My eldest child, my daughter Winter, graduated with her bachelor’s degree this week! She starts a new job in her field today!

Our goal in homeschooling our children was to have them start university classes early in order to graduate early. We also wanted our children to be able to graduate debt-free.

She is 20 and graduated debt-free!

She is married, and her husband graduated the same day, also without incurring any student debt.

We are so proud of them!

This meant we needed to travel to see them.

Because our son (second child) is also a student at the same university, we visited with him as well.

Ranunculus

We bought tickets months ago on Allegiant Air, rented one of the least-expensive cars through Turo, and chose a hotel that included breakfast. We visited a grocery store and purchased some meals so that we could eat them in the hotel room. The hotel had a microwave downstairs as well as plates, which made this really simple. This made it possible for us to limit our meals out. When we did go out, it was lunch (the day we arrived and the day we left) and we split a meal the day we arrived. We had two dinners with our children. We always ordered water to drink.

Margo Koster Rose, a tiny rose

While there, we visited the thrift store. I found a cardigan, two pullovers, a t-shirt, and a dress for a total of $27.

At the grocery store (Fred Meyer) they also had a clothing section, so I checked out the clothing there. I found two t-shirts on sale for $5.60 each.

What did you do to save money last week?

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213 Comments

  1. Congratulations to Winter and her husband!! That puts them ahead of so many others as they continue their family life after school!! Well done! Glad you could attend graduation!

    I had volunteered to bring case of 32 bottled water and 2 dozen cold cut sandwiches for a funeral that was going to be on Friday last week (this is the 3rd funeral in the past 10 days!😳). I was going to buy the 89 cent/pound spiral sliced ham (bone in) that was on sale at Meijers this past week and use some for the funeral luncheon. I was all set with 3 of the hams in my cart when I saw one in the case that was mismarked and asked butcher if it was also on sale . While he went to check, I saw the boneless 1/2 hams (around 5 pounds each ), marked $4.19/pound but reduced to $1.99/pound.

    I bought all 5 that they had because my slicer at home can easily slice them into thinner deli slices. I got 5 more pounds of their butter on sale ($1.99/pound rather than the “normal” $3.29/pound price! ).
    I had a $5 off my total order reward plus a Scan and Go $10 off $30 for first time users! So 1-1/2 of my hams were free!!! Normally they would have cost a little over $41!! 😱

    We made our weekly trek to the nearby Panera Bread shop last that same night to pick up donations for members of our congregation and would you believe it? There were 26 already sliced hoagie rolls to make the 2 dozen ham and cheese sandwiches I had volunteered to bring! I had sliced American cheese packages in my fridge that I bought on sale previously and also I brought up a 32 pack of bottled water I had from a few months ago that had been on sale for $1.99!

    So my contribution to this funeral lunch was close to free because of my already having a stocked larder! I am chuffed!! 🎉🎉🎉

    This week, I quilted up #240- #241- https://pin.it/5hEM0Jw and https://pin.it/466c9HI (this one was made by my client’s 12 year old granddaughter).

    We went to our lawyer’s office and got all of our find paperwork signed and paid for. Wills, deeds, etc. He laughed when I asked if I could use our cc to pay for his services and without skipping a beat, he said, “Sounds just like my wife! You’re doing it that way to get the rewards points, right? “ I laughed because that is exactly right! Got home afterwards and transferred the amount I charged from my checking account back over to cc account and then redeemed another $20 in cc rewards to my savings account! 12 cents a month in interest on that savings account, but I’ve redeemed and deposited $60 in cc rewards to that same savings account! Lol! Disclaimer- this is only a good strategy IF you pay off the statement balance on time every month, which I do.

    I used some of my Muffin Mix to make 2 batches (a dozen muffins each) the other morning! A dozen butterscotch pecan muffins and a dozen mini- chocolate chip/butterfinger bits muffins! The plan was to enjoy a few (3 for each of us) and the rest will go into the freezer to come out a few at a time! Before they were cooled off, Hubs ate one and by the next morning, 6 of his were gone! https://pin.it/12MzRbq. Well, I’m glad he enjoyed these and that I can just use ingredients already in our pantry to make such a variety!

    The husband of one of my quilting clients offered to ship quilts from his business at no charge to a quilting business that was collecting and sending quilts to Ukrainian refugees. I donated 3 of mine that were in my gift cupboard. https://pin.it/4WsqluX and https://pin.it/2D52J8F and https://pin.it/1NyEl5m. It wasn’t anything extraordinary that I sent, but I was grateful for the opportunity to do even something small to relieve the suffering in some small way.

    I was able to plant the horseradish crowns that I had re-rooted in the past 10 days. Hubs cut a blue 55 gallon barrel in half and I drilled holes in the bottom and here is my horseradish planted up: https://pin.it/51KyMjj.

    We have had rain for 18 of the past 21 days so it’s been challenging trying to get things planted. It’s still early days here for planting- our final frost date is third week of May but I like to get much more planted than I’ve been able to so far! And just for giggles, we’ve had three more days where snow flurries have come in. The snow hasn’t lasted and it’s just a small amount but still enough to disrupt our growing season.

    Our youngest son came over on Sunday and we made a batch of beef, bean and cheese burritos and ham and cheese hoagie sandwiches. He took some home and we kept some here. It was nice guiding him through the process of preparing food ahead and will certainly help his budget! I’ve been doing more bulk cooking just to have the convenience of grab and go!

    I’m still working on making a king size quilt as a wedding present for one of my daughters. I only have 6 weeks left to get it done. It consists of 2 different quilt blocks- 32 of each. So far I have 22 of the first block (which is the harder of the two) so I’m going to concentrate on that sewing while the weather outside isn’t cooperative! https://pin.it/6EdgpVk

    Well, scratch that plan to sew all day! Hubs just got up and announced that since rain isn’t due here for about 90 minutes that he’s going out to the garden and work on replacing final side of our raised bed garden with the rotting wood. Those last concrete blocks are calling him and so I need to bundle up for chilly pre-rain morning and help so he doesn’t overdo! Well, that worked for about 15 minutes and then the rain came tumbling down! 😱 But, he got quite a bit of dirt move in preparation for taking out rotting timbers and I transplanted strawberries to my former herb bed that I’m now dedicating solely to strawberries! https://pin.it/1gh0vTj. So grateful that we can work on outside projects in small increments because every little bit gets it closer to the finish!

    Grateful he’s on my team!! He makes working on projects together fun! Hope everyone finds ways to save and positive things all around them!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. The quilt that was put together by your client’s 12 year old daughter was beautiful! It ‘s wonderful to see quilting done by young people. I always enjoy seeing the quilts that come through your shop and what a nice job you do quilting them. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Katrina- I am thrilled to see younger ones learning the skills like quilting that otherwise might be lost! I also love to see them doing something that does not involve video games! 😉🥴

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. Garden Pat your weekly accomplishments are amazing.
      Butterscotch pecan muffins sounds delicious. Would you kindly share your recipe?
      Thank you.

      1. Sues- Here’s the Muffin Mix recipe my granddaughter and I made from my old Make A Mix book: Muffin Mix
        8 cups all purpose flour
        3 cups sugar
        3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
        2 Teaspoons salt
        2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
        2 Teaspoons ground nutmeg
        In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
        Mix well.
        Put in a large, airtight container. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6- 8 months. Makes about 11 cups of Muffin Mix.

        Muffin mix makes:
        Melt in Your Mouth muffins
        Molasses Bran Muffins
        Apple muffins
        Cornmeal muffins
        Cranberry cakes with Butter sauce
        I then used the Melt in your Mouth recipe for the butterscotch pecan, but I added butterscotch chips (3/4 cup) and 1/2 cup chopped pecans instead to make it easier!
        Melt in Your Mouth Muffins
        2-¾ Cups Muffin Mix
        1 egg, beaten
        1 cup milk
        ½ cup Butter, melted or ½ cup vegetable oil
        Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Butter muffin pans.
        Put Muffin mix in a medium bowl. Combine egg, milk and butter (or oil) in a small bowl.
        Add all at once to Muffin Mix. Stir until mix is just moistened; batter should be lumpy.
        Fill muffin cups ¾ full.
        Bake 18- 20 minutes, until golden brown.
        Makes 10 large muffins.

        Variations:
        Cornmeal muffins: Decrease muffin mix to 2-¼ cups. Add ½ cup cornmeal.

        Jelly muffins: Fill each muffin cup ⅓ full of batter. Drop 1 Teaspoon of jelly on top of batter. Fill cups ¾ full with batter.

        Butterscotch Pecan muffins: Melt 6 Tablespoons butter in a small saucepan. Stir in 6 Tablespoons brown sugar. Place 1 Tablespoon brown sugar mixture and 2-3 pecans in bottom of each muffin cup. Fill cups ¾ full with batter.

        Apricot muffins: Add 1 cup chopped dried apricots to liquid ingredients before adding liquid to Muffin Mix.

        Banana muffins: Mash 1 large banana (½ cup) and add to liquid ingredients before adding them to Muffin mix.

        Blueberry muffins: Add 1 cup well drained blueberries to liquid ingredients before adding liquid to Muffin Mix.

        Hope you enjoy!
        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. Gardenpat – Thank you for taking the time to share your muffin mix recipe and add-in’s. I have been looking for a mix recipe like yours so that I may make muffins on a frequent basis.

          1. DonnaMarie(Fort Myers,FL)- When I make this mix, I sometimes store it in a large container and then just measure out what I need. But sometimes, I pre-measure the 2-1/3 cups of bulk mix into individual mason jars and then when I want to make a batch, I don’t even need to take time to measure the mix- just dump it into bowl and add wet ingredients!! I AM a lazy sort! 🤪🤪

            Gardenpat in Ohio
            HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    3. I enjoy looking at your quilt pics every week. That 12-year-old’s quilt is beautiful! And I like your “sunny” attitude about the rain interrupting the 90-minute plan — recognizing that those 15 minutes you spent today are 15 minutes less you’ll have to spend on the project another day is sure better than griping about the rain.

      1. Liza Jane- Actually, because we are getting older we don’t mind doing things in smaller bits of time so we don’t overdo it and end up hurting ourselves! Lol!! Also, because Hubs is retired, every day is like a Saturday (except Sunday) because our time is flexible to work!

        With all the drought conditions around the U.S., we are grateful for the rains we have had- 17 of the past 21 days, we have had some rain (but, fortunately, no flooding!)

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  2. Congratulations 🎉 sounds like a wonderful visit!

    A few ways I saved money:
    *Picked up a free cooking kit from library for a class (included orzo and fennel seeds).
    *Returned an Amazon package to Kohls and used the $5 Kohls cash for 3 candy bars.
    *Used a toothpick to dig out what was left in a few tubes of chapstick/lip balm and added to a jar- so much left!
    *Made more all purpose cleaner.
    *Grocery store: chili ready tomatoes for $0.60 a can, Eddy’s pumpkin ice cream on clearance for $0.50!
    *Buy Nothing Group: a cat scratcher toy and 2 and a half bags of ice melt

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  3. Brandy, Have you written an atricle on how they managed to get through college debt free? Would love to read it.

    1. I haven’t written a post just on that but have written about it in posts before.

      They chose an inexpensive school that was almost equal to FAFSA funds. She qualified for FAFSA. He didn’t until after their baby was born. He took AP classes and tests to test out of some classes. They received a couple of small scholarships (like $500 a semester) some semesters. They both worked the whole time, including taking one semester off where they both worked 60 hours a week. They chose inexpensive housing and cooked their own meals.

      When they got married, they bought a used car. They financed it for a year and then paid it off. They’re graduating with a paid-for car and money in savings, too!

      1. Congratulations to all!
        Notes from my collegiate soapbox:
        The best way to prepare a child for college is to make sure the child READS! Start very young; start late; bribe them; make it a family event; let them be solitary; leave them at the library; whatever it takes to build this ability, because readers do the best in college, and in school the years before that.
        A strong work ethic and self-direction are also key.
        One of Winter’s strengths, it seems from reading this blog for several years, is that she had a pretty firm idea of her career path, and she had done a lot of preparation through her hobbies and other interests. Helping create that vision is something to consider when guiding children toward college.
        I see her husband and baby in the background. Beautiful photo!

      2. I can’t tell you how much I love this attitude and approach
        I worked 60plus hours a week to pay for daughter’s BS degree but she chose to take loans for master’s degree and now alot of student loan debt because predatory lenders can manipulate interest
        CONGRATULATIONS to both these smart young people
        Brandy hope you are glowing with pride

      3. A young lady I know from church was homeschooled and graduated from high school at age 16. She wanted to go to college but didn’t want to incur debt. She talked her parents into letting her take a few months off. Instead of working 40 hours/week at a job to pile up cash for college, she spent 40 hours/week applying for scholarships online. She did research, filled out applications, wrote essays (which were used more than once to apply for different scholarships), and ended up with enough scholarship money to completely pay for a 4-year degree in nuclear engineering. Wow.

        1. Wow! That’s awesome!

          My third child is working 40 hours a week now while taking two community college classes online. I think the path will look different for each child’s education. We have let them know too that trade school is another option. I think that will actually be more money without grants but is another great possibility depending on each child’s interests.

    2. Also one of the ways you can do this is to have your student dual-enroll in the local community college (we are U.S. based, not sure if this is an option anywhere else). My younger son did not enjoy public school, so we pulled him out of the school system. He’s very intelligence, so even though he’s now considered a “homeschooler,” he actually takes every single class at the community college through the dual-enrollment program. Each credit hour is about $300 less than at a state university, and it’s about half the cost of the community college price when dual enrolled. That makes the cost of tuition really easy for us to manage in cash, or if needed he could pay for it himself out of his part-time job. His tuition is literally pennies on the dollar compared to state universities. He’ll graduate high school with 59 credit hours, meaning he’ll have junior standing as an incoming freshman. Plus he’ll qualify for all incoming freshman scholarships, and because college course are like AP classes, every grade counts a full point higher than a regular high school class, e.g. an A is 5.o instead of 4.o. His GPA for high school is benefitting greatly from this situation, which will make him qualify for even more merit scholarships. I don’t know why more students don’t dual enroll, especially if they find the traditional American high school experience unappealing.

      1. I’m so glad they are offering this. They do it here too and I think it’s wonderful.

      2. I was in the first dual enrollment program way back in the 1970’s. I graduated when I was 17 with enough college credits to make me a junior when I transferred to a 4 year state college. I liked the flexibility of the daily schedule and most of all the lack of discipline problems in class. Everyone in community college wanted to be there to learn. I did struggle with feeling “left out” as I was so much younger than my college classmates and I have always been very shy. Unfortunately, graduating high school with college credits was such an unusual thing that it kept me from being accepted at my dream school, William and Mary. My father wrote the president of W&M asking them why I should be punished for working so hard as the unique circumstances were the only thing keeping me out of the college. The president wrote back saying they would accept me as a freshman and would not accept any of my college credits. I ended up transferring to another state school to finish my BS. I never did get to go to my dream school. I am really happy things have changed and dual enrollment is now accepted.

      3. Amen to your comments about community colleges. I have worked for CC for 30 yrs. I attended one as well prior to university. It saved me $ & I graduated w/ an Associate’s Degree. Your son is wise to get his foundational courses there. Then he can go to university to finish his education. (That’s what I did.)
        Well done Winter & husband! They are on the road to success. Level headed young couple, debt free, & smart. I am an educator & love to hear the news of the graduates.

        1. My husband and I each did a year at a community college. Our third child is taking community college classes currently.

          1. My granddaughter has been dual enrolled at her high school and Pasadena City College for the last 18 months. In California high school students who are dual enrolled don’t pay tuition so the only cost has been books.

        2. Another good reason to attend community college is that the classes generally are smaller–much smaller. When I took Western Civ at the University of Oregon, it was held in a 500-seat auditorium. When everybody showed up, as they did for exams, the latecomers had to sit on the steps! IOW, there were more than 500 students in that class! This wasn’t unique, either. I took many classes that had 200+ students.

      4. Colleen Marble:
        If your child is a homeschooler, who is he dual enrolled with? I am just curious how this works since I have a grandchild who could benefit from this.
        Thank you.
        Elizabeth H.

  4. Congratulations to Winter Wow times goes by so fast I remember when she left for school. And so awesome that both she and her husband did it debt free.. I had a young friend do the exact same thing ate lots of Ramen noodles to pay those bills including her books for class. My frugals this week is planting seeds in my garden. Peas and Green Beans, also Toothache Plant and Mullein. I am peeling 6 pounds of carrots that I got free right now to pressure Can here in a bit. I’ll also be baking chicken and a meatloaf at the same time in the oven to utilitize that empty space in the oven.

