paying in full immediately. The discount was 20%. They don’t offer this – you have to ask to get the discount.

    I made about 8 quarts of turkey carcass soup with my Thanksgiving turkey and froze this. I have been thawing several quarts at a time and adding mushroom tortellini and chicken broth for some yummy lunches. I also froze much of the Christmas ham and thaw individual portions to heat in raisin sauce ( brown sugar glaze (came with the ham) and raisins). We still have lots of frozen Christmas cookies, muffins, biscotti and bread pudding. I thaw individual portions every day as we slowly make our way through these items.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Thank you for explaining this. I learned a lot and I think it will help several people.

    2. Karen

      Hello, any other information that you can pass on regarding changing over from COBRA to SS and how to find out the best supplement plans, etc. I will be looking into this within the next few months and not sure about the process and how to determine the best medication coverage plan and supplemental ag nay / policy. Thank you for any additional information that you could pass on that would be helpful and add insight into this phase.

  46. Stephanie

    Ah, those trips to the library! We go often, both to check out books and to play. My husband gets off at the train station right behind the library, so it’s a convenient spot to meet him. Last year, we walked (well, I walked and my daughter rode in the stroller) and met him there, then had a picnic, brought from home, in the park that’s also behind the library.

    We ate a lot from the pantry this week; I’m actively trying to eat our stores down a bit in order to refresh with new things. I made three different kinds of soup and baked bread three different times, I believe. I hung all the laundry to dry on my drying racks and cleaned out four cabinets. Everything is organized now and I know exactly what I own (and where it is!) so I don’t buy more than I need. I melted down old chocolate and made brownies with it, and used sour cream that needed to be used to make a cookie recipe I found in one of my cookbooks. I did yoga using Youtube, read a stack of library books, took my daughter to library story/craft time, and my husband used a Menards gift card to purchase the materials to make me a rack to hang skirts on in the laundry room so that I don’t have to iron every time I need one. I’m REALLY excited about this, because I so rarely get time to iron, which means I can’t wear most of those skirts. Now I’ll be able to. 🙂

    Have a great week, everyone!

    1. Cindi

      Stephanie, your description of meeting your husband at the train and having a picnic in the park brought back such fond memories for me. When we were young marrieds, my husband lost his job and received a scholarship to go back to school for more training. He worked a part-time job in the afternoons, then had a couple of hours gap, then had evening classes. It was too far to come home, so he would usually pack a dinner from home and study at the library, but once or twice a week I would meet him and we would picnic,or sometimes take advantage of two-for-one coupons to enjoy a cheap meal out. We always enjoyed those ‘dates’.

  47. PJGT

    I have been very diligent, and have done what has been needed during very difficult times. Some days it is hard to keep going. But, keep going we must.

    **This week I dehydrated 5 packages of celery and filled a pint jar. The celery was but 2, get 3 free.
    **I made fire starters from dryer lint stuffed into empty toilet paper tubes.
    **I gathered kindling from downed branches…cleaning the yard at the same time.
    **I dried laundry in my very small cabin. It was definitely inconvenient, but it’s just me for another couple days. We hang a few clothes during the winter, and use the laundry line in the nicer weather.
    **I have taken on some extra work at school that is paid. It needs to be done, and I’m the only one that can do it. I’m just glad to be paid as we can use it.
    **I found some treasures at the thrift store.
    **I received a visa card for 21$ for some clothing I was able to sell. The clothing was given to me to give or sell.
    *My dear friend colored my hair again. I even received a compliment on it.

    I continue to only buy what is needed and decline most invitations that either take me away from the cabin or spend money. I miss my home and, now that we are going to be OK, I want to go home as soon as my son finishes college, I want to be ready to return. Continued frugality will help that dream come true. One thing I really like about our community Brandy has built is the many goals that are posted and being worked on, and we are privileged to read about it weekly.

