How We Saved Money in the Third Week of January and What Happened to Us the Fourth Week

How We Saved Money in the Third Week of January and What Happened to Us the Fourth Week

We all ended up catching the flu last weekend, which left us resting in bed for several days. Scrolling Instagram and watching tv was too difficult for us, so everyone slept as much as possible. We’re still recovering; some of us are certainly feeling better than others.

The week before we definitely had some savings!

We made five pitchers of lemonade with lemons from our trees. I zested all of the lemons and dried the zest for lemon pepper.

Meals that we had the week before we were ill included: scrambled eggs and biscuits; tomato basil soup with biscuits; corn chowder; black bean soup; oatmeal; pork roast with lemon parsley roasted potatoes (the lemon and parsley were from our garden); eggs and toast with oranges; homemade hash browns; French onion soup; a vegetable-rich enchilada soup using the last of the leftover pork roast, enchilada sauce, some dry soup mix that I had been given with split peas, barley, and lentils, plus corn, pasta, and tomato bullion powder.

Target had a sale of spend $100 on baby products, get a $30 gift card. Usually, they have a similar sale in January with a $20 gift card and one in February with a $25 gift card, so I wait until the February sale. This deal was too good to pass up, so I once again adjusted my plans for shopping this month. I’ll still be within my regular budget for purchases this month.

My husband and I combined our errands together late one afternoon to several places that we needed to go to that were all 5 miles from home and near each other. Our last stop was Albertson’s, where they had a sale on avocados ($0.19 each, limit 4). We each have the app on our phones, so we were able to buy 8 at this price. Albertson’s has been having loss leader sales lately with unbelievably low prices–you just have to use their app, click the sale items on the app, and then check that you are purchasing them on the app. If I just want to go for those things, it’s not worth the gas for me, but we had to drive by the store to get home, so this time it worked.

I set a goal to be able to fit into my wedding dress by our twentieth anniversary this year. I was lax last year as I had planned to do it by our anniversary last year, but I started working on other things and stopped tracking my eating. I slipped back into my poor habits of sampling meals while cooking, larger portions than I need, and snacking while working in the kitchen. So, I started using the free Lose It app again on the morning of the 16th. I have moved my goal a bit earlier, in fact; I want to reach my goal weight by the end of March, which is the date the app gives me to achieve that goal if I stick to the plan every day. I have lost 4.6 pounds since I started tracking my meals (and keeping within the calorie allotments for the day) on the 16th.

I worked in the garden pruning my roses and grapevines to keep them in good health. It takes a couple of months for me to accomplish all of the pruning that I need to do; January and February are the busiest months in my garden.

I listened to a few business podcasts on Spotify at 5 a.m. while editing a photo session.

My husband and I watched a comedian (Andy Woodhull) that my husband found on YouTube.

What did you do to save money last month?

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This Post Has 107 Comments

  1. Gardenpat

    Glad to hear you’re on the mend! I remember the days when the flu or some other sickness would hit the whole family! When he had 8 kiddos, they got the chickenpox- 2 kiddos at a time for what seemed to be for3ver but was probably just 4 weeks! Only sick enough to be cranky and bored! I was ready for a break afterwards! Take some time before you try to go at full speed!

    We Made eye glass cleaner to refill little bottles we bought for $6 each at optometrist’s about 5 years ago! Once they ran out, I researched and found a super-simple DIY recipe that uses 3 ingredient I always have at home- rubbing alcohol, water and dishwashing liquid! It literally cost a few pennies to refill the $6 little spritz bottle! Since I made up 3 bottles, I figure I saved at least $15!!! I’ve been making my own for about 4-1/2 years now! https://creativehomemaking.com/cleaning/general/eyeglasses-cleaner/

    Finished the quilting for client quilt she brought over. It was 67”x 67” . She wanted to do the binding herself and so it was pretty straightforward! She dropped it off on Friday and had it finished on Tuesday (It had been a busy week or it would have been finished on Saturday!) https://pin.it/ablpwqypfsy4pw and here’s a close-up: https://pin.it/mfdzmt4npnojuy. My daughter brought over a client quilt from CA (we are in Ohio) and got it quilted up. The back is Minkee fabric. https://pin.it/dobt522p2mawej and https://pin.it/wgorih7dn3z5rp. So this brought in some money for each of us this week. We can also do online orders at our website: HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    Our Family Home Storage Center here in Columbus announced that there would no longer be vacuum sealed #10 cans of dry refried beans for sale so the remaining inventory would be a B1G1Free until they were out. That made it $3/can! Since you just add hot water to them, they are SO convenient! I bought 6 cases (6 cans to a case) for the cost of 3 cases! The sale price ended up being $3/can! I was just using my last can of these when the sale came around! They are open to the general public and here’s a link: https://providentliving.churchofjesuschrist.org/food-storage/home-storage-center-locations-map?lang=eng
    I think later today I will make up a big batch of beef and bean burritos and freeze a couple dozen!

    I made more muffins up using muffin mixes I had! So nice to just add wet ingredients,stir and then pop into the oven! https://pin.it/lhuf25yubztoiv. Only 18 minutes from the time I opened the mix jar until the time the muffins came out of the oven! Yum!! And so much cheaper than buying breakfast out somewhere or even buying grocery muffins!

    Hubs finished my storage cabinet in kitchen to replace the previous one that had much less storage space. Here it is. It’s not a granite countertop (none of mine are) but,to me,it couldn’t be more of a wonderful luxury to gain that much more space so that things can be more organized! My small appliances that I use often are in cubbies along with their accessories. https://pin.it/f7g65odlnhtykz
    Notice the dividers that a Hubs made in cubby below George Foreman grill for each of the grilling plates to slide into neatly? Perhaps he thought of that because of the previous way they were “stacked” in a far less accessible corner of a deep cabinet in what he would call my “Jenga” way of placing them! 🤪🤪 I also have space for some of my baking mixes with more space to add more! You may also see some recycled commercial jars that previously held jam/ sauces/spreads. I used those to hold my Jiffy cornbread mixes and I vacuum sealed them using my Foodsaver and a larger Foodsaver canister. https://pin.it/ydfclm7u5a74ja. This is why my Foodsaver will remain on my countertop, not tucked away underneath! If it’s out, I’ll use it much more often than if it isn’t!
    We are still eating (very well,actually!) using just what we have stored in the house! Hubs and son are still pleased with the variety they are being given! None of us has felt deprived! I just made a batch of yellow cupcakes, using a mix from my shelf and frosted them with Apple Cider frosting in a tub that I got on clearance just after Halloween! Yummy! And that means we don’t need to buy snacks/treats! T made 24 so I’ll probably freeze some!
    I thawed some cooked chicken chunks from the freezer and used them to make Chicken Divan in the oven, chicken Alfredo in Instant Pot and chicken madras curry on stovetop! We had a choose your own dinner last night and we each chose something different! The leftovers were packaged into individual serving containers and labeled and put into my leftovers and grab and go drawer in new fridge! So now, we can enjoy these leftovers along with last week’s potato soup and cheesy taco orzo and spaghetti (only have 1 serving of each of those left!)will feed us for a few days, only adding side dishes from pantry! Even with the incredible clearance foods I bought this month- pumpkin purée and dry refried beans, it still is well under my normal grocery budget for the month and equal a huge savings over time because I won’t have to buy these at normal store prices!
    Hard to imagine that January is over halfway over!

    We drove to one of our out of town daughter’s house to take her and our son-in-law out for his birthday lunch. We used our free Gas Buddy app on my phone before we left to come the 89 miles home and found gas for $2.12/gallon! In our area, it is around $2.59!! 47 cents a gallon less! We were grateful for that technology that even gave us directions to the gas station!
    This week was the end of the pay period so as our new direct deposit came in,I “zero-ed out” our checking account balance. The excess, I divide between adding to our savings account and additional mortgage principal payments. This time I decided to divide it for only about 10% of it to go into savings and 90% to go as principal payments. I had enough to make 4 additional principal payments over the regular January payment. So we paid down 5 months of mortgage this month! Only 109 more payments to go but, at the rate we went in 2019, instead of almost 10 years, it will be paid off in 4! Fingers crossed!

    1. Hilogene in Az

      GardenPat, Thank you for the lens cleaning link as well as the information about refried beans. I checked the Phoenix store and didn’t see the sale but will inquire further.

    2. Cara

      Yes, Pat! Thank you for that lens cleaning solution link! We’re almost out of our from the optometrist!

      1. Laura S

        Most optometrists will refill your bottle for free.😊

  2. Susan M.

    I made home made soap! This is a new hobby for me, so I consider it partly as entertainment for myself and my teen daughter! It is also much less expensive for me to make my own, than to purchase home made soaps. My daughter and husband have very sensitive skin, and being no able to not use soaps that have certain chemicals added to them is helpful.

    I returned some items that I was no going to need after all, and then was told that I could keep the items!

    I shopped for winter clothes on clearance.

    Details and pictures on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2020/01/frugal-friday-week-of-january-12-18-2020_17.html

    I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee. 🙂

    1. Anna Gartin

      Pat I just tried the LDS link and it doesn’t give product details says I am not a member.

      1. Gardenpat

        Anna- I just sent you a message with the list of items they sell and prices. I don’t know why the link didn’t work for you. It’s worked for many other friends who are not members of my faith. Sorry!

    2. Joanne in the UK

      Susan I was confused initially readying your posts as to why your husband and daughter’s skin was affected by SOUP, I think I need to pop on my glasses. Good luck with your SOAP making! 😂😂

      1. Susan M.

        I kept trying to make sure that spell check did not change my word “soap” to the word “soup!” 🤣 So I was having the same problem while typing it!!!

    3. Heidi Louise

      Hello, Susan! Your blue hydrangeas are so lovely in your profile photo!

      Re: your heart soaps you described on your blog: When a friend of mine got married, her mother and grandmother made small heart shaped soaps similar to the ones you pictured, with natural ingredients and herbs, packaged with a thank-you-for-coming note for all the guests. A huge undertaking, I thought at the time, as they must have made well over a hundred fifty bars, and a lovely and unique guest gift. I don’t personally think wedding guests need a favor, but that was their choice. Would be nice for shower favors as well.

      1. Susan M.

        What a lovely wedding favor!!! And yes, that would have taken a LOT of work! In addition, the soap needs to cure for four to six weeks after making, so they would have had to be really on the ball and gotten them made way ahead of time!

        1. Susan M.

          And thank you for the compliment on the hydrangeas! The former home owner planted them, so I cannot take any credit for them! The morning this picture was taken, I was getting ready for church when I realized the flowers on my dress matched the hydrangeas out front, so I grabbed my son and asked him to take my picture with them. Sadly, last year they did not bloom very well. I am hoping they revive this year. I am not sure how long they live on average, but we have been in this house for almost thirteen years so they are older than that anyway.

  3. Kandace

    I am continuing to eat down our pantry and freezer in anticipation of moving. Some of the meals and food items that I made include ham and bean soup, impossible cheese and vegetable pie, smoothies, chili, margarita pizza, corn and potato chowder, pasta carbonara, hummus, corn muffins, and scones.
    *I finished dc-cluttering and painting my art studio and took a large load of items to a local craft resale store. While there, I found a piece of upholstery fabric for .01 cent to recover the chair I use. The fabric was only about 8″ wide, but cutting it in thirds and sewing it together, it made it wide enough to cover the seat. My studio feels fresh and clean now!
    *I’ve also been sorting through personal keepsakes and have most of mine now in one binder separated into sleeves by theme. I had the binder and sleeves already but it has taken a lot of time. Now I am sorting through some photos, getting rid of blurry ones or those just of scenery, and consolidated what we have.
    *I am started a part time job this week for the state where I live. I will have to use my credit card for travel expenses but will get the money reimbursed. It’s an interesting job and pays nicely. We are planning to put my income into long term savings.
    *I continue to knit on my sweater and have plans for another sweater to use up all the extra yarn that I have in my stash.
    *I am also finishing a piece of art that is due for an art sale tomorrow. I donate 70% of the sale price to the organization, but I am happy to help their cause.
    *I cat sat last week for my neighbors. They are taking my husband and me to dinner as a thank you. I was also able to use a ticket to the opera that they didn’t use because of their travels.
    *There is probably more, but I am grateful for the many blessings in my life, to share them with other like-minded people, and to learn from each of you.

