I read two e-books from the library by author Katherine Center: What You Wish For and The Bodyguard.

I harvested eggplant, parsley, lemons, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, and Swiss chard from the garden.

One of my garden goals has been to always have something ripe in the garden to eat. I decided on the first day of the year to see if I can challenge myself to harvest something from the garden every day of the year this year. I am posting a picture of at least one edible thing that I harvest from the garden each day on my Instagram account.

I used water leftover in drinking glasses at the end of the day to water potted plants in the house.

I collected shower warm-up water in a bucket each morning and used that water to water potted plants in my garden.

We had yet to have a frost, but should get one this morning. I pulled 5 sweet potato vines (these are decorative only; they don’t make food) from the pots in the garden, cut them and removed lower leaves, and stuck them in water. Our last frost is usually in 5 weeks, so I hope to overwinter these for our shorter than usual winter this year and replant them once it starts to warm back up. I have never done this before, but I would love to not have to buy these this year.

My husband cut his hair and mine.

I sent my husband back to work with cherry tomatoes from our garden.

I cut roses to enjoy in the house.

I mended a hole in a pair of pants.

The weather turned colder. We rolled up some towels and put them in the windowsills of a couple of rooms that were colder than other rooms in the house.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year.
    Mostly we had a quite holiday only meeting the family on Boxing day (26th ). We didn’t buy any presents but moved money into grand kids and daughters bank accounts . The family decided no presents as nobody needed anything. Most of the grandchildren are at college so money will be useful. It made Christmas preparations much easier. I sent the money I saved to a charity .

    I ordered and received my years seeds before the prices went up on New Years day. I will start sowing at the end of February.

    For british readers, Green King pubs are recycling sweet and biscuit tubs between now and the 11th of February

    I did an inventories for the freezer and fridge so when I went shopping I knew what I need. I hadn’t been shopping since the 11th of December so the fridge was almost empty and I needed fruit and veggies. I made yoghurt using a store bought yoghurt as a starter. I made nut roast.

    I have started the spring cleaning, so I am finished by the time the growing season starts. I have bottomed the kitchen and dining room so far.

    I have borrowed the latest Chris van Tulleken book from the library about UPF foods, it is very interesting. I had to wait on the waiting list for 8 months but that’s better than buying it at £23.

    This week I altered 2 blouses and mended the peg bag, which has split . My daughter brought me some offshoots from her prayer plant. I never buy flowers and use houseplants as they last a lot longer. I have an orchid which was bought for me when my dad died in 2007. It is still flowering.

    Have a good week everyone

  2. Got to love that Flashfood!! Giant Eagle this time!
    2 Bone in pork loin center cut rib roast- 6.63 pounds total = $4 (60 cents/pound- $2 per roast)
    4 Bone in pork center cut loin roast- 19.15 pounds total = $12. (63 cents/pound- $3 per roast) https://pin.it/3V2cq1i
    Regular price= $104.85. I paid $16. I Saved: $88.85, An 84% savings.
    I gave 2 of the larger roasts to my friend with teenagers, 1 to another friend, 1 to a daughter and I kept one.
    A week later, I got 5 boneless half hams (7-1/2- 9-1/2 pounds each) , using Flashfood at the same store, for $5 each. https://pin.it/7mBBUGA Their regular price was $3.79/pound, so the 38.85 pounds I bought would have cost $147.24 instead of the $25 I paid. Worked out to just over 64 cents a pound for an 83% savings. I kept 1 and gave the other 4 to daughters and friends.

    We have been eating all of our meals from food ingredients we already have. I made pumpkin walnut chocolate chip bread to take to a sick friend but there was enough batter leftover to bake 6 muffins that we enjoyed for breakfast. https://pin.it/6gGG2ex.

    There was a lull after Christmas to my quilting business so I took some “me” time to make a quilt completely from scraps. https://pin.it/24QIdJ0. Before I had a chance to quilt and bind it, a new client quilt came in: https://pin.it/5QUpo1X. Then a quilt restoration (which I don’t normally do, but only backing and batting were shredded. https://pin.it/1TvtIAE. The top is double knit polyester! Yikes. But it’s done and client was overjoyed. I still have 3 new client quilts here in queue for me to get done and my daughter has 3 of her own client’s quilts to finish. So apparently, our business is still keeping busy!

    9 days into the new year and we haven’t bought any food from store or takeaway! This is a big deal for us because if we are out and about or at home and worn out, it’s been easy (too easy!) to go online and order meals to go. We justify it to ourselves by picking the order up ourselves rather than paying a huge fee and tip for delivery. But it still adds up!! It doesn’t break our budget, but we made a commitment to try only eating in! Hubs even made dinner last night because I’ve been under the weather! He just went to my Pinterest boards and found a recipe that we liked. He was so pleased that he made it all from ingredients we already had!

    We did a quick upgrade on our fireplace after being miserable with the look of it for 30 years. And we did just for the price of two cans of paint! Here’s the before: https://pin.it/6BTyShZ and https://pin.it/31RFnqO. Now the after: https://pin.it/483UrjI. With the leftover paint, we will paint the 2nd floor north hallway. It’s embarrassing that a project that took so little in time and materials took us 30 years to get around to!

    This year, we are trying to make progress towards becoming more self reliant and being better stewards over all that we have. Each day/week they may be just small efforts but we’re hoping that by the end of the year, we will see major advances!!

    I hope that you and all of your readers are able to make those small but positive advance during what looks to be a challenging year!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Susan M- Thank you! It’s embarrassing to realize how simple and quick a fix it was for the fireplace fix! We should have done it years ago! The good thing is that it motivated us to find other quick turnaround projects to upgrade the house that don’t take much or any money! The 2nd floor north hallway wallpaper is being scraped off and the whole hallway will be painted with the leftover fireplace paint! That will also be a Win-Win!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. When two of my family members first started quilting, they made huge bedspread sized quilts for some of us out of double knit polyester squares. They were hot and so heavy! They soon graduated to using cotton instead, and turned out some nice looking quilts over time, but those first ones – Yikes, as you said.

      1. Jo- These is what the backing looked like when she brought it to me: https://pin.it/1NK81BbgE.

        I’m hoping she loves the transformation in person when she picks it up and pays! She loved the photos! I also hope that she doesn’t find more of these treasures that grandma made! lol! 😵‍💫

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  3. I did a deep dive into our eating habits and came up with a plan to cut our grocery budget, which had grown very large. I also started putting Amazon finds into a wish list rather than buying them right away. I will wait for a gift card or buy them if we haven’t spent the budgeted “other than grocery” money at the end of the month. I’m trying to use up or freeze food before it goes bad, and use up food I previously froze before buying more. I canceled Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited until I’m offered a better deal, usually in a few months. I can’t garden here in PA over the winter but I put my green onion stems with roots in water on the windowsill and they regrow. I may try to plant herbs that way and see if I can get some over the winter, I have lots of seeds and a small grow light too.

    1. I have been growing and romaine lettuce both from just putting the bottom in water. I do stick toothpicks in the bottom so that the whole piece isn’t waterlogged.

  4. We are now well into 2024 and Toronto is about to get hit with its first real storm of the Winter! I am going to work from home today and give the plows and sanders time to do their jobs before heading out tomorrow.

    I paid all this month’s bills online – except for the rent which is still paid via cheque – loaded my transit pass, gave myself a small allowance for the month and gave myself $125 for groceries for the month. I am trying to follow a Three Rivers style challenge for January and February where I eat from the pantry and freezer and avoid the grocery store. Since I don’t have a cow or chickens or live in a climate where I can still harvest food like Brandy, I do have to modify things. – SO –
    .I have inventoried and rearranged the freezer
    .I have inventoried, rotated food and reorganized the pantry
    .I noticed a few things that need using up sooner than later so moved them to the kitchen where they are front & centre
    .I am staying out of stores as much as possible since I am always tempted to buy something – instead I will make do.
    .I have made up powdered milk and mixed it with the last of the fresh milk
    .I am using up crispbreads and crackers and will make soda bread rather than going to buy fresh bread or rolls
    .I am using up canned fruit from the pantry as I have finished off the frozen fruit and only have apples left as fresh
    .I am incorporating more canned veg from the pantry as I stretch both frozen and fresh vegetables
    .If company is coming this Friday I will have to make a trip to the grocery store on Thursday, but if not – I will wait until the weekend when I will buy some salad greens and some other fruit & veg
    .I took two 500 gram (1 pound) packages of ground beef that were on sale, cooked up everything with chopped onion, added two tins of lentils and then divided the results into four:
    .made spaghetti sauce and there are now three packs in the freezer
    .made a filling for stuffed peppers (using shredded zucchini & grated cheese) and got three packs into the freezer
    .made a small pot of chilli with items from the freezer & pantry, ate some and added 3 servings to the freezer
    .added canned veg and used a pack of instant mash to make a cottage pie – which will be supper for a few nights

    I have baked two quick buttermilk loaves of almond & cherry and lemon & blueberry, using items from my baking stash. I then froze the leftover buttermilk to use later in the week. I will make a batch of oatmeal & cranberry cookies later in order to use up some of the piles of oats that I have on hand.

