I harvested lettuce, parsley, spinach, lemons, and green onions from the garden.

I sowed seeds in the garden for poppies and larkspur. I also planted my half of my tomato plants in the ground.

I took cuttings and started over a hundred cuttings in the ground for what I hope will be more bushes in the garden to edge the garden beds.

My husband and I decided to go out for a date. We chose a place that was less than 5 minutes away (thereby using less gas than another option we were considering). It was a place where you order at the counter and then sit down–not exactly fast food (it was BBQ) but no tip required.

We don’t go out to eat very often and so it takes us a while to go through a menu to choose what we want as we have a whole menu to read. We stood there for about 15 minutes (there were no customers in the store) and told the woman at the counter that we would be a while.

When we finally made up our minds, she said, “We only have three meats. We are also out of bread, so if you want a sandwich, we can’t serve you one.”

We don’t know why she didn’t tell us this to start!

Hungry, but having decided on something that they didn’t have, we walked two doors down to a different place that was less than half the price and ate there instead.

We had two birthday parties for my daughters. One wanted to roast hotdogs outside in our fire pit. I found hotdogs for $0.95 for a 12-ounce package and served them with ketchup, mustard, and homemade relish. We burnt wood scraps leftover from our backyard project. We also bought chips for the party (Winco brand ones seem to be the least expensive, and they’re quite good) and supplies for smores. We made lemonade from our lemon trees for the party and I baked cheesecakes.

The other wanted to watch a movie, so we watched a movie and the girls played outside as well. We served popcorn that we popped on the stove (using popcorn that we bought in bulk) and homemade brownies. We played a simple game with candy.

I didn’t spend any money on decorations, and no one seemed to mind in the least.

What did you do to save money last week?

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266 Comments

  1. Your birthday celebrations sound simple and sweet. That is really crazy to not tell you up front about all the missing menu items! Last week, I planted two gingko seeds gathered last year. It’s a little late, but worth a try. All laundry was dried on the line. The wintersown containers are starting to germinate, including bachelor’s buttons, yarrow and rudbeckia maxima. Several new containers were planted. My husband tilled the areas, and planted onions and potatoes. We’d been adding to a huge brush pile in one of the gardens, and burned it this weekend to make biochar, which will be tilled in. Library books, youtube videos and a movie on Amazon were enjoyed. I soaked items in the laundry stain mixture from Tightwad Gazzette shared here, which worked great. One item needs a little more work, which is soaking today. The first of the asparagus is up, in our earliest patch. I weed whacked our original asparagus bed. The solar system is working great, and the wind turbine which pumps our drinking rainwater to the house is getting a workout today, with 20-30 mph gusts. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/03/time-for-planting-making-biochar.html

  2. Our 4 free Covid tests arrived in the mail. I thought ours were lost because we ordered them on the first day and it seems like so many of your readers mentioned already receiving them.

    The big news is that I learned to successfully make pie crust! I had tried many times over the years and many people had tried to teach me to no avail! But, in this year of building up new self-reliant skills, I turned to google and searched for “EASY”, “FAST”, “NEVER FAIL” pie crust and found this YouTube video!! https://youtu.be/Bfsx2tAT7Ck. It only uses 4 ingredients- butter, flour, salt and ice water. I know that many will say that butter is an expensive ingredient, but every 6 weeks or so, butter goes on sale at our Krogers for $1.99/pound (limit 5) and every 6 weeks when it does, I buy 5 more and keep them in my basement fridge/freezer. This has given me quite a nice inventory of butter. I had discovered the joy of making pot pies- both regular size as well as mini-pot pies. Hubs found the mini-pot pie foil pans on Amazon and bought a package of 120 a couple months ago. We found that 1 mini pot pie is sufficiently hearty as a meal for the two of us. I started freezing extras because I’d make a batch of 6 at a time. I used my home canned meat, potatoes from storage, mixed veg from freezer and broth I just got for 10 cents/can! But the crust! Buying the refrigerated pie crust in the box has become expensive. I can make 8 of my mini pies using just 3/4 pound of butter ($1.49) So that would be 19 cents worth of butter per mini pot pie which is dinner for 2!! Plus the convenience of always having it available! And I can easily keep a nice stock of mini pies in the freezer for easy meals!! Here are the 8 I made: https://pin.it/3sBQT9s . You can see that Hubs already ate his half of one of the beef pot pies! 🤪Who knew that my food processor had this talent? (Probably everyone but me! Lol!) Game-changer!!

    I made 10 ham wraps, using leftover sliced ham I got last week, a package of tortillas from the freezer that cost 19 cents and some cream cheese that I had in the fridge. https://pin.it/3D5BiyL. We enjoyed a few of those as we drove to Louisville and back on Saturday.

    Our home canned black beans on the shelf are running low, so this week I will convert (by pressure canning into pint jars) some of my dry black beans that I have stored in the basement into “ready to use” jars of canned beans! I probably have enough dry beans of several varieties stored in the basement to get us through several years! Dry beans that I spent 30 cents a pound for!

    Went through ibotta to do our taxes through TurboTax and got $8.68 rebate!! And our taxes are filed!

    Quilted up a client quilt- #231- https://pin.it/5SqhtLp , https://pin.it/5m1imdI. The second link shows the back that she made from a fabric panel that she had in her stash that she cut apart and bordered with other scraps from her fabric stash to not only save money by using what she had on hand, but also turning it into a reversible quilt! Quite clever, this 85 year old client of mine! 😉
    I’m now working on a memory quilt- making it from start to finish rather than just machine quilting an already constructed top that someone brings in! I anticipate that will be finished and on it’s way back to it’s new home by the end of this week!

    We are being considered for a research project studying bee communities in Community Backyards habitat. It is specifically studying urban backyards. It would take place over the next two summers and they would somehow “count” the different varieties of bees that visit our yard. They would also pay us $50! We thought it sounded interesting enough to do it for free but we won’t refuse the $50 if we are chosen!

    Prices are going up on everything it seems so we are hunkering down even more by being mindful of how often we drive our cars and maximize those trips to combine errands. We are trying hard to find ways that help us reduce dependence on the grocery stores. We are being more cautious about our overall spending as well! The advantage we have is that we have always enjoyed a simpler lifestyle so it won’t be a drastic change! But so exciting to learn new ways to save from you, Brandy and everyone here and also online!! Amazing opportunities are still out there for us to recognize and take advantage of!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Hi gardenpat. I am a beekeeper and would love to get any info on the study. any help would really be appreciated.

    2. Your pot pies look amazing, congrats on mastering pie crusts. They can be tricky. The ham wrap sandwich recipe looks fantastic. We get together weekly (we have been friends for 30 plus years with 5 of the 7, have seen each other at least once a week, celebrate all holidays, camp, and go on trips together) with a group friends and everyone brings something, I think that is going on my list of options to bring.

  3. I always enjoy hearing about your kids’ parties! They sound so fun!

    My frugal week:
    – I made granola (http://approachingfood.com/clean-eating-cranberry-granola/) using oats on sale, as well as maple syrup I was gifted. Cheaper than boxed cereal, especially with all the shortages! I gave some away to a friend, in a recycled container.
    – I purchased supplies for my daughter’s upcoming first birthday using money earned from surveys, via wish.
    – I baked a raspberry crumble cake, but used mulberries from the freezer that I had picked from my parents garden last summer. I gave some away, along with some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I love giving gifts from the kitchen; they’re frugal and always well-received!
    – redeemed sb for $10 to my paypal account, and redeemed $40 worth of optimum points
    – I bought 10kg of flour on sale, anticipating shortages. Other sale items I picked up include a box of chicken tenders for $6.99, which was a great value, and will make for easy meals like chicken Caesar wraps (tortillas and lettuce also bought on sale).
    – I made my fave frugal moisturizing bodyscrub out of coconut oil and sugar. Way cheaper than buying a body scrub!
    – I made sensory bins for my 3yo and a friend for a playdate. I keep and reuse the materials (dry beans, coloured rice, and oats), added in things like plastic teaspoons as scoops, and plated each one in a lasagna tray. Easy and inexpensive, as I was just reusing materials! The rice and oats were both items from my pantry that had gone stale on me, so this way at least I’m getting (repeated) use out of them!
    – I made my usual weekly pizza. I used up some older yeast. Still worked, just made a thinner crust — which my husband preferred, so…win!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  4. We had snow over the weekend–we need the water– and as I type I am watching the icicles melt outside my window. It’s a beautiful sight!

    I had two loaves of bread, three loaves of banana bread and gave two away. I cooked at home, with one meal out for the week, which gave me leftovers for another meal. I am conscientiously using items from my standing freezer or items tucked in corners of my cabinets to get things used up.

    I went on a long walk with two friends on a sunny day.

    I didn’t grocery shop, so that saved money. However I am going shopping tomorrow and will likely make a trip to Sam’s Club to pick up some items that are getting low in my storage. I am cat sitting for a friend this week (she insists on paying me), so I will bundle my shopping with the visit to her cat.

    I attended an open rehearsal for our symphony. They still charge admission, but it is much less than a regular ticket price. I also went to the theatre using a discount pass.

    I finished a shawl using yarn from my stash and have started a sweater.

    I read “Once Upon a Wardrobe” and “Singing Bird” both from the library.

    Have a glorious, grateful week!

  5. It seems difficult to find ways to save these days…

    My husband brought home about 25 pounds of pork shoulder that was 99 cents per pound. We will grind it with some pork fat and seasonings and make our own sausage.

    I was able to find seeds for a good price before they were all sold out. Planning a small patio garden of salad greens and herbs.
    I reorganized my mid and long term storage and filled the holes with what is becoming a very rare occurrence, a case lot sale. Diced tomatoes for 59 cents per can.

    I drove my car on the “econ” option.

    Gas is 3.80….hopefully my caution will cover the increase. I am grateful that both my husband and I work remote.

    1. It’s $4.30 here . . . people are definitely going to have to make wise choices about going places.

      1. Ours jumped forty cents from Sunday to Monday, up to $4.39. It pays to fill the tanks when they are getting low; husband had done so on Saturday.

        1. That’s a good point; we only have one car but I will try to remind my husband to fill it more often.

          1. The cheapest here is currently $5.49 and that’s with points from grocery store purchases. I always try to lump errands together to save. Also, started not waiting till I need to fill up so I can get gas before it goes up again.

            There is a grocery store I could walk to if I really needed, but it’s an expensive one, so not sure if it would help much.

          2. sorry, that gas price should have read $2.10 point 9, not $210!!! it is expensive but not quite that bad!!! ann lee s

            1. That’s why I looked it up; I almost died! That would be $924 a gallon!

              Not yet $924.

              Still, bikes are looking pretty good right now. . .

              1. Ours was $2.099 a litre yesterday…close to $8.40 per gallon. Canadian, but the exchange is moot when you live here..

        1. My husband went to get gas today and apparently I had last week’s price. It’s $4.60 at the less expensive place. Today. I’m sure by this time next week it will be $5, and yours probably will too.

      2. Hi Brandy and everyone: Vancouver BC has the highest gas price in North America, today at $210.9 per Litre. Locally we are about $190.9, as the city of Vancouver has extra taxes for rapid transit building ….. the prices seem to be rising 10 cents per day. I have begun to package my errands and do them all on one day. ann lee s, Vancouver Island, BC Canada

          1. I just did the conversion rate. UK prices are higher than in Canada still.

            No matter what, it’s going to get worse. I saw today that Russia says oil will go to $300 a barrel.

            1. Hi All we are now @ £1.56 a litre and rising in Cambridge UK. This would be 2.63 Canadian Dollars. Our mains gas and electricity prices are going up 54% at the end of this month too plus a tax rise. We are walking and cycling as much as possible and are very fortunate that we are able to do this and to be able to manage. So thankful for Brandy’s wonderful blog during these terrible times.

          2. I think the decimal point is not where we expect it–$2.109 (basically $2.11) per liter or $1.909 ($1.91) per liter. The current conversion rate is .78 Cdn per $1 US, or $1.65 and $1.49 per liter in US dollars. Still horrendously high, but not quite as expensive as the first glance. One thing we tend to forget is that the US and Canadian economies are entirely different. Comparing prices between the two countries is like comparing apples to oranges. Canadian prices are higher, taxes are higher, but wages are also higher. I looked it up. The average hourly wage in Canada is $57 hour, which translates to about $114,000 per year. In US dollars, that translates to roughly $89,000 per year. At the end of the day, both countries are fortunate to enjoy very high standards of living…but very high fuel prices! (Still under $4 per gallon today in northern Idaho, but I’ll bet it’s higher tomorrow).

            1. As a Canadian, I disagree with your stat about the average hourly wage. According to my Google search, it was $29.61 in 2020. This seems more believable to me … otherwise, I don’t know anyone who isn’t below average 😆.
              But you are correct, that we are very different. 😊

              1. I hope none of you thought I was setting myself up as an expert on the Canadian economy, LOL. But I have always known it was very different, and that wages are higher. That $57 figure (which seemed very high to me) came up when I searched Bing for “average wage in Canada.” Then I clicked on the link, which took me here: http://www.salaryexplorer.com/salary-survey.php?loc=38&loctype=1#:~:text=The%20average%20hourly%20wage%20%28pay%20per%20hour%29%20in,is%20the%20salary%20paid%20in%20one%20worked%20hour. I don’t know whether this is a credible source, but at the time I posted, I thought it was a quasi-government source. Now I am not sure.

            2. I lived in Canada (Ontario) for three years while my husband was sent there by his employer. We are from a higher cost of living area in the US- not as high as Seattle/LA/etc. but certainly not on the low end (Portland, OR). It was much more expensive to live in Canada. Our company leveled the differences for us in multiple ways in order for us to work for them there, as they wanted his management. We found that even including paying for health insurance for our family here, plus our high property taxes in our area of Oregon, it was more expensive there- even with receiving the “free” healthcare in Canada. It was more expensive to live there in general- higher income taxes, high property taxes and a (quite high) sales tax, plus cost of goods was just higher overall. Not trying to say this is concrete fact, but the numbers were clear, for us, from our experience. And his wage wasn’t a huge jump, although it was a promotion at the time.

        1. Hi Ann Lee,

          Here in Victoria, B.C. we’re at $208.9 per litre for regular! My car takes premium though… so as a country dweller, I’m staying home 🙂!

          Sarah

  6. Gas was 3.79 to 3.99 in college town. It was $4.12 a gallon two hours south of college town! I bought corned beef, potatoes,
    and cabbage so I can make that next weekend for St Patrick’s Day, a little bit early. I intend to cook it in my crockpot. I made lasagna using the last of my mozzarella cheese, and cottage cheese, using hamburger meat only, and almost all my lasagna noodles. I also made hamburgers, sweet potatoes, beets, and had potato salad for all week. I bought bananas, and spinach, and made wilted spinach for my middle son in in addition to all of the above meals. I used the $5 off $25 coupon at Dollar General and bought 10 cans of tuna, paper towels, toilet paper, etc. I am back in stock up mode. I now have thirty cans of tuna total, and plan on purchasing more with the coupon for this next weekend as well as some other things. I did not buy the store out of tuna. They have plenty left. I try to never take everything of one item because others need stuff also. I am making sandwiches for lunch and using up the last of my carrots. I have lost 15 pounds and so I tried on my bathing suits, and my blue jean shorts for summer to make sure they still fit. Some are too loose. I go up and down three sizes so I don’t get rid of those three sizes. I walked for exercise, and since it has been 80, I have not run the heat nor the air. My house is shaded so 80 is the perfect temp. I continued to work my part time job four days this week.

  7. I loved how you celebrated your girls birthdays and especially that you didn’t decorate and no one minded in the least. We had a friend over to celebrate her birthday on Sunday. I was getting stressed out because I was planning on making a big meal. I ended up making potato salad and a very easy cake that you make right in a 13×9 pan. My husband grilled brats and metts(it’s a Cincinnati thing) and I added Mexican corn. It was enough and no one minded in the least.
    We have had several very mild days so I raked the yard of debris and we stopped when the yard waste cans were full. My helper didn’t mind bc we only had to fill up 2 cans.
    I finally got around to using the healthy food cards that Medicare supplies to my 3 kids with disabilities. I discovered each one had $150 dollars on the card that had to be used by that day. Took son right to Kroger to shop. He picked out healthy foods and I was able to stock up on gluten free foods. Took my other 2 kids in the afternoon when they got off work and did the same thing. They will each have $75 dollars to use each month that will not be carried over to the following month.
    My kids are able to do many free or low cost thing in the community. Two do ballroom dancing weekly ($5 each for 45 minute class), one son takes an hour long taekwondo weekly and the other yoga (both free). The boys participated in a fund raiser softball game (free) and were given tshirts and a ring that looks like something you would get if you win the World Series.
    We spent money on our van for new brakes, wheel sensors and an oil change. I consider this frugal because we are doing routine maintenance to keep my 2008 van running smoothly. Even buying a used car is so expensive. Both our cars would be considered old but they are paid off and run well.
    Cooking at home most of the meals and exercising by walking rounds out our week. Blessings to all. I love your blog Brandy. Thank you.

    1. I have a friend who always invites us over for my birthday and I prefer it when she makes something simple. It is less work and cheaper for her, and it really is the thought that counts. I don’t want to feel that I am burdening someone with more work.

    2. Susan from Cincinnati, I found out last night from my mechanical brother why used cars are so expensive. The older cars don’t have all of the computer sensors and chips and it is possible to find parts and repair them. When the fancy new ones with all the bells and whistles begin breaking down, it will be impossible to find parts or fix them without expensive computers. He said anything before 2009 is great. You have a gem with your 2008 van!
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  8. Last night I was standing on the back step watching the late birds flying to their roost when a plane took of from the local airport, during the day I could hear heavy guns firing on the local army ranges a few miles away and I thanked God that me and mine are all safe in the UK and then I prayed for all the people around the world who are victims of conflict.
    Our price fixed contract for gas and electricity ends at the end of the week so I washed all the dirty clothing,the bath and kitchen mats, all the towels and bedding. I will also wash some curtains if I can get them dry on the line, I don’t have a drier.
    I have measured 2 mugs full of water and marked the kettle at this level so we don’t boil to much water.
    I am cooking bulk beef stew, cottage pies and cakes for the freezer.I am back to baking my own bread so I will make several loaves on the last day. I am recharging all the batteries and rechargeable appliances. I have turned down all the radiators and found more quilts for the lounge. This may also help the country buy less gas from Russia. All unnecessary lights have been turned off and appliances unplugged
    I have stocked up on flour and cooking oil both of which are imported from Ukraine so are going up in price.
    I am sowing veg seeds in my daughters bed room(the warmest room in the house) luckily she moved out years ago. I will plant them in every spare piece of garden I can find. I have covered the beds in the greenhouse to warm up the soil. I have recommission the water butts to refill before the rain stops. We have very wet winters but very dry summers here.
    I am starting to make shower scrunchies for Christmas presents and am still making socks.
    Please all keep safe

    1. Did you see Boris Johnson ask farmers to plant more on March 2nd? My friend in Hull saw it and I searched for it but was unable to find it.

      I think it is wise for everyone to plant more food right now. Food prices are going up everywhere and so many factors are going to make it worse. It’s good that you have a place to sow indoors.

      1. I’m currently having my yearly dilemma, to plant or not to plant given our drought (California). I’ve been trying to think if I just keep to a small bed, what would be the most cost effective to grow vs buy.

        1. Can you water with drip irrigation? Shower warm-up water? I think basil, Swiss chard, looseleaf lettuce, tomatoes, and green onions are probably some of the most cost-effective growing options.

          1. Yes, I use drip and ollas. I use warm up water and cooking water, etc. I still feel the guilt, especially when I see neighbors wasting water and think I need to double save because they aren’t. I need to get over it.

  9. Brandy,
    Sounds like you had another busy week- happy birthday to the two birthday kids.
    I took the last of the onions I had harvested from last season and cut them up and dried them. I will use these in soups, stews, and sauces. I decided to dry them because they would not keep much longer. I found a very large container of cherry tomatoes at the grocery for $5. I roasted those in the oven with olive oil and salt and they are delicious. I used them for one meal with pesto and pasta. Another meal was Mexican and the roasted tomatoes worked really well with that. There is enough for several more meals. As a bonus, the container the tomatoes came in was perfect for sowing some seeds in.
    I knitted a wash cloth and then crocheted one out of the same yarn and put those with a matching kitchen towel I had purchased on clearance and put the set in my gift cupboard. I picked up a Christmas gift for each of my adult children. I know the items are needed and felt like they would probably cost more down the road.
    My husband pruned all our fruit trees and also pruned an apple tree for my parents. He still needs to prune a pear tree in our daughter’s yard. We hope this will help with the fall harvest.
    Wishing everyone a productive and safe week.

  10. I talked myself out of ordering a meal via Doordash but I ordered groceries from Kroger via Instacart twice last week. The second shopper said the base pay has been REDUCED from $7 to $4 an order when I raised the possibility of looking for a carrot cake that always turns out to be out-of-stock and not wanting him to go back to the bakery to see if it happened to be in stock that day if it took too much of his time. I want Instacart shoppers that help our homebound household so much to clear after automobile expenses as much as if they were making $15/hour at a W-2 job. He went and checked (out-of-stock yet again, sigh) and I raised his tip by a $1 to cover the time it took him.

    When I first read of how much wheat and corn Ukraine usually supplies to the world, I decided to buy enough wheat to make two loaves of bread a week for a year to add to my existing long-term stash I had bought during a super-sale at Augasonfarms.com a year or two or three ago. I found 2 25# hard white wheat buckets and 2 25# hard red wheat buckets shipping from Walmart.com (not Augason Farms but grown and packaged for up to 25 years in the United States) for about $200. $2/# for wheat is pricey but it is packaged ready to carry downstairs to the basement for safekeeping. With the full responsibility for the care of a frail woman almost 99 years old resting on my shoulders, I don’t want to have to worry about how to get bread, at least for a long while. Today, Walmart.com is out of stock of one type of wheat bucket and the price is considerably higher (50%!) for the other type of wheat bucket.

    If you ordered the free Covid-19 tests delivered by the USPS, you can order four additional ones starting today. I want a bit of a stockpile of instant tests to use when my sister, her husband, grandson, and two grandkids show up in June to see mom.

