Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Second Week of October

I harvested more Bartlett pears from the garden and a few pomegranates.

I cooked a batch of black beans in the solar oven. I used some to make taco soup, and froze the rest.

I watched the weather carefully, keeping the windows open as many hours as possible, so that we only had to run the air conditioner for a few hours each day at the beginning of the week when it was hotter.

I mended a cardigan.

My husband and I had a lunch date, where we split a meal to keep costs and calories down.

My husband mended a door handle that had stopped closing and locking.

Late Friday night, Winter surprised us by coming home! We were going to bed when I heard a knock on our bedroom door. It was dark and I didn’t have my glasses on, so though I heard her voice, it took a moment for my brain to register that it was her! She stayed through lunch on Sunday. Her roommate from across town was coming home and she came with her.

They stopped at a few thrift stores on their way here as part of their breaks. She picked up two skirts that I can gift her sisters for Christmas.

I returned a plant that had died using the nursery’s policy of one-year returns. While I was there, I was able to pick up a replacement plant (that was on sale for $5 less than the plant cost the first time) and pick up a few succulents for my garden. Winter wanted to pick up a few houseplants and succulents, and she knew the local nursery was much cheaper than anything by her–plus, they would have plants that she couldn’t get there. I had been meaning to go for months to replace the plant, so this was the perfect opportunity.

Thie weekend was the weekend of the neighborhood garage sales! I didn’t find much, but I did find several books. My best find was a hardcover Roald Dahl treasury for $0.25!

More than once, I found myself asking, “Would you take . . .?” and offering a lower price on items that I thought were priced too high. On two items, I ended up passing, as they were priced quite high. On the others, people said, “Sure!” and I got them for half the price that they asked–and within the high end of the range I pay. I usually won’t pay more than $1 for a book, and by asking, I got three paperbacks for myself for $1 each (she was asking $2, and I don’t pay that much for paperbacks. That’s my maximum hardcover price).

Some of the books were paperback children’s books for $0.10 each! Then, when I went to add up how much I owed, the seller rounded the whole thing down another $0.40!

I also bought five pairs of brand-new earrings for $1 each that I’ll gift to my girls for Christmas and a long-sleeved t-shirt for $1 for my youngest daughter.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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148 Comments

  1. Made up 8 more Breakfast Biscuits, still using some of the 59 cent tubes of refrigerated biscuits I bought a couple months ago. Eggs came from my chickens, ham was from my freezer and cheese slices were in fridge already! These went into my Breakfast to Go basket in the fridge! An inexpensive and convenient breakfast!

    Received $46 from ibotta!

    Got some more done on laying paver bricks down on my own! https://pin.it/qxhm2hftxpa2tr. Hubs is still recovering from surgery complications. Hoping to get it finished before the cold weather stays! We’ve already had some days that have been 53 degrees for the high and 37 for the low! Fortunately, this week will be back in high 60’s, so I should be able to keep working outside!

    Our son-in-law mowed our lawn while our daughter quilted her king size quilt – (before binding) https://pin.it/qxhm2hftxpa2tr (after binding) https://pin.it/6wmw3272dez3ku. I also quilted up a flannel baby quilt panel I was gifted. Just added some of my blue plaid baby flannel for backing and 30 minutes later, here’s what I had! Ready to bind and put up for sale. https://pin.it/mfyubr6xz4p42f

    I need to bring a table runner for our refreshment table at a leadership training meeting. I was asked to bring the same one I brought last time. But I had sold it a week after the event! Fortunately, I still had the free online pattern so I made a new one and here it is Quilted and bound ! It will also be for sale on our website and can be shipped out after Nov. 7. https://pin.it/ri5vsltjkoxpru

    My 9 year old granddaughter came over with our daughter and so while her mom quilted, she and I used leftover cheese rolls to make DIY pepperoni pizzas that she “decorated” after I put the sauce on them! We filled 2 cookie sheets so we had some for lunch and then I packaged up the rest into individual portions for our lunch “Grab and Go” container in fridge.

    I was able to buy 3 ten pound boxes of blanched, roasted and salted for $1/pound! So same granddaughter helped measure and fill 30 quart jars that I put oxy absorber packs in and vacuum sealed! These will be used for candy making (peanut clusters) and cooking (Kung Pao chicken) and gifts for Christmas (jars of peanuts layered with candy corn I’ll buy after Halloween! Eaten together, they taste like a Payday candy bar!)

    Rakuten had a 9% rebate going for Kohl’s and added to the 30% off total, free shipping and additional 15% off home goods, I was able to replace a threadbare flannel sheet set for my son’s full size bed and get 4 extra firm pillows for his bed and ours! So I spent $43 but got $10 in Kohl’s cash, $6 Rakuten rebate + some Kohl’s YesRewards $ on top of that bring my total down to under $27!! I am pleased!
    Son’s flannel sheet set will be recycled (the parts that are not ripped or threadbare) into flannel Softies, https://pin.it/u76vw7oqj2jrci, quilt pieces or cleaning cloths! When something here is tossed away, there is probably no more use left in it! Lol!!

    Since the weather has started to get cooler, I made a crockpot full of loaded potato soup (I got 2 ten pound bags of potatoes for $1.99 each) . With just 3 of us at home, after dinner, I put the leftovers into 2 containers. One went into the fridge and the other went into the freezer! I did the same thing with some lasagna I made- half of leftovers in fridge/half on freezer! We had a YO-YO night on Sunday for dinner – “You’re On Your Own” to use up things in fridge, pantry, etc. Hubs had baked potato with my home-canned chili https://pin.it/t2ebpohfnqcxqi . Son had chili dogs (using same chili) and I had last of Beef/barley stew.

    All in all, a very good week!

      1. Nancy- I don’t have an Etsy shop. The fees associated with it on each sale would make me have to raise my prices and frankly, it would be harder for anyone to find my shop among so many others.
        So I opted instead for a website and use a payment processing company- Square- to provide secure payment processing for orders.

        My website is : HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Gardenpat, how do you get that gorgeous scalloped edge on your softies? (The only sewing thing I know is how to sew a straight line and my machine is very basic).

      Thank you!

    2. Ms GardenPat. I often come on to this site to get some of Brandy’s wonderful ideas, but also, I always look forward to reading your commentary. You are creative,loving, humble, optimistic and inspiring. Thank you.

  2. Oh, what a wonderful surprise to have Winter home for a short bit! Hamish looks like he’s not too happy to have his photo taken, though. Too funny! Your fruit board photo looks so yummy and very pretty too. Thanks for sharing.

    I haven’t been commenting here or posting on my blog much lately – we have had so many trying and challenging things going on in our world right now. Prayers are appreciated, for those of you who are so inclined, though I am not at liberty to give specifics at this time.

    Thanks so much for this forum, Brandy! Your posts are a delight and the comments are such a welcome community, particularly when things are harder than we would like them to be.
    Blessings,
    Lea

    1. Lea I hope you find comfort and peace here on the blog during your trying time
      I always feel the people here really do wish us the best and I always find kindness here when the world has been so cruel
      Best wishes to you

    2. Best wishes and prayers sent for you, Lea. I too find this blog to be a kind, lovely place in this world. I have been comforted when an extended storm descended on our family. Thank goodness we only have a few sprinkles through rays of sunshine now and I wish that for you too.

    3. Lea, you and your family are in my prayers. May God rain blessings down upon you. Remember, this, too, shall pass. Love to you.

  3. So fun to have a surprise visit from Winter! I have kids in college and also grown and I know how precious those visits are.
    We gleaned apples and Asian pears after a friend had picked her orchard. We have an invitation to come again, there are still more Asian pears! I made a crumble with them last night, it was delicious.

    I used fabric from a fitted sheet that had lost its elastic, to make pillowcases, which I needed.

    Lucky had Progresso soup on sale for 99¢ a can, so I bought some. It’s not as cheap as homemade, but cheaper than going out when we are in a hurry.

    We continue not to use heat, though it was 39*F last night and pretty chilly.

    I have been working hard to prevent food waste, making macaroni and cheese with milk that was not fresh enough for cereal, making coleslaw with a leftover bit of cabbage, freezing homemade applesauce, eating white rice cereal for breakfast (simply ground white rice in the Vitamix). This is by far the cheapest breakfast for me-I’m gluten free and a ton of other allergies. The only bread that is allergen free for me is $10 for a loaf half the size of a regular loaf of bread.

  4. I bought some winter things for my grandsons from Kohls. I went through Ibotta to earn a percentage back, used a $5.00 reward I had, and used my Kohls charge to get an additional 30% off- then immediately paid the card off online to avoid interest fees. I earned some Kohls cash for the sale, which I will use on winter coats for them when it’s valid.

    We have been eating down the pantry and freezer, as we’re moving! We closed on a 16 acre property, with barn and pasture on Friday! 🙂 We have wanted to be out in the country for years. Through careful saving, we were able to put down a substantial amount and negotiate a very low interest rate. We also negotiated the seller paying part of the closing costs. We took a 15 year mortgage to save even more interest over the life of the mortgage.
    The property is partly wooded, and has a wood stove, which will save on our heating bills, and has it’s own well and septic, eliminating the water and sewer bill. We will be able to substantially increase the garden, and are planning fruit and nut trees, as well as chickens. The realtor surprised us with a Lowes gift card after closing, so we will use it to buy some paint and small things we need for our current house to sell it.

  5. I continued to widen the waist of some skirts and shorten some dresses and pants for mom, trying to simplify winter dressing for her.
    A few too-small clothes of hers and mine went to Goodwill along with three mis-matched Corelle soup bowls. Small progress, but progress none the less.
    Bonus: I was able to use the black fabric I had cut off a stretch polyester velvet dress of mom’s to lengthen a pair of too short black fleece pants for me. I am glad they are no longer “floods.”
    The last two shopping trips have been at Spartan-Nash stores or supplied by Spartan-Nash. They’ve had good sales lately and I have been squirreling away food for winter. The only thing is that our local grocery store’s prices for cookies and crackers are about twice as high as our local Dollar General, so I supplemented this week’s big shopping with a stop at Dollar General for the goodies mom requested.
    I’ve been reading up on Medicare both in view of mom’s needs and my future budget. I just realised this week that if mom needs home nursing, PT, OT, and even some personal care services (as part of a treatment plan, not personal care services all by themselves), she will be able to have them without a 3-day inpatient hospital stay. Knowing that they will be available if needed relieved some of my worry. I just wish Medicare included a bit of respite care (8-16 hours per month) so that 24/7 caregivers could postpone burnout or avoid it entirely. It likely would save Medicare money in the long run, given how expensive nursig homes are…. And given how dense some siblings are about the need for respite care.

