I made a cheesecake for my son’s birthday using a new recipe. The only real difference between it and my old recipe was the addition of two tablespoons of cornstarch, and then the way it was cooked: ten minutes on high and an hour on low. It neither fell nor cracked after cooking, which meant it was beautiful! I definitely plan to make cheesecake more often now!

I had purchased the cream cheese back on sale in December, which kept the cost of the cake low. Cream cheese usually has an expiration date six months away from purchase, and it goes on sale around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, making it easy to stock up on it on sale.

Meals this week included a Thai soup using leftover chicken and pork; potato soup that included green onions from the garden; roast chicken and salad; quesadillas (with leftover chicken) and salad; eggs and toast; waffles with sausage and apples; broccoli cheese soup; and tacos. I cooked several chickens all at once in the oven, which covered many meals and made it easier for me to get other things done, as we had plenty of leftovers.

We harvested Meyer lemons from the garden and made lemonade.

I worked in the garden again, pruning and weeding.

My husband took my thrift store donations to the store while dropping my son off for work one day on his way to run an errand.

I enjoyed herbal tea from lemon verbena that I grew in my garden last year.

I have been wanting to find some khaki pants. I wear dresses about eight months of the year but I wear pants in winter most days. Most of what I have been wearing has been jeans that I bought at a garage sale for $0.25 a pair. I found some khaki pants marked down to $12.81 a pair on clearance at Sam’s Club. I took them home and they fit (you can’t try them on at the store), so I returned the next day and bought a couple more pairs. Between these and the jeans, I have plenty of pants for several years.

I watched some free French learning videos on YouTube.

I read a e-book from the library.

I watched episode two of Howard’s End on PBS.org after several of you mentioned it being on PBS. Unfortunately, I was too late for the first episode, but I will be watching the next two this week, hopefully!

I registered for a free Show Floor pass for WWPI. There are no classes that I currently wish to attend, but I want to see several manufacturers and I can do that on the show floor.

We had a few beautiful days where we were able to open the windows for several hours and air out the house each day. I always prefer fresh air to air fresheners of candles.

One of my orchids began to bloom, so I moved it from the bathroom into my bedroom to enjoy on my nightstand.

What did you do this past week to save money?

I’ll be posting my goals for the month this week, so look for that post soon!

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  1. We spent a lot of time cooking ahead this past week as well. It helps so much on busy weeks to have food to just warm up or repurpose. My husband barbecued chicken, a turkey breast, and some marinated pork. I made 3 kinds of soup. Fruits and veggies are canned or frozen from last year’s garden and salad stuff is in the fridge. We are good to go! We don’t have a meat slicer, but my husband sharpened up the knives and we sliced the turkey breast super thin for sandwich meat, and it worked well.

    This week will be super busy, as a close family member is having a major surgery and I will be gone a lot to the hospital. We are hoping to keep it as frugal as we can, as well as keep healthy. Fast food is not our friend. To top it off, we have extra time with our niece and nephew planned, as their parents are involved, and also my husband has an appointment to discuss his hip surgery on Wednesday. And, of course, there is homeschool for my daughter to accomplish, an appointment for her, and a 4H workshop on “how to apply zippers” to attend Saturday. We got a lot of our “together” school done this morning in anticipation, and she will need to work independently some this week. We have food to pack along to the hospital, and a huge schedule of who is watching what kid, and when. On weeks like these, a good plan is what keeps me from crumbling into a heap with the covers over my head:). I’ll let you know next week if it worked!

    During our 4H meeting last week, the kids hammered together bird house kits. My husband, Rob, made the kits ahead of time out of wood that was donated to him for this purpose. He has a friend with a small sawmill and these boards were rejects, but perfect for this purpose. We sent some pictures of the kids making the birdhouses along with a thank-you to him. It made a wonderful project and cost very little. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    I put together a wedding shower gift from things we bought and made. Rob made a wooden crate to put it all in.

    We attended a wedding and were impressed at how lovely the family had made it. They stuck to a low budget, but it came out so beautiful. It’s hard to describe, but sticks and branches from friends’ yards were the centerpieces and backdrop. They were strung with little lights. The winter woodland theme was continued throughout with candles, and other “woodsy” items. The wedding itself was so sweet, and we were very happy to be there.

    I got butter for $1.99/lb, and got 10. I was down to 2 boxes in the freezer, but was eagerly searching for a sale. It just doesn’t drop to that price often anymore.

    I used some of the cream cheese I got around the holidays to make black-bottom cupcakes.

    I received 3 coupons for free Nestle chocolate chips in the mail and a $1/1 bag coupon. This was in response to a live text chat with the company, expressing how bitter some “unicorn” chips tasted. I got them on clearance, and told them so, so I didn’t really need a replacement, but it was nice of them to send me one anyway.

    1. I just pinned a beautiful table that was set for a wedding that was decorated with olive branches. My parents have two olive trees and they prune them several times a year. I have seen several ways of using olive branches as table decorations and this one was my favorite so far. My parents are throwing away the branches and I am always welcome to use them for our own table. All of which to say, I’m sure the wedding was very pretty!

        1. They are chocolate balls that my son found in the bulk section at Winco! Pretty but they did make it hard to cut. Still, I would do it again if someone requested them!

  2. That cake is beautiful? What is decorating the top?
    I love your monthly goal posts, as they inspire me to think about my own goals.
    I purchased 2 white shirts from the $1 rack from the thrift store, and a bottle of Rit Dye from JoAnn’s for half price. I dyed both shirts slightly different shades of pink (One is velour, the other is denim). I’m really happy with these additions to my wardrobe.
    I cooked a big batch of brown rice and a big batch of chickpeas in the InstantPot and froze them for future meals. I cooked a batch of dried pintos and canned them. I also made homemade granola and homemade yogurt.
    I’ve been drinking herbal teas from plants from my garden that I dried last summer – various combinations of mint, chamomile, lavender, yarrow, and fireweed. I took a free online mini-course in herbal teas, which inspired me.
    After pricing a new ironing board cover at $39 at JoAnn’s, I made one, using material I already owned.

    1. It’s gold and silver chocolate balls. My son picked them out himself (he purchased them!) and then asked me to decorate his own cake with them! They looked really neat but they were very ticky when it came to cutting the cake!

  3. That cheesecake looks fabulous! What a great birthday treat. My grandchildren have had both “professional” cakes and homemade. The five year old declared this year that he wanted his cake and his cupcakes for his preschool class to be homemade by Nonni because they taste the best! So, I made 24 cupcakes for his preschool class and for his actual party I made a small round cake for the adults and cupcakes for the children. Just the cupcakes alone would have cost thirty or more dollars, not to mention the cost of a professionally made cake. I think I had maybe ten dollars in all of it and if I had made the frosting, it would have been cheaper, but he wanted cream cheese frosting and I can’t get mine to mix up where I can pipe it out of a pastry bag without it being runny, so I bought frosting.

    My husband had oral surgery last week. This oral surgeon does an estimate of what they think the insurance will pay and then you pay the remaining balance. We paid all of it up front in cash so we should not be billed anything if the insurance estimate was off. It did cost a bit, but he had everything done at one time so that it would cut down on time off from work and deductibles for every visit. He was in some discomfort for a couple of days, but mended quickly.

    Our church hosted a married couples dinner on Thursday evening. The theme was “King and Queen” and you were supposed to dress to match your spouse. I dug through my closet and found a cardigan in the same colors as my husband’s shirt he had planned to wear, thus saving on clothes or a costume. They had a photo prop area for photos that they took and then sent to us and I used my photo editor app to edit the pictures and made a cute picture I will print and frame for my desk at work.

    Ate all meals at home. Made all lunches to take to work. Made my own coffee at home to drink instead of buying coffee, which I only do about once a month as a treat.

    Stocked up on hand soaps. I like Bath and Body Works foaming soap, but I only buy it when it’s on sale AND I have a coupon for $10.00 off or for free shipping. It went on sale yesterday and I couldn’t get to the store, but I had a coupon code for free shipping, so I used it to purchase 10 bottles of soap. That will last me the next three months. ( We have three sinks in our house that I keep soap and we usually go through a bottle a month at each sink). I will also be gifting some soap to my mother to “pretty up” her kitchen sink area when my sisters and I go to her house Saturday to “spring clean”. She is almost 70 and can’t deep clean anymore. She can keep things straight and do normal cleaning tasks, but not the deep clean that most people do once or twice a year so my sisters and I will be starting to do this for her at least once a year.

    I needed some new tops for spring/summer and did not want to pay full price. I have an app called “Thred Up” and I used it for the first time to order some new shirts for myself. It’s an online consignment store and my first order with the app gave me a 50% off code for several items I purchased. I probably could have found similar items at a thrift store a little cheaper, but right now I don’t have time to go to several places and I saved a good bit of money using the app, so I got 5 new shirts and that will get me through spring and summer for everyday wear. I also purchased a new jacket for church as I like the look of a blazer, blouse, and skirt with heels for church.

    Not much more in the way of savings, but there is always this week to do more. Have a blessed week!

    1. Myra, if you save the foaming soap dispensers once they are empty, you can make your own foaming soap very inexpensively. You can use various kinds of liquid soap: castile soap, bubble bath, gentle dishwashing soap, etc. Just add 1/2 to 1 inch of liquid soap to the empty container, and fill with water. Put the spout back on and shake. Works great, and you can reuse the dispensers many times. I have saved so much money this way.

    2. Myra,
      I purchase the bath and body shower gel, regular style not moisturizing and use it to make foaming hand soap. I can get several bottles of foaming hand soap with shower gel and hot water.


  4. Made this “Traffic Jam” quilt (pattern by Pat Sloan) as a stashbuster to use up more scraps including the light background fabric that were the only bits leftover from a Goodwill sheet after I used the rest of it as quilt backing on a bed quilt! https://pin.it/6pl7oz7xwjansf Lenni made quick work of the quilting! https://pin.it/uvrqq5blo552rh It is 68” x 68”, so a perfect size to snuggle up in on the couch! I’ve been making these stashbusters to fill in between machine quilting orders at our HandmadeinOldeTowne.com!

