It’s been a busy week, as always! Here’s what we did to save money this week:

My husband gave me a haircut.

I sowed seeds in the garden for lettuce, snow peas and parsley.

We harvested pomegranates and lemons from the garden.

I stocked up on pasta on sale for $0.49 a pound. I see this price around three times a year. The regular price is $1.25 a pound. I always wait to buy it until the sale and I buy around 80 pounds each time. I only buy it at this price (save for farfalle, which this brand doesn’t make).

I also stocked up on cream soups for $0.49 a can. While I know you can make your own mixes, I’ve tried that (as well as purchased store-brands) and we didn’t care for them.

I bought a 6-month pass for a local park. It’s $6 each time you drive in, or you can buy a 6-month pass for $25. However, ages 50 and up can buy a discounted pass for $12, and since my husband is older than that, we were able to get the pass for $12. It will quickly pay for itself as I am taking photos at this location and won’t have to pay each time I go.

I read an e-book from the library. I’ve been reading a lot of books this year from the perspective of different Jewish families in Eastern European countries during WWII, as well as some French WWI and WWII female spy stories. This story, though, set in Hungary, touched me even more than the others did. I wondered why I felt so emotional over the characters–after all, they weren’t real people, just characters. Still, sometimes, knowing a bit of what had to be coming (concentration camps), I had trouble continuing to read, in dread of what would happen. One morning I decided to read more about what happened in Hungary in WWII, which was something I had never really learned about in any of my history classes. Reading it was informative, but it made it even harder to keep reading. When I got to the end of the story (this one was quite long, so it took me three days; I usually can finish a book in a day), I found out that the characters were actually real people, and I cried and cried. This was definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read. It was called The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (affiliate link).

My husband and I had a date night at home. We had considered going out but chose to have a date at home instead of after the children were in bed.

I cooked a turkey (purchase for $0.68 a pound) and cooked a plan of black beans in the oven alongside it. I plan on buying at least one more turkey this month at this price and cooking it right away. We ate some, will have another meal or two from it, and I froze the rest to use in future meals.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. I also purchased and baked a turkey this week for $.59/lb. I have never tried roasting a turkey overnight, but it was the most tender, moist turkey we’ve ever had. I also purchased airline tickets for our family to fly to Washington, DC next May. We had been hoping that we could go but the tickets were out of our price range (normally over $300/person, and we have 6 people in our family). There was a sale on Southwest and they had non-stop flights for $155 each round-trip, so I went ahead and purchased them. We could have driven, but factoring in the cost of gas, hotels, and meals it would have almost worked out the same, plus it would have cost us an additional 6 days in travel. We homeschool and I am really looking forward to this trip (and my dad lives within 3 miles of downtown DC so we will not have to worry about lodging).

      1. Robyn – absolutely! I learned it from Tawra at Living on a Dime ( but I tweaked it a little. Basically, I put the turkey breast-down in a roasting pan and sprinkled it all over with salt and pepper, emptied out the cavity and put a stick of butter in there, a couple of cups of water at the bottom of the pan and cover tightly with foil. Cook for about 1 hr at 450 (this kills off the bacteria that might be on the skin of the turkey and makes it safer to cook at lower temperatures afterward). I started the turkey at around 9 pm the night before while I was watching a show with my husband, and then at 10 I turned the oven down to 250 and cooked it overnight. They say that it’s good to cook it for about an hour per pound at the low temperature. The next morning, we had to go to church and I was a little nervous leaving it at 250 so I turned it down to 225, and by the time we got back from church around noon the next day the turkey was so tender that the bones separated easily and the turkey almost fell off the carcass. I strained all of the delicious broth from that and used some to make gravy, but saved the rest for turkey soup the next day (and I also made more broth from the roasted carcass the next day in the Instant Pot to add to that broth). The broth was absolutely delicious – full of gelatin and body as well as flavor. I made a turkey noodle soup with homemade noodles tonight for dinner. I had a 15 lb turkey but you could do this for a larger turkey as well, just increase the time (total time at low temperature = 1 hr/lb of turkey). I have had terrible experiences with turkey in the past that I usually pass on turkey sales (my turkeys were cooked unevenly or too tough or didn’t come off the bones easily, etc.) but this was the best turkey I have ever made, and I will never go back!

        1. Jenni, I cook mine breast side down too, but I never add water or butter. I tent the pan with foil. I always cook it until it falls off the bones, and I’m left with a huge amount of broth (all from the turkey) at the bottom of the pan. I usually buy 21-pound turkeys and I cook mine at 325 during the day.

          1. Heidi, your turkey must be thawed before you cook it. It can take up to 4 days to thaw a turkey if it is very large.

    1. I am going to file these low & slow turkey roasting methods away for the future. We are so burned out on turkey that we haven’t made one in years. We do love ham though, so that has been our go to when I find them at a great price. Thanks for sharing this ladies!

  2. My son, daughter-in-law and their dog visited for most of the week. Thus it wasn’t a very frugal week, although I have two big accomplishments to report–
    * We made a deal to sell/barter our boat to a friend who owns a handyman service. We got top dollar because we agreed to take it out in trade. He can do just about anything. We want him to finish our vacation home so we can sell it in the next year or two. Also, my husband’s table saw is smoking and he is just the guy to figure out why and to fix it. This is a win-win for everybody.

    * My son brought his buffer and fixed the scratch that went the whole length of the passenger side of our SUV. We think it was a shopping cart accident while the car was parked in the Fred Meyer lot.

    Brandy, have you read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah? It’s about two sisters living in France during the German occupation. One of the best books I have ever read. (Not quite up there with The Poisonwood Bible, but close).

    1. I haven’t, but I’ll it to my library list. I just finished my first Kristen Hannah book today!

      1. I was also going to suggest The Nightingale. Never has a book brought me to tears, and the ending of this one will haunt me forever. Beautifully written.

        1. I would add all Elie Wiesel’s books to your list. He is probably the most influential author from the Holocaust period. He was a survivor himself and a Nobel laureate. His most famous book is Night but there are several others that are just as jarring and emotional. I also enjoyed the Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman (there is also a good movie based on the book), based on the true and incredible story about how 300 Jews were saved by a couple who ran the Warsaw Zoo.

          1. After watching The Zookeeper’s Wife, my husband and I visited the Warsaw Zoo. We actually went on Easter morning last April. Ther was a plaque and an area where you could see a portion of the old tunnels. It was very touching to visit this zoo, knowing it’s amazing history.

      2. And I would add “The Alice Network”. I loved “The Nightingale”!. So many books finally about the work women did during the war.

          1. Have you read ‘When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit’ by Judith Kerr? It’s a children’s book that when I read it (and re-read it numerous times as a child) I thought was fiction, I only found out a few years ago that it was based on Judith’s experiences as a child in WW2. A lovely book that you and your children may enjoy Brandy.

    2. We actually have a friend who grew up in Nazi-occupied Holland during WWII. Their family had some German soldiers housed with them. He has told us stories of the soldiers who just wanted to go home. And, stories of what the kids use to do to sabotage the Nazis. I also volunteer with a group that grants wishes to vets. We have about 8 WWII vets, one is turning 101 at the end of this month and another gentleman is turning 103 next month. We also have a Buffalo soldier that was taken prisoner in Italy. We home school so my high school daughter volunteers with me. I have told her to just listen to the stories the men tell at our monthly meeting. It is living history and can not be obtained from a book.

      1. Sabrina, I would encourage you to record the memories of those WWII vets. You are right-it IS living history and those gentlemen won’t be around forever. That would be such a wonderful oral history to have for a local library or a veterans’ group. I think there is/was a national project to record these vets while they are still here.

        I recently lost my dear, sweet father, a WWII vet, at the age of almost 92. 🙁 We recorded some of his recollections of his time in the navy and his family life, but wish we had done more. My grandmother had 6 sons (6!!) in WWII. Many of our important family stories from that time are known to all of the remaining generations, but it is so nice to hear my father’s voice recounting his stories.

        My father-in-law was a German POW in WWII, captured during the Battle of the Bulge. Though he didn’t speak of his imprisonment for many years, (until his 70s), we did get a recording of some of his memories as a prisoner. He now is also gone, so this recording too, is a treasure.

        1. Lynn, our guys have been interviewed for several projects to record their history. Our group also writes some of their experiences down. We are so blessed to be able to spend time with them and other era vets. This month after our meeting we went to lunch with the group and my daughter got into a straw fight with the 102 year old. They kept blewing straw wrappers at each other. He started it! She will always remember that and their stories.

          1. Sabrina, I’m so glad their stories have been and are being recorded. Sounds like a wonderful monthly gathering! Such a unique, learning experience for you and your daughter.

            Thank you for your kind words regarding my father. Veterans’ Day was difficult and I am so dreading Thanksgiving… Not yet at the point where memories aren’t painful. 🙁

  3. This week at my produce market, I got a bushel of bell peppers for $3! I will be using these to can Salsa, homemade Rotel and Sweet and Sour Sauce! Because it’s busy right now, I’ll freeze them in ziploc bags (No blanching required!) and pull them out when we are ready to can, since 2 of my daughters are running low on their jars of Sweet and Sour Sauce and want to come over and can some more!

    Finished binding client’s Christmas quilt- Now I’ve started her Christmas truck quilt that will be hers using her grandpa’s clothes and Gran’s fabrics. Very fussy little pieces, but it is a well written pattern I was happy to buy! Some of the pieces I cut for the truck are only 1” x 2-1/2” !!

    As a break from that, I started cutting and sewing up a prototype of a Hollow Star Table Runner that same client wants 2 of. Again, as cheap as I am, I was grateful to but the diamond ruler as well as the pattern to save so much time! Worth it because it is well written and ruler is one I hope to use often! I may see about marketing this table runner on our website and FB Marketplace. I still need to quilt it and bind it.
    I also quilted and bound this client’s baby quilt this week.
    Someone else that I’ve sold things to before asked me to make two 8 x 10 drawstring bags with “boy” fabrics so I made these lined bags using scraps from my stash and she will pick them up tomorrow and pay me! Those are always fun to make and versatile because they can be customized to any size!

    So the business continues. Hubs is working on changing website to make it more user friendly for the machine quilting part and hopefully, it will be converted over in the next few days. It will remain so I’m grateful for that!

    While I was doing that sewing, my daughter made this twin size quilt for her daughter, using her scraps and came over on Saturday at 9 AM and by noon (including time to eat lunch), she had this quilt quilted on Lenni and ready to take home to bind!
    Can you tell how much we are making use of our used Lenni longarm quilting machine? We are so grateful for it and making sure that every week we quilt at least one quilt on it, usually 3 or 4! Lol!

