I bought a couple of small presents for the youngest three children on a one-day 30% off sale at Target. These were $1.99 each regular price. I paid $1.39. I then used the Target Circle rewards credit that I have been saving to use at Christmas to pay for them. This is a credit that comes from purchases you make during the year.

I gave a daughter two of my pairs of fleece tights (not as a Christmas gift, though that could have worked, too!) One of them was still new; I had bought it for myself on clearance over a year ago and had it in the back of my drawer. I have been looking to buy tights for my girls for months, but the tights, nylons, socks, and underwear sections of most stores have been mostly empty here for months (I have been looking since early this year) save for a handful of items. When we went to Target, there were two pairs of tights total in the store, and neither were the size we needed. It seems that the stores here are not getting any stock at all. I looked online as well and they only had a couple of pairs in one color in her size. I don’t know if these items are sitting on a ship off the coast of California or if they have yet to be made yet, but I am noticing this lack of supplies for many things. When I find something we need, I am purchasing it, as I know I will be lucky to find what we need before what we have wears out. With that in mind, I bought a few pairs of socks for myself. There were not many of those either.

I gave three daughters haircuts.

I harvested Meyer lemons and garlic chives from the garden.

I enjoyed hot mint herbal tea from the mint that I cut from the garden before the frost.

I made wheat crackers and saltines for Christmas, which was much less expensive than buying crackers. I made a cheeseball to go with them using cream cheese I had bought a few weeks ago on sale, sharp cheddar cheese I bought the week before last on sale, garlic chives from the garden, lemon juice from a garden lemon, and a few other ingredients I already had on hand.

I made pavlova in the shape of a wreath.

Albertson’s gave my husband and I each a $5 off $5 coupon on the app. We used it to buy a few things on sale, including broccoli and green beans for $0.88 a pound. We combined errands that were close by to save gas and time.

I used jars to cover more plants in the garden to keep them warmer and help them to grow faster.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Thanks for sharing.
    I found a bunch of dried rosehips and remembered that if I put them in thermos for overnight or for 24 hours with hot water, I will get a drink rich in vitamin C.
    I cut some worn feet parts off from kids tights – got decent leggings, at least for home use. The cut rolled up a bit and looked alright even without hemming.
    Did regular stuff, I guess. I want to buy something new, but I am happy with my clothing. What a bummer!

    1. Christmas ended up different due to several medical issues. It was very quiet in my house. I found joy in the small things. I drove several hours in traffic to deliver donated gifts to my cousin. The drive was lovely and I enjoyed listening to Christmas music .On the return home, I checked for Krispy kreme coupons and bought two dozen. I love the bogo coupon. I gifted a box to a homebound woman who loves them. My son and I enjoyed eggnog and cookies. I have not shopped any online after Christmas sales. I’ve cleaned my refrigerator out and we are using up anything that needs cooking. On Christmas Eve I brought home a box of beef. We had wonderful beef short ribs for Christmas dinner. I packaged up 40 pounds of chicken I baked. My savings is off track. I will continue to utilize as many free items as possible. My new budget is in plan. I will only carry weekly cash for gas and groceries and plan on a no shop year. Looking at my house, I can’t imagine needing to buy anything. I packed a large box full of household items to relieve my cousins spending .My stockpile is adequate .I’ve announced to my children that I won’t be buying any fast-food or paying miscellaneous bills. Like, car insurance or cellphones. I become more frugal each year.

        1. I think Lilianna was saying that she has told her children, who are all adults, that she will not be paying THEIR car insurance or cell phone bills. Not sure, but that’s how I read it.

      1. I’m doing the same as far as no fast food drive-thrus or paying for my son’s monthly phone bill. I am well stocked with food and going to make it a point to pack my lunch daily as well.

    2. Husband bought me a necklace and earring set from BottledUpDesigns but the neck chain was too short as is always the case for me. I went to Kohls today (first time since last Christmas) and they had sterling silver chains on sale 70% off. I had $10 Kohls Cash not sure how I earned it since I haven’t shopped there in a year?? anyways my 24 inch sterling silver chain ended up costing $41.00. They also had ornaments on sale that are Friendship oriented marked down to $3.99 each it has a little metal hang off piece that says 2021 I will take wire cutters and cut the 2021 off and they will be perfect for next years gift giving to my friends. We’re still getting DVD’s to watch from the library.. I recently was at Krogers stopped at the Red Box looked at the newest releases snap shot them to my phone and will put them on order at the library, saving me from buying a new movie that we’ll only watch once.

      1. I too have trouble with necklaces being too short. On Amazon, you can order necklace extenders. They come in several different lengths in both silver and gold. Inexpensive and they work beautifully.

        1. Our Target has necklace extensions in the jewelry section. They come in a two pack – one silver and one gold tone – usually located at the bottom of the necklace rack.


  2. Also I was reminded that if a child´s jacket etc has short sleeves, I can cut off the ribbed part from old (woolen) socks and sew it on the sleeves to make them longer.

  3. Thanks for sharing your Christmas decor photographs- everything looks clean and bright!

    *made several Christmas gifts this year (snack mix, toffee)- I found it difficult to not try and add more (really working on not saying “sorry it’s not much” when gift giving- we often give less expensive gifts than we receive from family members)

    * accepted tins, bags, tissue paper others were going to throw away to reuse

    * so proud of my daughter! She was gifted a microwave from BN Group for my youngest daughter to take to college- was sweet she thought of her sister ☺️

    * we were fed so many snacks and meals this week- really helped our grocery bill! Every dish I brought was carefully thought out and items were as frugal as I could make while still being something special

    * our family received many fun gifts cards to enjoy: Starbucks, movie theater, Smoothie King, etc. I was so excited to receive the Christmas Ration book mentioned here before as well!

    Hope everyone is staying happy and healthy ❤️

    1. Maybe the people you give gifts to are giving you gifts they frugally bought on sale, and you don’t know it!
      Your time and the thought you put in to preparing a gift is valuable. Your honest pleasure in what they give you is a gift back to them.

    2. If you give homemade treats then you are giving way more than the $ spent on ingredients; you are giving your skill and time and love. I love getting food as gifts.

    3. Marissa, even if they didn’t buy on sale, that’s their choice, isn’t it? Surely they understand that it is your family’s tradition not to give lavish gifts, even though it is their choice to spend more. If gifting were about spending the same amount on everyone, you could just hand the money to each other…or skip it altogether. It would still be equal.

      Everyone chooses how to spend their own money, which is how it should be. Some folks choose to spend very little on gifts. Others–even those who can’t afford it–choose to spend more. (Sometimes a LOT more). I think it is more a matter of values than income. My family spend is somewhere in the middle. We budget $125-$150 per person for Christmas for 3 gifts (the Wise Men). Sometimes the 3 gifts are more or less of equal value, other times we might spend almost all of it on one big gift and the second and third gifts are dirt cheap, LOL. One thing we’ve learned is that good gifts come in all price ranges, and what matters is the thought that goes into finding something the recipient will really enjoy.

      Now I’m going to admit something that may sound really cheap. Many years ago, when every dollar counted, we decided we would only give presents within the immediate family. Neighbors–no. Friends–not for Christmas, sometimes for a birthday or “just because.” Co-workers–no, unless it was a drawing and only one gift was required. Extended family–we don’t really have one, but I think drawing names or Dirty Santa/Yankee swaps are great. Also, about 30 years ago, since we live far apart, my sister and I stopped exchanging gifts (kids included). Her idea. (No one has suffered). Teachers–no. Admittedly, there was not the pressure for teacher gifts when my kids were in school as there seems to be at present. I always sent a card and handwritten thank-you note. Many times, I was thanked for this. Now that we know that teachers don’t need more coffee mugs and often throw away homemade gifts, especially food, maybe it is time to stop giving them gifts they don’t want. (But that’s your call).

      So, I don’t really understand “gift cupboards.” I don’t give casual gifts, therefore I don’t have to make or buy generic gifts to keep on hand. I cook meals, I write notes, I’ll lend a hand…but I don’t give gifts to people that aren’t close to me. Please note, this is not meant as criticism toward those who do! I’m just saying I don’t do it, and you don’t HAVE to.

      What do you say if someone hands you a gift and you don’t have something for them?

      “Thank you.” Nothing more.

      1. The only “extra” gifts I keep on hand are clearance or thrift shop items for birthday parties for children, and there are just a few.

        I buy for my children throughout the year. I keep a running list of things they mentioned they would like. In this way, I can get them something they really want.

        My son seems to have caught this vision. He bought gifts for each family member this year that were all things we have mentioned wanting before but that no one had asked for. They were the perfect gifts. I was really touched by his thoughtfulness.

        I have seen a LOT of teachers say that they would like a handwritten note more than any other gift.

        1. I also pick up gifts throughout the year. It’s helpful budget wise and I like having a few extra gifts in case too because it personally makes me feel a bit more prepared.
          I love the thought of a handwritten note in lieu of a generic gift.

        2. I would like to say as a retired teacher while I appreciated every gift I was given from a child and family, the best gifts I received, the ones that still mean the most to my heart, are an angel made from an old shoulder pad, scraps of ribbon and a styrofoam ball for the head, a heartfelt note from a mother who could not spell, and a styrofoam ball wrapped in a scrap (and I mean a true scrap) of fabric and tied with a scrap of ribbon. I put the angel on my Christmas tree every year. The sincere thoughts from the mother’s note made me cry. I could have cared less about her grammar and spelling because her sincerity was what showed through. I still have the note. And I also put the styrofoam ball wrapped in fabric on my mantel as the centerpiece every year. It reminds me of this precious child whose family had nothing to give but their time and effort and creativity.

          1. Love that! As a parent my favorite gifts teachers helped my kids make were the snowman’s or drawings, ornaments, snowflakes and cards. I still put the heart thumbprint clay ornament my sons teacher helped my son with special needs make when he was 5. I always put up the card my daughter made for me in 3 grade every year. And the snowflake my 2nd grader made. The thought is what counts and means the most.

            1. I am a teacher and I was gifted a thumbprint dough ornament from a special needs student years ago. His sweet little thumbprint is on my Christmas tree every year.

          2. Thank you for sharing! What a beautiful moment and gift! This is where the option to “heart” a comment would be lovely. Shared words are so important and undervalued. Happy New Year!

      2. I kept food items unless they were home canned. I am a very experienced canner and I don’t know how carefully other people follow accepted standards for safety. It pained me to throw away canned items, but it was not worth the risk.

      3. I choose to send cards for Christmas and other holidays. Most people these days do not. I like doing it, and don’t expect them in return.
        But as I can’t bake without sampling at all stages of the recipe, it would be best I not make candy to share with others.

      4. As a public educator, a gift of your time would be a wonderful gift. Even if you can’t come to the school to volunteer, there are ways to help… especially with elementary school teachers. Does the teacher need things cut out for a project? Volunteer to do it at home and send it back. Packets stapled together? You can do that at home too. If you really want to send a gift, You can send a package of SHARPENED pencils or age appropriate books, and no they don’t have to be new, for the classroom library. A teacher will LOVE you forever for this. (This teacher would anyway) and yes, a handwritten thank you note means more than the candy filled coffee mug.

        1. As an elementary teacher of 38 years (retired now) I wholeheartedly agree! I used teach at low income schools and would ask for donations of twist ties (for fine motor projects) and milk carton lids (for liquid glue for projects) among other things like egg cartons so that any parent might be able to contribute to their child’s education. The pride on the children (and parents) who brought in even a single milk carton lid was worth getting our of bed and showing up for work that day. It proves a person does not have to spend a lot of money or even a lot of time to make a difference.

      5. For many years when money was tighter, we didn’t even buy gifts for each other — just for our kids. We used to send gifts & cash to nieces and nephews (most live far away), but have stopped doing that over the past couple of years. We still send a gift to our parents…usually a shared gift, like a restaurant gift card. This year I shipped Honeybaked Ham to our parents and it was a big hit on both sides!

        The only other people we buy for — we give each of the kids’ teachers and coaches a $10 gift card. That does get expensive, especially now that they each have 7 or 8 to buy for, but it’s worth it. They spend so much time with my kids. I think of these educators as our “village”. Many of my kids’ teachers know my children far better than the grandparents/aunts/uncles do…and probably care more about them, too, if I’m being honest. From my own students, I’m grateful for any gifts; the thank-you notes mean so much, and candy/food is a real treat during the busy days before Christmas break (even when it’s a mug of candy). I totally agree with Myra — a gift of time is so meaningful. Offering to assemble supplies for a craft or put together a bulletin board is a huge help. Used books that you’re cleaning out, last year’s school supplies, etc. make a great gift!