    I have had one social outing with a friend who really needed a “pick me up” after a rough Christmas season. We had a lovely lunch out (I used some of my allowance) and we enjoyed a lovely walk and catch up, so money well spent. Otherwise, I’ve stayed home for the past few days – I work from home for part of the week and then I caught up on household tasks. Cleaned and reorganized my basement storage room and finished the work in my bedroom storage closet so both are much tidier and more accessible. Took down this year’s Christmas decorations and then went through all my ornaments (I have a few different sets of colours that I rotate through) – reorganized them all which meant that I reduced the number of storage bins and they are also now much more accessible. Of course I finally found all the Christmas cards that I had bought on sale last year and couldn’t find this year so they have now been put somewhere front and centre for use in 2024! I knew that would happen…. Caught up on laundry and did a good clean of the kitchen. I will get through the rest of the apt. this week.

    I think that it is it for 2024 so far – seeing it written down, I think that I am off to a good start! Good luck with everyone’s goals and/or resolutions for this year!

  5. Thanks Brandy, and happy New Year!

    Inspired by your goal to harvest something from the garden every day, I’m trying that too. So far I’ve harvested a lot of zucchini (enough to share with others), parsley, basil, a few tomatoes, green beans, and Swiss chard. I have several butternut and green peppers that will be ready soon – very exciting. I also intend to plant something every day. This sounds far more ambitious than it really is; I have a huge garden with good soil in most of the beds but I don’t get to spend a lot of time managing and executing a well-planned garden, and rather than remain frustrated with my lack of progress, I will content myself to pop a few seeds in here and there or plant a sprouting garlic clove or sweet potato or whatever. It will be somewhat haphazard but I want to allow my garden to bring me joy, and as a not-very-organized person, haphazard works fairly well for me.

    I used rewards points to buy most of the gifts for an upcoming family birthday. The remaining purchases were very frugal.

    We wanted a family outing with a walk and a picnic, and we opted for a free park rather than the Botanical Gardens which charge an entrance fee.

    I’ve been careful to prioritize food that needs to be used before going bad when making meals. I quite literally check the fresh foods every morning and then decide the days meals based on those, adding other ingredients from our pantry stores (mostly stockpiled when selling inexpensively).

    As a family we are carefully monitoring our water usage. We have a tiered billing system, and I found out the first tier is almost free. The closer we can get to that first tier, the more we will save. With a large garden and a pool (fairly normal in South African suburbs), we will never use so little as to only stay in that first tier, but it’s worth trying to reduce consumption anyway. Our electricity usage continues to decrease, all in small ways – no big changes.

    We changed our cat food to a cheaper brand – they’re happy with it and haven’t lost condition.

    We accepted the offer of two wooden bookcases. Rather than paying to have them transported, my husband and a friend moved them using our van.

    Thank you also for sharing your goals!

  6. *It is nice to both look out my window at the snowy landscape AND to see your beautiful photos of garden produce. My version of harvesting something everyday has been to aim to eat the few things still in the garden (spinach, mostly), use at least one can of something from the pantry and to keep rotating frozen garden produce out of the freezer. I try not to wish the current season away but lean into it and all it has to offer. Good thing I live in an area with 4 distinct seasons and I love them all. Though, I will say the annual seed catalogs arrival in January gets my fingers itching to grow stuff. To that end, I am back to growing sprouts (one of things I do in spurts and then forget for a while) including teaching a class on sprouts for our homeschool co-op this week. I have a bet with my boys how many of the other kids will think sprouts are gross but I am going to try to prove them wrong. 🙂 I will ask the children to bring a jar while I will provide the cheesecloth, a small amount of seeds and a rubber banc. I will be reimbursed by the co-op for those expenses.
    *My youngest son taught a class on drawing in perspective to our co-op last week. He was the first to offer a kid-led class and we hope it will become a trend (as a result, one other child signed up to teach ASL, so it looks like he inspired someone 🙂 ) The cost to us was minimal – $5 for a pack of posterboard he used to illustrate the steps. The participants brought their own sketchbooks/paper, pencils and erasers. The confidence gained, practice speaking in public and leadership skill building was priceless. He did a great job!
    *Since we were sick the week before Christmas, we have left all of our decorations up beyond our traditional Epiphany Un-decking the Halls. My husband said the tree just makes him smile so up it stays. I have been pleased with how well the tree has lasted in our wood stove heated home – some years they dry out quickly but not this one. And, the puppy has left it alone which I was concerned about. A few nibbles on lower branches and her curiosity was satisfied. 🙂
    *We were very grateful to receive practical gifts for Christmas which we are now enjoying – gift cards to grocery stores, tea, handmade soaps/bath products, cookies, chocolate, clothing, home canned goods (I have a friend that makes the BEST corn salsa and I look forward to getting a stash every year), crocheted coasters, homemade dog and cat treats, and hand towels handmade by my husband’s aunt on her floor loom (so beautiful!) It is wonderful and humbling to be the recipients of so much talent and time by our friends and loved ones. It also encourages me to get even more creative with gift-giving.
    *We’ve been enjoying hikes in the woods and playing in the snow, all of which are free. Simple treats like popcorn and hot chocolate feel so comforting this time of year and lots of board games have been played and movies have been watched on these dark nights.
    *We have been working hard to finish our mudroom. The ground level of our house has been one big open room since we moved into our just-finished-enough-to-get-a-certificate-of-occupancy house 5 1/2 years ago and it just finally rose to the top of the priority list (and we had funds to do it thanks to bonus gift cards my husband has been receiving from work.) We now have a wall separating the mudroom from his workshop and beautiful hand-crafted doors under the stairs. I am not sure I ever appreciated how difficult it is to make angled doors under stairs but I do now! We are now working on the ceiling and electrical as well as changing the configuration of storage of outerwear and other gear in the space. It is nice to see progress every day and know we are doing it with no debt. The wall to create a separate office for my husband (on the other side of the workshop) is next.
    *The woodstove keeps us warm, dries our clothes and provides a lot of relaxation. I can just stare into the flames for longer than I’d like to admit. 🙂
    *My youngest and I have been using a wonderful free drawing app for lessons called SimplyDraw. It’s great and helped him plan his co-op class.
    *My youngest received a ukulele for Christmas from his grandparents so we will not have to rent one this next semester of lessons. I have also signed up for acoustic guitar lessons. Not sure if I will get a spot (the Junior Appalachian Musician program allows adults but gives preference to children) but am so excited at the prospect. My husband gave me a guitar 12 years ago when I had one infant and one on the way and somehow (!) I never found the time to learn. The JAM program is such an affordable option for music lessons, I hope I get the chance but am also looking at YouTube videos and just setting an appointment with myself so I actually do it.
    *We paid a large percentage of our HELOC off (the only debt we have, used for finishing our house enough to get the CO 5 1/2 years ago.) There is not much on it and we plan to pay it off this year. We haven’t used it since moving in, preferring to use cash, so it will be a good feeling to get that done.
    *Lots of plans in the manner of goals for the year – getting the chickens’ new house built, finishing the 2nd raised bed garden and fence, redoing the porch railing (we just did the bare minimum required by code when we moved in and now it is time to build what we actually want and will last), building another stand for more bee hives, perhaps building another equipment shed, and lots of planting food and flowers. I made two new beds in the fall for flowers and am looking forward to trying some new things in the spring. It is good to have something to look forward to and to keep the mind busy learning and researching in anticipation. To that end, we are constantly on the lookout (both in our stashes here and through friends, neighbors and the wider community) for used materials and items. Just when I think we may have too much stuff in our “surplus materials storage” – as my husband calls it – we find just what we need with no money required. Life is all about balance, right?
    *Hope everyone is cozy, warm and dry where they are and 2024 is going well thus far. Peace!

  7. Good day, prudent friends! Wishing everyone a beautiful and frugal 2024!

    Oh, Brandy! Your photos continue to bring me joy! The roses and harvested vegetables are so colorful and beautiful! Am hoping you and your family had a wonderful Christmas together and that your weather will be favorable for your garden this coming year!

    My word of the year is LESS and I started off the year by refocusing on decluttering our home – we have no real visible clutter, but that’s due to hubby and I being masters at creatively organizing items in hidden areas that enable them to contain way more than needed (not a good thing). The past several weeks I’ve gone space by space (drawer, shelf, cabinet, closet, etc.) and am in the process of donating useful items that we weren’t using. It’s been such a great relief to only have items we truly do use – and not an overabundance of “someday use” items. My guide in getting this accomplished is Dana K. White’s blog and book, “Decluttering at the Speed of Life.” My biggest take away from the process is finally realizing that more storage containers, or more clever storage containers, is not the answer – and, empty shelves or drawers are not a bad thing! LOL

    This past Christmas we scaled back on gift expense and placed even lower limits on spending.

    Relating to our Christmas meal, rather than my auto pilot way of baking an overabundance of desserts, I polled family and asked them to choose one of our traditional desserts that made the holiday special for them. This allowed me to eliminate several that I’ve made for years that really weren’t all that special after all. A nice reduction in grocery costs and a big savings of effort and time. This enabled me to have a calm and enjoyable holiday as well.

    *Continuing to do all our typical frugal daily routine items … larger loads of laundry and line dried, weather permitting; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; unplugging chargers and small appliances when not in use; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; bath water used to water areas of lawn; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; continuing to use small batch DIY laundry liquid.