    Some friends who bought a condo and are living in it while they rehab it had their furnace start running incessantly and costing a fortune in electric costs. Since their condo is all-electric, they got some estimates from recommended HVAC people but the estimates are all over $7200 to replace. The heat pump is very old! They can’t afford that so we took over an electric heater that we bought 2 years ago as an emergency item at an incredible store sale price. We have never used it, but one of our daughters faced a circumstance almost identical to these friends and borrowed this! It will heat about 800 square foot. Because it is also electric, it will run the meter up, but she would use it sparingly when she and her kids would be home from work or school and not while they were gone. We also had a smaller heat tower that we loaned them for heating a smaller area- a bathroom, next to the desk/ computer table, etc. We are so grateful we had these available to share with them as our weather has been quite cold for November!

    I got turkey for 33 cents a pound at our Meijers and this year, although there was a limit of 1, there were no other purchase requirements! I bought a 23 pounder, even though one of our other daughters is hosting Thanksgiving and already has a turkey in her freezer! I also found their baking chips on sale for $1.39/ bag and stocked up on butterscotch, while chocolate and mini-chips which I had run out of! Perfect timing! So I emptied the bags into Mason jars and vacuum sealed them! This will be so handy for holiday baking as well as baking through the year!

    I bought 13 pound boxes of butter for $1.99 each at Aldis as well as some boxes of pie crusts there for 99 cents ( I cannot make pie crust or jello to save my life! Many have tried to teach me with high hopes and all have shaken their heads in disbelief as they (I) have failed! ?! ) So now I can make some chicken pot pies and beef pot pies for freezer meals! This cold weather brings me to the kitchen to bake regularly since it’s the family joke about how low I keep the furnaces set for during the winter! Let’s just say I’m frugal and sweaters and sweatshirts were made to be worn!! Lol!

    The weather is a bit warmer for the next 3 days, so we are mortaring the tiles down on the serving counter by the BBQ and then tomorrow we will grout between the tiles to have that outside project finished! We didn’t think that would happen due to length of Hub’s recuperation (we still have to wait 4 months for next, unrelated to heart, surgery that will put him back in the pink!)

    In the 2 weeks since we moved 2/3 of our savings over to High yield savings for half of it and Govt T-bill for the other half, our T-bill has already received more than the little bit we would have earned for the WHOLE year if we had left the whole amount in our regular passbook savings! Amazing! Instead of 8 cents a month we would have received from that 1/3 had we kept it in passbook savings, in 2 weeks it earned $2.40!! I know that looks like a piddling amount, but week after week- that turns into real money!! In our opinion.

    We noticed the back tire on our van kept looking low so Hubs took it to tire store nearby and they discovered 2 nails. It was going to cost $35 (way less than buying a new tire, imo) but because we bought the tire from them, they repaired it for free!!

    Hubs and I each went to Target for our free flu shot and each got a $5 Target gift card for it! So $10 we can use at Target!!
    All in all, a pretty frugal week!

    1. Gardenpat, so when you freeze bell peppers, you don’t need to blanch them first? I just recently learned that avocado could be frozen as well, which will come in handy if I ever find myself with a quantity of avocados that I can’t possibly manage to eat before they go bad (not likely, I LOVE avocado!). Thanks for mentioning that, I’ve actually never thought to freeze bell pepper myself, even though I have bought frozen bell pepper strips. Good to know!

      1. AvonladyTJ- No, there is no pre-treating (like blanching) needed to freeze bell peppers (or any kind of pepper)! That’s what makes it so convenient! And if you’ve ever seen my posts before, you’ll remember that I’m lazy and cheap and love convenience! Lol!!

        All you do is wash your pepper. Cut it open and cut out seed core and stem. Cut into pieces. I usually cut into large chunks so I can cut them into whatever size I need later for a recipe! Pop them into ziploc bag and Voila!! Perfect for when you need some and the price at the store is crazy!

        Use in soups, stews, pizza topping, salsa, sweet and sour sauce, Homemade Rotel and the list goes on and on!!

      2. AvonLadyTJ, I sometimes see avocados in the clearance produce section of our grocery store. If you ever find a quantity of those, it might be wise to purchase and freezer them, as they are most likely almost past their peak freshness. Since you love avocados, this would be a great way to save some money! Same thing can be done with peppers, as I see those on clearance a lot in our area, too!

      1. I have an APQS Lenni . We bought him used 2014 model year from a dealer. Before they delivered him to our house, he was sent to factory headquarters to be completely gone over to make sure he was running perfectly! Their customer service is amazing AND free and they don’t care how old your machine is or whether you purchased it from their dealers or a private party! Nd their technicians are available over the phone 24/7 in case you have a quilting emergency! They walk you through DIY fixing/adjusting anything yourself to save the cost of taking it in! All we can say about them is WOW!! Plus 10 hours of free beginner longarm classes from the dealer!
        My regular sewing machines are Janome- another durable machine! I have a 2500 and 2 little Sewist 509 !

  4. Brandy,
    I sympathize with the tears spilled over the story. I myself just had to tell a friend over the phone that I did not have another cold; just tears
    over the abysmal treatment of the indigenous people 100 years ago as I had just been reading something and had tears.

    We have finished rewriting 4 chapters of our book based on the new information we received.

    I am thankful that our archives will let me use 9 of their tables (end to end) to spread out the 2100 photos that I am trying to put into albums befpre Christmas.

  5. Thank you for the book recommendation. I’ve always read about WWII but I only recently turned my attention to the area of Eastern Europe where my maternal great-grandparents came from, Kosice, Slovakia. (They left at the turn of the 20th century.) That city had been part of Hungary (as all of Slovakia), then part of independent Czechoslovakia, then given back to Hungary. I’ve read some devastating stories of people moving between Kosice and Budapest, trying to get to safety.
    On the frugal front, I plan to buy 2 turkeys at .49/lb tomorrow, keep one for Thanksgiving but bake the other one for the freezer. Mostly, this was a passive frugality week for me. I stayed home and made do. ☺️

  6. That book sounds very interesting, Brandy. Thank you for sharing your story about it. Whenever I read about the atrocities inflicted upon the Jews during WWII, my mind now instantly replays all the things I saw and learned about during our time in Poland. It makes me want to cry, too.

    Frugal accomplishment for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included: homemade Stromboli; beef stew with dumplings; crock-pot pulled chicken (with choice of sauce) on a bun, seasoned roasted potato chunks, and corn; my brother’s girlfriend made beef roast (cooked it in crock pot with a tall can of Guinness beer, beef bullion and seasoning…it was SO GOOD! So tender and flavourful but no beer or alcohol taste) with oven roasted carrots & potatoes and homemade fococcia bread; breaded fish with choice of potato wedges or sweet potato fries; creamy crescent chicken bake (recipe link:, using leftover pulled chicken and a can of cream of broccoli soup) with broccoli.
    *Bagged lunches this week included: Leftover cheesy ham & broccoli rice, leftover broccoli with cheese sauce, yoghurt, applesauce, marbled chocolate banana muffin; leftover homemade macaroni & cheese, yoghurt, applesauce, marbled chocolate banana muffin; leftover pizza, yoghurt, orange slices, marbled chocolate banana muffin; leftover pizza, yoghurt, orange slices, jello fruit cup, marbled chocolate banana muffin.
    *Since DD loved the breakfast burritos I made for her last weekend (she ate them over 3 days), I decided to make Keto Egg Cups this weekend for her to enjoy as a quick breakfast this coming week. Here is the recipe link: I made spinach & feta cheese egg cups, with garlic & oregano seasoning. However, as you will see with this recipe, you can pretty much add whatever you have on hand! I also know they freeze well.
    *Cooked up the 2 pie pumpkins we grew in our garden this summer, and packed the puree up into 3 pre-measured 1 cup baggies for the freezer. Glad to get that checked off my “to do” list. I picked out some of the seeds to dry for future plantings. The rest were roasted up to eat and enjoy.
    *Made a batch of rice crispy treats to use up some open bags of mini marshmallows and some cereal that has been around a while. Knowing the ingredients were less than fresh, I topped the squares with chocolate M & M’s I had in my baking pantry stash to make them more appealing. I cut the squares up and wrapped individually for bagged lunches this week, and the remainder were offered as dessert on Sunday night.
    *My brother brought home a bunch of leftover pizza left over from a couple things he volunteered at.
    *Enjoyed some leftover pizza, Halloween candy and various baked goods that was up for grabs at work.
    *Redeemed free food stickers at McDonald’s, previously won through their Monopoly game, while out shopping with my mom one day. Only paid $3.75 for lunch for the 2 of us!
    *We took my MIL out for dinner for her birthday this week. I pulled out my gift stash and found the perfect gift to give her that I previously bought for very little OOP. Used a very pretty, blank stationary card from our card stash that we’ve had for years and recycled a gift bag & tissue paper previously received by one of us, that I had tucked away in our gift wrapping supplies.
    *DD came home on Monday and announced she has a boyfriend. She’s autistic, so this is a pretty big deal! Ironically, his father happens to be a really amazing artist, which is what DD wants to be. So, apparently, they have something in common. It’s all pretty innocent “puppy love” kind of stuff, but I’m still impressed she’s starting to explore more complex and personal relationships with others.
    *Worked an 8 hour shift on Tuesday & Friday this week. Loving the fact I have a paycheck during a time I typically would not.
    *Repaired 3 bras, 2 with broken hooks and 1 with a tear. Another project checked off my “to do” list!
    *We bought a new sectional couch, which was not very frugal. We needed a “5 piece” sectional, so it would fit down the stairs. After searching several stores, we finally found what we were looking for. We are hoping to start our search to buy a home sometime next year. Hubby thought it might be a good idea to purchase the sectional now, while we had the funds to do so, in preparation for a move. This one can be configured in different ways, and should work regardless of the space it needs to fit into in the future.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. I really do enjoy catching up with everyone each week!

      1. Take a can of drained chickpeas (I now can my own from dry), and dump it onto a pot. Add a generous portion of your favourite BBQ sauce and a little water to thin out the BBQ sauce. The chickpeas absorb liquid as they cook, which is why you need to slightly water down the BBQ sauce. If using a relatively liquidy BBQ sauce, you may not need to add much water, compared to a thicker BBQ sauce. Simmer the chickpeas until they soften to your liking. I then use them to make BBQ chickpea wraps. My favourite wrap is a portion of the chickpeas with greens (lettuce or spinach), grated cheese, and ranch dressing. You can use your favourite wrap filling, or top a salad with them, top a baked potato with them, or just eat as is. They also keep well in the fridge, and taste great hot or cold. I often make a batch, to use throughout the week for my bagged lunches. I’ve taken the wraps to potlucks several times at work. Vegetarians have wondered how they had never tried this before (but definitely will be making it at home) and die hard meat eaters complimented on how great these tasted! For those working with a tight budget, BBQ chickpeas are so cheap to make, yet so full of flavour!!!!