  5. I got really lucky. Cousin was having her bridal shower. I hate showers both bridal and baby. But this is my cousin/friend and I love her so I’ll endure with a smile on for a few hours. Shower was 75 miles away but again I love her so I’ll make the 150 mile round trip. Then another cousin/friend asked if I could house/pet sit on exact same weekend one town over. So 75 mile
    trip became 13 minute trip that I could just fit in middle of my day instead of it being an all day adventure. And I had an excuse for not staying until the bitter end, gotta get back and check on dogs. Was only gone for Fri-Sun but did tons of thrift store shopping (best deal was new board game for when grands come to my sister’s house. New in box $5 (retail $10+) but toys were 75% off so $1.25). If I pet sit for a week plus I usually buy a few groceries for for only 3 days I eat all meals out with spending money they leave me. Had Sonic, Chick Fil A, Mexican and Chinese twice. None of which are available in my rural area. So it was win-win-win. Shower-shopping-and eating out. Plus my pet owners have Oxygen channel and we don’t so I watched it whenever I was at house with dogs.

  6. Congratulations to Winter and her husband! And employed already, good for you all.

    Brandy, an idea for a future blog perhaps – I see how you clothe yourself and younger children. Could you do a post sometimes about clothing sources for grown men, especially bigger guys, who need clothing for business, business casual and suits etc. I am thinking that some clothing for adults (including women) are investments in staples.

    1. My husband does not currently own a suit. We went looking this past week, and they are SO much money We’ve been looking for a while and had hoped to find Easter sales, but no one had any sales last week. I will look this week as he still wants to own a suit again, even though it is too hot to wear one here 9 months of the year. (He owned two suits when we got married 22 years ago but lost 50 pounds two years ago and they no longer fit).

      One of my sons bought a suit coat from the thrift store where he works and wears it with pants he found there that are almost an exact match. One bought a jacket from Amazon. My eldest son buys most of his clothing used from the thrift store. I buy most clothing for my second son on sale from Old Navy and Target.

      All of my teens at home are into buying clothing for themselves as well from the money they earn. My daughters have wanted to order a lot from Shein, so we have done that.

      My husband has needed new clothing recently. He found pants at Sam’s Club for a lot less. We bought him some long-sleeved henleys there. He bought some Carhartt t-shirts on sale at Tractor Supply and from Smith’s grocery store. He ordered a few other shirts online. Most days he works from home and we live in a very hot and casual city, so khakis and a short-sleeved button-down shirt are dressy enough on the days he meets with clients.

      1. I see the best suit prices at the Macy’s Black Friday and Veteran’s Day sales. They have offered $99 suits each year that include a jacket and dress pants. I bought one for my son last year as he outgrew everything. It’s probably more expensive than a thrift shop, but 1/3 of normal prices at any other time of year new. Although, the price may go up with inflation this year.

      2. My husband lost 130 pounds over three years and as much as I was relieved that he did it, the cost of an entire new wardrobe was hard. And, since he lost it gradually, half way through we bought new clothes and then again at the end. There was a lot of time spent on alterations, but at some point you just have to give in and obtain smaller sizes. Our two thrift shops were not much help. I actually put a note out on the local FB free site and that was the most successful. Two widows who are friends contacted me and most of his current clothes came from them. It felt odd at first, but both of them said it made them feel good to know that someone else could make use of the clothes and asked only that my husband would think of their husbands occasionally when he wore the clothes. We think about them and pray for the husbands and ladies a lot, and we have kept in occasional contact with them. One of them called when she needed help with hooking up new electronics and it felt really good to be able to help her. The other advantage of him losing weight was our food bill went down–Ha! His example encouraged me to lose some weight, too. I could hardly fix foods that he would not eat, so no sugar, no bread, no fast food and no pasta became my diet as well.

        1. I lost 55 pounds over three years, and completely agree with you that replacing an entire wardrobe can be difficult!!! Literally the only things I did not need to replace were my shoes and socks!

      3. If you have estate sales in your area, those are excellent sources for dressier clothing such as suits. Older people tend to own dressier clothing than the current generation, and much of it is barely-worn. We use estatesales.net and Craigslist to look for them in our area, but we are also in a major metro area so they are quite frequent here.

      4. A man who wants a suit, hasn’t bought one in 22 years and lost 50 lbs. DESERVES one. Would a blazer work? My DH got one at Macy’s for not too much money, don’t remember how much.

        1. Suit coats alone are $400 to $600. That doesn’t include the pants or any tailoring. He is not willing to spend that much. He is a frugal man and is looking for a sale. I’m not stopping him from buying a suit. He refuses to spend $800 to $1000 on a suit that he might wear two or three months out of the year, IF that. He basically wants something in case he needs to attend a funeral. It’s too hot for him to wear a suit coat at church, which is why he stopped wearing one when we moved to Vegas. He wears dress slacks, a shirt and tie instead. It was 92 degrees here Saturday.

          1. It has been a few years, but when my husband was last suit shopping we found some excellent sales at Joseph A Bank. I think we paid about $200 for each suit (coat and pants). The clearance section on their website looks like they still have some options around that price point.

            It is a lovely thing to have your husband share your frugal values.

            1. I will check that out! He found a suit coat at one store that he really like, but at $600 before tailoring, he decided he could do without and keep looking.

              1. Hi,
                Men’s Warehouse is a favorite shop of someone I know who currently wears suits regularly for work. They also have big and tall shirts and long ties. I know it’s passed for this year, but I think February is about the best month for shopping for men’s clothing. The last suit I personally helped find was from Nordstrom Rack. That was a couple of years ago, and I think he paid around $200. The nice thing was that the jacket and pants, while matching, could be purchased separately, so we were able to get sizes that needed little alteration. Alterations were available. I don’t remember if he had to pay extra for alterations. I don’t know if you have shopped them, but The Rack is a discount store of the regular Nordstrom department store, and there is an online Rack. Nordstrom has a very easy return method. They send a return tag with an order and there is no restocking fee, etc. It has been a while since I bought a suit from Nordstrom’s regular store; it was $600 in the late 1990s, but I think alterations were included in the price. The only reason I paid that much was because the young man I bought it for was very tall with broad shoulders and an athletic build, and all the suits I could find were sets. If we found a jacket big enough, the pants were too big. They seemed to be built for old men with pot bellies. If the pants were altered the back pockets would have been almost touching. Later I had a suit altered for my teen-aged son. I found a good tailor by calling Nordstrom’s and asking for the alterations department. I asked Nordstrom’s tailor if he knew of a tailor he would recommend to alter a man’s suit, and he told me to take it to the tailor I went to. I had paid $250 a couple of years earlier for the suit at what is now Macy’s, so it was not terribly out-of-style. The alterations cost $100. The tailor had my son try on the suit. My son was polite but rather glum about the whole thing. The tailor told me the fabric was good quality, and the suit was worth altering. He gave me an itemized list of each alteration and how much it would cost. I did not quibble over the price or try to haggle with him. I think he felt sorry for my son getting the hand-me-downs and did above and beyond. The suit looked fantastic when he was done, and my son thought he had a nicer suit than if we could have bought a new one. Another thing I think is important is a good dry cleaner. My daughter recently took a suit and her long woolen coat to the cleaners, and they ruined the suit and melted the buttons on the coat. The suit’s jacket front has bubbles in the fabric, and, they insist it is not their fault. I don’t know what happened. Maybe someone here has an idea. The dry cleaner I had been taking things to closed permanently during the pandemic. The other dry cleaner tends over press things, and once I took a very nice skirt I had found for my daughter at Goodwill there to be cleaned. The owner’s daughter was working by herself when I dropped it off. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that she did not give me a call tag. When I went to pick up the skirt, the owner said she had no record of my dropping off anything and had no skirt that belonged to me. So I didn’t take anything there again. So now I am careful to get and keep a call tag when I drop things off. These are about all the tips I know regarding buying, altering, and cleaning suits.

              2. Men’s Wearhouse is the first place we went and my husband tried on a suit coat only to find it was $600. The cheapest one they had was $400. They had alteration prices listed on the wall and they were quite high. We went in January or February of this year. We tried looking this past week while we were visiting our children at Dillard’s and found that sports coats were $300 and suit coats started at $400. My husband didn’t even bother to try anything on once we found out.

            2. My husband gets his suits and dress clothes at Joseph A. Bank, too. He prefers to shop in-store for the perfect fit. Their prices are high, but they have great sales.

          2. Brandy, I had no idea suits are that expensive! My husband bought suit separates at Macy’s about 4 years ago for something over $200 for both. They are just regular sizes–44R jacket and 36-30 pants. I know they were on sale, but it wasn’t Black Friday or Veterans’ Day…I am thinking around the end of August or Labor Day, as it was for my son’s mid-September wedding. He did not need any extra tailoring. A more expensive suit might look a little better, but honestly, this one looks fine. Also, consider a blazer if it would work for him. Men’s Wearhouse suits are very nice, but also a lot more expensive (my son bought one for his wedding). Also, you don’t walk out of Men’s Wearhouse with just a suit–they will pair it with a shirt, tie and anything else they think they can sell you, LOL. All very nice ones, I might add.

            PS I didn’t think you were keeping him from buying one and I’m sorry if you thought I did.

            1. 1. Everything has gone way up. We thought it would be $200 as well, but nope.
              2. We have yet to find any sales.

              1. My husband got a very nice s suit from Costco during a “trunk sale” for under $300. Ask at the kiosk if any upcoming road sales are planned.

      5. Hallo Brandy, I’m not sure if this is still the case as it was years ago, but one of our male friends lost a lot of weight so he had all his suits altered which was the cheapest option over buying new suits. I’m in Australia.

        1. The coats were in good condition but he had continued to wear his suit pants over the years as he only lost the weight 2 years ago. After 20 years, the pants had worn through in some spots, so it wouldn’t really work well. We donated the coats.

          It is just so hot here he rarely wore the coats to church. I remember one year he wore the coat and found some baby keys in the pocket that had been lost a child or two previously 😆 We laughed at that at the time. He wants the coat in case of a funeral or a wedding. Even in winter he feels too warm here to wear one normally. So we can wait for a sale.

  7. Glad you got to go to the Graduation. Congratulations to Winter and her husband for graduating debt-free. Glad you saw your son too.
    I haven’t posted for a few months, so I wanted to congratulate you also on your new job.
    I have been cooking extra so I can send leftovers in my husband’s lunch for a day or two and not have to buy convenience foods that cost more. He had leftovers all last week and today.
    I have still been buying gift cards at Kroger’s when they are 4 times the fuel points. My husband drives 30 + miles to work one way each day. Those points saved us over 60 dollars last month.
    I have also saved a lot with e-coupons and paper coupons Kroger’s sent me. I emailed 5 different companies telling them how much I liked their products and would they send coupons. I have received some and some are on the way.
    I have been unplugging things and using less lights to save on electric. Also fixing more than 1 thing at a time in the oven.
    I enjoy your post very much and read it and all the comments every week.

  8. Congratulations to Winter and Mr. Winter! Not only for their degrees, but for graduating debt-free. I’m glad you got to see them, your son and, of course, your beautiful granddaughter! I’m sure you had a wonderful time!

    I hope everyone here had a wonderful week. Here are my frugal accomplishments–
    I bought $21 worth of eye drops and Nsaids for $0 with the OTC benefit from my Medicare Advantage plan.

    We are adding shelves to our master bedroom closet. I set up sawhorses in the garage and painted the shelving. I primed it with leftover Kilz and used a $6 sample of paint for the topcoat. The samples at Miller Paint (a NW regional brand) are full quarts of paint!

    I dug up a piece of my friend’s bleeding heart and transplanted it here. Just for fun, I’m trying to start another one from a cutting. ??? I saw bleeding hearts–much smaller than this one–for $18.

    Update on the microwave–We ordered a Sharp from Lowe’s for $229, which was $70 less than it was the day before (just luck that I procrastinated ordering it). That’s the good news. The bad news is that we spent $203 trying to chase down the problem. The appliance repair guy advised us to buy a new one, since replacing 3 switches and the door latch would cost about the same. Our handyman friend is going to install it for about $50. Lowe’s charges $120 and up to install.

  9. Long time reader here so time to comment!
    A big win this week was around bread. The last time that I bought a 16kg bag of bread flour, the price had gone up to £19.99 from £14.99. I needed more, last week, and much to my surprise was able to get a bag at the old price from the Food Market. Our bread maker broke. They don’t seem to last beyond 2-3 years but since we use it almost every day, they are worthwhile. Anyway, this time, we managed to pay for all but £4 using vouchers from the Office for National Statistics Study which we are enrolled in.
    Other savings were drying washing outside, making jam from frozen damsons from our garden last summer, hot water bottles on cold nights, to avoid using central heating, and using a steamer to cook a second vegetable over the first. A very joyful saving was an amaryllis bulb which I managed to get to bloom for a second year. Not a big saving but it has given me much pleasure.

  10. I hope everyone is well
    I received a voucher from Waitrose for £14 off a £100 shop , I was at about £85 so I ordered another £16 , mostly beans rice and tea and this was free food.
    I did all the usual thing cooked from scratch, cooked on the cook once eat twice or three times. Dried all washing on the airer. Used in small appliances instead of the oven. Saving ironing until there is a good amount of it to save keep heating the iron.
    Chicken is becoming difficult to buy,this maybe bird flu or that a lot of british chicken comes from the Ukraine. Bread has gone up 50%.
    I kept fresh water in a jug on the worktops so it could warm to room temperature before it is boiled a kettle or use it for cooking. I have made and canned baked beans, free from tomato which I am allergic to. I came across this site which estimates how much electricity’ appliances use.. https://www.cse.org.uk/advice/advice-and-support/how-much-electricity-am-i-using I am probably telling you all something you already know.
    I have sown carrots from my own seed to see if it is viable also I have sown
    some old melon seeds to see if it will grow. I have sown more peas and beans and almost ready to plant out my perennial plants. I am preparing the greenhouse beds soaking them and amending ready to plant the tomatoes and peppers. Not frugal but we had our fence fixed, it came down in the storms last month.
    I found an post on making fertiliser from comfrey and you can use nettles as well. I have used nettles before but I don’t use it on crops once the fruits have set as I don’t know what contaminants are in it beware the smell is terrible. I find this site a lot and there are loads of recipes on there.
    https://www.allotment-garden.
    Please everybody keep safe
    Chris

      1. Im in the UK and the main reason for the egg and chicken shortage is a shortage of feed and a lack of labour . There are no free range eggs because of bird flu regulations . Even garden eggs are strictly regulated , though if your rural nobody takes much notice . We have weird food shortages on random items at the moment , cooking oil is impossible to get due to the war in the Ukraine and this week theres been no salad items from Europe due to the idiots in charge and the ferry problems , you get used to it . It just makes shopping annoying if you want specific things . Oh and to add to the fun we have eco warriors stopping fuel deliveries and fuel costs doubled in a day on April 1st . What next?

        1. Yes, my friend in England told me about the fuel costs rise on the first. She also said a bag of chicken feed went from 8 pounds to 20 pounds overnight.

          Egg prices just went up 44% in the U.S. this week. Bird flu is part of the reason here.

  11. Congrats to your daughter! That is quite the accomplishment at age 20! Debt-free college education for our kids is also a big goal of ours and we’ve been saving a little each month since they were born.

    Living frugally in Portland:

    *We “got away” this weekend to the Oregon coast in *almost* the most frugal way. We rented a yurt at a state park, packed in all our meals. It rained but we had a great time in our cozy little yurt with electric heat. Yurts are $60 a night versus a hotel ($200+?). Not quite as cheap as tent camping but the rain would have made it a miserable experience.

    *My son is studying for his SATs. He used his PSAT scores (he took the PSAT free at his school last fall) to create a customized study plan through Khan Academy. It was very easy and fast to set up. Khan is free. He will take the SAT at his school next week for free as well. Our local library also has a ton of free SAT prep resources.

    *I received some brand new Minecraft fiction books free on Buy Nothing to give to my 9yo Minecraft-loving nephew for his birthday. Win-win.

    *Post-pandemic restrictions I continue to order groceries online and with free pickup through my local Fred Meyer. It helps me with meal planning efficiency and helps me avoid impulse purchases (which I’m prone to at the grocery store – hello dark chocolate!).

