I cut zinnias from the garden to enjoy in the house.

My parents found me a few things at garage sales, including two baskets for $1 each.

I attended the opening night of a illusion museum with a friend with free tickets thanks to another friend. It was really amazing and we had a wonderful time. I hadn’t eaten much before I left and to our surprise, they were serving all kinds of appetizers throughout the event as we walked around, since it was opening night. The tickets to attend this museum are $80, so it was a huge savings!

I accepted free food when offered it from two people (fish from one and chickpeas from the other). I also had a friend come by with rolls and cookies leftover from a party.

I cut roses and bells of Ireland from my garden, along with olive branches from my parents’ trees, for an arrangement.

I harvested parsley, basil, mint, an eggplant, a few blackberries, lettuce, and peppers from my garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Oh, Brandy, your zinnias are spectacular!! So thoughtful of friends to share museum tickets with you!! Such a nice respite knowing how hard you work every day!

    Like you, we will always accept free food. If it’s more than we can use or something we don’t eat, we will make sure to give it to someone who will!

    On Flashfood this week, I found pork shoulder butt (7-8-1/2 pounds each) for a flat $5 . Their normal price sticker on them was over $20! I texted my daughters and got 2 for one daughter, 1 for the other and 2 for me. Then I gave one of mine to a family we love that have 6 kids! Into the crockpot these will go for pulled pork or carnitas! Less than 70 cents a pound!

    Got first Thanksgiving Turkey for 49 cents/pound at Meijers. Just over 21 pounds. It’s thawing in fridge and I’ll cook it up as soon as it is completely thawed and then debone the carcass and package the meat for the freezer. (It takes up so much less space than a whole turkey in my freezer!). Raspberries were on a 2 day sale again for 59 cents/carton so I bought a dozen just to enjoy fresh! Apples were also on that same sale for $1.49/ 3 pound bag. This is time to stock up on bargains, for sure!

    I found #10 cans of tomato paste on clearance at GFS for $2 each so I added 5 rto my pantry. After I open a can to use some, I will can the leftover into half pint jars and use those until I run out. Then I will open the next can and repeat the process.

    I saw last week several comments about Krogers and their affiliates and tell you my experiences. Now I live in central Ohio and Kroger’s National headquarters is in Cincinnati (about 2 hours away). When I don’t see something that is listed on their sale, I find a clerk and ask them to check. First they look in the store aisles where I already looked (and once in a while, they are located on an end cap I missed ! 🥴) But then, they check in the back to see if there is stock there that they can bring out. That also happens. If they don’t have it in back, they check to see when the next truck is coming and if that item will be on truck. If not, or if I say I really don’t want to make another trip over, they have me choose a substitute of roughly equal size, regardless of brand and they slap a “We’ll make it right” sticker on whatever it was and if it was a buy 5 or 6 to get the sale price, they put a sticker on that many. They write the sale price on each sticker and sign their name. I sail through checkout with no problem and my sale price might even be a higher priced brand. Is it because I’m gray haired and old? Because Krogers was founded here in Ohio? Or am I just incredibly lucky? Don’t know.

    I took a fall on the sidewalk going into CVS for my Covid and flu jabs that roughed me up a bit. Happened on Thursday and with the combo of those 3 things, I’ve been feeling sore and unmotivated. Thankfully, today (Monday) I’m starting to bounce back!

    Just finished another client quilt. It is a door hanging. https://pin.it/5zG592M. Surprisingly, 4 more quilts have come in- 2 to be quilted and 2 to be constructed and quilted/bound.

    I decided that having the leftover Halloween candy out in a bowl in the kitchen was NOT a good idea for the 2 of us, so I vacuum sealed it in quart and 1 half gallon jars, after dividing by kind. That way, if I want to make the pretzel treats with a melted Rolo and pecan over Christmas, I can just take out the quart jar that has only Rolos in it and save myself time, money and even extra post-Halloween/pre-Thanksgiving pounds!! https://pin.it/W33qVNw .

    I took leftover mashed potatoes from last night’s dinner (yes, those are skins in the mash!) and precooked ground beef from fridge, green beans from pantry, made a red sauce for meat and made a Shepherd’s Pie/Layered Casserole Complete for two (Hubs and me) using an estate auction baking dish (about 35 cents) that is only 7” square. Perfect for just us without a crazy amount of leftovers! https://pin.it/5TJAf87

    Our city school tax levy passed and as a result, our property taxes will be increasing by over $1000/year since the special assessment this year (last year was the triennial assessment but because of rising house prices, they assessed again this year) so we will continue to be diligent in our spending.

    Lots to do these days, but still finding ways to save money by shopping carefully or not shopping at all! Our Christmas spending is and will continue to be very modest. I suspect most families will follow suit or feel the regret in January!

    I hope through these turbulent times, we can take time to be kind to those around us. A kind or patient word or smile may mean more to a friend, family member or stranger than we realize! I am so thankful for you , Brandy, and for your commenters who have taught me so much over all these years!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat, I believe you are very lucky to have such a good Kroger. I’m in Kentucky, and the 3 in our town are rigidly inflexible.

      1. Yes, same here. The Kroger in Middle Georgia where I shop used to be very good about giving rain checks or even refunding you for forgotten coupons, but no more here. Most look at you with impassive faces and say, “No rain checks. No refunds.” Truth, in our area, Kroger has good prices when they have items in stock, often beating out Aldi or at least tying with them, but it’s all a dice shoot to get the items on sale. Even for others of us gray haired gramma sorts.

    2. I’m so glad that you’re beginning to feel better after your fall! Definitely listen to your body and if you’re not feeling better soon, consider a dr visit? (My grandfather in law slipped and caught himself on the car when he was visiting, barely considered it a fall. Waited until he was back home after traveling 14+ hrs over a couple of days before he went to er. Had broken three ribs!!!!).

      Thanks for explaining what you’ll do with the 5lb cans. I don’t know why I never thought about canning the leftovers into smaller portions. With a small family the bigger can size was intimidating to “use up or lose”. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Very excited to add these to our grocery lists now!

  2. Earned .95 from Ibotta

    Received 3 1/2 dozen fresh eggs from hubby’s boss

    I used reward points for a free Mcalister’s sandwich

    Walgreen’s had 80% off of Halloween stuff…I didn’t go crazy, I bought 2 candles shaped like houses, 5 bags of candy corn, and a couple costume pieces. Spent just under $12

    Hubby’s boss also gave us a power recliner. It’s in great shape.

    Used points for a free drink at Einstein Brothers bagels

    Ate breakfasts and lunches at work

    Turned off AC/heat whenever possible

    Found the teen a desk for $30

    Not so frugal…hubby ended up in the ER. He had a spot on his leg that didn’t look so great, turned out to be staph. They drained it, then gave him antibiotics. The ER visit was $2300, and the antibiotics, pain pills, and anti nausea meds came to just over $300😱 I just received the ER bill today, so I’ll call and set up payment arrangements.

    1. Make sure you go through the billing office to negotiate a cash price…if you don’t have insurance. They will usually give a discount.

  3. Beautiful photos! And how lovely to be able to attend the museum opening!

    My frugal week:
    – I made more mini pizza muffins for my daughters. Dough (https://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/), sauce, cheese, and olives, and they freeze and reheat wonderfully. Great to pack as snacks and much less expensive than packaged snacks.
    – a friend was having a 50th birthday, so I looked around at home to see what I could pull together as a gift. I used a bottle of wine from my wine rack (gifted to me, I rarely drink), wrapped it in an elegant, seasonal cloth wine bag wrapped with a bow (that I made a few years ago from fabric scraps given to me), and wrote up a nice card (someone was moving and cleaned out their gift drawer and I benefited from it). So, zero OOP but a nice gift for a friend!
    – I redeemed $30 in loyalty points for groceries (mostly cheese!)
    – I baked dinner rolls and filled them with cheese I got free with loyalty points, and froze them for future work lunches.
    – I took home leftovers from a work party, enough for two meals for me. I had brought in a couple of my own vases for the event, and brought them home with greenery in them; it looks lovely in my condo! I gussied up a dollar store notebook with a nicely printed front page on high quality paper, and edged with metallic photo brackets. Made for an inexpensive guest book for the event!
    – I made lentil soup using homemade taco spice and lentils I had cooked and frozen months ago, as well as lentil burgers (using homemade breadcrumbs made out of the crusts of the homemade uncrustables that I made for my daughter for school lunches).
    – I made pasta salad with lots of veggies, to use up odds and ends in the fridge. I didn’t have wine vinegar, so used some apple cider vinegar and kalamata olive brine in the vinaigrette. I used some of the leftover vinaigrette as salad dressing for a green salad for myself.
    – my child’s best friend bought her and my youngest some Christmas ornaments. Instead of spending reciprocally, I looked around my pantry and made marshmallow snowman on sticks: 3 large marshmallows, on lollipop sticks, dipped in melted white chocolate (white chocolate chips melted with a little oil), with a red licorice Halloween candy scarf, and a face drawn on with food colouring markers. I wrapped them up in winter themed cellophane wrappers I already had. No money OOP and a nice treat for my daughter to give to her friend!
    – combined loss leaders, with cash back apps, coupons, etc. as usual when shopping. My best deal was pineapple for 99cents.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. I love the marshmallow snowmen idea!

