Using a yard of corduroy I’ve had for over a decade, I sewed my three-year-old a simple pair of elastic-waist pants (no pockets or zippers). The fabric was leftover fabric from a dress that I sewed for my eldest daughter. He loves that he can pull up the pants by himself and there are no snaps or zippers to deal with, plus he loves that they are soft and warm.

I replaced the elastic in a pair of hand-me-down sweatpants and a pair of dress pants for the same son.

I mended a dress for a daughter. It was missing two buttons, so I replaced all the buttons with buttons from my button jars. I mended the lining and hem where they had come unstitched.

I sewed gifts for the children. I finished six scrunchies and worked on a pencil bag, a tiny doll, and doll clothes. I still need to finish everything so I will be doing lots of sewing in the next couple of days.

One of my daughters would like the entire Harry Potter series of books for her own copy (she has literally worn mine to pieces). We picked up two hardcover books from the series for her in excellent condition at the thrift store where my son works. We will continue to look for the rest there for her until we have all seven (eventually). These will be part of her Christmas gifts.

My son picked up a like-new Harry Potter backpack for her at the same thrift store (and used his employee discount!). He also picked up a book she has been wanting. The book was brand-new in the original shrink wrap. It retails for $20 but was priced at $2. He will gift both of these items to his sister.

My eldest came home for Christmas. She came with two friends, one who lives in our city, so they were able to split the gas three ways. Her other friend flew home from here, saving him $300 in airline ticket prices. Even though he paid for gas, he still saved hundreds.

Because it rained, I didn’t have to water the garden.

I harvested pomegranates, and Meyer lemons from the garden.

I downloaded a free background image of the Eiffel Tower that my daughter would like and loaded it to the tablet she uses for school. The image was offered by a photographer whose newsletter I subscribe to; she also offered a free downloadable calendar that you can print of images from Paris. I downloaded that and will have the calendar printed as photos tomorrow for one of my Paris-loving daughters for Christmas.

I used digital coupons to get a 10-pound bag of potatoes for $0.99 and four 12-ounce packages of bacon for $0.99 each. The employee told us the deal was one coupon per app, not per household, so my husband was able to pick up another bag of potatoes and 4 packages of bacon on the same trip with me. My mom also picked up a bag of potatoes on the sale and gifted them to me. 

At the same store, I used the digital coupons to purchase extra-large candy bars for stockings for $1 each.

After careful consideration, we put two things back at the grocery store instead of purchasing them, saving us $14. They were wants and we had several wants already in the cart.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Just wanted to say I love the new family photo. Everyone looks great. Thank you for your holiday gift inspiration. I return every year for it.

  2. What a beautiful family photo!!!!! Your blog and your frugal ways inspire me to do more and be more!! I thank-you, Brandy, for taking the time and energy to continue to have this blog which helps so many. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!!!! God Bless, robyn

  3. That picture of your whole family made my day, Brandy! We are pretty much ready for Christmas. We divide up the Christmas dinner so no one person does it all. It certainly takes the stress off of the season this way. Now that the gifts are bought and paid for, I will be looking to really cut back in the new year. My word of 2020 will be mindful, especially as it is applied to spending so shopping will definitely be happening less frequently in the new year and purchases will be carefully considered.

    I hope that you, Brandy, and all your readers have a lovely, peaceful Christmas season.

  4. Love your family photo! 40+ of us (Hubs, me and 9 of our 11 kids and their families got together last night! No one sat or stood still long enough for a family photo of all Of us at once though! ?☹️
    Our Lenni (longarm quilting machine) continues to get a work out! Since my comments here last week, I quilted these 2 quilts for a client-, and Her backing on the first quilt was Moda fabric that she bought specifically for that quilt in 1997!! So, at 22 years old, her UFO is now the oldest one that I’ve quilted and bound for someone! She will be giving these quilts to 2 special friends for Christmas.
    I still had extra batting and backing loaded on Lenni, so I HAD to make two more Hollow Stars table runners to use it up! Lol! No special reason, but I just wanted to “Use it up”!
    Then, there were two new babies born in our congregation family this past week, so I glanced on Pinterest for quilt ideas (What an amazing luxury that is!) and found a free pattern! Looked through my stash and found the novelty fabric with owls that wouldn’t have worked well if I cut it into little quilt squares. But it was great to cut our 8-1/2” squares to highlight the print! Picked out 2 other scrap fabrics and a SA flannel print for backing and a quilt was born!
    And so Lenni continues to be a real asset to us both in money savings (gifts and household items for us) and also an income producer (! What a joy!

    An online friend posted about a sale at Target on turkeys! Butter all turkeys were on sale for 89 cents/pound! But wait! There was a Target digital coupon for 50% off!! That made them 45 cents a pound! But wait! We both got our free flu shots at Target and each got $5 Target gift cards from doing that plus we had another $5 Target gift card from when we took a grandson birthday shopping last month! So $15 off! Plus 5% off for using our Target red card (which we immediately paid off when we got home!) PLUS ibotta had a $3 off rebate for butterball turkey! All told, I bought 3 turkeys- around 60 pounds and paid about 16 cents a pound! Pulled out a browning bag from my pantry and a couple days later, the house began to smell like turkey! The first one is packaged up neatly into white meat slices and dark meat chunks and into the freezer! Online friends help so much with discovering new ways to save! It’s past Thanksgiving Day, but I am so grateful for all the ways I learn to save and opportunities to save that all of you online friends give me! It truly makes a difference!!

    We had our family Christmas get together/dinner last night! 9 of our 11 children were able to be there! That means there were over 40 of us (counting our kids and grandkids!) Everyone brought food for the dinner and it was a feast! So many recipes I’m going to need to get from our daughters and D-I-Ls! Went home stuffed! Our son who hosted it this year came up with lots of Minute-to-Win-It games after dinner that had everyone laughing while the younger kiddos were playing in the basement! (What a blessing it is to live somewhere where we have basements!! ❤️❤️)

    I used my Wilton mini loaf pan (18 little loaves per batch!) and some of last week’s bananas to make a batch of banana breads to gift! I still had cellophane gift backs from last month when I made two batches and gave them out at a training meeting! So the packaged banana breads became a way to “Use it Up” while “decluttering” at the same time!! Lol! I bought the pan at JoAnn’s using a coupon which made the cost about $13! Definitely worth it for the time saving of making 18 loaves at a time! Wilton’s site didn’t have much/any recipes using this pan but I went online to Pinterest and Voila! A treasure chest of recipes that I’ve now pinned and plan to print up and have as a recipe book specifically for that pan! Over the past year, as I have had JoAnns coupons, I have bought and gifted many of our daughters/daughters in law this same pan and it occurred to me that now, as a birthday gift, I can make up recipe books like this for each of them! That will certainly be a money saver!
    Looking back on 2019, although we have had some unexpected challenges that have come to our family, we count ourselves as blessed beyond measure for the family and friends we have (including so many of you online friends) who support and encourage us and also for an abiding faith that anchors us in calm and storm! The gratitude we feel is priceless and we thank you all!

  5. I love the family picture and am in awe of your ability to wrangle them together for the shot!

    I live in Alaska but had not seen this wonderful 4 minute video until I saw it on one of the other two blogs I follow. It is the Hallelujah Chorus as demonstrated by the children of a small, remote village. It is so creative, you cannot help but smile.