    *I want to upgrade our dining room table. We’ve had our IKEA table since we first got married 20 years ago. I haven’t been able to find a great one on the used market for a reasonable price and we may be moving in 2-3 years and I have no idea what my next dining room will look like, so I decided to just purchase new dining room chairs (which desperately need replaced) instead of buying an entire set. I think the area will look much better with new chairs and new table isn’t really necessary right now.

    *I really dislike my bike commute to my job, although I love riding my bike. Buses on this route aren’t reliable yet with bus driver shortages. So I’ve made a modest goal to bike to work minimum 2 days a week to save on gas. I’ve met this goal for last three weeks.

  12. Congratulations to Winter and her husband! I’m glad you were able to attend their graduation.
    Nothing super special about last week. I worked out using YouTube (I highly recommend HASFit workouts and Yoga with Adriene) and was able to get outside for two 4-mile walks. I cut my son’s hair, we read a whoooooooooooole lot of library books, and I made a batch of Bananadoodle cookies using brown bananas (I’ll bake them later on today). I picked up two pairs of shoes for my daughter from the thrift store, and while I was there, I grabbed her a book of fairy tales and a still-wrapped-up set of Judy Moody books for her birthday later this month. I was also able to attend a virtual presentation put on by our local parent education group about the importance of religious literacy in our modern society, which was absolutely fascinating. Guess it was a pretty good week after all! 🙂

    Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

  13. Congrats to Winter and her proud parents! It must be satisfying to see all of her and your hard work pay off. And a job in her field immediately — so great!

    My frugal week:
    – Gave my husband a haircut
    – Made my lentil and sweet potato Shepherd’s pie (http://approachingfood.com/sweet-potato-lentil-shepherds-pie/). Tasty and frugal, plus leftovers freeze well and my baby can eat it.
    – Celebrated my daughter’s birthday: hand me down outfit, handmade cloth banner, reused decorations from my first daughter’s baptism several years ago (and packed them away again), went through my existing paper supplies to find cups and plates and napkins (the dessert stuff didn’t match the lunch stuff but they were on separate tables so it still looked cohesive, and I didn’t have to buy anything or wash anything), and i made the smash cake. I baked a regular sized cake, and then cut out smaller circles to use for the smash cake, crumbled the rest of the cake to turn into cake pops, using lollipop sticks I had on my pantry and sprinkle-flecked melting chocolate I bought on sale. I plated the cake on a silver foil cake round I traded for. Leftover fruit – purchased on sale – from the berry-topped cake was served as a side dish, along with vegetables I had in my fridge (purchased on sale of course) as veggie sticks. Chips (purchased on sale), drinks (I rounded up drinks I had in the house: leftover unopened bottles of Gatorade and ginger ale), and delivery pizza rounded out the simple meal. The pizza fit into this week’s grocery budget, so no extra outlay for party food. The biggest hit was a bunch of balloons I blew up and let float around; the kids loved it! And then I turned those balloons into a balloon arch, using balloon arch tape I had bought a few years ago and reuse for every birthday. A balloon arch always makes for fabulous photos! I edited the photos using the free canvas app, and they’re fabulous! It was a simple and inexpensive celebration, but still rather nice!
    – Used a coupon to get a loaf of free bread
    – My sister gave me some instant coffee she didn’t want. It’s just expired, but perfect for baking with.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Margaret – could I ask you how long it took to receive your Iodine tablets? I qualified and submitted the request but I’d say that was well over two weeks ago and still nothing – but the mail seems to be taking forever these days so who knows….

  14. Congrats on the graduation-it is wonderful you were able to attend! My daughter graduated in Dec at 22-we just paid off her student loans yesterday. Not that we really needed them but in order to receive the grants she qualified for we needed to accept at least some loan-anyway we just kept the $ in the bank ready to pay off.

    Today I am feeling very thankful for everything we have and take for granted! Our 18 year old refugee is heading out in about 5 hrs on a long journey of 48 hrs to start a new life in Canada. Her parents will drive her to the airport( 12 hrs) followed by 3 flights-she will arrive on Wed afternoon. Things are getting worse every day in Ukraine and I think we will all breathe a sigh of relief when she is safely here. Canada recently announced some short term financial assistance for refugees so we will be watching for more info and helping her apply for that. My daughter, boyfriend and dog also arrive this weekend for Easter so it will be nice to celebrate together. They have offered to cook Easter dinner. We have also invited my friends son who recently moved to town.

    My biggest savings last week were getting a parking ticket erroneously issued to me in California withdrawn. In addition when I went to make final payment on a vacation my daughter and I are taking in August the price had gone down 1,004 USD which I was very pleased about. I also received my refund from travel insurance for the trip we cancelled due to Covid.

    On the other hand we just had to pay our income taxes which was not frugal at all!!Last week my SIL told me about another discount produce place she heard about. It is very close to the other one so I will visit both. Their prices are not as good but it is less busy and they do have weekly specials posted online.

  15. Congratulations to Winter on graduating and on getting a job in her field right away. I’m so glad you were able to attend, as well as visit with everyone.

    Amazon Prime in Canada raised its membership by 25% and told me I didn’t have to do anything. I felt otherwise, and dropped my membership. I’ll go back to only ordering occasionally, usually when I have a gift card.

    I’ve been thinking about what to do if eggs start to be hard to get. I’ve been hearing about more cases of bird flu, including in Alberta. The USDA says they last a year frozen, and explains how to freeze them. I’ve also found some egg-free recipes online for some favorite baked goods that I’m going to try. It feels much more manageable now.

    I went to buy an Easter ham, but they hadn’t been put out yet. I’ll try again today. The flyer was full of good specials, but there were lots of unadvertised specials too. I bought some of what I planned to buy in a couple of weeks to take advantage of the prices. I spent $40, and the receipt said I saved $17.

    1. Hi Elizabeth😊
      I have seen blogs where people water glass their eggs for long term storage.
      I’m sure that you can find you tube videos on it.
      If there aren’t any soy allergies in the family you can substitute 1 heaping Tablespoon of soy flour and 1 Tablespoon of water for each egg used in baking. I have tried it in yeast breads, quick breads and cakes with success 😊

      1. Hi, Sharon D,
        That’s interesting about the soy flour. My local grocery store is very big on gluten-free ingredients, so they might well have it in stock. It is only three doors away from my house. It is the baking I am interested in.

        I know that Homesteading Family is very keen on waterglassing eggs, but the only USDA document I can find goes back to 1935! They stress it is a historical document!

        Thanks for the ideas! Elizabeth M.

        1. Elizabeth, the eggs store beautifully when water- glassed but you can’t use store bought eggs. I have my own chickens and waterglassesd several gallon jars during the summer last year for use during the winter, they were perfect. I learned the technique on the Homesteading Family site. You need freshly laid, clean eggs straight from the nest box. Store eggs have been washed and won’t work.

      2. Sharon D, thank you so much for mentioning soy flour! I had totally forgotten it, but I used it in pancakes and one pan veg bakes in the 90’s when my children were small and money was very tight.

      3. Hi all (long time reader, first time posting!). I don’t eat dairy so when I bake I use ground flax seed as an egg replacement. I use 1 tbsp of flax with 3 tbsp of water for each egg. It works awesome in baked goods and makes very fluffy pancakes.

      1. Marybeth, how do you freeze your eggs please? I tried ice cube trays and had too much white for the cubes? Thank you!

        1. I have done them in the ice cube trays. I then toss them in a freezer bag. I also do 6 in a small soup container. I scramble them. I take them out the day before I use them.

    2. Hi Elizabeth M.

      Yes the first cases of bird flu are recorded in Alberta. I think freezing eggs is definitely the way to go. Alas, I’m allergic to eggs
      and miss them a lot. I am worried about the wild bird population.

      1. Yes, that worries me too. They congregate in such large numbers when they migrate that it would easily spread. It would be much harder for them to come back than domestic birds. Though one of the hatcheries that supplies rare heirloom breeds is concerned that one of the farms they get eggs from could lose whole lines of breeding stock.

      2. Hi Anne! Some of my friends are allergic to eggs as well. However, they are not allergic to duck eggs! Just chicken. Have you tried duck eggs? They taste the same from what I am told, maybe a little richer.😊

        1. I have issues with chicken eggs, but the duck eggs are great. We try our best to get them locally in the spring and summer. Hoping to try water glassing the duck eggs this year for winter, but having issues getting the lime. Azure was out…

          1. The reading I did said that waterglassing was given up from popular practice because of related cases of botulism, which is lethal. Freezing is a much safer practice.

  16. Congratulations to Winter!!!
    It has been a busy week but with some points of rest for which I have been very grateful!
    My sister’s birthday was celebrated this past weekend at our house. We cooked a big dinner as part of her gift – I made her a chocolate cake and homemade bread all from pantry ingredients on hand. I know that this is common practice but I still rejoice in being able to prepare things directly from my pantry without having to run to the grocery store. I also made a large batch of twice baked potatoes which gave us leftovers for several meals and used up those potatoes that had begun to sprout.
    Ham was on sale for $1.29/lb so I bought a large ham for Easter and a smaller half ham for the freezer. I plan to go back this week for at least one more ham to add to the freezer. Kroger had 18 eggs on sale for $1.47/each so I will purchase at least 90 eggs to stock us up this week. I purchased seeds for several varieties of flowers to be planted in our backyard. I wanted to buy seedlings but since we will be so late in planting our garden this year I will have to buy some veggie seedlings so I compromised with the flowers. I ordered hearty varieties that return each year like Zinnias and Marigolds to spend my pennies wisely. I am hopeful that the backyard clearing can begin late this week and I can plant some items on Good Friday.
    I listened to free music on Spotify. I ordered a few items that I needed and waited for a sale to come saving myself well over $100 – I just had to be patient. One of the items on my pantry stock up list was Lemon Pepper. While in Costco I noticed that the containers of Lemon Pepper were almost half empty…has anyone else noticed this? I will wait until I am in Sam’s or Walmart to purchase.
    I made another large payment on the second credit card getting me that much closer to $0 balance – woohoo! my husband and I both filled our tanks at Costco for $3.54/gallon a savings of over $0.70/gallon over other local gas stations.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Lemon pepper is much cheaper in bulk from Sam’s, but now I just buy pepper, salt, and use dried lemon zest from our lemons (which are the ingredients in lemon pepper).

  17. Well deserved congratulations to Winter and her husband.
    I learned somebody was in hospice and of two deaths last week. Bad week. I sent flowers from Krogers via Instacart and that came with florist cards with customized messages to the elderly couple whose wife has multiple myeloma and whose husband, completely worn out from a combination of advanced age and illness, recently signed up for hospice, and to a family who lost their husband’s dad in January and their wife’s mom less than three months later, both from complications of non-Covid-19-related pneumonia. I didn’t know the schedule at all of the widow of the man who died so I sent a tin of Danish cookies and a card that stands up like a bouquet (Mom had gotten one from my sister and it cheered us up.) from Amazon. The Kroger flowers were a fraction of the cost of equivalent bouquets from a traditional florist, 1/4 of the cost of the cheapest flowers offered for sale on the funeral home’s website. Otherwise, it has been an expensive weekend because our internet went out at a time I absolutely need it. My cell phone is not allowed to be tethered. So I ordered a hotspot and a month of service so I can get back online today after being offline since Thursday evening while I impatiently wait for repairs to be done offsite.
    I shopped for groceries via Instacart very late last night when my phone’s internet was fastest and was shocked by the increased cost of basic produce. Potatoes, onions, apples…. I splurged by ordering an instant herb garden from a famous nursery in Ontario. IF I am able to keep them alive, they’ll be worth the money I am spending. I am starting sweet potato slips by half-burying sprouting sweet potatoes in dirt in flower pots. Given that lettuce is now $4 a pound, I am also starting some little flats of microgreens.

  18. This renovation project is going so slowly. We nailed through a water line putting in the ceiling, but it was a quick repair, and we had all the necessary parts. In our house – It’s not a project until you burst a water line!

    Ordered Door Dash one night when I was too tired, sore, (and soggy!) from renovations after work to cook. Ate meals I cooked Sunday and reheated the other nights – from the pantry/freezer and primarily vegetarian this week.

    Only other expenses this week were for the remodel: paint and primer, 3 additional pieces of sheetrock, 3 USB/ outlets, and baskets. Still looking for an outside door and shelving I like.

    Combining errands, only washing full loads, hang drying, reusing ziplocs, taking my breakfast and lunch in to work. Finally went to the grocery store due to my husband’s impending visit – I see what everyone is talking about with prices! I have NEVER spent that much – even when hosting a holiday!

    April 1 is our usual date to turn on the AC, so if the temps drop, we just wear a sweater. It was, therefore, 62 in my living room this morning. Brrr.

  19. Congratulations to Winter and her husband, that is a wonderful accomplishment. And good job to you and your husband for teaching the skills needed to get it done.

  20. How wonderful for Winter! It’s always good to hear news of her and her husband. They give me hope for the future! Last week, I harvested asparagus and lettuce, as well as greens for the chickens and pups. My watering can developed a small crack, and I used epoxy to repair it. The pomegranates were pruned, and a little weeding was done, mostly pulling out invasive honeysuckle vines. One of the ear pieces on my headphones came undone. My husband repaired the hardware portion of it, and I added super glue to secure it. Laundry was dried on the line. Our potatoes are coming up nicely, with the majority of plants up now. We’re still saving eyes for any spots that don’t come up. My husband took scrap metal to the salvage yard, with prices up quite a bit, and made a nice profit. The carrot patch planted in the fall was weeded. I’ve started a library book I’m finding fascinating, Underland by Robert Macfarlane. Saturday was cold and windy, so it seemed a good day to bake some sweet potatoes. While the oven was on, I baked a double batch of pecan sandies, then made roasted brussels sprouts. I sanded and stained the countertop where my drill press will sit, then sealed it the next day. More tomato seeds were planted, along with eggplant and pepper. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/04/april-days.html

    1. McFarlane’s books are wonderful – I recommend The Wild Places if you enjoyed this one. I have “Mountains of the Mind” but haven’t had a chance to read it as yet.

      1. His book The Old Ways is one of the bargain books I bought at Christmas for myself. As soon as our book is done and some housekeeping, I plan on reading it.

  21. I read that you can soak a banana peel in water, and then use that water for roses- the potassium is good. I just got a beautiful David Austin rose from a friend for Christmas (just arrived a few weeks ago) and I’m wondering if that would be good to do? Has anyone done this? The rose is called “Jude the Obscure” and will be so pretty.

    1. You can. You can also bury the peel near the roses. In about 5 weeks, it will be gone if you have worms in your soil.

  22. Hello Everyone!
    We are being graced by rain again this week. We desperately need it! This is saving both time and money in watering. I put in several hours prepping my garden beds last week. I’m trying a new brand of concentrated earthworm castings. A 10 lb. bag is concentrated enough to spread between 3 raised beds. Between the concentrated earthworm castings and the compost from Home Depot vs. the local nursery products, I’ve saved about $6.50 per bed in amendments this spring. My hope is that they’re of equal quality and nutrients for the plants. Time will tell…

    Since I have an oven again, I baked whole wheat chocolate muffins and oat bars with home-canned pear filling for snack. We barbecued some chicken and pork ribs from the freezer. I bought several packs of chicken from Safeway at $1.29/lb. I vacuum sealed and froze them. There were hardly any sale items on the Safeway app, but I was able to take $4 off my purchase in rewards. I also made a trip to Costco and noticed that almost every item has increased $1-4 each. It doesn’t seem like much until it all adds up at the register. A 25lb. bag of all purpose flour increased from $6.99 to $9.99, my husband’s coffee increased $3 and so on. According to my bill, inflation is up 20%, not the 7.5% baloney they advertise. I watched a clip from Alaska Prepper, and he found about a 20% increase on his Costco bill as well. We’ll just have to make as much as we can at home (baking, canning, gardening) to offset the increase.

    I continue to work out at home and take tennis classes through the community college for exercise. Congrats to your daughter and son-in-law graduating debt free! My son is taking some dual-enrollment classes at the CC right now so he will graduate with 9 units. I’m encouraging my daughter to take classes during her senior year as well. It’s such a great opportunity for them and a free program!

