Fall colors in the Mojave Desert this past week

I hope my American readers had an enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving celebration was very simple at home with our immediate family. I was tempted to go to the store to buy some more food for our Thanksgiving, but each time I was tempted, I stayed home and did not spend the money.

I mended a blouse for a daughter.

We continued to do the hard work of shoveling rocks and dirt from the garden into a trailer and taking it to the dump, where we can get rid of it for free. Six of us have spent many days shoveling and loading the rocks that are our soil into the trailer. Hiring people to do this work would have been very expensive! I look forward to when we can progress past this stage to the next step, but we’re still working on this step and still have more to dig.

Now that the sun sets earlier, we are actually using the lights in the house (and just this month are no longer using air conditioning and ceiling fans) and can see what the savings are from having switched to LED bulbs at the start of lockdown back in March. My electric bill was down $26 from the same month last year and the electric company, which gives me weekly updates on our bill so far as well as an estimated bill for the next month, is predicting a $30 lower bill this next month over last year. It cost us $225 to install LED bulbs throughout the house, so we will break even in less than 2 years if we count just the darker months where we use the lights in the evenings.

My parents were getting rid of several Christmas decorations. My children had each been wanting a small tree in their bedrooms. With what my parents no longer wanted, they ended up with a miniature tree per room, a strand of lights, and ornaments for their tree with no money spent!

They were going to take those items to donate along with some books. Since they just had the books left, they asked me to donate them to the library for their book sale the next time I went, which was this past week (to pick up some books that my daughters had requested).

I did a little Black Friday shopping from home. I had been waiting for sales to purchase a few items. I was able to save $70 on some plants for the garden (that will be shipped in spring) that I had in my cart, waiting for a Black Friday discount code, and also on some education for my photography business. I was strongly considering the purchase of three courses for my photography business (I knew they would be on sale this weekend) and was ready to pay, but decided to pass on them for now. I also purchased a new pair of glasses for my daughter from Zenni Optical using a 20% off Black Friday discount.

I attempted to start a new pomegranate tree by air layering a branch from a tree in my garden. If this works, I’ll have a new tree to plant in a couple of months.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. The night before Thanksgiving, I got a text from my daughter-in-law asking for a traditional family recipe that my son said was needed to make it a real Thanksgiving. We were all having our own separate holiday rather than the normal 41 of us together. I said that I would make a large extra amount of the recipe and son could just stop by Thursday morning and pick it up from our porch. His wife said that he would be watching all 5 of their kiddos (ages 1-11) after working his shift at hospital Wednesday night until 11 PM or later because they are short staffed (not getting home until midnight or later) because she had to be at hospital at 6 AM Thursday morning to work until at least 4 PM! So she wouldn’t be home until at least 5 PM! She said she had already made her famous breadsticks that day and she started to thaw a turkey in the fridge on Tuesday and hoped our son might be able to finish thawing it and cook it while she was at work and then she would try to make the rest of their dinner when she got home! My heart melted and I remembered that I had 2 turkeys thawed and ready to cook in my fridges. (1 was to cook later for freezer). So I called some of our local kids and I started cooking turkey for them at 6 AM! By Thursday morning, at 10:30, other goodies had arrived- potatoes, stuffing, pies, green beans, cream cheese salad, Deviled eggs,etc. and even 2 gingerbread house kits for the kids to build during the day. Hubs and youngest son delivered them and they were thrilled! While they were delivering, I popped our pumpkin pie in oven (first time top of it didn’t look burned on top!) and after it was done, I started our turkey (which ended up being 24 pounds!! When I buy turkeys for 31 cents/pound, I get the biggest that are available!! Lol!). We ate our meal a bit later than usual, but with a more thankful feeling for the abundance that allowed us to share! Our daughter-in-law called Friday morning in tears thanking us for making it so she didn’t come home after a long day as a nurse’s aide and have to make the holiday dinner her kiddos would expect!

    A busy week of quilting which brings in a bit more income to put towards our mortgage payoff by January goal! So far this past week Quilt #91. https://pin.it/6IBaDMq, Quilt #92 https://pin.it/ugc0Zwm, Quilt #93- https://pin.it/51gG3sC , Quilt #94- https://pin.it/6hqWHqm and Quilt #95- https://pin.it/6jQ7gZf are finished and Quilt #96 is loaded on Lenni (my longarm machine) . Quilts #97-100 are already here, ready for their turn with the hope of more to come! It’s fun to see all the different quilts and fabrics that others have made plus it’s keeping me busy and focused on my goal! Some soup cozies were sent out as well. Little bits get us closer to that goal!

    With our new direct deposit for SS that came in this week, I was able to make 5 extra principal payments on our mortgage, taking the balance from $13.7K down to $11.7K!! This is really happening!!
    I was able to redeem CC points into another $20 into our savings account this week too. We are using our credit card for all our shopping- groceries, gas, hardware, gifts, etc and then paying the balance off by the due date so we don’t have interest to pay but due have $10 twice or sometimes 3x/month that we can transfer to our savings account! Every little bit gets us closer to our goal!!
    Since winter storm is coming in today (Monday) and tomorrow, Hubs went to Home Depot and bought and cut plexiglass to make the chicken coop equivalent of storm windows around the lower 30” perimeter of their coop where the walls are entirely wire. By the time it was measured and cut and wood braces were cut and pre-drilled with screws started, it was 7 PM and pitch black outside on Saturday night. Since the storm was coming in on Monday, first starting with rain, and we don’t work on our Sabbath unless it’s an absolute necessity, we bundled up and took flashlights and spent 90 minutes in the cold darkness getting it all winterized, giggling the whole time at how silly we must look!! Did I mention that it was my birthday that day? We laughed at the idea that it’s getting harder to find something less predictable to do to celebrate each year, but we nailed it this year!! Lol!
    On Friday morning, I added leftover cranberry sauce to my DIY lemon poppyseed muffin mix, along with some plain yogurt, a large egg from our happy chickens and some chopped pecans to make 20 tasty breakfast muffins! https://pin.it/2Xn1Zkw. For dinner Friday night I got out a ziploc bag of my precooked ground beef, added a layer of leftover green beans followed by a layer of leftover mashed potatoes sprinkled with some shredded cheese on top and made “Layered Casserole Complete “ from my original Make A Mix cookbook from the 70’s!! So our leftovers are being “repurposed”!! And nobody minds! Lol! Tonight we’ll have turkey enchiladas! Yum!
    We have a stay at home advisory because of Covid so the few times we go out we are combining trips- feed store (to stock up on chicken feed and bales of bedding material for the floor of their coop) with Staples – a block away- (to use our expiring rewards to get 36 big rolls of packing tape for less than 25 cents each after redeeming rewards) and Target to redeem coupon and store credit for a free pair of Wrangler jeans that fit!
    Today, I dropped off quilt box and a letter at post office and did a porch pick up near-by of a Foodsaver with extra box of bag, jar sealer and bottle sealer attachments and canisters for $10 from FB Marketplace! https://pin.it/2vSHNZj. The seller hadn’t even mentioned or photographed anything but the machine itself! I think that may be why it had been up for over a day before I contacted him! Then back home for the day!

    We have so very much to be thankful for, including you, Brandy, and your readers who constantly inspire and teach us ways to become even more provident stewards of all of the resources around us!! Thank you so much for another wonderful year!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. We live in Alaska and did the same thing to the chicken run (our coop is completely enclosed and insulated with2 inches of foam insulation so with the help of a heat lamp stays about 30 degrees warmer than outside). The chickens (we only have 4) love being able to use the run without any snow or wind. They sit out there on the perches even at 10 below zero!

      We, too, get the largest turkey on sale or when, like this year, we make the cut off for a free one. Ours was 22 lbs this year but we spatchcocked it and so it was done in less than 3 hours. With the savings in electricity this means, we are going to do it that way from now on.

    2. Pat-what a wonderful thing you and your household did for your kids. When I got to the part about your teary DIL I became teary, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

    3. Can you be my mother in law.When we told my future mother in law twenty years ago that we were going to get married she told me I would be sorry and left the room.She has tried very hard to make me sorry.You are a very sweet person.

      1. Jane, that reminds me of my own first (now late) mother-in-law. She worked very hard to make her son and daughter, and their spouses, miserable… it was so sad, and so unnecessary. Would that we could all be more like Pat, using our energy for kindness and support. Blessings and strength to you.

      2. My MIL and SIL threatened to stop our courthouse wedding. They refused to speak to me for 3 years after I married the favorite son. I’ve been married to him now for 25 years and to be honest; the lack of communication in the beginning and throughout our marriage from his side of the family has been the biggest blessing. We grew to become one in spirit and face the world together everyday. What my MIL thought was hurting us helped us become more resilient in the end!

        1. When we told my first mother-in-law that we were getting married, she replied, “I was afraid of that!” In front of a room full of people.

          Wow, this is kind of fun.

      3. Jane- When our kiddos were little, we had 5 who were 7 and under- so only 2 in school, 3 at home. Mother-in-law would call and if I didn’t answer the phone before the second ring, she would ask if I had been napping!!! 😱
        I was definitely not her pick to marry her youngest son!! In fact, she told him outright, after we were engaged that I wasn’t a good choice!! That our marriage wouldn’t last.
        She passed away 15 years ago. Hubs and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary in February! Don’t let your MIL spoil your time! And I’d be happy to be your MIL! I only have 3 DILs and I know 1 of them isn’t my biggest fan! Lol!

        1. My first MIL and SIL, pig farmers, disliked me so much that they named one of their pigs after me. My second MIL recently passed from liver cancer and made it a point to say that she loved me the last time I saw her. Her funeral is this Friday.

      4. Dear Jane , I will be a wonderful mother in law. Even if my children marry a purple duck who wears polka dots with plaid pants and only eats pickled beets. Oh my the miseries I suffered. Funny thing is , she has dementia now. She absolutely adores me . I hope you are loved during this holiday season.

        1. I feel I must reply…I had the most wonderful MIL in the world. I was the daughter she always wished she had! (My husband was her only child). However, I’ve had some sobering thoughts–and a couple of LOLs–from others’ descriptions of their MIL. I am trying very hard to be a good MIL (it’s only been 3 years) but I know I’m probably a PITA at times. I think my son got a good one!

      1. Megan- That’s our plan. We will take our MRD for 2021 from our IRA (Federal govt wants to start getting taxes on that tax deferred IRA) . From that amount, we will designate a part of it to pay our tithing for all of 2021 (we did that starting when Hubs was 70-1/2) That is a Qualified Charitable Distribution. It cannot be taxed as long as we do it this way. We never touch that part of the money. A check is sent directly to our Church. The leftover amount of the MRD will pay off about $5K of our mortgage and we will use part of our savings to pay off the rest (between $4K- $6K). The big perk is how much more saveable income that will give us. Not only the $365/month mtg payment (we have always done insurance and taxes separate from that) but also, I’ve been using about $1600 month to make extra principal payments. So it will be like a $2000/ month addition into our budget! Into our savings, that will go!!

        1. Pat.
          I love this plan. Truly I do.
          You have sure made your money work for you! Way to go on this planning.

          I’m Canadian so I had to look up what the IRA and MRD are, but I think I grasp it now. We have similar retirement money saving vehicles in Canada.

          I’m turning 40 in 2021, and our mortgage should be paid by 2023-2024 using a method pretty similar to yours with extra principal payments. We have a limit on how much extra we can pay per year but it is pretty high (over 40 grand per year).

          I honestly don’t know what we will do with the mortgage money once we are done. Seriously. We have been living the way we do for so many years that I don’t even need or want anything more. I’ll still watch my pennies, try to save on groceries, buy secondhand, etc.. when all is paid off. I’m thinking you will too!

