How We Saved Money The First Week of February

How We Saved Money The First Week of February

I worked in the garden pruning and weeding to prepare it for spring and to keep my trees and bushes healthy.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants in the garden. I do this every day, but I only mention it occasionally.

I did some organizing. I am loving all of the organization that I am accomplishing this year; it makes me feel so much more content with my living space and generally gives me a happy feeling as I tackle cluttered areas.

Meals this week included oatmeal; chicken salad; homemade pizza; soup and salad with homemade dressing; roast rosemary, garlic, and lemon chicken with rosemary and lemon from the garden over rice, with salad; chicken and rice soup with leftovers from the previous meal along with carrots, celery, onions, and fresh parsley from the garden; fruit salad and bagels.

My husband gave me a haircut. He also gave our eldest son a haircut.

I watched a couple of episodes of Howard’s End on Pbs.org.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. *I picked collards from my garden.
    *I picked daffodils from my yard.
    *I used sweet potatoes bought on sale to make sweet potato sweet rolls, and baked and froze other sweet potatoes in 2 cup portions to make this recipe in the future.
    *I found a new recipe for Black Bean “Meat balls” and tried it. They held together well, and smelled delicious, but I took all of them to our college son so have not tested them yet myself.
    *I made all the food for the weekend, and brought it with us when we visited our son at his apartment. I also brought extra food to leave with him.
    *We visited the state botanical gardens near where our son is attending school. The admission was free, and they were having a special display of orchids!

    Pictures and more on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2020/02/frugal-friday-week-of-february-2-8-2020.html

    Writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee! 😁

  2. This week I made a scrappy lap size quilt to add to my gift cupboard for a time in the future https://pin.it/6cbdipll4cji5v. Then I made another large lap size quilt as a wedding gift for a family friend. It was made without any out of pocket cost. The groom’s mom is a dear friend and our children grew up together. I made a baby quilt for one of his sisters about 3 years ago and also four for his brother’s children as they were born. When a younger sister had a baby last year and I brought her a quilt, she hugged me and told me that she had been hoping for a “Pat Lewis” quilt for her little one. So I am fairly confident the son who is a groom next week will be equally gracious! Here’s a photo of the finished quilt: https://pin.it/zo5xubr4tifyhk. I can’t attach a savings value on these because I don’t know. But I DO know that if I just went to Target to buy a present that I would have spent close to $50 because they are close friends! So these 2 quilts have saved me $100!
    Using bits of fabrics that I already have at home as well as my supply of all the other materials I need saves me both time and money! My daughter and I pooled our money to buy a used longarm quilt machine- APQS Lenni. They have a spreadsheet that shows the point where the return on our investment has been satisfied. For the amount we paid, it would require us to quilt 1 bed size quilt every 3 weeks to have earned or saved the value of the machine in 1 year’s time! We have been quilting more than 1 per week!
    Hubs has also used his talents to create gifts. This is a cutting board he made that will be a housewarming gift to his former boss’ daughter and son-in-law. He made it using tools he already has. He did buy black walnut for this since it is 18” x 24” . The wood cost $40. But his boss paid him $150 for the cutting board!! https://pin.it/fo6fnkl7ge2rvg. It turned out so well that he plans to make one out of cherry hardwood that he already has in his wood stash as an additional gift to our friend’s son who is getting married next weekend! There is no way we could go out and spend the comparable amounts for these kinds of gifts, but by having learned some skills and invested in some tools over the years as well as always being on the lookout for free or great deals on materials to add to our storage, we can give personalized gifts that we can be proud of.

    Other things I’ve done this week to save money are:
    I bought 15 five pound bags of chopped onions for $1/bag! I filled my dehydrator and also have frozen bags of them, packaged with the amount (2 cups) that constitutes 1 large onion. This will make it convenient to use when I don’t have fresh onions ! This time of year, onions are typically 89- 99 cents a pound! So that saved about $262!! That’s crazy!!
    I found 5 boxes of fruit and nut snack bars clearance to $1.39 each rather than their normal $2.99 each. Before I got to the checkout, I had a prompting to look on the store app on my phone and discovered they had a digital coupon for $1 off per box, up to 5 boxes maximum! So my 5 boxes cost just under $2 total rather than almost $15!! But then, a special Catalina coupon can out with my receipt because of this purchase, I have $3 coupon off anything I buy there at Kroger’s the next time I go! So it became a $1 money maker for me to buy these 5 boxes !!
    I was able to buy 5 more boxes of Creamette pasta for 49 cents on their weekend sale. Same with their Kroger peanut butter- 99 cents each for 5 jars! When they have digital coupons that are only good for a specific number of items, I still get them anyway since “growing” my food storage/pantry doesn’t need to always be from buying a huge amount at one time. Buying 1 or 5 in this case still is a positive action! Some times over the years, I could only afford to buy 1 or 2 extra of something on sale to build my pantry. But it all helps achieve that goal! And now, I don’t “have to” go to the store for groceries unless I feel like the prices are what I am willing to pay because my food storage is at that point (plus there are only 3 of us left at home, not 13! 😉) . That is a real feeling of freedom!
    I have refrained from buying groceries during all of January and continuing now into February, except for extremely good deals on things we use regularly. This means eating from scratch at home! I estimate that this past week, even with what we spent on the produce a grocery sales, we still saved $40 of our normal budget without even factoring in the value of the meals/snacks, etc. that we have made from what we had on hand!
    Using bacon from my freezer, I made 26 Bacon, egg and cheese Breakfast Burritos. I also made up another batch of cinnamon French toast out of thick sliced bread we had.
    We both went to our Election Workers’ Training this week. The Primary elections in Ohio are on March 17th and for working at the Election, we will each receive $158! It’s an enjoyable day seeing neighbors while still bringing in some extra income to add to savings and pay down mortgage! M
    I am convinced that DIY and saving money don’t need to make you feel deprived! In fact, for us, it’s kind of liberating to let us get creative!

    1. I miss Kroger here 🙁

  3. Today is a cold rainy day. I have woke to the drip drip of a tiny roof leak. I’m going to use my new ladder I bought at Thanksgiving to nip that in the bud before it becomes an expensive repair. My sweet sugar cookie turned 31 today. I honestly don’t see how that much time could have possibly passed. I’ve always told her God gave her to me cause he knew I would play Barbies with her forever. I used a digital coupon at Kroger to get her cupcakes she picked out for $3.00 less. I have a gift card from Swagbucks to use at Cracker barrel to take her to lunch. I bought her a beaded bracelet with a turtle on it. The program sponsors the turtles and you can track it around the ocean. Her adoptable sea turtle is named Ariel and she is thrilled. For $15.00 this was a great idea for her. I signed her up for a month of Sling TV for $5.00 , she had been requesting it and I was waiting for a promotion. It had perfect timing and I’m out of pocket $30.00 for her birthday .After recovering from the flu , we have the most horrible head cold going on. I’ve had to run back out to the salvage store to gather more products. With three people sick , my supplies were used quickly. I was able to get three bottles of Mucinex for $1.00 a piece. I had to toss out most everything in the refrigerator. With all 3 of us sick , everything was wasted. I think most of my soup stockpile is gone. I’m feeling better today and hope the worse is over. I will return to couponing and stock needed supplies back up. I know I have turkey broth in my freezer from a year ago. I’m going to pull it out and make a pot of crockpot soup. I hope everyone else is healthy and sunny . We have now used our heat 9 days this year. anticipate a low electric bill this month. I discovered an unused Amazon code and used it to send a gift box of supplies to an elderly blogger. I have loved her tips in her back posts. She’s now on you tube and I love it. The blog has become to expensive to keep at age 76 and she has learned to do you tube. That gives me hope I may learn something new.

    1. Happy Birthday to sugar cookie! We share a birthday but she is much younger than I! I plan to celebrate most of the month!

    2. That was so kind of you to send that care package to the elderly blogger. I actually saw that post and I wondered if she was talking about you.

    3. You mean Anita – “Na Na” don’t you? I saw the video of her opening your gift box – great choices and very kind of you.
      I don’t know how she does it – but she just keeps plugging away.

      1. I would love the name of the woman who started her own You Tube channel

      2. Dear Margie , I guess the internet world isn’t as small as I thought. Yes, I sent Na Na a box. After discovering Brandy and reading all her back posts, I discovered NaNa pinches her pennies blog. I really like her because she is really wholesome and writes about real solutions to problems. Some of her solutions have really helped. She also reached out to me back when sugar cookie was deathly ill and gave me some much welcomed information. Many bloggers aren’t really frugal. I like Anita. She’s great. I believe on you tube, she simply goes by Anita Estes. Her new you tube posts aren’t quite like all her back blog posts but I’m sure she will get there. Meanwhile she keeps it real. I hope one day her blog will make her a couple dollars. I never really knew how expensive it was to run a blog. Brandy has mentioned it but wow. It can be huge.

  4. I saved money by staying home. Between Thursday, 1/30, and Saturday, 2/8, I went out twice. Once was on my birthday, when I spent 56 cents because the amount on my Panera gift card was not quite enough to pay for my bagel, cream cheese, and soda. I also picked up my free birthday dessert item on my Panera rewards account and a free bundtlet from NothingBundtCakes, also as a birthday reward. The other time I went out was on Friday when 2 of my sisters took me out for my birthday. We had salads and shared a Low County Boil for Two; they gave me the leftovers to take home. I am always willing to take home a combination of shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob with coleslaw on the side.

    All other meals were eaten at home and included steak, steak teriyaki with mushrooms and peppers, barbequed chicken leg with stuffed potato, meatloaf meatballs and french fries, egg salad, a charcuterie tray (different cheeses, crackers, salami, strawberries, and nut). and a couple different egg dishes.

    I have also been organizing and my goal for the month of February is to get the entire house organized. We shall see but for now I’ve been tackling the largest problem area, my craft room/home office. I’ve sorted through old papers and am just about ready to tackle the closet.

    The heat was off for several days because our temperatures were in the 70ies for a stretch of several days. I monitored my electric use (as discussed on posts last week) and can definitely verify that the heat pump is my biggest energy user. I tried drying clothes on medium and the flannel sheets on high and there was not much difference in the kilowatt hours used per minute. The electric hot water heater was also a relatively big energy user, basically more than the dryer and less than the heat pump.

    I picked more flowers from my garden from plants that never died in the fall/this winter. I also took pictures of and enjoyed the crocuses that started blooming in my garden.

  5. My mom sent over a tub of margarine she didn’t want.

    I froze some leftover kale from the last time I purchased some, and used it this week in my zuppa tuscana soup

    I cooked a double batch of black eyed peas for my mom at my house, and my husband enjoyed 2 bowls of them for supper

    I continue to declutter the house. I worked on my bedroom. I found a missing space heater, my ice scraper, and a pair of shoes hubby has been looking for. I gave away several clothing items and about 30 books.

    The weather was decent for a couple days so the heat stayed off.

    Our deer meat this year is very mild so I don’t need to mix it half with beef.

    I continue to use grocery pick up to stay within the budget, combine errands, and stay home as much as possible.

  6. I agree it is a happy thing to declutter. I harvested collards for my sister on Saturday, and harvested kale for us. I found several things on markdown, including organic button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, organic honey, and good olive oil. The button mushrooms were canned for future pizzas. I sewed a button on a shirt, pruned several things in the orchard, and transplanted some strawberry plants. We have lots of peas coming up. Hopefully, they’ll do well. One of our hens is sitting on 8 eggs, which we’re excited about. Wishing everyone much love this Valentine’s week. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/02/february-blooms-frugal-accomplishments.html

  7. Don’t you just love Mondays?! Thank you for keeping me motivated to save those pennies and make the most of what we have, Brandy. And all of you who post, too!

