Olive branches on Easter Sunday

I bought a few more plants for the garden on sale.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a tomato plant along with the rose bushes. I accidentally stepped on it while I was moving the roses, cutting the entire top off of the plant. I stuck it in water, and it rooted. I planted it in a pot this week. I now have another tomato.

I moved a few tomato plants into larger pots, so that they will have more of a chance to grow larger before the heat sets in (once it gets above 90 degrees at night, they won’t bloom). I want to grow them all in the ground, but since we aren’t ready to plant them yet, this should help them to grow more in the meantime.

I sowed seeds for zucchini in pots. This might not be a frugal accomplishment–it could be a total waste. I have never had success in growing zucchini, as they rarely flower at all (I know how to hand pollinate them, but if there are no flowers, hand-pollination can’t happen). I had also purchased a zucchini plant from the nursery to try this year to see if an earlier start would help my plants to be large enough to flower before it’s too hot for them to stop flowering. The plant was actually three seedlings, so I separated them into three pots so that they can each grow larger before I can transplant them into the ground. To my surprise, these only had a few leaves, but already had flowers! I have never seen that before. They are all male flowers to start (so no zucchini will form on them) but I am hopeful that I might have a chance to harvest some zucchini this year. I added bone meal to the bottom of each pot to hopefully encourage more blooms.

Narcissus Geranium and Nasturtiums under the lemon trees

We enjoyed an alfresco meal outside in a shady corner of the garden. This area of the garden has become shaded from the neighbor’s trees and was previously unusable due to sinking in the garden and a garden bed in the area. It has now become my favorite spot in the garden to sit because there is shade. Most of my garden is in the sun all the time. As the new trees grow, there will be more shade in a few years.

I bought store-brand diapers from Target while they had their spend $100, get a $30 gift card deal. I aim to always stock up on diapers when they have this sale.

I made chocolate rabbits for the children for Easter and we used jelly beans in their eggs and on the table. The children were with me when I bought jelly beans (I usually buy the Starburst ones, as they have the best flavors). One child asked me to try the Sweetart ones. These were half the price of the Starburst ones. Several of the children expressed how much they preferred these, so while it was not a savings this year, next year I will know to purchase more of this kind, cutting my Easter candy spending in half. We used plastic eggs and some nests that I had bought in previous years, and the baskets for hunting the eggs were ones that I already had and use for collecting fruit.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Received another coupon for free tater tots at Sonic, sent both of the ones I had with the 14yo one evening when she met up with friends to play volleyball there.

    Used Mcalister’s rewards for a free lunch

    Had 7 chicken carcasses in the freezer so make stock over 2 days . Ended up with 34 cups

    Earned $10.50 Amazon shopper rewards

    Earned $10 off 25 for downloading Amazon photo app

    Received a $3 off any treats for one of the dogs birthday at Petsmart so purchased a box of milkbones for .99 after the coupon.

    Returned a library book on time to avoid late fees.

    Continue decluttering the house. Items listed on Marketplace aren’t moving very fast, but had a lot of free stuff picked up.

    Easter was low key. The great thing about older kids is being able to put all their candy in a ziploc bag and calling it good, lol. Didn’t fuss with any special food either.

    Got all my receipts entered to my rewards apps so I can get those points.

    We had decent weather all week so the heaters stayed off and doors were open most days.

    The 14yo needed track shoes and after the second store, it became obvious that our city was sold out. I ordered her a pair online to save time and gas on continuing to drive around.

    1. If you take the shootes (that youre suppost to snap of …..We call them thieves…)and put them in the water they will root also. That gives you even more tomato plants.
      Greetings Tanja

  2. This week quilts just kept coming in to our little business! I finished the quilting on the vintage quilt (it was queen size) and client will be picking it up this week. https://pin.it/YRZQ9jv. Then another client who is 84 brought over a pretty floral quilt she made to hang on the front door of her apartment. She used floral scraps from several other quilt she’s made! https://pin.it/21kK6R1 and a close-up https://pin.it/2eVycNN. I hope I am still quilting as prolifically when I reach 84!! Just as I finished that one, my quilt instructor friend brought over 4 quilts for me to get quilted this week! I hope to have them all finished by Thursday! I got our taxes done and found that our state actually encourages small businesses with a tax credit! That was a wonderful surprise! I let Turbo-tax do the computations and got a $34 ibotta rebate by doing it!

    In the garden, we bought 1740 pounds of top soil and mulch. We rented a Lowe’s truck for an hour so we could bring it home in one load and then Hubs and I off-loaded it and spread it out! The 1100 pounds of top soil went in our raspberry bed to fill in, plus we planted in some more of our raspberry plants. https://pin.it/32OKSn4. We will add a couple more trellises to train them on. Then we mulched around some of our fruit trees. As you can see, we need to get more mulch! https://pin.it/3GcjgTd and https://pin.it/P47C93m.

    From purchases we made using our bank’s credit card (and paid off immediately), I was able to redeem another $10 reward and have it deposited into our savings account! This makes up for the 8 cents/month they have been giving us in interest! In March we redeemed $40 that way while not accruing even a dollar in interest on the credit card because we always pay off statement balance! It’s become like a fun challenge to see how much we can add in little bits to our savings account this way!

    My friend who works at a local Kroger’s texted me after she saw more things clearanced there this past week. She’s the one who let me know when they had Carnation Evaporated milk for 9 cents/can! This time they had 4 grocery carts full of Progresso soups for 50 cents a can! Now, I make soup from scratch, but I do like to keep some like this on my pantry shelves for “fast” food in a pinch! I also texted my 3 daughters that share good sales to take their orders of what they might like. Got over there, bought a variety of soups. There were still 3-1/2 carts full of clearanced soups for others to buy. And we added to our pantries something we would use that we bought at the lowest price but only in the quantity that was reasonable for our families.
    I also heard from an online friend (in another state)that she had found Ball canning jar lids at her local Walmart. She said that they were not on the store shelves, but available for pickup at her local Walmart only if she ordered them using Walmart.com! She also said that they were limiting the quantity that you could buy (probably so no one person could clear out their inventory!) I tried it and ordered 8 boxes of regular Ball lids (which is what I am running lower on) and was able to curbside pickup them up the same day!! I’m thrilled!! They cost me $2.28/box of a dozen lids!! Wide mouth Ball lids were $3.18/box.
    I’ve so appreciated everyone’s encouraging words/suggestions/ideas that have made my life so much better both in tangible ways but also in ways that have built my spirit!!

    Thanks always to you, Brandy, for all your inspiration!!

    Also, with Spring gardening starting, Hubs and I had a date night after off loading all the soil and mulch stretching out on that comfortable sectional couch (we could each sprawl out without bumping into each other!😉). We spent the evening watching DIY YouTube videos and learned SO much! What a resource!! One thing we decided to try are the carrots in a bucket! This gardener, I believe, is in Scotland and we have now watched several of his videos! Here’s the carrot one that will revolutionize our carrot-growing here!!I also love that all his supplies seem to be recycled/free materials! Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/lA7tLgxNfk4. What a fun and frugal date!! We just spent that evening, sore and aching as we were, talking and planning together! We have started to set aside 30 minutes (or less) each day to share an idea/article/video we have each found that can be incorporated into our home/yard! It’s been really fun and we’ve found gardening, landscaping,recipes, etc that we are trying out to see if we want to add them into our lives! Free instructions/ideas right at our fingertips! What an amazing world we live in!!
    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Wow, Gardenat, you got eight cents in interest from your bank? My checking account has never gone over six cents. 😀

      Brandy, love the story of the smashed tomato plant being made into two plants. Way to go to make lemonade from lemons.

      1. Anne- That 8 cents interest is just pitiful!! We have about the same balance in a high interest savings account with a different bank and get $4.35/month in interest. Way less than it used to be but way better 8 cents!!

    2. Dear Gardenpat,
      You are an inspiration to us all. Your using relatively smaller income opportunities such as the things you make and sell and your quilting business has encouraged me as I work on some challenges we have.
      Elizabeth H.

      1. Elizabeth H- Thank you! I read about your exciting couch find!! Glad to hear you & your Hubs are able to work together as a team!! I am grateful every day for my “team-mate” of 50 years! Many times, for us, the fun adventures working together are as valuable to me as the savings that we get! It’s nice to have someone to share those successes with!

  3. *I took advantage of having put food away in the freezer, during a very busy time this week. I was SO thankful that I had planned ahead for emergencies!
    *I called back a second time, when there was a problem with my daughter’s ACT test scheduling. The first person was not helpful at all, but the second person was. While it was still a messed up situation, the second person helped fix it as best as could be done, given the circumstances.
    *I bought flowers on clearance to feed my soul. I normally only purchase perennial plants, but these annuals were on clearance for just $2.00 each, and will cheer us this summer as they bloom in the back porch.
    Pictures and more on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/04/frugal-friday-week-of-march-28-april-3.html
    Looking forward to reading what everyone is up to!

  4. Grocery stores have good deals on eggs this time of year so I bought extra. I take raw eggs (out of the shell) put in a freezerbag and season. Add a little milk and mash them up. These will keep quite awhile in the freezer and are already to go for scrambled eggs.
    My daughter gave me dozens of used books she had gotten from a friend. I love to read. When I am through with them I take them to Goodwill.
    The biggest break is the weather has been perfect this week- no need for furnace or AC! Hope this weather lasts for a good long time.

  5. Harvest the male flowers from those zucchinis for fritters/tempura 🙂 That way at least you get some food from the plants even if they don’t fruit!

    1. I am usually lucky to get a single male flower. Last year my plant made ONE flower the entire year, late in the fall.

      1. Brandy that is so amazing, the differences. Here in the Pacific NW, zuchinni grow like mad. You can’t keep up with them! Planting them is a guaranteed harvest, and they get so big if you forget to pick them or miss one!

        1. I have read they are always like this, and considered an easy plant, and I suppose they are, if you live where it’s cooler in the summers and can keep the squash bugs at bay.

          1. Zucchini used to be easy to grow here where I live in Maryland, but the last seven years or so the squash bugs and stink bugs get to the vines and kill the plants no matter what we do. They do the same thing to our cucumbers. I keep trying every year. My game plan this year is to grow one plant in a large pot in a bed of Nasturtiums on my deck where I can keep a close eye on things and check and hand pick several times a day for bugs. I am going to do a second plant in the end of the garden where Zucchini and cucumbers have never been grown and also grow on a bed of Nasturtiums, which I have read multiple times that the squash and stink bugs will not go near these flowers. I’m hoping it works.