  48. Kara

    Our last adult child left today, our kids did not overlap in their stays much, so it’s been a very extended Christmas.
    I was able to give son an old wool blanket from my childhood. It had been washed so much that it had shrunk and felted. It only covers that top of a twin bed. He needed it for a trip in cold weather and he said he’d keep it in the car after that for an emergency blanket. I love things that last a long time!
    I have been diligent about no food waste. It does make for some strange meals. I have frozen a few bits and pieces, but not many. I have been working on eating down all the bits and pieces in the freezer. I’m great about freezing scraps, but had not been so great at using the frozen scraps.
    I found a lovely shirt at thrift store. And quality black flats at Nordstrom Rack.
    I asked my eldest daughter to bring a cutting of one of her plants when she comes to visit this weekend. I have a gap on my plant ledge that this cutting will fill nicely. My youngest daughter took a cutting of one of my plants that I had already started, when she left today.

    I began the Master Gardener program in my area. I’m very excited about that.

    1. PJGT

      Kara,

      I’m a Cornell trained Master Gardener and the course, along with manning the hotline were two of the most productive things I have ever done for gardening.

      Great choice, Trish

      1. ellie's friend from Canadag

        Trish, Can Cornell’s master gardening program be completed online? Years ago they offered a bird photography course (not online). They had just discontinued the course but were good enough to send me the course materials and that was the start of my keen interest in bird photos. It was always a dream of mine to go to Cornell.

  49. Kitty B (Calgary)

    Continued to declutter, organize, donate and sell items from the house. I made $55 selling unused items on FB.
    I accepted a few craft supplies from a neighbour who is moving away.
    Found .30 in recyclable bottles.
    Accumulated enough survey points to submit for a $20 cheque.
    Continued to work on SB, made goals 3x
    Worked 5 hours at my occasional office job.
    Completed 4 post it note holders to use as stocking stuffers;
    Worked on projects for future gift giving.
    Made a valentine card to mail next month to my daughter who attends University in another province.
    Wishing everyone a happy week, I always enjoy the comments. Thank you Brandy for a beautiful and thoughtful place for us all to enjoy.

  50. LB

    Redeemed Swagbucks points for a $25 Amazon card. I found a deal on conditioner etc. at Target, they gave a $5 gift card for the purchase of 4 (I needed hairspray etc anyway.) Then used my iBotta app. to get $1 back on each item. so about 75 cents per item. I will not cash the IBotta in until the end of the month. Also used a gift card for the entire purchase at Target so no money out of pocket. Signed up for Shipt shopping/delivery service at 1/2 price. I think this will help the impulse buys at the grocery store and save me time which is precious right now. Repaired my sugar bowl so I didn’t have to buy a new one. I found a floral arrangement for my dh’s gravesite at 80% off at Michaels, so $8 vs. $40. I will place it in February. I am trying to eat more at home and not eat out as much, unless I have a coupon, discount etc.

  51. Heidi Louise

    I wonder if the parks behind libraries are spaces for the libraries to expand into if they wish to build on. (Not parking lots!)
    There is a dilemma: If you can’t have both, would you rather have a bigger library or the park space?

  52. E Tallent

    Hi Brandy, I noticed such a difference in your posted photos of your children. I’ve always enjoyed seeing your photos, and have thought you did well at photography…but I can clearly see a difference. Is this due to the Photoshop tutorial you spoke of in your post? Is it possible to have you share WHICH one you watched/are watching? When I searched for one, I was overwhelmed with the choices. Whatever you have landed on is definitely a winner!

    Also, I know it’s not possible, but if I had a wish-list it would include a “like” button on your website…everyone’s posts have been so good. I want to go through and “like” every one that I read!!!

    It’s a blessing to read through these, and have your website as a helpful resource. Thank you!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      The Photoshop tutorials are for editing details within photoshop. I’ve been learning a few new techniques, but I haven’t used them on any of my photos yet. I purchased some paid classes on sale last fall to help me improve my photos of people, and I’ve been studying where and how I can improve. If you’re looking to purchase something, I can recommend the classes I bought. They were an investment. I bought them on sale (of course!) I will email you more information.

