I harvested lemon verbena, roselle hibiscus, Armenian cucumbers, basil, a zucchini, and the first two lemons from my garden.

I made a large batch of pesto with just basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, water, and a little olive oil. I’ve found we don’t miss the expensive pine nuts, and we can use water in place of most of the oil (saving money and calories).

I bought potatoes on sale for $0.99 for a 5-pound bag. This is what I used to pay for a 10-pound bag on sale at Thanksgiving a few years back, and there was no limit. Now, there was a limit of 5 bags. We can easily go through 25 pounds of potatoes in a week, but with higher prices, we are eating fewer potatoes and more rice.

I spent the minimum $25 to be able to purchase a turkey on sale (limit 1) for $0.79 a pound. The potatoes were part of that $25 minimum. I spent $41 total. As we had several large expenses recently (including repairing our fridge this past week), I am trying to spend as little as possible on groceries right now, even though I know there are many sales this time of year.

I used glass jars to cover several seedlings in the garden so that they will grow faster in the cold.

I sowed seeds in the garden for parsley, Swiss chard, lettuce (including seeds that I had saved from my garden in the spring), spinach, and arugula.

In an effort to use my time wisely (because I think being frugal with one’s time is important as well) I used the time driving home from one and later to a second doctor’s appointment to make two international calls to a friend. My friend joked that the call was expensive because of the cost of gas. It still amazes me that I can call friends internationally without having to pay by the minute and pay nothing more than my regular internet and phone bills, as I can call through any number of apps (such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram). Just a few years ago I was having to use a prepaid calling card to do the same thing.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Because the new-to-us furniture that friends who are moving out West gave us, we decided to do a bit of decluttering. The decluttering of just a few small things yielded $85 on FB Marketplace!! That was fun!!

    I started and finished my 12th Use-It-Up Scrap quilt this week. I have a plastic shoebox filled with 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” “bricks” of fabric so this quilt was perfect to use up some of those without cutting into any fabric! I also used light squares from my shoebox of 2-1/2” squares. Whenever I finish a project, all the smaller scraps (under 1/4 yard) get cut into standard quilt component sizes. So with a quilt like this, I only needed to cut border fabric . Backing was a 99 cent 100% cotton vintage sheet from SA that I had previously cut out backing and used in another quilt. There is enough left for another baby quilt. I pieced together 2 scraps of polyester batting to have a piece big enough for the quilt. So it was my basically free quilt!! https://pin.it/4pk9EUC and https://pin.it/5f3n3dy. Making these is my therapy and keeps me going when I am stressed. So there will probably be many more made before the end of 2022! Lol! .

    I chopped up and dehydrated about 9 pounds of onions and have those in quart mason jars – I filled 1 jar and have the other jar half full. They both were vacuum sealed with my Foodsaver using lids from previous canning.

    We are on our way up to Michigan today. My brother is down to 98 pounds and is not awake or lucid much of the time, but I am grateful to go and hold his hand and talk to him. It’s also a time that is bringing my sister-in-law and I closer and we cherish our Monday night dinners and visits every other week. Tonight my sister will host dinner in their new condo. There are some things that you can’t put a price on and this is one. Still, we have learned where to stop for gas and refill the van just before we cross into Michigan where their gas prices are significantly higher. We know how to get a discount of $100 on our room, which is almost half! We prepare snacks for the road, take bottled water from our food storage to rotate it and so we aren’t paying $2- $2.50 a bottle along the way. (We bought ours when it was 32 sixteen ounce bottles for $2.49!) And we love the hours on the road when we have time to talk about goals, dreams, world events, family, etc.

    Btw- Today and all this week, Meijers has 5 pound bags of Russet potatoes for 99 cents!! This time, it is on our sale ad here in Ohio!! So, if you have Meijers, check and see! We also bought butter at ALDIs (which is still on sale through Tuesday) for $2.49/pound. More than the $1.99 price point we had, but we bought some anyway. Limit 6 per purchase. Hubs and I went together and got 6 each and I went another day when I was running errands close by and got 6, so we got 18 in all. That should see us through baking season!

    Turkeys are 55 cent/pound at Meijers with a limit of 2 but no purchase requirement. Other regions with Meijers has them as low as 49 cents/pound! I don’t have a lot of freezer space and still have a bit of cooked Turkey chunks in them, so I will wait until after the holiday to see if they have unadvertised clearance on them again this year. Last year, we found them on clearance at Meijers and Target at different times for an average of 19 cents/pound! If they go down from the 55 cents, I will get 1 or 2 and cook them up and bag them up in meal portions for freezer.

    I canned up the last of my figs into fig jam and got 6 more jars. https://pin.it/5LgD3Zb
    Plus another 5 pints of tomato sauce, bringing my pints of sauce up to 31 pints!

    With the cold weather that has come in now, we are noticing a world of difference as we stand near the exterior doors and windows! The effects of Hub’s window installations and weatherstripping and insulating around the 3 exterior doors has completely shut off the mighty drafts of cold air that would always be felt as you would approach them from inside the house! This will impact our heating amount! What a blessing!

    It’s funny when talking to someone else about our day to day routines to learn that many of those frugal habits are still foreign to others! We are often asked how we ever thought up a particular frugal idea and we usually answer that none of them are original. We glean them from you, Brandy, your commenters and other places on the internet- Pinterest and YouTube! What a spectacular time to be alive- when so many resources to learn are literally at our fingertips on demand (and FREE!)

    Hoping everyone has a wonderful week ahead!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Garden Pat, great deal on the butter. In Minnesota it is $2.99/lb limit 6 at Aldi’s. So not as good as a price here as yours, but I will take it!! I got 12# too in two trips.

      1. JulieT it was the same here. It was $2.99 with a limit of six. I’ve noticed that our dairy at our Aldi is always more than my daughter’s in Virginia. We did have another store here locally that had butter that was $1.99 a pound but the limit was two. We stopped by a few times.

        1. Same here for the Aldi butter. We had another grocery store, also, that offered it for $1.99/ limit two. We, also, went several times.

          1. Our Aldi had butter listed in the circular for $2.49 a pound with a limit of six. When I checked my receipt I noticed it rang up for only $1.99 a pound! I purchased six boxes of unsalted and two boxes of salted butter and got that price for all eight boxes. We go through butter like crazy so I’m hopeful that we will continue to see low prices like this through Christmas.

      2. Julie T from Minnesota- This morning, Tuesday, we checked out of our hotel after our free breakfast and realized that there was still an hour before visiting hours for my brother. There is an ALDIs and a Meijers within a couple blocks of the hotel and also on the way to assisted living center. So we stopped and, sure enough, butter was $2.49/pound (limit 6) there too so we bought 6 more! I also saw that they have lowered their price through the holidays on several things by 30%. So I also bought a case of 24 cans of cream of. Chicken soup for 48 cents a can!
        Then we stopped at the Meijers and bought 10 five pound bags of Russet potatoes for $9.90 total!! Some people buy souvenirs from their travels. Apparently, we buy groceries that are on sale!! Lol!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. Ha! I hear you! when we travel I am usually bringing home food too! I always have a cooler in my car! I’m always looking for discount stores, Amish dry goods stores, and I look at the food ads online wherever I am. I’ve even been known to bring things home in a suitcase when I’ve flown somewhere!!

    2. What a gift that you are able to spend this time with your brother. I have lost my three siblings, and was far away from each of them at the time. I am sure he feels your love, and it is good for your sister-in-law to have the regular visits. The long drive sounds like a peaceful break from your busy schedule.

      1. ElizabethM.- We just got back an hour ago from our trip and my brother actually was awake and spoke a bit! He held my hand and kissed it before we left and told me he loved me. It hurts my heart to see him wasting away but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for being able to visit.
        My SIL said she hated that we were coming up so often but with tears in her eyes, she hugged me and told her how much it meant to her! ❤️

        Not everyone has the opportunity or blessing of living close enough to loved ones to be able to visit in times like these. So we don’t take this blessing lightly!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. My mom is 99 and a half. I just sent my younger sister thousands of miles away a hint–Frontier has a $600 one-year pass for last minute space-available travel. You cannot book until the day ahead and I don’t know if you can only book one-way or round trip–a rather important detail especially since she teaches piano in person. Mom’s car has sat unused in the driveway for months because it is so old I fear it breaking down while mom is a passenger in an area where Lyft is not always available–and she can only get into and out of some cars. The senior bus and van with the wheelchair lift is so much easier right now. So I suggested we get it fixed and then parking it close to the airport (We grew up near DTW and my sister has in-laws near there.) so she wouldn’t need to rent a car to get from the airport to here. The second year of the pass is not so inexpensive. $2000. I keep wanting Covid-19 and the flu to subside more before visitors hop off a plane and come visit mom. Maybe next summer…. She got to visit this summer as a stop on their cross-country camping tour.

          I also have a much older half-sister living with a multi-drug resistant mycobacteria infection. She is on oxygen now, always tired, and losing weight. I so wish I could visit her. But she’s 700 miles away and I only leave home for long-delayed doctor and dental appointments after arranging for a grannysitter. I am so glad you can visit your sibling.

    3. I love how you intentionally prepared the quilt scraps to be used for a future project. I have been thinking a lot lately about the importance of being prepared, whether it’s taking the time to clean up after yourself so that you can be prepared for the next task in the kitchen, or preparing books or supplies that you might need for an upcoming study session or craft project. This is such a great example of that!

      1. Jenni from KS- I always say I’m lazy and cheap and if I do something that looks challenging, it’s probably smoke and mirrors because I found a shortcut! Lol!

        This is how I feel about my scraps! I learned about quilt designer and maker, Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.com years ago and she has a Scrap Users System (free on her website) that makes it easier to make use of scraps quickly. That means that I can whip up scrap quilts way faster than if I had to cut each individual piece at the time I wanted to make something!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    4. GardenPat – You are so right. You can’t put a price on time spent with family. Another reason to be frugal so we can be where we are needed and want to be when the time presents itself. I realize this more and more the older I get. Safe travels!

    5. Gardenpat, I just tried something that worked well. I put onions with a little bit of water in the crockpot until they were carmelized. (They had to be set out on the porch after the strong smell choked us!) Then they were dehydrated and are delicious. I can eat them straight like potato chips. I will be using them to replace the expensive crispy fried onion rings in green bean casserole. The liquid left in the crockpot can be used for seasoning.

      1. Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry- What a clever idea!! I’ll have to try that some time!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  2. Brandy,
    Great point that we can be frugal in regards to our time as well. I love that you’ve figured out ways you can adjust your recipes and save more money!

    Last week:
    *used the slow cooker to cook a pumpkin then froze the purée
    *defrosted, cooked, and canned more of the clearance hamburger purchased a few weeks ago
    *was very intentional about eating food from home
    *made Rice Krispie treats with (marked down) ingredients at home when I was craving a sweet treat
    *found small hand sanitizers at Walmart for 10 cents each (bought 20) and black chocolate melts for 39 cents a bag!
    📍Grocery Store: 89 cent per pound Turkey, canned veggies and cream of mushroom soups for 60 cents (stocked up)
    📍Buy Nothing Group: women’s rainbow multivitamins (unopened)
    📍Facebook Marketplace: $12 beige sketchers, $5 science kit for my nephews’ Christmas gift, free happy face chia pet

    Take care everyone ❤️

  3. Such beautiful flowers, especially the last picture! And those lemons, one just wants to reach through the screen to pick them.

    My frugal week:
    – I made pumpkin spice pancakes (http://approachingfood.com/pumpkin-spice-pancakes/) because pancakes are so easy to make on the weekend and reheat for quick weekday breakfasts. Plus, I can make my own homemade pumpkin spice mix from ingredients in my pantry
    – i redeemed points from legeropinion.com for $20 to my paypal account, SB for $10 to my paypal account and points from Pinecone Research for a $5 Starbucks gc
    – I stretched some ground beef by adding homemade breadcrumbs to make hamburgers, then chopped up the leftover hamburgers to use the next day in a homemade hamburger helper dish.
    – I’m trying to use powdered milk in cooking and baking now, as I have some in my pantry that I’d like to rotate. I love that it means I need to buy fresh milk less often!
    – I used applesauce to replace half the oil when baking carrot apple mini muffins for kid snacks this week, and used one less egg than the recipe called for.
    – I combined coupons, sales, price-matching, and cashback, to get the most for my grocery dollars. I ended up getting 4 boxes of cereal and a box of crackers free (loyalty points offer plus multiples sale plus coupons plus cashback). I also got 8 heads of broccoli for less than a dollar each after price matching and loyalty offers.
    – I baked chocolate chip cookies, and frozen half the dough in pre-portioned cookie sizes, for easy future desserts
    – I redeemed AirMiles for $20 worth of groceries, and got back additional AirMiles
    – I baked cornbread and made granola, using odds and ends from my pantry
    – I made Brandy’s taco soup, and served it along with corn bread to my mum when she visited. I also made Brandy’s Chicken a la Crescent, but with turkey and Brie, and without seasoning or nuts or chestnuts, and using homemade breadcrumbs. Both my mother and husband really enjoyed it!
    – I made some very rich and meaty turkey broth/soup from the leftovers of my Thanksgiving turkey
    – I take my youngest daughter to a weekly group music class. I had to reschedule this week’s class to a different day due to a conflicting online training, and was able to bring my oldest daughter along at no charge. It ended up being a private class for two, at the price of one group class!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  4. Hello Everyone!

    Lovely lemons, Brandy! Mine are almost ready. This week we ate meat from the freezer and only purchased dairy, eggs and veggies. I baked 2 loaves of sandwich bread and a Dutch brown bread round loaf. We had celery and tomatoes from the garden. Nothing else is ready yet in my fall garden, although growing.

    We put flannel sheets on our bed as it’s getting chillier. I’ve begun using the electric space heater to warm up a room instead of heating the whole house during the day when I’m the only one home. We had a nice fire in the wood stove. I didn’t have any kindling so I grabbed some lint from the dryer and placed it in an empty toilet paper tube to use as a fire starter. I learned this from Jeff Yeager and it worked great!

