I harvested lemons, parsley, snow peas, and lettuce from the garden. We are eating salad daily from the garden.

I sowed seeds for zucchini and zinnias in the garden. I don’t usually sow zinnias this early, but my thermometer says the soil is warm enough, so I decided to try a few. I usually wait to sow zucchini until July to avoid squash bugs, but I have decided I will try sowing now, and then again later if the plants die.

My husband found me a kneeling pad for the garden on sale at Harbor Freight for $4.99. We compared prices from three places for one and this is as thick as the one that was $24.99 elsewhere. I am working on the beds while sitting on concrete, so I can sit or kneel on the pad.

About a month ago, I went to mow the lawn and found that our hand-me-down electric lawn mower wouldn’t start. We then put gas into the gas mower, and it wouldn’t start either. We had an old-fashioned reel mower that the previous owner had left that I had always wanted to keep just in case which we had used a few times in the past. My husband made some adjustments to it to lower the blades and I have been using it to mow the lawn every week. I’d like to see if we can get the electric mower repaired, but in the meantime, I will be using the reel mower. It’s a bit of a workout. It’s difficult to use on the rounded parts of the grass, and it can’t do the edges well, which is why I would like to fix the electric mower, but in the meantime, no other resources are used.

I continued to use shower warm-up water, collected in a bucket, to water my potted plants. I also began to add drip irrigation to several pots, which will save me time in the heat watering them. It was 94F/34C on Saturday.

I made four loaves of banana bread. I buried the banana peels in the garden. I buried other kitchen scraps as well to improve the soil, including cucumber peels, bruised bits of apples, and apple cores. (You can earn more about trench composting here). The better the soil, the better my harvest will be. I ordered more worms on sale from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm to add to the garden as well to improve the soil. I also spread more manure on the soil. I can see where some things are growing (like in the circle above) and others germinate but have not grown (in the other circle, for example–planted the same day but with next to no growth). Improving the soil is high on my priority list; without it, there won’t be a good harvest, or even a harvest at all, as some places in the garden have seeds sprouting but not growing past that stage.

I made lemon pepper and lemonade from our lemons.

We combined errands to save gas and time.

I read three e-books from the library on my phone using the free Libby app. All were excellent. The first two were WWII books: Her Secret War and The Librarian of Saint-Malo. The last was The Irishman’s Daughter, a book set during the potato famine in Ireland. The last really made me think about the importance of diversity while planting, which is something I always strive to accomplish.

What did you do to save money last week?

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213 Comments

  1. Thanks for the bunny mold and melting chocolate links 🐇 I ordered to make for Easter 🐣

    My frugal accomplishments:
    Enjoyed lunch at my mom’s when visiting.
    Was also treated to lunch by my dad after church (as usual). Made sure to use up leftovers. Was excited to find 4 clearance bacon and cracked pepper pork tenderloins.

    Found some cute and frugal gifts at the thrift store for upcoming birthdays.

    Exercised for free at home (YouTube) and took walks to improve my health.

    Buy Nothing Group: jar of instant coffee, cute set of 3 general store style storage jars still in box, plastic Adirondack chair, pantry items: black beans, salsa, taco sauce, rice, mashed potatoes, etc…a whole bag full!

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  2. Not a very interesting week this week. Hubby was not very well this week, not covid ,so we have not spent anything except the standing orders. We had a hospital appointment but we did this on the phone saving 4 bus and 2 train tickets to London about £100. We have the dentist tomorrow morning, there are no NHS dentists so this is expensive, we pay monthly on direct debit. I got some more hearing aid batteries from the NHS hearing clinic free.
    The council tax bill has arrived but it has only gone up £8 a month so not to bad.
    I have been using the unusually warm weather and cold wash program to wash all the curtains and the rest of the spare bedding before the price raise on the 1st April. It was all dried on the line
    I have finished the weeding in the garden so we are already to go, lets hope for a productive year. I have already used up all the rain water in the water butts so I could do with some rain, some is forecast for this week. I have cut the lawns. I will have to cover some plants as hail is due on Thursday. There is a BBC program called Country File, I don’t know if you can get it on any of your TV services, they were talking about soil health and how to build it up this week. It was very interesting.
    I have read 2 books and so has hubby all from the e books in the library.
    Stay safe
    Chris

    1. Hi Chris,
      I’m sorry to read your husband has not been well. I’ve always wondered what price people pay for commuting into
      London by train? I am a keen watcher of Escape to the Country and have always wondered about people who are moving to the country who wish to commute to London. Are there no NHS dentists just in your area or generally?

      1. Hi
        My sil commutes to London and lives in the country and travels 40 miles each day it costs him about £4000 a year. The whole of the south east of England is a commuter area, not everyone who works in London could live there and to be honest I can’t believe people live there. It noisy dirty and the air quality is terrible. Dentists are scarce all over the country, most are private, an NHS dentist are few and far between.

  3. This has been a busy quilting week for our little business. Quilt #235 came in, got quilted up on Lenni and picked up by it’s 86 years young creator for a great grandson who is transitioning to a “big boy” bed! I love the lime green Minkee she used for backing! https://pin.it/3Xu4cSq and https://pin.it/4v3wRKd. I was thinking there was going to be a lull in work for me, understandable with the rising costs of food, fuel, utilities, etc. But, out of the blue, just as I sent that quilt home with my client, a previous client called and asked if I could bring 3 quilts over for me to quilt up on Lenni! So here is Quilt #236- made from a panel she bought and then added border designs around! I love it! https://pin.it/1lFHdLG . Then her next one- Quilt #237- https://pin.it/7maHnRZ and her last one, a queen size quilt for her bed, will be finished today! These will help offset budget expenses just as taxes and lawyer costs come in this month. I’m also in the process of making a king size quilt for one of my daughters who is getting married the beginning of June.

    Regarding the horseradish I harvested last week, I kept the crowns that were left after I cut the roots off and put them in water to see if they might regrow. Several friends had offered varied opinions about whether I could get a new crop of horseradish by then planting these. My friends were equally split on their answers, so I did some online research and found out that the crowns could indeed be used to start a new crop. Here’s what they look like one week later! The green leaves at the top have “greened up” and tiny roots are coming out all over the cut ends!! https://pin.it/2DtMGOE. I’m excited!! Free horseradish!! Btw- if you click on that link to see horseradish, you’ll notice that their little “planters” of water are the bottom portion of our gallon milk jugs left over after I cut off the remainder to become my mini-greenhouses in the garden to protect my broccoli plants!

    We had chilling winds and then snow flurries this weekend (by Wednesday, it will be back up to 72 F degrees!) so we went out the afternoon before and covered our Aprium tree which was fully in bloom. It looks slapdash but hopefully it saved some of our fruit this summer! https://pin.it/npCQwTy. And our 2 year old nectarine tree, that we bought at Krogers for $12, has buds all over it so I’m hoping that we may get nectarines this year!!

    I bought more $1.99/pound BLSL chicken breast on Saturday at Fresh Thyme (sale good through this Wednesday with no limits). I have freezer space and this may be the best price we see for a while! When Hubs went to Sams club for something this week, I had him check for price on chicken breast and the coolers were completely empty, so I thought it would be wise to just buy the 15 pounds on Saturday at FT!

    I made muffins from my mixes twice this week and 11 year old GD is coming over tomorrow (her Spring Break) to make a batch of muffin mix (among other mixes) to take home! She is enjoying cooking and baking at home and is happy to make more DIY mixes. We made Brownie Mix, Cookie Mix and chocolate syrup mix the last time she came over!

    We took our Required Minimum Disbursement (or is it Distribution?) from our IRA this week and again had some of it taken as a Qualified Charitable Distribution. What that means, for any retirees, is that we assign some, or all, of this required amount that IRS makes us take out of our IRA each year (so they can tax it) to our Church as tithing. A direct deposit or check is sent directly to the Church without us ever touching it so no taxes are owed. All perfectly legal (our Church even has a video explaining how it’s done). And it reduces the amount of tax that would be taken. We’ve been doing it for 3 years now. The only caveat is that you have to be 70 or older when you do it. But for us, it was well worth it!

    I planted my Swiss chard, cabbage and broccoli starts before the weather changed this week, but everything looks like it made it through. I still need to plant potatoes and more onions, but I can feel the excitement and promise of Spring coming!!

    We feel incredibly blessed as we have had enough of what we need! We always teased years ago that we would feel so lucky if, when we retired, we would have enough to pay our basic living expenses with some extra to buy “materials and supplies” to build/repair home/garden projects that we wanted to do! And that’s what we got!! If we hired someone to do all the projects we have done our want to do, we couldn’t possibly afford it! But, by careful researching/procuring and putting in our own labor, we are seeing many projects getting done!! The first 2 (of 3) replacement sides for our garden beds got done. We work for about 5-6 hours and then take a break from it until another day! https://pin.it/5WbP5ze.

    I was able to donate 3 quilts from my gift cabinet to go to Ukrainian relief effort in Poland. 2 twin size, 1 child size. What a blessing it was to have those ready to go!

    I hope you and your readers are finding ways to save money and also find contentment in what we do have and what we are able to do!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. I really related to your shorter work day now that you are older. I’m in my 70s, husband is almost 80. We can squeeze out just a couple of hard work hours each day. More if the project is non physical. We usually use the afternoons for enjoyment and naps. We have been working on garden plumbing job for well over two weeks and have had eight trips to the hardware store. We (mostly me) have had to learn to be happy with “there’s always tomorrow.”

      1. Anne- Even though we can’t work as long on the heavy physical projects before needing a break, the one thing Hubs says is best about retirement is that “every day is Saturday except for Sunday!” So we are spoiled by having each day available rather than only a Saturday or holiday when we want/need to work on a project! 😉

      2. I appreciate the slower pace in my older age. Preparing well ahead of time and thoroughly make a huge difference. My daughter and I had a really nice vacation and we were as frugal as possible. Up until the very last moment we had saved money. But things went quickly bananas and we were put in a really unsafe situation at the airport. I ended up buying tickets on another airline and flying home at a great expense. I had to call a friend to handle the transaction but am grateful for that friendship. I immediately refunded his $900.00 loan and am relieved to be back. I will keep my extra spending money saved to recoup the loss I’ve taken. I’ve made a basic meal plan and will utilize any foods we collect this month. I’ve made a list of items , that I generally skip because I don’t have freezer or refrigerator space. I will use any butter to make ghee. I’ve started a sourdough starter that I will feed einhorn flour. We will make bone broth. Whole milk will be used for Greek yogurt , paneer, cottage and ricotta cheese. I will peel citrus and add peels to a gallon of vinegar. I’ve flipped breaker to dryer and have a key lock.on the laundry room. The box fans have been brought out. I’m going to spend some time reading to see if I’m missing any tips to repurpose my food items from diving. I was happy to trade out 4 books on our cruise for 4 newer release books. Today was the first day that I have seen pollen out on our car. I’m prepared to attack it hard. I’m gathering all.our supplies to treat our allergies. In order to save a few dollars ,I’m requesting our prescriptions from the insurance mail order company. It usually is not a smooth transaction but overall my unexpected expenses this week were high. The engine light is on so I am buckling down and preparing for a shock. Meanwhile ,the cherry tree is in its one week of full glory. Its incredibly beautiful.

    2. Gardenpat,
      My husband always said he wanted to have “one dollar more than he needed”. In the beginning, we were lucky if we had that! Now that we’re both retired, we feel very blessed, too. We have everything we NEED. While walking with a friend, we both agreed that wishing is kind of a mental waste. Instead of ‘wishing’ put effort into making it happen. We’re always further ahead.
      Debbie

      1. Momsav (Debbie) – And that is what brings such contentment! Not looking at other things and feeling deprived or envying! I’m sure the simple things that we have/do that bring us joy make other people shake their heads and aren’t something they would enjoy. Everyone has to define that for themselves. But, oh, how we are really loving our retirement!! Staying home a lot, puttering in the yard or working on a home reno project! For us, nothing better! 😉❤️

    3. Pat, it’s Required Minimum Distributions. I’m all in favor of tithing, but I THINK your strategy for not having this income taxed is dependent on itemizing deductions. I am not tax-savvy enough to explain this (maybe Nancy in E. Washington can do so), but if this works like taxes in general, AMDs are added to your income, and charitable contributions (which includes tithes) are subtracted–but only if you itemize. You would only itemize if the total of your deductions is greater than the standard deduction, and then only the amount that exceeds the standard deduction would be deductible. Nancy, is this right? We don’t have mortgage interest and haven’t itemized since the standard deduction was increased a few years ago, so forgive me if I come off sounding like I actually know something, LOL. Something in the idea of avoiding taxes on RMDs by diverting the income to tithing just doesn’t ring true. That said, I think religious contributions are worthwhile, whether or not you can deduct them from taxes.

      I’ve been working on creating the tax basis for the vacation home we sold last year. I had lots of questions and I think I finally have all of the answers. Because we contracted the house ourselves, and also did a lot of the work, I have a whole file of 10-year-old receipts, vs. a single document from the title company that shows what we paid for the house (basis). Also, we discovered sweat equity (and we have a lot of it) doesn’t benefit us at all. My husband thought we should pay someone to do our taxes this year, but I pointed out the hard part would be establishing a basis, and we have to do that ourselves.

      My husband had surgery for an aneurysm two weeks ago and is still being treated at the wound clinic for something else, so our lives are still pretty quiet. He hasn’t gone anywhere or done anything since before Thanksgiving. I got out more last week than usual. Even though the cost of fuel was high (but the price has gone down to $4.05 in northern Idaho), it was worth it to have places to go and people to see…as long as I don’t do it too often! I love my home, but the walls were closing in.

      Our stove and microwave stopped working Sunday. We did some troubleshooting and are pretty sure a circuit needs replacing. My husband has done this a few times before in other houses, but he isn’t physically able to handle it this time. A friend is dropping by this morning. If he can’t fix the problem, we’ll have to hire an electrician. Keep your fingers crossed!

      I used $19.67 in Office Max Rewards that were set to expire at the end of the month. Guess what I got? Tax software! I earned the rewards with 100% battery rebates before Christmas.

      Our friend Colton soldered a broken wire in a microphone for our daughter. Wouldn’t let us pay him. We couldn’t find anywhere to have it repaired and it would have cost at least $60 to replace.

      I bought petunia seeds and started them in the kitchen window. The seeds are really tiny! The packet was $1.99 and I only sowed about half of the seeds. If they all come up, I’ll be planting quite a few containers. If they don’t…not so many, LOL. I plan to add drip lines to the containers this year, wish me luck. Note: I bought my seeds at NW Seed & Pet in Spokane, which has a whole roomful of seeds. If you are planning to plant flowers from seed, don’t wait any longer to buy your seeds, or you won’t get them. I was at both of their stores, and they had lots of vegetable seeds (although picked over), but the flower seed racks were almost empty.

      Brandy, my heart really goes out to you for having to add manure/compost to the soil you just replaced. Besides the incredible time, work and money already spent, now you have to spend more time, work and money. It’s one thing to spread more product, quite another to dig up the plants and replant them. Last fall I had to add soil and compost to just a small raised bed of strawberries, and let me tell you, it was a job of work. I can’t even imagine having to do it in every single bed. I love your ornamental cabbages and purple pansies together. I plan to alternate purple pansies and Buttercrunch lettuce in a flower bed this year.

      1. I’ve done it already twice in several beds, plus we added manure to start, but there are some places where nothing is growing still. I added a bunch of worms to the back circle and topped it with more manure last week, but I am going to start trench composting in that bed to help feed the worms.

      2. Maxine- There is a special rule called a “Qualified Charitable Distribution” where you can take your required minimum distribution and have it set up to directly go to a qualified charity. You must be very careful and follow all the rules. The funds must never come into your possession is one of them. You don’t claim the income on your tax return, and you do not get the deduction on your tax return. So many people are no longer able to itemize deductions with the large increase in the standard deduction. However, be sure to check with your financial advisor, or whomever handles your IRA to assure you are doing this correctly. And it is only for required minimum distributions – so if you are under RMD age and take a distribution, this is not a benefit you are able to use. I am not giving anyone advice, but do think it might benefit some individuals to look into this further.

        1. I knew you would know the answer! Thank you for clarifying. Without knowing there is a specific rule, it didn’t make sense.

      3. This wasn’t frugal, but I just have to report–one of my resolutions this year was to declutter my home, which I basically accomplished in January (took the whole month). Last week, we bought a new sectional for the living room. Because of its size, I had to dispose of the old sofa and two chairs. I gave the sofa, a behind-the-sofa table and my mom’s Stiffel lamp to a friend who just built an apartment in her basement. I donated the chairs and a small box of miscellaneous clutter to the thrift store. I am stoked! I probably could have sold the sofa, chairs and lamp, but I’m just happy to pass it all on to people who need it…and to have it gone, gone, gone!

      4. Maxine- I appreciate your concern! Actually, we have not been itemizing our deductions for several years now since it’s just the two of us and even the last 4 years of our mortgage (before we paid it off), the interest paid was less than $340 for the year. And now for 2-1/2 years, it’s been paid off completely.
        With the RMD, it is taxed as income for us according to our financial advisor, so it is to our advantage to make our QCD (that we would have made regardless) using some of that distribution. Maybe it’s not that way for some, but we researched it thoroughly and once Hubs was 70-1/2, it was allowed for us to do it. We make few, if any, financial moves without thoroughly researching ourselves and consulting with our trusted financial advisor. We aren’t giving just for the tax break, however. We are giving the amount we would normally have given. It’s just a bonus not to have to pay tax on that amount as “income” on our tax return.

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    4. Dear Gardenpat,
      You have given me hope at just the right time! I have been worried over how to send a retirement account directly to Church for tithing, but this is the first time I’ve learned about the video. Could you send the link, please? It only makes sense to do it this way!
      I read all of you friends every week, take notes, and pass on what I can to those who need the info. This particular method of tithing might well be of benefit to some of my local Sisters.
      Thank you!
      Shirley Lenz in S. Oregon

      1. Shirley Lenz- Here is the link : https://philanthropies.churchofjesuschrist.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/ira-qcd. It was hard for me to find when I went looking (I am not as tech-savvy. 🥴 So, I asked Hubs and he went to his file where he had the link saved! (He is SO organized! Lol! ) Hope this helps. Again, there are certain qualifications as far as age, etc. so make sure it works for your specific circumstance.
        The other interesting thing is that you get a receipt directly from Church (LDS) headquarters that does not show up on your tithing settlement records with your Ward. Our Bishop hadn’t heard of it before when we showed him our official receipt and called his parents to suggest it to them!