  53. Marybeth

    The girls got so big. You have a beautiful family. It sounds like you are all enjoying the cooler weather by you. The library is one of my happy places. I have been going through every cabinet and draw in my kitchen. It is a slow process but I am more then half way done. I have combined many thing. Made up more spice mixes that were almost out and I even throw out a few things. Many items are going to the church. How many ice cream scoopers do I really need? I cooked a 2 pound bag of pinto beans in my crock pot and used them in several meals this week. The rest went into the freezer for future meals. I am trying to be more aware of where my money is going. Cooking the beans saves me money. I now have the time to do it. My full list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2019/01/my-frugal-list-week-of-january-7-2109.html

  54. Lillianna

    It’s ironic that each time I think I am going to be alone for a while that one of my children shows up. After one whole week of glorious peace, college girl showed up. There is not anything quiet with this child or frugal for that matter. I used 7 cups of heavenly turkey broth in the freezer to make the Barefoot Contessa ‘s chicken pot pie with biscuits. Cooking will now get creative. I recently wrote that the only problems I could anticipate having were my appliances or water heater going out. My entire stove went out. I will use the microwave, crock pot and my electric skillet to cook with. I have a large yearly bill to pay and just am not comfortable with spending any savings for a new stove. Being patient and waiting will guarantee that if there is a more pressing problem to occur that I can deal with it. Learning to be frugal has meant learning that all problems are not a real emergency. We picked up several items this week at the thrift store. 25 cent Mothers day and Valentine cards. A 3.00 DVD player. My daughter has a HP printer that she is gifting me. That was an item on my ” I need list “. I picked up a 25.00 restaurant voucher at Groupon for 2.00 using a 10.00 coupon they sent me. I also bought sugar cookie a voucher to a museum she had wanted to go to for 4.00 using the same coupon. We will use these on her birthday in a couple weeks. These are the types of deals I had mentioned not wanting to miss. I set up a new email and had all these type deals registered to the new email so I won’t miss them. We are having beautiful weather today. I have waited all week to do my laundry so I could hang it out to dry. My biggest goal this week is checking our food supply. We will be shopping this week with the small supply of SNAP that sugar cookie receives. I need to make sure that the items we buy fill in any weaknesses our stockpile has in order to prepare full meals. I’m not much into politics so I have no idea how long a government shutdown might last. I’m making a list of meals we can prepare with our new cooking situation and comparing the stockpile to it. I am so grateful to have a supply of healthy items sugar cookie can eat and her diabetes not be a problem. If she doesn’t receive food stamps for a while, she will be fine. It is looking like college girl may be here for several weeks. She’s skipping a semester of school. After 7 straight years she is burned out. She may find my frugalness to be extreme after having been away for 7 years. Circumstances change and I hope she understands just how life can completely turn on you. I do have some good news. My attorney processed my paperwork for my disability. He has a very young special needs nephew and he has bonded with sugar cookie.

    1. Chris M

      Hi Lilliana,
      Years ago I rented a house for several months while waiting to buy. The rental did not come with a refrigerator or stove. I wasn’t about to buy a stove or refrigerator when I wasn’t sure what I would need when I bought. I had a small dorm refrigerator and a cooler, which worked. Fortunately, it was winter and the back porch was usually a freezer. I cooked with my microwave, crockpot, and electric skillet. We were just fine. I even cooked pasta in the microwave. It took the same amount of time, but when that’s all you have, that’s what you do. And, it was cooked perfectly. I hope college girl is able to find a job quickly! Best wishes.

      1. SJ in Vanvouver BC Canada

        Also check Craig’s list for free stoves. Some people who upgrade just want the old one gone. That’s how I got one not long ago.

    2. Susan from Cincinnati

      If you live near an Aldi’s they have a Stove Top Convection Countertop Oven on sale through Saturday for $36.99 and this might get you through until you get another stove. Good luck.

    3. E Tallent

      Lillianna, I wish you the best with your situation. It sounds like you have quite the challenge ahead of you….I pray you find all the resources you need to meet it head-on. I’m also hoping for you that your college-age daughter gets a very real look at what it takes to sacrifice and help your family during a crunch time…this can be a positive learning experience. In my book, it could help the burn-out better than anything else, as she sees the challenge, hopefully helps rise to the occasion and effectively gets her mind off of the stresses she’s been dealing with. Hopefully, that will be the case, and it will turn into a win-win situation for everyone.