  7. Wow, homeschooling, cooking from scratch, gardening, running a household, a new business, AND reading books! I’ll say that’s busy! Always inspirational!

    My frugal week:
    – I made Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter & Pretzel Squares (, using peanut butter bought on sale, and chocolate chips and pretzels bought in bulk and on sale. They turned out really nicely and I think I’ll put them in my Christmas treat tins in December.
    – I made bubble solution so I can blow bubbles to amuse my daughter. (Dish detergent, water, and a bit of sugar).
    – I redeemed pinecone research points for $5 to my paypal account, which I then used to buy a container of water beads from (including shipping, it was $4.60 Cdn) which I will use to do sensory play activities with my daughter and for playdates. I also redeemed swagbucks for a $10 Amazon gc, which I will save for Christmas gifts.
    – I stocked up on baking supplies on sale (flour, cocoa, and sugar), as well as brand name cheese at nearly 30% off (I’ll freeze most of it). The items were at the lowest price of the year. Some items weren’t labelled as on sale, but I had the flyer and made sure I got the sale price. I also redeemed $20 in loyalty points to reduce my bill.
    – I used saved gift cards to reduce my OOP cost for a snowsuit for my daughter by half. When people gave me clothing gifts when she was born, if she had enough clothes in that size, I would return them and get a gc. They definitely came in handy now.
    – Using my local trading app (bunz) I traded some baking (a batch of gluten-free cheesecake brownies and a dozen and a half gluten-free chocolate chocolate chip cookies) for a $25 gc to Stella and Dot. I want a new pair of earrings for when I go back to work in a number of months (I need to look polished even in uniform) so I will keep an eye out for a sale to combine with the gc. I also traded a loaf of vegan banana bread and 8 vegan spice cake muffins ( for two BNIB toys, a BN book, and a BN onesie. I will give one of the toys to my daughter for Christmas (I now have all her Christmas gifts – a puzzle, a musical instrument, and a dollhouse, all of which I traded for, and all BN), gift the onesie to a relative, and save the other toy and book in my gift drawer.
    – I made salad dressing
    – Using the flash food app, I spent under $14 and got 3 pork chops, two tubs of ricotta, 6 apples, two mangoes, an orange, an avocado, 5 peppers, and a tub of baby tomatoes.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Margaret, is there a particular type of earring you like or are wanting? I have been doing some decluttering lately and I can look through my boxes that are ready to go to the women’s shelter thrift store to see if there are any in this latest round (It’s a constant flow, lol) that haven’t gone out the door yet. I’d be happy to send them if there are any still here that meet your “wish list”.

      1. Aw, you are so sweet AvonLadyTJ! It’s so thoughtful of you to think of me! I was looking for a drop earring, either in gold or silver plate, smaller than a chandelier, but bigger than a stud, and not a hoop type (am I picky, or what?), but that’s likely not the sort of thing you have lying around. I really appreciate that you thought of me though. Thanks again, TJ! This forum has the NICEST people!!! And it’s so nice that you donate to the shelter thrift store!
        p.s. – I used to sell Avon too! Isn’t it fun?

        1. Yes, I love it. I get to meet the nicest people!
          Yes, if I still have the earrings that I remember putting in the “out box” they would strictly be costume, and they were all studs. I had so many little studs, something had to give!

  8. It has been cold and snowy already here in southern Ontario and we didn’t even get leaves up before the snow arrived. We are told it’s going to be a long, cold, snowy winter. I’m glad that I canned so much and also that I have been stocking up using the gift cards that I won. My Christmas shopping is also basically done so I don’t have to think about that either. It was free food week where my husband works so I only had to pack snacks and a drink for him. It was a nice treat not to have to make lunch for him. We strictly ate at home, very basic meals. My shelves and freezers are all full so there will not be a lot of grocery shopping to be done in the next few weeks. I have all the ingredients needed for Christmas baking and chocolate making too so I just have to get to the baking. As the year is ending, I am setting plans and goals for the next year. Most of these will focus on frugality and mindfulness as well as being more efficient with my time. Hope everyone is having a great week! I can’t wait to read all the comments for ideas!

  9. We were snowed in for half a week. Our generous round-the-corner neighbor has plowed mom’s double driveway for years. But last week, the day after a 9″ snowfall, I got a call from his wife with the sad news that their old truck is dead. No snow plowing until her husband finds a new-for-him old truck. I went to and nearly fell off my chair when they returned an estimate of a minimum 3 hours per plowing at something like $185. Ah, no. Not happening. It is a 20-minute task. Feeling very snowed in and not wanting to risk a more painful back (a 3-decade old mid-spine injury had made itself felt the week before) or a heart attack, I started looking for a battery-powered snowblower. I hate gas engines and our driveway is too long for a corded snowblower. I found one that will clear a 15″-wide path up to 8 inches deep for about $225 on To avoid the $20 “rush” shipping charge, I finally signed up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. It arrived a day after it was scheduled, and by then, the snow had turned to ice. So my first trial run of the snowblower will be in the future. The sun and warmer weather melted enough snow so I was able to venture out for mom’s blood pressure pills and a Dollar Tree stop to stock up on canned fruit and just-open-a-can meals yesterday. I like to keep my canned soup and pasta shelf full this time of the year.
    Even after our neighbor finds a new truck, the snowblower will be good for clearing the driveway close to the garage and car, the walkway, and the deck.
    I will be canceling Amazon Prime near the end of the trial period. Very convenient. Too convenient. I’ve also ordered a new snow broom long enough to easily reach the center of the sedan’s roof, hem facing to lengthen some dresses, and organic tahini to make authentic-tasting humus. Three separate orders. My free trial could end up very expensive…
    If you have to cope with soaked bedding, including a pillow, consider wrapping the pillow in a clear garbage bag. I do that, with the wrapped pillow encased in a useless “terrycloth” pillow protector that is so not moisture-proof, a regular cotton pillow protector, and finally a pillowcase. It is not obvious the bag is under all those layers, but it eliminates the need to wash and dry the pillow.
    It took me a ridiculously long time to learn that mattress and seat wetness protection pads exist. Some ruseable ones are not as waterproof as they should be. But both the ruseable ones and the disposable ones make eldercare so much easier. It is far easier and quicker to replace a pad (or two if you are using double layers as cheap insurance) when an accident happens than to strip and wash all the bedding. And far cheaper than replacing the foam inside of seat cushions!

    1. Holly: You can cancel your free membership now, even though it will still run for the month.
      I rarely order online, but found the shoes I love only on Amazon. (And I did remember to click through Brandy’s links).
      They were marked “free shipping– click here”, and I figured they should be free shipping, as they cost quite a bit. When I clicked there, I was congratulated for choosing a free month of Prime! I did not want to “waste” my free trial without having planned for it, but so be it.
      Anyway, I looked in the menus to find a place to cancel, and after it prompted me THREE TIMES to make sure I knew what I was doing, it set to cancel at the end of the trial. I expect they will send me a number of emails as the time gets closer.

  10. My dad, uncle, and grandparents left Hungary during WWII, stayed in a refugee camp in Austria for 5 years, then settled in Kansas. They were not Jewish refugees, but my grandma’s family was wealthy and they fled the Russians.

  11. Hi Frugal Friends!
    I want to share with you the deal we stumbled upon through our Verizon Wireless account. A friend alerted me to a perk they are offering to customers who have unlimited data on their plans (that’s us). You can go through their app and sign up for a free year of Disney’s new streaming service, Disney +. We enjoyed the new Lady and the Tramp for a family movie night; it was precious!
    Hope this is available for others!!

    1. Susan, be careful. Some Disney+ accounts have already been hacked. The BBC has a detailed article that you should be able to find online to get more details.

  12. I volunteered to change 4 of my day shifts to 11pm to 7am shifts. It messed up my sleep a bit but I made quite a bit of extra money in night shift and weekend differential.
    Used the Flashfood app available in Canada to stock up on 50% off meat,yogurt and veggies. This app has drastically reduced my grocery budget. I am very grateful to one of your reader’s who recommended it.
    We dipped into -17C temps so I used pantry ingredients to make a variety of soups for work lunches and the freezer.
    Redeemed $20 in store rewards points to pick up some loss leaders.
    Worked on my budget for 2020, I have been able to lower my grocery budget and my utilities so I can add more to savings.
    I was gifted a box of assorted beverages from my son: flavored waters, cider, ginger ale and some cocktails. I will set these aside for the holidays.
    Have a great week

  13. We caught an error at a local home improvement store- they were going to charge us $124 for a $62 item. Glad we caught it!
    I think that’s about it frugal wise. We feel like we are bleeding money on this fixer upper we bought. I am pretty discouraged. We are doing as much as we can ourselves, and I continue to do all the usual frugal cooking and shopping for the day-to-day things. We have edited Christmas to drawing names and just buying for one person.

    1. Kara at least once a week one us will mention the Money pit movie. It had Tom Hanks and Shelley Long.
      I redid a 300 yr old house on my own when my late husband died. Took 10 years.

    2. Kara, I empathize with you about “bleeding money” for your fixer upper project. We are still working on finishing our basement and have been paying for workmen to do most of the work. Because of our age, my husband can’t do as much of it as he would like. He did do the insulation project himself, however. He is somewhat of a perfectionist, so he really notices any lack of good workmanship. It has been difficult for him to watch and not be able to do all of it himself. Our checkbook has been practically smoking! However, we have saved a good deal of money by doing our own contracting. We continue our frugal lifestyle generally and are glad we have learned how to save money.

  14. Happy Monday!
    2 weeks before I want my holiday shopping done. We are really trying to limit our gift giving this year. Dad has little in way of needs but loves outdoors so we’re getting a seniors state park pass.
    My husband and oldest will have a date night at Cats this spring. I get a discount through work.
    My younger one is getting needs (sorry kid) as well as a used bike as my dear friends moved out of country.
    We had a scout camping trip this weekend, leftovers came home. Have extra iceberg so am guessing wedge salad?
    Today we had pizza. This is our celebration for our non reader when he does well on AR tests at school. Stops the begging for eating out and is positive reinforcement. Plus leftovers for lunch!
    I won a $200 gift card at a conference! ? So that will come in handy for family needs.
    Taking a day off to volunteer at a youth faith conference. I wanted to go chaperone but it was a struggle to get just my oldest there so I’ll volunteer a shift and get a small slice of the experience. ?
    Mom’s fleece is now gone. Our girl scout troop donated more than 100 scarves this weekend on way to campout. Glad to have cleaned that out for my dad and do good.
    Looking for Thanksgiving day inspirations. Kids and i will volunteer black Friday while dad works.
    Have a blessed week.