    We had a HUGE car repair in January that made us realize we really need to look for a replacement. Our vehicles are 15 and 16 years old. We test drove a nice used car but realized we need to save quite a bit more before purchasing. I love that we don’t mindlessly spend or finance things—-patience is the name of the game!

    Our family is planning a Smithsonian trip soon. Husband is using points for the hotel stay and we plan to pack some food to cut down on meals out. Kiddos are so excited! We are within driving distance.

    Our family loves naan but not the cost at Trader Joe’s. Found a great recipe from Budget Bytes. I make a double batch each week. Really trying to stay out of the grocery store and eat what we have in our freezers and pantry. Most of the time, when we have a craving, I am able to make it from scratch. Luckily, we are well-stocked so meals are still tasty and nourishing.

    Hope everyone has a healthy and happy week! Thanks for your constant encouragement, Brandy!!

    1. Naan is easy to make! I’m glad you made some!

      1. Please share recipe!

        1. Looking up the recipe on Budgetbytes now, thanks! My family loves naan and I’m guilty of buying it at Trader Joes on occasion.

  8. I have not posted in quite a while, but have continued to enjoy your updates and those of everyone in this lovely online community. Thank you all.

    I also appreciated the return of the “goal post” (my mind went immediately to football). It is so interesting and helpful to read people’s goals and objectives, and to draw ideas and inspiration.

    I noticed an Instagram post that suggested happy news for your family – blessings and joy to you and yours.

    Daily habits I continue to cultivate: I used water from heating up dishwater, rinsing produce, etc., to water the herb garden and potted plants. We had rain so I turned off the sprinklers. I used mint, dill, and oregano from the herb garden for cooking. My husband and I always try to consolidate errands, saving on time and gas and often mitigating tedium (i.e., when our licenses expired within a few days of each other, so we kept each other company at the DMV).

    I’ve made soup (split pea, lentil/vegetable, turkey noodle), bread, and other meals using what I have in the pantry, ‘fridge, and freezer, instead of going out. We always enjoy this, especially on cool rainy evenings.

    I realize Christmas is past, but I did decorate for the holidays using only things I already owned. As we are in the process of downsizing, it would have been foolish of me to buy Christmas decorations. I put pretty Christmas pillows on the couches and chairs, set up the little fiber optic tree in the window, hung stockings, and set favorite items on the holiday table runner. My husband was very sweet: he sat down to do some work at the computer and when he got up several hours later, looked around and said, “Wow, Christmas is here!” An hour or so after that, I noticed packages w/ my name on them around the tree.

    I visited a number of thrift shops and found items on my list, including a number of very nice things I was able to give as gifts. I discovered that one thrift shop, which supports the local animal shelter, is grateful for donations of newspaper. As more and more recycling centers close, I was glad to find a place that wants some of our recyclables.

    We also continue our downsizing/decluttering efforts, and donated a large load of furniture, clothing, books, and housewares.

    My sister-in-law visited and brought a large bag of lemons from her backyard tree. Such a treat – I’m always thankful when she shows up w/ a bag of her beautiful Eureka lemons! (She says the tree is so productive she throws bags of lemons away, which breaks my heart!) I zested them and used some of the zest in baking, drying the rest for later use. We juiced many of them and I froze the juice, but kept some whole, for squeezing into water and tea. My countertop juicer was inherited from my aunt – it has worked beautifully for me for nearly 10 years and I think of my aunt whenever I use it.

    I’ve been using up shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion from various hotel stays, and putting the little bottles, etc., in the curbside recycle bin. I called our pick-up service to ask if they accepted them and was assured that they do. I understand many hotels are switching to soap/shampoo/conditioner dispensers. I have mixed feelings about this as it’s good for the environment but darn it! I like to have my own, individual-use products.

    I also have a large assortment of teas in my pantry and have been working at using them. I brew tea (either as sun tea, or using the kettle) and keep a pitcher in the refrigerator. It’s been fun combining different flavors of herbal teas.

    Aldi opened nearby and I went to see what the buzz was about. I’ll admit to being indifferent to the “Aldi experience” as such (I’m fortunate to have a number of good-quality, reasonably-priced grocery options in a five-mile radius, which may have contributed to that); however, I was happy to stock up on pasta and cake mixes at extremely good prices, and they’ve already come in very handy.

    Again, thanks to Brandy and everyone else here for this gentle, helpful, uplifting community.

      1. Well congratulations!!! I shall enjoy reading about all the
        money saving wedding plans. What a joy for you and your husband!

        Trish

      2. I do follow your photography Instagram account – your work is lovely.

        1. Thank you, Ava!

  9. What a week of snow and closed roads. Only 5 more days of radiation than I’m done driving. Thankfully I am here as my son has hurt his back and cannot walk. The insurance will cover all but a $10 copay for the needed back surgery to get him up and walking again. That will happen this week and we are fortunate to have some friends who can pick him up and bring him home after surgery. They will wait till I return from my treatment. I’m so thankful to be here and for good friends and great insurance even with the high monthly price tag.

    We are still eating down the freezer and I am finally starting to see some progress. It appears that I have a tendency to just shove things into the freezer willy nilly! I’m going to set-up a more workable system when there is more room in there.

    I went back to the store in the city and bought ahead for the next couple months. This way I don’t have to interact with people who have the flu or worse while immune compromised. It is a good feeling to have accomplished this feat and to be stocked up on essentials. And, I shopped at a much cheaper store. So frugal!

    Thankful for the reader who suggested the Libby app. I’m now listening to audio books from our library on these long drives. For free!

    I saved the buttons on a shirt my husband ripped that I couldn’t fix. We rearranged the loft space now that my DD left. My DH needs to have an office area to take on an upcoming job. We also moved the exercise equipment we were given into a place that makes it easier to use.

    We sent our DD off with 3 unused stools and 2 dining room chairs for her new apartment. We were given the chairs (a set of 6) that we will never use but that our DD loves. We will drop more off whenever we drive that way. Eventually she’ll have the entire set. They are very nice.

    The neighbor’s trash can had a set of shelves sticking out. I had wanted to buy more shelving, but didn’t want to spend money on that right now. My husband is the one who noticed it and volunteered to go ask about the shelving and the neighbor said we could have it. He said all the parts are there, he just didn’t want it anymore. Wonderful!

    I have been snowshoeing for exercise along with some indoor light reps.

    Blessings

    1. Trish, one more week! Go team go! Continued prayers for you and your family. Hoping for a speedy recovery for your son.
      Much grace to you.
      Patricia/Fl

      1. Patricia,

        Thank you for your continued support. My son can walk again after 2.5 weeks. Surgery was a success. And frugal.

        Prayers for you and yours.

        Trish

  10. My husband figured out the issue with our toilet. He was able to buy the parts and fix it, we should see a decrease in water consumption from here on out also. We have switched our light bulbs to LED to help with electrical costs, but now we are focusing on water wastefulness. I feel like we are using too much, but at the same time I stay at home and homeschool our children, but small things add up- so the kids and I are focusing on shutting off water while we brush our teeth, and I am not turning on the shower faucet full blast when I take my shower and showering the littles.

    Saved 29% on groceries per my receipt using sales. That more than paid for the Kroger pick up cost and the hour+ it would have taken me to shop. Seeing my grocery total and searching for the sales online has not only helped, but also a blessing not having to take our newborn (especially, but fr the other 4 kiddos to not pick up germs either!) out during flu season. It was also easy to compare some prices (gluten free / specialty bulk items) on amazon vs Kroger so I was able to save money by ordering off amazon.

    I have been doing what I call “Fill Your Freezer February” over on my blog, I’ve done it for years before , but I think this is year 3 documenting it again. So the grocery savings will be stretched even further. (my blog is http://www.findingfaithsfuture.com) – I’m sure you ladies have a ton more ideas for tucking away meals and items for meals!

    Our taxes are done and sent in – we will be paying off my van and we are very excited!

    Moved my snake plant out of my bathroom. I believe it is too cold in their for the winter. It is not on a library shelf and is bring me lots of joy every time I see it.

    I have been writing a daily gratitude list and it really keeps me thankful. Being thankful for my husband to bring me coffee in bed is a happy thought versus focusing on being tired from the baby and other children midnight bad dreams!

    Received a $2 Menards rebate from our furnace filter.

    Received $12 back via paypal from Ebates (Rakuten now) and will be transferred to savings.

    1. goodness, I should have proofread myself 😀

  11. -I used cooked turkey from the freezer to make a skillet dinner with brown rice and vegetables. I used Thai chicken broth to make a soup with turkey, small penne, and kale. I also made salmon cakes with potatoes, and green onions. There were several days of leftovers for all of these dishes. I baked oatmeal cookies, and baked two cookie sheets at a time, to save cooking time.
    -A new loyalty program is being offered by my phone and internet provider. Looking into it, I realized I had enough points to get a $25 credit on my next phone bill.
    -I cancelled Netflix, to save $10 a month. I get enough shows on YouTube, CBC TV online, and with a subscription to Acorn, which shows mostly British TV. Reducing the number of shows I stream will allow me to get a slightly better rate, so I have also edited YouTube to have it stop pushing shows that don’t really interest me anymore. Next month, I should be able to change the plan I am on.
    -Some time ago, one of my cats needed to change permanently to veterinary formula cat fiood to control an allergy. My other cat wanted to eat the same food. I have realized this is very expensive, and have switched the cat that doesn’t have allergies to a good quality supermarket brand. This will save $20 a month! I’ll try this for a month and make sure she thrives on it, but so far she is very happy with it.
    -I renewed my library books online, to avoid fines and unnecessary travel.
    -As tax information becomes available, I have been updating my online tax form, so that I can submit online for a refund later in the month.

  12. It was a very productive week here. There was a sss if corina virus nearby so e dry thing shut down and most households put themselves in lockdown. We mostly stayed indoors. During this tine we
    Ate from the pantry: lentils, pasta, chow mien, banana muffins & pancakes
    Organized and decluttered
    I listed things for sale on fb
    I added to the donate pile
    A friend is moving and she gave us some clothes, 2 big bags of groceries, and 8 nerf guns
    I took advantage of the free tine and gave myself a manicure
    I found shampoo and shower gel I’d forgotten about in the guest bathroom. I was running low.
    I took a long soak in a hot bath and did a foot scrub afterwards.
    I’ve been able to catch up with friends
    I mended a pair of pajamas
    I crocheted a birthday present
    I’m looking at my next crochet project and trying to find yarn from my stash. No luck yet but I will not buy! Lol
    I found out my work start date had delayed my 2 weeks giving me more time to save money by staying in
    I completed some paperwork for the upcoming work session

    We were able to take a short holiday and have some fun in the sun. I have problems during winter due to an illness
    We stayed in the city instead of at a resort
    I got my haircut at a local salon. It was far cheaper than my usual place
    We ate locally and picked things up at a supermarket
    I took advantage of the cheaper local prices and got massages
    The hotel had a pool so we took advantage of it
    We used our priority passes to eat at the airport before our flight

