I harvested Meyer lemons, Swiss chard, parsley, and green onions from the garden.

My mom gave me the silverplate tray in the photo. She bought it at a garage sale on Saturday. When she asked the price, the seller said, “It’s a dollar–unless you’re really interested. Then it’s $20.” She replied, “I’m not really interested,” and paid $1!

I gave two hibiscus plants to a friend who moved into a new house and was missing her old hibiscus plants. I had been wondering what to do with them; I wanted to get rid of them to use the pots for something else but didn’t want to just throw them out. I was able to give her a gift without buying anything new.

This freed up the pots for me to plant something else. I moved them to a new spot in the garden and planted two roses I had in them.

My husband finished making the last section of the backside of the pergola. I cleaned and painted three sections. For now, we will just install these sections (so it just looks like trellises for now, rather than a pergola). We will do more as money and time permit. You can see this on my Instagram story for today. We are planning to make 12 sections total; five on each side and one on each end.

My husband also made a hose bib for our house. We added a new place for a hose in the garden when we did the makeover. You can see me painting it on Instagram.

 

Iceberg roses; they turn light pink when it’s cold.

We sold the cement mixer that we bought to use for the backyard project. We had looked for a used one and could not find one, so we purchased a new one from Harbor Freight for $175 plus tax ($190). The same mixer now costs $250 new. We sold it for $195, so we recouped all of our money plus enough to cover the cost of gas to go buy it!

My husband and I watched the first episode of the second season of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS.org. If you don’t have cable (we do not) you can watch PBS Masterpiece (i.e. BBC shows 6 months after they air in the U.K.) shows online for 3 weeks after each episode airs. I did notice, when catching up with season 10 of Call the Midwife (just recently aired in the U.S.) that they didn’t limit the air time to 3 weeks as they have in the past.

I read an e-book from the library which I enjoyed called The Christmas Bookshop. I requested this weeks ago but it had just become available. I read it and returned it the next day so the three people waiting could get it sooner. I love that I can do that without having to drive to the library, saving gas and time.

I found some free printable worksheets and mazes online for my kindergartener.

What did you do to save money last week?

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206 Comments

  1. I made 6 beef mini pot pies using 2 pint jars of my canned beef chunks. I got disposable foil mini pie pans out that Hubs got in bulk a couple months ago and some boxed pie crusts that I bought on sale around Thanksgiving. Each mini pot pie cut in half is enough for Hubs or me as a full serving. We ate one for dinner and the other 5 went into the freezer. https://pin.it/50CSWSd and https://pin.it/3vfRGlL. A few days later, I made a bigger chicken pot pie and some apple crisp (all made with pantry ingredients) to take over to our across-the-alley neighbor whose partner died. So grateful to have enough to share!

    I also refilled my canister with another batch of Make-A-Mix Basic cookie mix to have for the convenience. https://pin.it/6HzgwTK.
    Two of my granddaughters (11 and 6) had a sleepover on Sunday night and now, on Monday, they are learning to make baking mixes. The oldest GD has been learning to cook (it was one of our her goals to learn to cook and she had already mastered pancakes from a box mix). So when I told her we could make our own mixes that she could replace with ingredients they had at home whenever they ran out, she as excited. I took an old 3 ring binder to hold each of the recipes we made. On tap today- Pancake Mix, Brownie Mix, Cookie Mix and DIY Chocolate Syrup. I think that will be a good start for them!

    We went to Krogers just to get Hubs distilled water for his bi-pap. We like to keep 6 of the gallon jugs in stock at home just as a precaution and we were down to 3. We got them and as we were pushing the mini-cart towards the checkout lane, I saw a big end cap display with 4 pound bags of sugar for 99 cents! I sent Hubs to get a full size shopping cart while I called 2 of our daughters to get their requests. Came out with 25 bags (100 pounds) for $24.75!! 99 cents is my price point for sugar and I hadn’t found any sugar at this price earlier around the holidays so it was time to replenish our pantry!

    I finished a client quilt which was Lenni’s quilt #225- https://pin.it/5tuzYGB. A king size client quilt just arrived from a client in AZ so on Tuesday or Wednesday, I’ll get started on it.

    We met with a lawyer to get our estate in order. Embarrassed to say we have never had wills. 🥴 With Power of Attorney for medical issues, he told us that our specific county in Ohio has a very easy set of forms to fill out as advance directives and unless we look at the free forms and feel overwhelmed (which he assures us we won’t), we can save his $250 charge to draw those up! I appreciated that he was as candid and forthcoming or we wouldn’t have realized it and just paid him another $250!
    I attended a class about 5 years ago that a dear friend of mine taught about end of life preparation and she gave all the attendees a notebook with pages of important documents/paperwork we should have filled out and prepared. Hubs and I went through that this week and painstakingly got our account numbers of bank accounts, bank cards, merchant credit cards and whose name was the primary account holder. Found out that I needed to electronically sign something on Hubs IRA account giving me full access. We don’t plan to pass away anytime soon, but it feels good to know that things are organized in one place (with a backup USB card too) so that either one of us or our children will know where that information is.

    The snow has arrived and we already had both cars already filled with gas, the food that we’ve already been eating from our pantry and freezer is not dwindling appreciably and our house is warm and safe even though the roads are at a Level 2 Snow Emergency which means only go out on the road if it’s really important.

    We are healthy and have been blessed beyond measure! We are grateful and humble at the same time! Hope everyone stays safe and healthy through this winter(summer in OZ) weather!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Hi, Gardenpat.

      I don’t have time to read all the comments right now, but I’ve been meaning to ask you a question (so I’ll just do that now ;)). How do you use your powdered dried kale? We’ve got tons of kale in the garden right now, and I hate to see any of it go to waste.

      Thanks!

      1. Roberta in So.Cal- We are not big fresh kale fans. A little in a salad, but that’s it. So by drying and powdering it, I can sprinkle it into brownie batter or spaghetti sauce or in other things that will disguise the kale taste but still give us the nutritional value! 🤪

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. Thanks for the speedy reply. 🙂 We do eat some of our kale fresh (often cooked in pasta sauce and minestrone), but it grows really well here and there are only three of us so there’s often an abundance. I’ll try your method of drying and powdering, especially since Hubs is planning to replant this weekend for our winter garden. (I think the kale that’s out there now will all be harvested at once instead of my method of “cut and come again.”)

          Thanks again!

          1. Also try in smoothies. I dry our spinach also because it bolts from the heat so fast we don’t have time to eat it all. So I dehydrate the spinach then grind it into powder for smoothies, sauces etc…

        1. Hi, Marybeth. Do you blanch your kale before freezing it? Does the texture hold up pretty well after freezing? (I realize it will wilt some while stir frying; just don’t want it too limp for that particular use.) My freezers are pretty full at the moment, but it’s an idea to tuck away for the future. 🙂

              1. We will clean fresh kale, drain and put in mixing bowl where we tear pieces into “chip” sizes. I then toss with virgin olive oil to lightly coat, then we add salt, lemon pepper and powdered garlic. After seasoning, place on non stick pan ungreased. Bake at 350* for roughly 30/40 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of kale. Watch baby kale carefully to keep it from burning. Kale chips come out crunchy and delicious. My family eats them straight off the hot pan. Can be stored on countertop in Tupperware.

    2. Hey Gardenpat – I have a quilt I’d like quilted but I don’t see anyway to actually reach out to you on your website. I did drop you a note on Pinterest, but I have a couple of questions as this is a vintage quilt top so would love your professional advice first. Thanks much! Valerie (valerierice@gmail.com)

    3. Hi GardenPat! Would you be so kind as to provide a link to your county’s medical directive forms? It’s something I need to do and rather than paying someone or trying to cobble something together myself, I’d love to use your county’s as the basis for mine. Thanks in advance.

      1. Libby, I’m not Gardenpat, but at least some states–including mine (Idaho) require that medical directives be completed with the assistance of a PCP. This is a good thing, because the answers are not nearly as cut and dried as I imagined. (For example: “Do you wish to be resuscitated?” Me: “Well, if there’s a chance they can succeed, give it a shot. But I don’t want any heroic efforts if I’m a lost cause.” There actually is an answer that covers this, although I did not know the box to check). Medicare will cover this visit, as may other insurance policies.

      2. Libby- I didn’t see your question about the free forms for medical directives our county (Franklin) in Ohio offers. And btw, Maxine, our county allows us to fill these out and file them on our own without needing either an attorney or a PCP.

        https://probate.franklincountyohio.gov/PBCT-website/media/Documents/Forms/Advance%20Directives/State-of-Ohio-Living-Will-Declaration.pdf?ext=.pdf

        https://probate.franklincountyohio.gov/forms/advance-directives
        These are pretty straightforward and our attorney recommended them.

  2. I like the yard sale story! I have several silverplate items that I have bought at thrift stores. I don’t think I’ve spent more than $3 on any of them and I love having them for special occasions.

    I gave my upright, full size vacuum to my daughter and son-in-law. This saved them money (all they need to do is buy bags for it) and saves me space. I have no carpet in my house and don’t plan to ever have it. I also found them a full-size 7 drawer dresser at an antiques and resale shop when I was looking for a bench or glider for my screen porch. I didn’t find that but they ended up with a very nice dresser for $90 plus tax and they were able to take it home the next day in their van.

    While my daughter and I were waiting for her husband to get to the store after work to get the dresser, we explored a county park. The admission fee for adults is $5 but since I am a senior and was paying for both of us, I was charged the senior fee of $3 each. I saved $2 on her admission and we spent a peaceful hour doing a half mile trail, reading the educational signs, etc. Fortunately, the alligators were bruminating (their form of hibernation) because the boardwalk over the swamp is not that high off the water.

    I signed up for a free year of Paramount+ Essentials as a benefit of my T-Mobile cell phone plan, saving $60 for the year. Since multiple devices can watch at the same time and she is also on the plan, I gave the login info to my daughter and son-in-law. She was super excited because a CBS show that starts at 10 p.m. is on there and she won’t have to stay up to watch it live. I’ve watched one episode of 1883 and am hoping it gets more interesting.

    I picked sugar snap peas and tomatoes. I also picked roses, pansies and dianthus to make a small bouquet. Our weather has definitely gotten colder (highs in 50ies, low in 30ies) for us so I don’t expect to be picking again for a few weeks. Instead, I’m enjoying my blooming paperwhites and a hyacinth that I bought at Aldi. I also planted more paperwhite bulbs.

    Meals included chicken salad, spaghetti and meatballs (twice), leftovers from a fried chicken meal at a local restaurant and a peanut butter sandwich and baked beans (because I could, lol!) I also cooked a pork butt and no bake cookies, both in the crock pot, and made a tasty cake using some leftover canned cranberry sauce and a splash of orange juice added to a basic cobbler recipe (Easy Batter Fruit Cobbler Recipe | Allrecipes, without the blueberries added).

    Quick question: Does anyone else feel as if they might be stocking up too much? I look at what I have, especially for cleaning supplies, cat food, toiletries, and some food items, and think that but then I read articles from people I trust who have been correct in the past about what is to come and wonder if I’m not stocking up enough. I’m just curious if anyone feels like this.

    1. I am not really stocking up right now. I am just using what we have unless there is something we need. We are well stocked in most things and eating from the pantry and freezer while inflation prices climb due to high transport costs.

      1. I agree that it’s difficult to know what and how much to store. I’ve had some bottled items that I canned that I have had to throw out because they got too old and we never ate them. It’s important to store what you will eat. But we have lived with abundance, too, so it’s easy to overlook what is stored. I think about those who survived during WWII and other difficult times and wonder if I have enough. And I feel guilty getting rid of books that I don’t or won’t use, wondering if I would ever need to have them for a fire to keep warm or cook over. It’s all a matter of personal balance.

    2. I have a two yr supply of dried red beans. I have about a six months supply of canned vegetables and some canned fruit, and about a two months supply of frozen fruit. I am not stocking up because I feel like I overstocked in 2020. I am merely buying meat and fresh, cheap vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, maybe an onion, to replace what we eat.

      1. I opened a 25# bag of pinto beans and they took forever to soften. I bought the bag about a year ago. I have it stored in an airtight bin. Do you have this issue? Thanks

        1. Barbara, I cook mine in a crockpot for 4 hours and never have any issues. You didn’t by chance add salt while cooking, did you? They will never soften if you do that. I didn’t know the first time I made them and my friend explained my mistake.

          1. Most Southern cooks soak their beans overnight. This assures that they are tender and also hulls, etc. float to the top.

          2. You can add a very small amount of baking soda to soften old beans. I would recommend looking up how much. Also, if beans won’t soften you can try freezing cooked beans. The moisture in the cooked beans will expand and the beans will soften.

        2. If you have an instant Pot you can put dried beans directly in, cover with about 3 times as much water, and cook on high for 45 minutes. Done.

        3. Barbara- I have dry beans that I’ve stored for 20+ years that I just wasn’t using until I found out that I could pressure can them in water in pint jars and have them ready to use on my shelf! Game changer for me and we regularly include beans in our normal diet now!

          Gardenpat in Ohio
          HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

          1. Pat – can you walk me through? Beans to water ratio. Do you cook the at all before jarring? Time and pressure? This would be great. Thank you.

            1. Here’s what I do. 1/2 cup dry beans (rinse in colander and pick out ant stones) . Measure them and put 1/2 cup into a pint mason jar. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and fill jar with boiling water up to 1” of top of jar. Put lid on and screw band and pressure can at 11 pounds pressure for 75 minutes (1 hour, 15 minutes). The original link that I have below had the wrong amount of time for processing. Pints need 75 minutes. I’ve been doing these for over 6 years now and when they are opened, they are not crunchy or mushy and I can use them in cold taco salads or hot in soups, etc! It is a game changer that started us into actually eating those dry beans we had stored for so many years! 😉
              https://pin.it/7e1U8TG

              Gardenpat in Ohio
              HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        4. We keep beans for a long time and sometimes when they’re older they take a longer time to cook, but we soak all our beans for about 36 hours and 3 changes of water and then cook them in the pressure cooker. We do add salt and in the pressure cooker, with the long soak, they do get soft. Soaking and changing the water several times also helps make them more digestible.

        5. I soak my beans overnight and cook for 22-24 minutes in my instant pot. I’ve had some of our canned dry beans for 10+ years.

    3. I think that I have enough for me for about 3 months and I don’t really have room for anything more. What I do now is use what I have – rotating between fresh, frozen and shelf stable (tins & jars) and then I buy what is on sale and backfill that way. I may not always replace the exact same item but it will be something comparable. I’ve also been thinking about doing more batch cooking – I generally make extras when I cook but may look at concentrating on a big batch cook once a month – perhaps one month cook up a few ground beef recipes and the next month cook up a few different recipes using chicken. I’m looking at giving myself more of a break from day to day cooking without resorting to “fast food” or “store bought “ready meals”.
      While I am fascinated by some of the “prepper pantries” that I see on Youtube – I do have to be sensible. I only need to wash my hair twice a week so 4 bottles of shampoo will pretty much do me for a year – a container of deodorant lasts two months – a tube of toothpaste over a month – so I think it’s important to look at you and your family’s actual needs. Toiletries can “go bad” and you don’t want to end up losing money in the long run.