    I finished the window seat cushion.(Add sounds of celebration here-LOL!!!) It was a beastly project at 6 feet long. The side fabric kept stretching because it was matelasse. I had to unpick an entire side because the corners didn’t line up, then hand baste the whole thing before re-stitching. I’m so glad it’s finally done!!! That project, while tedious, saved us hundreds in labor. I saved scrap for pillows (at a future date).

    I appreciated your thankfulness comment about using social media for good: communities such as yours. I agree! : ) We’re doing the same old by eating at home, being mindful of energy usage, and doing as much as we can ourselves. Have a blessed and beautiful week lovely people!

  5. Not a windfall of savings this week, but some.

    I seen that Mrs Harris goes to Paris was on Peacock, so I watched it Saturday night.

    I had a third freezer at my mom’s,
    she was using it. We are trying to steer her towards assisted living, so she hasn’t been buying a ton of extra food. I didn’t have anything in it, aside from a handful of items that really needed thrown away. We don’t have any place for it at the moment, and the extra money is needed so I decided to sell it. I cleaned it out, listed on Marketplace. As I was taking the trash to the dumpster, a person messaged me she could pick it up in 30 minutes. They showed, got a freezer, and I pocketed $100.

    The teen made cinnamon rolls and tacos.

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work. We had a group come in one day with yummy soups, sandwiches, desserts, and drinks. I brought my Snapple home for the teen. I also got a bookmark.

    I went through all of our streaming apps to see what movies on my Netflix dvd list are available and knocked a few more off that list. Now to watch a few while I’m off work next week.

    Our book club book is included with Amazon Prime books, so no extra expense.

    My husband was able to find winter workboots he wanted marked down to $110, saving $140. He got to use them already because it was 81 here Thursday, then 30 something on Friday 😂

  6. We don’t have a Meijer where we live and I’m lucky if I get potatoes for less than $3.49 for a 5lb back. I didn’t buy onions from Costco last week since it went up- $11 for a 10lb bag and made do with what we had instead. Today I bought a 50lb bag for $17- we just have to store them carefully so none of it goes bad. The same store sometimes has reduced-priced vegetables and fish, which I buy and freeze.

    Thanksgiving sales are on and I only bought what I needed while stacking coupons, except one lipstick from NYX- a cruelty-free company. I also organized my closet for Fall/ Winter which helped me remember that I don’t need anything else.

    We’ll do a chicken instead of a turkey this year. I look forward to using my $10 Ikea roasting pan :).

    1. My family has decided they want fried chicken this year 😂 so my mom is buying fried chicken from the grocery store and we are not having turkey!

      1. We stopped making the turkey dinners many years ago. It just wasn’t a family favorite and it was more work than I wanted to do as I got older. Now we either go out to eat (Perkins or a Chinese buffet) or buy take out from two of our favorite places in Minneapolis, Que Viet and Q Fanatic. I buy ahead of time and freeze them. We look forward to that meal as much as we ever did the turkey and stuffing. I was surprised by the number of people in the restaurant the first time we ate out on a holiday. Sometimes circumstances change and really, for us, it was just as joyous and pleasant without the turkey although I never would have believed it when I was younger. My mother and her sisters use to alternate the 3 major holidays. One year my aunt cooked a beef roast instead of turkey and upset the entire family. No one ever tried to vary the menu after that. I still laugh thinking about it. Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving.

        1. I grew up without turkey or pumpkin pie, and those are two of my favorites! We always changed the holiday meals growing up, so deciding to have turkey each year in my own family was a new thing for me.

          I remember my parents taking us out on Thanksgiving when I was 13. It is one of the few Thanksgivings I remember from my childhood. We drove to a place over an hour away and they had a Thanksgiving buffet. I was SO excited to be able to have turkey and pumpkin pie.

          I love fried chicken and I love that cleanup will be easier this year!

          My family doe not have a traditional Christmas meal. My husband always likes ham, so we started doing that, but we have never minded changing it up on Christmas. One year, my mother made carne asade. I LOVED that and actually requested that we do that again this year for Christmas.

          1. Growing up, my mom never fixed turkey. She didn’t like it. We usually had dinner at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. My dad and I got our turkey and stuffing and dessert fill there. After I got married, my dad worked at a job that gave them a turkey for Thanksgiving. They gave it to me and I’d fix it at home then take dad some to eat. One year we went to their house for Thanksgiving and she fixed sloppy Joes for dinner. We all enjoyed it.
            My husband only likes turkey the day it is fixed. I love fixing turkey. I bought just a turkey breast one year, but didn’t enjoy it as much. I’ll see what I can find at Krogers Friday. I might fix turkey or maybe even sloppy Joes. Haha.

          2. I recall that one year we went to my aunt (on the farm) for Thanksgiving. They had six kids, which included four tall, strapping teenage boys. What I will never forget is that she had all sorts of pie for dessert. Everyone got an entire quarter of a pie! I think my eyes were as big as saucers. I don’t recall the rest of the dinner – just the pie.

      2. I love traditions, but sometimes those random “one off” holiday meals make for the most fun memories! One year we ended up having chili mac for Christmas dinner (long story, day got late and everyone was tired), and we still talk about it. Brandy, I’m sure your grocery store fried chicken Thanksgiving will be a fond memory for many years. 🙂

    2. When we were stationed on Guam my husband and I went to New Zealand over Thanksgiving one year. We flew my mother to Guam to watch our children. As it happened, a typhoon blew threw while we were gone and there was no power over Thanksgiving. So my mother, always a smart lady, asked herself where might there be a restaurant with a generator? She thought McDonalds might be open and she was right. So my mother and children had hamburgers on Guam for Thanksgiving that year while my husband and I had lamb in New Zealand. While the food embellishes a holiday, it’s the memories made that make the holiday. Last Christmas I made bbq chicken and pumpkin grits as the main course. It was made ahead of time and was fast and easy. Everyone loved it and I was not exhausted, allowing me to enjoy my family and friends.

    3. It will be just the two of us for Thanksgiving as our kids have families of their own and not all live close by. We do get together on Christmas day or the week prior depending on them being able to get the days off they request to fly out. I will make a chuck roast with Campbell’s Golden Mushroom soup over it and bake it. The soup make a wonderful mushroom gravy to pour over our mashed potatoes. Undecided on the sides, but there will be a pumpkin pie for dessert, my hubbies favorite. We just haven’t really liked turkey that much for the last 15 years. Frugal dinner as I bought about 5 roasts on sale for under $3 # before all this craziness happened and I pick out the smaller ones since it is just us. Enough left overs to have the next day, some lunch sandwiches and one other dinner of BBQ beef on buns.

  7. Your photos are just gorgeous, and bring warmth just looking at them. The lemon photo gives hope I will someday get lemons from the two I started several years back. Last week, I earned $20 off with a promotion Food Lion is doing, and redeemed it the next visit. I was excited to find that my library offers some streaming movies, and want to explore it further. I weeded and mulched several beds, which contain lots of lettuce, beets and chard. We covered all the beds with lettuce and chard with row cover that is supposed to protect them several degrees. My husband was able to barter with someone nearby. She’s finishing our sheetrock, and he’s going to hang hers. We don’t enjoy finishing sheetrock. She doesn’t mind it, but doesn’t like to hang it, so a perfect trade. He found a good deal on lumber for the siding of the new sewing room, cheaper than we paid for the studio addition several years ago, and finished siding it. I enjoyed herb tea with homegrown lemon balm, lemon verbena, spearmint and red clover. Our frozen broccoli was used in a pad thai dish. All laundry was dried on the line. Warm up water and water from washing greens was used for flushing or added to the humidifier on the woodstove. The soles of my my husband’s work boots were in bad shape. He bought a new pair, and when they arrived, he mailed his old pair to the company to be resoled. He’s been wanting a sweet potato pie, so I made one using a frozen whole wheat crust just for him. We were very thankful to get 1 3/4″ of rain from Nicole, which filled our tanks halfway, after having run dry midweek. From the garden, I harvested winter greens, oregano, collards, rosemary, lettuce and chickweed.

  8. Hello, Friends! This has been a quiet week, as my husband has been traveling for work last week and this coming week. I’ve stayed busy knitting socks for him for Christmas while he is away. I also finished another couple dishcloths for donation. * I made a large pot of chili mac for dinner yesterday. I made a small batch of chili from scratch, then added some corkscrew noodles I had left from another meal, that I froze, and a handful of cheese. It was very good and fed us two meals. * We celebrated our little Poppy’s second birthday at her house. She loved the stuffed Frozen dolls I got at Joann with coupons. I didn’t have any wrapping paper that was fun, so I printed two Frozen coloring sheets, colored them with markers and taped them to a plain brown paper gift bag. She loved it…probably more than the gift lol! It was just a simple party for family, but Poppy, and her older sister, loved every minute. It was magical. Two year olds are the absolute best. * Just finished Lilac Girls, which was recommended here, from the library. Wow. Thanks for whomever mentioned it! * Got our first significant snow today. My son shoveled for me since my husband is out of town and I can’t physically manage it. I really appreciated it, and saves me from hiring it out. * It’s 27 today, but we are trying to keep the heat down a degree from last year to save a bit. I’ve been wearing my sweatshirt and slippers all day and I’ve been warm enough. * I hope everyone is doing well. You are all such an inspiration to me!

  9. This week we have been eating from the pantry and focusing on keeping warm, as nighttime temperatures have been in the mid to low teens (Fahrenheit.) * This is an old frugal activity, not a new one, but I thought someone else might find the idea useful: We decided to add another blanket to our bed and turn the heat down a few more degrees to save natural gas (we heat with wood during the day, but the gas runs at night.) I pulled an old blanket from the linen closet that is very soft and light but warm. My husband remarked he didn’t remember seeing it before. I reminded him that about ten years ago we owned an electric blanket that quit working. I took pliers and carefully pulled out all the wires and controls, ending up with this lovely, useful blanket. (We now use an electric mattress pad – these last longer than electric blankets for us.)
    *Working together, my husband and I split and stacked a cord of firewood. I think we have about two cords left to split. *I cut up two old pairs of pajamas that were too worn and stained to donate. I will use these as cleaning rags. *I was able to purchase 10 lbs of butter for $2 a pound, saving almost $30 over the regular price. I also got our Thanksgiving turkey for 79 cents a pound and 8 pounds of potatoes for $3.99. *My husband helped a friend fix his car and he gave us two passes for the local hot springs in return. *I finished a Christmas gift.

  10. -Not to be in anyone’s personal business or political but it’s open enrollment for health insurance via the marketplace (healthcare.gov). Deadline to have coverage in January is Dec 15.
    -If you received any of the Hallmark Bonus $ for holiday open house and won’t be visiting a store by the Nov 20 coupon deadline, you can use online. My bonus was $2, I ordered a $2 birthday card, personalized it and Hallmark will mail to my friend for free using “sign and send”. Total cost to me $0.00. And it was a really cute card. My mom’s bonus was also $2, used hers and sent two 99 cent cards for free.
    – I have finally decided that it is better for me to just pick up to go food or eat out instead of cooking (and hating absolutely everything about the process) and throwing away all the extra because I hate leftovers and eating the same thing twice. Might be different if I wasn’t child free and needed to provide meals for a family. Life is too short to spend it doing things that I hate (unless you’re paying me an inordinate amount of money) and I hate cooking so no more for me.
    -our 1 acre of 57 year old pecan trees are almost ready for harvest. We personally don’t use many of them (see above comment about cooking) but friends love receiving them as gifts during the holidays.

    1. Just wanted to say that cooking became a lot easier once I streamlined the cleanup process.

      For example, I keep the following items within reach of the sink so that I don’t even need to open a cupboard to get to them : green scrubby pads, dishcloths, brillo pad, dish brush, small bottle of dish soap, magic eraser.

      I also give myself permission to soak dirty dishes for a half-hour, (with a little dish soap in them) before cleaning up. Makes the job much easier.

  11. I would love to hear your “recipe” for your healthier pesto. All my kiddos looooove pesto but even homemade it is semi expensive. Would love to try your version if you had more exact amounts? Thanks for all you do!

    1. I totally didn’t measure 😆 And every time it still turns out fine. It’s never the exact same. Lots of basil (around 6 cups packed), enough water to blend it, maybe 1/2 cup of olive oil, lots of garlic, and around a cup of parmesan cheese. Cheaper and lower calorie.

      1. Without pine nuts (or any nuts) it’s called Pistou. My DIL is allergic to nuts so they make this all the time. And we use the dry parmesan in our pesto and it tastes fine. We usually make a large amount and freeze it in an old ice cube tray. We add a bit of extra oil when we thaw it out to use on either pasta or pizza or even a sandwich.

      2. I too find pine nuts extortionate. Jamie Oliver suggested using sunflower seeds and they really work a treat. All I ever use now.

    2. Alisa – I make pesto very similarly to Brandy and even mix other greens in with the basil like parsley or arugula. When I do have nuts, I have added just a few walnuts or almonds. It really takes very few to add a bit more flavor but most of the time I make it nut-free. It really is something you can experiment with. Have fun!

  12. Harvested the last of our garden this weekend, including digging up all the carrots. We have enough onions, potatoes and carrots to get us through until March I think.
    I found a great deal on oatmeal, so bought just under 15#s. My husband laughed and said that will last us a year. Not so! So far I’ve made baked oatmeal using 2 cups of volunteer squash. We had oatmeal for breakfast and I made two batches of oatmeal cookies, one for my mom and one for the two of us. She prefers hers without chocolate chips. I also used up walnuts that we got on sale last year, along with greatly reduced butter, it was unsalted, that I found at our local Kroger for .75 #. (I bought and froze 32#s) The cookies should last until the end of the year, as I froze them raw in small batches and will bake them off a few at a time. I learned to do that after I came downstairs to find my husband cooking all of the frozen cookies :). He found one bag and thought he should bake them all at once.
    We have been focused on making sure we eat all of the food in the fridge and not buying good deals that don’t end up being eaten. My husband is not an adventurous eater, so over time I’ve learned to narrow down our purchases. We’ve been eating at home and often just two meals a day. We now know why many mature adults eat the “early bird,” because it’s been a long time since our first meal. 🙂
    We will start our Christmas gifts for our adult children and families in the next few weeks. My husband and I make a variety of treats and then typically send a check for a family adventure. It’s been fun for us to do together and they tell us they look forward to the special treats!
    Have a wonderful week. I love the kindness and ideas shared in this community. Thank you, Brandy for creating a welcoming and encouraging space on the internet.