  13. Congratulations to Winter! How exciting!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 6 times, including chili made with venison my son-in-law gave us; turkey noodle soup with homemade cheddar biscuits; turkey tacos with corn; beef stroganoff made with leftover roast beef and gravy from the freezer with green beans; frozen pizza; spaghetti squash with marinara. The one time I went out, my brother bought my meal.
    • Hubby went hunting for 4 days. He did his best to plan his meals around what we already had in the freezer and pantry.
    • Filled my gas tank using my Get Upside app. The pump wouldn’t print a receipt so I had to go in. Since it takes a few minutes for it to process, the clerk gave me a free hot chocolate while I waited. This was particularly good, as it was a colder day than we usually have. Also got $1.41 from the app. Also got an extra $4.24 from a referral.
    • I usually take my Dad out to lunch once a week, as he is in assisted living and doesn’t drive. Usually we go to a casual dining place, but this week, since we had 3 doctor appts. to go to, I took him to Wendy’s.
    • Found a couple of boxes of granola bars on the clearance rack for $1.15 per box. Got a 25c Ibotta rebate on one of them. These are handy for Hubby to take with him hunting.
    • Got a 5# bag of potatoes for 99c.
    • Canned 12 – half pints of kidney beans. My husband likes to take salad to work for lunch and by canning them in the half pint size that is just enough for one salad for him.
    • My sister owed me $20. She’d forgotten to give it to me when we were together. I took the initiative to email her and request she send it to me via Venmo. Normally I would be too embarrassed to ask, but I am really trying to have my finances in order this year. She didn’t mind and sent it to me right away.
    • Hubby and I were tempted to run up to Taco Bell and get lunch one day but resisted the urge and just made hot dogs I had in the freezer. We are both getting much better at that sort of thing.
    • We had won a gift certificate to the bar that we play trivia at, so we were able to use that this week for our drinks.
    • A couple of charities I donate to send envelopes with stamps on them. I typically donate online, so I steamed off the stamps on some envelopes I’d saved up. I got enough for 4 letters, plus 6 – 1c stamps. I just use a glue stick to attach them to my envelopes.
    • Hung 2 loads of laundry.
    • Went to Goodwill on Saturday, as it was ½ off day. I found a Noritake teacup and saucer and 2 devotionals for $4.02 total.
    • I had to go to the mall one day so I took myself out to lunch. I had a Panda Express gift card that had a little bit on it. Used that and only drank water, so my lunch was only $4.91.

    Have a great week everyone!

  14. I so enjoy reading your readers’ accomplishments, along with yours! How are you liking Howard’s End? I loved it!
    This week, instead of purchasing cut flowers (which I allow myself to do in the snowy winter months), I bought three little African violets for $2 each, repotted them in pots I had on hand, and researched and wrote a blog post on taking good care of them so they’ll last — and bloom for months to come.

    1. It’s not my favorite story, honestly, but it was interesting. I felt the same about the movie adaption years ago as well.

  15. I don’t post often because it seems that my life is so ordinary 3 weeks out of the month! I knew February would be unusual as I am scheduled for 3 out of town trips. However it changed greatly early Friday morning when I got a text from one of Kaktovik’s teachers. The first one said “Pray for Kaktovik.” The second one said “The school is on fire.” Once I managed to read the texts, there was no more sleep. It was -35 with a windchill of -65. The fire hoses froze up because of the cold, making it impossible to contain the fire. God was there though. No one was injured. Kaktovik was supposed to be hosting a girl’s basketball tournament that weekend, but frozen pipes made that impossible, so the girls were instead in Atqasak. I’m not certain, but I believe one of their chaperones was the teacher who lived in the school. Friday morning I contacted people so we could offer our small church building for use as needed. Otherwise, the school will use the community center for classes. Reconstruction will be difficult because of the location on a barrier island north of the Alaskan mainland. Barter Island is surrounded by other barrier islands, making ocean deliveries more difficult. There is deep grief in the community, because of the loss of this major building.

    1. How horribly sad for the town.

    2. I’m so sorry to hear about your comunity’s loss. What a relief that no one was hurt, though. I’m sure you’ll find a way to rebuild.

    3. The school is the center of many Alaskan communities. I am so sorry at the loss. I’ll be praying.

    4. Did the school lose their library? Where can we send books/supplies?

      1. Oh, I love this idea! If Alaska Gram doesn’t post an answer this week, let’s ask again next week. (She might only read the blog once a week).

          1. I live in Alaska and have lived on the North Slope, where Kaktovik is located. The North Slope Borough is one of the richest government entities in the United States; their oil fields fund more than 80% of Alaska’s budget. And you may know that those oil fields are why residents get a yearly payout from the state every October. It is a horrible situation because the schools in the villages are central gathering places, but the community will not be left to flounder on its own.

  16. This was a very exciting week for my grand-daughter and her boyfriend. His first book (fiction) was published on Tuesday and we all went to his reading on Tuesday evening. It was a good crowd and many of them bought his book, which he then signed. The following morning they flew to NYC for meetings with his publisher, and more readings for him to do. Since grand-daughter lived in NYC for a few months right out of college, she was able to have dinner with a friend there while he was working, and then on Saturday they visited with his sister and her family and had lunch with them before flying back home in the afternoon. Although he invited her to go to Savannah for Valentine’s Day weekend, she decided there really wouldn’t be much time to spend together, so she will stay home–saving the additional costs for her. He is working too hard at selling the book to make it practical to join him. He will be doing the book tour almost constantly until the end of March. He will be home part of that time, but mostly only because he teaches on Mondays at the university in Buffalo. Needless to say, I am happy to see her being more practical and saving money. It is a constant effort for her to choose saving over spending, but she is certainly doing better lately. So it was a week of accomplishment for both of them!

    Aside from that evening out, we stayed home most of the week, because it was either snowing, sleeting, or just plain too cold! I made gingersnaps, and bread, and home cooked meals 6 days out of 7. The other day we picked up BBQ and took it home to eat it, because the weather allowed us to take a ride, which my husband enjoys because he is no longer able to drive. An afternoon ride makes him happy but cuts down on my cooking prep time. So in the spirit of compromise, we got take out!

    I did get some laundry done and bills paid during the week, but truthfully, getting interrupted frequently by my husband who needs help finding his glasses, and almost everything else he needs, means that my housework time is limited indeed. Although, I am happy I managed to order a new TV today, which should arrive by the end of the week. His judgement is kaput, and it’s about the first electronic thing I have ever chosen myself. It wasn’t very expensive, so at least I can cite that if it doesn’t work out well. It’s a replacement for the one in our bedroom which chooses whether it feels like turning on or not, each time we attempt to use it. It’s quite old, so it owes us nothing.

    I was glad to have a little extra time at home and the weather forecast hints I might get a little more winter later in the week. That gives me extra time to work or sleep–I’m always behind with both but it’s worth it to keep him at home as long as possible.

    1. Are you willing to tell us the name of the book?

      1. I would also love to know the name of the book. I’m so happy to hear about his success and would like to support.

  17. Here’s how we saved money this week:

    * Made lunches for the week, using leftover cooked chicken, black beans, and tortillas. One meal was BBQ chicken quesadillas, bulked up with black beans, and the other was creamy black bean enchiladas, which I made using leftover enchilada sauce I had frozen, as well as frozen cream cheese (I split those large logs from Sam’s Club into 8oz portions and freeze).

    * Made all meals at home- one night, that meant making frozen pizzas, but they’re still much cheaper than takeout! Other food options were: leftover wraps from my lunches; lots of yogurt (I made a gallon, and it turned out thick enough that I didn’t even need to strain it) and homemade granola (I’ll be making more granola using some ripe bananas and craisins that I need to use up); homemade bread with various toppings (I made another two loaves for this week); a porketta I had in the freezer that I had made with a pork shoulder I bought at Sam’s with the 25% discount in November; a quick meal of black bean tacos; spaghetti and meatballs using homemade sauce and meatballs; and a chicken broccoli rice casserole that I was able to bulk up using veggies and rice.

    * I used some canned pineapple in the quesadillas, so I froze the other half of the pineapple for another meal, and froze the extra juice separately for making smoothies. I always save the juice from my canned fruit for this purpose ever since I first saw it here on one of your posts!

    * Saved on utilities in many small ways- air drying jeans saved a load from the dryer and is better for them anyway; kept the temperature down in he apartment the whole week; humidified the air by simmering a pot of water on the stove on a few nights instead of buying a humidifier; and planned cooking so that the oven could be used for multiple items, saving electricity.

    * Used a lot of the campus’s free job related tools to work on finding a position for May. This week I have a practice interview!

    I hope everyone is doing well! We got at least 4″ of snow here yesterday, so a lot of today was just digging out and clearing off cars, sidewalks, etc.

  18. So I had to go over to Instagram and look — congratulations to Winter. They both look so happy.
    I also saw where your eldest son was accepted to college — don’t know if that is old news, but congratulations to him also!
    I meal-planned and cooked at home all week.
    I peeled, chopped and froze a quart of diced onion to use in recipes.
    I made a triple-batch of chicken chili and froze 2/3 of it for future meals.
    We went skiing using our pre-purchased passes, parked in the free garage and took a packed lunch.
    We went to the library and checked out a bunch of books. I also downloaded some free books from Amazon. I also put some books I would like to read on hold.
    I got my hair cut, using a pre-paid card I purchased at Christmas. This makes each haircut only $10.95 plus tip (vs. $15.95 plus tip.)

  19. Money is VERY tight right now & while we aren’t making traction on debt, we’re not getting further in debt either!
    We’re on a bit of a No Spend where we aren’t buying anything new. Thrift stores are ok if I’ve made extra on the side and spend that. Usually it’s selling something we no longer need, but last week I made $15 doing my first Instacart run. Our local thrift store had a day where all clothes were only $.34 each!! I found enough shirts for both my girls for summer. Plus a few board games for $1 each and a nice pair of church shoes for my youngest. I also found an Anne Klein wool coat that fit me and I can wear to church. I didn’t think it was part of the sale but they told me it was & gave it to me for $.34!! I spent $12 there total at the thrift store. I also bought 36 Trixie Belden books and listed them on eBay. Right now the price is up to $50, so I’m pretty pleased with how the trip went!
    I’ve been staying home and conserving gas. It gets easier and easier as the weeks go by. I have instituted no TV for the kids and I, so after homeschooling we play board games or read. The kids have been getting creative and making up their own games & their attitudes have been so much better!
    We also haven’t been eating out and set our grocery budget to $100/wk for our family of 5. This past week with the Kroger sales and digital coupons, I was able to get quite a bit for that $100! Stocked up on 12 boxes of their $.50 pasta!
    It was also our youngest’s birthday & my hubby badly wanted to eat out on Sat. I was a bit bummed as we made it the whole week without eating out & wanted to continue that. I had a free restaurant.com $25 off $50 coupon Verizon had given us at Christmas time so we compromised & ate there, so we were able to go out to a Japanese restaurant & eat pretty inexpensively.
    I’m pretty frugal and he’s not as much, but he’s doing much better!! There’s hope for him yet. 🙂
    I had a $220 Starbucks gift card from my credit card that I’d been given for free. I sold it to my aunt for $170 to help us out. I don’t want to get in the habit of going to Starbucks anyway, so it was definitely a win-win situation.
    I have an old cracked iPhone we are no longer using and listed it on eBay. It’s actually at over $100 right now so that will really help us out too. I also sold some other thing in FB groups and also used my Cricut to create a few things to sell. It really doesn’t feel like very much but I’d say that all my side hustles have brought in about $500 extra this past month so it does all add up!
    I learn SO much from you all and so look forward to these posts. Thank you all for posting your tips and tricks form week to week!!

    1. WOW!!!
      Sarah, that was FANTASTIC to read! What great money-saving this week! I especially love your coat! And the books are such a great money maker!

    2. You blew my coat away. I got it brand new for $15 at Goodwill and I love it. You Aunt made out well on that Starbucks gift card too so it was a win win. I think $500 in side hustle is huge for the month. All of the little things really add up over time.