          I guess I will just save it into my retirement accounts! You never ever know what life will bring so good to be prepared!
          Congrats on being so close to your goals!

          1. Megan- We were afraid to have Hubs retire because when we went to a company retirement planning event where he worked (he was about 55 at the time) , they told everyone that they would need to have a couple million dollars or more in a retirement account in order to live modestly!
            We were late to the party saving in an IRA even though the company would match a percentage of what we saved because we were raising 11 kids! So, after hearing this, we made the decision to wait until Hubs turned 70 before he would retire (you get more $ per month from Social Security that way!)
            We have always been careful with spending and about 6 months before Hubs was due to retire, we made an appointment to sit down with a retirement counselor from work. She had us make a spending plan (budget) showing all our expenses monthly and yearly.
            She questioned our expenses- clothing budget- she thought $300/month would be average! We laughed! I have 4 pairs of shoes- 2 for winter, 1 summer sandal and a pair of tennies. Hubs has a pair of tennies, a pair of Sunday shoes and a pair of sandals. And those last for years! Clothes are Salvation Army, including Sunday suit once every 3-4 years for Hubs. If they don’t have one the right size and looking new, we wait for a sale at Kohl’s and stack discount coupons! Our entertainment budget was about $20/month- that was for Acorn, Netflix and Hulu. We’re not cruise people. We drive good cars but they are usually 14 years old. We’ve invested in tools that are durable because they help us DIY projects that save us the cost of hiring someone!
            So our lifestyle hasn’t and won’t change, but we will just have some added security.

            1. Gardenpat,
              Thanks for this it makes perfect sense to me. I think you are just right on point about the added security.
              It will feel so nice to have the debt gone, and it’s obvious you have been a smart spender to raise 11 kids and be almost debt-free!
              I used to think when I paid off our debts that it would change our lives and we could buy more things, but now I kind of realize the more things you have the more that costs too! Maintenance, insurance, replacing, you get my drift. We just enjoy the smaller things anyway and that’s okay! I can tell you understand this whole less is more mentality.
              Can’t wait to hear you say your mortgage is gone! Inspirational!

            2. Gardenpat, I love hearing about your updates on your progress toward financial freedom! My retirement plan got a late start too, and has more frugality in it than $. We downsized 2 1/2 years ago, bought our smaller home, barn and 10 acres with our equity from the sale of our previous oversized house. Your hard work will pay off greatly, not only financially, but with increased peace of mind during these uncertain times.

  2. My main frugal activity this week was staying home and out of the stores. I did make a couple of online purchases for my home, but Thanksgiving dinner was out of the pantry – we had chicken instead of turkey. It was just the two of us, so we had leftovers one night and for a couple of lunches. I decorated for Christmas, using all items we had around the house and yard. I used items I had on hand to decorate gifts I made.
    We had a prolonged period of temperatures below freezing, so that even under frost cloth, the lettuce and chard I had in the greenhouse could not survive. Now the soil will rest until spring.
    Moving all that dirt is such hard work! I hope that part of your job is done soon and you can get to more enjoyable tasks.

  3. -My car needs a new battery, but I’ve decided to put off getting it. That leaves me with some extra cash in the bank this month. Pension payments come in a week early this month, a few days before Christmas, when there will also be additional money to spare, so I would rather put off the expense until then.
    -Most errands are walking distance in my village. A couple of errands are too far for me to walk, but can be reached inexpensively by taxi. I also had a medical appointment booked in the next town over, half an hour away, which is very expensive to go to by taxi. I decided to try the community bus for seniors and disabled people, which is only $12 round trip, the same price as gas in my own car. I was really happy with how that worked. It is by appointment, and I had a large van and driver to myself. The bus service can also be used for social or shopping trips, not just medical trips, which is something for me to keep in mind for the future. At the moment, I am limiting my errands to essential only until the Co-vid situation dies down.
    -This was also the first time I had been to this medical imaging service. In the past, I have always gone to the city. This involved much less waiting time as well as driving time, and the staff were pleasant and helpful. I think I’ll do better at keeping up with routine checks using this service, as well as it having been a better choice during Co-vid times, when infection rates are currently much higher in the city.
    -My library card has expired, and needs to be renewed in person in the next town over. I’ve decided to buy a few books to keep me going for the moment. It is a frugal fail, I suppose. I had borrowed most of the e-books from the library that interested me, and don’t want to be sharing books, though they have a complicated system of books sitting for a few days before they are handled. I got a couple of books at the pharmacy, which has recently restocked their books when a new pharmacist came to town. (The previous pharmacist thought it was too dangerous for us to handle new books.) I have also ordered a couple from Indigo.ca, a rival of Amazon’s, at least when it comes to books and personal gifts. Between first-time orders, Black Friday specials, and joining their membership program, I’ve got good prices on the first order.
    -I am buying food at the grocery store three doors down from my house. Though it is relatively small, it is a full-service grocery store from a major chain, and has most of what I need. I am limited to what I can carry home personally, so this involves one or two more visits this month than I would like. However, I go first thing in the morning, during senior hours, when I am often the only customer in the store, and my visits can be quick, which limits the risk of each trip.
    -The pharmacy has stocked a variety of relatively inexpensive masks and replaceable filters, and bottles of hand sanitizer, so I’ve been able to get what I needed when I went to get my prescriptions. This has been much easier than during the first part of the pandemic when these things were hard to come by and more expensive.
    -I made Rice Krispies squares, which I haven’t made in decades. It is one of those recipes where there are leftover marshmallows and Rice Krispies, which will find their way into hot chocolate and cereal bowls, no doubt. There aren’t any leftover Rice Krispies squares, though, I can tell you that.

    1. Elizabeth,
      Always enjoy your posts.
      Now I’m craving Rice Krispie squares! Ha ha!
      I went Friday night to the store to stock up on a few sale items. I am finding that by the end of the day the sale stuff is gone or badly depleted (no surprise) BUT also finding the stores are mostly empty if I go about an hour before they close. So I am doing that for now.
      No sooner did I fill some gaps in my pantry when a call came that my daughter is a close contact, and we all must isolate until dec 8th. No stress, we are ready for that as I’ve been working to have a very prepared household.
      Bad news about your library card. Hmm was trying to think of solutions here but no luck. Pretty rare that I read for pleasure as I’m in school, but I think it’s important in a pandemic to stay entertained. Maybe watch for Boxing Day book sales at indigo as well!
      Take care!

      1. Thanks, Meg! One of the books I ordered from Indigo.ca is 700 pages long, and I also have a $20 membership credit plus free shipping, so I think I’m going to be good through January with what I’ve bought/ordered so far and what I can get for free. Boxing Day will be a good chance to use that credit — thanks for reminding me there will be sale prices.

        I hope you get through your quarantine symptomless, and that your daughter’s doing okay too. A relief that you don’t have to sort out food and supplies.


      2. Hi Meg, I don’t know if you have rain checks there, but here if a sale item is out, we can ask the cashier for a rain check and come back at another time with it to get the item for the sale price.

    2. Hi Elizabeth – Have you tried openlibrary.org? There’s also Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.org) that I’ve used occasionally for years. You can download free Kindle ebooks and read through the Kindle Cloud for free on your computer and smart phone. Nook also has ebooks you can download for free, but I have found Kindle to have a much larger selection. Newer books you need to buy, and some are free only through Kindle Unlimited or if you have an Amazon Prime membership, so you need to watch out for that, but there is still a large variety to choose from. Happy reading!

      1. Thanks, Ann B. I will have a look at those. I have used Project Gutenberg in the past, but not openlibrary.org. I have to say some days I enjoy the browsing books nearly as interesting as reading, so these sites are all fun to look at.

    3. I have started to use the senior/disabled transportation in my area and it’s wonderful! I still drive very locally, to the grocery store and such, but I have lots of specialist doctor appointments on the other side off the city that are very difficult for me to get to. It’s so nice not to have to ask family to take time off from work to help. Our cost here is $2 each way and we can buy tickets for the rides at the grocery store among other places. We can make reservations up to four days in advance. I can totally see myself not having a car at all in a few years….no insurance and registration fees anymore!

    4. Thriftbooks is a great online store to find used books for a great price. Not sure if it’s available in Canada, but worth a look. They offer free shipping for orders of ten dollars or more. Hope it works for you.

  4. I made the Thanksgiving meal at my house and delivered the large trays to my relatives’ porches, like I said I would in a previous post. Since I had to travel an hour to an hour and a half, it made for a bit of juggling. I made the turkey breast and also cooked turkey wings and long carrots in the same pan. I made a huge pan of cornbread dressing, and another huge pan of mashed potatoes whipped with cream cheese from scratch. Many thanks to whomever had suggested putting potatoes in shredded paper in a box and storing it in a cool place because these potatoes lasted in my warm, humid climate until Thanksgiving. It was in the 70’s here! I made a pumpkin pudding like dessert (really just a pumpkin pie without the crust), rolls, gravy, green bean casserole, cold green pea salad, spinach dip, and mulberry cobbler. I made a chocolate mulberry cake with other leftover mulberries. I have used leftover turkey wings, broth, leftover carrots, and a can of tomato soup to make a soup I am enjoying at night. I have taken my typical sandwiches to work. I still have a turkey breast in my little frig top freezer, and more wings, so I will probably do a repeat of the meat at Christmas, and substitute some things, such as a corn casserole, homemade mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, artichoke casserole, etc. and keep some of the traditional foods I serve like mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, spinach dip, green bean casserole etc. I do not know what dessert I will do at Christmas. I have all the ingredients at my house, so I don’t have to worry about getting any. I could use another bag of carrots but I have one bag that will keep until then in the fridge, I think. It turned much colder today. It is like we went from perfect 70 plus degree weather to winter, lows in the mid 20’s and highs in the mid 40’s! I hope everyone who celebrates had a happy and safe Thanksgiving. I will note that the egg replacer mix did seem to work well in the desserts. I could not tell a difference in the taste.

  5. That is really cool to have your own little mini tree in your room. What a way to keep the holiday feeling!
    It was just the Mister and myself for Thanksgiving. I made sure to text and call my parents too much (it was their year to host) that day. It kinda gave the feeling we were all hanging out together that day. Due to just being the 2 of us, we tried a few different recipes (Tandoori turkey tenderloin – yum!) and like I said last week – I made each of us a homemade pie. The Mister’s was a new recipe (chocolate pecan pie) and even though that would be the pie flavor last on my list, his was DELICOUS! Better tasting than my cherry. Good thing he likes to share. 🙂 Even though it wasn’t the same – it had a lot of fun and peaceful moments.
    For some reason a particular brand of canned pasta is bringing up a lot of fond memories for family members – so I found a sale on it and will add a can to each persons stocking. This years stocking stuffers are a this canned pasta, can of soup and 2 pieces of fruit. For 10 stockings this has been a very cheap theme!
    A friend offered me herbal tea she didn’t care for. It is currently quarantining in my garage (she had left it on my porch), but I am grateful since my tea stash is a little sparse.
    I saw a pretty idea to make for the women for gifts for 2021. And once again, all is coming out of my supply stash. I have a feeling the next 3 months are going to need a lot of at home distraction besides cleaning.

  6. Brandy hasn’t posted Thankful for Nov. 29, so I’m going to post mine here! On Nov. 29, 1978, in Ibague, Colombia, I first glimpsed the 4 month old boy who would become my son. He was asleep under mosquito netting. We couldn’t be happier with the son that was chosen for us.