  13. -I was given 14 wide mouth two quart ball jars, brand new in the original boxes (probably from 20 years ago). I will use these for food storage. This is such an awesome gift from my sister. She found them at a garage sale for $1/ box (6 per box) and they threw the two single jars in for free.
    -I made a pair of potholders for a Bday gift for a friend from scraps of fall fabric. -Bought 6 containers for the freezer ($30) and I rearranged the upright freezer using these and freed up quite a bit of space. These containers fit in the space with little free space around them. I love my upright, I don’t have to stand on my head to get things out like I do with the chest freezer. But if things aren’t in containers things come flying out. And the containers I had in there were things I already had and reused and they didn’t fit tight and had too much wasted space.
    -I did some sewing for a friend, I sewed binding on a baby quilt for her and did the hand stitching of the binding. When we met to return the quilt, she took me out to lunch to Olive Garden and paid for it. I ordered chicken Parmesan and I got two huge pieces of chicken. I took the largest piece home, I made some spaghetti and used my home canned marinara sauce and this made a meal for both my husband and I. No money was spent and 2 meals were enjoyed. Plus I enjoyed a meal out, which happens rarely.
    -I got my grand daughter’s nightgown sewn for Christmas and using the scraps I made a nightgown for her 18 inch doll. I used a pattern that I had that had pajamas on it. I lengthened the top of the pajamas and added a ruffle creating a nightgown.
    -I made a large batch of soup. I gave a quart away to a friend that had surgery and a quart to an older couple from church dealing with health issues. Both were very appreciative receiving the soup.
    -Friends gave us 5# of true wild rice that had been harvested and parched this fall. It is about $40 worth. What a nice gift!!
    -Creative uses for leftovers: Leftover fried walleye was turned into fish tacos. Leftover venison tenderloin was cut into strips and made into fajita quesadillas.
    -I used 8 jars of canned food this week- total is 14 jars towards my 30 goal.

    Have a great week!

      1. Target. I measured my space and went looking. These are their room essentials wave 1/2 medium basket. The measurements are: 5.3 inches high, 13.8 inches long, and 5.7 inches wide. My pint food saver bags fit upright in these baskets perfectly!

  14. I had a wonderful girl’s trip two weekends ago to Reno. I had bought on Cardcash discount spafinder gift cards. One of them didn’t work. I had to hassle the company to get another one issued. I decided to use the replacement card to get a pedicure. I have had problems with ingrown toe nails and it will be worth it to have them cut professionally. I will not go through CardCash again even though I save $50. As Brandy said, my time is worth money as well.

    I am going to get get my haircut 100 miles away on Friday by an old friend of my friend. That does not sound very frugal but my girlfriend and I carpool. We will go to Costco ( I don’t have a card). I will stay in a free hotel room while my friend spends the night with her buddy. The haircut is at least $30 cheaper than the gal who was doing a terrible job around here. I just feel like a new woman when my hair is cut well. I just can’t find anybody else good locally. It is worth it plus fun social time with my girl friend. There is a free breakfast at the hotel. I feel little indulgences like this help me keep on track.

    Also, I know everyone will send me some grace on this. I am not a confident nor accomplished cook. I am 59 years old and this is the first Thanksgiving I will be in charge. I was going to make reservations at a restaurant in Tahoe. It was going to be $100 per person. There will be four of us. I just couldn’t do it. Even ordering a meal at a supermarket would be $165 dollars and last time I did, it was not great. So I ordered an organic turkey breast that is seasoned and in a bag. It will arrive at my door. A miracle. It comes with sausage and cranberry stuffing. Mom will do sweet potatoes and green beans. Hubby is in charge of pie. Cost is $120. I added this to show all of you who are terrific cooks and gardeners how valuable your skills are. Credit to all of you.

    1. It sounds like a great compromise! I’m also a firm believer that frugal living can allow us to spend a little extra in other places, if we can. I once knew a couple who lived very frugal. Honestly, I thought they must be really poor! It turns out that they saved all year to spend a month visiting family in Hungary for the holidays.

      Your dinner sounds delicious! My family used to vacation in South Lake Tahoe. We always played mini golf and had Baskin Robbins for dessert! Good memories.

  15. I took a few minutes today to go into a used book store that I have frequented over the years, but not of late, as I use the public library to save money and, because I have so many books and no room for more. BUT, as I was browsing, I found two rare and hard to find books from the Foxfire series! I have always wanted the complete set, but they now cost a great deal, when you can find them. Anyway, I am thrilled and think I might drop in more frequently to see if anymore turn up!

    I thoroughly cleaned my house this weekend and am ready for Thanksgiving. I made a sheet pan dinner of flounder, petite potatoes and asparagus. Turned out really well. Made a large pot of spaghetti sauce which I plan to use for a few dishes.

    Trying seal up any openings around windows and doors to prevent the cold air from coming in. I am so nervous about the next utility bill. Think it’s going to be a shock due to all the cold weather we are experiencing.

    Have been doing one extra thing each day that is not part of the normal routine that cleans, or discards, or rearranges things that make our lives neater and less stressful.

    Hope everyone is warm and cozy! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

    1. CherylB in TN – The Foxfire books were are great find! We have 2 complete sets, one from my grandfather and one from my husband’s uncle. They are a priceless source of information and entertainment. Used bookstores are the best!

      1. MM Dawn: How lucky are you? A set in good shape is pushing $300.00 now. Should have bought a set long ago. I find them so interesting, informative and entertaining. And might just make a difference in the not too distant future! 😱
        Don’t you live on the TN-NC border? If you ever come to Knoxville/Pigeon Forge/ Clinton, you should look up Hammer’s. Are you familiar with them? They have small stores that buy out overages, imperfections, etc. Sometimes you can really do well.

        1. CherylB In TN – Yes, we do live in Western NC a few miles from the TN border. Thanks for the book store recommendation! We don’t travel much but when we do I always visit used bookstores and thrift shops (and grocery outlets, if in existence.) Treasure hunting is fun!

  16. Love the lemons! I have to try making Pesto that way. Basil grows profusely on Guam and we love Pesto but the pine nuts are expensive. When we lived in Italy many Italians used Walnuts so I have done that before to help reduce the cost. My husband had troubleshooted his air compressor several weeks ago. He found the part for $15 on Amazon and shipped it here (It takes 2 weeks for most stateside mail to get to Guam) he replaced it and saved us buying a new air compressor. We don’t have many people on island that do small repairs like that. I went on a chicken kick this week. My neighbor who moved had gifted me 8lbs of frozen chicken. We had Kung Pao Chicken, Thai Green Curry Chicken, and a Ranch Chicken Braid. I also made a instapot of Pasta Fagioli. So we’ll be eating those leftovers all this week. I substituted western vegetables with local vegetables and peppers I got on sale. So lots of Wingbeans and Longbeans in place of broccoli and peas in those dishes as well as local eggplant. Amazon is running some amazing baking sales this week so I added several items we have a hard time getting specialty spices and flours and it’s impossible to buy anything in bulk on island so that’s a real blessing. I taught a group of Christian Military wives about cooking from scratch and couponing this week. My giveaways we’re a binder of my handouts, The Frugalwoods book, and two Amish Friendship Bread starters with the recipe. They were most excited about the Friendship starter. I came home and have doubled my batches in half gallon jars. I’m teaching another class next week and hope to have enough to gift a starter to all my participants. I made a loaf of Rye Bread as well. Bananapocalypse has hit again. We had a 50lb bunch of bananas ripen this week so we cut that down. Their a cross between a sweet banana and a cooking banana so their starchier but still sweet enough. Their about 5 inches long. I’ve started the dehydrator again, and I’m freezing them, making monkey butter, and luckily I agreed to donate to our command bakesale so their getting banana bread. I have 5 more bunches coming on so I’m open to more ideas about preserving them. I never seem to have enough room in my chest freezer. Its so humid here a full batch in the dehydrator takes 24-36 hours so it’s a race to see how many firm ones I can process before they soften. I wish I could store potatoes here like you do in the states. It’s so humid anything we buy at the store sprouts within a week. I keep them in a cool closet on a rack in the dark and sometimes I can get 10 days. I miss having potato storage. I’m hoping to make starfruit pepper jam this week our star fruit are falling so fast that only the chickens are enjoying them. It’s also time to start my “spring seeds” We usually set our tomatoes out on Christmas for the dry season. We attended a reception last night on a Korean Naval vessel for my husbands job he’s the base commander here. They served us an amazing Korean Buffet and the sailors performed traditional Korean music. They gave us each a gift box at the end full of Korean food products (soy sauces, Korean pastes, Korean noodles. I don’t think they could have given a better party favor! I have done a little Korean cooking but now I’ll really have to research more dishes. Have a great week!

    1. Natasha, we used to get our bread flour from the restaurant supply store on island. I don’t know if they are still in business but you might want to check into it. We bought 50 pound bags and split it among a few of the neighbors. If I remember correctly, other flours and baking products were available through them as well. I love star fruit! You are so blessed to have such a large supply! Hafa dai!

  17. I harvested swiss chard. I sautee the greens, but I slice and freeze the stems to use instead of celery in soups. We received free lemons and fuyu persimmons. I planted arugula, radishes and kale, some in raised beds, some in pots, and some in the house. This way I can see what does best. I’ve set up a “greenhouse” with a plastic sheet over two tomato cages. This covers the one tomato plant I’m attempting to overwinter, and the pots of arugula. I threw another sheet of plastic over the hoops I keep over the beds of kale. This will help the outdoor kale seeds to germinate.
    I’ve worked at school full time last week, but still managed to sell 2 items on FB marketplace. I left them on the porch when I went out in the morning, and when I got back there was cash under the doormat. It made me smile that I could be earning money in 2 places at the same time!
    I potted a small geranium cutting that had put out roots in a vase of water. This will be a Christmas gift for my aunt.
    I bought all of my Christmas cards at thrift stores for a total of $2. I like to hand write a personal letter to friends and family who live away.

  18. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I love reading what you have been harvesting and planting Brandy and even better if there’s a photo of something like Roselle hibiscus that I’m not familiar with. We picked cabbages, carrots, parsnips and dahlia from the garden this week and our preserved and stored fruit and veg forms a big part of our meals now.
    We attended a lovely meal at a friend’s house and another friend brought us all a present, a big onion each from his garden! We laughed so much but actually it’s a good present for these times!
    I have discovered ( probably very slow to the party) that my Tesco supermarket loyalty points can be used to help pay my monthly mobile phone bill which is also with Tesco.
    I helped set up / attended two events this week and as they were afternoon events I took a packed lunch with me so I didn’t need to drive home and back again. Speaking of fuel when I analysed last month’s spending I had spent more on fuel for my car than on groceries for the two of us. I’m happy to be keeping the grocery bill down but the fuel bill is harder, we live in a rural area with almost no public transport. I need to work even harder on grouping errands.
    I decluttered some more and took bags to the charity shop and recycling centre while going into town for a haircut.
    We looked after our daughter’s dog for a couple of days and received goodies from M & S as a thank you.
    Inexpensive meals were veg curry and leftovers made soup the next day, breakfast for dinner and Portobello stuffed mushrooms.
    Stay safe everyone.

  19. Gas was $3.09 in University town, $3.49 in work town two hours south, and $3.59 on the interstate. So the prices are somewhat holding steady. I told y’all I survived with a fan this summer after lightning took out my air conditioner/heater in late July. I made the decision to try to limp through the winter with just a roll around radiator looking electric heater that I purchased for under $60 at Home Depot. It was in the 80’s last week in South Alabama but dropped down to 50’s during day now and 30’s at night and I am fine. I am at work at part time job four days a week anyway so only here at night. I realize I may be able to get by with this bc of where I live during the week-so far south. I have an extra heater but didn’t need to plug it up because I have a small house and I shut off bedrooms and slept in living room. I made egg and tomato sandwiches for breakfast, as usual, a sandwich for lunch, and a mixed greens (turnip greens, collards, and mustard greens) soup with a can of Rotel tomatoes for supper. It was a little bit hot so I added a dab of sugar to cool it down. I also cooked Turkey wing bones with it to give it some flavor. I had tossed them in freezer after eating them, just for soup, and I am the only one eating it so I can save my bones. I ate peanut butter and crackers with it. I washed my jeans with bath water and hung them out to dry on the bushes out front bc that is only spot that gets sunlight and there are no swarms of birds this week. Other neighbors do the same with their jeans/sheets. I cooked sautéed spinach, hot dogs, baked potatoes, tomato soup, and hamburgers for my kid in University town. I do have a working heater and an air conditioner up there. I think I have everything for Thanksgiving although I may buy more potatoes and sour cream. I did process one of the pumpkins I got for $1.99 and froze the pulp and have been eating the seeds all week.

    1. That’s how cold it is here now, and the heater doesn’t have to run much at all, if at all–so long as the teens don’t keep opening their windows for fresh air when it’s 37 degrees out. I had to talk to them twice on Monday about this.

    2. I live in North MS. Here gas in college town is always 30-40 cents more than town where I buy and only 24 miles between towns. College town went down when WM opened a gas station but that didn’t last long.

    3. I live in North MS. Here gas in college town (Oxford) is always 30-40 cents more than town where I buy and only 24 miles between towns. College town went down when WM opened a gas station but that didn’t last long.

  20. I feel like I had a more frugal week, even though we took a small trip out of town. We stayed at the place where we have a time share, so it is only $65 a night. Our daughter and son-in-law went with us, so we split what food to bring. We cooked every meal there, read, played games, and my SIL went fishing. It was rainy and cold, so I just enjoyed sitting in the condo, relaxing.

    We did not have the great potato sale lots of you had. Our lowest price was $2.99 for 8 pounds, and I didn’t even see those when I went to the store. However, I did find potatoes in the reduced vegetable buggy. Each bag was only 99 cents, and I weighed them to see how much I was getting – anywhere from 3.5 to 4.5 pounds, so I got about 15 pounds for $4. I was pretty happy with that. We had a Thanksgiving dinner this weekend since we are not hosting it on Thanksgiving. I only had to buy potatoes, but I did get some French rolls that were marked down. My husband tried out the meat slicer that he brought home from his work that someone had thrown away and made perfect slices of turkey for sandwiches or turkey and gravy. I brought home 2 dozen fresh eggs that a coworker brought in to share – he brought in 4 dozen, and they stayed in the fridge for a few days with no one claiming them, so I took 2 dozen home. I used a dozen for our Thanksgiving dinner for deviled eggs.