    5. GardenPat,
      I just love the #257 quilt. It’s so nice that you have a business that you enjoy doing that makes extra money, too. The horseradish growing is interesting. Have you tried making horseradish jelly? We used to live where horseradish was grown commercially, and we bought the jelly a couple of times. It was a beautiful pale green color and not bad flavored.
      Elizabeth H.

      1. ElizabethH- I will have to look for a recipe for Horseradish jelly unless you already have one to share! I will be planting my newly sprouted horseradish crowns this week into another half of a 55 gallon barrel we had.

        I always get the best ideas from Brandy and all of you who comment!! Going to check out horseradish jelly! 🎉👍

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  4. Brandy thank you for sharing about making your soil better. This is going to be the 4th year I have gardened. We have always just used the dirt, as is, in our back yard. My produce has not been liked others in my area. So this year I am caring for our dirt. I am going to test the soil and add fertilizer as it needs. I am also going to add compost. I went to Lowe’s this past week and discovered compost is not that expensive and purchased some. My garden is only 4×6 square feet.

    Thank you to the readers who mentioned the new Call the Midwife episodes are airing in the US.

    Last week I planted snow peas in the garden for the first time. The seeds are from 2019 so I am going to see if they germinate this week and if not replant. I was also really excited when my husband came across a video that raspberry baby cake bush can be grown in a pot!! When I grew up my neighbor had raspberry plants and we were able to eat the raspberries that came into our yard. There is nothing like fresh raspberries! I discovered Tractor Supply sold the raspberry bushes for $9.99. I was wanting two and they had two plants at our location!! I went to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and and was able to purchase 2 10 gallon pots. I went to Lowe’s to get the soil and compost and peat moss. I took my daughter along. The cashier gave my daughter two packets of tomato seeds. And hopefully next year I will have fresh raspberries.

    Biggest savings last week was the ability to take down our dead tree!! I have been waiting 5 years for this to happen. We found a local tree company that gave us a 40% discount if we took care of the wood making the price affordable to us. The dead tree is down, and we have sawdust, wood chips, and logs for fires in the fire pit. My husband purchased a log splitter at Tractor Supply so we can split the wood ourselves.

    1. You can take zip locks full of your garden dirt to your county agricultural agent and they will analyze and give you advice on what needs to be done to improve it. For free.

  5. The peas look wonderful. I just planted mine so it will be a while still. I replanted some seeds that didn’t grow, such as jalapenos. Hoping these seeds will work. I planted more lettuce, beets and scallion seeds trying to spread them out so I don’t get everything at once.
    Hubby and I went and got 10 free pallets that were listed on Craigslist. There were so many. We are hoping to go back and get more one night this week. Hubby then broke them all down. He is going to make me more garden boxes.
    I was not feeling well most of the week. I still have a cough (not Covid) but otherwise I am good. I didn’t work all week but I also didn’t go anywhere. I pulled several meals out of the freezer to make my life easier such as chili which I made rice for, sauce and meat and I made a salad and pasta, chicken orzo soup, and beef and barley soup. My son is off Wednesday’s so he made a pot roast in the crock pot. I talked him through how to do it. It came out delicious.
    Hubby brought home a nice piece of walnut wood that was going to be thrown away at work. My husband’s boss offered him a used pressure washer. He got a new, bigger one. Hubby was happy to take it. Hubby bought a new electric mower. He priced it out and found the best price. We aren’t mowing yet but Hubby wanted to get it now with all of the shipping issues. Our old gas mower is being sold for parts to the small engine shop near us. Hubby has been bringing his lunch to work every day so that he doesn’t have to come home. He gets free drinks and snacks at work so he has being taking advantage of those. He has been going for walks on the nice days to get out of the office for a little while too.
    We were able to put an extra $1000 this month towards are mortgage principal.
    I had bananas going brown so I made banana nut bread. It was a hit.
    My neighbor gave me a cabbage that she wasn’t going to use. I will make coleslaw with it.

    1. I wonder about selling our old gas mower for parts. I appreciate you mentioning this!

    2. Marybeth, hoping you feel better soon! I was shocked when my husband, who is from Pennsylvania, wanted rice in his chili. I grew up in the Midwest and had never heard of that (we add crackers). I had traveled places where they used spaghetti or macaroni with chili, but never rice! It took me 15 years with my husband before this nugget came out! I’m thinking it must be a northeast thing? Anyway, now I know it just wasn’t a family trait.😊 Get well soon!

      1. Laura, I grew up in the So. Illinois/S.E. Missouri/West Kentucky area, and we ate rice in our chili. I now live in Florida and people in this part of Florida eat rice under their chili. It must be a trait that is spotted around the country 🙂

      2. Laura, I live in Georgia and I never had heard of it either. BUT when I had 7 to feed and a very short budget, I started serving chili over rice to stretch it out (or with pasta as chili mac) and told the kids it was because I’d made it too spicy and needed to tone it down, lol. We still eat chili in that way to this day!

      3. I’m in Texas and have never seen anyone eat chili over rice, although it sounds good. Here, chili is usually eaten plain, with cornbread or crackers, or with fritos (“frito pie” with fritos, shredded cheddar cheese, and sometimes diced onions). We often mix our leftover chili into macaroni & cheese for chili mac. I have seen people eat Cincinnati-style chili over spaghetti, which I’ve always found interesting.

        1. Yes we eat Cincinnati chili over spaghetti and your Fritos are like walking tacos with chili or taco meat.

        2. I think we might be the only people in the country who eat their chili over mashed potatoes. That’s how my husband grew up eating it and it’s the only way he (and most of our kids) will eat it. It’s pretty frugal, but definitely not the healthiest!

      4. From Michigan and I eat chili on my rice, but it’s a flip on beans and rice for me. My parents had a few really lean years in the late 70’s and early 80’s like many and we ate it a couple days a week, it became one of my favorite meals.

  6. Hi everyone! Last week to save money I:
    Made granola, peanut butter balls, breakfast cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. We ate all but one meal at home. I took all my food (breakfast, lunch, and snack) to work with me. I have been working 10 hour days for a few months now. I make my coffee at home and bring with me. Any leftover coffee gets turned into iced coffee. I drink water all day.

    I did not go grocery shopping. We ate what we had on hand. I have fallen into the habit of “needing ” to grocery shop every week. We have 2 freezers, fridge, several cupboards and a pantry full of food. I write what we run out of on a white board on the fridge for when I eventually do go to the store.

    I am working towards paying off debt. I paid my car off last November. I paid off and canceled a small store credit card. I have a care credit card for medical, dental and vision expenses. I am paying that off and made an extra $300 payment.

    My car is a Prius hybrid. When driving in town I make sure I drive using only the electric battery, saving gas.

    I stayed home when I wasn’t working.

    I have my seeds ready for container gardening. I’m in Illinois and it’s still to cold outside to garden. And my neighborhood is overrun by rabbits.

    Have a great week!

    1. Hi Mandy! I was hoping to plant some seeds before we left, but it was still too cold. I live near Rockford. I was wondering if anyone else on here lived in my area.😊

    2. Another Illinoisian here as well :). Yes it’s cold here. And the rabbits are everywhere! Have my seeds started and when it warms up hopefully in the containers on the deck.

  7. Good Morning Everyone! I said to myself when I posted last time, that I was going to keep a running list of my frugal accomplishments on my phone, so that I would remember everything. Well, that didn’t happen! (Hopefully this upcoming week). I apologize if I repeat. My husband returned several library books for me when he went to get his semi-monthly covid test for work; the library is right next door to the testing site. My co-worker and I went to a Vietnamese sandwich shop for lunch one. This place is very inexpensive, one of the few places by our office to get lunch and we have been going there for 20 years. Imagine our surprise when we found out they were going to be closing at some point 🙁 a result of downtown development. We went a few weeks later and they were actually closed, but the owners were there. They ended up giving me an industrial roll of aluminum foil (1000 ft). They had had a bunch of things for sale the last time we were there and I asked if they were selling them. We will miss them for sure. I bought a nearly new 3 gallon beverage dispenser on FB market place for $10; retails for over $60 new. I had been wanting one for years to use at our backyard parties but couldn’t justify the expense. It will go very nicely with the rolling cooler we had bought a few months back for $100. Not terribly frugal, but these coolers retail starting at $200. We had also been wanting one of these, but couldn’t justify the expense. We are looking forward to hosting an outdoor Easter bbq in the next few weeks. Also on FB marketplace, I bought 12 4″ mini tart pans (with removable bottoms), a large cake pan and a brand new Wilton Cookie press for $10. I stopped at a couple of thrift stores yesterday in a part of town that i don’t normally get to, but was over there on another errand. At one, I picked up two pairs of sandals for $10 that were both half off; these will be nice when pool weather gets here. I also found a Tupperware sandwich box for 75 cents. We use these to pack sandwiches and other snacks for when we are out instead of using zip loc bags. My mom continues to give me all her plastic containers (from takeout, cottage cheese, etc.). She washes them (!) before she recycles them and I told her to give them to me. We use them for my husband’s lunch, leftovers, etc. I bought a thank you gift for a co-worker using a gift card. While there, we also went to the movies using a gift card that was given to us. We enjoyed several movies on streaming at home. Our microwave is on it’s way out. My parents wanted to gift one to us. We looked at several different stores, but couldn’t find one we liked. There seem to be a lot of unfamiliar off brands. Our friends just got all new appliances, so they gave us their old microwave which is still in good shape to hold us over. My husband will take our old one to the dump to dispose. He has taken several things for us and my mom to the dump in the last few months, saving on gas, time and gate fees. I decided for next month, I am going to give myself an allowance and not use my debit card. I was reviewing my statements for the last few months and saw how many times I just whipped out my debit card. It wasn’t a lot of money but a lot of mindless purchases. Have a great week everyone!!!!

  8. Happy Monday!
    This week
    I picked up several packs of free seeds from our public library’s seed bank.

    I received, redeemed and reviewed two free product coupons from socialnature. One, an organic mayonnaise, used for salad dressing. The second free product was a Bob’s Red Mill instant oatmeal.

    I sowed seeds for green onions, lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard.

    I scrubbed my 68 foot long deck to remove green algae. A mixture of oxi clean, dish soap, hot water and a lot of determination.

    I hope each of you have a wonderful week ahead of discovering new ways to glean and share joy during these unnerving times.

  9. Hello Brandy and all. I love reading everything posted because it really helps.

    My married daughter found an adorable dollhouse on her buy nothing group and gave it to her three-year old for her birthday. She has done well on there, getting fancy lotions and clothes for her baby too.

    I discovered that I like Curel lotion a lot. Another daughter who is a nurse decided to indulge in good quality lotion since her hands get so dry from work. She bought it on Amazon. I tried it and I really like it a lot. I am looking around for the best price. I went a head bought some on Walmart.com and ordered enough to get free shipping (which was a lot but I have a large family. It won’t go to waste!) They did swap out the unscented with a scented kind but I don’t mind it so I let it go. I don’t like pick up orders (or actually delivery which this was) because I suspect and I know actually that it can cost more. Also the swapping out things isn’t something I like. Also, I’ve seen people say that stores will say they don’t have something but they do have some reserved in the store. (I recently looked some things up on Costco.com. One item was the same price as in the store and the other was more…quite a bit more. It was heavy duty aluminum foil. I think it was $27 something in the store and $31 something online! It is a very heavy item so maybe that’s why.) Anyway, I’m happy with my purchase of the lotion but I still want to look in Walmart and other larger retailers for a better price. I will just keep an eye out for it.

    We had a bad experience this week. We opened some Triscuit crackers and they were TERRIBLE., stale and just gross having gone bad. I opened two more boxes and they were not good. Even the chickens wouldn’t eat them. I have always stockpiled these and never had an issue. We looked and sure enough they were expired. I realized that they expired right around the time I bought them and that’s why they were probably on sale but like I said I never had this issue before. (I about cried last night when I found 7 more boxes but thankfully they haven’t expired and taste fine. We will be eating a box a week for 7 weeks!) I never used to look for expiration dates on those because it wasn’t a problem before for us.

    Anyway, then I saw something online about with the food shortages they are putting more food out that is near the expiration date and suddenly it all made sense. The next time I was at a couple of grocery stores I looked at expiration dates (not necessarily even on sale stuff) and sure enough the expiration dates were soon. Now I am going to try to always look!

    I’m trying to organize all of my extra foods and make sure things don’t go bad. Most of it is pretty shelf stable but there are a few things that I need to keep track of. My seven-year old son and I got under my bed today to take a look at what was there. I pulled out a few things but was happy that most of it is things like toilet paper, dry pasta and a couple of canned goods. I found that to be interesting too. Peanut butter that I bought last year has a much later expiration date than the stuff I bought recently. I was proud of myself that I had marked the box. I should be more organized like that!

    I am going to try to use up and clean out the fridges this week and stop purchasing new items especially produce. My one daughter really likes to take apples or oranges in her lunch but I think we will concentrating on using up canned applesauce and baking with the frozen fruit. I really want to get more organized and know exactly what I’m dealing with.

    I did buy a few canned meats recently and dried potato flakes but I think I will start using up what we have and concentrate on the garden.

    Have a good week everyone!

    1. Liz, funny you should say that because I have noticed the same thing! Items I bought previously have a later expiration date than what I am finding in the store! I am curious as to why that is happening as one would think warehouse stock is dispersed with closest expiration date being shipped out first. My mom always takes a sharpie and marks the expiration date on the item in large print. I never understood why she did this, but it sure is easier to locate and read!
      P.S. I WISH I had a seven year old son who could help me get under the bed to reach stuff.😂😂

    2. It’s possible those ‘nearly expired’ sales items were unable to be distributed back during the pandemic when truckers were in short supply. I always make sure to check because I’ve gotten caught out with expired things in the pantry too. On a few items it’s no concern but for something like crackers or peanut butter etc, you have to be more careful as I have learned from first hand experience.

  10. Our gas mower also bit the dust at the very last mowing of the year in the fall…I’ve been wondering what we’re going to do in about a month when we have to start mowing again. We’ll probably look to see if we can repair it ourselves, or we’ll start looking around at the local classifieds to see if we can get another one for free or cheap, which is how we got the current one we’ve been using for a handful of years now.

    I pinched all my snapdragon seedlings this week and am trying rooting hormone to see if I can double the amount of plants I have for free. Considering that these are specialty snapdragon seeds from Johnny’s that cost quite a bit more than your typical snapdragon seedlings, I’ll take whatever discount I can! I also used some of the seed starter mix I make myself in bulk, which is just an even ratio of coco coir, vermiculite, and perlite. I do have to mix in fish emulsion once a week once things have germinated to give the seedlings enough “food” to grow on, but making my own mix has been enormously cost effective for me since we start so many seedlings here for our little flower farm.

    I can’t believe your temps got that high on Saturday…IN MARCH. We got to the low 70’s here, which was quite a bit warmer than usual, but nothing like what you guys got. Crazy. We are expecting several days of rain this week, so hopefully some of our storms blow your way soon enough!

  11. Wow, I sure don’t feel anything is frugal these past few weeks. I have been trying to stock all I can so just buy it at whatever price. I went to Aldi and got canned beans, carrots, fruits, broth, potatoes, pumpkin. Their canned prices have been the lowest. I also got 6 packages of dried fruit, raisins, potato flakes, some fresh berries, and 2 lb butter. Later I went to Walmart and Sams and got 44 lbs flour, 10 lb sugar, 4 cartons of grits, Pasta, canned greens, more canned fruit, canned chicken, pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, lentils, shelf stable milk, peanut butter, mayonnaise, a 12 pack of soap bars, dishwasher tablets, 4 lbs butter, coffee, potatoes and sweet potatoes. I went to Dollar General to use the $5/25 coupon and got baking soda, toilet bowl cleaner, 2 spaghetti packages, 6 seasoned rice quick cook bags, aspirin, a package of smarties, the $1 mini Baby Ruth and Reeces, 2 solar lights, and 8 seed packages. I am adding small bags of candy or treats to my storage because we just need a little something occasionally. I will keep my grandson for a month this summer.
    ***I started a sourdough starter and have been feeding it all weekend. I will attempt bread today.
    ***I went to two thrift and antique malls. I got 3 bread pans and have found The Joy of Cooking book, Old Country Recipes book, and a Pillsbury cookbook with a lot of breads, pie crusts, and dessert recipes. I took a screenshot of canning recipes from the safe canning site I use. I ordered 100 recipe cards and will write down the ones I use. I am afraid of losing the internet and not having access to recipes.
    ***We picked up a 5 gallon bucket with gamma lid and four 2.5 gallon buckets from Lowes. My husband gets a veterans discount. He bought a motorcycle jacket and plans to ride his motorcycle on base to work, they require long sleeves. The jacket has padding in the elbow, shoulders, and back. He received the Veterans discount of 10% by asking.
    ***I cracked and froze four bags with 4 eggs and two bags with two eggs to use later in baking or to make scrambled eggs or an omelet.
    ***I made 10 breakfast burritos to freeze with sausage, egg, and cheese. After starting my husband said I am putting too much sausage in them so I was able to stretch 6 eggs to fill 10 burritos, and stretch the sausage.
    ***My husband went to buy lumber for another raised bed. Last year a 4×4 was high at $6.20 and it is now $16!!! This is a photo of my bed he made last year. We are terracing them on the hill https://www.instagram.com/p/CTGTdJWn6Xu/?utm_medium=copy_link. We have two now, and will have to wait for more. So, I decided I will dig along the fence and stake tomatoes along the fence, then build three pyramid trellises for the beds to grow up and use them as best we can. I have a lot of pots as well. I will plant potato, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon between the 32 Arborvitae trees along the back.
    ***I cut off 4 Romaine ends from the store and planted them. I have growth on them. I put more seed out for kale, spinach, collards, turnips, and carrots. I found a bag of onion sets and they just pulverized when I squished them they were so dry. I found 10 that maybe haven’t dried too much and stuck them in a planter to see if they will grow.
    ***I have a goal to start today…to lose weight, walk daily, do my weight workouts atleast 3x a week, and cut down what I eat, especially after 8 PM.

    1. Hi Holly, When you freeze your eggs, do you just crack them and put them in a bag and freeze? Do you thaw them before using? I tried freezing in ice cube trays, but that was a mess! I am going to try waterglassing eggs as well. Does anyone have experience with this? Thanks! Love reading your comments!

