Butterhead Lettuce

I harvested two kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard, and Meyer lemons from the garden.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

Albertson’s offered me $5 off a $5 purchase on the app. They had eggs on sale with a digital coupon (limit 2 dozen) for $0.97 and lettuce for $0.97. I also bought celery and cucumbers, spending $4.83 total. My husband was offered a free frozen pizza on the app, so we went together and he picked up a frozen pizza. We combined this trip with a trip to Sam’s Club, keeping cold things in a cooler in the back of our van.

I made pancakes, biscuits (with scrambled eggs and cheese), Spanish rice, French bread, spaghetti, oatmeal (I buy oats in bulk from Winco), pumpkin chocolate chip bread (using pumpkins from the garden), and crepes.

I cooked a turkey from the freezer.

I received my water bill. I compared it to last winter, before we put the landscaping back in (when we weren’t watering most of the backyard).

It was only six dollars more than last year.

So for six dollars a month, I am growing quite a few things! I definitely think that is money well spent!

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. My frugal accomplishments:
    Lots of bills hitting at same time so between that and a snow storm I skipped the grocery store and made do with what we had at home.

    BN Group:
    2 plaid scarves
    4 Boxes of tea tree oil
    New in a sealed box murder mystery game
    And…. a granite bathroom sink!

    Read a few library books.

    Was so excited to find a dress for my daughter for a school event at the thrift store for $8 (new Target tags on it).

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

  2. Your mention of Spanish rice made me realize we haven’t had bean burritos in some time. We always enjoy your Spanish rice with them. I need to add them to the list this week. I expect you do harvest quite a bit more than $6 a month. Good for you on the water bill. Last week, more was pulled from the freezer, including broccoli, pawpaws, lambs quarter, and maitake mushroom, all homegrown or foraged. Rosemary and thyme were harvested, and dried oregano used in another dish. My husband and I made good progress on our solar system, putting up the remaining 20 panels on Thursday. It was a long day, but so worth it. We’re getting closer each week. I made a sweet potato pie, one of my husband’s favorites, and spice cookies. I attempted a bit of chicken enrichment, by hanging the outer leaves of cabbage in their yard, but they weren’t terribly interested. Several library books were enjoyed, especially The Midnight Library. I also enjoyed Good Husbandry. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/02/chicken-enrichment-pretty-puzzle-solar.html

  3. Excellent shopping, Brandy!! I envy your harvest this time of the year but soon Spring will come and I’ll try to be ready to get everything in the ground!! To that end, I found seeds at Dollar Tree – 4 packets for $1 and I bought 101 packages of vegetables we like and that I feel confident about growing from seed! I’ll share with my daughters and the extras will be put into a vacuum seal bag and have my Foodsaver vacuum pack and seal them for long term storage to use in coming years past their “Use by” date!

    I’ve been working on another scrap quilt that is easy and fast to make. So far, in the 3 days since I started it, I’ve got 85 blocks made but my scraps don’t look like they’re diminishing! 🤪
    Here’s a link to what I’ve done so far. https://pin.it/3tYxvnv.

    I needed some storage drawers that could hold the longarm thread cones and would fit under my quilt frame. We couldn’t find drawers deep enough that would work. So Hubs took a simple 4 foot tall bookcase that we had emptied earlier and cut it down, used drawer slides that he salvaged years ago and a clearance piece of laminated shelving that Home Depot decided to just give him for free and made this amazing cabinet that holds all of my thread organized by color – neutrals, pastels and brights. Here’s a link to what they look like: https://pin.it/8X4A3ZY and https://pin.it/1vvzuqv. We love when we can repurpose things we already have into something new that we need!

    Krogers had boneless beef brisket on sale for $2.99/pound which is under my $3.29/pound price point for boneless beef (other than ground beef). I went to the store around 8 AM on the first day of the sale and found 2 beef briskets but they were not marked with sale price and there wasn’t a sign announcing sale. I found someone who worked in meat department and asked if this was indeed on sale at the $2.99/pound price. I said I would like both of them sliced into 1” slices if they were. She looked surprised and asked if I meant sliced in half so I would have 2 roasts from each. I repeated that I would really like them each sliced into 1” slices but to verify that they were $2.99/pound before any slicing began since they were 10 pound pieces. She did and I got my briskets. My reasoning with the brisket is that if they were cut into 1” slices, they would then be easier for me to cut those down into beef to use for stew in the crockpot or to slow cook and shred in my mixer. So this week I made beef stew- enough for 5 meals for us. We ate 1 dinner with it and now have the rest packaged and frozen in meal size portions. Then I slow cooked and shredded some more and packaged it into 2-1/2 cup portions. https://pin.it/3EehnEh and https://pin.it/3ftCO21.
    We used 1 portion last night and made beef chimichangas, which also used some of the 90% off tortillas in my pantry, home canned green chili salsa and regular salsa, instant refried beans from the pantry, 70% off Kerrygold shredded cheese from freezer. The 2-1/2 cup bag made 8 chimichangas which are 4 generous meals for the 2 of us !! So the beef cost for each meal of 2 chimichangas was under 75 cents! I can be happy with that! At times like this, I LOVE having a stocked pantry of ingredients. There had been a bit of shredded beef leftover that was less than a 2-1/2 cup portion so I mixed it with BBQ sauce and had 2 servings of BBQ beef sandwiches for an easy dinner!

    The snowstorm had us stuck at home for about 3 days but we were able to keep busy with projects and entertainment without feeling deprived a bit!

    Life is never dull but we are thrilled with the possibilities! Hope you and your readers are too!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. I love that scrap quilt you are making. It looks striking, yet not super hard. Love that! For a person that’s not as experienced as you in quilt making, I’m always looking for that combination to make:)
      I’ve been cleaning out some scraps as well. I’m also amazed at how mine are multiplying, as yours seem to be.

      1. Becky- Thanks! That’s one reason I was drawn to this scrap quilt. The biggest scrap I need for each block is 3-1/2” x 8” !! All squares and 4-patches! Again, super simple and fast! But it’s like log cabin blocks because there are about as many different ways to place the blocks in the overall quilt as that. Here’s how they look today: https://pin.it/RgsIUUR

        It would be a great beginner quilt and you could make it with scraps you already have! Making the blocks is addicting! Lol!! I’d love to see yours when you make it!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  4. I am continually impressed at how you’re still managing to keep your utility bills so low! Ours are getting to be truly insane. One big thing we’re doing this year is replacing half the windows on our main floor to be energy efficient ones since many are original to the home (built in 1920) and just don’t keep the cold out. We ended up getting a massive discount on the windows because the company is using our home as a “model home” since we were among the first in the area that they’re doing work on. It’s a huge investment upfront, but I’m hoping it will help us save a lot of money down the road, or at least make it so we don’t have to keep our house between 62 and 65 in the winter 🙂

    We’re currently building an unheated high tunnel in our backyard as part of our flower farm. If you go for more premade models, they can easily run you $5-7K, but we’re doing a DIY version for around $1,800. It’s quite a bit more work since you have to bend all the hoops yourself and everything, but having a high tunnel will allow us to extend our season for about two months in the spring and one in the fall, which should increase our flower farm’s income. And, in the event that down the road we decide not to grow cut flowers to sell anymore, it will allow us to produce more of our own food in those shoulder seasons.

    I love seeing how your garden is coming along on Instagram. (I’ve been liking and commenting under our flower farm IG @dreamacreflowerfarm, just so you know who to associate that with.) I get my first batch of David Austin bare root roses probably in April, and I’m so excited to grow them after seeing your pictures (like of your Desdemona rose, which I also got)!

    1. Desdemona is a power house! It is outperforming all of my other DA roses!

      One of our reasons for redoing the garden was to use less water. In the summer, it’s now $100 less per month than it used to be (and 33% less water). With both the drought and the rising cost of water (which I do understand), redoing the garden when we did made a lot of financial sense for us.

      The gas bill has floored me, though. I’ve never seen anything like it and I am scrutinizing every little thing because we have obviously made some huge changes–and yet this time most were unintentional. Now I’m being more intentional about them so that we can keep them up.

      1. Now that we run a flower farm (in a drought-stricken area, no less), we’re also looking at ways to cut down our water usage. Next year we plan to take a leaf out of your book and do drip lines and take out some of the lawn and replace it with wood chips or gravel between our raised beds. Fingers crossed!

        I seriously cannot WAIT to get my bare root rose, and Desdemona in particular! These are the things that get me through harsh winters 🙂

      2. -Except for a planned date night, we ate all of our meals at home. We had some sad news about a friend and my husband brought me coffee at work to cheer me up. Coffee is my love language. A patient also brought me some coffee beans as a thank you.
        -Baked cranberry orange muffins with leftover frozen cranberries from thanksgiving. We had impromptu company so I was happy to have them on hand. Used up leftover venison and chicken for make your own rice bowl night. Baked some heart shaped cookies for Valentines Day and used some frosting leftover from Christmas. I love Everything Bagel hummus but that brand is never on sale. I buy pine nut hummus from aldi and sprinkle Everything Bagel seasoning on it, and it’s 1/3 of the price.
        -Using Duolingo to work on my Spanish for free
        -Received an insurance refund check from something that was incorrectly billed.
        -Not cheap, but I bought a treadmill. I love to run. I decided to do this instead of our usual winter gym membership, which will help my overall health. Also going for short walks with the kids even though we’ve got tons of snow. We try and spend a lot of time outdoors, but even double layering mittens and socks wasn’t cutting it. After not finding choices locally, I ordered some better winter outdoor gear for the kids online. Bought slightly bigger sizes so this should last for several years.
        -I helped my mom fill out unclaimed money form and just got an email her check is on the way

    2. Torrie,
      I’ve read many places that storm windows over old original windows (part of the charm of an old house, to me) are just as efficient as modern windows. I envy you your old windows!

      1. I wish that were the case here! We actually do have storm windows over them, but we ran an energy consultation just to see why our bill is so crazy high, and the windows were a huge culprit, even with the extra storm windows installed. Bummer 🙁

        1. I have made interior storm windows that are plexiglass with a wood frame and foam on the edges. Much cheaper than replacing new and huge energy saver. There are YouTube videos on them they also make the house more quiet. When your old windows are removed you could sell them as architectural salvage. In NE there are tons of salvage yards. good luck.

      2. we have storm windows over old original… we still get air through them. It’s almost impossible to have an air tight fit with a storm window due to the old window casement having changeds shape some due to weather through the years.

  5. Not a whole lot of effort went into last week….husband and I were sick most of the week with whatever plague the teen gave us, and both if us were home from work because of the weather.

    My mom sent over powdered milk, raisins, and nutrigrain bars

    Earned 10.75 Amazon shopper panel rewards and $5 from Verizon rewards

    Since we weren’t feeling well, I made sure to get leftovers in the freezer of stuff we didn’t want to eat.

    I did pull everything out of our bigger freezer, took inventory of what I had, then grouped everything together to make it easier to find. Thankfully, I only had to toss three small things.

    Used $1.25 off Redbox rental

  6. Hello!

    Your lettuce looks great, Brandy!

    I read the book “Laundry Love,” after seeing it mentioned several places. The author says you should only use the express/short wash cycle on your machine, and always use warm, which I found interesting. He is the second “expert” that I have heard recently to say use the express cycle. Although I won’t implement all of his suggestions, he did have some good tips, especially regarding stains.

    I am currently reading Kristin Hannah’s “Night Road.” I really enjoy her books.

    I feel like I am exhausting myself with seed starting, but hopefully my efforts will pay off! Do any of you grow lisianthus? That’s one flower I would like to try, maybe next year.

    I organized my pantry last week. Even though I stack everything in order of expiration, I use a sharpie to write the date in large print. This really helps keep a handle on what needs to be used up. Meals included: turkey chili, veggie quesadillas and rice, navy bean soup, spinach artichoke grilled cheese on homemade focaccia with oven fries. We primarily eat vegetarian.

    Have a great week!

    1. I think it is too hot here for lisianthus (I have tried).

      I have used the express cycle to save energy, but I also use cold water. Most labels say cold, and I’m not keen on shrinking my clothes.

    2. I grew lisianthus once, a long time ago. The flowers were luscious–maybe the prettiest I’ve ever grown–but they didn’t bloom until very late. The plants were smallish when they bloomed so they didn’t put on the show they deserved. I had started them indoors from seed in March and planted out in May. Maybe my zone 6b garden is just too cool? It also is not humid here. I have never seen them in nurseries nor known anyone else that grew them, so maybe I just live in the wrong climate.

    3. I may have figured out the problem with lisianthus–both Brandy’s and mine! I looked it up. I learned lisianthus is biennial in zones 8-10, which should have worked for Brandy, BUT it does not like full sun in the afternoon. IOW, lisianthus would like having an eastern exposure–sun in the morning, shade in the PM. Below zone 8–and I live in 6B–it is usually grown as an annual, as I did. However, I grew it on the south side of the house–full sun all afternoon. This was probably Brandy’s problem as well as mine, and this info might help D if she decides to grow lisianthus. It is really a beautiful plant! Some of the prettiest flowers I’ve ever seen.

      1. Thanks, Maxine! That’s helpful information! Yes, they are beautiful, and there are dwarf varieties as well, that I imagine would do well in containers. I think I will try next year. Like you said earlier, they do flower late in the season, but I’m ok with that.

  7. Our family is moving and we plan to be in our new home by March 4th. To that end I have quite a bit to do. I have been packing and purging our home for the last several weeks. I am about 75% done and am hopeful that I will have the last bit completed well before the actual move in date. I have donated many items to our local Goodwill and most recently taken a large bag of clothing that my son outgrew to a Consignment Shop. Any monies made from that sale will go to add needed items to his closet and any items that are not accepted will be donated to our local Goodwill. This is a frugal activity as less items in our home mean that less will be moved, less boxes & packing supplies and less money spent on the time for moving men.
    I packed up our pantry yesterday but left plenty out to cover meals until we have moved. I am laser focused on eating from our pantry and freezer to use up all that we can ahead of our move. I made a large bath of oatmeal raisin cookies, a pot of chili, baked some potatoes that were starting to sprout. I made pork chops in the crockpot, salsa chicken for tacos, beef stroganoff using the ends of two boxes of pasta, chicken noodle soup, split pea soup using the last of the ham, biscuits, pumpkin muffins and scrambled eggs.
    We picked up free boxes from a couple of our friends and we have used old linen to pack our fragile items. Our garden has been sadly neglected as I have been working on this move but I still have several items to harvest this week including carrots, broccoli, & cabbage. I will have room for a garden in the house we are moving to but there will be quite a bit of work to do before a garden can be planted. I will focus on produce sales & purchasing items from local farmers this season so that we can eat seasonal produce and can a large variety of fruits and veggies. I am excited that I will have room for both a flower garden and an herb garden as well in this new backyard.
    I have been trying to keep our thermostat set below 65 degrees and most days we are able to do so with the exception of a few windows of time to warm the house when temps have been at their lowest. We have been making use of the fireplace as well as this is an inexpensive way to heat our home during cold spells.
    I paid our bills on time to avoid late fees, ran full laundry loads on cold water only and stayed out of the grocery stores.
    I hope that everyone enjoys a great week ahead!