    I redeemed Fetch points for a $5 Amazon gift card. I almost have enough Speedway points for a $25 Amazon gift card – these really stretch our Christmas shopping.

    1. I didn’t see any of the 8 pound bags at our store. Nor 5 pound or 10 pound either. It was by the each only in our very large Kroger! Yikes. Like you $2.99 for 8 pounds is a really good price for us. And $3.99 for 5pounds is about average.

  21. After an unusually mild stretch of weather here in the NC Appalachian mountains, winter has arrived. The ski resorts are happy and I am always glad to move through a change of seasons. There is something beautiful to be appreciated in all of them. One of my favorite things at this (or any) time of year is my daily walk through our woods and up to the ridge. It is necessary for my mental as well as physical health and its free. With all the leaves of the deciduous trees down, I can see so many things that are hidden in summer and the landscape takes on a whole new beauty.
    *You can’t help but get into a holiday mood when the colder weather arrives and I have done things this week in preparation. I bought our Thanksgiving turkey for 47 cents/lb. with a $35 purchase. That is definitely the best price I have heard of lately and am grateful for it. I purchased some things for the pantry stockpile to make up the $35. Unfortunately, the limit on the turkeys at that price this year is 1 whereas, in years past, it has been 2.
    *I did paid landscaping work for a neighbor who is recovering from surgery and was unable to do the last winter preparations for her extensive gardens and wildflower meadow. I enjoy the work and the extra funds are most helpful. She has a labyrinth garden which has become overgrown and would like me to help her uncover it in the spring. That should be fun!
    *The boxwood cuttings I took from another neighbor’s 100+ year old boxwoods were a fair success – 3 out of the 8 I took rooted. Further evidence that I should always take more than I think I should. I buried them in their pots in a garden bed and covered them with mulch (as I did my blueberry babies) so they will be protected till Spring. Free plants are the foundation of all my gardens and I love thinking about where everything came from.
    *Purchased a few small items to go in our Christmas stockings. I typically fill them mostly with food items so they are practical, fun and create no long-lasting waste or clutter. We also celebrate the Feat of St. Nicholas on the 5th of December and traditionally put a few chocolate coins and some real coins (interesting ones like 1/2 dollars, if I can find them) into my children’s shoes. It’s an inexpensive but treasured tradition. I also purchased a few used books on-line for my children and a couple of voracious reader friends. Used is always my first choice in all purchases and gifts are no exception. I was raised this way so it is normal for us and, fortunately, I have never had any negative feedback from recipients. I am glad I am surrounded by people who appreciate the creativity of thriftiness as I know this is an issue for some people. Even my wrappings are used – things I have saved from gifts given to us and thrifted items that serve as part of the gift as well as the container such as baskets, flower pots, interesting old boxes (like cigar boxes) or scarves tied around the gift. It certainly makes gift-giving frugal and, I think, more fun and unique.
    *On a much more boring note, I made a no-interest payment plan for a medical co-pay keeping more money in our wallet now. It is a nominal amount each month but everything helps given our truck’s recent run-in with the deer and necessary deductible payment. The truck is at the shop as we speak and we are grateful my husband works from home. We are easily able to operate with one vehicle as long as we don’t have to transport anything large for a while.
    *Other than that, we just keep on keeping on. The more frequent fires in the woodstove means our laundry dries faster (loving the addition of the wall-mounted rack my men gave me for my birthday), I can relax and do the never ending pile of mending I seem to have and be grateful that all is well in my corner of the world. I hope the same is true for all of you. Thank you for your continued encouragement and inspiration. 🙂

    1. Do you have a photo of the wall mounted drying rack? I’d love to see what it looks like. We also heat our house with wood 🙂

      1. Laurae – So sorry I am just seeing your comment. This is the drying rack my family gave me. However, my husband paid half the price it is listed for now. That is why he bought it rather than made one – he couldn’t make one for that low of a price. It must have been a mistake but one I am glad he stumbled upon. 🙂

  22. My nearby grocery store looked they were closing down. They cleared out everything that wasn’t selling well, and packed up everything else in plastic boxes. It was a huge relief that by Monday, they had almost everything back in place, with some new products, and some new prices. The products are nice, the prices are not. There was a note explaining they had missed their egg shipment, and would have eggs again today. They have changed the loyalty card they are using, which will not work as well for a small household like mine. You need 6000 points instead of 3400 to get a $10 gift card. The triggers for extra points are larger orders than what I buy or dependent on buying branded food, which is very little of what I buy. So, that is one less break for me.

    I did get two lb of carrots for $1, and a six-pack of individual servings of peaches for $1 in their clearance. They have almost never food out that way before. They always sent the food to the food bank. It will be interesting to see if this changes now that the food bank is closed. For the moment, everything in the store is up to date, and strong-selling brands.

    We have had snow on the ground since November 1. Usually it comes and goes in November, but it looks like it is here to stay. I am trying to get into a positive routine for winter, though at the moment my time is going to have-tos rather than want-tos. So far, my big success is switching to heart-healthy proteins. They are quick to prepare and tasty, so I have no complaints. Fortunately, my budget is covering them without any problem.

    I got a quote on the furnace part that seized up at the end of last month. It will be $579 plus travel and labour, on top of whatever I owe for the last furnace repair. (They’ll bill them together.) I have the cash on hand for this. By the time bill comes in, I’ll have next month’s pension money coming in to start topping up the bank account again.

  23. Yay! Lemons from the garden!

    I downloaded several free cross-stich patterns from CountryLiving.com. Some of the patterns will be used for gifts I am making and two are for myself.

    I’m doing what I can to reduce utility usage. My electric bill went down by a few dollars last month at a time when it is normally increasing so I know my efforts are paying off.

    The prices at my local grocery store have gone up so much I’m not shopping there except for the once a month rewards deals. I’m either finding things elsewhere or using what I have on hand. While at Walmart, I found organic apple juice marked down by 75% making it half the price of regular apple juice. I purchased four gallons and gave one to my son’s family, used one to make apple jelly, and put the other two in my pantry. I also found white chocolate chips on clearance for 50% off so I bought some for holiday baking.

    I wanted a Thanksgiving recipe from a cook book I don’t have so I used Hoopla to read the ebook.

    I purchased the items needed to build my own grow light/seed starting shelving unit. By purchasing the pieces I needed separately, I saved over 50% of the cost of buying a kit for the same size shelf. My growing season is only 100 days so being able to start my own seeds indoors will allow me to grow more variety in the garden as well as more quantity.

  24. I learned through some younger women last night that Kroger has a warehouse ( no storefronts) and one buys groceries only online, with a flat fee of 10.00 for service and delivery. I am not sure I would want to pay 10.00 for service and delivery, when I have a grocery store within walking distance but they claim in their busy lives, that this is a savings to them. Kroger must be trying out this concept in our area.
    Thrifty action this week-husband researched hybrid brake system with Toyota…dealership wanted to charge $4,000.00. He is so glad he researched it and found the policy that enables him to get this repair, without costing anything. It just proves we need to research all of our purchases.

  25. We went away for the weekend to Disney, but used hotel points for our hotel, charged our restaurants and drinks on a card giving 3x points (which is paid off immediately), and picked up some Christmas treats for gifts/stockings. Took our leftovers home in a cooler from the weekend. Ate from the pantry and freezer the rest of the week.

    Booked a Christmas cruise this week for a last minute cheaper rate. Also picked an inside cabin (doesn’t bother us) for a cheaper rate. Did select the premium drink package though. Paid it all with a card giving 6x points on cruises and booked a hotel (using points) for day before and night after.

    1. I was so happy to see this comment because the main reason my husband and I are so frugal is that we love to travel…especially to Disney and Disney cruises! In fact, my daughter is a travel agent and her boss asked her how her parents afforded all these trips and she told her that her parents were unbelievably frugal! I told her should have told her we were bit coin millionaires. 😀

      All kidding aside, I think we are on this journey for our own reasons. Ours is we love to travel on a retirement income and we were raised by depression era parents.

  26. Lovely pictures Brandy! I love pesto! I make a spinach version with walnuts that is even more frugal if you don’t have basil in your garden.

    I posted this in last week’s post, but I’m not sure if anyone saw it since I was a little late to the party.

    I discovered this blog about a week ago and have been enjoying readying everyone’s tips to save money. The amount of you that garden and harvest food is very inspiring!

    Maxine, that is great you got such a deal on the magazine, but I wanted to let you know of an even better deal for the future. Recyclebank has free magazines in exchange for completing simple quizzes and surveys about recycling. However, not everyone’s municipality participates. I have been using it for years and have sent many members of my family gift subscriptions. There inventory changes, but they always have lots of magazines to choose from.


    I also like Mercury magazines for free magazines. You can sign up for their email to get alerts for when they have free magazines. Slightly more hoops but no surveys. You have to put in information about your company (homemaker is an option for all my homemakers out there) and then select which magazines you want. On the last step it makes it look Ike you have to put in your credit card and pick a few magazines for $2 a year. Don’t do this! Simply click on the X in the corner to continue without any payment.

    Right now they have Elle Decor for free. https://cdn.mercurymagazines.com/304-304300/index.html

    Anyway, I hope this comment is ok. Maxine I saw your comment and wanted to save you money (and give other readers free gift ideas) for future gifts : )

    Magazines make great gifts, and it is so nice to gift them for free. If I get the subscription I am gifting, I peel off my address and then wrap the current issue up and attach a note saying I got the recipient a year subscription. If I don’t get the subscription I usually just give them a card with the magazine listed, but there are many ideas online.

    1. Basil grows beyond abundantly for me, but spinach does not. I find it almost impossible to germinate and to grow well. Also, basil seeds are less expensive. So for me, basil is much cheaper.

      Swiss chard usually grows best for me, and I do blend that and use it in soups. I usually have a ton in the garden, and I especially should now, as I have a much larger place for it, but something ate all of mine this year! I have sown new seeds and hope to have better success this year.

      1. Interesting about your Swiss chard. We had a long cold spring, mine stayed at 1 inch in height, then when it finally started to grow something ate it all so I didn’t get any.

          1. Yes, I did. First it was too cold, then too (unusually) hot. Well, I’ll try again next year.
            Once the outside temperature dropped in the fall it started to thrive, just before the critter ate it. Next year I’ll use netting too. Thanks for jar tip! Ann

      1. I have used carrot tops as well as radish greens. I blanch them for about 3 minutes first to remove any bitterness and retain the bright green color.

    1. Several different kinds! I almost exclusively grow open-pollinated varieties so that I can collect the seeds from things I grow (no hybrids). I have grown several different kinds of lettuce that were all open-pollinated. I always say I will label my seeds, but I never do, so this is one of two kinds that I planted last spring. It is probably Valmaine.

  27. My posts feel redundant: reading books from the library, starting a new knitted sweater using yarn gifted to me, not grocery shopping because we had food on hand, exercising at home, trying to minimize my spending…..

    Despite the repetition, I am grateful for a warm bed to sleep in, food in the pantry, a healthy body, a wonderful husband, friends, and activities that keep me engaged. And grateful that afternoon sun comes in my bedroom window and brings light and some extra warmth.

    1. Kandace, Being frugal IS redundant. It’s doing those things over and over again, as we all do, that saves us so much money. It’s lovely to have that one off purchase that is a huge bargain but it’s the repetitive stuff (like baking a loaf of bread) that is the big win in the end. $5 a loaf and for the two of us that’s 1 loaf a week saving us $20 a month. If I had family living at home, I’d be baking four or five loaves a week and there you see the huge savings it becomes because I’d be saving $100 a month.

  28. -I was able to purchase some good grocery deals, including Bobs red mill flour, pasta, potatoes, crackers, and dairy free milk. We hosted a small birthday get together and mostly used items on hand. Made a chocolate cake that was a huge hit with some frozen clearance cool whip.
    -Made sourdough bread. We’ve been eating some muffins I froze several weeks ago as snacks. Using leftover sourdough ends and crusts to make breadcrumbs, something I learned from all of you. I had some red wine I didn’t care for, and added fruit and juice odds and ends to make sangria.
    -Made homemade apple cider from free apples with our fruit press.
    -Moved the cold frame over some self seeded lettuce and kale. I’m going to try and add more plastic over it and see how long I can get fresh greens this winter.
    -I was given more kids clothes, and I’m able to pass along a lot to friends. My kids are officially potty trained so I’m passing along a few diapers we no longer need. Thankful to not have that expense anymore!
    -Sold a few things on eBay which encouraged me to list several more items.
    -Going to the gym 3 days a week, getting 10000 steps in a day, and hopefully this will stave off holiday weight gain.

  29. I make my pesto like you do, Brandy. Everytime is different. We have family for a visit Christmas week and meals will be pricey but they will all be home cooked so they will be less costly than going out. Celebrating one grandson’s birthday with ribeyes, trying our hand at making sushi one night. We are going to have a fondue night, traditional Thanksgiving dinner and smoked pork ribs. Lots of cooking and prep but the grandsons are looking forward to it. I have shopped for the best deals I could find. I have purchased ham and cheese in bulk and vacuum sealed portions for the freezer. I am going to can pineapple for the first time as I found a good price on these and it is great for your health plus hubby loves it. I have winterized garden and decided not to heat the greenhouse this year due to cost of electricity. I have added insulation instead. We plan to watch movies, play games and go for walk at our ranch for entertainment. I am thankful for our health and the pantry and garden.

  30. Autumn has finally arrived in north central Texas, which I am absolutely thrilled about. We were finally able to turn off our central air! We’ve been able to open the windows most afternoons, have not had to run the heat, and are grateful for the fresh air and the energy savings. We are having lows in the 30s and highs in the 40s/50s. It’s been very pleasant, and we also got some rain, which was very nice.

    This hasn’t been a very frugal period for us, as we have both been sick recently (upper respiratory + sinus infections). Several doctor visits and prescriptions, OTC medicines, combined with several takeout meals when neither of us were up to cooking. I’m grateful for health insurance and time off work.