      1. I saved several gallons (a little over zealous) last summer and they have been beautiful. I’m going to do more this season.
        I found directions on Homesteading Family.

    2. I too have started to write out recipes on cards. My cards are regular 3X5 cards from the dollarstore. Wish they sold a larger size but I usually only use one card per recipe. My favorite cards I keep on a magnetic clip on my refrigerator.

      1. I have some very kitschy recipe card blanks I have found at yard sales that make me smile when I use them. Some are doubled, folded over on the long end, to be twice as big, but still fit a 3×5 box.
        Making them could be a fun craft project, either coloring or sketching a little picture on regular cards, or even designing something that could be printed on card stock.

      2. I didn’t do well with 3×5 cards, but that’s just me. About 30 years ago I started retyping my recipes on the computer and placing the 8-1/2 x 11 sheets in plastic protectors in a 3 ring notebook. Now I copy and paste recipes I find online, or even just print from the little printer icon on the page. I still use the page protectors, but I’m not religious about it. Sometimes I copy a recipe by hand on 3 hole notebook paper and just stick it inside.

    3. Years ago you could ask at the bakery in Walmart or Sams for empty icing buckets for free but they put a stop to it..However, I have been able lately to pick up some from the local Walmarts again (still no charge) and have gotten the larger 5 gal. as well as the smaller 2.5 gal, both sizes with lids! You need to go in the morning or just before the bakery closes which in my town is like only 5 pm

  12. So impressed that you’re harvesting already! Here there’s still snow. I tried planting some nasturtium seeds and green onion seeds when the snow melted and we had a few warmer days, and then it snowed again. But, like you, if they don’t grow, I’ll just plant again!

    My frugal week:
    – I made some Vitamin C salad (http://approachingfood.com/salads-i-have-known-loved-vitamin-c-salad/) using items I had in my fridge. I zested the orange before I used it, and froze the zest to use in future baking.
    – I cut my dad’s hair
    – I combined a sale, free shipping, and a 20% off coupon code to buy a pair of rain pants and three pairs of pajamas for $35.
    – I set aside more items sell to a second kids shop, as well as for a garage sale.
    – I made my weekly easy pizza dough, made pizza using items I already had in the fridge/freezer/pantry.
    – served leftovers to guests several times: leftover chicken enchilada soup served with grilled cheese, and leftover reheated pizza served with coleslaw with homemade dressing (pizza and coleslaw might not be the most common combo, but it was what I had, it was a balanced meal, and it was tasty).
    – I baked a carrot cake using items I had at home, and gave some away too.
    – I redeemed $20 to my paypal account from legeropinion.com.
    – I redeemed $5 from Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Starbucks, and then I combined that with a 50% off drink coupon to buy a fancy drink for myself and a cake pop for my daughter with only $1.50 oop. An affordable treat!
    – I found a sale on fortified baby oatmeal for only slightly more than I can make it, so bought some for emergency use.
    – I cut and used regrown green onions several times.
    – I needed a new mascara, so bought one for $6.99 on clearance from SDM after looking at prices at Sephora that were $20-40. The one I bought isn’t quite as good quality, but good enough that I would rather have the savings!
    – Popped popcorn for snacks several nights. Frugal and high in fibre!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  13. Hi Brandy,
    I haven’t had the chance to congratulate you on your influencer position! That sounds so fun! Can you, please, explain your Lorem ipsum? It looks like a different text than the usual but I don’t know what it means.
    This week was a great one. Mostly because of the sun! I love when it is sunny in my garden! Glass house looks promising. Spinach and radishes came up in the soil while all other seeds started germinating in the trays. In February I placed an early order on some spring plants to receive 15% off and free shipping. They will arrive this week, so I am working like crazy to prepare place for the new plants. For everyone interested in soil improvement: do check Bokashi composting. I am mind blown at the quality of the earth it produces!
    We keep our grocery bill low, which is normal in the Lent season when we fast from meat and sweets/snacks. I used the extra money to stack the pantry and buy some needed clothes for the boys. And me…
    I bought a red, festive blouse from Christmas collection. I needed a Christmas blouse but decided not to buy it last year. Now I got the exact one I liked marked down 70%! Buahahaha!
    The great thing is that I love to wear red on many occasions, so this will get a proper wear.
    Have a great week!

    1. It’s the generic nonsense language text that goes in a website text box. I forgot to put in my Amazon affiliate disclosure in that spot so I edited the post and fixed it.

      1. Haha! I didn’t know that there are different versions of this. Our lorem ipsum has a different text! I started to wander if you changed it to give us a secret message while making it look like a lorem ipsum… Yeah, we are reading Harry Potter again…

  14. Hello Everyone!

    This week I took a free online gardening class put on by master gardeners. They really stressed the importance of good soil and said that they are primarily “soil gardeners” before veggie gardeners. I learned a few new things about fertilizing and plan to attend a future workshop on worm composting. Worm castings are expensive to buy, but do enrich the soil nicely.

    Good news regarding my 18 month oven headache! GE agreed to buy it back for purchase price. I’m free to purchase another range. I’m going back to gas without a touch screen control panel. A simpler model will have less to break! I’m so excited to move on and not suffer a huge financial loss from a faulty product. 🥳🙏🏼

    In addition, I cut my son’s hair. I’m sure I did other things to save this week, but I’ve been preoccupied with the oven.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week! 🥬

    1. I took a worm composting class from the extension service here (back when classes were free) and it was very good. I learned that in our heat they have to be inside.
      That’s a problem for us as there is no where to put them, so when I found our about the in-ground worm composting working in Arizona, I was very interested! I just need to get it set up.

      1. In-ground worm composting sounds interesting. I hope it’s successful for you! I would love to see a post about it once it’s up and running.

  15. Thank you Brandy for the beautiful pictures each week. They lift my spirts. I went to the library and got some books, did some grocery shopping and spent time with family this week. The blooming Bradford Pear trees have my allergies going strong.

    1. -Working on fully potty training our daughter. More laundry now will bring less diapers in the future.
      -Made stock from random bones and veggie scraps, which was made into lentil curry soup. Lentils were free from a friend. Healthy and cheap, although not anyone’s favorite meal. Also made muffins and stir fry. I was really tired and felt like I was getting sick last week, and wanted to order pizza. Instead I cooked some frozen salmon, potatoes and squash. Ate it for a few days. Brought home some leftover Panera from work. Also used up some frozen perch from a friend into a fish fry. I shared some leftovers and lentil soup with my parents, and they shared some banana bread. Leftover butternut squash will be made into chocolate muffins
      -I love coffee. My milk frother stopped working on my espresso machine, but I bought a separate milk frother locally. Keeps me happily caffeinated and out of the coffee shops. Not a necessity but something I really enjoy.
      -I was given a bag of hand me downs for the kids, so I passed along several items to friends.
      -Still using Duolingo to learn Spanish for free
      -Reading a free library ebook
      -Researched paycheck companies, switching to a local company will save me about $25 a month and several hours of frustration
      -Found a source of free manure when it gets a little warmer
      -Used my HSA to pay for acupuncture and some supplements
      -Found a new source of local eggs. They’re a little more expensive than the store but the taste is way better, and happily support a local farmer.

  16. https://www.repaircafe.org/en/
    Reading about Brandy’s lawnmower problem reminded me about something I have seen on other blogs. Some communities have a “Repair Cafe”. Volunteers who know how to repair items donate their time to repair broken items in order to help neighbors continue to use them without having to purchase a new one and also keeps items out of the landfill. They also show you how to repair them. Items are like lawn equipment, computers, kitchen appliances etc. The above link tells you about the “repair cafe” and also shows on a world map where they are located. It tells how to get one started in your community.

  17. Your garden looks beautiful! I have grape muscari, tulips, daffodils, herbs and green onions growing in the pots around our condo patio.

    Joining in from the Seattle area.

    Did lots of cooking at home and meal prep. Bought chicken breasts on sale. Baked them in the oven along with something else to save on energy. Shredded the chicken and froze in serving size portions. Made a big batch of beef meatballs and pork meatballs. Froze them on a cookie sheet then packaged them in bread bags I had saved. Made stewed beef with onions and peppers (peppers were bought cheaply and frozen last summer). My husband ate this on a bun, and I ate it with steamed kabocha squash that had been sitting around in the fridge. It was an odd combo but tasted good. Froze the remaining squash for future use.

    Froze onion trimmings and parsley stems for future batches of broth. Cut off cilantro stems and froze for future use. (I learned the cilantro trick from a Jacques Pepin video – someone here had recommended his cooking videos on Facebook, which I have really enjoyed.)

    When I buy citrus fruits, I wash them warm slightly soapy water with vinegar added. Then I rinse and dry them, and store them in the fruit drawer of the fridge. I rarely have moldy fruit these days.
    Bought thyme from the bulk spices, enough to fill up my spice jar. Cost $0.81, much less than a new jar would cost.

    Made deodorant from coconut oil, baking soda and arrowroot powder. Put it in small plastic containers I already had. This is not my favorite task, but the deodorant works well, saves me money, and I already had all the ingredients on hand.

    Mended holes in a t-shirt for my mom. Passed on gently read magazines to her. A resident was moving out of my mom’s assisted living complex and her grandson was taking a big load of clothes and other items to Goodwill. He was going to donate a rectangular in-window fan, a kind I have been interested in for a long time. So I asked him if I could have it, and he was happy to pass it on to me. So I was pretty thrilled with that. 🙂

    In December, we bought my mom a wheelchair. I submitted the receipt to her insurance, but it was initially rejected due to incorrect medical coding. So I called the store where we bought it and got the codes corrected, and then resubmitted the paperwork. Hopefully this time it will be reimbursed.

    Found some jeans on sale at Kohl’s for $20 a pair, plus I had a 15% off coupon from dropping off an Amazon return there. My price for two pairs was $34 plus tax. Not bad. They are decent quality and very comfortable.

    Hope everyone has a good week.

  18. A month or two ago, I had a breakthrough when it comes to making bread. I always seemed to be fighting the gluten and spreading flour all over myself and my kitchen. I had a lot more success when I followed Meg Hollar’s approach (Hollar Homestead), and used my stand mixer to not only mix the dough but knead it until it was ready for shaping. This week I made mini-bagels for the first time. I can’t buy them locally. They are a much more satisfying form of portion control for me than than cutting a bagel in half. They turned out really well, and were very easy and inexpensive to make.

    I compared my food spending this month to the same period last year. It was actually three dollars less this year! I have offset price increases by going to get free meat, vegetables and dairy at the waste reduction program run by my grocery store and the food bank, which supplements what I buy. I have also cut back on the size of meat portions, and buy fewer or less of ingredients that are more about adding taste than basic nutrition – cheese and onions, for example.

    Electricity was 70 dollars more than for the same month last year and village utilities including heat were up $40. I have changed my electricity plan to a fixed rate which will kick in next month. The new plan would be over 43 dollars less. I am not driving a car, so no gas price increases to deal with.

    On the other side, my pension income has gone up $125 a month, partly due to cost of living adjustments, and partly because income supplements went up a bit to reflect employment lost in 2019. So, on basic expenses things are looking good. I feel like my efforts are making a difference. Where inflation will hit much harder for is larger purchases like replacing my car, probably in 2023, and appliances and home repairs and maintenance.

    1. Hi Elizabeth M.
      Thanks for comments about Hollar’s Homestead and the bread recipe. This past
      week I was thinking about buying a bread maker which was on sale for half price at London Drugs
      but decided it is not much more work to make bread in my stand mixer. I also have very little counter space. So I did not buy the bread maker. Because of how heavy my stand mixer is I haven’t been able to use it due to the broken arm/injured tendon but am going to start. I’m glad you tied into a fixed electricity rate and I think in the end you’ll save even more.

      1. Ellie’s friend: If you put your stand mixer on a kitchen towel, you can slide it back and forth on the counter with hardly any effort by just pulling on the towel underneath. It works great for my heavy juicer that is shoved to the back corner of my kitchen counter when it’s not in use.

        1. That’s a great idea! I was trying to think of a better set-up for my stand-mixer as well, and that should work just fine.

        2. Kathy in Col Spgs

          That is a wonderful suggestion! I will be reorganizing things in my kitchen and definitely will try this!

  19. It is heating up in Texas also. It was 92 degrees on March 27 in the north central area of the state.
    I think most of Brandy’s readers take the least expensive option w/o thinking much about it. It is second nature to us. We were being thrifty before it “was a thing”.
    1. I found some bar stools while out doing some urban foraging. My sister just moved into a new home. Unbeknown to me, she had been searching the resale shops for some. There are a few scuffs on the bar stool legs that can be touched up w/ a sharpie pen. Sister was happy to get them.
    2. The shower head leaks in my sister’s new residence.I will dispatch the hubby this week to replace it.
    3. I made a pillow sham w/ an old pillow case w/ mildew stain. I put the side w/ stain on the inside.
    4. I use my McDonald’s app & get a .99 cent iced coffee occasionally. I found a good bit of change in the drive thru in FL when out for my daily walk. Of course you have to time it when no cars are in the drive thru lane. Not frugal if you get run over.
    5. I had a new leather wallet I bought at a garage sale years ago. I’ve tried many times to give it away but no one wanted it. I needed a smaller wallet when I downsized my purse. I’m using the wallet now.
    6. Hung some clothes w/ clothes hangers to drip dry to avoid using the dryer.
    7. Teaching part-time to earn extra $ (& keep my mind engaged). Good for the senior brain & wallet.
    8. I combined my foraging trips w/ trips I needed to make to save gas.
    9. I take my lunch to work. I found some leftover chx sandwiches in the work fridge. The chx sandwich was a nice addition to my salad minus the bun.
    10. Hubby & I had a light dinner at the airport lounge upon our return from FL earlier in March. I get 10 free visits to this airport lounge as a credit card perk. We eat there when we travel so it compensates for the annual fee I pay for the credit card. The lounge also serves alcohol & wine but we are not avid drinkers. A soft drink & soup does it for me!

      1. “Not frugal if you get run over!” Yes, that made me laugh, too. Nearly strangled on my water, lol. I’m old and slow but have stopped parking lot traffic to retrieve someone’s change they dropped and left behind.

  20. —I picked up new cookbooks and home repair guides from the library last week. I also got “Until Leaves Fall in Paris,” by Sarah Sundin. It’s another WWII book, and so far, I’m enjoying it.

    —I made two trips to a local grocery store to earn a $10 bonus on GetUpside. Both trips were on my way for other errands and close to home.

    —Salvaged a rusting outdoor decorative sign with paints that I had on hand. It turned out nice, and otherwise, would’ve been trashed. I also painted over a crack in our patio. It had been filled in, but the sealant didn’t match the concrete. I mixed up paints to get a match that camouflages it now.

    —I made homemade tortillas and froze a large stack.

    —I plan to use a $15 off $75 purchase cartwheel offer at Target this week, and combine it with other coupons to stock up on several items.

    Have a great week!

  21. Your snow peas look delicious. My DH is going to prepare the lettuce bed for me this week. It is an old animal trough with a lid that can be closed if it gets cold. It is probably still too cold to plant, but I have plenty of seeds and if they “take” I will be way ahead.
    Thanks to Maxine, I was able to get some deli bacon for $3.38/lb at Winco, when I stopped by one night. I was trying a new recipe, and needed a couple of spices I didn’t have, and was driving by Winco, so stopped and got a bit to try the recipe.
    I didn’t post last week, as it is my busy time of year. I am a CPA, and it is tax season. I worked 6 days last week and 5 the week before. Brought breakfast and lunch all days except for the one Saturday I worked, as the office provides lunch for people who work on Saturdays.
    I drove up to my Mother’s house (I guess it is my sisters’ and mine now) to do some clean up for two days. I went through 8 filing cabinets of paperwork. Took my shredder with me, and shredded most of it. My sister came, and she went through 16 drawers of clothing.
    Since I was going to be gone, I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce for the DH to have. He is Italian, and could eat spaghetti every day. I took some with me, along with some ham from the previous week for sandwiches. That way I could keep cleaning and not go out to eat.
    I got 4 bricks (2 pounds each) of Tillamook cheese for $5.99 each. You had to buy at least 4 to get that price. I will gladly pay a little extra for Tillamook cheese. It is our favorite.
    Had chicken quesadillas for dinner one night when I was really too tired to cook. Ate it with an apple.
    Made lentil soup and focaccia bread.
    Made a batch of homemade cream of chicken soup mix. I mainly use it to thicken and enrich cream soups.
    Did all the usual, washed full loads of clothes, ate at home or brought food with us, kept the heat turned down and the lights off unless we need them, re-wore clothes if not soiled.
    Hope all are doing well and staying healthy.

    1. Tillamook is our favorite, too. I will pay a little extra for it, as well. It happens to have been on sale quite a bit lately, though. Bandon is the same as Tillamook (to us) as they either used to be owned by the same people, or maybe still are, but usually comes in even cheaper, so we got some of that for $4.99 a couple of weeks ago. I’ll happily use the Safeway Lucerne shredded cheese I get for 4.99 a 2-lb bag, shredded, for some things, but to just eat…….I love that Tillamook:)

  22. I highly recommend the Safeway app. Most Friday/Saturday there is a free item. This week I got 8 oz of shredded cheese and 1 pound of ground “meat” (plant based) -both for FREE. The “meat” will go in spaghetti sauce and my husband will be very happy.
    I purchased supplies from a wholesale supplier for adding drip irrigation to my raised beds.
    I got free seeds at the seed bank.
    I’m focusing on perennial food crops, I’ve been expanding blackberries and raspberries, tree collards, Egyptian walking onions (get one and you’ll have onions for the rest of your life-no planting new each year), and tending my fruit trees. My pomegranate tree had frost damage, but since pomegranates are NOT grafted, they usually regrow from the base. And sure enough, mine is doing that. I dug shallow trenches between my grapevines to better catch any rain, and also to run gray water into. We irrigate our raised beds with fresh water (about 1/4 of our food plants) and the rest with gray water from washing machine or bucket water from kitchen sink or shower warm up water. I plant any flowers that need water next to food crops that get water. Annual veggies like zucchini and tomatoes are also planted next to the water catchment areas around the fruit trees. Any non-food landscape plants are either low or no additional water. These received water in their first 2 years to get established. Now they get water once a month during hot months only.
    I’ve used electric bike for errands.
    I finished altering a twin quilt made by my grandmother, to make it into a queen quilt. It gave me joy.
    I picked up a free wood table on FB marketplace. It needs a light sand and polish and then I will sell it.

