My largest savings this week was seeing an offer of bulk soil from the nursery for free in a local gardening group one minute after it was posted. I knew it would go fast and I needed more soil to help refill my beds, as they are settling. I brought one daughter with me and a friend of mine came to help me drive the trailer with her truck. The three of us had the soil loaded in 45 minutes.

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

I sewed a nursing cover for a new mom, using an old one I had made before as a pattern, and I pulled the boning out of my old one to use in the new one. When I showed her how it worked, she was delighted.

The weather was warm enough that the heat didn’t need to run during the day, and we opened the windows for a few hours several days to air out the house.

My girls wanted me to take them to shopping. I was able to find a birthday gift for two daughters (which was not the reason we were shopping!). One gift was on clearance and the other was 40% off. I also found a much need pair of pajamas for myself while my daughter was trying something on in a dressing room and they were 50% off–and the original price was already half of what I had seen similar pajamas going for when I had searched before.

I bought two eggplant plants on sale at the nursery and one pepper plant, which actually had 5 seedlings inside, so I’ll separate those and plant them in multiple places in the garden.

My mom found a vintage purse for me at a garage sale for 50 cents! This was a pleasant surprise.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Well done on the soil!! We find our trailer invaluable to us for the same kind of opportunities!
    What a splendid week this has been! Our sweet Haitian friend, who had her baby a month ago, was reunited with her husband who has been waiting for the past 3 months in Mexico for his documentation papers to be granted! So, we went with her and baby and several other friends to our Columbus airport on Valentine’s Day to welcome him off the plane! What an appropriate day to see so much love as dad saw his baby for the first time and his wife after all this time! We all went out to dinner at Bob Evans afterwards and the next day, he texted us to thank us for our kindness and generosity and on Sunday at Church, they both thanked us again and hugged and air-kissed us ! Hearing about the situation that they came from makes me realize how much more I need to be grateful for our circumstances!

    I got some stew beef chunks ($2/pound) and BL chicken breasts ($1.24/pound)on Flashfood this past week so I cut into uniform size chunks and pressure canned 6 pints of beef and 5 pints of chicken chunks! Today I got almost 5 pounds of ground beef for 50 cents/pound and 2 pound packages of sliced cheddar/colby Jack cheese for $2.25 and a 50.5 Oz bottle of Heinz ketchup (we are ketchup snobs when possible!) for $2!, Flashfood is amazing!

    We had snow on Friday- about 4” at our house, but by Saturday mid-day, the roads were clear and dry even though the snow was still on the ground everywhere else! This week is chilly but by next week, the temps will reach the 60’sF (17.22C) so we will be working outside in short sleeves then! I got veg seeds at DT (4/$1) so I’m ready to get started!

    The renovation of laundry room continues. Old doorway is closed in, new sheet rock on whole wall and new doorway built. I will admit that it’s moving along! I’m just tired of the dust and commotion!

    We keep finding things in our freezer that we kind of forgot 🥴 and are enjoying them! I found a bag of frozen bananas that I bought several months ago for 5 cents/pound at Aldi’s. I originally bought about 90 pounds and frozen most but have since then used them in muffins, cookies, pies and breads. So yesterday, I made 2 banana chocolate chip loaves of bread to take to an event at Church. No OOP cost and the slices filled one of my big serving platters! They were quickly eaten up! Today, after making Muffin Mix in bulk, I made banana butterscotch chip muffins! I was a hero here since Hubs can’t have chocolate!

    Today is our 53rd anniversary. Hubs hired our Haitian friend to help him with the laundry room demo while I am taking one of granddaughters out to lunch and birthday shopping and ending with ice cream . Tonight we will have a quiet dinner at home and snuggle up to watch the new season of Madame Blanc’s mysteries on Acorn.

    I’ve got 5 more client quilts that came in on Friday, so I will do 3 and my daughter will do the other 2. In the meantime, the new scrappy quilt I’m making from stash is coming along- I’ve been using up bobbins of various colors since my stitching is tight so it will never show on the finished quilt!

    Places and ways to save money are still out there. I think we just need to think outside of the box and we might be pleasantly surprised! Hope you are all well and finding hope and joy in the things you can control!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. 😂 Whenever Pat mentions her husband now, I will think of him as Mr. Garden Pat. I love this!

        As the others have all said, congrats! I love reading your contributions each week and always look for them.

    1. As I am approaching 50 this fall I have been contemplating my life so far. Kids are grown, not needing me as much which is a blessing but my parents are aging and am grateful to have them still. I love your closing and will remind myself daily to find the joy in things I can control! Thank you!