            1. Nasturtiums grow here before the squash (it’s too hot for them in a few weeks; mine will be done soon) but I have heard they are good to plant with other plants to keep the bugs away. I hope they work for you!

  6. -I used a $25 Amazon gift card that I received from loyalty points on my phone and internet account to buy a six-pack of underwear. This was going to trigger a few dollars in shipping costs, so I added $10.00 in groceries from my grocery list to reach the $35 needed for free shipping. In the end, they have divided this into two shipments, at no extra cost, because they couldn’t ship the food at the same time as the underwear. Brandy, I came through your site to place the order, but the order was already in the cart when I did this, so I suspect it didn’t give you a credit. I was also moving from the US to the Canadian Amazon site, and I don’t know if this registers a credit for you.
    -Covid cases are going up quickly in this province, with lots of variant cases. The county surrounding my village has had a large outbreak that started at the high school in the next town over. It has circulated very quickly because so many students travel by school bus, and there were shared routes with some other local schools. I am ready to stay home this month to avoid all of this. I have a good supply of food and whatever else I need.
    -I am finding it a bit of a struggle to keep my spirits up, but I am doing okay. One good thing is that several empty houses on my block now have neighbors in them. We finally have a family moved in across the road. There were lots of cheerful squeals on Easter morning as they did an outdoor Easter egg hunt, and the smaller children spend lots of time playing in a pile of dirt with their toy trucks. They call hello across the street, because they’re not big enough to cross the street by themselves. The yappy dogs on either side of my house have been replaced by dogs who are very good watchdogs, but who realize I am a friendly neighbor, and give me one woof and a wag of their tail. (One of the dogs moved. The other two passed on at a very old age.) I’m hoping I’ll be able to enjoy my yard this summer and not be yapped at the whole time.
    -The snow in town has mostly melted, though the ground is still frozen. There will be a few weeks to do some clean-up, but it is warm enough to get outside and get some of that work done. It will be a change of scene to be in my yard instead of my house, even if it isn’t very pretty at this time of year. Lots of birds singing, though.

    1. Elizabeth M.
      I’m sorry you have had difficulty keeping your spirits up but am glad you are okay. I had about 3 or 4 similar days
      and then it just went away. Do you have friends you can talk with? It’s nice that your block is being re-occupied.

      I think it is scary and disappointing that our covid numbers are going up. I am hoping that in the next couple of months Pfizer will rejig its vaccine (Moderna too) so that it is more effective against a couple of the upcoming variants. It is good to stay at home because the variants are, alas, more contagious!

      If you need to talk, we could arrange to exchange emails through Brandy.

  7. I am going to pick up a truckload of alpaca manure for my garden today. The rancher gives it away, and even uses his tractor to load it. It doesn’t have to be composted first, and can go directly in the garden.

    Our radon mitigation system was installed late last week. The contractor left some monitoring equipment here, to make sure the system is adequate. After that, we’ll wait a week or so and then do a 3 day radon test to verify. My income is such that we qualified for a state program for radon mitigation.

    We celebrated Easter with an egg hunt in the back yard (rare – our weather is usually not nice enough this early) and a family dinner at home, just the 3 of us. I roasted a turkey breast from when I parted out a Thanksgiving sale turkey, and roasted potatoes, carrots and onions with herbs and olive oil. Brussels sprouts were on sale for .98 a pound, so we had those too, along with deviled eggs (we had an offer of a free dozen eggs on our Safeway card) and sliced oranges. The entire meal cost us less than $5, even factoring in for things like herbs, olive oil, and mayo. There is plenty of leftover turkey breast, and enough vegetables for me to take for my work lunch tomorrow.

    I didn’t make dessert because we’d been nibbling Easter candy all day. My husband had gotten the Easter candy at a pre-Easter half-price sale (and he had some coupons!). He picked up some fruity things our child really likes – little gummies and Starburst chews, and some Dove chocolates that he and I like. We haven’t opened the Dove chocolates yet – we are going to put that off for a while. We re-use the same plastic eggs, basket and grass year to year. Instead of a chocolate bunny, our kiddo had a pack that was Nutella and pretzel sticks – one of their favorites (they like a little chocolate now and then, but mostly like the fruity things). My husband had gotten that free with a rebate offer, so little was spent for sweets. We did also get our kiddo some bluetooth headphones they can use for school, music, etc. They have been borrowing mine a lot, so we got the same ones in a different color. It was nice to know they already liked the style of them and knew how the controls work. The headphones are $17 at Amazon, they are very comfy (the over-the-ear type), and work great. I used gift cards I got from a health incentive program at my workplace to pay for them.

    A friend gave me some sourdough starter. She harvested wild yeast from the air. I’ve made two loaves of bread so far using it, and we like it a lot. We’re making grilled sandwiches today with leftover turkey from Easter and homemade sourdough (and lots of veggie toppings). I am looking forward to that!

    My husband continues to use sales, coupons, rebates, etc. to save on groceries and household items. I got a ‘we miss you’ offer from Chewy (pet foods and supplies) that included a significant discount. We had a list of items we were going to get from them if we ever got an offer like that, so we did that this week. I used the autoship to bring the prices down, got free shipping, etc. I cancelled autoship after the items arrived.

    I got my second vaccine dose late last week. I was tired and a little foggy the next day, but nothing serious. Even with being a little tired the end of the week, I walked a little over 25 miles this week for exercise.

    I have to add some photos, and then I’ll post our menu plan for the coming week on my little blog. Visitors are welcome! I hope to start making time for additional posts as we begin gardening, but working full time outside the home can make that challenging. Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  8. Hubby changed credit cards for the business and now gets a reward. He earned $50 of reward for March. We used it to go towards his April bill. Hubby is picking up more work which is nice but means he has to cram the work here into what days he does have off.

    We transplanted some small fruit trees to larger pots, including a lilac bush a person was tossing as it wasn’t growing (root bound) and a Maple tree I started from seed 3 yrs ago.

    I am still figuring out the garden so I can grow more and try to grow 3 seasons instead of just two

    We are still not able to go see anyone so I texted all the kids and grandkids over Easter. Our one granddaughter is now quarantined as she has started into labor (very slow labor)… baby is due the 18th.

    We turned the furnace down to 62 on warm days to stretch the propane into April. Focused on goal of cutting 1 tank of 300 gals off the year for next year. When we moved here 3 yrs ago it took 6 1/2 tanks (300 gal each). Two years ago it was 5 1/2… I am focused on getting it down to at least 4.

    We have had several tell us that they couldn’t get their seeds. INCLUDING the guy that supplies my canning tomatoes. I told Hubby I would move some of what I have canned as side to make sure we have some for next winter.
    Blessed be everyone

  9. It was a lovely Easter weekend in our home. We had our friends over – the only ones we have been around since last March – and we enjoyed a lovely dinner, hid eggs for the kiddos, talked and laughed together. It was a really lovely day. The weather was perfect and so much is in bloom this time of the year. I remarked to my husband how different this Easter has been than last year’s – infection rates are down, we have received our first dose of the vaccine and grocery store shelves are stocked…a vastly different experience than the past 16 months have been.
    I cooked a large ham from our freezer which will give us several meals. I purchased potatoes, lemons, eggs, sour cream, and some chocolates and candy to stuff eggs with.
    We organized our pantry/food storage in order to get an idea of how many jars we have and how many lids will need to be purchased. I was very happy to find that we have consumed virtually all of what we put away last summer with little to no waste. This was an encouragement to me as last year was the first year that we grew a large garden and I canned and put away many new recipes for pickles, jellies, jams and salsas. I want to make sure that my family enjoys what is being grown and put away so that we make the most of our money and time. I have a list of all of the recipes that we loved and will adjust amounts as needed to align with our preferences. For example…tomato sauce and diced tomatoes are something that we really enjoyed and are nearly out of….I will grow lots more tomatoes this year to allow us to consume more fresh and can more as well.
    We completed some weeding in our yard and have many plants and flowers returning such as lantana, verbena, hibiscus, daisies and bee balm. We are comparing the cost of renting a tiller to having someone till the garden space for us. Once we sort out all of the numbers we will go for the least costly option.
    Enjoy the week ahead everyone!

  10. Hello Everyone!
    Easter Sunday was lovely with an outdoor service. We reuse our kids wicker Easter baskets and grass each year, Easter decor, as well as the plastic eggs for hunts. I ironed our Easter tablecloth and napkins and set a beautiful table. We keep Easter gear in a plastic tote. This saves time and money.

    I made a trip to Walmart to save quite a bit on both grocery and drug store items. I’ve noticed $1.50-$2.00 difference on Equate brand vs. Target brands. It’s worth a 20 minute drive to Walmart when needed. I also cherry picked Easter sales at the grocery stores.

    I added 4 blueberry bushes to my garden and ordered 2 more raised beds. I’ve noticed a price increase from last year for the same raised bed. Prices ranged $20-$60 more for identical raised beds online. I ended up ordering from Home Depot at the best price and free shipping.

    We ate Swiss chard, kale, carrots, beets and turnips from our garden. We made quiche with garden veggies and our hen’s eggs. I baked a country loaf of bread, made potato-leek soup, Greek pasta salad, and lemon chicken this week. My daughter and I baked from scratch lemon cupcakes for Easter.

    I gave my son a haircut, colored my own hair, and returned an item. The weather had been beautiful and we’ve been enjoying our patio in the afternoons with some cold drinks. My favorite is iced tea with a lemon wedge and sprig of mint (both from our garden).

    Gardening is a lot of work, but very gratifying. I can’t wait to see how yours turns out, Brandy!

  11. It was quite a week here! We accepted a crazy high offer for $40,000 more than the listing price on our vacation home! Listed it Thursday, accepted the offer Monday. We had 6 offers, all more than the asking price. To say that we are thrilled is an understatement! 

    This was the rest of the week (not nearly as exciting, LOL)–
    * I have gone back to wearing progressive bifocals because I hated putting on and taking off readers and always had to go looking for them. I wanted some backups and I had a pair of newish frames that I loved. It’s hard to find an optician that will put new lenses in old frames, but I did. Still pricey, but my $100 insurance benefit applied, and I got them for $165 out the door.

    * I cashed in Honey points for a $30 Amazon GC. Found a $10 Wal-Mart GC in DH’s wallet. Don’t know where it came from, but I spent it!

    * I filled a grocery cart about 2/3 full at Fred Meyer (Kroger) and it only cost $72! Besides the usual produce, bread, milk and eggs, this included half a ham for .87 lb., 12 jars of peanut butter for .97 each, 10 packages of Idahoan scalloped potatoes for .88 and packs of angel hair pasta for .49 lb! (The pasta was part of a buy 10, save $5 deal). The guy behind me in line was bug-eyed when the total came up. These prices are good through Tuesday of this week.

    * This didn’t actually $ave anything, but I reorganized my pantry shelves and freezer when I put groceries away.

    * I sold a camera lens mount that didn’t fit anything for $9.99 on eBay. (Only took 3 free re-listings, LOL). Better $9.99 (less fees) in my pocket than another useless item kicking around my house.

    * We grow strawberries and veggies in raised beds. The soil (mostly compost) settles every year. This week we topped it off with last year’s compost and mixed it in. Now I have the most beautiful black soil you’ve ever seen! Full of worms and free to boot!

    * I am growing baby tomato plants on my window sill. They put out their first set of true leaves.

    * A branch fell off my Christmas cactus awhile ago. I made it into 5 cuttings and three of them took!

    * I re-hemmed two pairs of jeans that I goobered up the first time around. Lesson: take the time to do it right the first time.

    Lastly, someone–I think it might have been April, but I’m not sure–made Paula Deen’s recipe for pineapple casserole for Easter dinner, and it was de-lish. Thank you to whomever mentioned it!

    1. House prices are doing that here, too, as there as not enough homes on the market. It’s about half of what it was two years ago. It’s hard for buyers unless they have thousands of dollars more in the bank because they cannot get a loan for more than the appraised price. I last saw this happen in 2006; in 2007, prices went down $10,000 a month. We were trying to sell our house and it was on the market for over a year. We lost all of our value that would have been put down to pay a huge amount off on our current home. I’m happy for you, but cautious about the future of the housing market and how it will affect us.

      1. Brandy- Does this mean that it’s a busy/profitable time for your husband then, with housing sales up? I hope so!!

        1. There are about half the number of homes for sale as there were two years ago. There are fewer houses for sale and more real estate agents than ever (over 19,000). Only 5% of agents sell 5 or more homes in a year. We need fewer agents and more houses for sale. Our agents are selling fewer homes than usual save for one. Most are not selling any. It’s a smaller pie and more people to eat it when it comes to listings. The bubble can’t continue forever, and once interest rates climb, sales will go down even more. On the surface, it looks great; houses are going for more. It’s a problem if you’re a buyer, and the fact that there just aren’t enough homes for sale is a problem as well. We’ve seen more than a few media spins on it, but the numbers are not what they need to be to sustain a living for most.

          1. This is how the housing market is in my area, too. My mom has been a real estate broker for 40 years and there just are no homes to sell. She gets a listing and its sold by the end of the day. Homes are selling at sky high prices that you would never see. The only homes that are lingering are homes that are not in mint condition. My mom says people just dont want to buy homes that require any work. They want everything new and up-to-date. The company she works for is family owned but is very large with multiple offices. They had a meeting with the owner and they were discussing the market and she advised that they put as much money aside because in her opinion the housing market is going to get bad. She also advised all the realtors to get up to date on short sale/foreclosure laws because in her opinion she feels a wave of foreclosures could be coming.

            1. This is just what happened in 2007. It started in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year. We were the first city to see the decline after having had two of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. during the boom (North Las Vegas and Henderson, cities #2 and #4, which are part of the Greater Las Vegas area). That is when we had to start living on our food storage. We watched houses go down in value by $10,000 a month, so no one wanted to buy, and our house, which we had moved out of, was on the market for over a year. We had no sales for 8 months and most of our agents (my husband is the owner of his own brokerage) turned in their licenses, along with thousands of others in the area, in the years to follow. It feels like a bubble again, especially as so many people are also out of work right now. When the bubble burst last time, one in seven houses here was in foreclosure.

              Recessions are cyclical and we’ve been long overdue in the average cycle of recessions for years. We’ve been expecting one for years that didn’t materialize, but Covid seems to be leading the world towards one.

              Our garden changes are partially a preparation for this. We should have a lower water bill and be able to grow more food at the same time. I’m adding ten more fruit trees, more blackberry bushes, and will have more places for vegetables and herbs. I’ll also have more flowers, which always help me to keep my spirits up. I know what it’s like to live on our food storage and only have fresh produce from the garden, and I want to be able to have even more fresh produce than before, as well as enough to can and freeze, making the most of the space that we have. I can’t possibly grow all the fruits and vegetables that we need on a .24 acre lot, but I can grow more than I have in the past.

              We’ve also lowered our electric bill (by installing LEDs throughout the house last year) and have lowered our gas bill (though that one is partially due to the school food keeping me from cooking as much, and the warmer winter, so that one will be harder to sustain).

              I have been working on stocking up on any gaps in our food storage, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. With prices rising, buying these items on sale makes any money go further twice–now on sale, and later when prices go up. Plus, should the need arise again, we can use what money we have to pay the mortgage and utilities and live on what we have stored again. It’s definitely a concern for us. Maybe it won’t happen, but jobs that people thought would never disappear have disappeared this last year, and it never hurts to be prepared and lower one’s expenses.

              1. this time is when we moved from Florida to Alabama. In Florida homes were selling for crazy high prices within a day. We moved in August 2006 and just as we hit the market it began to crash. We were on the market 14 months, lowered $114k and finally sold. In that time had $1000 a month rent here, $1600 a month in FL, had to keep yard moved, electric and water on( and agents wouldn’t turn off lights) and pay for bug control. We have 5 kids and my budget for food was $150 and I had no storage much since we moved. I did all the coupon deals and fed a lot of $.50 a box cereal and junk stuff I got from coupons cheap. I made all stir fry, soup, casserole type dishes that whole time. We also had wood rot around two areas we had to replace, plus take down a HUGE oak for $1000 during that time. Thankfully we had $10000 savings that kept us afloat barely during the 14 months. I pray each of you are prepared and can make it without worries of what you will eat and if you can pay bills each month.

      2. A few weeks ago, had a conversation with a gentleman who is an appraiser for the VA ( over 25 yrs. experience). It is good to be cautious about the future housing market…and yes the last time we saw this happen was in 2006.

      3. I agree with you 110%. We just happened to be in a position to take advantage of the market. This would not be the case if we had to buy again. And, to be quite honest…that house ain’t worth the selling price. (Nice place, just not worth that much). The market cannot sustain the increases, although buyers might get lucky and have prices level off for a long time, vs. crashing again.

      4. It’s always good to be prepared. My husband’s broker said that the difference in real estate now and in 2007 is that in 2007 there wasn’t a shortage of houses for sale. Also, in 2007 a lot of the mortgage lenders were basically just giving mortgages to practically anyone, whether they could really afford it or not. That’s how all the foreclosures started. Today the lenders are being more scrupulous. It seems that this time around, more people have a lot of cash to put down on houses.

    2. The last time I used an older pair of frames and had new prescription lenses put in, they charged me $40 to do so. I was very annoyed (It was either at Walmart or Sam’s Club) but $40 was less than new frames would have cost, so I paid it. I will probably not be going there for glasses again. I think that is just taking advantage of people. They are still making a sale on the lenses.

  12. This is a 5 week month for me so it has been tight.
    In fact Microsoft took a “payment” for an Xbox (the Xbox was gifted in December and nothing has been ordered since) item that we didn’t order. This is the second time in the last year this has happened. PayPal has sided with them both times. I only had a little over 11 dollars in the bank to last me the last 2 weeks before I got me next SS check. The bank paid the amount even though I didn’t have that amount in my account. *sigh* I have cancelled all automatic payments (even though this was not one) through PayPal.
    I talked to the bank and they said there was nothing they could do since the money was already gone. *bigger sigh* They didn’t charge me an overdraft fee so that was helpful.
    My daughter sent me $150.00 which saved me from having no money. This was money I had lent her to fix her car.
    I have read a few free books. I am struggling to finish one as we speak. It is well written, but so slow to get into.
    I trimmed my own hair. I haven’t been to a beauty shop since before the pandemic.
    My resolve this year is to get rid of things I won’t use. I have tubs of things packed away that haven’t seen the light of day in years. This is crazy.
    My husband has been bringing these tubs into me to go through. We have gone through about 50 of these big tubs. I have kept only 6 and 4 of them are small tubs. All fabric is washed and folded for sewing. The large yardage of velveteen and “fancy” fabrics will be sold or given away. So at least 2 more large tubs will be gone soon too.
    We are still working on the garden area. I will be doing container gardening this year.
    While looking for seeds I have realized that many seed companies only sell packages of 100 seeds. I won’t need that many so I am trying to find places that sell only 10 or twenty seeds in a package.
    Brandy, we gave up trying to grow zucchini after 2 years…maybe 3 of only having male flowers bloom on the plants. Texas is so fickle in temps some years.
    For the most part we have done without heat or air for the last week. I did have the heat on for a few hours in my room yesterday. It is supposed to be in the 80s and maybe one day of 90s this week. I was hoping for a longer “spring” this year.
    I’ve read free books and food this week.
    I am sewing items for sale again. I am hoping to make my Etsy shop a little more profitable year round.
    I no longer have to pick up a grandchild at school. This saves me gas, wear and tear on my 20 year old car…and lots of time a week.
    We had a very simple Easter Celebration. We usually have a big family get together for an egg hunt. This is the 2nd year we didn’t do this. We have had 50-odd years of egg-hunting in the family. The pandemic may have put an end to it.
    We not only celebrated the fact that “He is risen” we celebrated that this nuclear family is still intact. We have lost my aunt to Covid and each of us has lost a friend or two. And yet…here we are…all still together and so thankful for it.
    I know there is more, but I just can’t remember at this moment.

    1. I’m sorry about the extra charges.

      You may want to talk to someone at Paypal, not just the bank. If it wasn’t an automatic payment anyway, cancelling all automatic payments with Paypal may not solve the issue. I would also talk to microsoft and see why they keep charging that amount. Sometimes I’ve been surprised by what has gone on.
      A credit card (always paid off every month) is a safer way to pay for things, since amounts charged without your consent will be refunded. Credit cards are only good though, if one pays them off fully every month and is not tempted to buy extra things just because they have one.

      1. Thanks for the info.
        I have talked to PayPal. This is twice they have decided against me.
        I am taking other steps to stop this problem.

    2. Some county extension offices have seed banks where you can get seeds for free.
      Also, the seeds from dollar stores have worked well for me.

    3. Becky, I found smaller packages of seeds at Dollar Tree….four packages for one dollar. They have just the right amount for me and so far have germinated well. Hope this helps.

    4. I have found a local seed library that our county library hosts. Local gardeners and the university greenhouse contribute seeds they have collected in small envelopes. This is a great way to get seeds for free and to try new crops. I also like that they’re known to be successful in our climate and zone. Maybe you have something like this in your area? I believe ours was started by the local agricultural extension agency.

