Angel Face Rose

I harvested lettuce, Swiss chard, a lemon, parsley, chives, and a couple of cherry tomatoes from the garden.

I made pancakes twice–once with blackberries from our garden (from the freezer) and chocolate chips, and once with bananas (which I blended and used in place of part of the milk in the recipe). I used some older applesauce from the pantry in place of part of the milk and oil in the banana pancakes.

I made a vegetable rice soup that included Swiss chard from the garden.

We had leftovers from several meals, which meant I only had to use the microwave to reheat food, saving gas for cooking and giving me more time to work on something else.

We enjoyed salads from the garden most days.

I sowed seeds for hollyhocks, artichokes, zucchini, vesca strawberries, basil, butternut squash, and zinnias.

Italian parsley, sungold tomatoes, Early Girl Tomatoes

I cut and dried parsley from the garden.

My husband gave me a haircut.

I turned a pair of jeans into jean shorts for a daughter.

My mom visited several garage sales earlier this month, and one woman had a whole section of free, unexpired items from her pantry. My mom took several cookie and cake mixes. I used one of the cake mixes to make cupcakes for my son’s birthday. I made homemade cream cheese frosting.

His gifts were simple: a package of popsicles from Dollar Tree ($1.25), a package of store-brand gummy bears ($1.25), a book ($7.99 from Amazon), a pre-school workbook ($7.98 from Sam’s Club), a bouncy ball bought in the party supplies years ago to be divided as gifts for my children (about $0.25), a package of 5 small chocolate bars ($0.99), and a scratch art craft from Target ($3) that I got in the section as you first walk into the store (I find a lot of gifts for young children in this section).

I didn’t put up any decorations, and it was just fine without any.

I made several meatless meals, including bean enchiladas and salads.

We used the fuel points we earned from March at Smith’s grocery store to save $1 off per gallon of gas, a savings of $28.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Thanks to all those who expressed concern and prayers for our 6 month old grandson. He was in the hospital for a week but now is home and doing well! ❤️❤️
    It is finally coming in to “real” gardening season here in Ohio! On Saturday I went overboard and bought 21 four packs of veg plants for $1.19 a pack and got over 60 of the plants into the ground in between a gentle drizzle of rain!

    I also found 2 espaliered apple trees there with apple varieties on each tree for $72. I texted Hubs a photo with a question mark and he said to get both! They will go in my “orchard “ along the fence!

    My strawberry starts that I’ve planted are flowering, my blueberry bushes have blueberries growing on them already and we did our first “ Cut and Come Again” of lettuce, kale and spinach greens! , and
    My other fruit trees have all been blooming and where there were nectarine blossoms all over my little Krogers tree, there are now tiny nectarines forming!!
    Oh, how I love this time of the year!!

    Because I still cook as if we still had kids at home, I portion out servings to have for lunches/dinners or freeze for a later time. Made a ham/potato bake and divided into 10 portions- 6 went into freezer, 4 into fridge. Only 1 cook in the oven! Yum!

    Quilts #246 and #247 were quilted for clients this week – one was a table runner by my 86 year old client that used the leftover blocks that she had from a previous quilt she made. The other was made by her daughter out of her children’s T-shirts that she had gathered over their teenage years. She finally decided to square them up and add sashing and get it quilted! She was quite pleased with the result!

    My sister and BIL up north just sold their home and are downsizing to a condo a few hours away and she offered us their queen size oak sleigh bed and nightstands and table lamps plus my favorite overstuffed chair and ottoman that I always claim when I visit! With our new trailer hitch and trailer we drove the 6 hours each way and are thrilled to have these as well as having had a quick visit! When our youngest son moved out a year and a half ago, he took his bed set and desk and so that bedroom as well as one of our other guest rooms has been missing a bed. With a trailer, we can now watch for estate sales, etc!
    I noticed on Saturday that the Barilla spaghetti that we got on clearance for 25 cents/16 Oz is now $1.79 at my Krogers and the Creamette pasta that was 50 cents is now $1.50!

    I bought 4 pounds of chopped walnuts for $5/ pound on sale. I also bought 5 half gallon jugs of milk on sale for $1.25 each. I never would have thought that this would be a good price, but apparently now it is! I looked at gallons of milk today and they were up to $3.39!! A week ago, I was shocked at $2.79/gallon at the same store! I think we’re in for a bumpy ride!

    Still getting 7 eggs a day from our chickens! That has certainly been a blessing! Knowing that we have a luxury that others might not have, we share these regularly with some older friends and also a family with several children that we know.

    Prices are going up and times are getting more challenging, but that means it’s even more important to be kind.

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  2. Beautiful cupcakes!
    This week I took a half of a cup of leftover veggies, blended with an instant broth and quartered a few meatballs for soup for 2.
    I was able to source items for tea cup gardens for free – this will be a Mothers Day gathering craft.
    The week before we visited family in GA. I did not have time to plan/pack extras that would save money and just did the best I could. It was a sticker shock and a good reinforcing reminder to make time to do these things.
    Planted seeds in the garden now that the worry of frost has all been eliminated.
    Mended clothing. Finally started a list of what I’m looking for for the future.
    We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a lunch date and a drive on a beautiful day. In the car is where I think we have our best conversations. Some family was surprised this is what we wanted to do instead of a part or a fancy dinner. I’m glad I met and married my lobster 🦞.
    Brandy, I love your sponsored posts. They have helped me make a few small changes to our yard. It’s a shame I’m on the East coast or I’d head over to that nursery.

    Hope everyone has a calm week!

    1. We celebrated our anniversary last week in a similar fashion. My mother in law watched the children while we spent the day together. We visited a couple of thrift shops, a discount food store, and a state park (where we hiked and had a picnic). We did go to Cracker Barrel for dinner using a gift card from my parents. It was such a nice day!

  3. Brandy, you are so inspirational!! I’ve followed you for years. I would love for you to put a current family picture on your website showing all the children and how they have grown. I always enjoyed your naming posts and the unique way your family does that.

    1. Susan, I don’t have a current family photo. We haven’t all been together for a couple of years and I haven’t taken one with just those who are at home.

  4. I have only bought fresh veg and milk this week, I used the library, I cooked all meals from scratch. We only used the car once to cut down petrol use. All washing has been dried outside

    The weather here has cooled down and I have managed to pull something in my knee so I am inside for a few days. So I decided to do a batch cook to fill the freezer. I made 2 Bakewell tarts, which I don’t like so that saves me being tempted but will make hubby happy. I also made a sausage and stuffing pie and froze 4 double portions, a nut roast which also froze as 4 double portions, I made a treacle tart with the excess pastry which leaked all over the oven and dripped in my shoes on the floor under the oven ugh. We had finished the baked beans so I made and bottled 6 jars.

    My watch battery and watch strap had given up and would have cost £30 to replace so I looked at Argos and bought another watch for £7.99

    I have succession sown peas, beans and lettuce, I am usual not very good at this so I hope to improve this year. I’ve resown my beetroot and parsnips which failed to germinate. We have not had any rain in April so the water butts are empty. I am watering twice a week and mulching with lawn mowings to try to cut the water use.
    Keep safe everyone

    1. Hi, Chris. Long-time cool climate gardener chiming in here. Beet seeds can be very slow to germinate, so you might see some sprouts yet. Parsnip seed has to be very fresh and, like onion and parsley seeds, should be replaced every year.

  5. Happy birthday to your son, Brandy! I’m sure he felt loved and celebrated.

    I had a girls weekend this weekend with college friends. We stayed at a time share where we are homeowners (we own one week a year), so it only costs $65 a night to stay there. We each paid 1/3 since we stayed three nights. We discussed beforehand what food we would bring since the timeshare has a full kitchen, so we ate most of our meals there. We did get take out twice, but both times were inexpensive, and I had budgeted for that. We took walks and hikes and played games, but mostly just sat and talked and laughed.

    At home, my husband found great markdowns – seasoned chicken breasts, Bob Evans Mac and cheese, pork roast, and polish sausage. The polish sausage was the best deal – 3 1-lb packages for only $2.99!!

    He also replanted some of our strawberry plants in a stackable planter, which I think will increase the strawberries by a lot.

    Other than that, it was the regular things – eating at home, reading books I own, walking for exercise and fun.

  6. Good Morning ; here’s a few things from around our house.
    First, Thanks Maxine for the idea about alternating the purple pansies and lettuce plants. I think I’ll do the same here since I have extra dark pansies. I went to the greenhouse once to get pansies and lavender for front planters; the pansies are all kind of leggy already. I went back on Saturday and bought veg starts, geraniums, bacopa, marigolds, petunias and some begonias. The begonias were for my neighbour who is hosting a family pre-wedding dinner in her backyard soon. I got some veg starts for one son who asked for greens. And we are splitting a pack of brussel sprouts for a fun experiment. We’ll see who gets them to grow. The geraniums I over wintered didn’t do well this year. But the voodoo lilies and the yellow canna lilies are ready to plant. It’s still cool and damp here so the greens can go in the garden but the warmer weather things will have to wait. Oh, I discovered the asparagus is starting to peek above ground.
    We got our taxes into the accountant early and discovered for the first time in many years we will get a refund. That will go toward a new vehicle since mine is getting a bit old. We also got a refund from the Province for license plate renewal. We think it’s a way to buy votes with our own money. Our electric car is not working properly but with a bit of investigation, we know what the problem is and can get it repaired. We haven’t been doing a lot of driving anyway. Gas prices are above $1.85/ litre. Nothing we can do about it right now except walk a few more places.
    We got our 4th boosters a couple of weeks ago at no cost. Mine didn’t really bother me but this time the DH was down for the count for about 24 hours.
    My DD gave us another “Hunt a Killer” game for Xmas. We took it south with us but didn’t do it there so brought it home again. This past Thursday we got together to play the first episode and have supper together. We’ve decided to make it a weekly event on thursday nights.
    We have helped older relatives to move into a Senior condo nearer their kids. It was very stressful for them but I think they will settle fine. I drove to their former town to pick up new hearing aids rather than have someone who is almost 90 have to drive. Then we invited them to our house on Sunday for home made pizza and to pick up the hearing aids. It was fun to have family get together and share a meal. Lots of laughter about visits to various theme parks and rides on roller coasters.
    On the food front, we are trying to use up things in the house so not much grocery shopping has happened. I have noticed the rise in prices on certain things. Eggs are pretty expensive here but a 10 lb bag of potatoes is at it’s usual spring price of $2.99. The dishwasher soap container was almost empty and I couldn’t find my preferred brand. In the meantime, I turned the container upside down and manage to get enough soap for 4 more washes. It always amazes me how much soap is left in containers. Like shampoo….I often just add a bit of water and get lots more cleaning done until the shampoo doesn’t lather anymore.
    A couple of years ago I bought a Soda Stream machine and it’s been a great investment. I haven’t bought any soda for at least 18 months. We still have part of a carton of Coke downstairs that no one wants anymore. And I’ve started to save the leftover tea to chill.
    I have found the weather a bit depressing lately. We’ve had some late frosts and quite a bit of moisture and grey weather. I know I need an attitude adjustment but I’ve never done well in grey clouds. The long range forecast isn’t looking very co-operative either.But at least I’m getting up at a regular time each day and accomplishing some tasks. I do need to inventory the freezer and pantries this week. And I bought a pressure canner so I need to learn to use it.
    I’ve been reading pretty light books. Lately it’s the Dolly Parton book called “Run Rose Run”. Can’t say I’m thrilled with it but I can certainly hear Dolly’s voice as I read the words of certain characters. I won a book on Goodreads too. Not sure what it is and it will take a bit to arrive. It will seem like a present at the door one day.
    In the hopes of warmer weather coming, today is the day I’m switching out the flannel sheets for cotton ones. My DH will not be happy but it’s definitely time.
    Hope you all have a great week and I look forward to reading everyone’s comments

  7. We were blessed with 2 crates of corn (from Florida) 18 pounds of carrots and 20 pounds of white potatoes. I canned most of it last week still have 6 pounds of carrots and 10 pounds of potatoes to Can this week and some corn the second crate had a lot of defective corn half the kernels hadn’t finished growing on a lot so I cooked, cut off what I could and should get a couple quarts at least out of that crate. I also got a half crate which I shared with my neighbors. My peas have sprouted as well as my green beans. I just planted some Dill in 2 different spots and trying to decide what else to plant and where. My personal frugal is husband really wanted McDonalds Big Mac and Fries I had turkey burger here and did not want McDonalds so I fried hamburgers for myself and bought him what he wanted.. he laughed and said “yours looks better than mine”. I had bought beautiful hamburger buns at Krogers from their bakery marked down $1.49 for 8 very large buns I used what I needed and froze the rest. Its nice and cool here this morning have laundry on the clothesline and going back outside to plant more seeds. While I was out there my puppy got up on my table and got a brand new pack of Baker Creek seeds opened them shared with one of my other dogs Oh my goodness (Kentucky Wonder pole beans) so I guess I’ll use what they slobbered on to finish planting and let the rest dry out before putting them away. Silly dogs.