  6. How wonderful to have a visit from Winter!
    We had our first hard freeze this week, though it continues to be very dry. My husband split over a cord of firewood. He estimates he only has a cord left to split, and we’ve started heating with our wood stove in the mornings.
    I put up another couple of jars of roasted tomatoes and froze six more packages of chard. We have also eaten chard, tomatoes, and the last of the green beans from the garden. Many of the beans had gotten too large, so I shelled them and we ate them like that.
    I made homemade sourdough bread and homemade whole wheat sandwich bread.
    We had friends over for dinner. I served homemade chicken pot pie, sliced tomatoes from the greenhouse, celery sticks stuffed with homemade cheese spread, and homemade peanut butter cookies. The meal was a big hit. I harvested the celery from the garden – we had a bumper crop. I cleaned it and put it in our spare refrigerator with two bushels of apples we purchased from a local orchard. We keep that refrigerator at 32, with a bucket of water inside for extra humidity, so I’m hoping the celery will last a long time.
    I made 3 pints of rose hip syrup using rose hips I harvested in Oregon.
    I picked apples off the side of the road and put up 6 pints of applesauce.

  7. Bethany, what wonderful news about your new home! What a lovely sounding acreage!

    Brandy, What a delightful surprise! To have Winter home for a weekend visit! She must really miss all of her family as you miss her! I’m hoping November is largely snow -free and mild.

    I have not done anything to save money but have been too ill to spend any. Except for snow removal — we have had two heavy, early snowfalls. I don’t think I’ve ever had a nastier cold.

      1. Hi Tammy,
        Thanks a lot! I saw my doctor today and it turns out that it is the flu. I cannot have a flu vaccine due to a bad allergic reaction
        in the past. I thought I still had a bit of time to be out and about and still be safe but I was wrong.

        1. Oh Ann,
          I’m sorry you got the flu! I had a bad reaction when I got the flu shot years ago also. So I never get the flu shot either.I hope you fell better soon.
          Tammy

        2. So sorry you have the flu. I have not had the Flu in 10 years. Last time I had the Flu shot I got the Swine Flu and was in bed for almost two weeks. Now, I swab my nose with Diluted Manuka oil when I go out in public during Flu Season. Wash my hands and no Flu for a decade. No Flu shot either. I hope you recover quickly.

    1. Sorry you are still down with that terrible cold Ann – there is a nasty bug going around here at the moment as well (lots of deep coughs and sore throats) – I’m taking my Vitamin D and washing my hands constantly to try to avoid it!
      We are going down to 2C overnight but thank goodness – no snow as yet – poor Winnipeg – they are in a real mess!
      Stay warm and take care of yourself!

      1. Hi Margiefrom Toronto,

        I’m a fanatic about washing my hands and not touching my face.
        Unfortunately, when I was at the Farmers’ market, someone passing by literally sneezed into my face
        (no attempt to cover it or sneeze into his elbow/sleeve — I knew I was doomed). I am lucky that I got a one day trip to the mountains
        to see the golden larch and the next day was becoming ill. The day after that, I was so sick — couldn’t swallow.
        I thought it was strep. I’ve now had it for 8 days and combined with my usual lung problems, really sick.
        I’m back in the land of the breathing. The cough lasts for ages, apparently.

        In the meantime, I’ve been rewriting the book to take into account some late, unexpected research findings. I do a little bit at a time! Who would have thought that information from Public Works (fed)from the 1900s would turn up now (my friend spent 20 years trying to find this).

        1. Hello Ann…I have heard fresh pineapple juice helps with the cough. I have found putting Vicks on my feet (then socks to avoid getting it on the sheets) helps a lot. I had bronchitis often this past spring and found essential oils (RV, Thieves and eucalyptus) to help when used in a diffuser and also in a roller with coconut oil. They helped with the symptoms, though I still needed medication. Hope some of this is useful. Feel better soon!

    2. I feel for you Ann. Early snow storms and bad colds are just not pleasant. The both together make for one miserable week! Hope you are feeling better soon.

      1. Hi Rhonda A.

        Yes, we. had two major snow storms a week or so apart. I think our last storm just moved east and dumped on Winnipeg. Poor Winnipeg.
        We were lucky as it didn’t affect our power nor did it wreck a lot of trees. A major early storm in Sept. of 2014 destroyed about a million trees here. It damaged or destroyed about half the trees in Calgary. So we certainly sympathize with Winnipeg and were relieved it didn’t happen here again. Thanks to everyone for your wishes.

  8. What a nice surprise for Winter to come home! And what a lovely picture of her and her little brothers. She looks so happy and relaxed.

    This was my week–
    * We got a $38 refund check from Blue Cross because we were overcharged for drugs.
    * I got all of my grocery stockpile rearranged and put away, cleaned my fridge and rearranged the freezer.
    * I used part of the Office Max/Depot Rewards from the battery deal to buy tape for my labelmaker.
    * I gratefully received a bag of Golden Delicious, Gala and Granny Smith apples from a friend who knows I am always up for free food!
    * I patched a hole in my lawn for $0. I sent a friend to snitch a bucketful of dirt from a vacant lot and we filled a hole Hap (my younger Westie) dug last year. I already had grass seed and peat moss to re-seed it. I cut a patch from leftover fiberglass screening and used a couple of long nails to hold it in place…and keep Hap out.
    * I also found 2 lbs. of field grass seed (bought when we lived on a small acreage), offered it to the Buy Nothing group, and in 8 minutes, it was gone!
    * Big, bad frugal fail–We apparently left a window open at our vacation home and the living room floor got soaked when it rained (or?). We have laminate floors throughout the house, one room leading to another, so I think it will cost a fortune to replace. The underlayment feels bad, too. I called the insurance agent today…the deductible is $1,400. It could be worse….
     

  9. I was traveling most of the past week, but since it was an extended family event I didn’t end up spending much at all. I was able to get my cousin to accept a twenty dollar bill to help with a restaurant tip, although I practically had to wrestle her to the ground to make this happen.

    – I was able to get a free one-on-one behind the scenes tour of the NASA robotics lab due to my uncle’s connections. This will forever be one of my favorite experiences.
    – I packed food for both my mother and myself for all our flights.
    – I brought a library book to read.
    – I brought a refillable water bottle, (thrifted of course) so I wouldn’t have to buy any beverages.
    – I came home to a disheveled refrigerator and created a “burrito bar” meal that used up the miscellaneous bits and bobs.
    – I made do with the clothing I already own rather than buying anything new. It would have been easy to fall into the mindset of needing new clothing as I was there to attend a formal event at NASA.
    – I sold a $30 ripped/frayed/stained pair of Carhartt work pants on eBay yesterday. I’d heard that hipsters appreciate messed up/worn in Carhartts, so I picked up a pair at the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill to test out this theory. I now know to nab these when I come across them.
    – My uncle gave me a spare iPhone charger that he said he didn’t need.

    Of course, I blogged about my frugal endeavors as well:

    https://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/five-frugal-things-475/

  10. How lovely to get a surprise visit from Winter! I also got some thrifted treasures last week, including 2 cashmere sweaters, a cotton fitted sheet, two thick, like new towels, fleece vests, and a pair of work pants for my husband, which was the best deal at .50. Oh, there were also 2 brown transferware plates found for $2 ea. I made meals from the garden, and planted lettuce and a mix of winter greens we use for salads. New covers were sewn for three pillows for the daybed. We had an overnight getaway for my husband’s 40th HS reunion, which wasn’t frugal, but I brought along lima beans to shell on the way. I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal adventures. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/10/october-days-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. Laurie, I used to bring mending and other hand sewing on airplane flights, but shelling the limas takes the cake! Good for you!

  11. What a lovely surprise to have a visit from Winter!
    I made 25 quarts of grape juice and got some free apples from my sister and made 7 quarts of applesauce.
    I sold 8 necklaces at an art open house and earned $240.
    I gave away a bag of yarn remnants that were rolled into balls to a friend who crochets hats and frisbees. She was delighted with them and I was able to get them off my list of projects to make! My list of projects is very long and I have a lot of supplies on hand so I am happy to share.
    Got much of my yard and garden cleaned up for winter.
    Sorted through cloths and got another box of them ready to donate.
    Also made five pints of tomato sauce for the freezer (after using some for dinner one night)
    Made some yummy butternut squash and chickpea soup. My husband wasn’t crazy about it, but I also had a lot leftover to freeze for some meals later.
    Have a glorious week!

  12. Oh how lovely to see a photo of Winter this week. It was a very nice surprise as her visit must have been for you and the family.

  13. What a lovely board of pomegranates and pears! And a wonderful photo of Winter and your two youngest.

    I took advantage of exceptional food prices in the week before Canadian Thanksgiving, even though I had to spend an extra month’s grocery budget to do that. This included a second turkey at 99 cents a lb. I had to wait until it was close enough to Thanksgiving that the first one had been taken from my fridge freezer to thaw in the fridge, so that there was room in the freezer for a second turkey. Also more great prices on cheese and butter and Miracle Whip, and good prices on fish. Since I had the cash available, I decided to take advantage of the prices. Food gets more expensive as we head towards Christmas and wintertime.

    My electricity bill was under $100. I had expected it to go to $110, because the furnace has been on at least in the mornings for most of the month. I have been cooking more efficiently, doing things like cooking a whole batch of chicken breasts at once, and then only having to warm up chicken for individual recipes. Changing most of the light bulbs to LED has made a difference, and my new computer goes for a long time on its battery compared to the previous one. Small things add up, though, as we all see.

    I went to the city to pick up my new glasses. I tried to buy one book there, but it was such an effort to try a find the book in a big box store, even with lots of help from the staff, that I decided not to do any more shopping. The book wasn’t in the store, even though their inventory records said it was. Back to online shopping.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! My turkey is about to go in the oven.

    1. Spending some extras money on these sales will definitely help you save in the future. Continue to watch the sales, though. There will continue to be amazing weekly sales leading up to the holidays, to help people prepare for the Christmas & New Years celebrations. You can pick and choose what you’d like to stock up on, but following these sales closely can really help you stock up on food and other supplies super cheap, to use in the months after Christmas/New Years is over. Just a note, though. There are often sales for ham, as we lead up to Christmas. However, I have found you can get better sales after Christmas, as the stores try to clear out the leftover excess that didn’t sell. So, feel free to grab some ham during pre-holiday sales, but holding off may result in better stock up deals later. Also, there are often really good sales in January, too. The stores know everyone is broke after Christmas, so that’s when they often have those big “Dollar Days” type of sales. If you are thinking of doing a “no spend” grocery month, I’d suggest holding off until February! Food for though for all my fellow Canadian readers (though some of this also applies to other countries as well, so hope it helps others too)

      1. Thanks for the tips, Rhonda. I’ll have a look at what I have, and set some priorities for anything I’d like to stock up on. I also have to focus on using vegetables in the fridge freezer to free up some space.

        1. I incorporate the veggies I preserved into my meals almost every day. It won’t take long to eat them down if you continually find ways to use them in you meal plans.

  14. Last week I was so thankful for the blog! Reading other’s comments makes me realize I am not the only one on a really tight budget. I spent no money last week. I did not have a car to drive. I invited people to come visit, and when then that did not happen; I kept busy by reading this blog and listening to podcasts and remembering what I do have.