    November is actually the month that made our family. I met my husband on Nov. 26, 1967, and married him 3-1/2 months later. We adopted our daughter in Bogota, Colombia, when she was 7 weeks old, on Nov. 2, 1976. Another happy, successful adoption.

    Geez, after this, listing my frugal accomplishments seems so…minimal. Well, actually they were minimal! I claimed $45 in Amazon GCs from Blue Cross for participating in wellness activities (my annual exam, flu shot and $10 for reading a two page article). I bought two 16-packs of Duracell batteries at Office Max/Depot with 100% rebate. My son and daughter-in-law love getting batteries in their stockings! The rebate will be credited to my Rewards account within two days and I’ll use it to buy printer ink. A friend and I each wanted 2 of something that came in a 4-pack…so we bought a pack and split it. Also, I deboned the Thanksgiving turkey Thursday night and froze the meat for future meals.

    Hope everyone here had a happy Thanksgiving and a happy November!

  7. We had a very quiet Thanksgiving – just the four of us. My husband has outpatient surgery on Tuesday, so he was not going to do much of anything last week anyway. He is still recovering but is back at work today, at least for some things. He should be healed by next week at this time if he behaves himself this week.
    Not doing much last week was quite frugal – no shopping, save for a couple of planned “Black Friday” purchased and gasoline for the car. Otherwise, we watched movies, read library books, played board games and did our required work from home. I made food we already owned, including a ham I bought on sale this summer and froze. I was also able to take some time to work on a couple of homemade Christmas gifts, using items we already owned.

    I’m so looking forward to seeing your planted garden, Brandy! My parents have the awful soil you are removing, so I’m familiar with the work required to move/remove it. Think of the muscles you will have after it’s all done! Thanks so much for sharing your progress with us…I’m enjoying it so much.


    1. I am right-handed, but I keep finding myself putting my weight into my left arm when I shovel–no matter which side I put the shovel on! I am trying to make myself put the weight on my right arm as well, because my arms could use some toning and this is a great way to work out while getting some work done! (The only kind of exercise I like: hard work!)

      1. I laughed out loud when I saw this comment — I have also been known to say that hard work is the best exercise. My brother said to me once “I can see you’ve been working out.” I told him no, I had just been working!

  8. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I love the sound of mini Christmas trees in your children’s bedrooms, how fortunate that your parents wanted to get rid of some of their decorations.
    This week I stripped all the flowers off the lavender we dried and finished making lavender bags to go in drawers. Years ago at a flea market in France I bought a bag of fabric offcuts and found it included some partly made heart shaped bags using monogrammed linen and velvet. I remembered them this week and used them up.
    I made some Christmas bunting to send to a daughter.
    I sold 3 items on eBay and reused some packaging to post them off. I also posted most of my Christmas parcels before it gets too busy at the post office.
    We used a voucher and loyalty card points for 12% off dog food. Also received £1 off at the garden centre by redeeming loyalty points.
    I waited for Black Friday before ordering a couple of Christmas gifts and received 25% off and free postage.
    My husband came across a website which sells plants/ bulbs etc and with your first order you receive free plants. They also run a sort of free prize draw so you might receive plant gifts too. We ordered £12 of iris bulbs and received free narcissi, two types of scilla, muscari and three packets of seed! For UK readers the site is FreePlants.co.uk if you’re interested.
    I made leftover ox cheek casserole into beef and vegetable soup. One night I cooked lambs liver and onions and there was so much liver in the pack I saved a couple of slices for the next night and cooked it with grilled bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and a fried egg and called it a mixed grill. ( My husband didn’t ask where the steak was!)
    My husband was given more figs to bring home and we picked kale and windfall apples from the garden.
    I’ve had the glums a bit this week so have raised my spirits by listening to the radio while working around the house, taken some walks with my husband, relished the lovely fragrance of my handcream as I rub it in and enjoyed hot chocolate drinks. Counting my blessings.
    Stay safe everyone.

  9. I used the Target 25% off beauty items and buy 4 deodorant, get a $5 gift card to stock up on my favorite natural deodorant.
    I bought my son’s requested Christmas present on sale for 35% off regular price.
    We put up our tree and the beloved old decorations. I was not raised in a home that bought new decorations, it never even occurs to me to do so.
    I altered an Eddie Bauer flannel shirt to fit me better.
    I got a $200 visa gift card for completing wellness activities (all online) through our health insurance.
    I have sold out of fabric gift bags in my shop 3 times in the last 3 weeks. I am so happy that the reusable gift wrap tradition is starting to take off! More are coming this week! Etsy.com/shop/fabricspeaks
    My young adult kids were teasing me about how carefully I kept an eye on food leftovers and froze the bits and pieces that couldn’t be eaten in time. They love to cook, and they cooked faster than we all ate. We will be thankful for all of those leftovers and no food was wasted. My husband’s job is less secure and we are watching every penny so that if he needs to retire early, we have a better chance of that working out.

    I’m thankful for you all!

  10. I was happy that oranges were on sale in our purchase price range. We have been enjoying them, and any time we eat them at home, I’ve got the family trained to wash and dry well, and zest the orange peel before they peel and eat the actual orange. I’m saving the orange zest in the freezer – we use it in orange chicken, cranberry-orange bread, glaze for cinnamon rolls, etc. (it’s very good in chocolate cake, too!)

    We borrowed books, music and a movie from the library.

    Thanksgiving was quiet time at home, but that is our typical Thanksgiving because we’re so far from family. We made a few favorite side dishes and enjoyed them, and have had other favorite side dishes throughout the month, instead of trying to have everything at one big meal.

    I found a pattern for wee gnome ornaments that I can make with a small strip of faux fur and scraps of fabric I already have. I was wanting some ‘free’ gnomes.

    I wrapped holiday gifts (homemade soap) for our neighbors using brown paper bags, bakery twine, and some jingle bells I had on hand.

    I watched a free training seminar for work that helped me learn about local resources to help those struggling with all the various impacts of Covid on the community. I’ve been able to share those free resources with a few folks already.

    Husband and I agreed to not exchange Christmas gifts this year. Instead we purchased a 3 inch memory foam mattress topper and a big warm blanket for our bed. Both were discounted and they were paid for mostly with Amazon cards earned through a health initiative at my work, Citi easy deals, and Shopkicks. I was wanting a yoga bench for headstands, but have talked myself out of it. I’m going to try using a buckwheat pillow under my head instead…and if that doesn’t work, a zabuton. I want to make sure I really need one before I get one.

    We heated our home with firewood we get free for the taking/cutting/stacking.

  11. One of my favorite Thanksgiving “savings” is, on the Saturday after the holiday I boil up the turkey carcass. After picking off the little bits of meat and tossing out the bones, I slice up some leftovers from the relish tray- onion, carrots, celery, etc. and make soup. I let it simmer for quite awhile and throw in some rice near the end. Freeze up the leftover soup for other days.

  12. Greetings frugal friends!
    Brandy – I am so excited to see your progress with the garden! That is such a huge amount of work – I can imagine you have had many tired evenings since you began. The reward will be wonderful and I am saying lots of prayers for minimal sore muscles throughout the process 🙂
    I hope everyone is safe and healthy! We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving in our home with our family and just a few close friends that we have seen since this all began – they are tested regularly and spend 90% of their time at home like we do so we decided eating turkey together was a good plan. There was lots of planning ahead but everything went well and good food was enjoyed by all. I brined and roasted a 23 pound turkey which fed us all dinner and several meals of leftovers for several days. I still have a bit of leftover turkey, casseroles and veggies which I will be repurposing into eggrolls. This is a holiday tradition and although it sounds odd everyone loves them.
    We harvested mustard and collard greens from our garden along with parsley and rosemary for our meal.
    I purchased a few items through Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales which saved a bundle and will bless others during this holiday season.
    We have just turned our heat on today for the first time this season so lower electric bills have been a delight. I watch our usage carefully and will use our fireplace to help heat our home so that the thermostat can be set lower & reduce costs. I washed our throw blankets this weekend as well so that each room has something cozy that we can wrap up in if needed.
    My husband laid some additional flooring in our attic to maximize storage space and found a brand new small artificial Christmas tree. We are using it to decorate our porch this year. My sister gifted us with two crates full of holiday decorations that she was no longer using and my son was delighted as there were colored lights and other items that we did not have and were able to make use of.
    I made a large pot of copycat Zuppa Toscana using ground turkey as opposed to hot italian turkey sausage. I purchased the ground turkey on sale and seasoned it with cayenne, fennel, paprika and garlic. Using this type of meat was far more economical than purchasing the sausage and leaner as well – win, win.
    We pulled out all of our Christmas decorations this weekend and put our tree up as well. All decorations were items we already had on hand except the items my sister gave us. My son enjoyed hot cocoa made from homemade cocoa mix and lots of Christmas carols over the weekend.
    So excited for the beginning of this beautiful season!! Stay safe everyone!

  13. My mom sent over candy, a tomato, tea lights, tea light burner, soduku puzzle book, and 2 packs of microwave popcorn (the last 3 things I posted on a buy nothing site since itsan ongoing process to eliminate clutter)

    Picked 3 tiny tomatoes off the tomato plant

    On Amazon they had a multi DVD discount. My first order I received $10 off(which covered one dvd), plus $3 no rush credit , second order of 5.50 off.

    I cashed in my rebate site balances for Amazon credits for Christmas shopping…I had $50 from Ibotta and $25 from Receiptpal.

    Thanksgiving was not as cheap as I had hoped. Hubby wanted a Honeybaked ham this year. I did end up freezing about 1/3 of it using the food saver. My mother in law sent the leftover jalapeno poppers home with us. I might end up freezing several of them because the 21yo and I have just about ate our fill, lol. Kept the rest of it pretty basic….baked beans, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, 2 pumpkin pies and 1 no bake chocolate chip cheesecake. We had enough stuff on hand to make another batch of fall chex mix(the 13yo isn’t a fan of pie).

    Made sure to return a library book on time to avoid late fees.

    While I’m crocheting the boy’s blanket, I’m catching up on NCIS. (I started off finishing up The Crown). I’ve got myself doing a set number of rows a night so it’s not all I’m doing.

  14. To GardenPat, how nice it was to read about your efforts to get a warm meal to your DIL and her tears…how wonderful and thoughtful of you! Nice to see such goodness in the world ❤️

    We had a nice thanksgiving, just my husband and I and a 23 lb bird! As someone above said, at the reduced price per pound, I buy the biggest, and then we freeze all the extra meat for future meals. Then, after dinner, DH cut up the carcass and I put half in each of two crockpots, and made broth over night. Great plan but it was a daunting moment when I woke up, the house smelled like turkey, and I was faced with making two large pots of turkey noodle vegetable soup. Lots and lots ;). For Brandy and others with large families, that might not sound daunting, but I never had kids so cooking for more than 2 people is an adventure ;). It went well and I made us 8 meal size freezer portions. Also made five extra meal portions of mashed potatoes, so our freezer is full, as is the garage freezer. Today (Monday) is the end of our leftovers, so I start cooking new meals tomorrow.