    Another thought on men’s dress clothing…I have a Macy’s card for the sole purpose of the extra discounts. We find dress shirts on the “Last Chance” rack and they’re even less expensive than Marshalls. Like Gardenpat, we also redeem our credit card rewards as cash back. It’s like getting an extra discount on purchases like the new oven range. However, we do not carry balances or that would defeat the purpose.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

    1. I think that earthworm casting are superior to the others, which is why they’re so much more money, but I’m grateful to have them. I see great results with them.

    2. Julie,
      The other thing we do with our Macy’s card is use it, then immediately pay off the balance right there at the register, at that moment. I’ve done that many times in the past, as we don’t like to bother with the payments later, but still want the coupons. The other thing they’ve let me do is use a gift card right then, with the card (instead of actually charging anything) and still get the discount. I will admit, I only go there a few times each year, and they may have changed things, but it’s worked in the past.

      I actually went there this last week to get a few things for my daughter and myself. My husband and I debated me going to a discount store, but he reminded me that we usually get great deals there, on either the Last Chance racks, sale and clearance racks and just general sales, plus additional discounts and that the quality has always been great for us. He was right. I was able to find what we needed at a price I could afford. I prayed before I went, as I always do, specifically asking the Lord to help us find what we needed for the money I had available. God always provides.

      1. Becky,
        Yes, Macys let’s you immediately pay the balance. Plus, free shipping is a perk when they don’t have your size or color in stock. We’ve also sent Christmas and wedding gifts this way. I appreciate receiving the sales booklets in the mail so I can shop sales as needed instead of hunting and hoping to find what we need. It has been worth having this card!

  23. It sounds like you had a nice little trip. I bet the baby grew a lot since you last saw her.

    Savings seemed minimal last week. Staying home is a natural money saver!
    * Read library books
    * I made greeting cards for my own use and some for our card ministry at church. These cards are taken to nursing homes, etc. so residents have access to cards for their own use. The envelopes with them are already stamped.
    * We finished watching the North and South trilogy on DVD. Broadcast tv is just sooo bad! We’re awaiting some of our shows on PBS.
    * We offered to buy some planters from a homeowner 2 blocks over. We drive by when we pick up our mail. I noticed they had been on the side of the garage for over a year. Didn’t cost us a penny. They were thrilled to get rid of them. They’re the raised type.
    Reading…
    On my nightstand- Dead Heat by Dick Francis
    In my CD player- Stephanie Plum #27 by Janet Evanovich
    With my Bible study- Created to be his Help Meet by Debi Pearl
    By my reading chair- Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Good read on simplicity.

    I beautified by putting out some spring decor. I love that my husband loves all the decorations!! He says it makes everything look cheerful.

    Happy Holy week to all!

    1. Our library doesn’t have Amish Peace but there are 3 other books by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I will try “On a Summer Tide” which sounds good. I loved all the Dick Francis books!

      1. I’ve enjoyed all of Fisher’s books. I read a lot of murder mystery types so I enjoy a light read every few books! My best friend an I are going to do a Jane Austen this summer. Neither of us has read one. I’m looking forward to it!

      1. Thanks, Barbara! I’ve found a lot of great reads here. I love when people mention what they’re reading or watching. It’s a great way to find new stuff. Someone suggested The Darling Dahlias and I flew through those. I loved the details about the depression, what people did, and I’m always in for a good mystery! So I’m always taking notes when here.

        1. Debbie – I just checked – book 10 of the Darling Dahlias is due out in June – It’s called The DD and the Red Hot Poker” – I can’ t wait – love that series. And if someone doesn’t know – every book includes some amazing recipes!

          1. I didn’t know there was a new one! I will look to see if I can reserve it early from the library!

            1. Another new one comes out this summer – The Darling Dalia’s and the Red Hot Poker.

              Can’t wait!

              Lea

  24. Congratulations to your daughter and son-in-law, Brandy!

    Last week I:
    —submitted a receipt for a Home Depot 11% rebate (Menards was doing theirs)
    —picked up a nice freebie detergent pack at my husband’s dermatologist appointment
    —froze some eggs to have extras on hand, since prices are rising, and selection is getting slimmer
    —enjoyed getting out my children’s spring clothing that I bought off-season. I paid $1.80 for cropped leggings at Target last year, which is cheaper than our local thrift store prices.
    —found some winter clearance shirts at Target for my son. I didn’t realize all clothing clearance was an additional 20% off until after checkout. The shirts were $2.60 each.
    —did lots of gardening prep last week.
    —added a water fountain feature to an existing bird bath, using an inexpensive solar pump I purchased on Amazon. I also added rocks we already had. We have received lots of compliments on it.
    —Planning to stock up on several food items at Target this week since I have a $15 off $75 grocery cartwheel offer.

    Have a great week!

  25. That is wonderful Brandy. Warmest congratulations to Winter, her husband and all your family. It’s so nice to know some good things are still happening in the world!

    I bought 4 small greenhouses for a terrific price, around $100 each. They are all 3 metres by 2 metres and around 2 metres high. I am looking forward to using them to grow more produce.

    I also found a chainstore here which has decided to offer a lot of groceries here at very good prices, undeercutting the supermarkets quite a lot. I was excited to get some things like packets of pasta and coffee for $1.00 each. Normally the same items would be a minimum of $2.50 at the supermarkets.

    I so enjoy your reader’s comments – thank you one and all – and thanks Brandy for your excellent blog and photos.
    Best wishes to everyone.

    Wendy
    (New Zealand)

  26. Aren’t you glad you were able to go to the graduation and personally visit with your family, Brandy? Also, graduating debt free is fantastic. Both of our kids were able to graduate debt free, and they quickly realized how important it is to start “real” life without thousands of dollars in debt hanging over their heads, as too many of their friends have.

    This past week I mixed up more of a home recipe for Ranch dressing dry mix and a recipe for a special meat rub that uses no nightshades or seed-based-spices (both of which I must avoid). I can buy pre-made similar meat rubs on specialty sites, but goodness, they are expensive. I buy spices in bulk, and grow some of the herbs used, so the homemade mixes are much cheaper to use.

    I had a pot for oregano that was invaded by pretty native flowers and they were crowding the oregano out. I opted to let the flowers have the pot and moved the oregano to an herb bed I am building in my yard.

    Birds are nesting here in Florida, so I put more seed in all their feeders and added a suet cylinder that has extra protein and calcium. I sliced the tall cylinder into three fat rings and put just one ring on the holder. With our humidity and frequent rain, a full-sized cylinder will usually mold before the birds finish it. This suet has hot pepper in it, to keep the squirrels from eating it. I bought the seeds and suet using my membership discount and a buyer’s reward of $10 I got from previous purchases, saving almost $25 total. Birds are great entertainment.

    I downgraded three hand towels – two will be used as rags and one to wipe shower walls when done showering. They won’t get thrown out until they are used up. My “newest” hand towels are almost all second-hand.

    I made another gallon pitcher of Rooibos (Redbush) herbal iced tea, brewing it with dried stevia leaf so it will be sweetened without sugar. I buy the herbal tea and stevia in bulk, but I supplement the stevia with dried stevia from my small plant growing outside. Rooibos is close to the taste of black tea without having to be decaffeinated, as it is naturally caffeine free. It’s expensive by the teabag, but much more affordable in bulk, and cheaper than drinking sodas or store-bought teas.

    We had a sunny, windy day on Saturday, so I dried a lot on the line. The rest, I dried on a drying rack indoors.

    I had my annual check up. It’s definitely prudent to stay on top of health issues.

    I earned $35 on a survey site and used it to purchase another grocery gift card, reducing my grocery bill by $35 this past week.

    Spring flowers are almost done blooming here, but I have really enjoyed them while they lasted.

    1. I have always been fascinated by the red bush tea that the characters in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency drink. I have never seen red bush tea for sale but now you have inspired me to look for it online or to explore growing it (if it’s possible in our New York climate)! Thanks ☺️

      1. Kat,
        I order it from a company called Mountain Rose Herbs, usually, as I order teas and spices by the pound and get the five pound or more discount doing it that way. (I use a lot of black tea for making kombucha) They charge shipping, so it wouldn’t be worth it to order just a little bit. I got my brother-in-law drinking it, and he orders it through Amazon. You can find it by the box of teabags, if you want a taste-test, at places such as a local food co-op and I think I’ve seen it at Whole Foods. Good luck!

    2. My husband and I love rooibos tea. I like it both hot and iced. For my birthday, I always request the cinnamon rooibos chai from David’s Tea as a special treat….it has chunks of dried apple in it.

  27. Congratulations to your family on the college graduations! How wonderful! It sound like a great trip. I’m so glad you could go.

    My second daughter celebrated her 29th birthday, so we had her family over for dinner. She asked for spaghetti dinner, which I happily made for her. When she was 3 years old we had a 101 Dalmatian themed party for her, so I printed off some dalmatian coloring pages and hung them with some crepe paper and balloons we already had on hand. I purchased some dalmatian stickers and decorated some disposable plates and cups we had already. So, even though it was a little silly, it was a nice surprise for her and she appreciated it so much. It was fun and thrifty.

    Both my husband and I needed new glasses so we got those this week. Money in our HSA paid for all of both pairs, thankfully.

    I have eight little six-year-old sweethearts I teach each Sunday. I wanted to do something special for Easter for them so I used a little scrap yarn and made the cutest little crocheted baskets to hold some candy. They were so fun to make and I’m excited to give them to them next Sunday. I made some for my grandchildren also, although it will cost more to mail them then they are worth….but that’s part of being Granny!

    Other than that it was a simple week with library books, home cooked meals, meal planning and grocery pick up. It seems to me that the simpler things are around here, the happier i am, and the less money we spend. Wins all around.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week. Stay safe!

  28. When my youngest nephew graduated from college 10 years ago he actually received a refund. His scholarship covered housing including university owned apartment he lived in for 3 years. His rent was paid via financial aid through August but he graduated in May. You were able to cancel due to graduation, we wrote a letter by the deadline and he received refund on 3 months rent, think it was about $1500. He had work study freshman year but didn’t love it so for other years he worked on farm during summer and saved most of his money so he didn’t need to work during school year. You really have to keep on top of financial aid requirements and deadlines. And there is so much not covered. I bought gas and groceries when I would go see him once a month. My mom (his grand) bought books that weren’t covered by scholarship and my sister (his mom) bought his clothes. By spreading it out it wasn’t a burden on any of us and he graduated debt free.

  29. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to Winter and her husband on graduation. WOOOO! I read my son their frugal college methods as we have begun something similar (he’s about to turn 15).

    BIG NEWS FOR ME! WE JUST PAID OFF MY CAR! (Two years early – we lucked out and got it right as the pandemic was hitting the USA & got 0% interest so everything extra we could come up with was thrown at it.) Sorry to “yell” but I know this is the one place everyone reading will be hooting and hollering with me. 😀 Can y’all hear me screaming in my head? This was a big goal for us knowing my husband would retire from active duty soon, so we have zero debt as we make this major life change in a couple of months.

    On that note, I signed up for more free webinars about LinkedIn last week, specific to military/spouse networking, that we’ll be watching this week.

    My husband was offered two free suits through an organization that assists as folks make the transition from uniforms to businesswear; the lady who sets everything up received his measurement sheet and made an appointment with him for fitting. We are ever so grateful they offer this.

    I desperately need to update my computer, and while looking at options, my son mentioned that he wants to save for an upgrade as well. He has “outgrown” his first computer as his programming skills progress and he starts working toward his own small business ventures – so we decided to invest in a more powerful unit for him for school and work, and I will upgrade to his “old” one, which is 3 years old and still waaaay faster than mine (which is 12 LOL). We looked at several models on and off the base, and as the one he ultimately chose was on base, we saved sales tax. Then the one in stock was an opened box, marked off 10% for that. The gentleman said it had been there a bit, so he very kindly took another 5% off that. The discounts basically covered the secondary monitor we had picked out (which was on sale $50 off to boot). So I’ll have a new-to-me computer soon and he’s got something to keep going with that is already showing its worth by leaps and bounds in just days of use. This gives us/him time to save as the only other way to step up from what he chose is to build his own.

    Got my website set up for my business and just in time – a colleague had me on her podcast last week and today shared one of my guest posts on her blog (free publicity). Really hitting the exciting stuff now!

    Happy Monday, all!!!!!

    1. Melonie, Would you mind sharing the organization who gave your hubby free suits? My husband is also retiring from active duty this fall. We’re in San Diego and I’m hoping we might take advantage of that program also. Thank you!

  30. Congratulations to Winter and her husband. They are off to such a great start. And how wonderful she was able to find a job in her field right away.
    You made such good points about how to earn a degree without debt. I did it years ago but the basics are the same: choose a lower cost school. That often means in state schools or community college for the first two years. Get as many credits as you can while still in high school, by taking college classes in high school or by testing out of basic classes. Apply for every scholarship you can find. Our local electric company and several local organizations offer scholarships and the only requirement is to attend a local high school. And work while in school to help pay for tuition and books. Even if you end up having to borrow some money it won’t be as much.

  31. Gas is $3.58 a gallon near college town and is mostly $3.99 a couple of hours south of college town, although I did see one station that had gas at $4.19, Congratulations to Winter and her husband! Yes, my youngest is on full tuition scholarship to law school and our goal is for him to graduate without any law school debt including living expenses. I walked at the park and in the neighborhood for exercise this week. I pulled a previously made lasagna out of the freezer and fed it to my middle son and his friend, who had been working on his car all day. Frugal car work and frugal food! I made hamburgers with meat I had in the freezer, and pulled out of the freezer, hamburger buns I had previously frozen. We were eating those over the weekend and I am eating one for lunch today. I bought a bunch of bananas for 49 cents a lb, we also ate sautéed spinach for our vegetable side.I cut my hair. I do it very slowly and carefully, and actually spend a couple of days leveling up the loose ends. I bought an extra Mayo but otherwise did not stock up this weekend when I went for groceries. For whatever reason I have found I like the Target brand of Fresh Market and get that. I am intending on making a mulberry cobbler with my free frozen mulberries this week but we will see.

  32. Hello Brandy and how wonderful that you were able to see Winter and her husband graduate at doing it debt free is wonderful and see your other son too 🙂 . With having a young baby as well that is truly a great accomplishment for her and her husband to juggle studies and parenting too. Great you were able to get a motel close by that had facilities where you were able to self cater by buying food from the grocery store to save costs.

    It finally fined up for a few days here so we were able to get out in the yard and do some work out there and yes the rainwater tanks are full to overflowing which is another blessing 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – We baked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $13.96 on usual prices.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.

    Deep cleaning –
    As us and my car got caught in floodwaters on a medical trip it kind of looked like we had been mud rallying in it, we decided to clean it. We just turned around and stayed in a motel overnight but the roads were all muddy with shallow floodwater on them. Got to love rain bombs one minute it is fine and the next the rain comes down in bucket loads.

    – I vacuumed the car, DH cleaned the inside vinyl, door seals and door sills and where the doors close with hot soapy water and cleaned the interior of the glass windows and windscreen. We then cleaned the outside glass and gave it a good wash. It now looks sparkly clean once more.

    Purchases –
    – Bought a lovely lined linen and lace dress on end of season clearance at Noni B for $15 saving $134.99 on usual prices.
    – I used $20 off our shopping which was rewards $ on my grocery card to purchase 1kg of cheese, 1kg of bacon, some bananas for DH and bought a hummingbird cake on markdown for $2.80 reduced from $7. The total with discounts we paid out of pocket was $3.11. With all our discounts combined we saved $24.80 on usual prices.
    – Purchased 2 x cans of cat food for .95c from the reject shop saving $1.10 on usual prices. If our cat likes this brand we will swap to that brand to save more on pet food costs.

    In the gardens –
    – DH pruned the 2 star jasmine and a lilac shrub with the petrol powered hedge trimmer.
    – DH got out into the yard and double mowed the larger part of the property with the ride on lawn mower as the grass was 70 – 80 cm deep in some places. We still have the house paddock to mow next week.

    Hope everyone has a good week ahead 🙂 .

