April arrangement 2 closeup The Prudent Homemaker

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I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy in the house several times during the week.

I harvested hibiscus flowers, Meyer lemons, snow peas, lettuce, spinach, parsley, Swiss chard, green onions, and garlic chives from my garden.

I dried a large batch of parsley to use throughout the year. After picking it, I simply wash it and leave it out to dry on a cooling rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet. Once it’s done drying, I crumble the leaves, remove the stems, and put the leaves in a container.

I dried lemon zests and froze lemon juice to use throughout the year.

Peonies and Rose The Prudent Homemaker

I watched an episode of “Call the Midwife” for free on Pbs.org.

I watched a free webinar, learning what I could from it. I didn’t purchase the product after watching the class.

We went to the library.

Picnic in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I mended a hole in a pair of shorts.

We enjoyed having the windows open during the week to cool the house and air it out.

My son needed a new pair of glasses. I purchased them from Zenni Optical, going through Ebates first to earn cash back. Since I was logging in through my new computer, the site didn’t recognize me as an existing customer and offered me a 10% off coupon. I wrote down the code and logged in to my account. When I went to place my order, I decided to see if the code would still work. It did. I chose the slowest shipping ($4.95) and still received his new glasses on Saturday (after ordering on Monday).  Total cost for a new pair of prescription glasses, including shipping, was $13.91. I’ll also get a small percentage back from Ebates as well! I just checked, and Zenni has a refer a friend program; if you’re new to the site you can use this link to get $5 off your order. Plus, you can refer a friend and they will give you $5 as well! 

My husband gave himself a haircut.

I stocked up on strawberries for $0.99 a pound and bone-in chicken at $0.77 a pound. These are rock-bottom prices here and were part of my grocery plans for the month. I froze the chicken and cut and froze strawberries to use throughout the year.

 April Arrangement Closeup The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?


April 22nd is a special day for me as it is the day my husband (officially) proposed. I wrote about it in a post 6 years ago entitled: My Husband is So Frugal He Proposed With a Coupon

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  1. We are trying to be more stringent about not wasting food. We also have been eatting out of our freezer & pantry to cut down on having to go grocery shopping.

  2. I reserved my next book club book at the library.
    I used some iron on patches to mend my kids’ bedspread.
    I took advantage of spring weather to turn off the heat pump most of each day this week, and also opened blinds to let in light for free.

  3. We’ve taken advantage of the park on warm days. We played croquet and catch. We’ve kicked around soccer balls and went for walks.
    My son played Pokemon go while outside.
    I baked bread.
    I cooked most of our meals at home.
    I made some chickpeas.
    I used up food in fridge.
    I line dried the laundry instead of using the dryer.
    I left the windows open to let in air.
    We met the neighbours for a playdate.
    My friend gave me some chocolate so I wouldn’t buy a candy bar and ruin my diet.
    A coworker made coffee and gave me a cup.
    My son brought some books home from the library.
    We are still going without cable after several years. Youtube is enough to entertain us.
    I gave myself a facial, body scrub, manicure, and pedicure instead of heading to the spa.
    I did some work online instead of using paper.

  4. I am always inspired and uplifted by your posts. I am entering an uncertain time. For health reason, I may not be able to continue my current work position. I have decided to try and live as if we don’t have my income. This won’t be easy. I make about 30% more per month than my husband, so it will be cutting our income substantially. We already try to save a lot each month, so it may not be as bad as it sounds. There are areas of our lifestyle that can easily be cut without much pain, but I think we need to practice a bare bones budget for the future. I will also look for alternative income streams.

    Thank you for all that you do.


  5. I’m curious, Brandi, when you “stock up” on strawberries, how many pounds do you end up buying?

    This has been a good week. I got over $65 Just from selling 3 little things on eBay that I not only wasn’t using, but actually had forgotten that I had! It was nice to declutter and make money at the same time! eBay had a promo going with no-fee listings so I took advantage of that and by paying for the mailing cost through them, they give a discount on the actual shipping charge and I can prepay and print my shipping label at home! I just drop it off at the post office and they even automatically send the tracking info to the buyer!!! Easy-peasy!!

    My favorite nursery had their 4 pack veggie plants for 89 cents so even though sowing my own seeds would be cheaper (and I will do that too), this will speed up my time waiting for first harvest so I feel like it was worth it!
    I planted broccoli, cabbage, two varieties of kale, Romaine lettuce and red onions.
    I also bought a thornless blackberry bush and added that to the 20 foot raised bed that we built last fall. It previously only ad a goji Berry bush anchoring each end. My blackberry bush is almost in the middle of the bed and I read that it might like something to climb on. I found a wrought iron open pavilion kind of thing that fit directly around my blackberry bush and looks quite decorative! The “pavilion-cage” (whatever it should be called) was one we rescued from the alley that was set to be tossed out by a neighbor! We didn’t “dumpster dive”

  6. Long time reader, first time posting my frugal accomplishments, here goes!

    Spring has finally arrived here in the UK and we’ve had temperatures in the high 60s which is very good for us. I’ve divided hostas in the garden to fill out my flower bed, repurposed an old wooden sandpit into a raised bed and will be planting spinach, lettuce and rocket in there later today. I unpacked my summer clothes and packed away my winter jumpers and cardigans so I feel like I’ve suddenly got a new clothing wardrobe – hoping the creases will fall out soon so I don’t have to iron too much!

    I shop online for groceries – I budget better this way – and decided to try and shave my budget down a little so I can top up at the Lidl next to where my son practices his American Football on Sunday to save on fuel. My food and household budget for 4 – me, husband and 2 athletic sons aged 16 and 14 is £80 per week – around $113 I think according to Google

  7. How wonderful you saved so much on eyeglasses. Your photos are beautiful. Thank you for ideas on frugal things. Here are a few ways of frugal accomplishment this past week.
    . Brought eye if round roast for 1.99 b. Limit 1. My family went in store several times that day to stock up. These will be cut up and made into several meals.
    . Found eggs .99 dozen Meier’s ..bought several. These prices had jumped with egg recall out here.
    . Able to get Free items offered at Jewel grocery. Free cashews in a can. Free coffee pods.
    . Used our carpet cleaner to clean carpets at home.
    Washed rugs carefully that I wasn’t sure would go in machine. Turned out great.
    . Made scones..muffins…bread this past week.
    . Deep cleaned n organized linen closet and several spots in kitchen. This will make things flow better.
    . Found a large wreath at thrift $3. Will use for spring front porch.
    . Let fresh warm air through the house .

  8. Beautiful flowers. I love the arrangement of them.

    In some ways I feel like this was an unfrugal week but I’m trying to focus on the positive and do better in the week to come.

    We put together another raised bed. Although the upfront cost was high for the wood and soil, I plan on growing a lot of flowers and veggies so saving money in the long run.

    We renovated our bathroom a few months ago. When my husband took the toilet out it dropped and chipped the tile. We didn’t have a spare tile to replace (and it is an unusual color). My mom bought some paint from Hobby Lobby and for under $2 she was able to paint the tile to match. Unless you know the crack was there, you don’t notice.

    I put some books and a dvd on hold at the library. I picked them all up at the same time (they had come in on staggered days).

    I had my emissions done for $15. Most places are $20-25. During that same outing I went to the nursery. They were running a 20% off sale so I picked up some herbs.

    I cooked corn on the cob one night and saved the water for my garden. It’s supposed to rain the next 3 days so I’m saving on water costs.

    I brought some iris buds in to flower inside. They make me happy whenever I look at them.

    My mom and I had an afternoon tea using my grandmother’s China. I made cream scones using frozen whipping cream. It was a fun and frugal afternoon activity.

  9. Love your flowers. I’ve decided to have more cut flowers and have found a flower frog and florist foam for 25 cents each. I used to always have flowers from the garden but, in the past couple years, it just made me more sad. I’m ready now, and the beauty of your flowers is such an inspiration.

    This week, I found a few cents on the ground and added it to my piggybank, managed not to buy sweets when anxious (a huge success both health and money wise!!!), asked a friend to save boxes so I can start a garden, made a salad dressing from leftover salsa and olive oil mayo I accidently froze, and saved the glass salsa jar for storing foods.

    My daughter broke her strand of pearls at Mom’s brunch and I took them in to be restrung before graduation. Because they are graduated and have fewer knots to tie, they are 60% less to restring than mine were just last fall. We planned to buy her a matching pair of pearl earrings for graduation as I only had one pair and didn’t want to pass them down ( we gave our daughter one strand of family pearls for her 21st birthday). I was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough money with the restringing costs; however, the lower cost plus a sale next week on the earrings make the cost just a little over what I have budgeted. Wow!

    The really big news is…

    1. My parents are giving us the piece of property with a barn, roadway and pasture adjacent to ours. Now we can move along here at camp with our self-sufficiency plans.

    2. We found a place to rent back home that fits all our needs! We are still saving up to buy a place; however this will suffice until we can. Finally, stability!!!

    God is always good! Happy frugal-ing!

  10. We did a house exchange in England 2 years ago and I really enjoyed shopping at Lidl-great prices compared to the regular grocery stores there. I cannot say we have had a frugal week as we bought new tires for the car. I will be driving 11 hrs each way this week through the mountains, which can still be snowy at this time of year, to pick up my daughter and her gear from uni. Yesterday we had a quiet celebration at home for my DH’s 65th birthday-BBQ’d steak as a treat, went for a bike ride and to a second hand book sale. Last week I worked 24 hrs ( I am retired) so that should pay for extra gas and tires.

  11. While recovering, andstaying with my friend, I noticed that when she cooks veggies, she saves the cooking water in the fridge so has no need to make or buy vegetable broth. She just pours in the 2 or three jars she’s saved to make soup. It doesn’t work for me because I steam my veggies. She doesn’t have water saving showerheads etc. but flushes her toilets with grey water from her kitchen sink. I have very little grey water because I have a very low-water-using dishwasher which uses less than if I washed them myself. She is using the habits of water-saving practices in arid areas.