      I need to come up with some gifts for friends this year and I appreciate the suggestion!

  4. This week I went by Starbucks to get their free coffee grounds to add to garden soil in a new planter I’m putting in. I live in Las Vegas area also, but I think Starbucks will do this everywhere.

  5. Your night at the museum sounds wonderful! And the zinnias are so beautiful.
    A neighbor is clearing a bunch of trees to build a house and asked if we wanted the firewood. We have what we need for this winter, but it’s always good to get a head start on next year. This wood is green and very heavy, but will be great to split by next summer. We spent two days cutting and hauling and have an estimated two cords. We hope to get at least one more cord before they have everything chipped. It was really close by, so we could run home for lunch, and didn’t spend a lot in gas to get it. * I baked sandwich bread and English muffins.* I harvested bok choy, lettuce, and carrots from the greenhouse. The sugar snap peas froze, but the cabbage is beginning to head up.* I cooked a big pumpkin and froze 4 quart bags of pumpkin puree.* I did some mending and I sewed a new dress. I can layer this with sweaters and tights for winter.

  6. All my children are now away in school so we are learning how to cook for just two again. It seems easier to cook larger meals and freeze things. Sometimes though we are overrun with leftovers! We’ll learn. We are doing our usual: checking out books from the library, rinsing ziplock, watching shows on freevee which is on my tablet. I was gifted with a gift certificate for pottery lessons on the wheel. Oh my, I could get into this hobby but it’s expensive. I’m enjoying my class though, something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m eating out infrequently. I’m using free laundry detergent, gifted by a friend.

  7. I love your museum story. It sounds like a wonderful night. Last week, I spent time weeding the carrots and beets in the garden. A five gallon bucket was filled, and given to the chickens. One of our cabbages was ready, which my husband harvested. I made a new recipe of Lemony Cabbage Salad with half, and we had our sweet potatoes and crowder peas with it, so an all from-the-homestead dinner. Two purchases were made through Swagbucks, for 2% and 4% cash back. On a morning we were to visit with friends in the evening, I steamed potatoes, so when we got in, it would be easy to prepare fried potatoes and peppers for a quick supper. I feel very blessed to remain close to friends I went to high school with. Our next reunion will be our 50th, in ’26. Yikes! A toothpaste tube was cut, to use up the remaining product, always more than I expect to find. I made a double batch of Brandy’s black bean burgers, except I tried our home canned field peas, and didn’t notice a difference in flavor. The extra burgers were frozen. I gathered from our patch of mixed greens, and we enjoyed our first winter salad of the season with the burgers.

    When the days get shorter, I burn beeswax candles during dinner. The tea lights end up with around 1/4 of the beeswax remaining, once the wicks burn out. Hating to waste it, I started keeping them. On a day the woodstove was “on low”, I sat the tea lights on it, melted the remaining beeswax, and poured it in an old 3″ x 3″ glass candle holder. There ended up being about 3/4″ of wax this time. I also found out I can buy tea light refills, saving some money, and kept the little cups to do this. Plates of peppers and tomatoes continue to ripen in the kitchen. One of our little game hens has begun laying the tiniest eggs. At this point, I figured it would be spring, so that was a nice surprise. I read two free Kindle books, and short story I really enjoyed. I gathered lettuce, dandelion greens for the pups, oregano, a small amount of black haw fruits, and hawthorn berries, which I began a glycerite with. Two books were requested from the library.

  8. Brandy, your flowers are beautiful!

    I only spent $24.45 on groceries last week because there really weren’t any sales. So far I’ve spent $106 in November. I know people are saying that they don’t see loss leader sales anymore, but I’ve generally done well over the past two months, stocking up on meat, canned goods, peanut butter and flour, sugar and other baking items. As for Kroger (Fred Meyer here), I got a raincheck for canned pineapple two weeks ago and the shelf is still bare. I have spent $106 on groceries so far in November. My budget is $300, so it’s nice to have $194 left if there are any good Thanksgiving sales (and I am expecting SOME, maybe not everything I’d like). We will be eating a turkey from last year and hope to get another cheap one.

    Speaking of which, Nancy in eastern Washington and I shop at the same stores. Last year she posted about getting turkeys on clearance the day after Thanksgiving. Nancy, which store? And do you remember what time of day you were there?

    I received a check for $200 for vision coverage that I didn’t think would pay. They did! I also found a penny. So, I put $200.01 “in my pocket” last week for the monthly challenge.

    Best wishes to all, and thanks for teaching this old dog new tricks nearly every week!

    1. Maxine – the store was Winco. I always go to Fred Meyer for their 1/2 price socks and underwear every year – so I went to Winco after that. I was probably there around 8:00 a.m. They were fresh turkeys – but I put it in the freezer. Good luck.

      1. Thanks, Nancy! I think I’m going to wait and see if they do this again this year. The best deal on frozen turkeys is .57 lb. with $50 purchase at Super 1. I bought $11 worth of groceries there this morning. Someone (I forget who) has bone-in turkey breasts for $1.49 or 1.59 per pound and I might buy one for my freezer and then hope I can do what you did last year at Winco on a whole turkey.

        This year’s Thanksgiving sales are very disappointing. Most of the prices are more than I paid at the same stores a week or two ago for the same items as loss leaders. Two stores (Yoke’s and Super 1) didn’t even advertise turkeys!

  9. Gas was anywhere from $2.78 a gallon in university town to $3.04 a gallon two hours further south. I got a whole turkey at Publix for 69 cents a lb. I purchased other deals but do not feel like they are worth mentioning since prices are still double from two years ago, even with the so called “deals.” Other than the turkey, the price pickings are dismal.

  10. Someone I know was advertising fresh eggs on the local Facebook page at $3.00 a dozen. They are $4.15 in the store. She was willing to deliver them to my doorstep on a day she was already going to be in town, so I bought a couple of dozen. They are lovely. Mostly brown or buff, nice hard shells, and bright-colored yolks. I gave her some egg cartons from my recycling, since she could make good use of them.

    I made a last small trip to the grocery store before my next pension cycle starts on the 24th. I bought a ham at $2.49 a lb. It was 6.5 lb, which will give me lots of meat and a ham bone to make broth. I bought the same brand before Canadian Thanksgiving, and was really happy with it.

    In September and October, my budget was very tight, so I ordered 30 days at a time of the prescriptions I get, though the prescription itself was for a full 90 days. It helps with cash flow if my budget is very tight, but ends up costing 50% more over the three months. This month I was able to return to getting the full 90 days worth at once, which is not only cheaper but helps out with the cash flow for the two months that follow. It also means two fewer trips on foot to the pharmacy during winter months.

    New neighbors have put up their Christmas lights, which is nice and cheerful. Mine won’t go up until December 1, though I leave them up until Candlemas on Feb. 2. There is an animal lit up that looks like an alpaca. I am fond of alpacas, but I am not sure what the relationship it has with Christmas. I’ll go and have a look when it is light out. It may just be one animal standing behind another! It is making me laugh, anyway.

  11. Working in the garden is my free exercise and therapy. I’m moving some things around to make best use of my smallish yard, and also to get more plants onto my limited drip system. We received free bricks from a friend and I’m using those to edge some new beds. We have all the free compost we could possibly use-our county is very generous with that.
    My husband moved water from barrels under downspouts into our secondary storage barrels. Rain is forecast for this week.
    I continue to make good use of free solar drying for laundry.
    We keep the heat at 69 or below. Most days it’s about 65 in the house. I’m appreciating my late aunt’s cashmere long cardigan.
    I made English flapjack to give to a friend who is having a hard time, and also to a friend who gifted us so many figs. Everyone seems to like it and it’s cheap to make. I even got the oats free from Buy Nothing!
    I’ve been making many meals in the instant pot, I use the oven a lot less than I used to. Yesterday I made soup in the IP, followed by IP enchiladas.
    I sold an item on FB marketplace.