    1. I really think it’s important to add as many perennial food crops as possible to our gardens right now, and to choose open-pollinated seeds for any seeds we plant.

    2. Kara – I second the Safeway/Tom Thumb/Randalls app! I use it and get at least one free item each week. I have the plant-based “meat” added to my list – I think I will try it in burritos for my lunches (I know my husband will not eat it.) Last weekend I had a dozen free eggs available on the app as well. They also often offer things like “$5 off a $40 purchase” that I always add onto my account, and we build up rewards quickly. Their prices tend to be higher (although my stores have amazing clearance racks), but the app and sales are wonderful.

  23. Your flowering cabbage/kale is so beautiful. Do you grow these from seed?
    While my husband was away visiting his parents I spent a lot of time cleaning and sewing. I made two dresses, a tank top, and a pair of shorts. I canned 5 quarts of chili and 3 quarts of chicken soup, and 5 pints of baked beans. I transplanted my chard to the greenhouse. The lettuce, arugula and cabbage in there are all doing well. I also planted more carrot seeds and some turnip seeds in my outside garden bed. I washed our queen-sized comforter in my bathtub and hung it over the clothesline to dry. This saved $10 and several hours of time over taking it to the laundromat, which is what I did last spring. I repotted some house plants. One was so large I split it in two and gave the other half to my friend, who was delighted to receive it. I took a bag of donations to the local humane society thrift store and while there purchased 3 tops from the $1 rack. I purchased all three for the fabric and buttons. I have already cut out a new top from the fabric from one and plan to re-fashion the other two as well.

    1. I bought it from the nursery in the fall. I have tried but have been unable to get it to grow from seed.

  24. I will check out all of those books. Thanks for for sharing them. Right now, I’m enjoying reading The Book of Lost Names. I had a used reel mower gifted to me, when I had a home in another town. I quickly realized that my hilly yard was not the best for one of those, but I imagine a small, flat yard would do fine, except for the curves as you mentioned. Last week, I harvested leeks and asparagus for us, and foraged wild greens for the pups and chickens. I made golden paste for the pups, and vinegar-free ketchup for me. I cooked with lots of potatoes, as my husband wanted to get the last of the potatoes planted. I cut eyes from the larger ones, and gathered the smaller ones we grew to plant as is. Lettuce and wintersown mizuna were planted in the garden, and pre-sprouted tomatoes were planted in potting soil. I’ve planted two wintersown artichokes. I added some more twine to the pea trellis, and added a few rocks and bricks for more stabilization. Pecan sandies were baked. I went by the discount store, and bought bags of organic lentils 8 oz for $1 vs $4.49 online & organic turmeric for $1 vs $2.99 online. Both were slightly outdated, but should be fine. I redeemed Swagbucks for $25 at Paypal. We ate soup several times- vegetable, potato leek, and chickpea noodle. Friends picked up our barely used propane heater and M’s lathe and tools for their son. I’m glad someone could use them. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/03/lots-of-soup-fickle-march.html

  25. I’m still working my way through my DVD collection. I have been watching my River Cottage DVDs – a UK cooking/lifestyle program from about 10 years ago. I am learning a lot about food quality and seasonality and it’s making me more enthusiastic about cooking. I go “up and down” in this area and when there’s only one to cook for it can be hard to get inspired. I’ve been cooking one recipe a week from his vegetarian cookbook – so far so good!
    It’s autumn in Australia, and we have had a lot of rain on the East Coast, so my (mostly ornamental) garden has not produced very much but I have made both elderflower cordial and elderberry cordial from my Elderberry tree. Fruit and vegetable prices are very high due to flooding and the price of fuel, so anything I can glean is welcome. I can pick Warrigal greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides) on my walks, as well as parsely and silver beet from a small, rather neglected “community” garden near me. I am hoping to get some apples soon, suitable for making apple and elderberry jelly, and maybe some quinces for quince jelly too, later on.
    Brandy, I was delighted to see that I could support you in a tangible way by following your nursery and liking your posts on Instagram. I’ve always been frustrated that I can’t support you via Amazon as the affiliate program does not come across to amazon.com.au.

    1. A little bit about the algorithm: Instagram really values comments and saves, and then likes. The more people who comment, the more people it shows it to. It’s odd but that’s how they do it; even if you choose to follow someone, you don’t always see their posts, unless you comment more. So if there is someone you follow but you haven’t see anything from them in a while, go over to their page and like and comment on several posts to bring it back into your feed.

      I appreciate your support! I am hoping they chose to have me do this again as I have told people about them for years and really do like their business. Plus, I spend a fair amount of money there, and it’s nice to earn some of that back 🙂

  26. We continue to keep track of all expenses. I’m waiting to get glasses until we have saved for it. My husband needs some new ones as well. We have been packing picnics to take with us. I’ve been watching frugal videos on youtube. We have been doing lots of cooking at home. I try to cook ahead of time so that we aren’t hungry. We even came home one day when we were running errands and didn’t bring our picnic. Eating out is just too expensive for us. We went to a grocery store one day, one that we don’t usually go to, and left without purchasing what we had planned. We were going to get some deli roast beef. But it cost way to much. We went home instead and cooking some cheese quesadillas with what we already had at home. The prices were unnerving. We just looked around at that grocery store , we also noticed that a lot of things on the shelf had expired. I don’t enjoy grocery shopping like I once did. Now I look online for sales and we go to the stores for the sales. I guess I have always done that. But I don’t buy any extras. It seems even more urgent to get our garden going this year. I had bought a diet plan that I cannot afford to follow. But we are not starving, and I am grateful for that. I am losing weight slowly. And I feel pretty good. Instead of following the diet completely, I am eating more vegetables that are cheaper, some fruit and a bit of meat here and there, and lots of beans. But I like beans. Frugal fail: one of us left the water on in the bathroom. I have no idea how long or who did it. But we did it. I am not looking forward to the next water bill. I’m glad it was not on full stream. But, it was on nevertheless. On a positive note, we have enjoyed spending time with family. My granddaughter had a birthday and we had bought her birthday gift last summer. I was happy we already had it. Grandkids are so much fun and it was nice to see my son. Our little plants are coming up. We have seen lots and lots of deer. I love to watch deer! And none of the deer have been in our yard! We have seen hawks, Bald eagles, and various birds. It is a lot of fun to watch the birds. My husband and I watched a movie from the library. I checked our a couple books and we have done lots of cleaning. I’ve been doing research on gardening. Soon our asparagus will be coming up! I am looking forward to the garden coming up.

    1. Tammy,

      Although the price of food is unnerving, it sounds as if you are doing really well! Your garden will be lovely! It is much better for you to eat veggies, some fruit and only the occasional meat. It’s almost the ideal plan. Losing weight slowly is THE perfect way to do it. I suggest you phone your utility company and ask if there’s any forgiveness –– sometimes, by analogy, with leaking toilets, that the owner doesn’t know about, there is something that can be done. I will be envying your asparagus.
      I wish I had sunshine to grow some. In about a week, the first of the mountain bluebirds will be back — hard to believe that spring is almost here, especially since it is snowing at the moment. Keep on keeping on! Ann

      1. Ellie’s friend Ann,
        Thank-you so much for the encouragement! Yes, you are right, even though the prices of things are unnerving, we really are fine. Between medical bills, fixing the truck and regular bills we have spent more than we make, but we had a small cushion and are still fine. We are working on not spending so we can pay our land tax soon and get our septic cleaned out this summer. We are keeping track of things and hope to build the cushion back up. But so far that is not happening, just from some unexpected bills. Thank-you for your ideas. Bluebirds are beautiful! Yes, spring is so wonderful and I love seeing the birds! If you were nearby, I’d give you some asparagus! I am glad we put it in years ago. It was work, but so worth it! Soon your peonies will be blooming, I love peonies! They smell so good! Spring is coming!

  27. Today I had a free Bday takeout lunch at a local business which was nice. I picked up some great deals at the wholesaler-
    English cucumbers 10 cents each
    tomato paste-.33 per can
    Apples and pears- $2 for 3 lbs
    Mangos 14 for $5
    Rutubaga- 50 lbs for $5-good grief need to give some of that away
    Tomatoes .99 per lb
    Oranges and red peppers 1.49 per lb-better than the grocery store prices.

    This week I helped out my Mum as she had Covid-despite being 90 she recovered very well-thank goodness. Back to work tomorrow. Wishing everyone a good week.

    1. Happy Birthday, I!

      Those are great prices! especially the cucumbers for 10 cents each. Have you ever made a hot chicken cucumber soup?
      The apples, pears, and mangoes are a great deal, too.

  28. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Good that your husband found an inexpensive kneeler for the garden, it’s much more comfortable to use one.
    We went on holiday for a few days last week to the Wye Valley in Herefordshire. Not frugal but very nice and we kept costs down where we could. We shared the cottage with friends and each couple bought a home cooked meal ready to heat through. We also took plenty of food for breakfasts, easy lunches and buffet dinners. The hire of the cottage included a wood burner with just a few logs so we took a big bag of dry logs from home for evening fires. We read and did crosswords together in the evenings. We made full use of our National Trust membership and visited Hidcote Manor( famous garden) and then two more historic properties on the drive home. On the way up my husband and I visited Gloucester Cathedral, a wonderful building and setting for some filming in the Harry Potter films.
    We picked thyme, spring onions, Brussel tops and purple sprouting broccoli from the garden.
    We used a sympathy card from my stash and I replaced it with another sympathy card found for a good price in a charity shop.
    We are having unseasonably warm weather and have switched the heating off.
    A friend offered us 8 wooden fenceposts he had left over from a project for £20. We don’t need them right now but the lockdowns taught us that having wood and other supplies on hand was very worthwhile so we gladly accepted.
    I kept the grocery bill a bit lower when I shopped today, I am so happy to have veggies in the garden, not a huge amount of choice at this time of year but it’s organic and couldn’t be fresher. I also bought a much cheaper cocoa mix than normal and it’s very nice.( Lidl’s own brand). I combined lots of errands in one trip which was tiring but a money saver.
    Yesterday was Mother’s Day and our lovely daughters gave me a bouquet of flowers, a new T shirt and cooked Sunday lunch for us.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I’m sure Hidcote manor was beautiful! I have seen photos on their Instagram account.

      1. It was superb Brandy. You might like to look at The Courts Garden at Holt, near Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, it’s another National Trust garden. We loved it and it’s close enough for us to revisit in a different season.

    2. Hi Penny I would also recommend Asda and Aldi cocoa powder too it’s just as good as the brands; they also sometimes have cheaper nuts and fruit for baking. Very glad to hear you visited Hidcote, I would love to go.

        1. I live in the Cotswolds and Hidcote isn’t far from me. If you can visit again try to go in June and visit Kiftsgate garden as well as it is literally across the road from Hidcote, and home of the Kiftsgate rose. My daughter’s school choir sang in Gloucester Cathedral at the time the Harry Potter films were being released and they got to run up and down the cloisters, just like in the films; for them it was living the dream! You’ve brought back some happy memories.

    3. I am enjoying learning aboyt the National Trust membership and everyones experiences. This will go on my UK travel ideas list.

  29. It has been a super busy week of unpacking and house projects in our new home. Lots of work and sore backs but we are so happy and blessed to be here – it is such a joy to see it all come together!
    As I was unpacking scores of boxes I broke them down and separated the bubble wrap and packing paper that we had used. We will store these items and give them to families that we know are moving in order to extend their life and pay it forward.
    I have been focusing on filling our pantry and freezers as I am able to do so with great sales. This week I added 10 lbs of ground beef, 2 Pork Shoulder roasts found on sale for $1.89/lb, and 25 lbs of rice. I spent a great deal of time organizing my pantry this weekend which will help me to be able to see what we have on hand more easily and avoid food waste. My husband added some shelving in our laundry room for kitchen appliance storage – I have my crockpots, roasting pans, countertop roasting pan, bread maker, canner and food processor stored there. I am excited as this will allow me easy access to these items so that I can use them more conveniently. We will also be adding some deeper shelving to the pantry so that we can have more storage space and the existing shelves will be pulled out and used to turn one of two coat closets into a linen closet.
    We have planned to have multiple trees cleared from the back half of our property in order to have space to garden and this has been delayed due to rain and repairs needing to be done to equipment. I just found out today that we are on the schedule for the middle of April and I am excited. This will allow us to be able to plant a vegetable garden and while we will likely have a smaller harvest this year than last, something is better than nothing! I am also delighted at the opportunity to invest in the dirt. I agree with you Brandy – gardening is very much abut the quality of soil and I will take this chance to till in manure and compost so that next years harvest will be plentiful.
    I made two loaves of banana bread this week using bananas that turned brown and the ends of several bags of flour. I shopped our garage for cleaning supplies before adding anything to my shopping list as we had many items left over/found in the course of moving that needed to be used. This meant reorganizing the garage but I didn’t spend any money and got a light workout in the process. I made a large batch of buttermilk pancakes using pantry ingredients and rejoiced at the chance to eat a meal from real dishes as opposed to paper plates for the first time in 3 weeks! How lovely to have a dishwasher to run and counters to clean again 🙂
    I updated our budget and checked in on all our accounts to ensure that items are being paid on time and that we are receiving all the last few utility bills from the home we moved from and paying those promptly to avoid fees. I used a gift card to order a new nightgown for myself at 40% off. I turned off the HVAC for 4 out of 7 days last week. I cooked two pounds of navy beans and added molasses, brown sugar & bbq sauce along with two packs of hotdogs lingering in our chest freezer. To go along with the beans a head of cabbage bought for $0.39/lb made some wonderful coleslaw. Washed clothes in cold water & combined loads. Lights turned off. Combined errands and trips to save gas – filled up during my last trip to Costco for $3.63/gallon.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  30. Hi everyone! I love hearing about everything you are already sowing in the garden. I am eagerly waiting to get my garden going.

    My most frugal accomplishment this week was avoiding the vet with my dog. We do autoship with Chewy for pet food and cat litter and they offer free vet chats or video calls. My dog had a patch of dry skin on his face that wouldn’t heal and he kept scratching it until it was raw. The vet on chewy said it was likely a sensitivity to his plastic food bowls and a bacterial infection. We changed his bowls, are using an antibacterial spray and he has to wear a cone for a week. We would have had to do all these things and pay for a vet so I am thankful for the free vet advice.

    Mended a dog bed that the same pup from above ripped. He is a year old and hopefully outgrowing the puppy chewing.

    Other than that we have been doing the same old things. Staying home, driving less, using up all the leftovers, etc.

    1. Relieved to see this post regarding Chewy. I just tried placing an order with them for a prescription cat food on auto ship, giving them our pet and vet info. Our vet told me that I would probably need to bring our cat in for an annual exam in order to get the RX renewed after I asked if they could price match Chewy. When I paraphrased what she said in the way it seemed to me, as extortion, she said the vet may let it go through this one time. Good grief. Now I’m wondering if the online vet may be able to renew the RX the next go round, assuming they approve this order?

  31. I greatly enjoyed the online concerts from St. Andrew’s in downtown Toronto. Thanks Margie from T.O.
    for posting the link. I especially enjoyed hearing the Ukrainian-Canadian opera singer. It must have been really difficult
    for her to sing “What a Wonderful World”.

    We are still wrapping up our book. We have traced and obtained two of the last four permissions that we need for quotations.
    We hit problems with the third last permission as the publisher wanted $500 for a 5 year licence. So we’ve rewritten that portion to totally delete quotations and paraphrasing from that author. No quoting, no paraphrasing, no fee, no problem. We have had a wonderful response from others who have waived any fees. Now we just need the two final permissions.

    This sometimes involves tracking down the relevant copyright holders or their estates. We’re having problems tracing a retired professor and hope the retired faculty association may forward our request on to her.

    I am going vegetarian for a couple of weeks to compensate myself financially for the loss of my purloined beef. One savings I did make previously was to buy 6 vegetarian lasagnas for $5.88 on sale from $9.88. I spent $35 and saved $24. They are safely stashed in a very trustworthy friend’s freezer. I just cannot make slightly more than a kg of lasagna for even $9.88, given the increase in the cost of cheese and other ingredients.

    Someone here mentioned the need to watch price labels closely. That is so true! No Frills is selling the 500 gram packages of Saputo’s Mozarellissima for $9.99 while Superstore still has it for $6.99. At one point the 1kg blocks were selling for a lot more than the price of two 500 gram packages so it paid to buy the smaller packages and get the same amount for less.

    1. I’m so glad that you and some of the other readers have enjoyed the concerts. There will be new ones each Friday until the end of May however, since we are going back to in-person recitals starting this Friday, the videos will be posted a few days later as it will be filmed “live”, edited and then posted.

      It must be so good to know you are so close to finishing the book – but also frustrating trying to get those last few permissions – good luck with it!

      There have been some good deals on meat and poultry lately at Loblaw so I am seriously thinking of buying myself a small chest freezer – just around 5 cubic feet. I’ve seen one model at Canadian Tire that measures about 30″ wide and 20″ deep, although it would have to go in the dining room. It makes sense to put it there as it is steps from the kitchen and I think I can get a cover for it so it doesn’t stand out too much – have you ever thought of getting a small one for yourself? Cdn. Tire has an even smaller one than what I am considering. I’m only 5’2″ so the big freezers are just too big for me – I used to have nightmares about falling in to the giant one we had as a kid!

      1. Yes, Margie from T.O., I have thought about getting a freezer but there’s no room for one — not even a small one –– at least not for the moment. I think it’s a great idea for you though and who really cares if it’s in your dining room?

        1. Margie from T.O.– I live in a 1 bedroom apartment and found room for a chest freezer. It’s in what should be my ‘eat in’ part of the kitchen. I even managed to put up shelves on the wall above it. Mine is pretty good size since it came from my house. I use mine for seasonal fruit, butter, meats and bread. I breakdown the family pack meats and use my Foodsaver to make ‘meal’ size packets.

    2. I just checked on the price of the vegetarian lasagna: it has gone up another dollar more to $10.99 since I bought it so I spent $35.00 and saved $30 going by this week’s newest price. The price increases are truly frightening.

      I ordered cabbage, carrot, scarlet runner beans and a few other seeds. The game plan is to grow cabbages and make coleslaw.
      I also hope to plant potatoes, too.