    I hope you all stay safe and fed.

    1. Holly, after reading about the upcoming wheat shortage, I went to my local Farmer’s Co-op and purchased 50 pounds of red winter wheat for $14.00. They said the prices for everything new coming in has doubled. (Fertilizers are non-existent.) I have ground it for years and used it in bread and crackers. The feed is used as either food for livestock or for planting. Either way, it isn’t treated with any chemicals at all. It does have leaves, stems, chaff, and maybe a few bugs. I put it in the deep freezer for a week, then take it out on the porch on a windy day to winnow it. I pour it from one bowl to another and everything blows away except for the heavy grains. Lastly, I put on my reading glasses and check it up close just in case I missed something. The choice at your local co-op would depend on what grows best in your area. Years ago I purchased rye and barley and am still using them occasionally. They also had hulled oat groats for $26 for 50 pounds yesterday. I have never used it before so that will be a learning experience. It takes a long time to use 50 pounds of anything but at least it keeps forever.
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  11. Those sound like 2 fun birthday parties 🥳

    Frugal Accomplishments for the last week:
    Redeemed free birthday pastry from Panera (and didn’t pick anything else up)!

    Found some clearance cat food for $1 a bag- bought a few for the outdoor cats we feed 🐱

    Picked up a few hams that were $.99 per pound and a clearance roast.

    Returned an Amazon package to Kohl’s and received $5 Kohl’s cash to use- bought 3 candy bars and the total was exactly $5.

    My compost tumbler isn’t frozen anymore so I was able to start adding to it again!

    Was so excited to catch a sale at local greenhouse and got beautiful pansies and a 6 pack of lettuce 🥬

    Buy Nothing Group: (for Lent, I’m only checking Facebook and social media once a day so this will likely mean less free deals the next few weeks)
    *3 large bottles of hand sanitizer

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

  12. Your lettuce looks yummy! we are still several weeks away from being able to plant anything. However, our garlic, that we planted in October is coming up.
    I worked 6 days last week. Our office provided lunch for anyone working on Saturday. I have decided when that happens to choose a chef’s salad. That way I get a bunch of vegetables. I brought lunch 4 days, and breakfast all 6. My office mate is in her first tax season, and a bit overwhelmed. We went to lunch with another co-worker on Thursday, just to get out of the office for awhile. Have decided to do this once a month or so. I suggested bringing a lunch and going to the downtown park about 3 blocks away for a picnic.
    My best deals shopping were 15 ounce jars of peanut butter for 99¢ each, with a limit of 5 and 8 ounce bags of shredded cheese for 99¢ each with a limit of 3.
    I cleaned my refrigerator, not much waste.
    Made a big batch of brown rice after work on Saturday, then on Sunday, made a huge amount of fried rice using carrots, onions, peas and celery from the fridge. Added a few slivered almonds at the end. Used 6 eggs. This will be enough for the DH and I for lunches all week.
    Took some chicken broth from the freezer along with some already cooked chicken. Made a batch of white beans (the last from the garden, so will need to plant them again this year), and made white chicken chili, using onions and canned chopped green chilis on hand. Also had all the spices. Made a batch of focaccia bread to go with it.
    Pulled some salsa out of the freezer.
    We had one item, that some would say was a frugal fail, but not me. My mother would have turned 99 this past weekend. She passed away not quite a year ago. There is this little hole in the wall place she loved to go for fish & chips. They are so good, but not cheap. So the DH and I went there yesterday, to celebrate my mother. That is one of the reasons we save. So we can celebrate those we love. I will eat fried rice and white chicken chili all week, and not mind a bit, just so I can celebrate my mother.
    Had popcorn and fruit for dinner one night, after being very full from lunch. That was another thing I learned from my mother – “Dinner can be popcorn and fruit at times.”
    Spoke or texted with both of my sons and all three of my sisters this weekend.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week.

    1. My mother has been gone for quite a few years, but I still buy spring flowers for her birthday, and chocolate on my dad’s. It connects me with many small but happy day-to-day memories.

      1. Maxine: It was the prior week’s Fred Meyer sale. Ended last Tuesday, March first.

        1. Oh, poop! I was hoping it was this week’s ad. Don’t know how I missed it, although the current ad format has a lot of small listings that are hard to see. I don’t shop much at Super One, but I sure do like their ads!

  13. The birthday parties sounded fun! One of the best parties we ever had when the kids were young was to take everyone to the park, let them play on the equipment and serve hotdogs and homemade birthday cake. Some of those kids had never been to the park! You really don’t have to rent a bouncy house for kids to have a good time!

    This week was mostly the usual frugal stuff, including–
    * More meat from the markdown bin for under $2 lb.! The reason I am so excited by this is that I didn’t realize any of the stores in my town still do markdown meat. Used to buy it all the time. I also discovered today that Mondays are big for markdowns.

    * I salvaged a jar of currant jam that had gone to sugar by melting it in a pan of water–same as honey.

    * I made an articulated heated rice bag as a gift for my daughter-in-law. I used the free pattern Gardenpat linked about 6 months ago.

    * My daughter attended a semi-formal event wearing a Ralph Lauren cocktail dress we thrifted last summer for $7. She looked sensational!

    * I had to wash the dress in a hurry when I discovered how dusty the shoulders had become in the closet. This inspired me (the next day) to draft a pattern and make a dust cover for the shoulders of the hanger. Might make some more!

    I am doing a little better concerning Ukraine because I am limiting the amount of news I watch. I see enough to know what is going on, but I’m not wallowing in it. I feel I helped a little bit by contributing to Samaritan’s Purse and to United Help Ukraine, a charity a friend discovered/researched. They seem legit. I’ve given to SP for years, but I recommend anyone to do their own research. I honestly wish I could take refugees into my home, but the train doesn’t go to northern Idaho!

    Incidentally, Brandy, I saw a piece on TV about a worldwide shortage of fertilizer with higher food prices the result. You told us about this months ago! Said some farmers aren’t even planting this year.

    1. Yes; I’ve been following this story since fall. It’s about to get a lot worse.

      1. That’s what they said–“a lot worse.” You are right that the more food we can grow ourselves will be a huge benefit!

        1. The nice thing about following the fertilizer situation and crop situation in the news is that I keep getting updates sent to my feed. I read them all.

          1. Brandy, what sites do you follow for this information? I have been following Ice Age Farmer. Thank you!

            1. So many! I read everything that Google suggests to me now (usually several articles a day) from a variety of sources around the world (in addition to reading on BBC and Al Jazeera). I think it’s good to have a worldwide perspective on the news. If you do a few searches, lots more will show up.

              Wall Street Journal covered this in December. Also try Washington Post, Financial Post, Agricenses, and especially AG Web (Farm Journal) at agweb.com. They have the most articles about drought and crops too. Reuters.com has a ton of stuff as well.

              After a few searches and articles, you should start getting up-to-date articles.

              I read this morning that not only will Ukraine not be exporting anything this year (understandably) but that Egypt has also announced they will not be exporting anything.

          2. The fertilizer shortage began last summer when China stopped exporting it and decided to keep it since they had lost so much due to the floods. That is why we don’t have it in warehouses now. I loaded up then before the prices went up. Only a few areas in the world can mine all of the things needed to make it. The war in Ukraine will affect next year’s fertilizer supplies. (So this food shortage isn’t going to end any time soon.) If you do happen to find any fertilizer for sale, be sure to put it in an extra plastic trash bag. It won’t store long if it can absorb the moisture in the air. Squeeze the air out every time you open it. I’m listening to farmers and they are discussing planting beans since they don’t require so much fertilizer. There probably won’t be corn for ethanol or corn syrup that goes into processed foods. Ukraine and Russia must plant their wheat by the first or second week in March (right now) or it won’t mature before the winter weather. Hopefully, they already had it in the ground before all of this started. Oh, one last thing, China bought up 50% of the world’s supply of wheat and grains this past fall. We won’t be able to buy extra from other countries because many of them are not exporting. Stock up now.
            Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

            1. Ukraine farmers haven’t planted yet from what I read.

              We have next to no humidity here. I can leave a fertilizer bag open and it’s fine. The climate is extremely dry here. I store mine in buckets but I am one bucket short right now for my iron, so I’ll be adding one soon.

  14. Brandy, reading your experience at the restaurant brought to mind the time mom and I ordered lunch at a restaurant that was supposed to include potato chips. “We’re out of chips.” “Then any other potato will do.” “No substitutions. See there on the menu.” “But you’re the one who ran out of potato chips.” We got our lunches served without potatoes but with no discount provided to account for the lack of chips, ate, left, and never ever went back. Eventually, that restaurant closed despite the owner having owned the small plaza it was in. I think it was a case of the adult kids not being willing to work as hard as their parents to keep the restaurant running.”

  15. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The birthday parties sound great fun and nice to hear you and your husband were able to have a date.
    Since retiring early my husband has done some casual garden work as well as working hard in our garden. All of his clients have asked him to grow lots of veggies in their gardens this year and he is working at full steam to provide as much as possible for everyone. He puts in many hours work for which he is not paid but he likes to help people. Over the last fortnight he has sown, pricked out or planted courgette, tomatoes, 2 types of squash, pumpkin, strawberries, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, sweet peppers, broad beans, lettuce, parsnips and leeks. Flowers have been sweet peas, sweet William, cosmos, dahlia, French marigolds and calendula.
    I decluttered and took several bags to fabric recycling, the tip and the charity shop. While in the charity shop I bought some excellent bargains – a new tapestry kit, a new cushion pad, a new tunic top and a book. The book is called Jane Austen Embroidery and when it was published a couple of years ago I thought it would make a lovely gift for a friend but at £16.99 it was too expensive. This copy was pristine and cost £2.50! I will give it to my friend.
    I bought several packets of cheaper cress seeds in Lidl, I grow a punnet of cress most weeks to sprinkle on salads or make egg mayo and cress sandwiches.
    I picked parsnips and purple sprouting broccoli from the garden.
    I made soup using a chicken carcass for stock, homegrown and frozen veggies, home dried herbs and a small portion of cooked and frozen beans. This made dinner and lunch next day. Other inexpensive meals were mushroom omelettes, jacket potatoes with cheese and salad and a ‘hot’ salad which is a mixed salad of whatever fresh veggies I have, topped with a small amount of tasty protein/ crunch- this week it was hard boiled egg, bacon lardons and cubes of blue cheese. Toppings at other times might be a small amount of chopped ham, nuts, homemade croutons, small cubes of fried potato, leftover roast meat, leftover sliced sausage, a small tin of tuna or any variety of cheese I happen to have.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. What deals at the charity shop! Tapestry kits are super expensive. Your friend is quite lucky too!

      Do you grow the cress inside?

      1. Hi Brandy
        Yes, I grow the cress in a punnet on the kitchen windowsill and turn it every day so it doesn’t pull for the light.

          1. I fold a piece of kitchen paper and place in the bottom of the punnet, wet it, sprinkle the seeds and every day water and turn the punnet. Within a week I can cut the cress, throw away the paper and start again.

            1. Thank you for sharing! I have used a canning jar for sprouting seeds but I like this idea as people usually have the supplies to do it the way you do.

  16. My parents were in town and treated us to lunch after church on Sunday. My youngest took her leftovers for lunch the next day.
    I picked up a twin sheet set and pink fleece comforter for my oldest from Buy Nothing. I also picked up 4 10 packs of Capri Sun – Amazon sent the giver the wrong item and told her to keep it. These will be perfect for when the weather warms up as we visit many parks and splash pads.
    I placed an Ask on BN for a set of pig ears and nose and someone answered it. My daughter made the cutest Olivia for Storybook Character Day at school using things we had on hand along with the ears and nose gifted.
    I picked up shaving cream, shampoo, toothbrush, mouth wash, multi purpose cleaner, go gurt, pizza, vitamins, cookies, face wash and my monthly Sprouts freebies using coupons, sales and Ibotta.
    I had never shopped at Winco and so I spent the better part of an hour walking the aisles and snapping pictures for price comparison to Walmart. I picked up milk and produce that were much better prices than Walmart.
    My girls were going to their Dad’s house for spring break so I found out that Braum’s serves a small frozen yogurt cone for $1.20 all day every day. It was huge but a fun treat for them on our last night together.
    I’ve had trouble selling items lately, but I will keep trying.
    I did a Field Agent job and earned $6.
    I said yes to caring for a bunny that my girls and I previously cared for even though they would not be home to help. It is easy and he is sweet and the extra money helps right now.
    My yard man texted me and quoted me $120 to treat the lawn over several weeks for weeds as well as fertilize it. I spoke with my neighbor and he showed me what to buy and let me borrow his hand spreader. Savings of almost $100! I have a small yard and will add the hand spreader to my list of things I need as this neighbor will be moving soon.
    I checked out several books from the Library including recommendations from here and currently reading A Square Meal. It is a really informative read and heart breaking to read how little they had and how little the government did for them during that time.
    A company we do business with sent a promotional blue tooth speaker to my home. I was so excited as one was on my list of items I wanted!
    I sent an email to Purina about the lack of coupons I could find for my dog’s food. They responded with places I might find them (all subscriptions) but also stated they were mailing me some. I am going to start doing this more often for products that we buy and use.
    My sister and I discussed the increasing food, energy and fuel prices and decided to stock up on some of the pantry staples. I’ve made a list and each week will add what the budget allows.
    I purchased tomato and basil seeds and will start them with the girls this weekend. I already have the soil and will use egg cartons as planters. hoping for success!

  17. Prices continue to escalate here in NZ as well and there are quite a few shortages or items which are hard to get.

    I realized, somewhat to my shock, that I hadn’t done a supermarket order for 5 weeks! Being the beginning of Autumn here we have a giant surplus of fruit and vegetables which we are constantly harvesting, using or storing including potatoes, courgettes, beans, apples, strawberries, tomatoes, peaches, plums, apricots, silver beet, grapes, peas, corn, pears, pumpkins and more.

    A friend gave us some mandarins she had managed to grow at home so that was nice (we’re quite far south where it can get colder so most citrus has to be somewhat molly-coddled).

    We planted two dwarf peach trees called “Honey Babe” after others told us they were prolific and had lovely fruit. That gives us 6 peach trees amonst the other fruit trees.

    Best wishes to everyone in these trying times.

  18. I have items that I would embroidery on (blanks) for my business I closed my business. I opened my Easter tote and had 3 bunnies so I posted on FB to friends they were available. All sold in about 15 minutes, making me $60. Here are photos https://www.instagram.com/p/Cas72DOJgBf/?utm_medium=copy_link and https://www.instagram.com/p/Cas75r7Jybg/?utm_medium=copy_link and https://www.instagram.com/p/Cas7_Bgptsx/?utm_medium=copy_link.
    * I was sent to Nashville to a specialist at Vanderbuilt, which is 1.5 hours away. I was able to do a little shopping, food is tax free in Tennessee. Gas was $.50 higher so I watched my dial and made it back home and filled up as soon as i got to town. It was $3 37 and jumped to $3.89 the next morning. Then $3.99 the next day.
    * I took the dog to the vet and they gave me a year of Nexgard and Hartgard. I was very surprised by the bill so checked Chewy and was able to save $100 and returned them to my vet for a refund.
    *I am diligent to get my prescriptions as soon as I can refill them, which is 5 days earlier than due. If you do this every month you can stock up a 60 day supply. Mine are on 3 month refill so I am not able to stock extra as quickly, but I am working to have extra on hand.
    * My electric, water, and gas bills were all lower this billing cycle.
    * I started a tray of tomatoes, peppers, and greens.They are under a grow light. I will start another in a few days. We have a freeze this weekend, then I will direct sow some greens, carrots, and also do some milk jug sowing. I harvested turnip greens, 4 roots, collards, and chives. I mixed the greens and roots cut up and cooked them up. My husband said they were really good mixed. I froze two containers of cooked greens .
    * I returned 4 items to WM@rt. I had receipts for 2 so $27 was returned to my card. I got $6 for the other two in store credit.
    * I am focusing on stocking up, buying what I can while it is available. I keep my gas tank above 3/4 full, but do not drive much. I got self rising and all purpose flour, cornmeal, sugar, pasta, rice, mayonnaise, peanut butter, dish and laundry detergent, tomato paste, can corn, a package of Jolly Ranchers and box of fruit gummies to put up for grandson treats.
    The shelves had a lot of bare spots and low supplies in the baking aisle, no shank ham or turkeys.
    *I got cash out to keep in the safe.

  19. We hosted a dinner movie night for some friends. We served several types of mash potatoes with toppings and chili. The left overs are feeding us dinner another three nights! I am working on tweaking what we do to make sure all the left overs get eaten.
    We deep cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. It feels so good to have that done.
    As gasoline prices rise we are hanging out with friends that live in the same county.

    1. I love to make potato patties and fry them. Mix the mashed potatoes with an egg, cheese and you can add chives or green onion, onion, mushrooms, anything you like!

  20. Looks like you had another busy week, Brandy. Those birthday parties sound lovely. I’m sure your girls were very happy.

    For meals this week we had black bean burgers and fries, bbq pulled pork sandwhiches, frozen pizza and salad, burrito bowls with leftover sweet potatoe and black bean burrito filling, chicken nuggets and salad and teryaki chicken and roasted veggies.

    My birthday was this weekend and was gifted many thoughtful things and taken out for few meals. It was lovely. I used a giftcard from christmas to take a friend out for breakfast.

    Like the rest of you, I am praying for the people in Ukraine. We have a cousin who adopted two children from Ukraine 25 years ago. The kids both have special needs and one of them has since connected with some siblings still in Ukraine, so you can imagine it is very upsetting for all of them. I have been wishing to do something to let them know I’m thinking of them, so I found yarn in my stash in yellow and blue and made four little yellow crocheted hearts with blue trim, added a safety pin to the back and mailed the hearts to them. It’s something so little and insignificant, but hopefully they will enjoy wearing the little pins and it was something I could do to show my love.

    Otherwise, same old around here….meal planning, shopping list, staying home, reading library books, crocheting and sewing using materials I already have.

    I hope everyone has a safe, happy and frugal week.

    1. What a thoughtful and unusual gift you made for the Ukrainian children of your cousin! I would never have thought of something so unique to make.

  21. Hello friends-
    What lovely ways to celebrate birthdays! Happy birthday to your children.
    Ukraine is on my heart. I feel so sad to see all that is happening there. I hope your friend, Elena, is safe. I have been praying for her as well so many others.
    Haven’t checked in for some time so I have several weeks of blessings to share.
    A friend’s family business tows tractor trailers after accidents and pulled a truck full of groceries off the highway. The company didn’t want the contents so our friends called us to meet at church to grab whatever they had been able to salvage. So many families were blessed by their hard work and kindness! We picked up potatoes, brussels, salad mix, garlic, onions, fresh flowers (what a huge treat), several loaves of bread, crumpets, peppers, apples, salmon, chicken, sausage, cheeses, and almond milk. This has allowed us to make a large Sam’s Club trip to fill some gaps.
    A rug showed up at our house one day that we had not ordered. Called the company and they said it was a glitch in their system (we had ordered this same rug about a year ago). Rather than ship it back the company said it was ours to keep. We will find somewhere to use it.
    Lately, I have taken the time to follow up on products we have ordered and received that were not up to standard. We were able to have a few things replaced a no extra cost.
    Our daughter received a last minute invite to a concert. The family who invited her received free tickets. She was thrilled!
    Moving forward we are doing our best to save on gas ($4 a gallon for regular in VA) and cut down on spur of the moment spends.
    Blessings to you all!

      1. Brandy: Cannot begin to imagine! Many prayers for her and her family. Such frightening times we live in! We must keep our eyes on the prize!

      2. Will add Elena to our prayers as well. A very good friend of my husband has dear friends with four children in Kyiv and his in-laws are in western Ukraine and too frail to be moved. Would appreciate prayers for them if anyone is so inclined.

  22. My cupboards had become a mess and hiding places for canned foods going out of date. I spent a day pulling things out, doing an inventory that included use by dates (I don’t stick to those, but it does help me figure out how old some things are), and then putting things away in a more orderly fashion. Then I spent time on the computer looking up recipes that used those items and have designed a two week meal plan that will use them up. (Canned eggplant, hot spiced artichokes, five jars of capers…how did you all end up in my house? I have no recollection of buying you!)

    A friend is moving back to her home in England. I gave her a bunch of stamps that I purchased but never used last time we were there and she gave me her US stamps that she would not be using. A happy trade for both of us.

    Attended a catered lunch meeting and stayed behind to talk to the moderator. As I was leaving, the last person to go, I saw that no one had taken a gallon of tea or three six inch subs, still in their original wrappers, so I brought them home and we happily consumed them for dinner that night and as part of lunch leftovers the next day.

    My husband has lost quite a bit of weight so I finally convinced him to let me throw away or donate his larger sizes. A lot were too stained to be given to anyone, so I made rags of those that were cotton or linen, and finally bit the bullet and threw away some that were of materials that would not make good rags. We received a tax donation form for the rest.

    Nothing else especially noteworthy. Just the usual being careful of temperature settings, turning off lights, making showers fast, and cutting open containers to use up every drop of shampoo or toothpaste. I did find some packets of seeds for sprouting so in a few days we can have sandwiches with some fresh sprouts on them—cheaper than buying lettuce.

  23. How annoying at that restaurant – so glad you were able to find another option and to still enjoy your night out.

    I took down the rent cheque last week, paid all other bills online and donated to the Red Cross fund for relief in Ukraine. I am also going to send money to my church’s “head office” as they are part of the ACT alliance and Canadian Foodgrains Bank and have people in place to supply help now.

