Frugal Accomplishments for the Third Week of January

Frugal Accomplishments for the Third Week of January

January Garden Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

I cut and dried oregano from the garden. I also harvested beets and lemons.

I dug and planted more tiny bushes started by tip layering in new spots in the garden.

January Iceberg Roses in Entry The Prudent Homemaker

I cut roses from the garden before pruning the rose bushes.

I juiced lemons from the garden and made a double batch of lemonade.

We enjoyed lots of produce from our own garden, including butternut squash that I grew and harvested last year (I love that it keeps for several months), peaches that I froze from our trees, tomatoes that we picked in December that have been ripening, and herbs that I dried.

January is our coldest month and I usually have the highest natural gas bill in January. It’s been so warm that I haven’t had to run the heater almost all month, so even though our natural gas rates are higher in the winter, I will have a very low bill.  We even opened the windows for a few hours each day to let in some fresh air. (December’s bill was akin to a bill I pay in summer!) Friday was the nicest day at 69ºF/21ºC. A storm blew by over the weekend, bringing cold air and lots of wind, but it was still plenty warm in the house.

I collected shower warm up water in a bucket all week and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

I downloaded and read an e-book from the library.

We cut my husband’s hair and all three sons’ hair.

My husband used two very used 2 by 4s that we’ve had for years and nailed them to the walls in the shed using nails that someone gave us some time ago. He used more of the same nails to make places for me to hang our garden tools. This is a project that I’ve been wanting for years; it took 20 minutes to complete and cost us nothing out of pocket.  Last fall my eldest son rearranged the shelf units in the shed (his way made more sense that what we had before) and now the shed feels much more spacious and it is much easier to access everything. Every time I opened the shed door this week (which was often, as I worked outside almost every day) I was delighted!

We removed two dying trees from the garden ourselves.

I mended two holes in my drip irrigation using supplies I had on hand.

My husband’s work insurance was up for renewal. He shopped around and found another company that has a deductible that is half what our old coverage was, and the insurance itself is $1000 less than what we paid last year! 

My second son made phone calls to have materials donated for his upcoming Eagle Scout project. He had all the steel donated that he needed for his project.

Two of my children downloaded 6 songs each from the library through Freegal.

My two eldest went to a free swing dance. They’ve been getting together with other teens every week for a few months to learn new swing dance steps and dance. My eldest provided the swing music, which included the songs she downloaded from the library (she’s been adding new ones for months, so with that and the ones I already had, she has quite a collection of swing dance music).

Iceberg Roses in Entry The Prudent Homemaker

What did you to save money this past week?

 

This Post Has 123 Comments

  1. Congratulations on the warm temperatures, Brandy. It was freezing in the Midwest and warmed up to the 30’s today.

    I cut my husband’s hair at home as well. It’s a skill I have been learning with an increasing better attitude.

    We have been eating a turkey I baked a week or two ago.

    One of my friends was selling her dad’s grass-fed beef, and we were excited to be able to buy it for half off.

    Oranges and spinach were on sale, and we are gladly eating more of those this week.

    My husband avoided a pizza outing that would have cost extra money and came home sooner after an outing with friends.

  2. Holly

    We have been eating out of the pantry except for one splurge when I thought I was going down with a cold, pizza delivery.
    I tried making yogurt from diluted evaporated milk, a bit of leftover yogurt, and acidophilus supplements. The heating pad would not get the milk warm enough. But my big mistake was to stir the thin “yogurt” at the wrong time in an attempt to distribute the cultures. This batch is going to be used for cosmetic purposes only. I tried warming it for two days but it never got thick enough-and after more than 20 hours out of the fridge, I am afraid to try eating it.
    I divided a cake mix in half and made both a small cake and two trays of cookies from it. A large sheet cake gets really boring before it is finished by two people. This way, we have enjoyed two different desserts. Just one piece of cake and a few cookies are left for us to finish off tomorrow.
    We had to rechedule a doctor’s appointment because ice made it impossible for me to open either front door of the car. It has thawed so we will take advantage of the break in the weather to restock the refrigerator. I think I am going to tape painter’s tape over the gap between the car door and the frame so we aren’t kept out of the car after our next freezing rain event.
    I am glad you have been enjoying both the lower gas bills and your garden’s harvest, Brandy.

  3. Your photography is stunning, as always, Brandy! I love this week’s photos especially much.

    I can’t garden at this time of year, although I was talking with my sister today about all the different things I want to grow on my balcony. Big dreams, but little steps! And speaking of little steps, here are my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    -cUsing the packages of skittles that I received in a trade last week, I made Tutti-Frutti Popcorn! (http://approachingfood.com/skittles-tutti-frutti-popcorn/) I managed to use only pantry ingredients (plus butter), and it turned out GREAT, plus it’s so pretty! I also ate it all, so I need continue to do yoga via youtube to work it off.
    – I made some cherry jam using cherries from my freezer, to stir in to my (homemade) morning yoghurt.
    – I made a cellulite-fighting body scrub using coffee grounds from a hotel stay months ago, a very little bit of honey (bought in bulk), and a dash of vanilla extract (to make it smell good in the shower). Very effective way to get rid of dry winter skin, especially when followed up with a moisturizer (I often use pure coconut oil – bought at a local bulk store, and using a coupon – as a moisturizer, especially for my hands and nails). While I used fresh coffee grounds (I rarely drink coffee), you could use used coffee grounds to make it even more frugal.
    – I got another free month of Amazon Prime. I’ve written the date to cancel in my agenda, and also signed up for a reminder email.
    – I made Brandy’s Tomato Basil soup, but made it vegan by using vegetarian stock and leaving out the milk; made mesquite sweet potato mash (essentially just sweet potato mashed with a mesquite spice mix); and some of my vegan spice cake (http://approachingfood.com/vegan-spice-cake/), in muffin form. I packed up several servings of each, and gave it to a (vegan) friend who had a loss in the family. Another friend kindly delivered it for me.
    – I redeemed points from Pinecone Research for $5 to my Paypal account.
    – I baked basic muffins and added in a jar of caramel apple jam given to me (not very tasty by itself, but perfect to add to baking). I glazed the tops of the muffins with homemade apple jelly, and brought them in to work as a treat. I had enough batter to make one in cake form too, which I stuck in the freezer for future snacks/breakfast.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 giftcard to Starbucks, twice. (There was a sale on $5 cards, but not on the $10 card.)
    – I made pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza, using my homemade dough recipe, homemade sauce (previously made and frozen), and cheese (bought on sale, grated, and frozen). The Canadian bacon had been traded for last week. My husband LOVED the pizza! I also enjoyed it, albeit sans the meat. I packed leftovers for lunch the next day.
    – I tried out a new cookie recipe, and added some chopped chocolate bars that had been given to me, and used fewer chocolate chips. I sent them into work with my husband, after sampling them (*cough*inhaling a few*cough) myself.
    – I used a coupon when buying myself lunch, and got a full meal for the price of a (the cheapest) sandwich. I also caught an error when the cashier cashed me out, saving me $1.50.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded some cupcakes for a 1kg jar of unpasteurized local honey (I use this medicinally), traded some tea that was gifted to me (which I packaged in a recycled glass jar) for a box of graham crumbs and a bottle of mint extract, and traded two banana loaves for two organic, grass-fed etc. pea-meal bacon roasts (which I will use sparingly, and mostly to flavour things with). The cupcakes (some chocolate, some spice cake) were ones that I set aside when baking at various times in the past two weeks, and frozen. I just pulled them out, iced them, and packaged them up in take-out containers previously traded for. I had run out of eggs to bake the banana loaves with, but googled replacements and used some agar-agar from my pantry and some boiling water. I still prefer to bake with eggs (unless it’s an eggless cake) but this was useful in a pinch.
    – I bought oranges at 67 cent/lb, along with bananas at 59 cents/lb, and popcorn kernels.
    – I had my sister over to dinner and served Tomato Basil soup along with my pesto focaccia made with homemade pesto from my freezer. We played card games, drank flavoured teas gifted to me, and laughed a lot. Frugal fun!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  4. Mari at the Jersey Shore

    What a lovely combination of herbs, veggie & fruit with vibrant colors in your basket. A feast for the eyes and taste buds. I also grow oregano & love its scent. I love all that you harvest & accomplish in your garden each week Brandy.

    I price comparison shopped in several grocery stores, including a super Walmart that’s a 45 min drive (in each direction) from me and at my local grocery, Shop Rite, and it was quite a revelation. Super Walmart had somewhat lower prices on frozen foods & bottled/canned juices & packaged breads, but not low enough to make the trip cost effective since I rarely buy bottled /canned juices; buy only some frozen veggies. Fresh produce was slightly less expensive, less of a variety & the quality not as good. Lesson learned: to stock up during the twice yearly can-can/packaged goods mega sales that Shop Rite has for items we will need in the next 6 months as those seem to be the best prices for this area.

    Purchased Friskies cat food, large can at .41 a can when you buy 24 cans for my local Animal Rescue. This was the lowest price I found (at shop rite) during my tour of grocery stores! The kitties will be happy.

    I wish you all a fun & frugal week.

  5. Lorna

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    How wonderful to enjoy your own produce and have had your shed better organised using what you had on hand without spending anything.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested 2.2kg of Australian white garlic, 250g of brown onions and 1.9kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $70.82 over purchasing the equivalent amount.
    – Made our own white oil from a recipe we found on the internet to spray our fruit trees saving $4.43 over purchasing it.
    – Picked French lavender from the gardens and hung them upside down in bunches to dry as I am starting a new product line and income stream by selling this on the internet.

    Earnings –
    – DH made $50 from a impromptu gardening job of mowing and trimming the neighbour’s lawns. The neighbour insisted on paying him as he usually hires a gardener to do it so we banked this into our house deposit account.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 2 x new pairs of dressy decent length shorts on special saving over 60% off usual prices saving $99.90.
    – Purchased 10 more solar lanterns on special on eBay saving $24 on usual prices.

    Grocery savings –
    – Purchased gift cards online for our groceries from our roadside assist club saving 5% off face value which saved us $10 off groceries.
    – DH noticed thickened cream close to it’s use by date for half price so we purchased 3 and froze 2 for later use and we also found vegemite on sale and purchased 2 saving in total $5.87 on usual prices.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a 3kg batch of chocolate pudding and 620g of chocolate fudge syrup from food storage saving $19 over purchasing.
    – Processed half of the Australian white garlic previously grown in the gardens in the food processor with olive oil for the freezer making a years worth of minced garlic for the two of us and saved the other half of the garlic bulbs for replanting in our gardens.

    eBay listing savings –
    – By taking up a free listing promotion I saved $16.50 in listing fees for listing 10 handmade items.

    Electricity savings –
    – Saved $7.50 by using solar lanterns to light our home at night and only turning on our hot water system once this week.

    Have a fantastically frugal week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  6. Jody S.

    Doesn’t it feel wonderful when our children “take over” to help (like your son did with the shed)? My big frugal accomplishment this week was to replace the bake element in our stove myself. And by “myself,” I mean my eldest son (13) took over and replaced it all by himself! I was very proud.