        Sometimes I’m given food items that I don’t plan to eat, but I am still appreciative of the thought behind it. We’re talking graham crackers smeared with chocolate icing, fingerprints visible…a cupcake from a birthday party 3 days ago….candy that has obviously been through the washing machine….gifts that only a middle school child could produce. 🙂 It’s a precious gesture of love.

      6. Thanks for your reply ☺️ I love the perspective of values over income! I don’t think you sounded cheap, instead frugal and wise. I appreciate this like minded group so much- thanks to you all!!!

    4. My favorite gift to receive is a recipe. Its the gift that keeps on giving! If you make goodies and want to add something extra – include your recipe! I have asked for and received lots of wonderful recipes over the years and I treasure them.

    5. I have felt inadequate in the past when giving a gift that had a lower price tag than what I received from that person. I also have been challenged in giving gifts to people who want and love big, expensive gifts.

      Last year I discovered the book, “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. His research found that different people want to be loved in different ways. One way is receiving gifts, another love language is spending quality time together, a third love language is doing a task/chore/project for someone. It was such an aha moment for me. My father’s love language is gifts. He also expresses his love through gift giving. My love language is spending quality time and having a task/chore/project done with or for me. After I explained this to my son, my birthday presents have been dinner and games with him – so perfect for me! Plus it has eliminated his spending money on tchatchkes that I don’t want.

      There is no right or wrong with the love languages, but it helped me understand my father’s desire for big, expensive gifts and why my mother is disappointed when she receives these gifts when what she wants is quality time together. It is the disconnect that creates friction.

      Finally – these past two years I have had very little money. For Christmas 2020 I made chains of large folded stars and strung them together with baker’s twine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgfa2NeRCZw For people’s birthdays I made homemade cards – often pop-ups like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPpardXYQvY and I have also made a collection of kindness rocks as presents. I felt sheepish giving these gifts as they cost me almost nothing. I finally realized this was a self-esteem issue. That I was valuing money and store-bought goods over my time and creativity. I still wasn’t sure how these gifts were received until the past few weeks when I heard from several different people. One said she had become much more thoughtful with her gift giving due to the presents she had received from me. I was stunned. The second person said she has saved all of the cards I have made over the past 18 months. I was so touched. Two other people said they saved the star chains I made last year and used them for decorations.

      I have a friend who reminds me that my responsibility is to deliver the message or present and it is not my responsibility for how it is received.

      But gosh gift giving can be complicated!

      1. Libby, I’m so glad they saved those stars! They are so beautiful! I have seen them online but haven’t had time to make them. I love the idea of making some to give as a gift! I never thought about that before! I will definitely thinking of that in the future.

        I don’t have a problem giving less expensive gifts, but my children were struggling with this last week and the week before at gift exchanges. They were called “white elephant” gift exchanges, but then they said not to spend more than $5 per gift. Now, I’ve always understood a white elephant gift exchange to be something you already have and no longer want–basically, something you might put in a garage sale. Once they put a spending amount on it, it’s just a regular gift exchange. I tried explaining to my girls that it says, “Up to $5”–not that they have to spend $5, and that giving a $2 gift was perfectly acceptable. They felt it wasn’t adequate if other people were spending $5. (especially the second week, once we went to the store and could clearly see that the gift one of them received was $1.99). Unfortunately, I failed to persuade them, but as they were spending their own money that they earned while babysitting, I let them make their own choices.

        1. Those stars – thank you Brandy!!

          Looking at my spending records, I purchased pads of patterned Christmas paper at Michaels on 9/25/20 and paid $4.99 per pad. I bought three to have a variety of patterns. The paper was 12×12. It took me a few tries to figure out how to flip the stars half way through but then it became routine and I was able to fold stars while watching a movie on my laptop at the kitchen table. I loved that the pattern books contained fully color coordinated papers, however, not all of the designs were appropriate for the stars – some patterns were for gift tags for example. I used an embroidery needle with the baker’s twine to pierce the stiff paper point and put knots on either side of each point so the stars didn’t slide on the twine. I put seven stars per chain.

          Kudos to you for educating your children and then stepping out of the way. It can be painful watching people make “wasteful” buying decisions with their own money. I remember my son had $30 of his own money and we went to the local fair. He was enthralled and caught up in the moment with trying to win a stuffed animal at one of the game booths. After every $10 I made him walk away and talk about once money is gone, it is gone and how hard it is to get more. He insisted that this is how he wanted to spend his money so we went back. He finally won the extra-large stuffed animal after he spent all of his money. When we got home, his rationale judgement was kicking in. He flung himself on his bed and wailed, “I want my money back. Why do I always have to learn lessons the hard way?” He gave the stuffed animal to a thrift store two days later. So painful to watch, but man ‘o live that lesson has stuck with him 14 years later!

          1. Libby,

            I remember when I was about 9 wanting a specific stuffed parrot that squeaked when I was a child. I looked at it every time we went into the store.

            When I finally had some money to spend, I was all set to buy the bird, but then I saw an ad for Polly Pockets and tv, and the girls looked like they were having so much fun. I decided at the last minute to buy a tiny house with the tiny Polly Pocket toys instead.

            That same afternoon, I regretted it, and I remember sitting at the kitchen counter telling my mom about my regret.

            It was an important lesson to learn, and it has helped me throughout my life.

            1. I remember those stuffed parrots that talked! My daughter (who is about your age) had one! Don’t remember its name, but I do remember it didn’t talk long. Neither did Teddy Ruxpin, I’m sorry to say! Especially since my daughter, who basically couldn’t talk at age 4 or 5, strung together her first sentence when she first spotted Teddy in a store: “Mama, I want that bear!” Not knowing this bear was “the” toy that year (think Cabbage Patch Dolls), I left it and went back the following day. Gone! I spent the next 4 weeks driving all over Portland looking for Teddy Ruxpin! I don’t remember where I found him, but I did! He was one adorable bear! I still tear up over this one!

              1. Oh, it wasn’t one like that! It just squeaked like a squeaky toy inside! I think it was $6.

      2. One of my sisters turned 50 this month. She is very well off and needs or wants nothing. My kids and I made a slideshow of her life in pictures and put it on a flash drive for her. We gave it to her on Thanksgiving while she was visiting. She started crying she loved it so much. She has texted me several times telling me that she rewatched it or showed it to a friend.
        For Christmas this year my 2 daughters got together and took some of our family recipes and put them in a binder with a note saying they will continue to work on it through out the year. Hubby and I loved it. It is something I have wanted to do but always got put off.
        Neither of these would work for my in-laws. They would hate both. They only like restaurant gift cards so that is what they get.

  4. I’ve noticed the same thing about items being harder to find lately. I’ve been purchasing things as I find them for the last year now, and my husband is finally seeing the benefit! Lol.

    Your Christmas decor is beautiful! Just prompted a conversation between my husband and I about using reusable fabric bags rather than wrapping paper. (I absolutely adore your boxes, but am not so sure about storing something like that). I had hoped to go check out the after holiday clearance, but am snowed in – and will be for the majority of the week. Thank you Mother Nature for the help in not spending! Lol

    We purchased a few gift cards for local restaurants this month taking advantage of some fantastic deals. (BOGO, dollar for dollar). Our plan is to try and only eat out using these cards over 2022 to stretch our eating out budget even further (and then to have saved cash to purchase again next December). We ate out FAR too much in 2021 (I broke my foot and was out of the kitchen for almost three months, with my kids sports and husbands work schedule… it just was what it was). I really want to get back to eat healthier and at home!

    My goal for the New Year is to make a weekly effort to post here again! It’s been awhile and my budgeting definitely benefits from all of the wonderful ideas I get here. 🙂

  5. Hello Everyone!

    I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Last Tuesday I shopped the loss leaders at our two closest grocery stores. I was able to purchase a ham for our freezer at $0.95/lb. The limit was two but I purchased the last one available. I bought butter at $2.50/lb, buying the limits of 3 & 4 at each store. The sale bacon was wiped out and I was unable to get any. I picked up a 5 lb. Bag of russet potatoes for $0.49 which was a great deal. I’m noticing that fresh pears aren’t very available in my area and citrus is of a marginal quality (dry). I’m guessing it has to do with the weather and fires? We’re eating Christmas left overs. I saved the bones from the rib roast for a future soup.

    From the garden we’ve picked lettuce, spinach, chard, carrots, limes, lemons, and tomatoes. We’ve been getting heavy rain which is causing tomatoes to split. I feed those to our hens. I feel fortunate to have a garden producing this time of year. It’s the first time that we’ve had such a productive fall garden. In a few weeks I’ll be sowing seeds for our spring garden indoors. Brandy, I keep forgetting to ask you about your stevia plant because I’m considering buying one. How do you use the leaves? Do you have to process them in some way? I’ve been buying granules and drops but they’re quite expensive.

    I got my Covid booster early last week and I had some significant side effects that zapped my energy for nearly a week. As a result I wasn’t very productive. I did manage to bake a few goodies for the neighbors and hand stitch the binding to a quilt. I ordered my son a pair of waterproof chukka boots from Sierra Trading. I had been scouring the internet trying to find a pair without luck for a few weeks. Sierra Trading got some new stock at better prices than I’ve seen lately. At this point in time, I buy what we need when I find it. I have waited and missed out several times. I’m not confident supply issues will resolve soon.

    I’m not planning to shop the Christmas clearance sales this year. We still have ample wrapping paper and ribbon for next year. I may stop at Bath & Bodywork for some hand cream. My hand are dry from constant cooking, baking, gardening, etc.

    I requested several books from the library. I’ll pick them up when the library reopens. In addition I canceled the iFIT app as the free trial is over and will stick with just Les Mills on demand. I feel Les Mills offers the best workouts overall.

    Thank you for sharing your Christmas home photos! 😍🎄 Have a blessed and beautiful week!

    1. This is my second time buying the stevia plant. The last one did not make it. This one was purchased on clearance and I have covered it for the winter, so I am hoping to use it next year. I plan to dry the leaves and use them in herbal teas. I don’t know how to use them in baking but I will first have to see how large it gets and if there is enough.

      1. My aunt dries the leaves and then whirls them in her blender. She has made recipes with half stevia and half sweetner.


      2. Thanks for your reply Brandy. I will see if I can find a stevia plant and give it a go myself. Good luck with your new one!

    2. Julie, re your dry hands, I have the same problem and I an rubbing cheap Vaseline into the cuticles on my hands and toes every night before bed and that is helping so much! My hands and feet are so soft now. Give it a try with the Vaseline from the dollar store. It works!

        1. I almost died from Covid. This is my 27 th day and I am still on oxygen. I made it home from the hospital after 8 days, and just felt happy to be alive Christmas Day. My second daughter purchased almost 400.00 worth of quick meals from Sam’s club for me. That was such a blessing, and my family is working together to prepare different meals. I feel very blessed, though very weak.

          1. Cassandra, I hope you feel better soon and make a full recovery. As for the food…I play pinochle with a woman who is 80 and her husband is 90. Her daughter came from out-of-state for Christmas, and her gift to them was to buy several hundred dollars’ worth of prepared food at Costco. Some was already frozen; daughter broke down fresh items into 2-serving packages and froze them for her mom. For sick or older people who have difficulty feeding themselves, there is not a better gift.

          2. Glad to hear that your family is rallying to help you Cassandra – take care and rest as much as possible.

          3. im glad your feeling better. I had covid last year.only go to the emergency room.. its rough and the recovery period can be long

          4. I am so thankful that you are still here and able to comment, and pray for your continued recovery. It’s wonderful that your family is rallying around to help.

  6. Hello!

    My youngest child caught COVID right before Christmas. We were unable to get together with family. Everyone was extremely disappointed, but I am just thankful we decided to have him tested, so we didn’t expose others. A few days later, I developed symptoms. I think I am improving. My children and I had planned to give family members cookie trays and a snack mix. I’m going to check expiration dates, and hopefully we can make and maybe distribute them for Valentine’s Day.

    We have saved money by being home. We had planned a short getaway trip for New Year’s, but we were able to change the dates, and will save quite a bit of money because we will be going during an off-peak time. Our children have an extended winter break.

    I was hoping to do some after Christmas shopping to look for some decorations and small gifts. The stores in my area were looking pretty bare before Christmas, so perhaps I wouldn’t have found anything anyway. I’m not noticing many deep discounts online either, except for Lowe’s, but their items there are difficult to find locally, and most items cannot be shipped. I’m thinking stores like TJ Maxx and Homegoods will have a large inventory next year if items that were intended for this year are stuck on ships.