  8. Good morning, Brandy, and happy birthday to the birthday boy! I hope everyone here had a good week.

    We had a few showers (well, more than a few) in April and I’m ready for the May flowers. I have daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and forsythia in bloom. I’ve started putting my trays of seedlings outdoors for awhile each day to harden off before planting. Also, about half of the 15 forsythia, lilac and snowball cuttings I started a month ago for a friend have already taken root. It can take up to two months to root cuttings so I’m leaving these alone for awhile.

    I bought 3 more broken bags of raised bed soil for half-price at Lowe’s and Home Depot. With what I got a week earlier, I have 9 cf (about 1/3 yard) for around $25. Monday, after a busy weekend in the garden center, seemed like it might be a good day to look for busted-up bags–and it was!

    Two years ago, when TDS cable came to town, we switched from Spectrum for a better price. It went up 40% last month, to $70 for internet only, so we switched back. We got a new customer rate from Spectrum of $45 month for two years for coming back. It’s nice to finally have choices!

    I had .70 gallon in fuel points when I bought gas. It was $4.11 gallon, the highest it has been where I live, thus with the fuel points I saved about $11.50 on a full tank. Now that I am no longer on the super expensive osteoporosis meds, I won’t be earning many fuel points…but I’d rather pay full price for the gas and skip the meds!

  9. We have wanted to visit my son and daughter- in- law in Pennsylvania and were able to find a time and book our tickets for $515 each. The next day it went to $795 and hasn’t gone down. We will use our points to pay for the tickets. We did consider driving the 12.5 hour trip, but with loss of time, gas, and everything it was better to use our points.
    ***I have let my turnips go to seed, so they are flowering now. I harvested all the small plants and left 8 to collect seed from. I harvested chives, onions, and a couple of carrots. I started another 72 tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash and have under a grow light. In 5 days they are to the top of the seed tray cover.
    ***I canned 3 quarts of black bean soup, 3 quarts Lousiana beans, 4 quarts Navy Bean Soup, 4 quarts black eyed pea soup. I sealed some pecans in bags and froze. I had a shank ham I baked and cubed the meat. I put the bone in my large electric roaster and let in cook 24 hours, then refrigerated to skim off the fat. I used the ham and broth in the soups and LA beans I canned. I had 4 Pasta jars of broth left that I froze.
    ***We had friends over and I made hamburgers, Cole slaw, deviled eggs. and sweet potato fries. We played cards after eating.
    ****We celebrated my son finishing Business school after church Sunday. I made chicken and beef enchiladas, Spanish rice, and combined two recipes for a peanut butter layered dessert. It was amazing! My husband was eating the enchiladas and stopped and looked at me and said, ” These are REALLY good” So I wrote down the recipe since I never follow a recipe, but add things, and leave out things I don’t have. I used 2 cups of turkey I had roasted and frozen, some of my home canned salsa I froze after opening a jar, some diced chili’s I had frozen after needing tbsp for a recipe. So, I cleaned a few things out of the freezer.
    I have a large jar of peanut butter that is half full and is oily. I stirred it and it is still oily when you open it. So, I decided I will use it in some recipes and made the layered dessert. I plan to make up peanut butter cookie dough and freeze, pb dog treats, and maybe some muffins. I am also buying the smaller jars, even though it is more expensive so I don’t have this problem ( but still have 2 Sams size Jif on the shelf…ugh) OK, recipe…I combined the crust of one recipe with the layers of another so I didn’t have to bake the crust.
    1. Put a layer of Nutter Butter cookies in a 9×9 pan
    2. Mix 3.9 oz chocolate pudding with 1.5 cups milk. Spread on top of cookie layer. Refrigerate while making next layer.
    3. Mix 5 oz cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/2 cup peanut butter and blend until creamy. Turn mixer to low and add 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Spread on chocolate layer.
    4. Whipped topping layer
    5. sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup peanut butter chips, and about 4 crumbled Nutter Butter cookies. Reeces Pieces would be good, too.
    Refrigerate overnight. You want to do ahead so the bottom cookie layer is soft
    ***I went to a nursery. Everywhere has one tomato plant for $4.69. This nursery is next to the people’s home way out in the country. I got 3 Roma tomatoes for $2.99, 3 Yellow Brandywine tomato plants for $2.99, a purple bell pepper for $.99, and two Shasta daisy plants for 3.99 each. These are plants I don’t have seed for that I can collect and grow more.
    *** We weeded the front beds. I have multiple flowering perrinials that have come back as well as iris and other bulbs that have come up. My daylilies I dug from a friend and planted last year haven’t flowered but the green leaves look really good.

  10. It has been a hard week, so many challenges. Amongst it all, I harvested all of my winter-planted kale, cutting the plants off at soil level and leaving the roots (best for soil health). I washed all of it and it filled two 1-gallon bags. I have spring-planted kale ready to harvest, and I also planted kale seedlings today (grown from seed). My husband built 3 tomato frames from free redwood offcuts we were given. A co-worker gave my husband oak slats from a nearby winery. I don’t know what they were used for, but they are purple from the wine. They will make the perfect fence for our front yard. I removed several self-seeded calendula plants from my raised bed, cutting the flowers and bringing them inside for the table. They are so cheerful.
    We visited 2 museums plus the special exhibits using my parents family membership.
    I gave away gaura seedlings on Buy Nothing.
    I found a free king size bed frame of FB marketplace for son and daughter-in-law. I have just about collected all of the furniture they will need (for free) for when he leaves Marine Corps in the next couple months I’m proud of his service but will be so happy to have him done, safe and free. I may sit down and cry from relief on the day he finishes.
    Your photos are always so cheerful and beautiful. I especially love the circle of poppies. How long will they last into the summer?

    1. It will be 100°F very soon, so I don’t expect them to last long. I am really hoping they last until the end of May as I am expecting guests the third week in May and worry that there won’t be anything flowering then.

  11. Your photos are lovely, as usual!
    I have recently started increasing my diligence in conserving water–saving shower or sink warm-up water, mop water and combining little bits of other water to use on container plants.
    Several flowers and vegetables have come up where I added compost to my containers. I transplanted some to other containers. Some were put in little pots to be given to people in Buy Nothing Group and others were left to grow where they popped up.
    My dehydrator, a gift from the Buy Nothing Group, has been used to dehydrate spinach to make into powder for added nutrition along with pumpkin and squash to either add nutrition or rehydrate for recipes. I have been making good use of the dehydrator with produce and saving room in the freezer.
    I was given quite a few zucchini and yellow summer squash and a beautiful orange bell pepper which will make a favorite dish called callabacitas and the rest dehydrated.
    One of my neighbors has been visiting the food pantries regularly and graciously shares the excess items with us and with anyone we can think of who can use the items, including other neighbors, a small food bank, the Buy Nothing Group and a group that provides meals for people experiencing homelessness. Sometimes it reminds me of the loaves and fish story from the Bible.
    I hope everyone has a good week. I’ll be looking forward to reading the comments.

  12. I love simple birthdays. Our traditions are that the birthday person chooses the dinner meal and treat, and gifts fluctuate in price/complexity year to year, but mostly it’s somewhat simple. Our kiddo’s birthday lands in fall break every year, so often we are on a trip somewhere, and they get to celebrate away from home, which they rather like. Today is actually my birthday. I used a floating holiday day to take the day off work. My co-workers all signed a card for me, and our Friends group (I work in a library) gives us each $10 on our birthday as well. My family gave me cards this morning, and two of my favorite plants (daisies and poppies) for the garden, along with a ‘movie box’ of Junior Mints. Supper tonight will be falafels, hummus, flat breads and vegetables, and for my birthday treat I chose vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and chopped peanuts. I am making the falafels for supper, and I made the chocolate sauce for my treat.

    We have about a gallon of water that comes out of the faucet before the hot water gets there. We use some to fill our Berkey filter as needed, and we’ve been putting the rest in a watering can on the front porch. It has been a nice help for watering the flowers. I planted the roots of the green onions out in my garden, and they are already starting to grow. I took some old (very old, actually) bee hive boxes and made them into little cold frames in the garden. I have some old pieces of Plexiglas I can use for tops. They will help me get an earlier start on a few things. You can’t plant here until Memorial Day for most things, but with my cold frames I’ve started kale, lettuces, radishes and spinach.

    We have eaten more meatless meals lately. It saves some money, but I am realizing I just prefer it. My husband shops with Ibotta and other rebate sites, coupons and sales. For April he spent about $175 after rebates for food, cleaning supplies, and household items. We were able to donate some things to the food pantry, and the freezer and pantry are in very good shape. It seems like everyone here is spending a lot more on groceries, but so far we are not. He also takes surveys online, and did well with that. I do surveys on Crowdtap, and I made $40 this month. (That is my average). Crowdtap is pretty easy to do – I can manage it working full-time. If you decide to check it out and don’t mind using my referral link, then we each get some extra.

    I did some mending, and I tidied my closet. Taking everything out at one time helped me see a couple of combinations I hadn’t thought of before. I have a smaller wardrobe, and do my best to have things that can be combined with one another for variety. We wash clothes only when they need it, and hang them on the clothesline to dry. I am learning to darn socks, and finding it extends them quite a lot. My mends are not pretty, but they’re not lumpy, and they hold well. I also used shoe polish to renew my shoes. I took leftovers for my work lunches and snacks, and we cooked our meals at home (we pretty much always do). Vegetable peels, egg shells and fruit cores were buried in the garden. We borrowed books, ebooks, movies, and a card game (Sushi Go!) from the library. I used the library Culture Pass to reserve a free day pass to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We will go the week our kiddo gets out of school for summer as a celebration of finishing the school year. This is their favorite museum, and they asked if we could go. The pass saves us over $50, so I was excited to get it. There is a really nice park adjacent, with a lovely rose garden, so we are going to take a picnic. We’ll probably stop for a treat on the way home…likely Starbucks, since we have a gift card we got free through one of our credit cards. (You don’t even have to use the points!)

    We have been short staffed at work, so I’ve had to go to a different location a couple of times. I get mileage reimbursement for the extra miles, and it helps with fuel costs. We combine errands and trips to town already, plus I work less than 3 miles from home, so the mileage payment is a nice bonus. I learned that my insurance offers a virtual physical therapy program. I decided to try it out for my sore hips and knee. It’s free if you have the insurance…going to in-person physical therapy would cost me $50 each visit because of my high deductible. I’ve been doing the virtual program for 4 weeks and it seems to be helping. I have 6 more weeks to go. I get messages from a ‘coach’ as well as a physical therapist every week, and I can ask any questions I have. There are surveys to give feedback on my progress, how I’m feeling, etc. I’m glad I tried it.

    It all adds up! 🙂

  13. How nice for the woman at the yard sale to offer unexpired food items for free, and so good you and your Mom could take advantage of it. Last week, I hand washed several wool items, hoping I won’t need them again until Fall. With several days in the 80’s, I closed up the house in the morning until it began cooling off in the evenings, and haven’t used any a/c yet. We’re supposed to hit 86/87 a few days this week, and I expect it will be turned on then. I mulched four of the garden beds with hay. My husband tilled, made beds, and planted sweet potatoes, another row of tomatoes and cucumbers. We moved our large trellis, as it was in a shadier part of the garden, and the tromboncino didn’t thrive there. Once moved, I planted tromboncino and cucuzzi squash seeds. The cucuzzi is a Sicilian variety, actually a gourd used as a summer squash, that my Mom used to talk about. I’m excited to try it. I gathered comfrey, and began a batch of comfrey tea to use as fertilizer. Many wintersown plants were planted out, including parsley, cilantro, lettuce, artichokes, and a number of flowers. The chicks were moved to the little broody area of the coop. They have their own yard, and can get outside now on warm days. My husband grilled the first time this year, and used our asparagus and potatoes with herbs. Yummy!