  7. Margie from Toronto

    Not as frugal a week as I would have wished – but better than anticipated. Didn’t go to one outing (just too cold to gather the energy to go out late at night) so saved two transit fares – and then a friend cancelled a coffee date as she wasn’t feeling well (and it was my turn to treat). We will reschedule for this week though. An unexpected get together was pricy but worth every penny for seeing friends. We went to tea at the Art Gallery yesterday and since we were a party of 6 they put us into the library at The Grange. The Grange is the original historical home on this site and has been preserved as the members lounge & restaurant. The library is usually only available to be view through glass doors but we got to eat in there and it was wonderful.
    I also overspent a bit on groceries – buying pork chops & dessert for a luncheon today. However, it’s still cheaper than eating out plus there will be enough left over for a lunch with another friend on Tuesday. It’s her birthday so I will do lunch and then treat her to a movie and popcorn – we all try to do “experience” gifts now rather than “stuff” and she wants to see the latest Star Wars film. We are going to a Tuesday afternoon showing so it will be a wee bit cheaper than usual. So a bit of an up and down week.

  8. Gardenpat

    So exciting to be enjoying produce from your own garden! We are in the depths of winter here (although a warm up is coming this week) and yet our 8 hens are still laying 7-8 eggs a day! This means we have about 17 dozen eggs in our basement fridge! Today is definitely a baking day!
    At our produce market on Wed, I got 10 pounds of green beans for $5- I canned them into 7 quarts and dehydrated the rest along with 3 pounds of chopped carrots ($1) that I dehydrated at the same time!
    I also got 5 pounds of cottage cheese ($1) and an 11 pound bucket of Greek yogurt for $1.99!! I made two big pans of lasagna with some of the cottage cheese and today will be making apple yogurt muffins and I’ll add some fruit to some of the yogurt for breakfasts and snacks! Also got 15 pounds of assorted salad greens ($5 total) that we will enjoy for lunches and dinner sides!
    Our side business Handmadeinoldetowne is doing well. Currently, hubby is working on orders for 3 more soap display cases and 2 soap molds for two of our clients and I am working on a wingback chair upholstery job. Hubby just finished a 20 minute (after ordering parts) repair on a Kitchen-aid mixer and was paid $65. A little under $40 for the parts (delivered to our door by Amazon prime) and a little over $25 for the few minutes of actual labor! Tithed on the labor, then half the remainder went into savings, half to debt reduction!
    Hubby got a one time $1000 bonus which was actually $535 after taxes

  9. Hilogene in Az

    Frugal accomplishments this week:
    -used as much electricity as possible (laundry, dishwasher) during off peak times. Conservation is working, my equalizer bill will be dropping 10% next month!
    -started a list for monthly grocery shopping needs at specialty stores to reduce trips and gas consumption
    -used less heating due to milder temperatures this week
    -was invited to dinner at a friend’s home, she requested I bring a salad and dressing, I was able to make a salad from what I had in the fridge. I also brought two other items that I had in my pantry/fridge so my total out of pocket for this dinner was zero! In the old days, I would have gone out to the store and just wandered the aisles, looking for interesting things to take over.
    -did menu planning and made meals for the week based on what was in the pantry, the freezer and on sale.
    -ate soup from the freezer three times this week. I have found that making a big batch of soup and splitting into meal size portions and freezing them has been a huge money and time saver for me. I try to make at least one different pot of soup a week, that way I usually have four or five different soup choices available in the freezer! Between soup, meatballs and a few other items, I have a wonderful “take out” area.
    -I had read that Sam’s Club store closings had 50 % off sales, I went by the store on Tuesday, noticed huge lines before opening, so I got into line, hoping for a big discount. It was 50%. While selections were limited, lots of items I buy were still available. I was quite pleased when I checked out for the bill to drop from $170 to $85! Brandy, I thought of you and wished we lived closer, they had all sorts of flour, rice, sugar, nuts, oil on sale, and wondered if I could buy a bunch and meet you or your husband half way between here and Vegas…then decided it was a nutty idea 🙂

  10. Cindi

    The roses are so beautiful — and the swing dancing sounds like so much fun!
    I did a bunch of mending.
    I bought a pair of jeans on eBay for $8. Levi’s no longer makes this style and they fit me perfectly, so I was glad to find a used pair in good condition.
    I bought two jars of face cream that were on clearance – one for $3 and one for $2. These are name brands that I normally use, regularly $15 and $25 each. I also picked up the Friday Freebie yogurt for my husband –who eats yogurt and granola for breakfast several times a week.
    I made sandwich bread and a batch of granola.
    I cooked all meals at home and we ate all the leftovers.
    I washed clothes with homemade laundry detergent and hung them in front of the wood stove to dry.
    I found time this week to work on my quilt.
    This must be the week for reorganizing garden tools, as my husband did this,too. That corner of the garage looks so much neater now.

  11. Katy in Africa

    I haven’t been using the solar heater lately, so today I moved it to a spot that’s sunnier and will try to get back in the habit of using it some.
    I have leftover rice, I plan to turn into a rice porridge for supper or breakfast.
    We have a small water leak outside. I put the animal water dish under it to catch the drips, I know this isn’t a good long term solution, but at least the water’s not getting wasted for now.
    I got a couple of cards in the mail, I love getting real mail with handwritten notes! I’ll keep the cards, as sometimes I cut and reuse them to make new cards. It’s nice when the note is only on the back side of the card that way if it’s a special note I can keep it, while just using the front/picture side of the card for reuse.
    Thank you for the continued inspiration and ideas!

  12. How wonderful to find a much better deal on insurance for your family. We’re extremely disappointed in the health share group we signed up with. My husband forgot the password he used when he first began the sign up process months ago (not unusual for him & he won’t write them down), so though our coverage began Dec. 1st, we’ve been unable to access our online account. We’re seriously considering cancelling this week, as numerous phone calls have wasted a huge amount of time, and multiple promises from them have all been broken. We’ve done without insurance for years, as we’re healthy, take no prescriptions, and rates for Obamacare were out of the realm of consideration. It was nice to think catastrophic care would be covered though, as well as some naturopathic care. We’ll see what this week brings.

    From a comment on another blog, I learned of the series Victoria, and found season 1 is free on amazon Prime. Last week, I enjoyed the first two episodes. I too am enjoying homegrown butternut squash. I found a recipe I love, which takes quite a bit of prep time, but is so good. It’s wonderful when you can make a space more usable with just a few changes, as you did with your shed. My potting bench becomes a catch all spot. I need to get it cleaned up and ready for spring soon. I’m happy to be joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/01/feels-like-winter-frugal-accomplishments.html

  13. Julie Zaugg

    Our daughter Jacki is getting married this summer so this past month we have been busy with plans. Her aunt is letting her use all of the silk flowers left from their wedding. Our daughter-in-law is loaning Jacki a dress.Our daughter-in-law is also a gifted musician and will sing and play piano at the wedding. I took my old veil apart and remade it to be like the one Jacki wants. Her fiance’ likes to draw and is designing the programs. We have gotten a lot done in a short time.

  14. Loyda

    What kind of solar heater do you have?

  15. PJGT

    Love the roses!!! Bringing flowers indoors is such a blessing.

    After my call to the doctor and optometrist, I discovered that the large bills were because one visit was coded incorrectly and one visit wasn’t even submitted. Praying that the incorrectly coded visit is able to be recoded correctly. I also discovered that DD will be covered for dental until she graduates in May. This week I’m going to call to see what dentists near her college are in network and have her teeth clean and checked. This will bring all her health needs current as she just had multiple tests done and all is well.

    Many of our frugal accomplishments involved avoiding spending this past week! I cancelled a commitment for next week thus saving the gas and fees. I decided not to fly back home for my February break, but to stay here and continue to support my son in his schooling. Maybe next year. We avoided eating out yesterday! Sometimes it is a real battle…especially when I don’t feel well.

    Made a cockpot split pea soup that I’ll eat this week. I’m the only one that eats it, so I might need to freeze some. Getting ready for my son to return to commuting to college and ROTC. Remembered that I had froze some sliced roast beef from my MIL and am going to make him some grilled sandwiches this week. He also suggested PB&J. He is being great about the no to low spending as we are trying to pay off some bills. Also, we are both still on the losing weight plan after last fall.

    Ripped my pajama pants and was unable to repair them. Fortunately, I stockpile PJ pants from the thrift shops and have a pair to replace them with.

    DS changed his tires to the ones with better tread. This makes me happy since we will switch vehicles as his commute is long and mine is only 8 miles each way. Our car has studded tires and gets much better gas mileage.

    DS comparison shopped for his textbooks saving as much as he could. DD bought her books for just 10$ over her book scholarship!

    Finally, we need new dog collars as the pups have grown. Knowing this was going to happen, we have all been looking in the thrift shops to no avail. I signed up at an online company for a 10$ off coupon and found the collars on sale + 20% + the 10$ off = best deal I could find. And, all from home! Also was able to order a pair of khakis for DS that he needs for his ROTC uniform. I usually buy him used ones; however, they are all too worn. He managed with a pair last semester that are ripping and not fixable. As a reward for filling out the survey at the end, I received 4 free magazine subscriptions! I had just decided to not renew magazines even though we love getting them. God is good!

    Have a frugal week!

  16. Jenifer

    My husband fixed my garage door (wheel came off track). These doors are getting old and are starting to reach that can’t b repaired anymore state. I am hoping they last another few years (thankfully things don’t go wrong with them to often)
    I made a bone in chicken breast one night for dinner, picked leftovers for a lunch and took the bones, and remaining meat for a mushroom barley soup that will be 3 dinners.
    I am relying on myself to fix things that start to break or malfunction. With being pointed in the right direction, I can usually fix these issues I am starting to feel a little smarter. HA!
    Thrifting this week, I found a memory cube DIY kit for a few dollars. Had fun putting it together to give to my MIL for mothers day. All the parts were there; and I added pictures of her children and grandchildren. This leaves me $8 left for her. This will get interesting.
    I listed items on Ebay that I thought were a real gamble to list (as in they probably wouldn’t sell) ; took the chance and within a day half did.
    My PT job has gone from 20 hours a week to 4. Trying so hard to think of any solution possible not to spend any money for anything other than utilities. So when we were invited to celebrate a birthday, I knew the hostess has been craving dark chocolate PB cups. I knew of 2 places that sell them, but opted instead to make cinnamon raisin whole wheat bread for a hostess gift instead using things from my pantry. I will get her those PB cups sometime soon when my hours pick back up and funds aren’t so tight.
    I made the basic Better Homes & Gardens muffins with crumb topping to suit a food diet (the person cannot eat chocolate cake which was being served) I brought 4 muffins for them and kept the rest for easy breakfasts this week.
    And finally, my husband loves your rosemary olive oil bread so much. I made 2 loaves this week. I sliced thin pieces and toasted/grilled them with mozzarella and 3 pepperonis per sandwich – oh my goodness – those were seriously some of the best toasted cheese sandwiches ever – especially when comfort food was being craved. Thank you again Brandy.

  17. Sandra

    Your photographs are magazine worthy. They add so much to your website. This has been a good week. We’ve had some rain which is always welcome here in the desert. On the frugal side, I brought home leftovers from a gathering that were enough to make two lunches. We had several appointments this week and I shopped my own closet to put together new outfits to wear each time. I have been cleaning storage areas and have found some misplaced items that can now be put into use. Down the road that means money not spent for items we already have on hand.