  15. Thank you for sharing the book. I just added it to my library list. Last week, I ground wheat for baking. My husband has been working on a wind turbine. It’s up and running, pumping water to our home from a rainwater tank. I cooked from scratch, and continue using up the last of the fresh summer garden produce… tomatoes, basil, tromboncino squash, and peppers. I transplanted a few lettuce seedlings, and fertilized all the lettuce. Pepper seeds were saved, and earlier saved seeds were packaged up. I’ve been enjoying library books, including Living Simple, Free & Happy. I look forward to learning from everyone!

  16. *I attended the Play-a-Thon fundraiser with my daughter–it was a huge success this year! Pictures and more details on my blog!

    *I accepted two entire BOXES of free bananas that my nephew was able to obtain from his college. They were leftover from a weekend even that the college was putting on, and this was part of the food that had not gotten eaten so the school was giving it away. My nephew thoughtfully thought of me, as I live in the same town as the college, and called to ask me if I had any room in my freezer–I happily said YES!

    *I used several coupons and was able to order four pairs of wool socks from Kohl’s for $3.14 each pair.

    *We had a termite inspection done. Frugal, because it helps prevent the termites from eating our house for lunch!

    *I bought two books which will become Christmas presents, as well as a covered casserole dish and a cute container with three miniature milk bottles at a thrift shop. I had a free gift certificate for that shop, as I am one of their volunteers and they give us all a gift certificate at Christmas time, so my purchases were free!

    *I bought six silicone molds at 50% off from JoAnn’s Fabrics to use for an Art project for my daughter in homeschool. My husband’s employer actually reimburses us for a certain amount of homeschool expenses, so I will turn in this receipt and be reimbursed for it.

    *I ordered a cat bed at 50% off and used a $5.00 coupon on it as a Christmas present for our old, arthritic 19 year old cat.

    More pictures and details at my blog here:

    Looking forward to reading what everyone else is up to!

    I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee 🙂

  17. My daughter is getting married in May. I have been on the lookout for decorations in her colors. I purchased 4 beautiful large floral wreaths for 80% off at Joann’s and then got another 20% off with coupon. They ended up less than $10 a piece. Have you ever done any weddings on a budget? Looking for more ideas!

    1. Our own wedding was done on a very small budget! We had free venues for the ceremony and the reception. The reception area included chairs, tables, and tablecloths–we just had to wash and return the tablecloths afterward (and iron them beforehand). We had grocery store flowers: my bouquet, a boutonniere for my husband and our dads, and corsages for our mothers. We had no bridal party. The only colors were in the flowers (red roses). Would I have liked more? Yes, but we had what we had. We did have a photographer for the day of our reception (the day after the wedding).

      1. My daughter was stationed with the Navy in Hawaii and met and married her husband there. The bishop (free) performed the simple ceremony in a National Park. She bought shoes for $30. Her dress cost $30 and she wore it several times (it was street length and solid white), the witnesses (there were about seven, worse suites and church dresses. A friend bought them Thai food and they all picnicked. Another friend took pics. So, I think the entire wedding, including the marriage license, cost less than $200. That was in 2012. My own wedding, in 1986 was at the antebellum church on the main campus, and that was free for students attending law school there (Mississippi College) and I think, but I am not sure, it was also free for undergraduates. The reception was also held there for free. I have no idea if it is still free for students or not. My dress was found by my best friend on sale and it cost $100 at a bridal shop. I think the flowers, bridemaid dresses (I purchased them for my cousins off rack), the catering which was a full lunch, my hat, veil, etc. cake top, invitations, etc. cost me $1,100. My aunt lent us her condo near Disneyworld for the honeymoon. My husband’s brother paid for the rehearsal dinner. It is possible to do a nice wedding on a small budget. I had 50 people at mine, and I served sandwiches, two cakes, nuts, chips, vegetable platter, etc. at the reception.

    2. Rosalyn: We got married nine years ago on a budget. We only had about 25 guests, and held it in the clubhouse of our condo complex. My mother in law made our invitations as our gift. We borrowed tablecloths and rented dishes and silverware. We had a beautiful flower arrangement on the main table that a good friend had given as a gift. I collected small thrift store vases for the small arrangements on the other tables. I wore a nice dress, my husband wore a suit he already had, we had no attendants, and my sister was our officiant. My mom made the food and that was her wedding present to us. We had punch, iced tea, and water to drink. A simple journal served as our guest book, and people wrote us nice notes for our day. One guest described it as “simple and elegant”, which was exactly what I was aiming for. I am not very traditional, so these ideas may not work for you, but it was a wonderful and memorable day. We spent the money on our honeymoon instead of the wedding – we went to Europe for a month later that summer.
      Good luck with the wedding planning!

      1. When my Dad remarried, they had a very simple wedding and reception. The wedding took place at church on a Friday morning with only immediate family attending. About 12 people. We then went to a local restaurant for lunch. The next evening, my Dad and stepmom hosted an open house at their condo with finger food and an open bar. The cocktail napkins were printed with the previous days’ date, their first names and two silver bells. In the back bedroom, there were two easels with poster boards and photos from the wedding and reception. It was a wonderful time and celebration.

    3. Rosalyn,
      Our son got married 2 years ago. They married at a friend’s property. Our own pastor performed the ceremony. The groomsman not in uniform wore the suit that he wore for his own wedding. The 2 dads got suits that matched his, from Macy’s on sale. We bought flowers at Costco. We cut eucalyptus from several friend’s properties for decorating the tables at the reception. We borrowed tablecloths from friends whose daughter married the year before, they had bought the tablecloths and were getting rid of them. We ordered food from a local mexican restaurant for the rehearsal dinner, also held at a friend’s house. Ice cream sundae bar was served instead of cake for dessert at the wedding, and it was a huge hit! A friend of our daughter’s lent candlesticks for centerpieces with the eucalyptus. She had bought them from thrift stores over about a year, and spray painted them all gold. All of my nieces and nephews (14) came, and helped set the tables. I made a paper bunting that went all the way around the tent that the reception was held in. I cut little hearts out of the triangles of the bunting with a friend’s Cricut machine. It looked lovely.
      We had much joy in having so many friends and family help us with the event, and I have helped several friends with their weddings in return.
      The day after the wedding we held a family reunion picnic in a local park. Hot dogs and hamburgers, salad from Costco, and cake. It gave the extended family more time to visit, and we also celebrated several high school graduations, the bride’s father’s 50th birthday, and my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We brought frisbees and corn hole, etc for the kids. We painted a huge banner on a roll of newsprint. It was awesome, and it cost so little. We could have done it for even less if we had made salads ourselves, but I wanted to be able to enjoy all of the family, and the event, and I knew I couldn’t be as available to enjoy it if I was making all the food.
      My advice would be to ask for, and accept, as much help as you can. People seem very willing to be part of such a special event.

      1. Rosalyn, this reminded me of the year I did a big ice cream sundae bar for my youngest son, instead of the usual (for us) cake and ice cream. Wouldn’tcha know it, one of the guests says, while staring down a table full of ice creams with as many goodies to top them off with as I could think to supply, “where’s the cake?” Lol! Can’t please everyone I guess?

    4. Rosalyn. Every wedding has been on a strict budget.
      I made all the cakes and put them on peddle stools of different heights. I made all the food, Main dish was a chicken cordon blu casserole my daughter worked on the recipe for months before she got it to where she liked it.
      I used my wexford punch cups with tea lights on the tables along with twisted crepe paper in the center. Another daughter wanted lots of “wild” flower so we all planted some at our homes. Another wanted pansy’s so everyone planted them in pots at home. Our youngest wanted the family bible with the flag of her brother’s flag as he was in Iraq in Bravo ,1st Battalion, 3d US Infantry Regiment . His Chaplin got us a Flag . We made ribbons for the pews and for the main tables. Our budget for each including all the clothes was $3000. Last wedding was 2 yrs ago. We have another one getting married next year and she already asked if she came in under budget if she could have the rest for her honeymoon.

    5. We were married almost 15 years ago. I was a teenage bride, but my parents gave us a beautiful wedding…and spent less than $1,000…with 200 guests. We were married in our church (no fee) and the reception was held at a township building ($175 for the day). We recruited family members to help with food. We had ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, rolls, and applesauce. My mother in law made the cake. My father in law paid for the dj. A cousin and her husband took the photos and video as their gift to us. We bought clearance decor. My dress was $99 thrifts (and the thrift shop burned down later the same day-glad we got there when we did!). The men wore dress pants they already owned and each paid for their own $12 blue dress shirt. The bridesmaids paid for their own $40 dresses. We each had 7(!!!) Attendants. Invitations were printed in black on blue paper on our home computer. I purchased my husband’s ring at Wal-Mart. He bought my ring set at Kmart! It was beautiful and memorable day. Of course, in this age of Pinterest, maybe it would seem homely! I read recently that the average wedding costs $38,000! Of course that includes the honeymoon…we spent 1 night at a lakeside resort in the off season 🙂

    6. Rosalyn, we also had a pretty frugal wedding if compared to the “norm”. Here is what I can suggest to help your daughter plan hers. First, make a list of things she will need or wants for the wedding (eg. dress, venue, flowers, food, etc.). She probably has an idea of what she wants for her wedding, so at this point, let her add whatever she want to the list. Next, decide the budget you have to work with. Then, looking at this list, think about the resources she has access to already that can help cut costs. Do you know someone with a beautiful property that would host the wedding/reception for cheap of no cost, does someone in your family do DJ work, do you know someone that can do hair/makeup, do you know someone with a classic car, do you know an excellent seamstress, etc. Start contacting those people and see what they can do and the costs to do so. Once you have those cost estimates in place, look at the rest of the list and decide how you can do them for minimal costs. At this point, Pinterest is your best friend! Example, create and print your own invitations, make your own centrepieces for the tables, watch seaonal sales supplies (after Christmas sales on decorations, Valentines day chocolates/decorations, etc), buy flowers at grocery store or Costco, etc.. If the cost is just too much, either brainstorm for an alternative plan, or axe it altogether. A horse drawn wagon ride to the chuch may be a dream, but if you can’t afford it, it’s not happening. If you happen to know someone with horses and a wagon who can do it within your budget, then go for it. As you go through the process, it will be up to your daughter (with your encouragement of course) to decide what dreams are possible and which are just unrealistic to her set budget. Just remember, the day will be special regardless. But she shouldn’t be paying for that 1 day on their 10th wedding anniversary! Saving the money to start their marriage off in a good financial possition is far more important in the long run!!