    4. Rhonda A.

      Lillianna, I hope the return of your college daughter turns into a blessing for your household. Perhaps she can help you around the house with projects, or pick up a part-time job to help contribute to household needs. This might be a good lesson for her to learn some frugal ways while she takes a break. Regardless, I’m sure you will enjoy having her home for a while. As for the stove, if you need to wait for a while to get a new one, you might want to watch for a toaster oven and maybe a hot plate (if you can find one) at the thrift store for a really great price. Those appliances will keep you going in the kitchen for quite a while without draining your savings. Wishing you all the best, Lillianna. I’m sure you will find a way through all these trials with grace and a thankful heart.

    5. Marybeth

      Contact your local Habitat for Humanity. They are given used appliances all the time. They may have a stove that they could give you. With Sugar Cookie on disability you should qualify. Also have you tried Lucky Day app on your phone. I just cashed out a $10 Gift card. It is free and fun. If you need a referral code, let me know. Good luck.

    6. Heidi Louise

      Lillianna:
      Seven years of school is a long time! However, if this was working on one degree, (such as a bachelor’s), for seven years, it is possible the school will discount classes taken more than seven years before. The classes older than that might need to be re-taken. Different schools have different policies or numbers of years.
      If she completed a degree and then started another, such as completing undergraduate and immediately starting a masters’, that should not be a problem. In any case, I hope the time off gives your daughter some time to rest and reflect and establish good goals for herself.

    7. PJGT

      I agree with waiting on the stove. Recently, my thought has been to wait for something affordable or, better yet, free. Seems on today’s world, people are changing out perfectly good things for snazz or better. I am trying to take advantage of the new trend. We’ve been without a stove for quite a while since my spot is a particular size. Thankful for a crock pot and toaster oven.

      1. Lillianna

        PJGT, I saw my mother bake a cake in an electric skillet one time ! Thankfully, I have quite a few meals tucked away in the freezer. We will eat oatmeal for breakfast and salads at lunch. Defrosted leftovers will heat nicely in the microwave. I think I probably will save my swagbuck s for a couple months to offset the cost of a stove. The simple life actually seems appealing right now of not actually cooking. My daughter is going to be a cardiac thoracic surgeon. She has worked hard in school and has worked hard to put herself through school. She has very little debt as she has worked the whole time. I am very proud of her. She has been a huge help to me. There are so many things I struggle with physically and she has knocked out my to do list in just a few short days. Tonight she’s entering those teeny tiny coke cap codes for me to get some lovely excursions for her sister. This child makes me smile and laugh a hundred times a day. She is an incredible blessing.

        1. PJGT

          What is the saying about necessity being the mother of invention? I have definitely used my rescued from the trash BBQ for a lot of cooking as well. Your daughter sounds amazing and smart, too. Her course of study is very difficult and exhausting, and I hope she knows what a blessing she will be to our world. I’ve often pondered the dedication of medical students. My dear son has just informed me that he is switching from engineering to history midway through his degree. He should study history as that is his passion along with flying. He’ll still be in the Air Force ROTC, so that hasn’t changed. They make their way and we provide the support.

  55. Liz

    Hello Everyone,

    I hope you are having a fun, frugal week. Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    – This week I did a lot to try to save. I consigned some crochet items at a shop. I also picked up a check for some items that I sold.
    – I went on post to recycle some boxes and broken items. We can take them there for free rather than paying to have them taken away.
    – I had a free lunch on Monday.
    – I did some mystery shopping. I use a site called Market Force. It is legitimate. I do a lot of fast food shops which they pay you back for and pay you to do.
    – I ordered some free samples which are on my blog: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2019/01/17/8-freebies-today-1-17-19/
    – I also started a new blog for crafting and a lot of free crochet patterns. It is here: https://crochetandcraftwithme.com/ I have a lot of free patterns on it already!
    – I got a free pizza from the Safeway app which we had on Wednesday Night which is our busy church night.
    – My husband also has a free canister of oatmeal on his app so I need to go get that.
    – I cooked at home. Right now I have chicken wings in the air fryer!
    Have a great week!
    Liz