    1. Which podcasts do you like, Renee? I have just started listening to my first podcast and would love to know about others.

      1. I’m not Rene but I would like to share I listen to Thankful Homemaker. Marci Ferrell is the speaker. She is such a godly woman. I really enjoy her podcasts as she challenges her listeners in a Titus 2 fashion. I used to listen to Donna Otto as well but I am currently listening to my church’s old sermons so I put aside Donna Ottos podcast for now. I really think you would love Mrs. Ferrell’s podcast. She seem so like a close friend to me, just by listening to her!

      2. Here are some pod casts I am listening to or have listened to:

        Borrowed Future ( about Student loans and post secondary education. 8 consecutive Mondays . Started a few weeks ago, through Dave Ramsey.
        Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda
        Frugal Workshop
        Hidden Brain through NPR
        The Chris Hogan Show
        The Clark Howard Show
        The Dave Ramsey Show
        The Grow Guide ( especially good if you garden in zone 3 )
        The Moth ( interesting personal short stories on a chosen theme at open mic sessions)
        The Rachel Cruze Show
        The Secret Life of Canada ( really good commentary on historical events that have shaped Canada) from CBC
        Under the Influence ( again from CBC , Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) discusses how advertising shapes our behaviours
        White Coat Black Art (CBC) discusses medical issues and findings. Really interesting in view with Canadian healt care.
        These are a few I peruse.

      3. I love The Lazy Genius! She has so many great tips, in addition to brilliant approaches to many mundane tasks that really help you re-think how you do things.

      4. I enjoy podcasts, also. My favorites are
        – The World and Everything in It (current events/news)
        – 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
        – Knowing Faith
        – Serial
        – This Cultural Moment
        – 99% Invisible

  15. Brandy,
    What a great surprise to have a visit from Winter. I bet all the kids were so happy to see her and vice versa.
    My family and friends here are all in a state of shock as we just found out our property taxes will have a huge increase in costs for us. Such a huge all at one time increase makes it nearly impossible to deal with. I am so glad I have you and this community of friends to keep me encouraged and provide new ideas each week.
    We are thinking of ways to increase our income and further reduce our expenses.
    My 6 year old grandson has learned to hit the tennis ball against the side of the garage with an old tennis racket we had. He really enjoys this new- found activity. Today, I had to run to WalMart for some meds and they had a can of tennis balls for $1.50- I picked those up for him for Christmas. He is going through shoes very quickly at the moment because he is really rough on them so I may purchase a pair of shoes for him for Christmas and that will be the last purchase for him. Most of the items I have for him I purchased at garage sales or on extreme clearance.
    Gas prices have also gone through the roof here- almost .20 cents a gallon in the last week. This week the route I use to go to work has been detoured for construction purposes so the detour adds about 5 miles to my commute each way. No other extra driving for me!
    I will be learning from all of you how to do more with less so thank you all very much!!

    1. That’s so hard when property tax and gas goes up. These are definitely expenses we have little control over. I hope you find some ways to increase income or decrease expenses.

  16. Brandy,
    How nice to see Winter!
    My husband and I were considering doing a podcast. We used to do a radio show in the Kansas City area and it was aired in Tampa, Fl as well. It was a lot of fun. It aired for over 7 years. We also did radio advertisements for businesses. Anyway, It is something we are considering. We have a bit of research to do to find a place for our show. I’d love to read about podcasts people listening to as well.

    Frugal activities
    Used library books and movies.
    Turned off lights.
    Turned off air and opened windows.
    Enjoyed food that family made.
    Used the internet for entertainment.
    Listened to husband sing for entertainment.
    Sang with husband for fun.
    Fitting into clothes I already have since surgery!
    Enjoyed seeing the moon in the morning before sunrise.
    Enjoyed sunsets.

    1. Tammy you should totally do a podcast! What great experience to have already done a radio show!
      I enjoyed your list and it reminded me to delight in the little things.
      Have a great week!

    2. Tammy – a pod cast would be great! You already have the experience in how to modulate your voice and write copy. You could cover such amazing topics and even interview interesting people (ahem – Brandy? lol). Mary

      1. Hi Ann,
        I drove for the first time today. I’m feeling pretty good. Although I can’t bend down and reach things yet. It is supposed to take 8 to 10 weeks to heal. It has been about 3.. I hope you feel better soon too.
        Tammy

  17. I have both a pinched nerve in my back and a UTI so I am trying to look at the bright side of things. I have medical insurance and had to pay copay of $50 and and $18 on scripts. It is a holiday so I didn’t have to use any of my medical leave. I was able to buy phone card at Walmart and paid $2.27 gallon for gas so I combined errands. I am no longer literally crawling on the floor in agony to get to bathroom. So, this episode has made me very grateful for my health. I was also well enough today to drive myself to doctor and no need for ambulance nor my sons to drive down and take me, spending even more gas money. I am grateful I have a one floor small house because yesterday and Saturday night were absolutely awful. I have a huge docket tomorrow and I am grateful I am appearing before a kind judge who will let me sit down the whole time and dispense with normal court etiquette. I am grateful that I had food prepared. This came out of nowhere, I felt great Saturday morning and it just shows me that life can chang drastically very fast. Brandy, so happy Winter got to come home and you were able to go plant shopping with her!

    1. Cindy, I keep chewable cranberry capsules on hand for UTIs. You could also keep cranberry juice on hand. The capsules seem to work pretty fast!

        1. I’m a teacher-can’t always get to a bathroom when I need…so I take a cranberry tablet everyday to prevent UTIs.

    2. Cindy, I hope you feel better this coming week. I had a series of UTI’s years ago and then I learned from a naturopath and later my integrative MD to take a capsule of D Mannose and another capsule or two of Olive Leaf 3-4 times per day, along with lots of water and probiotics. I would only get a very short window of warning before I was in immense pain and the natural medicine really helped. Once in a while, if it was a bad infection and it did not go away after a week of this regimen, I would go in for antibiotics. I finally took a long course of a Femdophilus and that seemed to help my system heal. It’s been years now, but I still keep the capsules in my cupboard, just in case.

      1. I can say only second hand – I have two very good friends who have interstitial cystitis – they regularly use D-Mannose and Femdopolois. They are able to avoid UTIs, which seems to be a follow on for IC for the most part. Azo works well for a “response” medication but you shouldn’t be on it for a long time. I’ve had to go to Vitamin Cottage a number of times to pick up the meds and then both discovered that you can buy online on Amazon.

    3. Cindy, I get frequent UTIs, too, and they come on very quickly. What has worked best for me–usually in 3-4 hours–is Azo or Uristat, or the generic. It is plant-based but you can buy it in any drug store (and some supermarkets). It turns your pee orange. It relieves the pain, but it isn’t a cure. I have always needed antibiotics to get over UTIs. When you wrote about crawling on the bathroom floor…BTDT, got the Tshirt. ((( Cindy )))

      1. Hi Cindy,
        I used to get a lot of UTIs until one day I mentioned it to an elderly neighbour friend. To be candid, she
        told me that after you’ve finished peeing, lean forward and see if there’s more pee. Sure enough my bladder wasn’t emptying.
        Once I started doing this, I very rarely have had UTIs.

        1. Actually, my physician told me the same thing—that as women age, especially as they begin perimenopause, their bladders lose elasticity and retain urine. He said to always pee and then lean forward and try again to pee. (Feel sorry for any men reading this blog!)

    4. Glad you are feeling better Cindy! I used to get UTI’s and would use cranberry juice and garlic. But sometimes would need an antibiotic. I am happy to report that I haven’t had one in years. (They are very painful.) I still enjoy cranberry juice and use garlic liberally in my cooking.

    5. I used to get bad UTIs also. I take the cranberry capsules 3 times a week. If I get a UTI I up to the max amount. Taking a hot bath with 3 drops of tea tree oil really helps with the discomfort. Please be careful. A friend once had it hit her kidneys and was in the hospital for 2 weeks. If you have to get antibiotics after a few days then do so.

    6. Cindy, Amazon sells a liquid called UT Answer. It is D-Mannose and Cranberry Juice Concentrate. It works wonders. You can use it to treat a new UTI or take a teaspoon a day to prevent them. It is around $20 on Amazon but more expensive in Health Food stores. I keep a bottle in my First Aid kit all the time. Soon as I think I might be getting one I start the 3 day treatment prescribed. My Co-Pay for an MD is $70 so this is faster and a bargain. It really works.

    7. Cindy, have you heard of Azo? It’s an over the counter pill that you take if you feel a UTI coming on. Dare I say they are almost magical. Especially useful while traveling. Be sure to get the one for UTI as there are several different products. You can buy them on Amazon or at your local drug store. They have been a life saver for my girls and I. Not too expensive either.
      Warmly,
      Tracey

  18. Renee…when I read everyone’s posts here I imagine sitting with Laurie while she shells beans, doing my mending and listening to everyone’s wonderful ideas….feeling blessed with the support of this group…So, I can’t wait for you to share your favorite podcasts…LynninRI

  19. I am new to your blog and I am so inspired and your pictures are SO BEAUTIFUL! I’m amazed at all it seems you are able to accomplish. I will look around your site, I’d love to see pictures of your garden and what all you grow. I am new to gardening (about 3 years in, this year was so pitiful between a newborn, hurricane and drought). I have only 6 kids ages 9 to 7 months and have a hard time getting much done in any area it seems but I’m trying 🙂 I am trying to get back to being more frugal minded, the whirlwind of life plus chronic illness has made me lean towards what’s easy more often than not…Anyways, looking forward to browsing your website some more!

    1. Hi Mandy! It looks like we have a lot in common!

      I’ve had my website for almost 12 years, with the blog added in a few years after. You can find links to my garden images under the garden tab in the menu bar.

      1. Brandy, I thought more on it this morning as I was sharing your blog with my mama, who blessedly was over helping me out 🙂 I realized I love your blog too because I have just started a new blog a couple months ago and have started to wonder if it is worth it with all I have going on. But I do have a passion for simple homemaking, writing and encouraging other mamas. It’s SO refreshing to come across your blog. I think it really shines through that you love what you are doing. And also a wonderful reminder to me that it takes lots of time to get a blog and website where I’d like it to be….

    2. I love that you wrote you only have 6 kids. You deserve a gold medal. Just feeding and clothing 6 kids under 10 is amazing. If you are able to take a shower too, even better. I have 3 kids(all grown) and there were days that I couldn’t get into the shower until my husband got home from work. You are doing great. We all take the easy way sometimes, that is why we are frugal most of the time.