    7. Rosalyn, congrats!
      Here’s my hints:
      Have the wedding in mid afternoon so no meal is required.
      Dollar Tree! You can order online by the case. My daughter got a case or two of ivory pillar candles for table decoration from there, for example.
      Greenery and/or candles on tables, instead of flowers, or use other simple decorative items, borrowing what you can. At my wedding, we used only magnolia leaves and some ribbon as the altar rail decor.
      One daughter borrowed her bridal shoes, wore her grandmother’s ring and wore earrings she had been gifted 10 years before. My other daughter wore dress shoes and earrings she already had, in her wedding. It doesn’t all have to be new!
      One dress was $100 from a bridal shop going out of business, which was a lucky, singular event, but I’ve known several brides who wore formal/prom dresses instead of high-priced wedding gowns. Or wear a street length dress that can actually be worn again.
      Cupcakes (or ice cream as mentioned, that’s a good idea!) instead of a wedding cake. The cake my one daughter and her husband cut was a regular-sized cake made by his grandmother, then the guests all had a choice of a variety of cupcakes made by family of the bride and groom. My other daughter’s formal tiered cake was made as a gift to her by a talented cousin.
      Don’t provide any remembrance items for the guests to take home. When on a budget, those etched glasses, printed matchbooks, personalized fans, etc., are just unneeded.
      One daughter’s future father-in-law spent the day smoking chickens for the rehearsal dinner, while her future mother-in-law made the sides. It was a lot cheaper than catering or using a restaurant, and the food was really good.
      I can’t tell you how many brides and shower hostesses have used long strands of our English ivy for wedding/shower decor. The most recent one was a couple of weeks ago. I also know a bride who used wildflowers in season, picked with permission, of course.
      DJ’s aren’t necessary. Nice background music can be provided electronically so many ways these days. It’s not as though only a DJ can announce the bride and groom and wedding party. In Ye Old Days when I got married, the bride and groom were already there at the reception when the guests arrived, ready to welcome guests in a receiving line, so no one was “announced.”
      None of our grooms or groomsmen wore tuxes. Keep the wedding informal so that suits will do nicely.
      I hope all these tips help! Weddings can feel overwhelming to plan, but they are absolutely doable for less than the “average” wedding cost.

  18. More than any other task I do, meal planning greatly affects my ability to stay on target with our budget. Last week I stayed on target and this week is starting off well. Except for one planned outing, all meals were prepared at home. Tonight it’s chicken Parmesan.

    I’m so grateful that my husband has skills to replace the water heater, struts on his car, and a leaky toilet – all of this has happened since June. We’re trying to baby the 200,000+ miles/2004 car through the next year before we’re forced to replace it.

    We have two freezers in the garage, both of which we defrosted this weekend, and took notes to keep up with the inventory. I’m so thankful for this method of food storage. We have some broccoli plants that have not ripened yet – I’m anxious to add that to the freezer too. We’re harvesting tangelos this week, and juicing a number of lemons that have been offered to us.

    My husband plays trumpet in a local band. Saturday they participated in a local art in the park day, which was a fun, free outing that several friends enjoyed too; they also have a few private events between now until the New Year. I tease him that he gets one midlife crisis and this is it; what’s nice about this activity is every now and then he makes a few dollars from it?

    I was also able to take advantage of the seasonal grocery sales. I now have a year’s worth of pasta, canned green beans, canned corn – both whole kernel and creamed style, and cream soups, paying $.49 for each, and 5# flour at $.99/each. I topped off my containers of granulated garlic, cinnamon, parsley, chili powder, cumin, and oregano using a BOGO sale on spices. I really wish I had a way to store sugar as it was at a tremendous sale as well, but I was able to purchase several months’ worth of butter to store in the freezer. Lastly, I bought a half-gallon of buttermilk at the lowest price I’ve ever seen. As I use it sparingly in baking, I divided it into 1-cup bags to freeze. This is new for me so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it works.

    1. Karen. I and the Amish neighbor store our sugars in food grade buckets. I get the gamma lids which are on the expensive side but I have issues with prying regular lids off. I have been able to keep sugar up to a year this way.
      I get my food grade buckets at Menards with the lids. BUT you could ask a bakery if they have buckets, Even a local restaurant as our daughter got a couple from work.

    2. Karen, I use my FoodSaver to seal up the bags of sugar, to keep dirt and moisture out. I suspect sealing them in a Ziplock freezer bag, with as much air sucked out as possible, would also work. Sugar doesn’t spoil, but moisture will make it go hard. I live in Canada. I have never had a major problem with bugs in our pantry, beyond an ant infestation, which we usualy on have happen in the summer. I think our cold winters keeps bugs at bay for the most part. However, if you do live in a warmer climate, you could definitely store the sealed up sugar in buckets or in you freezer to keep the bugs out!

  19. We asked our 15 year old grandson what he wanted for his birthday. Being a teenager he thought it would be hilarious to tell us he wanted a Lamborghini. We are mailing him a check to put towards a guitar he also wants and a PICTURE of a Lamborghini we downloaded. Savings are around $200,000.

    “Earth to grandson…….”

    1. HA HA Anne reminds me of our oldest grandson tell us he wanted the keys to our car. I mailed them to him the day after we had it towed to the junk yard with a note saying may all your wishes come true ..

    2. Now, see, I would have shopped for a Lamborghini dinky car and sent him that! One year my daughter said she wanted a puppy for Christmas. I wasn’t ready to get a dog at that point. I found a stuffy at the dollar store and gave her the “dog” that year as part of her Christmas gift.

    3. I should also mention that when my daughter starts to whine “Mooooommmmm, I want ______. Why can’t I have _____?”, I have been know to answer back, in my most annoying whiny voice, while stamping my feet for dramatics, “I want a million dollars. Why can’t I have a million dollars?”

  20. What a good deal on pasta! I think the lowest I see around here is 66c/lb.

    I finally put together a set of pictures of all of the items we bought with the Sam’s Club discount. (Check it out! Our final total was just under $525 for all of it, and it should cover most of our meat needs for the year, plus most of our pantry needs for the items I could fit in the $750 limit.

    * I prepped our lunches and breakfasts for the last few weeks, utilizing rice and potatoes to keep the costs down, and using up some of the frozen veggies from our freezer.

    * We’re celebrating my SO’s birthday by having homemade pizza. It’s cheap and one of their favorite recipes, so it’s a win all around!

    * I roasted a squash in our air fryer, which saved me from having to turn on the oven.

    * I continue to bake bread for us. I also purchased more whole wheat flour- I find that Walmart surprisingly has the best price on it, so I ordered some plus some additional household items that we needed to get free shipping.

    * I have found joy in simple things, like having a clean house, a sink empty of dishes, clean laundry, and so on. All are essentially free and bring peace to my life.

    * I borrowed a few books from the library- one physical one, and several ebooks. The physical book is actually from our inter-library loan system, which I always find super useful, since I have yet to not find a book I want on it!

    Have an excellent week everyone!

    1. K
      I loved your comment about finding joy in simple things like a clean house and sink empty of dishes. I, too, find joy in those things. I have also been enjoying the tasks associated with keeping our home neat and realizing it is not a race to get everything done. Taking pleasure in the mundane.

      1. In the U.S. it is required that any ACA (Affordable Care Act) plan provide immunizations as first dollar coverage – i.e. with no out of pocket cost and no deductible. That is why pharmacies in the US advertise – Free Flu Shots – but with fine print that says if you have a compliant health insurance plan. There are 68 items that are preventative care that also must be first dollar coverage for all compliant plans such as mammograms (for 40 and over), a yearly wellness visit, pap smears and an annual blood panel.

    1. We got them last year when Hubs was employed and had private health insurance and Target accepted it. This year, he is retired and we have Medicare and they accepted that for the free flu shot + $5 gift card. Btw- we have to have the high dose shot too since we are over 65!

  21. Another up and down week as far as frugality is concerned this past week – as always, the area that I fall down in is eating out for social occasions – and it is always so much tougher to say no at this time of year! I went to a book reading at my local library this past Tuesday – a friend of a friend has had her book published – Anne Bokma’s “My Year of Living Spiritually” – hitting mid-life and still dealing with leaving her family’s strict Dutch Reform Church she set out to investigate a variety of spiritual and new age practices. She was a wonderful speaker and the room was full so there seems to be a lot of good buzz about the book. While the talk was free, I did purchase a copy of her book and then I went out for a late supper with others afterwards.
    I went to see “Girl from the North Country” another night (part of my theatre subscription series so ticket was paid for months ago) but again, met friends for dinner beforehand. Some of us left at intermission. While the performers were good and the singing amazing, we found the story to be very depressing and you just knew it was going to get worse in the second act and we just weren’t in the mood. Thank goodness for our subscription – we sit in the cheap seats so it was only $29 – another friend tried to get a matinee ticket to this show last week and they were asking $160!!!! Told her she was lucky she decided not to shell out that amount!
    Finally – I went to another friend’s church on Saturday night for their “Stew Supper” which is a fund raiser for their various singing and Bell choirs. I was happy to pay the $15 – enjoyed a great meal and show and even helped out by being their ticket collector at the door!
    So, some free and low cost entertainment but too much spent on eating out.

    In order to balance this out I did take snacks and lunches to the office as needed and made my tea there for free rather than buying coffee. I also kept grocery shopping to a minimum and used up pantry and freezer items for suppers. I had bought a lot of cheap root vegetables the previous week so peeled and chopped, boiled & mashed, roasted and made a vegetarian curry in order to use them all up. Added a can of chick peas to the curry for more protein, cooked some rice and added a couple of samosas from the freezer to make a couple of vegetarian meals. Took a plate of this through to my elderly neighbour as I know he loves this sort of food. Put a couple of servings into the freezer for later and I’ve still got one serving in the fridge for Wednesday’s supper.
    While at the grocery store looking for one thing (which I didn’t find) I did come across a couple of small ham steaks that were on for 50% off – they only had 2 left so bought both. I only eat half at a time so these will make for a very cheap protein.
    Used an Amazon GC to purchase some weather stripping and a draft excluder for my apt. door – there is a bit of a draft from the hallway as I am close to the stairway so want to get that taken care of as it is freezing cold already and promises to be a long, cold winter!
    I cleared out and donated more books and household items and I’ve got some more clothes to take into the church tomorrow. I am also keeping my eyes open for good deals on toiletries as we have our “Giving Sunday” on December 8th and toiletries are always needed as we make up gift bags for the homeless and lower income folks who attend our Out of the Cold suppers as part of their Christmas gift bags.
    Brandy, I was in Budapest a few years ago and it was astonishing to see how much damage still remained from both WWII and the revolution of 1956. Our guide told us that she found numerous bullet holes when renovating her apt. and that it wasn’t unusual to have to evacuate whole streets when explosives from WWII were found!

    1. Margie, if you can afford to eat out with friends by cutting in other areas, I think it is fine. (If it is dragging you to the poorhouse, that’s different). You seem to have a rich and full social life, which many singles do not have. Plus, eating alone isn’t that much fun. While your restaurant meals may be killing your grocery budget, it could be listed in entertainment and mental health categories.