  2. Hello, frugal friends from the spring like Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia! All kinds of bulbs are popping up with this mild weather we are having. While we are enjoying the mild, sunny weather, it is most likely we will have a big winter storm or freeze at the wrong time. Hopefully, I can stay on top of the weather and cover the plants before any bad weather arrives in the next month or two.
    Brandy, quite a find on the garden soil! I have set a small budget for the garden this year and most of it will be eaten up with soil purchasing as my boxes are settling as well.
    On the frugal front:
    *I received a check from Rakuten for $11.34 which was deposited into our local savings account. As others have said, Every little bit helps.
    *Still eating greens from the garden throughout the week.
    *Was gifted a loaf of homemade multigrain bread from a neighbor.
    *Last weekend was Mr. FixIt’s birthday. A neighbor gifted us with tickets to the US Navy band concert. Mr. Fix It is retired Navy. It was a great concert. We used Mr. Fix It’s work parking pass for parking. I made his requested dinner of salmon, orzo, and veggies. The only thing I had to buy was the salmon, which cost less than $5. We decided we would not buy any gifts this year for each other as we are going on a 2 week mission trip to Africa this June. We are saving money for the extras like a safari the day we are scheduled to fly home. I made a card for him.
    *I needed new sneakers and used our rewards discount at Super Shoes. I also earned a $10 coupon for next month which I might use to find a new pair of church shoes.
    *I have created a garden notebook this winter. I organized information by plant and season with a checklist for each season which I have been checking once a month to stay on top of gardening tasks. This has been working well so far. Using this notebook I have made plans for this year’s gardens. I know what seeds I have, what needs to be purchased, etc. This will save me money by keeping me focused on my goals.
    *I have bought few groceries in the past week. I used $2 rewards at Food Lion to help pay for the groceries. I bought only milk and fruit/veggies. I still have cash left for the last week of this month.
    *I read a fun, easy book on Hoopla called Dear Henry, Love, Edith by Becca Kinzer. I really enjoyed it. It was sweet, humorous, and easy to read.
    *I also watched a sweet “B” movie on FreeVee called Sun Moon. It won’t win any Oscars but it was a happy, clean, sweet movie.
    *I cleaned and organized my refrigerator. This allowed me to see what needed to be used up so no food waste.
    *Our electric bill was $50 higher than expected! I was so mad as we have been trying to be very careful with our use. Our rates went up but it went up wayyyy more than what the power company predicted. We have a small apartment in our basement with refrigerator and range which we unplugged. We will see how much this helps our next bill. Also, Mr. Fix It helped me with laundry the last 2 weeks. He does not like to hang clothes even though I told him I would do it as it is one of my favorite things to do. He used the dryer 4 times each of those 2 weeks> Blah!!! I had a discussion with him in which I showed him what the power company recommends and the cost of running the dryer. I think he gets it now. Hopefully we will see an improvement next billing cycle. I also have been sweeping most of the house and only running the vacuum in the main living area. I have walked around the house looking for what might be adding to the power bill.
    *I continue to walk and do yoga and do crafts with what I have on hand.
    Wishing all my frugal friends a blessed and safe week!

  3. What a wonderful find on the soil! I’m glad you had some helpers. I’m watching for the free compost giveaways to start here.
    1. I cut up and soaked some too-hard dried fruit and ate it in my homemade yogurt. It was delicious. I also soaked 2 different kinds of beans and made baked beans in Instant Pot. My husband finished the very unappealing looking gluten free wraps that my daughter had bought and then found they had other ingredients she couldn’t eat. It’s been a real use-it-up week.
    2. I made Meyer lemon marmalade with the last 6 free Meyer lemons.
    3. I was able to return a roll of foam that had cost $25 at Joann and use free foam from Buy Nothing for my headboard project. That felt great!
    4. I repurposed a peg rail in my sewing room that had been removed from the bathroom.
    5. Consistently growing soil sprouts on the windowsill. Super easy and so far all the seeds have been free. I learned about it from this book: Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke. It’s enough volume to make a difference in my food budget.
    6. I made candles from old beeswax and re-used empty tins from previous candles. So simple and yet so satisfying. My daughter had given me her extra wicks, so no out of pocket cost for me. I’m trying to use up these scraps of things and not have them sitting on shelves taking up room. Use it or lose it.
    7. I sent in 2 bags of clothes to Thred Up. They were all in the donate pile, so I wasn’t going to get any money for any of them anyway, and I figured if any of them sold on ThredUp I would get credit to use for something else. I am VERY careful what I buy on ThredUp because returns are expensive. I often buy a purse or scarf or some other item that does not need precise fit. They are not my favorite company at all, but it felt like the possibility of some store credit was worth it. And once again, it’s less stuff sitting on my shelves.

  4. A friend gave me a small wild elk roast from an elk her son had shot late in the fall. It is very lean, very red and very mild, so I cooked it with onions, red wine and gravy, and enjoyed it two nights in a row. I had planned to make chili with it but she seemed upset about that and has promised me some ground meat to use instead. I make chili with whatever meat I have available, but it is definitely a budget meal to her!

    I tidied out the chest of drawers in my bedroom. The drawers were all off their tracks, so I took the time to really look at the track mechanism, and put the drawers in properly. It has a cherry finish, and is one of my favorite pieces of furniture, so I was glad to get this done. I have got rid of some other odds and ends in the bedroom, and plan to keep working at refreshing and resetting it a bit at a time.

  5. That’s amazing about the free soil! Your photos are beautiful. We have daffodils starting to bloom here too.

    This covers the past few weeks:
    – Fred Meyer had broccoli and cauliflower on sale for 99 cents a pound last week. I bought two heads of cauliflower and a bunch of broccoli. The next day, I made red lentil dal and added cauliflower florets. It was delicious and I froze several pints for later.
    – My small freezer was getting full, so I took out the two pound bag of cranberries that I bought for 4.99 on clearance after Christmas. It made a lot of cranberry sauce which I am now eating like jam. Some was frozen for future use.
    – Bought a pound of eggplant for 1.59. I love baba ganoush but it is expensive to buy. I found an instant pot recipe that was super easy. Made a big batch for around $2.oo worth of ingredients. Yum.
    – I have been enjoying the Italian prunes I canned last fall. They taste great mixed with plain yogurt.
    – Bought a 3.5 lb chuck roast on markdown (50% off) at Safeway. I got about 10 servings of meat after it was cooked. I also rendered the fat to make about 10 ounces of tallow for cooking.
    – My credit union offers discount on Turbotax that I used both for me and my mom (I do her taxes).
    – My sister gave me some canning jars that someone had passed on to her. She also gifted me a plant that she was afraid her new cat would destroy.
    – Mended a cloth bag and a blanket for my sister.
    – Repurposed several small plastic containers to hold bulk tea.
    – Found a nice work blazer/jacket, new with tags, on clearance at the thrift store. I paid $14, the original price was $228. It is even machine washable. I will probably change out the buttons, but otherwise it looks great.