  56. LL

    Great inspirational comments from everyone.
    -Welcomed our DD and GD for a visit. All meals were eaten at home and I made some breakfast breads, German Sweet Chocolate cake etc. She loved it all especially when I sent taste treats home for our DSIL. We did “no spend” things like snow sled rides, movie nite at home, and looked around a local antique store to get inspired. I found some 90% off Christmas close-out items that she can use now.
    -Put away my Christmas Village and pulled out some Valentine decorations. It was fun, spent nothing, just relaxed putting things here and there in the kitchen and living room.
    -Sent some birthday cards I had picked up at the Thrift Store.
    -I stitched a few baby rattles from fabric in my stash.
    Each day holds a blessing; a blessing is a gift

  57. Ellie's friend from Canada

    It is snowing white large fluffy flakes. I went outside this morning and shovelled a path for my physiotherapist when she arrived. I did it with only one arm and find that as long as the snow is lightweight and not too deep, I can do it with one arm.
    I showed my physio the spreadsheet of exercises I had kept in her absence and which exercises had hurt.

    I got a fright because the clothes in the dryer were not dried. I changed the settings and everything worked so I was relieved. I unplugged a cord from an outlet and the lights went out. I thought I’d tripped a circuit (which would be very hard for me to reset) and did not understand what had happened but within 30 seconds the lights came back on. Again I was so relieved. A friend vacuumed my front hall. It is an unusual occurrence. My physio thinks I may have damaged the biceps when I broke my arm. After 10 months, the upper break of the spiral fracture is at long last healing (great news although it will be a bit deformed. — certainly everyone’s prayers are answered in this regard) but the exercises are giving me more pain. So glad to have had my friend dropped off $20 of groceries which should tide me over till the end of the month. I cooked a simple dinner using the lovely (and cheap) russet potatoes, mushrooms (on sale) and ground beef. I thought about buying a used 105mm closeup lens which is a really good deal and would replace one I lost (??? still not sure how) but decided that I won’t spend the money on that. Still a temptation but I would have to give up eating and so it’s not a possibility. I received some insurance money for the days I was in hospital — I had forgotten I had paid monthly at my bank for accident insurance. I was grateful to receive it even though it did not cover the 3 weeks in therehab facility. I am so glad to have free health care in Canada.

  58. tanja

    Finally found some time to write a comment again.
    We had a frugal christmas and new years evening. I have to think hard to get those evenings back again…its already 3 weeks ago. In the Netherlands most people get a gift box filled with ( luxe) food product from there boss, or now a days, a giftcard for the internet. I clean at 5 different adresses and 4 of them gave me a christmas gift. ! 1 gave an internet giftcard, 1 gave organic nuts and dryed apricots ( i made my own meusli ), 1 gave a box of chocolate , these are al private persons. I also clean an office of an employment agency, they gave a big box of food products and because my son is employed though them he got the same box, witch he had to give to his mom ofcourse. My daughter also works two partime jobs….so 2 more boxes and youngest son also got some foods product from his saturday supermarketjob. That was a pantry filled with food. And we did need that because my oldest son has made some bad choises with money spending, so we loaned him almost al of our savings so he did not have to pay interest on creditcard and bank account.
    Which was very scarring, because what if our car broke down….? Or some other set back. Wel it did not happen, and son found him a job fast and is quickly paying us back, so al good ends good. Our christmas dinner was composed from products of the boxes and boxingday also. We eat delicious, It is not really important what you eat, its more the al together and the finely set table thats important.
    We stil eat from our pantry and freezer, but it is almost coming to an end.
    My daughter got some cloting items from a friend of hers.
    From an other giftcard a gave myself a yoghurt maker. We always get organic fresh milk from a farmerfriend for just 50 euro cents per liter. So thats cheap yoghurt for us.
    Today I had a dentist appointment in another town, and my brother in law had a doctors appointment in the same town at about the same time. So we took one car and split the costs, With that ride I also went to a supermarket and got some 35% off meat.
    I probably did more frugal things in the past weeks but I don’t remember them al.
    The main things is we still live as frugal as possible, I hope you all do the same!!
    Greetings from the Netherlands