    Thanks again to everyone for all the awesome tips! Wishing everyone a joyful and frugal week and an amazing 2024!

    1. By reading your post, I was reminded of a saying that we must stop organizing our clutter. It really spoke to me. I felt like I was cleaning and organizing and getting somewhere, but really… I was just organizing or reorganizing our clutter, which all remained!

      1. S –
        Exactly! That is so very true! You said it perfectly! For us, it seemed we were just reorganizing our clutter (useful items that we don’t really use) and finding clever new ways to “store” more items in our home in hidden areas … adding shelving, bins, storage units, drawer organizers, etc. … to hold more items. Even though it all appeared to be neat and strategically organized it was still clutter.

        Only when we began actually REMOVING the unused items did our home begin to feel really and truly like a haven. It’s so nice now to find just the items we really use as we need them (on shelves, in cabinets, closets, furniture drawers) without having to move unused items to reach them. It’s an ongoing process to keep things this way – I know now it’s a process that will never be complete … as things come into our home we have to be aware that things also need to leave our home.

        Of course, everyone has different comfort thresholds for clutter but, for us, I feel our home can “breathe” again now that it has the space to do so! It’s wonderful that you can relate!

    2. I just finished that book as well and have gotten started – we DO have visible clutter and it’s so nice to attack it

  8. *I am making sure we eat all our left overs. My son and I are drinking more herbal tea so I bought some blends in bulk. Meal planning around what we have. I am cooking from scratch more- one of my kids is currently gluten free/dairy free. The air fryer has been a big help. We can quickly cook him is own meat/veggie in the air fryer when the family meal has gluten or dairy.
    *I repotted a flower in a bigger pot I already had. I am trying to grow lettuce indoors during the winter. I already had the pots and seeds. I just needed to purchase a small bag of dirt.
    *For Christmas I got a diamond painting kit. I really enjoy it! I have been watching YouTube videos on how to diamond paint and economical ways to hang your projects once done. Using birthday money from last year I purchased a few more kits.
    *Every day decluttering something. The kids are getting older (2 teens and 2 elementary) and we need to use our space differently as their needs change.

    1. Certain folks in my area still collect polyester pants to make these quilts apparantly they wear like iron. Red is highly sought after. They are not my taste but are supposed to be very warm which for winters in my climate is a good thing.

  9. I love Katherine Center. My favorite books of her’s are What to Save in a Fire and How to Walk Away.

    I took everyone’s advise about succulents a month ago and now I have six strong rosettas growing in the shed. Excellent. I hope to pot them in large planters and place them around the fir ring we plan to make in a filled in pool at the century old river house we are renovating.

    I had a friend who was manager of OSH help me prune the roses at the river house. I don’t know anything about gardening. I would never have cut them back like she did. Good to learn.

    I used Google maps to make a “base map” of the river house. It is on 3 acres. I studied the “golden spiral” that landscapers use to design gardens. I printed several copies of a transperancy of the spiral with the dimensions of the front yard and placed it on the google map printout. https://ibb.co/tz90jsd, I created a few different “zones” with the same proportions. Now I have a general plan of where I want statues, what I can get rid , and what to keepto make it more pleasing. Right now I am still clearing out senseless rocks, rotten railroad ties and weeds.

    I have committed to a five point plan for weight loss this month: record food and post to a food coach everyday, no eating sweets at work or after 7:00, and 95% non ultraprocessed food. I will track my weight and if I lose four pounds this month, I will continue. If I don’t will start to track calories. My hope is to not track calories becuase It has NEVER worked in the past. I always become compulsive and then obsessive and then quit. I want a plan for life.

    None of these things cost a dime.

  10. I’ve enjoyed following along with your daily harvests on IG. So inspiring! And I think that’s amazing you just got your first frost today, although considering how much warmer our December was than normal just one state over from you, I’m not totally surprised. It’s been such a strange winter! I was able to transplant all of our hundreds of lilies in December, which is just unbelievable…last winter, we were under a constant blanket of snow from November to late March, with no let-up. Crazy.

    January’s typically a harder month for me, so I’m trying to actively do things to keep my mind busy. One of those is getting back on the meal planning train since we went WAY over budget for groceries in December. Already enjoying several balanced meals the last week has definitely been a big mood boost, even if I’m spending a little more time in the kitchen. Here are some of my other frugal wins lately:


  11. I love the thought of getting something from the garden every day. Being in Ohio that would require a green house or at least a sturdy low tunnel as winds hit close to 40 mph. this morning along with the sleet, then snow and now rain. If you don’t love multi “seasons” in one day, do not move to Ohio.

    All savings of any kind is getting divided 50/50 between savings and extra paid on mortgage(goal is to have it paid off in 5 yrs when we owe 25 yrs on it). Due to IRS change, I have to take a RMD from inherited IRA from Daddy. That is going directly to extra payment on mortgage.

    First 7 days came to $23.67 for cash back, $14.87 in coupons, $15 monthly reduction (changed bill from Hubby’s checking to mine thru membership when I turned 65) and $640.13 ins sales ($600 off vacuum I would not have bought at $799 but I have been sweeping the rugs in front of the doors with a broom for the last couple years. Charlotte’s hair killed the vacuum and a friend who did buy it at full price said it was worth it.) SO $693.67 was divided for $346.83 and sent to savings and mortgage, extra penny went to penny jar.

    I got 9 lbs of ground beef on sale with coupon. I made 3 lbs. into beef crumbles for casseroles, hamburger gravy and pasta sauce, 3 lbs. into sloppy joe (2 cups makes a nice size meat pie for us and 3 lbs. into taco meat. I let it cool and then bagged 1 cup servings into sandwich bags and then freezer bags. I have found that I can use 1 cup serving of taco meat for 3 crispy burritos and we are just fine. I already have hamburger patties(round) and meatloaf (square so I know what is what) patties in freezer.

    Laundry is on the drying rack (nasty weather for clothes line, I don’t mind freeze dried but second and third rinses by rain or snow are a pain). Tea pot on the wood stove. Baking and cooking for meals on wood stove.We had take out twice , once between several medical appts and the grocery store (I refuse to get groceries when I am hungry, Iwill spend twice as much) and another after 4 cords of wood was delivered and we had to get them stacked or covered due to crap weather coming it. Worn out for sure.We made sure both meals ate out included veggies(and not just French fries or deep fried veggies). We actually changed one appt to morning that is every 2 weeks so we are not out during meal times.

    Prayers for peace
    Blessed Be

  12. It was wonderful to see your blog post this morning. Your flowers and food are so colorful and bright. It is rainy and 27 degrees here in West Tennessee this morning with high wind and snow in the forecast. We have finally found a tractor and will be enlarging our garden this year, I also have big plans on a more dedicated flower space. I have ordered our seed. We had a busy holiday going between our families’ homes (all local travel) and spending time with each other. My husband and I continue to lose and maintained our loss of weight during the holidays. We did several free or low cost Christmas events and had a good time. My husband carried our grandson deer hunting several times and they loved spending time with each other. My husband has gotten back into wood working so he has been working several projects. My husband’s middle daughter is getting married this year so wedding talk is all the buzz. She has found her wedding dress so now we are on to the other dresses. My grandsons have been sick and one had RSV. We have been keeping them in as much as possible. The youngest turns 2 today. His party is Saturday and we have gotten him a tricycle like big brother’s.

  13. Sigh. Big kids are home and cleaning stuff out. I love that they get rid of stuff but I dislike it when they a.) give it to younger siblings b.) try to put it “away” in my storage areas. My son pointed out that there was a great deal of room in the small storage room. Yes, dear son, because his dad and I recently nearly killed ourselves off cleaning it out and all that was spilling out of it, and where did he suppose all of the Christmas decorations were going to go? He thought better of filling it up! I was happy that he got rid of so much and when he asked me about things I even kept some of it for other people. There were some very nice socks that never fit him right so I was happy to take those. It is a very hard balance between decluttering (one of my favorite things) and putting things aside for later use. I am stocking up a lot on used shoes and extra clothes (and have much in our pantries, closets and other places, food wise) because of the skyrocketing costs of everything. I rarely go to the store, mostly living on our garden produce (both canned and frozen but actually mostly frozen to clear out the freezers) but almost every time I go. I am shocked by the prices. We have many eggs because our chickens have been good layers…even in the winter. Honestly, we have many water glassed eggs too. This is their last year we will keep them. Also, I followed Rain Country’s method of dehydrating eggs too just to see how it works. Have a good week everyone!

  14. Hi Brandy and everyone
    It’s lovely to see the photos of your daily harvest, so cheering when we’re in the depths of winter in the UK.
    Since I last commented I’ve made two turkey, ham and leek pies with leftovers, frozen sliced turkey, sausagemeat, stuffing, bubble and squeak and individual slices of Christmas pudding. Inexpensive meals have been yellow split pea soup with ham and tomato, carrot and red lentil soup. I’ve used parsnips and leeks from the garden.
    I mended another dog drying coat and the cover on a dog bed.
    In the sales I replaced underwear, bought Christmas fabric, a cot quilt panel and replaced a garlic crusher. I sewed two more reusable gift bags with thrifted Christmas fabric and cut up Christmas cards to make gift tags and shopping lists. I found a cute polar bear felt craft kit greatly reduced in a charity shop and have updated the list I keep in my handbag notebook of all the items I’m looking for secondhand.
    There were actually two useful gifts in the Christmas crackers, a star shaped cookie cutter and a photo stand.
    Grapefruit were reduced from 47 pence to 29 pence so I’ve filled the salad drawer in the fridge and bought a case of satsumas at half price. I used a 10 per cent coupon off my bill in Lidl and the groceries were considerably cheaper this week because we are eating down the freezers.
    Stay safe everyone.