  32. Brandy, I love the photos of your garden! When we left north central Illinois, spring was still making up her mind. It has been interesting to watch spring come along as we travel the states south. And the gas prices dropping! Though, they are much more expensive than the last trip down in November. The week before we left, I spent three days canning all those $.99 berries. I ended up with over 130 half pints of jam…raspberry, blackberry, strawberry and three berry. Brought a bunch along for the various kids and family. We stopped to see our DIL’s sister and her family (birds of a feather) and brought some jam for them. They gave us fresh eggs (with the bloom on so we don’t have to refrigerate them😊). Had some very good discussions about what kind of property we hope to get and what we want to do on it. With all that is happening, we want to be someplace where we can live on our own and not depend on the world markets. We do have quite a bit of food, etc., stocked, having listened to what is on this blog, Ice Age Farmer and other sources. We are definitely ahead of the game, and the kids are getting in on it in their own homes as well. They have seen the prices rising, and gone to the stores with empty shelves and had their “wake up” moment (even though mom had been warning them for a while 😂😂). Sometimes they have to learn the hard way. 🤦🏼‍♀️ You mentioned you might do a separate blog about the food supply issues coming…I fully agree and I believe it will be far worse than we have experienced in our lifetime. To that end, stocking up on food stuffs, seeds, etc., is extremely important. I also have a small library of books that cover survival techniques, gardening and seed saving, canning, and WWII/Depression home living history and techniques. I hate to think about the worst as to power and internet, but if we lose it, books will be of great value. If not, well, they still have great value to me! Sometimes I feel like I have been preparing all my life for this and working on the skills. So many of my family and friends are now coming to me and asking me to teach them what I know. They, too, are seeing the writing on the wall. I am so happy I know what I know. People have survived with far less and they also learned to build a community. Like the old Stone Soup tale.😊 Blessed we are!

    1. Laura, thank you for mentioning Ice Age Farmer. Looks interesting! I, too, do feel that this is something I’ve been preparing for for decades.

  33. After 2 months of a very busy work schedule I was very glad to be able to focus on my family, home and garden this week. I WFT 3 days, took a work trip one day and traveled to the office one day, each office day costs me £50 in commuting costs, so I was glad to only have to go in one day. I was also grateful to not have to travel overnight for work or work at the weekend or in the evenings.

    I got up early on Saturday so I could clean the whole house, do the laundry and make sure my children had done their homework before taking my daughter to a friends birthday party in the early afternoon.

    I prepared homemade pizza for dinner on Saturday, and apart from one day we ate home cooked food I had previously prepared from the freezer. I found chicken breast for £2/Kg less than the usual price so bought a double quantity and stocked up the freezer.

    I harvested leeks from the garden and used them to make soup for our lunches on Sunday evening whilst I prepared our dinner. I sowed basil, kale, lettuce and leeks, and 3 varieties of tomatoes and weeded the garden. I also planted out parsley seedlings. So far this season I have spent £10 on seed compost using a discount code from the garden centre and £8 for 4 Dahlia tubers from the supermarket,

    This weekend I plan to sow zucchini and cucumbers indoors, radish and salad outdoors, I will sow more parsley too and plant out Strawberry plants I propagated last autumn from runners. If I have time I will also sow some flower seeds.

    A few weeks ago we used some of our savings to replace our car (which had become very expensive to run and unreliable) for a new to us second-hand model. My husband has been so pleased to have a good reliable car again and it is cheaper to run and maintain than the old one. We had been cycling and walking everywhere and it had become very difficult. I am so grateful to have been able to save money for this purpose and feel very motivated to continue to be careful with our resources so we can start saving again for the next car. The last one (which was second hand) lasted us 10 years, so I have sometime to go but the sooner I start the easier it will be! Prices continue to rise here in the UK and for many families here the situation is very difficult. I feel very fortunate to be able to save money each month for this purpose.

    Continuing to think of all those suffering the effects of the war in Ukraine.

  34. We are in the midst of snow and strong winds again here in Ontario so your lovely pictures are a boost, Brandy.

    We have been doing all the usual frugal things here. Keeping lights off when not in a room, running the most energy efficient appliance for the job and keeping the heat low. I turned off our small fridge that I was using for overstock and made room for everything in our regular fridge. I have two freezers and I am hoping to turn one of them off soon as well. It will very soon be time to hang out laundry so the dryer will be used only minimally. I am trying to keep our energy use to a minimum with the cost of it rising regularly.

    I have faithfully read the grocery ads and bought what was on sale or on the reduced racks. We have been blessed by our buy nothing group these past couple of weeks. We have received three cans of baked beans, a large brick of cheddar cheese, an unopened jug of juice, two cans of diced tomatoes, an unopened bottle of kefir and a solid chocolate Easter bunny. All of these things go a long way to stretching our food budget. Throughout the month of March I have been using coupons for free products I received from a Facebook promotion from our regular grocery store at Christmas. I also won a Facebook competition from a local egg producer and received free product coupons for many of their products. I have just started to use these so they will also stretch our grocery budget. We worked clean up at an event at our church and came home with leftover sandwiches, squares and bread.

    We have been reading books and magazines from our local library. I only visit the library when I have other errands to run and will be right there. I am keeping car use to a minimum with high gas prices and definitely combining errands into as few trips as possible. Our car is compact so thankfully it is very easy on gas.

    Hope everyone’s week is off to a productive start!

  35. I just returned from our local Farmer’s CO-OP. I buy as much as I can from them as it helps support our Farmers and the bulk of the plants and seeds they carry are locally sourced. I had a conversation with one of the employees that was quite sobering(most employees are farmers). She told me that the two small racks of seeds in the store were all that they could get. Also, she said they were unable to get bean seeds—not even for the farmers! She went on to say that they were having problems getting wild bird seed and that if they get some it will be twice the cost of last year’s! I asked her what she thought and she said that things were getting bad and that given what she has heard from other farmers, they are going to get much, much worse. I hate to be negative, but I keep hearing more and more of statements like these from different sources. I look forward to hearing suggestions and comments about how everyone plans to deal with our challenges.

    Last week my children surprised me by coming home and celebrating my birthday. It was wonderful! We had a huge cake and lots leftover, so we have something sweet for dessert for many days!

    I made a large pot of spaghetti sauce which should feed us for a few days. I also am continuing making biscuits hoping that I can become proficient—my family loves biscuits!

    We have had a hard freeze the past few days. I am hoping my seeds are not ruined, but I fear they are. We now have two seasons here: “Welcome to Antartica” and “ Please Join Us On the Front Porch of Hell”.

    Stay safe out there! Onwards by All Means!(Ryan)

    1. Cheryl,

      That is very sobering.

      I have noticed seed prices going way up, and Baker Creek sent out an email about seeds selling out. I have seen seeds sold out at a lot of places as early as January.

      It seems I need to make even more of an effort to improve my soil so as to improve my yields and be able to collect seeds so that I can have enough to plant each year. It sounds like we all need to. The drought news I have read today and recently from all over the world is sobering: California has no water for farmers, Morocco has almost not drinking water let alone for farmers, Southern Spain doesn’t have enough water for farmers, Northern Italy is turning off water to homes for 12 hours every night and no one may grow a garden as there isn’t enough water.

      1. I saw this article recently. One of our neighboring counties won’t receive any state water this year. They’ll be using reclaimed water. California grows 1/3 of the country’s vegetables and 2/3 fruits and nuts. This water issue is a big problem. Some dairies have closed or moved states and some orchards have been pulled out. Those take years to replace.
        https://www.ksbw.com/article/san-benito-county-farmers-will-receive-zero-state-water-due-to-drought/39509324

        1. I read another article with the same quotes this week. The great thing here is that they are acknowledging a truth that most of California hasn’t been–that this drought has been ongoing for more than 3 or 4 years with a few wet periods. This is what Nevada has been saying but California has denied (even in articles I read yesterday). Nevada has said it has been a drought nonstop since 2000, getting worse every year.

          The issue with water in California affects the entire U.S. and much of the world, as a lot of that food is exported. I know most of the produce in our ads in Nevada is marked as California grown, and much of our dairy comes from California as well. Food is imported here because it’s not being grown in Nevada.

          Reading how drought is affecting farmers in other countries is equally disturbing. Moroccan farmers are in trouble and even the drinking water is so limited as to be maybe not enough enough. Northern Italy is turning off the taps for 12 hours (8 p.m. to 8 a.m.) and has said no outside gardening can be done, which means food has to come from elsewhere.

          As much as I despised our strict water restrictions when I first moved here in 2000 (like a child who despises a parent’s rules), I have come to see and understand the wisdom of those rules, and I have become very grateful that so much has been done here to conserve water. I am especially grateful that all water that goes down the drain is reclaimed and reused here, and I hope that water districts in California (where I grew up–and near a dam at that) will find ways to build water reclamation facilities. It’s so important and I think it is going to be essential around the world that we find a way to use water reclamation and drip irrigation as droughts intensify.

        2. Julie, the district that you shared says they have no water for 500 farmers. This article https://www.yahoo.com/news/just-scary-farmers-ranchers-anderson-230919409.html says there is no water for another 800 farmers in another district in California.

          When I shared the article earlier this year about California farmers not receiving water, we all knew it was a lot, but adding the numbers together of even just two water districts is shocking. There are many water districts in California. This is such a huge issue.

          I think a lot about Audrey Hepburn’s comment about the only thing they had to eat during the ward was the weeds that grew, and I wonder how I can grow even more in my own garden. What would we eat if all we had was what we grow? While I try to have something rip year-round, it definitely needs to be more. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to grow more food in the garden. Yes, the children liked having more grass, but reducing water usage while we watch the drought become permanent and growing more food at the same time is huge.

          1. Have you ever thought about espaliering fruit trees along the walls of your garden/yard? You could graft on several different varieties as well.

            1. I used to have a whole wall of espaliered apple trees and I had an espaliered Asian pear tree. I took them all out several years ago. The varieties of apples did not produce well here despite having read that they did–most didn’t flower, so I don’t think they received enough chilling hours–and I decided to replace the Asian pear with a pistachio tree.

          2. Hi Brandy,
            I agree that California could invest in more water reclamation. It’s a continual problem here that has yet to be fully and properly addressed, especially considering that this is an agricultural state. Their solution is to restrict lawn watering or odd/even watering days.

            I thought you might be interested in this product. I bought some for our fruit trees. They’re Israeli designed few collection trays that funnel any moisture toward the roots. Have you seen these? If Israel can make the desert bloom, there’s hope for us! https://www.israelscienceinfo.com/en/environnement/tal-ya-israel-recupere-la-rosee-pour-faire-fleurir-le-desert/

            1. Here in Nevada, our water district is putting money (the money we pay them, I’m sure) to help build a water reclamation plant with the DWP in Los Angeles. I’m glad one is happening. More need to. I jut don’t think Nevadans should be the ones paying for it@

          3. And that is the balance we seek to achieve. Yard space for children to run around versus plants to grow our own fruit and vegetable. I make sure I take the children to wide open green spaces regularly (we have many parks in walking and biking distance which we go to). I also find they prefer to play out front with all the neighbourhood children, instead of in the backyard on their own. They use the backyard for the trampoline, sandpit, picking fruit and vege, gardening and water fights. Otherwise, they are most definitely out the front with friends and bikes!

          4. We’ve been living/ dealing with drought since 2014, We collect rinse water to water the plants, take short showers and no baths. The gas price here is $6 plus and I just saw a house come to the market- asking price of 1.8 million (1100 sq ft). Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada bags are everywhere and people drive their Tesla and BMW to get free food from local “food for the needy” centers. I’m so grateful for this blog as I don’t know anyone here who is frugal!

      2. I received a huge blessing of produce from our town’s food pantry as they had an over abundance. I canned carrots, green beans and orange marmalade. We are enjoying other fresh fruits such as mango, grapes, and red pears. I also got a disaster relief box full of potatoes, onions and carrots. I am very grateful.

        I started four varieties of tomatoes and some flowers in the greenhouse. I trimmed my ferns and other plants to ready them for the patio.

        I visited my sis and received some clothes she won’t wear any more and a huge puke of lap robes she crocheted to take to our veteran’s center.

  36. Your garden is always so inspiring Brandy – you certainly earn the results with all your hard work! It is difficult to think about it being so hot as when I left for work this morning it was minus 18C with the windchill! It has been cold and snowy all weekend but by Thursday we are to be up to 16C! March has certainly been a roller coaster here weather wise!
    I have to go into the office 4 days this week to cover for my office mate so I wanted to be prepared. I gave the apt. a good clean, caught up on all the laundry (only dried the 2 loads of sheets – everything else was hung up to dry) and then did some batch cooking. I managed to find 2 pork loin roasts at 50% off last week, plus a good deal on chicken thighs so I bought two club packs. There was no room for the pork loins in the freezer so I marinated and then cooked them as soon as I got home. Left them in the fridge overnight and then sliced them thinly and packaged them up for the freezer (it is easier to fit in the small packs rather than the whole roasts) – should have at least 14 servings. I managed to find room for 8 of the chicken thighs in the freezer and then I cooked the other 10 in a sweet and sour sauce that I make. These will be served over rice and will be a couple of meals this week. The leftovers will fit into the freezer once I take out a couple of soups and the last of a chickpea curry that are in there – that way I’ll have a variety of meals ready for this week. I used up a canned ham from the pantry, along with some instant scalloped potatoes, carrots & peas and red cabbage for Sunday dinner. A friend had commented on much she always liked canned ham when she was a kid so invited her for dinner and sent her home with some leftovers – everything from the pantry and fridge!
    I did spend a lot of the extra week’s pay on grocery shopping this past week but I am now really well restocked. Bit the bullet and went to the higher end grocery store to get some of the variety that I simply can’t get at my local No Frills. The annoying part is – these stores are all part of the same chain (this company owns a lot of different named stores at different price points) but I have not been able to find certain canned items (No Name) in my No Frills for months – of course I found them at the Loblaw store but for 24 cents to 75 Cents more per can than I would have expected to pay! It’s very annoying but I felt that I didn’t have much choice. The first trip I bought canned veg and grains (all from the ethnic foods aisle where they are considerably cheaper)! The next trip was for canned fruit. flour, sugar, rice and pasta. Managed to find everything that I wanted so I won’t begrudge the extra money and I did use $20 in Loyalty points. It did mean that I had to check and rotate the cans as some were a earlier BB date than those I already had in the pantry – another thing we have to watch for these days. I found a plastic bin that I was no longer using so I put a lot of 2024 and 2025 cans into that for longer term storage.
    Oh and apparently the Christmas turkeys have finally arrived! The Loblaw at Bathurst & St. Clair (for anyone in Toronto) has stacks of the whole birds and pieces! Turkeys aren’t usually served for Easter here but they must be pushing them this year! Worth checking if you have room in your freezer! This store was pretty well stocked – especially when it came to meat and produce but their pasta and rice shelves were definitely a bit barer than I would expect and with not as much variety as per usual. I don’t have any pets but I did notice that many people were stocking up on car food! As I understand the issue – it’s not with the food itself but with the aluminum for the cans – human food gets priority!
    Otherwise it was the usual, take my water bottle & snacks to work, wash & reuse Ziploc bags, read library books and try very hard not to waste any food!

  37. My mom sent over chips, shampoo, conditioner, hamburger buns, soda, cheesecake cups, and bottled water

    The teen made banana muffins , and sugar cookies. Saturday night, she cooked dinner.

    A church brought in snack bags for staff. It had crackers, cheese, and grapes. Was a nice snack in between jobs.

    I ate lunch at work 4 days last week.

    We usually don’t have a lot of dishes during the week, so I’m only filling up the sink about halfway with water.

  38. Love your abundance of snow peas. Great photo of them!

    We tried for a bit more variety in our meals this week. We are still using up lemon, mango, pumpkin and bananas from the garden and excited our mandarins are almost ripe for picking.

    We had pumpkin soup with homemade garlic bread for two nights. On night two I added tuna to the soup. We had smoothies and ice blocks (popsicles) using mangos and bananas. We ate the fruit fresh too. I made lemon cake, lemon and honey drinks and drizzled lemon on salads and avocado. We had hamburgers for two dinners. Another two dinners were basil pesto chicken pasta. The remainder dinner was boiled eggs and toast with avocado, tomato, goats cheese and a drizzle of lemon. Lunches were simple pizza wraps, sandwiches, pumpkin soup, salads or pesto pasta. Breakfast was oats, wheat biscuits, boiled eggs, smoothies or toast (or a combination of these).

    I did a big grocery shop, spending just over $170 for the fortnight. I did not buy any meat products.

    My children were kindly gifted three medium size chocolate bars. I put one aside.

    My children played outside with the neighbourhood children while the adults socialised. Lots of chalk drawing, bike riding, ball kicking, croquet and roller skating.

    I buried scraps in the garden, kept gas, electricity, car and water usage to a minimum, line dried all washing (some days hanging it inside due to wet weather), did not water my garden (we are having even more rain after our recent flood), went on bike rides with my children and borrowed books and three DVD’s from the library. When it has been raining we are enjoying playing checkers as well as other board games we have on hand.

    As we aporoach school holidays I have been considering free local activities for my children plus activities at home.

    Have a great week.

  39. Checked out and arranged to drop my natural gas bill by nearly $1 per therm.

    Still in the midst of the laundry room etc. renovation and found cabinets, tile, hardware, and doors from an architectural salvage shop. Paid $375 which was a savings of over$5,000 by utilizing salvage rather than buying new.

    Eating out of the pantry. Dyed my own hair. Facial and massage at a school. Made dog biscuits. Lights and ac/ heat off as long as possible.

  40. I think this is my first time to chime in with a small list of my own frugal activities from the past week, but I have long enjoyed reading your posts, Brandy, and read as many comments as I can each week. Very inspiring!
    *I had consignment store credit that covered the purchase of a couple clothing items my teenage son needed.
    *I cut open a tube of lotion and got several more uses from it. I also recently turned a big lotion bottle upside down over a glass custard cup, and it lasted at least 3 more weeks from what I could get out with the pump.
    *My husband regularly brings home random leftover items from his office lounge. Last week it was two donuts from a specialty bakery. I cut each into three pieces for our 3 kids to sample the next morning.
    *My daughter is joining a new softball team, and we were able to purchase a used jersey for half the price of a brand new one.
    *I received two health food items from our local Buy Nothing Group: a superfood powder for smoothies, and a package of pumpkin seed meal. (I’m not quite sure what to do with the pumpkin seed meal, actually–any ideas?)
    *My two daughters redeemed coupons at a local gas station for a free ice cream cone for their recent birthdays.
    *My best grocery deals from the past week: 2 10-count Oscar Mayer hot dogs for 88 cents/pkg, a pound of powdered sugar for 69 cents, 3 boxes of pasta for 49 cents each, a pound of ground pork for 99 cents, and a bag of tortilla chips for 99 cents.

  41. I would encourage everyone who has a smart phone or tablet to always check the app first. Today my mom wanted Kentucky Fried Chicken, she’s 85 and we try to get her whatever she wants. My sister is immobile for a few days so I was also taking dinner to her. At the restaurant an 8 piece with 2 sides was $24. On the app an 8 piece with 3 sides was $23 plus I got a free sandwich for using app for first time. We haven’t had KFC in forever. It was delicious and we will probably get 5-6 individual meals from it.

    1. TCR, my husband loves KFC. If we are going through the drive-thru later in the evening, he asks if they have any specials or deals. They will usually offer him something that they have leftover — such as 3 thighs for $5 or something.

  42. Your garden looks lovely. I can’t wait till we are eating lettuce out of our garden again. I think it is one of may favorite things to grow since you can grow so many interesting varieties not seen in stores. I have sown Swiss chard and spinach and will add carrots, kale and beets this week as well as potatoes and onions (I am a bit later than usual with those but it will all work out.) Our local branch library has a Little Free Seed Library from which I brought home some kale, tomato, lettuce and pepper seeds. This, added to my on0hand stash, will go a long way to feeding us in the months to come. I shared some of the seeds from the library with two friends who were needing some and I was glad to save them a trip. I added mulch to our black raspberry canes and secured their posts which had come loose in recent strong winds. Our Spring weather can be very dramatic – warm and sunny one day and a blizzard the next – we have even had a hard frost as late as the middle of May – so we have to be flexible with planting and ready to protect and fix things as needed. My return to soaking my chickens’ feed as a way of reducing waste and the amount they need to consume has worked wonderfully. I have reduced their daily ration in half and they actually had some leftover today so I may be able to reduce it more as the weather warms and more bugs are available. This will help a tremendous amount financially as well as in the food we have available to them in the future. My youngest son and I have been cleaning, repairing and painting some woodenware for our bees. We will be getting two more hives from my bee mentor at the end of April, one of which will be my son’s own. He has helped me in the apiary for about 3 years and is looking forward to taking charge of his own hive and reaping some of the reward from honey sales. We are refurbishing the woodenware with paint given to us by a neighbor which is a nice savings. They love honey and know some will be coming their way this summer. We added more shelving to our pantry with materials we already had on hand. We have been using some of our tax refund to invest in our stockpile of food and feel very good about what we have on hand. I have kept a written inventory in the past and it was an excellent way to learn how much we use of certain items and how long foods last for us but I had gotten away from this practice in recent years. I realize that the amount of food and even the types we eat may change from time to time (especially as little children become bigger children who eat more) so it is good to renew this practice and see how long things last us now. I think a lot of our frugal habits come down to this kind of tweaking and refining. Learning to improve skills we already have is useful, too. Like many of you, I do lots of mending and sewing and enjoy learning new (to me) techniques or just different ways to approach a project. I have really enjoyed this YouTube channel. While I am not likely to make a historically correct garment any time soon, I have learned a lot just watching a few of her videos and they appeal very much to the part of me that thinks I was born in the wrong decade if not the wrong century. 🙂 Hope some of you will enjoy her, too. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHtaUm-FjUps090S7crO4Q
    On the book front, I have been re-reading some things in my personal library which I love to do. It is like visiting with old friends. One book, which I am surprised I haven’t mentioned here before (I don’t think) is “Making Home: Adapting Our Homes and Lives to Settle in Place” by Sharon Astyk. It is the kind of book that, no matter how many times I have read it, I get a new insight every time. It is almost eerie how relevant it is now and I think many readers here would find it a very useful read. I think she does the best job I have ever seen of discussing the advantages and disadvantages of city, suburban and country living and how to make the best of each situation in an effort to reduce reliance on outside sources and to care for ourselves and our loved ones.
    Have a lovely week, all!

    1. I am curious about soaking your chicken feed? We have been talking about the need to try to reduce the amount of feed we are going through for the chickens and rabbits. Rabbits will eat far less once they can roam more and enjoy the grasses again, but they will eay pretty much any amount we feed them! lol I’d love you to share your process.

      1. Amanda – Of course! Happy to share! Over the years of keeping chickens, I have experimented with pretty much everything. I have soaked their food more often than not but it was something I just had gotten out of the habit of doing and wanted to revisit. I have done it with whole grains and pellets and it works for both. I have soaked their food for 3 days to actually ferment it for those health benefits and that worked well, too. Financially, soaking the grain, even just overnight, helps by reducing the amount needed. As the grain soaks, it puffs up so they need and waste less plus it increases their water intake. I tend not to do it as much in the winter since most days it would freeze before they eat it all but I do it intermittently to be sure they get the supplements I give them ) mainly, DE and kelp powder. I would recommend cutting the amount of food you currently give your chickens by about 1/4, soak it overnight, and see how they do. If they leave any, cut it further until you arrive at an amount they clean up in one day. I would watch them carefully to make sure they are getting enough to eat, however, since chickens have the unfortunate habit of picking on each other if they are hungry. My chickens are on pasture but I also let them out to free-range about half of the day which significantly cuts down on their grain consumption, especially in the warmer months of the year. I hope that info helps and you and your chickens are enjoying the Spring weather. 🙂

        1. This is really good to know. My friend said the price of chicken feed went from 8 pounds to 20 pounds a bag in England. I shared this with her.

          1. I hope she will find it helpful, too. I forgot to mention I am also researching raising black soldier fly larvae for chicken feed. They also are very useful at breaking down compost and are not pests to humans like house or black flies. They were developed as exotic pet food and humans can eat them, too, but I am hoping it doesn’t get quite to that point. 🙂

  43. One thing we do to save money is to buy bread rolls and fixings for mum to take to her friend’s home instead of going to restaurants. Today’s little effort was not cheap. Mum went to a deli to buy four slices of ham and it cost $10 (AUS). I think it is time to change up this outing.

    Seed packets have been found and I am thinking about trying to plant some plants that do not like hot and humid summers. Anything will help.

    I found some good deals on cheese. The soft cheese will last until the end of April and I have a reasonable stock left in the freezer.

    I have been looking into how other people prep. This time I am feeling pretty relieved. I think I have a fair amount of food and most of it is the stuff that prepares suggest. We are not big grain and pulse or bean eaters so I am experimenting with these. I understand it is quite tough to suddenly switch to beans etc as a protein source is it seems like a good idea to introduce them now.

    We have had more flooding rain in my little corner of Australia. This makes staying home much more enjoyable.

    God bless and have a wonderful week.

  44. I look forward to your weekly posts Brandy, and the comments from all your devoted readers.
    My husband and I are in our 70’s and have always lived as self sufficiently as possible and practical. Living in the country, with our own well, land for gardens, woods to harvest for heat, health and strength has made that possible.
    I am providing a link to sermon by Pastor John MacArthur from the late 70’s titled “The Provision of Prayer”. I hope many will listen to it and find much comfort in these days of concern.
    https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/2239/the-provision-of-prayer-part-1

  45. Very uneventful week… We both fell ill with covid, but we are recovering well and fast. Spring is playing hide and seek – we had 2 spring blizzards and then low temperatures -25C/-13F.

  46. I will be trying the trench composting method in our small garden. I have saved egg shells before and added them to the soil. I will try coffee grounds and peels from fruit and vegetables, too.
    I cleaned pots that we will be using for outside planting this year.
    I am anticipating an especially busy Spring at work this year. We are losing an employee and I will be training the new one while still performing my own job, so I took a couple of vacation days to get some things done at home.
    My main garden area is now ready for planting. I haven’t planted anything yet but it’s ready!
    I cleaned out a drawer in the sideboard in the dining room. I relocated some things but about half of the items in the drawer either went into the trash or will be given away. I also did the same thing with a large cabinet in the kitchen. It is so much easier to find things in there now.
    We are consistently and slowly adding new items to our pantry. We have always been blessed and had more than we need but we have never had the deep pantry that we do today just because we add just a little bit here and there.
    My husband’s employer has allowed him to work less hours each week. He was working part time 6 mornings every week and now he is only working 3. He now has the energy to do things around the house that he wants to do. We plan on planting twice the food this year than we have in previous years.

  47. Thrifty actions this week included completion of all foods for our Easter dinner ( we have many coming) taking advantage of sales throughout the weeks. Also accepted flower cuttings from neighbors for yard. I finished reading The Next Ship Home about early 1900s at Ellis Island.
    I paid an annual Medicare bill and other insurances to secure a companion pass (free ride) with Southwest Airlines.

    1. If you enjoyed reading about Ellis Island you would probably like Ellis Island Interviews (in their own words) by Peter Morton Coan. The whole book is interviews from people who came through Ellis Island. They talk about the homes they left, the experience of traveling to the U.S. and how their lives have turned out. It’s fascinating. My grandmother came in the early 1900s from Poland. How I wish I had asked her more questions when I had the chance. I’ve reread this book several times.

  48. Happy Tuesday!
    I love reading everyone’s posts, as usual. Brandy, thanks for mentioning the manure issues (and we’re not talking about politics, haha! Sorry, couldn’t resist!). I was googling to find a local source and I ended up reading several articles about how hay pesticide goes through the animals and can cause all kinds of garden problems. Gosh, it’s not even safe to buy poop anymore! Even an organic source can be a problem. So, I’m gonna have to look into it even more. Home compost really seems to be the best way to go.

    As for my week…
    *We changed our very old LR and DR curtains to a thicker blocking type. These are south and west facing windows. We found them at HomeGoods for about half the price I was expecting to pay.
    *I rigged up a new way to dry sheets.
    *A heavenly gift of a good soaker rain will save us from another week of watering and about $17.
    *Saved $35 bank fee off a stop payment just for asking.
    *Got a few good market deals.
    – 10 tubes of toothpaste for $1 ea.
    -1/2 gallon of OJ for 82¢ Sale and coupon
    -2 bottles of Lubriderm for $1.97 ea. Combining coupons dropped the sale price another $3 each.
    -All items but celery and milk were a sale and/or coupon. All regular items I buy.
    -$5 off $50 coupon, as well.
    *Bargain dinners included Chicken pot pie soup, barely beef stew, and our new Monday regular, Baked ziti.

    How exciting that you’re already getting fresh vegetables! I’m more than ready to taste a flavorful tomato!!
    Adios until next week! Make it a good one, ladies!

    1. Thank you for diligently serving this community. I always learn something new.
      I am trying to stock up like you do in your pantry, but am not sure what to prioritize after looking after storage calculations. For my family of 8, i would have to have over 2000 ponds of combined grain for a year of food. Does white flour store that well..i don’t have freezer space to freeze it. Or would it be wiser to go with wheat berries (although i prefer white flour for bread)? Does anyone have tips on this?

      1. Do some of both, and yes, that’s how much you need. I’ve lived over a year without shopping for my family and you go through quite a bit of food.

        White flour stores well in food-grade buckets with oxygen absorbers, as does wheat (at least 30 years) and beans.

  49. My lettuce is basically done and is starting to bolt. It’s really funny to me that you would still have it, Brandy, when your weather is hotter, but such is gardening life.

    I’m able to hang out my laundry most weekends for now, and did this last weekend.

    We have somewhat cool nights but warm days. I’ve got both heater and A/C turned off and I am just running fans in the heat of the day.

    I continue consistently bringing leftovers for lunch.

    I’ve been very careful not to waste food – it’s too expensive to throw out!

    I just finished the 40 pound box of sweet potatoes that I bought a few weeks ago. They were eaten, frozen or canned.

    I dug up a dud of a rose recently – I know this may bother Brandy, but in my defense, it was an old free rose that refused to grow or bloom in spite of much care – and I’m going to plant dwarf mulberry bushes in its place. I love mulberries but none grow near me. I put the rose under some trees at the edge of the woods, as it’s a climber, to give it one more chance. My goal is to have more food, less fluff in my yard, although I include some things for the birds and butterflies to eat as well.

    I repurposed a never-used sharps disposal container that I no longer need. I used the tall bottom part without the lid to store flat freezer bags of broths and stocks in my upright freezer. It stores more bags while using less shelf space.

    I found a penny. I can’t think when I last found cash; it seems no one carries cash anymore.

    1. It’s probably due to when you planted your lettuce. I plant every couple of weeks for a continuous supply, otherwise it will still bolt after it’s been in for a bit. I have new smaller lettuce that is not bolting. We had a storm last night and the temperature dropped 15 degrees, so my lettuce should hold out a bit longer. I’m hoping to have lettuce until the end of April and possibly into May, though it usually all bolts by the end of April. I often eat it anyway even though it’s bitter by then.

      The arugula I planted bolted immediately, though, and the mache never did get very large before all bolting. I am going to attempt to collect seeds from that.

      I threw out three rose bushes (of what was originally four) during the garden renovation that performed horribly in my garden, almost never flowering despite good feeding and pruning. I also threw out producing (though diseased) grapes and replaced them all with grapes that are hopefully correctly labeled this time.

      Sometimes that’s what you have to do.

      Christ cursed the fig tree that didn’t produce and it died. If it’s not producing for me, I have no problems following His example!

      1. Ha, ha, I had not thought of that fig tree! You are quite right – we are following His example.

        I planted the lettuce in series starting back in the fall, but we had a warm humid spell for about two weeks recently and the stuff that was just coming in jumped up and started bolting. It might be the variety. I still have the packet so I’m going to check to make sure what kind I planted.

  50. My father used to do trench composting. It worked like a charm!
    Also, roses love banana peel added to the soil but I use organic ones.

  51. Hello Everyone,

    Fairly new to posting, long time reader. I am trying to learn to be more frugal and conscientious about using resources. I’ve used a lot of what I learned here and look forward to implementing what I’ve learned. Last was exciting for me. I learned several new skills.

    I took my bicycle to a local non-profit that teaches people to maintain and fix their own bikes. You can rent “stand time” for $10 a day, or purchase an annual membership for $35 and go as often as you like. You get 2 hours at a bike stand at a time, access to all their tools, all parts for $1-$5 (they’re all donated), and trained bike mechanics who will help even a novice. I learned how to tune up my bike and make sure it is in shape for riding after a winter in storage!

    I live in an apartment and don’t have a porch or balcony of my own, but my friend in the building lives on the first floor and has south-facing porch. I asked if I could use it to grow veggies this summer and she said to go for it! Instead of buying starts, I’m learning to grow my own from seed. I live in Western New York, so we can’t really plan outside until mid-May. But I’ve started lettuce, tomatoes, plenty of herbs, and some marigolds for color in a makeshift seed starting station in my apartment! Fingers crossed that they work out. I also talked to my landlord to see if he would consider attaching a rain barrel to one of the buildings on our property. This way, I could use that to water my plants instead of building water. We don’t pay for water as tenants – but our landlord does, so this would be a win for him! A few years ago I found a local composting company that provides you with bins, picks up weekly, and then gives you the compost back. Great for city dwellers who don’t want to contend with rats. I told my landlord about it and the price was right, so he signed up our building. He recently told me that it cut down so much on garbage, that he was able to reduce how many garbage totes the building has, saving money and offsetting the cost of the compost service. And, he doesn’t use the compost he is entitled so, so he said I could have it for my container garden!

    I’ve always wanted to be able to mend my own clothes and repurpose things, but was always really intimidated. I finally purchased a new sewing machine and spent the night at my parents’ house so my mom could teach me how to use it. So far I’ve made a pincushion, a little sack for scraps, and hemmed a pair of pajama pants that had gotten a bit ratty on the bottom.

    Thanks to all for sharing every week!

    1. What a nice friend and a great landlord!

      Would an indoor garden like an aerogarden be helpful to you? It could expand your growing space and allow you to grow more food inside.

      It’s wonderful that you are learning to sew! Congratulations!

  52. I am loving the compost tumbler that I was given. It’s about the size of a 55 gallon drum. I’ll have compost finished in 3 weeks. It is 100% rodent proof.
    I can make a batch when I need it and leave it empty other times. I get vegetable scraps from the grocery store and shred free newspapers when I need to build a load. I have the ability to make all the compost I need, but our community also offers free organic compost giveaways from time to time. It’s a huge blessing.

  53. Since many of you mention WWII books, I suggest Helen MacInnes for intrigue (but not at all the sex and gratuitous violence of modern international thrillers), where ordinary people are challenged to see what they are capable of in horrible times. From 1939, “Above Suspicion” is about an English couple who travels through Europe looking for what went wrong on an underground escape route. “Assignment in Brittany”, 1942, is an agent impersonating a Frenchman as the Germans invade. “While Still We Live”, 1944, also called “The Unconquerable”, is the most unusual, a British woman who is in Poland when the war starts and works with the Polish underground.

    1. Thank you! My library has several of her books as e-books, including more, but not the last one that you mentioned. I requested them. They’re next on my list to read.

  54. My biggest frugal win of last week was greatly thanks to my sister! A little back story, I have mentioned before I was going through a divorce these past ten months. In September, I discovered termites that caused damage to part of the stud/wall of my master bedroom. I cash flowed the treatment and saved to cash flow the repair and decided to paint my bedroom a new color – Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. My sister has many talents, one of which is sourcing, repurposing and designing on a tight budget. I asked her to help me make my master bedroom a place of peace after such a difficult season.

    I had base pieces – a king size mattress frame, mattress and box springs as well as two nice dressers. Because I had time, I was able to pickup quite a few great decor pieces from my Buy Nothing Group. She brought a collection of items from her stash and a king sized headboard that she thrifted from her local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store for $20. She used black paint to touch it up and it looked brand new when she was finished. I purchase a Hearth and Home comforter and shams set from Target using a gift card from Christmas and a bed skirt from Home Goods partly with a credit and paying $9.74 out of pocket. We pulled bed side tables from my living room and she updated their look by painting the bottoms black – spray paint $8. We found the perfect lamps at Goodwill for $25 and some greenery from Hobby Lobby for $4.50. Total expense for my bedroom makeover was $67.24. However, I took the existing pair of lamps that I owned (we decided they were too modern and too dark) and sold them on Marketplace for $40. So the actual cost was $27.24. While she was here we went to a few garage sales and someone had set a sewing table on the curb for free. We picked it up and she removed the machine and painted and distressed it to place as a side table in my living room. The only thing missing is a nice comfy chair for the corner of my bedroom. I am not in a rush and will look for the right piece and price! If you’d like to see the process and the finished results, she posted a four part series on her instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CbanO38LuLk/?utm_medium=copy_link

    When my oldest (7) first saw it she said it looked so much better and could we please do their room next? I am so grateful for my sister who has been a constant support during this turbulent time. My divorce was finalized this week and while I have varied emotions around it, I know this is the right thing.