  20. The mention of keeping celery fresh reminded me of one of my favorite frugal things. We wash it, chop it, and freeze it. We too had a bumper crop this year, so froze 27 quart bags. They are Christmas freezer bags, bought after Christmas for $.89 a bpx, which is $.o4/bag. When we did that, celery was $3.00/lb! Our church hosted a large gathering this past weekend. I made chili for about 50, served with some of my husband’s homegrown potatoes and fixings. There was enough left to serve after church on Sunday along with other leftovers. I also donated 4 small loaves of pineapple bread and2 9×13 pans of brownies, one with almonds and one without. It went well, glad our turn is over for about 4 years! During Presbytery, I gave away 110 hats to 2 churches with Native members. I still have 3 more churches to give to. One will get 10, the others 55 each. One hat yet to be knitted will be 3,000 I have donated! It has taken several years, but they are especially appreciated in our Alaskan climate.
    We had a fairly good amount of snow during Presbytery. Several who participated went home not knowing if they could get into their driveways

    1. Alaska Gram,
      It is always interesting to read what you write. It is so different than where I live. It reminds me of a Dr. that took care of my kids when they were little. He had done missionary work in Alaska. I think it is pretty neat that you have donated so many hats!
      Tammy

  21. How wonderful that your daughter was able to come for a visit!
    To help save money this week, I mended a braided rug that had come unsewn at the edge. I also organized another section of my pantry, as well as my baking area and my collection of spices. I am finding by getting my home more organized I am saving money by not buying things that I already have. I also was able to stick to our menu plan for the week, which contained several less expensive bean or soup type meals. My daughter and I also organized all of the clothing for the two grandbabies (my daughter and her children live with my husband and I). She has been given tons of clothing from friends, so she can clothe the children very inexpensively. It is such a blessing! By getting things organized, we were able to see exactly what we need to keep an eye out for at thrift stores to complete their fall/winter clothing.

  22. What a great photo of Winter and two of your boys. She is such a beautiful lady now! And your son (not sure the name but it isn’t Hamish) has a charming smile. With that smile, I would have a hard time saying no to his requests 😉 I read your comment about cooking a batch of black beans and it reminded me it is time for me to cook some.

    Five years ago, my husband found two high quality kitchen knives at goodwill. Someone had used them to throw at walls maybe since their tips were bend or broken. We bought them, $2 each, and he filed and honed them back to useable condition. Now, after using them for all this time, it is amazing how much better high quality knives cut and how much longer the edge stays sharp. So last week we shopped around and found sales on a knife set. It should arrive tomorrow and I can happily give all my old knives to Goodwill! Yeah! Funny, at age 63, I finally will have a set of great knives. Better late than ever. But had he not taken those knives and fixed them up for me to use, I would have never understood why anyone would pay for a high quality knife.

    Other frugal activities were eating at home and working through the freezer so that this fall, when the sales arrive, all the food will be eaten and the freezer empty! I have one ham and one turkey left:)

  23. I forgot to mention that my being a skeptic and a bit of a detective might have saved us $500. We had our chimney cleaned last week and the techician pointed out that the damper would not close tight and said it needed replacing for nearly $500. That was quite the nasty surprise because we had a good quality damper installed a year ago when the chimney top was rebuilt. Last year’s chimney contractor had removed nearly all of his presence from the web, which is why we went with a different chimney cleaner this year. I didn’t know whether he was alive or dead, but knew his house had not been sold. So I wrote a letter to him explaining the situation and asking for his help and sent it to him priority mail, signature required, because I wanted to know if he was dead or alive, and by first class mail in case he was signature phobic. He showed up at our door Saturday, explained he had changed careers to (very) technical sales because he needed group health insurance to pay for prescription drug costs of $5000 a month (Ouch!), and arranged to come back Tuesday to adjust the damper. He said he had installed that model of damper for many years with no problems that a simple bend of a piece of metal wouldn’t fix (30 minutes tops) and was actually indignant that the other chimney swift offered only the option of a new damper. He also told us that unless we had a wood stove to heat our house, oir chimney only needs to be cleaned every 2 or 3 years, not yearly. He suspected that this year’s cleaner might have gotten the cable that runs up the chimney to the damper entangled with his brush, actually causing the malfunction. Sigh. Now I know that I need to ask future chimney cleaners to disconnect the cable before sending the brush up the chimney, especially if the brush is connected to a drill. I am hoping we get a working damper tomorrow, perhaps for the cost of a donation to the Arthritis Foundation.

    1. Holly, it seems to me that you should ask if he would be willing to clean your chimney as an “under the table” side job. This guy sounds like he knows his stuff, was willing to physically come over to help when you contacted him about the problem and could probably use the extra cash every once in a while. If he’s willing to give you his direct phone number, you could just call him to make arrangements for him to come when he’s available, and you can pay him cash for his service!

  24. Kind of a slow week for being frugal

    Hubby liked the quick breakfasts to eat in the morning. The only problem is the sausage biscuits take 45 minutes in the oven so he has to wait until he gets to the jobsite to fix one in the microwave

    He took coffee from home all week

    My mom wasn’t feeling well so she sent over 3 half gallons of milk and a few tomatoes so they would get used before they went bad

    Hubby finished work on a chimney and the lady gave him a $10 steak and shake gift card. I used it to treat the 12yo.

    Went to a zoo members night event. Spent only $10 for dinner for 3 of us(myself, daughter, and her friend). There was unlimited drinks and free popcorn (more than enough to fill up preteen girls)

  25. It has been a crazy week for me.
    I had the grandbabies (well not babies…girl is 15 and boy is 12) for most of the week. It was my daughter’s first week as manager and she had inventory also. When I keep the babies it is more expense, but so worth it.
    I paid all bills on time so no late charges.
    I needed to get gas since I was picking up the kiddos at school every day.
    Gas is $2.39 and $2.99 in my little town.
    I had to go to Walmart so I bought a gift card and put gas in the car for $2.07. This saved me a bunch.
    I’ve read and listened to…almost.. a book a day while I work.
    My daughter, Dawn, brought books when she came last. I keep what I want to read and give the rest to my daughter, Windee, to read. It is a win win all around.
    I sold 2 costumes out of my Etsy shop.
    By the way…my Etsy shop was hacked Friday by someone in CA. It has been limited access since then so I have lost 4 sales. It was a nightmare trying to get Etsy on the phone since they weren’t answering my emails. The problem is still not fixed.
    I may have to find another outlet to sell my items. What a mess.
    My daughter, Lyric, and I did a bazaar together Saturday. The temp was 29 degrees when I got up. We had a frost. Two days before we broke a record for the hottest day (for that day) since they started keeping records.
    I had the air on Friday and the heat on Saturday night. Crazy!
    It has been so hot in Texas this year, but it is lovely right now. This means no A/C. Hopefully it will stay nice for a month or so. Save on the electric.
    Lyric went to the thrift shop and bought wine glasses, candle holders and plates. She glued them together for displaying her candy and baked goods. I thought it was so smart. All of them cost her $10.00. One of a kind and pretty.

  26. How nice to have been able to visit with Winter! And great pics!

    We have been enjoying cooler weather too.

    My accomplishments last week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 5 times, continuing to use up things I already have. Dinners included grilled salmon, baked potatoes and broccoli; Italian sausage casserole (twice); Beanie Weenies; and pork country style ribs, potatoes au gratin and corn. The other 2 nights we ate out with family, first with a cousin we rarely see and second with my son who was visiting from out of state.
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads of laundry.
    • Worked 7 contract hours. Worked from home this week, as my boss was on vacation, so I saved on gas too.
    • Bargains at the grocery store included 12 cans of tuna for 50c/can, a bottle of Ranch dressing for 49c; a container of sour cream and a container of cottage cheese for 89c each, 5# bags of potatoes for 88c each (4), honey crisp apples for 88c/lb, asparagus for 98c/lb. and a box of frozen waffles for 74c.
    • I found a shirt for my grandson for $1.98 and a shirt for my granddaughter for 98c, which I will give to them as Christmas presents. Also found some Schick Razor gift sets on clearance – 6 four blade razors, 1 full size can of Edge shave gel and 1 tube of Edge shave cream for $5.99. I bought 7 (enough to last a couple of years + 3 as gifts.) They must be “out of date” because the coupons inside expired in April, but I know they are fine.
    • Decorated for Halloween with items I already had.
    • Made brownies for my Trivia team’s birthdays this month with ingredients I already had. 4 of us have October birthdays.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.
    • Found a Hot Wheel big rig truck with small Hot Wheel for grandson’s birthday for $4.99 on the clearance rack. Also got a Connect 4 game to keep at my house to play with him for $3.99.
    • I won $5 at our Trivia league night.
    • Except for the day I took my Dad out to lunch, I ate in all week for lunch. I made myself eat some leftovers from the freezer that I didn’t really have an appetite for.
    • My niece had my daughter and I over for a tea party. I brought some strawberry jam had canned last month as a hostess gift. She served pumpkin scones, sugar cookies, yogurt with homemade granola and biscotti. She didn’t want the leftovers so she sent them home with me. I froze the scones, cookies and biscotti. She also gave us really cute magnets for our dishwashers that indicate “clean” and “dirty” and jam spoons.
    • While we were at the tea party, my husband babysat my grandson. He used that time to plant our winter garden. They planted broccoli, lettuce and cabbage. Our peppers that we planted in the spring are starting to produce finally. Hopefully we will be harvesting some soon.
    • I defrosted and roasted up all of the tomatoes I’d frozen from the garden (about a gallon ziplock’s worth.) I roasted them with rosemary and basil from our yard, along with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Once done, I put them in the blender. Then I froze the sauce in 3 – 2 c. containers to use in soups, etc.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  27. I can so appreciate your delight in Winter’s visit. I so appreciate even a phone call and look forward to Christmas break when our son will be home.

    I didn’t go anywhere this week which made it rather quiet and restful. I do continue to take the dogs and myself for a walk each day getting free exercise and companionship with my daughter who goes with me when she can. We also do stretching and yoga when we can.

    In addition to cooking from the freezer, fridge and pantry, my husband was entrusted to go to the expired food tables and did a nice job of procuring veggies, fruits, sweets and some bread. We have been able to make meatballs, soups, salads and a taco bean dip. The Black Bean burgers that I made from Brandy’s recipe and had to freeze raw on the fly cooked up very nicely from the freezer.

    My husband went into Joann Fabric with his two broken jackets and bought replacement zippers while I was at the Cancer Institute last week. I was able to replace one of zippers and stitch up some rips this week. I also mended his PJ pants, but the cord broke again so I will have to replace it. I continue to replace the lining of my daughter’s hood for her coat. It is a bit of an endeavor with the hand sewing. It should be finished next week.

    Blessings

  28. Hello Frugal Friends,

    It was so nice that you got to see your daughter. I am sure you miss having her around so much.