  18. Rhonda A.

    Holly, it might be more advantageous to put a tarp over the car windshield and up over the front doors. You can weight the tarp down on the top of the car with “sandbags” of some sort, use the wipers to hold it in place on the windshield and perhaps tuck the corners of the tarp into car door to hold it in place there. The tarp is reusable, and will make ice removal on windshield much easier as well as protect the doors from freezing closed. I’ve never tried this, but they do sell tarps to put across windshields to protect against freezing rain here in Canada. I think would be an easier solution than taping all the cracks of the doors closed.

  19. Jeannie

    Hello everyone!

    Two of my sons have moved back home temporarily so life is very different. They rested for a while, now they are busy sending out resumes.

    *Both brought the uneaten food back from their apartments. I have unpacked almost everything, checked the expiration dates and restocked things in my pantry. It lead me to do a MAJOR pantry re-haul. I began by asking them (strong backs) to pull everything out of half of my laundry room, dump it in the middle of the living room floor so I could begin painting the walls, cabinets and door. It is a major project. While working I picked up a case of tomatoes and twisted the wrong way and pulled my back out. Everything stopped. For two days I laid in bed on my back propped up on pillows without moving. After two days I moved to the couch for a few days, then I was able to sit up and at least type on the computer. Now I am up but moving very carefully. The boys handled everything for me, wow, have they matured. They opened the cabinets, decided what they wanted and cooked it. It felt good to see how they have changed.

    *I saved money by not going to the doctor to get pain pills. If I didn’t move, I didn’t hurt. I just did not move. If I take pain pills, I am tempted to get up and move which might cause more damage. The most frugal thing would to BE MORE CAREFUL!!!! I hope I have learned my lesson.

    *The biggest challenge for me is the large amount of food I have now. It is ridiculous. I was having trouble buying too much food when they first left home, and had managed to get the spending under control, now they have returned with all their leftover food. As they pulled everything out the cabinets in the pantry, I found even more things I had forgotten about.

    *My solution has been to refuse to allow myself to go to the grocery store. I am cooking everything from scratch and working on using up anything that is about to expire. We have had some very odd meals.

    *Went to the dentist for a scheduled cleaning. It was a new hygienist and the first thing she did was to take x-rays. When finished, she asked me when was my last cleaning and I said four months ago in that very same room. Her computer had a glitch and had me listed as a new patient. My insurance would not cover the x-rays since it had not been long enough. I quietly sat and waited while a computer technician arrived, the insurance expert arrived, the billing expert arrived plus the dentist (who owns the practice) arrived and they had a discussion. I said nothing. They agreed I would not be billed for the mistake. I just nodded. I knew I would NOT pay the bill since I did not ask for the x-rays. Being patient saved me needing to fight.

    *I dropped my eyeglasses on the floor and the lens fell out. Son#2 was able to put them back together.

    *The weather has been cold, bitter and snowy. We have been burning wood to stay warm. My husband got my sons out and they all chopped wood. I helped by getting in the way. This is the epic tale of their exciting adventure.

    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/01/chopping-wood_97.html

    *My Mom is still staying at my sister’s house in Alabama since the weather has been bad here. Her eyes are continuing to deteriorate. I have told her about the helpful suggestions shared on this website by kind followers. She was relieved to know I now have a plan to help her when she returns. It is a long list of things I will change so she can continue to live in her home with low vision. Making the pictures and letters larger on my blog has helped. She can see the pictures fine but has to study the words. This week Scooter wrote her a thank you note for a gift she sent. We must all practice good manners.

    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/01/scooter-sends-thank-you-note.html

    I humbly offer my thanks to everyone who gave me ideas and advice as to how to help my Mom. It has helped tremendously. When she returns in a few weeks (depending on this crazy weather) I will be able to make her life easier. Ths website is a great community of helpful friends.

    Thanks again,
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  20. Elizabeth M.

    I took the car over to the local repair place to have the coolant checked. The radiator was full and the coolant reservoir needed topping up, though it wasn’t empty. The owner topped up the coolant reservoir for free. I have an appointment on Monday to get the oil and filter change and transmissions fluid flush, and that will be all the needed maintenance done. It will be great to have a working car again, after two and a half months of on again, off again.

    There have been lots of great specials on groceries since January started, so I am stocking up. This week, I got shredded cheese and a 3 litre jug of canola oil. Whole chickens are on sale, so I will buy four for my fridge freezer. Strangely, Campbell’s soup was on sale for an excellent price at the drugstore. I bought a few cans for making meatloaf, but the price was so good, I’m going to go back and buy more.

    The local drugstore has changed ID. I went in to buy a couple of prescriptions and found that everyday prices on things like deoderant and toothbrushes are much lower, and their sale prices even better. Under the old ID, the sale prices just brought most items to the amount I would spend. I’ll start to check their flyer now, and take advantage of these sale prices. I was able to get a large pack of their house brand of ibuprofen at a very good price too, which was my main concern about the new store brand.

    I’ve bought a long-lasting battery for the smoke detector and some long-lasting LED lightbulbs. They were expensive, so I’ll track how long they actually last and whether I like the light level from the bulbs. Some of the energy-savig bulbs don’t provide enough light for my aging eyes, and it is difficult to get things done in the evening.

    I am planning some evenings out for the coming weeks. One is a community fund-raiser for the student food bank for the college whose board I sit on. I have about ten days to collect some items to donate. It won’t be a free outing, since I need to use gas to get to the next town over to the east, plus the cost of admission and the food donation, but it is a cause that is important to me. People are encouraged to sit with people they don’t know and get to know them, so that sounds fun. I’ve also found a free outreach presentation on a subject that interests me at the university in the next town over to the west. I am also going to go to a few aquafitness classes and my book club meeting.

    I put in the application for long-term care for my sister. An assessor will be visiting her this week in follow-up to my request for a provincial trustee to handle her finances. She is very cheerful, so that is a relief.

  21. I

    Still away but I did sign up for a CVS card and they emailed me a $3 off coupon that I loaded to the card. Spent that on apple bananas and a small treat. My friend is also visiting here and she had to take herself and the 4 children to the doctor-it cost over $800 including antibiotics for all-so now I know what you all mean when you talk about the cost of healthcare in the US! At home the doctor visit would be covered on the provincial healthcare plan and the antibiotics would likely be $100 or less , depending on if you had a drug coverage plan. Thankfully they have travel insurance so can claim it back when they get home. Today I am going to watch my friends 4 little boys while she and her spouse go for a massage covered under his health benefits. I will do some free laundry while I am there.

  22. Terri Gajeski

    We continue to have a no/low spend January except for purchasing milk. We are continuing to eat out of our pantry and stocked freezer, and should be able to continue this for the next week and a half. Being creative with what i make has been a challenge since i was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but we are making it work. That in itself has been a huge accomplishment. We need to save every penny that we can as my husband’s vehicle isn’t going to last much longer and we still owe on mine, and can’t afford another monthly payment at this time.
    We are continuing to combine errands to save on gas, and turning off lights when we can use natural light.
    Our biggest money saver was getting new auto/home insurance by doing some price comparisons.

  23. Sarah

    Brandy as usual your photos are lovely! It has me itching for warmer weather- I did order 2 mulberry trees (to be delivered in the spring) for half off and I’m so excited! We have a neighbor with a tree that does really well, so I’m hoping it will be the same for us. Other than that it’s been clean out time around here. I’m hoping to get the inside stuff done now while the weather prevents us from being outside. Joining in here: https://frugalfive.com/2018/01/20/frugal-5-friday-1-19-18/

  24. Dawnelle

    1. Checked the clearance section of my local grocery store, found shampoo marked down to .89. Then checked my phone app, and found coupons for .50 cents off each bottle. So, I got 5 bottles of shampoo, for .39c each, all for my (7) kids. Very helpful!
    2. Made breakfast cookies, a sheet cake for the kids, and every meal at home, including doubling 2 of the meals and popping the extras in the freezer.
    3. Got 2 days of substitute teaching this next week, yay!
    4. My Gram gave me some shoes she didn’t want and told me to sell them. Got $25 off a Facebook sale site.
    5. Think I found a PT summer job at a good friend’s local farm, for me and my 3 youngest kids! Super excited about this. Have to talk to my friend more about it soon, for details.

  25. Laurie in AZ

    Brandy, I can actually feel the delight you get from looking at your organized shed! Pure joy! Thank you for this forum. It keeps me on track!

    I was still sick this past week, but am finally feeling almost like myself again, so was able to accomplish a little bit more.

    • Got a free bag of cheddar popcorn and a free 2-pak of yogurt from Kroger store.
    • Used free tea, coffee and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and only ran full loads in the washer and dishwasher during the off peak times.
    • Paid extra on the mortgage.
    • Hubby has been great at eating up snacks out of the snack container. We seem to have all these random packages of crackers, nuts, pretzels, etc. Many of them are from gift baskets or free items we have received and wouldn’t have necessarily picked. I’m trying not to buy any snack food until the other stuff is gone.
    • Hubby took a refillable water bottle to work every day instead of using bottle water. Also took smoothies for breakfast every day and brought his lunch 3 days.
    • Dinners this week were: Soup made from the freezer leftovers container; pork & mushroom casserole made with leftover pork, gravy and mushrooms from the freezer; pork enchiladas made with broken taco shells, leftover enchilada sauce and the rest of the pork from the freezer with corn & red bell pepper and lettuce; leftover chili I had frozen after a Christmas party; steak (purchased as a roast for $2.97/lb and sliced), baked potato and broccoli. We did go out one night as since I had been sick for so long, I just had to get out!
    • Didn’t turn on the heater at all this week. Just wore a sweater on the colder mornings.
    • Sent family members birthday cards that I already had on hand that I had gotten free from a charity I donate to.
    • Forgot to mention this last week. I read 2 devotionals every day. One is perpetual (just Jan 1 – Dec 31). The other is a subscription and new each time. I have a different perpetual one that my daughter gave me for Christmas last year. I decided not to renew the subscription and just read the 2 perpetual ones this year. Small savings, but it all adds up!
    • Made “zucchini” bread with gray squash I had gotten at P.O.W.W.O.W a couple of weeks ago. Was also able to shred the rest and get 7 – ½ cup portions, which I froze. I will use these in muffins, bread, smoothies or put into spaghetti sauce.
    • Used fresh spinach in Hubby’s lunch salad. There were a lot of stems, so I cut those off and added them to our morning smoothies.
    • Needed a tablecloth. Used Amazon gift card Hubby got from his boss for Christmas, so no OOP.
    • Found some yoga pants on clearance. Only paid $7.50. Resisted the urge to buy more clothes at this clearance sale, as I have enough and am trying to lose weight so hopefully I can buy some smaller sizes instead later.
    • Received a check of $290 for overpayment of escrow for the year.
    • I am going to start putting all “surprise” money (such as the escrow check) and savings into a separate checking account and use this to pay on our mortgage. We are debt free other than our mortgage. I have made paying it off my “BHAG”, or Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. It will take a while, but I am up for the challenge!
    • Found the 2 dishes to use as soap dishes in our master bath that I had been looking for. I only paid 99c each for them at Goodwill. Now I can use all that hotel soap I have been saving!