    I have been fortunate to find some good deals at the grocery store. At the same time, I noticed that some products I normally buy have increased in price by 5% to 20%. It’s crazy. I know others are feeling the pinch too.

    Have a good week, frugal friends!

  6. Wonderful score on the garden soil!
    I invited friends over for dinner, rather than going out. I made spaghetti and meatballs, French bread, salad, and a cheesecake for dessert. My husband had requested a cheesecake for Valentine’s Day and agreed we should have it the day before so that we didn’t end up eating a whole cheesecake (albeit a small one) between the two of us.* On Valentine’s day we took a hike in the morning and had a nice dinner at home in the evening.*I repaired a favorite pair of tennis shoes with Shoe Goo, and added new foam insoles, so they are ready to go (the uppers are still in very good shape.)* I baked sandwich bread.* A friend gifted us with a big bag of Science Diet dog food his dog wouldn’t eat. My dogs are enjoying it and it’s saved us at least $40.

  7. I’ve been sick and spent only time in bed this week.
    Thankfully I had just filled the freezer with food easy to warm up.

  8. I was able to buy the soup at half price and donated several cans of it to the food pantry at a near-by community association.
    I bought a large colander on sale for half price off. And a lovely crocodile ruler for $5.00 for a child (birthday present coming up).
    I will be buying Spolumbo’s breakfast sausages on sale (they go a long way), and I hope to get Scarpone’s lentils on sale for 8 for $10 (1.25 per can)
    (usually 1.75 per can)

    I foxed the toilet meyself.

    I’ve almost finished the article our park group is doing.
    Brandy, that was a great deal on soil.

  9. I sold box of ribbon on Marketplace for $20

    Put a chicken carcass in the freezer to make broth when I’m off work for Spring Break

    The weather has been all over the place, so I’ve been turning off the heat when I can.

    I used points at McDonald’s on a breakfast sandwich

    I cooked turkey breast that I spent just under $2 for after the Ibotta rebate. I used one half for dinner one night, then froze the other for another day. I also put the carcass in the freezer to turn into broth.

    My husband purchased 4 racks if ribs for $14. Not sure if the store had an over stock or what, but he grilled all of them, then we froze 3 racks to eat at a later time.

    I’ve been working on a list of stuff we use, with quantities I have on hand, so I don’t do like my quart ziploc bags and end up with 7 boxes, with no gallon sizes 🤦‍♀️

  10. I’m so happy you were able to find good (& free!) deals on several things you needed. It’s always a good thing to find multiples in bought seedlings. Golden paste was made for the pups. A pot of sweet potatoes for the pups and chickens was simmered on the woodstove. While in town for an appointment, and to make a soap delivery, I stopped at a favorite thrift store. I found a large pottery planter for $15, a new roll of ribbon and nice piece of brown velvet for .25 ea. I’m always looking for good deals on large planters, for repotting, and was happy to find these treasures. Quite a few of the wintersown seeds have germinated. The daffodils and hellebores are blooming, with some of the snowbells starting, which helps to cheer up the landscape.

  11. Your lemons and lettuce look luscious. This time of year, I really crave salads.
    I worked four days last week and brought breakfast and lunch all four days. Made cauliflower soup, blueberry muffins, herb and cheese muffins, homemade pizza, a big salad and chicken fajitas. The cauliflower and onions in the soup were from the garden, the blueberries were from the freezer, the herb and cheese muffins were from a mix that I pre-make four at a time. I saved some of the cheese from the pizza to put in the muffins. The pizza was made from homemade focaccia bread using homemade, frozen pizza sauce, onions from the garden, peppers from the ugly produce section, a little sausage and/or pepperoni, a few kalamata olives that were hanging around in the fridge and some cheese also in the fridge. The chicken fajitas were from chicken in the freezer, peppers from the ugly produce section, onions from our last year’s garden and fajita seasoning mix my sister gives me at Christmas.
    Ate leftovers several days.
    Joined my DIL at her OB appointment, she is expecting again this summer. I watched my darling granddaughter while my DIL had her appointment.
    For Super Bowl weekend, my DH made BBQ ribs. I soaked some of the white beans we grew in the garden a couple of years ago, and then made crockpot baked beans. They were yummy. Also made a potato salad. A picnic in the middle of winter.
    Hope everyone has a good and productive week.

  12. Way to go on the free soil Brandy-that was a great score. I am busily finding the bargains in Honolulu-picked up my senior bus pass yesterday. Rides are $1.25 each with a daily cap of $3.00-you can ride all over the island admiring the ocean and the mountains. Can’t beat that price since a rental car and parking would cost me $80 per day.
    Went with a friend for lunch yesterday with a 30 storey high ocean view-breathtaking. Some of her friends are leaving the island today so they gave her some leftover groceries. She shared some with me including bagels and cream cheese, finger bananas, some Cheerios and sweet potato and taro chips( not very yummy). Free food is always good especially here as prices are very high-$7.99 per gallon of milk, 5.49 for eggs and bananas( all the way from Ecuador) for $1.29 per lb. The prices at home suddenly look more reasonable! I brought some cereal from home and have been having breakfast in the room for under $2 per day. Usually after that I just buy a takeout lunch or dinner as 3 big meals is too much.
    Today I went whale watching and as per usual we played hide and seek with the whales-they seemed to forget to charge me until the end of the tour and I almost thought it was going to be free.
    Unfortunately the hotel is under construction and there is considerable noise during the day. I complained and received 2 free breakfast vouchers for my trouble. I also picked up a coupon booklet on the street and was able to use a couple of them.