    Instead of saving more money this month I have spent more! But I decided that I’d rather buy things while they are in stock than not be able to find them later. I am not panic buying and I am taking advantage of sales and loyalty offers so that has helped a lot. I have a few more items on the list to buy when I head to the shops tomorrow afternoon but I do have to think about things like freezer space and storage and be sensible. I am only one person and can live on soup and toast and tea if I have to. Shelves still seem to be fairly well stocked, aside from the cereal aisle and that wasn’t empty but was looking a bit bare. I have 2 one liter bottles of olive oil, plus some smaller flavoured olive oils so I am ok there. I have a just opened bottle of Canola oil that I use for frying and for baking but decided to add one more liter to the pantry – being sure to check the expiry date so that I can rotate in time. I will buy a small bottle of Sesame oil tomorrow as mine is past the expiry date and oils do go rancid and might pick up some shortening – I always remember how you say to stock up on oils Brandy. I am trying to be more careful than ever not to waste food so, to that end I froze a couple of packs of mixed lettuce greens that were about to go mushy and will break off pieces to use in soups or smoothies as needed. I also used some wilted carrots & the last bits from some frozen veg to make a pot of soup for this week’s lunches using some turkey broth from the freezer and a small type of pasta that I had bought deliberately for soups.

    It is like Winter again at the moment with some heavy wet snow coming down – but – yesterday it hit 16C with beautiful sunshine (although very high winds) so my walking friend and I headed out for one of the trails along the lake. We managed 6,000 steps then picked up a coffee and had a car picnic. I had made up a couple of different kinds of sandwiches using items from the pantry and adding a few cookies. With gas being so high I often buy the coffees and it was my turn to make up the picnic. Gas jumped 11 cents overnight but she had managed to fill up her little KIA before that so it worked out. We had parked to eat at a part of the trail we had never visited before so did another 3,000 steps along that route. It was great free exercise and it seemed to be a day that really lifted everyone’s spirits – I ended up with a very pink nose and cheeks so definitely got some Vit. D!! When we got home she had me stop at her apt. and gave me two chicken legs that she had cooked with a new Tex/Mex recipe that she had wanted to try – they are now warming up in the oven for my dinner tonight.

    I also got caught up on laundry last week – 8 loads! Most of this had to go into the dryer as it was sheets and towels and bedskirts etc. but I timed it so that the first loads would finish after about 30 minutes and then I’d add the second, heavier/bigger load, and dry those by just adding a few more quarters rather than another $1.50 for an hour. Every little bit helps.

    I hope that everyone is well and not too overwhelmed by all the price increases and shortages. I just keep telling myself how lucky I am in comparison to those poor people in Ukraine and that I can just “suck it up and adjust”. Take care all!

    1. 1. My husband is helping me eat the food from the freezer while in FL. We have reduced the amt by 50% & have eaten out very little. I put some tough cooked pork in the crockpot w/ a can of tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, onion powder & garlic salt. It made a tender & delicious pulled pork meal.
      2. We did go to Olive Garden for lunch. I used a gift card to pay for most of the bill.
      3. I found a metal cart in the trash room. It needs a repair. My husband can fix it & use it to haul his fishing gear in. I can then regain custody of my small hand cart that he has confiscated.
      4. Hubby fixed the tail light on our car. It is an old car & he couldn’t find a new tail light.
      5. Husband fixed the flush valve on my friend’s toilet. He then sprayed our condo & the next door neighbor’s unit for bugs. (Florida is home to many pests.)
      6. Not frugal: my cat is boarded in Texas while we are gone. I love my pet & I want him taken care of so that is one of the prices of pet ownership. Usually my sister keeps him but she is moving & is busy.

    2. How I love tea & toast in the morning. You are a kindred spirit. My grandmother always served us this at breakfast when I was a child. It is still my favorite.

  24. Nice birthday parties!
    My tomato seedlings look good and now the spinach seedlings are coming up. We have seeds ready to plant outside in early April.
    It’s warm here in the Bronx (New York City) today but we might get snow or a wintry mix later this week.
    This week BSCB are on sale for $1.99# so I will restock the freezer. I will also buy corned beef $1.99#, potatoes $2.49 5# and cabbage .29# this weekend.
    I notice that people I talk to routinely mention frugal actions now. One of my daughters appeared on Zoom with a plastic bag on her head because she was dyeing her own hair. My other daughter bought a bread machine on her neighborhood app. Both sisters and their husbands traveled (separately from each other) and both mentioned food they packed in their luggage to cook and eat on vacation. It’s the new normal, as they say.
    I have in-person work on Friday for the first time in 2 years. I‘ll be taking out some work clothes!
    I tried to fix a desk chair that keeps lowering itself. No luck but DH is taking a look at it.
    I baked a cake which we are eating plain, cut in squares. Saving some calories as well as the cost of icing.
    I cut up some new rags to use instead of paper towels. That started when I first followed this blog two years ago and some of the original rags are looking pretty ragged. 😉
    We have a vacation planned at the end of the month so a lot to look forward to.
    I wish everyone a healthy and safe week and I pray for peace.

    1. It will be very interesting to see more people talk about saving money. I’d love to hear if other readers are seeing this.

      1. I think inflation is pinching almost everyone now. One of my friends is shopping at different grocery stores to save money and another is planning to start a raised bed garden. I have a neighbor that we give some garden surplus to and they reciprocate. They started baking their own sourdough as well.

      2. Brandy, I shared your blog with a stressed sales clerk at a store this past week. I asked her to scan something, thanked her then said, “every penny counts since prices are going up.” She began sharing they could no longer pay the bills and she had to take this job. I gave her your website and told her it had all the answers she was looking for about how to save money. The relief on her face was priceless.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

          1. I think she will show up someday. When I visit the store next, I will look for her.
            Jeannie

    2. I had a great office chair that started refusing to stay up. Your husband probably already figured this trick out, but in case he has not: My husband found a piece of pipe and cut it down so that when he put it over the central pole of the chair that regulates going up and down, it stopped the chair from lowering itself. It means it cannot be adjusted up or down but since I am the only one who sits in it, that is not a consideration for me. (I am not sure I explained this well enough but essentially you are adding a new central stem over the old one and because it is cut down to the height I want the chair to stay at, it is impossible for the chair to lower itself.) I hope this helps. Good chairs are hard to find and expensive, too.

      1. Thanks Mable! That sounds like a good fix and something that can be done without buying anything. I don’t need (or want) to adjust the height. I just like to roll between my desk, the printer and files.

  25. I’m reorganizing my kitchen shelves to make everything easier to reach and keep clean, and to move things closer to where I use them. Half my cookbooks are gone, and some not-so-pretty or hard-to-maintain odds and ends that had sentimental connections. Some things I do like to use have reappeared.

    I’ve moved the main entry from the back door to the front after getting new steps and a small deck built at the front in September. I needed to find some new places to put things that were stored in the front hall. I replaced the carpet with an old wool one that is warm on the feet when you come in from the snow and cold. I will prep the walls for painting, but leave the painting until May when it is warm enough to open the door for ventilation.

    It is lovely to have things running more smoothly indoors, when the world outside is so chaotic.

    1. Sounds like energy is flowing well in your home!
      Regarding cookbooks, I realized long ago that having them sit out doesn’t make me more likely to use them, and they just get dusty or even food-spattered. So I have them inside a cupboard where they are accessible but clean.
      A friend always had a perfectly positioned sheet of plastic wrap draped on top of her cookbooks on her counter to protect them.

      1. I’ve moved the cookbooks from a cupboard to a shelf in the living room which is where I actually sit down to look at them. I moved my baking supplies to that kitchen cupboard, which is right by the table I mix my batter and dough at. The only cookbook that got to stay there was The Joy of Cooking, which I use for a lot of basic baking. I don’t leaf through it much, though I should because it has a lot of ideas for very inexpensive meals.

  26. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I bought gas yesterday at Sam’s, but several of their pumps were out of order, and the lines were long. When I first got in line, it was $3.05/gallon, but it was $3.25/gallon by the time I finally got to the pump. I only needed half a tank, but wanted to top it off before prices increased more.
    Joe V’s (a discount version of HEB) had several pallets of pasta (spaghetti, linguine, and fettucine) for .44/#, so I bought a lot of 1# packages and should be well-stocked. This is the easiest type of pasta for me to freeze, as freezer real estate is pretty valuable for me right now.
    A friend got rid of her microwave, and gave me a case of microwave popcorn they won’t be using.
    I got to Goodwill right as they were pulling out new clothes to put on the racks, and snagged several Lululemon tanks, a North Face jacket, and some Vineyard Vines pieces. For us, Goodwill is quite a bit cheaper than Walmart, and I can usually resell the items for what I paid (or more), once the kids are done wearing them.
    I made a loaf of bread into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids, and put them back in the bread bag. In addition to lunches for school, these are a great afternoon snack or even breakfast on mornings we’re running late.
    I participated in a work meeting remotely.
    I checked out a wireless hotspot from the library. It will save me from using phone data, although we will still need to keep our home wifi. It’s checked out to me through November. I may try to get a Chromebook through the library, too.
    Hams at Kroger were .77/#, but actually rang up .49/#. I only bought one, as I’m pretty limited on freezer space.
    For the house I’m fixing up, I found some supplies slightly cheaper at the Walmart across the street from Home Depot. It took extra time, but I bought the items at Walmart, then returned what I’d previously bought at Home Depot. I wanted to price match, but the HD manager said I need to have a photo of the exact item on the shelf with the exact sku; no online prices accepted. I don’t remember them requiring this in the past, as I think I’ve even price matched using amazon and other online stores. At least the money I saved covered our fast food meal that night.
    $5 or less meals were: spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken tortilla soup, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, fettucine alfredo with broccoli, chef salad, and bean burritos.
    Hope everyone has a great, frugal week!

      1. Brandy: Our SUV has a 30 gallon tank. Cost 120.00 to fill up at Sam’s this weekend! Just unbelievable!

        Also, your date night restaurant scenario is becoming all too common. We occasionally treat ourselves to Chipotle. My husband went in gave them our order and was told that they were out of beans, rice, chips and salsa! This, mind you, after he had stood in line for 20 minutes! He asked the manager why didn’t they have a sign posted letting people know the situation. Her answer was she wasn’t allowed to do that. What has happened to courtesy?

        Have been searching for any type of citrus tree. None to be found. The local nursery said they had not had any in two years. Sigh.

        I loved your White Garden tour on Instagram! The music was perfect!

        Stay frosty out there!

        1. Our van holds close to the same.

          Interesting that you had the same experience recently.

      2. This past Sunday gas was $2.89 on my way to church. 90 minutes later when I was driving home afterwards the price was $3.39!

  27. I don’t have much new to report this time around. With the current global situation, we have been focusing on staying stocked up. I believe inflation and supply chain issues will only continue to increase. My husband went to the grocery store for a few things and came home with some marked-down meat, which went into our freezer. We pulled one of our large vegetable planters out of storage to grow some vegetables on our patio. I have not gardened much in a couple of years for various reasons, but decided I will pick it up again this year. I will likely also use my Aerogarden, as I have several seed kits already in stock at home. No sense letting it go to waste when it could be producing food. We cooked and ate at home, but we did eat out several times last week. I received a significant promotion at work, so we went out to one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate. It was not inexpensive, but we had a good evening and I felt it was worth it to treat ourselves. I received free lunches during work meetings on a couple of days. Most days I go home to eat lunch.

    We had to run the air conditioner for a few days, but are able to open the windows again. My allergies were extremely bad (including skin rash) due to mountain cedar, so we had to keep the windows closed due to that as well as the warmer temperatures, until the rain came through and the wind changed.

    Our gas is over $4 now, and that is at Costco. I’m sure the price will continue to rise. Fortunately my commute is quite short and I don’t do too much additional driving.

    Continued prayers for Ukraine.

  28. I am receiving a relentless stream of “gifts” from charities that have ignored every notification that my Dad died eighteen months ago and will no longer be mailing them donations. Most are set aside for the free pile at my next yard sale. Many of the return address labels have pretty designs and I have started cutting the larger ones off to send to my great-nephew. He recently showed his Mom how he had put “stickers” all over himself, (USPS postage stamps), and perhaps these will be a cheaper amusement for him.
    Watching closely for grocery sales, and stocking up a bit. Planning for and using leftovers carefully.
    Trying to fudge the heat down a degree to run the furnace less, and wearing a sweatshirt or using a blanket when I am reading. Yesterday was warm enough to open the windows for fresh air, and then today dropped back toward freezing temperatures. Picked up sticks in the yard but resisted the temptation to pull fall leaves off the garden for another several weeks.

  29. Happy belated birthdays to your daughters. It sounds like they had wonderful birthdays.
    We received our tax returns. They were both put into savings. My husband helped my son file his. He was supposed to receive a stimulus check last year apparently so he is getting a nice return.
    The little boy I watch and I dropped a load of items to the thrift store. The man offered him a toy and he was very happy. We went to the park 2 days and the library another.
    My son wasn’t feeling well so he took an at home Covid test. It was negative. He did stay home 2 days from work. I ordered 4 more free tests. My sister gave me 4 tests also. She had gotten a stack of them free from the college she teaches a class at.
    My sister came and got her dog. We had him for 3 weeks. She treated us out to eat as a joint birthday for Hubby (February) and my son (next week). It was delicious. We brought home our leftovers.
    I took a friend to BJs with my card. She is worried about the current state of the world. I helped her get stocked up. She felt better after. She spent a lot but it was part of her tax return. She treated me out to eat after. I recommended your site to her so she could learn more about pantry building.
    My seeds started sprouting.
    Did all of our usually stuff: wash laundry on cold, keep the heat down, do errands when near stores, hang laundry to dry, and eat leftovers.
    Hubby got gas for $4.09 on Saturday. That was a cash only price. His brother was in Brooklyn on Friday and sent us a picture $5.19.

  30. We made maple syrup from our two suburban trees! It takes about a tank of propane (my husband gets our tank refilled at the garden center which is about $16) to boil down to a half a gallon but talk about hyper local! That amount lasts our family of 4 at least a year (we still have some from 2019 we need to use up!).

    Our Meijer had some name brand ice creams on clearance for 1.24 a half gallon so I picked up 4 in flavors my husband and children love, but I don’t normally buy/make as they aren’t my favorite. They will be grateful on a hot summer day!

    I accepted a huge bag of very nice dress up clothes from a friend whose child had outgrown them.

  31. It snowed here all weekend and is still snowing today, so gardening feels a long way away, but I started seeds for tomatoes and according to the gardening calendar I keep every year, I should be able to transplant hardier crops into my greenhouse beds in another couple of weeks.
    I was getting very low on oats, so I purchased another 50# bag from the Mennonite store. $70! That’s twice what I paid a year ago, but they were definitely cheaper than anywhere else I found around here or online. My husband and I ordered three more buckets with gamma lids and plan to purchase more wheat next time we are in town. It is probably more expensive, too, but not as dear as I fear it will be soon, and I do a lot of baking, thus use a lot of wheat.
    This week ended up being all about canning. I canned 7 pints of pinto beans and 6 pints of chickpeas. I have found that if I keep beans canned up we will eat them and use them in recipes more often. Later in the week I canned 5 pints of beef stock and 4 of chicken stock. I also baked two loaves of sandwich bread and two loaves of sourdough. I have been wanting a new fleece jacket and couldn’t find one I liked for a price I liked, so I made one. I used a Joann’s coupon to purchase the fabric and I’m pleased with the end results.

  32. Your mention of your daughters birthdays reminded me that we are going to our grandson’s apartment this weekend for his 22nd birthday. He has struggled mightily for 6 or 7 years with major emotional and mental issues. I always want him to understand how important he is to us, so we are bringing him an entire carton of birthday gifts to open. There are a couple of new t-shirts that recognize his love of music, a couple of books to read that should be to his taste and were bought used, and lots of food supply gifts to help with the rising cost of food prices. I’m pretty sure he’ll appreciate all.

    1. That is so lovely Anne in relation to your Grandson. It really moved me where you wrote “I always want him to understand how important he is to us”.

    2. Anne,
      I think it is so very sweet to be helping your grandson. We are in the exact situation. When our 22 year old grandson was eighteen he developed schizophrenia. Incredibly sad because he was in college, had a nice girlfriend and a world of opportunities open to him. Luckily he is on meds and has a father well off enough to afford a small apartment for him.
      He gets food stamps and my son brings him food on a weekly basis. We are planning to bring him a bag of goodies the next time we are in town. Yes, so important to let them know they are loved and not forgotten.

  33. I have been using Walmart bags for trash in the kitchen to stretch the trash bags. There seems to be an endless supply of them, lol

    My mom sent over flushable wipes, various canned goods, bread, and yogurt.

    I received an email from Directv that we would get Epix and Showtime free 3 months. I was getting ready to subscribe to Showtime on Hulu to finish watching Dexter, so this saves me $11. I’ve also recorded a movie I had on my Netflix dvd list.

    Earned $10.85 Amazon shopper panel rewards

    Received $5 to panera from Verizon rewards.

    I have 305 books on my kindle. I really need to read them, even though the majority were free.

    My son ordered a new computer chair and gave his sister his old one. She’s been using a metal folding chair or swiping mine when she’s on her computer.

    I cleaned out my change in the truck. The drop down container gets heavy so I like to reduce the amount in there. I put $5.27 in my jar in the house, keeping $5 in the truck.

    I ordered a 5 lb bag of frozen chicken breast from Walmart. They substituted 2 3 lb bags of tenderloins for the same price.

    My husband found a 5lb bag of whole carrots at a store for. 95 and a 6lb pork loin roast for $7. I divided the pork loin into 2 meals worth of pork chops, and then cooked the rest for pulled pork one night. I told him to get more carrots if he finds them that cheap again so I can freeze some.

    I ate lunch at work 2 times

    I had to get an oil change and I went ahead and had the fuel system clean done(figured I need the truck to be as fuel efficient as possible with prices) Neither were cheap but I saved $20 with a coupon.

    I really cleaned out the refrigerator. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, not a lot went in thr trash but there were a few duplicates of stuff opened. I combined where needed and now I know what we have.

    The 15yo made banana muffins.

  34. Brandy,
    I love your family’s simple fun birthday parties! My birthday is this week and we will have pizza and salad with my parents, my son and his wife and their 2 children, my daughter, my husband and I. My husband asked if I wanted to go out to dinner on my actual birthday but I decided I would rather that he grill a flank steak. I purchased it today and even though beef has gone up substantially it is still much cheaper than going out to eat.
    Other things we did to save money-
    Multiple “No spend” days last week
    Reorganized the big freezer so I know what meats and frozen vegetables we have on hand to use up
    Ate most meals at home and the takeout meals were planned
    Traded Receipt Hog points earned into an Amazon gift card
    Drove my leased work car on errands to reduce fuel costs- I “pay” a certain amount for personal use and since the car is a hybrid it gets better gas mileage than my personal car
    Watched a movie on Amazon Prime and made a simple dinner that my husband and I enjoyed for a date night
    Donated plasma and the money earned goes to our vacation fund- we are going to the Oregon Coast later this month for spring break
    Made sourdough bread, sourdough discard sandwich bread and crackers and gifted some so it wouldn’t go to waste
    Gratefully accepted a bottle of cologne from a friend who purchased it and decided she didn’t like it

    Have a wonderful week- stay safe everyone!

  35. Well let me start with the frugal-the 4 little boys I watch and I entered an outdoor themed treasure hunt sponsored by their free play group. They won hockey tickets and took their parents to a game-it was their first hockey game ever and apparently they loved it. Our Covid tests arrived at our farm in the US and I will perhaps order some more-I guess there are some advantages to having a dual citizen husband and we are headed down there this summer. I stocked up again on fruit and veggies at the wholesaler for excellent prices-pd $10.21 for celery, cauliflower, papaya, grapes, bananas, peppers, carrots, lemons and limes. Also stopped by my local grocery this aft and got some decent prices on romaine, grape tomatoes and asparagus. Not as good as Brandy picking so many things from the backyard-bravo!
    I am currently working on getting a refund for our cancelled trip due to getting Covid. I was looking at rebooking for Sept but given the airfare on my preferred carrier was almost double we will not be going then for sure. For some other scheduled upcoming trips I have been rebooking airfares and hotels when I find a better price-last night I spent about 30 minutes doing this and saved $290- so well worth my time. Also took advantage of my auto club membership to get my car battery charged-they also tested it and it tested out fine-certainly if it fails me again I will have to replace it-but as it is only 14 months old I was reluctant to do so yet.
    The least frugal part of the week was finishing our taxes this morning-wowser a big bill. I think mainly due to all 3 of us having received Covid govt benefits last year that either were not taxed or not taxed enough. Still if we had not received that money we would not be paying so I can’t complain. Next year should be better.
    Given I had to cancel our trip and am off work anyway I am planning on a road trip next week-just in time for the gas price increase. Who knew. I heard today that our AB govt will be removing the provincial tax on gasoline starting April 1 and offering a $150 electric rebate-every little bit helps. Another freebie I took advantage of today was a free furnace, water heater and fireplace inspection from the gas company-luckily all was well. We had been hearing a strange noise when it was very cold in Jan and the service women thought it might have been the gas meter outside-she said if it happens again they will come and inspect and possibly replace it.

  36. I found a 15.5 lb. brisket marked down to $2.30 a pound and bought it. I gave a piece to my mother and cut the remainder into two pieces and placed them in the freezer. We will make them later – my husband plans to smoke at least one of them. Also pulled the last turkey from the freezer and smoked it. We will be eating a lot of turkey and will use the carcass to make pea soup (using smoked turkey instead of a ham hock). Got an unexpected bonus and used it to pay off some bills, which will allow us to put more to some other debt. Now that we are within 10 years of retiring, we are trying hard to be completely debt-free.

  37. Happy birthday to your children!
    I used up all the vegetables last week (with the exception of carrots, which I buy in huge bags); nothing went to waste, which made me happy. We also ate up all the leftovers this weekend. I often have trouble getting the family to eat leftovers, so this was a huge win!
    When I went for groceries, I checked the marked-down shelves and found five bottles of discounted conditioner! The bottles were a bit dusty, and one was a little sticky, but five bottles for what I usually pay for two is an awesome deal. I was thrilled with this!
    I picked up a book from Interlibrary Loan. I made a batch of muffins with cranberries that needed to be used up, and got some old beans to finally cook after several rounds in the Instant Pot. I also added the end of a can of pureed pumpkin to a pot of butternut squash soup, so it didn’t go to waste.
    I finished multiple craft projects I had sitting around, while watching free documentaries on YouTube. I also turned a batch of strawberry tops into a jar of strawberry syrup that I’ll either use tomorrow or freeze into cubes. Not sure what I want to do most yet. 🙂
    The weather was nice enough on Friday and Saturday that we could turn the heat off and open the door and windows for a bit. And I refrained from stopping by the used bookstore on my way home from a doctor checkup today. 🙂
    Have a great week, everyone!