  12. Beautiful flower arrangements. I planted a cutting garden this past spring, but never got to cut from it. It was pretty to look at though 😊

    I took a box of tea I do not care for and steeped a weaker brew and it is more palatable to not waste the box.

    Continue to find easy, nutritious vegetarian dishes to make and enjoy from veggies grown from my garden.

    Turns out I had a slow leak in my vehicles tire. Thankfully a patch could be done with and I had a coupon.

    For fun I have been cross stitching using a free pattern with floss/aida I already had.

    Brandy, taking your idea- everyday I ask each person I get to exchange words with what they are thankful for that day. It has brought smiles to each person. Some answer quickly and others reflect before answering – each has been glad to been asked. I hope they carry it on.

    Hope everyone has a calm and productive week.

  13. Sharing extra girl scout tshirt blocks and a pair of mom’s fabric scissors with a friend for her to make a blanket for her daughter.
    I am borrowing a sewing machine to finish my daughter’s other blanket for Christmas.
    Trying visible mending on some pants.
    I’ve wanted to try a standing desk. My husband had bought me a lap desk during covid lockdown and I’m using it on top of the table my neighbor gave me last week. It’s the perfect height!
    Went camping with the boy scout troop. Will get to go see the aquarium out of town with them for free that way.
    Found some info on a medication coupon program for a friend who’s not taking a needed medication now that she’s off Medicaid and can’t afford it.
    I’m completely stressing out over Christmas. We will be traveling to see my inlaws. We haven’t been able to go there for 2 years. The cost will be awful between getting a hotel/air bnb, a rental vehicle so we can drive his mother to see his dad in the nursing home, etc. My teens have been so beautiful in that they ate truly just happy to see family and aren’t worried about gifts but the cost is just crazy for our family. I did some pto buy out at work but am trying to figure out how I can possibly save any extra money this next month or 2 to help offset this trip.

    1. Idk if it would help… I would look around your home/belongings to see if there is anything you don’t need or want (things the kids have outgrown etc). I usually do well in Nov/December listing local sales on Facebook Marketplace! I often have people tell me the things will be gifts as they’re paying. It helps offset some of our holiday expenses.

      I hope the trip brings you less stress and more joy when the time comes. I’m sorry it’s stressful.

    2. Robbie, you can try earning money from transcription work via rev.com. It pays into your paypal each week, and while they have high standards, and the pay isn’t amazing, it is pay, and doesn’t need any special qualifications beyond a good year, and excellent English skills. Personally, I found that more work appeared in the evenings, which worked very well for my family life when I did it recently.

      Best of luck!

    3. In my in-laws’ last years, we had to make several unexpected trips to Texas (from Colorado), with the cost of gas/hotels/food, etc. (Once we were there for almost a month, another time for 2 1/2 weeks.) I would really stress about how were we going to afford this, but then I worked to get into the mind set of focusing on being thankful that we were able to go and be with them and trust that things would work out and we would find a way to pay for it — and we always did. Sometimes that was through a wind-fall of unexpected money. Sometimes it was putting everything on a credit card and tightening our belts to pay it off. Praying a lot and continually turning my mind back to focusing on them and enjoying the moments with them helped me a lot. I had to accept that I could only control so much of the expense and focus on what I could control. This Christmas they are no longer with us and I treasure the memories of those times we got to be with them. I hope you will find a way that works for you.

  14. Oh, Brandy, those zinnias are perfection. Thank you for sharing that picture! * I’ve been spending most of my time finishing up my classes for my degree. It’s been stressful but I’m SO excited to be finished. Just four more weeks! *I’ve kept up with meal planning and cooking which has been good. Home meals are just better and save so much. Recent meals included pulled pork sandwiches. I used the leftovers for nachos. It was delish! I made spaghetti dinner for our First Sunday Family Dinner. We had leftovers there too. I used leftover noodles and sauce for baked spaghetti later in the week. Froze the leftovers of that for a quick weeknight dinner later. We also ate chili and soup last week for a few meals. *I made my grocery list while sitting in my pantry so I could see exactly where I needed to fill in. I try to keep on top of this week to week by immediately replacing things we use, but I had gotten a few weeks behind. It will be nice to be caught up again. *I’m slowly thinking about Christmas shopping. I’m working on knitting hats and mittens for our five grandchildren. I have two sets done. I’ve been able to do this with leftover yarn since the kids are pretty little still. *Saving money by not driving due to my cataracts. Will be glad to have more freedom after I get my “new eyes”. *Spent time watching basketball and football games on tv, shows and movies on Prime, Freevee and Peacock, and reading library books. I like watching Thanksgiving episodes of my favorite shows this time of year.* Added an extra blanket to the bed to keep warm without turning up the heat. *I send Christmas cards and usually include a short letter. I wrote it and decided to just use plain printer paper instead of fancy (and expensive) Christmas themed paper. * I hope everyone has a peaceful and thrifty week.

  15. -Spent 3’ish hours gathering and cleaning pecans from 3 trees in our back yard. Paid $9.50 to have them cracked and shaken/blown at local feed store. Man who owns feed store graduated from high school with my mom 69 years ago. Price at WalMart for the pounds I had would be $247. Still have tons of trees to gather from in front yard. At some point I’ll get tired of fooling with them and we will offer friends and family to come gather on the halves.
    -Took Christmas cards to Book Club holiday party rather than mailing. Book Club celebrates really early as to not interfere with members’ Thanksgiving and Christmas events.
    -I hate cooking so my contribution to Book Club holiday event is drinks and pasta salad. Paid for this with $ left on Kroger gift card from pet sitting back in summer. OOP $0, plus I brought some of each home. With everyone’s permission and encouragement, Made the 86 yo mom a huge to-go plate as she wasn’t feeling up to being my +1. Book Club is 17 miles one-way in town. My friend did the ham for the event and it was absolutely delicious. She said it was Kroger brand made according to package directions. If they have any small enough for our two person family I may give it a try and then use leftovers for bean soup. -We have 8 children in our family. Ages 1-15. For Christmas I am giving each some cash to spend as they wish and a few toys/games/books/gift cards I hope they will enjoy. Have gotten all the cash I need from bank and some cute little red envelopes to put it in. The three teenagers have aged out of most toys so they are probably getting gift cards instead. For adults we each draw a single name and also play Dirty Santa, both with a $ limit.
    -Going to big city to pet sit for actual Thanksgiving. Don’t really need to shop so I’ll probably stay in with dogs and take advantage of their Netflix and other streaming services that we don’t have. Won’t be there long enough to buy groceries so I’ll take a few snack items and probably do curbside pickup for meals. Pet owners leave me plenty of cash for meals and entertainment. -Reading all the Christmas books written by Mary Kay Andrews from local library. Really fast reads.

    1. Have you thought of taking them to sell? I made enough one year to pay for four nights vacation (cheaper back then true, but still…) and enough another year to buy six months worth of meat for our freezer. There’s bound to be a pecan shed/store near you somewhere. And it really is worth while.

  16. Beautiful flowers Brandy & that museum sounds lovely!

    **Giant Eagle, our chain grocery store has turkey on sale for 0.47/lb. I bought a 22lb turkey for $10.50. Put it in the freezer for later use. Also got butter for $2.99/lb. Picked up 2 pkgs. Placed one in the freezer.

    **Drove up to see my parents & we got our hair cut. Just cost us some gas money.

    **been eating at home & using things up in our pantry.

    **I’ve got to work Thanksgiving because it’s my holiday to work but I’m making green bean casserole to send with my hubby for the dinner at my brother’s house. He will then bring me a plate of food to work.

    1. Kelly- our Giant Eagle price for their Turkey is 99 cents/pound with a limit of 1 but I see that their Wednesday only sale this week is Russet potatoes- 5 pound bag for 99 cents (limit 5) so I will head over there tomorrow (Wednesday) .