    1. Thanking God you and hubby are safe, Lorna. Floodwaters are no fun. Also thankful you have overflowing tanks!

  33. We’re having a nice, frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I found a box of unopened diapers at the thrift store, about 25% of the retail price. Baby will grow into them in a few months.
    I bought several roasts marked down to $1.99/#, and one of the spiral hams at Kroger, for .95/#. I know that it was cheaper at Aldi (.87/#), but I was already at Kroger, so this saved me an additional trip.
    I bought marked down sandwich baggies. I used to use Tupperware, and still sometimes do, but these came to about a penny each and will save me time when making the kids’ lunches.
    I paid bills online, saving a stamp.
    I stocked up on eggs: $1.47/18 ct at Kroger, limit 5. They’re not as delicious as the ones my aunt gives me, but in baking, we really can’t tell a difference.
    I made homemade bread.
    I got more free buckets and lids from the Kroger bakery. I like that these are smaller (2.5 or 3 gallons), as they’re more manageable when filled. They don’t wash them, and my rascal children were scraping out all the buttercream frosting left in one of them before I got a chance to clean them out.
    I returned a dress to Goodwill that my daughter didn’t like, and used the store credit to buy other things.
    I used some old, expired allergy medication for my son that worked just fine. The pollen here is overwhelming right now.
    We ate out once: at Sam’s. Pizzas were on sale for $7 in the cafe, and one pizza and some hot dog combos ($1.50/each) fed everyone for less than $13. Usually the pizzas are $9 or $10.
    I caught an incorrect price at the store, and the cashier changed it. This saved me almost $3.
    I froze brown bananas and made smoothies for the kids the next morning.
    A friend is shopping for me at the used uniform sale, which I’m not able to attend. Prices are about 25% of what the uniforms would cost new.
    I sold some items on Mercari and Facebook marketplace.
    Frugal fail: Two of my kids and the neighbor kid got into some candy I hid in the garage fridge, purchased on clearance after Halloween and saved for Easter. My kids have lost dessert for a while, but now I’m going to need to figure out the Easter candy situation.
    Randall’s was out of the .99 boxes of Frosted Flakes and Raisin Bran, but the store allowed me to substitute different Kellogg’s cereals.
    One son took a gift from my gift closet to a classmate’s birthday party at a trampoline park.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  34. Congratulations to Winter and her husband. I can’t wait to hear about her job.
    My girlfriend’s dad (the man I used to help) passed away last year. They are finally in contract on his condo. I spent Saturday with her going through his stuff. We laughed, cried and hugged a lot. My son is hoping to move out soon. No one wanted most of the kitchen items so I took pots, pans, a cutting board, a strainer, misc. kitchen utensils, a hand mixer, and a mini blender. I boxed it all up and labeled it. I have a list of items we already have so we know what is still needed. I also took for myself a lazy susan, a vase, 8 rolls of wrapping paper, various gift boxes, several boxes of cards, 3 puzzles, several decks of playing cards, several activity books, a fry shield, 3 plants with plant stands, various outdoor decorations and 2 elephant figures. We still have a lot to do before closing in middle of May. I dropped a box of books off at a free library. I made several listings on Craig’s List for items that she is trying to sell.
    Hubby’s job has not done any group activities in the last 2 years due to Covid. Well the numbers are very low right now in NY so they booked Top Gold. It is a high teck driving range. They booked 12 bays that hold 8 people each. They also had a BBQ and drinks. Spouses were invited. They did ask that if you are not vaccinated to wear a mask. I wore one just to be safe. We had a great night out.
    The garden is still coming along slowly. Hubby built me another raised garden bed with minimal supplies bought. He uses the wood from pallets that we get for free. I transplanted some seedlings into bigger pots. I planted 2 blueberry bushes. It has rained several times so I haven’t had to water anything outside. 2 of my garden wagon wheels were not staying inflated so Hubby bought 2 from Harbor Freight. The wagon was garbage picked years ago. All of my seed trays are from my dad when he used to do everything from seeds. I now give him plants like he used to give me.
    The little boy I watch and I went to the park twice and the library once. He came to my house one day too. I was fed all 4 days. His mom offered me food leftover from a party they had on Sunday. It fed us dinner one night. She went to a new doctor who has put her on a strict diet. No dairy, no processed meats and a few other things. She asked if we wanted food as she had gotten a food order the day before. I said yes, of course. We got 2 containers of coffee cream, a container of ½ and ½, an open container of heavy cream, a container of sour cream, 3 pounds of various cold cuts, a package of kielbasa, and 2 probiotic drinks. My son was very excited about the cold cuts because we rarely buy them.
    I baked 3 loaves of bread this week. We hung laundry outside for the first time this year. Most of it is still going on drying racks.
    I was really tired one night after chasing D at the park all day. I had forgotten to pull anything out for dinner. I was considering getting take out which is a small fortune right now. Instead, my daughter and I made waffles with strawberries and I opened a can of our homemade cinnamon apple sauce. No one complained so I will take that as a win.
    I was offered 10 strawberry plants from a friend. They got planted the next day in my strawberry bed.
    I fried chicken cutlets one night for dinner. I made chicken soup for the dog with the chicken fat. I cooked the rest of the egg for the dog too. Every little bit helps.
    I cashed out a $25 gift card to Home Depot from Ibotta.

  35. Wow, your daughter and husband are amazing and free to not have those student loans hovering over them as they start out from here! My husband and I didn’t go to college but if our children would want to go we’d definitely help them do graduating debt free.
    Things we did to be frugal last week:
    -planted more seeds in the garden for lettuce and fordhook swiss chard. I love putting perpetual spinach or the fordhook in kefir smoothies. Also have some little seedlings appear from my perpetual spinach last year! I’ll be transplanting those to where I want them.
    -harvested lettuce, chard and asparagus from the garden.
    – started cucumber and melon seeds in the greenhouse.
    – I’m successfully starting chives for the first time in my greenhouse! I bought a 50 cent pack of seeds at Aldi to try again and am so happy 😊
    – we’ve been having a few frosts over weekends so we turned on a sprinkler overnight to ice over the blueberry and strawberry flowers and it appears to be successful! Since we have our own well it’s only the electricity for the pump that’s an expense so we think it’s worth it. Especially at the cost of organic fruit and berries. The black raspberries and red raspberries and blackberries thankfully weren’t blooming yet and are fine.
    -also covered up some sunflower seedlings in the garden that are growing from last year.
    – I’m also starting my own sweet potato slips to avoid that expense. Hopefully I’ll get enough. Also am starting the landscaping sweet potato vines from potatoes I kept from last year.
    -friends gave me some money so I’m buying some more fruit trees. I bought a Liberty apple and a Celeste fig. I’m trying to buy disease resistant ones and later blooming to get fruit on them since we tend to get late frosts.
    – I bought a markdown tomato box of potatoes and onions for $10 each at a local produce place. The onions I’m chopping and freezing to use until mine are ready from the garden.
    – I’m 39.5 weeks pregnant with our 4th and pretty exhausted most of the time with not much energy but I am blessed and thankful for the health baby and I do have. I am trying to freeze something every day for snacks or a meal after the baby comes cuz I love that convenience and how much longer I can rest and enjoy the baby! A church friend is bringing leftovers from yesterday’s hosting for our dinner tonight and I’m so grateful!
    -my husband got the pecans cracked from our trees for $3 a 5 gallon bucket so I’ve been working on sorting them out when I’m resting. Such a luxury for me to have our own pecans as when I grew up we were poor and never bought any nuts, not even peanuts;so that’s why pecans feel like a luxury. We probably got close to 4 bushel this past crop.
    – I am stocking up on butter right now since Aldi has it for $1.97 a pound. If I buy 20 now a dollar cheaper than regular price it’ll keep us in stock until the fall/winter sale so I save $40 a year doing it.
    – I got the 3 children’s summer clothes out and think we’re set without having to buy any for the next season. Also got the baby’s clothes out and don’t need any for her either. I only had to buy a used car seat and I got a used baby swing for her.
    -my husband found a used youth helmet for only $10 for our oldest daughter to go on motorcycle rides with him. A friend gifted me with one earlier and I can’t wait to go riding with him once the baby’s born!
    – I did my and my 2 daughters’ nails instead of getting them done professionally.
    -my sister left some egg whites here after she visited so I made an angel food cake to freeze to enjoy with strawberries since they’ll be getting ripe soon after baby comes. Also made some pie crusts to freeze teaching my 7 year old how to make them for strawberry pie.
    – my daughter wanted to have piano lessons and I came across the free simply piano app so she’s starting starting lessons and loving it.
    – I made a lace skirt for my daughter from an adult size one I bought thrifted for $2. I also hemmed some denim pants I bought on closeout that’s were too long for my husband.
    Have a blessed week everyone!

  36. Congratulations on the graduations!
    I was surprised to save money this week on meat. I bought 2 spiral sliced hams at $.99/lb., chuck roast at $2.99/lb., 80% lean ground beef at $2.99/lb. and chicken thighs at $.99/lb. Also bought boneless Australian leg of lamb for $5.99/lb. for Easter dinner. It was a lot in one week but I didn’t want to miss out on the sales since everything has been going up lately. Stop and Shop had their coupon for 5 free boxes of matzah so we will enjoy those for several months. Milk and half and half went up again as they seem to every week.
    I had a Bed, Bath and Beyond store credit so when I saw an offer for a $25 bonus with $100 purchase, I took advantage of it to buy some basics that have been on my list to replace plus a few things to bring when we visit my sister’s vacation condo. My sister likes practical gifts, fortunately.
    I redeemed Ibotta dollars for a DSW gift card which I used to buy a daughter’s birthday present.
    Thanks to readers’ recommendations, I am enjoying Maisie Dobbs! I just started book #2.
    Spring is beautiful here in the Bronx. Our forsythia bloomed. We have pink and purple hyacinths! I see buds and blossoms everywhere in my neighborhood. We still have our tomato, lettuce and spinach seedlings inside but we will plant them soon.
    I used Old English furniture stain on window sills in the living room and kitchen. I think it looks great.
    I hope everyone has a healthy week. I pray for peace. Happy Easter to all who celebrate.

  37. A debt-free degree, a job, a husband, a baby – all at 20 and with tonnes of style! I do so admire Winter. On the frugal side, I made two jars of apple and elderberry jelly with some rather mealy apples and my previously made elderberry syrup. I used my mini instant pot to sterilize the jars, but I keep the finished product in the fridge here in steamy Sydney anyway. I am still cooking every weekend from my vegetarian cookbook and some rarely used spices are being used up (looking at you, Garam Masala). Still shopping the clearance racks, though truly I need very little now that working from home is the norm here. We are getting a few sunny days at last, after the rains so the dryer is not being used as much. I deep cleaned (Autum cleaning LOL) my kitchen last week and retired a few items that I never used or had too many of. Like many of us I guess, I feel the need to get things shipshape in the face of this rather threatening world we live in at the moment.

  38. I want to add my congratulations to Winter and her husband and so glad to hear that you and your husband were able to be there for her graduation!

    It was a busy week at the office as I went in for 4 days and of course, working for a church, it is our “busy season”! 🙂 I didn’t need to do any weekly shopping but did get some extras for the pantry and stockpile. I stopped at Shoppers Drugmart to pick up a couple of more jugs of laundry detergent that was on at half price – I now have enough for the next year. While there I found that they had a great selection of No Name canned veg – 4 for $5 – which is a good price at the moment – bought 12 cans and then found that they had the Campbell’s Chunky soups on for 2 for $6 – also a good price right now – plus – they had a great variety that I’d never seen before! I bought 6 cans and over rice or pasta they will make 12 meals. Oh and having spent over $40 I received a pound of butter free so that has gone into the freezer.

    I did a good cleanup of my non food pantry and freed up a couple of containers that I then put to use in the food pantry. I’ve almost run out of shelf space so I have put some of the longer BB dated items into bins that I stacked on the floor – everything on the shelves is 2022, 2023 and a few 2024, although most of those are in bins. This also helps me to see what I need to eat first. I also made up more powdered milk to mix with regular. I will use a container of UHT long life milk next as it is coming up to BB and that way I can stay out of the grocery store for another few days. I’m debating about whether or not to buy a small ham for Easter – I have a lot of pork chops, pork steaks and cooked pork loin in the freezer so not quite sure if I want more pork at the moment – I’ll see what the price is first. I also managed to find double A batteries – they have been a bit scarce lately (a friend was in IKEA last week and planned to pick up a couple of packs – they had no batteries at all)!
    Meals were simple last week – 3 turkey dinners with items from the fridge & freezer and then 3 dinner salads with different proteins, canned tuna, hard boiled egg & cheese, and then cooked chicken thigh from the freezer. Yesterday I defrosted the last ziploc of chilli made last month – using up everything on hand! I will go into the office 3 days this week and will take snacks and my water bottle.
    Both my brother’s family and my sister’s family have come down with Covid – one brought home from Daycare and the other from High School – so frustrating as they have been so careful. One nephew and one niece are feeling very ill and exhausted and she has a 5 month old baby so grandma is now doing double-duty. Cases are on the rise again so be careful out there!

  39. Hello Brandy, would you mind sharing a little more about what your daughter will be doing? I’m a SAHM and now that both kids that have gone into elementary school, I’ve began to start thinking about work. In my daydreams, I would get paid to hand sew garments. Or something along those lines.

    1. I actually had a simple supper once upon a time with a family whose young adult daughter sewed by hand professionally. One small but relevant detail: They lived an easy commute to Paris’ haute couture houses.

    2. Hi Terri, I help create patterns using a computer program called Acumark CAD for a small manufacturing factory. I take client’s products and help get them ready to be mass produced on the floor.

      Sewing from home jobs are harder to find but you could check on with your local dry cleaners and see if they’re needing seamstress and negotiate from there. Some bridal shops also may do the same thing. My school, BYU-I also has an online certificate in sewing that can help you show certification of being a seamstress to help be more qualified for jobs and be paid more. It can take a bit but it does help for something on a resume.

    3. Terri, have you considered doing alterations for people? Last year my daughter needed to have her prom dress altered, and it was $140! I was shocked by the price, but there was no way I was going to attempt to do the alterations myself. The dress shop gave us her contact info; we called and set up an appointment. She met us at the dress shop and pinned everything, then took the dress home to work on it. The seamstress took the trimmed fabric and made 2 matching masks for my daughter and her date. I was surprised to see that she was quite a young girl, probably early 20s. Actually she said her day job is at a local business (engineering, I think?) and she does alterations for fun on the side. I bet she makes a killing during wedding and prom season!

  40. I feel a fierce pride in Winter’s accomplishment in graduating debt free. I know this is the result of her hard work, perseverance, and delayed gratification. (“Oh, she’s so lucky” is a comment I get enraged with!) Well done!
    I wish I could report exciting frugal accomplishments, but it is the usual daily attentions. Oh well — little things done faithfully add up.
    Everyone talking about reading books set in the 1940s made me dig out my late mom’s Grace Livingston Hill books. I got to read charming vintage stories and remember my mother at the same time.
    Keeping my pantry storage as full as possible and encouraging others to consider doing the same, I feel like the mythological Cassandra who was fated to give good advice which was never heeded! It is restful to come here where others are like minded.

    1. I have just put one of Grace Livingston Hill’s books on hold at my library. Thanks for the recommendation!

  41. I did another large Aldi haul getting staples and canned food. I did get 3 lbs of butter on sale for $1.97.
    ***We had a freeze so I covered my fruit trees berries, roses, and hydrangeas. They are all budding.
    *** I made breakfast burritos to freeze. My husband has enjoyed having them for the days he goes to the office. I got 3 carton of 18 ct eggs at Kroger on their weekly sale. I froze 4 bags with 3 eggs in each bag.
    *** I ordered an 11 lb bucket of freeze dried eggs from Augason Farms. With shortages and Bird Flu I can now know I can bake or have eggs we need.
    ***] canned Zuppa Toscana and Rustic Italian soup. One of the Rustic Italian didn’t seal so we tried it. It was very good. It had smoked sausage, potatoes, carrots, beans, and kale, but I used turnip and collard greens from my garden instead of kale.
    ***I put some more oats and grits in containers to store.
    ***We had to get a bed to go in the room my Mother in law vacated. We got a mattress on sale at Costco. I found a huge picture at a garage sale this weekend to go over the bed for $25. I have nightstands and a wall curio to paint. I have bedding, but needed bed pillows. All I need now is lamps, and I’d like a chair. I’ll watch for yardsale finds. I got floral sheets at target 20% off plus 5% off for using the target debit card.
    ***We shaved our Goldendoodle. I’m investing in good clippers and a table and learning to groom him and the new 9 week old puppy myself. They want $130 now.
    We had a community garage sale next to us. I got a large glass pickle jar for grain storage, 12 books for $3, an old Betty Crocker cookbook, a spatula and biscuit cutter, 2 new packs of small cups with lids for condiments for lunches, and a small red transferware plate.
    ***Focus this week is on cleaning well, starting more seed, and working in my physical health.

