I signed up for We Link Internet. Over a year ago, a salesman had come to our door to offer us $1 a month internet with WeLink, a radio-based internet that is faster than cable. The company ended up pausing in our area after we had a signed contract, but they came back, and I signed up again. Our cable internet-only plan (on one of the slowest speeds) had gone up to $90 a month, so this is a huge savings for us.

I threw a baby shower for a friend. I used things I had on hand to decorate and serve, most of which had been purchased at garage sales. I cut flowers from the garden for the table, arranging them with a flower frog inside a garage sale vase.

I made lemonade and hibiscus tea using lemons and dried hibiscus from my garden. I served salad with lettuce from my garden and homemade balsamic vinaigrette. I made homemade French bread and Tuscan Tomato Bread soup.

I baked eggless chocolate cupcakes.

I made press cookies using my grandmother’s cookie press (similar here) and some sprinkles that I had been given. I used a large piping tip as a funnel to keep the sprinkles in the center.

I made white chocolate flowers and frogs using candy molds I already had.

I used bowls and silverware that I already had. I only had to buy plastic cups. I have decided to look for some inexpensive, pretty cups that I can use and reuse for parties in the future.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Lowe’s gift card (discounted) and a $50 Lowe’s Gift card.

My friend gifted me a begonia, which I put in a container that I already had (one that my mom found previously at a garage sale).

I said yes to 20 pounds of lentils and 20 pounds of yellow split peas from someone. I tried a new to me recipe, Chana dal, using the yellow split peas which I will definitely make again in the future.

I harvested cilantro and mint from the garden. I picked lettuce from the garden to make a salad for a family party.

I harvested rose petals from my garden and dried them. I have recently seen several recipes that use dried rose petals on top. I know rose petals are edible (I have made rose petal jam in the past) and I want to try some new recipes this year.

I picked up three baby fruit trees from a friend who started them for me last fall from cuttings: one Shangri-La mulberry tree and two White Marseilles fig trees. I planted the mulberry in the ground. My friend says he harvests eight cups of mulberries a day from his tree every day for a month in April. This is a huge amount of fruit! This tiny cutting should start producing for me in three years, as mulberries grow very quickly. Having a fruit tree that ripens in April will help me to have more food in April from the garden. As prices of groceries continue to rise at substantial rates, I want to harvest as much as I can, year-round, from my own garden.

I will plant the figs in pots that I got on clearance last year. I was only expecting one tree, but he started several cuttings for me just in case, and ended up with two trees for me. I had two pots available for planting, so I just have to decide where these are going to go in the garden. These figs produce two crops a year.

I made pumpkin chocolate chip bread using wheat I ground myself and pumpkin that I grew in my own garden.

I attended a free concert by the Henderson Symphony with a friend. My friend and I have been taking turns driving to free events together, so that the burden of gas isn’t on just one person. We both needed milk, so we stopped at the store on the way back and only bought milk (no extra spending!)

What did you do to save money the last two weeks?

Thank you for your support of my site!

Visit My Amazon Storefront Here for all my recommendations

Similar Posts


  1. Gas increased to 161.9 per litre yesterday so we filled up the day before. Best deals this week were a punnet of grape tomatoes and a mango for $1.50 on Flash food and free farm eggs from my nephew. Despite a very snowy March our area is still in drought and water rationing is predicted for May 1. The govt has decided to give seniors a 25% discount on registry services such as renewing drivers licenses etc-every little bit counts.
    Brandy I found myself wondering if you all did a trial and switched from showers to baths and used the water for flushing whether you would save on the water bill and perhaps also on the fines-that would be wonderful. Wishing everyone a frugal and blessed week!

    1. We have been taking really short showers lately. Baths would use more water, I think.

      1. Baths generally use more water if you fill up the tub. I can take a shower and wash my hair in 5 or 6 minutes. Filling up the tub takes 11 minutes. I have not mastered washing my hair in the tub so that costs an extra minute or two of water. YMMV, of course.

        1. Growing up, our bathroom only had a tub. I remember as a teenager contorting myself to get my head under the tub faucet, and also keeping a plastic cup in the bath for rinsing hair. Hair washing in a shower is definitely *far* easier! LOL!

        2. But if you save the bath water to use for flushing I believe you would be better off as you could use the water twice.

  2. Great use of things you already had at home for parties and meals!!!

    I have peas, spinach, radishes and beets planted. And have started tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and marigold seeds started.
    I planted 2 rosemary plants in the garden and have chives going strong!

    Later today, I will be making washing soda to use as dishwasher detergent. I went to shop for some yesterday and the store I went to didn’t have any, so decided to use the baking soda I already have at home and turn it into washing soda.

    Have planted more strawberry and blueberry bushes in the back yard. And waiting for my bay laurel to arrive to have bay leaves available in the future.

  3. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your baby shower party looks so stylish and delicious. You are inspiring me to look out for blue and white china to use for flowers etc. Glad you made such a good saving on the internet provider.
    We went on holiday for a few days to Cheshire. The owner of the farm cottage Airbnb we were hiring contacted me to say there had been a mix up and did we and our friends mind a free upgrade to a bigger and better cottage. We didn’t mind at all! We visited Chester and used the park and ride to save substantially on city car park charges. All the attractions we chose to visit were free ( largest Roman amphitheatre in the UK) etc and we spent several days visiting National Trust houses and gardens which were free because we pay a membership. We easily get more value than we pay in membership fees. Each couple took a home cooked meal ready to heat up and plenty of food to eat at the cottage. We took small bottles of shampoo, shower gel etc which we have saved from hotel visits.
    Before we left home I chopped and froze vegetables which wouldn’t last until our return.
    I have batch cooked Bolognese sauce and frozen portions.
    We hosted Easter Sunday lunch and bought a turkey from the farmer who supplies our Christmas turkey. He had a smaller bird in his freezer and we paid £20 which was a bargain! We cooked our own parsnips and carrots from the garden and I cooked a Christmas pudding from the batch I made last year. For tea I baked a chocolate cake with larder ingredients and decorated with mini eggs I bought on a deal. The leftover stuffing which didn’t get cooked I rolled into balls and froze for future meals. I decorated with tulips from the cutting garden and camellias.
    I mended a pair of leggings.
    I sold two more items on Vinted.
    We planted out peas and beans and have sown more.
    I used a ten per cent off voucher in Lidl.
    A friend and I have swapped several books.
    I found a cook book I wanted, it’s newly published at £16 but a new copy turned up in the charity shop for £4. It’s a one tray cook book which will save time, electricity and my energy. Our electricity use dropped significantly last month due to boiling the kettle and cooking on the kitchen range, not using electricity.
    We have been deluged with rain and are trying to keep spirits up by doing things at home.
    Stay safe everyone.

  4. I am so impress with your thoughtful use of ordinary items to create an extraordinarily beautiful event.
    Here is my list of frugal intentionalities:

    1. To save water, I have been using my electric kettle to give me a quick batch of hot water to clean greasy frying pans, etc. . . that can’t go in the dishwater. This means I don’t have to run the water until it gets hot. In the same line, I take baths which heats the first cold water after the hot water kicks in. No waste.

    2. I have learned how to use my budgeting software ( everydollar) to plan months ahead in “funds.” Perfectionistic and timid me avoided figuring this out because it is hard thinking that doesn’t come naturally. So I have designated all predicted income ( from my very stable government job) into big pots of future bills in future months.. This gives me a reason to keep weekly expenses very low. Before, I would see my bank statement and think “Why only try to keep to $20 in food this week when I have a great bank balance.” Now I just look at my $20 remaining in my Food Budget and say “All the other money has been dedicated, get smart and creative. This will be fun.” In the few months I have been doing this, I have already prepaid the mortgage to the end of the year, nearly accumulated the $9300 HSA deductible that doesn’t have to go in until Dec. and will soon start saving for the big January family vacation. All the while, I am taking the $15 in cash I found in a drawer yesterday and trying to make it work until Sunday. I have a few good ideas.

    3. I used a Poshmark credit for selling items unworn luxury items to buy an unopened pack of 7 underwear. I finally threw away the ancient thread bare underwear that no longer served me. I feel better about myself with no out of pocket expense. Small victories.

    4. I enrolled in the library system where our cabin is. The new system has access to Kanopy. The librarian gave me some attitude because the address did not match my license. I presented an electrical bill. I pay taxes just like everyone who is a primary resident. I refused to be intimidated.

    5. I have started collecting the best of the curriculum I have created in 35 years teaching. I am going to try and publish through “teachers pay teachers” This will provide the teaching world with excellent material, but also can earn a little easy passive income. All else is being purged.. I have a designated paper box that will fit the only things I am bringing home on my last day of school. I will ruthlessly edit before that by donating, recycling and selling anything else I can.

    1. Good for that librarian to ensure you were able to provide the paperwork to ensure proof that you live at the address stated before receiving a library card for that county. I’d not consider it attitude when my librarian asked for proof. It’s their job.

      Love the HSA accounts…double tax benefits! We committed as much as we were allowed into our HSAs each year, compiling a good amount before retiring.

      1. Library Lover,

        I totally agree with the librarian checking my electric bill. That is why I brought it. My sister uses my county to get Kindle books even though she is now on the East Coast. I disagree with the little lecture the librarian gave me afterwards about being irresponsible with the taxpayers money and fraud. Maybe she thought I was my sister 🙂

      2. So agreed. As a librarian we are stewards of our library offerings. It is very reasonable that you present appropriate documentation. I am glad it all worked out.