  15. Absolutely frugal FAIL – we purchased a used vehicle and the dealership cannot furnish the title on their end. It is becoming quite the headache.

    We’re also doing the 3 Rivers challenge like Marjorie mentioned above and we are also not homesteaders! We have a big suburban garden. But I do love to can and we have an abundance of jams and jellys. I have been making them into cookies and marinades. Its a good challenge to encourage me to use what what we worked so hard to preserve and to only purchase absolute necessities at the grocery (milk, lunch meat for the boys, some cheeses).

      1. Is that the Attorney General? The helpful lady at the BMV gave me the form so that is in the mail. Thank you so much!

  16. Hello!

    I haven’t posted in quite some time. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s!

    We had considered remodeling one of our bathrooms, but it was going to cost thousands. Instead, we repainted the walls and vanity, replaced the faucet and vanity hardware, painted the large mirror frame, refreshed the floor grout, and purchased new rugs and towels. The space was completely transformed for just under $125! I’m so glad we didn’t pursue a remodel! I had searched the Habitat for Humanity Restore for materials, but unfortunately, didn’t find anything. I found good prices on paint at Menards, and will get a rebate.

    I have received so many free offers lately from Social Nature including: nearly $50 worth of free manuka honey, ice creams, coffee, frozen potatoes, and various snacks and sweets.

    Whenever I go to Sam’s Club, I always check the freeosk. Last week I got a free sample of Downy and dryer sheets. Previous weeks I received a Cascade pack that had 3 pods, and various snacks and personal care products. For those of you who don’t use Sam’s, Freeosk is also available at some grocery stores such as Albertsons and Shop Rite. Just thought I would mention this! It’s kind of fun to see what they are offering each week!

    Found some Christmas clearance items that I will repackage for gifts throughout the year, mostly personal care and beauty items.

    Found a pair of Nike shoes my son wanted on shopgoodwill.com They were an amazing price and looked unworn.

    Discovered our library offers us free printing of up to 50 pages a month, including color. I have already printed a few lengthy documents and plan to print some color Valentine’s for my kids to use. Wish I would have paid attention to that service before now!

    Beginning to plan and start seeds for my garden. That’s one of the few activities that help get me through these dreary winter months!

    Have a great week!

  17. A good start to the year financially. I was able to put $500 into savings. There’s a couple of quarterly tax rebates (about $330) in January, and my utilities were low because of seasonally mild temperatures, so there’s been room to spare. I also haven’t had to hire anyone to clear snow yet.

    I’ve decided what projects I want/need the most in and outside the house in the spring and summer, so I’ll be saving for those. I am also setting aside some funds from February to April towards grass-cutting in the summer. I normally pay this entirely from the income in the month the grass is cut, but last year found it was a very tight squeeze. I’d rather not be doing very tight penny-pinching during the summer, when there are pleasant things to be doing.

    Grocery spending has been coming in under budget so far, averaging about $40 a week rather than the $60 I budget. This is partly because I had stocked up on cat food and cat litter. I am also not doing much stocking up now that winter is here, and I am including quite a few simple meals in my meal plan, like blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, rice and beans, and soup based on broth using bones from my freezer. Though I am not stocking up much, I’m trying not to let my supplies run down the way I often do in winter. I did get four cans of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup at $1.00 a can, which is a real deal these days. I got flour and icing sugar, so my baking supplies are topped up now, though I haven’t invested in large quantities. A special treat this week is fresh steelhead trout, which tastes like a mild version of salmon.

    I’ve put my Prime account on pause this month, which saves me $10.99, and also discourages me from any impulse buys on Amazon. I really hate to pay shipping, so it is quite effective at reducing my spending. A couple of days after I did this, they announced it would cost $2.99 to continue to see Prime shows ad-free. This pause may go on longer than I had planned to help cover that cost.

    On Christmas Day, two neighbours brought me a three-course Christmas meal at 4:45 pm. Since I had a meal planned (fresh salmon), I had a very festive meal on Boxing Day as well. One of the neighbours is very recycling conscious, and had packed the meal in a used box lid covered with aluminum foil. When I was pulling it apart for recycling myself, I took off the aluminum foil, folded it and found a safe place to save it. I haven’t bought it in the last year, because it was something I could live without, but I am glad to have some on hand for roasting garlic and for the occasional recipe that recommends it.

    The weather has turned cold now, and tomorrow it becomes very cold – highs of -26 C to -31 C (-14.8 F to -23.8) for the next five days, then back to -18 C (-0.4 F). I got some errands and snow shoveling done so I could stay inside, though it is snowing again today. Not very large amounts of snow, though, so not too much work. This will be a quiet month inside, tackling some projects and trying to keep the house in order. I hope everyone is having a good start to the new year.

  18. Lovely produce! I know you put in a lot of work into your garden, so I’m glad to see it producing so well for you.

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made my preservative-free white cheddar popcorn for snacks (smartfood copycat recipe – https://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-white-cheddar-popcorn/)
    – I cut open a face cream container to get the last bit out, and it lasted another week. I cut open a body lotion container transferred the remainder to another container.
    – made lentil sweet potato soup, homemade sauerkraut, and mini pizza muffins
    – found heads of broccoli for 25 cents and froze 4 heads
    – saved as many Christmas wrappings (boxes, bags, ribbons, etc.) as possible, to reuse next year, and bought wrapping and ribbon on sale for 60% off, enough to last for two years, I’d think.
    – ate from the pantry one week, to reduce food costs/save money
    – did some extreme couponing and, after loyalty points, cash backs, coupons, and discount codes, got 12 boxes of various Kelloggs cereals, 10 cans of Classico sauce, and a box of Silk Next Milk (ie. a carton of plant milk) for $6.25. It would have been free with overage, but the store didn’t stock everything, and threw off my game. I just followed the @coupon.couple on IG for how to do it. I was pretty pleased!
    – for NYE, I stayed in, but that day I went with my daughter to my sister’s condo to swim in her pool. I brought homemade pizza and homemade cookies. My daughter was super happy to swim and play and eat pizza (literally said, “That was so fun!”). Fun, and no money OOP!
    – I signed up for Chapman’s ice cream annual $4 coupon. Cdn residents can request one from their website. Once you get it, wait for a sale on their ice cream, and voila, you can get free ice cream (sale plus coupon equals free)
    – I refilled my ink cartridges myself. Huge savings over buying new!
    – I plan to start a small home daycare in addition to the part-time work outside the home that I currently do. I’m slowly gearing up for that, and found a daycare cot on fb marketplace for $25, in perfect condition. This will work well in my home, as I can put it in the nursery closet when not in use. I will also need another learning tower and a collapsible wagon, so will be keeping an eye out in fb Buy Nothing groups, as well as looking for the second-hand.
    – I redeemed loyalty points for $10 worth of groceries
    – I got a cheque for $20 from the Checkout51 app
    – my workplace got a lot of chocolate gifts from our very sweet clients. It was more than we could eat, so I took home some Hershey kisses, set aside the red and silver ones for Valentine’s Day, and used the green wrapped ones to make pb and chocolate cookies. I also took home some jellybeans, and will try to save those for Easter.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

  19. Happy New Year to all of you! Brandy I am glad to hear that your husband was able to come home for another visit over Xmas. My best find last week was 10 lbs of carrots for $2. We also filled up the gas tank on Dec 31 at 99.9 cents per litre at Costco, as we knew gas was going up 9 cents per litre on Jan 1. As well, the neighbour was going away for Xmas and brought over a honeydew melon, 6 kiwis and a huge box of Purdy’s chocolates-I felt that those would surely have lasted until their return but I gratefully accepted them anyway!! Luckily we had company as I need chocolates like a hole in the head!! After eating quite a few of those I got back on track to losing weight on Jan 1!
    My DH and I returned to our PT school jobs yesterday. The weather is supposed to be brutally cold by the end of the week(-30C range plus windchill) so we will not be able to take the children out to play-instead 2.5 hrs per day of indoor play after school. Dec was the warmest on record for us so now that winter has finally arrived the heating bill will be going up.
    We just renewed our Costco membership because even on gas and propane(BBQ) savings alone, that offsets the cost. I also book some travel and rental cars through them as their prices are competitive. We also renewed our National Parks Pass as we enjoy visiting the mountains and often take our visitors.
    DH ordered a new American Airlines credit card which comes with 50,000 bonus miles-which equals 2 round trip tickets. There is no annual fee for the first year-after which he will cancel it.
    Batch cooking since Xmas included: lentil and sausage soup, mulligatawny soup for the first time(a definite keeper), thai chicken, meat pie, ham and veggie quiche and oatmeal pancakes. Our fridge is full of heat and eat meals which makes the work week easy. Wishing everyone a frugal and joyous week!

