We received rain this past week, so I didn’t have to water the garden. It is rare that I do not need to water the garden. I am grateful for the water and money savings. It is more rain than I have seen in a long time.

I put out a washtub before it rained. It filled quickly and I was left wishing I had had a dozen to set out.

The storm brought much colder temperatures. I was the only one in the house who was cold. I put on a cardigan over my pullover and tied a scarf around my neck so that I would be warmer. I know those of you in colder climates keep the house even colder, and so I did my best to keep warmer with layers.

I harvested Swiss chard, parsley, lemons, snow peas, mint, and cilantro from the garden

I made homemade laundry soap.

I finished sewing some burp cloths for a mother-to-be from fabric I had on hand, purchased years ago on sale.

My girls wanted to go to three stores in the same shopping center. I drove them there and waited in the car so that I wouldn’t be tempted to buy anything.

I served refugee and immigrant families again, handing out food from the food bank (we also had clothing, both used and new, to give out). I was happy to see some of the same people last time and to practice saying hello in several languages. It was definitely one of the highlights of my week! At the end of the event, I was able to take home some food: canned green beans, black beans, tomato soup, and chickpeas, plus frozen blueberries and frozen shrimp!

I said yes to some canned chicken that a neighbor was getting rid of because it expired in January. She brought over way more chicken than I had expected, canned marinara sauce, and canned peaches.

I cut flowers from my garden to take to see the new mother in the hospital. I brought a meal for her and her husband using some of the lentils that I received last month, and they loved it. I made extra, so I had plenty leftover for meals at home as well.

In one of the Facebook rose groups I am, people often sell roses that they no longer want to make room for others they want more. I have 2 roses left of 4 that I ordered years ago that I have not loved as much as I had hoped, so I decided that rather than tossing them, I would try to sell them. I listed them both for sale in a local (different) rose group and sold them!

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. It’s been a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I went to a giant high school garage sale, paying the $20 pre-sale admission to shop the first day: totally worth it! They had a lot of nice things, I don’t want to mention how much I spent, but all great bargains.
    I bought loss leaders and sales at the grocery store.
    I got the $5 Sam’s rotisserie chicken when I got gas and pizza for the kids.
    A few of us have been under the weather, so staying home seems to save money.
    We watched some friends perform in a Chinese new year traditional dance at the donut shop. I bought the kids each 1 donut (we ate breakfast before), which was still a treat. I’m reminded of the tightwad gazette ice cream cone story. 🙂
    I bought some new Birkenstocks, paper plates, and vintage bells at Goodwill Outlet.
    I organized our books and found some we’d forgotten about.
    Made reservations at the new Great Wolf Lodge opening near Houston. Their special was $149 (for one night) for up to 12 people, which I thought was fair. Taxes and resort fees brought it up to $176, but I think we can get two waterpark days out of it, plus bring most of our food. Looking forward to it opening this fall.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

    1. Hi Leigh Ann, we have always packed our own food when we go to Great Wolf Lodge! I would recommend a bag for your ‘going home’ dry clothes for the 2nd day after you check out of the room. There are changing rooms in the water park you can use. Have fun!

    2. Pretty sure I was there too! I hit the children’s costumes section and got three wonderful “princess” dresses for my granddaughter’s birthday (dress-up box goodies). And the children’s books were 12 for $1. Had never been, but saw it on FB and took of work early to check it out. Totally worth the trip!

    3. I love the ice cream story, and that you did it with the donuts! Recently, I later gave my kids a Christmas present that I had overlooked on the day. Oh boy. They got so excited. It made me realize that the crush of so many gifts on Christmas itself makes the gifts not as precious nor as fun.

  2. Last week I canned mandarin oranges and am on the lookout for a sale on more. They will be so refreshing chilled next summer when it’s hot. I signed up for two free classes through the county extension office. One is on pressure canning and the other will cover all sorts of food preservation. I have a pressure canner that I have never used. No time like the present! I’m looking forward to creating meals in a jar for busy days.
    In the garden I am planning on moving an espalier apple tree and some grapevines to areas with more favorable conditions. I’m hoping for bigger crops this year so I can do some preserving.

  3. I often use my “house hat” ( a light knit cap)or tie a scarf around my head to keep the chill off indoors, for me it works great.
    I immediately wanted to play in your tub of rain water – like a raccoon attracted to shiny objects 🙂

    My honey jar was emptied this week. I took warm water and added it to the jar to get honey water to flavor my tea. It made about 2 cups. I kept the water in the fridge between uses.
    CVS had a free 8×10 photo coupon which I took advantage of for a silly pick me up gift for my husband.
    I was gifted 4lbs of wild rice, some I will use in trade for peanut butter.
    Local gas prices rose, so I made a point of driving less and making the most of my trips.
    My husband and I had a cheap date night splitting a plate of fresh French fries and silly conversation. I’ll remember that night for a long time.

    I hope everyone has a calm and productive week!

  4. -Meeting a friend from out of town for Christmas celebration at end of month. Went to Hallmark store this weekend (nearest one is 65 miles north of me and I happened to be house sitting nearby) and all their Keepsake ornaments were 90% off. I was able to find three that would be meaningful for her to include in her gift. Also got several greeting cards for my stash most of which I paid for with bonus and rewards coupons.
    -She loves Hallmark movies and I was able to find a book based on HM movie at Dollar Tree.
    -I got two meals to go (one Mexican and one Italian) while on house sitting trip and was able to use two meals to eat 4 separate times. Homeowners leave me cash for meals but I don’t want to be wasteful with it. Carried my own snacks and Diet Coke so I didn’t have to go to grocery while I was there.
    -Took advantage of their Netflix while I was there and caught up on some shows I wanted to see. -Thrift fail: did not buy insulated mug at thrift store because it had small stain on outside. It was $1, was very sorry I didn’t buy it when I later saw on 🎯app for $30. My phone had no signal when I was in store so I couldn’t research retail price. It was only $1, why didn’t I just go ahead and buy it.
    -I love costume jewelry, on my way to house sit I was able to stop at Cato, a ladies clothing store with great clearance. Bought 8 necklaces for $8, regular retail was $104. I’m keeping some and giving some to friends.

  5. I was able to share some lentil curry with a neighbor who had a cold.

    I made two batches of oatmeal peanut butter breakfast bars using food I had on hand. I used almond butter, as my husband doesn’t like it, and used up two partial containers. He likes the bars. The recipe also used up yogurt that was getting a little old.

    We were experiencing cold weather, so it was a perfect time to defrost my standing freezer. The defrost went quickly and was able to clean the surfaces and create a new inventory, reminding me what it stored inside.

    I went walking with a friend, went to water aerobics twice and yoga once, read borrowed books, and knitted on projects. I also helped serve dinner at a warming center one evening.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week and remember that they are loved!

    I hope everyone has a lovely week

    1. Would you please share your breakfast bar recipe? We aren’t much for a big sit down breakfast during the weekdays but this sounds wonderful!

  6. I haven’t enjoyed my rain this week. My first Jonquil bloomed this week. My yard will be overgrown soon. I can’t do yard work or burn in the rain. Mother nature is interfering w my plan. All the neighbors leaves blown up against my curb were raked up in the drizzle. They are easier to collect when wet. Hoping for a hot dry week. Frugal me ,refused to buy a new book at full price. I just can’t do that. In checking the price ,I saw it was offered on Audible for free. I’ve never seen that happen before. I quickly downloaded it. I subscribed to the History Channel for 99 cents for 3 months. Sugar cookie will love that. Well over a year ago ,I collected a haul of Hallmark goods from a dumpster. CVS was closing and I couldn’t pass those items up. I bought Sugar cookie 12 postage stamps and let her send cards to all her favorite people. These are really nice greeting cards that I would be unlikely to purchase. We had several that are 3 D and open into bouquets of flowers. I sent one to a friend who gave me a generous gift a few weeks back. I hope there are some people smiling this week when they receive our cards. I brought in 12 kitchen garbage bags of clothing. All abandoned at several different dumpsters. I chose a nice pair of black jeans that are stretchy. I definitely have had no weight loss. These were needed. I picked out several Ralph Lauren Polo shirts for my son along with a pair of jeans. There are clothes donation boxes very near each dumpster we visit. It’s pitiful these clothes end up in the trash. Now ,I took all the clothes to a neighbor. She sorts them according to where they are being taken too. Often we have undergarments and socks new in the package. I’ve bought a tool to remove the security device. This particular store frequently tosses out these items. Lots of fruit and vegetables and snacks were dropped off. I’m pretty much broke this month. My daughter didnt have the funds to buy a car and is struggling to get to work. She bought a used car w payments as she had little money for a down payment. I paid the car insurance. Without a car ,she can’t cover her rent. It’s a vicious cycle. In order to catch up ,she is instacarting everyday along w school and her regular job. I have plenty of time for yard work as I mean the checking is pretty much empty. She took her 2 male cats in to be neutered. It is expensive. No sooner than we retrieved them from the procedure, I see the local shelter had a special for 50 dollars. I could have cried. There were no more appts left for my 1 female, but I do have one for my male. I’m hoping the female won’t be blessing us with kittens in a couple weeks. I will be stalking their posts to get Honey an appt on the 1st. Our local vets charge between 365.00 to 120.00 per animal. I bought a hard shell pet carrier for 6 dollars at Goodwill. I enjoyed the Superbowl commercials I watched on you tube. We are eating the freezer down and will be spending all our time at home the next 2 weeks. I hope you are all well 💗.

