I harvested Swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, lettuce, spinach, Meyer lemons, and snow peas from the garden.

Lettuce was $4 a head for romaine at the store (and just under $3 for looseleaf). If you can plant lettuce, even in a pot, I would encourage everyone to plant lettuce! Looseleaf types can be harvested two or three times if you pick the outside leaves first. You can collect seeds at the end of the season and grow more lettuce again in the fall (or spring, if it’s fall where you are now).

I took cuttings and started more hedge plants in the garden.

I sowed seeds for watermelon and hollyhocks in the garden.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants in the garden. I also used water left in glasses at the end of the day to water the potted plants.

I buried kitchen scraps in the garden to improve the soil and feed the worms.

I was given some potted hyacinths, which I planted in the garden. Hopefully, they will return next year.

I accepted some food from my neighbor, who brought us lobster ravioli and some frozen seafood.

I decided to stock up on some staples before prices rise further. I bought oil, cocoa powder, chickpeas, oats, sugar, salt, and pinto beans in bulk from Winco and Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club had no flour available to purchase in the 25-pound bags or I would have bought that too. I about cried at each store, looking at the higher prices. Oil was now half the size and $3 more per container at Winco for the Winco brand. I looked at Sam’s Club instead and found oil to be lower there now (though still higher than I had paid before). With continuously rising prices, it’s even more important to diligently compare prices between stores. While both prices are likely to be much higher right now than they were in the past, the saving difference between stores, brands, and sizes seems to be quite large right now.

My husband bought himself a denim work apron for $5, which is less than it would have cost me to make one. We needed some new tape measures (the others were destroyed from constant use in the garden makeover), and he bought himself two on sale for $2 each at Harbor Freight.

Three of my children went hiking and camping with their cousins, which was a fun and inexpensive activity to do together.

Four of my children enjoyed roller skating as a church activity. When I was dropping them off, I noted that I was close to a mosque that I have been meaning to visit. A friend of mine is hoping to come visit, and I wanted to find out if the mosque was the same sect as he is so that he would feel comfortable attending while he visits. I had been waiting for a chance to be in the neighborhood to ask in order to save gas. I had to pass the mosque to get to the store (I went shopping during their skating outing to save gas and time) and stopped to talk with a few men in the parking lot who kindly answered my question, assuring me that my friend would be comfortable praying there, and let me know what days the imam is in.

What did you do to save money last week?

Would you like to support my site?  As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through my links. This means that I earn a small percentage from ANY items you place in your cart and purchase within 24 hours after going to Amazon from one of my links (i.e., it doesn’t have to be an item I have linked here).  If you’re going to be making a purchase from Amazon this week, I thank you for using my links to support this site!

Similar Posts


  1. Brandy the plants look so nice. Can’t wait for the snow to melt! We still have 2 months to plant time.

    -I was able to purchase chicken thighs and legs for $1.28/lb. I got a family pack of each and packaged 2 legs and a thigh together for a meal. This made 8 meals for us for $12.00. I am hearing about more and more cases of bird flu in chickens. This could adversely affect the chicken market.

    -I also purchased more flour from Sunrise Mills. I didn’t need it yet but with increased whispers of flour shortages and rising costs I went ahead. I still had a gift certificate purchased in November at a discount. Their flour has not risen in cost as of yet. I got an all purpose called heritage white and bread flour. This flour allows me to eat items made with it. I have a gluten intolerance and cannot eat regular all purpose flour, but I have no problem with this flour because it is heritage wheat.

    -I found boneless skinless organic chicken breast for $6.00/pkg in the clearance meat bin. Regular price $12.99. There were 4 breast per package. I also found a large package of chicken wings for $6.00. There were 10 big full sized wings. Split in 2 packages and froze. This gives us 10 pieces per meal. I am now set for chicken. $18.00 gave us 10 meals.

    -I am cleaning and organizing. Need to get this done before May and the garden and outside work begins. I have several boxes for donation.

    -All meals made at home including either freezing or using all leftovers. Meals included Hungarian mushroom soup, BLT’s, homemade pizza, salads with chicken, and tator tot hot dish.

    Have a great week!

    1. The chicken market has already been affected. A lot of birds were culled. Prices of feed are rising too as well as gas; chicken will go up even more. I keep reading articles where so far the farmers are eating the cost of the increased feed, but they can’t keep doing that.

      1. Brandy we raise a lot of chickens in Minnesota. There has been no bird flu as of yet in Minnesota so chicken has been readily available at a decent price. But I am sure it is a matter of time before it affects us as well. Glad I am stocked up!

  2. I had the same type of experience when I went to the store this week! Prices were a shock to me! So grateful to have a good pantry and seeds to get planted this week!
    Memory quilt for a client is done- #232 for Lenni (my longarm machine). It was truly a labor of love and I hope it will be loved by it’s recipient! https://pin.it/7BxBk00 and https://pin.it/6tD3lC7.
    I then quilted and bound this simple Christmas Wall Hanging for a new 88 year old client. She bought this panel from a local quilt shop. This was quilt #233 for Lenni (my longarm machine). https://pin.it/5TlVqcw and https://pin.it/6GYgRDI. I’m loading the next client quilt on Lenni so that I can get started on it later today. I’m grateful to have business still coming in, even at a slower pace!

    I got 14 pints of black beans canned: https://pin.it/2dEknMG. Hubs is starting to add them to his lunch salad and we were almost out! I have several buckets and #10 cans of the dry beans so it’s simple to just pressure can them in water and have the convenience of ready to use beans on my shelf!

    I was starting to get some sinus congestion on Tuesday and so that morning, I made up a pan of “Miracle” lasagna (you don’t precook the noodles and you don’t buy special “no cook” noodles! ) https://pin.it/6p8LO15 I made lasagna a few days before and after it cooled I cut it into 6 portions. 4 went into fridge drawer for lunch/dinner options and 2 went into freezer. Since I had another container of cottage cheese I wanted to use, I made this second pan, let it cool down and again made 6 portions, but these each went into freezer as more frozen dinner options! So quick and simple and I didn’t add any meat to this so it’s a frugal option as well!!
    By Wednesday this past week, I was really feeling bad so Hubs used a gift card we had for Panda Express and got 2 large entrees which each became 3 separate meals for us and we still have $8 left on gift card we had been given! So that was 3 free meals for Hubs and me!

    By Thursday I was back in the pink!
    I got Arm & Hammer laundry detergent on sale at Kroger’s this week – B1G1Free, so $2.75 each for a larger size! No coupon needed or limit. Chicken breast was $1.99/pound (not great price but, for recently, it was). Then the best thing we’re strawberries at Meijers! A Friday and Saturday sale only! 99 cents/16 Oz carton! https://pin.it/3M8LTU4. I bought the sale things for myself as well as two of my daughters (1 was at work and the other just had a knee procedure). I am freezing my 2 flats of strawberries because I am out. I have dehydrated strawberries already on my shelf. I have the chicken in my fridge to portion for freezer meals. I found a link for 12 free freezer meal recipes + shopping list and printable labels + YouTube video. We made the Apricot Ginger Chicken recipe Friday night in the crockpot using some of our frozen green beans from the garden and were quite pleased. Here is her YouTube link where you can also access her downloadable recipes: https://youtu.be/c-GyPLHiUQM.

    We switched internet providers and have brought our cost down to $39/month from the $54/month it had been and the “speed” (I think) is 4 times better than what we had previously! I let Hubs deal with that because internet/computer is not a language I speak and sales people totally confuse me when trying to explain! I just look at the savings, know that we have internet when I want it and I’m happy! Lol!
    We banked another $30 this week into our savings account from cc rewards.
    We gave 3 dozen eggs to a couple families we know to help them with their food budget. We did it by telling them that our hens are giving us 7-8 eggs a day and that it’s more than we need for the two of us, so it would really be great if they were willing to each take 18 eggs. Put in that way, they were happy to receive them!

    At Dollar Tree I found 26 Oz cartons of salt 2/$1 so I bought several and vacuum sealed them into extra quart mason jars I had. This way they won’t get hard in our humidity!

    Hubs announced that we were out of whole raw almonds and he saw some on sale in the Fresh Thyme ad for $5.99/pound and so he wanted to drive over and restock! I must have made a face because he asked what I was thinking. (After 51 years, he reads my face pretty well! Lol!) I asked if he had checked at any other stores (online, of course) before getting ready to venture out. He hadn’t so I made some suggestions. He found almonds at Sam’s Club for $3.49/pound. The store was the same distance from our house and so he went and bought 10 pounds. That was a $25 savings just by taking 3 extra minutes on the internet to compare prices!! I vacuum sealed those into quart mason jars and they are also on a shelf! https://pin.it/6qHb1FE. With the cost of gas and groceries rising, a “ sale” may not always be the best price! It never hurts to take a few minutes to compare prices online first! I consider $25 saving well worth the 3 minutes it took Hubs to check online before driving over to get the “sale”!

    All in all, a frugal week of adding to our pantry and, because of that, stretching our budget! With gas at about $4/gallon, we are just as happy staying home and when we do go out, maximizing the tasks. It amazes me that every week there are still ways to save!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Hi Gardenpat! I went to Meijer as well and was so happy to see the berry sale! In the flyer it said $1.49 and it was $.99 in store. I bought 36 blackberry and 36 raspberry, as well as 20 strawberry. Making jam as I write this. I made three berry jam to start and we liked it so well that I will make another dozen jars. I have no idea what gas will be this summer and I usually travel three hours to get berries; this was a solution out of the blue! Happy canning!

      1. Laura S- So happy you got the berries!! On Sunday and Monday, I must admit I was surprised at how many friends thanked me for posting on FB t about the sale!! I hadn’t imagined so many people would have been as excited as I had been! Some jammed, some froze and some dehydrated!! So many yummy options!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  3. *This last week I was very successful making sure left over got eaten! I went to a game night with friends. We were each asked to bring a snack. I took popcorn I popped with butter and sea salt. One of the people there really enjoyed it and asked what seasonings I put on it.
    *We purchased supplies for my husband to make me a grow light.
    *Also my husband dug a hole so I could plant the rose bush that arrived in the mail. I am excited to have a rose bush this year!

  4. Though I have some tiny lettuce seedlings started, I purchased two from a nursery that was set up at a local pottery I was visiting. I made sure to check for multiple plants in the same container, ended up with 8 lettuce plants for $2, and 6 cabbage plants for $3. Some flower and garden beds were cleaned up. Greens were gathered daily for the chickens. We dropped off our taxes with the accountant, and received some information which may be helpful in lowering our taxes going forward. J replaced halogen bulbs with LED’s in two spots in the kitchen, to lower electricity usage, a total of 6 bulbs. At the grocery store, I took advantage of a coupon for .50 off a can of beans and used a $2 reward. I enjoyed watching Ken Burn’s Dustbowl documentary recently, and picked up Grapes of Wrath at the library, which I’d never read. A pan of GF bread ends was turned into bread crumbs. I bought a used drill press my husband found through Marketplace for $35, which will be used in making compost crocks for my shop. I made a mailbox bow with the perfect roll of shamrock ribbon I got at a thrift store for $1 last year. I’ve been meaning to start sprouting again, and started a jar of alfalfa sprouts on Sunday.

  5. After much experimentation with compost production, I decided a compost tumbler best suited my requirements. I had one in my online shopping cart, but thought I’d ask my Buy Nothing group first. And someone was SO happy to pass theirs along. I have it filled and am turning it already. My plan is the break down the food chunks most of the way in the tumbler, and then pile the almost finished product outside on the soil so that the good bacteria in the soil can join in. The almost finished product won’t attract unwanted pests like the fresh food scraps do. I am thrilled. $80 saved.

    My husband and I went to the city compost giveaway and brought home 1 cu. yd. of free compost (this filled the entire back of the Subaru with the back seats down (in a tarp!). It was great quality too. Savings: $45+

    We received a rebate check for half of the cost of our new 330 gallon water barrel.

    I received a free ticket to a Garden Club fundraiser with a guest speaker. $25 saved by receiving a free ticket. I did not buy his book, but came home and ordered it from the library: $50 saved (the book was even on sale, regularly $69!). I rode my electric bike to the talk.

    I took a sub job at the school one mile away. Nice commute!

    All clothes washed in cold water and hung outside to dry. Gray water from washing machine used to water the fruit trees.

    I listened to a live webinar about the drought and water supply in our region. They gave the website where we can log in and see our water usage each day. The city’s goal is that every person uses under 55 gallons a day. We average 35 gallons a day, which includes irrigating 7 fruit trees, 6 grape vines, several beds of blackberries and raspberries, a bed of strawberries and several vegetable beds. We do this by using gray water and water from our rain barrels. I found out that our sewer cap (what we’re charged for sewer use) is based on average monthly amount of water used between November and March. This is amount is then fixed for the year. With our water use reduction, our fixed charge for sewer will go down 40% per month. That was satisfying, both for the environment and for our budget! When the city water conservation person was here to inspect the rain barrel installation, they asked if I would be willing to be on the water-wise garden tour next year which was such a lovely compliment. They wanted to show that food could still be grown with low water use.

    1. Kara,
      Congratulations on the water savings and nice nod from the water inspector. That’s phenomenal! Hoping you are able to be on their tour and many folks see and learn from what you’ve done. 😀

    2. Hi Kara! How do you do your 35 gallons a day? Is it per person? Water is expensive here (about 70 euros a month last year) and we are working towards using less every day. See my comment below 🙂

  6. Even though we’ve known it was coming, the rising prices are still alarming. So thankful for being able to think outside the box and have networks such as this of frugal minded people ❤️
    Frugal Accomplishments:
    Went to Barnes and Noble to make a list of books to reserve from library. They were ready for me to pick up within a few days so didn’t even have to wait long! Also picked up a free St Patrick’s Day garland craft ☘️ from the library.

    Found chicken and turkey hot dogs at Dollar Tree- picked up extra for freezer. Also picked up more canned tuna for pantry.

    Ordered more free Covid tests.

    Exercised at home to improve my health.

    Used a $5 coupon from pharmacy when buying groceries this week. I also found raspberries for $1 per container!

    Helped my mom watch my twin nephews while my SIL was in the hospital. Ate food while there. My mom also gifted me a candle and some magazines.

    Was very diligent to keep filling up with gas when out and to combine errands or eliminate when possible.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  7. We have had a very busy week this week, as the fixed price deal we had for gas and electricity finished, so the washing was up date, I even washed all the kitchen and bathroom mats. I had a baking day and made bread pudding with some stale bread,chocolate chip cookies, and apple cake. Also 2 loaves of bread and 3 Cottage pies, a large casserole of beef which I have divided into 4 ,nut roast and a sausage meat and stuffing pie which will do 4 meals. Then I had a sit down with a cup of tea, it surprising how tired I get now when cooking, old age is catching up with me. The oven will now be retired until electric prices go down, it is rated at 2400 watts the Remoska is only 400 watts. I can cook anything I need with the remoska, instant pot or the microwave.
    We have been getting the garden ready for planting. All the raised beds are ready now. Hubby has been digging up the grass paths between the beds to plant potatoes in them. He does this 2 feet a day, all he can manage these days. I remember when we could manage 2 x 10 rod allotments, we used to be self sufficient in veg and fruit which feed hubby and me,my parents ,my 2 children and all there various friends .Those were the days.This week I will plant the broad beans that are in the greenhouse. I have been finding any large pots we have to sow carrots in, this will give early carrots as I can start them in the greenhouse. I cut up some old cotton pants with holes in them,I have been saving into strips these make good soft plant ties and I have offered the grandkids a penny for each lolly stick they bring me for plant labels, don’t worry I will not have to pay up much my daughter and I make our own. We planted 2 new apple trees and 2 Victoria plum tree and a new grape vine this winter.
    We have blue tits nesting in the bird box by the front window, I can waste hours just watching them. Free entertainment.
    Another tip I have which I discovered was not widely known when I was talking to a friend, is to wring out your flannel, a piece of towelling about nine inches square, leaving it just damp and wipe your wet body with it when you get out of the shower, wring it out often then use a towel to dry yourself. The towels then don’t get very damp thus saving you washing and drying them so often. I often wondered why people always seemed to have a load of wet towels in the washing machine.

    1. Chris, your gardening description, especially digging up the grass paths to plant potatoes, reminds me of victory gardening during WWII. Boy, England sure knows how to garden! I can empathize with being tired as old age creeps up. I can’t believe how tired I get doing less. Even canning. But, I’m trying not to give in too much…except where digging and heavy lifting are involved! Happy gardening!

    2. I have been saving all my pantyhoses with holes in them (I work in school) and plan to tie up plants with those!

    3. Chris,
      Your garden sounds wonderful. I had to convert rods to feet to understand the size. It sounds amazing to be able to grow most of your food. I like the tip about raising early carrots. I think I will try that, if I can find something to grow them in. What do you use for the soil mix? I am also going to check into a Remoska.
      Thank you for your post.
      Elizabeth H.

      1. Hi
        I usually use spent potting compost plus a little blood fish and bone, it seems to work ok but you will need to be watered every day. For water I use the dregs from the tea pot.
        Re Remoska, I use it to cook pies ,cakes, bread and roasting and stewing. I have the small one which is about the right size for the 2 of us. They sell the in Lakeland plastics.

  8. I managed to find 25 lb bags of flour at Costco for $9.99 each. I bought 2. I got 2 more food grade 5 gallon buckets with gamma lids from Azure Standard. I also freeze the flour for 24 hours before it goes in the bucket.

  9. I agree with you, Brandy, that price increases are startling. Our gas was close to $2/ liter this past week. We have an 18 year old very small car and it will cost close to $75 to fill it at that price. I am thankful we drive very little and only short distances. Grocery prices here are also rising at a very rapid rate. I am trying to stock up where I can and use what we have on hand. I read the ads diligently and buy where things are on sale. I will be starting my seeds soon and am hoping to grow more and expand our garden. I am looking forward to garden produce!

    We have continued to be blessed by our local buy nothing group. I have picked up cans of chili and beans, a large jug of hand soap, an unopened package of yeast, a like new winter coat for my husband and son, a nightgown, a Willow Tree figurine and a book for my husband and son. These are definite blessings for our family.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week!

  10. I agree that everyone should be planting lettuce. I was inspired by readers last week to dig out my sprouting seeds, as an inexpensive way to add fresh greens to food.