  20. PBJ sandwiches at work for lunch, egg salad sandwiches I make for breakfast, and sunflower seeds for snacks this week. For supper, I ate whatever the kid wanted but I also ate collard greens. We had sauteed spinach, baked potatoes, green onions, homemade coleslaw since cabbage was on sale, spaghetti, hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade tacos, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I walked for exercise. I cut my hair, as usual. That is easy to do when you have straight, thin, chin length hair. There were numerous things I did, because of the kid, that did not save money but these are the money saving things I did.

  21. That’s wonderful that you are able to keep harvesting food. It all looks delicious.
    I did an inventory of my freezer and pantry and made a list of meals we could eat that would require nothing from the store. I also noted a few holes in my stocks and plan to fill them in.* I was out of canned beans, so I cooked a big batch of dried pintos and canned 7 pints for the pantry shelves. I also cooked a big batch of brown rice and froze it in meal-sized portions.*The cold temperatures were prolonged enough to freeze the last of the cabbage in the greenhouse. It never got mature enough to form heads, but I stripped off all the larger leaves and made a batch of cabbage rolls and put them in the freezer.*I purchased 3 pineapples on sale for a total of $4.50 and canned 9 1/2 pints of pineapple chunks – these would cost about $18 if purchased in the store.*I knit my husband a pair of wool socks from red and green yarn I had been given. I didn’t have time before Christmas to finish the pair, so I gave him one sock with an IOU. I finished the second sock right away and he wore them the next day.*I keep a running list of items I’m looking for at thrift stores. At my local store I purchased knives and forks for our camper (our old set has plastic handles that are breaking) and two pillowcases. This weekend I was away from home and spotted a thrift store in the small town I was staying in. They had better prices than my local store and I was able to buy spoons for the camper, a pair of men’s jeans that I will cut down for myself, and a wool sweater I think I can unravel for the yarn (it was $2, so worth the experiment.) I attended my quarterly retreat on the other side of the mountain and took food for lunch and dinner (breakfast is provided). *Came home to 17 inches of new snow. It’s a good excuse to stay home by the wood stove.

    1. Hi, Cindi,
      Several years ago i found two wool sweaters and unraveled them. I made dryer balls for the family, and ourselves, for Christmas. It was quite the process but i didn’t have to be perfect for dryer balls. I still have several balls that weren’t processed. I love this process of using something like a sweater for other things! I hope it works for you!

  22. Christmas was kind of minimal here. The teen was sick for two weeks leading up to it, and didn’t start feeling sort of better until the Wednesday afterwards.

    Since my washing machine decided to quit towards the beginning of December, hubby and I went looking for a replacement right before Christmas. I’m now the owner of a Speed Queen. I love it. I didn’t realize how awful my Maytag was. I was having to run clothes through two drying cycles to get them dry. Not now. I don’t even have to put stuff on the heavy dry setting. The washing cycle is shorter also. I’m going to be keeping an eye on the electricity bill to see if it drops any.

    Christmas was kept to a few wants. The teen got a couple lego sets, some gift cards, and a few art supplies. The boy wanted a new pair of skate shoes, and cologne, then I got got him some gaming gift cards and food gift cards. Hubby got a watch. Then there was candy and snacks.

    Gifts from work were consumable or usable…sweatshirt, spaghetti dinner fixings, a snack box, fuzzy socks, candy, muffin mixes, spatulas.

    I downloaded 66 kindle books on Stuff Your Kindle day

    Used points for a free Starbucks drink

    I brought home leftovers from our kitchen party…cookies, zuchinni bread, charcuterie stuff.

    Got a few things for 50% off Walmart after Christmas…a few boxes of chocolate covered cherries and gingerbread muffin mixes. Then I went back a few days after that for 75% off…got 5 boxes of gingerbread cookie mixes for .49 each, and jarred chicken and turkey gravy for .61 each. No more cherries though(husband love these, I freeze them)

    Used $10 off at Papa John’s

    Earned $1.20 from Ibotta

    Used $15 off reward at Petsmart. Also purchased a squeaky Christmas toy for $2.

    Sams has the 45 ounce containers of Dunkin Donuts coffee for 15.98, versus the 30 ounce at Walmart for 17.97. I got 2. I really need to go back for a couple more before the 21st. I also for 68 ounce containers of International Delight Carmel Macchiato creamer for 5.98 versus 5.46 for 28 ounce Starbucks Carmel Macchiato creamer at Walmart. Hubby hasn’t complained, so I’ll buy that as long as I can.

    The teen had a birthday, so we went out to eat. Not cheap, but it’s her favorite way to celebrate. Dessert was brownies at home.

    The teen also had the state thespian conference last week. We paid for that in November, so we only were out her spending money. She learned a few new things(she’s stage crew) and was able to see three plays while she was there(Mean Girls, Romeo and Juliet, The Glass Menagerie)

    I mostly stayed home the last couple of weeks. I was off work from December 22-Jan 3. I managed to watch a lot of TV, read 4 books, and finish an Audible.

  23. Happy and healthy New Year to everyone! I hope Tammy is on the mend and feeling better.
    I bought a lot of groceries last week. The biggest expense was a big box of frozen chicken breasts that are
    being stored in my friend’s freezer.

    The best special this week is on vitamins at 50% off (at Co-op). The large package of Cal & Gary’s blueberries is a great deal, also.
    I hope to replenish my supply. No Frills has decent prices on organic carrots, celery etc.
    I’m trying not to buy a lot of groceries. I am using my stash of butternut squash, potatoes, apples, etc. In the next couple of days, I plan on
    roasting a lot of the beets that I have and then will freeze them.

    I have watched some good classic films on YouTube. I really enjoyed watching the newer film, LION, free on CBC Gem.

    It was so mild that I was able to work outside at my patio table on the long-delayed photo albums. A friend will mail all of the photo albums, plus my great aunt’s diary that I typed so I could have a copy, plus a few other parcels, all at once, to save trips.

    Covid plus rvs plus flu are rampant at the moment, and stretching capacity in ERs and hospitals, so because I cannot be vaccinated I am really staying home. I am relieved that I had prompt attention and excellent screening tests before Christmas.

    I get great pleasure feeding the overwintering birds. I also enjoy watching the large white jackrabbit that visits the yard.

    The printer of our book again made, as a gift to me, a few calendars from my bird photos. This year I asked all the people who received it last year whether they’d like one but most people said no because they are no longer using wall calendars, only computer calendars. So I did not request as many. Still it is a lovely gift to have. It is smaller than last year’s but the colour of the photos is beautiful.

  24. I have not done much frugal lately… I put away some Christams decor and left out those with snowman pictures and images… made a point to get more of such. They are allright to watch through the winter. I do not want to see Santas, elves or images of presents or raindeers after the Christmas.
    I went on a Keto diet. Couple of months already. And intermittent fasting – I dropped breakfast – amazing, how much free times it gives! Has worked for me and keeps my mind busy.

  25. Happy New Year! We have all stayed healthy over the holidays which is a miracle given everyone around us seems to be sick! We enjoyed a quiet holiday season, although it didn’t look like Christmas with mild temperatures and no snow. We still don’t have snow and it is now raining. Definitely a different winter here in Ontario, Canada.

    We are having a no spend January and February. Groceries are only minimal with any needed being bought with gift cards or accumulated cash on hand. We have so much that really only milk and a few fresh things are needed. I have been heading to my local Giant Tiger to pick up clearance items when I am in the area. It is only a five minute drive from home and recently I have picked up a bag of lemons for $1, a whole chicken for $1.99, a box of baby spinach for .25 cents and a package of crumpets for .25 cents.

    Our local free groups have also provided some food for us. We have received an unopened box of Tassimo coffee pods, a pound of minced turkey, a tin of Tim Hortons hot chocolate, six packages of gourmet hot chocolate, a bag of Goldfish cookies, a package of ice cream cones, an unopened box of Twinings green tea pods, six granola bars and two boxes of fruit flavoured candy canes. We have also received a nice top for myself, a wooden lap tray, a Christmas cactus plant, three Yankee Candle votives, six men’s razors and a Christmas charades game. We are currently decluttering so we are moving lots of things along in the free groups as well.

    After a busier December it has been lovely to stay home and work around the house. Decluttering is satisfying! Our water rates are set to go up each of the next four years so we are actively working on saving water and reusing water as we can.

    Hope everyone is having a gentle start to 2024.

  26. I saved time and learned more by listening to Libby!!! It’s such an ear opener for me!
    I subscribed to PBS Masterpiece at $1.99 for 2 months to watch All Creatures Great and Small. Clean shows are rare these days. I’d appreciate if anyone has any recommendations. TIA.