      1. I am employing pretty much the same practice you describe. I agree with your assessment of some of the prepper pantries. It does have to be done with knowledge of your family’s usage and what is practical for your life. I still have a stash of razors I got for free during the coupon craze after the recession of ’08. Fortunately, they don’t go bad and I had the space for them but that would not be the case with many other items.

      2. Margie I’m right there with you. I wash my hair twice a week or so and I’ve had the same bottle of shampoo for a year. I might keep one extra on hand usually. I have done so well in the past in stocking about what we’d use in a year’s time that I don’t feel overwhelmed with my supplies, which is my goal.
        I do stock a bit more heavily on food. My goal has always been enough for my household of 2/3 and enough to share with my two nearest family households if needed. Twice over the past four years I’ve supplied full pantries for my family from my own supplies and managed to keep enough on hand to rotate our stock for us.
        The biggest game changer for me has been the determination to use ALL of the stuff rather than let anything spoil or toss it because I can’t figure out how we can eat it. I’m not quite where I want to be yet, knowing there are other things I might do to expand our foodstuffs still further, but I’ve learned a whole lot over the past year of attempting to use all and it’s been eye opening.

        1. Terri, I’m with you on stocking what we actually use all the time. I don’t stock items like soy sauce or capers or spices or whatever that I don’t often use, or don’t use much. When I need those items, I just buy one. If I couldn’t get to the store, or they were out of stock, I’d substitute an ingredient, or cook something else, and put it on my list for another time. My stockpile would easily last 4-6 months. Some things would last a year. (I buy a year’s worth of items that typically only go on sale once a year). I aim to keep things moving and I do NOT throw out “expired” food. Food does not expire, per se.

    4. I think the method to the stocking needs to be adjusted because there is so much uncertainty on what could be available in coming months. When you concider the great depression went on for years (and I don’t know that there was an availability problem as much as a cost problem), and the world tensions between Russia, N, Korea, Us ect adding to the mix (remember the 40’s brought shortages due to war). Carefully reconsider what are basic needs, what can you produce your self, what marketable skills do you have, and as far as food again start with basics and build on to it. Don’t forget to have a stash of fun food, goodies or or such for stir the appitite from food boredom.For me, as soon as I think my ducks are in a row I discover one of them went swimming LOL

    5. I have felt the same way. However, I caught the delta variant of Covid and almost died. I am still on oxygen. This is day 49 for me. My stockpile has been a major blessing and kept my husband out of the stores for a long time. I cannot go out. Remember our stockpiles are for various reasons.

      1. I’m so sorry you’ve been so sick. I’m hoping you recover now and are past the worst of it. It is good that you had a great stockpile.

      2. Cassandra, I thought of you with our own situation. I have a brother who was hospitalized with Covid. He didn’t have anyone to care for him so I drove six hours roundtrip to bring him here. I’m so grateful that I did. That night his concentrator quit working and he was too sick to figure all of that out. Then he developed blood clots in his lungs and was hospitalized here. My local siblings have really helped. In our family, one brother has a hyperbaric chamber plus infared saunas that we have done on top of other things. Also, they’ve helped with driving him to PT. Some family members have helped with costs of things that we are doing. I have a doctor brother who calls every day to check on him and emails me ideas of things to try. I believe that bringing him here saved his life. I’m so grateful that we have done that. I’ve hardly gone to the store. I haven’t had time or really financial resources. The food and other supplies that we’ve had here have really made a difference. There are so many needs that we may have. This was an unusual need but having food and supplies made it possible for me to do what I needed to do.

    6. Balance is always a good thing to strive for! I’m with you in trying to reach it.

      I home-preserve for a year at a time. I actually strive to have more than a year’s worth in case of crop failure or more need than I thought I had. I keep track with a record I keep in a blank journal from the Dollar Store. I keep it simple. I write down how many jars are left over after the winter, and how many new ones I do of each item. Then, I have an idea of what I used in order to can a reasonable amount to get us through the next winter. But, no matter how much I try to figure it out, there’s a little give and take in any given year. People stop “loving” pears, or whatever, and there are lots of those left over. Covid hits and we eat way more of my preserved food than ever before because we are avoiding the stores. Etc., etc., etc.

      In my pantry, I have some of pretty much every item I frequently cook with. I just buy more when I see an excellent sale or notice that that area of the shelf is getting skimpy.

      I don’t really stress over it. I clean and organize the pantry a couple times each year to keep things from getting lost, such as unusual items received for Christmas, something hidden in the back, or something we don’t really like very well after all…

      We have plenty of food. There may be times we may have to eat non-preferred food, but I’m confident we can weather most storms. But, we never, ever can store every single thing we could ever use in a trying time. We just do our best. It’s all any of us can do:)

    7. Many thanks to all of you for your replies. Unlike Cindy, I don’t have a 2 year supply of red beans. I have a few cans of red kidney beans but I know I’ll never use the dried red beans. On the other hand, I keep a lot of peanut butter. As Margie noted, there’s only so much room for storing and while I’m looking at areas in my home to put things, much as Brandy described in her story about why they have the pantry they have and how she did it, there still is only so much room. I think I’m at 3-4 months of most non-perishables and 1-2 months of perishables, depending on the item. I’m going to stop buying most things for now and try to use what’s in the freezer, such as last year’s strawberries because our local berries will be in stores in another 10 weeks or so. I’ll be starting seeds later this month, too, so by late April or early May I’ll have produce from the garden too.

      Thanks again for your feedback. I think my biggest problem is I don’t do well with uncertainty and that’s one thing that has really been in abundance for the last 2 years.

      1. I don’t know the formulas to calculate the monthly cost of running a freezer, (once the freezer is paid for). But just trying to estimate it, if I buy a turkey and save $40 dollars, (a twenty pound turkey I get for two dollars off a pound), and I store it for ten months before I cook it, that works out to having to spend less than $4 a month on storage to make it a deal. Is that freezer space more valuable with something else in it? Is it only a deal if I cook the turkey within just a few months?
        Cupboard and shelf costs are sort of subsidized, because they just take up open spaces that already exist in my house or basement. Freezers have electricity costs.

        1. Heidi Louise, I’ve always wondered the same thing about freezers. I know many people here have freezers–plural–but I think some of the savings from good deals evaporate when you consider the initial purchase price plus the ongoing cost of electricity. My current freezer is 13 cf and it’s full. Big freezers and multiple freezers make the most sense for people who either have wild game or meat they’ve butchered themselves…IMO.

          1. Or makes the most sense for people who eat the meat relatively quickly. If I save my hypothetical turkey for only five months, I have broken even if I spend less than eight dollars a month storing it, rather than four dollars a month storing it for ten months. The longer the stuff is in the freezer, the less money is saved.
            Then enter into the equation habits about stocking up. My Mom grew up on a farm and even though we lived in town when I was growing up, she would only grocery shop once a week or less and maintained a lot in food storage. She also didn’t like to shop with the kids along. My husband’s family was different; they lived in town, for a while right next to the grocery store, and his mom would shop pretty much once a day. Money might have been tight as well. Without consciously doing so, he and I have adjusted to each other’s shopping patterns and sort of combined them both.
            And if a train leaves Las Vegas traveling at 55 miles an hour, and another train leaves Chicago traveling at 45 miles an hour….

    8. I may be alone in this, but I do not like to stock up on toiletries, cosmetics etc. I totally use old product and then I get a new one. It seems to me that otherwise I tend to use more of an old product to get rid of an old bottle and wait for it to get empty which makes me feel bad towards the product. Also I do not have good place for storing. It seems to me that I save money by doing it this way or I spend as much and I like it better.

    9. I feel as if I am trying to be cautiously aware of my situation. So I am not actively stocking up, however if I run across my usual deals I am taking advantage of them. Yesterday I did a CVS deal that included laundry soap, tp, paper plates that was too cheap to pass up. I feel like it is more important to pay off credit and save then continue to overstock and waste precious resources.

  3. Hello Everyone!
    This week I finished the valance for the bathroom. We re-used the same rod and leftover fabric and lining to make it. The trim arrived and was a perfect match. I have been putting off getting my machine serviced. It’s definitely needed and I will take it in tomorrow. Many other projects wait in my queue.

    I ordered my seeds today. It took me quite awhile to find valid promo codes so I will share them with you all! Territorial Seeds for 10% off: JOEGARDENER. Park Seed for 20% off: PSBDAY20. Park Seeds is the only place I’ve found that sells actual pelleted potato seeds vs. seed potatoes. The pelleted seeds grew more potatoes for me than the seed potatoes. Plus, it’s less expensive. I also ordered a dwarf avocado tree. I still cannot find the right almond tree so I’ll keep searching the nurseries. In addition, I ordered stevia and lemongrass seeds. We’ll see how that goes. From the garden we ate cabbage, salad, radishes, and broccoli.

    My family has focused on yard clean up this weekend. We enlisted everyone’s help to get the yard in better condition. My husband pruned our fruit trees. The yard still needs another weekend or two of all hands in though! It’s hard to keep up with as the sun and rain combo makes for ideal weed growing conditions.

    We went to a wedding and wore clothes I already owned. We drove several hours to the wedding and left the same day to save on hotel expenses. I had to get gas for the first time in a month. Gas is now $4.22/gallon at Costco gas station in my area.

    Our oven is broken, but still under warranty. It’s the second range they’ve sent us and it’s broken within 6 months, too. Ugh! In the meantime, instead of roasting a whole chicken( already defrosted) we’ll cut it up and cook it on the stove top. I’ll need to bake bread using the bread machine. I’m thankful I have one! It’s very inconvenient to have a broken oven for those who bake and cook from home 99% of the time! I don’t know how you went so long without it Brandy!

    I forgot to mention last week I mailed a late Christmas gift to a family member. UPS had a discount code that saved me $4 and was less expensive than USPS. Never hurts to shop around for shipping. Great deal on the pretty silver tray! I need to make time to yard sale. : ) Have a blessed, healthy, and beautiful week!

    1. The stove top still worked. The oven part did not. I cooked mostly on the top of the stove, and we adjusted our meals.

      1. I was thinking the same thing!! I so miss the days that appliances weren’t disposable. It’s ridiculous to address climate change and environment when appliances work a couple of years before heading to the landfill. Ugh.

      2. It’s a GE Cafe brand range. It had nearly 5 star ratings on Home Depot, Lowes and Costco websites. I am astonished and extremely disappointed that we’ve had so much trouble with 2 identical ones. I’m guessing quality control has been badly affected by Covid. My old cheap Kenmore was more reliable! 🤷🏻‍♀️

        1. We just bought a new LG stove and I kept smelling propane. Turned out it was the safety valve. They replaced it, but had to pay for two house calls first and my husband found out what was wrong. Very disappointed. 1 house call for a new gas line $175 and another house call for another bogus claim.

    2. If you are looking for specialty herb and medicinal plant seeds go to richters,com a company located in Ontario Canada. I have not ordered for a couple of years but they have ALL KINDS , you will be surprised at what they carry.

  4. Gas is $2.87 in college town and $3.30 two hours south. I made a mulberry cobbler with frozen mulberries from my tree. I bought chicken leg quarters at 79 cents a lb, and ground beef for $3.39 a ob. Neither price I was thrilled with but I am learning to let go of what was and adjust to new prices. I made chicken salad with leftover chicken and onions, mustard green soup, baked potatoes and onions. I made hamburgers, and chicken flavored with teriyaki sauce, onions, and rice for my middle son. I will take a ham and cheese sandwich for work lunches. It has turned cold and I used a $1 pool noodle cut into to cover the outdoor faucet. I tape it on with duct tape. I closed off bedrooms and slept in living room with heater so I didn’t not have to heat the entire house.! I slept in my 10 degree rated sleeping bag and was warm.

    1. I bought gas for $2.83/gallon this morning about 5 miles from my house while I was in that area. The closest station to my house is $3.05/gallon. Gasbuddy.com is showing prices ranging from $2.80 to $3.10 just in my town.

  5. —-I read “The Christmas Bookshop,” as well. It reminded me of a Hallmark Christmas movie, but it was an easy, sweet read. Last week I picked up a non-fiction book at the library called “Gardening Hacks: 300+ Time and Money Saving Hacks.” It’s a great little book….I have copied many notes from it!
    —Target offered 15% off their Good and Gather store brand items, so I got several good deals on food items, such as egg noodles for 70 cents a package.
    —I watch a few frugal-themed channels on YouTube. I got an easy, delicious recipe from Frugal Money Saver last week, that I will be adding to our rotation. You take brat size sausage links (I used 2) slice those, add peeled, cubed potatoes, onions, spices (i.e. Italian blend) and olive oil, then bake at 400 for about 55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. It’s a great recipe for stretching meat! I used hot Italian Beyond Meat links, because my husband prefers vegan.
    —I spot cleaned my children’s coats, rather than laundering them. All of the stains came out and dried almost instantly.
    —We only use our dishwasher about twice a week now. We have found that dusting crumbs off and reusing plates, rinsing and reusing designated coffee mugs, rather than getting out new ones, helps tremendously. Nothing oversized goes in the dishwasher…we wash those items by hand, as efficiently as possible.
    —I have a patio lemon tree that has lemons forming all over it! I live in the Midwest, so this is a tree I keep inside in a sunny window.

    Have a great week!

      1. Thanks, Kathy! I will check it out. It’s amazing how simple some of these recipes are, but I just didn’t think of them myself!

  6. We have about a foot of snow on the ground with more due the end of the week. The 55 mph wind gusts last night were wild to listen to but I just snuggled further under the covers with a cat or two and was so grateful for a wood stove and a cozy house. We love love the snow and have been enjoying our daily hikes in our woods even more than usual. The snow amplifies sound but, at the same time, the world feels just a bit more peaceful. My feeders are covered with birds which keeps the cats entertained, my dog gave herself a snow bath (very effective) and the chickens and bees are all cozy in their respective homes. Carrying things to my neighbors is an easier task with a sled, too. I know not all enjoy snow even if they live where it is abundant but I hope all are warm and comfortable in their corner of the world.
    We were blessed with 3 big boxes of canned and boxed food items by way of a neighbor whose tenant moved out of their property and left a bunch of things behind. We have been helping clean the home out for the next tenants and have been given many things in addition to the food – a head lamp (we use these all the time for farm chores), paper for my artist son, a small set of screwdrivers for my tinkerer son, a pretty handmade pottery plant pot for me, and a very sturdy table with drawers my oldest son is using as a desk in his room. We are always happy to help as we have a good time together and they are glad to know someone can use the left behind items. Plus, it keeps anyone from having to haul it to a thrift store.
    While visiting a local pharmacy, I discovered a free vitamin program that I hope will be of use to some of the other readers. If you have a Good Neighbor Pharmacy participating pharmacy in your area, this may be an option for you. The vitamins are free on a monthly basis and are not based on income – just available for anyone who asks. They are dispensed through the pharmacy like a prescription even though they are an OTC item. I got vitamins for everyone in the family at no cost. I typically buy much more than a month’s worth of vitamins at a time but I can easily make this pharmacy part of my town errand once a month. The savings are worthwhile, I think.
    https://www.mygnp.com/pharmacies/programs/healthy-kids-free-vitamins/
    When not outside playing in the snow, we have been able to work more on the interior of the house – namely, putting up and painting trim. We got one bathroom done and the hallway outside it trimmed and caulked so I can paint it later this week. Finishing a house is like eating an elephant – a BIG one – and we keep thinking “one bite at a time, one bite at at a time.” We have saved SO much money and it helps that I am a patient person (mostly.)
    I just got notice that my husband’s employer fully funded our HSA account this year (it was reduced last year as a cost-savings effort.) It is very useful to have that extra bit. My children and I go to the dentist soon and I can pay for it with the HSA account with no money OOP that I have to wait to have reimbursed (which is what sometimes happens.)
    I have made a goal to spend less than $300 on groceries and household items this month and am significantly below that with half the month left. Trying to use things in the larder to rotate stock out and to save some money. Prices continue to go up where we are on most things but gas is coming down – $2.98. Never thought that would be cheap but it is a step in the right direction.
    Have sold a few things in FB groups which clears out things we are not using and helps fund my youngest’s involvement in martial arts.
    One of my favorite things about my home is the woodstove but it becomes even more evident how important it is to our lives when the weather is bitter out. It gives us a cozy place to congregate. It’s interesting to see how people always center themselves around a fire even those who visit us and say they couldn’t live as we do. There must be something primal about it. I am grateful for the exercise harvesting the wood provides as well as hauling it when it is needed in the house. It warms us many times over and it is a very freeing feeling to not need money for heating (or air conditioning as we do not have that, either.) It allows us to keep up some traditional skills that we take great enjoyment and comfort in. Good thing we are easily entertained!
    I hope everyone is safe and snug and enjoying their frugal adventures! I love reading about them all.