  13. Home again, home again jiggity jig! Brandy, your flowers are just lovely. We still have snow with spots of mud!

    I brought home all the hospital items that were left after my lengthy stay since they cannot be reused. After almost 2 weeks staying in an airbnb and buying food that I could eat, I am grateful to have been sent home early because I’m recovering so very well from the stem cell transplant. I, like so many others, will never forget Covid.

    Now that I’m home and my mind is clearing from almost 2 years of chemo, I’m slowly organizing this house. We’ve downsized quite a bit, but still have too much stuff for the size of our house. We love the size of our house, just need to let go of some more things. I’ve realized that I can really tackle my clothing since I won’t be needing work clothing ever again. I also doubt I’ll return to the smallest size clothing I have for a very long time, if ever. I’m taking advantage of walking outdoors and some indoor exercise for free and to avoid people, but it will be a long haul to recover. Grateful to be here!

    Since I’ve been home, I’ve looked to the freezer to see what needs to be eaten. I had popped food in the freezer just before I left to keep it from spoiling. My dear husband made us a delicious chicken parmesan using chicken from the freezer and sauce we canned this past summer. An interesting Easter dinner, but the three of us enjoyed it! Yum

    Wishing everyone a blessed day.

  14. Thank your for your encouraging blog. Could you do a post on your meal plan for a week or two. Do you ever get “what to cook” mental fatigue??? Sometimes I just like to see what others ares doing to get ideas. I hav enjoyed in the past reading what you prepare for your family.

    1. I have four and a half months’ worth of menus on my website under the “menus” tab if you need some ideas.

      I don’t stick to a strict menu plan. I look at what I have on hand, what is ripe in the garden, and what is on sale to determine meals. We have been getting a lot of school meals for a while but did not get any last week as we still have quite a few things left from them that no one was wanting to eat. We have been using up the milk from the school as well. This has completely changed my cooking as we have often had enough to just have school food for dinner as well as for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. It has become monotonous lately, though, so we are looking to pass on picking it up more often. We have been having a lot of green salads for meals, often with hard-boiled eggs on top, and toast on the side.

  15. Good luck with those zucchini! I planted harvested seeds of Seminole pumpkin I bought in an organic store last spring, and the plant grew tremendously and blossomed profusely — all male blossoms! It blossomed for 4 months without a single female blossom. I am trying again with bought seeds from Baker Creek Seeds this year, to see if I can get the pumpkins. We grew them a few years ago with success, so I’m hoping for success this year. This is a native Florida pumpkin/squash with pretty much zero pest and disease problems, so I really want to grow it.

    My husband has rooted broken tomato plants before with success, as well. It’s amazing how well they can recover. Doubling your tomato plants is always a win!

    I did an online survey about dog items, and I included the (optional) picture of my dog and followed instructions carefully for the short essay at the end. I noticed many of the responses didn’t follow the essay instructions. Whether that was it, or just luck of the draw, I don’t know, but I was one of 25 selected to win a $10 gift certificate to one of many businesses. I chose to buy a gift card from one of my regular grocery stores.

    I hemmed up a pair of name brand slacks that I bought new with tags at Goodwill. They now fit perfectly.

    For Easter, I made lemon pies, using juice from some of the Meyer lemons still hanging on our tree. I also made a pitcher of lemonade for our younger grandkids to drink; they love it.

    I planted some new perennials in a spot needing flowers, and mixed in worm castings from our little worm farm when planting. The plants are taking right off.

    We had a combined lunch on Easter – I provided the ham, pies, drinks, and site; our kids provided side dishes. This avoids the situation of one person having to purchase so much food and doing all the work.

    My husband was trying to pour out of a gallon jug of rather pricey concentrated liquid organic fertilizer, and with his reduced grip strength, lost hold of it and spilled a little over a quart of it. I was at work when it happened and he called me, so I advised him to mop it up with our old towels that we use as rags, then put them in the deep sink in our laundry room. When I got home, I ran the sink about half full of water and extracted about 2.5 gallons of somewhat diluted fertilizer from the towels. I scooped the mixture into an unused bucket with lid. Normal dosage is 1 tbsp. to a gallon of water. I’m figuring about 1/2 cup to a cup of the diluted fertilizer to a gallon of water. We know how dark the water should look at the right proportion, so we think we can judge this pretty well. I’m calling this a save.

    Instead of calling a florist to deliver a plant to a new office being opened by a family member, I went to a reputable garden store and got a beautiful, healthy plant, picked out a nice planter to transfer it into using good soil we already had on hand, bought a large bow at the dollar store, attached it to a craft stick to push down in the dirt, then gave the completed plant to the recipient. I saved no less than a minimum of $20, and, judging by the last time I checked florists’ prices, probably closer to $35-40.

    I hung out all of the laundry I washed again this weekend. We are in that rare Florida season of “just right” weather. I wish it would last!

    1. Jo, that was a really smart way to save the fertilizer! I will try to remember that if it ever happens to me.

  16. I sympathize with your zucchini struggles, Brandy. Last year was the first year (in about 6 years of trying) that I got a good zucchini harvest. I can’t say what I did different, except that I kept trying different varieties of seeds and different locations in the garden. I hope you’re able to find what works right for you.
    To help combat rising food costs, we’re trying to eat vegetarian twice a week (it was once a week) so I’ve been experimenting with new recipes. So far Thai style pineapple fried rice, (https://cookieandkate.com/thai-pineapple-fried-rice-recipe/ ), not-crab cakes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8SHdmZ-mpg&t=79s) , and zucchini and pasta (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZmBDvrBtX8&t=45s) have been big hits.
    I finished the quilted wall hanging I’ve been working on.
    I spent a day weeding and turning over all my raised beds and adding fertilizer. I planted more carrots outside, but I’ll have to wait a few more weeks to plant anything else. The carrots I have planted in the greenhouse beds are coming up. I divided my tomato seedlings and transplanted some of them into different pots.
    I got my second Covid vaccination.

  17. Thrifty actions this week included accepting a neighbor’s walking iris plants that she had thinned out of her yard. Another neighbor gave me 5 aloe Vera plants from her front yard she no longer wanted. Also, picked up 2 plant containers that were on the side of the road for garbage pick up.

  18. Good save with the tomato plant! Hopefully your zucchini work out this year; I never have luck with them, but I keep trying!!!

    My frugal week:
    – Trimmed my sister’s hair
    – Made pancakes (http://approachingfood.com/apple-cinnamon-pancakes/)
    – Made Bodega style egg sandwiches 
    – Made date squares 
    – Used branded Easter chocolate given to my mum that she’s not fond of, to fill the reusable Easter eggs for my daughter. That, a few decorations from the dollar store, plus a dollar store stuffed bunny, were enough to make my toddler say “best Easter ever”
    – Redeemed sb for $10
    – I convinced my dh not to buy a bassinet but to instead place the baby box (that is literally the nane) on a reputposed ikea table beside my bed. 
    – I bought some zipties and my mom used a few to fix my sister’s bed frame. Cheaper than a new bed!
    – I used a lap sized quilt i had (the first I ever sewed, 20plus years ago, as a blanket for my toddler, instead of buying a specific crib sized one. 

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  19. I love when you find extra plants in surprising ways! Congrats on the extra plants. I love the garden pictures.

    *The week was very quiet in some ways and crazy in others. Our weather was either sunny or stormy, warm or cold.

    *Unfortunately, I got sick with a stomach issue, but was grateful that I had all the medicine I needed and didn’t need to go to the store. It was frugal (because the meds were bought on sale) and a blessing (because I didn’t need to run to the store.)

    *I didn’t realize I was sick – I just thought I was exhausted. I realized it’s from some pills I was taking. I appreciate modern medicine but wish I didn’t feel like a guinea pig to try meds to see what works. This one is not working obviously. I’m thankful for modern medicine and the options to try. I dislike when they don’t work and I have other symptoms. I kept pushing myself to get jobs done until I ended up in bed. (Smacks forehead). I washed walls and closet shelves in our guest bedroom. They needed a good scrubbing. The child that moved out of that room had cleaned them, but hadn’t really cleaned them. I want to work on that room this week again. Our house is too small to have 1 room be only a guest room – I need to use the space to free up other crowded areas. It is a very small room – maybe 10 x 10 and it does have a double bed in there already. So my mind is working and I’m measuring to try and figure things out. The closet is empty and can be used for extra storage items.

    *I’ve continued decluttering and took a big load to our local thrift store. I always get a receipt to use with our taxes. We get more money back that way than in trying to hold a garage sale. But I do love a good garage sale. In our decluttering we found our old set of baby play keys. I washed them with hot water and soap and shook them at our granddaughter this weekend. Into my little toy box they go for next visits.

    *Since I was sick, our Easter weekend was crazy. I was grateful to not be contagious but it was a lot of work because my husband and sons were also moving his mother from her home into a new apartment with wheelchair access. We had people coming and going all weekend. I was able to hold my sweet 2 month granddaughter as much as I wanted. She is starting to coo and baby talk. We did a simple ham, mashed potatoes, fresh veggies and a cake I got on clearance. The rest of the meals were leftovers or simple things.

    * I was able to keep my grocery bill under my budgeted amount again this week. My savings account for groceries is looking very healthy as I zero out my account every 2 weeks and transfer the remaining balance to my grocery savings. My goal is to have a years worth of grocery money saved up in case of emergency. Right now I have 2 months saved. We have other savings accounts where we have a years supply of funds saved. I’m so grateful to have our home paid off, no car loans or any other loans. I love reading about others getting their homes paid off!

    I hope everyone had a lovely weekend/Easter.

  20. The photo of your nasturtiums cascading down the wall, with the daffodils is just gorgeous. I’m sorry about your tomato, but glad you figured out a way to “make lemonade” from the situation. I can imagine a patch of shade there would be truly welcome. Last week, I thinned carrots, and while weeding, I collected wild onions for broth. My husband requested German chocolate brownies for his birthday. The only ingredient I didn’t have was cream cheese. Otherwise, it was all from pantry ingredients. I pulled all the veggie scrap bags from the freezer, and canned 16 pints of broth. I’ve been making some interesting soups from leftovers, and they’ve turned out surprisingly good. We had two nights in the mid to low 20’s. The day before, I harvested lettuce, kale and swiss chard, and covered a few plants, while my husband covered the larger ones, like figs. We seem to have come through it OK. The first of the asparagus are up, which we’re looking forward to eating. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/04/what-im-reading-canning-gardening.html

  21. My week was pretty low key, but I did have some savings.

    Went to the dentist for a cleaning. We no longer have dental insurance, so I paid cash at the time of service, for which I received a 5% discount.

    Had to buy a new outside thermometer because the old one blew off in a storm and broke. After I hung the new one on the nail, I made a little “stopper” from a piece of cork, and put this on the nail on top to secure it. (Hopefully that makes sense). We will see if it works!

    Tillamook cheese was on sale, 2lbs for $5.99. I have been waiting for this sale, so I stocked up by buying 8lbs. Made a bunch of mini calzones for my husband to eat for lunch, using pantry and freezer items. I did buy premade pizza dough from Trader Joe’s for this. The calzones turned out great and my husband was happy. Put most of them in the frezer for later. Made a big batch of meatballs, most of which I also froze.

    I wanted to do something celebratory for Easter, since a family get together was not in the cards again this year. My mom’s senior living center was having an Easter dinner for residents, but no guests were allowed due to Covid restrictions. Anyway, on Saturday, I got out my watercolors, and found a Youtube tutorial to paint pictures of Easter eggs. That was really fun, and my picture turned out great. Then I wanted some Easter candy, so I some peanut butter chocolate Easter eggs using pantry items. Yum! I also cooked a nice dinner, which we both enjoyed.

    Otherwise, I did the things I normally do. Worked out at home and took walks nearby. Read blogs and watched streaming TV and Youtube. Cooked at home. Ate from pantry and freezer.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  22. Lovely olive branches for Easter!
    We celebrated a quiet holiday. We enjoyed Zoom family and cousin meetings and phone calls with everyone else. Our Easter dinner of ham, baked sweet potatoes, asparagus and coconut custard pie was delicious and all at sale prices or from the pantry. Everything will be making a return appearance in meals throughout the week.
    I ordered used tour guides from thriftbooks.com for an upcoming vacation (rescheduled from last year) and for our family 2022 vacation. It was $10 for the 2 books and I will check online for updated hours and price information on any restaurants, museums and attractions we are interested in.
    For my older daughter’s birthday, her husband asked friends and family to choose a favorite book to send her and to write an inscription to her about why it’s special to them. I just love the idea and I am so happy that he gets my DD! We’re all avid readers.
    My younger daughter has just left for a beach vacation. She’s a hospital worker and was vaccinated in December. I am glad she is getting a break. I never heard her complain about going to work every day during the pandemic although she (and everyone else) had a really rough year. She got an inexpensive flight and we were able to cover her 3 hotel nights with credit card points we haven’t been able to use, so win-win.
    I am keeping up with paperwork better, following the advice to make the time enjoyable for me—music, herbal tea—even though the work itself is not fun.
    Wishing everyone a nice week, good health and maybe even good weather!

  23. It was a good frugal week!
    I cooked the sale ground beef and froze it (mostly plain, a few with taco seasonings) in meal-size portions, flat in the freezer. This will make future meals much easier.
    I am signed up to bring individually packed breakfast items to a church event. I know that a lot of people purchase breakfast tacos, or small bags of donut holes, but that gets really pricey, really quickly. I am making some different kinds of muffins to wrap separately, some clementine oranges (on sale at Kroger last week), and possibly something else, if I can get it together. I know that people usually buy prepared foods for these things, but this is how I can help, and I hope that they will enjoy it.
    I outfitted the kids for Easter using clothes and shoes we already had. I did iron everything, which I don’t usually do. I did a French braid in my oldest’s hair to make it seem a little more special. I couldn’t find a tie for my youngest son, but it was fine. Our church was busy and it seemed more “normal” than it had.
    I’ve continued the Mercari and Facebook Marketplace sales.
    Sometimes my Goodwill/Goodwill Outlet finds are serendipitous. Last Wednesday, I found a new-with-tags Banana Republic dress in my size at Goodwill Outlet. Being very lightweight fabric, it was very inexpensive, as clothing is sold by the pound at GW Outlet. I wore it on Easter. In the past, I have found uniforms from my kids’ school, a scout class B uniform from our troop, and things like that in the nick of time.
    I have been filling all the trash cans with raked leaves, then refilling them after trash day. We have tons of leaves and pollen in our yard now, so it will take a while to rake everything up. Slowly but surely, one bucket at a time, like Marivene.
    I pulled out some Cadbury eggs from the freezer, that I bought 90% off (6!) years ago. They are still tasty! I am down to only a few more, so I may checkout the after-Easter sales.
    I sold a dresser we bought ages ago for exactly what I paid for it, since I found a bigger (and free) one to replace it.
    I haven’t found good chocolate chip sales in a while, so I bought them at Aldi for $1.25/bag, which is a pretty good price. We really can’t tell much of a difference between brands once they’re baked into cookies.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

    1. Leigh Ann, I was reminiscing about Marivene today also as I weeded my garden. I got my bucket of weeds done with sweet memories of her and her sage advice.

  24. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Sweet picture of your son enjoying his Easter treats.
    The big news this week is I’ve been offered a job. I’ve been asked to come out of retirement and return to school to tutor children in a Covid catch up programme. I’ve agreed to do three afternoons a week for the summer term. I want to help but not on a permanent basis. The income will be a welcome bonus.
    We picked tulips, leeks and kale this week.
    I decorated the house for Easter with items on hand.
    I bought a second hand book online using a gift card I earned from surveys.
    We have been saving bubble wrap from parcels.
    Lidl was selling 1kg of British carrots for 19 pence! This is insanely cheap. Morrisons had a deal on fresh British lamb for Easter so I treated us to a small joint for Easter Sunday (leftovers today) and a leg of lamb for the freezer for when family are allowed to come for a meal.
    We wanted to buy a friend a rose as a special present. She’s a teacher and we found a lovely climbing rose called Schoolgirl, half the price of a David Austin rose which was our first thought. We used a loyalty voucher to get a free fuschia plant at the garden centre.
    Stay safe everyone.

  25. I recognized the olive tree, they are such beautiful trees!
    I’ve got an aphid problem in my kale and I realized that the water sprayer we got to wet popcorn ceilings for removal is the PERFECT sprayer for diluted Neem oil for my plants. Here it is: pinterest.com/pin/814096070143956209/
    Easter was a simple meal of fish, oven roasted potatoes, fresh asparagus (on sale) and kale salad (first full picking of the new crop of kale from the garden). I made a lemon cake with the last of the free Meyer lemons. Simple and very satisfying.

    We received a new microwave from our Buy Nothing group. My husband needed one for his classroom, now that he is back to teaching in person. It was such a generous gift, we felt blessed.

    I made strawberry planters out of supplies we had collected for free-3 half wine barrels, wire fencing panels and burlap. I’m so pleased with the results. The strawberry plants were free too-gifted by our neighbor. One tower is only half full, and the other empty-but ready for when the plants multiply! pinterest.com/pin/814096070143956929

    We have our graywater system working, it will provide enough water for all of our fruit trees. That’s exciting! California is perpetually in drought, but this year is even worse than usual. I’m planting non-edible flowers under the trees, so that they will also be watered with the graywater. I love watering 2 things with one portion of water!

    I’ve been thankful so many days this week for the variety of masks that I have sewn. I like choosing which print to wear each time, just like choosing clothes. Sewing is my happy place and even though I had no interest to learn when I was a child, I’m glad that I’ve taught myself over the years. I have learned so much from having my Etsy shop, both the learning AND the making have been a gift this year. http://www.etsy.com/shop/FabricSpeaks

  26. This week’s groceries mainly included fresh foods I had coupons for. One coupon entitled me to a free bag of tortilla chips. During this time of paying off all debt and building savings to cover medical, dental, and eye expenses we no longer have insurance for, we decided to postpone replacing our living room furniture that really needs to be replaced. The last time our son was home, he told me that he and I should haul the couch out to the backyard and burn it. It is that uncomfortable to sit on. Yesterday, I went to a local thrift store hoping to find something in their new merchandise category for a birthday gift for a granddaughter. I am also keeping my eyes open for clothes that will fit her and her sister next winter. Last year I found a very inexpensive, like new, expensive brand, winter jacket for one girl. It wasn’t her most favorite color. It was green instead of purple and pink, but her mother decided for her that she could wear it anyway. Her mother was thankful she didn’t have to buy a winter coat for her. At the same store, I also found a lovely, rose-colored cashmere sweater for her that she loves and wears to church frequently. I questioned whether cashmere was a good choice for a child, but she has taken care of it nicely. She has been doing the laundry for the family quite a bit. Recently, I was talking to my daughter on Zoom, and she was coaching my granddaughter on sorting clothes. Probably one of the biggest money savers in families is to take care of what we already have. Anyway, yesterday I did not find any like new clothing. I always check out the fabric section, also. Rarely, they have small pieces of decent fabric. Most of the time, the fabric is thin and practically see-through. I happened to walk through their section of derelict furniture when a piece caught my eye. The couch stood out not just because of its cleaner cream color but because it looked so current, as in not ancient. I walked over and looked it over and decided I could clean it into perfect shape easily. I even sat on it and decided it was very nice, and the color would go with my living room. I looked at the price tag and was even more amazed. I paid for the couch and went home to tell my husband the good news that I had found us a couch. He responded by saying, “Oh, no.” He hates thrift stores and garage sales, but I tell him I could be shopping the mall instead. He certainly doesn’t mind the nice things I find. He also said, “I hope it doesn’t have any cockroaches!” (I have never brought home anything with cockroaches.) Anyway, I drove him down to look at the couch I had purchased. I figured if he hated it, I could re-donate it. He looked it over with a jaundiced eyed and said nothing. I said, “Look under the middle cushion.” He looked and read the name of a prominent manufacturer, and the relatively recent manufacture date.) He just said, “MmHm.” When we got back into the car, I handed him the receipt showing what I paid for it. “Twenty bucks!” he said. “No wonder you were so happy.” He speculated about where the couch had come from and said, “Well, wherever it was, it wasn’t used much.” So that was the money saver I was blessed with this week. On another note, I took someone on here’s advice about cleaning vinyl floors and used vinegar and Dawn dishwashing soap. I had to rinse it twice, but it was a huge improvement. It was much better than just mopping with the product I always used. Still there were a few little specks and a couple of small places that looked like slightly ground-in dirt that I couldn’t get clean that bothered me. My husband was watching me, changing the water, hauling the mop bucket; he suggested the Eraser cleaner sponge I had recently bought to try. He got down on the floor and cleaned those specks and those ground-in dirt places right up with that Eraser. After I rinsed the floor, and it dried, I wanted to put some Armstrong floor finish on it. It is made for vinyl flooring. However, my arthritic hips were killing me. Also, I didn’t have anything to apply the wax with because my husband had used all the rags out of the rag bag for car repair projects. He asked me what kind of material would work best for waxing. When I told him something soft–like all the old tee shirts he had used out of my rag bag, he said he had some ratty tee shirts in his drawer. So I cut up one of those, and my husband crawled around the floor applying the wax. I had to coach him because in all these decades, he had never waxed a floor before. He was always at work when I cleaned the floor, I guess, and now that he’s retired, he’s learning things, and our 30-year-old vinyl floor looks wonderful and perfect except for the small burned spot by the sliding glass door where one of our sons tried smoking a cigar about twenty-nine years ago (He mopped the floors for weeks to try to keep me from noticing the burned spot. I should have kept my mouth shut and let him keep mopping every week. Thankfully, he still doesn’t smoke.), and I still like the vinyl pattern and color because I chose something plain and neutral to begin with. Thank you to all the people who share their ideas here. It is such a help and makes for good reading.

    1. Congratulations on your husband, too! He sounds like a keeper, with all his good ideas and willingness to help. I think you knew that, though.

  27. Brandy, I hope you had a wonderful Easter. Ours was very quiet. We all have gotten our 1st vaccine but are still waiting for the 2nd. We chose to stay home to stay safe and healthy. My family all lives out of state so we saved on tolls and gas. We did Facetime with everyone. I made a pot roast that I got on sale for $2.99 a pound. We had warm cookies for dessert. All plastic eggs, baskets and decorations are from years past. All candy was bought after Christmas and Valentine’s Day at 75% and 90% off. The kids get a box of their favorite cereal, chips and glass bottled soda too. I bought them on sale and with coupons. We played games and had a nice day.
    My sister got several bags of puppy food for free with coupons. She gave them to me. I have been mixing the puppy’s regular food with the new food. She dropped off Easter and birthday gifts. We had lunch in the yard.
    My washing machine broke. Hubby took it apart and ordered the part. We are still waiting on it. P has been letting me use his machine when I am at his house.
    Hubby washed all of the cars inside and out. They all look great.
    I saved $14 at the grocery store. $7 was in coupons and $7 was Go Rewards. I only spent $47 for the week.
    My husband helped our son do his taxes. He lives at home but works full time. Our accountant said to have him file for himself. He would get all of the stimulus money. If we filed him as a dependent he wouldn’t. He is now getting a big tax return.
    P’s daughter and son in law tested positive for Covid. Just slight symptoms. They cannot come to see him at all for 2 weeks. I have been going over every day to check on him. We got lunch out twice. Ordered pizza once and I made us lunch the other 2 days I was there for lunch. On Saturday I went for an hour. He asked could we go get ice cream so I got a free cone too.
    We got our State and Federal tax refunds. We decided to put all of it towards our mortgage. Technically we have 9 years left on our loan but with extra payments we are done to 8. It all adds up.

  28. Brandy I am glad you were able to spend some time in the wonderful cool of the yard and it looks like the children loved your homemade Easter eggs. How lovely your were able to make another tomato plant from the one that broke and top up on nappies at a really reduced price.

    We got flooded in for 3 days in the recent rains we had here in Australia but thankfully our property remained dry apart from shallow flood water that drained away in our storm water drains we set up earlier through the yard rather quickly 🙂 . Unfortunately a few got water through their homes on the lower part of town and some were evacuated. We do have lovely green cushy grass here at the moment on the farm which is a stark contrast to the drought the year before.

    Our savings last week added up to $367.98 🙂 .

    Service to others –
    – DH and I mowed a friends lawn as a favour due to him falling off a roof at work and injuring himself quite badly. Pleased he is on the mend slowly but it will take some time.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked 5 loaves of wholemeal white bread in our bread making machine saving $17.45 on buying the bread locally.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the gardens –
    – Filled in holes that formed from heavy rain from our trees being removed last year with more dirt we had at home to level them.

    Earnings –
    – Earned $140 from a gardening job that DH and I did.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 2 x pkts of shapes and 5 deodorants of half price specials saving $18.20 on usual prices.
    – Purchased 21 tins of lychees that were cheaper at Coles than Woolworths saving 0.85c per tin or $17.85 on the usual prices we pay.
    – Finally our self propelled push lawnmowers came in stock but a higher priced model that we were able to get for the price of the cheaper ones we wanted by negotiating prices saving $300 on the usual prices. We also did a service on our older model lawnmower by changing the spark plug and filters and it now goes again without overheating.
    – Saved on fuel by using our 4c off rewards and using an RACQ wish gift card for a further 3% off saving in total $14.48 on usual prices.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week ahead :).

    Sewingcreations15 .

  29. Your garden is looking beautiful

    Let’s see
    1. My oldest son and I figured out how to fix our dishwasher- saving us money, time, and water.
    2. Found a formal dress for my daughter for less than $15
    Exactly the color she needed.
    3. Found where I could get topsoil for $25 per cubic yard, and they let us have 1 1/2 “scoops”
    4. Stocked up on ice cream while they had it $1.99, and was able to use several coupons.
    5. Enjoyed a free afternoon at the nearby State Park. My husband purchased a pass for 14 months for $15. (A rarity)
    It’s $5 a day to get in and we like to go several times a month.
    6. Used several coupons to reward our children with Burger King. The manager ended up giving us some free food on top of it. We got a lot of food for pennies of the regular price.
    5. Through the kindness of an author I got 5 ebooks free
    6. A friend gifted my daughter and I with some clothes.
    7. I have tried my best to get some bulk cooking done to save time and money in the end.

    Everyone have a great week!

  30. I hope everyone had a lovely Easter. Brandy, I envy you your nasturtiums; I didn’t get mine started in time this year and they aren’t as prolific as usual. Yours are stunning.
    I made an immune stimulant tincture from Bidens alba (it’s a weed here), turmeric root (I grow turmeric), black pepper and vodka. I’ll try it next time I get a cold.
    We picked up free mulch for the garden but unfortunately I got really sick from the mold in the pile. I had chills, fever and a cough (this has happened before so I’d tried only to scrape of the top layer of the pile, but I apparently was unsuccessful). I took Umcka, Kold Kare, ImmuneShield, Vitamin D, C and zinc (I forgot my Bidens tincture!). I recovered in less than 24 hours. We had a game night on Saturday and people brought bread, vegan cheese, caponata, and wine; we supplied Pimm’s, crackers, dip, cauliflower “wings,” sauteed scallions and rum balls (and a clean house). It was really an enjoyable evening with new friends and people we hadn’t seen in a while.
    I sowed seeds of some permaculture plants I hope to sell on CraigsList (butterfly/blue pea, cranberry hibiscus, and pigeon pea).

    Have a happy week, all!

  31. I did not realize you had a child in diapers until I read this, and then realized I forgot about the baby! I was thinking Octavious was the baby! Of course, I lose track of my own children’s ages, so I guess I should not be surprised I cannot remember the ages of other folks and their kids…..lol. Do you have another one almost ready for college? I seem to recall you have two in college. I planted mustard greens in the one sunny dry spot in my front yard. I put them in potting soil from the Dollar Tree so I will see how well that works. I used Miracle Grow last year and it worked well. I made dried red beans, turkey sausage ( and used only half the package) and rice in the crockpot, and a crustless onion pie with onions that were 99 cents for eight onions. I used powdered heavy cream I ordered during the pandemic for the onion pie, and also eggs I had frozen, and it tasted great. I continue to take a sandwich, along with chopped up carrots and radishes, for lunch. I used $3 dye, just around my face, to give my hair some highlights. This was the first time I have dyed my hair in about eight months. I did not go the doctor nor dentist for regular checkups for a year because of the pandemic, and I have now been to both since I am vaccinated, and our Covid rates are down.

      1. I have four kids, two graduated from college and two did not. There are plenty of well paying trades and I think plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc. are needed.

        1. He likes a lot of things and can’t decide what field he wants to go into.

  32. We enjoyed kale from our garden. We are using up what we have. We enjoyed an outdoor sunrise service on Easter Sunday. I found a harp and have been practicing. I’m really enjoying it! We planted a couple hundred tomatoes and around 70 pepper seeds. I’m hoping to sell some veggies this year. We hope to do other veggies this year as well. Strawberries seem to be making a comeback. Carrots as well. Our aronia berrys are bloming as well as nanking cherry bushes and a few fruit trees we planted last year. Looks like the few raspberry bushes have grown. I’m looking forward to our garden this year. We will do taxes ourselves. I continue to use the library. We turn off lights when not in use. We enjoy the outdoors, stars, gardening, and wildlife. We also enjoy reading.

    1. Tammy, may I ask how much land you have? I cannot imagine having enough room for so many tomatoes and then rotating them every three years to prevent blight. I would love to grow more but I would need a lot more room.

  33. Funny thing…we have come to the same conclusion regarding the school lunches, just this past week. My daughter and nephew are not eating them up, and I am very limited in what I can eat, due to gluten-intolerance, and my husband doesn’t need that much crumb-coated, fried food. We often get the same lunch 2 days in a row, and the selection is extremely repetitive. So, we happily eat the parts anyone can or will, and I freeze the rest. Recently, I realized the freezer over the fridge was getting too full of those odds and ends, so we didn’t get lunches for about a week. Now, we are a little more caught up, and we will get a few this week, but I doubt every day. I don’t want to waste food, but it really does help with the grocery budget, so I plan to just pay attention so it doesn’t stack up in the freezer, uneaten.

  34. –We had a busy week, as we returned from camping last Monday, had a birthday party for a daughter on Wednesday, and hosted the first family gathering for over a year yesterday. We kept as frugal as we could through it all.
    –We kept the birthday party super small, as daughter requested. There were just 6 of us, counting my husband and daughter who live at home, plus our baby grandson. The girls brought over seafood and cooked a seafood “boil” which was delicious. They even brought some cake, and I cooked the rest of dinner.
    –Easter dinner was ham, turkey, home-canned green beans, and baked potatoes from me. We were trying to keep it simple, but then Rob found a turkey for $5–small, but, wow! So, he cooked that in addition to the ham, which we got for 87c/lb. Others brought rolls, Mac and cheese (gluten-free, to boot–it was SO good), punch, salad seltzer, candy and dessert. Almost every scrap of the food was either eaten or taken home, so it was just right! I set the house up with many areas where 2-4 people could be–in the back bedroom, daughter’s room, garage, kitchen and outside on the deck. So many of us have had our vaccinations, but we wanted to be careful. People spread out well, with a good group outside the entire time.
    –We ate a lot of leftovers and odds and ends from the fridge.
    –I worked for hours outside in the beautiful spring weather we’ve been having. Some areas of the yard are starting to look really good.
    –I gave some attention to my raised beds. Seeds are up. I have peas, snow peas, snap peas and sweet pea flowers coming up. There are spinach, lettuce, green onion and beet seedlings. The cabbage starts have started growing a bit. Of course everything is still small. The carrots are being reluctant, but I still have hopes. Rob is growing many seedlings in the greenhouse and took “orders” from the relatives for which kind of tomatoes, etc. they wanted in a few weeks.
    –In January, a sister gifted me Kindle Unlimited. I’ve read quite a few books from there this past week.
    –I bought a few groceries this past week, but plan to keep that grocery spending low this month. I did win a few items from Safeway’s monopoly game and redeemed them last week. Today, I sent husband and daughter for a few items, as Tillamook cheese was on a great sale. Altogether, it was. a little over $20 and I”m good for a few days. It is time to use home-preserved foods, as growing season is coming along, so I’ve been pulling out things like frozen cauliflower and blackberries and using them.
    –Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

  35. We live in a tiny metal building that originally was going to be our store. I’m so glad we turned it into our house because we lost my husband’s income for awhile. I had major surgery. Now we are comfortable. We survived! I believe God has a plan. He knows our needs. Now that I feel better I can garden.

  36. Love reading here every week. Love to see what everyone has been up to.
    **Went to my step moms and she gave me 5 pans of homemade rolls she had made but never used. She said they were for my chickens. She has given me tons of food through the years but alot of it is fine and we end up eating it not the chickens. These however were not good for eating, so the chickens lucked out this time. She also gave me 4 bags of water softener salt she didnt like. She was going to put these out for our towns city wide street clean up so I was very glad to get the salt because it is not cheap.
    **We went on a short vacation to Mt. Airy, North Carolina over spring break. We went to the Andy Griffith Museum. We had a lot of fun! We had the money budgeted in our vacation sinking funds. We used Booking.com for our hotel room and my husband and I feel like we got a very good deal. My son couldn’t go because his college classes started and he had to work so he watched and took care of all the animals.
    **Did anyone see in the news about Kimberly-Clark? They said the price of their feminine hygiene products, diapers, and toilet paper will be going up. Sounded like quite a bit. I guess they are just raising prices like everyone.
    **We received $200 back from my sons college. I had to do some looking and realized it was due to the coronavirus relief act for higher education.
    **Found a new YouTube channel that I am enjoying while folding laundry, etc. Its called ” Sara Levasseur”. Its a very beautiful channel and I find it very relaxing.
    I hope everyone has a good week!

    1. Jenn, so glad you had a fun vacation in my state! Andy Griffith lived many years on our island (Roanoke Island) in the town of Manteo, until his death. He will always be one of North Carolina’s great treasures.

      1. Lynn, yes everything was very beautiful! I knew that about Mr. Griffith and am glad he got to have the privacy he loved. They did have several pics of his home there in Manteo in the theater he performed at while in high school. I find him an extremely fascinating man!

    2. Have always wanted to go to Mt. Airy. A part of me has always wanted to live in Mayberry, even if it isn’t real. I’m sure many people feel that way.

  37. Brandy – your garden is amazing – such beautiful flowers!

    Paid all the month’s bills online and even managed to overpay both CC bills, donate to my church and put a small amount into savings. Not being able to go out and do things has certainly helped in this regard!

    It was a busy week with all the Holy week services (I manage our website & weekly emails so lots to do) but online services for Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday were all wonderful (the ministers and others have all done an amazing job this past year). The associate minister even organized a Zoom Maundy Thursday Supper and service and about 30 attended. We finished off with a Zoom Sunday Coffee Hour with Easter bonnets and bunny ears out in force – which made for a lot of smiles.

    I made dinner for my bubble friend and I – I already had the ham, most of the veg and wine on hand so the only purchases were mini potatoes, asparagus and a dessert from a local bakery as I did not have time to bake. We enjoyed the meal and the company (only the second time she has been in my apt. in over a year). She has had her first vaccination and is laid up at home with a broken ankle and I am booked for my first shot next Monday – at last! Chocolate Easter treats were sold out very quicly this year (I don’t think stores purchased as much since we are still under severe restrictions due to Covid so no big gatherings) – by Saturday local stores had been cleaned out!

    I used up ground beef, fish and some turkey from the freezer as well as the ham for Sunday so once again, purchases have been mainly for dairy and fruit & veg. I don’t have any chicken left so some chicken thighs are on the grocery list for the next shop.

    We may go into another “Stay at Home” situation – announcements this afternoon – so not much to do except walk and as the weather is a bit warmer at least I don’t have to wear a parka anymore! Have a great week everyone!

    1. I am so glad you’ve been able to book a vacccination. It must have been very frustrating trying to make that happen.

      We had the same shortage situation with Easter treats. I think it was the first year since I was a very little girl that I didn’t have one. I usually order online, but didn’t budget for it this year, and then there were none locally. There was no lack of food, though.

      1. It was a wee bit frustrating because I registered with both drugstores but heard nothing – even weeks on. They keep saying how they’ve now added 250 more pharmacies but that’s only helpful if they actually get any vaccine!
        I’m now registered with one of the city clinics – at the Convention Centre – and that will just be more straightforward.
        They have just closed all the schools – again – and it looks as though more restrictions are coming tomorrow! It’s a good thing I’m good at amusing myself!

      2. Every year I buy Easter candy for the next year the day after Easter. Typically at 50% off. I went to our local supermarkets and there was no remaining candy. That evening I went to the Dollar General near my house and they had chocolate bunnies left, and on clearance as well! This is the only way I can do nice baskets for my family. It certainly has become an adventure in shopping these days….I never know if the items I want will be available to purchase.

  38. It is definitely spring here! I will be buying fewer annual plants this year as our long-term goal
    of converting all of the flowerbeds into perennial beds has mostly been accomplished. That just leaves
    some petunias to buy for a small dry bed. And fuschias for the hummingbirds!

    I cooked my ham. I have 20 packages of meat for dinners which will see me through the month.
    I ordered books from Munro’s Books (in Victoria) for my great-niece’s birthday. The local delivery charge
    is less than postage would have been from here to there. Also, they could take an electronic payment
    which was convenient as I lack a charge card. It saved cab fare from here to the post office and back, too.

    While doing this, I also looked into a well-known B.C. chocolate store — I got a coupon for free chocolate hedgehogs
    with my first purchase (it will be at Christmas).

    We are still working on the book. We now have 4 volunteers who will deliver it once printed.

    A note of caution to your readers. If you have two alarms in close proximity, (e.g., a smoke detector and a CO detector), it is difficult to know
    which one is chirping because the battery is low. I could not pinpoint where the chirping was coming from. I tested each monitor and each seemed to be working well. Then one night (at 3 a.m.) I realized the chirping had stopped. I went and tested all 4 monitors (upstairs and downstairs) and finally discovered it was both CO monitors. So at 3 a.m. I was replacing batteries. In the future, I will replace them when I do the routine annual smoke detector battery replacement (when we change to daylight savings time).

    I gave myself a facial mask using thick Greek yogourt. It is amazing how much liquid gets absorbed. I would be cautious about trying this depending on your skin type. And I wouldn’t leave it on more than 15 minutes or when it’s drying out.

    1. I have added a number of perennial plants too to reduce the annuals I need, and I try to grow annuals from seed when possible. I’m also trying to collect seeds from my annuals to plant again, as well as sowing seeds for several annuals that tend to drop seeds and reseed themselves without any work from me.

      1. I am trying to grow a few annuals by seed — the double nasturtiums, hollyhocks, etc. My nasturtiums didn’t produce seeds
        last year — they flowered too late to go to seed. The sweet peas were a dismal failure — maybe the seeds were eaten by squirrels….

    2. Ann,
      I love that you are supporting one of the best independent bookstores in Canada when you place an order with Munro Books. And Purdy’s is my favorite chocolate supplier as well! You can’t go wrong with either of them.

      1. Hi Elizabeth M.

        Had I known that Munro’s accepts interac I would have bought from them ages ago! This solves one big problem for me and at lower cost to me. There is also a toy store in Victoria who kindly offered to deliver a gift there for me (probably because the address was on their way home). I like supporting independent bookstores — here in YYC we have lost several over the years — Socrates, McNally & Robinson’s, etc. It breaks my heart and also limits who we can have locally to carry the new book.

    3. Purdy’s Hedgehogs!! Yum! My best friend loves Purdy’s so last year for her birthday I ordered a box to be delivered right to her condo – she was very surprised! Before they opened some shops here in Toronto she had to rely on her MIL (in Vancouver) sending her a big box every Christmas.

      1. Hi Margie,

        Alas! I am allergic to nuts (and eggs)so can no longer enjoy Purdy’s chocolates but it will make a great gift for my hard-to-buy nephew who loves chocolate. I did enjoy a very inexpensive chocolate Easter bunny bought at No Frills. Hershey’s only has peanut/nut free chocolates at Hallowe’en so the Carnaby’s bunny was really good. Yum!

  39. I found some good deals at the grocery store–pineapple for .99 each (I bought four and will can them when ripe), asparagus for .99 a pound (s0me for eating and some for pickled asparagus, oranges for .20 a pound. They are near then end of their season but I picked up a few to eat. I also stumbled onto Cadbury Easter eggs at the store for .50 a package. I only bought one, knowing I would just eat them in a short amount of time.
    I’m still making knitted wool cowls to donate. I’m on #11 using up scrap yarn from my stash.
    I am enjoying living in our new home. I still have a few extra pieces of furniture and a few lamps that are extraneous that I need to get rid of, but just about everything has been put away. I am grateful to have a large pantry with all of my bottled food in one place. I still need to better organize it. And I even have a few empty drawers and shelves!
    I watched season 3 of “Shtisel” on Netflix. I was so happy that it had another season.
    And much of my activities are the same: reading, working on art projects, knitting, taking distance yoga classes, and caring for my aging mother and aunt. I feel very blessed!

  40. I picked up a larger amount of groceries than I have in a while to fill holes in pantry. I bought two large hams saving $60 which went into the freezer. I also help a man who was looking at one and the tag was bent so he didn’t see the sale price and was turning to walk away after frowning. I told him to look at the bottom of the tag. When he saw the sale price he smiled and picked it up. Lately our Kroger seems not to have things on sale a lot and I think he thought it was one of those times. They are also advertising pork loins when they mean pork tenderloins. It is frustrating. Our Walmart has many holes in the shelves also. And prices are rising. Our house insurance went up around $100.

    I made homemade Chicken Voila and brownies one day. The Chicken Voila recipe had more noodles in the recipe than was needed and needed more sauce (I added milk). My son loved it but I will alter it next time. The brownies were the first I have made in over a year. I have gotten used to not eating sweets and they seemed too sweet to me now. It satisfied a craving though. I think it was the same for the others as they went slower. I will alter that next time too.

    I slept a little more. The previous week I stayed up too late working on some paperwork for our meeting and got off schedule. I needed to get it back again as I do better. We walked more as it was beautiful outside. I did a lot of normal things and and continued using things in the freezer. I cleaned out some little things like magazines and darned some socks. I used to work on things like that while listening to TV in the evening and I think I will get some things finished like a cross stitch doing that.

    One afternoon my son and I combined errands and since we were close to the place I bought a couple appliances a few years ago we stopped in to see if he had any refrigerators. He had two larger ones and one caught my eye. It had been there before but I was thinking of getting a smaller one at that time. We sent pictures and specs to my husband. We were told what was repaired on it. He sells used items that he fixes or items that people bring to him because they want to upgrade. We measured and went home to talk with husband. It is taller than the side by side we have so we will have to remove a small cabinet that we only get into about twice a year. I read reviews and the piece he replaced was a manufacturers defect and should be o.k. now. He will take it back if we have problems. We bought a washing machine and chest freezer from him 3 years ago for $215 after several people recommended him and they are wonderful. The washing machine is better than the two we bought new. Our larger things haven’t been taken away yet (big job must still be ongoing). Guy told me if I found a refrigerator he would get it for us ahead if need be. We have decided to get the refrigerator if its still there. I couldn’t pay to hold it until I knew when it could be picked up. I plan to make calls today.

    We got our first vaccine shot Monday and the second is scheduled. Have a great week everyone!

  41. I forgot, I finally had some time to cut my hair. I cut about an inch off and I cut it so that it lays in layers so it takes me longer than the way most places do it now. I don’t like the chopped across in layers look. I have finally gotten it so the back is easier. I have had DH and DS to help with that. DS is better, but neither really like to do it.

  42. We had a good week. I finished up on two online classes for the semester. I go to a very inexpensive, but good college online, finishing up my bachelor’s degree. I do only two classes at a time because we can afford that.
    After much research my husband bought us a much-needed new bed! My back and hips already feel better. His research led us to a bed that was perfect for our needs and a good value. I appreciate his research diligence for big purchases.
    We had a simple but lovely Easter. It began with our granddaughter’s baby blessing and culminated with a quiet dinner of cheesy potatoes and a ham steak.
    This week we are doing the usual things: grocery order under budget, spending time at home watching our shows, reading and doing my knitting and crocheting. I have come to realize I really love a simple life. I hope everyone has a lovely week! Thanks, Brandy, for all you do to bless all of us.

  43. This Covid year has changed our habits. We spend even more time at home than ever. We spruced up our patio since we spend a whole lot of time out there. In Arizona we eat outdoors, play outdoors,read outdoors, swim in the pool, for so much of the year. We are retired and do have a small travel budget but it is not getting used. We’re kinda happy out in the backyard right now!! We needed a replacement umbrella fabric for 1 umbrella and by choosing a PURPLE one (we both like the color,actually!) we got one for $18.95 instead of 49.95!! (All the other colors were 49.95!!! ). So we bought TWO! One ready for the next time.

    Eating all meals at home. We usually do this , but now, we skip some of the splurge lunches we used to do for “dates.” We won’t go into restaurants at this time. We’re not missing it!

    Was able to use some wonderful craft supplies at my art meetup group—where our leader provides us with some materials.I am making an art journal mostly with the communal supplies.

    Donated all the books my neighbor gave me during Covid..she buys hardbacks (!!) and passes them along.I bake her things once in a while in return.. since I NEVER buy hardback books to share! I told her more people are now enjoying them!

    More vegetarian meals, for health reasons, but it does save money too.We are having Chana masala tonight (chickpea meal) and jasmine rice with cucumber and yogurt dressing using fresh lemons from neighbors tree.

    NO food waste. We eat every morsel.

    I love reading of your endeavors and you are an inspiration to me!

    1. The evenings are so nice right now; I’m sure you’re really enjoying your backyard.

  44. Today, my gardener dropped by. I usually only have her once in the spring, once mid-summer for weeding. We had started building a dry stream bed/ mini bog garden in my rock garden about three years ago and today it was finally finished. I gave up and realized I could not do it myself with my severed tendon so she finished it off in about 3 hours. I already had the fabric liner, the pond liner, the horticultural sand, the gravel, and the tufa rocks. The pond liner, gravel and sand were not expensive. My gardener had left over tufa rocks which she previously gave me. At the end of the day, I asked her how much I owed her and she said nothing! A friend is growing alpine and wetland primulas for me so I’ll have perennials for it.

    I saved $15 by buying 10 cans of soup on sale. I had hoped to get it from Superstore but Co-op’s new flyer had it at the same price. In the meantime, Superstore now has cases of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup on sale (reg $9.38) on sale for $6.98. So I’m hoping to get two cases. In this way, I will replenish the soup in the pantry since I lived off of them for the past month. Now that summer is coming there should be more specials on things like soup and chili. And believe it or not, toilet paper. I have never understood why the price of toilet paper goes down during the summer months. I really love having a well-stocked pantry. It is not a huge pantry but it gives me a sense of security.

  45. Hello, frugal friends.
    We have had some nice weather for the past couple of weeks. This has allowed us to turn off the heat which lowered our electric bill by $40 dollars.
    We have had a lot of rain which has helped to water the grass and garden. I planted carrots, green onions, sweet onion, beets and greens with my grandchildren over Easter. Everyone was able to come for Easter this year. The weather was perfect. We had an egg hunt using plastic eggs from years past filled with pennies and candy I had in the pantry. The meal was from the freezer and pantry. It was a fun day filled with games, conversations and hugs. We have all had at least one vaccine plus we were able to stay outside.
    We needed a few more bags of mulch so we used our military discount at Lowes to reduce the cost.
    I used the wax paper insert from an empty cereal box instead of wax paper. I am out of wax paper so this solved my “what to use to bread the fish” problem.
    I received my first dose of the vaccine 2 weeks ago. I will get my second dose in two weeks.
    My granddaughter and I groomed our dog saving us $40.
    I cleaned an antique rug my sister gave me. It is an 8′ round handhooked rug from the mid 1800’s. It is in pretty good shape considering but I know nothing about the process of rug hooking. I went online to figure out how to clean it safely. No rug cleaning company would touch it due to its age. I tried calling the nearby universities and museums to ask but no one returned my calls or emails. I figured I saved at least $99 in cleaning fee.
    I hung laundry on the line.
    I stayed home except to get my allergy shot the past two weeks.
    I did not grocery shopping this week.
    I cooked and froze asparagus which I bought for .79/ pound and cooked, mashed and froze beans to use when I make meatballs and turkey burgers. This allows me to make a healthier and more economical meat dish. I use less meat when adding the mashed beans and no one notices the difference.
    All meals were made from the freezer/pantry.
    I am dividing my lilies and will plant them to fill in the spaces in my flower beds. Lilies are great for stretching the landscaping budget because they are a low maintenance, easy to propagate plant.
    I wish you a great week, my frugal friends.

  46. Hello Everyone! We had a lovely Easter on Sunday. An organization that we work with provided a filled Easter basket for my son; including a repeat of a Lego set that he already has, so into the gift closet it goes. They also came the night before and hid about a dozen filled Easter eggs in our front yard. My son was delighted! My parents came over for lunch. We were quite surprised, as we weren’t sure if they were going to come or not. Both of my parents and my mother in law have been vaccinated, but my husband and I don’t receive our second shots until next week. Add that to my mother’s ongoing battle with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, it was a toss up. My husband and son grilled rack of lamb from Costo that my parents had treated for. My mother in law brought our favorite kind of rolls and fruit. I steamed artichokes and asparagus and made a beautiful salad. I decided the night before to bring out my good dishes, sterling silver and stemware for our backyard celebration. It turned out so nice! Next up is Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday, which happen to land on the same day this year. We wanted to cook again, but my mother is insisting that we order take out and use paper plates…we’ll see :). I had bought some tablecloths (disposable plastic) to use for Easter and I carefully wiped them down, dried them and folded them up to use for next year. I had signed up for a red card at Target (attached to my debit card) and received my $40 off $40 coupon in the mail when the card came. We went to Target and bought much needed underclothing for my husband. I also added in a few packets of Easter napkins that were on clearance as well as a bag of discounted Easter candy for my dad. Paid $3.46 out of pocket after coupon and red card discount. We ended up dog sitting for two different families. One family, as a thank you, gave us some fruit from their mom’s tree, some See’s Candy (which is my absolute favorite!) and $100.00. We tried to give them the money back, as we did it to help them out (they had helped us out last year) and got so much joy out of spending time with their beloved pooches, but they insisted. So we put that in our petty cash wallet. We have quite the savings in this wallet now which is a good feeling. (Money had been a big issue in our marriage for many years.) That way if anything unexpected comes up (car repairs, dental, etc.), we can pull from that as opposed to going to the bank and/or transferring from savings. Almost like in the movie “I Remember Mama” starring Barbara Bel Geddes from the tv show Dallas :). I saved the plastic cellophane bag that my mother in law used to wrap my son’s Easter basket in and used it as a kitchen garbage can liner. Paid all bills on line saving the cost of stamps. Made a reservation to go to my cousin’s wedding in July up in Northern California. We will go for four days, our first vacation since February of 2020! Researched all of the accommodation recommendations on the couple’s wedding website to find one that would fit our needs and our budget. Of course it’s going to be high season, so we knew that it wasn’t going to be frugal. We found a hotel room for $200.00 cheaper than the others. We are already planning on packing meals and snacks to reduce the number of times we need to shop and eat out. After we leave this area, we will drive over to Northern Nevada to where another cousin lives. The hubs and I are seriously considering relocating to the Sparks, NV area when we retire. Our friends and family that already live in that area rave about it. We have done a ton of research online, but nothing beats in person impressions. We will go to church at my cousin’s church, have brunch with him and then drive around the areas were are interested in to get a feel for the area. Any readers in the Sparks area?! Would love input! Even if we aren’t going to retire for at least five years, we want to explore the area in case the opportunity presents itself to buy a place now and rent it out. Our local major league baseball team started their season this week at home. I was thinking how fun it would be to go to a game; attendance is at very reduced capacity. I looked at tickets for my son and I and the cheapest were $31.00 each. So we decided to pass.

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