  14. Brandy, I just love the pictures of your beautiful garden! *Calico beans in the crockpot was one of my dinners. I didn’t go buy all the beans from the actual recipe, but used some I had on the shelf. Instead of browning some hamburger for it, I used left over breakfast sausage from when we made pizza. I find that works great in beans. As I was pulling that out of the fridge, I noticed a little container of leftover kielbasa and sweet potatoes. I cut the kielbasa in little pieces and added that and at the last minute decided to toss in the four sweet potato chunks. Since it was in the crockpot all day, the sweet potato was unrecognizable! I felt very thrifty and we all enjoyed the beans very much. I love when you can take a recipe and customize it to use up leftovers and it’s still tasty. We were able to have several servings for dinner and I froze enough for another meal for us on a busy day. *I’ve been needing to stay home more so I got through last week’s frugal accomplishments by Friday. I was missing it over the weekend, so I went back and have been reading all the archived blog posts. I’m back in 2012 and I find the posts are still so helpful! This has made me realize how much your blog has grown, Brandy! Back then there were about 25 comments a week. It has also made me miss Marivene and her thrifty adventures. I learned so much from her. But, now, I’m learning from so many other great thrifty people. I truly am grateful for this space. Thanks to all of you and have a great week!

    1. There were actually more comments on the old posts, but when it was transported into a new format, the program could only bring over 25 comments per post! Anything more than that was lost, sadly.

  15. I am trying to use up any garden vegetables from last years harvest. So that means incorporating carrots, various squash, and onions into our meals.
    I had a plan to see my son and his family on Mother’s Day so I held off buying any Easter treats for them until after Easter. Everything I bought was at least half off and some were 90% off. I put them in organizing bins to create a fun and functional family gift for under $20.
    I found 2 pairs of high quality like new shorts for myself at Goodwill. They were half off at $1.38 each. I am hunting for new clothes since I lost weight.
    I went to my grandsons’ chorus and orchestra concerts and enjoyed two nights of quality music for free.
    We took leftover treats from a church function to our grandkids. (Clean up crew takes home the leftovers. )
    I am always inspired by the ideas found on this site! Keep up the good work!

  16. We went to a free health fair and got a lot of free swag and snacks. We finished planting the garden. We went and got flowers for cemetery where my parents, grandparents, and other family members are. Found the clearance section and got a few great deals. I hung the laundry up to dry and started some sprouts in a jar. Picked up a library book that was ordered for me.

    Those cupcakes look yummy,

  17. Hello, frugal friends. This week is starting off with beautiful weather which includes some much needed rain. Because we are headed out of town this upcoming weekend for my father’s funeral I looked at the forecast and decided to go ahead and plant the garden. With being away on “official” planting weekend (for us it is Mother’s Day weekend) plus the rain coming I felt getting the garden in a little early with Mother Nature watering it was a good idea.
    Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    *I found wheat bread marked down to .49/loaf so I bought 3 loaves and froze them. We usually eat my homemade sourdough wheat bread but I like to keep a few store bought loaves in the freezer just in case. I only buy them if I find them marked down.
    *I also found kool ade packets for .17/packet. I bought a few to make popsicles with the grandkids over the summer.
    *Used my .50 off/gallon points to fill up my car before we head out of town saving us $4.50 in total.
    *My husband did a few maintenance and repairs around the house such as painting doors and installing shelves using wood we already had. He used the shelves in the garage to organize his tools and supplies. I was very impressed at his hard work on the garage as I did not ask him to do this but it has bothered me a bit that I could never figure out his “system” when I would need something. Now it looks so neat and I can actually locate things most of the time. Plus he got rid of a ton of junk…like the repair manual of a car we sold 18 years ago:)
    *I hung laundry on the line.
    *We ate at home and stayed home most of the week.
    *I went to the high school plant sale and got my tomatoes, ground cherries and a pepper plant. The tomatoes and ground cherries are from the seeds I bought and asked them to start for me. I told them they could use all the seeds and sell what I did not want (I only wanted 6 plants.) at their annual plant sale. The pepper plant actually had 2 plants in the pot. The pot was $1 so each were .50.
    I also bought ferns for my front porch plus 3 dahlias for the deck flower boxes. The ferns were $10 each. Lowes wanted $15 each. Home Depot wanted $24 each! I need 5 ferns so I feel I did well plus I supported the FFA in our community. The dahlias were $2 each. The local nursery sells them for $4 each.
    *We turned the heat off last week…finally!
    *We used our solar charger to recharge all our small devices plus the lawn mower and weed eater batteries.
    *Our electric bill was $32 less for last month. I figured using the solar charger saved us around $10 on our bill.
    *I am still waiting to schedule a free home evaluation from our electric company. I guess they are having staffing issues. I would like to see what, if anything, we can do to help lower our bill. Our house is pretty well designed and built to keep our electricity usage low, especially compared to our neighbors, but I want to see if we can do anything else.
    As always, I look forward to reading what everyone else is doing. I have learned so much here.

    1. Marley: I hope you have a well-blessed time for your father’s funeral.
      I love the idea of hiring the high school students to start your plants for you! My parents grew ground cherries some many decades ago, and I have never had them since then. I remember that they self-sprouted around the garden each spring. I suspect the squirrels in my yard would enjoy them.

    2. Marley, Sending safe travels for you and all attending the funeral, and condolences for your dad’s passing.

    3. Marley, I am so sorry for your loss. May your father rest in the wings of angels. Safe travels.

    4. Marley-
      I love ground cherries. My mom would make apple/ground cherry pie that was the best. I haven’t had them in years. Thanks for sharing your gardening story.

  18. Wow, finding food being given away is amazing right now! It’s great that your mother saw that and was able to get some.

    The cupcakes are pretty. Brandy, have you ever tried the silicone cups? I found some on a good sale and use them for my cupcakes. So far, they’ve worked well for me.

    I sowed more seeds after hard rain storms washed out seeds I had planted in my herb bed.

    I repotted my mint plants into bigger pots. I used the remains of a gift card to buy the pots and had a military discount on them as well. I had looked at my existing pots but had none the right size. They were pot bound so they had to be up-potted.

    I made a new batch of ranch dressing from my homemade mix.

    I used frozen homemade bone broth to quick-start a pot of soup.

    I had read about sodium percarbonate, which is an active ingredient (in small amounts) in oxygen bleaches. I saw the powder itself for sale online, but it wasn’t cheap. I already had washing soda and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. I mixed the two ingredients until the washing soda dissolved then tried it on some stains on carpet. I let it sit for a while then poured boiling hot water (carefully) on the spots and immediately vacuumed it up with my shop-vac until I could get no more water out of the carpet. I left the ceiling fan running on the carpet for a day and a night. The stains are gone and so far have stayed gone. This is almost 25 year old carpet and not in a main room, so I wasn’t too worried about failure. Consider your risks before trying it, if you decide to try. p.s., I had already tried using store-bought oxygen bleach on my carpet to remove stains, and it didn’t do much.

    I trimmed back marjoram and stevia and I am drying the cuttings for kitchen use.

    It’s getting pretty warm here, but I’ve kept the A/C off another week. My latest electric bill shows I used about half as much electricity as was used at the same time last year. Part of the reason for that is that the weather is cooperating, but part of it is the hybrid water heater, LED lights, cooking in batches then reheating in the microwave later, using the stove top, pressure cooker or toaster oven instead of the stove’s oven, hanging out or hanging up 90% of the laundry and of course, being just one person at home now that my husband lives in assisted living, so less showering and laundry overall. I know the air conditioning will come on before too long, but my goal is to keep cutting back on electric costs whenever I can.

    As the hot, humid summer is starting up and drags on through September, I will be able to use much less hot water, at least. Our wells here are shallow wells, so my “cold” tap water will already be tepid to lukewarm when it comes out.

    I continue to do my own minor drywall and trim repair and repainting around the house.

    Have a frugal week, everyone!

    1. I haven’t tried them. I was given all these baking cups so I used them. For muffins I just spray the pan, but for cupcakes I thought it would be good to use the wrappers. I’ll have to keep that in mind for the future.

      1. Brandy- I have also been using the silicone baking cups for about 6 years now and have loved them!! I bought them on Amazon, but my experience has been that I like the Chicago Metallic brand best (this is just the brand name- There’s no metal in them! 😉). A couple of the other brands on Amazon, although they looked the same, seemed to have crumbs stick to them. Well worth the small investment in them and I never run out of baking cups! These have lasted 6 years now without showing signs of wear and I use them every week for muffins, cupcakes, mini quiches, etc! And no paper to get stuck on the baked good when you want to eat it! Reusable kitchen “equipment” that have saved me $$ over the years!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  19. As always, lovely photos here and in Instagram.

    We traveled to see family last week, about a ten hour drive to Dublin, Ohio. We brought our 2 miniature poodles and stayed in a pet-friendly hotel. I packed a picnic of sandwiches, raw vegetables and crackers to eat on the way. We drank coffee in our travel mugs and water in reusable bottles. My sister who lives there provided most of the meals along with dishes cooked by my daughter and niece who live nearby in the same town. We had our belated Christmas celebration in the party room at my daughter’s condo with everyone helping out to bring food, drinks, games and cleaning up afterward. We had family from 5 states including great nephews and my great niece. We swam in the hotel pool 2 of the days and most of the time just talked and enjoyed everyone’s company. My sister packed us food for the trip home which provided a roadside picnic plus leftovers for meals at home. We still have cookies left. 😊 Gas was less on the road than what we pay in New York City so less cost than I expected. I went with my sisters to a favorite Discount Fashion Warehouse in Dublin and bought a pair of jeans for $2 and a swimsuit top for $3.99. One of the Christmas gifts I received was reusable ziplock bags and Bee’s Wrap for food storage which I am excited to try. Overall, an amazing vacation, especially spending time with my family!!

    I didn’t get anything to stock up the pantry this week, but I bought ground beef at $2.49# and BSCB at $1.99# to freeze. I mostly bought produce—peppers, leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, cabbage, carrots, celery, mandarins and apples. Not exciting prices but within the budget.

    I did a little yard work yesterday, just pulling invasive weeds. We are holding off mowing although it’s too early to see if we can make it through “No Mow May.”

    I look forward to reading everyone’s posts, wish good health to all and continue to pray for peace.

  20. We have a friend that works for a commercial roofing company that does residential roofs for friends on the side. They came over 2 Saturdays and redid our roof for about $6000. Thousands less than calling a roofing company to do it.
    I went to our high school’s FFA plant sale and bought a hanging basket for my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day for $22. About 1/2 what stores want for them and it supports a good cause!
    I also went to our local Master Gardener group’s annual plant sale. They sell annuals, perennials, house plants and garden art for a fraction of the price anywhere else but only 1 weekend a year. I don’t have a lot of growing room for veggies, and no room in the house for seedlings, so this is the perfect place for my to get 1 or 2 starts of what I want to grow. Some years they have up to 40 varieties of tomatoes alone!