    Did two mystery shops this week and was paid a premium fee because they had to be done before Christmas. Made my last Christmas gift for a friend, the Food in Jars recipe for baked caramel corn, and it was so delicious husband asked that I make some for him for Christmas (we don’t exchange gifts, we save what we would have spent for special trips or activities during the coming year). He is off working all day today and I have two pans of it baking away in the fridge; I should be able to package it and hide it until Christmas. Did not have to go to the grocery store except for a gallon of milk. However, while there the manager put out chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, for 99 cents a pound!! Unheard of here and we bought 20 pounds worth, which will last two of us for ages.

    Other than that, it was a peaceful, low cost week where we spent a lot of time reading and staring at the lights on our tree. I will end by channeling Tiny Tim: Merry Christmas everyone!

    1. Yes, thank you for sharing this video. So creatively done! The Hallelujah Chorus always gets me choked up. This time I smiled (with a lump in my throat :).

    2. Oh Mable, thank you for sharing this video. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Love the Hallelujah Chorus and this was so creative and gave a glimpse of life in our northern-most state. Happy New Year!

  6. I made sure to eat up what we had so we have some spare food money for our trip.
    I bought jeans online on sale (I’m 6’ tall so thrift stores rarely have jeans of a length that I need).
    Our city offers rebates for removing lawn, and for having water barrels. I had the water person come and assess what we are eligible for. We will get some rebates. They also give free low flow shower heads.
    We have enjoyed buying for only one person in the family this year, we drew names for the first time. I also sent cards instead of gifts to several extended family members.
    Blessings to all for a peaceful and restful break.

  7. I finished up my job for a forced shut down over the Christmas/new year period. All my presents to the family were bought. And I have indicated I wanted a dehydrator for a combined Christmas and birthday present from all my family. So looking forward receiving that. I will use it to deal with excess produce.

    I made pear and strawberry galettes for church. I also found a pizza deal to buy for church when I’m on hospitality. (Church numbers are lower due to everyone being on holidays)

    We are experiencing smokey days due to fires up north.
    I have chocolate croissants and pastry escargot that I found while dumpster diving. I will use these for Christmas breakfast with the family.
    Because I am at home, I am doing my best to do things around the house, rather than use petrol. And finally,
    Happy Christmas folks remembering the birth of Immanuel, and a frugal new year to all.

  8. Here’s how we saved money this week:

    * Continued to leave doors closed to rooms that don’t need to be heated (we live in an apartment building, so the rooms won’t get too cold, just down to the hallway temperature).

    * Finished making and wrapping gifts, and at the same time organized and inventoried my wrapping supplies. This way, I know exactly what I have and what I need when my mom and I go shopping for Christmas wrapping clearance.

    * Used chili from the freezer to make lunches for my SO this week.

    * Made a lasagna as our ‘treat’ for Christmas- it’s a bit more expensive of a recipe, so I usually only make it for special occasions.

    * Made a large batch of pasta sauce. I used some for the lasagna and the rest went into the freezer, pre-portioned.

    * I finally used up the last of my Italian Seasoning, so I made more.

    * I’m making soup for the few days I will be gone- it’s broccoli cheddar soup, but with white beans, which add protein and creaminess. This is a household favorite.

    * I made more honey wheat bread. I’ve found that I get the best interior texture when the outside looks very dark (almost burnt), which seemed odd to me until I realized it was likely due to the honey carmelizing.

    * I stopped by Target for a few items and used the rest of a giftcard from my birthday, significantly reducing my out of pocket cost.

    * I realized I forgot to purchase a few items when I last went grocery shopping, so I stopped by Aldi again on Thursday to pick them up. I took the train to do so, instead of the car, saving gas (and also time, since it waas only a slight detour to my usual ride).

    I have been finding myself so grateful for my well stocked pantry these last few weeks. I’ve found myself thinking “Oh no! I’m out of (item)” if it runs out in my in-kitchen pantry, but then I go dig through my large pantry and discover that past me did a good job planning and purchasing items that I would need.

  9. What a wonderful photo! How nice to have you all together, and everyone looks so nice.
    Our Christmas is going to be odd, because, unless something changes dramatically, my husband will still be in the hospital recovering from another infection. This has really thrown off our plans, and staying with him at the hospital so much before/after work, plus two all-nighters at two different emergency rooms have also set me back on being ready for the 25th. Thank heaven I have the gifts purchased.
    We do a cooperative lunch on Christmas day — my kids are living on their own, so they bring food and I make food and no one has to do all the work or bear all the expense. Luckily, I have my portion already purchased, and it is mostly simple, like warming the pre-cooked ham. I think we’ll still be able to do this lunch.
    I got my $75 rebate from my contact lens purchase made in November. It’s too late for Christmas shopping, but I used my tire rebate for part of my Christmas expense. I’ll use this new rebate for things I’ve put off buying until after Christmas, or I’ll take advantage of after-Christmas sales to get some gifts ahead for birthdays — we have two coming up soon.
    I had an old gift card from Chick-Fil-A, and I took a grandchild there the other day while on a trip. I was able to use the remaining funds on the card to reduce our bill. I’m glad I hung onto the card.
    Every year I’m grateful that I bought LED Christmas lights at the after Christmas sales. They are all I use now, and I haven’t had to replace a bulb yet, plus our light bill never shows an increase. I even found some on sale for a dollar a package. They work perfectly.
    I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!

  10. Brandy, I hope you’ve included your directions for the scrunchies in your sewing how-to’s. They are beautiful; I’d like to make some.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family!

        1. Your timing was impeccable! The girls had asked for them and I was planning on searching out a tutorial! I made them all from scraps I had!

  11. What a lovely photo Brandy – you all look so happy. Wishing you, all the family and all your readers a peaceful and happy Christmas.

  12. What a wonderful family picture. We had our extended family dinner and then our family met to exchange gifts this weekend. Our family will get together for breakfast on Christmas day. I have a question for this community. I have a ham bone which I would like to use. My husband doesn’t eat beans so I can’t use it for this. What ideas do you have for using the ham bone? Thanks for the help. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    1. A family favorite for us is hambone simmering with green beans and potatoes. Makes a delicious hearty broth soup/stew.

    2. Use your ham bone with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onions simmered all day to make a New England Boiled Dinner.

      1. I have made potatoes and green beans. This is a favorite, but have never added a ham bone. Now I’m wishing I had more than one bone.

    3. Hi Christine. I use my ham bones to make Ham Bone soup, which is like a vegetable beef soup except subbing the ham for the beef. You can use any vegetables your family likes. Being a southerner, typically with the ham bone I include veggies that “go with” ham like sweet potatoes, black eyed peas, cabbage, etc. I also include peas, celery, green beans, tomatoes, corn, limas, carrots, white potatoes and onions. Again pick and choose what your family prefers and what you have on hand. The ham bone makes a very flavorful broth and this is one of our favorite soups.