    We finished our shopping for Thanksgiving and most of Christmas, and filled in holes in our pantry. I purchased butter for $1.99/lb at Tom Thumb. We restocked dishwashing detergent, ground beef, cat litter, and a few other items from Sam’s, as they had the best prices on those items. Several other items were purchased at Aldi.

  31. Our first real snowfall is happening right now but I don’t think the snow will stick. I’m certainly glad we spent some time getting fallen leaves into bags for the city to pick up. Some of the leaves we have left on the gardens and will deal with them in the springtime. I did pull my geraniums and hurled them into the basement in an empty plastic bucket. They will survive dry. Also the voodoo lilies bulbs are resting in a paper bag for the spring. I should pull the chrysanthemums from the front planters before they freeze in place. I’ll replace them with some winter/christmas theme pots.
    On Sunday my DD came over to learn to use the pressure canner and we did black beans and pinto beans. I’m not happy with the supply of new lids as many of them seem to fail. They have an inconsistent amount of rubber. Does anyone have a suggestion for a different lid?
    We watched Christmas movies while waiting for the canner to finish. It’s a fun way to get together.
    Grocery prices seem to continue to rise, especially produce. Lettuce is especially expensive right now. I found a head of iceberg lettuce on sale for $3.50 and thought it a good price. A head of romaine, if you could find it , was $7.00! Salad may become a treat over the winter. I’ve heard it’s because of drought and disease on the West coast and hurricanes on the East coast. We are making sure we use every single leaf. Onions were on sale this week at under $2 for a 5 lb bag. I did buy one even though I had several huge red and white onions from my farm basket still on the counter. Those onions got sliced up and I’m making carmelized onions in the crockpot to put in the freezer. One batch is being made into French Onion soup for supper tonight. I had a 1/2 baguette that is a bit stale so that will have cheese melted on top and be perfect to dip in soup. Next week’s soup will be potato/leek soup to use up the leeks from my farm basket. I’ve managed to use most of the vegetables before they went off but there’s only so many beets I can eat before they all seem to taste like dirt. The greens got frozen in bags and I snap off a section to use with some suppers.
    We were supposed to be either on our way or already at our winter house in the south. However, one child backed out of flying South due to a sick dog and lack of kennel space. The other and his significant other decided to stay home as well. So, we would have been on our own. Looks like Christmas is going to be here again this year. I told my son he gets to cook Christmas dinner this year with the 1/2 turkey from our thanksgiving. I’ll make some dessert but it’s time to hand off duties. With luck and good weather, we can head out on our drive south on Boxing Day.
    I also suggested to all the adult children that we limit the gifts to 1 per adult and 2 or 3 items for their Christmas stockings. The grand kids can be spoiled if their aunt and uncle choose to do so. It was met with great enthusiasm. Next year I’ll suggest a dollar limit and see how that goes. We have one child that lives in Alberta and it’s a challenge to get gifts exchanged. but my son flies through toronto quite frequently and we will do a big exchange in mid December.
    for stocking stuffers this year I’m making finger puppets, hair scrunchies, lavender sachets with lavender from my garden. I may do some pillow cases or other pillow coverings as well while I’m sewing and if I can keep up my enthusiasm.
    I ordered my DIL’s birthday book online and had it delivered directly to her. there was a little something that will be my grand daughter’s stocking stuffer included in the shipping.
    I haven’t read anything of great interest lately, just a bunch of what my DD and I call “palate cleansers” but they keep me occupied and my brain not overly active so I can sleep at night. I really should start reading something with a bit more substance.
    Now, I must head out into the falling snow to get a minimum of groceries to finish out the week. Perhaps I’ll drop into a Costco this week to order sunglasses put into frames I own. My eye specialists says Costco lenses are as good as any expensive place. They won’t guarantee my frames since I didn’t purchase them there, but the lenses are the only thing I care about.
    Take care, keep warm if you are in the cold weather. Drive safely if you are in the snow belt.

    1. Patsy, I buy mine from Lehmans. They are American made by the Amish. I rarely have a fail. Check them out at Lehmans.com. Love shopping their catalog.

    2. Hi Patsy! I had the same problem with lids not sealing. I switched to Superb lids (I order them through Lehman’s). They are much thicker, as is the rubber on them. Just don’t overtighten them. I am really happy with them.

    3. I have been purchasing lids from ForJars.com and have been very pleased. The only one that has failed in two years was because of a chip on the jar that I had missed seeing.

  32. Those lemons look wonderful Brandy and congrats on getting some really good deals at the grocery store!
    Well – Winter has arrived in Toronto – yesterday I turned on the heat, this morning I made myself some porridge and I am now sitting watching the first snowfall – and I don’t mean a few flurries! I finished switching over my Summer and Winter clothes this past weekend and my new mitts arrived so I am all set. The only thing on my list for a possible purchase is some walking shoe/boots type of thing – just for walking in when I don’t need high top boots to keep out the snow – but only if they are at a reasonable price.

    I am very lucky in that my heat (along with water & garbage/recycling) are all included with my rent so the only reason that I hadn’t turned it on as yet is because it has been so warm! 10 days ago I was hiking in a shirt & jeans – too warm to even wear a sweater! I drained the rads in the bathroom and the living room but left the kitchen (rarely turn that one on) and never turn on the bedroom rad as I prefer my bedroom to be quite cold. Rents are very high in Toronto but it’s an older building and I’ve lived here for about 15 years so my rent can only go up about 1.5% per year – it will go up about $22 in January – well worth it when I read the stories from the UK and Europe and the increased costs!

    I haven’t done much grocery shopping these past two weeks aside from fresh food to be eaten rather than added to the pantry. I hard boiled the last 5 eggs I had and then bought two more dozen of the extra large eggs that I prefer (now up to $4.79/dozen) – I then froze a dozen for future use and used another 5 new ones to make a large quiche on Saturday as I had a couple of friends come for brunch. I bought salad greens and then made up a cous cous salad with items from the pantry so there was plenty – dessert also came from the pantry. I have stayed out of the grocery stores as much as possible as I am always tempted by something or other so this is the best way to save money!

    I went through the pantry and freezer yesterday to plan meals for the next couple of weeks – honestly, I need very little other than maybe some bananas and grapes so I will concentrate on any good sale items or loss leaders that might pop up. My plan for Jan., Feb. and March is to keep out about $100/month for fresh food and another $50 for sale items – but try not to spend even that much. I need to save for a couple of big ticket items (like a new mattress) so this is one way I intend doing that. I have been buying one or two bigger items every six weeks or so for emergencies or for the apt. but there is only one more thing on that list and that I am picking up next week – a Keurig Coffee maker which will pay for itself in about 10 weeks and which I will be able to buy for about 50% off the original price. This past week I purchased a second clothing rack – it was more expensive than my original one that is about 5 years old but it’s also taller so now I’ll be able to dry two loads at once and not have to juggle the laundry timing quite so much. The cost of a load of laundry in my building has gone up 50 cents per wash and $1 per dry (with less drying time) so it really is worth the initial outlay.

    Socially I went to the Women’s Show with a friend and with a coffee it cost me about $25 – but – we received a large bag of goodies and we really enjoyed seeing all the vendors and listening to some of the presentations so it was a nice day out. I had planned on going to The Royal Winter Fair but just ran out of steam – a lot of walking, a very busy week at the office and a lot of pre-Christmas heavy cleaning just wore me out – I do have to remember to pace myself. I’m actually thinking of trying to put aside a few dollars each month so that twice a year I can hire a cleaner for some of the heavy duty work. I can manage the day to day just fine but with RA and Fibromyalgia I do find some of the other work to be very tiring now and then I’m knocked off my feet for a few days afterwards.

    I picked up a new Epi=pen last week – no cost – had my flu shot so later today I’m going to book for my next Covid booster – we are officially in a flu outbreak here with children badly affected – so between rising Covid rates, the Flu and an outbreak of RSV(?) the children’s hospitals are having to send teens to other hospitals which is all having a knock on effect! We are back to mask recommendations for all indoor settings but the govt. has stopped short of mandating the use – although doctors aren’t happy. I never stopped wearing mine in crowded indoor settings or on the subway so I will just continue on and hope for the best.

    I continue with the usual – use up all leftovers, wash and reuse Ziploc bags & foil, line dry clothing, take water & snacks to work and use the library and TV for entertainment. Stay well everyone.

    1. Margie,
      It’s a great idea for you to save up for two heavy cleanings a year. I’ve been thinking about doing something similar. Ann

  33. Hope you al had a good week. Last week was not very frugal, but we did what we could, and that is why we are frugal most of the time.
    I worked three days and took breakfast and lunch all three days.
    On Thursday, we cleaned our garden area up, did shopping for Thanksgiving, took salsa from our freezer for us and our son, and did laundry.
    We went to Seattle on Friday for a three-day weekend visit with our son and family Thanksgiving with my DH’s side of the family. Since they are Italian, and there are so many at this dinner, they do pasta, salad and bread instead of turkey. Each family brings something, and we brought homemade salsa (with most ingredients from our garden) and chips. We did get a good deal on our hotel.
    Our son did all the driving once we were there, as he is familiar with the city Seattle since he lives in the area, and we are not.
    We brought our drinks with us for the ride over and back and stayed at a place that had free parking and free breakfast. So there is that….
    I hired someone to go in and deep clean my mother’s house, prior to putting it on the market. She did a great job based on both the pictures I saw and the comments from the real estate agent selling the house. The listing went live on Saturday. Hopefully, it will sell, so I can close my mother’s estate.
    I will be working three days this week and then be off from work until the Monday after Thanksgiving. I find I am really enjoying this taste of retirement.
    Hope you all have a good week this week.

  34. We love pesto but haven’t purchased pine nuts in at least 15 years. The price shot way up at some point and we’ve done without ever since! We do sub in walnuts, though, and omit the parm due to my oldest’s milk allergy. I’ve also used other greens in place of basil — kale, arugula, and spinach, maybe others. Like you, Brandy, we just throw it all in without measuring.
    Though I read the comments every week, I haven’t listed my frugal accomplishments in awhile, but I’m feeling the need to rein things in. Here it goes..
    * My husband and I have been budgeting $100/month for dates since he really likes to eat out, which usually covers about 2 dates/month. We don’t usually eat out with our family (5 kids!), but if that were to happen, it would come out of that same allotment. Well that’s obviously a lot of money that could be used elsewhere, but some friends shared what they do for dates that is WAY cheaper: they go on a walk together once a week, and sometimes go for coffee after. I was totally surprised that my husband would be willing to try this, but we did, and it’s a total game-changer. He’s not spendy in any other areas, and he feels like we need to get out of the house for dates so we’re not interrupted by the kids, so I’ve never sought to change this budget line item. But I’m thankful to the Lord for moving his heart to change in this area — only HE could do it!
    * I “washed” my van by letting it sit out in the rain, then used microfiber cloths to wipe the dirt off. Probably should’ve used a little soap, but even without, my 14-yr-old van looks much cleaner.
    * Switched out all the summer clothes for winter clothes, and as usual, we have just about everything we need. Most of our clothes (including mine) are hand-me-downs, and so I also used this time to pare down what we had to only what we’ll use. This goes with my next item…
    * Decluttering! I’ve been trying to get rid of things we don’t need so it’s easier to locate the things we do need/use frequently. Also to contribute to my sense of contentment because our house looks nicer.
    * Continuing to eat ripening tomatoes I picked last month before our first freeze, plus there’s a little kale and lettuce still growing. I have a few other garden goodies in the freezer, but I’m hoping to work on some new raised beds over Thanksgiving break that I’ll put in my sunnier front yard. I’m so inspired by what everyone here does with their garden.

    Nothing else remarkable, just the usual: home-cooked meals, line-drying about 5 loads/week on my indoor drying racks, turning off lights, etc. Hope you all have a blessed week.

    1. My husband and I often give ourselves a small budget ($5-$25) and challenge ourselves to a date night. It is actually quite fun to come up with ideas. We’ve found cheap movies at our local theater, shared a flight of ice creams, attended free events at the library and taken advantage of free or reduced days at museums, gone on a picnic, etc.

  35. My accomplishments last week were to clean and reorganize the freezer and freeze another ready meal from leftovers of a pork pot roast. Reorganizing the freezer was frugal because I found a couple of things (including a prime rib!) that I’d either forgotten or misplaced. It also made enough room for another turkey (I’ll be cooking the bird that’s already there, but there is a time overlap when I have to have two in the freezer).

    The best deals on turkeys here are .59 lb. with $50 purchase at Fred Meyer (Kroger) and free with $125 purchase at Winco. Since I get a lot more bang for my buck at Winco, and I’ve been stocking up, anyway, I’ve decided to go with the free turkey at Winco.

    My daughter, who is developmentally disabled, has been having a mental health crisis for two months and has refused to leave the house, even though she normally lives somewhere else for half of the week. She has been severely depressed for 30 years and her meds periodically become less effective and need tweaking, plus she is having problems with anxiety. I’m thrilled to report she went back to the developmental disabilities center today for the first time, although I’m only cautiously optimistic. This has been a very difficult time for all of us (to put it mildly). Some days it’s all I can do to cook and clean up from dinner. We don’t order in, no matter bad it gets, because we don’t want to make her life too interesting or enjoyable during this time–otherwise she would have no desire or incentive to get better.

    1. Maxine – Just sending encouragement and support your way. I admire your positivity in difficult times. 🙂

    2. Forgot to mention, I bought my daughter a pair of Clarks boots for 40% off from JCP dot com. Then they went on sale for 50% off, so I called customer service and they refunded the difference.