    Brandy, I’m enjoying your flower and veggie photos. I still have 3 feet of snow on my garden. I am eating all of frozen blueberries and sour cherries I froze last fall. So good. I’m looking forward to enjoying fresh asparagus when the snow goes. I buy it to support the local grower as it traditionally haas not been grown locally. With our cool nights, it is sweeter than some. I am hoping that the 22 Itoh peony plants I bought 2 years ago for $2 each ( usually $80 each) will have survived our brutal winter and will all bloom successively and concurrently to form a mass of blooms. If that happens I will try to sell some of the blossoms to a florist.

  12. What beautiful flowers! And what a wonderful picnic lunch to have with such good company!

    You are always an inspiration. Thank you Brandy.

    Andrea from Canada

  13. Brandy, with your eye for beauty and arrangement, I could seriously see you as a floral designer once your children are all grown. Your creations are always so lovely. Gifted and bought plants were planted this week, and asparagus, parsley and oregano harvested. We have a broody hen sitting on 11 eggs, and are hoping to have little chicks in a couple of weeks. I made a cake using Meyer lemons I’d picked up at Aldi’s, and am considering trying to start one from the seeds. I had great luck with doing it with regular lemon seeds, so am thinking it’s worth a try. I’m thankful for you, and all the commenters, for such an uplifting place to visit. Joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/04/flowers-fair-frugal-accomplishments.html

  14. I love afternoon tea! Before they passed away, my mom and my sister and I used to get together every week for tea. The tradition of tea has passed down to our daughters, but unfortunately we are not able to get together that often. But every year, my daughter and I have a mother-daughter weekend and we to pick a city that has a good afternoon tea place.

  15. The flowers are so beautiful. And a great score on the glasses! I love the pair I got from Zenni.
    I’m hoping we’ll get strawberries at that price — I’m watching.
    I cut daffodils from the yard for an arrangement in the house.
    We enjoyed salads made with lettuce and arugula from the greenhouse.
    I planted carrots, parsnips, radishes, collards, and English peas under plastic in the raised beds, and more lettuce and arugula in the cold frame. The day after I planted we had almost a foot of snow (and the next day it was mostly melted) so I shoveled some snow into the cold frame and the hoop house. As the snow melts it will keep the seeds moist and help them germinate.
    I washed all our ski clothes and gear and stored them away for the season. (Frugal because not taking care of this kind of thing is expensive and wasteful.)
    I baked bread, pizza dough, and cookies (chocolate chip-coconut to use up coconut left over from Easter.)
    I mended a pair of jeans and a pair of pajama bottoms, finished the baby quilt for my niece, and worked on the quilt for our bed.
    I watched Call the Midwife online, we listened to baseball games on the radio, and my husband and I read library books (both print and ebooks) for entertainment this week.

  16. I love your flower arrangements, and the picture of the kids is priceless. What fun they are having!

    Our week was filled with returning from Washington D.C., getting a lot of groceries from 3 different stores, and spending some time with friends by going to the beach for a day.

    I have been posting about our trip, mostly in an effort to get it all down quickly before I forget any of it. I don’t plan to be back there any time soon, and I want to cement the memories in my mind.

    We saved on the beach day by taking the smaller car, and packing food. So, we only had to pay for gas and then we did ice cream at Dairy Queen on the way home. I have pictures on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/weekly-update-and-saving-money-april-22-2018/

    Then I had 3 appointments in 2 days once I returned, a friend staying for the weekend, and so I plan to use this upcoming week to get school rolling once again, and get this house whipped into shape. We did get the lawn mowed and a small amount of yard work done. It’s been too wet and soggy to work outside, but this week promises to be good for that. I loved my trip, but I really love to be home, so I’m looking forward to all my activities for the coming week.

  17. Brandy, your flower arrangements are beautiful! So are your children!

    Here are my frugal accomplishments:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • We had cooler weather than normal here too, so we were able to open the windows for part of the day.
    • Walked for exercise 4 times.
    • Sent a get well card I had received free from a charity to a friend who had rotator cuff surgery.
    • Daughter had a conference this week in town. I went down there for a day and spent the night with her. It is held in a 5-star hotel, so that is a nice treat. This is the company I used to work full time for and still do contract work for, so it was nice to visit with some co-workers who live out of town. Received free lunch, dinner, drinks and dessert and 3 cookies (individually wrapped.) Hubby stayed home and had a jar of pintos and jalapenos I had canned.
    • I was reading Brandy’s site and found the page about Operation Christmas Smile and it inspired me to do a few of my own. I already have 3 shoe boxes and had combs, lip balm, pencils and pens on hand. At the conference I picked up some promotional items from some of the sponsors including travel cups, sunglasses, and bracelets.
    • Daughter collected all the daily toiletries from the hotel for me. Also took the tea bags and coffee out of the room. I didn’t mean to, but I forgot my toothbrush and toothpaste. The front desk gave me these for free.
    • We need window coverings on all our windows. The windows didn’t have trim (very common in the Southwest) but I like the look, so Hubby is trimming out the windows himself before we buy the blinds. I am so grateful to have a husband who can do everything himself. I can count on 1 hand the number of times over the last 36 years how many times we have had to pay anyone to do anything around the house or on the cars. And the bonus is that he actually enjoys doing it!
    • Resisted the urge to drive thru a fast food place and ate at home instead.
    • Ate in every day but Monday (as mentioned above) and Tuesday, our trivia league night and there I had the $6 Tacos. Dinners included steak, baked potato & zucchini (twice); grilled chicken with spaghetti & sauce; grilled pork chops, baked potatoes & spaghetti squash; and smoked sausage links, au gratin potatoes & green beans. All of the ingredients were from my freezer or pantry or fridge.
    • Sewed buttons onto 2 pajama tops, fixed the hooks on 2 bras and sewed up a seam that had come undone on a pair of yoga pants.
    • Got a great deal on coffee. It was on sale for $3.99 if you bought 5. I had a $1.25 off coupon for one of them, and a store coupon of $1 off if you spent at least $5. It is a brand I really like too. I immediately put the 5 bags in the freezer where it will keep forever. Also got 4 cans green beans for 29c / can, 2 # of strawberries for 77c/lb., a 6 pack of paper towels, regularly $7.99 for $2.50 and 6 packages of cheddar little smokies for 50% off. I froze those right away too.
    • Hubby brought his lunch to work 4 times and I brought mine the 2 days I was in the office.

    Have a wonderful, frugal week everyone!

  18. My Mom said that “peonies are a sign of a settled neighborhood.” Once they settle in, they are there for ages! I hope yours come back. I think florists charge a lot for them. If that doesn’t work, you might check with a church or venue that has spring events, such as weddings, showers, etc. If you can predict when they will be in bloom, you could provide them directly to the customers. Or offer your yard for a photographer to use for backdrops. I would buy them from a Farmer’s Market or post on a facebook group.

  19. [i]Hi Brandy, I just wanted to say that I love the pictures you’ve been posting on your Instagram! I’ve been blogging my frugal accomplishments each day at my blog, but here are a few highlights from this week:
    1. I’ve been working on the Spring cleaning at home. This is taking a long time to get done with two small children and a cat underfoot and making more messes as I clean, but it’s getting done, bit by bit.
    2. Our Roomba vacuum was having issues charging and I was so frustrated with the constant mess on the floors that I was ready to go purchase a new one at a price tag of over $300. My husband talked me down from this impulse purchase by suggesting that we try replacing the battery, which would only cost around $30. It turns out that did the trick and I’m now enjoying delightful clean floors.
    3. I picked up several things from members of my Buy Nothing Group, including some brand new Care Bears for my kids and feminine hygiene products for myself.
    4. I downloaded two free digital audio books from the library. I like to listen to these while I am doing boring housework.
    5. I made a huge batch of washing soda from baking soda in my toaster oven using Penniless Parenting’s method. I use washing soda instead of dishwasher detergent in our dishwasher. I purchased my baking soda in bulk from Costco, which has the cheapest price I’ve been able to find for baking soda.
    6. I have been unsubscribing from spam emails, thanks to your inspiration, Brandy! I often find myself desiring products I see in these emails, even though they are things I don’t need.
    7. I redeemed several free coupons for various items, including a chicken sandwich, a box of pasta, a candy bar, and a bag of chips.[/i]

  20. Peonies are one of my favorite flowers, so I especially enjoyed this beautiful arrangement, Brandy.

    Although I have a turkey in the freezer, I have been stretching my remaining food to last until Monday, when I have more cash. That way, the turkey will be there for a special occasion or a greater need. So, I have made chicken broth, using the carcass from a chicken i roasted a few days ago and one from the freezer, to make chicken stock. I used carrots give me in the fall, and onions bought in bulk on sale to make the broth with, too. I’ve cooked orzo pasta in it and will be making chicken soup for several meals. I scraped the last chicken off the carcasses after making the broth and the two cats and i will be sharing that mixed with some rice until I can buy cat food tomorrow too. I’ve also made some oatmeal cookies and some pancakes. I still have an egg or two left, which taste good with some stir fried vegetables and brown rice.

    I am reading a library book to prepare for my book club meeting on Tuesday evening.

    This week has seemed long and a bit discouraging, but I am just trying to put one foot in front of the other. The smell of chicken stock simmering was good for my mood. We have had some warmer weather, so a lot of snow has melted, and I was able to open the window one afternoon this week, which is always good for morale.

  21. The flower arrangement is beautiful!

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    I gave my husband a haircut.

    I colored my hair myself.

    We went out to eat using a gift card.

    We borrowed books and dvds from the library.

    I bought two like-new tops for $2.00 each at the thrift store on their half-price day. I can wear them both to work and since losing weight I’ve been in need of new clothing.

