I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Google Play Gift card. I’ll give this to my 15-year-old son as a Christmas gift.

I cut flowers from my garden to give as a birthday gift to my mom.

My husband emptied the filter on our washing machine. We’ve found it easily gets clogged about every six months and stops draining properly. We had to pay for a service call for this about 10 years ago and now know what needs to be done. It requires taking the front of the washing machine apart with the star-shaped screwdriver to get to the filter. First, the washer has to be lifted up. It’s a difficult task physically but so important to do. This was the worst clog I’ve ever seen and I’m glad the washer can work properly again.

I dug more daffodils from the garden. I will divide them when I replant them in the garden in their new places.

I sowed seeds in the garden for green onions and Swiss chard from seeds that I had previously collected in my garden. I’ve already had pill bugs eating my seedlings within days of coming up, so I’ve been smashing all that I see and covering my seedlings with glass jars to slow them down (they tunnel through dirt, so I’ve had them eat plants under jars before, but it seems to slow them from the seedlings most of the time).

I listened to music on YouTube and Pandora. I like YouTube for when I’m feeling nostalgic about a particular song that I haven’t heard in years.

I watched some free photography business classes online.

I picked up a library book that my daughter had requested and while I was there to pick it up, I picked up a few magazines for myself.

The temperature finally dropped on Monday out of the 90’s, so I was able to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows. We may still need to use the ceiling fans in the days to come, but by opening the windows in the mornings and the evenings, I will be able to keep that usage down to a very small window of time.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. -The most important thing I did to save money this week was set a very small budget for the month’s groceries, and develop meal plans that made the very best possible use of what I already had. Once I got to the store, I had to be a little creative, since the size of flour package I wanted wasn’t available at the advertised sale price and there were no chicken breasts on the bone, and no substitutes at anything like the sale prices. I bought a smaller package of flour, and left without chicken and rice, which I wanted to serve with the chicken. This week’s flyer has whole chickens in two-packs at a better price than what the chicken breasts were advertised for, so I will get this chicken instead.

    -Before the month started, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get enough food to last the month. I have good supplies of some things but not others. Sale prices on lean ground pork, pasta and pasta sauce, both russet and red potatoes, and now this chicken will give me ample supplies well past the end of the month, though, so that worry is over. There are also some of my favorite meals in the meal plans.

    -I usually bake occasionally rather than regularly. This month, I plan to bake each week though, to have something new on my shelves throughout the month.

    -November is one of my least favorite months of the year. I always thought it was because of the colder weather and grey landscape before the steady snows come. This year I realize that it is because when I worked, and before that when I went to school, there was always a very heavy workload, combined with getting ready for the holidays. With those pressures off now that I have retired, I am finding I am quite enjoying the idea of getting lots of small projects done this month as I get ready for winter and start to settle in for a quiet season.

    1. If you are in the United States and are 60 and older and need assistance getting or preparing meals, check with your local Meals on Wheels. They have different rules in different areas, but ours will deliver lunches and some breakfasts to homebound seniors (and perhaps to disabled younger people) suggesting but not requiring a $3/day contribution. Income and assets are not considered.

      1. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m in Canada, and Meals on Wheels is $7 firm per meal in my area. I have a modest but steady pension income, and I am usually able to stock up enough that I can cover my meals if the weather is bad or if I have an especially challenging month with other bills. If I really ran out, I would go to the local food pantry. The pantry will bring food to people who are housebound, but I am not in that situation. It is only a couple of blocks away. In any case, things are covered now. Sometimes worrying leads me to good planning.

    2. Elizabeth I love your thought about November. I’m going to remember it and enjoy working on small projects as well. Thank you.

    3. Are you able to get a rain check for items advertised but not in stock…. so you can purchase when stock is in?
      In Australia we can usually.
      Great that you were able to purchase chicken at a better price x

      1. On packaged items, yes. On produce and meat, not usually, if it is an availability issue. For the chicken, I think they would have restocked the case later that day, or later in the week, but I didn’t plan to go back. I think the butcher was just a little behind the customers. Since I did have other options at home, and plenty of time left in the month to look for other options in the store, I didn’t ask them that day. If I had gone back Saturday afternoon before the flyer changes over, I think all the other chicken pieces might have been marked down as well.

        That particular store has been really good about it sometimes. When ground chicken was on sale at $1.00 a lb, and they hadn’t ordered in that brand, they re-priced another brand and sold me all they had in stock. Sometimes not helpful, though.

  2. Last weekend we went to another bulk food place. I think its actually the warehouse where my other bulk foods places get their stuff. We bought at least a months worth of meats and frozen veggies CHEAP. Its probably even 2 or 3 months worth. I wont know for sure untill the freezer is empty again. One thing that I have been working on for the past few years is credit card debt. This past Friday, I made a payment on the last one that worried me. We have 9 car payments left and the one credit card that I put the gutters on. Its no interest until February 2023, as long as I pay the minimum amount. There is no chance of it skyrocketing like buzz light year…….both of those bills will be paid off asap because now I have a whole lot of income freed up. I convinced my huband to wait and see whats happening with the economy before we have the inground pool built. If I can hold him off long enough, we should have money saved up for it and not have to take a loan. I cashed in for a $50 target gift card through fetch, that will go towards some Christmas gifts. I did the Walgreens softsoap body wash deal using 50,000 points per order. I did about 8 orders. Once an order shipped and I got my points back, I placed another order. I had one order of 14 bodywashes shipped to my step daughter in MD. I saved big on the cost of shipping. (each order had free shipping). Using coupons and points, each order $5 or less. My husband had bought a case of “killer daves hot pickles” Theyre bread and butter pickles with ghost pepper pieces and cayenne peppers in the jar. Ive been slicing up an onion and putting it in the empty pickle juice and it makes spicy onions. I had bought 2 30;lb boxes of frozen strawberries…..my husband helped me bag them into gallon ziploc bags. I gave 2 bags to the neighbor, and Ive been having oatmeal with strawberries for breakfast. I cant think of what else I did to save money because its second nature.

  3. Hurricane Zeta uprooted my neighbor’s large tree and it crashed on my roof. Not frugal. I am dealing with that. Tree service managed to get it off my roof but roof damaged. My coworker’s dad completely lost his business to a fire when transformer blew out during the hurricane and sparked. A neighbor two streets over from me had her house burn to ground during hurricane thanks to electrical short during hurricane. Power out for days in town. So much damage everywhere. Not much frugalness going on here. I am happy to be alive. It was a large tree.

    1. We are so happy you are alive, too, Cindy! That sounds scary. I’ve never been in a hurricane, and I don’t want to be, with all I hear about them! Hang in there. I will pray for you.

    2. Cindy, I’m so glad you survived the hurricane. I hope all will go as well as possible with getting your roof repaired, and that you will soon be able to feel peace after such traumatic events.

    3. Cindy, Living in South Florida I understand the devastation of hurricanes. I also, know how heavy the loss and subsequent clean up are on the spirit. Sending you much love during this time.

    4. I am so glad you got through Zeta safely, though it must have been very frightening to have the roof damaged with such a large falling tree.

    5. So glad to hear that you are safe – but so sorry for all the damage and upset. The US south has certainly been extra hard hit by all the hurricanes this year. I hope that you are able to get the damage repaired soon.

    6. Oh my goodness, Cindy! I am glad you are alive too! Prayers for you and your community. Tough autumn down there!

    7. Cindy, I’m so sorry to hear of the damages done by Zeta, but so happy you are alive and well to report it! Take a dee[ breath and look around, it could have been much more costly. My prayers for all in LA, for a swift and fair resolve of this damage.

    8. North Florida here. I’ll be praying for you – the destruction and the emotional devastation are so difficult to deal with after a hurricane! I’m glad you weren’t hurt, and hope that repairs can be made quickly.

    9. Update: Thank y’all so very much for your prayers. I am in South Alabama. Hurricane hit Louisiana, then crossed and hit Mississippi coast then headed our way. It was still Hurricane One status when the eye crossed near here. We all thought it would have just been a large tropical storm when it hit here because it was hitting Louisiana and Mississippi first. We were fooled. Never underestimate a hurricane, tornado, etc. Folks still without power. Friend’s cousin killed when tree fell in him while in his home. I feel very fortunate. Many of my friends still without power and water. There was a boil water warning in effect. Hopefully most will have utilities by Tuesday (tomorrow.) Internet down for lots of folks but I, obviously, have it. Thanks again everyone. On a frugal note, I haven’t ordered anything from Walmart.com nor been to a store…..lol

      1. Cindy, I am glad you were not hurt and I am sorry for the damage. I am in southern middle Tennessee, 30 miles from the Alabama border and she blew my rocking chair off of my front porch and smashed it! She had a temper. Do be careful and take care during the cleanup.

    10. So glad you are safe. I will be so happy to see the end of hurricane season. We had 2 days of rain from Zeta and luckily only minor flooding and very little damage as winds lessened by the time it reached the Jersey Shore. Hopefully your roof will be repaired quickly. Prayers for your continued safety.

    11. Oh Cindy! How frightening! I’m sorry about all the destruction in your area but so glad you are okay. I pray insurance will cover repairing your roof and that it can be done soon!

  4. This week started with our monthly direct deposit of our SS checks. I did my usual zero-ing out the excess left in our checking account when they came in and was able to make 5 extra mortgage principal payments which, after Nov 1st regular payment brings our balance remaining to $13.7K!! The remainder of the excess paid for 2 of the 5 windows we have on order! Paying mortgage off on or before Spring is looking like a reality now and we may do it in January if things go as planned!!

    I machine quilted this client’s quilt this week! I love the Gift Box pattern she used. It was fun to add the quilting to it. https://pin.it/3drCCpU. I have another quilt on my machine right now that I will have finished on Tuesday. I’ve decided to keep our machine quilting pricing at the 1-1/2 cents per square inch until further notice while the economy is so volatile. Hopefully, this will help keep our business stay steady.

    I saw that Meijers was having a Friday/Saturday sale on their raspberries, blackberries and strawberries for 88 cents a carton! While the raspberries and blackberries were 6-8 oz each (still a great price!), the strawberries were full 1 pound cartons!! While I didn’t need any- my freezer has an abundance and my shelves are filled with jars of dehydrated berries already, I passed the word along! One of my daughters went over and bought 2 flats of the strawberries. Another one bought 2 flats of each to portion up in freezer bags for smoothies! I’m pleased that they are seeing the wisdom in stocking up when things are on sale!

    In cleaning my fridge I found an open bag of baby carrots WAY in the back. Because the bag had been opened, the carrots had lost the bright orange color and looked pale. Still firm, but dry to the touch. I also found a couple wrinkly apples! 😱 So, with the magic of technology to quickly sort through recipes, I found this Morning Glory Muffin recipe and made a double batch (40 in all)of these! So yummy and so good to use up bits of this and that! I didn’t even peel the apples! Just cored them and chopped up in food processor. Same with carrots! Here’s the recipe: https://pin.it/3CT9uZC and here is a photo of how mine looked: https://pin.it/4LjGRTg. They were a big hit and I froze half of them for the future.
    I got out the ingredients for IP spaghetti (which we put on the Tried and True IP recipe Pinterest board that we share with our daughters). I opened iPad to the recipe and instructed Hubs and son to make it while I quilted upstairs. I thought that it would be good for both of them to expand their meal prep self sufficiency some more. Plus, it gave me more quilting time! 😉 However, my quilting time was interrupted by a few texts from them downstairs in the kitchen. But, they got it done without my coming downstairs! They were proud of their efforts! Spaghetti was delicious and I think I may start adding 1 meal each week for them to prepare for us! In case you’re interested, here’s the recipe: https://pin.it/7kvmG6N. I also keep pre-cooked ground beef in 1 pound portions in freezer, so they were able to skip that step.

    I rearranged and reorganized my basement pantry shelves and found that I now have 51 pints of chicken chunks, 42 pints of beef chunks and 30 pints of pork chunks that I’ve canned. That means we could use those canned meats in meals at least twice a week for a year! I have pints of home canned chili too although I don’t think I have more than 18 of those so in the next week or two, I think I’ll can up some more to make more freezer space as I use ground beef,chopped peppers and chopped onions from there. I love seeing empty jars every week coming out of the dishwasher and being taken back down to basement to await their next canning job! We certainly do eat what we store! It has been a part of our regular routine for over 40 years! It helps our budget and is a timesaver when I don’t have to run to the store to buy something I’m out of!
    We received our free energy saving kit from electric company- 12 (60 watt)LED lightbulbs, 3 LED night lights, 54 foot of weather stripping, 36 outlet covers, 3 high energy shower heads and 6 sink aerators! Those can save energy and $$.

    This week the weather will be up in the 60’s, so we are working outside as much as possible. My 116 blackberry cuttings look so healthy that I am going to hopefully double that number Tuesday and Wednesday! Going to do some winterizing on our chicken coop this week too by covering the lower 4 foot around coop with heavy black plastic or plexiglass frames if we can find an inexpensive plexiglass source.

    Fall has definitely come and we have no doubt that winter will be close behind, so we are trying to button up all the areas of our day to day spending and venturing out. Hopefully,it will pay off in continued good health, financial stability and creative ways to serve others. Hope you are able to weather the upcoming season and find joy!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. I think it is a great idea for your husband and son to cook some meals regularly. It’s not so puzzling if you have someone to work it out with. When my dad retired, my parents switched household responsibilities for two years. My dad learned to cook and do housework, and my mom took over the household finances. They did it so that if one of them got sick, the other would be able to be independent. It stood them in good stead when my mom developed dementia years later. My dad was able to look after her at home, which he wouldn’t ever have been able to do before he learned how to cook and clean. I should say that when the two years was up, they switched back to their original chores right away. My mom had given my dad an allowance, which he really didn’t care for, since he couldn’t buy as many books as he liked! The Tried and True recipes are a great idea too.

      1. Husband son really enjoyed doing it and I’m pleased that they are getting familiar with the Instant Pot! So it’s a Win-Win! Not trying to be pessimistic, but I really think it’s wise to have us all capable of making meals for the 3 of us!

      2. Elizabeth M.- what a great idea for your parents! Hubs is retired now and son (30) who lives with us has Aspbergers and has a modest job at the zoo. Hubs was excited to learn more of the cooking and I thought if I teamed them up, then son could learn some more cooking without feeling “singled out”! For him, independence skills are vital!
        I think Thursday or Friday this week, when son has days off work, I will announce another “Men in the kitchen” night!! Better to do it while I’m just upstairs if they have questions than to have them unequipped should a real emergency happen!

  5. I cooked more interesting food this week, using my food storage. I grabbed some old magazines and found a few recipes that I could make and set them out in a pile and worked my way through them. During the time of year when I spend so much time gardening and preserving I tend to make large batches of things like soup and we eat them frequently. It was nice to add in some variety. Although one of the recipes wasn’t our favorite, others were more tasty to us. It does me no good to go to all that work of laying in a good supply of staple cooking items, canning and freezing my garden and doing fall/winter gardening if we don’t eat it:)

    I sewed on my current project…clothing items for my daughter. I’ve posted pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. I’ve got a pair of pajamas in progress right now, so that’s the next bit of the larger project.

    I worked outside in the yard and garden again. I removed some bushes that frosted. It’s been very dry here so my husband tilled the empty part of the garden again. I actually had to water the winter veggies with a watering can–the sprinklers have long since been returned to the shed for winter. The extra tilling will help keep the weeds down a little in the spring and kill more weed seeds that may have sprouted since he tilled last. I picked cabbage, broccoli and cilantro from the fall/winter section of the garden. My husband transplanted several small lettuce plants into a growing box in our simple, unheated greenhouse. He is experimenting to see if some will grow in there. He used both Buttercrunch and the Yukon Blend seeds. He also pulled in the geraniums and put the pots inside the greenhouse. They overwintered fine last year.

    We let Jake, our nephew, spend the night on Saturday. No one went Trick-or-Treating, and we closed the curtains so no one would come to our house. Instead, we let him and Patsy eat candy and I made home-made pizza, salad and green beans for us. Jake’s dad fed him some “Jake-food” before he came..he’s very limited in what he will eat. I tried an experiment of some garlic-parmesan bread knots, but they didn’t work well…..but it was fun to try. The recipe didn’t translate to gluten-free very well. The kids worked on puzzles and played the Wii. Simple, but fun. Patsy has a huge stack of puzzles Rob picked up at the thrift store or garage sales in the past, and she’s been working on them quite a bit these days. I love to go into the garage where she has one laid out and see if I can get a few pieces in. It relaxes us both. Jake seems to like them, and gets some pieces in at times, as well.

    1. Hairy Vetch is a great frugal option to plant in your garden in the fall as a cover crop. I planted it last year. It prevents weeds as it adds nitrogen to the soil. When ready to plant vegetables, chop off at the soil level and add a layer of dirt/compost and plant seedlings, etc. Best tomatoes I’ve had in years. Bought 800 seeds on Amazon for about $8. Just planted it again after I pulled out my garden.

  6. I think that Sluggo Plus will deter pill bugs. There are 2 types of sluggo-regular and plus. The plus has been so helpful to me in keeping seedlings from being eaten
    The plus is more expensive, but it only needs a few grains of it per seed. Most people apply far too much.

    1. I was going to say this also — I had a big infestation of pill bugs last spring — they were eating everything. The Sluggo Plus did a good job of stopping them in their tracks. I ordered mine off Amazon.

    2. Diatomaceous earth is what I use for pill bugs and it really does work! It’s an organic way to get rid of them.

  7. We are committed to stay within our grocery budget this month by carefully keeping track of what we are spending. When it’s gone, no more buying. I did some bulk cooking for the week ahead. I made a large pot of split pea soup, bone-in chicken breasts, a couple of desserts, cut up vegetables for stir-fry, and meatballs that we will have with noodles and a cream sauce. Our garden is done until spring but I am still able to cut parsley to put in my meatballs.
    I stopped in the thrift store near work during lunch one day and found some books, a game that I played with my granddaughters, a coffee grinder that I have been looking for for about a year, a small serving dish, and and a fruit basket that I keep on the dining room table. If I keep fruit out it’s more likely to get eaten.

  8. We have had an interesting week of weather here in Georgia for sure with the remnants of Zeta coming through and wreaking havoc in our area. Several friends and colleagues were without power for a number of days while cleanup was underway. We were very fortunate to have no downed tress or limbs and I was very happy that we recently trimmed all of large tree branches that were getting close to our home – I am certain this helped us avoid having damage to our home in the high winds and heavy rainfall.
    I harvested mustard greens and parsley from the garden this week which were both divine. There is something eating my swiss chard and I cannot for the life of me determine what it is. I am happy that whatever it is is satisfied with the chard and has not invaded my cabbages, collard greens or mustard greens but am disappointed as I was looking forward to trying the chard in recipes this winter. I will purchase some diatomaceous earth to put around the plants to see if that helps at all. This costs very little and will help all of the garden veggies not just the chard.
    I made a large pot of taco soup this week using some ground beef from our freezer that needed to be used as well as leftover corn and dried black beans and kidney beans from our storage. Home canned diced tomatoes were added to the soup and it was a hearty, warm and filling meal we all enjoyed this week for several lunches and dinners.
    I made a large batch of Brandy’s garlic chicken rice, a pot of pinto beans and a large pot of mustard greens. We enjoyed homemade peach pie from peaches that I prepped and froze in the summer when they were plentiful and cheap. I must say, prepping in season produce for freezing and canning is work but I think the veggies and fruit taste even better in the fall and winter when you are using something that tastes like it was just picked and it is 45 degrees out!
    I used a remaining can of pumpkin before its expiration date along with the last of some buttermilk that needed using to make a pumpkin cake for us to enjoy during the week.
    I am determined to clean out a small area in my garden with carrots, broccoli, arugula and cauliflower. The seedlings are finally big enough that I can weed it without sacrificing the plants I hope. Heavy rains moved my seeds so I will have to transplant them into rows if possible and am really hoping that they make it.
    I was delighted to see that our water bill dropped another $25 this month and I expect a bit more of a drop for next month – with all of the rain we have had we have not had to water at all except when new seeds are sown and I have been to busy to really plant much at all. I was also able to get my winter pansies planted in the front and back beds. These will flower into April if the temperatures are not too hot and provide great color and bed coverage all through the winter.
    We have finally begun to see steady fall temperatures and I have had my AC off since Friday. I am excited to be able to keep it off and see an additional drop in our power bill. We have a wood burning fireplace and will warm the house with it during this shoulder season to avoid turning on the heat as long as we can.
    I continue to turn off lights, run full laundry loads and dishwasher loads and be mindful of our usage throughout our home.
    We have finished Christmas shopping for our son save some warm pajamas which I hope to find in the next few weeks – these have been hard to source. I will begin to work on gifts for others aside from the goodies such as jam and apple butter that I already have made.. Holiday cookies and fudge are always gifted from our home as well an if I get very brave I may begin sewing a quilt. I have never been a person that can sew but I may try to learn as I have a lovely neighbor that it is an avid quilter, willing to teach and a sewing machine in my garage collecting dust. this is chance to put what I have to good use regardless of my poor skill – prayers please 🙂

    I hope that everyone has a safe and peaceful week ahead. Let’s seize the opportunity to love on our families and all of those around us this week – always, but especially this week. God bless you all!

  9. You are early today, Brandy! (And with a double post, wow!). I’m glad for this because I have to take the dog to the vet this morning and then pick up the voting booths, ballot box and supply box and drive them to the small town where I am the chief elections judge. The polls will be open from 8 to 8 tomorrow and we will be working from about 7 to 8:30. I hope everyone here votes tomorrow!

    This was my week–
    * A friend gave me a white Thanksgiving cactus that usually re-blooms around Easter. It’s budded already! (I told her to keep it until after it blooms, but she didn’t).

    * I bought 9 lbs. of 80/20 ground beef for $1.99 lb. and a big package of petite (bottom) sirloin for beef cubes for $2.88 lb. I also got 3 lbs. of butter for $1.99…an unadvertised special. I divided the meat into smaller packages and froze everything (butter, too).

    * Several years ago, a group I’m with built a Little Free Library. The guy that built it used spar varnish on the molding around the window on the door. This week I noticed that the varnish was flaking off and the oak frame was starting to look bad. A friend took down the door and I painted it with 3 coats of leftover exterior paint. Cost: $0.

    * I am not good about rearranging the furniture, etc. Last week I got an idea and moved around some pictures. I won’t lie and say it’s like having all new stuff, but I like it better, and I got rid of a few things that were just taking up space.

    * We had a friend look at a propane garage heater that wasn’t working. (My husband is not mechanical and has a healthy respect for gas). Our friend got it going in 10-15 minutes of fiddling (no parts). Mike was going to replace it for $80.

  10. My natural gas bill was really low (35.00) which is always a bonus this time of year in the Pacific NW- no heat/no AC almost the entire month. I have been tracking my grocery spending for 2 months now on my blog, and it’s SO eye opening for me. It’s also challenging me to plan even better- I always meal plan, but can become fatigued/lazy at times with it and not follow through which ends up costing me. I found my son a great pair of lined work pants and work boots at Costco (he wears men’s shoe size 11 and size 32×32 pants), which he has already used multiple times for the odd farm jobs he gets. I cut hair for 2 of my boys. I planted bulbs, cleaned up the yard, and completely cleaned out my closet, taking a ton of stuff to the thrift store. I now know what I have and I can wear everything in my closet! My oldest turned off all the water- no watering outside here until next summer. Brandy, I bet you cannot imagine that.

    1. Even cactus have to be watered once a week here in the winter! They’re predicting a dry winter in the west. We’ve only received 2 inches of rain this year and haven’t had rain since April. Normally we get 4 inches a year. There are clouds today in the sky, which is kind of a rare treat here. They’re rain clouds, too, but it won’t fall on us.

  11. I also redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card. This time, I chose one for Lowes, for an upcoming project we have planned. I enjoy listening to music on Pandora too, and looking up specific songs I’d like to hear on Youtube. We had a frost expected last night, and picked all the summer garden, lots of peppers, tromboncino, a few eggplant, figs and cherry tomatoes. Basil and dill were harvested, and chickweed for salads too. We also dug three lingering potato plants. I went through all the peanuts that had been drying, put all the good ones in jars, end ended up with 5 1/2 gallons of unshelled peanuts. We brought in the sweet potatoes, which had also been drying, and finished filling our winter storage shelves. My computer has been acting up for months, so I decided to buy a new tower, using $35 in rewards, and getting 2% back through Swagbucks. My husband and I were signed up for an online class Friday through Sunday, and I wanted to be sure I could participate without challenge. I found avocados 2/$1 at Food Lion, and pomegranates for $1.19 at Aldi’s. Several trays of figs were dried. Lemon balm was harvested, and a jar of tincture started. Yogurt was made, and hummus for lunches. Laundry was hung on the line. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/11/anticipating-frost-frugal.html

  12. Hello, Everyone!
    The best frugal thing I do each week, hands down, is read this blog! It helps me with motivation.
    I was able to get a treat at Culver’s this week with a $10 gift card a friend gave me. I loaned her daughter an acrylic ruler (used in rotary cutting) back in March. She went off on a mission and her mom found it in her room and was embarrassed her daughter kept it so long, so returned it with the gift card. Totally unnecessary, but I enjoyed the treat.
    Did my usual meal planning and grocery pick up today (Monday). Many things were substitutions or out completely. Hope this isn’t how it’s going to be this winter. Thankfully, I’m good at switching around and making do.
    Had a nightmare a couple nights ago that my husband lost his job…which is weird because his job is very secure. I still couldn’t shake the angst from the dream, so I cooked up a bunch of beans in the crock pot and made beans and rice for dinner. Froze the extra beans for future meals. I’ve discovered I prefer beans cooked in the crock pot rather than the Instant Pot, when I have time. The Instant Pot is quicker but the beans end up almost too cooked for my liking…mushy. So, when I have foresight, I stick the dry beans in the crock pot with double the water and cook them on high for four hours and they are perfecto!
    Our little sweet Clementine had a Grannypapa (one word to her) sleepover last Friday. Her mama is about to have a new baby and needed to sleep in. It was such a fun night. We let her pick the menu: chicken nuggets of course! She just watched her first movie, Frozen 2, last week, so we sat and watched that and had a little ice cream. She had fun having all of our attention and we enjoyed doting on our little piece of heaven. No money spent and a perfect evening. She needed a new winter hat (we are in MN) so Mama bought some yarn and I knit that up quick while she was here.
    I might have mentioned last week that I’m making Christmas themed masks for my friends this year. I started cutting them out. I have the fabric and the elastic in my stash but noticed I was low on red thread. I am high risk and don’t go in stores, so I ordered some red thread for curbside pick up from Joann’s. There was a good sale and I didn’t have to pay for shipping.
    One thing I have done for years and years is to have a designated soup bag in the freezer. Whenever we have leftover veggies, rice, meat, etc., we put it in the soup bag. When it’s full, I put it in a kettle of water and add some boullion. I mean if there is one broccoli floret or a tablespoon of something we put it in there. When I see what we have, if it seems a little light on the veggies, I’ll add a can of green beans or mixed veggies. Funny enough, it always turns out even though it is such a gamble every time! This weeks had a little broccoli, a little corn, a few small pieces of ham, taco meat and breakfast sausage leftover and even one tablespoon of leftover pizza sauce! LOL I usually add something to thicken it like a little rice or macaroni. This time it was macaroni. (My husband doesn’t like thin soups). And, it turned out delicious! This never fails to amaze me! It takes a few weeks to gather enough bits and pieces to make this, so we have it about once a month in the fall and winter months and all it cost is the cost of a can of green beans and a little boullion. Our almost free meal.
    I hope everyone fares well this week. I really enjoy this community so very much.

    1. Becky-I loved reading your comment! I agree. Reading Brandy’s posts (and all of the comments here) is the best frugal thing I do! I like making beans in my crockpot also. I made great northern this week. I used to also keep a freezer bag for leftovers for “free soup.” Sometimes I even ended up serving the end of that soup over flat egg noodles so nothing was wasted. My hubby and I are living in a tiny house right now due to a house fire so I am limited in freezer space but I used to just love making free soup and your comment made me smile!

      Love to read so many ideas and seeing such positive encouragement here!

    2. Becky H., God sometimes tries to speak to us in dreams but we have difficulty understanding what he is saying. I think my son Dustin has the gift of dream interpretation. If you would like to contact me by email (Jmorrrris9@gmail.com) and share your dream with him, he might get an interpretation. No guarantees of course. He will tell you what he hears and it will be up to you to determine if it is valid. Sometimes it is just your sub-conscience trying to make sense of a situation or it is a pizza dream (too much rich food right before bedtime). Having angst over a dream or having one repeatedly is an important sign.

  13. We had an ice last week. No school for the kids. So many lost power for most of the week. We were blessed and didn’t lose power.
    I saved money by using the food we had in the freezer and pantry for meals. Shared hot meals with my parents.

  14. This month was tough. I’ve spent no money in this week because I only had $2.30 left for the rest of the month. *laughing* All bills paid and all food bought for the month.
    Sometimes things are just a little harder than they should be. *smile*
    At least I had the money for all we needed…if not for all we wanted.

    1. Becky, I admire your attitude so much. Attitude is what makes us feel frugal and not deprived. I hope things easy up for you soon!

    2. I’m sorry the month was tough. I’m proud of you for making it with a good attitude:). That encourages us all.
      Boy, I’ll bet you loved seeing that calendar change to Nov. 1! Whoo-hoo! November is going to be our “pinchy month” around here. We have property taxes and another large bill to pay. It’s also the month where we normally buy things like turkeys and hams on really good sales. I have some money on my Bottle Drop account that I’ve been hoarding to buy some of those, I hope. IF they even come on sale as usual. Time will tell!

    3. Becky I am impressed with what you did accomplish
      It’s been awhile since my checking account has been down that low BUT the memory is still very clear

      1. Pam, a daughter and her 2 teens moved home last December. It has been harder for both of us…money-wise.
        We were “lucky” that she has worked through the pandemic, but she lost all of her bonuses at work (she is a manager of a big store). I have had to do without her paying her part of the bills.
        It was a scary month.
        Thank goodness she just got a bonus and gave it all to me.

    4. You go, girl! Years from now, you may remember last week with fond memories. I had $4 and change (including pop bottles) one week when my kids were little, some food but not much of a pantry (and grocery stores didn’t take CCs then), and I still remember having a tiny bit of money left on payday. I was proud of myself then, and 40 years later, I still am!

  15. I was able to work about 20 hours last week at my part-time job. We are able to put the money I make into our HSA account for medical expenses and it also helps cut our tax bill. while at one of the schools, the workers in the cafeteria offered me some free food–part of the food they give to students–that was surplus for the day. I got a container of cherry tomatoes and 8 very ripe bananas, which I gladly took and put into the freezer
    I made wheat bread, applesauce, and cooked vegan meals at home,.
    I worked on knitting and crochet projects using the stash of materials I have on hand and now have another baby afghan and some dishcloths to donate.
    I knitted six squares for a blanket that will be given to a friend who is going in for cancer surgery. Other knitter friends have contributed squares as well.
    Not frugal in terms of gas, but my husband and I were about three hours from the Grand Canyon so we decided to go there. We were planning to buy a lifetime pass, but the employee at the gate didn’t have the capability of doing that (I don’t know why), so he let us in for free, saving the $35 admission fee. We enjoyed the views and taking photos and the beauty of that magnificent place.
    My friend lent me some of her magazines about women and creativity and I’ve enjoyed reading from them and getting some ideas about increasing the creativity in my own life.
    May you each have a beautiful week!

  16. Thrifty action: We traveled to Ohio to visit one of our grandchildren & family in the country. Using a Southwest Companion Pass (free) and points (free) for husband’s ticket ,we brought our own homemade packets of oatmeal and nut mix for breakfast and snacks. The only expense was a rental car and gas under 100.00. It was worth every penny to see everyone again!!!

  17. Brandy, try using white vinegar in your rinse cycle to help with soap buildup that could be contributing to the clog. I use it because of excema issues with my family. White vinegar will strip out all soap/detergent residue.

    1. The clog was caused by a eyeglass cloth that was caught. I’ve had baby socks and nursing pads clog it before. It’s actually never been a soap issue; it’s always been an object or two. When we had the repairman the first time he told me most people have soap issues. He was shocked that mine was not. I have an HE washer and use just 2 Tbsp of my homemade laundry soap. We have hard water here, too. The borax helps cut the hard water.

        1. I try to, but sometimes things get lost, like this glasses cloth. I never use them; I must have missed it in a child’s pocket.

  18. October was an expensive month for groceries for us. I shop on Fridays, and there were five in October, plus I’ve added in a little stocking up. I already have a sale turkey bought for Thanksgiving, and I bought a second one just to cook sometime. My husband doesn’t like turkey, and will eat it at Thanksgiving only, so I always bought just one per year. It took me till now to realize that I like turkey, and I can cook and freeze turkey meat for my work lunches and my own breakfasts! I felt so silly when I realized I could have been doing that all along when turkey is on sale.

    I bought two more Christmas presents at the manufacturer’s site through Swagbucks, and will get $3+ back in SB. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps, and two more gifts are taken care of. I used my cash-back card, and will pay that back out of my Christmas savings account.

    My husband requested a mail-in ballot since getting in a voting place is hard for him on his scooter and he’s very vulnerable to Covid. I dropped it off at the supervisor’s office secure box and voted early in person myself while there, killing two birds with one stone. I pass right by the supervisor of election’s office on my way to town and needed to run errands in town anyway.

    My husband is getting a new, much-needed prescription, and I had the hometown, tiny VA clinic order it through the larger VA clinic in the town where I work, for pick up. I got it in two days, instead of waiting 7 to 10 days for it to come in the mail, or driving to the VA hospital 90 miles away.

    I roasted a chicken this weekend and “spatchcocked” it – removing the backbone and flattening it – to reduce the oven time needed. I also used my convection feature to speed it up a bit. I roasted a lot of vegetables in the pan around it, making it a sheet pan meal, which saves time and energy. The backbone went into a bag of necks and backs in the freezer to make broth or chicken and dumplings later. I cook the bony pieces inside of a basket set down in the pot, so I can just lift the basket out of the broth. That way the broth doesn’t require straining.

    I wish for a happy and safe November to everyone.

  19. What a good feeling to get a washer working well again! I’m so glad the repair worked and was something you all were able to do. I always feel off-kilter when an appliance doesn’t work and so glad when that’s over.

    This week, we had two days of a hard freeze, 23 degrees, and cold following. Most of the garden’s mush, but the new greenhouse worked just fine to protect the arugula, swiss chard, and lettuce underneath. I used floating row covers over tomato cages to protect some lettuce I had in the herb garden, and it seemed to work fine. Today’s very windy, so it’s a good test of how well things are tied down. The floating row cover floated itself right off, and the cover on the greenhouse is billowing up like a hot air balloon but hasn’t actually come loose. I hear that people usually cover the edges of the greenhouse with a layer of soil to keep things sealed. When the wind dies down a bit, we’ll have to give that a try.

    We ate from the garden: arugula, swiss chard, baby kale, carrots, purple fingerling potatoes, lettuce, herbs. I cut some of the hydrangeas to dry in the house. We ate from the pantry this week except for milk and eggs. I tried to put all of our small leftovers into meals to make more room in the refrigerator, and made a batch of French toast (good way to use up stale bread). I tried putting the choices on a platter, arranged nicely, to make them feel fancy. Presentation does seem to make the difference!

    My husband ordered a big box of TSP, a strong cleaner than used to be in dishwasher powder. We add a teaspoon to each box of dishwasher powder and find that glasses especially get much, much cleaner.

    We had our first snow and were so blessed to be able to go through the boots, snowsuits, coats to outfit our kids without needing to shop. Though I try to streamline kids’ clothes, I find it worthwhile to accept and keep all of the winter outerwear that we buy or receive – it can be expensive! And boots that really fit are a good thing, so I’ll keep multiples per size if we have them.

    On asking my family what their favorite memories from past Thanksgivings and Christmases were, none of them mentioned presents. I assume they would probably notice if I skipped presents entirely, but what a nice thing to know that cookies by the tree or singing carols or lighting candles were the special things. I am trying to make time and money for favorite experiences and let the nonessentials go.

    My husband and I went on a drive for a date to sit by the ocean while our moms watched the older boys. I also had a lovely gab with a mom from our homeschool coop on zoom. Making special times is sure different right now, but it’s still lovely.

    Thank you, Brandy, for the beauty and the inspiration! Thanks to everyone for all the comments – I learn so much from you. Wishing you a good week.

  20. Beautiful picture of your home grown flowers! This blog is so important to me at this difficult time-Thankyou Brandy!

    I wish you all very well, especially this week, as it is such an important one in the USA. Love to you all-am thinking of you.

    Here in the UK, a new national lockdown has been announced for a month from this Thursday. Pretty strict restrictions -all non essential shops shut and no meeting between households in or outdoors. I will miss swimming the most, as gyms are shutting, but have bought some books from the charity shop to read. The difference is that schools/universities are remaining open. I went to the local shop for baking stuff but most baking goods/flour were sold out like last lockdown! But we do have toilet paper still available so far! Small joys!

    Frugal gains this week-

    Went to my favourite store with my mum and bought nothing! This is a huge achievement!

    Ate in all week. Cooking and baking for the week including roasted parsnips, soup, biscotti, coconut ice, rose creams, beef stew with cheese scones, chicken tikka masala, blackberry crumble. All delicious.

    Free entertainment included reading, sewing, swimming, country walks, Netflix movies. My WI group do free sessions online including exercise classes and interest sessions, these are so wonderful.

    I entered lots of competitions online -my last win was a years free cinema -but has been postponed due to covid unfortunately.

    I posted some sweeties through the letterboxes of the street’s children as trick or treating did not happen this year.

    I wrapped early xmas gifts from my present cupboard and gave them to some friends who I wasn’t sure I’d see again before xmas (thank goodness I did as with lockdown, I will not be allowed to see them now).

    I signed the Marcus Rashford petition to campaign to end child food poverty and provide free school meals over holidays for disadvantaged children and felt grumpy with our government -this is a political issue (any UK readers-please consider signing https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/554276/ ). I donated to the Trussell Trust and gave food tins to our local food bank.

    Sent prayers to all in my belle France with the extra difficulties they are having this week, with the terrorist incidents. It breaks my heart.

    Love and good wishes to you all! Please stay safe x

  21. We had a little extra money so decided to do a major stock up on food, paper and foil supplies, health supplies, toiletries and pet food. We’ve repurposed an old fridge and an old freezer for storage. This keeps anything that mice might like safe. (and yes, we have cats and they do catch the occasional mouse in the house but for some reason aren’t interested in ‘garage’ mice -lol). We also had a lot of plastic storage containers that we’ve emptied out over time and put some thing in there as well. If we calculated correctly we have (at least) six months of what we need – only need to go out for fresh milk and produce but have dried milk, shelf stable milk and canned and frozen produce if we need it.

    We both are really trying to not go out and about as we are seeing rising numbers here. I worked at one of the two local hospitals and know that even a bad flu season can overwhelm them both – as we are a regional center as well. I even bought a pulse oxomiter and a digital thermometer. We always wear masks and use sanitizer and wash our hands but unfortunately even with mandatory mask orders people still don’t comply and for some reason stores aren’t pushing compliance.

    I found a deal on bacon – $16.99 for 10 pounds. I expected it to be like Wright’s bacon ends but when I opened up the box it was in nice slices – not too thick or too thin. I put it in smaller packages. That is bacon for $1.69 a pound! I found some deals at King Sooper’s on Sunday. The ‘red bag produce section’ ($1.00 per bag) had a bag of three containers of yellow snacking tomatoes, a huge bag of vine ripe tomatoes and a huge bag of ‘just right’ avocados. The Halloween Candy was actually not picked over! I bought three bags of 100 snack size in each for $3.90 each! I am allergic to chocolate but SO see’s it as a necessity so we’ll put in smaller bags to pull out ‘when an emergency’ strikes. They had organic eggs for $1.25 each so I got two. We use these for weekend eggs – scrambled or fried or an omelet for me and the frozen eggs for baking. And wildest of all the local farm stand that gets the excess milk from a distributor had milk – 2 gallons for $1.00! I bought two and shared one with a friend who came over for a ‘distance’ visit. I was able to drop off our ballots at 24 hour drop box – saving stamps. Our state does almost all ballot by mail so have been well prepared for the large turnout.

    I had planned on picking up spaghetti dinners at a local church for our meal on Sunday – when our friend came over. She had a bout with her chronic bladder thing which means she shouldn’t eat things like tomatoes. So I made garlic pasta – just garlic, pepper and cheese. It is easy. Also saved $30.00! We are trying to support local restaurants and picking up take out meals when we do go into town. Oddly though we realized that our taste buds must have changed because we much prefer home cooked meals to those we’ve gotten.

    This is from a week or so ago – I stopped at a local thrift store and found hardback books for $1.00 each and paperback 4/$1.00. I found the newest Louise Penny! I picked up box full. I consider books a necessity and read down my supply during the spring and early summer. I have been considering a Kindle. I had a Nook but just couldn’t get into reading it so gave it to a friend. I researched and I don’t have to have a Kindle to read Kindle books. There are a lot of British mysteries that I like that are hard to find here – especially used. So I am going to try it out. I did splurge on one book – am actually putting it back for the holidays. I love the Shetland and Vera series on BritBox. I had found the first one of Ann Cleeves new series on sale and read it. Then found out that she has a new Vera so I bought it. I also have been going back and re-reading my Miss Read books. It is so comforting to me to return the Fairacre and Thrush Green when life seems a tad, or a lot, overwhelming. I also have some Rosamund Pilcher to reread – Winter Solstice for example.

    My friends in Spain are in total lockdown again – and the Spanish police mean business! John went out to do the shopping and was stopped and really questioned. He said he was so flustered that his Spanish became lost. Luckily one of the policeman spoke English and he was able to prove he could be out (he does all the shopping as Jean’s health is seriously compromised and can’t be out – so he has a doctor’s note…).

    Blessings to all!

    1. I read England, France, and Germany on BBC News but had not heard about Spain going back on lockdown.

      I haven’t reread my Rosamund Pilcher books for a while and was thinking about rereading them earlier this year. I never did have a moment, though.

      I have read a number of e-books from the library on my phone using the Libby and Overdrive apps. That might work for you!

  22. I made this Indian dish tonight if anyone is interested-it is very tasty!
    Frugal but not fun-yesterday I cancelled our planned trip to Maui for Jan-Hawaii is still not accepting Canadian pre Covid testing to avoid quarantine so I cancelled. I was able to get a credit with the airline and a full refund from airbnb-even though the terms and conditions indicated otherwise. It never hurts to ask nicely-especially at times like this. Hoping everyone has a good week.

  23. We went without income since March. I was very happy that we were cautious and made special savings in case if something like that happened. It was because I read this blog that the thought occurred to me at all. Thank you!
    This week my husband begun to work again in a new organization. We had to make an office space for him which sped up a renovation in one of our upstairs rooms. We will share this working space- I will sew there and he will be working from home there. So far we LOVE it! I do have to take the kids out when he speaks in a meeting, but I am out with the kids all day anyways.
    -We got a new printer- laser one, to help save on ink. We print a lot for homeschool already but now with the office stuff it doubled.
    -I was able to sew more masks for my parents in law who live in the city. I used what I had on hand and enjoyed my new space in the process.
    -We needed a new sofa section for our living room. We decided to use the antiques which my hubby inherited from his grandparents. They are very formal and look a bit stiff, but are comfy and we actually love the beautiful handcraft. Kids will only help speed up the inevitable re-upholstery project. I am flad that they are not rotting in storage just because they are ‘too nice’ for modern use.
    -My husband restored our dining table which was damaged in storage.
    – We noticed savings on heating after isolationg walls downstairs.
    – I knitted several hats/gloves/cowls for everyone with yarn from my mom in laws’s basement. Vests for kids are cast on now.
    – I knit a pair of baby boots for my cousin. She will have a baby in the end ofDecember, but with postal service interruptions and quarantined packages, I hope to send it tomorrow.
    Stay safe.

    1. I feel very humbled reading your comment, Kinga. I’m so happy you have been okay and that your husband started a new job. That is wonderful.

    2. Kinga,
      Congratulations on your wonderful achievement of making your resources work for the month without employment! I am very happy that your husband has work again and that your family is doing well. You have done a remarkable job under difficult circumstances. Your post is very inspirational.

    3. My husband signed up where you pay a monthly charge for ink. I’m sorry, I do not know the name of who he signed up with. It was like $2 a month and I got 200 copies and then it alerts them from the printer when ink is low and they automatically send new ink cartridges at no additional cost. There were different plans if you make more copies. If you use up your copies one month you can purchase additional copies for that month for a certain price. It was a great deal for us.

  24. I LOVE that picture of those pink/fushia flowers! Such a bright bit of color <3

    *I received a lovely gift from a neighbor. She has been quarantining and has gone crazy with her crochet. She brought me 6 sets of different sized hot pads. Each set included a 2 9×13 hot pads and 2 6×6 hot pads. I shared with my 2 oldest children who are living on their own, put one set in the camper and am not sure what to do with the others. They are beautiful and work perfectly.

    *My son's work closed down their summer work trailers and brought us a new to us office chair and 100 white round containers with lids. They are quart size. They are not food graded so I'm thinking about what I could use these for around the house. I'm thinking to decorate some to put gifts into for the upcoming Christmas season.

    *Two of my daughters decided to dress up for Halloween using things we already had at home. They watched YouTube videos to do fun makeup. One was a Scarecrow and the other a 1950s Zombie Housewife. We had very few trick or treaters. My youngest daughter came home with a gallon sized bag stuffed with candy. I tucked the candy away that I hadn't used back into my hiding place and will use it for Christmas treats. The family has been helping my youngest eat through some of her bag. I'm not a big fan of candy anymore and I am grateful it's not a temptation for me. Although I have a nice stash of Reeses peanut butter pumpkins tucked away for me. No one else likes them and I buy them for me at Halloween. I made Clam Chowder for dinner and only needed to buy FF 1/2 & 1/2 for the recipe. We still have leftovers. Made a paper bag broom tied with fake fall leaves. Filled it with Reese's peanut butter cups that were given to us as a gift and took them to 2 ladies in our neighborhood.

    *I exercised at home, by walking outdoors and riding my bike. The weather has been in the mid-60s here. I so enjoyed our Blue Moon on Halloween night and the beautiful display of stars. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous!

    *Made over leftovers into black bean & cheese quesadillas, mac & cheese and casseroles. I did have some food waste because I was a bit under the weather last week.

    *Earned a $25 gift card with Ibotta and $10 cash back from my grocery store. Saving the grocery cash back for when I buy my turkey this month. Tucked the gift card away to use at Christmas.

    *Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  25. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this week. I baked whole wheat sandwich bread and French bread, and made a batch of spice cookies. I made chicken broth with bones I’ve been saving in the freezer. I made homemade chicken noodle soup with half the broth and froze the rest in pint jars. I made an apple pie and 12 ½ pints of apple sauce with the apples we picked last week. We enjoyed lettuce, carrots, turnips, and Swiss chard from the greenhouse.
    I am drafting a pattern for a new dress and made a muslin of the bodice to insure that I get the fit right.
    I made some cloth gift bags for Christmas and I finished knitting a pair of socks to give as a gift. I also made another gift.
    My husband did the brakes in my car himself instead of paying someone else to do it.
    My husband went fishing one day and brought home his catch for dinner that evening. We put the excess in the freezer for another day.

  26. I haven’t posted since August but I read faithfully each week. My goal for the rest of 2020 is to post each week, you are my frugal accountability partners-you just don’t know it! I have taken the advice of so many here and spent the past weeks stocking our pantry and freezer. We froze more from our garden this year than ever before and next summer learning to can is on my list. To that end I got lucky and found a canning pot at the thrift store for $3.99. It is on a shelf in the basement for next season. My weight loss is ongoing and I am down over 30 pounds. This means I need new clothes. There is a consignment shop that has terrific sales and I have spent a little over $100 the past 6 weeks and I bought 2 winter coats, 2 pair of boots, 3 pair of pants, jeans, a belt, sneakers, exercise pants, shoes, 9 tops and a NWT purse. (the purse had nothing to do with weight loss I just really liked it!) Oddly enough, my feet went down a half size so the footwear was necessary. At the grocery store I found a variety of meat close to the sell by date with $2.00 off stickers so I brought home, repackaged using the vacuum sealer and froze. Our food waste is close to zero. If there is something leftover that we are tired of eating I portion it out and freeze for lunches. Previously I followed a plan where I planned meals and shopped each week for the items needed to make the meals. Since switching to purchasing pantry, fridge & freezer staples and then creating meals with what we have I have saved a few hundred dollars. We are aggressively paying down debt and will have another credit card paid off by the end of the year. Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, frugal week!

    1. Congratulations on your weight loss and debt payoffs!

      That is how I shop, too. It really saves so much!

  27. Again, not a bunch of savings. Seems we have way more going out right now.

    Repaired pair of the boys work pants

    Filled out receipt surveys for Einstein brothers bagels (3 free bagels with a purchase) and Popeyes (2 piece chicken and biscuit when you buy a large drink). Gave them to hubby so he can use them.

    Found a sale online on a Christmas present for the 13yo. Saved $30 over prices I seen in stores

    Hubby found 4 packs if the fancy light bulbs for our ceiling fan marked down to 2.50 a pack at home depot. He purchased the last 3

    Used frozen shredded chicken I gleaned off chicken carcasses in chicken pot pie.

    Returned some materials my husband ended up not using on a job.

  28. Your mums are lovely. After 2 days of rain – 2.65″ total – mine are sad looking. It also got colder with temps in the 50s and lows in 40s so our heat is on and enjoying our gas fireplace.

    I have reorganized all our bathrooms’ closets. A six-shelf closet near one of our hall bathrooms has become “health central” and stores all our beauty/health/wellness/first aid items in one area. This way, it’s easier to know what we have instead of the items being in different closets in other bathrooms. Everything is in baskets or clear plastic containers and can easily be accessed. Another bathroom closet (also six shelves) now stores all our toilet paper and kleenex. Of course all bathrooms have the essentials used daily. I have jotted down how much of each item we have and expiration dates as I plan to create a spreadsheet.

    Baked 2 loaves of apple cinnamon swirl bread for the freezer; 2 dozen apple pumpkin muffins; and 2 apple and pear tarts – one was my contribution to a friend’s dinner party; still have a bin of apples to use up. Did not get many trick or treaters this year so have a lot of candy left. Our Halloween parade was cancelled but our town did a great job decorating and held a drive-by where families received goody bags and small pumpkins. Many homeowners went all out with lights – including a synchronized light show with music – and decorations and one evening we drove around town and mainland to enjoy this. Another evening we drove to our DD’s home for dinner and to give our grands their goody bags – also brought them 1 dozen muffins and 1 apple and pear tart. It’s good to see everyone trying to keep everything as normal as possible for the children in this time of covid.

    Wal-mart had lots of Ball mason jars: pint, quart and half gallon packs. An end cap was full. Also one of the aisles. I didn’t see jar lids or bands on the shelf but I was there late in the day so they could have sold out. I bought 2 cases of the quart /12 count for $10.78 each.

    If anyone is interested, the annual Hess truck is now available on their website. This year it’s an Ambulance and Rescue Vehicles for $36.99 + tax with free shipping. I have ordered 2 – one for DH who has been collecting them since he was a kid and one for our grandson. http://www.hesstoytruck.com Have a good week.

  29. Hairy Vetch is a great frugal option to plant in your garden in the fall as a cover crop. I planted it last year. It prevents weeds as it adds nitrogen to the soil. When ready to plant vegetables, chop off at the soil level and add a layer of dirt/compost and plant seedlings, etc. Best tomatoes I’ve had in years. Bought 800 seeds on Amazon for about $8. Just planted it again after I pulled out my garden.

  30. This week I made asparagus soup, burritos that my husband had made and we previously froze, among other things. We opened the windows for fresh air instead of using heat or air conditioning. I called the library so we could renew my sons movies. My husband and I had a picnic with grocery items we enjoy. We wasted money eating out one day and I got food poisoning from it. Yuck! We won’t be back…and the money we wasted. My family all helped my niece move, that saved a bundle! I bought a food gift for my sister’s birthday. She appreciated it and now she won’t have to find someplace to put a gift I may have bought. I’m finding that my family appreciates food and experiences the most. Gave two nephews the exact amount of their age for their birthday. I worried about being cheap, but they loved opening their cards to find money. That made me happy too! I bought some clothing at a thrift shop. We also bought a pan at a thrift shop and some microwaveable plates that we can reuse at a thrift shop. I don’t want to pay for paper plates anymore. Besides, they are hard to find lately. We enjoyed seeing the stars and a clear night.

    1. My husband’s parents did the same thing every year – would give him the amount of his age in cash in a card. This continued up until he was 40! Obviously it wasn’t a windfall, but he always appreciated it (and admittedly in our young married days, sometimes that little bit of cash really helped the budget)! I think it’s a sweet and fun idea.

  31. Hello everyone,
    We’ve had a fairly frugal week. Stocked up on $1/10lb bag potatoes. We have a large cellar, and I have had good success storing potatoes. Also, nervous about tomorrow’s election. Worried about more riots & possibly affecting industry & manufacturing. I read an article a while ago about union workers in France cutting electricity to thousands of homes a year or two ago, until they got what they asked for. Focusing on when everything is in season here in Ontario, and stocking up on that time.
    After watching the movie Social Dilemma on Netflix, I have deleted the ReceiptHog app on my phone. I redeemed $15, but looking back, it probably wasnt the wisest of me to sell our family’s personal shopping data. I regret promoting it two weeks ago on this blog. On a different note, do any of you guys have ideas on what to give teachers at Christmas this year & neighbours. I love baking, but everyone seems on strict diets these days. Thanks for your insight.

    1. What about an amaryllis bulb? Your child’s teacher can watch it grow (they usually come with a pot) and enjoy having something green indoors in winter.

    2. As a teacher, I love receiving plants, tea, or coffee as gifts. They are things that are useful, and show that my students pay attention to what I like (I have plants in my classroom and I drink hot tea all day at school). It is nice to receive a thoughtful gift that is also something I don’t have to store! 🙂 Of course, I always love handwritten cards from students too.

  32. Thanks for sharing your garden plans. Can’t wait to see the result.

    We had 2 days of warmer weather and spent we much time outdoors as possible.

    Found a few good deals at the store including a handful of free items – spice jar, box of pasta dinner,

    Spent extra time in the kitchen
    Since my back didn’t want to sit
    1. Freezer rolls
    2. Mixed berry syrup
    3. Caramel syrup
    4. Make ahead breakfast dish
    5. Pizza dough
    6. Honey Thai chicken & meatballs
    7. Jamaican chicken
    8. Fried up hash browns
    9. Pork tips w/ mushroom & onion gravy over noodles
    10. Pulled pork
    11. Honey whipped carrots
    (Tastes similar to sweet potato)
    12. Meatloaf – my style

    Bought a few more Christmas gifts at good prices. I am about 1/4 of the way done. 😬
    A couple of my children asked for used items to get exactly what they want. They are my frugal ones. 😁

    Got my children a treat of candy for just over 50% off.

    My son’s license got extended until January due to Covid. This is long enough to put him in a new category that is cheaper and have a couple less restrictions.

    Received a rebate in the mail. Used it to get paper towels, tissues, paper plates, soap, and chocolate.

  33. Our refrigerator was 20 years old. My husband has repaired it 3 times over the years. I think I got my money’s worth out of that appliance. Last week I saw a fridge posted on the Nextdoor Neighbor group in our area. I sent my husband to look at it. We got a beautiful KitchenAid stainless steel 25 cubic foot fridge with ice maker & water in the door for 225$. Hubby got help to move it & gave the movers the old (still working) fridge. I am enjoying my gleaming new (to me) refrigerator.

  34. The Safeway app has been great recently. Two weeks in a row I have had $5 off $5 or more. Today I got one box of Rice Chex (I’m gluten free and I use this as a snack on-the-go sometimes) and one box of generic cornflakes (my husband likes a bedtime snack of cereal sometimes). Two boxes of cereal for free is very nice!
    A friend invited me to pick the last apples from one of her trees. I made 2 apple crumbles (one regular, one GF), a batch of applesauce and kept the good ones for eating. Many had bruises/bird pecks/etc and so needed used right away.
    I had to go get some lab work done 15 minutes away. I combined that with shopping for fabric for a special order. The fabric store is right by the lab.
    I took out a small tree that was not doing well. I’m not paying for water to put on things that aren’t doing well!
    I’ve been enjoying GF pancakes for breakfasts since it’s turned cooler. I use 1/2 cup of GF sourdough starter discard (GF flour and water that has fermented), baking soda, salt and a TBSP of oil. They are so delicious and as far as GF food goes, really cheap.
    Blessings to all!

  35. Hi Brandy and everybody from the UK!

    Frugal accomplishments this week –

    -Took out Library books.
    -Read some magazines including my favourite Good Housekeeping for free using the RB Digital app.
    -Got a free pack of chicken bites and 4 pack of jelly from Shopmium app.
    -Went for lovely walk in the Warwickshire countryside with my husband, on the way cake across a church with Bramley apples and sign saying help yourself! Took some leaving plenty for others and made an apple and blackberry crumble with foraged blackberries I had kept in the freezer. Still have a few left so will probably make some mini apple pies for the freezer.
    -Collected 2 huge shopping bags of food from Olio from a lady who was moving house! Includes flour, herbs and spices, vanilla extract, poppy and sesame seeds, dried fruit and two large bags of unopened gluten free pasta with BBE date of 2022! So generous of her! Passed one onto my mum’s friend who is a coeliac and also to another friend who is also gluten intolerant.
    -Collected parsnips from Olio which I shared with my mum and neighbour. Will be making parsnip soup for lunch today.
    -Made some lovely biscuits using homemade blackberry jam – took them into work to share with colleagues. This is the recipe I used –


    -The UK is going back into a full lockdown for a month as of Thursday. My aims are to avoid waste and use everything up wherever possible. I’ll be reading my library books, catching up with some movies and trying out new recipes to keep me entertained.

    Stay safe everyone x

  36. Hello Everyone!
    My hens are beginning to lay more eggs. They bring me such joy between their brown eggs and little “conversations”. This week they had some unripe corn on the cob and slug treats (found sliming my strawberries). 🐌

    We harvested and ate some lettuce, arugula, eggplant, cucumber, green onions, chard, delicata squash, and tomatoes from the garden. I’ve got a couple green mini cantaloupes growing! I can’t wait until they ripen. It’s my first time growing these.

    We planted a tiny olive tree and a dwarf cherry. I did a bunch of clean up of the beds and amended soil. Tomorrow I’ll direct sow some seeds.

    A family game of Clue was fun for all. I’ve been listening to Pandora as well as some podcasts this week. I watched some YouTube tutorials on gardening. I learn a lot from Melissa K. Norris!

    This past weekend was consumed by making Halloween fun for my teens and a couple friends. We had everyone bring a pumpkin to carve, roasted seeds, made caramel apples and played a movie. All activities were outdoors, with masks, to keep them safe. Another parent donated goodie bags with snacks, drinks, and candy. They had a great time despite Covid and it didn’t cost much! 🎃 I feel like keeping traditions are so important during this upside-down year.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week! I’m glad people are safe from the hurricane!! 🙏🏼

  37. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Love the photo of the flowers. We have had a workman in the house this week and several rooms have been disrupted so I haven’t achieved so much this week.
    However, we picked parsley, kale and apples from the garden and I had one big beautiful red rose which I brought inside with some sprays of hardy fuschia.
    I sold 8 items on eBay.
    I sorted through a bag of winter opaque or woollen tights ready for the colder weather and don’t need to buy anymore, I have plenty.
    I bought some Christmas presents from TK Maxx. I had set a budget for a particular gift I was looking for and found exactly what I wanted for a third of my budgeted price so very happy with that.
    I kept the grocery bill down this week. I calculate how many portions of fresh fruit we need a week to meet our 5 a day fruit and veg target.( The veg looks after itself somehow). I subtract several portions because I take our homegrown frozen fruit from the freezer and we eat that as compote etc ( redcurrants this week) and we eat our fresh apples, then in Lidl I look for the cheapest prices per portion and buy the rest that way. This usually means eating fruit in season which I’m happy with.
    My husband took the trailer and picked up six large plastic containers from a farming friend. Our friend was happy to give them away because farmers in the UK have to pay for their empty plastics to be taken away. My husband cuts them in half either vertically to make two trough shape containers or horizontally for two tubs. They are a dull green colour which is unobtrusive in the garden. I have at least one trough earmarked for the strawberry runners we have rooted.
    For readers who enjoy Miss Read and might be looking for other gentle reads I can recommend books by Derek Tangye like Cat in the Window, Gull on the Roof – he wrote several. He wrote them several decades ago but I think they’re still in print.
    As Lucy said ( Hi Lucy!)the UK is going into lockdown on Thursday for a month. My husband and I are pretty well prepared and philosophical about it. One of our daughters is a high dependency Covid nurse and we will do whatever it takes to shorten the duration for her, her colleagues and patients.
    Stay safe everyone.

  38. Brandy, thank you for the information about cleaning out the washer filter. I didn’t know this so will be checking my washer manual as well as manuals of the other appliances for upkeep we should be doing that we don’t even know about.

    I was very pleased to get the new shelving in the pantry and get it completely reorganized, cleaned and decluttered. That was a big job, but I felt very accomplished after. This encouraged me to start a November Declutter Challenge for myself so I’m working on getting at least one item out of the house each day in November.

    I did the usual receipt uploading into the rebate apps and am a bit closer to having a few more dollars for Christmas spending. I have a few stocking stuffers purchased but will do an official online gift order this week. My husband has been working on the homemade woodworking gifts we will give to both daughters and my mom.

    My husband finished the headboard we hope to sell to start replenishing the emergency fund. It’s gorgeous! After sharing it on my Facebook page, we were contacted by a distant family member about building one for them so we’ll see if that works out.

    My daughter and I made a couple of Halloween treats and spent a pleasant afternoon in the kitchen together. We picked up a few items for these plus another few items we needed around the house and was able to use $8 in coupons at our nearest Dollar General and save a more expensive and farther trip to Walmart.

    My biggest financial win of the week was getting approved for 100% coverage of a new medicine I have to start taking for the MS. It was an easy application process through the drug company. When I researched the cost of this medicine, GoodRX had it listed for $102,000 per year so I’d say that counts as a savings! Lol If you don’t have insurance, or even if you do and the co-pay for medication is hard on your budget, I highly recommend contacting the drug companies to see if you can get the costs lowered.

    More on my blog at http://cottageonblackberrylane.com/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-october-31-2020/

  39. Brandy, Daughter 2 has had money from her boys pockets plug up the filter of her washer.

    I found mask on Amazon about half of what it’s costing in our area so ordered what I think we will need this coming year. We have had family test positive this week of Covid, they are pretty sure it’s because they didn’t clean their hands AFTER taking their mask off and wiped their nose.

    Our Kroger’s store closed Oct 30th, our Walmart got slammed (they thought they were prepared) and shelves were more empty than when Covid was rolling through. Hubby got the last pint of heavy cream, next to last gallon of vit D milk , a loaf of day old French bread on clearance and some ciabatta rolls on clearance also. He was so proud to have only spent $5 on it. He bought the bread since I couldn’t bend over due to having back injections and our oven is close to the floor. I told him I was proud but he was going to need to stick to the list for now on as I cut the budget to $50 a month for us since we weren’t willing to increase our withdraw from our IRA to support Daughter 4 as she is off work for 32 weeks fighting cancer… she has picked up a few hours with Door Dash to pay for extras.

    I stopped canning green tomatoes. We have more than enough to go a year even sharing with Daughter 4 who is eating organic while she fights cancer. I am going to store some of the bigger ones(these are paste tomatoes) to see if they will turn red, sometimes they don’t. But I figured if they did she could use them. I am now freezing brussels sprouts. This year they did very well. Thankful to have all the freezers and shelves full but we need to eat some so I can get at least a couple hams. We decided only a turkey breast to smoke(first time) on our Thanksgiving.

    Hubby caulked the north window and stopped a lot of the air. I still continue to turn the furnace down down during the days that are sunny (we get a lot of light) and even lower when we are gone longer than an hour.

    Reading comments here daily.

  40. Hello friends!
    This blog always uplifts and motivates me. Brandy thank you so much for all your time and effort you put into everything. I always enjoy reading everyone’s efforts – it really does help keep me going!
    This past week I gave my husband a quick buzz with the hair clippers that we have been using for many many years. I also trimmed my daughters long hair.
    I redeemed $40 in loyalty points at my grocery store.
    My buy Nothing group has expanded to 300 people in our community. Many items are listed for free everyday. We are all in our local community so I always try to walk and pick up my items – right now we are all leaving out for “porch pick up”. This past week I was able to gift/give away several items and I picked up cat food, new earrings (I will gift these), new packaged pasta, and 3 tops for my daughter.
    I continue to earn swagbucks for Christmas goodies, as well as working on finishing up a few sewing projects.
    Being at home all the time is very frugal – not much spending going on. Our cat has provided many hours of antics and companionship. Although pets/pet care are a line in my budget I consider pets frugal – can’t put a price on the happiness and joy that they bring into our lives.
    Wishing everyone a lovely week ahead.

  41. The last month we have had family in for three of those four weeks, including a new grand baby. I have been cooking, cleaning and disinfecting since they left. We had a possible lice scare but the timing meant they acquired it after they left, but didn’t find out until I had done all of the laundry and heavy duty vacuuming! Things are in good shape now for Christmas.

    I have had several good finds of marked down produce so we have been eating that down. The garden is just down to a few tomatoes and peppers and chard. My kale and lettuce got eaten by roly poly despite treating for them. I found an organic chicken that started at $25 dollars that I got for 5, it will make 10 meals and just made my week! It was delicious.

    I also had two good finds at CVS, combining coupons and ECB offers for electric toothbrush heads( outrageously expensive), and GI otc meds. I felt really good to have gotten those deals. I am pretty well stocked for hygiene items; shampoo, toothpaste, hand soap,etc. That is important as the upcoming months may have disrupted supplies.

    A fall/ winter project is to increase my window garden, I have a wide window ledge which I can load with pots on a bedroom that is empty. I would love any ideas anyone has, and have been watching videos about using kitchen scraps.

    I still have a lot of Christmas and birthday work to do but refuse to stress out over it. Too many big things that need our attention and prayers are on our hearts and minds, these days. One thing I have done is foot soaks with herbs in the hot water. I have used lemon balm primarily but last night put in pineapple sage.

    Blessings to each of you precious ladies, this week. Brandy, thank you for your generous heart and wisdom that you share!

    P.S, Does anyone have any great WW2 novels and mystery series to recommend? I am always compiling and reading down my lists!!

    1. I loved the Nightinggale by Kristin Hannah. I too love reading WW2 novels and documentaries so I appreciate your question and look forward tot he responses you will get so that I can add to my reading list for the winter 🙂

    2. The Maisie Dobbs series started after WW1 and is now in the years leading into WW2 in England, by Jacqueline Winspear.
      Two of Helen MacInnes’s best are WW2 related: “Above Suspicion” and “Assignment in Brittany”. She wrote from the late 30’s to the 80’s.
      For mystery series in general, one of the most creative and lively I’ve found recently is the Chet and Bernie series, by Spencer Quinn. They are narrated by the dog, Chet, about the cases he and PI Bernie solve.

    3. I really enjoy the Darling Dahlia’s Series by Susan Wittig Albert – it’s set in the 1930’s and is (loosely in my opinion – I prefer to call it a book with a good plot) categorized as a mystery. I believe I first read about the series here – Brandy may have been reading them? Ms. Albert has two other series I also really enjoy – The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter and her Victorian-Edwardian Mysteries series that she wrote with her husband under the name Robin Paige. She has another series too (can’t remember the name). I find them to be well researched with good character development and a real plot. I found the Robin Paige writings to be more of a true mystery than the other two series, but all are good in my opinion.

      I too am interested to hear what others suggest for WW2 novels!

      1. Yes, I read the Darling Dahlias series.

        I have been putting together a list of WWII novels that I’ve read to put in a post; I guess it’s time to put that up!

        1. WW2 novels I really enjoyed are the oldies but goodies by Nevil Shute- Pied Piper, A Town Like Alice ( one of my all time favourites), Requiem for a Wren etc. More recent is All the Light we Cannot See. Persephone books publish several titles like Miss Ranskill Comes Home, Dimanche and other Stories, On the Other Side, Few Eggs and No Oranges. There is another good author whose work I have enjoyed, the name escapes me at the moment but I’ll post again when my brain warms up!

          1. I don’t know these ones! I’ll have to add them to my request list from the library!

            1. I’ve remembered! The author is Margaret Mayhew and she writes novels about WW2 and often about women’s roles so The Boat Crew is about the women who crewed the barges carrying essential goods on the canals, Bluebirds about the WAAF , The Pathfinder etc. She also writes a series called Village Mysteries which I haven’t read yet.

            2. One of my favorite recent reads was, “A Woman of No Importance” by Sonia Purnell. It’s the true story of an American woman who goes to Europe during WWII and works as a spy. Her story is amazing!

            3. Some old classic WW II novels: Empire of the Sun (JG Ballard); Hiroshima (ok, not a novel, John Hersey); The Caine Mutiny (Herman Wouk); Catch-22 (Joseph Heller); Sophie’s Choice (Wm. Styron); Slaughterhouse 5 (Kurt Vonnegut); Night (again, not a novel, Elie Wiesel).

          2. I liked a Town Like Alice too. I checked it out from the Dallas VA Hospital when I was there w/ students. I thought apropo that the VA library had a book about WWII to check out. (I bet they have many others too.) PBS had a miniseries many years ago called A Town Like Alice based on the book. That’s how I knew about the book. The star was an Australian actor named Bryan Brown.

        2. Please do, Brandy! I have loved the ones you have recommended in the past and with a long winter in front of us, I am eager to have your list. I loved the Maisie Dobbs books and especially love the series set in Europe. Thank you for doing so many amazing posts and such that enrich our lives!

      2. The main character of the other series by Ms. Albert is a woman ‘sleuth’ named China Bayles. The secondary story line in each of these books focuses on a different herb and its uses. The time period is modern day and the setting is the hill country of Texas.

    4. You might try the books, Shadow of Terror by Rene Noorbergen, Flee the Captor, and A Thousand Shall Fall (I can’t remember the names of the authors of the last two books.) I like the movie “Against the Wind.” It’s old but interesting.

  42. I will begin with our massively huge $6,000 frugal fail, although I don’t regret spending the money and trying. My husband’s health has continued to deteriorate to the point that he can hardly walk or move. We have been visiting doctors for the last few weeks and they finally figured out what has happened. The stem cell treatment we tried two years ago (paid $6,000), helped for a while, then reversed. Whatever was causing the cartilage in his hip to deteriorate, has also destroyed what the stem cell treatment improved. Now he is back to ground zero and is worse than before. He will be getting a hip replacement. Hopefully, it will also help his other problems because maybe (we are hoping), he is twisting his spine as he tries to avoid the pain in his hip. So, as of now, his surgery is tentatively scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving. We still have more visits to discuss the details. I know it isn’t frugal to say it but, I don’t care what it costs. I want him better. I welcome advice from anyone who has been through this.

    I do have two bits of good news. First, Mom has been released from prison.

    And the summer garden is harvested (the best vegetable garden I have ever had because it rained!!!!) and the winter garden is all planted. Done, done, done!


    1. Jeannie, I had been wondering about the stem cell treatment. I’m sorry it didn’t work. We, too, have had a lot of medical over the years and I know exactly what you mean about not regretting trying. ((( Jeannie )))

      1. Thank you, Maxine.
        My husband was feeling bad about the money we spent, kept saying could have done this or that with it. I firmly disagreed. It was a risk, a gamble that we lost. We set and talked to people in the doctor’s lobby who were there for check-ups and had experienced wonderful success. (That was before masks, social distancing, and doctor’s offices’ chairs spaced across the room. A time in the distant past when strangers used to chat.) I know it can work. It just didn’t for us.

        1. I once felt bad about using 1\3 of our savings on a necessary medical procedure. My husband said to me, “There is nothing more important we could have done with that money.” That completely changed my perspective.

          1. Thank you Suzy. I agree with you. I so want him to be out of pain. He doesn’t complain but I hear him gasp in his sleep when he turns over. I know it is really bad.

    2. So sorry about your husband’s pain! I would argue that you did not have a frugal fail at all—you made the best decision you could at the time, with the inform that you had. Never feel that you failed for having tried your best to help someone, in this case your sweetheart! I will be praying for him—and for you! Hugs!

  43. I am sorting my fridge freezer and my chest freezer. My son called Saturday morning to say he’d shot a doe for us and then last night when we got home he called to say that a neighbor had shot and killed a big buck and offered him the meat from it. He’d accepted it and was taking it to the processors for us. He is sure we would need two to get a year’s supply of meat and I’ll listen this year and see how it goes. But now I need to make room for two deer, not one! This should cost us about $2 a pound I think he said so it’s cheaper than beef. We’ll get roasts, ground meat, cubed steaks and sausage patties from the deer so a savings to me also on purchasing turkey sausage.
    We have been pressure washing porch furniture and porch floor so I can paint those before winter rains come in. We bought the paint on Sunday for the porch. I hadn’t planned to do the furniture this season but my husband says it must be done so I’ve got to determine what color I want to use this time around and get that purchased.
    I have a huge clear storage bin that I’m using as a small greenhouse this year to winter over some plants. I managed to get quite a few in it. During the day I remove the lid but at night I put it back on so the frost doesn’t get to the plants. If it goes way below freezing it will make bringing the plants indoors lots easier and less messy.
    I hope to make out some lists this week of what items are needed and in what quantity so I can begin to purchase them and set them aside. I know I need to buy candles, laundry detergent, shampoo, and other non-grocery type items but I’d like to take stock and determine what I’m getting as I find them on sale.

  44. My guess is your son will be VERY happy with that gift! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were chicken noodle soup with grilled cheese, cheeseburgers with french fries, bbq chicken thighs with corn on the cob, pan-seared salmon with roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts, fried eggs with sausage and biscuits, turkey burger tacos.
    *Made broth from a chicken carcass. Sliced cheddar cheese and used it in grilled cheese sandwiches since I was out of American. Also used cheddar instead of American on hamburgers. We had brownies that were getting a little old and dry. Put them in the microwave for 10 seconds and they were soft and warm!
    *Ran the numbers on refinancing vs. paying extra on our mortgage. As our rate is already pretty low, we can just pay extra and save the closing costs of refinancing.
    *Walked in the evenings for exercise. This also helps with anxiety that is apparently a symptom of perimenopause. Good grief!
    *My husband and I went to vote early to avoid any crowds. When in town, we also went by the bank and visited my parents.
    *Combined an order of household items along with a few Christmas presents to get free shipping.
    *Picked up tortillas and fish oil capsules at Dollar Tree, as that is the cheapest place for both.
    *My husband’s business has U-Haul trucks that they rent out. One of them got stuck on the lot after the rains from Hurricane Zeta came through. Instead of calling a tow truck, I drove our old truck over there and I pulled it out. He said he always knew I was a country girl. 😂
    *Accepted a free lunch at work.
    *Wrapped a candle, a trial size baby lotion and a trial size baby wash (all from my stash) to put in a sunshine basket we are collecting for a friend at church who is having her third child.

    1. I hope so! He sure has been having a hard time choosing what he wants this year, except for some pickles and olives (which I bought this past week).

  45. It’s been awhile since I have commented but I read every week. It’s my favorite thing of the week.
    **Our town recently had street clean up where you can put trash items out at the curb. My daughter and I were driving through my moms neighborhood and stopped at a trash pile. My daughter was looking for a furniture piece to refurbish. As we were slowly driving by I saw that someone had thrown out a lunchbox. I quickly looked it over and took it home. When I got it home, I looked it over and there isnt a thing wrong with it. The zippers work and everything. I have no idea why they threw it in the trash. My husband was in desperate need for a lunchbox but wasn’t willing to pay what they cost new. He couldn’t believe it! When he went to work his co-workers said “oh wow you finally got a new lunchbox”. He proudly told them how his wife got it out of the trash!!!
    **We had a graduation party for my son. Anything we did not use, I returned to Walmart.
    **My dad passed away June 30th. Since then my stepmother has been cleaning everything out. I think it’s how she is dealing with her grief. I have spent quite a bit of time helping her with sorting, etc. She has given me literally hundreds of dollars of toiletries and groceries. The other day I was over there and she gave me 3 huge roasts, 4 dozen homemade cookies, and a bag of Schwan’s chicken patties. She has given me probably 30 cookbooks, many rubbermaid containers, furniture, lots of clothes that my husband could use, thousands of dollars of tools for my son. And so many toiletries. I wont have to buy toothpaste for at least a year!
    **With the virus this year we have went way over our grocery budget this year by about $800. I am trying to be extremely strict with what I buy so I can try and get it under control. My husband grew up with food insecurity so it was very important that we were stocked up. He went to walmart and was blown away when there was nothing left. And if it wasn’t for him we would have ran out of toilet paper!
    **Our libaray had a fire when someone threw fireworks into the book return. Right when it was set to reopen, the virus hit. I am so happy its finally open and I was able to just walk around. Our community is so lucky to have such a nice library. I was able to go in and check out a couple books. 2 were very interesting. “The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio”. This caught my eye because Defiance Ohio is close to me. The book was very interesting and not what I was expecting. It’s about poverty and very hard family dynamics. The other one was “Downsizing the Family Home”. Great info for helping declutter and downsize and when you are in the position of cleaning out your parents house when they age or pass away.
    **My daughter and I went to an Amish town near us called Grabill, Indiana. We went to a thrift store and I found The Tightwad Gazette, with all volumes for $2.20. I couldn’t believe it. It’s in pristine shape. I have the same book and paid alot more than that on Ebay. I want to give each of my kids this book when they leave home.
    That’s all and everyone have a great week!

    1. Jenn, My mom had the Tightwad Gazette newsletters and kept them in a binder and gave them to me when I was an adult! While a lot of information was outdated I still gleaned a ton of information from them. That is a great gift to your children.

  46. This week was another one that could have been less than frugal but we were able to make the best of it.

    We have been in the market for a new vehicle for a little while now because our family car is 18 years old and has very high mileage. Knowing this was coming, we have been saving, doing our research and keeping a sharp eye out. This week the right car for the right price appeared and we were able to not only buy for cash but because our need wasn’t desperate we were able to offer under the asking price. For the moment we are enjoying being a 2 car family with 3 soon to be 4 drivers.

    The car was within a year of the last registration/ smog check by 8 days, so we were able to get it transferred without paying for it to be smog checked again.

    My daughter and her little family (including the twins) came to visit us as a surprise. Their car will not make the trip once it gets snowy for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Unexpectedly, I received a PayPal payment for something I sold several months ago. Because it was unexpected I turned around and dropped the money into my daughter’s account to pay for the gas to get here. Two frugal things happened while they were here. The first was someone local posted on the Facebook page for our church’s women’s group that they had boxes of baby items 0-12 month sizes plus bouncy chairs, swings, toys and even a double stroller that they were getting rid of. We said yes to everything. My daughter was able to go through the clothes & pick out things she would use and we were able to have all the things babies would need that they couldn’t fit in their tiny car. Once they left, we packed up the rest and donated it for the next person to use. The other frugal thing that happened was while they were here I was able to use up so many things out of my freezer that my husband can no longer eat due to his medical issues. Usually I make all of my daughter’s favorite foods while she is home, but this time I made a real effort to use up things out of my freezer. Luckily, some of them were her favorites.

    One of the things I have been missing during the COVID quarantine and my time away in Utah this Summer is the beach. We go beach camping for 1-2 weeks every Summer. We go to the aquarium at least once a year. Our anniversary trip is almost always to the beach. We couldn’t do any of those things this year. The car that we purchased is a hybrid and has been sitting with a full tank of gas in a garage for 6+ months, so the gas needed to be used up ASAP, for the engine to run correctly. We packed a lunch and set out for the beach. We picked through tide pools, took a self guided walking tour of some of the historical sites, found a bench to eat our lunch, saw some harbor seals and all the sea birds and headed home. The bonus surprise was we expected to pay for all day parking, but when we got back to the parking garage it was free for no discernible reason.

    I am slowly learning to deal frugally with my husband’s dietary restrictions. I can pay $8.99 for a jar of pasta sauce (not even joking) that is free from anything that would be a problem, or I can make it myself even if it is a multiple step/ day process. I can make his pizza sauce and salsa and even his ketchup. I have been doing some research online and been finding brands of things like gluten free pasta, low FODMAP mustard and hot sauce that he is able to have so that I can keep an eye out for sale prices. The online research is necessary because during a pandemic grocery stores don’t like it when you stand in the aisle and handle every brand of mustard and read the ingredients, then put them all back on the shelf before finding one that will work. I am learning about gluten free baking as well.

    This year a friend gave me some hyacinth and paper white bulbs that have been pre-chilled for forcing so I pulled out any container that I think will work and got them started. We’ll see what happens. My zinnias are still producing like crazy. I have been getting 1-2 bouquets every week for the 2 months I have been home. I harvested the two butternut squashes that appeared on a volunteer vine that grew near the compost while I was in Utah this summer. I made several batches of pesto with the Genovese basil that went absolutely wild over the summer, and I made a Thai pesto with ginger, lemon grass, lime and Thai basil that grew in my garden this year. The garlic & ginger for the two pesto recipes came in my produce box, the citrus I used for each came from my own trees. I found a fabulous deal on Marcona almonds last year and stashed them in my freezer, so I used those and I found marked down parmesan for the regular pesto. I stash it in the freezer & we use all year.

    I started some herbs hydroponically on my windowsill in mason jars again. I got the “kit” at a swap event in January of 2020. The kit contained 3 quart size mason jars, the little baskets that fit inside, seeds and enough of the growing medium for several attempts. This is my third attempt, but I think I figured out the problem with the help of the internet. Because the jars are clear, the roots and the water get scummy from the light quickly and the plants don’t flourish. Some of the recommendations were to wrap the jars in paper or foil so the roots don’t get too much light. Instead, I used some opaque chalk paint and painted the outside of my jars. Then I let my artistic daughter go crazy and she painted flowers and vines all over the jars. Even of the herbs don’t grow, my jars are so pretty now.

    The final frugal project was another one for the same daughter. I got the idea from the internet. While I was out for a walk on garbage day I found a plastic doll house. My husband spray painted it matte very dark gray and my daughter got out her acrylic paints. She painted tiny pumpkins, gave it spooky broken windows, spider webs, ivy twining up the the porch, black roses and just had a great time.

    I hope everyone is having a peaceful & frugal week this week.


  47. Your bare backyard is so exciting. It’s such fun to watch you plan and prepare your garden yard!

    I had a pretty good week even with the dreaded killer chemo and surgery. I’ve decided to believe the tiny bit of cancer that was still there is killed and gone (as expected) …and not causing me to be quite so ill.?? No one seems to know at this point. Still one more round of killer chemo before the bone marrow transplant. Today is closer to it being over and done with than yesterday, I say.

    Frugally, we again brought home whatever the hospital would have had to throw away when I left. Our first aid kit is expanding rapidly with things I never would have thought to buy. I also had to have a shot, and it was shipped to me. We ended up with an entire box of alcohol wipes and a Styrofoam cooler as well. Not sure why the company sent an entire box of alcohol wipes?

    We found steaks on sale with additional multiple money off stickers. I packaged them up individually for the freezer since my protein is low even though I eat a lot of protein. So thankful to have found red meat on sale.

    I made applesauce from some sad looking apples and froze it. I prefer it canned and might get that done when I feel better. The rest of the apples are still kinda OK. I’ve been waiting for the clear gel to arrive that I had to order so I can try my hand at canning apple pie filling. It finally arrived, so I just need to feel up to it soon. I’m only going to make a couple quart jars this time.

    Finally, dehydrated the last of the tomatoes that ripened, a few bits of herbs and 4 Bananas that were getting too ripe. Keeping food waste to a minimum!

    Christmas is all done!

    Blessings to all,

    1. Best wishes for feeling better Trish – I hope the bone marrow is the final step towards a full recovery.
      You amaze me each week with how much you still manage to get done even with all the treatments!
      Stay well.

      1. Margie,
        Your kind words mean so much! I think how I struggle to keep up and get things (anything) done. Thanks for noticing and making me feel appreciated today.


    2. Rooting for you, Trish! May this last round of “warrior” chemo do its work. Thinking of you, and raising your name in healing prayer.

      1. Thank you Patricia and Laura. I’m beginning to understand the idea of “endure” to the end! This is the time of enduring and I so appreciate all the encouragement. I seek out encouragement and positive, funny things!

        I asked the nurse what others did in my situation as I was telling her that I have checklists to ensure that I get up and do something every hour throughout the day. The nurse said most people watch TV. That gave me great determinination to keep going and not give in. One particularly bad day a couple weeks back I got up every hour and walked to the kitchen and unloaded a bit of the dishwasher. It took all day, but by the end of the day, the task was complete. Moving is so important for anyone in my situation. I share this as an inspiration to all those who want to give up and give in. Don’t do it, just keep moving forward even if it’s just a few steps at a time. Makes a difference! Besides, that’s how we build determinination. I say give no quarter to illness. Winston Churchill said it best, Never, never, never give up.


        1. Thanks for this, PJGT. I am always glad to see your posts. You keep all of us going too, whether our challenges are big or small. Wishing you all the very best.

    3. PJGT – sounds like you are doing great. My husband is 5 months post stem cell transplant for Leukemia (AML). Starts his 2nd round of maintenance chemo next week. Keep moving – any little bit helps during transplant recovery and beyond. My thoughts are with you.

  48. Angie, check out books by Sarah Sundin. They are so wholesome and good. The Sky Above Us, The Land Beneath Us, and The Sea Before Us are all WW2 stories with a little romance thrown in. 🙂 She has loads of books but those are the three I’ve read.

  49. Becky I am impressed with what you did accomplish
    It’s been awhile since my checking account has been down that low BUT the memory is still very clear

  50. What a great week it has been so far:

    -I needed to find and buy one hundred year 3 Christmas presents, with a budget of $1 per child. I went to a book store near my work and got each child a boxed mini game (Twister, Operation, Cluedo, Yahtzee), a mini book (Ella & Olivia, The Cat Wants Custard, Do Not Open This Book etc), a book mark, an Enid Blyton classic book and an activity sheet for a total of almost $1.10 per child! ($109.48 grand total!) As I catch public transport to work they are kindly boxing everything up and posting it to me free of charge. I am so grateful they greatly reduced the price of items, gave items for free and searched around to get 100 of everything! What a blessing for the children who are all in need
    -the husband and I had a rare few hours of time together without the children so we took a leisurely drive to the mountains with a picnic
    -more pumpkin from our garden. Lots of soup and baked pumpkin made
    -line dried all washing
    -made vanilla bean cake, biscuits, quiche, spaghetti, scrambled eggs, avocado on toast, pumpkin soup, baked pumpkin which I served as a side dish and in salad
    -did a long bike ride with the family
    -feed the ducks, swans and turtles at the lake that we walked to
    -my children played with the neighbourhood children
    -wrapped all Christmas gifts and wrote out Christmas card messages
    -appreciated my family and our blessings
    -thought about and discussed goals
    -reorganised my linen cupboard
    -found a large gift boxed Father’s Day gift on clearance from $29.95 to $2.50 whilst at the book store, so have stockpiled for next year
    -remained proactive and resourceful 😊

  51. **I continue to go through items in my craft room and sell on the yardsake sites. This week I sold blank baseball caps I had to monogram for $51, and have sold a set of blank green raglans for $20.
    ** I made a broccoli cheese soup, muffin meatloaf, fried steak, pork loin chops, beef tips in a mushroom soup gravy over rice, and chicken thighs with seasoning. I purchased 8 lbs of ground beef, steak tips for $3.68 a lb, and a pork loin for $1.99 lb and cut chops from it. I packaged it all up to freeze. I had a bunch of small plastic baskets so I have started organizing the freezer with chicken in one, hamburger meat in one, pork in one. The rest of the freezer is still a mess, so I am looking for more baskets or boxes to organize each shelf.

    **I am working to restock the pantry. We moved my mother in law up two weeks ago to live with us. She was with sister in law and SIL had a mental breakdown and is not speaking to any of us now. Husband and I are going ( 5 hours) to get my MIL’s stuff. So, we have additional items we need to stock and are also pulling in to keep from exposing her to the virus. My struggle is MIL does not eat food, she eats junk food and is very wasteful with stuff. I cook and she will say she isn’t hungry, because she just ate junk. She won’t eat chicken,, pork. casseroles, milk, eggs, and a whole list of foods. I hope to get her eating better, and up moving more, but at the same time, she is grown and I am learning it is not my job to police what she eats and does and learning to just let things roll off my back.
    **I have collards and lettuce growing. I harvested green beans. All my green tomatoes have ripened on the counter. I have so many I am going to just freeze them until I can make a sauce or something later.
    **We drew names for Christmas with the kids. We will buy each a gift, but this keeps the kids from buying as much. Everyone does an Amazon wish list. You don’t have to buy from Amazon, but it gives ideas of what you want. I struggle to find anything for my list!
    **my husband was notified yesterday they are promoting him to his current boss’ job. They moved his boss to another position. We do not know yet how much more money he will make, but it should increase. He is taking on more management responsibilities. We have ben blessed that he has been able to work steady through the pandemic.

    1. Daffodils multiply by making side bulbs. If you’ve ever bought garlic, you see a whole clump of cloves (bulbs). When you plant garlic, you just plant one of those cloves and it makes a bunch. Daffodils grow in a very similar fashion, though usually they don’t grow in a circle, but produce more bulbs off two sides of the original bulb. Once they start making a bunch like this, the main bulb stops flowering, as it is busy making side bulbs. Daffodils should be divided every few years for this reason. It’s tricky to dig them up (they’re planted 6 to 8 inches deep) without accidentally destroying a few in the process.

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