    My frugal week:
    – I made chocolate syrup (http://approachingfood.com/a-ton-o-hot-fudge-sauce/), which I use both as syrup on ice cream and to make chocolate milk. I swirled some milk in the pan after transferring all the syrup to a canning jar, to make sure I got all the dregs. No waste!
    – I cut open a lotion jar and scraped out the inside to make sure that I used it all up.
    I got several chocolate and ink stains out of one of my daughter’s sweaters, which I was pleased about.
    – a friend gave me several avocados she couldn’t use, and I turned some into baby food, some into guacamole, and added some to salads
    – I turned some older apples into applesauce and froze part for baby food.
    – I saved some stale buns by wrapping them in a rather damp clean rag and microwaving them for 30 seconds. Soft as fresh again!
    – I saved cut up fruit and veg that my toddler didn’t touch at meals, and froze it to add to smoothies at a later date. No food waste!
    – I used a digital coupon from a grocery app, for the first time which saved a dollar, plus returned an item no longer needed, and got $6 back. Then got home and realized that the sour cream I had just bought was in a broken container. I’ll try to return it another day. Trying to be a good steward of our hard earned dollars!
    – redeemed $10 in loyalty points
    – I made some pizza dough and gave it as a hostess gift. I also passed on a box of baby clothes to a friend.
    – I made a sensory bin for my daughter, reusing her coloured rice and some empty washed small yoghurt containers (I had bought paw patrol themed drinkable yoghurt, then washed and kept the containers. Yoghurt + a Paw Patrol sensory toy, for $3.33! Lasted several months so far! Also fun to use to pour water in the bath.)

    Looking for to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Regarding reviving stale buns: In the WWII memoir, “Squirrel is Alive” by Mary Rostad, the author, who was a teen when the war broke out, described how her mother had them prepare for food shortages. The mother had been through WWI. As war was getting closer, the mother sent the children to the local bakeries every day to buy one loaf each, if I recall right shopping from stores all over Brussels, I guess so it didn’t seem like hoarding. She dried out the bread in a very low oven, then wrapped and stored it. As the months went on, she would rehydrate and reheat the loaves, which would seem like fresh bread to them.

      1. Heidi Louise, that’s fascinating about the bread! And speaking of bread, I found out recently that there is something called zucchini flour. Basically it’s dried, powdered zucchini, and can be used to replace 1/3 of flour in baking, or to thicken soups, etc. A great use for zucchini if anyone is ever overrun with it!

        1. We quit growing zucchini because we always ended up with so much – THIS could be a game changer for us!

          Thanks for sharing,

      2. When we are getting to the end of a loaf of homemade bread that’s a little stale I slice it into thick slices and dry them. I store these in a container in the pantry for making French toast. Just use a little more milk in the egg wash and soak a little longer. This gives us an easy, frugal & fun meal option that can be made from store cupboard ingredients, if using powered milk & eggs, or fridge staples if using fresh. Paired with home bottled/canned strawberries, it’s delightful. I also cut our bread ends into cube & dry for French toast casserole, saving these up throughout the year for Easter & Christmas breakfasts. Frugal entertaining!

    2. Thanks for the tip on making buns soft in the microwave. My homemade breads sometimes dry out after a day or two, so I’m happy to learn this trick!

  11. Hello Everyone….It has been a busy couple of weeks. I made several trips to several different stores to buy needed supplies and groceries for my parents. I again found a lot of shelves bare. When I was at the grocery store, I bought my parents pickles, which was one of their requested items. I was quite surprised to see that there was a $1 difference between the store brand and name brand. I usually buy store brand and certainly did for this item! Again I have noticed the price of groceries going up from just the last time I went shopping. One of the items my folks needed was new smoke detectors. I did find them at Costco for $54 for a two pack. I almost died. We’ve been diligent about turning off lights when we aren’t using them as well as using all food leftovers no mater what. My child was off of school for a few days due to illness and we needed to get the assignments. Instead of driving, to save gas, I walked the 10 minutes to get to the school. I picked up several library books for my dad to enjoy and I delivered them over the weekend (along with all the groceries). My parents treated us to an early St. Patrick’s Day dinner. There was so much food that we had enough to have dinner the next night. My husband’s work assignment has changed temporarily. He is not stationed at the city dump in the county where he works. He was able to dispose of a few things for us. The great purge continues! There is light at the end of the tunnel and I feel we are almost done. We needed a big yard clean up. We contemplated hiring someone. We’ve had bad luck in the past….no shows, poor work, etc. We got a referral from a friend. I called on a Thursday and he came that Monday and it is all done! What a relief. It is now, hopefully, something we can maintain as long as we don’t let it go. My husband says he will maintain, but he never seems to get to it. It was expensive, but well worth the money and now we are both happy! I also made Brandy’s minestroni soup for the first time and it was delicious!

    1. Peggy,
      If you haven’t already opened those smoke detectors, the Red Cross will come to anyone’s home FREE of charge, and install FREE smoke detectors. As many as you need!

    2. Our city fire department gives away free smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. You might try asking at yours. Couldn’t hurt.

    3. How nice you got your spring yard clean up done so early. I paid to get my wood restacked in our log rack a week ago. Today, I looked out and thought somebody had stolen a third of the wood. Nope. That wood fell off backwards between the rack and the windbreak. I wonder if some animal had tried jumping onto the top of the logs. Sigh. I am thinking of taking down weed trees and pruning the bushes and then hiring somebody to drag the branches into the woods. It would be a very safe task so I think I won’t need to worry about whether or not they are insured. I am using a walker indoors because walking is painful so I dread the idea of walking across the acre many many times.

  12. My husband and I have diligently recorded every penny spent. We had to pay an expensive repair bill for his truck. I’m glad we could. But things are very, very, tight now. We packed a lunch in my husbands cooler for after church and enjoyed a picnic in the park. It was a nice sunny day! My husband has been helping me cook and do dishes when he is at home. It is very much appreciated. He appreciates what I do as well. I was made a homemade pizza and fed us all for less than a slice with things on hand. We did buy vegetables and some fruit this week and I am happy that we could. However; we are not in the position to stock up on anything. So, we are eating what we have. We are eating a lot of beans. I usually use a pressure cooker to cook them. But today I was even shorter on time so I put some in a slow cooker in the morning to cook all day. Brandy, I have learned so much here. We have had some unexpected bills and because I have a pantry we are ok. We might not eat everything we want, but we are ok. My husband will most likely take my car the rest of the week. It is much better on gas. We are turning off the lights during the day and only turning on the light above us in the evening now. Even my husband is turning off lights and he loves light! I’m glad we are a team. We are going to start some tomatoes and peppers. And I think you are right, we need to start lettuce. I’m not sure if our kale is going to come up again this year. It did last year. But just in case I am going to plant some more. We love Kale and it is so healthy. My husband hopes to have time to mow the asparagus patch so the ground will start to warm. Even though I have three hernias the doctor said I can garden. I’m not in pain now. I’m glad it is not an emergency and that I can garden. I just can’t lift anything. I desperately wanted to garden this year with prices being so high. I have green onions growing in my window sill and hope to plant more herbs. We watched a movie at home this week for entertainment and we have seen deer. I love deer. I just hope they don’t eat our garden. I am losing weight and am so happy about it! It is slow going but I guess that is the way to go. I have been eating fruit when I get a sweet tooth, for the most part. I did find some chocolate raisins and shared them with my family. When I want chocolate, I put unsweetened cocoa in oatmeal with some raisins and peanut butter. I made spaghetti squash in place of noodles for spaghetti and tomato sauce and added Italian spices. I definitely want to grow squash. I have save some seed and the other seeds we roasted and ate. I didn’t grow sprouts as planned this week, but we had some lettuce and I bought spinach at Aldi. We also ate soups that I had previously frozen. Brandy, thank-you for this blog. It has made a difference in my family’s lives. I wish I’d had your blog to read when my children were small. I learned the hard way about credit cards! I would have loved to read your 40 cent series and all your tips and recipes back then. Just happy to have read it now.

    1. If you have deer in your area it’s probably quiet setting aside part of your garden budget for deer netting or chicken wire to protect your vegetables. I nearly gave up on our vegetable garden until we protected it with deer netting and chicken wire. Now we can have our vegetables without the deer mowing then down.

      1. Emily,
        It is a good idea to get some netting or chicken wire to protect our vegetables. I’ll have to talk to my husband. Right now we don’t really have it in our budget. My seeds are from two years ago. I’m hoping that they come up. We may be ok. We have a dog that barks when there is something outside. That may help a lot. Although, we could move our chickens to the old coop and move a garden in the new fenced area where the chickens are now. We got more eggs in the old coop anyway. Hmmm, there are some possibilities!

    2. Tammy,
      I love reading your entry every week! I love how you and your husband work together to do what is needed. You both seem like you have good attitudes, which makes a huge difference! I love reading how even though things are tight, you are finding new ways to deal with your finances. And don’t beat your self up about past money mistakes. I think we all have probably made them in the past, that’s how we learn. One of my favorite Dave Ramsey quotes is “Making mistakes and learning from them is crucial to winning”.

    3. Thanks for the idea of putting cocoa in oatmeal! I never thought of that, but am definitely going to try it!

      1. Susanmarie in the Pacific Northwest,
        You are welcome. It is wonderful with raisins in as well and a bit of peanut butter for protein! Cocoa in oatmeal is wonderful!

  13. I too am trying to stock up to a certain degree. I bought chicken thighs at$2.88 per pound (No Frills) and then a “buy one get one free” at $2.50 pr pound. (Safeway) Soup that is now $3+ pr can is on for $1.67 pr can. (No Frills) I am gradually building up the emergency soup reserves. I bought 2 – 5 pound bags of oatmeal for $2.50 each. I also bought a one litre bottle of olive oil (that makes 3 litres in storage) for$8.99(not the cheapest price but not the most expensive price either). I bought canned pineapple 6 cans for 8.64 (previously a good sales price was $2 per can). I bought two bottles (2 L each) tide scent free liquid detergent for $7.88 reduced from $13.99. (No Frills) Strangely, Superstore had my favourite cheese on sale again (they just had it on sale). I bought 2 bags and 1 block and will put it all in my freezer. The saved amount was $12.00. Next week flour and sugar will be on the agenda. I don’t eat a lot of sugar but if I start baking, it will be good to have it on hand and for the hummingbirds.

  14. Brandy,
    Your garden pictures are absolutely lovely and make me want to get started but our weather in southwestern Idaho is still not nice. I just saw on a news app that we might get more rain tomorrow than we have seen since the beginning of January (fingers crossed because we need it).
    Things I have done to save money over the past week:
    Last week was my birthday and I purchased a flank steak that my husband grilled for us- we also shared a baked sweet potato and had steamed broccoli and Girl Scout cookies for dessert. We watched a show on Amazon Prime and he gave me flowers (purchased from the grocery store not a flower shop) and a gift card to King Arthur because that is what I wanted. I made a trip to Winco last week where I purchased mostly pantry items including spices, farro and oatmeal from the bulk section. I cooked our dog’s food (I mix it with a high quality dry food) rather than purchasing from Ollie as I was doing. I am spending about 60% less this way. I did Swagbucks and even won an “extra” giftcard on Facebook one day ($25 to Walmart). I traded in some Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card. I drove my work car for most trips out because I don’t pay for the gas- I have a company gas card plus the car is a hybrid and gets over 35 mpg. We did have a family get together on Saturday for my birthday but I ordered pizza and made salad so it was quite economical. We took advantage of other birthday offers ( free ChickFilA sandwich for example) and tonight we will have a free pizza from Old Chicago that was a birthday reward for me. I continue to keep track of all purchases and I am putting more money toward debt. I donated plasma and have another $150 in our vacation fund as a result. I also froze part of the soup that I made for one dinner so now we have another future dinner ready in the freezer. I made some delicious granola using sourdough discard and I have been eating it with greek yogurt for my breakfasts.
    We are going on vacation this coming weekend but most of the money has already been paid (house and vehicle rental) and we will cook most of our meals at the rental house. This will be our first trip to the Oregon Coast in almost 4 years and we are excited to go somewhere that isn’t here.

  15. Gas is anywhere from $3.99 to $4.49 a gallon. It is just wild! I made corned beef, cabbage , potatoes and carrots. I made chicken and rice, served with a side of sautéed spinach. I continue to take my simple sandwiches of either peanut butter, or luncheon meat with cheese, to work. I made mulberry cake which is just a cake mix I had with added frozen mulberries from my tree. I made coleslaw. On the personal side, I updated my will. I walked in the neighborhood. Oh, and I also made a simple breakfast of eggs and toast. I was shocked at the price of a dozen eggs at Walmart in the college town. $2.25!!!!!!. I may go back to just cooked rice for breakfast. I have made two of my sons believers in food storage. My oldest has enough for a year and he lives in a travel trailer! So, it can be done. The other one at least a couple of months, maybe three months. My daughter already has a supply of beans. I just have to work on the one son and even he has stocked at least a week’s worth of food. Believe me that is a change with him! Of course I have enough for him but whether he would eat it, since he is on the spectrum, is another story. I had stocked up during the pandemic so I have been just topping off my supplies lately. I have been trying to save more money than usual, but with the gas increases, and increases on everything, it has been difficult. I guess I will just do the best I can.

    1. Gas was $5.19 here last week, Cindy. Egg prices are the same but look for sales. I only buy eggs on sale.

      1. $5.19 a gallon???? Wow Brandy!!! That is so high! Yes, you are absolutely correct. I am not going to buy anymore eggs unless sales price. I will just eat cooked rice with a little butter, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla flavoring for breakfast. Eggs are just too expensive to eat every day!

        1. I have to admit, every time you post gas prices that are high to you, they sound wonderful to me!

          1. For those who live in Missouri I just heard that you can get a refund of some of the taxes you pay on gas from last Oct. to this June/July . You must have reciepts that include the address of said bought gas and keep these records for 3 years. The state will also for the next several years allow Missouri residents to apply for this refund each year and at different percentages as they will be raising the tax on gas until 2025 I believe the article said. At the end of June the Missouri dept. of revenue should have the refund applications available online. Mark your calanders!

        2. Gas prices here are $5.49 to $5.79 if you pay cash. It is all relative I guess but it was over $6 and hour away where my older son lives.

  16. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your garden is going to to be such a blessing to you through this tough time, as is your church and the lovely activities the children are able to take part in. We met friends over the weekend and so much of the talk was about the cost of oil, gas and petrol. The delivery companies now won’t give a price when you order oil because the price will have increased again by the time they deliver so people are ordering with no idea how much the oil will cost. This is causing a lot of anxiety. We have switched off our oil fired Rayburn earlier this spring than usual.
    On the positive side- we picked leeks and parsnips from the garden and planted more carrot and parsnip seed. We have cleaned and set out more glass cloches to warm up the soil.
    Less expensive meals included leek and cheddar tart( leftovers for lunch), chicken fajitas ( leftovers again), jacket potatoes topped with creamy mushrooms with salad, broccoli and blue cheese soup.
    At my monthly flower arranging club I am ‘ tea lady’ and brought home the leftover milk and biscuits after the meeting. I buy the supplies from club funds and they suggested I bring the leftovers home each month.
    We received our Council tax bill for the coming year. Council tax pays for the police, fire service, schools, libraries, refuse collection and more. Our bill has increased by £7 a month to £2214. The government is giving us £150 to help offset the rises in cost of living. Not everyone will qualify for this and I am grateful that we do.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Penny,

      Two good articles I read this morning worth a read. This one about food prices in the U.K. and this one from Ireland about growing more of their own food. The second feels like it could have been written in 1940. It lines up with all the issues the U.K. had during WWII.

      1. Thanks for the links Brandy, the analogy with WW2 is an apt one, we will have to move towards producing more at home and importing less. It’s a particular headache for farmers. We are lucky to have a good sized garden to increase our domestic food production but many people do not have this option and things are going to get tough.

      2. Brandy,
        Thanks for those interesting articles. It seems like there will be a movement back towards regional food development. But, it takes time to build that infrastructure. From Square Meal, people paid nearly 30% of their pay towards food (if I remember the statistic correctly) and I assume it was more of a regional system. Today, most pay between 10-15% of their incomes toward food. I wonder how returning toward a regional food system might affect cost today?

        1. I look at old prices of food and people paid a greater percentage of their income towards food. The current prices that farmers receive won’t cover the increased fertilizer costs, which are three times what they are getting from their crops. I think we may return to paying a greater amount of our incomes towards food, and entertainment and other unnecessary costs will become less of a priority for people due to necessity.

    2. Penny, they aren’t giving it to us, they are loaning it to us. We have to pay it back. There is no option to decline the loan if you qualify…. It’s an awful idea all round.

      1. Hi Emma
        Our notification of the rebate says in big black letters it will not need to be repaid.
        It might be another u turn.

      2. Hi
        My council tax has gone up by £8 per month, we won’t get the £150 as our house is band e . The £150 is a grant and does not have to be payed back the loan I think payed to you through your electricity bill is a loan and the £40 a year is add to your electricity bill over the next 5 years. There is no way to avoid this and yes it is madness.

  17. I had one of your readers, Sue, contact me and offer me canning jars. So, we were able to meet for brunch and she blessed me so much with about 10 flats of canning jars, a whole case of lids, some Tattler lids, rings with lids, a tomato strainer, a cherry pitter, and some other items. It filled my trunk and backseat! It was so much fun to meet an online friend in real life and get to know her. Thank you, Sue!
    * I stocked some flour, sugar, cornmeal, dry beans, pasta, oil, peanut butter, salt,Parmesean, Sams size onion flakes, and garlic powder, 3 # sausage, popcorn, canned pureed tomatoes, jasmine rice, oats, dish detergent, comet, windex, white and beige thread, and 3 spools quilting thread.
    *I was only at 3/4 tank but topped it off for $3.78 at Sams. Everyone else was $4.09-$4.19 so the line was really long.
    *got 2 more free Covid tests
    * cut husband’s hair. After 30 years he asked for a fade cut. Uh, I tried, then just did a buzz cut.
    * My plan: Can up a lot of the freezer meat and vegetables in soups, stews, stroganoff, then order another quarter cow from the farm. I am trying to find a ham and chicken. I am also going to make meals with meat as an add-in rather than a meat and three meal.
    * Moved MIL back to where she is from, five hours away. We unpacked her stuff and dropped her off and went to my daughter’s house for a few days and visited with grandson.
    * Aldi down in Florida had bare root blackberry and grapes for $5.99. I got 3 different variety of grapes and a blackberry.

    1. That is a really good price for gas. my son said he was able to get under $4 near Decatur. It is more expensive in Selma and the surrounding little towns south of there, where I am during the work week. .