    1. Hilogene- We’ve been down to just 3 of us for over 10 years now and Hubs has finally learned not to question when I ask him to come to store with me so he can get a big 22+ pound turkey for 31 cents/pound and I can get another! Sure came in handy having both thawed in fridge ready to use when need came up for son’s family! Otherwise, we would have cooked both and packaged the meat for future meals! I still need to make some turkey enchiladas! 🤔
      It’s not only a way to save money on our own food budget but also makes it easier to share with others without breaking the budget!
      The hardest thing for me was figuring out how to cook for 3 instead of the 13 it was for so many years! (Even after the first 3 or 4 were married, it seemed like we always had “extra” young single adults living with us bringing our household back up to 13!! )

  15. This is for the last two weeks.
    My DH has decided he wants to bake. I said great, the focaccia bread I make is a good way to start. so easy, and almost impossible to not get right. But….no, the baking he wants to do is dessert. So, he made an apple crisp. It really was very tasty.
    I worked four days in the last two weeks, and then additionally, did 7 hours of continuing education. I am a CPA, so am required to have 40 hours of continuing education a year.
    I went to Fred Meyer and got the pork sirloin roasts that were 99¢ a pound. Got three of those, and put them in the freezer. They had a close out on pork butt roasts – bone-in for 59¢ a pound, as they were only one day away from their best buy date. I bought two of those. One went in the freezer, and the other got cut into chunks and put in the crock pot with a rub to make the chili rubbed pork from the budget bytes website. I will use some of it to make posole, and the rest was used during the week.
    Made butternut squash soup from one of our butternut squash we grew this summer. DH ate some, and I froze the rest in single serving containers.
    Safeway had butter for $1.47 pound – limit one, so I got that.
    Our Thanksgiving day dinner was wonderful. It was just DH, me, our eldest son and his fiancee. She brought apple pie and sourdough rolls for dinner. In addition to those, we had turkey, stuffing, roasted potatoes and carrots, cauliflower with cheese sauce, sweet potatoes, corn with thyme and carrot and celery sticks. The carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, corn, thyme and all the onions used were from our garden. It was a lovely time.
    We visited, via phone with our younger son, who lives in Seattle. I remember when phone calls were so expensive. When my DH and I were engaged, we were apart for about a year (he was in the military and I was still in school). He used to send me $100 each month so I could pay for the phone calls between us.
    I did one small bit of Black Friday shopping. Once a year Fred Meyer puts all their socks on sale for 50% off. I get socks for the whole family on that day, if they need them. Otherwise they wait a year. That includes me too. I wear diabetic socks, and they are expensive, so I only buy them on this day.
    I cleaned my car, including taking everything out and then vacuuming.
    Made turkey broth and then turkey soup with the bone from the Thanksgiving turkey.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  16. In the last week I have spent no money out of pocket. I just didn’t have it to spend and didn’t need anything.
    I took some Walmart survey and got $5.00 e-card today. I have earned maybe 40 dollars this year doing their surveys.
    I got my $25.oo over the counter meds free with my ins..
    The freeze finally killed the tomato plants last night. We picked all of the green tomatoes. I have probably gotten a few over 2 dozen since the cool down of autumn.
    During the heat of a Texas summer the tomatoes don’t bloom. I used to pull the plants at the end of summer. I thought I would try what Brandy talks about and keep taking care to water, etc. during the heat to see if the plants would bloom again. They did. Because of that I feel like every tomato I got from them after that was a freebie.
    I have accepted food that gave us 3 meals this last week.
    I’ve read 3 free books.
    Jake brought me 5 books this week.
    I got a $3.00 money back for choosing “slow shipping” on a Christmas item. It will be he just 2 days later than the other item I bought.
    The biggest saving item this week is that I have said no to all requests from my youngest grandson for “buy me this please”.
    My older grandson got a job at DQ this week so there has been no dialog about “buy me please”.
    I am making a quilt as a Christmas gift for my youngest. This is in leu of the TV I bought for her. It came with the screen totally broken. It was sent back and I got my money back this week.
    I may work on quilts all year for next Christmas. I have enough fabric. I would only have to buy batting. I always use a 50% coupon when I buy batting.
    I can’t remember anything else at this time.

  17. It was interesting to read about your savings with the LED light bulbs. We have several, but not all our lights have them yet. Growing up, my dad was so strict about lights being left on! He’d always say, “Do you want to pay half the electric bill??? Turn off the lights when you’re done!” So I’m very good about keeping lights off if they’re not needed. 🙂
    Our savings this week:
    -We are staying home a lot. So not a lot of shopping happening. I did order several things from Amazon (using Brandy’s links :-)) I am keeping careful track of what we’re spending on Christmas so we do not overspend. Very easy to do with cute grandkids to buy for!
    -I made homemade vinegar cleaner.
    -We used restaurant gift cards my husband has had in his wallet for a year.
    -I redeemed grocery store points for two free items.
    -We froze the last of our turkey for use in future recipes.
    -I cleaned out the greenhouse and organized my box of seeds.
    -We decorated the house using decorations we already had. I reworked our outdoor wreath with a few dollar store items.
    Details of our week are on my blog at http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-22/
    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Hilogene- We’ve been down to just 3 of us for over 10 years now and Hubs has finally learned not to question when I ask him to come to store with me so he can get a big 22+ pound turkey for 31 cents/pound and I can get another! Sure came in handy having both thawed in fridge ready to use when need came up for son’s family! Otherwise, we would have cooked both and packaged the meat for future meals! I still need to make some turkey enchiladas! 🤔
      It’s not only a way to save money on our own food budget but also makes it easier to share with others without breaking the budget!
      The hardest thing for me was figuring out how to cook for 3 instead of the 13 it was for so many years! (Even after the first 3 or 4 were married, it seemed like we always had “extra” young single adults living with us bringing our household back up to 13!! )

  18. That’s good to know about the LED bulbs. We’re slowly changing ours bulbs out. We also had a simple Thanksgiving at home. My husband started on a new project, a workshop for me to work on our home goods business. I purchased the needed lumber at Lowe’s with their cc, for 5% off, and also used gift cards redeemed with Swagbucks for almost $50 more off. Lettuce was harvested from the garden. I made a batch of Fire Cider, which used our garlic, onions, thyme and rosemary, plus store bought items. We worked on vacuum sealing many jars, filled with things like nuts, rice and beans. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/11/a-new-workshop-frugal-accomplishments.html

  19. This past week has been super busy! My parents are snowbirds, and are on their way moving from Michigan to their place in Florida for the winter. So they have been with us for a few days, not necessarily “for” Thanksgiving, but their trip has overlapped with the holiday. Tomorrow they leave our place and head to my sisters for one night, and the following day they will complete their journey. Prior to their trip, they have been isolating at their home in Michigan, not attending church or going anywhere optional. We have been doing the same, so hopefully we will not be passing virus germs around. Our adult son and his wife did not come over for Thanksgiving, specifically because of the virus. Instead we FaceTimed with them for several hours, which gave my parents a chance to visit with them.
    Thanksgiving dinner was simple. I am vegetarian, although my mom is not, so our main dish was a lentil loaf. To go along with this, I made mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, corn, green beans, cranberry relish, green salad, and Pumpkin Pie. The Pumpkin Pie was vegan and gluten-free and also sugar free—I sweetened it with dates! This was an experiment as I kinda joined two different recipes to get all that I wanted, and it turned out well.
    I made all the food from scratch, so it actually was a pretty inexpensive meal, the most expensive ingredient was the dates for the Pumpkin Pie.
    We are simply staying home. My hubby is a teacher, and his school moved to online classes for the two weeks after Thanksgiving and before Christmas Break, so he is home now as well.
    I homeschool our daughter, and she is still having music lessons for the next two weeks—wearing masks, and she and I both get our temperatures taken before entering the Music building of the college where her Music teachers are.
    My daughter’s fund raiser for the local food bank is almost here—six more days! I am so very proud of her hard work! She set a goal for herself of wanting to raise $1,000 for the food bank herself—and she is almost there! At this point, her GoFundMe page has raised $975, which I think is fantastic for one 16 year old trying to bless her community! She appreciates everyone who has sponsored her so very much—many we know have sacrificed to help her in her project. If anyone wants to read about her project, they can read her description and there is also a video she made here:


    Our weather has turned cold—today we had snow flurries, which is not common for us! Time to break out the sweaters!

    I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Looking forward to reading what everyone else is up to!

    Susan M.

      1. Thank you! She has worked so very hard to fund raise—writing up a story about it, filming her fundraising video, and sharing with everyone she knows about the project. I am so very proud of her! I think many teens would be wanting money for themselves—my daughter is ecstatic about seeing how much she can raise to be able to hand over to the food bank!

  20. We were invited to a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at my son’s house and his girlfriend cooked up a storm. We were given half a pie and an entire aluminum tub full of leftovers to take home. I’m embarrassed to say how quickly we finished off the apple pie (just that we follow the Hobbits in their belief of a “second breakfast” on some days.)

    Then the tub of leftovers took us through Sunday. It was absolutely magnificent.

  21. My husband and I had a quiet Thanksgiving and ate yummy Shepherd’s pie, roasted veggies, and three kinds of pie. We went on two bike rides and a hike.
    We stayed away from the stores and I haven’t done any Black Friday shopping. And we have enough leftovers that I don’t think I will need to go to the store this week.
    We are still in temporary housing, so early last week I went to Michael’s for their 40% off sale on holiday items. I bought an 18″ tree, a string of 35 lights, and some shiny red berries. The tree looks festive at night. I also bought a real poinsettia. Those are all of my Christmas decorations for this year, while everything else is in storage. I’m also listening to Christmas music, reading “A Christmas Carol” and am looking for good Christmas movies to watch.
    I finished a baby afghan to donate, plus five more dishcloths to donate.
    Yesterday my friend dropped by yarn that she no longer wanted: enough for two baby afghans and some beautiful light gray wool and silk blend, likely enough to make a sweater for me. I have enough yarn to make things for myself plus several items to donate. I am going on a yarn cleanse to use up what I have before I let myself buy any more for other projects. I find that I get anxious when I have too many projects around me that need attention!
    I am also thankful to see Christmas lights at night. It’s one of my favorite parts of the holiday season.
    Have a great week everyone!

  22. We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home, just the 3 of us. How different from other years! It was sweetened by my sister, her family and my aunt dropping by some goodies to munch on. We had the traditional foods for the noon meal, and 3 kinds of dips and chips and veggies for dinner, while we watched movies. We played a few games of cards, and called it good. Pictures of my table are on my blog at: http://beckyathome.com

    As I was growing up, my sister and I had our own tree in our room. Ours was very simple–we chopped a branch off a tree and stuck it in a bucket of rocks. I remember fondly how we decorated it with Starburst wrapped as packages and walnuts covered with pretty paper. We got that walnut idea straight from the book, “The 5 Little Peppers and How They Grew.” I think it was the only children’s book my Grandma owned, so she read it to us several times over the years as she frequently babysat us. What good memories you have brought back with your comment about your children’s trees. I hope they form their own wonderful memories with their trees!

    This week was so quiet. We are on Covid “freeze” so I stayed home. I worked on 2 projects, one of which has been in progress for over 18 years. It felt SO good to finish it. It will be a Christmas present. I’m sure I will post a picture on my blog, but it may take a day or two to get that post up.

    I have not been grocery shopping for quite a while. We are using lots and lots of home-canned, frozen, pantry and shelf-stable items. I am getting a very few garden items like celery (mostly leaves, sad to say, but great in soup). We have one tomato left from the ones we picked green and have ripened. Because Rob has the least amount of high-risk conditions, a couple of relatives, who are at a greater risk, have asked him to pick up things at the store, so he’s been able to grab one or two items for us when he does, and that’s kept us from needing to shop. That actually saved me quite a bit of money. Today, unexpectedly, someone needed something right away, so he spent $12 for us while he grabbed their item, to keep me away from the store for a few more days. That’s all we bought in the last week. (For the most part, people either order groceries in, or go themselves, but there were a couple of people in a bind who absolutely cannot enter stores right now, they are that fragile). I’m holding out for the $10 off $50 coupon from Safeway, hopefully coming out on Wednesday so am making a good list of not-as-critical, but still needed, items to buy. Last month I struggled to find enough items I needed to use the coupon. I hate to waste a free $10 worth of groceries as long as I genuinely need at least $40 worth of items. November is usually an expensive month, as I stock up on turkey and ham when I find good sales. December and January are often easy months for me to stay in budget, so here’s hoping that holds true this year.