  7. I admire your discipline of not entering the mall!
    Flowers are gorgeous as always, here on Vancouver Island BC
    It is rain with peeks of sun, about 45 to 50 F.
    Ann S

  8. What fun to see the pictures of plants in the rain! The chard (I think those leaves are chard?) looks like a river and tributaries flowing through green hills.
    On my list of goals for the year was “have something to do with my hands when watching TV.” I finished an embroidery sampler that I bought some many decades ago at camp, (The Law of the Camp Fire Girls), and one that my Mom had started perhaps about the same time, (Jesus Loves Me). I don’t know where these pieces will go, just that the stitching is finally, finally done!
    I have miles and miles of embroidery floss, from Mom, yard sales, my own projects, probably my grandmother, and am thinking about my next project.
    Enjoyed the gentle novel “What you are looking for is in the library” by Michiko Aoyama, from my library.

  9. So glad you’ve had some rain!!
    I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want/need to plant this spring so I’ve been doing an inventory of what we have currently in our pantry and freezer as well as evaluating how specific crops did last year to either eliminate, reduce or expand their plantings.

    Our potatoes did better than ever and we only have a handful left. Rather than seed potatoes from a nursery, I bought organic yellow potatoes on Flashfood last year for 99 cents/pound so I thought I’d watch for them on Flashfood again this year. What a surprise to find 3 pound bags of organic yellow potatoes (the variety I planted last year) for $2.50/3 pound bag!! I bought 3 bags because I want to expand our potato crop and also have a few to share with 89 year old friend who just wants a few and our son-in-law who is adding to their garden a little at a time. Sarah in Ohio or Anna in Ohio, if you’d like a pound or two, let me know!

    We’ve been eating consistently from our pantry and freezers and our grocery bill has been $34.27 in the past 3 weeks (Flashfood ground beef (4-1/2 pounds for $6.03) and $12.95 (after $6 ibotta) for 5 twelve packs of cans of ginger ale and a gallon of milk ($2.79) and now, today 3 three pound bags of organic yellow potatoes (for planting) and a box of 5 navel oranges, 8 apples and a lime on Flashfood for $12.50. I’m happy with that. The ginger ale will last us a year and will be used when we are sick to settle our stomachs (along with chicken noodle soup and toasted cheese sandwich.)

    I got some client quilts done this week- these 2 for an 89 year old client- https://pin.it/3tELi58iO and https://pin.it/6uTbw3RSJ. and then this one for a new client to gift to her friend recently diagnosed with breast cancer who will be starting chemo soon- https://pin.it/5RBhQg5gl with this purple Minkee backing- https://pin.it/63HtcpHsf. I found another quilt pattern I want to make up starting this week! It’s totally scrappy (of course) and I can’t wait to start work on a quilt of my own making to reduce my stash!

    Our DIY “quick and simple and inexpensive” projects in the house are moving along. After the 2nd floor north hallway got stripped, replastered and repainted, we moved to laundry room. We’ve been wanting to clear walls and repaint and put down new flooring. The room is an odd shape- 8 foot x 20 foot and is between dining room and 1st floor north hallway. Seemed like a straightforward project – in and out and voila! But Hubs has had other ideas which meant knocking out a new doorway on the opposite side of wall between dining room and laundry room and closing up existing doorway! Imagine my surprise to hear Sawzall going downstairs while I was quilting! We got a new light fixture because Hubs decided that our newly painted upstairs hallway needs an additional matching ceiling light and we would just use the one from laundry room which matches the hallway. The new doorway also means we need to move freezer and gorilla shelves and the tall cabinet storage and reconfigure everything! 😵‍💫😳😱 I have vetoed a few of his plans and he’s acquiesced but from the sounds downstairs, I think he is still of the opinion that “You’ll love it, lady!” lol! He’s right. I probably will. And it’s giving him a huge burst of energy to be plotting out on graph paper and mixing up more mud to smooth everything out. But when this is done, it looks like wallpaper that has been in dining room will have to come down since it shares a wall with newly closed in doorway. All I can think of is the book- If You Give A Mouse A Cookie!! It all started because we had some extra paint left over from painting our fireplace and mantle just before Christmas. 🙄🥴🤪

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Hi Gardenpat! How apt a description! If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!😂😂😂 My husband is a pro at this…sounds like our hubbies would get along well.😂 Just wanted to mention that my former husband’s grandmother from Poland used to pour gingerale over a ham when she baked it! It keeps it nice and moist.Have a great weekend!

  10. It’s nice that you got so much rain. We had a lot of rain here too, and I’m grateful that the sun has come out again today.

    February has been an unavoidably spendy month so far. I seem to be running out of all my household and personal items at once, plus I have new health issues to deal with – nothing major, but it all adds up. Still, I found a few small ways to save money this past week.

    I put several new books on hold at my library. These are popular books, and I might be waiting for a few months, but that’s okay.

    I had to wash a small load of laundry, and it didn’t seem worthwhile to run the dryer, so I hung the clothes up to dry.

    I haven’t been doing much cooking lately, but I did take the time to make a batch of corn muffins and a batch of pancakes. I put half of each in the freezer to make sure they won’t go to waste.

    I got $6.50 cash back from Ibotta.

    A winter night shirt I had in my online cart at Target went on sale, so I bought it, saving $5 off the regular price plus another 5% by using my Redcard. This will replace one that I’ve worn until it’s almost falling apart.

    I decorated for Valentine’s Day using things I already had. I’m not very crafty, but I managed to make a simple heart garland using a free printable from the internet, colored pencils, tape, and a ribbon I had kept from Christmas. I also baked brownies using a mix I had been gifted.

    I am still eating all leftovers and avoiding waste, using cloth napkins and handkerchiefs, and reusing glass jars and ziploc bags when possible.

  11. Thank you for the well wishes last week. One week down!
    I love that there are so many ways to sell pre-owned items, even roses. I’m sure you were thrilled to receive the money for them!
    I attended a free pruning class and brought home 3 fig branches to grow. And a piece of coffee cake for my husband!
    We borrowed the state park pass from the library and visited 2 that are nearby.
    My husband got the free bacon cheeseburger from Carl’s Jr today ( I have too many food allergies for that).
    We have looked at our finances and figured out how much we can put into 403b. That feels good.
    My life is pretty simple right now, but I enjoy hearing what all of you have been doing!

  12. I finished The Fourth Wing on Audible, and started Iron Flame

    I used various plastic shopping bags for trash. I never seem to make a dent in them, despite using my reusable bags about half the time at the store.

    I worked after school tutoring 6 hours last week. Going forward, it’ll only be 3 hours, unless they need me to sub on Monday and Wednesday.

    Stuck my green onions in a jar of water to extend their use.

    Our weather started out chilly, then was 70 by Friday. It was cold again over the weekend, and even snowed this morning, canceling school and work. It all melted this afternoon.

    Not so frugal…I had a flat tire. They wouldn’t patch any the last time it happened because how worn they were( they are original to the truck, and I just hit 60,000 miles) so now I have 4 new tires to the cost of $1,100. We do have 9 months to pay it off before the interest starts, so I’ll get it done.

    We did go out to breakfast while the truck was at the tire shop. We brought home leftovers and hubby ate his for lunch, and I split the rest of my pancake between the dogs.

    I was so busy last week, we didn’t go anywhere outside of work and home. I bought minimal groceries for the week. We ate a lot of meat we had in the freezer already(ham, chicken, hamburger)

  13. I am off to Hawaii on Saturday so not frugal-I bought a flight and airfare package through Costco which saved some. I am not renting a car as it is $40 per night plus $40 per night for parking-so forget that. The area I will be in is very walkable-if I want to go further afield I can take the bus for about $1.50 senior rate if I can figure out where to get the senior pass. I am again staying across the road from a food market which also sells take out so I think food shopping should be easy. My hotel room also has a fridge for leftovers. I might eat at a restaurant once.
    Brandy I am glad to hear you are enjoying working at the food bank and also getting to bring some leftovers home-free food is always good!