      1. Once we hit Montgomery all the signs said $4.29. We thought it was just the stations along the interstate, but all through Mobile and Pensacola it is $4.19 to $4.29. And, we had to bring the truck so we could haul a UHaul. It has to have premium, so gas is $4.59. Husband said he will drive his motorcycle on the days he goes to the office. I am trying to get my pantry topped off where I can stay home. Thankfully church is 5 miles away.

    2. What an awesome deal on the blackberry starts! I am expecting one that I’d ordered at the end of last summer… that had ran $15!

  18. Brandy, how are your cuttings doing? The first ones you planted should have taken root by now. Also, will you please introduce me to your neighbor–the one that gives away lobster ravioli and seafood??!

    I hope everyone has had a good week! It has been very quiet here. Didn’t go anywhere, didn’t do anything! Pretty much the usual frugal stuff, including–
    * At Winco, the service meat counter packaged up their pricey bacon and marked it $3.39 PER POUND and stocked it in the deli case. I don’t know if they do this all the time or if it was a one-off. I wish I had bought more! And I will definitely look for it the next time I am there.

    * I finished bottles of leftover shampoo and conditioner and recycled the containers. One more to go. These are products I acquired because people left them at my house or we bought them on vacation. Using up dibs and dabs of products is more of a decluttering goal, but I also don’t have to buy what I am using up!

    * I don’t have a lot of clothes and haven’t bought shoes in over 3 years. When the dog chewed up my dress shoes (actually just flats), I went to every shoe department in town and bought a pair of tennies, which I also needed. I couldn’t find any flats that weren’t, well, FLAT. (I need “comfort casuals,” LOL). I was hesitant to drive 35 miles to Spokane because my arthritis has been bad lately and it would be exhausting, it would cost at least $15 in gas and there’s no guarantee I would find something I liked that fit. I ended up ordering Clarks online because I was pretty sure of the fit. I bought two pairs from DSW because I really needed them, plus it got me to free shipping. Now to remember to put them where the dog can’t get to them.

    * I checked the forsythia I grew from cuttings two years ago and transplanted last fall. There are buds all over it! And it’s going to be about waist high this year!! I hope to start some seeds this week.

    1. Well usually she gives me odd food that she ordered online and didn’t like, and we don’t like it either! This time she gave me something really nice because it had been in her freezer for a while.

      I am hopeful that some of the cuttings are taking as they are still green! Anything that dies I am taking out and replacing with a new cutting.

      I did pull out two that looked mostly dead, only to find that they had rooted quite a bit! This has given me hope that at least half the cuttings are going to make it, if not more.

      1. Brandy, if you will give each cutting a gentle tug, you will know if it has rooted. You can do this after 3-4 weeks. If it doesn’t want to move, it has roots. If it wants to slide right out of the ground, no roots. I have left non-rooted cuttings in the ground for awhile longer and some have rooted. I pulled out the ones that didn’t. I agree, replant the ones that don’t root. You can do this throughout the season, not just in early spring. I have had the best luck with semi-hardwood cuttings in midsummer, but you need so many, I’d start early (as you have done) and just keep pulling and replanting until you have enough new plants. This is a massive undertaking, but my money’s on you!

        The forsythia I’ve mentioned had finished blooming and was just leafing out. I planted 3 cuttings (snipped in the city park when no one was looking), all about 6 inches long, and two of them took. Later, when I had to move them, I put the two together to make one bigger shrub. I didn’t do this until around the first of October, which seemed kinda late, but do you know…it worked!

  19. I cat sat for a friend and she gave me $50, which I promptly put into food storage. Reading last week about sugar prices going up, I stopped at a scratch and dent store and found granulated sugar in 2 lb. bags for .90 each. Not a super bargain, but still cheaper than in a store. I bought 20 bags (40 lbs) to have on hand for canning. I have about 25 lbs. already in my storage. And the small size is nice to give someone if they run out of sugar. I also bought a 25 lb. bag of outdated whole wheat flour for $2.50. That is going into gallon bags and kept in the freezer. As long as it smells fresh I am happy to use it to extend what I have.

    I got a $20 gift card for helping to hang and art show. My husband and I lunched together on a gift card to another establishment that we had been given previously.

    We were invited to breakfast twice this week at friend’s home. It was lovely to meet with others and share a meal.

    I needed more T-pins to block a shawl I finished knitting. I stopped at Michael’s (while enroute to cat sit), and was surprised that they had no T-pins and the shelves were empty of sewing notions. I made do by using quilting pins for blocking the shawl. (They weren’t as strong so a few of them bent).

    We received rain over the weekend. Always a blessing!

    I have pulled together my seeds and will be starting to plant in a few weeks. Lettuce, spinach, and kale are on the docket.

    I hope everyone has a pleasant week.

  20. I’m still trying to keep my pantry fully stocked (because today’s high price may be a bargain in two weeks), but it really hurts not to be able to buy pantry items on loss leader sales! I do want to get another 25 lb bag of sugar which should leave me all set for canning season this summer.
    I went through my sewing repair pile. I had a large hole in a sweater which I decided to attempt to darn. It turned out great! Barely noticeable! So glad I tried to learn something new!
    I looked online at end-of-winter sales for the grandkids for next winter and was delighted to find my grandson’s favorite winter boot on at half price in an appropriate size. My daughter is worried about keeping the littles in footwear at reasonable prices through all this inflation and craziness, so I was glad to help.
    I just read articles that Portugal may ration food purchases in the coming months due to a combination of shortages and inflation. Also that in Britain many greenhouse farmers feel their costs in fuel and fertilizer are too high to risk planting crops. I’m hoping these are “panic” articles rather than sober assessments of the food situation in Europe. But how can I tell without being there? I really like it when people here chime in with what they see in their parts of the world.

    1. Elle, there are lots of ways to read worldwide news. I read news from all over the world regarding drought, food prices, and fertilizer.

      These are not panic articles. They are quite serious.

      There is drought in Spain. I don’t know if Portugal is affected as I haven’t read news there, but they’re right next door, so quite likely. It’s going to affect food crops.

      Fertilizer was up 10 times in fall and is worse now because Russia makes a lot of fertilizer.

      Drought in the western U.S. is really bad. If you don’t follow me on FB, check out this article. It feels like the sky is falling kind of article, but it’s dead serious. I followed the drought news extensively last year and many farmer in the west and midwest had no water when reservoirs dropped too low. The power at the dam at Lake Oroville was shut off because there wasn’t enough water for them to generate electricity. A dam in Idaho was at 4% capacity last year and farmers were cut off from water. I’ve read a myriad of articles this year that the Glen Canyon dam in Arizona at Lake Powell might be next. They say the water level will be too low next year or the year after to generate power.

      1. Thanks for the reading. But, oh Brandy, I have to say, I’m reeling at the shock of how bad the situation is shaping up even as a Best Case scenario. This is going to hurt a lot of people. (My daughter said: “Mom, you got this. You’ve been training your whole life for this!” Which made me laugh. But I’d rather be wrong on this.)

    2. Elle W yes I would also confirm the articles are correct you are reading.

      Here in Australia there are a lot of rural farmers contemplating whether to plant or not with the huge rise in prices on both fuel, groceries and fertilisers, so yes there is huge trouble afoot. In our country village the traffic is almost non existent compared to before (Sept last year) the fuel,grocery and fertiliser price rises. Those who live rurally and farmers are changing the way they live and traveling much less and combining a lot of errands to keep food on the tables and their budgets in check.

  21. My world is confused. 75 degrees one day and snowing 4 days later. While visiting my daughter in the city we were not dressed well for the cold snap. She found me an old boyfriends hoodie to wear and we bought sugar cookie one at goodwill. We enjoyed lovely food from my daughters workplace. There was food left over from a banquet and the chef sent sugar cookie some wings from the staff meal. I was able to print a great deal of genealogy paperwork for my father using her old and never used printer. I was happy to consume that ink up. I bought 6 boxes of Chef boy ardee pizzas for my son. They are double packs ,so he can make pizzas for a while. $2.00 a box. We have tons of mozzarella and pepperoni. While away on vacation next week, he probably will have a friend over to play a video game. This saves me the expense of ordering wings and pizza. He actually loves making pizza. I struggle with my thyroid and weight gain in the last year. I struggle with food options that don’t aggravate the problem. Most of my clothes are really tight. I ordered some summer dresses from Amazon in a couple different sizes. I used the try on first program. I will keep 2 for our cruise and return the rest. I never thought I would be interested in that scenario but find it solves my problem perfectly. We are packing book bags for our trip and flying the budget airline. I’ll pack a couple sheets of laundry soap and fabric softer sheets to do a load on the ship. That $7.00 charge will save me $300.00 it would have cost us to fly another airline with suitcases. Airfares are horrible. I’ve booked our May flights and paid for them. The fare overnight went up $100.00. So here’s to hoping they don’t get canceled. I filed my daughters taxes using a $25.00 service. There were several free options but they didn’t include adding in her school and work expenses. She pays $20.00 to park each day. Jackson Hewlett was a great option. I hope everyone is doing well.

  22. I’ve wrapped up my grocery shopping for the month, about $16 under budget. I focused on protein, vegetables and cleaning supplies, and made good progress on re-stocking after several months of bad walking conditions and high covid levels worked through my winter supplies. There was a caselot and big pack sale, where I got extra toilet paper, Green Giant mixed vegetables, potatoes, and pork loin. Through the last couple of weeks, I’ve also had solid prices on canola oil, frozen sole and snapper, and flour.

    I was finally able to walk over to the food bank to get food for free under the grocery store’s waste reduction program. It is separate from the hamper program, and open to anyone who can use just expired meat (frozen), dairy, eggs and bread. I got about $45 retail (Can $) worth of food, including chicken thighs, stir fry pork, mozzarella, Swiss cheese slices, bread, snow peas and free range brown eggs. I’ll keep going as long as there is plenty available beyond what the food bank clients want.

    Large bottles of Motrin were on sale at the pharmacy, so I am stocked for many months. I normally get a three month supply of prescriptions, and order them 7 t0 10 days before I run out. The supply I get is actually 100 days. I realized with the supply I have, I can delay my next prescription to four months instead of three.

    I am researching the pricing on freezer bags, so I have all I need when fresh produce comes in. The Zip-loc bags I buy have a flap on them. I always thought they were some kind of extra security fastener but didn’t know how to use them. I found out today they are to grab onto to make opening the frozen bag easier! Also the slide fastened Zip-loc freezer bags will stand up on their end while you fill them. There’s a price to that feature, but those of us with tremors and arthritis may want some of these design features. I was just happy that Zip-loc bags didn’t burst!

    Heard a ruckus in the kitchen today, and found my cat and a sparrow chasing each other around the room. I opened the front doors and a kitchen window and eventually guided the bird out the front door. I practice on bumble bees in the summer. Wasps are not cooperative enough. The cat was very disappointed that I didn’t want to tag team bird catch with her!

    I hope you all are managing to keep your spirits up. Take care.

    1. LOL at the cat tag-team. One of our cats brought home a live bunny a few months ago. It was chaos in our house that morning! Kitty was quite proud of himself for bringing home breakfast.

      1. That would have been exciting. You don’t always need to go outdoors to have a wildlife adventure!

  23. I sent messages to a few of my friends telling them about your page. When they appeared on their FB page there was a message at the bottom saying to click on another page. I tried it out and got a message saying “coming soon.” Strange.

    1. Not sure what happened. You can always give them a link by copying the URL and messaging it to them.

  24. It’s so interesting to see reports of things from all over. My best friend in the Los Angeles area told me that she saw a 12 oz. package of bacon for $11.99!! I was stunned. I haven’t been in a store in a month because of my mutant cold so I’m curious as to what I’ll see this week.
    **My husband stopped by Aldi on his way home from work to save money on gas. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the prices were the same for things we buy regularly. I can’t remember if I mentioned last week that Aldi had chicken quarters for 49¢/lb. He bought the 20# limit. Eggs were $1.67 dozen.
    **Milk was 87¢ gal. at Dillons. We bought the limit of 5.
    **We’ve lowered the thermostat to 60° during the day and 55° at night. It’s pretty chilly in the morning!!
    **Using a combo of sales and coupons we saved about $10 at the hardware store and $20 off a gallon of paint at the paint store.
    **No idea what the savings will be, but hubs connected all the TV/antenna/DVD cords to a power strip so they are really out (vs. vampiring) for 22 hrs.nper day. I can’t believe we didn’t think of that before!!
    **Hubs checked all the smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, which is much cheaper than the alternative!
    **Last gas fill up was $3.79 gal.
    **Our *saver* meals last week were Baked ziti, Eggs and taters, and Chicken noodle soup. Not like we regularly eat fancy lol
    **I repaired a tear in husband’s phone case that will hopefully hold until we find another one. None at Dollar stores.
    **Plus all the regular stuff like hanging laundry, catching water, etc.

    And Brandy, I had a question about your Spanish Rice recipe. The rice really soaks up all that liquid? It seems like so much that I had to ask!!! When I make brown rice, water and rice are 2:1. I was wondering if I misread anything. Thanks. Also, I wish I could smell those beautiful Hyacinths! They probably smell yummy! I had pink ones in my garden in Cali.

    We have a couple of errands in the city while there to see the doc. I’ll take notes!

    1. I get asked that question a lot, and yes, it does! If you’ve ever made rice pudding, it does the same, but the ratio is much greater. When I make rice pudding I start with one cup of cooked rice and then add 6 cups of milk–and it soaks ALL of it up! The Spanish rice recipe is not pudding-like, though!

      If you’ve watched Horatio Hornblower, there’s a part where the ship gets a leak and they have a cargo of rice. It starts to swell and swell, bursting the ship completely.

  25. Work was very busy last week so that kept me out of trouble! 🙂 I also submitted expenses so should have a cheque for over $30 waiting for me this week. It will probably go to food stocking up. My big purchases for this past week were oats, olive oil, canola oil, a couple of different types of sugar and then other items using wheat, like cous cous, crackers and some cake mixes (I do like to keep some yellow cake mixes on hand and they were on sale this past week). I also added a few more cans of baked beans (I try to add a few almost every trip). I also managed to find a good deal (or as good as I’m going to get now) on both dish liquid and laundry detergent – stocked up for the next 6 to 8 months. I also used $10 worth of Loyalty points.

    I now check out pantry items every couple of weeks and move things that I need (or should use) sooner, rather than later, into the kitchen. This past week that has included a can of ham, a can of Spam and a can of soup – they will get used up in the next week or so. I made a pot of soup last week that lasted 4 days and combined it with both tuna and ham salad on crackers or flatbread to use up things already in the fridge. I also finally opened that pkg. of powdered milk that I’ve had since the start of the pandemic and I’ve been using it all week – I mix it half and half with regular milk. It works just fine and with it being nearly $6 for a two litre container of organic milk it really does help. I am going to look for more powdered milk this week – it can actually be hard to find here but I will persevere.

    I got a burst of energy this past weekend and scrubbed the kitchen, changed the sheets, reorganized and cleaned the bedroom and then started on the dining room (which has turned into my home office) – I just couldn’t think straight until that mess was cleaned up! I ended up moving a cabinet that I use as a baking pantry and 3 bookcases – which meant that I had to empty everything, clean it, move the furniture, and then reorganize. It was exhausting but I am very happy with the results. I’ve spent today catching up on some personal paperwork so at least I could concentrate without being surrounded by a mess!

    I use public transit and so far there has not been any increase to fares so the gas prices haven’t affected me directly unlike those of you who drive. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to continue to work at least a couple of days from home as it does help to keep travel costs down as it costs me $4.50 a day to travel back and forth. I swear, every conversation seems to centre on the cost of gas and food!

    Even though I don’t garden or can I do love to read the posts from those who do – good luck to you all with this year’s efforts.

  26. It wasn’t a tremendously frugal week, but we tried.

    My friend had a freak accident with a butter knife and frozen hot dogs, so she had to have tendon repair surgery. I went to stay the weekend with her to help as she lives alone. I cooked the whole weekend and left her 9 meals to eat until she gets a little better. I had a lovely time visiting with her, and she sent me home with some books and a doohickey that holds your storage bags open so you can fill them.

    My daughter and son-in-law saw a good deal on hamburger while they were shopping, and, after checking with us, they picked some up for us. We were able to share some leftovers and extra food with our single son, which always makes me happy.

    I also ordered the second batch of free COVID tests from the government.

  27. I have a small concrete planter, I just might try growing some lettuce.

    My mom sent over fritoes, toothpaste(nothing we like, so I offered it on a buy nothing site), snack cakes, powdered milk, and oranges.

    Work purchased us a Sonic drink on our last day before Spring Break.

    I signed up for Peacock for free

    I used $15 off first order for Misfit Market. I had been contemplating getting a CSA, but they are $45+ a week around here, so maybe this will be a cheaper vegetable option. (Our neighbor shares a lot with us also)

    My husband found another grocery deal….8lb pork loin for $14. I divided it into 6 meals…2 smaller pork loins, 3 dinners of chops and 1 dinner of pork chunks(for fried rice). He also came home with a 15 pound bags of russet and red potatoes. He paid under $4 each. Not sure what I’m going to do with all those potatoes.

    I had my first eye exam(in 6 years 😱) My total was $130 for exam, frame, and lenses(versus $144 just for an exam) thanks to insurance. I need some follow up tests after finding an issue, but they said my medical insurance should cover additional testing.

    Recorded more movies to watch since we have Showtime and Epix for free.

    Read and returned A Square Meal. I vote for a Prudent Homemaker online book club (or at least, a recommended book list, lol). I’m grateful for my library, our true crime book club selection wasn’t available here, but they got it from another library in Arkansas. I plan to get it read and returned while I’m off this week from my school job.

    I found some batteries in a random spot on a shelf, so I tested them with my battery tester, and found out they were still good. Into the battery container to be used.

    1. I started making a book list post of WWII books but now I’m not sure if it would be good or not with all that is going on.

      What does everyone think?

      1. I’m always interested in what others are reading and have got a lot of great suggestions from this site so I think it’s a great idea.

        1. Agreed – I would love to see this list, but especially the titles related to these topics. The “use it up, wear it out, make it do” type philosophy. I feel like so many things are all over the place (in my head and current abilities) as we prepare to move, I will need reminders of how to get back to it this summer. 🙂

      2. Sounds wonderful! I have read so many wonderful books based on the recommendations here. 🙂

      3. Yes please!! I have read so many WWII books. I learn new ways of conserving, reusing, and surviving very hard things. It is something we all need at this very uncertain time.

      4. You don’t have to post this…..but yes please! This might not be an easy time for this list but it might be the prudent time for it. There is still so much to learn and these would most likely be an inspiration and possible resource for ideas and even courage.