      Can’t complain about turkey though- 49 cents/pound at Meijers and Krogers!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  17. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your zinnias are gorgeous, they’re such good value aren’t they. The museum sounds fascinating and I love the photo of the balloons.( Not sure if they are balloons?!) It sounds like you had a nice week.
    We planted 160 tulip bulbs, 100 crocus, 100 ranunculus and six crown imperial fritillaries. I tidied up some pots and removed lots of congested grape hyacinth bulbs. I would like to separate them and use them elsewhere.
    I picked/pulled leeks, Swiss chard, cooking apples and snapdragons from the garden.
    Inexpensive meals were leek, bacon and cheddar quiche which we ate for two days and I used the leftover pastry to make apple turnovers. Chicken, black bean and butternut squash curry fed us for two nights and I made tomato soup with the tomatoes which are still ripening in the greenhouse and added the last of a jar of red pepper pesto to it.
    I have been looking for navy leather shoes at a sensible price for ages and this week found some in a sale for £22.95. I bought a new bobble hat for £2.50 and a children’s book for 50 pence in a charity shop.
    For my husband’s birthday I bought a book about Chatsworth and it’s garden history written by Alan Titchmarsh. He is a well known gardener who used to present Gardeners World. It wasn’t frugal but the assistant pointed out that the copy she had sold me was signed so that was nice and my husband is engrossed in the book.
    After my husband dismantled the bean poles and frames for squash in the garden he chopped up the wood for kindling.
    I bought some Christmas presents in a one day offer from Lands End, buy one top or t shirt, get one free.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. They were made of white paper and kept changing colors. They were beautiful. The room was small but it had mirrors everywhere, including the floor, so it felt like it went on forever

  18. Hello, it’s nice to hear from you again and see your flower pictures. The museum sounds very interesting. I tried to make home nicer by cleaning out and organizing some cupboards. I cut my husband’s hair last week and resewed buttons on a shirt. The buttons were barely holding on, and the thread seemed kind of rotten. We kept in touch with relatives online, and stayed home during storms. At one point on the way to church rain literally crashed onto the windshield, and water flooded the road. We could hardly see. Even though it was daylight my husband turned on the headlights so that we would have tail lights so that people behind us could see our car better. With only driving lights in front that come on automatically when it’s darker, we have no tail lights. Gas prices are coming down. I don’t know why they are lower, but then I didn’t know why they have gone up so high either. I am just thankful prices are lower. We ordered filberts and walnuts from a nut dryer some distance away from us, and someone picked them up and brought them to us when they came to visit. I made 100% whole wheat bread from Prairie Gold white whole wheat. For one meal we had avocado toast from 59 cent avocadoes and a bean vegetable soup with spinach thrown in and some fresh apples for dessert. We dried ten pounds of overripe bananas we got for 29 cents per pound. We have found that Thursday mornings are a good time to get those. We found Honey Crisp apples for 99 cents per pound at the fruit stand, and a plastic box of baby spinach marked down to $1.82. Spinach seems to keep better than some greens for me, so I look for that especially. I read an interesting article about eating toxic quantities of greens as in green juices, but I don’t like green juices anyway. We had an appointment with our insurance broker to figure out which Medicare supplement we want for next year. She also took our lists of prescriptions and ran them through her computer program to find the lowest priced prescription drug plan for us. Next year our prescription plans will cost $3.30 per month for each of us and will pay for all the drugs but two with no out-of-pocket costs. We left two drugs off the list because they are higher tier, higher priced drugs. We found that it will cost less to use GoodRx coupons to pay for those two drugs out of our pocket and have all of the regular drugs paid for by the $3.30 per month insurance. With the coupons one drug will cost about $50 for 90 days and the other will cost about $40. We thought paying a total of $33.30 per month for one of us and $3.30 for the other one of us is not too bad for prescriptions under the circumstances. The insurance broker does not charge us anything, and our insurance is no more expensive for our having consulted with her. It has been a huge help. It was especially nice the first time we met with her right after we started onto Medicare. It makes the whole process of choosing a Medicare supplement so much less stressful for us. Today was the second sunny day we have had in weeks. I think I actually feel better with having our ceilings painted a pale sky blue with light spring colors for the walls. I know it’s not trendy, but we like it. We have some more rooms to paint. We have a lot of interior paint on hand. A couple of times when we went to the city, we stopped at a paint store (I think Sherwin Williams) and asked if they had any mistinted paint. Over time we collected a number of cans of very pale tints that we like for greatly reduced prices per gallon (It seems like they were about $5 per gallon at the time for good quality paint.) We measured the walls in our rooms to find the number of square feet and divided by the square feet each gallon would cover. That way we could plan how many gallons of mistints to buy. You never know what you are going to find; it’s kind of fun. I just buy something very light in color because I can always tint it darker. In the past I have bought small amounts of paint colorant from the paint store for a couple of dollars for a half cupful or so. It helps if you bring your own container (a small jar or something) to put it in. I have tinted paint to match the colors in wallpaper. I tint a small amount of paint on a piece of cardboard until I get something close to the color I want; I don’t just dump it into a whole gallon of paint. I have also mixed mistinted paints in enough quantity to cover all the walls in a room plus a little more in a five gallon bucket, so all the walls are one color. In an effort to reduce our electric bill, we installed more LED light bulbs. We’ll see if that helps. Right now I am praying about curtains and blinds. I’m having a hard time finding large quantities of fabric for curtains or used curtains second hand. Even drop cloths are not cheap. If I had only one smallish window, I could find curtains at our local thrift store, but I would like all the windows in a room to be the same and I don’t really want to combine different curtains in a striped or patchwork effect to cover multiple windows. I don’t know what I’ll end up with. We’ll see. Anyway I am thankful for having more than one window. Fortunately, our plain nylon carpet is still looking nice after 35 years, and we still like it. I don’t think polyester carpet would have lasted this long and still look good. Our Rug Doctor machine that we bought off Craigslist has been returned after being loaned out, so we have no excuse for not cleaning carpets now. I have been watching decorating videos on YouTube to try to learn ideas for fixing things up without spending lots of money that I don’t have and can’t spend anyway. Wish me luck. It’s going to be interesting. Thank you to everyone for sharing their ideas. Best wishes for the coming week.

    1. Hi Elizabeth
      Thanks for sharing about the mistinted paint and all you do with it, I’m definitely going to bear this in mind. Good quality paint is so expensive and we could use a good tip for keeping costs down. Good luck with the rest of the frugal decorating and updating. We would like to replace some sofas but even the prices in the charity shops have risen tremendously. All hints and tips appreciated!

      1. Thank you for your encouragement. The only thing with already tinted paint is to test small amounts of mixtures and/or paint colorants. I have also accidentally ended up with a few icky colors. I remember a particularly garish gold that just didn’t work for anyone. Furniture is a problem for me also. One of my couches, my $40 one, came from an estate sale. Often people left with an estate just want to dispose of everything and often have little time off work to sort through and dispose of their relative’s things. My $40 couch goes with my liquidation sale curtains from 30 years ago. My other Thomasville (a company I think is out of business) couch came from Goodwill and cost me $20. It seemed to be in like new condition. (I would look for brand names that have a reputation for building high quality furniture.) My two chairs and a pole lamp were free from someone clearing out a house they bought to remodel. That means most of my living room furniture cost $60 plus the gas to go pick them up. (My husband built many years ago, with a circular saw and a router, a bookshelf out of pine he pulled out of a snowbank.) I don’t remember how much the curtains cost. I seem to be able to find things that I can clean and have a neat appearance, but I am close to clueless about how to coordinate styles, colors, etc. to decorate a room. This I am trying to learn with the help of YouTube. Last night my husband measured two rooms and the furniture we have, and I drew up the rooms on graph paper. Then I drew the furniture on other graph paper and cut out the shapes, so I could move the furniture around on paper. Maybe that is a start. I have some pictures I have been given or have thrifted over the years for a few dollars that I am going to try to scatter around the bare walls someway. We’ll see how it goes.

        1. Two things I’ve learned is 1) not to arrange all the furniture along walls – move things in a bit and create conversation areas – otherwise things take on the look of a bowling alley and 2) ensure that your rug is big enough! Nothing throws off a room’s proportion more than a rug that is too small, and I also ensure that the furniture “feet” are at least on a portion of that rug. A lot of time it helps to take a photo of your room – it shows things in a very different light from when you are standing there. Hope that might help a bit.

    2. The Habitat for Humanity store near me always has a lot of paint, much of it high quality, for very low prices.

      Brandy, are you doing the Operation Christmas Child boxes this year? We realized it’s getting to the deadline to drop off, so have been checking out thrift stores to fill in with the extras we had from last year. Thank you for informing us about this program.

    3. The curtains in my kitchen and kitchen sitting area (aka the breakfast area) are all made from queen sized sheets I bought at Walmart for about $4 a piece. I used a white sheet to line the print ones I wanted and they have done beautifully for more than five years now. I’ve often used sheets when I couldn’t find anything else I liked in several of my homes and no one to this day has ever said “Oh you used sheets at the windows…” It’s far less expensive than buying by the yard and they don’t shrink.