    We finished our January with our pantry challenge of not buying groceries for meals/snacks very well. We bought 2 gallons of milk (marked to $1.29/gallon) but that was all we used during the month ! We did buy a couple things on clearance sales (pumpkin and dehydrated refried beans) but didn’t need them for this past month! We’re going to continue eating our way through our freezers!

    I took Cheryl’s peanut butter cookie dough balls out of the freezer and made the 16 dozen cookies during the course of the month! I bought those at their semi-annual warehouse sale last summer. Their corporate headquarters is here in town! Those were yummy, convenient treats! I LIKE living on our food storage/pantry/freezer!! Lol!

    Hubs wanted to do some engraving on a wood project he was hired to do. The client wants monogram engraved. The piece is made from black walnut (which is a more expensive hardwood) so he wanted to practice. He has scrap pieces of black walnut he will use for practice, but first he wanted a way to make a smooth looking monogram! He took a router he had and, out of scrap plywood, plastic, knobs,etc- he designed and built his own wood pantograph! I’m so impressed with his engineering skills! Here’s a photo of it : https://pin.it/qfc6l7erse7p52

    With the $50 rebate Visa we got from the electric company for buying a new energy star fridge and letting them take away our old one, I bought $50 worth of toilet paper on Amazon! With our Prime, the shipping was free and it was something that was getting lower in our supply! Sounds silly, but we were pleased about it!

    I used 10 slices of leftover Cranberry Walnut bread we were given to make French toast as a breakfast option. Also banana walnut muffins, apple muffins and strawberry jelly muffins from pantry ingredients I had. My breakfast to go section of the fridge has been kept filled and family has enjoyed the variety, while I have enjoyed using up leftover bits from fridge and pantry before they go off!
    Our 3 month Treasury bond matured and we earned $18 on it. Doesn’t sound like a lot but during that same 3 months, our regular passbook savings with the same balance earned 30 cents!! So after a year it will be $72 earned in interest versus $1.20 !! We’re pleased with that!!

    Using our free Gas Buddy app on the phone, I was able to get gas for $2.12/ gallon while I was out running errands, rather than the $2.37 it was elsewhere! It was about a $3 savings. That may not seem like much but $3 here and $3 there can really add up!
    So, all in all, a good week!

    1. I like your tp purchase. Honey used to get gift card for Wal-Mart as a Christmas bonus and would tell me to buy tp. He thought it was funny, I thought it was a good idea.

  5. I too enjoy opening doors and windows for the fresh air and look forward to warmer weather. I do, however, love winter and snow and have been out walking and snowshoeing with the dogs. I don’t go fast nor long these days, but am outside getting some exercise.

    As expected we are spending on gas for the daily round trips for radiation treatments. A new gas place opened a bit ago and, with an app tied to my husband’s bank account, he gets 15 cents off a gallon. Twice in the past couple weeks I’ve had to put gas in the car without his discount. Numerous times I’ve had to lug my tired self out at night so we could gas up the vehicles for the next morning. This weekend, DH put the app on my phone so I can fill up when needed at the lower prices. At 75 miles one way, the savings add up! I’m finished Feb 14th if there are no more road closures due to weather. Very thankful!

    As many readers may remember, I was so distraught at losing my hair and not being able to get a wig. I’m still unsettled without much hair, but wanted to update everyone that I just avoid the public. The doctors said to stay away from people to avoid getting sick, and I have been doing so. When I’m allowed out again and hat season is over, I’ll have enough hair to color. I might just pop down to visit my parents in a warm state to rest up. So, it’s all working out. Thankful and frugal!

    My daughter was able to get to the expired food table for a gallon of milk, some rolls, sweets for her father and a package of ready to bake cookies that I’ve froze for future use. There were not any fruits or veggies for some reason. We had bought her an airline ticket to go back, but she didn’t use it because I needed another month of treatment. She was able to switch her ticket to a round trip to visit her college roommate for a long weekend as a break from caretaking. The airline wouldn’t refund the ticket (like they did my son’s), but did not charge her to change it. She’ll be taking a car with her instead anyway now as she’s moving to the suburbs and will need transportation. I’m so pleased that we can all make this work.

    My son has a credit on amazon and ordered me metal cubby-like shelving for storage. This should really help us be able to find and use the pantry food and supplies that we buy on sale. Our current bin storage system is rather frustrating. The under the bed rolling storage container (https://amzn.to/2OoUMh8 ) I bought has been really wonderful for canned goods. I just write on the top of the cans so I can see what they are. So easy to toll out even for me now. Best 19.00 I’ve spent in a long time!

    We are prepared for any event now…weather or otherwise…and for that I am thankful. I like to think that we just keep on going day by day and the little things add up to a nice savings. Blessings to all.

      1. Thank you Patricia,

        Just a couple more weeks. I’m very fortunate that this will end soon. Very thankful! Blessing to you and yours.


      1. Thank you, Tammy. I really appreciate all the prayers for me and my travels. There have been white knuckle days but I’m home!



    1. Trish, so glad the end is in sight for your treatments. Continued positive thoughts and prayers for your treatments and safe travels.

    2. PJGT, hats are always in season, no matter the time of year. I love to wear a hat and don’t let silly fashion rules ruin your life…except for white shoes before Easter. That one is set in stone. Lol

  6. Your cheesecake looks absolutely gorgeous! Are those pearlized bubble gum pieces on top, or pearlized sugar? Either way, gorgeous!

    My frugal week:
    – I made Sweet Potato and Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (http://approachingfood.com/sweet-potato-lentil-shepherds-pie/). Very, very yummy (surprisingly meaty-tasting and also very frugal! You could easily make a lasagna pan full for $5 (or significantly less if you buy the ingredients on sale), so perhaps an easy potluck or family dinner dish. I used sweet potatoes I bought very cheaply using the Flash Food app, and cooked the lentils from dried (and they were purchased from a local bulk store).
    – I made a honey and rhubarb soda, using local honey that I had traded for previously, and frozen rhubarb that I had grown myself.
    – I made a chocolate & banana espresso smoothie, using cold-brew coffee made from coffee packets saved from previous hotel stays.
    – I made some Preservative-Free White Cheddar Popcorn (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-white-cheddar-popcorn/) as healthy snacks for my husband. I also snacked on homemade yoghurt with homemade canned cherry filling stirred in.
    – Using the flash food app, I purchased two packs of healthy sandwich meat, a package of chicken legs, and a box of produce, all for $15. The produce box contained potatoes, red onions, clementines, pears, a cauliflower, several zucchini, an apple, and a box of kumquats. Definitely worth the $5!
    – On my way home from a doctor’s appointment, I bought a large bag of mixed bakery buns on sale for $3.99. I ate two of the buns (cheddar bagels) for lunch, and the rest became sandwiches for my husband for the next few days, made with the sandwich meat that I had bought so cheaply using the flash food app. So, it made at least 4 meals, plus some snacks. Definitely cheaper than if I had stopped to buy a fast food lunch!
    – I made a roast chicken and veggie sheet pan dinner one night, using some of the chicken legs and produce that I had gotten so cheaply from the flash food app.
    – My cookbook supper club got together and I made a potato and pea curry (using the potatoes from my inexpensive produce box) and gulab jamun (using pantry ingredients I already had). I decorated the gulab jamun with some sliced kumquats from the same produce box. And naturally I borrowed the recipe book from the library.
    – I hosted my parenting bookclub (book from the library), and served lemon poppyseed muffins (Brandy’s recipe) but using limes from a previous produce box. I just subbed in soy milk for regular milk, as one of the mums is lactose-intolerant.
    – I made jalapeno green onion and cheddar cornbread, using a recipe that called for egg yolks, and used the egg whites to make flourless chocolate chocolate chip cookies. The jalapenos were from the produce box, and the green onions I had grown myself and frozen.
    – I purchased a potty-training book for my daughter from a library sale for 50 cents. I had been thinking that I wanted to get a book about toilet training, to introduce my daughter to it, so it was absolutely perfect timing!
    – I kept my grocery purchases down significantly this week, and then used the remainder of the food budget to go out to dinner with my husband for our anniversary. My husband got me chocolates as a gift, and purchased them using loyalty points (which he knew would make me happy). So we celebrated our anniversary without breaking the budget, and it was such a nice time!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  7. Beautiful cheesecake, Brandy! And Happy Birthday to your son, too! The week was mostly the usual frugal stuff, including–
    * I had several no-drive, no-spend days.
    * Super One had 80%  lean ground beef on a 12-hour sale for $2.29 lb. My stock-up price has been $2, but I haven’t seen it that cheap for months. I bought 10 lbs, made a meatloaf for dinner and a big batch of meatballs for future meals. I froze the rest of the meat and the meatballs in bread bags.
    * We got $185 in Amazon Rewards in 2019. We use them as they come in–no saving up for us. Credit card rewards work for us because we can pay in full every month.
    *I bought a one-year subscription to Country Gardens on Amazon for $5. I had received a mailer advertising $10 year, plus $3.79 postage, supposedly their “lowest rate”–NOT! 
    * I used my credit union’s free bill pay program to pay my bills on line, saving time and postage. 

  8. -My budget was $60 for two weeks worth of groceries, but they came in at $50, $10 of which was using a gift card from my loyalty card. (These are Canadian dollars, so $40 US for the two weeks before the gift card.) That included a couple of extra jars of pasta sauce that were on sale, and a 15 lb bag of potatoes, since they didn’t have the 10 lb bag I had planned on. These potatoes only cost $1 more than I had planned.
    -On Feb 1, I bought half a tank of gas, which made the tank 3/4 full. I hadn’t bought any gas at all in January, and don’t have any driving out of my village planned this month, but it is easier to keep the car running in very cold weather if the tank is fairly full. Half a tank is well below my budget though.
    -My family doctor in the city went on an indefinite leave, and hasn’t returned. I have been getting presecription refills from one of the local doctors, who has now given me the paperwork for my annual bloodwork and related lab work, so I think he has adopted me. The local doctors’ office is a block and a half away from my house in winter, and less than that in summer, when I can just walk across my back yard, and between the two small buildings to the doctor’s office. The doctors in this office run a medical clinic, where they see people immediately, and do primary care, so now that I am older, this is better for me, I think. Defintely more time and money saved, with not having to go into the city for appointments. It saves $32 in gas each time. The only thing is that the provincial government is going to announce budget cuts in the spring. I hope that doesn’t affect our small local hospital, which runs a local lab and other services.
    -I roasted a turkey this weekend, along with vegetables, and |I made dressing as well. It was a bit of a celebration for February 2, which is the mid-point between the winter solstice and spring solstice — the Festival of Lights. The turkey will give me lots of meat for a variety of meals this month, and the carcass will go in the freezer for making stock diown the road. Turkey is not something I get tired of. I am impressed with all the prep work you all have done to make getting meals easier.