  22. Brandy, how do you store your pasta? I bought a store brand locally, about 20 pounds. After a few weeks I started seeing weevils in it. I can deal with a few weevils but eventually they burrowed in the noodles and laid eggs. I couldn’t get all the weevils out anymore. I don’t have room to freeze 10# or 20# of pasta. I’m at a loss as we have spaghetti at less once every two or three weeks. I’ve resorted to buying in 5# increments and freezing half and eating the rest quickly.

    1. It’s just on my pantry shelves. You could freeze in batches for 3-4 days and then put them in the pantry.

    2. I take mine out of the boxes and seal it in mylar bags with an O2 absorber. Bags are reusable and can seal with either an impulse sealer or a hair flat iron. After the Great Pantry Moth explosion last year – I am taking NO chances.

  23. I’m a long time reader but never posted. I had to share about the most moving book that I have ever read. The book is The Girl From the Train. Written by Irma Joubert. Published by Thomas Nelson. It is the story of a 6 year old girl on a train bound for Auschwitz.A moving of story of how God protected this young Jewish girl , brought her to South Africa. Words cant describe how this story will touch your heart.

  24. That is a great picture of you, Brandy.
    I made a lap quilt and two potholders, using squares of fabric leftover from other quilts. I pieced the back of the lap quilt with leftovers too, so no cost for either project, and I was glad to use up some of the scraps. I wrapped three Christmas gifts, using items I had on hand. We successfully refinanced our home, getting a lower interest rate and a shorter loan term. My husband helped a friend with a project and was gifted four passes to the local hot springs as a thank-you. Later in the week, that friend’s wife gave my husband a new long-sleeved T-shirt she had seen on the $1 rack at our local thrift store and thought he would like (these friends live the same kind of frugal lifestyle we do, so she knew he wouldn’t be offended by her find, but pleased!)

  25. The fun free thing I did this week was to go to a free seminar/demonstration at a local garden center, with the subject of how to make beautiful holiday arrangements. It was so interesting and I learned so much! Of course, I could have easily purchased lot of plants and supplies at the store to get started, but I decided to go home and think about using what I have on hand first. I will likely go back to this store to buy a few items for arrangements, but in any case, I acquired some new skills and how have some great ideas for holiday arrangments.

    Other frugal accomplishments (some of these are from a couple weeks ago):
    – Made large batches of two kinds of soup: tomato and curried pumpkin soup. (For the curried pumpkin soup, I make a basic pureed pumpkin soup, and then add coconut milk and Thai curry paste. It is so good!) I used tomatoes I had previously frozen for the tomato soup.
    – Made a big batch of mini meatballs. Ate some, froze the rest.
    – Ate a few things from the freezer to make room for other food.
    – Made water kefir and kombucha.
    – Bought some meat, divided it up into meal size portions, and froze it for future use.
    – My mom shares her print newspaper subscription with me. I read the paper and did a bunch of crosswords and other puzzles.
    – Donated slightly used magazines to the library, so other people can enjoy them.
    – Submitted a bill to my health insurance that I had paid out of pocket for, because this practitioner does not take insurance. My insurance sent me a check for part of the amount.
    – Enjoyed watching streaming tv shows. Read blogs and watched videos online.

    I am really enjoying the daily thankful posts. Have a great week, everyone.

  26. To save money this week I –

    Used chicken bones to make broth. I usually do this. Used less chicken than I normally use in a recipe. I was surprised that we each had enough chicken to eat. I stocked up on flour, sugar, powder sugar, eggs, evaporated milk, corn and green beans. I also found walnuts on sale for half off as well as bought turkey for .77 a pound. Limit was one but I think we will get at least 4 uses out of it, plus broth. The turkeys were not huge but better than nothing. I have begun to wash bigger loads of laundry and hang some up. I used a deal on that allowed me to but 3 huge bags of dog food which will last our Boxer until March. We are looking to switch the “wet” portion of dog food to a homemade chicken broth. She only gets one tbsp of wet with her dry food but it still adds up to over $8 a month. We have begun using a nightlight that you can turn on and off when we use the restroom. It saves a bit. We found full lumber that my husband bought today for $13 which he used his gift card on. He is building me another shelf for my pots so I can grow even more lettuce and spinach. My daughter and I have been organizing the kitchen better so I can see what we have and how much. It has helped so much.

  27. I finished crocheting an afghan to give my daughter for Christmas. She had requested one since I had made one for her son and one for their living room, which has been claimed by my son-in-law. She told me the colors she wanted and I used a super big hook – 25 or 30 mm- with three strands of yarn. This makes it very fast to crochet and also makes a very thick afghan. I bought some yarn and used some of my stash from previous projects.

    I baked whole wheat bread – a one hour version where you proof the bread in a 200 degree oven after you knead it for 10 minutes. Then you bake it in a hotter oven for about 25 minutes.

    I made more Christmas treats – chocolate coated pretzels with holiday sprinkles and date pecan cookies – all in the freezer. Our freezer is very full (we only have an above the refrigerator freezer which is usually plenty of space for 2 people.) Next Sunday I am responsible for coffee hour refreshments at church so I have the following items waiting in the freezer – iced sugar cookies, classic no bake cookies, pumpkin walnut muffins, and oatmeal craisin cookies. I also have a bowl of chocolates (Halloween clearance), lots of vegetables and dip, olives, cream cheese and pepper jelly and lots of crackers (also in the freezer since I bought at a great price 2 months ago..) I’ll also make lemonade and coffee and tea will be available.

  28. Two visits to the dentist, one for a check-up and one in the city for an extraction were paid for by my no-premium seniors benefit. The co-pay on the check-up was $15. The other had no co-pay because of the rates of the dentist doing the extraction. This saved $550 over no insurance. I have two more appointments scheduled for cleaning and fillings. This will be up to date in early December.

    One of the dentists had beautiful Christmas decorations all over the office. With Canadian Thanksgiving behind us, these start to appear after November 11, which is Remembrance Day for us.

    Though I hadn’t really planned for eating soft food for a few days, I was able to do use food that was already in the house, such as oatmeal, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs, and pasta with pasta sauce.

    I’ve been enjoying TV shows and vlogs on Acorn and YouTube, and reading mysteries. This week is a quiet week at home, doing some cleaning and some transcription work. Next week I am at appointments and away for meetings for several days, so I am happy to have some quiet time before that happens.

  29. It must be history week! Instead of feeling touched and sad about WWII this week like the rest of you, I was sobered and saddened when I revisited Stalin’s reign over the USSR, while I was doing school with my daughter. I was again reminded of how much I appreciate my freedom here in America. One book I read aloud to my daughter is “Breaking Stalin’s Nose.” It vividly portrayed the fear people lived with all the time during Stalin’s regime, the constant trumped-up crimes resulting in sudden death or imprisonment, and the way a person’s life could change in an instant. She is 15. For some books, I read aloud and then we discuss as a part of her schoolwork. I’m glad I did that one with her. Although it is written in words that are easy to read, and did not graphically portray torture or things like that, it was not easy to read. There was a lot to discuss.

    It was also “live in a whirlwind” week around here, as well. We started the week with a field trip to the End of the Oregon Trail Museum. It was our turn to feed the college group at church Tuesday, which took about 5-6 hours of cooking, plus the actual event–serving and clean-up. On Friday, I was asked if I would take my nephew to an event at his school. I agreed. Besides the fact that I am paid as one of his Personal Support Workers, I was willing to take him since he rarely asks to go to any extra school events. We had to cram school in around all of that, but we made it!

    In the month of November, our Oregon Zoo membership is good for reciprocal entry to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. That is the place where the orca from the movie “Free Willie” was housed for a few years, some time ago. We haven’t been for years, and an adult ticket is now around $25. We took our daughter, nephew Jake and niece Michaela and their 25 year old sister as well. She also has a zoo pass, so used it for the 2 additional tickets since we could get only 4 with our pass. We saved over $130. We had a blast, all together in the van, and all of us enjoyed the aquarium. I put pictures on my blog: We packed a lunch, but still stopped for a few extra snacks along the way. Fun for all! It’s good that we can take these kids to experience all of these events. They learn and their experience is broadened every time they experience something new. They also work on their social skills on these outings. (In case you are wondering how we keep doing all of these activities, we billed 8 hours of work during the course of the day, and were able to bill mileage for our niece since a trip like this benefits her and she can’t get there on her own. All of the cost is not covered, but, hey, our daughter is benefitting, and we are all having fun along the way, so we call that part “Auntie and Uncle” time. We search out inexpensive activities that we feel would benefit them, and try to do as many as we can. Their parents also plan, and pay for, others. It works out well for us all)

    I’ve been working on some projects for Christmas.

    I keep cooking, and we keep eating–nothing new and different this week. I did buy one of the 68c/lb turkeys, using some money my mom gave me for the purpose of holiday meals. I’m doing both Christmas and Thanksgiving this year, and with that turkey and the one my sister got for free, we are set for both holidays. I want to get at least one more for the freezer for later in the year.

    1. Becky, I want to thank you for blogging about your visit to the End of the Oregon Trail museum. As I read all the fun activities you did, I was really inspired and couldn’t help thinking how we could modify those activites for the museum I work at. So I sent the link to one of the senior staff involved with developing educational programming. She was just as excited to read about those activites! So, again, thank you for posting about your museum visit!!!!

  30. I so understand your feelings when reading about how awful people can be to each other. The stories of how people help each other are not as often told. I have taught global studies/world history and it requires careful care. Much of history is not very nice. But, in studying history, I see how amazing the human spirit is and the hand of God.

    This week I found a winter coat at the thrift shop. I was in need of a winter coat. I was able to bring home some milk, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, bread, apples and red peppers from the expired table. I made ricotta cheese from a gallon of the free milk.

    I continue to walk for exercise. My daughter and I also stretch and balance together.

    I think I have a part time job coming up that will be perfect during recovery. Praying.


  31. I have two books to recommend: The Good Master and The Singing Tree, both by Kate Seredy. They take place in Hungary around the time of the wars. They are juvenile fiction, so they are easy reads, but they are so, so beautiful

  32. I love reading your list each week! You have so many great ideas. This week I cashed out my points in the Ibotta app, which I’d been saving for a few months, and got a $100 Amazon gift card that I used to buy Christmas gifts.

    We have a family tradition of giving the whole family new matching Pjs at Christmas then on New Years Eve we spend the day lounging in them and having a movie marathon. I bought the PJs during the 40% off sale at Old Navy.

    I have been using our library’s ebook lending service for my daughter. She is an avid reader and goes through about 1 novel per day. I’ve been loading 10 ebooks on her tablet at a time. I also went to our library bookstore and bought 6 like new books to gift her for Christmas at a very low price.

    Our store had a sale where if you bought 4 boxes of cereal you got milk for free. I was able to combine coupons and redeem store points and stocked our cabinets with ten boxes of cereal and our fridge with several free gallons of milk for about $5.

    I bought a few turkeys for the freezer while they were on sale for 39 to 49 cents per pound.