      5. Yes, I would like to see that list, but a book club is also an interesting idea. Brandy, have you considered asking readers to include information about where they are from if they are comfortable doing so? I enjoy hearing about everyone’s frugal journeys, but prices differ so widely in the US and globally. Thank you for the link to the AP article on drought.

      6. I would love it. By the way, Jennifer Ryan has a new book coming out, The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle. Like The Kitchen Front, it is set in WWII. The Amazon description reads, “Three plucky women lift the spirits of home-front brides in wartime Britain, where clothes rationing leaves little opportunity for pomp or celebration—even at weddings—in this heartwarming novel based on true events, from the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.”

        1. I was able to put a hold on this book at my library even though it hasn’t been released. I am only 10 in the que and they are ordering 5 books. So check your libraries.

      7. I’m good with it. Might I add a couple to your list that I read 1-2 yrs. ago? You can always omit this post, of course!
        The View from the Corner Shop by Kathleen Hey. It’s a diary of a wartime shop assistant in Britain. The diary was kept for a social study group called the Mass Observation Project. The other is Spuds, Spam and Eating for Victory.
        They were both interesting.
        I can’t remember if it was the Spuds book, but one that I read had a humorous tale about people on Jersey hiding a pig.
        And of course there are tough parts, as well.

      8. I would love your list! That time period teaches how to be grateful for what we have and how to make do! Reading is also to me a way to shift gears which is a blessing!

      9. I vote yes, please! I haven’t been adding my 2cents in recent months but i read everyone else’s posts and make note of book recommendations. It’s a great help for those of us who have a teeny, tiny library.

    2. The Old Farmer’s Almanac website posted potato recipes for St. Patrick’s Day. I had not heard of Irish Potato Pie, (a cream pie which should not taste like potatoes), and they have Irish Potato Biscuits as well. Both are made with mashed potatoes.

    3. Jennifer @A Country Life (YouTube) makes mashed potatoes and stores them in the freezer, then reheats in her crockpot when she serves her family. You can also par-fry French Fries and store in the freezer. I wish I could find potatoes for that price! I paid $4 for 5 pound today and that’s about average for my area.

  28. An explanation as to why prices are rising. We are experiencing a convergence of many different disasters which combined are wreaking havoc on our food supply. Two of the disasters are:
    1. Grand Solar Minimum. The sun is “going to sleep” and is putting out less power which changes weather patterns across the world – cooler additional rain in some places and less rain in others. Less sun also means more viruses and diseases. Less gravitational pull causes more earthquakes and erupting volcanoes. The ash from the volcanos circling in the atmosphere cools the planet even more and affects crops. Some of the massive earthquakes have knocked the planet a degree off of its pole causing our jet streams to wobble. Throughout history, short cycles have caused famines, mass human migrations to greener areas, and pandemics. A long Grand Solar Minimum cycle caused an ice age. I’m hoping this will be a short cycle and will soon be over.
    2. The Central Bank here in the US has been allowed to print extra money to fund both political parties’ pork projects for decades. Doing so devalues our cash and eventually makes it worthless. We are at the end of the cycle and are experiencing what ALWAYS happens, hyperinflation. Soon, it will take a wheelbarrow to buy a loaf of bread. This has happened repeatedly throughout history and it has always been blamed on a stirred-up war…not the banksters. What is different this time is that the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, everyone uses it so this will be a worldwide crash.
    The list of disasters continues to grow.

    On to my cost savings this week:
    *My husband Bill’s health has improved to the point that he can now go without oxygen when he is sitting still. Since his extended sick time at work has ended, he decided to try going back to work in his office/bedroom on our second floor for a few hours each day. The physical therapist worked with him going up and down one step over and over until he could climb the stairs. He has added a longer air tube on the oxygen machine so that it will reach upstairs. (I can’t pick it up and he can’t breathe well enough to carry it.) After he is sitting in his office chair, I turn the oxygen machine off until he is ready to come back down the steps. We don’t know how much electricity it uses but since it is a big machine, we assume it is a lot.
    *Postponed unused insurance-approved at-home nurse visits and will cancel the rest if everything goes well. She was a godsend when Bill first came home from the hospital but now that he won’t die within a few minutes if he can’t get oxygen, we feel able to navigate any unforeseen problems. I also bought a $5 walker at Goodwill and will donate it back even though insurance would have paid for a new one. Being free isn’t a reason to take something that will eventually end up in a landfill.
    *Bill has another UTI and is back on antibiotics. The doctor told him to eat yogurt every day for the probiotics. I bought one small container of yogurt and two gallons of milk and made yogurt overnight. I saved the whey to make another batch later.
    *Mended two bras. The stretchy fabric panels on the back had worn out. The elastic trim, straps, and cups were fine. Earlier, I had gone to a fabric store but spandex fabric was $15 a yard! I walked away. After much thinking, I ripped apart a stained teeshirt, sewed it over the worn panels, and they look almost new again. It isn’t elegant lace but works fine.
    *Started seeds in the same 2 oz plastic drinking cups with a drainage hole poked in the bottom that I have used for years. Used the same plastic spoons for labels and wiped the old information off with fingernail polish remover. The potting soil from last year that was stored in the shed had bugs hatching out. Normally, I would toss it but not this year. I put a drop of Joy Dishwashing liquid in the watering jug and that killed the eggs. In financially leaner years I used my garden compost and baked it in an old toaster oven sitting on the front porch (it smelled bad and bugs would crawl out). The seeds grew better in the compost than in store-bought potting soil; however, after the toaster oven broke, I went back to buying potting soil. I might switch back next year if prices rise too high and if I happen to run across another oven at a garage sale. I had tried baking the compost in my kitchen oven but my family objected strongly to the stench.
    *Used my dollar store heating pad to warm up the cups so the seeds would sprout sooner. I turn it on and off. Eventually, it will hit the correct temperature. When finished, I clean the plastic cover, put it back in the medicine cabinet and no one is the wiser.
    *Decided to follow Elizabeth M.’s advice and cleaned out one kitchen cabinet since it was almost empty. I refilled it with supplies from my basement storage so there is food ready to grab. Except for fresh fruit for Bill, we have almost completely eaten out of the pantry and garden the last few months. It has only been resupplied with the bulk wheat, oats (purchased cheaply from the local feed store), and the few good deals I found.
    *Since I now have a new bag of wheat berries, it was time to rotate out the old. I had some remaining rye, barley, and buckwheat left from 2014 still in perfect condition. A little bit goes a long way. I spent one afternoon outside grinding and then making crackers, pie crusts, and bread. Some of the crackers were also dehydrated for a few hours and then vacuum sealed into canning jars for later use. *The piecrusts were rolled flat, a big bowl was used as a template to cut a circle, they were placed between sheets of wax paper, layered in a two-gallon ziplock bag, stacked flat onto a piece of cardboard, and frozen. The wax paper sheets, ziplock bag and cardboard are all reused. Even though this is a big cost-saver, I do it because the manufacturers have started adding sugar so I can’t eat them.
    Meals we have eaten this week:
    *Pork chops (being rotated out of the freezer) white beans, cornbread, rice, and carrots cooked in apple juice with cinnamon. The carrots were on sale for $1.00 for two pounds (which is now a good price) but they were of poor quality. The apple juice covered that up. I plan on growing more carrots this year and canning them in apple juice.
    *Homemade crackers with cheddar kale dip. It was supposed to be a snack but we pigged out and ate it all.
    *Garden salads and more crackers.
    *Fajitas – heated up canned hamburger meat, frozen bell peppers, pickled jalapenos, chopped onions, chili powder, seasonings, canned beans, and placed on a tortilla in a nonstick pan, shredded cheese was added then it was topped with a big handful of chopped winter greens. This was served to company that arrived at short notice and each person chose how they wanted theirs made. It was a very cheap way to feed a crowd.
    Hamburger meat was bought last year on sale and canned.
    Peppers, chili powder, seasonings, and winter greens were from the garden. Onions should have been from the garden but I didn’t grow enough last year.
    The beans were dried ones that had been canned and were sitting in the cabinet ready to be used.
    The cheese was purchased on sale and then frozen. I still have some in wax but didn’t have time to run to the basement to grab and shred.
    The Tortillas were store-bought. I don’t want to start making them myself but some of the brands have started adding sugar.
    *End of the week we had stirfry with freezer chicken, leftover rice, beans, wilted salad greens, and dehydrated garden vegs were added for variety.
    I got some good suggestions from everyone’s comments last week. Thank you to everyone who posted.

    1. Electric companies sometimes give discounts for medical equipment, such as CPAP machines. You might check with your provider to see if the oxygen machine is covered.

      1. Heidi, I will call the electric company tomorrow and see if there is a discount.

    2. Thanks for an interesting read. Is the solar minimum the same as, or related to, sunspots? I read about sunspots this week.

  29. I don’t comment often but wanted to share this resource. Ice Age Farmer talks a lot about food, the increasing cost of food, gardening in hard times, etc. His website is super useful, and I’m also on his Telegram, where he shares updated news stories that will affect food costs. We’re in for a hard couple of years with all the fertilizer issues, and his information has helped me to stay on top of things to keep my pantry stocked before prices skyrocket.

    Brandy, thank you for sharing your stories, you are a blessing to us all.

    1. Thanks Joy. I am checking it out. It’s definitely what I’ve been reading about.

      I’m working on improving my soil. If you saw the Wartime Farm production from BBC (free to watch on YouTube) it talks about the fertilizer issues during the war too. We’vre having them again in the world. I know my own new soil is very lacking right now (it’s half sand, half wood chips). I have been adding manure, burying scraps, and I bought worms. I’ll probably order more worms. The better the soil, the less fertilizer it will need, and the in-ground worm composting should really help. I hope to build good tilth.

    2. Joy, I have gotten a lot of information I wouldn’t have by following him. Many times it has kept me ahead of the game.

  30. Still on my road trip-I am visiting friends so no accommodation costs at the moment. They have taken me out for several meals and insisted on paying which is very kind. They are hoping to visit us next summer and say I can treat them when they come-but I have a feeling I will have to remind them!
    We stopped at a local produce market-our best deal there was pink lady apples for .49 per lb. They look very tasty indeed. Enjoying the sights of olive and almond groves, palm trees, vineyards and of course the ocean and the huge redwood trees. Still heading south but will start back home in a couple of days so enjoying the spring weather while I can. Wishing everyone a frugal week.

  31. We also ordered and received our second batch of free Covid tests. I have noticed that they have a relatively short shelf life which is not surprising so I will off some of our older ones to my sons.
    Got the max of 6 pounds of ground turkey on sale for $1.99/lb. which is a great price here. Froze it in pound portions. I have been trying new meatless recipes and also using old one to increase our meatless dinners per week.
    Washed and cleaned our car ourselves. My husband fixed a bathroom door that was no longer latching. We did decide though to hire out much needed carpet cleaning as it is too much for us to do and reasonably priced.
    Gas is quite expensive in S Cal and we are fortunate to be retired and have the flexibility to batch our errands and generally to not have to drive long distances. I am concerned about electricity costs and we are being diligent to follow our new time of use plan as much as possible. The next bill will show if it helped.
    I am cat sitting for neighbors and they want to pay me but I would rather keep on a helping each other out trade basis. They water our plants when we are gone which is a fair trade.
    I decided to keep a list of what I was buying other than food and other necessities to make myself think twice before ordering. Sometimes I can find something we already have to use instead and other times we decide it is a good use of our money but it is always thoughtful.

  32. I laughed at Brandy’s previous post about where she got her garden worms. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm seemed to be a whimsical name for such a business.
    Frugal strategies while in FL:
    1. I cooked or we ate frozen leftovers from the freezer most of the time. The grocery prices are higher but it is still cheaper than eating out.
    2. My close friend gave me a bag of clothes. I will wear a few things but will take most of it to the Habitat resale store here.
    3. Found the husband a few clothing items at the Habitat store for 1$ each.
    4. Had a package of Pumkin Spice Blonde Brownie mix. I don’t much care for spice cake. I added 3 overripe bananas & some left over chocolate chips. The spice taste was masked. The people at church enjoyed them. Someone asked “what kind of cake is it?” Well how do I answer that?
    5. I bought a very large package of toilet paper using my Walgreen’s cash.
    6. Returning home soon to teach 2 eight week classes. The $ pays my HOA for the FL condo.
    7. My husband helped another fisherman to reel in & then release a 200 lb shark. Free exciting entertainment.

  33. The fresh garden produce sounds so nice. It made me think that maybe I could at least sprout seeds and look into growing micro-greens in the house. This week has been much the same; I have tried to go through the motions of buying sale items from the least expensive source. However, the higher prices at all the stores seems to have thrown off my mental catalog of which stores have which prices. I really need a price book with things written down. So far, my plan to shop mostly once a month when Senior discounts are available is working somewhat, and I have been able to shop at cheaper stores in the city when we have to travel to that area for appointments. Gas prices are at $4.59 per gallon. Today, I went to a new Grocery Outlet/Bargain Market store and bought distilled water for 89 cents compared to 1.29 at the other store. While I was there I saw they had heads of cabbage at what looked like 59 cents per pound, which I thought was reasonable for here now, but when I got to the checkout counter, the whole head cost me 59 cents. Their dry beans, lentils, etc. seemed reasonable compared to what is available elsewhere, too. I bought a couple of one-pound bags of lentils for $1.09 each. There were really no good buys anywhere I went. Other savings included cutting my husband’s hair, and I am still working on finishing the sewing of a simple skirt for a granddaughter from fabric I had on hand with a pattern I bought at a thrift store some time ago. I am looking for a scale for soapmaking. I have the protective gear from a class I took, and the crockpot I bought at Goodwill last week for $9.99. I have some oil I can use. I will need to order some lye. Today, when we were at a store, my husband looked at some crockpots and reported that “They want $40 for that crockpot that looks just about like the one you bought at Goodwill.” I just smiled. He used to treat my frugality and food preservation activities and thrifting with amusement and called me his “squirrel.” Gardening in a more serious way is my next goal. This week did contain a fairly serious frugal fail that could have been worse. Where we live one could probably get away with not locking the car when one is in a store, and nothing would be stolen. For years we never locked our house, and cars that broke down beside the road were never in danger of being stripped. That has changed somewhat with all the people who have moved in here, but we are still accustomed to not huge amounts of crime, so we aren’t perhaps as careful as we should be. Well, this week while in the city, we forgot to lock the car. I forgot and left the cell phone on the back seat in plain view, also. When we came back the phone was gone. My jacket was stuffed on the floor of the back seat, and a bag of peanuts we had bought in bulk was left open. Evidently, someone had helped themselves. We will let our grandchildren feed the rest of the peanuts to the squirrels. As we were driving my husband said he thought the hood of the car was up a little. He stopped and sure enough, the hood latch had been pulled from inside the car. The safety latch kept it from flying up. My husband opened the hood and found that the cover that goes over the hot wire on the battery was off. It looked like perhaps someone had intended to steal the battery, and changed their mind for some reason. We were thankful we weren’t missing at least a battery. People have been hijacking cars and stealing catalytic converters there a lot lately. We found that our car insurance did not cover the cell phone; our house insurance did cover it, but our deductible is too high for it to make a difference, and if we did claim anything on the insurance, our insurance rates would go up, and the claim would stay on our record for three years. We had an old phone with a cracked face, and we are using that. It works just fine, and we are resolved to be more careful.

    1. Elizabeth H., sorry about your cellphone troubles. Stealing catalytic converters from cars and opportunistic pilferage is unfortunately common where I live. I am thankful you and your husband remained safe!
      Tracey B. at ruralsprout.com just linked an article in Sunday’s newsletter about growing food indoors. Some involved miniature plants. It was very interesting and might provide some information you don’t already have.

  34. Brandy I am so glad you were able to harvest a lot from your gardens and use hedge plant cuttings to plant some more hedges and plant the lovely gift you got of hyacinths 🙂 . I would agree that grocery prices have gone up enormously but more in the States than here from what I am reading as your inflation rate is about 4% ahead of ours currently but they are predicting here in Australia that inflation could reach 6.5% by June and we are already seeing more price rises 😮 .

    I calculated that our grocery shopping bill has gone up by between 30 – 40% when we buy meat to top up in cost since September last year which is an enormous jump in expenditure. Like yourself we have been comparing prices between supermarkets and buying anything we need at the lowest costs as we pass quite a few supermarkets on our errands.

    In the kitchen –
    – Baked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machines saving $13.96 over buying them locally in the stores.
    – DH cleaned the oven and shelves.
    – I cleaned the two sets of aluminium blinds in the kitchen, the windows behind and the kitchen tile splash backs. The kitchen looks so much cleaner now but still more spring cleaning to do in there bit by bit.

    In the gardens –
    – I replanted some corn seeds I had saved from our previous crop and in another 2 garden bed with saved broad and dwarf bush bean strike bean seeds from our previous crop too.

    Finances –
    – Banked more money into our 3 month emergency fund and paid an extra part payment off our mortgage.

    Purchases –
    – Saved 3% by using our discounted fuel e-gift card and another 4c per litre off fuel to fill two jerry cans saving in total $4.82 on Not so normal 😮 fuel costs.
    – Saved 4% or .55c by using our grocery discount e-gift card to top up the pantry for a few things we needed.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).

    1. My bill is double. I am seeing a lot of things that are double the price. My son works at the grocery store and bags groceries. He sees people putting things back every day and they are all saying it is double as well.

      So I feel like the official inflation numbers are a lie when it comes to food. It may be an average, but it still seems way too low.

      1. Those inflation numbers do not include food and energy numbers which is where we are getting hit the hardest.

        FYI: The core inflation rate is the price change of goods and services minus food and energy. Food and energy products are too volatile to be included. They change so quickly that they can throw off an accurate reading of underlying inflation trends.

        1. I saw food inflation numbers too at around 20%. That still seems too low to me to be accurate, though. For example, the oil at half the size and $3 more than what I paid is about a 150% increase on the price of oil. Lettuce is double.

          1. I’m also confused by the whole inflation reporting. 7% is not much really, but clearly that can’t be accurate. If economists don’t include fuel and food in the statistics, then those statistics are absolutely meaningless. Food and fuel are our basic needs. What are they considering then, the increases in Ferraris and designer clothes?

      2. Brandy yes the inflation rate here in Australia and the rest of the world does not in the least reflect the “true” huge prices we are seeing in groceries I do agree wholeheartedly 🙂 . I am so sorry to hear your families grocery bill has doubled and feel so sad that people are putting groceries back that they cannot afford to buy and yes it is certainly getting tough out there for everyone unfortunately. Good to hear that you have stocked up on the grocery items you need now before the prices go up further.