  13. Bells of Ireland! I just love those and the scrunchies are beautiful! A wonderful family pic, too.

    I finally figured out how to access your post about When Queens Ride By. I love reading that and just found it again yesterday. I encourage anyone that hasn’t read it before to grab a cup of your favorite drink and take a little reading break. It’s just a wonderful little story filled with wisdom for women.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  14. 1. Target had all of their blow dryers on sale for 25% off, so I picked up one for my hard to buy for daughter as a present. She is always taking mine and not bringing it back, so this way everyone will be happy:)
    2. Hobby Lobby had all of their Christmas decor on sale for 66% off this week, so I picked up miniature tree ornaments for one of my son’s gifts and spent well under $10 for alot of precious ornaments.
    3. Picked up Pillsbury products to use for our Christmas breakfast and dinner at Kroger for really great prices.
    4. Made boxes full of my kids’ favorite things for a special gift to open on Christmas morning.
    5. Used Kohl’s cash to buy more towels.
    **Pictures are on my blog

  15. Christmas tree(a real one) for $5 at Ace Hardware

    Our old 13 yo lab passed away. I poured the rest of his crunchy food into the bag of the big dogs and shook up to mix. Hubby buried him on my mother in laws property(our ground is too rocky)

    My mom sent over the last few rolls of Christmas paper since she just buys the kids gift cards

    I was short a few Christmas cards so I just got some out of my moms stash.

    My daughter got a $10 gift card from school and won a pair of wireless earbuds at the end of semester prize raffle at her middle school (she got an entry for improving her reading level so double win, lol)

    We had a bad(as in burned) pizza order back on Halloween. I complained to the company and they gave me a 50% off my next purchase. We used it this week on a night everyone was too tired.

    I brought home yogurt my mom didn’t want. The lady from her church that gives her communion works at a local Panera Bread and she occasionally brings her stuff from there. My mom is kind of picky, so I brought home sliced sourdough bread , honey oat rolls, and orange cranberry muffins.

    Rented a redbox movie using a .75 off code

    1. April, I am so sorry about the loss of your dog baby. I always find that to be so hard. I hope your children are doing okay.

      1. Thanks everyone. He was 13 and it’s been hard(he’s been around longer than the youngest child). We know he’s not hurting now. Our 3 year other dogs miss the old guy also.

        1. So sorry to hear about your dog. We lost our two about seven months ago and I still tear up at the thought of them and the hole they have left. Hard time of year to lose a pet.

  16. It was wonderful to see how all the family looks. So many have grown since I’ve seen them last in your photos.

    A busy week. I went to the last of five dental appointments, though one filling is temporary, to see whether a root canal can be avoided using a medicated filling, and after the last permanent filling was done, I was told the tooth should have a crown. I guess I’ll be going back again soon enough. The insurance for the last appointment did not get approved right away, so we’ll have to see how much of this bill is mine to pay. I am glad to have the worst work done, though, and paid for mostly by my new, free insurance.

    I stopped in at the last scheduled public health clinic for this season to get both a free flu shot and a free pneumonia shot. The flu shot left me with a sore arm and a bit of a fever for several days, but these days weren’t very scheduled so it didn’t interfere too much with what had to be done.

    I looked into the possibility of getting an income supplement for seniors that is available in Canada for lower-income households. I wanted to see if eliminating my transcription work, which is self-employment income, would be considered a change of income that could trigger the supplement 18 months earlier than normal. It turns out it will, and the supplement, though not large, makes it worth stopping transcription at the end of December. It will take 150 days for the benefit to be approved, but fortunately I have enough income to cover my expenses while I wait. Suddenly now, I have two extra days a week, though no trouble in finding things to do to fill all that time!

    I have plans to attend a church potluck for Christmas dinner. I have the makings of a corn and black bean salad to take with me, but also wanted to make a Christmas season meal to have at home, and have leftovers for Christmas week. Small standing rib roasts were on at an exceptional sale price of $5.88 a pound ($4.60 US). I’ll make it on Boxing Day. Bags of frozen vegetables and a box of Mandarin oranges got scooped up in Christmas sales as well.

    While it has been so busy, I have made some very simple suppers, like egg salad sandwiches, or hamburgers. Those days I try to have a salad at lunch to get enough nutrition. I am really enjoying all these meals.

    Wishing you all a wonderful holiday week.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Best wishes for a Merry Christmas. which low income seniors supplement were you mentioning? Ann

  17. Christine, I use ham bones with potatoes. I put the ham bone in the crockpot over night. I use the broth and small pieces of ham to cook the potatoes. Veru Yummy! I also us them with split pea soupl Hope this helps.

  18. I love the family photo!
    I canned 6 jars of raspberry jam, using fruit puree I found in my freezer. I canned 7 pints of pickles. I will give some of each as gifts.
    I wrapped all gifts using items I had saved throughout the year.
    The thick felt lining of my snowboots had compressed until it was very thin, so not as warm, plus the boots fit too loose. Last month I turned a felted wool sweater into a pillow, but I had saved the arms from the sweater, thinking I would use them to make pincushions or something. They were the perfect size to make new liners for the snowboots. I used a double-layer of the felted sweater fabric and quilted it together with my sewing machine. Now the boots are warmer and fit better.
    I made new covers for two throw pillows. One I covered with a piece of upholstery fabric that was just the right size. The other I covered with fabric from a knit lace cardigan that had a damaged area on one side. I saved the cardigan for the lovely knit lace, thinking I’d do something with it one day.
    My husband and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary Sunday with dinner out at our favorite steak place – a well worth it splurge.

  19. The holiday photo warms my heart . I signed each of us up for a 50% coupon , off an oil change at a newly opened drive thru oil change business. I purchased some frozen pre made holiday dinner items at 50% off. I bought cornbread dressing , sweet potato casserole and a broccoli cheese rice dish. I bought two turkey tenderloin s for 1/2 price too. The children requested peas and mashed potatoes . I’m very grateful in the moment that I chose to do this. Dinner will be easy to warm up and is much welcomed at this moment. College girl has the flu , my thyroid has stopped working out of no where and I am terribly sick. One day we will smile and laugh at this holiday. The tree is standing but undecorated and leaning over. It’s quite comical. A friend dropped off a cake so we are covered. I managed to get in contact with my doctor for my new prescription and got a 90 day supply before my insurance expires on the 31st. If I need an ultrasound of the thyroid I may very well be able to get that done too. I’m cramming in every charge I can. I have lost 50 lbs in the last 6 months. I found a pair of jeans at the thrift store for $4.00 . They were so perfect, I came home and googled the I’D number and bought a second pair for $20.00 online. Here we are at Christmas , and we still have not turned our heat on. The house sits at around 55 degrees and everyone is comfortable and no one has complained. I refrained from buying any unnecessary Christmas. I gifted to my children and each of their best friends. I bought baby Henry a wooden shape sorter. I see so many things but honestly their space is really limited. I know a lovely grandfather who has custody of his grandson. I know he struggles so I decided to bless him with a surprise. He always has words of encouragement and a great attitude. Even in his toughest moments he smiles. I truly admire his faith. I hope everyone is having a lovely week. I’m snuggled in bed, thinking about so many past holidays and reliving the joyfulness of my memories. Be blessed friends.

