I found a 5-gallon potted Oroblanco grapefruit for $29.95! I was in another part of town taking photos of a house for sale and stopped by the closest Home Depot to look for one. It’s the third store I was at in the last couple of weeks. I had seen one at the first store, but it didn’t really have a trunk (more like one sideways branch!) so I thought I would look at other stores to see if I could find one (this size is not listed on their website). Previously the only one I could find locally (at a nursery) was $400 (on sale for $200, but still too high for that size tree!)

With an Oroblanco tree and two Ruby Red Grapefruit trees, I will be able to harvest grapefruit from my garden for most of the months of the year. It will probably be at least 5 years before the trees are large enough to start to give me a harvest. I will be concentrating my fertilizing and pruning on helping them to grow large the first few years and knocking any fruit off that does form to encourage the tree to spend more time in branch and trunk growth than in fruit production.

We also stopped at another nursery while in that part of town and found another one of the almond trees that we need for the garden. My husband was with me and it was senior discount day, so that saved 10% off the price.

Another day, I went to the nursery close by and checked to see how much another type of tree costs. I decided this past week to discard the trellis plan in one section of the garden and to go back to my original idea of pleached trees. I did some research to determine what kind of trees that are available locally would work. Pleached trees are not common in the U.S., and the types of trees that are usually pleached in the U.K. and Europe are not trees that are available here. I decided to grow flowering pear trees (which bloom but do not produce an edible fruit). These basically will form a hedge that starts 6 feet off the ground. To my surprise, the trees were on sale for $10 off when I went to the nursery! (They were not on sale in the ad!) I decided to get them now and found a way to make them fit in our van (since I wasn’t planning to get them that day, I didn’t have a trailer with me) so that I could save the gas of a second trip. I’ll have to stake them and make frames myself, but I found a great tutorial to do so on YouTube. A pleached tree is essentially an espaliered tree, just starting above head height.

I dug a few more daffodil bulbs from the garden to replant when the new beds are done.

I figured out a way to squeeze a few more vegetables and herbs into the new garden design using succession planting.

I harvested basil and basil seeds from the garden. I also harvested a couple of carrots, a leek, and some peppermint.

The peppermint has spread considerably in the garden, as mint does (I have tried growing it in a pot only to have it die in our summer heat). I was able to gift some peppermint (before we dug up that area of the garden) and some paperwhite bulbs that had multiplied to a new neighbor down the street. I plan to share some hollyhock seeds and some nasturtium seeds from the garden with her as well. It’s nice to be able to gift someone something from the garden that reproduces so readily. I hope the new garden will be even more generous and allow me to gift food and flowers to many people.

We rented a mini-excavator and used it to start digging up the garden ourselves. My husband pulled all the grapevines, four tree stumps, four concrete posts, and most of the hedges out as well as made considerable progress in digging the new garden beds. We will have to rent it again, but first, we have to move all the dirt that we dug out to new places in the garden or haul it out. You can see a video of the garden on my Instagram account here.

I was able to buy another pair of jeans for my daughter and myself on sale at Target, using the $15 gift card I received the last time I went from the diaper deal (spend $75, get a $15 gift card) to pay for one pair.

My husband cut my hair for me.

What did you do to save money this past month?

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110 Comments

  1. It sounds like your orchard is expanding! Well done on the sale you found!
    Granddaughter (age 10) came over for a sleepover and I got her quilt that she had sewn the last time she stayed over all quilted! https://pin.it/6xXJahw. I was gifted a big bag with several large pieces of polar fleece so she and I found some simple free patterns and instructions to make things with it. So she decided she wanted to make Christmas presents for her mom, dad, brother and sister! She made a scarf for each of them, mittens for her brother and sister and a hat for her little sister. I got out Christmas paper so she was able to wrap all 4 presents and put gift tags on them. She was so excited that she could make gifts on her own that she could give to each in her family! You can see in the photo in the link above that she has a scarf that she made for herself too!
    I received 3 quilts from a client who is one of your followers on Friday. I had previously quilted 3 others for her in the summer. On Saturday, the following day, I had the first 2 quilted. https://pin.it/UK4aV0V and https://pin.it/4G9U7Cv. The third one got done by Monday morning.
    I have a local friend who is coming over this week with “a few” lap quilts for me to quilt for her, another non-local order should be arriving for me to quilt this week too and I just got a text from a previous local client who will be bringing over a quilt her aunt wants quilted for a Christmas! So the investment in our used longarm machine, Lenni, has been worth it – both as a way to quickly finish all those quilts I’ve made but never quilted because they were too big and also as a way to add some income to our budget to pay down our mortgage and add to our savings.
    I went shopping this morning for Thanksgiving Turkey. Even though it will just be the 3 of us, I got 3 big 23 pound birds. At 31 cents/pound, I bought 1 and so did Hubs. Then I bought the third one at Kroger’s. With the extra meat, I will portion and freeze it. It will show up in our “chicken” enchiladas, “chicken” pot pie, etc!
    I also bought 5 ten pound bags of Russet potatoes at $1.49/bag. That’s the cheapest I’ve seen it in a long time and they keep well here in the winter!
    I also bought 3 boneless pork loins for 99 cents/ pound and will grind them up to make into breakfast sausage! I already have a big jar of breakfast sausage seasoning mix made up. I bought 5 more Kraft Mac and cheese because between sale price ibotta and Catalina, they were 25 cents each and are handy for grandkids or in an emergency.

    I also found Campbell’s chunky chicken soup on clearance for 59 cents a can so I bought the 10 cans they had. I had to have a clerk bring a step stool since they were at the back of the very top shelf and even Hubs couldn’t reach them! I can make chicken noodle soup but I like to have some “just in case” things that can be made up super fast if someone isn’t feeling well! We are feeling well prepared for a long winter!
    I also found canning lids at Meijers so I bought 4 boxes, leaving the rest for others. I’ll watch when I’m out in a week or two and pick up a couple more each time since my canning “season” never ends. That way I’m not taking them away from others who need them either!

    I had Hubs and son make dinner in Instant Pot on Sunday night, but this time they had the recipe and had to find and measure the ingredients themselves (last time I got everything out for them and premeasured it)! Another step along the self reliance path!
    Made more of the morning glory muffins. The recipe says a single batch makes 18 but for some reason, it made 31!!
    Other normal frugal things- 2-1/2 dozen eggs from chickens each week, washing ziploc bags out to reuse, etc.
    Fall/winter is in the air, so like the squirrels I see in our yard busily gathering nuts and burying them for winter, we are scurrying around making sure we keep our larder filled!
    Stay safe and healthy!
    Gardenpat in Ohio
    . HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  2. Most of my frugal accomplishments this week involved my sewing machine. I had the time to sew and “made hay while the sun shone.”
    * We ate from the freezer and pantry. We made a Costco run with a list and stuck to it.

    * I finished sewing a fuzzy leopard print robe for my daughter for Christmas. I made it over a period of a few days so I wouldn’t get in a hurry and make stupid mistakes. She’ll love it! I spent about $20 for the pattern and fabric last year (but didn’t even get it started). I already had the zipper (the package was marked .60, LOL), thread and interfacing.

    * I made 4 cloth napkins for my daughter-in-law for Christmas. Bought the fabric on sale, had the thread in my stash. She has a “thing” for cows and my son mentioned they needed a butter dish. I bought a Holstein cow butter dish online for $13 and the napkins are a cow print.

    *I made a scrunchie using the Martha Stewart pattern Brandy linked to last year. (I love your search function!). Cost: $0. Now that I have scrunchies figured out (and it’s not like they’re hard!) I plan to make a few more for stocking stuffers with fabric scraps and elastic I already have.

    * I re-sewed the zipper of my daughter’s tote bag.

    * I emptied plastic shoeboxes we already had to reuse for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes (this is National Collection Week). They aren’t as festive as the official OCC boxes, but they’re an extra gift that the 10-14 y o kids might appreciate. I am doing 4 boxes this year–the two I didn’t get sent last year and two more for this year. Two for boys, two for girls. Brandy, thanks for alerting us a few years ago that children of this age get the fewest donations.

    Hope everyone here had a fun and frugal week!

    1. Forgot to mention, I cashed in $30 worth of Honey Gold points for a Amazon gift card. I had another $45 worth of GCs in my account and tried to cash them in for a $75 GC, but you can’t use a GC to buy a GC for a present. Since it all comes out of the same pot, I went ahead and bought the $75 GC and kept the rest in my account for future purchases.

  3. Sounds like you will have even more of a beautiful garden than ever! I do have a question regarding flowering pear trees. I live in Indiana and they are considered a highly invasive species, they smell awful in the spring however they look beautiful….kind of like good cheese, stinky but tasty:) Our variety is called Bradford Pear trees (or Callery). I’m wondering if they are only considered invasive in the Midwest?

    1. I actually like their fragrance! These are Bradford pears. I don’t know why they would be considered invasive. Most plants that are considered invasive in places as not invasive here (such as violets). I have had only four invasive problems at my house: mint (fairly easy to eradicate, but I have seen it choke out plants), passionfruit vine (sends out underground runners across/under 5 feet of concrete), elderberry (popping up all over from underground spread; we’re working on ripping it out), and crabgrass (which we’re also working on ripping out).

      1. I had no idea they were invasive until I looked it up. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/life/home-garden/blogs/gardening/2020/05/07/bradford-pear-trees-becoming-invasive/3087856001/ I have a flowering pear planted in the parking strip/swale in front of my house (and so does everyone else on my street) but I don’t know if it is a Bradford. The reason we have flowering pears is that they can survive standing water, and the swales are an engineered draining system that collect run-off (we don’t have storm sewers in this newer part of town).

        1. Interesting.

          Trees if any kind do not grow here at all, natively, so I don’t see them becoming invasive here! Even cactus have to be watered here or they will die, and you only see those closer to the mountains or in wash areas.

          I have seen a few in town but they are not planted real often. The ones that are are very memorable for the two weeks that they are in flower.

          The branch problem mentioned in the article (weak branches)–that is the second time I read about that. However, the tree in the photo was pruned improperly to start; that branch was bound to break as it should have been cut off long ago. I will be heavily pruning these regularly and will be making a trellis for them to keep them in the shape I want.

          1. Bradford pears are terribly invasive in South Carolina. Birds spread their seeds and in the 10 years I have lived here I’ve seen whole fields taken over. Their thick sharp thorns are dangerous to people and tractor tires when farmers try to clear them from their fields. Crossbreeding between Bradford and Callery pears is a cause of the thorns in the Bradford. Broken limbs abound in wind or snow. Just my 2 cents from another state with very different weather and terrain. I’d be very careful. Much of our landscape here is ruined by being overtaken by either Bradford pears of Kudzu.
            On another note, it’s so sweet to think of all the fun your little boys are having in the trenches. Looking forward to seeing how things turn out in the years to come. You are a very patient lady.

            1. I appreciate you sharing how they are in your area. I have heard about their limbs and while we do have high winds quite often (I’ve lost tree branches before in wind storms), we rarely have snow. I will be topping these trees at no higher than 20 feet and they will be pruned to just be between one to two feet wide (like a skinny hedge).

              With so little rain and no trees in our area, these are one of the things that are invasive elsewhere that won’t likely be invasive here. We have to jackhammer holes for trees to grow and we get 4 inches of rain a year; not even cactus will grow without weekly irrigation. There are no fields here; the ground is rock: white, high in salts, and with a pH of 8.2. If you check out my video you will see how white and rocky the ground is. It is mostly caliche here; caliche is lime deposits (basically concrete rocks). We were able to dig down a foot and a half, but no further, even with pneumatic tools, as it is solid.