    1. Bama Holly I looked at your puppy picture. YOUR SKIN IS BEAUTIFUL (as well as your are a natural beauty). I know you shared your skin care routine before, bit I can’t find it. Can you share again?

      1. thank you very much. I don’t do a lot, I use Oil Of Olay Reginerist as a moisturizer every day. I get it at Sams a little cheaper. I also have the night time cream, but rarely remember to put it on. I have avoided sun on my face since my twenties, coming from being at the beach and pool every day my childhood years trying to get dark.

        1. Thank you for sharing. I remembered that it was not the most expensive moisturizer and you buy it from Sam’s – cheaper.

  42. Juiced the remains oranges yesterday. All meals cooked at home. Did not drive my car last week or make any purchases. I am relocating a raised bed to a partial shady location. Will plant potatoes in tub I had strawberries in last year. I covered the plants with six inches of leaves and mulch but they have not come back. My peony came back and has buds so I am thrilled. I have split and transplanted 100s of bulbs instead of buying plants this year. My seedlings are doing good in the greenhouse but I need to get more started.

  43. Congrats to Winter and her husband!

    My daughter has been experimenting with yeast so she baked yeast rolls and made pizza twice each. This might be detrimental to my waistline, lol.

    I ate lunch at work all 5 days, including a baked potato bar on Friday as an appreciation and I received some lovely flowers.

    Hubby did maintenance on the mower and I mowed the lawn.

    I did the laundry in one day so the dryer stayed warm.

    The weather was nice(minus one day) so the heat stayed off.

    We watched stuff we already had recorded on the DVR

    I’m crocheting a baby blanket for my neighbors daughter and I use that time to watch a TV show on Hulu.

    My mom sent over powdered milk and donuts

  44. We continue to keep track of everything. My husband and I had a date day on Sunday, something we haven’t done in a very long time. It was a lovely time. We drove 4 hours to Mansfield, Mo. to visit Baker Creek Heirloom Seed company. They were having a Tulip Festival. I have been there before and throughly enjoyed it. This time there were so many people there that we left quickly. It is a beautiful drive there. I’m a person that enjoys quiet places and time alone with my husband. So we drove to Branson and ate at a little out of the way Asian restaurant. It was wonderful! It had just a few tables in it and the food was made from scratch. The chef and his wife came out and talked to us. He said the recipe for the noodles we ate had been in his wife’s family for hundreds of years! It was served with veggies and we chose to eat it with pork. So good and such a treat! We then stopped at a thrift shop and bought a few things. Then drove home. The drive through the hills was beautiful! We chose to eat dinner and breakfast at home. I have to admit to having some ice-cream at Braums that was on sale on the way home. It was a wonderful day with my husband!
    We have been turning off lights. The rest of the week we consolidated errands into one trip. We have been eating what we have at home. We have dandelions growing in our yard, so I hope to pick them tomorrow for a salad and if I pick extra I may blanche and freeze some greens. I hope to make dandelion jelly as well with the flowers. I also wondered about using the flowers in a shortbread, scone or cake. I need to look to see if there are any recipes. I think my husband would enjoy a treat for his lunch. I read that you can make dandelion tea as well. I may make fritters our of the flowers. I’ve done that before and they were good. I’m still waiting for the asparagus to come up. I had borrowed books from the library. My husband planted the end of a romaine lettuce to see if it will grow more lettuce. Our seedlings are growing. I hope to have veggies this year. Chickens are laying more eggs. I am trying to use the things in the fridge before it goes bad and before buying more. Although I went with my mom to Sam’s and bought a few easy to cook items. Sometimes a few nice and easy meals are wonderful! I had planned on only buying pepper and chili powder then I chose to buy some quick frozen meals. My husband was happy when I served him a cheese steak sandwich. All I had to do is microwave it for 90 seconds after taking it out of the box! I’d already made cauliflower to go with it. And he was very happy! It made my life easy after a day of errands. I can go back to making things from scratch tomorrow. My son was happy to get his favorite White Castle burgers. All the way home from the store I was feeling guilty for buying processed foods. But my family was happy! I’ve decided that once in awhile is ok. I plan to make an Indian lentil soup tomorrow for lunch.. And homemade pasties with hamburger, potato, cheese, onion some paprika, and garlic in a pie crust for dinner. Maybe I’ll add some oregano. Salad with dandelion greens. All meals except today and Sunday were made from scratch this week.

    1. Dandelions are one of my favorite things about Spring. We eat them regularly in salads and just right from the ground. I have made dandelion flower cookies in the past. I think a Google search will yield many recipes. Have fun!

    2. Tammy, Braums ice cream is a great treat!! We stop for a couple of single cones every few months, but always in October for pumpkin and December for eggnog flavors!! I will happily pay more for their milk. It tastes far better than any other brand.

      1. Hi Debby in Kansas,
        I agree. Braum’s milk is wonderful! It does taste better than any brand I’ve ever tasted as well. My favorite ice-cream is Rocky Road. It had been a long time since I had ice-cream. It is a treat!

    3. I was at the tulip festival as well, and it was super crowded, but by the time we left around 4 the crowd had thinned quite a bit. I’m fascinated by their history.

      1. I love being there when there aren’t so many people. The history is interesting. We have eaten there as well in the past.

  45. Congratulations to the debt-free graduates! That is quite an accomplishment at any time but especially today. I was blessed to graduate from college and graduate school debt-free and it made a tremendous difference in our lives. I am sure it played a significant role in our becoming mortgage-free several years ago since it was one less bill we had to worry about from the beginning. Best wishes to them both for the future!
    Most of our frugal acts this week focused on preparing more plants for the garden. I sowed seeds of 4 varieties of lettuce, basil, nasturtiums, marigold, borage, and cucumber indoors and they are coming up nicely. As part of our pantry reorganization, we repurposed a shelving unit that was not well used there into another seed starting bench. It has an upper shelf to which we hung the lights and it is set on a timer to provide only the extra light needed ensuring we are not wasting electricity. As is typical of our mountain Springs, we had a snowstorm this weekend. I covered all the plants which had come up in the garden boxes with jars and they made it through just fine. We have high winds here fairly often and I have never had a jar blow away. Glad to have many uses for all my saved jars!
    We were generously given a large bin of books from a neighbor. I selected all that I thought we would use (for ourselves and for future gifts) and donated the remainder.
    I sold several dozen eggs and bartered some for canned goods.
    I cut my husband’s and oldest son’s hair. We do it outside to reduce the need to clean up the hair as our ever present breezes blow them away for me.
    We have a new litter of foster kittens found on a property down the road from us. We made a few attempts to find them last week with no luck and then finally caught them in the middle of the aforementioned snowstorm. We are very glad to have them indoors where we can give them the care they need to get a good start in life. I am most grateful for the generosity of some family members who donated canned food to our cause earlier in the year. We foster in cooperation with our local Humane Society. They provide us with formula but not canned food so these donations make a huge difference in our ability to foster. We also picked up an adult cat we had enrolled in the Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program and released him back into the community. This costs us nothing but a little time, effort, and gas money and is one more way we can love our neighbors as ourselves. We believe that includes all our neighbors regardless of species. 🙂
    On the library book front, I am reading “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” by William B. Irvine. I have read a bit on the history of stoicism but am enjoying this practical guide to utilizing the philosophy in daily life. I think stoics sometimes get a bad rap but the concepts of identifying your sphere of control and channeling your efforts there as well as prizing things of true value and practicing contentment are things I find common among most frugal folk.
    Wishing everyone many blessings during this Holy Week!

  46. I join everyone else in congratulating Winter and her husband for graduating and doing it debt-free. It is incredible that she could do all that with a new beautiful baby too. And congratulations to you and your DH, Brandy, for it’s to your credit too. I am curious, Brandy, as to how you organize your children for chores.

    Co-op and Superstore have had Dole’s pineapple on sale for $1.49 per can (usually $2 to 2.50 a can). I have been stocking up because I think they are clearing out stock so they can begin stocking Dole’s smaller cans. No Frills once again has canned soup on sale – mostly Campbell’s ready to serve for $1.67 per big can, usually $3.00 a can these days. Co-op has Sugarland ham for $1.97 per pound which is half price so I will probably get one for Easter and put quite a bit in my freezer in individual portions. I treated myself to Skyr an Icelandic type of yogourt — high in protein and calcium — somewhat expensive now but oh so delicious. My friend who picks up groceries for me gave me a solid chocolate easter bunny made in a peanut free facility — a great treat for me. A not frugal thing happened – a bag of sugar split and totally spilled. Tomorrow is another day and I’ll worry about cleaning it up then. After reading another post here, I looked at the sales items. (dresses, skirts) from Noni B. – there were some great specials but I decided not to buy anything. I found that my mother had kept the first thing I ever sewed — I had taken sewing classes and it was a tough project. All these years later, the material is as good as new. Fabric in those days was really excellent in quality. It is like a cotton duck, almost like a canvas. I am thinking of cutting it up and making a quilt. I also found a seersucker dress which looks brand new. The top is too small for me but it is greatly tempting to remake it into a skirt… It has lots of materials. I’ve never done that but how hard can it be??? It is too cold to plant anything but I’m thinking about it. We are getting there. I bought a couple of chickens BOGO ( a great price from Safeway)thinking our province might get bird flu. They are in a reliable friend’s freezer. I wish I’d bought a couple more since we now have bird flu here. . – I have stopped using a bird feeder and now just put seeds on a stump. Proofreading of the book continues. We are getting there slowly but surely1

  47. Many congratulations to Winter and her husband. It’s an amazing achievement. I hope she enjoys her new job.

    This weekend we worked in the garden to prepare it for spring (cleaning the patio and outdoor furniture, mowing the lawn, cutting back and tidying the pots), ready to host family over Easter. I took care of our seedlings and plan to plant more this week as I am on holiday from work.

    I baked banana cake from saved fruit in the freezer and almond and lemon cake from items I had on hand; some friends visited so I wanted to give them a nice tea.

    After the garden work we were very tired but instead of having takeout I made a quick egg and noodle soup on Saturday night.

    I visited the thrift store with my daughter to donate some old toys and books. She wanted to spend her pocket money on a hobby horse, it was very good quality and only 50p so I let her. She had been playing with it nonstop. I also purchased £5 worth of very good quality hardback books which I will use as Easter gifts for our nieces and nephews. I also have enough books for my nephews birthday next month. Chocolate here is now very expensive so I am looking for alternatives for gifting.

    Talking of price rises, the price of butter here in the UK really went up last week £1.75 for 250g, it was £1.55 just a couple of weeks ago. Vegetable oil is also in short supply because of the terrible war in Ukraine. We are also having shortages of petrol, diesel and many other foods. My husband had to search for petrol this weekend over several days.

    Today we are going to visit two local museums (the children requested this as a holiday treat), we are very fortunate that they are run by the university and our free to visit. So I just need to pay bus-fare for our day out.

  48. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Wonderful news that Winter and her husband graduated and that she already has a job!
    They are doing so well. Lovely that you could go and see them graduate and also catch up with your eldest son. The smile on Winters face says it all.
    This week we bought heating oil for £1.01 a litre. Owwwwch! We had to have some as we have guests to stay. Future energy costs and options for saving are a big topic of conversation now.
    Last week we bought some garden things from a lady who is moving, this week she offered 20 terracotta pots and a big bundle of bamboo garden canes for £10. We snapped them up and she kindly gave us 23 pots instead of 20.
    A daughter came to stay for a few days and brought a big pack of thick cut bacon as a thank you. Edible presents are very acceptable!
    I walked for free with a friend at the beach, parking was free with National Trust membership.
    Again I had one busy errand day and took a flask of tea with me.
    A few weeks ago I gifted a friend an embroidery book and this week she brought over a thank you present, a linen and Liberty lawn lavender bag she had made and embroidered with one of the floral motifs from the book.
    I attended a community sewing day to make bunting for the Queens Platinum Jubilee. I took a homemade quiche as my contribution to the pot luck lunch. I had some pastry leftover from the batch I made and I’ve frozen it for another day.
    The weather’s good enough to dry laundry outside now.
    We ate the last of the frozen Christmas turkey this week and picked Swiss chard and kale from the garden.
    Stay safe everyone.

  49. Oh Brandy congratulations on raising such an amazing daughter! I am so impressed that by 20 she has her degree all while getting married and becoming a mother. We homeschool and I pray we are raising level headed kids as well.

    On the frugal front–We are staying home a lot which I enjoy more than the kids. Cooking and making use of leftovers which seems like a full time job some days. Cut my son’s hair this week. Finally planted a small patch in my garden. We have clay soil so our beds are raised but the area between the beds is flooded. I ordered men’s rain boots because I cannot find women’s ones that fit me and are not $100. I need wide calf but men’s are naturally wider and I was able to get a pair for $20. I hope they fit so I can start planting sooner.

    Happy holy week friends!

    1. I have fat calves too. I bought a very inexpensive pair of muck boots at a farm supply store and shortened the legs by four inches or so with scissors. They then fit and yet still were plenty tall enough to protect me from the mud that is sometimes in the soggiest parts of the yard in the spring.

  50. So much enjoyed hearing how Winter and her husband graduated from college, married, started a family, and now onto their professional lives with no debt. With our nation’s student loan debt crisis that sooner than later will have to be dealt with- Winter and her husband could write a book on the strategies they implemented! They are an inspiration to show young people that it can be done.
    Thrifty actions this week….planted more bok choy, arugula, green onions. Planning summer travel to visit family- and will look into Turo for a car rental. Finished reading Sisters of the Night Fog by Erika Robuck ( WWII).

    1. We found Turo cheaper for this trip but not for our trip to another city, so we rented through another company that time. It also depends how close the owners are to the airport and if they charge a delivery fee to the airport.

  51. What a great news about Winter and her little family! Congratulations!!

    Believe it or not it snowed every day. Sigh. I guess it is our version of ”April showers that bring May flowers”… I couldn’t wait any longer and started the first seeds inside (mint and fennel) I made an inventory of the seeds I have and it looks like I don’t have to buy any seeds (I did buy sweet pea seeds though…) I felt so rich and smiled two days straight. I also have white columbine seeds that I saved last summer. I took cuttings from an ivy plant I have and put them in a small vase to grow roots. I just love ivy and it is my favorite ”spiller” in window boxes come summer (I have 20€ saved for a specific kind of rose that is sold around Mother’s Day over here) So I feel I’m quite well prepared for the growing season. Our water bill (of Jan-March) came. Our extreme measures in conserving water paid off. I had budgeted 70 €/month (according to last year’s consumption) for it and it was 134 € for 3 months so I am pleased. Currently eggs and cheese are our main source of protein. The prices have stayed the same. Milk products other than cheese has gone up 10 percent, and the trash pick up as well, due to risen fuel costs. We have been eating from freezers in order to get one of the two unplugged to save electricity. We have been using the grocery money towards pantry items that can be eaten cold if need be. Wishing every one a wonderful week and Happy Easter/Chag Sameach

  52. Congratulations to Winter and her husband (and you and your husband for doing such a great job raising her to be such an accomplished and debt free woman at 20)! And a wonderful photograph, truly beautiful!
    An update to the saga of the heavy chicken packaging…For anyone who missed it, I bought two packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts at a regional market. Each package weighed 4.6 pounds. After removing the chicken, I weight the packaging (foam tray, soaker pad and shrink wrap) and those empty packages weighed 6-7 ounces each. So a bit less than 15% of the total weight was packaging (basically the soaker pad that had absorbed lots of liquid). I went and asked the butcher about it. Once she understood the issue, she took one package from her display, stripped out the mostly frozen chicken breasts, and weighted the packaging. 8 ounces! Out of a total of 4.8 lbs. She was surprised and said that I should call corporate. As a side note, for those in America, the chicken was made and pre-packaged by Sanderson farms and then sold in our regional market, so this practice is Sanderson Farms, not just the local supermarket. I called corporate for our regional market and talked to the “meat department” specialist. He explained that there is a subtraction (called tare weight) that removes the weight of empty packaging (including dry soaker pad). The rest is what we pay for…chicken and water. He didn’t seem at all concerned that 15% of my chicken purchase was liquid. So for anyone who buys chicken in pre-packaged trays where they are wrapped with soaker pads, you are paying for chicken and whatever liquids are there. In my case, I paid $1.97 for the chicken and water…after subtracting 15% for water, the real cost of the chicken was $2.32/lb.