  21. Sounds like a great party! Happy Birthday to your son 🎂

    My frugal accomplishments:
    *worked 4.5 hours at my dad’s office
    *dried purple dead nettle and dandelions to infuse then use in salves
    *harvested lemon balm and dried several batches plus used some fresh in my water 🍋
    *used meat as “topping” or flavoring in several meals instead of as main ingredient
    *am trying out fermenting sourkraut and garlic carrots for when have excess or find good prices on veg
    *had several late dinners after soccer games but had crockpot meals waiting for us so we didn’t stop out for food on our way home

    Grocery store: more clearance cans of beans, sale potatoes and mini cucumbers

    Buy Nothing Group: shoulder dolly

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  22. The sale of my car went smoothly. I wrote out two copies of the bill of sale by hand after checking with the registration office that this would be okay. I had my signature witnessed by the owner of a nearby store who I trust. I cancelled the insurance by phone. The broker used e-signature software to prepare a letter, which delivered the signed document to him as I signed it. This all saved me a couple of rides to the village office to get things printed and witnessed and the cost of printing, scanning and postage.
    The buyer offered to clear out the contents of the car and put things where I wanted them. Before he came, I had the time to clean up my back hallway, which is a small mudroom, so he could put things there. I brought my municipal wheely-bin for garbage right around to my back door, so I could put things I wanted to throw out directly into it. The buyer then put things from the car tidily away. I found two tote bags in the mud room. One of the totes I use for groceries is beginning to fray, so this saves me having to repair or replace it.
    I want to cut the amount of butter and oil I use for cooking in half – not to a very low fat diet, but to reduce expense, use healthier amounts, and use less canola oil, which is expected to be in short supply. (It makes more sense to me to use less of things there isn’t going to be enough where I can, rather than buy a lot more of them to store for myself.) I found an inexpensive compact air fryer for $85 Can. at Home Hardware, which uses very little oil and very little electricity, so I think there will be a double saving. I found it online, but the local store had it in stock. I took a taxi to get it, but also got a much-needed new rake, and got a drive over to the bank where I got smaller bills to pay for the taxi, and deposited bigger bills I received in the car sale into savings.
    I didn’t know the air fryer is really a mini convection oven, and can be used for lower temperature cooking, not just for things you want crispy. I have experimenting to do!
    I’ve made several trips to the grocery store on foot this week. I missed a couple of meat specials, but had some very good successes. Easter hams, bone in with a slight hickory smoking, continue to be on sale for $1.98 Can a lb, much, much lower than any other meat. I bought another 10 lb ham, which I carved up, some in thickish slices, some diced, and froze, along with putting the bone in a bag in a freezer to use for broth. I bought freezer bags in two sizes. Bigger boxes of bags, with twice as many Ziploc bags, were only 50 cents more each. I’ve bought one extra 2-lb bag of oats, and one extra bag of cat food. They are having trouble keeping in brands of cat food, although there always is cat food. My kitty isn’t too finicky, and will try different brands of dry food. She is a senior cat, though, and some brands don’t stay down. I’m trying to keep ahead on this now, but so are other local people.
    I have been thinking a lot about money and food and anticipated shortages and other people’s worry levels. I find it is making me want to spend too much and eat too much. I am aiming to focus mostly on other things until the end of the month, to help bring back a little serenity.

  23. That last picture, with the poppies, is sooooo beautiful! I’ve also been enjoying your IG (and FB) posts about your gardens recently!

    My frugal week:
    – I made granola ( using what I had at home, as I love to eat cereal in the morning but don’t love the current price of boxed cereal. I left out the nuts and dried fruit and extras this time. Still delicious!!!
    – I also made pancakes, which I reheat easily by popping them into the toaster ( and just dump and blend everything in the blender. Easier than a mix, and way cheaper!
    – I bought my baby a super cute pair of pants using money earned from surveys
    – I asked a question about a musical program, and got a free one-time pass for my youngest daughter.
    – I took my daughters to some quality free children’s programming. We tried the indoor programming in addition to our now weekly outdoor preschool and I’m so pleased with it.
    – my eldest got some free school supplies in a welcome to kindergarten packet
    – I picked up a free activity/craft packet from our local library
    – I made various sensory bins using household items: frozen mini toys in ice to be rescued by dripping hot water on them, cooking utensils with coloured rice we’ve used dozens of times, etc.
    – I skipped grocery shopping this week as we had enough food, and put the savings along with some additional money towards the mortgage.
    – my mum gave me some bananas and sweet potatoes and I gave her some chocolate cake.
    – I used the sweet potatoes to make healthy brownies as snacks for the week.
    – I made some sauerkraut and regrew some green onions in water
    – I finally bought an agenda after using a free printed template for months, and got it for $5, as it was heavily discounted. I also bought two large tins of gourmet popcorn for $5 each, and the tins are decorative and reusable. The original price was $39.95 each.
    – I made a batch of peanut butter uncrustables sandwiches for my eldest daughter, using a cutter I got from (cheaper than on last year. Easy to pop into the freezer and pull out for impromptu picnics.
    – then I blended the crusts to make bread crumbs
    – and I used those bread crumbs when making mini meat loaves
    – and then I crumbled the leftover meat loaves and added them to tomato sauce to make pasta sauce. I love avoiding food waste!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Margaret, I love how you went from sandwiches to pasta sauce. You are so creative with food!

  24. Your yard is such a beautiful oasis!
    We’ve had a very busy two weeks and I never got around to posting here last week. We did a few things to save money: I attended my quarterly retreat and packed all my own food. One night the group decided to get take-out and bring it back to the Airbnb where we stay, but I was happy to eat my leftovers from home and join them for the meal. On the way home, to avoid heavy traffic and construction I took a route that was new to me. Not only was it much more scenic and relaxing, it was 19 miles shorter and slower speeds meant I saved gas. We are going to camp at a state park in the same area in August and will take this route. Our neighbor had several big trees cut and my husband asked if we could have the wood. My husband spent two days helping the neighbor chip the branches in exchange for the wood. We have brought home almost a cord of wood so far and hope to gather the rest this next week. We had dinner with friends and I offered to bring salad. I purchased tomatoes, but have an assortment of fresh greens in my greenhouse. We ate lettuce, arugula and bok choy from the greenhouse. I made two loaves of sandwich bread and a double-batch of pizza dough. I planted potatoes and transplanted green peas. I went thrift shopping with a friend and found several items I have been needing, including a new lampshade to replace one that has been broken — $4, and a 8-in square glass baking dish ($9 – ones like it in the stores are $35.)

  25. It was a great frugal week in Houston!
    My aunt and uncle babysat 4 of the kids for me while I went to a funeral. They treated my kids to chickfila and popsicles, and let them collect eggs from their chickens and feed treats to their dog. The kids had a great time, and I went to the funeral with only the baby.
    My oldest son’s coach took them to a Rice baseball game. I bought the ticket for my son, but he was able to catch a ride with a teammate.
    A young neighbor babysat two kids for a while so I could go to a mother-daughter tea. She said I didn’t need to pay her (she is pretty young and I dropped the kids off to play while the mom was there and the pre-teen “babysat”, but I wanted to pay her. Still less than a babysitter!).
    I found lots of mark down veggies and groceries.
    Peanut butter was on sale $1.25/jar at Kroger. It used to be $1/jar, but I’m thinking this is the new sale price, so I went ahead and bought several jars, anyway. The 16 oz jars are cheaper at this price than buying the very large jars.
    I bought some 70% off Easter candy to freeze for next year.
    I signed up for VBS. At the Catholic churches, you usually have to pay, but the Protestant churches are usually free. We’re Catholic, but I will probably sign some kids up for a couple of the Protestant ones. They’re usually really fun.
    I wrote lots of thank you notes on cards I’d purchased at GW Outlet, $1.19/#.
    I sold a few things on Facebook Marketplace.
    Frugal fail? I bought a marked down whole chicken, .59/#. This used to be the regular price, so maybe I overpaid. This chicken was $3.66 (uncooked), but is it cheaper than the Costco $5 rotisserie chickens? Those are so good and very easy. It may not be cheaper for me to cook it myself, once everything is factored in. Maybe one of you ladies has done the math?
    Hope everyone has a great, frugal week!

    1. Yes, it is cheaper. Not all chickens weigh the same. Cook something else alongside the chicken in your oven at the same time.

  26. Hi Brandy and everyone
    This is a beautiful pink post! Pink roses, cupcakes and poppies, lovely. It sounds as though you are serving interesting salads and vegetarian meals.
    We picked tulips and wallflowers for the house.
    We planted dwarf beans, parsnips, delphiniums, brunerra and a hardy geranium. We potted on cosmos and cauliflower.
    I used a chicken carcass to make chicken broth for the freezer.
    I made a cherry and sultana cake for my husband and a lemon drizzle cake for a gift.
    I took a bottle of my homemade vanilla essence as a hostess gift to a meeting.
    I made 4 jars of piccalilli, you can buy cheap piccalilli but homemade is much nicer and not expensive.
    We bought a beef box from farming friends. For £25 we got 4 steaks, 2 packs of mince, 4 beefburgers and a pack of stewing steak. This is good quality meat at a good price.
    All the usual too, line drying the laundry, combining errands, taking flasks for hot drinks, switching off the heating etc.
    Stay safe everyone.

  27. My savings and frugal efforts this week feel very ordinary but I am listing them anyway! Every penny saved counts right?
    I purchased some flower seedlings a week or so ago and finally got them planted this past weekend. I stretched and divided those plants to fill three flower beds and 7 large planters. They are of course sparsely placed but will grow and fill in beautifully over the course of the summer and early fall. I am delighted to finally have some color in my yard as it makes me feel that this is now truly our home.
    I took advantage of a sale on vegetable seedlings to purchase some tomato and pepper plants for our garden. I am hoping that they will be very productive once planted.
    We need to bring in quite a bit of topsoil for our garden, flower beds and back yard and prices are outrageous. I shopped around comparing prices over several weeks and found organic composted screened topsoil for $16/cu yd! I have also been comparing prices for sod and was able to find pallets of freshly cut sod from a local farm for $180/pallet. These two savings will cut our cost to finish the backyard and put in the garden about in half – which I am thrilled about.
    We are headed to the beach this coming Saturday for a family vacation. I booked a condo with a full kitchen that was on special and we are taking items from our pantry to prepare all of our own meals. We already have beach chairs, towels and toys that we will use and I have budgeted for gas expenses for the past several months.
    My brother in law came to our home over the weekend and installed some recessed lighting and under cabinet lighting in our kitchen. He also helped my husband to replace all of our smoke detectors. We paid him for the cost of all of the materials but he refused to charge us labor so my husband took him out to lunch while he was here to say thank you. I attended a ladies conference at our church this weekend. They provided breakfast, lunch and all sorts of snacks for us for both days and it was a lovely refreshing time.
    I received my seed order from Johnny’s this week – over 3000 flower seeds for several varieties of Zinnias, Snapdragons, Stock, Lavender, & Marigolds. I am looking forward to planting them in my flower beds as work on our backyard progresses. I have been pricing out fruit trees in my area as we now have space to grow some fruit in our yard. I found 1 gallon blueberries for $16.97/each, thornless blackberries for $9.97/each, peach trees for $23.97/each, and apricot trees for $23.97/each. The apricot and peach trees are 6 feet tall so it may be a few years before we get a good harvest but the berries will fruit a bit this year and provide a good harvest next summer.
    Grocery prices – my oh my…..they just keep going up and will for some time I think. I have been making meals to stretch meat to help ease the cost. I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot this week and shredded all the meat from the bones. I strained the broth to use at a later date. I made a large pot of black beans and some rice. We made burrito bowls for several meals over three days from this combination. I also expanded our garden plans and we will be planting more than we originally intended to ease grocery costs. We met some of our neighbors and I was excited to discover that they have bees in their backyard which will be lovely for all of us close by growing flowers and veggies. We are also looking into getting some hens for the backyard as well.
    I hope that everyone enjoys a productive week ahead!

  28. Enjoyed your weekly pictures and reading about how you celebrate your son’s bday. We celebrated our granddaughter’s birthday with a party in the backyard with plastic pool for the young kids and soccer for the older kids. My daughter in law baked a cake, made pinwheel sandwiches with a veggie tray; everyone had a good time. I keep sharing stories of how the majority of kids birthday parties used be celebrated at home with minimal fuss. All you need is a dessert, a few games, and the kids entertain themselves. Many of their peers celebrate the birthdays of their children at restaurants, or places you have to pay for kids to play, fancy bubble trucks, or traveling petting zoos.
    Thrifty actions this week is that I intentionally sought out a neighbor,who has a large producing garden, to instruct me in several areas that I am lacking in know how or knowledge. Another neighbor divided her plants and gave me some flowers that are pollinators. We are turning the corner in Fl as the days are heating up.