  20. We have been diligent about eating at home and not letting anything go to waste. I cut kale, spinach and swiss chard from the bins I planted while we were in our rental. We drove my husband’s little commuter car (no power windows or locks) to the beach. We are thankful for this very economical car. It’s still running perfectly with over 200,000 miles on it. I put up curtains from our old house, thankfully they only needed small adjustments to fit in the new house. I am repotting all the ‘baby’ offshoots of house plants. They will go on the windowsill in the newly finished bathroom. It looks bare in there, but I am determined to use only what we already have to decorate it. I called our electric/gas company to make sure we are on the best plan. We were.
    We are enjoying some lovely days in the 70’s here in Northern CA. I have worked in the garden and loved how quickly clothes have dried on the line. We don’t own a dryer and it’s damp and cool here quite a bit. I have to time my loads of laundry carefully!

  21. I just saw your Instagram site for your photography. Beautiful! Winter is engaged?! How exciting! Did she meet her handsome young man at school?

    1. Yes, she did!

      1. I notice that you are not answering questions directly, except where they met. Can we assume it is a serious relationship that might lead to something more?

        Also, your son has been admitted to college? How did I miss that?

        Details, details!

        1. They are engaged to be married.

          I shared my son’s college acceptance in my Instagram stories. 🙂

          1. Regretfully I don’t do instagram, just too much overwhelming for me at my age so I missed both announcements.. Congrats to both of them

          2. My Instagram for this site is at the bottom of the website! The photography one is at the bottom of my photography site.

          3. Yes, I don’t go on Instagram either. Any reason why you didn’t mention it on this blog site as well?

          4. I wasn’t mentioning it yet as my daughter only just wanted to announce it. I’ve known for a while that they would get married, but they wanted to wait to make it official until the ring showed up. I let some time pass and then shared a photo of them on my photography Instagram page.

          5. Congratulations to Winter and her fiance! Since a lot of us don’t do Instagram, would you cut and paste the story about your son on this blog? Please and thank you! (I really thought Winter was engaged and you were just being coy about it, LOL. But I understand the deal about the ring, too!).

          6. Maxine, my eldest son was accepted to college. He starts this summer after he turns 17. He’ll be at the same school as Winter.

  22. I tried signing in to Instagram but can’t seem to get it to work – but – I’m assuming that Winter is now engaged? Congratulations to the couple and to all the family.
    It was a bit of a mixed week for me. The only socializing was lunch out on Wednesday – it was part of my Christmas present from a friend so no cost to me. It was a lovely afternoon out – although I did buy myself a new book from our favourite independent bookstore here in Toronto.
    Other than that I didn’t do much except go to work as I had a bit of a bladder infection and felt rather miserable until the meds kicked in. Didn’t eat a lot which saved money but did lose a few salad veggies as they went bad when I just didn’t have the energy to deal with things.
    Stayed in on the weekend to rest but had enough energy to do a bit of cooking. Roasted a turkey breast & a lot of veggies – made a pot of mushroom/barley soup, and made a large apple crumble to use up a lot of granny smith apples that I had been gifted. Got half of everything into the freezer for future use, Then I went through the fridge and threw out a few things but managed to save other things by getting them into the freezer, including 3 packs of mixed fruits which I’ll use for smoothies.
    I did finish clearing out the last of the books that I planned to donate so at least they are all out of my apt. at last!
    Did very little grocery shopping and was able to cash in another $10 in Loyalty points.
    That’s it I’m afraid as it was a quiet week – look forward to reading about everyone’s adventures this past week!

  23. Congratulations to Winter her young man! They do look very happy.

    Meals this week included Rosemary White Bean Soup, A stuffed pumpkin that I bought cheaply and stuffed with 98 cent sausage, mushrooms 50 cents, frozen cranberries, 50cents, bit of leftover spinach parmesan cheese, onion and thyme and a bit of nutmeg. It was inspired by a recipe that I found online and changed to use what I had. Hubby loved it! Bacon and eggs, steak and potatoes, with a salad, chicken(69 cents a lb.) barbecued with fried potatoes and fresh veggies, Veggie soup. And we ate leftovers. Oh yeah, Oatmeal. I had peanut butter and chocolate oatmeal, hubby had raisins and cinnamon and my son had cinnamon. We at eggs for breakfast, Quesadillas, and my parents brought my so and me chicken sandwiches for lunch one day.
    We used the library as usual.
    Internet for entertainment.
    Came home for dinner even though we had to go to town to shop and even came home for dinner the day we went for a day out.
    Opened windows for fresh air and sunlight.
    Made homemade hand sanitizer.
    Husband went shopping after work and called me so I could shop with him via the phone. saving us gas money going back to town as well as saving time.
    My husband has been watching the prices as they ring up as I always do this.
    Used cloth napkins
    Planning on polishing shoes instead of buying new.
    Decided not to buy polish at a more expensive store,will go to a dollar store instead.
    Enjoyed sunsets, sunrises, deer and other creatures this week. We have been seeing a lot of raccoons and opossum.

  24. You are so inspiring! I appreciate all the ways you are trying to earn extra cash!! Our son married a week ago and I was not very wise with the amount of cash we gifted. We normally don’t use out credit card and the balance somehow got very high. My husband was so stressed that we ended up using part of our emergency savings to pay it off… I’m now trying to figure out ways to bring in extra income as I only work part time. You have definitely inspired me!!

  25. I wish I could work outside in my garden right now! I envy you, Brandy! I’m about 3 months out, but I will be starting seeds indoors in about a month. So this was my frugal, non-gardening week–
    * I paid my bills online with my credit union program and saved time and postage.
    * My oil heir husband received a royalty check for $11.67. It sure pays to marry money, LOL
    * I received a refund of $25 for a medical co-pay I apparently did not owe.
    * I had a gallon of unopened paint that was a peachy off-white. I wanted to paint one wall of my kitchen and dining room a toasty shade. I took the paint to Ace Hardware (where I bought it) and they added colorant. Their computer told them what to add to the color I had to get the color I wanted. The match is darn near perfect! And it was a FREE!

    * DH had a dental procedure that wasn’t covered by insurance. He asked for a cash discount, which was 10%. I transferred money to our Idaho medical savings account and wrote the check from that account to pay the bill. This will amount to about $75 back to me on next year’s taxes. Altogether, a saving of about $200.
    * I repurposed cut-up cereal bags as freezer wrap. When I buy cold cereal, it’s usually Hospitality brand. It is the cheapest on the shelf and their version of Cheerios is better (crispier) than the original, IMO.
    *I picked up the deals (and nothing else) at Super One this week–cantaloupe for .48 lb., Best Foods (Hellmann’s) mayo for $1.99 (limit 1) and Kraft mac’n’cheese for .48, limit 4. Like Gardenpat, I can’t always buy a case of something when it’s on sale, sometimes because I don’t have the extra ca$h but more often because quantities are limited. But I buy what I can, and it works for me (I’m 3 jars of mayo ahead). Pat, I’m a chief elections judge and I get paid $190. The elections workers get $150. Payment varies by county, and our county is the highest-paid in Idaho. Most of the voters think we are volunteers–but, to be truthful, I would probably do this as a volunteer. But I do like the paycheck! Our presidential primary is also March 10.
    * We used a $20 coupon sent by a restaurant because my birthday is in February.

  26. * line drying x3
    * Packed lunches more often
    * Prepped breakfast sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs to keep us out of the drive through
    * Sold $50 in items on Facebook Marketplace
    * Harvested tomatoes and tangerines
    * Saved $5.60 by choosing the hardware store brand silicone caulk to seal up a gap in our laundry room where someone saw a mouse visitor; if this “seal the entry” fix keeps the mice out of the house, we can save $75 a month on a Terminix subscription
    * Picked up a couple of pennies
    * Picked up the kid from school with zero gasoline expense several times by walking or using our e-bike
    * Saved $7 on an oil change by using a coupon
    * Purchased and replaced car air filter and windshield wipers myself, saving labor cost — used this as an educational experience for my kids
    * Started a new batch of vanilla extract with fresh vanilla beans–since it’s the same size as last time it should last me two (first extract) to four years (cut the beans smaller, scrape the seeds, replace vodka — second extract)
    * Added tangerine peels to the current batch of citrus vinegar
    * Got the BYO cup discount at the coffee shop
    * Received 10 tangerines from our Buy Nothing Group
    * Got two packets of fancy granola from the freebies booth at a charity 5K in which I participated
    * Used up leftover veggie rice by making fried rice patties
    * We got a light mist of rain one day so I turned off the sprinklers for the time being

    1. Don’t know if you will see this Jen, but hoping you will. Would you share how you make your vanilla extract please? I have the beans and the vodka, but have been putting off making it because I am intimidated. Thanks so much!

      1. Laura, I found several instructions via Pinterest.

  27. I have been losing weight slowly since September and as a result my clothes are too big. I went to a consignment store 2 towns over that was having a sale & purchased a purse, shoes, 10 tops & a dress for $17.00. This shop is in a more affluent area than I live & every item was a name brand & in perfect condition. I even found a shirt with tags that I will gift to my daughter. While brand names don’t matter to me as such I feel good about being able to purchase higher quality items for so little, retail cost on what I purchased would be over $300 so it was quite a savings.
    When I cam home from the grocery store I reviewed my receipt & noticed that I was overcharged by $5.00 on an item. I went back & was refunded.
    I have vowed that I will not purchase books this year, even though I regularly only buy second hand. So, made a trip to the library on Saturday to check out 2 books I have been wanting to read.
    Friends asked us to dinner but my husband could not go. They encouraged me to come along so I did & since I was “dateless” they paid for my meal!
    I have been going through our home cleaning out & am starting a stockpile of items to sell at a yard sale. So now I’m just waiting on spring!

    1. Congratulations on the weight loss! And how exciting to get so many clothes in nice condition for so little!

  28. Brandy we are doing the same and reorganising items and cleaning in the home and it feels so good to have organised spaces to walk in and sort of admire if that makes sense because they look so clean 🙂 . We also have been getting into weeding the gardens too and will replant too once the rain subsides a bit and the flooding. This week we had 104.4 mm of rain in a day and have been digging rainwater trenches to subside the water levels from the home as the land is really flat here.

    Our savings added up to $99.10 last week :).

    Internet listings and finances –

    – Listed 10 items on an eBay free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual prices.
    – Paid an extra part payment off our mortgage.

    Hair cuts –
    – DH cut my fringe saving approx $20 at having it done at the hairdresser.

    In the kitchen –
    – Blanched and froze 5 bunches of silverbeet giving us 6 more meal sized portions for the freezer.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Pantry stocking –
    – On half price special bought 1 x 500 ml of mouthwash and a 460 g tin of milo saving $6.50 on usual prices.

    Home deep cleaning and organising –
    – I deep cleaned all the tiled splash backs with methylated spirits in the kitchen and they are really shiny and clean now.
    – DH deep cleaned 2 sets of metal venetian blinds in the kitchen and 2 windows in the kitchen with 50/50 mix of methylated spirits and water and they are so clean and shiny.
    – I deep cleaned all the metal tap ware in the kitchen and shower downstairs.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked 5 bunches of silverbeet, 2kg of cucumbers and 150g of cherry tomatoes saving $52.60 over buying them in the supermarkets.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone 🙂 .