  38. Gas is over $5 a gallon here in California. I am riding my electric bike everywhere that I can and I’m so thankful for my husband’s new carpool. We also received a dozen fresh eggs from one of his carpool-mates, with promise of more to come. We will share fresh vegetables in the summer.
    We are keeping our heat at 59 at night and 61 for most of the day, turning up to 64 around dinner time. It has kept our bills about the same as last year.
    Bought my husband a sun hat on clearance at REI and used our small dividend towards it too. This replaces a hat that’s over 10 years old and has literally fallen to pieces. He shaves his head, so sun protection is vital.
    We queried a medical bill and found that it had been charged in error. Yay!
    Arugula, kale and collard leaves from the garden are feeding 2 of us all of the greens we need. It’s repetitive, but healthy and cheap. Each evening I am very thankful to sit down to a simple meal in my small house, especially right now.

    1. Kara I could relate to your statement, we live in a small 1200 square foot house- 2 bedroom 1 1/2 bathrooms and I am so grateful right now to have a roof over my head and safe place to call home

  39. Hello Everyone!
    I think we’re all shocked by the gas prices! Saturday I drove past our neighborhood Chevron that displayed $5.69/gallon prices for unleaded. 😳 I typically purchase gas at Costco now, but haven’t seen those prices since last week. I’ll continue to combine errands and drive as little as possible to conserve.

    This morning I canned lemon juice using lemons from my tree. I gave my new Tattler lids a try and so far, so good. In addition, I zested the lemons and am dehydrating them now. This makes baking much quicker! The dehydrator is on a timer to conserve energy.

    I was tempted to pick up some dinner this week but resisted. I pulled tamales from the freezer and made a batch of quick Spanish rice instead. At Costco I noticed that their bagged salads are $7-8 each now! I used to pick these up for quick, easy, healthy meals sometimes. Instead, I made my own taco salad base for dinner by shredding a whole head of cabbage, half a head of Romaine, an entire bunch of cilantro and a quarter red onion. I made my own salsa ranch dressing using healthy substitutes. My family raved about the dinner so I’ll do that again in the future.

    This weekend we finally organized my canning supplies. My husband added baby proofing to cheap garage cabinets to keep the glass safe in case of earthquake. My kitchen cabinets are less cluttered and everything is easily accessible. I did purchase 2 plastic totes for my new Tattler lids. The price of plastic totes and containers has doubled.

    I shopped the grocery ads last week and went to 2 stores. I got 90% lean ground beef for $3.99/lb. and chicken drumsticks at $1.29/lb. They had pork chops for $0.99/lb. but I passed because they were a weird brown color. I vacuum sealed the extra. Gardenpat, I’m amazed at the grocery deals in your area!

    I’ve been listening to “A Square Meal” on Hoopla. I was under the false impression that most women had ample home making skills in the 1920s-1940s. It reminds me how critical these skills are today, yet few people have experience with them. It’s an interesting parallel.

    Finally, I’m working on a UFO quilt top. I’m waiting for my window seat upholstery foam to arrive. It’s back ordered and the company is upgrading my foam due to the long fulfillment wait.

    Praying for peace and Ukraine 🇺🇦 . Have a blessed and bountiful week everyone!

  40. Your lettuce is looking great! I’ve mostly been prioritizing starting flowers for our flower farm, but I did reserve one 4×10 bed to grow some vegetables, and I started some lettuce, kale, and spinach seeds this week for that. I also grow plenty of herbs for the flower farm (I use it as bouquet filler), so we’ll have plenty of fresh herbs to use throughout the growing season as well.

    I’m all for low-key birthday celebrations. My oldest is starting to get invited to a lot of friend birthday parties and wants to have her own birthday party with friends this year (her birthday is in April). I haven’t decided yet if I want to go that route because the thought of hosting a party for a bunch of 7-year-olds seriously stresses me out, ha ha! I definitely will be going the frugal route if we do decide to indulge this particular wish of hers, but I’ll have to build up my courage for it first 🙂

    1. If you do decide to have a party keep it to 90 minutes. Trust me on this one. I have raised 6 kids and done many parties and this is more than enough time. If you can do it outside it is even better. Having them make a craft to take home. We had our kids make crowns from either pre cut from paper bags or gotten from Burger King and then had them decorate the reverse side was always a hit. They would decorate the crowns and them wear them at the party. One year the library lady (my husband) read a book in different voices…a hit. One year my older daughter and her friend dressed as clowns and helped with the party…another hit. Keep it simple and you will be fine. A single Happy Birthday ballon tied to the birthday person’s chair is enough decoration.

    2. I would consider hosting it at a park and inviting families so there are parents to watch the children. Keep food simple, snacks and cupcakes. No mess at your house!!

    3. Just have it outside and let them run wild (says a voice of experience.) It really is fun! 🙂

    4. Parties held at a park are the easiest! One year we did a cheerleader party. The girls made Pom poms out of tissue paper and a friends older daughter and her friend taught the girls a cheer. It was simple and fun!

  41. I have cancelled my birthday this year. My mother is complaining and my eldest daughter is being rude and disrespectful. It far cheaper to not do a thing and save the family upsets.

    This week bones from a leg of ham made pea and ham soup. Very hearty but not my favourite but mum loves it. Bones from a lamb roast were made into barley and vegetable soup. It is still summer here and it is hot but with all the flooding in my part of Australia I am grateful to have food. I have some small chickens to cook which were bought at a very good price. I am try to expend my herb garden and will be adding some peas etc to the mix as autumn will soon be here and hopefully it will be cool enough for the to thrive. At present it is far too humid.

    I have had to take mum to hospital for some tests and found out a way we can be reimbursed for the taxi fares.

    All our clothing is line dried. I only washed to two huge loads.

    1. Happy birthday Suzan …
      Maybe a wise decision and possibly you can enjoy some calm and peaceful time

    2. Happy Birthday Suzan! Maybe you can just take some “me” time and visit a bookshop, a park, or someplace of serenity.

  42. -Brandy I can’t wait to have fresh garden produce like you do. It is going to be below zero at night the next few nights! I keep telling myself spring will come.

    -Defrosted the large chest freezer. Easy here in Minnesota, the food just goes outside while it is defrosting. Rearranged and took inventory. I am down to the bigger chest freezer and the upright. We unplugged the small one. This will be used again when we get our 1/4 beef in the late summer.

    -Last of the beef bones went in the crock pot along with veggie scraps for bone broth. I canned 6 pints of beef broth. Meat taken off the bones and it made a meal of stroganoff for us.

    -Last year was a good garden year for us. I took 3 gallon ziplock bags of frozen tomatoes, frozen shredded zucchini, frozen green peppers, and frozen jalapeños and made and canned 12 pints of salsa. I was down to 4 pints.

    -I also canned 8 jars of tomato soup from another 2 gallon bags of tomatoes. I have 4 gallon bags left in the freezer. In the fall when I have canned enough tomato products and I am sick of canning, I freeze the rest. Then in the winter I use the frozen ones to make things I’m getting low on.

    -Used frozen pumpkin for pumpkin spice waffles. I used the last 2 apples from the crisper. This is the last fresh apples we picked from our trees last fall. I made cooked apples to put on top of the waffles. I used the last of my pumpkin pie spice so I mixed up another jar. I had about 1/2 cup pumpkin purée left so I threw it in a yeast roll recipe. Makes for pretty golden rolls

    -I used the leftover cooked apples in brown sugar from the waffles on top of oatmeal one morning. I added some walnuts as well. It was yummy!

    -I just read somewhere that 30% of food is wasted in the US. It has gotten too expensive to waste, I am trying to stay very diligent. I can always freeze what’s not eaten for another meal. Case in point-yesterday we had leftover spaghetti sauce over fresh cooked macaroni for lunch and leftover from the freezer pheasant wild rice soup for supper with fresh made rolls. Quick and easy meals while I was canning and making bread. And no waste. I keep a list on the front of the refrigerator of the leftovers inside. I also list the date it was put in the refrigerator. On the freezer I list frozen ready made food so I know what easy meals I have. It works well for me to keep using the extra.

    -I made a baby blanket from flannel and minky fabric. I gave that and a soft book I already had sewn for a gift. There is a locally owned fabric and craft store nearby that carries the panels for the fabric books. In their weekly add they have a 40% coupon off a non sale item. The panels rarely go on sale. Next trip I will pick up another one. It is a great way to use up scraps of quilt batting, even small scraps as they can be pieced.

    Have a great week!

    1. Wow, Julie, you just upped my motivation! My sister asked me what I could possibly be canning in the middle of winter and I told her I had bags of frozen tomatoes to can, a big bucket of pie cherries in the freezer, and I also bought two 15 pound bags of potatoes to can. Just canned another round of chicken stock (liquid gold) and 12 quarts of meat chili to use up some older frozen ground beef. I find it very therapeutic and so satisfying to see the jars in the shelf. In these days, it is especially reassuring. I need to organize my time better…a skill that has petered off since th nine kids left home.

      1. Laura S, canning food renders it shelf stable and very easy to use. I can much of our food- veggies, pickles, jam, syrups, fruits, meats, soups, legume beans, and potatoes. It is cooked and a meal can be thrown together easily. Good for you to start getting things canned in the winter. Next week, I will be doing some strawberry jam and Brandie’s cherries.

  43. Hi everyone! We topped off our gas tanks on our way home from work almost every day this week(we each drive about 30 miles each way). This allowed us to take advantage of lower (ish) prices while they were still around. Gas is now $4 a gallon here. It was 3.19 about three weeks ago.
    I planted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sugar snap peas, kale and lettuces in the garden. I dont typically do a spring garden, but in light of the current state of affairs in the world I thought it wise. If the cabbage does well I hope to try my hand at making my own sauerkraut. I also found a farm store in the county south of here that sells bulk seeds. I was able to get over 500 onion bulbs for about $7. We have the space, so I figured why not? We can always share with neighbors.
    I also bought bulk corn seed and seed potatoes for a very reasonable price. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do.
    In order to save electricity we instituted a new rule: no screens during the weekdays. The kids were less than thrilled BUT we turned our living room into a Lego wonderland and they had a great time playing quietly while my husband and I read. They also seemed to wind down for bed more quickly. It was a nice and peaceful way to end the days.
    We have a Christmas tree farm and this year planted 1,100 trees. Last year we ordered our stock from a nursery out of state (we learned a lot last year) and everything died. This year we ordered our stock from the department of forestry and not only was everything healthy and beautiful, but it was a fifth of the price! They also took the time to give us some planting tips which helped a lot. We hope this will help us attract more wildlife around our property as well as bringing additional income in our retirement years. We plan to plant about 1200 trees a year from here on out. We should be ready to sell in about 6 years.
    For meals I made homemade cheeseburger “helper”, pork roast with mashed potatoes, meatless spaghetti, and we also had a smorgasbord night where we ate odds and ends from the pantry and fridge, which kept us from throwing out any food last week.
    For a while I switched to having my children eat the free lunch at school; but I noticed they were coming home hungry, and grouchy. I started packing their lunches again and noticed a vast improvement in attitude and ability to concentrate. Not frugal but important. Hope everyone has a great week!!

    1. Sauerkraut is SUPER easy to make. It’s literally salt and cabbage. You will just want to figure out what to put it in: a crock, or use those little spring lids that Ball makes now for making fermented foods.

      I hope we see some cabbage sales next week. I am the only one in my family who really likes sauerkraut and I would love to have some again!

      I wish you all the best with your Christmas tree farm!

      1. I didn’t know ball made those! I am definitely going to check that out! If I could just ferment them straight in the jar and not mess with crocks that would be awesome.

        1. I think they’re new. I saw them at Walmart just a couple of years ago. I bought two and stuck somewhere in the pantry. Now to find them!

          1. Me too, Brandy! I bought them last year and was just talking to my sister about cabbage sales and making sauerkraut! $.07/lb here up to 10 pounds! Time for me to find those jars and learn how to make sauerkraut!

        2. I saw directions for making sauerkraut in jars in a Better Homes and Gardens Canning and Preserving book. I made sauerkraut for the first time last summer following the directions and it worked out well. The book is pretty old, maybe 1960’s. I just fermented the product on my kitchen counter; depressed the mass of cabbage from time to time. Somewhat odiferous for a while but when it was ready, it was a simple hot water bath if I remember correctly. I’m not at home just now so not sure whether it was hot water or pressure canned. I just used regular lids to can it and they sat loosely on top during fermentation.

          1. I always ferment mine in a regular jar (sterilised with boiling water). I press it with a stone which I found outside and brushed and washed with clorox and then boiled for 15 mins (you only do that process once to sterilise the rock). I chop cabbage, rubb with appropriate amount salt, add carrots and ginger in shreds if I fancy and then cover the top with gauze. I press down the rock now and again to make sure that the cabbage stays under liquid. A couple of days on the counter and you taste it, pop a lid on and place it in the fridge. One needs no special equipment for sauerkraut.

    2. I make sauerkraut in a Firehouse Subs 5 gallon bucket. A plate with a foil wrapped brick to keep it submerged and salt is all you need.

  44. Brandy – you asked if we now hear more people talking about saving money amongst the rising costs – and it’s interesting. I certainly hear more people talking about it – but I’m not convinced that it has hit home as yet for most people. I think that it will more and more since now the price of gas has gone through the roof and is a tangible – one item cost that has finally hit home.
    I think that the rise in grocery prices is again, something that many read about or hear about on the news but – unless you have a large family – probably hasn’t really hit hard as yet. At least not in North America.
    Heating costs have been a big issue in the UK and Europe already this past Winter but it hasn’t been as bad here – yet. With being so close to the war and now realizing how reliant they are on fuel and grains from both Russia and Ukraine and with the prospect of having millions of refugees arriving, it must be especially worrying.
    I don’t think that we will experience the full impact here until next Winter – after the growing season. That is when we will experience the results of the lack of fertilizers, droughts & forest fires in some areas, and flooding in others, along with the continuing rise in the cost of fuel. Like a friend of mine who talks a good game about stocking up – I don’t think many – especially those of us who live in cities and expect stores to have lots of food on hand at a moment’s notice – will truly realize how serious it could be until then. My friend parrots the news reports but she’d rather buy herself her 30th pair of cheap shoes or her umpteenth cheap t-shirt from Old Navy than buy extra food. I warned her back in October about cat food – she has a large and fussy cat – but she will still complain about not finding what she needs as she never did properly stock up when she had the chance.
    I don’t think we will starve (unlike some) but I do think we will have to make some serious adjustments to our spending priorities, our lifestyles and to the type and quantity of food that we consume. It may be something simple like taking a lunch to work rather than buying it or it may be something more drastic like becoming vegetarian – or even just flexitarian. It could be that “car picnics” will remain popular. I laugh about turning into my grandmother – she always packed a snack or lunch and filled her thermos with tea when off out so that she didn’t have to buy something when hungry. There are plenty of park benches and picnic tables to use on my outings and – if I’ve saved a bit of money in this way then I will be able to afford the odd ice cream or fancy coffee as a special treat and not something expected each and every time.
    I’ll be interested in what others think and what their experience is with the reaction of family and friends to events.

    1. I totally agree!

      The one thing I have heard here, since joining some local groups, is a lot about rising gas and electric costs. People were talking about double and triple bills, and while they DID raise rates, it wasn’t as much as in Europe–and my bill was lower.

      I hope people try to use less, rather than just feeling like they have to work more. With rising costs, using less will save us more than just working more hours.

  45. Brandy, your lettuce is so beautiful! Tasty too, I’m sure.

    I haven’t posted any comments in months – just a patch of disorganization – but I have enjoyed everyone’s comments and the beautiful posts. We’re still at home, doing the usual things to save like making food from scratch, eating from the pantry, mending clothes, and growing greens in our unheated greenhouse.

    My husband sowed all our early seedlings in flats under lights in our basement. I’m winter-sowing herbs and flowers (lupin, calendula, cone flowers, alpine strawberries, clary sage, columbine, pinks, cosmos, zinneas, and tons of parsley) a new way for me. I’ve got a long row of pots in an unused bed in the vegetable garden, covered with heavy greenhouse plastic but no hoops and weighted. I love winter sowing and have tried lots of ways. I used to have a collection of about 130 gallon milk jugs I’d fill and sow each winter, but they’re cumbersome to keep watered in the spring, at least for my set up. I’ve also sown seeds in flats and put in the greenhouse, but we’re too full with edibles this year still growing to add flats of seeds. So unused beds it is. I’m hopeful, as it will be very easy to just lift up the cover and water the whole bunch if needed. Also, the greenhouse plastic is cheap and I have oodles of pots, so I don’t have to stint myself with sowing enough seeds for us, our parents, neighbors, and friends. I do love seeds!

    One thing I hope will be frugal – I’m sowing pajama bottoms for my four small boys out of flannel. Joann Fabrics had a nice sale plus a coupon, so I got 25 yards of flannel for about $60. Enough for a few pairs each for this year, plus Christmas too. I’m so tired of buying knit pjs that just get holes in them or look dingy quickly. The few flannel pairs the grandmas made for us have just been indestructible. I also bought matching t-shirts that arrived and seem quite nice at shirtchamp.com. They were about $3/shirt.

    I bought a couple of wool skirts, one from ebay for $10 (and from Talbots too! Very pretty), and a pretty gray/purple tweed from Savers for $3. Do you remember the picture of Sal’s mother, in Blueberries for Sal, as she’s canning at the end? She just had a run in with a bear cub, lost track of her child on the hill, still has oodles of berries to can, and the kitten romping in the spilled sugar on the floor, but she still has her patience and hasn’t lost it yet. She just looks so pretty in her brogues and skirt and sweater – I’m channeling her as I try my skirts and clogs and patience:).

    We were the happy recipients of many, many childrens books from my in-laws, and we open a box for a treat. This time it was Little Golden Books. When things are stored out of sight, it just make such a festival when they get brought out. Also with stockpiling presents. My mom had given the boys some washable ink pads for their stamps. After bad nights of sleep, we needed something fun today, so I got out three of the ink pads, kept the rest in reserve, and let them go to with their collection of old stamps.

    I found some wonderful prints by Carl Larsson on Pinterest, one of which was a windowsill with geraniums in terracotta pots. I had geraniums that needed some love, some terracotta pots, and a wishful windowsill. Now I have a bit of peaceful beauty with my pots, my pretty copper watering can, and my ancient but pretty wood cabinets. I just love how a beautiful picture can give so much practical advice sometimes!

    Oh! I enjoyed our first flowers in the garden. The witch hazel, snow drops, and first crocus are up here in Boston. I potted three snowdrops in a tiny pot and gave them to my mom, since hers are still hiding. She came up and brought me a brand new ceramic crockpot (I like the old fashioned kind with no programming – better for crockpot bread after skiing! Now I have two and can have soup and bread waiting for us) from Savers, $12, and a gorgeous blue and white soup tureen, $6. I’d been wishing for an easier way to serve soup at the table, and this looks so pretty with our blue and white dishes. Perfect for Lenten soups.

    Anyway, I hope you all have a beautiful and frugal week. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Sarah! I enjoyed your comment so much! I just loved it! Thanks.
      This year we have built a shed in our garage and I am in a process of arranging it to look a bit like a boutique. The kids section was first and my kids are now going pretend shopping in it. We got so much more use out of all toys, games and activities already! It is available, nicely displayed and, most importantly- forgotten enough to feel exciting but not enough to be left unused. All best to you in your lovely spring time!

      1. How nice of you, Kinga! The boutique is such a sweet idea. I hadn’t thought of that, but some of our basement shelves function that way too. What a lovely idea to make them so appealing!

        I dearly love my secret stash though of deeply hidden toys. The ones with the million pieces that break mama’s heart when they get taken out at the wrong moment, but that absolutely make the day magical when you pull them out at a good moment. I just went to Savers also and found some wonderful paper airplanes, building sets, and (gasp) Lego sets to stockpile for future gifts for the boys. All the best to you and wishing you much fun with your boutique!

  46. My neighbors brought over some canned goods the other day and one of the cans was pumpkin puree like what you would use for pie. What caught my eye was what was information printed on the top..that in many recipies you can subsitute the pumpkin puree in the following manner, for butter use 3/4 cup puree, for oil use 1/2 cup puree, for 1 egg use 1/4 cup puree. Hope this is helpful as the smaller pie pumpkins can be grown in containers thus helping to cut costs for many folks!!

    1. Thank you for the pumpkin puree substitution info. I have some in the freezer I have been wondering how I could use it without opening more.

  47. My husband and I are being very careful with what we spend. We are keeping track of every penny. We are thinking that he will have to start using the car as it is better on gas than his truck except when I need it for appointments. During the day I turn off all the lights and open all the shades. The only food we bought this week at the grocery store were bananas. We are using what we have at home. I think I am going to try growing some sprouts from seed we already have for some greens. We are going to make yogurt out of powdered milk. I plan to cook dried beans this week. We are food prepping today for this week. We cooked ten lbs of chicken leg quarters and we will make chicken salad for my husband to take to work. We will think of other things to do with it this week and I will make chicken broth. I am continuing to try to eat lots of vegetables. This week I will eat the vegetables that I have left in the fridge, in the freezer and I have two squash and 4 sweet potatoes. I notice it is really hard to stick to my diet when we go somewhere, visiting someone and come home hungry. I definitely need to food prep. We are using what we have on hand for everything. Our tax bill was huge. I’m glad we could pay it, but now we need to save for next year. We are tracking everything. I’m carefully reading everyone’s ideas and trying to use them as well. We really need to think before we drive anywhere because of the cost of gas. I need to make bread for my husband to take sandwiches to work this week. Next week should be better. But we will continue to be careful so we can save for future bills. We will need to pay land tax, septic clean out this year and anything else that comes up. Even though I am worrying a bit now, I remind myself that my worries are so small compared to people across the globe. I am grateful that we have food and a home and dishes and clothes to wash.