  22. I made mulberry cobbler, with my frozen mulberries. My tree is full of new berries, and I think they will start ripening in early May, so I need to clear out my little freezer (the kind on top of a refrigerator) of all the mulberries from last year. I cooked up all my chicken that I had in the freezer. I had purchased it for 49 cents a lb. I made a variety of chicken dishes. I cut off a pair of blue jeans to make shorts. I am hoping to not have to buy any summer clothes. I walked at the local park by the river. Because of the recent rains, the flooding on low lying areas prevented me from walking everywhere I normally walk, but it was great to see the trees in full bloom. It will be in the 70’s here all next week, so no air and no heat…that is a blessing. I just sat in my backyard, and enjoyed looking at all the birds, wild flowers, and the trees in this beautiful weather.

  23. I have recently discovered your blog. I have been referred to as frugal by friends even though my husband makes a very good living. We are of a “certain age” and we were just raised to want not/waste not by the generation of the depression. I don’t even think of our choices as frugal, just sensible and normal and being good stewards of the resources we’ve been blessed with. I like reading all the comments for ideas. This week I lined dried our bed linens as I always do since it’s sunny where we live. For a dinner party I made home made bread and salad dressing and served raspberry sorbet with homemade strawberry jam. I mended some small tears in the corners of our fitted bed sheets. I gave myself a mani-pedi instead of going to the shop. I sewed slipcovers for the arms of our 25 yr old wing chair that we recently had reupholstered. Read the book I checked out from the library and magazines I paid 25 cents for from the library resale store. I took all my old magazines to my mom’s nursing home and when I grocery shopped I bought only the items on my list plus a candy bar for my mom.

  24. The strawberry price in your area is better than here in GA! They are currently $1.50 per pound at Kroger, and I thought that was pretty good. The strawberries are from CA and are very large! Maybe the prices are a little bit higher here in GA, since they have to travel farther than where you live in NV? I too am stocking up by cutting and freezing them.

    Your children are beautiful and quite photogenic! I am glad they were able to enjoy some time outdoors in your lovely garden, before your temperatures are much warmer.

    My frugal accomplishments this week were sticking to my usual plan of making my grocery lists based upon sales + coupons. I also saved $1 per gallon of gas at Kroger, using my points that have been saved up. My total cost for 12 gallons of gas was $19.96, which is good, considering that gas prices in my area of GA are $2.64 per gallon as of Saturday night (April 21).

    My husband and I are having a date night tonight (Sunday) by attending a marriage/parenting program at our church. We had thought about going to a restaurant for dinner afterwards, since we rarely eat out, but I decided to instead have our meal at home because 1) it will cost much less, 2) I prefer to cook…not only to save money, but also to ensure we are eating healthy ingredients that will make us feel good, and 3) I want our son to eat well, too! Therefore, I am satisfied with the church program being our “date”.

  25. They are on sale at a few different stores this week here for $1.25. Some years that is the lowest price. I look for the .99/.97 a pound price in April and then I get as many as I can.

    Transportation costs do result in higher prices. The strawberries here are coming from California.

  26. I was invited to a Mennonite short-dated food sale and picked up some bulk groceries, including 25# of pepperoni slices for $25. (!) I’m selling several pounds to friends and family to recoup my costs, then freezing some, and canning the rest, which is a new experience for me, but seems to work out well. I also got a case (48) of yogurt for $1. We’ll eat some, then I’ll freeze the rest before they go off for smoothies this summer. I also got single serving packs of P3-snacks of cheese cubes, meat, and cashews, (10 cents each) which make great toppings for main dish salads.

    I also bartered homemade lotions for 10# of grass-fed hamburger…we both felt like we got the better end of the deal (but I think I did!)

    I was able to use the chives in my herb garden, after a late spring, and air my quilts, blankets, and bedding on my clotheslines. I also walked to do some errands instead of taking the car.

    Finances will be tight the next few months, so I’m looking for ways to watch every penny.

  27. I was so lucky to get two boxes of cereal for $0.50 each after coupon.
    Also I buy tortillas that are raw… usually $1.69 for 12…they were $0.89 because of nearing expiration date.
    Shopped the store ads for food this week…as usual
    Ate all but 2 meals at home…one was date with the hubby.
    Trying to make a gas tank last longer than a week.

  28. What a beautiful flower arrangement, Brandy. Your photos are just so lovely. Is that your youngest daughter in the picture? She is getting so big!

    Though life is still rather crazy around our house, the school situation is improving slightly. I’m still a tad overwhelmed as I will be returning to work on April 30th. I only have this week to get some things organized before returning, I’m having some anxiety over DD with the school situation, and I sure hope the weather improves for when we start cleaning up the historic buildings (specifically warmer temps and less muddy ground). Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly when I return to work! This week, our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included pasta with choice of red or white sauce, crock pot meatballs in gravy with mashed potatoes and corn, “make your own” pizza, beef French dip sandwiches with coleslaw, chicken breasts baked smothered in cheddar cheese soup with mashed potatoes, broccoli and mini pastries (from the freezer) for dessert, and breaded fish with herb roasted potato chunks, leftover corn and the last of the coleslaw.
    *Pulled out a chocolate cake mix and a container of whipped chocolate icing from pantry and baked up 24 iced cupcakes. Used them for DDs school lunches and dessert for several nights this week.
    *I pulled out some frozen hummus and cold meat, that I had bought on sale a while ago, for DD to use in her school lunches this coming week.
    *Cooked a couple batches of hard boiled eggs this week. We keep them in the fridge for a quick and frugal breakfast item and/or lunch time option.
    *Picked up some great pantry restock deals this week, including 3 bags of penne pasta for $0.75/900g [2lbs] bag (could have bought more, but we already had lots in pantry), 2 bottles of Kraft BBQ sauce for $0.88/bottle, 2 baguettes marked down to $0.75/baguette (for making beef French dip sandwiches), 8 packages of bacon for $2/pack, a brick of pitted dates for $2.88 (regular price was around $3.50), 2 bags of frozen unbaked mini pastries for $1.99/bag (over 2 dozen pastries per bag), 8 bunches of fresh broccoli for $.97/bunch, a 6 lb bag of apples for $3.97, and 6 cucumbers for $0.50/cucumber.
    *Hubby and I had a free date night playing Bingo this week. My MIL gave us free tickets to attend the fundraiser event when we saw her at Easter. We ate dinner at home and took snacks from home. We didn’t win, but it was nice spending some one on one time with hubby.
    *DD returned to school this week and things seem to be going better so far. Some of the school board support staff (ABA specialist and behaviour consultant) spent the week at the school to show the school support staff how to best support DD. DD now has a new routine that is more sensitive and retains her dignity. She even attended a school assembly (a talent show), with proper planning. This was the 1st time attending an assembly since starting high school. Usually they tell me they cannot support her and make alternate arrangements for her (like having her stay home). DD was extremely anxious about going, but I talked to her ahead of time about the plan and assured her she could leave early if she wanted/needed to. DD stayed for 1 hour, then left because she found it too noisy…a lot longer than I thought she would! Fingers crossed that they continue to support her properly from now on!
    *DD had her friend sleep over on Thursday night, as they both had Friday off from school. We are aware that her family struggles financially and home life is complicated. Her friend made a few subtle comments about not taking a lunch to school and not having much for breakfast. So, I asked her if her mom was having a hard time buying groceries right now. She admitted there wasn’t much food in the house, due to her mom not being able to keep a job. She often stays for dinner when she comes over. I think her mom has been encouraging her to hang out at various friends homes, because her daughter is offered food when visiting. Makes my heart break. So, I kindly offered to give her some food from our pantry to take home. She very gratefully accepted my offer. We filled up 4 bags with a variety of items, from food to personal hygiene items. While picking out the items to take, she told me how hard it has been to go to school and watch all the other children eating delicious lunches while she sat silent and hungry. Even though there is a food program in our schools, people are still reluctant to use them for fear of others finding out their struggles. I have already told her that if she does go to the same high school as DD next year, and she has a lack of food in the house, she can let me know and I will happily send 2 lunches with DD so she can give her one. So glad I have a well stocked pantry to share when others need help.
    *Finally had nice enough weather this weekend that we actually opened a window and the patio door a crack to let some fresh air in. DD and friend even went for a walk in the neighbourhood! Snow from earlier in the week is almost melted and weather man predicts warmer temps for the next few days. I think we are finally entering spring here…YEAH!!!!

    I look forward to catching up on everyone’s accomplishments, as usual. Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

  29. I have been told that you can pick budded peonies and refrigerate them for weeks…they will open when removed from the fridge. I don’t know exactly how this works, but maybe you can Google it? I would have loved to get in on the $2 peony deal! I love peonies! I divided and moved some from my old house. I understand that peonies resent being moved, but they will get over it!

    When we blew in from Hawaii Friday, the first thing I did was check the perennial seeds I planted indoors just before we left. About half of the lupines are up, it’s too early for the columbines, and the balloon flowers haven’t done a thing yet (which is worrisome). Lots of things are budded, and all of my perennials are showing green. Most of the packaged hostas from Costco look pretty good. On the frugal front, my monkshood threw two babies this year that I wasn’t expecting. There will be lots of shade at my new house, so two free plants that are tall and like shade are very welcome. (I might be able to divide 3 larger plants this fall).

    All that food the guys bought in Hawaii–we ate just about all of it! I never dreamed we would. Of course, we had to eat 3 dinners in the condo to do it. But DS (who has never, ever cooked for us) and DDIL did all the cooking, and it was wonderful. I tore open the Monopoly game tickets from the big Safeway shop and won a 3 pack of organic microwave popcorn, 8 ounces of sour cream and a package of Ferrero Rochet chocolates, plus 2 free game tickets. I plan to redeem them tomorrow.

