The weather started to turn colder this past week.

Here’s how we saved:

We had a free family activity: We hiked a local mountain. We’ve wanted to go for years, but I was either pregnant or had a tiny baby that I didn’t want to bring up the mountain (which is all rock!), or else it was simply too hot to go.

We worked in the garden on our landscaping project, doing the work ourselves rather than hiring it out.

We picked lemons from the garden and made lemonade from them.

I picked up this water table that someone had put out for the trash. It had something hanging above it that is no longer there, but the essential part of the table is still there and it will be perfect for my two toddler sons to use for their boats this year. I will probably keep some dirt to put in it once in a while so they aren’t tempted to play in the new garden beds with their cars, too. We washed it out and they started playing with it outside while we worked in the garden.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card.

My husband and I had a date night at home. We played Sequence together after the children were in bed.

The children decided they wanted to stay up for New Year’s Eve. We had ice cream, brownies, and popcorn, watched a movie, and played cards together for a party at home.

What did you do this past week to save money?

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  1. For breakfast we had “recycled” food! A couple wrinkled apples from the back of the fridge, some leftover cranberry sauce and chopped walnuts. The recipe (doubled) made 30 muffins rather than 24 but, as you can see in photo link, the “extra” muffins got eaten before I could even put them away!! Lol!
    This was one of my 2 twenty pound turkeys (39 cents/pound sale) that were B1G1 FREE, so 19 cents a pound!!
    $7.80 spent on turkey = 14 meals + leftovers!!.
    56 cents per meal for the generous amount of turkey! Best of all. When I made IP turkey tetrazzini last night, it only took 1/2 ziploc bag of turkey and gave us 10 big servings. Since there are only 3 of us, 7 servings were portioned into fridge individually and ready for lunch/dinner another day! So the cost of turkey per meal is cut in half!!

    My friend who works at Krogers told me that her store had Nestles Baking chips on sale for $1/bag so I restocked my butterscotch and mini semisweet chip supply. I still have sufficient milk chocolate and dark chocolate ones.
    They also had sugar for 99 cents/bag, so I bought 36 pounds for our pantry (9 bags) to restock.

    When my friend called to tell me about this sale, I went on to the group text I have with 3 of my daughters to see if they wanted some. They gave me their “orders” and I picked up those too and then they stopped over and reimbursed me as they took theirs home. We did that recently when one daughter found 1 pound bags of SAF instant yeast marked down to $1.35/bag! We all told her how many we would like and she picked up enough for all of us! Another daughter has a small meat market near her and does the same thing with meat sales. It’s a good system that benefits all 4 families!

    I supervised my daughter when she brought over her 10 pounds of chicken and she used my pressure canner for the first time! I was so pleased to see her learning a new skill and adding to and diversifying her pantry storage!

    In my sewing room, The quilting was finished on Quilt #105 for client in Cincinnati. This was the huge T-shirt quilt. I then quilted #106 and #107 for a local client who decided that, since she was mostly staying home because of Covid restrictions, she would learn how to quilt at age 74! This makes 5 quilts that I’ve done the quilting on that’s she’s made since late summer!! Good reminder that in a time of restrictions, there are still so many things we can learn to do to make our lives brighter!!

    Hubs made the request to move some money into our account and when it shows up in our regular bank account, we will go into the bank (hopefully in the next few days! ) and pay off our mortgage!! 🎉🎉🎉 It is beginning to seem more real!! Housing prices in our neighborhood have been skyrocketing these past 2-1/2 years because many formerly derelict houses have been restored to their former beauty and many urban professionals have been moving in because we are right next to Downtown with it’s jobs, entertainment, etc. Even in these Covid times, houses here are selling well (although banks have become very stringent about high credit scores/down payment, etc). Zillow keeps adjusting the “value” of our house up because of sales here, and while we take their estimate with a heavy grain of salt, this month they raised our home value to $513K! 😱 Not bad for our $50K purchase 28 years ago! Lol! While we don’t believe their estimate, we are still comforted to know that ANY amount that our house is valued at would be ours (after realtors and fees) to keep. We don’t have any plans to sell because we love where we are, but it’s an added “nest egg” of security to know that we will never be “underwater” in a mortgage !

    Hope everyone’s New Year is looking brighter!
    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat,

      Wow!!! That’s wonderful to be paying off your house and have it increase in value. Whoot! Whoot!


  2. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Happy New Year!
    Your son sleeping is so precious.
    Like everyone else we stayed at home New Year’s Eve and I cooked us a nice meal.
    We picked parsnips, kale and parsley from the garden.
    I used some sad parsnips for curried parsnip soup and another day used reduced price watercress for soup too. This cooks so quickly it’s barely longer than heating up a tin.
    We ate more leftovers in turkey pie.
    I used an over ripe banana to make banana and pecan loaf cake.
    Grapefruit in Lidl (UK) was reduced this week from 47p to 29p each so I filled the salad drawer in the fridge.
    My husband washed both our cars – a simple garage wash costs £8 each.
    We had a long discussion about what grew well in the garden last year, what didn’t and what we like eating. We also talked about annual flowers and my husband placed our veg and flower seed order early. We dropped some varieties out and included a couple of new ones to try.
    The weather’s very cold so when I ran errands today in the car I took a small flask of hot chocolate with me. Such decadence!
    Stay safe all.

    1. What a wonderful price for grapefruit! I used to be able to buy it for 25 cents here on sale one week in December (I always had to look to make sure I didn’t miss it!) but I haven’t seen that price in years. Now they are $1 each. I hope my grapefruit trees do well; I tried to grow them before, but both died after two winters with much colder than usual temperatures. I love grapefruit and so do several of my children.

  3. I got a $600.00 check from the government. I will be saving it to pay on taxes next year.
    I’m reading free books.
    I am also listening to audible books. There was a get 2 for one credit.
    I’m sewing a lot to put in my Etsy shop.
    Most of what I’m sewing is from free fabric or “scraps” from other projects that were paid for in that project.
    I’m trying to design the garden for this year. I think using containers may be the best way for us. We are both getting older and raised beds or container seem the best way for me to go.
    My water bill is $20. more again this month. I will be calling to have them change out my meter. I have been fighting this for about 6 months and they change the amount due, but nothing was done to fix the problem.
    Wishing a happy and healthy new year to all of you.

  4. Hi everyone, I’m a first-time poster, but have been reading Brandy’s blog and everyone’s comments for years. Thanks, Brandy, for all you do to keep this blog going – I’ve learned so much!
    This week my frugal accomplishments were:
    • Gave my DH a haircut
    • Posted an item on FB Marketplace. This is new to me and I’m curious to see how it works.
    • Cleaned out several areas of the house and took items to Goodwill.
    • Gathered a few items to sell to a friend to has an antique shop.
    • Finalized my budget and my goals for 2021.
    • Organized my freezers so we know what we have.
    • All meals were made at home utilizing food from the freezer and pantry.
    • Stayed within budget for Christmas and my December credit card bill was paid in full.
    • Took my dad to an appointment. We enjoyed the hour drive and I took the time to ask questions about his childhood and our extended family history (starting to work on a family tree project). My dad treated me to lunch, which we ate in the car before returning home.
    Happy New Year everyone!

    1. Welcome Midwest Linda.
      Hearing about you and your dad made me think of some lovely times I was able to have with my father before he died. Thanks for the sweet memories.

  5. What a sweet picture of your little guy!
    Did even the littlest ones manage to stay awake for New Year’s? It was very quiet here – neighbours may have had a few friends in but there was no noise or real sign of any partying so that was a relief. My bubble friend had asked me to come downstairs for supper at her place but she had been to see other friends on Boxing Day and I know she went into their home for a bit so I wasn’t comfortable with doing that. She understood and we went for a walk a couple of days later – after a fresh snowfall – it was beautiful!

    Not much spending las week as I only ventured out on the Wednesday to pick up a library book, do some banking at the ATM and then a stop at the fruit & veg shop for a few things that will see me through to next week. Yesterday I went down to my office at the church just for an hour to do a couple of things that I can’t do from home. I knew it would be very quiet on the subway so deliberately chose a Sunday – never more than 4 other people on the same car as me – spaced well apart and everyone in masks. I was able to stop off at one shop to pick up milk, teabags and some more butter – in and out in 5 minutes. I gave myself half my usual grocery budget for this month – $125 (this runs from Dec. 24 – Jan 24) and I still have $60 left so shouldn’t be a problem as I’ll only need milk, yogurt (although I may make some instead using up some cream on hand) and a bit of fruit & veg.

    January’s bills have all been paid online.

    I have some gift cards from Christmas that will supply some treats along the way and I have some GC on Amazon if I feel the urge to order anything. I was tempted to buy a couple of books but I’ve ordered them from the library and if I find them useful I may buy my own copies – but I’ll wait and see. One friend has been urging me to buy an Ipad, another to get a Fitbit and one sister is after me to get an Iphone – so far I have resisted all entreaties. I suspect that I will have to get the Iphone as it’s becoming necessary for so many things and I may buy an Ipad later in the Spring when a bit of investment money comes due – but it will replace my laptop which is on it’s last legs and will be a quarter of the price! I have access now to another refurbished pc and really, the bulk of what I do is send emails and read blogs so I don’t need anything major.

    I really have no interest in the Fitbit – I can tick off all my exercising in a daily notebook when it comes to stretches, weights & Chair Yoga online and the online videos I follow for indoor walking also tell me the distance I’ve gone so why do I need anything else… When I walk outdoors I am with a friend who checks her Fitbit incessantly – or rather I check it as she can’t seem to read the screen very well or I look up the distance before point A and point B before I leave – but really, if I’ve been walking for an hour that’s fine – I don’t need to know the exact number of steps! 🙂 No offence to anyone who enjoys using theirs – I just can’t justify the expense when I have so many other options – all free.

    I used 3 transit fares all last week – will probably use 2 later this week – so I don’t expect to have to add any funds to my transit pass for this month,

    I’m trying to get myself into much more of a routine – including exercising indoors as I don’t expect we’ll come out of lockdown before the end of February – in fact we are expecting even stricter measures before things ease up! I hope everyone had a safe and Happy New Year.

    1. An Android phone works just fine. You can use another app to talk to people, like Facebook Messenger or Duo, to make video calls. I know someone who bought an iPhone so she could use Facetime to video chat with her sister in another country, but I video chat with friends around the world on my Android phone and through my laptop using Facebook Messenger.

    2. Hello Margie! I wanted to add that in lieu of a Fitbit, you can also find inexpensive pedometers which count steps. Then just keep a log yourself. I find that it sneaks up on me when I’m busy with sitting tasks how few steps I may be getting more days than is good for me. Once I started counting steps, it just increased my awareness of it. Anyway- wanted to mention!

    3. When you get your iPhone there is an already installed app, it’s the one with a heart, that automatically tracks your steps and the number of flights of stairs you climb daily. I always have my phone in my pocket so I don’t even have to think about it. I like it because I can tell if I need to walk more to reach the goal I have set for myself.

    4. Margie, if you do look into buying an iphone, my husband and I both “upgraded” last year from our iPhone 6 to iPhone 8 by buying “renewed”, preowned iPhones from AMAZON for about $200 each. A coworker told me he had done the same for his family with good experience. We don’t buy into needing the latest model phones and our phones arrived looking nearly new and have worked great without 1 issue for almost 1 year. We consider this quite a coup!

      1. My son and his family have also bought renewed phones for all of them. There have been no problems. He recommended that we do the same and we are going to give it a try. So much money to be saved that way.

  6. Love that sweet photo of your son! Last week, I harvested kale and collards. Laundry was hung on the line, and batches of yogurt and buttermilk were made. I mended a sweater and pair of pants, and sewed four masks using my plant dyed fabric. A code for 20% was used for a Vitacost order, and I went through Swagbucks for an additional 8% back. I scrubbed my bamboo cutting board with baking soda and homemade thieves vinegar, to remove the onion smell, which worked very well, and also helped disinfect it. Last year’s herbal tinctures were strained and bottled. A plastic cover was sewn for my pocket calendar. A customer who had been gifted my soap and shaving brush was impressed enough with the quality of both, he featured them on his youtube channel related to shaving. He also wrote me a wonderful, encouraging message, which was a lovely way to start the year.