      3. I worked for a county library for five years. Within our county were two very wealthy areas – Bill Gates neighborhood – Hunts Point and Yarrow Bay. For years they have refused to pay taxes for our library system. I heard that their reasoning was that they didn’t need to go to the library as they could afford to buy any books they wanted to read.
        So everyone that worked for the library system needed to memorize or be able to look up the boundary streets. And wouldn’t you know – these people were always trying to get library cards by thinking the librarians wouldn’t notice where they lived! And people would often get quite angry when you caught them at it. I would say it was surprising but really it wasn’t.

    2. Why is it so hard to throw away tattered underpants? Is it because we are not wearing them on the outside, where people can see them? I, too, finally bought some new ones this week but I keep thinking the old ones trying to slide down my legs could last a little longer! If I have a car wreck wearing these old ones, my grandmother’s words about having clean and nice underpants on in case of an accident will haunt me.

    3. Great job on the budgeting!! When you get your “teachers pay teachers” account up and going please let me know what it is. I homeschool and I am always looking for great resources to use.

    4. My hot water heater is turned down and I want hotter water to wash dishes, so I heat a bowl of water in the microwave. This saves running water until it is hot and I think I use less electricity to heat the water.

    5. I love your attitude Mary Ann. My dear late step dad frequently used to say “I refuse to be intimidated!”. He also used to say “Nil carborundum…” too, which can be loosely translated into “Don’t let the … grind you down” LOL.

  5. What a gorgeous flower arrangement in the first photo! Lucky mama to have such a beautiful and thoughtful shower thrown for her – wishing her all the best.
    I filled my two at home kids’ easter baskets with some needed clothing bought on sale [dresses for $7-9, t shirts for $2 ea] which was appreciated!
    Made cookies with a clearanced box mix [cheaper than ingredients to make from scratch LOL] to everyone’s delight.
    Dared to try a whole side of salmon which was cheaper per pound even at aldi :). It made Easter dinner plus last night’s dinner as well! It was so easy I will do this anytime I’m planning on salmon.
    I’ve pulled out Dahlia bulbs I saved last fall to replant this weekend – this was a new skill for me!
    I fixed a necklace I bought second hand – I needed to get out my pliers and my ‘craft’ glasses [higher than my readers LOL] to do it

  6. You always do the most elegant entertaining- no one would ever imagine that it was done on a shoestring budget! ❤️❤️
    I finished quilting last week’s scrappy quilt I made- https://pin.it/4UvfXcc3E and https://pin.it/4xkhbZ0Vk. Then I quilted this growth chart up for a client- https://pin.it/3noVciL29. Because it was 13-1/2” x 48” so I was able to use a batting remnant with it to save her a few dollars. Then I began the next Use it Up scrappy quilt. It’s the 4th one for March using only my scraps- https://pin.it/2DZRP5f6A and https://pin.it/6LYuapiQZ. I made Frankenbattingfor it. I have the backing ($1.99 polar fleece blanket from Goodwill that I’ve had in my stash for a few years). A friend of mine saw it completed and insisted on buying it! That was a nice surprise since I have been making these with 2 purposes- to destash and to have quilts available for immediate gifts or donations! And here’s #5 for March- https://pin.it/2dYg6qJeZ, ready to bind! In all, in 2024, I have made 7

    To make space in my freezer, I took out a package of homemade precooked meatballs. I brought up a jar of Prego spaghetti sauce from basement, some Flashfood sliced provolone cheese and cut up baguettes that we were given. Voila!! Meatball subs!! Tasty meals! The boneless hams I got from Flashfood ($5 for 9 pounds) and froze also came out to defrost for family Easter dinner and also to donate for the Easter dinner at Church (for anyone who would be celebrating Easter alone). So more freezer space being made as well as rotating and using what we already have! I cook them up with a delicious glaze, (4-1/2 to 5 pounds at a time) using my 6 quart IP using the following recipe- https://www.homemadeinterest.com/instant-pot-ham/. It is amazing! Just 10 minutes of pressure!

    I found a recipe video for a Texas cornbread main dish that mixed everything together in one bowl. https://www.facebook.com/100077153053451/videos/416669734140812/. I used 2 jars of my DIY jiffy cornbread mix, a home-canned jar of Rotel, free can of corn, my DIY taco seasoning mix and precooked ground beef that I make and freeze! Total pantry/freezer/food storage meal. It was very good! We had 2 meals at home with it and froze the leftovers.

    I had some stew beef as well as some bottom round steak that I cut into chunks from Flashfood ($2/ pound) and got 6 more pints of pressure canned beef chunks on my pantry shelf. To make a more efficient use of energy while pressure canning, I also canned 4 pints of black beans to bring my inventory on the shelf back up to 12. Since both kinds of pints take the same amount of time (75minutes), I often will combine jars to get more done in one batch. I also had noticed last time I canned that water was dripping from the perimeter edges of the lid. I’ve had my pressure canner and used it regularly for over 12 years! So I went ahead and bought a 2 pack of new gaskets for the lid. Cost about $15, replaced it in about 2 minutes or less and what a difference it makes! No dripping water and the lid fastens on much more snuggly than before! Good reminder to me to maintain those tools I use regularly to extend their lives!!

    I took 5 pounds of Flashfood chicken breast ($1.74/pound) and some thawed out frozen peppers/onions and pressure canned 9 pints of chicken fajita/taco mix for a fast grab and go dinner starter. It seems like when I have chicken or beef, I don’t have peppers or onions ready and this combines them to save me time and money and conserves my freezer space by having shelf stable ingredients!

    And to any of you in Northern CA (San Francisco Bay Area, SJ, Carmel by the Sea, etc) Flashfood has now started at your local Lucky’s grocery chain! Hope any of you out that way will find the crazy good deals that I have (Things are always marked at least 50% off regular store price). If you spend $10 the first time and use my referral code- PATL39NGR, you will get $5 off and I will also. But, even if you don’t do the referral, no worries! Check it out because hopefully it will be a way you can get produce, meat, deli, bakery and even shelf stable goods for building your food storage! Personally, I’m going to watch this week to see if they will have their great boneless ham deals now that Easter is over!

    I got my youngest son’s taxes prepared and filed. I also got ours prepared and filed today. I’ve never been this late doing them! 😳 Good news is that we only owe $196 to Fed and nothing to State!

    My peach, nectarine and apricot trees are filled with blossoms that I hope will not be knocked off with bad weather ! We will have an awesome harvest (fingers crossed)!

    JulsOwings- since you and I are both in Ohio, you had asked me in the comments last week if I could reduce my property taxes in the way that you can in your county. I didn’t see it soon enough to reply, so here it is: we currently get the owner-occupied property reduction as well as the Homestead exemption (for older or disabled owners which is income based) . Unfortunately, in Franklin County, the Homestead credit is a set amount- it doesn’t count the first $25K of house assessed value. So it takes a flat $405 of our tax bill. That does not increase as our property valuation goes up! Great when our taxes were just over $1200/year but a drop in the bucket when our valuation triples and our taxes are around $4400/year!

    We gave extra eggs to 5 different families this week since our chickens are producing about 4 dozen eggs a week now. We still had plenty of eggs for ourselves. 3 families with 2 children each got a dozen eggs, family with 6 kids got 1-1/2 dozen and a single senior lady got a carton of 1/2 dozen eggs! They all seemed quite pleased ! Such a good feeling to be able to share.

    Going to be a busy week but trying to stay watchful on spending!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Thank you so much for the recipe using Jiffy corn bread mix. Someone gave me several boxes and I was wondering how to use them, and the recipe uses other things I have in my pantry, so I am set to make it this week!

    2. Would you be willing to share your recipe for copycat Jiffy cornbread mix. I’m aware that I could just use my cornbread “fixins” before adding liquid but I suspect the quantity would be different. Thanks. Mary Anne

  7. The grocery store three doors down from me closed up for good on Sunday. I made my first trip to the other store in town last week, the plan being to shop twice a month there. The store is bigger than the store I had been shopping in, and it is too far for me to walk to. I have been worried about getting rides over there, and being unable to physically do the shop. I didn’t have any trouble, though, and I found someone to give me a ride who doesn’t mind waiting for me. We’ll see how that goes. Everyone has their own quirks. (The taxi driver will sometimes fit in another ride while she’s waiting, or becomes impatient if she has to wait.) I’ve added $40 a month to my transportation budget. I am not clear on how the grocery prices compare, and I am also switching to eating less saturated fat. I was able to get everything I needed, though, which is the important thing. The costs will become clear over a month or two of shopping.

    On Thursday, the manager of the old store let people know they were selling things at clearance prices. Frozen food and dairy products were sold at 50% off, so I was able to get some frozen fish, BBQ chicken, smoked salmon, and a few other things. I had 5250 points on my loyalty card, but needed 7000 to get a $10 gift card. I asked the manager about it, who said he couldn’t do anything for me. I waited a minute, looking a little disappointed, and he offered to top the card up to 7000 points if I would come back the next day. So that’s what we did, and I was able to get $10 off the discounted prices.

    I have a little more cash than usual this month. The electricity bill and village utilities bill, which includes heating, had gone down $60 from the previous month as winter wraps up. We also get a flat amount in quarterly tax rebates for a GST sales tax and a carbon tax. I am saving for some work on the house in May or June, so this is a help.

    Easter weekend is sometimes a little sad when I’m on my own. I did have a plan to look into helping out a couple who I know have been having a tough time lately and one person who has a project she’d like some support with. I researched both, was happy to help the first couple, and found a ongoing way to do that. It became clear as I looked into it that the other project wasn’t right for me. Doing something about someone else’s situation snapped me out of my doldrums. We had unpleasant weather on Good Friday, but by Sunday there was a glorious blue sky. I walked each day, though Sunday was definitely more enjoyable.

    Brandy, your preparations for the shower were lovely, as always. I enjoyed seeing what you came up with to serve.

  8. I am looking at ways to increase my earning, as well as continuing to save. I signed up for Coursera for free through my library and am taking a certificate class that I intend to tutor on the topic. This month I have also sold a good number of things that I picked up for free. This isn’t as steady earning as I would like, which is why I’m preparing to tutor as well. Re-selling is a fun hobby for me but I don’t intend to make it more than that. One super easy little side stream of income is Pinecone surveys and they are looking for more participants. My referral link is https://join.pineconeresearch.com/#/signup/?CampaignId=2128&LANG=9&SID=2869272
    I have a mulberry cutting that has put out leaves, as well as 3 fig cuttings. I already have one fig tree and could use one more, so I may sell the other 2 starts when they get bigger. We continue to have plenty of rain and no need to supplement water, and our 1000 gallons of water storage is full. This is a good savings for us.
    I have inventoried our freezers and am working on eating them down in preparation for turning off the garage chest freezer. I have 2 gallons of chopped purple carrots that will take some getting through. I’m not super fond of cooked carrots but they were given to me for free and healthy free food is always accepted and eaten.
    I have sewn a number of things recently, from free or thrifted fabric, or remade curtains. I have saved thousands over the years doing this sort of sewing, as well as all the mending.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Kara, there are recipes for marinated carrots that start with cooked carrots. They are served cold and keep a long while in the fridge due to the sugar and vinegar added. You may want to try some of those to help make your way through all those carrots! Our family loves them in the summer and they’ve been a family favorite for decades. It’s made carrot eaters out of many family members! We just had some for Easter dinner.

    2. Hi Kara,
      I’m with you on cooked carrots not being my favorite. 🙂 Thought I might suggest a few uses, if I may. Chopped finely, the carrots may be “hidden” in a chunky red pasta sauce; they also sweeten the sauce in a nice way. Secondly, I like to cook big chunks of different veggies (always including some onion or onion family member and garlic for flavor) in maybe an inch of water on low with the lid on. When tender, I blend the whole thing with an immersion blender (or it could be transferred to a regular blender when cool enough) with some butter, salt, and a few tablespoons of milk or half and half until smooth. This soup makes a nice light lunch or easy dinner paired with a sandwich or salad. Purple carrots may give you a funny color, especially when paired with greens of any kind, but it should still taste really good. Thanks for the inspiration to “use it up”!
      Best Regards,

    3. Roasted carrots are delicious! I don’t like boiled carrots (though I will eat them) but roasted I could eat quite often.
      Thaw, pat dry with a towel, toss with a tablespoon or two of olive (or whatever) oil, season as you like and roast in thin layer in a pan at 375-400F for about 15 min or so.
      You can wrap them in foil and grill the same way.
      They may turn orange as you cook them – that happened with purple beans (they turned green as they cooked) – I’ve never tried purple carrots, so I can’t say.

    4. Kara I have started cooking carrots in water and then using the immersion blender to puree them. I then use the carrot puree plus chicken broth to make “golden” chicken noodle soup. Most of my children haven’t even noticed a difference. Always trying to get added nutrients into my picky eaters’ diets.

    5. Kara,

      I once bought a 10 pound bag of carrots. I made apple carrot smoothies which are delicious in summer and very healthy.

  9. *My husband found me a barrel stove made for evaporating maple sap for only $40. It just needs some fire bricks and I’ve got a year to find some free ones.
    *I’ve accepted lots of compost from my neighbor for the garden. I keep her supplied with as many eggs as she needs. She also sends treats over for our rescued bunny all the time too.
    *I rebuilt my strawberry beds with some aluminum pieces from a pop up trailer I demolished. I still have soooo many berry plants that I may put them in front in between shrubs and perennials as ground cover.
    *I took more cuttings from my blackberry canes to hopefully get more plants going. I also took cuttings from my overwintered geraniums as well.
    *I down another leaning tree in the back yard and cut the pieces up for firewood to make the maple syrup next year.
    *I accepted several toys for my grandson – a tool bench and “cozy coupe” car for his house and a play kitchen and small trike and rocking horse for ours.
    *I made play hot pads and towels for both my play kitchen and my grandson’s at his house from fabric scraps and binding I already had. I made more felt food and used labels cut from canned veggies that I taped on some plastic bottles I re-purposed for play.
    *I took advantage of a 15% off coupon for seeds I couldn’t find in stores.
    *I refinished a cabinet using paints I mixed together till I got the color I wanted and some scrap plywood lumber.
    *We sold some things and used the money to stock up on popcorn and sugar.
    *I started making gluten free muffins and breads again for cost savings and help myself feel better.
    *I make sure to start new batches of sprouted lentils for my hens every 3 days and I dug out my old cast iron grinder to grind up old ear corn and dog food we were given for them as well.
    *frugal fail – we didn’t check ticket prices between the 2 closest movie theaters and it cost us $50 for the 2 of us with popcorn and pop and at a matinee showing!!!!! Thankfully, we had set aside the money for the treat (Dune – I am a massive fan of the books).
    I think that’s it – I really should be making a list for reference 🤔 it may help me feel like I am doing better in managing things.

  10. Brandy your pictures as always are stunning. You have been doing such a fantastic job with all your frugality, great job and thank you for continuing to inspire us. I love the frog candy molds very cute. I have had and donated cookie presses several times over the years and now want one again.. they use to be very plentiful but of course now that I am looking for one other than ebay none to be found. I want the old fashioned electric one I had years ago it was so much fun, the ones on amazon are all battery operated. My latest frugal is I am trying to downsize on my furniture to allow more open space in my house. I wanted a smaller TV stand, looked online for quite awhile they were either more than I wanted to spend or not the right size. I stopped in a thrift store this past week and found one for $8.99 versus $60 and up for one online plus would have had to put it together which I am not good at so would have had to have a friend put it together. Today I just made Chili using my home canned kidney beans and home canned tomatoes from my summer garden. I have been spending quite a bit on my home redo so I have set a very strict budget on my grocery spending this month and only buying what I absolutely have to spend in order to “restock” my savings account. It took quite a hit with buying dog flea and heartworm meds and 2 Vet visits for 2 of my dogs so I’m throwing everything I can save but in to that account.. this is a account I put money in to for these type of once a year expenses. I was at the thrift store again yesterday to get some new to me summer clothes.. they had brand new tshirts all gray for $1.99 I bought 3 to bust around the house in plus found some jean shorts to wear and jogging shorts. I used what we have here “Golden Buckeye Card” which gives seniors 10% off their purchase at stores that participate our thrift stores do. This store has also started a new Rewards Membership when you buy X amount of items, you get a $5 store credit plus when you donate 4 bags of items you get $4 credit, I had $7 something in credits so that helped too from previous donations. I continue to use the library for books, had to buy a new DVD player so will soon be starting back up with getting DVD’s from the library to watch.

  11. I am in need of some advice – I have been canning jams and jellies recently and have a batch (8 pints) of pear chutney that is waaayy over thickened! Think canned jelly beans! I also have a big batch of marmalade (12 half pint jars) that is runny. Any suggestions on how to ‘save’ these would be greatly appreciated!

      1. Thank you all so much! Yes the jars sealed so no rush but 20 jars is a lot so I should get started 🙂 Orange chicken/pork sounds pretty tasty!

    1. I’d just rename the marmalade, either ”Jam” or ”Sauce” depending on the thickness, and use it accordingly on anything.

    2. From experience, the thick stuff can be used as sauce over pork roast or chicken. The thin stuff can be used as syrup. 😊 Those efforts need not be wasted!

    3. Sarah, I used some pepper jelly that didn’t “make” over our Easter ham after I melted it down over low heat. The family liked it as a glaze. You might could use your jellies to coat meatballs, chicken or pork, or I guess any kind of meat where you think it would be tasty.

    4. Use them as sauce on crepes or pancakes or ice cream or short cake?
      If the jars are sealed, you shouldn’t have to rush to use them?
      Make some kinds of soup?

  12. What a beautiful shower, Brandy!

    On the frugal front:
    I gathered all the partial skeins of cotton yarn from my stash to knit several dish towels. While at it, I knit a stack of dish clothes for DD1.

    I discovered a new to me blog (everyday-reading.com) and her IG account (everydayreading) which I am enjoying. She has many tips for making the most of the library and book apps.

    I read the Adventures of Amira al-Sarafi by Shannon Chakraborty on the Everand app. It was our monthly book club selection. This book was not my favored genre, but one of the many reasons I enjoy book club is that it encourages me to read books that I would not normally pick up.

    I used my gifted Audible membership to listen to The Heaven and Earth Grocery store by James McBride and purchase The Women by Kristin Hannah. I then paused my Audible membership for 90 days.

    DD1 gifted us four Hello Fresh meals. They were delicious. She also gave us several small Ball jars which I will use for rhubarb jam this spring.

    When grocery shopping last week, I came across the clearance area at the same time the store employee was stocking it. I bought large bags of tortilla chips and pretzle thins. I also purchased barbecue sauce, boxed meals and vegan chicken for the food pantry. All items were $0.99.

    We carpooled with two other couples to try out a new restaurant. Afterwards we played cards and had dessert at the home of one of the couples. It was a very affordable and fun evening.

    HH and I used Amazon digital credits earned by opting for delayed shipping to rent the movie McFarland, USA for an at home date night. The movie was heartwarming, and we both really enjoyed it.

    My company ceased operations and laid off the staff. Though I am disappointed, thankfully the loss of my income will not be a hardship since it was a minor portion of our household income. I rolled my 401K into an IRA with lower fees and quickly reinvested the funds. The market is doing well now so I did not want the funds sitting on the sidelines.

    In a past decluttering spree, I must have given away my mini muffin tin. I hosted Easter and wanted to serve mini muffins. Rather than buying a new tin which will not be used often, I borrowed one from my neighbor. As I have often said, forming friendships with neighbors and being willing to borrow and lend has saved us so much money over the years. Of course, I returned her tin with some muffins as a thank you.

    I wanted to watch the Iowa vs. LSU women’s basketball game, but we do not have cable TV. A friend (former basketball player) and I watched the game together at her cable-equipped house. We had such a fun evening, and she suggested we do it more often.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats.

  13. How beautifully you made the decorations and food for the shower! I especially like the first bouquet with the iris, bells-of-Ireland, lilac, and (nasturtium?) leaves. May the baby and family be both healthy and happy.
    I have been looking for a thrift-store frame for a piece of embroidery my Mom made. The latest one dollar purchase might work, though it leaves me with a large photo of Russell Crowe in “Gladiator”. I wonder who framed it over twenty years ago.
    Have many, many daffodils blooming in my yard which have spread from potted ones I acquired over the years.
    Have not made a lot of progress on my cleaning-out goals for the year, but as our city clean-up week is coming in early May, (free pick-up for most anything not hazardous, some charges for appliances), I have a deadline to work toward.

  14. The flower arrangement and the foods are lovely. What a pretty shower!

    This post will be garden-centric.

    I harvested oregano and stevia from my plants and pulled a few carrots; the rest of the carrots are still a bit small.

    I harvested my first-ever successful beet. I have about a dozen more in various sizes still in the planter. I roasted it in a small ramekin while cooking a casserole and it was so sweet.

    I cut some red and green lettuce from their planter. I used my thrift shop salad spinner to clean the leaves, and ate several salads last week.

    The wild petunia I grew a few years ago from (purchased) seeds in an old “shabby chic” concrete planter I got after my parents died has re-seeded and is now blooming again for another year.

    After a rough year of hurricane and several hard freezes, my citrus trees are surprising me with many blooms. I know they will thin their fruit some, but still they hold the promise of a good crop.

    My sister found two vintage craft sewing patterns for 50 cents each at a thrift store. There’s nothing missing out of them, so they are very usable. She found the duplicate of one of them on Ebay selling for $12.00. She bought them for me, since I sew and she doesn’t.

    I hemmed a dress that I purchased second-hand.

    I made a batch of ranch dressing.

    The weather has been mostly quite nice, with just a few chilly nights in the 40’s. I’ve had the heat and the air conditioning off for a while now. I’ll hold on to keeping the a/c off as long as possible.

  15. Brandy, I hope your garden tour went well.Your gardens are stunning and I love seeing pictures of them so I am sure they would be even better in person! Things have been busy here and the weather can’t decide between spring and winter here in southern Ontario.

    I have not grocery shopped in theee weeks so this week will be a bit of a stock up for the month. I have gift cards earned through attendance at research meetings of my former employer to use so this won’t cost us anything. I also have accrued points abs some cash so I am hoping that the next two months of groceries are paid for without using any money from our budget. I have also had $56 in Amazon codes from completing surveys that I have put towards groceries. In addition, I have picked up some food and drug items recently from our two local free groups, including some applesauce, cans of soda water, a box of cookies and some chocolate, a bag of coffee, a bottle of Vitamin D and two new deodorants.

    We have eaten all meals at home with food we have on hand. Our entertainment has been books and DVDs from the library. I trimmed my son’s hair and have trimmed my own so I can go another month without getting it cut. I am trying to be very intentional with spending this month so hopefully I can keep shopping and spending to a minimum.

    I hope everyone is having a great week and had a lovely long weekend.

  16. Such a beautiful bouquet, Brandy, and such a lovely baby shower! You really do show that it is possible to have a beautiful life, regardless of budget. I’ve learned so much from you and all the other commenters, and I’m so appreciative.

    My frugal (two) weeks:
    – redeemed $90 in loyalty points for food in the past two weeks
    – Packed lunches, drinks, and snacks any time we went anywhere
    – combined loyalty points offers and cash back rebates, to get a container of ice cream, a box of ice cream cones, and 15 bags of nice quality salted pistachios for $27. My mother and sister ‘bought’ some of the pistachios off of me, paying 25% of usual price ($5.99), which reduced my OOP further. It would have been another $10 cheaper, but there was a substitution, and salted pistachios are taxed, while unsalted are not.
    – I took my kids to a ToysRUs scavenger hunt, and found the golden egg, worth $50. So we bought $50 worth of lego (the gc had to be spent that day), which is something that was on my to-buy list for the future, as my kids are only starting to get into it. The kids had such fun! I fully expected not to find it, and for it to be a lesson in playing but not winning, but winning was ok by me too! After that we ate one of the ice cream cones that I had gotten so cheaply. A fun Saturday morning, and so very little OOP! I don’t typically do Easter baskets, so this was a nice way for the kids to get new toys at Easter.
    – I pulled out the same Easter themed headbands, t-shirts, and cloth Easter baskets that my daughters used last year
    – I made white chocolate bunnies using the white chocolate wafers left over from my Christmas baking
    – I made peppermint patties, but left out the peppermint, to make treats for Easter, then wrapped them up and had my daughter hand them out to friends (https://approachingfood.com/easy-christmas-peppermint-patties-and-why-i-had-to-obvs-make-a-second-batch/). I also made a peanut butter version (way cheaper than purchasing peanut butter eggs)
    – I went through a package of jelly beans I got at Christmas, and pulled out the spring coloured themed ones. I used those, a few chocolate eggs, and the homemade Easter bunnies for an Easter egg hunt using the same plastic eggs I’ve had for the past 3 years, and some plastic grass that a friend gave me leftover from a sensory bin that she made her daughter
    – I made Easter themed sensory bins for my daughters using the same items that I used last year (mostly gifted from the same friend)
    – I had my daughters do an Easter craft to make hand-print cards for family

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Congrats on the GC win! I meant to get some of those pistachios but forgot – maybe it’s just as well as I can really od on those and salted would be even more tempting!

      1. Margie,
        I laughed out loud at your reply, as today I just polished off about a cup of pistachios that my kids hadn’t finished yet! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who can’t eat just a couple!

  17. Everything looks lovely!

    The teen made crepes, foccacia, apple turnovers, and chicken tacos over the last two weeks.

    Made $10 selling something on Facebook marketplace.

    There was a big 3rd quarter field trip for the kids at the elementary school I work at. Half the students went, and the staff that stayed behind were treated to Sonic drinks.

    We also had a staff potluck.

    Paid extra on my Perkins loan

    Not so frugal
    Our auto insurance is going up $30 a month
    My after-school tutoring ended for the year, so $180 less every paycheck

    Not frugal at the moment, but may work out to be cheaper
    My teen found out she can graduate early. She just needs to take a PE class in June, then she’ll officially graduate high school in July. Now we have to budget for ACT testing, Prom, settling up any fees she’s accrued, etc, and whatever she’ll need for graduation within the next few weeks, instead of the next year. It will save the big expenses of senior pictures, another yearbook, fancy invitations and memorabilia etc. I am kind of sad she won’t have a big senior year, but school is hard for her, and I get why she wants to be done with it. If she starts a local culinary school, I’ll have to put off continuing on to my Bachelors, as I prefer the money we budget go to her. (I’m not sure if it’s too late to fill out FAFSA for her to get anything by fall).

    1. Yes, do the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). I don’t think you’ve missed the federal deadline, though some state money might have different dates, depending where you are. Also, it is possible the school will use the FAFSA info as a guideline for awarding school money so you might have to fill it out for the school.
      Does she need the ACT for culinary school? Or is it just easier to take that to have in case she needs it for the future?

    2. April,
      It sounds as if you yourself might qualify for a P.E.O. grant for women who need to go back to university, college, tech school,
      to continue their education. To see if you are eligible, google PEO International, go to projects and look at Program for Continuing
      Education grants. good luck!

  18. Your brunch looks lovely. What a beautiful flower arrangement.

    In the last few weeks, I found some good grocery deals. Kroger (Fred Meyer and QFC in our area) both had asparagus on sale for 97 cents/lb for Easter. I bought several pounds, and will blanch and freeze what I cannot use now for use in soup later. At Grocery outlet, I bought three 18oz bottles of fancy no sugar ketchup on sale for 1.49 because they were close to the expiry date. In the Fred Meyer clearance section I found 12oz bags of erythritol (low carb sweetener) on closeout at a very good price. I bought what was left. I use this instead of sugar due to blood sugar issues.

    My sister and I took an Easter lunch up to my mom at her group home on Saturday. I brought ham from the freezer that I had bought for half price a couple weeks earlier. I also made pavlova for dessert, which I had never made before. It was actually not that expensive to make and I had most of the ingredients on hand. The meringue broke but it was still delicious. I made a version of this recipe.

    My sister hosted Easter dinner and I brought the rest of my ham from the freezer and made a fruit crisp for dessert. She had also bought some of the 97 cents /lb asparagus for the meal.

    I successfully removed a strong fabric softener smell from a thrift store shirt by soaking it in water and baking soda for two days. Then I washed it and dried it, and no scent remained.

    Otherwise, we had some nice weather and I was able to sit out on my patio and take walks to enjoy the sunshine.

  19. I love the pictures from the party!
    We have been enjoying food from Flash Foods and I have been telling all my friends! Meijers had their 7 for $7 sale. Certain items you pick out 7 of them and they are a dollar each. The sale ran two weeks and we got paid the second week so we went back again. Stocking up on sales like that one is how we stock the pantry for less and eat well. It was free dump your trash week with county last week so we got read of stuff. We purchased a couple of set of shelves on sale at Sam’s Club. They also make containers that fit the shelves perfectly! We are needing to rearrange things. Our 2 teenage sons need more storage space. Plus knowing where all our stuff is at saves money and lets us give our extras to others. God always answers our prayers how to fit what we need. I discovered a Dollar Tree near where I grocery shop is twice as big as my local store. I was excited to find a couple of quick cross-stitching kits. I went looking for diamond painting. They said the boxes were not unpacked yet, so I will go back the next time I am grocery shopping. I have been walking with my neighbor; free, fun, vitamin D, and exercise.

  20. Such beautiful photos! It has been pouring raing here for 36 hours with more rain coming in the next 12. I’m not complaining, as our state was in a rain deficit, and slowly is getting in the green. The pictures, I can feel the warmth off of them. 🙂
    Longwood Gardens when I was a child, made/sold small cubes of rose fudge and I can still remember its taste. The few times I went I would always use my allowance for a piece.

    I live in the food/farming belt and thankfully haven’t experienced to much inflation with food. We also have discount food stores aplenty – where I do a mjority of grocery shopping. The last few weeks have been slim pickings and 22% price increases on the basics. Good thing I like to bake bread and will now make salad dressings instead of purchasing. My mom, a widow uses a lot less, so she and I have been swapping a half cup of sour cream for 3 eggs, or 2 oranges for a half container of salad greens (we shop together). Very thankful for that.
    My winter sowing project (from a FB group titled Winter Sowing for Beginers) has been fruitful – 9 out of 10 are happy containers of flower and vegetable seedlings. I am “hiding” beets and swiss chard amongst the front yard shrubs and dafidils for optimum planting space. I also planted small bush beans around my rose shrub.

    If I am getting togther with friends, carpooling or sharing the driving has been a must. It gives some the ability to get out a little more and saves so much gas on just these few adventures.

    I recieved 2 movie tickets and bogo coupons for local restaurants. I joke with the Mister we are doing date nights on a budget. Everyone is happy.

    I often drive my mom to appointments and have been using the free wifi spots to get gig work done as I wait. If there isn’t free wifi, then I get caught up on leisure reading all while sipping on tea and snacks brought from home.

    Thank you again for this post – I know time is becoming more valuable – this site just brings so much comfort and community for me.

  21. Loved reading about your last two weeks, Brandy. That baby shower looks wonderful! I have been truly counting my blessings lately…some dear friends of ours from church lost their home to a fire last week. Nothing was salvageable. Thankfully they (mom, dad, two daughters and dog) are safe, but they left the house with just what they were wearing…the girls didn’t even have shoes. The dad had the presence of mind to back their van out of the garage, so they still have that. They are living with local family and their immediate needs are met. Friends, family, and church members have been so generous, but they have a long road ahead. The home is a total loss so they will be rebuilding. They are faith filled and positive but waves of sadness come as they remember things they have lost that are irreplaceable, like journals, scrapbooks etc. Their experience has made me really think about the things in life-what we own, what can and cannot be replaced, etc. Mostly, I feel thankful for my comfortable home and the people in my life. * We have been eating down the freezer so it was time to purchase some meat for the first time in many months. I bought family size hamburger and was able to freeze 12 quarter pound packages (with just three of us living here, I don’t need a whole pound anymore) and I separated a tray of chicken into 6 servings. *After a virtually snowless winter, we got dumped on last week with over 12 inches of snow. That slowed down life and gave us an excuse to stay home, which always saves money. *We had a nice Easter with our Minnesota children and grandchildren. I just made the ham and a couple sides. Daughters brought the rest of the meal. It’s so nice having grown children who are good cooks! All five grandchildren were here so we had an egg hunt. I used plastic eggs I’ve saved from many years with my children. I had planned to have it outside, but with the snow and cold we moved it inside. I had some white lunch sacks that the kids decorated before the hunt started. After the eggs were found, they dumped the candy and trinkets into their sacks and I collected all the plastic eggs for next year. It was fun! * To keep busy, I’m crocheting afghans for the girls who lost everything in the fire. I had gifted them each blankets over the years, but they were lost, so thought now is the time to replace. I purchased two skeins of specific yarn on sale for the project, but had enough coordinating yarn in my stash to finish them. I think they will like them, and it has felt good to be able to do something to help. * I continue to read and putter on my projects. *My goal for April is to make more food from scratch as it is healthier and saves money. I usually am cooking at home, but sometimes I rely on convenience foods more than I’d like to. When I’m having a flare up, that’s fine, but when I’m up to it, I’d like to do better. *I wish everyone a safe and thrifty week.

    1. Becky, as a family that lost a house to fire (though we were fortunate as we weren’t at home and salvaged some items) those afghans will mean so much to those girls. After our fire, my mother busied herself re-knitting all the treasures we had lost like Christmas stockings, a tree skirt and baby blankets my children used when small, all which she had previously knit. To have those items again from her meant the world to me.

    2. You reminded me of a memory that still makes my grown children laugh to think about. We used to hide treats all over the house for Easter Sunday. We were good hiders because we used to find some of those treats around the house all summer long.

  22. What a gorgeous and fun party for your friend! Love everything about it! I am eating hummus sandwiches for breakfast (I figure that is bean and bread which makes a complete protein, at least I hope I am right. ) I still can only eat somewhat soft food so hummus fit the bill. I ate a PBJ sandwich for lunch, and peanuts are a legume, and then a very large salad at night of various greens and lettuce with tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms, a bit of cheese, and salad dressing for supper. I have been walking a lot due to the gorgeous weather. I cut my own hair. The heat and the air are off. I trimmed the bushes outside for even more exercise. I have been somewhat decluttering but have a long way to go. I had to buy new tires and bought a good quality tire at SAMS for significantly lower price than elsewhere.

  23. Hello, everyone!

    I really enjoyed your photos this week, Brandy.

    We had a nice Easter with my family. My sister hosted, and I took 2 quiches. Weather-wise, it was one of the nicest I can recall.

    —Last week I received a large tv that I won in a grocery store sweepstakes.
    —I found some extra large planters at Sam’s for $20 each. This was the best price I had seen anywhere in my area. I dug up two dwarf apple trees that were struggling. They are already showing improvement in the containers.
    —My daughter discovered she is allergic to Bath and Body Works shower gel, so I am using them up in a foam hand soap bottle.
    —I ordered some shoes for one of my kids on Nike’s website. They were on sale, but a week later they offered an additional 25% off sale styles. I decided to contact their customer service to see if they would offer me an adjustment, and to my surprise, they did! I love good customer service!
    —I needed some new bed sheets and had planned to buy a set I like at Target ($60) but I found the very same set through a Target liquidator on EBay new for a total of $22 including shipping! I was thrilled!!
    —I repaired a wheel on a Samsonite suitcase thanks to a video tutorial. I found a replacement wheel online for a good price. The suitcase is very old, but has plenty of life left.
    —Books I read were “The River We Remember,” by William Kent Krueger, and “The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money,” by Ron Lieber. I really enjoyed both books.

    Have a great week!

  24. I bought some food at half price and bought two of each. I then gave one of each to our local 24/7 no questions asked food pantry and fridge/freezer. As my friend took over the items (a 5 pound bag of potatoes for $2.99, some canned fruit), two ten-year old boys arrived
    and were thrilled to go home with the potatoes, a bag of frozen corn, the fruit. But it was, delightful, according to my friend, to see their reaction to the
    bag of small chocolate Easter eggs I had sent. Their eyes sparkled and they floated home!

    I have to thank “I” because my usual volunteer shopper couldn’t get to No Frills for me this week but I was able to go. She picked up a frozen leg of lamb for me at $4.99 per pound (usually at least 8.99 per pound) and some Dole’s pineapple that I love for $1.44 per can (half price). The lamb will be a belated Easter dinner for me. Thanks, “I”! My heating, water and recycling bill was $511 for the past, very cold month. It is steep but would have been worse had I not tied my services in at a fixed advantageous rate.

    I was resting after shovelling snow when a beautiful Pine Grosbeak landed right in front of me. I was able to get a photo. That made up for the disappointment I felt when I missed getting a photo of a low-flying Bald Eagle that flew through the yard, not more than 20 feet from me.
    Had I not just looked down momentarily, I would have seen it coming and had a great photo.

    I previously mentioned the book I was reading. There were typos in what I wrote that I tried previously to correct. The book is called “The Spy Who Loved” and was written by Clare Mulley. I hope to finish it soon.

    1. I picked up quite a few cans of that pineapple as well Ann! A bald eagle has been spotted in Toronto but they aren’t letting people know exactly where as they don’t want it scared off. I would love to see it!

  25. What beautiful photos Brandy, and what a lovely shower you put together!

    It has been a busy couple of weeks at the church office so not a lot of socializing and that certainly saves money! We’ve had a lot of meetings and events at the church and I was lucky enough to be fed a number of times and it was much appreciated so that I didn’t have to go home and cook after a long day!

    I eventually had some time to do some housework and that included going through my fridge and freezer compartment. I did have to throw out a few things – mostly veg – that just got away from me. I have to really think about what to buy and not buy when I have an extra busy time coming up as it really annoys me to waste food. But I did reorganize things in the freezer and gave the fridge a good clean so I am feeling better moving forward.

    All bills were paid on the first of the month – transit pass is loaded and I have money put aside for groceries as well as $40 in Loyalty Points to spend this month. I have bought a few fresh items but most spending has been on non food items that I am still re-stocking. I did add a few cans and some dried goods to the pantry as I saw some deals but I am also still trying to use up more items from the pantry as I rotate through.

    I have been looking at more vegetarian recipes including some of yours Brandy and I have a lot of fish to eat up as I try to not eat as much red meat. However, in cleaning up the freezer I found a ziploc of Shepherdess pie (made with lentils, chickpeas and veg) and combined that with one serving of cottage pie (ground beef) that I found in there along with two servings of chili and then topped everything with some instant mashed potatoes. Gave me four meals and I gave two to a neighbour who has torn her knee and has to rest as much as possible. I also have some frozen lobster claws in the freezer so I am planning on some lobster mac n’ cheese for later in the week – my first attempt.

    I have looked out a number of books and dvds/cd’s to donate and I have picked up a few holds from the library so I am happy to be back in reading mode. I’m going to clear things up more in the dining room tomorrow and then I’m going to put out a new puzzle to work on as more free entertainment (it was a gift). The weather is to be cold and wet for the rest of the week so any walking will be done through the underground and I will try and stay cozy at home.

    I hope the weather cooperates for all of you starting work in your gardens – it will be a few weeks before much can be done here aside from cleaning things up after the Winter but hopefully it won’t be too much longer.

  26. Our experiment with heating and cooking with fire and using cellar for a fridge has gone very well, way better than we expected. We actually laugh nowadays when paying the electric bill! Who knew? For comparison: the lowest kWh/day during these 3 first months has been around 2, and the highest before this experiment was 179 kWh/day! We really have learned a couple of things! Of course there is the cost of buying firewood but we are happy to pay someone we know (he lives here in the same village) than some faceless corporation. I have also learned a different kind of menu planning (no freezer) in order to take the most advantage of the wood stove, cook in the heat of a heated fireplace/oven etc.

  27. This week I have not been well so not a lot has got done. The most frugal thing I have done is not going out or shopping. I have pottered around indoors sowing peas, they are just popping through so now they will go in the greenhouse. It is still raining so not anything done in the garden.

    We have been eating out of the freezer and pantry. Not that I have fancied much.

    I was listening to the radio today and they were talking about dynamic pricing .I noticed some years ago that if you looked at a product on a web site and came back to the same site the next day often the price will have increased ,so I now search the web on one tablet but actually buy on my desktop . It works also for hotels and transport.

    Have a good week,

    1. I find the opposite about pricing. If I put something in my basket and don’t buy it right away, in the next day or two the price often goes down to tempt me to buy it. It has often made it worthwhile for me to delay deciding whether to buy it.

  28. Easter costs totalled $23 (gifts, chocolate, food) and the children were gifted moutain loads of chocolates and goodies from friends and family. The $23 spend included gifts for the children to take on our upcoming move to France (beanies and toiletry bags).

    I purchased 4.4lbs of chicken at the grocery outlet and was given it for free! So total grocery costs for the week were $12! I froze leftover Easter cupcakes and 2 x gifted large, decorated Easter cookies for the childrens school lunches.

    Spending remains low as we prepare to move to France. We are just buying basic necessitities to see us through, whilst decluttering. A few friends of the children have had birthday parties recently, so the gift cupboard is decreasing nicely. I have a baby shower gift ready to go too, for next week. It includes a large sized brand new knitted dinosaur stuffed toy that my daughter found at the thrift shop for $1!

    My plans this weekend are to go to the library and spend the day at the beach…relaxing, eating, playing and swimming.

  29. Brand’s photos are always so beautiful and magazine like. My MIL was like this. Everything was so prim and proper like a fine Victorian home. I really do miss those things. Its very early morning here. We are having severe weather this morning. I’m praying for no tornados. Sometimes I think we live in the general path of all bad weather . My daughter and I are in the city this week. We are pet sitting for the other daughter. Its a lovely little vacation and we enjoy all the little shops in the area. We have used several apps on my phone to get free food items and drinks as extra treats. I purchased 4 clothing items at Goodwill for $7.00. Sugar cookie loves pjs. They gave me the senior discount. I’ve never really thought of being old enough to use it. My mother always said life went by too fast. Well, it continues to literally pour bad luck on me. I awoke to find the dog with a horrible ear infection this week. $400.00 later we are working on clearing it up. She will require another eyeball removal soon but thankfully it won’t need to be done immediately. I can’t believe ,I’m actually writing that out. My price quote is $1500.00 so not as bad as I anticipated. Cocker Spaniel are known for having eye and ear problems. Apparently over breeding at some point contributed to this. Funny thing is as a child ,I don’t remember our pets ever needing much medical care. I am so grateful ,that being frugal allows me to cover the expense. Now of course that leads me right back to dumpster diving. I collected a huge haul of pet items this week. One neighbor received the dog food , another two families received dry cat food. I kept the wet food and cat litter for my cat. We had a huge trash bag of pet treats. I’ve kept the dog treats to bribe my neighbors dogs and the cat treats go to the shelter. I have 2 neighbors with huge dogs. A Rottweiler and the other has a bull dog. I decided in order to do yard work , we all needed to be friends. Each day ,I step outside and my buddies immediately bark for me to bring them a treat. They love me and I can safely work. They are quite spoiled. I gave a store worker whom I know ,a ride home on a rainy day. He gifted me a ham for Easter. I continue to place fruit out for my birds. So far ,they love apples , nectarines ,and avocado. Pineapple and oranges not so much. They aren’t eating the seed as much and I get to enjoy all the beautiful birds. The pollen is my enemy and this year it is wicked. Our insurance isn’t covering allergy medicine. I priced generic Claratin at Costco 365 pills for $11.00 .I’ll be picking that up today. The best part about being in the city is everything is located in very close proximity. I collected 2 large boxes of cheese yesterday. The entire cheese section was tossed out. These were not products from a recent recall. Lots of mozzarella , cheese sticks ,laughing cow and a few other items. The dumpster was so full it was extremely difficult to actually pull items out. Sadly, I couldn’t really see what else was in there. Today’s plan is a cheap Costco lunch and paperwork. We haven’t had our AC on yet and I’m hoping my electric hadn’t gone up yet. I have two Uber eat coupons for $20.00 a piece. I will probably use them to buy Indian food and Chinese food for sugar cookie this week. As usual ,I like everything free. I hope everyone had a great Easter. I refrained from buying Easter candy that was marked down. I started to buy a giant stuffed Easter Peep with my CVS credit but realized ,none of my adult children need a huge stuffed Peep. I miss having small children.

  30. The friend who taught me how to make mints using white chocolate taught me to bang the candy molds on the kitchen counter to get the air pockets out.
    We carpooled with daughter & son-in-law to a wedding & wedding reception that was about 2 hr 15 min from us. I actually made mints for this wedding.

  31. How wonderful you were able to add to your fruit trees, which will provide so much food over the years. You do such a lovely job with celebrations. Everything for the shower looks beautiful, and was frugal to boot. Last week, I did two loads of laundry, and dried them on the line. Golden paste was made for the pups. I brought a pot of small sweet potatoes to a boil on the stove, then finished cooking them on the woodstove. These were used in the pups meals, and a few in the chicken’s mash. Asparagus was harvested, along with greens for the chickens and pups. The freezer was filling up with veggie scraps, so five gallon bags were simmered on the woodstove, and broth canned the next day. Soap oils were melted on the woodstove. My sister and I spent a day together. In the town we were in, the co-op I belong to had 20% off your purchase for members in March, and I received that, along with using a $5 off coupon I had for completing a survey. I donated a rug hooking fabric cutter and a bag of needlepoint scroll frames to a wonderful thrift store, which focuses on art supplies, but has all sorts of vintage goodness as well. Those were things I decluttered. My sister wanted to go to the Goodwill bins. While there, I picked up a colorful boho bag, tank top, twinkly lights, two sturdy wood hangers, and two like new washcloths for $3.79. I went through Swagbucks for a cash purchase, receiving 5% cash back. The first batch of hummingbird food of the season was made, and two feeders were hung. It’s a bit early, but I wanted to have them up for any early birds.

  32. Your pictures are beautiful as always. You are a wonderful hostess. Your garden I am sure was perfect for the baby shower. It has been a busy two weeks here. I went to the extension office open house in their new building and received lunch, garden seeds, and won a door prize a mini blender. I had lunch with my bible study ladies and it was great to catch up with everyone. I have borrowed a bicycle from my step daughter and lets just say the ground is farther away that it use to be. I am going to have to build up to longer times on the bike. My husband and I have continued to walk everyday and share about our day as we walk. My husband has the garden ready to plant this weekend. I have planted flower seeds already. We had meetings last week for two days so free lunch provided by the office. I found on Facebook yard sale a Columbia jacket for $5. My great nephew drowned over the weekend, it has been awful. My poor niece had to be put in the hospital for her grief. I cannot image what she is going through. Our family is in serious need of prayer.