    Here is my frugal week:
    – Tonight I made a large beef pot roast in the crockpot. We will have this for a couple of days and maybe a lunch or two for my husband.
    – I did a lot of great coupon deals at Walgreens yesterday and was able to get Soft Soap, Irish Spring, some cereal, Mitchum Deodorant and some other great deals for a total of under $5.00.
    – I made some pumpkin chocolate chip bread tonight.
    – Cleaned out the pantry and reorganized so I can see what I have better before I go to the store.
    – Found the cheapest price at Sam’s Club for 4 tires that I need for my van before it really starts snowing.
    – Signed up for some freebies which are on my blog: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/
    – I keep chipping away at homework to work on a degree that is going to be covered by VA benefits.
    That’s about it for now…
    Have a great week,
    Liz

  29. What a lovely surprise to have Winter come for a visit! I hope that you all had a lovely weekend together.

    Last week I made two pots of soup – 1 used up all sorts of bits & pieces of veg for one and the other was made from a bag of tomatoes I’ve had in the freezer for ages – let them thaw slightly and then cut them up and roasted them first and seasoned them with some Green Thai curry paste & a half teaspoon of fish sauce – tastes spicy but very warming. I’ve been eating a bowl of something each day, gave a couple of servings to my neighbour and froze a couple of portions for later in the month
    .
    Reorganized my small freezer to move a good variety of meat and seafood upfront to use up over the next few weeks. I want to make space for pre-Christmas purchases and I don’t want to lose anything to freezer burn. I was able to use up some items to make a couple of meals for my elderly neighbour and to gift a meal’s worth of items from my pantry for a family my church supports – no OOPE to me.

    Stayed in on Saturday and cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom – did 4 loads of laundry (the 2 loads of towels went into the dryer but the other 2 loads were just hung up to dry). I also finished switching my Summer clothes over to the Winter ones. It took quite a while as I had to try on so many items. I’ve lost 35 pounds in the past 5 months so some items went to the donate bag and others have now been reinstated as they fit again. The only items I really NEED are 1 or 2 pairs of black shoes/booties and a couple of new bras. I would like a few shirts/tops in light blue, pink and/or lilac just to brighten up all the black, grey & navy but I’ll wait until I can get a good deal.

    Stocked up on some items at the drugstore that I need for winter – spent $25 and got the equivalent of $8 in Loyalty points. I will have a similar deal available on Wednesday and will spend another $25 on more winter needs. I’ll have over $70 worth of Loyalty points saved by the end of the week. Trying to shop strategically these days as I’m hoping for a very low spend November.

  30. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy fantastic finds at the garage sales and glad you and Winter were able to get some lovely plants as well 🙂 . Turning off the air conditioning when you can will save a big amount on your electricity bill and the savings can be used for other needed items. So sweet of Winter to surprise you with a visit too.

    Home maintenance –
    – We finally got an electrician with a reasonable pricing to install our 90 cm oven,upgrade house fuses and run larger cabling, replace 2 fluro lights in the kitchen with LED fluros and replace a light baton in the bathroom downstairs saving us $697 odd over getting the other electrician to do it for us.

    Finances –
    – Listed 10 items on a free listing Ebay promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing costs.

    In the gardens –
    – Separated and thinned out beetroot and silverbeet seedlings growing too close together.
    – We didn’t measure it but we believe we had about 10mm + of rain yesterday and overnight into this morning. Our two top 3000 gallon rain water tanks are full and it was sufficient to almost top our bottom 5000 gallon rainwater tank too. We are so grateful and relieved to not have to worry about water for a while now. More storms forecast for Thursday next week :).

    Purchases –
    – We got an email for 10% off online grocery orders which came for once when we needed to do our monthly shopping so we took advantage of it saving $26.62 on usual prices. We stocked up mainly on staples that never come on special and topped up our food storage to a 12 month level on the remaining items we needed as well as our usual groceries and still came in under budget :).

    Hope everyone has and will have a wonderful week ahead :).

    Sewingcreations15

      1. Thank you Brandy we are so happy about the rain as our home runs mainly off rainwater from the tanks 🙂 .

        The official figure for the rain was 11 mm so that is a big help but we still need more.

        Sewingcreations15.

        1. It’s better to have small amounts of rain a few times, than to get a total dump all at once, though. The ground will need time to rehydrate and slowly absorb the rain, in stead of having massive flooding! I hope you continue to have several rainy days, spaced out enough it doesn’t cause further problems, Lorna!

          1. So true Rhonda A we need slow steady rain for a while for the ground to rehydrate and then it can just pour down in my opinion 🙂 .

            We have had another 2.4mm of rain this week and are actually getting a hint of green grass everywhere.

            Sewingcreations15.

  31. What a lovely visit from your daughter! I’m sure her younger siblings miss her so much. Our 2nd oldest son came for a short visit too. He had “fall break” from his school in Nebraska and drove home for a few days. So nice to see him and we are so proud of how well he is doing in his studies post brain injury. What a blessing! Prayers definitely answered there.

    This week, I picked more lemon balm for tea, a bell pepper, some jalapeños, and 3 pie pumpkins before it frosted. I keep covering some lettuce to protect from the light frosts, but the leeks seem to be okay for now. This weekend we will focus on cleaning up the garden for winter. I need to get some diseased foliage out of the garden as the squash, pumpkins and tomatoes had a fungal disease this year. Then it’s just putting more pine mulch on our blueberries and cedar mulch on the fruit trees and our “food garden” will basically be put to bed for the winter. We then just have to add straw to our strawberry and asparagus patches the first week of December. I love gardening, but I do enjoy the large break we get with the weather in Wisconsin. A farmer here once said that he loved California, but could never farm there as he would die from exhaustion with the year round growing season.

    Other than that, we are turning our attention to prepping for winter in between all my youngest son’s soccer games. I got out all our winter coats, boots, hats and such, and just in time! I washed all the windows on my lower level this past week. I didn’t have time or help to pop out the screens and wash them, so I just bought some baby wipes and gave them a quick wipe on each side which got a lot of dirt up. This week I will do the upstairs on the few warmer days and call that chore done! Our flowers are done for the season, of course, and I can cut down my perennials and clean up anytime after we put our vegetable garden to bed. I then just have to plant 50 red tulip bulbs in a bed near our back patio before October ends and our gardening chores are done. I am looking forward to turning my attention to indoors in November to continue some deep cleaning in my kitchen. I really don’t do deep cleaning during the growing season and it is time!

    I am going to try making your homemade laundry soap this week, Brandy. I made a batch of 100% coconut oil soap and the bars just cured so I will use that to grate into the laundry soap. I have wanted to do this for a long time, but am just getting around to trying it. It will be so much cheaper than the more natural laundry soap I buy in a 5 gallon bucket from my co-op.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week!

    1. The year-round gardening IS a lot. I tend to neglect the garden in summer some because of the intense heat. This year, because of photography, I’ve pretty much neglected it altogether, and now that it’s finally cooling off, I have a TON of work to do to get it where it should be. Hopefully, I can work quickly and be able to plant in the narrow fall planting window that we have.

    2. I live in the interior, very cold, part of Alaska. I grow literally hundreds of leeks each year and leave them in the ground until a big snow is forecast. They do fine with frost and a light snow. I do cover them with a row cover, which makes it about 10 degrees warmer under the thin material, but that is so I don’t have to brush away snow to harvest. We have been having temps in the 20s and mine are still in the ground. One more thing, have you ever made leek pie? I make it once a year, at harvest, since the leeks really cook down and I want the pie shell full. Basically, you cook down the leeks in olive oil or butter (I use a bit of both, for the flavoring the butter adds but the oil doesn’t allow the butter to burn). Add salt and pepper and some cream, just enough to moisten it. Keep stirring and add more cream if need be. Once the leeks are very soft (and I use the light green parts, too, since the cooking breaks down the fiber) and there is only a thin film of cream left that was not absorbed, put between two pie crusts and bake. For a full meal, you can add leftover chicken pieces…

    3. Karen,
      That is great that your son can go to college Post brain injury. I have a son that also had a brain injury playing football in high school. He had to learn to walk and talk and everything all over again. He will be thirty today.

    4. Karen and Tammy…thankful we are all blessed with sons who have recovered from brain injuries. My 23 year old son had a severe brain injury when he was seven,,,they let me go in the helicopter because they were sure he would die on the way. Praise God he didn’t and is fine today. My 21 year old was injured three years ago in football. He has recovered as well, praise God. Karen, I can relate completely to putting the garden to bed. I live in northern Illinois and have been doing the same, though I don’t have as much as you do. I didn’t plant anything for fall as I was traveling and our daughter is getting married this weekend. Everything has been upended and even the summer garden was sorely neglected because of the travel. I salvaged what I could and preserved it. Looking forward to more normalcy next year. Karen, I really loved your detail as it reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s description of their harvests…always my favorite passages which I often reread. There is something so satisfying about tucking food away for the winter. Maybe I should have been a squirrel!?? Brandy, I much prefer cold gardening as to being out in our heat (which isn’t even close to yours!) tending the garden.

  32. I am so happy to be getting caught up on your blog, Brandy! I used to read every week, but have been working so much in a high level position, that I got out of the habit and rarely had time to do much reading.

    I was laid off on Sept 19th, so I needed to sharpen my frugal habits!

    This week I continued with my weekly grocery shopping trip on Sunday mornings. I have found that my local Kroger marks down meats and other items early Sundays. By going every week at this time, I have been able to stock my freezer with meats and buy a few other fill-ins. Our grocery budget has typically been $500-$700/month for just my husband and myself! This month, I am on track to spend only $240. I am meal planning and using things I have on hand. I am more conscious of food waste and making sure that I use perishables up before they go bad.

    I have also been watching our electricity usage. This is a tip I learned from you, Brandy. I am delighted that my power company has the daily usage posted on my account. It has made me more aware and encourages me to conserve. Our weather finally changed from summer (95-100 degrees in October!) to fall this weekend. I am grateful to no have to run the AC and it is still plenty warm not to need heat.

    I sold a blouse on Mercari. Over the last several weeks, I have sold about $450 worth of stuff on Mercari. I am decluttering my house and earning a little on the side. I listed 8 more items yesterday and will continue to look for more items to sell and declutter. I have lots to go through!

    We have been living well below our means, so it has allowed me to have some time to consider my future. We have the habit of budgeting “sinking funds” for things that we will need to pay on a yearly or semi-annual basis. I have all of our big ticket items funded for 6-12 months (life insurance, car insurance, HOA fees, vacation, etc), so we are in good shape. I think we would be fine to live on one income, but I am blessed that my previous employer really wants me to return to work at my previous company (left there in June for a VP position–company had financial issues and laid off 10 executives). My former boss is allowing me to work part-time! I told her I really didn’t want to continue to work full-time and she said that is no problem. At this point in my life, I want to have more time at home. I have been working for 40 years and just need to slow down a little. My boss is allowing me to start at the end of the month, so I will enjoy a couple more weeks of being off.

    Not working means I have been spending very little on gas for the car.

    I am having so much fun rediscovering my frugal nature! I am so inspired by you and all of your readers that I may start posting again on my LONG neglected blog!

    Have a great week!