    1. I loved reading your post Mountain Mama Dawn. The way you describe the walks in the snow reminded me of my walks and playing in the snow as a child. I’d forgotten how much I’d enjoyed it. And the time around the wood burning stove sounds so nice!

      1. Thank you, Tammy. I know a lot of people don’t like snow as adults but I have never outgrown my love for it. Hope things are cozy and snug where you are.

        1. I love how you described the snow.
          When I first moved to MN, I had no idea that snow wouldn’t melt. My winters in northern OK meant 1 day of snow-maybe, and it was always gone the next day.
          Once I embraced it, I started walking then running year-round. I taught our kids to ski, skate and snow shoe. They all love the snow!

          1. Glad you were able to embrace the snow. My Norwegian grandmother was known to say “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” Investing in the appropriate gear to enjoy the outdoors makes all the difference in the world. My kids are in a snowboard club at a local resort and we can sled right from our front door. 🙂

      2. We have a wood burning stove as well , it has saved us so much over the years. We have a local trust company in town they give their scraps away for free. We can keep our house toasty warm for free. I usually buy a cord of hard wood to bank the stove with at night. Then in the morning just add some kindling and away she roars.

    2. I heard today that Unvaccinated Truckers will not be allowed to enter US from Canada and Mexico. I think this will impact us.

  7. What beautiful flowers! I have snow on the ground and a hellebore getting ready to bloom, and that is IT in my garden.

    It was a boring week in northern Idaho USA! We didn’t have to deal with snow removal because the temperatures were mostly above freezing and a month’s worth of snow is melting. We stayed hunkered down in the house, doing the usual frugal stuff.

    I’m also decluttering. Last week I attacked the paper piles. I started with my desk, which was basically unusable because of paper debris, and got rid of it all–I recycled about 90% and filed the rest. This then inspired me to clean up the whole room, and I got rid of more stuff (though not enough). There are still some papers lying around (there will ALWAYS be papers at my house) but I’m basically done! In the process, I found so many office supplies that I’ll never have to buy anything again except for paper and ink.

    I’m still playing a lot of online Scrabble (Words with Friends) with players recruited on this blog. I’m improving a little, although they probably haven’t noticed, LOL! Initially, I lost every game! Now I occasionally win one. I declutter between plays, LOL.

    I shopped at Fred Meyer this week. Their ad was the best in the area and they mailed me coupons based on items I typically buy. I saved $8.81 with digital and paper coupons. I mostly shop at Winco and don’t normally bother with coupons.

    We finished binge-watching all of series 2 of “All Creatures Great and Small” on PBS Passport. Although I’m enjoying this version, the black and white shows made in the 1970s seemed more authentic. Christopher Timothy, the great Robert Hardy and Peter Davison starred. You can watch it free on a trial subscription to Britbox through Amazon.

    I hope everyone here has a great week! I am hoping to get through the rest of the junk this week. Between Scrabble plays, of course!

    1. Maxine, I read an analysis comparing the old and new All Creatures. The writer pointed out that when the first one was made, WWII deprivations were still very fresh in England and regional accents were still very strong and both those things were strongly reflected in those stories. The new one is much more homogenized. I read the books and women did not feature as strongly as leads as they do with the new show. No one will ever replace the original Sigfried for me! Robert Hardy was so terrific.

      1. True about Siegfried, but Tristan! I loved Peter Davison. He later went on to be Dr. Who. Also, the actors that played James and Helen had incredible chemistry. They were having a torrid affair and that might have had something to do with it, LOL. I have a friend who lives in Yorkshire and when we visited them in 1998, they took us on a road trip through the Yorkshire Dales. I re-read all of the Herriot books before we went.

        1. I love all of the Herriot books. They were some of the first adult level books I read as a young teen. I so wanted to be a country vet like Herriot but those times had passed by then, sadly. Yorkshire is beautiful – I visited as a college student. The new show (what little I have seen) is good but I agree the old one is more in keeping with the books.

  8. Smart woman your mom! I love silver plate trays and bowls to use every day or dropping off cookies for someone.
    I am also happily envious of your gardening right now as it is either wet, frozen, or snow-covered here. I did see your post about lettuce planting and have that marked on the calendar to not forget this upcoming early spring.
    A pretty calm week here. All necessities (food/utilities) have gone up around 18%. I’m adding 2 new columns in my budget for Amazon and Entertainment for my mostly homebound parents. I am very fortunate to have 2 awesome parents, so I really don’t mind adding that column for a monthly day trip or puzzle/craft. Thankfully where I work, I can get the latter for next to nothing out of pocket.
    Stretched broccoli by making a broccoli pasta salad recipe from Skinnytaste. Used up every scrap of leftovers. I hid my stocking treat/snack stash to keep it out of sight out of mind to make it last longer.
    Moved the drying rack near a vent to add moisture into the air.
    Bundled up and then added more layers to go for a walk for exercise and to meet up with a friend.
    Made another gift to the recipients’ personality/taste from materials I already had bought (years ago). Keeping myself busy in the evening with these keeps me distracted from worry.
    Last week there were comments about a car emergency bag – and where I have a few items in my car at all times – it was nice to see other items that I can pull from the house to make up a better bag for such an instance. Thank you all.
    I hope everyone has a calm week!

  9. The pergola is going to be beautiful! I’m watching All Creatures Great and Small as well. That is the area where I grew up.
    I read a sweet book called A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus- from the library of course. I’ve also browsed the Tightwad Gazette and am reading Your Money or Your Life. The inspiration is good.
    I sold 2 items and put the money towards new end tables that I bought. I gave away many things through Buy Nothing. Usually items get picked up off my porch and I don’t see who is picking up. But I was outside gardening when one lady picked up a trellis I was giving, and we had a nice chat.
    I planted 2 more grapevines and a pomegranate tree. I received discounts on these at the nursery since it seems that most nurseries give a discount to Master Gardeners. I asked for sand on my Buy Nothing group. I needed it to amend the clay soil that I have, to give the grapevines a better chance. Someone had just finished a project and had a full bag of clean sand to give me.
    I have things growing in a rigged-up “greenhouse” (wire shelves with heavy plastic over them). I have calendula, Jupiter’s Beard, climbing roses, salvia and coyote mint all growing from cuttings. While weeding at the community garden where I volunteer, I kept the borage seedlings that they wanted cleared out of their paths. I brought them home and planted them in left over garden center 6-pack containers. They are doing so well.
    I picked kale and radishes. I made pickled carrots and radishes. I also thinned the radish patch and kept all the greens that I’d thinned. Apparently they can be sauteed like any other greens (these are the fuzzy kind that don’t make for lovely eating in a salad).
    I received the $20 from the Philadelphia offer from Christmas. That was a lovely surprise!

  10. Good deal on the silverplate tray! I do wonder what response the seller was expecting, though. “Yes I’m very interested in it, let me pay you $20 instead of $1.” Haha.

    Last week we continued to cook and eat almost all meals at home. We made chicken bacon ranch pasta with leftover bacon from a weekend breakfast, baked cod with parmesan risotto and green beans, ham and cheese quiche, homemade pizza, and a couple of other meals that I can’t remember at the moment. On a cold and windy Saturday morning we started a pot of chili in the slow cooker, so we were able to enjoy a hot meal when we got home after a day out. My husband made a pan of cornbread to go with it, and we really enjoyed it. I froze the leftover chili for a future easy meal. I baked a loaf of sourdough bread and honey whole wheat in my bread machine. My husband had all-day meetings each day at work, and lunch was provided. I brought my own lunches, snacks, and coffee to work each day, or came home at lunchtime to eat something. I was gifted a pumpkin spice quick bread mix at work.

    Our weather continues to be mild and occasionally cold, so we are able to continue avoiding the air conditioner. I know I have mentioned before that our place holds heat very well, so we almost never have to run the heater – I don’t think I’ve had it on at all this season. So far we have not gotten below 69 indoors. At night I close all the windows and then open them when the sun is out the next day. It is so nice being able to enjoy the fresh air as well as the electricity savings.

    Butter was on sale $1.49/lb at Tom Thumb/Randalls. I had it on the shopping list anyway, so I bought the limit of 2 boxes and put into the freezer. I saw nice sized shank half hams on markdown for around $4 each, but did not purchase one, due to freezer space. I earned $100 in Amazon gift cards through my employer’s health insurance. We added them to our account and will wait until we need something. I did a small Target pickup order for a couple of items. I find that this tends to save me money (and time) because I’m not wandering around the store browsing and buying unnecessary items. The staff was quite busy and it ended up taking about 15 minutes for them to bring our order out, so they gave us a $15 gift card as compensation. I certainly did not expect that (and would not have complained about the order time, it really wasn’t bad at all), but I was happy to receive the gift card. We set it aside for a future purchase. We worked on our grocery and supply lists and went to Costco and HEB to stock up on items we needed. One of those items was ground beef, and I was (once again) surprised at the prices. I know they’ve been increasing, but typically HEB has good deals on meat, and there were none. We also noticed a LOT of empty shelves and unavailable items. We kept joking about WWII-style rationing, but it is beginning to feel like a reality with all of the shortages and inflation. We are focusing on staying stocked up – so when we use something, we purchase a replacement. I don’t want to let any of our supplies get too low, given the current climate and the way prices keep increasing. I also watch my store ads for sales and loss leaders each week and purchase those items if it is something we need.

    I stopped into a Walgreens one afternoon to pick up a prescription and while waiting, noticed that the men’s shaving/grooming area had a lot of items marked down, 50% to 75% off or more. I called my husband and purchased quite a few things for him (shave gel, aftershave balm, face lotion, cleanser, deodorant, etc.) Some were marked down to around $1 for items that were originally $12+. A couple of days later I stopped at the Walgreens by my office, and ran into the same thing, but with even more markdowns. The clerk told me they were redoing the men’s sections, so clearing a lot of things out. We were able to stock up on shaving and grooming products for my husband at the discounted prices. I’m not sure if all Walgreens stores are doing this or only my area.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  11. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I love the silver tray and the funny comment the vendor made to your Mum. I know your Mum often buys nice things, she has a good eye too.
    Excellent news this week! We pay for our electricity on a monthly direct debit which is adjusted according to useage over three months and our monthly amount has reduced from £94 to £58! Our efforts to reduce consumption are paying off and if we can sustain this lower amount it’s a big saving per annum which will help to offset other rising prices.
    Talking of which……. meat is becoming crazy expensive. I bought a tray of 30 eggs for £3.30 which makes each egg 11 pence. A two/ three egg omelette is much cheaper protein! I also bought a big pack of ham offcuts from the deli counter for £2.50 and have used some in sandwiches, salad, omelettes and quiche. The supermarket is Morrisons if UK readers are interested.
    I used leftover mashed potato to make potato cakes for breakfast and some sad vegetables together with beans and a small amount of orzo pasta made minestrone for two meals.
    I mended a pair of trousers.
    My husband searched online for good prices on fruit bushes and has planted three more blackcurrants, three more red currants and another gooseberry. He also moved a gooseberry bush to a better position. We received a free pack of Pak Choi seeds with a seed order.
    We picked up six big cardboard boxes free from a white goods shop and my husband used them in his newest no dig garden beds.
    I tidied and decluttered my fabric/ craft cupboard and discovered some forgotten treasures.
    I needed another beanie hat and found one for £1 in a charity shop.
    I planted up a pot of iris reticulata in the autumn and this week moved them inside so we could appreciate the flowers.
    The door lock on our conservatory was replaced a year ago and failed again. The workman sent out by the company said he thought it had been installed incorrectly last time and we will not be charged for the replacement or his labour.
    I finished a cross stitch and needed a board to stretch it on. We had replaced some rather tatty old cork placemats but kept a couple in the garage in case the cork was useful and one made a successful stretching board.
    Stay safe everyone.

  12. Good deal on the cement mixer! I love that your Mom keeps an eye out for you at yard sales. Last week, I dried several loads of laundry on the line. I had a pile of kraft paper I’d set aside to reuse for gift wrapping, but didn’t use this holiday. I ironed it all, and put it with the holiday things, so it will be ready for next year. I cooked with lots of our homegrown items, including tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, parsley, butternut squash, cabbage, sweet potatoes, potatoes, lettuce, broccoli and homemade broth. So thankful to have a well-stocked pantry. I picked up books and documentaries at the library, to be sure I had plenty to enjoy during the winter storm. I’m currently reading The Dutch House. My husband and I started a jigsaw puzzle during the storm, which ended up being mostly sleet. I’m taking walks with the pups daily, though they’ve been a bit shorter lately. The chickens got a warming treat of powdered milk, grains, and powdered lambs quarter and nettles. A bag of figs in the freezer was used up in oatmeal during the week. I strained and bottled usnea tincture, stevia glycerite, lemon balm glycerite, and pine needle vinegar. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/01/a-little-winter-weather.html

    1. I would love to know your recipe for stevia glycerite. I grow stevia here in Piedmont NC, I see you are from somewhere east of here.

      1. I love what you are doing in your yard, Brandy! So impressed with your vision and your (and your husband’s) ability to make it happen.

        Does anyone else go through the post and the comments and take notes like I do? So many great ideas. I have a garden planner I purchased on sale and any garden related ideas go into it. Other ideas/ information that I want to refer to later go into my regular planner (also purchased on sale).

        Like many of you, we are eating from our pantry, fridge and freezer. We purchase items we need on sale when possible to replace what we’ve used. We have Albertsons here in Southern Utah, and use their app to take advantage of weekly deals.

        Last Fall a friend shared her personal harvest of grapes and we have been enjoying delicious unsweetened grape juice ever since. My mother-in-law gave me her steam juicer years ago and I steamed over 8 buckets of grapes. I froze the juice in pint mason jars and then put them in our garage freezer. Such a great treat to pull a jar out! We have 6 pints left.