    Sewingcreations15

    1. I definitely prefer admiring a space rather than ignoring it because it is cluttered!

  29. Congratulations to Winter and Kade! I’m looking forward to hearing about the wedding plans. Winter seems to have learned well from you, so the wedding should be beautiful, tasteful, and affordably.
    *I continue to cook from the pantry and freezer, emptying it out so there is less to move. My grocery spending is about $25 a week. Once we move, I will have to spend money to replace what we are using, but I can do that slowly and based on the new space we will have.
    *I crocheted the edge of a fleece blanket that I will donate to the Linus Project.
    *I continue to knit on my Fair Isle sweater. I think I have enough yarn leftover from other Fair Isle projects that I can make another pullover that is striped. I’ll have to design it, but it will be great to use all those leftover bits.
    *I painted one of our bedrooms last week to make it look cleaner for our upcoming open house.
    *This week I will use paint on hand to paint a door, the cupboard door to my ironing board, and the shelf above the washer.
    *I worked a few hours last week from home and will get more hours this week too.
    *A neighbor is going t0 give me more acrylic yarn today. I will keep some but will also share it with others who will use it.
    *I took a small load of household items and books to the thrift store.
    *Through church, we are participating in a 12 week personal finance class for self-reliance. While I know most of what they are teaching, it is a good reminder to track what we spend and be more careful stewards of what we have. It’s also lovely to meet with others to share our life situations.
    Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

  30. Congratulations to Winter! You have an exciting time coming. I’ve been mother of the bride twice, and we actually had fun doing our bargain hunting, and were blessed to have some wonderful things loaned or given to us.
    This past week I found out Earth Fare (a grocery store similar to Whole Foods) was going out of business. I went there and bought the things on sale that I know for certain were bargains, especially non-perishable things. I made sure to check expiration dates as I shopped. I have a year’s worth of contact solution now, which expires at the end of 2020, saving me $3 a bottle over the lowest price.
    I had to buy some items from Lowe’s, and remembered to use my husband’s veteran’s discount. Wives are allowed to use it if they sign up at mylowes.
    We had to have some flooring replaced in the laundry room, and the flooring people left my dryer sitting unevenly. I straightened it out myself without having to call for help. My husband can no longer do these things or even help me, so I’m having to use a handyman more. I am trying to do more by myself, though, and was happy to get this done on my own. I know I could have called the flooring people back, probably at no charge, but it took three weeks to get them there after they got in the supplies, so I wasn’t going to hold my breath waiting on them to return for this.
    Speaking of dryers, though, I hung out most of my laundry on this past weekend, which was warm, breezy and dry.
    I used up limp celery in a stir fry.
    I am still de-cluttering.
    I found a piece of a professional artist’s collectible pottery in a thrift store. I am going to try to resell it. I paid $1.99 for it, so I won’t be out much if it doesn’t sell. This is my first attempt at re-selling, and I’d rather start with something that was a very small investment. I see her pieces selling on Ebay.

  31. I’m getting better at cutting down on food waste. I meal planned around some of the pantry items that are getting a little old. I used up some produce that was looking a little past prime so I cut out the bad spots and it was just fine. My 3 adult kids and their families all came over for dinner on Sunday night. We had spaghetti and salad which was pretty cheap. We played a game after dinner and it was wonderful. While in the game closet I pulled out a puzzle to work on in the evenings instead of watching TV. I looked through the books on my night stand and found a couple that I purchased for $1 at a library sale but had not yet read. My son paid us back some money he owed us. I packed my lunch everyday to take to work. My father in law asked if I wanted my mother in laws makeup table and bench and I said yes. (She is in a nursing home now.) I will put it in our guest room which is sparsely decorated. We were invited to go out to dinner with a family after church to celebrate a birthday. My husband and I both just ordered 2 tacos each off the ala carte menu and water.

  32. Last week was very busy for us, as we had a loved one that had major surgery, in a city 40+ miles from where we live, one way. It was do-able, but we spent quite a bit of time driving up and down I-V, that’s for sure. We kept it as frugal as we could by cooking lots of food ahead of time and using that throughout the week. I was able to stuff a little lunchbox cooler with things like cheese slices, sliced turkey breast from the one my husband cooked, carrot sticks, apple slices, etc. I also slid several bottles of water, cans of seltzer and Diet Coke into by tote bag. Various ones that were waiting in the waiting room dipped into the cooler the first day, and the husband of the patient kept the remainder for his dinner. Another day, I was able to bring it again, and he did the same. It was amazing to me how much I was able to cram into that little cooler. He did the rest of his meals from the cafeteria, but was super thankful to have a few meals another way. Other people brought fruit and other food as well. The poor man chose to “sleep” in one of those recliners by her side for 5 nights, and is exhausted, but survived it. Now she’s home, and doing well, but still has a long road ahead of her. We have a 4-page family schedule, so everyone can take turns doing what needs to be done for her during her recovery. It’s nice to have several to share the load.

    I forgot to put a huge money-saver on my blog this week, but I’ll share it here. My daughter cracked the screen on her cell phone. My husband watched lots of U-Tube videos, chose a kit, they ordered it, and he replaced the screen himself, saving around $75. He was quoted a price of $107 at a store to replace it, and the kit was in the mid $20’s on Amazon. He says if anyone every tries it, a tray/cookie sheet to hold the tiny parts and a brighter light would be good ideas.

    I pruned my raspberries and tied them up.

    We were invited to a family baby shower, for a niece we don’t see often, a few days before the event, during this busy, busy week. So, thankfully, I had a good stash of baby items my husband had purchased on clearance a few years back for $1-$3/package, and so we were able to choose several things that were suitable from there, and he and my daughter got some diapers and a few other things to round out the gift. It was nice, but not expensive, thanks to the “baby stash.”

    I took my daughter to a free workshop on how to apply a zipper. I love it that she’s showing a renewed interest in this useful skill.

    I got to hold a baby. It always makes my week brighter:)

    I put pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

  33. We did well with the no spend month in Jan… Feb is going to make up for that by being a no save month with all the extra bills coming in.
    I did spring clean the bedroom the one day of 60 we got last week. Back down to freezing and lower but that’s Ohio in Feb for you.
    I trimmed my own hair, waist length, turned my head upside down and cut it.
    I downloaded the 2019 credit card summary for our credit cards. It was great to see exactly where our money goes.

    Going to have to focus more on being frugal and saving
    Blessed be
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/02/what-can-i-do-that-is-frugal.html

  34. It has been a bit of a mixed bag here. I am an accountant, so this is my busiest time at work. That being said, I did bring breakfast and lunch to work all days.
    I voted. They were for school levies. I had always wanted to be a poll worker at our election sites when I retired. In fact both DH and I were planning on doing it. However, Washington has become an all mail-in ballot state, so we no longer have polling stations. I really miss it. It always seemed to me to be a symbol of democracy. I did drop my ballot off at the local library though.
    I checked out books on CD to listen to while at the library. I will be getting seeds next week from the seed exchange at the library.
    My former neighbor called. We had a nice chat and she asked if I could use some eggs. Next thing I knew she dropped off 6 dozen eggs while I was at work. After work I took her 10 empty egg cartons.
    I used free Safeway rewards to get a free loaf of bread, free butter, and $3.00 off of produce.
    I got 5 boxes of cereal at Fred Meyer for 99¢ a box on their 2 day sale. I got some chocolate flavored Pebbles. Going to use it to make the equivalent of rice crispy treats – only chocolate. YUM!
    Received a $6.00 coupon for Staples and got Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sheets and some paper plates. We don’t use paper plates very often, but thought they might be good if the power goes out so we don’t have to wash dishes. After using that I received another $10 Staples coupon today.
    On the cheap produce shelf – got 4 heads of cauliflower for $1.00 each. Two of them were huge – around 3 pounds each.
    Made home-made bagels for the first time. DH said he loved them, and never buy bagels again. I am wanting to expand my cooking this year – so I have a goal of trying 20 new recipes in 2020. This was number 2. I think I will be more successful trying new things during summer when I don’t work so much and have lots of fresh produce from the garden.
    Did my mother’s laundry, saving her $25, That is how much they charge to wash a load of clothes at her facility. It is ridiculous.
    Pulled a turkey breast from the freezer and cooked it in the crockpot. Had it with cranberry sauce we bought after Thanksgiving, stuffing and cauliflower with cheese sauce. Would not have won any awards for presentation, as most of the dinner was white or tan. But won awards for taste.
    Was able to talk to both of my sons over the weekend. While nothing frugal, other that I remember the days of paying for long distance, it did make me happy.

  35. What wonderful news about your kids. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you Roberta!

  36. Brandy,
    Happy to hear you got some gardening chores done.
    Congrats to Winter!
    I found out I have to have some expensive dental work done. My insurance isn’t very good so I will really have to be careful with my spending. I had a few household items I needed but only if I could find them for a good price. I need a new welcome mat for the back door. With all the Winter weather and all the traffic through that door it was literally falling apart. I found a really nice one on sale at Hobby Lobby for $5. It is better quality than the last one so should last a few years. I needed two brackets to hang a shelf and found those at Hobby Lobby on sale too.
    We painted our kitchen ceiling with white paint we already had. We painted the kitchen and dining room a very light blue/gray again with paint we already had. It looks fresh and clean and no cost!
    I bathed and groomed our dog.
    Every Monday, our adult son comes over to watch a television show with us. We usually eat dinner together and then watch the show. It is a chance to get caught up with each other. He mentioned that the winter weather had taken it’s toll on two of his out door planters/pots. He asked me to keep my eye out for replacements during my thrift store shopping. He is replacing his tiled dining room floor and carefully removed the existing tiles so they can be re-used. There is enough for a small bathroom or perhaps utility room. He will offer them up for sale or free but good to know they will not end up in the land fill.
    We are having a very nice sunny day today which puts us in a very good mood after days and days of damp, grey weather.

  37. Brandy do you make your own bread? I love your blog and I have been trying to make bread for several weeks now, and it has never done well, even though I have tried different recipes. Do you have a favorite recipe you can guide me to? A while back I bought a wheat grinder on FB marketplace for a great price,but it will be wasted if I can’t make good bread. Our ward never has cooking homemaking programs. The most frugal thing I did this week was get a $10 rebate on flea/heartworm medicine for my dog. Here in AL we have a lot of mosquitos, so it is necessary. I was given a few food items from our local FB buy nothing page when a friend was packing up her mom’s place after she went in a nursing home. I used a CVS coupon to get nail clippers almost free. That’s about it.

    1. Julie, I have a bread and cracker section on my site here: https://theprudenthomemaker.com/breads/

      I do not make loaf bread. We make our sandwiches on French Bread. I use homeground whole wheat flour in banana bread, carrot cake, crackers, and flatbread ( this one is not on my site).

      My readers may have a good whole wheat loaf recipe to recommend!

    2. Julie, could you define, “not done well”? Has it not risen, is it heavy, under or over baked, or something else? The problem will lead to the solution.

      Thirty years ago, I worked with a woman who 20 years before that worked with a newlywed who could NOT get her meatloaf to stay together. After lots of suggestions from everyone, somebody finally asked her to tell them step by step what she was doing. Step 1 was to brown the ground beef… After they stopped laughing, they corrected her and future meatloaves were a lot better.