    Lisa

  33. Hello from Estonia. We are hosting two exchange students from France since Friday. They have lots of things to do on most days, but Saturday we had to think about something to do with them. Since the weather was too stormy for planned outdoor activities, I took all 5 boys (ours: 14, 13 and 10 y, the guests 14 and 13 y) to an open-air museum where there were workshops that day. The boys were able to work along with a blacksmith for free! On the museum’s website there was a fee of 7 Euros per person for this blacksmith’s lesson, but the smith said there had been a mix-up with the prices and our boys are too young to charge anything.
    For hosting the pupils from France, our two older boys will get a free school trip to France in March 2020 – European Union will be paying. The extra load of laundry (bedclothes) and some more cooking is definitely worth less in money than the plane tickets and sightseeing trips for two kids. Plus the experience of trying to find common ground with someone they see for the first time, spending time together and actually having fun.

    Having two more teenage boys in the house means that I’m cooking a lot. We try to keep the meals simple, but I cook more than usually… and then a little bit more, just in case. The French boys will leave tomorrow, for the rest of the week we will eat mostly leftovers.
    A few weeks ago we had sudden frost at night so that all my tomato plants were killed. I was able to save all the green fruits and we are slowly eating our way through the tomatoes as they ripen. It is good that we all love tomato sauces and soups, they are not tasty enough for salads.
    I also mended a bunch of socks.

  34. That was a wonderful surprise, I know, to see your daughter at your door. Having my kids come home to visit always lifts my spirits greatly.

    The lovely photo — I am now craving pomegranate seeds!

    We’ve been so warm still that our air conditioning has been running regularly. We have also been terribly dry, and combined with the heat, our yards are really hurting. Rain is forecast, finally, for today, but it will be scattered. Some folks got a nice rain last night — my town got nothing, so I hope that changes today. The “real feel” this morning at 6:30 a.m. was 83 degrees F.
    This past weekend I prepped a lot of food for this week, cooking several foods at once in the oven and using the pressure cooker to avoid long cook times for other foods.
    I received a new picture of my oldest grandchild and found a perfectly good frame for it in my closet.
    I purchased several new-t0-me items for winter wear as mine was getting pretty shabby. Here in North Florida, we get some cold days and a few cold snaps, so winter wear is needed. I’ll never forget the year we had nine days in a row in which the highs never climbed past 32 degrees F, or the Christmas Eve that saw the night time low of 14 degrees F.
    I am almost done with brining my little olive harvest. I hope the trees will put on more as time goes on, but I got a small handful in spite of the horrible weather (too much rain, very high heat and humidity, then drought and high heat) this year. I’m not letting any of the olives go to waste!
    I sent a birthday card from the stack I keep in my card drawer. I haven’t had to go buy a new one in a good while. The stamp was even free — I found it in a drawer and it was a forever stamp.
    I’m looking forward to reading the other comments. I always get encouraged by this site.

    1. I loved doing olives before! I wish I could do them again! But between the winds and the spraying to make the blossoms drop, people have not had olives here 🙁 I loved having them!

  35. I so enjoy your photos. And how wonderful to have Winter come home for a surprise visit.

    The last few weeks have not been particularly frugal. I have been having some health issues which required office visits, but thankfully our deductible has been met for the year, and our current out of pocket costs are minimal. The main issue is that I have been having terrible problems with dry mouth. My doctor suspected Sjogrens’s syndrome and did a bunch of tests, but they all came back negative. He doesn’t know what’s causing it. At least acupuncture seems to help some, so I am thankful for that.

    While that was going on, my mom had water damage at her home (she rents a condo) while her landlady was out of the country. My mom didn’t think it was a big deal, but we have had water damage three times (ugh), so I really had to put my foot down so she would take it seriously. My mom is the kind of person who hates making a fuss, but water damage is not something you take lightly due to potential mold and other issues. The landlady was contacted and took it seriously, an insurance claim was opened, and things are now being taken care of.

    Then the new employee at my very small office was let go because she did something that put the office at risk. Not good. The boss’s wife and I are taking on her tasks so we can keep things running during our busiest time of year. It’s been a hectic few weeks, but I have enjoyed reading everyone’s posts here to keep me grounded. 🙂

    There were some frugal accomplishments along the way, but I didn’t write anything down. I bought a few things at Kohl’s, and got some Kohl’s cash, which I later used to buy two pairs of colored jeans. Two people offered me home grown tomatoes, which I accepted gratefully (to me, there is nothing better than fresh tomatoes from someone’s garden). On weekends, I did a bunch of food prep to make things easier during the week. Food items prepared were enchilada sauce, soup, bulk hamburgers, stew meat in enchilada sauce, several batches of broth, fermended jalapenos, fermented salsa, and muffins. My mom shared her newspaper with me several times, and I did the crossword and other puzzles to relax. My husband and I went to the symphony twice after work (planned expense), and I packed a simple dinner of cheese, salami, crackers and carrot sticks to eat instead of going out. This was way easier and cheaper, and a huge time saver as well. We had some nice fall weather, so I took a bunch of walks outside and enjoyed the beautiful foliage. My sister, my mom and I had a nice get together at the Starbucks café at Fred Meyer, for the cost of one cup of tea. I am rewatching Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime in anticipation of seeing the movie (I think it comes out on streaming in December, but I may be wrong).

    Have a great week, everyone.

  36. I love Ben Franklin’s World podcast. Every week the host interviews a historian about some aspect of American (and sometimes world) history in the colonial era centuries.
    We were getting puddles under our fridge. My husband fixed a clog in the freezer’s drain.
    While he did that I inventoried what we have. Now we know how many broths, beans, and veggies we have prepped and frozen over the past year – so we don’t prep more of what we didn’t eat yet!
    Went to the free Geology Museum of UW, in Madison. We asked a lot of the kinds of questions 4th graders ask – how did this get here and what kind of fossils are those? We also asked about global climate crisis; is geology even is a relevant science and the answer was an emphatic yes. That the earth can adapt to any temperature change and any amount of water or ice BUT geology shows that it takes thousands and tens of thousands of years to handle the shifts we are going through in 20-30 years. So no, we can’t just sit back and let it roll over us. Not if we believe in our kids and grand kids.
    Came home and hung a clotheslines in our basement. There’s just two of us; I can hang our laundry instead of using the electric dryer for 4-5 loads per week.
    We did some some research about strategies to avoid roaming costs while traveling 15 days in Canada.
    Before we traveled, we researched how to avoid currency exchange fees. We opened a new credit card and my husband also put Apple Pay on his phone. With those two solutions, we didn’t pay the 2-3% exchange fee other than once at a bank because we foresaw needing cash.
    Made (most) of our own coffee, on the road.
    More at my website; https://www.marybethdanielson.com/

  37. Hi, I haven’t posted for quite awhile. The saga of the grape vines is now at end. My husband’s mouse trap activity ended badly when he found a dead wren. He encourages the nesting of wrens and was heartsick as was I… we will find another way to protect the grapes although our net experiment didn’t go well either. On a happier note, we have had some good harvest from our patio strawberries, eggplants and small tomatoes. Our carrots and leek harvest will be good, also. The green beans, wax beans and herbs have been great. We will harvest the carrots and leeks soon as it is getting cold here in Chicagoland-no big surprise. My kids gave us some wonderful experiences for his 80th birthday: the architectural cruise on the Chicago river is to be highly recommended. We have such a wonderful mix of old and new buildings. My husband’s grandfather may well have done some architectural detailing design work on one of the buildings built before 1910. That was thrilling for him to realize. Grandpa worked for Daniel Burnham’s firm for about wenty years. Daniel Burnham laid out the plans for Chicago after the Great Fire. We also visited a Cubs game which was fun, but disappointing as they are in a big slide. Another highlight was visiting a nice Japanese restaurant, Ron of Japan, where they have the fire pit built into the table for a stir fry. The grandkids were agog when the fire was lit! Delicious stuff! The next week, my husband’s best friend had a barbecue for him with some longtime neighbors attending. My daughter had a beautiful cake ordered as they had returned to Minnesota for a get together with college friends who now live in New York. Our youngest also surprised us with a smart T.V. so we could stream Netflix. We only stream Amazon… This was all a very frugal birthday for us as we only provided breakfasts for family. Our kids took care of everything else. Garden Pat I have finished a quilt for my grandson and we delivered it to Minnesota last week. While there we went to Apple stand that had apples that were grown by Minn. Uni. AG. Program. We bought half pecks of Honeycrisps for eating and Cortlands for sauce and a GF pie. They were seconds and were absolutely perfect. Also, I have had some great resale shop finds this summer, but I have taken up enough space with this post. Prayers for those with difficult health problems and family matters. Many blessings for Brandy who has and is raising such lovely and gifted children.