  20. What a beautiful new family photo!!!! What a beautiful family!!!! May you have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

  21. Made fig bread ( just like banana bread) with free figs from my mon’s tree. I had frozen a lot this summer. Made chocolate mulberry cake with free mulberry from my tree. Cooked pumpkins from the $5 for 57 pumpkins I got after Halloween. Turkey was 68 cents lb so I decided to cook turkey for Christmas. I was given some free rolls and I froze them so we will eat those. I got potatoes on sale but cannot remember the price… lol. My kids love mashed potatoes. . I will also make green bean casserole and maybe another dish, depending on my time frame. We had sacrament only at church Sunday in our little branch because it rained three inches in 24 hours . I played lots of Christmas songs! There were only 17 of us but we made a joyful noise!!!Merry Christmas y’all!!!!!

      1. In addition to substituting figs for the bananas, I added almond extract, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. It was pretty good..

      1. I thawed them and put them in blender but barely. I wanted them to have somewhat the same consistency as bananas. I also had to drain mine a little bit and I just tossed the fig juice in with my pumpkins.

  22. I filed for social security this week, nearly 7 years earlier than I expected. Life doesn’t always go as planned. But I am so glad I still have a mom to provide elderly momcare to. I’ll just have to be thrifty, very thrifty, the rest of my life.
    Rather than take mom shopping this weekend, I took advantage of free delivery from Kroger. Two expensive optional items were out of stock which saved us $15. Then the delivery person accidently included a nice loaf of bread that was not on the bill. I contacted the delivery company and reported the loaf and a dented can. We were told the bread didn’t need to be returned (a $3.99 suggested price loaf) and we received a credit for 40 cents more than what the dented can cost. It is white bread. Mom doesn’t usually like white bread but she likes this bread.

    Now that my back and hip aren’t causing so much pain and stiffness, I have started cleaning and organizing long-neglected corners of the house. I am so grateful that I am no longer facing a life full of physical pain–thanks to the si belt. I have a long ways to go to get my strength and endurance back to normal levels. But I now have the opportunity to do so, with just the usual aches and pains of a 60-year-old.

    I hope you all have a lovely and refreshing week.

    1. Brandy, did you take the family photo yourself with a timer or remote trigger or did you have another photographer take it for you? It is truly lovely.

      I have to add to my comments that it is important to review and compare the grocery store’s receipt with the online receipt provided by your deliver service. (Be sure it is handed to you.) Electronic coupons don’t apply, at least at my local Kroger, when things are bought through Instacart even if the printed receipt shows them. Bye bye $4–The cost of not reading the pricing policy before placing my order. By reviewing the two receipts, I saw that the shopper billed for 3 types of pears totalling $11.74 instead of 4 types totalling $4.60. One $7.60 red pear. Ah, no. Instacart customer service was very nice and the difference, caused by the shopper entering 7# for red pears instead of less than a pound, will be back on mom’s credit card in a few days. Unless we are housebound because of weather or illness, I’ll be shopping for groceries the old-fashioned way most of the time.
      I also mended mom’s watchband last week, the little loop that is supposed to hold the excess strap in place. I first tried superglue. When that failed, I got out a needle and thread and a few well-placed stitches did the trick.

      1. I put the camera on a tripod and set all the settings. Then I had someone else push the shutter.

  23. You have a beautiful family! It’s wonderful to see everyone together for Christmas.

    Thank you for sharing how you saved by putting some items back at the store. It’s a good reminder that sometimes the best “deal” is to just not buy something I don’t really need.

    Our biggest savings this week came from using wrapping supplies we’ve bought after Christmas in past years or been given instead of buying anything new this year.

    Merry Christmas!

  24. As a gift for me, my friend has ordered replacement parts of my Cuisinart yogourt maker to replace those another “friend” threw out or recycled. I will be able to make yogourt again.

    I met another friend for coffee at the grocery store and she gave me a gift certificate for that grocery store. A wonderful and very generous gift. I bought a month”s worth of meat there today to put in my freezer.

    Another friend picked up 20 pounds of irregularly shaped potatoes for $4.95 from Real Canadian Superstore. Also, I had asked her to buy some pasta — No Frills has the bags of pasta for $1 that Shoppers’ sells for $2.50 (approximately). She bought huge bags for about $2.50 per bag — a real deal. I am stocking up on this pasta for my pantry as I am trying to rebuild my pantry again.

    On the book front, we received a grant for printing — but greatly reduced from what we applied for. Well, now starts the fundraising anxiety!

    I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and Peace on Earth. Ann

  25. As many others have said, what a fabulous photo of you and your family! A miracle everyone is looking good and all put together ;). I recognize you and Winter most easily, she managed her first year at school without putting on the usual 25 pounds, congratulations to her 😉

    Thank you again for the time you take to do this blog and keep this community together, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    I made a big batch of beef barley soup, so that is five meals for my husband and I. I am bored with our basic food so am trying for one to two new recipes a week. I tried a salmon patty (with barley) recipe. Edible but not great, but the bonus was I cooked too much barley…and then used all the extra barley in my beef barley soup, so it all worked out. I cooked two different batches of beans (pinto and great northern) for another recipe, I looked at the price of canned beans and decided I wasn’t that lazy;). Once the beans were cooked, I popped them in the freezer for the time we make that recipe.

    I went to the scratch and dent store here in Phoenix today to use a 25% off coupon before the end of the year. I was happy to get a few items. Most of the stuff at the store is highly processed food (which we try not to eat for health reasons and cost), but I was able to find items we can use at a great price.

    Happy holidays everyone!

    1. Hilogene—We always have tons and tons of salmon, they are like ants around here they are so plentiful. Anyway, I find salmon patties a pain to make, since they seem to fall apart unless I make and then put them in the fridge for hours (which I never plan far enough ahead to do, it seems). Instead, I put the onions and whatever other fillers I want (I freeze dozens of baggies of zucchini from the garden, so thaw and drain and use that a lot) and then I put in cream cheese, sufficient to bind things, and put it on bread or bagels like a spread instead of in patty form. Sometimes I use half cream cheese and half Greek yogurt, pretty much it depends on what I have around. I know cream cheese adds calories, but you are not using the oil that you use for frying the patties, so I feel like it evens out. Just a suggestion for something you might want to try. It also melts nicely on baked potatoes.

  26. I love the picture! You must feel so accomplished that you pulled that off!

    We had a great week with some fun activities mixed in with a lot of work. It’s looking like we are having between 25-27 people over on Wednesday in our teeny-tiny, 1,100 square-foot house that only has one bathroom. As one after the other asked to bring a friend, I got a little anxious. So, I’ve been cleaning the garage like crazy and every other nook and cranny that I can put a table into. I’ve been pre-planning everything so that it will flow smoothly and everyone will feel comfortable. We will put up a table in the middle of the living room Wednesday morning and take it down to visit and do gifts after our noon meal. I can seat 10-11 in the garage now that I’ve spiffed it up, which took several hours, to be honest. There will even be a table in our daughter’s room! I’m getting creative:). I’ve got a tablecloth that the kids can color on while they eat in there. Some will be on couches–every chair will be utilized–it’s going to work! We are going to serve buffet-style and have a taco bar with a few twists (I have one who only wants mashed potatoes and another who only wants peanut butter–it’s Christmas, so why not?) and use paper plates, as I don’t have a dishwasher.

    I will do finger foods for Christmas Eve after church with hummus, corn chips, cheese, crackers, fruit, veggies and soda pop.