    Have a wonderful, frugal week everyone!

  26. Rhonda A.

    Brandy, I was thinking of you this week as I processed some lemons I bought on clearance. They made the house smell so nice and I was wishing I could grow them like you do. So kind of your son to reorganize the shed, especially as it now functions much better for you. I love that you were able to use what you had to create a long needed solution for the garden tools. The swing dance sounds like a lot of fun. I hope both your children enjoyed themselves at the dance!

    Last month I made a long list of meals that I could make from things we already had in the house. I have been using this list all month, crossing off meals as we eat them. So far, we have not repeated a meal yet, and I have even been able to get DD to eat meals that normally she refuses to eat! I still have plenty of meals to choose from to finish out this month. I am so happy that this form of meal planning is working so well for us!!! Our frugal accomplishment this week included:
    *Meals made at home included tacos (made both black beans and ground beef), waffles with fruit and turkey bacon, tortellini Alfredo bake, sloppy Joe’s with coleslaw and corn, chicken low mien stir fry with veggie spring rolls, hamburger helper with green/yellow beans, and cheddar sausages with potato cakes, mixed leftover veggies and coleslaw.
    *My mom kindly baked banana chocolate chip muffins to use in DDs lunches this week.
    *I am continuing to encourage DD to learn how to cook using oven and stove by having her make her own lunch bag treats on Sunday (last weekend we were away, thus Grandma’s muffins) for the upcoming week. DD requested learning how to make her favourite treats, Choco-scotch clusters, which was perfect as they require using the stove and she hasn’t use the stove much! These are full of sugar, and not exceptionally healthy. However, for the sake of learning life skills, I decided to allow it this week. I am also thinking of making a cookbook binder of all the things she learned how to make, so she has a reference of easy recipes she knows how to make.
    *I made tortellini Alfredo bake for dinner one night, using a Costco sized tortellini pack. We always have too many leftovers from this package, that don’t get eaten up. So I prepared a aluminum container with about half and froze it for a future meal.
    *I used $80 in loyalty reward points to pay for most of my groceries this week. However, I went to a few places this week, as there was an excellent sale other stores. I was able to stock up on some pantry items, such as toothpaste (10 x $0.88/tube), smoked cooked hams (4 x $2.99/800g), bacon (4 x $2.50/500g), English muffins (6 x $0.88/6 pack), cereal (4 x $1.88/box) and potatoes ($2.88/10lb bag). I paid $74 OOP (above the $80 in free groceries), but added quite a bit of food and other supplies to my pantry stock this week. I only have $60 of grocery money left, so need to be careful on my spending now.
    *My mom & I pulled out the meat slicer and sliced up the 4 smoked cooked hams into 5 family meal portions and 4 packages of shaved ham for the freezer. So happy I was able to get more ham for an even better price than last week! Hubby was so happy he didn’t have to slice the meat, he paid us each $1 for our troubles.
    *Tried canning black beans for the first time this week using my new pressure canner. I used reusable tattler lids with my pint canning jars, which decreases the cost for canning supplies. The dry beans I bought for $1 made 15 pints (approx. $0.07/pint), saving me about $13 over buying canned beans. Unfortunately 2 did not seal, so I put them in the fridge to use up soon.
    *Washed, cut and dehydrated the lemon peel from the fresh lemons I bought last week. Ground the peel into a powder and added it to my pantry (bonus, it make the house smell sooo gooood!). Squeezed the lemon juice and used some to make lemonade, which DD enjoyed immensely. Put the rest of the juice into the fridge in a 1/2 pint canning jar. Need to find a good recipe to make with it, or I may use it in another batch of lemonade.
    *I had a 4lb bag apples stored in an unplugged fridge in our garage (door closed). When the temperatures dropped to well below freezing, the apples froze. They were no longer good for fresh eating, so I thawed them slightly, peeled and cored the apples and made it into applesauce to use for baking. I also had a 5 lb bag of carrots out there, that I will have to dispose of, as they just turn to mush when thawed. I can’t even peel them to use in something like carrot cake. At least they were cheap. I will compost the carrots, apple peelings and cores for the garden.
    *I pulled out an old tea towel and used it all week to set anything that I was thawing on it. It worked well and I avoided using so many paper towels. It’s a start for our house, as we are big on using paper towels!
    *I cut off a section of a Christmas card to make a nice Christmas bookmark.
    *Hubby came home from work and showed me a note that was attached to his pay stub this week. It read “Expect Increase In March”. Looking forward to it!

    Thank you all for your ideas and inspiration. I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

  27. Rhonda A.

    Your skittles popcorn caught my eye, Margaret. My MIL just told me at Christmas that her favourite candy is skittles. This popcorn sounds like a lot of work, but might be perfect for a gift! Thanks for sharing, I pinned it on my pinterest board.

  28. Ellie's friend from Canada

    I am sorry to hear that your sister must be in long-term care but hope you find a nice place for her. I have been through this in our family. Ann

  29. Ellie's friend from Canada

    I, It is really shocking the cost of medical care in the States and it’s lucky your friend had travel insurance to cover the cost. I am always shocked when I learn of expenses in the U.S., both for medical treatment and prescription drugs. And also for the price of insurance. My monthly income wouldn’t even cover the cost of insurance there. I am also surprised to learn there is no paid maternity leave in many states, nor severance pay, etc. I think we Canadians are truly blessed.

  30. Ellie's friend from Canada

    A friend picked up 2 five pound bags of potatoes for $6 total which, in Canada, is a really cheap price. She also picked up blood oranges for $1 per pound less than everywhere. And the best bargain was Ambrosia apples for 0.99 cents per pound. Now I eat 1 or 2 apples each day. They are really tasty. The news here is that last night I had two bobcats in our driveway. It was dark so I only identified them when the larger one walked down the driveway and I saw its bobbed tail. The smaller one saw me watching it out of the window and it watched me back. Interesting how the brain can perceive dark shapes even against the dark background of night.Bobcats are thriving here in the city; it’s probably because there is an influx of snowshoe hares and jack rabbits.

  31. Thanks, Rhonda! I’m actually eating some as I’m typing this. Soooo yummy! And definitely more frugal than buying it from a store, especially since it makes about 10 c. worth! The good thing about this recipe is that I’ve developed it to last a while. Some homemade caramel corn becomes stale or soggy after a while, but this should stay crisp as long as it is kept in an air-tight container.

  32. Becky

    Swing dancing! How fun;). I’m glad the kids are having a good time!

    I spend a bunch of time focusing on the garden this week, as well. It’s not as warm here as you have it there, but it’s still been mild enough to get out in-between rain showers. I picked some winter veggies from the garden–cabbage, boc choi and kale. There is still more out there, and some chard as well. I also spent a long time reading seed catalogs and ordering my seeds. They’ve started to arrive!!

    My husband is working on the greenhouse he is building in every spare moment he gets. He’s still not finished, but is gaining on it.

    Both he and I hit the jackpot at the free wood scrap bins and loaded up our supply of kindling.

    I did a bunch of cooking. I decided not to grocery shop this week as I usually do. That decision was basically made when a bunch of items fell out of my above-the-fridge freezer and hit me on the feet one too many times! Instead, I am planning meals for the week from the garden veggies, home-canned and frozen foods and pantry items and those mystery items that fell out! I have some veggies left in the fridge from last week’s shopping trip, so will use them up.

    I put pictures on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/saving-money-and-weekly-update-january-15-2018/

  33. Holly

    I have until Tuesday very early evening to figure things out–tarp and/or taping one seam. Ice on the windshield doesn’t worry me except that I need to remember to lift the wipers.

  34. Holly

    For future reference: Walmart has a long list of inexpensive prescriptions. I don’t know if a month’s supply there is still $4-$8 or not. I know regular insulin is cheaper there than almost anywhere else. Meijer also used to advertise FREE common antibiotics at their stores in the Midwest. I don’t know if that promotion is still valid because I have not needed antibiotics in a decade or longer.

    https://www.goodrx.com can also be a budget saver.

  35. Laurie Van Lue

    A tip from my Texas brother-in-law: add a pinch or more of baking soda to the lemonade. It will neutralize some of the acid, and therefore you will not need as much sugar. The flavor will be softer.

  36. mable

    Spray your door frame with a Pam type cooking spray and it won’t freeze shut. Works for me at 40 below zero in Alaska.

  37. Lea Stormhammer

    I can’t wait to see what your garden looks like this spring, Brandy! I’m itching to get outside but we’re supposed to get another 6″ of snow here today so I did some planning instead.

    Here’s my list of things from this week: http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2018/01/frugal-friday-week-3-of-52-january-12.html

    Our big exciting news? We finally paid off a vehicle! We hadn’t had a vehicle payment for a while so this was a huge stressor. Done and paid and now we can push through the rest of the medical bills we have.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!
    Lea

  38. Nancy

    What wonderful frugal blessings you had this week
    Especially the insurance cut $1000. Love the warm air flow you had. Here are a few frugal accomplishments:
    . My husband was given a nice refrigerator on a kitchen demo he was doing. We traded it for one we had and sold the other one $25.
    . Able to get Free Friday at our Jewel grocery. Organic ice cream bars for the grands.
    . Used strawberries from summer n spinach frozen in smoothies.
    . Made homemade bread. 2 homemade soups.
    . Sent lunch all week with my husband.
    . Was given free bread…cans of corn..dressing from an overflow at our church.
    . Making Valentine decor. Enjoyed your valentine table decor picture for ideas.
    . We had 2 days warmer weather. Turned heat down..able to clear and clean off front porch.
    . Found a nice coat and shirt to add to 10 item wardrobe.
    Thrift. But one get one free. No need to make purchases
    On any clothes.
    . Was able to get a Starbucks from a gift card gifted to me.
    . Working on gifts ECT for February..March from your inspiring January goals.
    Thank you.

  39. Melonie K.

    What an awesome savings on the insurance policy – that’s wonderful!

    I’ve been doing a No Spend month and a pantry challenge this month – I was very excited to do the budget for the end of the month, as I thought we’d be able to make another principal payment on my husband’s car from money left over from the 15th payday. Then came the news of the government shutdown and a mention that military paychecks may be short unless something is changed. That put the kibosh on my extra payment plans for now & required a re-do of the budget. It did, however, help remind me exactly why we are living frugally, participating in challenges this month, and doing our best to put things aside in savings and food storage – for times like this! Thankful that this week we stuck with it and have stretched things in case that some paydays do disappear while the folks in D.C. make their decisions.

    http://meloniek.com/2018/01/frugal-accomplishments-week-ending-21-january-2018/

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  40. Cindy S.

    Sounds lovely. ☺

  41. Cindy S.

    Since the beginning of January, all I’ve bought is groceries and household/hygiene goods. We have not eaten out at all and the only take out coffee I’ve purchased (with a donut) was with a gift card. I was able to enjoy some baked goods and fruit at work earlier in the month from a gift box that was sent to us. My boss had her birthday this week and I was able to give her a gift she loved for only $2.99. I had to order office supplies at work and with the order came a free tote bag that I was allowed to keep so I am using it for a purse as it zips across the top. Some things I was blessed with from others were: a new frying pan and spatula, a nightgown (The perfect size and my favorite brand), a winter coat and several pieces of clothing for my 10 year old son, some toothpaste, chocolate muffins, a club size box of dryer sheets and magazines and cookbooks. I am always grateful to take what others no longer want or need and pass on what I can’t use. Have a great week!