    1. Tammy, I have celiac and am allergic to dairy. About 80% of the time when I eat something prepared elsewhere, I’m really sick so I haven’t really eaten out for years. We have some Thermos brand stainless steel thermoses. They have a two-cup model and a three-cup size. If I’m going to be gone, I take food with me. I also make things like banana bread and muffins that I keep in the freezer so that it is easy to pull something out and take with me. I also take water, herb tea or my homemade electrolyte mix in a recycled glass bottle. Over many years of being gluten-free, I’ve learned that no food is worth being sick over. I wonder if keeping in mind all the benefits of eating the food from home would keep you motivated to bring your food with me. Food saved my life and I remember thinking when I was diagnosed that I thought “I just have to change the way that I eat.” I was so incredibly ill that I was relieved.
      I think as we all try to cope with escalating prices that taking a “picnic” with us will become more the norm.

      1. Judy,
        I really need to pack a “picnic” as well for when I go places. I was doing that, then got away from it. Eating out is too expensive. I don’t feel well when I do eat out anyway. Especially if I eat at a cheap fast food place. And waiting until I get home when nothing is prepared doesn’t help me either. I end up reaching for the easiest thing to eat. Usually not something on my diet if I didn’t prepare it ahead of time. I have brought food with me when we went to visit family. But, I planned it ahead of time. When I do that I feel so much better. I need to get my own thermos. My husband has one , but I haven’t got one yet. It is definitely on my list.

  48. Sounds like lovely birthdays.

    My most frugal accomplishment is also one I’m pretty proud of, I repaired a toilet. Not only do I have zero plumbing experience, but this is a 1959 vintage toilet that a few years ago a plumber, to the tune of $300 declared unrepairable so I’d stopped using it (it’s the second bathroom). That always bothered me because toilets all work basically the same. I knew that much. What I found out was being vintage made a huge difference. I ended up having to order a part not made anymore from a mom and pop place in Tennessee, and overcoming my fear and sawing a pipe in half to remove it. I even rebuilt the whole thing so it saves water. It cost about $20 in parts and I gained a toilet. Ta da!

    I don’t eat a lot of meat anymore due to expense, but got some on sale for tacos and taco salads, which I’ve been wanting.

    Washed the car on the lawn so as to water the lawn at the same time. It’s mostly weeds due to drought, but they still have their winter lush green, so keeping it going awhile more.

    Turned down the heat to no more than 62 most of the time. We had some warm days, so no need for more than take the chill off.

    My cat was diagnosed with a thyroid issue, so spent a day pricing meds and found a place out of state for 50% less than my vet.

    Read the nyt free from my library and saw an article that likely explains a vision problem (head injury as a kid), so excited to ask dr given we’ve being trying to solve. No dr ever asked me if I ever had a head injury!

    1. How clever to research and repair the toilet! I worry that I’m going to mess something up worse, so leave it all for handy hubby, but I love that you dove right in!

      1. Trust me, I had to really work up to being brave about it. Especially when I realized I was going to have to saw an old pipe off to remove it. I had a father and husband that could fix anything, both have passed, so I decided I just have to dig down for some courage and just do it. I’d grown up handing tools to dad and decided some of that knowledge hopefully rubbed off on me. Getting it right didn’t happen on the first try, but I learned with every glitch. Gave myself a gold star for fixing something a pro said was unfixable, and saving the cost of a new toilet!

  49. 1. My husband is helping me eat the food from the freezer while in FL. We have reduced the amt by 50% & have eaten out very little. I put some tough cooked pork in the crockpot w/ a can of tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, onion powder & garlic salt. It made a tender & delicious pulled pork meal.
    2. We did go to Olive Garden for lunch. I used a gift card to pay for most of the bill.
    3. I found a metal cart in the trash room. It needs a repair. My husband can fix it & use it to haul his fishing gear in. I can then regain custody of my small hand cart that he has confiscated.
    4. Hubby fixed the tail light on our car. It is an old car & he couldn’t find a new tail light.
    5. Husband fixed the flush valve on my friend’s toilet. He then sprayed our condo & the next door neighbor’s unit for bugs. (Florida is home to many pests.)
    6. Not frugal: my cat is boarded in Texas while we are gone. I love my pet & I want him taken care of so that is one of the prices of pet ownership. Usually my sister keeps him but she is moving & is busy.

  50. Thank you so much for all of your comments. I feel continually torn. My husband was laid off a year ago (5 years before retirement). He has had contract work, but it is unsure how long it will last. I’m torn between saving money and stocking up. I have celiac disease and am allergic to dairy. I’ve learned I have to eat very carefully or I feel really rough. I don’t eat out. I don’t buy packaged foods, and I cook from scratch, but my dietary needs are tricky and expensive.

    I wanted to share that a friend of mine told me on Saturday that a local food chain (Macey’s in Utah) told the Utah County Beekeepers Assoc that sugar will double in price in the next two weeks. We don’t use a lot of sugar–basically for water kefir. I do buy some gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips so I got some of those. But we can always live without them. Early in our marriage, my husband used to make chocolate chips cookies on Sundays without the chocolate chips because money was so tight. We may have to go back to that.

    I also wanted to share a resource that may help some. There is a book called “Emergency Food in a Nutshell” by Leslie Probert. She lives local to me and I’ve heard her speak. Even though it doesn’t address special diets, she has a list of basic foods and what you can cook with them. Then she shows that if you add a few things like yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc. how many more things you can cook. Then she has ideas of other things like dried veggies, bouillon, etc. and all the main dishes you can cook. In the bread section, she shows what you would need to store to make a loaf of bread a day. All the recipes are 100% food storage. I know that the people in this group are very savvy. Also, Brandy has recipes on her website that also fill this need, but I wanted to pass this along in case it is helpful. (Though again it doesn’t address special diets, but I was able to take her ideas and adapt them for my needs.)

    Tomorrow I’m going to bottle some broth I made. I’m also getting all the onions, potatoes and squash that I bought from farmers in the fall processed that I’ve had in the garage. I appreciate the ideas on adding lentils to ground beef after I get the produce in the garage used canning lentils and beans is on my list.

    I’m so appreciative to all of you for your suggestions. I’m trying to make the most of what I have to meet my special dietary needs. Thank you again.

    1. Judy,
      I feel your pain! I cannot tolerate even the smallest bit of gluten, either. The last bag of Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 flour we bought was almost $50 for 25 pounds, and that was a good deal. I use it sparingly. Thankfully, I can do dairy, but I’m a type 1 diabetic, so need to eat lots of meat and veggies, rather than the typical beans and rice that are inexpensive, as many do to save money. I also eat so little bread that one loaf can last me a month or more, which is a good thing because gf bread is around $6 a loaf. That’s a lot, but what are you going to do, right? So, like you, we just are making the best of it, growing what we can, canning and preserving, and so forth. I buy chicken on sale, in bulk, and so far it’s remained affordable around here. Beef, we buy by the 1/4 every fall. Hang in there! I know it’s tough sometimes when you feel like you are over a barrel and have to do something a certain way. It sounds like you are doing a great job with the resources you have.

      Thankfully, my husband just bought 50 pounds of sugar. Your comment about the rise of sugar prices makes me doubly glad! We had discussed what we needed for canning this summer and I sent him out to gather those supplies–vinegar, sugar, lids, pectin, canning salt, etc. We’ve been able to get jar lids lately, from Walmart, but the prices are really up again. I don’t know if they are ever going to go back down, but for us, it’s a lifestyle that we want to continue, so we bought another case. All of the gardening, gathering from my sister’s farm, etc. will do us no good if we have no way to preserve it, and I often fill over 1,000 jars each summer so it takes a lot of boxes. He’s also grabbing them for any of the relatives who want him to–last summer it was so tough to find any, at any price, by July. His 89-year-old mother wanted to can peaches, and we had to give her lids as she could not find any, at any price, in any store. (I will state that I did offer to can them for her, but she wanted to do it–I wonder where he gets his independent nature from?) He started buying for this season last fall, and we are well-supplied now, for whoever needs them.

    2. Hi Judy, there is a website called azure standard.com that not only sells wheat flour and seed, but also special flours in different amounts. My friend cannot eat gluten and she took a look and said that some of the prices are better than what she gets elsewhere. If you pick a drop off point in your area (where they bring orders for people in your area to one central location), there is no shipping charge. If anyone is interested, please use ValerieFernandez with a number 1 right after the “z”, no space. If I type it out, it looks like a letter instead of number. My friend will earn some points, and it would help her immensely. Hope this helps a bit.

  51. We are praying for the situation in Ukraine, as well. It puts my life, and my small “hardships” into perspective, and they no longer seem hard to me.

    Our grocery prices are going up, along with the rest of the nation. Gas, too, of course. I’m determined to stay within our budget as long as possible. I did a large grocery shopping trip this last Friday and I saw items I normally buy rise in price, just in the 2 weeks since I had last shopped. I was surprised to pay close to $5 for 2 bunches of celery. It’s usually quite inexpensive. I’ve been shopping every 2 weeks lately, mainly because I find it saves time. It also saves me some money, as I use my stored food more, especially on the second week. I use all fragile produce up the first week and rely on head lettuce, carrots and celery, and my home canned and frozen veggies the second week. I used a $10/off $50 coupon and several digital coupons. My aunt gifted me a good chunk of her Bottle Drop money. She says it just keeps building up on her account and she never remembers to spend it. I helped her out with that, happily! I withdrew the amount she told me to withdraw, and I used the 20% plus feature, to turn it into even more groceries. I used it on some of those expensive hygiene supplies, such as deodorant, diapers for the baby, and some items my daughter needs to take with her when she goes to work at a camp in a couple of weeks. It really helped a lot, and I was very thankful for her thoughtfulness. I have a few dollars left of what I like to spend every 2 weeks in case I run out of something vital. I usually like to spend $50 each week and use my additional $100 for stocking up, bulk orders, or expensive things I run out of. ($300 total). I’d love for it to be less, but eating for a gluten-free diabetic is more expensive. Also, we feel a lot of people regularly and some of them have special eating needs, as well. So I do the best I can and feel very grateful that we can get what we need.

    I love that you are getting lettuce and a few other veggies already. It’s the difference between your climate and mine. But, I’ve had a little triumph! Just a few seeds are starting to poke up from my “gambler’s crop” I put in a few weeks ago. It was too early for some of the things I planted, but I wanted to try. My peas and snow peas, some boc choi, winter lettuce seeds, a tiny bit of spinach and the kids’ radishes are poking up. I had almost given up on the lettuce, especially. No sign of carrots, beets or chard, yet.

    We spent an afternoon up at Silver Falls State Park and my husband took our daughter’s senior pictures. We did not hike down to the main waterfalls, but instead just walked around and took photos with the forest scenery, interesting trees and some of the architectural buildings that were built during the depression. He also took a few on a covered bridge we drove to. He’d like to get a few at the beach, but I don’t know if that will happen. We haven’t done our final selections, or edited them, but I put a few of the choices on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. He’s been taking the kids’ senior pictures for the past several years and has branched out to a few other relatives children, as well. He seems to have a knack for it and we all benefit from it!

    We’ve enjoyed taking the kids to the park and for walks on the days it isn’t raining. I took Jake, my nephew, to the library for the first time in a long, long time and he loved it. It was a true treat for him. Now that Covid is backing off a little, I can take him out more, and I’m excited about that.

    We found bone-in chicken breast for 99c/lb. Rob de-boned it and we froze the meat in meal-sized packages. I boiled the bones and we canned broth. We got 7 quarts and 14 pints of broth.

    We spent some time transplanting little peppers this evening. There’s lots to do out in the greenhouse right now. We also got it all watered, which takes some time at this point. I save empty milk jugs and juice containers, fill them up from the faucet and we use those to water with. Last year, Rob rigged up a mini sprinkler system to water it all at once, which can be put on a timer, but that is not yet set up for this year. Soon…. We always grow as many of our veggies as we can. I’m glad we’ve built those skills over time.

    On one of our walks with the baby, someone had set out 2 plastic bags with plants in them. There was a sign saying they were red tulips and were free. I tucked them into the bottom of the stroller to easily get them home and planted them in the flowerbed where I have bulbs. They look a little scrawny, but they will probably grow fuller in a year or two. They won’t bloom this year. The daffodils we planted when we first moved here are blooming right now. They are pretty and provide lots of loveliness for the price of elbow grease–we got the bulbs when my sister needed hers thinned out. I tried to dig up the tulips in a certain flowerbed last fall. They were here when we moved in and I wanted them in a different place. Despite my best efforts, I missed quite a few. I will try to dig them up after they bloom:).

    1. If I hadn’t covered the lettuce with glass jars, I wouldn’t be harvesting lettuce yet. The little bit of extra warmth makes a difference!

  52. We have been in a declared state of emergency due to the floods and devastation caused. The generosity of people is amazing.
    I was given two new rolls of high quality childrens themed wrapping paper.
    My family was given a meal of lasagne and black forest cake.
    I received a potted orchid which is in bloom.
    My family was provided with morning tea and we got to keep the leftovers.
    We were given banana bread, cookies and lamingtons.
    We have food shortages due to transportation issues (for example they can’t get milk from the dairy farms because roads are closed due to flooding etc). We have been eating from our storage, plus what we have been given and what we have picked from our garden.
    I’m grateful we have electricity. A few days without was challenging. I am grateful my family is safe. I’m grateful for our community for coming together during tough times.

    1. So glad to hear that you are safe! I have been reading about the terrible flooding in Australia as I follow a few Australian bloggers. As we discovered when our province of British Columbia experienced some terrible flooding in the Fall – it isn’t just the initial impact – it is the aftermath. No roads or rail lines – either blocked or in need of repair – no power and/or no drinking water – and these issues can go on for weeks! I hope that things improve soon for all those affected.

    2. Annie-Blake, I’m sorry you have had to go through this and glad it is over. Your story should serve as a reminder to all of us why we store food and try to be prepared for anything–because “anything” can and does happen. I’m not expecting a zombie apocalypse, but illness, weather emergencies, job losses, etc., happen to all of us. Covid happened! Just this morning, I was thinking about an LDS woman I knew many years ago. She had a baby who had medical problems. They ate every bit of their food storage in about a year because she had neither the time nor money to shop for groceries while she cared for their son. I’ve said before that my own food storage began after an epic snowstorm (I am not LDS) but Sandy’s experience with her baby (who later died) caused me to ramp it up. And then there were a few months of unemployment and the ice storm…well, you get the idea. I’m glad you are all safe.

      1. Thank you Maxine. Preparation is key. It’s easy to be complacent when we are too busy. But in times like these my storage and garden is worth all the effort and time I continually dedicate to it. We have so many pineapples, pumpkins and bananas at the moment! I am grateful for the abundance.

  53. With the staggering rises in food and gas prices here, I can’t really say I saved money this week. Sales on staple foods here are almost non-existent. Out of 4 grocery stores, only 2 had sales on staples. So I scored colored bell peppers (CAD$2/lb or USD$1.56/lb), which I dehydrated, and, chicken breasts, which I pressure canned (CAD$4/pint or USD$3.13). My mind boggled when I noticed dry beans at Walmart for USD$1.35/lb (CAD$1.74/lb)! —wow, that’s almost double a year ago!
    For those who keep track of gas pricing, I did the math and here in Vancouver Canada gas is the equivalent of $6.23USD per US gallon (or, $2.10/litre in Canadian).
    We are retired and can weather this. But,oh my, I feel for so many struggling young families who have never faced lean times. The learning curve is steep and harsh when one has to learn new skills all at once. In retrospect, I am belatedly grateful for tough years when my kids were younger where they learned frugality early as a life skill. When you mention Winter’s thrifty ways, Brandy, I sense you take the same comfort in her prudence and skills. Well done!
    Here’s to hoping the next week is less tumultuous and troubling in the world. Prayers for Ukraine.

  54. Your pictures are always so beautiful! I feel like this past week went by so fast. Yesterday I came out of Kroger, got gas at their station and paid $3.99. Ran to Walmart, was in there 20 minutes and when I left all gas stations had shot up to $4.25 a gallon. I couldn’t believe it. I guess I “saved” but $3.99 is not the price I want to pay for gas! About 2 weeks ago my step mom gave me a card. She had covid and had been in the hospital for 11 days. I was pretty much her caregiver, errand runner and taking her to the dr, etc. When I came home and opened the card there was a $1,000 gift card to Kroger and $500 to Walmart. I couldn’t believe it. I called her to tell her how it was not necessary but after some debating back and forth I thankfully accepted them. We have been using the Kroger ones for gas and groceries. The first thing I did was I sat down and made a major stock up list. I bought lots of baking products, dawn dish soap and some needed household items that I had been putting off buying like bath towels. It has been a tremendous blessing. We are very stocked up. Our Walmart is still very, very low on pasta. Also, dog food aisle was very low. I have been debating on buying another small chest freezer. I am just not sure. It will be more electricity and we are limited on space in our basement. I continue to do all my daily money saving things like using rags instead of paper towels, lights off, using leftovers or making sure they get put in the freezer. I also reorganized my small basement freezer and fridge freezer. We are starting to get eggs again. Meals made in the last week are sloppy Joe’s and fries, chicken tacos, lasagna bake. We had several small bags of different french fry products that we used up so there were choices and the family liked that. The leftover chicken tacos are being remade into enchiladas tonite with leftover enchilada sauce I had found in my freezer. When I make lasagna bake it uses 8 ounces of cottage cheese. I always freeze the rest of the container because no one will eat cottage cheese. It’s fine to use frozen in the lasagna. Also made chocolate chip cookies, a big pan of biscuits and gravy that we had over several days for breakfast. I have cooked so much I am sick of my own cooking! My husband and I were at a Walmart at the next town over and I found a cute purse on clearance for 10 bucks. I also found very nice quality Christmas cards marked down to 50 cents a box. I bought 3 boxes. My daughter bought a Aerogarden on clearance for $30, also at Walmart. She loves hydroponics and grows these for FFA at school. It came with 3 herb pods and they are growing quite well. I am going to give gardening another try this year. The only thing I am going to grow is green beans because we eat so many. I have one garden box I am going to plant with all beans. I continue to be amazed at the price increases. Last Monday I was at our Walmart and paid $1.58 for a 2 pack of Walmart brand cream cheese. 2 days later on Wednesday I was in there again and the same cream cheese had went up to $2.88! I wish I had bought more! I am hoping we see some good Easter sales but I am not really too hopeful. I am very curious to see what they will price butter at. Usually it is $1.99 but I dont expect to see that price. I only have 10 pounds of butter left in my freezer so I hope there is some kind of deal. It is such a blessing to me to read here every week!

    1. What a wonderful gift from your step mom. I am sure she was delighted to have a chance to help you and your family out with your homemaking as well as say thank you for all of the help you’ve given her.

  55. We filed our federal taxes using a free software (freetaxusa) and played around with the 2021 amount we contributed to our HSA to adjust our refund appropriately. It increased our refund by almost $3,000 to set aside some money for future health expenses.

    We’ve been enjoying the world of copycat recipes. We’re a small family of 5, but even cheap fast food is easily $50 for a meal. This past month we’ve nailed KFC fried chicken, Taco Bell potatoes, burgers, Subway sandwiches, and fancy pizza (finally! I’ve found a pizza I can make that EVERYBODY will eat!), each for approximately $10 or less. These meals are more expensive than others, but it helps us feel that we are living a life of luxury! My favorite lesson is that McDonald’s hamburger patties are 1/10th of a pound of beef. I weigh out 1.6 ounces on my scale, put down plastic (usually a ziploc bag I’ve stored the meat in and choose not to wash and reuse) and use a rolling pin to roll it very thin. Salt it and throw it in the pan and it cooks so fast! I used to make homemade burgers with 1/4 lb patties, so this is a significant savings.

    I made lasagna using no meat and a bechamel sauce instead of ricotta.

    We’re in the weird place of expecting to move this summer, but not yet knowing where (still searching for a job). I’m trying to figure out how to eat down some of our food storage, rather than stocking up or preserving it, while maintaining my two week supply. Instead of panic about how I’ll replace it when we move, I’ve decided to trust that the Lord will provide as I do my best.

    My son rode the bus home three days last week instead of getting picked up; with gas prices going up this now saves us $0.80/day.

    We decided to Zoom into a meeting at our stake center which is a 45-minute drive away. I almost decided to cancel my reservation to go to the temple for the second time this week, as it will cost over a gallon of gas to get there and back, but decided the temple is worth two gallons of gas a week. In the future I will try reserving different ordinances for the same day so that we can do the same amount of temple work with less driving.

    I used leftover Butter cookies from the freezer (someone gifted us a MASSIVE tin at Christmas) to make the topping for an apple pie. I also used cookies with some leftover cream and strawberries to make an icebox cake of sorts.

    Thank you, Brandy, for providing this little haven in your corner of the internet. I always feel uplifted when I see your site and it makes me want to turn outward and be happier to share it with others.

    P.S. We do birthdays quite differently! Every summer for the past three years the kids chose a week to celebrate “family birthday”. Each person makes or purchases a gift for every other member of the family, and we spread out the gift giving in rounds over the course of a day or two or three. We choose a fun meal or a fun activity to do together. Then on the actual birthday, the person chooses what to make for dinner and a dessert and we sing. So simple and yet it makes such good memories! My kids’ birthdays are all at the end of the year. They love not waiting for gifts!

  56. Brandy the way you celebrate kids birthdays sounds so lovely. We get together with the same group of friends once a week so for birthdays we simply bring along cupcakes! Easy and the kids feel celebrated.

    We stayed home a lot last week which saved on gas (now $4 a gallon). My daughter enjoyed staying the night at her grandparent’s house as an outing.

    My husband discovered a free app on the tv called kanopy that uses your library card to subscribe. Unfortunately our library doesn’t participate but I wanted to mention it for those that might be interested. We did find the movie he wanted to watch on tubi which is another free app.

    We had to replace our washer but used a coupon for 10% off and also received free delivery. A customer of ours was the sales rep so he gave me an honest review of the two machines we were considering. I was grateful that delivery took less than a week. I have heard so many stories of people waiting months for appliances.