    I’m looking forward to planning next year’s garden. I have started receiving seed catalogs and I really enjoy looking at them. It helps get me through our dreary winter.

    1. The stores here were putting out Valentine’s and EASTER things on display last week. There was almost nothing left for Christmas.

      1. Brandy, I am seeing the same thing at our Walmart. Our Walmart was wiped out of Christmas lights early on and hardly had much to begin with. My sister in law is a store manager at the Walmart in the next town over. And they were the same way but got a shipment of Christmas things like lights in several days before Christmas. They were told they were stuck on a cargo ship and most would just be clearanced out since it was so close to Christmas.

      2. I went to Walmart yesterday and all their Christmas stuff was cleared out and replaced with Valentines and Easter things like you said, Brandy. I am glad I wasn’t trying to buy anything Christmas-y because I would have been out of luck. Also, I am seeing many things missing on the shelves such as canned mushrooms, which is what I need/want for my pantry. Skim milk was not available either. Actually, most of my list was not in the store yesterday. Flashbacks to the time I lived on Guam. I used to make boxed mac and cheese without milk or butter because there was none on the island. We learned to be very flexible and adaptable.

    2. We went to Michael’s yesterday to peruse the carnage lol. Next to the Christmas clearance was a small section of fall clearance. There was no % off sign so I flagged down an employee to ask if it was marked down. He brought his price checker over and checked a couple things for me. I got fall napkins for $4/4, marked down from $20. Two little Jack O’Lantern garland craft packs for $2 from $10. He said those kits (and pointed out a few other things) had arrived only the day before and went straight to clearance! He said they’re still expecting a good bit of other late stuff as well so to check back whenever we can. He said a woman bought 10 ceramic painting kits for Halloween next year. They were about $2 each and her daughter wanted to have a Halloween slumber party. Perfect activity. I think they were $10 each originally.

      1. Our Michaels (in Canada) is still getting new shipments of Christmas three weeks after Christmas. As soon as it arrives it is marked at 75% off. Unfortunately I have a no spend month every January …

  7. Hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas, Brandy! Your pavlova sounds so pretty!

    My frugal week:
    – made a rice heating pad, using a rag made from an old towel, and some of my toddler daughter’s sensory play rice.
    – reused ribbons to wrap presents and paper leftover from previous years
    – saved any cookie tins that were given to me. I’ll reuse them to hand out cookies next year!
    – got $20 to my paypal account from legeropinion.com
    – my mum gave me a can of celery soup she wasn’t going to use, so I used it to make a casserole
    – did Christmas crafts with my daughter using supplies I had on hand
    – baked apple carrot muffins, and homemade pizza
    – made stuffing using ends of bread and such from my freezer, roasted broccoli (bought frozen on deep sale in advance of the holidays), and also served pan-fried chicken for Christmas dinner. (Only two meat-eaters in my family, my husband and my toddler, so I just used the 40% off blsl chicken thighs that I already had in my freezer. As another vegetable side, I served my pickled beets I had made and canned previously.
    – i also made my homemade cranberry sauce (https://approachingfood.com/better-than-store-bought-cranberry-sauce/) using cranberries I had bought earlier on sale and frozen.
    – for Christmas breakfast, I made sweet potato cinnamon buns, a variation on my super fluffy pumpkin cinnamon buns (https://approachingfood.com/pumpkin-cinnamon-buns-and-why-insomnia-makes-me-a-good-cook/), using what I had at home.
    – I redeemed $10 in loyalty points to buy fruit and fresh veg, and turned them into a christmas tree shaped crudite tray for a lunch.
    – I redeemed loyalty points from Tim Hortons for a pkg of Timbits to share with my daughter.
    – I made Hello Dolly bars that I had modified to use what I had in my pantry, with the exception of pecans I had to purchase.
    – I used some of the pecans to make homemade granola (http://approachingfood.com/clean-eating-cranberry-granola/), using ingredients I had at home to make breakfast, instead of buying store-bought cereal. Small decisions, but these all keep grocery costs down.
    – I made apple crumble using ingredients I already had, http://approachingfood.com/harvest-apple-crumble/, plus the last of the apples in my fruit bowl, for Christmas dessert. Again, small decisions keep the grocery bill down.
    – I deliberately kept our gifts for our girls low-key, and asked for books or clothing for them from relatives if anyone asked. Practical, and both kids will benefit!
    – I polished silver using silver foil, hot water, vinegar, and baking soda.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Thank you for sharing your recipes. I’m not sure what I’ll try first, but I need some new ones. Cream of celery soup with Broccoli Normandy frozen vegetables and onion and homemade dumplings cooked in it has been fairly well-received here–if you get stuck with a can again. Also, I want to thank you for your kind offer of help with a coat for the lady I mentioned. Also, thank you to others who expressed suggestions and concern. I talked with the woman, and she graciously declined my assistance with buying a new coat. She said she has a jacket that she can wear. Anyway, thank you for your kindness. I thought you might like to know what happened with that.

      1. Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for the recipe suggestion, I’ll definitely keep it in mind. Sounds delicious!
        And thanks so much for getting back to me about your friend from church. So glad to hear that she’s doing ok! Really appreciate the update, thanks!

  8. Another Christmas come and gone. I can’t believe it’s almost 2022. Brandy, the decorations that you posted on the blog are beautiful and I’ve made a note about the ribbon to try that next year. I was surprised by how many people I know had small Christmas gatherings. These weren’t necessarily because of Covid but because they didn’t feel like traveling, kids were going to the in-laws this year or they found out last year that they really like it small. I know I did.

    I switched my electricity to the Time of Use Rate. I would not do this if anyone else was living in my house and I could not fully control my electric use but after trying it out for about 10 days before making the official switch, I think it will save at least $150 over the course of one year (the minimum length of this contract). The winter hours for high rates are 6 to 9 a.m. I’m retired; if it’s cold, I’ll just stay in bed! I rarely get my shower or use any appliances during these hours. The summer high rate hours are 3 to 7 p.m. and that will be more problematic with our heat but after looking at my bills from last summer I found that the 2 to 3 p.m. hour was usually the highest. For our really hot days, I’ll just plan my day to do sedentary stuff under the ceiling fans during those hours. My calculations show that I used 30.3 kWh the last 2 days and since only .54 were during the high use hours, I saved $1.17. i calculate use this my electric co-op’s website where I can determine how much I’ve used by the half-hour, day, month, billing period, or any date range Our weather is spectacular right now with highs in the 70ies predicted until January 3, when it will drop into the 50ies.

    I picked up a few free magazines at the library as well as free cards that people left for others to take. I brought a stack home and selected 28 Christmas, 2 Christmas gift tag, 1 birthday, 1 get well and 14 blank note cards. I’ll return the rest to the library this week. A number of them were give aways for various non-profit groups, presumably from a donation to the group, and I made sure to not keep any of those because I don’t want any recipients to think I supported the groups financially, no matter how worthwhile they are. They just seems deceptive to me.

    Speaking of supporting charities, I have changed my recurring monthly donations from one national organization to two others, one local (Katies Krops) where I volunteer and one international, Lydia’s Mission. Both help people with food insecurity issues and both are heavily involved in gardening and training others to garden. Lydia’s Mission, whose main focus is empowering women, is located in South Africa and has 43,000 square feet of gardens where the crops are used to help feed 1,600 children a day. If you want to see their impressive gardens, check out the pictures and read the write-up I did at Claire~ South Africa – Welcome to Katie’s Krops ! (katieskrops.com). At least I don’t have monkeys stealing from my garden.

    My winter vegetable gardening is going well. The broccoli plants have started producing heads, as opposed to just leaves, and I’ve picked basil, snow peas, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and one regular tomato to use in my meals. I did have to bring all the plants inside when 3 nights in a row were in the low 30ies. Since the days were just in the 45-50 range, I left them inside for a couple days because they are kind of heavy. I would love to eventually get a permanent greenhouse but that’s not in the budget at this time so I’ll just keep hauling the plants in when needed.

    I needed new pajamas (and I do mean needed, not wanted). Rather than buying them, I started using two pairs of colorful knit capri pants I bought about 3 years ago but never got around to hemming because I found they would be too hot to wear here in the summer which is I why I bought them. They are about 2-3 inches above my ankle and are perfect for pajamas when paired with t-shirts I already own.

    I’ve started making my almost nightly cup of hot chocolate by the cup rather than by the half gallon. I prefer the from scratch Hershey’s recipe (Hot Cocoa for One | Recipes (hersheyland.com and HERSHEY’S Perfectly Chocolate Hot Cocoa | Recipes (hersheyland.com) but when I make it by the quart or half gallon, I drink a lot more of it. I SHOULD just make tea but I love hot cocoa.

  9. Your cheese ball sounds really good. Last week, I harvested lettuce, broccoli, and parsley. I found usnea on a walk two days, and started a jar of glycerite with it. Our home and auto insurance provider was able to recommend someone to assist with health insurance. I was able to switch to “real” insurance, vs the health share I had been using, for almost $50 less per month. A batch of suet was made for the birds, using dehydrated bits leftover from canning tomatoes and berries. I’d been saving the kraft packing paper that came in orders, and ironed some to wrap a large package of my husband’s. Now that we’re in wood heating season, our electric bill dropped around $50, which was most welcome. We enjoyed watching some holiday movies, including It’s a Wonderful Life, which I got from the library. I also enjoyed the Call the Midwife’s holiday special. I caught up on laundry, and hung three loads on the line. Our broccoli was used in noodles with Thai peanut sauce. I made a batch of toothpaste, with some different essential oils this time. Wishing everyone a healthy and Happy New Year! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/12/holidays-2021.html

  10. I forgot to mention this in my earlier comment. If you or your family are into nature videos, check out the live one happening at https://www.hhilandtrust.org/eagle-cam. This is an eagles nest and two eaglets have hatched in the last 24 hours. It’s fascinating watching the huge predator parents provide such tender care and protection to their babies. If you scroll down through the comments you will see the still pictures that some people have posted from screen grabs.

  11. By paying our annual car insurance premium and my urgent care bill using our bank credit card, we had enough rewards points to redeem yet another $20 and put into our savings account. Also got $25.45 from ibotta this week! We got another $1162. Reimbursement from our HRA! Only $900 more that we are waiting for! That was a totally unexpected account! Hubs has got the final receipts to be reimbursed filed and it seems to only take about 5 days to receive payment now that we opted for automatic deposit into our bank!

    Using the stuffing I bought on sale and the fleece I already have, I got 10 of the dog bone neck therapeutic pillows made for gifts before I ran out of stuffing, so my actual OOP cost for each one was under $1.50 !

    I also found a Christmas quilt top I made years ago that had been lingering in my tote of UFOs (unfinished objects). I combined that with a flannel sheet from Goodwill that I bought over a year ago for 50% off it’s $1.99 price. I loaded it on Lenni and it became my Quilt#220- https://pin.it/7zPtpAB, https://pin.it/urLvsq8 and https://pin.it/4NOJXKR. It will go to one of my daughters for her Christmas gift! The nice thing is that it decreases my UFOs and uses up another sheet I bought as backing so it’s also Decluttering at the same time!!
    Another quilt has come in, actually from one of your readers, that I have loaded on Lenni and hope to have finished and shipping back on Tuesday!
    I also made 3 more segmented microwaveable neck/heat warmers using scraps of fabric from my stash! 2 went as gifts to friends locally and one was put in the mail as a gift! What a blessing it is to have the time and materials available at home to make gifts quickly! Now that Christmas is over, I am going to be more diligent about making/finding gifts to replenish my gift cupboard for birthdays/holidays that come up all year! That is a real money saver that you seem to have become really proficient at, Brandy! So I will try to follow your lead!!

    I made White chocolate Peanut Rice Krispies candy – https://pin.it/1icyYi8 and https://pin.it/6UiJFhS. Also made peanut clusters https://pin.it/7uylwxZ. I also made 2 batches of banana bread- one with mini-chocolate chips and one with butterscotch chips- https://pin.it/5x9f3iQ. That Wilton 16 mini-loaf pan that I bought a few years ago at JoAnn’s at 40% off (just around $13) has more than paid for itself! It is so awesome to make that many loaves in one quick 25 minute bake!

    When my neighbor came over with a batch of Christmas cookies, I was able to give him some of our Christmas candy and also I took a set of Christmas/Thanksgiving blocks that I made multiples of a few years ago from my gift cupboard and gave him those also. https://pin.it/4EgUu6O. The blocks were made with 2 x 4 scraps, leftover wood stain and paper I bought at JoAnns when they were having a sale. So handy to have that gift cupboard that I replenish whenever I find a great sale or make something!
    On Christmas Day, we have a tradition of having a family open house at our house for our children to come over a visit one family at a time. It’s easier for Hubs to hear and we enjoy one-on-one time with each family. (Christmas Eve, one of them will host a dinner gathering that we go to where everyone attends). I gave each family 1 of the dog bone neck pillows along with their family gift from us and said to let me know if any of them decided they wanted one for each member. Within 30 minutes after leaving, my daughter from St. Louis texted and said that they each had loved it and would be excited to each have their own! So that means before Tuesday, I need to make 6 more for them to take back! Good thing I’ve got so much fleece!! I suspect they are remembering the 7 hour car ride home that’s coming up on Wednesday morning!
    Hubs and I have committed to an eat at home January, eating more out of our freezers and pantry exclusively without buying more from the store! So far, besides making a pan of Turkey Divan that was a filling dinner for us, we gifted a big serving to an 82 year old friend from Church who has a cold that he can just reheat in MW as an easy dinner. I also made a double batch of Turkey/chicken tortilla soup, using already cooked and frozen Turkey chunks and shredded chicken and other ingredients on my shelves. We took these over to 2 other families from our Church when we heard the moms & a few kiddos were sick as an easy meal to eat that night or have waiting in fridge for another night. It always feels good to have enough in our pantry to be able to share! It will be fun this month to start using up some more of the things in the freezers! Wonder if there will be any surprises?

    It’s exciting to look forward to a new year! This one has had it’s share of sadness and challenges! But there have also been wonderful moments and good memories too!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  12. Happy Holidays to everyone. We went on the 25th to Daughter 2’s so we could see Army grandson that was home from Italy. She had all her boys and their families (that was 4 more pit stops off the list for dropping off cash) and Son 2 showed up so we flopped gifts with him at the same time. Daughter 3 is working over time all week and her kids are with their Dad’s side so we left their stuff with Daughter 2 as they will be coming over to see Army grandson. We did connect through FB and texts. Son 1 came up on the 26th and spent the day. Daughter 4 was sick (flu not covid as she went and got tested). We will still need to connect with Daughter 4 who is working over time this week and Daughter 1 who was out of state seeing her children. We are hoping to drop off to Daughter 1 and Daughter 4 at the same time as both live an hour away.
    We had prime rib, got $2 off a pound and 2 lbs for free as another had canceled their order due to covid. I sliced it on the meat slice and and made broth from the bones.
    Hubby is taking down the out side lights right now. Wednesday I will take down the inside ones. Are not turning them on anyways as our electric gets read this week so we don’t want Christmas on the Feb bill like we did last year.
    We got each other junk food. YES REALLY. Neither of us need clothes or what ever but wanted something under the tree.
    Blessed Be everyone

  13. Things were a wee bit busier at work than anticipated last week as we had to cancel a lot of in-person events/services due to Covid – just in general in the province and a couple of volunteers testing positive – but – everything got sorted and I will be mostly working from home for the next few weeks so that will save me transit fares.
    I mostly used up a lot of odds & ends for meals – but I did make an apple crumble using apples from a bag – “ugly” fruit – I was able to freeze half of it for later!

    I bought the last few items for my bubble friend’s bag of savoury items and she was very pleased with everything. She gave me a lovely puzzle featuring many of the birds we’ve been able to spot on our walks, plus a pair of “Yak Trax” grips to fasten on my shoes or boots to avoid slipping on ice – much appreciated!

    She made us a salmon dinner for Christmas Eve, I made us brunch on Christmas day (including a HM quiche) and then she made us turkey thighs and veg for Boxing Day supper. Neither of us is up to two large meals a day so this worked out fine. I’ve bought a tortiere (French Cdn. meat pie) so will invite her down for supper later in the week. She is French Cdn. so I know she will appreciate this.

    I’ve been going through paperwork and working out a budget for 2022 – and listing what I actually NEED to purchase in the coming year so I also know what to save for in the coming months. Tomorrow I plan to go to the grocery store in my neighbourhood to buy some very specific items and then I intend seeing how long I can manage before heading back to the shops. I’m hoping that mid-month will only be for some milk, bread & some salad fixings. Quite a few of the items I intend to buy tomorrow come with major Loyalty Points attached so I hope to purchase the mid-month items with Loyalty Points rather than additional cash. I am not going anywhere near the Boxing Day sales and the only items I ordered online were some more KN95 masks (as there aren’t many in the stores at the moment) and UPS delivered them the next day instead of after New Year’s as expected so that was a Christmas bonus in my books.

    I didn’t buy a lot of treats this year but did receive some as gifts of course so I am planning to parcel these out over the next couple of months so no need for buying or baking. Much as I love my sweets, as I get older, just one or two suffice so that is the good news! Otherwise I am planning on a quiet week – I’m on holiday so there will be some walks, lots of reading and enjoying some streaming services before I cancel most at the end of January. It will be a nice way to ease into 2022.

    All the best to you and your readers – let’s all hope that 2022 is a better one for all.

    1. Oh, those Yak Trax are the greatest investment! My husband got me some the first year we were in Kansas. We had a humdinger ice storm about 10 days later and those things literally saved my butt! And wrists, and tailbone, etc. I use them with a pair of slip on shoes because I can easily slide them off and on to put the Trax on in the car.

  14. The cheese ball sounds wonderful! I am visiting my daughter and while my year end things are not necessarily frugal at the moment, I think they will be frugal for the future. I gave my grandchild money for her 529 college fund ( which I hope will make college less expensive in the future) money for savings for my daughter, and paid bills for my other children such as electric bills, car insurance, house insurance, etc. Not frugal for me but frugal for them and certainly non consumer and was appreciated by them. My daughter has my frugal ways and had a small tree she was gifted by her sister in law. My daughter painted ornaments. I posted a pic of us by the tree and someone had the audacity to make a snide comment about the tree. It is ok, other folks do not have to “get” our frugal ways. We ate all meals at home and I so enjoyed cooking for them. My grandchild especially enjoyed my mashed potatoes…. lol. Everyone have a wonderful week. I hope to be able to fly home tomorrow.

    1. Cindy, I had to chuckle about the tree! My mother used to have a little tree and we used to chuckle about her tree. Guess who is using it now? Yep, it’s us and our kids are probably laughing at us now. I guess we all take our turn!

    2. 4 years ago I bought a $45 tree at ikea. It is probably 5 ft tall but I put it on a crate and wrap the crate in a Christmas tablecloth. It is not prelit so he strings lights and decorates it. Would it make it on the cover of BetterHomes and Gardens? No but it is still magical. I actually bought it because my son is highly allergic to pine. We talk about replacing it every year for something bigger and better but then we don’t. It is truly good enough.

  15. We had a lovely, simple holiday at home. We visited with neighbors and friends and talked on the phone to family and friends. I’m old enough to remember when long-distance calls were expensive – now we can call and talk as long as we want.
    I made an apple pie for our Christmas dinner and put the cores and peels in a half-gallon jar with a little of last year’s vinegar and some water and started a new batch of apple scrap vinegar.
    My gift to myself was two days off from cooking and housework (I made meals ahead and reheated.) I read, listened to audio books, and finished knitting a sweater and a cowl. I gave myself a manicure and pedicure. I felt renewed and ready to dive back into work Monday.
    I made sandwich bread and granola. I cleaned out a dresser drawer and the linen closet and set some things aside to donate.

    1. Thanks for the tip about the Target rewards. We don’t have one close by, but I might be able to use that sometime. I used to buy girls’ jeans there. I am always looking for dark wash. Very recently, my daughter found some jeans on sale for herself and the granddaughters at macys.com for $20 each. The following places: macys.com, onehainesplace.com, inheritco.com, and childrensalon.com, and hannaandersson.com have various tights on sale; whether they have stock or everything in the sizes needed is backordered is another story. The Leggs, Haines, Bali, Playtex Express outlet stores reportedly are clearing out all of their stockings. I bought packages of four nylons (large sizes) for $5 per package. Last spring I bought burgundy tights on sale at Inherit and some cream-colored, fleece-lined tights at Goodwill that I gave my daughter and granddaughters this Christmas. They like to wear them under pants even if they don’t need them with dresses and skirts. A few years ago Children’s Salon had woolen tights for girls. They cost $25 per pair, but I paid it because my granddaughters legs were always cold when they had to wear uniforms to school. The tights were not scratchy (probably merino wool–I don’t know) and the girls loved them and no longer complained about having cold legs, but I don’t know if they sell woolen tights anymore. I don’t know how cold it gets there, but if you are appreciating fleece . . .. The woolen tights do need to be hand washed to prevent pilling (the ones I bought said they could be machine washed, but that wasn’t entirely true), but then tights stay like new if washed by hand anyway. Inherit has some opaque beige tights that look more like nylons. I think that is what my granddaughters are wearing to church. I know what you mean about socks. What I can find are almost always polyester with no cotton to be seen. The last socks I bought for myself I bought at Dollar Tree. I bought one pair to try, so I could see if the elastic was going to hold up and the fit was okay. Goodwill here has a lot of socks. I have found nice wool boot socks for the men in my family there; those socks need to be hung up to dry. One child dried his in the dryer and then complained about pilling and shrinkage LOL. He said he didn’t like the socks because after he washed them, they had little balls between his toes. Oh well, I remember the time a teen-age me machine-washed a beautifully crafted, lined woolen skirt my perfectionist mother had sewn for me. After I shrank it (to my credit I did wash it in cold water and hang it to dry rather than put it into the dryer), I tried to steam press it back into shape. I’m sure you can imagine . . .. My mother didn’t yell at me; she probably felt too sick.
      Good luck with your socks search:)

      1. Elizabeth, they are more expensive, but Vermont Country Store has Buster Brown ankle socks, 100% cotton. My mom has been buying them for years, and I bought some last year there.😊

    2. Cindi,
      Wow, you are amazingly talented! I envy the knitting especially, but I suppose you have spent years perfecting you gift. Would you mind sharing your recipe for making apple cider vinegar?

      1. My fourth grade teacher taught everyone in the class to knit and I have been doing it ever since. I rarely do complicated patterns, but I do enjoy it.
        The vinegar is very easy. Sterilize a glass jar with boiling water. (I like a half gallon, but you could use a gallon or quart.) Fill the jar half full with apple peelings and cores (you can use pear, too.) Add water to fill the jar. Stir in one tablespoon sugar per cup of water added. If you have some, add a couple of tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar. You don’t have to do this, but it makes the process go faster. I usually splash in some of a previous homemade batch, but you can use purchased if it is raw (Braggs is one brand.) Cover loosely and sit in a warm place for a couple of weeks. I set mine behind my wood stove. In another house, I set it in the closet with the water heater. The mixture should start to bubble in a day or so. You can stir it every few days or so. If any mold appears, simply skim it off and throw it away. After two weeks, strain off all the fruit scraps and put a lid on. It still needs another four weeks or so to get that real vinegar tang. It will develop a white cast — that is the ‘mother’ — the good probiotics that make it so healthy. You can use this vinegar for cooking and salad dressings, but not for canning — it might not be acidic enough for canned foods.

  16. Brandy, I loved seeing your Christmas home tour. Thank you for sharing.

    I just never got very much energy this year, so we put up our old tree, but used minimal ornaments this year. I have a large collection of nativities but only put up one. If the grandchildren hadn’t been coming, I probably wouldn’t have put up anything. My busy busy busy husband never managed to get the outdoor lights up either. But we hung a nice wreath, and I put some tinsel garland along the back of the counters in the kitchen which added some sparkle there. It will certainly go quick to take it down! Hopefully, I’ll be up for more next year, but, we did enough that it was nice when everyone came. We had one child fly in for Christmas and our local kids were here. We zoomed on the 23rd with the two away kids so we wouldn’t interfere with the in laws plans since this was our “off year”. Thankful for technology!! We did an appetizer spread for that event, and everyone brought something which made it easier on me. The kids and in laws all drew names for secret Santa again this year (I am not involved at all!) and everyone seemed pleased. Their gifts were thoughtful. The kids were also thoughtful with gifts to my husband and I and did not go overboard, which they know I always appreciate. We got a number of games, a gift card for Olive Garden that will cover lunch out for us this week, some yarn and tote bags and even a pair of lavender crocs from my son who works at a shoe store (he told me he utilized sales and his employee discount!). It was a nice time. Then, our daughter invited us for a fancy Christmas Eve supper and we didn’t have to bring anything!! It was delicious and fun to be with our little granddaughters. My husband drove me around on the way home to look at all the lights. That was a treat. All of the gifts I’ve been working on forever (and you poor folks have had to listen about forever) went over very well. I suppose that was since I asked what people actually wanted me to make, complete with color and style choices. It was a lot of work, but I’m glad I did it. I’m not sure I’ll do that again for awhile. Everyone seems to have what they want and need. I have a notebook I use year to year with the gift lists so that I can remember what we give year to year. The adults all got one less gift this year and no one seemed to notice. Everyone was happy.

    I continue to request and read library books. I found out that our library offers to mail (for free) books requested by people who have mobility issues. If I’m not up to managing the library with my walker some time, I’ll try it out. I watched the Call the Midwife Christmas Special on the free PBS Roku channel and LOVED it! I will watch it again (probably more than once) before it rolls off. I listen to music on Spotify.

    It’s been an expensive month and I’m anxious to get back to being settled. One of my goals for January is to spend 25% less on groceries to see how that goes. I’m hopefully going to be eating less (sigh) so that should help. My son who loves fast food is taking lunches from home now to his part time job… which is AMAZING! I’m so proud of him. He is saving up for something and is really trying. I’m happy to get foods here that he will make up for lunches, since he is trying.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  17. Loved your home tour — thank you for sharing it!

    My mom’s health is very bad right now…we’ve been staying at the family farm since mid-October, helping with her. (We live in Colorado.) Today we got a phone call — her current care facility says she needs too much care for her to continue staying there. We’ll tour a nursing facility this afternoon that will hopefully solve the problem. Mom is very aware (though occasionally confused) about what’s going on — but her 84-year-old body is gradually shutting down.
    We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in her room…the family brought presents to open on Christmas Eve, and my brother and sister-in-law had Christmas dinner there the next day. She really enjoyed having them there.
    It has not been easy, but we both feel it’s the right thing to do. I am lucky to have a husband who is equally committed to his mother-in-law, and is willing to help, too. His parents have been dead for many years, and this is his remaining ‘mom.’ So grateful for him.

  18. We had a quiet Christmas at home, enjoying phone calls and photos sent by phone from family celebrating around the country. Our celebration is normally on Christmas Eve and we’re of an age where socks and underwear were appreciated, but simple gifts. I had some unopened spice packets from Penzey’s and gifted those, which my son will make good use of when he returns home. Despite some dietary restrictions, we made some tasty items for our traditional snacks on the 24th and I found a snickerdoodle recipe made with olive oil and egg whites that came out flavorful and tender. I had maple syrup on hand and used that to make a small plate of maple cream candy with some nuts I had in the freezer.

    I hope everyone has a happy, healthy New Year.

    1. The snickerdoodles and maple cream candy sound wonderful. Would you be willing to share recipes. Do you add extra egg white to compensate for not having yolks? How do you use the liquid oil instead of butter or shortening? Then there is the sugar issue. I have kind of given up on making cookies because none of my substitutions turn out nice cookies.

  19. Since we celebrated last weekend, all the kids left Monday and we had a quiet Christmas. My one daughter in town came over Christmas Day. We got out a sirloin steak from our quarter cow and it was big enough to feed all three of us.
    ***I ordered a set of 26 outlet insulators off Amazon for $11.99 to put on on the exterior wall outlets.
    ***We have been very warm, but had a cold snap for a few days where the weather got below freezing. I covered my two barrel planters that have lettuce and carrots growing with an old fitted sheet. I put plastic over hoops on my garden beds.
    ***I had one of the best compliments! When all the kids came home my daughter said, ” I am going to the store for food, you don’t have any food- food ” Haha, I have two upright freezers, and two refrigerator/ freezer combos, and a pantry slap full of canned food and staples. What I don’t have: cereal, cheese it’s, little Debbie’s, junk. Now, I made homemade cinnamon rolls, cookies, and chocolate quad dessert. She was mostly picking in me that I don’t have assembled junk food 🙂
    ****I had made chocolate covered peanut plops and had ice cream. I took the chocolate nuts and crumbled them and topped the ice cream. It was good.
    ***I boiled my Thanksgiving turkey carcass and made a soup.
    ***I made four lasagnas when we celebrated Christmas with 22 of us, 18that slept in my house. I had a pan left so I cut serving pieces and froze in aluminum foil. I had 2 servings of breakfast casserole I froze.
    ***We put all our medical bills on our credit card all year so we could earn the points. We pay it off each month. We turned in the last 3 months medical bills to our flex account and they sent a check. We save by having the account that we put money in before taxes, then earn points on our credit card rather than just paying with our Flex card directly.
    ***For Christmas I got items I enjoy doing, but can use to make money if I need to. I got a quilting machine and frame. I had credit from Aqquiquilt where I bought my fabric cutter last year. They expire this week, so I purchased some dies that were 54% off and used my credit. I got a heart die and gingerbread die. One thing I plan to do is cut quilt pieces with my dies and sell on Etsy. I will recoup what the dies cost.
    ***I went to Belk the day after Christmas and picked up two sets of their Christmas sheets for $12 to have for 2022 Dirty Santa gifts. I got a pack of paper plates and a fat quarter pack of Christmas fabric at Walmart, but missed the candy.

  20. I didn’t do anything particularly frugal last week, but on the other hand, I didn’t have any frugal fails, either. For Christmas week, I’m going to count that as a win!

    We had a quiet Christmas at home. The only splurge was a small (5 lb.) prime rib for $5.97 lb. We’ve had two meals so far and have enough meat left for something else. I’ve already made bone broth with the bones and leftover au jus. Don’t intend to waste a morsel!

    Good move to make your own saltines, Brandy! There were NO saltines at Winco yesterday. We like little oyster crackers and have not seen them in any store for 2-3 months.

    Happy New Year to all! I’m going to jump the gun and tell you that my #1 resolution is to get rid of stuff! When I put my Christmas decorations away, I’m going to declutter them. I think it’s easier to do as you put them away than it is when you unpack them for the season.

    Thanks again, Brandy, for making this such a kind and welcoming place. Thanks also to all of the people who share their knowledge and support via the comments.

  21. Happy New Year from Michigan!
    We stayed home since our son got covid. We face timed with our daughter and phone calls with sons and grandchildren. Christmas was paid for and mostly wrapped by Oct. This always makes me feel like i’m missing out when i get done early. I didn’t miss anything. We used CC points to buy many of the gift cards we give out during the year. Everything we can think of goes on the card which gets paid off each month. I exchanged handmade gifts, mostly, with my two walking friends. They got homemade cookies, candied nuts, spicy tomato jam and homemade fruitcake from me. I think the fruitcake will be the ‘thing’ from here on out. Easy and delicious!
    I’m still fighting the good fight over water. Our last bill was low but i was gone for 10 days. I’ve cut out a load of clothes washing on Wed. and just add it to Sat. load. It’s a small load that combines to a larger load. Not sure if that will help but i’m giving it a go.
    I’ve made brown sugar, pancake mix for the freezer, cookie dough for the freezer, pie crusts for the freezer, three very small apple crips for the freezer with items on hand. We will NOT go without dessert, that is for sure! We have enough chocolate goodies leftover that we could open our own sweets shop.
    I spent an hour on LLBean looking for a new coat. I’ve bought many, many coats from thrifts or ebay and decided that i need a coat that has a lining and will keep me warm in -30*. And, for the price, i had to love it! My coats aren’t warm enough, no lining, or the zipper’s wonky. ($80.00 to have the zipper fixed!!! I did not pay it. The coat cost 15.00) I did not find a coat. So, money saved there. I’ll try again another day. I’m not a big clothes shopper and it shows. 😏
    I mended two shirts and put a groovy old patch on the knee of my jeans.
    I joined a free online session of slow stitching which starts soon. Most supplies i have on hand. I did buy new needles and about a dozen new embroidery threads. I got a discount which was unexpected.
    Love the photos, Brandy! You always do a stellar job!

    1. Check out Lands’ End and see if they have anything you like there. I know they have decent sales and clearance too.

      1. I second this mention of Land’s End – I bought a waterproof down parka through them 5+ years ago on a deep discount and it has worn very, very well. They have “fashion” type coats too, but this one was a sturdy workhorse type and I’ve been quite pleased with it, especially at half off. I originally wasn’t thrilled with the color (it’s blaze orange, but I didn’t want the other option offered at the time) but it’s grown on me and oddly enough, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments. Plus my husband doesn’t lose me in a crowd. LOL

      2. I second the motion for Land’s End. I have a full-length Squall coat and it is very warm. Six years ago, I went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in the dead of winter (on the train!). My coat, which was a 10-year-old Squall parka, “disappeared” somewhere between the taxi and hotel lobby. You can’t do Minnesota no how, no way in winter without a coat, and a huge blizzard was expected two days later (we got 14 inches of snow). I was honestly too sick to shop for a new coat that night, because I knew if I paid full price, I’d want to take the time to find the perfect coat. (And it probably wouldn’t be perfect). Instead, we spotted a Goodwill and I went in and immediately spotted this coat. At Goodwill prices, it didn’t have to be perfect. But it was! It fit perfectly, it’s RED and it was marked $14! However, all coats were on sale for half-price. Seven dollar$! This is a coat I gladly would have bought new and paid full price! (Although a sale is always better).

      3. I agree I have waited 2 years pricing winter coats or down vest Land’s End was the lowest price and I think great quality

    2. Kohls now carries Lands End coats as well. You could probably earn some Kohls cash, which is nice. 6pm.com is another great site for coats. I purchased a Marmot brand coat for $60 (retailed $285) and I love it.

    3. I bought my down filled parka from LL Bean about 6 years ago – very expensive but so worth it! I can’t say it’s especially stylish but it’s light weight and is good to minus 48 F!!!! I can put it in the washing machine and just hang it up to dry after about 10 minutes in the dryer to fluff it out.

    4. I have a full length down from LL Bean, a workhorse from Lands End and a almost-to-the-knee, cover your rump one from Eddie Bauer. The last one is by far my favorite. I paid a little over $100 on sale for it. It is navy, has a removable hood, the flap over the zipper, and adjustable wrists with elastic inside as well. It is VERY warm and water resistant. I bought it on sale at their outlet store three years ago. I wear it often and it still looks brand new.

  22. Not a whole lot of savings last week, I tend to wait until the last minute on Christmas stuff. While it wasn’t cheap, we kept it simple. The 14yo got an iPad, Apple pencil(it was $20 off when I purchased it), a few clothing items, a book, a dvd, then candy, lottery scratchers, nail stuff, and a gift card in her “stocking”. The boy asked for a variety of cologne so he ended up with 5, then a hoodie, gift cards to his favorite food places, and gift cards to an online gaming site. He also had candy, lottery scratchers, and his favorite hair gel in his “stocking “. Hubby got a hoodie, shirt, and a commemorative ornament for his time spent in Facebook jail this year 😂(and candy) . For my mother in law, I found her a throw blanket to use because she likes to be frugal with her heat, and a bag of her favorite candy.

    Explaining the “stocking ” …I forgot I needed to replace the ones we had. I actually tossed them last year. I scrambled to find something on Christmas eve night. I forgot about my stash of reusable bags I’ve received from Sam’s and Walmart with samples in them. I pulled out 2 matching ones, and that’s what we used. The kids got a good laugh. (My mother in law actually found some on clearance for me today)

    I received a $15 gift card to Burger King from one coworker, cookies from another, a loaf of banana bread and chocolate covered pretzels from another, the our supervisors sent cookies, a nice big storage container (held 2 batches of fudge perfectly) and Christmas spatulas. Our field supervisor gave each of us 6 coupons for a free order of crazy bread(we work at a school so they have these to hand out) and one of my coworkers gave me hers also. My 14yo already used 2 of them(no additional purchase necessary) I made fudge, a different kind of chocolate covered pretzels, and a no bake cheesecake to share with my coworkers. We ate the banana bread Christmas morning opening presents.

    My husband makes too much food, so we’ll be eating leftovers this week while the 14yo is at my mother in laws. I’m only planning on buying soda and bread at the store this week.

    I sold some items for my mom and made her $75

    My mom sent over powdered milk, mints, and chips.

    I made 2 pumpkin pies and froze one for the guys to eat another time.

    The weather has been fabulous so the heat has stayed off.

    One of my friends buys pallets of stuff from Target. She had a bunch of Halloween stuff. I ended up getting tons of stuff for under $20

  23. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Thank you for the tour of your Christmas decorations, everything looked elegant and classy.
    We picked parsley and parsnips from the garden.
    I had dried some allium seed heads and sprayed them silver to use in a floral arrangement.
    I cut up old Christmas cards to make gift tags.
    I salvaged ribbons we received around presents.
    I used several tea towels from my charity shop stash to wrap around presents. I was glad that most of my fabric gift bags were given back to me so I can reuse them next year.
    The BBC reported that energy prices are expected to rise by up to 50% next year so we discussed ways to cut electricity usage and my husband reminded me of some great ideas.
    For non UK readers there were some nice TV programmes over Christmas you might like,
    Christmas specials for Call the Midwife , All Creatures Great and Small, The Larkins, Great British Sewing Bee , 2 new Worzel Gummidge programmes for children to be shown soon and an adaptation of Around the World in Eighty Days.
    Hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a wonderful peaceful holiday.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I love the Sewing Bee – and the Larkins have just showed up on one of my streaming services so I’ve started watching it. I remember “The Darling Buds of May” and I’m glad to see that they seem to have kept much of the spirit of the original.

    2. One way to save on electricity is to make sure all closet and cabinet doors, drawers, etc., are closed. There’s no need to heat or cool inside them. Mind you, my cats do like to sleep in my various spots in my clothes closet so one of the bi-fold doors is usually partially open but everything else stays closed. What are your husband’s ideas for saving?

      1. Hi Mari
        We have an oil fired range in our kitchen( it heats water for several radiators and provides warmth for the ground floor) and I have got out of the habit of using it much and switch on the electric cooker instead, my husband reminded me the range is ‘ on’ all the time and I can slow cook food in it and keep a kettle of water heating on the top. I know electric slow cookers don’t draw much but kettles do. Oil isn’t cheap but we buy on a budget plan and if electricity prices soar as predicted we think oil might be the cheaper option.
        He has also put battery powered torches/ lanterns by all external doors and switched off the motion sensor external lights. Now we have a dog we don’t feel such a need for security lights and in our rural area nocturnal animals kept triggering the sensors. Small things but hopefully if we keep thinking smart we can bring the electricity bill down.

    3. PennyP,

      I too would love to hear (read 🙂 ) your husband’s reminders/ideas. We currently rent (military housing on a federal installation) but will retire soon, so our utilities will no longer be rolled into what we pay. I consider myself to be pretty good at conserving fuel, electric, etc but I can ALWAYS use more ideas! My favorite part of these posts and comments is learning from others.

  24. I bought a silky scarf printed with poinsettias and holly several years ago at a yard sale for perhaps a dollar, and each December I like wearing it with my jacket. We came back home from an appointment today and I was deciding whether I should put it away for the year when I saw that my top-heavy blooming amaryllis had tipped over. I used the scarf to tie it to the bookshelf to get a few more days of holiday use out of it.
    Found my favorite candy (Ghirardelli dark chocolate peppermint bark, only available this season) on half-price sale the day after Christmas. And ditto for my other favorite candy (Russell Stover’s caramel anything), also half-price.
    Enjoying other people’s outdoor holiday lights.
    Have discussed likelihood of rising prices with my husband. Agreed we will watch for sales and stock-up opportunities. Other than food, we aren’t big shoppers.

  25. We cooked at home. We ate ham that we got on sale for 95 cents a lb. My husband is making chocolate pudding as a treat today. We got toys for our grandchildren and blankets for our boys and small gifts we thought that other family members would like. I think everyone was happy! My husband and I didn’t buy anything for each other. Instead we just enjoyed being together. Giving presents was fun. We enjoyed our little tree and taking our granddaughter one day to see lights. We went to see light two nights ourselves. I think looking at Christmas lights together is so much fun! It was fun watching the grandkids play with their toys and talking to family. I’ve been having fun wearing sweaters and sweatshirts that I had previously bought from thrift shops or garage sales. I actually got four compliments at church one day when I wore one with a scarf I also got from a thrift shop! I love that I didn’t over pay for what I bought.

  26. I accepted 4 commercial size rolls of toilet paper from Buy Nothing. I’ll rig up some sort of holder to use these at home.

    I signed up for the Philadelphia Cream Cheese $20 back offer. I’ll let you know if it comes through!

    We did our end-of-year giving, which felt good. We gave most of it to World Relief.

    Our immediate family agreed upon no gifts since we travelled to be together for Christmas (much better than any gift). My mother-in-law gave us all fun little gifts and chocolate from England, which we all opened around the table after lunch. It was so festive.

    We have played endless games, walked on the beach, kayaked, and played with our grandson (7months).

    Our daughter’s car was totaled in an accident (not her fault) 2 weeks ago. She is safe. We do have to buy her a used car in January, I would appreciate prayers for that. It seems a challenging and expensive task these days. This same daughter just got a full time job (new college grad) and so hopefully she will be self sufficient soon. She is our last child and each of the others left home with a functional car, so we feel we want to do the same for her. Unfortunately the man who hit her is lying about what he did and so the insurance process is going to be long.

    A blessed new year to all!

    1. Kara,
      So glad your daughter is okay. I hope the insurance companies get everything squared away quickly for her.

  27. We had a lovely Christmas dinner with just a few family members. I bought a larger turkey than we needed because it was what was available. Turkeys were in short supply here so I was thankful for a larger one with leftovers. We have been using these leftovers for meals the past two days. I have been starting tidying and decluttering and rid our food cupboards of bits and pieces and out of date items. It feels good to get a start on this large project. We continue to be blessed by our local buy nothing group. We have received food and clothing recently and I am already putting things away for gifts for future holidays. I have noticed shortages here quite frequently and I, too, pick things up when I see them since they might not be there again.

    Hope everyone is enjoying this festive time. Happy New Year to all!

  28. There are very few factories that make the ingredients for nylon. One plant burned which took the supply of nylon very low causing it to be limited. This company has been on “forced Majeure” for all of 2021. The plant is now running again and will come off “forced Majeure” in January adding to the supply. I see that nylon will continue to be in short supply for most of 2022 since it is used in so many products from plastic to fabrics. If you find what you need, I suggest buying it! (As you can tell, my profession is manufacturing.)

  29. Hi everyone!

    Brandy I really enjoyed the tour of your home. Your decorations are so elegant.

    The biggest savings we’ve had in the last month was taking a staycation instead of a vacation! We had a blast and spent a fraction of the money we would have spent if we went somewhere!

    Have a great week!

  30. Brandy, I agree some things are becoming hard to find. I am like you if I know I will use it in the near future and I find it, I buy it. So many empty spots on shelves. And I’ve noticed that aisles are bigger and racks are farther apart. There is less inventory and they are trying to make it look like that’s not the case. I was surprised that they said spending is higher this year for Christmas. I know we spent less and more gifts were homemade. With the economy as it is I am trying to be as economical and frugal as I can since I’m not sure what the future will bring.

    -Deals at the grocery store this week: ice cream buckets $3.96 limit 2, little smokies $1.99 limit 2, and shrimp rings with cocktail sauce $2.99 limit 2. All were bought.

    -I bought 3 prepackaged salads-chef, BLT, and southwest on clearance for 50 cents each at Walmart. One salad package makes a perfect 2 servings for both my husband and I. I usually don’t frequent Walmart but they sell lactose-free half and half that I needed to pick up for making extended family meals. And I always check the clearance areas.

    -Saved $0.60/ gallon on a fill-up of gas from my grocery store app. Gas is $2.99 here, so I paid $2.49/gallon. Saved me $10.00 on my fill-up.

    -I made a sauce for chicken wings by combining packets from take-out-sweet chili Thai sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and Parmesan garlic sauce. Cooked the wings in the air fryer then put them in the crockpot with the sauce. Turned out great. Wings were in the reduced meat bin I bought a few weeks ago. I will just never be able to replicate it again!

    -I made blueberry muffins. I didn’t have vanilla yogurt the recipe calls for. I used Greek yogurt and added vanilla and honey to the recipe to make up for the vanilla yogurt. They turned out great.

    -We had appetizer-type foods Christmas Eve-shrimp with cocktail sauce, little smokies wrapped in bacon and rolled in brown sugar and baked-kept warm in the crockpot, taco dip and chips, ranch mushrooms, cheese and meat platter with crackers, and a goody plate. Of course, we also had a cocoa bar which is a family tradition. And homemade eggnog. The homemade is very economical. And even though it is eggnog there are no eggs in it but delicious.

    -Christmas day we had beef stew and homemade yeast rolls, plus leftovers from Christmas Eve. And we had a Happy Birthday Jesus cake. The grandkids sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and they blew out the candles. Then we had cake and ice cream!

    -I need to really be diligent about using frozen and canned items the next 2 months to get freezers down and jars used. I will only spend $50 for groceries for January and February. That will be mainly for bread, milk, eggs, and limited produce (I have canned and frozen fruits and veggies). I do this every year for these 2 months so that we use items up what we grew, harvested, and preserved.

    Have a great week!!

  31. We celebrate from Advent to Epiphany so the season isn’t over for us just yet. I like that the celebrating is spread out this way and we don’t feel like we have to do everything we want to do in one or two days. Just feels more peaceful that way, to me. Less stress is always a good thing!
    I am so grateful to have friends and family who give and appreciate practical gifts! I received so many such gifts – grocery store gift cards, food items, simple kitchen tools, handmade soaps, lotions and lip balm, tea (my favorite!), socks, gardening gloves, a pair of overalls (my uniform but in a fun color – purple!) as well as a few treats – real black licorice and a few chocolates. So thoughtful and appreciated! I gave homemade items and treasures found at thrift stores to family and friends and practical things to my husband and children like new art supplies, favorite food items, and some needed sports gear. We celebrated with one side of the family one day and the other the next and will continue this week with friends coming from out of town. The fun just continues!
    My husband’s birthday falls on the Winter Solstice and we enjoyed a quiet celebration with our annual bonfire (welcoming back the light), a favorite meal of shrimp and grits (shrimp bought on a BOGO per pound bag – the rest of the ingredients we always have on hand) and a thrifted book and some pajama pants he sorely needed. He prefers brownies to cake (as I believe Brandy has mentioned is true in her family) which are so easy and inexpensive to make. My children told jokes they had made up in his honor and we watched a movie together. A simple and heartfelt celebration, just the way he likes it.
    I repaired two zippers on my oldest son’s jackets. Was not as hard as I thought it might be thanks to YouTube videos. Where would we be without tutorials, I sometimes wonder? They can be so helpful when trying to expand your DIY skills.
    I cut my hair which is not as hard as it sounds. I have done so for the past 10 years and only had to replace my shears once. So much money and time saved!
    While visiting my in-laws on Christmas Day, we found a gas station with prices 10 cents lower per gallon than those closer to our house so we filled up. Gas is down 10 cents a gallon in our area from its peak earlier in the Fall. Every little bit helps.
    Our grocery spending was down a bit from the past couple of months as we have been eating out of the pantry and thanks to the food gifts we received. I have some things to clear out of the freezer so I hope our January spending will be down. The grocery store gift cards we received as gifts will help, too. As we move some stored items out, I can replenish a bit, too.
    Annually, we receive a dividend check from our auto insurance at this time of year. It is never more then $50 but, again, every little bit helps.
    A neighbor very kindly, and without our asking, extended one of our walking trails through our woods with his track hoe. Now, we can walk in that particular area without having to whack down the briars as we go. What a gift!
    I read a new-to-me book over the weekend called “The Quiet Little Woman” by Louisa May Alcott. Even more than the sweet stories I loved the story behind them. They were written as a gift for a family of girls who, inspired by the March family, started their own newspaper. The stories were included in their publication and must have increased their sales quite a bit. A fun read.
    May you all continue to have a blessed Christmas season and a peaceful start to the New Year!

    1. We celebrate Advent to Epiphany also. My out of state friends get their gifts in early January. I told them that if Jesus could wait for the Wise Men for gifts, they could, too!! They said it’s fun to get something in January because of the post holiday let down. I’ve never been the big Christmas person so January and February are happy happy days for me!! I love the cozy days inside and the evening fire while I embroider or do some other handwork.

    2. Someone asked last week if we’re Catholic because we also celebrate Advent to Epiphany – we’re not, we’re Lutheran. 😊
      It makes the season way less stressful and we get to celebrate and enjoy for longer.

      How nice of your neighbor to clear the brush for you! That sounds like a wonderful gift!


  32. I went to a Tom Thumb grocery store on Dec. 26 in the evening. This store is affiliated w/ Albertsons & Randall’s in Texas. The entire meat display case was empty. The store did have some frozen turkeys & hams but that was all. I also saw little to none Christmas type things marked down. I suppose everything was bought up before Christmas. I was glad that I had frozen meat in the deep freeze at home plus staples like rice & pasta. Usually the grocery stores have markdowns the day after Christmas but not this year.

  33. I second the comments about Land’s End. Several years ago, I bought a pair of winter boots on sale
    from Land’s End. They were on sale for about $25 reduced from $80 so I bought 4 or 5 pairs of them. I finally had worn out all but one of them. Unfortunately the last box had a style unlike the others. These boots are hard to put on, have no warm lining and little room for socks or orthotics. Their only plus is the soles seem to give fairly good traction. As it’s minus 35º, I need warm boots — so I caved in and bought a pair on sale.. Marketplace, a tv show, did a study of about 10 brands of boots and only one passed the ice/slipping or non slipping test. My friend who saw the ad thought they are just beautiful. I’m hoping they last for years. They were on sale but still pricey. Boots have really gone up in price and I think they’ll just keep going up in price.

    A friend is taking me for my Pfizer booster shot tomorrow so I don’t have to spend cab fare. She is also bringing me home made turkey soup so it will be really lovely.

    Another friend gave me a very interesting lavender hydroponic kit. I am allergic to most fragrances but lavender is one I can tolerate.

    I bought myself the books a friend said she’d give me for Christmas but never got around to ordering. As I really wanted one of them, The Old Ways, about a man who walks across Great Britain. It is a bargain copy. As the store (Munro’s books) was running low on them, I just went ahead and bought one. It was 8.99 as opposed to $20.00 normally. And I won’t be going anywhere and staying away from online sales. Fortunately, I have several lovely well-made classic coats.

  34. Had a quiet Christmas compared to years past. Received a substantial amount of cash from family members and my husband also got a large bonus from work which is all going on our car loan. We have had the car less than one year and our goal is to have it paid off by June 30th. This extra money will help alot! I could tell my last year of ruthless cleaning and decluttering has paid off. Putting the tree up seemed less stressful and the house has stayed so much cleaner and tidy during this busy season. Helps so much with my anxiety and saves money because things are put away where they go and I can actually find them instead of buying new, which has happened more times than I care to admit. Used all wrapping paper, tags, bows and gift bags that I already have and was at Kroger and they had rolls of wrapping paper for 90 cents. My daughter reminded me we DO NOT NEED anymore wrapping paper. I am good for years. Used up a roll of Blues Clues wrapping from when my kids were little and havent even made a dent in the many other rolls. Did not grocery shop this week mainly because it wasnt a priority and really didnt have time. We have everything we need anyway except I did run to Kroger yesterday to get eggs and while there my daughter and I checked out their Christmas clearance and got some great things for next year. They had Yankee candles for $6, dolls and dolls with stroller, and Crayola craft kits for $6. We will use these next year for our 4 little great nieces for their bdays and next Christmas. Also purchased nice gift card holders. I was very happy. My husband had purchased a Crayola writing board for over $20 for these little girls and after we talked he decided to go with some other clearance items I had for these little girls. So I will return the more expensive gifts. I am hoping to find some other items for adults later on. Also saved at least $100 when I told my sister NO to going out to eat for family bday/get togethers. We had already went to Mexican for my moms birthday on Dec 7th and the bill was over $70 ( no alcohol). She wanted to celebrate another family members bday at a Japanese steakhouse and I knew it would be costly. I said no. Then the following week they wanted to have a get together and I knew it would cost at least $50 for 2 of us so I once again declined. Eating out is just so expensive and I am trying to be more disciplined and stick to our budget. I have big goals for next year and I am determined! I hope everyone has a great week and Brandy, thank you so much for your time you put into this. Keeps me inspired every week!

  35. Wonderful to read the comments of everyone’s holiday, especially the fun family traditions (old and new). Brandy, your holiday decor looks lovely. We use a 3′ fake tree I snagged 30+ years ago on a markdown, as a teen preparing for my adult days – I can’t even remember the original price but know it was under $10. I think it’s definitely served well past what even the original price might have been. 😉

    My husband’s military retirement has been approved, so the countdown has begun. Five months from tomorrow we drive away from this final duty station! The sorting has begun and things are being passed on to those who can use them. We are packing and moving ourselves as military moves are still affected by pandemic issues, from pack and load staff at moving companies to the truckers to haul everything. (Bless them, they are so swamped!) A neighbor recently moved to a larger home on our base and they’ve kindly passed on boxes as they unpack them – less to buy on our end and stewardship of the supplies to make the boxes; we will do the same at our end location and as happens in our very transient community, the boxes will be used many more times by lots of families. To the same end, I am working through our freezers and pantry items to use things up, which will assist in the current grocery bills and allow that money to be put aside to restock when we find a house. Also on that note, we are gratefully taking advantage of free Zoom lectures from veterans’ organizations, the USO, and partner companies who graciously share their knowledge about military transitioning and career, finance/mortgage, VA benefits, and the like. Some schools and companies have partnered with the Veterans Administration to offer re-skilling and certificate/degree discounts (even free training and paid internships). As I’ve seen several folks mention the military, if anyone is needing education or vocational resources and have a veteran affiliation, do check with the USO for such things if you’re USA-military. We had no idea how many options there are for not just active duty but also for spouses and have much appreciated the wealth of info passed on. (Even for those who are entrepreneurial and not necessarily “job hunting” – if you use LinkedIn to network for your small business, turns out military & spouses can get free LinkedIn Premium, which usually has a hefty monthly charge.) My understanding is that in the UK there are some similar organizations and agencies, perhaps this will be a starting point for those of you outside the US as well?

    Our senior dog had some teeth removed and had to change food types – the one that is working best for her is in very short supply, so I’ve been stocking up whenever I can get it using “autoship” discounts from Chewy and the manufacturer. I spent several hours looking at other options that will work for her and as she is on the smaller end of “large breed”, all would come out to even more per day for her based on how much she’d need to eat. Keeping an eye on things, buying when I can, and hoping for the best.

    The mention above of Valentine and Easter candy – we went to the base store on Boxing Day and the staff had already cleared all the Christmas items and were in the process of shelving Valentine’s Day items! A little chuckle as so many here probably stock up after holidays as well: we went to a gingerbread house-making event for the teens of our homeschool group, where each of us brought a bag of decorating candies – one family brought candy corn and pumpkins from Halloween, purchased on clearance in November. I was thrilled and we bonded over getting the good deal and having the goodies to share for the next season. So fun and even funnier, my son made a little pumpkin patch with a few of them around his gingerbread creation! 😀

    1. Melonie K
      Thank you for best wishes for our daughter. And I will pass on USO as a resource to our son, USMC, who will be finishing his time in July. Thank you for that. Congratulations to your husband on his upcoming retirement!

  36. I learned something new this year about wrapping presents. Apparently it is very well known, although I had never heard of it. It is a Japanese method of wrapping presents called furoshiki. There are many You Tube videos and sites on internet. You can also use it to wrap bottles (like homemade vanilla or lemon extract) . Instructions for wrapping bottles are different from those for wrapping items. It uses a piece of cloth and after folding in different ways the corners are tied in a knot. The cloth would be so easy to store to use year after year and a good use for leftover fabric. It eliminates the need for boxes, wrapping paper and ribbon. It is frugal and environmentally helpful. Literally tons of wrappings end up in the landfill each year. I have seen some furoshiki wrappings on internet that use small artificial flowers or berries or glittery decorations attached to the knot. I found it so interesting — the method could be used for all gift giving occasions — not just Christmas.

  37. I usually give ornaments + some kind of food as holiday presents (this year it was pancake mix and maple syrup), so I did my annual post-Christmas ordering of ornaments. They’re all 40 to 50% off at this point, and small enough that they’re not much trouble to store all year.

    Otherwise it’s snowing and icy here in WA (unusual for this area and time of year), so I’m expecting a very frugal week!

  38. I enjoyed seeing your Christmas decorations! We have not seen the shortages of socks and underthings here in my corner of the world. I bought new socks for the whole family for stockings this year from Kohl’s. They had The Office and Friends “12 Days of Socks” sets for around $5 each.

    A coworker gave me a Kroger coupon that took $10 off my purchase, which I used when buying snacks and meals for Christmas week. My husband got me airpods for Christmas (yay for audiobooks while folding laundry!) but the new USB-C style charger head wasn’t included. My daughter needed one too. I used a Target gift card I already had to purchase both, $20 each. It was the $50 gift card I got for returning/rebuying my son’s Christmas gift. I read a couple of books I already owned. Took the time to cross-check my wishlist on Paperbackswap with the library and Kindle Unlimited, which I already have. It cleared about 100 books off my list! This way, I will only use my swap credits for books I have no other way of getting (without purchasing).

    I took advantage of the high-60s weather to plant some bulbs I ordered this fall. Hundred of daffodils & tulips seemed like a good idea at the time…not so much when I’m planting them. Ha! Trying to decide if I should place a seed order for some new varieties or just use what I already have. Right now my seed cart is about $55.

  39. Merry Christmas from Fairbanks, AK. It was my first year in several for being home at Christmas instead of going to Kaktovik to celebrate with the community. Certainly was an interesting year. We had snow before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, there was a 3 PM service. It was an adventure getting to North Pole as the roads were not cleaned very well and we had to detour around an area where a truck hit an overpass a couple of weeks ago. Our oldest son and children came to church with us, which was very special. We had a candlelight service for singing “Silent Night”. Of course, it was dark by 3:00! Christmas Day we went to our son’s for supper. A co-worker of our d-i-l was there also and felt like a member of the family. David fixed a KC strip steak which was wonderful. Sunday morning we got up to more snow. My husband was not preaching but thought of going out to church. He changed his mind which was good as the cong. president who lives near the church called and said they were cancelling because she could not even get out of her driveway. She teaches on the Air Force base, so normally drives 15 miles in all kinds of weather. We attended by zoom, the church which my husband served until his retirement in April. We finally fixed our ham on Sunday. There is never local news on Sunday but our channels went out anyway. Today they are saying 9.3 inches of snow before the rain started. The Borough and city are saying roads will be rough all winter. Today we are supposed to get 10 more inches of snow. We have been staying home but my husband and son went to Costco this morning. Although we are well stocked, we ran out of garbage bags. They will enjoy getting out other than to shovel! I stayed home because of my limited mobility. It would be tempting to buy just because we don’t know when we will be out again!
    In all of this, my husband, who is a retired pastor, has agreed to serve the interim at our home church. It was hard to see our pastor leave to move back to MN. She must feel it was the perfect time to have moved!
    Hoping all had wonderful Christmases! Thanks to Brandy and everyone who participates here. Your tips help us all to have better lives with frugal living.

  40. Brandy, I had to run into a store before Christmas for glue (everything I had was dried up!) and was shocked to see Valentine’s and EASTER stock out! All the Christmas stuff was virtually gone, not that I would have bought any. I went to a different grocery store today and noticed that, like the store I normally go to, the freezer section had huge and many empty gaps. I’m glad my freezers are full. My husband said (after chopping ice on the bottom of one of the freezers that can be a fridge or a freezer by using a switch, to get the “produce” bin unstuck) that we have so much food we need to start eating out of the freezers. That is pretty much what we have been doing, I said. It takes much longer because we went from a very large family to just two of us pretty quickly. There is very little I need to buy, so our food bill has gone from large to virtually nothing. We do enjoy an occasional meal out and, for the most part, choose one nice restaurant a month. Often that is our birthday gift to each other or one of our children. This Christmas we did not give presents, save a paw print ornament of our sweet Charlie who crossed the rainbow bridge in November. I had a 30% off coupon for photo prints at Walgreens, so I had a photo of Charlie printed, cut it to fit the ornament, glued a ribbon loop on the back of the plaster ornament (hence the glue I mentioned earlier), then the photo and wrapped the outside with white ribbon I already had. The gift was appreciated by everyone. My husband and I exchanged calendars and he got his year’s supply of his favorite soap and I got a selenite heart rock that he had picked up for me when we were in St. Augustine. I made lasagna for Christmas Eve (had all of the ingredients on hand, including tomatoes I had canned from my garden). My daughter and her husband came for dinner, and our one son who flew home from Florida. My SIL made a delicious apple strudel roll (he is in culinary school). Christmas we had a breakfast with two sons and one of their friends. Dinner was husband and I only and I made an organic young roast chicken (stuffed) I had bought months ago from Costco. I was delighted at the taste as it tasted like real chicken from when I was young (I am not fond of most chicken these days). We have been eating leftovers for days.😊 It was actually very nice to not have the stress of gift buying, and we enjoyed family. My DIL put together a Christmas morning Zoom call which was enjoyed by all of us.❤️ I foresee very little grocery shopping this year. We don’t need clothes. We are keeping the thermostat down, and all of our utilities have gone down without kids here. Already starting to sort, organize and pitch paper stuff and working on deck uttering room by room. Hoping everyone here had a lovely holiday and praying this new year will see an end to this virus.

  41. We had a quiet, peaceful Christmas, and were able to see most of the family. I made clam chowder, polish kielbasa with cabbage, sugar cookies, and chips and dips. I also made bread during the week. We received several small neighbor gifts of food (sweets and nuts), plus flashlights, dishtowels, etc. I gave homemade jam to neighbors from free fruit I received in September. We still have lots of snack food and leftovers for a few more days.
    I knitted 8 hats as gifts and they were appreciated.
    I also enjoyed watching Christmas movies like “The Bells of St. Mary’s” and “The Bishop’s Wife” on Youtube and the Christmas special of “Call the Midwife” on PBS.
    Best score of the week. I walked to my local Kroger affiliate today to buy a few groceries. They had a cart full of canned pumpkin (15 oz.) for .10 each! They also had stuffing mix for .25 each. I bought 4 cans of pumpkin since I was on foot and use it occasionally, but not all the time. I’m not a fan of boxed stuffing so although the price was reasonable I chose not to buy it. The prices were great! They also had odd flavors of hot chocolate mix for $1. I didn’t need any, so I didn’t buy any.

  42. We had a week off from babysitting grandson and while I spent most of it just recovering from the tired I normally feel, we did get into town and got some work done at the other house yard. It felt good to get something done. I had no time or energy to go buy and spread mulch, but I did get up the old landscape border materials and set it out all across the front flower beds as well as moving some debris from the front sidewalk to the other side of the yard. It made a world of difference and cost nothing but the effort of lifting the landscape border pieces and roughly two hours of time.
    We ended spending Christmas on our own, just the two of us. I had a big rib roast to cook as I’d planned to have others to dinner, but all my guests made other plans. We had a lovely dinner and I put lots in the freezer after that we will use in multiples of other meals.
    I got a full pantry and freezer inventory done last week while grandson wasn’t around. I now know what I have on hand and what needs to be restocked. I am planning on doing a January pantry/freezer challenge. I’ll use about to expire or already expired items first and bits and pieces that I’ve failed to use over the past few months first. I do this each year and usually purpose the money I save to buy more pantry stock, but I have other ideas for the money this coming year.
    This week I’ve taken down all the Christmas decor except the tree itself, which I usually begin and end with just lights on it. I also cleared the children’s toy box and put away the toys they seldom play with. Some were infant items that had been outgrown and some are just not of interest to the smaller children at present. I’ll put them away to bring out later and if they are still not interested, I’ll donate them.
    I purchased a pair of shoes last week on a sale and ordered them in a Wide size. They were discounted even further, making them a wonderfully good buy. I’ve received them and they fit beautifully. So happy to have gotten those. I also ordered a couple of 2022 gifts already that were good buys. I plan to shop along all through the year this year purchasing as I find items for each person.
    I hope everyone here had a wonderful Christmas and want to wish you all a very happy New Year!

  43. In the neighborhood where I pet sit during Christmas (my family celebrates a week early) someone offered two trays of extra goodies in neighborhood FB page. I thought why not? Sent a FB message and picked up one tray a few minutes later. Way more than one person could eat so I offloaded some onto giant paper plate, covered in Saran Wrap and carried to mom of next door neighbor kids who were outside riding bikes.
    I hate cooking so while I was in big city I took full advantage of restaurant curbside and to-go meals. Most had enough food for two meals so I would buy one meal each day and also have leftovers from previous day. My pet owners also left me $100 gift card to Kroger but I carried drinks from home and nibbled on the gifted goodies so I never had to fight the holiday crowds at grocery. Left the gift card for them to keep for their personal use.
    Found several Christmas items from 🎯today at liquidation store. 90%-95% off plus another 10% off for senior day.
    Nice mailman at quick shop where I stopped for Diet Coke today agreed to mail my letter for me. Not that frugal $ wise but saved frustration of having to drive across town to PO. My 85 yo mom always taught me that is never hurts to ask, if they say no you’re no worse off than before and if they say yes like the nice mailman did then Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.
    Happy New Year.

  44. I love pavlova, yours looks amazing! Pavlova always reminds me of summertime here in Australia, with all the cherries, mango, strawberries, peaches, plums, nectarines at their in season finest and ready to top the mountain loads of cream on the pavlova.
    We have been enjoying all these fruits over the festive season.

    Our week has been a leftover week, following Christmas day lunch. We have lots of leftover ham and chicken plus some salads, pasta and Buche de Noël. Generous portions of ham has gone into wraps, sandwiches and bolognese sauce plus we have enjoyed it on its own with sides of boiled eggs and salad. The chicken was also used in the bolognese sauce and two large portions frozen, along with three extra large slices of the smoked ham.

    I stocked up on passata at Aldi as it’s been unavailable at all grocery stores for awhile. For our weekly grocery shop I also purchased 3 dozen eggs, zucchini, tomato paste, broccoli, sweet potato, bread, sour cream, cream, basil pesto, spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes.

    Activities with my children have included bicycle rides, the park and playdates with neighbourhood children as well as reading, writing and puzzles. I am also organising things in the house after the children were blessed with Christmas gifts from family and friends as well as my husband and I.

    I plan on going to the library in the next few days.

    Have a great rest of week.

  45. Thrifty actions this week included: accepting a beautiful head of cabbage from a neighbor ( thinking cabbage rolls and soup), harvesting lemons, oranges; freezing the zest, and accepting a free piano that a family no longer uses. Used an All Recipe site to make the Buche de Noel yule log cake with on sale white Lindt balls for the mushrooms.

  46. The realization has hit me that I was really lucky to have tied in my electricity and natural gas rates.
    The kilowatt/hour rate has doubled since I tied in a couple of months ago and I am saving $2 per gigajoule
    by virtue of my fixed rate for natural gas. As it is my gas usage, like everyone’s, will go up with the extreme cold we are experiencing. Spring cannot come soon enough!

    Happy New Year to everyone.

      1. Thanks and Happy New Year Margie (from Toronto). We are supposed to get a two-day warming spell
        before the temperature plummets again. At least, thankfully, the days are getting longer! Stay safe from omicron. Ann

  47. I really enjoyed your holiday tour, Brandy!
    I am learning some serious frugal skills recently as we have seen record electricity prices. Everything here runs on electricity, so we really have to be careful with our energy usage. Which makes things seriously uncomfortable when it is record cold(heating), we do sweaty sports outside to stay healthy and warm(hot showers) and most of the time it is night(lights)… Just the other day it costed 48 NOK (about 5 USD) to take a 5min shower!!! It became increasingly clear to me why people did things they did in the older times. Like getting dressed to shoes is a no brainer at this moment. My grandma, who grew up without running water and electricity gave me some tips of which, so far, I tried:
    – Pin curling my hair. This keeps them nice for several days. Also, am not sure why, they don’t get as sweaty during skiing and the general hat wearing. I love the style, but it took some YouTube to get that technique just right. I dig it. Keeps showers shorter…when I do take the shower, that is!
    – I tried “cat washing” to replace some of the showers. It is the old school wash cloth, soap and a vintage salad bowl filled with hot water situation. I can’t say that I like it more than a long bubble bath, but with some candles going and vintage music playing from my phone- it became a funny adventure. As granny Genowefa sudgested: in the morning I boil some extra water for my tea and have the hot “cat wash” with that extra water. It may seem extreme but it is somewhat fun when it is not as urgent as to leave me feeling deprived, but it does give a return big enough to make it worth my trouble.
    -Be busy to stay warm. I must say that I was really proud of my productivity in the past weeks. House looks well and I am more likely to be seen playing hide and seek with the kids. This wasn’t a winter to lounge around with a book for the long hours of the evening. Moving indoors and outdoors helps us all stay warm and happy. And tired. So we sleep earlier, longer and so need less light 😉
    – This year we dropped most decorative lights (usually I am the person who likes ALL the lights EVERYWHERE). I stayed open to the experience and was blessed with some seriously enchanted evenings of playing chess by candlelight. I didn’t even like chess before!
    Over all I also enjoyed and appreciated everything which we can have nowadays so much more!!!
    I also had some fails with that: trying to postpone starting of the dishwasher to late at night when it was cheaper to run it ended up with me waking up to dirty dishes next morning… also I forgot to take out the wet clothes from the machine once because it wasn’t at my habitual time- I ended up having to wash it again!!!
    Hopefully the situation will improve, but we are looking into solar more seriously than before.
    Big hugs to all!

    1. Five dollars for a 5-minute shower is a LOT!

      My grandmother called those “Sponge baths” even though she used a washcloth.

    2. My MIL called that a possible bath…wash down as far as possible, wash up as far as possible, then wash possible. Also, to remember to turn on dishwasher at night, we put a spoon on our pillow after loading the dishwasher.

      1. Mary Anne! Thank you! That’s just such a great idea! I will start using the spoon!
        I love the different names that I learned for the bath. I will use the cowboy bath to teach this to my boys!

    3. Kinga, I am shocked at the price of a hot shower! We usually have 40-degree F temps here all winter, but the last couple of weeks have been in the 60s and high 70s. The “cat washing” you described is what my grandmother calls “cowboy baths”. I frequently forget to take the laundry out of the washing machine and have to rewash it….so now I have to set a timer for an alarm on my phone when the wash will be done!

  48. I bought bows, gift tags, and gift boxes at 50% off this week, enough for a couple of years. Other than that, we have stayed home, not spending any money and not using fuel in the vehicle.
    I’ve decided that my bedtime is now whenever I am feeling cold in the evening. I need the rest to get healthy and I might as well be comfortable and save on the heating bill.
    We pulled out one bin of Christmas decorations and the children were thrilled with what we used. That tells me it’s time to let go of a lot of the other decorations that haven’t been used in at least two years. It will free up some shelf space in the garage, which is never a bad thing.
    We celebrated on Christmas eve because our grandboy had to be returned to his father that evening. Just before we left to return him he hugged my son and said, “You made my Christmas dream come true.” It wasn’t a physical gift; he had wanted to see his mother for his Christmas. My son got her to agree and spend some time with both children, which was such a good thing. We are grateful that his Christmas dream came true.

  49. It has been a balmy post Christmas week here in Piedmont NC, daytime highs in the 60- 70’s. We did several park outings at different parks, and had a bonfire. Our furnace has not been on at all, and matter of fact I slept in my summer nightgown and turned on the ceiling fan. I went to Kohl’s and had a $10 off coupon, they had undergarments at 50% off and got one, and found Burt’s Bee kits 60% off. I bought several for my daughter and DIL, which is a great relief to have a head start for this year. I bought several cornbread mixes and peanut butter today, which is senior day. I then used the fuel points and cents off for the cc and saved .60 gallon. Gas here is $2.99 at the cheapest stations. Next Monday our last family member will leave with his two daughters after a month visit, post deployment. We have a month of quiet before a daughter and her two oldest kids are coming from South America. I hope to work on goals and decluttering before she arrives. I love the wonderful feeling of a fresh start each January. I hope to resume healthier eating habits and resume my normal workout schedule at home, both which save money. I have been able to get out and walk early morning this past week, it sets a good tone for the day.
    Blessings to each of you as we close out a memorable year and start a new one!

  50. Brandy,
    I reread “When Queens Ride By”. I am so grateful that you have posted this story. I need to follow the advice, again.
    Happy New Year!

  51. I just discovered that the wholesale/retail fruit and veg place I discovered last month has a Facebook page with some great prices posted on caselots. Unfortunately they are closed today so we will visit tomorrow. I will now be watching it closely and visiting often and sharing as we are just a 2 person household.
    Brandy if I lived closer to you, you would be finding cases of produce on your front step-lol. I once many years ago found a 40 lb box of bananas on sale dirt cheap and proceeded to anonymously deposit some on friends and family doorsteps. What a lark. All prices are in Canadian dollars.
    40 lbs of bananas-$10
    35 lbs of green peppers-$15
    35 lbs lemons-$5
    20 lbs mandarins-$5
    50 lbs potatoes-$10

  52. not sure how to add a link-but for anyone in the Calgary area you can look at the FB page of Freestone Produce in Ne Calgary.

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