        I enjoyed reading the comments discussing why/what/how much to put aside. My husband and I have had food storage from the first year of our marriage. We have saved so much money on food/non-food over our 39 years together by buying in bulk, on sale, taking advantage of our garden and gleaning from other’s orchards. What a blessing it has been to us!

        Our Vitamix motor died yesterday. We inherited this one 10 years ago when my parents no longer needed it. I had one before that for 10 years given to me by a company I developed recipes for. Prior to that, we received one as a wedding gift and used it for 15 years. It looks like today I will need to go to Costco and buy one. Thankfully we have it in our budget to do so.

        I’ve been reviewing our garden seed needs. I do save seed from heirloom plants. I’m waiting for Dollar Tree in my area to put out the seed displays. The seed is excellent and you can’t beat the price at 4/$1.

      2. Hi Jean! The recipe I used was:

        1/3 cup dried coarsely ground stevia leaves
        3/4 cup distilled water (I used our filtered rainwater)
        1 cup non-GMO vegetable glycerin

        -Place dried stevia leaves in a mason or other jar
        -Add the distilled water and glycerin
        -Wipe the rim of the jar, then place wax paper on top of the jar and cap tightly
        -Shake the contents thoroughly
        -Label and store in a dark location
        -Shake the glycerite mix frequently over the next 14 days
        -After two weeks, filter the mix through cheesecloth and place the liquid in a jar. Label and cap tightly
        -Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for up to a year.
        I store all my glycerites in the pantry, not in the fridge, and they seem fine. I did steep it longer than suggested, though I don’t remember exactly how long. You may know that glycerin itself is quite sweet. When I tasted the finished glycerite, I wasn’t sure if the stevia added much to it. Try a little batch, and see what you think. Yes, I’m in the Seagrove area, and happy to know another of Brandy’s followers is nearby.

  13. It was a great, frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I made a pot of chili using ingredients I had on hand, which fed us for two meals.
    I turned a lot of apples from the markdown bin into an apple crisp. This week, 3# bags of apples are on sale for .97, so I may make another. It’s good for breakfast or dessert.
    I bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    Kroger put out a new display of red, gold, and green Ghiradelli chocolates (2 weeks after Christmas), which rang up 70% off. I have been eating the green ones (mint), and will save the red and gold candies for the kids’ teachers. I bought some Christmas wrapping paper when it went to 90% off.
    I stopped by Joe V’s, an HEB equivalent to Aldi, and many of the things I regularly buy are cheaper there than at Aldi. Bacon was $1.97 for 12 oz, bananas .33/#, bread was .68/loaf, 1# frozen vegetables are still .87/bag, and their spaghetti sauce is still .80. Aldi has gone up about 5% on a lot of the things I buy, so this will save me a little money. Plus, the produce is better quality than Aldi. I am completely fine with store brands.
    A dad from our scout group has a band saw, and he very generous cut four kids’ pinewood derby cars for us on Saturday. We took him a plate of (homemade) chocolate chip cookies in appreciation.
    I wrapped up a birthday gift (new in box) from Goodwill Outlet for a party one son went to. It probably came to about a dollar, plus the family fed him Chickfila nuggets and cake at the party. While he was at the party, the other kids and I went to a salvage store on $5 day. We bought a 9-pack of beef jerky, a gallon of lime juice, a 6 box pack of Triscuit crackers, and a few other things I can’t remember. They had a lot of coffee, which I may go back to buy tomorrow, on $1 day. Most of it is about to expire or recently expired, or a Target or Amazon return. There are some good deals if you’re willing to dig for them.
    One son vacuumed out our old (but still running) van. I hope I don’t have to replace it anytime soon.
    I took my youngest to story time at the library, which was fun.
    I paid some bills online to save stamps.
    I bought a couple of $8 Lily Pulitzer dresses at Goodwill that I sold immediately on Mercari for $23+shipping/each. I should have listed them for more, but it was a quick flip. They were adorable dresses; I love those prints.
    I took sandwiches or snacks and avoided fast food on sports practice nights.
    Our faculty meeting was switched to Zoom, so I saved a trip to campus and a little gas money.
    The windows are open now, as it’s sunny and 65 degrees outside.
    Evidently I qualify for free TurboTax Deluxe through Fidelity. Will start my taxes once the forms start to arrive.
    Frugal fails: oldest son has to get a cavity filled on Thursday, running toilet that I didn’t know about led to a much higher water bill (now fixed, but still pricey), and oldest daughter signed up to go to a church event at a trampoline park, $30 that I didn’t budget for. That’s life, I suppose. Sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back, but the bills are paid, the kids are healthy, and things could always be much worse. I’m thankful for all my blessings!

  14. Brandy,
    I like your garage sale story! And that is great that you made money on the cement mixer!

    My husband’s truck needs fixed. He called around and can’t get it in until Feb. to be fixed, and that is if they can get the parts they need. So he is using my car. I may drive him to work on some days so I can have it on those days. At least we have one vehicle. We can’t buy another vehicle at this time. So, I am hoping that they are able to get parts.

    I made split pea soup with a ham bone that I ‘d saved. We originally paid 89 cents a lb for the ham. We also pulled ham chunks out and my husband made ham salad for lunches today. I made burritos with ground pork, cheese quesadillas, eggs on toast, cornbread, malto-meal, oatmeal, popcorn, German pork burgers, chili, salads, salmon( that we bought a long time ago and had frozen), mushrooms that I bought for 78 cents with miso, Uncle Bens wild rice, as a treat with our meal. We also ate fruit and veggies that I bought on sale for snacks. We also made a dish we call the Montreal dish. The lady I stayed with years ago when studying French made it. It was wonderful! She used Linguine noodles with tuna, capers, black olives, garlic, lemon and olive oil and parsley and can be served hot or cold. It is a family favorite.Oh yes, my husband made yogurt again. We made most meals at home. This week the plan is to eat at home before we go to town to shop for groceries. I have not been in the stores in a couple of weeks and wonder what I will see, or not see at the store.
    We ate at a Italian restaurant that we had never been to before. The prices were cheaper than other places and it was wonderful! We pass it all the time when going to town and never have stopped. I let myself enjoy it without worrying about spending money. I’ve become so frugal that sometimes I guilt myself when spending money. My husband told me that we make money so we can enjoy ourselves as well as pay the bills. I’m so glad he keeps me balanced! We are being careful in so many ways. Making sure to turn off lights. Washing full loads of laundry and dishes. Eating at home for frugalness and health. Entertaining ourselves with frugal activities such as visiting family and playing games, utilizing the library, planning a garden, cooking together, playing with the dog, talking on the phone, talking at the kitchen table, dancing in the living room, and singing together. I also use app to study languages and the internet to read things. I play instruments at home for entertainment. There are so many free things to do! Oh yes, and cleaning. But I don’t really count that as entertainment. It is just something we do to make our home feel cozy and wonderful! I’m blessed with a husband that helps me clean! Yesterday he cleaned while I made Split Pea and ham soup! I love a pot of soup on the stove and cornbread in the oven!

    I hope to eat at home all this week. I want to save because I know my husband will eventually need another vehicle. I hope my vehicle continues. I have found that eating at home and truly eating budget meals such as beans and food on sale and not wasting what we buy really helps. I love trying new recipes. My family appreciates that and I enjoy it as well. Then, I make old favorites.

    1. Tammy, last night I made almost the exact pasta Montreal dish you described. I used anchovies instead of tuna. Everything was from the pantry and it was delicious!

    2. Tammy, I don’t know what parts are needed for the truck, but is it possible to call around to auto junk yards? My son has fixed many cars getting parts from them. Some yards are better organized than others.

      1. Glenda,
        Thank-you for the idea. We ended up finding a place that could get the truck in and fix it. We got the truck back today. My husband would have loved to fix it himself, but he didn’t have the tools and a place to fix it. It was over $700 dollars. That is a lot. But it is better than making new truck payments in our opinion. I’m so glad we were able to get it fixed. I will have to remember your idea of calling junk yards.

  15. Finding chicken in East Tennessee has been challenging! My brother in Florida has found the same to be true there. Not sure what this means in the long run. This was beginning to occur before the Snows! Anyone else having the same problem?

    1. I live in the Atlanta metro suburbs and am noticing it, too. I’ve had a hard time finding boneless, skinless chicken thighs (our preferred cut) since Christmas.

    2. We have chicken here in Pennsylvania but the prices have increased. Seems to be a supply and demand issue since many folks are avoiding beef with the increase in prices and opting for chicken instead.

    3. If you have any local butcher shops, try calling them to see if they have chicken. We have not had chicken shortages here lately, but during the Covid lockdown I was able to get meat from the butcher shop when no one else had any.

    4. In SC low country (near the coast), there wasn’t much chicken or beef at Walmart and Aldi’s today but the Aldi checkout clerk said they are low on a lot of stuff because their warehouse is in North Carolina and the snowstorms impacted deliveries. However, chicken has been pretty sporadic and beef only half stocked most times in the past couple months. Walmart had a lot of pork.

      I buy my beef from sevensons.net and will probably start buying chicken there, too. My pork and eggs come from a local pig farm. None of these are inexpensive but the animals are not factory farmed and that’s important to me.

      1. Interesting; I haven’t seen much pork nor chicken. It was almost all beef here-the opposite of usual.

        1. There is a bird flu in the UK and Israel that I heard was affecting chicken. I forget which country also had a disease in the pork. And of course there is a push to have people consume less meat.

    5. I may not be too far from you (in Western NC) and am finding a little less options with chickens in stores but chicken thighs and drumsticks have remained at $1.29/lb. for a while now. They used to be 99 cents/lb. but I think those days are long gone. Other cuts of chicken have gone up even more.

  16. Can’t wait to see pictures of the finished pergola!

    My frugal stuff this week included:

    *Fixing most of the items in my mending/darning pile.

    *Dinners last week were roasted sausage/potatoes/cabbage/apples, spaghetti, tomato soup with grilled cheese, bean and millet burritos, orange chicken/broccoli/rice, pork roast/veggies, and borscht. I put half of the tomato soup in the freezer for a future meal.

    *Received $2.17 cash back from RetailMeNot for purchases made in December.

    *Received a $20 refund from a doctor visit… apparently they charged me the wrong co-pay, and somehow I didn’t notice. I thought that doctor was considered a specialist, not a PCP, so I didn’t question it at the time.

    *Sunday we had cold temperatures and snow! In-person church was cancelled (along with many other things in our area), so we were forced to stay home. Really it was the threat of icy roads keeping people home (metro Atlanta shuts down anytime there’s snow or ice, since it’s rare and we’re all ill-equipped). So we saved money by not going anywhere.

    *Made a large batch of liquid hand soap.

    Looking forward to hearing about everyone else’s frugal week!

  17. Favorite frugal efforts for the past few weeks –

    – Happily eating from the pantry and freezer, using up leftovers, and learning new ways to use my Instantpot.
    – When picking up milk and on-sale fruit/veggies at Aldi, I noticed that eggs have doubled in price (now $1.65/dozen) and milk has gone up $1 per gallon (now $2.80). At first I was disquieted by this. But then I reflected on prices 40 years ago when I was a newlywed college student. I don’t remember the exact price of eggs in 1981, but milk was over $3/gallon. Sugar was over $2 for a 5lb bag. That’s about the price for 4lbs at my Aldi here in NE Ohio today. The greatest difference is that minimum wage then was around $3.50 an hour whereas today it’s $10-$15. Inflation in 1981 was over 10%. But, it did not last. Things improved a lot over the years. I do not lose hope and try to keep a healthy perspective. I’m also praying for guidance and provision.
    – Combined errands and a lunch outing with friends.
    – When in town to purchase paint and supplies to paint our bedroom this week, I stopped at the thrift shop and found some children’s books for my grandchildren and a summer top for myself.
    – Cashed in “appreciation points” from work, part of which I converted to a Lands End gift e-card. I used it to purchase a deeply discounted much-needed lightweight winter jacket. I was inspired to shop LE by suggestions here on this blog.

    I’m thankful for the inspiration and encouragement I gather here, and I hope that each reader will have a terrific week!

    1. Your regular prices of milk and eggs astound me at how low they are!

      My parents bought a house in 1980. Their interest rate was over 13%. It is different than before. I read an article this past week about why a lot of the ways things increased before cannot happen again.

      We just have to wait it out and do the best we can.

      1. We bought our small 1200 square foot house- crumbling really in 1981 and had to put 25% down with interest rates 13-15%
        I rolled coins, emptied savings worked extra hours to accomplish this, when rates lowered we refinanced until we paid it off in 2005
        Along the way we have replaced or repaired everything you can think of lol

  18. Since I live in the same genera area as Maxine, my area also saw most of the snow melting. since I am still working, I was grateful for that, for while I enjoy seeing the snow, I do not particularly care to drive in the snow.
    We took our tree down after we had a late Christmas celebration with my son and his wife.
    We ate on the raviloi and ham for a few days.
    I had popcorn for dinner a coupe of times, when I wasn’t feeling very hungry.
    I worked 6 days last week (already busy for tax season). I took breakfast for each day, and lunch all but one. I had a gift card to cover the one day I didn’t bring lunch.
    Had a free oil change for my car.
    The best deal I got was 93% lean round beef for $2.99 a pound, if you purchase the three pound roll. I bought one, then went home and made it into taco meat with homemade seasoning. We will eat on it for a few days, and some will go in the freezer ready to pull out when I am too tired to cook.
    When making the tacos, I noticed my seasoning mix was getting low, so made a triple batch for the pantry.
    Wanted something new for Sunday breakfast, so found an oatmeal muffin with streusel topping recipe online. It was delicious. I might add a little cinnamon next time.
    Cut Dh’s hair.
    I finally found the emotional energy to go through some boxes of paperwork that were from my mother’s apartment from before she passed away last spring. I went through cards and letters that friends and relatives sent (I kept most of those), paperwork from her long term care insurance company denying her claim (I tossed that – did not want to deal with emotions that brought up), bills from other insurances and other communications and bank statements. I spent about an hour with a shredder, shredding paperwork. It was rather cathartic.
    I hope everyone has a fruitful and healthy week.

  19. My mom sent over tomatoes, candy, chips, powdered milk, nutrigrain bars and toaster strudel.

    Worked 3.5 hours extra at my school job. Also got all of my online stuff I had to do turned in(almost 8 hours of stuff) so the extra money will be nice. Ate lunch there all week. I also joined a weight loss challenge at the school. It’s $10 to join, then you owe .50 for every half pound that you gain(if you gain) over the initial weigh in. I’ve lost an additional 17 pounds since I started in November bringing my total 63 pounds in the last year and half. This runs for 12 weeks and I’m hoping this motivates me to take off the additional 23 I want to(more, if possible, but I want reaccess after I hit that milestone)

    Made turkey soup with everything I had on hand. Used stock I made over Christmas break, and used breast chunks I had froze .

    Mended two clothing items

    Received $18.90 additional from the bought milk settlement

    Sold an item and made $15(which covered the $10 for the challenge)

    The youngest had to be on the bus for a wrestling match by 6am Saturday, and I find it difficult to go back to bed after I’m up. I decided to really clean up my desk and files since it was a quiet activity (at least, until I needed to shred). My desk looks great now, and everything is organized.