    3. Maxine,
      I’m sorry the last two months have difficult for you and your family. I do not know how you feel, but I am thankful you are still coping and that things are looking better for your daughter. Best wishes, Elizabeth

  36. The cold has set in here in Idaho and I am in hibernation mode. This past weekend we pressed apples and ended up with about 12 gallons of fresh apple cider. It is the best. My kids came over and helped. Sent them home with some of the cider. I put a couple of gallons in the freezer and water bathed 14 quarts. I have about 3 gallons left, sitting in a water cooler in my garage. I will freeze it when I get another empty container or I will process some more quarts. After water bathing it, the juice tastes more like apple juice and less like cider. But either way is soooo good. I picked the apples from a neighbor who has a large orchard and couldn’t use all of the apples. She is so generous and shares with several neighbors and I am so grateful for her! I have also made applesauce, fruit leather and dehydrated apples with the apples she gifted to us. I roasted 2 pumpkins in my oven, removed the skin, pureed the “meat” and put in freezer bags. I used some of the puree to make 2 pumpkin pies, as well as some banana-pumpkin bread with chocolate chips. It was yummy. My son loves pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast, so I sent several bags of frozen puree home with him. He shouldn’t have to buy pumpkin from the store for several months and this pumpkin puree will be much healthier. My husband and I are empty nesters now and wow! we go through a lot less food! We don’t eat out much and meals are usually quite simple. I made a rag Christmas wreath for my newly married daughter and her husband using scraps from my small stash. All I had to buy was a wreath form and a cute christmas sign from the Dollar Tree in order to complete it. I am quite happy how it turned out. Our chickens, that we purchases as pullets, in May are finally starting to lay. So, we have plenty of eggs to share with our adult children. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale at Albertsons this week for $1.69/lb so I bought 2 packages. I may can them or I will divide them into smaller portions and put in the freezer. I like the buy them at this price and then share with my children. I am working on organizing my food storage room again. Hubby and I have been on a stocking up binge lately and I need to make room. We are preparing for continued inflation, especially on food-I don’t care what the “experts” say-everything is more expensive. But I am also very grateful for so many blessings and for the peace of mind that stocking up/prepping has brough me.

  37. The coral color of those roses just curl my toes! They’re so beautiful!

    It’s official. Winter has arrived on the prairie! Brrr…. And the heater is officially on. We have it set at 62° during the day and 55° at night. It’s a bit chilly, but we really can’t afford a 33% or more increase. We’re layering up and keeping afghans nearby. I even have lap blankets at my desk and my craft room.

    My week was filled with busy work. Only a few notable things worth mentioning and a bunch of tiny things that just maintain life and organization like matching bills to insurance statements.
    * Voted.
    * Put 5 fast food meals in the freezer from leftovers.
    * Ate 2 fast food meals from the freezer…I’m still 3 ahead, right?!
    * Made up 4 mixes of enchilada sauce.
    * Finally put out some Thanksgiving decorations. My Cabbage Patch doll has her pilgrim outfit on that my mom crocheted many years ago. It’s darling.
    * Got 6 lbs. of butter at Aldi for $2.49 ea.
    * Got a turkey for 79¢ lb. with $25 purchase at Dillons. Also got potatoes for $1.99 for 5 lbs. I still need several things for Thanksgiving dinner so I’m anxiously awaiting the sales starting tomorrow.
    * Made laundry soap and toilet bombs.
    * Had 3 appts. in a row on Friday, just check ups, and we stopped by Wendy’s for a B1G1 biscuit sandwich with a coupon. We had water in the car. The sandwich was good and filling, but I was still surprised at the price even with the coupon. It probably costs $40 to buy fast food breakfast for a family of 4!
    * Gas was $3.44 gal. and milk was 2/$6 this week.
    * Has a most delicious roast beef, potatoes, carrots and gravy dinner at church Sunday night. Green beans, salad, and dessert too!
    We were spoiled before our very interesting study on the Gospel of Matthew.

    Awaiting season 9 of Father Brown from the library and all my books are the same as last week. I’ll probably have an all new list next week.

    Sarah B. – I responded to your question last week about the take out demons, if you didn’t see it!

    Wishing you all a blessed week!

    1. I like that you including “voted” on your frugal list. It is a right and a responsibility.
      If a person doesn’t make an informed vote, I don’t think the person should be allowed to complain about government actions.
      Even though few of my candidates were elected, (I am in the wrong kind of state! and I knew that would happen), I still made my preferences known.

  38. -I used two free movie tickets that I received from my local movie theatre as part of an online promotion.
    -I did a 90 minute online marketing research session and received $100.
    -All Christmas gifts wrapped and labelled (27 people will receive gifts from us).
    -$150 total budget for all gifts for 2022 has been met.
    -I considered my total gift budget for 2023 and settled again on $150. Due to inflation, it may be a bit more challenging but I am looking forward to being more creative and resourceful.
    -I received a free photobook offer, which I will use prior to its expiry. It will be a gift for a family member in February 2022.
    -I considered Christmas day food as I have been asked to provide desserts. I will make Buche de Noel and pavlova for everyone.
    -I bought more beans and lentils to use. I seem to be using much more of these as we are eating less meat due to increased prices.

    1. Done, within your budget (I remember you posting about it earlier this year) and WRAPPED!!! So amazing!

  39. We finished cleaning out what we call ‘the town house’ (only because it’s in town!) last week, listed it with a realtor, had a sign in the yard on Friday and have had two offers and multiple viewings. I’m very hopeful we will get asking or very near it. I am shocked after reading about LV market that our tiny little town has such a high demand for houses. Granted the houses here are way cheaper than anything in LV could ever be. We (myself, husband and DIL) all worked hard and made many trips to the dump to empty this house. We were loaned a truck which meant not having to hire a skip as we’d thought we might. My realtor is convinced we’ll have a solid sale before we end this year. I believe she’s as surprised as we are that the market is so hot here… I looked in vain for sale priced items in the Kroger ad last week. This week the discount store in the next town has many prices that are very comparable to Kroger’s sale. The 49c/pound turkeys do have a $25 additional purchase required to get the sales price but if I can’t find one at Kroger tomorrow, I might bite on the discount store’s ad and pick up the additional costs just to get the turkey. Yesterday I took all the bread end pieces from the freezer and made a big batch of French toast with thick slices, then I took the rest and cut into tiny, diced bits (think Stovetop Stuffing). My plan is to use it as stuffing. I figure with onions, celery and herbs and broth that’s it. After I’d toasted those and bagged them up, I put the crumbs in my bread crumb container. Today I used those to make meatloaf (half venison, half beef). I used the leftover egg/milk mix from making French toast in the meatloaf as well. I also made a big pot of chili (half and half meats again) using two cans of beans and 29oz can diced tomatoes. That chili made enough for a pint and half to go into the freezer, and I’ll add a can of drained canned corn to the remainder and top it with cornbread to make Tamale Casserole. Even though I hope to buy a turkey, I do not have to have it for Thanksgiving. It appears we’ll be no more than five at my house so the Turkey breast I bought last Easter will do just fine. In fact, I have on hand at present every single thing I need to make Thanksgiving. I only had to buy foil pans and fried onions for the Green Bean Casserole. I had basically all we’d need to make our meal. I cleared my freezer and defrosted it this weekend and took a full inventory as I put things back in. I cooked a bunch of rutabaga greens the truck farmer assured me tasted the same as or better than collards. They don’t. I’ll doctor them up a bit more and we’ll eat them, but I’ll buy my collards and be glad to have them in the future. Bonus was getting tiny little rutabagas (swedes to some of y’all). I mixed up bread, pizza dough and bagels this past Friday. I’ve found I can make up my regular pizza dough, halve it, and form the half into bagels and they do very well. We picked up half price or less bread items off the reduced-price rack at Kroger this weekend, as well as some marked down mushrooms. That worked in my favor since we had a piece of steak left and I want to make Stroganoff with it. It was cold enough twice this week to warrant turning on the propane heater to cut down on the usage of electricity. Our heat pump is not as efficient when the temperature is less than 30F.

    1. Remember that Las Vegas leads the nation in home sales. We’re the first to see increases and the first to see a downturn. It was here in 2006 in the fall but the recession and housing crash wasn’t declared until 2008. We also had the worst of price drops. One in seven houses was in foreclosure here at the height of the downturn.

  40. Kandace, Being frugal IS redundant. It’s doing those things over and over again, as we all do, that saves us so much money. It’s lovely to have that one off purchase that is a huge bargain but it’s the repetitive stuff (like baking a loaf of bread) that is the big win in the end. $5 a loaf and for the two of us that’s 1 loaf a week saving us $20 a month. If I had family living at home, I’d be baking four or five loaves a week and there you see the huge savings it becomes because I’d be saving $100 a month.

  41. Thank you for the opportunity and encouragement to share what we are doing to save.
    I substituted for 4 classes this week for a fellow instructor at our college. Lessons were on Money Management. Students had great discussions and shared ideas on how they are trying to best earn, save, and spend their money. It took some laughter to realize we are all faced with the increased costs of food and fuel. No one needs to be embarrassed that we are all trying the best we can.
    Their ideas encouraged me. I wish I could remember everything they shared.
    Our family will make our final mortgage payment in December. My husband has been anticipating this day for some time.
    Should all our children attend college we will be helping with tuition for 13 years straight. We used to plan and dream about how achieving this goal of paying for our home would help us to work on the other goal of helping our children with their educations. It’s exciting that one goal is within reach.
    I have also accepted a position to tutor, this tiny income stream is helping with some needed expenses.
    My daughter and I went wedding dress shopping, and somehow the dress she loved was called a sample. The shop gave us a discount on its purchase, which was a wonderful surprise, and will allow our funds to stretch a bit further.
    In the kitchen, I roasted a 99 cent pumpkin and have been making use of my abundance of fresh flavor.
    I have added cubes to homemade chicken soup, and served it alongside enchiladas and black beans. I plan to freeze some and finally make Black Bean pumpkin chili, a favorite fall recipe.
    I notice that I carefully measure my ingredients to minimize waste, and sometimes I use a smidge less of my more expensive ingredients ( butter, vanilla). I use a spatula when putting away leftovers to preserve all I have taken the time to prepare. It’s often 2-3 more tablespoons to save.
    I have noticed the cost of canned goods greatly increasing in my area. Green beans are over $1/ can.
    I am intentionally not purchasing canned beans.
    I always have dried staples on hand. This week when I made 1-1/2 cups dried black beans, I measured the cooked quantity. It was more than double that ( also measuring the liquid sauce, which we consume). I compared this to the amount in a can of black beans. Thinking about the price of both, I will certainly save more by sticking to preparing the legumes myself.
    I used that 1-1/2 cups dried beans in 4 meals: enchiladas with beans, corn, pumpkin on the side for our family and a meal shared with friends, beans with cornbread, and sheet pan nachos.
    I am also intentionally preparing a legume from dried and a grain each week. These pantry staples cost me considerably less and add variety to our menu.
    With our third snow, our garden is certainly put to rest. Nonetheless, we continue to eat fresh from its bounty.
    I have 4 peppers left, 1 yellow squash, 6 acorn squash, and 5 lbs of tomatoes that continue to provide nutrition and colorful variety.
    I am also experimenting with carrying over ingredients from one meal to another.
    I made Rosemary Lime Chicken and saved the pan juices in a jar. I used the chicken diced in a second meal of Sour Cream Green Chile Enchiladas- the lime added a wonderful flavor.
    I made Chicken Soup later in the week with drumsticks and all the vegetables ( and pumpkin cubes). I added the jar of pan juices. The rosemary added another layer of flavor! What an exciting time to expand our menu and stretch our resources.
    I felt like I was on my own cooking show!

  42. I love your lemon tree Brandy! Such nice looking lemons!
    I had a frugal week. I went to the grocery store and got lots of deals. I found artichokes for 50 cents each, Swiss chard for 50 cents a bundle, bags of salad for 78 cents, and pork chops for $1.68 a lb. oh yes, grape tomatoes for 68 cents a container. I was very happy! I kept to the sales and only spent 35 dollars. I thawed a chicken that we bought for a little over a dollar a lb. I made a nice chicken dinner and we had squash that I bought for 48 cents a lb. along with a salad. Then my husband peeled the rest of the chicken and froze it, while I cooked the chicken bones for broth. My husband strained it and we froze that as well. Tomorrow, I plan to pull out the broth and chicken and use carrots and celery that I got for 88 cents a bunch to make chicken and dumpling soup. My husband and I had a date at red lobster and shared a meal. It was perfect for the two of us. I wasn’t over stuffed and didn’t feel as guilty about the cost. We had lobster bisque in place of our sides with an up charge. Our electricity was 42 dollars cheaper than last month! Yeah! I have been turning off the lights and both my husband and son are also turning off lights. We just open the windows for light during the day. I have also been wearing sweaters, one day I wore two. But I don’t let it get too cold. I’ve been doing all of my baking at once to conserve on propane. It also heats the kitchen nicely. We got five eggs from our chickens today. Our chickens lay brown eggs and blue and green eggs. When I read how much they cost I was amazed. I’ve been telling my husband what our eggs are worth. Of course chicken feed has gone up too. We just went shopping for a ham today. It was so much more expensive than last year. I really wanted turkey. But my boys love ham so I am making a ham. I’m looking forward to having both my boys and grandkids over for Thanksgiving! I will make the turkey I bought another day. I will do another Thanksgiving dinner with my mom’s stuffing recipe and everything. Probably the week after Thanksgiving. Making sure I have room to thaw my turkey. I love to cook for my family. It makes me happy! I noticed that my nose does not get raw from using handkerchiefs like it does from paper tissues. Washing them is easy and folding them not too bad. I can do it pretty quickly. I just throw them in with the rest of the laundry. I think If I was really sick I would put them in with towels and bleach everything. Or maybe I should have some paper tissues for when we are really sick and don’t feel like doing laundry. For now, I like the savings of not buying paper tissues and napkins. I enjoyed seeing turkey, rabbits, possum, raccoons and deer along with the regular cows and horses we see everyday this week. I’ve also enjoyed the birds I have seen, especially the cardinals. I have a wedding to go to in January. I’ve been looking online for dresses. I may wear a dress I already own. It would save money and I actually like the dress I own better than a lot of the choices I have seen available in my size. The dresses I did like seem to be out of stock anyway. I need to look at what my husband and son have as far as slacks and shirts and ties. We may need to go shopping for them. I bought bananas for 29 cents a lb. I have enjoyed listening to music on YouTube as well as learn things from YouTube and the internet.
    We got snow! Snow is beautiful. I love to see Christmas lights with snow outside. Free and wonderful entertainment!