  13. Happy Wednesday.

    I have been blue for about 10 days now, mostly due to tragedies at the high school where I teach and about which I have no control. I ended up taking several days leave because I have had difficulty processing the grief. So I am going to write a gratitude list showing that good self care is not out of the range of the frugal minded..

    1. I have attended a 12 step group for years. This past week I called in the troops who literally held my hand through many dark moments. Although I was still crying at a meeting last night and it is embarrassing, I know it is the only way through.
    2. I spent exactly zero money on drugs and alcohol to numb me through the pain ( which is quite a departure from the habits of my family of origin.)
    3. I made some nourishing food, studied some free chess lesson when I couldn’t cry anymore, exercised and slept in.
    4. I canceled an upcoming trip to the Bahamas that I had booked because air credit was going to vanish if I didn’t use it. Using the CHAT function at Jetblue ( where you write instead of speak to someone) I was able to receive full credit for the future with a new expiration date. I couldn’t get this done talking to two other service reps. I highly recommend using a chat function if you are hard of hearing or have issues with foreign language accents.
    5. I walked a little slower, exercised a little less, watched some reruns, had hubby heat some leftovers and sang a few songs in the shower while crying.

    Now a few very helpful things that cost some:
    1. I was put on leave for two days. I do not have the sick leave for it. It was best since I wouldn’t have been at my best for the students. I will have to pay $170 out of my salary.
    2. When a friend was babysitting me, we watch HSN for 2 hours ( which I never do) and made a game of getting the best deal for the best item. I bought a beautiful scarf for $20. It was worth the fun.
    3. I checked in with a shrink for a 10 min phone call. He will probably charge me $190 but the peace of mind was worth it.

    So that is me. Still swinging back at school. I rearranged my lesson plans so the sister of one of the boys that died can be in a classrooms with lots of games and camaraderie. She really wants normalization and I can give her that.

    1. Hi Mary Ann,
      I’m so sorry for the tragedy you’ve experienced. May you find peace about it.
      It was moving to read your post, and inspiring to read of your 12 step journey.
      All the best

    2. Sending loving thoughts your way, Mary Ann. 🙂 Grateful you have people to walk alongside you during this difficult time.

    3. As an educator I’m so sorry for the loss to your community and recognize the toil it takes on you (us). Please continue to be kind to yourself and grieve. When I lost my first student, since I wasn’t family, I felt like I didn’t have the “right” to grieve. Fortunately, a good friend helped me and I was able to process my grief. This would not be the last student I lost. Whether a youth, or later, college students, it’s always hit me and I’m grateful for support on the journey. Be well. Your grief is yours, but you are not alone. Peace.

    4. Mary Ann,
      I’m so touched by your vulnerability and humanity in sharing your pain with us. What a great role model you are for self-care and not running away or numbing uncomfortable feelings. Kudos to you for sitting with these feelings. $170 sounds like a great investment in your mental health.

      As a fellow traveler through recovery rooms and a friend of Lois, I know that we aren’t protected from bad things happening but we do learn the tools to live through these situations in the healthiest and sanest way possible. What a gift you are to your students. They are lucky to have you. Sending you serenity xoxo Libby in CT

    5. Mary Ann there are no words at a time like this
      Hopefully you will have time to decompress and heal from this

    6. Mary Ann, I am so very sorry for all whose lives were touched by this tragedy. I pray for healing and strength for you and all through this time.

  14. What a great find on the soil! So glad that you had helpers get it to your home.

    This week wasn’t significantly different from previous weeks, but I did go to two potluck dinners. They are a nice way to share a meal with friends and bring something using ingredients on hand.

    I will finish knitting two more pairs of socks this week. I have some hand died sock yarn that I purchased last year at a thrift store. I don’t have enough of it for a pair of socks, but looking through my stash (given to me by others) I have enough contrasting yarn for the toes and heels, and another contrasting color to use as stripes. The final socks should be colorful and fun and use up three bits of yarn that might have otherwise languished.

    I’ve used knitting time to listen to podcasts and learn new things.

    I cleaned out two more drawers. It beings me happiness to open a drawer and see it well organized and tidy.

    I enjoyed an hour and a half conversation with a friend who lives across the country. I’m grateful for cell phones and that we no longer need to pay for long distance calls.

  15. Gas is $2.77 gallon at SAMS in the University town. I had unplanned emergency oral surgery to remove a cyst that had seriously weakened my jaw bone. Even with my dental insurance it was $900 out of pocket so far. I don’t have the pathology bill and don’t know what the expenses will be for follow up and perhaps treatment if the lab results are not good. That is life. So I have been eating mostly soup since my face is badly swollen and I cannot chew. Tomato soup, greens puréed soup, homemade egg drop soup, potato soup, butternut squash soup and broccoli and cheese soup are all on the recent menu or forthcoming menu these next two weeks. Also, scrambled eggs, and ice cream are in the menu. I walked in the neighborhood for exercise.