    1. Thanks! It’s not at the food bank itself. It’s at an apartment complex, and we distribute the food to those in need.

  14. I got my prescriptions refilled for three months, and picked up a supply of ibuprofen at the same time, so I won’t have to go to the pharmacy until mid-May, which is springtime here. It took five phone calls to the pharmacy to get this done, because the physicians’ office was slower than usual.

    It took another five phone calls and messages to find a ride to the hospital for a routine test. In the end the hospital cancelled the appointment because it is not something they do at that location, though the hospital system website said otherwise. In any case, I now have someone new to give me rides, which I really wanted.

    The pharmacist told me there is now a new woman doctor taking the place of my family doctor, and she has a five-year contract! Another doctor started last year, and he also has a five-year contract. This takes the worry out of medical coverage for a good long time for those of us who had one of the previous doctors. (There is still an issue for people who are new to town, and for young families, unless they have a child with serious health issues.) I made an appointment for a physical with my new doctor before all her time got booked.

    I’ve been doing an audit of the lighting situation in and around my house. I needed to replace some worn-out bulbs, but I also found out that LED lightbulbs get dimmer over time. I took a taxi over to one of the hardware stores and bought replacement bulbs for the living room, bedroom, and kitchen — $38 it cost! I then replaced the bulbs over the next couple of days. The whole living space is much, much brighter. I had thought I needed a couple of lamps for the corners, but that’s no longer the case. I am due for an eye exam, but I realize my eyesight isn’t as bad as I thought. The taxi driver tells me the lights look much brighter when she is driving past my house!

    I’ve ordered a few clothes from ThredUP – two casual dresses and a long skirt. These are quite a change of style for me. We shall have to see how tempted the cat is to chase flowing skirts. I thought they would be comfortable in the house in the summer. The skin on my shins are not pretty enough anymore to be showing them in public, but I thought these would be nice to wear at home. They had a very good mark-down on the prices.

    To celebrate getting so much done this week, I ordered a pizza in on Saturday night. I haven’t had a restaurant or take-out meal since the summer of 2020. I was delighted that the price hadn’t gone up significantly over that time. It used to be the pizza place didn’t have delivery, but I realized recently that that had changed. They will deliver to the nearby summer resorts (for a price), but I am just a few blocks away. It was piping hot when it arrived.

  15. I made some pretty good Goodwill finds – a small LeCrueset casserole dish, a vintage cobalt blue Shirley Temple pitcher/creamer and a leather high end designer purse – everything cheap and in perfect or near perfect condition.

    The plants in your yard look very green and happy – glad you got that rain! I also think it is so nice of you to volunteer helping the food bank.

    My vascular surgeon just took me off of a very expensive medication (ya hoo!). I had just paid for and received three months supply in the mail plus I had another unopened bottle. So I did a search for a place to donate them. There is an organization called Sirum that will receive your unopened drugs and make sure they will go to organizations to benefit those in need.

    I am having a somewhat bad TMJ issue right now. This resulted in a major frugal fail that involved going to a specialty dentist my regular dentist recommended. I ended up having to pay upfront for two mouth devices (and testing) that I tried and hated. Money that sadly went down the drain:(. If anyone has any good TMJ ideas I would love to hear about them.

    I have been watching All Creatures Great and Small plus the huge number of books we are always reading (Brandy – my degree is in English, too).

    I made my daughter an apron from $6.99 yard Michael’s fabric. Plus just finished a rose colored linen skirt for myself.
    All I can think of for now.

    1. I had a very serious TMJ issue a number of years ago – and first tried those splints and bite guards to try and relieve the pain. In the end I had 4 1/2 hours of surgery, a year of physiotherapy and then 3 years in a full set of braces in order to line up my teeth with the new jaw position. Not fun but worth it in the end as the pain was so severe and life constraining before I took action.

      Make sure you get an orthodontist who specializes in adults – that really made a difference in my case. The devices aren’t pleasant but they do help and may mean that you won’t have to go the surgery route so you may want to try again. Good luck.

      1. Thanks Margie – I just found a highly rated TMJ specialist to bring my CAT scan, devices, etc. to, for a second opinion. I have only had the issue since September so I am hoping I can bypass the surgery route.
        This particular doctor seems to look at a variety of possible solutions; some holistic and some more medical oriented. From what I have been reading there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution as you’ve probably discovered. I am so glad for you that you found relief through the route you took. Thanks everyone for the good suggestions.

    2. My chiropractor treats TMJ. I don’t have personal experience with that, though find chiropractic very helpful for other issues. Certainly would be less invasive than other approaches, perhaps being more like the videos Tina S posted. Good luck!
      What fun to find the Shirley Temple pitcher!

  16. What lovely photos again! Glad you got some good rain and didn’t have to water. It is still too warm and too dry here in Minnesota, but I’m enjoying the mild weather even though I know it’s a worry long term. * I washed out and filled a gallon jug that contained cranberry juice after it was empty for storage. *I did some mending this week. I reinforced a loose button on one of my husband’s white shirts. I also sewed some elastic back on some undergarments where it was separating. *I stayed within the food budget again. I’m feeling good about how that is going this year so far. * My husband and I had a date night using a Chipotle gift card we received for Christmas. Our bill was only 10 cents over what the gift card was. *I bought some yarn on sale at Joanns and utilized a 20% off curbside pickup order coupon. I’m glad when I can use a coupon on sale items. I got 9 skeins of yard for $20. *We enjoyed our little Super Bowl at-home party. Kept the food simple and used decorations I already had. Printed the two team logos for “new” decorations, but I saved them in case the same teams play next year. * I dug through my leftover Valentines and found five Paw Patrol ones for my grandchildren. I added $1 to each. They will like them I think. They are fans of Paw Patrol. * Otherwise, it’s doing the same things I always do: menu plan, cook at home, stay home most days, watch shows we have and read library books. One thing that does keep me inspired is watching old-timey shows like The Waltons, where they are thrifty folks. Kinda feels like community to me.* Instead of going out for Valentine’s day, I’m cooking at home. We aren’t exchanging gifts, but will go on a little get-away at the end of the month. Invited some friends over tomorrow for “Galentine’s Day”. I’ll make the treats and we will visit. Much less expensive and more enjoyable than going out. * I hope everyone has a lovely week and feels love and peace in their lives.

  17. Brandy, glad you got the rain and cooler temps! Enjoy it while it lasts 🙂

    I bought my Kroger affiliate groceries on Friday to earn 4X fuel points. The last time I did this it saved us $13 on gas to fill our vehicle. I bought things I wouldn’t Normally buy there (deodorant, shampoo, etc.) but they had a great sale and digital coupons that brought them down to about half the price of buying them at Walmart. Score!

    used up a little bit of yogurt and some sweet potatoes that had been here for probably 2 months and they were still delicious!

    planned my menu around grocery sales and things in my freezer.

    pulled out a frozen Turkey in my freezer since Thanksgiving 2022! I’ll cook it this week.

    I’m trying to cook smaller meals and keep better track of leftovers as to not waste food. We had about a Tablespoon or two of taco meat and a small bit of cheese left from tacos that DS was wanting to toss but I put it in a small container and topped some lettuce with it the next day for lunch for a child and she loved her taco salad!!

    caught a mistake on my grocery order to the tune of $35!!

    started using a less expensive hair color. (Less by half)

    Bought apples for $1.99 for 3 lb bag. Cilantro and green onion for $.33 a bunch. 15oz can of tomato sauce (dented) for $.39

    Fixed a leaking bathroom faucet that has been dripping for years and couldn’t seem to get it to stop until turning the on/off and to a very strange angle AND IT WORKED 🤩

  18. Oh those flower pictures are so beautiful. I can only dream about flowers. We have been getting a lot of rain as well. There is a winter advisory out now with 1 inch of snow for over night. I have done some light darning of a few things and cooked several meals with leftovers this week. My husband has been working out in the yard and getting our garden beds ready. I have reading library books and have been doing a Bible study of the book of James. Thank you Brandy for this site and everyone who leaves a comment.