    I watched a lot of Prime t.v. while I worked on hand-sewing.
    I mended one item.
    I used my leftovers from Thanksgiving.
    I made a huge, huge pot of vegetable soup, using 1 pound of hamburger and lots and lots of veggies preserved from my garden. I gave a little of it away, and may need to give more away. I got a little carried away!!! I was really hungry for veggies.
    We took a few walks.
    We got the kids a couple of the free school lunches.
    I received my seed order from Pintree Garden Seeds and was able to place an order on the Territorial Seed website, although I have not received a catalog from them, yet.

  23. Joining in from Seattle area, Washington state.

    I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been reading the blog and comments, and really enjoyed all the November Thankful posts.

    We are back on lockdown here due to rising Covid numbers. No inside visits with people outside your household are currently permitted, so that meant no family Thanksgiving. I bought a smoked turkey (my mom gave me some cash, and my work also gave me a gift card for the store I bought it from), so the cost was minimal. I prepared several holiday dishes (turkey, cranberry gelatin salad, green beans, and apple galette), and so did my mom (she made twice baked potatoes and some turkey broth), and then I stopped by her place briefly and we swapped food. My sister happened to be stopping by at the same time, so I saw her too. Anyway, it was nice to see them. We then all went home and had the meal with our own household. It was weird but it was also fine. I joined two Zoom get togethers over the weekend: one with my two sisters, and one with my sisters and my dad and stepmom. It was good to visit with everyone.

    Outside visits with a small number of people are permitted. So on Black Friday, when the weather was nice, I met up with two friends and visited a local botanical garden. We took a nice walk and had a coffee afterwards, standing in the afternoon sun (it was about 50F). Admission to the gardens was free, and we had a great time.

    Otherwise, in our area, restaurants are closed for in person dining (you can get takeout); gyms, museums, libraries and movie theaters are all closed; and retail/grocery is capped at 25% store capacity. We have a mask mandate: masks must be worn in all inside areas, and outside if you cannot stay 6 feet away from others.

    I gave notice at my job (receptionist) at the physical therapy clinic. The situation of seeing patients all day several days a week wore me down, and I decided to leave for my sanity. My husband has a good job (currently working from home) and is very supportive. The clinic hired a new person who I am training and I think she will be great. I want to say that I have utmost respect and admiration for all those people who work on the medical front lines right now. I don’t know how they do it, but I offer my thanks and my prayers to them.

    My mom helps out at her church’s food pantry, and they gave her a bunch of food they could not use right before Thanksgiving: salad greens, a pumpkin pie, fruit and cheese trays, cut up pineapple and watermelon, and lots of cookies. This was all going to go to waste, but I took some and my sister took some, so most of it got used. The pumpkin pie was from a good grocery store and I ate it for breakfast several days. It was delicious!

    Otherwise, I mended several clothing items, bought some jeans in a pre black Friday sale (and then hemmed them), made the most of Thanksgiving leftovers, and saved the turkey carcass to make broth. That’s all I can remember right now.

    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. I loved that you ate pumpkin pie for breakfast! I love pumpkin pie but most people I know prefer pecan pie (I am allergic to nuts so it’s a no go). When I made pumpkin pie I used to look forward to having it for breakfast! It’s a fruit or vegetable or something – and whipped cream is dairy so… My dad used to tell that when he grew up on the ranch my grandmother would make fruit pies – mostly ‘dried apple’ – and that would be first breakfast – coffee and pie before going out to do early chores. Come in and then second breakfast would be ready – bacon, eggs, potatoes, etc.

  24. We enjoyed Thanksgiving. My husband made a duck, cranberry sauce, a pumpkin pie and some veggies. I forgot that my sister had a pet duck when we were kids until she reminded me as I was talking to her on Thanksgiving. Next year we will do Turkey, which is my favorite anyway. After dinner we went and saw Christmas lights. It was a lot of fun!
    I have enjoyed that my husband is cooking for our Youtube Channel. He also has been singing. My son and his dog have been a source of entertainment. His dog is hilarious and is definitely part of the family. He knows he is not supposed to get up on the couch. But, one day when I wasn’t feeling well, he jumped up beside me and put his little head on my shoulder as if to comfort me. He does this for my son all the time. Of course, I didn’t tell him no. He also likes to look out the window when we leave and then jump back down and run to my son if we walk back in. He has a favorite toy that he will bring to us when he wants to play. He does a comical routine with my son. He could do a show, it is funny. And his dog greets me in the morning and comes to us for a pet before bed. Definitely, part of the family.
    I started a book, but it was not as entertaining as I thought it would be, so I put it down. I have watched lots of youtube channels and read lots on the internet. Cleaned house. Cooked when my husband wasn’t. My husband has been working on a nicer chicken coop for the chickens, getting it ready for winter. I’m going through things and some things I will give away and other things I may sell. I’ve enjoyed talking to family. I am glad to have a phone that I can talk and even do video calls whenever I want. Talked to several family members on Thanksgiving. Enjoyed talking to my other son several times this week. I have sweet sons and sweet grandchildren and great-nephews and now a great-niece. I got to talk to my niece and a great-nephew that lost a tooth and wanted to tell me about it. I hope to meet my mom soon to check out a store. It depends, she might just look online. The numbers are so high here, the hospitals are full. In fact, I might suggest that to my mom, looking online. Or calling them. Maybe they could do it on the phone and do curbside service. I worry about my parents possibly getting sick. Just glad to get to talk to my family, even if I don’t get to hug them.

  25. Hello Everyone!
    We also enjoyed a quiet and homemade Thanksgiving. I enjoyed teaching my daughter how to make a pumpkin pie, pie crust and all! We pulled out our wedding china and set a fancy table to make it extra special for the four of us. Thanksgiving dinner was by candlelight light which was lovely, but also because we’re temporarily without a light fixture in the dining room. 😆

    We ate Thanksgiving leftovers for days. The turkey carcass became a delicious turkey and vegetable soup for dinner tonight.

    My Christmas cards arrived this weekend. I used a Groupon and saved 75% compared to Black Friday prices at the vendor I used to use. It’s a tradition I feel is especially important to keep this year when people are isolated and sadder than usual.

    I completed my Christmas shopping during online Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. We have a Christmas sinking fund so it’s a no debt holiday.

    Over the weekend we tackled the garage. We have a pile to sell, a pile to donate, and one to take to the dump. My husband built me shelving for my extended pantry. I can now see and access everything! 😊

    My online fitness and nutrition coaching business is growing slowly and steadily. Today I launched a new small group training program called the Better Posture Clinic to help people improve posture and relieve back and neck pain due to things like desk-work. I look forward to the new year when I will launch several other small group training programs with other fitness focuses. http://www.rebbolutionbeyond365.com

    There’s so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for the positivity, and resourcefulness this group exudes. Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

  26. Brandy I was glad to hear you were able to buy some lovely new plants for the gardens on good sales and you are making great progress on shoveling the dirt and rocks and getting rid of them 🙂 . When the hard shoveling is done you will get on to the fun part of putting more soil in and planting all those lovely plants. Well done on replacing all your light bulbs with LED and we have been doing the same over time and glad it is reaping rewards in electricity savings.

    DH is now getting a little stronger each day after 5 weeks of his aneurysm operation and we are working on doing little light jobs in the yard and home of no more than 30 minutes and it is amazing what we can get accomplished in that smaller time. We find that this is enough time for DH at the moment but we and the doctors want him to do a little exercise each day. He is still vague at times and looses concentration but those times are getting less and he tires easily. With the rehabilitation we are hoping his strength will increase along with the use of his left hand side. We have appointments booked for physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy next week.

    Last week our Vicky challenge added up to $134.03 in savings 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals from scratch.
    – Made 3 loaves of bread in our bread making machine saving $7.77 over buying them locally.

    Finances and internet listings –
    – Listed 20 handmade items on a free listing promotion saving $33 on usual listing costs.
    – Banked more money into our 6 monthly living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 58.96% of the way there.
    – Banked more money into our home maintenance fund bringing us to 39.62% of the way to our goal.

    Purchases –
    – Took advantage of a 10% off site wide on Pharmacy Online to buy herbal creams and antihistamines saving $11.36 on usual prices.
    – Took advantage of up to and 50% off weekly sales and online only sales in Woolworths to save $81.90 on usual prices on vitamins, probiotics, tooth paste, deodorant, mouth wash and spam saving $81.90 on usual prices.

    In the gardens –
    – Weeded 3 garden beds in the cool of the morning or afternoons.
    – Harvested garlic from one garden bed that we have curing.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  27. -We put up this Christmas tree today whilst listening to Christmas carols. I decorated the house. Everything we had on hand.
    -I purchased a Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage for $1 (normally $99) and four large Hot Wheels monster trucks for $4 (normally $80; $20 each) and a particular baby doll for $1 that my daughter has wanted for a long time (normally $80, but currently on sale for $39). My son loves Hot Wheels but they are just too expensive at the shops. I am grateful to get these wanted toys for a total spend of $6. I have finished Christmas shopping so they will be birthday presents for my children early next year 🙂.
    -I am earning $300 for a three week market research project. It involves four 15 minute surveys and one 1.5 hour virtual chat which I am doing tomorrow evening once the children are in bed.
    -We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in our country so it was just normal meals. I was given dinner one night and the other nights were combinations of crumpets, pasta, cucumber and carrot, zucchini and carrot quiche, steamed vegetables and scrambled eggs. Lunches I purchased one day and had combinations of fruit, sandwiches, yoghurt, wheat biscuits with butter and vegemite, almonds, boiled eggs, nut snack bars, quiche, cucumber and carrot and English breakfast tea with milk for the remainder lunches as well as morning and afternoon tea. Breakfast was either an oat and fruit smoothie or oats with almonds or nothing.
    -the weather is really warming up. Although the temperature seems hot, but reasonable, it is unreasonable due to the extreme humidity. I would prefer 40 degrees/104 fahrenheit without extreme humidity any day! Very pleasant!
    -I have a planned splurge at the grocery store later this week and am using vouchers I earnt through market research to pay for it. The splurge will cost around $80. We don’t spend extra money on food at Christmas or any other occasion so this is a very big deal!
    -Work is taking up most of my time at the moment so I have only spent on the basics to keep us propelling forward.
    -Need to get a few good books from the library and return some.

  28. Last week I took some much needed time off from work. I spent a day cleaning the house really well, read a book and got a head start on wrapping Christmas gifts. For Thanksgiving we had a relaxing day compared to what we are used to since it was just the 4 of us. I was able to do something that I’ve always wanted: set a fancy table for Thanksgiving. I’m always inspired by the tablescapes I see on Pinterest but since we usually have 30 people in and out throughout the day we have dinner buffet style with 2 different tables to eat at. This year I was able to set the table using linens and decor I already had so no money spent. I wanted candles so I used orange glitter spray paint from the garage on 3 Oui yogurt jars and put tealights inside. All leftovers were eaten and we made turkey broth with the carcass. I redeemed points I earned from a survey site I belong to for a $25.00 Amazon gift card. That was put towards a Christmas gift. Decorated the house for Christmas using decorations we have acquired over the 27 years of our marriage, nothing new has been purchased for awhile except outside lights as they don’t last more than a few years. My daughter wanted some decorations for her apartment and I sent her back with a bag full as well as a 3 foot tree I had in the basement. When we drove her home to NYC I packed water, fruit and sandwiches so we did not need to stop to eat or spend any money. The gas and tolls cost enough but worth it instead of taking the train during covid. Our utility bills (gas & electric) were lower than expected mostly due to milder weather last month.
    Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, frugal week!

  29. Last week I spent very little money out of pocket on groceries. I bought grapes several times! I recycled my app money for more groceries. Ive also been taking advantage of the walgreens curbside pickup. I get an automatic 20% off everything I buy online, but not in my local store. Ordering it online and picking up at the store gives me the discount. I didnt feel like cooking the full Thanksgiving spread for just the 3 of us. I got everyone involved and we made homemade pizza. I made the dough from scratch, cut up some toppings and dh and dd did the rest. The only ingredients I needed to buy were pepperoni and 2 jars of pizza sauce. Less than $6 total. We had leftover pizza for breakfast lunch & dinner on Friday. I saved money by not going out to eat on Sunday! It was a rough day and when dh hinted at eating out, I almost jumped at the chance but was able to talk myself out of it. I work so hard to earn what little bit of money I make…….to go and blow it on food and a tip, for something that I can cook myself is ridiculous. Geeze imagine how much extra money we’d have if I had realized that 20 years ago…..when we were eating out several times a week.

  30. A colleague of my husband let us borrow his family’s cabin over the weekend for a small get-away for our family. It’s about a 45 minute drive to the mountains. We went up Friday and came back Monday. We took all our own food (leftover Thanksgiving food!) and dishware. It was so peaceful and relaxing. No wifi or cell service. They had a hot tub, tons of nerf guns, a basketball standard, croquet set, big swing set, our kids had a blast! There was a TV with a VHS player and tons of videos. We had some fun movie nights! No snow but it got to a low of 17°! It was such a breath of fresh air (literally!) to get away from our own home for a few nights.

  31. *Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in America!

    *We did a modified Thanksgiving meal. Everyone said the only things they truly wanted were turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, hot rolls, olives, celery stuffed with cheese, and pies. So that is all we did. Was able to get the turkey for free, the potatoes were given to us, my husband made the gravy and everything else was purchased on sale/free. We ate leftovers all weekend long. For Sunday night’s dinner I made Thanksgiving casserole with the last bit of leftovers and used a stuffing mix for the crust. The last bit of turkey was used will be made into White Turkey Chili for Monday nights dinner. All of my children were except for my oldest daughter and her husband. They will be here for Christmas. Truly a wonderful reason to be thankful.

    *Our prophet asked us to flood social media for 7 days with gratitude posts. It was wonderful to see all my feeds filled with gratitude. No angry or political posts, no fighting. I participated each day and so enjoyed reading everyone’s very different thoughts on gratitude. Free and very uplifting. I also enjoyed your month of gratitude posts that you did here on your blog. This blog is always such a peaceful and wonderful place to read and be calm. I’m thankful for you and this blog, Brandy!

    *I did some Black Friday shopping online. My husband went out shopping with a mask. We reduced our Christmas budget by half and feel very happy about what we have purchased and staying in our budget. Our children were completely cooperative and fun. I was able to get several free books using gift cards from Ibotta and Fetch. Also a few fun things for myself.

    *My husband buys lots of restaurant gift cards this time of year because of the deals that are offered with the restaurants. That way we do our date nights at no further cost to us for the rest of the year and we can do birthday dinners at a favorite restaurant at a reduced cost to us.

    *My husband, I and kids raked leaves, mowed the lawn and leaves for mulch and put the whole bit in the garden. Extra leaves were stomped down and bagged for the garbage. Everything is ready for winter outside.

    *We put up our tree and Christmas decorations. It took several hours on Saturday but it looks so lovely. I love the twinkly lights from our tree and strands. Didn’t buy anything new and truly spent each night enjoying what we have in our home. We watched a few Christmas movies and made popcorn. We took the kids to see a Christmas movie, The Forgotten Carols, in the theater that cost nothing because of gift cards and rewards we had earned. Even the popcorn and drinks were free.

    *I read 3 books last week, exercised using YouTube or walks around our neighborhood. Even did a brief bike ride! Stayed under budget for my weekly grocery shop, went for a date with my husband and it was free because of gift cards, journaled every night, watched several of Christmas movie DVDs in our collection, did a Zoom call with my extended family on Thanksgiving for free because my brother has an account through his work, set up on online baby shower for my oldest daughter. Only spent $4 for a template for the invite. Sat on my deck every night and watched the stars and the Beaver Moon, or Frosty Moon. Sat in the sunshine when I talked to my mom. Cuddled with my daughters, laughed and talked with my kids, enjoyed some quiet naps and had a nice time with my husband who was home for a few days. Actively looked for ways to do service for my family.

    *I’m thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ, my family, Dr Pepper, books, mexican food, this beautiful earth with our sun and stars. I’m thankful for kindness, goodness and love. I’m thankful for police, fire and medical personnel. I’m thankful that my grocery store has managed to stay well stocked and the employees are so helpful and kind. I’m thankful for my car, the home that we own, thankful to be completely debt free, for my husband’s jobs, for my children’s education and their teachers. I’m thankful for my dogs who bring so much joy. I’m thankful to be able to walk as much as I can even though my feet are so damaged. I’m thankful for my kind neighborhood. I’m thankful for hugs. I’m thankful for clean, uplifting media. I’m thankful for my life – each breath I take. I’m thankful to be a wife and a mother and whatever else I’m inspired to be. I’m thankful to know how to cook, preserve, save money, garden, smile, laugh, cry and love. I’m thankful I can see beauty. I’m thankful for colors and sunsets and sunrises.

    *I hope you all have a truly wonderful week. Happy December!

  32. Got a flat tire. It has less than 1000 miles on it, but it needs to be replaced. It will take a week to come in. Thankfully I can drive my husband’s truck in the meantime and it will be at no cost as the tire has so few miles on it.

    I took advantage of an online Black Friday Sale to pick up several gifts. I will also get a gift certificate for a dinner theatre my mother loves (which old friends of mine from high school own). Took advantage of Carrabba’s gift certificate (buy$50 get $70) offer as I dine there once or twice a month for wine dinners.

    Ate Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house. She sent me with a ton of leftovers. We’re having a really cold snap (for us) so not going anywhere I don’t have to. Potato soup is on the menu as potatoes were so cheap last week. New medication has stripped my appetite away – plus side I may lose some weight and slim down the grocery bill at the same time.
    Cancelled our Disney + and Bark Box subscriptions.

    Purchased 4 new sweaters a few weeks ago on BOGO (as I only had 2 remaining in decent shape and fitting…) and got $75 off $150 for the next week. Used that to replace all of my underthings which were also on ½ price sale. Picked up 2 new winter dresses and 2 long sleeve t-shirts at Old Navy when everything was 50% off plus I had a $10 off coupon. Other than perhaps Santa giving me a new pair of boots, I should be all set.

    I will do some Christmas cookie baking next weekend to send to my deployed husband. He probably won’t eat them, but his soldiers will appreciate them and he will feel good handing them out.

  33. Brandy’s statement a few weeks ago to do something that cost less has been rattling away in my head. I discovered ways I can save $100 a month on the supplement and vitamins we take. I decided I did not need to purchase any items during the black Friday sales so I skipped it. Many of the items we purchase only go on sale 2 times a year. We put up our Christmas tree and lights we have had for years.

  34. We had a quiet Thanksgiving day, since we’d already shared the big meal with our kids and their families early. We ate some of a free-to-us smoked butt roast for our main meal.

    It’s dark here by six p.m., so we are using our lights a lot, too. We changed our bulbs to LED, replacing the incandescent bulbs as they died, and it has made a difference for our bill, too.

    Our Christmas outdoor lights, which aren’t up yet, are all LED. I was convinced to switch to LED Christmas lights when I saw a program about homeowners who did huge light displays, and all of them had expensive light bills for December, often several hundred dollars more than usual, except for one woman who said all her lights were LED, and her electric bill for a month of elaborate light displays increased by only about $10-$15. I bought strands of LED lights on sale after Christmas, and once found a cart full of them on clearance for $1 a box at Walmart after the holiday. I do modest light displays, just a few strands, and I never notice an increase in my light bill.

    I’ve got all my thrift store and Thredup sweaters washed and ready for the cold weather that finally decided to arrive. I haven’t bought a new sweater for myself in well over a decade.

    I usually don’t find much on Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, but I found two gifts this time. I’m almost done with my shopping.

    My husband had ripped the seat on his mobility scooter when he scraped it. Our daughter kindly surprised him with a replacement seat cushion and cover.

    I’m going through our coats and jackets for the church’s holiday coat collection for the poor and homeless. Somehow we ended up with a lot of coats, many of them freebies to my husband. We don’t need them taking up space, and there are people who need coats, so I will happily donate them.

    1. We changed to LED lights for Christmas lights a couple of years ago and our bill went down there, too! There were more than a few years that we did not hang Christmas lights at all as money was too tight to have a higher electric bill those months. It’s nice to hang them now and see that my bill is even lower than it was those years and we have even more lights now!

  35. I spent some time 2 days with help organizing some groups of extra stock up items I had purchased. I can now see what else I need to get. I think I ready for curbside pickup for any other large shopping trips we have to do at large stores. We can go to smaller places nearby early if its slow. As we emptied that area some decluttering was done and items were put back in our toiletry bag that I am not using for overnight trips to pick up our son at college.

    I ordered an inside door handle for our car that my husband will put on.

    This is the first year we have spent Thanksgiving without parents or siblings. We still made a lot of food for leftovers and enjoyed them. I think my son thought we would have less vegetables and was happy we were going to carry on as usual, just smaller amounts and less desserts. I cut up and froze the extra turkey we cooked. It was a nice day. My husband had to work very early Friday and Saturday so the evening Christmas movie was postponed until we had time. My son looks up free movies on f2movies.to on a laptop (install ad block beforehand; he uses uBlock Origin), hooks the laptop to the TV and puts the TV source on PC . You cannot get the most recent movies but there are plenty to choose from. A bonus learned away at college. We walked on a trail near the river that we had never been on this time of year. Hickory trees that have lost their bark are the prettiest, bright white among the other trees.

    If you have a Big Lots in your area, their hand soap refills are $2.50, but if you sign up for their store card you can use it on their special shopping days after every quarter (pick a day during the week the last 2 times) and they are $2.00. We usually stock up until the next time. And if you have a Sally’s Beauty Supply their gallon shampoos were 9.99 last time I got one without a card (for businesses). That lasts a long time for us. You are supposed to be able to thin it with water, but it didn’t mix well for us so we just use a little less than usual. These two things save a lot of money without coupons.

  36. With December 1, the beginning of meteorological winter, comes snow. We had about 2″ overnight and it’s a heavy, wet snow. The next 14 days are all forecast to be below 40*f. I’m happy that I managed to buy winter boots at the weekend. I was surprised the store I shopped at was open but they found a loophole to continue their sales. And I was virtually the only shopper in the place so I felt confident trying on boots and selecting some for winter warmth.
    DH and I and one son (in his own car) went to a tree farm on Saturday to buy real trees. We did a minimal amount of shopping for ornaments as well. Although the trees are a bit expensive we wanted to support local businesses. With so many people staying home this year there is supposed to be a shortage of real trees. We then went on to visit some relatives outdoors and took them a box of Timbits (donut holes) and afterward visited other friends taking them coffee that we got on special using 2 for 1 coffee sticker cards from Macdonalds that we had.
    I finished up the Christmas shopping online, sending parcels directly out west saving postal costs. We are putting together a small box of stocking stuffers to ship this week. My DD and DS will add to the box so we can make one shipment saving costs all round.
    We had to buy a new christmas tree stand as the one we had would not keep the tree standing upright. I did buy a few more LED lights for the tree as well as some paper bunting for the top of the windows. And then I discovered more lights stored downstairs but you can never had too many lights as far as I’m concerned. The tree is crooked, so it leans a bit and the lights are rather scattered about it’s limbs but I think it sort of reflects what a strange year it’s been.Now I will sort through the ornaments and put those on today.
    When my kids were little we bought each of them a small plastic tree that they kept in their rooms. I still have two of those trees and will put one in my own bedroom this year. I decorate it with the tiny dolls my Mom gave me each year and saved for me as I grew older.
    Knowing the weather was about to turn I collected kale and swiss chard from the front yard garden. I have left the plants in the ground in case they decide to continue growing. And I discovered one primula that rebloomed. I’m not sure what to do with the kale other than salad or freezing it for smoothies. The swiss chard in my DH’s favourite vegetable and will work into the menu this week.
    Suppers have been pretty simple lately sometimes consisting of sandwiches or soup and crackers. Last night I made leek/potato soup as I had one lonely leek in the fridge and some potatoes past their prime. With it we had cheese toasts. Tonight I’ll make a small pot of turkey chilli and possibly some cornbread to go with it. I need to make menus again so I can use up what’s in the house. I know at some point I’ll make a dutch baby and fill it with apples that need to be used.
    It’s time for me to make christmas treats like nuts and bolts that are a family favourite. My DD wants to make christmas cookies to deliver to her staff. We think we will make a couple of different kinds, put them in brown paper lunch sacks closed with a candy cane. She will drive them to each person’s home. She treats her staff very well.
    I used a bit of frozen banana to make bread and shared it with DD and DS as well as DH. I also made bran muffins with cranberries that were also shared.
    I continue to do my shopping via click and collect and the fruit and veg order is delivered to my doorstep. I will go into the drugstore to pick up prescriptions but only in the later evening when there are less folk about. And I should put in an order to the library soon in case it closes again. We are currently in a lockdown for 28 days. I do so wish people would just stay home instead of thinking “oh well, i’m ok and my friends are ok so we can get together”. That’s what’s keeping this virus living instead of starving it of hosts. Our current lockdown means that we won’t be able to get together with the kids that live in the same city for Christmas. It’s rather sad but we will make the best of it.
    I must get to my christmas cards and get them sent out this week. I’ll do them while I watch either Christmas movies or some series on a streaming service. I’m currently watching the second season of Virgin River. I
    read all the books and I’m curious how they will adapt it to video.
    Take care everyone and I look forward to reading everything next week.

    1. My husband lightly fries kale in a frying pan with other veggies like onions and peppers. He then either scrambles that into eggs or into an omelet or with fried potato chunks and eats it for breakfast. I sometimes slice a little of it finely and put it into a soup. Since we’ve only taught ourselves to eat kale in the past few years, I have found that using it sparingly at first, then increasing the amount has worked to get us used to it before putting large quantities in our food. I have also been making menus so that I can manage the food I have stored and stay out of the stores for as along as possible due to an uptick in Covid cases here, as well.

  37. We had a Thanksgiving at home with just my household members and honestly, as much as I missed family, it was the best and least stressful Thanksgiving I’ve ever had! 😂 I roasted a 24 lb turkey that I got on sale for .29 a lb. I wish I would have bought another- it turned out so good that we are close to the leftovers being gone already!

    This week I finished my Christmas shopping, paid property taxes, shipped off all but one gift and ordered my Christmas cards. Not very frugal at all, but now that it’s done I am SO looking forward to spending the rest of the month indoors and playing games with my sons and husband. This, so far, has also been the least stressful Christmas that I can remember. I feel beyond blessed for that.
    Thank you everyone for sharing. I love reading everyone’s comments.

  38. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We had a quiet dinner, just my husband, son and me, but I cooked the whole traditional meal. We enjoyed the dinner and the leftovers. The rest of the weekend we just stayed home and enjoyed each other’s company. Although I missed not having lots of people over, I have to admit it was much less stressful this year.

    I’ve been finishing up the handmade gifts that are part of Christmas this year. I’ve made my little granddaughter a blanket, quilt, wipes and burp cloths from fabric I already had, much of it from scraps. I made two sets of fabric and felt 5″ alphabets for two of my other grandchildren. I’ve made three drawstring bags for three of the gifts we’re giving. The gifts had many parts and the bag will help the children keep it all together. I used fabric from the stash. I’ve been crocheting little cozies for travel size hand sanitizer from leftover yarn. I couldn’t find a pattern, but did see a picture, so I tried a few ideas and then finally made one I like. I’m grateful to have skills that help me figure things out. I’m making about 25 of them to go with a holiday themed mask as gifts. I bought the hand sanitizer in bulk. That’s the only expense, everything else I already had.

    I’ve been rereading some of my favorite books instead of buying new ones.

    I’ve been enjoying Christmas movies, especially the cheesy Hallmark-y and Hallmark Knock-off ones. There was a “Hallmark Christmas Movie” bingo in our local Sunday paper that my husband clipped for me. We have had a lot of laughs checking off the squares. “I see a romantic gazebo all lit up! Or a carousel! Or a horse-drawn carriage” is one square. Another is “During a stroll, a light snow begins to fall, creating the perfect romantic moment.” Anyway, its funny and has been fun.

    We are decorating for Christmas this week, using decorations we already have and our old faithful Christmas tree. I say it is an artificial pine tree, but a real Christmas tree 🙂 It is fun to pull out our ornaments every year and reminisce. I collect nativity sets and those are especially fun. I have a small Christmas village. This year I am incorporating some little battery operated tea light lanterns we used as centerpieces in my daughters wedding last summer into the village instead of buying anything new.

    I find most of my frugality nowadays, lies in finding contentment with what I have and how life is. I’m trying to focus on simple pleasures and happiness. My sister-in-law lost her 91 year old father to COVID this week. They hadn’t been able to visit him in the hospital the last month. His passing has put a lot of things into perspective for me. I’m trying to love more, complain less and appreciate what I already have.

    1. I love nativity sets. I finally got one of my own at a garage sale, where someone was selling some of her collection when she was downsizing. Her mom made it for her — it is white ceramic with some gold here and there. My two cats love to get up on the sideboard when I put it out, and sniff at all the animals! They are very careful, though, and never knock any of the pieces over.

      1. I’m so glad you found a nativity set, Elizabeth. And that is so funny about your cats. My collection started as gifts, most small. My favorite is one where Mary and Joseph are Amish and there is a little Amish style quilt over baby Jesus. I’ve received nativities from other countries also, and it’s been so fun. I enjoy getting them out every year and reminiscing about how I received them. Merry Christmas!

  39. I bought a turkey for Thanksgiving. I could have picked one up at one of the local churches but left that for someone who needed it more. I made sides for several families. Dressing , mashed potatoes , green beans or peas , squash casserole , mac and cheese , sweet potato shuffle. Gravy and yeast rolls. Pumpkin and sweet potato pies . Sugar cookie made pumpkin cakes from a Paula Deen you tube video. I won’t hang my head in shame by saying everything came from the dumpster the week before the holiday. I’m making bone broth now and will make soup tomorrow. We have a former super Kmart building that is a salvage store. I have only been there once before. I walked around and focused on several shelves of 90% off. I found several small Christmas gifts. I bought a Lucille Ball movie for sugar cookie. Its her favorite and her copy got broke years ago. Baby Henry is 2 this weekend. I’m providing the food and cake. I bought several paw patrol party items for 15 cents a piece . My favorite item is the letter H mylar balloon , I picked up for a dime. I picked up a number 10 can of baked beans for the party. I paid $3.00 . Overall his party will be free. I’m using an outdated planner for myself in the new year. I’m working on my new budget. I found myself scrolling through my bank and credit statements to remind me of the unplanned purchases I made this year. My children ate up any slack I had in this years budget being home from covid . I really need to keep a tighter budget this year. I’m cutting in several areas . Even the small cuts add up at the end of the year. My children and I all signed up for top cash back offers during the holiday promotions. I believe after the credits are redeemed we will have a $115.00 credit for making $100.00 in purchases. We bought $25.00 of dollar tree cleaners. 40.00 in diapers at target. 50.00 at Wal-Mart. Board games, Barbie and roku for sugar cookies Christmas. I’m not sure how I will redeem the credits but I’m sure it will be used to fill in our stockpile. We have much needed good news. College girl is doing her residency 300 miles away. We are an easy drive away from her. College girl 2, passed her entrance test with a near perfect score . She’s been accepted to medical school. Two down and one to go. Army boy hopes to leave for Korea as soon as restrictions are lifted. I hope everyone is well. My self care moment was buying the $1.99 Hulu subscription for the year. I love it.

    1. That is such wonderful news about your daughters – you always sound like such a proud mom when talking about all your kids!

      1. Margie , my children are absolutely my pride and joy. I lost 13 pregnancies . I was told I would never have any . As my daughter says , ” I was born to be a mom ” . Modern medicine is so much more advanced. My children are my greatest blessing. Although at times , I tell sugar cookie I’m trading her for a tea kettle. I hope you ate snug and warm up there.

  40. It was a nice, frugal week.
    There were a lot of sales and markdowns at the store: .17/# turkeys, .25/box stuffing, .59/# pork roasts, .49/dz eggs, and several other things.
    I took advantage of several Black Friday sales to get some good prices on gifts.
    I used Academy’s price match policy (they will beat competitor’s prices by a certain %) by showing them Walmart and Amazon prices on my phone.
    I bought several of the .88 poinsettias at Lowe’s, since I probably won’t be giving away as many cookie plates this year to neighbors.
    I made new meals using turkey leftover, and froze some turkey.
    At 6:30 pm on a school night, I saw that the local snowcone place (<5 minutes away) was giving away free snowcones for a customer appreciation day, so I loaded the kids in the van, two already in their pajamas, and we drove through and all got a free snowcone. We don't usually do things like this as it can get pricey, so it was a nice treat. I texted some friends to let them know about it. Luckily, you can eat snowcones year-round in Houston.
    I ordered something at Kohl's, but didn't qualify for the free shipping minimum, so I added a gift card to my order. I used an extra Kohl's merchandise credit I had, basically recycling the gift card into another, in order to get to the free shipping threshold.
    The kids made some bath bombs with help from my mom, which they plan to give as Christmas gifts. They actually turned out better than I thought they would.
    We started to plan birthday parties. My two daughters were both born on December 18th (7 years apart), and I'm having parties for them on different days of the same weekend.
    Found an Under Armour pullover that my older son wanted at Goodwill, making it only $2.
    I sold more clothes on Facebook and Mercari. Cash in, junk out!
    I sent some gifts from my gift closet for the toy drive at school.
    I took my youngest to a playground we don't often go to after taking the other kids to school.