    1. Hello Farhana
      I live in the UK but sometimes I think people around the world can find our programmes through PBS etc. You may know of some of these but just in case- clean recent shows include Death in Paradise, Beyond Paradise, Call the Midwife ( Christmas special and we’ve just started the new season), Murder is Easy, an Agatha Christie adaptation and The Madame Blanc Mysteries. The last one is very lightweight but set in the south of France and good, silly fun. You are safe with anything that has David Attenborough in the title, we recently watched David Attenborough and the Sea Monster about a massive aquatic dinosaur which has been discovered very near where we live. If you like history and documentaries look for Lucy Worsley, she presents documentaries about historical queens etc and Digging for Britain is presented by Prof Alice Roberts and the archaeology and history is fascinating. Gardening- Monty Don is about to present a new series about Spanish gardens. Children – the new Doctor Who was unveiled in a Christmas special which was great fun, co produced with Disney so high production values, animations were Tabby McTat( Julia Donaldson adaptation) and Mog the Cat,also a Famous Five adaptation.The BBC screened Sleeping Beauty if you’re a ballet fan and also several excellent programmes about Shakespeare’s life. I appreciate not everyone will want to watch things that are centred in Britain but you can ignore my suggestions if you like! Older programmes I’ve rewatched include Lark Rise to Candleford, Cranford, The House of Eliot, Ballet Shoes and The Darling Buds of May. We don’t watch anything violent, profane etc so although I’ve listed a lot of programmes we actually spend long times reading our books with the TV off.
      Hope you find something you enjoy.

    2. Not (as far as I know) on PBS, but on YouTube, (and not YouTube TV, which I know exists but I haven’t looked at), my husband finds British shows we watch.
      “Repair Shop” is fascinating: Three people bring in an antique item or family heirloom and the Repair Shop staff refurbishes or repairs it. In “Money for Nothing”, the host goes to the tip/skip/recycling center and chooses items, often furniture, to be remade and sold. “Antiques Roadshow” is on YouTube, as well as “Antiques Roadtrip” on YouTube and PBS. We also watch a number of British game shows.
      Also, “Jeeves and Wooster”, with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, is on YouTube.

  27. It’s so lovely to see your flowers still blooming! It’s finally starting to look like winter here, mostly brown and grey.

    I had a no spend Christmas, sort of by accident. I gave homemade gifts that cost nothing because I already had the materials for them, and I reused gift bags and ribbon from other years. I didn’t have
    to cook for other people, so I just made a couple of small treats for myself using ingredients I already had. I used the same decorations I use every year. I was grateful to get a new robe as a gift, something I needed and would have bought for myself otherwise.

    I keep a list of things I will need soon and want to watch for deals, like clothes and household items. I found several items from my list at very low prices thanks to after Christmas sales.

    I have challenged myself to spend no more than $100 for groceries this month. I spent $83 restocking the pantry and freezer at the beginning of the month and my goal is not to buy any more groceries until February, if possible. I do have a few dollars left in the budget that I can use if I need to. It’s going well so far.

  28. Happy New Year! Brandy, I love your daily harvest posts on IG!

    On the frugal front:
    I redeemed $5 Walgreens reward dollars towards a purchase.

    I mended a seam on a fitted sheet.

    I worked very diligently to use or freeze all holiday leftovers to avoid food waste and offset the higher holiday grocery bills.

    I did some bulk food prep. I made muffins, browned ground meats and chopped veggies for soups, stews and hot dishes. I hope this will help me avoid eating out – my constant weakness.

    We hosted a small dinner party and served the salmon our neighbors shared with us a couple months ago along with beverages, appetizers, sides and desserts we had on had. It was a no-fuss, very fun evening.

    I read Hello Beautiful by Anne Napolitano in the Libby app, Romney, A Reckoning by McKay Collins and Fox Creek by William Kent Krueger in the Everand app.

    HH and I made a steak and shrimp NYE dinner (from the freezer) with a bottle of wine gifted to us by my mother’s husband. We enjoyed leftover Oreo truffles from Christmas as dessert.

    I prepaid a summer bill early to save 10%.

    I keep the thermostat set to 65-68 which is plenty warm when moving about the house doing household tasks. HH, however, gets a little chilly when sitting at his desk in his home office. He has started wearing his lined pants to stay warm without turning up the heat.

    DD2 took a watch she received for Christmas into the jewler to have it sized to her wrist. I gave her two other watches I no longer wear to have new batteries installed and have them sized as well. She was excited to have two more “new” watches.

    I have been working part time four shorter days each week. I switched my schedule to 3 longer days/week which will reduce commuting costs without lowering my paycheck.

    I made gift tags using the front of birthday and Christmas cards we received this year. I also made thank you note postcards using the fronts of the Christmas cards we received this season.

    HH and DD2 took a short ski trip to CO with his brother and neice. While skiing is not an inexpensive hobby, they cut costs by booking inexpensive flights. They used HH’s parking reward points earned during business trips to receive free parking near the airport. They brought their own (used) ski equipment to avoid rental costs. They stayed at my mother’s home in Denver and commuted to the ski resorts. My mom very generously provided meals while they were at her house. They packed snacks and water bottles to avoid purchasing all meals at the resorts. They enjoyed one day of rest in between their two scheduled days of skiing by seeing the many free sights in downtown Denver.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats!

  29. Hello Everyone!

    Some of our winter fruits are beginning to ripen. I look forward to harvesting them in the coming weeks. We continue to have some tomatoes from the garden as well as leeks, hot peppers, and lettuces. When we had a break in weather, I weeded my beds and direct-sowed seeds for winter greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, and turnips. They may take awhile to germinate in the cold, but they’re getting plenty of rainwater. Although I’m busy, I’m trying to keep a steady supply of veggies growing! In addition, I am trying to obtain new seeds from Home Depot because they are less expensive than catalog companies, although I will continue to purchase varieties from catalogs that do well in my area. I save see where I can, except my visiting mother-in-law mistakenly nibbled my drying spaghetti squash seeds for next season. She thought they were snackable pumpkin seeds! : )

    I have begun to order less from Azure Standard. I do love that they run a family business and have high quality products, but I am finding that the prices on some items have become unaffordable. I was recently in a Trader Joes and found liquid stevia for 1/2 price of that offered by Azure and so I switched. By making changes to stores and brands, I have been able to thwart some, but not all, effects of food inflation. I received a metal tumbler and stainless steel straw as a Christmas gift. I find that it helps me drink more water and iced tea throughout the day. I like it’s environmental friendliness and it keeps me from wanting a canned or bottled drink, saving money.

    Using a pattern on-hand, I made another winter skirt using a brushed flannel purchased on sale. I purchased a long sleeve knit top to coordinate on sale at Costco. I plan to begin on a living room drapery project at the end of this week. I already have all necessary materials because I have procrastinated on this project for a few years.

    Before my son returned to school, I cut his hair short so that it lasts until we see him again. My daughter is reselling used clothing and outgrown dolls on some apps. She’s saving the money for college tuition. I’ve gone back to creating a monthly budget using Dave Ramsey’s free version of EveryDollar. I have more peace and fewer budget goofs when every dollar is allocated.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week!

  30. I started off the new year getting sick after being well for two weeks, following a bout of flu and then pneumonia. Health goals are at the top of my list needless to say. My nurse practitioner gave me instructions how to make my own nebulizing solution and said to use it all winter. We got my MIL’s nebulizer when she passed 10 years ago, so that is free. I am doing detox baths weekly using supplies I had stocked up on. I am trying to walk 4-5 miles/day and listen to podcasts while I am walking. I am trying to stretch daily and I enjoy the process, flexibility has to be worked at as a senior.
    We eat at home and are trying to eat down my pantry supplies and then restock. Brandy, I have been enjoying seeing what you are eating daily from the garden, it is very inspiring! I still have some lettuce, chard, kale and radishes I can eat daily. Other than some special groceries for family gatherings at Christmas, I have rarely had to buy groceries beside the bananas and orange juice for my husband.
    Today I bought some new semi gloss paint( we were out ) and tackled five doors in our hallway, the trim and baseboards. We had a howling rainstorm , work was canceled and I had such a fun time making our hall much nicer. I got bead board in one bath painted and have our tiny master bath bead board to paint and then the walls in the hall and the two bathrooms to finish painting. I will use up paint we already have to finish the painting .
    2024 does look to be a interesting year, and I am grateful for this wonderful spot you have created, Brandy, to learn and share in living frugally in a beautiful way!

  31. Happy New Year, Brandy and Everyone! Cataract surgery on my second eye went great. I am now 20/20 for distance in both eyes for the first time since I was a little kid. So far the drugstore reading glasses are working well for close up. I’m so thankful for great medical professionals and good insurance. I feel like a new woman, especially being able to drive again. *I got some gift cards for my graduation and used them. I bought four books with a generous Amazon gift card…The Ration Book series (first four) by Jean Fullerton. I’m really excited! * I got a $20 Joann’s gift card from my friend for Christmas. With a good sale and 20% off pick up, I was able to get enough yarn to crochet a large new afghan for the back of my couch. I chose pretty shades of green. * A couple of my daughter’s friends admired her hand-knit (by me) socks and asked if I’d make them each a pair. I said sure, if they provide the yarn. It’s nice being kept busy and not spending any money! *It was time to examine our streaming services again. We wanted Netflix again for awhile, so needed to eliminate something else. We chose to cancel Paramount+ and in doing so were offered two free months. We set an alarm in our phones to remember to cancel then. * For the new year, I set a goal of reducing our weekly food budget by $25. So far, the first two weeks, I’ve been able to do that. I am focusing on using up food in our freezer. We need the space and some of that food is pretty old. Menu planning and leftover management continues to help us keep within budget. * When putting away the Christmas decor, I realized again that many of our decorations are sentimental. As we put them away, I took pictures of special ornaments, nativities and village pieces. I found a sale to print pictures and had them printed. I have a photo album that I’m going to put the pics in next to an index card explaining where the object came from and why it is meaningful to me. I don’t expect my kids to keep all this stuff, but at least they’ll know where it all came from. * Per usual, I am enjoying reading library books and new books gifted to me for Christmas. I continue to watch shows, football and basketball games. I’m so excited that the new season of All Creatures Great and Small is showing in the US again on PBS!! I can watch free the next day. LOVE! I also have watched the new Christmas episode of Call the Midwife for free on PBS a few times. * Hope everyone has a great week!