  19. I walked to Aldi ( which is 20 minutes downhill from me and 25 minutes uphill on the way back) to get most of my walk in and to buy a dozen eggs. They were $1.91 a dozen, so one cent cheaper than my last carton. I also bought sandwich bread for $1.25. I used the bread to make garlic bread to go with spaghetti for my son. I have always just used toasted sandwich bread, olive oil,
    and garlic salt to make garlic bread. I get paid Friday and will probably buy orange juice from Aldi. I still have milk, shredded cabbage and fresh spinach so I think I will also probably buy ground beef and make the kid hamburgers. I used the last of the ground beef to make spaghetti. I will probably
    need sandwich bread again by then and maybe eggs again. My middle son eats a lot of cinnamon toast and scrambled eggs on the weekends. Perhaps I will buy some cheese for cheese toast because I have several cans of tomato soup. He will not touch fresh tomatoes but will almost eat a whole can of tomato soup! I may buy him some ice cream also since I saw some for $2.50 a carton at Aldi.
    It may go up by then!! I am trying very hard to only buy what kid will eat and what we are low on currently . So probably will buy at Aldi orange juice, bread, ground beef and maybe cheese.I am pretty stocked up on olive oil, chicken if he will eat it, potatoes, rice, the above mentioned coleslaw, pickles and spinach, tomato soup, hamburger and hot dog buns and taco shells. I guess this is a train of thought post as to what I will cook for the kid next week… lol. Chicken, and rice doused in teriyaki sauce because he did eat that well last time I made chicken, hamburgers, spinach, tacos, coleslaw, pickles, hot dogs, tomato soup, grilled cheese, I have a pizza in the freezer, and a PF Chang frozen meal that he likes.scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast. Gas is holding at $2,75 gallon in college town.

  20. How lovely that you had so much to offer the new mother both in comfort and thoughtfulness. I can imagine the surprise at all that rain!

    The past couple of weeks I took the time to track my time spent ‘working’ when not at work and add it to my timesheet. One of my 2024 goals was to be more intentional about this.

    I’ve been decluttering and organizing many overcrowded areas. I found a cookie mix I had put together at least two years ago for a big batch of chocolate crinkles during a cabinet declutter last week – I risked the butter and eggs required and the cookies came out perfect- whew! And Yum!

    I’ve been trying to be more efficient with my cooking/planning resources. I woke up my sourdough starter and did some baking – and have made sure to multitask the oven – on Friday I mixed up sourdough bread and while the starter was so happy I also made some sourdough pizza dough to leave in the fridge. On Saturday I baked both sourdough bread and biscotti [separately but in succession due to temps required] and today I made some cheddar and bacon pinwheels with aging puff pastry dough taking up freezer space, the last remnants of cheese and a few overdone pieces of bacon that had been hanging around – and followed that with making pizzas out of the dough which we had for dinner tonight and will have for dinner again later in the week I’m sure [and probably a lunch or two!].
    Each time I left the oven open after baking was done to use the residual heat in the house 🙂

    I had gotten some inexpensive chicken thighs that I baked while the biscotti was in the oven, shredded the meat which became enchiladas while the biscoti was on it’s second roung of baking LOL – then the bones went into the IP to become stock which was later turned into soup with bits and pieces of leftover meat and veg for lunch. I do like playing in the kitchen on days off work!

    My biggest frugal was going to costco today to return some clearance pjs I didn’t wind up gifting for Christmas, and some cereal on recall [goodness!] and left without buying anything!

  21. Brandy the flowers are beautiful and glad you were able to not only help the pantry but be blessed by it too. I can’t think of a lot frugal I have done other than going to the thrift store on Senior Day and getting 10% off my purchases. The other night I was craving Taco Bell but had lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and Tostado shells here in the house so I made my own version with what I had and saved money not buying fast food. I am still utilizing the library for my books and not buying any. I did buy a Christian CD on ebay recently for $6 free shipping. Found another at the thrift store for 99 cents. I took one of my dogs to the Vets the other day she is very over weight and to be honest I need to lose some weight too. Rather than investing in buying her “diet” dog food we are now working on more green beans and less kibble plus we are both going for walks daily since our weather has been beautiful the last 2 weeks. With the cold weather and snow it is sometimes hard to get motivated to leave the house but we both have to do better and this saves me money from going to a gym and enjoying the sunshine we will still have some days for the next couple months of not being able to leave the house for her safety and mine don’t want either of us getting hurt. So unfrugal till gardening season is buying lots and lots of frozen green beans. I am still giving her a healthy dose of food don’t worry. With our temps being high, it’s 40 F tonight as I write this here in central Ohio I have not had to use the heat much so that will keep my heating bill down.

  22. It feels so good when we can help others, doesn’t it?
    This week I made homemade Valentine’s cards to send to a few friends and relatives.*I baked sandwich bread and cookies. I also made a batch of homemade yogurt. *I tried some new recipes to use up some items in the pantry. They were all successes.* I used order pickup at two different stores. This helps keep me from impulse purchases. I also price-compared online to make sure I got the best price on the items I needed.* I gave myself a pedicure. *I batched errands, saving time and gas.

  23. I love seeing your flowers. We had a few warm days, which were much welcomed. We hadn’t seen the sun in weeks. I did get outside and trimmed back the asparagus and grape vines.
    We hosted a party for kids friends. I resisted going overboard. I made dough ahead of time and froze it so I didn’t have as much work the day of the party. A lot of the recipes used butter, and I was thankful to have a freezer stash. We borrowed dish ware and decorations. Other than food and a few valentine crafts, I didn’t buy anything.
    I’ve been stocking up on clearance veggies and fruit. I made a big batch of egg salad. I also baked goodies for friends with a newborn. I found pork roast on clearance so I made a big batch of pulled pork and froze it. I used up some wilted apples and pears for fruit crisp. No take out coffee other than my once a week coffee date with friends. Just keep reminding myself we have plenty of coffee at home.
    Continuing to de clutter, donate, and list stuff for sale. Had a few more eBay and FB sales. I found some change while on a run. Continuing running and going to the gym. I needed a new pair of tennis shoes for day to day use, but wasn’t ready to spend $150 on my usual running shoes. I found a nice pair of nikes at the thrift store for $7, like new.

  24. The garden pictures are lovely.
    Brandy do you have any coolers? They can be used to catch rain and I’ve been known to use a stock pot too when we have tropical storms and no power. No power means no water for us, as we are on a well pump.

    I’m shopping for less groceries this month, using more of what I have. That includes holiday ham leftovers and an uncooked sale turkey from the Christmas season.

    I have been faithfully batch cooking.

    My saved seeds from last year’s lettuce are sprouting.

    I ordered a birthday gift, not from Amazon, and was able to get a discount code for free shipping and 20% off. It arrived today and is beautiful as well as packaged securely.

    I’m practicing new skills on my sewing machine. If it will do the nice things, then I should learn to do them.

    I turned off my heat because our temperatures have risen some. We have another cold front coming through but I will wait until it’s here to turn the heat back on.

  25. Am I the only one seeing a snapped limb on your tree, or is it an odd angle of picture from when you trimmed? I worry it will come down.

    I lost a limb this past storm from my less than a year old lime tree. It had three main branchs coming from the trunk and now only two. Not sure if I should trim it back hard to encourage rebranching.

  26. I am looking forward to seeing the growth in your garden after all the rain.

    On the frugal front:
    I researched free recycling locations for CFL bulbs and a broken tablet. I dropped them off while running other errands.

    I used the Upside app to fill my gas tank and saved $0.25/gallon.

    I returned clothing and shoes within the return window for a full refund.

    A large grocery store near my lab is moving and clearing out their stock at 50% off. I shopped during my lunch break. The store was nearly empty, but I was able to get good deals on mini chocolate chips, coffee, canned goods and a few other odds and ends. I also bought a few items to donate.

    I redeemed rewards through an app for two free lunches.

    We hosted our neighbors for dessert and a game of cards. I made a simple dessert rather than buying something at the bakery.

    For Valentine’s Day my husband often buys me a small rose bush that I can plant outside when the weather warms. This year I asked him if he would start annual flower seeds at the same time he starts his vegetable seeds. In return, I made my husband a Valentine gift of massage oil using fragrance and oil samples from my lab.

    I packaged Valentine gifts for my younger neices and nephews purchased last year at 90% off. I made treats for my older nephews using items I had on hand. I gave DD1 a heart shaped mini waffle iron purchased last year for $4.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  27. Yep, layers and layers. We like to drink a lot of hot/warm water I boil in the morning and put in thermos flasks. Eating more will also help. It’s been cold here, around -30C (-20 to -30 F)

    Which reminds me of something I thought I’d share (may have shared it before but can’t remember) Back in the 80’s when I was in a restaurant school I escaped in a freezer in order to get warmer… It was my turn to pick up the ingredients our teacher had ordered from the school’s warehouse for our cooking lesson. It was a very cold winter (-40 C/F). Unfortunately there was large renovation going on and one of the outer walls had been knocked out and covered with plastic. It was next to the warehouse area. As I was trembling from cold and waiting the ingredients being collected I remembered that it’s ”just” -18C/-0,5F in a freezer. And I quickly went in to one of the freezers (they were like tiny rooms) and definitely could tell the difference.

    Stay warm everyone! Spring is on it’s way!