    Rented 2 redbox movies this weekend. Used $1.25 off and 1 free night rental.

    Used two coupons for free orders of crazy bread from Little Cesar’s

  20. Your new hose bib and the arbor/pergola are gorgeous. Beautiful and they should last forever.
    I’m still staying out of the grocery store for the month of January, with one exception. My local natural foods store had their once-a-year sale on Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes — $1 for 14-ounce cans of any variety. I purchased 22 cans and used 12 of them to make homemade pasta sauce and canned 10 pints. (True story – one year when we put our camper away for the winter, we forgot a jar of store-bought pasta sauce in the back of one cabinet. Over the winter it froze, then in the spring thawed and ran down the wall. There was so much corn syrup in that sauce it was like cleaning up molasses. Since then, I make our pasta sauce.) I made a couple of loaves of sourdough bread. I mended a pair of tights. I mainly wear these under pants or long skirts and they had half a dozen holes that don’t show, but I decided to sew them up so they didn’t get worse. I finished knitting a cardigan I started two years ago, then put aside for a while. It turned out well and it is very warm.

    1. Cindi,
      I never knew store bought pasta sauce contained corn syrup- something I am allergic to so thanks for that info.
      I rarely use it as I normally make my own sauce but that is good information.
      Thanks!!

  21. I love your photos and enjoy reading your post each week. I like that you recouped all your cement mixer money. We recently did that on a car we owned for four years.

    Love your Mum’s garage sale find and conversation!

    I need to look into a device to use for library e-books. It certainly would save time.

    My son is also interested in mazes. It is on my to do list to get him more. Your post has prompted me to search for some.

    I completed 90 minutes of online market research and earned $90 (no tax taken out of this).

    I spent $15 on a Target online order, getting three presents for that amount. It was a good sale. One item was for someone who is particularly difficult to buy for so I was happy. I have a $150 present buying budget for the year so now it is down to $135.

    I wrapped my children’s birthday presents as their upcoming birthdays are within days of each other. I spent $22 on one child and $19.50 on the other child.

    My son wanted Beyblades and a Beyblade stadium which I was able to find second hand, but still new in the box, for $13. I also got him a Thomas the Tank Engine Trackmaster set with Cranky the Crane ($7 second hand but still new in box), a $2 track for his hot wheels cars (second hand) and a box of Lego I got for free from a department store that sent me a birthday coupon for being a member. My daughter wanted a loom band set which I found second hand, but also new in the box, for 50 cents, a new hot wheels truck for $10, a unicorn t-shirt for $2 and a children’s foot spa for $7 that she has been wanting for quite awhile (normal price $40).

    I used the children’s Lego to build two numbers (of the age they are turning) that are about 8 inches tall and stand up on their own. I will put these out on display on their birthday, near their presents. I will also hang bunting I have used for many years.

    I will make a cheesecake and caramel tart with cream for their birthday cakes. We have the family coming over to celebrate too and will make pizza’s. The meat toppings I will use are from the leftover Christmas day food.

    I received a $20 voucher for a department store (Macy’s equivalent). They originally emailed me in December 2021 saying if I made any purchase in store before the end of December 2021 they would send me a $20 voucher in January 2022. I purchased a high quality chocolate bar for $2 and very much enjoyed eating it! I redeemed the voucher in store for a box of Lego, which they were happy to price match, and had a total OOP of $2. I will give it to my daughter for Christmas.

    I buried all fruit and vegetable scraps in the garden, line dried all washing, kept electricity and gas use to a minimum, rode our bikes when we could and only drove our car within our local area if we needed to, saving on gas/petrol.

    1. I read them on my phone! Our libraries use the free Libby app here. Then I just log in with my library card. Check your local library’s website and see what they offer where you live!

      I really didn’t think I would like them, but I do! I like that I never lose my page! It is very nice. I can prop up my phone and read while doing something else, too. That’s nice.

      1. Hallo Brandy…you mentioned never losing your page – is there a way of saving where one is up to when reading all these beautiful comments on your blog please? Maybe I’m missing something.

  22. That was great news about the cement mixer Brandy – and as always your flower photos are beautiful. And yes, your mom has a “great eye” for bargains!

    It was a rather dull week here and I am in that procrastinating mood at the moment – should be able to accomplish a lot more than I have…. I worked from home, managed 3 long walks down at the lake with a friend and only went into the office on Friday for a couple of hours since I had to get my booster shot anyway. So glad that is done!

    I stayed out of the stores and used up half a cooked chicken breast with the last of a bag of salad, ate pasta with sausage & peppers from the freezer, had soup with toast & cheese for a couple of nights and then made a batch of chickpea curry served over rice for a couple of meals (two more servings went into the freezer). It is a good way to use up some of those tins of chickpeas and coconut milk from the pantry.

    I hadn’t planned on going to the stores until the end of this week but with that bad Winter storm moving in I decided to head out early on Sunday morning. It was a beautiful sunny day but minus 14C when I left. I took my bundle buggy and hit the No Frills store and Shoppers Drugmart. I wanted mostly fruit & veg, extra bread and then I spotted turkey pieces which were much better value than the packages of chicken thighs. The drugstore does Saturday & Sunday specials and a number of those items were on my list to replace or add so it was well worth the outing. The drugstore was well stocked but the grocery store was short on a few items (but I wouldn’t really expect them to be fully stocked on a Sunday). I expect we will see a few more gaps as we recover from the storm and deal with the truck driver situation. I’ll be fine – even received another tin of Quality St. chocolates as a belated Christmas present so even have lots of treats. I walked home so managed about 1.5 miles in total so that was the exercise for the day. I probably won’t go back again until payday which will be in about 9 days. I decided to cook up all the turkey pieces at once so they have been in the oven on very low all day – it has helped to keep me warm as I work since my desk is only about 10 feet from the stove! I’ve removed all the meat and added back the bones & skin – added some more water and have put it back on to simmer for a few more hours. I’ll skim the stock tomorrow and then make some turkey noodle soup on Wednesday. I had a lovely turkey dinner tonight and there is enough for at least 3 more suppers plus a generous amount for the soup so it was worth getting out there.

    Today I have worked from home and didn’t even go out for a walk as we have received nearly 60cm (2 feet) of snow – it is a mess out there. The road plows have been working since dawn and the city has just announced that over the next couple of days they will send out the dump trucks to scoop up the snow – they make mountains of snow in many of the green space parks and sometimes they are so dense that they don’t melt until Summer! So far the power has held although the wind was very strong and gusty. Schools were supposed to reopen today but that has been postponed and may not happen for a few days yet. While they have about 600 plows for the highways and main roads the side streets are bottom of the list and it will take days to dig out the roads and the cars that are currently buried so not many expect the school buses to be running tomorrow. I’m lucky to live on a main road and could easily get to the subway across the street but no need. I will give it a couple of days until even the sidewalks are all plowed – much easier for walking. I hope that all of you in the south who aren’t used to this weather are ok and that you didn’t lose power.

    1. Hi Margie,

      You’ve been in my thoughts! I’ve been watching the news and saw all the snow.
      We were supposed to get a wild snow storm two night ago but instead it rained.
      I hate rain in the winter. Tomorrow the temperature goes from minus 20 up to
      about plus 14 C. Yay!

      stay warm!

      1. Thanks for the thoughts Anne – we are pretty much dug out except for some side streets. Yesterday it went above freezing in the afternoon so a lot of people took advantage of that. Today we started out at Minus 17C (windchill Minus 25) so anything not cleared will be rock hard! But – at least the sun is back and that certainly helps! I’ve had a couple of blah days – I think it must be my booster – but I’ve promised a friend that I will get out for a long walk on Saturday morning so I’m just babying myself until then.
        Hope things are progressing with the final bits for the book.
        M

  23. Fun to watch the hose bib painting—nice musical background too.
    It was still the Can Can Sale at the grocery store so I bought 10 cans of Progresso soup at $1/each, and more vegetables and beans at 50 cents a can. Broccoli crowns were 99 cents a pound so I got plenty to eat and for stir-fry. I can’t believe I used to trim the tops and throw the rest away. Now I chop any bit of stalk into matchstick pieces and stir fry that as well. Saltine crackers were finally back in stock so bought those and coffee filters even though they weren’t on sale. I inventoried what we have in the freezer and the pantry to try to fill in any gaps and to not overlook anything before its expiration date.
    Many of the books recommended here haven’t been available on my Libby app but I keep checking. I read a good review of The Maid by Nita Prose so I put a hold on that.
    I have watched some episodes of Murder Call on Amazon Prime. It’s Australian and I enjoy it.
    Trying to get the mountain of paper here under control. I file, I shred and I keep waiting to notice a dent in the pile!
    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy week!

  24. Beautiful roses!

    Everyone in our house ended up sick this week so we saved money on gas 😂 The day before I became ill I found some clearance (!) Gatorade at Walmart and bought 8 bottles which helped with the constant task of keeping everyone hydrated. While not frugal to buy all the medications we ended up ordering for delivery; I’m grateful they were available and that we could treat our symptoms at home. Living frugally enabled us to be able to buy what we needed and not wonder how our other bills would be paid.

    I was gifted a beautiful new hair scarf set from BN Group (picked up before ill).

    I ordered a drying rack to hopefully save on using the dryer a bit.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  25. Beautiful lemons!

    I too have been using my Kindle to read ebooks from the library. I’ll never get over how cool it is that I can get a library book while sitting on my oversized chair in my living room in my pajamas, at a time when the library is closed. That’s just so cool to me. 🙂 I’ve also requested a bunch of books via interlibrary loan; one is in, so I’ll run over there and pick it up when I’m running other errands.
    We’ve spent a lot of time outside this week; it’s been cold (in the 20’s) but not windy, so it’s been great for going on walks. Outside is free, and I enjoy free! We’ve also eaten entirely at home, I’ve worked on projects that I already have the supplies for, and I picked up a fishbowl from Freecycle that I’m going to eventually turn into a terrarium. Other than a walk in a local forest preserve, we’ve stayed at home, and that’s fine with me! 🙂

      1. I love the concept and convenience of Kindle, but I cannot do it. It would be like cheating on my husband for me! It’s all about the ritual: the look and smell of the book; the feel of the pages; even the waiting and anticipation of getting the email that it is available. So, now you know that I am certifiable or, at the very least, eccentric!

        1. I thought the same way, but having a book on my phone is really nice! I didn’t think I would like it.

          If I’m in line at the grocery store and the line is long, I can read my book. That’s a nice thing, too.

        2. CherylB, I thought the same thing for the longest time. It took me a while to get used to. I had to get an ebook I really wanted to read, and just read a little at a time. I still prefer print books, but do enjoy reading ebooks now. A Kindle is nice to have because my phone is a bit too small for me to read on. Amazon has so many free Kindle books, and it’s especially great for borrowing library books. It’s more lightweight than carrying 2 or 3 books in my purse, which I used to do. Give it a try, you might be surprised!

          1. I read books on my iPad when I am on the Eliptical at the gym. It helps to pass the time. I’ve tried to read a hard copy book on the Eliptical but the spine of the book is in the way & the pages don’t stay turned. I like a hard copy sometimes & the ebook at other times. I like that I can enlarge the print w/ the iPad. The hard copy is better when I am outside. The iPad screen is hard to read in the sunlight. It’s nice to have choices. You can check out books free on openlibrary.org. They have digitized many books.

          1. I worked on newspapers and it’s the smell of printer’s ink I love! I don’t have much respect for “the media” now, but I do have wonderful memories.

  26. I managed to find a whole chicken for .97 a lb last week and we made 3 meals out of it for the family- chicken and mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, and chicken gravy over biscuits. I also made a pot of stock which I froze for later. I made up for that cheap chicken. With basically everything else I purchased at the store though😂

    We enjoyed some frugal meals the rest of the week. Bean burritos, leftover night, and big salads with veggies that were close to the end of their life. What wasn’t good to eat went into our vermicomposter to feed the worms.

    We blocked the door to a small article space with a blanket during a snow storm. The wind was howling and blowing cold air into the house. Blocking the door immediately stopped it, and let to a good conversation about how to better insulate that space!
    Garden plans have been drawn up and there are very few seeds I need to purchase- most I have from last year, which I am thankful for.
    We cancelled some services that we enjoy to save some money, and picked up one of the books from our own collection to read instead. It modeled good habits for our children, who saw us relaxing with a book and chose to do the same. I think we will stick with this routine.
    Have a great week everyone!

  27. Brandy I am glad you were able to pick lots of lovely produce from your gardens and your husband and yourself were able to build and paint more parts of the arbor and I am sure you will get the rest made and painted and it will look beautiful when finished 🙂 . So lovely you were able to do service and give away your hibiscus plants to someone who wanted them and were able to sell your cement mixer for what you paid for it plus fuel.

    My husband has been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy so we have spent a lot of time away from home of late at medical visits but still have got little jobs done around the home as my husband has felt up to it. Fortunately with DH now on medication that is settling the condition down we will now have medical appointments spaced further apart so can gradually get the needed things done around the home.

    Our savings added up to $79.66 in savings last week 🙂 .

    In the Kitchen –
    – Baked 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread maker saving $10.47 over buying it locally.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made and packed sandwiches for lunch to take with us for long days when we had medical appointments for DH. We also go shopping on those days to combine errands.

    In the home-
    – Cleaned and organised the back patio area.
    – Picked and set to dry brown onions picked from the gardens.
    – Planted green dwarf bean seeds in one of the vegetable garden beds.
    – Collected shower warm up water to wash hands and clean around the home.
    – Collected our air conditioner run off water to water shrubs in the garden around the home.
    – I and DH repaired quite a few pieces of clothing on the sewing machine so we can use them longer.

    Earnings –
    – DH earned $160 doing a mowing job.
    – I earned $32 by selling a 4pce set of strawberry placemats and coasters I made on eBay.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 2 large Steggles family roast chickens on special reduced from $5.50 kg to $2.90 kg saving $14.15 on usual prices.
    – Bought 19.27kg of sweet potatoes for $1.99kg at Gatton Big Orange saving $46.48 compared with buying them in the supermarkets. We will blanch and freeze these for stocks for vegetables in the freezer.
    – Purchased 5.74kg of chicken drumsticks from Drakes Supermarket for $2.50 kg saving $8.61 on usual prices. That now fills our chicken drawer in the freezer which I am happy about.
    – We also purchased a lot of tinned vegetables and fruit as we found them on the supermarket shelves to keep our stock levels up.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead and are able to get the grocery products they need for the home 🙂 .