    We were given several gifts. Most were lovely, but one was a wreath that was dying. I refurbished it and it looks good now. Pictures are on my blog:
    I love it!

    I worked like a beaver and finished up my home-made gifts. I’ve got almost everything wrapped and ready. Good thing–we have one gathering after church Christmas Eve and the big day with lots of guests on Christmas Day.

    I’ve got guests coming in tomorrow evening in addition to a couple of our girls who are going to spend a couple of nights here. Thank goodness for the camper–my guesthouse! The camper, the back bedroom and the couch will all be utilized to the maximum! I’ve planned my meals and tried to make them fit the needs of the guests while being fairly easy to prepare with lots of choices because we have a lot of people with special eating needs coming! I’m looking forward to it!

  27. I made scrunchies once a few years ago. Thank you for posting the link, as I could use some more. Though I’ve not done any mending recently, there are several things needing my attention after the holidays. I harvested kale from the garden, and made meals with our canned and frozen garden produce, as well as a stored winter squash. I enjoyed free live streaming of the Paul Winter solstice concert at St. John the Divine in NYC. I dyed fabric with onion skins, most of which was used in gifts I made. Laundry was hung on the line. We bought our live Christmas tree after it had been marked down 25%. Happy Holidays!

  28. Beautiful family photo. I love the splashes of red. It’s been quite a week of mishaps here. Some worse than others, but we are hanging tight.

    Today my daughter and I drove 1.5 hours for the first radiation appointment only to discover that it wasn’t today after all. I made a mistake; however the kind office staff gave us a 25.00 gas gift card and rescheduled the appointment to a day where I would have someone (my son) available and later in the day so we won’t have to get up at 5:45 am again. Thankful that there was not any inclement weather and gas was covered. My daughter is such a trooper! I also found a decent colored soft knit hat in their free basket. I’ve been looking for a couple months for just the right hat and found it today.

    The expired table yielded a ton of food this week. In addition to 4 sweet peppers, an apple, bagged carrot slaw (looks sad, but I will try to use it in a stir fry if still good), milk, rolls (I froze for Christmas dinner), and cookies; I brought home some boxed dinner prep meals. We tore them apart and have been very thankful with the chicken beasts and veggies. The spice mixes were different for us and we enjoyed them. A nice bit of variety.

    We are ready for Christmas and dinner. I just need to keep resting up so as to enjoy the festivities.

    Wishing each of you a blessed Christmas.

    1. Trish, I know how challenging this year has been for you and your family. I raise you and yours in prayer: for healing, recovery, energy, strength, hope and a continued faith. May 2020 bring you all of these.

      1. Patricia,

        Thank you! I add a special prayer for those who continue to lift me in prayer. I’m most concerned about the upcoming daily travel in winter for 4 weeks. I’ll keep praying for good weather and get up and just go everyday when radiation starts.

        Wishing you a blessed Christmas season. You prayer warriors are such a blessing and I am thankful for your continued dedication.


    2. Trish – I just finished chemo a few weeks ago and the “chemo brain” has me doing similar things all the time. Getting dates wrong or forgetting commitments is now my trademark. The mental lag has really thrown me. I used to be known as the person that never needed to write anything down. Never late for anything, never forgot an appointment or an important date. Now I’m sure somewhere in my medical record is a note saying “she’ll tell you she doesn’t need a reminder card and that she’ll remember but don’t listen to her, she’ll forget!”. I hope radiation passes quickly, with limited discomfort and easy roads.

      1. Stephanie,

        Instead of a reminder card (which I’m sure I’ll misplace!) I put appointments in my Google calendar right at the doctor’s office. This might help you.

  29. Brandy,
    What a nice picture of you and your family!
    I made a smoked turkey this week. My husband’s work gave him a 15 dollar coupon. So it cost us very little. We ate turkey and turkey sandwiches and turkey bean soup. Cooked eggs. Made avocado toast with avocados I got for 33 cents each.
    Used the library for movies and books and making copies. I’m going to get to spend more time with my grandkids during Christmas break. My parents have been visiting almost daily, helping with the house. It has been very nice.
    My 8 year old grandson decided he wants to help the homeless and will be spending Christmas eve doing just that! He decided it all on his own and his parents are very supportive. I’m so proud that he has such a caring heart. I get to help him along with his parents and most likely my husband.
    I’ve been looking up homeschool resources to enrich my grandchildren’s education. This weekend I want to teach them about Johny Appleseed. We borrowed books from the library about where apples come from as well as books about Johny Appleseed. I found a free lap book on the subject, They will have the opportunity to try seven different apples. I bought 1 apple each of seven varieties to share. There are a few I never tried as well! I’m considering planting apple seeds and see if they sprout. I want my grandchildren to know where their food comes from. My granddaughter is 5 and grandson 8. I love to teach them things!

    1. Thank you for teaching your grandkids where food comes from. I taught Sunday school and when I saw the kids throw away their snacks (why do there have to be snacks everywhere, like people cannot go 45 minutes without food!). I started talking about how farmers work to produce the food and then truckers bring it to stores…you get the picture. I was appalled that more than half the kids did not know potatoes grew in the ground and that they didn’t come out already in the form of French fries or Tater Tots. And that was not the only food they had no knowledge about. I ended up figuring out a way to link food and Bible studies, in the hopes of giving them a sense of appreciation for what goes into what they so thoughtlessly put in their mouths. My proudest/funniest moment came the last day, when the children (fourth grade) were leaving and this one boy came up, shook mm hand, and said solemnly, “Miss, I have thought about what you taught us this year. I think I am going to grow up to be a farmer, so I can make my own organic Tater Tots.” Anyway, I wish more people would follow your example about teaching their kids and grandkids where food comes from!

      1. Mable,
        Thank-you. I like your story! My grandson has planted gardens with us and enjoyed pulling carrots from the ground and eating tomatoes and basil and peppers, ecetera. But my granddaughter has asthma and has not had the opportunity to plant with us yet, ( it is getting under control though.) So when I asked her where food comes from she said, “A Factory.” I definitely wanted to remedy that! I told her some food gets processed in a factory, but it grows in the ground or comes from animals. That was this week. That is why I ran out and got books on Johny Appleseed and how apples are grown. One of the books talks about God and how Johny Appleseed was kinds to all God’s creatures and how God has a hand in growing things. I’m definitely reading that book to them. It also has absolutely beautiful pictures in it.
        Merry Christmas!

        1. Tammy: This made me remember a book we had when I was a child (some decades ago): “How God Gives Us Peanut Butter”.
          We lived in an agricultural small town and my parents gardened, so we weren’t too surprised. The story covers many steps from farming through processing.

        2. Tammy,
          What is the name of the Johnny Appleseed book that talks about God? I planted an apple tree last year and would like to read that book to my grandson.

          1. Diann,
            It is called Johnny Appleseed, poem by Reeve Lindbergh Pointings by Kathy Jakobsen. I read it to a 4 year old, two five year olds and an 8 year old. Honestly i thought it was a bit too wordy for some of the younger kids. Later I read another book called Johnny appleseed by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet illustrated by s.d. Schindler to my granddaughter and grandson. I realized that they did indeed listen to the first story, because of the questions they asked about the story. They second story is less wordy. But I love the pictures in the first book. I actually had a stack of books that I borrowed from several libraries. They really enjoyed tasting different apples.