    1. Yes! Most of my birthday parties were at home! I had one party at the skating rink but that was all.

  29. Happy birthday to your son and a belated happy birthday to you too Brandy as I haven’t commented in a couple of weeks. Your garden is truly impressive and I love those roses! A friend and I stopped at a favourite walk last Saturday to check out their walled rose garden but it is at least 6 weeks away from any blooms as yet – they have just started clearing away the Winter protection – we will go back in about a month and see how they are coming along.

    All bills have been paid for the month ahead, my transit pass has been topped up, I have stuffed various envelopes with their allocations for this month, allotted a certain amount for groceries and given myself my allowance for the month and that is it! I have found that using my debit card has made it much too easy to spend extra money lately so I am going back to cash! This includes saving up for things like new glasses, items for the apt., birthday & Christmas gifts etc. – each gets their own envelope! I have also made the final payment on my small CC so I will be calling to cancel it this afternoon. It’s store card and the interest is ridiculous – never again!

    I have spent a fair bit of money on items for the apt. over the past couple of weeks but it was all planned for and cash was paid for everything. I had finally decided to buy a toaster oven and an electric kettle to help keep the apt. cooler in the Summer and not a minute too soon as my stove decided to give up the ghost and short out – lots of noise and a few flames! I spoke with the super this morning and a new one should arrive shortly! I have lived here for 14 years – they gave me a new one when I moved in and it has already been replaced once – 5 to 6 years seems to be it! I also bought over $100 worth of LED lightbulbs for the apt., more Brita water filters, a couple of shower curtain liners and a new toilet seat! Doesn’t sound like a lot but about $400 later – luckily both the toaster oven and the kettle were on sale (in store) when I arrived so that saved me about $70 overall. Boy those LED lightbulbs are expensive! I can’t begrudge this money as I haven’t spent anything on things for the apt. since pre-pandemic and I was lucky enough to find everything that I wanted/needed.

    This week’s planned spending is for a couple of pairs of new shoes – also now desperately needed and the money has been put aside for these purchases so I will hit the stores – Ecco and then The Running Room. I have a difficult fitting and arthritis in both feet so shoe shopping is not a fun experience and it is always expensive! But – needs must!

    Grocery stores are well stocked at all my usual stops and there have been some sales, which always help – but the sticker shock on some items is a bit alarming! I just have to buy for myself so I can look at a can of something and know that will do me for 4 servings – but what does a family do? I stopped in at my local store this morning while out at the library and picked up enough salad items to get me through this week and also picked up a box of Cream of Wheat! Not sure where this suddenly came from as I’ve been looking for ages but bought one box to add to my long term cereal supply. I’m now adding in items that I don’t normally buy just to ensure that there is some variety down the road. I know that some of you are also experiencing limitations on items but have to say that I haven’t experienced any of that as yet.

    I moved some furniture on the weekend so that led to some more Spring cleaning and reorganizing – hard work but worth the effort. 6 loads of laundry was done and only 2 loads needed to go in the dryer – washed Ziploc bags – mixed powdered milk half and half with fresh and used up every scrap of food to ensure there is no waste! Listening to one of the UN reps this morning (he used to be a governor in I think NC) was very sobering – he spoke about having to take food from hungry children in order to feed starving ones! Besides my normal monthly church donation I am also making an effort to donate to a cause each and every month – mostly to do with food scarcity as this one really hits home. It’s not much but if we all do a small thing – such as help out a neighbour or family member (as many of you do with HM meals from your pantries) or donate an extra can or two to our local foodbanks – then at least it’s something.

    Looking forward to everyone’s comments.

    1. Margie: In Scandinavia where I live, I find that LED lightbulbs are cheaper in IKEA than most other places. Maybe that´s an option for you too? They are quite nice, but look out for the ‘lumen’ value, as some of the bulbs with low lumen value can be very dim in my experience.

      1. Hi Cam – I actually bought my first set of LED bulbs at IKEA a few years ago and I don’t find that they have lasted as long as advertised – that’s why I decided to try another “name” brand this time. Besides. IKEA’s here are really having problems with stock – everything I’ve tried to order recently has been out of stock so didn’t want to risk it.

  30. Happy Birthday to your son! Your celebration sounds lovely and simple – those are our favorite kind.
    More consistently warm weather has arrived which means we haven’t had a fire in the wood stove all week. That saves wood for next year. We borrowed a friend’s wood chipper and chipped up some branches and bark from fire wood we processed and spread it in a mulched area near our pond. We got free usage of a useful machine and used resources we already had for material we needed. Our bees swarmed twice and I was able to catch both swarms resulting in two new hives – for free! We all worked on building a new hive stand (out of materials we already had – minus one 4×4 post we had to buy) and now have room for 4 more hives. I was glad to get this done so we are ready to split hives as we are able. A friend of my FIL’s, who was a professional beekeeper at one time, offered me some of his wooden ware. This will be a tremendous savings. We will look at what he has the next time we visit them. Two neighbors gave me tomato plants and Jerusalem artichokes which will be a nice addition to the garden. We built two more beds for the kitchen garden giving us a lot more space close to the house which protects the plants from wildlife. All laundry possible is dried outdoors including the heavy blankets I wash and put away this time of year. The chickens continue to lay very generously giving us plenty to eat, trade and barter. Soaking their feed has continued to keep the amount of grain they need down saving us money. I found a new source for my cats’ monthly flea/tick preventative and wormer – The medication was $30 cheaper than the online pet pharmacy I have been using and they did not require a vet’s authorization which meant the medication shipped out very quickly. They also offer free shipping on all orders. I am pleased to have found this new resource. It almost seemed too good to be true but so far, so good. We have continued to stock up on items for our pantry only when we find good prices (by today’s standards.) I was able to get a few things like coffee and canned goods on a B2G1 free sale. I cut my youngest son’s hair with the hairdresser cape I recently bought. I have cut their hair their whole lives (oldest is almost 11) and am not sure why I waited so long to buy a $7 item as it made the job so easy. Sometimes, I can be frugal to a fault, it seems. 🙂
    On the reading front, I have mostly been going through all my cookbooks for new inspiration or to be reminded of things I have not made in a while. It also helps me realize if I really need to keep the books or not. Always a good thing to be sure what you own is useful and not just occupying space.
    Wishing everyone a lovely week!

  31. My mom sent over a case and a half of bottled water

    Hubby found bacon for 1.99 lb(8packs), 2 4 packs of yogurt for $1 each, $1.99 rolls of Jimmy Dean sausage(hot, but hubby will eat it).

    I used grocery pick up to stick to list and budget, even at Sam’s. I still had $3.65 in Sam’s cash that I used on my order.

    My daughter rewore a dress she used at the last dance to her drama group dinner.

    I got my receipts entered for points

    I signed up for the free panera drinks until july

    Our phones are finally paid off through our cell phone carrier, so bill is now $200 less a month

    I quit my home health job so now I need to find other ways to make up the $75- $100 I’ll be losing a week, but I was getting too stressed(I was already was going to quit in July)

    I ordered the teen a swimsuit off of Shein. We carefully measured her beforehand and it fits perfectly. best of all, it was only $13.

    I used points for free Starbucks drink

    I received my replacement pack of underwear. I’ll save them for when I need them. I mended the pair that ripped.

    I picked up free Krispy Kreme donuts from my birthday reward.

    I earned 10.50 Amazon shopper panel rewards

    I brought home leftovers from book club(cookies and the rest of a veggie tray)

  32. Brandy, I love cream cheese frosting, and the thought of it gave my taste buds a thrill but that is not in the plan today, ha, ha! We had fun shopping after Christmas sales for DS and a niece’s gifts when they were little. One of my all time best finds was three board games shrunk wrapped together for $5 at K Mart. I bought two, separated them, and the next few years they got one for BD or Christmas as they grew into them. We found a little wooden train set in a case for $3 at KB Toys for DS. After my hip surgery DH was working 12 hour shifts so the Grandmas alternated keeping DS when he worked. The train set and Barney were always chosen by him to go every time with other assorted toys. One day I made the oval wider until almost a circle when he was napping and he didn’t like that so I showed him how to change it back. A couple days later he was taking the track apart making different designs.

    After a trip to Aldi I divided a large pkg. of chicken legs and froze half with the food saver. I cooked the other half in the crock pot with broth, water, and seasonings overnight and added rice the next morning for chicken and rice with salad or vegetables for a couple meals and lunches. I also made spaghetti with ground turkey and served with a salad. Scrambled eggs with peppers and mushrooms were breakfast for dinner one night. Blueberry muffins, turkey bacon, and granola bars (from freezer) were for breakfasts/snacks.

    I took up the waistband of some jeans so I could use them longer. I want to lose a little more weight before going to a smaller size and the jeans have plenty of wear left. I have been jogging part of our walks for a while on level or downhill spots. I noticed more toning when I started and I feel more energetic which is what I am going for. I am glad I did not hem all the tops last year as I would have had to do them again. Twice as much needs to be shortened.

    I made life easier by finally starting to order something DH needs online from CVS. I could use the 30% coupon up to $99 (if not on sale) and any extra bucks were also applied. I got more than double the amount we could ever find at a time for less than half the price and can go 5 weeks before reordering again. No delivery charge, a lot less gas, time, and frustration.

    I am pleased that the Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus that I trimmed and replanted one 80 degree weekend in December are growing so much I should be able to cut some off for new plants later this year. I also read to add Epsom Salt twice a year as well as fertilizer. They have never been more beautifully green with more growth in such a short time.

    DS had an interview last week. I asked him to look at his hair in the back and let me know if he wanted me to do a 5 minute level for him. He came to me later and said it would probably look better if I did. I asked where he wanted it leveled up to and showed him the different lengths of growth in the mirror. He choose the middle one and I trimmed it along with two tiny spots on the sides. He agreed it looked better. The next afternoon he told me he really liked what I did with a smile. A different approach made all the difference. It sounded like the interview went well too.

    I did some of my yearly clean out of papers; so much easier than last year. I also found another small pile of papers and was able to shred or recycle most of them and file the rest. They were misplaced when we cleared the room for painting.

    Have a wonderful week!


  33. We got 8 containers of juice, 4 grape, 4 apple (on sale 2/$5) using Dollar General’s $5 off $25 coupon. We went over the $25 by .80 but decided to get the extra juice as they had a lot for a change.

  34. I haven’t actually posted my frugal activities for awhile.
    In the last month or two I’ve been trying to use up fabric in my stash. I made two shirts, a quilt for my niece who is expecting her first baby, three quilted and lined market bags, and a washed blue linen apron. So that is a little dent.
    My husband and I went to our town’s once per month art walk.
    It was fun to go into various galleries and a building that housed a good many artist studios. Plus the artists had set out goodies for everyone. It was a great free date.
    There is a nature walk that we like to go on. Facing the sea is a bench. If you bring millet/chopped sunflower seeds chickadees will actually come and sit on your palm to eat. I could probably do this everyday.
    Frugal fail – we bought four high end jigsaw puzzles at a charity thrift store for $2 each. When we opened the boxes, all four reeked of cigarettes. Ugh! Probably should have tried to return them.
    I have been making kimchi and my husband is doing homemade sauerkraut. Kimchi is a very satisfying thing to make as the healthy probiotics start bubbling and working almost immediately. I leave out the chili flakes as I don’t like it too hot.
    My husband began a sourdough starter and has been making bread regularly.
    I needed a prescription and it was going to be something like $93 with our new (what we thought was better) Rx plan. I looked it up on GoodRx and I managed to get it for $70 less!! I will always check GoodRx first from now on.
    The nursery we go to had the most beautiful baskets of flowers.
    I wanted one really badly but they were $59. I bought a thrift store basket and made my own for $25 less.
    We had to go to the big city for some appointments. Usually we’ll pack a lunch. This time we ate at a teriyaki place that had very good reviews. The portions were huge so we had enough left to take home for dinner.
    We just realized recently that Netflix comes free with our phone plan. I have been watching Outlander and loving it (not for kids!). Somebody on this site mentioned the book “Lark rise to Candleford”. It was available as an ebook from my library. It is a wonderful book.
    Guess that is all for now. Your cupcakes look very yummy, Brandy!

    1. Elisa, charcoal briquets will absorb a lot of odors, and if I were you, I’d try them with the puzzles. I would put a couple of briquets in the box (keeping the puzzle pieces away from the briquets because they are dirty), close up the box and let it sit for awhile…maybe a week. This worked for a used car that my son bought. Sunlight (especially with a little breeze) is also a good deodorizer. In that case, I’d try to spread the pieces out a bit.