  28. Always love your beautiful photos, Brandy. **We finished up our quarantine. I never got sick, but stayed home with the boys. We ate well from home: porcupine meatballs, naan pizza, stew, tacos, and leftovers. I drove through Culver’s for “date night” because I had a gift card. An old friend treated me to breakfast. **Got more books from the library delivery. **My husband returned a gift he got for Christmas that didn’t work and used the money (Target) to buy some groceries and a few smaller things he wanted (puzzle, dvd). ** For my Money Management class last week, I had to do an activity to determine net worth, so my husband and I spent an evening doing that. It was very enlightening for both of us. Then, I had an assignment to write up an actual budget, so we took that seriously and did that together as well. We aren’t spenders really, so our budget has always been loosey goosey and it’s worked ok. It was good to do it for real…and we enjoyed spending time together. This course will finally get us to do all the things we were putting off! **My son’s girlfriend has a little kitty and they went looking for a cat tower/jungle gym thing. They were too expensive for their student budgets, so my son came home and asked to use scrap wood to build one. He couldn’t find scrap wood that worked but I told him he could tear apart a wooden bookshelf I picked up free off the curb that didn’t turn out to work where I wanted it to. He has had fun the last few nights taking it apart, sawing it up and creating a cat tower. He asked if we had any carpet remnants to cover it, but we didn’t. We do have a broken very old upholstered rocker though and I told him he could take the upholstery off of that, which he did. It’s coming along and he is been having fun making something useful out of things headed for the dump. I’m proud of him. ** For entertainments we’ve been reading, watching shows and I’ve been using up yarn making baby afghans for my gift closet for any future babies. **Hope everyone has a good way and stays healthy and warm!

  29. Love the lemons again this week! I checked out your pergola on Instagram, you’re really coming along. It’s going to look amazing when you get it finished! The tray your mom got you has such a nice shape.

    I used Kroger pickup to grab a few items we needed and took advantage of several coupon deals. Butter $1.97 lb, chips $1.77, Kelloggs cereal $1.47, and pineapples $1. We ate from the freezer and pantry most days. Fuel points took my gas cost from $2.79 gallon to $2.49.
    I read The Memory Collectors from the library and loved it. While at the library, I borrowed some Switch games for my kids to enjoy during the snowy weekend. We sold an item on FB Marketplace. I snagged a deal on seeds for Italian herbs, $4 for 5 packs. https://www.savingsinseconds.com/herb-seeds/
    Several unexpected medical emergencies last week caught me by surprise, but I’m thankful that we have a flex spending account so the money was already put away. 2 urgent care visits plus I had to take my daughter to the ER. At the ER we got 10% off the copay by paying at checkout. Hoping that this isn’t the way 2022 is going to shape up.

  30. I’m always impressed with how much you manage to get done, while also cooking all meals and snacks from scratch, gardening, blogging, photography, laundry, child care, homeschooling, and your garden makeover. So inspiring!

    My frugal week:
    – I made my mother’s hearty Dutch pea soup (https://approachingfood.com/dutch-pea-soup/). Frugal, warming on cold days, and it serves as a chunky puree type food for my baby too, so I froze some in an ice cube tray for easy baby meals later on.
    – I gave my mother a haircut, and she actually really liked it. I love being able to help my family save money!
    – My parking spot renter paid me the monthly rent (it’s an in-demand spot), and I gave it straight to my mum to help out with food costs since we often eat there. Such a help to both of us to have a little extra coming in.
    – I told my mother about a rapid antigen kit giveaway and she and my father both got a free kit.
    – I made lentil-based tacquitos, using up the last bits of things from the fridge and freezer. Still surprised that my meat-eater husband likes them, but super-happy that he does!
    – I made carrot, apple, zucchini muffins, and froze the leftovers for quick breakfasts.
    – I made my weekly pizza, but made two this time, so that my husband could pop the second one in the oven for a fresh pizza sometime during the week.
    – I ordered an $8 beauty product from Sephora using a gift card, got free shipping, and went through Swagbucks for 50 cents back. It all adds up!
    – I was getting rid of a used toothbrush, but first used it to scrub the crevices of a bathroom faucet. Gets in all the nooks and crannies, and I was going to throw it away anyway.
    – I made my favourite frugal moisturizing body scrub, just sugar and coconut oil. So effective!
    – I baked my weekly chocolate snack cake, and gave some to my parents neighbours, to thank them for shoveling the majority of the shared driveway. I used a plastic take-away container that my mom had saved, to gift it in. Good neighbours are gold!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  31. I have had a slow leak in my tire my husband keeps filling up with his compressor. I don’t go much so it took over 2 weeks to realize. We were heading out and rode by the tire store and they looked and found a staple in the inner side. Because it was partially on the sidewall we had to get a new tire. The tire was a year old and because we bought a warranty protection I got a $226 tire completely free.
    ***I added water to conditioner bottle 3 weeks ago. I only wash my hair twice a week so don’t use a lot, but I still have more in the bottle.
    ***I have had Oil of Olay nighttime cream and a foot cream, and always forget or are just too tired to go to my bathroom to apply them. I moved them to the coffee table drawer. Now I can apply while we watch TV.
    ***As I put up Christmas and clean drawers I have found items and list online to sell. I do porch pick up so I don’t have to meet people. I sold a cardigan for $2, a candle warmer for $2, and plate hangers for $5. When I went to get the money from under the mat I found $15 that has been there about 2 months. I have put these smaller bills in my emergency car kit.
    ***I had two turkeys I froze near Thanksgiving I had bought for $.89 a lb. I took them out 3 days apart planning to cook one on Monday, make broth Tuesday, can on Wednesday, then repeat with the 2nd turkey on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Wednesday I made Mexican turkey soup and canned 14 pint jars. I also made Turkey soup and canned 6 pint jars, leaving out 2 can worth to take to my daughter. I also canned 4 pints of turkey meat, and one quart and on pint of broth. About 5:00 I started feeling bad and in an hour was not well at all. I pushed to finish canning and husband helped me get the last jars out. I went to doctor Thursday and have the virus. On Friday I had to do the 2nd Turkey that was thawed. I roasted it and put the meat in bags and froze and also froze the bones to make broth later.
    ***I borrowed an electric roaster and it has been fabulous! I wanted to make sure I liked it before buying one. It made a great turkey, and I used it during canning to fill jars with hot water and keep warm while canning. Then I roasted the bones and filled with water and made bone broth I used in all the canning. I will start looking on yardsale sites for one when I am well. The one I borrowed was OLD. It didn’t seal well on the lid, so I took a beach towel and rolled and put along the lid seam.
    ***I watched a lot of TV since I was sick. We watched 1886, Seal Team, all Cobra Cai, a lot of Golden Girls, All Creatures Great and Small, and I rewatched Rebecxa on Netflix.
    ***I have rolled towels at the doors for drafts.
    ***I cut husband’s hair along his neck
    ***We ate the turkey soup, I added rice ( didn’t take to daughter since I thought I was positive), I made turkey salad for sandwiches, I had diced ham frozen and made noodles and a white sauce with the ham in it, then husband had to just hunt around for food while I had no appetite. He made eggs and bacon twice, and a sandwich.

    1. So sorry you’re sick, BamaHolly. Hope you feel better soon!
      I wanted a roaster to cook tomatoes in the summer. Looked on FB and yard sales for a while but they were always $$. I ended up finding one at an estate sale for $5. Since then, it seems like I see one at every estate sale I go to. LOL So try that if you can’t find at yard sales.

  32. Hi, I have commented before but feel I should really introduce myself. I am past retiring age and am sole carer for my hubby. I live in the SE of England on the edge of a large urban sprawl.
    Thank you so much for keeping this blog and forum I read every week, it has so many ideas and it keeps me on track with frugality and preparedness.

    This week I have cut hubby’s and my hair and hubby’s beard.
    Done out the kitchen cupboards, its surprising what you find. Spring Cleaning starts on the 1st of Feb.
    Re-knitted a sock which had a hole in it with spare wool I already had and darned another.
    Started knitting some more socks
    I have used Brussel Sprouts, Carrots and Parsnips from the garden. I am beginning to sort seeds for the garden. I am not growing flowers again this years so I can grow more veg as I did last year to shield us from shortages. I used to have an allotment but had to give it up when hubby became ill so I can not grow as much as I would like. I need to clean up the Green House.
    I have cooked/prepared all meals at home. Used the Remoska to save on the cost of using the oven, using the cook once eat 2 or 3 times principal and using the steamer for veg using the steaming water for gravy.
    As hubby is on the shielding list for Covid I can not go shopping so milk is delivered by the milk man 3 times a week in glass bottles,Veg from a local man and is local or British where possible and supermarket shops have been delivered. It is very annoying not to be able to go out and look for yellow stickers.
    I only have supermarket deliveries once a month to save slots for others.
    Ordered prescriptions these will be delivered later in the week and are free because we are retired and the NHS.
    I have been reading e books from the local library using the Borrowbox app. Over 100 books last year.
    As covid is so rife we only go out for a short walk every day.
    Hubby is brewing beer so I have to find somewhere to store 50 bottles, the bottles have been picked up in recycling bins and rubbish bins over the last 50 years. Empty bottles are stored behind the kick boards of the kitchen cupboards.
    I have done some geneology using Familysearch.
    Sorry about the length of this
    Chris

  33. Brandy your project is looking stunning! You will have the nicest yard in your neighborhood, plus it produces much food!

    -I made home made blueberry muffins. In the summer I buy blueberries when they are the lowest price. I wash them allow to dry on towels. I then put them on baking sheets lined with parchment and freeze them. They are then added to ice cream buckets and put the buckets in the freezer. That way I can scoop out what I need frozen for recipes. They keep well in the buckets for a couple of years.

    -I also made hamburger buns and cinnamon rolls. I froze the hamburger buns, we ate half the cinnamon rolls and I gave the other half away to a friend.

    -Groceries this week were $14.14 for a pound of bacon, a pound of side pork, and a head of lettuce. I needed the bacon for wild rice soup for a potluck. I am just over $25 for the month so I am on target for the $50 for the month.

    -Canning: I opened: 7 jars used this week-French onion soup, bacon/onion/potato mix(used this in a pot of beef vegetable soup), peaches, sauerkraut, Bloody Mary mix, bean soup, and green beans. So I am at 20 for the month.

    -I met my sister for lunch to celebrate her birthday. I gave her her homemade cross stitch pillow. She loved it! I also paid for lunch but we had the cup of soup/ half sandwich special and water so it was $22 with the tip.

    -A friend and I get together once a month. A lot of times we go out and have supper and try different restaurants. We decided this year we would see each other each month but eat out every other month and take turns making the meal. I brought my canned French onion soup and an Italian salad to her house and we had that and visited. It was nice as we did not feel like we had to leave as we do in the restaurant.

    -I attended a year end meeting and potluck with my husband for his Pheasant Forever chapter. I made the soup for this and we visited. At the end of the meal and meeting they did a drawing for prizes. We got two $25 Walmart gift cards on the first round and one $25 gift card and a rechargeable light that can attach to a baseball cap. The gift cards will be used for groceries and black printer ink.

    Have a great week.

  34. Thrifty actions this week: from the garden…ate kale, bok choy, red leaf lettuce, and oranges, finished Once Upon A Wardrobe by Patricia Callahan ( recommend), found sheet music at thrift store. We are now getting the cold weather needed, from the winter storms sweeping across the Midwest/East Coast. The trees that seasonally lose their leaves by the end of November are still hanging on. Does anyone have a solution for biting gnats that love our Florida sandy soil?

    1. Nancy, my husband always used Skin So Soft to keep them off him at his old job here in North Florida, but just to get rid of them in general…? I don’t think anything exists that will work on them!

  35. Hello everyone! It’s been a couple of weeks since commenting but I read every week! We are self employed so we pay quarterly taxes and our fourth quarter estimate was $8K more than we expected. Ouch! Then I remembered Brandy’s story. We will feel this financial pinch, but I will not let it steal my joy! With a well stocked pantry and lots of planning we can make it work.

    Frugal accomplishments:

    I cooked a turkey that I had received for free at Thanksgiving via Ibotta.

    I did an industry specific survey and received a $50 Amazon gift card! I will use this to purchase any needed supplies for my garden before Spring. I will head to Amazon from here.

    My daughter needed a new winter coat and we found one on clearance for $16 which was a steal. I bought it a little big so hopefully she can use it next year as well.

    Cooking from the pantry, using every bit of food, and not going to the grocery store for at least two weeks to save money. I have earmarked $250 for groceries through the end of April. Fingers crossed!

    Baked soft pretzels with my daughter for a fun and yummy activity.

    Volunteered for an afternoon with both kids at the animal shelter for free entertainment.

    Received two gift cards from a Got Milk settlement. Each was for $18. This covered gifts for upcoming birthdays.

    I look forward to everyone’s comments this week!

    1. You can do it!

      I am trying not to buy much food right now. I have a couple of gift cards that I am using and I have set a very low grocery budget for the next three months. So far I have only bought 2 gallons of milk and a container of whipping cream. I used $50 from a gift card to buy some toiletries.

      I am planting seeds often in the garden; that will help in the months to come.

      A bonus of this is that I am staying out of the stores while 33.4% of the county is currently positive for Covid. My son works at the grocery store, though, so that is our largest risk.

      I’m also glad that we have a well-stocked pantry and freezer and can leave food at the stores for those who need to shop. I’ve seen plenty of gaps of things I don’t buy (like laundry detergent, as I make my own) and I am grateful to have what we need right now.

      1. Thank you for being a huge source of encouragement over the years! I am going through our bills line by line and cutting everything I can!!

  36. Meijer had their mix and match buy 10 items for $10 and get the 11th free. They use to do this every 12 weeks and currently do it randomly. So we went shopping and stocked up on items we normally eat. Then I come home and we I keeping up with being intentional to eat our left overs. I find it very easy for tiny bits of food to get lost in the back of the fridge with 6 of us always moving items around. I do have a basket in the fridge for left overs to be placed in.

    My husband’s parents purchased a new couch/love seat and offered us theirs! It is in lovely condition since they do not have kids living in their house. We rented a uhaul trailer to pick up his parents’ furniture from the store and take it to their house and then bring our new furniture back to our house.

    I am working on reorganizing the homeschool material book case and spice/herb shelf in the kitchen. An organized area motivates me to use the items and makes everything easy to find! On the app Peacock I watched the Downton Abbey movie for free.

  37. 85% ground beef was on sale this week with a digital coupon for $2.99. That is the lowest it has been in several months. I went 3 times to the store and they never had any. So on the last day I took up a package of 80% that was $3.99 to customer service and asked if they could give me the sale price. They did so I happily added 4 more pound of ground beef into my freezer. I break it into 1/2 pound baggies so 8 future meals.
    I cooked another pumpkin and my daughter and I made 5 batches of pumpkin bread/muffins. We gave some to Hubby to take to work, my son took some to work, we gave some to my neighbors and a friend that’s dad is in the hospital. We kept some and the rest went to my daughter’s boyfriend who took them to his fire department.
    We are dog sitting my sister’s dog this week. She brought us 2 quarts of Stew Leonards’ ice cream that she gets free with cones and sprinkles. She gave us some treats that she received in Christmas baskets that she wouldn’t eat too. I sent her home with 6 muffins.
    I totaled up our “free” money this year. We made $1328 in CC rewards. We pay them off every month in full. I made $82 in Ibotta and $45 in Fetch.
    Laundry has been hung on our racks inside. We have been keeping the heat at 65degrees. If someone complains they are cold, I heat them up a rice pack.
    Our water company just sent a notice that our rates are going up again. If I use no water my bill will be $42 a month. Our water consumption has gone down since last year thanks to all I learn here.
    I have garbage picked 2 baskets, 2 bungee cords, a roll of wrapping paper, a pot with lid and a pan in the last few weeks. They lady I help neighbor is moving so I have happily taken items we will use.

