I harvested lemons, pomegranates, green onions, arugula, and parsley from my garden.

I sowed seeds that I had previously collected from my garden for poppies, dill, cilantro, and green onions.

I sowed seeds I had previously purchased for Bells of Ireland, poppies, spinach, and Swiss chard.

Anywhere seeds do not germinate, I am making sure to resow seeds while it is still cool to ensure the most full crop possible. With rising food prices, I don’t want to have to buy anything that I can grow in my garden.

I carefully divided and transplanted seedlings in my garden to places where seeds did not come up.

I took cuttings for 100 plants from the hedges in my front garden to start new plants in my backyard.

A neighbor called me. She and her husband are going on the Keto diet and she had some things in her freezer that wouldn’t work with that. She asked if we would like them. I said sure! We had several meals from what she gave us and there is enough for a couple more meals. There were frozen pizzas, pot pies, orange chicken, chimichangas, and breaded fish. It was nice to have the food and also nice to have the convenience on a couple of busy days.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. What a treat to get food that you normally wouldn’t have bought, your kids must have been very excited! Plus, I’m deeply impressed with what you’re able to grow in an urban yard.

    My daughter works in an expensive grocery store and they’re really good about giving unsold food to their employees. It’s rarely what I would have splurged on, but it’s always a fun addition to our meals. Just yesterday she brought me a pound of bacon and two tubes of biscuits. Last week it was precut watermelon and two huge hunks of ham. She loves surprising me with the treats and it’s a fun game to incorporate everything into proper meals.

    Of course, I also blogged about my frugal endeavors:


  2. Stayed home. Still doing low spend January but the price of food is seriously starting to depress me. I tested positive for Covid this morning, which means I will be quarantined at home for the next five days. That will save in gas going back and forth to work, but cost me 140.00 for my after school tutoring sessions. We are constantly looking for new ways to save money… which is why I read this blog every week!

  3. Making us jealous with more lemon pictures, I see. They are lovely.

    I had what I call an Amy Dacyczyn week. She once said reporters always wanted to see what they bought or where they went to save money but they really did the opposite by staying home, not going out to eat, not going anywhere that cost money, etc. That’s what I did for most of the week. Except for Saturday, I was at home, made my meals with ingredients I already had, did stuff around the house, read and cross-stitched.

    I made strawberry banana smoothies using berries that I froze last spring. Since local strawberries will be ripening around the 3rd week of March, I need to make room for them and use up the ones I still have. I also used several pieces of chicken to make more chicken salad, another chicken bacon tortilla pizza, and several main dishes. I piggybacked on to my sister’s meat order from an organic regenerative farm from which we both buy online to get pork chops (my local pig farmer doesn’t have any right now) and short ribs, saving me the delivery charge on an order under $149.

    I am currently reading Lie to Me by Melinda Leigh, a favorite mystery author, and listening to The Darkness Knows by Arnaldur Indridason, an Icelandic author who is new to me but has other books I’ll be listening to since he has 14 of them avaliable on Scribd. I started two other books and stopped them because they weren’t worth my time or mentioning by title here.

    I organized containers for starting seeds this week and covered my blooming blueberry bushes twice when it went down to 28-30 degrees F (-1 to -2 C). They really shouldn’t be blooming this early.

    My spending day was Saturday when I bought Chinese takeout for my daughter, son-in-law and myself. I got 3 meals out of my order. My daughter then took me grocery shopping (not being able to drive until after my eye surgeries in mid to late February is REALLY annoying) and I bought more than I planned because now that she drives in rush hour traffic, she’s become a really aggressive driver, at least in my opinion. It was worse because she was driving MY car! 🫣🫣🫣 I’ll be seeing my sisters next week so one of them will be able to take me to any stores that I need to visit. We and the car did make it home unharmed at least. I wasn’t always sure we would. 🤣🤣

    As I said, it was a quiet, thrifty week.

      1. Thank you, Pam. I try. A sign in my kitchen says “Remember, if you can’t say something nice, make it funny. “

    1. It has taken me 58 years to get to the point where I will put a book down if it’s not good. But I finally made up my mind that at my current age (64 next week) and the numbers of books I’ve not read, there’s little point in forcing myself to read something that doesn’t appeal in the least.

      1. My birthday is Sunday and I’m turning 69. I don’t remember who said it to me a few months ago – may have been a commenter on this blog – but it’s true, life is too short to waste on a bad or uninteresting book.

        My mother used to read the end of books to see if she was going to like them before she kept reading! When my niece was 6 and starting chapter books (advanced reader), my sister saw her reading the end of a book she had started 30 minutes earlier and asked her if she had really read it that fast. She said no, she just wanted to see how it ended. My brother-in-law sighed and said it must be genetic.

      2. Terri C, I am 64 as well, and it took me that long too! It’s kind of like eating everything on your plate, which I no longer do at this age as well.

      3. I agree, I’ll never be able to read all the books I want to so I decided years ago to give a book 50 pages, if I don’t care for the plot or characters, I pick up another book.

        1. That’s good advice because sometimes books do get better if you give it a chance but I also do like wasting my time of things. I have feel like I have to finish thing. No, I guess I don’t.

      4. Absolutely! I use the Nancy Pearl (librarian super hero) method, under 50 years of age if you’re not into a book let it go. Every year after 50 subtract a page from the not into the book count. If that makes sense!

        Excellent post as always, Brandy.

    2. Mari in SC

      I suggest you have “sex” with your blueberry shrubs. In other words, since it is cold outside
      there probably are no pollinators around. Of course maybe the shrubs are self-pollinators but if not
      you could use a q tip or an old toothbrush to transfer the pollen around. Then you’ll actually get blueberries!

      1. Thank you for the suggestion. I had not thought to see if there were any pollinators around. I’ll check if they are self-pollinating or not since I don’t remember.

        On the other hand, when you say it’s cold out – um, it’s 72F (22.2C) as I type.

  4. This week has been quiet and cold. But, wait! There was one day it went up to 61 F degrees but was drizzling! Hubs still mucked out chicken coop! A friend got two 80 pound bags of chicken feed for our hens as well as some for his flock from an Amish friend. It only cost us $17.50 for an 80 pound bag! That’s like getting 35+ pounds free in each of the 2 bags!! This will get us through the Spring easily.

    I found some deals this past week that I picked up for myself and my “network”! Annie’s Pizza Poppers 3 cheese- 15 count bag for 45 cents. In Meijers, these same bags are $5.09!!! Grandkids love them and Hubs and I tried them and kept some for our own freezer. I got a 5 pound bag of real bacon bits clearanced to $10 at GFS. Since it’s already cooked and there is no waste, I’m excited about having small freezer bags filled to use in salads, sandwiches, lunch wraps,etc!

    I cooked up 5 pounds of ground beef from freezer and packaged it into quart ziplocs for easy to grab meal component! I cored, peeled and chopped 2 wrinkled apples and made another batch of Appledoodle cookies. The cores and peels went into a jar with water and sugar to start the vinegar making process. I strained a previous jar that I started a few weeks ago and the chickens are happily gobbling up the peelings from that jar! They will convert it into eggs and then also chicken poo that will get composted for the garden! So those wrinkled apples have been used to capacity, imo! Lol!

    I made oatmeal butterscotch muffins for breakfast that were quite tasty and didn’t require any ingredients that I lacked! I also used leftover rice that I made for a dinner in rice pudding using a French vanilla pudding mix and raisins from my storage. When I warmed some up in a bowl the next day, Hubs was convinced!! Lol!

    I was able to give a friend with a big family 5 of my five pound bags of AP flour (50 cents each on clearance), 3 two pound bags of brown sugar (same clearance- 50 cents/bag) and a bag of yeast. She was overjoyed and it was gratifying to know that I had enough and to share!

    I have been getting phone photos every week from our son as he puts together a dish of the before cooking and after it’s cooked or baked! He’s so pleased!

    I am currently sewing all 144 quilt blocks together for the king size quilt I’m making for my daughter. I ran out of neutral fabric and substituted some of the triangles in this with a different cream colored fabric. Ran out of the blue also and used leftover cuts sewn together to make some of their triangles and a totally different blue fabric to substitute for a few of them. Hopefully they will blend in well enough, especially after it’s quilted!! https://pin.it/2wMmzFw.

    I just had a new client drop off a King size quilt top to be quilted so that will take priority over the one I am sewing up. That will be nice to build our savings back up.

    I brought up some potatoes from the basement storage that have been there for 2-1/2 months and they are still looking good- firm with no sprouting!

    Lynn- you asked the question last week that I didn’t see until yesterday about how I keep the crushed candy canes from sticking to each other in their jar. Since it’s really cold winter here right now, our humidity is low and I just filled my half gallon mason jar and put a canning lid on it and used my Foodsaver vacuum sealer to suck the air out and seal the jar. I can pick up the jar and shake it and none of the peppermint seems to stick to itself or the jar.

    Nothing terribly exciting here but we are content and have lots of things to keep us busy! It’s hard to believe that January will be over on Wednesday!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  5. Wow, those pictures! But also, what a productively money-saving week!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – made my Banana Nice Cream (http://approachingfood.com/tropical-coconut-banana-nice-cream/) as a treat for my daughter’s (I called it banana ice cream and they were literally cheering with excitement to be getting ice cream. I was happy with the cost and the healthy ingredients!)
    – on several days when either I or my kids were sick, I really wanted to order in food but didn’t. When I was sick, I stuck frozen food in the oven and microwave, and when my kid was sick and I really wanted sushi, I made myself satay-inspired tofu rice bowls. The peanut satay sauce was pb, honey, vinegar, and powdered lime. I used honey instead of the agave called for, vinegar instead of rice vinegar, and powdered true lime instead of lime juice, and it was sooo authentic tasting! Oh and I used rice instead of the noodles called for. Turned out great!
    – used the public library to read lots of ebooks while I was ill.
    – used a free online music class to amuse my toddler when we were both under the weather.
    – used the too good to go app, to buy discounted baked goods from local bakery when I was already in the neighbourhood.
    – combined coupons, pricing matching, cashback, and loyalty points when shopping for groceries. My best deal this week was breaded chicken fingers for 50% off.
    – I made coleslaw dressing out of apple cider vinegar and mayo. Easy and inexpensive.
    – I got the last out of several containers: put water in the shampoo bottle to get the last out, and put the honey bottle in the microwave to melt the last of it and get it all out.
    – I used Brandy’s bean burger recipe
    – redeemed Microsoft rewards for a $5 gc to Starbucks
    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Could you give us more information on the To Good To Go app? What type of baked goods do you get with the app? We live in Los Angeles and they just brought this concept to our area. I’m intrigued.

      1. Julie, I’ve used a few times here in the Bay Area. Once I got a full Mexican meal (meat, beans, rice, tortillas) and another time I got some day-old pastries from a local coffee shop (yum!). I also used it at a local mini-mart and got a bunch of drinks, which I was less thrilled with, since none were ones that we drink. I’ll save them for summer, when I usually put out a basket of cold drinks for the mail/delivery people.

      2. Similar to the flashfood app, it’s a way to get discounted food (ex. closer to expiring than stores wish to sell, or small bits that aren’t enough to set out to sell but still good) while also preventing food waste. However, with the flashfood app, you know what you’re buying, and you buy it item by discounted item (ex. a mixed produce box or milk or meat or such) whereas with the too good to go app, you essentially buy a super-discounted surprise bag.

        I’ve had a lot of good experiences with the flash food app (including quick refunds if I feel the produce is too far gone) but I think the too good to go app is still working out some kinks. For instance, one reserves a day in advance a surprise bag of whatever will be leftover the next day. So, a bakery is just guessing that they will have leftover food the next day, but they may actually end up selling everything, meaning that you can’t buy any surplus food and will get your cost refunded. This has happened several times to me, and while you don’t get your card charged, I personally find it annoying as I buy a surprise bag on the app from a store if I know i’m going to be in the area the next day, and it throws me off to have it cancelled, even though it would be cancelled many hours in advance. I mean, of course the bakery wants to sell their products at full price to consumers, and I support that. But i think it would be a better model to list a surprise bag for sale a few hours in advance, when there is a better idea of whether there will be items to sell, than to list a surprise bag for sale automatically a day in advance and then cancel, almost. every. day. I’m not sure if I’m explaining my issue correctly, but it’s very annoying to be purchase and be refunded numerous days in a row. That said, some stores will always have items and rarely do refunds, such as pizza stores or mom and pop fruit stands. I think I may just have hit an issue with a local bakery who apparently is very good with guessing how much will sell (the goal of any food business), and just trying to have backup in case they rarely miscalculate. Again, I think the app is working out the kinks in the business model, and hopefully will provide stores with better guidelines in the future. Having said all that…I think it’s a wonderful way to get discounted groceries or restaurant meals.

        One other difference between the two apps, is that with the flashfood app, you can pick up your purchases at any time during store hours, whereas with the too good to go app, there are usually set hours, and different with each store. For example, a pizza place may say pick up your surprise bag between 10 and 11 pm that night, whereas a bakery may say, pick up between 11 and 1 the next day.

        I definitely think it’s worth looking into, if either app is available in your area! In my area, for the TGTG app, everything from the local doughnut shop to the pizza chain store to the mom and pop fruit stand to the restaurant down the street is starting to use it.

  6. I shopped at the discount fruit and veggie store.
    Cantaloupe $1.00
    Cauliflower $2.00
    Pears $2.00 for 3 lbs
    Tomatoes .99 lb
    Yams .68 lb
    cabbage .58 lb
    Today while out I popped into a new to me thrift store. Bought 2 shirts for $6.00.

  7. I have been cleaning out things to move and have been eating lots of little things that aren’t enough for a whole meal, so crazy combinations. My wedding plans are going strong. We have been going through our things and giving away our extras. West Tennessee is forecasted an ice storm tomorrow and the rest of the week. On a good note my buttercups are up and blooming.

  8. Forgot to mention that DH applied for a new credit card. Comes with $250 statement credit and 60,000 United miles if we make a minimum spend in the first 3 months. As well a couple of united louuge passes and there are a couple of trips coming up in the next few months.
    He also just applied for one in Canada that has $450 bonus Westjet dollars plus a reduced cojmpanion tickets. All of this will help restock our travel $ bank!

  9. Brandy, I’m so happy you were gifted the food and that your neighbor thought to share what they couldn’t use! Community is such a blessing ❤️

    My frugal accomplishments:
    *scored a large bag of birdseed at a great price at Farm & Home (50 lb for $14.99)
    *used a link from moneysavingmom for 6 18oz jars of Smucker’s cherry preserves for $14.67 shipped subscribe and save. I review these often and will cancel after this first order ships.
    *usually use wool dryer balls but with 3 cats we have lots of hair and static so bought some highly recommended pet dryer sheets using a coupon. The sheets are huge so I cut them into 4 pieces per sheet.
    📍Grocery Store: picked up 2 12 count packages of flour tortillas, turkey hotdogs, can cherry pie filling, cake mix and frosting (upcoming birthday) at the Dollar Tree

    Take care everyone ☀️

  10. I wish my citrus looked as good as your picture.

    This has been a very quiet week except for hubby’s hospital appointments, both check ups. I have not done any shopping except for bread and a new mouse I couldn’t turn the old one on the switch has broken. I have now put in a delivery order in to Asda as road works are cutting us off from Aldi until December. Whole Chicken has gone up from £3.25 to £5 since November every thing else is going up pennies each time I buy them.

    We are eating out of the freezer to make room for the grocery delivery . We are still eating our own potatoes, beetroot ,parsnips and carrots but I am now having to buy more veg to get us through the hungry gap. I made a rice pudding with excess milk which lasted us 2 meals. I am planning the planting for this year and have sown my peppers and tomatoes which will live on the bedroom window ledge until I can plant them in the greenhouse. When we get a sunny day I will start to clean out the greenhouse ready for the seeds and plants. It is lovely down there when the sun shines. My citrus are not copping well with being in the house, roll on April when they can go out.

    The sun has come out today and I have washing on the line. I will iron the shirts etc to air them and put anything that is damp on the airer over night. This makes me realise summer is on its way. I have just finished an order for five pairs of men’s socks, I haven’t decided what to knit next,but a library book is calling to be read so it can wait a couple of days.

    Have a good week everyone

  11. That was nice of your neighbor, Brandy. I always enjoy getting free food, too.

    I returned library books on time.

    I wore some cute heels that I’ve had for a few years to church . I bought them second hand, and they are still nice looking.

    I watched “The King’s Speech” for free on Roku on my TV.

    I saved some food that was starting to get older. I really avoid food waste.

    I’m waiting, as advised by local horticulturists, to trim off dead and cold damaged foliage in my yard. It looks bad, but they say it is important to leave it on for now. I know there will probably be at least one more cold snap, so I will do what I can to help the plants.

    I’m really trying to streamline my errands as gas goes back up around here. I plot my routes carefully and try to do them all at once when I can.

    My sister is going to show me how to use stuff from the Dollar Tree to make inexpensive and neat organizers for my craft supplies, and will be giving me one that she made for me when she comes to visit.

    I bought clearance lip balms in fun candy flavors, leftover from Christmas, but not near to being expired. They will be part of my gifts to grandkids either for Valentine’s Day or Easter.

    I used my husband’s military discount to purchase some needed supplies at Lowe’s.

    I usually batch cook when I use the oven these days. I turned off the house’s heat since we’ve warmed up some for a few days. I made another gallon of iced tea and another batch of kombucha. I’m doing some very minor repairs around the house for myself, rather than hire the work out. Keep saving, friends.

  12. I am so happy to read about all the outside time you’re getting. February is a hard month for most to get through, and studies show being outside is a great benefit during that time. (yes, I know it is still January, but close enough :))
    Saved a lovely wooden framed mirror from the neighbor’s trash. It had a small amount of wood missing from the oval frame. I used air dry (Crayola) clay to mend the spot and filed that down with a nail file. You can’t tell where the repair was. It would have been faster to buy spray paint, but I used craft paint (that I had) and after several days with several coats, it is now hanging in my foyer.
    Took a terry cloth robe belt from a robe no longer in use and cut/stitched ends to make reusable makeup remover pads.
    I will have a “fortress of solitude” (house to myself) for a few days. I made a list of free movies to watch, spent a little on fun foods to make at home, and made a list of free projects I can do. It will be a mini joyous vacation for me. These were a lot of things I have been wanting to see/do for a while – hence the list.
    Getting more comfortable saying no to outings that didn’t really have my interest and cost money. It is a bit liberating to say no.
    Cleaning out and refreshing the house and decorating anew with things I had stored away.
    Hope everyone has a calm and productive week.

    1. Such kind and generous neighbors, Brandy. Getting to know neighbors well enough to help and be helped leads to a full, fun and frugal life.

      We had broccoli cheddar soup and salads for meatless Monday. The salads used bits of this and that to avoid food waste.

      I used a Kwik Trip gift card to purchase fuel, milk, bread and bananas.

      Brought lunch to work x3.

      Brought home plastic bags from work (which otherwise would have been thrown away) to use as trash liners at home.

      Batched errands after work-was able to return items within the allowed time frame for a refund and saved gas and mileage on my vehicle.

      Followed my pantry challenge plan based off the inventory and meal list prepared earlier this month.

      Old friends were in our area from out of state for their daughter’s volleyball tournament. We met them in their hotel’s beautiful lobby and had a lovely visit at no cost.

      Spent the majority of weekend at home preparing for a routine medical screening, enjoyed watching Three Pines on Amazon Prime, Still Alice on Netflix, and listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin on Apple Podcasts.

    2. I love the “fortress of solitude” idea! 😁

      And I love, love the lemon photos!

      This week has been quiet for me. We had no school like many last Wednesday. Been carpooling whenever I can.

      Lots of leftovers/ homemade meals. I’m trying to brainstorm a list of pantry-friendly fast weekend night recipes. With my husband in school now 2 nights a week, we can be more creative with some dinner ideas. We did have a date lunch and ordered Chinese one day to have intentional time together.

      Did some more winter sowing. This time I got smart and wrote down what I planted. 🤦‍♀️

      My husband talked to his doctor about disability paperwork.

      Contacting Dexcom about my glucose sensor that died <12 hours in. It's supposed to work for 10 days.

      Got coffee grounds for the garden from a local coffee shop. Also added some wood ash from my fire pit.

      Started a remote volunteer opportunity.

      Have a great week!

      1. Ouch, Robbie! I hope Dexcom zips you a new sensor fast and for free. Those things are way too expensive to fail like that.

    3. J, I nominate you for the Most Clever Re-Use of an Item award!!! Turning a robe belt into make up cleaning pads is just brilliant. Most of the work is done for you. Bravo, really!

    4. Love your idea of “a fortress of solitude”. That describes how I feel about my little piece of Heaven. Lovely.

  13. I bought groceries and cat food this week. I didn’t see much in the flyer, so I focused on getting some meat, vegetables and a few pantry staples. The only real saving was that I was able to use $20 in free gift cards from loyalty points on a $77 order. My grocery store has been giving 1000 extra points on each purchase of minimum $25 as it gets us used to the new loyalty point plan. This has added up as I do a weekly shop, along with the points I transferred over from the previous points card. (It takes 6000 points to get a $10 gift card.) It is switching now to 250 points for a $25 purchase, and 1000 points for a $50 purchase, so they are weaning us off the special points offer. My typical purchase is $50 to $60 a week, so I may get another card or two before this promotion ends.

    The weather was supposed to turn cold this week and stay that way well into February, but we only had a couple of cold days on the weekend, and have a couple more in the forecast this week, and then back to our mild winter for at least another 10 days. It makes it much less difficult to get supplies in. I can alternate days I walk and days I don’t, which makes it much easier for me to stay mobile.

    I have been changing my routine for how I make blueberry pancakes, which is a small breakthrough after a lifetime of doing the same thing. I always make a full batch of pancakes, even for a one person household, and then freeze or refrigerate the leftovers for later. I don’t have a very big skillet, though, and no griddle, so I have to wait three times for pancakes to cook. I often can’t be bothered, and end up making something else. It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago just to put the remaining batter in the fridge and it would be ready the next day to make the rest of the pancakes. Somehow the division of labor between the day I mix the batter and the day I cook the extra pancakes was enough to motivate “morning me” even when I’m hungry and haven’t had coffee yet. However, this morning, I hit another wall when even that was too much. I looked up sheet pancakes, which it turned out use a normal pancake batter, so I just put the leftover pancake batter in a small square cake tin, and put it in the oven. I had never made sheet pancakes because I had heard that they were sort of dry. They were great, though. I do put some extra liquid in the batter because I found the regular pancakes don’t pour well if I don’t, and I do tend to undercook things a little to off-set an oven that is a little too high, so that may make a difference. Also, I am mixing into the batter great big juicy blueberries frozen last summer. They would be adding more moisture that plain pancakes would have, or some other add-in like chocolate chips. In any case, I am going to skip the whole skillet version of pancakes. So, I guess I have saved myself the cost of a griddle. I priced them locally and they were $29.95.

    I am sure most of you here are mystified (although I’m sure not in a judgey way) by my being discouraged by “how much work it is” to make pancake batter and cook multiple batches of pancakes all in a row, but I have learned long ago to problem solve to keep myself going while doing things that discourage me. That way I can have pancakes and other small successes more often. My mother was a great cook and very energetic person, but she avoided cooking anything she considered “fiddly.” That’s how I learned to make cookies, because she did not make them. As long as I am not hungry and have access to a cup of coffee, I can do fiddly! When I was a kid, it also helped to have the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook.

    I hope you all are coping well with your personal challenges, large or small.

    1. I normally male a quadruple batch of pancakes for my family. The sheet pan pancakes really speed up the time to cook and allow me to do other chores, which I like. I appreciate you mentioning them; I should make some this week!

    2. Liked reading your thought process in making pancakes. Sometimes it takes a while to find a way to do things that work for me. Like you, I try and stay open to new ways of doing things.

    3. Re pancakes, I make a double batch in a blender (literally dump and blend), then cook on a griddle (8 at a time), then freeze. I can make, eat, and clean up all within 30 minutes! If I fry them individually, it definitely takes longer and ain’t nobody got time for that (at least I don’t). So I borrow my mum’s griddle occasionally and put a few batches in the freezer!

  14. Hello!

    I started impatiens (seeds on hand), parsley, and lettuce. I plan to start tomatoes soon. I have a few tomato plants inside. I hand pollinated them, and they have fruit, but have been slow to ripen. I probably won’t try that experiment again. I ordered some Armenian cucumber seeds and also a Japanese variety from Baker Creek. I gave up on trying to grow cucumbers, but after hearing Brandy and others mention the Armenian, I’ve decided I will give them a shot. We eat a lot of cucumbers and they are getting so expensive at the store.

    I received a wonderful Crayola prize kit from a sweepstakes that I had forgotten about. It was a nice surprise for my children.

    I found clearance eggs last week for $2. One egg was missing from the dozen.

    I cashed out $25 from the Upside app, and earned some awards from Rakuten, Ibotta, and Fetch. Fetch has been offering a game that gives you a chance to spin for bonus points when you upload a printed receipt.

    Have a great week!

  15. Did not post last week, so this is for two weeks.
    This time of year, I really crave salads for lunch. I have been able to get $4.00 off produce coupons from Safeway, using rewards points, so have been buying veggies, and making chef salad to take to work for lunch. I got 3 English cucumbers, a head of romaine and a head of green leaf lettuce for a total of 98¢. I was able to buy a 2 1/2-pound small boneless half ham for $2.99 per pound. Much cheaper than lunch meat, so have been cutting that up to put in my salads. Also putting some avocado and a small amount of cheese on the salad. I worked 6 days in the last two weeks. Brought lunch all but one, when I met my son, DIL, granddaughter, and DH for lunch. It was lovely. The GD is now 6 weeks old.
    I made bread once during this past two weeks.
    Got an oil change in my car. We have free oil changes for as long as we own the car. We keep cars a minimum of 10 years, so purchasing this when we buy a car is worth it to us. They also wash the car every time I get the oil changed.
    On Saturday, Winco had their spiral hams for 98¢ per pound again. Since I had used one, I picked up another one to replace it. Got BSCB for $1.78 per pound at a local store. Got 10 pounds. Had a $5.00 off $25.00 purchase coupon for our local nursery. They have the best popcorn. Got a 5-pound bag and enough seeds to add up to the $25.00. Used some of the popcorn in my air popper for a snack. It popped up so light and fluffy.
    Got some seeds at the Dollar Tree. they are still 4 for $1.00. Got swiss chard, some herbs and some leaf lettuce.
    Made spaghetti sauce. Used some of my homemade tomato basil sauce that I made in September using tomatoes and basil from our garden. It was delicious.
    I am coming into my busy time at work, and will be working 4 to 5 days a week, from now till the end of May. Then taking most of the summer off.
    Hope everyone has a good week.
    I wanted to try out my new Medicare Advantage OTC benefit. In the past, I had to do mail order, now we can go to either Walgreen’s or Wal-Mart. I bought a little over $23 of products, and it was $0 out of pocket. My DH and I each have $50 per quarter to use.

    1. I only get 25.00 every quarter; i don’t know why. (I was not a high earner.)But, isn’t it nice for the help?

      1. If you are receiving OTC benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan, it depends on the plan and probably not on how much you paid into Medicare. The plan I had last year paid $175 per quarter; this year’s plan, still United Healthcare, is $40. My husband’s Blue Cross plan is and was $40. But my daughter’s Special Needs Blue Cross plan went up from $40 per quarter to $365 year this year AND they issued her a debit card to use at local pharmacies. United Healthcare provides me with a similar debit card, but my husband’s BC plan is still mail order only and very overpriced.

  16. It sounds as if you’re going to have a very productive garden this year!
    I baked two loaves of sourdough bread and made a big batch of granola, and a batch of homemade yogurt. *I also made a week’s worth of salad lunches and boxed them up to make it easier for me to eat a healthy lunch each day. * I finished the sweater I was knitting from recycled yarn and it turned out great – it may be my new favorite. * The beef we ordered included a bag of suet. I melted this down and mixed it with birdseed to put out for the birds and they are loving it. *I got my hair cut, using the discount card I purchased at Christmas, saving me $5 per haircut. *My husband made a boot jack from scrap wood to make it easier to remove his winter boots. He did this after looking at one in the store that cost $15. *I made two skirts using fabric in my stash. I wanted more skirts to wear this summer instead of shorts or pants. *At the humane society thrift store I picked up two calendars for 50 cents each (I like having a calendar in my office and in the kitchen and didn’t yet have any for 2023. * I also purchased a new package of 1-inch elastic for $1.50 and a big bag full of various kinds of lace for $1.75. And I dropped off a bag full of clothing from my closet – items I haven’t worn in the last couple of years or that I don’t really enjoy wearing.

  17. I had 3 vacation days booked for last week with a few lunch and coffee dates arranged – but – a big Winter storm blew in and all those had to be cancelled. It was different than planned but in the end – it was a good thing – I needed the rest after a couple of very busy months at the office, plus I still have all my spending money! Instead of going out, I tidied a few things at home, did some batch cooking, watched Prime and read my library books!

    We were paid on the 25th so I got up early, took my bundle buggy and hit the ATM, the library, the grocery store and the drugstore – and then got home just as the snow started. I bought some dairy, fruit & veg for use now and a lot of things for the pantry before prices go up again on Feb. 1st. I managed to accumulate nearly $30 in Loyalty points by shopping my offers and combining the individual ones with a bonus one for the total amount purchased that week. I’m going to use any Loyalty points for stockpiling when I see something at a good price. I also topped up my transit pass but only used it 3 times last week – all the Wed. errands were done in less than 2 hours so only 1 fare was used.

    My raise came through on this pay and it was bigger than I’d anticipated so that is a nice way to start the NY – also, my two Govt. Pensions both went up nearly 7% due to Cost of Living so I am putting some towards debt and some to my big ticket item savings. Friends have started talking about maybe booking an overseas trip this year but I’ve told them that I won’t be looking to do that until next year. I might do a night or two away in the province but funds are already earmarked for other purchases this year and now a niece is getting married in July so I will need to put money aside for that so any major travel will have to wait – just can’t do everything and I’m not willing to put it on a CC.

    All meals were prepared at home – including vegetarian burritos, carrot & pumpkin soup, HM fish & chips and leftover turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce from the freezer. Shared the soup and burritos with the friend who lives downstairs – they were a bit messy but tasted great!

    I did have to give in and spend money in the laundry room but only used the dryer for the sheets – all clothes were hung up to dry on my two racks (a clothes horse as my mom called them).

    Staying at home and out of the shops is the best way I know to hang on to my money! Other than having a neighbour who is giving away food – that was a great kindness for your family Brandy, especially when you were so busy in the garden last week!

    Hope that big snowstorm didn’t cause too many issues for people – now it’s the cold that will hit by the end of the week – Friday is to be -14C and that’s without factoring in the wind. I’m planning on working from home on Friday so hope to avoid it!

    1. It’s cold here, in the U.P. Single digits overnight and morning. Negative numbers with the windchill. It seems to be seeping into my bones more this year. Even our older dog was shivering just to potty in the yard this afternoon. We have a daughter in Fl., but that just seems too extreme in the other direction. No pleasing me, i guess. 🤗
      Yay, you, on the raise and COL!!

  18. I was gobsmacked last week to learn that my husband must go on two separate diets simultaneously, starting now. He is on a 6 food elimination diet that doesn’t allow dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, nuts and seafood. This will last 6 weeks to 4.5 months, depending on how it plays out. The last three categories won’t be a problem, but dairy, eggs and wheat are killers. He can drink oat milk for $5 quart and corn and rice are the only grains. I’m going to try making my own oat milk. On top of this, a different doc put him on a super low potassium diet, so I am having to juggle both. I am trying to use as many whole foods as possible because I think it will be easier and I’m sure it will be cheaper.

    I made two meatloaves for the freezer. This was before my husband saw the doctor(s). We won’t be eating meatloaf anytime soon because they contain eggs and breadcrumbs.

    Make do and mend–I made 3 decks of pinochle cards using 6 decks of casino reject cards I was given. I bought a Crock Pot lid for .99 and used the handle to replace the one that broke on my CP.

    Best wishes to everyone here. Brandy, I’m so jealous that you are gardening. It was 6F here this morning.

    1. My daughter says the windchill factor makes it -19°F where she is. Schools are canceled, but people still have to go to work.

      1. If she is still in eastern Idaho, I believe it! My son lives there, too, right on the Wyoming line. Baby, it’s cold outside.

        Also, in my post, I neglected to say he can eat gluten-free oats, although saying he could drink oat milk implies it. He has been eating oatmeal, fruit and oat milk for breakfast with some type of meat. Gluten-free oats in bulk are $1.99 lb. at Winco, $3.98 at the health food store and small round packages of Quaker gluten-free oats (18 ounces?) are over $5 at Safeway.

        1. So y’all are saying when our highs drop down into the 50ies and I have to close the windows that I shouldn’t complain? Got it.

          Weather was a major factor when I moved south. I honestly don’t know how anyone can stand those temperatures but to each their own.

          1. LOL. We consider that a freezing cold day here too!

            My daughter has gotten so used to the cold where she is now that she said that I was dressed warmer to work outside here in the garden than she dresses for a blizzard! But I was cold! So I was happy to be dressed warmly.

        2. Maxine, in case you’d like another option, if Winco isn’t close by, or you’d like the GF oats delivered, Vitacost has them for 2#/$5.49. Not quite as cheap as Winco, but they are always running sales. Once you’re in their system, they’ll send coupon codes on a regular basis, anywhere from 12% to 20% off. Earlier this week, they had a 15% off food code. Thought it worth a mention.

        1. Julie T, I know I have commented before about your low temps, but it never ceases to amaze me-“business as usual” in such frigid weather. It was 19 degrees here for several days before Christmas and it was SO cold to us, and that was ABOVE freezing and not below. But then again, I’ve heard there’s no such thing as bad weather, just not the right clothing! We’re hard pressed to find anything here that’s made for really cold weather since it is so unusual.

          1. I’m born and raised and still living in Minnesota and it always tickles me how we acclimate. Summers are hot and humid and the first 40 degree day in the fall, everyone is bundled up, but if it gets above 25 in March, the locals are all outside in shorts and t-shirts! “Business as usual” is also because we have all the plows, equipment, sand, salt and experience to deal with extreme cold and snow. I always feel bad when our type of weather unexpectedly hits the South. It’s not a wonder why things have to shut down to keep everyone safe. I love this country and how we have so many types of climates. It is so interesting!

          2. Lynn – I learned the “no bad weather, only bad clothing” maxim from my Norwegian grandmother. So true! Though I am a Southern girl, I am a mountain Southern girl so we are used to freezing rain, snow and temps in the single digits. Thank goodness we don’t all like the same environments. 🙂

    2. Maxine,
      I don’t use wheat at all, but taking eggs and dairy out would be super hard. There are other grains that are gluten-free. Buckwheat, quinoa, gf oats, rice, corn, millet, sorghum, and more. Of course, I don’t know his personal restrictions and don’t know anything about the potassium restriction. Bob’s Red Mill has a lot of products that are gluten-free, and they have a website you could look at for recipes, as well. There’s a way to replace eggs with flaxseed in some recipes. There’s a magazine, “Gluten-Free and More” (use to be “Eating Without”) and you could google their website and see what recipes they have. I have a friend who has not been able to eat many of those items for as long as I can remember, and she’s found a lot of work arounds over the years. Good luck! It is daunting, time -consuming and brain-taxing, to be sure, but you can do it:)

    3. Maxine, I went on an elimination diet such as that before. I used flaxseed and a T. of water to replace eggs. I made my own oatmilk as well in a vita mixer. Adding a little vanilla and sweetener made a huge difference. I have a nutrimill grinder. I am not sure you do or if anyone you knows does. I ground sorghum, rice, oat groats and they all made great baking flours. It was super cheap and fresh. Maybe there is a cheap one at the GW or Ebay. Finally, Ghee was an excellent replacement for butter. I know it is not completely dairy free but it is extremely low in lactose. Also, for a treat, cocoa butte in chocolate is dairy free. That was great for me to learn that because I needed treats.

    4. Maxine, I hope these few ideas will help. I have celiac (gluten-free), allergic to dairy and recently started the auto-immune paleo diet that eliminates eggs. There is an excellent YouTuber–Thriving on Paleo. She has lots of ideas and uses normal kinds of ingredients. Also, we make homemade coconut milk. Soak 2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes in 6 c. hot water. Let sit for a few hours. Blend. Strain through a nut bag. I think this is the least expensive milk that we’ve made (and I’ve tried lots of things). Instead of bread, I bake a lot of sweet potatoes. I also started baking very ripe plantains. They are good mashed with a fork with added coconut oil and cinnamon. (or add coconut milk). These are very filling and help take the place of bread. I make homemade broth with bones and make lots of soups. I do a lot of roasted veggies (or sheet pan meals w/meat). The easiest are roasted frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Take frozen veggies out of freezer toss in avacado oil and place on an oiled pan. I also roast quartered onions, carrot chunks, chunked sweet potatoes. You can also roast kale by adding it the last 10 minutes. You can also add meats to make sheet pan meals. You can also check out Auto-immune paleo or AIP websites. I stay away from the exotic foods and use lots of veggies. I try to eat 9 cups of veggies every day. Three cups with breakfast, lunch and dinner. That really helps with my autoimmune stuff. I also do green smoothies. For 2 people, I blend 1/4 to 1/2 c. water, 1/2 cuke, 2 stalks celery, 2 carrot, 1/2 apple, 4 c. spinach, 1 lemon w/ peel, 1 inch gingeroot and either frozen avacado chunks or 1 T. coconut oil. Many of these things I have frozen from the summer garden or purchased on sale and then combined. This week I’m going to make freezer packs with everything chunked and ready to go. It’s a lot cheaper in the summer with gardens. In the winter, I use stuff that I froze. We were going out of town and I had some spring mix in the fridge. I stuffed it in the freezer and I’ve been mixing that with the spinach in the smoothies. This week the grocery store had avacados for 50 cents each. I bought a bunch. When they are ripe, I put them in the food processor and add a little lemon juice. I then freeze them in small silicone molds and store in ziplock. I can throw them in smoothies, etc. I have some other avacado things that I’m going to experiment with freezing. The store also had plantains for 50 cents each. I bought the small box that they had left and I’m experimenting with ways to cook and freeze them. I look for sales and in the summer I use my garden and my sisters’ gardens. I freeze, freeze dry, dry or can any extras. I also scrounge extra fruit from my neighborhood and freeze, freeze dry, etc. It is a lot of work, but it is the only reason that I’m functional. Also, my husband has to take lots of medications, etc. for his heart issues. I treat my issues with food and I suspect my costs are less. I would stay away from lots of gluten-free products–most of the ingredients are really poor and they are expensive. I hope that his health improves. Food has saved my life.

    5. Maxine, look online for Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diets – there are a number of sites now, and good cookbooks. The AIP diet eliminates even more than your husband’s diet, but the authors come up with some surprisingly good recipes to give you some ideas and help. For eggs, try “gelatin eggs” and coconut milk is a good substitute for dairy when cooking. Since AIP eliminates ALL grains, including oats, rice and corn, the AIP authors have found ways to use cassava, coconut, arrowroot and tapioca flours to bake, coat and thicken foods. For fats, coconut oil, lard, tallow, olive and avocado oil work pretty well in the place of butter. Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor to dishes. You can do this!

    6. I have to be on a similar (but slightly less restrictive) diet. I have found ethnic recipes and soups to be really helpful. I can do stir fry or taco bowls easily. Soups are easy to do without grains and dairy. I did find that my breakfast had to change, so I now lean on smoothies for weekdays and usually bake off a lot of roasted veggies on the weekends. If I want something other than smoothies for breakfast, then I reheat some roasted veggies and serve it with breakfast meat. I try to stick to seasonal veggies, and often use up veggies that are in the bottom of the drawer. Root veggies are usually pretty cheap, and roasted cabbage is delicious.

      I hope your husband finds some healing on his elimination diet, and that you’re able to find recipes that suit your whole family. It’s much easier to do a restrictive diet when you don’t constantly feel like you’re missing out, but the whole family eats the same thing.

    7. Maxine, my mother made meatloaf with oats instead of breadcrumbs or crackers, so I have always made it that way. When we discovered my son was allergic to eggs, I made meatloaf without them. I use tomato sauce mixed in and it works well and is delicious! Hope this allows you to eat meatloaf😊

      1. I’ve used oats in the past in meatloaves. I would have used them in the two I made last week, but I didn’t find out about the diet until the day after I made them! Just my luck! I have a feeling that wheat is not his problem, in fact I will be surprised if he has any allergies because he has no other symptoms. The doc wants to rule them out before putting him on GERD meds. I have high hopes that I’ll be eating those meatloaves in the next few months!

        Thanks to all for your helpful comments. You guys are the BEST–all of you!

        1. My husband find that coffee really makes his heartburn worse (particularly when he is stressed). When he cuts it out he feels much better.

  19. Brandy, free food is always good!!

    -I was given about 6# of carrots leftover from a church meal. They were whole carrots and needed to be peeled. I took them, peeled them, chunked them up, and canned 5 pints. It’s amazing that if there is work involved no one seems to want it. They work great mashed up in sauces or thrown in with a roast.
    -I used 19 jars for a grand total of 59 jars of home canned food this month. My goal was 40, so yeah! I have set the same goal for next month, 40 jars.
    -$ 11.96 was spent on groceries for the week. I got 4# of butter at $2.99. There was a limit of 2. I sent hubby through for 2 and I got 2. That brings my total to $60 for the month. A bit over my $50 but not bad. But most importantly we used up food in the freezer that needed using up. That’s why I love these pantry challenges, I am using up what I have frozen but if I was not making the concerted effort to do this it might have gotten thrown out this summer/fall when I clean and rearrange for the new meat and produce and that would be such a waste!! To me, a pantry challenge is not eating all my stored food, but using up things that need to be used up and not wasted. Things that have been in my freezer and on my shelves for the last year or two. And sometimes it requires creative thinking to use something up.
    -I made some orange muffins using a jar of rhubarb orange marmalade we don’t really care for. But the muffins are good! I also used a jar of applesauce and made a loaf of applesauce quick bread. I shared some with my MIL and also my hubby’s brother and SIL. I cooked both of these in the oven at the same time.
    -I canned 5 quarts of Zuppa Toscana soup. I layer in cooked Italian sausage, chopped onion, chopped kale, and cubed potatoes to about three quarters full in a jar. Fill with chicken broth, add 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t dried oregano and pressure can. When I open a jar and heat it up I then add the half and half. Quick and easy meal!
    -I made home made egg noodles for chicken noodle soup. So much better than store bought.
    -I did some thrift store shopping. I was looking for a couple of specific items. I didn’t find them but I will keep looking. I did find a 2 yard piece of a plaid flannel. I will use this in making receiving blankets for baby gifts. I also got a linen white design on white small tablecloth (had a small stain in the corner). I will use this to make a couple of table runners. And I bought 4 Christmas cross stitched wall hangings of elves. They were in a plastic type of embroidery hoop with lace glued around them. They were marked half off at $1.50 each. I will remove the designs from the hoops and work them into the table runners with some additional Christmas fabric and they will be Christmas gifts for next year. Total was $8 and this will make 2 runners.
    -JoAnn Fabrics had all their remnants marked 80% off the mark down price. I got several cotton pieces of almost a yard for about $1 each. Great for small projects.

    Have a great week!

    1. JulieT, free food is definitely good, especially this day and age. That’s great that you could “rescue” and use the carrots. They used to be .50# here, but now, even in amounts greater than a pound, they are .99#.

      Good for you in using up your canned goods. Maybe one of these days I’ll graduate from water bath canning to pressure canning. I’m continuing on in my pantry challenge as well, though not as strictly as in January.

  20. I almost greeted everyone from *the North Pole*, but it occurred to me that it was far colder north of here!

    It’s cold. We haven’t seen it above 20° in nearly 3 days. It was a beautiful day on Saturday. We went to pick up a few things before the cold and we were comfy in long sleeves. A couple of hours later? I heard the shift of change that LIW speaks of in The Long Winter!

    So, a loaf of sourdough bread is now $5.99. I’ve been kvetching since I saw it. My friend in L.A said that was normal for them.
    Really? I’ll learn how to make it. I make wheat bread regularly. But I can’t help but wonder how long this is sustainable before imploding. I just read an article about how many are now using credit cards to make ends meet. This isn’t good at all. Sorry, I know we’re an uplifting bunch, but that moment of seeing a $2 increase really shook me up.

    My gas bill, in other “good” news hahaha, was a bit higher than last year, despite using about 20% less. It affected my level pay by $5. Could be better, but could’ve been worse.

    I can’t think of anything but the garden variety savings that are now second nature! I almost wish I had cable so I could cancel it to save some money!!

    In my reading:
    On my nightstand – The Long Winter by LI Wilder.
    In my craft room CD player – Christmas at the Amish Market by Shelley Shepard Gray.
    With my Bible study – A short study on the history of Matthew’s gospel.
    By my reading chair – Executive Power by Vince Flynn.

    Brandy, your lemons are so cheerful! Please post a picture of the Bells of Ireland when they bloom? They’re one of my favorites!

    1. They’re blooming now! I sowed more though! I should go cut some right now before it freezes tonight!

    2. Debbie, I agree that it’s scary to read how many people are reportedly using credit cards to make ends meet. This can’t end well.

      Also, have you noticed how many Amish romance books there are now? I don’t know if it’s a desire for a simpler life or romances without sexual overtones/innuendos/explicit descriptions but I do like the gentleness of these stories on occasion. I’ll have to look into the ones you are reading.

      1. Mari, I love reading about the simple, every day living. They’re usually a romance, but not always. I’m not a romance reader so I sometimes eyeroll a little lol, but they’re a modern Little House for me. I’ve been intrigued by Amish living since my first exposure in 4th grade. I subscribe to Amish America now. I don’t fantasize it’s an easy life or wish it or anything, but I can’t deny reading about the good parts is relaxing to my brain. If they dwelled more on outhouses or butchering, I’d have to read something else lolol!! I’m a wimp.

        1. Rather in a different direction: The Kate Burkholder mysteries by Linda Castillo provide examples of the clashes between Amish and non-Amish life, as well as disagreements between the more and less conservative Amish. The main character is a police chief in a rural county in Ohio who has left the Amish life she grew up in. The stories are unique, very well-plotted and well-written with good plot twists and interesting, thoughtful characters. The effects of the violence of a murder on a community are clear. Not cozy mysteries, but not bloody just to be bloody. Can be read out of order, though reading in order would fill in some relationships.

  21. Those lemons make me long for warm weather(as I sit at home, with it 18 degrees outside, school/work canceled today and for tomorrow already because we are supposed to get more ice 😭)

    We were off last Wednesday because of weather. I didn’t move far fron the recliner, knocking out several movies I had been meaning to watch. (Pretty much doing the same today, I’m still in my pjs)

    Hubby didn’t work much last week either, so I had less laundry

    I ended up with a sinus infection and had everything I needed to deal with it..theraflu, zinc, Vicks, Mucinex

    Hubby used $70 menards in rebates toward work materials he needed.

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work

    1. Check out my Instagram stories today! We have fresh snow on the mountains and it will freeze in a few hours here! The next couple of days are going to be cold!

      1. Brandy, having visited Vegas and the Red Rocks in March, it was interesting to see them in snow! Thanks for sharing in your stories. Hoping that every bit of rain and snow y’all are receiving will positively impact Lake Mead.

  22. What a blessing to get that convenience food. I’m glad your neighbor thought of you!

    This past week was filled with cooking and cleaning. I have been working on cleaning and organizing my food stores and worked through several “targeted” items that needed to be used. I even canned 10 pints of applesauce. We have been gifted several boxes of apples over the past few months and we are not going to be able to eat them all fresh. I don’t normally can during the winter, but it seemed like a good idea this year.

    We made dinner for 25 for the church college/young adult group. We usually take gluten-free food for 5-6, but this week, they needed food for all. I used up some more of my pantry items, Rob barbequed chicken I got on a good sale last week and we fed them for very little outgoing money. Win-win! Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    We also used a gift card to Costco we were given for Christmas. It was quite large, and very welcome. There is still money left on it, but I bought a lot of things I realized were low or out when I cleaned the pantry/garage. One was white rice. I didn’t have one grain of regular white rice left! I got 25 lbs of that. I was low on sugar, so got 25 pounds. Butter was $12 something for 4 boxes. I’ve been able to get $3/box butter a couple of times in the past few months, but it’s rare, so I grabbed 8 boxes for the freezer. We have slowed way down on butter consumption since the holidays, but I notice myself choosing recipes that take less butter, and more oil, or peanut butter, or pumpkin or apple puree/sauce. Even slowing down, I’m getting low–the sales just aren’t there like sometimes. There were quite a few other mundane things like pan spray and toilet paper….. Of course, we grabbed a cooked chicken for $5. We’ve eaten that for a couple of meals and I boiled the bones for broth and used most of it in an egg flower soup already.

    I made that egg flower soup twice. I used tofu for a little extra protein. I made split pea and ham soup. I tried some recipes in my air fryer and used my Instant Pot as well. I know they use less electricity and don’t use the air fryer as I should, so I’m trying to do better.

    We were just given 2 dozen medium sized eggs this morning. My brother-in-law was given several dozen by a person who works at an egg farm and apparently she brought a bunch to church yesterday to hand out to their Sunday school class! She told him they had a surplus of those…maybe medium-sized? Don’t know, I’m not in that class, just am thankful to have them.

    My husband spent quite a bit of time cleaning, organizing and fixing the greenhouse. He needed to replace a warped piece of plywood that was on one of the benches and the panel in the door. It was full of firewood kindling we stored in there. It’s all clean and tidy, all fixed and heat mats are set up. We both planted some seeds, as well. He did peppers, I did parsley and pansies, we did some lettuces as well. I want to get some celery going very soon.

    We celebrated my husband’s birthday by driving down to the coast for the day on Friday. Those of us who went had a very fun time and the weather was nice most of the time. When it rained, my husband and grandson didn’t care a bit, and were out in it anyway–true Oregonians! On the day of his actual birthday, we made a cake and dinner at home.

    Rob got our grandson a raincoat for under $7 and some shoes for himself for about $10 at the thrift store. Both look almost brand new. He’s been looking for empty jars. That particular store has them for 25c each. He is very picky and only takes true canning jars–not mayonnaise jars, etc. I give away jams and jellies for Christmas each year, so every year, he looks for little jars, especially, in the off season to replenish my supply. I’ve let him know that I’m after pints and smaller-sized jars, as we do make a lot more pints than we used to for our own use. I don’t need more quarts–in fact still have several boxes stored up in the top of the shop that were not used this year at all. I keep them because sometimes other family members run short on a certain size, and then I send what I’ve got over to them. There has been a pretty good supply showing up there lately–today he got 42 little jars.

    1. Seriously, she is so nice! She is our neighbor’s third wife in 16 years (the first two died) and she has been very thoughtful of us since she first moved in, sharing leftover wedding food with us and hiring my daughter to help her with some things at home. I really like her.

  23. Here’s what we did for the last two weeks:

    Shopped store sales. I got bananas for .25/lb and whole chickens for .99/lb.

    Made a big pot a pinto beans that will last a few meals. We find that we are eating a lot more vegan/vegetarian meals because meat is so expensive.

    Inventoried our food at home and planned meals accordingly.

    Hung a lot of clothes on our drying rack to save on electricity.

    Made banana muffins to use up bananas that were past their prime.

    Made homemade sandwich bread.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  24. That sounds like such a lovely harvest. Last week, I used homemade curry blend in a cauliflower curry dish. I made GF bread crumbs and canned a batch of vegetable broth. Our garlic and onion were used in a tomato rice loaf, and some of our sweet peppers were rehydrated for a potato dish. I contacted Staples about an order that had been MIA for a couple of weeks. They sent out the item again, and I received it in a day or two. Our little bantam hen started laying a couple of weeks ago. The countertop in our pantry was covered, mostly with homemade medicines, and supplements. I asked my husband to make two shelves to span the back of the counter, wide enough for a mason jar. Everything now has a place, and I can use the countertop again. Honey and lemon juice salad dressing was mixed up. I harvested lettuce from the garden for our salad. Pots of sweet potatoes were put on the woodstove to simmer, one with large ones for us, and the other with small ones for the pups and chickens. I saw a movie I wanted to watch, which is available on our Roku TV, so I saved it to my watch list. My husband has always felt there were springs on our land, and found one over the weekend. It had cleared enough this evening that we were able to taste it, and it’s good. A real blessing. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/01/new-shelves-new-spring.html

  25. Two weeks luntil our dream trip to Italy. Most of the hotels have been booked with bonus points and promotionals. The flight to Venice was a promotion when the airports just opened. It is unbelievable cheap however there is no luggage allowance. I needed to pack 13 days in an “under the seat” small roller bag. So I spent this weekend using a capsule wardrobe template to plan 13 days in winter in Italy. I am pretty proud of this. https://ibb.co/N1R6F8V. Most of the clothes are consignment or bought from small shops/ artisans. The infinity scarf is waffle cloth – super cosy with two zippers in it to hide passports. With so many of you who sew, I thought it would be a great pattern to copy. The shoes I had to be very careful with since I have plantars fasciitis. I have rotated wearing each of the three at school. My feet should be fine. Packing three pairs of shoes is a challenge. I will wear the boots ( fully lined and 75% off) on the plane. The other two pairs I banded together with rubber bands and then put into a compression packing cube. All the clothing is made of materials that are quick dry ( except the jeans.) I am bringing laundry sheets (travel version) that I can use to hand wash anything I need.

    Now there will be no extra charge. Also, since we saved money by not renting a car, it it will be easy to travel on the trains and keep my things close and safe.

    1. How exciting! Have a great trip!
      I look closely at the monthly emails I get from hotel chain and airline points programs, partly to look for expiration dates. In a recent hotel one, I saw I have been award “gold” status, (whatever that means), and one of the notes was that it can allow for late check-out times, which I didn’t know.
      My point is that with points programs and with credit cards, before traveling look at the perks available. A credit card with no foreign transaction fees would be a good savings, for instance, as well as possible insurance benefits.

    2. Sounds like fun, Mary Ann! We’ve traveled to Italy in winter with just backpacks the last couple of times and enjoyed the control we had to just pop it on and go. We’d hop off a bus at a stop outside of a beautiful town like Siena, and just stroll in through the beautiful countryside without the noise of the suitcase rolling. Truly peaceful. I’d bring a black pashmina and use for my scarf, cloth for picnic, darkening curtain if needed, light blanket on plane, you name it.

      Have a wonderful visit! I love Feb in Italy 😍. I guess I love anytime in Italy haha!

  26. I did a cost plan to see where our money is going. Even though we thought we were being frugal we are not as frugal as we should be. So, I made a budget. We are going to reduce our expenses so we can try and save if we can. First we need to take food with us when we run errands. Anytime we run errands, it is a trip. So, we either bring food or we get hungry and risk the desire to eat out. We are doing frugal things around the house such as; using cloth instead of paper, washing full loads of dishes and clothes, and turning off lights. I thought we were cooking at home more than we were. When I looked at our bank statement I was dismayed to see how much we went off the track last month. So, we hope to do better this month. We enjoyed going to the library a couple days this week. Went to a coffee house and listened to music for my husband’ s birthday and we went to my son’s wedding! It has been a wonderful week!

    1. I could use prayers. My husband and I are going to be working on cutting a cd for a demo with a talented musician. I’m praying that we do a good job and that something comes of it. I hope that we get the demo in the right hands. But also I pray that the weather is good enough for travel. I’m excited about the opportunity. I would really appreciate prayers. The only frugal thing about it is that we are going to bring water and food with us. We would love to make a living through music. We both love it!

  27. 1. I got 2 loaves of sliced Italian bread free at the senior center. I gave one to my friend who lives nearby. She was happy to get it. (Publix donates their day old bread to the center.)
    2. Whilst out on my evening walk I saw a Walgreen’s employee disposing of a box of paperbacks. I went back & retrieved them. The front covers were removed but they were newly published books. I selected a few & donated the rest to the senior center.
    3. I joined the Taco Bell reward program. I like their bean burritos. I got one free via their app. They actually have some food items that are somewhat healthy (and cheap in price).
    4. I’ve found 2$ in change this January. I’m starting off 2023 with collecting change I find when I’m out & about. I did this in 2022 & wound up with 25$. I’ll see if I can improve in the new year.
    5. I’ve lost a bit of weight (which I needed to do). I’m wearing pants that I currently own. I just cinch them in with a belt. Some of my shorts were too tight previously. I’m glad I kept them as they fit now. I now understand why men wear belts to keep their pants up!

  28. So lovely to see the lemons! Imagining a sort of trace smell from the lemons and paperwhites wafting around your yard.
    We benefited by being loyal to a few regular businesses. Car tire had a slow leak and the dealer found a tiny screw in the tire. Repaired it at no charge. Water heater went out yesterday afternoon. I called the heating/cooling service after eight this morning, (not Sunday, because it was inconvenient but not quite an emergency), and it was fixed this afternoon. We bought it in 2018, he said, and the broken element was under warranty– I would never have thought to ask about that!– so we only had to pay for labor.
    I chose a few Valentine images from The Graphics Fairy (free, online site) to make my facebook page seasonal.
    Much is as usual here: combining errands with trip for healthcare in nearby city; library books; library free magazines that I read and return, the exchange fortunately back in service after Covid; shopping grocery bargain shelf and marked down produce; keeping cloth bags ready in car, even for stores that don’t offer discount; and so on! Estimated our taxes on H&R Block online again this year. That many of the fields are filled in from previous years is a big help. I appreciate the comments you all share here!

  29. I had to throw out half of two avocados about 27 hours after Instacart had delivered them this weekend. I got into a software loop while trying to report the problem at Instacart.com so I called their help line for senior citizens. I got credit for one avocado and was credited with an additional $5 for my trouble.
    Our utility bill (gas and electric and warranty for furnace and water heater) was about $450 for a 1500 sq ft house built in 1967. Upping the attic insulation is going to be moving way up on our list of things to fix. I feared that we had used more natural gas this year because I hadn’t gotten some window coverings up, but we actually used a bit less.
    Today, I got a prescription for high protein Ensure for mom sent to our local Meals on Wheels. They require a prescription and charge a fixed amount (less than retail, but NOT a voluntary donation like their meals are) for the delivery of 30 bottles. Mom usually drinks most of a bottle of Boost VHC daily but I am hoping she’ll like and drink the Ensure too to improve her nutrition. We had stopped getting Meals on Wheels in the Fall when they increased the suggested contribution and stopped providing the breakfast snacks. Mom had reached a point where she rarely touched the entrees (although she liked some of the breakfast items and sweets) and my idea of getting the same thing for lunch did not improve her intake. I decided it is easier for me to limp around the kitchen and come up with something for me to eat than to keep the front walk free from snow every day. And with the increase in gas prices, I felt sorry for whoever was paying for the gas for daily deliveries.
    I am listening right now to an egg deal gotten by a Youtuber and feel spoiled that I got 3 dozen eggs in one pack for about 16 cents each this weekend at Kroger, way less than what she paid per egg when she bought many multiples of packs of 60 from a discount store based in Pennsylvania.
    Mom and I traveled “virtually” on a nice bus from Delhi to Katmandu thanks to a different Youtube video. Since I don’t have the guts to travel anywhere with a 99-year-old, it was a great way to not feel housebound this cold and snowy afternoon and to learn more about the expressway and flat terrain of that part of India and the narrower road and much more hilly terrain closer to Katmandu.

    1. The Meals on Wheels price in our area for a case of 24, not 30, bottles is $24, maximum of 2 monthly. I will be encouraging mom to continue drinking a bottle of Boost VHC each day but replace some of the pop she drinks with Ensure High Protein. She’ll exceed my expectations if she drinks 4 ounces of the Ensure daily. I’ll be able to remind her that the nurse practioner PRESCRIBED it, which might help.
      She had physical therapy today. That and a bit less sleep than usual yesterday because of the nurse practioner’s visit has left her exhausted and napping most of the afternoon.

  30. I purchased a Zwilling hand held vacuum sealer and their resealable/reusable plastic bags. I wanted one that I could use the bags over and over and was BPA free.

    As a household of one I am always aware of how quickly food can go to waste if I don’t keep on top of it.

    I vacuum sealed some cheese in my fridge. Squeezed lemons and poured the juice into silicone ice cube trays, froze then popped the frozen cubes into a bag and vacuum sealed them. Now I can take out one or two at a time and then reseal the bag. I will do the same with limes, then avocado for using on toast or in guacamole.

    I plan on doing cabbage too. Also frozen homemade soups, leftover ham and beef roast and whatever else I can think of. Fresher food and less chance of freezer burn are pluses too. Anything I can do to reduce waste will help with increasing food costs.

    6 months until the farmers markets open and I can’t wait.

    1. Jlynn, thank you for mentioning that particular brand of vacuum sealer. I’ve not pursued one due to the concerns you mentioned. I’ll have to take a look at that brand.

  31. It’s been a little bit of same-old-same-old here in W&W West Virginia. The kids came over both days this weekend, and we had nice dinners. I started working on a cross stitch project that my daughter had gotten me months ago. I made one of our favorite dinners tonight- kielbasa, potatoes, onions, and carrots cooked with salt and pepper into a soup; the potatoes and carrots needed used up as they were getting old, the kielbasa was bought on serious mark down and had been in the freezer, and the onion was leftover from another receipt this week. We have been eating down the freezer still. For a snack tonight, I had half a bag of peaches frozen with sugar. This was a snack I used to have as a child, and it was delicious.

    My husband brought home multiple boxes of my favorite seasonal Little Debbie cakes from the delivery driver – they are out of date, but still good.

    I paid extra to the mortgage and worked an extra 1.5.

    1. Alice, Freeze those cakes! When I was a child, my granddad got a case lot box of those things for the same reason. Mama dumped them in the freezer and we kids had a Little Debbie’s snack for weeks after school. You just brought back a fun memory!

      1. Believe it or not, I live in “Little Debbie Land!” (Chattanooga). Several of their factory plants are just a mile or two down the road from where I live. Some days when I go outside, I can smell chocolate baking! They also have an outlet store here, and give out singly wrapped Little Debbie’s for free at the checkout—not very helpful for my resistance! 🤣

  32. Hello all from Sunny Guam. We are entering our dry season which is equivalent to June/July in the states85-90 degrees and sunny. Patience has won the frugal day this week and a high tolerance of heat. On island our power plant puts out inconsistent power. This week it blew the boards on two of our split A/C’s. New boards are $1000 each. Luckily I have maintained a 16 year relationship with my A/C guy and when we installed these I made sure that all 4 were the same. He had repaired a board that had gone out previously on one of my other units and so only charged me $400 for the board and install. The other unit which is in our bedroom he took the board and replaced with a board from an A/C we rarely use. If he can repair that one it will be the same price. So for a bit of a warmer room and some patience I’m saving $1200. My husband is at a conference in the states this week so he preordered surge protectors that you put directly on the breaker boxes we have 4 at $150 a piece. Hopefully this will solve the problem and stop burning out our A/C’s. He’ll do the install himself. I had a 40 pound bunch of banana’s ripen this week. We cut the bunch down and have been having banana and homemade yogurt smoothies all week. I’ve been slicing and freezing the rest of the banana’s for future weeks. Our smoothies come from our banana and Mango trees so all I pay for is the yougurt I make and put in the smoothies which works out to less than .30cents a serving. I have a second batch ripening right behind it so in total I’ll end up freezing about 60 pounds of bananas. I made my husbands birthday dinner instead of going out. I was holding a small rack of lamb just for his birthday that I had gotten 50% off a few months ago. Served it with mashed potatoes and long beans (similar to green beans). I started mung bean, alfafa, and broccoli sprouts this week. It’s to hot to grow any type of lettuce in the dry season and stateside lettuce is running $5 a pound. I got a deal on 96% ground beef it was $1.99 a pound usually it’s $4.50 a pound. I bought the max two days in a row so now I’m parceling out 30 1/2 pound sections to freeze. They were also doing a sale on chicken wings $2.99 for a 2.5 pound bag usually $9. I got 5 of those I’ll use them in soups. Finally 1/2 gallon of Milk is usually $4 it was on sale for $1.96 I got 5. I made 2 1/2 gallons of yogurt. 1 batch of Ricotta and 1 batch of farm cheese. I like a flavored cream cheese and their usually $5 here. I bought the bricks on sale at xmas for $1.29 and freeze them. Add a little milk with the cream cheese in the mixer with bacon bits and homemade ranch dry mix. Makes for a full flavored cream cheese on homemade bagels. Stay Warm everyone!

  33. It was cold, in the 20’s here this morning. In two weeks we will be going to Los Angeles to see our daughter and her husband. Haven’t seen them since just before Covid started. No matter how one looks at it a ten day trip to LA won’t be frugal. My son-in-law works for Disney studios and I believe would be able to get us free Disneyland tickets. We’ve done most of the typical tourist things like all the film studios, Hollywood, Venice Beach, Getty Museum and a wonderful botanical garden. So if any of you have a great idea for activities I am open to hear it! We will also be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary at that time. It sounds as though we are ancient but we got married very young and don’t feel old most days!
    For frugal things I am watching All Creatures Great and Small plus Seaside Hotel which I love.
    Jo-Ann Fabrics had a great selection of material for 70 percent off. I got enough to make two dresses.
    I bought a frame for a stretched canvas painting I did awhile back.
    It was $25 which isn’t exactly inexpensive but would have been over $100 to have it done at a frame store.
    My local food coop had a coupon for a free pound of citrus.
    I was able to get five organic satsumas.
    I am making all our granola and my husband is doing bread and sauerkraut. I have started using my Instant Pot more often. I still get a sort of thrill from putting all my ingredients in and when I open the lid – there is dinner all cooked!
    We are reading ‘The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven’. If you liked books such as ‘The Shipping News’, ‘The Greenlanders’, or ‘Call of the Wild’ then this is one you would probably like.
    I got a large jar of peanut butter for free. I thought I purchased it at the grocery but when I left the store my receipt didn’t seem right. I went back to talk to the assistant manager who was working. She said that since it was their mistake in not ringing it up I would get it for free.
    Guess that’s it for the week.

    1. Descanso Gardens and Huntington Library. You can check out their website to see what is blooming in two weeks. They are my two favorite places; my parents took me as a child many times.

      If you’ve done the Getty Museum but not the Getty Villa in Malibu make sure to go there too. It’s free but advance tickets are required and you pay for parking.

      The California Science Center is free.

    2. We loved the La Brea tar pits. But that was years ago and we might have just had a fantastic guide. Don’t know if they even have yours anymore.

      1. YES! I highly recommend them! I knew I was forgetting a place but I couldn’t think of it, and this was it!

        I used to go there on field trips as a child. It is so much better now from what I have seen online.

        1. I missed every single school field trip to the tar pits! We moved every year and I would get to the new school just after the trip. I wanted to see it so bad! An Angelino raised in the LAUSD and never saw them. I’m surprised they let me graduate haha!

          I loved The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Not sure what part of LA you’re visiting, Elisa, but it’s a neat place.

          1. YES to the aquarium! I’ve been there too! I went on a Girl Scout trip there and again in college.

            And if you’re there, go to see the Queen Mary!

    3. My very favorite place to go is the Griffith Observatory planetarium

      On my list, but haven’t been yet is what’s left of the beach house William Randolph Hearst had built for Marion Davies on the beach at Santa Monica, by Julia Morgan, the same architect that designed Hearst Castle. The guest house and marble pool are still standing and open to the public.

      1. We are going to be for three days in Santa Monica so will check out the Hearst house. All these ideas everyone is giving me are so helpful – a few I’ve done like the Aquarium at Long Beach (love it) but there are plenty of new ideas! My daughter just told me about the Motion Picture Industry Museum which would be very interesting. My dad spent his childhood in LA and told me that he used to watch them making silent films.

    4. Elisa, since you sew, you might enjoy a visit to the LA garment district. Fabrics can be very cheap here, plus you will find things that you’d never see in a traditional fabric store. When I went, I didn’t buy a thing, but I enjoyed seeing it all…especially the sequins! LOL

    5. Wayfarer’s Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes is also a neat stop. They have beautiful gardens that overlook the sea and the building itself was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, I believe. It’s beautiful. My Aunt lived in the area and we would visit just to enjoy the gardens and the view. Grounds are open to the public daily and the chapel is open if there isn’t worship.
      I also recommend the La Brea Tar Pits – wonderful trip.
      Enjoy your trip!

  34. Hello! How nice you got some food from your neighbors, Brandy! What fun to have some different things, and for free. * Our garbage disposal was a little stinky so i put a few orange peels in there to grind up and that freshened it right up. * I got my hair cut by my daughter’s friend, who has her own salon. She generally charges $60 for a cut for my length hair, but she only charged me $24 (and didn’t allow me to tip). Very kind. *We love professional football and enjoyed the two championship games on regular tv. I made brownies and nachos from food in my pantry for our celebration. * Our two little granddaughters (ages 4 and 2) came and spent two nights this weekend with us so their parents could have a get away. It is very cold here, so we just stayed inside. I used the rest of my Amazon digital credits from Christmas orders to buy the first season of Paw Patrol since we don’t have cable or the streaming service it was on. That was a hit, and gave me a little break in the afternoons. I had a couple of canvases left from some projects awhile ago that we painted on and I printed some free coloring pages of some Disney characters they like. It was a nice time, but Granny and Papa are pooped! * Tonight it is -10 degrees F with a “feels like” temp of -24. I’m so grateful to be tucked up safe and warm with my sweatshirt, socks and slippers. I did my grocery pick up and a couple errands today and now I am more than happy to stay home this week. * I looked up some knitting patterns to use up some of the more “different” types of yarn that was donated to me. I’m not very experienced with fancier yarn. I knit a very nice hat this week with some. * I finished another library book and got my next delivery of books from the outreach service. I am just so so so grateful for this service. I put books on hold and they magically appear on my doorstep. I love reading so much and this has saved me so much money and helped my mental health to have new and different things to read. * Hope everyone has a safe week with all this crazy weather all over. I am so grateful for all of my like-minded friends here! * Love to everyone!

    1. Becky I totally can relate, granddaughter is 10 years old and today we went sledding- my favorite winter activity together BUT I am exhausted tonight after just a hour of sledding and trudging up the hill lol

  35. As a teacher in a smaller community, I receive 20-40 wedding invitations a year from former students. Trying to find an affordable and replicable gift, I began the tradition of filling a glass cookie jar with homemade cookies and a tag saying, “A full cookie jar is the most magical appliance in the kitchen. If the cookie jar is full no one complains if dinner isn’t ready or that dinner is bad. If the cookie jar is full guests feels like you were expecting them. Here is your first full cookie jar to congratulate you on your marriage. Best wishes!”

    This past week I found several gallon glass jars at Marshall’s for $5.99-$6.99 each. I bought a dozen and with the help of a friend, glass-etched “cookies” onto the sides of the jars. With a few paper crinkles, repurposed ribbon, and celophane bag, the jars package nicely and the gift is less than $10 and I’m ready for the spring wedding season ahead.

    I’m very glad our chickens are laying well. The ground is frozen so we must feed them more than when they can scratch in the pasture, but it still beats the current egg prices and situation.

    1. Jane Payne- What a very clever wedding gift to give!! I love that idea!! I think I’ll be on the lookout for some jars to have ready!! I’m thinking that adding the recipe for the cookies you give in the jar would be a great touch, too!!

      I love getting new ideas and inspiration from Brandy and all of the rest of you who comment!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Thank you Pat. Like you, I find this such an uplifting and informative online community, and felt I should try to give a little more rather than just take. Adding the recipe is a great idea.

    2. Maybe word has gotten out about the Cookie Jar gifts so that is adding to your invites list! What a great idea – I bet they get a real kick out of the info on the tag as well!

      1. Could be Margie! At first I was a little embarrassed of my gift, thinking it might be perceived as stingy, but my purpose in giving is pure and when I focus on that and my connection to the couple, I happily gift them now. I suppose I’ve given 200 or more.

    3. I absolutely love this wedding gift idea! I’ve made gift food baskets for in the rm after the wedding (so many told me it came in handy, because they barely ate at the reception), but this idea is so much better!
      Thank you!

    4. I still remember a present a neighbor I had as a child gave me when I got married years ago. She gave me a cookie jar with a kitchen towel and a recipe for her gingerbread cookies that she used to give us at Christmas when we were little. I absolutely loved it! It was such a thoughtful gift and reminded me of the wonderful cookies she made for my sister and me when we were little. Happy Memories!

    5. As a teacher myself, I so appreciate this! I could also see this as a fun baby shower gift for the right family, just tweaking the message a bit perhaps. I tend to have at least 1-2 baby showers each year, since so many of my colleagues are younger women. Thank you for sharing the idea!

  36. I have been making hibiscus soda with a ginger bug – lots of fun! I had to make a trip to a supermarket in an area with many people of Lebanese background to get the hibiscus tea, and while I was choosing it a local lady told me how healthy it was, and that it was especially good for lowering cholesterol – not sure if it’s true but it can’t hurt LOL. It makes a really nice tea.
    I picked up a breadmaker from our local pay it forward group – it was too small for her family, but it’s the perfect size for me. My bread experiments are underway, with some nice white toast bread having been produced. There was no manual, but I found one for a very similar but later model on the manufacturer’s website and printed it out.
    I followed a Gardening ABC video to learn to clean and sharpen my seccateurs and garden snips. I did have to buy a diamond sharpening tool which wasn’t cheap, but I figure it will pay for itself eventually.
    I have been a bit horrified by my expenditure on food – I’ve been buying more thoughtfully and eating every skerrick in the fridge.

    1. Laura, would you be willing to explain how you make the hibiscus soda from the ginger bug? That sounds delightful! I make flavored kombuchas but have been wanting to make ginger bugs and I would love to try the soda idea!

  37. Hello Everyone!

    I also noticed a price hike in bread recently. I can’t believe that the cheapest, nutrient-lacking breads are $4 and the organic, whole grain/seed loaves are $7! We haven’t been eating as much of it lately, but I baked a loaf of whole wheat bread in my machine yesterday. It was very convenient and inexpensive! In addition I baked a dozen muffins and a batch of cookies.

    I finished my daughter’s bedroom curtains and tie-backs this weekend. The material was on clearance, plus a coupon. I had the thread, interfacing, and lining. My husband hung them. She likes the additional privacy and room darkening. I’m glad to be done with this large project with 4 panels.

    18 large eggs are now $9.74 at Walmart! 😱 Our hens will be 3 this spring. They haven’t laid since fall. I was wondering if any chicken experts here felt this was normal for their age/season, or if perhaps it’s the feed? We use the organic layer feed from Costco. I keep hearing that people are having feed issues from Tractor Supply recently and that their hens stopped laying entirely. Any thoughts? 🐓

    Have a blessed and beautiful week! 🌼

    1. I don’t have chickens (yet) but have heard about the feed issues. My local friends’ hens are starting to lay again, though, and I know at least one of the uses the Tractor Supply Feed. One option would be to research making your own feed by mixing grains. it’s a little more tricky, but from what I’ve heard it’s not that different price wise. Some have said that a lot of the chicken feed brands all come from the same producer anyway. Garden Betty has a recipe online, just google Garden Betty chicken feed.

      1. Thanks Jenni, I haven’t checked if the Costco feed bag states who manufactured it. It’s possibly the same as Tractor Supply, under a different name.

    2. Hi Julie,
      Don’t worry too much. Chickens need about 14 hours of sunlight a day to lay eggs so it’s not uncommon for them to stop laying in the shorter winter months. Egg farms usually supplement with artificial light to get their hens to lay year around. Yours should begin laying again soon as the days continue to get longer.
      Have a great day!

        1. Hello! We keep laying hens and this is completely normal. As the daylight decreases, so does egg production. The only hens that will lay through the winter are ones that are not yet 1 year old and those that you supplement with a lamp. We choose not to use a lamp because their bodies need a break and also because they have a set number of eggs and this will mean they lay longer year wise then not giving them their natural rest in the winter. Now that the daylight hours have increased we have 4 of our dozen hens laying again and expect them all to be back to laying within the month. To supplement eggs in the winter we refresh our flock with 3-4 new birds each spring to ensure new fresh birds to lay in the winter – but even then we’ve had weeks without eggs due to -30C and also something scaring them like possums and racoons. Hope that’s a help! We also add in black sunflower seed and fly larve in the winter to up their protein, especially post molt!

    3. Julie I have had the same issues this past fall and winter. My hens molted and completely stopped laying. Your chickens need more protein. You could supplement with dried meal worms. They may need a boost to 20% protein feed to lay. Typically 18% laying feed works, but that has not been the case for me. With more hours of light they should begin laying. I have some older girls who just started laying this week. Good luck. Hope this helps.

      1. Certain breeds such as whats refered to as heritage breeds tend to lay better through winter. Research your breed and see what info you can find on them….I miss my hens, and goats…

        1. I have a mix because I wasn’t sure which breed was best for us: barred rock, Dominique, Wyandotte and buff Orpington. Plus it’s easier to tell them apart! I think they’re all dual purpose but it would be interesting to research winter egg layers. 😊

      2. Deanna, Thanks for the tip. I will get some mealworms to supplement. I have been throwing in garden snails as I find them and the girls go crazy!! 🐌

    4. We have four hens that are still laying, but we use a local mix. I heard the same thing about Tractor Supply from Youtube. But I don’t know if there is any truth to it. I know that our hens usually don’t lay as much in the winter. But for some reason they have kept laying. Of course there were a couple of days we didn’t get any. But then again, we found a possum around and figured he is getting some eggs. We were happy he didn’t get our chickens.

    5. Funny this topic came up here. I don’t have chickens, but I read something (that may or may not be true) that there is a problem with feed, and nearly all US chicken feed is made by Purina. One person was quoted as switching to a local brand and the girls started laying again. I live in a moderately cold climate (OK, this week it is REALLY cold) and most of the local chickens stop laying, or slow way down, in winter. If you’ve had chickens for 3 years, you know what to expect seasonally. A friend who has chickens feeds them a lot of garden waste, including fruit drops, in the summer.

      1. Another blog I read commented on the chicken feed made by Purina and sold by Tractor Supply. The post said something along the lines that this chicken feed had been reformulated and the new recipe had less protein in it which would reduce egg production.

        1. SJ-that seems to be the theory, but people are noticing and are complaining so hopefully they’ll correct the formulation (if that’s truly the case).

    6. Hi Julie, Here are a few tips that seem to be working for my chickens this winter: feed them consistently first thing in the morning, shortly after the sun is up. Make sure they have a decent amount of nesting material; they like extra this time of year. Make sure they have continuous access to water. Not sure if you use both lay pellets and scratch but that’s a combination that usually works. However, I noticed at the end of summer, my girls weren’t laying with this mix, which was very odd. I did purchase one bale of alfalfa for the horrendous (what I thought at the time) price of $25 in August/September. I’m happy to report that that bale will last us a year, as I give about 1-2 good handfuls of it with their feeding. If my family takes a turn with the chickens and misses this step, we go without eggs. But I seem to be getting more eggs now than in the fall, when I add the alfalfa. I have a friend that swears by adding black sunflower seeds. And another friend who does well with soaking her grains each night. This will be my next step, if needed (to both increase production and stretch feed). Even when supply costs are lower, I have had to evaluate to make sure this husbandry makes financial sense. It’s been a challenge to make it work through this inflation stuff. I hope you find the balance and success you need too. Best wishes!

      1. Thanks for the tips Connie! I’ve heard black sunflower seeds mentioned several places so perhaps that would be a good supplement. It is a challenge to keep costs minimal with inflation.

    7. Julie, I have eight hens ranging in age from three to four. They are taking a winter’s break right now, but I expect them to begin laying by the end of February. Length of daylight is what affects egg production.

  38. Your lemons are beautiful, and the rest of your garden sounds so nice. We are having some of our coldest weather right now. This is our second day with sunshine and no rain, and we were truly thankful. Mostly I have been not buying so much except for some produce. I did buy some packages of tofu that were marked down. I want to get some black salt to make it taste eggy and turn some of the tofu into “egg salad” sandwich spread. The apples, oranges, and cherry tomatoes that were on a “sale” were priced at rates that amounted to what the regular price was a year ago that I thought was high then. I didn’t see anything on the clearance shelves in the produce section, anything that I wanted. There were three avocadoes in a bag for $1; my husband said they looked like someone had stepped on them. It seems odd that food prices are going up so rapidly, but I am finding sales on clothing that seem more reasonable. I was able to find three Columbia jackets for our daughter and granddaughters for $240 at a Columbia outlet store. I did pray about it before we went there though. My husband used the phone to take pictures of the coats we thought they might like, and they each chose what they liked. When I went to pay for the jackets, the clerk looked up my phone number and said I had a discount coming from previous purchases. I hope the girls still like the coats when they see them in person. I am pleased to know that they will be able to stay warm and dry.

  39. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I enjoy seeing the list of things you pick from the garden getting longer each week. The lemons look luscious, what a crop!
    This week we pulled leeks, parsnips and carrots from the garden.
    It was my birthday and I was treated so well by family and friends and I’m enjoying the beautiful bouquet of flowers my husband ordered for me.
    I saved the juices from cooking a joint of beef and used it as the base for soup.
    My husband was at an evening meeting and had a meal provided so I had a sandwich again, saving energy and enjoying a night off from cooking.
    A daughter brought a picnic lunch to the beach for us when we met for a dog walk.
    Inexpensive meals were mushroom omelettes, leeks wrapped in ham offcuts in a cheesy sauce and beef and veg soup. I padded out with a rhubarb sponge pudding which lasted several days.
    I decluttered yet more stuff and took it to the recycling centre, combining other errands in the same trip.
    I bought fluffy warm socks in a sale which will be presents, together with notebooks at a good price which I will cover with fabric for presents. In a charity shop I bought two new in packets snoods/ scarfs, they were priced at £1 each but the lady at the till said I could have them for 50 pence each.
    We are at the end of the month and there is the princely sum of £16 left in one of our accounts( savings are stashed away at the beginning of the month). I need a couple of spools of thread so that will be handy. Last of the big spenders!
    Stay safe everyone.

  40. Brandi, I love reading these weekly posts and all the comments. I have learned so many frugal things in addition to what I already know. Thank you to you and everyone who comments! I often times don’t comment as our whole lifestyle here is uber frugal and on repeat with what we do.

    The beginning of last week I discovered a local seed savers group on Facebook that was having a seed swap event on Saturday for National Seed Swap Day. It was great! I learned so much, especially how to winter sow seeds in gallon jugs to get a jump start on the growing season (I’m in Pennsylvania). I put the word out at work for empty milk jugs as we only use half gallon now, so hopefully I get some. I got lots of seeds for new varieties. They talked about the Back to Eden method of gardening. We found that documentary for free on Roku, which hubby and I watched that evening. Since moving a year ago, the garden has been on hold to see what came up and where. It will be full steam ahead this year!

  41. I feel like I spent some money this week, but on things that were on sale that we can eat in the upcoming next couple of months – chicken was on sale for .99/lb (whole and parts). Cheese was $3/lb, so I stocked up on mozzarella, because for whatever reason our Sams club has not had the large 5 lb block for awhile now. And I finally decided to order chicks, although we won’t be getting them until the fall. Some orders for breeds are at least 6 months out until they are available. I don’t really know if it will be a money-saving move – it’s more of a pet thing for us right now and learning how to take care of chickens. That being said, when our neighbor heard we would be getting some, he already said he would buy eggs from us :)).

    I wanted to share a book I finished last week that was really good. It was called Living the Good Life by Scott and Helen Nearing. I heard about it because I had been reading Eliot Coleman’s books, and in an interview on Youtube he talked about being influenced by their book. I found it to be very well written and engaging – it’s a chronicle of their journey to leave the city life and live off the land first in Vermont, and then in Maine. The land was not very easy to garden on at the beginning – they had to do a lot of work to get it there, but their belief in using local resources as much as possible to restore the land and their notes on how they did it were very helpful and inspiring. I got it from our library.

    One more inspiring thing – I think I watched this a couple weeks ago but wanted to share – a story of an NFL player who was called to leave the NFL and become a farmer. Truly inspiring – here is the link I watched: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIypW41_AwI

    Have a good week, everyone!

    1. Jenni from KS, thank you for sharing the video about Jason Brown. Since I’m in NC and also an alumnus of the Univ of NC like Jason, (Go Tar Heels!) I’ve read and viewed several articles/videos of his incredible story and generosity. But I hadn’t seen this one, so thank you for making me (and others) aware. He and his wife are definitely selfless, kind and generous. I agree that it is so inspiring.

      1. Even though we are in challenging times food-wise, it has been very touching to see how people are responding with a generous spirit. I just saw a local business post on Facebook today that they were able to secure farm-fresh eggs at $2.99/dozen (their cost) and wanted to sell them at cost to the general public to help ease the burden of egg prices. I wonder what it would look like if everyone took a little step of faith and grew or raised a little extra to help others make ends meet? It definitely gives me food for thought as I plan my garden this summer.

  42. Hello everyone! The biggest money saver for me last week was cutting my husband, son, and daughter’s hair. The price at the frugal place near us is $20 with tip per person! I also died my son’s hair. For $15 I bought a tube of color and have dinner it for him about 5 times already. Going to a salon would have been over $50! Have a great week frugal friends!

    1. An old friend of mine had a great, but very secretive deal with her son. She had dark brown hair that she dyed regularly. He had light brown hair and preferred a more goth look. So, she kept enough dye from her hair to do his IF he would dye her hair! He did a nice job! And, being a good kid, he continued to dye her hair until he left for boot camp. That was about a year after wanting his hair dyed, too.

  43. Those lemons! I can smell them through the screen. 🙂
    *I cut my hair (my husband does the back and I do the front and the bangs) and I cut his hair. Such a savings of money and time.
    *I mended several clothing items, something I seem to need to do on a weekly basis.
    *I hung some more beloved art on my freshly-painted walls. Such a joy to see favorite things in a new setting.
    *I have started making up curtains from fabric purchased at least 15 years ago at a tag sale. As much as I try not to have clutter, a carefully curated stash of items has saved me so much money.
    *Hung laundry to dry by the woodstove. Our dryer fix of a couple of weeks ago is still holding but I try to use it as little as possible as a general rule.
    *I taught a class on the science of snowflakes (or snow crystals, to be precise) to the older kids in our homeschool co-op. It was an impromptu class as I was filling in for another mother whose family was sick so little time for planning. With some wonderful books, geometry solids (specifically the hexagonal prism) and enacting out the life cycle of a snow crystal (the kids are so creative with this!) we had a fun time learning with no money spent. I also sent the families a link for a great video on making 6-sided paper snowflakes at home as an extension activity. Best of all, it started to snow just as we were coming to the end of class so we all ran out and observed the structure of the crystals before they melted.
    *My boys are participating in a science fair with other local homeschoolers in February. We did the experiments last week and will finish the display boards this week. Costs were kept minimal by purchasing soda on sale (one project is on exploding soda 🙂 ) and using items we have at home. The display boards were found for only $3 each. The fair will be a fun social and learning experience and the hosting church is providing food. We are looking forward to it.
    *Only groceries bought this week were almonds which were 50% off. A useful and nutritious food that we can make last quite a while.
    *I made somewhat of an unintentional frugal mistake this week but was, thankfully, able to recover from it. I inadvertently paid our property tax twice! I attempted to pay by phone to the 3rd party automated service and the call cut out before it was completed so I assumed it didn’t go through. I then called the local tax office and was able to pay over the phone that way. Turns out the automated payment did go through after all so our credit card was charged twice. I quickly called the local office and they had already noticed it and sent a refund check the day before. So, crisis averted but the lesson for me is to just go back to the old-school way of paying either in person at the tax office when I am in town for another reason or mailing a check. The cost of a stamp would be worth avoiding the hassle of technology failure. Technology is nice when it works but there are days I long for the old, slower but sometimes easier to correct ways. When I called the local tax office, the person answering the phone was the same person who had helped me before and remembered the situation so that made the correction easy. I don’t imagine this would happen in larger communities.
    *We are picking up foster kittens today at the Humane Society. My oldest son wanted to spend some of his Christmas money on food for them that we can’t get from the shelter (they provide us with what they can but do not always have enough canned food so we usually end up purchasing that with money we save up or donations from family.) Our efforts to reduce the feral cat population in our area seem to be working so we are glad we can still help and have the meaningful experience by taking on some kittens that the shelter has acquired elsewhere. It has been a great lesson for all of us in caring for “the least of these.”
    *Through mud and snow, we have been going out for walks in our woods, identifying trees to harvest for firewood and breathing fresh mountain air. Good for the body and soul!
    *Picked up free Covid tests for us and for our elderly neighbors at our local branch library.
    *Still reading my library copy of Still Life by Louise Penny – so good! I also have The Beekeeper’s Apprentice on my desk to begin next thanks to a recommendation here.
    * Just like putting one foot in front of the other is a great way to clear the mind and strengthen the body, little frugal steps add up to a feeling of well-being and peace. Wishing you all a wonderful week!

    1. I love that it started to snow after you taught the kids about snowflakes! What fun to run out and see God’s creations!

    2. That sounds like a fun activity. If you want to keep the cost down for next year’s science fair display you can use thumb tacks or pins to attach everything to the display boards so they can be reused next year. Our college lent out display boards to use this way.

  44. I saw pictures of yesterday’s snowfall in Las Vegas on the morning news. Brrrr but I bet it’s pretty.
    Last week was a mixed bag of thrifty and spendy.

    Because of readers here, I filled my first order for over the counter meds through my Medicare supplement plan. I’m able to order quarterly and can chose from a limited list. The funds do not roll over to the next month. I used up every dollar.

    I finally was able to purchase seeds at the Dolllar Tree. When I moved, I could not bring the seeds with me from Canada to the US so gifted them to neighbors. It’s spendy having to start from the very beginning with none from prior years. My plan this week is to make little seed pots from newspaper I’ve been saving. I already purchased the soil. And I’ll be reusing grow mats to help them along.

    Someone left a box of broccolli crowns at the mailboxes here. I was able to get enough to freeze a trays worth and also to make a broccolli slaw for fresh eating. I used up pantry items (dried cranberry and water chestnuts) for the salad and then made a quick dressing with mayo and apple cider vinegar already on hand. It was very yummy.

    I received my gas bill and it more then doubled from last month. I had the temperatures set for 69 daytime and 65 starting at 7pm for night time. I immediately reset the thermostat for 67 degrees day time.

    I mostly stayed home. I’ve even changed my routine of taking the dog to the dog park daily. We’re now going on alternate days. The good news there was that no gas was purchased last month and I still have half a tank. I also stayed in town for all but one quick trip one day.

    I’m also doing more of the ‘same old same old’ things. Making sure to turn off lights when not in the room, cooking all my meals, using up every little bit of food, staying home for the most part. I am five months into my life without cable tv and love not having that monthly bill. I do have Amazon prime at $14.95/month which provides enough to watch on tv. I also love my over the air tv antennae which I bought for $35 when i arrived here.

    I have one more loaf of commercially made bread that I’m working through. Next up will be to make bread. Two weeks ago the store had 5#AP Flour on sale for $2.99. I have a well seasoned sourdough starter to use instead of yeast. The only item I’m a little short on is oil but know I can make french bread without oil if needed.

    Almost all of my grocery purchases in the last month were sale items. I also started completing the store’s customer survey to earn 5% off everything in a purchase. The down side is that I can only complete one survery a month but I’m tracking that on my calendar now.

    I hope everyone has a great week. I get so much encouragement out of reading this post and everyone’s comments.

  45. We’ve started seeds for peppers, eggplant and flowers indoors and all sorts of salad greens outdoors. I covered the kale and chard, as we’ll be in a freeze for the next couple days. We plan to add 3 new garden beds this spring to extend our current growing space. The kids have been helping with the task of removing rocks from those areas. (Lots of limestone where we live.)

    I’ve started an afternoon routine of drinking green tea for the health and immune benefits. So far I’ve been drinking tea that was gifted to me at Christmas.

    Found an old notebook with only a few used pages for one child’s homeschool needs.

    Redeemed swagbucks points for a $10 gc.

    Over the past couple years, I’ve been slowly transitioning my clothing to merino wool to take advantage of the durability and sustainability. I used a 20% off code to purchase 2 pairs of wool underwear.

  46. I can smell those lemon blossoms and lemons from here, Brandy! Divine.
    I’m still practicing the art of imperfection around here and I don’t recall ever being so at peace and happy. Considering, the state of the world, I find myself very grateful for this feeling.
    I found some “stock up” prices on meat but couldn’t stock up because it wasn’t in my budget. Instead, I bought enough for two dinners and considered that a win!
    Tweaked my feeding routine of my chickens, without any cost, which has resulted in a few more eggs. I know coming increased sunlight will help but I was happy with this adjustment during winter.
    Kept food waste down between clever meal prep, compost and chicken scraps.
    Requested two refunds: one from an online pick-up order that was missing some things and one from an item I had purchased that didn’t work out of the box. Both were small refunds but I know those small margins make a difference. Also, I spend less money by using the pick-up line for groceries.
    HUNG my curtains, which has helped at night with the chill factor. It only took me a few minutes and I always chuckle at how long I think about projects rather than just doing them.
    Had a similar realization that ofttimes my faults/failures are more about lack of motivation vs decision making. I’m going to work on this as I see an opportunity to improve.
    A failure this week was eating out twice. Looking back, had I been motivated to cook, I could have afforded to stock up on a little of the meat mentioned above. I haven’t quite forgiven myself just yet. But I will! 😉
    Stood with my back to the sun and let it warm me. I could have spent an afternoon doing only that. But those few minutes were glorious.
    Continued my everyday happiness project, which mainly consisted of small bits of time doing things I enjoy. Spent a portion of my time serving friends and family too.
    Found myself holding my breathe and getting tight in my body here and there. I took mental note and talked myself through those moments and immediately felt relief. Tension and anxiety used to rule me. God willing, I am sincerely glad those are things of the past.
    My family members had some additional accidents and upsets. Together, we got through them through laughter and a crazy amount of sarcasm. My husband was saying a prayer at mealtime and it went something like, “and please bless “A” and her (complete humerus fracture needing surgery) arm, and “M” and his (pulled his shoulder out helping someone move) arm, and “T” and his (dislocated it while swimming) arm, and “C” and his (sprained his ac joint) arm, and “A” and her (concussion) head, and “H” with whatever harm he (seems to manage to stab, split or injure something at the construction site repeatedly) had at work today.” We all got a kick out of the fact that it’s starting to sound very ridiculous. Otherwise, we’d probably feel the despair harshly. ;P
    Grateful for Monday night meals with my kids and grandkids. Cup-filling and chaotic.
    Thanks for the lovely spot to journal and gain insight! I hope all look for ways to be thrifty and cheerful this week. Carry on

    1. Connie L,
      I feel that when I do things that I enjoy that I am happier and have so much more energy for the more mundane things in life that just have to get done. A few things I did was make some Masala Chai and just sit and enjoy it as I talked to my husband. I always put a cardamon pod in my husband’s cup and tell him it is because he is special! I also sat and read with the electric heater on next to me. I thoroughly enjoy it! I also enjoy music, both playing and listening. We went to the library and just read. And last of all, I went out with my husband…not frugal, but fun. (It could be frugal if I picnicked with him.) All those things renew my energy for the things I have to do. When I am happy, I have so much more energy!

  47. I love your pictures of lemons — they’re always so cheerful, and the spot of yellow just cheers up my computer screen 🙂 And I love getting free food from people! I rarely buy much convenience food myself (I know you’re the same way), but it can be super nice to have some on hand. Now that I’m currently pregnant with my 4th, I did purchase a couple frozen pizzas and some chicken nuggets for the kids for those nights when my body just really doesn’t want to cook.

    Here are my frugal wins for the week:

  48. Last week the ignitor in our oven died, and my husband and I (who are as unhandy as they come) took a chance and ordered a replacement part after watching YouTube videos on how to replace it. The part ($20 including shipping) arrived 4 days later, and with the help of said videos, we fixed our oven!! The service call alone would’ve been $150, so this feels like a huge frugal success. Thanks to Brandy and other commenters for the encouragement!

    Also, I’m down to the most concentrated capsule wardrobe (not intentionally) because I really don’t like shopping. I forced myself to look around Goodwill in a spare half hour I had last week, though, and found two jumper dresses (one is more for cold weather, the other is definitely summery). Almost $15 altogether for the two dresses (prices are up at the thrift stores, too), but still a much better deal than other places.

    Nothing else too exciting to report, but looking forward to reading everyone’s frugal bits from the last week!

    1. Natasha,
      Congratulation on fixing your oven! My husband did that too! We were so happy with the savings! Isn’t YouTube great for that!

    2. Natasha – Congratulations on learning a new skill! DIY has, by far, saved us the most money out of anything we do in life. And then you have the increased confidence to tackle another new thing and it just keeps going. Skills are something no one can take away from you and acquiring them makes me that much more prepared for any circumstance. Plus, I often find that I get the chance to use a new skill to help others which makes it even better. Have fun!

  49. There are studies indicating that hibiscus tea can help lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL) as well as lower blood pressure. I really need to get back to drinking it – but I only like it iced and its Winter here in Boston.

  50. My groceries from last week are being bought by my volunteer this week so nothing to report. I saved about $100 by shovelling my own snow – after three storms – rather than lifting I have to push it aside. I gave up after a while yesterday and am so glad I did because a few minutes later a coyote came walking along right where I’d been. I got two very nice coyote photos – when I took the first photo, it heard the click of my shutter release and looked up the driveway right at me (it still was a long way away). I’m going outside to finish the snowpushing job before it snows again tomorrow. The temperature is warming up by the weekend. So nice! Only 58 days approximately until the first mountain bluebirds arrive back in the countryside to the west (first sign of spring). I received an unexpected bill last week so cut back on the sales items for this week’s grocery order. Other than the bill, I spent nothing except for groceries last week. My gp told me I should stay in isolation still — I cannot have the covid bivalent vaccine due to being allergic to one of the ingredients. I will still have to go out next week to pick up my new glasses, get a treatment on my foot and go to the lab to pick up a test. I will be wearing a mask, of course. Fingers crossed!

    1. Starting tomorrow, Safeway (Canada) has apples on sale for $2.99 for a three pound bag. Same with onions. And buy one get one free for fresh U.S. spinach packages. (whether it’s a bargain depends on if the price of the first one is reasonable or inflated). Alas I missed getting the Classico pasta sauce for $3 a jar (on sale last week but my shopper couldn’t go). As I suspected, No Frills bumped up the price to $4.49 per jar. My pantry is very low on it. I’ll be looking
      for alternatives or make a big batch myself. I did manage to stock up somewhat on the egg-free pasta that I can eat. Safeway also has fresh stewing beef on sale for $4.99 per pound – just two weeks ago, I bought it on sale for $5.99 per pound.

      On a non-frugal front, I tried out Panko bread crumbs that I bought on sale. Of course I could have just dried my own bread crumbs but Panko are fluffy and have fewer calories apparently than ordinary bread crumbs. Also I don’t often have bread and never have left-over bread. Anyway, I experimented with using them on chicken thighs and baked it in the oven. Pretty good! and with some fine tuning it will be as good as fried chicken but baked.

      Yesterday, I finally figured out why this year my chickadees and nuthatches seem very aggressive as if dive-bombing us.
      They have never been so tame as to eat out of my hand. Well, one landed on the top of my head, later one landed on my camera lens and so I decided to see if they would eat from the palm of my hand. Well, that did the trick! I ended up having birds landing on my hand to eat. Someone in the neighborhood or in the nearby park must have been doing this so they are used to eat. It is against the bylaw to do this in the park but still some try it. The birds were feeding so heavily that I suspect we are going to have a bad snowstorm.

      I hope everyone has a good week.

      1. I note that Co-op has Classico pasta sauce on sale for 2 for $6.00.
        Other stores have raised the price to $4.49 each.

    2. Coyotes here in the city are getting bolder and bolder! On Monday one was spotted right downtown at the waterfront on Queen’s Quay! There are no ravines around that area – it’s full of condos and the waterfront trail so it came in a long way. Morning walkers filmed it but were smart enough to stay well away!

      1. Coyotes have adapted well to back alleys and garbage. I have coyotes that come through our yard every day, as well as bobcats. We see their tracks just not them (usually).

  51. It was quite a week last week for us. We had issues with grandson’s daycare center which we had really really wanted to be a good placement of him. We got called three times last week, twice told to pick him up. His ‘crimes’ at three included hitting a friend (who had previously hit him that morning ), drinking water that he’d spilled on the table and other typical three-year-old things. Having kept him myself off and on over the past three years I know he is smart and willful but from all I can see he’s very like the three other 3 year olds I’ve had a hand in raising. At the end of the week we withdrew after multiples of talks trying to find suitable solutions to their reasons for sending him home repeatedly. And no I’m not just brushing him up to look good. I have no illusions over my children or grandchildren either one.
    We are currently having to buy groceries about every two weeks. I am over my budget for this month and can say truthfully that it’s because I am buying every good sale on typically used items I can find. I need to be more reasonable obviously. I am going to begin self-correcting.
    I went through Amazon links last week to make a purchase of really well priced items online at Amazon (that will come from next month’s grocery budget) of Augaston Farms dry milk powder in #10 can and Reese’s peanut butter cups that were clearanced priced. I won’t buy candy as a rule but every now and then I will if it’s a decent price. About the milk it is good for 20 years unopened. I am going to try to buy a few things each month to add to my longer term pantry as part of my new budget amount.
    At the grocery we picked up pork sausage at a very good price and eggs (better priced at just over $7 for 18ct this week, though I hate to say better priced at that rate). I looked all over for clearance items but as it was a Saturday there was none. I had hoped to shop during the week but that wasn’t possible.
    I bought iceberg which was reasonable because romaine was stupid high. I figure with adding in carrots, red cabbage, nuts, fruits, etc., I can build a good salad and the nutrition at the same time. On sale this past week was the large party sized frozen trays of lasagna. I’d meant to get those for a family party I was hoping to put together for this month anyway. Lasagna is so good when it’s homemade, but if there are going to be picky children tossing plates of food in the trash, they can toss the sale priced party tray lasagna. The adults will eat it anyway, but it would pain me to see the children toss good homemade lasagna especially when I can’t buy the ingredients cheaper than the party trays. When I got to the freezer section I found I could buy the store brand for $2 a tray cheaper than the name brand. So I got those.
    My daughter-in-law just offered me three jars of spaghetti sauce with meat in them that they won’t eat. I accepted and offered her a bag of the walnut pieces I’d bought from Amazon last month. I know they use these nuts, too. It will be a nice trade.
    We have had quite a season of purchasing items that we need, truly need, but I am at the point I want to just stop buying and sit and wait a while on any further purchases. One purchase that I hadn’t planned to make was a new printer. My husband has a hate/hate relationship with ours because it won’t work with Wi-Fi connection and the heads often dry out between uses. It’s all gotten around simply enough but you can only just take so much fussing inanimate objects. When we recently ran out of ink and we were pricing refills, he noted that a new printer with ink was only $20 more and that future refills would cost $20 less than we must pay now. I said fine, get the new printer. Then our shredder stopped working. Sigh. Oh well, at least this one lasted a number of years.
    I have a cold/allergy thing ongoing at present. I’ve made chicken soup, chicken salad, chili today to put aside for easy meals this week. I have a casserole in the fridge that I made yesterday using items already on hand and already cooked. I put a smaller casserole of same in the freezer. So meals just really need sides and to be heated and served. My gift to me for being sick and caring for a 3-year old in the middle of potty training. I have a goodly supply of cold/flu medications on hand but I am not experiencing any fever with this ailment so I think it might be fairly mild.

    1. Terri C I know it’s not funny but your tale of your little grandchild and crimes just tickled me….. it’s a 3 year old with other children- my gosh seemed like normal kids stuff in my opinion but who am I? Only a nurse who has been working with children over 30 wait 40 years oops
      Sounds like your caring and mentoring is way better. I adored my grandparents and learned so much from them
      Thank you for sharing about your adventures

  52. Jenni from KS, thank you for sharing the video about Jason Brown. Since I’m in NC and also an alumnus of the Univ of NC like Jason, (Go Tar Heels!) I’ve read and viewed several articles/videos of his incredible story and generosity. But I hadn’t seen this one, so thank you for making me (and others) aware. He and his wife are definitely selfless, kind and generous. I agree that it is so inspiring.

      1. Jean, lucky you to grow up in “the Southern part of heaven”. It’s so lovely in Chapel Hill, regardless of the time of year. My husband and I, our son, my sister and her 2 boys all went to UNC, so we bleed Carolina blue here. Only my daughter was the outlier, and she went where her 4 grandparents were located! (UNC Wilmington, but still a huge Heels fan). Now the boys are all living in Durham and see “that other color blue” regularly! Ha. Go Heels as we try to best “that other color blue” this weekend!

  53. Hi my friends. Here is my list for the last 4-5 weeks. Thanks to everyone for posting more regular than I do.
    Last week of December:
     Finally got husband’s 401K moved into my name on December 30. Started the process on August 8. I will now transfer this account to the same company as my 401K and brokerage accounts. After taking over 4 months to get this into my name, I would never leave it with Empower nor would I give them one more penny.
     Did not buy anything (clothes, shoes, home goods, food, junk) on clearance after Christmas.
     Cleaned my mom’s apartment out and brought everything that no one wanted to my house: craft supplies, Christmas decorations, Fenton products, clothes, cleaning supplies, food, pots and pans, dishes, furniture. Will go through all the totes at leisure and decide what to do with them. Furniture went to my daughter-in-law’s behavioral counseling home to help the place feel more like a home for children while they are there.
     Turned keys to apartment in on tome to prevent additional charges for my mom. She will need all her funds for long-term care home.
     Paid annual home insurance – saving the month fees for total of $48.
     Ate all Christmas left over and daily left overs. Only threw away a grapefruit that was given to me and an egg that I dropped. Well, actually the dog cleaned up the egg so it wasn’t a complete loss.
     Took a left over pork roast from the freezer and made 3 meals of BBQ and had brussels sprouts as a side – kept me from eating out.
     Stayed home during the snow storm and sub-zero weather. Luckily, did not loose electricity, but used propane fireplace for heat to try to keep expense down.
     Benge watched Yellowstone again instead of renting movies.
    January 2023! I didn’t think 2022 would ever end. It was a horrible but wonderful year for me all at the same time. I am so grateful for the 2.5 years that I had with my husband after his diagnosis. We shared a lot of conversations, laughs, cries, and love. God is good. It is amazing how rolling over 1 day changes my mood and outlook on life.
     Declined an invitation from my sister to attend a NYE party. Stayed home, saved 30 miles round trip.
     Unsubscribed from all the sales e-mails that seem to creep in during the holidays. If I don’t know it is on sale, I won’t be tempted to buy.
     Fine-tuned my 2023 budget. This will be an ongoing project as I adjust to living singly and as the economy changes.
     Changed my 401(k) contribution amounts for 2023.
     I was striving for a no grocery spend for January. THEN had to order eucalyptus essential oil for my cleaning spray on January 1. Husband died of AML which is caused by exposure to benzene. I am trying to eliminate as many chemicals (cleaning products) as possible in my life going forward.
     Drove my car through the car wash 2 times to remove the dirt and chemicals. I know hand wash is cheaper, but not practical for me right now.
     $981.54 worth of credit card points cashed out for a statement credit.
     Had dental cleaning. Last one was 3 years ago – covid/sick husband. NO CAVITIES. 4 free toothbrushes and 1 free tube of paste. Three of the brushes come with paste on them and I use them when I travel for work.
     Dentist is a 120 mile round trip. While in this city, I stop at Sam’s Club to pick up a few things that they will not ship and stopped at Whole Foods to a few things that I can’t find in my hometown. Everything I bought was on sale! Saved 30%. I eat a high fat and protein/low carb diet. I try to stay away from sugar and gluten as well. It is difficult to find full fat, low sugar, all natural products. Aldi has several healthy options, but Whole Foods has a bigger variety. (So much for no grocery spending in January.)
     Filled up on gas while in the city – $0.30 cheaper than hometown.
     Went to work 3 days. Took lunch all 3 days but ended up eating out 1 day. 1/3 FRUGAL FAIL! Also ate supper out that night.
    Week 2
     Did not eat out for lunch or dinner!
     When I go to bed, I turn the fireplace off and the electric heat on to 62. One night I forgot to turn off the fireplace (thermostat controlled) and accidentally turned the electric thermostat to AC instead of heat. AC made the house so cold that it kicked the fireplace on – both ran all night until I woke up at 5:30. This will be an expensive lesson.
     Rather than make a special trip on Saturday, I stopped at Aldis on the way home from work on Thursday to pick up on sale fruit as well as my salad veggies. Lettuce has come down from $1.89 to $1.39. Other prices I noticed while there but did not buy was eggs $2.89, hot dogs 24 count $3.49, pizza $6.99. But no empty shelves and stocked well.
     Worked from home 1 day saving gas.
     Received a 15% off coupon in my e-mail for thyroid TSH bloodwork at Quest. I have never seen a discount coupon for a lab. I took advantage of it since I have bloodwork every 6 months.
     Paid annual car tax online. $542 (3 vehicles) $14.51 was service charge and $6 for mailing fee. $21 fees is high, but I will not have to take off work, drive to the courthouse, and wait in line. I could have done this on Saturday, but it just isn’t worth it to me. This year I will take the $21 in fees. Next year maybe the decision will be different. I paid by credit card so at least I will get a few points for that.
     Got my first paycheck of 2023. Now that I know what my bring home is after taxes, benefits, and 401K, I know how much I need for expenses and how much can go to savings. I adjusted my transfer to savings so that it is automatic.
    Week 3
     Gas jumped $0.38 per gallon overnight. Ran my gas tank down to 1 gallon and then used points and got $1.00 off per gallon of gas – got as much as possible that my car can hold.
     Aired my tires up to have maximum gas mileage.
     Took all my prescriptions and vitamins/supplements. Added Krill oil at the encouragement of my doctor. Trying to be as healthy as I can be. Being sick is expensive.
     My dog had a swollen jaw so had to take him to the vet – infected tooth. While there, I had them do his wellness check up and annual shots. Saved on having to pay a separate office visit. Worked from home so that I could take my fella to the vet. Saved on gas. Ate at home.
     Coordinated all errands on the way home from work so I didn’t have to come out on the weekend. I live 20 miles from town. Returned two Amazon orders and one Lands End order of things not needed or didn’t work out. Got navel oranges on sale 8 pounds for $5.99. Got 2 bags. It is cool enough that I can leave 1 bag in the garage. This is enough fruit for three weeks. Found 24 ounces of Wright Bacon on clearance for $4.99. Unfortunately, there was only 1 package.
     My birthday was this week. Daughter and sister took me out for dinner on Friday. Wend directly from work to save gas. They paid. The comradery and laughter was priceless.
     Went to plant (work) 4 days this week. Took lunch, water, and snacks.
     Turned water heater off while gone during the day.
     Turned heat off during the day. Weather warm enough that I don’t have to worry about frozen pipes. I just turn the fireplace on when I get home for a fast warm up.
     Bottle fed my son’s 5 lambs while he was out of town. Great stress relief. Son and DIL have 40 lambs – 5 were either rejected by ewe or were too small to be out in the cold.
     Son’s chickens are on strike so had to buy my eggs from a co-worker. She brought me 4 doz unwashed eggs. These are larger than JUMBO eggs. She charged me $3 per dozen. Then apologized because she raised her price from $2.
     Ordered programmable outlet timers. Many things are plugged into outlets and aren’t turned off: internet router, TVs, dish boxes, etc. I am going to plug them into an electrical outlet timer so that they will go off and on on a schedule. Hopefully this will lower electric bill.

    CONFESSION: I love Saturday mornings. I love laying in bed and documenting my finances and net worth in excel (I’m a data geek), document and review my spending for the week, then I read all my favorite blogs and web sites. I had gotten into the habit of having QVC on the TV playing in the background. Well, you know what happens – I GET SUCKED IN. I end up ordering stuff that I do not need. So I am making an effort to have a different program on TV or just have music playing so I don’t order STUFF! Trying to stay off blogs and web sites that promotes savings and good deals. I have enough of everything for 1-2 years. I was on one blog that showed a GREAT deal on toilet paper. I started comparing prices and doing calculations by square inches between that and the brand I usually buy, then my brain kicked in and reminded me that I have 2 years of toilet paper in stock. I GET SUCKED IN!!!!!

  54. I have been concentrating on food purchases and prep. I purchased a turkey breast and smoked it and shaved it for sandwiches. That was successful so I bought a fully cooked ham and did the same. I purchased a 10# chub of ground beef and packed into 1/2 # packages and 10 1/4 # Pattie’s. I have been making homemade bread weekly and started sprouting lentils for salads. Each accomplishment is encouraging. I bought my first new to me range last week and I am enjoying it so much. I saved for a year and it has all the features I wanted, five burners with grill, air fryer and convection. I have been cleaning out my raised beds and greenhouse getting ready for early seed starting. I have been postponing washing some rugs so I can hang them out to dry after our ice storms. I enjoy all the recommendations for books that are shared here. I borrow my books from out library using the Libby and Hoopla apps. We learned yesterday that we will be great grandparents in the fall. So blessed.

  55. Mostly been my stay home, stay frugal usual week. I can smell those beautiful lemons because I have some on the tree too. Nothing smells so fresh and clean like lemons. Your photos are amazing as always! We’ve had a cold snap and it got down to freezing last night, so out came the sheets again to protect that tree. Seems like as soon as they get washed and put away, out they need to come again. At Halloween I got netting lights for the tree, but even though they weren’t marked led, they don’t get warm, so next time I’ll need to make sure the lights say incandescent. So, back to the sheets for now. I keep the thermostat at 68 during the day, which seems too luxurious, but drop it down to 64 from 5-11. During that time I switch to flannel pjs with a robe to stay warm. At 11 I always have it drop to 55, which is as low as it will go. I got a pair of crocs with a gift card, I really need garden boots, but couldn’t find any at thrift shops. These will have to do. I did find one pair of rain boots a size too small, but they were well worn and asking over $15. Inflation is everywhere. The sun came out in full today, with 61 degrees and no wind. Just a glorious day to be thankful for.

    1. I love the idea of incadescent lights in a tree to protect against frost. Someday, I might use lights to protect fruit trees in the spring.

      1. I’m in zone 9b and my friend in zone 10 taught me this. Her whole back fence is lined with fruit trees and she keeps the lights on them year round, turns them on all night when there is a frost warning. She’s been using this method for years, plus the yard looks so pretty when they are lit up.

  56. I attended a quilt class on Saturday. It was $30. but when I went to sign up I was told someone couldn’t go and donated that spot. I got half the rows put together and will work on it this week.
    * About 10 years ago my sister in law gave me tubs of flannel she bought to make baby quilts. It is all baby prints. I sold a lot when we moved 2 years ago and had half a tub left. I cut 6.5 inch squares and pieced a baby quilt top that I will finish tomorrow. I am turning it in Thursday at our quilt guild meeting to donate to charity. I have enough to do a couple more charity quilts throughout the year.
    * I am sorting the freezers and eating up as much of the items as I can. I have so many things I cooked or bits leftover I froze. Some meals: 1. leftover spaghetti sauce just enough for one meal 2. quarter of a smoked pork loin. I sliced it and pan fried it and had leftover peas and green beans, and a rice mix. 3. chicken fajitas with salsa I had frozen. 4. fried venison steaks, peas, mashed potatoes 5. I cooked a tri tip steak ( tough cut) in the instant pot with onion soup mix and then stirred in a gravy packet. Served over rice and made okra. 6. Took the leftover juices, meat, rice, added mixed vegetables and frozen Chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce from a can I only used a couple spoonfuls in a recipe. It was too hot, we could eat it that night, but I threw away leftover soup as it had sat and just made it spicier.
    * At the same time as I use freezer food I added breakfast biscuits with venison sausage, egg, and cheese. I had a bag of lil smokies from Christmas. Publix had grands biscuits for $1.49 so I sliced each biscuit I’m 3rds and made pigs in a blanket. I flash froze them before cooking and put in a ziplock. My husband made venison jerky.
    * I sold a top for $10. It just didn’t fit me right.
    * I’m watching All Creatures Great and Small and The Way Home. And I watch The Waltons every night and am noticing all the quilts, home canning, and paying attention to the references to the Depression.

  57. Got a new vegan cookbook for Christmas written by a well-known danish cook. We are not vegan, but it is interesting to get some new ideas to use less meat and other expensive ingredients. I have started making some the recipes this week, and they have turned out very well – I made winter minestone with fava beans and dried peas a couple of days ago, and today I might try out gnocchi made with Jerusalem artichokes. Some of the recipes call for ingredients that are expensive or hard to get, bur I’m practicing the art of substitution 🙂 Also try to use items we have already instead of buying. Lemon juice instead of lime juice, ordinary flour instead of rice flour, apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar etc. So far everything has turned out good!

    A friend of mine takes care of the green spaces that belong to her apartment building. She showed me around the place some days ago – and I spotted a big laurel tree in one of the corners in the back yard. I think it was about 4 meters tall (13 feet)! Normally laurels can not survive the danish winter, so I was very surprised. She said it was because of the sheltered climate between the buildings. They actually have to prune it a lot so it doesn’t get too big! And I can have as much bay leaves as I want – they don’t know what to do with it! She gave me a big branch, and the smell is just incredible when fresh – nothing like the dried stuff you can buy in the shops. So now I have a supplier of free and fresh bay leaves 🙂 My friend was so glad to see how happy I was with what was just a problem to them… I might try to make a branch root when the weather warms up – it must be a quite hardy variety after all.

    Hope you will all have a nice week!

    1. Cam, when we moved to our house a long time ago, a friend (who knows so much about everything!) was walking around our yard and pointed out a bay laurel tree to me. I had no idea what tree it was or that it produced “bay leaves”. Since then, I’ve had an organic supply of bay leaves at my disposal. One Christmas, I collected and dried them. I put some in a small bag and attached it to a wooden spoon to give as small gifts to friends. They were frugal gifts but well received.

      1. Oh, your own bay laurel tree, how nice! The only ones I have seen before this one were in pots on the windowsill! The presents sound very nice, what a good idea. If I get a lot of bay leaves from my friend I might try to dry them for gifts as well!

  58. These are a few of the new money-saving things I have either learned or am changing to help face rising prices.

    *Every Wednesday morning I check the newly posted online grocery sale papers. After I choose what I need, I plan my week to be able to stop by the different stores while doing errands. I make sure there will be enough time the following day to handle the canning, dehydrating, or whatever preparations are needed. Two of my sons who live in other states are frugal. So to help them out, I also check the grocery stores in their areas. I load the coupons to their accounts and then text the sale items to their phones. They choose whether or not to make the purchases. Son number three who is not frugal at all (sigh) uses my Kroger card and I am able to load coupons for him. He never thinks about it nor looks at his receipt but at least I know he has saved something (sigh again).

    *My husband and I do errands together now to save gas. He drops me off in front of the stores so I can rush in to grab the loss leaders and do a quick check of the clearance racks. If I had to park at the end of the lot, walk all the way to the back of the store, and then carry groceries back to my car, I wouldn’t bother. When I get back in the car I share whatever treasures I have found and we celebrate. (Every little bit counts!)

    *My husband has always wanted to eat out while running errands since it might take a long time. He doesn’t think it is fun anymore. We have either spent so much money we felt like we were being gouged, or the food quality was so bad it wasn’t edible, or the service was subpar, or we had to drive a long distance because we are running out of restaurant choices. I always make lunches for myself but finding something quick and easy to prepare for him that he would like better than a restaurant has been impossible. I have found it. I open a can of homemade chile, put it into bowls, heat them up to boiling, wrap them with cloth napkins in a lunchbox, and they stay hot until we are ready. That has made him happy!

    *I have learned to can chicken with the bones. I read the flavor would be better so I tried it on chicken legs and it worked great. The meat is moister and since it is cooked with the bone, there is more flavor. The first batch I overstuffed into regular mouth jars and then had difficulty digging the chicken out with a fork. The next batch had fewer legs and was put in wide-mouth jars. It worked much better. If you dump the meat out of the jar on a plate, it is so tender it will fall off of the bone. It is possible to debone the meat in a few seconds. I was also able to recover more meat because I could pick out the difficult small pieces that stick tightly to the bone. Legs go on sale very cheaply on occasion and I plan on loading up when that happens again. I haven’t tried leg quarters yet so don’t know how they will fit in a jar.

    *My garden was wiped out when the polar vortex storm hit last month. The garden provided at least one meal every day for us through the winter and I relied on it heavily. It has affected my food budget massively and knocked the wind out of my sails. It has required me to adapt. I am having to think and plan carefully. Thank you to everyone who comments. The suggestions have been very helpful.

    December’s Garden: http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2022/12/decembers-garden-2022.html
    January’s Garden: http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2023/01/nothing-to-see.html

  59. Brandy, those lemon photos are scrumptious! I love folks sharing/ giving food because they know you will use it!
    My posts are for the last two weeks. It seems there is a common theme of folks trying to eat down the freezer and pantry stores, I have been working on that too! I had free dates and made some cocoa larabars, they were gone too fast. I had an old jambalaya mix and made that twice with home made broth. I had some old apples and made applesauce for two different church functions. Saved the cores and started a batch of ACV. My DIL gave me two pumpkins and I got the first cooked up and puréed. With it I made some pumpkin banana and kale smoothies for lunch. Then I made some pumpkin applesauce fruit leather with the leftover applesauce. We babysat the grands one night and my daughter fed us, and another afternoon I watched them till dinner time and she sent me home with a meal, including her lovely sourdough! I got some bread, pimento cheese and a little bit of pineapple that was getting thrown out at my work.
    I air dried all laundry
    I am reading all books from the library and trying to find the recently published gardening books to learn more.
    One day I cut up all the Christmas envelopes to make to do lists. The envelopes tend to be thicker and make great lists.
    My car wouldn’t budge one morning before work, I called triple AAA and we have free towing. They fixed a wire that had broken that required a lot of diagnostic, but it is an older car and the repairs are still cheaper than new car payments!
    We are having soup several times a week. I got one of the turkeys that Gardenpat mentioned for .49 lb and will cook it tomorrow! So there will be lots of meat to put up and bones for broth.
    It is cold and wet here in NC, and more rain is forecast. I keep reminding myself that spring is coming and the rain will be a blessing! I hope you all have a good week!

  60. It’s been a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    My neighbor continues to babysit for me when I go to campus. She’s more affordable than a nanny or daycare would be, and doesn’t mind me dropping baby off for a few hours here and there. I probably couldn’t afford to work if I had to pay for full-time childcare.
    One child got to go to a bowling and arcade birthday party. I gave the birthday girl some 90% off clearance bath bombs, lip gloss, lotions, etc. from Kroger. There were a few snowflakes on the packaging, but no big deal.
    I walked on the track during my oldest son’s basketball practice while pushing the stroller and the other kids read or played on the playground.
    I listed a few more items on Mercari and Facebook Marketplace. Cash in, junk out!
    I returned some items to Goodwill (for store credit) that they kids weren’t going to wear. It’s only $1.99/item (that I paid), but small amounts add up.
    I called the dentist about a bill that turned out to (unfortunately) be correct. My portion (after insurance) is $838 for the kids’ and my cleanings and X rays. I don’t remember it ever costing this much.
    I used a card I already had to write a thoughtful note and made a homemade treat for my friend’s birthday.
    I skipped grocery shopping, since we had a busy weekend. Meals got a bit creative, but no one went hungry.
    For my 10 year old son, I gave him a gift I bought at Goodwill. It was just what he wanted, but I paid $3.99 instead of the $29.99 it sold for.
    I bought gas at Sam’s, the cheapest around here. My membership is about to expire, though, and I think I’ll wait a while before I renew.
    Giant pummelos were in the markdown produce bin, .50/each. I bought several; they’re tricky for the kids to peel alone, but very good!
    I got some kind, encouraging texts from an old friend, she and I knew each other in high school.
    It’s interesting to read about the activities of others; I sometimes feel like I’m stuck in a cycle of dishes, diapers, nursing a baby, and trying to keep up my kids on a tight budget, while trying to juggle a job. I know that someday, I’ll go to the bathroom alone, sleep through the night, and not juggle bills so that everyone gets what they need. Maybe then I’ll miss these days!

    1. You certainly have your hands full! I cannot imagine how you manage it all but it certainly sounds as though you do an amzing job.

    1. Laura, thank you for sharing this! Last year my ginger did beautifully in my garden and I am anxious to harvest this year to make a ginger bug!

  61. My big frugal win was calling my bank to get my savings account switched over to one with a higher interest rate. We opened it several years ago when the “best” rate we could get anywhere was something like .5 %. But it hasn’t gone up at all, so we converted it to a variable rate savings account that makes almost 4%.

    It’s been too wet all this week to hang any laundry outside, so I’ve just done a little at a time and hung it on hangers inside. My husband asked why I haven’t yet bought a drying rack, and I told him it’s because I can do without just fine! Today and tomorrow will be warmer so I’ll get all the laundry caught up again.

    I ordered some clothing items online, and by going to the sellers’ own websites instead of using Amazon I ended up saving about 20% because the prices were lower and I could use coupon codes. The item I bought on Amazon (a bra) I was able to get subscribe & save, so an extra 5% discount by waiting a couple of weeks.

  62. Those lovely lemons! 😊

    This past week has been so challenging in every way: mentally, emotionally, physically, financially—you name it. That said, we have been granted another day to love our family and friends and to experience life—even if it’s not very pleasant at the moment.

    I will pray and continue on, implementing all the useful things that we learn from each other each week. This site has often become a refuge in a world that is increasingly overwhelming in the challenges being presented.

    I do hope we get some sun soon. I believe January had one day of sun here! Sunshine makes everything better!

    Wishing everyone a healthy and productive week! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

    1. Cheryl B hope this week is better and you get a little break. Here it is safe to share and people really care if we are struggling and sometimes it just helps to drop off the burden for awhile- some days one of us is stronger and can help- each of us has unique abilities.
      Thinking of you hoping you are able to rest and restore

      1. Thank you for your kindness. We all have our “sack of chains” as a friend once said to me.

        We are doing much better, especially since the sun has come out! I am blessed to have such a great husband and wonderful children. And I am so grateful to have this community!

        I so appreciate your reaching out to me. Means so much. Take care. 🥰

  63. Hello from the freezing Midwest! Best money saver is staying inside and not going anywhere. I cut my husband’s hair and hadn’t had mine cut in years. I couldn’t take the weight anymore, so went to my old hairdresser, not the ones I used for my children’s weddings (chosen by them). I expected to pay upwards of $60.00…my hair is super thick, long and wavy. It took her an hour and she only charged me $20! I gave her a generous tip and love my new barely shoulder length style. It feels so light. Only bought items at grocery store that were loss leaders, and only bought a couple of them this month. I picked up a free Bob Evans sausage link pack that came in my coupons for the month from Meijer. I also used the $1.00 off Dietz and Watson turkey breast and only paid $.08 for the slices I asked for. I love their deli meat, but no way am I paying upwards of $9.00/lb.! The vinyl on the hinged lid to my center console in my car had split and, while I could live with it, I figured it would only get progressively worse. My husband looked them up and they were $800! No way! He found a used one for $40.00 and it was in excellent condition; he installed it himself. I have been decluttering slowly and listing things to sell. It is something I procrastinate on and I am not sure why because I truly don’t want all this stuff (much came from my inlaws home), so I have been setting simple goals to attain. We are eating almost exclusively from home pantry and freezer. I often meet up with friends and three times we have decided to meet at someone’s home and have a snack and drink there instead of a restaurant. I literally choked when I went to lunch with a friend at a favorite restaurant. I thought the meal was $23 (yikes, but I rarely go there and I can get four meals out of that one meal). It was $29!!!! For a pot roast, root veggie and mashed potato entree!!! That won’t be happening again. It still is bothering me! After looking over our spending history last year, I realized our eating out bill was way more than what I would like. It was much lower than previously, but I can still improve on that. We don’t go out much by ourselves, but we do go out with friends, and I do see my friends as well. Choosing to go to each other’s houses or going the less expensive options is what I am focusing on. One of my dear friend’s birthdays is coming up and there is a small group of us going out for that. I noticed when we had dinner at her house that the frame of her painting of the Last Supper was coming apart. I have the same painting and my frame is in great shape, but my glass broke (during storage). My husband removed the glass and we are going to give her the painting sans glass and she is going to put her glass in our frame and will have a new one to hang! I no longer have a place to hang this painting as it is large and she is thrilled! Finding pleasure in what we already have been blessed with.

  64. Lemons looks so good. I been just buying groceries that are on sale or not going just using my panty and freezer. I been get duck eggs from a co-worker for free, I make extra pies or cookies and I usually give it to her. My Anniversary was on January 31st we celebrate by going to Olive Garden I had a gift card. My son goes to library and he gets books for me. Hope everyone has great week.

  65. A heatwave has been declared. Humidity and temperature are high. We have been to the library to enjoy the air-conditioning and borrow books, staying for a lengthy period of time during the middle and hottest part of the day. We are avoiding going outside during the hottest parts of the day. We will go back to the library over the weekend as we do not have air-conditioning at our house. I am hoping to stay for four hours on Saturday and Sunday during the middle part of the day. They have a childrens play space with comfortable seating surrounding it, computers, free wifi, TV in the childrens area and coloring activities.

    We are making lots of mango smoothies (with mango we harvested) and I am adding ice to make it extra cold.

    Food has been light and included homemade fruit popsicles, salad, fish, cous cous, quinoa, toast, wraps, sandwiches, egg, vegetables, biscuits and some gifted lollipops for the children.

    School has enforced no playing outside due to the heat.

    Have a great week.

  66. -We have kept baking sourdough and muffins. We made fruit bars with some of the last free apples from last fall and frozen mulberries. Made homemade yogurt, copycat “larabars” and granola. Bought fruit on sale, clearance salad mix and raw cashews. Also made ham and bean soup with a frozen ham bone and dried beans and a venison roast. The Instant pot has been busy this week.
    -I’ve continued walking daily outdoors, even in single digits. We started 1000 hours outside last year and invested in better winter gear for the kids (balaclavas, good waterproof mittens, ski goggles) and were thankful to have all of it on hand. We keep putting on more layers instead of turning up the heat any more.
    -Sold a few things on eBay and marketplace, which always motivates me to list more stuff. Passing along some kids clothing to friends.
    -We were treated to a dinner out for my husbands company. Enjoyed a lovely dinner and date night. Have not had any other meals out or coffee.

  67. I enjoyed a very lovely vacation to the tropics by myself. Sugar cookie will be away for ten more days and I look forward to her returning home. On my trip I paid $10.00 for a shuttle back to the airport versus $40.00 for my regular method. This was a nice tip from my Facebook group. I spent no other money outside of the prepaid trip. I’ve booked another excursion in March for sugar cookie and myself. This was a deal a travel agent found me. 7 days for $400.00. We have been traveling for the last 3 years. Before that it was just not financially feasible for me to vacation. My health diagnosis is not encouraging. At some point in the near future I am unlikely to be able to travel. So for now, the girl and I are making memories. I’m not able to do anything in life unless it’s frugal. So even though we may cruise three or even four times a year , it’s at the cheapest budget possible. Never take your life for granted. You never know what is in store for you. I was quickly able to fill the refrigerator up with lovely eggs and vegetables. This week’s dumpster diving expedition brought me 4 large cases of restaurant take out bowls. I’m too frugal to buy paper plates , so these are quite a treat. I hand picked a few selected items. Zip lock bags and aluminum foil. This week , I need to buy salt. Maybe bleach. It’s ironic that over 2.5 years of diving I rarely buy anything. I picked up new with tags doc Martin boots for my college daughter. We will be celebrating Xmas, her birthday and valentines day when Sugar cookie comes home. I just brought home a ton of birthday party goods. All lavender , her favorite color. Have a good week everyone.

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