  32. Brandy, I regularly overwinter as cuttings in water plants like sweet potato vine and coleus. My big bath tub in the master bath just happens to be the warmest and sunniest spot, so a winter garden it is! I hold many of my plants there, and my winter is longer than yours. Unfortunately, a hungry caterpillar came in with the cuttings, and it ate a lot before I found it!! A good reminder to always check over plants that you are moving. I will eventually pot them up and feed them before moving outside again.

  33. Beautiful flowers!
    I harvested collards and mustard greens, which I sauteed for dinner. Both are not at all affected by our hard frosts. I started some swiss chard seeds. I’m also experimenting with growing sprouts indoors.
    I sewed a cushion for a chair, which was an easy job that I’m usually too busy to do. It gave me joy.
    I bought 2 XL mens shirts at the thrift store. Both have pretty fabric and I will use the fabric to sew shirts for myself. One was $2 and one was $4. I have a shirt pattern I like and that I know fits.
    Generally cleaning, decluttering, getting sunlight when it’s around, doing some garden planning, and enjoying the quieter January.

  34. Things have been less frugal than I’d like. My car suddenly died in an intersection 3 days before Christmas to the tune of $1800., but thankfully had it finished in time for the holiday. I was able to use my insurance to both have it towed home (to unload my groceries) and again to the shop at no cost to me. I used Uber for the first time to pick my car up.

    What I was asked to bring to the family Christmas Eve dinner wasn’t frugal, shrimp cocktail and crab for the Cippino pot, but the meal was delicious and a good time had by all. I already had the shrimp in the freezer, so saved on that. My neighbor invited me for Christmas dinner, I make an eggnog cheesecake as I already had eggnog on hand. I did my own nails for nye in silver I bought years ago, but tried for the first time. Felt very festive!

    I’ve been feeding a murder of crows daily to try and befriend them after reading a book about one befriending a story character. They’ve started to come at the same time each day and today came when I called. So precious.

    I made 9 kinds of cookies I shipped for Christmas and made again after being asked to bring cookies on Christmas Eve. Distributed the rest to neighbors. I bought some cookie stamps (via your A links), but not sure if they’re keepers. They didn’t hold shape as much as I’d like, will try another recipe to decide.

    Right now I’ve several books checked from the library including one on southern Italian desserts that has me thinking of attempting to make my own ricotta cheese. I fell asleep during a audiobook from Libby and had to start it over. Read newspapers online via the library and saved.

    The last 2 nights we had freeze warnings so covered my citrus with sheets. Other than that, with still waiting for a thermostat to be installed, I’m finding running the furnace in the morning to take the chill off the house to be pretty much the only heat genuinely needed. Hoping for rain as we haven’t had much and are below normal. We are supposed to get some, but so far not much. I need to pull weeds, so praying rain will come to help. Got free delivery from the pharmacy, so saved on gas.

    Hoping everyone had a wonderful holiday and has a wonderful new year!

    1. With cookie stamps, it really depends on both the recipe and the temperature of the dough.

      I love the ones I have but had issues as well. I think I want to try some new recipes and techniques, such as returning the stamped cookies to the fridge for a bit before putting them into the oven.

      1. I had received some cookie stamps also. I was disappointed with my first attempts. But this Christmas I had read just what you suggested Brandy-stamping them and then refrigerating them, prior to cooking them. I used a sugar cookie recipe, did this, and they did great! “Merry Christmas “ was easily read on them and they turned out so fancy! I was quite pleased!

    2. Maria, how fun that you are feeding the crows! Crows are highly intelligent and recognize faces. They will remember you as the one who is kind and feeds them. TCrows like routine and can also recognize sounds if you whistle or make the same call to them each day at feeding time. If you are lucky they may even bring you gifts or trinkets they find. Enjoy your time with them!

    3. I love crows! They are my favorite. I feed a murder in my side yard. My husband takes bread to the golf course. He caws at them & they come. Crows are very smart. They can use a twig to get a bug out of a crack. They have also been observed learning traffic patterns. They drop nuts for a car to run over & crack open. Then they retrieve the nut meat. I love their shiny black feathers. (Not to be confused with grackles whom I do not like.) Each morning I am awakened by cawing outside my bedroom window. Music to my ears. I like ravens too, but I don’t think they live in Texas. Ravens are related to crowns.

      1. I read what you wrote about crows to my husband, and he said that if a crow dies, other crows will come investigate to see if it was a natural death or if the area is dangerous. Wow!

  35. Brandy lovely that you harvested so much from your garden, cut each others hair and was able to mend a pair of jeans 🙂 . Like yourself we save our shower warm up water for either using in bottles beside our sinks to wash hands or to clean around the home as being on rainwater tanks and it being so dry we need to save what water we can.

    We have had a fair bit of rain on and off for the last few weeks so that was a blessing that the two top rainwater tanks are full and with each storm more water is draining in to the bottom 5000 gallon empty rainwater tanks which is now about 1/3 rd full. We live to fight another day without paying for ordering in water.

    Financial wise I worked out we had an extra over a $1000 in our working account so that went into our high interest savings account. I am saving for a new car for me as mine will be 16 years old this August so any spare money in any budget category will be saved for that and hoping I get to save half or more by the end of the year. A new household budget was done for the home and we worked out that our cost of living has increased 20% in the last year including bills.

    We purchased from WW some staples at usual prices, chocolate on weekly sale, pillows on half price sale, used our 4% off e-gift card and used a $10 off promo to save $37.27 on usual prices. From Coles we bought Norsca deodorant and cheezels on half price sale saving another $23.38 on usual prices.

    In the kitchen we made all meals from scratch in fact it was so hot we didn’t cook and had mainly ham and salad sandwiches for dinner.

    In the home we finished cleaning all the walls, doors and skirting boards in the upstairs bathroom. We finished putting up the new roller blinds in the bedroom and cleaning the rest of the walls, skirting boards, mirrored wardrobe doors, the tops of the sliding mirror wardrobe cupboards and door.

    Organisation wise I went through all our old paperwork in our stacked drawers in the lounge room and burned them in the slow combustion stove. I deep cleaned around the slow combustion stove and all the alcove walls.

    Hoping everyone has a frugal week and accomplishes all they set out to 🙂 .

  36. It’s been a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I’ve scored lots of grocery markdowns: Christmas is finally deeply discounted, so we’ve enjoyed a lot of snacks. Flavored almonds were .50/can, so I stocked up. They are Christmas flavors, snickerdoodle and peppermint cocoa, but we’ll still eat them. We also got lots of chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels, .30/bag. The generic Oreos were unmarked at Aldi, so I asked the cashier to scan them, they rang up .26/package for candy cane and red cream flavors, so I bought 8 packages for the freezer. I had a great score at Ollie’s on 75% off crackers, cereal, and misc snack food. Other than markdowns, I bought some hams and ham pieces at Sam’s, where they were $7/off per package so I bought the smallest packages. These don’t have the bone, which I like to have, but they came to about $1/# which is a decent price for me. I bought a bunch of the day-old rotisserie chicken, since I don’t even find raw chicken this cheap. It’s $4/pack, and includes either 6 leg quarters or 4 breast/wing portions. I need to cut it off the bone and freeze. Will probably make the bones into soup later in the week.
    I continue to buy and flip items from Goodwill. I find the Lululemon sells quickly and is easy to turn around. I know people probably wonder how my teen can wear Lululemon, but it’s cheaper than Walmart when purchased from GW!
    I found Kroger Christmas print diapers marked down to $1/package, and bought all 38 packages. Some of the smaller sizes will go to my cousin, who just had twins. I did cloth with my first 3 or 4 kids, but just couldn’t keep up with the laundry after that. Great price!
    I gave 3 boys haircuts. I helped younger daughter find some pajamas that her next older brother outgrew.
    I’ve mostly kept the heater off, but it’s getting cold next week. When it gets below 60, I’m turning it on. Thankfully, we have lots of quilts, blankets, and warm clothing.
    I reorganized the fridge, found some things I’d forgotten about. I need to reorganize the freezer, maybe next week when it’s cold outside.
    Christmas is mostly put away, which is a relief. It’s just so hard having it out, as baby gets into everything.
    I’m sick now, which is good timing since I don’t go back to work until next week. Hoping it passes quickly.
    Found cute hand scrubs in Kroger clearance (90% off) that my daughter is going to gift to friends for Valentine’s Day. They’re not overtly Christmas.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  37. Hello, frugal friends from the windy and cold Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia! We have had a lot of rain, cold and wind lately but little snow. We had a lovely Christmas and New Year’s with our family. Everything was very low key which is what I needed. We are looking forward to this summer when we all go to the beach as promised as their Christmas gift this year.
    In frugal endeavors:
    *I was able to find a few mark downs at the grocery store. Sadly, the mark down prices are more than I paid a few month ago at full price. I bought 2 stuffing mix boxes at .50/box. The date is way into 2025 so I will hold on to these until November and donate them to the food bank for the holidays. I found 3 loaves of wheat bread for .90/loaf. I found a pound of cherry tomatoes in the red bag section of Kroger. I needed to buy a head of lettuce for the month as my spinach in the garden is waning but no one had heads of lettuce of any type, only packaged lettuce. I was able to get 2 of the spring mix containers on mark down plus I had a digital coupon bringing the cost down to $1.58/box. I saved a total of $11.80 with coupons on groceries.
    *I decluttered many things around the house. Mr. Fix It took them straight to Goodwill.
    *We used our military discount at Home Depot and Lowes for a couple items we needed to repair a few things.
    *I used my .20/gallon reward to fill the car.
    *We used the solar generators to recharge all devices.
    *I cut a bottle of lotion open and got another 2 weeks of product out of it.
    *We ate homecooked meals.
    *We had the grandsons for a few days and took them to see the movie Wonka. While not frugal it was definitely worth seeing. I highly recommend it for a good, sweet, fun, happy family movie. To help reduce the cost we brought containers for sharing popcorn and paper cups for water. Mr. Fix It bought a large popcorn and we divided it up into our containers. We went at matinee time to reduce the price of tickets.
    Like Mountain Mama Dawn I am eating what little spinach and mache from the garden to supplement our salads. I am also growing sprouts to add to salads and sandwiches. We think alike in many way, MMDawn:)
    I wish everyone a happy, healthy, safe new year!