    1. Praying that you may have the strength you need right now and that the test results may be a positive one for you.

  16. Nice that you got the soil for free! My son and I went to the library and got some seeds for free to plant. My son was very excited about it and talked to the librarian about plants. I was glad to see him so happy! We cooked Moong Dal Vada… Basically Indian Mung bean fritters. They were so good. My husband also made some Cauliflower curry with coconut milk. We really enjoyed that meal! I made chili this week and I am going to make homemade bean and bacon soup. I use my pressure cooker to cook the beans after I soak them overnight in the fridge. We also made catfish that we bought for 99 cents a lb. And it was so good! My family enjoyed it. I was tempted to buy other fish and some seafood that was on sale. But I knew we needed to eat what we had at home. So far we have been able to pay our bills. But we need to save for income tax and property tax. It really is ever present on my mind. I was so happy that my husband was able to fix my car, his truck and our oven last week. He is getting a lot of hours now. I”m glad. But I enjoy having him around. My husband’s truck has 244,000 miles on it and my car has 212,000 miles on it. We are going to try and keep them going as long as we can. I was happy that my husband fixed the oven right away with a part that we bought extra last time it needed fixed. So, I didn’t miss a day of cooking, saving tons of money. My son borrowed movies from the library. We continue to use cloth hankies, napkins, and towels. We have one roll of paper towels that my husband has reserved for some rare occasions. I pulled out my ukulele this week and played it a bit. I’m learning. And, I played the piano. I enjoyed both. I got a lot of joy out of cleaning today. I started doing things as soon as I woke up in the morning and I felt so good accomplishing some things I really wanted to get done. I wanted to play the ukulele, but didn’t make the time today. I did look at seeds though, thinking about gardening.

  17. Slowly recovering our finances after helping Daughter 4 when her house burned down. She reported last night things are close to normal, working at a restauarant as none of the factories would hire her until she gets her SS card. She had just changed jobs when the fire happened and they “let her go” since her employee stuff burned in the fire. I was able to move a very small amount to the savings acct.

    We had the riding mower in for maintance. Hubby thought about doing it himself. With his mild dementia I wasn’t willing. Good thing as it’s still under warranty and had 4 idlers that had to be replaced that was covered. Saved close to $700. Paid $175 with 5 % discount for not using a credit card.

    Hubby old job where he retired from found he still had a money on a retiree bonus card but had to use it on a product by the company.Not a problem as the push mower is old. Replaced it, bonus card paid for over half the costs and are giving the old mower to Daughter 4 to replace the one she lost in fire. Her son in law can work on it if needed.

    The guys that was cutting fire wood let us know they had timber in and was trying to finish paying off their dad’s medical bills. They said this last bacth of timber should pay it off. We ordered 4 cords, they cut the deliver charge since we are only a couple miles from them. They brought 2 that night (kids were home from college so used them LOL). Hubby is still stacking it in the wood shed. Said he might actully get a head and have to be cutting as we need it. I try to keep him at a slower pace since the heart attack. They will bring the other 2 next week to give Hubby time to get it stacked in shed.

    Doc told me to increase my biotin… by eating the food that has it, not by taking a pill . So we will be growing more sweet potatoes along with spinach and putting more beans on the table. I quit eating beans when they cut my fiber down due to Crohn’s. WRONG MOVE. I can’t eat the amount of fiber they wanted either. I changed from Humira (can’t afford it on Medicare) to Visbiome. Actually am doing better with the change plus it’s not breaking the bank to get.PLUS my immune system is back up so I am not catching every little thing circulating in the area.

    We saved $17 on diesel fuel for the truck. Saved $54 with Good Rx Gold and transferred Hubby’s one nasal spray from CVS (where the rest of the meds are free) to Rite Aid. Our doctor looked it up to see where it was a better price. Didn’t make the trip to Krogers even though we were right there in that town for other appts. I compared prices before we went since they don’t do Fresh Mode any more in that area (we don’t have a Kroger’s). Save A Lot didn’t carry what I was looking for. Ended up at Walmart, I spent $138 for 1 gallon of milk, 4 of the 2 lb. original Velveete, 2 of the 1 lb.Queso Blanco Velveeta, 1 lb. of portabla mushrooms, 1 lb. white mushrooms, 1 lbs of baby bell peppers, 1 head of green cabbage, 1 head of ice berg lettuce and 12 family size boxes of Special K cereal that my doctor wants to me to eat some of every day as I am lousy at eating grains of any kind … unless it’s homemade noodles LOL. I now use spelt flour mixed with white flour for my noodles. Except for milk every 2 weeks I won’t need anything else for a month.

    We got the grow cart cover made by local Amish guy. When we put it on it didn’t fit. He had used the old one for a pattern. Took the cart to him as there was a spot that didn’t get sewn. He fixed the spot but the cover only needed to be warm to fit correctly. Forgot to tell Hubby that it is not the thin stuff the original cover was but clear tarp matterial that should hold up longer but needs to be warm. Every place that had the size we needed (and it’s hard to find as the company that sold it no longer carries it) wanted $100. He made it for $50.

    I stopped cooking pasta in water if I am going to add a pasta sauce. I just cook it longer in the sauce.Since we have pasta once a week it saves about 1/2 gallon of water. I can use that water for the grow cart.
    We are still using the wood stove, on warmer days we use scraps to keep the stove above cresote but not run us out of house. I was laughing when I came home from an appt and told Hubby every single Amish house I passed had their windows open and front door standing open. It’s Feb in Ohio. It was only 40 but the stoves were making it too warm. We have that same “problem”.

    Everyone stay safe.
    Prayers for sanity
    Blessed Be

    1. I didn’t know beans and spinach have biotin! That’s great to know! I love both of them. I was considering adding a biotin supplement, but perhaps I don’t need to!

    2. FYI. They didn’t have the newer drugs out for crohns they have today, but my husband got a lot of relief taking liquid cats claw for his crohns. My mom sent some on a whim for him to try and we were all surprised how much it helped, so thought I’d pass the info on.