  53. Congratulations to Winter and her husband, and also to you all for helping her get there! What a wonderful achievement. I really loved her smile in that picture, and the way her husband and son were right behind her.

    I’ve been sifting through blogs and youtube channels for help with singing, which is my background and part-time teaching job. But singing lessons with the people I like best are pricey! And hard to manage with covid and four kids. I will need to spring for a lesson eventually, but I’m trying to get back in shape with the resources I have, like old lessons I recorded long ago. It’s fun.

    I’ve got enough flowers that I can start to bring a few daffodils inside. And I’m so grateful we sprung for some bulbs last year. We also planted 3 more apple trees last night from Fedco. These are summer-bearing apples, which are hard to find in Boston where we are. I hope they’ll be happy. My husband turned our compost pile. I will make a trip to the nearby stables for free manure and loose straw for the garden beds. The aged manure at the back of the pile also has terrific worms.

    I’m sorting through hand-me-downs so that I can get the most good out of what we have.

    I’ve also been trying to get back on my Flylady kick, so that I use my good routines and decluttering habits to save myself time.

    We had a birthday of my 3 year old last week, with grandma baking a cake, using balloons and streamers from my birthday box, making a table runner out of a giant roll of butcher paper decorated with three’s and triangles. We gave him a playdough kit and some new playdough, and my mom gave him a firetruck she’d scored at Savers. They were a huge hit. And then my mother-in-law surprised the boys with some beds she’d made for their dollhouse. A good party. I love how even simple traditions can make things special.

    I’m blowing out eggs to hang on branches for an Easter decoration. My kids are 7 and under, so we will do markers instead of dye, just for my sanity. I have a big roll of baby ribbon to hang them with, that I got on amazon.

    I will make – I hope – a batch of hot cross buns to share with friends this week. I save all my citrus peels in the freezer and then candy them. Jaques Pepin has a nice youtube video about how to do it simply. It’s fast and delicious and my favorite snack. And then I’ll use my overnight challah recipe from Breadin5 for the base.

    So the unheated greenhouse we had this winter has gotten a few holes in it from all the tugging during our windstorms this year. My husband is going to try to improve the base and maybe do plywood instead of aluminum. However, we have the prettiest spinach and lettuce we’ve ever had. Hand sized spinach leaves, bolting tatsoi, and big heads of lettuce. It’s worth it, even though I’ve ended up staying home on windy days the past few months just in case it becomes a sail and tries to break a neighbor’s window! It’s a bit nerve wracking, and no amount of cinder blocks and rope seems to completely fix the problem. However, the greens are gorgeous, and we’ll do it again. I’ve been trying winter-sowing in pots with a sheet of greenhouse plastic over them. That’s been terrific. I used to winter-sow in jugs, but I wasted so much water trying to get the water into the jugs instead of between them. Pots and a sheet of plastic have been easier to plant, water, and pack away, and the results are good. I have lupin, calendula, sweet william, cosmos, verbena bonariensis, and parsley up. I’m waiting on nasturtiums, alpine strawberries, coneflowers, and some mysteries. You know those tiny key-sized envelopes? I keep some in bag and diaper bag and car, so that if I’m visiting a garden, I can ask for seeds! I’ve gotten some wonderful things that way. My mom even got a wonderful perennial snapdragon to root, another score from a garden we visited. It’s lovely with creamy blooms and fuzzy leaves, cascading over a wall. I hope it works out. Its leaves are grayish, Brandy, so it might be happy in your garden too on one of your walls.

    I did order a bare root peach tree from Home Depot that croaked after I planted it. It was only $35, so I thought I’d risk it. It was alive when I got it, but with a broken branch. Oh well. For my mother in law’s birthday, we brought her a basket full of pansies and then ordered a clematis from Home Depot. Hopefully that will do better.

    Wishing you all a good week! And a blessed Holy Week and Easter to those celebrating them.

    1. Sarah B.,

      I also love winter sowing! I’m in Missouri and this year have been using recycled gallon baggies (from just fruit, vegetables or bread) strung on dowel rods in a laundry basket (tipped on its side so I don’t have to drill holes) lol. Quite a site but wintersowing is so fun! I will also have to try pots and plastic sheeting. So fun to see what works best!

      Wanted to thank you for the suggestion to keep envelopes in the car for random seeds! Why have I never thought of that? (Junk mail envelopes or envelopes enclosed with bills would also work!) I especially love plants with a story so your suggestion is perfect! Thank you!

      These comments never fail to offer me new suggestions for ways to save and great ideas for my yard and home. Thanks to Brandy for this wonderful forum and everyone else who makes this such a special place!

      1. Gina, thank you! Such fun to hear your methods. I’ve never tried bags for winter sowing, but I’ve tried them for rooting rose cuttings. Never been good at rooting roses though, so no results, but the bags weren’t the trouble, just me! I hope you have fine success and let us know how it goes. I sow fairly thickly and then pot on. Do you do that too? Otherwise, I just don’t have enough room for the germinating ones. I got the greenhouse plastic at Home Depot and got the thickest kind for about $20, with extra footage to spare. It’s been lovely to just lift up half, water the whole bunch, then put my logs back on the corners. So much faster than my 130 jugs that I had one year!

        I’m so glad you liked the envelope idea. And yours of old envelopes is great! I need to seal mine somehow, or I get a mess of mystery seeds in the bottom of my seed container, but that can be fun too. This year, I sprung for an ABC accordion file to sort seeds and realized that the fullest pocket was M…m for mystery! It’s a family habit – we all collect seeds and guess at what they were from. My favorite sunflowers were gathered that way, and I can’t wait for this years find – a pretty light purple chrysanthemum I found gone to seed. We visited a garden in the fall last year, and I ran out of envelopes after using 15 and started using pockets. I spent the whole hour-long drive home writing guesses on the envelopes. Can’t wait to see what I got, and praying I didn’t pick up anything ridiculously invasive!

        Thank you for your lovely ideas and notes! Brandy – this sure is a special place you’ve started. Thank you!

  54. As others said, I’ve been reading so long here that I feel very proud of Winter myself! Congratulations to her and her husband for the wonderful achievement of education debt free!

    John and I were planning to go on vacation but found that prices have increased a lot since our visit last Spring. I looked for other options within our state and discovered that the price increases are an overall thing, not just related to Florida. In the end, I had two options: used saved vacation money for items we needed here or continue to save and build savings. We opted to buy two much needed chairs with the funds.

    As we are not going on vacation, we decided to take a few hours away from home to a nearby place. We had a lovely lunch and then drove through the mountain area and back home again. It felt like a vacation to take a whole day away from home!

    I made bread, bagel and pizza dough for meals here at home. We ate all meals at home except one. We had gift cards to a little out of the way restaurant we enjoy and so we went there. We always bring half our entree home and that is a second meal for us.

    I did some refreshing here at home, by moving items from one room to another, changing out spreads, and just plain cleaning. I went through the house, taking photos of every area. It’s amazing what you’ll see in a photograph that you no longer ‘see’ in person!

    I had no food waste last week. It’s taking real concentration and routine forays through the fridge to ensure that nothing gets pushed to the back. I found an extra cabbage I’d bought the week of St. Patrick’s day on sale, with the express purpose of trying my hand at freezing cabbage. My research indicated that one might freeze quarters of cabbage after blanching and ice water bath chilling and still be able to grate for slaw. I packaged up and will see in the future how this works out. I felt safe experimenting because we also love cooked cabbage and worse come, we’ll eat it cooked and not as slaw.

  55. Congratulations on the graduates. I as so glad you and your husband got to go and see your son and your daughter’s sweet baby. I went to see a dietitian yesterday, and it was covered by my insurance, I have several health problems and taking way to much medications. Hopefully with changes to my diet and exercising I can come off some of that expense medication. Went to the library and got some books set in the 1920s concerning the opening of the Alaska railroad and national park. It is fiction with some real events added. We had a free lunch at work for a meeting. We are having my niece a baby shower this weekend since most of the family will be in town for the Easter holiday. We are so excited to see everyone.

  56. Congratulations to you, Winter and her husband for their wonderful accomplishments! It is the culmination of long ago setting your sights on your children graduating early, researching colleges and how to help them graduate debt free! Bravo!

    The last two weeks have been focused on getting more gardening done. I transplanted strawberries, I found tons of baby kale from a plant that bolted in the fall and got those planted too. I transplanted my baby lettuce seedlings into the bed and have netting over them to keep the rabbits out. Planted more radishes also and keeping seeds watered. I pick up straight logs on the roadside to line my beds in one bed. I also get compost from my daughter and the family I nanny with, every little bit helps.

    Today, I found six packs of sausage for $1 each, hot sausage for $1, sandwich meat for my husbands lunches for $3.50 lb, a pork butt for .$75lb and organic bacon for $4/lb for a family gathering next weekend. There are still deals to be found out there and I find going around 10:30 in the morning is when I can grab the reduced packages of meat or produce. I also bought 20 cans for beans for 44 cents a can , up from 37 three weeks ago. I skip a lot of the store because I refuse to pay the prices they are at. I know it is only going to get worse so the work on the garden is vital, shopping reduced items and stocking up on cheap staples is my plan.

    One thing I am doing is extending the laundry loads even more days, and line drying is a given at our house. I am back to making my laundry cleaner from the English ivy.

    I found a short sleeve shirt at GW today on senior day. I am on the hunt for a jean skort to wear to work, and will keep shopping at GW till I find one.

    So thankful for this lovely refuge of likeminded folks, it is the thing I look forward to reading every single week! You bless us so much Brandy, thank you!

    1. Yesterday I started thinking about growing ivy for this purpose. It tends to destroy walls here so it would need to be in a pot, and I do a lot of laundry each week, but I am considering trying this because of the rising prices of everything.

      1. Ivy is a terrible nuisance in our yard, the previous owners planted it over 20 years ago( it was here when we moved in). It is killing the trees in our backyard and we have been cutting it every year for the past several years, but it is faster than we are. We do have it growing in a contained area and that is where I cull from. Since we have an abundance I am taking advantage of it.

        1. The only way I could see growing it is in a pot, but then, would it be enough to make soap? I don’t know. I do 20 loads a week now that my two eldest are gone (used to be 24) but it’s something I am considering if everything just gets too high in cost.

    2. I have SO much ivy! It’s a real nuisance here on our little city lot and the surrounding ones. Someone, long ago, thought to plant it and the neighborhood has been fighting it every since. There are trees with large ropes of dead ivy still attached from people’s efforts long before we moved here. I’ve never heard of washing clothes with it? How do you do that? I have enough to supply the entire city with soap:)

  57. Wonderful Blog with so many fantastic ideas and lots of inspiration.

    Congratulations Winter on your wonderful accomplishments and to you Brandy and your husband for being a great role model.

    As have many already mentioned the cost of everything is up, up, up. I was inspired by a friend who says with every challenge there is an opportunity.

    * Met a friend to help collecting maple flow for syrup, saved by passing of going out to eat. On the way home picked up milk and gas.
    *Laundry detergent went up from .04/ oz to .07/oz. In addition the size of the packaging is smaller and the price was up $3.
    *Labeling all expiration dates on flour, coffee. etc.
    *Have been making a fire in the fireplace to cut back on furnace use.
    *Have a fabric grill cover that had a large hole that I sewed up on my sewing machine.
    *Hand washed our vehicles and skipped the car wash.
    *DH repaired a window screen and window that broke when a tree branch fell on it.
    *Skipped using salt on the driveway ice; let the sun take care of it and saved on the environment.
    *Baked a cake for DH birthday and celebrated around the kitchen table.
    *Making milk jug “greenhouses” to start my veggie seeds.
    There are many daily blessings to celebrate-this blog of like minded people is one of them..

  58. -Congrats to the grads! To graduate early plus no debt! Major accomplishment!

    -We have both been sick with a virus so it has been a low key week, we continued to eat frozen meals out of the freezer because no one felt like cooking. The freezer is pretty pillaged for ready made meals, so I will have to start restocking it. So nice when not feeling well to have ready to eat warm up meals.

    -Only groceries bought were milk, oranges, and some potato chips-$15. Yikes! That would have been $10 a year ago!

    -I did get my sewing area cleaned and organized. I have a basket that I repurposed to place sewing projects in. I placed the first 4 projects I want to get done first and starting this week I hope to sew 15 minutes each day. Slow and steady.

    -I needed to send out several cards. I used ready made hand stamped cards for this. Just needed to get this accomplished. Has been on my list for several weeks.

    -We continue on a roller coaster with weather, from 55 to below freezing. From rain to snow. We have a snow storm coming in later this week with significant snowfall predicted. Ugh!

    -I made a chocolate crazy cake (it is eggless) and frosted it with brown sugar frosting. Hubby has been asking for this. I haven’t made one in several years. I also made some GF jam bars. We like to have these for breakfast. I used strawberry rhubarb jam that needed using up.

    Have a great week!

  59. Congratulations to Winter and her husband! I’m so glad you got to go.

    Around here, we are having some unseasonably cold weather. Portland, Oregon, which is a little north of us, actually got snow yesterday, with more predicted. This is not normal in mid-April. We didn’t, but it’s sure cold. The little plants that came up in my garden are just sitting there, waiting for it to warm up a bit. Once it does, they should explode! I spent a couple of sessions shoveling compost out of one of my bins. I spread it onto the garden in two places. I also mowed the lawn again and spread the clippings on the garden. When things get dried out again, we will till those sections and plant a few more early crops. For now, I just need to wait. It would mold and rot anyway if I did plant now. In the second succession planted area, only a little bit of lettuce has even sprouted. It’s just too cold and wet. Some overwintered spinach does look ready, though, and some cilantro, in my raised bed.

    My husband has been transplanting plants he grew in the greenhouse into larger pots. He’s making baskets for our mothers for Mother’s Day, for one thing. Many seeds he saved have sprouted. We ordered a lot, too, but it’s much more economical to grow the seeds than buy starts from the farm store, even when you buy them. Onions are hardening on the deck, waiting for the garden to dry out enough to plant them. Many geraniums have successfully wintered over in the unheated greenhouse. Peppers and tomatoes are looking great. In fact, we need to slow the tomatoes down. They are getting too big and it’s still too cold to plant them!

    We took several walks. On one of them, we had sunshine, rain, and then hail. That’s how spring is going this year! On another one, we saw some boats on the river that were interesting. Rob did take a picture of that, so I posted it on my blog.

    I’ve continued my current project of de-cluttering and cleaning small areas. This week, we filled 2 trash bags with garbage because the can was not full. It’s the same price if it’s half-full or all-the-way full. We filled it. We are making a pile for a garage sale sometime in the future, but there are some things that are not worth selling after 40 years of marriage.

    I worked on a quilt that one of the kids started years ago. After some ripping out of blocks that needed help, I sewed a bunch together. This week, I don’t plan to work on it much, with all the Easter activities I need to do, but I hope to finish it up for my husband’s mom’s birthday, who will be 90 this year.

    Much of my time has been used doing pre-preparation for Easter dinner. We will have a smaller crowd, under 20, this year, but I still want everything ready ahead of time, as much as possible. I’ve been buying items on sale, as I find them, for a few weeks now, and have planned to use several of my home-preserved items. A couple of family members find it hard to carry heavy things, so gave me money to do shopping for things for them to contribute, such as boxes of seltzer water, paper plates, soda pop, a ham (I found for 87c/lb), a large bag of potatoes, and more. It’s all stacked up in the garage or fridge. I have been digging out tablecloths, candles and any other spring decorations I can find so I can make things festive without buying a lot. I do want to pick up some baby’s breath. I will either put it with bluebells from the yard or flowers from Safeway if they are reasonable on Friday, to finish the table decorations. I’m planning to use a mixture of paper plates and some of my nice fancy plates. I put my economical Easter menu plan on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    Grocery prices are rising here, as they are everywhere. For example, potatoes were on sale for about $3/10-lb bag. In the not-so-distant past, they were $2 and sometimes even 99c for the same amount. I do want to point out, though, that you can get a lot of good eating from 10 lbs of potatoes. One of my plans to keep the bill down is to utilize foods like that. I have been baking several potatoes at one time, to save energy, then we eat them for a few days. The same for rice–I make a large pot of it, then we eat it in several meals over a few days. I personally cannot eat very many carbs, due to diabetes, but I can eat a small portion, and those items come in very handy when grown children and babies drop in. It fills them up for pennies! I also open jars of fruit like peaches, pears or applesauce and round out any meal. I’m growing as much as I can, as always, but I feel it will be even more important this year. We’ve got enough jar lids, sugar, vinegar, and pectin now to make it through the entire summer, so I’ll can and freeze and dry what I can without worrying about supplies. Rob’s been on a collecting mission for a couple of months now, and I have to say he’s a good collector. He also filled up the propane tanks, which I use for canning, and the gas cans for mowing. We may not always have preferred food, but we will not lack for plenty of food, at all. I feel blessed.

  60. Congratulations to your daughter on her graduation.

    This week we went fishing twice, catching enough fish for two dinners which I served with lemon wedges and steamed vegetables.

    We continue to eat an abundance of mango, banana, pumpkin, lemon and now mandarins that are all from our garden.

    We kindly were given Netflix and Prime for a few months. I am grateful for the generosity. I watched the first season of Bridgerton, having read all the books.

    My children and I received afternoon tea and dinner at a friends house.

    We rode our bikes to the park, baked cookies and cake, picked mandarins, line dried all washing, buried fruit and vegetable scraps in the garden, kept electricity and gas usage to a minimum and combined errands.

    I took my children to four local and free Easter activities, two each day. They received Easter food and did Easter craft.

  61. Congratulations!!! It is wonderful what Winter did!

    Our frugal week:
    We ate creatively out of our fridge and pantry. We are fasting now, so the cost is low but it helped to make the most of what we had. We are travelling to Poland for Easter, so it was necessary to clean out the fridge.
    I am determined to grow as much food as I possibly can in my garden this year. I was reading and researching all winter to improve my skills. So far I have radishes rounding up in the glasshouse, spinach in the glass house and lots of startlings. I wanted to mention the New Zealand spinach, which is a warm weather spinach for all of you who live in a warm climate. I planted some last week, and hopefully this will give us some spinach also in the summer as it is not supposed to bolt as quickly.
    I planted onions, sugar snap peas, carrots, fava beans, beetroots and ruccola. I planted extra onions in between the strawberry plants. I am planning to plant asparagus when we get back. I am sprouting early potatoes in the egg containers on the window (if you do it 4-6 weeks before planting you can get more potatoes and harvest them faster) .
    One cool thing that happened was that I walked into a charity shop because they had a final sale of sweaters. I hoped to find some old sweaters to felt as sitting pads(protection from cold and warmth). Instead I walked out with 5 amazing sweaters in my favourite colours (hues of plum and wine- not too popular with the Norwegian crowd but perfect for me) and 2 CASHMERE&SILK pashminas!!! I was amazed! I payed nearly nothing ! I love when it works out like that.

    1. What a wonderful find at the thrift store! You’ll enjoy all your buys so much when sweater season comes again. We’ll hope that won’t be too soon, though.

    2. Kinga – congrats on the great deal on sweaters and pashminas – both items are a real weakness of mine – love my cardigans!

      I’m interested in how you do your fasting during Lent. I’ve been trying to eat a small breakfast, very early in the day and then fast throughout the day until supper. I am also trying to eat less meat during Lent – maybe next year I’ll plan ahead a bit more and give up meat entirely for the time.

      Enjoy yourself in Poland – that’s where your mom and dad live isn’t it? Stay safe.

      1. Dear Margie,
        I am writing back to you from my childhood room in Poland! We made it safely and I am so overwhelmed with joy!
        The fast for us varies very much. We are only obliged to strict fast(one meal a day and no meat) on Ash Wednesday and Long Friday. But the rest of the season we decide every year. We make that decision with my husband based on what we feel would be the most beneficial for our spiritual growth. We always fast from meat for the 6 weeks. This year we fasted from snacks and sweets, because there was a bit too much of that going on in our house. We also fasted from screens as a form of entertainment- kids and family. Kids had no screen time and we gave up shows and tried to watch only things that would serve us. I love this time of the year as it becomes very mysterious, calm and solemn. We also worked on our personal weakness and supported each other in our attempts at bettering ourselves. I loved how my youngest enjoyed this season- he got some sweets as gifts and saved them for Easter in a little shoe box. He is 3 so it was so cute. I think it is important to see all that we are receiving from God continually, and sometimes it helps if we remove the things which block our view.
        Have a blessed Easter!

  62. Brandy,
    I searched and read several of your chore posts. Your organizational skills are impressive. When I was growing up my father had me mow a third of the lawn and rotate on shovelling sidewalks and driveways. I also had gardening chores. My father taught me how to change a tire and other survival techniques. One I remember with less pleasure was actually harvesting carrots but only because it would be freezing cold outside and hard on the hands to wash them outside. A job I also hated was climbing up on the roof to clean out the eavestroughs of gravel (a tar and gravel roof hard on the knees to kneel on). I had a disproportionate share of the chores since my mother gave me (but not my brothers) a lot of inside chores. I loved ironing and waxing hardwood floors. I note two of your sons were mowing lawns — will your daughters do the same eventually? will they have gardening chores? Do they weed? Will your husband teach his welding and other skills also to the girls? Do they help you with the canning?

    1. I mow the lawn now and I don’t know if I will delegate it out later. Right now it’s just me. I had planned on having the girls do it but it’s become my chore. It’s much smaller now but I’m using the push mower.

      I have very few weeds (maybe 4 a week) so I just pull those as I see them. The garden is mostly my responsibility, but when we dug it out for months, all but the three youngest were expected to help work, though only my son was strong enough to use the jackhammer. The girls did use the tile scraper to do the same thing. My children have planted a few seeds, but most of the planting is my job. They all (save the three youngest) helped to take out the old trees during the renovation.

      We try to teach skills to each child but not all children want to learn everything, so it depends. My eldest son likes to embroider and does quite a bit of hand embroidery work. He’s become quite proficient.

      Everyone learns to iron, clean, do laundry, and cook.

      We rotate through the chores so they all take turns doing all the indoor chores. Helping outside is on a needs basis and it depends on what we’re working on.

      I don’t do any welding myself. I don’t know how. I don’t know if we will teach this skill to the children or not.

      I know we’ve taught two of our sons how to fix clogged sinks, and when we need to have it done again, a daughter can learn.

      My sister-in-law recently moved, and my husband took the older children over to help demo the inside walls of her garage, install insulation, and put in new drywall.

      So it just depends on what needs to get done. We can’t always teach everyone everything if there is a repair, for example, but we can teach a child who is old enough at the time. My eldest mentioned recently that she knew she could do a project (I forget what it was now) because she had done it at home with us.

      No one helps me with canning usually, but I haven’t done a lot of canning in the last few years, having lost my peach trees. We ate most of hte fruit fresh or froze it for smoothies. I didn’t buy strawberries to make jam as they were too expensive. The cucumber harvest was nonexistant, so I didn’t make pickles. I do want them to learn this though.

      They all learn to work, and the three eldest, who all work full-time, are very hard workers. My parents taught me to work hard and I think learning to work is essential to success of any kind in life.

    1. WOW!

      The sales here are not so low and there is a limit of 1 with a $25 purchase.

  63. Thanks Brandy, your reply was really interesting. I, too, think it is really important to teach and learn the value of work and hard work.

    Even as important in my opinion is to teach the value of doing something whether or not it is not pleasurable, or a disliked job and that not everything that needs doing can be pleasurable but can still be done with a willing and cheerful spirit. When I was working (at a job outside the home), this attitude served me well. I never complained about it; I just did it. I envy that you only have about 4 weeds per week. That itself is a tribute to your gardening skills.

    I’ll take this opportunity to wish you and everyone a Happy Easter and Passover.

    1. Well there is only water right at the base of the plants, and it doesn’t rain. Weeds are rare in general here.

  64. Congratulations to Winter and her husband both! Graduating college is an accomplishment and even more of one to have graduated debt free – as well as married, with a baby, etc. It’s wonderful that you are helping your children to steer their early lives to not incur debt and also accomplish goals early so they can enjoy more time of their life without being in school for an extended period of time. Many people wish they had the foresight and guidance to accomplish these things. And I think you and your husband are excellent stewards to your children.

    On my home front, I have almost finished my taxes. It was complicated but I am at the review and submit stage finally. Groceries….I’ve been perplexed by the prices, but happy that we have some food stores at our house to hedge off having to buy a lot all at once. No sales on butter, and very limited sales on hams this year. I can tell by the grocery advertisements that….these prices are not temporary.

  65. I went to several garage sales this morning. I felt good to still get deals there. I bought good European shoes in my size for $3 and several other things. (A couple of baby gifts as they were new with tags on them.) One person had a huge stack of egg cartons. I asked for them and got them. 🙂 I was so grateful because our chickens have started laying like mad. (I know it’s a good time for that!) I’m trying to find as many things to feed them as I can to not give them as much grain. We butchered the rooster and two ducks. The ducks weren’t laying when we thought they should be (we presumed they were both males. We bought them for a dollar each last year.) But I didn’t want to feed them anymore anyway and now I know that ducks are messy. It was fun but I’m glad to not have to deal with them. We are just trying to get seedlings and our gardens growing. My husband is battling mice in his shed and they are eating his seedlings. 🙁 We used to have cats (too many cats!) but now we can’t seem to obtain and/or keep them. I dont’ know why. I saw a free work bench on craigslist and we snagged it for my new shed/workshop/chicken coop. I saw free cat food (lots…like over 60 pounds when cat food is scarce.) I know we don’t have any cats yet but I would have taken it for the cat I’m trying to get but I was too late. Still, that’s why I search the free part on craigslist. Most of it I don’t want but some of it is good! Oh and we bought baby chicks for half price at Tractor Supply. They fed them longer and we got a deal. It’s funny that they are more expensive when they are smaller. I know it’s the cuteness factor but we can stop and see young ones anytime since it’s on our way home from everywhere. I know chickens aren’t the best deal out there but they have been good for the kids to learn to work hard and I like the fresh eggs. We have so much extra garden produce we can feed them. I like using their manure for the garden too.

    I love that about your kids and debt free. My daughter graduated with $21,000 but she worked hard to pay it off within three or four months and now she is saving money. She was able to do it by always being careful and not borrowing very much. Another daughter stopped school and is paying off her debt. I think it’s $11,000. I think it will be 7 or 8 months as she is not making as much and had to buy a car. So they have taken on some debt but I’m glad they are willing and able to work hard to pay it off.

  66. Congratulations to your daughter and her husband on their educational achievements. Can your daughter do CAD work from home? I enjoy reading people’s posts every week and sometimes write down some of their ideas. I continue to do the same small frugal things at home that are really just habits. Frugal finds included apples, oranges, and tomatoes were 99 cents a pound and bananas for 68 cents at our local fruit stand. In the past these items have been 59 to 79 cents per pound. But current prices are better than those at the chain stores, and the fruit stand owners are local people whose earnings are more likely to stay in the community. We thought our main frugal find was a Lenovo computer from Best Buy for $350. We bought it for a birthday present, but it will be useful for the birthday girl’s online classes. It is really a need. On the same trip as the computer trip, we were able to get a birthday card for 50 cents and some cleaning supplies from Dollar Tree. We took the car to the WalMart tire shop and had the tires rotated free of charge because we bought the tires there. We were concerned because we no longer had paperwork on the tires, but they found the sale on their computer. We refrained from going out to eat and just waited until we got home to eat. We are still not planting anything in our garden yet. Two of our fruit trees bloomed beautifully, just in time for a hard freeze, but at least one other tree has yet to bloom. But our rototiller is in the shop; the repairman says it’s probably an easy fix. He thinks the solenoid that my husband purchased new and installed is defective. He said he received a whole box of solenoids that were all defective. I thought that was an odd twist on the supply chain issues. We tried to have the rototiller repaired before, but the repair shop (the only one in town) was unable to get to it. The owner said all his guys were sick with COVID, and he had enough stuff to fix to last him a long time. We put insurance on our older pickup to haul the tiller, and then took it back off when we were done. Our son told us this week that he drove our old 2005 Toyota Camry into a car dealership and traded it off with 463,691 miles on it for another newer but still used Camry. Our Camry was using two quarts of oil per week but still running. My husband changed the oil himself every 3,000 miles for most of those miles, and although he has tried other brands of oil, he settled on using Havoline brand decades ago. I don’t know why; I guess he thought it stayed greasy longer. I buy oil when Bi-Mart has it on sale. Home car maintenance and having cars last a long time has been a substantial saving over the years, and I am very grateful for all my husband’s work. I also think that God just blesses us, too.

    1. She works at a company where they manufacture items. I don’t think they have a work from home option.

  67. Brandy, there is just the two of us now, but I read a lot of these frugal sorts of blogs. I have noticed that the writers often fall into two categories. One group does a huge amount of putting “up” of canned and/or dehydrated food. But you, who have one of the largest families, seem not to do this. Is this because food gets used up as soon as it’s grown? If you had much more produce coming in would you be canning and dehydrating?

    1. I have done a lot of canning in the past but my children prefer frozen peaches to make smoothies rather than canned peaches to eat, so I’ve been freezing more peaches rather than canning them. Then, a couple of years ago, two of my peach trees died, so we only had enough peaches on the remaining tree to eat and freeze. I now have 5 peach trees, three of which are freestone peaches that are ripe in July. I hope to have enough to can in a few years, but right now the trees are too small. It takes 3 to 4 years before they start producing, and more years before there is enough to can. I used to freeze the May peaches and can any July peaches we couldn’t eat fresh, though today I found a bag of frozen peaches from 2019, so I think we’ll be eating those soon!

      I freeze all of our blackberries; there are not enough to make jam, but they are fine for smoothies or desserts.

      My cucumber crop last year was non-existent, so I didn’t have enough to make pickles. I hope to make more pickles this year if the crop does well. I have pickles in the pantry right now from our cucumbers.

      I make apricot jam with apricots from our garden most years, but we still have a lot and last year we froze some for smoothies instead.

      I dry figs from our garden every year.

      I cut and dry herbs from my garden all the time so that I don’t have to buy them. I just air dry them as it is so dry here, rather than using my dehydrator.

      Green beans do not grow prolifically here (they prefer humidity and we have next to none) so they don’t make enough to can. I don’t have enough space to grow enough to can, either; my rows in the past were only 5 feet long when other readers have 75-foot rows. My whole garden is only 75 by 75 feet, including the patio.

      Corn is very difficult to grow here, so I can’t can that, nor do I have the space for it.

      I have planted several mandarin trees; if they make more than we can eat, I will can some, but I can eat fresh mandarins all day long, and there are a lot of us, so they would have to be quite prolific. It will be about 5 years before I expect any harvest from them.

      Pumpkin and squash I just keep to eat all winter long.

      I dry lemon zest from our lemons and have frozen lemon juice to use in the past; the last two years the wind took out most of our lemon harvest, and it looks like it did this year too. Last year three of my lemon trees have no lemons at all, and that may be the case again. I now have 7 lemon trees with the hopes of getting some lemons after the wind storms we keep having.

      We eat lots of things fresh from the garden. Our climate permits us to have something ripe all year-long.

      So there are several factors involved, but I do can and dry food.

  68. Congratulations to Winter! What an amazing year she has had!

    It seems like only a few years ago that she was making costumes for her brothers and sisters as well as sewing up a storm of jaw-dropping clothing for herself. What a proud mama moment for you 🙂

  69. Congratulations to Winter and her family! It’s wonderful that you got to spend some time celebrating with them. My mother and stepdad just left from a quick visit (they came down because both of my kids’ birthdays were last week). It’s special to have those memories together. My daughter is starting college this fall. Like you, we are doing our best to help her go debt-free. She received a substantial scholarship and we are going to try to pay the remainder of the fee out of pocket, trying to avoid student loans.

    We also fly Allegiant when we travel. I love their direct flight options, and the fares are pretty reasonable most of the time. We don’t pay extra for checked luggage. Instead, we pack clothes on our carry on, and do laundry while on a trip if needed.

    Not much to report from the first week of April… I spent $4.50 on books, sold for $29.44. Stocked up on pantry items with some Kroger sales, such as Ragu $1.49 each. Continued to plant things in the garden. I checked my notes from last year; looks like we’ll have our first garden salad at least 2 weeks earlier than last year since I started seeds in early March.

  70. “”This is so inspiring. I am in awe of the time and great use of time to graduate early and save on precious resources. It is so much easier to start the next chapter of live without this expensive dept. “”
    “”Hope everyone has a good week and enjoys these early spring days.

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