    Meijer offered a $10 off $30 purchase if you used shop and scan. You basically scan your groceries on the app as you shop then it gets uploaded to a checkout machine up front when you are done. While I wouldn’t choose this option normally for $10 off I gave it a whirl. My mother in law gifted us a $40 gift card to Meijer that she wasn’t going to use so I was able to get a good deal of canned foods to fill in some gaps in my food storage. I scanned $40 worth of products thinking the coupons were coming off the total as I went but was surprised when my total came to $26 with the $10 off and also some other coupons. I will go back this week because Meijer gave me $5 off $15 to use shop and scan again.

    My heart goes out to Ukraine. We are praying for everyone effected.

  57. Not the most frugal week ever here. Anytime Costco is included it gets bad. And this was a major Costco trip: 2 cases of wine, 50 lbs regular flour, 50 lbs bread flour, 50 lbs sugar, better than bullion, salt, baking soda, 20 lbs basmati rice, 20 lbs jasmine rice, tea, and batteries. I will share with a friend. Also picked up ½ price cat food and litter (on 15% military discount day) as they are rebranding and clearing out the old packaging. My husband requested peanut butter (I buy it by the case for him) and gathered a shopping list from the guys on his deployment so I sent an amazon order to them. They will reimburse my husband for their requests. I had credits from Russel Stover account, so I sent chocolates and candy for him to hand out to the guys at Easter as little treats. I feel so blessed to be able to pivot and stock when I desire and not have to worry.

    I drive a diesel and saw diesel at $5.04 this morning. Feeling blessed that I get 40 mpg but will still be opting to drive fewer miles.

    A Friend wired in a new outside light with a switch inside, so I won’t be fumbling in the dark anymore. I will install 2 more matching lights on the back porch. He also installed a motion activated light in the laundry room as the switch is on the other side of the room. Saved an electrician’s bill as my Friend works for wine and company.

    Another friend found 3 summer dresses with tags in my size at a yard sale and picked them up for $1 each. One dress had a $98 tag still on it – marked down!

    Took 2 days off work as a mental health break after a rough week. Grateful to have a stock of paid sick days to use when I desire.

    Cleaned out the junk/laundry room. 3 cans of garbage and uncountable buckets of hot soapy water later, the room is habitable. I bought cube organizers and new fabric cubes to spruce it up and make the storage less visible. $100 made a vast improvement. Took inventory as I went. Found a few holes (deodorant and dishwasher detergent), but everything else looks good. Might still consider more oil given what I am reading here.

    I wont do a garden this year as my husband is deployed. I might be regretting this decision later.

    Bought a mess of new picture frames to put up several years of family photos at Hobby Lobby for ½ price. Had 1 professionally matted as the pictures were an odd shape. Used traditional picture hangers as command strips are ridiculously expensive.

    Made chili, chana dal, and chicken Normandy. Given the price of fish this year, Lent menus will be primarily vegetarian.

  58. We are seeing gas prices of $5.20 – $5.60 per gallon locally and luckily can restrict our driving. For both health and cost reasons I have been serving more vegetarian main dishes for dinner and trying new ones. We were required to switch to time of use electricity billing so are adjusting when we run the dishwasher, etc. to do it during the lowest cost times. Also spent money replacing incandescent recessed ceiling lights with LED ones on rheostat switches. Will reduce electricity use and heat generated. I had forgotten we purchased a wedding gift from REI but received our member refund credit of $12.49 so I will either use it for clothing or natural disaster emergency supplies. Our HOA negotiated a new cable contract which reduced our bill by approx $82/mo but the HOA fee went up so I think we came out about $42/mo better off. Gasoline and electricity cost increase will be more than that but I am grateful.

    1. We saw how much our bill went down when we switched to LEDs. Lately, though, it’s been even lower, and we’re beginning to wonder if it’s saving us more than we calculated previously. We definitely broke even within a year!

      1. We have been converting lights in stages and this will get us about 75% LED including lamps. Still have some lights in the house and the garage to do as the next phase.

  59. Thank you to everyone who sent encouraging words, especially Judy for her private email with medical suggestions as to what we could do for my husband now that he is home from the hospital and recouping from Covid pneumonia. We are doing almost all of her recommendations and it has definitely sped his recovery.
    *NEED ADVICE: The hospital bills are pouring in, oh my. My stomach begins churning every time I open one of the envelopes. We were advised by one of the nurses to wait and negotiate the bills to get a lower price. That is what I am going to do – walk-in with cash in hand and see what I can get. If anyone else has done this, I would love some advice.
    *I have been reading everyone’s comments and going back to look for more ideas. We have spent money as it grows on trees; however, it is the reason why we have been frugal for so many years. The biggest emergency we have ever faced up to this point (husband in the hospital for two weeks and almost dying from Covid pneumonia) was made much easier by having a pantry fully stocked and an emergency cash fund saved.
    *I am now in what I call, “serious poverty mode” which is how we lived for many years when my boys were young. We were right above the poverty level, too rich for assistance and too poor to eat. We were the working poor. I am doing many of the frugal things I did then that slowly brought us to financial success. I revert back to this style of living whenever we are hit with a financial hardship.
    *I am visiting multiple stores once a week early in the morning and walking down every aisle looking for manager specials. I tell myself I am on a treasure hunt. This week I found:
    -Kroger: Blackeyed peas’ new regular price is $1.69 per pound but they were on a manager’s clearance for $.69. It was too good to be true so I asked customer service. They had ordered them for New Year’s Day (southern tradition to eat blackeyed peas and hog jowl on New’s Years Day to bring good luck) but the shipment arrived late. They were marked down. I got about 25 one-pound bags (left some for others) then went back the next week later and got the remaining 20 bags.
    -Dollar General: Hunt’s canned tomatoes $.45. I didn’t think that was a fantastic price even with the extra $5 off $25 coupon because last summer they were $.35 per can at Aldi. I walked to the canned vegetable aisle and the new regular price is $1.10 per can. The generic brand is $.70! So I bought 32 cans since they didn’t expire for a long time. My tomato crop failed last year due to getting 12 inches of rain in one day.
    -Priceless: Roast beef was marked down to $5.00 per pound. That was HALF OFF! Who can afford $10 per pound for roast beef? I bought two, divided them in half, froze 3 of the quarters, and then made stew in the crockpot. We added twice as many vegetables as in the past.
    *Went to Dollar General stores to do the $5 off $25 coupons. I made a detailed list with the price, coupon amount, Ibotta rebates and then had to visit two different stores before I could find everything. I had saved my extra store receipt with an extra coupon from the week before.
    *Making serious lists, not just regular lists, but serious lists of every single way we can save money. I consider the time I spend saving money as if it were a job and I am being paid by the savings. The to-do lists are sitting on my laptop beside my favorite resting chair. Whenever I sit down, I see the lists.
    *In the garden, the remaining plants have come back to life since the sun is returning. I have harvested – 5 different kinds of kale, 2 kinds of Collard greens, Brussel sprout leaves (never makes little round balls for me), 3 kinds of mild mustard greens, 2 kinds of cabbages, Swiss Chard, and endive. A few have begun bolting so my goal this year is to do better at saving all of the seeds possible. Two of my sons have begun experimenting with sprouting seeds so they can have fresh greens cheaply. Not all seeds can be sprouted – tomato, pepper, eggplant, and milo are poisonous.
    *My biggest accomplishment was shoveling the trailer load of manure all by myself onto the garden. Bill used to be able to do it in 2 and 1/2 hours but he is much too sick. I got a small rolling trailer and worked some every day until it was all moved. I hauled it one small load at a time and felt proud of myself after I did it! Girl power! He will also not be able to plow and I can’t wait for the boys to get time off work to help so I have begun turning over small areas with a pitchfork. Since the beds haven’t been walked on, it isn’t that hard it’s just a lot to do. I also planted seeds for – collards, lettuce, endive, green peas, spinach, chard, Chinese greens, and onions. It is a bit early for my area but they were my old saved seeds and worth the risk.
    *Life is different now. My husband continues to improve. We have completely changed roles. He is able to do some house chores (dishes, laundry, sweeping) and I am doing his chores outside. We both appreciate the other more now.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2022/02/februarys-garden-2022.html
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. Jeannie, I’m glad your husband is recovering. Yes, wait until all of the bills come in and negotiate then. Use your own judgment, but I would probably not walk in with cash to cut a deal. For one thing, you will be telling them that you have a pot of money right now. They may decide if you have it now, you’ll have more later.

      My son broke his collarbone and needed surgery while he was unemployed. Fortunately, his insurance hadn’t run out yet! But he was left with an amount he absolutely could not pay. He contacted the hospital, filled out all the forms, and they wrote off all but $1,200 of the bill if he would agree to pay $100 month for a year. Which he did. My point in mentioning this is that most hospitals have procedures already in place and you MAY do better if you just go through their process first. A payment plan, vs. giving them all of your cash, might help cash flow.

      I know what you mean about pulling in your black frugal belt as tight as it will go. We had to do this several times when our kids were growing up, usually because of my husband’s health issues (I understand what you are going through). However, think about what you are buying. How long will it take you to eat all of those black eyed peas? (OK, I admit it, it would take me forever, LOL). This might not be the time to do too much stocking up. I agree that prices are only going up, so there are good reasons to buy now, but through many emergencies it has helped me to only laser focus on one thing at a time. JMHO. Do what works best for you.

      1. Maxine, you have just given me the advice I needed. I will keep my cards close to my chest and see what the hospital offers. They might be charging outrageous prices just to see how much they can get from people. You might have just saved me a fortune!
        By the way, black-eyed peas are my husband’s favorite peas and my sons are using them to grow sprouts. I will probably be sharing some with others. One of my tightwad goals is to try to eat some kind of bean every day or at least keep them either canned or in the refrigerator ready to eat.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    2. WOW! You could give lessons in frugal living Jeannie and how to adjust to life’s curveballs. Sorry can’t help with your question about medical bills as I live in Canada but I do wish you good luck and a speedy recovery for your husband.

      1. Margie from Toronto, my husband gave me the choice after our first son was born to either go back to work or stay at home and live within his income. Mathematically, it was impossible and no one thought I could do it. Bill had good benefits but not a good salary. We had lots of bills and not much saved. However, I was determined to stay home with my three boys and ended up homeschooling them until they went to college. I think I learned more than they ever did. If I had it to do over again, I would have chosen different friends way back years ago. Almost everyone I knew was not frugal and did not encourage me like the people here on this site.
        Jeannie

    3. Jeannie: Was so sorry to read about your husband, but so happy he made it through and is on the mend!

      This was the most informative and inspirational post that I have read! What a warrior you are! I cried and thought what a mighty woman! Please keep us informed about your husband’s progress and yours in your quest to keep the home fires burning.

      God bless you and your family. Take care.

      1. CherylB, thank you for your kind words. It has been the darkest moment of our lives and it is only the prayers of others that got us through. I cry easily now when a person, even a stranger in passing mentions someone they have lost. We are still trying to evaluate our lives and decide what are we here on this earth to do?
        Jeannie

    4. Jeannie, I’m so grateful that the things that we tried with my brother have helped your husband. My brother has applied for patient’s assistance for his hospital bills in November. He hasn’t heard yet. He has been unable to work and his job didn’t have any sick leave, vacation, etc so he has been off work. That may be to his advantage. My doctor brother said that hospitals write off a great deal. My brother’s first hospitalization was the end of November. He hasn’t paid anything. He’s waiting to hear on the patient’s assistance if that is denied, I asked my doctor brother (since he understands the system) if he would take that on. We’ll see what happens. The hospitals get a great deal from the government for Covid hospitalizations. I would apply for patient’s assistance. Then if you have anyone with understanding of the medical system, I’d see if they can help you navigate. Hospitals also have social workers–maybe they can help you figure out what you might be able to do. When our son was seriously injured when he was 10, he was life flighted and had surgery. He had 15 different medical providers. I wrote all of them a letter and expressed my appreciation for their care of our son and I asked them if they would accept what the insurance paid as payment in full. One physical therapist never sent a bill and the orthopedic surgeon forgave $1,500.

      1. Judy, the medical information you sent me was exactly what we needed. I think it is one of the reasons Bill has improved so quickly. I have already copied your email and passed the medical links on to other people.
        It is the waiting for the bills to arrive and the uncertainty that is stressful. There is no telling how high the total will be. I am taking notes from the advice everyone is giving.
        Thank you again.
        JeannieI

    5. It’s been six years but here’s what I did when I had pulmonary embolisms and spent 10 days in the hospital with follow-ups to a lung specialist etc. Many of the people you’ve dealt with are not going to bill right away. I worked in hospital and doctor office billing and know first hand that many things can hold up bills being sent to insurance. Make sure that all those who provided services have your insurance information.
      ONCE the bills are paid by insurance: If you can afford to pay a bill off in full, ask for a discount. Most will allow 10% unless the amount being charged is deductibles and those you will have to pay in full. Please wait until insurance has paid all they will before you make payments. Hospitals are a lot quicker to take money than they are to refund it! Make sure you answer all inquiries from your insurance carriers because that will insure they bills are processed more quickly. Carefully track your insurance paperwork. Your company will contact you as they pay bills and will NOT pay the full amount billed. Nor will you. You will pay what is allowed minus any deductible. Compare what your company pays to any billing you receive.

      A few specialists will agree to a greater discount and may even agree to your paying that in increments with it understood that say you pay off in three months or six months, etc. Most hospitals will work out a payment plan with you and if you’ve multiples of bills and I expect you shall have, your best bet is to be honest. Let them know that you want to pay the bill but you are strapped. Some may have solutions via organizations or funds that will help you cover costs. Most are going to be more than willing to work with you if you show good intention by following through on what you say you shall do. Now and then you’re bound to meet up with one hard hearted one who wants all money now and threatens you with collection agency. It’s not the most gosh awful thing that will ever happen. Most collections will work with you to work out payments as well and while it might hurt your credit score you can pay them off in time. That you are making payments will keep that credit score from sinking hard.
      Just be in earnest about paying these things, keep your word and you’ll find that still will carry you in most instances.
      And may I suggest what we also did? Each time I got a bill in the mail, I’d hold it up and pray “God…here you are. There’s another bill. I trust you to help us pay it.” I cannot tell you how often we’d get a gift of funds here and an unexpected discount there and refund from over yonder and that bill would be paid. We ended the year with NO unpaid bills.
      I’m so very glad that your husband is home and recovering well. Good luck with negotiations.

      1. Terri C, why haven’t I even thought about praying over the bills? Until you mentioned it, I had not even considered it. That is about to change! Years ago when money was so tight, I would pray before I went into each store to be shown what I should buy. That also needs to change. Shame on me!
        I will be following your advice along with what others are recommending. Navigating through this labyrinth will not be fun but will be easier with directions from those who have gone before.
        Thank you,
        Jeannie

    6. Jeannie – Many years ago, I had some extra medical expenses related to pregnancies. I was able to negotiate a 20% discount by paying cash. It was not an advertised option but I was very glad I asked. The hospital later discontinued that option but it helped us tremendously. I hope you can find a similar or even better option.
      You sound like one tough cookie and just the kind of person who will come through all these struggles even stronger. God Bless!

      1. Mountain Mama Dawn, I will ask them about that when I meet with them. Thank you for the information. One friend told me to threaten the hospital and say that I will pay $5.00 per week forever until it is paid and that will drive their billing department crazy. Writing a check every week forever would drive me crazy! I also don’t plan on threatening them. They provided a service, for which I am very grateful and will pay what I owe.
        I will keep everyone informed as to what happens.
        Jeannie

        1. They won’t take that. I heard you could pay less than $100 each month and they would have to take it but it’s not true. They will send it to collections. We had a bill years ago with no income and they were okay with our arrangement for a while and then decided they wanted more per month.

          And each bill wants that, so it’s one for the emergencey department, one for each doctor, one for each department in the hospital, etc. It can quickly be $500 a month with $100 going to each one.

          Definitely ask them about charity options if it is too much. Some hospitals have it and some do not, I have learned.

          1. Several years ago, I read on a frugal blog, perhaps this one, of a federal program that allotted a sum of money to rural hospitals that had been remodeled by the federal program. The money was to be used for people who couldn’t pay their bills, starting each January, and lasting until the money ran out. One had to know to ask for it.
            I am sorry I cannot recall the name of it, (I think it was named after two people? who wrote the legislation?), and can’t figure out a way to google it. It might even have ended. Can anyone help?

            1. The name of the program is the Hill-Burton Act and it is not just for rural hospitals. Every hospital in the USA that received federal funding to build or remodel their facility in the last 50+ years must participate. That would be virtually every hospital in the country! And, yes, the program does start over every Jan. 1. (I might be the person that posted about this, LOL). Hill-Burton money is likely the backbone of the hospital’s write-offs, not a separate pot of money. It doesn’t hurt to ask innocently, “Would Hill-Burton apply to this request?” Lets them know this ain’t your first rodeo, LOL.

              Brandy’s comments are well taken. Often you get separate bills from several entities. Try to consolidate as many as possible into your request. For instance, we receive separate bills from radiology and the hospital, yet they are the same entity.

              Again, I want to stress going through the hospital procedures first. (I used to work in hospitals, although not billing or collections). Your request may have to go through a committee, or there may be one person–not the person you would meet in the billing department–so be patient. It took 5 or 6 weeks for my son to get a response after he applied, but in the meantime he wasn’t expected to pay the bills.

              Good luck! Let us know how you come out.

            2. It is called the Hill-Burton Act and applies to every hospital in the US that has used federal funds to build or remodel facilities in the last 50+ years…not just rural hospitals. This would be just about every hospital in the USA! Hill-Burton usually is part of the charitable care budget and isn’t a separate pot of money. The Hill-Burton requirement starts over every Jan. 1.

          2. Brandy, I want to pay what I owe for the services we received. I understand it is a business and they must make a profit. But, at what point are they gouging me unfairly and taking advantage of our misfortune? Also, I don’t want to take charity from an organization if it means they cannot afford to help others who are needier than I. What is a fair price for me to pay? I know there isn’t an answer. It is like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet, not knowing any prices, and then being charged months later for what you ate, more if it was shrimp, less if it was rice. I am just trying to make sense of what I am to do.
            Jeannie

            1. I was charged $5000 for a couple of ivs. My nephew, who is a fireman, says they cost the fire department $4 each. What is a fair price, indeed? It’s not an easy question.

              1. Brandy, $5,000 for a few IVs!!!! Perhaps I am a bit naive! That is highway robbery! It seems my learning curve will be steep.
                Jeannie

            2. Jeannie, a fair price is whatever you can negotiate. Don’t ask for a cash discount if you are applying for financial assistance. (You may do this for other services, such as a doctor’s bill). Don’t pay the hospital anything until you have received a response to your request. And let the others (everyone else that sends a bill) know what you are up against.

              You have gotten a TON of good advice from everyone here! Especially Terri’s advice to pray over the bills! When you get it all settled (could be months from now), be sure to let us know how it all came out.

    7. Jeannie, I am so glad your husband is home and recovering. Take it easy and don’t overdo yourself either!
      My husband has been in and out of the hospital for years with chronic kidney conditions and other health issues. The only bill I pay up-front is the emergency room; they usually offer me 10% off if I pay the copay before we leave (which is around $150 usually.) I try to wait to pay anything else until the insurance has been billed. I also call if I think there is a discrepancy on the insurance side, which has happened. Ballad, our healthcare system, is quick to send the account to collections if you don’t pay within a very short time — around 30 days. It’s stressful!

      There have been years when he had back-to-back surgeries or extended hospital stays, and I couldn’t pay the bills all at once. The hospitals allowed us to pay on a payment plan. I told them what I thought I could pay per month (usually around $100) and they were willing to work with that. It takes a long time, and it always seems like he’s back in the hospital as soon as we finish paying one off, but I’m grateful for the times that we’ve been able to do that. Last fall, he had several oral surgeries and the oral surgeon does not allow payment plans. I had to charge those on credit, which I know is horrible and I don’t recommend. We had depleted our meager savings with his health issues, and did not have another choice. We are still paying that off while also trying to build up our savings again. But I add that to say, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Hang in there.

    8. Jeannie, please check with the hospital as most hospitals have a financial assistance program which often reduces the bill significantly (and can even wipe it out). Best of luck with this! So happy to hear of Bill’s progress. Continued prayers.

    9. Ask if they have a charity application that you could fill out and submit. It may take up 70% off your bills. I know this only because my daughter had some unexpected medical expenses and as a young adult she wouldn’t be able to pay those bills. We could certainly help but we also have 3 kids in college.

    10. Jeannie, it sounds as if you are finding a way to make this new normal work as well as possible. Your determination and resourcefulness are inspiring. I’m cheering you on!

  60. My previous wonderful cat Violet had to be put to sleep over a month ago. I did not think I’d be ready for another cat so soon but I really missed having a cat. So this week I adopted two 12-year old ‘bonded’ cats (brother and sister–they look almost identical) from the Tony LaRussa Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) near me. The fee to adopt a ‘senior’ cat (age 7 and above) is $50 each [regular adoption fee is $100 per adult cat] so I came armed with $100 for the twosome. But after I signed the contract, the volunteer told me that if you adopt two at the same time, they deduct $25 from each one! So my total was $50. But I gave them the other $50 as a donation, which made me–and them, I hope–feel good. Now I will take them to the vet for a checkup. (On a lighter note, someone once posted: I usually don’t like to post about expensive trips I’ve taken, but I just came back from the vet with my cat…) Now of course I will have to include vet trips, cat food, litter, toys, etc. to my budget but I do not mind at all!

    1. lulutoo – I’m so sorry to hear about your Violet, but congratulations on your two new siblings! I can’t imagine life without at least one cat in it. 🙂

  61. Enjoyed hearing about your birthday celebrations for your children. Thrifty actions include filling up the tank, before the price went over $4.00 a gallon, the next day (by luck), keeping meals within budget with a starch, lots of vegetables, and fruit in season for dessert. For entertainment taught my granddaughters how to thread a needle and cross stitch, set up the badminton net for games of badminton, kept a check on all growing veggies, flowers, etc, , and visited with neighbors on my walks through the neighborhood.

  62. What a wonderful birthday parties. I have learned with children, simple is best most of the time. Had a pretty good week on saving money – did not need many groceries. My brother in law is in the hospital, so I drove my sister the two hours there. I was so glad that I could help her out. They are a blessing to me and many others. Used the library and was able to get some things moved out of my house to free of space. I am on cat and dog duty this week for my nieces and sister. I am looking for bread recipes that don’t take yeast. I am not having a good experience with yeast, not really sure what I am doing wrong. Gas in West Tennessee is $3.99.
    Thank you Brandy and readers for your comments and money saving tips.