              I will have to protect the trees from sunburn and borers in our extreme heat. I am painting the trunks.

            2. I found this: https://conservingcarolina.org/bradford-pears-pretty-but-invasive/#:~:text=Once%20admired%20for%20its%20hardiness,poorest%20conditions%20and%20proliferating%20fast.&text=These%20plants%20also%20host%20many,species%20than%20non%2Dnative%20plants.

              The other trees that they recommended for your area are much larger trees that will not grow here. We have to have short trees here. The Bradford says it will only grow to 20 feet and requires moderate water.

              What it says about breakage on that page is very interesting. I am currently looking for good stakes for these; because of the way I plan to prune them, I will need to make sure the stakes are very strong.

              1. I have used metal T-posts to stake trees and also to brace a garden arch. The arch was white, so I spray-painted the posts and they were all but invisible (I wired the uprights to the arch to the white posts). Maybe something like this would work for you for staking. The only caveat is to remove the posts after a year or two because the roots will grow around the post, making removal impossible. (There is a reason I know this :).)

                I agree with you that that Bradfords are highly unlikely to cause any problems in your climate. Even if they formed seeds, none of them would ever sprout and take root. But this is very good info for others to have.

              2. I have had trees grow around metal stakes before; we just took out one like that. I am looking for a wood stake that is 12 feet tall but so far 10 is the best I can find. I need something very secure to which I can attach a frame that will stay in the tree (permanently). As pleached trees, they need to grow very straight.

                I called the extension service this morning and they say they are not a problem. My main concerns are going to be root spread and breakage from winds. I’ve read that they stink, but the ones I smelled in Utah (that were 40 feet tall or more and lined the road where I would walk daily to work) seemed to have a very mild fragrance to me that I could only faintly notice, and I did not find it unpleasant.

          2. we have a lot of Bradford Pear trees here in Alabama. Our last neighborhood planted two in every yard. Every storm people lost huge limbs. We are in tornado alley ( #1 in country for tornados) so have a lot of wind with storms that come through. The Bradford Pear trees do not hold up to the wind. The smell is like shrimp, but they are beautiful in bloom.

            1. Wow, that’s a lot! They are rarely planted here, though the nursery carries them. I stopped today and looked at a couple that are at least ten years old. They look fine and healthy. Trees here do not get very large.

      2. I don’t think they smell myself but every time they talk about it on the news they all say they smell…but I am an allergic mess in the spring with eyes tearing, itchy throat and i’m usually all blocked up, who knows… the spring is really pretty when they all bloom so in my eyes I think it looks quite lovely. I’ve had mint grow crazy but the one thing that I can’t get under control is a plant nicknamed spiderwort. They are like a tall green grass with pretty little pink or purple flowers but they are overtaking my one area and I can’t figure out how to get them under control, they have spread over the years like crazy!

        1. We are digging out the beds and getting rid of all the soil that has crabgrass because it is so invasive. The roots were wrapped around and between daffodils and rose roots. I’ve heard of spiderwort but have never seen it.

        2. Spiderwort (tradescantia) spreads underground by its roots. You have to dig them all out. You may have to screen the soil to be sure of getting them all.

          1. It is true that Spiderwort can spread by it’s roots and even tiny bits will tend to grow new plants. However, if you really want to control them and yet have them in your yard, it’s best to remove the seedheads after they flower. This results in smaller plants and less spreading. It’s just something I’ve noted in years of having them. I love keeping a few in the yard simply because the flower is pretty and the bees love them so.

  4. Brandy your gardens are gorgeous. What do the other yards in your neighborhood look like? Id imagine that all your neighbors are jealous!!
    The only money I spent for groceries out of pocket was for grapes and half & half. Anything else I bought was with my app proceeds that I recycle. I cashed in fetch points for another $50 target gift card. They’re having a deal this week where you can get $10 off a $50 food & beverage purchase. Im really thinking about it, but Targets grocery prices are generally higher than what I spend on groceries. It sorta seems like I’d be wasting money if I did that. I baked 2 loaves of bread and gave 1 to the neighbor. The next night I made 3 loaves of bread and we devoured them all within 2 days. We are just going to have to do without sandwiches untill I get to the bread outlet. I am NOT spending $3.29 for a loaf of bread at Publix. I worked on the publix gas card deal, buying things that I can resell. I picked up 2 $50 wawa giftcards for $40 each. Those will be used towards gasoline. I ordered a Christmas gift for granddaughter on amazon, using points from my discover card. I had it sent to her house so I dont have to reship, nor do I have to worry about any delays with transit. Cant think of anything else I did.

    1. Most people in Las Vegas have rocks, or a bit of grass with rocks in the backyard, or fake grass, rocks, and a few bushes, with a tree or two.

  5. -On my way out the door from a doctor’s visit, he told me to stay safe. It turned out he was talking about not slipping on icy sidewalks, and wasn’t even thinking about Co-vid. The lady ahead of me had a very sore arm, so I think that is why it was top of mind for him. So, just a reminder to everyone to be careful of the things we normally need to be careful of !

    -I made a big pot of chicken broth from chicken carcasses in the fridge freezer, which has been the base for soup for a number of lunches. I’m going to use it as the base for some tomato soup now, and give myself a change.

    -I made hot cocoa using water instead of milk. It had a nice chocolatey flavor without the creaminess that milk gives it.

    -The cat food is not going to last quite until the next check comes in early next week, so the two cats are having human food for supper for a few nights between now and then. They aren’t really partial to this, but I am serving them things as I have them, close to where and when I eat. They are a little suspicious that this is not the treat I am billing it as. On the other hand, it seems to taste okay to them like maybe it is a treat. I am spreading it out over a few days while there is still dry cat food left (breakfast is cat food), so no one is going to get too too hungry if they decide not to eat one of the suppers.

    -I am planning December grocery shopping. My budget is back to regular amounts after a lean month or two, and I am trying to figure out what I need and what I want to make over the Christmas season. I am also planning my 2021 financial goals, and how I want to balance purchases and repairs related to the house, and savings in general.

    1. Elizabeth,
      Always enjoy reading your perspectives abs shopping plans. Like you I often look for deals in the flyers then find the sold out at the store.
      I’ve been thinking about what we want to eat for Christmas and trying to make a list to keep trips to the store to a minimum. Manitoba is all under a code red lockdown with only essential stores open so must shop sparingly. I will wait another week or two to shop, well stocked at present and can certainly make do with what I have.
      I like that you are setting your financial goals already for 2021. I will start doing the same!
      Megan

      1. Groceries are a complicated subject these days, and I am glad to have a place to air my thoughts about it. especially if someone is interested! Since there won’t be any community suppers or pot lucks this year, I am thinking that I’d like to have a special menu or two other than Christmas dinner to help keep the season festive at home. Allowing for available and affordable ingredients, of course!

    2. My Granny used to make what she called dog bread from cornmeal and flour and eggs and feed it to her dog when she didn’t want to go to the grocery. She’d generally pour a gravy over it to moisten and her dog absolutely loved it!
      Just fyi, if need be pets can generally go 4 days without food if necessary but do need to be hydrated. That said, I’d think twice before letting my cat go four days without anything, though she is a hunter and outside. She’s prone to sit on the porch railing and stare in the window at me of a morning and yowls like I’ve absolutely mistreated her after just 12 hours of no food, lol.

      1. I love it! Most dogs are so flexible about these things.

        It is going pretty well with the cats. Mixing up the meals with some being cat food, some human food works better than running out of cat food and switching them entirely over to human food. I’ve accepted that each cat is going to eat his or her food out of the other cat’s dish while we’re doing this. I guess they think the other cat is getting more cat food and less human food. The human food, by the way, is chicken, and lean ground pork. That’s how badly I mistreat them when I serve them human food. Kitties. Sigh.

  6. Brandy you are so inspiring. I actually love grapefruit too but I can’t take it because it interferes with my blood pressure medication. As it does with many heart medications. I thought it worth mentioning because many people don’t realise this. I got a subscription to a local seed company for my birthday. It included a lovely calendar, their magazine subscription and free entry to three of their beautiful gardens. I’m so looking forward to visiting as restrictions are easing in Australia. I hope your family stay well.

  7. Hope it was a nice, frugal week!
    We participated in a (free) family virtual bingo night hosted by my kids’ school. They won “free dress” (no uniform) for a week, and it was fun.
    I made homemade pizza instead of getting the $5 Little Caesar’s pizzas.
    We’ve enjoyed having the windows open, since the weather cooled a little, and the air conditioner is off.
    I filled three trash cans with leaves, and the kids helped. Once they’re emptied, I’ll fill them again, to save on trash bags.
    $5 or less meals included: beans and rice, homemade pizza, homemade hamburger helper, and breakfast for dinner.
    I found a gift from the gift closet for a party at a gymnastics place that my oldest daughter attended.
    I found marked down boxes of mac and cheese for .29/box at Kroger. It’s only slightly cheaper than Aldi, but I bought a few to have on hand for nights when I’m too tired to cook a real meal. The kids actually prefer it to homemade, lol.
    I repackaged the 50 lb. bag of oats into more accessible containers.
    I found another scout shirt for .99 at Goodwill, so now my other son in scouts has had one. Many things here are cancelled, including girl scouts and sports, but at least we still have cub scouts.
    I bought several books at Goodwill Outlet (3/$1), as our library closed for renovation, and the nearest one is still pretty far.
    We’ve enjoyed listening to Christmas music online, even though it’s very early.
    Hope you all have a nice, frugal week!

  8. Cooked all meals at home and hung laundry to dry but what I am most excited about is I bought 10 secondhand paperback books for a Christmas present. I never have considered that before I read this blog and why not? It’s frugal and environmentally sound and the recipient can easily pass them on when she’s finished. I am looking at shopping in a new light!

  9. Our major frugal step this last week was cancelling collision coverage on our 10 year old but low mileage car. We have done that sooner with cars in the past as their value declined but didn’t think of it for this car until now.
    I ordered our granddaughter’s and DIL’s birthday gifts to be shipped directly to their house to save reshaping costs. They will wrap the little ones gifts.
    I have been thinking of fun and inexpensive consumable little Christmas gifts for our local son and DIL. Have come up with concentrated soap refills for foaming soap dispensers and canned brown bread which they love. Will make their favorite cookies and write a check as they are 50 and prefer cash.
    I’m slowly making sure we are stocked up on emergency backup supplies and this month it was batteries. I was able to get what was needed on sale.
    Otherwise same old habits. Enjoy reading everyone’s successes.

  10. It’s quietly frugal at our house. Our hobby is birdwatching and it’s nice to get outside, observe wildlife and appreciate nature, for free.
    I tried growing mint in pots, too and summer in Arizona proved to be too much. I have a large metal feed trough that I use as a garden on the side of the house and I started the fall herb garden using seeds I had on hand (marjoram, dill, chives, cilantro), having only to purchase a packet of lemon balm. The basil and parsley are continuing to produce nicely.

    My pomegranate trees were prolific without much care. I can no longer eat the fruit but I’ve had some nice trades with the neighbors. Sacks of ripe fruit go out and one kind lady gave me many bags of barely used little boy clothing- a year’s worth of lovely clothes for 18-24 months, that will be for our little grandson.