  9. *I made soy milk from soy beans—much less expensive than purchasing the commercial soy milks!
    *I ordered oats in bulk through a co-op—two 50 pound bags!
    *I zested oranges and saved the zest to use in my home made soap.
    *I was able to order three pairs of wool socks for just around $4.00 using coupons. They are normally $10.00 each pair!

    More details and pictures on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2020/02/frugal-friday-january-26-february-1-2020.html

    Writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee. ?

  10. I’m sorry you missed the first episode of Howard’s End, but glad you got to enjoy the second. Last summer, I made an herb tea mixture of dried lemongrass, lemon balm, and lemon verbena that I grew. I generally think of making it on warm days, but did enjoy herb tea from home grown spearmint and honey last week. I found a nearby spring, and filled up several bottles of water from it. Sweet potatoes were dehydrated for pup treats. A batch of Thieves cleaning vinegar was made with homegrown herbs. I ground wheat for baking, and made a pumpkin pie. A 15% off coupon was used at Tractor Supply for dog, cat and chicken food. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/02/midwinter-days-frugal-accomplishments.html

  11. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale for 2.99/lb, whole chicken was .99 cents a pound and chicken wings 1.97/lb so we stocked up. I had also gotten three meals from Good Foods for free but cancelled membership because it’s too expensive if you continue.

  12. The cheesecake looks beautiful!
    I saved money this week again by menu planning from my pantry and freezer and a little from the grocery ads. I cooked a turkey I bought after Thanksgiving for $0.50 per pound and froze it in two-cup portions to use later. I also saved the bones to make bone broth to can later when I have more bones to put with it. I purchased chicken leg quarters on sale for $0.39 per pound. I plan to use part of them to make roasted rosemary chicken and red potatoes, which is a dish my family likes. The weather is staying cool, so when I menu plan this week, I will be making soup.
    I was given a big box of garden seeds, so I sorted through it and picked out the ones I thought I’d plant this spring. My husband took the rest to share at work.
    Our light bill was high for last month, which is common with with the colder weather, and this bill included the time we had our Christmas lights on. But I have been being more diligent about watching electricity usage: being sure lights are turned off and chargers are unplugged.
    I continue to look for little ways to save little bits of money, which add up over time.

    1. Michelle, I have a smart meter for my electricity and check usage online a couple times a week, recording each day’s usage. I also record what appliances I used each day and when I enter the total wattage by day, it proves what I always heard – heat generating appliances are what really increase your kilowatt hours and thus your bill. You can turn off your lights and unplug your chargers, but using the oven 5 minutes less a day, turning the thermostat down by 1-2 degrees in the winter and increasing it 1-2 degrees in the summer (presuming you have central AC because the AC units also generate heat), using the dryer less and hanging laundry up when it is half dry (I do this to get the wrinkles out since I hate to iron), etc., are what will really lower your bill.

      1. Mari, I love that you shared your recordings! We have a smart meter also and I have looked at daily usage, but your information is wonderful and very informative!

        My parents changed out all of the lights in their house to LEDS. They can now run the lights almost all the time with very little power being used. We’ve changed out our lights as possible to LEDS.

        Our heater, dryer, and oven are all gas here, which is much less than electric. Still, I watch my settings and pile on the blankets at night!

        1. Thanks, Brandy. I definitely miss the gas oven in my old house but not the very expensive oil furnace/hit water heater.

          I have LED bulbs everywhere, including my outside lights. I leave those on 24/7 because they are so inexpensive to run and I don’t need to remember to turn them on.

        2. I changed out my garage exterior lights (6) about 8 years ago to solar / LED lights from Costco.
          They had the best price. We can go away on vacations, they come on at dusk and go off at dawn.

          1. All of the garage lights do this in our neighborhood. We put fluorescents in ours years ago, but when they go out we plan to change them to LEDS. Our neighborhood has no street lights–just the garage lights on the houses.

      2. Thank you for the information. I already hang up clothes after a short time in the dryer. I have found that even drying them on just the air setting with little to no heat helps remove wrinkles, so I will continue that. Do you hang up towels and sheets, or if you do dry them in the dryer, have you found that drying them on a lower temperature setting reduces costs even though the drying time is longer?

        1. Elizabeth, I half-dry the towels and a white cotton blanket (I drape that over the dining table and chairs on the screen porch) but I fully dry the sheets. I have not tried the different temps but I will as an experiment It appeals to the analyst in me! I just need to make sure the other items in the dryer are essentially the same. I do know the flannel sheets I use in the winter take longer than the summer cotton sheets. I’ll report back on this in a few weeks after I do it a few times.

  13. The cheesecake looks awesome! Are you planning to share the recipe?

    I thoroughly enjoyed my first week of retirement. I was able to go to dental appointments and have my car airbag replaced without having to make up the work time; it was awesome! Of course, the Honda dealership found an issue with a leaking axle so I did not get out of there for free. However, rather than taking the $260 from savings, I’m going to fund it through my monthly budget but cutting back and by instituting a 10 day “no spend” plan (unless I use a gift card). I have a LOT of food in my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, so I’m eating from them and eating very well, including Pork BBQ, Steak and Stuffed Potatoes, Cream Cheese Chicken, Overnight French Toast topped with frozen blueberries and strawberries from last spring (it’s almost strawberry season here already so I really do need to get those used up), and a charcuterie tray with cheese, salami, strawberries, pecans, and crackers. I also made bacon for use in quesadillas and for breakfast, egg salad, Magic Bar Cookies, and strawberry flavored cream cheese.

    I pruned the rose bushes that should have been pruned 2 months ago. They have new shoots but I need to cut some of those off to shape the bush. The ground cover rose that I did prune in December is leafing out and flowering already. I cut snap dragons and Cooper Ice plant flowers to decorate the house.

    I bought a small planner for my purse. I used to keep a lot of information on my work calendar and found that I really need something other than my phone to remind me of dates, appointments, maintain my prayer list, etc. I also created weekly and monthly goal lists to keep from wasting my time. Taking a lot of last week off was fine but I really don’t want to waste all my time.

    I wish everyone a blessed and fun week.

    1. After I make it a few more times, I think it would be great! Next time I think I will top it differently for fun!

    2. Mari I love that you keep a prayer list. That is one of the most loving and generous things someone can do for another. You are so thoughtful.

      1. Thanks! At my age and with the number of people I have on it for many different reasons, I need it in writing!

  14. That cheesecake looks scrumptious!

    I have learned a lot from reading Brandy’s post and the comments. I have started doing small things here and there. Not as frugal as some of y’all, but it’s building!

    This is really for the past three weeks, most of January. I have been baking more. Muffins, banana bread, cookies. I have made homemade broth a couple of times and used the chicken for about four meals per chicken. Once, I made two different pots of soup, chicken quesadillas and a chicken salad to bring to a friend. We have been eating all meals at home, except for vacation and once when our grandchildren were over for a few days. They wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese so we broke our streak of eating at home to take them. It was a good time. I don’t mind money spent on those outings where you get some genuine enjoyment from it. Not just I don’t feel like cooking. But as we were packing up to go home, I saw the celery left on the table from the chicken wings my son ordered. None of us eat celery raw. I thought “I can take that home and put it in some soup!” So I did. Ha. Even when I’m not being frugal, my brain is starting to sneak it in.

    I inventoried my pantry which has greatly helped with meal planning.

    Some of my cleaners have been running out. I have been researching homemade cleaners instead. And been very happy with them. Does anyone use diluted scented vinegar instead of Febreeze? I have been hesitant to try it but that is almost out too. I don’t really like using Febreeze but with our puppy, things get stinky.

    About eighteen months ago, I stopped coloring my hair. Right away, that was a savings on the color treatment I was buying. My hair was pretty damaged and I started using an expensive shampoo to repair it. At the time, I justified the expense saying it was balanced out by not buying the color treatment. It was a no lather shampoo/conditioner treatment and cost $50 a bottle which would last me two months. At the time, I thought $25 a month for hair that was less frizzy and healthy was not that much. Now my hair was healed enough that I bought a cheaper, but similiar treatment (Aussie Miracle) from Walmart for less than $5 a bottle. Which should last me more than a month. My healthier hair has regained its natural curl and saves me a lot of time in styling as well as money not spent on coloring, hair products and expensive shampoos.

    Everyone has acclimated to not using the heater or the air conditioner….this time of year, in southern Louisiana, the temperature variations are pretty wild. Our electric bill was $150 less.

    My husband went out today to get some chicken to make homemade soup with….it’s our turn to battle the flu. Walmart had leg quarters for $o.59. He checked the ads for a local store online and saw they had them for $0.29. I was very proud of him for being that conscious. And the soup he is making right now smells amazing.

    I am still on the level of low hanging fruit…maybe medium sometimes. I have made several changes based on things I read here. Sorry to not give credit but I have started using the cold temp on washing instead of warm….haven’t noticed a difference in the cleanliness of the clothes at all. Started keeping notes on prices at local stores. Obviously Walmart is not always the cheapest. Several more little things. I appreciate all the wisdom here. Thank you Brandy and all the rest of you.

    1. Stevie, I think you are doing great! Pretty soon. all the things you are doing will become automatic, or as we say “the usual frugal stuff.” I’ve always said it is easier to save $1 a thousand times than to save $1,000 just once. The usual frugal stuff is how you do this.