  38. Your meals sound so yummy — and I love how you turned leftover chicken and rice into a new soup!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I figured out a way to make Easy Shortcut Pretzel Bites (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-shortcut-pretzel-bites/) using my standard pizza dough recipe! They turned out fabulously, and I used them as mini hamburger buns. I just bought 10 kg of flour on sale at my stock up price, so now I’m good for another couple of months!
    – I purchased a produce box and large container of hummus from the Flash Food app this week, for just over $8 Cdn total. The box contained potatoes, lemons, sweet potatoes, pears, a cucumber, and a papaya. So, my meals were based around those fresh ingredients.
    – I kept my grocery costs down this week by redeeming a $10 gc (from a manufacturer’s rebate) and $10 in loyalty points, and managed to stock up on a few items too.
    – My mom shopped some sales for my daughter, and was able to find a nice sleeper on sale for her. Saved me time and money!
    – My mum gave me some receipts and gave them to me to submit to get a $10 manufacturer’s rebate.
    – My husband put together a new Spanish language playlist for my daughter. I play it during meal times for her, to make sure she gets exposed to the language, since I don’t speak it myself. Cheaper than language classes, that’s for sure!
    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  39. We had a scary week that seems to have ended on a good note. Sunday afternoon my 96 yr old mom was in her bedroom selecting a camisole to wear as we ran errands when somehow she slipped on the wood floor, landed near the wall in a narrow space between her dresser and bed, and broke her hip. I called 911 and the paramedics whisked her to the nearest hospital. The car wouldn’t start because the trunk light had been on until the battery completely drained. My jump starter had been charged once this winter and kept inside–but at 45 percent charged, it couldn’t start the car. Then I headed to the neighbor’s house, hoping they were not away. A friend of their daughter drove over, charged the battery by running his car at least 5 minites, and I was on my way. First mistake I made was not making sure the admission forms included me as next of kin because of my late arrival. It caused problems Wednesday. We were told she was being admitted an hour before midnight after we had agreed to surgery after my niece the RN explained that it was definitely the best option. I asked the emergency room RN if she definitely was admitted as a regular patient, not for observation, before midnight because of Medicare rules for paying for a stay in a skilled nursing facility after spending at least 3 midnights as an admitted patient. He said he hadn’t been asked the question before, asked admissions, and confirmed that mom was admitted before midnight even though her transfer to her bed might have taken place after midnight. I also messaged through Facebook the skilled nursing facility mom had been to in 2018 and told them mom had broken her hip and I would very much like her to stay there again when she was ready to leave the hospital. The surgery to pin her femur and hip together was tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. Many of mom’s old friends and some elders dropped everything to be with me while she was in surgery. I learned so many have heavy burdens of poor health and eldercare for as many as four aging parents and in-laws. It made caring for one little mom seem like not a big deal. She made it through surgery but had to have general anesthesia. Monday night, she could only speak one word answers and some simple gestures. Sometime Monday morning, the discharge planner stopped by to introduce herself. I sent her name to the skilled nursing facility and asked the person monitoring the messenger account to give the name to admissions, I had stayed awake in a chair by her bed Sunday night. Monday night, relieved, I slept in the same chair. Tuesday, a tiny OT got mom out of bed and into that chair. She now was speaking two word answers. A third night in the chair and I was a very stiff human pretzel. About 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, the 3rd or 4th orthopedic resident caring for mom showed up to test the nerves on her feet. Satisfied, he said mom was going to be discharged soon, maybe today or tomorrow, and the discharge planner would be stopping by later that day. The discharge date on mom’s whiteboard was never updated. I couldn’t believe they’d discharge a 96-year-old the day after the day after surgery. To make sure I saw the discharge planner, I ordered lunch to be eaten in the room. I waited for the cashier to come. But the discharge planner showed up first at 1:30 p.m. and told me mom was leaving at 2:30 p.m. to my preferred SNF and asked ME how mom was going to get there. I answered by ambulance, as if there was any alternative. She said she could not confirm mom’s insurance would cover it. I said it did, or most of it, last time and there was no way I could drive her there. At that time, I also confirmed Medicare would be paying for mom’s stay at the SNF. I was shooshed out of the room with mom’s flowers amd belongings when the ambulance arrived. Mom had received a paper, one paper, on Medicare patient rights when she was admitted. Later, when I was at home, I read the back of the paper and learned it includes a sentence and a description of whom it is to be communicated to, to postpone a departure from a hospital by at least a day without cost to the Medicare-covered patient. But I didn’t know I had that option during mom’s rush out the door and, if I had exercised it, the open bed at the SNF might have vanished. At the nursing home, the admissions clerk stuffed a pile of papers under my very, very confused mom’s nose and expected her to sign them. I objected but it was as if I had no standing. Finally, I slowed the clerk down enough to at least skim the papers. Mom signed them though she was in no shape to be signing anything. That problem was caused by my delayed arrival at the emergency room. Something like 65% of elderly patients experience confusion after orthopedic surgery with general anesthesia that can last a few days or, sadly, forever. In my mom’s case, we got most of her mind back Saturday afternoon. It was like a switch had been flicked. Today, after she learned that she probably gets to leave this place for home the first week of March, she worked very hard in therapy and actually walked 4.5 feet between the parallel bars. Not bad at all for a 96 yr old. For the nurses, she has turned back into her sweet little self rather than the terrified woman with an amazingly strong grip who required three adults to safely subdue her when she needed care. My sister, husband, and two kids couldn’t make it to her bedside until Thursday afternoon from out west. But mom’s many friends started to visit, carrying flowers and well wishes while the family was away trying to recover from complete exhaustion. I had never seen mom as sad as she was Wednesday night. But the parade of mom’s friends to her bedside in the following days might have saved her life by helping to give her courage to get moving again despite the pain of a broken hip. Not many people have an opportunity to learn how appreciated they are. I will be grateful forever for their prayers and well wishes, no matter what the future holds.
    Today, I might have saved $110 or so on transporting mom back to the hospital for the 3-week checkup with her surgeon. She can sit in a wheelchair so she won’t need the ambulance arranged by the coordinator here at $115 payable at the time of the trip. I made a phone call to the bus system for the county the SNF and hospital are in. Mom and I can get to and from the doctor’s via an ADA dial-a-ride for $4.50 total. I cannot reserve that ride for another week and it is possible mom will have recuperated enough by then that she’ll be able to safely ride in her car. But $4.50 is much better than $115. I’m also trying to confirm the dial-a-ride in our township in another county has a dial-a-ride for people in wheelchairs just in case it takes mom time to master getting in the front seat of a sedan. Handicapped vans are very expensive. I had priced used ramps the last time mom was preparing to leave the SNF but she mastered our front steps so quickly she didn’t need one. This time, it is more likely she’ll need a ramp at least for a while so I get to find the prior used ramp contact and see if any are available now. The resell value of a twice-used aluminum ramp is very good and in our township, a wooden ramp requires the same permits as a deck whereas an aluminum ramp does not need footings dug and needs no permits. We also will probably be in the market for a youth-sized wheelchair. We already have a transport chair and with her last illness, only used it a handful of times. I have a lot of furniture editing to do to make mom’s house wheelchair friendly. I hope she’ll get out of the wheelchair by the end of a year that her fracture is likely to take to heal as well as it will. So far, so good. I am cautiously optimistic–And fully aware mom is 96.
    Thrifty takeaaways from this eposode: (1) If a person on Medicare is going to need a stay at a skilled nursing facility after a hospital stay, do your best to make sure the person has a 3-midnight stay. (2) There is a magic sentence to object to a hasty, premature discharge. Check the Medicare Patient Rights form you are given upon admission for it. (3) You might have to arrange for a ride between a hospital and skilled nursing facility or home on very short notice. Dial-a-Ride might be the super economical choice, depending upon the patient’s needs. (4) You might make a huge difference in the outcome by visiting on short notice a hospitalized friend going through a health crisis. (5) If you are close to the family, consider offering to stay with the patient for several hours, giving the exhausted family member some respite. That no-money gift is priceless.
    Addendum: A teen raised in the desert can have so much fun on a trip when his granny is doing well and old family friends introduce the boy to icy cold, snow, snow shoveling, lots of snowball making, neighborhood sledding, backyard snow boarding, and free outdoor ice skating. Desert kid now wants his family to move back. The discounted $35 learn-to-ski time slots had already filled on our nearby slopes, so skiing will have to wait another winter unless his flatlander-raised parents get brave enough to tackle snowy twisty mountain roads not far from their home.
    What an exciting time for Winter, and her parents!

    1. Oh, Holly! I hope things continue to move in the right direction for your Mom!
      In spite of all our advances, hospitals are not always good places for people to be alone in, especially following surgery.

      Someone explained to me once that elderly people don’t necessarily break a hip in a fall, but the hip breaks and then they fall.

    2. Holly, I pray your mom continues to do so well. Amazing at her age. This is quite a story and eye-opener for me. Thank you for taking the time to put your experience into words. I don’t have any experience with Medicare but I know the time will come. I wish you both well.

    3. Holly, best wishes to you and your mom. I’m so glad she seems to be doing well mentally after the anesthesia. Fingers crossed that she has an easy recovery physically too.

    4. Holly, thank you for telling us about your mom’s experience. My parents only have regular Medicare and no supplemental coverage and I am beginning to worry that is not enough. I really don’t know much about it, but I recently had a discussion with a close family friend who works at a large hospital system. He said that it seemed like people with just the basic Medicare got the bare minimum of care that was deemed to be legal. I know I need to become more informed on this to advise my parents.

      My father-in-law was recently put in a nursing care facility after being discharged from the hospital. Thank goodness he has long term care insurance. The nursing home is $12,500 a month. We had no idea. My husband and I looked into long term care insurance and we will probably purchase this when my husband turns 55. Apparently it is not uncommon for the husband to get sick first and need a skilled nursing care facility, thus draining much or all of the savings the couple has. Then there isn’t much left over for the wife’s care. This has opened our eyes to be a little more prepared to protect our nest egg.

      Your mother sounds like she is quite spry for her age. I hope that she makes the transition from nursing care facility to home well. I will pray for her!

      1. Karen, start researching the various supplements by reading the “Medicare and You’ handbook that your parents should receive each fall. It will tell you what each type covers, which companues provide supplements in their area, etc. If it’s too much, talk to a couple insurance brokers for advice. I agree with Melissa; one illness or accident can devastate them financially. My sister’s colon cancer treatment costs were 200K. They paid nothing. Without the supplement, they (she and her husband) would have owed $40,000.

    5. Holly,

      You have been an amazing caregiver with your mom. Prayers for a full and speedy recovery!

      Trish

      1. Karen, as someone who works for a large hospital system on the practice management side, I will tell you that just Medicare for your parents is definitely not enough. For profit hospital systems do not write off the 20% that Medicare does not cover and patients are responsible for it. I have seen hundreds & thousands worth of bills accrued just through basic testing such as labs, MRI’s & same day procedures. My advice is to start researching secondary insurances for them as well as the possibility of your state’s Medicaid options.

      2. Melissa,
        Thank you so much. I don’t know anything about Medicare and I am lucky in that my parents have always been healthy, but dad just turned 80 so they are getting up there. I mentioned their Medicare coverage to them recently, and my father was used to paying $0 for healthcare through his union and it’s such a surprise for him to even pay what I consider a small amount every month. I’m sure they would not qualify for Medicaid. I’m just beginning to realize that they are not prepared (no will and only one of them has a power of attorney signed, and no long term care insurance).

        My husband and I have Samaritan Ministries Christian health sharing for our main “insurance” and we absolutely love it. (You can choose any doctor/facility and you and your doctor solely decide on what treatments you get. When our son was suffering from constant, awful head pain after his TBI that no drug or therapy could alleviate in any way, we REALLY appreciated being able to go anywhere. A clinic in Guelph, Ontario had the answer and we didn’t even have to okay going out of country with Samaritan.). We did add my husband’s work insurance as he started a new job and the insurance is very, very reasonable (shocking, but true) and will kind of double protect us. My father-in-law was well set as we see now, but I am a bit shocked that my parents seem to be unprotected and really not prepared in a few ways. It’s definitely not something my sister and I will want to have to deal with when something bad happens, as it will be stressful and emotional as it is. Your comment has made me make this a priority for them, although I don’t think they can enroll now until next January 1st?

        1. Karen, it’s late in the week and I hope you see this. When Medicare has its open enrollment period from October to December each year, your parents have the opportunity to buy a Medadvantage program. The premiums vary with what plan they purchase, and where they live, but many have a $0 premium. (They can do this because Medicare prefers to have claims made through an insurance company than directly by health care agencies…don’t know why). I THINK (but I am not sure) that there is another opportunity to enroll at about this time of year if a person has never had a Medadvantage plan, regardless of their age if they are over 65. Go to medicare dot gov and see what you find.