  4. Cindi

    I’m so sorry you all had the flu and I hope you are well now, with no complications.
    I inventoried all my seeds and decided what to order for my garden this spring. I put in the order using a discounted gift card I purchased before Christmas – and I got cash back by ordering through eBates. I spent less than $15 out of pocket (not counting the previously purchased gift card) and should be all set for seed-starting in March.
    I mended a shirt for my husband and a pair of my jeans.
    The cord broke on our bedroom blinds and my husband fixed it. He has done this before, putting in new cord, so it went pretty fast.
    My laundry basket was tearing, so my husband mended it.
    I re-dyed a pair of black jeans with black Rit dye purchased with a coupon.
    I purchased two shirts at the thrift store for $1 each.
    We attended the local health fair and brought home new toothbrushes, a spatula, and got a bunch of blood tests for much cheaper than at our doctor’s office. We car-pooled with friends and went out for breakfast afterwards, which is much cheaper than going out for dinner.
    We combined a bunch of errands one day and packed our lunch for the trip, saving gas, time, and money.

  5. Anna In Ohio

    We bought a new TV for Christmas that is I guess called a “Smart TV” it has tons of free movies so we’ve really been enjoying that we hadn’t bought a new TV in probably 15 years. We saved the old TV to put in one of our bedrooms it still works fine we rarely watch TV in our rooms unless we’re sick but its nice to have. Krogers had a good sale this week on pork tenderloin I bought 20 lbs for stocking up my pantry. My personal goal is to get a years worth of meat stocked in my freezer and Canned Up but only when prices are good at 99 cents or less per pound. This past week I learned to Can Sweet and Sour Chicken we had it for dinner yesterday very good though next time I think I will add a little more brown sugar and more ginger to the ingredients. I have 3 quarts left on my pantry shelf for another quick and easy meal. We live in central Ohio and while most of the time we have good weather, we do get power outages and snowed in days so its nice to have food that is already made and by me which is healthier. I have been reading the LDS Preparation Guide on keeping a years worth of food stocked and really focusing on that. I was raised Mormon but got off track of what I was taught growing up. With so much going on in our world today it is even more clear why we should be stocking up for uncertain times. So anyways that is how we are saving money not only being prepared but watching food prices and stocking when the price is low.

    1. Patricia in southern Minnesota

      I think anyone who has or is considering buying a Smart TV should do some research. Evidently some of them are vulnerable to possible intrusion and hacking. There are steps you can take to protect yourself. This warning was put out by the FBI.

  6. Jo

    I’m so sorry you were all sick! That could not have been easy. I hope everyone recovers nicely.

    I made another pitcher of lemonade with the lemons from our tree. I never, ever liked lemonade until now – I finally figured out it is because it was always made from a dry mix when I was growing up. Fresh lemonade is a whole different taste. I have used my new orange squeezer to juice some of the lemons, but some are too big for even an orange squeezer, so I continue to use my old strainer that sits on top of a bowl to juice the really big lemons. I used Swagbucks to get the new squeezer.
    I was able to hang out some more laundry this weekend, as well as use my big indoor rack.
    I cooked a roast in the oven this weekend since our weather is cool, and added a pan of peeled and cubed sweet potatoes to cook at the same time. When the potatoes were done, and while the roast was still cooking, I took out the potatoes and slid in a pan with ground lamb patties , so I was able to cook three things basically at once.
    I used the remains of a chicken carcass after cutting off the breast, wings, and leg quarters. I cooked the raw carcass in a pot of water, then pulled the meat bits off and made chicken noodle soup, with homemade noodles. I cooked the skins I removed when cutting up the chicken, by dropping them in the skillet after cooking the breast meat for a different meal. The dog enjoyed the skins very much.
    I bought another gift card with Swagbucks and will buy another one as soon as the month changes, to get the discount.
    To Gardenpat, just thought I would mention that our optometrist will refill the lens cleaner bottles for free, if we’ll just drop by with our empties. I work near mine, so I take them by as needed. Folks might want to ask their own doctors about that.
    I am working hard at not wasting food. While I”ll never be perfect, I’m doing much better than I used to.
    I donated a piece of furniture we don’t use anymore to the local humane society thrift shop. It’s frugal for them, and it was picked up for me, which was a real bonus for me.
    I called on a doctor’s bill for a routine visit. It turned out that they had billed my old insurance that has expired, not my new insurance, so they were charging me the entire bill. That should be straightened out now.
    Have a good week, everyone!

  7. Holly

    I made white bean rosemary soup with dried rosemary inspired by Brandy’s recipe. So very good. We ate the soup for several meals and have some frozen too. We skipped buying groceries for a week and spent less than forty dollars when I finally shopped. I was going to try a home delivery service of fruits and vegetables that advertised a savings of 30% because I had a $10 off coupon. But the minimum order was $30 plus shipping unless I bought $50 or $60, and the prices were higher than Kroger and Aldi’s featured buys. So I postponed my first order and likely will cancel the whole thing. With the high prices of produce that aren’t loss leaders, I think we’ll be eating more frozen vegetables and canned fruit.
    I knew we’ve been homebodies this winter but didn’t realise how much so until I got a reminder email for an oil change after three months. Ah, no, we don’t do oil changes every 1000 miles or so. I want the old car to provide us with transportation for as long as possible so it isn’t going for joy rides this year. I’ve been taking mileage into account when looking at sales flyers and, consequently, shopping for groceries more frequently at the grocery store in town along with Dollar General and Dollar Tree rather than doing the 16- to 28-mile round trips required to shop at other stores.

  8. What a beautiful rose. And .19 for avocados, wow! I hope you all will be back to good health soon. Last week, I cooked with a our home canned foods… tomatoes, eggplant, and lentils. Also cooked with our butternut squash, garlic, leeks and herbs. We had some very cold days for us. On those days, I caught up on ironing, recanned a #10 can of black olives, and made my first ghee, to add warmth to the house. Laundry was hung on the line. While ironing, I watched a couple of episodes of Howard’s End for free. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/01/a-new-winter-squash-recipe-frugal.html

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I know there was a Howard’s End movie. Was there a television show as well?

      1. Stacey

        Yes, PBS is currently airing a Howard’s End series with Haley Atwell, and also a Jane Austen series called Sanditon.

      2. Terri Ramey

        Yes, there is! It’s being shown on pbs. This week was episode #3 I believe. I’m not sure how many episodes there are in total.

      3. Patricia Koernig

        Brandy, I believe there is a Howards end show on PBS. Originally showed on Starz.
        Glad you are feeling better.
        Patricia/FL

      4. Mable

        It is running on PBS now. I think you can find the first couple of episodes on the national PBS website.

      5. Jane

        Yes, it’s a four part miniseries, I really enjoyed it. I hope you’re all feeling better Brandi.

      6. kandace

        Yes! It’s currently on PBS in four episodes. They have been very true to the original story.

  9. Elizabeth M.

    -Avocados were on sale here at 4 for $2.50! ($2.00 US) I’m really envious of the price you got, but I’ll enjoy being able to include them in my salads. I am so sorry to hear your family was hit by flu. That’s really miserable.

    -During a stretch of bitterly cold weather, I used a ham bone from the freezer to make stock, and added some chunks of russet potatoes that were starting to show their age to make soup for several meals. There was quite a lot of small bits of meat still on the bone, so there was plenty for the soup. I added quite a lot of pepper, which really made it extra tasty. I’ll definitely do this again. I had purchased a couple of grocery items to have at Christmas but not used them. So, that cold, cold week, I was able to have maple syrup in my oatmeal, and blueberry pancakes with maple syrup. I also had a can of whipped cream, which I opened to top up a mug of hot chocolate. I’ll use the rest on a ginger-pumpkin cake that I had planned to make, but didn’t get around to for Christmas. I made a mason jar of hot chocolate mix. I don’t have it very often, but it is nice in the winter, especially if I’ve been outdoors.

    -I’ve changed one lunch meal menu from a large salad with chicken breast meat, to a side salad with a different protein, like a hard-boiled egg or a broiled sausage. It is still very filling, much less expensive, and I don’t get tired of salads as quickly.

    -I had been craving cinnamon buns, but hadn’t got around to making them. I ended up buying some, but they were pretty dry and not very cinnamony, so I couldn’t eat them without doing something to them. I thought of making French toast or a bread pudding, but these are not foods I really like. I decided to slice them in half like a hamburger bun, warm them up and add butter. Problem solved!

    -I am cutting $25 from my food budget and $25 from my gas budget for February. (The spending month starts on the 3rd last day of the month.) It is only four weeks from one set of paydays to the next this month, and income is lower because I had a meeting cancelled last month, so this will help stretch the dollars. I also will redeem loyalty points for a $10 gift card, which I will use as part of the food spending money, so there will be a $35 saving on cash spent on food.

  10. Jenifer

    What a beautiful rose – such a fresh sight!

    This week our house had the flu too. Thankfully it landed after I had gotten my required hours in at the office (to be paid).
    Made honey lemon coolers with dehydrated lemon crystals – since we were out of fresh lemons.
    I stocked up at the drugstore for OTCs we usually use around this time of year. Bought the store brand and saved 50%.
    When I started to feel better, I made simple Swifter duster refills repurposing a fleece scarf that wasn’t being used.
    Canned a small batch of apple butter. I just slow cook down apples with a teaspoon of cinnamon and then follow the Ball canning water bath method. Granny smiths are my favorite to use.
    Made very simple meals and reheated leftovers.
    Hope everyone has a positive & germ free week!

  11. Tina S.

    Glad you are feeling better. That’s an amazing deal on avocados!

    I haven’t posted for a while, so this covers several weeks. We had a bunch of snow two weeks ago. It was really spotty throughout the area (Seattle), but we ended up having 8 inches. Our hill was impassible by car, but I had parked at a strip mall at the bottom of the hill so I could at least get to work. We have ice grippers for our shoes, so we can walk up and down the icy steep hill without falling. Thankfully, the main roads were clear so we were able to attend a symphony concert we had tickets for on the third night of the snow (many people ended up not being able to get there). The snow was beautiful but I was happy when it all melted and life could get back to normal. Now it’s just raining.

    My frugal accomplishments were of the normal sort. We ate from the pantry and freezer. I am still enjoying a bunch of jam I made in 2016. I did a bunch of bulk prepping for meals and froze everything. Library books were read, puzzles were done from the newspaper my mom shares with me. Found a book I wanted for 25 cents at our library.

    One of the presents I gave my husband for Christmas was a piece of fabric I had left over from a shirt I made him last year. I made a tag for the fabric that said “Hand made item of your choice”, and he chose a vest. There is enough fabric for the front of the vest, and I found fabric for the back and the lining in my stash, so all I needed to buy was the pattern and a small buckle. I made a few tweaks to the pattern, and am adding a few special details. It’s a fun project to work on.

    Hope everyone has a great week. Brandy, thanks so much for hosting!

  12. Wyoming Gal

    I am glad your family is recovering. I was hit pretty hard with an upper respiratory illness during our Christmas travels across country to OH, PA and NY. When you are better it helps you appreciate how good you feel most of the time.

    We are getting ready for a trip to Hawaii to visit our son, who has recently relocated there. So I did lots of mending – shorts for DH, tights, panties, a tee shirt, buttons on a blouse, pj’s and a darning a sweater elbow. Now I am cleaning and polishing shoes, shoes, shoes. Since I am having a no buy year, I see I must take good care of my shoes and boots.

    I am working on making gifts with yarn I already have. Inspired by a YouTube video, I started blocking items I have crocheted recently. It really gives the item a better shape and an more finished look. This month I worked on an afghan (for my son and his apartment in HI), a beret and scarf, a trivet and potholder for DIL and a shawl for an aunt who will have hip replaeement surgery soon. I cleaned out all the hotel toiletries in the house and donated 5 pounds of soap and lotion to the local food pantry. I did reserve a moderate amount of items for our month long trip to the UK coming this spring, because we will be traveling and staying in a camper van, not hotels.

    As part of a no buy year, I did buy a pair of cashmere lined black leather gloves (from LLBean) for $5 at the church thrift shop. I can only buy used items as part of my “rules”. And I can accept gifts – so I received a new shirt and some packing cubes (for all the travel) as birthday presents.

    Cooking has included these items: spinach rice casserole, wild rice and sweet potato soup, cranberry/apple crissp, Pioneer Gingerbread, chickeen soup with ramen noodles, loose meat enchiladas (with pork, this time) and homemade enchilada sauce, Senate Bean Potpie (yummy with cornbread “pie crust”) and 1 hour whole wheat bread.

    1. PennyP

      Hi Wyoming gal
      When are you coming to the UK and where are you hoping to go? If you don’t mind me asking.

      1. Wyoming Gal

        The entire month of May. We are going to all 15 national parks in the UK (Wales and Scotland,included, of course.)

        1. PennyP

          Wow that sounds amazing. Not many British people will have been to all the National Parks – what a great idea. May is a good time to come. Hope you enjoy it.

  13. Tammy

    I’m glad you and your family are feeling better. My son and I have had a cold for a couple of weeks. We are on the mend too, i think.
    I’ve been making Indian dishes with lentils and beans. I just add hard boiled eggs for the extra protein that my husband likes. I have been eating protein and vegetables, a little bit of fruit and avoiding bread, sugar, and anything made with flour. My glucose monitor testing has been good and I think I am losing weight. My clothes are fitting better and best of all; I am feeling better. I was exercising before my cold, but lately I have been sleeping a lot. Still, I feel better than I used too.
    As usual, we use the library for books and movies. We even go to libraries when we go out of town, for free fun! I’ve been trying to take food with me when I go to town so I am not tempted to eat something that is not good for me. I need to get a container to carry food. My husband has one that we use when we are together. I bought it for him, for his lunches. This saves a lot of money. We also feel a lot better eating our healthy food.
    I’ve been buying loss leaders and we work our menu around those sales and what I already have at home. The beans and lentils make me feel so much better. It is a cheap protein as well as eggs. We also ate a lot of salads that we got on sale.

  14. Maxine

    It’s good to have you back, Brandy! I’m so sorry you all had the flu, and all at the same time, too. It also happened to us once.
    Greetings to all from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA. Idaho is that funny L-shaped state sandwiched between Washington, Oregon and Montana. We are in the northern part of the state, about 100 miles south of Canada.
    Warning–this is gonna be a long one, because I actually kept track!
    WEEK ONE–We got snow nearly every day–about 30 inches in all. It kept us busy shoveling and snowblowing and just generally dealing with it. The frugal part of being basically snowed in was that we left the house very few times during the week and spent very little.
    * The snow inadvertently saved me money. I’m embarrassed to admit that one of my dogs (he’s a little dipstick) pee’d on the bed. I would have taken all of the bedding to the laundromat to wash and dry at once, but I didn’t want to drive in the snow. I have a large capacity washer and I am able to wash a comforter. I washed the comforter, mattress pad, blanket and sheets, but my dryer isn’t big enough for the comforter and I don’t dry wool blankets. So I spent two days with wet bedding draped all over my furniture. But I saved lots and lots of quarters!
    * I reused a padded envelope and stamps I already had to mail a package.
    * Good news and bad news. First, the bad news: I shortened a pair of jeans by measurement and without trying them on. The measurement was incorrect and I ended up with high water pants! The good news is that capri season is coming, LOL.
    * We all had dental hygiene appointments and came home with “free” toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. We have dental insurance as an add-on to our Medicare Advantage plans.
    * We switched our dogs from Purina One lamb & rice to Costco lamb & rice, which is about the same price, but 40 lbs. instead of 31 lbs. The dogs like it fine.
    * My husband has had a $45 sell order for some company stock he received before he retired. This has been going on for months–the stock never quite hit $45. One morning he was watching Fox Business News and noticed on the ticker across the bottom of the screen that “his” stock had just sold for $45! I was still asleep and he was shrieking, “It sold! It sold!” (Huh? Huh??).
    * I went online and found that our credit union has the best CD rates in the area…which is what we are doing with the proceeds from the stock sale.
    SECOND WEEK–The snow partly melted due to rain and warmer temperatures.
    * I returned two online purchases for refund. I dropped the Amazon return off at Kohl’s so I did not have to pay postage (it wasn’t Prime). We might re-buy a different version of one return, but definitely not the other (about $50 coming back).
    * I have never done well with house plants…until I got starts of my current spider plant and aloe vera. I divided them into 5 aloes and 2 more spiders, although I just re-planted the big mama spider in a bigger pot. I used pots and potting soil I already had. At least one plant is for my daughter-in-law’s birthday in May.
    * My gift-a-month in January are rice pillows that can be nuked in the microwave and used the same as a heating pad or hot water bottle…but better. I am making 5, two for my own family and three gifts. I am using scrap fabric ($0) and 4 lbs. of brown rice in each. I bought a 25 lb. bag of brown rice for $15.68 at Winco.
    * I booked tickets to Phoenix for the first week of March. I didn’t get the best fare, but I got the only nonstop flights, which mattered. We will get a $200 credit as a bonus for a new CC, so our OOP will be close to the cheapest fare.
    * We went swimming. We got $50 annual memberships at the local community center/athletic club through our Medicare Advantage plan. My daughter’s membership is free because she is disabled. For $100 year, we get the equivalent of a family membership that costs $70 month.
    Hope you are all having a wonderful week, and stay healthy.

  15. April

    My son cut his hair at home

    Rented a redbox movie x2 with codes

    Husband didn’t work for nearly a week because of weather so we stayed home

    Combined errands when needed

    Used an Autozone rebate gift card I received before Christmas to buy window washer fluid for my truck.

    Filled out a couple unclaimed property forms from the state treasurer. Received one check already for $1.50.

    I continue to use up cleaning supplies before I purchase more. I’m finally getting down to the last of some things, like Windex,laundy soap, and floor cleaner, so I will have to make some purchases. I’m about out of my cleaner I use to wipe down things, but I have 10 canisters of lysol wipes that’ll be used before I buy any more. I found a couple more items(bathroom cleaner and scouring pads) when I straightened up under the sink.

    My husband’s boss sent home 2 dozen eggs from his chickens

    Listed a few things on marketplace. No sales yet, unfortunately.

    I started taking a friend’s daughter to school a couple days a week. It’s between my daughters school and my work so I don’t have to detour any. She pays me $10 a week.

    Received a $5 rewards from Ace Hardware. Used it for batteries.

    Turn the heat off on days it’s warm enough

  16. Erin

    I am so glad you are starting to feel better. On Saturday Dillon’s (a Kroger affiliate) had pork should roasts for 97 cents per pound, limit 5 roasts. We were able to get nearly 40 lbs of meat for the freezer that way. My husband put two in the freezer for the crock pot and cut up and ground up the other 3 to make ground meat dishes and a few chops/steaks for the grill. Grilled steaks are a rarity here, but they will be great for special occasions like Valentine’s day. He was careful to measure out the ground meat so we have just enough in a pack for a dinner meal and lunch leftovers so nothing goes to waste (or gets overeaten).

  17. Alethea in Central VA

    I am so sorry your family had the flu. We have been spared so far and are so very thankful! Our frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks were:
    *Meals made were pan-seared steak with baked potatoes and green beans, pork fajitas with peas, shrimp scampi, cheeseburgers with homemade french fries, herb butter london broil with salad and garlic bread, seared parmesan salmon with baked potatoes and green beans, steak quesadillas with salad, grilled chicken with roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts.
    *I signed up to provide snacks for our Wednesday nights boys/girls classes at church. The first week I made cupcakes from a cake mix I had gotten on sale and frosted with homemade frosting. I also baked a cake for home at the same time. The second week I made brownies from scratch. I also made a batch for the freezer.
    *Re-gifted 2 gift cards to my daughter for her birthday. One is for her favorite restaurant and one is for her to buy office organizing tools. This is something she asked for and I thought it would be better for her to pick them out herself.
    *Our daughter lives an hour west of us and our son lives 2 hours north. We each drove an hour to a central location and met for a late lunch to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. While in that town, we stopped at Big Lots and found a queen sheet set (which we needed) for $11.99.
    *I bought chicken thighs for $.79/lb and turkey bacon for $2.49/lb.
    *Used blank cards from my stash to send as a sympathy card and for a birthday.
    *My husband was off two days this week and installed our kitchen backsplash. The first day I was stopping by WalMart to pick up a baby gift after work and my husband asked me to bring dinner home since I wouldn’t be able to cook. I opted to buy a frozen pizza for $2.98 at Walmart which not only gave us a quick dinner but also lunch the next day.
    *A friend and I teamed up to take dinner to a new mom in our church. Since I was going right after work, I made yeast rolls and apple goodie. I also made an extra apple goodie for my friend and one for us to keep. My friend made us an extra dish of the goulash she made. We also gave a gift that I packaged in a basket I already had.
    *Accepted a free chicken club sandwich and fries from my boss one day at work and a free ice cream sandwich from a coworker.
    *A friend’s husband had open heart surgery this week. I have been coordinating meals for them and she asked me to make a lemon blueberry bread that I have made before. I had blueberries in the freezer and was able to make one without buying a thing. I also made a second loaf for the freezer. It really does pay to have a stocked pantry/freezer!

  18. cc

    Good to hear your family is on the mend. We had a cold last month and still have a lingering cough.
    Picked up a few specials. 2dz eggs, 2lb butter, 2 lbs bacon, 4 whole chickens. I’ve been getting butter every time It’s on sale, I didn’t realize how much was in the freezer.
    Received a $5 coupon from staples in a e-mail, bought 100 tea bags for .50¢.
    Picked up free rx and received $2 coupon, bought coffee.
    Been working on upcycling projects around the house, trying not to spend anything. Cheap entertainment.

  19. Hope your whole family feels better soon, Brandy! I can’t imagine how hard it must be to take care of 9 sick kids when one is sick themselves. My hat goes off to you!

    My frugal accomplishments lately:
    – I made Copycat Oreo Cookies using pantry items (http://approachingfood.com/preserative-free-copycat-oreos/). Perfect with a glass of milk! Plus, since it’s made from pantry items (with the exception of butter, but then I consider butter almost a pantry item, as I keep some frozen at all times), if you’re not buying groceries but eating from your pantry, you can still eat Oreos!
    – Using the flash food app, I spent $20 and got a club pack of sliced ham and a pack of sliced roast beef (both higher end brands), a 50% off package of butter tarts (a treat for me), and a HUGE amount of fruits and vegetables (peppers, organic zucchini, baby tomatoes, sweet potatoes, oranges, apples, several types of pears, kiwi fruit, and limes). This significantly reduced the overall amount I needed to spend on groceries. The following week, I bought beef, hummus, and veggie patties, all for just over $8.
    – I made veggie fried rice and topped it with some of the inexpensive beef for my husband.
    – I made flourless chocolate cookies, which call for one egg white. I then found an old recipe (from 1917!) for cornbread which called for one egg yolk, so I made that (and added in the last of the frozen grated cheese I had, plus some homegrown green onions I had frozen). I love that I could make two different baked goods and only use one egg!
    – My daughter and I went swimming (free, yay!) at my sister’s condo pool. I gave her some cornbread as a thank you.
    – My sister gave me two picture frames that she didn’t need. I actually had been looking for two frames to hang in my bedroom on our gallery wall, so this worked out perfectly!
    – I made lemonade and limeade with the lemons and limes I got so inexpensively in my flash food produce boxes.
    – I made carrot soup topped with zaatar spiced chickpeas (almost entirely pantry items), and served that and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to my mum when she came over to help me run errands one day.
    – I turned some leftover pasta that had been floating around my fridge for a few days, into an oven-baked mac and cheese, and served it with baby tomatoes tossed in balsamic vinegar (discounted tomatoes from the flash food app), and an egg baked in a slice of chicken (chicken from the flash food app) in a muffin cup. An inexpensive meal, and easy to pull together.
    – I decided not to buy a new swimsuit, and to make the one that I have last a little longer.
    – I finally bought my daughter winter boots. I had held off on buying them earlier in the season (and she actually hadn’t needed any yet), and now they were on sale. I was able to get a good name brand for a very affordable price, and I expect to be able to recoup some of that cost by selling them once she outgrows them.
    – There was a special on redeeming Air Miles for groceries, so I redeemed 95 air miles to get $10 worth of groceries, and got 25 Air Miles back.
    – I redeemed 750 SB for a $10 payment to my paypal account.
    – I redeemed $20 of loyalty points for groceries.
    – My mother purchased some items at the local bulk store for me, so that she could take advantage of the seniors’ discount. It ended up saving me $2. All these savings add up!
    – I made some cold brew coffee from a packet of coffee grounds from timeshare stays earlier in the year. I rinsed out the container and put the grounds on my blueberry bush to help acidify the soil.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a bag of bentonite clay that I had had for over a year, for a package of all-natural sensitive teeth toothpaste, and some digital currency. I was happy to clear something out of my condo in exchange for something that I will use up. I also traded a package of David’s Tea that had been generously gifted to me by a friend, for a $15 Starbucks gc. I have enough tea at home, and I will use the Starbucks card strategically to accumulate loyalty points to get free items.
    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as usual!

  20. Lisa in Georgia

    My husband’s mother unexpectantly became very ill and passed away in early November of 2019. In her last days, she told my husband and his sister that she had two small life insurance policies, so she could “leave them a little something”. This month (January, 2020), we received his portions, which we used to pay off our truck and car loans. We are so thankful for her thoughtfulness and generosity. Each time my husband and I drive our vehicles, we think about his mother’s kindness and how grateful we are to no longer have those debts.

    1. Max--again!

      We finally got out of debt 25 years ago when my mother died and I received an inheritance. This left me determined never to incur debt again. And we haven’t! Thanks, Mom.

    2. Lisa

      I am so sorry for your loss, Lisa.

    3. Becky Pratt

      I, also, did this when my sweet daddy passed.
      There are 3 of us kids and we were all left a goodly amount.
      When I received the check from dad’s estate I paid every debt I had.
      The only reason my “old age” is as good as it is…is because my dad left me that money.
      I own my home and car. The only payments I have are my household bills.
      I can’t tell you how many times I have thank my dad that my life is so much easier because he left that money to all of us.

    4. Stevie H.

      This is so sweet. I love that she left you peace in the midst of what must be a sad time. I am sorry for your loss.

  21. Margaret Brohn

    Thanks Brandy for providing a place where  I can hang out  with my frugal tribe.
    I hope you and your family are feeling better.Here are some frugal things I’ve done.

    Everything in my closet with the exception of underwear is from thrift stores, including shoes and socks.
    I needed a calendar with large spaces for each day. I found one at the dollar store. Walmart had one very similar except theirs was $9.97.

     After really retiring ( I watched grandchildren for years after my official retirement. But they’re all in school now.) I had lots of spare time. I wanted to have something to do. I had done needlepoint for many years. But I was working and was able to have my pictures framed. I put it away when that was no longer the case. I decided it was more the process than the product and started making my own designs and using the extra floss that I acquired over the years. I just tack the finished canvased on my walls and have really enjoyed seeing them there.
     I kept a price book last year on everything I bought. I found that Aldi and Walmart are very close in price. As I suspected, my full service grocery store  was much more expensive. But did have great sales.
    I use Downy balls for fabric softener. I dilute the concentrated fabric softener and 5 to 1 and use that in the balls.It doesn’t prevent static cling though. 
    Lexie

  22. Stacey

    Brandy I checked out your Facebook for updates when there was no post last week and I was so sorry to hear about your illness. I remember those days when my family passed around the flu to each other, it seemed like we spent most of the winter sick with one virus or another. Not fun. Hope you are all feeling better soon.

    We are saving in some areas and spending in others right now. My husband has been in a job search since Thanksgiving. His one suit was over ten years old and a few sizes too small, so we spent a bonus from work on new suits for interviews. I had hoped to add that money to savings, but the suits were necessary and I was grateful we had the extra money to spend on them.

    He started his new job last week, with a 20 % pay increase and a large signing bonus that I asked him to negotiate for even though he didn’t want to risk countering their first offer. I felt that it doesn’t hurt to ask as long as you are clear about your reasons and respectful with your request. They can only say no and you haven’t lost anything if they refuse. My husband is 57 and this will hopefully be the last job change he has to make. Even so, it’s harder to find a job the older he gets and I feel like he’s always one fall off a ladder away from not being able to work anymore, so we have to make the most of any opportunity we get while we still have them. He is excited about this job and will spend the next several weeks traveling to job training, which also required some newer clothes. He will still get to office from home. We are switching from getting paid every two weeks, to getting paid once a month ar the end of the month, so we are rapidly trying to restructure our finances and hoping to have enough money to get through February.

    Due to a change in our State laws regarding minimum wage, my son got a $1.00 per hour raise at his job. He is high school age and works part time mostly to save for college so this will make a huge difference in his savings.

    My college age daughter applied to a local four year private collage that has an excellent nursing program and got accepted for next Fall. She has worked so hard the past 18 months at getting her CNA training, finding a full time job, and working on major prerequisites at junior college. I am so happy for her. After her first two semesters she began receiving emails from an honor society that she ignored and deleted. Finally they sent a letter to the house that I saw when I was bringing in the mail. It was from a group that invites all junior college students with a high grade point average to join. My daughter thought it wasn’t important, but I encouraged her to join because it might help her on a future application. So she went online, paid the $90 application fee and forgot all about it. Now we are thankful she did because being a member brought an automatic scholarship of $13000.00 per year at her new school, cutting the tuition fees almost in half. If she keeps living at home and working full time she should have just enough money to pay for school without taking out any loans. We had so many sleepless night when our kids were little wondering how they would ever be able to afford a college education. There was just never enough extra to save. I am astonished at the way things have worked out so far.

    We are cooking from scratch and eating from home. My cornmeal and flour and rice became infested with some kind of bug so I had throw away my stash and I am slowly beginning to replace it. I am going to try storing it in the mason jars with vacuum sealing that someone mentioned recently. Fingers crossed. We had some good stocking up sales recently: butter for $1.88/pound, whole chickens for $.88/pound, pork loin roast for $.99/pound, bell peppers for $.33 each, eggs for $.88/eighteen. We made quiches, breakfast burritos, chicken fajitas, pot pie, noodle soup, pulled pork sandwiches, pork tacos, quesadillas, spinach artichoke chicken and froze a lot of the rest of it for future use.

    I am intentionally not shopping and using the library for most of our entertainment. I read my first Ann Cleeves novel and keep my hands busy in the evenings with quilting, crochet, knitting and puzzling all with materials I have on hand. Tried buying on Mercari for the first time and found a Case Logic messenger style computer bag that one of my girls wanted for a birthday present for only $13.00. Very happy with the price and the quality. I used a $50.00 bonus reward at Walgreens to stock up on vitamins and get all of my valentines cards and treats for free.

    Sorry to go on and on, just excited to finally have some good news to share. Take care everyone!

    1. Mari in SC

      Congratulations to your husband on his new job. I’m a few years older and just retired. I was fortunate that I did not need to look for another job in the last 28 years. I may not have been happy with my raises and some of the changes in working conditions, but nothing happened that made it worth changing and trying to get work at my age in the last few years.

    2. Rachel

      Yes! Good news all around. Congrats on your husband’s new job!

  23. Juls Owings

    Glad to hear you are better. Our Amish neighbors got the flu and sent over a warning for me to stay away from them. I think my frugal move this week was to NOT get sick and end up at the doc office..

    We ate from the pantry. Did some work around the house that needed dealt with with what we had on hand. Basically just stayed home .Started planning the changes for the gardens

    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/01/eating-from-pantry-planning-garden.html

    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/01/eating-from-pantry-planning-garden.html

  24. Nancy in Eastern Washington

    That rose is gorgeous. I love to garden, but don’t do roses. They are too much work where I live. Our temperature ranges for the year are usually 100 degrees. We get up to 100 and down to zero. We also have wind. Maybe when I retire in a couple of years I will have time to devote to flowers like roses.
    I brought my breakfast and lunch to work most days for the last two weeks. One day my son took me to lunch, which was lovely of him. One day I used a gift card to get lunch. So 8 out of 10 days I brought my lunch.
    I got a free 5 pound bag of potatoes using a reward from Safeway.
    I got a $1.00 per hour raise at work, retroactive to January 1st. That was really nice, especially since I am retiring soon.
    I found 10 pound bags of potatoes for $1.29 There was a limit of 2, so I got 2.
    Made a stew using a very small chuck roast from the freezer that I cut up. Put in a lot of potatoes from the $1.29 bag (the 5 pound bag was gone already) a bunch of carrots from last summer’s garden, onions from last summer’s garden and celery that was just kind of hanging around. My DH loves stew.
    Made chicken broth from a Costco chicken, then made chicken tortilla soup.
    My mother and I had brunch with my son’s girlfriend at her church. there were probably over 300 women there. It was lovely, and we met her mother and sister. I won one of 11 door prizes. It was an umbrella. Very pretty too. We were also given a free pound cake when we were leaving.
    I am very busy at work now. I am a CPA and tax season has just begun.
    Meals were chicken tortilla soup with cornbread, baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese, baked potato casserole, bulgur with chicken and mushrooms, taco meat – either soft or hard shells or taco salads, homemade pizza, and salad served with whatever meals one wanted. It is just my DH and I at home most of the time now, and occasionally my older son if he is in town.
    I usually cook mainly on the weekend and then again maybe on Wednesday, then we just choose what we want to eat. Lots easier than when the boys were home and we would have them plus who knew how many other people over for dinner. Since I cooked most nights, and lost of moms didn’t, our house became the “go-to” house for dinner when the kids were together. I will admit – mainly when I made spaghetti. Always made a huge batch of sauce. Just throw on extra noodles if more were coming than planned.

  25. Mandy

    I am glad you are all feeling better! Your meals sound delicious and give me inspiration for this week.

    Meals: Whole chicken baked with potatoes and carrots, chicken broth from the carcass, chicken tacos, chicken noodle soup.
    Eggs, bacon, and toast, fried corned beef and swiss sandwiches (like grilled cheese) and chips, turkey meatballs in pasta sauce or plain, banana bread that didn’t raise when baked became baked french toast, “crack” chicken noodle soup. I had extra of the soups so I froze them for another night.

    I requested and picked up more audio books from the library and requested a movie I have wanted to see. I was able to pick it up early and watched it last weekend. Using a small cd player/radio at work and utilizing the library for books on cd has saved me hundreds of dollars.

    My mom gave me 2 pairs of pants she couldn’t wear that fit me and I gave her a tv antenna that we weren’t using (her cable service dropped her favorite local channel). She is looking into cancelling cable all together. I also borrowed her 2 space heaters because her furnace isn’t working properly and she can’t afford to get it fixed right now. She has a carbon monoxide and knows what the problem is.

    I gave a friend some soap, shampoo and conditioner I found in my pantry we can’t use and she gives me clothing her daughter outgrows and fits my daughter. 🙂 We “trade” stuff all the time.

    The car my hubby drives still needs some work done so to save wear and tear he drives my car at night (I work 1st shift he works a 2nd/3rd split) and I stay home. This saves us gas and money.

    I packed lunches for my daughter and I for work and school. I drink water all day.

    I cut up school papers my daughter brings home for scratch paper.

    Have a good week everyone!

  26. Mari in SC

    I am so sorry you and your family were infected and sick. That’s never fun. I hope you all recover soon.

    My biggest accomplishment was that I FINALLY retired last Friday (1/24). I worked full-time for over 46 years with just a few weeks off for maternity leave and for carpal tunnel surgery two decades ago. I am thrilled to now have my time to myself, even if my net income will be going down around 50%. Being thrifty and prudent all these years is paying off.

    I used the dryer to half-dry most laundry and get the wrinkles out and then hung it up for the remaining drying time. I cooked/baked several items at once to fully utilize the oven on the days I used it.

    My credit card points doubled after I charged thousands of dollars in dental work. I redeemed points to get $150 in gift cards to Lowe’s and Home Depot to buy shelving and storage items for the 7 foot long closet in my craft room/home office. This is the room that I used to use for working from home and I’m excited to have an organized crafts room. I still have enough points for another $125 in gift cards and will be using them to purchase indoor/outdoor carpet for my screened porch. It is cooler in the summer and the cats definitely prefer to lay on the carpet we have on one section of the porch rather than the wood. Anything for the cats! LOL! I really prefer the carpet, too.

    I used a 20% off coupon to buy fabric for the sampler quilt I am making in my 9 week learn to quilt class. I signed up for the morning session of the class, which has 11 other people enrolled, but have changed to the evening class since there are only 3 other people in that session and thus I can get more help/attention.

    I completed my taxes for 2019 so I could appeal my Part B Medicare premium. Based on my 2018 income, the premium would be $288/month, rather than $144. However, since my income in 2020 is going way down, the Social Security rep said there should be no problem in getting it reduced back to the standard $144/month. I will also be submitting the tax return to the county as proof that I reside in South Carolina so I can keep the resident property tax rate, which saves me about $1,200/year, and I will be completing the forms to have the first $50,000 in value totally exempted from property taxes since I’m over 65 (or will be next month) and have lived here for over a year.

    I hope everyone has a great, frugal week and thank you to those who post links to your websites, where I get even more ideas on being thrifty and prudent. I love this community!

    1. PJGT

      Congratulations on retiring!

    2. momsav

      Mari,
      Congratulations on retiring! That’s awesome!

    3. Stevie H.

      Congratulations on retiring!

      I loved the idea of half drying things. Does it help the jeans and towels not be so stiff?

  27. Lillianna

    I am so happy all of you have recovered. Just as soon as I read Brandy’s post, sugar cookie said she felt bad. I was in a full fledged panic. Last time she had it , we were in ICU for three weeks.I am so grateful for the bone chicken broth in my freezer. I had never made it until I read a long ago post on here. She’s slowly back to her sweet self and I am so relieved. My own medical problems continue to be a struggle memory wise. My list don’t do me any good if they aren’t on paper. My notepad on my phone doesn’t meet my needs. I’m going to transpose all notes over to thin small notebook that will fit in my wallet which is attached to my wrist . I also have to do the cash envelope method. I can’t keep up with items purchased or charges made. That issue can be a huge frugal fail . I hadn’t planned on going on a shopping spree. But, my mother called and requested certain items. I went to the salvage store and picked up Poise pads. I found the super absorbancy in packs of 65. At $5.99 a pack I danced out the door. Mom’s cancer treatment has killed her bladder. On my way to her house , I stopped at a store I rarely make it to. It was overwhelming. I used my yearly budget for my household , health and beauty items list. I saved 66% off their prices. They had a shipment from Dollar Tree. Everything was 30 cents. I only bought name brand products only in quantities needed on my list. Think Crest,Scope and command hooks. I picked up an assortment of shelf stable milks from Costco marked at 25 cents. My needs and want lists were quickly fulfilled at ridiculously cheap prices. I made a stop in my local Marshalls. I picked up large Yankee sugar cookie candles for $1.00 . They had a ton of Christmas items marked to $1.00 . I searched through them for gifts for the girls. I now have gifts put up for the entire year. Perhaps one of my greatest shopping days ever and I still have half my budget left ! I struggle with frugal fails weekly. All my Tupperware is missing a matching piece. Tops , no bottoms and vice versa. Maybe sugar cookie eats them. I used a gift card from swagbucks to buy some quart Ball jars. I’m going to transfer good dry goods over to these and put on top shelf. We don’t use them often so perhaps this will alleviate my frustration. I googled a supplement I wanted to see who had it on sale. At $50.00 a bottle I was happy to get it bogo but ouch that price hurt. If it quiets my pain down it will be well worth it. Now for the really non frugal purchase. I booked a cruise for sugar cookie and I to go on. She has a birthday in a few weeks. I’m taking her swimming with the dolphins. I’ve researched this for over a year. I have used every tip I could find. I’m going to go make memories with my baby. Our monthly expenses are down to $600.00 a month or less so I keep reminding myself we can spend the extra money. For a tightwad, this purchase really makes me uneasy and I don’t know why. I guess it’s just outside my comfort zone. Hoping everything is going well for all the folks in prudent land. Looks like the sun is going to shine tomorrow. I still have sick time laundry to finish up. It’s not a pleasant chore.

    1. momsav

      Lilliana,
      I am so happy for you and your daughter! Your cruise will give you memories for a lifetime.

  28. Margie from toronto

    Welcome back Brandy – so sorry to hear that you and the family were ill – it must have been exhausting for you! So far I have been lucky although I think all the other staff at the church have been down with it and it did tend to linger!

    Along with finally getting up to date with my pay cheques (there had been some delays with our cheque writing co, but things have now been sorted) I also received my Out of Pocket Expense cheque for December so I’m hoping to start paying down one particular bill while still putting some money aside for emergency savings this week.

    I had intended cutting back on grocery shopping this month but there have been some good sales and certain areas of the pantry did need some additions. I shopped strategically to collect Loyalty Points and cashed in $40 worth of points in the past two weeks. I also lodged an inquiry as 8,000 points that I should have received (and showed on the receipt) have not showed up in my online total so need to get that sorted). I now have TP and toiletries for the next 6 months, extra Tylenol and Vitamins, and eye makeup that will take me through to mid-summer. I still have a few items on my list so what I did tonight was buy 1 of each – I find that these items will often show up on my next week’s Loyalty Point offers and then I’ll buy in bulk. I’ve gone through the pantry to ensure that things have been rotated and I’m rearranging a few plastic bins that contain dry goods so that like is with like – making it easier to keep track. I am planning on a very low spend February to now start working my way through things instead of just constantly adding.

    I was good about mending some socks and a pair of wool gloves, that had sprung some tiny holes, before things got worse! A bottom sheet finally gave up the ghost and shredded after it’s last wash so I sat and cup it up into a huge pile of cleaning rags which has certainly saved on the paper towel use! I thought that I would have to purchase another fitted sheet but then remembered that I had a spare flat sheet in a King size (my bed is a double so can’t quite remember how I ended up with this king size sheet) but with it being so large there will be a generous amount to tuck in so it will work fine. All my sheets are white and this is navy blue however, I do have navy and navy & white pillowcases sets so I will be able to mix and match – no need to buy anything!

    I’ve made a couple of pots of soup which is always a quick meal (1 pot of carrot & lentil and another of mushroom, beef & barley) and I’ve had a couple of meals where I just used up all the bits and pieces of leftovers in the fridge. It made for some unusual combinations but hey – it all ends up in the same place and it tasted good – so no waste.

    I’ve been taking a free online course at Futurelearn.ca – about the History of the Book – it’s by a number of professors from the University of Dublin and includes lots of great videos and reading materials so I’m really enjoying it. I have also been reading some more books from the library and watching Netflix – series 5 of “Line of Duty” from the UK finally dropped and I’m afraid that I binged on it over the weekend – an excellent program! I’ve just started watching the documentary called “Pandemic” – although given that we’ve now got a couple of cases of that new virus out of China here in Toronto – it might just be a bit too scary! Stay well everyone,

    1. Texasilver

      When I was a young nurse we did not have fitted sheets at the hospital. We tied the 2 corners of the flat sheet at top & bottom of the bed in a loose knot. It kept the flat sheet tight like a fitted sheet. I bet you could do that with your king size sheet on a double sized bed. We nurses are used to improvising!

  29. PJGT

    So sorry your family had the flu. With immune deficiency and this serious flu season (not to mention the coronavirus scare), I’m actually glad that I’m in isolation through the next 3 weeks of radiation therapy. I had been sad about being isolated for so long, but now I see that it is actually very wise. Thankful to have not had more than a head cold. Not going out is very frugal as long as I avoid online shopping!

    I have been on a mission to eat from the freezer to reduce the food in there. We have an overstuffed freezer and I need to regain control 😋

    I really organized the Christmas stuff like I have always wanted using adorable storage boxes that I bought for 80% off. I love that I can come out of these past months with a very organized house. I know that Swedish Death Cleaning is all the rage, but my thought is to keep things organized so my house is in order all the time. I can try anyway. Sometimes I look around the house and am so grateful for all that we have. Not having to run to the store to buy things spur of the moment is very frugal.

    I went skiing for a few hours with the family using our free passes and our own equipment we’ve had for years. In fact, my equipment and ski outfit were given to me a few years ago. Just being out on the snow was great!

    Wishing everyone a blessed week!

  30. Marybeth

    Chicken breasts were on a 3 day special for 99¢ a pound. I bought 8 packs so 44 pounds total. I divided them up into smaller bags and froze them.
    An artist friend had an art showing. Wine, cheese, crackers and fruit were served. Hubby and I went and counted that as our lunch.
    I won a $5 GC from DD. Hubby and I stopped on the way home from the art show and got a free snack.
    Went to a girl’s night out. We played Bunco. It is $5 per person. The host supplies dinner and drinks. Everyone takes a turn one month out of the year. I am a sub so I never host. I get to go several times a year. This time I won. Brought home $30 and had a great time. A friend drove me this time. We take turns. I have been decluttering the office. It is looking really good.

  31. Michelle

    Sorry to hear you all were ill. Our grandbabies who live with us both had RSV, so the week before last week was harder on our budget. I saved money last week by making butternut squash soup using Brandy’s recipe from the website. I have several jars of butternut squash I had grown and canned, and also chicken broth I made and canned, so it was very economical to make. It’s one of my husband’s favorite meals. I am working hard to cut our grocery and household budget. I find I do the best when I use the grocery pickup, since the total is right there and I can take things out of the cart or switch them to stay within my budget. I am trying my best to meal plan from our pantry and freezer and use things up rather than buying things.

  32. Karen Mary

    Oh, I’m sorry you’ve all been ill! Ugh! Please be sure to show us a picture of you in your wedding dress when you’re finished! While I don’t often write here, I do come to every post for all kinds of inspiration—for both homemaking and my own blog. Thanks so much!

  33. Wendy

    Long time reader, first time commenting. Brandy I love your tips and advice and often utilize them in my menu planning.

  34. Lorna

    Brandy I have heard that it is a horrid flu season in many places in the United States from friends I keep in contact with and so glad you are all getting better too. It certainly is debilitating having the flu and glad you all relaxed and spent time recovering.

    Great you were able to get such a good deal on baby items and got lots of preserving and garden maintenance in the gardens done.

    We have been truly blessed with oodles of rain here and our 3 household rainwater tanks are full, our swimming pool water tank is full and all the local farmers have full stock dams and household water tanks too. DH and I did a little jig when we went out in the rain and saw our final water tank overflow :). A reprieve in the drought for now but it is nowhere near over yet until our towns water catchment dams are filled so we are still on extreme water restrictions of 80 litres of water per person per day.

    Our savings added up to $121.26 in savings last week.

    Gifts – We said yes to a friend who offered us 3 fig trees she had propogated as she had too many saving us $68.94 over purchasing them.

    Gift cards and supermarket purchase savings –
    – Bought a Wish e-gift card from RACQ for groceries saving 5% or $7.28 on usual prices.
    – Took advantage of a $15 off $160 purchase at Woolworths for groceries saving $15.
    – Saved a further $3.39 from buying specials when we ordered our groceries.

    Finances and listings –
    – Took advantage of a free listing promotion on eBay and listed 11 items saving $18.15 on usual listing fees.
    – Banked more money into our 3 month living expenses emergency
    fund bringing us up t 28.8% of the way there.

    Pantry stocking –
    – With the $22.28 in savings above we stocked our pantry for free with – 1 x bic 4 colour pen, 2 x 2lts of laundry liquid, 3 x 6 pack of scourer sponges, 1 x 80 pk of freezer bags, and 7 tins of mango slices.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Home deep cleaning –
    – Using excess rainwater saved in our tank swimming pool I damp dusted and deep cleaned the downstairs bathroom, rumpus room, upstairs bathroom, cleaned the outside of the double sliding glass doors and screen and another rumpus room window and cleaned siding down one side of the home that had mould growing on it from the last lot of heavy rains we had.

    In the gardens –
    – With potting mix and garden pots we had we repotted into larger pots 3 bonsai apple trees, a valencia orange and a mandarin tree.
    – We weeded the lettuce garden bed.
    – Picked both lettuce and cherry tomatoes for multiple meals saving $7.50 over buying them.
    – DH and I dug a trench around one mature mandarin, and two mulberry trees in the paddock and put the remaining wood chips back in to mulch it.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I am happy to hear that your rain tanks are full as are the water supplies of your neighbors! That is wonderful news!

      1. Lorna

        Thank you Brandy we are all very happy and relieved 🙂 .

        Many neighbours had almost or did run dry on water in their rainwater tanks for their homes and were buying bottled water instead. The pensioners were particularly struggling to pay for water to be carted to their homes so I am so glad for them. Local charities had been sending in food and bottled water hampers which many took advantage of to get them through.

        I spoke to one local farming lady who said her husband couldn’t find her when the rain was coming down heavily and she told me she was standing on the stock dam wall on their property getting saturated and dancing watching their stock dam fill right up with water, bless her. Lovely to see her so relaxed and looking less stressed as they now don’t have to sell their cattle or truck in water for a while (2 years or more) and there will be some green grass for their cattle for a while too saving on stock feed costs.

        Sewingcreations15.

    2. Nancy in Eastern Washington

      I haven’t heard the term “rumpus room” since I was a little girl. That phrase always makes me smile and think such happy thoughts.

  35. Denise

    Hello to all and thank you Brandy for hosting, Lillianna, spending on memories is sometimes more important than anything else. Using your windfall on the the dolphin swim will be remembered and talked about your entire lives. I’m so happy for you! My son and dd-il swam with the dolphins on their honeymoon and loved it. The pictures were wonderful. And now those those two have three children the youngest named Liliana! So sorry your family was sick Brandy,hope everyone is up and around. My husband had a bout of bronchitis , that was bad but he seems to be better. I’m doing the usual washing zip locks and eating from the freezer and the pantry. We have plenty so we only bought milk and fruit this week. We are also sitting down on Sunday and seeing where we need to go this week so we can consolidate trips a big save on gas! Wishing everyone a safe and healthy week. Denise

  36. K

    I’m so sorry you all caught the flu! It hit our family right after Christmas and was not pleasant for anyone. I’m glad you are all on the mend, though!

    How we have saved money these last few weeks:

    * Borrowed several books from the library, including a couple on reducing waste in the kitchen. One tip that I definitely want to start utilizing is to use leftover eggs shells- if you bake them and then grind them to a powder, you can use them as a food supplement, but they’re also good addition to the garden (either directly burying them in the soil, or using as seed starting ‘pots’, or even by soaking them in water and using that to water plants! We eat a lot of eggs in this house, so we’ll definitely use some of these tips!

    * I found out that I will be paying significantly less for tuition this year than I thought (I had budgeted $1800 for books/tuition/fees (after my grad student ‘discount’), but I’ve spent about $600 instead). This is a great boon to the budget!

    * We have eaten all but 1 meal at home in the last two weeks, and we used a coupon when we went out to only spend $15 for two of us + leftovers. I have made several bread products (cinnamon raisin bread, honey wheat bread, bread rolls), a big batch of baked beans for a side dish, several vegetarian meals (including a chickpea version of ‘butter chicken’, which turned out pretty good!), and of course, lots of meals with a little meat and a lot of veg/beans to ‘stretch’ the meals.

    * I opted to not purchase extra fruits and veggies in our mid month grocery shop, as we had enough in the fridge and freezer to last us the rest of the month (with just a few additions). We’re reducing food waste and also our grocery spending by focusing on the food we already have.

    * When baking bread, I also planned out items to cook in the rest of the oven space as to not just heat the oven up for just the bread.

    * We have been able to keep the heat off for several days, particularly when I spend time cooking, as the stove and oven heat up our living room quite well.

    * I used the credit we received from our Christmas returns, as well as credit from a couple other programs I am part of, to completely pay for an Amazon order of items we needed/really wanted.

    * I was able to find a physical copy of a recommended textbook for a class for under $5, and all the other ones, I have found free pdfs or ebooks of.

    * I used my free printing on campus to print course materials and some other items I needed.

    * I used the aluminum foil trick to melt the excess wax on the sides of some large candles I’ve been burning. (You wrap a lit candle in aluminum foil, slightly crimping in the top to make a little chimney, and leave it for an hour or so). This way, all of the wax in the candle gets used! I’ve been using candles because we have several in the house, and it is a nice way to add a bit of fragrance and ambience.

    * Made the meal plan for February. As of right now, we have an extra $50 in the grocery budget that we’re going to try and save.

    I think that’s the major stuff right now! I’ve had a busy few weeks myself (the start of the semester), but I’m hoping that things will calm down in a few weeks.

  37. Melissa Y

    Good to hear that you are all on the mend! We saved the past few weeks by my husband fixing 2 lamps. One needed rewiring, the other a new turning knob thingy, He was also able to fix our refrigerator, which is less than 2 years old. It is frustrating how appliances just do not last the way they used to.
    I was able to save over 60% at CVS on items I needed by combining store coupons, manufacturers coupons, a percentage off my order coupon & Extrabucks. I use cotton rounds everyday for my skincare & I realized I can stretch them further by tearing them in half. I cut open lotion to get out the last bit.
    One of our biggest savings so far this month is that we have not gotten take out at all or eaten out. This is a big win for me as my work hours are unpredictable and I often come home just wrung out & mentally exhausted. Even though I do menu plan there were times that I just couldn’t force myself to cook. But no more! I remind myself that eating at home will save money & help pay off our debt to eventually get me out of the exhausting job! I am using up our pantry & freezer items and our grocery orders have been minimal. Eating at home is definitely one of the best ways to save in my opinion.

  38. Hilogene in Az

    Brandy, I am so glad to see you posting again, I was concerned when I didn’t see you either here or on Instagram. And happy that the worst is passed and you and your family can get back to the normal rhythms of life.

    I went crazy spending grocery money this month, twice our normal amount, I have lots of reasons and excuses but now need to adjust the budget to find offsets. I would like to say I did fabulous stockpiling but that isn’t exactly correct 👀. We ate out much more as well, so overall the month of January has been an example of what we used to spend in the old days.

    On the positive side, my DH health has been more stable and his pain less. Our gym memberships to planet fitness went down in price due to a sale my husband noticed In early January. We used to pay $15 a month per person, now it is down to $10/month without a contract. DH fixed our reverse osmosis system himself.

    We are both retired, and this year, I left Obamacare to change insurance companies. So we lost the subsidy but my new policy allowed me to use Mayo Clinic, so I joined their system. Once again, my annual comment to this group on Obamacare, the subsidies are only tied to taxable income, not net worth, so if you can manage your taxable income, you could qualify for a subsidy!

    Finally, I have tried out a few new recipes this month, and most of them worked out well!

    1. Heidi Louise

      Re: Obamacare: The biggest financial mistake my husband and I made when our employer closed was to think that COBRA was our only option. We wasted well over a year paying premiums-and-employer costs. We should have gone right to the online Marketplace and found a plan with a significant tax subsidy to compensate for our lack-of-income.

      1. Jennifer H.

        If your employer closed near the end of the year COBRA may have been a better option for the remainder of the year, as the Marketplace subsidies are based on your total income for the year and not your monthly income. In our case my husband was laid of in November and we were already over the limit in income for the year to receive any kind of subsidy. We are in our 60s so the unsubsidized Obamacare premium was substantially more than COBRA – the Obamacare premiums rise as one ages while COBRA is the same price regardless of age. My husband started his own business the next year so we stayed on COBRA because it had lower premiums and better coverage than Obamacare. Our Obamacare premiums this year are $19000 with a $6750 per person deductible and coverage only in our county.

  39. Jenny Raith

    I’m sorry to hear of the sickness at your house and glad it’s starting to lift!
    *We made homemade gifts this week including spice blends and pies. I also set up an unused shelf behind my bedroom door to serve as a Gift Cupboard and added the extra spice blends, homemade body scrubs and bath soaks, and homemade wooden coasters.
    *I started participating in the Vicky Challenge over at The Bluebirds are Nesting and tracked savings of over $150 for the week!
    *I did well sticking to the grocery budget and using up every scrap of food. I was able to send an extra $50 to our savings goal this month since we had done so well sticking to our lower budget in several categories.
    *More on my blog! https://www.cozyhomemaking.com/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-january-19-25-2019/

  40. Susan

    I sold several items on eBay and Marketplace. I tackled a very tall pile of stained clothing. Finishing year end bookwork for our accountant, so we can get our taxes filed. While checking some old credit card and PayPal statements, we came across several memberships that should have been cancelled a long time ago. Also found out our personal home was also insured (somehow) through a commercial policy we have on rentals, which cost us a few hundred dollars. It pays to check your bills! We are self employed, and although we have already paid in a lot, there is always fear that we will end up owing a big chunk of money at the end. We’ve decided to cancel our YMCA membership and work out at home, since I’m pregnant and don’t have the energy to get up early and go to classes. I ordered a Hypnobabies kit off of eBay instead of doing an in person class, as it’s a long drive and huge time commitment, along with a much higher price tag. Cooking mostly at home, since too many Christmas cookies have caused a bit too much weight gain, even for a pregnant lady lol. Sticking to Aldi for fresh produce and milk, as we have tons of venison in the freezer. I’ve also gotten lazy about lunches, spending a lot of money every week on specialty deli lunch meats. Going back to soups and stews for lunch. I’m also using Marketplace to fill in a few items I need for the baby, although I have most items on hand from my son.

  41. Joanne n the UK

    Glad you’re all feeling better now Brandy.
    I’ve been chugging along on frugal autopilot for a while now but not really seeing the difference in my bank balance. DH and I have decided that this weekend we will take time to really analyse what we spend and on what in a much more dynamic way and work on it weekly rather than monthly. Fingers crossed we’ll start to see a difference soon.
    I did take one of my oldest and best fry out to dinner for her 50th birthday as I’d been unable to attend her surprise party. I used a Groupon voucher and we had a fabulous meal with lots of laughter and reminiscing. Such fun and worth the outlay.

    1. Ann Lee S

      Joanne in the UK: To see great results, write down every expenditure in a little book. Transfer to your budget page (I’m sure youhave made one right? with titles of expenses (rent, gas, clothing, food etc etc) and a space for each months total spent.
      Now you know exactly how much you are spending on what, each month. By examining that, you will see where it is leaking and reduce your money available for each expense. (See David Chilton, or V Vaz Oxlade) I use jars with $$ in each for the month: Grocery jar has XXX$$; gas has XX$$ etc.
      I’ve done this for 55 years and it never let me down. ann lee s Vancouver Island, BC Canada

  42. Lori in SC

    Brandy, I’m glad your family is on the mend. The flu is no joke — I came down with it on Christmas day and it wiped me out for a week. Even when the initial flu symptoms started to disappear, I was hit with the worst case of vertigo I’ve ever had and that took almost another week to get over.

    I read everyone’s comments most weeks, but I’ve been slacking the last few months in posting my frugal accomplishments. I hope to do better this year, to help me stay on track.

    Last week I went to one of our 2 nearby grocery outlet type of stores, where I purchased a case of French’s fried onion canister for $3.00/16 canisters. They are good through next year, so that was a terrific find. I also picked up low carb tortillas (5 packs for $1), 2 packages of goat cheese for $1, a bottle of kefir, 2 quart size containers of yogurt, 2 large bags of frozen strawberries and bananas, 2 bbq sauces, garlic spreads, a case of soft cat food and a few other things that brought my total to $18. I priced these items out on grocery websites and my total would have been over $150!!

    Today I picked up cartons of beef stock for .99 each and chicken stock for 1.25, boxes of instant milk for .99, ground pork .75/lb, and a tube of breakfast sausage 3.99 for 3 pounds. These 2 grocery outlets save me so much money on basics and I am thankful I once again live somewhere that has access to these types of stores!

    I continued to cook meals at home, as the schedule allowed, but I definitely can do a better job. I have started packing sandwiches, chips, fruit snacks and refill the kids water bottles for our every other Friday that we pick them up. It used to be that we’d swing thru some fast food place at 730 or 8 at night when w e finally got back to our town and drop $30 on dinner for the 5 of us. Me taking a few minutes on Friday afternoon to prepare a bag lunch for their dinner has cut down on costs.

    SO and I fixed our shower diverter valve and the fill valve on our toilet in our master bathroom, saving tons of money compared to calling in a plumber to do these 2 quick fixes.

    I needed some medicines for my cats and instead of going to the vet where they charge $16 for 1 pill, I went on Amazon and ordered 6 pills for under $30, with free shipping. It was a simple dewormer pill so no vet trip was necessary and I saved a lot of money by buying the medicine online.

    Hope everyone has a great week. Can’t wait to read everyone’s frugal tips!!

  43. Laurie in AZ

    Sorry to hear you and your family were sick, Brandy! Glad you are feeling better!

    I haven’t posted in a couple of months. I had health issues (nothing serious, just annoying) for half of November and all of December! Yuck.

    These are my accomplishments since the beginning of the year.

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • I’ve been using the Ibotta, GetUpside, CoinOut, ShopKick and Fetch Rewards apps. I’m going to save all earnings to pay for Christmas presents. I especially like the GetUpside app, as I can locate the cheapest gas AND get a rebate per gallon every time. I’ve already earned $16.91 from that one since the new year. If you sign up for it and use my code (XPWTB) I will get credit.
    • I also found an app called 1Q where you occasionally get a text with a survey question that you answer and the money you earn (typically around 25c, sometimes up to $2) goes straight to my PayPal account. I just started it in December and have already earned $7.
    • Got some Christmas wrapping paper and bows and white elephant gifts and a couple of gifts for my son and son-in-law for this year’s Christmas for 75% off.
    • I also got my brother a host gift for 75% off, as we will be staying with him next month for a weekend.
    • Sent a free sympathy card I had in my stash of cards I’ve gotten for free from a charity I donate to.
    • Cleaned out my office, which was a disaster area and also the guest room closet. Hubby helped. Our ceilings are high, so there was a lot of wasted space above the shelf in the closets. Hubby used materials he already had and built 2 additional shelves above the one shelf in each closet. It added so much extra storage! I feel more organized now!
    • I defrosted and cleaned out my deep freezer, the freezer in our extra refrigerator and the freezer in the kitchen refrigerator. I inventoried everything and put it in a spreadsheet. We’ve spent January eating from the pantry and freezers. I have so much in there, I will be able to go through February and March too. So I’ve kept January’s grocery shopping to the bare minimum. If I come across a deal that is too good to not do, I will take advantage of it, but otherwise I am sticking to the basics.
    • We harvested and froze 14 heads of broccoli from our garden. We’ve also been eating from our lettuce, napa cabbage and swiss chard plants all month.
    • Refinanced our house to save a percentage point. We also switched from a 30 to a 15-year mortgage. Our stretch goal is to have it paid off in 5 years, but at the very least 7 years. Already made one payment that eliminated a payment of the back end already.
    • My Dad’s 90th birthday was this month. The family threw a big party for him. My brother and sister-in-law hosted. She asked me to bring dessert to go along with the cake she ordered. I made peanut butter cookies and oatmeal cookies, all with ingredients I already had.
    • Brought my lunch every day that I went into the office.
    • Canned 14 jars of pintos and jalapenos with jalapenos from our garden.
    • Cashed in airline miles for a gift card for my son-in-law’s birthday.
    • Worked 60 contract hours for the month. This may be the last month of regular contract work I get for a while. I am waiting to hear from another department. Am praying that works out.

    Have a great week everyone!

  44. Sorry to hear y’all had the flu, that is never fun. Hubby and I get our flu shot every year although I know it doesn’t cover all strains. Today, when I went to get his prescriptions, just as I was getting ready to approach the counter after the customer in front of me walked away, the cashier held up her hand for me to halt. She then proceeded to spray down the counter area, moved over to a different register, and when I got close she whispered, “flu”, indicating that’s what the previous customer had, lol! As a confirmed germ-phobe, I’m glad to know she disinfects regularly. Since my husband is disabled, and I’m his full-time caregiver, we don’t get out much so I think that helps us rarely get sick. Our daughter works at a local hospital though, so there’s always the chance she will bring something home, even though I’ve ingrained a MAJOR hand washing habit into her. Glad you all are feeling better!
    I really miss having Albertson’s to shop at, it’s been years since we’ve had them in our area. You got some great deals!
    Miss Brandy, do you have a post discussing the care and feeding of meyer lemon trees? I got a few lemons this year, thankfully, but last year~not a one.
    Off to read everyone’s comments! Stay well all!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I was planning to take us to get our flu shots on Tuesday! Instead, we got sick on Sunday!

      Fruit trees should be fertilized three times a year; here, the nursery says February, May, and September. A basic fruit tree fertilizer will work, but you can also buy a citrus one. Here, they need extra iron and extra sulfur to lower the ph to help them absorb iron, as our soil and water are extremely alkaline (8.2)

  45. LD Capouya

    For the poster above (Lori in SC and All) about pet meds, all are available at great prices from http://www.petshed.com
    in Australia, no rx required, Frontline, Adventage, heart worm RX, all in original boxes of brands at a cheaper price, plus generics at much cheaper, maximum 10 shipping days, $5 shipping cost. Have used them for 9 yrs, no problems ever. Laura in Louisiana

    1. Tina in FL

      LD Capouya, Thank you so much. I just ordered my chocolate lab some Revolution drops.

  46. Ellie's friend

    I have a $40.00 gift certificate from points from shopping at my grocery store and I will use that towards food. I haven’t bought as much as usual from that store or the rewards would have been more. I am really trying to finish the 6 photo albums so they can be mailed off. And then do a bit more research on the book and find some footnotes. Then I am going to hibernate to wait out the seasonal flu (since I cannot be vaccinated) and also the new coronavirus. In light of this, I am trying to build up my pantry again. I hope to have a lot of canned food stored. I think cans of lentils, other beans, fruit, powdered milk, juice, and some sort of meat. I really like the 900 grams bags of pasta from Superstore for about $2.70. It does not have egg in it so perfect for someone with an egg allergy. Co-op this week has many specials so I will stock up my pantry with soups. Co-op again has the wonderful Bergen’s blueberries on sale so I will stock up for my freezer.

  47. *We had the flu a few weeks ago and I am still coughing today! I hope you spring back fast.
    1. I did my taxes and electronically filed them via Turbo Tax before the IRS even began to accept them this year. We are getting back a nice refund, so we are hoping to add gravel to the driveway later in the spring and have a few trees cut down that are leaning perilously close to our house. The rest will be divided between savings and my daughter’s college fund.
    2. My mom was cleaning out her bathroom supply closet and sent over a ton of bar soap, tooth paste, and shampoos that they never got around to using for various reasons. She is an avid coupon user so she accumulates quite a bit of stuff which she is so very happy to share with us. The adult grandkids are encouraged to go raid her pantry and supplies every time there is a family get together:)
    3. We attended an event at our library that was focused on the suffragette movement in Decatur, Alabama. There were three women who presented presentations. One gave the life history of a local suffragette who happened to be her husband’s great grandmother. Another dressed up as Susan B. Anthony and gave one of her speeches. The last one was my favorite. She dressed up as the first African American woman newspaper owner in Alabama that also happened to be a suffragette. She was so sassy during the presentation that I forgot she wasn’t the real person! It was so much fun. They also had tea cakes afterwards that were amazing. My 15 year old daughter loved it so much that she read Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a woman?” speech to me on the way home in the car.
    4. I took my daughter to see Little Women on the cheap day at the theatre. We shared a popcorn and drink combo that they were offering for just $5 as well. The movie was simply amazing! I was worried that it would be just another retelling of the book, but they gave us better insights into each character through multiple flashbacks and delved more into the character’s personal lives that were not detailed in the book. If you love Little Women…see this movie!
    5. My husband took my son to the US Space and Rocket museum on the educator appreciation day. We got to be included as educators since we homeschool, so it was totally free! It is an amazing place full of wonderful exhibits. We have never paid to go because we always go on the special days they have a couple times a year.

  48. Kathy from Colorado Springs

    I am an avid reader of your blog, Brandy but don’t post comments too often. I have discovered so many ways to save money here, that I don’t even think about reading a new (or old) post without having a pen and paper handy for taking notes LOL. Thank you for this blog, it has been so inspiring! I am glad to hear you and your family are getting better. Being sick is no fun for sure. When I get sick, I have to stay in bed in my pajamas or my family would prop me up at the stove with a spatula in my hand. Thank goodness for freezer meals prepared in advance!

    Some ways I saved money the last couple weeks:
    * Used Credit Card reward points to cover a plane trip to see my middle daughter and her family in Idaho in March. We pay off our CC bill every month in full.
    * Watched free Tai Chi videos on my computer on YouTube. I like it better than yoga and it keeps me flexible and is very relaxing.
    * Made a batch of homemade toothpaste in a small glass jar with equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Added 1 drop peppermint essential oil and a little stevia to counteract the saltiness of the baking soda.
    * Made several great meals from a cookbook called Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown. She has a YouTube video about the book and has put it on the internet for free as a pdf download. Just google it.
    * Made quesadillas with leftover grilled vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onion, zucchini) and shredded cheese. Delicious!
    * Used coupons at Dollar Tree for 50 cents off Colgate toothpaste and toothbrushes.
    * Made Brandy’s lemon poppyseed muffins for breakfast one morning and they were a big hit. Froze some of them for later.
    * Ordered a free magazine subscription for a friend in Texas using Recyclebank points.
    * Signed up for birthday club specials (free drinks, sandwiches, etc) at all my favorite places in advance of my birthday in March. I will be able to get lots of freebies the whole month of March.
    * My elderly father gets lots of hardcover books for Christmas and birthdays. He passes them on to me after he reads them. I posted some for sale on Amazon. I used Huggies baby wipes to clean them up from shelfwear and scuffs before shipping. The wipes are awesome for this purpose.
    * Began to reread some chapters of Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery in anticipation of my garden this spring. She says to “plant something every day” even if it’s just a sprinkling of herb seeds. Her book has been so helpful over the years as I learn to garden, raise chickens, do canning and dehydrating, etc. I first read it from the library, then bought a used copy through Amazon years ago. It is now dog-eared and stained!
    * Made copycat Underwood deviled ham (a spread for lunch sandwiches) from extra ham chunks in the freezer and hard boiled eggs. Used the food processor to puree and mix everything up, then a spatula to fill lots of containers for the fridge and freezer. It defrosts really well, and is a nice break from plain lunchmeat and cheese sandwiches.
    * Took my van to the local carwash to use the free vacuum. Don’t have to pay anything, just drive up and use it. The suction is so much stronger than my hand vac at home, and I was done in only a few minutes.
    * Used the crumbled taco chips from the bottom of the bag to put into a Mexican tortilla soup.
    * Made homemade Totino’s pizza rolls from cooked Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, spaghetti sauce mixed together and spooned into eggroll wrappers that I cut into fourths to be the size of wonton wrappers. Folded them up like a pillow, brushed with oil, and cooked in my AirFryer. They came out crispy and brown. You could also fry them in a pan but it would use so much more oil. Anyway, they were very popular with my family.
    * Used the free Duolingo site to keep learning Italian! So fun!
    * Was gifted some big popcorn tins and used them to store my pasta packages, popcorn, and some dried pinto beans. This will keep them fresh and from getting buggy until I use them.
    Have a great week everyone!

    1. Becky

      The Encyclopedia of Country Living is one of my all-time favorite books! I got it when I was very young and read and re-read it so many times over the years as I was learning to do all of the things I needed to learn to do. I haven’t read it lately–I’d better get it out again! Thanks for the reminder:)

  49. Joyce in New England

    We started the year off with a GI bug – first my daughter and then myself. This kept me out of the stores for a good week. Unpleasant way to start 2020 but it did save me money ! I have written down every penny that I have spent for the month of January and will use this information to hopefully tighten things up for February.
    Have been using the library for books and DVDs. Using Kanopy and Hoopla for digital movies and homeschool material as well.
    Have a healthy and frugal week everyone !

  50. Ellie's friend

    Kathy from Colorado Springs
    I love the idea of using the big popcorn tins to store pasta. Thanks!

  51. momsav

    Greetings!
    That’s a beautiful color of rose! That’s one plant I’ve never had much luck growing.
    To keep a few pennies in our pocket, we’re saving the shower water to flush. Our water bill is always higher than I like.
    I use cold water in the washer. Our new machine has sensors so it doesn’t have a button for size. I’m not sure how well that works but we’ll go with it.
    We’ve taken all work lunches from home. All other meals were eaten at home except for one lunch. We had a thrift store date and had tacos while we were out.
    My daughter and her family have been face timing with us every Mon. It’s such fun to see her little guy growing up.
    I’ve had great fun spending some birthday gift cards on books! The mail lady asked if it was my birthday with all the cards and packages. I have a little bit left which is nice.
    I decided that I am a condenser. I like to condense things. I got busy this weekend and condensed lotions, laundry liquid, conditioner and hand soaps. I used items I already had. The world is in a good place, now!
    We decided we couldn’t afford to pay for recycling anymore. We’ve had the price go up three times in two years. With the extra garbage costs, we’re still saving 5.00 a month. I wish it were more affordable for us.
    We paid our car/home insurance for the year. This saved us a bit. On that bill, every dollar helps.
    January has been a low spend month. Very little was spent on food except fresh fruits and vegetables and salads and milk for the Mr. My husband has had to cut his work hours due to pain. We’re trying to figure it out. He rarely complains so I know it’s bad when he comes home early.
    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Have a fabulous week!