    1. Oh, Donna, I’m so very sorry to hear about your great-nephew. I will hold you and your family in my heart and prayers.

    2. Donna, I am so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your family as well. God be with you.🙏🏻

    3. Prayers for your niece and your whole family, Donna. I know too many people who have lost family (often children) to drowning – it’s heartbreaking.
      Long distance hugs,

  33. Brandy, thank you for the beautiful photos, particularly of your flower arrangements. I have been enjoying walking in my neighborhood and seeing the beautiful spring flowers and blossoms that are now coming out. And to hear birds singing in the trees makes my heart sing.

    We attended two potluck dinners and I was able to bring home some baked potatoes (that were the main course, with toppings) and three unbaked potatoes.

    I cleaned out the freezer of veggie scraps and my refrigerator drawers and make a batch of veggie broth, which I use a lot in my cooking. I ended up with five containers for my freezer.

    For the past two weeks my husband and I have been on a vegan cleanse. It’s pretty stringent, as it also eliminates any gluten and sugar. We have done this in the past but it has been a few years. I checked out some cookbooks from the library and have just needed to buy fresh produce at the store. We have one more week to go. In addition to helping me feel better and loose a few pounds, it helps me use up many things, particularly dried beans and grains that I already have on hand. And thanks for the link to the Chana Dal recipes. It could be made vegan. I’ve been using the recipe for the Masoor Dal you posted a few weeks ago and love it! I make a batch of it once a week and often eat it for lunch.

    I am still working on socks and a sweater using stash yarn. While the sweater is getting bigger, I don’t think my stash gets any smaller…. But I am grateful to have interesting projects to work on that use my skills and what I have on hand.

    A friend took me to lunch for doing a favor for her.

    I am inspired by Brandy’s handing out food boxes to refugees in an apartment complex. For the past two Saturday’s I’ve been helping at a church about 5 miles from my home. For the last 12 years, the church hands out boxes of food at a set time each week to anyone in the community who comes to them. The church has a great network of where to get discarded food. They also gather clothing and hand that out as well. I’ve helped hand out food boxes, organize donated hygiene items, stacked canned food in their pantry, helped tidy the kitchen, pick up trash–whatever is needed while I am there. The shift lasts for about two hours. I will go back in another week but can’t be there this Saturday. Another bonus is that I drive directly past a grocery store that has reasonable produce prices, so I can bundle that errand into my service.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. We’ve been handing out clothing as well. It’s usually almost all gone, too. I’m so glad. My mom and I decided to donate there instead of the thrift store where we usually donate.

      The best part for me has been making friends with a couple there. They have invited me into their community and I have been very warmly welcomed; I see the potential to make many more friends among the women I met. I wasn’t expecting this blessing from serving, and I am very grateful for it.

  34. Donna K., Prayers for your niece and family. I am so very sorry for the loss of your great nephew.

    Our past two weeks have been busy and productive. I went into the grocery late last week to pick up a few items for the family day we had over Easter weekend. I made a taco bar for lunch, cooked a turkey breast and pulled pork for sandwiches for supper and the next day, I put together Mexcian pizzas, using leftovers from the taco bar. All meals were a hit with the kids and grown-ups alike. My goal was to do as much ahead as I could possibly do and just ‘heat and eat’ over the weekend and that’s pretty much how it went.

    While in the grocery store, I found ground beef for $2.19 a pound on clearance, apples and oranges for about $1 a pound and from the produce clearance rack, I bought limes, mangoes, blueberries, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. This store adds 10% to the total but even so this was $20 or so dollars well spent.

    I came across a great deal on Tuna on Monday on Amazon, 24 cans of Bumble Bee water-packed tuna for $13.65 after Subscribe and Save discount and an Amazon coupon. I quickly ordered that to come in this month’s subscribe and save package. While onsite, I went ahead and looked over the April S&S and deleted items we no longer need or delayed those that we just don’t need at this time, or where prices had risen higher than the prices I’m willing to pay.

    Two weeks ago, I got an 8 page cross-cut shredder on sale for $23. The last shredder we purchased was well over $60, so this was a huge savings. I put it in reserve for when the current one finally gives up.

    I didn’t want anything in my Stitch Fix package this last quarter (last week), except a sweater that is the perfect color match for a dress I’m wearing to the wedding ceremony. As I suspected the wedding will be in the open air and the weather is to be cooler than expected. I’ll be grateful for that sweater for sure.

    I’ve been on a mission to dig down deep in the freezer, pull out older items, and use them in meals. I can’t believe how old some of them are! So far nothing has been harmed by that long freezer stay but it’s made me very mindful of the need to be better at rotating things in and out.

    Now that my daughter and grandson have moved, I finally made putting the guest room back together a priority. So far, I’ve used only what I already had on hand but it’s made a huge difference to hang pictures, put the headboard back up on the bed, make the bed properly, and rearrange furniture.

    For the grandchildren’s lunch today, I made pancakes. They used to love pancakes and I thought they’d eat them. They balked a little but I remedied that by bringing out a variety of things as toppings, all bits and bobs from the freezer and fridge. I had chocolate chips, coconut, yogurt, whipped cream, blueberries, cinnamon sugar, lemon wedges and syrup. The kids loved the idea of creating their own pancakes. I put 14 pancakes into the freezer (my plan was to use up a mix about to expire). I will appreciate being able to microwave pancakes for future breakfasts.

    I had a lower than expected electric bill this month and was happy to take the excess I’d set aside to apply to another bill.

    I have just redone my budget (for 2nd quarter) to cover the costs of mowing the yards here. I needed maintenance and gas funds for the next few months. I borrowed from other areas. Like another here, we stockpile funds to play annual fees and renewals on insurance. It does mean we have to really stick to the budget. The alternative is that we have to borrow those funds and that would really make for a tight budget.

    1. I unpacked a new shredder at my workplace many years ago and found it had a (one time use) oil lubricant sheet with the instructions. I had never thought of oiling a shredder before. It cleans up little bits of paper and dust, and covers spots that might rust. The instructions said to use that official sheet (just run it through), or use official shredder oil, neither of which I was going to buy. Or it said to use cooking oil or, in my case, sewing machine oil. Just sort of dampen the edge of a sheet of paper with oil, not to the point of dripping, and run that and some other papers through, reversing as well.

      1. If folks want to do this and have a reloader in the family, many gun oils will work too – Hoppe’s #9, Lucas Oil, and Liberty Lubricants are all thin enough for shredders and sewing machines, and they often offer needlenose and spray applicators to make things easier and tidy. Hope it helps someone!

    2. Hi Terri C.! I know that feeling about setting a room back up. Our son and his dog recently moved out on his own again and we turned the room back into a room for our use. We were able to move piles and closets of stuff out of other rooms to the room he had occupies, which made available several closets and a guest bedroom. Doing this and seeing these rooms now brings me a peaceful feeling, instead of everything just put where we could find space while he was here. I also deep cleaned our freezer. Had to toss some fish items and a package of chicken, but everything meat related is like you said…even though old, usable. Lots of veggies and fruit were tossed because the freezer door had not been closed at one time, and they had melted and refroze. This was not as great a loss since they came from my garden and I had plenty in the other freezer. I have soooo much grated zucchini I need to use before this season’s harvest; I tossed all my 2019 zucchini ( not like I don’t have plenty more from recent years🤣🤣🤣).

  35. Your party looks wonderful. I’m so impressed at the use of your garden flowers and produce as well as your yard sale items. Well done!!!!

    The last two weeks – I worked 6 days. Spent two days with my son, DIL and granddaughter.
    I gave my DH a haircut. Luckily, he likes a buzz cut, because that is about the extent of my haircutting skills.
    I shelled more pinto beans from last summer’s garden. Then I used some to make a big batch of refried beans in the Instapot. We had bean and cheese burritos for lunch and or dinner several times. I made chili with a combination on kidney and black beans from the pantry. Onions and peppers from our garden, via the freezer and home-canned tomato sauce. My DH bbq’d hot dogs and chicken. One of his favorite things with leftover hot dogs, is chili dogs. He ate that several times. I made popcorn either for a snack or for dinner three times. Made chicken tortilla soup and Spanish rice for dinner one night. I soaked great norther beans we had grown and then made baked beans with them. along with onions from the garden and bacon from the fridge. For Easter we had BBQ’d hamburgers and ribs, along with the baked beans I made, macaroni salad and a green salad.

    We are continuing to clean out the back of our property, where some trees have really grown unruly. Our garlic is growing nicely (we plant it in October). I am hoping to plant lettuce and peas this weekend.