      PS You can later burn the briquets!

  35. On a very positive note our Ukrainian visitor just got home from a job interview-and they hired her! I am thrilled for her-I think it is a very decent wage for an 18 year old( well above min wage) who only arrived April 13-she starts next week. A dear friend of mine had suggested she apply there. I couldn’t be any prouder than if she was my 18 year old. Her health care card arrived in the mail today and she still does have to get an immigration medical, chest Xray etc as part of the visa process-so just a few more hoops to jump through-but she is well on her way. When she is ready we will help her go apt shopping.

    Not really a very frugal week here otherwise-I have been sick for about 10 days( not Covid) so consulted with my doc today and hoping to feel better soon. Given that, I have needed to buy some meds and not really had the energy to shop and cook. There are some super nasty viruses going around our community and many folks I know are sick-including my niece who was admitted to hospital last night for breathing trouble-again not Covid or pneumonia but RSV which is usually not too severe unless you are an infant or elderly.
    We have added 4 house guests and a dog to our 2 person household so they will head out soon to purchase some supplies and cook dinner.
    Despite not feeling well I did go ahead and apply online for my old age security pension which will start next year-so that will be frugal once it starts arriving each month . Hopefully I will be more productive next week.

    1. I’ve never had the family on board with eating it in salad much, but I have tried.

      The lemons are finishing up now; I am using them sparingly.

    2. Lynn,
      This recipe looks delicious. Thanks for sharing! I have a lot of chard in the garden right now.

  36. Brandy that is wonderful you were able to have a birthday party for your son with beautiful homemade cupcakes and low price gifts. The discount you got on fuel was huge with fuel points. Lovely you were able to plant so much in your gardens and harvest a lot too. The leftovers for meals is wonderful and saves cooking and time and uses up what would in most households go to waste 🙂 .

    As our government fuel excise has been cut in half for 6 months taking the prices for fuel down by the same amount we have been gradually buying more jerry cans and topping up our fuel supplies as we use a lot in the country. We add a fuel preservative called fuel doctor that makes the fuel last in storage for longer. We are aiming to get to 12 months supply in storage to save us money on fuels for some time and top up the jerry cans as we use them and rotate through them.

    Not sure if you are allowed Brandy to store fuel there in residential areas ? as I know here there is a limit on litreage you can store in residential areas here and it has to be stored away from the home for safety reasons. As we live in the country we have no limit to the amount of fuel we can store here. This could save you money when you get those deals of $1 off per gallon if you use a lot of fuel.

    In the kitchen –
    – Baked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.

    Finances and purchases –
    – I looked at the budget and everyday account rounded off any extra money in there and paid an additional $150 off the mortgage and put an additional $260 into our emergency fund.
    – I paid another part extra mortgage payment and added more to our savings
    and emergency fund from our pays.

    Purchases –
    – Bought fuel using our 4% off face value Racq e-gift card and using our 4c per litre rewards to save $8.96 on usual prices.
    – From IGA on sales I purchased bottles of sarsaparilla, clix biscuits and brut deodorant for DH saving $16.60 on usual prices.

    In the garden sheds –
    – Spent 2 days pressure cleaning the tool shed and sorting electrical tools, hand tools, oils, chainsaws and lots of bits and pieces neatly after cleaning into the shed on new metal shelves and existing wood shelves. Still more to do as we just dumped everything in the sheds when we first moved in so now is a good time for a good tidy up and to put things in marked containers and on shelves.
    – We are also culling what we have not used in some time being a 7T electric log splitter that was too light for the firewood we cut, a fan heater, a convection heater and a portable electric oven cook top. We took these down to our local men’s shed to sell for us and they will get a commission.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead.

  37. After a ridiculous visit to a car dealership , I’ve gotten needed car repairs made. Its looking like the bill is under $400.00./The dealership quoted 1200.00 and it wasn’t even related to the actual problem. The few moments I spent calling my dad and another mechanic saved me a great deal of money. Protecting myself seems to become harder the older I get. I constantly am double checking things. I borrowed my daughters car to use while mine waited in a long queue to get repaired. She ubered back and forth to work for a very low cost. I went to 4 junk yards to get her a new wheel. She hit a curb and damaged the tire and rim. The rim had a lovely tire on it so $70.00 resolved that issue. I got her an oil change and a new gas cap. We will call our exchange even. Sugar cookie and I are going on another vacation this week. Out of pocket came to about $200. There must of been about 30 good years where we never had a vacation. I’m happy in my old age , I can finally take budget friendly trips. This week while prowling in a dumpster ,I brought home 3 azaleas to add to 3 marked down ones I had bought. I’m hoping they plant well and grow beautifully. I looked at a Japanese maple and was shocked to see such a baby tree priced at $200.00 . We have baby birds nested in a wreath on our front door. We have placed 3 bird feeders nearby and feed those hungry birds frequently. Meanwhile ,we are using our backdoor to come in and out. I smiled all the way home after finding 10 Rubbermaid under the bed bins. Lids included. I should be able to manage sugar cookies seasonal clothing so much better by having it packed away. I struggle with the amount of laundry she constantly is doing. By removing it, problem solved. I hope everyone is having a lovely week. I’m at my daughters helping her pack for an out of town job. She’s working a banquet tonight. That means there will be lovely left over food coming home. Its always such a blessing to be gifted such a fancy meal.

  38. So, our utility bill has dropped $300 since February! Of course, much of it is due to no heat use and opening windows, but we have also seen a substantial drop in water usage and electrical! We have used so many of the cost saving ideas from all of you!

    We are close to zero waste on food. All leftovers are mainly eaten by us with some being given to our Newfies. I am cooking more items that can make multiple meals such as sauces, rice, noodles and beans. We have essentially stopped eating out which has really helped our budget. The cost of food continues to rise here. I worry about those on fixed incomes.

    I planted a few additional plants/seeds in the garden. I managed to find some Kentucky Wonder pole beans which have been elusive as hen’s teeth! We had a gully washer of a storm Sunday and I’m afraid many seeds may have been lost once again. Sigh.

    I planted my flower boxes with French Dwarf Marigolds! I love them! So delicate! Mulched may of my yard plants and trees. Need to go to the CO-OP and get a truck load to finish up. Our Community Garden Club is having a plant and garden items sale. Plan to check them out as there are usually some bargains to be had.

    Prayers and blessings for everyone. Onward, ya’ll, by all means!(Ryan)

  39. Brandy, the poppies are so pretty and I sure wish I was harvesting produce. It will be a couple of months before we do that. But can’t wait to start digging in the dirt. Our last average frost is May 20.

    -This is for the last 2 weeks. We were on vacation out west visiting National Parks and Monuments in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. We were on this initial vacation March 2020 and had to come home after 5 days out. So we have had the money in savings to finish this trip.

    -We used an app for hotels so they were reduced plus I got 2 of the 12 nights free. We packed a cooler, breakfast was in hotels, lunch out later in the day around 2pm (cheaper than supper and smaller portions), then snacks in the hotel at night from the cooler.

    -We bought an America the Beautiful annual pass for $80. Daily entry fees would have been $145.00. So we saved $65.00 plus the pass is good until April 2023. We hope to see more parks this fall and possibly next April.

    -That’s it for those 2 weeks now back to reality, our snow is gone and it is finally warming up. Hope to start on yard and garden work this week.

    Have a great week!

  40. Last week I was able to get out into my garden and flowerbeds a few times. It has been so wet, it has been challenging. There is much more to do, but I did get my tomatoes planted. That is good because they are getting leggy. I put pictures of my garden on my blog: I weeded and trimmed in flowerbeds and filled the yard debris bin so full I had to make a pile in the yard for next time.

    I love how your garden looks, Brandy. It is so beautiful.

    My husband has been growing so many plants in the greenhouse. He has made up baskets for our mothers and sisters for Mother’s Day and already handed most of them out. He used plants he grew and pots he had from previous years. He scrounged some pots from Home Depot for use at Sunday school next week (Mother’s Day flowers that he grew as well) and for transplanting some leggy tomato plants. He has about 40-50 dahlia bulbs planted in some of those pots. They are ones he dug up from our garden, some his friend gave him last year, some from his birthday, and some from the bag his friend gave him last week…..Yikes!–I don’t have that many flowerbeds…hope he plans to share some:)

    I did a lot of cooking. I wanted meals for the week ahead. I was able to use a lot of my preserved food and shop minimally. Prices are rising, but I found sales and most food items were in stock, which made me happy.

  41. It is restful to look at your beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing.
    I bought a Foodsaver machine marked down 50%! I’m very pleased! We only have our fridge freezer, so I couldn’t justify one to myself before. So I immediately properly re-packaged some freezer items; less likely to get freezer burn now. And I went through and vacuum-sealed my dehydrated vegetables in mason jars, which also should prolong shelf life.
    My husband doesn’t like ham, but Easter hams were significantly marked down, so I bought one and then scrambled to find recipes he’d enjoy (in spite of ham!) He liked a Ham/Yam/Brussels Sprout grated “hash” that was roasted in the oven! As well as a Ham Shepherds Pie. 😊
    I reached my goal of 3 months of shelf-stable food in our pantry! All foods we eat regularly too. It is important to me that the food storage not be dependent on electricity. Thank you Brandy and ladies for having a forum where I can mention this and be met with understanding rather than puzzled looks! (“But we’ll always have electricity!” Really?)
    My husband repaired my dishwasher basket, saving $50. The most frugal thing I’ve done in my life is marry a man who fixes things.
    Mind you, he says he decided I was the girl for him when, after two restaurant dates when we met, I said firmly this was a waste of money and we would be eating home cooked dinners from now on! It wasn’t my stellar cooking (!), but my concern over wasting money!
    Have a frugal week!

    1. I follow an account on Instagram where the woman said that they were without electricity this past winter due to a storm. They had a generator but getting enough fuel was difficult when roads were blocked. They were prepared but others were not near them.

      We never know what could knock out electricity. It’s good to be prepared!

      1. Last Sunday, the power went out at our house for a good 4 hours as a tree fell on a transformer which knocked out power to half of our city. I went and lit every candle I had to provide some light until the power was restored. I live in NE Ohio so it’s still kinda chilly at night.

    2. Hi Elle,
      May I ask what kind of shelf-stable food you keep in your pantry? I have been thinking about it lately since we live near a fault line. Thank you, in advance.

  42. The pictures are beautiful, especially the last one.

    We celebrated Eid on Monday. We had a few people over and cooked everything from scratch except 1 dessert. Halal ( humanely raised animals that are processed taking God’s name) costs more than regular/non-halal meat. For example, the lowest price on chicken where I live is $2.99/ pound, beef- is $4.99/ pound, and goat is $10.99/ pound.

    I’m planning to watch a show ( A French Village) that has good reviews on it and was able to find it at the library. Did anyone here see it? Feedback, please. Any recommendations for clean shows and movies?

    I wanted to give a facelift to my workspace in the kitchen so I went shopping online at different stores (for ideas) and FB marketplace (for things). Then I decided to get rid of a few things and made new chair covers from matching kitchen towels that I bought from Target.

    I bought a pair of Earth Origins shoes from a thrift store for $2.99 that was missing a button. I bought similar-looking buttons and sewed it on the shoe. Then 1 of the soles came off on a grocery shopping trip, so I bought shoe glue and fixed it. They end up costing more than I’d have imagined but I love these all-leather shoes that are well made.

    Have a lovely week :).

    1. Eid Mubarak Farhana!

      I haven’t heard of this show; I will have to look it up.

        1. Eid Mubarek Farhana! from Ann

          I like watching All Creatures Great and Small. A clean show about a vet and his practice in early twentieth century U.K. They do go to the pub and occasionally drink a beer or wine.
          I like watching Escape to the Country(about Brits who are looking for houses in the English countryside — good way to learn some U.K. geography and history) and I like Escape to the Chateau about an eccentric British couple’s efforts to renovate a run-down chateau in France.

          Was it you we were suggesting how to travel inexpensively? If so, have you decided where you are going?