    1. Love your anecdote… The same principle as running cold water over my cold fingers at the outside school trough on a frosty morning❄️

  28. I am glad you got rain this week, The weather here has been changeable ,Saturday through to Wednesday was dry sunny and about 15C but very windy. Thursday it rained all day and Friday it rained most of the day. I dried the sheets and towels outside. I spent the dry days moving raspberries and weeding and enjoying the sunshine. The rest of the week was mostly paperwork but we did our fortnightly shopping we got yellow stickers croissants, sourdough bread ,hot cross buns, plums and cherries Waitrose and Aldi mark down first thing in morning.

    On Saturday I went to the local high street using my free bus pass and taking my wheely basket.I stocked up on toiletries at Savers, bought some more Kilner jars, and did the banking.while . I was there I visited the charity shops but bought nothing.

    I have had dentist appointments, hubby has been to the opticians. The eye test was free Luckily we have insurance for the the dentist . Hubby bought glasses for £49. Which were the cheapest we could find.

    I have cooked at home using my Remoska and hob, we had shepherds pie when my daughter visited.

    I have been reading library books and borrowbox ebooks.

    I read an article on the news feed on the computer saying that the use of wood stoves could be banned completely from 2027. If this comes to pass what will those people who only have wood stoves do for heat. https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/ban-wood-burning-stoves-uk-9086677. Sorry there are lots of advertising on this link.

    Have a good week

  29. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Rain! Blessed rain.
    How nice to be communicating with people of different nationalities at the food bank, particularly if they become regulars. It is a lovely welcome to them, also nice to bring some food home.
    I like the peachy colour snapdragons in your photo. The last two years we’ve grown zingy bright snapdragons but I told my husband I had a sort of craving for softer pastel colours as well this year so we’ve bought seed for bridal pink snapdragons and Apricot Lemonade cosmos. I’m really looking forward to seeing them in flower.
    This week we’ve sown seed for snapdragons, sweet peas and chillies and I’ve used parsley and leeks from the garden. I divided up a big indoor peace lily into three plants.
    Inexpensive meals were chicken liver and black bean stir fry, mushroom omelettes and vegetable soup ( two days). I made cakes with ingredients from the larder, I meant to use glace cherries but I’d run out so substituted with what I had.
    I found Seville oranges in the supermarket so made a batch of marmalade, I will make another batch this week and freeze some oranges for later in the year.
    I used a £10 voucher in Lidl, I had won it on their app.
    I sold another item on Vinted.
    We declined another invitation which would have been expensive. We don’t find this any hardship, we’re happy at home. We can visit friends in their homes or they can come to us.
    The farm supply store where we buy bulk dog food has a loyalty scheme which costs £10 a year and the discount is so low it’s not really worth it for us. This year the scheme is free so we joined up. We will cancel next year if they charge.
    I continue to declutter and was pleased to find some needed items stashed away and forgotten- more candles for power cuts, a bag of key rings, bread mix, several new photo frames, mug coasters which have gone into the gift box. A daughter got married a few years ago and I was going to order a few more larger photos to join others on display but while turning out a cupboard I found a folder with exactly what I wanted, I must have ordered them at the time and forgotten all about them!
    I gave some children’s craft supplies to a young family and donated bags of craft materials to the charity shop.
    Stay safe everyone.

  30. It has been warm enough, I have been walking with my neighbor. With my sensory processing differences I am very picky about my tennis shoes and usually end up paying $80. I found a pair of tennis shoes I love for only $40! I repotted some lettuce seeds I am growing indoors. I also planted some snap dragon seeds in pots indoors. I am curious to see what happens.

  31. Your photos, as always, are gorgeous, and make me long for spring. The first of our daffodils and hellebores bloomed yesterday, so I know it will be here before we know it. Last week, I sowed two rows of peas in the garden, including seeds I saved last year. I soaked dried white beans one morning, which were used for baked beans. I finally used up the last of the ’22 “football” sweet potatoes, and started on the ’23’s. I’m happy about that. All laundry was dried on the line, and I caught up on ironing, which was all the napkins and tablecloths from the holiday gatherings. The success with the baked beans inspired me to can a batch. While watching the canner, I hand mended a sweater and a vest. The chicken’s egg production has increased, with the longer days. which is most welcome. While out, I dropped off a book at the library and picked up a couple more. There have been a few days warm enough to open windows, for fresh air in the house. On Saturday, my sister came over to learn about pressure canning. She had soaked garbanzo beans and lentils overnight, and brought them, and the jars and lids with her. My niece was able to join us as well. We talked a bit about gardening too, when we had lulls in the canning tasks. All of the jars sealed, so a successful first attempt. I’ve been intending to work on using up the whole wheat flour my husband had bought, knowing it doesn’t have a long shelf life, so I made a batch of ww chocolate chip cookies for him. He was given 3# of sausage from a guy he does a lot of work for. I hope love surrounds the world this Valentine’s Day.

  32. Thrift stores here often have rubbermaid’ish plastic tubs without lids for free or really dirt cheap. Might keep an eye out to have in stock for capturing rainwater. Just an idea, we have no need to capture rainwater here in North MS; it rains frequently and our water bills are cheap. However I did set my cat carrier out in rain yesterday. It needed rinsing out and we still have our outside faucets winterized. So I just set it in rain and let nature help me out. Worked like a charm.

  33. How wonderful to get so much rain! It has remained very mild here in Toronto with a few sunny days mixed in with the grey. There is a lot of snow all around us but we have been extremely lucky this year.

    Only bought some bare essentials last week – milk and fruit & veg. I continue to eat from the freezer and pantry – even ignoring “deals” in meat as I simply don’t have the room to store it and I am trying to cut back on red meat while upping my protein intake. Black beans, lentils and eggs have helped a lot this past week, along with a daily intake of various nuts and seeds. Took snacks and dinner to the office as needed. I go in late on Tuesdays when I stay to volunteer so take a small dinner with me. Bought coffee for me and my office mate one day and then was treated to a coffee and breakfast sandwich when meeting a friend one day – we take turns.

    I’ve done a lot of reading this week – finished “Troubled Blood” and just started “The Inkblack Heart”. I’m a fast reader but this book is over 1,000 pages so it will take a while as it’s too heavy to take on my commute! I also watched “Troubled Blood” on CRAVE so that was fun. I have also cancelled “Acorn” streaming service for a few months until new seasons begin.

    I seem to have run out of steam as far as de-cluttering is concerned. Hoping to get my mojo back over the next couple of weeks. Have a great week everyone.

  34. Frugal this week. The college in town has agriculture studies. On Mondays they sell the eggs that are too small for restaurants for $2.50 a flat. Pretty darn excited! Omelets all week.

  35. I know rain is always a welcome sight for you. I can imagine you doing a little song and dance with the raindrops out in the garden. 🙂
    *February is becoming a rather expensive month to our way of thinking. While we had planned and used insurance for my glasses purchases, we did not plan on a deer running into my vehicle while I was on my way to choir rehearsal last week. I have never hit an animal with a car in my entire life and am the last person on the planet who would want to do so so it was so upsetting. Of course, I am grateful I was not hurt, no one else was around to be involved and the vehicle can be fixed. We have a $500 deductible and insurance will take care of the rest. With our lifestyle, there is no need for a rental car so that helps, too. We function very well as a one-vehicle family and have been so in the past. The situation did bring up an interesting conversation in our family (as things so often do.) I hated the thought of hurting the deer although deer collisions are very common here. We have an enormous deer population despite hunting remaining popular and encouraged. Humans have just run off all of the predators and now vehicles are the greatest threat to them. While I don’t think anyone is going to go for a mass wolf reintroduction here (though Red Wolves have been reintroduced to portions of parks in the Appalachians with varying levels of success, I believe I have read) I wish something could be done to prevent them being hit by vehicles. This led to a great discussion with my husband and boys on the balance of things and why we have so many deer running around they get hit by cars but grass-fed beef are raised all around here and sell well at high prices. We wondered about normalizing venison consumption and how hard would it be for hunters to have a viable outlet to take the results of their efforts to approved butchers/packaging facilities and have venison available more widespread. That led to further discussion of why we eat what we eat, how much of it is influenced not only by where we live and what is available but by our culture (beyond religious beliefs, etc.) The boys chuckled at the idea of fast food restaurants selling venison burgers. We wonder how many people would be willing to eat them. I told them that goat is actually the most commonly consumed meat in the world most places except North America and, of course, there are cultures who eat meat from animals others consider pets. So, an unfortunate decision yielded some great philosophical and practical conversations – our kind of learning. I guess that is a frugal habit – don’t waste anything including opportunities to learn something even from (or especially from) unfortunate events.
    *My sons traded Nerf guns with others at the monthly Nerf battle held at an indoor skateboarding park in our area. It’s been a real grass-roots community effort by the owner of the skateboard park (we know her from church) and a Dad who wanted to plan something indoors during what can be long winters. It has been a great success and all the kids just naturally got into trading toys and darts and everyone goes home with something new to them and having had a fun time together. All the Nerf guns my kids have they purchased at thrift stores so they get to have a lot of fun for very little money.
    *Both boys are auditioning this week for a visual art show held in the next county and needed frames for their art. Fortunately, I had two that are perfect in my stash so no cost to participate.
    *I put out some pollen for my bees. With the warmer weather we had last week, they were coming out to clean house and forage. Of course, it is too early for anything to be blooming. This is a time of year that bees can starve if they have depleted their winter stores but there isn’t anything blooming yet. My bees have plenty of food left in the hive but, to help them out, I put pollen out and they gobble it up and take it back to the hive. Pollen is their main protein source and helps them get ready for Spring so anything I can do to help them survive is a good thing and saves me money, in the long run.
    *Other than that, same old/same old. Using things up, wasting nothing, being creative, working hard, sleeping harder, breathing fresh air, keeping a positive outlook and enjoying hearing of ways you all are doing the same. Have a lovely week, all!