  41. I was a bit depressed on Thanksgiving. Living outside North America I like to celebrate a few very American holiday with my friends. Thanksgiving is one of the biggest. Due to a covid19 outbreak in our neighborhood I was unable to go shopping. Costco didn’t have any turkeys this year but I had settled on roasted chicken. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a chicken either. I had to work with what I had. Dinner ended up being butter baked shrimp and side dishes I had one hand. I did find a can of cranberry sauce in the cupboard and some frozen sweet potatoes that I made into sweet potato mash with marshmallows, butter, and brown sugar.
    Other things I’ve done:
    *I took advantage of Amazon free shipping and ordered a few things I desperately need that I cannot buy here. I really hate Amazon but I didn’t have any other choice.
    *I was able to sign up for some Covid relief packages through an agency that supports adoptees because my son is adopted. We should be getting a box of food and 8-10kg of kimchee in the next few weeks.
    *A friend traded some long grain rice for some masks.
    *I was able to send a box of masks to my family via a friend who was returning to the US.
    *I line dried most of my laundry.
    *I’ve tried to use up what is in my freezer and pantry rather than going shopping. Staying safe and healthy is more important. However, we sometimes have weird menus.
    *I passed on two boxes of clothes my son had outgrown to a neighbor with two young boys.

      1. It was delicious but I get Turkey only once or twice a year. They are $40/10 lb bird here. We only buy one at Christmas and hopefully find one being served for Thanksgiving at a local church or expat pot luck. So no turkey whatsoever this year and I sorely missed it.

    1. Daughter 4 and Son 2 both had shrimp for Tday dinner. Was just them so no turkey or duck or chicken. Hubby was “mad” he didn’t get to go to their houses. He would rather have Shrimp.

    2. Pwggy, where are you locTed? When we were expats. Back in the 70s and 80s, we so enjoyed holidays with fellow expats/friends…no internet available to us then. Bblessings to you and yours.

  42. Thrifty activity of the week is getting free evergreen branches at Home Depot to substitute as our Christmas tree. In our home it is my husband and I; gave away the our tree several years ago to one of our adult children. I will string some tiny lights over the branches and have the grandchildren decorate with their homemade decorations. Thank you Brandy for the suggestion of Claus Dalby Instagram for his beautiful paper folding stars, etc.

  43. This past week I decided to make my own taco seasoning. I have NO idea why I didn’t do this years ago – it was so easy.
    It started because I was trying to use up Thanksgiving turkey leftovers and the recipe for turkey tortilla soup called for taco seasoning. I didn’t have any and there was no way I was leaving the house and going to the grocery store for one item. Cue the internet and improvising 🙂

    Have a great frugal week everyone !

  44. Happy thanksgiving to all the folks that celebrate it. Just as a bit of inspiration, we had lock downs, mask wearing, and hand washing here in Australia and now most states have no covid19 at all. Everyone doing their little bit contributed and everyone working together helps.
    Frugal wins:- my cherry tree has a lot of fruit which is very exciting. Cherries retail at $16 per kilo here so that is a big saving.
    My beans are also going bananas and I’m harvesting lots to put into my bulk cooking meal preps and to freeze and bottle.
    I dumpster dive once a week and I got a pumpkin and potatoes this last week, which will go into pumpkin soup for freezing. I also got a punnet of raspberries and a punnet of strawberries in perfect condition. They are now in my tummy.
    Frugal fails:- the dog’s teeth needed to be scaled and cleaned and two teeth extracted. This bill was close to $1000. VERY EXPENSIVE; and if he wasn’t priceless, I would definately consider giving him away. In the meantime I am brushing his teeth twice a day to keep on top of the teeth issues.

  45. Found bags of cranberries for 50c each! Bought four bags – will make bread with one and freeze the rest.
    Found bags of reduced produce for $1.00 a bag – one of two bunches of organic spinach, bag with 2 eggplant, organic cauliflower, bag of parsnips, bag of 7! zucchini, ice berg lettuce and three bags of mixed fruit – oranges, apples (both granny smith and ‘designer’ apples) and lemons. So for $10.00 I found a lot of produce. I am up recipe’s, will make applesauce.
    We bought vaccines for the cats through Tractor Supply – for $10.00 each. We will take advantage of the ‘drive up’ vaccination clinic for the rabies vaccine when it reopens. It is closed except for scheduled surgeries (it is a non-profit spay and neuter clinic run by wonderful people – we are donating to them this year in lieu of presents) but will reopen in a week or so (had a Covid-19 emergency). They are primarily indoor – we have a dog/cat pen they can go to, a closed in front porch and one or two will venture as far as the garden IF we are there – silly cats seem to think we need company. Right now keeping expenses down is important and our vet, who we love and is setting up a mobile clinic has her prices way high.
    Found a lot of seafood on sale so bought it and froze it. Trying to make sure we have one meatless and one fish meal a week (we’ve gone to eating a mid-day meal of soup, sandwich, etc.) and then an evening meal.
    A comment on LED lights – Dollar Tree has bulbs for $1.00 – sometimes 2/$1.00. We replaced all the bulbs in the house. We also found LED bulbs for the RV on Amazon – way, way cheaper than camping stores.
    A quiet Thanksgiving as it was just the two of us. One of SO’s cousins does a big family Thanksgiving but this year no one is doing parties. Made a turkey breast and the sides. Had extra for leftovers and made up two ‘divided plates’ for the freezer.
    When at Walmart doing a quick run – literally feel like I was doing fast walking – a woman on a mission mode I found their nicer Thanksgiving paper ware – napkins, tablecloth, oval plates, dessert plates for 75% off. I bought two packages of each – next year I hope that we will be able to ‘gather together’.

    1. We started with some of the dollar store LED bulbs, but they do not fit the sizes we needed in other places: smaller, dimmable bulbs for ceiling fixtures and large floodlights for the kitchen area. Only a few lamps and the children’s bathrooms could take the regular-sized bulbs from the dollar store. My husband did a lot of searching to find the sizes we needed and the price had come down a lot since we first started looking. For example, the kitchen bulbs (which were large halogens before) had been $14-$30 each when we first considered LEDs. We were thrilled that they had come down low enough to finally be able to replace them all for much less!

      1. We were lucky enough to have our province come out 3 years ago and replace all of our light bulbs for free-they also provided free low flow showerheads, programmable thermostats and a power bar. In over 3 years none of our light bulbs has needed replacing which is amazing. We also stocked up on light bulbs at the same time as there was a govt rebate for buying them.

    2. This is a suggestion for other people wanting to get on the LED bandwagon. Call your electric utility! The rural electric co-op that served our last home would not only provide you with enough free LEDs for your whole house, they would send somebody out to change them out! Our current electric supplier gives away 2-packs at energy fairs. I don’t know what other suppliers do, but it is definitely worth a call to find out!

      As a side note, our current home was a new build. I specified that all light fixtures have LEDs. The lighting store sent someone out later to install a fan light kit they forgot, and I got 4 squiggle lights. I complained and the builder put me off. I then told them I wasn’t going to sign the papers to close on the house until the bulbs were changed. That afternoon, I got LEDs, LOL. I do think they have contributed to lower electric bills, but the best part is that we’ve lived here for 2-1/2 years and none of them have burned out! That’s a big part of the saving!

  46. Hi everyone! It is very cool to hear about Thanksgiving, we don’t celebrate it here but I like to learn about different traditions. What we do celebrate is st.Andrew’s day for which I invited one family of friends. They have been sadly put in a quarantine the day before the dinner party! Corona times… We got some food for that so we were eating it with some pantry staples for the rest of the week. Now I play a game of ‘can I go without shopping for another day?’ and it got me over nearly whole of this week with just freezer/pantry meals!
    I used a lot of time organizing for better flowing days. When my house is messy, my things are all burdens. When it is clean and organized they are serving me well and I appreciate what I have. I am so thrilled with my house now after some much needed reorganizing. And it costed nothing.
    We managed the goal of 3h outside everyday. We had so much fog that the kids could run outside in the garden without seeing eachother. This was so exciting! Then temp dropped to -6C and the fog crystalized. Every smallest branch and grass blade and leaf were silver and sparkling in the sun. It’s magic, even if you see it every year!
    We had only one day with that sun, the rest of the days we didn’t see direct sunlight even in the 4 hours of daylight which we have here now. We used that sunny day to go on a field trip to a nearby fort (1h drive). I packed lunch and thermos of cacao which we ate al fresco seated on our reindeer skins. Kids loved it and hubby got a little peace while working from home.
    Big hugs!

    1. Kinga – I’m originally from Scotland and St. Andrew’s day is celebrated there. Here in Canada I attend St. Andrew’s church and there is a St. Andrew’s Society who normally put on a Ball each year at one of the big hotels – but alas – not this year.

      The one friend in my bubble and I try to find new walking trails each week and we often pack a lunch and take a thermos of tea or coffee. I went to the grocery store last Sunday when it was nice and quiet and I may try again this Sunday – just to pick up the last few things I need for Christmas dinner. Otherwise, I am also trying to rotate through my pantry for meals.

      The schools here have been trying to do a lot of outdoor classes but of course it’s starting to get a bit cold so not sure how much longer they’ll keep it up. Monday it rained all day and then Tuesday it snowed all day! There’s still a bit on the ground and we may get a bit more tonight – looks lovely but I hate walking in boots!

  47. We had a very quiet Thanksgiving with our youngest son, who still lives at home, and his fiancée who is at our house daily. I had leftover frozen turkey from Easter that I pulled out, made some rolls and cranberry sauce with berries from two years ago, and made a peanut butter pie. She brought a broccoli casserole and stuffing. It was a very quiet meal and very inexpensive.

    Now I am in the Advent season and brought nandina and cedar in for the wreath and to put across the mantle. I cut some boxwood today to add to it. Two people have posted in our next-door app about magnolia leaves, and I told them both to come and cut whatever they wanted. The second person gave me an envelope with a cash gift and a chocolate bar! Totally unexpected and so thoughtful. I have a devotional I read each day and some Christmas books I inherited from my parents, written in the 40’s and 50’s with sweet stories of simpler times, though not easier.

    I have been finding lots of oranges, tangerines, bananas, and apples marked down so our fridges are full. I found a roast chicken marked down and cooked it and it was delicious and then made two large batches of broth. I have made broccoli cheddar soup and chicken quinoa soup. I found out a family I nanny for has COVID, so work is likely canceled for several weeks as it makes its way through their family. I am taking them soup tomorrow, applesauce and buttermilk biscuits and will leave it on their porch.

    I am thankful for this dear community and you, Brandy as I savor these days leading up to Christmas. You all remind me to slow down and savor the simple things that bring joy!

  48. Hey Ladies so wonderful to see some familiar names here…Its been difficult here on and off-nerves between spouses, dealing with kids’ challenges but all in all the seasons will pass and I cannot complain. I made everything from scratch for our turkey dinner which was nice as I enjoyed seeing our youngest say that she enjoyed dinner. We also pulled out our decor and ornaments from what we have collected. I can tell you that I have a tradition that I hope my kids will keep as adults with their own families is that I keep all their DIY art pieces from school or any art work done at home for Christmas to put on our tree. Its lovely to think back moments and be grateful on how far we have come. One day I will be able to give it to them to decorate their own trees.
    I think the most pleasure I have been giving permission to enjoy is my paintings and art. If any of you are on Facebook its @lifeinspiredeventsstore or on Instagram at the same@lifeinspiredeventsstore and website at http://www.lifeinspiredevents.com
    Just a little curtain call to share a god-given eye that I have had my whole life. Its funny I come with a double masters degree in accountancy and finance but never sought to excel in the education but here is something I get excited about and among a million talented artists out there, I want to share.
    If anything I have learnt to embrace all that you are…thankful for that season in 2020

  49. DH and I went out early this morning to shop the specials at 4 places(masked of course). Grapes for $1.29 #, butter $3.29 #( both rock bottom prices from a new grocery store that just opened), flat of eggs for $4.99, free fresh pasta and fresh sauce from a local market that sends a coupon for a freebie every Xmas. DH filed his EI report this a.m. even though he is working PT. Xmas will be small this year-celebrating just with DD and her boyfriend next week as they are also going to celebrate with his family later.

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