  30. I love your family photo. Such a lovely family. We needed to get some new wiper blades from AutoZone and a few things from Tractor Supply. We went to Krogers and bought a gift card for each to get the fuel points. My husband also got a military discount at AutoZone.
    One of my best friends invited me to go with her and a group of her friends to Pigeon Forge Tennessee the first week of December. The cabin had been paid for and I shared a queen size bed with her. I paid for her gas down and back. We went to a Motown show at one of the theaters there and a Christmas show at another. My friend paid for my ticket to the Motown show and dinner as my Christmas gift. It was wonderful.
    We went to every thrift store we could find. We got some really good deals. The Christmas Light displays were magnificent. It was a once in a lifetime adventure for me.
    I saved 14 dollars at Krogers with manufacturers coupons and more with digital.
    Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and HAPPY New Year. Our daughter has a new house and loves to cook., so we are all going to her house today to do Christmas.. It is only 45 minutes away. Greetings from West Virginia

  31. Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you and your family. It has been a joy to watch them grow all of these years that the two of us have been blogging. It’s hard to believe that your daughter is in college. Time sure flies! Enjoy the holidays!

  32. I am really trying to use my instant pot. I made pinto beans for refried beans they were excellent! I froze some for the future. I also made a huge batch of spanish rice as well and froze some of it. I also took a variety of apples that were going soft and made a batch of applesauce. I’ll use part for dog food that we make and some for us. A friend showed up and brought some of the apples – red delicious that really needed to be used up.

    I went to our local Kroger (King Soopers) and bought a large prime rib roast for $4.77 a pound. We only get one a year so it was a big splurge but we will use every bite. I also bought a few things that were on oops prices and a big bag of potatoes.

    We are going to do a no spend January unless we use some of the store cards we accumulated this year – for cat food and litter. We have a couple of cards for restaurants that we can use if we really want to eat out.

    For the holidays we are going to cousin’s for an early Christmas Eve for family and then joining a life long family friend of my SOs for a small gathering. Christmas Day will be just the two of us. Watching movies and enjoying some appreciation of this special time.

    I went to T.J. Maxx to find a couple of final gifts. I found three of my favorite candles and bought them. They are normally very expensive so they were a big splurge but they do give me such joy. I’ll use paper and ribbon I’ve had for many years for wrapping.

    Love the picture of your family. All the best for everyone for the holidays!

  33. Brandi,
    What a delightful family picture. Thank you for providing this community where we can share, and “be.” So many here feel like friends.
    I wish for you and yours much grace, and many blessings.

  34. Happy Christmas Eve to all!
    We were able to bless a family in crisis with a few gifts including some scrunchies ? and shared ways we filled stockings at our house without much $ (cocoa packs, oranges etc.)
    Decided to buy handmade candy canes instead of bags and bags of candy.
    Made homemade apple streudel (my great grandmother’s recipe) for family treat.
    Tweaked plans to save cost and time of 3 hours of driving.
    Regifting item from work gift exchange to my brother whom I know would appreciate it more.
    Received an instant pot to try instead of buying my own.
    Lots of card games and quiet activities this weekend.
    Had Christmas cookies for a birthday treat instead of making an extra cake we didn’t need (or recipient wanted).
    Challenged my youngest to give the gift of time to his cousin.
    Have a blessed week!

  35. I love the family photo. Just wonderful.
    I cooked a couple turkeys to free up freezer room. Cut on the almost 20 lb prime rib roast hubby got, made 3 roast (one for Christmas eve) 4 steaks and 4 meals of shaved beef (Philly steak subs , pizza and stir fry), Canned broth , froze beef fat and did all the usually stuff. We talked about our financial goals for next year. Where we could cut the budget etc. Doing a no spend Jan with no exceptions after doing a no spend Dec with some exceptions. Having our Christmas dinner with Son 1 tonight, had dinner with son 2 last night. The girls and their families were not able to get together with us. Blended families can be over whelming at the holidays. Biggest savings was when I told Hubby I did not want the DVD ‘s of the first 5 seasons of the Great British bake off. He was going to buy it for my Christmas gift We have been watching it 3-4 times a week. Season 6 to 10 in on Netflix. I just could not justify spending the money even though I would love to have it . We will be having Paul Hollywood’s leftover Christmas pie (it’s a meat pie not sweet pie) I told him the best Christmas gift he gave me was the money that was transferred to the savings to pay next year’s health ins.

    Merry Christmas everyone

  36. What a beautiful picture of your family!
    I have been very stressed… it does help that I keep reminding myself of how grateful for what I do have.
    The ways I saved shopped at the .99 store for needs. My husband and I are not doing gifts since we can not afford it. My daughter is getting a shirt she wanted, earrings (that are still on its way- so I’ll print a picture & wrap it). Also, different gift cards for her that I have earned.
    I made our traditional prune bread. Made cookies and have played Christmas music to keep things lively!
    Put up all decorations that we have had.
    That’s all I can think of. Merry Christmas everyone!

  37. Merry Christmas Brandy!
    Thank you for sharing your life and your family with us each week. Your posts are a lovely bright spot in my week and many others too.
    Long distance wishes for a lovely holiday,

  38. Hello all, I’ve saved quite a bit this week. I dyed my own hair and trimmed the ends, I’m always nervous but it turned out great. I’m all sorted for Christmas now – I’m in the U.K. so it’s late afternoon on Christmas Eve when I’m writing this. The groceries were delivered yesterday and I took advantage of a few good deals that’ll set me up for the New Year. The Christmas cake is iced, Buche de Noel made, turkey had been prepped along with the veg and my eldest son who usually makes artisan bread on Christmas Eve has branched out and has made two flavours of biscotti, it’s very yummy!
    Just got to lay the table and finish the table floral arrangement and I’m done.
    We have a tradition of having pizza and ice cream in our pjs on Christmas Eve – started when our sons were small and we had a gift/candle shop and we were always exhausted after closing the store after the last minute Christmas rush. I love to keeping family traditions!
    Happy Christmas everyone and good wishes for a frugal 2020!

  39. Beautiful photo. Currently trying to dig out of the mess we made by not being frugal with paid off bill money and January will be tight, but I have food and a bed and a roof over my head so I am blessed. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  40. As all of the other commenters have said, what a lovely family photo!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made peppermint hot chocolate mix, using pantry ingredients (and leftover peppermint candies that I have no use for otherwise). (
    – I signed up for a free (one-time) caregiver and baby pilates class at my local library. You just had to bring your own yoga mat, which I already had.
    – I used loyalty points to get $60 worth of groceries for free. I’m hoping to be able to skip grocery shopping next week. I was able to stock up on cheese, and made sure to choose the 450 g cheeses, as both 400 g and 450 g packages were the same price.
    – I bought food using the flash food app, and for $11.25, got a ham steak, between 5 & 10 lbs of oranges, 2 lbs of brussel sprouts, a bag of avocados, a red onion, 5 white potatoes, 3 huge sweet potatoes, 3 apples, 4 kiwis, a mango, a persimmon, and a coconut. Definitely a good deal!
    – I made guacamole using the avocados and onion from the above inexpensive produce, and also used a lime from a previous flash food produce box. I served it with a spicy black bean bake and some tortilla chips for a quick and inexpensive dinner. If I had made my own tortilla chips from homemade tortillas, and boiled my own beans, it would have been even cheaper.
    – My sister came over to babysit, and I made dinner for her as a thank you, using the ham steak (I divided it into two, for my husband and her), brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes (which I turned into fries) from the flash food app food mentioned above.
    – My mum gave me a baggie of ketchup packets, collected from fast food orders. We’ll use them on homemade fries!
    – I made potato latkes, using potatoes, homegrown green onion, an egg, flour, and an onion. Very inexpensive, and we enjoyed them with the ketchup my mum gave me.
    – My mum gave me a make-your-own snow globe that she wasn’t going to use. I turned it into part of my husband’s Christmas present by using photos of his late mum holding our daughter. I know he’ll treasure it for years to come.
    – I used a promo code from the Walmart online photo centre, to get 3 large custom fridge magnets, which I will use as stocking stuffers for my husband, parents, and sister.
    – I wrapped gifts in saved gift bags and reused ribbons, and used nice wrapping paper that I had gotten on sale last Christmas for 50 cents.
    – My sister gave me a fidget spinner and another fidget toy that she no longer wanted. I’ll gift them to some kids I know.
    – Instead of signing up for a $25 parent & child cookie decorating workshop at a fellow mum’s suggestion, I hosted one at my home. I used supplies that I already had and only purchased about 50 cents worth of additional decorations. I hadn’t realized that I had run out of molasses until I actually baking the cookies, so just used brown sugar instead…turned out fine, if not perfect. I borrowed an extra cookie tray from my mum, along with an extra baby bib, to make sure the mess was as contained as possible. Lots of fun was had!
    – I had lots of gingerbread left over and served it at a yearly get-together I host for some friends. Cook once, serve treats twice works for me!
    – I met with a friend for coffee and used a Starbucks loyalty reward to pay.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded some digital currency for a brand-new pair of Christmas-themed animal print socks. The socks, along with a (bn) nail polish (also traded for) and a packet of tea, became a Christmas gift which I sent to a friend. I packaged it in a bubble mailer (traded for too). An inexpensive gift: now my friend can sit and drink a cup of tea while wearing fuzzy sock, reading a letter from me, and doing her nails.
    – I made white chocolate candy cane bark ( using white chocolate that I had purchased on sale, red and green chocolate leftover from last Christmas, and candy canes gifted to me last Christmas (I don’t actually like candy canes, so every year I save any that I receive and turn them into this candy cane bark the next year). It’s super easy to make and always a hit!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, and Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it!

  41. That’s a lovely photo of your family! Thank you for sharing it with us. And Merry Christmas!
    I was able to prepare graham cracker toffee and fruit cobbler with items I had on hand for a family Christmas party. My mother paid to have it catered and we were able to bring home leftover pork, brisket, potatoes, rolls and butter and we have been eating through them. The ham I bought earlier this fall will be used as part of Christmas dinner.
    I made batches of granola for gifts for family and neighbors. I did have to buy some extra nuts and coconut, but had everything else on hand. I’ve used wrapping that I had on hand for gifts.
    People have been very generous to us with simple gifts, mostly yummy food for the season. My diet hasn’t been as healthy as usual, but I’ve enjoyed having biscotti, fudge, and cookies on hand!
    I sold a piece of my art today out of the blue. A woman who likes my work called to see if a certain piece was available. It was, and she picked it up and I made an unanticipated $250.
    May you all feel the peace and tenderness of the Christmas season!

    1. Will you please share your graham toffee recipe. I have tried making it several times using a couple of slightly recipes but mine never turns out right. Usually mine is too grainy sugary and not very toffee like. Thank you so much. Penny S.

  42. Merry Christmas to everyone!! May your holiday be one of love!! Brandy, your family picture is lovely!

    We shared a small, quiet dinner with some of the Italian traditions my husband enjoyed growing up. Not quite the Feast of 7 Fishes but a few. It was a day of memoires and stories, we will attend Mass tomorrow morning. I will serve as Sacristan, my husband will be a Reader. We will have a large brunch my adult stepson will make. He enjoys cooking with many years of short order cooking so again, sharing memories and breaking bread. Phone calls to far away family will be made, about a 8 lb piece of lamb will go into the smoker, an white and sweet potatoes will be roasted with carrots and celery and maybe a few small side dishes will make up a big dinner about 5 pm. Today, we used gas points to fill the tank. We wound up paying $2.27 a gallon instead of the $2.77 a gallon. We gave my stepson woodworking router tools during the Black Friday sales and he’s repaired and refinished a mid century kitchen clock with a very large dial and numbers and helped hang it today. He’s also working on a combination work/butcher block cutting board which will be used often. We stayed away from the stores this week, except for groceries. We were very judicious with online sales and wound up passing or deciding to wait on all offers. We heard hard news from two different sides of the family of a cancer diagnosis and the need of another for a lung biopsy. When loved ones are ill, our priority list becomes short and we are reminded in a very powerful way how few material things we really need.

    I am grateful for your work Brandy, you have helped keep the temptations of trying to do too much at bay this holiday season and I have enjoyed the holiday preparations rather than stressed thru them. Everyone who contributes your tips, successes, lessons “don’t try this “, thank you!! I will be remembering all you and your families during Mass tomorrow.

  43. Merry Christmas Brandy! I can’t believe how big the children are now. I’m glad that Winter was able to come home for Christmas. How nice for all of you.

  44. Brandy you did so well for the week and the digital coupons were fabulous for all of those groceries and you clothing repairs would save a fortune over paying someone to do them for you :). You son is so thoughtful for picking up some lovely presents for his sister for Christmas.

    Hoping you and your family have a wonderful, joyful and blessing filled Christmas :).

    Our savings added up to $58.55 in savings last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from from scratch. We have cooked up a few roasts and sliced them and divided them into meal sized portions for the freezer for cold dinners with homemade pasta salads/cherry tomatoes from the gardens as it is too hot to cook here.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked cherry tomatoes and turnips from the gardens.

    Finances –
    – Banked more into our 3 month living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 64.6 % of the way there.
    – We have decided since DH was diagnosed with a 6mm brain aneurysm that we will put in air conditioning in the home after Christmas as it is so hot here. Likely he will go into have it operated on (a family history of brain hemorrhages in mid 50’s) in the early New Year and he most likely will be out of action for some weeks and a cooler home will help him with his recovery I think. We will have some money left but shall start in earnest to save to reach our target after the New Year.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased a 11 litre convection oven to do smaller roasts etc without turning on the larger oven. This will use far less electricity.
    – Purchased and Wish e-gift card for fuel and groceries from RACQ saving 5% or $9.96.
    – Found lots of bread rolls on markdown prices saving $5.59 on usual prices.
    – Got a 1kg packet of bacon rashers for free for being a supermarket taste tester saving $9 on usual prices.
    – Purchased 4 x marinated beef roasts on special for $10 kg saving $22 on usual prices.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a frugal week ahead :).


      1. Thank you Trish we appreciate any prayers we can get 🙂 .

        Fortunately the aneurysm is stable as in the walls are thick and not going to immediately rupture but it is located near a major artery in his brain which is a bit tricky for operating on and DH has other health issues as well. As an ex nurse I would be honest in saying that I am worried about the outcome.

        Thank you again for your prayers :).

        Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Lorna,

      Is it possible for the neurosurgeons to use the coil technology to fix his aneurysm? Blessings and prayers for you at Christmas. Ann

  45. On Christmas Eve, I was just about ready to go to the service at church. For once, I did not have the flu at Christmas. My hot water tank sprang a leak. I could not shut off the water or the gas (one NEVER shuts off the cold water into the tank without shutting off the gas first). I have a wonderful (LDS) plumber who made a quick trip over on Christmas Eve to shut them off. I won’t have hot water for a few days and missed church but went to the Christmas Day turkey dinner at church.

    I did not have flooding as I had a drip pan under the heater which was connected to a pvc pipe that led to the floor drain. It will cost about $1,000 for a new tank.

  46. Anne, There is a SHARP govt grant to replace your water heater for low income seniors in Alberta who qualify-I sure hope you do. Blessings.

  47. Beautiful Family Photo, Brandy!

    I have been a long time reader and I have commented here and there, but this upcoming year I would like to comment each week. I am so appreciative of this community you have built and I enjoy reading and learning from all of the other ladies.

    This week’s accomplishments:
    -The biggest one is finding premade pie crusts that are normally $2.99/package on sale for .75/package. I purchased the last 5 they had!
    -This year we took a trip as the big part of our children’s Christmas gift as they are all teens. I purchased each child clothing items they needed on sale throughout the year and wrapped them for under the tree for Christmas morning.
    – I purchased 2 boneless hams a few weeks ago for 1.99 per pound and cooked one today. I will dice whatever is left and freeze to use in casseroles. Our favorite is hashbrown, cheese, ham, and egg breakfast casserole.

    That is all I can think of for right now. I am going to try and write things down so I can share them here.

    Sarah L.

  48. Lovely picture of you and yours, Brandy! Will Winter be going to school again after Christmas? Is she planning to take a semester’s break each year or go straight through until she is finished? We passed through her college town a few days ago on our way to our son’s.

    I am on Day 15 of this miserable, rotten cold/bronchitis, if you can believe it. On the good side, I am not having any depression AT ALL and this has been going for 3-1/2 weeks so far. I need to see a doc about adjusting my meds. I have not felt this good in years…many years. Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.

    It is hard to save much Christmas week, especially if you are on the road–
    (1) We left on our trip a day later because of illness and pushed through in a day, thus saving motel costs for one night. I also brought all of our food from home.
    (2) My daughter-in-law is from Michigan and her family always sends Michigan-themed gifts. This year she received a beautiful Michigan sweater with hood that was too big for her–and fits me perfectly. You can’t return a Michigan shirt in Idaho, so it’s mine!

    My son’s boss–who also introduced my son and DIL–had us over for Christmas Eve. They invited several other couples who don’t have children and no relatives in the area. The boss’ dad was visiting from Colorado and, he too, was a Portland kid. We each grew up in two houses about a mile or so from each other, and we had a great time regaling each other with stories from Portland in the ’50s. Also, the University of Oregon is in the Rose Bowl–go Ducks!

    Hope all of you had a Merry Christmas, with a great 2020 ahead. Praying for all of you with illnesses.

    PS My friend Heather called to thank me for the 96 box of Crayolas! She has been coloring Christmas pictures and has forbidden anyone else in the family from getting into her crayons! Thanks for the idea–it was a definite hit!

  49. Good for her! After learning about “opportunity cost” in macro economics, I really understood the value of getting through school ASAP. Of course, I started college in 1964 and graduated 26 years later and I have a very clear picture of how much opportunity I lost because I didn’t put my pedal to the metal to begin with!

  50. Brandy, thank you so much for your website. I enjoy looking at the beautiful pictures and reading your posts and the posts of the folks who read your website. I know you are very busy and appreciate the time you put into your site.

    I just wanted to mention that Chicago has a nice classical radio station. They have free live streaming at They also run a program every Monday through Friday at 7pm central time called “Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin”. Bill will talk about different songs and it is very interesting. Bills program is primarily educational and he breaks down either the history of the song or explains technical components of the music.

  51. Merry Christmas-A beautiful family photo to be cherished.
    Out Christmas involved traveling, by car, to our grown children’s homes. There were wonderful winter weather conditions here in the midwest-great blessing. The trip combines a baby shower, friend’s party, Christmas celebrations with our children and grands and finally another Christmas gathering with my husbands siblings. We arrived back home feeling thankful and filled with holiday joy.
    This Christmas break we have:
    -Maximized the savings on meat that our local grocery store has on sale. I did some stocking up and shrinking wrapping to preserve.
    -Prepurchased gift cards for groceries at our store and got an additional 10% discount. We shop on senior citizen day so we will save a grand total of 15% and if we use this to purchase loss leaders it will be even more benefical.
    -I ordered a shower curtain rod from Amazon that needed to be returned. I save a 60 mile round trip by having Amazon pick up from our home at no cost. I tried returning to a local Kohls however, it wan’t an option.
    -Picked up 3 cute Christmas plates for a minimal amount at local thrift store. I will use these next year as gifts for my sisters.
    -I saved $11 on gas with a .74/per gallon discount. It expires tomorrow so combined trips and filled up today.
    -An ice storm rolled thru so we scrapped a good 2″ layer off our driveway. We used a minimal amount of pavement salt and lots of elbow great-we needs an expensive gym membership.
    -Invited to a holiday social outing but was cancelled due to poor weather-save $30 by not attending.
    -DH and I exchanged Christmas gifts however, only wrapped one. This saved us time and wrapping supplies.
    -Renewed a CD that came due-very important as the rates revert back to a current MUCH lower amount.
    -Economized face wash and hair conditioner-stretching the bottles and content. The bottle pumps had a good 1/2 in space under the pump.
    -Prepaid upcoming dental procedure and save 5% however, the bill was large so we had to adjust our finances this month.
    -Hope to fix the zipper on one of my grands winter coats. I have the supplies and can wateh YouTube to be reminded of the process.
    -No new holiday clothes purchases. I used what I had, added a scarf and sparkly jewlery. It was good to use what I have.
    Winter storm on it’s way with 7-10″ of snow arriving tomorrow. Will make a list of chores/projects for tomorrow so we stay focused and don’t waste the day.
    Stay frugal everyone.

  52. For your US readers.

    2020 National Park Free Entrance Days:
    January 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
    April 18: First day of National Park Week (a week long event held at parks across the country)
    August 25: National Park Service Birthday
    September 26: National Public Lands Day
    November 11: Veterans Day

  53. Canada Safeway had a buy-one and get-one free special on certain items like margarine and pasta sauce. Also, they had a special on apples, oranges for about $1.00 per pound. (two 3 pound bags for $6.00). They had a special on Schneider’s pot pies. And bananas at half price (I will peel the bananas, put them in baggies and then not defrost them but eat them frozen as if they were ice cream). I saved a lot but even so it is emphasized to me how much food has gone up and is still going to go up. If it weren’t against the bylaw, I would have chickens but I have coyotes so the birds probably wouldn’t survive.

    My new replacement parts for the yogourt machine came today so I will start making yogourt (probably with bananas!) again. I probably won’t need to go to a store for a month.

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