  38. Brandy, how ingenious of Winter to find a way to come home for a visit and to do so in secret. What a wonderful surprise for the whole family! From the looks of the photos and reading your comment, everyone was very happy to see her again. I’m glad you have had a good crop of pears and some pomegranates for the family to enjoy. They look quite delicious. Also, thank you for sharing some of the yard sale finds you were able to buy for Christmas presents, as well as the items Winter found. All wonderful gift ideas!
    This week, our family’s frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included: hot chicken sandwiches with mashed potatoes and carrots; cheesy pasta bake (see below); breakfast sausages, leftover mashed potato cheddar ranch cakes (see below) and corn; breaded fish, curly fries, leftover corn and a spinach salad with feta, slivered almonds & dried cranberries; lentil sloppy Joe’s with homemade macaroni & cheese casserole; homemade beef stew with dumplings and brioche buns.
    *Bagged lunches this week included: tuna sandwich, banana, yoghurt, and a Nutri-grain bar; chicken cheese & onion quesadilla (made in morning using up leftover chicken), canned pineapple, yoghurt and chocolate pudding; leftover cheesy pasta bake, pineapple & banana mixed, yoghurt and chocolate pudding; leftover mashed potato cakes, leftover corn, apple, yoghurt, and chocolate pudding.
    *Due to work schedule, I was not able to bake lunch treat for this week. I compromised on Monday, and used a Nutri-grain bar (bought on sale for using when we take DD to various appointments). Tuesday morning, I took a moment to mix up a box of chocolate pudding using powdered milk (both from the pantry) to use for the rest of the week. Love my well stocked pantry!
    *My family really enjoys my lasagna, but it is so time consuming to make. So I came up with an idea to make a simplified pasta bake version, using the cheese layer from my lasagna. I mixed a container of cottage cheese with handfuls of grated cheddar & havarti (normally I use mozzarella, but you can use any mix of grated cheese you’d like), some Parmesan cheese, and dry oregano & garlic powder to taste (feel free to season with your favourite Italian seasonings, fresh or dry). I considered mixing in chopped spinach, but have 1 that doesn’t like veggies. I cooked some fusilli pasta (used whatever pasta you have on hand) and mixed it with a generous helping of pasta sauce. In an oiled rectangular pan, I placed 1/2 the pasta over the bottom of the pan creating the first layer, then carefully scooped and spread the cheese mix over the pasta, before spreading the second half of the pasta over the cheese layer and topping with grated Havarti & Parmesan cheese (again, feel free to use mozzarella). Baked it in the oven until it was bubbly (approximately 30 minutes @ 350C). The family LOVED IT! DD, who has insisted lately she hates pasta, ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day and took it in her lunch. So I thought I’d share the recipe with everyone.
    *Tried a new recipe: leftover mashed potato cheddar ranch cakes (recipe link: https://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/leftover-mashed-potato-cheddar-ranch-cakes-recipe-card/). With our Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, and the American Thanksgiving next month, this is a recipe to keep on hand for those leftover mashed potatoes! Wow, were these good!!! I made a huge batch for dinner, and used the leftovers for breakfast. Admittedly, these are a bit fussy to make, but definitely worth the effort in the end. I have also seen similar recipes that don’t call for cheese, ranch seasoning or sometimes even the egg. So feel free to do a search for mashed potato cake recipes that call for ingredients you already have in your own pantry. They’re delicious!!!!
    *I worked a 7 hour shift on Monday, bringing my total hours for 2 weeks to 21 hours. While at work, I was given free apples and green beans leftover from the weekend event. Both will be preserved to use for winter. Free food and a paycheck! Whoohoo!!!
    *Made rose hip jelly from the rose hip juice I prepared last week. It turned out more like a caramel than a jelly, but tastes a lot like honey with a touch of apple flavour! Super good, but oh so sweet. I canned 9 pints total to add to my pantry.
    *Blanched and froze 4 bunches of broccoli (bought on sale for $0.99/bunch), and the free green beans I received from my work.
    *Divided up a huge package of pepperoni I bought for $10, into 5 meal sized portions and packaged them with my food saver for the freezer. I pay over $5 for a meal sized package normally, so $2/meal is an awesome deal!
    *We had a guest staying over for the weekend. Made 2 loaves of homemade French bread, a plain white and a multigrain, to offer our guest.
    *Tried another attempt at making homemade rice pudding for dessert one night. I didn’t burn it this time! Yay!!!! Also made a double batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for another dessert, as I was craving them. DD’s school is nut free, so these cookies can’t be used in her school lunches. Otherwise, I might be more likely to make’em more often. So good!!!
    *DD had an upper GI scope done this week. Hardest part for her was the scope appointment wasn’t until 1:45 in the afternoon. She was allowed to have her meds, eat a light breakfast and drink water or tea, before 7am, then could not have anything until the procedure was done. Of course they were behind schedule by afternoon. We left the hospital around 4pm, and promptly took her to McDonald’s for dinner. A well deserved treat for handling everything so well! Really proud of her for dealing with this like a trouper!!!! Funniest part of the day was when I went to be with her in recovery. She immediately exclaimed “It felt like I just closed my eyes for a second, then I was here! I don’t know what happened!”. Dr didn’t see anything concerning (which the Dr expected), but took biopsies to run some tests to rule out gluten intolerance, presence of the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, etc. Best part, since we live in Canada, everything is covered under our public health care, with the exception of paying for parking at the hospital. I can’t imagine how hard it would be if we had to pay exuberant amounts of money for this procedure! So incredibly grateful for our health care system!!!!
    *I discovered a YouTube video series called “Struggle Meals”. Frankie Celenza shows how to make very inexpensive meals, $2/serving or less, that are really luxurious in taste. I enjoyed watching this series so much, as they are really inspirational for new budget meal ideas. I’ve even learned some cooking techniques I’m not as familiar with as well!
    Thank you, again, to all of you who share your frugal ideas here. You are all so inspirational to me every single week! Have a wonderful week, everyone.

    1. Rhonda,
      Your pasta dish sounds yummy! I’m going to look up “struggle meals” I always enjoy reading your ideas. You have a wonderful week too!
      Tammy

    2. Rhonda A.,
      When I make lasagne, I don’t boil the noodles ahead of time. Instead, I make up the lasagne with dried pasta. The trick, though, is that you have to do this 16 – 24 hours ahead of time, although I have been reasonably successful with doing it 8 hours ahead in a pinch. The best part is that I can make it up ahead, cover with foil, put in the refrigerator, and then bake the next day. This has always been especially handy when having company. The noodles somewhat soften as they sit overnight. Anyway, a friend showed me this trick years ago and I’ve always made lasagne this way! It turns out just fine. It certainly cuts down on the prep time.

      1. Actually, I don’t cook the lasagna noodles, either. I buy the “oven ready” noodles (same price and package amount as the regular noodles), which work great. But if I make my regular lasagna, I make a meat layer and the cheese layer, which adds prep time, then it takes about an hour to cook in the oven. The baked pasta came together very quickly with having only the cheese layer, and cooked in 1/2 the time!

    3. I’ve made lasagna as well where I don’t cook the noodles in advance but make the dish ahead so it has time to sit in the refrigerator. But most recently I’ve been making it in the crockpot. You still have to layer everything, but the noodles are dry and the slow cooking process makes a perfect dish. It’s a deeper dish lasagna than what I would make in a 9 x 13 dish, but faster.

    4. Rhonda, I don’t buy the special noodles or make the lasagna ahead. We found a “no boil” recipe on the back of a package of regular lasagna noodles — it just has extra liquid in it. No waiting in the frig, no extra cook time and it comes out great, no matter which brand of noodles I use. I haven’t bought wheat pasta in so long I can’t remember the brand, but I am pretty sure it’s Mueller’s pasta that had the recipe. I made lasagna in the crock pot once, but we were late getting home and it was badly overcooked, plus I had to practically chisel it out of the bottom of the crock, so I’ve been wary of trying that again, even though I know it was just that I let it cook too long.

  39. 3 of my 4 kids at home went back to school after harvest break so my grocery bill went down. My youngest son continued to work potato harvest due to an excused extension from school (weather has been cold which has delayed the harvest).
    Had both our septic and furnace cleaned so bills totaled a little over $500.
    Went to my nephew’s wedding (about 5 hrs away). My SIL generously let us stay at her house overnight. Saved us over $200 on motels.
    My daughter went to the wedding too so we got a chance for a quick visit. Had not seen her since July 4.
    My son in NC called. Nice chat.
    Since we live on the border of Canada one local store had turkeys on sale for 99 cents a lb. I bought one and we ate it with all the fixings.
    Bought a few things on a 70% clearance at Riteaid. They are converting to a Walgreens this week, hence the sales.
    My middle son had his senior pictures taken by a good friend of my oldest daughter. She does it as a sidegig and has very reasonable pricing.
    Happy you had a surprise visit from your daughter!!

  40. The photos of your children are wonderful.
    We had our first good frost this morning , last year we had a freeze. We have been working on insulating since we had an energy audit that showed 120 things that needed work. We under estimated the amount of caulking and window foam we needed along with a few other items on the list. Hubby did get some on sale and used his birthday discount at the local hardware store.I have been using our 11% rebates from Menards to pay for what we needed.It’s put us over budget by $500 that will be covered with savings and next month budget budget cut to put that back in savings.

    I filed paperwork with our health ins over a bill they weren’t going to pay that was ordered by my GI. I got notice this morning they paid it and apologized for putting me through the stress over something that should not even been questioned about let alone refused to pay.I was glad I was sitting down when I read the letter.

    I’ve been back to the doctor with the seasonal crud… he really called it that. Just barely an ear infection and my throat was not happy with me (his words) so back on antibiotics and off my biologic. At least this time I caught it before strep throat or bronchitis. Told me to eat the rainbow diet of fruits and veggies and make sure I was drinking tea to help with my allergies. Pick up my Vit D since it’s getting dark sooner.

    I’ve been annoying Hubby with how I do some frugal things and we have been working on getting better routines as we know that will help us stay frugal. Life is fun with a 3rd tricker retires LOL

    We started eating from the pantry, I don’t usually do it solid until Nov but except for dairy and citrus every 10 -14 days and the last of the things needed stocked up , we don’t need anything. WANT oh yeah but NEED not really.

    Blessed be
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/10/annoying-hubby.html

  41. We had a visit from my son, DIL and triplet two almost three year olds. We celebrated their bday and had several family members and made bbq with pork butts.
    MyDIL made a beautiful cake and I had shirts and books with their favorite themes and they were thrilled. It was all like new second things! We ate leftovers for days and had a cookout with marked down hot dogs, afterwards we had a big game of kickball. A perfect weekend with family. They did live 25 hours away and now are eight, so looking forward to more visits. Sent them home with apples and sweet potatoes from my mountain run.

    I made kombucha with all the fixings from my elderberry syrup. I am on my third batch and expect to get a whole lot more from it.

    I have a baby shower at church tomorrow and am bringing tons of arnica salve and my everyday salve which is great for diaper rash. Saw that I need to make more batches for my daughters for Christmas.

    We got rain and more is expected and it has turned cooler. Great weather for my third attempt at planting!

    How exciting to get a surprise visit from Winter, I know everyone must have been thrilled!

    Hope everyone has a lovely week!

    1. Hi Jean, I have been buying arnica creams online for a while now. It never occurred to me to make my own. Would you be able to share your “recipe”? Thanks so much!

  42. That board of pomegranates looks so yummy! I enjoy keeping track of all of our frugal wins (and misses) as it is a great motivator to keep up our hard work of making our money work better for us. This week I had a gala to attend for work. The tickets were purchased by my employer. I mentioned to my mom that I didn’t have anything to wear and she mentioned my aunt had given her a bag of clothes. She brought the bag over and I found a long black dress that fit perfectly. I looked online to see the retail value of the dress and it sells for $120. It was clearly only worn a few times. I stopped at the Paper Store to look for a necklace to go with it and found one on the clearance rack that rang up for 4.25!

    A few other frugal things: I was gifted a bag of clothes for my boys. I cashed in a reward on Ibotta to purchase 2 new sheet pans on Amazon. I used a combo of coupons and rewards to get a free bottle of hair color at the drugstore. We renegotiated our cable and internet bill saving $100 a month. We watched a couple of Redbox movies for free. Not frugal: my husband and I had a date night that we went over budget on. I’ll give us some grace as we had not been out on a date night in a few months. We’ll plan better for next time!

    1. Great score on the dress! I hate buying fancy clothes that I will only wear once a year at the most! Most of the time we are pretty casual around here.

  43. A surprise visit from your college student is the best! I always thought my kids had changed and grown so much each time they would come home. I think that was as important as the education they were getting. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were cheeseburgers with macaroni and peas, pork loin with corn on the cob, shrimp scampi with pasta, leftovers, fried eggs with bacon and biscuits, pan-seared salmon with baked potatoes and tossed salad.
    *Used foundation samples all week. There were a variety of shades, so I would mix the lightest with the darkest each day, as I have a medium skin tone.
    *Cut open the toothpaste and got several days more out of it.
    *Bought 5 Kraft salad dressings for .99 each at Kroger. Also bought a huge bag of candy (stocking up for our church’s trunk or treat) that was a good deal and also had a peel-off coupon for an extra $1 off.
    *Stocked up at Dollar Tree on a decongestant that I use as well as shaving cream, toothpaste and mouthwash.
    *Attended a birthday party for a friend that had a barbecue dinner along with a live band and dancing. So fun!
    *Scheduled 3 appts in one day to save on gas.
    *Sent a birthday card from my stash.
    *Sent my 2 young nephews sticker books from the Dollar Tree and wrapped them using paper and ribbon I already had.
    *Walked 2 days with different friends for free fellowship and exercise.