  42. Margie from Toronto

    NO FRILLs had 10 lb bags of potatoes on for $3.97 this week – not sure if you have this shop in your province? I’m in Ontario and this is the low cost version of Loblaws – I do most of my shopping there as it’s also most convenient. I can’t believe the low cost of food in the US compared to us.

  43. Penny S.

    Spraying the door frame with WD40 also works. Penny S.

  44. I cut my son’s hair this week myself! I use Wahl clippers I bought on Amazon three years ago. I remember reading about it on your blog and was too timid to try for the longest time. I wish I had started doing it sooner. I actually enjoy it. I told my husband I missed my calling as an Army barber. I could happily shave heads all day.

  45. Elizabeth M.

    Thank you, Ann. The area she lives in has several smaller places that I think she would be happy in. I was able to talk to a neighbour of hers, who has visited friends and relatives in each of them many times, so that was helpful. There is also plenty of information about complaints and incidents at each home. Depressing reading, but good to know when picking preferred homes.

    The waiting lists are very long, so it will be many months before she moves from the hospital. She really is very comfortable there. She says the nurses are very funny and she likes having a few elderly relatives in the hospital. In fact, there are no relatives there with her, but I suppose they are people who remind her of long-gone relatives!

  46. Susan Menzmer

    Instead of going out for a special breakfast, I made a special Breakfast Rice Pudding meal for us at home! It tastes SO much better than most meals out, is tons healthier for my family and I to eat (it is sugar free and only sweetened with fruit), and is definitely a money savings over paying for a meal out! I have the recipe posted on my blog at: http://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2018/01/frugal-friday-week-of-january-14-20-2018.html

  47. Rhonda A.

    They are predicting freezing rain for the next 2 days here. I feel your pain.

  48. Libby

    I’ve used vaseline on the rubber gasket that runs around the door frame. It also prevents ice from freezing the door shut. Same on the gasket that runs around the trunk enclosure.

  49. Elizabeth M.

    I think I have a BHAG as well. Thanks for the fun way to think about difficult jobs.

  50. Elizabeth M.

    I am impressed with your daughter learning to make her favorite treats, no doubt because she sees this all the time in your kitchen. Good for her! I know many grown people who would never even think of making their own, but just order take-out or buy things ready-made.

  51. Elizabeth M.

    I’ve never seen a wild cat, though I live in northern Alberta, where they certainly are there to be seen. They are still on my bucket list.

    Though when i was visiting a friend in Victoria, I did see a very large tail twitch at the top of a cliff behind my friends’ house. They have cougars there, but not having seen the whole animal, I don’t think I can count it. (lol)

  52. Laure

    Auto stores sell silicone spray for this too — don’t know if Pam might be cheaper. Open each door and spray all around the edge of the doorframe (both on car and door) and really get a lot of spray into the hinge and the part of the mechanism that connects to the door. Plan to use at least half the can. Works for us in Chicago!

  53. Mom at home

    I was able to save money by purchasing all of our meats from the local college meat department! It has limited hours but they sale all cuts of lamb, beef, chicken, pork and goat. My family loves lamb and it was the best price I have ever found. I was able to stock up for a few weeks. Neck slices were only $2.50 lb and shanks were $2.99 lb. I pay twice that at the local store and they don’t always have the shanks. Everyone lives close to a university should check out to see if one exists in your area. It sure is worth it!

  54. Diane

    Our family is active duty military so we are closely watching the government shutdown news. Hoping the shutdown ends quickly so my husband isn’t working without pay.
    My husband had to replace all his blue camo uniforms with green ones this week, to the tune of several hundred dollars. We cut apart the old uniforms and made him a shop apron, and I made myself several new kitchen aprons, two purses and a make-up purse. It has been a fantastic conversation starter around town

  55. Maxine

    The bad news is that my phone died. The good news is that I have Straight Talk and was able to replace it for $50. I have the Honey app on my PC. Honey tracks coupons and discounts, which usually aren’t worth much. However, it found a 30% discount on my phone and I saved $14.25.

    The cashier at Michael’s showed me how to find their app (this was when my phone was still working!) and I saved $2 on a $5 purchase.

    Returned a sweater I was given for Christmas for $21.19.

    I sewed a one-leg jeans apron–this one’s for me. I used almost the last scrap of flannel to make the binding. Cost: $0. I also salvaged an old apron by cutting off the decorative pocket, which was torn.

    I’ve been sewing a top that I found when we moved. I bought the material at least 5 years ago and had cut it out. It’s not a difficult pattern, but it is ODD and the directions don’t make a lot of sense (at least, not to me). Meaning if I have any more problems with it, it’s history! Otherwise it’s a “free” top for me.

    Freebies this week: a gorgeous Laurel Burch Christmas pillow and a plastic file-type cabinet on wheels.

  56. Jo

    Organizing the shed is on our agenda too… It must feel very rewarding for you seeing it all neat and tidy.

    [list]
    We’re in the midst of a heatwave (several days above 40℃) so our air-conditioner has been running pretty much all day everyday. We keep all curtains and blinds shut though to be able to run it on a lower setting. We turn it off overnight and only run the ceiling fan in the bedroom.
    [/list]

    [list]
    My husband was away for work for five days so less utilities used at home. He will be reimbursed for all meal costs and brought home several recycling bottles to add to our bag.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I ran most errands on the same day and took my reusable water bottle.
    [/list]

    [list]
    By donating to a thrift store, I received a 5% discount and used this to buy a bath gift set for our gift pile. January is the best time to pick these up at thrift stores and they usually last a while. While there, I also bought two scarves from my personal allowance which will expand my existing wardrobe.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We made an extra payment on our mortgage.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I bought sunscreen at a store I would not normally go to because I had some money left on a gift card that covered part of the cost.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I shopped at a grocery outlet/ scratch and dent store. While not impressive overall, I found some name brand nail polish for a ridiculously low price and bought a bottle from my allowance. You never now what you’ll find in these stores. 😉
    [/list]

    [list]
    I used the slow cooker to make yoghurt and cook chick peas in bulk.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We used up a lot of leftovers, older items and freebies. Most meals were cooked at home except for our dinner date and when a friend invited me for lunch. To my delight, my husband discovered that he liked eggplant (on pizza at least) so it will be used more often.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We received a free mango and basil from my MIL and picked up chillis, rainbow chard, plums, potatoes, pears, nectarines and a cucumber from the local produce carts.
    [/list]

    [list]
    Homegrown rosemary was dried while the oven was already in use.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We went on our monthly dinner date and used a 25% voucher. We didn’t order drinks and instead of ordering dessert, we bought ice cream at 50% off at the neighbouring supermarket.
    [/list]

    [list]
    My husband’s colleague gave us a bar fridge which will be used when hosting parties.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I received 10 free books via a local FB page which will keep me entertained for a while.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I donated some food from our existing stock to someone in need and walked to their house instead of driving.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We washed only full loads of washing and air-dried all of it.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We only ran full loads in the dish washer, half-filled the sink for hand-washing dishes and saved the warm-up water.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We watered from our rainwater tank when possible.
    [/list]

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  57. piggykr

    It’s been busy in these parts!
    *First of all I had surgery. I went to a work affiliated hospital and got a discount. I skipped the hospital meals as I cannot stand them and self catered instead for three days. My final bill was $900. I have supplemental insurance that will reimburse me.

    *During my hospital stay they found I have high blood pressure. I didn’t have to buy a machine because a family member had an extra one.

    *My MIL gave us a huge box of sweet potatoes from her garden.

    *My friend gave me a bunch of spices, flavored tuna, and canned sweet potatoes in syrup. She doesn’t like any of it and I do so I was happy to take it off her hands.

    *I went to a swap and got rid of two Costco bags full of things I could no longer use. I came home with a few things for myself including a pair of Dior frames. I’ll have lenses put in them.

    *I made my son a pair of mittens.

    *I shopped at the farmer’s market instead of the supermarket and saved money.

    *I got my haircut at a cheaper salon for $15 and didn’t dye it because I’m on vacation. I’ll go back to my regular salon before I start working again in six weeks.

    *I froze some zucchini and mushrooms to keep them from going bad.

    * I made a pot of beans.

    *I’ve been trying to eat from my pantry to use up what I already have.

    *We have booked a vacation to Europe and I’ve been using youtube and free internet sources to let my kindergartner become familiar with some of the things we will see.

  58. Mari at the Jersey Shore

    Laurie in AZ, I love your acronym BHAG 🙂
    We’re also debt free other than the mortgage. We owe $76,000 and hopefully will have it paid off in the next 5 years. That is our Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal ! That’s why I’m so glad to have found Brandy’s site. Everyone’s posts have given me a new perspective on saving money for this BHAG 🙂

  59. Elizabeth

    1. We had a couple of snow days last week so we decided to stay home and enjoy the rare snow. The kids made miniature snowmen and kool aid slushies.
    2. Picked up freebies at Kroger as well as $.99/lb Boston butts and six packs of bottles drinks for $1.49 for my husband to take to work.
    3. Used Pinterest and the library to make a fun winter lesson for homeschool
    4. Had a couple of nice finds at the thrift store: $1 for pajama pants and Captain Underpants books for 2/$1…my son was thrilled:)
    5. My dad fixed our light switch that was shocking us in like 20 minutes flat! Experts just amaze me with their efficiency. We had our windows replaced a few years ago and they replaced all 17 windows in 5 hours…needless to say it would have taken us days!

  60. linda de montreal

    bonjour brandy tres froid a montreal mais ont est habituer fais li tri de vetement livre pas de grosse depense je cuisine ce que jai au frigo mon congelateur commence a avoir de la place je vais le nettoyer puis le remplir de nouveau beaucoup dactivite gratuite spectacle tobbogan theatre bonne semaine a vous et votre famille

  61. Juls Owings

    Elizabeth M You might have bought soft white which isn’t as bright and has a yellow tinge. Daddy who will be 91 in May uses the Daylight LED . I don’t know if this will help you or not.

  62. Cindi

    Congratulations on paying off the vehicle. That’s a great accomplishment and a great feeling.

  63. Mrs H

    i’ve taken on a part-time babysitting job which i will share with my 16 yo daughter. This will give me a little more food budget and her some clothing money. Taking out the sewing machine to figure it out. I’ve not been very good at sewing, the machine intimidates me with the tension. i’m sure there’s a youtube video. Determined to figure it out. i want to mend and hem at the least and make use of scrap clothes by quilting like grandma did. cleaning with vinegar and lemon juice this week. Making use of leftovers as this is in-between paycheck week.

  64. Juls Owings

    We took Daddy out to Bob Evans (he can eat their sausage gravy and biscuits)using a coupon we had and gift cards given to us. Daddy paid the tip so no out of pocket. On the way to Daddy’s we went past our new house to see if the outhouse had been moved so the septic guy could clean the tank, was only a 2 mile out of way trip instead of a 100 mile round trip.