        The main doubling in prices here we are seeing on things like red meat and a lot of fruit and vegetables but all other prices have gone up on average 30 -40% when averaged out across what we buy. We grow a lot of our own fruit and veg so those prices do not affect us as badly as most.

        Here in Australia they work out inflation taking out anything that is volatile (goes up hugely in price or fluctuates) from a regular basket of groceries that they deem for grocery inflation purposes. So of course it is not reflecting at all accurately on the price rises we are seeing on the ground as consumers. They also take out volatile things like fuel, gas and electricity prices too.

        I wish here and in other countries the measure of inflation was more accurate and took into account all those volatile items we all have to buy or use.

      3. I agree, Brandy. I hear news stories saying that things are up a few percentage points and I think that there is no way. It’s so much higher. It’s very sobering to literally watch prices go up before our eyes. (I mean literally…higher at the checkout stand than on the shelves. Yikes! I’m taking pictures on my phone now sometimes to show the cashier.)

        1. I think as prices go up, they’re not getting them changed quickly enough on the shelves. My son works at the grocery store and said the woman whose job it is to change prices had to change the prices on 16,000 items in one day recently. But as I shared on Facebook, this is a major problem all over the country right now.

          1. Wow. I can’t even imagine 16,000 items! That is mind boggling!

            It happened again at Walmart the other day. I bought some canned mackerel which is still listed at $1.86 and scanned at $2.12 but this time I took a picture of it. Then there were corn tortillas listed as $1.58 but scanned as $1.98. In the past they would go look at a price or have me run back and snap a picture but now they just take my word for it. I bought four of each item so that was $2.64. that I would have paid extra. I wonder how much this all adds up to when people don’t pay attention. I guess it just reflects the real price but I wouldn’t have bought these items if I thought they were the higher price.

            I try to be extra kind to grocery store workers. I imagine it must not be fun for your son when people are stressed out and possibly angry about prices. My daughter works at Aldi and I think it can be a high stress environment at times. Yesterday at Sam’s club it added up to less than I expected which is rare. It’s easy at these big places to have it add up quickly especially now. I said this to the lady as I was leaving. I asked her if anyone ever said that and she exclaimed that they never do. That’s sad what you said about people putting things back. I think most people don’t know how to shop frugally. One thing I’ve noticed is that the frugal principals still apply or apply more than ever right now.

  35. This week I boiled eggs and made homemade Focaccia Bread, Spaghetti with Marina Sauce and Italian Sausage, Grilled Sandwiches on the griddle and fries. I made breakfast for dinner and froze the extra pancakes for quick microwave breakfasts, lots of salads to use up extra vegetables, chicken stir fry and fried rice. We always have “make your own dinner” on Wednesdays to use up leftovers and give me a break from cooking dinner.

    *I have been complaining for a long time that I am not motivated to spend time baking in the kitchen. My husband told me this week that he would love to learn how to bake some of my recipes, that made me so happy. I will definitely take him up on that offer!!! Meanwhile, I made Chocolate Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting.

    *Grocery shopping is getting so painful, but I did find a few good deals. I bought cheese at my stock up price of $2.50 a pound. I bought ten pounds so that we are stocked up for homemade pizza. I found store brand scotch tape for .47 cents each, they were really thick rolls. I bought enough to last through Christmas. I also found some individually wrapped snack foods on clearance that I will save for our spring break trip. Several of my items did not ring up at the correct sale price (also several of my mom’s items), so we had to wait in a long customer service line at Fred Meyer to get our adjustment. This seems to be happening every week now! Ugggh! Winco is the only store where it has not happened to me.

    *I cut and colored my hair and dyed my eyebrows. This saves me around $125. That’s using the beauty school prices where I go a couple times a year for a good cut. I can’t imagine what it would cost at a regular salon!

    *The apartments where my Mom lives are raising rents this year. Most people have had theirs go up between $200 and $400 a month. Our town is a really good commuting location for many large Seattle area tech companies, so there is a lot of competition for housing here, Her lease expires in April, so we are bracing for the worst. There are just no other cheaper places near me that are suitable and safe for her. Many of the lower prices apartments in our area have waiting lists now. Lots of moms in my Facebook groups are having to move out of our area. It’s really tough. We are looking for other ways to help my mom save money. She will probably sell her car since I am now her driver. She has some extra furniture and craft supplies to sell. I re-organized her pantry so that she can store more food. She is visually impaired, so I marked the expiration dates on everything in very large print and organized the food so that she is using the oldest first to avoid food waste. We will just do what we can do, and it will all add up and help. She makes too much in retirement income to get assistance, but not enough to live comfortably in our area.

    *My teenage son loves the Beatles. I ordered in the Beatles Anthology 5 disc DVD Set from our library. We watched the first dvd, and he really enjoyed it. Love my library!!! I’m working on food storage and was wondering about sealing flour, pasta or rice in the storage bags, but not vacuum sealing it. I don’t have the attachments for jars. Has anyone tried this, or am I better off buying mylar bags? I was reading my food saver instructions and found a suggestion to freeze water in the sealed bags for emergency, camping, coolers. That makes it easily portable, you can drink it when it thaws, you just need a scissors to cut open the corner. I’m going to try it. I just need to make sure that I have scissors in my bug out bags and maybe in my car, too.

    *Have a great and frugal week!

  36. I would be happy if I could get information how much you people consume water in 24 h period per person. We (a middle-aged couple) are constantly thinking of ways to use less. We conserve water as much as we can (bowl in every sink, a bigger container under shower) and use it to flush toilet. Our average is around 90 l/24 gallons. I know I can squeeze it down to 55-60 l/14,5-16 gallons but it doesnt allow much of laundry etc. As on the electricity front we are having a contract with fixed price until next January. There haven’t been any change for us yet, but we know people who have had their price gone up. We have been stocking up our pantry as well, and I have had empasis on food items that give a lot of calories with no or minimum cooking required. Chances are there is going to be rationing (as we had in the 70’s) or the price will simply become too much. As to rationing, those of you interested in WWII grandma Donna at gdonna.com is having ”a live-in experience” of those times. We live in a tiny village and fortunately we have a small grocery store here. It has higher prices than the hypermarkets but we can walk to get there (and we like to support a fellow villager, it’s not a chain store)… the bigger stores are 40 and 50 minutes drive away and 20 euros for gas is not enough – so we need to think and calculate when we are buying enough to get the lower food prices cover the gas and more. I sewed myself a new apron (by hand). I enjoyed gorgeous spring weather. Even though the snow isn’t going away sunny weather with blue skies does lift my spirits.

    1. Miriam, that is an AMAZINGLY LOW amount of water that you are using per person per day. It’s really impressive. I don’t know how you could go lower, to be honest.

    2. I just looked back at our water usage per day for this week. Our highest use day was 88 gallons, and our lowest use was 9 gallons (we were both working outside the home that day). We average around 40 gallons per person per day. I suspect that biggest savings are in 3 areas. First is that we are still watering 99% of our garden with rain water from our barrels. Second, we only flush the toilet for solid waste. I know this not attractive to many people, and if we have guests we flush the shared toilet each time. We are in exceptional drought and I think that calls for exceptional measures. We have a dual flush toilet, one option for low water flush and one option for higher water flush and we never have needed to use the high water flush, the low one works perfectly for everything. Third, we shower in less than 4 minutes.

      We do the usual things of catching shower warm up water, rinsing water from the kitchen sink, we hardly ever take a bath. We’ve had the city water people out to make sure we have no leaks and we have low-flow showerheads (free from the city).

      I’m only sharing because you asked, I hope it doesn’t sound prideful because I do not want to be. I just really enjoy seeing how resources can be stretched. And with a daughter who works in 3rd world countries, I know how little so much of the world manages on. It motivates me to do my part.

      1. These are great things, Kara. Thank you for sharing. Drought is looking more and more like long-term aridification, and the more we can conserve water, the better.

      2. Thank you so much Kara! I really appreciate your input, nothing prideful there! We have really much snow this winter and we did think about bringing it inside to melt for using… 😉 The gardening season wont be here for 2-2,5 months so we need to figure out how to water efficiently. My a-ha moment was when I saw a movie called Live and Become. A boy from a refugee camp had the first shower of his life and he had a panic attack as he saw all the water going down in the drain…

        1. That is really interesting. Here, all the water down the drain is recovered, cleaned, and reused. The rest of the Western U.S. needs to quickly build water reclamation plants as the drought is really permanent aridification and we have less and less water every year.

          In Las Vegas, 95% of all water used is reclaimed. The other 5% is used outdoors.

          1. Brandy, are you referring to the idea of using snow? Water is cleaned and reused over here, too, but the pricing goes like this: you pay X amount for the clean water, and you pay double for the drain (10+20, for example). So snow would make it free (lol)

            1. Not at all. We don’t get snow here. We get less than 10 centimeters of rain a year.

              All water that goes down the drain (toilets, showers, sinks, gutters) is collected by the water district, cleaned, and repumped to people. This is my water bill.
              We have a tired system here, so the more water you use, the higher the rate. There are four tiers plus basic usage and a bunch of other fees, most of which increase based on usage.

              The drain is the sewer bill. We have a fixed price for that but they raise the rates every year. We have to pay quarterly.

      3. When we lived in bush Alaska, we learned to flush only when it was more than urine. When we moved back to a more urban part of Alaska, we retained the habit. It is better for the environment and for our pocketbooks. In the spring, I ask my husband to pee on the compost heap to help activate it. If it is good enough for the British national gardens to encourage their male employees to pee on composting straw bales, it is good enough for me. There has been a lot of research on using male urine for crops that are nitrogen hogs and they are now attempting to manufacture fertilizer that uses urine instead of petroleum products to produce a commercially viable product.

        1. Thanks Mable! I have just recently read about using urine in gardening and I found it really worth trying.

      4. Some years ago, I met a young man who was visiting from either South or Central America. He was flabbergasted that we flushed our toilets with clean water. I might have posted that before.

        1. I can see the visitor’s point: it doesn’t have to be particularly clean, just wet. I love the idea of a toilet that is flushed with water that went down the drain of the attached hand sink. (I’ve only seen photos of them, never the real thing).

    3. Correction,
      I think I put that our highest water use day was 88 gallons per person but that is for 2 people. So that day it averages to 44 gallons per person. That was our highest day all month. We did 3 loads of laundry!

  37. I love to see the greenery in your garden, it reminds me that spring is just around the corner even though we still are expecting much more snow. We had some sunny, icy days here and the earth in the glasshouse had thawed. I seeded spinach, snow peas and rainbow radishes.. .fingers crossed. I started seeds for salad, cabbage, broccoli, leeks, celery and kale in a plastic covered frame in my cold glasshouse. I started oxheart tomatoes indoors two weeks ago using some old seeds and they germinated!
    3 dollars for salad is a normal price here, so I don’t want to think what it will cost soon. I usually harvest my romaine lettuce 3 times by taking the outer leaves but leaving the hearts and letting it re grow.
    This week I stocked up my pantry. We have no great deals but to me all prices now are “deals” compare to what they will be a month from now. I got oil, cooking chocolate, sugar and more sugar, baking powder, condiments, olive oil and some frozen goods.
    When it comes to chickens, our farmers had to cull due to electricity prices this winter. I bought 7 chickens and froze them during that time. Now we are working on repairing our chicken coop to have a few egg layers again. I think to buy the feed now, even before the chucks are out of eggs. But of course we can feed the 5 chickens with scraps.
    We celebrated Julius on his 3rd birthday with carrot cake muffins, LOTS of balloons and flags which I made many years ago. We took his birthday picture, developed it and framed it for that day. We later make a small album with all the birthday photos, one of each year. We made a homemade pizza for dinner and invited grandparents and aunt and uncle.
    I took cuttings of an indoor plant.
    Big hugs to everyone! We’ve got this!

  38. Rising prices at the grocery store as well as at the gas pump has spurred us to plant more in our garden this year, more than we ever have before. We have a very small yard, but I know we can grow more. I will be planting seeds in the next couple of weeks for radishes, lettuce, kale, and beets. I will be planting int he ground as well as in containers.
    Since we roasted our turkey last Sunday (upside down as I learned from Brandy and I highly recommend!), we ate lots of leftover turkey this week. We had turkey noodle soup, turkey potpie, turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, and turkey sandwiches. We still have a little leftover that I put in the freezer for a future meal.
    I organized a cabinet in the kitchen that is often neglected because it is hard to reach. We will be replacing our counter tops and kitchen sink this summer so I am working to get our kitchen more organized.

  39. We took the money we saved living off our pantry and freezer last month and used it to stock up on some useful and needed groceries. As Brandy said, we wanted to stock up before prices go even higher or more shortages occur. Many canned vegetables were on the list, as were oatmeal, raisins, and spaghetti. We had so many boxes of pasta in our cart, a few fellow shoppers joked that we must be opening an Italian restaurant. We feel a bit better with some more provisions set in and also have a stash of canned goods in our neighbors’ cellar from last year that we are working through. We are taking a similar stance with gas and top off our tank whenever we are in town which has been 1-2 times per week lately.
    I have been distrustful off savings apps thus far – they just felt like more trouble than they were worth as I buy mostly store brands and thrift stores and it just felt too intrusive. However, after reading so many frugal folk praise Fetch, I decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised that it gave me points on all of my recent receipts including one to a thrift store. That sold me! I am glad to do it now that I see it can have some benefit without changing my shopping habits.
    I recently discovered the monthly preventive medicine I give our cats has gone generic. That could save up close to $100 per year. I have been concerned with the canned cat food shortage. We foster kittens and, with kitten season coming up, I want to have a small stockpile ready. I cast my net and asked friends and family living in different locations to be on the lookout and some of them brought me 24 cans of food last week as a donation. We are so appreciative!
    I shopped at a thrift store on their 50% clothing day and found 4 shirts for my oldest son, a beautiful wool coat for me, a hat, and a paperback book all for $10.
    My sons and I did some paid landscaping work for a neighbor. We were glad to help him as he has a bad back but he insisted on paying us, which we gratefully accepted.
    We had a blizzard over the weekend but now the weather has warmed and I am back in the garden preparing to plant. I also discussed garden plans with our neighbor whom we help every year. I am grateful that we essentially have twice the garden capabilities given this relationship and we all have so much fun helping her.
    My youngest son is going to have his own hive in our apiary this year but we need to refurbish and paint some of our woodenware (the wooden boxes the bees live and store their honey in.) My husband really balked at the price of paint when he went to town so I asked a neighbor who had recently cleaned out one of their rental properties. The previous renter had a handyman business and left all kinds of paint and other supplies behind when he moved. She gladly gave us enough paint to complete our project saving us quite a bit.
    I have been using the book list of an Early American History curriculum so that I can borrow the books from the library instead of purchasing them or the teachers manual.
    The library continues to be one of the greatest inventions of all time. I am not sure what I would have done all my life without them. 🙂 I am reading “Seeing” by Jose Saramago. It is the sequel to his Pulitzer prize-winning book “Blindness” I mentioned last week. It is equally interesting and beautifully written and oddly timely in this period of unrest around the world.
    Wishing everyone a beautiful week in your corner of the world. 🙂

  40. Oh, I love the smell of hyacinths in the Spring! So glad you’re getting to enjoy them.
    I used up leftover sauteed veggies, by adding them to broth, pureeing for a sip-able soup. Also made egg salad and multigrain bread for lunches this week.
    Used up a very small serving of meat by making quesadillas for 2.
    There was a very special family get-together, I was going to use a GC and buy some cupcakes. But due to the weather and having some time to think about it, I baked 2 dessert loaves and will use the GC for a lunch date instead.
    Used ThreadUP credit for 2 items of clothing.
    After 2 years of cutting my hair decently, I treated myself to a haircut at Walmart. The stylist did an exceptional job. She discussed with me how she was cutting it – so I can go a long while until needing it cut again and showed me how to maintain it. I don’t mind cutting my own hair, but it is such a difference and I’m glad I budgeted for such a treat.
    The free food truck that visits my job very politely asked for donations (to cover gas and the food costs). I will gladly donate, and still appreciate getting basics at such a reduced cost. This Samaritan visits places where people don’t need a food bank but could use a gallon of milk for a dollar.
    This year, I will not be planting tomatoes (reflux issues) – this will make more space for greens that can be preserved and enjoyed fresh. I also saved some small potatoes from last year’s growth, for my seed potatoes. I will also plant more herbs.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

    1. The Food Truck is very interesting to hear about and is much needed in many urban and rural areas that are “food deserts”.

  41. Hi everyone!
    I can’t wait to get my lettuce planted since I stopped buying it at the store because it is so expensive!

    Last week I mentioned Meijer gave me a coupon to try their Shop and Go feature. They gave me $5 off a $15 purchase so I used that this week and kept my grocery shopping under $20. I skipped buying a corned beef for St. Patrick’s day and instead my family is sharing the meal with my parents (we are bringing potatoes, carrots, and cabbage). While at Meijer I noticed kid’s clothes for 90% off clearance prices. There wasn’t much left but I nabbed two long sleeve dresses for $1.40 each. I bought a size bigger than my daughter wears so they will fit next fall/winter.

    I reorganized our food storage to make sure anything expired gets eaten first. I noted we have a lot of barley and lentils so I am making a plan to have a meal each week that uses them. So far we had lentil soup and a stew with barley.

    Batch cooked pancakes and oatmeal breakfast cookies on Sunday for the week for easy breakfasts and snacks.

    Staying home as much as possible and only going out if I can do more than one errand on the trip. When I went to the grocery store this week I also picked up a prescription there. I used the feature on my truck that tells you how much gas is used on the trip. It was a little eye opening that I used a half of gallon there and back (I am not really close to much).

    A frugal tip I have been meaning to share is using milled flax seed as an egg substitute. You mix 1T flax with 3T water and let sit for 5 mins to sub one egg in baking. It has a slightly nutty flavor so you will want to consider that and what you are baking. I purchase the milled flax seed at Aldi for about $4 a bag and it contains 60T. I store mine in the freezer so it lasts longer (next to my yeast which I keep in the freezer on the advice of a chef friend).

    I hope everyone has a positive week.


    1. Corey, would you please share the recipe that you use for making oatmeal breakfast cookies? I would like to make some for my family. Thanks, Penny

  42. Brandy: Been meaning to ask if you follow, FRENCH FARMHOUSE STYLE. It is both glorious and sumptuous! I get lost in the beauty of the buildings, homes, fabrics—just everything! Reminds me of you. Great escape from all that we’re tasked with at this time!

        1. I am sorry; I have mispoken. I like this style and follow several bloggers who do this style.

  43. I worked three Field Agent jobs last week, earning $13.10 and reimbursement for two nice men’s shampoo plus conditioners. Walmart is on the way to work so no extra time or gas to complete these jobs. While in store they had markdowns on winter shoes and I picked up a pair of house shoes for my oldest for next winter for $5.
    I picked up two face washes and a bottle of lotion from Target for less than $2 with coupons and Ibotta rebates.
    CVS sent me a survey about my in store experience and gave me $10 in Extra Care Bucks for completing it.
    I picked up five boxes of cereal for free from CVS – $5 ECBs from prescriptions fills plus coupons and sales. My youngest eats cereal almost every morning.
    I made $70 for watching a sweet bunny over spring break.
    Some friends and I attended our master neighborhood’s BINGO night which is free. One of my friends and I won a round and had the choice of a $5 gift card assortment. I chose Braums, which is known for their ice cream. They sell a $1.20 frozen yogurt cone so this will pay for almost two trips for the girls.
    I said no to ordering out two nights in a row with friends.
    We attended a birthday place at an indoor jungle gym. The girls were able to play for an hour and then pizza and cupcakes were served. We gifted the birthday girl a fun Justice journal set which I picked up at Walmart on clearance for $3 and a fun new sticker and coloring pad I received from Buy Nothing. I sure am glad to have a gift closet, we get invited to so many parties.
    We spent a lot of times outdoors playing with friends and neighbors, I am so grateful for my street!
    We received an invitation to a “Family Reunion” from our realtor. She is hosting it at a local farm which will have lunch, music, and a bounce house. They have tons of animals to pet and feed, I made sure to sign us up!
    I picked up a box of nonperishable items from Buy Nothing. Pizza crusts, canned soup, cream cheese icing, a 2 lb bag of powdered sugar and 10 lb bag of white sugar were among the items! Anything I knew we would not eat, I boxed up for my sister.
    I picked up the Kroger loss leader this week of half gallon milk for .87. The limit was five and I froze all of them.
    While at Kroger, they had pallets of Campbell soup marked 4 for $1! I stocked up on Cream of Chicken, Chicken Noodle and Tomato. All had expiration dates for 2023. They said they were receiving all of their holiday items now.
    I am concentrating on stocking up when and where I can. And trying not to drive unless I have to.

  44. The lettuce is beautiful. I just planted some lettuce seeds so I have a while until mine are ready. I planted extra seeds to start this year. I want to make sure I have enough. I can always give extra plants away to friends and family.
    I always check the change machine at the supermarket. This week I hit the jackpot,$1.28. Ground beef was on sale for $2.99 a pound. I got the largest pack they had. It was a little over 4 pounds. I made burgers out of it when I got home. I use old cereal bags to line in-between them. We are set for a while on them now.
    The weather was warm 2 days so I shut off the heat. We went on several walks and I took the little boy I watch to the park 2 days.
    I got a $3 Panera gift card and a $5 Cabela’s gift card from Verizon.
    My parents sent a very nice check for Hubby and my anniversary. 29 years today. They told us to go out to eat on them.
    I treated a friend out to breakfast for her birthday. I gave her a card from my stash.
    Aldi got another shipment of Christmas items in. I bought a case of candles (9) for $1.74 each. I also called a friend and got her 8.
    I had D 28 hours this week. His dad had minor surgery. I went to Lidl for his mom one day. They had breakfast sausage links marked down 30%. They came to $1.75 a pound. I bought 3 packs.
    I got a free body wash with a coupon from B&BW. I got a free hot sauce with a coupon and I used a $3 gift card.
    My son baked beer bread that he was given. My daughter made GF pumpkin bread and I made rolls 2 days.
    My son and a friend went to see The Batman with free passes that I had to the movie theatre I used to work at. He brought a water and candy. They had a great time.
    The ice machine got frozen solid again so I defrosted it with a blow dryer again.
    Gas was $4.39 cash by me this week.
    Hubby and I watched The Adam Project and really enjoyed it.

  45. You have such good advice in your posts, Brandy. And thank you to everyone who contributes, because I always get so much inspiration and good ideas from you all.
    This week I was able to purchase another 25 pounds of wheat berries and 25 pounds of AP flour. That will give me a 9-12 months supply, which I feel better about. I’ve been searching for more sugar, but stores around me are out of everything but the really expensive brands, in small packages. I have a doctor’s appt. this week and will visit a couple of stores near the doctor’s office to see what I can find. I picked up apples and cabbage on sale and 5 pounds of carrots at a good price and all of those things will keep well for weeks. We needed to go out of town overnight on short notice and were able to turn in some credit card points for a hotel room. We also traded with our pet sitter – we gave him some ski passes we weren’t going to use in exchange for keeping our dogs. He was excited and I was glad the passes weren’t going to go unused, and there was no money out of pocket, so that was great. On Sunday I was able to move my cabbage, bok choy, arugula and buttercrunch lettuce seedlings into the greenhouse beds. I am covering the lettuce with glass jars at night and everything else with frost quilt, as it is still falling into the 20s at night. But daytime temperatures are in the 40s and 50s outside and up to 90 in the greenhouse, so the soil is warm enough for these cold-hardy plants to do well. I am anxious to get some salad greens, as the price in the stores is so expensive, plus none of it has looked that great to me, so we haven’t been eating salads. I also planted carrot seeds and bok choy seeds. I am checking soil temperatures once a week and believe in another week to ten days I’ll be able to plant more lettuce in my cold frame.

  46. Such insightful comments from everyone – I am thankful, as always, to glean so much from you all in this community and to Brandy for building everything that has brought us together.

    We worked our way through almost everything in the fridge freezer, so on Saturday my husband helped me inventory what was left in our chest freezer in the garage and pull some things in the house to use up. I was able to shop from it for: a container of grated cheese (replaced one I used up last week vs buying a new one); a small block of cheddar cheese (which he will slice up with some of the cheese we have left from our big farm order in fall for a charcuterie dinner this week); stick butter and spreadable butter (out of one, halfway on the other); some discounted Ghiradelli squares and Whitman chocolates from Christmas clearance (fun treat for the next few weeks!); and ground beef (I’ll be using to make lasagna with noodles I need to use up in the pantry). And now we know how much is left out there – the weather seems to be warming up a bit and we have some propane tanks to empty, so my husband will smoke some chickens from the farm order and a turkey breast from pre-Thanksgiving shopping for dinners the next few weeks. During our “shop” we also found a pecan pie from the Thanksgiving shopping that we had forgotten about (we got two types of pie and only had one for actual Thanksgiving) – so I baked that and a frozen pizza up for dinner yesterday for “Pi Day”. Fun!

    We were able to get all the various automatic bills (insurances, son’s programming software, etc) switched onto the cc that pays reward cash – now everything but our cell & internet is on there to earn cash back. The cell/internet company will only take their own cc or a checking account, in order to get customers to have their cc. BOOO. 😉 They do not offer internet where we are moving back to, though, so we’ll get that set up on the cc when we have a house. So that is “found money” and my husband checks every few days and tells me what it’s up to. LOL We’ve decided every time it hits $100 he will transfer it to savings account or credit it right back to the card, depending.

    Thrive Market knows how to lure me into opening an email – they sent another free chocolate offer. haha It was for two bars of white chocolate, which I do not like, but my guys will eat it, so I picked up some gift items I planned to buy anyway, and more face sunscreen for myself, and will set the chocolate aside for them for an Easter treat.

    A month or so ago, we used a Christmas Amazon card from my FIL for ordering DVDs of son’s favorite TV show, a cyber spy suspense/action-type show. It is five seasons worth so we are watching an episode or two most nights of the week together. We’ve only just gotten to season four so I expect this will take us well into April, then I can pack it with the few other entertainment items that are out.

    Reading a book on library app that a friend is reading for her book club in another state; I’m not participating in the club but am enjoying the book and learning a lot. Two holds on the app came in as well so those are waiting in the wings to read next.

    My mom sent a care package with a little candy for son and bag of treats for the dog, and some magazines she read – enjoyed reading those and of course the boy and dog ate up their goodies from Gramma right away.

    Using a 30-day free trial of Canva software to design some things for the business endeavors; I was using only their free option at first and thought I might need the upgrade. The upgrade will most likely be needed for what I want to be able to do, so I’ll keep that, but the trial period is a big help and definitely has given me time to test things out even if I were to shut it off.

    Gas has stabilized price here for a couple of days – $4.299 for regular on the base. We’ll see how long that holds for – fingers crossed as it was jumping 15 cents a day the week prior. Friends in our old/new area are keeping me apprised of all the prices and availability of things there; of course we realize anything can change between now and June but at least we can prepare. Since we are not using the PODS method now, I am not “sweating” using up canned goods and dry pantry items – now we can take them with us in the moving truck instead and have a little pantry box when we arrive. Reestablishing all that supply each move has always been a chunk of change upon arrival, and this year I forecast it to be quite the shocker, so anything I can do to offset it might help. Hopefully!

    Lastly, very interested to see several people mention Grand Solar Minimum and Ice Age Farmer. I keep a little eye on that info as it’s work-related for me, but always nice to see others are tracking the information and effects on food/prices as well. Gave me a smile.

  47. I’ve been reading your blog for years, Brandy, but only commented once a long time ago. I’m planning to comment more now but also wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the compassionate, practical discussion here. You and your readers are the best.

    We had a free energy audit done through our utility companies last week. The auditor installed 10 LED bulbs (replacing all the remaining incandescents), 2 low-flow shower heads, a faucet aerator, and insulation around the basement hot water pipes. He also left us a shower timer, weatherstripping and a door sweep to install ourselves. He estimated it that we should save at least $50 per year from these changes. We can already tell that the shower water needs to run less time before heating up.

    I stocked up at the St. Patrick’s Day sales, including cabbage for 7 cents/lb, and used a coupon for 10% off the entire purchase at Jewel. We received these coupons for getting flu and covid shots in the fall and I’ve been saving them for stock up trips. Unfortunately, this was the last one.

    Our daughter lives a couple of hours away but drove out to visit us just before the biggest gas price increases. We used my botanic garden membership to see the orchid show for free and walked around the Japanese gardens in the snow. We love visiting the gardens throughout the year and definitely get our money’s worth from our membership, especially because it has reciprocity with the garden in her city.

    Dinners involved lots of cheap St. Patrick’s Day vegetables! Borscht and homemade rye bread, Irish vegetable soup and soda bread, roasted root vegetables and sausage, and sauerkraut quesadillas (which sound weird and horrible but are delicious!). My husband plays Irish music as a hobby and is very busy this time of year. He and his friends played at a local Irish pub on Sunday and were given free dinners as well as being paid, which they hadn’t expected.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

    1. Hi Margaret! I, also, got the $.07/lb cabbage at Jewel! I have four heads sitting in my refrigerator besides the one I used on St. Patrick’s Day (it was $.07 up to 10 lbs, and then $.37/ over that, which I barely went over). Sauerkraut making is on my future!

  48. Lobster ravioli!? That sounds delicious! What a nice neighbor!
    This week we used a 20% off coupon for some routine yet expensive car maintenance that saved us over $160!
    -We sowed seeds for lettuce, broccoli, and two types of tomatoes. We have them in our mini-indoor greenhouse under grow lights. I keep telling my husband how jealous I am at how warm those little seeds must be–ha! I wish I could crawl in that thing.
    -I’ve been working hard to fill in the gaps in our food storage in case of supply chain disruptions and even higher inflation prices.
    -With our oldest daughter leaving for college this fall, a son needing oral surgery, and some major car repairs that drained our savings account that now needs to be replenished, I interviewed for a teacher assistant job at my youngest daughter’s school. It was always my intention to be home with the kids until they graduated high school, but no matter how I look at the budget, I can’t come up with the thousands we need to cover upcoming costs. However, I got so nervous and tongue-tied in the interview, I’m not sure feeling very confident. I’ll know by the week’s end (this is going to be the longest week ever!).
    -Tonight I am trying a new recipe on the family–Brandy’s rosemary and white bean soup, with some homemade French bread on the side. I can’t wait for growing season so we can have a nice green salad to go with it that doesn’t cost $2.49 per head of lettuce! (Not quite at $4 per head here in Utah yet–sheesh!!)
    -I read The Grapes of Wrath for the first time. And by “read” I mean I couldn’t put it down and plowed through that thing using every spare moment I had. I’m thoroughly ashamed I was allowed to graduate with an English degree never having read it. Literary genius aside, it left me with an intensely profound gratitude for what seems like the downright lavish life I live, awe for our progenitors’ resilience, a desire to help those less fortunate, and a sense of urgency to prepare for whatever disasters may happen in the future. Completely perspective-changing. I reserved Ken Burns’ Dust Bowl documentary on DVD at the library so I can learn more about the era.

  49. My housekeeper was going to have to increase my rate as she lost a client, but I had 2 friends in need of help, so she got 2 more clients and my weekly rate stays steady. Win given my 60+ hour work weeks and deployed spouse.

    Ordered take out Chinese. I added frozen stir fry vegetables to the meals and more broth to the wonton soup and fed me at least 8 meals last week. Went to Aldi’s and restocked dried fruit, tortillas, masa, and tomato paste. Bought bread rather than make it (big mess and expense for 1 person). Meals this week include steak fajitas and quesadillas, beef stroganoff, Indian spiced rice with nuts and fruit (vegetarian), potatoes with broccoli, and cheese(vegetarian), chana dal with rice and gobi aloo(vegetarian), colcannon (with bacon), steak, blue cheese and vegetable sandwiches. All meat comes from 1 flank steak (from the freezer) and a bag of bacon bits.

    Reviewed my natural gas bill and locked in $.74 per therm for 2 years instead of the $1.93 I have been paying for a savings of $16 per month. Will be checking my electric rate next. Canceled Peacock which I only got to watch the Olympics, saving $5 per month.

    I hang most of my clothes to dry anyway but have started hanging sheets as well (since the laundry room was reorganized last week). Hung the last of the pictures in the hall. A strong scrubbing was needed before hanging, but at least I didn’t need to repaint. Living room and dining room will probably need a coat this summer. I will start watching for paint sales.

    Still seeking fabric for kitchen curtains. Making them myself will certainly be cheaper than buying. But I’ve lived without curtains this long I can wait until I find the perfect fabric. Still on the hunt for a headboard, living room end tables, cabinet knobs, and bedroom cabinet handles.

    Ordered a new ceiling light for the dining room. Old one is 20 + years old and I have always hated it. Found a replacement I love – open box – and deeply discounted. Will give the old lamp to Habitat. Husband didn’t complain as he bought extra ammo. He thinks things are going to get ugly if this inflation and food prices increase/ there are shortages.

  50. Hello Everyone!

    I’ve been doing my best to bake bread and quick breads using my bread machine this week. I’ve made garlic bread (just so-so), blueberry bread and lemon breads from online recipes. The oven repairmen were here this morning and were unable to fix it. The control panel (as is the entire batch produced they’ve discovered) is bad so they’re trying to get me oven #3. 😢 Because I’ve been without an oven, I’ve been making no-bake oatmeal bars and Nanaimo bars for snacks. The no-bake bars use a cup of nut butter and are nutrient dense, but expensive. I’m really looking forward to receiving a properly working range!!

    We had friends over for a game night. Instead of ordering in, I made a giant pot of spaghetti, bread machine garlic bread, and a garden salad. It cost less for me to cook for 8 than it would for one take out dinner. I still have leftover sauce which I will vacuum seal and freeze.

    Other savings include coloring my own hair and finally using a gift card for Chipotle this weekend. I couldn’t believe 4 burritos, plus tax, cost $50.31!!! Because of the gift card we only paid $0.31.

    I was a bit concerned when I picked up a bag of chicken feed at Costco because there were only 3 bags left. Usually they have a nice stack. As of recently, a 50 lb. bag increased $1 in price. Our girls are producing again and we’re getting 2-3 per day, which is perfect for our family.

    I’ve also read about the solar minimum. It makes sense when compared to historical famines that align with similar solar cycles and the erratic weather.

    I’m thankful for my established veggie garden, fruit trees and hens. I’m also thankful for this lovely group of like-minded savers. 😍 Have a blessed and beautiful week!

  51. I don’t have much to say that is frugal – not that I wasn’t frugal – but nothing really stands out.
    I did want to come on and say that I love your hyacinths. When I had my son 40 years ago, my parents bought me a hyacinth after his birth, because I love the scent. I can look at your picture and the scent memory comes back. So, thank you. You put a smile on my face with that picture.
    I worked 6 days last week. Brought breakfast all 6 days, and lunch 5 days. The office provides lunch for everyone who works on Saturdays.
    I was tired, and not really hungry, a couple days when I got home from work. We made chicken quesadillas those nights with chicken from the freezer, onions from the garden, and homemade salsa.
    Our Sunday dinner was a ham from the freezer, with cauliflower in cheese sauce, home-canned pineapple and corn with butter and thyme. The cauliflower and corn were home grown and in the freezer, the thyme was some we had dried.
    I keep a jar of chopped onions in the refrigerator. Chopped a yellow and red onion (from our garden last summer) and refilled the jar.

  52. We are watching gas prices go up fast here as well. A family member drove by a station and noted that gas was $3.99 last week, but couldn’t stop right then, so she resolved to stop on the way back, about 2 hours later. When she got back to it, the price had gone up to $4.29.

    Years ago, we used to get gas at a nearby convenience store which went by the policy that their gas price would not change until they needed to refill their underground tanks, then it would go up or down, as dictated by the new bulk purchase price. While other stores around town might be raising gas prices daily, this store would keep their price at its original retail price until they ran out of that bulk purchase of gas and had to refill. Granted, this also meant they didn’t reduce their price until a new bulk gas purchase was made, either, but many people used them even when they were a little higher than other stations, out of loyalty. I wish the store was still around – the owners died and the store closed.

    I often buy meats and dairy from local organic farmers who pasture their animals and don’t use chemical fertilizes, but they are still having to raise their prices a little due to things like rising fuel costs. Accordingly, I am trying to buy the cheaper cuts, such as offal and ground meats, instead of meat cuts. My inability to eat gluten or tolerate well nearly all beans and grains – including corn, rice and oats – makes my groceries expensive.

    I continue to use cloth instead of paper in the kitchen and at the table. I also continue to make my own laundry soap with borax, washing soda and Zote flakes. I may have mentioned this before, but it is also possible to launder in soap made from English ivy, which is growing in my yard.

    I picked some more lemons and transplanted some vegetable plants.

    My electric bill for usage during this past weekend will be less — a storm caused a tree to fall on a line and I was without power 4 to 5 hours on Saturday.

    I scrubbed my sinks, tub, and smooth top stove with baking soda, surely one of the cheapest cleansers. The more stubborn bits of cooked on food on my stove top come off with a razor blade.

    I am writing down every single expenditure, trying to see where my money goes and where I can cut back.

    My office placed an accidental over order of breakfasts from a local fundraiser. The uneaten breakfasts sat for a couple of days in the office refrigerator, getting quite stale. I was allowed to take the sausage, cheese and egg fillings from the biscuits home, where my dog enjoyed them for a few day as a supplement to her dogfood.

    I remember the inflation raging back when I was young. Interest rates for homes and cars were horrible, and prices seemed to go up every week at the stores, but my husband’s and my wages didn’t go up much if any. It was a good time if one had large accounts earning interest, but not if one had to pay interest. Payments on an older existing mortgage became amazingly cheap as prices went up, but getting into a new mortgage was nearly or absolutely impossible for many. I had hoped to never see that again.

  53. The last few weeks have been expensive ones as we bought and moved into our home. There have been lots of expenses but we have saved wherever we could and the most that we could. Appliances were purchased taking advantage of sales and discounts to purchase needed items. We have had countertops installed, high ceilings painted, & flooring installed. We have been working to install new faucets, showerheads and other items that are needed as we can.
    For months leading up to our move we worked to eat down the freezers and pantry to lessen the amount that we had to move and to conserve costs in groceries so that those funds could go to other needed items for our home. Now that we have moved and prices are rising so rapidly we have begun stocking our pantry/freezers again. I purchased oil, flour, cocoa, Velveeta, tomato paste, dried pinto beans, sugar, brown sugar, several canned tomato products, frozen vegetables, corned beef, and vegetable shortening. As gas prices are extremely high we are combining trips and errands to conserve as much as we can. I will purchase rice and a few other bulk items on a trip to Costco this weekend as well as some meat and chicken if I can find good sales.
    I am working with a kitchen that is in varying stages of incompletion and disarray and I confess that it is maddening. I am super excited to see the finished product but I am one of those people that feels very overwhelmed if my kitchen is not in order. I am doing my best to put meals on the table for my family even though we are going through construction and we have enjoyed red beans and rice, spaghetti, chicken and noodles, green salads, toast, boiled eggs, roasted asparagus, baked chicken and fresh fruit.
    We are unloading boxes as quickly as we can and giving them to whomever we know that may be in need of packing supplies.
    I was gifted two large pots of ranunculus which I divided among four large pots to give color around our home and avoid additional costs. I also transplanted some pansies as they will bloom until late April here. I moved pots of creeping jenny from our home which I will divide and move into all of our pots for summer greenery as well as some verbena that is coming back from last summer. I have all of my garden seeds boxed together so as soon as we can get the backyard cleared we will be planting our garden. I plan to grow several varieties of tomatoes, green beans, a variety of peppers, pink eyed peas, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, spinach, basil, parsley and cilantro. I am also planning to have a space for a flower garden and I would like to plant some fruit trees as well…but I have to convince my husband first.
    I hope that everyone has a productive week ahead!

  54. We had snow this past weekend in West Tennessee, it was 65 on Friday and 32 on Saturday with 2 inches of snow. I went to a Women’s Conference Saturday and had a free lunch. The speaker and music was wonderful. I didn’t grocery shop this week, eating out of the pantry. Gas is $4.09 a gallon today. I have been reading library books and watching movies on Hallmark. I have being trying different bread recipes and trying to master one. My brother in law is still in the hospital in Nashville. I am cat sitting to help out.

    Thank you Brandy and all for your cost saving ideas. I feel like I learn new ideas each week.

  55. I like your colourful/colorful garden photos.

    Our week has included lots of lentil and vegetable soup (using up some frozen chicken stock) as well as bananas, mango, pinapple and lemon in every combination we can think of. I also made salted caramel brownies and chocolate brownies and we celebrated a birthday for under $30 including food, presents and cake (aforementioned brownies).

    I was kindly given a new phone as mine was not working properly.

    We did not go grocery shopping and we only bought milk.

    We are attending a childs birthday party this weekend. My children will receive admission to an indoor play centre. The gift we will give cost a total of $5 and I asked the birthday child what they would like. I luckily had it in my gift cupboard, stocking up on this particular popular item when it was on mega sale. Grateful for forward planning!

  56. Got some bad news about my health last week. Fortunately, the surgeon will be able to see me next week and if needed, surgery within a week. I double checked with the insurance company to verify our out of pocket costs (although DH says we will pay whatever we need to). With the news, I am trying to clean up my diet. I first made a flavonoid burst – rose hips, hibiscus, chia seeds, juice, berries and an orange. I actually had all the ingredients on hand, and it sets up nicely like a jam. Lots of antioxidants in there!

    Supper yesterday was a big pot of lentil soup with onions, peppers, and spinach added. When we go for my appointment (it is 100 miles one way), we will hit the healthfood store (either vitamin cottage or sprouts). I need to see if they have a customer program before we go. If you have any extra prayers in your pocket, I would greatly appreciate them.

  57. Great advice to encourage people to at least plant lettuce this year. Having something fresh and green makes even the simplest meals seem better, and it tastes so good fresh from the ground. Those who don’t normally garden or don’t have a big space could consider using found containers. No need to get fancy — any flowerpot, hanging basket, a plastic bowl, or even an empty milk jug or salad container will work. Anything that’s at least 6 inches deep. Just add a couple of drainage holes. I usually fluff up the soil a bit, and top off with fresh potting mix so the seeds can easily sprout. Once in the soil, it’s almost foolproof. My winter-sown lettuce in old milk jugs has been totally neglected and is growing like crazy. The only watering it gets is from rain or snow. You can also throw in a couple of pea seeds, the sprouts are delicious in salad and they grow so quickly! Here is a great video that shows how to plant lettuce in containers, for anyone who wants to learn: https://www.reneesgarden.com/blogs/gardening-resources/sow-and-grow-baby-lettuce-in-containers

    Those hyacinths are gorgeous! I just love hyacinth fragrance. We have some getting ready to bloom in our driveway. I plan to put in more hyacinth bulbs this fall; last year I focused on daffodils and tulips.

    We got 3 inches of snow last week and I was worried about the seedlings in my raised beds. They made it through just fine. We’re having a lot of warm days now, so now I’ve been planting out the seedlings I started indoors. When we were in lockdown in 2020, I started the garden in March (instead of late May, like usual) and it made such a difference! So I’m being a little gutsy this year and taking the risk. We will still have some cold nights and the odd frost or two, but I think I can keep things covered enough on those nights that most of it should be okay. And if it’s not, I still have a reasonable amount of time to start again if needed.

    I was hoping to build a few more raised beds this year, but with the cost of supplies running so high I’m going to make do with what I have. Planning to get compost and more soil, though, and my husband is saying he might till part of the backyard to grow in-ground instead. I have also considered buying a couple more vertical towers for planting if we really need to.

    My chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and strawberries made it through the winter in their containers, no thanks to me. They’re all looking good and ready for spring. I gave the chives a haircut.

    I did not take good care of my composting worms over the winter. Honestly I haven’t fed them in months. I am tempted to order more to start fresh, but first I’m going to try putting in some melon rinds and seeing if their cocoons will hatch. That worked well the last time I neglected the bin (when we moved a couple of years ago). Fingers crossed for worm babies! I used to keep a weekly reminder on my phone to feed them. Guess I should do that again. They’re in the garage where I rarely go, and I’ve been burying my kitchen scraps in the raised beds instead.

    Trying to keep an eye on the receipts when I check out. Last week a sale item rang up at regular price, and the cashier did not take off a “free item” coupon. I got distracted right at the end and did not catch it until it was paid. Luckily I noticed before we left, and they were great about refunding (over $11).

    We had to get both front and back brakes done on the van, almost $1K. When I asked for a discount, they took off $40. Every little bit helps…but ouch! That was pricey. We live at the bottom of a steep valley, and my brakes really feel it. I have considered driving the long way around to help save the brakes, but it’s a Catch-22 with gas costs these days.

    Made banana bread and muffins. The smell of the baking got my teens out of their rooms for at least a few minutes.

    I wanted to try a eyebrow growth product that is pretty expensive, and one that is only offered at the brand site. Before ordering, I checked on Poshmark where I was able to put in an offer for the exact product — and my offer was accepted. I got it for $16 less than the official site.

    Have been combining errands as much as possible. We’ve always done that, but it matters so much more now. We do a lot of running around, so when possible we use our more fuel-efficient Prius instead of the van. It’s not as comfortable for long drives, but just for getting from Point A to Point B it’s okay.

    Wishing everyone a great week! Continued prayers for Ukraine. It’s scary and shocking to see how the ripples of war are affecting everyone around the world.

    1. Diana,
      Thanks for the referral about growing lettuce. As a newbie gardener I appreciate all the help I can get. My husband has been wanting to build some grow boxes, but we haven’t had extra money for lumber, and the prices of lumber have continued going up. However, yesterday he watched a video about building a 4 foot by 4 foot box by using one wooden pallet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya7r420KQZs. The guy in the video reused the nails from the pallet and used hand tools to build the box. The pallet wood is stained and unattractive, but we thought we could apply sealer to seal out the stains (kind of like sealing water stains on interior walls with shellac before painting), so they wouldn’t bleed through the coat of paint and then paint the box with exterior paint. (A solid exterior stain would cover the splotches, although I think a sealer would still be necessary, and would not peel like paint eventually would. I used sell paint.) However, we happen to have the sealer and exterior paint left from a previous project, so we intend to use what we have. The paint is a green that I think would be lovely on a house, but I may get some paint colorant from the paint store (cost maybe a couple of dollars). I think I will experiment with adding dark blue to one small amount of paint in a paper cup and with adding black to one small amount of paint to see if I like what I get better than the paint color as it it. A tiny bit of colorant goes a long way. The only trick is to find some pallets for free. My husband says they used to be readily available but not so much anymore. We’ll see how it goes, but this is our plan so far.

  58. Brandy- After reading about the price hikes on lettuce, I happened upon this YouTube video that shows ingenuity in recycling materials that are free or inexpensive to create an apartment garden with only a tiny balcony. For any of your readers that feel like they don’t have a yard to grow veg or don’t have much $$ to invest in a garden, this could be used as a jumping off spot of inspiration to create whatever would work in their own situation!
    It seems like there’s always a little something we can do to make things better!


    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. This was really cool; my husband enjoyed watching it, although he did point out that the guy was using a welder for part of the work, and he probably scratched up his beautiful railing.

  59. Hello, Friends!

    I spent a lot of time this week counting my blessings of having peace, safety, warmth and love. I pray every day for those who don’t.

    My husband had his review and got a small raise and a good bonus. We just tucked it into savings. We have some projects around the house we will do spring and summer and those funds will help so much. Back when we were younger, we’d have bonus money spent a dozen ways before we even got it. I’m glad and grateful to see we have progressed.

    Nothing different here this week (I almost didn’t comment). But I figure it is consistently doing simple things that helps us progress so….I meal planned, made a list and ordered my groceries for pick up. There were a couple substitutions where the shopper gave us bigger sizes but charged us the same, so that was nice. I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful about our meals. Another thing I’ve been trying to do to reign in our grocery spending is to not overeat. I’ve been pretty successful and that makes me feel better. I also haven’t purchased pop for the last month. The first week was tough, but it gets easier all the time. It’s better for my health and is saving money. I continue to read library books and knit and crochet with yarn I have. I discovered that a couple OTC meds that my husband takes are cheaper on Amazon than at Walmart, so I ordered those. It is starting to warm up here in Minnesota. Today was 45 degrees! It was so fun to see the sun and it gives me hope for spring.

    I hope everyone is well and stays safe. Have a great week everyone!

  60. My vote is for a prudent homemaker book club recommendation list! I am also stocking up on flour + baking supplies, bean, rice, and oats and purchasing those items we usually have for our Easter dinner, way ahead of time. We are also growing lettuces and vegetables in our backyard. I also enjoy hearing what others are doing for no or low cost entertainment/activities for the family. So much enjoy your pictures/posts and the community input on this website. I have learned a lot from everyone!

    1. Nancy and others, I respectfully suggest that those who want such a book club AND ARE WILLING TO FACILITATE IT, please contact Brandy about this. I know you all realize that Brandy has 7 kids still at home and contributes so much to this blog that it is “cruel and unusual punishment” to even suggest that she do even one more thing for us. I know that no one really expects her to do it–but if it is going to happen, someone needs to step up to the plate, consult with her and have a PLAN. Just an archived book list might do the job, particularly if comments are accepted. But, again, I don’t think we should expect too much from Brandy.

      1. Thanks Maxine. I already started a list before but was wondering whether or not to finish it and publish it at this time.

        But making videos is just beyond my time, and I do get that request! Videos are a full-time job, and my blog only makes about $150 a month, so not really something I can do.

        1. I have a request for Brandy’s readers. If she is only making $150 a month on the blog, many–if not most–of us are NOT using her Amazon links. I know it is easy to forget. It does not cost you anything. This is what I did to make sure she gets credit for all of my Amazon purchases:

          1. Go to the pictures of merchandise that are inside every week’s blog post. Click on one. This takes you to Brandy’s account.
          2. Save the page as a favorite or bookmark. You will see if every time you open your browser and it will imprint on your mind that this is how to place an Amazon order.
          3. When you want to place an Amazon order, click on this bookmark. The original page you saved with come up (I see some white mixing bowls from years ago, LOL). You can then search the entire Amazon site from this page. If you purchase something, Brandy will receive a minuscule credit. And, as we all know, even minuscule amounts add up.

              1. Sadly, no. I signed up for it and tried it out, but none of my links ever worked for Canada or the UK, and they dropped me from the program, saying I had no sales, even though Canadian readers made purchases using my links. I couldn’t see why it wasn’t working as I followed all of their steps.

      2. Dear Maxine,

        Brandy asked us, her readers, if she should post a list now. We didn’t ask her to do so and don’t expect it. I greatly appreciate her efforts in undertaking the blog and her recipes. It wasn’t a book club just a list of books. This week, in particular, I’ve taken much comfort in reading everyone’s comments. And gained a lot of inspiration.

  61. It is so heartening to read Brandy’s post and reader comments as well. The way everyone shares information so generously in a world that has become increasingly contentious over even the smallest things brings light and hope. Thank you.

    Like many of you already mentioned, I too have noticed the prices escalating steadily and have felt the pinch at the grocery store and the gas station. I had stocked up on pantry goods over the last year and have largely been eating from that, supplementing with lots of vegetables and fruits, and limiting meat to once a week. It is time to reevaluate and see what needs replenishing and if my approach needs adjustment.

    I just rewrote my budget and am so grateful to be able to provide for myself and to own a home on my own, but one thing has been a thorn in my side and that is my yard. Due to severe allergies, I haven’t been able to do the maintenance myself, and recently had to let the service person go because they damaged my septic overflow cap and didn’t communicate that to me. It was $4 to replace the cap, plus $10 for the correct size wrench to remove the broken cap. I am grateful that there was no evidence of intrusion from critters or bugs, as the hole was large enough to accommodate any number of fauna that Florida calls home. It could have created a serious plumbing issue if I hadn’t caught it. Back to the drawing board looking for reliable help.

    Ways I saved this week:
    *Culled my closet to consign clothes on ThredUp.
    *chunking errands together to save on gas
    *took books out of the library to read on my tablet
    *ate from the pantry and freezer exclusively this week

    Small ways, but every little bit adds up. Grateful for all of you, and wishing you well.

  62. It was a great, frugal week in Houston, TX!
    There have been a lot of grocery markdowns lately, and the loss leaders seem to be improving. I bought 48# unsalted, short-dated butter for .99/# at Randalls, plus lots for friends. I had just run in for the .39 mangoes and .99 cereal, but it pays to check the other markdown areas!
    I invited some neighbors over for rootbeer floats, using the cheap ice cream on sale at Kroger. It was less than $5, and they don’t mind that my house isn’t clean.
    I took the kids to a free fishing event at a state park. All the fish we caught were pretty small, so we threw them back, but it was still fun to catch them. I packed a picnic lunch.
    We stopped at my aunt and uncle’s house, where they let us hold some of their chicks, gather eggs, and then sent us home with more eggs. They don’t have grandchildren, and they are so kind to my kids.
    We visited a great aunt of mine (who never had children), and she is also very generous with my kids. I needed to pickup a bowl I left at one of her get-togethers, but she always keeps cokes and popsicles in her garage fridge for my kids, and tells them to help themselves. They run around on a sugar high outside for a while, and I get to sit inside and visit with her. Win-win, as I think she enjoys the company and misses being around kids. She is widowed and lives alone.
    Big boxes of an unfamiliar diaper brand (Hello Bello?) were marked down to $8.99 at Kroger, so I bought quite a few. We’ll make it work, as I’m not picky on diaper brands. I found some of the cloth diapers I used to use for the first few kids, and although I had planned to use disposable this go around, I will keep/hoard them just in case.
    We used free movie tickets to see Sing 2. Three of my kids had already seen it, but it was fun. I took snacks for us eat while watching the movie.
    I finalized arrangements for friends and neighbors to help watch the kids when I have a baby next week. I find I need less and less of the “stuff” with each baby, which is good, because I really don’t have room for all the gear and baby-holding contraptions that are available. Ready or not, here it comes!
    The weather has been perfect, so I’ve opened the windows to air out the house, and I’ve been hanging out some of the heavy blankets I washed and will put away for a while.
    The 10# bag of chicken drumsticks I bought (.47/# at Joe V’s) made enough for two meals, plus I was able to share some with my dad.
    I moved some things around in a freezer to help it close better. It really needs to be organized, but I probably won’t get to that for a while.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  63. I just moved. The biggest savings was having my kids help me move (6/7 kids are old enough to really help) and renting a uhaul vs. hiring movers. I was really tired by the end of the move, but we managed! The best part of my new location is that the Winco (my favorite/cheapest grocery) is less than a mile away. Will save gas and money.

    I am in an apartment now, and I turned the coat closet into a pantry since I didn’t have one. It’s working great and I can stock up as needed.

    I had a bunch of shredded frozen zucchinni in the freezer. I found a recipe for cheesy garlic zucchini rice and it was SO good (recipe: https://damndelicious.net/2016/03/08/cheesy-garlic-zucchini-rice/). Makes me want to have lots of leftover zucchinni. So if anyone has zucchinni lingering in the freezer, this recipe is great.