  15. College daughter came home for several days which meant we had lots of homemade dinners with lots of leftovers. I made a trip to the thrift store by myself which is unusual. I spent several hours shopping in there as it was half price day. I hadn’t known in advance it was sale day so I used my time to my advantage. I’ve lost 50 lbs in six months and had no summer clothes for our upcoming cruise. I bought sugar cookie and myself 42 items of clothing , a beach bag and a suitcase for $71.00 . I was amazed to find everything I wanted. I continue to search and hunt items down in my house to scratch off my cruise list. Living with sugar cookie is like being on an Easter egg hunt every day. She puts things away and poof, they never reappear. I closed out my good RX gold plan. The new Kroger plan has even better prices. I paid $72.00 for a year of coverage for 5 people. They do not have to be related family people either. My prices dropped 80% lower than what I was paying on the gold RX. It’s really incredible. I strongly recommend checking this out. My 20.00 prices dropped to 3.00 for 90 day supply. A highly recommended garage charged me 18.00 to repair my son’s car. How lovely to find a honest garage. One of his battery cables was loose. They easily could have taken advantage of us. I bought a years subscription to curiosity stream for $12.00. I learned new facts about king tut. I listened to two new shows on NPR radio. They were much enjoyed. I was able to read two books from my stash. My memory problems make it extremely difficult to focus. Perhaps this is a sign my medicines are helping. I canceled the automatic subscription renewals on the $1.00 magazines I bought at Christmas. I redeemed a swagbucks gift card to buy sugar cookie wristbands for sea sickness and a crossbody bag for cruise. So far in 2020 we have used our heat 4 days. I used swagbucks gift card to send a gift with Amazon. Free shipping is great. My goal is to not buy groceries until my small chest freezer is empty. I am hoping a favorite blogger is going to do a you tube video and show me how to can meat. The grocery shelves here are emptier and it worries me.

    1. We signed up for Curiosity Stream as well. Watched an interesting documentary about Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannia, and how it was sunk in WWI. Congrats on your weight loss and great finds for your cruise. Mary

    2. Some years ago I was able to take a food preservation class that taught how to can meat and vegetables with a pressure canner, among other things, through the Oregon State University home extension office. Other states have similar programs. Perhaps there is something located near you. It seems like the class was free or nearly free. I think we had to do some volunteer time in payment. Canning equipment was also available to borrow. OR State also has free brochures that give the correct times for processing when canning that I use. They did a lot of testing and found that some of the old canning book times were not adequate.

  16. Staples sent me another coupon ($6), bought coffee that was on sale for $6.99. Last week they sent $5 coupon and I bought tea on sale $5.49.
    Made appointment for a check up. Will get the Dr to fill out my health form for insurance, this will get me a bonus at the end of the year for doing something I do anyway. It pays to check out your benefits to see what applies to you.
    Rearranged some furniture and moved around a few decorations for a no spend refresh of my home.
    Froze bits and pieces of leftovers to be made into soup. I may do this tomorrow.

  17. Frugal DIY
    I am in the process of boiling door hinges with baking soda. This causes the paint that they were covered in to slip right off. I have driven to the door shop twice today but I now have all of our replacement interior doors. Once all the hinges are clean, we will put up the new doors. Even though it took me 2 trips to get all the doors, it was cheaper than paying our contractor to do it.
    I have also spray painted the old yucky brass-looking strip above our non-functional fireplace. It looks so much better.
    I have painted our front door with paint that I had left over from painting the front door at our last house.
    We bought and planted 2 bare root fruit trees after researching which varieties grow well here.
    We got a huge load of free mulch from a tree trimming company.
    I have a chicken roasting in the oven, so I can sit down and take a break from my day of working on the house.

  18. Picked up a free double cheeseburger from Burger King for lunch one day.

    My mom sent over 8 cans diced tomatoes, 4 cans tomato soup, 1 packet of chili seasoning, and 2 carpel tunnel braces that didn’t fit her quite right.

    Used $5 bonus card from Mcalister’s towards lunch one day.

    I didn’t make my normal no bake cheesecake at Christmas because I felt like we had enough desserts at the time, so I made it this week since $ is tight because of the weather. I also had enough left from Christmas to make a batch of Rice Krispy treats.

    Not exactly frugal but our 2 year contract was up with Sprint and hubby’s phone was pretty much useless, so he went to Verizon(they have better coverage anyways). We got $600 in credits for our phones(mine and the 12yos were pristine, hubby’s and the 20yos not so much), then we’ll receive 4 $200 gift cards for switching 4 lines. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the gift cards. I’d like to save them for next winter when the weather is bad, but if they have an expiration date, I’ll probably apply them all to my truck payment.

    On the 1-2 “nice” days we’ve been having each week, I turn off the heat. (it’s been off since Saturday but the cold returns tomorrow 🙁 )

    The 13yo was home most of last week with the flu, so I saved on gas(my extra kid 3 days a week was sick also so I only took her to school last Monday)

    Sold a couple items and made $8.

    Repaired 2 pairs of pants

    1. Where did you find a $5 Mc’s deal? Is that the deli? That’s our go-to place for our fancy meals for birthdays!! I’d love to find a coupon.

  19. It’s above zero today in Fairbanks. I don’t know that it was all of January! I wasn’t complaining too much because the windchill was -57 when I left Kaktovik this last time! They also have a virus going through which I was very happy that no one shared it with me!
    February is unusual in that I have 3 out of town trips. One to Barrow, one to Kaktovik, and one to Anchorage. We will take an extra day in Anchorage so we can do some shopping also. Even getting to a dolllar store is a treat! I will spend the most time at the large used book store.
    Glad that you are back healthy, Brandy. I often do not post because I do not have much to add.

    1. Alaska Gram – I love your posts! My dad was at Point Barrow in the mid1940s – working there. And in Anchorage. Your comments make it so real for me. I also love that you are part of this amazing community – some live in very urban or city areas, some in suburbs, some in small towns, some out in the country and some take public transportation every day. I just tells me that this vibrant community is connected through so much more than where we live – even what country we live in. So please keep posting!

    2. Alaska Gram, I’m like SO CO Mary, I love your posts too. I find the differences from the community here fascinating as well. I like hearing about your weather alone! At some point, I’d like to make it to your state, so please carry on posting when you are so inclined!

  20. Brandy, I love your cake stand! It is so pretty!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 6 times, including steak, baked potato and homegrown broccoli (twice); top ramen with leftover steak and veggies; split pea soup that I made with a hambone from the freezer; quesadillas; and Cajun chicken and pasta with homegrown lettuce for salad.
    • Spiral cut ham was on sale for 99c/lb. Bought one and cut it up into lunch meat. Also froze the hambone.
    • Worked 17 contract hours. Friday was my last day for now, as the upper management feels it is not needed right now. My boss took me out to lunch and gave me a $100 Visa gift card as a thank you for the work I did last year. I’m hoping the company will approve more contract work for me in the future, but in the meantime, I have a lot of projects here at home to keep me busy.
    • Brought home about a reems worth of scratch paper from work for my printer.
    • Got some great grocery deals. 5# of ground beef for 99c/lb., 3 pkgs. sliced cheese for $1/8 oz. package, hamburger and hot dog buns for 74c/pkg, and pork spareribs for 99c/lb.
    • Hung 2 loads of laundry.
    • Continued to use my cash back apps.
    • Planned my menu for the month.
    • MIL’s birthday is this week. For her gift, my husband fixed her truck and bought the part it needed. I sent her a card we had in my free card stash.
    • Darned 3 pair of sox.
    • I lost a button on a shirt and couldn’t find one to match so I took all the buttons off and replaced with some I had on hand.
    • Hubby sprayed the weeds with a concoction he made at home using vinegar and dish soap.
    • Harvested 2 more heads of broccoli and some Napa cabbage.
    • Instead of taking my son-in-law out for dinner for his birthday, we made a steak dinner for him here. I made his cake (and saved the candles) and gave him a card from my stash. After dinner we played a board game.
    • We don’t have cable, but a few subscription channels had snuck in on us (1 here, 1 there…) I cancelled them all and will save about $35/month.

    Have a great week!

    1. My niece gave me that cake stand! I love it!

      We find quite a bit to watch on YouTube. I also watch on Pbs.org when I remember! I don’t have much time to watch television but the children watch several shows on YouTube.

  21. Here’s how we saved money this last week:

    * Went grocery shopping and managed to spend $15 less than I had planned- a few items were significantly cheaper than I remembered, and the store was out of something that I decided I could do without, so that’s an extra $15 in our budget this month!

    * Made several meals out of a couple cooked chicken breasts- chicken alfredo pasta and pizza, plus chicken wraps for lunch. Not bad for only 2 lbs of chicken! Plus, I made the alfredo sauce using milk that was getting close-ish to expiring, as well as a bit of leftover half and half.

    * Pulled leftover tomato soup from the freezer and made some grilled cheese for my SO’s lunches for the week. Easy, cheap, and delicious!

    * Baked a few loaves of sandwich bread, which turned out delicious. It makes for delicious sandwiches, obviously, but is also a really quick and easy item to grab for a snack- just toast it and cover with butter/jam or whatever you’d like.

    * Used the coffee grounds I made cold brew from to make a second batch. I have to steep it a little longer, but that’s fine with me!

    * Read more of some books from the library on my phone (on the libby app!)

    * Went to the dentist for my bi-yearly checkup. The visit is free on my dental plan and I got a clean bill of health, so I won’t need to pay for any dental work! Plus, I got a free container of floss.

    * Made a large batch of chicken wild rice soup. I’m glad I made a large batch, because I got an awful tension headache in the second half of last week which made doing much of anything difficult, so having leftovers prevented us from having to order out.

    * Froze some leftovers near the end of last week because it did not seem like we’d be getting to them before they went bad.

    * Kept the apartment temperature down a few degrees for several days this week.

    I hope everyone else has a great week! I have a career fair (from my college) that I’m going to attend tomorrow, so hopefully that will go well! (I’d love to get an offer to interview…) Fortunately, that is also free to me, and I can use my free printing to make several copies of my resume to bring with.