    We were able to check 3 suitcases on the way home for free, as expected, saving another $75. This is an actual saving, not theoretical, because we would have checked our luggage.

    Brandy, great pictures (as usual) and I love the roses. I was given a pink David Austin climbing rose for my birthday and it is currently residing in a pot on the porch. I made a little trellis for the pot. Cost: $0.

  30. Brandy, I loved reading the Marriage Proposal story. I have been a long time reader and somehow had missed that post! It was great! I always love hearing about your deals. That is a great buy on strawberries. I just purchased seven plants and materials for a raised bed for them and spend about $40. And I wonder if I would’ve been better off finding a good deal on the strawberries and just spending $40 on them. But, alas, perhaps the plants will do well and I’ll eventually get my money’s worth out of them. PS. I’m hoping your pregnancy is going well! Would love a small update if you feel up to it!

  31. Thanks for your suggestions, Heidi. I have some old garden-variety peonies but they may be coming to the end of their long life. So when I saw the Itoh Peonies on sale, I bought about 22 of them. Each plant is supposed to have up to 80 blooms in a season so I should have some to spare once they start blooming prolifically. Peonies do last a long time in the garden. In fact sometimes you can tell where Old homesteads have been by discovering very old peony plants. Thanks again for your suggestions.

  32. 1. Finished all the seed starting for this year—over 600 seedlings growing away under lights in our garage. They won’t go into the greenhouse until mid-May and the rest outside after June 1. Before that the soil is too cold here in northern Alaska.
    2. Did some volunteer work for a local agency for 30 hours a week for two weeks. I was happy to do it and was surprised when the day I left they gave me a $50 gift certificate and a box of mini-coffee cakes in thanks. The $50 certificate was a nice boost to our grocery budget, allowing me to stock up on a few things I have been needing.
    3. Sold a giant double-clad stock pot for $70. I have another that I seldom use and the one I sold was given to me after a friend’s mother died.
    4. a local restaurant supply place had skinless, boneless chicken breasts on a flash sale, for one dollar a pound! This happened once before and I stocked up then but I bought another 20 pounds. Never, ever have paid so little for chicken breasts.
    5. Someone on our local free cycle group gave away 47 cans of a 48 can case of tuna. She didn’t like the texture. I was happy to get it for just the price of gasoline to go pick it up.
    6. Cut off three corduroy dresses that had gotten too short after years of washing, to make three shirts.
    7. One of my meds went way up in price. The doctor wrote a prescription for double the dose and I cut them in half. The price of the larger dose was the same as the smaller dose!!
    8. Used the library liberally, for books and DVDs and magazines.

  33. Brandy,

    Congratulations on the anniversary of your engagement!

    This week, I stayed at home a few days to save money on gas and to enjoy peace and quiet.
    We had a relative for dinner and used as much food as possible from what we already had at home.
    We used free methods of communication as much as possible.
    We walked as much as possible to save money on transportation costs.
    When we went to the store, we purchased only what we needed.
    We kept lights off as much as possible.
    When we left somewhat under the weather, we used natural remedies we already had at home and did our best to get as much rest as possible to feel better.

  34. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    I love your flower display and so great you were able to get your son’s glasses at such a reasonable price with an added discount Brandy 🙂 .

    Here is what we did this week to cut down on expenses and plan ahead for food storage and other things –

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home bank account bringing us to 24.77% of the way there.
    – Banked $80 into our bank emergency kitty to top that up further.
    – Redid our total budget and grocery budget and took it up to account for price rises here to $75 a week for the 2 of us and raised other categories to suit price rises as well.
    – Earned $4 from the sale of silver beet from the gardens which I put into buying apples on special.
    – Took advantage of a free listing promotion on eBay and listed 10 items saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Found a 3kg bag of oranges on clearance whilst grocery shopping saving $2 on usual costs and they were perfectly fine.
    – Purchased 7.45kg of apples on special reduced from $3.50kg down to $1.99 saving $11.25 on usual prices.
    – Bought 10 tins of long life vegetables and meat on 50% of sale saving $20 on usual costs.
    – Whilst going to a church function in the city we again took our 3 empty fuel jerry cans with us and stopped off at our favourite wholesale fuel service station and purchased fuel for them and to fill the car saving 14c per litre of E10 and 9c per litre off unleaded fuel saving $11.25 on prices we pay here in our small country town. The saving made our day trip free for us and we packed a nice lunch to have together in the park on the way back.

    Gifts and blessings –
    – A friend dropped over a bag of lemons she had picked at the school she works at saving me $14.15 over purchasing them and I in return as a thank you gave her a bunch of silver beet picked fresh from the gardens.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made 10 bags of apple pie filling using the apples we purchased on special and free lemons saving us $13.54 including our expenses over purchasing tinned apples to make the same amount of pies. So happy with our fruit purchases as it is rare we get apples and oranges so cheaply in our small country town.
    – We zested and juiced all the free lemons and put them in the freezer for future food stocks.

    In the gardens –
    – Trimmed, separated and transplanted canna lilies and native lilies in a newly prepared garden bed so we can amend the soil in the bed we took them out of. We plan to take most of these with us potted when we move into our newly built home to save on landscaping costs.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

  35. Happy Proposal Day!
    The flower arrangement is gorgeous. Is that Ivory having a picnic with Octavius? I remember when she was born. She is a beautiful girl and I love how her brother is snuggling into her.

    • I called around for quotes for a sleep study my doctor recommended. My copay will be approximately $800. Not sure how I’ll proceed.
    • Loaded electronic coupons prior to shopping at Walgreens
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Went to Manhattan for the day with a neighboring family. I purchased a 10 segment bulk ticket for the train, saving us $ plus we took off-peak trains saving more money. I also purchased, in advance during a 20% off sale, sightseeing passes that saved us $100+ over the entrance fees if we paid for each attraction separately. For example, taking a family of four to the Top of the Rock is $150 just by itself! We also did free things such as visit the NYC main library, walked up 5th Avenue window shopping, checked out Grand Central Terminal, and visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was a wonderful day and we walked for MILES.
    • Used a $20 off $100 grocery store coupon in addition I earned a $25 gift card from grocery loyalty points. I’ve tucked away the gift card to use later.
    • Redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 amazon gift card
    • Baked a carrot cake for my son’s 21st birthday and drove it to him.
    • Shopped a book sale at the local thrift store 4 paperbacks for $1 or 2 hardcovers for $1. I’ll be able to sell some of them on Ebay for $4 each, not huge but I have the time right now.
    • Itemized and donated items, which I had decluttered from my kitchen, to charity getting a receipt for taxes.
    • Colored my hair at home.

  36. How many I buy just depends on what I can afford in the budget. I think I bought only 20 this time, but I still have some strawberry jam on the shelves that needs to be used, so I should be fine. I would have loved to buy more, and if I see a good price again next month, I might. Thie week the sale price is $1.25 🙁 and of course I can get more if they are less.

  37. I’m thrilled that you are taking plant divisions from your old house to your new. I am in the middle of this right now. People look at me like I’m crazy when they hear about it. I think I am crazy like a fox, and you, too. I estimate the plants I am taking with me are worth at least $450 and at no loss to the new owners. In fact, the plants I left are much better for being divided.

  38. Ate at home, even when grandkids wanted McDonalds. They were still happy. Ate many bean and soup meals. Packing our house ourselves. But we have to hire movers as hubby hurt himself at work and can’t lift things for quite some time. I hope he heals. We are figuring our bills. He can’t return to work until he heals. Thank God he has some vacation and sick leave. I’m getting hours working for my son but the hours vary. Seriously considering teaching online. I was looking forward to a garden but I think this year I will just do a container garden as I’m not sure I have the funds to hire someone to till for us. Still looking forward to being in our little house. Would love to get chickens, we will see. Maybe just a few.
    Been using the library, but I returned everything until after we move. We did get a coffee maker at a thrift store and cleaned it throughly so we could make coffee when family or friends come to visit.
    Planted Basil with my grandson with a kit I already had. Bought as little groceries as possible. Just trying to use mostly what we have at home. Planning meals ahead of time to make it easier to eat at home.

  39. Beautiful children and flowers!
    After 20″ of snow last weekend I think Spring has finally sprung, 60 here today! looking forward to some warmer weather and we can finally turn the heat off. Last week I found fresh mozzarella for $5 for 4 lbs due to dating. I shredded it all for pizza and froze it. I also found pork loin for$.99 lb. there was a limit of 2. Brought home 9.5lbs which I sliced into chops and froze. Have a great week everyone!

  40. I love how you got engaged. I have some peony bushes that I want to move to our new place, they aren’t in bud yet due to the snow so I migh t risk it and move them this week and hope it don’t upset them too much as they really should be moved in the fall but I know the landlord here plans digging up the area they are in after we leave.
    I unsubscribed to several promotional emails. Canceled the magazines I don’t want to get anymore(they have an auto renewal now days which I dislike) and ordered my seeds using coupons, discounts and sales along with free shipping. Wasn’t easy but I should have enough for this year and next. I combined errands with doc appts with sliding in getting thing taken over to 209 for the contractors on top of having my back injections which my new insurance approved of in 2 days.
    The rest is here http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/04/planning-frugalrelearning-old-habits.html

  41. The King Arthur website has a great recipe for home made crumpets. If you make them, proof for about an extra half hour though, or the dough is a bit thick.

  42. I love all of your photos as usual, but especially the one of your kids having a picnic. Such a lovely childhood memory!

    My week was pretty good! I got a number of things done:
    – I made Copycat Peach Yoplait (http://approachingfood.com/copycat-peach-yoplait/) this week, using some homemade yoghurt and some canned peach syrup. No food wastage, and I ended up with a calcium-rich drinkable snack!
    – Someone brought in muffins and bananas to my workplace, which I had for snacks. Sometimes, an unexpected double chocolate muffin, as small a thing as it is, can really brighten up your workday!
    – I gave a colleague some quiche that I couldn’t finish. She appreciated it!
    – I went to a rummage sale at a local church and bought several cut-glass items: a serving bowl, a vase, and a butter dish, for only $5.25 all-together. I was pleased as I needed all three items!
    – I was able to meet with some friends of the family and was able to give them a bag of gifts that I’d been collecting for them since after Christmas time. The items were either traded for, homemade, re-gifted, or purchased using swagbucks. They greatly appreciated the gifts, and I was happy to give such nice gifts with no money OOP! I gave a large box of various toffees (the father will enjoy having sweets to offer guests), two pencil cases (I had sewed these myself) for the oldest girls (filled with pencils and a small pretty notebook each), a set of pencil crayons, some loose candies and lollipops, a package of gum, a new outfit for each of the two oldest girls, a nail polish, an eye mask, a small bnwt Coach purselet for the mother (I was quite pleased about this, as I had traded for it. I don’t care for labels, but the mother will appreciate the small luxury), a stuffed toy for the youngest, and a brand-new set of china (also traded for). I will use the pencils and little notebooks to help the girls practice their writing skills. My mother kindly gave me a lift as the dish set was too heavy to carry on public transit, and they invited her in and fed us both a delicious home-cooked Syrian meal! So nice of them!
    – I used two gift cards given to me, combined with a sale and a coupon, to purchase a blueberry bush, a large bag of 3-in-1 potting soil, and some rooting hormone/transplant food. I only spent $8 OOP. The blueberry bush is actually a three different types of blueberries, so it’ll be fun to see which kind I like best! While I was at the nursery, I saw a ‘fruit salad tree’ – 5 different fruits were grafted onto one tree! I thought that was clever for a small space!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

  43. Maxine I don’t think you are crazy at all in fact I think you are very financially savvy for taking your divisions as it saves so much in landscaping costs. Why buy new plants when you have a resource already there that you can use 🙂 is mine and your point.

    We are in a rental at the moment and when we have our home built will have a small mortgage to pay off so every way we can save money is money in our pockets and more we can pay straight off the mortgage.

  44. Maxine

    Thanks for your comments about the peonies. I had not heard about keeping them in the fridge when they are in bud. But I had heard that putting them upside down in the fridge overnight is a good way to get rid of the ants that sometimes climb on Peony flowers. It was purely by chance that I was able to buy 22 Ito peonies so. greatly reduced. One of our local greenhouses reduces its perennials by about 50% at the very end of the season. However, on the very last day that the greenhouse is open, which is never announced but only found out by phoning in every morning until you find out that that is the day, the perennials are put on sale for a flat of eight plants for about $16. It was just by chance that on that day we raced down to the greenhouse where I saw the Ito peonies. As only one or two have bloomed so far, I have not made up my mind whether I would like them as much as garden-variety peonies. But I am hoping that I do. Please forgive typos as I am dictating this on my new phone due to my broken arm and have not yet mastered the art of having the phone understand what I am saying.

  45. Sorry to hear about your husband’s injury and will keep you both in my prayers. you can grow many veggies in containers. I think you could make a tripod trellis out of stakes and grow scarlet runner or pole beams in a large container. A short variety of peas might work well and squash. I read an interesting trick where people put celery bottoms and other things in water and they grow again. Maybe you could trade something for some tilling. Good luck!!!

  46. Brandy

    Just saw the photo of you on your IG. How exquisite you look. Happy belated birthday and I hope you enjoyed your proposal day.

  47. We live in a country that has plenty of food to go around. In my humble opinion, no one should be hungry. It’s just not right.

  48. It is a good idea to cut back to this budget before you absolutely have to. It gives you a chance to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Brandy’s blog and the comments are full of helpful advice about living a good life on a modest amount of money, though it sounds like you are good at keeping to a budget.

    Most important for you is to focus on your health. All the best.

  49. Hello! Your flowers are beautiful, as always. I only wish I had that much talent arranging flowers. Frugal accomplishment this week is that I received several coupons from a friend for a free 5 lb. bag of name brand rice. No purchase necessary. I can only use one coupon at a time, but they are good until December 2019, so I will simply use one each week when I grocery shop. This will give me about two years supply of rice. We had fellowship dinner at church yesterday and had to bring a main dish, a side dish, and dessert. I used some chicken my brother had given me, made an sweet pea salad with ingredients I had, and a German chocolate cake from scratch with ingredients I already had, so no out of pocket expense. Brought home leftovers and those will be for lunch today. Took a picture back to Hobby Lobby that I decided I didn’t want and used the money to buy a piece of fabric that matches a beautiful teal blue dress I bought at a garage sale that was a little shorter than I like to wear. My sister is an excellent seamstress and she is going to makeover the dress so that I can wear it for Mother’s Day. My son and daughter-in-law usually order me a corsage from the florist for Mother’s Day, but I requested a handmade flower that a girl in our church is making instead, that way I can wear it again with the outfit instead of just one time. Lost my watch, but my daughter in law gave me one that was exactly like mine because she didn’t like it. Spent a good bit of time looking at your menus the past couple of weeks and created a four week menu plan like you have, made a list of all of the ingredients for each week, and put all of it in a plastic page protector. Now, when I get ready to go to the grocery store, I can use a dry erase marker to mark off what I already have and then buy only what I need. I saved about 30.00 like this last week! The saved money will be used for stock up items when they go on sale.

    I think that’s all. Have a blessed week!

  50. I got several good deals when I went grocery shopping this week.

    Made no unplanned purchases.

    Made “Doritos” popcorn seasoning, homemade Velveeta and English muffins as my 3 things to make instead of buying.

    Sewed several birthday gifts.

    Stayed caught up on housework.

    My husband repaired our van so that we can continue to limp it along while we save for a “new” one. My husband also accepted a load of logs which will become part of next winter’s firewood. He was delivering a load of stone in the dump truck and the people at the construction site offered him the wood and his employer allowed him to bring the truck home to drop the wood off.

    Accepted some food items and some clothing from a friend.

    Ate all meals at home (or packed from home in the case of our Sunday picnic).

    Used my grocery store points to save $0.80 per gallon of gas thanks to several extra points promotions.

    Started reading Carla Emery’s The Encyclopedia of Country Living. I’m hoping to learn even more skills to make do and be self sufficient.

  51. Love reading your’s and everyone’s posts! May I ask how you are feeling? I know you mentioned Spring for the new baby’s arrival and am hoping everything is going good 🙂

  52. Florist charge a lot for peonies because they are expensive for us to purchase. Unlike roses which are pretty stable and usually come from farms in California or South America, we literally chase them around the globe depending on the time of year. Do not think the cost is haphazard, orchids are even cheaper to purchase than peonies. I hope this explanation helps when considering the cost. A good florist can provide alternatives that are lower cost such as double bloom garden roses that often last longer as well.

  53. Brandy, I love your kids’ little picnic outdoors! So precious!

    We had a pretty good week this past week, especially with a visit of a family friend who is from out of state. We were able to host him, which is so nice and gave us some good visit time after the boys were in bed. Here are the other things we did this past week. I hope you’ll stop by!


  54. If you could teach online-you may want to post a notice at the local library or even a facebook local mom group and offer tutoring. It is coming up on exam time for High school and middle school kids, locally here parents pay roughly $40 per hour!! You may also try to post a tutoring session in trade for tilling! Just a thought.

  55. Your flower arrangement is just beautiful! The outside picnic is precious.
    Happy Birthday to you!
    I’ve continued turning off the heat after my husband leaves for work. If the sun is shining and or I am baking it stays comfortable in the main part of the house. One day I gave up and turned it back on because it was 50 and that was a little to chilly. I hope spring has finally arrived. The temps have ranged from the high 50’s to 70 for the past 4 days. Our heat has been totally off for 3.
    We continued to eat most meals at home. My scores at the store were yogurt 4 for a $1, a bag of 20 bananas for $.99, a huge loaf of French bread for $.99, 2 cantaloupe for $.99 each and 4 dozen eggs for $,99. I made a double batch of chocolate banana nut muffins for us and the grandkids and froze the rest. I’ve been baking our bread for the past month and made homemade sausage patties that turned out pretty well.
    Still doing full loads of dishes in the dishwasher,usually only running it once a week and full loads of laundry. Combing errands and staying home as much as possible to save gas and wear and tear on the car.
    I really enjoy reading your posts and all the comments–I always seem to find something new to try.
    Have a great week everyone!

  56. Your flowers!!! And you arrange them so beautifully!

    Living frugally from urban Seattle:

    This was probably our least frugal week of the year. I took my youngest to NYC for five days. It is a trip we’ve been planning for a couple years now. My husband had to work and my oldest has autism and doesn’t travel well, so it was just the two of us. My kids were born in NYC and my youngest wants to become an architect or city planner.

    Despite the inherent cost of the trip, we did some things to save money:

    -It is not very kosher to ask to stay with friends as space is so tight for everyone, so we found an affordable AirBnB in our old neighborhood. I paid for it, along with the airline tickets, well in advance to get best deals, and from a separate savings account from some additional tutoring I’ve been doing for extra cash. I also used a referral for the AirBnB to save $20.

    -We took the subway or walked everywhere, including back and forth from the airport (not available when we lived there – we always had to take an expensive taxi to the airport). Taking the subway and then air train back and forth from the airport saved us $60-$70 alone and only added about 20-30 min each way to the trip.

    -My son had been saving up some money for this trip. He bought a subway map poster for his room and an I love NYC t-shirt, but avoided a lot of the kitchy touristy stuff they sell all over the city, so I was proud of his choices.

    -We didn’t spend anything on entertainment. We were going to do the Empire State Building, but visibility was poor. I also looked for discounted Broadway tickets without luck for the performances we wanted to see. But we enjoyed the parks and neighborhoods and Central Park zoo with friends with membership. The best thing about NYC, in my opinion, is just walking through the neighborhoods.

    -Because we had access to a kitchen, we grocery shopped and made most (but not all) of our meals. And because we were staying in a neighborhood we had previously lived, I knew where to find the best priced groceries. I also premade meals for my son and husband so they wouldn’t decide they needed to go out to eat.

    This trip did cost more than our usual camping trips, but I have no regrets – I had such a great time with my son and we built some great memories.

  57. I harvested parsley from my garden. We cut down a tree that was planted by previous owners too close to the house. I originally thought of hiring someone to do it, but my husband thought it was small enough he could handle it. Didn’t even end up needing to borrow a chainsaw, we have a good handsaw that cut it up fine. Our oldest kids had fun helping my husband. We borrowed a truck to take the tree to the green waste facility. Dumping there is free for residents. It only took two truck loads.

    I gave haircuts to my boys. I paid most of my bills online, there was only one that I had to use a stamp for.

    I did a lot of baking this week: whole wheat bread, French bread, dinner rolls, and muffins. I forgot the baking powder in the muffins! The kids couldn’t get over the strange texture, but I will eat them up, freezing whatever I can’t eat fast enough. I also made yogurt with milk that was getting close to it’s expiration date.

  58. It’s hard for me to imagine just turning off the heat. The temperatures you describe are our coldest winter temperatures. Today it will be 92° here and the air conditioner just came on a minute ago! We have 5 months of temperatures above 90° here; the heat is just getting started.

  59. I am so glad to hear that things have improved for your daughter at school – I will keep my fingers crossed that things stay calm as you return to work.
    It was very kind of you to provide food for your daughter’s friend – we take it for granted here that everyone has enough to eat and it’s a bit shocking when we find out that it’s just not so. Someone who lives in this apt. bldg. was having financial struggles about 18 months ago and word got out as she was looking so gaunt – many of us made sure to send down a few meals or drop off gift cards and one woman sat down with her and got her OAS sorted and got the paperwork in for the low income supplement which has made a huge difference. It doesn’t take a lot to tip the balance.

  60. I’m so sorry that you will have to leave your current position for health reasons – been there, done that and it was no fun at all!
    Remember that if you do have to leave your job, all your job-related expenses (gas, parking, clothes/uniforms, materials, licenses, etc.) will be unnecessary as well, which will cut your expenses and stretch your budget even further. If you can live without your income while still working, you should be in good shape when you are not working!

    Best wishes, Lea

  61. Heather,
    thanks. so much for your comment –– I had no idea that peonies were so hard for a florist to locate. I wonder what a fair price for each stem. It is mind boggling to think that if all plants bloomed to the maximum at once that I would have 1760 blossoms. not likely to happen. Today one of the snowdrifts. has melted so I can see part of the flowerbed and there is the first new growth of one of the peonies! yay

  62. I’m sorry you are going through this. Like others have said practicing ahead of time is helpful. Use that money to pay off as much debt now while you have 2 incomes. Good lock. I know you can do it.

  63. Rhonda, several of our school districts (specifically the high schools) have programs for students struggling with hunger, or who feel responsible for feeding their own younger siblings. Students can take a backpack filled with food and necessary items (i.e. feminine products) home for the weekend; it looks like any other backpack, so their dignity is respected, and other students are none the wiser. I don’t know if your high school has a similar program, but it could be worth exploring for your daughter’s friend. I am so sorry to hear of her struggles. As a teacher, it always hurts my heart to hear of students going hungry – how can anyone learn when they’re starving? :'( Thank you for helping your daughter’s friend, and I wish your daughter, too, all the best.

  64. The newest research is showing that once you have an established garden, tilling actually destroys the beneficial microbes living in the soil and leads to soil erosion and degradation. Dig holes and plant—plants manage to grow between sidewalk slabs, so obviously they don’t need perfectly tilled soil to grow. We have not tilled in over five years and continue to have great harvests. My point is that if not being able to hire someone to till is what is stopping you from gardening, you may want to reconsider.

  65. Brandy, I know you get this, just want to acknowledge the powerful teaching your philosophy on budgeting will have on your kids. Earlier reply, paraphrased, “I buy the amount of strawberries I can afford in my budget.” Reading that today spoke volumes to me, as if a lightbulb turned on. You didn’t change it. You didn’t tweek your entire budget to buy more strawberries. You stayed true to your budget. It is what it is. Your family will adjust to that amount of strawberries. I have seen you do this continuously through reporting on your blog. Less meat more beans. Less canned items, more from scratch items. So elemental yet profound. Life simplified, solution realized. Thank you!

  66. Hi Lisa, I’ve been in your situation, and know that it is stressful in the beginning- but it’s absolutely doable! My HR rep (who was very kind) offered that if I wrote in my letter of resignation that I was leaving due to health reasons (which I was) that I could apply for unemployment insurance and receive it if I applied through the state. It was a very nice option, and I appreciated her help and the income while looking for other work. There are requirements for receiving this and each state is different, but she noted that the company already pays into the program and it might be worth exploring? I was also the one with the higher salary, and it was tough to adjust initially, but the quality of life has improved dramatically in our home! I hope you experience the same.

  67. I stayed in most of the week.
    I was able to work on swagbucks and earn a lot.
    I had some sour cream to use up so I found a recipe to use it to make banana bread. It was very good.
    Before my daughter left to go back to school, I had her “shop” in my pantry. She was able to take a lot she can use.
    Also, continue with full loads and air drying, washing baggies and using up with what we have.
    I was able to use extra bucks from cvs to buy vitamins we take.
    My husband and I are on a strict no buying unnecessary budget right now. So basically just bills and food.
    That’s it for last week.

  68. Your flower arrangements are stunning!

    This week, I…
    ..froze pineapple juice left over from canned pineapples. I use pineapple juice in several recipes.
    ..continued to eat from the pantry and freezer.
    ..Did not upgrade phones, even though they were due, which should save us some money.
    ..signed up to teach summer school, which should bring in some extra income.
    ..got some deals at the food warehouse near us. We got 48, 4oz containers of yogurt for $1 and 120 slices of American cheese for $8.99.
    ..carpooled to a birthday party and a housewarming party this weekend.
    ..bought a bottle of wine for the housewarming party. I just put some ribbon on it instead of buying a gift bag.

    We kind of had a frugal fail. My husband and I locked our keys in our car about an hour from home. It was a Saturday, so we were going to get charged a weekend rate from a locksmith. We called my mom, who has a key to our house. She was willing to go to our house, get the spare key, and bring it to us. We took her out to lunch to thank her. We tried to pay for her gas, too but she wouldn’t let us. I will bake her something or get her a gift to say thank you. While we weren’t expecting to go out for lunch, it was still cheaper than paying for a locksmith.

  69. My girls and I are in Southern California (we live in the same city as Brandy) for a few days helping my recently widowed aunt with things around her house. The weather is so nice here!!! We get lovely breeze from the ocean most days. When we get home later this week… it is going to be quite warm.

    My aunt is having to learn to be more frugal now, and I’ve taught her a couple of things to help. We’ve been eating at her home and saving leftovers in her freezer for future lunches and dinners. After years of not having the energy to cook because of caring for my uncle, she’s excited to get back in the kitchen.

    We’ve “discovered” items in closets that she had on her list of needs for the house, so we’ve saved her money there.

  70. Happy belated birthday, Brandy! I saw on your instagram, and I hope you were able to enjoy a wonderful birthday. You give a great deal to others, and I hope you enjoyed some nice family time!

    I was feeling a little under the weather, and was less capable than most weeks. However, I enjoyed the following frugal accomplishments:
    [*] Negotiated a much lower rate for the installation of new seamless gutters, saving us $280. I have put this off for a couple of years, but we had gutters from the 70s on our home, and they caused basement flooding and issues in our extreme weather (hail and flash floods). This repair brought a great deal of peace of mind, and we already had a big rain storm and no basement flooding!
    [*] I enjoyed an ebook from the library (The Road by Cormac McCarthy)
    [*] I’m making a yearly master meal plan with all our favorite meals for the year (around 30 breakfasts and over 70 dinners) that I’m using to make a board similar to what the writer at Prepared Housewives uses for planning meals for the year using food storage. I won’t likely plan for the year, but it’s a great system for me to stay organized and plan healthy meals. I tend to forget all the meals we like that are frugal, and this will keep me on track so I can vary our meals and find inspiration.
    [*] Started/transplanted many seeds in the garden including: zinnias, catnip, mint, hollyhock, fava beans, snap peas, kale, radishes, onions, and red potatoes.
    [*] Enjoyed seeing our rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, apple, peach, and cherry trees blossom.
    [*] Prepared more items for our garage sale this week that I will price. I’m hoping to have enough from the sale to get us some items we need for garage sales we attend this summer.

    I hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  71. That sounds great! I’d love to make $40 dollars an hour doing something I enjoy doing. Those are good ideas.

  72. Hi everyone. Brandy, your flower arrangements are always stunning.

    This weeks frugal accomplishments include:

    Finished caulking my laundry room after a recent mini-renovation. My washer suddenly went out mid-wash back in early February and we’ve slowly been doing some updates in the room. Thankfully when I moved into this house nearly 2 years ago, there was a washer and dryer already here, so I stored my other ones in the garage. When the washer died (or malfunctioned, whichever) in February, instead of paying for a repair, I decided I’d just put my other washer in there as it’s a larger capacity. I had my dad haul my old washer off to an employee of his who is very handy, and hopefully the repair was something simple.

    The dryer that was in my laundry worked okay, but again, the capacity was small and the opening to the dryer was quite tiny as well. So, on Saturday when we moved my old washer from the garage into the laundry room, we decided to put the larger capacity dryer in there as well. My dryer that had been in storage had a 4 wire plug on the back, but my laundry room has a 3 prong outlet. Having changed the cord on my dyer to a 4 wire before (for a different house), I was aware of how to change it back to a 3 prong. Instead of spending $20 at Lowe’s for a 3 prong cord, I just removed the one from the dryer that came with my house and installed it on my old, larger dryer!!

    Additional frugal wins: salvaged some of my plants from last year that I wasn’t sure would come back, but they did. Repotted a few things, bought some cheap annuals for the window boxes that hang on my fence, dug up some spider lily plants that I don’t care for and gave them to my mom to plant along her ditch.

    Boiled chicken thighs for a meal yesterday and saved all the bones and stock and will package that into freezer bags. SO’s coworker gave him a Devil’s food cake on Friday. I’m going to slice it up and wrap in plastic wrap and put in the freezer.

    Speaking of SO, he had a sudden job relocation to an area 3 hours northwest of here. He will be renting an apartment for now, as I was totally unprepared to relocate in the 3 weeks his company gave him. The frugal fail is that I’ll be paying a mortgage here while he pays rent there. The bright side is that since it will just be me here my electricity, food, etc will all go back to what it was before he moved in last June. Additionally, since his kids will be staying with him full-time starting in June (for the summer), and they’re no longer living here, I can take one of my extra bedrooms and turn it into my office. I’ve been having to drive 22 miles each way across town to my “office” at my mom’s house. I will save a ton of money on gas and will be more efficient since my commute is literally from one bedroom to the next! I’m trying to see the bright side to our (hopefully) temporary long-distance relationship. We will reevaluate our situations later this summer, and possibly buy a house in his new location, and when I move, I can rent my house out for more than double what my mortgage is due to the proximity to a large hospital and also lack of rental inventory in my area.

    Have a great week everyone.

  73. I gave my youngest son a haircut. He had wanted to wait until school vacation so we did. My daughter had to go to town on a certain day to pick something up so we combined all errands & shopping that day. I paid several bills while I was there, picked up something my husband ordered, applied for my daughter’s passport (a necessity with relatives in Canada), & shopping–especially for food since my kids were home & eating more than the usual!. My best deal was 20 lbs of potatoes for $5. Strawberries were $1.97/lb here last week. Unfortunately the store charged me for 2 bags of egg noodles and I had only bought one. I only noticed when I got back home. I will try to get my $3.79 back this Wednesday when I go back to town.
    I am still continuing to spring clean. Did not get as much done with the kids done but that’s ok. I am continuing to keep a list in my planner as I clean for things that need to be repaired or replaced. I also repurposed some items within my home. Have a great week everyone!

  74. Brandy–I live in Omaha Nebraska and we have all the seasons. Our winter this year started at the end of October and while we didn’t get alot of snow it was pretty darn cold. 50 in the spring feels quite nice. It is just my husband and I and our 2 cats and I was only turning off the heat during the day while he was at work. For the past 4 days we’ve had lows in the 50s and with the windows closed it has stayed around 68 in the house at night. After the heat in the summer 50 does seem cold.

  75. Brandy, they were the real big berries too, so that there is less actual weight in the quart then if they were the smaller berries. Not a very good deal.

  76. My new car is averaging 50 mpg.
    Chickens are laying again.
    I mended 3 pair of pants.
    I roasted 1 whole chicken for dinner (and leftovers) and poached another for meat and broth. Will make more more broth poached bones and roasted ones.

    My husband was home for several days. We ate mostly at home and only did 1 pricey afternoon out. This is an improvement for us.

    We did some house hunting (at new developments) to see options as we will be moving within in the next 2 years. We hated everything we saw so we will probably build.
    Has anyone ever built a custom home from a steel/metal building?

    We had torrential rain and something fell and hit the roof, causing a leak. Another reason I want to build new. The ceiling in the loft caved in. Called a local roofer who arrived with 30 minutes to patch the hole and called insurance. The inspector will be here tomorrow and I’ve already lines up estimates (gotta love a small town). Gratefully, I had taken the day off so I was home to catch the leak/damage.

    While I won’t get a whole new roof, they should pay to repair that quarter and replace the ceiling and insulation.

  77. DD’s friend is in primary school (grade 8), but I do know the school she attends has the backpack program. I think she is too embarrassed to tell anyone her family is struggling. I just put it together from some of the comments she made while here and made the bold move of asking her outright. She is worried about paying for her grade 8 graduation trip, too. I told her to talk to the principal about these concerns as there are financial supports they can offer to help her pay for the trip. I assured her this trip was important and worth asking for help. I don’t know if she did or not though. Unfortunately, even though the programs are available, it can be very difficult for people to admit they need the help.

  78. The sun finally came out this week much to everyone’s delight!
    –I had a low budget/pantry grocery week and used the extra grocery money to buy two more blueberry bushes. This will bring us to a total of 5. I would eventually like to get 3 more.
    –We weeded around the blueberry plants to get the ground ready to plant.
    –We re-planted some volunteer raspberry plants. (I’m in no way a gardener, but am trying.)
    –My dad gave us some rhubarb starts that we got in the ground. I’m looking forward to making rhubarb BBQ sauce with them this year. I know nothing about rhubarb but they seem to be growing rapidly.
    –I used some chives from the garden.
    –We spent a gorgeous day at the park/beach. We invited another family that brought a lot of yummy food. We ended up with so much that we were able to have leftovers twice!
    –I tried a delicious new recipe, curried chickpea salad. Super easy and affordable. The whole family loved it!

  79. After years of reading how yummy your museum pasta salad is, I finally made it! It did not disappoint. I’ve already had 2 portions today. I had spinach in the garden, so I added that to it as well.

  80. Sarah, do you have a link you can share for the “Doritos” popcorn seasoning recipe? It sounds yummy and something my daughter might enjoy.

  81. Hi Brandy,
    Wonderful photos of the flowers-love the urn they are in. I also really enjoyed the photo of your kids.

    My husband and I had to make a 5 hour drive north to visit his 94 year old father. We brought snacks for the drive up and stopped at grocery store for healthy snacks for the drive home.

    My son is wanting to fix up his yard and gardens so last night I went with him to my parent’s house and we dug up several plants that she wanted removed and then went to his house and helped him re-plant them in his garden. Free plants are the best!!

    My co-worker’s pants had a seam that ripped out yesterday so I offered to make the repair for her on my sewing machine. This will give her much more wear out of those pants.

    We are having a week of warm weather here in the Pacific Northwest so I would love to line-dry my clothes but there is so much pollen in the air that I can’t risk it due to my allergies.

    I said no to a very expensive mother’s day trip my sisters, mom and niece wanted me to attend. I don’t have the big pay checks they do. I will enjoy a simple mother’s day at home.

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments again this week.

  82. Libby,

    My husband was able to do a sleep study at home through a company called Ion My Sleep. Our insurance would not pay for a local one, and I think it cost around $150. They mailed us a device to wear overnight which we then sent back for review by a doctor. He also provided a prescription for the CPAP for an additional fee, and then we ordered the machine and supplies through them as well. Great customer service. This was a much more affordable option for us. Good luck.

  83. Isn’t petrol expensive at the moment? I saw it for $1.43 a litre and that was a cheap price, other places its over $1.50 a litre. Fortunately I don’t use the car much.

  84. I agree, Pamela! Being frugal wasn’t a label, but just the way of life growing up. Things were cared for and used up. I didn’t realize anyone else lived differently until college. What an eye opener. Still, I live my own way and that has made all the difference (as Frost said so simply and elegantly). Happy to have found a home here of like-minded people.

  85. I live in a metal building! My husband needed shop space for his business, so we were going to be building a shop anyway. We spent about $12,000-$15,000 more to add some living quarters. That got us out of renting! We love it!

  86. Hello everybody on the other side of the world. Read your blog every week to keep me inspired to be frugal.
    Her are some frugal accomplishments from my home.
    Bought a 15 kg bag of patatoes from a salesman that comes to your door, 11,00 euro’s for 15 kg is not bad. And I do not need to carry it from the shop to my house.
    Accepted some clothes from somebody I know. It was: 2 paer of jeans (must be shortened) 4 nice blouses, a cardigan and 7 t-shirts, so I am good to go.
    Almost always cook from scratsh, ate leftovers and some leftovers from the freezer. Mended a pair of jeans for a son. Made shorts from long trousers for my sister. Took home leftovers from a diner in our communnitycentre.
    Hoosting a big birthdayparty at home in our garage and some partytents. My husbands 50th, my 51st and our daughters 17th birthdays. We rent a BBQ and a big fridge to keep the drinks cool, our son will be the BBQ master and I will decorate the salades and making some some other snacks. We invited about 60 people.
    Bought 30% off bread and meat in the last couple of weeks. (as my husband works at Aldi’s he is always there when stuff is going out of date)
    We bought a nice big corner shape couch of leather at the thriftstore for just 50 euro’s. It looks lovely and is easy to clean with a dog, 2 cats and 5 people sitting/living on it. Also bought 2 lampshades for 0.50 eurocent each! Made some halfway cutains (google transelate says:valances) for al our downstairs windows from an old bed/quilt cover. So our livingroom is redecorated for a little money. For now I am busy seeding indoors and in the vegetablegarden (some seeds need to start indoors because of our klimate)
    I alsways feel good when I actually write down al the frugal things I have don, we may think it is normall but fot a lot of people it really is a big deal.
    Greetings from the netherlands

  87. I know that in the grade schools here Kindergarten through 5th, they have a program to fill backpacks for the weekend. Since grade schoolers backpacks are in the hall on pegs and not in rooms a group comes along Friday afternoon and puts the weekend food into the specified backpacks while class is still in session. If you are eligible for the free lunch, milk etc you automatically get a weekend package.

    It sounds like if the mother can’t or won’t work at getting enough food for the family through available channels the daughter will have to become more proactive. That might be a hard thing for her to do but it is nice that she has your family to encourage her.

  88. Monica, good luck with the berries. It is worth it to have your own. A couple years ago my children made me a strawberry bed and last year we harvested more strawberries than would have been affordable to buy from the store or farm stands. I am looking forward to even more this year.

  89. Brandy,
    How do know if the glasses will look good on you and fit well when you buy over the internet? Takes me trying on many pairs to find a good look.

  90. Sarah, check out the cookbook THE HOMEMADE PANTRY:101 FOODS YOU CAN STOP BUYING AND MAKE YOURSELF by Alana Chernila. I would think your library system would have it. Some examples are pesto, sauerkraut, ketchup, yogurt, poptarts, that I can remember off hand. Besides the recipes it has some good hints.

  91. I think one of the best things about visiting a city like New York, Seattle, San Francisco…even Chicago…is trying all the different foods we can’t find within 200 miles of our little town. Now that the children are grown and traveling on their own it is fun to hear the new foods they have sought out in places we didn’t visit. I love to look at the architecture, also. The parks, yes. Never had the patience to stand in line for a tourist attraction though. We did ride the Staten Island Ferry round and round though. That was a nice clear day though so good views.

  92. Greetings!
    Lovely flowers! Still a lot of snow here. The bay is still frozen but is showing signs of thawing, finally!
    Frugally, i’m still walking and exercising at home and around the neighborhood. With a dog, I have no excuse not to go for a walk.
    I finished hand sewing a baby quilt. Just today, I got on the floor and basted everything together for quilting. I may add appliqué and/or embroidery after I quilt it. My daughter and Son-in-law will find out the sex of the baby in May. Once I have that information, i’ll decide what I want to do.
    I’ve been able to hang clothes out a few times in the past several weeks. Anything over 40* and dry is decent drying weather, in my opinion. I absolutely love the smell and not sending money to the gas and electric companies!!
    I’ve read all the Louise Penny books from the library. I’ve re-read a book I bought some time ago. My neighbor lent me a book about the U.P. So that’s next. I keep notes about books i’d Like to read. It’s about time I went through all my (little) scraps of notes and see what looks good!
    I’m still on a tear about keeping our water usage down. I have good days and not-so-good. But, i’m hanging in there. Our water bill is estimated every other month. (Which makes no sense since we’re, literally, three blocks away.) It seems that every estimated bill is high til the next month. I could call it in but i’m lazy and forgetful. (And, I hate dealing with the city.)
    And, i’ve been entertained by watching yoooootuuube video’s. Oh, the wonders of the internet! It’s mind boggling, I tell you! I’m always amazed at what what I find.
    Wishing everyone a fabulous week!

  93. Hi Athanasia and Tabatha the cat is doing very well and has put on almost 500g in weight and is a real character. She is the best hunter you have ever seen and regularly gets rid of large country rats and mice despite not having developed most of her back teeth.

    I think she may think she is a dog as she follows us everywhere and literally gallops along beside us when we are outside and goes wherever we are. Good to see she is happy and healthy and she adores lots of cuddles and pats and really enjoys a brush. We have now got her so she will let us cut her claws too but it is not one of her favourite activities as with most cats.

  94. Jenny we have similar prices here in our small country town of $1.44 -$1.50 per litre too with the prices are getting quite ludicrous I think. Wondering how people are affording to fill their cars here at the moment, very sad indeed 🙁 .

    Not sure if you have a Metro service station near you but they sell wholesale fuel to the public and have a few locations around Australia. Well worth looking and seeing if there are some in your area and go there.

    We paid $129.9 a litre for E10 and $136.9 per litre for unleaded which is not too bad at all at the moment. We travel little as well in the car and only used 86 litres of fuel for the car and garden machinery in 4 months.

  95. Kelly, there are a few ways to know if the glasses online will look good on you. One is to buy something in the same shape as glasses you already own and like. That’s what I do. They give measurements on each pair, so you can see if the lenses are the same/a similar height and width as ones you have. The pd mesaurement also helps you know if they are the correct width for your face. You can also upload a photo of yourself to the site and then they will show you the glasses on yourself that way. I haven’t done that but my husband did that for his last pair. He had also looked at glasses at a glasses place and had tried several pairs on, finding a new style that he liked (different from his previous pair). When they told him the price at the store (3 times what he ended up paying on Zenni for his first pair of progressive lenses) he decided to order online. He ordered some glasses that looked similiar to the ones he has liked in the store. Zenni doesn’t have as many options as a store does, but we have always been able to find something that will work for us.

  96. Mine don’t. I just plant & they do fine. I dig leaves into each of the tiered beds on a slope every 3 years.

  97. Brandy, our grocer flyer just listed them as 3 boxes (pound size) for 5.00. Hopefully they look good as my husband saw the flyer and has decided he’d like strawberry shortcake for Sunday get together lunch. I will need to buy all three and make an angel food cake and shortcakes (biscuits) as my family like both. Now that the weather is warming up ( we should be in 50’s today) and a good bit of that snow has melted everyone is thinking spring.

  98. Thanks Brandy just order a new pair of eyeglasses thru your link/recommended site and ebates..total cost for mine were $23.50! BTW I have tape on the pair I am typing this email with bcause my eye dr office wanted $375 for a new pair and I just couldn’t/wouldn’t do it when I had tape at home!!! Wahoo…thanks for the HUGE savings today!

  99. While you are still employed, if you receive benefits, try to have all of your annual or semiannual visits paid for such as the dentist or eyeglasses etc. Make sure also that you have all your prescriptions refilled if you have a drug plan. Some companies enable you to acquire private health insurance if you were leaving employment. You might check into those options as well. I know these times are trying for you but remember you have the love and support of your friends and family and our prayers

  100. Hello Tanja. I love reading the posts from all the people outside the US-so fascinating to me! Sounds like great plans for the party. Enjoy!

  101. Thanks Brandy,
    The rose is beautiful and looks so soft, like a peony! Here in the PNW my peonies grow great. I did look for a yellow variety but they are very expensive!! I thought maybe you had a special frugal place to get them! :O) Thanks for the rose info. I’ll go look.
    Love your blog.

  102. The lowest price I found for peonies is Van Engelen. I don’t recall seeing a yellow one there, though. The next lowest price I have seen on peonies is from Eden Brothers, but again, I don’t recall a yellow one. I think there are more yellow Itoh peonies than herbaceous peonies. I know there are yellow tree peonies, but now you are talking about a rather expensive plant.

    Being the PNW, this time of year, I would think you could count on double peony-flowering tulips to grow well. Van Engelen has a number of well-priced selections for those that should work in your zone. They start taking orders in June for fall shipping.

  103. Your son must work at Panera. My Granddaughter worked there when she was in high school. They gave their extra food to food pantries, but some nights no one showed up to pick it up—mostly the night before a holiday–and their managers, who were not SUPPOSED to do so, let them take what they wanted. She brought many, many things home at those times. Her mother did not have a freezer then, so she would take what they could use right away and then bring the rest to put in my freezer, for both families to use! Their food is really good. DGD also used to eat the leftover fruit cups which were a side dish at that time. She has always LOVED fresh fruit. She could eat between 4-6 of them on the way home while driving. She could never wait until she got home. We were kind of sad that she wasn’t near a Panera when she went to college!

  104. Thank you so much for your advice and kind words. Fortunately, my husband carries all of the benefits, but I make more of the income. [u][/u]

  105. Lisa,
    My sister went through the same trial. Before she quit they made a bare bones budget and an emergency budget. They replaced a few things like a water heater they knew was on the out. Purchased some much needed clothes and shoes. Stockpiled their pantry with the basics. Anything that would put them in distress for when she quit working. Then save, save, save. After she quit she ended up selling her car. It was unjustified to pay insurance and lisence and kept her home so she wasn’t out buying things. Wish you well on your future!

  106. Our soil is very hard and rocky. I have been gardening here for 18 years. I till my garden every other year except where my root veggies grow. If I don’t then I get stubs.

  107. Not frugal at all, since we replaced both front and back doors and screen doors. They desperately need to be replaced. We spent a bit more and got fiberglass doors, so there will be no maintenance. The first place we looked offered an in home estimate, they wanted $955- just to install ONE door. Not counting the price of the door themselves. We called everyone we know looking for a handyman, and got it done for $300 for both doors and screen doors. They previous ones were quite old and drafty, so we are hoping that the new ones help with the heating in the winter.

  108. When I contacted Bluestone Perennials a few years ago, they told me the best time to plant or divide peonies is in the early fall…around Labor Day, if possible.

    Most of my peonies have come from divisions of peonies I planted 20 years ago at my other house (those peonies were divided from a friend’s). Generally, if a division has at least two buds on the root, it will bloom the next bloom period. I have planted pieces of root and have them bloom a few years later. I have also bought several packages of bareroot peonies in the spring that average about $5 per peony. I got a package of two pale pink doubles at Lowe’s this year for $9.99, and I saw packages of three–one each red, white and pink–at Home Depot for either $9.99 or $12.99 (I forgot).

    About 3 weeks ago, I sowed seeds of columbines, lupines and balloon flowers, and everything has come up. Some are even getting their first set of true leaves! Very exciting as I will be starting gardens from scratch at a new build home this summer. They started on top of my refrigerator and currently reside on the window sill of my bedroom. I will be potting them up mainly in peat pots, unless someone has a better suggestion.

  109. Hi Lucy I’m actually in Stourbridge about 12 miles from Birmingham!! I love this blog and find it really useful reading the posts. I’m so thankful for our NHS each time I read that someone has to pay so much for medical treatment themselves! Nice to know there’s another reader from the UK!

  110. Tammy – If your husband was injured at work it should be covered by Workman’s Comp. That would include medical costs, continuation of salary (at a reduced rate), and documentation/protection for any long-term effects of the injury. Assuming you live in the US.

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