    Since it’s warmer (mid 40s ) we were able to turn the heat down and Daughter 2 has been shutting off her electric heater when she goes to bed. Another cold front is due in a couple of days.

    Brandy I love it that you had your garden shed reorganized. I love your pictures also… When we move I have plans to do more flowers so I can have them inside the house like you do.

    Rest is here http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2018/01/not-frugal-but-worth-price.html

  65. Elizabeth

    Hi Brandy,
    This is the first time I’ve commented. Love your blog. I’ve learned so much. I’m interested in the things you grow in your climate. I believe you mentioned that you have had success growing Peonies??? If this is correct can you share what kind? as I am in zone 10 and have been told they will not flower here. I would like to try to grow them and am looking for a ray of hope……

  66. Jennifer O

    Pretty good week here – until the shutdown started Friday.
    I went to a wonderful wine dinner, but that was my only meal out other than my usual Sunday dinner with my friends, I brought a bottle of wine from my cellar. All of us missed a message asking someone to bring dessert, but the hostess had candy dish of chocolates which was a perfect ending to an already decadent meal.
    I – yes – I did not get fast food all week!
    I skipped the grocery store this week as I had plenty of leftover vegetables and meats in the freezer to cover meals. In fact, I did not go to any stores at all this week.
    I did a deep clean of the bathrooms and bathroom cabinets. I tossed old cosmetics and other unwanted items. Worked on cleaning out the storage room and took 3 garbage bags to the curb.
    Military family here, so who knows when we will get paid again; so we are basically in an enforced no spend mode until this stupidity is over. I am already in the process of contacting the mortgage company. Thankfully, the pantry and freezers are full and we can cover the other bills at least for a while. I set up a carpool with another military family I work with. It will conserve gas monies and keep both of us away from shopping and dining out for a while.
    Happy frugal note – I will still be able to host Sunday dinner next week on my rotation due to my storage and freezers which will make me happy. the other women are all former military wives too so they get it.

  67. Sarah

    Diane,
    My husband medically retired from the Army last year, so I know the struggles you face. Praying thos gkvernment shutdown ends quickly. On another note, I saw a navy recruiter recently in our town wearing the green camo. It looks nice.
    -Sarah

  68. Athanasia

    Margaret, what is pea-meal bacon roast?

  69. Jo

    I have been so disappointed in my preserved lemons. I used a good fermenting jar, I used as much salt as was called for, no water, just lemon juice, yet they spoiled. This was from my first small lemon crop, so the disappointment is double. However, I am moving on — I hope to have more lemons this year.
    A recipe for brined pork roast called for a full half-cup of grated fresh ginger in the brine. I had a several tablespoons of dried ginger root left over from a previous need, and used it instead, making a ginger tea, then using that as the base of the brine.
    I mended a dress that had a seam opening under the arm.
    I soaked some smelly items in baking soda and hot water for several hours, and now they smell good again. No need to replace them now.
    I put the word out that I was looking for an easily washed bedspread for my guest room that gets the occasional sneaky visit from a cat that likes to sleep in there on the bed, and spills from exuberant grandchildren. The comforter and duvet cover I had on it was just to much effort to dis-assemble, wash, dry, and re-assemble all the time. My sister came through with a nice spread that didn’t fit her bed — it had been given to her, so all she is out is the cost of mailing it to me. Of course, I’m going to reimburse her, but I still got a deal even with paying the mailing fees.

  70. Allyson

    Brandy, I love your lemons! They are so pretty, and I always think about you when we purchase a bag of them at the grocery store. Congrats on the insurance savings!

    Our big savings this past week were from using what we had at home for meals, staying in with the snow (so no gas), and gleaning from the food pantry since they were closed one day due to weather. Here’s how else we saved:
    https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2018/01/frugal-accomplishments_22.html?_sm_au_=isVrMqT4FRNr36N6

  71. Jennifer O

    Melonie,
    We’re in the same boat with military pay. We can cover the bills at least for 1 month, but… I’d rather have a plan in place than be scrambling should the next check not come in. My last check was December 15th due to the holidays (only paid once a month! But thanks to our frugal ways its tight but not critical. Good luck to you.

  72. Ellie's friend from Canada

    Margie – yes we have NO FRILLS here but I’ve noticed even their prices seem higher here than in Toronto. I can’t believe the low cost of food in the States either or for that matter the lower cost of homes in some areas. I won a $75 gift certificate at No Frills for a photo I took. I really made it go far!

    Elizabeth M. Yes you can count a long tail as a cougar. Nothing else qualifies. For your bucket list of experiences,it would be better to see the whole cougar. I would not want to see a cougar as they are very dangerous (except if I were in a home or a car). The only thing more dangerous would be a cougar you don’t see that stalks you and attacks you from behind. Deadly. A bobcat will suffice. I hope they have their kittens elsewhere. I wouldn’t mind getting a photo from a distance, though. In fact i would love that but they appear mostly at night. Calgary has a population explosion of bobcats at the moment, partly because we had a population explosion of hares and rabbits. We occasionally have cougars but not very often. Half an hour west of here, there is the highest population of cougars in North America. I could never figure out what jumps on my roof in the middle of the night but now I know it’s a bobcat. Sounds like an elephant. he climbs up a tree then leaps onto the roof. It only happens occasionally.

  73. Annaliese

    What great pics from your garden! Cheered me up since everything is gone from here and makes me wish for Spring to get here soon and I can get my hands dirty. We had over 12 inches of snow here in NC- where we live, the beginning off the week and it is finally melting. they said we were only supoose to get a trace or 1 inch. Boy were they wrong!!! Stuck at home for another week without pay since I couldn’t get out and business closed because of the weather. Thank goodness for stocked pantries!! When I finally got out, this is what I got free at the store: a container of lemon yogurt, a 4 container pack of fruit, 2/8 oz bars of cheddar cheese, a pkg of rice mix, 2 large tomatoes. Was gifted from others: 2 large oranges, 1 cucumber, 2 lemons, several individual pkts of green tea and a large jar of honey. At work form the “free table”, picked up some bread and 3 pkg of mini bagels,(Thinking of French toast and mini pizzas.) and a large container of homemade mac and cheese for the kid.
    Started a $20 a week grocery plan just for food. (2x since DS is autistic and doesn’t eat what we eat so he gets SSI each month to help with his grocery list.) Another $20 for household supplies, which I probably won’t use up every week so what is left goes back in for when we need it, since I usually buy all that stuff in bulk.
    Picked up a free book from a church, “Abraham’s Children”. It’s a story about the middle east issues and how people are connected and don’t even know it, here in the USA.
    Sold a couple of things on EBay. Put more on.
    Bought 2 gift certificates and got extra points on Swagbucks. I like the idea of buying gift certificates thru out the year when I have extra money so when I don’t, I have a cushion to help out. Plus the extra points help with getting free gift certificates to help with the grocery/household expenses. Added more to the rebate apps on phone.
    Hubby went to a warehouse sale of a place that was closing near his work. Everything was 50% off. Spent a little more than what was budgeted but we stocked up on pasta (18lbs for $2.50) and other pantry supplies that are going to last the year. (Batteries (all sizes), coffee, balsamic vinegar, worchestershire sauce.) Gifted some to DIL’s since we trade off all the time.
    At Christmas time, hubby and I decided not to get each other fancy, un-needed stuff as presents but to pick up things for the house and yard that is really needed thru out the year when there is a sale. This past weekend, he found a kitchen faucet we were looking at and were needing at a really good price. It is a nice trendy one and hubby installed it himself!!
    There was a STARZ free weekend on tv and I watch and taped movies for future watching on movies and shows I wouldn’t spend money on when they were out in the theaters. Glad I got them free since a couple of them were not any good and I just fast forward thru them and when finished, delete.
    Hope everyone has a great blessed week!

  74. Holly

    WD40 and a silicon spray we have. I will spray one of them on the doorframes, keeping the spray away from the aging gaskets. The storm is forecast to weaken now, as it heads east. So we might see little ice. I might try out the tarp idea too, on the driver’s door.

  75. Annaliese

    That last recipe tip sounds yummy! I am going to try it this coming week!

  76. Pea meal bacon is also known as Canadian bacon. It’s pork (back bacon) rolled in ground cornmeal (historically, it was rolled in ground peas, hence the pea-meal name). If you’ve ever had eggs benny in a restaurant, they probably used pea meal bacon. Hope that helps!

  77. Marybeth

    The lemons look beautiful.
    -Sears keeps sending me free $. I got 2 new pairs of jeans for $4.02
    -Got a top on clearance with a coupon for $2.53
    -Made a big pot of chili. Did double the beans. I only had 1/2 pound of ground beef so I thru in 1/2pound of turkey that I ground myself. I froze half for future meals. First night it was chili on rice, then chili on egg noodles then chili dogs. Hubby was very happy!
    -Pulled out leftover ham on a crazy night and had leftover sides with it. No one starved.
    -Got pizza with a gift card for dinner on another crazy night.
    -Made a pot roast with veggies I had frozen. Makes dinner very easy after work.
    -Made double batch of waffles, lemon bars and muffins for the hungry beasts!
    -Sold several items on EBay. Used boxes from work that were headed to the dumpster. Dropped boxes off on the way to work(drive right past a post office)
    -Brought lunch, snacks and reusable cup to work all week.
    -Went food shopping with a gift card this week. Still have some left. Helps to keep my grocery $ down this month.
    -My sister likes to give experiences instead of physical gifts. She took my son to a wonderful dinner in the city and then they went to see The NY Philharmonic. They had a wonderful time. The tickets also included a rehearsal viewing so they have that booked for next month. My son drove his car to my sister’s house(40 minutes away) and then she drove them into the city.
    -My daughter went to a Jazz concert at school (free) with friends. They then went out for half apps. I drove them to the school. It is so much easier to carpool with other parents.
    -Found 57 cents this week!
    -My husband and I had a very nice night eating home and watching TV while the kids were out. He offered to take me out but I am very happy to eat at home. I went easy and made a big salad with grilled chicken. Also with all of this talk about the flu I am trying to not eat out often.
    -I don’t usually mention this but my daughter took the bus to and from school all week except for one afternoon she had stayed late and I was heading home from work so it wasn’t far out of the way. She would have had to wait 30 minutes for then next bus and it takes about 45 to get home at that point because they run very few buses at that point.
    -Ordered my son’s books for second semester of college. Rented some, bought some used and bought one new. The ones he won’t need in the future I rented. The new one was because he needed a code for online with it and to buy used and the code made it more money. Otherwise we go used. I always look around for the best price. I do it with Amazon prime(we share with my sister) or had it shipped to the book store for free and pick it up from there.
    -Washed Ziplocs, hung laundry, used rags instead of paper towels, used cloth napkins, batched errands together, got gas on the cheap day and ate all of our leftovers.

  78. Marivene

    *My next door neighbor rescued another fir tree from down the street for me, & dragged it home. I cut the branches from all but one of the trees, & layered them on the back perimeter beds before our big snowstorm, so they will dry out faster & drop the needles where I want them to go.