  22. A friend called to tell me that chicken breasts were on a special for 99¢a pound. So my daughter and I ran over. We got 44 pounds. I help an elderly man. He treated me to lunch one day. The other 3 days I ate at his house what I cooked him. He insists I eat with him. He wanted me to throw away some spotty bananas and milk that was going to expire. I told him I could use it for cooking so I brought it home. I brought him some cookies and pancakes that I baked at home. When I went food shopping for him, I found a red onion in the cart in the parking lot. My son loves red onions. Hubby bought a new to us truck. We have been making car payments to ourselves the last few years. We paid cash for the truck. I made big pots of chili and rice for the Superbowl. We stayed home to watch it. I always throw in double the beans that the recipe calls for. We used peppers that I froze from my garden. I froze 2 containers for easy future meals. Hubby wanted Chinese for dinner one night so we made it instead of getting takeout. We have been rearranging and decluttering. Hubby brought a pair of shoes from about 8 years ago to work He had sprained his ankle so I bought 2 pairs in different sizes. He only wore the wrong size at work for about a month. He gave them to a guy at work. The guy brought 2 pairs of sneakers that his brother didn’t like that he got for Christmas for us. They fit my son. Win for both of us. Went to a friend’s house to watch a movie. It was last minute. I wanted to bring something but didn’t have time to make something. Hubby grabbed a bottle of wine that we were given for Christmas.

  23. That cheesecake is gorgeous!! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were pork fajitas with corn, smothered chicken thighs with green beans and macaroni, cheeseburgers with homemade french fries, hot dogs with chips, grilled chicken with brown rice and roasted broccoli, ham and cheese sliders with salsa/chips.
    *Made 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies for the Wednesday night groups at church. Saved the leftovers for us. I baked these while I was baking chicken thighs to save on electricity.
    *Bought butter at 1.99/lb (limit of 5) and blsl chicken breasts for 1.99/lb.
    *Sent a birthday card from my stash.
    *I helped a friend pack up her office (her employer is moving to a new location) and she bought my breakfast.
    *Accepted free blueberry and cinnamon biscuits from another friend who dropped by my work.
    *My husband grilled a large batch of chicken for dinner Saturday night. We ate from it and then took the leftovers along with brown rice and roasted brussel sprouts to a friend of ours who just had open heart surgery.
    *Cooked a ham from the freezer and used that to make ham and cheese sliders for the Super Bowl party we held. Also made homemade salsa (with chips) and cracker toffee. Everyone brought food to share and there was plenty!
    *Wrapped a pack of blank notecards I had to send in a sunshine basket for a friend who just had back surgery.

  24. Brandy I am glad you have found an updated cheesecake recipe that works better for you, have picked lovely produce from your gardens and got some new clothing on special to suit your needs. There is something so relaxing about working out in the gardens whether it be weeding, planting or harvesting 🙂 .

    Our savings last week added up to $120.77 🙂 .

    Free samples –
    – Got a 300g bag of mixed lettuce, cabbage and carrot salad and a 250g of shredded cheese free for being a supermarket taste tester saving $7 over purchasing them.

    Internet listings and earnings –
    – Listed 26 items on an eBay free listing promotion saving $42.90 on usual listing fees.
    – I earned $8 from the sale of dried thyme from my previous gardens.
    – DH earned $90 from a mowing garden job.

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

    – Bought on special 1 x 6pk of Jumbo rolls and 1 x 6pk of mixed grain jumbo rolls for $1 per packet, 3 x 420g of sultana bran for $2.47 ea, 200g of sliced mushrooms for $1.82, 1 x 8.5w led bulb, 2 x old gold chocolate bars for $3 ea, 1 x kelloggs 805g box of nutrigrain for $4.25 saving $25.97 on usual prices.
    – Purchased 1 x 6pk packet of fruit buns and 400g of sliced button mushrooms on markdowns saving another $4.81 on usual prices.
    – Bought a 5lt bottle of fuel preservative on eBay using a promotional code saving 15% or $35.75 on prices we pay locally for it here.

    Home deep cleaning –
    – Used save rainwater to clean half of the kitchen and 1 side of the house windows outside.
    – Polished the stainless steel bench, stove and sink with methylated spirits and water 50/50 mix.

    Gardening –
    – DH sprayed the whole property for weeds using 120 litres of saved rainwater from runoff from our back patio from the overfull swimming rainwater tank.
    – We watered the vegetable patch by hand one night also using the saved rainwater from the tank.
    – All potted fruit trees were watered all week with saved rainwater from runoff off our tank stand shed roof.

    Have a wonderful week ahead :).


    1. Lorna, I am so happy to hear that you have enough water to clean as well as to water your garden!

      1. Thank you Brandy it is such a blessing to have more water available to us to clean and water gardens with 🙂 and to see the creek full of water at the back of our property. We have rain predicted for the next week and good falls by the looks of it so it is the perfect time to deep clean the home and not use any water from our home connected rainwater tanks.

        Up until now we were reticent to use our tank water not really knowing how much we were using until we checked the tank level of the tank we were drawing water out of for the home. It turns out that on checking it that we had only used a third of the 5000 gallons in a year. We are a bit more relaxed now about our frugal water usage but are still mindful that we are nowhere near out of drought yet or having our severe water restrictions lifted shortly.

        Have a great week ahead :).


      2. Like Brandy, I’m so relieved that your water situation has improved where you are. I hope that that is the case in the other parts of Australia that were so parched as well. Those fires looked just horrific.

  25. It hasn’t been too bad a week – I have paid all the first of the month bills, purchased my monthly transit pass and stocked up a bit using $30 worth of Loyalty Points. I didn’t need a lot of regular groceries but did want to fill in a few gaps in the pantry. I bought jam, honey, more peanut butter and a few packages of crackers & crisp breads. I don’t buy bread much anymore but like to have a few bread-like things – just in case.

    I made soup and chilli and cooked up a batch of peppers as they were starting to get a bit wrinkly. I’m hoping to use up a lot of apples this week = a crumble would be nice.

    Finished 1 library book and watched Netflix for entertainment. I went to see a one man show at my church on Saturday night – a presentation called “Stitched Glass” and presented by Kirk Dunn – the Knitting Pilgrim. He spent 15 years knitting three 5′ x 9′ panels representing the three Abrahamic religions. He has been doing a lot of touring with this one man show and it is quite amazing. You can google him – he has a good website. I had seen it first in the summer but was happy to go again. 350 people turned up so we were all very pleased – and my ticket was only $5.00!

    I kept busy with my Saturday language class and with my free online course – not enough time in the week!

    I took Friday off as one of my step-sisters had surgery on Wed. and I wanted to go and visit her. She was here in Toronto as they had to coordinate two surgeons and it was easier to arrange it here rather than in her suburban hospital. She really didn’t want a lot of visitors and told even her husband to just wait until she was ready to come home as they live out in the country, it’s lambing season and she didn’t want him to have the stress of driving in downtown Toronto. I went to see her in the morning – then went to see two exhibits at the museum (I have a yearly pass so no extra cost) – I did take myself out to lunch as a treat – had a walk and then went back to the hospital – a busy day but a nice break from the office.

    Enjoyed a Lunar New Year lunch at church put on by a number of our congregants – the decor and the food was wonderful and it was more of a lunch than just the usual coffee and treats!

    I had good intentions of giving my apt. a really good clean this past week but didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped. I need a better incentive – I will have to invite friends over – that is usually a good push to get things done! I’m sure a version of that gorgeous cheesecake would go down well, although I don’t think I’d do as good a job as you Brandy when it comes to decorating!

    1. My son chose and purchased the topper and told me he wanted to decorate his own cake with them! I thought he was just buying bulk candy! So he decorated it himself!

      I agree with you about inviting people over. It’s such a great incentive to keep going!

  26. Oh too bad u didn’t catch the leggings on sale for 75%off at Wal-Mart after christmas..they were wild and funky..lol..i got several and wear them around the house.got coffee for a dollar a box..really good deals
    Im set for nect year

    1. I’m not really a fan of leggings, myself 🙂 but I’m glad that worked out for you!

      1. I loved, loved, loved leggings…until I saw a picture of my rear and thighs in a vacation photo. HA! Now I wear them around the house but not in public. I envy women who can wear them and look good.

        1. Mable you have me laughing 🙂 .

          I wear tights under my dresses and skirts in winter to keep my legs warm and sometimes around the home but not out of the home. People tell me I do have the figure for them but quite frankly I think of tights as an under clothing item for warmth more so and not a wear out item.

          Have a great week :).


    2. Diana – I bought footless tights/leggings at WalMart a year ago on sale. Interesting colors and patterns. I wear them as pj bottoms in the winter as we keep our house cool, especially at night. Okay – so one friend called it the meat locker but we are much more comfortable in layers and lap blankets when sitting than paying a LOT more in propane costs. I do wear heavy tights under skirts as I prefer them to pantyhose. Many years ago I friend said “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” when talking about leggings. I have now move into that category as I also have seen a picture of myself and realize that shipped has sailed. Thank heavens for loose yoga and exercise pants!

  27. That cheesecake is gorgeous, Brandy! If you would share the recipe, I would be interested. Did you make a monogram with the different colored candies? A neat idea, even if it made cutting difficult.

    Busy week last week and I did not save as much as I would have liked! We worked hard in January trying to change some spending habits and plugging a “leak” (for lack of a better term) in our “miscellaneous” spending. We had a $452 plumbing issue early in the month that made us go over by $50.12 and also made us realize that we did not have a “home repairs” category in the budget. We now have a “home repairs” category that we filled with an unexpected bonus check from work. And we resolved to end up in budget in February – “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”, as they say.

    Here’s the link to my frugal savings from last week: http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2020/02/frugal-friday-last-week-of-january-2020.html
    I realized when we went to the library that I use the online site quite often – I asked the librarian for assistance with an inter-library loan (I had never requested a book that way before) and recited my library card number from memory when asked. She laughed and said “I see you love to read.” My son, who has had his library card number memorized since he was 9 (he’s 14 now), was very proud of me!

    Blessings on your week everyone,

    1. My son did the monogram and put the candies on top. He went with me to the store and bought the candy from the bulk section. I thought he was just buying candy. He then said that he bought those candies to put on top of his cake, and he made a monogram on the top with the silver ones. Because they are round, they rolled off while cutting! But they were still very pretty and I would seriously consider using them again. They had them in all sorts of colors. I think they would be pretty around the edges. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He just asked me to make a cheesecake and then started thinking about it after he brought the candy home.