    1. Laurie – I’m a woman, but I shave with soap and a double edge safety razor. I am always on the lookout for a nice new shaving soap to try and prefer handmade artisan style soaps. I am so excited to check yours out and support someone else from this comments section. Thank you for mentioning it!

    1. You can redeem 2200 points for a $25 gift card once a month. If you have already redeemed one then you need 2500 points.

      1. I’m thinking the 200 points for $25 is a typo in the blog post. Sounds like it was 2200 for Brandy also. 🙂

      2. Could someone please direct me to info on how to use Swagbucks so productively? I’m assuming everyone isn’t making lots of purchases every month to get the 2200 points for the $25 cash back. Thanks so much and Happy New Year everyone!!

        1. Lisa H,
          The two ways that help me get swagbucks faster are to do the surveys and run the videos on my phone. I also go through swagbucks shop for things that I’m going to buy online anyway, but that’s not very much! Hope that helps you!

  7. Happy New Year Everyone! We had a quiet week. I worked from home the entire week (with the exception of New Years Day) as my son was off of school and I didn’t need to supervise the schooling. Not an ideal situation, but very grateful. We decided to order dinner on New Years Eve from a local casual restaurant in our neighborhood using a 1o% off coupon. We enjoyed several movies at home and used our air popper (gotten on our neighborhood buy nothing facebook page) using popcorn that we had bought on deep discount when one of our local grocery stores closed. I also tried something that I had read on one of my other facebook groups. Instead of using butter, I sprayed a little Braggs Amino. It was delicious! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to butter! My husband and I enjoyed free exercise everyday by walking around our neighborhood…an average of two miles per day; I don’t think I will ever sign up for a gym membership again. I did not go to any after Christmas sales this year. The only exception being a large chain for the their after Christmas sale on holiday candles. We use them every year and the after Christmas sales plus coupon make them less than half price. I ordered five on line and they arrived the other day. I was disappointed when they arrived looking like less than new condition. So I decided to email the company. They apologized and are sending me a new replacement shipment free of charge plus a refund for the scent they are out of! I went grocery shopping for my parents again and picked up some groceries for us. We delivered them last Saturday. It was nice to have a short visit with my parents. I also helped my mom pull some things out of her basement that she wants to get rid of. My mother has lived in that house her entire life, as it was my grandparents house and we have like three generations of stuff…hahaha! We will donate things for her that are in useable condition and dump the items that are not. My husband and I went over our accomplishments for 2020 (of which there were quite a few, including paying off all our debt with the exception of our house, building a “petty cash” fund and a fully funded six + month emergency fund, our health, losing weight, etc.). We are so thankful! We also went over our goals for 2021. As it is looking more and more like we will be sheltering in place for a long period of time this year, we are planning on organizing and purging our garage….only really keeping what we need and what we will use. This includes Christmas decorations. I am going to go through each bin and carefully go through everything and pack things in an organized manner….so years in the past I have resorted to tossing everything in, putting the lid on and calling it a day! We also want to have our pipes and electrical replaced. However, due to the recent surge in Covid cases in our area, we are putting this off. It’s not something we need to do at this exact moment, so it is okay to wait. We are also going to try and start paying down the principle on our mortgage with the hopes of paying off our house several years sooner saving a ton of interest. The hospital we use, that is less than two miles from our house, had an outbreak of 43 Covid cases in their emergency room they think were exposed on Christmas Day. We were so sad to hear of this and are praying for the people infected. At that point, my husband and I discussed it. We decided to email our doctors and see if we can postpone our yearly well care checks until next year or have them by video. Not ideal, but we want to make sure that we aren’t cluttering the hospital/medical offices, thus leaving more availability for people who are in dire need of medical attention. I paid bills online to save stamps. I’m also starting lists for holidays and birthdays so I don’t end up with a ton of stuff like last year. One other goal this year I have is to increase my swagbucks participation; the gift cards really add up. My father was very generous and bought my son two new pairs of shoes. I was also able to take advantage of a New Years sale on a bathing suit company that I use. Since I have very fair skin and burn easily, I found a line of bathing suits that have SPF 50 protection in the fabric. I was able to get four new bathing suits for the what would normally be the price of one. Plus they had a code for free shipping. When our neighborhood pool opens in May, we usually go everyday, so having a few suits to rotate is nice. Happy New Year!!!!

  8. Happy New Year everyone! This past week we did a few holiday returns and exchanges. We celebrated NYE at home with some seafood, champagne, and an apple pie made from our home canned, home grown apple pie filling. I was interested in getting crab after a friend mentioned it. However, after seeing a box of beautiful King Crab legs at Costco for $250, I quickly changed my mind!! We had a seafood medley instead and saved hundreds. Who knew people spent that much on NYE and crab??

    We ate 100% from home, which is the norm. Homemade bread, soup, roasted chicken, salads, etc. We’re trying to eat all the leftovers too. We harvested lemons, oranges, cabbage and herbs from the garden this week. We continue to get about a dozen gorgeous eggs each week from our feathered friends.

    I got my sewing done on the valances last week. We purchased 1×5 boards and L brackets from Home Depot so I can assemble the cornices soon. This DIY project is so much less than hiring someone.

    I’m learning a new crochet pattern from You Tube and I printed the online instructions. It’s a herringbone stitch, which is lovely. I order yarn online as it’s 1/2 the price in stores.

    My husband and I had a free date. We strolled downtown (masked) window shopping and then took a path to the beach. We brought Thermos mugs of hot tea from home. It was nice to get out and it was free!

    My high school best friend is French. She moved back to France 20 years ago. We send each other video messages using the Marco Polo app for free. It’s really nice to actually see her face, expressions and home from afar. ♥️

    Finally, I ordered my garden seeds extra early because many sold out last year. I used promo codes from each company for 20% off and 50% off.

    That photo of your son is adorable, Brandy! Wishing you all blessings for the new year.

      1. This year I ordered from Territorial Seeds, and Gurneys. There was a 20% off code on Retail Me Not at Territorial. The Gurney Catalog had an offer code.

  9. I very much like the maxi dress you show in your link to Amazon. I am rather considering buying one, but I honestly can’t think of where I might wear it. 🙁

    Did you buy one?

    1. Several of my clients have worn this dress for photos. It’s jersey knit, like a t-shirt, so it should be as comfy as pajamas, but just a bit more dressy! In the winter you could put leggings underneath.

    2. Congratulations Gardenpat! We paid off our home entirely in 2010(?) and have never ever regretted doing so. It was momentous for us after working so hard to pay off all of our debts. You’ve done well and I hope your success encourages others to do the same!

      1. Terri- Thanks! It’s been 2 days since we went into bank and Hubs and I keep looking at each other during the day and grinning or saying, “Can you believe it?” We will continue our same habits and lifestyle- 14 year old cars that run beautifully and shopping second-hand when possible, etc! We enjoy our DIY (pay as we go) projects and will focus some of our monthly extra on that, while continuing to “beef up” our savings! We did order Mexican takeout to celebrate that night! 😉

    3. Anne, My daughter has that same dress in a short sleeve version and she loves it. You could wear it over tights and with a jeans jacket atop or a big sweater and cute ankle boots this time of year. It would also be super cute with flat sandals in summer with the sleeves pushed up. It’s not a dressy dress per se but is meant to be worn casually, though I personally think it might be dressed up with the right accessories.

      1. I would have no problem accessorizing it as I really love clothes. What I meant to say was should I buy it just for a stroll down the aisles at Aldi’s? 😀 😀 We don’t even go to the movies or casual restaurants now. It’s a major fun day when we run some errands. Absolutely true. We ran errands Saturday and I wore one of my (formerly) kind of dressy tops. It felt like a date. Sigh.

        1. There is a woman who has been dressing up once a week to take out her trash cans to the curb and posting it online! Heels too!

        2. I will add that it’s a stretchy, casual dress. I wear casual dresses most of the year as I find them very comfortable in the heat (plus I love dresses!) I tend to wear jeans only during our short winter. I’m not a person who likes to hang out in pajamas or yoga pants, though.

          1. I couldn’t resist, and apparently our stimulus check is arriving this week. I ordered the dress through your site.

            1. I think wearing a dress, even at home, is going to make you feel great! Plus, as a jersey knit dress, it’s comfortable enough to take a nap in, so you’ll feel dressy and comfy all at the same time! I bought myself several jersey knit dresses last year and pretty soon those were the only ones I found myself wanting to wear because they were so comfortable!

        3. I know how you feel! my mom recently passed and I received a lot of her jewelry, but I don’t have anywhere to wear it Lol. I try to go to Aldi’s just every other week now. I did dress up to go to the dentist today. I’ll be glad when Covid is long gone! brandy I hope your photography business is doing well. you take great pictures.

  10. Happy New Year! Your New Year’s Eve family celebration sounds perfect, Brandy! We stayed home alone and had a lovely prime rib shared by my sister. We visited friends on Zoom, then my husband and I toasted, talked about our 2021 goals and went to bed. I haven’t grocery shopped in a couple of weeks, but will be stocking up at the Shoprite can-can sale—cans of vegetables, beans and sauerkraut for 50 cents, solid white tuna 10 cans for 8.40 and some good produce prices including 5# potatoes for 99 cents and a bag of Halos mandarins for 2.77.
    On the non-frugal side, my work laptop is struggling (missing some keys, holds no charge so I can only use it plugged in). I have adapted to those shortcomings but now it’s not always turning on which is a dealbreaker. I have a couple replacements bookmarked on Amazon and I have a $50 Amazon gift card to apply to the cost so, after a little more research, I will have to make that purchase.
    I continue to hang laundry, read library books on the Libby app and I guess I will be trimming my own hair this week and maybe the dogs’ hair too.
    I just paid the Cable bill for $245.46 (one month!!). It makes me crazy that I can’t get my husband on board to pull the plug. This frugal journey can be lonely and unappreciated at times which makes me cherish The Prudent Homemaker community a lot. All the best to everyone in 2021!

    1. Kat, we had satellite TV for about 20 years and cable for about 20 years before that. My husband is a TV addict, and because he’s retired, he is home all day to watch it. (It’s always on…drives me nuts). I bought a Roku (they’re about $30) and connected it while we still had satellite programming. Then I signed up for free trials for the same programming he watched. When he saw that he could stream the same things, but it was half the price, we canceled satellite with no regrets. We initially signed up for DirecTV Now (now called ATT TV Now) to get the shows he watched. After ATT took over, things went downhill and the price went up. We now have Hulu Plus, which includes local channels for $55 month. Roku has a lot of free programming, including classic TV series. We used to have Netflix, too, but I canceled it when they showed “Cuties,” the kiddie porn film. We don’t miss it. We do occasionally (once or twice a year) rent a movie we want to see. The nice thing about this idea is that you can do it with a $30 gadget and free trials while you still have cable. If he doesn’t like it, and you stay with cable, you aren’t out much, but at least you tried. Also, do some online research. For those of you that aren’t addicts, but merely want the most TV for the least cost, I read an article that showed how to cobble together programming using Sling. Disclaimer: my husband wasn’t 100% on board at first, but it grew on him. I know lots of people only have free channels, but they are not dealing with our husbands, LOL.

      1. Thanks Maxine! I can make a list of what he actually watches (out of the hundreds of channels) and see if that can be duplicated on these streaming services. I have never even looked at Hulu Plus, I just thought there was free Hulu for TV shows. We have a Firestick, which I think is Amazon Prime. I’ll check out Roku which I’ve seen advertised. If we start with a paid service and a couple of free trials, at least maybe I can break the cable company’s iron grip! Thanks for the tips!!

        1. There is Hulu+ with ESPN and Disney+ in a bundle for $12.99 a month. I just saw an ad last week for it.

        2. The trick is to determine what are the non-negotiable channels. Everything else is gravy. When it came right down to it, the only non-negotiable channels for my husband were Fox Business News (which he has on all day) and TCM for the old movies.

          1. I like that strategy of the non-negotiable channels. This week got away from us but I already let him I’d like to talk this weekend. DH will be off next week (he’s still working every other week) so he’ll have opportunities to note what he’s enjoying out of all the channels. And he can see what we could have on streaming services. Thanks!

    2. Chiming in here Kat. We had cable when we lived in a city and then had satellite dishes here on the farm. SO is a movie watcher – old, new, almost any type (except horror and too much sex). Favors westerns but they aren’t making many new ones (lol). I had a friend who made it his mission several years ago to see how to put together various combinations of streaming. We are lucky that we do have good internet service – there are people just two miles from us here in the country who don’t.

      We did the ‘what it non-negotiable’ lists and tracked for a couple of weeks. Went with Roku and Prime (we have Prime anyway as we have to order a fair amount of things and like the free shipping). We did Sling after comparing a few streaming platforms. It had the news channels, entertainment including TCM and Discovery and Nat Geo. My ‘non-negotiable’ is BritBox but I am finding a lot more on Prime than I realized was there for British t.v. series and movies. May have to reconsider. SO did Netflix but there is less and less interesting.

      We are reassessing as Discovery+ now has what we like on Sling so we may be able to go with Sling Orange versus Sling Blue.

      NBC now has Peacock – which is free and has a lot of great programs – new and old. CBS makes you pay which makes me cranky but there are shows we like to watch.

      Also check out antennas for local programs. We just found out that we can plug our antenna (a flat piece of plastic about 1′ square that sits in the window) to our Roku and get local channels through it! We are fortunate that we get good quality local channels due to the open area between here and Pike’s Peak – which is where a lot of of the transmitters (not sure if that is the correct term is) are located.

      And finally found that YouTube is great! I thought it was just full of people with their own ‘shows’ – like how to draw in eyebrows (lol). But we watch PBS newshour and CBS Sunday Morning through it.

      1. My husband watches a lot of British shows on YouTube!

        Our library gives us a free way to watch Acorn tv for British shows. They don’t have as many options as Britbox, but between Prime, Acorn, and YouTube, you could probably cut Britbox if you wanted/needed to.

  11. We happily received large outdoor holiday ornaments (meant for hanging in a tree) from my Buy Nothing group. I gifted 10 items to people in the same group, as I tidied and cleared away Christmas.
    We put up larger pantry shelves in the garage, which makes this very small home work better for the 4 adults currently living here. Husband, me, 2 daughters 21 and 25 who are with us during the Covid surge). I bought them at Home Depot. I would have loved regular kitchen cupboards, and a countertop, out there, but the shelves held more and were enormously cheaper. And now that they are in, I like them very much.
    Keeping up with leftovers, always a challenge with 3 cooks and 4 adult eaters. Doing a pretty good job. Though my freezer is quite full and my daughter teased me about it. My husband has been eating berry cobbler for breakfast. It was a special request from our daughter, and then she only ate one serving. I can’t eat it due to allergies, but I was sad to see $10 worth of frozen berries potentially go to waste. My husband is happy to eat it up, but he needs telling since he does not naturally think of it.
    Called and requested a refund that had not been given. Checked that it had come, and it did.
    Backing up and deleting photos off my phone. This feels REALLY good. Marked regular home maintenance jobs on my calendar for the year. Did a large pile of filing. Set up 3 new investment accounts. I don’t look forward to the type of ‘housekeeping” but it sure feels good when it’s done.
    We have a rainy day (those in places with drought know the absolute JOY that this is). We have 3 rain barrels which we have emptied many times only trees, bushes, berry vines. We have dry ditches dug that go past various plants and bushes, that catch rain water when it does come. The deeper everything is watered now, the less we have to pay for water in the summer. It feels really good to be gathering the water.
    I sewed a pocket organizer for receipts and things to shred. I hung it in the kitchen where I open mail, right by the recycling. This makes me more efficient, and it frees up a shelf on the bookcase where these piles used to be. Every inch is at a premium here!
    I continue to list things on ebay, and sell a few things too. Every few dollars helps.
    Happy New Year to all!

  12. Such a sweet photo! I made $1.00 hot dogs with Sauerkraut, and mustard, and used loaf bread (sandwich bread) purchased for $1.00 as the bun. When I was growing up, loaf bread was used for hamburgers and hot dogs, and I still prefer it. I actually ate that for breakfast! I made a ham and cheese sandwich, with lettuce, for lunch. I ate the last of the turnip green/black eyed peas New Years soup. I enjoyed it with cornbread. I baked potatoes and long carrots in the oven yesterday, so I could heat them up quickly for a couple of suppers this week. I hope I don’t have to go into the store for the entire month. If I need bread I could bake it, but if short on time, I will just get a loaf of bread when I get gas at a convenience store. Yes, it may be more expensive, but it will save me a trip. I went to the grocery store right before Christmas and purchased a ham, which I used the leftover to make my New Years turnip green and black eyed peas soup. I also purchased a phone card at that time (I used prepaid) so that I don’t have to go back into a store for that during the month of January. I may make more greens soup with cooked black eyed peas I froze. I have not decided. I made homemade ranch dressing just using spices I have at home. I made a bacon, lettuce, and onion sandwich. I do not usually buy tomatoes out of season, but I will buy the tiny ones when they come in season in South Florida. At the moment I am just using the lettuce, carrots, and potatoes I have on hand for fresh and letting canned and frozen fill in around the gaps. Our Covid numbers are horrendous and except for gas, I am trying to stay out of any stores for fresh food. I am certainly stocked up in canned good and pantry supplies where I don’t have to set foot in a store. So, when I run out of fresh carrots, and potatoes (and the lettuce) I may just not go replace them with fresh and just use the canned/frozen. I can always order on line for pantry supplies. but I truly don’t think I will need anything for either/nine months, except maybe pet supplies, and I have a months supply of that. I am hunkered down for the long Covid winter. I may truly be sick of beans and canned greens when this is all over with, since that is my standby meal.

    1. Cindy, My son has a pre-paid Tracfone. If you don’t want to go into the store you can buy the pre-paid cards online and then just enter that code that they will email to you. I use Target for his phone. If it is Walmart Straight Talk you can probably do the same.

  13. It was another great, frugal week!
    I made some cookies to take to a playdate using ingredients we already had.
    Someone was selling a box of individually packaged Pirate Booty (chips) that they bought at Costco and their kids didn’t like, so I bought it for $5.
    We made thank you notes for Christmas gifts using cardstock we already had.
    I sold one item on Mercari, which I packaged using materials I had around the house.
    I made tortilla pizzas and quesadillas when I really would have liked to have bought fast food.
    My sister in law didn’t want the few spoonfuls of spinach dip she brought, so she left them. I added them to a broccoli-cheese-rice casserole I made a couple of days later.
    We made our own hot chocolate mix using ingredients we already had.
    I went to Walmart to look for markdowns once it went to 75% off. I bought pancake mix (has red and green sprinkles), $1.25 Carnation fudge kits (I won’t make fudge but will use ingredients out of them), and we then saw that the Great Value ice cream was marked down to .50/each (1.5 qt). I let each child choose their own, and we went home and somehow managed to fit 6 containers of ice cream into an already-full freezer. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! We came home with the following flavors: hot cocoa, eggnog, margarita, circus animal cookie, peppermint, and buttered pecan.
    I talked to my neighbor about bartering swimming lessons for my kids for meals that I could cook for her. They’re YMCA members, and her husband was an all-state water polo player years ago. They have kids the same age, so this could be very beneficial!
    I took the kids to a park we haven’t visited in a long time.
    The air conditioner and heater have been off most of the time.
    I’ve started to pick up a few things for next year at after-Christmas sales.
    I picked up several EUC Vineyard Vines button up shirts at Goodwill, for $2/each, which looks like they were just dry cleaned. I will list these on facebook marketplace to resell.
    I’ve never bought frozen waffles before, but I found boxes of Eggo waffles, short dated, at the .99 cent store. I bought one box for the kids to try.
    My mom cut my hair.
    I rinsed water around in an empty detergent bottle, and cut open a tube of toothpaste.
    Have a nice week!

  14. Happy New Year, everyone! It was a good frugal week here! This is what I accomplished–
    * Using up the last of the pre-Christmas ham…I made ham stock and turned it into about a gallon of bean soup. I also made a big batch of cornbread, ate both for two meals and froze all the leftovers for two more meals. I also made about a cup and a half of deviled ham (we ate it on Ritz crackers for lunch) and froze 7 meal-size packages of ham cubes.

    * I spent $77 for a 12 lb. prime rib for Christmas (a steal @ $5.68 lb., but the most I’ve ever spent for meat). These are the meals we ate–5 people for Christmas dinner; 5 French dip sandwiches next day; left enough meat with my son and daughter-in-law for another meal for two; with meat brought home, we had 3 servings of the roast with Yorkshire pudding for one dinner; French dips for 3 for another dinner; and I made about a quart and a half of vegetable beef soup with the bones and the leftover au jus (from a mix–we ran out of the real stuff, LOL). We didn’t waste a morsel and enjoyed every bite! Also, I’d never made Yorkshire pudding before. I made minis in a muffin tin and they were outstanding!

    * I had milk that was just about ready to go ’round the bend. Thanks to suggestions from a frugal bulletin board where I hang out, I used it in the cornbread, Yorkshire puds and two batches of waffles (got a new waffle iron for Christmas). All were delicious!

    * My daughter wanted to do something festive for New Year’s Eve. I went through my fridge and came up with raw veggies and ranch dip and a salami and cheese tray with Ritz crackers. I had to buy ranch mix, a small package of dry salami and sparkling “blush” apple juice. We skipped dinner and just snacked around and, no, we did not stay up until midnight.

    * I fished the last little bit of leftover roast pork out of the freezer and made a shepherd’s pie for dinner one night.

    * I used a 40% off JoAnn’s coupon to buy a new seam ripper, saving $1.60. (Every little bit helps). I used $25.20 in Office Max Rewards (from the battery deal) toward a 4-pack of printer ink. I turned in 3 used cartridges for $6 more in Rewards.

    * I finished sewing the fleece robe I started making before Christmas. My total cost was about $15 for the fabric–I’d already used the pattern for my daughter and I had all of the notions in my stash. If anyone else is interested in making a simple robe with a zip front, it’s See’n’Sew pattern #B6620. I made it knee-length and shortened the sleeves to 3/4. I also used a longer zipper.

    * We stocked up on vitamins at Costco, all of which were on sale for several dollars off per bottle.

    * My husband received an oil and gas royalty check for $98.64, which is a whole heckuva lot more than the last one…which was for .02, LOL. As I’ve said before, it always pays to marry money!

  15. That’s so nice you were able to take a family hike. Hiking is one of our favorite free activities, though we have not been going too much lately, since my husband will have a knee replacement this summer.
    I ordered my onion sets and seed potatoes for this year’s garden. They won’t ship until April, but I remember how so many companies ran out of these last year and I didn’t want to take a chance. I have the rest of the seeds I need. Now I am on the lookout for canning lids that don’t cost five prices.
    I am trying to get into the habit of not buying things I could make myself from items I have on hand. I have a well-stocked craft closet and I enjoy making things, but have fallen into the habit of running to the store because it’s easier.
    I made some greeting cards, using scenic pictures cut from last year’s calendar, and some card stock. They turned out so nice and I enjoyed a relaxing interval putting them together.
    I made a rug from fabric scraps to replace one in my guest bath that was badly stained. (I used the Jelly Roll Rug 2 pattern, using batting scraps and fabric scraps.) It turned out so nice I want to make a second one for my bathroom.
    I made ricotta cheese from reconstituted whole milk powder. It is so easy and I think it tastes better than what I can purchase at the store, and it’s definitely less expensive. I used the ricotta in lasagna.

  16. This past week was a whirlwind….we did quite a bit to save money.
    I turned off the heat when New Year temperatures climbed into the 60’s for a few days.
    We took down and put away all of our Christmas decorations. I purchased a few storage bins from Target for $5/each and a couple from Costco for $7.49/each to replace broken ones and add to our storage capacity. Saving the decor we have will keep us from purchasing more in the years to come. I put away candles, wrapping supplies, and lots of other goodies which will be ready for us for Christmas 2021.
    We stayed in for New Years which is quite normal. I cooked up some cocktail sausages bought on sale, fresh black eyed peas from our garden, asparagus, and some rice for a simple supper.
    I washed several loads of laundry and used a batch of washing machine cleaner to clean my washer as it is recommended every few months.
    I roasted a turkey breast and will make stock and soup from the carcass this week. We will be eating down our freezer so I don’t foresee any meat purchases on our horizon for quite some time. I did purchase some fresh veggies and fruit as well as milk to supplement the items we have on hand.
    My husband built some much needed shelving in our garage mostly with wood that we received for free. He could not build the entire shelf with the wood we had on hand but was able to purchase the remainder with gift cards so no out of pocket cost to us.
    I drove through Dunkin Donuts to get my Mom a coffee as a surprise treat to say thank you. The vehicle in front of us paid for our order – so nice!
    Hope everyone enjoys the week ahead!

  17. I saved us $1000 a month… because I wrote down the wrong amount of income and then when I realized it we talked it over and decided to split it between the mortgage, life ins loans and savings. We want at least 3 months of emergency funds. We are at 2 months.
    We ate all meals at home. I used my family size tea bags twice each time to brew about pot of hot tea.
    We replaced all the filters ,kitchen frig has 2, air filter on kitchen cabinet for cold air vent, whole house water filter and the furnace water filter that we had already in stock bought on sale with rebates from Menards that we saved during projects.
    I unsubscribed from 3 companies that I had bought stuff from. Don’t need to buy anything so don’t need to look at those sales.
    I scheduled my hip replacement (Feb 16th). I will not be making round trips (150 miles total) every other week for pain shots. I will not be having to hire someone to do any of the work around this home or gardens this spring. I was offered more pain shots, stem cell, metal lining etc.Nope just replace it and it will last 20-30 yrs. Let’s get it done. My PA laughed as she said that was exactly what my Doctor said I would say. I chose to stay over night (that would get me 2 PT before leaving) and chose the company that has worked with my Cerebral Palsy to do my PT. I will pay my deductible ahead of time so I will get a discount of 10%.
    I wrote up with I planned to plant and have started sorting seeds for this spring. I used a discount coupon to order seeds I knew I was out of.
    Blessed Be everyone

  18. We have been eating soups and burritos that we previously made and froze. I ate before going shopping and bought veggies at the local store that always has the cheapest prices. I also bought chicken on sale. I turn off lights when not needed. I bought a pretty sweater cape at a thrift shop for $2.50. I have entertained myself at home. Cooked at home. I found out that I can get my A1C done at Walmart for $19.95. It cost me a couple hundred dollars to do that at the hospital. So I most likely will go to Walmart. I’ve never done it there before. I had read that you can sometimes get kits in some States from a pharmacy to do your A1C. I have been avoiding going out so as not to get sick. That I figure saves us thousands of dollars.

  19. Hello, everyone!
    I have been enjoying this blog for sometime, but this is my first time commenting. We recently moved into a new home and here are some things that we have done to save significant money:
    —we moved all contents ourselves (although I will never again move a king size mattress up stairs—we lost our minds on that one!)
    —reupholstered dining room chair seats myself, instead of replacing. The chairs turned out amazing, and I spent very little money. I also did an accent chair for the living room. So easy!!
    —rented a rug doctor shampoo machine to clean carpet and rugs (rather than hiring someone)
    —used Thompson’s water seal stain on back stairs, and various wood around the property. I also used it on the kid’s swing set—it looks brand new!
    —used black spray paint to repaint some faded brown solar lights, mailbox and post, front porch lights, and a faded wood birdhouse. All of these items turned out great! I used dollar store foam brushes to apply some of the paint.
    —removed wallpaper with my fabric steamer. I did the dining room in under 30 minutes by doing this.
    Like most other commenters, I cook all meals at home.
    I found 2 boxes of cereal on clearance at Walmart, with coupons attached to them. These ended up being money makers.
    Have a great week!

  20. I bet you’re enjoying the cooler weather there! We got dumped on right before Christmas and now have temperatures that often reach around 0 or just below in the first of the morning, which is quickly making me realize that our new (to us) home—which is actually a very old home—is not insulated very well everywhere and has a rather spotty heating pattern. I’m hoping we can start pricing out and saving up for the cost of replacing some of the biggest offenders (like the super old windows) soon.

    We used liquid silver to clear up my baby’s ear infection when the doctor’s offices were all closed over the Christmas holiday, saving us the copay.

    With the motivation of my new financial goals lighting a fire under me, I’m sticking pretty well to my resolution to mostly grocery shop just once a month, at the beginning of the month. (I’m still doing Misfits Markets for at-home produce delivery every other week, which helps keep me out of the store. Plus their prices are decent anyway!)

    We just cleaned, stripped, and painted our kitchen cabinets all by ourselves rather than hiring it out. My husband also just installed new LVP flooring in our second bedroom on the main floor.

    I ordered a ton of seeds through an heirloom seed catalog for all our produce and flowers this year. Granted, I spent a ton of money on seeds, but I would have spent a lot more money had I bought them all as plants 😉

    1. Torrie, what is liquid silver? I have never heard of it before. Where can it be purchased? Thanks, Penny S.

      1. Penny, I use this garlic ear oil for ear infections. I have used it for my children, myself, and my grandmother. I never have had to take my children to the doctor for an ear infection. The pain is gone in just a few hours and usually a single dose is enough. I have loaned my bottle to others and they have loved it.

      2. I think Torrie probably means either ionic silver, or colloidal silver. Either’s usually available at most health food stores.
        I used liquid colloidal silver internally to clear up a mystery tooth problem. It’s also possible to buy it in ointment form.
        Happy New Year to all.

        1. Thanks for the reminder to look at my natural foods store. When I worked at a doctor’s office years ago, we used silver ointment (the brand name was Silvadene) to treat burns. I’ve also used colloidal silver for sinus infections.

      3. Sorry it took me so long to respond! Yes, I meant the colloidal silver, and I actually was gifted it by a former neighbor whose kids were out of the frequent-ear-infection stage!

        Brandy, I’m glad you brought up the garlic ear oil—I’ll have to look into that!

  21. Nothing new and exciting to share…
    Made my cold brew decaf coffee in my French Press. Used unsweetened almond milk instead of flavored creamer
    Sold two items on FB Marketplace – made $125. That is not typical for me. Reused bubble mailers.
    Continued re-using a foaming hand soap dispenser by added diluted hand soap from a giant-sized bottle from Costco
    Began a “No-Buy January” – only buying groceries and medicines, so far.
    I’ve been WFH since March, saving $165 a month on my bus pass. Unfortunately my bus has been postponed until further notice so when I do get called back into the office, I need to find an alternative.
    The seed catalogs have been arriving in the mail and so far, I have resisted! The goal is to use the seeds I already have, next Spring and Summer. Also, to divide my daylilies and other perennials rather than buying new ones.

  22. We mostly had a quiet week at home, which was nice. I did some free watercolor tutorials on Youtube and am practicing in hopes I can make a painting for one of the rooms in our home. We borrowed books, movies, and language learning media from the library, and I enjoyed reading a novel over the longer weekend. I gave our kiddo a haircut, did some mending, and we did some cooking from scratch. We did make one trip to get some produce, and were happy to find a surprise special on strawberries. I just picked up one package, but we’ve been enjoying them very much. I also cooked a kabocha pumpkin we grew in our garden, and made Japanese korroke (croquettes) with it – yum!

    I’ve re-started my own little blog, and welcome some visitors. I have our menu for the coming week, some goals I’ve set for January, and a few other odds and ends. I’d love to see you if you have time! is the address – thanks!

  23. What a great deal on the water table! I love when it possible to save money AND reduce waste at the same time!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I made some clean eating whole grain pancakes ( I usually freeze leftover pancakes and then toast them in the toaster for quick breakfasts.
    – I bought some needed shirts from Reitmans on Boxing Day at 70% off with free shipping, and got 10% back via Rakuten.
    – I bought my yearly agenda on sale from Indigo, got 2% back via Rakuten, and chose curbside pickup to avoid shipping fees.
    – I cut my hair into my usual pixie cut using a combination of scissors and my hair clippers.
    – I cut open a dried out tube of clay face mask and added some water. It rehydrated enough for me to get two more masks out of it.
    – I did some at home nail care, using a manicure set given to me over a decade ago, and using coconut oil to moisturize my nails and cuticles. I’ve found that coconut oil significantly reduces nail breakage (and the friends that I’ve recommended it to agree as well!) and I can buy it quite cheaply online from Walmart.
    – I sent away for a coupon for a box of free Kellogg’s cereal. It was a 2-day ad and was so popular that it became unavailable within hours, or I would have shared it with everyone here.
    – I’ve been craving chocolate milk, and made chocolate syrup ( to add to milk. So yummy!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Thank you for the suggestion of coconut oil for nails/cuticles. I just added it to my pick up order. These past few months have been murder on my nails and cuticles.
      Also thanks for the pancake recipe!

  24. Thanks for the game suggestion!
    Besides cards, hard to find games for just 2 to play. 2021 Date Game Night sounds like a good possibility, so make sure you post up any other favorites.

    1. We enjoy all of the following as 2 player games:

      Gin Rummy
      Table Tennis (you can get a small set that you can use on a dining table)

      Another fun date night is to each read the same book, and then have a book discussion about it (we were doing this once a month as my husband is a slower reader than I am). The last book we read was The Grapes of Wrath, then we did a second date night where we watched the movie and afterwards compared it to the book. We did have our kids watch the movie with us, it’s an older black and white so their reactions were really something!

  25. We had a lovely News Years at home. I made sure to make it a true party so my little kids wouldn’t get too bummed we weren’t celebrating with family. We all ended up having a blast (with dance parties, movies, snacks, family zoom calls) and realized we hadn’t done everything we planned! We found the London count-down on YouTube and watched that. At 10pm, we watched the New York ball drop on YouTube and then but the children to bed. (My parents live on the east coast, so we “celebrated” their New years!) My husband and I stayed up a little longer and finished watching a Christmas movie we had started last week but never finished. We watched in on Kanopy, a movie service through the library. (It was The Man who Invented Christmas, about Charles Dickens writing A Christmas Carol)
    We used a gift card from my husband’s work to go on a “date” to Texas Roadhouse. We picked up lunch and enjoyed it together. It was our 10th anniversary! And my husband’s 40th birthday! I think we paid $1 out of pocket. Not a bad anniversary 😉
    We received our stimulus money, direct deposit into our checking account. It’ll probably turn around and go straight back to the government as a tax payment we will owe.
    We’re still making student loan payments to ourselves (into a money market account) and we’ll make a big lump payment when the forbearance ends. (It’s suppose to end Jan. 31, but now there are more talks to extend it more?? We’ll just keep squirreling it away, collecting interest on it, and pay it when it’s due.)
    I’m committed to staying home more this month (once my husband’s travel trip is done) and riding our bikes more around town to get places. The winters are very mild, so we’re able to stay outside most days. It feels SO COLD here when it’s in the 40s. I’m sure that feels “warm” to many of you!

  26. Congrats on your hike!!! Sounds like a fun activity.

    *Our week was so quiet. Mostly stayed home, reading books, taking walks, making food and eating up leftovers. My husband finished watching all his Christmas movies and was very happy. We watched The Holiday and New Years Eve together. I loved our quiet week! I read so many books. Pure heaven!

    *Our one expense was takeout Chinese for NYE for our family. It was fun and in our budget.

    *My oldest son tested positive for Covid and was having a few symptoms. He stayed home for NYE but my daughter and her husband live close to him. We put together a HUGE box of food and medicine for him. They dropped it off to him (at his doorstep) on their way home. They also dropped off my other son to the airport to catch a flight to California. That saved us gas money in driving back and forth. Gave my daughter a loaf of pumpkin bread to say thank you.

    *I turn the heat off during the day when the sun is shining because our upstairs kitchen gets so much sun. It warms up to 71-73F degrees. Even if it is cloudy, I will turn it off. Our kitchen maintains the 70F degrees for an hour or two. My husband dresses warm and doesn’t notice if it is off. Win!

    *I’m still walking in my house or outdoors when possible. I’m averaging between 11,000 and 14,000 steps a day. My feet and ankles will throb quite a bit but I’ve been using some Arnica cream that I believe PennyP recommended? It’s been helping with various aches. I appreciate the suggestion.

    *I crocheted the edges of a flannel blanket and bib for the new baby coming our way this month. My first grandchild. The blanket and yarn were a gift from a friend so no OOP for me. I was able to complete it in 2 days and gave it to my daughter and husband over NYE. I watched youtube to figure out how to do it and had the right hook for it. I’m quite proud of myself. I have never crocheted and it was just a single crochet but still! Win!

    Happy New Year!

    1. I’m a walker too. I hope you have 2 pairs of walking shoes that you rotate on a daily basis. Also I had to ditch some shoes that were old and buy new ones. I bought Sketchers, the go walk series (lace up shoes) with extra cushioning. Sketchers is always having some sort of sale online. Cheap shoes just won’t make it if you are walking that much on a daily basis. Invest in your feet. For the pain I suggest ice on your feet first in the bottom and then on the top. We have a large gel pack ice thing I use that I keep in the freezer ready to go. A tennis ball to roll around using the sole of your foot helps stretch the foot. Some months I walk over 200 miles and these things I have suggested really help.

      1. Great suggestions Susan! I would also add using the tennis ball (or a foam roller) to roll out your calves. Many people have tight calves which can cause foot-related (and other) issues. The tighter the muscle, the more discomfort you’ll feel when rolling them. Hope that helps! (I’m a Corrective Exercise Specialist)

  27. What a sweet picture of your son. Happy New Year to you Brandy, and all your readers.

    One thing I did last week was use up random bits of leftovers from the holidays to reduce food waste. When making green beans in tomato sauce, I chopped up a few pieces of leftover zucchini and butternut squash and added them in. This worked great. I also added other random vegetable leftovers (including several forlorn carrots that had been in the fridge for many months) to a big batch of tomato soup. Froze a bunch for later and shared some with my mom. We are also finishing up the last of the holiday cookies. They are so good, but I will be glad when they are gone (no more temptation!) Also made two batches of broth, and saved the fat for future cooking use.

    We had Chinese hot pot for new years eve. Went to a nearby Asian grocery to get the spice packet and thinly sliced meat. Basically, you add spices and chili oil to broth, and cook meats and vegetables in the flavored broth at the table. I have a single electric burner we use for this. I just put the broth in a small Dutch oven. For vegetables, we had mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, pea pods, green onions, and butternut squash chunks. Hot pot is usually served with rice but we had it with rice cake noodles I already had. It was fun and delicious and a great way to celebrate.

    Cleared up clutter in the bedroom and entryway. Read newspapers and did puzzles from the newspapers my mom saves for me. Visited my mom (my sister was there too) and we continued to sort through things in preparation for her move. Came home with some vintage glasses that my parents received for a wedding present in the 1960s. (They are hilariously engraved with my parents’ combined initials: LSD. We have been laughing about these glasses for years). Watched Youtube videos and read blogs. Zoomed with some friends who live in Europe. Hung out with my husband and played a board game one night. Listened to CDs we already had.

    Have a great week, everyone. Wishing you all the best for 2021!

  28. Last week we just saved money by staying home. The weather was gross the last half anyways. (the utility bill will make up for not spending any money, lol). I celebrate new years by sleeping, lol.

    Ordered a pizza one night using reward points. Out nothing besides a $5 tip.

    Ate up all leftovers from Christmas, including the desserts.

    Hubby really wanted donuts and I made him wait until this past weekend when Krispy Kreme dozens were 2 for $12

    I found 2 t-shirts for myself for $5 each. They get expensive in plus size and I’ve had to toss a couple old ones.

    My mom’s insurance company sent her a box of items like lysol wipes, a face shield, alcohol, hand wipes, etc. She didn’t want the the hand sanitizer (3 small containers), travel size kleenex, or the thermometer so she sent it with me.

    Celebrated my third child (now 14) fairly inexpensive. Her best friend came over and spent most of the day, we went out to eat and she received a free brownie sundae, then had brownies again at home(she likes them better than cake). Her presents from us were five pairs of nice chopsticks (she’s been wanting some forever) and she wants her ears pierced a second time(I had to reserve the date, our favorite piercer books way out)

  29. Meals this week-pheasant, mashed potatoes, and gravy; cheeseburger soup using leftover roast beef instead of ground beef; large takeout pizza which made 2 meals; chicken wings and potato skins; pork chops, baked potatoes, and steamed broccoli; leftover cheeseburger soup, chicken wings, and potato skins.
    -$20 spent on groceries this week- 5# chicken wings, #10 potatoes, 2# clearance stew meat, gallon of milk and 2 grapefruit.
    -Got clearance organic grass fed stew meat for $2.50/#- there were 2 packages I bought both.
    -3 pieces of apple pie were left from holiday celebrations. The pie crust didn’t turn out as normal so it wasn’t getting eaten. I took out the filling and threw away the crust. I thinned it down with a bit of apple juice and warmed it up and served it over a Dutch baby for breakfast one morning. No food waste this week (well except for the inferior pie crust).
    -Spent a no spend New Years Eve with close friends, playing Farkle and Carbles. We each made 2 appetizers and we rang in the new year.
    -Went snow shoeing now that we have snow. The mornings have been beautiful with the trees hanging in thick frost. We call that hore frost here. And against the very blue sky it is so pretty. Words can not describe what it looks like.
    -We have not had any below zero weather yet, it has been very mild in Minnesota. I am sure it will come, but each day it is warmer is a gift.
    -Quiet week after Christmas, but that is ok, stayed home and caught up on housework and sleep.
    -Have a great week.

  30. We had a little New Year’s party for our daughter and niece and nephew since we were on our usual schedule working with them last week. They had a great time. I posted pictures of that on my blog:

    I did a lot of cleaning. I am always in the mood for that every new year, so I started in a little early.
    I made a couple of soups and a few other meals, but we ate a lot of soup and leftovers this past week. It worked out, but I will likely cook a little more creatively this week.
    I sent my husband to Safeway with a very detailed list today to get groceries while I stayed home and did school with our daughter. We were able to use the $10 off $50 coupon and lots of downloaded coupons. We’ve been shopping less often because of rising Covid numbers around here, and I was thrilled with the amount he hauled home for the amount of money he spent. I’ve been planning menus to use lots of my pantry items, home-canned and frozen things and targeted items. I was well within my budget in December, with some food money left over to put toward bulk purchases this next month. I plan to do the same, or save even more in January.
    My sister gave me Kindle unlimited. So I’ve been reading and reading. Fun! I’m using the Kindle app on my iPad.
    I worked outside a little between the torrential rain showers we’ve had. I love seeing your garden progress, Brandy. It’s going to be AMAZING!! I’m mainly clipping things and keep filling the yard debris bin with those trimmings. I did transplant some strawberry runners into a raised bed Rob built for me. There were some that ran over the sides of the bed they were in and rooted in the pathway and I wanted to use them to renew my berries. It’s been mild around here, and I think they will make it.

  31. Happy New Year! The last week of December we benefitted from giveaways by family & friends. My SIL gave us 4 steaks that she received as a gift but did not want because she doesn’t like cooking steak. These are frozen for a future special occasion!
    I helped my sister clean out her vacation home that was recently sold & she gave me a large bag full of aluminum foil, plastic wrap & ziploc bags,2 towels, 3 sweaters for my adult son, a hat and a salt lamp.
    A family friend did a porch drop off NYE of Christmas cookies, spinach dip, crackers, bacon jam and sausage biscuits.
    We spent a quiet New Year’s Eve in enjoying some of the tasty snacks we were given as well as a meat and cheese board we made.
    Earlier in the week I had stopped in Goodwill to drop off a bag of clothing and took a quick walk through the store. I found a shower curtain, a solid wood nightstand and 2 small decorative items that I liked. When I took them to the register I found that red and green stickers were half price & the nightstand was only priced at $2.99! Due to the sale I only paid $4.91 for everything!
    We have a very full pantry and freezer so I am going to limit my groceries to fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, eggs, almond milk and the low carb wraps my husband likes. This will provide a significant grocery budget savings.
    Looking forward to seeing with this group comes up with in 2021, always so many great ideas and things to learn!

  32. Is that the New Year’s Baby? The photo made me smile.
    Our city is switching from a pay by the can/bag trash charge to a flat monthly trash fee per household. This will more than double what our small family pays. I will continue to recycle what we can, even though we easily could just throw the recycling in the trash we are now paying more for, because I think it is the right thing to do.
    Taking advantage of library books; cleaned to the back of my closet and found a useful pair of forgotten shoes; planning stir fry meals from leftovers; watching YouTube videos for entertainment/husband chooses British trivia game shows; staying home to stay safe.
    My most wonderful mother-in-law died last week. She will be much missed.

      1. Thank you both most kindly. I was much blessed in my in-laws, which I know is not always the case!
        Just received news of my last aunt’s passing as well, ending my parents’ generation. Family rituals are very much on my mind now– holidays, weddings, funerals, visits, etc.

        I also note that no matter how much you think your children know, they do NOT know all your dates and events. It is kind, not creepy, to make a list of them to ease the stress of writing your obituary, and leave the information with your planning documents. I like that obituaries are now written to be much more personalized, especially to acknowledge the interests and important work of women who did not have jobs or careers.

  33. Happy New Year Everyone!
    Brandy, your little boy is adorable!
    We stayed home on New year’s eve , watched a movie, had a fire and ate junk food.
    The discount market had boneless, skinless chicken breast for $.99 lb. I picked up 13 lbs and vacuum sealed packages for the freezer. This will last a quite a while for the 2 of us. Trying to work on using what we already have at home.
    Have a great week everyone!

  34. Judy- The amazing note you left me last month, I read it this past weekend. Thank you sooo much!! It really touched me hearing how close you are with your siblings. I hope my children have close relationships when they grow up.

    Gardenpat- Reading about your quilting reminds me of my sweet neighbor growing up. I cross-stitched and she cross-stitched a pattern AND then quilted it. We talked crafts all the time on her front porch. When you say your long arm Lenni does the quilting do you mean stitching the top quilt piece, batting, and backing all together?

    Savings we have been blessed to make friends with a family that lives only 10 miles away who has a tiny bit of land. Moms sit around the fire pit and the kids run and run. My city kids get to run with chickens and hunt for eggs.

    1. Renee in KY- In answer to your question- yes, Lenni (the model name for this APQS longarm) does the quilting design that connects the quilt top, batting and quilt backing together. Sometimes a pattern and thread color that “blends” in to the quilt top is what is desired. Sometimes a contrasting color thread that picks up some of the quilt tops fabric colors and highlights the quilting design is what is desired! It ends up being personal choice because either will serve the purpose of connecting all 3 parts of the quilt “sandwich” together.

  35. Congratulation Amy S. on the grandchild coming!
    I am doing a pantry freezer challenge for the month of January. I am spending my grocery money on the few items I need (milk, cheese, lettuce) but using the rest to heavily stock my pantry from various sources. My husband is getting very good at spotting things we’ve been looking for and pointing them out to me, lol, so he’s helping. This week I plan to go to Target and stock up on paper products and household cleaning supplies. I do this the two weeks at the beginning of each year when they offer a gift card as part of the purchase and I generally don’t go back until the next year. This stood us in good stead last year with the shut downs and I hope it stands us well again this year. We’ve been doing yard work. This time of year is when I prune my roses and my husband can see clearly which trees need to be pruned. Now that the weather is cooler, I’ve been baking bread in the oven once again. We don’t mind the additional heat this time of year. In the morning, rather than turn up the thermostat on our heat pump, we are using the propane heater to knock the chill down. We have a ventless heater and have had it now for nearly 20 years. It works wonderfully well. So well that we’ve never cranked it up to use all three radiant grates! I was given a free dozen home grown eggs, a Panera gift card and a pretty journal type notebook. I received a free devotional magazine in the mail and am using it in conjunction with my morning Bible study as well as two free prompts I found on Instagram. It’s added further interest to my studies. I replaced my crockpot with the cracked crockery but I did discover I could use it with the liner bags just fine. I’m keeping it as a standby in case we have need of it. I’ve tucked the bags away to save for the times when I use it. It’s quite large and will hold a turkey breast easily. The newer one is not as big.

  36. Frugal 1/4

    * saved $260 by learning how to reprogram my own car key fob from a YouTube video
    * Saved $1 by paying cash at the DMV instead of using a card
    * Harvested lemons, turmeric, ginger and peppers from the garden
    * Found a bag of clothes in just my son’s size next to the dumpster at the public library
    * Checked out and read three ebooks from the library through the Overdrive app
    * Continued giving and receiving through our Buy Nothing Group, including some tools, shelves and plant cuttings
    * Made two loaves of pumpkin bread using purées of homegrown pumpkins and apples

    Happy New Year!

  37. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy the water table you picked up for free will give hours and hours of enjoyment for the boys indeed and glad you got to go on your hike up the mountain that you have wanted to do for ages 🙂 . What a lovely photo of your gorgeous tired little man.

    Our savings added up to $161.85 for the last two weeks :).

    Earnings –
    – We earned $150 from cleaning and mowing jobs.

    Financial –
    – Deposited more money into our 6 month living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 61.07% if the way there and banked more into our home maintenance fund bringing us to 62.08% of the way to our goal.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 2 x 8″ after market wire weed brushes for our brush cutter saving $82.44 on usual prices we saw for original brand items.
    – Bought Egyptian cotton bath towels, floor mats, hand towels and food storage containers on up to half price specials saving $32.75 on usual prices.
    – Purchased a 4.262 kg whole rump for $16.99 kg saving $12.82 on usual prices. We cut it up ourselves and portioned it into 15 double serve portions for the two of us for the freezer.
    – Sourced our ride on lawn mower blades online and saved $13.83 on usual prices. I also ordered a spare set to have here too as they are really hard to find.

    In the kitchen-
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.
    – Baked 4 loaves of a combination of wholemeal and white saving $10.36 over buying them locally.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked 556g of green beans from the gardens saving $4.95 over buying them in the supermarkets and we blanched and froze them for 4 more meal size portions for the two of us.
    – Harvested 2 large cucumbers from the gardens saving around $5 over buying them.
    – We finally had time to weed some more of the gardens so they are looking much more tidy.
    – I tied up the tomato plants that are getting quite big to garden stakes and I am pleased to say they now have small tomatoes on them.
    – Both of us mowed the lawns twice since we have had so much glorious rain.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead 🙂 .


  38. My husband’s work gave us an enormous box of dried fruit for Christmas. My family despises dried fruit. I found a recipe on the internet for a dried fruit chutney made in the crockpot and used the chutney on a pork roast from the freezer. It was delicious. I put 5 meal size containers of the chutney in the freezer

    I inventoried the contents of my food pantry and made lists of what I have and what I need for quick meals with my husband’s new food restrictions.

    I accepted several giant bags of used baby clothes for my daughter and her twins. There were so many clothes that I don’t think my granddaughters can wear them all. There were some items that were actually baby couture items. The silliest thing I have ever seen in my life is a couture onesie in size 0-3 months with tags still on it with a price of $129.00. Gucci Baby, Burberry Baby and Kids Atelier were some of the brands. The haul also included two half full Costco size boxes of diapers in two different sizes.

    Last Spring during a huge sale, I pre-purchased two online courses for my daughter to use in her final year of high school. Due to COVID upsetting everyone’s plans we decided to graduate her early and have her take a full load at the local community college this semester. One of the classes was only 1/2 finished and the other not even started. I contacted the company and explained the situation and they kindly allowed me to switch both classes to my remaining high school student at no extra charge. I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask, right?

    Locally COVID numbers continue to rise and hospitals are overflowing. In our church congregation we have had two people die last week, including a dear friend who was an adoptive grandpa to my children for the past 20+ years, and several families have been ill and are recovering, some more slowly than others. We also have a family in our congregation whose adult children traveled here for Christmas. They did all the quarantining and received negative COVID tests, but somehow over the holiday the entire family from grandparents to small children got sick with COVID. Everyone seems to be recovering well, with the exception of the adult son (28) who has been hospitalized. They hope he will be released tomorrow, but he will still be on oxygen support and he isn’t strong enough to travel back to UT. We did not travel for Thanksgiving or Christmas and I am heartbroken at missing my granddaughters’ first Christmas. I feel frustrated when other people I know post pictures of their travels and extended family gatherings in defiance of restrictions and then complain two weeks later when community spread is high and the restrictions are extended.

    My daughter who works in healthcare received her first dose of the vaccine. I was worried about side effects because she is pretty allergic to almost everything, but with her asthma and other health challenges, COVID would be dangerous. She took her epipen with her “just in case,” but other than a sore arm has not seen any side effects. The vaccine was free.

    We attended a Zoom baptism and had a Zoom Post-Christmas family visit with extended family, all for free.

    My daughter uses FaceTime several times each day so I can see and talk to the babies. I sing and talk to one of them while she bathes or feeds or changes the other. She is also able to Skype her in-laws who live in the UK. Technology is amazing. Not as good as being there, but still pretty nice.

    My youngest daughter and I did some purging of wardrobes and took several bags of unwanted items to the thrift store for drop off. Right around the corner of the thrift store is a dumpster and sitting outside the dumpster was a cardboard box full of fabric drawstring gift bags made from holiday fabric. The box also had 3 multipacks of socks for women and 2 for men. Each pack had 6 pairs of socks and were completely sealed up, brand new. To the mortification of my daughter, I took the entire box. I put the socks away for future need and put the gift bags in my stash for next year.

    I was gifted several baking mixes that I can’t use, so we baked them up and gave them to our neighbors for Boxing Day. They repaid us with some much fancier treats including 2 dozen homemade tamales, a box of very fancy truffles from a local chocolatier, a selection of Korean delicacies in a beautiful black stoneware bowl and several bags of cuties.

    I used a small fountain that in warmer weather lives in my bird bath and the stoneware bowl to make an elegant New Year’s Eve centerpiece for our family party.

    I started a Netflix series that turned out to be a little more racy than I enjoy. I found a new YouTube channel that I can just turn on and listen to while I am doing my daily tasks.

    An older member of our congregation dropped off a box of items with a note explaining they thought I could use these things “because I homeschool.” There were several barely used composition notebooks of graph paper that my son prefers for Trig & Physics, assorted items like staples, paper clips & binder clips, opened packages of 3 hole punched notebook paper, and a small-ish navy blue leather portfolio that fits a notebook on one side and a calendar on the other that will be my planner for the year.

    My daughter had a beautiful vintage blouse go through the wash when it shouldn’t have and along both side seams the fabric completely shredded beyond repair. We ended up cutting off the damaged parts, turning the raw edges and making it into a dickie that she can wear under her sweaters, so she can still use the fancy collar. I saved the pretty buttons off the cuffs and the buttons off the bottom part that had to be removed. I also mended two pockets, one on a shirt and one on a pair of pants, both of which were torn when caught on the same protruding edge of a door handle. Then my husband repaired the door handle 😀

    I hope for a happy and healthy New Year for everyone.

    Amber in SJ

    1. Amber — that is great news to read about your daughter’s vaccine and no major reaction.
      Could you please tell me which type of vaccine she had? thanks

  39. I love sleeping babies! He’s just adorable.

    I spent NYE in the hospital after finally testing negative for Covid. No longer can this agressive blood cancer grow as I’ve started the stem cell transplant treatment. The doctor has booked me into the isolation unit on January 28th which means about 7 weeks till the end plus recuperating in SLC. I could just cry with relief. I’ve been at this for 17 months. It’s so strange to have a catastrophic illness just pounce like this. I do realize there are millions going through some medical issue. There is such a difference between waiting and resting, although I did try to do as much of the latter as possible to build my strength back up. I’ve also been exercising as I can and find that my iPhone does a nice job of counting my steps every day. It’s a good visual to keep me moving.

    This week, I reassessed the spice supply and put in an order. I also added lots of dried berries, nuts and legumes to be sure I am ready for recovery eating. My daughter was approved for two weeks off paid to come (Probably Mid-February) and stay with me in SLC until I’m released to go home. She’s gluten free, so I have ordered gluten free baking flour, rice crackers and lots of almonds for her. When I don’t feel well, I eat a lot of cottage cheese with canned peaches. When I went to order more canned peaches, I found they’d tripled in price. So, I ordered #10 cans and will re-can them later in the spring. I’m sure I’ll eat one can or freeze the remainder. I wonder if I’d like dehydrated peaches? I also saw some #10 cans of corn that I bought to dehydrate this spring. So much easier to use in soups and chili dried and they take up so little space. Besides, I’ve read that the corn crops have not been as good. We cannot grow corn here. Bummer!

    *trimmed my husband’s hair.
    *mended my snow pants
    *am finally, after years of thinking about it, making cloth Christmas bags from material on hand. I might buy some online on-sale Christmas fabric as I think I’ll need more bags. Won’t it be nice to not buy wrapping paper?
    *gladly joined the neighbor in ordering grass fed hamburger for less than our local grocery store prices for regular ground beef.
    *we are very close to being debt free but for student loans (long, sad story that). Not that we owed much; however, to me, any debt is too much. Mostly there were 2 credit cards from when I, the higher earner, suddenly was unable to work and we had an additional 2100.00 monthly COBRA payment (didn’t plan for that in the “what happens if I lose my job scenario.”). There may be medical bills, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it…all this to say that we might not have be able to save enough in an emergency fund to cover everything, but that fund plus living beneath our means is what saved us. Not to mention being ahead on food and clothing. A good pantry goes a long way toward peace of mind.

    Blessings to all,


    1. Wonderful news Trish! Best wishes for your treatment – I’m sure there will be many people praying for your speedy recovery.
      How wonderful that your daughter will be able to take some time to come home to help you.
      Hang in there!

      1. Margie,

        I am so very appreciative of each and every prayer. I believe prayer works and is essential. So blessed up have faith filled people on my side!!!!


    2. Trish:
      So glad you are moving forward with the treatment. I continue to pray for your health daily.
      Grace always,

      1. Patricia,

        I forgot to tell you how very thankful I am that you continue to pray for me!

        It brings such joy to know!


    3. I am so happy that you have started the prep stage. It’s tough going through it, but you will feel so much better once you get through it. Keep your spirits up. You are in my prayers. Please keep us updated.

  40. We got our latest stimulus check deposited into our bank account.
    My sister gave me three butternut squash from her garden
    We had to move (again!) within the long term place where we are staying. Our new home isn’t finished yet and this is now our fifth move in seven months. I think this unit is our last–a garret in the top of the building with slanted ceilings. It’s comfortable, warm, and equipped with what we need. However, that move revealed how much we had accumulated in just a few months. I have enough yarn that I have purchased or been given to keep my supplied for at least six months, so no yarn buying for me. My husband packed and moved the contents of the refrigerator, freezer and cupboards and remarked on how much food we had. I had been buying extra to keep ourselves in a mini pantry. But now we need to concentrate on using what we have.
    I picked up some books from the library and now they give me a receipt about how much I saved by using their services. In 2020 I saved about $900 and since using the library regularly, my total is over $11,000!
    I also have waaaaay too many sweets on hand from the holidays. We were given a lot of chocolate and sweet snacks. I think I have the willpower to eat just one or two treats a day, but we will still have enough to keep us into February.
    Have a lovely week everyone!

  41. Life continues as normal here. The garden is producing well, I pick lettuce every second day, and continue to eat my cherries. I found a packet of zucchini seeds, so I’ve planted them out and have my fingers crossed that they will grow and produce.
    My family and I went on holiday to South Australia and spent some time walking around the sunken Gardens and caves. We ate meals from the food we bought, apart from one lunch when my mum purchased a crayfish. This was to celebrate her birthday and because our crayfish industry had been impacted by China’s trade decisions.
    Frugal fails- I purchased some Kabana and pizza bases from Aldi, that I probably didn’t need. I will still use the food. But I could have avoided buying anything.

  42. Our winters continue to be mild and we have not used our heat but one night. I traded gift cards with sugar cookie. She didn’t need anymore Xmas gifts and we will use it for a larger tablet for her birthday in February. I used a $25.00 gift card from swag bucks to stock up on shampoo. It was one of the very few things I could actually think of to add to our healthy stockpile. I took my traded gift card and added 150 lbs of cat food , T P and ham to our pantry. My frugal fail was a 240 load laundry detergent that got dumped out. I couldn’t sop it up because it appears to have run under the baseboard and into the land of unknown. I collected coupon inserts from the recycling bins. We haven’t had these delivered in years. They come in handy for coupon deals at the drugstore. This week there is a great deal on laundry detergent. I have about 20. I think I will replace my spilt product and buy some for my church donation box. I’m sure the 40 elderly members getting donation boxes receive food but other items are rare. I’ve watched a lovely bird feeder in Panama on YouTube. Its beautiful. After much reflection my new budget is solidified for the year. I’m hoping to have a spend free year.

  43. I’ve spent the last two weeks home from work, using vacation plus extra holiday time graciously donated to us all by our bosses. Now I’m back at work and “real life.”

    We had a quiet Christmas with only part of the family coming for the day, as the others just didn’t want to make the trip with several over-excited small children in tow. We went to see that group a few days before Christmas, and had a pleasant day there, too. They provided the meal that day, while I provided the dessert. On Christmas day, I did most of the meal, but it was a much smaller, and therefore not very expensive, affair.

    I went through my Christmas decorations and have them pared down to what I actually use and love. Two items got broken this year, so I may purchase a little bit next year, but may not.

    My lemon tree is finally putting on lemons for real, so I juiced a bag full and got five quarts of juice. There are more lemons on the tree, some of which I will give to my family.

    We purchased and I planted two fruit trees, a Satsuma mandarin and a Japanese persimmon. I will make every effort to get them to do well, too.

    I believe I purchased about 8-10 Christmas gifts in full with Swagbucks and gift cards. I purchased several others at least partly with SB or gift cards.

    I made a big pot of chicken and vegetable soup from backs and necks of chicken. After we ate what we wanted from that, I thickened some of the broth into a “gravy” and lifted out the veggies and meat from the rest of the soup, adding them and the “gravy” together in a homemade crust for a chicken pot pie. It was delicious.

    I bought a pork loin roast on sale and sliced it into enough chops to make three nice meals, using the vacuum sealer I received for Christmas. I also cut up, sealed and froze the rest of the Christmas ham.

    I soaked and cooked dried black-eyed peas for New Year’s Day’s “lucky meal.” We all joked that we could use a lot of luck for this new year, after the one we had!

    I love the sleepytime picture, Brandy. It’s so sweet.

  44. Cindy,
    I too stopped buying tomatoes out of season because they seemed to have no flavor. My favorite sandwich is bacon, lettuce and tomato so I was sad most of the year. A friend suggested a tomato called “Campari” which is now widely available. They come in those plastic boxes and are usually found with the small cherry and grape size tomatoes. In my area they cost just under $3.00 for the box and contain 6-7 tomatoes. One tomato is fine for a sandwich. They actually taste like tomatoes and are my one real food splurge. When you are more comfortable going into the grocery stores you might want to give them a try.

    1. I second the love of Campari tomatoes – especially in the winter. They are quite delicious and just the right size.

  45. The website updates are beautiful! I cannot locate the blog archive by date that you had. I enjoy reading back through the years of your blogs that are dated the same month as we’re in.

    1. I can’t figure out how to make one with the new version of WordPress, unfortunately.

  46. Brandy, thank you for helping all of us start the new year off well and surrounded by like minded friends!
    My saving these past few weeks include buying marked down produce, using fronts of old thank you cards to write new thank you’s, I did the same with Christmas cards for family( they are totally into recycling as well), line drying laundry, keeping the thermostat at 62 when it is just me at home, 64 when my hubby and son are home.
    For NYE my hubby set up the card table in front of the fireplace, and we had dinner and watched videos of the family on our iPad. It was lovely and perfect for not being with family. My husband for Christmas made me a video of me and my garden that he had had been filming and taking pictures of since last spring. He interviewed some of my grandkids and one of my daughters. Several of the grandkids were in it, helping me weed and pick. It was my best gift ever from him and he has done lots of very thoughtful and lovely gifts. We were able to send it to kids around the country and even my daughter and her family in South America.
    We did some purging on NYD and I gave 4 bowls to one of my daughters. I need to start giving more of family items to our kids, 5 of the 7 kids have homes, one is to be married and one is going to be living on base for another 4 years.
    I bought a Boston butt for .95# and it made 9 meals worth plus broth for soups and beans! I made into it pork carnitas and it was delicious.

    Thanks for everyone’s comments, this is truly one of my highlights each week!

  47. The photo of your little one sleeping is precious!
    Ways we saved this week:
    -We planned meals from the freezer and pantry.
    -We bought meat on sale and froze it for future use.
    -My hubby brought home some food from an event at the fire station where he volunteers.
    -When the weather is warm, I’ve been outside planning raised beds to build in our kitchen garden.
    -The new year sends me into an organizing/cleaning frenzy. 🙂 I am shocked at the clutter we accumulate, but I am making progress,
    -I finally continued work on our laundry area (which I started last January). I am almost finished and will then move on to one of the other many projects in our house that need finishing.
    Details of our week are on my blog at:

  48. My mother in law got us a Honey Baked Ham and last week I asked on here about using it and the bone since it had a sugar glaze that we didn’t like to add to beans or soup, etc. I cut all the slices off the bone then cut the outside edge that had the sugar off of each slice and threw that away, leaving the inside pieces. I then took the bone that had some ham on it and washed it to try to get off any glaze. I then put up the ham I had cut off in freezer bags. I cooked my black eyed peas with the bone, then once they cooked I took off all the meat and put half in the peas and half in some turnip greens, then used the bone to cook the turnip greens. I didn’t notice any sugar taste in either dish.

    * I found out about a fabric store 2 hours away. I got a bunch of yards of decor fabric to make curtains, pillows, and upholstered a setee. I got curtain liner end rolls for $1.29 a yard, but bought rolls that had 2 to 4 yards left, so may have to piece some together. I got red toile for $3 a yard.

    * I had bought up all the medicines I would need, and this last trip bought different flavored Gatorade and Pedialite to have on hand.. I have 4 different friends with Covid and my pastor from home growing up passed away this past Tuesday. So, no more fabric shopping and I am pulling in more with my 80 year old MIL living with us.

    * I bought a double pack of Chuck roast and cooked one that we ate New Years Day. I then made the 2nd into a modified Mississippi pot roast. I can’t have Au Juis packet, so I seared it in a skillet then put a little beef broth ( from 1st roast) in bottom, added the roast, a little Dale’s sauce, dry ranch, and pepperoncini peppers. After cooking I shredded the meat, mixed into the liquid and bagged 2 meals of shredded roast. I will eat it over mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice as low carb meals.

    * We are putting $1000 a month rewards our mortgage. We moved in the end of August so have a long way to go. Our neighbor just sold their home, same floorplan as mine, for $60000 over what we paid. We have an external garage and paver patio with outdoor fireplace they do not have. They have been in their home less than a year. So I was very surprised prices have held and grown that well. I know lumber is triple and stone and brick and tile very hard to get, so that may be a lot of it.

  49. I am just making up a curried coconut lentil soup I found online, It is supposed to have sweet potato in it but I substituted regular as that is what I had. My DH checked online and it appears the IRS is mailing his stimulus cheque today-we will tuck that into our US savings account once it arrives. Today I plan to spend my gift card at the local Italian market as DD is expected tomorrow and I am sure there will be more than enough to feed us all as a treat. The weather is mild here which is a real blessing-especially in January! DH and I expect to return to our PT jobs next week if our lockdown ends- we will wait and see. Fortunately we are receiving govt funds for lost wages which is another blessing. I spotted indoor bulb pots the other day at $2.88 each so I purchased a hyacinth for us and crocus for my Mum. Wishing you all a frugal January.

  50. I am glad your family was able to take a hike up the mountain. Our family loves walking together and seeing how trails in different areas change with the season. Our walk last week was on a trail we had only walked once before. It was the warmest day we had in several weeks and the people we saw had the most beautiful, well behaved dogs. I realized since all leaves had fallen that we could see the back of a clubhouse for a golf course that I walked to with a friend one snowy day to meet a lot of other classmates and sled down a long hill at its entrance. We got a ride home thank goodness as that street was 2-3 miles long. My son had heard that story and rode in a car there, but seeing it on the other side about the same distance from where we live in the county was a new perspective.

    I made a sheet pan of eggs, sausage, and mushrooms and put them in small tortillas. I refrigerated three breakfasts and froze the rest. I am starting to can the dry beans so a 2 lb. bag of pinto beans was first. I decided a few months ago to top off all hand soap and shampoo bottles on Fridays so no one is ever caught without soap to use. It has worked out well. I had noticed that the noodles and rice were both running low so I did the same for them this week. While I was at it I rearranged that cabinet a little and put some boxes of gelatin, pudding, and pectin in a small basket. I need some small containers to finish the other side but its working much better for me. Could some of you tell me the width of your pantries and shelves? I have had an idea for about a year that I think would work for a pantry but want to make sure its wide enough. It would be rectangular with shelves on one side and the ends. Thank you in advance. We also went to Walmart when it was really slow to buy some large containers that were needed. I read the 365 day challenge and decided to do it. Just reading some articles made me think of things I want to donate/throw away. My husband and son took one large thing to the dump.

    Our five buckets of fill dirt was delivered. Our son and I worked on it for 2 days and my husband joined in when he came home from work. There was a little left and he used most of it in low spots where there was once large trees and the track made by the heavy truck that delivered it. There is a very small amount left to put somewhere else, but rain prevented us from finishing. We ended up pruning a few branches on one rhododendron to get the dirt behind it. It all looks much nicer and ground cover will complete it. Our packing job was good as none washed away this weekend. We were tired on New Years Eve after we finished the dirt so we picked up pizza for dinner as a treat.

    We had a roof and gutters installed from a very large, well known company 3 and 2 months ago. I noticed a large low spot on the roof and the project manager, who wasn’t there most of the time, blamed it on the truss and I told her it was not like that before and I had pictures to prove it. She also noticed some shingles that stuck up in a 3 ft. row and said they would lay down in a week. We noticed other places like those after everyone left. The gutters and downspouts were badly installed. One downspout was shaped like an S (?). You had to see it to believe it. The gutter in back curves outward where some fascia board was pulled out at the bottom when they took the gutters down. We didn’t get the new fascia board on two parts of the back as requested. We had running leaks in places we never had and the gutters were not lined up correctly and ran downward from the spout which caused it to overflow. I talked to the Operations Manager a month and a half ago about all the problems and how the orders were written so vague the gutter guys kept asking me questions. The old gutters were removed a week earlier by a large crew and the fascia was supposed to be inspected by him. She got frustrated I guess because she wrote the orders and said she would write orders to fix everything. She had to go and didn’t call back to hear everything about the gutters and downspouts. A gutter guy came when we weren’t home and fixed the S gutter and tried to make some adjustments to the ends where they didn’t line up but they were still not lined up so they leaked. The roof guy was a small repairs guy and glued and nailed a few shingles down that were missed. I got a call from someone I never spoke to at the office asking me to give the check to the guys when they finished. I said what check. She said for the whole job. I told her it wasn’t finished and that I needed to speak with the owner. She gave me the operations manager as the owner was on the phone. I told her the job wasn’t finished and that I needed to speak with the owner. I would only talk with her about the roof and that the guy wasn’t planning on checking the large low space as he said he only did small repairs. She would call him. When I went out he had found a board bowed in a place he thought he had to nail down some shingles. He showed my husband where they placed bits of shingles on the underside of shingles under that to try to hide the height difference. He thought the whole half needed to be redone. I called to talk to the owner and the operations manager intercepted. I told her what he said. She said there was a problem with supply due to Covid. I told her I would talk to the owner on Monday. Update: bowed boards were replaced two different days. It was a little rough with the older guy that repaired the roof on Monday. I went out to say hello as they went directly on the roof and started working on the big low place. He was asking about the other guy and being very rude so I just went in and called the owner and told her I wasn’t going to take that. I let her know that if it had been done correctly per the contract he wouldn’t be there and if that was the way it was going to be than she could tell him to stop now and I would call an attorney to settle this. Another call about flipping the board rather than replacing it as she said and things were better yesterday when he came again. We took pictures so she could see the bow was between the rafters, not rafters being lower. We are getting new gutters (no charge) and fascia installed tomorrow afternoon and the owner is going to be there to make sure it is done right.

    1. Linda, Could you please share a link to the sheet pan recipe? Or explain how you did it? Sounds easy and tasty. 🙂 Thanks!

    2. Linda, my pantry is a repurposed coat closet. We made a closet downstairs for coats. This closet is upstairs in the hallway just off the kitchen. My husband built sturdy shelves on all 3 sides. It works wonderful!

  51. Not much to tell here. I’m slogging through part of the book, waiting for proofreading and editing changes.
    I’m going to take a break and catch up on essential housekeeping. I tried to look at something on Kanopy only to discover some glitch is happening with my library card. I will probably skip the housekeeping and go outside and bird watch while the weather is so nice. All free activities. I finally baked my maple-flavoured ham — it was lovely and I put most of it in individual packets in the freezer. I’ve used one or two items from my pantry but am still trying to preserve it in case covid here gets worse. I have 3 blocks and 1 kg of shredded cheese in the freezer. I will soon start using the fruit I put in my small freezer — I made a plum crisp from it which was delicious. My gift box was finally received and my SIL loved the photo blank cards I had made. They cost $25 for 24 cards and I split them into 3 packages of 8 cards each. So 3 gifts for $8.33 each. I’ll do it again next year so am thinking of what photos to put on them (planning ahead!).

  52. Hi Brandy

    What mountain did you hike up and do you recommend it?

    Earlier this week I did a mini yearly budget overhaul/review. Good to get a big picture and see where we are at. Goals change, plans change and goal posts move. But overall we are on track and motivated.

    New year’s eve was spent with my family at home. We went for a late afternoon 9 mile bike ride just before the sun set then sat outside watching the children play with their pull string handle helicopter blades. My gosh they can travel far and go so high! My husband cooked on the BBQ so we dined alfresco, making our own hamburgers. Then we gave the children glow sticks and connectors which was hours of fun in the dark!

    We home cooked all meals, borrowed books from the library, air dryed all washing, baked cookies together, visited a friend’s house and went for a swim in their pool, had a wonderful afternoon tea and dinner at my MIL’s house, kept up with school work during this long summer break and will continue to do so and shopped moderately for groceries for the week.

    Happy New Year to you all.

    1. It’s called Lone Mountain. It sits apart from other mountains nearby (hence the name). I would definitely recommend it.

  53. Sheet Pan Eggs link:

    I have never shared a link here so if it doesn’t work let me know and I will type it out. I made a small sheet pan of the original recipe and we loved it. I didn’t have any cheese shredded the next time so I substituted the sausage and added more mushrooms to make the full recipe. You can use anything you like as long as the measurements are the same. Enjoy!

  54. We had a quiet week, which I like. Reduced my food budget by 25% and was able to meal plan and do grocery pick up. Mostly ate from home. We played games and watched shows for entertainment. I used yarn from my stash to make a hat and scarf for charity and finished up a cute baby blanket for our nephews new baby. I got the yarn for that on sale so it was under $20 for a nice handmade gift. I’m working hard at not buying books, yarn, housewares or clothes this year, so I’m staying off Amazon and trying to not look at any ads that come in. I’m reading a book I got for Christmas as a gift. I’m trying to count my blessings and be content with all that I already have. Hope everyone has a great week!

  55. Brandy,
    Just a thought: you might be interested in hugelkultur for your beds. I’d think your best variant would be number 2. Hugelkultur’s a method where you put logs and other pieces of wood in the bottoms of your beds. I realize wood may be scarce there, but perhaps you could use something else– here’s a post on using phone books they, and raw wood help hold moisture.

    Happy new year.

    1. I’ve read about this, but even wood chips take years to break down here. If I fill the beds with logs, there is nowhere for the trees to make roots.

      1. If you check out the second link, the Survival Gardener was info on using phone books and other waste paper, and not for just growing trees. Obviously the entire space isn’t completely filled with wood, if you do use wood; the damp soil conditions needed for plants to grow will also cause the break-down of the wood which gives nutrients to the plants.

        It was simply a suggestion. If I were growing in such adverse conditions, and wanting to save water, I’d certainly try experimenting with novel solutions.

        1. Cara, I’m sorry if I offended you in some way with my reply above.

          We only received 2.31 inches of rain here last year and our normal is only 4 inches. Our humidity level is less than 10% most of the year.

          What we use is drip irrigation. It uses 50% or less of the water that sprinklers use. Changing out the grass areas to beds with drip irrigation will cut our water significantly on the areas that we water. It works very well in our climate. Water is delivered just to where you want it to go. This also makes weeding very easy, as most weeds don’t grow here naturally.

          The other previously grassy areas will become concrete paths. We will be reducing the grass by 75%.

          I read the second link. It’s interesting that he didn’t water for 3 weeks. Sadly, even cactus here would die without being watered weekly. They have to be watered on drip irrigation as well in order to make it. The desert only supports a few low-growing cactus closer to the mountains where there is a bit more rainfall.

          In the garden, the “good soil” that I buy is half sand and half mulch, which is mostly wood chips. The wood chips rarely break down. As I am sifting the soil where we grew plants to get out the roots and rocks, I am finding plenty of wood chips still. I even found large chunks of manure that I didn’t break up when I added them before that didn’t break down. I am smashing any chunks in the new manure that I am adding in to the soil in the garden to make sure they break down.

          1. Hi Brandy,

            This also further explains to me why you won’t have pools of water. trapped underground — you’re using carefully determined amounts of water for your drip irrigation and the climate means you jst don’t get a lof of rain (in fact, hardly any!).

            1. Yes, it’s really, really, really dry here. We usually get a few hours of rain on a day in mid-July, but last year that did not happen. We went 240 days without rain, and then when the rain finally fell, near the end of 2020, it was only .03 inches–less than a millimeter of rain!

              On a positive note, no rain this month has made it very easy to work in the garden.I know it’s not a good sign, though, since this is when we normally get the bulk of any rain that we are going to receive.

          2. Brandy, I apologize if it seemed I was insulted, or if I was too succinct; I was not insulted. I just thought, knowing how bad your conditions are, you might try an experiment or two to see what might happen with a different approach. I also found this hugelkultur article by a woman in Nevada
            and this on permaculture in the high desert
            and this video on growing tomatoes and other fruit trees in Las Vegas. Maybe there’s some info that might be valuable.
            It’s unfortunate that real soil isn’t available for you. I really do sympathize.

            1. We’re actually low desert here, for which I’m very thankful. High desert gets our extremely hot summers but then also gets much colder winters, so winter gardening is very difficult there without a greenhouse. I believe citrus cannot tolerate high desert at all because it gets below freezing, and I know snow can fall in the high desert.

              I’ve been gardening in Las Vegas for 20 years and I took just about every local class that was offered to master gardeners here my first year here. I gardened at my last house here in town as well as this house. With this redesign of the garden, I’m putting together the best of my knowledge and experiences to grow the things that work best here for me. I have left room for a little experimentation for some things that I have heard grow well here from some of the teachers and classes (for example, this year I am going to finally try peanuts). I have also chosen a few new varieties of flowers, but for the most part, everything I am planning for the new garden is something that has proven to work well for me.

              I don’t know where one would even get trees here, other than pines or palm trees, which are all brought in. Even cactus don’t grow out in the desert here except closer to the mountains. Since I’m planting trees, I need a wide growing hole. My 30 fruit trees have done well in the past, so we are making new beds so that we can add 10 more. Dug beds are the style that I’m wanting as well. This will be a formal style garden like my front yard.

  56. We set our goals for 2021 this week. I find that we are more successful if we sit down and write out some goals rather than resolutions. Several of them were finance related.

    We signed up for a target red card that links to our debit card (so no credit card to be charged interest on). We buy all our diapers from target, as we feel it’s the best bang for our buck. The red card will give us free shipping, a 5% discount, and various rewards – making them an even better deal.

    I signed up for a free training that will count towards the hours I have to get to maintain my state license. Free ones are hard to find, so I was very happy about this.

    I stayed on budget for groceries this week. I always go over in this category, so I decided to break it down by week to help me keep a better eye on it.

    My parents and my husbands parents both gave our son money for Christmas that went right into his savings account.

    I scanned receipts into Fetchrewards and earning over 1,000 points. I find that I get more points with Fetchrewards than Ibotta. I’ve never tried swag bucks though.

    I took back a sweater I got for Christmas that I knew I would never wear. I didn’t really need more clothes, so I got a cash refund instead. I put it in savings.

  57. We cooked and ate almost all meals at home. Our Christmas ham turned into multiple leftover meals: ham & scalloped potatoes, ham sandwiches, and more. I froze what was left for later use. This morning I made ham & cheddar breakfast scones, and we will use the ham bone this weekend for a pot of pinto beans with cornbread. I cooked a package of 3 large chicken breasts in my slow cooker. I had bought them on markdown a while back and had them in the freezer. They were pre-seasoned at the store, and I added a few additional seasonings. Each breast was about 1 lb (they were huge!) so it made 3 dinners for us with enough leftovers for multiple lunches: shredded chicken tacos, burrito bowls, chicken enchiladas, and a large pan of chicken spaghetti that was a big hit. We both took our lunches and snacks to work as much as possible, and we always make our own coffee at home in the mornings. I am still working from home 3 days per week and so I eat at home those days, and am able to use that time to stay caught up on household chores, laundry, etc. As a bonus it also saves on my gas.

    We both had to work on New Year’s Eve Day. It was a very rainy and cold day and evening, but we didn’t have big plans anyway other than dinner at home. We made steaks, shrimp cocktail, potatoes au gratin, asparagus, and chocolate lava cakes for dessert, and watched a movie. Not the most frugal dinner, but certainly less expensive than going out, and we stayed safe and dry at home.

    Our weather here has been mild, as usual. We have not been running the heat, and have even had the windows open on many days. We almost never have to run the heat unless it is below freezing outside. This weekend they are predicting colder temperatures with rain and snow, which I am very excited about as we have not seen snow here in quite a long time.

    We sold some items out of our storage that we no longer needed.

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