    *I continued to declutter. This time, I donated the Grab-it bowls that have lived in the back of the cupboard, since 8 have not used them for a couple of years now. Our oldest daughter accepted the offer of the set of Crystal D’Arques goblets that we have not used since she left home almost 20 years ago to marry. None of our other children wanted them; she took all 8 boxes. Earlier this year, I donated several sets of heavy Libby goblets that we almost never used, which made room in the cabinet above the stove for the larger plates in my set of Christmas china. Now that I am in my 60’s, I see no reason to hold on to things we do not use. I would rather give them to the child who has fond memories attached to the time, or donate it if no one wants it. We have downsized twice now, moving from Idaho to Utah 14 years ago, & again 2 years later when we bought the house where we now live. It is less stuff to sort thru later on.

    *Continued to knit on a blue variegated baby blanket. I am on pattern row 35 of 48.

    *Made a large batch of oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips & used our dehydrated pie cherries instead of raisins. The cookies were delicious.

    *Ate all meals from home, as usual.

  79. Marivene

    Et bonne semaine a vous et votre famille, linda de montreal.

  80. Kim Heller

    Brandy,
    Love that your garden is still producing food for your family even though here in the Pacific Northwest we are in the dead of winter.
    Once again, I love your photography!
    Since I can’t do any gardening, I decided to do something indoors. One of my beloved outdoor urns was in pretty bad shape from being out in the weather too long. I brought it in, dried it out and did some repair work to it and then put a fresh coat of paint and sealer on it. It should be good for a couple more years now.
    I made homemade split pea soup for dinner last night and will have enough for a couple lunches.
    When I took my Christmas decorations down and put back my everyday decor I couldn’t find the tassle I had used on my china cabinet. Instead of going out and purchasing a new one or even trying to thrift a new one, I went out to the garage and got a bundle of rope I had purchased months ago at a thrift store for less than a dollar. I made a new tassle and you can’t even tell I used any of the rope.
    Thank you to everyone again this week for all the great ideas and encouragement.

  81. Terri Deeds

    1. Downloaded an audiobook from the library to listen to while I do housework.
    2. I picked up some books from the library that I ordered via interlibrary loan.
    3. Purchased two packages of butter for $1.99/lb. There was a limit of 2, so I was only able to get that.
    4. Purchased two containers of ice cream on clearance for 99 cents each. These were Christmas flavors that were being cleared out.
    5. I was at Walgreens waiting to pick up a prescription when I noticed that they had all their Christmas stuff marked down on clearance for 90% off. I wasn’t interested in any of the decor, but they had some stocking stuffers and candy that I got for next Christmas. I made sure that the candy had best-by dates that are after next Christmas.
    6. My daughter’s school had a food and culture night and I made croissants from scratch using flour that was purchased at rock-bottom prices and butter bought for a good price at Costco.
    7. I had a coupon for a free breakfast sandwich at Chick-fil-a that I redeemed.
    8. I left my kids with their father and made a trip to Winco for the first time. I was impressed by their low prices and was about to get some of the things that were already on my shopping list.
    9. I baked a ham that I bought a few weeks ago at Costco. I made a loaf of bread so we could eat ham sandwiches with the leftovers. I made ham and bean soup with the bone. I made deviled ham spread one day and made a sandwich that I packed to take with me to my class.
    10. We continued to keep the central heat turned off, using the space heater sparingly, as needed.
    11. I colored my hair at home using some henna powder and indigo powder that I purchased last year. It cost me only $7 to do it myself.
    12. I took my kids over to their cousin’s house for a playdate. Everyone had a great time and it cost us nothing.
    13. I accepted some hand-me-down clothes for my daughters from their older cousin.
    14. I purchased some items on sale from Amazon, when they didn’t arrive on time, I emailed their customer service and was able to get my Prime membership extended by a month for free.
    15. I made an apple pie using apples, flour, sugar, and oil that were purchase on sale at rock bottom prices. I make a no-roll pie crust that uses oil instead of butter or shortening.

  82. Bethany

    I had both holiday pay from New Years and a paid 4 hour class on my last paycheck, so I used part of the extra to stock up on some items at the 10/10 sale last week, including pastas, frozen juice, and some smoked sausage for variety. I found ground beef for 1.88/lb, and browned and froze 10#. I added some to cooked beans and rice, and froze 2 dozen burritos for easy meals. Although it has been cold here, we’ve enjoyed several quick breads and muffins for breakfast, a nice winter change from the warmer weather stove stop breakfasts. I try to incorporate fruit into these, as the in season fruit selection here is limited, and this makes it more interesting. I’ve been able to get marked down bananas and apples fairly frequently, along ith some oranges on sale, and also have strawberries frozen last summer in the freezer.

    I browsed craigslist, and was able to get a complete nursery set for a new grandbaby due in April- crib, mattress, dresser, rocking chair, and bouncer, plus some newborn clothes- for $300.00! My oldest was gifted a large number of blanket sleepers which fit her child this winter, and will fit his other cousin next winter, so I have used my fleece stash to make pajamas in the next size up (I have to sew ahead, due to my work schedule, sometimes my sewing time is limited).

  83. A zone 10 is a BIG maybe. I only get them for about a week here in April (Festiva Maxima is what I have) before the sun just cooks them before they even open. I’ve learned a lot and I can tell you what I’ve learned to help you:

    There are 6 designations for peonies. Usually, it will be shown as 3: early, mid-season, and late. But within each of these, there is an earlier blooming one and a later blooming one.

    What you need is the earliest of the early bloomers–and sorry, but these are usually single petaled choices. Just something I noticed.

    The earlier the bloom, the fewer chilling hours it needs. You will want to add ice cubes on top of the crowns in winter to help chill the roots additionally; it’s a way to give them some fake chilling hours.

    You want to BARELY cover them. The more shallow they are, the more exposed they are to cold. So while instructions generally say 1-2″ deep, in a warm climate, they should be no deeper than 1/2″ below the surface.

    I am growing Festiva Maxima, and it blooms mid-April for me. Honestly, that’s too late. It is just too hot. I need something earlier blooming. I have three plants, and the one that does the best gets the most sun, so they really do need full sun, even in a hot climate. Expect the leaves to burn in the sun about a month after bloom. Of my three, one has never bloomed; it may be too deep in the ground.

    Festiva Maxima is not the earliest blooming of the peonies; it is a mid-season bloomer (April for me, but noted May/June in colder climates). I really want to try some early ones, such as Coral Sunset. Both are only marked to zone 8, so it’s a maybe in my zone 9, and a huge maybe in your zone 10. My peonies are on the north side of the house, so they are shaded in winter and are, consequently, getting a few more chilling hours that way.

    What I’ve decided is more productive is to plant the 2-3 foot tall poppies that look like peonies. Check out the double poppies that look like peonies (and are almost as big) here: https://www.edenbrothers.com/store/poppy_seeds.html here: https://uprisingorganics.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=poppy and also here: https://www.outsidepride.com/search?terms=poppy (some of the latter ones are labeled peony seeds, but they are actually poppies). Poppies bloom in April for me. You have to burn the stems (seal the edges with flame; I found a gas stove is easier than a candle) before you put them in water and then you can arrange them. My poppy seeds are in the freezer to give them some false chilling hours. I’ve planted some and will be planting more as soon as I plant some new fruit trees and rerun the water lines under them. These bloom in April and May for me and can also handle light shade.

    I am also growing more David Austin roses that are peony look-alikes. Look for the ones that say up to zone 10; there are a large number of them. The Alnwick is one I added to the garden last year, and they have potted plants available right now (a better choice in our hot climates than planting bare roots). If you decide to order, I have a coupon code for 15% off through the end of February; let me know and I will email it to you. Don’t wait on ordering as they do sell out of stuff.

    I added another rose (4 bushes, technically) that is somewhat peony-looking as well. It’s a floribunda, so it will bloom even in the heat, and should repeat bloom throughout the year. It’s called Earth Angel. You can get potted plants online from Jackson and Perkins. It is a pale pink, but come summer, in the heat, it looks white (and like everything in the heat, it blooms smaller in summer). Mine have been growing in the garden for about a year and a half now (I bought them from another place because Jackson and Perkins was sold out; they were smaller plants and shipping was added after placing the order and it ended up being more money for smaller plants, so I would DEFINITELY order from Jackson and Perkins for larger plants for less money). I am hoping that they are large enough to get a good number of blooms this year. It takes about 3 years to see rose bushes larger enough to really produce (and about the same before peonies even start to bloom).

    This year, I’m planning to grow tons of peony-looking poppies. I think it’s my best hope for the garden, and it should give me flowers over a longer period of time, too. Hopefully, everything will germinate well and grow before the heat sets in.

  84. momsav

    Greetings! I love that you daughter is learning to swing dance! My husband and I took dance lessons twice, once from a company and once private. We still can’t dance! I love to watch good dancers and just tap my feet.

    My frugal week included going to a thrift store and hitting them on their bag day. (That never happens.) I got 8magazines and 5 books for 4.00 At a different thrift, I found another wool sweater to de-construct for dryer balls.

    I went armchair traveling with yooootube. I’ve been to Wales and Scotland this week.

    I made up a batch of shake ‘n bake. Since I only used half the rest went in the freezer for next time.

    I sold an item on eBay which is always nice!

    While in the big city, I went to the co-op for a few items. I paid with a gift card so no out of pocket. I still have a few dollars for next time.

    This was another week of all meals at home and/or lunches taken.

    I’m still walking every day, even in our nasty weather, yoga at home and using the Tribal Center. I seem to be eating more, too. (I need to knock that out!) I’m washing baggies, cereal bags and saving shower water for the laundry.

    When the nasty weather heads our way, I am always thankful for heat and a decent home. We are so blessed compared to many others. This time of year always brings this home to me. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!

  85. Roberta in So. Cal.

    I’m always so impressed by what you are able to grow in your climate! Your produce and flowers are just beautiful.

    Glad to hear your second son was able to get steel donated for his Eagle Project. I imagine that would have been a pretty costly item otherwise.

    We had a pretty hectic week between getting ready for our son’s Eagle Project day, revising Hub’s dissertation, and getting my mammogram (which came back normal–PTL!). All went well, however, and we even managed to squeeze in some frugality. 😀

    Frugal Efforts

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals and continued with the pantry challenge.
    * Opened up doors/windows when the weather was warm.
    * Kept the thermostat at 68F when is was cooler and turned it off completely when we weren’t home.
    * Turned off the sprinklers when we got some rain.
    * On Sunday we attended an Eagle Court of Honor for one of the boys in our troop. Dinner was catered by Olive Garden, and the host family sent us home with a quart of marinara sauce and a gallon zip bag of breadsticks. On Tuesday I added some browned Italian sausage to add to the marinara, cooked up some pasta, warmed up the bread sticks. (And then we had leftovers for Wednesday.)
    * Harvested sweet potatoes.
    * The clip that holds the hood rod in my car broke. Hubs bought the part and replaced it himself. Total cost–just over $8.
    * Made breakfast bread, cranberry-pomegranate compote, and banana bread.
    * Son’s Eagle Project (phase 1) came in under budget thanks to generous donations from [u]many[/u] local businesses. He also had a great turnout of volunteers (over 50 mostly teen-age boys). At the end of the day, there were a few leftover food items (not [u]too[/u] much, ’cause those boys were hungry after doing lots of physical labor) that we were able to bring home.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  86. Jenny

    Great roses Brandy. I think they look nicer next to the vase, than in the vase for some reason.
    No new savings this month from me just usual of garden produce and other saving practices. The lemon tree is going crazy with lemons so I’m thinking I will make a few lemon tarts and lemon slice recipes. The tree has limes grafted on it as well, so I will also make some key lime pie.
    My electricity company sends me an email each month with graph to see how much electricity I use each day. I’m try to track down my worst electric excesses.
    The weekends are my biggest expense. I’m wondering if I get solar lights like Lorna on this community does can I reduce that weekend expense? Or does the electricity feed the fridge which I open more frequently?