  28. Cooked at home for almost every meal. I made a vegetable soup, then added sausage the next day. (Both my son and husband had asked where the meat was. The Sausage was only 98 cents.) I also made a lentil soup, A chicken curry over rice, eggs, sausage, country ribs, swiss chard, oranges, apples and raspberries for 69 cents a box. Chicken was bought for 69 cents a lb. and frozen for when I needed it.
    We have been watching for sales to fill our pantry and freezer. Only buying amazing sales when we can find them. My husband even called to find out when the salad would be on sale. We have been shopping at a couple stores, buying loss leaders at both. We also go to an ethnic store to buy spices.
    Borrowed movies and books from the library.
    Enjoyed beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
    One day drove out of the fog to see a beautiful sunset. It was wonderful! My husband and I were in awe.
    Bought two blouses at a thrift store.
    Made homemade hand sanitizer.

  29. My frugal news is I will be starting to work 3 days per week caring for 8 month old triplet boys and their 2 year old brother. That should keep me hopping and provide plenty of extra exercise and savings for the bank. I just returned from a fairly frugal and warm trip to visit my sister in Argentina-free food and accommodation for 2 weeks and the airfare was the best I have seen-plus a $250 statement credit, 2 lounge passes and 25,000 miles( one free trip within N America) for applying for a United credit card.

  30. 1. I got to take home leftover doughnuts from a church event.
    2. My mom gave me 5 Redbox codes she had from buying Jiffy pop popcorn.
    3. We ate over at my mom’s for a pre-Super Bowl dinner. It was a potluck affair so I brought macaroni salad and roasted green beans to counter balance all the fried food:)
    4. My husband is getting to go on a retreat for free. Apparently someone had cancelled, but didn’t want the money back so they offered his spot to my husband. It’s a manly weekend affair with kayaking, hiking, and fishing.
    5. We have been enjoying warmer temperatures in northern Alabama lately, so my power bill has been amazing for January.

  31. Jan 28- Feb 4
    Planned meals from week- pantry is getting low! We’re getting creative
    Budget mtg with husband
    Stuck to meal plan
    Double checked reimbursements for work expenses. Found out we’re missing $250 and
    asked for that again.
    This week was hard to stick to a budget. It felt like the month would not end(and bring a
    paycheck on the 1st!). I need to work on pacing myself and patience.
    Attended a seminar at church for free
    Made cards for Valentine’s Day, niece’s birthday from craft supply stash
    Re-gifted American Girl doll dresses and accessories for niece’s birthday(and $5 bc
    she’s 5 years old)
    Used items from my stash for a housewarming gift; sent all gifts to my sister’s house with
    my parents as they were on their way to visit. Saved so much on postage!
    Hung all laundry to dry
    Used my stationery to write a note to a friend
    Fed chickens from scraps- did y’all know they’ll eat banana peels? No waste!
    Worked on a meal plan and grocery list for February
    Started a list of to-dos for each room and closet of the house- these are all projects we can do for free- touching up paint, easy fixes we’ve neglected, etc
    Traded/bartered for graphic design services for my small business
    My dad took me to lunch
    My husband did our taxes for free(he actually gets REALLY excited for this)
    Read two library books
    I always visit the discounted meat freezer at our local supermarket- I got some great deals to freeze for future meals!
    Harvested green onions, rosemary, sage and Swiss chard from our garden beds
    My husband negotiated a pest control contract for our home that saved us a good bit!
    Made deviled eggs for super bowl party- always a hit AND frugal!

  32. I am considering whether I want a new job or not. I could retire now from my current job, but it would be very, very tight. My work load is affecting my health. I am not sure if the new job would be less stressful or not. I think it would be a different set of stressors. It would also be a longer commute, with a little bit of a pay cut. I don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire, as my momma used to say. I would ideally like to work five more years, and then I know I could make it until the end of my life, comfortably, but definitely not fancy. Since this site is about being prudent and frugal, I am trying to do both and figure this out. I also don’t know where I want to live when I grow up…..lol. I mixed a cooked pumpkin with tomato soup and milk, pureed it, and added leftover turkey noodle casserole. It made a good vegetable soup. I also made beans. I still pack my lunch every day, just a ham and cheese sandwich with spinach and mayo. Very simple, but economical.

    1. Cindy, aren’t you the attorney? When I left the prosecutor’s office I realized I was under even more stress than I had thought. My hair stopped falling out, I lost weight, and I was not as short-tempered. And I stopped doing stuff like going swimming and seeing all the fathers with their children and wondering how many of them were sexually abusing their kids. I know some folks do the work for 20 years, but I was dreaming about the victims involved in convictions I did not get for their abusers. When I caught myself vomiting in the courthouse bathroom before a verdict I was afraid of losing, I decided enough was enough. I ended up doing adoption studies and custody investigations, moving to completely freelance as a way of supplementing retirement income. Perhaps you could find a way to retire but supplement your income within the gig economy. I have an attorney friend who retired and then did investigations for other attorneys–exciting but less stress because you don’t feel like you are the only voice for victims.

      1. I too worked with abused and forgotten children for a couple years before realizing that the stress (hair falling out, rising blood pressure, chest pains from stress, eye twitch, etc.) finally was too much and I moved into a reduced stress position teaching HS special needs students. As much as I would have loved to stay, I needed to transfer to a job that wasn’t literally killing me. We gave it our best Mable. Best of luck Cindy.

    2. Cindy, I would think long and hard before I would take a job that’s farther away (and you already have a long drive to work) and pays less. OTOH, you say you don’t know where you want to live when you grow up. (I can relate. I will be 74 this month and I still don’t know what I want to BE when I grow up). Is the location of the job somewhere that you might want to move? That would be a plus. I suggest you make a two-column list of pros and cons and go from there. Something else you might factor in is would a pension from the new job give you a second income stream when you do retire? I’m assuming you are currently covered by PERS. Do you have enough quarters now to get Social Security, too? Would the potential new job take you over the top for SS?

    3. Hi Cindy
      Love your comment about growing up –
      I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up ( I’m 60). I also didn’t realise how tired and stressed I was until I left my job and people kept telling me how well I looked – I was sleeping much better. Hope you are able to come to a decision about the future and I know it’s not easy if you think money will be tight but your health is invaluable. Good luck.

    4. Cindi, Health is precious. I hope you can find another job that will reduce stress (like Mable is suggesting). Your frugal ways will help. Sending you love as you study your options.

    5. Thank y’all!. Yes, I am an assistant district attorney for criminal cases,, and I have state retirement and we are also, in my state, allowed to draw social security because it is cut out of our checks each month. I am already vested and could draw this year when I turn 60. The longer I work, the more I draw in state retirement. I could also draw my social security in a couple of years. Mable, I totally understand. I have nightmares after some jury trials, especially murder cases involving a child. I decided against the new job, Max-again, and yes, you are right, the drive would have been difficult. I don’t want to move there. I am weighing my options as to where I want to live in retirement, as I have four kids in three very different places (two kids live relatively close to each other), and other relatives near where my oldest lives. I appreciate your thoughts Penny and Patricia, yes, health is precious. Again, thanks so much for your beautiful comments. I love this on-line community that Brandy has created! Since I haven’t grown up yet, I am going to stay put for the time being …..lol

      1. Cindy in the South: I am glad for you if you have made a decision about the other job!
        If you let on to others that you are looking at retirement or job changes, you never know what will come up.
        Good luck!

  33. The cake topping turned out beautifully. I never would have thought of that — your son is clever! I’m sure it was funny trying to cut the cake with the candies on top, but that just adds to the enjoyment of the celebration.
    I am starting to see some sales of things I recently sent to ThredUp. I have to wait to make sure the sold items aren’t returned before I see credit on my account. I have three items for which I am waiting out the return period before receiving credit, so far, and I already have about $2.50 in account credit from items the buyers kept, which isn’t much, but it was for two shirts that had been given to me for free. I use ThredUp to purchase at least half of my work clothes and these credits always help.
    I have another pot of bone broth bubbling in the crock pot.
    I have enough Swagbucks to get another $25.00 gift card.
    I fixed a stuck door myself.
    I made my own fruit ketchup, not in quantity, but enough for about a month for me.
    We received the scooter and its lift for which we had applied to the VA, free of charge to us. The lift is now on on our truck and we’ve been using it to transport the scooter instead of a wheelchair when my husband needs to go somewhere. It’s so much easier than hoisting a wheel chair in and out of a vehicle, especially since 5’2″ me was the one doing the hoisting. My husband is delighted with the scooter.
    My lunch today was a single serving of homemade stew that I had in the freezer, just for those days when I have no leftovers to pack. I try to keep something like that handy so I don’t have to buy anything for lunch.
    I’m listening to audiobooks from the library during my work commute. I almost had a failure there — I forgot to renew them, but the library renewed automatically. Whew.

    1. Jo, do you mind telling me exactly how you applied for the scooter and lift for your husband through the VA? My husband is fast approaching the point where he will either be wheel chair dependent or have to use a scooter. As it is now, he can only walk very short distances before he must sit down. He is a veteran but not receiving disability payments. Thank you, Penny S.

      1. Hi, Penny.
        My husband didn’t retire from the service and is not getting disability either, so your situation is like ours. I got information about the scooter from a flyer posted at our local VA clinic. The flyer applied to our local area only, so the phone number wouldn’t help you, but this is what we did:
        A doctor referral is NOT needed. You can get the number for the scooter/motorized wheelchair resource in your area (our resource was a VA office behind the VA hospital) from your local clinic or you may be able to get it online. You or your husband can call and request an appointment yourselves. We saw a doctor there as well as three techs, who evaluated my husband’s current mobility and his home situation. They approved us, yay, and he was taken to look at scooters and see which one fitted his size and needs best. They placed an order with a non-VA company nearer our home (our VA hospital is 2+ hours from us), and that company contacted us later and got more information. They let us know when the scooter and lift arrived, and mounted the lift and trained us on the scooter, all free to us. They will service it under warranty, again, free to us. Be warned, you must have a vehicle with the ability to have a standard hitch, so a truck or truck framed vehicle is best. If you have the VA mount it to a vehicle (which is free of charge) then trade the vehicle for a different one, you are responsible for paying for the dismount from the old vehicle and the installation on the new one, so if you think you might switch vehicles soon, do it BEFORE the scooter and lift arrive. And, in the event of a wreck, you will pay for repairs. They should explain all that to you. I wish you the best of luck!