  19. I love zinnias, they are my favorite flower. Growing up my mom always had some in the yard. Your museum event sounds like fun, and those pictures were amazing. We have been getting ready for the cooler weather by blowing out our gas stove and caulking around the door. My nieces came to dinner Saturday with their families and brought me some clothes. I needed some new jeans. I love hand me ups from them. My brother-in-law had his transplant and so far, he is doing really good. We have been watching the deer in the field across from our house. I have been reading library books and looking at recipes for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. COVID is on the rise in our town, so I am trying to avoid the stores. Thank you Brandy for sharing this site, I look forward to reading about everyone’s week.

  20. Hello, frugal friends! Things are starting to cool down here in the mountains. It definitely feels like fall is here to stay. The deer and bear sightings are frequent. I was finally able to score a few deals at the grocery store this past week. I spent the required $25 at Kroger to get a 20# turkey at .39/pound. I stocked up on their loss leader items of canned vegetables for .50/can plus peanut butter for .99/jar. Those along with some bananas and a gallon of milk made the necessary $25 minimum. I am hoping for some good loss leaders this week to be able to purchase another turkey as I would like to cook 2 this year and freeze and share the surplus. Thanks to the reader who shared the Aldi holiday price reductions. I was able to go there and get a few of their items for the pantry. I hope to go back as I have since heard of a few pantry items I missed at these reduced prices.
    I am still getting spinach and mache out of the garden. This allows us to continue with eating a salad as dinner once a week.
    I was able to use a $5 coupon plus my military discount at Michaels to get my granddaughter a craft kit for Christmas. I spent $2.62 for a $10 item.
    I did all the usual things like line drying laundry, walking and Youtube for exercise, and using cloth items instead of paper. We have not eaten out at all so far this month. My husband and son did take advantage of the free meals offered to Veterans over the weekend. He spent $5 on lunch as the meal was free but he bought a soda and the rest was a tip. The soda was .99. Our son bought his own drink and left his own tip.
    Thank you for those who responded to my Kroger issue last week and to Garden Pat this week. I always ask the manager or department manager when I cannot find something. In the past they would substitute with another brand of the item. But I have been told they will no longer do that. And, I believe I mentioned last week, they no longer offer rain checks for digital deals and buy 5/6 sales items. It has been so frustrating but I try to keep things in perspective. Plus I can always shop at a different store. When times get tough we just have to get creative.
    We will get our half a cow of beef in a couple of weeks. Our farmer did not raise his prices nor has the processor. So that is a blessing.
    Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and frugal week.

    1. Aldi had butter this week for $1.99 a pound limit 6 per person. My daughter came with me and we each got 6. I plan on going again. My Aldi was out of flour this week with the sale. Glad I got some last week.

  21. Your trip to the museum sounds wonderful! The photos are lovely as always.

    I have developed an allergy to milk (or really, it came back, as I was allergic to milk when I was younger). I used some of the candy and snack foods I couldn’t eat as Halloween treats to give out, and gave some other things to family members. What they didn’t want was donated to a food pantry, so nothing goes to waste. I am trying not to spend a lot on expensive dairy-free alternatives and instead focus on naturally dairy-free foods. So far, I’ve been able to stay within my usual grocery budget.

    I sold an item I got for free (it was included in my Walmart shipment by mistake). They always tell me to keep such things, and I usually find a use for them, but this time it was a men’s razor, and a fairly expensive one. By selling it, I made a nice profit and it went to someone who can use it.

    I used sales and coupons to save money on ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner, although it still ended up costing more than I expected. At least there will be plenty of leftovers.

  22. Brandy, I enjoyed your IG posts from the museum. During such a dark time of year it was beautiful to see all the lights!

    On the frugal front:
    I used grocery reward points to save $0.24/gallon on fuel.

    Before HH left on a week long business trip, I made a meal of ham, mashed potatoes and veggies. I ate the leftovers for several dinners while he was gone. I also did not grocery shop while he was away.

    Now that it is dark and cold in the evenings, I have been walking on the indoor track at a local high school or enjoying my <$1 annual subscription to GetHealthyUTV.com exercise videos at home. I love the free Get Healthy U TV printable exercise calendars. They really help me stay motivated to do more strength training.

    I desperately needed new walking shoes. I was unable to find a good sale on the model of shoe that keeps my feet happy. Instead, I purchased an older model in a less popular color which saved $29.

    I borrowed a book from a friend to finish the last few pages of our book club selection which I was unable to complete before my digital copy from the library was auto returned.

    Several years ago, HH’s company closed his office in favor of home offices. We were able to bring home some of the excess office supplies. I used red copy paper from the office to make wish tag ornaments our church’s Adopt-a-Family holiday project.

    Enrollment has increased at DD2’s southern university causing an increase in demand for off campus housing. Naturally, the increased demand has driven up rent. We were thankful that DD2 found housing for next school year with roughly the same rent we are paying this year. Her new apartment will be smaller than the house she is currently in, but she has not complained and actually seems very excited about her new location.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s thankful thoughts and frugal feats.

    1. It was so cool! The room with the lights was called paper snowflakes. It was our absolute favorite room, and we both stayed there for a long time, neither of us with any desire to leave. It was incredible.

      But the ocean waves in a box, waterfall, and the beach were the other favorites.

      We had no expectations and were pleasantly delighted.

  23. I really love the zinnias. Especially the peach ones in the last picture. The museum visit sounds wonderful – so glad you got to go.

    My week was a little different than normal. On Wednesday, someone hit a gas pipe in Eastern Washington. While it did not affect me, it did affect many small towns, including the one where my son lives. They have gas heat, gas hot water and a gas stove. So…. my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter all came and stayed with us while the repairs were made. It was all hands-on deck with the utility company, and my son’s house was back online by Sunday afternoon. He left to go home, as someone had to be there so the utility company could turn the pilot lights back on. My daughter-in-law and granddaughter stayed with us until this morning. Not many frugal moments – however, we did not eat out at all, so I count that as frugal.

    Other things – we had leftover BBQ for a couple of nights. Made split pea soup in the Instapot for the DH. Made a batch of wild rice and carrot soup. Made a fruit salad with canned pineapple, canned mandarin oranges and some maraschino cherries. That was our dessert for two nights. Made a big batch of chicken fajitas with chicken from the freezer and peppers and onions still in storage from the garden. Used some of the tortillas I purchased for 99¢ a couple of weeks ago.

    Had lots of cuddles with my granddaughter (she’s 10 1/2 month old) – and that is very worthwhile and very frugal.

    Hope everyone has a good week.

  24. I haven’t commented in ages and I am so happy to be back. Things have been so busy and it has caused some stress and anxiety for me. I am now working hard to keep things going at a steady pace and it to take breaks so anxiety is kept to a minimum.

    Your flowers are so gorgeous, Brandy and a nice spot of colour since we are now fully into dull season here in southern Ontario. We have been seeing lots of sun recently so that has been nice to get things done.

    With being busy we have eaten out a wee bit but have used gift cards for the majority. Our pantry and freezers are very well stocked so it isn’t a problem to make meals at home. I will not need to shop for much more than fresh produce and milk over the next little while. I also have $160 in grocery store gift cards that I have earned so they will go a long way as well. I have earned several Amazon gift codes recently and put them towards food as well.

    I will finish up the bit of Christmas shopping I do this week. I will be glad to have it done as I am hoping for a quiet, peaceful December with very little shopping.

    We continue to be blessed by our local free groups. We have cleared out many things so I am not taking in a lot more but will gladly take food items. We have been gifted a 6 pound bag of apples which I turned into applesauce, two boxes of cereal, four red onions, a package of coffee pods, a bag of icing sugar and a package of pasta. I also received a Pioneer Woman cookbook and have enjoyed looking through it. I worked Friday and Saturday at a large event at our church and came home with leftovers that have been used at several meals.

    I hope everyone is having a productive week.

  25. Those lanterns look wonderful and the exhibit sounds a bit like Yahoi Kusama’s series of Infinity Rooms. She had a major exhibit here a few years ago and it was amazing – a whole series of “rooms” with different lighting, images and all reflected in mirrors over every surface.

    I finished clearing things up after a major declutter and then moved a few other pantry items up to a more convenient location. I also redid my baking cabinet, buying fresh flours, baking powder and a few other items that had expired or that I needed to restock – I like fresh flour and BP before I start any Christmas baking. I will also buy some more sugar this week – still have a good amount on hand but it just keeps going up in price so want to add a bit more while I can.