    1. Good luck with your move. If you are using a moving company ask them if they have any free used boxes you can have. When I moved in 2018, the company gave me boxes, packing tape and paper to cushion things. In addition, wardrobe boxes can be used for more than clothes. They can also hold pillows and bedding, wreaths, craft supplies, sewing fabric, etc. The movers taught me that trick.

    2. A free from the newspaper office roll-end of newsprint works great to pack dishes and other fragiles. Later, leftovers can be used for drawing and wrapping paper for rustic gift wrapping. I have used newsprint for many years and really like its versatility, and free is good. I just go to the newspaper office and ask if they happen to have any ends of rolls of newsprint paper, and I make sure there is not an inked edge on the roll I take. They usually offer me a couple of choices in sizes. I haven’t needed to buy any for a while, but I think this is it’s available.

  8. Gas is $3.09 a gallon in college town and $3.49 a gallon, 2.5 hours south……sigh. I took care of a relative who had major surgery and this relative needed a toilet that sits on a regular toilet. I was able to use a $20 off deal when I went to check out that the person at the CVS register told me about. I made a modified chili bean soup. I brought dried red beans, soaked them, and added ground beef from home, then added fresh garlic the relative had in their kitchen, a jar of Aldi’a pasta sauce I had, and cooked it with spices in the crockpot. The relative and I enjoyed it. I then put leftover spinach that needed to be used, and fresh tomatoes that needed to be used and we ate that the second day. The third day I added cooked potatoes, and a can of corn with a little water to the soup. The fourth day we finished it off. It is a good thing because I am having to drive 2.5 hours one way to work while taking care of relative in evenings and night, so I am spending lots of $$$ on gas! The relative had a kale salad kit in the fridge, so I added leftover chicken to it, and make a chicken salad. I am not fond of kale but food is food. I have brought a large can of collard greens and I have beans soaking, and a can of rotel tomatoes, so I can make crockpot collard greens soup overnight. After the relative had surgery, we went to both CVS and Walgreens and they wanted $500 for copay! We came to our senses and went to VA (relative is a veteran) and the meds were free! That saved me $500 because the relative didn’t have it to buy the meds, and I would have had to pay for it because I certainly was not going to let them go without their meds!!!! Then, my part time paycheck was accidently not entered in computer system and I was not paid. It is ok, though, looks like I will be paid soon, although delayed. The relative lives in a three story house so I have gotten my exercise going up and down the stairs, even though I have a bad knee and back. I have certainly not gained any weight though because of all of this. Whew, it has been a week! I am so thankful I had some savings to fall back on!

    1. Cindy in the South,
      Bless your heart for helping your relative! They are very fortunate to have you! Saving money while helping them is just the icing on the cake!

    2. What a good person you are, to care for the relative despite how much it is costing you in terms of gas, knees and back! Not everyone would take on the task.

  9. Great deal on the groceries and the added garden/landscaping!
    Re-organized my budget to make sure every dollar is being spent wisely.
    I gladly accepted some sewing notions.
    Divided a house plant.
    I read your Facebook post on saving energy. Only using the dryer once a week, but now I will only air dry and do a fluff on towels and socks. Hoping that will save some money since our electric bill went up again.
    I have a pair of jeans that are too tight in the waist – they are about 15 years old. I added a denim triangle waist extender to each side. With a belt, this is not visible. I wear jeans at work due to the labor so this will save wear and tear on my “good” jeans.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  10. Last week was my oldest daughter’s birthday. As a tradition, I made her favorite – cookie cake and let her and her sister decorate it with icing and sprinkles I purchased on clearance. I gave her three presents – one was a new friendship bracelet set I picked up from my buy nothing group, a color reveal Barbie and a Barbie clothes tie dye set, both purchased on sale/clearance. I used all decorations and wrapping I had on hand and we went to a local burger place that has a playground attached and had dinner for $20. All of my family members plus a few friends gifted her money which she wants to take to the mall and go shopping. A great lesson to discuss pricing and budgeting.
    On a not so frugal front, I did host a birthday party for her at a local kid’s cooking place. However when comparing prices for various entertainment venues, this one was the best price. It allowed the kids to decorate their own chef hats, make two food items, provided drinks, cupcakes and suckers. I didn’t need to bring any decorations as the place was very well done. The only thing I brought were goody bags – I used leftover sacks from another party, unicorn tattoos I picked up from my buy nothing group and a few other small items I picked up at Target using a gift card. We do not do big parties like this every year, but I feel when they are younger they are more important to them. Everyone had a great time and all the other parents even said it was a great space.
    It reach freezing temps here in north Texas and we even received some snow! I used snow suits we had from last year but just lengthen the straps along with their existing hats, gloves and jackets. My oldest had a pair of snow boots I picked up from my buy nothing group and we layered socks for my youngest with her rainboots. All the kids on the block had great fun playing and sharing sleds. I love that I have such great neighbors that pitched in and helped outfit each others kids that may not have had the appropriate gear to stay warm and dry. It also made me note to be on the lookout for a snow suit in the next size up as well as ski gloves. We have now had two years in a row of snow fun in Texas.
    We warmed up with hot cocoa. I prepared lots of mac n cheese, pizza, warming foods during these days. I was tempted to buy more groceries the day before the storm and had an online cart filled with $45 worth of items until I realized I had plenty at home to get us through that time. I ended up keeping the girls an extra night as the roads were too icy to drive and the only thing we ran out of was their favorite fruit, apples.
    I used a credit I had at Lowes to purchase a tarp and rope to cover our pool pump during the freeze.
    I filled my tank before the storm at a station that was .20/gallon less than everywhere else.
    I downloaded the monthly freebies from Sprouts and a free snack item from CVS. I split my grocery list between Walmart and Kroger as Kroger had some great sales this week. Half gallon milk .87, gala apples .97/lb, chicken breast $1.99/lb. I bought the limit of milk (5) and froze two. I remember when my youngest was a baby and money was tight I could get a gallon of milk for .99 at Aldi, now it is $3.00 plus. That was only five years ago.
    I earned $4 on Field Agent for taking three pictures at Home Depot. I was already in the area and it took me less than five minutes.
    I took everything out of the fridge and wiped it down. This helped me organize and inventory what I have. I also rearranged my freezer.

      1. Debby, on the first of each month Sprouts releases coupons for free items. There’s usually five to six freebie coupons but they are limited quantities so you have to clip them fast! If you are subscribed to them they usually send a reminder email a few days prior.

    1. I forgot to add two things. I am constantly looking for new ways to save on energy and water bills. I received a drying rack from my Buy Nothing Group a few months ago and committed to hang drying one load of laundry a week. Now I hang dry every load except towels (anywhere from 2-4) each week! I have plenty of space in my laundry room and second bathroom and I place the drying rack in front of the large windows that get plenty of sun.
      I received my gas bill last week and actually gasped out loud, it was slightly over $100. I leave my heat on 65 and try my best to use as little as possible in all the other avenues – cooking, hot water. When I compared year over year bills I discovered that the cost of gas went up slightly more than 2.5 times. Outrageous!

  11. —I started keeping a log on “Notes” on my phone as a reminder. It saves paper. I have also started a shopping list and can create a new one per store so it is better organized. I can easily add items to a list in an order to easily shop or delete an item and don’t end up with a written list out if order or a mess.
    —I got four 18 pack cartons of eggs at Kroger for $.97. It was a limit of 5 and they were getting low so I just got 4, I kind of panicked like everyone was watching me, LOL. I am going to freeze three cartons in bags of four eggs to use to scramble or make omelets later.
    — Meals from freezer/pantry this week. 1. Sweedish meatballs over penne pasta. I mixed a lb of beef with about 1/4 lb of sausage and 1/4 ground bacon so I ended up with enough meatballs for two recipes. I browned them all, which does not cook through. I flash froze half that I will use in another recipe later. 2. Pregrilled chicken with turnip greens and roasted potatoes with Ranch sprinkled on them. I cooked a large pot of turnip greens and froze in servings for 4 servings each. I can just thaw and have a good side. 3.Chili over rice with cornbread 4. Chicken, purple hull peas, rice, deviled eggs 5. Italian pork chops with leftover peas and southern skillet corn. 6. Breakfast casserole and pancakes from the freezer 7. Tuna fish sandwiches 8. I got out a package of boiled peanuts we put up in the summer to eat as a snack. I save all the shells to all to garden compost.
    —I returned a top for $18. It was dressy and I had bought to wear at Christmas and never did.
    —I sold baseball cards for $20. We got them from my husband’s uncle that died in 2021. I spent time researching value before selling.
    —I read that Aldi pasta sauce jars have measurementson the jar under the label. I don’t buy it, but thought that may be of interest to anyone who does.
    —We got our bill I had been dreading. Electric was $276, gas $47, and water/sewer was $58. We had 4 snow events in January with weeks of below freezing temps. We are TVA, that I think Cindy? was saying was so high.
    —Husband needed dress work shirts as he is mostly back at the office. We went to Belk and got 4 shirts for 60% off. I found a Ralph Lauren button-down on the clearance rack 90% off and got a black long sleeve tshirt 60%off. My black shirt had some small bleach spots on the arm and for 2 years I keep coloring them with a sharpie and it won’t stay. We had a gift card to use for payment.
    —I signed up to do a UFO challenge in a quilting group. I am finished 12 quilts this year. I only have 3 started so my others are ones I wanted to do and one top I bought to finish. I finished my January heart quilt this weekend, just need to bind it. My February is the quilt top I bought off Marketplace and I just have to back it and quilt it, so should be able to do it this month. I have fabric, but not enough batting for 12 quilts. I ordered batting in a 30 yard roll and it is being delivered. I saved atleast $100 buying a roll over sale quilt size cuts.
    —I had made a list to shop at Publix. Costco, Kroger, and Aldi this week and it was pouring rain. I just got eggs at Kroger and skipped shopping again. For the first time in our life we have no bacon. I have ground bacon we found at a storelast month to add to hamburgers and meatballs, but no bacon as a side dish. We love love love bacon:) We only eat Conecuh bacon and it isn’t cheap, and only certain stores carry it. We have venison sausage from 2 deer in the freezer and if we have bacon we eat it and let the sausage sit. So, I am going to thaw and slice the sausage and fry it up to use for breakfast sides with pancakes, biscuits, etc. That is one reason I don’t use it is it is ground and packaged in 1 lb packages which is too much for us two. So, if I precooked it and package it smaller we will use it.
    —We paid an extra $500 on mortgage.

    1. I grew up on TVA in north Alabama but I am now in south Alabama (although relative I have been taken care of is in central Alabama) so I now have Alabama Power as does relative. I agree, the power is so expensive.

  12. Our weather took a definite turn last week – we went from highs in the 60s and 70s to below freezing with sleet, ice, and snow. Schools were closed and we had 2 snow days at home. We were already prepared with groceries, but we filled up jugs in case we lost water (thankfully, we did not lose water or power at all this time!) During last year’s winter storm we were without power for a couple of days, and water was turned off for a short time while the city repaired broken mains. We were both so thankful for power, heat, and water! We spent the time at home watching movies, working on things indoors, and enjoying the rare winter weather. We left our central heat on 68 the entire time and it only ran a few times at night (I’ve said before, our place holds heat incredibly well, it is almost ridiculous.) This week we are warming back up and the sun is out, so I’m hoping to be able to open some windows later in the week for fresh air.

    We cooked and ate most meals at home. We enjoyed homemade pizza and Caesar salad, chicken tikka masala with jasmine rice, chili mac, baked potato soup, and lasagna with bread & salad. We did go out for dinner the day before the winter storm hit, but we used a 2-for-1 coupon, so it ended up being quite inexpensive, and the leftovers provided lunch for us both the next day as well. We enjoyed coffee and breakfast at home during the days we were off.

    We did our regular grocery shopping and a Costco run to continue to stay stocked up on household items and groceries. I did my own hair color and manicure/pedicure at home. We scheduled standard maintenance/service for both of our vehicles (both are due this month). Not inexpensive, but worth it to keep them running well and properly maintained.

  13. I hope everyone here had a fun and frugal week! I didn’t do anything specifically frugal. There, I said it! However, I do have one accomplishment and one fail to report–

    The accomplishment–I charge absolutely everything and pay in full in 30 days. I got my Visa bill last week and it was waaaaaay less than usual. This is clearly the result of my husband being laid up and not being able to go anywhere or do anything in 2-1/2 months. The December bill wasn’t low because it included the Hawaii trip and the January bill wasn’t low because of Christmas. But they weren’t high, either! This bill was about 75% of normal–and that’s not the half of it. It includes $634 in medical that will be mostly reimbursed by insurance and $289 that my daughter (who has her own income) reimbursed me for non-covered dental and podiatry. PS I would rather have my husband well enough to go out and spend money!! (He isn’t as frugal as I am, but he isn’t a big spender, either).

    The frugal fail–I had a laundry disaster that has resulted in me having no white cotton knit tops. I accidentally left a pair of jeans in the washer and then washed a load of whites. The jeans were old and faded, but they transferred a lot of dye to the whites. I know there is a product for this, but I didn’t think two old tops were worth the cost. I soaked them in Oxy Clean and forgot them for a few days. I finally took them out of the soak and washed them with bleach…and the washer didn’t finish the cycle. (Still having problems, still resetting). I reset yet again and ran the load through a rinse and spin cycle…and the whites are still dingy. The underwear, dish towels, etc., don’t matter, but those tops are toast.

    We drive a 2018 Honda Pilot that came with a lifetime warranty. The check engine light came on for an emissions problem the same day we were notified of a recall on the hood latch! We got it to the dealer within 3 days and all 4 fuel injectors had to be replaced! This is kind of discouraging for a vehicle with 34,000 miles, but at least both fixes were free! Gas at Costco (the cheapest place in town) was $3.25 gallon.

    My daughter broke her glasses and they were fixed free at Costco. I buy a product at Costco 4 or 5 times a year. This month it is $8 off! I’ve never seen it on sale before–so I bought two and saved 16 bucks!