  38. A friend blessed me with a baby aloe vera plant, I have been wanting one for a while now. My work gave us lunch one day. Went to the library and got some books for over the weekend when we got snow and stayed home. I have been going thru my stockpile and making random dishes. I have been mixing meals up lately to keep them interesting. I have followed the advice here and having been baking several things at once. The shelves at grocery stores are looking bare here, hopefully they can restock soon. Went to get a birthday card yesterday and the cashier said prices was going up in the whole store. Don’t forget to get your 4 free home COVID tests starting on the 19th at COVIDTests.gov. COVID numbers are on the rise here in West Tennessee.

    1. Thanks for putting the link for the free Covid tests Donna.
      We are in Eastern, AR and the numbers are up here too. The local Kroger pharmacy carries the test kits for $23 so it will be nice to receive some free of charge, just in case we need to test.

  39. I finished knitting a sweater from a pattern and yarn that was given to me. It is comfortable and pretty and I was happy to wear it!

    I gave a bag of yarn to a friend who crochets. I had seen her stash of yarn and know the things I gave her would work well with what she has. I also donated about twice that amount to a craft thrift store.

    My husband and I attended a free dinner about Medicare options. The presentation was good and we are going to pursue his signing up.

    I received $310 from consignment items from my parent’s estate. I am dividing the money with my siblings, but it was nice to receive extra income.

    Participated in a two hour zoom call with friends who live in different cities or who are staying home to protect their health.

    I helped jury a high school art show. It was done over zoom and I will be paid $200.

    We are eating more leftovers, decluttering spaces a little at a time, and trying to be more mindful about using what we have.

  40. We had a fairly quiet week around here. I spent some time cooking, as usual, cleaning, as usual, watching grandsons, niece and nephew, as usual. I saved money every time I could, and read lots of books on my IPad:). I, like Brandy, have learned to love the books there–no need to physically take them back, etc. I love weeks like this. Pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    My husband did get some peppers and onions planted in the greenhouse. I got some mending done, which was a first for a while.

  41. I stocked back up on bird seed in anticipation of the cold front, and found I had earned $10 in rewards at that point. I can use them on my next purchase.

    I am cooking enough to have a meal, a packed lunch, and then one more meal out of most of the foods I am cooking.

    I keep curtains mostly closed during the day while I am at work, to keep cold air out during our cool spell. Most of our windows never receive direct sun, so they won’t help warm the house.

    I made sure our heat pumps were turned to “heat” and not “emergency heat” as accidentally happened one time when a visitor tried to be helpful and adjust the thermostat for me.

    I’m enjoying as many loquats off of our tree as I can reach.

    I’m still batch-cooking on weekends. Also, this weekend I made a large breakfast casserole, which I cooked in a thrifted covered casserole dish. It saves me time in the morning to just spoon out and heat, and a pound of meat goes a long way in it.

    I loved the pictures, Brandy!

  42. I have a question: How do you freeze shredded cheese? DO you take it out of the freezer the day before you use it?

    Thanks,

    1. You can or just that day. It has a high fat content so it doesn’t take long to defrost.

  43. Jan 9- 18
    – Ate all meals at home
    – Used HSA funds to purchase Covid tests(so thankful for this kind of savings)
    – Searched through my sewing machine needle stash to see if I had a needle that would work on leather to repair a purse. I had one and my purse is all fixed(our local repair shop has a $20 minimum). O also conditioned the leather- looks so much better!
    – Held a budget and planning meeting. We are trying to do these once a week.
    – Sold 4 copies of a Vintage map of our town that I have printed from a scanned original. I made $80 and was able to purchase, with a coupon, 35 copies of the map. If all of these copies sell, that will be an incredible profit!
    – Took lunches to work, repurposed leftovers
    – Rented out my collection of 100+ brass candlesticks to a couple for their wedding. This collection has paid for itself at least 15 times. Incredible investment and pretty too!
    – Made Brandy’s no egg, no milk chocolate cupcakes and added homemade frosting
    – Agreed to teach an additional class at work
    – Saved postage by hand delivering Christmas thank you notes
    – Over the Christmas break, I took every little thing out of my closet, cleaned it from top to bottom and severely edited what I hung back up and put on the shelves. It looks amazing and my mornings are simpler. My daughter did this too and is selling items from her “discard” pile.
    – Cleaned out fridge, pantry & kitchen drawers
    – Made beef broth from scraps and bones
    – Made turkey broth from veggies scraps and bones
    – Sent thrifted cards(with birthday cash!) to niece and nephew.
    – Picked up pecans from our yard to sell. I had half of the bag cracked and sold the rest. They’re everywhere and are delicious! I will pick up more next week.
    – Returned items to Lowes
    – Used paint and supplies that we had to deep clean & refresh our bathroom. We deep cleaned it as well- it looks so good! We were able to use the “brass collection rental funds” for a new vanity fixture.
    – Made a plan to deep clean a few rooms each weekend.
    – Made candles from saved ends of old candles
    – Rescued a side table from the curb to fix for my daughter’s play loft
    – Each kid cleaned out their closets to sell and donate items
    – Cleaned our Airbnb cabin and the guests left several food items- we always love this. My husband has already thought of ways to use the ingredients to stretch our meal planning this week!
    – Thrifted a coat for my son. He was thrilled!

    1. Rachel Riley- I love hearing all the side hustles you have found to bring in extra income! It reminds me that possibilities are pretty much limitless as we look for ways to augment our incomes!! Very clever!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  44. I am finally feeling better. Glad I planned a pantry/freezer challenge month for us this month as I wouldn’t leave the house for two weeks. I have made all our meals here at home, no takeout and no delivery in our immediate area but I did have some prepared things in the freezer that I’d put aside so that came in handy. I also make all our bread and really we only needed eggs and milk and some fresh fruits here and there.
    Despite doing a pantry freezer challenge I have managed to spend every penny of my usual monthly grocery budget but it’s not been frivolous. This past Sunday we picked up chicken breasts (bone in), hamburger, turkey Italian sausages at the grocery. I find it interesting that our ‘outages’ here are not in the chicken nor beef department but bacon, sausage (pork and turkey, smoked and unsmoked) and cream cheese! I picked up on sale bagels simply because I can’t make them while keeping the two year old grandson. They were restocking the cream cheese case and the young man informed me that as soon as he had it stocked it would empty out again. I typically keep 6-8 packages of cream cheese on hand at all times because it’s got such a long shelf life, but haven’t really found any since about Christmas. Fruit juices and electrolyte drinks are also slim stock on the shelves. Mind you all I seldom go down every aisle in this grocery and so I can’t say what else is out of stock as I tend to walk the perimeter of this store. I’ve not been into Aldi nor the discount grocery in over a month so no clue what the stocks there might be.
    I always check the clearance section at the grocery and picked up candles for next two Channukah’s as well as two glitter bath bomb kits that will go become part of granddaughters’ gifts for Christmas.
    I made chili with the hamburger I bought on Sunday, which we ate for lunch as it was such a cold blustery day. I put leftovers in the fridge and we had chili stuffed baked potatoes today for lunch. I have enough chili left that I expect to make a tamale pie from it. That was just one pound ground beef, so I think I’ve done well in stretching it out.
    I agree that ‘little bits’ add up. I’ve been doing Fetch and Ibotta for about two months now and I’ve earned enough Fetch to get my first gift card and am halfway to my next cash in on Ibotta.
    Mostly I have been home and done no shopping, not even online. Amazon and I are best friends so that’s saying something!lol I am reading books from my own bookshelves and we mostly watch our fire tv with anything that is free on it for our entertainment.
    We discovered that this year we do not qualify for any return on income tax (thank you unsolicited stimulus checks) and our daughter’s care needed major work done on it which we paid for. My husband hasn’t blinked at eye at all this. He says, and I agree, that God will provide for all things and I believe that is truth!

    1. Terri,
      My Aldi has had plain and flavored cream cheese every time I have been there. Bagels and cream cheese are my go-to lunch!

  45. I was chosen to work out special election, so I will be paid $200 for the training and the Election Day. I worked almost 10 hours of overtime on this paycheck. My sister-in-law brought ten dozen eggs to share with us, my children, and my mom – she and her husband had been sick and could not eat all that their chickens were producing.

    1. Hello,
      Thank you for another blogpost. Your garden is looking put together; I can hardly wait to see it growing in all the new places. We agreed to plan a garden for next year. That’s as far as we got. This week I cut my husband’s hair and trimmed his beard for him. I found two nice coats and two Columbia fleece jackets in pink and purple for granddaughters at a thrift shop. Then I found new jackets for $16.97 each at Freddie’s clearance racks, also two men’s tee shirt shirts for $2.97 each. I took pictures of the coats with my phone and talked with the girls and their mother before I bought them. These coats will keep them warm; they are not waterproof and not great quality, but the outlet mall store wanted $140 each at half price for a coat like I would like to buy for them, and the girls are still growing like weeds. They live in an area where they don’t have good shopping. Bi-Mart has canned apricots for approx. a dollar a can, so I bought enough to get us through until the next growing season. I don’t know if I will be able to find any to can or not; I don’t know where to get them except by driving quite a ways up the Columbia Gorge. I also bought liquid hand soap at Bi-Mart for three something for a refill bottle. I ordered four free home Covid tests that are supposed to ship around the end of January from COVIDtests.gov. I charge the phone in the car when I remember to do it.

      1. I haven’t seen canned apricots in months! I know the ones I bought came from South Africa so I’m assuming it’s a delivery chain issue. If I ever see them again I’m going to do a big stock up!

        1. Have you looked at Superstore ($1.67 for the smaller cans). (Loblaws in the east)? I love the no name canned apricots.
          Ann

          1. I’ve been sticking to my local No Frills rather than going out of my way on the subway to get to a Loblaws – besides, these were always “No Name” so should be at the No Frills store. No Superstores near me – they tend to be more out in the suburbs and I am more in the city. Once the booster kicks in I’ll be ready to venture a bit more afield.

            1. Even our No Frills does not have canned apricots while Superstore (owned both by Loblaws) does.
              Good plan to just stick to no Frills.

  46. Brandy, I have been re-reading through your old posts, starting at the beginning. I just leave the tab open on my computer and read when I have a few min. I loved re-reading your “Gift A Day” series and particularly loved the embroidered Matryoshka dolls (2013!).

    I am moving on March 6. I have been slowly decluttering, selling items, and packing things I won’t need. I have so far been able to gather at least 50 boxes, paper, bubble wrap etc. from a local FB group, for free. I have sold a few things and given away a few also. I have taken 5 car loads to Goodwill (crazy).

    One thing I did this week was organize my spices. I redid my system and used some of my small canning jars, with plastic lids from Amazon that I already had. I refill from the bulk aisle at Winco, and I am already so happy I did this. Easier to refill, easy to use a small measuring tsp. scoop, etc. Plus, now everything is tidy and fresh for the move in that cabinet.

    If any of you are on Instagram, I’d love to follow along. I like that app a lot and would love more frugal minded friends to follow! Brandy, I follow you on there and it’s great. I’m at @Poppylane.farm

    1. Dawnelle – I just followed you on Instagram. Your posts are lovely! I think we have a lot in common in addition to our names. Thanks for the inspiration!

  47. Your husband’s work is amazing! I love watching on IG for the updates. The roses are likewise beautiful. I don’t have any in my yard or gardens currently but am hoping to add at least add one or two David Austin roses this year. I just received my catalog and have loved looking through with ones I want to add in the future. Before we had trees cut down last year, we were almost completely shaded, so I am excited with the new possibilities this year.

    This week before snow hit, my oldest son, husband and I spent a few hours cleaning out half our chicken run that has layers of yard waste, wood shavings and chicken manure. We filled one of our compost bays with layers of chicken manure and mulched leaves. It will turn into beautiful compost for my garden. My husband also mulched about 15 bags of leaves for my garden. I took about 45 gallons of compost out of my bin to add to my new garden area. All only cost the effort of the work and yield rich rewards in the garden.

    My husband built me a second shelf above my desk where I work and homeschool the kids. He used all supplies we had on hand, and it turned out beautifully. He also repaired a track to one of my kitchen drawers that had broken. He is very talented about being able to build and repair things and I am so thankful for him because he saves our family so much money.

    I redeemed gift cards on Swagbucks to order some new seed starting supplies. This year I plan to try soil blocking. I started my first round of onion, celery and shallot seeds. I am going to try to be extra judicious with my garden planning and start as many seeds as I can to get a jump on my planting and harvesting as well as have my succession seedlings ready to plant to fill in when the timing is right.

    I have really enjoyed watching Charles Dowding YouTube videos to get inspiration from. I have never mullti-sown and this year plan to try. I also enjoyed watching episode 2 of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS on Roku and started Around the World in 80 Days on PBS with my children.

    Otherwise, it has been a fairly normal week, cooked at home all our meals. Ordered some groceries and hba items online, with free shipping, cashback with Swagbucks and my credit card (that is paid off monthly) along with sales to avoid going out and not have the gasoline expense. We have kept our heater lower than we normally do and I just add extra layers, everyone else is comfortable. I hope all have a good week!

    1. Many of their roses are already sold out for the year, so if you want something, order now from David Austin!

      1. If anyone else is planning to order from David Austin and has a place for a climber, I highly recommend “Strawberry Hill.” It is absolutely gorgeous and really makes a statement!

      2. Thank you! I have been watching closely. Part of me felt so guilty to spend the money on something that isn’t a necessity when I can grow flowers from seed for a small fraction of the cost. However, I decided that the enjoyment they will bring for years to come are totally worth it and I have the money set aside. I ordered a Graham Thomas and Teasing Georgia that will go over my entrance to my garden.

  48. My daughter finally got her car back from the repair shop after 10 weeks! I think she has learned to not put off maintenance and repairs. I remember also learning this the hard way when I had my first car. But 10 weeks? Most of this was spent waiting for parts. Fortunately she was able to use the unexpected used car deal that we bought last Fall and never had to miss any work or school. I’m grateful…

    Picked up more food from the mobile pantry. I’m working on roasting the turkeys for future casseroles, and using up potatoes. There wasn’t as much quantity this month. I don’t know if that will continue to be the trend with all of the shortages that people have mentioned.

    My birthday/Christmas/anniversary gift for last year was a serger. I hope to get it out of the box this week. I ordered thread from Waywak (?) when it was on sale. I want to be able to make clothes and to do repairs and alterations. Online shopping for clothes was sparse last year and so many of my orders were cancelled. Does anyone have any favorite patterns for nightgowns or basic knitwear? I would actually be really interested in making some pretty slips or camisoles for wearing under dresses in either regular or plus sizes.

    1. I would look on Etsy. There are a lot of sellers who have digitized vintage slip patterns. You just have to find them in your size.

      Alternately, I think I have seen instructions on Pinterest (with links to tutorials) for those too.

  49. Daddy used to say the price of milk and gas would pretty much be the same.

    Amish neighbor brought over 12 dozen eggs… cage free organic LOL.. I kept some for us and then passed the rest to a couple friends and one of the kids.