    3. Juls – we also have that “problem” with the woodstove sometimes getting a bit warm and opening the windows to modulate the heat. I call the windows my thermostat. 🙂 I always enjoy your comments. Thank you for sharing them. 🙂

    4. Juls, I have Crohn’s and my doctor told me to take Visbiome. It seems to be good stuff.

      This may not work for everyone or every such drug, but I’m on Medicare and applied to Janssen for help with Stelara. I had to push on it – they had my account messed up – but I finally was approved and I get Stelara for free. In the past, people on Medicare couldn’t get any assistance in paying for such medications, which makes zero sense to me, but now, they can. The income cap to receive help for Stelara was $87,000 a year.

  18. Valentine’s day we went bowling with our homeschool group. We got a huge discount and my kids were able to bowl for the first time. I printed Bible theme Valentines on the computer and the kids colored them since we have a black and white printer.

    I say this every week, I am so proud of my commitment to make sure we use the food we already have before it ends up in the trash can. Food is too expensive to go anywhere but our tummies.

    I helped my husband on a job for 2 hours. The snapdragon seeds I planted sprouted! I was not sure if it would work since I have the pot sitting in the window. The lettuce I planted in tiny pots inside now has enough lettuce for me to have a snack. I did that because I already have the seeds and I wanted to see something green. It has brought me so much joy the past 2 months.

    1. I love snapdragons! We are growing lettuce in our window. We let a couple plants keep growing as an experiment for my son. He gets a lot of joy watching the plants grow.

  19. What a great find on the topsoil. Your pictures are beautiful as always. We went out of town for a funeral one day and went to a thrift store and I got a vase, a t-shirt and some ball storage lids all for $5. My insurance company has started a new program with free physical therapy done on a tablet with a personal physical therapist. I didn’t have a tablet, so the insurance company gave me one. I was so excited. My niece helped me download the Libby app and I have been looking up books as well as going to the library. My husband and I have been cooking more from scratch and buying ingredients instead of buying certain items for certain meals. We are meal prepping and it is working out much cheaper. Our gases prices have jumped forty cents in the last two weeks. I continue to wash full loads and hang as much as I can. I don’t have anywhere to hang towels, so I have been drying those. My niece and I attended a butter candle class at our county extension office. It was so much fun, and we got to bring home 2 candles that we made, 2 loaves of round bread, an insulated bag, measuring spoons, a cutting board, and a big spoon. I have sporadically attended classes in the past, but I have signed up on their email list to receive notices about future classes. We have signed up for a sourdough bread making class next week. I have finished a bible study on the book of James and I am going to look for another study. I have been reading more and studying the bible and I feel so much better. Thank you Brandy for this wonderful blog, I look forward to reading it and reading everyone’s comments.

  20. *I have sold items for my son. I’m putting all his money aside so he can pay a debt off.
    I have listed or renewed listing daily.
    * I’ve still been eating from the pantry and freezer: We had ribeye steaks and baked potato. I sautéed onion and pepper; grilled pork chops, creamed corn, and green beans; BBQ beef ribs, purple hull peas, collard greens, and Mac &cheese. We usually smoke the ribs, but I was trying to cook them so I soaked in some apple juice then seared in a skillet, put a dry rub on them, cooked in the Instant Pot with beef broth and a little of the apple juice, then took out and put BBQ sauce on them and put in the oven. They were very good.
    * We had a disaster. I went out and the top 3 shelves of the meat freezer were thawed, but lower 2 still frozen solid. I thought it was ajar. I threw out previously cooked chicken and pork and shrimp, took a chuck roast and 4 packs of cubed steak and 8 pork chops that hadn’t been previously cooked, and 2 ribeyes, and the ribs. I cooked the beef in the Instant Pot and grilled the pork chops and steak. I put 6 packages of cooked roast and cubed steak back in the freezer and all the grilled items we ate this week or I put in the inside freezer. Well I went out yesterday and the top shelf with the beef I had cooked to freeze was cold but not frozen, and ground beef down bottom still frozen solid, so I thought the door had gotten ajar again. So I threw out all the beef id just cooked up. Late yesterday the sensor my husband bought that beeps inside and sends data and alerts to your phone came so he installed it. This morning it was going off. The freezer was closed, and the other times I didn’t “see” it ajar just assumed. So, I moved the ground beef to the other freezers and the freezer is empty. I had a blood bath psycho killer scene I cleaned up. It apparantly has something wrong with ability to cool it. I have 17 lbs ground beef and 4 packages of Conecuh sausage, and 5 lbs bacon I saved. I’ll throw up if I tell what I threw away. It was time to order another side of beef, so I am thankful we didn’t have a freezer full of that to toss. It is literally sickening.
    *I have really been evaluating items I have that are of no real use, just neat to have, and whether they are worth the shelf space. A vintage metal kitchen chair like grandmaw had, vintage blue canning jars, some excess copper molds, clothes I’ve hung on to shrink into but they aren’t what I love. So, I’m decluttering and selling these and I won’t have to dust them.
    * I started a quilt along of red and white half square triangles. It is all different reds. I cut what I had and then made stacks of 20 fabrics and found two friends to trade twenty 5″ squares of red fabrics so I had more variety. I had started to head to joanns and pick out a few and buy foutth yard cuts to cut more, and decided to use what I have. There won’t be as much variety, but I have probably 80 different fabrics. I wish I could have found more people willing to trade stacks of 20, I even put it out to the quilt guild and got one response.
    * I had 2 packs of bones ( 9#) that I let simmer 48 hours and made bone broth and canned 18 pints, with about 3/4 pint leftover I just used in this week’s meals. The bones were from the freezer thaw of 2024, I just forgot to mention above.

  21. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Great to get all that free soil and get it home with girl power! Good bargains for you and the girls too. I am soaking up the sunshine in your photos, it’s been very heavy rain for days in our part of the UK.
    My husband received a gift card and we used it to eat out the day after Valentines Day.
    We visited a bankrupt stock/ salvage warehouse and bought two pairs of good quality trousers for my husband at 75 per cent off. I encouraged him to buy the second pair because he’s tall and finding the right length isn’t easy.
    I have spent hours stripping lavender flowers off stalks I cut last autumn, ready for making new lavender bags. The stalks will be bundled and used as firelighters.
    I helped serve tea at monthly floral group and was given surplus chocolate biscuits
    to bring home.
    I was able to give two like new books from a charity shop as gifts.
    I sold another item on Vinted.
    I used parsnips, leeks and carrots from the garden. I used leftover pastry to make a large apple turnover which gave three servings. I batch cooked chicken drumsticks, stripped and froze the meat and made stock with the bones. Some of our stored onions were going soft so I cut out the good bits, chopped and froze portions.
    We ordered a bulk buy of compost and my husband asked if any neighbours wanted to buy some too and we reached the threshold for free delivery for us all.
    I bought mini chocolate eggs on a deal ready to decorate cakes at Easter.
    I bought two large sachets of coffee refills on a deal. When the deal ends it will be cheaper to buy the coffee in a glass jar, it doesn’t make sense to me?!
    Prices are still rising in all areas of our life and I have been feeling overwhelmed by it this week. I know I have to be brave and more savvy and I’m so grateful for Brandy and all the commenters on this blog.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed at the prices all going up as well. We are making sure to eat everything we have in the fridge before buying more food. Eating very little processed food. It is not only too expensive, but also not as healthy anyway. We have been eating a lot of beans this week. When I go back to the store, I plan to just buy what is on sale and plan our meals around the sales. We may look at insurance to see if we can save money. I’ve stayed at home, trying to entertain us here for the most part. I feel blessed that my husband is on board with the money saving things.

    2. Thanks for sharing about the salvage warehouse store. I’ll have to look and see if there is something similar here in the U.S. I know what you mean about the rain/overcast days. I think we have had three sunny days since New Year’s Day. One of them was today, so maybe things are “looking up.”

  22. I’m so glad you were able to pick up the soil.
    I’ve been cleaning up and decluttering. I’ve been diligently listing on eBay and I’ve been selling quite a bit of stuff. Gifted some outgrown clothing to friends. I found some great items at the thrift store- kids clothes and hats for an upcoming vacation, Columbia winter gloves, and a few shirts for my husband. I also found some great kids toys out for garbage. I cleaned them up and my kids are thrilled, and I saved hundreds of dollars. I bought a bunch of lights for a rental off of marketplace, saving close to $300.
    Stores have finally had some sales on berries so I stocked up. I’ve made sourdough and apple oatmeal bars. I cleaned out the freezer and made some chili using a small package of ground beef, frozen tomatoes from last summer and frozen black beans. I made a new batch of beans in the instant pot and froze them in small containers. I served the chili with homemade cornbread muffins. I’ve been making popcorn as afternoon snacks instead of chips or crackers.
    We bought a pricey dining table set. Not at all frugal but it’s exactly what I wanted and it supports a local company. They wanted a lot of money to take the old one so we took it to the curb ourselves.
    We stayed home on Valentine’s Day and cooked a nice dinner at home.

  23. *Free soil is a wonderful savings! We have had access to free mulch since last summer and have brought home several trailer loads. Another load is planned for soon.
    *We gratefully accepted 2 large boxes of food from a neighbor. Included was 3 loaves of bread from a local bakery, pasta, dried beans, rice, grits, applesauce, and numerous kinds of canned vegetables. We are glad we can put this food to use and that it won’t go to waste.
    *Found a pair of leather sandals at Goodwill for $6. My former pair finally fell apart after many years of use last summer so I was glad to find an almost identical pair for so little.
    *Arranged a field trip for our homeschool co-op to a YMCA to swim in their indoor pool. Our family was able to swim at no cost as we still have some free passes from a cancelled swim class 4 years ago. I was amazed that they were still honoring them. A fun activity on a chilly winter day.
    * We continue to make progress on our mud room and my husband’s office. I am constantly amazed at my husband’s creativity making challenging things work and finding what we need from what we have or with creative financing (such as gift cards to building supply stores from his employer’s merit program.) He built up a basic 4×4 with handmade trim to become the most beautiful newel post at the base of the stairs. You would never know it started life as a free 4×4. The way we do things take time but flexing our creativity versus our wallets is so satisfying (even when we do occasionally wish we could snap our fingers and just have things done.)
    *Sold eggs .
    *No grocery shopping this week as we make use of stored and gifted food.
    *Slightly warmer than usual weather means we have had fewer fires in the woodstove, saving our wood for colder times and makes line drying laundry quicker. I have been sitting outside in the garden dreaming and planning – which is always fun and free. 🙂 Hope everyone else has a wonderful week!

  24. How wonderful about the soil! And the new nursing cover sounds rather clever, especially re-using the boning; I love when things work out like that!

    My frugal week:
    – redeemed loyalty points for $20 worth of groceries
    – made frozen yoghurt ( when my youngest was ill with step/bronchitis/croup. Nutritious and soothing on the throat.
    – I cut open a lotion bottle and got another week’s worth of face lotion out of it
    – a lot of my frugal accomplishments are just doing the same things over and over again: all meals at home, baking snacks and treats at home (cake, cookies, etc.), reusable containers to reduce single-use plastic, etc.
    – I found some majorly discounted products at a pharmacy. One of the items was plastic snow block makers, for 40 cents including taxes. While i could make these for my kids using recycling, it was an inexpensive treat for the kids.
    – using Field Agent, I got two loaves of bread for free, and was able to donate one to a local community cupboard. It was a great opportunity to talk with my eldest about how community supports each other.
    – I had a friend over for tea and served homemade cookies and tea
    – I made other cookies for my daughter to share with her friends at the bus stop after school

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  25. We are four hours away from home, Up North, at a rental cabin this week (my husband and I). We brought food from home, as well as games, puzzles, books and yarn. My husband has enjoyed daily nature walks and walks on the frozen lake. We have rested a lot and it has been lovely. We drove an hour into town yesterday for one dinner out. We did a deal that was an appetizer and 2 entrees for $25. While driving around town we noticed a JCPenney. The ones in the Twin Cities have all closed, which saddened my husband because he liked their button down dress shirts. We went in and took advantage of a sale, buying two white and three colored dress shirts. That will last him a few years. Well, that’s all for us. Just enjoying quiet.

    1. You might want to try looking on the JC Penney website for nearby stores if the ones near you closed. We also live in the Twin Cities and there’s one that’s still open in the next suburb over. It can’t be the only one left, can it? There used to be one at both the Maplewood Mall and the Rosedale Shopping Center too – the Maplewood Mall one was still there a year ago but maybe it closed in the meantime. Now I’m curious!

      Enjoy your time Up North – it’s so beautiful and peaceful this time of year,

  26. I redeemed a coupon for a free package of sausage, as well as the other coupons on things we regularly use. We made good progress on the pantry by eating lots of chili! I have also canned a few batches of beans we had the long term storage for a few years so that we can eat them in the next 6(ish) months. I finished a quilt for my sister and she was very happy to receive it! Our library is under construction and I finally looked at the next-closest location and they have a wonderful ‘ready for kindergarten’ class for our 4 year old. Its over lunchtime on a weekday, so we cannot always make it but it is a wonderful resource!

  27. I started the first batch of tomato seeds indoors. I made all meals at home except for a bday meal that was pre-planned. I love making my cheap lunches for the week: savory rice with lentils. I top this with cooked or roasted veggies and a hummus sauce from a nearby restaurant that I love. It’s way better than even eating at the restaurant that sells the sauce. I kept the heat pretty low during the day (64), and even lower at night (62). I ordered a load of wood chips for the garden from the free “chip drop” website. I also got a whole trunkbed full of used cardboard boxes on FB marketplace, for free, (approx 70?) to use to layer in the garden for a weed barrier.

  28. My husband filed our state income tax even though we did not owe anything. He either misread one of the questions on the form or Turbotax had the default set to yes. He should have said no. Because of this, we would not qualify for the TABOR refund of $1,600. Fortunately, we caught the mistake and filed an amended return. So glad.
    I don’t like to eat salads in the winter, I think because they are cold. So, I have started putting my Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, celery, green peppers, avocado, carrots and any other veggies in the Vitamix blender to puree with a little broth and various seasonings. Then I warm a bowl of the mixture in the microwave. It is like a V8 sort of taste but warm and cozy. Happy to be getting my vegetables now.

  29. That’s a fabulous find on the soil! Congratulations!

    It’s not exactly frugal, but found out today my disability was approved! The hearing was only 17 days ago so thought it would be months before I heard anything. This is a huge blessing and weight off my shoulders.

    Finally got my insurance sorted and started physical therapy this week. I’m sore, but it feels like progress, so I’ll take it.

    We’ve had a lot of rain, which kept it from getting very cold. I’ve been able to run the heat for a short while in the morning, then not at all. Some days skipping it completely.

    I’d needed some type of shoes to work in the muddy yard and found both red rain boots (perfect) and duck brand shoes, that sell for over $65, both for $11 thrifting. I will try reselling the ducks. Both look brand new. I hope to do a lot of weeding of some overgrown areas while my heavy clay soil is soft, so I’d been looking for garden boots.

    I continue to grocery shop sales, which drive my meal plans. Stop at grocery outlet when I drive by to dr appts to save gas. I got 4 books from the library, one a cookbook. For the longest time I never thought of getting cookbooks there, but I’ve so enjoyed it once I realized. Did my own nails using polish I was gifted after someone passed away. I continue my effort to befriend the neighborhood crows. Today I didn’t have to call them. In fact, I was just going to the car for a dr appt and two of them flew to me from blocks away, perched in the tree and proceeded to chatter at me to say hello. So sweet as we’d had storms and hadn’t “seen” each other for a few days. Once I said, oh hello babies! The rest of the flock (murder) started showing up. Nature makes me happy.

    Hope everyone has a good week!

    1. My library lets us check out older editions of magazines (just not the current issue) and there are several cooking magazines there. You might enjoy that, too.

  30. Nice score on the soil!

    On the frugal front:
    I bought 4/$1 petunia seeds at the Dollar Tree and ordered Cape Daisy seeds online. I typically do not buy many annuals. Hopefully the seeds will do well for a fraction of the price of bedding plants.

    HH tackled a minor plumbing repair himself rather than calling a plumber.

    We had a low cost Valentine’s Day. HH prepared a nice dinner for us at home. We attended Ash Wednesday service and met several other couples to play a game.

    I used a free token to get a car wash.

    My college girlfriends and I rented an affordable AirBnB in southern MN for the weekend. We went out for one lunch but prepared all other meals, drinks and snacks at the AirBnB. We had a great time shopping, viewing the beautiful historic homes and businesses, and visiting at the AirBnB.

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

  31. One of our daughters had a birthday. She asked for a tank top. I managed to buy two gorgeous ones on eBay. She was very pleased.

    I baked a cake and we invited two families over to share it. I blew up some balloons we had already and they played around the house then went home.

    It was very pleasant and cheap!

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