          1. Hi, Ellie’s friend,
            Thank you for the Eid greeting (I’m blown away, btw). I loved watching All Creatures Great and Small- I wish they had more episodes. I tried the old version but didn’t like it much. Yes, I think I asked Brandy about her trip to France. No, we haven’t decided anything yet given the current Covid. war, and inflation situation.

  43. Brandy, that picture with the poppies is just stunning! I admire all the metal structures you’ve added to your garden. Such wonderful planning and creating by you and your husband!

    We put up some plain 4×4 posts with wire strung between and chicken wire below to finish the edge of the vegetable garden. They looked pretty last year with beans growing on them and a grapevine trailed through. The greenhouse completely buckled in the wind this week! We plan to put up a wooden structure next year but make it to fit the cover. However, we just made it to our frost date, and the greens inside are still glorious and more than enough for our family of 6. Some wins, some losses. It was a particularly windy year here. I’m just grateful that the greenhouse didn’t end up doing any damage for neighbors.

    We baked bread, ate from home, organized toys and streamlined our space on the front porch.

    One splurge – we did get a folding canoe from MyCanoe. We don’t have a rack or a trailer hitch, and for the price of getting either one of those, we just got a canoe that could fold up into the size of a suitcase. It takes about 10 minutes to unfold and put together. We spent about $15 for 5 life jackets, and about $20 for 2 adult paddles. So far, lots of fun! It’s good for about 20,000 folds, so I’m hopeful so far. Rentals around here are expensive, so it should pay for itself in about 5 trips.

    Lots of seedlings – nasturtiums, verbena, parsley, sweet william, and many mysteries – that all are getting potted on.

    Wishing you all a beautiful week and a happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to mothers and those celebrating with their mothers. And a thank you to all the lovely ladies who comment here and mother the rest of us so kindly with their wisdom!

  44. It looks like your garden is already producing lovely things from roses to gorgeous parsley and tomatoes! Our garden is gearing up, but our “hot” weather doesn’t occur until August. I still have cool weather crops in the garden and they’re growing nicely. This week we harvested lettuce, carrots, potato, and Swiss chard. My second batch of 144 indoor seedlings have germinated. A recent trip to the Home Depot nursery reaffirmed that my grow light stand purchase last year is saving me a bundle! Veggies are $4.50 each (more for organic) and the smallest sized plants (like English lavender) are $5.50!!! That’s over a $1,200 savings for the 288 plants I’ve started since January.

    After this batch of seedlings gets transplanted into my summer veggie garden I will plant perennial seeds. The Home Depot prices are less than our local nurseries, but they prices have gone up noticeably this year. We have a lot of dead plants thanks to gophers (even though we use cages) and need some additional yard spruce up with low water plants that attract pollinators. I’m having a hard time finding gopher cages locally this year. I may make some from hardware cloth scraps although it’s tough on the hands, even with gloves. I bought some screw eyes, to use with galvanized wire we already own, to make a trellis for some growing bougainvillea.

    I replaced an avocado tree that never did well with a new one. I amended the soil and added fertilizer. Hopefully this one will thrive. Avocados at Costco went up $3/bag this last trip. Eeeek!!! It would be nice to have some in our backyard for free.

    I’m experimenting with my potatoes this year. As I harvested them (white fingerling and red potato), there were a bunch of little, tiny potatoes in the soil. I saved and sprouted with the goal of growing new potato plants from them for this year. So far, the red potatoes that I started from seed (actual potato seed) last year are sprouting better than the white fingerling seed potatoes that I bought from a nursery. If this experiment works, I may not have to purchase either potato seeds or seed potatoes (which are expensive) in the future. Has anyone else had success with this? I couldn’t find any info online.

    Other savings include cutting my son’s hair and coloring my own this week. In addition, I made pizza and pizza sauce from scratch, baked French country bread, as well as made all other meals from scratch.

    I read a local news article that recent rain ruined the first strawberry crop. We definitely need the rain, but this means strawberries will likely be more expensive this year. It’s a good thing that I’m doubling my strawberries this year. I bought a second vertical tower and have some bare root strawberries ready to plant when I have a block of time to get it done this week.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!!

    1. That’s so interesting about your local nursery! Ours is LESS expensive than Home Depot and Lowe’s.

  45. I’m heading into super ninja frugal mode for a while due to some unexpectedly high bills. We will also need to replace our dishwasher soon. My husband has tried 4 times to fix it, but improper installation by the previous homeowners has caused damage to the machine and our cabinet infrastructure. Hoping to have a few no spend weeks coming up soon.
    *Last week I said yes to a free toothbrush, toothpaste and floss at my free dental cleaning. (Free with my insurance.)
    *My husband attended a work event where he won a mug and some very nice high end pens. He gifted me one of the pens.
    *We celebrated my mom’s Birthday with her choice of takeout, but did not buy drinks to save money. I used decorations that we have had for years. Her gifts were dollar store candy that she loves, but that has been out of stock at the grocery store every time she tries to buy them. I also gifted her some cans of soup from my pantry that is her favorite, but is no longer available at any stores in our area. My mom is 85, and she is very happy with food gifts because she does not want any more “stuff” in her house.
    *I made homemade pancakes, pasta with marina sauce, garlic toast from leftover hoagies & hot dog buns, stir fry with bits of vegetables, smoked sausage with onions and perogies, quiche with Easter ham from the freezer, biscuits. Still eating refrigerator oatmeal everyday and loving it. My husband and I are trying to eat leftovers for lunch as much as possible, and I’m trying to freeze individual portions of the leftovers that don’t get used.
    *I’m planting much of my garden in containers this year. I have been collecting free and cheap planters all year. Lettuce is loving the containers and coming up like crazy. I also have snow peas, sugar snaps, cherry tomatoes, basil and cilantro coming up. I planted roma tomatoes, chives, green onions and okra this week. I’m using jars to keep the seedlings warm, one of the many things I learned from this blog! I have everyone I know saving jars for me. I did have to buy some dirt, but I found the mix that I wanted at Walmart for $3.00 less a bag than anywhere else I looked. I will save and feed the dirt in my containers for next year, so this is a one time purchase.
    *I have been slowly cleaning out my closets room by room. I have found so many things that I can use, but had forgotten about. It has been like shopping in my own house.
    *I was totally out of wrapping paper, except for Christmas. I found 2 new rolls of Birthday paper at the Goodwill Outlet and paid around 70 cents each. I just love it when the items I really need magically show up in the bins at the right time! So blessed!
    *My 15 year old son is buying DVDs with his allowance, so we went thrift shopping. He is convinced that the internet will be hacked and out of service, so he wants DVDs to watch without internet. (I think the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in this case.) This also led us to have a meaningful conversation about budgets and what it will be like when he moves out and has to pay for things on his own, like internet and streaming services. He agrees that he may not be able to afford, or want to pay for, streaming services or cable so DVDs would be nice to have. I am glad to have these types of conversations with my son. My parents never taught me about money, which led to a lot of financial mistakes in my 20’s.
    *I just went to my local Kroger store this morning and was floored to see that every meat item and many other items that I looked at are now AT LEAST $1.00 more per package! Unbelievable! I spent less than half my weekly budget because most things were above my buying price. Mostly bought a brand of pet food that is hard to find anywhere else. I’m loving my well stocked pantry today!!
    *Thanks for all the frugal ideas and inspiration each week!

    1. Your son has a point about affording streaming services. There are student rates, but I remember being a student and even $2 was hard to come by.

    2. Susanmarie, birthday greetings to your mother. I agree with her on not wanting anymore stuff. When I turned 50, I said that instead of giving me presents, the best gift would be to come to my house and take something away. Seventeen years later, I am still saying it but it just hasn’t caught on. LOL, but I do get more consumable presents now!

      1. Kat – I laughed out loud about telling your family, “Don’t get me more stuff, come take stuff away!” I think I’m going to implement that policy!!

      2. Kat, I love your birthday idea of having people come and take something away! I think I will try that!

  46. We have under three weeks in our current home, so packing has continued. This weekend I was able to get all of the items out of our big freezer into the fridge freezer and figure up meal ideas until we leave. Still reusing as many boxes as I can, of course. 🙂

    My son and I went to the base grocer for perishables and also checked the markdown shelf for healthy(ish) snacks for the hotels & drive; we found two boxes of granola bars and two boxes of “heart healthy” nut mix. (They are tucked away in a cloth bag so they don’t get eaten up for fun while we’re still in the house. LOL) I also placed an order through Thrive Market, received free shipping & used $4 of rewards cash (and earned another $2 back). That will be here in a few days and then I *think* we’ll be covered most of the route and save the costs of fast food/gas station temptations.

    Set up a mailbox through UPS Store – I thought I’d need two separate ones for business and family, but they said one was okay as long as I listed all of us that would get mail. A one year contract meant a waived set-up fee and a three month free addition, so we have a mailing address no matter how long it takes to find a house, plus it’s in a central location for the area so easy to combine into any other errands around the town. While discussing that new address with a family member who works for the postal service, she let me know that they are actively seeking thousands of employees and strongly encouraged my husband to apply once his military retirement is official. (And a note for any USA readers seeking jobs – check the USPS website on their jobs page, as it may have something for your area. She told me they are short something like 4,000 workers nationwide and have hiring fairs coming up too. I hope that serves someone here!)

    I learned about a calendar service called Calendly through some LinkedIn connections and checked it out – using the free trial I’ve already been able to streamline things and quickly set up two virtual meetings for potential clients without all the back and forth emails. It’s saved me time and stress, which never hurts.

    Now that my car is paid off (last month), I was able to put the extra we’d have paid this paycheck into savings instead. Woohoo!

    Our final teen meetup with our homeschool group was scheduled for later in the month; the hostess shared a link to discounted tickets for the location, so we saved $3 on my son’s ticket.

    Wishing all a wonderful week and fantastic, safe May!

  47. I have been busy doing various things about my home and in the yards. We removed all the upper cabinets on two walls of the kitchen. Today I cleaned the walls well and John went around spackling holes. I’m quite ready to paint yet but it looks so much nicer now. When we removed one cabinet it left an opening on the end of the area where the stove vent goes up through the ceiling. We’d sort of half fixed it when we took down the cabinet, but it looked bad. Today John fixed it really nicely using a cabinet door that he’d cut to size to fit that end. Now it looks finished. I put together outfits for the month ahead. As one of the other girls mentioned, I found combinations of things I’d not worn together before. I have a zero budget for summer at present until we repay a credit card balance. I had a mini spa day right here at home. I gave myself a full pedicure, exfoliated with a homemade sugar scrub, and felt downright pampered when I was all done. Cost me nothing but a 1/4 cup of sugar mixed with some olive oil. Ran into Kroger this past week to pick up milk, Country Time Lemonade mix (cheaper than sale priced sugar and lemonade powder per serving) and cheese. I gave leftovers makeovers. Chicken and rice bake turned into Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. I just subbed in leftovers for the cooked ingredients called for in the second recipe. Made Taco pizza on Saturday and on Sunday used leftover taco meat, refried beans and cheese to make burritos for lunch with some to go into the freezer. I used leftover fried chicken to make Crispy Chicken Salads for lunch one day. We bought a new washing machine about this time last year and the thing has faithfully washed every stitch of clothing with hot water. I fussed about it for months and then just gave up. I needed to wash something on delicate cycle and the water was boiling hot and I said one more time very quietly, “It’s not right! It should be washing on cold cycle and yet every single cycle is coming out HOT.” My husband sighed and when our son came in, he got him to help switch hoses. I thanked my husband and told him we should see a drop in our electric bill.

  48. I went into Kroger yesterday to get Gunnoes Sausage Rolls 2/$5, lowest I have seen. Our Aldi sausage has changed, way too much fat. Near the deli they had plastic containers containing 2 strips of thin sliced cheese; two packages of thin slice circles of turkey and ham, and two rolls of Ritz type crackers each marked down to 1.99. I planned to make some sliders with ham, egg, and cheese so I picked up three and will freeze leftovers. The crackers will saved for chicken, ham, etc. salad night when we eat finger food. Your store may have some too.