    Due to having serious Crohn’s attack we have stayed home. No beds in the hospital and I was not willing to sleep in the hall with Covid walking by me at over 4000 covid positive went through the hospital that week as they did offer that until they got a bed (which they still haven’t a week later as my doctor checked). We got milk. Hubby is using what was leftovers that we shoved in the freezer when I went down. I am just now day 12 eating 1/2 cup of soft food three times a day. I can’t handle more than that. Since we couldn’t go out for my birthday * both of us spent day in doctor offices dealing with medical, Hubby ordered me a seat cushion (thru Brandy at Amazon) that does massages. My GI now has a DO on staff so there is more holistic being put into my treatment.
    We are expanding the gardens. I added more heirloom and open pollinated seeds where I could find them. I found cabbage that is harvested in January-March even in hard freezes (Zone 6 Ohio). Three weeks ago I bought lettuce as I was craving something fresh… a week later it was on recall. Even my Amish neighbors and their families are increasing what they are growing and adding cover where they can for green house/ hoop house growing.
    I am looking forward to starting seeds in the grow cart in Feb.

    1. That’s really interesting to hear that about your Amish neighbors. Good for them!

      I hope you feel better soon.

    2. Juls, I am so sorry to hear about your Crohn’s flare up. My husband has very severe Ulcerative Colitis and changing him to an AIP diet has made all the difference in the world. It was extremely difficult at first and more spendy that what we were used to buy after loosing 80 pounds and almost losing him twice in one year we had to look for other options as the medication was causing even more issues than the GI problems. Just a thought for you to look into. Since he has been full on AIP for the last 3 years, he has only had to be hospitalized once during that time as opposed to at least every other month previously.

      I have also noticed the same with the Mennonites that live close to us. Some that used to have large strawberry farms are converting a lot of their space they sold from to family plots for their own food.

  50. I bought a 40 lb box of bananas for $10( .25 per lb which is 1/3 the usual cost here) and a box of small multi coloured tomatoes for $5( no weight on it but I would think 5-6 lbs). Nice and bright in a salad. I would encourage anyone to check if there is a produce wholesaler in their area that also sells to the public. I will be sharing this bounty as it is too much for DH and I.

  51. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s responses. I don’t have much to add….

    *Was able to cut my food bill in half on my weekly shopping trip. We only have 3 people living in the home and we don’t need as much food every week. I bought a few produce items and dairy. I loved the lower food bill for the week. Homemade meals were bean n cheese quesadillas, roast & mashed potatoes and pizza. It all lasted us several dinners and lunches. I uploaded receipts to Ibotta, Fetch and have also have Kroger Cash Back points.

    *I cancelled my 99c trials from Amazon Prime so I wouldn’t be charged at the higher prices. I enjoyed streaming different shows that I watch while I’m working on projects.

    *We didn’t drive anywhere last week except to do grocery shopping, library, church and a trip to deliver free furniture we picked up for our son and visit our grandbaby. We treated our daughter to lunch at Cafe Rio and shared lunches and used our points so no money out of pocket.

    *I was picked for items in the BuyNothing Groups. I was able to get more pictures frames for free. I was only picking up 2 4 x 6 frames but the woman included 4 other larger frames of 2 8×10 and 1 11/14 and 1 16×20 frame. Plus two decorative pictures already in frames. The other free items were Thanksgiving & Easter figurines with Easter baskets. I can use those as gifts this spring. I already have the candy and other items to put in the baskets. The Buy Nothing groups are such a blessing.

    *I went to the library again and checked out books. I’ve been exercising at home with my stationary bike and Walk At Home YouTube series. I’ve been cleaning and organizing my craft room. My husband and I have been going through our storage tubs and gifting many things to our BuyNothing Group, church group and thrift stores. My husband also re-did our water storage.

    *Have a wonderful week!

  52. *Got my free card from Hallmark
    *I went away for the weekend and took my own snacks, drinks, and breakfasts to save on food
    *Yesterday I ordered the free COVID tests that the government is sending out at the end of January
    *Researched off peak times for electricity and do my laundry during those times
    *I went to a small birthday gathering and everyone was sent home with lots of food. I ended up with two extra meals from the leftovers
    *Scanned receipts into my apps.
    *Went to the location with the cheapest gas.
    *Painted my own nails

  53. I went 17 years without a stove or oven. In one house I never turned it on, my aunt was visiting and asked if it was gas or electric and I had no idea. In the next house it was a stand alone unit and I had it moved out as I was moving in. I am child-free, traveled for work, at the time I was not responsible for feeding anyone but myself and hate to cook. So I never cooked and then came Covid and staying with my 85 yo mom who no longer cooks. I have cooked more in past two years than in first 60 years of my life. I still hate absolutely every minute of it but you gotta do what you gotta do. Once this pandemic is over and I fully retire it will be some place with lots of opportunities for eating out and takeaway. I am frugal in many other ways (big library user and thrift/discount store shopper) but keeping food storage and at some point cooking it are just not for me. This page is such a delight each week reading how people across the country make the best of what they have.

  54. I noticed that the usual place that I would order David Austin roses in Canada is not carrying them at all this year. I don’t usually buy them as I have 5 but all 5 have to be moved into sunnier locations. I didn’t realize that the Itoh peonies I bought for $2 each would become a jungle and shade things out. I will have to expand the bed outward and relocate the roses into the sun. The same goes for a Monarda plant. I hope to plant monarda plants I grow from seed all along the border of my driveway in the shade but with more space for them. I ordered two small alpine plants as part of a group order from a New Brunswick nursery. Delivery costs are not much as they are shared by several people. I will be growing my own sunflowers for the birds this year as I discovered that commercial bird seed is all processed in plants that also process peanuts. Due to my severe peanut allergy, I plan on asking friends and neighbours to each grow a couple of dwarf sunflowers in pots for me (as I only have limited sun) and then donate the seed heads to me. I will then hang the seed heads for the birds. I have found seed for dwarf sunflowers with big seed heads so for about $2 I can have fifty seeds. This will reduce the cost of buying seed and reduce the risk to me of cross contamination.

    I was very grateful when “I” dropped off s0me bananas and tomatoes (free) to me. Her bargain finding skills are unmatched!

    I tried out my new snowboots outside today. The smaller size that didn’t fit me were bought from me by a friend. The bigger size I ordered were a little too big in the calves but nothing that a pair of heavy socks won’t overcome. Great treads and really super on ice. I bought them on sale, they should last me a long time. The other boots that I bought from Lands End years ago (and kept unopened till now) for $20 (that weren’t the style ordered) are not warm enough and are tricky to put on with their zippers but I can wear them in late spring, even summer so they will come in useful.

    I bought ten cans of lentils on sale (Co-op) for $1 a can. Usually, they are $1.39.
    Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup was on sale at Superstore for $6.99 for a case of 12 cans — these cases are now selling for $13.99. Although I’m trying to cut back on high sodium soup, these are emergency provisions.

    We are still working on our book but the end is near.

    I found a part for my camera which is used but in good shape and half the new price. It has taken me ten years to find it and I have just enough Christmas money to buy it.

    1. That’s a great idea to grow your own sunflowers and to ask friends to do the same. One of my most lasting memories from a trip to Austria was driving by fields and fields of sunflowers – it was just amazing!
      Congrats on finding the part for the camera – I have a couple of friends who are very into photography so I know how expensive they can be.

  55. Brandy, your rose photos remind me of my peony bushes. I have one exactly that color!

    *It has been a bit since I have checked peak hours for electric use with our electric company; times have not changed so I will continue to run our dishwasher once per day later in the evening when possible, shut lights off that are not in use, and make sure anything that we don’t use on a daily basis is unplugged to avoid those phantom electrical uses.

    *Continuing to use up misc. items and food scraps. I have a meat grinder for my stand mixer and grind up all meat trimming so nothing goes to waste (we don’t eat red meat or fish, so I am only grinding chicken, pork, and turkey.

    *My neighborhood library has returned to curbside pickup, I do not currently browse the shelves but do enjoy chatting with the people who work there and will miss that. I save hundreds of dollars every year utilizing our inter library loan system My latest readings include Every Last Word by Tamara Stone, Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chung, and I am starting Alchemy of herbs. I am a huge tea drinker and hope to make my own.

    *My husband’s truck was due for an oil change and I had an appointment Wednesday morning. Where I take our vehicles; after 5 paid changes the next is free. This was our free oil change.

    *Worked on cleaning the closet in our bedroom, my husband had some sneakers he only wore once due to foot pain. My youngest has new shoes now 

    *Created a menu plan for the week using mostly what I have on hand with just a few fill-ins.

    *Made air fryer potato peels from the potatoes I used to make Cajun seasoned French fries.

    *I just finished physical therapy for a stress induced pinched nerve in my neck. I was waiting on the therapist to submit to our insurance so I could pay the co-pay and then submit to get it back from our supplemental insurance. No co-pay owed! So I will receive $270 with no out of pocket expenses for the nine visits.

    *I do Pilates at home; I was able to do it for the first time in months due to the pinched nerve. I am hopefully it will help with some of the stress. Shooting to do it in the morning when I get up with my husband. So while not a monetary saver, hopefully a stress reducer.

    *Baked a few treats for the week, chocolate chip cookies and apple fritters. Nice treats for my son’s lunches, using up ingredients I have at home, and extra warmth in the kitchen. I did not have brown sugar so I made some.

    *Used Vaseline on my hands versus buying more hand lotion. I have been using up hand lotion my husband had in his bag from when he went into work.

    *We do have Netflix and I need to decide if the new price increase is worth keeping it. If it were just me, I would be fine without it but my husband likes a variety to choose from. We do already have Disney plus (with our phone plan), Amazon (free right now due to college), and my sil’s boyfriend has shared his Hulu and HBO log in. I seriously think we have more than enough options but….

    *picked another 1.5 hours from my online job today. I am doing both types of listening today, just separate shifts. I think I am getting off early on the second one. I will be paid for the remainder of the shift :).

    *Saturdays are busy days for shopping for other people; I’m on the schedule for most of the day. I hope that it will not be too cold! Shooting to make enough to cover the sign up fee for ski club for my younger son, $130, with the right combination of orders I could do it in just two shops. That would be great.

    *While I am not glad to read it, I am glad to read that the meat issue is not just here in SE Michigan. It was just bacon and sausage, now it is chicken to, fresh and frozen.
    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Mara, YouTube has lots of good movies to stream. I use canned chicken for soups, casseroles, and chicken salad. My husband likes it just fine. It’s a good alternative for fresh and can be stored in the pantry.

  56. Hello friends. I feel like I’m always late to the party but I love waiting until Thursday to read so I can have all the comments too!

    Frugal accomplishments for the past week or so include:
    *I am participating in the Three Rivers Challenge (in which you try to use up the foods in your pantry/freezer/fridge instead of grocery shopping as much as possible, but everyone makes their own adjustments to suit their homes.) I have not done a typical grocery shop since sometime late December, not sure when honestly. Since Jan 1st I have only purchased some cottage cheese and grapefruit. Tomorrow I need to get kitty litter but since that isn’t food I’m not counting it as grocery spending.
    *Along those lines generally staying home so I’m not going out spending. I have not gotten take out or delivery, nor have I had any groceries delivered.
    *I am in a flare up of my Crohn’s Disease so a lot of my time is spent home resting. I remind myself daily that resting and taking care of myself IS indeed an important job to do (I am on a medical leave of absence from my job as my disease really needed help). I am watching movies and shows on Netflix for entertainment, as well as reading lots and lots of library books. My mom comes by a couple times a week to drop off/pick up more library books for me.
    *I had a rough medical appointment on Tuesday that didn’t go particularly well. Part of me wanted to drive through somewhere on the way home to treat myself to feel better. I reminded myself that I had pulled a yummy meal out of the freezer and it was waiting for me at home. And really, all I wanted was to go home. So I was very happy to get home, put on comfy pants, and eat cozy soup with my dogs. No money spent!
    *I also ordered the 4 free covid tests from the USPS website
    *I had my postal carrier deliver some of the USPS flat rate shipping boxes for me rather than drive to the post office to get them. You can request this free on the USPS website.
    That’s all I can think of today. I really love reading about everyone’s weeks and how everyone is doing. I too am eagerly planning my Spring garden, organizing seeds, plotting my garden beds, such fun! As exhausted as I am, I am so looking forward to warm days in the garden digging in the dirt! Love it! Sending you all lots of love from the wet and dreary PNW.

  57. My husband bought me an electric blanket to keep me warmer at night. I actually slept straight through longer than usual and feel great! Now I don’t feel the need to turn up the heat or be miserable! My toes were so cold before! I was so pleased that he set it up for me last night! An electric blanket is so worth it to me!

        1. We got an electric blanket at a yard sale one year and couldn’t believe what a difference it made! When it died, i ordered another one right away. No way are we ever going to go without one from here on out! When i think about what i’m thankful for, electric blankets are near the top of the list.

          1. What temperature do you keep your house?

            I only ever needed an electric blanket once (not here) in a motel where the heat appeared to be broken in the room. I’m genuinely curious as to what temperature the inside of the house is when this works, as I always find them to be burning hot.

  58. Hello, everyone,
    I had a few frugal and a few not-frugal events this past few weeks.

    Frugal:

    Our Kroger had hams marked down. Hickory smoked spiral for $0.59/lb. I think one of the glaze packets in the case broke, and the packaging was sticky/labels damaged. Even though I had 2 hams in the fridge already, I bought 2 more! Smoked the 2 new hams on Monday, and have packaged them into portions for the freezer.

    Had a big day of cooking: smoked the 2 hams, turned one hambone into broth; cooked a turkey that had been defrosting; and cooked a marked-down brisket.

    Between the ham bones and the turkey bones and the beef drippings, made 2 large batches of broth.

    Had another big day of cooking: omelettes for breakfast, then made up scrambled eggs for future breakfasts. Since the pan was still dirty, made turkey gravy and cut up turkey chunks for Monday’s dinner (turkey and gravy over toast). After that pan cooled, made beef-and-mushroom gravy with the drippings leftover from the brisket. While that pan was cooling, made up “chicken” salad with the turkey. Froze leftover turkey for “chicken” fried rice. Since the food processor was dirty from chicken salad, used it to mix up salmon patties, which I cooked after the pan cooled.

    We live almost an hour from the closest warehouse club, so we got a Sam’s Club PLUS membership. It means we get free shipping on most non-perishable items from Sam’s. I ordered rice; the bag arrived; and I put it in the car for a few days so it can go through several freeze/thaw cycles to prevent pantry moths.

    Tuesday I had my hair colored at the beauty school.

    The roads were snow-packed, so I took the bus to my medical appointment. It cost me time, but saved me stress.

    Not frugal:

    I took a car in for tire rotation, and the treads were too low for them to work on it. Needs new tires.

    Dentist. An old filling has a cavity underneath. Needed to have the filling removed and a crown made. Even with insurance, it’s $600 out of pocket.

    ************
    Read a tip that is working out beautifully: Trying to use a FoodSaver to freeze stew is a mess. Liquid gets into the sealing chamber. Well, the tip is to put the stew into the FoodSaver bag, DON’T seal it at this time. Instead put it into the freezer to get partly frozen. A couple hours later, you can seal the bag without liquid getting into the chamber!!! It even works with broth.

    In case I wasn’t clear, here’s a YouTube video on the process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leQbsIP0zh0

    This is changing my life … this week’s leftovers can be frozen without leakage or freezer burn.

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