    I got signed up to substitute teach in this district. This will help me so much.

  64. Hello, frugal friends! Spring has sprung here in the beautiful Appalachian mountains of southwest Virginia. Daffodils are blooming and hyacinths are peeking out of the ground. It has been a fairly successful frugal week for us. Kroger had a promotion for 4x points on gift cards. I bought a few for gifts and to use on our upcoming trip to Alabama to check on my mother in law. These points earned us $1 off/ gallon of gas. We saved $9 when we filled up my car. Gas here is around $4.29/gallon at the moment. My husband used a .10/gallon promotion to fill his truck before I received our big points but that still saved us around $2. I combined errands to conserve gas and worked in my garden getting it ready for planting. I did end up planting some early lettuce, green onion, peas and spinach yesterday. This is very early for around here but they are last year’s seeds so no loss if they do not come up. We did buy another blueberry bush and a fig tree. I know nothing about figs other than they were my dad’s favorite fruit and Brandy has a fig sauce recipe. Not exactly a wealth of information on how to grow them. Any tips for successfully growing figs and using them would be appreciated. Kroger had a loss leader on spaghetti sauce, .99/jar. I bought the limit of 5 this morning to add to the pantry. I make my own spaghetti sauce when we eat pasta but I have a couple of soup and casserole recipes which use jar sauce. I also share some of the jars with my daughter and grandsons. Both the soup and casserole recipes using jar sauce I make when time is short so the jar sauce is a convenience for me on rare occasions. I found another nice sweatshirt for my eldest grandson on clearance at Walmart for $3. It’s a really nice hoodie and amazingly good quality for Walmart. I found clearance hats and gloves at Rural King for .93 each. I picked up a few for next year’s stocking stuffers. Rural King is my favorite store. I got to watch the chicks for a few minutes today while in the store. They could be heard all over the store. It was so sweet. I would love to have chickens for eggs but our neighborhood does not allow it. Brandy, I would love for you to share your list of WW2 books. Have a blessed and safe week, friends.

    1. Figs are crazy easy to grow and also easy to prune as the wood is soft.

      They make good jam, which is also nice for cookie fillings.

      1. I don’t eat figs, but I’ve heard they can be grown from cuttings. Free food from free trees–can’t beat that!

  65. This week I made Polish-stuffed cabbage. 3 large pans worth. We had leftovers for two days! Very economical meal! I also made some scratch fudge from the old Hersey’s recipe. It is to die for.

    I am in the process of prepping my garden. Finished getting all the straw off that I used to hold the leaves in over the winter. They decayed nicely. Put the straw in a section our yard that is eroding. Hopefully, it will keep things in check until we can bring in some soil. The ground is very wet and we are expecting more rain; so tilling may not happen as planned which will put me behind on planting.

    Working on honing my biscuit making skills. It truly is an art form along with pie shells. Very much out of practice. Guess I can use the practice biscuits to throw at the squirrels.

    No bargains this week and gas is an outrage! Take care out there! Stay frosty!

    1. I suggest you not feed the “bad” biscuits for the squirrels — instead, crumble them, put berries and whipped cream or ice cream on top!

  66. We are stocking up as we can. Hubby caught a double charge on our debit card so we got a refund check which went towards oat milk for my daughter and I and regular milk for hubby as well as some produce and his bread. I looked at ground beef prices and about dropped the package – $6.19 a pound for 80/20. I am hoping that we can find some soon at the discount grocers or there is not going to be many beef meals in the future! Unfortunately, neither myself or my husband tolerate beans in any amount :/ Gas is hanging out around 4.29 a gallon (Muskegon, Michigan) so we only leave for doc appointments and our monthly grocery/pet store stock ups. I already have lettuce sprouted in my hydroponic tower. I also planted some sprouted apple seeds I had thrown in the frig in a damp paper towel back in September LOL I completely forgot about them til I was doing a frig clean out. I have no idea what the root stock was so they will more than likely be some type of crab apple but I am fine with those. I am trying to not rush my seed starting but I will probably start some spinach, carrots and broccoli soon. And since I love flowers, I will be starting those soon too. We still have snow on the ground and I do not have a garden area yet so will just go with the 5 gallon buckets again this year and pray for better luck. And for any of you in the area – I pulled a fully attached tick off my pup today (the ground is still frozen!!) so it is going to be another bad tick season :/ I finished the mini make-over on our main bath this week – $16 total oop and it looks like a spa – it turned out so bright (there is no window). I still have 3/4 of a gallon of the paint left and it matches my “girl cave” color scheme so I will probably use it in there too. Hope you all have a good week!!

  67. My dryer broke and I scheduled a repair person via our home warranty. The price is $75 for the call out but no extra charge for parts or repair. He took the dryer totally apart including taking out the drum. I was talking to him as he worked and watched everything. I was amazed how much lint was in the dryer that I never could’ve gotten to unless it was taken totally apart. At my request he cleaned it out as he went. When he took the vent hose off the back it was pretty full of lint. After he had gone my husband cleaned out the vent hose with his shop vac. I actually priced how much it would cost to get my dryer cleaned last year and it was $125. The service would not even take the dryer apart but just do the vent hose so I passed on that So I took that as a $50 savings figuring the difference of those 2 services. Having my dryer break was a blessing in disguise. My husband cleaned out the rest of the venting tubing after repair man left.
    We took a mini vacation with our 3 kids. Hotel paid for with credit card points(cards paid off monthly). We went to the Museum of the United States Air Force, free, and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical park also free. Breakfast was included at hotel and I packed food which became lunch on the second day.
    Stocking up a little each time I shop. Keeping heat low and haven’t had it on some days at all. Getting containers ready to plant. I bought lettuce to plant:)

  68. We are once again knee deep in home repairs and renovations. We’ve lived here for 17 years and we still have several years worth of projects. By the time they’re finished it will be time to start again! But there’s no house payment, which is such a blessing!

    -We drive a diesel full size van and have discovered that fuel and tolls costs us almost $30 each week to go to both church services on Sundays. Our pastor has allowed us to hang out at the church between services to save money. We bring soup in a crockpot and bread and enjoy the afternoon while waiting for the 6 pm service. When we go anywhere else, we are carefully combining trips. It costs 2 gallons of diesel fuel to go to town and back.

    -When we go to town, we stop at all 3 grocery stores and check sales and markdowns. You never know what you’ll find. Really, we only do this if we’re in town in the morning. By afternoon, the markdowns are all gone.

    -I’ve been more diligent about saving fat from cooking. We buy whole hogs from my parents for our pork needs and they bless us by rendering our lard for us. Between lard and bacon grease, my oil consumption is very low. When I am roasting vegetables, etc. I have been melting the fat and applying it with a silicone brush. I use much less this way than when I drizzle the fat or oil over the food.

    -We use propane for our stove and water heater and have been on a budget plan. At the end of the year we have to level out the difference. Last year the difference was $50. This year (even being more careful) the difference was $150. I’ve been trying to batch cook to save energy and then not cook again until the leftovers are gone. This week I made 8 loaves of bread and froze most of them for the future. The freezer also runs more efficiently when it is full.

  69. How did I save money? I received four additional Covid-19 tests for free in the mail. I fear that we are nowhere near done with Covid-19 given the trends and record case counts in Korea, China, Germany, and the numbers from waste water analysis in our own country. I took advantage of a buy 2 get 1 free deal on sale-priced hamburger. I also bought the Simply Planned and Simply Delicious Emergency Food Storage in A Nutshell book from Amazon for about $35. It is now $50 on Amazon and $35 used on eBay. I hope the authors consider offering it as a print-on-demand book on Amazon.com because it now appears to be in short supply (if they don’t want to commit to a regular reprint). The No-Fuss Bread Machine Cookbook, Hands-Off Recipes for Perfect Homemade Bread was half price on Amazon. Independently, both my sister out West and I bought that book. (She also bought the Amazon-brand bread machine despite my encouragement to check Goodwill first.) I not-so-thriftily ordered gluten to add to my all purpose flour to turn it into the bread flour nearly all the recipes in the book use. I think I will try the recipes varying only the flour type to see how much the difference matters to me.
    Hint to thrifty younger people: Work on keeping up your strength. I had to order salt delivered and loaded into our water softener for twice the price of buying it at a farm supply store and much more than getting it delivered only as far as the front porch. But I am so weak right now that the $50 extra expense seemed necessary. I did save a little by adding Iron Out powder when the man added each bag of salt to the softener. Plain salt plus Iron Out power is equivalent to much pricier salt with an iron removing additive already in the bag.
    We are having our first really balmy day in Michigan as I type this. Can spring really be here?

  70. Well, I thought my friend was going to pick up several bargains for me at No Frills. I wrote early in the week about these so friends reading here could find out about them but it wasn’t posted. Alas, on the day my friend was to go shopping, she became very ill. That itself is a good reason to have a good pantry! Another friend was going to a store where they had chicken thighs “buy one package get one free” so I bought one for $18 so got two packages for $9 each at $2.50 per pound average. In the meantime a friend dropped off some things I had stashed in her freezer.

    I had not asked her to bring my bread which she did. I do not have room for it in my freezer. So I have decided to make melba toast of all of it. Thanks to the reader who wrote about the family who bought bread and dried it. Inspiration!

    I have decided to make jam. The local “gourmet” store advertised its greenhouse-grown Alberta fresh strawberries for “buy one get one free” making it about $2.50 for a 454 gram basket. I really had not planned on making jam now but why not?

    I wish “I” were around so I could share the fresh ones with her. They are more expensive than our discount store but I will be glad to get these. The store phoned back and said it is going to wait until its truck comes in so I can have berries that were freshly picked today.

  71. Today we stopped by a garage sale that we saw on our way home. The kids were so excited. We just saw signs. (The kids usually head for the free boxes. I’m pretty picky about what they can take so we don’t get that much.) Anyway, garage sale season hasn’t really started here yet so I was excited too. It was some men at a garage (like a mechanics garage.) I bought my twin grandbabies some blocks (new in package) for a dollar, and a good, solid fan. (Garage sale fans seems better than the cheapy, new ones we have bought in the past from Walmart or Menard’s.) We often run the whole house air-conditioning because my husband has terrible allergies and it gets so humid around here in the summer but I think things might be different this summer. Either way fans help out. It was marked $10 but the guy took $8. I knew it was a good deal. He really hesitated but in the end he said okay. Then the kids started talking about the bikes…”No more bikes!” I said as we just cleaned them out a free months ago, but then he said that we could take one for free. The kids zeroed in on a “trick” bike that was nice and I relented. He said he had lots of bikes from apartments that he owned after people moved out. Anyway, the one we got was the nicest one and he admitted it was his grandson’s.

    I made one of our favorite meals that we haven’t had for a while last night. We call them “roll ups” and they are taco meat and cheese in a flour tortilla fried in oil. I like to put homemade refried beans in them to stretch the meat but also it “glues” the meat together. I had some leftover taco meat from my nephew’s wedding which reminded me that we had some corn tortillas in the freezer from his wedding and I used those up first. That was a great deal. They sent home pans and pans of leftovers from their taco bar. We were out of town and didn’t know how to do it but I said a prayer and my husband asked the hotel if they would put it in their refrigerators overnight. I wouldn’t have thought to ask but they were so nice about it. Then, it was warmish outside, but we covered the food with our clothes and maybe a blanket and it stayed cold for the 3.5 hour ride home. That was in October and we just finished all of that food. What a deal!

    Anyway, I’m reading the comments here more than I used to. It takes me days sometimes but it’s: free entertainment, I learn a lot, and I’m inspired. Thanks, Brandy for the website/you wonderful blog, and everyone for all of the comments.

  72. It feels as though we’ve been anything but frugal this month. My credit card bill will be abnormally high. It was not emergencies that ran it up so but just some incredibly good buys on various items and one item that my husband insisted I needed. Fortunately, all of the big ticket items we purchased have already been I covered from saved Christmas or birthday money, and the other items will all come from various accounts such as prescriptions, household, grocery, etc. I worked hard to keep my grocery bill down this month. Unfortunately, my husband being ill and myself sick as well, we went to the nearest more expensive store to shop. I did my best to keep things down but there’s good reason why we typically do not shop there and equally good reason why I’ll make sure next month to avoid the same store except for truly good purchases. Gasoline in our town hit $4.43/gallon but it is now $4.14. We filled up today near the interstate and paid something nearer $3.89/gallon. I have been doing very well using ALL of foods that come into our home. I had a small slip last week when I was sick but our pets happily ate the bounty. In light of this month’s expenditures I will be hypervigilant with my spending over the next three months, just in time for rising costs due to AC usage.
    Something I came across this week was a really good buy on cabbage of 39c/pound. I wanted to buy more than one but had no room in the fridge to store it. I found a post on The Spruce Eats that suggested blanching and freezing cabbage quarters. The post said they could still be shredded and used for slaw. I picked up another cabbage this week and plan to try this to see how well it works out. Worst case scenario, I prefer to cook the cabbage after freezing. We love cabbage so not an issue.

  73. Hello! I’ve followed you for many years and wanted to thank you for all of your hard work to maintain this blog. I’ve learned so much from you and admire your values and attitude about life. My children are grown but one is still at home, trying to save money in order to move out again (thank you, Covid for her job loss). We’ve always tried to live frugally since we were first married in 1988. We basically do what everyone else here has written about: eat at home and not waste leftovers, wear clothes until they’re worn out, drive our cars until they completely refuse to go any further, and give as much as we can to our church, university and other causes in the world. We live in TN on a mountain, so the climate is usually mild. We do indulge in having two mixed breed dogs, but they’re so worth it. We’re fairly close to retirement, so we’re very focused on saving as much as we can. I really enjoy reading all of the different comments from readers who are in different stages of life, I always learn something and come away feeling more hopeful about life. Thank you again and I look forward to more wonderful comments from all of you!

  74. Late to the party like most weeks. But here goes — it counts as frugal in the long run – I finished some much needed dental work today.
    Yesterday I went to WM for their weekly specials which included 10kg/25# AP flour for $6.97 each. They were well stocked. Also picked up more dry beans which I think is a great deal there 900g/2# for $1.67.

    Made two soups this week using chicken broth I had made. One was ‘chicken’ based and one beef based. The later used up three small containers of different cooked beef from my freezer. I’m also using frozen fruit I harvested in fruit smoothies.

    I removed one light bulb from the bathroom light fixture going down to only one bulb. I didn’t even notice the difference.

    Lastly, I’m staying home for the most part to save gas. And I turned down the thermostat settings.

  75. I have just finish reading the book “A Square Meal” that was suggested on here. What an eye opener. I pray that things do no return to this type of rationing. Everyone needs to plant a garden or some type of food if all possible. My eyes have been opened. Thank you for recommending this book

    1. Yes, it is. I shared about this on Facebook; farmers will not be getting any water as there is not enough to give them. Just a few minutes ago, I saw photos of the reservoir where I grew up. I’ve never seen it so low.

      California produces most of the nation’s produce.

      Wheat farmers only had 30% of their normal yield last year due to drought.

      It’s going to get a lot worse.

  76. Hmm… I’m always late to the party, ha ha!

    I also really love the scent of hyacinths. It reminds me of the taste of grape flavored sodas, gums, etc. Hopefully yours will come back with vigor. I’d transplanted some potted ones, along with a couple of daffodils and tulips, into what was our tulip patch at the time. They did come up the following year. But so very tiny! However, your climate’s far different from mine.

    We were very fortunate that my husband had found a job last fall with an area propane provider. Aside from the fact that he was back to working a full-time job (with health insurance), we get a discount on our propane.

    Groceries are insanely expensive now, yes. What cost roughly $150-200 per week in groceries for the preschool I am employed at, now costs $300-350! It’s not even my $$$. But I still get stressed out about it when I am doing the shopping for work. Ugh. I imagine that will mean another rate increase for parents soon.

    We have had a few days around 40F so much of the snow’s been melting. All of the ice that was on our steel roof has been knocked off or slid off on its own. That is one of the downfalls of a steel roof – worrying if you’re going to get knocked unconscious, or worse, when you head out the door! The driveway is nearly ice free, too, which makes it far less hazardous to get out to the mailbox. The gardening areas are still under a couple of feet of snow, though. All in good time. Though I am anxiously awaiting my garlic growing. I experimented and planted it differently this year. Instead of just a raised bed, I’ve done raised beds with mulching, a couple of big planters, directly in the ground, and let my sister plant several varieties for herself in what had been the tulip/cantaloupe bed. I’ve also bought a small peat greenhouse tray so I can start my cantaloupe seeds soon!

    Best wishes for you all.

  77. I am just back from a driving holiday in your neck of the woods Brandy. Gas ranged from 3.96 to 5.50 per gallon-the further south I went the more expensive it got. Diesel was often $1 more per gallon so it was easy to see why food prices are increasing so much. I saw evidence of drought as I drove. Water is obviously a very political issue in California as there were signs up at many of the orchards.
    I enjoyed seeing the endless fields of a variety of orchards and produce. Stopping at a farm stand my best deal was apples at .59 per lb which were very nice. It was lovely to enjoy summer temps and it now feels like spring at home. It looks like DH has been eating down the freezer while I was gone. Today I plan to make a homemade soup-nice to have a simple meal now that I am home.

    1. I it sounds as though you had a wonderful trip and a well deserved break from the Alberta cold. Weather in Toronto is still back and forth – one day I’ll wake up to a cold weather alert and snow and then two days later it’s like Spring! At least a lot of the huge piles of snow have melted but the last few days have been very foggy – such is Spring. Welcome back.

    2. Hi I,
      Welcome home. Your comments really bring home the severity of the drought. Thanks for offering me some of the produce but I’m short this week of every type of space from counter to fridge to freezer. I had hoped you could have some of the strawberries I got but it was an urgent situation. Sunterra grows them in its greenhouse and picked them the morning of the same day. I am ill but hope to recover soon. The migrating Bald Eagles are passing through.

  78. I did thank you Margie. Now that I am back I just stocked up at the wholesaler-wish you were all here so I could share.
    20 lbs broccoli crowns for $15-might need to blanch and freeze some.
    5 lbs vine tomatoes $4.99
    16 mangoes $12.99
    asparagus bunch $1.00
    large celery $2.00
    large cauliflower $2.99
    lemons and avocados 50 cents each

    All excellent prices for Calgary. Dropped some off for the triplet family and will take some to my Mum tomorrow. Also offered some to Ellie’s friend and our next door neighbour-always great to share good prices. None of it will be wasted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *