I got some fresh air and exercise in my own backyard while I worked in the garden.

Rain was expected this week, so I turned off the drip irrigation and sprinklers on our assigned watering day before the rain started (it came the day after). I put out buckets to collect rain for watering pots in the garden next week.

Friday was a beautiful day, so I turned off the heater and we opened up the house to air it out for a few hours. I washed three quilts and hung them over chairs in the garden to dry.

I planted more of the discounted bulbs in the garden. We have such a short winter and it is warming up very fast. I can see buds starting to swell on one of our trees already and I know I need to work quickly.

I pruned grape vines in the garden to help my plants to be more productive and healthier.

I signed up for one free issue of a magazine.

I enjoyed two free magazines (Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Living) that I have a free subscription to, thanks to RecycleBank. I signed up for two more free years of Martha Stewart Living on RecycleBank’s site.

I renewed dvds on the library’s website to avoid having to drive back over there and also to avoid fines. Our library allows books to be checked out for 3 weeks, but dvds are only for a week. Thankfully, they can be renewed online.

When I went to renew, I saw that our library is now offering IXL access for free using a library card. This is one of the sites I was checking out and considering using for reading comprehension for my elementary age daughters, but it is not cheap. The site has other subjects as well. While on the page about all of the free school helps they offer, I saw that they offer Rosetta Stone (an expensive foreign language program to which some libraries offer free access). I had forgotten this. I signed up for both programs for our family.

I read an e-book from the library.

I realized this week that I could follow museums on Instagram. I signed up to follow the Louvre and La Musee des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. I lived in Lyon for six months and always wanted to go to this museum, but it never worked out for me to go, so now I can see their works of art in my feed. I will probably seek out some other museums to follow for an even larger daily dose of art.

I am really happy that we are eating out of the pantry and freezers. I am using some things that really need to get used, including dried vegetables that I dehydrated some time ago. The savings is tremendous; I’ll save $800 in three months that I can then use towards my eldest’s online classes. If the garden does well this year, I should be able to keep our grocery budget fairly low, which will be an additional help. Some of the meals I made this week were turkey and rice soup using onions from the pantry, Swiss chard and lemon from the garden; turkey noodle soup using onions from the pantry, dried celery and parsley, carrots from the fridge, and Swiss chard from the garden, and a 1-pound bag of fettucini noodles that I broke small (purchased previously on sale for $0.49; these are much cheaper than buying egg noodles); I cooked a large crockpot of pinto beans and made bean and rice burritos with tomatoes from the garden that are ripening in the garage; the next day I made a large pot of chili with the rest of the beans, onions from the pantry, dried peppers, and canned tomatoes. I cooked a ham and potatoes, which we had for several meals. We are only buying potatoes and margarine this month.

My boys got to go snow camping with their Boy Scout troop. Their troop does not cook dinner or lunch, and the other boys just bring money to buy those meals out. I sent my boys with homemade chili for their dinner and they took money they have earned themselves for their lunch (which made them choose their meals wisely). My eldest son has been happy to have been hired to do odd jobs for people, including genealogy research for people. He has been out applying for jobs but has not found a place willing to hire anyone who is under 16. He passed one of his jobs on to his younger brother, so they both have had a chance to do some work for people.

My husband filled up our van with gas at Sam’s Club. He drives a tiny but further to fill up there than a place down the street. Sam’s Club was $0.40 less per gallon, so he saved $12.00 on his fill up by going there.

My husband and I had fun together finding some new photography locations for me nearby while we were out photographing houses and neighborhoods for his real estate website. I took new headshots of him for his website.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Your little boy is sooo adorable! I love his style!

    My week was pretty busy. My MIL went home this week so I’ll be adjusting to a new schedule as my baby adjusts to the change in household. But I got some frugal things done nevertheless!
    – I made Tex-Mex potato wedges (http://approachingfood.com/easy-tex-mex-potato-wedges/), which are very inexpensive for dinner. They add just enough flavour to make potatoes a bit more interesting when they’re on the menu again. I personally like spicy foods, but my MIL and DH do not, so they’re not spicy – just flavourful.
    – I purchased two boxes of cards on sale from Indigo when they had free shipping offered, and used $5 from my Paypal account (from survey taking), so only paid $3.81 after that. That’s less than 10 cents a card OOP, which is very affordable. Now to find a way to trade for stamps! I like to set little mini goals for myself – it makes saving even more fun!
    – I used thank-you cards leftover from my wedding (they have an image of our church on them) for my daughter’s baptismal gift thank-you’s. Two people generously gave a little bit of money to her, and that went straight to her education fund as the Canadian gov’t matches up to a certain amount each year for RESPs.
    – We had so many leftovers from the party that we threw for my daughter’s baptism, that we ate them for several days this week, and then I stuck the remainder in the freezer.
    – I purchased two rolls of higher end wrapping paper marked down to 49 cents. They rang up as more at the cashier, so I showed her the sign and it was honoured.
    – My husband pointed out that (as Brandy does) it is best to measure tp by length rather than roll, and we went with the best length price, as opposed to the best roll price.
    – I went through my closet and pulled out a bunch of items to donate. I gave a brand-new pair of earrings to my MIL, as they weren’t my style. She appreciated the gift, and I appreciated getting rid of an item!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded some half-used containers of Scentsy wax (I no longer use the waxes and they’re just clutter at this point) along with a brand-new baby bottle gifted to me (we use a different type of bottle if we use a bottle) for some digital currency that the app uses. I also traded two knit diaper covers that I had won at a raffle years ago (I kept the beautifully knit matching sweaters) for more digital currency. Also, I traded a bar of chocolate gifted to me for some digital currency the app uses, and then traded that currency for a small cut glass tray which I use in my bathroom.
    – Like a lot of people, I’ve been trying to eat down our freezer and pantry. I’ve made smoothies using frozen fruit, eaten frozen enchiladas, and served lots of soups.
    – I made Greek Yoghurt and saved the whey to use in smoothies and for baking.
    – I made almond milk using almonds in my pantry instead of buying milk and then toasted the almond meal and put it back in my pantry to use in baking.
    – I made Spanish rice and beans, using up a number of items from my pantry including some home dehydrated green peppers.
    – I stopped buying a monthly transit pass since I’m on mat leave, and pay for individual fares. It’s definitely saving us money! And I now only arrange to meet trades at the subway station that is walking distance from my home.
    – I was gifted a jar of homemade grape jelly by a friend for Christmas, who grew the grapes herself. It hadn’t really set, so I added it to some ketchup and seasonings and added in some frozen meatballs. I served it over rice to absorb the sauce.
    – I made extra rice when I made the meatballs and used it to make veggie fried rice the next day, and I also used it to make rice pudding (I used up some half and half leftover from last weekend in the dish too). Lots of inexpensive dishes!
    – I took a few broken crackers and a dry end of bread and blended them in my blender and added them to my bag of homemade breadcrumbs in the freezer. No waste!
    – I used leftover batter from my baby’s baptism cake to make mug cakes in the microwave. I just put the cupcake batter in a mug and bake it for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, and I have a fresh mini cake whenever I want!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

  2. What a picture of Octavius! That little boy looks ready to take on the world! Coincidentally, I gave a hat like that to my husband for Christmas.
    *We had two no-drive, no-spend days. Our last tank of gas lasted two weeks including about 200 miles of out-of-town driving. Gas is $2.19 gallon at Costco in northern Idaho. I am hoping to get at least 3 weeks from this latest tank.
    *I made lined curtains for the computer/sewing room and hung them on a rod I already had. The fabric was a bargain when I bought it because it was 108 inches wide. I hemmed 5 cloth napkins cut from an aloha shirt. I mended my daughter’s favorite scarf and darned a pair of her socks. Simple sewing and mending are a big part of “the usual frugal stuff” here.
    *I returned a Christmas gift that didn’t fit and received a refund.
    *I had two tiny fillings last week and my husband had a crown repaired. We have dental insurance that will pay 50%. We break even on the insurance most years, but this year we will make money.
    *I made a big pot of turkey vegetable soup and ate it for lunches most of last week. I made stock with a ham bone yesterday and will turn it into bean soup on Tuesday. (Leftovers for lunch today).
    *Frugal fail—we had cracked crab for dinner one night…$5.99 lb.
    *Update on my 2019 goals—I bought two used books, Arthritis for Dummies and Arthritis: What Exercises Work, to learn how to take care of myself. Also, I ordered two dwarf trees–a Golden Delicious apple and Bartlett pear, plus 50 Earli-Glo strawberry plants for the raised bed. The bareroot trees and plants will arrive in March.
    Brandy, just wanted to let you know I’m able to get to the blog now without going in through the back door. Also, I’ve subscribed to your posts, but haven’t received any. Would I just receive your posts, or all of the comments, too?

    1. Maxine, you should be getting an email that includes each new post when it is published. If no one is getting them then I need to see what is going on. Email sending is one of the reasons I switched blog platforms.

      1. It did seem to take a little while after I signed up, but I’ve gotten emails the last two weeks.

    2. Maxine, I don’t know if you’ve looked into Dr. Terry Wahls’s book The Wahls Protocol, but it’s geared toward reducing inflammation which is the root cause of most arthritis. (Her story is MS related, but the premise is the same because it’s caused by inflammation.) You might find some of her dietary suggestions helpful to you if you’re dealing with arthritis.

  3. Spring seems a long ways off, as we didn’t even make it above freezing today. ? My frugal accomplishments for the week are…
    *Stopped at a grocery store during our travel home from the lake and bought ground beef for $1.67/lb. and eggs for .99/dozen.
    *Cleaned using vinegar, bleach and microfiber cloths.
    *Did laundry only one day this week to ensure full loads.
    *Cooked double the amounts of rice and chicken for dinner so I could put half of each in the freezer for an easy meal of chicken fried rice on a busy night.
    *Cut holly branches from a tree in our yard and used them to fill an empty flower pot on our front porch.
    *Treated a cold with orange juice, hot tea, and cough drops (all from the fridge/pantry).
    *Took advantage of free coffee, water and snacks at work.
    *Made a list of items to look for at the thrift store so I won’t forget.
    *Also began to make a list of items needed at the home improvement store DH works at. He gets a larger discount once a year (usually in the fall) and we want to be prepared to use the discount for maximum benefit.
    *DH had a work training in a town several hours from us. They have a discount grocery so he stopped by there and picked up several items. He also received a free lunch at his training.
    *Hosted a birthday party for my adult daughter at our home. At her request, we had make-your-own subs with pasta salad and chips. My sister-in-law brought a tossed salad (and gave us the leftovers) and we had water, tea and lemonade to drink. I baked a cake. It was a frugal and fun celebration!
    *My mom brought us some cooked beef that they weren’t going to eat. I’ll use that in a stew. She also brought some organic peanut butter, which my son will love!
    *Our church hosted a Poor Man’s Lunch (beans, cornbread, etc.) after church on Sunday. I was asked to bring cornbread so I baked that at the same time I baked my daughter’s cake. I didn’t have buttermilk that the cornbread recipe called for, so I used milk with a little vinegar. Worked great! I serve on the social committee at church and since we clean up after meals, I was able to bring home leftover beans, cornbread, baked apples, banana pudding, chocolate cake and vanilla wafers.
    That’s all for this week. Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments.

  4. I LOVE the idea of following favorite museums on Instagram. Thank you so much for the suggestion. Also for the suggestion of checking out what my library offers for online learning. I also love the thought that life is blooming and growing in your garden while “the earth is like iron” in New England. But knowing the wheel turns and we will be blooming this summer while your garden is frying. The climate differences in our huge country are so interesting.

    • Hung laundry up to dry inside the house x 3
    • Read library book via overdrive
    • Streamed a show on PBS
    • Made a pot of beef with barley soup, spinach risotto, broccoli & ham quiche, and baked Brandy’s blueberry muffins
    • Had my annual dermatologist appointment and gladly accepted three sample tubes of hand cream. One tube fits perfectly into my small purse.
    • I baked a coconut cake in order to use up stale marshmallows and coconut found in my pantry.
    • Drove to Cape Cod for an overnight visit with close friends. I packed two lunches to eat on the trip. We ate dinner at home and ate the cake that I brought. We played card games, talked and laughed. There is nothing like spending time with friends who have known you for a loooooooong time!
    • Stopped on the way home to fill the gas tank at the cheapie gas station, which is 35 minutes away from my house.
    • Paid a bill online
    • Used a 20% off meat coupon and combined with a sale price on roasting chickens.
    • Washed shower curtain liner in washing machine with bleach. I wish I had written a date on the liner when I first started using it as I’m curious how long it will last. It is already a couple of years old.
    • We are expecting an ice storm, which is unusual in our area. Normally we get snow this time of year. I don’t have a garage so I put Vaseline on the car door seals to prevent them from freezing shut.
    • Washed ziplock bags to reuse.
    • Removed nail polish using the cotton from the top of a new vitamin bottle.
    • Worked on insulating the sills in my basement. I’m using a relatively new product called rock wool and it is MUCH easier to work with then the traditional pink fiberglass insulation, but a little more expensive.

    1. Vaseline? I never knew that! Do you put it on the locks as well? My son lives in New Hampshire and he was expecting ice as well…I thought he would be buried in snow by now. He did too! Snow plowing has been almost non-existent and that is how he would make his money during the winter. I have been washing my vinyl shower curtains for years, throwing in a few old rag towels to help clean the deposits off of them. I have two so I rotate them and I think I have had them 7-8 years now. Your post has really made me think. Thank you.

      1. Laura S:
        I have read of spraying WD-40 into car door locks to prevent them from freezing. It works on Water Displacement, meaning it would fill the lock with a fluid that won’t freeze.

        Re stamps: Second ounce stamps are going down in price, from 21 cents to 16 cents, so it is cheaper to wait to buy those if you use them.

      2. Laura S: Thank you for the reminder of putting towels in the washer with the shower curtain. I have tried washing mine in the machine before, unsuccessfully, but haven’t tried it with the addition of the towels.

      3. When I lived in a very cold climate, I would keep a book of matches in my purse and “flame” my key to warm it just enough to unlock the door. I never put anything in the actual lock.

    2. I love how you use a cotton ball from a vitamin bottle. I do too! It really is all those little things that add up!

  5. I am getting my email that tells me a new post is up. We have been eating from the pantry. I have started cleaning it to make sure there is nothing being missed that needs ate before I even start seeds. I went to the store on Wed, got car tags, dogs tags and filled car up with fuel on the way home as the storm was coming in Friday night . Been home ever since ,though Hubby did work Saturday midnight to 8 am Sunday , he drives plow for the state during the winter. Been home, I shoveled snow off the porches and steps and Hubby has been clearing the driveway for 2 days, yesterday was 5 hrs and today is going to be over 6 hrs. Wind of 35-45 MPH and 8 inches of snow was not a good mix…Easy to be frugal when you go no where.

  6. Brandy, I get the emails that say you have a new post up, if that helps you figure out what’s up.
    I love that boy’s modeling style. He’s a natural.
    I have frozen persimmons that I am thawing out. I freeze the puree and use it for topping ice cream, to make persimmon pudding, and to make persimmon ketchup, which is really yummy. We are wondering if we should get a persimmon tree of our own, as I have to buy these from a farm.
    I need to check the library here and see what they offer for languages and learning.
    I defrosted my upright freezer and re-loaded the food. I was able to fit the food into the two refrigerator freezers we have while defrosting. We kept our older refrigerator for overflow food, insulin storage and seed storage, when we bought the new one. As long as it keeps working, we’ll hang on to it.
    I was able to hang out laundry, after so many weekends of rain.
    I purchased cushion foam to replace the seat and back cushions of an older glider chair that we got from Goodwill, along with a large end-of-bolt piece of fabric. I was able to use coupons to get 40% off of my purchases. I don’t do real upholstery work, but I can do simple cushion covers that look neat and do the trick. The seat cushion in this chair has a rip and is fairly worn, but the wooden frame is solid.
    We caught the southern edge of the big chill, so I have my boots on to help keep my legs and feet warm. I’ve had them 6 or 7 years so far, after buying them on sale.
    I cooked ahead this weekend, and in bulk, to save myself time now and money later, as I can freeze the extras.
    I continue to check gas prices before filling up, to see what’s lowest near my work place.
    My Meyer lemons are almost ready to pick. My little tree produced one more this year than last year – eight as opposed to seven — but I hope this is the start of a good thing.
    Brandy I hope all of your bulbs make it. I’d love to see a picture of them all when they come up!

    1. Its easy to defrost a freezer when its minuses outside … i put all stuff from freezer outside for as long as needed!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your precious children with us. In addition to the simple enjoyment of their cuteness, it makes your expertise and experiences much more authentic to us readers. I haven’t posted my frugal efforts in a while. Without a computer, I am finding the new format a bit more challenging to view the many wonderful comments. Soooo much scrolling required. Plus, it is challenging to type this much on my phone. But here goes:
    Have only spent $20 on groceries this month for fresh vegetables and milk. Planned meals to the end of February that use pantry and freezer items. Still washing and reusing the first half of a roll of heavy duty foil I purchased in October. Using plates, saucers, and pan lids to cover dishes instead of plastic wrap. Made pecan pie, using my homemade frugal syrup. It worked perfectly and everyone raved on the taste of the pie. Using peppers from my garden. For the second time since we purchased our refrigerator 9 years ago, the ice maker went out. This time we will not replace it. Thankfully, ice made in ice trays is neither complicated nor an extra expense! Found a package of year-old cheese in the fridge that had never been opened. The smell and taste were still perfect. Thankfully, my family has no interest in eating big quantities of meat, preferring dishes and casseroles that contain no more than a cup of meat per 4 adults. Preparing simple desserts, mostly vegan, that contain no eggs or dairy. I have been tweeking my recipes for several years with great success in taste and to the satisfaction of all my eaters.
    Accepted a full bag of dry dog food from a friend. Sewed and rewove the mesh toes of my shoes, using heavy-duty thread. The repair is not noticeable at all. Resisted the urge to buy frozen convenience foods for times when my schedule is hectic. Saving gift cards received at Christmas to use when we travel to our adult daughter’s figure skating competitions. She goes to college, works part time, pays for her own lessons, skates, and competition fees, and is sewing and bejeweling her own costume! Keeping all purchases to a minimum. Saving all vegetable scraps for composting.
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. Oh, and I believe you mentioned sending me an email several weeks ago, Brandy, but I never received it.

    1. I looked in my sent box. I sent the email on December 28th. You asked about the menu bar on the phone. It is there, but it is SO weird. You have to scroll the whole site to the right and then you can see it. I spent about 6 hours working on it a few weeks ago and I still cannot figure out how to get it to show up for you and everyone else reading on the phone, but I did find out on accident that it is there, on the right–just not a tiny icon of three bars like it should be. I am still trying to figure out how to get it work on the phone version of the site for you.

      1. Eureka, it is there! Almost microscopic, but I am able to hold my screen down long enough to click on it, and it works! Thank you so much.

  8. Frugal Accomplishments as of today:
    1. My car died. It will need a new motor. That’s more than the car is worth. (The car is 11 years old. It’s been a great car) My husband hit a deer with his vehicle and put it out of commission for a few days. That meant three working people sharing one car. Talk about having to coordinate! I would have to get up at 4:30, take my husband to work, come back and finish getting dressed for work, take my son to work, then go to work myself. When I go off work, I would have to repeat the same scenario. This caused me to get home late, dinner late, cleaning couldn’t get down on schedule, and left me feeling frustrated. I prayed because we did NOT want a new car note. My coworker offered me her Jeep Patriot for a thousand dollars. We had a mechanic look at it, thinking surely there is something wrong. This car looks like it came off the show room floor. We bought it. I called the insurance company, and prayed my insurance would not go up since this was a small SUV. It actually went down! I know a lot of people manage on one car, and if I didn’t work, we would, but when you have three people working totally different schedules, that second car is a blessing. It’s a standard so it’s actually cheaper on gas, too. All around frugal win for me, as we paid cash for it, so still no car note. YAY!
    2. Keep grocery shopping to a minimum. Trying to do like others and eat the freezer down. I still have a good bit of chicken my brother gave me last year that we are trying to finish off.
    3. Today has been beautiful. Turned the heat off and opened the doors to air the house out.
    4. Gave my 4 year old grandson a birthday party Saturday. Several people asked “What food are you serving? Will there be special food for us that are on diets”. We smiled and said, “He wants cupcakes and chips.” We served homemade cupcakes with homemade cream cheese frosting from my stash in the pantry/fridge. We went to SAMS and bought cheap bags of chips. We served juice. The kids were happy. It’s become such the norm to serve a full course meal/buffet at a kid’s birthday party that several had commented that they were going to have to go home and feed their kids because they had not fed them lunch, thinking we would serve a meal. (The party was at 2:00. We did that on purpose so that it would be “snack time”). The old me wanted to cringe at their comments, but my frugal self made me realize that I didn’t do anything wrong in the way we had the party.
    5. Brought my own lunch everyday last week. Since buying the Jeep, I have determined not to eat in my car anymore, so that has cut out the stops on the way home from work for a snack lol.

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

    1. I would never assume food was being served at a 2pm party for a child. I worked at the movies and we did birthday parties all the time there. People always picked in between lunch and dinner to have the party so they didn’t have to buy pizza. Popcorn and cake was the food. The kids were always happy. Nothing wrong with having a party for the child and not the adults. I did a Sweet 16 for my youngest last year. Several adults made comments that their was no alcohol served. It wasn’t even a cash bar. Sorry. I am responsible for 40 teenagers. NO ALCOHOL! It said it was going to be a dry party on the invite. Guess they didn’t read it.

      1. When I got married, I asked for no childrent to attend our wedding. One reason was the limited space and venue place (we were married on a boat with limited seating, and no safe place for children to run around). But more importantly, we wouldn’t take a child to a bar, so why is it ok to attend a wedding with them, where many people would be drinking, including the parents!?! Where those parents planning on drinking then jumping into the car and drive their kids home? What were they thinking?

  9. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy that is one of the many reasons to have a well stocked pantry is that you can make almost anything from it and also save a live off it to allow paying for other things. We rotate through and eat our stocked food on a regular basis so nothing expires and we call ours a working pantry. Octavius is growing into a handsome young man and looks wonderful in his hat and braces.
    It has been way to hot here to do much work outdoors at the moment but got a lot done here though.

    Our savings last week added up to $471.13.

    Home organisation & decorating with what we have –
    – We vacuumed the large area rugs we had from our last home and one is now near the back door as a rather large door mat inside and the other we set up in the lounge room under our recliners.
    – DH sorted out the last bits and pieces in the lounge room and set up our filing stackable drawers for bills and the like.
    – I damp dusted all of the skirting boards, window sills and furniture in the home to freshen it up a bit.
    – Shortened curtains we already had that I made for the last property for the bedroom.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a half batch of brownie premix from food storage saving $18.13 over purchasing premade packet mixes.
    – Made a cheesecake from cream cheese bought on special at Christmas time, lemon juice from free lemons given to us, and nice biscuits also on special saving $69.48 over buying one of equivalent quality and size in the shops.

    Finances/Purchases and eBay listings –
    – Listed 94 listings of homemade items/homegrown herbs and saved seeds on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $155.10 on usual listing fees.
    – Purchased a wire crimper stripper, 120 pce wire connector set, a grease gun, 2 x toggle switches and a set of fenching pliers on eBay saving $168.88 over buying them in the local hardware and auto stores here.
    – Purchased 2 orders of groceries using 2 discount supermarket e-vouchers and with specials saved a further $52.15 on usual prices and including the e-voucher discounts saved $132.15 in total.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone 🙂 .


  10. The local newspaper printer in my area lets people buy the “end rolls” for very little (I think the most I paid was $0.50.) When my children were small it was craft paper and now we use it for wrapping paper. Been using the same roll for about 3 years even if it has to be doubled on some gifts. Maybe this will help some of those who still buy wrapping paper.

  11. Another fantastic photo! It sounds like you have a wonderful library. I really should explore mine further, to see if there are things I don’t know about. While not free, I received an offer to subscribe to Country Living for $5/year, so I subscribed for 2 years at $10. My husband is on a restricted diet protocol right now, which will hopefully help his allergies. While he’s on it, I’m trying to eat things he is not crazy about but need to be eaten. So far it’s working well. I’m also seeing buds swelling, daffodil buds forming, and we even have a scotch broom bush in flower. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/01/small-signs-of-spring-frugal.html

  12. What a sweet picture of your little guy! My frugal accomplishments – such fun to think of the successes rather than the failures!

    – we’re planning a very frugal birthday party for my soon-to-be two year old son. Cake and his favorite lunch, made by the grandmas, balloons, bubbles from dish soap (his favorite thing, makes him dance with pleasure), party hats made from dollar store poster board and leftover ribbon, and a special set of washable markers from grandma.
    – we ate from the freezer and pantry all week and managed to make some pretty good meals.
    -one night I was craving Chinese food but didn’t give in to take out! Made my own sesame chicken and used some leftover rice. Everyone seemed to like it, so that recipe’s in the rotation now too.
    -I needed snow boots for my youngest and managed to find them (hooray!) in the organized shoe bin of kids shoes downstairs. That we had them, that we had BOTH, and that it was easy to find them – it was very satisfying and gave us more time to play in the snow.
    -I managed to keep going (7 months pregnant) long enough in the evening to really pick up the house so that we had a pretty house to wake up to, any toys the boys didn’t help with got put away. It makes the next day so much better when the space looks fresh and ready to play in – everyone enjoys their time more, including me.
    – I managed to clean some things with homemade cleaners that cost a bit less and don’t rough up my hands as much.
    – I saved my pretty copper pots from further neglect! They had been looking so awful. I love copper when it’s clean, but I hadn’t figured out what to do about this burnt on mess. Bar Keeper’s friend, some time, and some steel wool did the trick – they give me a lift everytime I see them.
    -I made $14.35 turning in a whole bunch of cans!!
    -I brought a cast iron dutch oven to a local sandblasting company for them to resurface for me. It had turned all my soup gray, so I wanted to start fresh and reseason. They told me they fix a lot of pans for restaurants. Who knew?

    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  13. The weather has been so cold in suburban Maryland for the last couple of days so we saved money by not being tempted to go out! Earlier in the week we took 3 boxes of books and cds to our local used book store and exchanged them for $20 credit at the store; spent some of that on a book my husband has been wanting to read and a tour guide/map for our trip to British Columbia coming up in July. Earlier in the week we bought a ham and large pack of ground beef on sale and repackaged them in smaller portions for the freezer. Grocery prices are high in the Washington DC area so I use subscribe and save on Amazon for a few basics like coffee, oatmeal, and TP. I also use Amazon’s credit card so I am able to order a few things for free with the points I accumulate. My husband and I have gotten into listening to podcasts lately and he has dropped his Wall St. Journal subscription in favor of listening to some of their columnists via their WSJ podcasts. I love thrift stores and visiting new ones wherever we travel always provides a cheap thrill for me, even if I don’t buy anything.

    1. Hi Lauren,
      I am also in Maryland and would love to know which used book store takes books! We have to downsize our home library a bit, and I would love to get something for the books without the hassle of ebay. 🙂

  14. *I used a $5.00 off of a $5.00 purchase coupon.
    *I made my own granola.
    *I made my own curry powder as well as did a substitute for coconut milk so I could complete a recipe.
    *I found spices on clearance.
    *I continued to use things in my freezer for our weeks meals.
    *I found two books at a thrift shop to complete a set I had been collecting.

    Details on my blog at: https://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2019/01/frugal-friday-week-of-january-13-19.html.
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s activities for this week!

    1. Lauren,

      Thanks for the tip about the books I will do that with a lot of ours as well. We live right near each other and YES groceries are outrageous here !
      We moved here from Florida and they were reasonable in Florida and before that we were in TN and they were cheap in TN now I save every penny I can everywhere and my family makes fun of me but they are soooooooooo expensive !

  15. I’m not getting an email either. I’ve tried entering my name and email again but it says it already exists. Hope that helps 🙂

    Love your pictures and description of your week. It sounds wonderful and busy.

    *Still eating down from pantry and freezer like most people. We had BBQ chicken, chicken enchilada soup, and homemade pizza. Enough was made from those meals to feed us for the rest of the week. I made a homemade chocolate fudge bundt cake with ingredients from my pantry and freezer. I did have to toss a handful of grapes that got hidden behind apples – but there wasn’t any other food waste last week.

    *My husband and I cleaned out our home office area. It was so cluttered and felt so heavy when we walked in. There are still a few items that need to be organized, but those are my items. We took unwanted items to a local thrift store and saved the receipt for taxes.

    *Free exercise this week by shoveling snow 🙂

    *Date night was paid for with a coupon and a gift card.

    *Returned items to store for a full refund that we ended up not needing and/or using.

    *Turned heat off during the day when I’m home alone. Doing housework and other jobs around the house keep me warm. If I get cold, I wrap myself in a quilt.

    *Reduced shopping bill by 1/2 this past week because of eating more pantry and freezer items.

    *Helped my daughter ask a boy to a school dance by using items we had at home – a gallon of milk and chocolate syrup with an M & M chocolate candy bar that I had stashed away. He said yes :). She’ll be wearing a dress that her sister used for the same dance in high school. The sign said Milk + Chocolate Syrup = YUM. Then had M(boys name) + M(daughters name) = FUN (both their names start with the letter M). Will you be my Preference Date? Corny but that’s how they ask for the high school dances. I had accidentally bought an extra gallon of milk because of miscommunication with my kids on what was needed. The chocolate syrup was in our pantry. The poster board I had bought years ago and had stashed in our office.

  16. Brandy, wow! You are such an inspiration to increase my productivity.

    Here is what we did last week:
    * I effortlessly made a batch of pinto beans in the thermal cooker.
    * I gladly received a free pound of ground beef at my favorite grocery store.
    * We drove the car with better gas mileage for longer trips.
    * I used what I had on hand to make a big meal for a potluck, and my husband gladly took the leftovers for lunch the next day.
    * I paid cash for gas to receive $.05 off per gallon.
    * We opened blinds to let the sunshine in to warm up our place naturally.
    * We used natural remedies we had on hand to keep our immune systems going strong during flu season.
    * I switched my phone plan to have more data AND save money!
    * We were blessed with an invitation to lunch on Saturday and brought food to share.

  17. Hello everyone! That soup looks delicious! This list is for the last two weeks.
    Last week:
    Added water to shampoo and conditioner

    Cut the toothpaste tube in half to get the last bit out

    Downloaded a budget app to my phone and make sure to record every penny. Paper wasn’t working for me.

    Took my lunch and snacks to work from home, made and drank coffee at home, made a portable breakfast and ate in the car on the way to work. I drank ice water in my reusable water bottle all day.

    Exchanged books at the library

    Trying to do a no spend January, so far so good.

    I noticed the water and sewer bills were creeping up. I put the bucket back under the weird pipe in the shower (it drains water from the furnace) and use that water to flush the toilet once or twice a day. I found my dish pan and use it for rinsing dishes. Today I took the mostly clean rinse water and added it to the wash water in my washer. I only filled the sink half way to wash the dishes.

    I have been hanging the clothes to dry on my racks. I only dry linens in the dryer because my hubby doesn’t like stiff towels.

    Washed and reused zip top baggies but I tried to use jars or other containers as much as possible.

    I used gas buddy to find the cheapest gas in my area when I had an errand to run. Luckily I was already passing that station. The same gas station had the same price the last two weeks. This saved me .50 a gallon!

    I exchanged a shirt that was too small and a spray bottle of canola oil that was missing the little nozzle.

    I’ve been using my car to charge my ipod for work, it has a USB cord in the arm rest compartment. I’ve also charged my phone at work, the company put in charging stations for employees. The trick is to find an open one. There are 10 stations for 150 people.

    We keep the thermostat as low as we can stand it.

    I talked myself out of a couple of unnecessary purchases to use up a gift card. The balance isn’t going anywhere.

    I found a couple of bottles of shampoo in my supplies rather than buy new.

    Exchanged movies at the library on time and avoided a late fee. I didn’t realize the movies were due that day.

    We were told a week ago at work to make sure to take our stuff out of the fridge and lost and found (water bottles, food storage containers, etc) by last Friday because everything was being thrown away. I’ve had my eye on a YETI coffee travel mug (sold for $30!) 2 weeks now. It was never claimed so, with permission, I took it because I needed a new travel mug! My friend also got a reusable glass food storage container not claimed.

    I removed the Facebook and Messenger apps off my phone and deleted my Instagram account. I found myself mindlessly scrolling instead of doing things that needed to be done.

    made two scrubbies out of saved mesh bags using a youtube tutorial

    turned some small scraps of soap into a soap “ball”

    I made a weeks worth of my daughter’s school lunches ahead and are in the refrigerator. I made a couple of sandwiches for myself as well and froze them.

    I have a monthly food budget of $300, I have $85 left! I have cut unnecessary items out, shopped at a Dollar Tree for snack items for work and school, and make sure I buy at the cheapest price. I also shop every two weeks.
    Can’t wait to read everyone’s comments!

    1. Mandy, a few years ago, I decided to stop buying pre-packaged snacks for school and work lunches. I am perfectly capable of baking. I now dedicate some time on the weekend to making a batch or two of something healthy to use in the bagged lunches. Muffins, squares, snack cakes, brownies and cookies all work well. You can individually wrap them or place them in a container/Ziplock baggie and take out as needed. You can even freeze them and put them in the lunches frozen…most of these will thawed by lunchtime. When I am busy, I will make a cake mix into cupcakes, a pan of brownie mix, or mix up a pudding mix from the pantry (divided into individual sized reusable containers). It saves me a lot of money and is much healthier since I can control what goes into making them!

      1. I do this, too. But I dont have time to make crackers, chips, etc. I spend a couple of hours every Sunday baking ahead and preparing foods for the week.

  18. Hello All! Looking forward to reading & learning from everyone this week.
    -Saved .23 / gallon of gas with my shopper’s card. Filled up the max 20 gallons allowed.
    -Received mileage check from work, deposited it immediately to mostly cover son’s books for this semester.
    -Accepted a huge batch of homemade chili from my SIL. She’s an “over cooker”. Had it for dinner 2 nights & froze enough for 2 more meals.
    -Planned 5 more dinners from freezer & pantry, this will carry us until payday on Friday when I will be stocking back up.
    -Printed a free coloring page for myself, my husband asked why I don’t just buy a book? I explained that this way I can choose whatever picture or design interests me at the time & it’s FREE!
    -The biggest savings of all is staying out of thrift stores. I realized that I was using them to indulge in retail therapy & while it was deeply discounted therapy it was still spending money on items I didn’t truly need. I am going back to compiling a list of items IF we need something & only shopping when we do.
    – I also found a series of questions on a different blog to ask yourself before you buy. Paraphrasing: 1) why am I buying this REALLY? 2) How many hours do I or hubby need to work to afford this? 3) Will it really improve or add value to our life? Asking these questions is a good way to differentiate between wants and needs. At least it is for me.

  19. Financially it was not a frugal week….utilities, car insurance and both vehicle payments were due within 3 days of each other.

    The weather was awful this weekend and we opted to stay home, only leaving to take the teen to work and pick him up.

    We ate on leftovers so much, 3 things I had planned to make didn’t get done so I’ll carry them over this week.

    No redbox movies this weekend, we watched what we had on the dvr.

    I had ordered some bug killer off of Amazon twice and they sent me an email that the item might not be a legit product so I received close to $53 refunded.

    I received a free caddy with my Grove order.

    I signed hubby up for a free razor from Harry’s

  20. Thank you so much for faithfully writing your frugal accomplishments. I love reading them each week (for years!) they are so inspiring. These posts really help me to make concrete changes in my day to day life. I just wanted to add that my library offers the app, “RB Digital.” This app provides me with a library of digital subscriptions to so many magazines. Maybe you, or other readers, have access to this, or a similar app. I love magazines, don’t love the clutter and don’t like paying for them- this app solves both problems!

  21. I used to worry when my boys went snow camping. But they loved it! They were taught survival skills by really good troop leaders.

    Enjoying eggs from chickens.
    Used library for books and movies.
    Turned off lights, opened windows.
    Turned down heat.
    Cooked at home.
    Husband packed lunches for work.
    We had a date at the food pantry. Sounds funny, I know. But I chose to feel appreciative of the food and a husband that is willing to go with me instead of embarrassed.
    Wrote down all expenses and compared it to income….
    We will need to either increase income or decrease expenditures. Or a combination of both. Glad my husband did this with me.
    Made good meals at home. Potato soup, Mac and cheese, green bean casserole, Brats, then added canned corn and beans to the soup with brats cut up for a new delicious soup. Deviled eggs,. Ate tuna packs and cheese from Aldi one day when we were in town and hungry. Splurged on chocolate.
    Danced with husband. Played a listening game that I made up on the fly. I had a plastic container and tapped songs to on it and had husband copy and guess what the song was. Then it was his turn. Funny, I was bored at home until we start having fun playing the silly game. Looked at a Lunar Eclipse. Enjoyed the crisp winter air and snowflakes falling on our faces on a wintry night. Checked the weather around the nation and world. Its cold most places and this week I’m enjoying home. Husband has been working on our house many evenings as I clean. Oh yeah, Lose It app. Wish i could say I lost weight this week, but….. I enjoyed chocolate and cheese instead. At least I didn’t gain weight.
    Listened to Pandora. Listened to my husbands play list from when we were dating on iTunes.

    1. During our 16 year marriage, we have received food from the food pantry and we have donated to the food pantry. It is a cause that we both feel deeply about and I think that it makes a wonderful date.

    2. Tammy, it is so nice to hear you are finding gratitude and happiness despite your current financial difficulties. Attidude is everything. A positive outlook with certainly help you navigate your way out. You did great this week!!!!

    3. Dear Tammy,
      I have been thinking of you lots these days. Your last week or so sounds heartwarming. I envy you seeing the lunar eclipse.
      I missed it although friends of mine saw it. I think it is one of the most beautiful things to see in our world. we often are so busy that we overlook the beauty around us but you’ve managed to find beauty and experience fun from day to day and that’s great! I have run out of food except for the turkey roll I was given at Christmas and had in my freezer. I will just make it till I can shop again. It is snowy here tonight but so nice to warmth. Take care. As usual things will work out. If you have extra eggs would the Food Pantry accept those from you? Ann

      1. Oh Ann,
        Do you have a pantry you can go to around you? I hope you do. We only have 8 hens so we have been eating the eggs. I gave some to my parents and my son also. The Lunar eclipse was fun to see. I’m glad you saw a cardinal this week. I love cardinals. I really hope you can find a pantry to help you where you are. Maybe you can search the internet.

        1. Not to worry Tammy! I will just make it. There is a food bank here but it is far from me and I feel
          people with families should have preference to use it in these tough times and I’ll make it. I also really love cardinals. We do not have them here but they are one of my favourites.

          The red bird I photographed is not a cardinal (yes, I know cardinals are called “red bird”) but it was a red house finch. Pretty special here anyway.

          They have been in a little flock at my friend’s house but today I looked out the kitchen window and I saw several. They have discovered my feeder! I am hoping the snow or rain holds off for tomorrow so I can get outside and try for some better photos.

          Glad you have the eggs from the chickens!

          1. Ann,
            I hope that you will get food if you need it. I also hope that you get some nice photos of the red house finches.
            Take care,

          2. Payday is tomorrow! Food! I got 2 beautiful photos of the male bright red house finch. Want to try for more but am
            trying todo inside chores first. Every once in a while, an off-corse cardinal has been spotted here but almost never a male.

  22. What a great photo of Octavius! He is a charmer.
    I didn’t have many new ways to save money last week but instead I kept a list of how my actions saved others money:
    -Donated three boxes to my local thrift store
    -Donated a box of books on non-profit management to a local non-profit agency
    -Baked and donated brownies to a potluck dinner
    -Baked and donated another pan of brownies for a funeral luncheon
    -Donated time to help clean out the apartment of a woman who had passed away the week before. The family was given a week to have it cleared out. My husband brought his truck and trailer and it was filled when he drove off to donate the contents.
    -Knitted a dishcloth and crocheted a child’s hat to donate to an international organization.

    I did sign up for an art class and volunteered to be the teacher’s assistant. This will take $20 off the tuition for the next class I take. The $20 doesn’t expire, so I have plenty of time to use it.

  23. Wow! That is some photo – that little guy has a ton of personality!

    I had 5 out of 7 no spend days last week so I am pleased with that. I have continued to only buy the bare minimum, mostly fruit & veg and to use up pantry and freezer content. I have made soup, cooked chicken thighs & baked fruit loaves.

    For a Robbie Burns lunch at church I made mashed potatoes & turnip (rutabaga) to go along with the haggis and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. I will be reimbursed for the vegetables that I prepared so it was a free lunch.

    I worked 8 extra hours at my PT job and I’ve been asked to take on more responsibility, for which I’ll be paid. I also applied for another PT job that I can do at home and I’ve been advised that I am on the list for training so we’ll see how it works out.

    I continued to clear out the last few things from the kitchen ( had thought that I’d need some new storage containers but I managed to repurpose items on hand) so that is another job completed with no additional costs. I washed two full loads of laundry and only used the dryer for the load of sheets – the items in the other load were all hung up to dry. I read two more books from the library and watched more programs on Netflix & ITunes for entertainment. I continued to use ITunes videos for exercise and even managed some additional outdoor walks – even though it is FREEZING up here at the moment.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

  24. Brandy,
    Sounds like you had a very productive week!
    I got a dozen eggs for free using my Safeway reward points. I purchased some metal pots at the dollar store and filled them with spring flowers. I made up 3 of them. My husband was traveling north and was going to stop by my Aunt’s house so I sent them with him for her to keep one for herself and give the other two to family members living close to her. Total cost was about $10 and made me happy to send some bright spring cheer to family I don’t often see.
    I finished knitting a scarf.
    We have been working on keeping our heat a little lower to keep our bill lower- last month’s bill was too high.
    My husband was able to get a load of firework through a friend at work- this will be for next winter and was very nice of his buddy to share his wood.
    I hope everyone has a healthy, frugal week.

  25. I am getting the email notifications, Brandy!

    This weekend I had my quarterly retreat on the other side of the state. I took food from home for all meals that weren’t included in the price of the retreat. Afterwards, I shopped at Costco for staples (We don’t have a Costco on our side of the state.) I figured out a new route that was shorter by 75 miles – a big savings in both gas and time.
    I completed a little cross-stitch picture to give to my MIL for Mother’s Day. I painted a frame I already own. I think it came out very well and she will like it.
    I cleaned and organized my pantry shelves, and ordered the supplies I’ll need for summer canning season.
    I pulled together the cash I needed to pay my quarterly taxes, without having to take money from savings.

  26. What a handsome little man you have!!!
    This week I’ve mostly stayed home.
    I cooked as much as possible and baked bread.
    We are eating from the pantry and freezer this month to use up things. I made chili with some turkey from the freezer, Irish stew with 2 lamb chops, and a pot of beans.
    I mended a coat.
    I made some hats& 2 bibs using scrap yarn. I’ve got a couple other projects in mind as well.
    I participated in a clothing swap and got 2 shirts and a pair of yoga pants.
    I hung the laundry to dry.
    My friend and I went to the mall and window shopped. We got exercise and chatted.
    My son and I went on some nearby Pokémon raids. We didn’t drive so we got some exercise and socialized.

  27. Bonjour Brandy,
    je me demande si vous connaissez allô prof.
    C’est une ressource scolaire pour le primaire et le secondaire en français.
    On utilise la section “exercices” pour l’école à la maison chez nous.

  28. Your son is so cute!

    I use pasta instead of egg noodles in my soups too.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Continued to pay extra on the mortgage. Over the last year I have brought my 30 year mortgage down to 27 years.
    • Ate in 6 times, continuing eating up what we already have. Meals included steak quesadillas made with leftover steak, 40 garlic clove chicken with fettuccini that I had in the freezer; tater tot casserole; chicken soup made with leftover 40 garlic chicken; bean & ham soup (put 3 single serves in the freezer for Hubby’s lunches); and steak, baked potato and yellow squash. The 7th night we went to dinner a friend’s home. I gave a bottle of wine I already had as a gift to our hosts. She gave us a jar of jam that she had made which was perfect timing, as I was all out of jam and I am trying not to buy anything.
    • Hubby had a client in town so he didn’t pay for his lunch 4 days and he got a dinner out. He took his lunch on Friday. I took my lunch (leftovers) on the 2 days I was in the office.
    • Company I contract for had a birthday breakfast celebration for all the January birthdays, so got free breakfast on Wednesday.
    • Worked 19 ¾ contract hours.
    • They were throwing out a lot of used printer paper at work, so I took it home to use in my printer. Most of the time, I don’t need a clean sheet anyway. Most of my at home printing consists of printing out recipes.
    • Took my Grandson to the library for Preschool time. It is his 2nd week going to that and he likes it. At the end of the time, they do a craft utilizing the letter of the week. That is his favorite part.
    • Hubby found out he got a small raise and a bonus.
    • In celebration for a work achievement, Hubby’s company hosted a happy hour and I got to be included too.
    • For Christmas, my daughter got me a 3 month subscription to a tea of the month club and my husband a 3 month subscription to a beer of the month club. Our first installment of these both arrived this week. Since I usually only drink tea that I’ve gotten free from work (leftover from conferences,) it is a treat to try something different!
    • I have a jar in my pantry that I save up small pieces of broken pasta in. I use those pieces of pasta in my turkey noodle soup. Was able to add a bit to it this week.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful, frugal week!

    1. Laurie,

      Do you drink herbal tea as well as regular tea? I am growing mint and chamomile (the chamomile reseeds itself well in the garden each year), hibiscus, and this past year started growing lemon verbena in my garden. As you have a similar climate, you could try all of those as well in your garden.

      1. I do drink herbal tea, Brandy. Thanks for the tip! I knew about growing mint and chamomile, but I hadn’t thought of hibiscus and lemon verbena! We are looking to redo some of our plants in our backyard this year. I think I will set aside a section for a “tea garden!”

      2. Try growing lemon balm. Very easy and it self seeds. It is a natural mood enhancer, lifting the blues or helping you feel less anxious. It also makes the best lip balm that is so gentle you can user it on new borns but it is really effective against cold sores too. Give it a Google. I’ve made it for years even though i don’t get cold shoes myself.

        1. I’ve seen it at the nursery and I have thought about growing it before. I appreciate hearing your experience with it!

        2. I love lemon balm! Be warned though, it’s a member of the mint family, so it can be invasive if you don’t keep after it. It makes wonderful tea and we enjoy it in fruit salads too.

  29. Happy Monday, frugal friends. I love the new blog! I don’t know if I’ve commented since it switched over or not. The entire holiday season was quite a blur, as I’m sure many can relate.

    Frugal accomplishments for last week:

    Found boneless pork butts, whole chickens, b/s chicken breasts on sale — bought roughly 17 pounds of meat total, averaging just over $1/lb. This will be a ton of meals for me, as I live alone and don’t eat much meat.

    Aldi had club crackers on sale for .99/box so I bought 3 boxes, and jars of spaghetti sauce on sale for .49 — I bought my limit of 6. I wish I’d seen the sale earlier and had shopped a couple of times. They currently have jars of peanut butter on sale for $1.49 a jar; I need to go tomorrow and buy the limit.

    Used part of my $50 gift card given to me at Christmas on the Lane Bryant clearance sale. This is the only place locally to get larger cup size bras and I always try to combine my gift card w/ a sale. I received an email last week letting me know it was the final day of the sale, so popped onto the website, found BOGO free bras, went onto Swagbucks to see if there was a coupon code, used a code for an additional 20% off, shipped the bras to the store instead of my house, thereby saving an additional $7.99, and I ended up getting points for my purchase. Two bras, regularly $60ish dollars each, ended up being $39.00 plus tax total. WOOHOO!!

    Used a bunch of bananas that were well past their prime and made a batch of cinnamon maple banana muffins. Poured the batter into my mini muffin tins and ended up with 4 dozen muffins. My SO and stepkids were in town this weekend and they devoured 3 dozen muffins in a day and a half. lol

    I am really focusing on listing as much as I can on my various platforms, as it seems another move is imminent. I sell on Etsy, Poshmark, Ebay, Mercari, so I am list, list, listing. I’m about to kick it in high gear just as soon as I’m over this cold. My SO had to relocate in late April last year for his job, and we’ve been doing the long distance thing for 9 months now but He is in the process of getting approved for a mortgage where he lives now. Please pray that things will work out. It is our hope that we will find a suitable house for the 5 of us ASAP and that we will be able to move in by May. His current lease ends 30 April, and he gets the kids full-time for the summer starting in June. I will rent my current house, but I need to be moved up there as soon as possible because I will be watching the kids this summer, instead of putting them in daycare, saving us $3,000 in daycare costs.

    Can’t wait to read everyone’s frugal accomplishments for this week. I always get so much inspiration from you guys!!

  30. Frugal Accomplishments for the last 2 weeks:

    As I type this up it’s a bitter 9 degrees outside. We have saved lots of money by going nowhere for the last three days. I am looking forward to Spring this year. I am planning on planting some early Spring vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, lettuce and spinach.

    I made a vegetable soup using a ham bone from the freezer. I made a dessert using what I had in the pantry. I also roasted a whole turkey. We had a turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and corn, a turkey cottage pie, and turkey vegetable rice soup. I made hard-boiled eggs, baked oatmeal, and muffins for breakfasts and snacks.

    We received coupon codes from our cell phone company for 2 free large pizzas. The coupon codes weren’t working on the website but the owner of the pizza place gave us the pizzas for free anyway.

    I used a trial membership from Amazon and ordered some things for Christmas and used the 2-day free shipping. I canceled my membership before the trial period ran out.

    My husband found a new job closer to home. His previous company had relocated right before Thanksgiving last year and our gas consumption costs went from $20 a week to $65 each week. I also started a new position this past week with my company. This will save us the extra $100 per month on train fare.

  31. Hi Brandy, I can’t find any way to contact outside of the comments section. I signed up shortly after your new website was live, and received a confirmation. But have never received an email. I tried to sign up again, but got the message that I already subscribed. Weird.

    1. I will look into it and see what I can do.

      There is a contact page on the bottom of the website in the footer if you are ever looking to email me.

  32. Your son is so adorable. We were given my husband’s boss’s old generator. It works great. My son brought home lots of leftover bread, bagels and pastries from work. I made french toast and croutons with some of the bread. It is in the single digits so I made ham and lentil soup and chicken vegetable soup. I am wearing 2 pairs of socks, 3 layers of tops, and 2 blankets as I write this. I refuse to turn the heat up higher. I put extra blankets on everyone’s bed. We will be good. My youngest daughter and I light to heat up a rice pad and put it by our feet when we go to sleep. Keeps are toes toasty. My full list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2019/01/my-frugal-list-week-of-january-14-2019.html

  33. Although it doesn’t sound like a “savings” I signed up for Shipt grocery service for half price. For less than $5 a month someone will do my grocery shopping for me. That will save me time and stop impulse buys as well. I won’t use it all the time, but when life gets crazy it will help. I used a gift card to go out and enjoy a lunch with a former co-worker. I am learning to cook for one and not have as much waste. I signed up for an Audible trial subscription for 99 cents. I reused a gift bag for dd’s birthday gift. I remembered that I can apply for an insurance supplement payment from my late husband’s job. (widow brain makes one very forgetful). I hope to contact them this week about that. Found a few sweaters on sale ($4.99!) and got a few since I needed some more.

  34. Hello to Everyone,
    This week was an easy one to be frugal due to the cold temperatures and snow. I stayed home and worked on projects, cleaning, organizing, and did some baking. I did venture out twice to work at my occasional office job for a total of 11.5 hours. I did all my errands on the same days on the way home from work. I purchased 3 Christmas candles at .44 each on clearance to use for gifts. I found .50 in recyclable bottles, and I made my Swagbucks goals x7. I happily made 7 birthday cards using supplies on hand, and I listed a few items to sell on Facebook buy/sell group. Only sold $11 this week due to cold and snowy road conditions. I used an app to call long distance for free. Have a lovely week.
    (Brandy I am not receiving emails. I have signed up twice and I signed up again today.) thanks

  35. I continue to evaluate my habits and look for any frugal improvements. As I drove up to the ATM, it occurred to me that I could save the 3.00 fee to withdraw my money. We drove across the street and I made a very small purchase at the grocery store that I needed, withdrew my cash for no fee and went next door to the salvage store. I purchased three boxes of cold medicine for 1.00 a box. Catching bad habits makes a huge difference in my budget. My daughter has been using the Mucinex cold medicine and it promptly solved her problem. That saved a doctor visit. Daughter flew back out of town for interviews and apartment shopping. I dropped her off at curb to avoid any parking fee. I’m always apprehensive about doing this as the traffic at this location is scary. At least 3.00 saved on facing my fears ! I redeemed 10.00 Swagbucks for a Groupon. Used a discount code with it to get sugar cookie a pass to an Egyptian exhibit . I will be taking her to see the mummies as part of her birthday. My daughter is packing up her apartment and donating a huge amount of stuff. I have resisted rescuing many items and not bringing them home. I found her Kindle paperwhite and plan on keeping it. I will be bringing all her unwanted clothes home and donating them to two young ladies who are going to be thrilled to have something new. She has a box of diapers that are going to a friend of hers. ( I think they were intended for a diaper cake many moons ago ). The best thing has happened. A baby shower gift I ordered for my daughters friend was shipped really late and the order was wrong. Customer service is almost impossible to contact. Then, they rebilled me. After many attempts at contacting them, they called me. My money has been refunded to my account. The company sent me the same order free of charge and even added some bonuses to it. These complimentary items will be given to ” baby Henry ” . I hate to admit I finally resorted to using social media to contact this company. In two weeks, I called everyday and emailed them 6 times and could make no contact with them. They responded to my Facebook post in 10 minutes. I spent several hours looking at prices in the grocery stores in the next town over. I’ve created a new price book. The difference in prices is shocking. It appears that unless something is on sale somewhere else, that Wal-Mart and Aldi’s are my cheapest options. I am working on a huge grocery trip and this scouting expedition was well worth a few hours of time and a gallon of gas.

  36. My husband has accepted a new job and will start next Month. So while we wait for him to give notice and before he starts the new job I’m trying to cut back in anticipation we will miss 1-2 paychecks. He is so thankful and excited as this job is much less travel and a increase in pay for him. I paid some bills early and found out our HSA funds can help pay for
    Our Cobra coverage when the time comes, thankful for that! I ordered food online with a list to stay on budget and with Kroger’s rewards I saved more than I expected. Plus a couple of my items were free as they were out of stock on the brand name item I wanted so they substituted it with a lesser brand and you get it free! Been cooking from the pantry more and cut up veggies as snack foods. My daughter is so easy and loves all the cut up veggies, my boys not so much. Working in decluttering and gifting items we no longer use. We received a amazon gift card and I was able to use it to buy laundry and dishwasher detergent, Clorox
    wipes and some disposable kitchen cloths. Only
    paid 2.76 out of pocket. Had .50 off a gallon when I filled up my car. My youngest son received a piggy bank that counts them money, he’s
    Been searching the house for coins, already up to $6 he
    said he wants enough to take me for ice cream and a another nerf gun..oh the joy of being 6. Loved reading all your comments.

  37. I have not posted in many, many months although I have been reading and occasionally commented on other’s posts.
    We had to refinance the house to get some of the equity out so we could put in a new drainfield which had completely failed (sewer coming up the drain in our son’s bath was the first sign of problems) When the septic was put in originally, it was not done correctly sooo $5,000 later, we have a working septic again. We took out more than we needed to do some other much needed repairs to the home as well (our huge picture window and the window over the kitchen sink were in really bad shape $$$$ windows are not cheap!). We are hoping to sell soon depending on what the market in the area looks like. Then we will pay off the loan and purchase a home with the cash (we still have approximately 100-110k still in equity IF the market continues doing well) The cash will be more than enough to purchase a home since we will not be tied to finding a good school district.
    Our son graduated college and has gotten a very good paying job only 1.5 hours from us 🙂 That made mama happy although it was like dropping him off for kindergarten for his first day 🙁 The settlement from his motorcycle accident will allow him to pay off ALL of his school loans so he is starting out almost completely debt free. He “had” to purchase a vehicle – his old one is in our garage – too many miles on it to get any money out of it but still running too well to send it to the scrap yard – it just needs some front end work which we can hopefully take care of ourselves and then it’ll be MY car – it sips gas compared to my jeep!
    Our daughter is now working in surgical recovery (PACU) at both of the major hospitals in our area AND going to school full time. She loves it though – it is so much better than working in the nursing home.
    * We are eating down our freezers and pantry. It is a difficult adjustment to only be cooking for 2! The only things I have added were more veggies (.45 cents a can, tomatoes .59 cents a can and beans (pinto, butter and great northern) for .49 cents a can) and then toilet paper and paper towel (we have 5 cats and 3 dogs – I won’t use re-usables on their nasty messes)
    * I have made $280 in the last 2 weeks selling my old treadle machine, the treadmill and a HUGE pile of “junk” (I sold that to someone who resells things – I didn’t have the time or energy to list it all individually)
    * I purchased the cement paint I needed for our basement floor (need to cover all the cat barf stains and hopefully seal the pee smell) at a big estate sale warehouse place. One booth has all paint – gallons are $5 and quarts are only $1. It is all name brand, high end paint that would cost $25+ a gallon.
    *I’ve made curtains for another window out of drapes from a 5th wheel travel trailer I demolished for someone. I used an old mattress pad for insulation and backed it with an old sheet. I have the fabric for my sewing room windows and our baster bedroom and bath – just need to wait for a bit warmer weather to be able to work on them – my sewing room is COLD in the winter.
    * I continue to bring home veggie and bread scraps for my quail and they continue to bless me with their wonderful mini eggs 🙂 I also grew some mini winter squashes specifically for feeding them in the winter – they eat it right down to the shell! I purchased suet during the black friday sales for them as well – .50 cents a cake – which gives them a boost of fat to keep them warm. For the winter, I used cardboard from boxes I brought home from work to line the entire hutch’s wire floor and then put down a heavy layer of shavings and made Plexiglas covers to go over all the windows and the entire wire front of the cage. I did need to add a 100 watt light for a bit of heat for them but they seem to be handling the very cold temps okay (5 degrees F at 8 pm so it will be in the negative temps later tonight)
    * I modified several shirts and blouses that did not fit me anymore (too big). One was too low in the front as well so I took some of the fabric I cut from the sides to add in the middle of the v-neck so it is no longer so low – that way the fabric all matched. I also mended a couple sweatshirts and made a few new headbands (from old t-shirts)
    * I re-did all of my recipe books (binders with recipes printed off from online or out of magazines in page protectors) This was soooo overdue. I thew out so many it filled a kitchen trash bag (YIKES!!). There is now only 3: {sweets. breads, muffins}; {gluten free}; and {main dishes, soups/stews, veggies (including salads and dressing), dips/appetizers, spice mixes/sauces}. I had everything I needed – printed off some pretty coloring pages (which I colored in with pencils I found in my daughter’s stuff) for the fronts, and made up dividers from pretty scrap papers – it is soooo lovely to see all the space now in that cupboard and I know exactly where all of the recipes we actually use are!
    * I traded my sewing skills to my uncle (he needed new cushion covers sewn for his trailer) for his brush removal – we have PILES of brush and junk wood and he has the place to burn it all. We can’t do more than have a very small campfire where we are at and I need it all gone before we put the house up for sale.
    * We did a no gift Christmas (other than goodies made from my pantry supplies and a couple things the kid’s needed). It was SO relaxing!
    * All the seed catalogs have arrived and I am loving the distraction! I don’t need much but really like to look at them. Only a month until I can start some peppers and perennial flowers and herbs!
    * OH – we also now own a “yacht” LOL it’s a 34 foot 1979 Mariner which needs a lot of wood repair on the interior but she floats and the motor runs. It has been my husband’s dream as long as I’ve know him to have a “big lake” boat (Great Lakes in Michigan) and this girl was a bargain. We are very, very excited for Spring so we can get to work tearing out the interior and redo some of the floor plan to make it more efficient for us – especially since we aren’t getting younger! We used it “as is” all last summer which really allowed us to know exactly what we need in a floor plan. There is nothing like waking up and taking a cup of coffee out to the back “deck” and watch the fog roll off the lake (or fishing without having to go anywhere!) The marina will be our vacation spot hopefully for many years 🙂 (We don’t actually take her out very much – it is over $300 to just fill the gas tanks :O – but it is much cheaper than a cottage!)
    I can’t think of anything else at the moment. Stay warm all – only 2 months til Spring!!! 🙂

  38. I’ve subscribed twice now since you started the new blog site and have never received an e-mail notification of blog post up! ?

    Another no-spend week, living on our pantry/freezer storage! I remembered that last year, in the mark down section of my Kroger’s, they had 28 oz cans of turkey chinks marked down to $1. ! The tags said “turkey broth, regular $2.29, marked down to $1”. But I noticed that while there were many cans of turkey broth, there were also about 20 cans of turkey CHUNKS that had the same tags on them! I think the stock clerk didn’t look closely because the size and labeling on the 2 kinds of cans looked almost the same! So I used a can of it to make “Chicken” Burrito Bowls for dinner that will actually feed us for 3 separate dinners and some lunch time leftovers!
    Another night we had 4 ingredient chili that gave us ample leftovers too, using only our food storage! Our chickens are up to 5-6 eggs a day again so that’s around 3 dozen eggs a week which we really appreciate!
    I decided to try again to sell some Scrappy Bags that I still had in inventory since late summer, including my 11” Scrappy Sewing Ladies Bag. I relished it on Marketplace at the same price as before and within 12 hours had sold 6 of them! https://pin.it/lbewmp3emtmv5e I still have enough squares with sewing ladies to make 13 more bags! The Soup Cozies https://pin.it/d5s76fpoukdkuz And also the flannel Softies https://pin.it/d5qzpz7dyyyh36 also continue to sell nicely. So that is turning my excess fabric stash into some money that is building our savings for when hubby retires in May and pays down his heart surgery from 11 months ago! This month we were able to put in an extra $500 to each of those goals in part by our no spend weeks plus our sales from my fabric stash on our website: http://handmadeinoldetowne.com/

    We had a really bad snowstorm this past weekend that was a Snow Emergency Level 2 which meant only emergency vehicles should be on the road. Church was cancelled. The day before the storm was predicted to come, people were flocking to the grocery stores to buy huge cart fulls of bread and milk and all kinds of foods! It reminded me to be grateful for our well stocked pantry! We didn’t need anything! The store shelves were completely depleted. Lines to pay were long. Some friends told us that they stood in the checkout lane for over an hour! Yikes!! Now, we are in Ohio. We have winter storms that bring snow every year. And yet, everyone was in shock and had to suddenly put some food on their shelves! I don’t get it! Grateful hubby and I work as a team to become more self reliant!
    We were blessed to get gas for $1.71 this morning as we went to do some volunteer work, only to discover that 4 hours later gas had skyrocketed to $2.15/ gallon!! Truly grateful!
    I am still amazed that by using stick on labels (25 in a package for $1) from Dollar Tree and labeling every leftover that goes into fridge that suddenly things aren’t being “forgotten” or “lost” and become throw away and wasted ! Such a little thing that really saves us -$$!!
    Someone recommended the book : Gardening When It Counts, Growing Food In Hard Times! I thought it sounded good and several online friends bought it and were enthusiastic! I went to our local library’s online site and looked for it. Found it, reservedit, they emailed me the next day that it was ready for me to pick up!! Definitely a money saver!!
    We have been blessed beyond measure and are grateful!
    Hope everyone else is able to see the hope and optimism still out in the world while finding ways to become more self reliant! Have a great week!
    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Hi Pat,
      I love hearing about your accomplishments each week:)
      I purchase a roll of green painters tape and label my fridge and freezer leftovers.
      When I reuse a cereal bag, I can wrap the tape around a few times to secure it.

  39. Brandy, I can’t seem to find your ‘how our food for two years came from the pantry’ extended post…I read that now and then for encouragement. Hopefully, you’re bringing it back. (I’m messing up the exact title — but am sure you know which one I mean.)
    It is kind of weird to read about (and see) your garden — since snow’s on the ground here. But I am starting to plan how to get some early greens out from the planting boxes from the deck — which warm up much more quickly than the real garden.

    Our stores didn’t have the amazing turkey prices some of your readers have mentioned lately — but our local King Soopers did have all sorts of ham on sale for 49 cents a pound — including honey-cured spiral cut ham, usually at $3/lb! I got two — gave one to friends, and we’re happily eating the second.

  40. A lot of our week revolved around cooking. After helping with the formal dinner for the teens at church last Saturday, it was our turn to feed the college-agers on Tuesday. Then, there was a family gathering at our house for my husband’s family on Saturday and a group birthday party on Sunday at my sister’s. I cooked things for every one of those occasions, plus family meals. Good thing I really love to cook, and so does my husband. I used real plates for the gathering at my house, and decorated with what I had and about 99c worth of snowflake picks, which I stuck into some greenery from a bush in the yard. Pictures of everything are here: http://beckyathome.com

    I have been working on using lots of items from the pantry/freezers/canning cupboards but finally had to break down and buy a few things in addition to produce. The good news is that I bought quite a few “not food” items, including spending what I felt like was my life savings on Tumeric, shampoo, foil, waxed paper–stuff like that and I am still well under my normal grocery amount. I have been able to clean a few spaces on shelves and drawers and re-organize some parts of the pantry shelves and what’s on the shelves are not so tightly packed. My aunt was able to get me 2 cartons of 99c/doxen eggs and I got the 2 I could get as well. I’ve got milk, Danimals yogurt, gallons of milk and things like that because my niece and nephew are coming for his upcoming weekend and they are very limited in what they eat.

    I have also been able to go through some quilting things I’ve had for years and start a project. I want to make a baby blanket for my husband’s nephew and wife, who are expecting their first child. I was able to find fabric in my stash for most of what I needed, as well as my acrylic templates, rulers, mat, and rotary cutter to use for cutting. All of those things were jumbled into bins when we moved and I’m delighted that some things I treasure very much have emerged as we go through those bins. The biggest way I saved money was to send Rob to the quilt shop instead of going myself. He had a doctor’s appointment near the store and I just needed a very few fat quarters in colors that matched what I had. If I had gone, I probably would have bought a bunch of things I didn’t need. Sad, but true:). The ladies at the shop fixed him up (he’s color blind) and I was able to cut out the main blocks today, since I had the day off.

    Great news on the dieting front for my husband! At his monthly weigh-in at the doctor’s today, he had lost another 10 pounds during this past month. This brings him to a total of 77 pounds since last spring.

    We had a burner break on our stove. Once you switched it on, it was on high all the time, no matter what you did to the dial. Thankfully, my husband called in time, and we were able to get it fixed under warranty, which runs out in early February.

    It was a good week!

  41. 1.Earned $24 in credit card reward points
    2.Filed my taxes online and will be getting back a great return. We plan to use the money wisely and make some home improvements that we have been putting off for many years
    3.Returned library books the day they were due and picked up a few more to enjoy:)
    4.Borrowed a small kettlebell from my sister to try out for a workout (they are extremely expensive!)and accepted a bag of office supplies my mom was giving away
    5.Used fuel points from Kroger to reduce my price per gallon by 20 cents

  42. Wonderful updates!
    – took my son to get his sister a birthday present at Savers, a thrift shop near us
    – bought 10 kids books that look like new while we were there. They’ll be Valentines and Easter presents for the kids
    – saw they were having a 50% off sale yesterday so I went back. Bought a pair of jeans for myself and some shoes and boots for the kids to grow into
    – started the baby in our cloth diapers
    – tried to breastfeed and pump as much as possible
    – we ate tons of leftovers to avoid going out
    – we did go out for my daughters birthday but used a gift card
    – thanks to all the advice about the FlyLady! Have been doing a much better job staying near and organized
    – tried to keep the heat down-ish but it’s really cold here!
    – will be ordering some prints from our recent photos when there’s a deal on them.
    – started preparing our tax documents

  43. Over Christmas, I fell off the savings wagon but this month I’m firmly back at saving! This year I really want to stick closely to our budget which will really increase our savings. We ate all meals at home and my husband took his lunch to work everyday. My son and I are staying in quite a bit during the week so I’m getting lots done around the house and lots of extra cooking done as well. I’m trying to run errands when we are going to be out anyway to save both time and gas. It’s very cold here at the moment so there isn’t a lot of incentive to head out anyway! We are eating down what we have in the pantry and freezer like so many others so we will definitely be under budget for groceries this month. I won a $100 Visa card which I put toward groceries so out pantry is overflowing. Next month will also be a minimal spending month as well for us. We received gift cards and lots o f practical things like toiletries for Christmas so it’s another reason to continue on with the minimal spending. I have lofty savings goals this year so I feel like we’re making a good start on them.

  44. Thank you all for your comments. I always learn so much and get a lot of motivation from everyone!

    Our frugal accomplishments for last week:

    -Made soup on Sunday that was ready to eat when we got home from church. Sent some with my mom after church and still had 3 bowls to put in the freezer for quick lunches. My plan is to do this each Sunday as I enjoy eating soups for my lunches, and it’s easy to pull out enough for anyone else who may be home during the day. (Plus I can do it without meat, which is a big money saver.)
    -Found a lunch bag that hasn’t been used in a while for our daughter to use at her internship she’ll be going to twice per week this semester.
    -Continued turning off the internet and wireless mouse at night.
    -Tried to have fewer lights on during the day.
    -A nice surprise was our auto insurance bill was adjusted and is now $39 less per month.
    -Saved a stamp by dropping off a document on my already planned route.
    -Accepted hand-me-down shoes from my older daughter.
    -Offered our old cook stove with a non-working oven on a local Facebook yard sale site for free with pick up. Had someone come and get it Sunday, which saved us paying to dispose or at least the gas of hauling it to town for recycle.
    -Watered houseplants with saved water from drinking glasses.
    -Washed & reused plastic bags.
    -Combined errands with my mom to save gas.
    -Used a cat food bag, saving a trash bag.

  45. We had blizzard conditions here this weekend so we stayed in from Friday night through Tuesday morning. I was off for the MLK holiday on Monday so it was a nice long weekend. We even had to cancel church services. My husband is the Pastor and we have only cancelled twice in over 15 years. However we were able to broadcast his sermon on Facebook Live. This was not necessarily frugal, but a good example of making due with what you have when you need to.

    I was able to do a lot of organizing. I tackled the linen closet, the food pantry, and our drop zone (mail/keys/junk get dropped there). This will allow me to be more efficient since I know what I have and have a place for everything to go.

    I placed my grocery order online and only had spend 5 minutes picking it up. This is time efficient for me, doesn’t cost anything extra, forces me to meal plan, and I don’t have any impulse purchases.

    I sold a large area rug at a garage sale site and gave the money to my son who’s wife is out of work right now. This cleaned up my guest room and gave them food money for the week.

    I accepted a gift of some toys from a neighbor to put in my Grandma Toy Box. My granddaughter will love something new to discover next time she visits!

    I am re-reading some favorite books instead of buying new.

    I found a pattern for a sock doll to make for my Granddaughter’s first birthday in March. I hope to start on that next week.

  46. My frugal wins cover these last 3 weeks:
    Used Kroger loyalty card points to fill up both cars – my car requires super unleaded gas, my husband’s takes regular unleaded. I was able to save $1.00 per gallon & $.50 per gallon, respectively!
    I have been cooking from our freezer & pantry – trying to limit spending as much as possible this month. Made desserts each week from items already on hand or purchased at rock-bottom prices. Chocolate chip cookies, blackberry cobbler & peanut butter cookies this week.
    Cold temps & snow the last 2 weekends have kept us at home so the gas purchased earlier should last us all month.
    When I do go out I combine errands to save on gas & wear and tear on vehicles.
    Used 30% off coupon to purchase underwear and bed pillows.

  47. For the most part, I stayed inside except for brief visits to the bird feeder. I got a lovely woodpecker photo while waiting for the brown creeper to show up. I now have reached level 23 out of 25 levels in Italian on duolingo. I think it will take me another month to complete. Did not buy anything. Am running out of food in the freezer but still have the frozen butterball turkey breast roll that I was given at Christmas so will use that.

  48. Love the picture of your son. He looks like such an old soul.

    I am happy to report that things are slowly improving on the health front as I continue with the detox herb and sauna regimen. I am back to feeling more like myself, but I still get very tired at the end of the day. The plan is to continue this for two more weeks before my doctor and I assess the need for further treatment. Thanks to those who posted suggestions and comments for me last week.

    I did a lot of cooking last week, and put meals in the freezer for lunch and dinner. Things I made: a big batch of tomato soup (similar to Brandy’s recipe) and one of spiced pumpkin/cauliflower soup, a large batch of oatmeal pancakes, a beef roast which we ate from and then I turned into stew, and Spanish meatballs in tomato sauce. Also made several batches of bone broth. I was running low on bones so I reused them, adding one new bone from the freezer each time. The last few months it has felt like such a slog to cook, so it was good to feel inspired again and make some nice things to eat for now and for the freezer.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – Found good deals at the thrift store last week. Needed some new sleep shirts (I occasionally get the night sweats so sometimes I go through two a night). Found five t-shirts and two skirts at the thrift store for $15. At another thrift store, they were having a half off sale, and I found a pair of designer jeans that fit perfectly for $7.50. I also found a cornucopia basket for 99 cents. I was looking for one of these last fall to use as a decoration.
    – Went to the gym to work out and used the sauna.
    – On other days, did workouts at home. I do exercises with weights and stretching on some days. I also did cardio drumming following a youtube video (using an exercise ball placed on a bucket, and then you pound on it with drumsticks – it’s really fun). I already have all the equipment for this.
    – Filled up my gas tank with Costco gas that cost $2.67. That is cheap for around here (Seattle area).
    – Not frugal, but sanity-saving: I had groceries delivered one day. This is not something I normally do, but I was thankful to have that option.
    – Ordered a couple one-pound bags of bulk herbs: chili powder and smoked paprika. I use these frequently and it’s so convenient to go shopping in my pantry (although these are actually stored in a drawer under our bed).
    – Pruned our rosebush and hydrangea. Repotted an inside plant and purchased some primroses (4 for $5) to add to my outside planter.
    – Skyped with my friend in Greece. I know her from when I studied in France many years ago, so we speak French. I looked up a bunch of words beforehand so I wouldn’t stammer and search for words like I normally do. Worked like a charm! Also, it was great to read the comments in French on here last week.

    Hope everyone has a great week. Can’t wait to read all the comments!

  49. Here is my list for the last two weeks:
    – Emptied lip balm had been using; started using the one I got free from the dentist at last appointment’s goody bag
    – Sent a birthday card to my niece using a card received free in the mail
    – Received a free breakfast at work for a “National Bagel Day” celebration
    – Received 4 free Christmas books through a “Bonus Bucks” program from a book subscription service. I will be cancelling the monthly service now that this order has come through.
    – Updated my lists of family magazine subscriptions and expiration dates and talked about what is still wanted. One subscription we will let expire, but daughter wants to keep one horse magazine and also start another one. I found discounted subscriptions to both via ValueMags and Best Deal Magazines and was also able to shop through ebates for the latter.
    – Checked on and updated balances on gift cards in my possession (one of the many lists I keep on RememberTheMilk.com). Following this, I sold two Starbucks gift cards (I don’t like Starbucks’ drinks), a $10 and $20, on cardcash.com in exchange for a $25.86 AMC movie gift card, which I added to my AMC account. I compared gift card sale/swap sites for the best deal — all of them take a commission, and you get more on a gift card than the cash option.
    – Submitted claims for a wellness benefit through a work-provided insurance for 2018’s mammogram. The wellness benefit gives a cash bonus for specific screenings, one per year for each person covered. Discovered I had been covered for a few years but not claimed the benefit and it was still available, so filed claims for 4 prior years as well.
    – Took 12-year-old daughter and friend ice skating at a local park with a chain of ponds that freezes over. They rent skates at the warming house, but daughter and friend both had their own (secondhand) skates. Afterward, they came to our place and played board and card games we own.
    – Continuing to eat mostly from the pantry and freezer; the Christmas ham leftovers made an appearance as a pineapple, ham and rice casserole. Also used previously cooked and frozen hamburger to make chili, served with “jam muffins” (the jam is a filling inside the muffins) made using blueberry jam from some of the many, many jars of jam in our cupboards (this one was received from a relative over Christmas)

  50. Marybeth, I must be living under a rock (for about the last 50 years) but I can’t even imagine a Sweet Sixteen with a bar, cash or otherwise! Also, I would get it that a 2 p.m. kid party didn’t include a full meal. I probably wouldn’t even bother with the chips, but that’s just me, LOL.

    1. Sweet 16s are very popular in NY. People spend a lot of money on them. They are mini weddings sometimes. Most of them have an open bar for the adults. I don’t drink. The party was for my then 16 year old daughter. Hubby and I decided to not have a bar. Only soda, water and lemonade. The kids had a great time. When my oldest had her Sweet 16 we did the same thing. The room we rented then was in a hotel. People just went down to the lobby to get a beer or wine. And several people did that. This time we had a small restaurant to ourselves. I made it very clear to the owner, NO ALCOHOL. Several people went up to my husband and me asking why they couldn’t buy a beer. I guess some people can’t go 4 hours without a drink. It was clearly printed on the invitation so that everyone knew ahead of time.

  51. You have had some really cute photos of your children lately. Why is is that you just NOW discovered that park behind the library? That’s crazy!

    1. I knew there was a park around the corner from the library. What I didn’t know was that there was a whole other side of it with another playground and picnic areas that connects to the backside of the library and another parking lot on the other side of the library. I just always parked in front of the library and a long time ago I had gone to the park around the corner (years ago).

  52. Hi Brandy. I’m curious about what you do for mils, eggs etc when you’re eating from the pantry and freezer? Do you still purchase those things or just do without?
    Thanks for your helpful posts!

    1. I have powdered milk in my pantry. I have used powdered eggs in the past but I am not right now.

  53. My frugal accomplishments last week included that I cut my own hair – not perfect but I have really curly hair so no one will ever notice. I took a sewing class and used supplies I had on hand. I refused to purchase anything ‘extra’ and made a very lovely stuffed moose. I hung laundry to dry and increase the humidity in the house. I bought only the groceries we needed to make the planned meals for the week. We are eating out of the freezer and not stocking the pantry because we’ve really filled both and need to use it up. I listened to a book on tape I already had and love to listen to. I listened to sports on the radio – we don’t have TV. I wrote thank you notes using cards I already had. I started a new pinterest board to have the posts that inspire my frugality for the week. There hasn’t been many weeks in the year yet but I hope to build it as I go so that in future years I can look through previous inspirations. It’s here: https://www.pinterest.com/heidiberryman5/my-frugal-week/ – so far it’s mostly the Christmas tag and Christmas card ideas I used with the stuffed moose. One of my goals this year is to do one thing a month without my husband and the moose sewing class was what I chose to do.

  54. Wow, I’m late posting this week. I was trying to read through the comments first, but I’ve been busy and more keep getting posted, so my efforts are moot! Brandy your little boy looks like he is full of personality…an old sole. I thought it was interesting you lived in Lyon, France. We talk a bit about Lyon in our Jacquard Loom weaving interpretation. Lyon was well know for their silk weaving industry in the 1700 – 1800s. The Jacquard loom was a French invention in the very early 1800s, which revolutionized the weaving industry, thus their history is connected. I’m so happy you are enjoying the social media feed from these museums around the world. Many museums put a lot of effort into creating the social media sites, so people everywhere can now share in learning about their current exhibits, not just those fortunate enough to visit. Traffic to these platforms also helps those museums obtain funding, so they can continue to do what they do!

    This week, or at least this past weekend, our most frugal thing we did was stay home and keep warm when some extreme cold temperatures moved into our area. DD begged on more than 1 occasion to go somewhere, to which we said no every time. We just couldn’t bare the thought of going out to clean the car off and start it in such brutally cold, close to -40 C with wind chill weather!

    This week, our family’s frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included breaded chicken fingers/burgers with coleslaw and choice of breaded onion rings or sweet potato fries with homemade spicy mayo dip, hot chicken sandwiches with corn and optional baked potato, ham & cheese crescent rolls with knorrs noodles & sauce side dish and carrots, make-your-own pizzza, shepherds pie, and roast beef with garlic mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots.
    *DD and I enjoyed eggs florentine for breakfast twice on the weekend. I made scrambled eggs with chopped fresh spinach, spooned it over the halves of a toasted English muffin topped with cheese, then topped it all with Hollandaise sauce (prepared from a powder packet from our pantry). It was so good and very filling!
    *Made M & M cookie bars (recipe link:https://www.myorganizedchaos.net/2013/11/mm-cookie-bars) using 2 packs of M & Ms I bought on sale for $1 each. The squares were cut, 10 bars were individually wrapped and put aside for school lunches this coming week and the rest became dessert for Sunday dinner.
    *Used the opportunity to stock up on some grocery items to get extra loyalty points this week. I earned almost $20 in free groceries just this week alone, plus added canned goods and a big bag of powdered milk to our pantry. At another store, I picked up an 8kg bag of long grain rice on sale for $6.88, as our rice stock was quite low (it often goes on sale for Chinese New Year around this time). I’m pleased with how our pantry is looking right now. With threats of inclement weather, uncertain times and price increases, I want to make sure we are fully prepared for whatever comes our way.
    *This week was customer appreciation at Dairy Queen. On February 1st, my husband will be celebrating his 50th birthday. Since he LOVES ice cream cakes, I took him to pick out his own cake. I saved 50% off the cost of a cake I already was planning on buying. We put it in the freezer to enjoy on his birthday.
    *I used my gym membership 3 times this week. I gave the Osteofit class another try, and was pleased with how it went this time. There is another instructor teaching it now, who was much more gentle in her approach. So I did the class twice this week, then used the tred mills, track and free weights the rest of the time. My brother and I try to carpool as much as possible when we go, to save both of us gas costs.
    *Gave DD’s friend a package of sanitary pads this week. Apparently her mother is having difficulty with being an adult and couldn’t ensure they had some in the house for her daughter to use. She also texted on Saturday morning and asked to come over, because her mom and boyfriend were fighting. Poor kid just can’t seem to get a break in life. Good new is that she will not be switching schools, so I will continue to send a healthy lunch for her. Sometimes this is the only meal she gets in a day. I’ve also reminded her she is always welcome to take home whatever she couldn’t eat from her lunch. I just need the reusable containers back so I can refill them the next day.
    *DD put in some volunteer hours at a church spaghetti dinner this weekend. Someone we met through the school board is kindly supporting DD to help her get some of her 40 volunteer hours she requires to graduate high school. I sincerely appreciate that this lovely woman has offered to do this for DD. It is so good for DD to get “work experience” without having her mom holding her hand through it. DD also received a free meal for helping, which she enjoyed.
    *This one is very rare for our area (Alaska people can stop laughing)…we received an email from the school bus company on Sunday night letting us know that buses were canceled for Monday due to the extreme cold conditions. They didn’t want the kids standing outside waiting for the bus, because it was so cold, one could develop frostbit within a few short minutes of exposure!

    Hope the rest of you are keeping warm, as I know this weather is hitting a lot of areas. I look forward to working my way through all your comments!

    1. I wanted to thank you on leading the way (at least my way) on stocking up both carrots and peaches. I am really enjoying having a plentiful supply of these through the winter. I like carrots much more than I remembered I did. I roast them and julienne them for stir-fries.

      1. Your so welcome, Elizabeth! Last summer, despite a poor growing season, I bought a mixed bushel of green and yellow/waxed beans. It was $50 at the farmer’s market, but worth it to have a nice stock in my freezer for the winter. We also buy a bushel of “C grade” apples from a roadside orchard stand every year and use those to make frozen, uncooked apple pies and apple crisps for the freezer, as well as canned applesauce (which can also be frozen if you don’t do canning). The applesauce comes in very handy for baking as well as eating. If you don’t have access to an orchard, you could buy bags of apples when on sale to processs. Same with pears, which can be canned or frozen. To add some variety, if you notice fresh pineapple on sale for a really good price ($2 or less is my preference), they can also be canned or frozen. It tastes WAY better than store bought canned and so worth the effort! I don’t buy a lot of frozen veggies or fruit in the winter, because I spend the time and money during the summer months to stock our freezer and pantry shelves with in season produce. Corn and mixed veggies (I prefer the comercial variety for fried rice, but I really could do without it if necessary) are pretty much all I buy as needed. We do buy fresh corn on the cob and freeze some, but it is more time consuming to cut the kernels off and we can never seem to freeze enough for our winter needs. I’ve decided that buying frozen corn is worth the cost.

        My goal is to maintain my pantry and freezers at all times, to ensure we always have enough food to provide a well balanced diet, even if there is an emergency or financial crisis where we needed to live off what we had for a while. I always make all our meals from this stash, so it is always being rotated. I shop mainly to replace what we use and to variety, not to meal plan for the upcoming week. The exception, of course, is perishables like milk products and some fresh produce. But I have back up plans built in, in the event perishable not be available. I live in Canada after all, so growing a garden almost year round is not possible here. So I take inspiration from our ancestors, who had to keep well stocked pantries to make it through the long winter! I even bought a pressure canner with the thought that if we lost power, I could quickly can up some of the meat and frozen produce on our camp stove, so we don’t loose everything.

        1. Rhonda,
          You are smart to plan ahead for your pantry. I didn’t think about freezing applesauce. That is good to know.

          1. Tammy, if you live in an area where a lot of people have crabapple trees, this is another way cheaply adding to your pantry. Most people have these trees for the beautiful flowers in the spring, but don’t do anything with the crabapples in the fall. If you ask nicely, they would probably let you pick as much as you’d like. You can make crabapple jelly from them with the addition of only sugar and water…no pectin needed! There is most likely a “freezer jam” option, if you don’t can. I have heard of canning spiced crabapples, but have never tasted them. But it is another option to add fruit to your pantry. Both of these would make excellent gifts, too.

          2. Rhonda,
            Thank-you for the information. I’ve never made jelly and would like to. I have made spiced crabapples before with my husband. Actually; I picked ,He canned. I hadn’t thought of it but my son has a crabapple tree. I’m positive he would let me pick them.

          3. Tammy, when I was a kid, the people who lived behind us had a couple of flowering crabs in their parking strip. They gave us some crabapples and my mom made the prettiest (pink!) and delicious crabapple jelly. This was back in the day that everyone used paraffin to seal jellies and jams, and it worked fine. If you pour hot jelly into a hot jar and use a canning lid, that is all you have to do. It will seal. This is called open kettle canning and I still use it for jam and applesauce. Also, if jam or jelly goes bad (rarely), it molds, so you know not to use it. Botulism is only an issue when canning veggies.

          4. You can also can the applesauce from crabapples to use in place of oil/fats in baking.
            Google an image of a Foley mill.
            I find them in thrift shops and they are amazing at making applesauce from crabapples .

        2. So many good ideas here. Thank you.

          I work with just the small freezer in my fridge, and ample cold storage room in my back hallway, which is great through winter. I like to freeze lots of blueberries and often freeze tomato sauce too, though I never saw tomatoes at a good enough price this year. I also stock up on winter squash and potatoes for cold storage.

          This year, I added the frozen peach slices and carrots. The carrots I put in the vegetable compartment is the fridge. I also bought turnips, but they are gone, sadly. Next year I know to buy more!

          I am in northern Alberta, and like you, I try to stock up for winter too.

          1. I’ve seen big bags of beets and onions on sale in the fall for a really great price, if you like to eat those. Usually you can get a 10lb or 20lb bag for around $2! I think both keep OK in cold storage or fridge drawer as well. If they start to go soft, you could cook them up and freeze them. By this time, your freezers may be less full as you eat down your summer stores. Just a couple more ideas of cheap things to store for winter consumption.

          2. Oh, and you can also dry chopped celery to add to your pantry, bought when it is cheap in the summer (celery prices double in the winter). You can also dry chopped onions for the pantry as well. These work really well added to soups or stews. I have a dehydrator, but you can do this in your oven as well. By drying them they take up little shelf space, yet offer some extra nutrition to your meals during the long winter. Pioneers traditionally dried apple slices as well, which could be rehydrated with hot water to use in baked desserts. Dried pineapple is so delicious, too. It’s chewy and tastes like candy!

        3. I grew up in England. We never can there. We make jams from crab apples and all other fruits, all without canning. The sugar keeps them – for years!!!!!

    2. Rhonda, bless you for looking after DD’s friend — and blessings to your daughter for being a friends to this girl. I had some rough times growing up in a disfunctional family and the parents of friends who took it upon themselves to reach out to me and do little things such as you are doing made all the difference in the world to me!

      1. Thank you, Cindi. I’m sorry you had a rough childhood, too. She’s a good kid and a good friend to our daughter, who has her own set of issues she struggles with. In fact, this girl is also on the Autism spectrum, but is slightly higher functioning than our daughter. She is very understanding when DD is having issues with something or having a meltdown.
        We try to give her guidance and support as much as we can. After all, this young girl has no contrl over the home life her mother has chosen to create. She loves her mom, but I wish her mom would step up to the plate and be the mom this girl needs. Regardless, we know she appreciates everything we do for her.

      2. Amen, Cindi. Both my sister and I had families that more or less took us in. It made a huge difference in our lives.

  55. Had to cover a class one day so I grabbed breakfast in the cafeteria rather than the one I had stashed in my desk that required heating. Next day I dropped a couple of grab and go breakfasts in my desk in case this happens again.

    3 meals out. 1 was Chinese carry out and that was split into 4 meals. The other 2 had enough leftovers for a lunch each.
    Stopped at Ikea and picked up a container for the chicken’s cracked corn that matches the other animal feed containers. It will look so much better in my kitchen than a bag of feed just sitting there. Popped into Aldi and picked up large containers of red and green sugar for next year’s Christmas baking for $.62 each!

    I have been applying Marie Kondo’s principles to my Fly Lady routine. I can’t believe how much stuff I got rid of in just the bathroom and guest room! Why I was holding on to those atrocious towels and stained/ripped linens when I had good ones I have no idea. They went to the animal shelter this morning.

    We decided on a trip to Puerto Rico for several days I have off in February. We are using our hotel points for the room (we pay the mortgage and recurring bills on a credit card that gives us points and then pay it right off) and Spirit airlines for really cheap flights. I will use my old Rosetta stone to fluff up my Spanish before the trip.

    For 3 years we have been saving about half of my husband’s military reservist pay in a separate account for health insurance out of pocket maximums and “getaways”. We hadn’t really been checking It (other than to verify deposits were correct) as we have not had medical catastrophes or the time to really go anywhere during that spell. It is up to a very tidy sum. We foresee several short getaways in the next few months and an extensive celebration trip when he finishes his Doctorate in December.
    I am getting a small bonus in my February check. I will deposit it into the vacation account.

  56. This covers several weeks!
    We have a dog that requires a prescription that is actually a “human” medication. He takes 1/4 tablet a day. Initially I took the Rx to WalMart – it was $22.00 there and they didn’t “know of any discount cards” for it. I was prepared next time and went to Walgreen’s I dropped it off and when I picked it up the woman told me she had applied a discount card for me that made it $13.00! I didn’t check it closely and when I got it home I realized it was capsules and the Rx didn’t note the 5 refills that were left. We live 20 miles from there so it was a have to trip to town. I wasn’t happy when I went but kept myself calm. The pharmacist was so apologetic that he “gave” me 40 tablets instead of 10 of the Rx. And there are refills so I gained $39.00.

    Did the quarterly order from the medical supply list that comes with our insurance (AARP United Healthcare plan). They increased the amount from $40 per quarter to $80 – each! So I ordered new battery powered toothbrushes for each of us with replaceable heads so we can change them out monthly. And then I ordered a lot of replacement supplies for our first aid kit (we keep a lot on hand for both ourselves and our pets – very handy in an emergency), OTC medications we both take, a new wrist brace for me for my carpal tunnel issue and then other stuff as well. I looked through the catalog and realized that we won’t have to buy a lot of have to stuff such as toothpaste, vitamins, OTC medications, etc. this year. That is an incredible savings for us.

    Stopped at Big Lots and found discounted gluten free snacks, three replacement Christmas cds for $1.25 each, wrapping paper for 87c and ribbon for 9c, a dog harness with magnetic attached leash for $5.00 instead of $20.00. Stopped at TJ Maxx while in town and found trial size gift packs of five different Dr. Houshka products for $7.00 each (normally $28.00 – I love Dr. H products, especially when we are travelling as they seem to keep my skin calm – my rosacea (oops – can’t spell today!) in check while stressed with different water, climates. Also found really nice gloves for $10.00 each. My hands get so cold I really need heavier gloves and the two pairs I have had for over 10 years are falling apart.

    Then I went to the thrift store to drop off a lot of stuff. I was went in to tell them that I needed someone to meet me downstairs and while there walked around. SCORE! My winter flannel pjs are all on their last legs and I found a pair of high end heavy weight pjs – brand new, for $4.00. I also found a fleece vest for $4.00 and a light weight knit jacket that can be dressed up or down for $3.00.

    Did the usual grocery run and found some good oops deals. Matchlight charcoal was 1/2 off – we like to use that when travelling in our RV. It saves having to have lighter fluid as well as charcoal.

    Started some herb seeds – love fresh herbs and hate to pay supermarket prices. We’ll be travelling in the spring and summer so won’t have a garden this year.

    Finally – have stayed home for our cold and snow – deep bottoming out (my grandmother’s phrase) of guest room and “office/library/craft/whatever” room – really getting rid of things we don’t need or use. Took 8 cartons of books to our local used bookstore run by the library volunteers. As with others trying to eat down pantry and freezers. Keeping to milk, fresh produce as needed and eggs when I can find a good deal. My partner had a first of year doctor appointment and came back firmly committed to bringing down blood sugar and losing weight. Otherwise medications will be mandatory. So I am changing up some of my cooking and getting creative with meals that my partner still thinks are “yummy” while cutting back on carbs and sugars.

  57. What an adorable little guy! He looks like he has LOTS of personality. 🙂

    Our Frugal Efforts

    * Harvested lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, and three tomatoes (!). Collected eggs from our hens.

    * Ate all home-prepared meals, including grilled cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs w/ ham, Black Bean Quinoa Tacos, Orange Chicken, Ultimate Southwest Scrambled Eggs, Ham and Potato Soup, quesadillas. We, too, are eating mostly from our freezers and pantry. I took a look at what I had and planned a menu for the entire month.

    * Hubs helped me clean out and inventory the contents of the freezer that is attached to our fridge. A few things were given to the hens, and a few things were tossed into the compost pile. Only a handful of things went into the trash, so I feel pretty good about that.

    * Made 7 1/3 cups of vegetable stock with some of the frozen veggies, and then the stock went back into the freezer for future soups.

    * Made black beans for the freezer. I did this BEFORE we did the inventory, and then we found several bags of black beans that were already in the freezer. Oh well.

    * Made bread, snickerdoodles, Gingersnap Granola (using home-dried raisins from our own grapes that were in the freezer), 4 quarts of yogurt, Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, and peanut butter.

    * We’ve had quite a bit of rain lately, so the sprinklers have been off all month. Our rain barrels are full, but we’ve still been collecting water and using it to flush the toilet and water potted plants.

    * I’ve been analyzing 2018’s grocery spending (I tracked all of our grocery spending last year) to determine our family’s annual needs and to strategize for 2019.

    * Hubs fixed the heater switch and knob in his truck.

    * Paid bills on-line to save on postage.

    * Sent birthday cards using cards from my stash.

    * Played Spite and Malice (a fun card game) with Hubs and Son.

    It’s nice to be back again after a bit of a hiatus. The holidays get too hectic for me to spend much time on the computer, and 2019 has been off to a rather stressful start, but I’m ready for the weekly accountability and inspiration that this blog provides.

    Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

  58. It’s been a while since I posted, but I missed it and am back in the groove now! I hope everyone had a great week. Brandi, I love the idea of checking out new sites for photos. I have used IXL with my students for language arts and really liked it. Our school no longer has the language arts component, but I found it really valuable.

    Here are the rest of our accomplishments:

  59. Brandy, the picture of your son made me smile! That’s a framer 🙂
    * I think I’ve adjusted to being home after a wonderful vacation! Before we left, I put a lot of odds and ends in the freezer, either leftover from the holidays, or simply things that didn’t get used. I’m working through those “bits and bobs” now. I found a recipe for Alfredo sauce that used 4 oz of cream cheese, which I had frozen. I subbed in half & half (about to go bad!) for the cream and it turned out really well. My husband enjoyed it (I can’t eat dairy) and said I could make it again. We went out for dinner on Saturday at a middle eastern restaurant. We had leftovers for lunch and a huge piece of pita bread. This restaurant brings it to the table (at least 16” in diameter) when you arrive. At least 2/3 of the bread was left. I used it as a pizza crust and made white pizza with the Alfredo sauce. I’m really working on using everything up and repurposing leftovers to make something new.
    * My biggest issue was with two purchases. I’d gone to Target and discovered I could get a $5 gift card with 2 laundry purchases. I wanted the pods to have for travel and in our camper. I looked for a 2nd item and found a packet of washing machine cleaner. I have a front loader and it was getting bad, so I thought this would be a perfect solution. WRONG! I used it the next day and the toxic, chemical smell afterwards was overwhelming. It’s been 7 days now and there’s still a slight, lingering odor in my machine. In the meantime, I’ve washed clothes, run the machine through the sanitizing cycle, sprinkled baking soda in the drum and let that sit overnight, run the soak cycle (with the baking soda), run a cycle with baking soda in the soap dispenser and vinegar in the rinse dispenser. Now, I have a bowl of charcoal sitting in the closed washing machine drum. NEVER AGAIN! The remaining packets are in a plastic bag and going in the garbage. I did email the customer care people and to their credit, they’ve issued me a debit card with enough money on it to cover the cost of the product. My second consumer issue involved ordering some pine resin from Amazon. I researched how to make beeswax wraps and have decided to do that as I really want to reduce my use of plastic. I also ordered a nutritional supplement and the jojoba oil needed for the wraps. The package arrived with resin all over everything in the box. The bag of resin was not in another plastic bag! I contacted Amazon and they issued me a full refund for the resin … but, still! They even admitted they should have put it in another plastic bag. In the future, I’m going to try to remember to put in separate orders for items I think might have a similar problem.
    * I took all of the change in the house and put it in a Coinstar machine. I got the e-certificate for Amazon. As I went to get my print-out, I happened to notice there was change sitting in a coin return. I don’t think it was mine, but I was .74 cents to plus side.
    * This fall I reorganized my pantry and did a complete inventory using a Google doc. I have been faithful about keeping it current with “withdrawals” and “deposits.” I also have Google docs on my phone, so I can check to see what I have or need. It’s been very helpful.

  60. Thank you all for taking the time to write! I saved reading this website to be my reward for finishing an eTutorial (short online course). The course was indirectly frugal, as renewing the professional membership and course fees together equaled the cost of the course for non-members.
    We are expecting extreme cold and wind. I have a plastic flannel-backed tablecloth to thumbtack over our leaky front door to block the drafts. I usually have one in the back of my car, an odd holiday pattern from a yard sale. They work for ground covers, dust covers, rain blockers, and probably would be a warmish blanket if we are ever trapped in the car, something I never want to test. Foam weather-stripping messes up how the door closes, and I need to investigate other ways to seal it.
    My husband mentioned how he finally has adjusted to having leftovers and using them to make other meals. He grew up in a home where plate-cleaning was stressed and his parents routinely told him to finish up whatever was in the serving bowls, rather than his siblings. It took him decades to change this pattern and eat only when he is hungry.

  61. What a week we have had with the nor’easter and arctic temperatures. The good news is that we didn’t go anywhere and were able to heat using our woodstove! We have plenty of free wood that just requires our efforts. Praying everyone was prepared and warm this past week.

    *I found 10c and put it straight into my change container
    *replaced a lot of favorite children’s books that we lost in a house fire for 10c each
    *kept 2 top sheets I was thinking of donating to use as the backing for some quilting I’m doing using older, worn out blankets we have to replace
    *Bought a 25c notebook for a stocking stuffer at the thrift store last month; however, when I went to remove the sticker, it tore off a piece of the cover. I’m using it to write down what I eat daily as I work at getting down that final size. Our local thrift store often puts stickers on the front of things and also uses packing tape to tape up games so that they are ruined if you ever want to take the tape off. I wish they wouldn’t do that!
    *Ordered refillable tubes and almond oil to make my own cuticle oil. Mine get so dry and tear. I finally found an almond oil product that works, but it is really expensive. For the cost of replacing one tube, I will have a life-time supply.
    *My son is using last semester’s notebooks for this semester’s classes. He did this without prompting! Yeah!
    *We are really striving for doing our laundry bi-weekly since we cannot yet hook up the washer.
    *My phone’s battery is not working properly. I downloaded an app to see what is going on. It appears that it is fine, but is not holding its charge as long as it used to – especially in the cold. I now charge it whenever it reaches 50%
    *I purchased all the stamps I think I am going to need for next year including mailing Christmas cards – before the price went up
    *I was finally able to afford vitamins again, and I found a terrific sale. My optometrist wants me to take some eye vitamins. I’ve bought the recommended kind this first time, but will be hunting a cheaper alternative.

    We were able to have our mechanic work his magic on our older jeep thus avoiding a 500.00 part. He is an angel! We paid off our last car loan 13 years ago and I never want to have one again. It can be a struggle, but not taking on debt in this economic environment is important to me. Not to mention that I should be able to retire in 4 years. I didn’t think I’d be able to get any significant retirement; however, it is now looking like my part-time work and full-time years will add up! I stayed home for many years with our children, but took on long-term subbing positions. This is a wonderful possibility!

    Happy frugal-ing all!

  62. Just as an idea ffor your boys…..My nephews make a killing with trash service. They advertised to neighbors and now have a steady route and little business for themselves. The service they offer looks like this: The night before trash pickup, they go to each house on the route and pull the dumpters to the street. The next afternoon, they make the same route, and they take a long handled brush with them. They use the homeowners hose and thier brush to scrub out the dumpsters and return them to their storage area. They charge $25 for a single dumpster, an extra $2 for each additional dumpster a month per home. They currently only work two days a week (about 5 hours weekly), but they have 12 homes each week. Splitting it between the two of them, it is still quite a bit of money for an 8 and 12 year old!

  63. Our schools here in IN use IXL elementary through middle school, I don’t think they use it for high school. But its great! You are right, it’s expensive, it’s wonderful that the library allows you to use their licenses. I have 2 boys and they are both very active in scouts, one is a boy scout and the other is a cub scout ready to cross over in the next month. The boy scouts just did their winter camping trip, it was COLD! Not as cold as this week but it was still about 10 degrees. They went tubing too and had lots of fun. I hope your boys continue enjoying scouts, its a great adventure!

    1. They will continue through the end of this year. Both of my older boys have earned their Eagles.

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