  44. A few things:

    Found “84 Himalayan sea salt 1lb bags” and ” Zulka pure cane sugar – . non bone char – 2 lb bags” for $1.00 at Dollar Tree. Bought 4 of the salt and 12 of the sugar. That will do us for a long time.

    Went to my used book store and found amazing cookbooks for $1.00. Some are collector items and some are just fun. I read cookbooks like novels. I also found a lot of HB novels for $2.00, paperbacks for $1.00 and some interesting decorating books for $1.00. The woman working there is someone I’ve talked to over the years. She had a couple of boxes of her own items and just gave them to me. Some I will take with me on our next long trip.

    I stopped by my favorite thrift store and bought a two piece light weight summer pant suit for $1.50, a couple pairs of crops for 50c..

    Cousins dropped by wonderful organic produce – tomatoes, onions, garlic, corn, squash. I am going to put up some of the corn and we ate a lot of it, including some corn chowder that will be a definite repeat recipe. Potatoes for 99c for 5lb, three pounds of broccoli for 1.00 (I froze it) and have been eating from our freezer.

  45. My mother’s phone broke and we switched her from Verizon (with my husband) to my Cricket service. They offered a free phone with the switch and the change will save us $90 a month. In a few months when my husband’s contract is up he will switch too, dropping our bill by another $90.

    Spent the weekend in Miami as my husband had class. Went to the Fruit and Nut park and my husband asked if there was a military discount – there wasn’t but he admitted us both for a single fare instead. Took the opportunity to check out Trader Joe’s. Bought a few needed /wanted items, but the bill was under $20. Husband was impressed with the options and the lower cost than where he currently shops when he’s in Key Largo.

    Wandered around the mall and checked out a Tesla. Fun couple of hours and we didn’t buy anything but lunch and we split that. Had drinks and dinner at the Biltmore after the restaurant we wanted to attend couldn’t serve me due to my allergies. Lucky break on my end. The meal was fabulous, there was free parking, and there was a wedding going on the patio so we got to hear the band and dance a bit on the terrace. Quite romantic.

  46. How lovely Winter came for a surprise visit! We had a relaxing and fun week. The highlight was the women’s conference at church with some beautiful testimonies. We did get some fun goodies to take home between the gift bag and door prizes. I’ve been trying to use up stuff from the freezer and clean out the pantry with items I can’t eat anymore. I’m packing them up for my daughter who is moving into an apartment from the dorm in a couple of weeks. My younger daughter and I made some curtains to cover shelves out of a sheet we purchased at Walmart, which was cheaper than the curtains we found. We did some prepping for winter with cleaning up around the property, cutting wood, and bringing in the houseplants. The biggest money saver from last week was doing very minimal grocery and household shopping as it was a heavy bill payment week. We were also able to remove the window air conditioners and ended up having a fire in the wood stove a few mornings so I’m enjoying the fall weather! More details on my blog here: https://www.cozyhomemaking.com/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-october-6-12-2019/

  47. It’s getting cool here in New England. We heat with wood and have ordered a new wood stove – but the company we purchased it from can’t install it until 11/6. Have never gone that long into the season without firing up the stove, this will be a few interesting weeks. I dragged a space heater out from storage for our great room (kitchen and living area combined) and rigged up an old blanket onto a tension bar with old shower hooks to go across the doorway from the kitchen/living area into the hallway. So now we are able to keep our main living area warm. I am also trying to use the oven more for roasts and pies to add to the warmth of the living area.
    I have been mildly sick with some kind of ick that has been going around at work. I have been too tired after work to do any shopping so this has been saving me money 🙂
    Hope everyone has a great weekend !

  48. We returned last evening from our trip to Maui to see one of our daughters. I posted a lot of pictures, plus how we stayed as frugal as we could in such an expensive place. http://beckyathome.com

    I feel really happy about the trip. By doing several simple things, we stayed within budget, and we had as much fun as we possibly could have. I went into more detail about how we had a lot of fun on a budget on my blog, but here’s the short version:
    1. We set a budget that was realistic for the area we were visiting and stuck to it.
    2. We cooked our meals, except for one evening when we ate out for dinner, and a couple of times when we bought snacks. We packed food for our excursions and stuffed the really perishable things into a tiny lunchbox cooler our daughter had there. We went with minimal perishables:).
    3. We took a small amount of food with us in our carry-on bags, including a 2-lb brick of cheese.
    4. We booked plane tickets during less expensive travel times.
    5. We saved every penny possible and cut back on many things for several months to save for this trip. We took back bottles and cans I collected from the campground we stayed at in August (amazing what people threw away there), saved money that was given to us for birthdays, worked extra hours when they were available for a short time, and many other things. We were given several gifts by friends and relatives to help us get there, starting with our daughter who sent us 2 plane tickets for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.(we needed another one for our youngest daughter and my aunt bought her own–what a sweet gift!) . We did not use credit cards for this trip, except the few things that had to be paid that way and we have the money set aside to pay those when the bills come.
    6. We chose our activities carefully. There were way more things to do than we had time for. We chose the one that were less expensive. Even though several cost a little money, lots were free and we just did not choose the ones that were expensive like helicopter tours, a guided pineapple tour for $65 (????–we still can’t figure out what they could do in a pineapple field for that much money!), horseback rides, parasailing, boat rides, ferry rides to nearby islands, or any of the other many choices that were offered.

    We had so much fun and made many memories. We also got our daughter packed up in preparation of her move back to Oregon in 2 weeks. We brought 3 huge suitcases back with us on the plane, saving hundreds of dollars. We mailed a couple of boxes for her, and she will bring the rest in a couple of weeks. Thankfully, she was well-organized and did well with the picking and choosing that was necessary for such a move.

    I know everyone is different in their thinking, but for me, the trip was much more enjoyable because we stayed within budget. Although by many people’s standards, our budget was low, it was enough for us to have a great time. We spent money on some treats like the Shave Ice we got for our daughter, a visit to a national park, and splurged on one dinner out at a restaurant one night. We drove to many parts of the island. and got to see so many things. We never did see turtles, although we drove all over the island looking for them. We spent lots of time with our daughter and saw both places she works at. I have so many good memories..

  49. I am not going to make it to the InDesign course due to illness. I have been looking for online courses
    about InDesign. Some of the udemy courses are deeply discounted online now. just in case anyone is interested…

  50. Brandy, you have such a gifted eye for photography! It was wonderful seeing Winter…the earlier photos of her in clothes she made really struck me. I am constantly impressed by all you do. I raised nine children, was constantly busy and trying to be frugal, but I am amazed at everyone here and what they do. Now that my husband is back from a year in DC (which entailed travel for me and benefits we no longer receive), the household bills that had plummeted due to it only being me here and me being gone a lot have started to climb back up. Doing one load of laundry as compared to five plus a week since son in police academy is living at home for a year, along with more lights on and water being used has me looking for extra ways to save. I had unplugged one of the big freezers and the outside frig, but they are both up and running again. The good thing is that I can see what is in the freezers again and am busy using up things that have been in there for a year. Admittedly, since it was just me, I ate out a lot more frequently. Hubby had a two burner stove and microwave in his DC residence and is thrilled to have oven baked and home cooked meals he doesn’t have to make in a skillet. I have been focusing on using up what I have on hand, then re-evaluating stocking up. Going from seven people to one then back to three is a challenge and I have to learn to cook smaller portions, even with freezing some. I bought two rotisserie chickens at Costco (which we love), pulled the leftover meat off, shredded it with a hand mixer (really does work!) and combined with taco seasoning from Aldi’s (had on hand from another recipe my kids never made) and leftover salsa. Froze this to be used in burritos and enchiladas. Pulled what was left of my neglected garden this year. Chopped and froze the parsley, sliced and chopped peppers and froze for chili and fajitas during the winter, canned five jars of pickled jalapeños, made up three quarts of refrigerator pickles, and salvaged some tomatoes. As I was pulling the rest for the landfill, I noticed onions I had forgotten. I pulled those that were popping out of the ground and left those in that weren’t as they were growing green tops, which we love and can be used until it freezes. I will pull before the first big freeze. All that is left is the fennel going to seed, the rosemary and the oregano. Small garden this year. Our youngest daughter is getting married this Saturday. In preparation for all the siblings and their SO arriving and staying here, we have borrowed mattresses from friends. We have sheets but many of the kids took their beds with them. We have also been rushing to clean up the outside (with hubby being away a year, I could only keep up so much and he is a lawn man and takes pride in how it looks…poor guy, he must have swallowed his tongue when he saw the weeds and crabgrass that had crept in) and moving rooms around to allow for extra beds (they had become different rooms like an office, catch all room, sewing room, etc.) As I was going through an old dresser I found some envelopes and card stock we never used for our oldest daughter’s invites last year so I returned them and ended up with about $40 on store cards. Used my Kohls cash, coupons and rewards and bought hubby some much needed long sleeve polo, thermal and casual shirts. His all have holes in them and he can once again wear polos for work (this past year was a suit everyday). Ended up spending less than $11 on each shirt. He is tall, not wide, but not skinny either. I finally bit the bullet and went shopping for a mother of the bride dress. I am short and proportionately plump…hard to find dresses. The last two of my children’s weddings, I lucked out with the perfect dress for each at JCPenney. And the price was right with my coupons. My daughter did not want me to get the dress for her wedding there, but as luck would have it, it was the perfect dress again. Of course, I didn’t tell her…just took a photo and sent it to her and she loved it! That’s all that matters. Found the perfect shoes clunky heel, not close toed and not sandals…kind of like the old time pumps…the only pair of dress shoes I own killed my feet the last two weddings and I just couldn’t do that again), shawl (since it will be in the 50s and is outdoors) and clutch at Lord and Taylor. Opened a store card and got 45% off. Went back, after checking out other stores for a dress to get the one at Penneys. It was $140.00. I had a coupon for 20% off. My friend and I looked at each other when she said $28.61. I thought…that sounds like the discount. I repeated it and looked at the machine. When we walked away, we looked at the receipt and it turns out the dress was on clearance, which was a discount of $101! Then the coupon, so before tax it was slightly over $26.00!!!! This will be a story to tell in a couple of years! Daughter came over to borrow our luggage for their honeymoon in Europe (all paid up as is all the wedding…she has done a great job). As I was moving my closet around I moved the vintage clothes I am taking to Chicago to sell and found a black faux fur, high-end jacket. Too small for me, but perfect for the mother of the groom. She loved it and wants to buy it after the wedding. The shoes, clutch and shawl will be well used over the next couple of years. One son married next August, one son the end of next year and one son the following June. Then there are three after that if they decide to marry, along with other events. Sorry this is so long, but I am so excited to join this group and their frugal journey. I have commented but only written my own once before. Prayers for all who need it.

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