    1. Have you thought about soda bread using buttermilk? I make a very simple one that doesn’t need much work at all and tastes great. I use WW flour so to me it’s just like a regular bread.

    2. I make the focaccia bread from the budget bytes website. It does take yeast, but so little. You do have to let it rise 12 to 18 hours, but it is so good. I have made the bread, pizza crust, and cheesy garlic sticks with it. YUM!!!

    3. Hey Donna- Wanted to send you yeast / bread tips to see if this helps.

      A basic easy no knead recipe that I’ve been making is here https://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/no-knead-dutch-oven-crusty-bread-3/

      For water temp, I used to teach bread baking and the hint is “hot but no hurt”. Water temp for activating the yeast should feel like hot bath water but only hot enough you could get in it. If you can hold your hand under it, that’s good. If too hot to keep your hand under, its too hot. I also set a time for 10 minutes after combining the water and yeast. It should get foamy in those 10 minutes which means it’s living! I mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and then stir in the foamy water yeast mixture. It always works for me if I first activate the yeast with the liquids.

      I think no knead breads are wonderful, inexpensive and so delicious!

      Best of luck!

    4. Donna, for everyday bread I rely on simple 3 ingredient (flour, water, salt) flat bread that is cooked in a skillet on stovetop without any oil. Another delicious recipe is potato flat bread (it needs to be baked in the oven, though) 1 c mashed potatoes, 1 c flour, 1 egg, (salt). Mix everything. Divide in 4 on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with flour and pat flat. Prick with a fork before baking. Bake in hot oven until golden brown. (Instant mashed potatoes can be used as well)

  63. I can’t wait to eat home grown lettuce! We had another 2 inches of snow yesterday. I was a bit too optimistic that my grocery spending would remain the same; it almost doubled last week. I readjusted our budget and hope to be a more productive gardener this year to offset inflation. On Saturday my husband called before he left work to say that gasoline was $4.25 per gallon where he works. (It had been $3.79 all week!) I opened the gasbuddy app and looked up prices in our city. Meijer was still selling gas for $3.89 per gallon. We filled both our truck and van. I am only driving when necessary and grouping multiple stops together. Several years ago our local Kroger closed. Saturday evening my daughter had an activity in another city that I rarely visit. I stopped at their Kroger store and bought 30 pounds of hamburger @ $2.97lb. I also purchased several 32 ounce blocks of cheese for $5.99 each. I bought 3 pounds of pink lady apples for 2.49. I felt so grateful that these sales were going on at the time I could get there. I was finally able to get cat litter at Menard’s after 3 months of waiting. Their lightweight store brand is half the price of national brands. I bought 10. I am going to go through the childrens’ clothing and see where I need to fill in. They are all growing like weeds and I can’t put it off any longer. I bought my daughter a new spring dress for 12.99 at our new outlet store. I also bought my high school son a pair of new running shoes for track for 11.99! I am grateful that they opened this store as it has already saved me hundreds of dollars. I go in with a very specific list of needed clothing items and stick to it. I purchased 50 pounds of rolled oats for $35.00 at the mennonite store. Last fall I purchased the same item for $23.99. I priced bulk beans there and everything was about $1.69 per pound except organic white kidney beans; they were .60 per pound. I will be getting some of these when I shop this week. As always thanks to everyone who comments and gives me ideas to try. This year I have learned to roll over any unused money from the weekly budget right into savings from this blog. It is making a difference! I keep trying new things. I tried a new recipe for hamburger buns. It was 40 minutes from start to finish. They were delicious. Even my picky eaters raved about them. I will no longer buy hamburger or hot dog buns. It is fun to see how much I can make myself saving us gas, time, and reducing additives in our food.

    1. Deanna in Michigan- How did you shape the hamburger or hot dog buns? Is there a special pan or cutter? Id love to try it! Also, is there a special recipe you tried for them that you would be willing to share? That’s what I love about this blog!! All these new ideas- things to learn and ways to save!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  64. Brandy: the truth about energy production in the US can be found at EIA.gov. This gives an exact picture of what is happening in the energy sector. Mean this in no way to be political—just always helpful to know the truth and have facts. Seems price controls and restrictions which will lead to long lines at the pump and definite price jumps in commodities will be the fix administered by Washington.

    So, as they say in the South, “Go git dem beans and taters afore thar ain’t nary a one!” I love my people!

  65. Hello, frugal friends!
    Last week we had beautiful spring like weather here in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Unfortunately, it is now back to winter temps. My daffodils are sprouting so I hope they make it to the flowering stage. On the frugal front: I used $6 rewards at Food Lion to buy loss leaders, mostly produce and crackers. These earned me another $2 in rewards for my next shop where I will only buy some of their sale priced tuna, milk and maybe a few apples or oranges. When at Kroger last week they had a cart with cans of tuna for 4/$1. I bought a dozen as there were only about 3 dozen cans and there was an elderly gentleman hovering nearby to buy some. He looked like he needed to make his money stretch so I made sure I left plenty. I will share some of my cans with my daughter. I went to Walmart and found 2 boys jackets on clearance for $5 each. I bought the next size up for my grandsons to use next fall. They are not winter jackets but are fleece lined with sweatshirt material on the outside. Someone once mentioned on this blog how she prays before she shops. I want to mention that I do the same thing and have found when I do this I tend to shop more wisely and find better deals. I always ask God for focus and wisdom.
    I was talking with my daughter the other day and she was expressing how she is feeling worried and anxious given the current world situation/economy. She is a single mom with two young boys and only has her social worker income to live on. Her job requires her to use her personal car to transport foster children as afar as an hour away with no reimbursement for gas or wear and tear on her car. I told her my new motto is: “Don’t be scared. Be prepared.” Hopefully, she will follow mom’s advice. We have another motto in our family: “Mom is always right.” 🙂 Happy and blessed week my friends.

    1. I love your family motto! Ha ha! I think ours is: “Listen to Mom!” (because of what your motto is, lol!)

  66. I don’t remember ever decorating for a kid’s birthday party, either. You gave your girls just what they wanted, and that’s what counts. The parties sound fun!

    My frugalities have involved spending to save:

    I’m building a raised planting bed out of block. I had to buy the block and the soil, but I hope this will help my yield, and will make it easier to care for. I also plan to put in drip irrigation.

    I have stocked up on the few items that were on sale and that I know I’ll use.

    I am going to defrost my upright freezer this week, so I’ve been clearing out the refrigerator freezer in order to store foods in there while I defrost the big freezer. I normally put half the bag of dog kibble in the freezer when I open a new bag, but this time I vacuum sealed it, to avoid using the freezers. The vacuum bag material, which I had on hand, was a cost I don’t normally have, but it’s much less than having half a bag of premium dog food go stale. By the way, the dog food brands I prefer (my dog has chicken, grain and soy sensitivities), went up $10-$20 per bag from the last time I bought some.

    I bought the large, economy size bucket of fish food for our pond fish. It is a fraction of the cost per ounce of the common small containers.

    I have purchased seed for my raised bed and will be planting soon.

    I continue to pray for the situations going on around the world!

  67. Our local Jewel Osco had many items on sale for 50¢ each like canned vegetables, chicken broth, ketchup, and rice. We did some stocking up.
    Gas went up 25¢ per gallon overnight so my husband and I both filled up our tanks before it goes up again.
    We pulled out a turkey that we bought at Thanksgiving and roasted it upside down like Brandy does and we will be doing it this way from now on! It was so flavorful and tender. We will be eating turkey meat all week. We also made turkey broth.
    I found a dress for my daughter’s wedding in September and since she signed up for their emails I received a $20 discount.
    I received a bonus at work.
    Have a great week!

    1. Glad you liked it! It is absolutely no work and so delicious! Plus it makes broth in the pan!

  68. Hi Brandy, I do so many things week after week that just don’t seem unusual. This past week though I opened a new jar of sunbutter (I’m allergic to peanuts). There’s always a good 1/2 inch of oil on top I need to mix in. As I struggled with a table knife trying to stir it together, I thought to myself … I don’t want to use my immersion blender; someone should invent a small immersion blender just for natural nut butter; wait!.. I have a handheld mixer with some very narrow dough hooks; I wonder? I retrieved my hand held mixer, fitted it with one of the narrow, spiral dough hooks and 2 minutes later I had perfectly blended sunbutter. My arthritic hand thanked me!
    Also, a few weeks ago my daughter ended up being locked out of her house after taking the dog for a walk. Truthfully, her front door lock failed and it would not open under any circumstance. She called me and I drove over with the back-up key she has. There was no budging the broken front doorknob/lock. She tried the key in her back door, but since she always keeps it locked and never uses it, the key would not move. She absolutely didn’t want to call a locksmith and I didn’t blame her. After offering to go get a can of WD40 to try and loosen the lock, I realized I had a mechanical pencil in my purse. I removed one of the pencil leads, broke it up in my hand, and then rubbed the key and broken lead together. Wella! That was just enough graphite to transfer from the key to the lock and she was in her house! I was so glad I remembered that old science lesson and thought I’d pass it along. It was definitely a frugal measure and my daughter was super pleased.
    I appreciate all of your care and concern for others.

  69. Is there a difference between great northern beans and navy beans? I mean, I know they look a little different, but can they be used interchangeably in recipes? We are trying to decide what to plant this year. I figure if anyone knows, it would be someone on here. Thanks.

  70. We have entered the season of lent now and we decided to fast from meat, sweets/snacks and screens(only necessary minimum:check the news and call family). We do this every year and it is such a special time for our family. It also saves us quite some money and helps rotate that bean stash. I noticed that we have some space in the pantry, but I cannot decide what should I fill it with. It is a bit unpredictable at the moment what may be the best choice. I did buy 10kg of sugar, 10 kg flour(have a lot from before) some beans and lentils and sweet corn and oil. If the war spreads I will take my parents to live with me and so now I am building my food storage up to be able to support two more people if needed. I also try to build up my preparedness in all areas where I feel I could do better.
    On the energy saving front I had to rethink many habits which were frugal before. For example: I spent many years trying to substitute throw away products with reusables. Now washing rags, napkins etc. is actually less economical. I stacked up on paper towels. Next thing which used to be part of our home culture was to bake bread. I now try to start the oven as little as possible. We buy bread and freeze it. I am looking into possibilities of building a bread oven or if maybe I could learn to bake the bread in a Dutch oven on the fire.
    My hubby got his job back after months of uncertainty. I am so happy for that.
    I had some amazing days with my dad and the kids. I took a bus to visit my dear friend. I have so much and I hope not to overlook it due to worry. Thank you all for sharing here. And thank you, Brandy, for hosting.

  71. Its raining cats and dogs here. All my frugal outdoor plans are on hold. I have bushes to plant and winter bedding to hang out. I’ll just wait. I have a ham in the oven and will meal prep several meals tonight. I had to rearrange the freezer space and that ham needed to go. I brought home 15 lbs bacon , 10 lbs hamburger patties , and a few other freezer items. I filled Henry’s grandmothers freezer with frozen food . These are easy items she can prepare. Her limited mobility and her husbands dementia make it hard on her. Henry was so happy to have 3 large boxes of fruits and vegtables. He was just a chattering about the pineapples. My favorite finds this week were a case of 6 boxes of brillo pads and a case of oven cleaner. I looked in a new location. A major chain drugstore had put out a large clear trash bag of groceries. Food is good but the 2 cases of brand new in their shipping wrap ,Hallmark gift bags were delightful. I have 90 assorted bags. These are the ones they assemble in the store with tissue paper and have ” ready to go “. I doubt I will never need another gift bag in my life. Every possible occasion is covered beside Xmas. I’m seeing gas jump by leaps and bounds. I fill mine up on the half tank as needed. I’m afraid if I wait to the next day, it might be a dollar more. I obviously am blessed with food. I’m going to keep dumpster diving and adjusting my budget. I imagine our electric and gas will be rising as well. I’m going to keep smiling and hope for the best.

    1. Lillianna, you amaze me! I love far from you, but wondered if you might share some of the stores you dumpster dive at. If not, I completely understand. If it’s allowed, Brandy could give you my email…. Thank you!

  72. I’ve been sick for the past two weeks and it’s been so frustrating to not be able to do anything productive!! The cough has been terrible so I haven’t been sleeping well. Hubs was sick before me so we’ve both been out of commission since Valentine’s Day. He got off work early today and is at Aldi. He’s not a good comparison shopper so Aldi is ideal. No real choices! One size, one brand! I’m interested to see how their prices have changed. Based on àll the posts, I’m especially curious about oatmeal.

    On our trip to Sam’s last month, the price of avocados was up from $5.49/5 to over $7. I remember reading that Mexico was having an issue with them but I doubt they will go down in price even though it’s been resolved. I also heard that TP is scarce again. I think that I’ll be pulling out my old price book and using it again. With so many changes at once, I’ll never be able to keep track. Like others here, the *deals* being offered aren’t much use to me. I’d never buy a Pudding Cake in the first place so even one on a weekly deal price of $3.99 isn’t going to appeal.

    Our gas bill skyrocketed despite our usage going down. It went up 90% over last year and we were just recently informed that the 2021 February Freeze costs will begin to be added at about $8-10 extra per month. We’re on level pay but it’s high. Our house is all electric but the heater and WH. Our gas bill level pay is now higher than our electric bill by a good chunk for the first time in our 18 years in this house.

    I’m so glad for all the support and ideas here.

  73. Gasoline costs at last fill-up for us was on Friday. Near the interstate $3.69/gallon, not the cheapest but husband likes the station for a variety of reasons. In our town, 20 miles from the interstate we’re looking at $3.89 at the least. I didn’t pay attention today as we drove through town. We do try to fill-up at least once a month at the local station just to help them keep the business going. Come summer, all the mower gas gets bought there.

    After discussion, I’m attempting to lower my grocery budget by 1/4. We’ll see how it goes. I have a nearby ‘discount’ (cost plus 10%) grocery and that is where I usually gauge what I can expect to see elsewhere. I shopped there today. They routinely have whole chicken for 98c/pound and ground beef for $2.97. I got shoulder roasts today in a twin pack for $4.59/pound which was more than $1 cheaper than chuck roasts today. What I noted while in the store: Canned tomatoes have gone up. Hunts tomatoes were nearly $2 a can. Store brand was $1.79. Flour tortillas were high and pasta too had gone up considerably. They had HUGE bags of Masa Harina, likely 25 pounds but I didn’t check prices on that. Southern though I may be we don’t use that much cornmeal in a year’s time. Flour was about $2.69 a bag, but I found Gold Medal for $2.12 and bought 20 pounds. Cream cheese is high and has been since Christmas. Eggs were neither too high nor low. Not as good as prices have been but nothing to get shaken up over. My biggest trouble, if you could call it that, is the lack of turkey sausage and when I do find it is pricey. Sausage overall is still iffy in most markets, not just turkey but pork. Broth and bouillon powders and cubes had risen considerably and spices and herbs. Shredded cheeses were $7 per pound package.

    We priced and ordered a new kitchen island. I was going to re-do mine afresh but it literally fell to pieces as I was rolling it outside to paint and refurbish. My husband will take the maerials from the old island to make shelves and a work bench, as well as reusing the casters on a guitar amp. I got good use from that island but it was never the size I needed. My husband was the one who insisted we get a new one. We looked at various sites online before confirming that the one I liked best was also the one that was the best priced.

    I ordered new rugs for the kitchen sitting area and in front of the sink from an online company that were deeply discounted. I couldn’t have bought one rug much less two and two pads for what I paid for those two. I made an order on Walmart.com and made sure to add another item we usually buy only at Walmart to the cart. That pushed my amount to the free shipping point and I’ve restocked an item that we typically buy in quantity once a year. I made a curtain and recovered a bench for the bathroom from what I had on hand and it’s lovely. I’m not thrilled with the curtain but I took time to do a really nice job on it. It’s a very awkward sized window so nothing ever looks quite right.

    I’m nowhere near the kitchen remodel I keep hoping for but I did rearrange my cabinets. Our plan is to remove all upper cabinets and only replace the bottom ones. I emptied out a whole bank of cabinets along one wall and managed to fit those items into another cabinet entirely. I plan to shift some other things about to give us a better idea of future acquisitions and floor plan.

    I’ve been on top of food waste and we have thrown away nothing. I make sure that we eat any and all of any foods we cook. We’ll be having a very ‘creative’ meal one night this week as we eat all the odds and ends in the fridge.

    My daughter repaid us for a loan for her car repairs in January. That money got transferred back to savings.

    Because we live in a rural area and all shopping must be done at least 25 miles away if not further, we use Amazon and online ordering to supply things we typically would have to drive to pick up. I’ve made sure to stick to what we’d typically buy and not impulse shop. Each month the things we order fit into certain categories: Prescription/medical, grocery, household items, personal care, car repair, etc. I make sure to notate what category each item comes from and that’s the budget area that pays for those items. Anything else must come from our personal allowances. Those rugs I ordered? Christmas money I received will pay for those. I figure we save a lot more than we spend though it feels at times that we spend quite a lot. I will say that ordering online has been a huge help to our budget overall because we seldom have any amount that is impulse or unaccounted for.

  74. All of my friends have been talking about world conditions and how we can and need to all make more adjustments. It is such a common thread in all our conversations. Two days ago gas was $3.27. We had to make a trip to Home Depot about 45 miles away (it is the closest). We didn’t fill-up on the way back and once we got back to our little town gas was $3.66. I always top the tank off since gas has been so high and we live in a very rural area. We decided to do so at $3.66 and today it is now $3.99. What a jump in two days! It also means everything else will sadly continue to rise due to costs of fuel.
    This week I purchased another 16lbs of dry beans, 10lbs of rice, canned goods, 15lbs of gluten free flour, gluten free pasta and 8lbs of sugar that will all be delivered to my door. We have one small locally owned grocery store and Walmart in our town, so our options tend to be more limited. I ordered this batch from Walmart.com and there were limits on most items I purchased. I will place a second order to add the same quantity of the same items. Our store hasn’t had gluten free flour, gf pasta and most dry beans in stock in ages and I am afraid it will only get worse.
    I am really trying to focus on having a more productive garden this year. I have decided that even though we love certain things like sweet corn, for the space and water needed, it just doesn’t yield enough to make it worth my space and instead am going to grow more of other things that are more productive. I have most all my cool weather crops started indoors under simple LED shop lights and they are all doing great. I started more spinach seeds as one batch of old home saved seed didn’t germinate at all. We are supposed to have a big temperature dip and Friday have a low of 16 degrees with snow, so I have waited to plant anything in the ground. I am hoping the following week to plant cabbages, spinach, onions, winter lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli and cool weather flowers. I have fleece to cover it but that is too cold to take a chance on seedlings I have been babying daily. My first round of lettuce I was able to harvest the outter leaves and we very much enjoyed them on tuna sandwiches. I couldn’t help but get so excited for those first handfuls of leaves.
    Our BCBS insurance usually adds $50 onto a prepaid Visa card they sent us years ago for an annual wellness visit. They have to be used for medical items, co-pays or utilities. I had been waiting to purchase new glasses with mine from last year but we decided to just add to our utility payments. When I called to verify the amounts, I was shocked to learn I had $150 on my card instead of $50. Last year they gave bonuses for certain annual visits, and I happened to tick all the boxes. I was thrilled! So I paid the $200 towards our home phone and internet with no out of pocket costs. They did decide to discontinue this feature this year but I am so thankful they did offer it.
    Our family had opted out of the advance Child Tax Credit because we usually take our tax refund and pay certain annual bills with it. Since we ended up getting more from that being higher this past year, we decided to pre-pay our utilities for six months. I know a lot of people would hold onto it in the bank, but I love knowing that they are paid and if our circumstances were to drastically change, they are already taken care of.
    I had a doctor’s appointment to start my allergy shots for the year and the doctor decided he wanted to run some tests that required fasting. Since my appointment had been first thing in the morning and I had been suffering from allergies so badly, I hadn’t felt like eating yet. It worked out perfectly because I was able to save another visit and have it all done then.
    When I only had my first two children, I started putting up some of their toys as a way to rotate through them. When they were little, they would tend to want to get everything out at once and then would get overwhelmed and wouldn’t really play with anything. So, I started putting up Lincoln Logs or cars or certain dolls and would rotate through them. When I would trade out the toys they hadn’t played with in a while, they would get so excited and it would be like they were new toys again. We started doing this again with my now 6 and 8 year olds. This week we pulled out an old Thomas Train Station and Legos and they were thrilled with them again. They don’t lack for any toys but I honestly find the more children have, the more they tend to not appreciate them. This helps them appreciate what they have more and let’s them have the thrill of having “new” toys again.
    My husband has been trying to find alternatives to certain subscription-based services he uses for his work, like Microsoft Office that you have to pay for monthly. It is $9.99 and another one he uses almost daily that is $19.99 a month. My son helped him find other options online that were free that he was able to use instead, and we were able to get rid of all but one that is $9.99 a month. It ended up being about a $30 savings a month.
    I feel like everything else is normal life currently. We stay home unless absolutely needing to go out. We cook and bake at home for our meals. I wear an extra pair of socks and sweater when I get cold rather than turning the heat up. We are making an effort to use up all leftover water daily with watering plants and seedlings. Turn off lights and unplug when not needed. We don’t have a clothesline at our home currently, but hubby said once we have our next set of trees cut down he would add on for us. During the warmer months it will help to not use the dryer and I love line dried towels. The crispness and smell bring back such happy childhood memories for me.
    Because of not feeling well for the last few months I have noticed I tend to get more overwhelmed easily. I read this week online something that really helped me that day. It was just saying when we look at dishes that need to be done, be thankful for having the food to feed our families. With laundry piles, be thankful there were clothes to wear. A house that needs to be clean, be thankful for a safe place to live. It just hit home with me all the more so with what is going on in the world to be so thankful for all the blessings we have and develop a contented heart.