    I had a lot of soup and sandwich and salad meals with chicken from the freezer so they made for easy meals. I cooked up some pork chops on Friday and invited a friend for supper – and there was enough left for two more meals for me. Finally starting to see a bit of a dent in the older items in the freezer so that is keeping my grocery spending down. I made up some powdered milk, took out some crisp breads from the pantry rather than buying a loaf of bread and made up another batch of tuna and chickpea salad. Did not get around to baking the apple crumble but will do it later this week – apples are all still fine in the fridge. Took a vegetarian lasagna out of the freezer – I had added two about six weeks ago – and have to say – it has held up well. I made each to be about 3 servings and I used zucchini instead of noodles and mixed mushrooms with lentils to replace the meat – and it is really very tasty so I brought a portion to the office today as it is a long day as I volunteer tonight and don’t get home until about 9:15pm and it is too late to eat then.

    Went to the Royal Winter Fair one day last week with a friend and ended up walking about 15,000 steps as we walked back to her condo at Queen’s Quay from Exhibition Place after walking all around the fairgrounds. Hadn’t been in a few years so it was fun – lots to see and lots of free samples of food to try and picked up a few goodies at the Scottish Bakery stand. I was speaking with my stepmom on the weekend and mentioned this and she told me that it’s too bad I hadn’t been there last year as one of my step sisters and her husband had taken some of their sheep down and had won quite a few ribbons. They are winding down operations as they get ready to retire so didn’t come through this year.

    Went to a craft sale after church on Sunday to support someone who had a booth – items were too expensive but I did manage to pick up quite a few pairs of socks at another booth which I will donate to our Out of the Cold program later in the month on our Socks Sunday collection Day so that is one more errand out of the way.

    I’m now trying to get finances sorted and ready for the New Year as I intend on being very frugal come January – really want to get significant amounts paid down on my last two debts in 2024 so will need to get quite creative. I can’t earn anymore (tax considerations and also healthwise) so it needs to come from less spending wherever possible. I’m going to look at more game nights at home etc. instead of going out and inviting more friends over instead of eating out. I enjoy going to restaurants but it is really hard to justify the costs these days. I have cut way back on this sort of thing but will need to do even better in the New Year.

    I hope everyone stays well and that all our American friends aren’t too frazzled with the lead up to your Thanksgiving – and that there will be lots of good bargains out there for everyone!

    1. It must have been so much fun to go to the Royal Winter Fair! Why I didn’t do this when I was young and living in Toronto, I don’t know. I did go to so many events like this when I lived there. I’ve made up for it in visits to smaller fairs since I moved to the West. I can remember going to one one morning on my way to a lunch meeting with an author (I was in book publishing then), and I couldn’t figure why I could still smell the fair in my car when I was in downtown Regina. It turns out the fair smell travelled with me to my meeting!

      I’m curious what kind of goodies the Scottish Bakery stand had. I suspect they included a lot of recipes my Scottish relatives passed on to me. Christmas is a coming!

      1. It was fun and it is really fun watching the look on the faces of all the city kids when they a) realize where the smell is coming from b) get to see how big some of those cows are and c) finally realize where their food comes from!
        A few years ago I volunteered to help a friend who is a teacher take her class to the fair – about 7 and 8 year olds. I had a group of about 5 and it was hilarious! The clung to me like leeches when we went into the petting area and all the baby animals rushed them for the food pellets they were carrying – they were appalled watching a sheep being sheered with one of them declaring – “But Miss – that sheep is naked”! And when I had to explain why Loblaw was sponsoring a very large steer they looked at me in complete horror! Too funny – for the non-Canadian readers – Loblaw is the largest grocery conglomerate in Canada.

        We still have a number of Scottish/British bakeries and butchers in Toronto and surrounding areas and this group supplied many of them. They had Scotch pies, Cornish pasties, potato scones, Empire biscuits, Eccles cakes – all sorts of goodies. I bought a Melton Mowbray pie, some potato scones and a Chelsea bun.

  26. I’m loving being able to enjoy your fresh flowers since ours are finally all gone! Bells of Ireland are definitely a favorite of mine — they just make everything look so lush and fresh.

    We’re renting land to expand our flower farm onto next year, so we’ve been working hard on prepping/amending that all week. We’re supposed to get our first snowfall possibly this weekend, so we’re just in the nick of time!

    Here are my own frugal wins for the week:


  27. *When thinking back over my frugal efforts for last week, I was reminded of one of the single most important things we do to live a frugal life – that is, to be a part of communities of like-minded frugal folk. So many of you here do the same and I think it really is worth appreciating from time to time and cultivating if you have yet to do so. You might be the first one to start it by giving things away, sharing your abundance, etc, but it creates a ripple effect that can benefit everyone involved. Plus, it just makes life more fun. 🙂
    *Our homeschool co-op is just 2 years old but we have such a thriving community and share a lot of values. Almost every family is single income (or single income with lots of side-hustles) so frugality seems to come as second nature as we don’t have to explain anything to anyone. This year, we created a Buy/Sell/Trade (BST) chat on FB (one of many – we have a general chat, a curriculum chat where we discuss issues related to upcoming classes, and an Events chat) and it has been so helpful. I have sold numerous things which saves me the effort of posting those things on Marketplace and delivery is easy as I just take it to our regular meet-up. Last week, we had our last meeting of this session (on a 2 week break now) and had a big sale/swap/giveaway. People brought in household items, books, games, toys, and clothing. Some of it was sold but most was available for free. I offered to take anything remaining to a local charitable organization and a thrift shop since I frequent those places regularly. I think that helped some of the families as they didn’t have to worry about taking anything back home. It was a really fun way to make the last day of the 10 week session feel like a celebration as everyone shopped for new-to-them things. The day’s classes were all about apples – we pressed apple cider (one family donated a bunch of apples and others brought in small amounts from their own trees), make individual apple pies and made apple nachos (sliced apples with all kinds of toppings brought in from all the families.) It was a great day!
    *Gratefully accepted some free food from a neighbor who said they had “too much.” Not a problem in my house with hungry, growing boys. EVERYTHING gets eaten. 🙂
    *Cooked up a 20lb. turkey I bought last year for 29 cents/lb. Made turkey noodle soup (I will let you all in on my secret ingredient because you are my people 🙂 – smoked paprika. Sooo good!) and put up the remainder of the meat for other uses. Made bone broth from the carcass and froze. Picked little bits of meat off the bones afterward for the dog and cats. Nothing going to waste and so many good meals to come.
    *Bought a 49 cents/lb. turkey for this year’s celebration. My mother and I have a deal – if I go get it, she pays for it. One less thing she has to think about and I am glad to do it. My in-laws will come on Thanksgiving Day and we all share in making our favorite family traditional dishes. All ingredients I need are already in my pantry so nothing needs purchasing now (thank goodness!)
    *Grocery shopping is still kept to a minimum and we use things in the pantry and freezer. Eventually, we will have to replace our stockpile, but by having a large one, we have time to spread it out and maybe find those good deals that seem so elusive these days.
    *Our Fall has been so unusually mild thus far (with one chilly weekend exception) we have been able to go many days without a fire or only a small one in the morning and we can let it go out in the afternoon. This will save our firewood and help it to last longer. We continue to work on splitting wood for next year.
    *Have been cleaning out my boys’ closets which not only house their items but have space in the back (under the eaves) for general storage. Feels so good to clear out and tidy things and it costs nothing but time.
    *Sold some of my husband’s little used outerwear f0r $40. He had extra items he feels fit him better and now we have more room on the hooks in the mudroom.
    *Have a lovely week, all!

  28. We’re continuing to do all the small frugal money saving measures that we routinely do. But, my focus lately is to stock our pantry and freezer with items that we will actually eat and use and that fit our current lifestyle. When the pandemic first hit, I was reactive and stocked up on rice, flour and other bulk grains and starches that hubby and I just don’t typically eat on a daily basis. Most of those items were later given away to others who could use them. We no longer cook in bulk to feed and fill growing and hungry children and teens. It’s just the two of us and we eat mainly very lean protein, fresh veggies and fresh fruits. We don’t eat lots of breads, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, etc. that are less expensive to include in a meal plan. And, as a rule, we don’t keep desserts and sweets available at all times. So, that’s my current quest … to keep a sensible stock of healthy foods that fit our eating plan. When lean meats and fresh veggies are offered at really good prices, I will stock up and freeze in meal size portions for 2. Veggies will be blanched (when necessary) and frozen the same, as well as fruits. I’ll stock up on sale priced canned veggies and fruits as well. I’m hopeful I’ll be successful in my quest and am appreciative of any tips you all can share for these types of food items.

    1. Carolyn, I have solved the veggie question by making sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). My husband can’t really eat vegetables, and they are really expensive over here in winter, so it is just me. I love sauerkraut for many reasons, the price and the versatility being the biggest ones. It also freezes well. I also gather, blanche, and freeze nettles in early summer, and use it in soups and occasional pancakes.

      1. I live in a Ukrainian neighbourhood so pierogies are very popular and I do love the ones stuffed with sauerkraut. I don’t make my own but I do buy jars – love it in the winter – also jars of prepared red cabbage – real Winter food!

    2. Hi Carolyn in Texas

      One of the things I most loved this year was buying some lovely (very inexpensive) tomatoes. I roasted them all at once in the oven, then put them in ziplock bags, flattened them, and froze them –– they have been a great addition to pasta, soup, stews, etc. I think I could make a dip with them, too. Very lovely

  29. I was so blessed to meet up with GardenPat in person today about some food storage pails she had made the long trek to secure. She surprised me with 2 cases of corn and applesauce AND a big bag of fancy bread for sandwiches. Such a blessing! I am so grateful for this community of like-minded people. Other win this week include cooking up 5 pounds of clearance pork butt for BBQ pork, pork tacos, and pork enchiladas. We will be sick of pork after tomorrows supper but well feed!

  30. Along with the others, I am agog at the lights. Thanks for posting a picture so those of us not lucky enough to go can still see them.
    My best haul this last week was getting $25 off of my Fred Meyer shopping trip using coupons. I rarely find coupons and don’t even look for them, but these literally dropped in my hand. I was in line and this young man came along with only a bottle of pop to buy. I told him to go ahead of me. He thanked me and handed me two coupons, saying he did not have time or want to use them and he thanked me for letting him go first. His checking out was over before I realized what they were and could thank him. The coupons came to a total of $20. Added to the items I was buying that were on sale, it came to just a few cents over 25 dollars that I saved. I had less than $10 to pay out of pocket. Mended a pile of clothes. Made double of most meals and froze them for future lazy nights. That is about it for savings, besides the things I do every day like batch errands, even if it means putting them off for a day, reusing plastic bags until they fall apart, drinking iced tea instead of pop, and so on.

  31. I loved grocery shopping last week. We got three heads of Romaine for 98 cents, a large box of spinach for $1.48, a 3 lb. bag of Johnathan apples for $1.98, 10 lb. of Chicken leg quarters for $6.90, and large veggie trays with ranch for $1.48. We are eating lots of veggies this week and I will make chicken. Oh yes, we also got packages of cheese for 99 cents. We thanked a grocery clerk when he told us about the veggies then he later showed us where they keep the sale items. We were talking about getting cheese possibly and he showed us the sale cheese! I was so happy! My son got yogurt for 49 cents a container and I asked the manager to help me figure out the digital coupon to get the $1.00 off butter. Everyone was so helpful! A friend brought us eggplant, green tomatoes and a bag of pears. I was so pleased! So we have been enjoying pears, I cooked the eggplant and will make baba ganoush tomorrow. I will be making fried green tomatoes as well very soon. Today, I cooked pinto beans. I thawed some meat and we will have that tomorrow along with veggies. I don’t think I will need to shop this week. But if we do go to town, we will probably shop at my favorite store just to see if they have more amazing deals. I do like to shop and eat the deals. Our electric bill was 30 dollars cheaper this month than last. That makes me happy!

  32. We rented a room at the library to host a board game afternoon for our homeschool group. It was really easy and no cost, so we will be doing that again as our house is very small. I am taking a reset your gut online course and getting motivated to add new fresh ingredients in our diet. We are cleaning the house before the holiday season begins.

  33. Brandy, I love the paper Snowflakes room – so incredible, and having seen your beautiful zinnias I am convinced I should try
    growing them.

    I have been trying to finish sorting my late friend’s documents (outside) but when the weather has been clear the
    wind has been ferocious. A friend’s brother was supposed to come on Monday to help finish yardwork but he did not come
    (supposedly ill).

    I have been trying to rake up the enormous number of spruce cones that were blown off during strong windstorm but my back almost immediately starts to hurt.

    I had to sit down and rest and while doing so a huge jackrabbit hopped past – it lay down and slept in my neighbours’ yard for two hours. I waited for it to wake up and return to this yard but it didn’t. While waiting, I got 4 lovely photos of a Blue Jay. I’ve tried before but it’s always been elusive. This time a little sunbeam surrounded the bird so that its blue really showed up.

    I had hoped to take advantage of No Frills’s really great special on Campbell’s Chunky Soup but it goes off special today
    and my volunteers cannot pick it up. Tomorrow the new flyer starts. No Frills again has its PC lasagna and other frozen entrees
    on sale for $6.49 each (reg $10.99). I will buy a few to stock up my freezer. I cannot make it for that price. Also they have Tim Horton’s soup on at a good price — I really like the Mediterranean Lentil soup – more expensive on sale than the Campbell’s I think it is lower in sodium than some other soups.

    I wasted a day and a half proofreading an article for someone. He had many typos. I had promised a long time ago to do this.
    He could not read my annotated copy of his article and when I tried several ways to do it he still could not open the comments so I wasted several hours typing them all out. Then he replied he could open the first format which meant I’d just wasted time.

    I donated a small bag of groceries to the veterans’ food bank (4 cans of soup, 2 jars of pasta sauce, 1 bag of pasta, a can of lentils, 2 cans of chili) — about $20 worth. Still every donation counts.

    Last week I bought 2 bottles of olive oil for $6.95 each (reg $14.95). Starting tomorrow, No Frills has PC frozen entrees (1.2 kg of lasagna for $6.49)
    reg $10.95. Time to buy a few to stock up my small freezer or stash in a friend’s freezer.

    It will be a very sparse month spending wise. I’ve ordered the Christmas cards that I’ve made as well as copies of some photos. One will be a Christmas gift. I lack about 3 gifts and I want to make some charitable donations.

  34. My friend kindly brought me several fruits and veggies from her daughters garden which we are still eating. She also shared some natural peanut butter which she had a big tub of. Our gas, electric and water bill came in at $107.30 this month which I thought was very good for 2 people. We are enjoying milder weather than normal for November which is likely keeping the gas bill lower than normal.

  35. I love your photos! My garden has been long gone as we get our first killing frosts the beginning of September, it’s so refreshing to see the bright colourful flowers!
    Money saving items for us the last few weeks:
    -Cut my husbands and sons hair
    -stocked up on baking products. 2 of our local stores has first Tuesday of the Month save an extra 15% off. Sugar was $2 for a 1kg pack for icing sugar or brown sugar, with the discount brought each package to $1.80. Yes I can make my own brown sugar (and I do) but it’s nice to have this as backup as we do a ton of Christmas baking.
    -processed my homegrown tomatoes into 43 half pints of Rotel (super expensive in Canada and getting harder to find in my area. On sale it’s $2.50 for a 210ml can, regular price is $4+), and 9 pints of sauce. This is added to the already 12 pints of enchilada sauce, 24 pints of pizza sauce and 30 pints of salsa made from this year’s harvest. Just needed to buy a few jalapenos to finish all the above products. Everything else is home grown. Waiting for the rest of the tomatoes to ripen and they will get turned into sauce.
    -Christmas shopping is 90% finished. Used rewards points plus some excellent clearance sales to purchase gifts.
    -bought gift cards from our Motor Association to buy groceries and other necessary items items plus a few for gifts as well. I get 5% back on the value of each gift card which I then can apply to my membership renewal or use for other gift cards. The ones I use often are reload able online so I make sure that I reload them before purchasing and get that little extra back.
    -made dinners at home from pantry items. I’m feeling that our pantry and freezers are very well stocked so I’m pleased with this year’s harvest. Still have some frozen fruit and berries that need to be turned into jams and syrups and several chicken carcasses that need to be turned into stock but that can happen as I have time.
    -borrowed many books, movies and a radon detector from our local library. Radon Gas is an issue in our area but the mitigation work my husband did on our basement seems to have kept us in the green area so we are good!

    Hope everyone has a lovely week and good luck to all preparing for Thanksgiving!

  36. Your zinnia photos are so beautiful, Brandy.
    Since Thanksgiving is nearly here and this is such a knowledgeable community, I have a question for anybody who might have an answer.
    I recently purchased a pasture raised turkey breast from the local farmer’s market. It was far from frugal, but I wanted to support a local farmer and also have a healthy turkey dinner. Since I spent much more than I normally would on a turkey, I want to make sure to cook it the best way for this type of poultry. I know that pasture raised require a “low and slow” method of cooking. I have done some research online. That can get a bit confusing so if anyone has prepared this type of turkey with success and would be willing to share their method, I would be grateful. Thank you.