  33. Wow Brandy you got so many bargains to fill up your pantry with and well done waiting for the sales too 🙂 . The story you read reminds me of a lady I met when I worked in retail that had the concentration camp numbers tattooed on her wrist she was so happy and upbeat and told me a bit about her experience and it was heartbreaking 🙁 .

    Our savings added up to $358.80 in savings last week 🙂 in a week where many things have broken down and or needed spare parts.

    Helping others and blessings –
    – An elder lady we know in the neighbourhood had part paid someone to cut down and clean up some trees for her and he did some of the job and left tree remnants strewn everywhere. We offered to finish the job for her in exchange for the ironbark firewood and ended up with 1.5 cubic metres so far saving us $180 over buying it. Good for her pensioner budget and us :).

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

    Finances and listings –
    – Listed 10 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.
    – Banked more money into our 3 monthly living expenses emergency kitty bringing us up to 54.80 % of the way there.

    Home maintenance –
    – Our grey water pump gave up the ghost and I asked the plumber if we paid cash would he be able to do a better price so he gave us a $40 discount :). So great to have a home cash emergency kitty for things just like this.

    Purchases –
    – Through the plumber we were able to source some more rainwater down pipe from a local who had some spare as we need to run some rain water from the gutters of the back patio to the lawns and put in bubblers for the lawns saving us $10.30 over buying it in the shops.
    – Using and coupling a 10% off discount supermarket online code, weekly specials and another 5% off using our RACQ wish e-gift card discount we saved $31.94 on our fortnightly grocery shop.
    – I ordered an RACQ e-gift card for fuel saving us another $10.93 or 5%.
    – By combining another 10% off online shopping code with BigW, combining specials and another 5% off RACQ e-gift card we were able to buy 2 x dvd’s DH wanted, 3 pizza trays we needed & a set of 4 plastic cups for traveling in the cars saving $12.45 on usual costs.
    – I managed to source 2 x chainsaw recoil starters on eBay for one chainsaw so we now have two spares saving us $57.10 over buying them elsewhere. This was prompted by our larger chainsaw starter breaking down so I bought two of these too and now we have one to install and one spare as well as these go regularly.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone :).


  34. I loved your sharing about being in PJs and remembering the pasta sale. Talk about determination to stay frugal – how easy it would have been to fall into bed exhausted.

    I also love reading about everyday people’s experiences in WWII – whether fiction or non-fiction. Some of my favorites are: Night Sky by Clare Francis, Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (YA), Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan (YA), King Rat by James Clavell, When My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (YA), and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. Helen MacInnes, a Scot who traveled throughout Europe in the 30’s with her husband, who worked for MI6, wrote many novels based during the war and the following cold war including Above Suspicion and Assignment in Brittany. I haven’t read her in years but I found her books gripping when I was younger.

    • I borrowed a friend’s pickup truck for the week and filled it FOUR times! I was madly trimming bushes which had almost reached the power lines connecting to my house…deferred maintenance! A second friend offered to dump the first load in her woods for free. After that I paid $10 a load to dump at the town “stump dump.”
    • I also spent 2.5 hours shredding leaves
    • Meals included: pizza from scratch, asparagus soup, roasted chicken, colcannon, tortellini alla pesto, oatmeal with flax seeds, and risotto with arugula and gorgonzola
    • Washed shower curtain liner
    • Hung all laundry out to dry
    • Made a large batch of oatmeal, chocolate chip, dried cranberry, walnut cookies to thank my friend for the use of her pickup truck.
    • Cashed in Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card,
    • Made chicken stock in slow cooker using roasted chicken carcass

    1. Libby: I love Helen MacInnes’ books, own them all in very old paperbacks. The two you mention are probably her best WWII ones, (Above Suspicion and Assignment in Brittany), though While Still We Live was fascinating, about the Polish resistance. She wrote throughout the Cold War and her subjects are still very topical, including terrorism and disinformation. I wished to be as strong as her characters when I read them.
      When I was traveling in Europe during college, a friend lent me Mila 18 by Leon Uris, about the Jewish ghettos in Warsaw. I was reading it on the train through Germany, and suddenly our compartment door flew open and two uniformed officials asked for our passports. I just about fainted on the spot, as I was so caught up in the story.

      1. That would have been crazy!

        My husband traveled through Eastern Europe just after the Berlin wall came down. Rather than paying to sleep somewhere, he would pick another country each day and take a train overnight to the next country (something far enough away to take all night). He was traveling through Yugoslavia (which was at war at the time) when the train was stopped in the middle of the night. Everyone was ordered off the train at machine gun point and had to give up their passports. He said it was terrifying.

  35. Hosted an all-women (friends and colleagues) for a Friendsgiving meal as I had a turkey from Easter that needed to go. Declined to have guests bring food (I have allergies and wanted to ensure it was safe). Shopped my pantry and freezers to make the menu. Still had to buy some fresh groceries, but it wasn’t bad. My guests usually have to cook the meal, so it was nice and relaxing for them and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to host. .

    Scored 2 turkeys at $0.39 lb. Roasted them together to save on gas (and time). Put portions of diced leftovers in freezer for later meals. I used the Bon Appetit dry brine method which involves splitting the turkey into parts and it cooks in only an hour and a half that way, so I have my oven for other things (I skipped the glaze).

    Went for a student massage and got a military discount on it. $36 for a massage (no tip allowed) vs $120 plus a tip counts as a frugal to me!

    Attended a free wine tasting.

    Attended a wine dinner at Carabba’s. As I couldn’t eat one of the courses intended, they substituted, but instead of the small tasting plate, the kitchen sent out a whole plate of shrimp Alfredo. As I was nearly full already, I took home 2 meals worth of leftovers, plus they were doing the $10 take home meal, so I picked one that would reheat well and split easily to 2 meals.

    Score – Carabba’s is doing a gift card deal – buy $50 get $10 extra. I bought one to use for the night and was going to get a second for an event next week, but was told that they would likely be doing buy $50 get $25 extra Thanksgiving weekend. I will reorganize the budget to take advantage of several deals as I usually go twice a month for wine dinners/ charity events.

  36. Frugal happenings this week include receiving from a friend, a free box of mixed fruit for our stir up Sunday activity. This is where all the family members stir the Christmas cake, this year, prior to baking it. And we recite the collect and make a prayer over the stirring.
    I have kumquats in brandy from a free tree in a park to chop up and add. (The brandy was not free)
    I bought cheap cream because it was about to expire. I made this cream into butter for the Christmas cake, and for me.
    I received eggs for free because two eggs in the carton had broken. The rest were fine though, so I will use three of those eggs.
    It will be a lovely affordable Christmas cake.
    Making cheap cream into butter is a good thing in Australia because butter is quite expensive. Butter is about $4 50 for 250 grams., whereas cheap cream can be less than a $1.00. Im going to keep an eye out for close to expired butter so that I can do this again.
    Continuing to walk to work, keeping fit and saving on the fare.
    Happy frugaling folks.

  37. I love that you buy the “cream of” soups that you like. Frugality allows us to choose the things we will and won’t compromise on, when we are able. Our frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made were grilled steak with baked potatoes, grilled chicken with roasted veggies, garlic parmesan flounder with corn, grilled chicken with rice and green beans, fried eggs with turkey bacon and biscuits, hamburgers with homemade French fries and broccoli, beef tacos.
    *Used 1/2 a dye kit to color my own roots.
    *Redeemed $44 in Amazon giftcards from savings sites to use towards Christmas. Also redeemed recyclebank rewards for 2 magazine subscriptions for my daughter for Christmas.
    *Used overripe bananas to make 2 loaves of banana bread. Put one in the freezer and used the other as dessert for a dinner meeting we hosted.
    *Hosted a birthday dinner for my son-in-law mostly using items I already had on hand. He requested a marble cake. I had a yellow cake mix, so I took 1 cup of the mix and added cocoa powder to make it chocolatey. I then swirled that through the yellow batter. It worked great!
    *Picked up pork loin at $1.49/lb. and butter at $2.50/lb. plus a few other items to get me to $35, which qualified me to get a turkey at $.29/lb.
    *My husband picked up some pansies that were 75% off. Let’s see how long I can keep them going!
    *Used free samples of lotion/cream all week.
    *Organized our dresser drawers so that we can see all of our clothes and get more use out of them.

  38. I too was always drawn to stories about the holocaust as a young girl. I joined the church when I was 18, Soon I could no longer read the stories or see movies about this. I have yet to see Schindlers list. Turns out through genealogy I am Jewish. I thought something was odd as we always used these Yiddish words and my dad knew many Jewish customs. I just did not know they were Jewish customs. He was never told either. The family was forced out of Russia into Sweden during a pogrom and then to Canada finally settling in the Dakotas. They became Swedish Lutheran in Sweden as that was the law to stay there, but the old ways died slowly. Now I know why we are the way we are and I am so grateful.

  39. Living Frugally in Portland, OR:

    I love to see how well your photog business is coming along, Brandy! You deserve the success!

    This week, I….

    *put library holds on all of our favorite family holiday movies. I do this every year so I don’t have to buy/store DVDs or deal with digital files. I’m a little later than normal so crossing fingers we get to watch them all by Christmas!

    *picked up a graduation gown with our local high school colors and a dorm bedding set from a Buy Nothing neighbor. I am still 2 1/2 years away from my first high school graduate, but I can store them away until then.

    *Put away money into my smarty pig savings accounts — specifically travel and transportation. I have used this as a savings system for over a year and I like them. The savings rate is competitive, it is easy to transfer the money back to your checking account and you can create multiple accounts with savings goals and they give you visuals to see your savings progress. I use it to save up for putting money into our individual IRAs for the year, travel, Christmas, transportation (bikes and car), home expenses. Right now we are saving for a family trip over spring break and I want to purchase a new (well, more likely used) bike for my husband. I am getting ready to take out the money we’ve saved for Christmas to buy gifts and a tree.

    *I am freezing more things for later use, such as tomato paste, pumpkin, individual “quick” dinner or lunch servings, and I even froze a ton of fresh celery I received from a neighbor to put into soups this winter. Not sure why I wasn’t better about this earlier. It’s so easy.

    *I started getting stressed about Christmas (I love the holiday but wish we could just do away with the gift giving part – besides for kids!) and so I opened up my bin of presents I had collected over the year and it helped lower my stress knowing I wouldn’t have to spend so much time and money shopping. My inlaws are retired on a very fixed income so we try to be generous and send them gift cards for groceries, restaurants, etc. Picking them up throughout the year makes it less painful.