  59. Leigh Ann

    Once again, it was a great frugal week! I found quite a bit of Christmas clearance marked 75% off and 90% off. I picked up several small boxes of Whitman’s Sampler candies that had winter-themed paper on top of the plastic wrapper. I’ve done the same with some of the Russell Stover candies. I took the winter paper off and now they’re ready to go as Valentine’s candy for my kids’ teachers. I also bought M&Ms, which I use in place of chocolate chips in cookies sometimes. I didn’t need wrapping paper, but I picked some up for a friend. Also, our HEB marked the hams down to $5/each. I picked the 5 biggest I could find, which was a great deal.
    I’ve been selling a lot on facebook marketplace, clearing out unwanted or unneeded items. Cash in, junk out! I’m not really the Kon Marie type, but I know that her book and shows are definitely popular right now.
    I bought the 2# bag of carrots instead of the 1# bag of baby carrots, which were the same price. Baby carrots are a convenience food I usually don’t mind paying for, but I had the kids help me prep them for lunches and snacks. I like to say that my little helpers cut my time in double!
    We enjoyed books from the library and watched some DVDs we already had. We don’t have netflix/cable/amazon prime/etc., and sometimes when it’s cloudy our antennae has trouble picking up channels.
    I made dinner for a friend who just had a baby using ingredients we mostly already had.
    I filled up with gas close to work, where it was a little cheaper.
    I signed up to get an ipad from work. It’s still theirs, but I will get to take it home to use, which should be nice.
    I left the oven door open after baking after the kids went to bed to warm the kitchen a little.
    Hope you all have a nice, frugal week!

  60. Marcia R.

    I had a pretty frugal week. I went crazy with spaghetti noodles, resulting in a huge pot of them being cooked. The same night I also cooked three large Italian sausages–extraordinarily large ones, which is something the store has been doing lately! The results were that the two of us ate spaghetti two nights, and I ate the rest a third night when he ate sausage and lentil soup from the freezer. That night I was just too tired to cook properly so DH got a salami sandwich with his soup. We survived! I am finding myself tiring more easily lately–could have something to do with my 76th birthday, which is coming along next week. Some days I just can’t make it through without a nap of some sort. That night the need was severe right at dinnertime.
    My “big shop” this week came to just under $72, but my previous two weeks were in the $40-$50 range. That included 99 cent a pound whole chickens, which I did have cut in half as that is plenty for the two of us. My cupboards, freezer and pantry are FULL. I’m not in any hurry to empty them although I will do so before strawberry season! We usually clean the freezer before we put anything from this year’s growing season into it.
    Tonight I made stuffed peppers, which we enjoyed. It’s not one of my regulars but we do enjoy them once in a while. Tossed salad and banana bread completed the menu–my DD contributed the banana bread a couple days ago.
    I have been managing a little cleaning this week even with my husband keeping me busy too. His Alzheimer’s requires me to stop and do things like point out which page is today’s TV schedule, explain things to him (sometimes for the 10th time), and find things like his telephone, his glasses, etc. that he can’t always keep track of himself. But he is still able to carry things up and down the stairs for me, which certainly helps! Our bedroom is on the second floor and the washer and dryer in the basement, so I give him lots of opportunities to carry things.
    We did have a non frugal problem with the furnace which is now fixed, setting us back just over $300–so far. A plumber is needed to replace a length of corroded pipe–he was supposed to come today but did not. It’s only a 2-3 ft piece so I don’t know how much that will add to the bill.
    So pretty much a normal week here–no catastrophes, and too busy to go out to eat in restaurants, so cooked all meals at home. House is SLOWLY getting cleaned up post-Christmas: I am slow because I have to find space for the new things that are not yet put away! Newspapers and magazines are being recycled in large quantities but seem to be in endless supply anyhow. Only a few more things to go now.

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