    1. Nina, I cannot grow mint in a pot here. It will die if you miss a single day of water in the summer. I had to grow it in the ground. It likes some filtered sun, so if you have a shadier spot, you can try it again there. It does go dormant in winter so as long as you still have it on drip irrigation, it will start to leaf back out in February/March.

  11. I’m so happy you found such a fantastic deal on the grapefruit you wanted, and will be able to provide grapefruit for your family for so many months. It looks like our first really hard freeze is coming this week, but in the meantime, I’ve still been harvesting some figs, tromboncino, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and a pear. I worked some more on pulling all the morning glory vines off the garden fence, and have all but one small area finished. I’ve been wanting to try making buttermilk from store bought, and did that this weekend. Most of the buttermilk was used in sweet potato pancakes, using a leftover sweet potato. We’ve been enjoying salads from the garden, and a pumpkin pie. The fall garden is coming along, with little cabbage and broccoli heads forming. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/11/november-days-frugal-accomplishments.html

  12. Hello everyone! We’ve had a good week. Thanks to reading this blog I was able to get the free turkey dinner for Ibotta at Walmart. I was able to get everything except for the green beans. We also continue to get seven days worth of free lunches from my sons school. They were previously giving out grocery boxes every week, but this seem to stop right after the election. I picked up several library books for myself and also to share with my parents. I ordered and brought up an anniversary dinner for my parents over the weekend. This particular restaurant gives French bread with each meal. They gave so much bread that my mom decided to share some with us along with the butter that came with it. I also enjoyed several issues of free magazines that I secured through recycle bank. We are continuing to purge and go through all our closets, drawers and the garage. I dropped off another load of donations to the Goodwill today. We are also continuing to use the food that we have and to try not to go to the grocery store. In our area, we have moved to the most restrictive color for the coronavirus. There has been talk about rationing coming back, mainly for wipes and paper products. I did make a trip to the grocery store last Friday and picked up a 25 pound bag of flour and also toilet paper and paper towels. I took an inventory in our garage and we have enough now to last quite a while. Hope everyone has a good week! I enjoy Reading the blog every week and also everyone’s posts 🙂

  13. Loved your video about the garden. Wow, that is a lot of effort! I don’t usually look on Instagram so really appreciate you mentioning it and giving a link. Thank you 😉

    1. Yes, it’s turned into a major renovation! Haha! That wasn’t quite the plan at first but it morphed into that and now I’m pretty excited about it! Seeing the water rates go up about $100 a month since June makes me even more glad that we are doing it.

  14. – Oh my goodness, I’ve received so many great things this week from my local Buy Nothing group. Brand new masks, Bath and Body Works sprays and lotions that are new or like new, some great books, some new soaps and games, some new mango seltzer’s, a winter hat, an ice bucket….lots of goodies. All for free. And I’ve also gotten rid of a lot of stuff this week via the Buy Nothing site too. Necklaces, earrings, clothes, and more. It’s great because it keeps stuff out of the landfill and money in your wallet!
    – My husband usually spends more than I’d like when he goes grocery shopping. At least we cook at home 95% of the time. Now that school has gone all virtual that means my kids are eating lunch here too so even more eating at home.
    – Have sold things on eBay, Poshmark and Mercari….our old shoes and clothes, books, decor, etc.
    – Still taking daily walks and working out at home. Our gym closed in March and I got used to working out at home so when they reopened last month I decided to cancel my membership, saving my $82 a month.
    – I’ve kept a list of all the money saved during this pandemic. It was initially something that I could look at that felt like at least one positive thing had happened from it! It’s a pretty significant amount of money saved (although I’d forgo it to not have had Coronavirus happen at all of course!)

  15. Brandy, I think your goose is a Chinese goose. They have a knob on their head. I have seen one but years ago in Italy. It wasn’t indigenous to Italy though. I saw your yard on your instagram — wow! how

    I am ill and hoping it’s only infected sinuses or a cold. My only contact with people are the groceries that are left on my doorstep and those I wash with a bleach solution before bringing them inside. After this week’s grocery delivery, I will start living off my pantry for a while as we are having a surge here.

    Before I became ill, I gave away a box of food to the church’s food bank and several items to the veterans food bank.
    Also, before I became ill, I washed off and then wrapped the gifts for my great-nieces. For their mother, I ordered online 24 blank cards that I made using my rose photos. They turned out really well. I split the cards into 3 packages of 8 cards each which I will also give to two other people. A friend picked them up from the store for me. I got a very nice hot chocolate mug with ceramic spoon for my nephew. It was 75% off of $30.00. I spent $13 each for 3 Andrea Bocelli pre-ordered cds. I will not have one myself. Many of the songs on it are now posted on You Tube so last night I listened to several of them.

    The daughter of my friend returned the silver (plated) coffee set that I gave her as a wedding gift 14 years ago. She did so very graciously by saying since it was an heirloom of my family it should return to my family. well, what could I do except thank her for being so thoughtful. I personally would never return a gift. nevertheless, I have another friend who loves to set an exquisite table and I sent her a photo and said if she’d like it, it’s hers for Christmas. (It was never an heirloom but I already have one). She’s thrilled. For my Christmas present, she is doing a farmers market run for me. I plan on stocking up with pickled carrots, beets, asparagus.

    I was going to make fudge as Christmas gifts but think I’ll not do it now.

    1. What delightful Christmas presents you have organized. The cards sound lovely. And I am glad you found a new home for the coffee set. Sometimes life has unusual complications, but this one seems to have got sorted out with a happy ending.

      I hope that you get well quickly. Get lots of rest, and take care of yourself, whatever it is!

    2. Hope you feel better soon Ann – you have been so careful so hopefully it is just a bad cold. I’m actually hoping to make it to an Eastern European supermarket next week as I love the variety of pickled and jarred veg that they have – plus – they tend to offer smaller sized jars which suit me just fine!

  16. I altered an inexpensive pair of black pants for my daughter. She has a 34” inseam and needed black pants for work. We found a pair of bootcut pants for $9.88 that are 33” and fit great that I altered into a slimmer leg fit that would be ok at that length. So much better than buying $50 pants for her fast food job!

  17. So glad you were able to find the grapefruit tree you were looking for!! And for such a good price too! Good for you 😊
    I made a large pot of chicken noodle soup last week using two whole chickens that I poached to make homemade chicken stock. Since the soup was mostly for my son who had two teeth extracted last week I left the chicken out of the finished soup and left it with just. Isles and veggies. He loved it and it gave him something hearty and warm to eat over several days when chewing regular food was not so welcome.
    I took the remaining chicken and made a ritz chicken casserole. It took all of 10 minutes to whip up and we had dinner and lunch for two days.
    I pulled a pork shoulder roast from the freezer that needed to be used and made a Large batch of pulled pork. We ate bbq sandwiches and homemade baked beans that I made from dried navy beans. I took the remaining pulled pork and mixed with home canned peach salsa and used that mixture to make quesadillas with cilantro and onion. All very tasty.
    I made two loaves of Amish cinnamon bread. This was a new recipes for us and except for the eggs and milk, which I imagine could be substituted with evaporated milk, dried milk and dried eggs if needed, this was a pantry friendly recipe. It tastes really lovely and makes your home smell divine while baking.
    Holiday sales have started in our area and Covid cases are on the rise.
    We take every precaution and hope for the best. I have noticed that paper towels and toilet paper are running low again in many local stores and people are stocking up.
    I spent $77 at Kroger this week and brought home two 24# turkeys, 3 pork sirloin roasts, a case each of green beans, corn, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. I was so excited to see that my savings were well over $100 on that purchase alone.
    I spent $76 at Publix and bought a whole #15 ham, and an #8 half ham, and 4 forty ounce jars of peanut butter. The price on the peanut butter was incredible at 2.83/jar!
    I returned to Kroger in Sunday and picked up 36 eggs, 25# of sugar, another 15# turkey and a gallon of milk.
    I found 8# of chocolate chips at Costco for 7.79, butter for 7.29 for four pounds. Ham was $1.89/pound there so I picked up a half spiral sliced 10# ham. 2 g allows vegetable oil for 6.89 and three pounds of sausage for 6.79.
    I still have to purchase onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sour cream, egg roll wrappers and cranberries. Napkins, toilet paper and paper towels are also on my list.
    We will be donating groceries to a local family and I am excited that we have enough stored and the provision to buy what is needed to be able to bless them.
    I cleaned out my closet this weekend and purged any items that I had not worn in the last 1-2 years. I have a lot fewer clothing items now but I can get dressed easily in the morning without all the extra stuff in my way. It relaxes me.
    I harvested a huge bunch of mustard greens today and we cleaned and prepared them for a side dish for tomorrow’s dinner. I have not had time to get into the garden and I am thankful that it is continuing to produce well despite my
    Inability to keep it weeded regularly. His is my first fall garden and it’s a bit different but i am
    Learning.
    With the several days of cooler weather we have had I have been able to turn of the AC for several days at a time and our electric bill is finally under $200!!! This is cause for celebration as it has been $400 plus
    Since April. The second portion of our car insurance is set to renew in December too so I am excited to see what savings will be there.
    I caught the one day christmas tree sale at Target and was able to get two more small trees we have been wanting for our home for $40 total.
    We did have to spend funds for the tooth extractions…deductible, coinsurance etc but it saved him from having to possibly have another surgery later in life.
    Hope everyone enjoys a productive week ahead!!

  18. My neighbor’s teenage daughter flushed some unmentionables down their toilet and it clogged our joint sewer line ( old neighborhood) causing sewage to back up in my bathtub and toilet. Then neighbor said she could only contribute $100 to repairs and only after Christmas. At this point, I elect to not get upset. I live in a very economically depressed, rough area, but it is cheap and convenient for work, so there are tradeoffs. The sewer fix was not cheap, $425, but it is what it is, and I actually started giggling over this fiasco! How 2020! This is a different neighbor than the one whose trees fell on my house. I am hopeful things will calm down soon. I am nearing retirement and will most likely sell and move. In other happy news, I bought another turkey breast for Thanksgiving. So, I have two turkey breasts and will have plenty of meat. I also bought more carrots. I like to cook long, large carrots with the turkey and the family seems to like them cooked that way. Work is dreadfully busy. I will be around 300 plus people this week, up close. So, I have told the family, I will be cooking Thanksgiving with a mask on, and food grade gloves, goggles, and delivering to their porches the meal. They can pick it up after I go back to the car. I do not want to expose them to the virus if I am exposed to it in court this week. Some close relatives have aggressive forms of cancer, and are fighting for their lives. I cannot take the risk with them. Really, at this point, all I care about is keeping everyone happy and healthy in the family. I pray all of y’all have a safe and happy week. Little things, and even some bigger things, are not worth getting upset over. Health is what matters. This will be a different holiday, and we can giggle in later years about momma cooking Turkey Day in a space suit! In other news, I took my lunch to work, and other than running quickly in and out of the store for a turkey breast, I stayed out of stores. I continue to use delivery for dog and cat food, and Walmart.Com is my new best friend…lol.

    1. Oh dear. That is such a 2020 thing to have happened. Wonderful that you are laughing through all of it and providing dinners. You’re a good egg!

    2. You are a treasure to your family. As one of those trying to survive cancer, I am fortunate that I can afford to buy Thanksgiving takeout as I don’t have anyone here to cook for us and drop off dinner on the porch. What a great idea!

  19. I love reading about your garden changes! I can’t wait to see the finished result!

    Here’s how we saved money the last few weeks:

    * Butter was on sale for $1.79/lb, which is 40% off the regular price (we usually only see this price once a year)! I bought 12 lbs (up to the limit), which should cover most of our butter needs for the coming year.

    * I also bought squash, onions, apples, oranges, and sweet potatoes on sale in that same trip.

    * I used some of the various boxes we had around the house to make a little box fort for our cats. I just cut holes in the boxes and taped them together, making multiple entrances, exits, and paths through the whole thing. I’ll keep adding to it as we collect more boxes!

    * I used the sets of organization containers I got for my birthday to organize a few things from our food storage, making it easier to use certain items (and getting rid of the need to store things in plastic bags!).

    * We got the snow tires put on the car- my SO had them changed at a shop near their work and had their co-worker pick them up/drop them off on one of the days they worked together. This was both time and money efficient!

    * As a treat, my SO and I got fast food for dinner one night. We used a coupon to reduce the overall cost and still had enough food left for leftovers the next day.

    * I made sweet potato chili again for my SO, and I also made caramel dip to go with all of the apples we bought. I find that we’re much more likely to eat the apples if we have caramel dip, so I decided to make it as another treat (we usually only have caramel dip once a year because it’s not the healthiest!).

    * We were able to save $100 off a purchase for an item on our ‘want’ list, which brought it into our price range.

    * I signed up to receive an extra 2% cash back on purchases on my credit card theough December. Since I put most of our expenses on that card (and pay it off every month), this will be more savings for us without any behavioral changes!

    * I have been focusing on using what I have and making do rather than buying things. One example- I had noticed that a certain medication switch was causing me to break out more, so rather than buy a new product to deal with this, I reviewed the products I already had, referenced the skin care subreddit for more information, and then made adjustments to my skincare routine. These changes are no cost to me, but should hopefully address my problem within a few weeks. I have also been using up some candles we have had hanging around for a while- they make the apartment smell nice and add a nice atmosphere without any dent to our current budget.

    * As I went through and put items into the storage containers I mentioned before, I discovered a few items buried in the depths of my pantry, including a few small bags of specialty flours a friend had sent me and half a 12 lb bag of black beans! These will definitely be used, and I am so grateful to have found them.

    Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

  20. *I was able to purchase a Christmas gift for my teen daughter from Eddie Bauer on a great sale and stack two coupons. This ended up taking an item that is normally $99.00 all the way down to $35.o0! I was thrilled, and hope the good quality will last her for many years!
    *I sold some clothes that are too large for me at a local consignment shop, and gained $27! This is helpful as I have lost 55 pounds and have had to literally replace every single item in my wardrobe over the last two years except for my socks and shoes—those still fit me!
    *My daughter came down sick during the week, but we were still able to Zoom her violin lesson, so she didn’t end up missing a lesson. I was thankful for a teacher who made a last minute switch, and also thankful that my daughter felt well enough to HAVE a violin lesson—we just didn’t want to spread her cold germs around!
    *My daughter received some wonderful feedback on her fund raising video and GoFundMe projects! I appreciate the readers who watched her video and gave suggestions—and during the time that my daughter was feeling the worst from her cold, a sweet reader from England watched her video and left her a comment which thrilled my daughter completely! She even made a donation to my daughter’s fundraising for the food bank!!! My daughter was both amazed that someone so far away would take the time to watch her video, as well as felt so supported that a total stranger would help their project out! If anyone else would like to watch my daughter’s four minute video, the link is on my blog page along with more details here: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2020/11/frugal-friday-week-of-november-8-14-2020.html

    Well, that is all I can think of right now! More details are over on my blog. I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Looking forward to reading what everyone else has been up to!
    ~Susan

  21. This week the grocery sales have been fantastic and I have loaded up. I found sirloin beef tips for $2.99 a pound at Save-a-lot. It was good meat and the butcher was willing to give me all I wanted. (I found one box of quart canning jars at Walmart and we have emptied some so I have enough.) While waiting for the butcher to cut the meat, an older lady asked me what I was going to do with so much meat. I explained that I would can it. She said it was nice to see someone else who still canned. She had looked for jars and lids and couldn’t find them anywhere and felt it was a shame people didn’t do it anymore. I explained there were no jars or lids because everyone “is” canning.

    We continue to pressure wash the house by doing a little bit every few days by leaving the machine out on the porch and all of the hoses on the ground. Not putting up the supplies has saved so much time. It is all we can handle at one time. The house looks much better, but the porch looks horrible.

    Tomorrow I will be taking Mom out for a doctor’s appointment and this is the first time she has left lockdown at her assisted living facility since March. She has become institutionalized and is terrified to even step off the front porch. She keeps trying to cancel the appointment but I won’t let her. She has been terrorized by the news media and is afraid to go anywhere.

    There is some good news. I got a big round bale of hay for my garden…for free!! Well, maybe not really for free. I will probably be trading a batch of chocolate chip cookies for it.

    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2020/11/in-search-of-bale-of-hay.html

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

      1. Thank you Dawnelle and yesterday did go well. She was panicked but after she got in the car and I proceeded to get lost and drive in circles, she calmed down. The GPS took me to the wrong place. We had to sit in a parking lot until the receptionist got back from lunch and could answer the phone. Needless to say, we were late for our 1:00 appointment. It didn’t matter. Mom enjoyed just sitting in the parking lot. Afterwards, she said she wanted to go by her old house to see it. I drove up in the driveway (no one was home) and we set there until she said it was time to go. What is heartbreaking is that they are back on lockdown again. No more visits. I am still seething with anger.
        Jeannie

        1. Oh, no. I’m glad you were able to take her and sit by the house, and that she was able to relax a bit. I’m sure just being with you helped so much, and that is so sad, back on lockdown, I just think maybe these lockdowns are almost worse for some than the alternative. I’m so sorry for your mom and you.

  22. Hello Everyone!
    This week we had a plumber correct a repair and then patch and texture the hole the repair created. We already paid for the first repair so this was at no additional cost.

    My daughter and I were in Costco, getting more toilet paper as the rush seems to be back with spiking Covid numbers. She wanted to try a bag of granola that was new. I couldn’t believe my eyes that it cost $14 for one pound! I looked at the ingredients on the back, searched up a similar recipe and made a batch this morning. It’s called Almond Joy granola. One recipe yields 2 quarts. One jar is to eat now and the other is vacuum sealed for later. I also made 16 dinner rolls from scratch. I bake them 8 per cake pan so that one is for dinner and another pops in the freezer for another night’s dinner. We had the rolls with a homemade chicken & vegetable soup.

    My family has dry skin and most lotions don’t help much. We recently tried body oil and were pleased with the results. However, it’s quite expensive! I found a one gallon jug of fractionated coconut oil, used by masseuses, and the life of the jug will save us $110.

    Our garden gave us lettuce, spinach, scallions, patty pan squash, leek, tomatoes, and winter squash. It warmed up outside and I direct sowed some cool weather crops. I don’t normally do that this late in the year, so it’s an experiment to see what grows!

    We had a lovely hike on the Carmel coast at Point Lobos Sunday. Gorgeous views and sea lions. We parked on the road and walked in. Cost $0!

    I deep cleaned my dining room furniture with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I got into all the crevices and the wood looks beautiful! I ironed the tablecloth and decorated with fall items we already had. It’s ready for Thanksgiving!

    I hung what laundry I could. The weather has been erratic. I drew a line on the laundry soap cup so that the correct amount is used.

    Finally, I also downloaded the Ibotta app after all the encouragement on this site. I think it’ll take a bit of practice to get the hang of. My first receipt was rejected. 😆

    Brandy, it sounds like a little of work is taking place and that your plans are moving along nicely. Great find on your trees!

  23. We’ve been blessed with rain, snow and wind. And today the temps are in the 60s. But the skies are such a gorgeous blue. The night skies have been beautiful as well. Our mountains are covered in white fluffy snow already. Truly a blessing!

    I’ve enjoyed many walks outside in the day and night time. It’s lovely to be able spend time outside exercising with a good walk and so much fresh air. Don’t miss the smoke filled skies at all from October.

    I spent a bit in groceries last week on things to stock up but because of coupons and sales my bill was 1\2 of what I would have spent. I was thrilled! The freezers are full and so are my pantries. Another wonderful blessing.

    I’ve read several books this past week, exercised at home and outside, made cookies and brownies. Made all meals at home except for lunch out at Arby’s with my husband.

    My week was very quiet but was a happy one for me.

    Have a wonderful week!

  24. We have spent the last few days preparing for a Covid “freeze” that our governor declared on Friday. Cases are rising quickly here in Oregon, unfortunately. Our family Thanksgiving is cancelled, and we will be having ours at home with just the 3 of us this time. Rob will, however, cook the turkey my aunt bought for this purpose, and we will deliver the meat to other family members.
    I had already done my first grocery shopping in 10 days on Tuesday, but had my husband pick up a few more things when he took our daughter shopping, as we plan to stay home and eat from our storage. She doesn’t drive and really wanted her dad’s car space to fill up as she was feeling stressed and wanted to stock up before things closed down again. The stores will be open, but with limited capacity, but they would love for everyone to just stay home as much as possible. One neighbor shared he had been to Costco on Sunday, and they were getting wiped out of t.p. and other items. I’m glad we are stocked. We are in better shape than we were last spring, because of all of the canning and freezing we’ve done.
    I was able to use a $10 off $50 for Tuesday’s shop. I had waited for the 10 days because, for once, I had a hard time coming up with that many groceries I needed. (Of course, that happened when that coupon was available:). So, I waited until the last possible day to use it.
    I got 3 sale turkeys and 2 sale hams during the week. Our sales are not like some of your readers’ sales this year, but better than regular prices.
    I made a menu plan to best utilize my food storage during the next few weeks. After all, that’s why I worked so hard all summer–so I could use all that food in a pinch!
    We had a lot of rain and wind. A neighbor’s tree cracked and part crashed down into another neighbor’s yard. The remaining part is aimed straight over the fence at our shop. Yikes! After some neighborhood talking over fences, it was determined that the owner of the cracking tree is going to call a tree service and remove it. Hopefully soon. Before it falls:). In the meanwhile, we immediately went into the back yard and removed our leaning peach tree so it would not fall into the neighbor’s fence if the wind picked up again, as it’s predicted to do tonight. Even though we knew for a while that it needed to be done, the thought was daunting, since we didn’t want to drop branches onto above mentioned fence and have to pay for a new one. So, we’ve been putting it off. This was the motivation we needed, and it really went well and didn’t take too long. We saved a lot of money doing it ourselves, and even more by not letting it fall on the fence. This fairly large, very old tree produced very little, robbed water from the garden, and created too much shade, so I’m actually glad it’s gone. Pictures of our tree-removal efforts and the rest of my week are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. I hope I never post pictures of a tree falling on my shop, but that they, instead, get it taken down before that happens!
    I got my Pinetree Garden Seed catalog this weekend and ordered today. I will wait for my Territorial catalog for the rest of what I want, as I like certain varieties from each place. I will order right away when it comes. Last year, it was very helpful to have ordered early. I got what I ordered in a timely fashion, and Rob had time to start it all in the greenhouse, so I’m repeating that again. Better yet, Rob’s been saving seeds all summer, for the first time in a serious way, and I think we will end up saving around $100 from what we usually spend, with his efforts. (Our garden is very large and we spend a fair amount on seeds each year) I sorted all my remaining seeds from last year before I ordered and found a couple of things I thought were gone, thereby saving money that way, too. There were so many sold-out seed varieties, delays in filling orders, and other issues by the end of last summer that I wanted to get my order in right away this year.

  25. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Great news that you were able to buy the grapefruit tree and some flowering pear trees at good prices. I know it’s some time until they produce but the anticipation will be fun and the first grapefruit will be the best taste ever.
    I made our Christmas puddings this week, two big ones for us and a smaller one as a gift for a family friend.
    I chopped up some of our garlic, put it in a jar, covered it with white wine vinegar and put it in the fridge as ‘easy garlic’ for busy days.
    I stretched beef chilli to become chilli minestrone and some leftovers of a roast pork meal became pork minestrone. Trying to get more beans into our diet and it’s easy to add them into minestrone.
    One of my husband’s clients told him to pick some of their figs and bring them home for me.
    We have picked kale, a marrow and parsnips from the garden and our snapdragons and several roses are having a second flush so I picked some for the house. One of my amaryllis plants is flowering so I’ve moved it to a position where we can enjoy it.
    Still using up windfall apples and made apple, pecan and cinnamon muffins. The recipe mixed demerara sugar with cinnamon for sprinkling on top of the muffins before baking. There was so much mixture it was too much to put on one batch of muffins so I put it in a jar in the larder and can use it up in other baking or on top of baked apples.
    We brought the red onions inside to store and my husband planted out next years garlic, shallots and onions. He planted sweet peas in the greenhouse. We have propagated lots of plants from cuttings and most have taken so my husband potted them on, we have winter flowering honeysuckle, penstemon, roses and deutzia. If they all survive we can give some away.
    Some young friends have moved into their first house and I used the 15% discount on David Austin roses to buy them a shrub rose with the same name as one of the youngsters (Grace).
    I sold 3 items on ebay.
    I bought 2 small Christmas presents from the middle of Lidl.
    I used the 40% off code to buy some Christmas presents from Lands End. When the confirmation email arrived I checked it and the code hadn’t been applied. I made a phone call pronto and they corrected it for me.
    My husband replaced and rewired a picture light in our sitting room.
    Every day is busy and I’m happy we are achieving plenty during this second lockdown.
    Stay safe everyone.

  26. I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words of support and encouragement concerning the severe flooding after Tropical Storm ETA. The back of my property remains under some water, but I no longer see turtles swimming out my bedroom window! The tractor was towed by a neighbor who thinks he can fix it! It will be a while before I know how much tree, and plant loss I have. All of this can be replaced, albeit slowly. I am with Cindy is the South, keeping a sense of humor about things.
    Thanks again for the continued life line you all provide. Sending each of you love. Stay safe.
    Patricia/FL

  27. Received a flu shot at Publix and obtained $5 gift card. Then repeated for the entire family! So, a total of $50–I don’t mind getting a shot when I’m paid! One of the cards didn’t work and I had discarded the receipt. Customer service is working with me and I only have to take items I want to purchase to their desk next time I go. I usually don’t buy things at Publix as they are usually more expensive. But they have a b1g1 the week. I have received a lot of veggies recently and have been freezing things. I’m grateful to be stocked up now and have been working on 3-6 month supply. Only a few more items to go. I’m glad to be able to spend less each month now! I just need fresh items now. I have been reusing canning lids with success, which is great. A coworker sold me a box of new pint jars and lids for $5. My dh is refinishing a sailboat, not frugal! But is wanting to learn to sew so he can make cushions, etc. And maybe his own sails. He researched and purchased a Pfatt for $125. it’s all metal except for one gear and well made. I have been wanting to learn how to sew so this machine will be handy. We attended an event a month ago, outside, and received 3 new masks.

  28. Great going on the garden and finding good deals on the plants!

    While we are reminded to take precautions, we are not under total lockdown, so we will be having Thanksgiving with our two kids and their families. We are sharing the costs and work, and having the meal this weekend instead of the day of the holiday, which means our kids can visit their in-laws on the actual holiday. We’ve been doing it this way for a few years, and it works well.

    I transferred $50 of Swagbucks to my Paypal account and paid for some Christmas gifts with it.

    I watched a not-free movie on Prime for free because I elected slower shipping and got digital dollars on some items for choosing that option. Another bonus of shopping early for Christmas is being able to elect slower shipping.

    We turned in our Operation Christmas Child boxes at church. I got the two “wow” gifts using Swagbucks dollars.

    I found some men’s slacks that are comfortable and easy to open and close, for my husband. They were less than $21 and change at Walmart, but are $25 online. Since I’m in Walmart fairly regularly, I’ll just buy them there. Even with tax, the in-store pants are cheaper.

    I managed to batch-roast five different items at one time this weekend. I’m glad my oven has convection cooking.

    Here’s hoping everyone has a good week and for those of us having Thanksgiving next week, have a happy one.

  29. Hello!
    This past week I was able to participate in an hour long survey that paid $25 in Amazon gift cards. I will be purchasing my final Christmas order this week.
    I have talked at length to family members how this Christmas is mostly homemade items with a few favourite treats. I am thankful that everyone is in agreement. Family will not be travelling this year so we will be having a virtual family Christmas. For those that live nearby we will drop off their gifts and visit on-line only. We are all trying to remain positive and count our blessings this year.
    Snow has arrived in my area so it definitely feels like Christmas. We have decorated early this year and we are enjoying our tree. I am happily cozy inside working on my final Christmas gifts.
    I am old school in that I still prefer to use pencil and paper for my day timer. I just use various notebooks that have been leftover from my kids school and hand write the dates and my to do lists. I ran out of room in my current notebook and just pulled the next one out from my stash.
    I saved several cereal bag liners to use in place of wax paper for when I make Eatmore squares next month.
    Hope you all have a great week; stay safe!

  30. Do you generally just eat grapefruit fresh, either cut in half or peeled? Or make juice? Sugar or salt on top?
    My Mom broiled them a few times, putting halves under the broiler for just a few minutes. The warmth seemed to make them extra juicy.

      1. They are delicious done as you described (halved and sugared) and then broiled, too. A nice treat. My granny used to peel them and eat them by sections as if they were an orange!

        1. I peel grapefruit and cut them in slices across the sections so each piece looks like the cut side of an orange. I sprinkle them lightly with salt (which seems to bring out the sweetness) and a tiny bit of sugar. Well, that is how I used to eat them. I am on a low acid diet and do better if I stay away from citrus, but I do love me my grapefruit! I envy Brandy her future trees.

  31. So much inspiration here!
    Frugal activity this week: Christmas tablecloth is worn in places. This year, decided to use our everyday jute placemats ( solid white dishes) and make napkins from sections of the Christmas tablecloth that is still good. With the grandchildren, we will make a woodland centerpiece with free evergreen branches, pinecones in the yard, treasured ornaments, and candles. This should match the jute placemats.
    Food prices at Publix continue to climb to new norms. They do offer BOGO free but most of it is processed food products. They are also converting space to ready made packaged food-to-go. I know my learning curve is big, but going to learn to grow as much as possible. So glad this website is here.

  32. We set the new budget for 2021 after all 6 kids and some of the grandkids looked at it and did their input. : )
    Daughter 4 made us a basic grocery list with the stern comment of no more stocking up except for ham at Christmas time and use what we have in the over flowing pantry as I canned extra to give her while she fights cancer. She cut the grocery budget to $50 a month. Did the list with amounts and price point, even left about $8 for cheese or what ever extra we would like. I thought Hubby was going to faint. She did give us to Dec 21st to start the budget. We want to have the debt… mortgage, ins loans and work truck total of $350,000 paid off in 5 yrs. We have done it before on less income and it was Daughter 4 that kept us on task. I did price check at Aldi’s and Save A Lot as she does not have those in her area. Daughter 1 that works in a grocery store told us to shop the after the Wednesday of the month (social security hits) and the last week of the month as things go on clearance due to best buy dates.

    I picked some volunteer kale and Chinese mustard. Have in house 4 more trays of tomatoes that should be red this week so I can finish the 4 hot sauces and can the rest of the tomatoes. The garden is finished unless the kale and mustard continue to grow.

    I canceled the Chewy order for the dogs, still need to find a cheaper vitamin pill for them that the vet wants them on, especially the 12 yr old and the 9 yr old.

    A friend gave us 2 large boxes of dog treats, I gave what I wouldn’t give my dogs to Daughter 4 for her rescue dogs. I know have enough “treats” to go 9 months.

    I got a knee injection and the ortho thinks my right leg problem is from my hip not the knee I hurt when I fell in July and is part of my birth defect. They decided to get a MRI ran THIS YEAR so I have no out of pocket with my deductible already met.

    I found some heavier material in the barn to finish the last 2 sets of winter curtains than I had set aside in the sewing room. It’s on the to do list

    I mended two shirts for Hubby and one pair of pants for myself. He darned three of his socks.
    Love reading all the comments, Need all the wisdom I can gather.
    Blessed Be
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/11/new-budget-for-2021.html

  33. I feel like food prices are higher than they were, not sure if that’s across the country, but they certainly seems to be higher here (Pacific NW). One frugal thing that I’ve been doing is using the free app “Santa’s Bag” to catalog all my purchased gifts, even all the stocking stuffers. With 7 kids, their significant others, and extended family, I definitely can’t remember and it’s much easier than a written list, since I always have it with me. It even records price, place of purchase, etc- and tracks all the spending. This helps me not overbuy, not duplicate, etc. I prepped a lot of food and continued my weekly task of tracking my spending. I’ll be curious to see how this next year goes, as the tracking keeps me accountable and motivated (as does this site!). https://www.hewalkedthisland.com/post/budgeting-and-meal-planning-11-16-11-22

  34. In the Uk we are once again locked up with Covid , it is bad in our rural area . so our biggest saving is in fuel and vehicles . online shopping is very hit and miss with the big grocery chains if you can get a delivery slot but our pantry is very full at the moment so we are fine . The boredom does get to you , it’s been wet and stormy so can’t get on with endless outdoor chores , the mending pile is down to repairing Scoobydoos tail , all there is housework my pet hate …lol Family have agreed no gifts for Xmas this year so very much at a loose end and lacking inspiration

    1. Perhaps some organizing? I organized my sweaters, scarves, berets, gloves, handkerchiefs, and bras yesterday. Now I can see what I have and I feel much more inspired to get dressed!

    2. Dawnelle, I’m in the Pacific NW, too. I also see a huge rise in grocery prices, at every store! It has hit me hard! I started doing online orders for pickup, and my local Safeway does not honor the sale flyer prices for a pick up order.

  35. We had so much rain this Spring and Summer many things had to be replanted in our area so we had an overabundance of produce that is usually available earlier in August and October with the produce coming in for those months. My son and I froze some items so we could get to them later. I made Salsa this week and bought a few more peppers at a farm store so that I can make a second batch with tomatoes I froze last year. I precooked sausage patties and hamburger patties and froze them. I made some dill pickles when I found some canning pickles unexpectedly. I purchased some greens and apples at the Farmer’s Market. My son went with me for a large shopping trip so we could buy stock up items as well as regular groceries which was tiring and made me happy at the same time. A couple days later I sorted some excess items we had accumulated and boxed them with help. The boxes will be stored on their side for ease of retrieving items. If anyone needs sturdy boxes call an ABC store and ask them to save you some. I found this out after reading that Vodka boxes were excellent for storing canning jars and I bought jars from Craigslist.

    This week was a major accomplishment for me. I had a heart ablation in January for A-fib, the silent kind and where your pulse goes high and low. Sparing details, I had to change heart doctors. My new heart doctor was very thorough had me wear a Holter monitor for 3 days and immediately sent me to an Electrophysiologist after seeing a very low pulse. After the first visit I knew I was going to be ok. They were backlogged 3 months. We joined a gym where I could walk and do what I could to feel better. I had A-fib a few hours after the ablation so I was put on more restrictions for a few months. I am allowed to do what I can tolerate now. Sleeping and stamina besides walking are my goals.

  36. The work you are doing in the garden is amazing – you must be the envy of the neighbourhood. And all your bargain shopping is so inspiring.

    The only grocery shopping that I needed to do last week was for milk, bread, fruit & veg. We are probably heading for another lockdown so I’m trying to keep fresh items topped up. I plan to hold off for another 10 days to buy a turkey breast & thighs etc. for Christmas as I still need to make some room in my small freezer compartment.

    I worked 3 mornings last week but I’ve stayed home for the past 5 days aside from one long walk along the river on Saturday. We are being told to stay home as much as possible so I’ve spent the time moving some furniture, de-cluttering more items and cleaning. It’s a great way not to spend any money!

    I made a big pot of soup, a pot of stew, batch cooked a tray of chicken thighs and baked up a spice cake mix for desserts last week. A few servings are in the freezer for later meals.

    Did 3 big loads of laundry and then darned 5 pairs of socks! I’m being more conscientious about checking for needed repairs, missing buttons etc. as I do not intend on buying any new clothing until next Summer.

    I’ve started bringing up a few Christmas decorations and will start to put them out in a few days. I’ve also brought out the cards I purchased on sale last year as I’d like to get them written and mailed before the end of November.

    I finished 4 library books last week and will return them tomorrow and pick up another 3 holds that have arrived. My reading speed is still not up to par (concentration is not where it should be) but it’s improving. As soon as I finish a research project that has taken over my dining table I’m going to start a new puzzle that I can work on bit by bit – another way to keep my brain engaged!

    COVID seems to be surging everywhere across the globe so I hope that everyone here stays safe and well.

  37. You are making such terrific progress with your new garden. I’m very impressed.
    This week, I refreshed some of the décor in my house by rearranging art on the walls. (Thank you to whoever mentioned this last week.)
    I made two Christmas-themed pillows, using free downloads and material I had on hand.
    I ordered a Christmas poster to fit in a poster frame my husband trash-picked. I used a free download that says “There’s no place like home for the holidays” and a 30% off coupon to have the poster printed. I’ll hang this in my entry.
    I finished knitting a sweater using yarn from my stash – much of it was given to me years ago.
    I purchased chocolate chips, chocolate bars, cream cheese, sour cream and sweet potatoes on sale. I also received a coupon for a free frozen pizza. I did the Walmart Ibotta deal and was able to find almost everything on the list, and donated what I purchased to the local food pantry.
    My health insurance company sent me a $25 gift card for filling out a survey, and I used it to buy dish cloths and a 6” springform pan.

  38. I continue to do the usual frugal living things like hanging laundry, using up things, and making do. We received our monthly electric bill…$109 for our almost 4000 sf house! The weather was mild, unusual this time of year, and we have geothermal heating and air conditioning. Our house is all electric except our propane fireplace. We use the floor heat option when heating versus forced air. It is much less expensive using the floor heat which we did have to run for a few days last month. The weather in the Appalachian Mountains this time of year can be quite variable. I am very happy with our electric bill and will not complain as we have several big bills coming due soon (personal property taxes, insurance, Christmas, etc.). I did a little grocery shopping last week at Kroger. With their “Buy 10 or more” sale I was able to buy $97 worth of groceries for $42. They were out of Cream of Mushroom/chicken soup and canned gravy so I got a rain check. I got 18 count eggs for $1.29, pork loins for .99/# which I cut into chops, and the .29/# turkey, limit one, along with a few other needed items. I am still waiting for the sugar and flour to go on sale. Once I get those my pantry is good for most of the year. As our covid numbers are rising and our governor implementing additional restrictions our family has opted to not get together for Thanksgiving. Like another reader here, I will be cooking the turkey and stuffing and delivering to my children’s porches and waving from the car. We all agreed we would rather be disappointed, which we will get over, than be sick or worse. I promised to make turkey at the first opportunity when it is safe to get everyone together. It may be Easter but it will be worth the wait. I also had enough fuel points to get gas for $1.10/gallon!

  39. I love to hear of how your garden project is going! And to hear of your tree deals. I’m excited about us getting to start an orchard next spring. Of course, I wish we’d have started 5 years ago but rather now than later. I have 2 almond trees and 2 wonderful pomegranate trees I got from Burgess this fall and have them planted in pots to get started. I plan to be fertilizing them well so they grow fast and well. NC is on the north side of being able to grow these but we’ll see.
    This week we butchered our meat chickens. 47 of them. I am almost done making broth from the carcasses. It’s such a good feeling to have that done! I hope to stretch this chicken for 2 years and skip raising them next year. My husband worked out a deal of a hunting trip in MT (as a Realtor with a client that he helped sell his property). So he’s gone for 11 days hunting elk and mule deer. He was SO excited and I’m glad he could go on a dream trip of his. I’m looking forward to the meat:) we should be stocked for a long time and hopefully it’ll fit in our 2 freezers. Plus the deer he’ll get once he comes back. I love having my husband be a hunter. We probably will never lack meat.
    I sewed some meat bags out of some sheer curtains he picked up at a thrift store for his trip. I also sewed a netting bag from it to use to drain juice off of grapes and berries.
    Aldi has a great sale on butter right now-$1.79 a pound! I’m stocking up whenever I can this week and freeze it hoping for enough until the next sale at Easter. This price is a dollar cheaper than regular price so I figure if I get 20 that’ll save us $20.
    I bought 2 gallons of maple syrup $8 cheaper than normal.
    I saved okra and basil seeds,something I’ve never tried before. I am almost done clearing out our garden and then will spread something on to kill the fire ant problem I have before covering the whole garden in leaves for the winter. I planted 3 rows of garlic, 1 more row than usual since I love giving it away for others to start their own patch. I also still have perpetual spinach, swiss chard, kale, parsley, mint tea, and new zealand spinach growing in the garden and lettuces and radishes in the hotbeds.
    I returned a bag of DE to the garden center since I can get it way cheaper (less than half) through my seed supply, Berlin Seeds. They have incredibly good prices. I used the money returned on some pansies and kale and parsley as well as a plant for a friend that didn’t get good news on her cancer scan recently.
    I believe that’s it for this time. Blessings to your week!

  40. Brandy, your garden plans are so inspiring!
    How we saved this week:
    -I made and canned eleven quarts of chicken broth.
    -We shopped the grocery ads and stocked up on butter, cream soups, turkey bacon, canned soups, and got a good deal on our Thanksgiving turkey (49 cents per pound).
    -We entertained the grandkids with homemade playdough and some toys I had hidden in my toy stash.
    -We celebrated my husband’s and my grandson’s birthdays together with a homemade cake and ice cream bought on sale. We made tacos and Spanish rice. We watched a Christmas movie on Netflix after the grandkids were sleeping.
    Details of our week are on my blog at: http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-20/

  41. We are in the season where one day is in the 30* range and a couple of days later it’s 60*. Today it’s 378F. We had quite the storm blow through on Sunday; high winds, rain and lots of old trees came down. Luckily we didn’t lose power and had no tree limbs fall around our street. The plus side is that the last of the leaves have fallen, been gathered and now await the next pick up day. I was out of town when the big winds really started and it made for an exciting drive home fighting the wheel to stay in the proper lanes.
    I met with friends north of the city on Sunday and we went to a greenhouse for an annual shopping expedition. I got pre-made planter fillers for my house and a few small poinsettias to decorate. We then gathered in one friends garage with heaters and hot coffee for a visit for a little while. Lots of folks are putting up lights early since we are in a red zone and have been asked to stay home. It makes the dark nights a bit more cheery. I had bought a skinny tree last year for $20 and I’ve put it out on the front porch. Now I just have to figure out how to anchor it in the winds. luckily we don’t have any snow yet and I hope it stays that way for a while. Normally we are in SWFLA at Xmas but this year we will be here. That means I can get a real tree! I love the smell of pine in the house. I need to look in my storage and see what decorations I have here soon.
    I’ve ordered several Christmas gifts online and will continue to look for more things. The gifts for grandkids and their parents will be shipped directly. Of course I expect there to be tons of amazon boxes under Christmas trees this year. The two kids closer to here will do the same thing but we will all put stuff in one box for stockings and ship it soon. We still aren’t sure if we will be able to have anyone actually here in the house to open gifts at Xmas this year. It all depends on our Covid numbers that have been over 1,000 new cases a day in the province.
    We gave a couple of our upstairs cupboards to one son for his kitchen storage. That saved him cash as this is his first home. Then DH ordered other bookcases delivered from Ikea to replace those cupboards in his office space. One was damaged so Ikea will pick up and bring a replacement for no charge.
    I got a number of books from the library to read and we have a list of things to watch on various streaming services. For the first two weeks of the Mandalorian we met in my son’s backyard to watch it using his outdoor movie projector and the duvet cover on the garage doors as a screen. We darn near froze but it was so much fun. The third week was rainy so we stayed home and watched on our own. Not sure about this week yet.
    I need to get the dog her Vet appointment for shots and flea meds. And I should order one more bag of dog food to have on hand. I can get it put into my car without going into the store and I will be back to doing the same thing for grocery orders when I need to buy anything again.
    We have a local restaurant within walking distance and they are struggling. So we have chosen to order once a week, pick it up and eat at home. Last week was delicious and so much food we could have shared one meal between the two of us. So, in actuality, we had dinner and then lunches for a couple of days. The owners are so grateful for the support.
    I had some raggedy looking tomatoes and a bit of fresh basil so I made soup. It was so delicious and easy, only 4 ingredients. It has provided dinner and several lunches this past week. I have a cookie sheet full of cherry tomatoes that have ripened from the plants I pulled and left in the garage. There’s still more ripening. These will get roasted in the oven and then frozen for pasta over the winter months. I made a barley/lentil/roasted vegetable casserole this week and although it wasn’t quite as flavourful as I would have liked, it was used up. We roasted a pork butt end for supper one night, used some for sandwiches a couple of days, used some for sweet and sour pork and there’s still some left to use in a stroganoff this coming week. I pulled some frozen turkey and juice from the freezer today to make turkey and dumplings for supper tonight. Another evening we didn’t really feel like having much so it was KD and sausages (turkey ones for DH that I didn’t like and a banger for me).
    I love reading this blog every week as it gives me ideas of new things to make or cook. For example this week I’m curious about the sweet potato buttermilk pancakes, the eat more squares, sweet potato chilli ,caramel dip and the ritz chicken casserole. I foresee some internet searches coming up this week.
    We have had an issue with our furnace and it’s still not completely fixed. And then the boiler on our rental property was acting up but it was an easy fix. Now we seem to have a problem with some plugs in the garage and the outside plug on the back deck. It’s always something, isn’t it?
    I seem to still have some swiss chard and some kale growing in the front garden so I can do a small harvest to go with a meal or two this week.
    I’m pretty well stocked up with most things. I’ve always got a list on the go for things to order and can get fresh fruit and veg delivered once every two weeks or so when I need things.
    Our health advisers have told us to make sure we have washable filters in our masks. I found out it is simply medium weight, non fuseable interfacing so that’s an easy thing to cut up and put in the masks. And it’s inexpensive too. I have some Christmas/winter themed material that I just washed so I can make a few more masks. It will be much more comfy to wear them in the colder weather too.
    This week I finally decided it was time to put the flannel sheets and the Hudson’s Bay blanket on the bed. DH was so happy last night. He’s so easy to please.
    We have been gradually clearing closets of things we aren’t wearing as much and this past week we dropped it off to some collection bins. I hope someone can get some use out of the stuff we cleared.
    Isn’t it amazing how something as simple as cleaning the outside of windows can make such a huge difference these days? There’s so much renovation work in my neighbourhood the front windows were really grungy and it was most noticeable as the sun was going down. So I went out and cleaned them and it is making me so happy. The other thing that neighbours and I were chuckling about recently was how our dining room tables seem to have become ‘drop zones’. I cleared mine the other day and the room looks so much better. Again… a little thing….but makes me so happy.
    Now it time for me to go fold the laundry. Take care everyone, wear your masks to protect you and others and wash those hands.

  42. I harvested sweet limes and Cuban oregano from the yard/garden. I continued curing the olives I picked in recent weeks. I noticed several dozen navel oranges turning from green to orange on one tree and another dozen Valencia oranges ripening on the other tree. I’m excited about that.

    We had several days of rain and turned off the automatic sprinklers. I continue to collect water from rinsing produce and from waiting for water to heat, and use it to water roses and potted plants.

    I continue to use the clothesline almost exclusively. Even though the weather has cooled, clothes still dry quickly.

    We made all our meals at home instead of ordering delivery or pick-up, even when we were tired and tempted. We sorted through boxes etc., found places for many things, and added to the donation corner. I’ll make a Goodwill run when I have reason to go in that direction, to save making a special trip. As we were working, a neighbor walking by noticed the game table we’d moved into the driveway to make room to work in the garage. He had been thinking of getting something like it and knew right where he’d put it, and made us an offer. We paid twice what he offered us, but that was 11 years ago and we lived in a much larger house with a place for it. In our new downsized situation, we hadn’t found a place for it and none of the adult children had a use for it, so we took his offer and considered it a win-win. (He also had an eye on the little motorcycle I learned to ride on, 50 years ago…but that’s not for sale. ;} )

    We decided we needed a pet gate to keep the dogs out from underfoot from time to time. The free-standing one I liked was $200 (before tax/shipping) from Frontgate. I searched and found a free-standing gate on sale for $70, with free shipping, at Target (total: $78, which when adjusted for tax and shipping I considered a savings of around $150). When it arrived, it was every bit as well-made and nice-looking (and unobtrusive) as the one from Frontgate.

    I took advantage of several Shutterfly “freebies” to make a few personalized Christmas gifts and some cards.

    I moved the basin portion of a birdbath the previous owner left, to the rose garden right outside the kitchen window. I’ve enjoyed the free entertainment as bluebirds, goldfinches, housefinches, mockingbirds, phoebes, and loud, squawky blue jays show up to splash and gossip.

  43. Congratulations on the foresight to get that quilting machine and put it to work. Your granddaughter will remember things like sewing with you probably all her life. What a priceless gift. I was wondering . . . would you be willing to share your recipe for breakfast sausage seasoning mix. I think all your mix making is cool. Maybe you should compile a cookbook to sell.
    Elizabeth H

  44. We picked up our two deer last Friday. My husband had it in mind to go back again on Saturday and I said “Wait…we can do this all at once.” We pooled our pocket money to come up with the fee for the second deer processing and then brought it all home. My freezer was packed! and some overflow went into the fridge freezer in odd spaces. I ended up with 85 pounds more or less of various venison cuts. I figure it averaged out to $1.99 a pound based on grocery prices for similar cuts. I was able to gift some to my daughter and her family as well and make a wee bit of extra room in my freezer. After Thanksgiving I hope we can stock up on poultry. Once we do our simple Thanksgiving, we won’t have any poultry at all in the freezer.

    My husband decided to go ahead and replace the second bathroom’s toilet. My daughter’s partner used their truck to pick it up, brought it back and they installed it. C also did some work on our car that was estimated at $120. I think it cost them about $30 for new hoses and connections and fluids and took under an hour of time to do.

    I made a trip over to Dollar Tree to look for inexpensive gifts I could bag up for the grandkids for Christmas.

    I ordered new screen protectors for my phone. They are worth their weight in gold for saving my phone screen, however I am on my third screen protector so I ordered multiples this time.

    Last week we got our back porch painted and then cleaned the front porch. I’ll need to paint that in the spring but cleaning was sufficient to see it through winter.

  45. As the weeks go on, and the garden is done, it seems like the opportunities to save money have also diminished. We do the same as always. Wash full loads of clothes and dishes. Drink water and tea. Combine trips (usually on the way to or from work the days I work). Use all the leftovers. Keep the heat turned to 68 and snuggle under blankets in the evening. But I guess continuing to do the small things, that have just become a part of everyday life, are what really counts.
    I worked three days last week and brought breakfast and lunch all three days.
    On Thursday I went through the fridge and saw some leftover cream, about half a package of spinach and about 4 ounces of cooked sausage. I had some gnocchi in the pantry, so made spinach, Italian sausage and gnocchi soup. Sooooo good.
    Made zucchini cheese muffins with some of the zucchini I had shredded from the garden. These are so good with soups, as they are a savory muffin, rather than a sweet muffin. Also made 4 loaves of zucchini bread.
    We had to do some repairs on our built-in china hutch. They are done now, thankfully. There are three sets of shelves above with glass doors, a counter, three drawers, and then three sets of shelves underneath with wooden doors. I cleaned the whole thing with Murphy’s Oil Soap after my DH finished the repairs. Then put everything back. Well, not everything. I decluttered as I went, and reorganized so it would be more useful. Like is now with like. I have a shelf of everyday table cloths, and then one with nice and/or holiday table cloths. There is another shelf with placemats on it. My popcorn popper and electric skillet are tucked away in the underneath shelves. Our good china plus the dishes I have purchased on trips are in the upper shelves with the glass doors, where they can be seen. We use them a lot, so they are not just for show. I really like how the whole unit turned out. Now, to keep it that way. 🙂
    We had popcorn for snacks twice during the week and ate leftovers a lot.
    Visited with my mother on Saturday, which may be for the last time for awhile. We have been put back on, I don’t even know what to call it. Modified lockdown maybe? Anyway, there is no visiting indoors at long-term care visits till our numbers come back down. Since I live in Eastern Washington, where it is getting cold, and my mother is almost 98, we can’t really do an outdoor visit. We may have to settle for phone calls for awhile.
    More leaves fell off our maple tree and the DH picked them up with the lawn mower and dumped them in the garden. There are still leaves on the tree though. Not sure when they will fall off. Probably in the snow.
    All for now. Hope you all have a safe and happy week.

    1. My husband finally found the 32 cups of frozen zucchini my daughter shredded mid-summer! Don’t even ask me how I could not see them every single time I hunted for them in the freezers, except, in my defense, the freezers are very full. So, I want to make some zucchini muffins or bread soon, too.

      Sometimes just keeping on keeping on is the best way to stay frugal:)

  46. Hello everyone. I feel very much like life needs to be taken one day at a time right now. It’s a good reminder to me that I am not in control. I have a decent amount of food, not a ton though. Our girls are coming home next week, one from college, and one moving permanently for work. I want to wait until they are here to shop for some of their favorite foods. Our county has remained in the highest restriction tier since the beginning of Covid in March. So not much changes shopping-wise for us.

    I am working hard on special orders for my shop. I am organizing birthday gifts and celebrations, we have 3 family birthdays all within 7 days in November. We got to Zoom with our son and daughter-in-law on Sunday. I picked up 80 tea lights from Buy Nothing group for our daughter’s 21st birthday next week. That should make it look festive.

    I used another $5 off $5 or more on safeway app. Also got free organic PB on the app.
    I took your suggestion, Brandy, and used the pumpkin that was gifted to me for decoration until last week, and then I roasted it when I was baking potatoes on Monday. I pureed the pieces today and baked GF, vegan pumpkin muffins. I’m trying to clear things a bit so the girls can decorate for Christmas when they are here next week. I must be getting old because I call them ‘girls’ like my mother calls me and my sisters. I’m 47 and my ‘girls’ are 25 and 21!
    My husband rented a chain saw and removed a dead tree that we saw out our dining room window, but was on our next door neighbor’s property. We asked if she was willing, and she was very grateful for him to remove it. She paid for the rental. We sold the wood on FB marketplace for $20. Happy to see that go, and have someone else do the hauling.
    I bought a drop cloth at Home Depot to make some bags. I chose the one that had it’s packaging torn wide open. I asked if there was a possibility of a discount, and was given 70% off!
    Blessings to all.

  47. So excited I was able to return to work after being home with Covid for 2 weeks. I’m thankful I was able to work from home most of that time and only used 2 sick days. I’m also thankful my husband was asymptomatic. He’ s 64, so in the higher risk group. We were fine with food and supplies as I always have a good supply.
    FYI on what I needed to help with Covid: kleenex, sudafed, ibuprofen, sore throat/cough drops, night time cold medicine and eye drops. Groceries : jello, applesauce, soup and crackers.

    Once i was able to shop, I found boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.49 lb, avocado 2/$1, apples $.99 lb, butter $1.79 lb.
    Looking forward to picking up sweet potatoes, squash, celery this week at great prices.
    Stay healthy frugal friends!

  48. Brandy I am glad you were able to find plants for your garden at a very reduced price as well as get so much accomplished in the garden with the aid of an excavator too. Lovely you found new jeans for both yourself and daughter too 🙂 .

    We are getting things done gradually around the home in zones as my caring needs for DH have increased dramatically while he is recovering. I find if I work where I am in a grid that I get far more done if I clean and organise the whole zone and the home is staying clean and tidy. Still have some work to do in the gardens with harvesting but I will get to that when the time is available.

    Before we left for DH’s operation (they ended up finding 2 brain aneurysms with further tests) we were able to get so many things done and have pressure cleaned the whole outside of the home so now it is clean and doesn’t look like a red dust storm had hit it. I planted some sweet corn, beans and cucumber and they are now taking off so well with all the rain we had while we were away and now when we are back home. I am hoping to have a good crop to blanch and freeze for the freezer and some salad items for the upcoming hotter weather.

    Over the last couple of weeks we have saved $587.35.

    Purchases –
    – Bought markdown fruit loaf and potato salad saving $2.41 on usual prices.
    – Purchased 20 blocks of Old Gold chocolate on half price sale and by using $20 in free rewards dollars saving $70 in total.
    – On markdown I purchased 1.853 kg of macro organic free range chicken drumsticks reduced from $5.50 to $3.24 kg saving $4.18 or 41.02% on usual supermarket prices.
    – Bought 4 x mouse traps in a discount variety store saving $10.02 over buying like ones in the supermarkets.

    In the kitchen –
    – We made 6 loaves bread from scratch saving $20.94.
    – Made all meals from scratch.

    Home cleaning and organising –
    – Pressure cleaned the outside of our home/patio and scrubbed and pressure cleaned our cement paths around the home saving us $480 over hiring someone to clean it for us for 7.5 hours work.
    – Swept the paths around the home after heavy rain and debris got on them.
    – Organised the tinned vegetables in date order and restacked the cartons in our food storage room.

    In the gardens –
    – Planted cucumber, sweet corn and green bean seeds in the gardens.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15.

  49. Hello Everyone! This week in addition to the regular things such as taking lunches to work, batching errands, eating at home, not going anywhere or doing anything basically, our savings were in grocery deals. I purchased butter at Aldi’s for $1.79 and plan to buy more as the sale is still on. I stocked up on pasta for 69 cents a pound and have enough for a few months. Chex cereal for $1.49 per box. Very few other items needed as we are really well stocked. Our heating pad broke and I was able to purchase one at CVS with a 40% off coupon. That purchase yielded me $5.00 in CVS Extrabucks which I will use to purchase the mixed nuts they have on sale this week. Those, along with the cereal purchase, and a few items from the dollar store will provide my daughter with the ingredients to make Chex mix when she comes home for Thanksgiving. It was her Grandmother’s recipe and she really enjoys making it & giving to family. Actually, keeping my fingers crossed that she can come home. She resides in Queens and became a nanny to a delightful little girl who lives in the same block after her previous job at the Public Theater was lost due to covid shutting it down. The parents love having her so close as there is no transportation involved in getting to their home, it’s an extra layer of safety. She is planning to come home for a few days then return to the city, quarantine in her apartment, test, then if negative, return to work. Her roommate works from home and they get groceries delivered so it has been a safe “bubble”. I’m hoping that things do not worsen here because that will give her pause as my husband & I work out of the house. He as a teacher and myself in healthcare management (in and out of facilities & offices daily) so we are both around many people. As long as neither of us have positive exposure she will come home. We are both being extra cautious as I have had an exposure recently but thankfully tested negative.
    My son won his choice of gift card during a Zoom gathering for one of his college classes. He chose a $15.00 Bed Bath& Beyond gift card and gave it to me. I will use it for a Christmas gift.
    As always, enjoying all of the wonderful ideas that everyone has. I so look forward to this every Monday!

  50. Our area has a high hospitalization rate (over 16%), but so far no restrictions other than a local mask mandate. Restaurants & bars are open, stores are open at full capacity, etc. I fully expect all of that to change very soon. I am still working mostly from home – I go in 2 days per week, and we all wear masks & distance. Most of us stay in our individual offices anyway, so it isn’t much of an issue. All meetings are virtual. A few of my coworkers have tested positive and are at home, but none are ill. I don’t know when I will be back in the office full time – sometime next year at the earliest. I have noticed that some local stores are reinstating purchase limits on certain products, and the toilet paper shortage is back again. Went to Target this morning and all 3 aisles of TP and paper towels were completely bare. Sigh. We have plenty for a while, so I’m not worried, I just don’t understand the sudden rush on TP.

    We stocked up on groceries and medications, did most of our Christmas shopping online. I picked up some extra decongestants and items I was running somewhat low on. I want to be prepared in case of supply chain shortages, etc. I found butter for $7 for 4 lbs at Costco and stocked up. This week our local grocery store has it for 99 cents/lb, limit 2! I don’t need any, but that’s an excellent price (my normal target price for butter is $2.99/lb here). I use my “work at home” days to catch up on things like laundry and housekeeping, so that’s been fruitful. Our weather here has cooled down somewhat, so we have been able to shut off the a/c and have the windows open for a few days now, which is nice, and a savings on the electric bill. We will be doing a small Thanksgiving meal at home, just the 2 of us, which we are looking forward to. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and we always look forward to all of the preparations and cooking! This year will be no different for us, although I recognize that is not the case for many families.

  51. I returned 3 items that were still in packaging, but I bought about 3 years ago to Walmart. I thought I may get a gift card if they old even return, but she gave me $14 cash.
    – I sold an item on EBay, and a couple of things on Marketplace.
    -We got a huge bag of fresh peanuts and my husband boiled them in large propane outdoor cooker making boiled peanuts. We packaged them in gallon ziploc bags and froze. You can take them out and reheat in a pot of water and they are just like fresh boiled. I believe it is a coastal southern thing to have boiled peanuts in the shell. They are cooked in salt water.
    – we got 30 lbs of pecans and are working to shell and freeze them.
    – Publix had green beans for $1.69 lb. I got 6 lbs and canned them, getting 13 pints. I know not the best price, but I don’t have anywhere near a supply to last until I can grow in the spring, so I am canning what I can to avoid store canned beans.
    – Mother in law is paying us $500 a month to live with us. We are putting it on our house to pay it off earlier. Our only debt is the house.
    -I did some stocking up buying gluten free flour, cornmeal, grits, dried beans, GF cream of chicken and mushroom soups, GF pasta, peanut butter, butter, Italian dressing, pork loin, vitamins, cereal my MIL likes, and cheese. We get automatic delivery of toilet paper from Amazon and it is not availble. I am planning a trip to get some items while I can.
    – We moved MIL last weekend and she had two closets packed ith clothes. She has lost weight so most did not fit. She has gone through them and we took a trunk load to the thrift store. She has expensive items from Chicos and Belks, so hopefully someone in need will be blessed.
    -I used a can of expensive chalk paint I had to paint a bookshelf. It was thick so I added water and used it up.
    -we cleaned out the garage and got everything from moving out up. I am working on hanging pictures and decorating now. I can now park in the garage. My car is so dirty from sitting in the driveway. I will get out and deep clean it when I feel better.
    -I have been under the weather so had a Covid test yesterday. Should know the results by tomorrow. So, I am trying to be good and sit in the recliner away from anyone. I watched This Is Us and am working on last season of The Crown. I heard the latest season was uploaded this weekend so I have a few to get through. Looking forward to season 2 of Virgin River coming soon.

  52. Our newest granddaughter, Poppy, was born! So we went and spent a few days with her big sister Clementine which was so fun (and frugal).
    Last week my good husband spent many hours researching and ended up switching our cells from AT&T to Mint Mobile and saving us over $100 on our three lines. He also is switching our home and auto insurance and will save a few THOUSAND dollars a year. I’m so grateful he is willing to put the work in to seeing where we can save!
    Continued with the regular things…menu planning, grocery pick up, using up what we have. Still using my stash of yarn and fabric for projects.
    It’ll just be three of us for Thanksgiving so my husband offered for us to buy a meal from the store, precooked. I was thankful for his offer (he is thinking of me since my health isn’t great) but declined and will be cooking a traditional Thanksgiving meal for us. I’ve been getting a few of the ingredients I need every week so the spending has been spread out. I’m using a turkey I bought on sale last year so that helps too!
    Meals at home have included homemade chili and corn muffins, pizza (using Naan bread for the crust), tacos, baked potato bar and chicken nuggets. Our college age son is home and boy can he eat!
    Hope everyone is staying safe and well. Love reading this every week!!

  53. Reaping the rewards of my daddy planting an acre of pecan trees in the middle of a Mississippi cotton field 56 years ago. Our harvest isn’t nearly what it normally is but we will have plenty for our extended family to use for holiday cooking. Won’t be able to share with friends this year but we are lucky to have pecans on the ground, lots of friends’ trees didn’t produce at all. My nephew took first batch to feed store today for shelling and we will use for Thanksgiving. Don’t think I’ve ever had to buy pecans in my entire life.

    1. That’s awesome! I am also the recipient of someone that planted pecan trees years ago, 10 of them! However here in North Carolina we only get a good harvest every third or fourth year. This year we’re hardly getting any.

  54. You are doing an amazing job with this overhaul of your garden, Brandy! You are so thoughtful in each specific aspect of it, purchases, stretching your dollars, making substitutions, doing cuttings to create new plants, etc. I am in awe!

    Our garden froze this week finally, which is very late for NC. So we got the last of the peppers and tomatoes picked. I also made a trip to the foothills and got seconds of beautiful apples for $8/ 25 #. They were beautiful pink ladies and limbertwig. The orchard is Deal’s in Taylorsville, for those of you in NC. I also got jars of honey for $10. I have been making applesauce, dried apples and apple fruit leather. I am making more today.

    I have gotten clearances oranges for $1/5# that just have blemishes on them. I got 15# and may go back for more. I have found kielbasa on clearance and some straight peanut butter with no sugar at a great savings. I keep popping in on my way from work and am shopping that way rather than making lists for weekly meal plans. Those are made from what we have.

    Our health insurance sent us $250 gift card to make for health purchases
    and I can couple it with 40 percent off at CVS and stock up for our needs as well as family and community needs for a considerable savings. I have to be patient as the coupons come a few times a month. I just got a 40% off for my birthday.I am very excited about this, as we have young adults who are starting out and could use a medicine supply stock up!

    Hoping you all are counting your blessings and taking life a day at a time!

    1. Thanks Jean! It’s still going to be rather expensive, but we are cutting wherever we can. It will save us about $20,000 doing it ourselves and saving in all the ways that we are on the project.

    2. That’s interesting that you get apples from deals in Taylorsville. I get mine from Sugarloaf right across the road from there. I live about an hour east from there. I made 80 quarts of applesauce and am drying apples as well.

  55. Frugal doings > My cherry tree is covered with Cherry’s (working from home meant I could care for the tree more easily) and this is super frugal because cherries are $16.00 a kilo here. Australia is mostly coming out of lockdown (we only have 2 covid cases in my state of Victoria) and this has meant that I can go further afield for my groceries and save money YAY. The garden has really been much more productive because of working from home. I’ve had snow peas, and herbs and bean and lettuce all flourishing. I’m hoping we can continue to work from home in the future.
    Frugal failings > I spent a lot of money on a cake I could have made when I caught up with my bible study group. (I was very excited to see them in the flesh) I enjoyed the cake, as did they. But I could have spent some time making one instead.

    1. Jenny,

      I am planting two cherry trees again because they are very expensive here too. How wonderful to have your garden be so productive!

  56. I can’t wait to see how you build your garden Brandy! It is so inspiring and I know it will be magically beautiful and delicious!
    This week has been full of blessings for us. My friend recommended a part time job for me that is cleaning out homes to get them ready for estate sales. Usually we have the chance to buy items from the sale early and at a discount, which is great. This week the house was just a clean out so everything in it was going to a thrift store or tossed in the dump. My boss said I could take anything I wanted while cleaning that I found useful. Well it was a great day because I was able to take home: a pack of light bulbs, laundry detergent, ziploc baggies, a big jug of vinegar, a small bottle of honey (new), three mason jars, and best of all a kitchenaid mixer. Now I have wanted a mixer for over a year but our budget didn’t allow it and here was this one for free. I cleaned it up and she is sitting on my counter ready to make many yummy treats.
    I was also able to get a dress and sweater I needed for 40% off each this week.
    Our chickens received some free lettuce and greens from a local food pick up that were about to go bad. And we received several crackers and produce items we were able to use.
    I was able to work out in my friends gym every morning before the kiddos head to school. It so much more fun to do it with a friend and not have to go to a gym.
    Also I was gifted a gratitude journal a while ago that I continue to write in daily. It is nice to first thing in the morning write about the blessings I already have.
    I am so grateful for my family and the wonderful joy they bring even when being a bit crazy at times. It was a good week!

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