  75. Brandy, your parties sound lovely! Just hunkering down here trying to figure out how to stockpile more food and which food to stockpile before the prices go up even higher! I made Homemade Bread, Spaghetti & Meatballs (homemade meatballs stretched with LOTS of oats… I think they taste better that way, too), BBQ Meatballs, Beef Stew with Homemade Dumplings and Biscuits that we ate for several meals, Salmon on the grill with rice. This week I’m experimenting with refrigerator oatmeal, I’m really enjoying the convenience of it in the morning. It’s just oats with water or milk and any toppings that you use put in a jar in the fridge overnight. In the morning the oats are soft. I microwave it, but some people eat it cold. It makes a nice healthy snack, too!

    *Since gas prices are going up every day, I’m topping off my tank each day that I go out. It should save me a little bit, and I just feel better these days with a full tank!

    *Still having problems getting motivated to bake, so I made a baking schedule. We will see how I do? I want to put cookies, cookie dough, banana bread and fudge in the freezer for convenience snacks so I’m not tempted to buy sweets. My baking pantry is well stocked, and I have several cake mixes that need to be used up. I would really like to learn how to make donuts, those are my son’s favorite!

    *We signed my son up for summer Driver’s Education classes, required by our state for drivers under 18. It’s over $500! Just when I think we are done with large bills! When I was a teen, the class was free in my Highschool.

    *Hope everyone has a happy and frugal week!

    1. Is this the same idea as Bircher Muesli : ? I use rolled oats – a bit of water and then maybe some berries or grated apple. In the morning I would usually add a couple of spoonsful of yogurt.

    2. Here in Maryland, drivers ed. is required no matter what age and is no longer covered in high school. It’s $350. We have 8 children (the oldest took driver’s ed. last year) and I’m thinking we should have chosen to raise our family in a different state! We’re 3 miles from West Virginia and 20 miles from Pennsylvania… Neither require expensive classes. I really feel for the children in poverty stricken cities. If they can’t afford the class, they can’t get their license, which means their employment opportunities are limited and the cycle of poverty is perpetuated.

    3. I make overnight oats by filling my 16 oz jars with 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, a spoonful of pb or almond butter, a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips, and a squeeze of honey. I add milk to fill the jar halfway. Put the lids on, shake well and put in the fridge overnight. I love them cold the next morning!

    4. Melskitchencafe.com has a great donut recipe! Watch in the comments for tips on how to use the extra dough to make apple fritters so none of it goes to waste!

    5. Susanmarie, may I please get your meatballs (with oats) recipe? With the cost of meat very high, the oats would be a good way to use less meat.

  76. I may be the only one discovering overnight oats this week, I mean they have probably been around for a long time. What a genious invention! Endless possibilities to cater every taste, no need to cook and no need to wash up the pot!

    On the other hand regarding the current situation iodine tablets have been purchased out of stock in the whole country. We are hoping and praying they won’t be needed anytime soon.

  77. I’m late to the posting party but so enjoy reading everyone’s comments week after week. It is so encouraging to hear of other’s experiences and their willingness to offer advice and support. Thanks again to Brandy to continue providing this wonderful forum. I have been reading this blog for years and am grateful for it.
    We continue to do the same frugal things we have always done but those everyday things become more critical in times like these and reinforce those lessons learned at a young age. I find myself just thinking about things a little bit more, looking for little things we might be overlooking or have gotten out of the habit of doing; For example, I double checked with our electric co-op to make sure I was planning my energy usage during non-peak hours. I do, most of the time, but have found myself occasionally running the washer outside of those times so I have recommitted to following the non-peak schedule. We were given a second refrigerator/freezer for Christmas from my parents and have been pretty good about keeping it full, maximizing its efficiency. However, I have let it get a little empty as we have been living off of stored food so have slowly been filling it back up with sale items. I make a lot of our bread but found large Italian loaves of bread at the store for 75 cents each, bought several, sliced them and put them in the freezer. They will toast up fine and be a ready source of bread without firing up the oven. We eat little meat (I was vegetarian from age 11 until a few years ago) but do eat chicken and turkey. I have still been able to find chicken thighs for 99 cents/pound. I also had a store coupon which allowed me to get 6 lbs. of ground turkey for $2/lb. which is my price limit. We continue to trade and barter food with neighbors and gratefully receive gifts of food from those who have things they cannot use. We have sold or bartered our chicken’s eggs and been enjoying lots of egg dishes ourselves.
    It is still a bit early to put plants or sow seeds outdoors here but I have cleaned up all the veg beds and the strawberry beds and have planned what will go where when the time comes.
    I was thrilled to see the daffodils I bought from Ven Engelen last Fall poking their little heads up out of the ground. I have many bulbs that were here already but wanted to add more to what I call my wildflower meadow. I bought 100 bulbs as a birthday present to myself and am going to enjoy the beauty for years to come. Thank you for recommending this company, Brandy. The whole experience was pleasant and the bulbs were some of the healthiest I have ever seen.
    We typically travel to town only once a week for my youngest son’s martial arts class and always make the most of it, doing other errands while there. We continue to do that as well as top off the gas tank every time. It has been startling to see the prices rise 10 cents or more a week. I filled up for $3.99 but that is already “cheap” now.
    We typically visit my in-laws once a month (they live about 2 hours drive away) but have not been to see them since Christmas. It is so important to spend time with them so the cost of gas doesn’t deter us. That is why we are frugal, after all. There is an Aldi and an Ollie’s in their town and I make sure to visit them when there. I was pleasantly surprised to find their Aldi well-stocked and the prices pretty much the same as they have been for several months on the things I typically buy. I am not sure why but maybe I just hit them on a good day. Ollie’s is a discount store with a little bit of everything including a large book section. I’m not an impulse shopper so was able to get in and out with some treats for our family Easter egg hunt and some pencils and sketch pads for my little artist, all of which will be enjoyed and were priced well below anywhere else.
    On the reading front (from the library, of course) I am reading “Blindness” by Jose Saramago. It came out in 1995 and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. It is beautifully translated from the original Portuguese and a fascinating read, particularly now having lived through/in a pandemic.
    Wishing everyone a blessed week!

  78. Hi Brandy, glad things are going well with your family in Las Vegas. Things are well here in SWFL. The hot topics for my family budget are car repairs, groceries, and gas as of late. I have put a considerable amount of time and money into trying to repair my beloved 20 year old Jeep, all non mechanical but wiring and tubing issues. I am on to my third mechanic in the last four months. This mechanic does vehicle restoration and I am hoping that they will be my last stop so to speak on car repairs. I am considering purchasing a new vehicle but haven’t purchased on in 17 years. If you or anyone else has advice on purchasing right now it would be great. It does seem the cost of vehicles has gone up as well recently.

    Gas and groceries, it seems we are all in a similar position with raising prices. I’m trying to be more conscientious on driving and also only trying to fill up at Costco which is often 10 to 20 cents cheaper than other gas stations in the area. On Sunday the price at Costco was $3.69 a gallon, while other places were $3.99, and more recently I am seeing some stations at $4.19. It’s concerning and I’m not sure how high it will go or for how long. I echo your sentiment from an earlier comment that reducing use and saving on a bill, be it gas or a utility, is often a better way to go than just working harder.

    However, I am considering taking a week of vacation during the week of Easter and working at the local Honey Baked Ham store. It’s very close to my neighborhood and a lot of the moms will work there seasonally. They hire extra hands for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter specifically. I’m going to call and see what their wage would be, and also the date range and see if I can go this to earn extra money without driving around too much. If I do this I plan to use the money to help offset the cost of car repairs.

  79. It has taken me 6 attempts to post this — I’m sure the problem is on my end but Brandy please ignore previous attempts if they come through.
    My utility company failed to phone me last Friday as promised after they would review our previous conversations last fall about when I had fixed my rate at 6.89 cents per Kilowatt hours for 5 years. So I phoned them today. I first dealt with a representative whom I found very aggravating because she was very dismissive. I was losing patience which is something I never do in these circumstances. I asked to speak to a supervisor. After I explained the situation to him, he very quickly confirmed that I would receive the fixed rate of 6.89 starting today. I am very relieved. It gives me rate stability for my natural gas and electricity for 5 years. Even fixing the rate for both would still be worthwhile now in most cases.

    I was given Safeway’s gift card so my friend is using it today for me.

    My other friend dropped by with some free potatoes, beets and carrots as a gift.

    I am hoping to buy 2 or 3 small columnar apple trees to plant this spring. I will be planting scarlet runner beans for me and the
    hummingbirds, some cabbages (I hope), and I hope to make lots of apple sauce and also jam in my new blender/soup cooker.

    I had a scare because when I went outside I couldn’t see anything at a distance. Turns out I need a strong change in my prescription.
    Because I have multifocals, the eyeglasses are expensive even through cheap places like Zenni. I had just been able to save some money when
    it will now all go to the new glasses. One step forward, two steps back.

    A book that was back ordered came in. It is Madame Fourcade’s Secret War, the true story of a young woman who led the largest spy ring in France during World War 2. It is a remaindered book so it costs only $8.99 as opposed to more than $20. Because I have to pay postage from Munro’s books, I decided to buy Charles Spencer’s history, The White Ship, as a Christmas gift for a niece so saved about $8 for postage if ordered separately.

    I’m going to plant scarlet runner beans,cabbage and hope to make lots of jam and apple sauce this year.

    I will be stocking up on flour and sugar next week.

  80. The lettuce is lovely, Brandy! My little seedlings are in a planter and we are due for a hard freeze this weekend. So thankful I did not plant them in the ground. My baby kale and radish seedlings will be covered, as well as my blueberries. I think this freeze may really do a lot of damage as fruit trees are already blooming!
    This site is more helpful than ever as I gather we are all tightening our belts and trying to be creative with what we have. Thank you for all the work you put into your blog, Brandy!
    I found $22 worth meat priced originally at$56, nothing was over $1.50#. I am stocked for a while now. Continuing to hunt for reduced produce and getting some good deals there.
    Our gas and electric bills were lower this year than last, so the thermostat running at 58/59 is helping and cooking only every two or three days and eating leftovers is helping.
    Gas as of today is $4.19 here in NC and steadily going up, u fortunately I have to drive daily for work but only do errands when I am already out,

    Blessings to each of you in this ongoing season of turmoil!

  81. So many wonderful savings and ideas have been posted the last couple of weeks by all of you, thank you for the inspiration.

    *working from home 2-3 days per week still, I do Shipt but orders have been limited (too many new shoppers in my area) and at the rate gas is now, it is cheaper for me to stay home unless I get some of my regulars who tip appropriately.
    *my son takes a packed lunch to school daily, his school offers free breakfast and lunch to anyone still. He has yet to take them up on it.
    *continuing with my weight loss, part of it is an adjustment to portion sizes for my husband and I. We are saving money on groceries.
    *went shopping in our storage drawers for jeans for my husband, found a pair and 4 pairs of shorts in smaller sizes for when the weather finally warms up.
    *picked up supplies from Aldi for my donations for the Robotics competition my son has this weekend, I am sending brownies and junior size bottles of water.
    *cancelled two apps before they renewed from the free trial again, I missed the date originally. Will be cancelling Amazon prime, we only pay $7 but, that will help offset the $1.50 increase on Netflix.
    *husband fixed the furnace, did the sandpaper trick on the sensor so it would stay running.
    *picked up and returned library books.
    *scanned receipts it to Fetch and made sure to check Ibotta before shopping.
    *clicked through on Mypoints, I am almost to a $25 gc.
    *I thought I was going to need more physical therapy, this time for my shoulder which had been sore for close to two months. Instead, I think with the extra exercise and no added sugar aside from fruits and vegetables, the pain is gone. I’ve also been adding Turmeric to my egg whites every day and am wondering if that has helped also.
    *saved the egg yolks from the whites, my son has an omelet a few days per week, he gets extra yolk in it.
    *ground up unused ice cream cones to use as bread crumbs (I freeze them)

    Have a wonderful safe and healthy week.

    1. Mara: When I had PT for my shoulders, one of the exercises was an overhead pulley– Sit in a chair and pull ropes up and down. The therapist mentioned I could get my own for less than fifteen dollars from Amazon, which I did. I find it easier than any of the band-stretching resistance exercises. The pulley hangs over the inside of my coat closet door and, after neglecting it for several months, I started up again recently. It seems to loosen shoulder muscles easily. You might be on to something with cutting out sugar and eating turmeric. Good luck!

      1. When I was in therapy at the beginning of the year for my neck and headaches, the pulley was one of my exercises. I actually forgot about it until you mentioned it. Thank you!

    2. Hello Mara!
      I know I’m late answering your comment but I wanted to share my experience with Turmeric. I’m an RN (now retired) and several years ago I started having rather severe pain in my right knee, hip and shoulder. When I went to see my doctor, he diagnosed it as bursitis and recommended that I take a turmeric supplement of 1000mg twice a day. I had relief within a week. I think your plan of adding turmeric to your diet is spot on!!

  82. It’s been a while since I really posted. I was trying to finish a few projects and decluttering I wanted done before year end. My aunt died but there was no service so no out of town trip. Christmas was nice and practical as our son put it. We all had some things we listed that we really needed or wanted. We all had good luck finding things so all gifts were truly appreciated. If anyone ever thought they might like Spurtles but didn’t need the two 5 piece sets they advertise on TV Amazon has different size packages. I had mentioned the particular ones I would like and I love them. You can get all the batter from the sides of a mixing bowl, pan, or can with such ease with no waste. I have been decluttering small odd things lately like going through old photos and removing all the fuzzy or just bad pictures that somehow weren’t done at the time. After Christmas I pulled all the gift bags that we haven’t used and cut off the top and around the bottom so we could use the paper for birthday presents. Some were large bags for special occasions so we will turn them over to the white side up. We haven’t bought Christmas wrapping paper for about 4-5 years. I plan to use boxes when we finish using it up.

    DS works at Walgreens so he receives a discount that can be used by us. He got a lot of rewards for being fully vaccinated. On employee days he gets a much larger discount on their brand products. He told me to make a list and we were able to stock up on things we normally use for little cost.

    We had what I call the taste of summer on a few occasions. Strawberries and whipped cream on dessert shells I got a stock of for 36 cents for a 4 pack and two birthdays with home made Cheesecake with blueberries and strawberries on top. All berries were frozen last year.

    I discovered over the past few weeks that generic prescriptions can be very different depending on the manufacturer. I had my BP prescription sent to Kroger as a Good RX coupon was cheaper until I could get Part D. I began to sleep a full 8 hours at night immediately instead of the 5-6 I have been doing since the A-Fib started. Last week I began feeling the full benefits of more sleep and reworking my schedule. A pharmacist told me there were three drugs that are known for that and Amlodipine Besylate and Levothyroxine are the two I remember. I thought this may benefit someone else.

    Last week I stocked up on meats on sale and fresh vegetables. I did a lot of precooking and freezing some and others were put in the freezer to do later.

    We went into North Carolina to a Goodwill that we like to visit occasionally. We found Greenlite 2 pack LED 3 way bulbs (40,60, 100w equivalent) and 4 pack bulbs (40w equivalent) for $1.49 each. They also had 4 pack (100w equivalent) and 2 pack indoor/outdoor floodlight (120w equivalent) for $1.99 each. We have had almost all LEDs for several years except for lights we very rarely use but this is a good stock up price for our area for energy star rated. We got a pack each of what we wanted so we could try them, but we are going back for more. We also saw another small display of different ones on an endcap that we didn’t have time to look at. I found a very long half slip that I can measure from the bottom up and cut and put elastic in to fit me for 99 cents. We went for a walk afterward at a school track that we pass near home.

    This past year I learned what we need to have stocked more and mostly less of. I am working on using the things we should have stocked less and bits and pieces in the freezer. It was a good learning year. I also did not make as much soup or stews last winter. The weather just was not really cold long enough to want that. I am incorporating those supplies into warmer weather meals. Next winter may be the opposite, who knows. Have a nice week everyone!

  83. For those of you who needed canning supplies look at fillmorecontainer.com. I learned of them through simplycanning.com.

  84. Love those lettuce photos this week! It looks so fresh and tasty. I’ve enjoyed your IG posts as well, the peas and greens are beautiful! The old seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago have started to sprout; I’m so excited to see green things in my garden. We’re supposed to get a bit of snow and low temps this weekend, so I’m a bit worried about the tiny seedlings. Will be covering them with a cloth and hoping for the best. The garlic I planted in last year’s Earthboxes have come up strong. There was a good deal of space in between the garlic, so I interplanted snow pea seeds which are coming up nicely. My indoor seedlings are also doing great. The Aerogarden has 50 seed-starting spots, and almost all are growing like crazy. The petunias, vinca, impatiens, and alpine strawberries are happy as can be. I was worried about them, but apparently they take a while to germinate (at least for me.) Also have onions, broccoli, peppers, violas, and bok choy in seed starting trays under grow lights.

    The birthday parties sound fun! When my son was in 4th grade, we invited some of his friends to come to the school playground and spend a couple of hours playing. We brought some light snacks and a cooler of water bottles, just sat on one of the benches, and watched them play. They had such a great time, like an extended recess. He still remembers it as one of his best birthdays.

    We were out of town last week for a sports tournament. My husband was able to get a good deal on the hotel room, and we ended up not being charged the pet fee for taking our little dog with us. There was a Goodwill close to our hotel, so I walked over there when we had a bit of time. I was really surprised to see that the prices were so much higher than our local Goodwill! This was near Nashville, so maybe that’s why — but the prices were $1 to $3 more than the Goodwill at home. I left without buying anything.

    Before we left town, we ate up most of the leftovers in the fridge. I froze what we didn’t eat. When we got back, my husband picked up a rotisserie chicken to make quick chicken tacos. I was shocked that lettuce was around $6. Thankfully, my sunflower microgreens were ready for us. We cut those and used them as greens for the tacos. I used the final bits of the greens on a turkey sandwich for lunch.

    Had a shock at the gas station, not just due to high prices. When I stopped to fill up using my store rewards, I didn’t have any fuel point discount to use. Makes sense since I haven’t shopped at that store much lately. I vaguely registered that the pump was quietly beeping, but it usually does that when prompting you to select your fuel type. I hit the “regular” button, put the nozzle in the car, and started cleaning trash out of my van. Suddenly I noticed that it was pumping “Plus” instead of regular. Thankfully it was only at about $15 at that point, not a full tank. I am pretty certain that I did, in fact, push the cheaper gas option. I wonder if the pump may have been out of the other types, and perhaps that’s why it defaulted to Plus. At any rate, I stopped the pump where it was. I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to ask the attendant about it, but was frustrated with myself for not noticing it earlier.

    I teach in a low-income innercity school, and have been taking spring flowers from my yard to keep on my desk. It’s funny to see the students’ reactions when they realize the daffodils are real. One of my boys has decided to be my gardener, and he has been watering my succulents for me. I told him that you can propogate a new plant from the cuttings, and he was amazed.
    I took some cuttings and will dry them out for him to try. He wanted to trim up my daffodils where there was a little brown papery husk on the ends of the bloom. Next week we’re on spring break, so I asked him if he would like to take home the flowers to his mother on Friday since we won’t be enjoying them at school. He was happy about that! He’s been a hard child to reach this year, but I think we’re making a connection over plants.

    1. I had a math teacher in high school that gave me some flowers once.

      He has not a liked teacher; he always seemed really mean.

      The day he gave me some flower starts from his garden and told me about them, I saw him differently. It did something to my perception of him.

      I was always interested in gardening but that little bit did get me really wanting to do more.

      I think you will go far with this boy.

      Flowers do something to people. I hope you can bring loads of flowers all year to your class!

      Your lettuce price—wow! I was upset when lettuce was $4 two days ago and told the children they need to eat the homegrown lettuce now (which is thankfully ready!)

      A gas station in town at a Sam’s Club ran out of gas on Wednesday here.

    2. Dianna,
      I am so moved by your story about your student and the flowers.
      You have made a great difference in his life now and in the future.
      I had a teacher in Grade 3 who went on a sabbatical when I was in Grade 4.
      She went to Japan, the country of her ancestors. One early spring evening, when I was in Grade 5,
      our doorbell rang. It was my teacher who had brought back a lovely doll, dressed in a kimono, for me.
      How I have remembered this wonderful moment! She was one of three elementary teachers who made a huge difference
      in my life by kindnesses and thoughtfulness. You have done the same for your student.

  85. Oh, I also forgot to mention that my Pinetree seed order came in last week. I was very impressed with the prices. Getting 15,000 lettuce seed for $6.25 was huge! Haven’t planted any out yet, planning to do that next week as the weather warms up.

  86. Well, the keys on my computer have worn out so I took it to the Apple store when I went to get my new eyeglassses ordered
    as the two stores are close to each other. The Apple store said it would cost $259. to replace the battery and the keyboard (aka the top).
    I thought I’d check with Apple authorized technicians (not Apple store) to compare prices. Well imagine my surprise when the
    other store said the part alone is $500 and another $250 for labour. I phoned back to Apple and their reply was that
    there is no labour charge when the battery has to be replaced and when the top has to be replaced (for the keys) that necessitates
    replacing the battery. So this is one time Apple is less expensive than elsewhere by about $500.00.

  87. Thanks Brandy for the wonderful ideas and inspiration. We continue to monitor and be as prepared as possible for what each and every day brings. Paid $4.36 for gas here in FL and late today it went down, at same station, for 4.29-that’s good news!!! praying for comfort for the people of Ukrain. I am so blessed that others in my life such as my mom and grandmother (both deceased) taught me how to sew, garden, bake, reuse and make due with what we had. Many times recently, I think about them and what inspirational things they would suggest. Be safe everyone and thanks for your words of inspiration.
    😊

  88. I am enjoying my road trip and today visited an historic gold mining town. I saw a sign saying seniors lunches served for $2.75 so went in and ate-it included bread, butter, drink and dessert too-even brought an extra one home for the fridge-At that price who wants to shop and cook on vacation-Now admittedly it was not gourmet cuisine but… I then went in a thrift store and everything green was half off-bought a twin homemade patchwork quilt for $5 and a shirt for $2-total outlay today was $9.75 and it was such fun. In any case green is my favourite colour. It is about 21 C( vs -26 when I drove past Banff on Wed) and the trees and daffodils are blooming-kind of thinking I should spend another month here!

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