    1. Have you tried looking for a used dress in your size on Thred Up? They have some nice dressy clothes there. I bought a used dress (original price new was $249) for around $35! That’s my referral link; if you’re new, it will give you a $10 credit to spend. The dress I bought is washable on the gentle cycle, so no dry cleaning fees, either. You put in your sizes and then when you search, it only brings up what you want in your size. I love looking this way!

  43. DH took recyclables to the local drop off recycling center about 3 miles round trip from our house. A pickup subscription recycling service became available here for $10/mo about 10 years ago. (There is no free pickup option). Ever since we moved here (25 yrs), my husband and I have dropped off recyclables at our recycling center. Over the last 10 years when this subscription service began, it would have cost $1200 to have recyclables picked up instead of us dropping them off. There is a cost for the 3-mile round trip, but not much compared to the pickup cost. Oftentimes we can drop off the recyclables when we are passing enroute to another destination. We recycle 3-4/mo. Recycling limits our trash, so we don’t need to buy as many expensive trash bags. I reuse bread bags for smelly garbage to go into our outside cans instead of putting it inside to extend the life of the inside garbage bags. We also have grocery stores that recycle items not accepted at the center, like plastic wraps around foods and foam products like egg cartons. I take these with me when I shop those stores for drop off.

    I take reusable grocery bags to the store. In our area, grocery stores give a .05 discount for each bag used. This is just a little bit, but over time it slowly adds up, but it is especially helpful in curbing the use of plastic, which is a very important issue here for us on the coast.

    Consolidated a small bill that bills monthly with no online option. Included 4 months of payments to avoid the monthly .60 stamp so paid only for one stamp saving $1.80. Paid other bills online.

    I bought a turkey for .29/# with a $40 purchase. I hit the minimum using a raincheck for bath tissue (2), eggs at 1.99 which I needed, coffee, dried beans, some canned tomatoes (ours didn’t produce so I don’t have any in the freezer or canned) and several other items that I needed or were at a stock up price. I have options for proteins, except for a turkey. It was Senior day at my Harris Teeter (Kroger affiliate) so I got an extra 5% off. I spent $43 without the turkey and wound up with a total of $49. I like to have the precooked turkey for a variety of our family favorites, so was glad to get one at a good price. Publix here has them for .49 with no minimum purchase, so I’m considering getting another one at that price if I can make room in the freezer. Food Lion’s price is .29 with a $35 purchase.

    I continue to group errands. I take cold packs to keep perishables cold in case I need to make additional stops after grocery shopping, though I try to do non-food stops before going to the grocery store.

    We made a trip to DC for my daughter’s birthday. We took sandwiches, snacks and water with us to eat on the way for lunch. Cooked and took with us DD’s favorite dishes (roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, asparagus) to have one evening and a scratch made birthday cake. Also made chicken salad which my SIL loves, to have for lunch there. All of the food was from my freezer and pantry so no extra expense. Used gas rewards to fill up for the trip saving .10 gal, which isn’t a lot, but still a bit of savings. On the way back, we scouted out cheaper gas prices when time to fill up. My daughter and SIL have moved to a bigger place, so we could stay with them. Previously, we always stayed at a hotel as they were in a small apartment so that made for quite a savings.

    Despite it being DD’s birthday weekend, they “showed us the city” as we hadn’t been there for 3 ½ years. We got together with extended family in the area on Saturday in spring like weather which was a wonderful day.

    Sunday, we went to the King Tut exhibition there, using the seniors and educator reduced prices and then ate at a delicious Italian restaurant. We brought home leftovers to eat the next night. We rode by and viewed many national monuments, which never gets old and costs nothing. We traveled home on Monday. The weather had changed and we finally needed to turn on the heat for the first time this year-the latest ever.

    Thanks Brandy and all commenters. I learn so much from you all. Have a good week everyone. Lynn

  44. I wonder if I have been duped. I was so amazed to see apples for $.67 a pound recently and so I bought several. Today I noticed the same deal or so I thought. It was clever. They put $.67 per apple and $1.68 per pound in small print. It made me wonder if I had been charged more than I thought since I didn’t pay attention a couple of weeks ago. Argh. I would have never spent this much on apples. I might go see if I still have the receipt but I wanted to put this out there so people pay attention to these things. I wonder what other shenanigans those in the grocery store industry are pulling on us. Please pay careful attention people. 🙂

    1. Here in Canada we use metric now – but – many items in the grocery store will be marked “per pound” – the only problem is, they are packaged in kilos (2.2 pounds) so people will get up to the cashier thinking they are paying $3 for a pound of grapes only to discover that they are being charged $7 for a kilo! It is very deceptive and very annoying!

  45. It has been an incredibly expensive past thirty days. Three heavy, wet snowstorms used up my snow shovelling budget. A taxi trip for a medical test also added up. I’m hoping that with a flu, covid and RSV surge, the government will mandate masks again. Then I could use the handibus at a fraction of the cost of a cab. I have been addressing the envelopes for the books. I found a box of 150 in my basement so I am using those. We’ve ordered about 100 more that were reasonably priced. I’ve been watching detective stories and murder mysteries on You Tube. I watched the 2022 Festival of Remembrance. I’ve been writing Christmas letters and getting my cards ready to mail. This is a bit early but when the book arrives back from binding, I’ll have time for the book tasks that will arise next week. Our hope (fingers crossed) is to have all of the pre-orders distributed by December 1. Our local Indigo store has taken a few on consignment as have 3 other stores. Two neighbours have offered storage in their basements (after our community hall renegged). So we are almost all set. We will need a bit of marketing publicity that we are working on. I am going to bake a roast that I bought a year ago and has been in my friend’s freezer. I hope it will be ok. Also a different friend phoned me and is giving me two bags of delicata squash — a favourite of mine. She saw bags of 5 in each bag for $5 per bag at Costco. At the Farmers Market, they were selling them for $4-5 each squash. So that is $40 worth of squash for $10 (as a gift for me).

    1. That is great about the book. What is title so I can look for it at Indigo? Love delicate squash. Great bargain that you were able to get it at that price.

      1. Hi Canadian Frugalista. It is a book about a very narrow area in Calgary, from 1870 to 1915. It will only be carried in one Indigo store which is the Indigo at Signal Hill, Calgary. Shipping will be very expensive as it weighs 3.5 pounds.

  46. I am busy canning again; I am finally getting around to the apples that have filled the refrigerator drawers and some shelves. I canned apple slices for easy pie and crumble, as well as applesauce. I pulled 13 gallon bags, and one quart bag, of tomatoes out of the freezer (hooray for more freezer space🎉) and canned those as well. We were able to purchase BLSL breasts at $.47/lb. The coupon was for $.99/lb, but it came out much less. Limit was 10 lbs and none of the packages were over 8 1/2 lbs, but we each got the biggest one we could find (there was no way we could purchase two smaller ones that would have worked) and we each did a purchase. We kept the heat off until last weekend when it dropped into the 30s. Hubby and I like it colder, but son was freezing and he had multiple layers on. We still keep the temperature lower than we used to. On Veteran’s Day we enjoyed a free meal at California Pizza Kitchen (hubby is a vet and I had my free birthday meal😊; this works out every year). We also had multiple free meals or desserts due to the two events. Also, I have had many birthday lunches from friends and family, none of which is expected, but is such a treat! I have everything needed for Thanksgiving, except for pumpkin pie which I will pick up at Costco. Their huge pumpkin pie is delicious and cheap. Originally there were only going to be three of us, but that number has grown to 8-10. More kids are coming from out of state! Makes my momma heart happy. Saved all the ribbons, tissue, bags and larger wrapping paper from the many gifts I received from friends for my birthday. I love reusing these. For Halloween I used brown paper bags to wrap my grandchildrens’ books in. I colored eyes and other features on them, using different ribbon for each. One package looked like a pumpkin, one a cat, and one a ghost. They are one year and two years old and they loved the “faces” better than regular wrapping paper. Every time I read hear, I find something else to do to help save and make life more beautiful. Thank you, Brandy, and all who contribute here. It is an oasis in this world we live in.

  47. I continued to cook at home, be creative with leftovers, stretched meat, bought a minimal amount of groceries, tried to incorporate the various odds and ends of random items that have wound up in the pantry. I was mindful of food waste and was very happy with the lower amount of food going into the garbage can. We have been having a lot more oatmeal for breakfast which 3 of my boys in particular are just loving. I am grateful they are happily indulging in an inexpensive breakfast choice. My youngest has turned one and therefore has made the switch to whole milk, which will be a substantial savings over formula. We have had the last 3 little ones back to back and I haven’t been successful at nursing. This will be the first time in 3 years we haven’t needed to purchase formula! It was below zero here with a lot of snow most days last week so I didn’t make as many trips around town for errands and the like. This saved in fuel and on extra spending. We checked out another themed backpack from our library and greatly enjoyed the crafts, books and movies included. I bought more markdown milk and put some in the freezer for future use. I purchased a couple items for Thanksgiving dinner on sale and planned a slightly more condensed menu so as not to overspend. The cheapest turkey I could find at our small local grocer was 20.00 for about 10 pounds. It was much more than I hoped to spend, but it will give a good amount of meat and we had the room in the budget for it because I had been careful about our other spending. I took advantage of a couple pre-Black Friday sales and got some needed clothing items for a good price and submitted a few returns on some Cat and Jack items to Target under their 1 year warranty that hadn’t held up. We are in the process of moving around our large pantry to a different area of the house. We were initially planning on reusing some wood and building out additional shelving, but between the time involved and cost of lumber we ended up finding a very large and well reviewed set of shelving that was a perfect fit for 109.00. While it was a large expense, it was a savings all around and came in perfect condition and went together quite easily and quickly. Our teens enjoyed a free meal at Youth group, we had cookies at fellowship hour and we were treated to a lunch out after church by my Father-in-law as it is 2 of our children’s birthdays this week. Thank you to Brandy and everyone here for sharing and encouraging each other. I hope everyone has a blessed week!

  48. Still not well this week, but feeling better. I had planned to pick some late ripening apples at a friends place nearby, but I haven’t been well enough to go. He called me and said all the apples had fallen to the ground, but offered to come over with some – very nice of him. I had sown a new bag for one of his apple pickers, that I gave him when he was here – he was very pleased. I made the bag from some scrap fabric I had – I chose linen instead of cotton, as I think it is more sturdy for outdoor use. The bag was secured to the apple picker with a plastic strip through a casing at the top.
    He gave me sooo many apples, I’ve been peeling and peeling and boiling – making apple fruit leather and applesauce.
    It has been very humid here the last few weeks, and a lot warmer than usual this time of year. We had the heat on at 19 C (66.2 F), but it has been so humid and warm that the walls and ceilings in outward facing corners inside the house started to mold! The difference in temperature between inside and outside was simply too small to keep the air inside dry. So we had to turn up the heat and wash down surfaces with disinfectant. The outside temperature is due to fall this weekend, and then we can most likely turn down the heat again. Not frugal and very unhealthy to get a mold issue!
    Good idea with the pesto, Brandy, I haven’t tried to substitute some of the oil with water, I might try that. I always use roasted sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts – much cheaper and tastes good too! Walnuts are almost as expensive as pine nuts where I live. I use many kinds of greens – often aragula or parsley. Lovage is also very good in spring. Basil doesn’t thrive in our climate most summers, so I don’t use it often. I only have a few plants on the window sill. Parmesan cheese is also very expensive, I use Grana Padano in stead, which is a lot cheaper where I live. For pesto and grated cheese I always use the bits just beneath the crust that is too hard to eat as it is.
    Other than that I have mostly stayed indoors trying to get well.
    I’ve made french onion soup inspired by someone who mentioned it here. But I’m not satisfied with the taste. Maybe it’s because I use vegetable stock instead of beef stock?

    1. Beef stock is the best, but you can also substitute chicken bullion for part of it and then use some canned beef stock for part of it. I do it this way to save money. I also use one large onion per person and let them cook on low for 40 minutes.

  49. I just ordered some roselle seeds to plant in warmer weather, so I’m looking forward to that. We had them growing, but my husband accidentally killed them, and I hadn’t collected any seed yet when he did. Brandy’s roselle makes me ready to start planting, but I’ll have to hold off for a while.

    I had company this past weekend so I thawed out more Meyer lemon juice from our tree and made lemonade.

    I bought fabric on sale on line and had a coupon for free shipping. I’m making some of my Christmas gifts.

    I ordered a few things at the request of a family member who doesn’t use the computer much, for her to give as Christmas gifts. Of course, she is repaying me, this is just to help her place orders. I saved her over $10 on two gifts by shopping around and finding her the best prices I could.

    I bought a gift from Etsy that was marked down $15 from the normal price.

    I actually found a dime on the ground. That was a surprise.

    I bought canned pumpkin on sale to make Thanksgiving pie. I have had no luck growing pumpkins and I’ll admit I haven’t enjoyed the effort it takes to cook a fresh one when I’ve done that, anyway.

    I keep getting offers from home living magazines, and tossing the offers.

    I earned a $3 digital credit for taking the slower delivery from Prime when ordering some things. I don’t like reading on electronics, so I rent movies with digital credits.

    The weather bounces between rather warm, cool and cold here all winter long. Right now we are in a cool phase, with nights in the upper 30’s and days around 60 deg. F. I’m wearing my Thredup jacket and sweaters that I wore last year and the year before that – they are still good. My bed has a yard sale quilt on top for added warmth. I am so glad it’s easier to find used things than it was when I was younger. The internet has been a big help with that.

  50. In case this will assist anyone – I was just on the Fry’s Food website (a Kroger-owned grocer – I am in southern Arizona, USA) and they show Kroger brand whole frozen turkeys for $0.79/lb (limit one) and Butterball brand whole frozen turkeys for $0.99/lb (limit 3). I hope it helps somehow; I know it’s not the best price for some areas but maybe it’s a deal for others?