        1. Thank you Jo. I am going to try and find out more about this and see if there is a resource for this available in our area. We live in Tn and our nearest clinic is about 65 miles away. The big city-Nashville is about 2 1/2 hours away. I appreciate you responding to my questions. Penny

    2. I almost always put our leftovers in the freezer in 1 serving size containers. I like a hot lunch as opposed to sandwiches most of the time and those are perfect for that. Since it is just my husband and me now, if I want to serve the leftovers for dinner, I just take out 2 containers. I also immediately put all leftovers in the freezer. If I put them in the refrigerator, they’d just go bad.

  34. Has anyone ever tried the laundry magnets that are used in place of laundry soap?
    I need to find some extreme frugal ideas. These would save money after a few years. It would also save me time in not making laundry soap.

      1. Interesting article, I had only read the Amazon reviews and they were all over the place. Thanks! I can’t even use the speed cycle on my wash to get my sons clothes clean. I will keep making soap.

    1. I’ve never heard of them either, but think that the more frugal thing to do is to wash clothing less often. Play clothing that are changed into the minute anyone steps into the house (adults included) really helps on less washing and wear and tear. Using aprons, bibs (on youngsters), and cloth napkins (kept in napkin rings for the person…the original purpose of napkin rings BTW) on each lap also helps. Airing clothing out instead of washing it is often an answer. Wash clothing inside out on cold helps clothing to last longer.

      My hairdresser also suggested I wash my hair less often…once a week. So far, no one noticed (well when I had hair) and my hair was in better shape. I also cut my own hair for years and no one was the wiser. I go to a hair dresser to have my hair colored because everyone could tell I did that!

      I always think that the most frugal thing I can do is to not buying clothing and keep what I do have in good shape. And definitely not buying new when things are really tight. Just some ideas.

  35. I went through my medical cabinet to take inventory. My daughter works at the hospital and a private practice office. She asked if she could bring some surgical masks home? Her supervisor said she could. We both added them to our medical cabinets. They are currently sold out online everywhere. We went through are food storage to see what we could add? We want to have some comfort food to add to our cache for a two week quarantine if that happens here. A local military base is bringing people home from Wuhan China. I don’t want to be one of those families that is not prepared Incase this gets out of hand here. There is so much peace in knowing our needs are taken care of be it fire, earthquake, job loss , disease. I planted some seeds and they are coming up already. I made little Cloches out of water bottles and put them over the seeds. This is the earliest I have ever planted. I am keeping a journal of my garden to see what does well with the early planting.

  36. Brandy,
    The birthday cake is beautiful!
    My husband did a tune up and maintenance on our riding mower to get it ready for the spring and summer. He said if he would have taken it to a shop the charge would have been $200. I am so glad he was able to do it himself.
    I decided I wanted to remove an upper corner cabinet in my kitchen. It was making that corner really dark and the counter space unusable. My husband and I removed the cabinet and my husband finished the rough wall behind the cabinet and now all I have to do is paint with paint that I already had. The project cost nothing but improved the lighting and usable space significantly. It makes the kitchen so much more pleasant to work in.
    I used a couple large cans of diced tomatoes so I rinsed out the cans and put them on my potting bench so I can use them to pot up some herbs. I will punch holes in the bottom of the cans for drainage before I plant.
    Other than that, just doing all the usual things we all do on a daily basis.

  37. Nothing out of the ordinary this week frugal wise, just continuing all the usual. I did save 60% on razor blades for my son at CVS by combining coupons & extrabucks so I was excited by that. Oh and I went to the dollar store and only purchased the 4 items I needed. Usually, I wander around & tell myself “it’s only a buck” & throw stuff into the cart. As so many have mentioned before it is the little changes we make in lifestyle & behavior that add up over time.

  38. Love the cheesecake birthday cake. I can no longer have dairy, which is very hard for me. I grew up on a dairy farm and my favorite foods used to be ice cream and cheese!
    I am new to this site and am ready to start on the frugal journey. But first I have 2 questions. Could someone please explain how you earn gift cards from Swagbucks? I signed up after reading about them here, but I can’t see how to earn them without buying something. I know I have to be missing the point. Also what is the flash food app? Thanks in advance!

    1. Welcome, Patty! Brandy’s website is an amazing resource, and the community she has built on her blog is so supportive.

      Re the flashfood app, I wrote a long post about how to use it, in the comment section on last week’s post (or was it the previous week?). Any any rate, you just need to download the app, find a store near you and buy and pay for items via the app, then pick up the same day. Meat is usually 50% off and there are huge mixed random produce boxes for $5. More details in that comment I mentioned.

    2. Hi, Patty. I don’t do a lot on Swagbucks (SB), but here is what I do. There is a To Do List on the left hand side. There’s a daily poll, search, discover, etc. These add up, and if you reach your daily goal (top of page), you get a few bonus SB. You can also use their search bar. I usually get one or two search wins a day, currently 6 SB for each. If you go through their site for online purchases, you can get significant SB. Every day has different specials. For example, with Valentines Day coming up, they have a pro flowers special today that gives you 1500 SB, the equivalent of $15. You can buy one discounted gift card a month from a few places, including amazon. You’ll see the discounted price when looking at the gift cards. About once a month, they have team challenges (you must join the challenge), and there are often great tips on the challenge page on how to earn more SB. There’s a challenge going on now. I hope this helps.

    3. Hi, Patty, I earn Swagbucks mostly by online searches and doing the surveys. Surveys are really hit or miss, and you must have time to do them, so I use lunches at my desk, down time at work, etc. You usually earn 25 cents to a dollar per survey, but there are some surveys that put you on a panel or have you do home trials, and those can pay several dollars — I made $50 one time for a survey reviewing new advertising for a local hospital. It can be frustrating to find a survey that accepts you, but some days, I have no trouble with that at all. You can also choose to download your receipts from a wide variety of accepted stores, you can do your online shopping through one of their shopping partners and earn “rewards” of so many Swagbucks per dollar spent, (but go through Brandy for Amazon!) and you can choose and print coupons for 1 or 2 Swagbucks apiece. Often, you can get a few more Swagbucks (usually 10) for using the coupons before expired.
      I do the office supply shopping for my employer, and I go through the Swagbucks site to go to the supplier. I then earn Swagbucks on my purchase, that show up in my account 3-4 weeks later. I earned almost 400 SB for ordering our company Christmas cards from Vistaprint because the SB earned is always higher per dollar spent around the holidays. There are games one can do, but I never do those so I can’t say much about them. Not everyone finds Swagbucks worth it, but it helps me with Christmas and birthday shopping, plus little things for around the house, like the wall mount spice racks I bought not long ago.
      I hope you will have good luck!

  39. I have decided that this year I will not be purchasing anything new for myself (second hand is ok though). This includes clothing, shoes and any household items but exempt are toiletries and any health/medical things I need. I have made two lists – one for items I might buy next year if I still want them, and the other for how much money I have potentially saved by not buying. So far this second list is about $400, mainly from deciding that I would just buy myself a replacement pair of prescription sunglasses and not another pair of spectacles that I often buy at the beginning of the year.
    Two friends and I are having significant birthdays this year (you know, the pesky one’s that have an 0 at the end of the number), so have joined forces to have a combined party for the three of us as so many of our friends are mutual. This will mean we will share the cost of the venue and catering, and one friend’s husband plays in a band so they will play for us for free, all we need to do is pay for their meal. We will send our invites through Facebook and I’m going to source decorations from a local “reverse garbage” shop which often has left over decorations from events.

  40. Hi,
    I wanted to thank whoever mentioned the Red Cross program that installs smoke alarms for free. I had good intentions to get more alarms, but never did, so I called. I called and they installed 5 alarms, taught a bit about fire prevention and escape plans and in 15 minutes they were gone. I am so happy. Thanks for the tip!
    Our family has recently moved cross country and began two new full time jobs, so my grocery knowledge in this location is off point! I have been very pleased to do most of our weekly shopping at the 99c Only Store at a great savings to our family on Saturdays. We are close to family now and get lots of leftovers and dinner invitations from them.
    I mended a sweater that had a hole right on the center of the back. I would say “darned” but I’m not sure what I did qualifies as that! There’s no hole and that’s the main good thing.
    Kmart went out of business this week, so I went in and bought gift items and other items at 90% off. I got several pieces of work clothing for $2 each.
    We did all the typical things lunches packed, meals at home, did our own repairs, planned our own project. We have saved for a patio and hope to finish building it before the heat of the summer. We enjoyed the warm weather this weekend and went to the lake. Enjoyed family invite for the Super Bowl.
    Thanks for your post and to everyone else for sharing!

    1. That was me who posted about the smoke alarms. I’m glad you got some! I don’t think I mentioned that they also provide an alarm for people who are hrs of hearing. It shakes the bed so that if it’s during the night and the person isn’t wearing their hearing aids, they will still be woken up. Apparently these cost $250 but Red Cross provides them for free.

  41. I love reading everyone’s ideas, and I love how supportive everyone is. The cake looks so professional. This is a good week for frugality for me. I was able to buy a new long-sleeved velour dress with store tags on it for my daughter for $5 at Goodwill because the Goodwill tag was the half-price color for the week. I also bought a cherry pitter that looks like new for $5. I have one pitter that cost me $20 when I bought it 40 some years ago; I probably paid too much:) My husband and I usually do food preservation together, so now we will each have a pitter. Other than produce, I am cooking from staple items that need to be eaten up. It’s interesting that food costs seem to be what most of us are trying to reduce. Maybe it’s the one thing we have control over at the moment while we work toward long-term solutions to other costs.

  42. I opened the doors and did the bedding, curtains and anything else I could get washed and dried on the line in the 2 days of sun and no rain we had.
    I turn our furnace off or down to 62 when we are gone for over an hour. We don’t have a smart meter on our electric so I just go out and read the meter. We have a gas stove, gas heat and gas instant water heater. Still Hubby says I will remind him to turn off the LED lights when no one is in the room and unplug the ones that are used as night lights in the morning. They are Christmas candles I changed to LED bulbs. Now we don’t step on the black dog (which Hubby broke a toe trying to miss the black dog in the dark a couple years ago ) I’ve washed bags and foil. Froze leftover bean soup.