  40. I did laundry and hung it on the drying rack every day…except for the king size blanket that the 2 yr old pup tinkled on as she was excited . Would never thought it would happen since she had been outside.
    I washed plastic bags, foil,and bread bags. Open and closed curtains based on sunlight. Oil lamp or just LED task lighting.
    Hubby has stopped this past week to talk to an Amish man that needed some bee hive wood picked up, since it was going to be close to our neighbor’s parents he stopped by one of the family to tell them he would be in that area , did they need anything delivered or picked up. One handed him 4 buckets of sausage and said yes. this is your neighbors. Saved him a 20 mile trip. When Hubby dropped it off and picked up canning jars to take to the parents , they gave him 2 lbs of the sausage, changed our meals for two day. And then she sent over chili soup (sausage and white bean) that she was canning from the sausage so another meal change.
    Son 2 came up and helped put air barrier in 2 of the attics (2 more to go). On advice from the HVAC person that did the energy audit we are using cardboard … as in the boxes we packed and moved here with.
    I had my back injections and we stopped at a local restuarant to eat.The cashier let us know if we waited 7 minutes we would save $6 since we were senior citizens. We waited.
    I got turkeys for 57 /lb and 87/ lb. We do not need anymore. I got ham $1.49/lb for butt ham. IF I find it cheaper around Christmas I will pick up a couple more. I also got butter for $1.99/;b thanks to Lana that gave the heads up Aldi had it on sale. I will be stopping there when I am in the area checking prices as we use 52 lbs a year and this time of year is the cheapest price.
    Starting to figure out how to decorate for Christmas as $$ is tight and we do not have much for this house. It was depressing last year.

    1. Christmas ideas: Paper snowflakes, gathered bowls of pinecones, bowls of ornaments from the thrift store or garage sales, evergreen cuttings, hanging Christmas cookie cutters on a ribbon or a length of twine, a $2 or $3 wreath from Michael’s (when they have their 70% off sales they are at that price, and they have those sales before Christmas if you watch).
      I have gone years without adding much, but when I can I have added a few things. One year it was $4 for two wreaths. It was a stretch that year, and they are not fancy wreaths, but I have used them every year since. I hung them with a strip of cut fabric that was gifted to me and push pins the first few years.

      This year my goal is to buy some bulk gold ribbon on a big spool somewhere (maybe Sam’s Club, as they had some in past years that I saw but did not buy). I want to hang those wreaths from gold ribbon and use some gold ribbon on my reusable boxes. I also have a few gold plastic ornaments that I picked up at garage sale ($2) that I will either add to the tree or put in a bowl that I already own.

      1. My first year out of college, the very small Christmas tree was decorated with one string of white Christmas lights and white yarn bows made from one package of white yarn.

        The past few years, I have gone to the Dollar Store and purchased felt backed tableclothes in Christmas themes for decorations in the front windows and the side window by my front door.

  41. I cooked a couple of the pumpkins and the seeds. They were delicious. I also cooked dried lima beans in the crockpot. I had spinach that was about to go bad so I combined the spinach, with the lima beans, pumpkin, cream cheese, cooked pasta, and made a casserole. I also combined leftover canned milk, tomato soup, leftover grand beef and rice casserole, and some spinach, and made a soup. I am trying to keep the heat off, although we did have a couple of cold days. We are back up to the 70’s during the day, so the heat is off, even at night. I have found that closing off the bedrooms, sleeping on the couch in a sleeping bag rated for ten degrees, covering it with a quilt, putting a thermal hat on, socks, thermal underwear and sweats, makes for a cozy sleep without any heat. I do turn the heat on very briefly to bathe in the morning before work. I am giving my grown kids a little money for mortgages/car repairs/utilities, etc. , for Christmas so I don’t have to do any Christmas shopping, except maybe for people at work I give the parents a little money for the grandkids. I have asked my children to not give me anything for Christmas except maybe a photo printed off of their phones, of themselves and my grandkids. At my age, I don’t need any “things”, I just need sleep….lol.

  42. I like to read about ww II. I looked it up and found that this book is availible in dutch also. I wil put in a requist at our library to make a reservation for me! Thanks Brandy

  43. This week I made shutters for my house for $5.60 each. I used some paint we had left over and they turned out great! I also made a 12 days of Christmas reading chart to give as neighbors gift. 50 neighbor gifts for $10!

  44. The World War II Museum in New Orleans has an extensive oral history library and includes it in the museum. My mother sat for a long time, listening to the different stories. They also have local veterans there who tell their stories and answer questions (lots of pictures too). The one I met had been stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. I asked him what he was thinking as the planes were dropping bombs and he said all he could think about was whether he would ever see his son, with whom his wife was pregnant. My grandfather was in WWI, but during WWII, he placed a large world map on the wall in the living room and they would sit and listen to the radio. He used the map to show his children what was happening in the war based on those radio programs. No trip to NOLA should be without a visit. It’s really a great museum! I certainly encourage contacting the museum about preserving video/oral recordings for future generations.

    1. My cousin is 96 years old. Her husband (who was Judy Garland’s first cousin!) was in the Army Air Corps and trained as a B-17 pilot during WW2. He finished training two days before the war ended. (He later flew in Korea and then made a career of the USAF). She sent all of his pictures and memorabilia to the World War II Museum. I was surprised that their children, who are my age (70s) know very little about their dad’s war service. A son-in-law once asked Dick what it was like to fly a B-17 and was told “about the same as driving a bus.”

  45. My favorite frugal find this week was The Tightwad Gazette, bough for 75 cents at a thrift shop! Made soup a couple times using canned goods when I was short on time. Made egg salad. Black bean soup. Tuna patties. Bought books for 50 cents at the library for my grandchildren who love to read.
    Used the library to read books and movies. Turn off lights. Turn off down heat, opened windows for fresh air on warmer days. Bought sale items at the grocery store. Utilizing can goods that we already have and need to use. Went thrifting for fun, didn’t buy things I did not need. Enjoyed sunsets and sunrises for entertainment. Listened to Pandors.

  46. I know this is the frugal blog but I am very thankful for getting home in the snowstorm safely. My ride to the archives was 2 1/2 hours late due to the storm and technical difficulties. I had just about given up when the driver knocked on the door. I was glad to see him. I had actually sat outside and watched the birds but retreated into the warmth of the house. The snow really started to come down and the return trip was somewhat scary. I didn’t have much time at the archives but I did get some things done…on the photos.

  47. Wonderful picture–great to see your face in the photos on this beautiful site.

    Never frugal as we would like, but some wins nonetheless:
    * Took our coins to a Coinstar and came back with an Amazon giftcard for $42.
    * Harvested tree-collard leaves, apples and pomegranates from our backyard
    * Put the sprinklers on rain delay for nine days
    * Planted a bay laurel seedling; if it survives we won’t have to ever buy a bay leaf again while we reside in this house
    * Continued using the free Couch to 5K app to increase my cardiovascular fitness; I finished week 3!
    * The handle on our microwave broke, and I repaired it with Gorilla Glue
    * Picked up six pairs of pajamas for my daughter from our Buy Nothing Group
    * Selected Amazon slow shipping to get $1 digital credits
    * Learned how to use the porridge setting on our rice cooker to make overnight whole-grain chia oatmeal (both grains purchased in bulk at Sprouts)
    * Made stove-top popcorn from popcorn bought in bulk at Sprouts
    * Made French press coffee at home most mornings and composted the grounds
    * Did my usual carbon-neutral lawn care with the reel mower, manual edger and manual hedger

    1. Had no idea about the Slow Shipping toward digital credits at Amazon. Thanks! Are you satisfied with your reel mower?

  48. Thanks for all these book recommendations. I have a hard time getting through “The Hiding Place” without tears, but I still want to read these books. This is history that is too important to forget, and I had family who fought in WWII, including my own father.
    Thanks for the juvenile selections, too, because I want to get some stories for my young teen grandkids. They need to know!
    Less than frugal, but I’m putting new tires on the car and ordering a year’s worth of contacts. The good news is that I’ll get a rebate for both the tires and the contacts. So far, I’ve gotten a rebate for having bought a year’s worth of contacts, every year for the last five years. My lenses are monthly lenses and I need a different kind in each eye. Purchasing for a year is by far the cheapest way to get them, even without the rebate.
    I have over half of my Christmas shopping done. I’ve bought everything on sale or using swagbucks or a gift card to reduce my cost. I’ll be visiting some family after Thanksgiving, and will take six of the gifts with me, avoiding the mail.
    I just realized that I’m wearing both a sweater and slacks from one daughter and a tank under the sweater and a scarf from the other daughter. I bought the shoes myself, on sale. The sweater and slacks are hand-me-ups.
    I’m working with a case worker to get someone to check in on my husband at home every day, at least while I’m at work. This will now be at no charge to us. We paid over $2,000 a month this summer to have someone help him at home, so this is a real relief. I’m so glad I pushed through the paperwork and confusion to get him set up with assistance. He will also start to get lunches from Meals on Wheels or something like it, so I can worry less about what he’ll eat while I’m at work, and I won’t have to spend so much money trying to find things he will feel like eating but which have minimal to no prep.
    The turkey sales are great — I wish my husband would eat turkey!

    1. I love the book “The Hiding Place”! My Dutch grandfather actually hid in a secret closet behind a bookcase when the Germans came through with forced conscription. I’ve always thought my grandmother must have been terrified to answer the knock on the door. My grandparents definitely had to be frugal during the war; there was so little food available, that they had to send their only daughter, a four-year-old, away to live with relatives and friends, moving from one home to another, because no one had enough food to feed even one more mouth even if it was a child (during the ‘hunger winter’, people were eating tulip bulbs in desperation). To get by, in addition to his work as a teacher, my grandfather grew tobacco in his backyard. He would then bring the tobacco to the local cigarette factory, which would pay him in cigarettes, which he traded for needed items. He also raised bunnies in his backyard, which he sold for meat. Truly amazing people.

  49. I find it wonderful that you make reading a priority. I do believe that one gets more our of life when one reads regularly because it forces us to put life in perspective. Our life mirrors in the life of others and we become richer from this encounter.
    I would be interested to know how you organize your day as to fit in reading. Is it 5 min here and there or a chunk of time? How do you fit it in your schedule? As an inspiration for me.
    Thank you!

    1. Usually when getting the baby to sleep, but also here and there throughout the day. It’s on my phone, so if I have to wait for five minutesfor something, it’s a good time to read. I’ve read while keeping an eye on a pot of soup many times, and while loading laundry into the dryer.

  50. Kristan Hannah is one of my favorite authors. One of my favorite novels she wrote is Winter Garden. A love story that takes you from war-torn Leningrad to modern day Alaska. I was in tears by the time the story ended. She writes a lot about Alaska where she and my children live. It’s beginning to feel like winter in central Pennsylvania so I have been stocking up on books to get me through!

  51. I had the same experience with two books I read ; The Nightingale and the Lilac girls. I made myself because while heartbreaking they were true and i felt if I did not continue to read I was turning my back on the horrible things that happened. I would recommend both just not in succession

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