  51. Hello,
    Your lemons sure look nice. It’s hard to imagine bright colored fruit like that growing on a tree. Also, it is so cold here; nothing is really growing. I did find and kill the worm that was stripping the leaves off all my kale plants. I am thinking about putting plants into a car a relative has parked here. The car is licensed and runs, but it is not being used right now. I wonder if other people have used that method and how to go about it. I’m a little concerned about raising the humidity and making the car grow mold inside. Is that something to be worried about. The atmosphere is naturally extremely humid here. Your comment about pine nuts made me wonder about whether pinon pine trees grow in your area. I suppose you know they do grow fairly prolifically in northeastern Nevada where I grew up. My brother told me he found a place where the nuts were about as big as his thumb. I would like to see those. I like pine nuts and love gathering the cones. Also, we used to forage wild chokecherries and make jelly out of them. It took nine cups of sugar per batch–really not so healthful, but so tasty. Are there wild berries or anything to forage in the Las Vegas area? Well, I’m glad that in spite of the high food prices my family has not been as desperate as some of our parents were during the Great Depression. For example, my father showed us in Nevada out in the sagebrush a tumbled-down cabin made of juniper poles arranged vertically to form walls. The cabin had a dirt floor. My father’s family had lived there when he was a child. It was probably 50 or 60 miles from the nearest town. They were extremely poor. All they wore in the summer were bib overalls. They usually lived there in the summer and moved to town into a rented house for the winter, so the kids could go to school. But I guess for a while they couldn’t afford to do even that, so they all missed school that year. Food was scarce. Dad said he remembered one cold, snowy day his father went hunting and finally came back late with an old antelope. He said it was the toughest meat he ever ate. When he was thirteen his father took him out to a remote ranch and hired him out for the summer to a couple who had no children, so they would feed him for the summer. I guess he ate good, but was kind of lonely. My husband’s father, in Iowa, age 10 to 12, killed squirrels with his sling and pinned them on the clothesline. When his mother wanted to cook one, she went out and unpinned a frozen squirrel.

    Savings for me this week were not ancient antelope or frozen squirrel but just mostly trying to use up everything in the fridge before it went bad. I was partially successful. Then I dried a few more bananas found for 29 cents per pound. I bought a 12 pound turkey for $1.99 that will go into a donation food box. I think that’s about 17 cents per pound. I had to buy $50 worth of groceries to be able to use the coupon. Fortunately, Tide was $27 a jug for a 158-load size, avocadoes (6 larger-sized ones in a bag) were $2.99, and honeydew melon was 69 cents per pound. I finally moved a lamp into a room we sit in during the evening and was able to turn off six other ceiling can lights. The lighting is dimmer, but works just fine for what we are doing. We have been leaving the electric wall heaters in each room at 60 or 65 degrees and then turning up the heat when we walk into the room, if we plan to be in there for a little while. It keeps the house from getting damp and musty, but we hope it saves electricity. We have been keeping the heater in the living room on most of the time and turning it down before we go to bed. I have been using the clothes dryer to dry only towels and sheets completely and drying clothes for five minutes and then hanging them up. I have using the dryer like that for a long time, and I noticed that this month’s bill shows we used less electricity than we used during the same month last year. I can’t remember if last year was colder or warmer or when we had to start using the heaters. We were able to wait to start using them until the second week in November, so maybe that helped. We probably need to see about replacing them; they are so old. It’s the time of year for enrolling in Medicare supplement insurance, so we made an appointment to meet up with our insurance broker to discuss the costs of different plans. We sent her a list of regular medications beforehand, and she checked their costs at different pharmacies before we came for the appointment. She had those costs listed along with the drug plans. One of the drugs was cheaper, if we use GoodRx, and she had that listed, also. She found a prescription drug plan for less than $2 per month for one of us who takes no medications to keep us into a drug plan to avoid having to pay a penalty later. She is so cheerful and nice; we always enjoy our once-a-year visits with her. A couple of companies have fitness memberships included in their Medicare supplement plans, so she is researching information for us about that. Seeing this broker about Medicare stuff has been such a blessing for us. It makes Medicare options seem simpler, and we may have even saved some money. I hope your week is good and your husband is having some luck with his job search. Best wishes,
    Oh, Money Saving Mom gave a link to some free flower seeds https://altnps.org/seed-packs.

    1. My grandpa used to hunt squirrels and frogs. My mother ate them both while growing up.

      There are no trees here naturally.

      You have to go further up in elevation before junipers will grow in the desert. There isn’t enough rainfall here in the valley. There is nothing to forage, though I suppose one could try to eat the teeny lizards that live on the walls. I know someone whose family hunts and eats large lizards from the garden in Mexico, but ours are just tiny ones here–not really much more than a bit of skin and bones the size of a man’s finger.

      There are rabbits here.

      1. I don’t think I could get the squirrels and especially not the frogs down, but I guess if I were hungry enough. . .. Where I grew up in NV was fairly close to a mile high in elevation, if I remember correctly. Baker Seed was advertising some kind of free gift today. I got an email. I think it was dependent on the amount of an order.

        1. Well I know he shot the squirrels. My cousins have helped with the frogs, so I should ask them how they did it.

        2. I have only known frog legs as a fancy-restaurant-item, so it’s very interesting your grandpa could procure them himself. Seems very special! They are pretty common at certain restaurant chains in the U.S. I just looked them up at one, and at Hugo’s Frog Bar in Chicago, an appetizer of sauteed frog legs in lemon butter sauce currently costs $13.75.

        3. My grandparents and mother ate frogs legs routinely. They apparently taste like chicken
          and are delicious. Eating frogs legs helped my family survive the Depression. Ann

      1. My mother ate squirrels and frogs in the 60’s. She is grateful not to now, but she had it growing up.

        1. My kids ate frogs and squirrels at their dad’s in the 90’s and 2000’s. My son said the squirrel’s were tasty as well as the frogs. I’ve had frog legs once and was not a fan. But I wish I knew how to hunt for both when my kid’s were little. Because I would have, to feed us.

        2. My father would go frog gigging at night. The gig was spear-like and had three prongs (if I remember correctly). One morning after a trip, he said he had speared a frog and when he lifted it up, a snake had its mouth around the frog. He quickly got rid of that frog! I remember being horrified since I am terrified of snakes.

    2. We used to gather piñons (pine nuts) when we visited family in Santa Fe, NM. We had burlap sacks of them that had been roasted. We just ate them as snacks. They’re so delicious!

  52. We’ve had some unseasonably sunny weather in the Pacific Northwest, which makes the nights unseasonably cold. We still haven’t turned on the heat for more than a few mornings just to take the chill off, as once the sun rises it warms up quickly.

    – I cleaned out and reorganized all the closets in the house. I made a numbering system for each one, then put together an inventory card for each one and put it in my household file so we can now easily find stored items without tearing apart the closet.

    – The items culled from the cleanout were either earmarked for donations or to give away in two weeks at my Buy Nothing group’s holiday free gift market.

    – I organized the free market along with the craft & share club for our Buy Nothing group. We are holding these events at the library, where we can reserve meeting rooms for free. We bring out projects to work on together, as well as swap craft and art supplies we no longer need. We’ll be meeting once a month.

    – Mo and I had a free date day over the weekend. We went on a long hike around the arboretum that is a half block from our apartment. We took hummus and pitas with us to have a snack at the top of the hill, on a lookout where we can see the sea. That evening we put on some wartime swing music and played a rousing game of trivial pursuit over dinner!

    – Washed the laundry by hand using my wringer washer, scrub board, and indoor drying rack. I’ve been doing this since midsummer and we have saved a ton of money over using our building’s machines ($4.50 a load — $5.50 if you need extra drying time and our awful dryers ALWAYS need more time). I was spending $10 + a week on laundry. Now I have it washed and hung within 45 minutes. I do it twice a week, Monday is our clothing and Friday is sheets, towels, and other linens. Indoors, in the damp PNW, it still dries within 24 hours.

    – I’m almost done with my embroidered holiday cards! I should have them done and ready to mail out by the 1st.

    – Organized my gift list and only have a couple of gifts to buy. Everything else has already been thrifted or is in the process of being handmade. At least now I feel organized going into the holiday season.

    – Scavenged cardboard boxes from the recycling bin and used them to fully mulch over our community garden plot. I’m going down this weekend to build a couple of raised beds from some wood I scavenged from a member of our Buy Nothing group, as I want to get some garlic in before the rain returns. I also have three brussels sprouts plants to harvest.

    – I dehydrated the last of the broccoli! Barring winter veggies like kale, we won’t be purchasing any produce until it begins growing locally again in spring. We have enough preserved produce to last at least until the next harvest season. We grow our own produce and get the rest from local farmer’s at our farmer’s market. In winter, we stock up on meat from local farmers at the market. Generally we only buy pantry staples and a bit of dairy at the grocery store.

    – Put together the menu for our harvest meal next Thursday. I have everything needed in the pantry except neeps (turnips) and a ham, so I will get those while shopping today. Well, not the neeps. Those just started coming in around here so I will buy some at the farmer’s market on Saturday.

    -Dried some carrot and celery greens and then ground them to powder. I dry all edible veggie tops (if we don’t eat them right away) and keep in a tin. Add a few spoonfuls to soups and sauces for a punch of flavor and nutrition!

    1. Jenny, I love wartime swing music! I have several CDs with it and other WWII favorite songs. How wonderful to be able to receive a hand embroidered card…what a thoughtful gift!

  53. Had an appointment in another town that involved an overnight motel stay. Used rewards points. Because I worked one summer in motel housekeeping, I am very particular and observant about motels. When the “how did we do” survey came by email this morning, I provided a lot of detail in my comments, especially for things their staff might not notice. In this case, hot water didn’t work in the sink. Not bothersome enough to call the desk about when we were there, and mentions on check-out don’t necessarily get passed on if maintenance is busy. But I have found that electronic surveys get immediate attention, and sometimes even bribes to me to return.
    Waiting for a new release from my library. If a large print version is available, I will put that on reserve instead of regular type, as those usually have fewer patrons for the same words. I imagine I am a good friend to other readers by always reading and returning new books very quickly.
    “Washed” the kitchen broom this morning by sweeping the new snow on the front steps.
    Last month’s utility bill was comfortably lower because we didn’t need to have the heat on yet. That has changed now! Trying to always wear my gloves when I’m outside so my hands don’t get chapped in the cold.

  54. I know I already posted this week. But I just had to share. My husband and I had a what we call “a grocery date”. I look up ads online. Decide what the loss leaders are or great sales, if there are any. Then we go shopping and talk to each other all the way. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to get to the stores from where we live. So we enjoy talking. But today I was so happy. We went to two stores. One store had a turkey for .59 cents a lb. if you bought 25 dollars of groceries. I also got dumpling squash and turban pumpkins for .19 cents a lb! Bananas were .29 cents a lb. Limes were .20 cents each. Toilet paper 2.99 a package of 12 rolls. Then we went to another store and got chili beans for .29 cents a can, limit 4. And French cut green beans and cut green beans for .39 cents a can. Actually we also stopped at an expensive store and got a yogurt that I love for a treat. It was more than I usually pay for yogurt. But, it is such a treat! I love Brown Cow yogurt with the cream on top. So once in awhile we will get one. We also found some bacon that my husband loves and it was actually on sale. So we bought it. So we went to three stores on our “grocery date”. And happily drove home talking about our deals! I love that I can look at sales before we go online. But there is one store we go to that always surprises us with extra produce sales. I love that! I say always but actually, for awhile there weren’t very many sales. But now they are back to doing it again. It does bring people in. The sales certainly entice us to go there. I love that I can write about my deals here. It is interesting to me to read about the prices people pay for things around the world and also how people survive, now and during the depression .

    1. Tammy, my husband and I do the same thing! When all nine of the kids were home, we started doing this to get some “us” time and still get tasks that needed to be done accomplished. The kids are gone now, but we still do it. It’s a wonderful time together and we both relish deals, not to mention that if there is a limit per person, he gets the limit as do I. I have always found it interesting how people saved and survived during the Depression as well as WWII. I am super thankful I have that built up knowledge base to use now! I always enjoy reading your contributions!😊

      1. Laura S.,
        You made my day! I also have read extensively about the depression as well as World War II. I am also thankful about the knowledge I have now. Isn’t the internet great for that! We do the same as you; both buy on separate orders to get extra of a limit if we feel we could use it. It is fun to talk about the deals. My husband told me shortly after we got married, “You are saving me lots of money!.” I felt like it was the ultimate compliment!

  55. Well after Thanksgiving my husband doesn’t have a job. He got lay off. They gave him $25.00 dollar gift card to Kroger for Christmas. I been stocking on grocery and canning a lot of fruit making applesauce from apples that Gardenpat told me about. Pineapples too and the raspberries. At my work co-workers gave me some blueberries so I canned jam s and had some fresh with my oatmeal.. Neighbors gave me 8 pumpkins so I am going to try and make pumpkin jam and just some puree with it over this weekend. Brought 2 Turkeys one from Costco butterball for 99cents 5 limit and another 1 at Kroger for 49 cents with a limit of 1. When I order on Amazon I use your site. I haven’t been commenting very often but I do read every week usually late because I am so tired after working my job. Thanks for all that you do Brandy.

  56. I went to Safeway today to pick up their loss leaders. I bought a 10lb. Ham at 1.49lb, sweet potatoes for .37 a lb, 2 bunches of celery for .37 each, 3lbs of mandarin oranges for 2.77 and 1 box of crackers for 1.37 and a 20lb turkey for 9.00 after spending 25.00. I was thankful to get those prices. Thank you Brandy for continuing to have this blog and for all the comments too, it has been a blessing in my life.

  57. Brandy, I meant to say how much I enjoyed your post (IG or FB?) about what all you did on a particular day. It made me tired just reading it LOL, but it was great to read how much you accomplished and what your tasks were that day. Thanks for sharing.

  58. It was a great, frugal week in Heavenly Houston!
    The weather is cooler, so I turned off the AC. Yay!
    My aunt and uncle babysat the younger kids so I could take the oldest 3 to their dentist appointments. No cavities, another hurray! We also got to enjoy pancakes with my aunt and uncle at their house, a nice treat.
    I was able to meet virtually with my students for their individual conferences. This saved a lot: gas $ and childcare.
    I’ve found gifts from my gift stash for the kids’ friends’ birthday parties, which is an expense I’m glad to not worry about.
    I cooked a .59/# pork butt in the crockpot. We first ate it on sandwiches, then a couple of nights later on baked potatoes. Yum!
    Sweet potatoes here are .20/#, the same price as russets. I bought about 20#, but am thinking about buying more.
    Heat and air are off, and the weather is cool. House is 65 right now, which is comfy for us.

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