    Daddy had to change nursing homes that put brother who is in charge in a freaking out mode that I dealt with. After a day of settling everything and such we went to the store , even though Hubby thought we had done enough that day. I save 25 % with coupons and sales and got everything on my list. Did a couple substitutions so I didn’t have to stop anywhere else and then came home and at the last of the leftovers in the frig. instead of eating out which is where we used to go to .

    I printed off a calendar and am writing down on each day what we are spending money on. I am looking for “leaks”

    Blessed be everyone… love reading all the comments and I check back here daily.

  43. I have been enjoying the beautiful Snowy Owl photos I took last Sunday (see the last week’s blog post for details). It was such a gift for my friend to drive me out in the country to search for them and then to find them!

    I also am enjoying the frozen Bergen blueberries I bought on sale. Such a treat!

    I watched some free programs on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). I have a break of a few days before I finish up at the archives. It is delightful just to stay at home. I helped a friend find a new dog. You would not believe how difficult it is to get a small dog — they are in such great demand. A lot of the rescues are imported into Canada. My friend got an older dog who is deaf but a real sweetheart. It looks like a good placement for both.

  44. Thanks for the inspiring cheesecake photo and wonderful tips.
    -Deep cleaning our home. We made a list and just keep going. It’s feeling fresh, clean, and cost us nothing other than a few cleaning supplies.
    -Completed our taxes and owe a minimal amount-so glad.
    -Made my own mushroom sauce for beef rather than purchasing golden mushroom soup-it tastes so much better.
    -Put up a few Valentine’s Day decorations and mailed Valentine’s to our grown kids. I repurposed a card front, attached it to a cardstock folded card and wrote a letter=sent it to my mom.
    -Enjoyed watching the Superbowl at a friends house. I made an appetizer for the Big Game and wore “vintage” Green Bay Packer gear.
    -Day light is gaining, 2-3 minutes per day. I keep the lights off and celebrate that spring is around the corner.
    -Went to run errands at a town 30 minutes from our home. There is a basic hub of stores and DH and I went with coupons and lists in hand. It has a nice Aldi’s and picked up avocados for .38 each-great deal.
    -Have been saving on our LP gas for the furnace. We just purchased another 250 gallons which should hold us until summer, when rates drop.
    -DH hand washed the car for $3. We have gone weeks with the snow and cold limiting us in getting the salt and sand off the car.
    -Enjoying warm tea and good books.

  45. My sister just left after a week of visiting. I am quite a bit older and when she was in her troubled teens, she lived with me and thought because I was an attorney, I was rich. (And she was a handful, lying, stealing, using drugs. God forgive me, I sometimes wanted her to just not be there—not die, but just disappear for a time to give me a break.) What she didn’t know until a few years ago was that when I got cancer I had to quit work and withdraw my retirement to pay for what insurance would not cover, so my retirement is only $450 a month. My husband gets social security but it is not a huge amount. So, since she married a very wealthy man, she is always trying to make my life easier. This time she left and I found gift cards for Safeway, Starbucks and Walgreens hidden in different places, with little notes of affection attached. And then the real kicker—today we had oil delivered and I called to pay by credit card and I found out she had called the oil company to find out what we paid last year to heat our house and she paid them that amount to cover 2020’s costs. We have enough to live on and while appreciate beyond measure the monetary boost, honestly the greater gift to me is knowing that (and I would not have predicted this from her teen years) she ended up such a kind and generous person, despite being born drug addicted and then abused. I was thinking to myself that we were overspending our food budget this month to try and make sure we ate the foods she likes, and going on activities that cost us money we would not normally spend. So, we were not frugal but we were certainly blessed this week. And it is a good reminder that troubled teens can end up working their way out of it, even if it takes longer than one might wish!

    1. Hi Mable

      Thanks for sharing about your sister. That is so sweet of her to leave gift cards hidden and pay for your oil.

  46. Brandy, your cheesecake looks yummy, please wish your son a very happy birthday for me!
    I’ve found a quickie, crustless, no bake cheesecake type dessert that I love for those sudden cravings for cheesecake. I make it sugarfree so that it helps me stay in the lower carb zone. (There’s a second, similar recipe that I ‘m interested in trying at some point for comparison.) I haven’t baked a cheesecake since finding that recipe, lol~ it appeals to the lazy cook in me!

  47. Well, it has been quite a while since I’ve posted here! Life just got in the way, a lot of things going on, and I just didn’t make time to post although I still read the wonderful comments. This week I’ve been strict on myself about sticking to the budget. Earned a $50 Amazon gift card through my health insurance, and used it to stock up on some household necessities. Shopped grocery store sales and stuck to my list.. Been good about keeping the pantry and freezer stocked to avoid eating out. Unfortunately I did have a couple of large expenses come up (emergency root canal and crown, doctor visit for bronchitis, and another medical bill), but I was able to cover them, so I’m thankful for that. Been cooking and eating meals at home as much as possible. Last night we cooked salmon filets with rice pilaf and a romaine salad, which was delicious. Tonight I may do pasta and meatballs. Also bringing my lunches, snacks, and coffee to work. I’ve moved into a new office after a promotion, and have been able to decorate my office with things I already owned. Got a free small cabinet from the curb/trash. Cleaned it up and it looks great in the living room, and makes a perfect spot for a fan I previously didn’t have a spot for. Also got a nice lamp and an expensive Apple speaker that someone had thrown out! Totally usable items! I was happy to take them. I hope everyone has a great week and stays well.

  48. I finished pulling grass from my garden areas, bought 8 bags soil, planted 200 onion plants, put sprouting potatoes in the kitchen window until I can plant them this weekend, started seeds indoor for 2 kinds of tomatoes and 3 kinds of peppers, bought more little planting cups at Dollar Tree to start 3 kinds of squash seeds, and planning to build 2 more raised beds in the coming weeks.
    At the thrift stores: I bought two long sleeve white shirts for grandson to wear as part of the requirement for his high school culinary arts competition, saving myself $30 over buying new. I bought a large, stainless steel kitchen utensil holder for $2 to replace one of mine that is too small. I will give the smaller one to my grandson.
    I continue to mend worn clothing and alter high quality, thrift store clothing to fit us. I alternate shoes most days to cut down on wear and tear. For face powder I mixed cornstarch and cocoa and find it works very well.
    I baked all our breads, and baked several recipes for a needy family. I cooked and froze several pounds of dried beans, stocked up on some sales items such as flour, sugar, peanut butter, and tomato paste, made and froze seasoned patties from ground turkey (some for sausage and some for burgers) and precooked and froze ground turkey crumbles for stews and chilis. To keep from buying onions, I used my home-dried onion tops in beans and soups. This weeks dinners include: White Bean Chili with green chiles and potatoes, Leftover Refried Beans and Rice with Turkey Tacos, leftover turkey taco meat in Impossible Taco Pie (crustless quiche,) Carrot and Broccoli Stir Fry on brown rice, Mushroom Cashew Alfredo Pasta, Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, and Orange Cranberry Scones.

  49. It was a good, frugal week.
    This week, I stopped in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, basically a thrift store for building supplies. They didn’t have the appliance I was looking for, but I did buy some cases of toilet paper that must have been donated by a hotel. There’s not a center cardboard tube in the middle, so I’m going to have to rig something up. It was super cheap, about .10/roll! A couple of weeks ago I bought 200 of the hotel size bar soaps and liquid shampoos for $5. Lots of packaging, but very inexpensive per ounce.
    We ate a lot of inexpensive meals at home.
    I went to several grocery stores to buy the loss leaders. Fortunately, they weren’t too far out of the way.
    My friend loaned me her Sam’s card, but I really couldn’t find anything I needed. Aldi is cheaper for us, for most of the things we buy.
    I sprinkled baking soda on the rug to help with the odor from where my daughter vomited.
    We are enjoying a lot of great books from the library.
    I made many breakfast tacos for quick and easy breakfasts from the freezer, plus ham and cheese sandwiches that will be easy to go from freezer to lunch box.
    My son had a fun and inexpensive birthday party. The kids ran around a local playground with Nerf guns, and I bought pizza using a Domino’s groupon from a while back. The weather was sunny and in the 60s, and we also enjoyed homemade cake. Several kids from his class were able to come.
    I used baking soda, Dawn, and peroxide on some stained items.
    I sold some items from the thrift store on FB marketplace for profit, and picked up a few more to list.
    Strawberries are currently .99/#, so we’ve been enjoying those. My kids can go through them quickly, though.
    I packed a picnic dinner for the kids when we were out close to mealtime, which made the errands a little easier.
    My dad is kindly changing a tire tube for us on my son’s bicycle.

  50. I made a huge amt. of veggie beef soup using some wilted potatoes, carrots, & celery. I added canned green beans, corn, & peas & left over steak. It turned out tasty. I sent a large container to a lady at church who is convalescing from surgery, a jar to my work friend, & the rest hubby & I will eat. Amazing what you can rehabilitate in the crockpot. A lot of soup for a low cost.
    Went to movie with hubby using a voucher I earned w/ coke reward points. I had a birthday offer for a free lg drink & popcorn at the AMC theater so a bargain movie night.
    My school had no in house cafeteria so I take my lunch every day to work. (I’ve been chipping away at the lg. amt of soup I made.)
    I’m going to a conference this month. I used some hotel points to pay for my room. The hotel provides a free breakfast.
    I read several books online using the Open Library. They have many books that are digitized. You can check them out & read on your tablet. No cost.

  51. Thanks for posting this. McGill is the pre-eminent university in Canada, so it is a reliable source of information.

    The article points out that water cleans quite well on its own. One of the things I remember from Biology 100 is “water is a powerful solvent.” Aimee, try soaking your son’s clothing overnight, either in the machine, or in a bucket with soap/detergent added. When I was growing up, soaking was the only way we had to attack set-in dirt and stains, and it still works. If you soak in a bucket, add the soaking water and soap directly to your washing machine.

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