  36. I’ve not been out of the house since the 5th and my husband only went to his physical therapy appts so very little gas has been used. We try and make one tank of gas last the whole month.
    I burned up another 2 piles of small sticks – these are from the trees that went down in the freak snowstorm we had on Halloween when the leaves were still on the trees. I also managed to cut up a bunch of the bigger branches with my battery chainsaw.
    I made wood holders to store the larger pieces out of the legs of a trampoline we got for free.
    All meals were made at home.
    I mended a sheet the dogs claws had torn, a grocery tote and a pair of jeans.
    I started working on the door to my little camper using paint and polishing tools we already have. We are thinking about using it as a rental since we are very close to 5 of the most popular parks in the state. I still need to research insurance but it could be a good small stream of income with very little effort.
    I seeded several perennials in milk jugs outside – borage, lovage and savory that I’ve struggled to get to germinate indoors 🤞
    I made a “ball drop”and texture book out of cardboard and odds and ends we already had and used old sorghum in a tub for texture play when our grandson stayed with us for a week (11 months). I picked up a couple toddler noise toys, a free slide and some outdoor balls for free as well.
    We used the pet pantry to help keep our pups fed. I’m on the lookout now for a free or low cost vaccine clinic to get all of the pets rabies updated.
    We lost the “Papa” part of our health insurance- it was allowing us a set of hours to use for someone to come in and clean my floors. So we decided to use all the hours we had left and scheduled her for every day for a week to get our basement completely cleaned. Now I can finally start the boat seat redo process.
    Our hens continue to lay plenty for both our use and our next door neighbors. I’ve been feeding them anything that I’ve found freezer burned, leftovers no one is going to eat in time, warm oatmeal from some really stale rolled oats and quail eggs that have cracked. It has cut their feed consumption down and stopped some of the feather picking. I’d love to add more hens and some ducks but the cost of feed just keeps increasing so I probably won’t.
    I started refinishing the little table my Dad made for our daughter and the chairs that were mine as a child. We will give it to our grandson for his upcoming birthday. No oop costs. I want to make him a small sensory table as well so I’m on the lookout for a free end table that will fit a small tub.
    I think that’s it. Have a good week everyone.

  37. A friend is going to the store (No Frills) tomorrow for me. I was given a gift card for $50 at Safeway for Christmas.
    I wanted to donate it (or part of it) to a neighbourhood food stop. It is not a food bank but the community has built two sheds and put a pantry in one and
    a fridge/freezer in another. It is open 24/7, non judgmental. My friend and I decided since Safeway’s prices are high, that I would use the gift card
    for my own weekly groceries and then give my friend the $50 to buy Campbell’s Chunky soup for the food stop pantry. No Frills has the soup
    on sale for half price until tomorrow. My friend who volunteers at the food stop to clean the fridge will gladly pick up the soup and drop it off
    at the pantry which has very few donated items in it at the moment.

    I compared Safeway’s prices on a couple of cleaning supplies and Safeway was actually cheaper than No Frills so I saved $7.

    I am reining in my food budget as that it is my major expense these days. I want to have an even better supplied pantry and want to have an emergency preparedness knapsack.

    David Austen, England, is offering a free 4 module course on how to grow and care for roses. I know Brandy that you are an expert
    rose grower but think it might interest some of the other readers who’d like to learn.

  38. Hello, frugal friends from the windy Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia! This weather has been up and down for a couple of weeks and confusing the plants and animals around here. There are daffodils and forsythia coming into bloom…in February! We received a good amount of rain in the last week or two. Like you, Brandy, I put out buckets and tubs to collect the water. I use it to water any houseplants and my spinach and mache in the garden. I cannot believe I am still getting enough spinach and mache from the garden to have about 2 salads a week. With lettuce at $3-4 a head or bag that is quite a nice savings just on fresh greens.
    Other frugal accomplishments include:
    *using our solar generators to recharge smaller devices like our cell phones, Apple watches, electric toothbrushes and my laptop.
    *I used my Fetch $10 rewards on groceries this week. I only bought a few things and the total came to $19.34. With the Fetch rewards I was only out $9.34. I am using only the cash I had leftover from last month’s grocery budget plus the Fetch rewards card.
    *I am feeding us out of the pantries and freezers and garden.
    *I was treated to lunch yesterday. I ordered a sandwich which was so big I was able to bring half of it home for Mr. FixIt’s lunch today. He wants to take me out to lunch tomorrow for Valentine’s Day so we will go to where I went yesterday and split a sandwich.
    *This past Saturday we had a family get together celebration of 2 birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year and the one year anniversary of my open heart surgery. I supplied all the food. I served chili with various toppings, rice, salad, and made a heart shaped birthday cake. Most of the food was from the pantries/freezer. I only bought a bag of chips and a head of lettuce. I made my own salad dressing. I did not have a heart shaped pan so my granddaughter and I baked half the batter in a square pan and the other half in a round pan. Once cooled I cut the round layer in half, turned the square layer to make a diamond and placed the half rounds on the top diagonals making a large heart shaped cake. We made homemade icing dyed with red food coloring to make pink icing and granddaughter added sprinkles I have in my cookie decorating box. Mr. Fix It turns 69 on Sunday and our daughter turned 40 last week. I threw in Chinese New Year because our children remember when we lived on Guam when the Chinese residents used to parade the dragon through the streets and schools on Chinese New Year. I had some little red envelopes in which I put 4 quarters and placed beside everyone’s dinner plate. It was a fun celebration.
    *I was able to hang laundry outside last week. It was almost 70 degrees that day! Today it is a very cold and windy 40F.
    *I cleaned and did a little maintenance around the house.
    *One thing I do weekly is to review our bank accounts and record things to see where we are spending our money. This helps me when I go to make purchasing decisions. It also allows me to catch any bank errors early.
    *I have learned 5 key phrases in Swahili so far using free resources (Thanks, Brandy, for the suggestions.) Youtube offers a great many free resources to help in this project of mine.
    *I cut out 4 small quilts using fabric from my stash. I am trying to use things up before buying anything more.
    *I worked on a cross stitch project I got for my birthday.
    *I used the church library and public library (online) resources for my reading.
    *I used Youtube for free yoga practice and walked for exercise.
    *Mr. Fix It took our trash and recycling to the dump which costs us nothing.
    Brandy, I really enjoyed this week’s photos, especially the rainy garden photo. It reminds me of when my kids were little and would go play in the rain. Blessings to all my frugal friends!

      1. That is funny! Around here we should not see daffodils or flowers until at least March. I often read your weather comments and think “Wow! It must be nice to have flowers/veggies that time of year.” I love reading about different areas of the world and what it is like to garden.

        1. The daffodils are fully out in March here, but they often start at the end of February. It also depends on which kind of daffodilss; some varities I have open 2 weeks earlier than others.

  39. My hospital bill ended up being more than I make in a year. I’m glad that I have insurance. Still, I have to work about 3 months just to pay the bills that have come in. So, we are being very, very frugal. I’m cooking dinner at midday today so that I won’t be tempted to eat out at all later. It will be ready! The fact that we have a lot of bills also reduces temptation. Meals are the main thing that I know I can reduce our expenditure on. We have our property taxes coming up and income tax as well. My husband’s truck needs fixed. He is going to try and fix it himself. He watched YouTube videos to help him. I am going to figure out something special to do at home for Valentines day. I will make a nice meal and I think I will write a nice letter to my husband. Maybe I could go to the library and borrow a nice movie to watch together. I might do that today. I will wear a pretty dress tomorrow when my husband come s home. I might make a homemade chocolate cupcake for him or a cake. I will also give candy to my son that I bought a last month for this occasion. I am going to do my best to keep us healthy. I continue to use cloth towels, napkins and hankies. I am hopeful that there will not be any surprise expenditures. My husband has been working on a song that we wrote together in his spare time. Maybe we will do that together tomorrow. We enjoy it and it is productive.

    1. My oven broke. My husband had ordered a replacement part and fixed it. It was the heating element again. it seems that every few years it needs replaced. I was so glad my husband could fix it and that he could get the part.

    2. My husband was able to fix our truck and the oven, saving us soooo much money! I was so pleased! I made dinner for valentines and we went grocery shopping and looking at Valentine lights in the town near us. It made for a nice evening. I took my son to borrow movies at the library and gave him a small box of candy. All were happy.

  40. *Meals from the pantry and freezer this week:
    1. Home canned beef stew with cheddar biscuits
    2. Home canned beef stroganoff over egg noodles. We didn’t like the flavor of the Worcestershire sauce after canning so I will not make more of this recipe to can. But we ate it, it wasn’t horrible.
    3. cereal!
    4. Rustic Tuscan soup that didn’t seal. It is smoked sausage, northern beans, potatoes, carrots, kale in home made beef broth.
    5. ham from the freezer over spaghetti noodles and a white sauce. Cream cheese biscuits
    6. Super Bowl party. I took pigs in a blanket and a dessert of oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate chips made into bars.
    7. We had a last minute choir meeting after Sunday service so it was 1:00 when we left and we were starving so we got Panda Express. I had enough for lunch the next day.

    * I canned 8 pints of my beef broth, and 7 Quarts Rustic Tuscan soup.

    * I sold crystal glasses $35. For my son I sold barstools $25, an Oriental screen with a hole in it $25, and a wicker side table $20. We had a walker from Father in law and I was about to list it and a neighbor asked of anyone had a walker. so we were able to give it to them.

    We got our utility bill for the last half of December-end of January where we had a long ice storm. It covers the last half of December with Christmas and all the kids home. It was double, but had 4 more days in the billing cycle.

    I made room in the pantry for my son’s items and made 2 bags of items to take to the food box. I had Spaghettios for grandson when he was up, and peanut butter I got from Kroger on 99c sale (and we like Jif) I’m making a mindful effort to use things that have sat and rotate through items. I made a strawberry crumble to use frozen strawberries with ice crystals, and oats. I’m going to make a strawberry bread this week to use the rest- but I probably have more in the outside freezer.

    I am going to be more discerning as I get rid of things. I have a lot of things I’ve bought as decor and not used yet. I have a vintage counter chair I’m going to sell. Then a closet of clothes too small that I hope to shrink into. But a lot are basic tees and workout wear and some things that I don’t think will be favorites when I shrink. I will work on that this week.

  41. Your pictures are lovely Brandy, especially when things are chilly and dull here! We actually saw some sun this past week and it has been dry so we have been walking as much as we can. It is colder now but still only a dusting of snow.

    We are still on a no spend month so any extra are still using Christmas gift cash or gift cards. We have an abundance of food in the house so it will be minimal grocery shopping in the foreseeable future. Milk, juice and some fresh produce will be all we need.

    We received a package of coffee filters, three unopened boxes of specialty tea, four toothbrushes, a mug from the university I attended and worked at for many years and a new package of three pairs of socks from our local free groups.

    We ate all meals at home and all of books, magazines and videos came from the library. Driving was very minimal and any trips out were combined.

    Hope everyone is having a frugal week!

  42. I returned home on January 29th from spending four months abroad visiting family. I decided I would try to use up some of my rather large supply of frozen, dehydrated and canned food this year. I spent a total of $33.00 since then for milk and fresh produce and am enjoying planning interesting meals. My goal is to spend no more than $50.00 per month on food/toiletries/cleaning supplies until at least June. I made two large pots of soup, one chicken noodle (I freeze without the noodles) and one vegetable beef, using frozen bits and bobs and ended up with 20 two cup servings for the freezer. I cleaned out my closet and sent three large garbage bags full of clothing to a charity thrift store. Our last potential frost is next week so I am getting planters and 5 gallon buckets ready for my annual deck and patio garden. I would like to spend most of my time at home for a while and not “going out” on errands where I end up spending on things I neither need nor really want.

  43. Hi Brandy and everyone!
    This few weeks an incredible story has taken place in my family. My fathers half brother migrated to USA many, many years ago and he had a son, who died four years ago unmarried and with no children. He was quite wealthy, his house in Los Angeles sold at almost 2 million dollars and a lawyer took on the job to find any heirs in Denmark – this is where my father comes in! Along with his very big family! In Denmark we have a saying about inheriting a wealthy uncle in America – and this actually came true, which is quite the joke in the family. But no one gets a lot of money, since my fathers father had 23! kids, who all had to get part of the inheritance! Apparently the lawyer said, that he would never had taken on the case if he had known how many children my grandfather had – as he got a part of the money as pay. My father has offered me and my family to pay for a travel with some of the money, but we enjoy our home so much, and he lives of a small pension, so we politely declined. The whole family are going to meet at a lovely restaurant however, where my father and his siblings are paying for dinner and drinks. I look very much forward to this, as I haven’t seen my uncles, aunts and cousins for many, many years. Some of my nieces have kids I have never seen. I also look forward to my son, who have never seen any of my uncles, aunts or cousins, to get to know this part of the family. Quite the adventure for me!
    This week is winter break at my sons school, and we have borrowed a vacation home for free very close to the sea. Even though it’s cold, we enjoy walking and eating lunch outside. We bring our own packed lunch and drinks. We get books from the local library. My husband has brought sourdough so he can bake ryebread. I make inexpensive dinners, and we go out to eat just once the last evening.
    I borrowed a lot of books about frugal living – one of the books is by a woman, who interviews her grandmother at 101 about her life when she was young. It is a very thoughtful and lovely book and you can clearly feel the love between the two generations. Unfortunately it is not translated into English… I find it very inspiring to read about how people live frugal lives in a way that makes them happy.
    Hope you’re all well and have a nice week!

  44. Love the Bells of Ireland in the arrangement! They just make everything look so fresh and spring-y that they’re put with. Definitely one of my favorites, for sure!

    I’m officially on the lookout for signs of spring around here, mostly just because I’m raring to get going on our flower farm plan for this year. This last week, I noticed TULIPS coming up through the ground already, which is NUTS for us at this time of year! It really has been the most bizarrely mild winter. I might complain a bit if everything ends up blooming super short as a result, but I’ve definitely enjoyed the nicer temps mental-health-wise 🙂

    Here are my own frugal wins for the week:


  45. My husband and sons made maple syrup from our two trees over the weekend. We didn’t get much but expect another sap run this week. We were also able to go to the Hocking Hills for a nice hike, we packed our own snacks. The sun has peaked out and we will always welcome a sunny day in Feb here in Ohio!

  46. – We sold a bed and box spring for $55 on fb
    – My husband bought a used smoker for $80 off fb
    – We’re hosting a family for a few days, feeding 11 people, so far I’ve served homemade meals, mostly with meats as one ingredient rather than the main filler.
    – I ordered a book off ebay instead of Amazon, it was about $10 cheaper.

  47. As we prepare to move to France I am continuously decluttering and organising. My husband, children and I will only take one large suitcase and one medium suitcase, plus a carry on back pack each to France. I need to be very intentional with every item we pack. I purchased bags for clothes that you roll up to take all the air out. I am about to purchase tablets as it is not something we have and will be useful. I also have some personalised jewelry to take with us, ordered from Ali Express to use as Christmas gifts.

    We have never had any television subscriptions and I am considering budgeting for Netflix, to have on the new devices and television when we are in France. We do not watch much television, preferring books, board games, bike rides, cooking and conversation but although we will have all this in France I think it may be useful, particularly as we have a 28 hour flight (plus others & long bullet train rides) where we can download movies etc to watch.

    We plan to travel around Europe too, and will reside permanently near the ski fields so can partake in skiing. We tried skiing last year in preparation for France and we all loved it. I have looked into season passes (the season starts mid-November) and the train, which takes you to the ski town and it is about a 200 metre walk to the gondola. The prices for it all are unbelievably low compared to the prices in our country.

    We will live in a city, walking distance to several markets, school, multiple metro stations, shops, botanic gardens, library, squares, ice-skating (2.80 euro per child!!), childrens playgrounds, thrift shops and the river. Cycle and walking paths run down either side of the river. I need to look into swimming lessons for the children so they can continue their instruction. My eldest is in squad. I have seen a few aquatic centres nearby. I have also seen many equestrian centres close to the city and my children love to ride (big long trail rides through rivers and up mountains are their favourite), so I will see what they offer.

    Packing so little things to take makes me realise how much we have that we do not need. I am quite minimalist but we still have lots. I plan to cull a lot more before we go.

    Another benefit of taking so little is that we can be more mobile. Easier to take a small amount of luggage around Europe, before we settle in our permanent accommodation and our suitcases and backpacks will fit into rental vehicles easily.

    I also traded my phone in for a new phone, which has a much better camera. This was a priority with the upcoming move. I have always had old, outdated phones (they have been great!) So this is big change and a carefully considered and budgeted purchase. I got a free phone cover and powerbank with the phone. The powerbank will be very useful with all of our upcoming travel.

    My to do list is ever increasing as the move date gets closer. I am eating as nutritional as possible, to help with mental and physical energy levels. We have been eating lots of omelettes, using eggs, fresh spinach, capsicum (peppers), pepitas (pumpkin seeeds), grated carrot and grated sweet potato. And a drizzle of olive oil over the top once cooked. Very filling and easy to make.

    We have had so much fish and crabs too, which we caught locally.

    In the past fortnight grocery shopping has been $43, which has been for milk, eggs, soap, flour, chocolate chips, brown sugar and detergent.

    All fruit and vegetables were harvested from our backyard. Rain has been plentiful, I am happy to hear it was for you too Brandy. Your garden photo is beautiful.

    1. I spent some time volunteering in the back room of a thrift shop in France. People donated such beautiful clothes. You will love the thrift stores there!

      1. How wonderful. I would enjoy volunteering in a thrift shop. Their thrift stores seem to have a lot more quality items than the stores in our country. However, I am yet to see the prices! Hopefully they are favourable.

    2. How exciting – but a lot of planning and work as well. I hope that you will update us on your adventures once you arrive. It is always so interesting to hear about costs and customs in other countries. Good luck with everything.

  48. So glad you got some rain! The most frugal thing I did last week was to kick my Keurig Coffee Habit. We bought a Keurig a couple years ago to be able to offer different coffees to guests. When I was recovering from surgery last year, I started using it because it was easy and quick. Hundreds of dollars in K Cups later…I got a single cup drip coffeemaker for Christmas! It’s just as easy and quick, has already paid for itself. The bonus is that I had a large stash of ground coffee, so I haven’t had to buy coffee yet this year! Huge Money Saver for me!!!
    *Other Frugal things I did during this no spend/low spend last 2 weeks: Made fried rice with pieces of leftover chicken that I had frozen. I bought a 10 pound bag of potatoes for $2.95. Made Loaded Baked Potatoes for Dinner 2 times, Cheesy Potato Soup, with Ham pieces frozen from Christmas, that provided several meals. Made Bean and Beef Burritos, ate the leftovers for lunch several days. Made French Bread Pizza with frozen leftover homemade pizza sauce. I love French Bread Pizza because it tastes best with lots and lots of sauce that soaks into the bread, and a little bit of cheese. So, it’s pretty cheap to make. Eating out of our freezer, not grocery shopping this week.
    *Staying home, not buying anything except pet supplies. Focusing my time and energy on saving money and making money.
    *We have a lot of plumbing problems. Using websites and a book from the library, my husband was able to fix 2 of the major plumbing problems. This saved us over $700.
    *We watched several movies that we got from the library, and I read several books from the library.
    *Working on my bad habits: Making a point to turn off lights, turn down the thermostat when it’s just me home, trying not to overdry clothes in the dryer, hanging some clothes to dry, turning water off instead of letting it run while I am doing pans.
    *Hope everyone has a great and frugal week!

  49. I’m so glad you received some rain! Great for your garden, and for the area in general. Also, what a great idea to sell your roses — I never would have thought of it, but what a great idea!

    My frugal week:
    – I was able to sign my daughter up for a city-run summer camp for free for 6 weeks! This is wonderful, as otherwise it would not be in the budget this year. I am so pleased about this!
    – I made spinach and ricotta stuffed mini shells using the filling leftover from when I made a similarly filled lasagna when having a friend over for lunch. My kids really enjoyed it.
    – I refilled my printer ink cartridge again from a kit I had at home — I’ve been printing a lot for my home daycare that I will be opening soon.
    – I made ‘nice cream’ (https://approachingfood.com/tropical-coconut-banana-nice-cream/) for my kids when they weren’t feeling well.
    – I packed my lunch and snacks when taking a course. I forgot to pack a spoon one day when packing homemade mushroom soup (which kind of solidified, so I couldn’t drink it), but just ate the rest of my packed food instead and didn’t buy anything.
    – I gifted my daughters heart themed or red and silver chocolates saved from Christmas, wrapped up in Valentine’s Day packaging from my stash. I also gave them higher-end Valentine’s Day cookies that were gifted to me from a client. No money OOP, but the kids were very happy!
    – my kids made Valentine’s from stickers, paper, and markers we had at home, to give to extended family
    – I made sugar cookies and had my kids decorate them as a fun Valentine’s activity, and to give to close friends

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

  50. Today is February 14, and my Meyer lemon tree is blooming!! It was planted in the ground just last March, gave me over 100 lemons in its first season, and now is showing early blossoms! I don’t use much lemon in my cooking, so this isn’t particularly frugal for me. But my family and friends were happy to receive free lemons, and I get to look at my pretty tree every day. I absolutely love citrus leaves; that beautiful, rich shade of green. Spring is on the way!!

  51. In northwest Ohio, I wear a tank top then a tee shirt then a long sleeve button up shirt and then either a hoodie or shawl. You need to check your blood pressure when feeling cold and others aren’t. You might be starting to have low BP. That’s how I found out I had it. I was cold and rest of family wasn’t. Daughter was the same way

  52. My children are getting along with each other exceptionally well at the moment so the big ‘uns are often occupying the 2yo, leaving me more time to get things done. I am taking advantage of this by working on some homeschool resources I wanted for myself which I will also publish on Amazon to sell. It’s not terribly mentally taxing but it does take a while to type it all out and format it just right. I had imagined I would be able to one a month or so, and I am managing one a fortnight at the moment! I am hopeful that this will earn us a bit of pin money, and also save us money that I would have spent buying (and trying and not liking) many other homeschool resources.

    I am thankful at this time that we homeschool. We have no commuting expenses, no school uniform or school trip expenses, no silly projects to do at home that I think are a waste of time… We do use more utilities and more food as we are all here for lunch (in the UK I think all primary school children get free school meals now) but our pace of life is very peaceful and I like how much control we have over our days. Bloggers like you, Brandy, were really inspirational in convincing me that it was probably within my competence and we should have a go. So thank you!

    Lent is here. We always give up meat, coffee and alcohol for Lent, and move to simpler meals too. I am also enjoying the time I have got back from not cooking so much, as well as the money savings. (We give some of the money savings to charity at Easter and put some into our savings account.) We have been buying a lot of things the past few months as we moved house and my husband’s income increased significantly. I am glad for the prompt of Lent to just… stop. We have enough. We can make do with what we have, and be grateful for it.

    1. The projects! Some of those can be really costly.

      I have been actively working on keeping our utility expenses down with everyone home. The hardest one is water, but we are getting better at that, and I have found that the lessons in frugality really are memorable, as my eldest recently commented about going back to using cloth napkins and a few other things that she had gotten away from doing that will help her cut expenses.

      And,of course, I am saving in gas by not driving back and forth to school every day, twice a day.

      And the school trips expenses as well! I really don’t know how some parents manage those who are on a low income. So many people are feeling a real pinch lately with the rising cost of everything.

  53. Brandy, your picture of Swiss chard is just beautiful. I love the rose ones too, and your beautiful garden, but that chard! Something extra special.

    This week, I made salt dough with my children for some playtime. I’d never done it before. We had a lot of fun, baked the dough along with other things in the oven, and painted it with paints we already had. We’ll make some of it into little heart necklaces to give to friends. Somehow a new creative outlet makes me so happy, it makes me feel satisfied to be more frugal. I also read some wonderful books for free on Internet Archive about salt dough art and other things. I like being able to read there from their gigantic collection for free.

    I decluttered a bunch and found things we were looking for. I sorted childrens’ clothes and found what I needed from our stash.

    I found some chicken quarters at Aldi for $1.19, a good price for here in Boston lately. I’ll make broth from the bones.

    One decidedly non-frugal thing, a vole has eaten all the greens in our unheated greenhouse, so we need to delay the planting of more salad greens until we’ve taken care of the varmint. We’ve planted new flats of seeds to put in a chilly porch until we can use the greenhouse again. I’m grateful for the greenhouse we have now that’s anchored to a square of wood with rebar pounded into the ground. It’s the first winter I haven’t feared the wind – most appreciated!

    I left a bunch of things unbought that I’d been tempted by.

    Wishing you all a good and frugal week!

  54. Thank you, Brandy, for your beautiful photos of beautiful things. I realized what a cheerfulness there is to seeing it. I appreciate your “eye” for it and that you share it with us…especially those of us in the parts of the country where it’s sort of bleak out. Hints of spring are all about but still it’s nice to be reminded up the warmth to come. I agree about the hat. When I get really chilly indoors a hat makes all of the difference!

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