    1. If you have a roaster pan, that would be ideal. If no roaster, then place the turkey in a large deep baking pan (I have an oversized 12 X 17 thing), put a small amount of water in the bottom, place the turkey on a rack of onions, carrots and celery, season as you typically would. Then cover with foil and make sure you have a tight seal. You can roast at 325 for about 20 minutes per pound. Some like to roast turkey breast side down, but I’ve never done this. And if you are stuffing your bird be sure to add a bit of cooking time (up to 10 minutes more per pound). I know that pasture raised turkeys are very costly and you want the best cooking method. If anyone has better ideas than mine, please share with Kim…

      1. I always roast mine unside down with no rack. It works well. I serve the meat sliced rather than everyone waiting for a whole bird to be carved.

  37. I harvested kale and herbs from the garden. I made a large pot of soup and fresh sourdough bread for a birthday, plus a homemade chocolate espresso cake. I was tempted to just buy a cake but I’m glad I resisted. Served leftover soup to another family get together. Cooked a spaghetti squash that was about to go bad. I also baked up a pumpkin and some random squash. Made pumpkin sourdough muffins. I got pumpkin spice creamer again, which has kept me away from Starbucks. I got some grocery deals, like 49c turkey, clearance ham lunch meat, sausage, peppers, hot dogs and crackers.
    We’ve been working long hours, so we’ve had some extra meals out. Trying to stay on track.
    I rescued an old mirror to repurpose at a rental house.
    I found some more gym and running gear at the thrift store, as well as an outfit for a concert. I found 2 shirts to resell, which should pay for my trip. I rejoined the gym for the winter and am continuing to run outdoors. I was given some home gym equipment from a family member, which my husband will use.
    We were given more kids clothes, and I passed along several items. I sold a few items on eBay. I bought some Melissa and Doug toys for Christmas on marketplace.

  38. My really big accomplishment in the frugal department last week was to spend $23 on a 130 watt electric fleece throw. The house is insulated to 1967 standards. I will be moving next spring or summer so I am not spending the money to insulate it better. This will keep me comfortable at 62 degrees instead of 75 for 35 cents a day maximum. The $10 400-watt heater that cost $1 a day I tried first left me uncomfortably cool. It is unplugged now. That $23 purchase will cut the natural gas bill almost $165 while increasing the electric bill just $10 during the months when it is coldest outside.

    I bought lots of emergency food at 1/3 off years before the pandemic, enough for mom and me for at least 18 months with few exceptions: Butter, milk, fruit and vegetables. Thanks to the food I bought and stored, I know I won’t go hungry this winter.

    This winter has turned into my financial emergency thanks to a younger sister who got herself into a huge financial bind by signing up for an adjustable rate reverse mortgage in March of 2022 to avoid having mortgage payments on her new house. Somehow, she and her husband also owed others another $80000 by the time we held mom’s memorial service. She decided to try to solve her financial woes by creating a big problem for my finances.

    I now have to be ready to move by March 13, 2024, a full 2.5 years before mom wished me to move as she stated in written and witnessed writings a decade or more before she was diagnosed with dementia, after not lawyering up before a probate court hearing on other matters because I had not been given any notice whatsoever that the sale of the house was the main topic on the agenda. Mom had filed a ladybird deed to specifically separate the house from the probate case so I was caught totally by surprise. My sister’s lawyer had given her hopes that she could force me to list the house the day after the court hearing last month. Major fail. So much for the hundreds if not thousands she spent on his fees. If she had just explained she had a big problem, I would have agreed to a listing date just two months later than what we now have to meet when the yard will look so much prettier instead in the middle of the spring thaw.

    Now I have to move most of my things into storage before the house is listed (and I have so many books and craft supplies) and all the rest of my stuff by the closing date for a month or two because I cannot prequalify for a mortgage or have funds to pay for things like home inspections until after the sale of this house closes. Twice as much work for me in much less time. I had planned on wrapping up the probate case and then working on the sale of the house. She also had previously said they were coming next summer to help get the house ready for sale. Hah! Now all the house sale prep work is on me alone-after all the work and added expense of caring for a very very old mom was mine alone. I might find myself having to wrap up the probate case while couch surfing.

    Thanks to her lawyer, no more of the estate’s funds can be disbursed to either of us until the house sale is wrapped up. I think he did that to keep me from having money to hire a lawyer to attempt to reverse the results of his ambush. I can only take solace in the fact that my sister is hurting financially as much or more from this court order as I am. And she is the one stuck paying her lawyer bills. I had told her early on that he was bad news. So much for listening to your older sister.

    Don’t foolishly trust, like I did, a person who abandoned a still conscious 99-year-old mom on home hospice a few days before she died to do the right thing. Ever.

  39. Hi I,
    Wow, that utility bill is incredible. In addition to your conservation efforts, no doubt
    you have a very well-insulated home. My bill was $239.00 but that includes all taxes (carbon tax, gst , and administration fees)
    so not just consumption. Before other readers get envious, our bills are not usually that low — it is the month we are looking at — no heating or air conditioning required. That is the bill for consumption for September when it was very warm. We also used almost no water
    due to the watering restrictions. I cut back on showers so I could water my 60 year old trees more (still within the watering restriction rules).
    (Next year I’ll be getting several rain barrels so I can have water for the trees during the hot part of the summer. The trees keep the yard very cool even during hot days. And in winter the yard is about 5º c warmer than at the street. Natural gas use was almost nil (no heating required). The next bill has been prepared and it is about $350 and that is for October. More heating was required. Of the total bill, taxes, gst and administration fees account for probably half or more. For example, there have been some months when the water consumption has been $25.00 and taxes and administration fees have been $75.00. Our house also has two furnaces which adds to the cost. In a cold December this year I expect a bill of about $600 (much less than a friend because I tied into a very favourable natural gas rate with no administration fee). Still, well done, I!

    1. Anne – one lucky thing about living in an apt. is that our heating is included. I do pay my hydro (electric) bill separately and one month I paid $67 dollars – and $50 of that was admin. & tax – only $17 in actual use!!!!

  40. I avoided the grocery store this week, after going twice last week. I did go over sales ads but I’m really not seeing good buys on baking supplies. Most prices on flour as a ‘sale’ are $3.00 a bag. I had my daughter pick up 10# bags of flour at Walmart this week. I got 50 pounds total for $24 which is a little higher than the 25# pounds they sometimes have but still a better price than any I’ve seen elsewhere. Turkey here is 59c a pound with minimum purchase of $25 and running 99c a pound at Aldi. My daughter’s boyfriend told me that Walmart sells turkey at loss just to get people in door to buy other holiday goods. That’s fine, but I have to drive further into the city to get to a Walmart, so I’ll likely pay a higher price than those.

    Since we are having Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, I need only turkey to make our home foods as we are having Turkey sandwiches with my daughter/family and guest(s) on Thanksgiving night here. I’ll serve with chips, have toppings and cheeses. I’m going to bake pies. I’ll just let it be simple.

    I put a small amount into savings again this pay period which boosted my Christmas savings (I set up an account just for Christmas when Maxine asked me to join in her ‘in my pocket’ challenge.) Now to get busy and determine what we will gift. We tend to gift our adult children money with small gifts. I try to make them thoughtful gifts or fun ones.

    I made all our meals at home this week except for one lunch. We brought home enough leftovers to serve us two meals. We ate leftovers for lunch several times. For supper one night, I used leftover pork chops, taco shells and a citrus lime sauce to make a taco dinner that my family were super pleased about. It stretched 1.5 pork chops to serve 3 generous servings.

    Most of what I did this week is just what’s routine. I made bread. I cooked at home. I switched off lights in rooms we weren’t using. I took some down time from my grandson to set the pantry to rights. I jotted down sales items at the stores and compared prices between four stores to determine where I might shop. I kept track of spending. We hung clothes to dry. When my daughter needed extra items for grandson, now that he is potty training, I dug out shorts and usable but thinner underwear in his size from storage. I paid bills well ahead of due dates so no late charges would be incurred. We combined trips to town to do several things at once. But most of all, I’ve tried to be thankful every single day for every blessing, every stretching of meals, every item I’m able to take from my pantry shelf instead of going to town to buy.

    Brandy thank you for sharing the museum display on your IG account. The photos were stunning and I kept marvelling over each new room you went into. I wondered often with the waves, waterfalls and beaches what sort of experience that was for you in your desert home.

    1. I’ve been to the beach before. It was really strage because the waves come up like real waves, not always the same. Eventually, it loops, but it takes a bit. You feel like you should be getting your feet wet and feeling the sand move out from under you, but you don’t.

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