  38. I just planted the coleus starts I’d rooted in water over the end of fall. I have fair luck with them. Not the largest plants but it means I can sometimes save a variety I can’t buy the next spring.

    Renovations are finished in our home and it’s all turned out lovely. We were blessed with wonderful workmen and the budgeted amount was actually in view when it was all said and done. Yes, a little higher but then we got a bit of extra storage we hadn’t originally figured into the budget, but worth every single penny.

    I’ve spent the past two weeks putting my house back to rights, moving most of the guest closet pantry into the kitchen where it finally fits. I’ve organized and moved and decluttered so much. I’ve taken a load to the Goodwill and have a new pile started. I need to get back into that while I’m continuing to be motivated by the way things look once excesses are removed and what I mean to keep looks lovely.

    I too am doing a sort of Pantry Freezer challenge. Not having had a big garden this summer, nor anything more than carrots in mine at present, I am allowing purchase of dairy, eggs, and produce. But we truly have a lot of food in the house aside from these items that there is a possibility I might extend this all the way through February. Our bank account would appreciate the added money in it’s coffers!

    Our heat pump went out last Friday night and was only just repaired today. Expensive? Not terribly, a couple of hundred, about the same thing it cost last time we had it fixed which rather surprised me because I was sure with the way all other prices have soared this one would have done as well. Still it was unexpected and hit at a time when we are fresh out of house maintenance funds so…Good thing I’m working on a pantry challenge! I’m hoping some of the electric costs will be offset on next month’s bill.

    Pleasantly surprised to find we’d gotten a refund from our credit union which added a nice little sum back to our account there.

    I put $16.45 into 2024 Christmas fund. This was all coupon money used at the grocery this past week when I bought groceries… I also earned a $15 gift card purchasing toilet paper, kitchen bags from Target during their buy $50 get $15gc sale. I have enough toilet paper and bags to last most of the year, I think. We’ll see. The rolls do keep getting smaller and smaller.

    Did a full freezer inventory today and have practically planned all of next week’s meals based solely on the items I found there. And that’s not even tapping into the bulk of it. I’m anticipating NOT spending any grocery money this week.

  39. The lemons are lovely, Brandy! Thanks to last winter’s four consecutive hard freezes then a hurricane this summer, I have one lemon on my tree, but it’s about ready to pick.

    I haven’t taken any kind of vacation involving leaving home in five years. I finally booked a 3 day vacation in a place I used to love to visit, at an inn that I’ve wanted for years to stay in, and I am taking a family member with me to split costs. It isn’t much, but I have too much family responsibility at this time to take a longer vacation. I used Expedia and saved some money on the booking. Of course, I checked prices and checked with the inn itself to see what was a good price. They serve free, real breakfasts so that will take care of one meal each day.

    I order rooibos tea, which I love as iced tea, in bulk, to get a better price. My brother-in-law had been ordering it monthly since he loves it too, but a chronic illness has him living in a nursing facility now, so my sister is going to let me have the extra tea that arrived before she got his subscription stopped. She doesn’t like rooibos tea.

    I sent all the needed information (twice) to get a $75 rebate back on my contact lenses, and it just arrived, digitally.

    I buy frozen cranberries in bulk to save costs, and recently discovered I can water-bath can cranberry sauce, so I don’t have to take up valuable freezer space with bags of cranberries. I use 90% of them to make sauce.

    I read a book review that really interested me. It’s for a 2023 book but the library already has it, so I put a hold on it.

    I looked at a number of cute but pricey rainboots to wear when torrential rains flood my back yard, but settled for a cheaper pair of plain black. I had looked in vain for over a year in thrift stores and only found one pair, two sizes too small.

    I’ve been watching free streaming movies or DVD’s I already own on my old DVD player, instead of renting movies.

    I’ve been hang drying 95% of my laundry still, either outside on the line or inside on racks.

    Have a good week, all!

    1. Jo: Have fun on your vacation!
      It might be more than you want to do, but if you have some colored electrical/plastic tape, you could put stripes around the tops of your boots if it would amuse you.

  40. We have been staying in and eating at home. I am going to try and incorporate everything we have in the fridge, fresh and use beans, dried, for fiber and frugality. I am also using meat from our freezer. I want to clear it out and save money. I am looking at any can goods we have and using what needs used up first. I don’t want to waste things that we have purchased. I am glad that our propane has been paid for. We are staying warm inside while it is very, very cold outside, -13 tomorrow. That is cold for us. My husband is getting new tires on the car for us this week. It is a needed expense. I am happy to be feeling better today. I am getting more done around the house. I made a meal plan for the week. Oatmeal for most breakfasts or Quinoa. Greek Butter bean soup, Shrimp yellow curry, butternut squash soup and an egg, chickpeas with garlic and mint and fruit, salad and leftovers, tuna salad for lunches. Liver and onions, mashed potatoes, veal parmesan, cucumber salad and butternut squash, chicken pea curry and rice, Something I call the Montreal Dish; a recipe I got when visiting there years ago with tuna, capers , olives, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley and linguine, Yum! Only we are going to use gluten free pasta. Chicken quesadillas, pinto beans, salad, breakfast for dinner. My husband is going to buy some chicken on the bone so I can make my own broth and use the chicken for meals when he goes to the store for our tires. I hope to visit with family this weekend. I really look forward to seeing them! We continue to turn off lights when not in use. I have been using an electric blanket to keep warm during the day between working on things. It is so nice to be warm! It renews my energy! I seem to get cold easily. I love looking at your veggie and flower pictures Brandy!

  41. Later this year my husband, children and I will be moving to France. I would love to hear any frugal tips specific to France, such as best grocery stores, thrift store chains, library tips and tricks, European travel hacks (flights, accommodation, trains, destinations, booking websites) etc.

    I am continuing to clean/declutter our house in preparation.

    I am working out our packing lists, with only two suitcases to be brought on the trip. We will also each have a carry on backpack.

    I need to purchase electronic devices as we do not have a suitable camera and the children will need a device to keep up to date with the school curriculum in our home country and to communicate with their friends and family. I am considering a Lenovo tablet for each child but happy to take any recommendations.

    I continue to spend under $40 a week on groceries, electricity is under $20 a quarter, line dry all washing, bike everywhere we can, stay local, go to the library for books and air-conditioning in the very hot and humid weather we are experiencing, no take out food, no TV subscription services, catch food in the myriad bodies of water that we reside near and harvest fruit and vegetables every day from our garden.

    I am learning French. I studied it for two years during university so am re-familiarising myself with the basics and building on that.

  42. – I cooked some coarse brown bulghur wheat we bought six months ago in a fit of optimism. I did it in our Instant Pot. It was great! I cooked the whole packet at once so now we have some in the fridge and freezer for instant salad for future meals.
    – I am on a big darning kick and continued to darn lots of pairs of socks and tights. I am using regular sewing machine thread I have already and it works just fine. It’s not invisible but it’s free!
    – I started a shopping list. By which I mean a list of things I write down and then DON’T buy. It’s added up a lot even over a week! I’m sure we’ll buy some of the things eventually, but clearly I do more impulse shopping than I thought. For example, I broke a mixing bowl and… actually haven’t missed it yet. We have plenty of bowls I can use.
    – I sold some of my grandmother’s books on We Buy Books. I only got £10 for 15 books but every little helps.
    – I started cutting up four of my grandmother’s old blouses to make a patchwork-style shirt dress. I am going to overdye the lighter ones dark grey with some black dye I have already, and the other ones are navy. If I am careful, they will all blend together but I’ll still be able to see some of the floral pattern on the dyed ones.

  43. Hope it’s not too late to post this. We had snow and I got distracted.

    ***Open Enrollment for medical insurance via HealthCare.gov ends January 16.***

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