          1. Maxine & Mari, thank you for your comments and info! I will certainly look into it and we will be prepared to sign my parents up when they are allowed to. Holly’s story got me thinking. Life is so busy and all of a sudden you look up and years have gone by and things aren’t done! You are all such sweet ladies on this site!

        2. There is another issue with a catastrophic illness or serious fall: all the things insurance (whether private or Medicare) will not cover. Both the husband and I have had cancer, 20 years apart, and each time we ended up in debt despite excellent insurance. If they don’t agree that you needed an ambulance or higher care ambulance (I was not even aware that there were levels of ambulance care in some areas…$3000 out of pocket payment resulted), or a wheelchair or other adaptive equipment like ramps or grab bars in the home. Sometimes people have a vehicle that an ill person cannot get into, like a tall pick up, and they need to buy a new car. Or they have a car that won’t fit a wheelchair so end up buying a new car. And when someone is deathly ill, sometimes you just buy the piece of equipment without waiting for a sale or haggling over price. That is without the time the non-ill person has to take off, hospital parking fees, sometimes having to eat in the hospital cafeteria…it goes on and on and on. After my husband’s cancer, we started a fund just for all those things. By the time I got sick, we had $30,000 in there and ended up spending every penny and are now trying to rebuild it.

          1. So true Mable. Unexpected expenses just build and build during times of health problems. My cancer center supplied social worker was a godsend. She wasn’t actually very good at her job, but with lots of questions, she provided avenues to save precious money. Coupons for the hospital cafeteria, free supplies, and free or reduced housing. And for my son, we discovered that the local church run thrift shop loaned out crunches saving us 70.00. It’s a bit humbling to admit to not having and to ask, but it has paid off. We still have money owed, but less than it could have been. The American Cancer Society has also been helpful.

            I’m thankful for the improved financial help that wasn’t available years ago. I’m sorry it cost you so very much to get well.

            I’ve read some blogs where people just ignore their diagnosis and that is too sad to think about. For those just starting on this journey, please keep looking because there are new organizations out there to combat the extreme cost of cancer care. It has become a problem here in America.

  40. I’m finding everyone’s posts very soothing today, as things are not what I want them to be here. Thank you for sharing!
    I went through the cupboard of papers (don’t have a desk) and shredded 2018 statements, credit card info (will I ever really need their privacy policies?), old insurance policies, and so forth. I even wiped out some of 2019, and bundled up the health documents to put in the file cabinet (never to be looked at again, but I can’t quite throw them out, nor the decades of tax returns).
    Pulled out everything for taxes, which I am hoping will be straightforward once I make sure we have the last documents.
    Finally automated our internet bill to save a dollar plus postage. However, I like the routine of paying bills and have almost none left except the single credit card bill paid in full every month. I also want to contribute to keeping USPS in operation!
    Finished off the balance in the HSA account from our previous employer; have been working on that for two years. It earned no interest, so no reason to try to save it.
    Mostly remembered to prop the windshield wipers up during recent slush-rain-ice-snowy weather, so they don’t stick to the glass. Why does the driver’s wiper always go out first?

  41. Such exciting times ahead for your family, Brandy! I saved money this week by:
    * Cooking all meals at home
    *Packed lunches for work/school
    * Batched errands
    * Read 2 books from our local library
    * Bought items in bulk (where possible)
    * Coninued working on positive daily habits 🙂 All is good!
    Side note: Our water tank is overflowing! We’ve had a lot of rain here lately (east coast Australia). Plants look happy, creeks are flowing again and moisture is back in the ground.

  42. Holly, I will be thinking of you and your mom. Hoping for the best.

  43. I have a feeling that I fell asleep before posting my comment. Holly, I’ll keep your mom in my thoughts and prayers — it is better that she is in a facility rather than a hospital where she could pick up a drug resistant infection. I remember when my mother broke her hip — scary stuff but better than needing a knee replacement which is even more major. I think my mother came home very quickly from the hospital.

    It has been an unusual week (already only Wednesday and I feel as if it’s been two weeks instead of two days). More kindness from strangers. I had to file some documents and despite making sure I had the fee ($200) the night before, when I got there my new card wouldn’t work and I was $20 short in my other bank account. I tried to split the payment between the two accounts but only one worked. I asked if I could leave my documents there and pay them the $20 the next day but they said no. They in turn encountered difficulties refunding me the $180 so imagine our mutual relief when a man behind me said “Are you only lacking $20?” and when I said yes he handed me the $20. The lady behind the government counter said she was going to lend it to me but had checked and only had $10.00. I offered to repay the $20 to the man but he said not to worry about it — I will pay it forward. It is so heartwarming when a total stranger does something like that.

    Meantime, best wishes to Winter and her fiancé. I cannot access instagram (Margaret from Toronto and I may have similar problems with this) so I missed the story on your IG but am picking it up in the comments here. You must be thrilled. I don’t know if a date has been set yet … Winter seems so young to me to be getting married — it must seem to you as if the time has flown by…

    As far as savings this week, I would have had extra money for my filing fee but I have been building up my pantry and have been spending more than usual. I bought Spam (believe it or not, yes Spam) as an emergency meat. I have lots of canned beans now for protein too but since I’m allergic to fish I fell bank on Spam. Any suggestions in this regard (for meats) are welcome. I will stop at Mountain Equipment Co-op and pick up some freeze dried camping meals to supplement the pantry. Also I want to get a Swedish fire stick so matches aren’t necessary to light a fire. My next goal is to put some supplies in a knapsack as an emergency preparedness bag. I don’t live in a high risk earthquake zone but it would be good to have a bag ready. I’ll have to recover budget-wise before doing that, however. For the pantry, I need to get some water and purifiers. At the moment, the new pantry consists of apple juice, canned beans, canned fruits, soups (I could use more of those), Spam, corned beef, toilet paper (a year’s supply bought my friend for me by mistake), extra shampoo, flour, (not a lot), sugar (a small bag as I almost never use it except for the hummingbirds), pasta. Next paycheque, I will be working on canned chicken, turkey or ham, and canned veggies. I notice that Superstore has canned beets for $1 per can which seems like a good price in Canada.

    1. Hi Ann – do you have No Frills in Alberta? It’s the Loblaws lower range stores – I’m lucky in that I have fairly easy access to both stores and can compare prices and collect Loyalty Points. The No Name veg is rarely above $1 per tin and that’s the regular price for beets.
      I too stockpile Spam, Corned Beef, tins of Chilli & stew, along with ham & Haggis (believe it or not)! 🙂 I also get cans of ham or chicken “spread” which is fine on a sandwich or crisp bread but I keep looking for other meats without too much luck – I think the Brits and Americans get a better variety than we do. That’s too bad about the fish – I keep tuna, salmon, sardines, crab & lobster, along with smoked oysters and clams – along with clam juice for chowder.
      I’ve got a lot of baked beans but need to add to my chickpea, black bean, kidney and cannelloni bean stock. No frills has Campbell’s soups on for 50 cents per can this week so I’m going to stock up a bit there. I try to match up the specials with what my weekly Loyalty points are – I’ve gotten really strategic about it all.
      I’ve got about 6 months worth of TP and all other toiletries plus makeup so I’m pleased with that.
      Have you noticed a big increase in prices recently? It is getting to be quite shocking! And some shelves are looking a bit bare – I wanted some more Basmati rice tonight and there was exactly one bag left!
      That was very nice of the gentleman in line to help with the $20 – very kind and I know that you will pay it forward and surprise someone else one day.
      I do keep a packed backpack – just in case – but you have reminded me that it is time to go through it and see what might need to be replaced or rotated!
      Hope things are going well with the book!
      I’ve been going through a lot of archives myself at the moment as the church I work at is celebrating a big anniversary this year and I’ve been pulling out a lot of historical documents. Some of it is tough going but I’m actually finding some of it to be quite funny – there are a lot of comments from someone who worked here in the early 20th century and she doesn’t spare her opinions!

      1. Hi Margie,

        Yes we have No Frills — a friend will pick up things for me on occasion. No Frills and Superstore have the same price for No Name Beets $1 per can. Thanks for pointing out the soup for $0.50 at No Frills — that is the lowest price yet. I just bought a case of 12 cans of Campbell’s ream of mushroom soup for $7.99 which is $0.66 per can. I usually do not eat canned soup due to the sodium. My favourite in this regard is Primo’s Harvest Lentil — fairly low in sodium but we cannot find it in any of the stores now. Walmart until recently sold a case of 24 cans for $20 but they are out of stock on all Primo soups online and at my store. I had hoped to buy 2 cases of it. It is a Quebec brand and seems to have been taken over (:

        Yes, it is definitely scary as to how the cost of food is rising and yes I’ve noticed the increases. Most noticeable is the price of cheese and meat. I hadn’t noticed nearly bare shelves but it may be that others are stocking up emergency supplies in case of the cor0na virus. After our recent blizzard (one of many) the parking lot at Superstore looked as busy as at Christmas. Perhaps people thought they should replenish their supplies.

        I laughed that you buy Haggis! I have added powdered milk to my pantry list but I may have to buy another bag because I may start using this one to add to my yogourt making. I am going to resume making yogourt again with my Cuisinart because for Christmas my friend gave me the parts that had been thrown away when I was in the hospital so I’m back in “business.” I understand that adding skim milk powder to the yogourt makes it thicker.

        I don’t wear any makeup. I decided 30 ? years ago that if cosmetics weren’t tested for safety by the FDA that I wasn’t going to wear them. I recently watched “Toxic Beauty” on CBC online. It is really mind-boggling what Johnson and Johnson did re baby powder. My mother must have read an early article about ovarian cancer having been caused by the talc in the baby powder and she discontinued using it, thankfully! At any rate, it saves me money not to use cosmetics.

        I wish I could find a safe baby’s shampoo. So far I have found ones without paraben and sodium lauryl sulfate and pbas but still they have a chemical I don’t like. I would like to find a safe face cream. I’m thinking of making one using food grade glycerin and rosewater. The glycerin is whipped somehow with a mixer.

        1. I don’t use face cream, just coconut oil or sweet almond oil. I don’t smell like coconuts and it absorbs into my skin quickly! I already use the coconut oil for cooking, so I have a small jar in my bathroom for my face or body.

          1. Thanks Kathy,
            I’ve thought about using coconut oil but some say it clogs the pores and causes pimples so it is good to hear your experience. There are environmental problems with using it, too. Vast stretches of rainforest are cleared to grow coconut palms to supply the enormous market for palm oil and coconut products. I don’t use it for cooking because calories are calories. I may find some ethically sourced coconut oil to use as a face cream. Thanks a lot..

          1. Thanks so much, Cara. I don’t know if I can get it in Canada but will look!

    2. I often get cans of flakes of chicken and flakes on turkey on sale at the Co-op. I hold out for low salt versions, which they usually have. I also get cans of chile with beef. I like beans, but my digestive system does not tolerate them more than occasionally. Lentils work well for me instead. I buy them dried, and use them to make lentils, brown rice and vegetables, but there are also many canned soups that have them.

      I’ve been looking at some of the packaged meals online. Some of them sound quite tasty. There are also things like freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries, which I would really like in oatmeal or as snacks. They have a very long shelf life as well.

      1. Hi Elizabeth,

        Thanks for your suggestions. Are you enjoying the mild weather? I too love lentil beans. Sometimes I mix them in with ground beef and oatmeal to stretch it out a bit. I love lentils and barley in a vegetable soup together. I am still enjoying my box of Bergen’s frozen blueberries which I got on sale at Co-op (they only seem to have them on sale once a year). I bought some Halal yogourt so I can use it as a starter for my own yogourt — then I am going to add blueberries to my yogourt. I have been looking at dried packaged camping food such as Nomad Shepherd’s Pie, Nomad’s Ukrainian Borscht, Nomad’s Hungarian Goulash.

        1. I too am going back to making my own yogurt – the price this week for Greek Yogurt – large container is $6!!! I have a yogurt maker and can often get a decent deal on 4 litres of bagged milk for $4 so definitely a savings! I usually have some powdered milk around but now prefer the litres of UHT milk as my emergency supply. It has a shelf life of well over 6 months and only needs to be refrigerated once opened. I can’t say that I’d enjoy a glass of it to drink but in cereal and tea it’s fine.
          I try to buy meat when it’s on 50% off at Loblaw – got a nice bit of pork tenderloin tonight. I will put it in the oven shortly – but otherwise there is no problem with freezing it. And yes, cheese has gone up by a couple of dollars at least – I tend to buy similar ones so I know the price per pkg. And this rail shutdown isn’t going to help things either – thank goodness for a stockpile!
          Hope things have warmed up a bit for you – with the windchill factor it was minus -30C when I left for work this morning!
          Take care.

          1. And here I am cold because it was 39 degrees Fahrenheit . . .

          2. Hi Margie,

            How do you keep your home-made yogourt from being slimy? I had really only started making it before my “friend” threw out my yogourt maker part. I had problems with slimy yogourt. I am going to try the Halal 3% yogourt as my starter. I’m sure it’s Halal because, for one thing, it doesn’t have gelatin. It was cheaper at No Frills, too. I hadn’t thought about UHF milk but will pick some up for my pantry.

            The west doesn’t have bags of milk — that’s an Ontario, and maybe a further east, thing. Because of my broken tendon, I’ve been buying already shredded cheese but I have a Kitchen Aid attachment that I think would work for shredding it. I will buy a block on sale and then try to shred it. And then freeze it.

            I’m doing a presentation for fundraising for our book so fingers crossed! In the meantime this has been our weather: -5ºC one day, the next day ps 5 then below zero then warmer. You are probably getting the -30C weather we had about ten days ago. And yes, Brandy, we do smile when we hear that +39F is considered cold.

  44. Congratulation to Winter and her young man! What wonderful news and what an exciting time of life.

    I enjoyed hearing about your February goals. I have been trying to do some deep cleaning this winter, as with our garden and few acres of land, I just don’t have much time in the warmer weather. How do you make time for your organization? The last few weekends have passed, and I didn’t do any! I know that I must get serious as there is only a few months of cold weather left and I don’t want the busy late spring to be upon me and I STILL don’t have most of the deep cleaning done.

    I am quite inspired by your weight loss goals and I am trying to adjust my diet to lose a very stubborn 3-5 lb. Goodness, it is hard to lose weight after 40. I am trying to cut down on carbs and increase my protein and fat intake. I have been trying to drink more tea with stevia instead of my daily morning cup of coffee with a heavy dose of sweetened creamer. I have also been lax in getting my almost daily 2 mile walks in and I mean to get at least 10 miles in a week during the winter. I just have to bundle up well. In the summer, I will walk more and get more exercise gardening. I just keep thinking of how nice it would feel to wear my summer clothes with a bit of room in them. Our family is also taking a trip to CA in June. We used to live there and haven’t visited for a few years and I want to look good when I see my friends!

    This week I made a big batch of lip balm, which is sooo much cheaper than the natural brands out there. My husband cut our two youngest sons’ hair. My youngest son has had an issue with dandruff so I looked in my big essential oil encyclopedia book and made two different shampoos for him to use, as well as a night oil and vinegar wash. We are seeing improvement already.

    I purchased 4 medicinal elderberry plants to be delivered in the spring. I made a big batch of elderberry juice this week and I am almost out of dried elderberries. I thought I would save money and grow my own berries. I supply our family and some extended family with it. It’s been very popular. I find that the combination of elderberry juice along with homeopathic oscillicoccinum (flu symptoms) or ColdCalm can be very effective in halting a virus or decreasing the severity of it. We also take a few teaspoons of elderberry juice a few times a week for a tonic for the immune system.

    Other than that, I just did the normal cooking all meals at home and such. Made a batch of chicken broth after we had two roasted chickens. For some reason, I have a hard time freezing my chicken broth in mason jars. I make sure to have it cooled completely and leave enough room for expansion, but they have burst the last couple of times. I used some plastic containers to freeze, which I’m not too happy about, but I know they won’t crack!

    I am quite jealous about hearing a few people hanging their clothes out. I can’t wait to hang my laundry out! The days are getting longer and it is bright out when I am making supper, so I know that spring is coming! Have lovely week ladies!

    1. Try freezing them without the lid and putting the lid on after. Might solve the problem?

      1. Karen, I also have had a lot of frozen broth break the jar when freezing. My sister things that jars today aren’t as thick as the ones when we were growing up. Quart jars seem to break more than pint jars.

        I also don’t like to put food in plastic if I can help it. This is what I now do with broth. I have glass bread pans. I put a large piece of parchment paper in the bread pan (enough that after the broth is frozen that I can fold the parchment paper over the frozen broth block). I freeze the broth in the bread pan. Then I put cold water in my sink and set the bread pan with the frozen broth in it. It takes about 15 minutes. Then I use a knife and pry the broth with the parchment paper out. I then fold the parchment over the block of frozen broth and put it in a gallon freezer bag. The broth is wrapped in parchment so it isn’t touching the plastic.

        1. What a great idea!

    2. Karen- To help avert mason jars’ cracking, you may wish to not fully tighten the lids initially — just put them on very loosely — and then once the stock is frozen fully tighten the lids.

      1. PJGT and Laure: yes, I have tried freezing them without the lid and is still happens. I thought for sure that would take care of it too! I’m quite perplexed as I have frozen mashed up strawberries this way without a problem.

        1. This has happened to me multiple times as well, with the lids off completely. I now freeze broth in plastic also, to my dismay.

        2. We also frequently freeze broth in glass pyrex bowls that have the blue lids (still allow room for expansion). No breakages this way. This only works if you have enough pyrex bowls to sacrifice some to the freezer, but we are slowly building up our supply and it’s nice that they stack so well. Since we also use pyrex bowls or glass jars for leftovers, etc, we save a lot of $$ in hardly using any ziplock bags or plasttic wrap and we use that saved $ to buy more pyrex bowls. Also, a lot of leftovers can be stored in the fridge in jars instead of bowls, so we just kind-of flip-flopped of where we use which containers.

        3. Definitely perplexing…lots of interesting freezing ideas to try being shared.

  45. That is very exciting news about Winter, and how much fun you both will have planning a wedding.
    I am also doing a 20 things for 2020 list and it is really motivating reviewing my list each week.
    We have had some badly needed rain over the weekend here in Sydney, NSW and it looks like more will be coming. The plants in my garden seem to grow cms each night at the moment. I have given up on the vegie patch as I just couldn’t give it the time or water it needed, but are planting, and using, more herbs.

  46. I’m excited for gardening season here in the Midwest and love hearing what you do in yours all year, Brandy! I haven’t been doing as much as usual with my vision impaired from the MS, but little by little we are working towards some financial goals!
    *I enjoyed getting to select the first round of books from other libraries in our state through our local tiny library. That will be so fun and a bit money saving since I will be able to give up the annual paid membership at the larger library.
    *My husband turned a free pallet into a compost bin so I can start building compost for our raised beds.
    *I’ve been doing some of the usual things like trying to stick to the budget to get money into savings, using pet food and packaging bags in place of trashbags, wasting as little as possible both in food and just in general daily living, and staying home a lot.
    *More on my blog! https://www.cozyhomemaking.com/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-january-26-february-8-2020/

  47. Karen, I’m not much into natural remedies and essential oils and don’t know much about them. Just wanted you to know I read an article on dandruff in the past week and it said that dandruff was often caused by a fungus. I noticed that Head & Shoulders has a tea tree version, so I’m thinking tea tree oil might work for this. I know it is quite effective on toenail fungus. Tea tree oil is the absolute best thing for cold sores.

  48. I am in week 8 of having my daughter and family here. I have been taking the grandkids to the library weekly and that is a great outing for us, given we have had rain several days a week for the last two months. We have more compost as a bonus, I have gotten two of my beds composted since the fall, and have one more to go. I have cooking large pots of beans and broth to stretch our meals.

    I have a new client, that I take care of 2 hours a day, three times a week. Every little bit counts. The dump and several grocery stores , including Aldi,are on the way. I stop in for quick checks for marked down produce and meats. Last week I found 7 packages of 12 oz. organic sausage for 50 cents after markdown and sales. I got $3 off my gas using my fuel points. A favorite local store is closing all over the south, and is my favorite place to get good meat at great prices. I missed stocking up on the meats but did get a good amount of oats and some granola for my husband for his birthday.

    We have been using our stationary bicycle since it has been so wet, I am able to exercise before breakfast and work and my husband does it after dinner. My SIL does lots of weight training and he is going to show me more exercise to add to my routine!

    Congratulations to Winter and her fiancée, she certainly has had a lot of training to be a prudent wife and her skills will carry them far, I am sure.

    Hoping all of you ladies have a blessed week.

  49. Maxine,

    Yes, I read that dandruff can be caused by a fungus (I did not tell my 15 yo son this as I know he would be a bit freaked out). One of the essential oils that I added to a natural shampoo was tea tree so , yes I think it is already working! I also added a bit of Neem oil that is okayed for body use. A lot of people have good luck with that for dandruff and for psoriasis and eczema. I didn’t know tea tree was good for cold sores.

    I am all in for natural health remedies as one of my sons had several serious health problems and we found out the hard way to always go the natural way first. We have a family MD who is also a certified homeopath. We have had such good results with homeopathy and supplements as well as using essential oils and herbal remedies. I’m quite passionate about it. There is nothing like helplessly watching your son suffer and every drug the regular doctor gives him, makes him worse or doesn’t work at all, or gives him a side effect. It’s just my humble mom opinion that there is a valuable place for pharmaceutical drugs, but not in every instance and to the degree they are prescribed.

    1. After a lice epidemic when my children were in grammar school, I always add tea tree oil to the shampoo. Has kept our heads healthier and happier for years. Lots of benefits, and no lice!

  50. For those who asked: I will be happy to share the title of my grand-daughter’s boyfriend’s book, but I must tell you a bit about it first.
    His main character is a young black boy who is growing up on the Southside of Chicago. It’s a very funny book,
    You may find subject matter you don’t especially like–and it may open up your thinking on some topics you haven’t thought about. It’s not at all preachy, but it does make some good points, although there may be some language you don’t like. I think it is going to be a very popular book. A second one is coming out later this year but I don’t know exactly when.
    It’s called “Everywhere you Don’t Belong” by Gabriel Bump.
    I like the book, I like the author, and while we have no engagement, but we do have a 27 year old who has started having a couple tattoos removed which she doesn’t like now as much as she did when she was 18.

    1. Thanks! I am downloading the audio version from Scribd right now.

    2. During her rebellious teen years, my sister got a bunch of tattoos, thankfully not on her face or neck like some kids I have seen. She is now spending a lot of money getting them removed! I think a lot of that will be happening in coming years in cases where there is no way to cover the tattoos. I was involved in hiring once and we had an attorney applicant come in with a profane tattoo across her knuckles. I am seldom speechless, but this was one time where I really did not know what to say. We could not hire her because even if we could swallow hard and live with it, it would impact clients and judges—and not in a good way. Human Resource rules prohibited me from commenting on her body in any way, but it was tempting because somehow she didn’t see a problem with it. She made no effort to use make up to cover them.

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