    We had meatloaf on Monday, parmesan-crusted cod on Tuesday, foraged for leftovers on Wednesday, vegetable beef soup and cornbread (both from freezer) on Thursday and $3.99 tri-tip (bought last April) for dinner Friday and Saturday and lunch on Sunday. We ate meatloaf sandwiches a couple of days for lunch. We spent $18 for pizza and salad Sunday night. We haven’t gone out for dinner since November (although we’ve gotten take-out a few times) but I only actually cook 4-5 times a week. I hate take-out because if I pay that much for food, I want someone else to serve me and clean up afterward.

    Brandy’s lettuce picture has me wanting to get out and get my hands dirty! I have a tiny 4×10 raised bed for veggies. I have decided to grow only one tomato plant this year because I’m overloaded on canned. I only grow one zucchini plant. Anyone have ideas of what to grow in the back of a raised bed that is hard to access because the guy who built it put it too close to a fence? Maybe something with a late harvest so I won’t be wrecking the plants in front to get at it? It could be tall-ish. I live in USDA zone 6b. I am also looking for a garden plan for a small raised bed. I can plan rows, but I thought beautiful would be better!

      1. Roselle hibiscus would be an annual in my planting zone and it is planted 3 to 6 ft. apart, making it a little big for my raised bed. Sure would be pretty, though. I don’t need anything as skinny as a vine (such as scarlet runner beans) but something not too wide would probably work the best. Also, I plan on parsley, but please don’t suggest herbs. I’ve been cooking for 60 years and I mostly season with salt, pepper and bacon grease (LOL), although I do use dried, packaged herbs and spices. (I bought some smoked paprika last week and it was really good!).

    1. We grow a lot of leeks because they are very expensive, and we love them, and they freeze well. They need to be started indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before transplanting but they grow tall, you can eat them at any stage you like, and they will survive even hard frosts so while you are harvesting and processing other vegetables, they sit there uncomplainingly until you have time for them.

  14. I hope to post later, but I wanted to pass on that our Walmart had some very large Butterball Turkeys for .97/lb. last night.

  15. You got some great sales last week Brandy and the photo of the white rose is just gorgeous!

    I paid all the monthly bills online to save time and money for stamps – the only cheque I write is for the rent and I just drop that off to the super. I’m doing an “envelope stuffing” budget challenge this year so all of those got a bit of money – even if it was just $5. I am very lucky that heating is included in my rent and that is one bill that I don’t have to worry about over the Winter. My hydro (electric) bill is very irritating though – I only “spent” $21 worth of power last month but the service/delivery fee is $47 – then there is tax of 13% and then I got a $12 credit which means the bill still came out to $67!!!

    I topped up my transit pass but only had to add about half the usual amount which will easily get me into March. I did a bit of grocery shopping – no empty shelves that I could see. I went halfs with my friend who needed to renew her Costco membership – she has taken me shopping with her in the past and it’s the cheapest place for gas and she is generous about driving me places so only felt this was fair. (I believe she said the gas was $1.55 per litre and we saw it for $1.65 at another station later in the week)! They gave me a card which I wasn’t expecting (I think they thought we lived together) but I’ll only go there if I’m with her as the nearest bus stop is quite a distance and everything is so bulky that I couldn’t really manage it on my own. I haven’t been in a Costco since before the pandemic and I find that I really do have to focus in those types of stores – I really only needed nuts so I now have a 6 month supply of almonds, walnuts & a mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds & dried cranberries! But – it is great for exercise – I did another 1500 steps while having a look up and down the aisles!

    I only went into the office 1 morning last week as we were expecting a bad snowstorm on Thursday and Friday. It wasn’t as bad as predicted but I’d already made the arrangements to work from home. The one day that I did go in I also stopped off to pick up 4 (90 day) prescriptions that were ready for – no cost – yeah to Govt. coverage!

    I managed 3 long walks – twice by the lake and once along the river – freezing cold but the trails had been plowed so I could manage with my cane – and the sunshine had everyone in a good mood! I read 4 library books – I think it was this group that recommended “The Last Thing He Told Me” – which was excellent so thank you all. I started it at around 1pm one day and finished it by 6pm – couldn’t put it down! I also finished watching “Vera” season 11 on one of the streaming services – always enjoy that series – plus – I am a huge fan of the Olympics so I have plenty to entertain me at the moment.

    I did not manage to get any batch cooking done on the weekend but I will put a pot of soup on this afternoon and perhaps make some tuna salad as well – I would like to use a few things from the pantry this week rather than the freezer and these will be easy.

    Looking forward to reading all your news!

    1. I am shocked to hear the shelves were packed! The news of the Canadian truck strike had me expecting all my Canadian readers to tell me the stores were completely empty this past week!

      1. A lot of the reports that I’ve seen from US and Australian bloggers were really over the top about the truckers – there were not 50,000 Cdn. trucks and there were not 60,000 US trucks. They protested here in Toronto on the weekend and it was all contained really well by the police and everyone had gone home by Sunday night. The people in Ottawa have it worse as it is now in it’s second week – but – there are only about 250 remaining there and yesterday a judge ordered them to stop blowing their horns – really the only people they are hurting are the shops & restaurants located next to them – they have all had to stay shut – which is a real hardship for them. People want them cleared about now!
        There has been a bit of a blockade at one of the Alberta crossings – but again – the main people they are hurting are their fellow truckers. This morning there was another blockade starting around the Windsor crossing but one lane is being kept open by the police – again, hurting their fellow truckers and the many medical staff who cross from Canada to work in US hospitals each day. I’m just in from my local No Frills store as I wanted milk and some fresh fruit – there was plenty of produce, meat and dairy. I’d say that some of the shelves with pantry items were a bit low but not empty – and Tuesday’s is usually their delivery day with shelves being restocked on Wed. for when the new sales start on Thursday. I’ll try to stop at one of the other grocery stores on my route tomorrow and see if there are any issues as yet. I would just like US readers to know that the Cdn. Truckers Association has put out statements saying that 90% of their members are vaccinated and that this group do not represent them in any way – especially those splinter groups that have attached themselves to the truckers and have rather extremist views ( I don’t support any groups that fly a Confederate flag or a Swastika). The Go Fund Me page has been shut down – about 10% raised had been allowed to go to the truckers for gas etc. but the rest has now been frozen as there are investigations into where the bulk of this money came from (Russia & China seem to be the main culprits) – lawyers on behalf of the people of Ottawa have launched a class action lawsuit against them for the disruptions caused and the mayor is considering filing suit to get some of the money due to what they have cost the city to police them.
        Nearly 90% of Canadians are vaccinated – the federal govt. only has jurisdiction over certain things – the provinces control masking, social distancing rules etc. and individual businesses have the right to institute their own rules – I work for a Church and we have to be fully vaccinated and wear our masks at all times – in the office and during worship – and we’ve had no pushback.
        I realize that this is a bit too political for your website Brandy so I don’t expect it to be printed but I just thought I’d let you know a bit about the Canadian perspective from an average Canadian as we are all a bit confused as to where some of these stories come from. I respect the truckers and appreciate the hard job that they do but the vast majority of us (time and time again on various surveys) support vaccinations and don’t think that 10% of one group should be able to hold the rest of the country to ransom – how is that democratic? None of us like restrictions but as far as I’m concerned, personal freedom ends when it affects the health of the rest of society. Just a different perspective Brandy – thanks

        1. What I heard was different. I heard truckers were being required to wear masks alone, inside their own trucks, while driving. No matter whether they are vaccinated or not, that is just silly! So the news I heard was that the protest started over that and that NO truckers were working. I expected stores would therefore be empty and lots of people here would be talking about using what they have in their pantries.

          So I figured it would be a food issue, no matter how anyone feels about the politics of the situation.

          It’s funny how stories can change from country to country.

          A friend of mine in the Middle East works for a large company that has been in the news a lot lately. His local news station had an article about the situation and was trying to get people who work at his company to comment on the news on IG (which would be a huge job risk for them).

          I asked him and he said the local news only picked up the story from Reuters.

          So a lot of stories can get disseminated all over the world and come back to where they started, and be incorrect.

          1. It’s like that game we played as children — telephone. Except wrong messages can have more serious consequences.

            1. I was just going to say the same thing Cindi! Some days I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the comments I was hearing. Sorry to get heavy – I guess we all just need to be cautious about what we hear.
              The good news is – I checked a couple of stores this morning and so far things seemed to be ok. Apparently we’re dur for more protestors in Toronto but the police have already cordoned off roads downtown. The main issue is that the provincial legislature building – where they want to park – is just up the road from 5 major hospitals and the police want to ensure that access to them is kept open.

              Brandy – they didn’t have to wear their masks in their own cabs – that’s a new one to me. Masks are required in all public spaces in this province and on transit – but no not required when on their own. The main issue was supposed to be the requirement to be vaccinated before crossing the border – but what everyone keeps missing is that the same law exists in the US – so even if the Prime Minister decided to scrap it they still couldn’t cross into the US.
              Let’s all hope this is over with very, very soon!

              1. The report I saw said that’s why it started! And it was supposedly a Canadian broadcast. Sigh.

            2. It bothers me, too, because it was a Canadian news report that I watched. I think I said I read it earlier, but that was incorrect. I watched it.

      2. Ninety per cent of the truckers are vaccinated and so most of them are still working.
        It is only where the protesters are actually blocking roads like the US/Canada border in Alberta
        that it might affect food on the shelves. I won’t get into the politics of the demonstration (some say occupation)
        here but it is a very small minority of truckers and of that minority an even smaller minority who are radicals.
        I am somewhat amused that the protesters brought in portable saunas – perhaps a Canadian novel approach to a demonstration!

      3. I wrote previously that it’s only a small minority of truckers who are involved in this protest and
        unless they are blockading roads then no impact on food supplies is expected. However, that was written before
        the truckers started blocking the International bridge/road at Windsor last night. If that continues, then that will have an impact.

      4. Protests rather than a strike and 85% of truckers are vaccinated and working. One or two border crossings closed, but it is a very long border. We make our own packaged goods here seasonally. It is mostly affecting feed availability for large animals.

        On the good side is the highways to British Columbia are being rebuilt and reopened after Dec flooding, so food and goods can get here from west coast ports and processors.

  16. Hi Brandy and everyone
    You’re really smashing it on the utility bills! Well done on keeping the water bill so low while still growing an edible and beautiful garden. Everyone in the UK is buzzing about how much our energy bills are going to go up, we will all need to tighten our belts as they say.
    I received a tax rebate of £221. Yippee! I needed a new battery for my car so bought that and put the rest into savings.
    We picked purple sprouting broccoli, Brussel tops and kale from the garden. I grew a punnet of cress on the kitchen windowsill.
    A friend got rid of her dishwasher and gifted us two big bottles of rinse aid and two boxes of dishwasher salt.
    I gently pointed out to my husband that a magazine he receives on subscription rarely gets read, he just flicks through it. He agreed and cancelled the subscription.
    I moved two pots of hyacinth bulbs into the house so we can enjoy the fragrance.
    I decluttered a couple of rooms and took a large load to the recycling centre and donated a couple of bags to the charity shop.
    My husband pruned our apple tree and a couple of ornamental trees.
    I cleaned up some pictures we have had in storage ready to be hung in a newly decorated guest bedroom.
    I receive points from two consumer research panels and one of them has gradually reduced the variety of vouchers we can redeem with points. I have been a bit despondent about it but checked the site this week and they’ve introduced two new vouchers, both for companies I would purchase from , one in particular ( National Trust shops) is excellent for gifts so I’m really happy. These vouchers are a big help with the gifting budget.
    Stay safe everyone.

  17. I found a new-to-me blog that has cheap recipes, uses for common household items and other useful information that helps you save money and/or time.
    I make lots of cream soups and enjoyed making the soup starter pods to help save me time. The site is http://Www.cheaprecipeblog.com

    Stocked up on rice and various pastas.

    Gas has gone up to $3.34 a gallon so I’m combining errands to save gas.

    I’ve switched to using less meat and instead doing more beans and legumes to cut down the amount of meat I buy.

    I stocked up on frozen vegetables, I never used canned vegetables and fresh are quite expensive since most everything is out of season.

    I went through all my recipes and pulled out a few to add to my rotation.

    I started making my own all purpose cleaner from combining recipes I found on line.

  18. My husband and I went to the library and relaxed for an hour this week reading in a couple of comfy chairs. We were the only ones in the library besides the librarian. We checked out some books and movies. We have been careful turning off lights. I lost 4 lbs in the last 8 days! I feel great! I have been snacking on veggies and fruit that I got on sale. I did buy a meal plan with recipes from masteringdiabetes.com. It came with recipes, ideas, and a shopping list every week for all year. Normally I wouldn’t spend money on a meal plan. But this is really helping me. My numbers have been great! I also have been reading LifeandHealth.org and need to look at Forks over knives. I haven’t got to it yet. I appreciate the ideas very much. I also have been using some recipes from the Mayo Clinic site. Feeling good is great! Losing weight is great! My goal is 2 lbs a week. But I am losing more so far. I liked the idea of using frozen fruit and veggies as well as fresh. I am watching sales and eating a lot of produce and beans. I will be utilizing your bean recipe ideas as well Brandy. We watched a movie we got from the library. Visited family and played games. Will use what we have and then we will shop for sales.

    1. Tammy,

      Way to go on your weight loss! I had a little giggle, I misread your comment and thought you meant you turned off the lights at your library to save energy. I bet they wouldn’t argue though! Those costs add up. 😀

      1. Susan M.,
        Thank-you! It is wonderful to have so much more energy, my stomach doesn’t hurt anymore, and now I’ve lost 7 lbs! Yes, it is worth it. I think I will save money not buying meat, cheese and everything else we were buying. How nice to be able to eat fruit! It curbs my cravings for junk! All my numbers are better already! I really am so happy!

  19. Hi all! My week sounds like most of yours. Hubs got 3 snow days to make a 5 day weekend. That also makes it easy to save money! We got a few small projects done, but mostly enjoyed the time together.
    On the savings front…
    **With the cold front fiercely blowing in, we used extra flannel sheets and covered the windows with a second layer to keep the heat in and cold out.
    **We primarily spent the evenings in the living room so we turned off the furnace and just used the gas fireplace. The bedroom was wonderfully cold at bedtime so it was easy to snuggle in and fall right to sleep. We keep the thermostat at 58 at night.
    **For my 2 soups and 1 pasta last week, I did vegetable soup, a creamy rice soup, and Mexican Manicotti.
    **We roasted a turkey on Saturday so we’ve had turkey the last couple of days. So good! There’s lots in the freezer and I saved some gravy to make hot sandwiches. Yum!
    **Hubs donated blood yesterday and got a $10 Amazon GC. I do doubles every 4 months so this was an off month for me.
    **Milk was 87¢ half gallon ând potatoes were $1.47/5# at Dillons.
    **Received a late Christmas gift that includes the NYT Sunday Crosswords from last year! I LOVE those so it made a great *free* gift for me. She just cut them from her paper and they were on the bottom of the flat rate box.

    I guess that’s about it aside from the normal stuff. I’m happy to see the beautiful sunshine again.
    Good week to everyone!

  20. Hello all,

    Happy February! 😀

    We continue to eat down the freezer and pantry, and reuse boxes as we pack.

    I took advantage of a Thrive Market offer for a free supplement – according to them, the bottle is a retail value of $36; no way would I pay that OOP but I’ll gladly take it free. They have a minimum order to get the freebies, so I just bumped my autoship list to the cart and got the things we needed and the free item. They just sent another offer today, of some new chocolate bars, so I repeated with my new list of items (that would ship in about two weeks).

    A company I do yoga teacher training from had to switch their East Coast training from in-person to virtual – they extended the early bird price and added an additional discount, so I was able to take two more trainings (for a total of three days). In addition to the discounted tuition, this will also help me build offerings for my wellness business (potential income starting fall-ish). Between all of our team teachings in those, plus teaching my own classes in the days after, I’ve gotten some doozies of workouts to boot.

    I’ve been reading through print books on my shelves in order to decide whether to keep or donate them, as well as Kindle books that were waiting for me. Getting some tasks accomplished, some good reads, and helping resist the urge to order any other books (especially via Kindle – so tempting when they offer credits deals with a purchase).

    Sorted through homeschool curriculum and some nonfiction books we used along with it; will list these with our local homeschool group and hopefully make a bit back.

    My son and husband have been taking scuba diving trainings and when they use dry suits, the business includes thermals, but an additional layer would help as my son is of a lean build. Land’s End had a coupon code for 30% off so I was able to get him long underwear to go under the bigger thermal insert; he’s now all set up for their next trip.

    Wishing everyone a lovely week!

  21. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    Although I bought several 2# bags of flour for .50/each, they had another pallet at Joe V’s, an Aldi version of HEB, marked down to .10/bag. Although the day before the sell-by date, I may have gone a little overboard, buying 4 cases (12, 2# bags each), which got me 96# of organic, all-purpose Bob’s Red Mill flour, for just under $5. It will take me a while to cycle this through my freezers, with limited space, but I did pickup another free icing bucket from the Kroger bakery to help with the storage.
    I made a lot of bread, as usual.
    My oldest daughter made Valentine’s sugar cookies.
    I pulled out the Valentine’s bin, which had a few decorations and lots of Valentines bought 90% off in prior years. I don’t usually store candy this long, but the kids talked me into some candy Fun Dip and Airheads Valentines last year, which are still fine this year. So, it’s nice to not need to worry about that. Most of my kids have over 20 students in their class. I also sorted out the red and gold Ghiradelli chocolates from the Christmas packs and repackaging them, as we eat the green (mint) ones, which will be gone long before St. Patrick’s Day, I’m sure. Treats don’t last long around here.
    I put some big expenses on the credit card that offers points and cash back.
    We ate soup twice, and $5 or less meals included: hot dogs, hot ham and cheese sandwiches, chicken and dumplings, bean burritos, vegetable beef soup, homemade pizza, and breakfast for dinner.
    I did have to turn the heater on when it got too cold for us, but I haven’t run it much. I put extra quilts on everyone’s bed.
    We enjoyed free coffee and donuts after church. A kind lady helped me when one son spilled orange juice, while I was trying to clean chocolate off younger daughter’s face, and two kids were fighting. She said that she was a grandmother of 7, so I greatly appreciated her help and understanding in that moment! I am sure it was clear that I was struggling.
    Have a nice week, everyone!

  22. Brandy,
    Your lettuce looks beautiful!
    This week I finished knitting another scarf for the Union Gospel Mission. They hand them out to the homeless. I am now working on a baby blanket with yarn I already had on hand. I will be having a new great niece at the end of May. I was in Walmart and they had 3 packs of baby wipes for $4 so I picked those up to go with my baby gift.
    This one isn’t frugal on my part but on my son’s: He recently purchased a new mattress that was delivered to his home. He found a place that would take his old mattress and use it for victims of domestic violence or house fire victims. This meant he had to use our truck to haul it but it keeps a mattress out of the landfill and benefits someone in need.
    I cleaned out my greenhouse yesterday. I plan to make some changes this year so I can grow more food in the same amount of space. I use my very small greenhouse to grow tomatoes, strawberries, basil and flowers. I also have an outdoor strawberry bed but growing some in the greenhouse gives me an early crop.
    This is the beginning of my spring time allergy season and some days I just feel awful. On one of those days last week, I really didn’t feel like preparing dinner and wanted to take the easy way out and purchase fast food but instead I forced myself to make Spanish rice. It fed me, my husband, my daughter and grandson. There was enough left for 2 lunches for my husband so the effort was really worth it.
    Groceries and gas are so very expensive where I live that I am being extra careful in how I spend every dollar. Gas is currently $3.79 a gallon at the cheapest and fruit is $1 a piece for apples, oranges and grapefruit on sale!
    I am so very happy for all the encouragement and good ideas on this blog- thank you to everyone.

    1. Kim – My oldest son has multiple indoor and outdoor allergies. We have tried lots of things but recently discovered a new to us medication called Xyzal. Walmart has a generic and it saves a lot. He had gotten so congested it was affecting his hearing and this change cleared it right up. Just thought it was worth a mention. Hope you feel better soon!

      1. Mountain Mama Dawn,
        Thanks for letting me know about the Xyzal. I heard about it but didn’t know anyone who had tried it. I’m glad to hear it worked so well for your son. I will happily give it a try myself.
        Thanks Again!

    2. Kim, I nearly fainted when I went to get a grapefruit last week. $1.69 EACH and they weren’t much bigger than an orange! I love it and try to buy a few every winter, but I had to walk away. That’s just too much for my budget.

  23. Not much to say this week. Just plugging along doing the regular things: grocery pick up, read library books, knit and crochet items from yarn I already own, putting on a sweatshirt when chilly, not driving much or going very many places. Had our daughter and cute granddaughters over last night. Made a double batch of spaghetti sauce for a couple freezer meals for us. I did my grocery order from the pantry so I was sure to remember things we need to replace. My son goes to community college and discovered they have a little food shelf so students who need it can grab some meals and toiletries. This really touched me, so I talked to hubby and we are going to donate there once a month. I dug around on the website to see what they were in need of. I’m glad I did because it was different than what I was thinking. They want easy, ready to eat meals…so I got some chunky and progresso soups, some ravioli and some refried beans and tortillas. I got a few toiletries as well. It was only about $20 and my son is very pleased to drop it off. I’ll look for sales and ideas for next month. It wasn’t much but if a poor student can eat a couple meals, it warms my heart. Mainly I mention this because it hadn’t occurred to me there would be a food shelf at his school. I hope everyone has a great week. Thank you, Brandy, for holding this beautiful space for all of us!

    1. We also have a food pantry/closet at the community college where I work. They also have a clothing check-out closet, where students can check out professional clothes for an interview, and generous community donors cover the cost of dry cleaning between checkouts. It’s such a great resource for students!

  24. Good afternoon! Such good ideas and frugal accomplishments. I have not had a very frugal week, but I tried to make it as frugal as possible.
    First, the washing machine died. In the middle of a load. The day before I was a scheduled for surgery. I had to hand wring that load out and then take everything to the laundromat the next morning before my procedure because I knew it was going to be a few days before I could do laundry again. That set me back 10.00 just to wash three loads of clothes. I brought them home to dry instead of drying them at the laundromat.

    Had oral surgery on Friday. Insurance covered a portion. The rest was out of pocket. I have put it off as long as I can. It had to be done.

    Bright side: we stayed home all weekend. I definitely wasn’t up to going anywhere and my wonderful husband took care of me. My daughter in law made soups and such.

    Found another washing machine on FB marketplace for 75 dollars at an estate sale that was only thirty minutes from where I live. It’s not the newest or the fanciest, but it will get the job done and that’s all I really care about.

    Electric bill had been up some this month, so trying to be a little more diligent about electricity usage. Staying home does save a lot more money than what we use in electricity so I’m not going to complain.

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Great job! You saved so much money by using the laundry mat and then finding a used one. I happen to like used appliances best because they seem more sturdy. I hear about people being so miserable with new ones after a couple of years.

  25. Brandy, great score getting the Kroger $5 off. My husband and I both have Kroger cards, and it has been nice to see the occasional $5 off $5. I didn’t buy eggs when they were on sale because I had two cartons in the fridge. I went to cook cornbread and found one carton only had two eggs left. Then I went to make scrambled eggs and the remaining carton only had one egg in it. (Apparently I lost my mind lately…with empty egg cartons as proof ;).) I reluctantly bought one dozen eggs at regular price. I won’t do that again! Hearing about drought conditions in Midwest as well as potential higher beef prices, I bought five pounds of ground beef and froze for the future. Seems like only a few years ago I could find it for $1.88…now the best I see is $2.77. I know for readers outside the US, those prices might not seem high….I have been startled when Australians mention their prices for mince. Yikes!

    Finished and filed our tax returns last week! We get a refund (deliberately) and we put that into savings for home improvements. I have been manually turning on the sprinklers here to minimize water usage. I haven’t felt inspired to read the instruction booklet on the timer mechanism so I do it by hand for now. Once summer comes again, the current setting will be perfect.

    1. It was from Albertson’s (Safeway). Do you get that offer from Kroger? I have never seen it there.

  26. How great that your new garden is so efficient! You won’t ever regret all the work that went into it, Brandy.

    We are having more cold snaps than usual in my part of Florida, and I have realized that my selection of at-home/running errands wear for cold weather has gotten too sparse and too worn. I went into a thrift store and found 4 items I can use during cool/cold weather.

    I had been looking for a new art print, photo or painting to replace an illustration that my husband had bought for a couple of dollars years ago. It was kind of cute when he got it, but it is now extremely faded and looks terrible. While I was in the thrift store I found a signed, numbered print of the right size to hang in the place of the old one. It only needed a frame, which I had. I got it for $1.99.

    I ate 3 servings of a pot of soup I made and put the rest in pint canning jars in the freezer.

    I found a penny on the ground. I think it has been months since I found cash. Not many people seem to carry it anymore.

    Although the weather was uncooperative this past weekend, I hung much of the laundry out and got it mostly dry, so it took much less time in the dryer.

    I bought a whole hen and cut it up instead of paying the extra 50 cents per pound to buy it already cut up. The backs and neck go in the freezer in a separate bag to cook for soup or dumplings.

    I mended a sheet.

    I wish everyone a great week!

  27. I sold some CD’s and books online. I believe someone mentioned it last week. Thank you. I made $73. That will be going towards the mortgage. We paid for my youngest daughter’s spring college tuition. We have enough left in the account to pay for next year which will be her last. Now I can really start paying extra to the mortgage.
    YD and I gave the dog a bath and did her nails and ears. She got extra treats for being so good.
    The mom of the little boy I watch gave me a pack of lettuce, 2 open bottles of vitamins, an open box of Kcups and a pack of Christmas cards. She also feed me the 2 days that I watched him. D and I made Valentines card for lots of people. I mailed several of them to family members. All of my house decorations were made with supplies I already had.
    I have been trying to call my elderly relatives more. The calls are all included in my phone plan.
    The lady I helped wanted Wendy’s for lunch one day. I keep coupons in my car. We got lunch and she brought home enough food for another meal for $4. I also used my frosty keychain.
    The clearance racks this week were full which was nice to see. I got 6 packs of Gatorade powder for $1.34 each. My son took one to work the following day to keep there. Pot roast was on sale with a digital coupon for $2.99 limit one. I got the biggest one they had and cut it in half before I froze them. 18 count egg packs were marked down to $1.34. They were each missing an egg. Haggen Daaz was on sale with a digital coupon for $3 a pint. It is my favorite. I bought one and it will be my Valentine’s gift from Hubby.
    I got a check back from a medical bill that I was overcharged, $23.
    Hubby was given 4 pairs of drumsticks and a drum key from a coworker. They have a family member that works for the drum company and were given them for free. I sent them 6 muffins the next day as a thank you.
    I added all of my receipts to fetch and Ibotta. I did several surveys on some receipts too. I was given a code for a free chicken sandwich for one of them. I will get it before it expires.
    YD made herself a batch of GF brownies. I wrapped half the batch and put them in the freezer. I made a double batch of GF waffles and blueberry waffles for breakfast. All leftovers went into the freezer for easy breakfasts. I made another 2 loaves of bread. I might have to start making 3 because we didn’t have bread one day but everyone survived.
    Hubby made turkey pot pies with some of the leftover turkey. I froze some for future meals.
    I cashed out a $3 gift card from Verizon and a $10 gift card from Fetch. Both are birthday presents for Hubby.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  28. *With two snow days last week, no driving my son to school saving on gas. I do not do grocery deliveries during inclement weather, so I did not drive my car for two days. My husband works from home 4 days per week; he stayed home on his normal day and went in on Friday. Robotics was zoom only for my husband and son on Wednesday and Thursday so truly two no drive days for both our vehicles.
    *Returned library books on time and picked up another stack (I am fortunate that for the most part, the librarians just delete my fines since if I am late, it is typically just a day or two).
    *My husband and I were going to go to the camper show just to look around, we find it fun to look (we do not need a camper; we really like the one we have). We opted to stay home, the place that hosts it is 45 minutes away, and there is a cost to get in and to park. Because of the time of day we would have gone, we would have needed to eat something. My husband gets rather hangry if he does not eat at set times and even small snacks to help do not help (he just needs a full meal).
    *Made chicken fried rice yesterday, pulled out frozen rice, chicken I had previously cut up and cooked and some misc. leftover bags of frozen veggies. Had enough left over for a lunch serving.
    *My son had another great trip skiing on Friday night, as part of the ski club he gets a discounted lift ticket. We do not have to drive him; part of the fee to join the club is busing to and from the skiing facility. He received gift cards the last two years to use while there, so no out of pocket cost for food. He takes snacks for the bus, but as we know teens with empty legs eat a lot. LOL
    *Went to our big thrift store again looking for a pillow protector that I could use in the dog bed, no luck as I ran out of time. I just opted to stich the zipper closed. If he opens it again, I will just stitch it closed again if possible.
    *Finished reading a book on mending clothing, it reinforced the need to mend those little issues before they become big issues and the clothing is truly not wearable unless used to make something else..
    *Continued clicking through on Mypoints emails, I am almost up to a $25 gift card.
    *My sil picked up a bag of string cheese for me; it really was too large of a bag. I opted to pull out my food processor and shredded them all. I have more use of shredded cheese.
    *Cleaned the filters on the dishwasher to help it run better and stop leaving presents on the dishes.

  29. That lettuce is so gorgeous! What variety is it?
    My robot vacuum died. It’s my favorite appliance and I was trying to figure out how to afford to replace it when my husband decided the problem was the battery – a less than $25 fix! So glad to have a handy husband. I made sourdough waffles, sourdough rolls and two loaves of sourdough bread. I cleaned out a closet and donated two bags of clothes and linens to the Humane Society thrift store. We read library books and watched All Creatures Great and Small on PBS for entertainment, and walked and took free yoga classes on YouTube for exercise. We ate all meals at home, which is usual for us, but it does save a lot of money. This week we enjoyed quiche, chicken alfredo with broccoli, a sausage and potato soup, chicken stir fry, burgers, baked ziti and chicken curry.

    1. I don’t know. It was self-seeded from the lettuce seedlings I bought at the nursery last year that just said “butterhead” without a name. I like knowing the name so it is a bit frustrating for me.

      1. The most popular “butterhead” is Buttercrunch, an All-American Selection, so that may be it. Buttercrunch is delicious. It also LOOKS delicious edging flowers, especially when interplanted with pansies.

  30. That lettuce looks so delicious. This time of year I crave salads. I haven’t written for probably 3 weeks. My DH and I both were ill the last 2 weeks. I was off work, but am feeling better now. Just a bit of a lingering cough.
    Over the last three weeks I have done quite a bit of cooking, even with not feeling well. Made split pea soup with a leftover ham bone and little scraps of ham. Made Brandy’s barley and vegetable soup. I used fresh veggies instead of dried, so didn’t use as much extra water. Had popcorn for dinner on January 19th, which was National popcorn day. Made chex mix twice, acorn squash twice from squash given to us in late fall, porcupine meatballs, beef roast with carrots and potatoes from the garden, taco meat, a big salad, hard boiled eggs, cheesy garlic focaccia bread (which was really good with the soups), homemade pizza, a turkey breast in the crockpot, cauliflower (from garden via the freezer) and fried rice. Opened and enjoyed a coupe jars of our home-canned pineapple. that extra spurt of Vitamin C was really needed.
    Bought split peas, garlic powder and parmesan/romano cheese in bulk at Winco to refill my containers.
    One store had Cosmic Crisp apples (they are the best) for 68¢ a pound. Bought a bunch, since they keep a long time. The same store had a huge display of paper towels, with Christmas designs on them, in a 2 pack for 50¢. I think they were a late arrival due to the supply chain issues. I bought 4 packs, which should keep us going for quite awhile.
    I got 93% lean hamburger twice – Once for $2.9 a pound and once for $3.49 a pound. they were in 3 pound rolls, so bought two each time.
    We changed our pillowcases every day, and our bedding twice a week while we were home sick. No need to breathe more germs than we have to.
    Took a lot of naps as we were exhausted.
    Hope everyone stays warm, healthy and happy.

      1. Thanks Sabrina. I already did that, but it’s a good reminder. I remember my dentist told me that several years ago.

  31. 2.1.2022- 2.06
    – Served on a grant committee that provided fajitas for lunch
    – Saved and gave away snacks from the cast party that we hosted
    – Took leftovers for lunches to work
    – Brewed coffee at home or had free drinks at work(water, tea, coffee and sometimes diet coke)
    – Attended a meeting for work and was served a free lunch
    – Prepped house for upcoming freeze with items on hand- wrapped outside faucets with towels and a cut up yoga mat secured with duct tape. Not pretty, but I was proud of my husband’s ingenuity
    – Planned meals during the snow days with items in our freezer, fridge and pantry
    – Stayed out of shops- even thrift shops!
    – Worked with my dad and father-in-law to repair a bench for our wedding seating(we own a venue that we rent out on airbnb) and mended a section of fence. They work well together! I wonder if the next generation of ppl will ever be as handy as they are. ps- I offered to make them lunch, but dad took me to Rosa’s(tex-Mex fast food) instead. Dads!
    – Husband added HSA info to our tax return and it significantly reduced what we had to pay.
    – Picked up a china dish with tea cup, small basket, wooden hearts(will save these for a valentine’s day craft) and wooden spoon in a free bin that was curbside
    – Made a breakfast casserole for the week
    – Boiled eggs for snacks
    – Picked more meat from our cracked pecans- I’m up to 8 pints. Easy to do while watching tv.
    – Repackaged items from a craft kit to give to my son’s girlfriend while she was home with covid.
    – Batch cooked beans
    – Made 2 quarts broth with scraps and ½ turkey carcass
    – Ate all meals at home. This is “hard” sometimes, but it sure des save money.
    – Held 5th budget meeting
    – Our family had a trip planned to the big city for a concert. The concert was rescheduled due to bad weather. My husband reached out to the hotel and asked for a refund. At first, they claimed we needed to rebook, but then they fully refunded our booking. As my mom says, it never hurts to ask!
    – Deep cleaned the kitchen. My husband wanted to install shelf and drawer lining. I assembled my vast collection of woven placemats- voila! A solution we both loved and it was free!
    – Crafted homemade Valentines with my daughter. We made some really cute cards and gifts from items that we had. It filled a snowed in day with some great memories.
    – Husband brought home Olive Garden leftovers from work
    – I stumbled upon a pile of books that the library at work was throwing away. When I asked if I could have them, one of the librarians took me to an unused office filled with boxed books and told me to take whatever I wanted. I am filled with joy! I have a lot of ideas for how to use them. I collect old Bibles and have found a few already!
    – Went sledding and walking in the snow.
    – Had friends over for dinner. Used what we had on hand to make cornbread, salad, guacamole and white chili. They brought margaritas. A win- win!

    1. Rachie – pool noodles make good pipe insulators as well and I am sure ya’ll always have a few laying around. 🙂

  32. Its quite cold here. We are all wearing a sweatshirt in the house with thick socks and slippers. I’m hoping to continue with the heat off. I started to buy a birthday cake from Walmart. A quarter sheet cake was $19.99 and seemed very short and small. I waited and bought one from Ingles near my house. For the same price , this one was three times heavier. It never had occurred to me to check the total weight on a cake. This was an impulse purchase for baby Henry’s grandmother. She lit up like a Christmas tree. How lovely to bring joy to someone with such a small token. Sugar cookie has a birthday this week. She asked for a cookie cake. She found a Reese’s pieces candy cookie cake at Wal-Mart. For $9.99 this is just perfect. I bought it today and hid it. There were several items I wanted to try but was reluctant to purchase due to the price. One was a stick of new deodorant , and a suction cup type of handle for the shower. I found both items at the box return store in Alabama. For $1.00 I bought both of them to try. The deodorant provided NO coverage and certainly not the 72 hour protection advertised. $14.99 saved. The shower grip was a total failure. So glad I tried it sitting in the tub as one of us would surely have fallen if standing in the shower. Sugar cookie lost a grandmother at Christmas due to a fall in the shower. Seriously ! Our bathrooms are small but I will be installing something into the nearest stud in the wall. Baby Henry’s grandmother just put one up. I’ve removed it. I’m thinking a shower chair she can scoot on will be better for her. Safety awareness is so important. I fell this week . I’m seriously bruised and hurting. I have a new memory foam bath mat. Sugar cookie placed it in the hall bathroom. When getting up off the toilet, my feet slid on that mat and I fell flat on my back. Not an injury I would have anticipated. I tossed it in trash. Avoiding accidents is important. I’m only 58 but this stuff is more important than ever. Stay warm dear friends.

  33. Hello Everyone!
    I agree that the lettuce photo makes me eager to garden! We’re fortunate with weather that we continue to harvest salad, kale, broccoli, carrots, oranges and lemons. I still haven’t started my spring seeds yet although it’s on my to-do list.

    This week’s biggest savings happened with our auto insurance. Our current insurer has continually raised rates to the point of it being ridiculous. I shopped around and saved $800 on a 6 month policy! 🎉 Now that I’ve been home, rather than working I’ve had time for things like this. In addition, my bill for SIRIUS XM came and I called to cancel. They gave me a “ deal” at 1/4 price for the year. It’s a luxury for sure, but I felt ok with the deal. We saved about $1,000 between 2 phone calls.

    Other than that, I had a big stock up trip to Walmart last week. And, I’m reading the new Dave Ramsey book on Every Day Millionaires from the library.

    Have a fantastic week! 🌷

    1. Thanks for mentioning the Dave Ramsey book. I’m going to check our library. Is it like The Millionaire Next Door?
      Speaking of which, I recently spoke to an old college friend. I remember her telling me back then how tightwad her parents were when she was growing up -nothing bad, just that they were very frugal and careful. During this recent conversation, I asked how they were. She laughed and told me that they hadn’t changed. She asked me if I remembered her dad’s car from back then- I did because it was such a horrible color that he got a great discount on because of how ugly it was lol!! It was a 1976 Datsun in 1984.
      And she told me he still drives it!! We had such a good laugh. I should add that her parents don’t live like paupers. They save their money for things that they love.

      1. Hi Debby,
        The book is a combo between Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and the Millionaire Next Door. He did a national survey of everyday millionaires and has lots of interesting statistics in the later chapters. It’s called “Baby Steps Millionaires”. Interesting read that keeps us focused and purposeful. : )

  34. Well, the dreaded utility bill came: $560! $58.00 higher than last month! I will say it was much colder this past month, but my bill is outrageous! My husband said we should just open all the windows and turn the heat to 90!(he’s a bit frustrated 🤨). Had a plumber come out to replace a faucet and he was unable to turn the water off at the street. He had me call the city and have a new cut off put in. I am praying this might save us some on the water charge, but they say not. Our biggest expense is wastewater. It is almost three times the water bill!!

    So, in my despair, I made a German Chocolate Cake! My husband’s favorite. Amazing how sugar can make most any situation tolerable!

    Still struggling to find chicken and now bananas are supposedly in short supply!

    I am getting excited about planting my garden this year. Will till the ground in a week or so. Thinking about expanding the area so I can plant a bit of Silver Queen Corn. My husband loves it and it is hard to find.

    Hope everyone is well. Thank you, Brandy for this wonderful respite each week. It is much needed during these turbulent times! Take care.

  35. Hi everyone, I’ve got a question and I figured this would be the best place to ask — We are currently trying to move a few meals to vegetarian (we always have some kind of meat at supper) and the only legume we like are crimson lentils.
    Does anyone have some sauces they make that they could share? [to go with crimson lentils and rice]
    I am fine with making a make ahead spice jar with spices for a recipe, but I would prefer not to have a million steps to actually make sauce. Currently, I am finding that my meat savings are being countered with buying bottled rice sauces (we enjoy the sauces found in the indian section of the grocery store)… and it’s really not helping the budget.
    I would greatly appreciate any sauce recipes!

    1. Hi Erica
      You are on the right path…we are an Indian household and mostly vegetarian but my hubby n kids eat non-veg frequently. When you mentioned red lentils and wanted a sauce to go with it, I knew instantly you needed someone to push you in the right direction….we make dal which is a staple in most indian household. we add veggie stuff to the main recipe for dal like okra , spinach and pumpkin and indian cucumbers sometimes….etc. This is something we have daily at our home and does not need much to make from scratch…here is a recipe…

      This recipe is made with red lentils and you can eat it with plain rice or even chapatis which Brandy has here…Happy Indian cooking…Other favorites are Idlis or Dosas(rice-lentil pancakes) which go well with dal…

  36. Brandy,
    I’m so glad your water bill is so low for you! I live in the country with a well, so technically my water is “free”. But my husband and I had the well drilled at a cost of $10,000! So prorated out, the water on this land will not really by “free” until my great-grandchildren are old! 🙂
    I had a no-spend January where I didn’t buy any groceries except $14 worth of fresh produce. I used several items in my pantry and freezer, but I still have plenty of food in the house. I should be able to have at least a low-spend February!
    I made a mistake this week that ended up being frugal! One of the items I ran out of was salsa and when I picked some up, I accidently got hot salsa instead of mild. It was spicier than I liked so I dumped the jar into a bowl and added a can of plain diced tomatoes that had cost me 49 cents. I chopped the tomatoes a little bit and stirred everything together. This made about 50 percent more salsa!
    My 7 chickens are young, so they have laid eggs well even through the darker winter days. But now they are laying even better. So I’m sharing eggs with family and church friends!
    I’m reading “A Ration Book Childhood” by Jean Fullerton on my Hoopla app through my local library. Her other books are listed on Hoopla, so I’m looking forward to those also! I got the recommendation for these books on this site, so thank you so much, Brandy!

    1. Terri,
      I don’t know how much city water costs where you live, or if you have septic or sewer, but I just checked our bill and if we used zero water, our monthly bill is $42.25 for being connected for water and $38.85 for being connected to sewer (total of $81.10/month before we turn on a tap or flush), so your $10,000 would be recouped pretty quickly! I imagine you also might have electric costs to run the pump, though, too…

  37. Hi Brandy, It is great to read that you are able to keep your utility bills down. I took a note from one of your recent blogs and asked my son to take shorter showers….to no avail lol, but I did try. Similar to you and others my utility bills are going up as well. I live in Florida and am interested to see how the rate increase will multiply our bill this Summer when the AC runs often and long. I have signed up and put a down payment for new windows for my house, they should be here and ready to install in the next three months or so before the thick of the Summer heat comes. I do believe most of my AC running is from the poor seals on the originals windows to my 1963 home. I will be excited to see and feel the difference once they are installed.

    In gardening our tomatoes are producing like crazy this year and some are starting to get ripe. Our green beans have finally flowered and we’re exciting to start seeing more growth. Our most giving fruit tree I decided needed to be pruned back heavily as it’s been a few years. We have had some wind storms and I kept thinking about it taking out our power line and how dangerous that would be. My neighbor has helped my son and I trim this tree and we are more than half way done. The next time we will likely finish trimming the tree, as well as another on our property. I did get quotes for these two trees as well as an elderly neighbors tree and was quoted $1,000.00, with a two month or more wait period for the work to be done. I declined and my son, neighbor and I have been working on all of the trees. Once the cutting is done the hardest part is I realize is removing debris. We have weekly yard waste pick up. They take a lot, but they can be particular with wanting items bundled or put in barrels. To avoid them skipping us we dont overload the system.

    In January I gave myself an overall monthly budget for both eating out and grocery shopping and was able to stay relatively close to the amount. This month I am doing the same and trying to be good to myself and my wallet by controlling this expense. Food has definitely gone up in price and I often wonder what the future holds with the economy. But to shore up my own house I will continue to look for ways to be frugal and conscientious of spending. Thank you for having your blog and helping foster such positive discussion on frugality on so many levels.

    1. Ashley,

      If there’s a “Buy Nothing Group” page for your area, you might consider listing those fruit tree branches free for someone willing to come pick them up. Some fruit wood is nice for use in meat smokers (or if folks have firepits, maybe?) – there might be a person interested in picking up loads so you don’t have to worry as much about the yard waste folks taking it all.

  38. Last week was Lunar New Year and I took the week off to visit family and take a short trip to see some friends who have opened a coffee shop a couple weeks ago. We had a nice time visiting and they treated us to some snacks and drinks. I also baked a loaf of banana bread and a loaf of raisin bread for them.

    Sausages were on sale in an online shop and I had a coupon. I bought 6 packages but when they arrived I realized I’d bought 36 packages of sausages!!! I laughed at my mistake but they ended up being even cheaper at $1.20 each.

    I found bags of frozen croissants on clearance for $0.80. I bought all of them on the shelf.

    I’ve cooked with what I have on hand including turkey soup, butter garlic shrimp, and Korean Jjim-dalk chicken.

    I have an aero-garden and the mint which I don’t care for has grown well. I have been putting it into my morning smoothies for extra vitamins.

    I’ve air dried quite a bit of laundry.

    During my time off I have been decluttering and passing on things that I no longer need.

    I was gifted some hair dye. Instead of getting my hair cut and dyed I decided to only get a haircut and dye it myself.

    I ran out of coffee. My first impulse was to walk to Starbucks next door. Instead I drank some tea.

    My quickly growing kid eats me out of house and home these days. I rearranged a cupboard and made him a Snack Shelf. He likes mug cakes but the price of cake mixes was a bit higher than I was willing to pay. I found an online recipe and stored the dry ingredients in mason jars for him. He now has chocolate and funfetti cake mixes.

    1. Wow, 36 sausages! I can’t imagine ;). If the hair dye works out for you, it should be a big savings! I color my own hair and have someone else cut it. Coloring it myself saves me $1000 a year since I had to pay almost $100 a month for color !

  39. Your lettuce photo is beautiful! My lettuce finally succumbed to our single digit nights last week so I will just look forward to starting some more soon.
    For various reasons, I made a goal to spend $200 or less on consumables (groceries, household items and toiletries – for the humans, not the animals) in February. I did one big shopping trip and bought all I thought we would need paired with what we have already in the freezer and pantry. I know we are only a week in but I can already tell we will be fine with food to spare. I want to really go through my stored food and move some things out so this will help. I continue to barter and trade with a neighbor for canned goods and we share meals now and then. I was glad to take her and her husband some chicken noodle soup the other night when she was not feeling well – all made from food I had on hand and we enjoyed it, too. The key ingredients that make it so good are, I think, the homemade bone broth and a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Delicious!
    We were fortunate to receive another 2 boxes of canned fruits and vegetables and some cornmeal from another neighbor. She received a few boxes of food from yet another neighbor, chose what she could use and passed the rest on to us. I am grateful to have neighbors who look out for one another in this and in so many other ways.
    I made a triple batch of laundry detergent and cut my oldest son’s hair.
    Gas has increased 20 cents per gallon in our area so reducing/combining trips is even more important given we live in a very rural area. With the snow and resulting snow on the roads, we hose off our vehicles whenever the temperature warms up enough. Getting the salt off prolongs the life of our vehicles. Years ago, my husband bought a special attachment for our pressure washer which allows one to wash the underside of the vehicles. That tool has paid for itself many times over.
    We continue to work on finishing-the-house projects – mainly putting up ceiling trim and interior painting. Thankfully, we bought a bit of paint with a 30% coupon before the prices increased. My husband is also at work putting up some wood shelves in my laundry room which will be wonderfully useful.
    My chickens are enjoying the longer days and have increased their egg production. Most people don’t realize that eggs really are a seasonal food and that fact makes us enjoy ours that much more. I have seen the bees out a couple of times this Winter on cleansing flights and am always glad to see they are still there and doing well. I have honey in my pantry from the last two years and we enjoy giving it as gifts and using it ourselves.
    Our youngest kitten (one we kept from our last foster litter) is due to be neutered this week. The cost of surgery was included in his adoption fee so there will be no out-of-pocket expense.
    I read “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett. It was well written but struck me as sort of depressing. Maybe it was just my perspective as I know many have enjoyed it. I am currently reading “The War That Saved My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. She is somewhat local to me (about an hour’s drive) which added to my interest. It is a chapter book intended for young readers which are the kind of books I often read. Sometimes, adult books are just too heavy for me and I need the optimism I associate with juvenile fiction. This one has an interesting spin on the subject of city children who were sent to the British countryside to escape the bombings of WWII – something I have read a lot about. It is told from the point of view of a child who has a difficult home life so she was escaping more than just the bombings. My children have been watching “Wartime Farm” with me (I love that series and have watched it many times) so I am sharing this book with them, too. Thank goodness for libraries and all the adventures we can have through them!
    In preparation for St. Valentines Day, we are making homemade cards as is our tradition. They are always received with much enthusiasm and we enjoy making them out of whatever things we have around. Some of my favorites are made with pressed flowers from the summer.
    I hope everyone is cozy, warm and safe in their corner of the world. Enjoy your week!

    1. “The War That Saved My Life” is one of my favorites. There is a sequel, “The War I Finally Won” (Or close to that–don’t have the book on hand). It’s great, too.

  40. My water company sent in the last bill some quite interesting information. They broke down the average users percentages as to how their water bill adds up. Here is what they said:

    How is water used in the home? On average 17% showering, 27% toilet, 15% faucet drains, 22% washer, 5% misc needs, and leaks 14%.

    I assume faucet drains include any that comes out of a kitchen and bathroom sink faucet and I would have thought that total would have been higher than what is stated. Hope this helps some folks

    1. Interesting. I had read before that toilets were 33%. I wonder if that is changed because more people use low-flow toilets now?

      And I wonder about the washer if you have a front loader instead of a top-loader. I switched to a front loader as lower water use is a priority for me on appliances.

  41. The lettuce picture really shows off that fabulous colour! Did you edit it to adjust the lighting, or is it natural? Truly beautiful!

    My frugal week:
    – I gave myself a haircut
    – served lots of homemade baby food to my baby. Pea soup (http://approachingfood.com/dutch-pea-soup/), frozen pureed sweet potato, homemade applesauce…very frugal and so easy to defrost in the microwave as needed.
    – I made tea using some slightly expired tea (tastes fine)
    – I made a couscous salad to use up all the little bits of vegetables leftover in the fridge, and ate that for lunch for several days.
    – I made several loaves of banana bread, which my parents especially enjoyed.
    – I signed my daughter up for a couple of free zoom music classes
    – I made mini meatballs for my husband using leftover ground beef, which I fluffed up a by adding an egg and a 1 c freshly blended
    as crumbs , plus some seasonings.
    – I received a free box of pizza ingredients (whoohoo!) from a brand, as part a pr campaign. Dough, 3 types of sauce, higher end mozarella, lots of pancetta, and a pear. I made a pizza and documented it on social media, but have lots of ingredients left. I used some leftover pizza sauce to make meatball subs for my husband, along with some of the Mozarella. The remaining pizza sauce I’ve frozen in an ice cube tray for easy defrosting. The pancetta I’ve frozen, to use on future pizzas for my husband, or to flavour soups. The pear I served half to my baby by offering it grated and mixed with yoghurt, and the other half in slices for my toddler.
    – I had ordered a Swiffer WetJet from Walmart (teaching a baby how to feed herself is a messy business, and I was tired of cleaning the floor on my hands and knees 3x/day), but had 4 Swiffer mops substituted. I called to let them know that the substitution was not wanted. They refunded the cost but didn’t have me return the items. I gave one of the mops away to a friend who was just moving into her first apartment. A nice housewarming gift, and no cost to me!
    – I made homemade yellow finger paint for my daughter from yoghurt and turmeric.

    Looking forward to learning from others as always!

    1. That is the exact color of the lettuce. The photo is edited; I always edit my photos, but I make sure my colors are true to life.

    2. Margaret, I love the way you use what you have to enrich your daughters’ lives. It’s especially impressive because being a mom of 2 young ones can be exhausting; you are so industrious and creative. Every time you comment, it makes me smile. Your girls are going to learn so much from you, and those memories will be so precious when they are grown!

  42. I have been watching the Olympics – free entertainment. The Canadian women’s hockey team have been quite inspiring.
    Fingers crossed for tonight. They have a lot of depth, speed, passing abilities. The Canadian figure skater Madeline Schizas
    only 18 was also inspiring.

    I have been working on the book. We need to find some missing footnotes, do some proofreading and then in about ten days we are done.
    we will be done. Then we have to shop for paper – it doesn’t help that the price of printing paper has increased by 18%. Well, we’ll be waiting for a miracle…

    I haven’t bought many groceries. “I” bought cheese from Costco for me — I’m really pleased with the quality of it.
    Superstore has chicken thighs on sale for $1.99 per pound for club sized pack. That is a great price.
    I will be relying on all the beef I bought on sale in the fall for the next month or so.

    1. My office mate ordered our usual supply of paper last week and normally we get this within 48 hours – it’s going to be a couple of weeks! As soon as it arrives we’ll place the next one to hopefully keep things up to date. I’m sure the price is up as well!

  43. -I pulled 8# of older ground beef from the freezer and browned it up with onions. Using some beef stock from the freezer I canned 10 pints of meat. It makes quick meals. I used one already in ground beef sauerkraut noodle casserole ( or what we call hot dish in Minnesota). I love making this casserole as the noodles aren’t precooked they go in raw and cook as they bake.

    -I made a couple of large receiving blankets from pieces of flannel left from projects or picked up from the thrift shop. Now I have some baby gifts tucked away ready for giving.

    -I am again doing the $50 for groceries and using 50 jars of home canned food this month. My goal is to empty my small chest freezer and unplug it until I need it this fall. Grandkids were here last weekend, we used 20 jars last week, lots of juice and fruit. I spent $12 on bread and milk.

    -I went through my seeds and made a list. Will get to the Farm, seed and nursery in the next week or so to purchase needed seed. I called them and they said seed just coming in. Can’t wait for the snow to melt and I can dig in the dirt again.

    -My sister gave me 2 dozen eggs from her chickens. I gave her some empty egg cartons.

    Have a great week.

  44. The blog is beautiful as usual; the lettuce is beautiful. It’s amazing that ordinary people can grow things like that. Here there were a few sales on vegetables that brought the prices down to what they used to be, so I snapped some up. I finally found a falafel recipe that was a hit with my low spice family at https://loveandgoodstuff.com/homemade-falafel. I baked the falafels on parchment paper, turning them once in the midst of baking, instead of frying to make them lower fat and calories again. After staying home except for two forays into Safeway and Kroger’s, I was mildly sick and tired for a couple of days, used 1/2 teaspoon Povidone iodine in 1/2 cup of distilled water as a nasal rinse and gargle to cut my viral load in case of Omicron, but tested negative twice. My sinus headache disappeared, so I was happy about that. This week I went to Bi-Mart and bought almonds (a 19 oz package for $5.99) and Havoline oil for $15.99 for a big jug, and a men’s tee-shirt (Fruit-of-the-Loom) for $3.97. Prices keep going up (gas at $3.75 per gallon) like everywhere. I am following through with my goal to read the Bible every day. Psalms really cuts my stress level, love 23 and 91 especially. I am still working on getting started sewing and soapmaking.

    1. We follow a reading plan that takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in the year all broken down into three sections – if you Google Robert Roberts Bible marking planner you can find it – hope that is a help…. We do this every year and the kids even join in 😊

  45. What lovely Photos they make me think of spring. At the moment all we have is snow drops but thats a promise of things to come.
    This week I have cut hubby’s and my hair and hubby’s beard
    Finished knitting a pair of socks and started another.
    Read ebooks from the library.
    I have cooked all meals from scratch. Used a chicken carcass to make stock. I used the Remorska and instant pot where I could.I have made Nut Roast, Bakewell Tart, Meat pies and Sausage and Stuffing pies for the freezer
    Harvested Brussels, carrots and parsnips from the garden. .
    Sown Pepper, Broad Bean, Field Bean, Tomato and Cosmos seeds from seeds I saved last year. Filled pots with compost left over from last year. Ordered £83 pounds wirth of Perenial plant plugs for £10 I have had these before in previous years and it has worked well.
    Closed all curtains as it gets dusk, tucking them behind radiators to keep the warmth in.
    Looked at what we used to do in the 50’s to keep warm. Curtains on inside doors, duvets on top of the mattress just like the old fashion feather bed.
    Re last weeks conversation most people in the UK have gas fired central heating but some can’t afford to turn it on and from later this year you can only use certain wood burners and only burn kiln dried wood or pellets.
    Now they are going to trial paying people to use no electricity at certain times of day.
    Keep safe everyone.

  46. My husband and I went over our budget and have made some changes for the better. Over the weekend we cancelled our Costco membership and a streaming channel that we were paying for monthly. We have also been careful about our gas and electricity usage.
    We ate all our meals at home. I took out a meaty ham bone from the freezer. I cut most of the meat off the bone and we had fried potatoes, green pepper, and onion with ham pieces for dinner one night. It was so good! I put the bone in the slow cooker for broth and will use it for soups, etc. I had made a chicken rice soup last week and there was just a tiny bit left over so I added leftover rice, vegetables, and broth from the freezer to it and now we have more soup.
    I made fabric softener from vinegar, water, and hair conditioner.
    I stayed home from work on Wednesday due to the big snowstorm we had. I took a vacation day so I still got paid and saved on gas. We got 12 inches of snow.

  47. Thrifty actions this week: took advantage of the cool front by raising windows to air out house, when pollen is low, made a batch of chocolate covered strawberries (strawberries in season) in celebration of upcoming Valentines Day for church group, found a Talbot’s Breton red and white stripped top for 3.00 (like new) at the thrift store for summer, along with a children’s book of Irish folk tales illustrated & published in Dublin for 30 cents.

    Always enjoy your photography!

  48. Our gas bill increased a lot this month also (only our heat, hot water tank & fireplace are gas fueled). I did a quick study and noticed that a 5% price increase started on January 1. That, plus the really cold weather we had last month answered my question as to why it jumped so much.
    I am trying to keep food purchases for the 2 of us to $100/month this year. January came in at $106, but on February 1 alone I spent $139. So I may have to re-think that amount. I’m not a big stock-piler, but I do keep a backup of whatever is in my pantry ( 1 bag of sugar in use, 1 bag on the shelf, etc.). I probably overbought because of the ice/snow that came later in the week.
    I cook at home most of the time, although occasionally we order food delivered. My husband likes to do this more than I do. Usually I convince him that what I have planned for supper will be better than delivery!
    Staying out of stores except for the grocery has saved $$ so far. Using fuel rewards to save $.50 or more per gallon each time we fill up. Not going anywhere saves money on gas also. Besides the weather is usually not that great. If I buy online I try to go through the Rakuten app.
    Thanks for all the great ideas that are shared here by you & your readers!

  49. Brandy,
    As usual your pictures are stunning…I didn’t garden at all last year but now I’m inspired. Great job on your utility bills- it has been very cold in Boise this winter and our bills are higher than usual in spite of keeping our thermostat lower and wearing more clothes.
    I wasn’t happy with my grocery spending in January so I set a new (lower) goal for February and I’m determined to beat it. We are a household of three adults and a spoiled dog and we don’t need to spend as much as we do. Grocery shopping and takeout are big expenses for us and the real crime has been how much we waste. I cancelled my dog’s frozen food delivery because I think I can replicate it for less than half of what I pay. We use a high quality dry food and mix in wet food so I will start making her wet food when the purchased food is gone from the freezer. I have started freezing part of our leftovers immediately and that is reducing the need to cook as often plus it reduced our food waste.
    Last Thursday, my debit card was hacked and used for 2 fast food purchases (The Habit- used in California and New Jersey for 2 transactions over $50 each and within 10 minutes of each other). Whomever did this had to have hacked my app where my debit card was stored- I contacted their customer service as well as my bank and the charges were reversed and my new debit card arrived yesterday. I won’t store my card in any apps going forward and I have changed passwords. I wouldn’t have realized this so quickly but I have been much more purposeful about making purchases anywhere for anything so I was immediately aware of the charges. Since this happened, I have spoken to several acquaintances about it and nearly all of them have had recent attempts against them. My nail lady had someone charge over $500 on her debit card for inexpensive clothing from China last Thursday. My public service message to all is to be very cautious.
    Our biggest frugal accomplishment last week was that my husband was able to repair the stopped up kitchen sink. The sink backed up when I was using it and he brought home new pvc pipe for under the sink and repaired it for $20 in supplies. When we built our home over 20 years ago, he did all the electrical and plumbing himself which saved us a tremendous amount of money and of course he continues to do all needed repairs himself. He works for Lowes and has for over 20 years so we also benefit from the employee discount. He is currently replacing the carpet and linoleum flooring in our master bedroom/bathroom and while I am so over the construction vibe going on….I do need to remember that many wives would trade husbands in a New York minute to have someone as handy as he is.
    Have a wonderful week- stay safe and healthy!

    1. How very frustrating about the debit charges! And all the work to clean up after the fraud!
      If you are comfortable with credit cards instead of debit cards, credit cards provide better protections in case of theft and fraud. I saw it described as credit card rules are to protect the consumer, and debit card rules are to protect the financial institution.

  50. Two weekend trips to big city 70 miles away for pet sitting. These are people I care about so I don’t charge them but they leave me tons of cash and gift cards so I don’t have to spend my own money for meals while I’m there. I get to eat at great places and shop at stores not available in my little no-red light town. Plus side is it’s like a free vacay with meals provided. Down side is I have to get up with dogs 3 hours before my normal wake up. I usually either make a run to CFA for breakfast or go back to bed after I left dogs out/in.

  51. As always, I enjoy reading everyone’s posts! Thank you so much, everyone, for sharing, and Brandy for your commitment to this blog as well as sharing your gorgeous photography.

    It’s been a bit of a blur. DH’s parents passed three days apart a couple of weeks ago and now that the double funeral has passed, we’re to the point of working clearing out their house, which was stuffed to the rafters with every little thing. They saved every envelope they received in post; every single Rx bottle/bag/label, every bill for decades, stacks all over… saved everything, nothing of value, really. We are hopeful that their assets will cover their debts but that remains to be seen and is a while off. Their house will need to be nearly gutted if it sells. We have been spending a lot of money in gas to go/return as we’re cleaning and clearing out as it’s an hour away in good weather, out in the country. Thankful that his half brother is helping at times. He and DH are not very close but he does live much closer to the parents’ property.

    I guess a frugal find for those in the U.S. – if someone passes from complications from COVID, FEMA will pay $9,000 toward the cost of the funeral unless the funeral was paid for in advance (which, no, makes no sense for those who preplan and take care of their final wishes!) … My husband had researched it and he has the paperwork from the funeral home as well as info from FEMA’s website. We did have to ask the funeral home and the director said, oh, that’s right! Yes, we have that paperwork. So we just have to proceed there. It will cover that amount toward funeral and plot but not any headstone. I hope this doesn’t come across as a tacky/insensitive note, but that will be a big assist for the costs as we are paying things now (home and auto insurance that was due, utilities, etc.) until he can establish the estate account when the letter from the courts comes through.

    I’ve been trying to meal plan even more as we’ve been coming home ravenous as some days/evenings we’d stay clearing longer than anticipated and twice I actually was the one to suggest we split a footlong veggie sub and DH said nah, we’re an hour from home, let’s just go home. Now I have a bag with some healthy enough bars, drinks, apples, etc. for those trips. I restock it and bring it each time. If we need it, we’re set.

    DH’s birthday was this weekend and, while we don’t do gifts, we’ve started pulling out cards that we’ve given each other and re-writing notes on them for occasions, so I did that to an older greeting card. Now to do that for Valentine’s Day. I made his favorite meals a few evenings and treated him to a massage last night; and while I’m a terrible masseuse (chatty and I don’t know anatomy), he enjoyed it and it was relaxing with candles lit and relaxing music playing. He is very appreciative, which makes me more inclined to offer now and then.

    Homemade meals have included bean/corn tacos with plant based “cheese” dip that I just found the recipe for and have prepared a few times (made from mainly potato/carrot) and WOW I’m excited about it … fairly healthy add to some Mexican entrees as we don’t bother with plant-based cheese. Also made winter veg lentil stew, black bean soup and cilantro lime rice, Italian veg stew, pasta e fagioli, quesadillas with peppers, onions, corn, black beans, slow cooker chili. Thankful my husband loves the leftovers for his work lunches. I try to do a salad with a side of soup/stew at lunch to get in some more veg.

    I’m trying to get better about lumping errands on days when I am already out meeting friends to walk instead of a quick pop out to drop recycling, etc. Small improvements add up. And it’s giving me more time at home, which I do love.

    1. I’m sorry about the loss of your in-laws.

      I don’t think it’s tacky to share about the $9000. Funerals are expensive.

    2. I know it’s been said, but I feel bad for you and your husband and family that you have lost loved ones. Thank you for the tip about FEMA. I can relate to the work and hassle. We lost my mother-in-law recently, not to COVID, and my husband had to wait for a death certificate that someone kept issuing with incorrect information on it. It was sent back twice, and oddly, after three iterations, the certificate still had an incorrect “fact” on it. What has been so hard, though, is that with all the sorting through and disposing of things, my husband has been having to say goodbye to his parents, his past. Almost all of that generation are gone; his huge extended family is gone; it’s the end of an era. It has been hard. I have helped with boxing up things as I can, but I mostly listen and let him take his time to reminisce and grieve through it.

  52. 2.1.2022- 2.06
    Served on a grant committee that provided fajitas for lunch
    Saved and gave away snacks from the cast party that we hosted
    Took leftovers for lunches to work
    Brewed coffee at home or had free drinks at work(water, tea, coffee and sometimes diet coke)
    Attended a meeting for work and was served a free lunch
    Prepped house for upcoming freeze with items on hand- wrapped outside faucets with towels and a cut up yoga mat secured with duct tape. Not pretty, but I was proud of my husband’s ingenuity
    Planned meals during the snow days with items in our freezer, fridge and pantry
    Stayed out of shops- even thrift shops!
    Worked with my dad and father-in-law to repair a bench for our wedding seating(we own a venue that we rent out on airbnb) and mended a section of fence. They work well together! I wonder if the next generation of ppl will ever be as handy as they are. ps- I offered to make them lunch, but dad took me to Rosa’s(tex-Mex fast food) instead. Dads!
    Husband added HSA info to our tax return and it significantly reduced what we had to pay.
    Picked up a china dish with tea cup, small basket, wooden hearts(will save these for a valentine’s day craft) and wooden spoon in a free bin that was curbside
    Organized our craft closet and made valentines. DIY envelopes are fun too!
    Made a breakfast casserole for the week
    Boiled eggs for snacks
    Picked more meat from our cracked pecans- I’m up to 8 pints. Easy to do while watching tv
    Repackaged items from a craft kit to give to my son’s girlfriend while she was home with covid.
    Batch cooked beans
    Line dried all laundry
    Made 2 quarts broth with scraps and ½ turkey carcass
    Held 5th budget meeting
    Our family had a trip planned to the big city for a concert. The concert was rescheduled due to bad weather. My husband reached out to the hotel and asked for a refund. At first, they claimed we needed to rebook, but then they fully refunded our booking. As my mom says, it never hurts to ask!
    Deep cleaned the kitchen. My husband wanted to install shelf and drawer lining. I assembled my vast collection of woven placemats- voila! A solution we both loved and it was free!
    Crafted homemade Valentines with my daughter. We made some really cute cards and gifts from items that we had. It filled a snowed in day with some great memories.
    Husband brought home Olive Garden leftovers from work
    I stumbled upon a pile of books that the library at work was throwing away. When I asked if I could have them, one of the librarians took me to an unused office filled with boxed books and told me to take whatever I wanted. I am filled with joy! I have a lot of ideas for how to use them. I collect old Bibles and have found a few already!
    Had friends over for dinner. Used what we had on hand to make cornbread, salad, guacamole and white chili. They brought margaritas. A win- win!

    1. Rachel, if you will e-mail me at frugalista@gmail.com (not my primary e-mail, but I will get it) and send me your address, I will be glad to send you my uncle’s Bible. It is KJV and has a concordance and maps. It belonged to my uncle who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1928, when he was about 25 years old. So, it might be 100 years old or so. I don’t think it has any antique value. There is some damage to the front right-hand blank page that is the same textured material as the lining of the cover. (There is a name for this page, but I can’t remember it). It could be easily repaired with acid-free tape. Please contact me if you are interested.

  53. I added up off of our gas, electric and water bills from last month what we paid before using a drop of water, any electric or any gas and it came to $120.00. That is just to have service without any usages! All of our rates have gone up. Our last gas bill was $1.50 per therm. Electric was 0.14493/kWh. On this bill was a notice that there would be rate hikes on both gas and electric starting Feb. 1. We live in Maryland, so I’m not sure how this compares elsewhere. We are using less of everything, but our bills are higher this year. To save money, we started rolling up old towels and laying them on the floor in the house at the bottom of outside doors to stop the cold air from coming in under the doors. I am trying to stretch out the time between washing loads of laundry and squeezing more in each load. Brandy, I am going to try doing shorter loads and using more cold water like you mentioned. I have also started actually measuring out my laundry detergent and not just pouring some into the washer. I only dry the clothes long enough to get the wrinkles out and then hang to dry on racks or hangers. This adds some welcome humidity to the house. I’ve been using the microwave more and batch cooking in the oven. We have two oversized extra long sleeping bags which are rated for 40 degrees. The past couple winters I have unzipped one and used it as a comforter on the bed. This year, I put both of them on the bed so we can turn the heat down lower at night.

    1. I always measure my laundry soap. In an HE washer, you should only use 2 Tablespoons of powdered detergent. More can actually damage the machine. When our machine wasn’t working years ago, the repairman was shocked that it was a clogged filter (something we now check for twice a year). He said most of the time the calls are because people have damaged the machines by using too much soap rather than following the instructions to only use 2 Tablespoons. I have a measuring spoon just for laundry soap. I was very happy to hear that. He said our machine had no soap damage whatsoever, and I was doing 24 loads a week at that point.

      1. Interesting information to know. Besides saving money on the cost of laundry detergent, another good reason I have to measure it now is to save on repairs! Thank you!

      2. 2 Tablespoons? I have been using the lowest line on the measuring cup that comes in the box, but even that’s way more than 2 T. I have been wondering because the pods are so tiny compared to the scoop in the detergent. Thanks for sharing!

        1. Yep! The machine manual says 2 Tablespoons!

          I put my laundry soap in pretty canning jars and use a measuring spoon. They make pretty glass jars with lids too. It makes for such a nice feeling every morning when I do the laundry. I’m going to look for a pretty spoon at garage sales this year. I might even just find a pretty silver tablespoon and see if that works.

      3. I’m late to this party, by my dishwasher technician says the same! I have a Fisher and Payker dishdrawer (half size to a normal dishwasher) and he told me the pods are way too much for it and even not to fill the powder compartment to the top – just up to about half way. He said damage from too much detergent was a very common problem.

    2. Kim’s comment about measuring laundry detergent (I do that, too) reminds me that we also measure our dog’s food. He weighs 20 lbs. and we give him two half-cups per day. I’m sure we save on dog food, but more importantly, he doesn’t gain weight, which contributes to longevity and saves vet bills. We don’t use the half-cup measure as a scoop; we level it off so he really only gets half a cup of food at a time.

  54. What I did to save/free up money in February so far….
    -Not of my own doing, but got an increase in my survivor benefits check.
    -OTC medicine changed to prescription saving me about $7 a month.
    -Ordered some Home Chef meals with a gift card which saves me from buying some groceries.
    _Used gift cards from Christmas to purchase items I needed saving me $70 out of pocket.
    -Ordered vegetable and flower seeds for my garden – while an expense now, it will hopefully be well worth the investment. They are all heirloom, non-gmo so I should be able to get new seeds from the plants.
    I am hoping that in the next few months I can see even more progress in freeing up some of my monthly income – keeping my eye on the prize of early retirement. (or down to part time at least).

  55. Hi Brandy, second post this week! A woman from another blog is doing a year where she and her husband are living (to the extent they can) as if it was 1943. She has started posting the US rules for rationing and prices, as well as how people lived, and it is fascinating to read. In addition, there are so many ideas on how to live less expensively. I have been learning a lot, and find many ideas are coming from looking into the past. The war years were incredibly difficult (as was the depression) and people learned how to adapt. Anyway, here is the blog: http://gdonna.com/

    1. Ooh, I love Donna’s blog! I’ve been reading it for making time. This is their second time in 1943. I think the last time was in 2015. They’ve done other years, as well. She’s done lots of interesting stuff. Read the archives.

  56. I love Buttercrunch lettuce. It’s my absolute favorite and although I grow several kinds of lettuce every year, in succession, there’s always Buttercrunch growing. I’m glad you got some to come up as a volunteer–absolutely free that way!

    I had my hubby cook a turkey on the BBQ this week. It seems like many of us are pulling those bargain turkeys out and enjoying them this week. I boiled the bones and made broth and froze both broth and some bits of meat for later use. We ate a lot, also. Today, my daughter made her favorite “peanut chicken” from some of the cooked breast. She used frozen broccoli from last year’s garden in it as well. We ate a lot of soup, salads, quesadillas, casseroles and some chicken-fried steak along with the turkey. We ate frozen broccoli, squash, and corn and canned beans and fruit.

    We are using lots of home-preserved items these days. I shopped at Safeway last week and used lots of coupons, including a $10 off $50. I have enough for 2 weeks, as I have a busy Friday this week and don’t want to have to spend it at the store. I did an Azure Standard order for some bulk purchases.

    My daughter has been accepted to work at a camp this summer. We are super excited for her. We sewed 2 pairs of pajama bottoms and bought inexpensive t-shirts from JoAnn’s to get started on preparing her for this. I used fabric I got on super sale in the past and it was great to use some. Pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. She’s sorting her clothes and my husband went to the Union Gospel Thrift Store today for more shorts and capris. There’s no use buying super great clothes for lots of money–they will get hard use and will likely be ruined by fall anyway. We will buy some new boots for her to tromp around in the mud. I recently found out that they want her to start at the end of March to help with outdoor schools so we’ve been doubling up on schoolwork and will have to be finished with school by then! Yikes!!! But we can make it, as I had wanted to be done by May 1st anyway–this is just a few weeks early. She will come home on the weekends, so we can get other items if needed then.

    We’ve been enjoying the Olympics and reading books from the library and on my iPad for entertainment.

    We received our free Covid tests I ordered from the government. I also got 3 masks for free from Safeway. Rob did, too. They said those were from the government program, as well.

  57. Never thought I’d say this, but I rather look forward to Mondays because there is usually a new frugal post up! That lettuce looks so beautiful, and makes me eager to work in the garden. What is the meaning of the quote you have at the end of your post? I tried to do a google translate but it came out really strange!

    *I baked a strawberry cake that used up some freezer jam. It was okay, but not something I’d make again.
    *Baked banana muffins, always a hit at my house! Next up: zucchini muffins
    My goal for this summer is to freeze enough shredded zucchini to bake muffins at least once a week for the rest of the year. My family loves them.
    *There were lots of empty shelves at the stores this week, so my “quick trip” to get a couple of things turned out to be a bigger shop when I realized I needed to get what I might need in case it’s gone the next time I’m there.
    *When we ate fast food in January, I completed the surveys on receipts for the freebies. Most of them are BOGO entrees or meals, so I used a couple this week for my son to eat one/save one. Worked out great on busy days when we didn’t have time to run home after school and between activities.
    *I have been wanting a breadmaker for a while, just to mix the dough for me. We had one years ago that broke and we never replaced it. I found a new one on FB marketplace for $75. It sold the day I messaged about it. The next day, another came up for only $20. It was used but in great condition. Glad I ended up having to wait! We have already enjoyed a loaf of bread from it.
    *In one of the FB groups I”m in, several people mentioned that they start their seedlings in an Aerogarden. I’ve been curious about those, but didn’t want to spend the $$ until I knew they really were worth it. I found a used one on FB that included lots of plugs and seeds. My husband got it for me — Happy Valentine’s Day. Right now I’ve got herbs starting in it, fingers crossed! There is a special seed-starting tray for this model that can fit 50 seedlings. You transplant them after they get going. I cashed out a $50 gift card from ibotta to buy the tray, really looking forward to trying it. If this one works well, I want to get a couple more Aerogardens. I would love to grow a little windowsill garden, but my windows aren’t sunny enough to keep herbs going.
    *At an estate sale, I spent $5 on books and sold on the book app for $31. Also traded several on book swap sites.
    *Reused mailers to ship out the books.

    1. Haha! It’s nonsense! I had to look because I didn’t see a quote. It’s the fake language that comes up on websites when you make a blank section. I fixed it!

      I was so worried I would forget about fixing it and then I DID forget!

      1. Brandy, it looked a bit like Latin, and I was thinking, “I’m really surprised this isn’t in French.” 😀

  58. I noticed that quote too and assumed it was Latin!! Brandy those are some great prices on eggs and vegs you got using your free coupon-and such great savings on your utilities.
    I was just speaking with DD and she said she has been promised fulltime hrs starting when we get back from vacation in March or possibly sooner-very good frugal news and should save Bank of Mum and Dad some $. She just graduated at the end of December and I know it can take awhile to get established.
    It is unseasonably warm here this week which I assume is saving us $ on the utility bill.
    I have been making it a point to fill up the gas tank at Costco each time we go-it saves us 19 cents per litre. Another saving is that a loan we had made to an ex relative( bad idea) is now 50% paid off. We had no choice but to garnishee his wage and I assume he got a raise in January as our lawyer is now sending through larger payments. The lawyer charges 25% of the payment as his fee-it may seem high but it is tacked onto the court ordered payments so actually the ex relative is paying for it.
    I have been using airline points and credits for a vacation in August to make it as economical as possible. We are also doing a road trip East this summer to visit my husbands relatives( and hopefully also some of mine). Even though gas will be pricy our car is quite economical and we have some credits we can use for accommodation when we are not staying with others. As we will be driving through the US I am hoping to do some shopping at Aldi as we do not have it here in Canada.
    I continue to shop at the fruit and veggie wholesaler and also shop for others when I can. It is kind of fun going as you really never know exactly what they will have and at what price-a bit like going to a thrift store or garage sale.
    Wishing everyone a good week.

    1. Funny that you should talk about shopping while you vacation in the U.S. There is a YouTube that I watch, “Mornings with Granny” and she gets the most fantastic prices on foods from discount stores in her area, So. Carolina, I think. We have nothing like that in our area, So. Cal. So I have this fantasy in my head that if, and when, we do our next road trip, we’ll make sure we stop at all discount stores in between vacationing/enjoying ourselves and the back seat of the car will be filled with incredible bargains when we return home. Sounds like a tightwads dream. 😀

  59. Just saw where American Truckers called “The People’s Convoy” plan to meet in CA March 1-5. After that they plan a Convoy across America to DC. They have recommended that people stock their pantries in anticipation of this as there will be shortages. So wonderful that we all have Brandy and each other to glean ideas from and get a heads up about where to find the things we need! Stay frosty out there!

    1. My friend sent me the same information this morning, about the trucks/possible shortages, etc. She was genuinely worried, with good reason, as she is not able to be well stocked right now for various reasons. I jokingly sent back my statement I wrote on my blog about my food storage–that I said I easily could go for 2 weeks, possible 2 months, and my husband chimed in “you can go for 2 years!”:). We actually probably don’t have 2 years worth, and we certainly would run out of preferred foods quickly and be reduced to less-favorite ones, but we would not go hungry for a long time. I also assured her that we had little starts growing for this summer’s garden already, tucked away in the greenhouse, AND that I love cooking for her crew. So NONE of us were going to go hungry.

      I also assured her that my first garden was mainly rocks, but I got better with time. So, whatever she could do to learn to prepare would not be wasted.

      I was so young during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I don’t remember it. But, we did crawl under desks to hide from nuclear bombs when I was little. We made it through the Cold War. Y2K—we all survived. Wildfires. Ice storms. And, many, many other crisis–We will make it through this, too! It’s strange, disconcerting, disturbing, scary, and more. But if we stick close to the Lord, our friends and family, and do what we can do—we’ve got this! With or without crackers. (Which finally came back to our stores last week and I now have 3 boxes:)

  60. I noticed I had been charged from a subscription agency for the renewal of a magazine I had canceled directly with the publisher October 29 and had received confirmation of the cancellation November 1. The agency customer service basically said.”Too bad, so sad. You are not gettng a refund.” So I called the credit card company and contested the charge. I had three other subscriptions automatically extended by the same agency. I cancelled all three after their agent was so unhelpful so when their current terms end, I will never subscribe knowingly through that agency for anything.
    Until the current wave of Covid-19 subsides around here, I am avoiding going out. But I am trying to determine how to get eyecare and dental care I won’t have on Medicare. I have been deciding which Medicare Supplement to sign up for and which company to sign up with. It is not easy (possible?) to find pricing history in my state. I might qualify for Extra Help from Medicare when it comes to Part D premiums and drug costs. Any senior with a small income and limited resources should look into that program. I live in my mom’s home and am her unpaid caregiver. She is 98 and once she is gone, the house will need to be sold and the proceeds split evenly between my sister and I. Sixteen years of eldercare has completely zapped my retirement savings and the amount I get from social security. I am beginning the process of finding subsidized senior apartment wait lists that won’t kick you off the list entirely if you are not ready to move when your name finally floats to the top. I need a complex where public transit both in-town and out-of-town exists because the care and feeding of a car might not fit in my budget. Senior services to enable low and moderate income seniors to live independently longer seem to vary wildly by county in my state. For my physical health, I want to live in an area I consider walkable and for my mental health (and perhaps future money-making opportunities), I want inexpensive courses to be available to seniors. I hate starting to plan for when mom is no longer here when she is still very much here. But she is 98 and within 5 months definitely will be the longest-lived member of her family in generations–if she isn’t already. (Exactly how old was her aunt when she died anyway?) I feel overwhelmed but am trying to get rid of some of the stuff we don’t use now, won’t in the future, and nobody else related to us would ever want. Whoop whoop, an unfixable wall sconce my dad had added a wooden base to is in tomorrow’s trash along with a worn-looking Beanie Baby pink poodle and one pillow sham. Baby steps….

    1. Holly we used the agency B0omer Benefits to help choose our Medicare supplements and Part D. They are an online agency and you can call them for help signing up and choosing a plan. They also help if you have problems with your chosen company paying claims. They were quite helpful when a local clinic was trying to charge my husband $120 for his first Covid vaccine. They talked to the clinic so I didn’t have to.

    2. A friend referred us to American Senior Benefits for assistance in sorting through Medicare programs. The local agent was very helpful for us.
      Best wishes to you as you make your plans! Not easy things to do.

  61. I received an alpaca wool scarf from Buy Nothing, which I will unravel and knit my own scarf. I have seeds started both inside and outside. I learned a very interesting tip from a fellow Master Gardener. To do her succession planting of seeds more quickly and easily, she dries out her potting soil and then sows seeds in several containers. She only waters one container to start with, and when it’s time to start the next batch, all she has to do is start watering the next container. I will try this out.
    We’ve received oranges from a colleague of my husbands. I’ve been zesting each orange before I eat it fresh. I add the zest of each orange to a baggie kept in the freezer.
    I finished 2 sewing orders this week and was paid for both. It is welcome income.
    We had our pre-installation inspection for a new water barrel. The city will give a rebate on water barrels. This new one holds 330 gallons. My husband has installed it now and I have the post-installation inspection scheduled.

  62. I started some of my cabbage seeds and celery seeds in the grow lights cart. We decided to do what ever it cost to grow a larger garden and to extend our season (usually asparagus is late April or early May and it’s the first unless we eat the dandelions which we have) to Oct. This year I got some out of the garden under row covers at Thanksgiving last year. I chose some varieties that actually will be harvest in Dec through Feb in zone 6. I also chose different colors of veggies like an indigo tomato to get the colors in on our plates. It will be an interesting year in the gardens. I am putting in drip lines for my garden boxes. The south gardens are very doable for drip lines. The north gardens will have to be done by hose as Hubby and I are not willing to put water line UNDER the driveway with his trucks and trailers up and down the driveway (sometimes weighing 2 tons). I will be filling pots and grow bags also. NOT cheap to do as we will have to buy dirt etc but as my doctor said… the garden is my drug store, the produce is my meds.

    The medical bills (ER (Crohns), 2 CT Scans with diagnostic dye, bloodwork testing for antibodies against my Humira ($2500… yes you read that right for 1 tube of blood to be tested_physical therapy for ice pick headaches, 6 doctor appts for me, 5 doctor appts and nerve testing for carpal tunnel for Hubby) has hit and we know there will be a xray and surgery down the line for him. I put them on the cash back credit card. A week before that card is due I will transfer the money from the savings acct we have set up for medical costs. We have already paid 1/3rd of our out of pocket for the year. The good news is I do NOT have antibodies against the Humira and my Humira is still working. Bad news is the OTC pain meds (I refuse prescription as my grandmother died from withdraw from her pain meds) as they are part of what caused the flare up along with the replacement hip surgery that replaced broken hip socket and bone on bone ball joint. SIGH.

    I told my GI I am working on anti inflammatory diet, yoga and hope to find some one close for massage. He told me to document what I am doing, how I feel etc. as he know several that will be coming off their biologics when they hit Medicare due to costs.

    We got propane, thankful I had preordered as it is now running 50 cents more a gallon than what I bought it for. Saving us $150
    Electric was up $45, still Feb is usually our highest month so that wasn’t bad. Probably will be up next month which it usually is NOT. But we are still getting cold weather in the teens with windchills dropping below zero. We had to have the electric heater on in the one bathroom to keep it warm enough .

    I only bought milk and 2 containers of yogurt for the week for us. I spent $300 on food and kitchen items for our grandson who is getting his first apt. He cracked up when I said anything he didn’t want to give back as I have 6 under him with 3 getting their own places this year into next. His oldest brother (who is moving in with him as younger one didn’t have any credit history since he lives at home and the other one is going through his divorce) pointed out that YES we have 6 more under him and that it’s not cheap for what we are doing for each of them. Oldest asked for the receipts so he could show younger one. I listened to the vent of oldest when he realized the younger one had NOT got a checking acct and was handing over his paycheck to a check cashing place. The very last words he said what “he acts just like our parents” who still do not have checking accts or savings accts and then had to listen to me cracking up with laughter. Welcome to my world grandson welcome to my world LOL. I am sorry I missed the lecture he gave to two of his brother (not the one in Army) about having a retirement set up as neither work for companies that offer that.

    Have a blessed Day… stay safe, stay well.

  63. Yes, it is definitely good to be prepared. A lot of Alberta’s fresh produce comes from
    California so we should be prepared. The province of Ontario has declared
    a state of emergency which is good as it will enable them to deal better with the occupation by the truckers.
    I had just written this when a friend texted me and
    asked if I wanted some free vegetables — she got beets, potatoes and carrots from a greenhouse/grower.
    Since they are imperfect seconds, they were free!

  64. Regarding magazine subscription renewals: I have gotten to the point that I only subscribe and renew by mail. I only pay by check. That’s the only way to retain control. It’s gotten to be too much of a hassle otherwise and honestly I don’t trust some of those companies to notify me when the subscription ends. I’m sure I’ve had subscriptions renewed without my permission.

    1. Me, too. I have had companies charge my credit card for renewals and refuse to credit me back. You would think the backlash would hurt their business. I don’t get it. Of course I fix it so they can never charge me again.

    2. I disputed a magazine reorder charge on our CC. So easy and we did get our money back. I’ve had several issues over the decades that leave me wary, now.

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