  87. Florrie

    I harvested baby broccoli leaves to put in a veggie casserole. I also blanched some leaves and used in green smoothies.

    I pruned our Rosemary bush and brought them in to make an arrangement using Brandy’s tutorial. The little lavender flowers on those branches are holding up nicely. The arrangement on the dining table really adds to our mealtimes.

    I made a cherry crumble using our frozen pitted bush cherries and some topping that my niece gave me from her recipe overage.

    I am de-cluttering by being very mindful that my heater has to work very hard to heat every object in our home. Someday we may have a safe, smart heater that will heat just the humans and our pets. Meanwhile, transitory items are packed in boxes in closets that are always kept closed.

    Brandy, I have a question for you. Besides your affiliated links, does your special blog earn credits according to no. of visits, no. of comments, lengths of comments’ or pages of comments? You don’t have to answer here if this is not the appropriate venue. Perhaps you can message me? I thought that if more followers know these, we can reciprocate. You have helped us all SO MUCH, that I am thinking of ways to try to complete the circle of gratitude. Thank you for all that you do!

  88. Stephanie

    What a great week! Had some snow days from school, but accomplished some things.
    – bought some clothes for my grandson, with a JCPenny gift card I got for returning items 2 weeks ago.
    – donated about 60 books to our local library
    -my mom bough a ham on sale and gave us half. We used every bit instead of eating out,
    -found clearance items for .91 cents at Rural King, also saved money on our dog, cat , and chicken food
    -using cash only for needs, debit card for bills only

  89. I was on my electric company’s website the other day. I can look at each day and each hour’s usage as well, and I noticed that we also use more electricity during certain times (especially Friday and Saturday). Since we are home the majority of the week, I had to think about what activities were different during those times. I realized that a big part of it was that we are watching more television during that time, as well as having more lights on in the library while we play games. I noticed a few afternoon times where usage was higher, too–and again, the only change was television.

    Our evening usage was the highest part of the day. This time of year, that makes sense, as it is dark early and we have to turn lights on. I noticed that light-turning off was becoming lax, so I spoke to the children again about turning off the lights in their rooms when they’ve left them to come play in the library. I’ve been making sure that lights get turned off in the kitchen and other rooms when we eat dinner. It’s just a short time, but several years ago, I experimented and found out that if I turned off the kitchen lights during dinner (the only lights that were on besides the ones over the dining room table) that my bill went down $20 a month. My family doesn’t usually turn those lights off and at breakfast that is becoming a problem as well (my husband leaves the halogen lights on over the stove when he sits down to eat). I’m the only one who thinks to turn these off, so I am making sure to get them turned off before I sit down at the table.

    I would look at what you’re using during that time and see what changes you can make. I know that as our bulbs go out, we are replacing each one with an LED light. We don’t need to turn on the lights in the house for most of the year, so our regular bulbs last about as many years as the LEDs are supposed to last (there are bulbs I’ve had since we bought the house 11 years ago that have never gone out). I can see a difference in cost, though, from when we do have the lights on at night in the winter, so after the kitchen bulbs are all replaced, I will look to replace the lights in the library.

  90. Jo

    I hope you enjoyed your trip to Wales and Scotland! 😀 I like the idea of “armchair travelling”, your story made me giggle.

  91. Rhonda A.

    DD is 14 yrs old and on the autism specrtum. As a parent, I need to ensure she learns how to do every day living skills, well before she becomes an adult, as it takes her longer to learn some of these skills than the average person. We had a conversation with DD about learning to cook. She wants to be an artist, which we explained is not a high paying job (she will most likely qualify for disability as an adult, but that doesn’t pay well either). With this in mind, she needs to learn to cook, especially cheap, easy, healthy meals, so she will be able to feed herself on a limited budget. Since DD really wants to be an artist, she has accepted this logic and thankfully seems to be embracing it. The treats she made calls for 4 mostly inexpensive ingredients (chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter and rice krispies), makes quite a bit and it is a very easy recipe to follow. Perfect treat for a starving autistic artist!

  92. Rhonda A.

    Did anyone esles see this recent news coverage? http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/banff-iga-cougar-video-1.4496422

    Ellie’s friend is right, cougars are very dangerous preditors. These wild cats are known for being extremely quiet and steath like in their attack. They can stalk you without your knowledge very easily. I’d be happy with just a tail sighting from a house, too.

  93. Allyson

    So funny that you got rid of your Grab-It bowls… I love ours and have been looking for a few more! So interesting how we’re all alike in our need to de-clutter, but we all find different things that work best for us in our homes, kitchens, and lives.

  94. Elizabeth M.

    I have bought the daylight kind this time and they are very bright. This will be especially good for working in the kitchen at night.

  95. Elizabeth M.

    I’d be more than happy to see a bobcat. They’re very beautiful.

  96. Marivene

    Allyson, I was in DI yesterday & saw a woman with my GrabIt bowls in her cart. It made me smile.

  97. Tammy

    My husband and I have been sick. We used homemade vapor rub that I made from essential oils. Hubby already seems better. I am still fighting it. But doing better than I was.
    My husband went grocery shopping for us and bought convenience foods, as I was not up to cooking. Kept us from eating take out. But I started cooking from scratch again today, important for health and from a frugal standpoint.

  98. Elizabeth

    Brandy you are so kind to give me such a detailed and supportive answer regarding my peony quest. I really like the idea of getting some “look alike Peonies” such as the Poppies and the David Austin Roses. I’ve never heard of those types of poppies, I will look into them and I’ve recently been looking at the David Austin Website and just love the English Double Roses that look like Peonies- that may be the direction I go- but I also may try a couple peony roots that are early bloomers just to try it to get it out of my system. Don’t want it to be a waste of money though- so I have to think on it some more. And yes if you are willing to email me the coupon code I will happily make the Rose purchase and be forever grateful to you.

    thanks for your support
    Eizabeth

  99. Elizabeth

    Hi again. I just ordered Peony Poppy seeds fro both Eden Brothers and Outside Pride. So excited! Looking forward to the David Austin Roses. Still gonna research the “real peonies”…..

  100. Andrea Q

    Standard LED bulbs are available for $2-3 each now. It’s amazing how much the price has gone down! Unless you need solar lights for emergency reasons, I think it’s more cost effective to use LEDs in the regular fixtures.

  101. Siiri

    Love reading here!
    Could anyone suggest what good to do with big jar of raw cold-pressed oil which has a strong specific taste? I think heating would make it less healthy. Thanks! It is rape oil.

  102. Terri

    This is a great idea, I asked my husband if we can go through the house and figure out which bulbs are not LEDs and replace them. I already know of several we can replace. The microwave lights and one in our children’s bedroom (which stays on all night because they’re afraid of the dark!). For some reason it never dawned on me that CFLs are not as efficient as LEDs, but after reading this, I did some research and found out that they are not as energy efficient. I wish our electric company showed our hourly usage, but they do give us our daily usage, so I’ll have to make do with that.

  103. Libby

    $1,000 savings is “real cash money” as an old friend used to say 🙂

    Made swag x 1
    Hung laundry up to dry x 2 which also helps humidify the house while the hot air heat is on
    Put mineral oil on all wood knife handles, wood cutting boards, rolling pin, pizza paddle, and lemon juicer. Mineral oil sold in the hardware store for cutting boards costs $8.00. Same thing – mineral oil – sold at Walgreens in a bigger bottle for $3.00
    Used green onions and then put the bulb ends in a glass of water to regrow

  104. Annaliese

    Opps! I was wrong- after counting the pasta again we got for 50% off…there was 36/1 lb pkgs for $2.50.—SCORE!!!

  105. Laurie in AZ

    Thanks! The term comes from the Jim Collins book “Good to Great.” It is really for businesses, but I like it for my personal goal as well!

  106. Laurie in AZ

    And good luck with your BHAG! This site is great for helping me keep my eye on the prize!

  107. Laurie in AZ

    Taking the free stuff really does stretch the dollars! Good for you!

  108. Laurie in AZ

    That is an awesome deal!!!!

  109. Pauline in Upstate NY

    My apologies if anyone has already shared this, but I wanted to get the info out to all of you. Earlier this evening I read on another blog that Zaycon Fresh was having a flash sale on their bulk boxes of boneless chicken breasts with a discount for new customers only if you order fast. I’ve been wanting to try Zaycon, but for a long time they quit doing sales in New York, but they’re back now! I just ordered a 40 lb box that started at $1.69 per pound and, with the discount, ended at $0.79 per pound. unbelievable… Pick-up isn’t until late March. I believe they do these events all over the country. The code is WELCOME99, and their site says it’s good until the 26th (tomorrow).

  110. Susan

    Need some frugal ideas for a 50th wedding anniversary present for some friends. Not flowers or plants. Their family owns a greenhouse/garden center where the party is being held. What say you frugal ladies?
    Checked my grocery receipts for the month and see that I am spending about $150 a week. This is less than I used to spend and I was a little bummed that I seem to be spending this much for a family of 5. Then I realized that I have to buy Gluten Free food which makes for a higher grocery bill. Two of our adult sons with special needs have Celiac Disease so must keep everything Gluten Free.

  111. Heidi Louise

    I suspect they don’t need more “stuff”. Perhaps a gift in their name to somewhere? Library books with a bookplate honoring them?
    Some town-beautification gift, or something to their church or a charity they support? Paying for a tree to be planted somewhere?
    Or something that recognizes what was happening 50 years ago when they were first married? Some 1968 magazines, catalog, newspaper, information booklets, maps, cook book, etc.
    Depending where you live and how active they are, a gift certificate to a state or national park, museum, zoo, or some kind of experience/trip gift.

  112. Sabrina

    Jeannie, where are youin alabama?

  113. Ellie

    I use the 4 Grab It bowls, that I have, all the time. The glass lids that they came with make them perfect for reheating food in the microwave. I remember my Mom ordering these in the 80’s with Land O Lakes butter UPC codes.

  114. Ellie

    Hi Pauline,

    I don’t know how far “upstate” you are. My sister lives in the Beacon area and goes to Restaurant Depot. They carry chicken for 49cents a pound when you purchase 40 pounds. If you share with someone or divy it up yourself, this is a WONDERFUL price.

  115. Athanasia

    Thank you for the answer, Margaret.

  116. Athanasia

    We have 2 of those left with glass covers. Lost or ruined the plastic covers years ago. They were a wedding present. My husband likes leftovers in them to heat for his lunch.

  117. Jeannie

    Sabrina, sorry to be so late in replying to your comment. I just now discovered it. I do not live in Alabama, my sister does and Mom is staying with her while the weather is so bad up here in Tennessee. She is close to Montgomery but I live about 50 miles south of Nashville off of I-65.

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