    Seems like I did more, but that is all I have written down.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

  36. I don’t cook. Went across the road to my brother’s for Easter on Saturday. (10 adults, 10 kids) I carried 40 piece chicken strip tray plus a few other things. (Plus happies for 11 kids and tons of plastic stuffed eggs plus queens egg, I took 2 gallon ziplocks for kids to put their candy in and brought all the plastic eggs home to use again next year). Ordered chicken over phone and niece who had to work that day picked up for me on her way home saving me a trip. Plenty for kids to eat and everyone carried home leftovers. I ate leftovers for 4 meals on Sunday and Monday. We had 8 casseroles, 3 were various forms of potatoes.
    One day this week I had errands in town (17 miles away). I was able to get free Cantina Chicken Taco at Taco Bell for lunch, had parking lot picnic as I always carry a drink to town with me. Before heading home I went to Wendy’s and got the $1 single, it was huge and free senior citizen soft drink.
    Thrift store has free kids books and I got 7 brand new ones for family and friends.
    Receiving coupons to replace 2 products I received that weren’t up to snuff.
    My library cut way back on magazines after covid. They no longer have Time. Every couple of weeks I call a different branch that still gets hard copies and they send them to my branch and then I can check out for 7 days. I checked out cookbook by author my sister loves (Brenda Gantt) and gave her book to enjoy for checkout period. I had tried to buy this for her at Christmas but it was cost prohibitive. She kept granddaughter while parents worked on Good Friday and said she and the two year old spent hours reading the stories and recipes in the book. Author has book 2 which our library system doesn’t own but librarian is trying to borrow via inter-library loan.

  37. I’ve been planing meals so we will cook at home for the most part. I hope to use more beans this week and things we have on hand. I really don’t want to waste anything as prices are going up. I have some canned goods that simply need used as well as frozen food. It is paring down and we will have to replace it when we have more income and less bills. Our pantry is starting to look empty. But I feel blessed that we have food and a home. I will watch sales, because we do enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. But I plan to use what we have for the most part. I’m cooking 10 lb. of chicken leg quarters this week that we bought at 69 cents a lb. That should feed us well. I am looking forward to it. We enjoyed watching sunsets this week, absolutely beautiful sunsets! The stars are pretty in the sky where we live as well. We have seen tons of deer. All free entertainment.

  38. Well, sadly, I received the medical diagnosis I was expecting last week. 🙁

    I have breast cancer. I see the oncologist on Friday 4/5 to discuss treatment options. I’m 51. This is my 2nd bout of cancer.

    1. Kelly, I’m so sorry to hear your diagnosis. As a cancer survivor, I know how difficult it is to handle all the mental and physical challenges, even in your second battle. My prayers are with you.

    2. OHHHH shoot Kelly this stinks
      Sending good karma to help you daily
      Time to slay the dragon…again- you can do it you’ve got this and done it before

    3. Kelly, I’m sorry to hear this. You will be in my thoughts as you move forward with treatment etc. Sending virtual hugs.

    4. I’m so sorry, Kelly!
      That stinks.
      Strength, peace and hope for you as you travel this road again,

    5. Kelly, I’m reading this on the 5th and hoping your appointment is going well and your oncologist has helped you find a plan that works for you. Sending hugs! <3

    6. Thoughts and prayers are with you, Kelly! I’m 2 1/2 years out from a triple negative breast cancer diagnosis. You are already a warrior and I pray you will feel strength and comfort during this time.
      Peggy S

    7. Kelly, I’m sorry you are going through this again. I hope your appointment went well and that you have a treatment plan established. Take good care.

  39. What a lucky mama to have such a beautiful baby shower! My mother and I like to do that, too – pull together things we have to host special celebrations. We always get into conversations about where we got what or who gave it to us even though we both usually know the answer already. 🙂
    *Holy Week went by in a blur with all the services which the choirs were involved in. We also sang at a funeral for a long-time church member which was a true celebration of life with a reception to match. Such beautiful music and a wonderful experience singing the somber, intense music of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday culminating in the joyous music on Sunday with a brass ensemble. All services had food associated with them so many times eating was done away from home with simple contributions like soup, bread, deviled eggs, etc. all made from ingredients I had on hand.
    *The weather has been unusually warm (until today) and I have been giddy with joy walking about my daffodils and other bulbs I plant every fall as a birthday gift to myself. The house is filled with little bouquets in every room and I have been able to give some to others. Nobody frowns when you give them flowers!
    *A neighbor of ours is selling his farm. It’s a sad situation, a result of a break-up, so we have been trying to help him with various tasks involved including selling all of his animals by networking with friends from our homeschool co-op and 4H. We also bought 8 chickens from him (very reasonably priced) and he gifted my boys two more for some help they gave him. We also brought home 7 ducks! I have wanted ducks for years so this is a little dream come true for me. He sold us their beautiful house for 1/5 what he paid for it and gave us the ducks for free. They have a lovely spot to live next to our pond. I cannot tell you how relaxing it is to sit on the bench by the pond and watch my very own ducks swim – very cheap therapy! 🙂 I am excited about using their eggs in baking as they are particularly wonderful for that purpose. This neighbor has hired my boys to do some jobs for him as he prepares the farm for sale so they have some more income coming their way.
    *We continue to eat as much out of the pantry and freezer as we can to rotate stock and move out things that need to make room for what will grow this year. I have been freezing eggs for later use, as well.
    *Sold eggs. With the additional hens we got from our neighbor, we are now up to 39 birds (includes 5 roosters) so we have lots of eggs this time of year. They have much more to eat now and I have reduced their grain consumption accordingly.
    *Family friends came to visit and brought many Easter treats and a lovely potted Muscari for me. We enjoyed eating a meal made from pantry items and just enjoyed each other’s company.
    *A trip to a couple of thrift stores yielded some needed items such as shirts for my boys (all $2-$4 each) and some not needed but joy-enhancing things for me such as 5 English ironstone transferware bread plates ($1 each!)
    *My youngest son continues to be involved in many art shows and contests. None of them have had any cost to us and the experience has been invaluable. He has won over $100 in cash and gift cards which is really exciting for him. 🙂 My oldest son, who just dabbles in art compared to my youngest, won 2nd place in an art contest last week. I was glad he had such a good response to his piece which he created with the somewhat unconventional (for fine art, anyway) media of spray enamel (given to him by a neighbor who was cleaning out a storage building.) Creativity in all its definitions has been so important in our journey as a family and it’s wonderful when frugal creativity results in something beautiful as Brandy and all of you demonstrate week after week.
    *Happy Spring to all!

    1. My church also had a brass ensemble join us for Easter Sunday – and we had a violinist to accompany a solo performance at the Good Friday service – it was all wonderful and the additional music just enhanced both services. At the end of the Easter service I was up on the Chancel taking some photos and when I turned around about 200 people had stayed to listen to the Postlude by our Organist and Music Director – he didn’t realize this until he turned around (the organ console and the choir are in the loft at the back of the church so his back is to the congregation) – he received a well deserved standing ovation for all the outstanding work he does with our choirs and with all the extras he does for our music program.

      1. We choir members all recess out the back of the church during the recessional hymn, shake the priest’s hand and then go left (instead of right with most of the parishioners) and go back inside the church to hear our choir director’s postlude. She works so hard that her efforts should be listened to rather than treated as background music. I am glad to say, in our church, that a lot of people actually do stay until she finishes playing and applaud, too. I love it! Glad you have the opportunity to hear beautiful music at your church, as well. 🙂

  40. Thank you Brandy for sharing your beautiful photos. It is so inspiring to see how you use decor that you already have to make a wonderful party atmosphere. The mom to be must have felt truly celebrated. 🙂
    **This week’s “frugals” included taking all beverages, lunch and snacks for our 9 hour drive to visit my hubby’s grandfather for Easter.
    **We shopped at Joann Fabric for supplies to make an artificial floral arrangement for grandmother’s grave. The flowers were on sale 50% off.
    **I purchased the Easter ham for 99 cents a pound, cooked it at home and brought what I needed for our Easter brunch with us in a cooler. Hubby’s aunt bought the rest of the groceries needed. I fixed all the brunch items.
    ** It was nice to be able to visit with his recently widowed grandfather. His first Easter without his wife of 78 years.
    **Wishing my fellow frugalistas a happy Spring. Thank you Brandy for this wonderful, positive blog community.

  41. Every time you post pictures of your gardens I feel the joy and love you put into it. I really enjoy and savor the beauty of it.
    This week we made a larger purchase that will hopefully pay itself off before the year is over. My husband it commuting 1.5 hours each way from work. We decided to look for a smaller vehicle. We stopped at a dealership that had some small vehicles, but his was a credit building business. I told him we buy with cash, and he directed us to a small dealer in a town north of us. We decided to take a look and found a Honda Civic that had the price reduced by nearly half. The battery kept going dead and the cruise would not engage. We drove to the bank, got the money, and drove the car home. We promptly purchased a new battery. That night I noticed the tail lights were still on. My son and I quickly googled the problem and found a YouTube video showing us what was wrong. My son reattached a plastic bolt to the brake pedal and the tail lights turned off. I took the car for a drive and the cruise worked. We were so excited! Depending on the vehicle my husband commuted in this past month we are now saving between 10-20 dollars daily! This was a huge blessing, and we will sell his larger car to recoup some of the money. I purchased 3 hams for .89lb, and got a small selection of Easter chocolates and candy for next year 50% off.

  42. This has been an expensive week due to my cat having a medical emergency. Luckily, I had enough money in savings, so I saved by not going into debt.

    Other little frugal things:
    I had homemade chocolate chip muffins and dyed eggs for Easter (both breakfast and dinner).

    Got cash back from Ibotta for groceries, soap, and pet items bought this week.

    I had enough points from scanning my groceries to redeem for a $25 gift card from National Consumer Panel. I combined it with a $5 coupon from Chewy to get more needed pet items without spending actual money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *