We had a little rain, so I didn’t have to water the garden this past week.

I sowed grass seed that I already had in some bare spots in the lawn. It’s raining this week, so I am hoping my timing is perfect to get it to grow and keep the seeds wet without needing to water it.

I sowed seeds for parsley, cilantro, and poppies in the garden. It’s a bit late for the poppies, but the cooler weather and rain we’re getting this week should help them to germinate.

I dug some green onions that had self-seeded in the wrong spots and planted them into the rows where I wanted them.

I harvested cilantro, mint, parsley, lettuce, and lemons from the garden.

While gas rates are rising, I am using less gas than ever. Keeping the heat down, cooking enough for lots of leftovers, and using the crockpot more have reduced my usage even more. My bill was $17.40 for January–lower even than my old summer rates. Meanwhile, the news is reporting that people are shocked by their much larger bills. We knew the gas company raised rates last summer. Every little bit makes a difference. I am happy to have a much lower bill as rates were greatly increased. We had a couple of days that were so warm this past week (a record 72!) that we opened up the windows and aired out the house.

I read The Couscous Chronicles from the library via the Libby app. This was an excellent book. It’s definitely one that will stay with me.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Well done on your energy conservation efforts! That must feel satisfying.
    We are in Northern CA and have had torrential rain. We are across the street from a creek that is usually dry and it is deep and rushing. A large tree came down in the creek. We are fine though and didn’t even lose power, which many did.
    I have started difficult treatment for a big disease. I am trying to take it one day at a time. One way I have saved is by doing as many appointments as I can online or by phone. Those are free with our health insurance. It also saves me gas. I have also queried some charges that were incorrect, and they were removed.
    We had been looking for a new couch for about a year, which we’ve needed since we moved 4 years ago. We found one this weekend at a fantastic price, I was so pleased.
    A friend brought me oranges. We have eaten a lot of leftovers as well.

    1. I am so sorry to hear of your illness. When I had a long and hard illness, the one day at a time (sometimes one step at a time!) philosophy was all that got me through. Blessings to you.

    2. Praying for your recovery and that you have peace and comfort as you go through your journey. I pray you will have lots of support to come along side of you.

    3. Thank you all for your well wishes. I’m one week in and hanging in there. It’s been full of ups and downs but hopefully is smoother sailing going forward.

  2. Well done on your gas bill!! We’ve been working on our water bill particularly this past 3 months because it had jumped a lot!

    This past 3 weeks has been a blur. We flew out to Ft. Lewis in Tacoma to see our son and his family prior to his son leaving on a Church mission. We were there 5 days,came home for 2 days, then flew to Houston to see our daughter and her family prior to her daughter leaving on a Church mission. We had our youngest son housesit for those 2 weeks mainly to make sure our chickens had unfrozen water to drink because temps in Ohio had been well below freezing! He also gathered their eggs so that they wouldn’t freeze. His help was crucial to our being able to leave Ohio during such frigid conditions!

    We did several things to save $ with these trips. I made several meals for our son as he house sat that were ready to heat and eat. For us, I bought some snacks on Flashfood for on the trip. I checked air fares and found round trip tickets that were around $300 each (which we considered good since Washington is over 2400 miles away!) We stayed with our children which saved cost of accommodations. We took each family out to dinner 1 of the nights, but the rest of the meals were eaten at their homes. We were able to absorb these two trips into our budget without pulling from savings and we are extremely grateful for that!

    We have now been doing another reno project inside the house while weather is still cold. We took leftover paint from repainting the fireplace and mantel to use in painting our hallway (2nd floor north) after pulling off wallpaper, molding and then plastering the walls to make them smooth and even. Only had to buy one gallon of paint for the ceiling. We had the rest of the supplies needed.

    To bring in some money, I got the following quilt tops quilted up for clients: https://pin.it/gFZaLkMIK, https://pin.it/4IcM9kp8b, https://pin.it/7ByiM9u8D, https://pin.it/69jWAuvR8. I have 2 more client quilts that just came in on Friday, so I will get them quilted this week.

    I also made this quilt using all scraps including a leftover piece of batting and a fitted twin sheet from Goodwill! https://pin.it/2ZHsBkT9r and https://pin.it/6iyaOJbib. It will go in gift cupboard. Feels so good to make something from leftovers!!

    During the month of January, we only bought takeaway food once- Chipotle. That is amazing because takeaway food is an easy default when we’re tired (even though we have tons of easy options at home! 🥴) This, combined with only buying basic foods that were on a crazy good sale (Flashfood or loss leaders) meant that our food budget dropped by over 50%! I made muffins, ham/egg/cheese breakfast biscuits, potato soup, chicken tortilla soup, hamburgers, turkey,Ranch, bacon wraps and much, much more! The feeling of accomplishment was so amazing that we are planning each day what things we might make for our next meals!

    Chickens are still giving us about 4 eggs a day so we are quite pleased. As the weather warms up, their production will increase! I bought seeds at Dollar Tree for 25 cents/packet for our garden, our daughter’s garden and to give as take home gift for participants in a Square Foot Gardening class I’ve been asked to teach in a few weeks.

    Hope your Garden Tour is incredibly successful, Brandy!! Your gardening expertise in such a harsh climate is priceless!!

    I bought some 3 more packages of ground beef (80/20) – about 4-1/2 pounds total on Flashfood for $1.34/pound!! That’s what I used to make some burgers on our George Forman grill. I had a grocery gift card as a refund from a couple things missing from a Flashfood order a few weeks ago, so I used it to buy hamburger buns, frozen fries on sale and some nice leaf lettuce! I figured that the 5 burgers I made from 1 package cost about 28 cents each, adding up meat, buns, lettuce, tomatoes we already had, homemade lettuce,home canned relish, mustard, ketchup and French fries! Pretty cheap dinner!!

    Our Medicare supplement was changed by our insurance broker who found identical coverage for both of us, but about $20/month cheaper! That’s good since our property taxes more than doubled! That means that we will be spending about $200 more each month for the new rate! Our Homestead exemption is a flat amount (about $405) off per year, since it is only exempting the first $25K of valuation of home without regard to how exponentially your property value may have increased. 😖 Our Homeowners insurance also increased. Grateful that we don’t have a mortgage on top of those! It’s still about $600/month from the budget for those two items !

    At least our electric, utility and water bills have stayed the same or gone down (water)!

    Hope you and your readers are all finding ways to cut back on expenses without reducing your enjoyment of what you have!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. When our local military hospital closed, after a new one was built, they gave away sheets with the military base name and location all over them. My quilting friend must have picked up three or four dozen of them (they were not in high demand) and died them various colors and used them for the underside of quilts. The quilts were a huge hit with locals!

      1. Mable- Very clever idea! I am always trying to keep my eyes open for cotton sheets and they seem to often have “orphaned” flat sheets for sale in thrift stores which actually have much less wear on them than fitted sheets!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  3. I checked out that book and it looks really interesting – I’ll see if my library has it once they totally recover from a cyber attack that happened in October! Most of the central things are back up but our personal accounts still aren’t accessible so I can’t place holds etc.

    It has been mostly above freezing here for days now and finally we are seeing some sunshine so it has been very mild here this Winter – but the poor folks in the Maritimes are buried in snow – Cape Breton got about 3 feet over the past couple of days!

    I am lucky in that both my Govt. pensions gave us an increase for this year – plus I got a raise at my PT job so these help to defray the rent increase etc. I paid all bills online on the first, topped up my transit pass, put aside grocery money and gave myself my allowance. The only groceries bought were some salad greens, tomatoes, cucumber, avocados, kiwis and milk. I also stocked up on some non food items – the best buy was my shampoo – it is now up to $10 a bottle but it was on for 50% off last week so I bought 4 bottles (I just started a new bottle & I have one in the stockpile so I am now set for the next year), bought lens wipes, emery boards and an eyebrow powder – (it was also seniors discount day at the drugstore) – it totaled $40 but I used $30 in Loyalty points so that worked out well.

    I went through the fridge, freezer and pantry again to plan out meals for the week. Did 4 loads of laundry but only one had to go in the dryer – all the rest went onto my clothes racks.

    My brother has kindly sent me an old Iphone 8 that he has had reconfigured and cleaned up for me to use – it will arrive later this week and then our tech at the office found me a good deal on a power bank with all the peripherals I will need so now I just have to decide on a plan. I’ve checked around and most of the companies will cost me about the same amount so I just have to decide on the provider to use.

    A friend made dinner for us on Thursday and then we went to a local Community theatre – it was part of my Christmas present from her – it was a comedy and we really enjoyed it. A fun evening with no OOPC to me. On Friday I met two other friends for lunch and they insisted on treating me as I often cook for them – neither of them enjoys cooking or entertaining at home so this was a lovely treat and we had a great visit.

    Otherwise it’s the usual – use up leftovers, wash Ziplocs, turn off lights etc. I hope the weather is good for all of you with no snow or rainstorms to cause problems and that everyone is well.

    1. I have an iPhone 8 SE. I had an iPhone 8 previously which I lost. I bought both phones refurbished on eBay. I refuse to pay 1200$ for the latest version of a phone. My refurbished phones were around 225$ US. I think you will like your iPhone 8. My refurbished phone does what I need it to do. The phone stores used to give you a free phone but no more. Now they say it is free, but it is really a bill credit over 2 to 3 years that pays for the phone.
      You might want to get a protective case to keep the screen from breaking if you drop it. I dropped my previous iPhone 6. A new screen was 60$. Ouch!

      1. Thanks for letting me know this – I really don’t need all the bells & whistles so this will work just fine for me. And yes, a protective case is definitely on the “to buy” list!!!

        1. Margie, you can find the glass protectors in the $1 spot at Target or inexpensive on Amazon. I use them on mine all the time and typically buy a 3 pack since they have saved me many times! Also for hard cases, discount stores like Marshalls/TJ Maxx and Big Lots usually have a lot of options for much cheaper than other places.

          1. Thanks for that info – We have Marshalls here but none of the rest of those stores – I’m in Canada. I don’t need anything fancy so I’ll probably check out Costco on the next visit.

            Hi Susan – No Mint Mobile in Canada as far as I’m aware – I’m probably going with Telus as I have Rogers for my tv and internet and don’t want everything on the one network. Canadian readers will understand this reasoning. 🙂

            1. Margie from Toronto – when I lived in BC, I had a prepaid plan from Telus. I loved not having a monthly charge nor giving. my credit card to the company. I paid in-store at London Drugs – $100 at a time for 365days. Lesser amounts would expire at 30days and not roll over. YMMV

            2. It looks like Winners and HomeSense is the same company as Marshall’s and TJ Maxx – they might be worth checking out too.


    2. Not sure if it is in all areas or not, but we use Mint Mobile as our phone provider and have been very happy with coverage and the low price!

  4. I’m so glad you got some rain, and well done on reducing your gas rates so substantially — it’s impressive!

    My frugal week:
    – I made pizza using my easy pizza dough recipe. It was so easy to make and take along for an on-the-go dinner on a busy school/after school activities evening, and cheaper than fast food.
    – I bought a Too Good to Go box from Tim Horton’s: 3 doughnuts, a bagel, and 4 muffins for $4.99. I usually bake everything myself, but this was a nice treat. Worked out well, as I ended up babysitting a friend’s child unexpectedly, so I could just offer the muffins as an easy post-school snack.
    – I sliced up the bagel and turned it into bagel chips/croutons, which I put on top of soup.
    – I bought a flashfood box. Eight peppers and two heads of cauliflower for $5. I processed most of it for the freezer, but also made cauliflower soup.
    – I made a fake-away salad dressing: the carrot ginger dressing one often has at Japanese/sushi houses. Delicious!
    – I redeemed $40 in loyalty points for food
    – I made my mushroom and green pea casserole https://approachingfood.com/not-your-mommas-cheesy-mushroom-pea-casserole/
    – I sold an item on fb marketplace. I also picked up a near perfect condition MCM-style chair from the take-it-if-you-want part of my condo garbage room. I ended up decided that I didn’t want it for my desk chair after all, so I sold it on fb marketplace for $15. Small amounts of money, but they all add up.
    – I did my usual stacking of price-matching, paper coupons, sales, and online rebates when grocery shopping this week. My sister saw the amount of groceries I bought and asked how much I had spent. She was very impressed with the amount I spent, considering what I brought home.
    – I was also able to combine sales, loyalty points, and coupons to buy 2-3 months worth of women’s products for under $8 total, which is an amazing price.
    – I had a $5 coupon for an item I don’t use, but I knew my mother does, so I passed it on to her.
    – I made another batch of sauerkraut
    – I made chocolate chip cookies, and froze some of the dough for last minute hosting (I like to have dough in the freezer in case I ever have to visit or have someone over at the last minute. Homemade food is an inexpensive hostess gift and who doesn’t love homemade cookies when visiting? No expensive apps needed.)
    – I brought home a few heart shaped chocolates from my workplace (leftover from Christmas gifts from clients), and added them to the collection of chocolates I am slowly setting aside for Valentine’s day for my kids.
    – I ordered an item from Etsy but it turned out to be a bait-and-switch situation, so I contacted Etsy and got a refund, after the shop owner refused to refund.
    – I received some back-pay from the government in terms of benefits, which will come in very, very handy, as I have some expensive and necessary dental work coming up.
    – I downloaded the Field Agent app, and got two loaves of bread for free (plus $2), so about $10.
    – I had a friend over for lunch, and the only thing I had to buy that I didn’t already have, was a baguette. I served a spinach and ricotta lasagna, garlic bread, and homemade cookies with tea for dessert (she brought a salad). I then had another friend over for tea the next day, and served the remaining cookies. No extra expense (except for a 99 cent baguette). I packed up leftovers and sent a meal home with my guest, and also dropped off a meal for a friend who wasn’t feeling well.
    – I was thinking the other day about how much I have been able to achieve over the past half year, despite a significant change in circumstances, and I was pretty proud of myself. I have found a way to provide my kids with everything they need and most of what they wanted. All bills have been paid, all medical and dental care has been kept on track, and the kids have had lovely experiences. I’ve used so much knowledge that I’ve gained from Brandy’s posts and everyone’s comments and I am grateful to Brandy and all the commenters who share their knowledge and experiences so generously.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. You do an amazing job between work, kids, your blog, getting great value for your money and all the cooking and baking from scratch. From what you have written I did wonder if some circumstances had changed in your life but you are doing a great job keeping on top of things and keeping your kids well and happy – just remember to treat yourself well too.

    2. I agree with what Margie said, you should be proud! I also wanted to thank you for taking time to comment here. I mentioned before that I started following coupon couple because of your recommendation. I hadn’t been as careful lately about my grocery spending, but the available deals have reinspired me. So far this year, I have earned over $100 between PC, Scene and cashback. I did the Shoppers $65 for $50 in points this last weekend. I generally find Shoppers overpriced, but I focused on basics and sale items, most of which were food. Best of luck with your continued efforts!
      Brandy, I cannot imagine reducing my gas usage by 80%, that is incredible!

  5. I’m glad you got some rain, Brandy. Hoping the terrible storms out west I keep hearing about don’t torment you, but turn out to be a blessing. *I finally hemmed the last two pair of jeans that I’ve been rolling up for years. I have three pairs and they are all done now. My daughter hemmed my husband’s pants and a lined skirt for me. *For decor I have a tiered tray that I change out every month. Mostly I’ve just gathered things from around the house to display. I store the items for the tray in 12 shoe boxes. This week I put away the January (winter/snowflake) things and pulled out the Valentine’s decor. Last year I saved a pretty Valentine card I was sent and that is the only “new” thing I added to the tray. Years ago I made garlands for a few holidays. I hung the Valentine’s garland over my fireplace. *As I have mentioned before, we have a fun little Super Bowl party each year just for the family. I FINALLY remembered that I put leftover football plates and cups, as well as a football flag garland I made, into a box in storage. This year I remembered to get it out BEFORE I ordered new plates and cups (again!) haha. I did pick up some red plates for $0.97 in team colors. I have enough that I’m putting together a party kit for a friend of mine. She is recently widowed and said she watches with her daughters. I’ll include plates, cups, napkins, some Super Bowl bingo sheets that we enjoy playing. I got her a bottle of Kansas City-style bbq sauce for the Chiefs and some Rice-A-Roni for San Fransisco. Hope it brings a smile. Inexpensive for me. *I finished another baby layette (hat, sweater and booties) with some donated yarn for Bundles of Love. I had some yarn leftover from knitting my husband’s Christmas socks. There was enough to knit a beanie. I love using up leftovers whether it is food, yarn or fabric. * My daughter who sews did some decluttering and let me take some fabric she is giving away. I got some good flannel and some quilting cotton. * Had my final post op appointment for my cataract surgery. My eye pressure is much better and my distance vision is better than 20/20! I just need cheaters for reading and the ones I bought for $4 at Walmart are working great. My old glasses cost almost $1000, so I’m very grateful to not need those anymore! We had money in the HSA for our part of the surgery. The eye clinic has a drop off for old eye glasses that they repurpose for people who can’t afford glasses. I combed the house and found eight pairs to donate. Six of mine and two of my daughters from when she was a child (she’s 24 now). Glad to find a place for them to go. *Finally, we are enjoying cooking and eating from home. We were invited to our daughter’s yesterday and enjoyed a lovely taco night there. *I hope everyone stays safe, dry and thrifty.

  6. Congratulations on your efficient usage of gas in your home! I also made the recipe for the lentil curry you posted last week. I am in love with it and plan to make it often, as I have a stash of lentils that need using.
    A friend gave me an amaryllis for Christmas and it has started to bloom. It’s a lovely red and white striped.
    I’ve done the usual this week: cooking mostly from the pantry, reading library books, knitting from my stash, and exercise through walking has kept me active. I’ve also tied through a few more drawers and cupboards and am getting rid of things or sharing them with those who want them.
    I took a new-to-me class on a knitting technique I didn’t know. A friend took it with me and we are taking turns driving to the class. and helping each other with questions.
    I just finished nearly three years serving on a board. It was fun and a lot of work, but I am also happy to have the time back. I was given a gift certificate to a nice restaurant as a way of thanks. My husband and I are using it this Friday night as an early Valentine’s dinner.
    I also taught my last online class last week for a local community group. I will submit my invoice for this.
    I have started my income tax return but need a few more documents and some online checking before they will be ready to turn in.

  7. Good job on the gas reduction!
    We started married life long ago with two vehicles, and now, as the 2003 truck is more expensive to repair than it is worth, we are dropping to be a single car household. This probably won’t be a difficult adjustment, since we are retired and shouldn’t have to travel for family issues any more. Hopefully, we will get a bit back on the truck’s sale, as well as some on insurance, even though we lose our multi-car discount. The refund on the registration/license is so small that I am going to consider it a gift to the state instead of fussing with a refund.
    I am busy shredding old paperwork that I had saved “just in case”, not saving money but clearing physical and mental space. Similarly, we finally got our recycling out for curbside pickup today, (as I won’t put it out if it is raining or sleeting and it has been building up for quite a while). And although I really like having a yard sale, I don’t like fussing with selling clothing, so we donated several bags of the oddly fitting and not-worn to the thrift store.
    I did not meet my January goal of clearing out the basement. I have, however, returned to work there and will continue to move out what we don’t need.

  8. Hello, frugal friends from the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia! What a beautiful week we are having. Very spring like in February. Of course, that means come March or April, even May we will get some type of cold snap. But we are enjoying the mild temps for now. Brandy, great job on the lower gas bill!. It is motivation for me to reign in our electric bill even more. Last month’s bill was way over budget , like $60 more. Ouch! I think we found the reason and have remedied it.
    On the frugal front we:
    *continued to use our solar chargers to recharge devices.
    *Cut open a tube of my sunscreen/moisturizer which will give me at least another 3-4 weeks worth of product.
    *ate at home except for last Sunday’s youth breakfast fundraiser and I took our daughter out for her 40th birthday lunch.
    *found a dime.
    *I did a big grocery shop for the month and came across some boys’ clearance hoodie jackets, original price was $15, but on clearance for $8 each. When the clerk rung them up they were $3 each ! Woohoo! They are for the grandsons.
    *picked spinach and mache from the garden…still!
    *As mentioned above our electric bill last month was way over budget. We knew our rates were going up but the main culprit was when the heating and air guy came he had both the floor heat and the forced air heat on. The radiant floor heat is the most cost effective, so we turned off the forced air. We have never had them both on at the same time. We also had to use our dryer every week due to weather. This week I should be able to hang the laundry on the line. I do run the dryer for one load (my husband’s work uniforms and blue jeans) on the timer. The rest is hung on the line outside usually. This always saves us about $15 a month on the electric bill. So, in order to make this month’s bill more reasonable we have turned down the heat to 67, using small appliances more for cooking, using the oven less, making sure lights are turned off when we are not in a room, and using the solar chargers for every device needing charging. Last month we did not do this and it showed in the bill.
    *I used .20/gallon off on gas to fill up.
    * My big grocery shop was outrageous but I bought a few cleaners, ziploc bags, and food saver bags. I think what I bought will last well into March so maybe what I paid will be for two months in the end. I still have $34 in cash plus a Fetch reward (10$) for any incidental groceries for this month. The $34 is leftover from last month’s grocery budget.
    Brandy, I love the black arch photo. What a lovely piece!
    Wishing my frugal friends a blessed and safe week. Looking forward to learning something new from you all.

  9. Happy Monday!

    1. Usually I have just trusted that Grocery Outlet had the best deals. I would shop there and then get specialty items from Sam’s Club. Not so much anymore. Although there are some crazy discounted if you have the right timing, I now have to price check. So Sunday I got to GC at 7:00 am and price check everything on my list with my Sam’s club app. I have a full time job and two stores is about my limit to shop. I made my lists. Picked up Butoni pesto for .97 each ( Each tub is probably three meals a piece when I add already owned pasta and what everelse is around – Tonite, chiclen pesto pasta because I bought a Sam’s chicken.) I bought Aussie bites for 50% percent off. I should be good for the month except for a few fill ins. Done by 10:30. Phew.

    2. Michaels sent me a $5.00 coupon. I bought two packs of sewing machine needles with a 30% coupon and my teacher’s discount. They should last awhile. While there I bought a luxury item for me – bathbombs. They were part of an 80% of Christmas purge.Little luxuries keep me motivated. I paid about .75 a piece.

    3. At Sam’s I bought 25 pounds of rice for .66 cents a pound. That is hundreds of meals for us. It is the CalRose variety – the kind we like.

    4. DH and I went searching from salvage pieces from our farm so I can add to our restoratin River house. There is rusted daffodil sculpture. I want to add afew more pieces and then flowers around. Found a few nice pieces. Eager to use my creativity.

    5. I inherited a garden with the house and look at these cool surprises!!: https://ibb.co/9yqX4kk https://ibb.co/VNM7y4f https://ibb.co/ZKJv9b1 ( No I don’t know how to flip the pictures. Sigh!!) Such a great gift.

    1. Hi Mary Ann! Thanks for sharing those photos! I saw more pictures of your River house on IG. What great fortune for you! I find this fascinating! I love surprises in the garden, and during restoration. Have fun!

  10. Energy conservation is always on my mind. The one week we ran our heat last month ,really did double the new bill. I can’t imagine paying a bill that included an entire month of heat plus clothes dryer usage. Based on previous calculations my bill would be 5 to 6 hundred dollars. I’m willing to make sacrifices to lessen potential financial hardships. I changed internet companies last month. Our new Verizon account runs at half the speed it promised. In desperation to keep the price point ,I moved it to every room in the house. It simply doesnt work well .I’m returning the equipment and I’m happy I hadn’t actually canceled my former service yet. I discovered a $5.00 charge in my checking account. Its been coming out from another bank. This is an epic failure on my part. I had no clue ,but its been at least 17 months. The other bank claims to have no account with me. They obviously do. My bank has taken appropriate measures to handle it. My bank said the other bank will claim there is no account so when the deposits stop ,they can eventually keep my money. This seems like a really shady business practice. I’m going to file complaints against them. Meanwhile ,I check all my other accounts frequently for fraud. I’m glad it was only in 5 dollar increments. The bank will do a forensic accounting to see how long it may have been going on. I enjoyed watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith on Amazon. I brought home tons of stuff to my neighbors. I found bags of clothing for children. Lots of new w tags from the Children’s Place. The two daughters have a good start on summer clothing. My most exciting find was a case of collards this week. I had a quiet visit with my father. He doesn’t seem to be eating much. I made another trip to see him and took Boost. I guess I will start following deals on it. His hearing is pretty much gone. He refuses to go get fitted for his hearing aids. I’m thinking he thinks its a waste of money as he has little time left. He has the money but obviously feels its better left in the inheritance fund. These old people are stubborn and too frugal. Quality of life matters. Meanwhile ,I’m going to look and buy a hearing impaired telephone. Something w a flashing light. I had my 60th birthday. I don’t think I’m old but my body parts definitely feel old. Some of my obstacles at this age ,are not what I ever thought about. Like dealing w my dad. Its cold and rainy ,I’m grumpy. I have so much yard work and the weather continues to plot against me. I’m looking for roses and sunshine to come my way. Meanwhile ,there’s a huge woodpecker out front. I’m hoping to get a good photo of him. Have a great week friends.

    1. Lillianna, if your dad is an U.S. military veteran he can receive free hearing aids from Veterans Affairs. Any vet can receive this benefit. My dad took advantage of this benefit years ago and recently they updated him with a new set.

    2. Hi Lillianna! Happy belated Birthday! I’m a bit older than you and my body parts are waging war with my mindset of not being old.😂😂 Unfortunately, sometimes they win out. It takes me longer to do some things now. I’m not sure if it’s age or the fact that I don’t have time deadlines to push me anymore. Fox News ran a story a couple of days ago about a woman who dumpster dives! I immediately thought of you. If you had an Instagram account about this, I would absolutely follow you! I haven’t gotten the courage up yet to do this, but I think I will ask my sister if she wants to be my “partner in crime”. LOL, it’s not a crime. Hope the sun comes your way!🌞🌞

    3. Lillianna,
      Bless your heart, helping your father.
      My (67th) birthday was recently, too. I joke that i’m falling apart one piece at a time. We couldn’t handle it if all our wiring fried at the same time.
      Be well.

    4. I buy single bottles of Boost for my mom at $Tree. Name brand chocolate or vanilla for less than 1/2 of store brand at WM. Bought 16 bottles today for $20 with expiration date of Jan 2025.

  11. Early last week, I wasn’t mobile enough to walk to the grocery store. I was able to send a list in to the store. They did the shopping and brought it to my front door. They have a portable debit machine, so I could pay for it easily. It was the first time as an adult that I wasn’t able to go shop for my own groceries, though I’ve had them delivered a few times this year after doing the shopping myself. I was both happy to be able to order groceries in but a little sad that I wasn’t able to shop myself.

    Sadly, two days after I got this grocery order, store management came from the corporate office and told the staff they are closing the store at the end of March. There is another grocery store in town, which is a Co-op, part of a very large Co-op of Co-ops. (Federated Cooperatives). It is a nice store, and only a few blocks away, but not walking distance for me. I will move from a weekly shop to twice a month at the Coop, with an occasional trip to the next town over, which has a nice Independent store, part of the Loblaw group. I’ll see how it goes taking the local taxi and community senior’s bus. I’m also trying to expand how many people I know who can give me drives, because the taxi driver isn’t available as much, and the seniors’ bus needs to be booked very far in advance.

    I normally do all my medical appointments in October, but this year just got my flu and covid vaccines, and put the rest off until spring. The weather is mild enough, though, that I’ve started by booking my first appointment for tomorrow. I have found someone new to give me a ride up to the hospital. She is always very helpful to people on the local Facebook page, and it will be good to meet someone new face to face. Also, a young woman two doors down is offering to shovel snow. So far this year, the snow has been so light I haven’t needed anyone, but it won’t always be that way. I would like to meet her — she is the “mother” of a much-loved neighborhood cat who has met everyone for several blocks around, and who is allowed in all the stores on our main street. He mrows at me to say hello when he sees me downtown, because he knows me from visiting me in my yard.

    I hope everyone gets through all this weather safely. I can’t believe California. The snowstorms on the East Coast seem more normal, even though the worst in years. Though we had that short bitterly cold stretch, the forecast for the next two months in northern Alberta is more mild weather.

    1. Elizabeth, I am glad they had that door service for you.
      I think its amazing that you are reaching out and wanting to get to know people who are helpful in your neighborhood. The story about the happy cat was a delight to read on this cloudy day.

  12. Well done on the gas usage! Last week, I winter sowed many flower seeds. Some include bachelor buttons, hollyhocks, sunflowers, borage, zinnias and marigolds. My husband planted onions, and worked up the soil so I can plant peas this week. Laundry was all dried on the line. A number of stained items were treated with the stain remover soak you shared. It did a very good job on some, and some are being soaked again, to hopefully get the last of the stain out. A batch of suet was made for the birds. The usual composting, saving warm up water, shredding paper and cardboard, collecting rainwater, and using homemade soap happened. Homemade pizza crust and pizza sauce were pulled from the freezer, some veggies chopped, and a quick meal was enjoyed. We enjoyed a lovely evening with several neighbors. I brought veggies and hummus, made using home canned chickpeas and our garlic. The leftover celery and carrots were chopped for a vegetable bean soup the next day. Beans were canned. First was a mix of black-eyed and Iron & Clay peas, then I canned a batch of black beans. My sister has been wanting to learn to can. Last year, she came to learn how to can tomatoes. This week, she’ll be learning to can dry beans. I’m looking forward to her visit.

  13. I bought 5 lbs of pears on the flash food app for $2.49 Stocked up the pantry for emergencies or visiting kids on Kraft dinner at .60 per box. Also bought 1lb pasta packs 3/$5.00-I don’t think it goes much lower here. As well bought a 6 pack of evaporated milk for $7.49. Yesterday we cooked for the week ahead-DH made meat pie, quiche and homemade bread and I made chicken tikka masala. Wishing everyone a great week. Well done Brandy on the gas bill-hard to believe that includes drying all your laundry too!

    1. I know! I am shocked! I am hanging 3 loads a week now since my girls want all their hoodies and jeans hung to dry. Still, I do quite a few other loads!

      It also means we’ve been good at shortening our shower times!

  14. Hello Everyone!

    We were just doused with rain over the weekend and lost power Sunday. We need the rain, so that is good! Thankfully, the storm this winter was less eventful compared to the six last winter. My husband’s DIY foundation sealing job held up…no garage flooding this year. Hooray! We were better prepared this year for the storms due to last year’s experience. I didn’t go grocery shopping and we put a block of ice in the refrigerator and had no food loss. In addition, we had a pile of wood ready to go for the wood stove (which is a blessing!). Also, I had canned and homemade dehydrated meals ready to go. No need to pick up anything and spend on food! We did laundry in advance as well. Our power seems to go out so easily. I think PG & E did that on purpose to prevent accidental fires.

    Other than that, I baked bread, and focaccia last week. We made a lot of soup based on ingredients on-hand. We also made homemade pizza with homemade pizza sauce. Our neighbor gave us some strawberries and salad greens, which we happily accepted and have eaten. I reused some kitchen foil and washed it to be used again. I returned a pair of shoes to the mall. My husband found identical work shoes at the outlet and got a 2 for 1 deal.

    Nice job reducing your energy usage, Brandy!

    Have a blessed week everyone!

  15. Congrats with the smart thinking to keep your gas bill down. I added the book to my read list, thank you, I’m looking forward to reading this.
    This week, I was by myself. Usually, I would treat my self to small pick up meals. This week, I didn’t order out and made my favorite meals. My gut health really needed this, and feeling better was a great reward.
    I hosted an out of state friend and we invited friends over for a brunch. It was a potluck. I saved the unused drinking water from glasses to water house plants. A few leftovers stayed behind, I looked up a recipe incorporating these for a breakfast casserole this week. We stayed in and watched movies and got caught up in conversation.
    The weather was agreeable, so I got out for some great walks.
    Hope everyone has a calm and productive week.

  16. We have a new puppy so that is changing quite a few things for this old couple. Gardening, a new fence, lots of patience being tested. I have made all our meals since before the holidays and I shopped our home and car insurance and saved over $1300. Still need to get husband to ween off of Dish and use other sources for music and TV and save almost $160/month. So ready for spring, cleaning greenhouse and prepping for seeds now. Only making trips to town once per week if needed. Cut grocery shopping by almost 50% because of stocking up.

  17. Earned $12.50 Amazon shopping panel reward for January

    Saturday evening, hubby and the teen did a candy run to Walgreens.
    The teen got a pack of gummy Lifesavers, and immediately discovered they were moldy. 🤢 I returned them the next day.

    I received a letter that I still had funds on the Pandemic EBT card and if I didn’t use them, I would lose them. I had the cashier scan the card and there was $13.13 left, so I used them on that grocery trip.

    I filed my taxes last Wednesday and received my $36 state refund on Friday.

    The weather here has been delightful (after the previous week of negatives), so the heater has stayed off or in very little use.

    I’ve been approved for the tutoring job. I’m splitting the week with one other, so I’ll work Thursday and Friday after school, with the option to sub on Monday and Wednesday if they need it. Extra $ to put towards paying off my truck this year.

    Hubby got a bag of fish from the guy he works with. It was enough for dinner for him and the boy, and lunch the next day.

    I finished Murder Your Employer on Audible, and promptly started Fourth Wing. My goal is at least one Audible a month.

    It was kind of a slow week, savings wise. I did my usual of eating at work most the week, eating or freezing leftovers, and staying in. The kid was sick so she didn’t go skating this weekend, saving some $.

  18. That’s an amazing win on the gas bill. Your whole family that is still at home is to be congratulated along with you, Brandy.

    We had enough sun and dry weather on Saturday that I could hang five loads of laundry on the line and get them dry.

    I’m appealing a refusal by Medicare to pay for a necessary blood test that they were paying for in the past. My doctor has certified that I need it.

    I used flannel scraps to sew eye makeup removers pads.

    I planted seeds early this fall in a spot and they did nothing. I planted a different kind of seed later and now both are growing nicely together, much to my surprise.

    I’m so used to batch cooking now that when I had just one dish to put in the oven, I made another dish to cook with it. It felt wrong to put only one pan in the oven.

    I trimmed my dogs’ claws.

    I made my own hot pepper treated bird seed and a batch of hummingbird nectar.

    Have a good week!

  19. I’m very impressed with your gas savings — very inspiring.
    This week I made my dog a new bed (from a cut-up foam bed topper I had saved for this purpose) and used part of an old sheet for the inner lining. I turned the rest of the sheet into pillow cases (I needed a couple of new ones.)* I did some mending.* I made sandwich bread and sourdough bread.* We spent a day in a town two hours away on business. Instead of going out to eat, we packed a lunch and took it to a local park. It was a rare warm spell and a beautiful day out. *My husband has trouble with vertigo. He was replacing shocks on one of our vehicles and it hit him hard. He was so sick. Worse, the vehicle was in pieces in the driveway. He called two friends and one came down right away and finished the job for him. He is always doing things like this for other people, so it was nice that he could ask for help and receive it.

  20. We had unusually cold weather in January and in order to prevent pipes from freezing ran water out of every household faucet non stop for two weeks. I was really concerned about water bill. It came today, $16. What a relief, don’t know if that was actual bill or they just charged everyone minimal flat rate due to bad weather but I’ll take it.
    At local liquidation store got tons of 🎯 merchandise for 90-98% off. Plus on some days there was additional 20% off your total bill. Got some $30 toys for only 40 cents. Using some for Valentines and donated some to library. It’s sometimes a digging through bins situation but I don’t mind. To me it’s a treasure hunt.
    I use the library so much I have a $100+ Amazon gift card I haven’t used in over a year. My 13 yo niece loves ordering health and beauty from there so I’m probably gonna let her place an order.
    8 nieces/nephews in our family and finished with Valentines happies for 6 of them plus 4 kids of friends. 2 teenage boys left, I have hard time buying for them so based on recommendation from friend and approval of their mom I’m getting them Taco Bell gift cards.
    Headed to big city to dog sit and made appointment for mani-pedi at nearby beauty school for while I’m there. Probably 1/2 of local salons and they always do a good job.

    1. And here I was happy that my water bill was down to $77!

      If I had run the taps like that, my bill would be $4000 at least. Just a toilet that leaks for 2 weeks from a bad flapper is an $800 bill.

      I had a toilet leak for 5 days and it was an extra $150 on my bill. This was before the new rates and fines that started last January. When my toilet was leaking recently, I shut the water off to the toilet until I could get it changed out to avoid a huge bill and huge fines.

      How amazing to have such a small bill there!

  21. In continuing to eat from the pantry and freezer our meals this week were:
    1. Home canned Zuppa Toscana. Sandwich bread garlic toast
    2. ham tetrizinni. I just make a white sauce and pour over the noodles and toss the ham that I had frozen and heated in a skillet
    3. BBQ chicken, purple hull peas frozen from my garden, and roasted butternut squash I had frozen from my garden
    4. Manicotti. I had cottage cheese a week from expiring I mixed with mozzarella. Parmesean, an egg, and parsley. I only had a partial box of manicotti shells so I filled them. then laid down lasagna noodles, spread on the cheese mixture and topped with another noodle. Made a Hamburger marinara sauce and poured over all. Side salad
    5. Breakfast biscuit sandwiches
    6. Home canned Beef Stroganoff with egg noodles. We didn’t like the canned Stroganoff because it had Worcestershire sauce that was strong after canning, so I will not do this recipe again.

    *My friend gave me a half dozen yard eggs, that are really big.
    * I took a frozen chuck roast and made Beef Stoganoff, canning 7 quarts.
    * I used 9 lbs beef bones and let simmer 48 hours and have beautiful broth to use to can Rustic Tuscan soup tomorrow. It is white beans, potatoes, carrots, smoked sausage. and kale.
    * I sold 2 macrame swing chairs for my son $60
    * Tomorrow I am going to a coffee and crochet group for the first time. Miss Mustard Seed put a tutorial for making a crochet dish cloth back in 2020 and I bought the size yarn I needed, then we moved and I never did it. So, I am learning with this project and meeting new people.
    * Ms Liz traded with me red fabrics. I am joining in a quilt along and it will have half square triangle blocks with different reds and a white . I wanted a better variety of fabrics so I cut out 8 sets of 22 and posted I’d love to trade 20 five inch squares. She is the only person that responded.
    * I’ve been not buying groceries and went to Kroger and I was hungry and over did it. I bought 5 bags chili flavored Fritos on the sale ( why?), four 5# bags of potatoes for canning, 5 lbs carrots and 3# onions for canning, 3 colored bell peppers because they looked good even though I have bags in my freezer frozen sliced peppers, a bag of apples, milk, and 5 cream cheeses, 3 cans beans, and 5 Lean Cuisines on sale $2 each for my husband to take to work when he has to work late to avoid vending machine or going out. It was $90 and everything was on sale!

  22. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Well done keeping your gas bill so low! It takes constant diligence to keep use low while the utility companies keep raising prices. Your water rates are hair raising.
    Every time I see photos of your metal arches I think how lovely the design is with the gold details.
    I sold my first item of clothing on Vinted. Clutter out, cash in. I decluttered and took bags to the charity shop and recycling centre.
    I used a 10 per cent voucher for money off in Lidl, a voucher for a free doughnut and also bought another anti waste box for £1.50. Such amazing value. The box contained three kiwi fruit which I am allergic to so I asked the woman standing next to me choosing her own box if she would like them and explained my allergy. She was pleased to have them and kindly picked them out of my box so I didn’t have to touch them.
    I used two over ripe bananas to make banana and chocolate chip loaf cake.
    I used parsley, parsnips and carrots from the garden. My husband brought home another butternut squash from a client and I made my version of minestrone soup ( ignore the recipe and throw in every type of vegetable I have on hand) which fed us for two days.
    The days I combine all my errands when out can be quite tiring so I am taking a flask of tea and fruit which stops the urge to go into a cafe.
    We have been searching for a small second hand chair and I found one in great condition in a charity shop this week. The delivery charge would have been £25 but one of the staff helped me take down my car’s dog guard and back seat and we manhandled it into the car.I also bought a small cutting mat for £2, brand new woollen mittens for £2 instead of £19 retail price and a new with labels dress for me. Prices in many charity shops are increasing ( some are crazy now) but now I’ve mastered Vinted I know I can recoup my money and hopefully make a profit if I want to move clothing on.
    I found small quantities of wool in colours I needed and darned two woollen jumpers.
    A friend gave me a British Library Crime Classics book ( gentle not gory) which she no longer wanted.
    Stay safe everyone.

  23. I was happy that this week when we went shopping that we stuck to sales on produce and only spent 27 dollars at the grocery store. I made Indian lentil soup this week and we ate it over rice. My family really enjoyed it! I have chickpeas soaking in the fridge. I plan to cook them in the pressure cooker to save on fuel. Then I will make hummus to eat with the veggies we got on sale this week. I’d forgot that we had bought hospitalization insurance! I am so happy we did! It saved us so much money! It is a small expense compared to how much it would have cost us. Totally worth it! I’m happy my husband is getting hours. It will really help us. We ate out once this week and I honestly regretted it. The expense and the way I felt was not worth it. I just feel so much better eating at home. Plus, I like saving the money. I have got to think of things my husband and I can do together that are free and can get us out of the house once in awhile. We used to go to the library a lot. We may do that again. We did borrow movies from the library and watch them at home. We borrowed one my son wanted to watch as well. My dad and other son came over and set up my son’s computer for him and figured out his television so he could watch some things he wanted to watch. I’ m not as tech savvy as they are. I am trying to incorporate beans into our diet for health and frugality. We are also eating a lot of veggies. I just feel so much better when I eat that way. We are eating very little processed foods. I hope to spend some time playing the piano this week. I’ve been so busy I just haven’t made time to play any of my instruments lately. I was enjoying the ukulele. But it has been awhile since I’ve played. I’d love to pull my harp our as well. I guess I am finally feeling a bit better. I’ve been tired most of this month. But today I woke up feeling pretty good. I want to deep clean my house as well. One step at a time.

    1. Tammy Great Job on staying focused at the stores.. I am doing the same, I write down the Loss Leaders and curb the urge to browse. Krogers lately has been giving a digital coupon if you buy $20 of produce you get $4 off your bill and I too am using more fresh produce when it’s on sale. I have been going out to lunch with my friends once or twice a month and we choose one of the cheaper restaurants family owned we always buy a breakfast meal I went Sunday it usually cost around $11 each plus a tip ( I tip generously as my sister is a waitress and I know how hard it can be) so usually my meal is around $20 with the tip. The upside with tipping generously? When we went Sunday the waitress remembers how good I tip and she pulled us out of a waiting line and seated us instead of us having to stand in line and wait for a seat, my sister says she and her staff do the same thing.

      1. Anna, Thank You! I appreciate the Kroger tip as well. We shop at a local store. It seems to have the best deals on produce. I think people should be kind to people that wait on them. My grandpa once said that everyone should be a waiter or waitress at least once in their lives. Serving others can teach an appreciation for those who serve.

  24. We had record high temperatures in MN too. While it is not unusual to have a January thaw, this winter has been incredibly mild.

    On the frugal front:
    I went to a lower cost/gallon gas station and also used the Upside app to save a total of $0.22/gallon.

    I used a free car wash coupon and opened the windows to air out the house on a particularly warm January day.

    I replaced two missing zipper pulls on my carryon suitcase using pulls left over from a kit I purchased more than 10 years ago.

    I froze leftover chili peppers in adobo sauce after making carnitas.

    I redeemed Chipotle rewards for a free entree.

    I helped DD1 clean house before moving. She sent me home with wrapping paper and rugs she no longer needed.

    We enjoyed HH’s company post-holiday party. It was a participation-style cooking class with a MN steakhouse themed menu.

    My neighbor signed up for an online cooking class. She invited me and another neighbor over to assist her. We learned to make paczkis and eclairs. She sent us home with a half dozen of each treat.

    I mended a hole along a seam of a sweater for DD1.

    HH’s aunt wanted the valence from the cafe curtains at her old apartment in her new senior care room. It was not long enough so I cut and sewed the fabric from the bottom portion of the window treatment to extend the valence.

    I look forward to reading about everyone’s frugal feats!

    1. I’m in my 70s. I only remember one (possibly tw0) years when we have had a snowless Christmas. (I lived in Minneapolis then.) I don’t think I have ever experienced this kind of weather here before. February in the 50s. No snow on the ground. The grass is green. When I go outside it feels like early spring. It’s almost creepy, especially when I see the bad weather people are experiencing in other places. I am enjoying it though and counting my blessings but it also makes me a little nervous.

      1. I’m in a northwest suburb of Minneapolis, and I feel the same way about the weather. It is creepy! Thankfully we are getting rain this week at least, which will help, but it does feel spring-like. My son coaches Nordic (cross country) skiing and what a poor season for his athletes. A few places make snow, but with these temps it’s been pretty hard for the kids. March is usually the snowiest month, so there is still hope. But, like you, I don’t miss the frigid temps!

  25. Besides the usual stuff, I feel like I had a big breakthrough in January about us eating out. I am very good at making meals but don’t put as much effort into making snacks and treats and the hankering for something ‘special’ can lead us to get delivery or donuts out which is no longer a cheap treat! I’ve made an effort have snacks ready to go (bread w/compound butter) and a dessert (jam cake, french silk pie, etc)!

    I am going to a day long quilting retreat this weekend with my mom and her best friend. I have two quilt tops cut and ready to go, plus one top for me. I probably should prep another thing to work on, but all three meals are provided, as well as a dedicated ironing station! Cannot wait!

    I got our regular groceries down under $50 for the week but then I feel a pull to go check out Kroger near us and found they had store brand cases of diet pop for 1.80/a case. I picked up 8 cases! At .15 a can, this amount will easily last us until mid summer and both my husband and eldest son where SHOCKED I came home with a bunch of pop! I also got several 3 packs of Chapstick for 1.54 each, slightly over .50 a chapstick. Those seems to evaporate in our house and cars so this is a blessing.

    A neighbor asked me to teach them to can! I am thrilled and hopefully this will bring our families closer. Its nice to have good neighbors!

    1. Sarah that is awesome you are trying to make snacks at home. I have been doing the same lately as well as my sister’s husband who is the “cook”. We have both been making No Bake Cookies they are so easy to make and cheap. We’ve discovered we really like Peanut Butter No Bakes. If you google “Buckeye Bars” you will find a fairly easy recipe that is just like Reese Peanut Butter Cups.. I bought some silicone cupcake molds and am going to try to make it using those, not filled all the way up but about halfway. I also saw where someone took a jar of Marchino Cherries, let them dry a little bit and dipped in Chocolate so if you have a Aldi’s look to see if they have them there. Best wishes from another Buckeye.

    2. Sarah in Ohio- Great minds think alike!! I’ve been making more at-home snacks and ready-to-go meals lately. I had fallen off the wagon for a bit but in January I started getting back to making “convenience” foods.
      I had no idea that you were a quilter! I love to kit up quilts ahead (pick pattern, fabrics and then cut out fabrics and bag up pieces so they are ready to go when I just want to start sewing!)! If you’re ever “stuck” and can’t find a pattern that appeals, come over because I’ve got hundreds that you can use! I tend towards scrappy stash-busting patterns so I can use odd bits. And I use a variation of Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User’s System to store leftover scraps by precutting them in to commonly used sizes. Such a time saver!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  26. Brandy that is fantastic on lowering your bills. We had increases in ours this past year as well. I have been able to keep mine low unfortunately not that low but less than $100 a month on electric ( actual cost) and my gas bill is on a Budget Plan $61 a month I have been watching the actual amount used each month and paying it so that I don’t end up with a big Pay Off balance. I also am purposeful in keeping lights off and the heat down and only washing clothes when I have a full load. I use the library every week. My friend gave me about 20 books that she had read and passed on to me. As a newer senior I have what is called a Buckeye Card that allows me to get 10% off purchases at some stores sadly not very many now days but our thrift store on Mondays gives 10% off so I now try to remind myself to go on Mondays it’s not a lot but it does cover the taxes. Also my husband was a senior last year ( age eligible) for what is called The Homestead Act which reduces our property taxes a little bit and even though he passed away I was able to be “Grandfather Claused” in because I was 60 when he passed away so it reduced my property taxes $400 a year. I am very purposeful on my grocery spending, set a amount monthly and use cash. I have a cushion amount in my bank account and if I don’t have to use it, it goes in to my savings account each month in addition to the amount I already have designated to go in each month.

  27. Way to go on the gas bill. Our bills were a little higher from the cold weather we had. The last few days have been beautiful, but more cold weather is on the way. Your iron work is just gorgeous. You and your husband are so talented. I wish I lived closer and could come to your garden tour. I have been studying gardening books to make improvements to our garden. We did not get the produce, we should have last year. I have been going to the library, and staying out of stores. My job is having meetings today and tomorrow so free lunch. We have been looking at ways to save more money as everything continues to rise it seems. My friend gave me three garbage bags of clothes to look thru and donate to the community closet. My husband built me a bookcase and I love it.

  28. Thank you for the book recommendation, Brandy! I’ve been enjoying Katherine Center’s books on Libby recently, from your recommendation.

      1. Great job on the energy savings. It’s something I need to put more effort into looking at. It’s generally been a warmer winter, so our heating bills should be lower.
        It was a mixed week, with my husband being very sick for several days. I had to take on some of his work, as he’s self employed. I did get takeout a few times because something just had to give. I did have some food waste, as he wasn’t hungry or wanted plain foods when I did cook. Had a lot of snacky type meals.
        I managed to make sourdough bread, pumpkin muffins and cranberry muffins. A close friend just had a baby, and I managed to make some food this week to take to them, using stuff I had on hand. We ate a lot of applesauce form last fall and canned pears and peaches. I ordered some plain protein powder, which I don’t love, but I’ve been using it up by adding a date to my smoothies, which masks the slightly bitter weird flavor. I’ll go back to my usual protein powder when it’s gone.
        I’m reading a library book. I sold a few things on eBay and listed a few more. Worked on cleaning the basement and did some decluttering. Went through more kids stuff and passing along things to friends. I found some shirts for my son, a blanket for my daughter and some new kitchen items at the thrift store, as well as a dress to resell.
        I can’t wait for spring to come and to get into gardening season.

  29. Good work on your gas bill Brandy! We recently received our gas bill and we used half as much gas as we did in January last year so I was pleased. We have been using our wood burning fireplace and small electric fireplaces when needed and have set our house temperature down a bit this year so those things help as well. We have been told that our water rates are going up over each of the next four years so reducing water usage has been my most recent project.

    I am strictly using gift cards and cash on hand for food and pet supplies again this month so will only be using our income to pay bills. We need very little so it won’t be difficult. I was blessed with two sweaters, a bathing suit, a lovely tin with roses by Emma Bridgewater on it and a gold charm from our local free groups this week. I sold a gift card that was given to us that we won’t use and used the money to pay for gas for the car for the month. So far this month I have received $10 in Amazon codes that I have put towards some pantry items.

    We have eaten all meals at home. Our entertainment has come from books and DVDs from the library.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely week. Hopefully the weather brightens up for those with lots of rain or snow.

  30. Found a strange quirk in our utility bills. Our water usage fluctuates a lot and I couldn’t find a consistent reason why. When I lined up several months of bills to compare it, (I don’t have access to daily or weekly numbers), I happened to notice the dates of the bills. Although most covered 28-30 days, a few months were outliers, one being only 24 days and one 34. I now know how to see if our use has changed or if it is just an oddly timed month.

    1. They do that here, too. It makes it easier to go over the allotted amount and is tricky. I don’t think it’s right, but it’s what they do.

  31. My only weekly frugal wins roundup also mentioned natural gas prices…I knew our rates had gone up, but I was surprised to see by just how much. When we first moved here in 2020, our rates were just under $8 per decatherm, and now they’re $13.21 per decatherm. A pretty hefty difference! I’m just grateful we’ve had such a mild winter, and I was lucky that our bill also went down, although I haven’t been keeping our house as cool this winter because I have a baby.

    Here’s some of my own frugal wins for the last week:


  32. Congratulations on your incredible savings, Brandy! Even if we can’t change the rates, we can certainly change our consumption which is a good thing.
    *I don’t do many of the savings apps but the 2 I do add up over time. I don’t buy things to get points, just shop as I normally do and consider it akin to picking up change off the ground (perhaps a bit better than that.) I accumulated enough points to get $35 worth of gift cards to Amazon which I will use for a curtain rod and clips to hang a thrift store purchased curtain over the glass on the door leading to our porch. This time of year, when the sun is low in the sky in early evening, the sun is a bit bright and shines right in my husband’s eyes when he sits at the kitchen table. The curtain is a nice heavy lined linen so it will block the glare nicely but will be open most of the time like door curtains. I always look for curtains when shopping at thrift stores. Many times, I have found beautiful, (sometimes vintage) obviously custom-made curtains and been able to resize them or use the fabric for other purposes. However, I tend to find only 2 panels more often than not. There must be a lot of people in my area with rooms with only one window. At any rate, this curtain was odd because there was only 1 panel and, as a result, was priced at $1 – ridiculously low but I didn’t complain. 🙂 I think I may embroider the edge of it one day (along the lines of textile artist Karin Larsson, whose work I love) but it will do the trick as is. So, the problem of too much glare will be handled at no OOP cost and will be a fun project.
    *Thrift store finds this week – a dress I can wear all year round for $4, some vintage saucers to use under potted plants (5 for $5) and a handwoven plaid blanket (for my husband’s chair) for $2. All useful things.
    *Grocery purchases were limited to a couple of B1G1 free items. Still working on going through the pantry and using 2 cans of something a day.
    *I finally broke down and ordered new glasses from a local optician. I have needed new ones for a long time. I have tried (twice) in the past to do the online, inexpensive glasses ordering and been unsatisfied each time. The alternative frugal option was using our vision insurance and selecting frames that were 100% covered at no cost OOP. They were the ones I actually liked the best (how often does that happen?) They were much less expensive than I thought they would be which was a pleasant surprise.
    *Used our HSA to pay for the total bill of my husband’s recent dental work. No OOP money.
    *A neighbor gave us a box of food including organic milk, organic yogurt, apples, grapes, oatmeal cookies, and tomatoes. Her husband is in the hospital and she felt the food would go bad with only one person at home eating. We helped move some furniture into storage for her that she was unable to move herself. Glad we can all help one another.
    *Another neighbor gave us food they will not use including applesauce, red lentil pasta, sweet potatoes, canned tuna and crisped rice cereal. It’s fun to figure out how to use these unplanned for things in our weekly meals.
    *I am going to be leading a regular Drawing Club for our homeschool co-op. Instead of purchasing items, I am looking through books and other materials we already have and making some cards with drawing prompts on them. The participants will bring their own drawing implements and sketchbooks they already own and use so no extra cost for anyone.
    *Slow and steady progress continues on our ground level work. Our stairs have a railing now! 🙂 It’s funny (to me, anyway, not always my husband) that even when you’ve built your own house, things don’t always go as planned. He has had to do some creative carpentry to use up a lot of materials he has had on hand forever and, I think, he has done a great job! He always says, “Thank goodness for YouTube” and “Caulk and paint make the carpenter I ain’t.” 🙂
    *I am continuing my way through the Inspector Gamache series and love them all. Glad the library must have many copies as it takes me a long time to finish one. I may be the only person on the planet that keeps books for the full 6 weeks allowed. 🙂
    *Have a lovely week, all!

    1. in regards to the red lentil pasta … I would go easy on it. I’ve found them to be quite heavy. Cook it separately and add into something rather than use it as a base.

  33. – It was my grandmother’s funeral. We held the ‘do’ in our house, saving on hall rental, and had a catered cold buffet. We got to keep most of the leftovers from the buffet and ate them for dinner that day and the next day.
    – It is my eldest daughter’s birthday this month. She said she wants “a tank top”. We ordered two in the end because they were both so cute. But we saved money by getting them both second hand from eBay, and by ONLY buying her what she had asked for and not getting lots of extra presents. (My children get to ask for one thing for their birthdays, and if what she wants most in the entire world is a tank top, who am I to argue with that?!)
    – I filled an empty 5l bottle with water to use for strength exercises.
    – I worked on an ebook I hope to publish for some side income. I have done well out of selling other digital products considering the effort:income ratio. (I don’t earn lots but don’t spend a lot of time on it either.) This is something I wanted for my children for homeschooling anyway, so even if I’m the only one who buys a copy it’ll have been worth it!
    – We are making plans to put perennials in our garden and trimming the list down to a more manageable number of things to plant this year, so we don’t get overwhelmed.

    (I just can’t seem to get most of my comments to format as bullet points. What am I doing wrong?!)

    1. I am sorry about your grandmother.

      I think the comment format is working okay. It is, at least, working on thr back side where I am reading your comments.

  34. I am continuing on another week of using the food up that I purchased and organizing the house. A huge win for me as we are now in February.

  35. I used some pumpkin that I wanted to finish and made the dog a bunch of peanut butter/pumpkin dog treats. The rest of the pumpkin went into her dinner. She was very happy.
    Hubby and I went to Cheesecake Factory for lunch and used gift cards. I had my leftovers for dinner that night. The only OOP was tip.
    Since we were at the mall I went into B&BW and used a free product coupon to get body wash. It went into the gift closest.
    When I went to Aldi I got a free cart that someone left in the parking lot. I also found a dime in the store.
    I made a batch of 36 pumpkin muffins to share. Hubby brought in pumpkin muffins to work. His boss had brought in donuts. He told him to take the extra’s home since we are always sending in food. 6 donuts and 2 spotted bananas. The bananas went into the freezer.
    I made a double batch of salad dressing.
    I have been decluttering. The kids have taken a bunch of stuff. I have a bag of stuff for my oldest when we see her. My cousin has taken some and some has gone to the church outreach. Now is a good time to do it because in April I will be outside everyday.

  36. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I went to the salvage grocery store about 35 minutes out of my way. It’s hit or miss, but this time was great! I got a lot of snack-type treat food that I don’t usually buy: chips, cookies, etc. I did notice their cake mixes have gone up, they used to be 4/$1 and now are 3/$1. Still a good price, I mix a box with a few mashed, old bananas for easy muffins. I bought a couple of boxes of Kodiak flapjack/waffle mix, $1.50. I’ve never tried these, hope they’re good, but the price wasn’t much cheaper than plain old pancake mix. Tortilla chips .50/bag, and I will toast them in the oven if they’re a bit stale.
    I continue to list and sell things on Facebook Marketplace. Cash in, junk out. My goal is an extra $100/week, which I want to save up to buy a cplay gy d next summer.
    I made a payment toward dental expenses, our insurance hardly covers anything.
    I took a gift I already had to a neighbor’s 50th birthday party, and offered to bring food. She asked me to make potato salad, so I grabbed an extra $1.47 bag of potatoes at the store, other ingredients I already had (used a very simple recipe). Friend returned my container clean, with some cookies another guest brought to the party. It was nice to get out.
    Using gifts from the gift closet for the 4 kid birthday parties this weekend my children are invited to, brings cost to <$5. It's fun for them to get to go to some of these trampoline, escape room, play gym places we wouldn't otherwise go to.
    Friend called from Sam's to see if I wanted canned pumpkin, 3 packs of large cans for $1. I really don't need any, but I asked her to get me 5 packs, which I'll eventually use in muffins. I don't think I could grow a pumpkin for that price.
    Working from home late at night and after the kids are in bed means I don't have to pay for childcare.
    Rescued a Little Tykes basketball goal from the neighbor's trash; baby is still young, but will eventually enjoy it.
    Opened the windows to enjoy fresh air.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  37. Gas is $2.75 gal in University town. It is $2.99 gallon two hours south. I bought $1.79 jar of roasted sunflower seeds at Target. I took the empty jar and filled it with pepita/pumpkin seeds I bought at Aldi for $2.19. LI eat seeds on the way to work if I get hungry. Orange juice was $3.39 at Aldi for 52 fluid Oz. Eggs at Aldi were $1.92 a dozen and I usually eat boiled eggs I take to work for breakfast. 2 % milk at Aldi was $1.86 for half a gallon. I was looking for my receipt from Aldi for ground beef but it was 3,89 lb for 80%, if I remember right, which is why I bought it. Potatoes are pitifully high, I bought the cheapest russet potatoes I could find which was at Winn Dixie, $3 for a 5 lb bag if you bought two, so total if 6 dollars for 10 lbs and they were small. Aldi 10 Oz large bag of tortillas chips was $2.19 I think. If I want chocolate candy I go to Dollar Tree. I think Target, Aldi, and Winn Dixie all had their bananas for 59 cents a lb. I hate it when I misplace my receipts!. Coleslaw, the tricolor, was $1.19 at Target. Winn Dixie had chicken thighs for 99 cents a lb. I never thought I would see the day when I would think 99 cents a lb was a good price for chicken thighs! It was just a few yrs ago that I could buy chicken thighs on sale for 39 cents a lb and that was quite often!!!! Prices going up but wages are not!!!

  38. We’ve had a lot of rain and wind here in NorCal. Lost some shingles and a fence, so not a frugal week. My medical insurance plan, same company though, changed Jan 1 and all my approvals/referrals went sideways. Caused me to miss my new round of physical therapy, and their report to the judge for my disability hearing on Monday. So had to do without. Praying it went ok anyway. You wait years for these things and they are over in 45 minutes not asking anything you’ve prepared for. The insurance approvals still aren’t straightened out after 2 weeks, so gave everyone each other’s phone numbers and am practicing patience.

    My frugal win this week was not giving up when Safeway overcharged me by 12.98 and it took hours with their chat to resolve. Unfortunately, this is the 5th time it happened using the online order for pickup and I wasn’t going to let it go.

    My neighbors invited me to watch the Super Bowl and it’s a texmex theme, so will make a Mexican chocolate streusel cake. All from pantry items I have on hand. I got cinnamon ice cream to serve with it for 2.97 on sale. Since it’s 9×13 cake and I don’t have a rectangle platter, I’ll use my wood pizza peel as a platter and foil I wash/reuse to line the pan so I can lift it out to plate. Will reuse my football decor I’ve had for 25+ yrs.

    I continue to use cloth napkins and kitchen towels instead of paper. Been hanging clothes to dry in the garage. Since it’s been raining the temps have been warmer and some days can go without turning the heat on at all. I’ve been challenging myself to see how long I go before turning it on. I mended two sweaters and shopped goodwill and a thrift store to find a nice cashmere(!) sweater and cardigan I wore to court. $15 total. I watched a free video to improve my mending skills. Been lucky we lost power for only a few minutes vs several days last year. Still had my supply of wood/flashlights ready from last year in case of emergency.

    I continue to try and befriend my local murder (flock) of crows. I’ve been feeding them daily and they’ve learned to come when I call, though still extremely shy about coming near. It’s my quiet time with nature I’m including each day. My heart sings when from an empty sky I’ll hear a far away crow call back to me and then from blocks away I see them start coming. They’ve been very entertaining too. Yesterday a flock of seagulls showed up and they were scared of them. Gulls of course aren’t afraid of people at all and we recreated an Alfred Hitchcock scene, starring me in the middle of the street trying to shoo away seagulls. I did not win that fight, lol. However, a half an hour later I went out and the crows were still waiting for me after the gulls ate their dinner. So the second meal finally went to the crows.

    I hope everyone is having a good week!

    1. I love crows! My friend calls them my ‘people’. My husband doesn’t like me feeding them or i would. They’re very intelligent.

      1. They are intelligent, but most people who walk by think I’m a bit odd and seem to think crows are a nuisance. So they’ve been getting a bit of a tutorial, lol. Still timid, but definitely friendly. They know my voice and come each day at the same time.

  39. Maria, I wish you the best in the disability case. We are currently in appeals for my husband.

    Frugal tries:
    I want to try more sprouts. I went to winter farmers market and got sunflower sprouts (very mild flavor) and nasturtium sprouts (really spicy). I buy to try and support a local farmer while I learn what flavors I like and how to grow them right.
    I am starting winter sowing. Whatever I don’t sow I will try sprouting! I plan to get more seeds at the library and the county event in May.
    My son asked for us to grow lettuce in my standing raised bed I used for herbs last year. As rabbits don’t seem to bother herbs like they do my lettuce, I’ll try it.
    I participated in a local focus group and am receiving a gift card
    Ordered a replacement laptop since mine is dying. As I had earned gift cards it will not cost me out of pocket.
    Made challah bread for the first time. Also made some cheesy pesto pull apart bread and offered some to neighbors.
    I had bought some seasonings very inexpensively at Penzeys. When I use them up, I’m washing the glass jars and setting aside to gift my extra herbs in next fall.
    Have a safe weekend!

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