    1. Patricia in southern Minnesota

      I also recently bought a washing machine with sensors that determine how much water to use. It turned out it does a great job washing the clothes and has saved a lot of water. The hardest thing thing has been figuring out the right amount of soap to use for the amount of clothes I am washing. I use a lot less soap than I used to.

  52. Becky

    This past week we cooked a lot at home. I made lentil soup, vegetable soup, blackberry-apple crisp (to share with guests–my husband is still dieting hard), veggie tray, salads, used lots of canned applesauce and peaches, got ham for 69c/lb, made scalloped potatoes and ham, hard-boiled eggs, and pancakes. Even with doing that, and pulling copious amounts from my pantry and freezers, I still had to buy quite a few groceries, it seemed to me. I ran out of things like baking soda and other things that don’t often get emptied. Still, I stuck to my list, ignored the loss-leaders that were for un-needed things like chips, and got what I needed. Good thing, cause I have since ran out of 1-1 gluten-free flour (my go-to), powdered sugar and a few other basic cooking ingredients, so I know I will have a good-sized list this week again. I’m so thankful for all the home-preserved garden items from last summer, and all the meat we’ve bought on sale and in bulk….I can’t imagine what I would be spending if not for that and my large pantry stock.

    I utilized the library a couple of times. There are some little friends who need to practice reading, so my sister, husband, daughter and I listened to them read a couple of times. I also read to my nephew for several hours, as we had him 2 nights this past week.

    I sewed some pillowcases for a wedding shower gift and put them into a cute crate my husband made, with some other items. I hope to put up pictures of the gift in the next day or two on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    I planned out the events for the month of February that I knew I needed to get a gift, or make a special meal for. I’m getting the gifts made or purchased and put any extra food items on the grocery list to buy soon because Safeway often offers a $10/$50 coupon the first week of each month. So far, I have 3 birthdays, 2 weddings, a wedding shower, a friend who needs a meal, and a family member having surgery where food will be needed to share with their family. And that’s just what I know about so far! I’m glad I have a plan. I’m going to need it. It saves me significant money when I can buy things using coupons, on sale, etc. and I always start planning a meal to take with “what do I have on hand” as a great starting point.

    My sister took 2 groups of kids to bounce house/trampoline parks and took my daughter and I along both times. She bounced. I chose to watch purses. It was a nice treat for my daughter and she also was helpful with some of the younger kids.

    I want to sew a blouse for my daughter. It’s been cut out for 2 weeks or so. All the progress I made this week was that I got the serger thread changed to the correct color–white– so now I can sew easily. I am trying to encouraging myself that little bits of progress will eventually lead to a finished project, but that made me chuckle a bit–it seems like such a little bit of progress. Hopefully, this week, I’ll get more done.

  53. Tina

    I helped host a reception last week and served peppers and strawberries. I cut close to the tops and though those tenants were not right for serving, they were prefect for chopping and are now in the freezer. A friend gifted me with a massage gift card for Christmas so I received that very relaxing treat today. I used items from my gift closet for an inexpensive present. My hubby and I have drafted s budget and seen to be on the same page. He has become very frugal of late and decreasing his spending. It’s fun to partner on this.

    1. Heidi Louise

      My husband didn’t particularly object to me being frugal in the past, but over the last few years he has started to do things he previously considered a bother. We stayed in a motel last week and got a 10% off coupon to the chain restaurant next door when we checked in. I was quietly pleased that he brought it and used it when he paid our bill; it made only a small difference, yet it was an almost painless savings. It is more fun to be working together on this!

  54. Jen A

    This blog and the comments are such a model of positivity, family values and problem-solving determination. You all inspire me. Thanks for hosting, brandy, and so glad you are recovering well.

    FRUGAL

    * used reusable/washable stainless steel dental picks instead of floss
    * Used menstrual cup and backup cloth pads for my period
    * did all the laundry in cold water
    * Sold tickets I couldn’t use for an event
    * Used a reusable hot-water bottle for pain relief rather than using a consumable OTC NSAID
    * Picked up five parking-lot pennies
    * Saved gift bags received at a kids party
    * Watched a good movie (Concussion starring Will Smith) on the free Roku channel that comes with our TV
    * Bought a gift card for our car wash place, got a free car wash
    * Used rewards points for a free breakfast sandwich
    * Used rewards points for free frozen yogurt
    * Line-drying
    * Walked several places instead of driving
    * Made egg sandwiches ahead for fast breakfast, froze five, saved one for tomorrow
    * Leaky faucet repair
    * Accepted a gift of unopened powdered sugar from my mom
    * Took the bus to a doctor’s appointment
    * My sons are making great progress in math using the free Khan Academy app
    * Checked out two ebooks from the library–one of my goals is to read a little for self-improvement every day, and the Kindle app on my phone makes this a breeze
    * Used some of our fall crop of turmeric in a dish
    * Harvested tangerines and tomatoes
    * Planted some ginger root in our new side yard beds
    * started seeds in our wonderful reusable ceramic seed starting trays from Orta
    * potted up older seedlings in saved/salvaged plastic pots
    * Experimented with grafting fruit trees for the first time

  55. rachel

    Jan 14-20

    Rented out my brass collection(100 candlesticks) for a wedding
    Sold a map that I printed from a digital file
    Ate all meals/prepared meals at home
    Paid medical bills with our HSA accts
    Ate dinner at home before sporting events(weeknights are tricky!)
    Shared a ride with my parents to an out of town middle school basketball game- they
    insisted on paying for tickets bc we drove
    Prayed for our nana(my MIL) and made homemade cards for her gallbladder surgery
    Hung laundry to dry
    Made broth in my crockpot(I keep a bones/veggie scraps bag at all times in my freezer)
    Made lentils ahead to store for future meals
    Filed a receipt toward a rebate to earn a $5 Lowe’s gift card
    Exchanged legal services for graphic design services- bartering is SO helpful/frugal
    Attended a workshop at work that included two free lunches
    Unsubscribed from all email subscriptions that were from retailers to avoid temptation
    Unfollowed Instagram accts that cause me to covet or feel discontent(any suggestions
    for frugal inspirational Insta accts?
    Sold a pile of textbooks in my office to a clearinghouse
    Requested several books from an inter- library lending system(don’t know what I’d do
    without the library!)
    Fed chickens with scraps
    Framed several pictures and certificates with supplies on hand
    Picked up a like new, curbside table & chairs set to resell
    Constructed a coffee table from scraps to resell
    Mended a skirt
    Exercised for free outside on walking trail(this is how I discovered the curbside table!)
    Started several pothos plants in water to later give as gifts- they are so easy to replant!
    I’ve said “no” a lot- to ice cream, going out to eat, treats after school; I was so frustrated
    before I explained the “why” behind saying no to my kids. They’re old enough to
    understand why we have savings goals and budgetary restrictions this year. They
    actually asked why we didn’t tell them earlier! I don’t give my kids enough credit.
    Returned a Christmas gift that I should not have bought for myself- refund of $80
    Husband received reimbursement for work expenses
    Used on campus mail delivery to save a stamp
    Reimbursed for medical expense via HSA
    Stayed out of thrift stores and away from estate/garage sales
    Made birthday cards for a niece and nephew. Used budgeted funds and regifted a Target gift card for their gifts.

    Unfrugal confession: We went out to eat twice. Both times I was not prepared with an alternative and my husband and I were both tired. It was a grand total of $48 for both meals. That really frustrated me.

    January 21-27

    Ate lunch twice at work for free
    Meal planned dinners for week
    Made broth from bones and vegetable scraps
    Priced items for garage sale
    Redecorated my daughter’s play area with items on hand- she had a playdate with
    friends and they loved playing “HGTV”
    Stayed out of retail and thrift stores
    Bought only groceries that we need
    Accepted hand-me-down shoes for my son
    Hung all laundry to dry
    Watched shows for free via pbs website
    Fed chickens from scraps
    Saved cash to take a family weekend trip to a local state park for two nights- cooked our
    meals, hiked, visited their little free library
    Had craving to go out to buy snack and diet coke- made a snack at home instead
    Met a friend for a chat at our house instead of at a coffee shop
    It was harder than usual to stay away from thrift stores. That used to be my Fri afternoon
    treat for myself. This week, I went to the library instead.
    Set up an acct for a free weight loss/fitness plan(Noom)
    Continued to add change to my change jar

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I think it’s great that you went to the library as a treat to yourself instead of the thrift store! That was a great way to still treat yourself but without spending money!

    2. I recommend the #debtfreecommunity on Insta as a supportive frugal account/community to follow! Even if you aren’t trying to pay off debt, it’s still nice to see people working to live within their means and focusing on quality of and meaning in life, as opposed to the accumulation of things. Debtkickinmom is a nice account to follow within that community and there’s tons of others as well.

      And I looooove the library! Books, music, movies, programming…libraries are just plain fabulous!

  56. Jessica

    I have been making a lot of food from the pantry and freezer this month. I kept my food budget for the month down and used some of the extra to buy things that we needed to stock up on.
    I worked 4-5 extra hours this month, which boosts my take home pay.
    I keep using FetchRewards with great success. My referral code is K9YTB if anyone wants to sign up. I think right now you get 4,000 points for using a referral link – that’s about $4. I think I will save them up and use them to buy gift cards while I’m on maternity leave to offset grocery costs.
    We received some Home Depot gift cards for Christmas that we used to get a few things for the nursery and upstairs bathroom.
    I took my lunch everyday this week.
    I started gathering up documents for our taxes. Hopefully, we’ll get to keep some of the money we’ve set back for taxes.
    I added more money to our HSA. We’ll get to write it off on taxes and we’ll use it to pay medical bills related to labor and delivery.

  57. Terri

    Living in Canada, we’re so fortunate that we don’t have health care costs. I don’t know how those of you who live in the US manage! Although our eggs have now passed $3.00 per dozen – what used to be a staple has now become a treat…

    1. Tammy

      Our eggs at Aldi are 58 cents a dozen. But I am paying about $500 dollars a month for the next year and a half for a hospital bill. That doesn’t include all the appointments that I will have this year or my husband. Appointments are expensive! Around a couple hundred dollars! We eat a lot of eggs between our chickens and the sale at Aldi.

  58. Ellie's friend

    I am restocking my pantry. I bought 12 one litre boxes of apple juice, 12 cans of cooked beans, 15 cans of fruit, 5 big 900 gram bags of pasta, 1 bag of powdered milk, 12 cans (1 case of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, In total, I spent $89.00 on everything and saved $65.00.

    Sometimes (many times) the best things are free! I always wanted to see Snowy Owls — they migrate south of the Arctic and overwinter east of here. By March they will be heading back up north again. Once or twice a friend has taken me to see them but we never saw any that were close enough to photograph them. This past Saturday night, we had freezing rain and then a blizzard. I had been invited to go to see the owls on Sunday. I was really worried about the rural roads but my friend showed up in a rented SUV. (someone ran a red light and totalled her car so the insurance company rented her a huge SUV, high off the ground, 4 wheel drive with snow tires) When I saw her “monster” SUV, I relaxed a bit. It plowed easily through the deep snow on the country roads. And then we found 3 owls. I cannot pan with my camera due to my broken arm, severed tendon but I was lucky that an owl jumped off a post to fly my way so I got a beautiful photo. Then I saw a large male sitting on oil well equipment. The sun shone on the white feathers and there was a blue sky background. My first owl photos and what a beautiful day. All things bright and beautiful.

    Tammy,

    Sorry about your big health bill but keep chipping away at it. As a Canadian, most health items are covered but not dental or eyeglasses or some medicines (most medicines for seniors are paid for by our provincial government but not all) so I pay about $200 per month for private insurance. Last year I had to spend $900 on uninsured items but between the government and the private insurance $2,000 was paid for me.

  59. Ellie's friend

    The $89 I spent on groceries included two 1.8 kg boxes of Bergen’s frozen blueberries — on sale for $10.99 per box at Co-op. This is a treat for me. Even having little money I still am trying to eat healthy foods and try to eat 5-7 servings of veggies and fruit a day. So I spent $$67 on all the items I listed in the last post. For Canada, a great deal.

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