  55. Dear Brandy, thanks so much for the link to trench composting. Your link gave me all the info I needed. Better than what I searched! Much appreciated.

  56. I love your lettuce! It looks so healthy and luscious. I plant every 2 weeks, as well, from now until fall and we may lose one or two weeks if one batch bolts, but usually have lettuce all spring and summer once it gets going. We are a few weeks off from that. A few weeks back, I planted a few early crops in my big garden, and some things in the raised beds. I have finally had the reward of seeing some seedlings come up. I have Boc choi, lettuce, snow peas, spinach, carrots and a very few beets that have come up. The green onions–maybe 3, total, but I’m not giving up on them, yet! I got that area weeded today and gave it a shot of weak fertilizer mixture, in water. My husband grabs old coffee grounds whenever he sees them for gardeners at the Starbucks at Safeway and I spread a couple of bags of those around the carrots. I heard it helps to control wireworms. I don’t know if it really does, although I don’t seem to have much of a problem with them anymore. I do know it adds fertilizer to the soil, so I add it when I can get it. A couple of bags had been around a while, waiting for me to get to them and they were loaded with the red worms–somehow they had crawled into the bags where they were sitting and broke the coffee grounds down for me, right in the bags. I added those worms to the garden, too! We have brought worms onto our lot in the past. They must be getting around.

    In my overwintered bed, the spinach has grown enough leaves that I plan to pick some this week. The cabbage bolted, so I won’t get any of that, as did the kale. We have new baby cabbage plants started in the greenhouse, but I was hoping to get some from these plants. The cilantro is prolific and there is a little bit of lettuce that overwintered and is starting to grow. My raised bed of shelling peas is about 2 inches tall, so I know I’ll get some of those. We plan to try to get another small area of the big garden ready this week and plant another succession planting of early crops.

    We continue to compost our scraps. We have 4 bins we use. My husband made them from scrap wood. One bin is in use right now and the other 3 have broken down compost in them from last summer for me to spread. I put some of it on the garden, but have the rest of the bin to scoop out when we get ready to plant the next section. I mowed the lawn and spread the clippings on a corner of the big garden that needs amending. We will try to till them in one of these days to break down.

    When a couple of my adult children come over, they often bring big bags of food from Taco Bell or pizza, which they eat. There are always tons and tons of those little packets of sauce left over and the place we put them turned into an avalanche last night, spilling packets all over the kitchen floor. Today, I cleaned out an old mustard bottle and squeezed it 3/4 full of mild sauce. Then, I FILLED my hot sauce bottle with Diablo sauce (super hot, I guess). It was almost empty! Once I find another old bottle to wash, I’ll do the ones marked “hot.” I put parmesan cheese from pizza (same source) into my big bottle and filled my spice jar with crushed red pepper flakes from the packets. All the soy sauce from Chinese (blame those on me–we do that every-other-month or so) went into my jar for cooking. Now I have several dollars worth of condiments, in an easily usable form, almost for free, since they paid for the take-out food.

    My husband was able to get frozen pizza for 8c, using the Safeway app. He got Bandon cheese for 4.99/2-lb loaf. My mom was visiting and he also got her some of that cheese and a few other items she wanted, saving her a trip to the store. Milk was 99c/1/2 gallon, so he got 4. Sour cream was also 99c/carton, so he got a couple of those. He got cream cheese for $1.28, which I will use for Easter. Eggs were $5/5 dozen, and they were out. They gave him a raincheck, which is not what they usually do around here lately. So he went back and got those yesterday.

    I made a quiche without the crust. We pulled a frozen ham out to use. I made soup 3 times last week. On Saturday, I made potato soup because my niece was coming to lunch and it’s her favorite. At church on Sunday, a young couple with 2 kids we are close to indicated they wanted to visit with my niece, so we had them come over, too. Plus our daughter was home from her camp and she was coming and we had our older grandson. I served the soup, put out bread, peanut butter and jelly and some ham for sandwiches, some leftover enchilada casserole and opened jars of applesauce. Everyone was fed and there was plenty. Which goes to prove…If you cook it, they will come! (as my husband joked!). It was fun to see the 3 young boys playing–their 2 and our grandson. I continue to pull items from the freezers and shelves to use in daily meals.

    The young lady who came over is the daughter of a large hazelnut farmer. Fertilizer is now triple what it was. Her father and brother are only going to be able to choose wisely and only fertilize sparingly. Their extended family is planting a large communal garden and they are getting in to raising rabbits and chickens as a family. I loved hearing that! (The raising food part, NOT the expensive fertilizer part!)

    A few weeks ago, my husband and I were supposed to have a weekend away. We were actually going to use our house as home base and do fun activities without the expense of a hotel. We’ve been married for almost 40 years and had kids for most of it, and so we were obviously disappointed that we got the flu and couldn’t have the fun we planned. The past 3 days of last week, we made up for it! We had Chinese food to go with a library movie, used a gift card to eat out for Mexican food, took the grandkids to the park, my Mom came to visit and Rob visited his Mom (she lives about an hour away and doesn’t drive this far), and even went to a theatre to see a movie (matinee, of course!). It was so fun. We got some frugal things done as well, some cleaning, some cooking, and so forth.

    There are some pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    1. Becky, Urea ammonia fertilizer went from $100 a ton to $1000 a ton last fall ($1000 by December). It was $1632 as of a couple of days ago. This, along with drought, is what is going to drive food prices sky high.

      1. Wow, Brandy, I knew fertilizer had increased in price but that is wild! For some things, magnesium is a good soil additive. Unscented epsom salts contain magnesium and, I think, sulphur BUT only use it IF your soil is deficient in magnesium. Brandy, I assume you’ve had your new soil tested?

    2. Becky, you mentioned the similarities between Bandon and Tillamook cheeses. Tillamook is a farmers’ co-op in coastal NW Oregon and Bandon was a farmers’ co-op in SW Oregon. WAS, because some years ago Tillamook and Bandon either merged, or Tillamook acquired Bandon = both under same ownership. The last time I was in Bandon, the old cheese factory was still in use. I don’t know if it was producing Bandon cheese or Tillamook cheese, or if the milks are being combined. Personally, I can’t tell the difference. The milks are similar due to breeds and locations and, as far as I can tell, the recipes are identical. When I lived in Oregon, I bought whichever brand was on sale. I buy Tillamook when it is on sale for under $6 (Bandon hardly ever goes on sale here), otherwise I usually buy Darigold, which is always under $6 for 2 lbs. at Winco. I’ve never done a side-by-side taste test, but honestly…there isn’t much difference. If any. If anyone has done a side-by-side taste test, please post!

      1. Maxine,
        In the past I tried to buy only Tillamook dairy because the farmers took better care of their cows. I have forgotten for sure, but I think they don’t give them certain drugs. They used to not have factory farms, but Tillamook Creamery does have factory farms now. There are some YouTube videos about factory farms that I thought were disturbing. The cows in the Tillamook area can still be seen outside munching the pastures. As far as flavor I thought Tillamook cheddar was milder flavored than Bandon, and I definitely prefer Tillamook ice cream over any other brand, and their yogurt is actually yogurt. However, recently I have been reading some research on the U.S. National Institute of Health, (NIH) website about breast cancer and bovine leukemia, and I am rethinking (also MLV). I had already changed to non-dairy milk and found my frequent respiratory illnesses in winter almost completely stopped happening. I also found that I could eat ice cream infrequently, or I would get a respiratory illness. There is also the cholesterol issue with eating animal foods. I do not know a lot about the effect on one’s finances from heart disease, but I do know a couple of men who had bypass surgery who cannot do much physical work because the bone in their chest is wired together and will never heal. One guy told my husband that he couldn’t vacuum the floor because the back and forth motion would work the wires in his chest, and the wires could break. Personally, I’m working on finding vegan substitutes for things we like. As an in-between step we are using Daiya mozzarella, but it is not that great tasting, is greasy, and it is expensive. So far, I don’t have any great answers.

  57. A quiet week here. I ordered some new slippers that arrived and didn’t fit, so I sent them back. There was a tear in the seam that attached to the soul on my slippers, so a little bit of black gorilla tape fixed them up fine since my slippers are black. I’m going to put off replacing the slippers for awhile now. I bought a little seed starting kit and some seeds to start for a small deck garden this year. I haven’t gardened for a few years, so I’m looking forward to this. My hubby is out of town with work this week, so just simple simple eating this week. It’s been kind of nice, not cooking much. I got a new catalog from a place I have bought clothes in the past (stores are difficult for me). I spent some time looking it over and while there were some good sales, I thought through my clothes and I really don’t need anything this spring. I had my brothers and their wives over for dinner. One brought a nice little flowering plant for me and the other a cut flower bouquet. I love flowers so much, but haven’t bought any for awhile. I put them in different rooms to spread the beauty throughout the house. Otherwise, we’ve been sticking close to home, reading and watching television and just enjoying our peaceful life. We are blessed. Have a good week everyone! I enjoy these posts s very much!

  58. We are dealing with on and off again snow – it had gotten up in to the 50’s but Mother Nature had other plans so my buckets are back to being frozen solid and I held off planting any cold tolerant seeds. Currently, we have a winter weather advisory in effect. My lettuce is growing okay in my hydroponic tower in the basement but I need a better way of making sure the grow light is hitting them all evenly. The apple seeds have taken off. Now I am going to see if I can start an avacado or some mandarins. Being in Michigan means they all have to be in pots and brought in for the cold months but at this house, I have a much better set up to over winter them.
    My husband stayed at his parent’s house for almost a week to help out after his Mom had surgery that she had some complications from. His Dad has dementia so my husband did a lot of entertaining him so he’d let Mom rest. I am thankful that my husband can no longer work so was able to go there and do this for them. Since we only have one vehicle, I couldn’t go anywhere so no money was spent (wouldn’t have been either way since we don’t really go out much anyway). I used the time to paint his “room” (which is the living room where his very large screen and computer are). He keeps the curtains closed to there is no glare on his screen so this was the perfect opportunity to get it done. Paint was $8 (mis-tint)and made the area look sooo much cleaner – the interior was primed with a flat that soaked up every bit of dirt and dog drool and could not be scrubbed clean. The previous owner just sprayed primer over EVERYTHING, including all the door hardware. While working on that room, I also re-hung the curtains (which were crooked) and fixed all the crazy window trim. There are 3 windows and each one has a different type of trim – one of which had very badly done angled cuts that’d been filled in with drywall mud and caulk. I can’t afford new trim, but I at least fixed them to all be seamless and correctly angled. I am slowly making my way thru each area.
    We are planning out our next shopping trip and plan to stock up as much as we can afford with the basics. We did find a package of chicken breast for 2.29 a pound – not the price I was hoping for but it’s about the best I’ve seen. I hope to pick up more sugar and salt so I have it for canning. I need to see if any pectin is in the stores as well as lids which I am low on. Does anyone know if there is a point at which pectin (dry) no longer works? Since I need to be gluten and dairy free, I need to stock up on those items as well. Does anyone have a good tomato soup recipe that doesn’t use cows milk or cream? I need to get the tomatoes out of my freezer and bought them with the plan of making myself some soup, however my doctor then put me on a no dairy diet (and I unhappily have discovered that I do indeed have a problem with dairy, not just lactose 🙁 Goodbye cheese)
    I wanted to find at least one dining chair on casters so my husband could sit at the table comfortably – my patience waiting for the right price paid off when a set of 2 came up for free in Marketplace! I recovered the seats with upholstery fabric that I already had so nothing oop was spent 🙂
    I discovered that our area rug (5x7ish) will fit in the front loader washer – it took a bit to get it fit in there so the door would close. I ran it thru 2x, once with bleach and it looks great again. I was ready to give up on it as nothing (including pressure washing it) was getting it to come clean and smell clean! I was worried it’d stress the machine too much but it worked out. I wouldn’t recommend trying this in any top loader or small front loader – mine has about the biggest capacity w/o being a commercial machine. My rug is also a very cheap one with no natural fibers in it.
    Hope everyone has a good week

    1. Melissa V~We are also in MI (the U.P.). My main living areas have mis-angled trim too. Oh, and I totally get the dog drool 😉 How did you fix the messed up trim? Also, did you paint the trim? Thanks 🙂

      1. Yes, I painted all the trim ( with paint left over from our previous house). I used other pieces of scrap wood to fill in and then sanded them to the correct depth. I them used caulk to fill the joints and painted. It is far from perfect but the curtains hide it.

    2. Melissa,
      I too am in Michigan and the weather has been crazy!! The ice this morning was hard for me to face! I ordered a meyer lemon tree and a mandarin tree last week to pot up and grow in my basement. I am so ready for warm weather. Kudos on your trim repair. It is such a good feeling to complete projects. Stay warm!

    3. Recipe is probably too strong a word for it, but I make tomato soup without any dairy. It would be something similar to Brandy’s Tuscan soup, https://theprudenthomemaker.com/tuscan-tomato-bread-soup/ without the bread or parmesan. I often just use water instead of broth half and half proportions with the tomatoes. I like to leave it quite chunky, but you can puree it too. It is very forgiving when you are experimenting.

    4. Melissa V,
      This is the recipe I use – https://www.sunset.com/recipe/sidekick-tomato-soup – it does call for crème fraiche to be drizzled on top. I just don’t use it. Instead, I might drizzle a bit on unsweetened dairy-free coffee creamer, if I’m in the mood. Unless, it’s a box of instant pudding mix, I’ve found I can sub pretty much any unsweetened dairy-free alternative milk (oat, coconut, rice, almond, cashew) in recipes. I also use some diary-free cheeses. They’re a bit pricey, but do help to provide an option for replacing cheese.

      1. Natasha, I hopped in to recommend that same recipe from BudgetBytes. Searching vegan on her site, I’ve found many great soup recipes. A note on her white bean slow cooker soup was so-so… very bland, so I add a few tbsp of hot sauce and that livens it up. I like that one since it requires no overnight soaking of the great northern or navy beans.

  59. Again, I am so grateful for the prep work I did in putting meals in the freezer and having extra on hand for last week’s meals! Not our sickness but a very miserable allergy-ridden two year old grandson was our companion three days last week and he needed all of my attention. Happy to report that his mom was able to get him an over the counter allergy medication that is finally working for him and he was much improved yesterday when I saw him. I never did complete my freezer cooking list but I plan to tackle it again this week. I need to go pull meats out to thaw and place ingredients together in the kitchen so that I do all I’d planned to do.

    I took a bit of leftover beef roast last week and made a pot of roast beef hash. It’s one of our favorite makeovers for leftover roast. Well I had extra hash left. So I chopped the potatoes in that a little more finely and made a brown gravy to over the leftover hash and used that as a pot pie filling. I made a lovely cheddar cheese crust to go on top. Boy was that a hit!

    We have cooked all meals at home (as we generally do) and I have been careful to not toss any foods out but I had a fail this week when I let some squash go a little too long. It just gave me incentive to work harder at using what I have.

    We had grandchildren to keep on Saturday and I made pizza for their lunch and sliced fruits from the fridge. For snacks that afternoon they ate popcorn and cheese puffs mixed together (their idea). I buy the big UTZ containers of puffs at the discount store for under $6 (it’s like 2 gallons). The containers are good storage because the containers are so big. They lids fit just snugly enough to keep them air tight. I have also used these as bins for toys, like blocks.

    Received my new gamma lids after we’d purchased our three new food grade buckets. Kroger obligingly had 4 pound bags of sugar for $1.27 each with loyalty card and digital coupon. I also bought ten pounds of russet potatoes for less than 40c a pound which is an excellent price for our area. I brought home my sugar to store in one of the new buckets. Glad I had them ready to use because the last three I’d bought are full.

    Kroger also had a 10 pound chub of hamburger for $21. I couldn’t deny that was a good price. I brought it home and divided five pounds into half-pound packets and used the other five pounds to make up ten hamburgers. Then John spied a sale on shredded mozzarella making it cost a lot less than block mozzarella. And we bought two chuck roasts for $4 a pound another unheard of good sale price. All went into the freezer. We stuck hard to the list of the very best sales prices on things. I’d rather spend the extra now and have it in the pantry or freezer than wish I’d had it later when I might not be able to buy as much for the same funds!

    Our electric bill arrived. It had dropped nearly $80 from the previous month’s usage. Glad of it. I’m not sure why we would have used so much electric that last time but it was cold and we were keeping our youngest grandson so we wouldn’t use the propane heater. Funnily enough the savings over what I thought it might be and what it came in at, just about covered my grocery bill. I’ll take it.

    Finally, tonight I needed to run the dishwasher. It wasn’t quite full and I am a stickler for making sure it’s full when I do run it. I took the grates off my gas stove and added them in, filling it as full as it would go and work properly. Now I’ll have clean grates to go on the stove in the morning.

  60. Also meant to say how helpful I found the info shared by Garden Pat, and Nancy in Washington about the minimal distribution from IRAs and the charitable donations. We have a bit longer before we reach that stage but it’s good info to have on hand. I’ve copied out those two notes and am going to print them out and save for future reference. I shared them with John as well so we can present the idea to our IRA manager. We tithe generously but due to the new higher levels for deductions we never qualify for any return. We are going to tithe anyway but we were wondering how we could manage in future if we also had to pay taxes on that money. It’s given us a great idea of how to manage. Thank you for sharing!!

  61. Just a small comment. We are traveling for my husband’s work and grabbed breakfast at one of our favorite places (usually it’s free hotel breakfast for us, but we only get to this place once a year, if that). They were charging for coffee refills now! I don’t drink coffee, but my husband does. I was talking to the cashier and she said their coffee cost has skyrocketed. For the same amount that they used to pay $600 a week for, it is now $1100!!! No surprise they need to charge for refills!

  62. Time certainly has flown by; I am jotting down three weeks of savings and attempts. Congratulations Brandy on your new job, you are an asset to the nursery, and I hope it continues longer than the trial period.

    *continued to meal plan, organized main refrigerator freezer, thankfully found zero surprises. It gets messy because it is a drawer.
    *toasted up odds and ends of breads/buns to make bread crumbs. Vacuum sealed and froze them.
    *ground up boxed butter cookies (a gift) that were not being eaten (I know!), they will be used as a crumb base for a cream pie or cheesecake. The cookies were good, but were not moving fast enough. My son took two Sur la Table online baking classes (birthday gifts from my in’ laws), he made three different cookies. Two of the three leftovers were also ground down. They were delicious but, as I am trying to lose weight, they were off limits except for the trial cookie to let him know how they were.
    *while a cost savings, it is a sad one. We rehomed our puppy. He really needed another dog and we were not getting one. I miss him terribly.
    *was rear ended, insurance will cover everything but our deductible which will be covered by the other person’s insurance.
    *continue to exercise using our home gym. We do have a Peloton bike and pay the monthly subscription. It is far cheaper than our former gym membership and it gets used a ton more! I am down 25#, only 22# more to go.
    *picked up an order from flashfood at our local Meijer, Nestle chocolate chips for $1.34/pkg and Tillamook sliced cheese for $2.14/pkg. Both were half off. I had a $5 credit so 3 bags of chips and 3 pkgs of cheese cost me less than $7. I wish the locations with meat and produce were a tad closer; they are not far, just not want to waste the gas.
    *our coffee maker for the house started giving off a very bad smell, it was a very inexpensive model and we used it a lot. Instead of buying a new one right now, we got ours from our camper until we decide.
    *our friends daughter is getting married next year, we did a cake tasting for her and her fiancé with cakes from various bakeries in the area. My bakery gave me the taster cake for free, it was an 8” cake!
    *I am a member of our location historical commission, we are getting shirts with our cities logo on it, we have money in our commission budget to cover them so no cost to me. I have my first meeting later in April for our cities historic district that should be interesting. Our art center, which used to be our public library (it is an Andrew Carnegie building), just received a National Historic landmark status.
    *ordered more free covid tests.
    *I need a colonoscopy, instead of ordering the premade up prep kit for $38, I will use our FSA to buy what I can and I have a feeling I have the remainder on hand.
    *my son started wearing braces a couple of weeks ago. We used our FSA to put the deposit down after our insurance coverage and will make 18 monthly payments. We had an overage last year intentionally that we were able to carry over and that will offset this a bit. My plan is to pay them off next January as we have access to all our funds for the New Year.

    I hope you all have a beautiful remainder to your week!

  63. A friend of mine has just matched 7 Ukrainian refugee families with volunteer host families here in our city. We are expecting we may have a family arrive to stay with us by the middle of April. It is a rapidly evolving situation with visas being processed as soon as possible.
    I have been corresponding with a young women from Kharkiv-she is 20 and her husband 24-they already have a placement but she is hoping her mother and younger brother will arrive by mid April -so we may get them or another family in need even sooner. We are happy to help in any way we can-not that we have a mansion by any means but a safe warm home free of bombing.

    1. That’s wonderful! A friend of mine just signed up too. She bought new mattress at Ikea for her guests. It’s a wonderful thing that you are doing.

    2. Wonderful I!!!! I wish that I could do more but as I only have a small 1 bedroom apt. it is impossible to host anyone. I will continue to donate to various charities supporting the refugees in many different ways. I expect that many people in my neighbourhood will be welcoming people soon as I live in what was known as “The Ukrainian Village” – I imagine that most will be family members. I do hope that the whole paperwork situation gets resolved very quickly and that these poor folks can get settled.

    3. Hi I,

      That is great news! It is superb you are going to host a family.
      I have been thinking of doing the same but cannot do so immediately for a number of reasons. It will probably be July before I could do anything. I am hoping my neighbour
      down the street will do so sooner–– during the Viet Nam crisis she hosted a boat family in her lovely basement.

  64. Since Alberta has a large Ukrainian population, I think there will be many Ukrainians who will do the same, too!

  65. Hi Brandy,
    Your garden is looking more finished. I remember pictures of when it was dirt, and your husband was installing the electrical, I think it was. It’s going to be nice. The drought is more and more concerning. We are told to expect more fires this summer. We are starting small with gardening, but at least we are starting. On another topic, some time ago I mentioned making a multiple bean soup for a picnic lunch while traveling in a post. I have not been able to duplicate that soup recipe. I can’t seem to season it as well as that time. I didn’t write it down anywhere but the post on here. Do you have a way to do a search for all the posts I have written?
    Thank you,
    Elizabeth H.

    1. I looked through all 150 of your comments and I could not find a post with a soup recipe from you.

  66. If anyone in the US is looking to top up their supply of PB. Costco has the two 48 oz jars ( 6 lbs. total) on sale for $7.59 Jif Creamy or Extra Crunchy, limit of 5. Check your local Costco to see if your price is the same. They are normally $9.99, went up to $10.49, back down to $9.99, now on sale for $7.59, ( $1.27/ pd) expiration dates are under seal but can be manipulated to check. All mine had a 2024 expiration.

  67. Gas is $3.84????3.86??? In college town and $4.12 south of there, I think. Just finished manslaughter jury trial and my brain is kinda muddled, or more than normal, but in March I went to thrift store and bought tshirts for $1.99. I desperately needed them bc I had not been in two years and my other tshirts were rag material. I bought reading glasses at Dollar Tree. I walked for exercise. Also in March, I stocked up on Worcestershire, soy, and teriyaki sauce. I think I have six bottles of each. Bought a years supply of pickles. I have 26 jars of pasta sauce. I really need 52 jars for a years supply but I am working on it. I did a stock up on aspirin after a scare right before my jury trial. I am making hamburgers and lasagna this weekend and going to get spinach and bananas because my grown child with health issues will eat those when I see him on the weekend. I just eat my regular dandelion and mustard greens during the week but not this week! Well, come to think of it, I did eat mustard greens with rice late at night this week. I put a splash of hot pepper sauce which is just apple cider vinegar in peppers. I periodically add apple cider vinegar to the jar and make a small jar last a year.

  68. Our weather this week was a huge high and then below freezing again. I planted out more lettuce and more broccoli, onions and Tatsoi. When the weather was going to dip below freezing, I covered everything. I have low tunnels on two long beds but needed to makeshift another for my ranunculus flowers, Tatsoi and beets. All survived! I was able to pick enough leaf lettuce for sandwiches one day and salads with dinner another. In an attempt to save carrot seed and prevent the need to thin, I started carrots to germinate in my mini soil blocks. I will plant them out Sunday before any tap roots develop and this will allow me to plant out exactly where I need them without the need to thin. We are also 2 weeks out from our average last frost so I will sow more tomatoes, squash, zinnias and sunflowers in soil blocks to be planted out fairly quickly after our last frost date.

    I was able to teach my 14-year-old to cut the bottle of his face wash and he was shocked at how much was left inside. It should give him another 2 week’s worth. We cut it in the middle so he could just pop them together so it doesn’t dry out. I also added a little water to my lotion and conditioner to try to get all of it out of the containers. I am still using both over a week later.

    It was the city-wide cleanup this week where you can put extra things by the road and they will haul it to the dump free of charge. There are some exceptions, tires, dried paint, batteries, etc. but we were able to get rid of many things that we would have had to pay to haul off. Many people put things by the road during this time and place free signs on them, which we did. Thankfully people stopped and it was all taken within 24 hours. We were happy to be rid of some things and happy others could make use of some of it.

    I was really in need of a new pair of glasses and had seen an advertisement for Kits. com. They have a special if you choose from one of their frames $69 and under, you get your first pair free with basic lenses and only pay shipping and taxes. With the code FREEKITS. The shipping is $9.95 and my tax was $2.90. So for $12.85, you can have a new pair of single vision glasses shipped (depending on your tax it may be less.)

    We set up our worm farm that our friend gifted us that belonged to her father. I had everything we needed to set it up already and then they gave us the leftover supplies they had. I had actually ordered some worm castings from Uncle Jim’s the week previously because I use it to make my own potting mix. They had a special if you purchased a 20lb package that came with free shipping, you also received a free 4lb package. I was thrilled when I unzipped the 4lb package and it was full of worms. We added those right to the worm bin. With the money they gifted my daughter to purchase her starter set of worms, I went online to order and realized I could get double the number of worms for only $10 more. I decided to purchase the larger quantity for $10 more and get 2000 instead of the 1000. I was also able to use a code to get 1000 free mealworms. Our chickens love mealworms and it will be a fun project for my son to try to raise them and produce more.

    My husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary this past week. My sons purchased me a David Austin rose to add to my garden. It is a beautiful soft apricot pink rose, Eustica Vye. My oldest son dug the hole and help me amend it and plant it. For our anniversary I made a special breakfast, lunch and dinner all at home. My 12-year-old daughter made a cake, and we made my husband special aip cookies he can eat, (grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free and egg free). We went to a local park with a stone amphitheater and took family photos ourselves with our DSLR camera and a timer. They turned out beautifully. We haven’t done this in such a long time, and it made me happy to have new photographs to hang. The park is less than a mile from our house.

    I opened a bag of rice that was recently purchased to put into glass jars and it had bugs in it. I was bothered but decided not to make the trip to return it but instead decided to cook up for our chickens. They thoroughly enjoy rice and I have been making small batches on the very cold days and feeding them extra those days.

    I ordered 10 packages of gluten free flour to be delivered. It is getting harder and harder to come by and ever more expensive as everything else. When I opened the box to unpackage the first package had a best buy date of 4/2022! This month. I wasn’t happy because I ordered to add to my pantry. Thankfully the others were November and December dates, so I decided to just use that one first. They are small packages, 2.5lbs I believe so I will use it quickly. As others have mentioned, this seems to be happening quite frequently. I ordered some replacement jerky for our go-bags and it expired in a months time? These are things that are often sold out so I am not sure why the dates are so close unless as others have stated they have sat waiting to be delivered. In any case, it is just adjustments we will have to make.

    A neighbor a few houses down the road had someone deliver bagged semi-mulched leaves to his house but he had already acquired more than he could use. I love to add them to my garden beds on the paths and for mulch around the plants because the worms love them and they add extra organic matter as they break down. Plus they help with the need to weed! He pulled them down on his trailer and it ended being 15 large black garbage bags full. I will use them all! He was happy to be rid of them and I was thrilled as I was needing more for our garden addition.

    My father dropped off 4-18 packs of fresh eggs from his hens. Ours haven’t picked up from winter and I am hoping that will change very soon. It is too expensive to continue to feed them without getting a good return.

    On the warmer days we turned off the heat and opened the house up. Even if it requires allergy shots and medicine, I am ever so thankful for the warm breeze and fresh air. I’m excited for the warmer weather, the greenery to return to the trees and have more fresh produce soon! Being outside and working in the garden is a temporary relief from the stresses of life and the weight of what is going on the world currently. I am making a diligent effort to be mindful of all the blessings we have.

  69. This is for Amanda F.

    You asked last week why your items might not be selling. I sold on Ebay for a bit and while it is slightly different, it is important to have good lighting for the photos, measurements for the clothing, and multiple photos of each item from different angles along with how used or not an item is.. Same goes for Poshmark.

    Good luck! Hopefully they have sold or will soon. You might also check eBay to see if you can find a comparable sold price for what you are selling, then you will know if you are in a good price niche.

    1. Great advice, Mara! Also, there is someone on IG who is very transparent about how she sells items (enough to support her family): Mrs Frugal Trash to Cash. She buys items mostly at Goodwill, and sells mostly on Ebay. Very interesting!

  70. Hello Brandy! Wondering if you could share some details about how you collect your shower warm up water. I’m contemplating this, but am wondering what the practical nature of this is for you. Thank you!

    1. I have a 3-gallon bakery bucket with a handle that I put under where the shower water hits while it warms up. As soon as the water is warm enough, I move the bucket to the corner (I have a square shower, not a tub/shower) and it stays there out of my way while I shower. When I’m done getting dressed, I take the bucket out to the garden. My husband used it but takes the bucket out of the shower before he gets in. Whatever works is good!

  71. Those snow peas look so delicious and crisp! I can’t wait for mine to start producing. They’re growing well right now. Snow peas are one of my favorite things to grow. Your lettuce has grown so much since the first week you posted pictures! Stunned that you’re already having temperatures in the 90s. We had a couple of days in the 70s here in east TN, but most days it was around 50 (and still cold at night, 30s and low 40s). It will be a while before things really get growing.

    You mentioned the squash bugs — This year I’m trying something new; I’m going to place a “trap plant” of hubbard squash near the zucchini bed. According to an article I read, it can help draw the bugs away from zucchini and yellow squash. It’s worth a try! I’m also going to plant more herbs throughout my raised beds. In a video I watched (MIgardener), he showed how aromatics like basil and mint can fool bugs; they can’t detect the scent of plants such as brassicas or carrots. I have always kept my herbs on the deck instead of in my garden area. This year I’ll do both and see if it makes a difference.

    A few months ago I bought some flower seeds to start on my own. They germinated and have been slowly growing, but nowhere near the rate needed for spring baskets and planters. They will be big enough around June or July, so not wasted, but I want flowers earlier. I think it would make a big difference if I had a greenhouse to put them in. On sunny days, I pop the trays outside before I head for work and bring them inside at night, but it’s such a hassle! I have decided to purchase less expensive flowers (6 packs of impatiens for $2, instead of one $6 pot of petunias) instead of trying to do the flower seeds again. Vegetable seeds grow much faster, so I’ll continue to start those on my own! I like having varieties that aren’t available from stores, and I can start them earlier than they’re available at stores.

    Last week I sold a few items at a consignment sale, making $46. I also spent $73 at the sale, so my earnings helped to offset that purchase. In the past, I’ve always picked up my items that didn’t sell. This year, I marked all as “discount” so they would be marked half price, then indicated that the unsold items could be donated. I received a “donation statement” for the full price of the items. That was an eye-opener for me. It saved me the trouble of having to take them to donate, plus I got the report that we can use for taxes. I’ll do that again in the future! I am planning to look for items for resale while at yard sales this summer. I used to do that all the time, but stopped when my kids were younger and I was too busy with them to take pictures and do the listings. Now I have a bit more freedom to do that again.

    Last weekend we stopped at an estate sale near my house, and found 3 pairs of Champion and Nike shorts & 2 pairs of Nautica pajama pants for my son ($1 each). He will get some use out of them, and when he’s done with them, I can resell them at a future consignment sale for at least what I paid.

  72. Thank you all for your tips, knowledge and recommendations on all fronts, including library books, that I find here. I look forward to each of your posts, Brandy, and come back a few times to read all of the comments. Gold nugget mandarins are finally in our stores and they’ve never been cheap, but are one of my top 10 favorite foods, so I will splurge on them. Last year the crop was small and the oranges rotted in the bags at the market, so I only bought a couple at season start. Frugal choices have been most meals enjoyed at home, even if the food item was a treat, like Impossible Burgers. We are vegan and can keep food costs down with no meat/dairy purchases, but when I splurge and pick a meat substitute, it does add up. I’m not on Facebook, so miss out on some coupons, I know. Dinners were barley veg soup, chili, bruschetta and sides of non-meat balls, shepherd’s pie with lentils, a bit of the impossible burger cooked up, and green peas, carrots, onions, with the mashed potato topping. I brought it to a friend’s for lunch as well.

    My husband and I are still clearing out his parents’ home and garage (they passed in mid-January). They lived an hour from us and way out in the country, so we commit to more than a half day when we go there, but usually an 8+hour day in all. I go many times on days he’s working but we took a break this weekend and it was much-needed. They were hoarders and much of what they’d saved is junk (including envelopes they received throughout 40 years, actually all mail received, catalogs, flyers, etc., so all runs to the recycling depot have been very heavy loads) but what wasn’t junk is now trash because of the decades of dust and grime on everything. It has ruined nearly everything of value and even most of their books were moldy and mouse-nibbled and is so frustrating. I come home and either start cleaning or start culling what I have as a result. This has NOT been a frugal project, as we’ve been driving hundreds of miles every week, with increased gas costs. I’m trying to bring our lunch most days, along with plenty of fruits for snacks because I’m stress eating over it. All of my husband’s time off is being spent on trying to clear the huge 3-car garage and I’ve been working on the house. They still owe on their house (refinanced a few times), so we need to get it cleared out and ready to sell asap to not have to keep paying utilities, mortgage, insurance, trash, etc. His brother lives near the parents’ home, but doesn’t help, other than to pick up items I’ve boxed up for a yard sale his girlfriend will have. It has been a lot of boxes, so at least things are clearing out. I’m stressed as is my husband and we bicker more than we ever have. I read a few years ago that a couple started out each week, asking each other, “What can I do to help you out this week?” So I started that with him, and that has been very good. He even asked me what he could do, and I appreciated that. And we each tackled what we knew the other could use help with – I needed more boxes to pack up items at his parents, and he brought some home. I asked him if he wanted to continue that and he said, “sure!” so I will. My latest issue is I’m having trouble finding out how to get rid of several 55-gal drums full of used motor oil. The dad was involved with cars and never recycled oil as he bought more, just put in a steel drum. These must be recycled but I can’t find a company to come pick them up. (Does anyone have suggestions? They’re much too heavy for us to move. I’ll keep calling around.) We have literally tons of metals to take to the recycling to get money for the estate to help with bills. This weekend we took 20 gallons of old paint to the tox drop to clear those out of their house.

    1. My husband says you can pay a place that recycle oil to come take the motor oil away.

  73. I have a question for all of the wiser minds. I live in Maryland, and the squash bugs have killed and eaten every squash I planted 2 years ago. I didn’t plant any this past year, hoping that they would find another place to call home. Do you have any tips to help me avoid them this year?

    1. Some people plant later in the season to try to avoid them.

      I have tried picking them off by hand daily. I did this last year along with spraying when it wasn’t over 90° and managed to get a harvest this way

      I’m going to try using Diatomaceous Earth this time. I’ve never tried it but it’s a powder and it’s an organic choice. My grandpa swore by Sevin, which is a chemical powder, but I had no success with it. DE is supposed to dry bugs up.

    2. I’m trying Milky Spore powder this year. It’s really for Japanese Beetles, but I heard it can also be used for squash bugs. You apply it in the fall, so the true test is yet to come!

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