  49. Husband and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary yesterday: we went to Texas Roadhouse, using a $25 GC from Christmas that was given to us and money that my in-laws gifted us so dinner cost us zero dollars OOP! I ordered a meal off their early bird dinner menu. Brought 1/2 of it home. Hubby also mentioned to our server we were celebrating our anniversary so the staff sang us their song & gave us a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce on it at no charge, so we split that for dessert.

    —my Mom cut mine & my husbands hair. She’s a licensed cosmetologist. So that saves us money. We were driving up their way to see my son.

    —my parents treated my son, husband & myself to Red Lobster to celebrate his 18th birthday last week

    —received a free magazine (Real Simple) from my RecycleBank rewards

    —had 2 drinks from Starbucks using GCs from my Verizon rewards and a GC my son gave me for Christmas.

    —using up food from our freezer. I thawed some chicken thighs which were used in 2 meals.

    -cancelled Netflix & Amazon Prime. I still have free access to Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN plus through my cell phone (Verizon) plan.

    -watched Call the Midwife on PBS

    -took a shelf stand that was outside, cleaned it up & now have storage to put our pans & counter top appliances on when not in use, which cleared off the dining room table.

    —used a $250 gift card that I won in Dec 2020 from a local catering company to order food for my son’s graduation party in June. The caterer told me then I could save it for this year. That’s a huge savings.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  50. The cupcake with candles photo is just lovely! Much nicer than some I have seen on greeting cards.
    I worked through the big pots I use for flowers on the back deck, getting some planted, and used up the last of a bottle of fertilizer from my parents’ home. It was nice to think of them as I worked, wondered if they bought it at Thomford’s or Bergeson’s, and other gardening memories. Mom would sigh over how Dad planted bulbs– in straight rows from every angle and diagonals, like a military cemetery– because when she was still healthy enough to garden, the flowers looked a bit more organic. It was easier to tell what didn’t come up in Dad’s method, though.
    One of the chain drug stores in town is closing, so I made sure to use up any possible rewards points I had with them to stock up on a few things, (vitamins, toilet paper, chocolate).
    City clean-up is this week, free to put out extra items for the trash. I put out things early enough that the scavengers could take them.
    City-wide yard sale was last weekend and I did well. (I sure shop differently having no small child at home and not buying for the college costume shop!). Pair of jeans for a dollar; glass vase-candlesticks in a sort of clear peachy color that I think are old for a dollar, have already used them for orange tulips; a bag of clothespins for 25 cents; a clothespin apron for a dollar that had more clothespins already in the pockets; a shawl to put over the back of a chair; etc.
    We had a scare on Monday when we got a polite but very firm letter from the hospital from a procedure last August, pointing out we could be liable for many thousands of dollars. The insurance company had requested more information but did not actually request it from the physician. After various phone calls, (to all helpful people, I add, IF they answered the phone), it should be cleared up. I will follow up in a few weeks. That started me thinking about how blessed we are, if we had had to pay, and what we can continue to do to be careful with our resources.
    Good week to all!

  51. Your pancake combinations sound delicious. I think I will have to make some!

    I enjoyed reading about your son’s birthday gifts and celebration.

    We went fishing (locally) and caught dinner for two nights. I added meatless paella as a side which is simple to make, cheap and full of flavour. I froze some paella too. Other meals for dinner and lunch were falafel wraps, tomato, lentil and chorizo sauce over pasta, pizza and pizza and salad.

    My daughter needed swimmers/swimsuit (we call them togs!). As it is coming into winter here the shops had no stock. My daughter received some clothes from her friend (the friend had outgrown them) and it contained swimmers that fit perfectly!

    We played chess, checkers Monopoly, Guess who? and read books. I line dried all washing, harvested an abundance of fruit and vegetables from our garden, met friends at a local park, buried fruit and vegetable scraps in the garden, got a credit on my electricity bill, and rode our bikes. I watched some shows on Netflix (after it was gifted to us recently).

    My grocery bill was higher than I would like because this week I did not want to compromise on some needs and wants. That is ok, as I have surplus in the grocery budget due to all the fruit and vegetables we harvest. After this shop, the budget still remains with a large surplus. My budget is $60-80 per week, including food and household items (deodorant, shampoo, toilet paper etc).

  52. We went grocery shopping earlier in the week and noticed that we had been overcharged when we got home. I saved the receipt and the bag from the produce that was marked down with the tag on it. My husband took it back today and got money back towards groceries. I usually watch while everything is being rung and often I save money that way. The store was happy to refund our money towards groceries today. I’ve been concerned about grocery prices and everything else. But today we bought a lot of veggies on sale and that made me so happy! The prices were great for certain items; mangoes 3 for a dollar, salad 78 cents, 1 lb bags of peppers 88 cents, veggie tray fo $1.98. My husband and I had a little date today. We bought some grocery items that we normally wouldn’t buy as a treat and had a picnic in the car because it was raining! Then we did the real grocery shopping. It was very enjoyable. Sometimes it is fun to splurge just a bit and I think being full made us spend less in the grocery store. Usually we bring a cooler, but we didn’t today. We have been carefully turning off lights when not use. Watching every cent. We are not in the red and that makes me happy! We meant to get glasses this week but just have not yet. But we should work on it this week. We also need to save for tires this winter on both vehicles. I need to watch for sales on tires. I have not started looking yet. I’d like to have the money saved for them. My husband got an award for being a careful driver and I am so happy about it! He got a gift card. He has been getting overtime on most days lately. Except today because of the rain. Overtime or full-time hours are helpful. We have enjoyed seeing all sorts of animals; deer, possum, raccoons, birds, turkey, cardinals and more, foxes. It has been wonderful to watch. After one busy day, we took a drive to a local lake and just enjoyed the scenery. I love being by the water. This evening we also enjoyed watching my son play with his dog. It is so funny to watch how his dog loves to run and jump and play. I’m glad he has his dog. We all enjoy the internet for information and entertainment. I made a recipe from Youtube, the Quaint Housewife. It was an Armenian dish. It was very tasty. We have been getting lots of eggs from our chickens! We have been picking asparagus and eating it. It has been fun watching our chicken Antsy Nancy follow my husband and my son up and down the rows of asparagus. She also has been knocking at our door with her beak! Now I don’t know if she was just pecking at bugs or what but it is fun to think she was knocking! It certainly sounded like knocking to us! She really likes my husband, but he always tells her that I am the number one hen! LOL. Anyway, we have fun with the chickens and especially Nancy. I pick asparagus too, but Nancy doesn’t follow me like she does the guys.

    1. Tammy, I love The Quaint Homemaker. She has such an interesting channel. I loved her video of the Armenian recipes. I found it very interesting and loved at the end when she spoke Armenian. I love reading your comment every week! You always have such a great attitude!

      1. Jenn in Indiana,
        I love watching the Quaint Homemaker videos too! Thank-you for the nice comment. It made my day!

  53. Having said I was stopping stocking my pantry, I nevertheless bought 20 cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup for
    59 cents a can for the pantry. It has been as high as $2 per can. I also bought two President’s Choice vegetarian lasagnas for $5.88 reduced from $8.88 to replenish my supply in a trusted friend’s freezer. I had to buy some light bulbs but I found a package of 8 led bulbs for $18. I’m not sure if that’s a good price. My window washer obliged me by getting up on a ladder and putting one in. (for balance reasons I don’t get up on a ladder). He turned on my outside tap by using a ladder too. Official sign that spring has arrived!
    I am being given 8 delicata squash plants tomorrow. Unknown to me, a friend, who knows that I love delicata squash, grew them for me. I bought 5 small geraniums for $1.18 each at Co-op. Elsewhere (from a nursery) I also bought 3 perennial monarda plants. I got free shipping.

    And I finally found a rose that I have been looking for 5 years to replace one that is very old (twenty years and still going but will need replacing sometime) . It is called de Montarville. It is an Explorer series hardy rose and does well in cooler climates. It is extremely disease-resistant. All but two of my 11 flower beds are planted in perennials which saves not only time but money annually. They have been converted to perennials very gradually. Some beds have dry shade so it has taken some experimenting to see what will thrive. One frugal save has been hepatica. It is native to eastern North America but grows well in the cooler west in (not dry) shade, a woodland habitat. It doesn’t like to be disturbed. I was amazed at how big my clumps have become and today they are spectacular. It is not only frugal because they are perennial but because the ants carry their seeds away. In this yard, they end up in the grass where I dig them out and transplant them into some of the other flower beds – free perennials. They only seed in from one of my flowerbeds so are not a nuisance. They are the first flower thst blooms in the spring in my garden. The Japanese have cultivated them starting in the 1800s and have some wonderful cultivars (but expensive). Not one of the 100 crocus bulbs I bought on sale last fall at Costco has come up. Maybe there’s still hope? My scilla are just coming into bloom. My gardens are mostly woodlands gardens. I wish that all of my flower beds were better staged but so far they are seasonal beds. The spring beds have hepatica, gentians, trillium, bloodroot. And in the fall cyclamen. All of those gradually naturalize and spread but not to a nuisance degree. There are some summer plants such as foxglove (started years ago by my mum), and others. I have trained clematis to grow up tree trunks, and thus do not need trellises.

    I am about to grow some vegetables but I don”t have a lot of sunshine.

    I watched Yellow-rumped Warblers arrive on April 28. Perhaps because it is still cool, they stopped over for longer than usual. I
    participated online in the urban nature challenge (free). I could only do so for one day as I had the book and taxes to do. I did my own taxes, saving preparers’ fees. Just doing last minute things on the books.

  54. Texas Small Business Grants are one such relief that can help people grow their business, manage it, expand and generate revenue, profits, income, and job opportunities for many people.

  55. I love seeing pictures of your garden. We have still had snow and unseasonably cold temperatures. I have some lettuce and kale hardened off in a cold frame. Asparagus is just starting to come up, which is at least 2 weeks later than usual. I’m looking forward to morel season.
    Sold a few items on eBay. I returned some things from Amazon to Kohls, got my $5 coupon, and bought some new PJs, and I also found an old gift card to cover the cost.
    We celebrated my birthday by going out to lunch and had dinner at home with family. I got a free Starbucks but otherwise avoided coffee shops. We also enjoyed takeout from a great local BBQ restaurant. We’re almost done with kitchen renovations which will make cooking much easier. I made another loaf of sourdough bread, sourdough muffins and banana date blondies. We had family over for breakfast one day instead of going out. I gave some extra baby clothes to friends, and was given some jeans and tank tops for myself.
    I need a few more classes to finish my doctorate, so I’m taking 2 online classes this summer. Im trying to do some batch cooking now and delegate as much work as possible.
    I took my kids to a free animal program at a library and we enjoyed a park near there. We have been enjoying a lot of family walks.

  56. I am hoping to be able to move from full time work down to 24-30 hours per week starting mid 2023.
    So in the next 14 months I want to pay off everything that I can and create some savings.
    I am going to spend the next week or so reworking the budget to try to make a plan to make this dream happen.

  57. Annie-Blake, we must be from the same part of the world! Togs, cossie, swimmers, bathers… So many terms that many here would not know of. I love how some clothing terms hark back to earlier times – usually things that are not used everyday or very much, such as “bathing costumes” and “dressing gowns”. I wonder if this is just an Australasian thing…

  58. Brandy those cupcakes look SUPER yummy! I can remember several home birthday parties. I LOVED THEM!!!
    I love reading all of these comments and garner A LOT of frugal tips from them.
    I am in the junior frugal league compared to many of you ladies. ( laughing) However, I have a large home repair bill and need to exercise my frugal muscle so I am coming to the experts for tips/advice.
    This week I buried kitchen scraps into the garden to improve soil fertility. Packed and brought lunches to work.
    Utilized the backyard clothesline for all laundry. Ate out of the freezer/pantry no take out. I currently have two deep freezers going and would like to downsize to one.
    Spent time on the front porch overlooking my garden and took several walks. Wonderfully destressing for me!

  59. Hi Brandy,
    I love reading about all of the frugal things you do for your family. You are very inspiring. My oldest son just got into law school, and a week after he got accepted, the school called him to tell him that they are awarding him a $20,000 merit scholarship each year for all three years of law school which will end up being a $60,000 merit scholarship. The scholarship is also not contingent upon earning a certain GPA each year. He is paying for law school himself, so this scholarship is a huge weight off of his shoulders. I am so happy for him!!!

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