I spent my birthday working in the garden, planting fruit trees.

I harvested lettuce, green onions, and parsley from the garden.

I sowed more seeds for zinnias in pots that I will transplant to the garden when we are ready.

I watched a short free photography videos from a photographer whose work I like.

I hemmed a pair of jeans, mended a pair of shorts, and turned a pair of jeans with holes in the knees into shorts.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I baked bread, granola, four turkeys (bought on clearance last week for $0.69 a pound), and two pumpkins and two butternut squash from the garden.

We continued to pick up the school meals.

We opened the windows in the house and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It was pretty hot for several days. We turned on the ceiling fans when needed in the afternoon. It will be 97 degrees by the end of this week, so I’m sure I’ll have to use it then, but I try to go as long as possible before turning it on.

I read another article about worldwide rising food prices. This was about staples. While I can’t grow wheat, oil, corn, or sugar, I can grow more fruits and vegetables, and I hope to have success with that. I am low on oil so I plan to stock up on that in May.

What did you do to save money last week?

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170 Comments

  1. Just got a call from my friend who works at Kroger’s telling me that her store was clearancing King Arthur flour to 50 cents for a 5 pound bag. She felt badly that the last time that had happened, when I got there, there were just a couple bags left which I gave my daughters. This time, there were 2 shopping carts full! Of course, it was a day that I was across town babysitting my preschool grandson, so I texted Hubs! He’s such a good sport! I had him buy 30 bags – 10 for each of 2 daughters and 10 for me! So cost normally is $4.69/ bag ($140.70 total for 30 bags) . But 50 cents a bag for 30 bags is only $15.00. But wait! I had a digital coupon for $1 off 5 bags ($5) that they took off total! $10 for 30 bags! But wait! Each of the 3 of us who were getting 10 bags ($3.33 total) use ibotta and have a $1.50/ bag that could be used 3 times ($4.50 off!) So, to wrap it up, Hubs was paid $3.69 to buy 150 pounds of King Arthur Flour!! Saving the 3 of us $144.39!! And adding to our food storage!!
    I ground some of my wheat and made two loaves of 100% whole wheat sandwich bread from our food storage. https://pin.it/5JYl917

    Finished quilting #134 for my friend who works/teaches at a quilt shop. It will be a shop sample that they will sell kits for! Easy pattern/ easy to quilt up too, using one of the free pantographs I just got! https://pin.it/1pUHoWY and close-up https://pin.it/1dwZjYp.
    Three more quilts came in including 1 for a humanitarian aid that I will donate my quilting for- Mothers Without Borders. I’m happy to be able to give back to a worthwhile charity!

    I noticed that the 25+ year old landscape timber border in front of my holly bushes against the front porch was disintegrating and needed to be replaced. I also realized I had an overgrown stack of landscape blocks that had become an eyesore. https://pin.it/56au4aE. With some lifting and digging, some of it has been reused on this first holly bed in front of our house. https://pin.it/3xUIUoC. Looks good enough (to us, at least) that we’ll do the same thing for the holly bed on the opposite end of our front porch!! Clean-up + landscape beautification + no cost (except sore muscles the next day!) = WIN/WIN!!!
    Weeded our blooming ajuga in front of the side yard fence and it looks so much better!! https://pin.it/50mjZGq

    We also dug out and braced a corner of our raised bed veg garden that had spread way apart! Took a bunch of hard work, but Hubs was able to use leverage to pull them back together and screw in metal braces to hold them fast for the future! https://pin.it/5IUWYTQ It was muscle aching work but now it will stay in place for another 15 years!! And no cost but our time and labor ($0!)

    I offered my local FB friends lilac volunteers free in exchange for DIY digging them up! https://pin.it/6j8XkFf. So, again a Win/Win as they went home with free lilacs to replant and we had the area around our lilac bushes cleaned up!! My kind of barter!!

    I see that our high in central Ohio will be the same as yours today (Monday), Brandy- 68 degrees! While we are rejoicing, I wonder if you are putting on a sweater when you go outside! For us, this is perfect outside yard work day!

    So much wonder and potential all around us! Looking forward to another great week!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Today is a beautiful anomaly. I am wearing a cardigan. It was 58 when I went shopping this morning. I wl be working outside this afternoon in the garden.

      1. Tammy- I was pretty thrilled!! Flour is a staple that we use a lot since we bake from scratch! I can get more muffin mixes, Bisquick- type mix, cookie mixes, etc. made up ahead now too so I can still enjoy that convenience factor!!

        Gardenpat

          1. Kathy G- No. I put it into 5 gallon plastic buckets with gamma seals. Never had a problem! But then, we are constantly rotating our supply because we use it every day.

          2. Hi Kathy G,
            Like Garden Pat, we use gamma buckets. There are two of us at home, I buy 25 lb bags of flour, freeze it for a week to kill anything, then put the flour in a gamma bucket. Usually last us at least six months but I have never had any issues and the flour is good. We buy white bread flour. I know whole wheat doesn’t last as long (I seem to vaguely remember six months but you should be able to look up how long each type of ground flour lasts). I buy less whole wheat but handle it the same way.

            1. Hilogene- Right you are about the Whole Wheat flour, so I’ve heard. I store wheat berries and just grind it into flour as I need it. It stays fresher that way, imo.

          1. Gina- if you scroll down a couple of comments, I gave to Laura the link to the YouTube video with recipe that I use! Hope you like it!

        1. Anna in Ohio- I agree! I’m still pretty excited about it! So now I need to get some baking mixes made!!

          Gardenpat

    2. Hi Pat, I always enjoy your posts and energy! When you post pictures like the bread, is there a way to access the recipes or is it only the photos you take? Thank you!

      1. Laura S- Just ask and I’ll give you a link! Here’s the link for the bread- She makes 6 loaves in a batch. I cut the amount by 3 to get just two loaves in a batch!! https://youtu.be/TwaJss5AQKg.

        Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! It’s a lighter fluffy sandwich bread that even our pickiest little grandkids will eat!

        1. Thank you! I would cut it to two loaves as well as it is usually just the two of us now that all the kids are gone. I am especially excited because this makes a softer loaf! Have a blessed week!

  2. I don’t really have any frugal accomplishments to report, although we did most of the usual frugal stuff throughout the week. We spent most of our time trying to get a septic tank pumped! And what a job that has been…!

    Our vacation home is closing this week, and we needed to pump the tank in order to sell the house. The city–which handles this stuff–couldn’t find the septic tank cover, which is in plain sight (and painted bright green) in the backyard. Turns out we have TWO tanks connected by a pipe, and the lid in the yard is the “wet” tank. It’s the “solids” tank that gets pumped.

    This turned into a search for buried treasure, although not a fun one. The guy from the city (pop. 200) witched the yard (pretty fascinating to watch, and no question it was accurate) and found the other tank UNDER OUR PATIO! Fortunately, the patio was built with pavers, but we had to take up about half of them and dig down about two feet to find the cover. After it is pumped (probably today), we’ll put on a riser so it never has to be excavated again.

    The much larger issue is what to do about the patio (this has completely consumed us). If we have a choice–and the buyers may demand something different–we will re-build the patio in the same location and mark the relevant pavers so they can be easily removed and replaced when the tank needs pumping (every 10 years or so if the new owners don’t live there fulltime). Stay tuned and I’ll tell you next week what gets done, what it cost, and how we managed to do it in 3 days!

    This will also include what it cost to excavate 4 feet down at the end of the driveway to replace a .50 elbow on the sewer pipe (yes, we have a septic tank AND a sewer, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). That one was pretty easy to fix, albeit expensive because of the digging. (It definitely helped to know where it was). We are to the point on this deal that we really don’t care what things cost–we just wanna be done!

    PS to Brandy–great progress on your garden! You are starting zinnias from seed and transplanting them? I always thought you had to o direct sow zinnias. My baby tomatoes are about 4 inches tall, a bit spindly, but have their second true leaves. I am leaving them on the deck for several hours on sunny days and they seem to be enjoying it. I can plant them out in 3-4 weeks.

    1. They sell zinnias at the nursery so I thought I would try this year. They are germinating fairly well so I hope they transplant okay.

        1. Thanks! I did a search on them and it looks like they should be okay in plastic pots outside until it is time to move them. They are growing uncovered outside. I just wanted a head start on them for the garden.

      1. I’ve done it many times, and sunflowers too to keep the birds from digging the seedlings to eat the seeds. They key is a large enough section of dirt on the roots when you transplant. You don’t want exposed roots.

  3. That was such an interesting article you shared. The graph they provided was a shock to me. I was mostly amazed at how many countries still have food cost to wage ratios that are so close! Living in Nigeria, 50% of your income would be used to buy food. Amazing! I know that a much smaller percentage of my wage goes towards food. I would guess I spend as much on my kids clothes/shoes/snowsuits as their food; and much more on mortgage and home repairs/maintenance for the year.

  4. Lately it feels like we’re in a spend to save cycle. We bought 6 fruit trees. Expensive now but hopefully money-saving in the long run. I planted 50 lbs of potatoes as well as onions, cabbage seeds, and strawberry seeds. I had previously planted chard, kale, lettuce, radishes, and beets. Oh, and peas…a row over 100 feet long. They’re up and looking really good. They seem to enjoy the rainy, chilly days followed by warmth and sunlight. We also planted 4 new berry bushes and 6 maple saplings. My husband has been busy cutting firewood. We had several dead trees taken down. A friend did the work in exchange for a few choice trees he can mill and sell. My husband also changed the oil in all of our vehicles and fixed several things in addition to helping a friend fix their vehicles. This weekend we plan to reshingle our roof. Several men from church will come to help and save us the cost of labor.

  5. Your flowers are beautiful, as always. You accomplished so much during that week! I hope you also had a little fun on your birthday. We picked rhubarb and made rhubarb crumble. Now the rhubarb plant is growing so fast, we’ll be hard pressed to keep up with it. Any recipes/ideas on how to use rhubarb would be appreciated! We are finally receiving some rain here in Utah and are so grateful for it! We continue to use turkey meat frozen from 69 cent a pound turkey we bought. I’m starting to make soup, turkey and other kinds, about three times a week. We eat half of it and I freeze the other half flat in a gallon ziplock bag. Eventually I’ll have a good supply for backup meals on days when I don’t want to cook. With hot weather ahead there will be some of those, I’m sure. Hopefully we won’t mind soup on a hot day!

    My goal is to lose some pounds gained over the last few months. I have found I can do that if I eat a salad for lunch and soup for dinner; then fast from dinner to breakfast. That’s why it’s called “break fast”, right? We will be planting garden seeds as soon as the rain lets up. We continue to cut each other’s hair, clean our own carpets, etc. My husband had been repairing water lines for the garden and trading his tiller to the neighbor for lawn aerating. He has always been doing his own yard work. However, this year he will be hiring one of our grandsons to mow the lawn. Working during the heat is becoming more difficult with age. Have a good week, everyone.

    1. Rhubarb Fool – layer stewed rhubarb with mascarpone cheese mixed with whipped cream. If you like you can also crumble some meringue in there.

    2. Yvonne – New York Times has a recipe for rhubarb sorbet. I haven’t tried it yet as my rhubarb is only a few inches up in the garden, but it looks like a delicious and not-loaded-with-fat recipe. I’m looking forward to trying it out in six weeks or so.

    3. We chop it up and put it in a saucepan with a little water and cook it into a rhubarb sauce. We eat it that way (with sugar added, of course) or we add it to applesauce as a way to extend the applesauce. In the northern part of Alaska, it is hard to grow apple trees (and I think the ones you can grow have no flavor) so I buy apples to make applesauce, which makes it expensive. Adding rhubarb lowers the cost. If you go here, which is the Alaska Cooperative Extension site, you can download a free pamphlet of rhubarb recipes. There are two of them.
      http://cespubs.uaf.edu/publications?show=1#1385

    4. Kroger has recipes on their website. Just type in rhubarb and a bunch come up. They have rhubarb fool, rhubarb lemon muffins, rhubarb sorbet, etc. To find the recipes scroll to the bottom of the Kroger website. You should see “recipes” on the list.

    5. Rhubarb jam is easy and awesome. Then you have some extra jars for Christmas gifts or “just because” gifts.

      1. Elizabeth H. I think your mother made a rhubarb custard pie. It was one of my absolute favorites, but since discovering I’m allergic to eggs, dairy, & gluten, it’s no longer in the spring rhubarb dessert rotation. Instead, we do rhubarb crisp, which is lovely.

    6. We love to combine it with blueberries for “blu-barb” sauces, pies, etc. DH loves it even better than strawberry-rhubarb goodies.

  6. I’m trying to figure out what to make of the food prices article – does it mean that we should begin stocking up on things like crackers and flour. Sugar has been higher for awhile ($2/lb) but flour so far has been relatively stable.

    This week I saved money by taking my son to our local Academy store to get new shoes. His other ones were in terrible condition and he found a pair that he liked in-store that fit him well. I like Academy because they have a decent selection and a variety of sizes. I found that the pair he liked were $10 cheaper at Amazon and asked if they did a price-match, which they did. I didn’t realize this was the case but was glad because it saved us $10 on a pair of shoes that has pretty good reviews.

    I also got some soil and chicken from my next door neighbor. He regularly goes to places like Lowes and surveys all of the ripped bags and asks them how much of a discount they will give him. He got a lot of topsoil, Miracle Gro potting soil, and mulch for $.50 – $1/bag. He also goes to our local Kroger affiliate and had found a lot of bone-in chicken thighs for $.49/lb, so I got some and paid him for it. I also got a few spiral hams marked down for $.95/lb. I’m slowly trying to build up our meat supply just in case our prices do start to go up here.

  7. What beautiful roses!! I would just want to to pull up a chair and look at them and smell them all day long. A birthday planting fruit trees is a perfect day for you, I imagine. Belated birthday wishes!

    I cleaned out my fridge’s freezer, the only freezer that I have. Some vegetables and fruit that were passed on to me a couple of years ago, and that had been in someone else’s freezer for several years before that, were discarded due to excessive frost. I’ll be happy that I used many bags of produce passed on to me while they were still edible. That much less waste at least. I still have a big supply of blueberries, two mason jars of home-made chicken stock, and some ham bones for making more stock in the freezer. Now I’ll be able to put more fresh supplies there, and see what I have to use.

    This will be a basic month to come, so that I can help out a relative who needs some dental work. My shopping month goes the last week of the month to the second-last week of the next month. I had a good start with a trip to the grocery store yesterday, where there were quite a few good specials. Two 1 lb packages of pork chops were marked down at the end of the flyer week. Their flyer price was lowered an additional $2 a pack. One pack was actually 75 cents, and the other a little over $1. I am planning another shopping trip later this week to pick up more specials, and get more meat, fish and vegetables in the house. Co-vid numbers are very high in the province, and I would like to be able to do without grocery visits if I need to later in the month. (I am trying to plan around increasing case numbers, though I hope the numbers are actually peaking.)

    I’ll focus on yardwork I can do myself this month, and cleaning projects around the house. Later in May I’ll start to book some people to help me with other projects outside.

  8. It was a good, frugal week!
    I bought markdowns at the grocery store, as usual.
    The rubber on our toilet plunger cracked, and we really needed a new one! Luckily, I had a couple of things to return to Walmart, so I was able to buy a new plunger, combining these trips. We are so fortunate to have our second bathroom back in service.
    I’ve been filling the trash cans with yard waste to not have to use trash bags.
    I picked a few berries near our house, which we enjoyed.
    I found a swimsuit in my daughter’s size at Goodwill, which looks almost new.
    I placed some of the free landscaping rocks I picked up several weeks ago along the flower beds. I’m hoping to get more put down soon.
    I was too tired to cook, so I opened a backup can of refried beans, and the older kids heated up bean burritos for everyone. It wasn’t glamorous, but it got the kids fed!
    I made a cake for our neighbor, using ingredients we already had.
    I saved the shoelaces from my worn out shoes to use for one of the kids.
    I combined errands to save trips.
    My dad installed a ceiling fan and reattached a cabinet door for me.
    We ate hamburgers on bread, since we didn’t have enough buns.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  9. What a wonderful way to celebrate your day, doing something you love, that you can see every day, that will have big effects far into the future!
    For my day last week, my husband and I went out for supper, which we haven’t done in months, maybe more than a year. I had a rustic pizza, generously topped with bacon-onion-jam, whole roasted figs, blue cheese, prosciutto, arugula, and balsamic glaze on a hand made thinnish crust. It was wonderful! And nothing I would ever have had the ingredients, let alone the imagination, to make at home. I had two meals of leftovers from it, dutifully adding more fresh greens on top. The cost was the same or less than a specialty pizza at a chain restaurant.
    While in a neighboring city for an appointment, I stopped at a home store and found a new rug for the front door on clearance for half off, sandals on sale at the expensive store (I wear my shoes to death, and spend accordingly), and two pair of pants and two shirts at the Salvation Army. One of the shirts is a Land’s End, so I now know the size that fits me if I wish to order from their website. The other is rather risque for me, which I should have seen at the store. I will donate it somewhere else. I didn’t try things on there.
    Our city wide yard sales are this Saturday, (and Friday, as some people set up early), and the weather is supposed to be clear. I recall Brandy makes a shopping list for yard sales, and I will spend some time thinking about what I need or want, and hopefully only pick up treasures that are worth bringing home. The braided rug I am replacing by the front door came from a yard sale over fifteen years ago. I didn’t quite want to pay the $13 asking price, but did. That sure turned out to be a bargain!

    1. One of my favorite easy dinners is to cook a frozen pizza and then top with lettuce, tomato, black olives, fresh parm, and a drizzle of Italian dressing. Not as fancy, but super good!

  10. Happy Birthday!! I hadn’t thought about oil. I will read the article you shared, and plan to purchase some. Not only do I need it for cooking, but also for soapmaking. Last week, I processed some of our winter squash, making a crumble with some, and freezing the rest. Parsley, thyme, asparagus and onions were harvested. My husband prepared an area for sweet potatoes, and planted them. Our peas are flowering. We had two nights of frost, a bit later than average, so many plants had to be covered, and then uncovered. I think we’re beyond any more now. The dill I recently planted is germinating. Sweet potatoes were baked, and vegetable broth was simmered on the woodstove, then frozen. Last night was possibly our last night for heat, as it looks to be 50 and above from here on out for the lows. Our paper shredder died, so I used a $20 reward and went through Swagbucks for 2% back, to lower the cost. We tweaked our home phone plan, which will increase it $2 a month, but give us unlimited free long distance, so we should actually save. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/04/a-pink-moon-garden-happenings.html

    1. When you say a crumble made with winder squash, do you mean like a dessert crumble or more like a sweet potato dish that is a savory? Thanks for any information. I grow a ton of them and am always looking for new ways to use them…

        1. That crumble looks so good, and it uses lots of things we love. I printed it and will save it for a time when we have butternut squash in the garden. Thank you!

  11. Some weeks it seems that holding on is the best I can do. This has been one of those weeks. I have been planting and tending my garden. We have loads of lettuce, kale and collards. I’ve planted summer squash, green beans, ground cherries, cucumbers and tomatoes. I’m planting things in groups so I can water once for multiple things. The summer squash have gone under my collard trees and every time I water I’m so happy to be using the same amount of water for 2 things! Plus the squash will shade the ground around collards, which they need in the summer.
    I enjoyed the beach yesterday as some rest for my soul.
    Mended some pajama pants with a big tear, I need to make them last until I have time to make more.
    I’ve dug up some plants that have self seeded and am raising these tiny seedlings on my windowsill. I’ll plant them in another spot when they are bigger. It’s all about the garden right now.
    Our first grand baby is due this week. I’m eagerly waiting!

    1. Kara, I’m familiar with those weeks, and hope you can feel the positive energy I’m sending your way. This will pass and you will be happy and strong. And you will have a grandchild! The greatest of blessings!

  12. I enjoyed free entertainment by binge watching the latest series of Call the Midwife.
    There were several good bargains but I didn’t buy anything since my shopping volunteer was quarantined (fortunately she did not get covid from her daughter). I have been ill for about a month but I think I’m recovering. I am hoping to finish the rewriting of the book and when I do I will be doing as much spring cleaning as I can manage with my arm and then do light gardening. I feared that many of the alpine perennials had died over the winter but they are now coming up. We seem to be past the snow now and it is a beautiful sunny day. Ann

  13. oops I pressed send too quickly. Brandy, it is a great idea to stock up on staples that will last before the price goes up. I think I’ll be doing the same.
    I love your photos of the roses! Have a nice week everyone. Ann

  14. I made moong dal, homemade pizza, among other things this week. Played piano and harp for entertainment. Used the Internet for entertainment and for recipes. Planted basil. Harvested some carrots and kale. I plan to work outdoors today and I hope to plant other seeds. Harvested a very few spears of asparagus, enough for a serving for my son one day and my husband another day. I look forward to when it gets going. We have been using eggs from our chickens. Visited at the park with my son and grandchildren, Fun free entertainment. Visited husbands family. Talked to mine on the phone. We have enjoyed opening the windows for fresh air and savings on utilities. We hope to have a big garden this year. We also hope it rains enough to keep the water bill down. We found an Indian recipe for carrot and carrot greens with potatoes. It was very good. My husband made it. To think all those years I threw out the carrot greens.

      1. Marybeth, that is a good idea to put the carrot greens in veggie soups. I will have to do that! I will ask my husband where he found the recipe and put a link up if I can.

  15. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Happy belated birthday, hope you enjoyed your day planting fruit trees.
    A friend asked if I could find her a pattern online to embroider a poppy for Remembrance Day in November. I found lots of free patterns on the DMC website and printed off a lovely poppy pattern for her.
    The washing machine has chewed up one of my husband’s PJ jackets so I cut off the buttons and cut the useable fabric up and have put it my stash.
    I found some ‘as new’ and new gifts in the charity shop for good prices. I bought a pretty photo album, tea towels, several cross stitch kits, socks which I will gift to our daughters at Christmas and a plain Calico shopping bag. I have appliqued flowers onto the bag using iron on fabric from my stash and will use it as a gift bag for a friend’s birthday, the bag can be part of the present. It cost £1.
    I made minestrone soup and stretched it with a small portion of leftover chilli.
    I found some biscuit ( cookie) dough I had frozen and we enjoyed warm biscuits. We also ate raspberries and strawberries from the freezer. We pulled leeks from the garden.
    We received two packets of free seed but we already have enough seedlings of those plants so we will save them for next year, they will be viable for several years.
    Gardeners World magazine had an offer, 30 perennial plants for the cost of postage ( less than £6). They arrived this week and although they are quite small plug plants they’re in good condition and we potted them up immediately. They include geum, achillea and verbena bonariensis. A few can be gifts/ bartered when they’re big enough.
    Last autumn I bought two hippeastrum bulbs which are now flowering indoors. I told a friend I thought £5 was expensive for a bulb but she disagreed, pointing out that the flowers last a long time, they flower year after year and they’re magnificent compared to a £5 bunch of supermarket flowers. Now I think they were a bargain! Not a need but definitely making life beautiful.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Dear Penny P.
      Thank you for the tips about DMC and the Gardener’s World magazine. DMC has some nice patterns, and even the patterns that cost something seem reasonably priced. Also, there are instructions I can use for learning to embroider better. The gardening magazine has some articles that look interesting. I appreciate your generous sharing.
      Elizabeth H.

      1. You’re welcome Elizabeth, it’s so nice to share knowledge and tips on Brandy’s site. I learn something every week!

  16. A belated happy birthday to you!
    We enjoyed our first harvest from the greenhouse this week – so far we’ve eaten arugula, two kinds of lettuce, and turnips with greens. I shared some lettuce with friends.
    We went camping for a few days, at a free BLM campground about four hours from our home. We hiked, cooked out, and had a fun, relaxing time. Our only expense was the gas to get there.
    I mended two of my husband’s shirts. I donated a bag full of items from my closet to the local thrift store. I made homemade bread and rolls.

  17. Happy Monday!! I was able to take groceries to my daughter who is in school so she did not have to spend her money at the store. She does not have a Sam’s in the town where she is, and I can save a lot at the one by us at home. She is very frugal with her money, and she is good at it, but I do try to keep her in meat, fresh produce, and stuff like that when I have the opportunity. We also raid my spice cabinet for her to use as well. It is ironing day for me, so I will get it done this evening saving the cost of sending it out. I am going to hand-wash a “dry-clean” only sweater which will save me the cost of dry cleaning. Most things that say “dry clean” can be hand-washed (not on the “handwash” cycle on my washer).I am also going to sketch out a plan to reorganize my garage and attick so I can clean out the shed so I can tear it down. Once that is done, I will use the extra space in my yard for garden space. I planted tomatoes, eggplants, fennel, and peppers this weekend. I will sow seeds for squash, zinnias, poppies, and cucumbers this evening as well as feed everything well. It is supposed to rain/storm tomorrow, so I will not have to water anything other than the few pots I have on my covered patio. I divided bulbs this weekend doubling my tuberoses, and my irises are blooming, so I have flowers to enjoy indoors. A week from today is big trash week, so I will be removing a huge crepe myrtle and 8 more shrubs ourselves.

  18. Happy birthday to you! I hope you enjoyed your day out in the sunshine 🙂

    We just got back from a frugal family vacation that all told (including lodging) only cost us about $200 for staying in Southern Utah for five days. We had an “in” with a condo down there that just required that we split the cleaning fee with other family members staying with us, we ate the majority of our meals in the condo, and we took advantage of the many free (or cheap) activities that St. George had to offer. We came back with lighter hearts but not (too) much lighter wallets!

    We were out of milk when we got back, so I used some powdered milk from food storage for our meals.

    I was ordering more seeds for my flower farming business, so I waited for a few days with items in my cart so that the company would send me a promotional email to cut me a discount on the items. I needed the things anyway, so it was just a matter of waiting a few more days to order them!

  19. Happy birthday Brandy!! 🥳 Thanks for the article. I noticed higher prices at Safeway last week. I was looking at the dried beans (all varieties) and was shocked to see them priced at $2.79/lb. That’s more expensive than chicken at $0.99/lb. last week! I cherry picked from the sales and coupons.

    I started another 100 or so indoor seeds last week. Some are veggies and other flowers. They’re beginning to germinate. Our tiny bay leaf tree arrived. It’s getting potted today. We went small because trees are quite expensive.

    Last week’s menu included pizza from scratch including the sauce and dough. I keep extra sauce in the freezer. It tastes much better than store bought. I also used frozen pie dough (defrosted) and home canned apple pie filling to make mini pies in custard cups. I save dough scraps in the freezer until I have enough for this. I baked artisan bread to accompany homemade minestrone soup. I also made pasta salad for lunch. Last night I set up my bread machine to have cinnamon apple-pecan bread ready for toast this morning. It lured the kids out of bed this morning. LOL! 😆

    I sewed pillow forms from old sheets and a bag of on hand pillow stuffing. I’m nearly done with 2 envelope pillows with 2 lumbar pillows cut and ready.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 💐

  20. Beautiful roses!

    I finally have my phone back. Found a place that would fix my old phone instead of having to buy new. $20 vs $100’s

    I planted a handful of things last weekend; I knew it was risky since it’s only April. Sure enough, I had to straw and cover my plants for 3.25” of snow. On my middle sons’ birthday. He’s never had snow on his birthday before.

    He asked for cereal – our local Kroger affiliate had the giant size boxes on sale for $1.99 each.
    (With coupon)
    I let him pick out 2, and they also let me use a $1/2 coupon I had making them $1.49 a piece.

    The weather has now taken a turn for the warm, so we are working in our yard early in the week, and going camping on our weekend. (Thursday/Friday)

    We went to a small town about 15/20 minutes away. They are known for their tulips. Went to the local park and got pictures of my younger 3. Also took a few landscape shots. I ended up getting a really good one of the Dutch Mill and pond that I was able to get a free 8X10 of.
    New picture for my wall for the price of fun!

    No other major savings, I had to stock up on meat. Using sales though I saved $50 off the regular price.

    Have a wonderful week!!

  21. Happy Birthday Brandy!!!
    This week we are in vacation prep mode. I always prepare multiple dishes and meal plan for our time away so that we can eat meals at home after playing on the beach that day. I will be preparing a large batch of meatballs to go along with sweet & sour sauce. I will also make a batch of cookie dough, bake a pound cake closer to the date that we leave, pack the ingredients from the pantry to make pasta salad while we are there as fruit salad. I will be going through our sunscreen supplies to see what we have on hand and what needs to be bought as well. we have sand shovels, buckets and toys that we will break out this week, wash and pack for our trip as well.
    We enjoyed all meals at home this week. I made home made rice a roni, pea salad, spaghetti, garlic bread, tomato & cucumber salad, fish tacos, and peach cobbler. I made up a batch of broccoli cheese soup using the last of the frozen carrots from last summer, frozen broccoli that needed to be used, and the last of some heavy cream.
    I enjoyed listening to music for free on Spotify along with some podcasts that I enjoy.
    We enjoyed playing on the swing set in the backyard, tending to the garden, planting flowers, and several games of Parcheesi.
    I paid bills on line to save postage and avoid late fees. We combined laundry loads and turned off the HVAC when temperatures dropped.
    Not a lot of new to report just the same everyday activities that save money and keep us rolling along.
    I hope that everyone is well and enjoys the week ahead.

  22. *My daughter was able to take her ACT exam, in spite of a big mess up happening that caused her original testing center reservation to be cancelled and her rescheduled on a day that would not work for her. While I was frustrated with the mistake the ACT did, I am grateful that a third testing center finally worked out, even though it meant we had to drive much farther to get her there. At least she has the exam over with, and we were not charged a “rescheduling fee” like I was told at first we would be.
    *We covered our new plants in our garden and on our back porch when we had two nights of frost. We hadn’t planted a whole lot yet, but we are past our “usual” last frost date so had planted some things. I guess weather does what it wants, however! I am thankful that we did not lose any plants.
    *We enjoyed a visit from our son and daughter in law. While they were here, my son mentioned his hiking boot as falling apart. I looked at it, and the Velcro closure was coming apart. At first, I did not think there was any way I would be able to fix the shoe for him, because the strap the leather was coming off of is leather and I didn’t want to kill my sewing machine trying, even with a denim needle. But I finally tried hand sewing, and was happy to discover that with the aid of a thimble I actually managed to get the needle to go through the leather strap. It may not be a pretty or perfect repair, but it was free and should help him get a few more miles on those hiking boots!
    *We read on my daughter in law’s History blog, as part of our homeschool. While her blog is not specifically written for homeschoolers, it fits perfectly as a nice addition. Anyone who enjoys learning about history will enjoy reading her blog! If you are interested in reading the most recent post, which was bout Charles Coolidge—a Medal of Honor recipient, you can find it here: https://www.telling-their-stories.org/post/men-of-honor-part-1-mountains-of-type
    *My son also guest posted on his wife’s blog this week, with a very interesting article on the Civil War, so of course we read his post as well! 😉 His post is here: https://www.telling-their-stories.org/post/musings-on-the-civil-war
    *We visited a rather new museum in our area, a Medal of Honor museum. It was our first time to go there, and we all really enjoyed it and learned a LOT! Such giants of men—and women—who put themselves in harms way in order to save other’s lives. When visiting the museum, we parked on the street meter parking which was quite a bit cheaper than simply parking in an all day parking lot.
    *After the museum, we visited the Chattanooga National Cemetery, which was free to visit. We found Charles Coolidge’s grave site—he passed away just this month, and is a Chattanooga native so was buried here. At the cemetery, we also found another Medal of Honor recipient grave site, that of Desmond Doss. His story is almost unbelievable, it is so amazing! We have read a book on his life, “The Unlikeliest Hero,” which was a VERY good story—best of all, it is true! We have also seen a film that was made a few years ago on his life.
    *We decided to recycle a dog kennel that we already had to use in our garden, instead of purchasing new wire cattle panels like I originally was going to. We did not have to figure out how to get the cattle panels home without having a truck, plus there was no expense for the kennel which we already had but were not using. Our dog is quite old, and we no longer leave her in the outdoor kennel so I had thought about selling it—instead we repurposed it! We are not planning on getting another dog when we lose this one, as our children are growing up and we would like to be able to travel to see them a bit easier. So we will not be needing the kennel for another dog.
    I have more details and lots of pictures on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/04/frugal-friday-week-of-aril-18-24-2021.html
    Looking forward to reading what everyone is up to!

    1. Susan, I subscribed to your daughter-in-law’s blog after reading her post about the Mason Dixon line and am enjoying it very much. I’m not teaching at the moment and all my kids are adults, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn something! 😉

      1. Ava I am so glad you are enjoying reading Jolene’s blog! She puts a lot of time and work into each post, and is thrilled simply to have people come and read what she writes!

  23. Happy birthday Brandy.
    It was P’s birthday this week also. His daughter invited me to go with them to a very nice steakhouse to celebrate for lunch. P and his daughter insisted that I not buy him a present. I used a card from my card stash and I got him a cute puppy balloon. He loved it. When the meal was over, P told me to take home the leftovers. They all don’t like leftovers. I made fajitas with the leftover steak for dinner the next night. P’s granddaughter came to see him later in the week. She was working on his birthday. She brought a pizza with her for lunch. I was told to bring the rest home for my kids. P doesn’t like bread ends so I bring them home and Hubby happily eats them. I don’t like rye bread.
    Lots of trees are being cut down in my neighborhood. People leave the wood at the curb for people to take. I took 2 trunk loads home. We have plenty of wood for the fire pit.
    Hubby’s favorite pasta was on sale for 77¢ a pound. I bought 20.
    I have been using our warm up water to water all of my potted plants and fruit trees.
    I started working with a new client part time. It will only be 5 hours a week but I was happy to get it. She is P’s neighbor so she has know me for a while. It will mostly be driving her for errands since she was told to stop driving.
    I had $6 in ECB so I got 2 bottles of Tide and a bag of Doritos. I paid 18¢. I was there picking up a prescription.
    Aldi had 1/2 gallons of milk marked down to 99¢ because they are close to the sell by date. I got 4 and put 2 in the freezer. Eggs are still 52¢ a dozen. So I bought 4 more dozen for me and a dozen for P and C.
    P likes me to shop at Stop N Shop for him. I always look at the clearance rack. The had the 2 packs of pizza crusts 50% off so I bought the 2 packs. I also had $3 in grocery rewards so I paid $1.26. One pack went into the freezer and we made pizzas one night for dinner.
    I cooked dinner every night even though my allergies are killing me right now. We had a few extra expenses this month so we cut our take out budget.

    1. You’re lucky your eggs are so cheap. Ours were exactly the same price, they’re now $1.25/dozen. It kills me.

  24. I closed an embroidery business in 2020 when we sold our home and were renting while building a home. I thought I would reopen once settled, but with mother in law moving in with us, I just feel God is leading me to a new season for now. I have blank shirts and rompers I had saved to embroider. I got them out and made 4 lots on Marketplace and have sold 2 of the lots, making $86.
    *cut the dogs head and face.
    * cut husband’s hair
    * Watched Atlantic Crossing, Escape to the Chateau, Home Town
    * Went to Costco and restocked medicine and food. I am trying to pull out food I cooked and froze every 3rd night to work it in and rotate the freezer food. I didn’t get any exceptional prices at Costco, but felt I needed to buy now.
    *I buy pork loins and cut my own chops to section out and freeze. I also buy the large packages of chicken and portion out and freeze. I love my bag sealer to keep them from getting freezer burn. We have 2 deer so have a lot of sausage and venison ground and cubed. We also have a lot of shrimp I got in Florida.
    * I have a gallon bag of zinnia seed. We have a vegetable stand and they grew flowers that were U-pick. At the end of the summer they let all the zinnia dry on the stem in the field. We asked if we could deadhead the flowers for seed and they said yes. I am planting it with some dahlia and sunflower seeds along our back fence.
    *I got some large foam board and some queen size batting at Joanne’s when it was 50% off. I am taping the batting to the foam board and will secure to the wall for a work board. Fabric will just stick to the batting so I can lay out quilt blocks and move them around.
    *I have a few pair of Tieks leather ballet shoes. They are the only shoe that does not cut into my ankles. I found a post where someone told what color polish matches the Tiek colors, so I ordered two colors and am polishing my shoes that are showing a little wear to make them like new again. I will then use a rain protectant on them.
    * We went to Mississippi to clean out my husband’s uncles home that passed away a couple of months ago. I got a vintage typewriter, a few dishes, measuring cups, an old wire Pet milk crate, vintage floral sheets, lamps, insulators, snuff bottles, took down the light fixture from the bath- it has two crystal globe that go from chains and hang on hooks, just retro cool looking. I also got Dawn, Windex, and Tide.
    *We went intending to have an estate sale Saturday, but had someone come who is going to do an auction. My mother in law was pushing to try to do the sale and was worn out after driving 3.5 hours. It is actually her parents home and things, her brother moved in later. I think emotionally she was struggling, so to not be there as things sell and are taken away and see the house empty ended up being a good decision. They already signed papers to list the home so once things are sold it is ready to go on the market.
    *We used our free voucher from Marriott and got us a room. The uncles home smells like smoke and I can’t stay in there a long time. We didn’t use last years voucher so still have it plus points. My mother in law and uncle used the deceased brothers money to buy us dinner at Cracker Barrel. I got the maple bacon grilled chicken and it was really good.

  25. Such beautiful flower photos as always Brandy – thank you. Happy belated birthday! Also, thank you for the article. It is always astonishing to me that North Americans pay – on average – 10 to 14% of their net income on food while Europe is probably closer to 15 to 20% (depending upon the country), while much of the rest of the world can pay 50% or even more!

    Infection rates are still on the rise here so nothing will be reopening until vaccinations catch up to the variants so not much change. Aside from going into the office every other week I grocery shop and walk. I decided to make a grocery run this morning as the dock workers in Montreal just went on strike and that’s where most overseas ships dock to unload! Picked up more TP, paper towels, bleach, laundry detergent ( my favourite brand finally went on sale so I now have enough to last until the end of the year, olive oil (3 bottles in reserve and 1 on the go) and cans of baked beans – which finally returned to my grocery store, were on sale AND were in-store bonus point items. I used $20 worth of Loyalty points to help with the cost. The aisle with TP and PT was a bit sparse today – only one option for the PT. Then the aisle with soft drinks & bottled water was also looking a bit empty – picked up some of the mini cans of Tonic Water as I prefer that herbal taste to coke or gingerale which I find a bit too sweet.

    I ate salads for most meals last week – with different proteins each day – in order not to waste any of the very large container I had bought! I also made a pot of mushroom/barley soup as temps had cooled down again so that will do for a light supper for a few more days. The only veg I bought today were a few potatoes as I want to use up everything fresh & frozen before buying more.

    I mentioned last week that I am only a couple of payments away from paying off my small CC but then of course I got a call from my manager apologizing for a mistake they had made last year in my deductions (it’s an odd thing and they were given some incorrect information – it all happened around the time of the first shut down so there was a lot of confusion). They will pay the govt. to get everything sorted and then I will repay them bit by bit. Nothing to be done about it and it should be finished before the end of the year – it just seems that sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back. Still – not much else to spend my money on at the moment so might as well put it towards debt. I only put about a quarter of my usual amount on my transit pass right now so I try to put the difference into a small savings account and that should continue for the next few months so I have to be grateful about that.

    I’ll make another trip to the library tomorrow as a few more holds have come in. I’m a baseball fan and get to watch the Blue Jays most nights so lots of entertainment. My bubble friend should be able to drive again by the end of the week so we will venture a wee bit further afield for walks which will be nice. A max of 10 minutes from home and still in our own region (no crossing regional boundaries) but it will be nice to see the lake again.

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. Hi Margie,

      Sorry to read about your deduction problem… Thanks for telling us about the strike at the Port of Montreal. I notice that No Frills has some
      good specials this week. Take care…Ann

  26. We have a side yard that is partially fenced. The fence pickets were rotted. Hubby found fence panels on the curb in our neighborhood that were in better shape. He took down the rotten wood & replaced it w/ the new (to us) panels. The panels are not perfect but certainly better than what we had.
    I found 2 water sprinklers & a spray attachment for a hose on a curb. Everyone seemed to be cleaning out their garage this weekend. I also found a computer shoulder bag to put a laptop in.
    My big find was a flat screen TV on a curb a few streets over from our home. The family was moving & did not need it. Our TV has a line down the picture on the screen. Not sure if it is worth fixing. I’m hoping the TV I found will replace the broken one.
    I had some wrinkled apples & pears. I put them in the crockpot & stewed them.
    It seems like if I need something if I’m patient I can find it on a curb.

  27. This frugal accomplishment might seem odd to some, but here goes… My sister-in-law got married in 1971 and received an avocado colored (very popular at the time) pressure cooker as a wedding gift. She was terrified to use it as she was afraid it might blow up. Fast forward to 1981 when I got married. She gave it to me. My mom used one often and I found the sound of it jiggling away so comforting. I have used it every year since to make beef stew. That’s the only thing I make in it. The stew is delicious and brings back such warm memories of my mom who has been gone for several years now. Last night I made the stew and while we were eating it I remarked to my husband that the pressure cooker is going to be 50 years old this year. I’m amazed that the rubber gasket hasn’t rotted by now. It still works great and I’ve never blown up anything. 🙂 Pressure cookers have changed a lot since this one. Do I care if mine isn’t “the latest fashion”? Heck no. I’m sure my frugal friends here will understand that as long as it works fine, why send it to the landfill. I’m quite sure nobody would buy it in a thrift shop if I did decide to donate it. So, I shall continue to use it as long as it lasts.

    1. I can hear my mom making pork chops in my mind as I read about your memories and the pressure cooker. Anytime I heard that sound I knew that something good was going to appear for dinner.

    2. You can get replacement gaskets for your pressure canner online. Just type you model number in the search bar. I have 2 canners from the 70’s: one is a lovely shade of harvest gold. They are the workhorses during the canning season. I think they are much sturdier than the newer models.(If your gasket leaks small drops of water as it pressure cooks, then it is time for a new gasket.)

    3. What a marvelous story of frugality and connection. And, I giggled when you talked about avocado green and then Deanna mentioned harvest gold…yep, the go-to colors of a 1970’s kitchen! I remember them well in several houses!

    4. I have a pressure cooker nearly that old. We are used to each other and work well together. My daughter keeps after me to get an instant pot because they are “safer”. I tell her I am just fine with my long time friend.

  28. Brandy, thanks for the constant reminder to stock up. I can become complacent in my own little world and forget the big picture. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were bbq chicken thighs with macaroni and peas, steak fajitas with tortilla chips and homemade salsa, grilled pork loin with baked potatoes and leftover peas, tossed salad topped with ham and homemade bread, pizza with salad, salmon with rice and green beans, leftovers.
    *Stocked up on styrofoam plates, plastic cups, and sandwich bags at Dollar General. I only use the plates and cups for large cookouts, but its nice to have them on hand and bought at cheaper prices that to have to get them at the last minute and pay more. Also bought an inexpensive Mother’s Day card and solar sphere there so I am ready for Mother’s Day.
    *Picked up multiple prescriptions at the same time to save on gas. Also earned 5 ECBs.
    *Walked with a friend for free exercise and fellowship.
    *Produce was getting a little old so I chopped onions and peppers for the freezer and made an apple goodie. Also made bean burritos for the freezer from outdated refried beans.
    *Friends invited us over for dinner and Rook. They bought pizza with a gift card and we brought the apple goodie I had made.
    *Received a $5000+ hospital bill from an ER visit and overnight stay my husband had a year ago. I called in to request an itemized bill. Let’s hope I can get some taken off of it.
    *Sent a note of encourgagment to a friend from my stash.
    *Accepted a free lunch, coffee and snacks at work.
    *Paid bills using online banking to save on checks and stamps.
    *Celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary by going out to lunch at our fave Mexican restaurant. Hey…lunch is cheaper than dinner! 😆 And we had enough left over for dinner for both of us.
    *The garbage disposal was smelling funky, so I put in some orange peels I had frozen. Much better!
    *Bought hair gel, baby shampoo, chicken bouillon cubes, and allergy meds at Dollar Tree.
    *Bought blsl chicken breasts for $1.79/lb, ground beef for $2.49/lb, pasta sauce for $.88, grapes for $.79/lb, Kraft salad dressing for $.99 and 3 lb gala apples for $2.99 at Food Lion. Used $5 in rewards on my card and  earned another $11 in rewards.

  29. I admire your work ethic! I have read your blog for many years but have never commented. I read the article that you linked to for Rising Food Prices. I can already see that the grocery store I normally shop at doesn’t have the same great sales that were offered pre-pandemic. I realize you are extremely busy with your family. One thing I miss from your blog is the posts that you used to do showing what you would be purchasing each month.
    Thank you for your posts each week. I know that they require precious time but they are interesting and you always find the positive in things. I hope you have a great week.

    1. Glad you commented Monica!

      I have found that I have changed how I shop this last year. I cannot count on seasonal sales any longer. For instance, I usually purchase 20-30 pounds of strawberries on sale in April. I freeze the berries and make our jam for the year.

      This year, they were $2.99 a pound. I used to buy them on sale for $0.99, and then reluctantly went up to $1.25 a pound on sale. This is a price I only saw one or two times at the peak of the season. There are no sales this year.

      So, I am looking for the deals that do exist, but they are not at all sales that I can count on anymore.

      1. I miss your posts about the kids….birthdays…sewing…..etc. I know the garden remodel is all consuming right now. Don’t know how you do it all. Blessings to you and your family.

        1. I don’t do it all at the same time!

          I hope to do some sewing this summer after we get the garden in.

          Birthdays have been rather simple here lately.

    1. I have been wanting to do this for many years. I have planned a space for them in the garden based on what I have read that they need. I have signed up to take a local beekeeping class ($10) in a couple of weeks.

      1. I am constantly amazed by your ambition and enthusiasm. You have a million and one things going on, but yet here you are looking into trying something new! I don’t know where you find the energy to do it all.

          1. We have kept bees for 10 years this Spring and I cannot imagine being without them. I hope you enjoy your beekeeping course (I took one, too, before I started.) A side benefit from taking a class is that you can meet fellow beekeepers and find a mentor or two. I think beekeeping is one skill that really requires a mentor. You can read all you want but you really have to do jump in and do it to really learn. Every hive is different and every beekeeper does things a little differently so visiting as many bee yards as you can is so valuable. My youngest son (just turned 9) has been my bee assistant since he was 7 and will keep the honey profits from his own hive this year. His involvement makes it even more special but, honestly, I just love to sit and watch them. Very cheap therapy! Have fun!

        1. I am hoping to raise bees possibly next year. Have you looked at the top bar hive? I am thinking about that. I like the idea of allowing bees to do what they do. I also like that it is not such a huge investment. It yields 3-5 gallons of honey while Langstroth hives yield 5-10. There is lots of info on pinterest about these hives.

            1. Yes Brandy this comment was for you! I’m still getting the hang of replying here. I will certainly look at your board. I still have lots of time to decide. Glad you had an enjoyable birthday! I celebrated my birthday last week also.

      2. We kept bees for 4 years, increasing from one hive to 4. We loved it and got so much honey. Our bees were gentle. I even dealt with a swarm myself, putting it into a cardboard box till my husband got home from work. Then we looked after a friend’s bees for a while, at his place. He had had a heart attack. They were vicious and stung my daughter, aged 10, who was helping us. That was how we discovered she was allergic to bee stings. Dr told us to keep her away from bees and always carry antihistamines. We decided to give up our bees. It was too dangerous for her. For the next 20 years we had the most delicious honey and were able to give people gifts of honey, just from that 4 years of having 1 to 4 hives. We kept it in a cupboard in large, sealed, plastic containers with no trouble at all. We were so sad when it was finally gone. I can’t bring myself to buy shop honey. I have to buy from local bee keepers that I trust not to feed bees with sugar syrup. The taste is so different. You are in for a beautiful hobby and lots of delicious honey.

  30. Happy Birthday, Brandy!

    We are just back from a week’s vacation at the beach. We plan and save for this all through the year and when we go we make meals at the condo where we stay. I carry the highest priced non food necessities with us and we shop locally for the foods we eat. We allow ourselves two splurges and the rest are all normal every day meal plans that we’d have had at home. We don’t do tourist attractions but park at a parking garage and walk the streets of the historic city one day and another day we’ll drive down the scenic highway where beaches are all protected state parks and in their natural state. We come back feeling we had a break from routine and this trip we brought money home to put back in the bank.

    This week after church we headed to the grocery to pick up a few necessities to carry us through until we receive our next check. I still have 1/4 of my grocery budget for this month left even after our little shop. I call that a bonus as well. I had already told my husband I’d use it to stock up on 25 pound bags of flour and other items I’d noted I was quite low on in my pantry. I shall add olive and vegetable oil to that list now I’ve read the shared article.
    While at Aldi, John spied $2 off stickers on the Never Any roasting hens which are very large and typically sell for $1.49 a pound. I can buy broiler fryers from another store for 88c/pound but this sale made the cost of the larger roasting hens come in around that same price. We do well to get three meals and broth from the broiler fryers but I expect to have five or more from the roasters plus broth.

    We’ve had unexpectedly cool weather for this late in the year, including a frost well past our last frost date. I am glad that I held off planting seeds or buying new plants before we left for vacation.

    My husband repaired our zero turn lawn mower himself. Cost of parts was about $90. This mower was a blessing purchase to us three years ago and he’s doing all he can to extend the life of it as it’s a professional quality mower. It seems nearly every month we are making some repair but we cannot make payments on the same size/quality mower for what it costs, nor pay anyone to do the yards for the same.

  31. Cleaned out my change in the truck. I had over $20 in it. Put it in my jar in the house to use at Christmas.

    Changed the air filters in my truck myself instead of paying for the mechanic to do it.

    Put a stack of fast food napkins in the truck to use as kleenex

    Got a sample bag from Walmart when picked up order. It had a Snyders pretzel sample, Percil laundry pod, and a rubber spatula. I put the reusable bag in my gift bag pile.

    I had a fresh veggies blend from Sam’s we weren’t going to finish. I spread out the vegetables on a cookie sheet, flash froze them, and put them in a ziploc for later use.

    I made sure to enter receipts on rebate apps to get points.

    Attended 3 track meets for entertainment(bonus: I get in extra walking also)

    Returned library books on time to avoid late fees.

    Redemmed more birthday freebies…free cookie from subway, free Jimmy John’s sandwich, free brownie from chicken fil a (plus had a free 8 count nuggets) , free coffee(gave that one to hubby)

    Opened windows and doors up on nice days.

    One dog was due for vaccinations…we skipped the exam, saving $50

  32. Happy belated birthday, Brandy. My brother’s birthday was on the 15th, but with lockdown here in Ontario, Cda, I was only able to talk with him over the phone.

    * I went through the pantries and freezers and made a comprehensive list earmarking what needed to be used first:

    * Found two jars of Sweet’n Sour sauce that had expired last year. As the seal was very firm, I went ahead and used the sauces in stir fries, and as a glaze over pork chops and chicken wings.

    * Also found a jar of Hot Pepper Pesto, which must have been given to me as it’s not normally something I would buy. It also had expired last year, but since the seal was nice and tight, I used it in a pot of Arrabiata sauce (a Spicy Pepper-Tomato Sauce). Unfortunately, the hot pesto didn’t live up to its name, and I needed to add at least another 2 tablespoons of hot pepper flakes to give it a nice “kick” of heat.

    * Our daughter gave us a jar of extra hot Baby Chili Peppers. I’ve added them to my husband’s salads and as a topping for his hamburgers and hot dogs. They’re too hot for me!

    * I discovered I had 4 (2kg, or about 4 1/2 lb) bags of barley that had been forgotten. The expiration date was listed for 2019, but as they are sealed in a 5 gallon pail, they’re still perfectly good to eat. However, since they’re older, I’ve made a special effort to these up. Barley’s been substituted for some or all the rice in many casserole dishes and soup and I even came across a recipe to substitute barley for the rice in rice pudding. Since barley’s so glutinous, it’s made a great creamy pudding. During the summer, I’ll make a family favourite – Marinated Barley-Vegetable Salad.

    * Some of my navy, pinto and kidney beans are older as well, and therefore take much longer to cook. Instead of having to cook individual dishes that contain these beans for hours on end, I remedied this by precooking up a few bags of each in my slow cooker, then I flash froze in a single layer on cookie sheets. Once frozen, I packaged each kind in 1 gallon-sized Ziploc bags so that I can just take the amount of beans I want to use in any dish calling for them.

    * The navy beans were also cooked to make a couple of batches of Baked Beans. I then froze in 2 cup packages to serve as quick ready-made meals. Much cheaper than buying canned Pork and Beans.

    * Using freezer vegetable scraps and frozen chicken carcasses etc., I made a couple of large pots of chicken broth, then I froze in 1 cup packages.
    to be used in stir frys, or for simmering single-serve ramen noodles etc.

    * I made a batch of Red Raspberry Jelly as well as a batch of Wild Blackberry Jelly to use up older frozen berries.
    * I made individual-sized shortcakes as a dessert to use up frozen peaches.

    * Older freezer buns or bread was dried then turned into bread crumbs.

    * Lastly, I’ve been gathering the start-up water in 10 L (2 1/2 gallons) or 13 L (almost 3 1/2 gallons) pails. I normally use this water for the garden, but since it’s still too early to plant here, I’ve used this to flush toilets and water indoor plants. I don’t have a top loader washing machine or it would come in handy for that. Out of curiosity, I’ve kept a log of how many litres I’ve collected per month and compared it to my water bill. So far, I’ve saved approximately $7.00 off each bill since January. That’s $28.00 in my pocket instead of for the utility company. Over the summer, it should add up to much more.

    Pat J.

  33. I’m thankful that my garden is off to a good start. I’ve been harvesting lots of spinach. So far, I have made a spinach and potato pie, and spinach lasagna rolls.
    This year I have grown nearly everything for my vegetable garden from seed, rather than purchasing plants. I also grew cascading petunias, impatiens, and dwarf zinnias. I successfully propagated two hydrangea bushes. I have started transplanting everything. I will be growing blueberry bushes for the first time, and I hope to get a raspberry bush this week.
    Have a great week!

    1. Sounds exciting!

      I love spinach. I hope to have a good crop in the fall. It is too hot for it here now.

  34. Happy Birthday Brandy! I plant a large bed of zinnia every year, but I just scatter the seeds outside right around the frost-free date. This week I did a bunch of mending and skipped the weekly trip to the grocery store, instead making do with what’s on hand. There was quite a bit on hand! I painted a raised garden bed to put outside our back door to grow herbs in this year. I vowed to keep a stricter budget and to make my blog successful. 🙂 Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. I usually sow them outside where I want them but since I cannot yet, I thought I would try starting some ahead of time. The germination rate has been good so far so I sowed more. There are not many flowers that will grow in our summer heat, but zinnias will!

  35. Happy belated birthday Brandy!

    We have had a quiet week. I only shopped to pick up the front page specials at our regular grocery store. With prices on the rise I am trying to take advantage of the good deals and stock up. I did also do several more pickups from our local buy nothing group. This group has blessed us with so many useful and needed things. With the cost of gas rising, I try to combine these pickups with other errands I am running once or twice a week. I completed a medical study recently and was paid $650 for this that will go straight into savings. We are also receiving another payment from our provincial government that will also add to our savings. Our son is turning 18 in September so I have been working on his application for disability support. It is important that we get this started when he turns 18 as it may be our only income if my husband cannot return to work at the university in the fall.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week!

  36. Happy belated birthday Brandy! Glad the weather gave you a nice birthday gift ;). And thank you for the link to the article on rising food prices and what percent of the budget various nations pay for food. Astonishing information. Based on your comment last week about food costs, as well as lots of articles about the issue, I went out and topped off key items in our pantry (especially flour and other staples). I still need to get oil, but that will be easy this week. Thank you for bringing the topic to the front of my mind!

  37. Happy Belated Birthday!

    This week I finished all Christmas gifts for the women in my life. A jewelers was having a sale of pearl and sterling silver jewelry sets from $70 down to $25. Such an easy gift compared to last year (large tote bags filled with personalised items). However, unlike last year, I will need to wrap these little boxes!

    We have been eating an abundance of mandarins we have picked from our mandarin tree.

    Dinners this week consisted of home made pizza, macaroni and cheese, vegetables tuna and rice, burgers and tacos. We had leftovers for some lunches.

    I’m saving money on public transport by working from home a few days each week.

    We took a long bike ride along the esplanade at the beach, had a picnic and play, then another bike ride under the light of the moon (the Esplanade was well lit with street lights). It was lovely.

    We went to a beautiful park by a lake for two hours.

    We took bike rides around our suburb.

    We got free sausages on bread with onion and tomato sauce (called a sausage sizzle), free bottles of apple juice and my children got free play in a jumping castle.

    1. Managed to get another 10% off the jewelry sets! I emailed them the coupon code (that their site would not let me enter in) and they refunded the discount amount to me 🙂.

  38. Happy belated birthday! Sounds like it would be the kind of day I would enjoy – with a cake I hope!

    Ordered a takeout Greek salad and reserved some of the feta and olives and dressing to make a third salad (the original gave me 2 filling servings).
    I was given 10 trash bags full of fabric (family member cleaning out) I kept a third for me, pulled a few vintage pieces to sell on eBay, and gave the rest to a person who uses fabric for her charity work.
    Made some needed purchases outside of food and toiletries. I also purchased a few items from Amazon using Bing points and going through your website Amazon links.
    Continue to collect warm-up water – which now can be used for some outside gardening!
    I reclaimed zippers, buttons, and elastic from damaged clothing.
    Made some breakfast rolls (to use like biscuits) and gave more thought to making crakers and more bread (I’ve gotten a little lax in my “staples” baking). With the article on staples going up, I am glad I will be restocking on flour and oil this month.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  39. Happy Birthday Brandy! Yes, food prices keep rising in our area, too. I just read an article that Americans waste ( throw away food) approximately $1,600 per person a year. The article went on to talk about other wastes associated with buying food from out grocery stores & wasting it, including the time of effort of harvesting, sorting and transporting, energy needed for cold storage and display, gasoline, electricity, all to bring it to our kitchen counter. Don’t know about the accuracy of 1600.00 per person, but the article did make one think!
    Thrifty actions this week: 1) cut husband’s hair 2) found a series of Laura Ingalls Wilder books on sale for granddaughter’s upcoming bday 3) composted with grandchildren & transplanted plants 4) reading Atomic Habits by James Clear

  40. I forgot to mention, I found a plant nursery here in OKC that gave me free seeds for zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers if I will bring back their plastic containers from the plants I bought. Recycling and free seeds = win win!!

  41. Happy belated Birth Day Brandy!

    I finally had follow up checkup for my heart ablation. No sign of A-fib but my blood pressure and pulse were a little higher than usual. I am on an electronic monitor for two weeks. If everything thing looks ok I can stop Eliquis and just take an aspirin a day. I let him know I had gained a little weight back due to out of town doctors appointments, procedure, and surgery for DH and I was already losing it. Waiting with nowhere to walk is the only problem with the way doctor’s appointments and surgeries have to be handled now. I was in a small room for the better part of 6 hours for DH’s surgery. If I left I couldn’t come back in. I wrote down thing in categories I need to do. When I have a little time I will do small steps to accomplish something big. Sewing is a big section. I mended two things and added three after doing them. With the list in front of me I can do some little things quickly and start larger ones in the order of urgency.

    I saw this quick, simple recipe https://thesouthernladycooks.com/sausage-green-beans-potatoes/ while on Facebook that was perfect to put in the crockpot using food on hand. I also made blueberry muffins and other freezer/pantry meals. I stocked up on paper products. We have been walking more. DH would walk his allowed time and wait on a bench for DS and I to finish. I think it did him good being outside. I have been walking a little faster and I like it. I called to apply for SFMNP coupons for 60 and older for DH and I for the Farmer’s Market. You get books with twenty $5 coupons for fresh fruit and vegetables.

    I took back some rolls with bad spots last week and they replaced them with two packages of a smaller quantity. When I saw all the lighting around where they were moved I told them I would check them when I went to the car. They had bad spots too. I went back and picked up something else in the cold area nearby that was two cents short of the amount and I told them that was fine with me. When she rang it up she gave me $1.37, apologized, and answered a cashier’s question. I then asked if it was rung up wrong as I didn’t want to cheat them. She had rung it up wrong and told me to keep it as I had to come back in twice. Big Lots loaded the price of two spices on my card to pick up for free on the weekend which I did. Enjoy your week everyone!

  42. Happy belated birthday to you! We share April birthdays 🙂 Mine was back on the 6th. Thank you again for the beautiful flower pictures.

    *I received 10 free books from Amazon for my Kindle on Earth Day through their promotion. I don’t recognize any of the authors names but will enjoy trying new books.

    *I went to our local thrift store and bought new clothes for myself and my teen daughter. I also purchased several empty picture frames for a project I’m working on at home.

    *The biggest gift/blessing/savings/just plain goodness of the week was unexpected. My husband had moved his mother into an apartment and was cleaning out her home to put up for sale. She had come to the house several times and taken everything that she wanted/needed to her new apartment and said that her children and grandchildren could split up the rest of “the Junk” (her words). My husband had brought home a beautiful fabric covered rocking chair, a piano and a few other items. He didn’t want anything else and I was good with that as well – our house is small and I don’t need more stuff. He went down last week and started hauling stuff out to take to the dump or a thrift store. He asked our children to come by and see if their were any household items they would like to take back to their places. My daughter picked up a shovel, rake, a great-grandmothers table that she will re-stain, and a popper push toy. My sons were able to find several tools that they would use. My one son needed a new bedspread and we found 2 comforters that had never been used and in their original packaging.

    My husband called me and asked me to come down – he said there were things he didn’t know his mom had that would be good for us to take home. He wanted me to come give final approval before he brought them home. He had found 6 handmade quilts! I will always take quilts for our home or trailer. There was a solid oak 2 shelf bookshelf that would fit perfectly in our home. We had been trying to find something to put in this space but everything was too big. It’s in gorgeous shape. I’ll just list the other items – a tall, solid wood plant stand that needed screws to be tightened, 2 tablecloths, 8 large (pickle size) glass jars (perfect for storage), an oil painting that we will put above our bed (nothing is there at the moment), an embroidery framed sampler (I’m a sucker for embroidery), a case of mushrooms, a case of beans, a case of dried potatoes, a purple robe (for my daughter), 8 dvds that are brand new and my husband would like to watch, page protectors, piano books that my daughter can use, a piano bench that has hand embroidery on the seat, pumpkin string lights and twinkle lights for Halloween, Halloween decorations (my favorite holiday) and a few knick knacks. We also transplanted several tulip bulbs from her house to our flower beds. But my absolute favorite item might be the wooden garden bed! My husband will be taking that apart and bringing it home for me to use! I will have a place to plant berries after all! And her house has so many strawberry plants that I’m going to grab some to put in the new bed. Absolutely FREE! What a great blessing! All things we will use or have a place for in our home.

    *I made all meals at home except for our date night. I had 2 of my children here for the weekend and fed them just fine with what we had on hand. Another blessing since I didn’t know they were staying for the weekend.

    *I drove to help my daughter with our most adorable granddaughter one day. I packed up our lunch with chicken salad, rolls, cheese, grapes and homemade cookies. It was a yummy lunch and I love seeing my beautiful and sweet girls. My granddaughter loves to have songs sung to her and she tries to “sing” back with her cooing.

    *All my seeds have come up except for my romas and celery. I will try to replant those this next week. I will have LOTS of green beans hopefully.

    I hope everyone has a truly wonderful and frugal week!

  43. Brandy, your birthday sounds nice!

    I transplanted kale seedlings outside. I am waiting for warmer weather to put out the tomato and lettuce starts. It’s probably okay for the mache seedlings to be transplanted so that can be done this weekend. Squirrels have already been through the kale, so we put netting over the plants. I don’t think they ate the 4 missing seedlings, just scattered them during their play.

    Thank you for sharing the information about rising food prices. I noticed that beef and bacon loss leaders are now $1 more than they have been the past year. Boneless chicken breasts and center cut pork chops are still $1.99# when on sale. I wonder how long that will last. This week I bought extra tortillas (24 cents with a coupon on the package), taco shells (99 cents) and tortilla chips (also 99 cents). They all had long expiration dates so worthwhile to buy 4 (the limit) which will last a while for the two of us. As many have written, I will buy flour and oil and probably cornmeal too. We hadn’t had fish in a while so I bought flounder which was delicious. The very next day, my MIL dropped off some bass which a neighbor caught on a fishing trip. It was wonderful and we enjoyed it for 2 meals.

    My health insurance offers free online yoga and meditation at 12:30 Tuesday and Thursday. My work break is 1:00-2:00 but I have been trying to free that 12:30 slot in my schedule and I finally managed to do it. The classes are so pleasant and make a refreshing break in the work day.

    I am doing vacation planning to reschedule canceled trips from 2020 as well as trying to attend as many as possible of the 4 weddings we’re invited to this year. It’s exciting to have happy occasions to travel to and it will be wonderful to see friends and family!

    The new Donna Leon (Transient Desires) came in on my Libby app. It’s like meeting an old friend when I read her Brunetti stories. I am still watching (and loving) New Tricks on Prime Video and my husband really surprised me by watching The Cliff (a 4-part Icelandic police drama) with me. It was subtitled and normally he avoids anything in a foreign language.

    A wet and dreary morning turned into a sunny afternoon in the Bronx. As always, I enjoy reading the blog and I appreciate all the comments. Thanks and be well!

    1. My frustration with bacon is that package sizes started dropping a year or so ago, from 16 ounces to 12. The price of the 3/4’s pound is what the whole pound used to be, which is deceptive, especially as the packaging is still much the same. We don’t always need 16 ounces, yet I want what I mentally expected when I bought it.

      1. Heidi Louise, bacon is sold in both size packages where I live. I always check the shelf label for the price per ounce before I buy. I buy whatever size package is the cheapest per ounce. You probably do, too. But I don’t think package sizes are getting smaller overall–it’s been this way here for several decades. If I lived alone, or rarely ate bacon, I’d buy the smaller size package so it wouldn’t mold before I finished it. At the moment, I’ve got several packages of both sizes in the freezer…bought entirely on price.

        1. I bake 4 pounds of bacon in the oven and freeze. Pull out as many slices I need at a time and microwave for 30 seconds and I am good to go. No spoilage or waste.

    2. I’ll be looking for that Donna Leon book online at the library now. She is one of my favorite authors.

  44. Happy belated birthday Brandy.

    We got our second Moderna shot last night. Hubby had no symptoms last night but tired today, not bad tired but tired enough he took a nap that he usually doesn’t. I had body aches, low grade fever and was tired. Took an aspirin and 3 hrs later was wide awake and feeling great. Had trouble going to sleep even when it hit midnight when bed time is 9:30. We did have some friends pay for us to get a take and bake pizza to bring home so neither of us was cooking. Was nice as it fed us 3 meals.

    Daughter 4 took our advice and bought a manual push lawn mower (something your grandparents would have had if not great grandparents). Said the last mower she had only lasted 2 years and she spent over $100 fixing it, sharpening blades and gas. E our Amish neighbor said when the blades need sharpened she could bring it to him and he would do it for her for $5. Side benefit, pushing it to mow has helped build up some of the strength she has lost fighting cancer. She bought it with her Door Dash money (meaning we don’t have to buy her one or pay for it to be fixed.
    Back to the gardens for me.
    Blessed Be Everyone
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2021/04/focusing-on-saving-money-daily.html

    1. I love the spirit of manual push lawn mowers, or reel mowers, but if the yard isn’t almost perfectly smooth, they are very hard to push. We had one for a while, but as the giant maples were busy unbalancing the lawn where the tree roots were bulging up, we switched back to a power push mower. The power mower deals better with dips and bumps.

  45. Happy Belated Birthday, Brandy! I lovely day to work outside sounds like the perfect birthday gift to me.

    We are almost done with our major home remodel. I am ready to be done – and we need to be done by May 15th as my parents are moving in with us that day. They will be with us for a few months until their new apartment is ready. I’m excited to have my parents with us. We last saw them in December 2019 and at 84 and 89 years of age I want to spend as much time with them as I can. I am sure I will cherish the memories we make this summer for many years to come.

    Not much frugal at our house other than more cleaning out as we are able to slowly add things back to our basement family room (we had to move everything out so the workers could access the ceiling – new utility lines for everything). I am grateful that we can take a little time and really go through things as we put items back in place. I have also slowly started stocking up on non-perishable food and toiletries as I see good sales – oil will be on my next list after reading your linked article! I will be doubling my pantry space, so I intend to be a bit more careful on my buying ahead and then cooking from what I have at home. We are all tired of eating out or cooking with the crockpot and air fryer and already have a long list of items we will be making from scratch at home when the appliances are delivered next week!

    I have garden plants – vegetable seedlings and annual seedlings – ordered from a local greenhouse that will be picked up on the 7th of May. Our last frost date is the 14th so I should be pretty good to plant that next week. I ordered back in February when a significant discount was offered. I have 53 heirloom plants coming for approximately $1.75 per plant – mostly vegetables and I will be saving seeds for both flowers and vegetables for next year. I’ve been deadheading, cleaning beds, and pulling the creeping charlie that creeped a little too far and will continue to do so until after the 7th. It still feels a little too chilly at night to plant most of the things I grow. I did plant a few things hardy things earlier. My lettuce is up in pots (to protect it from rabbits) and my rhubarb is ready for harvest. I should have radishes soon too – they’re sprouting!

    I always love your photos Brandy! I can’t wait to see your finished back garden.
    Lea

  46. Happy Birthday Brandy! I hope this next year is a good one for you. Maybe by this time next year your new garden will be finished. This week has not been that frugal with traveling for surgery and doctor’s appointment. Two of our children came and stayed for a few days, so that was nice. One son made bread and helped me make gluten steaks. All of the children learned to make bread based on threes so they could remember it when they were elementary school age. Both of the boys like cooking. Their sister does not. Today I found a framed print of a flower garden at Goodwill that I like. I have been tired of only bare walls, but I cannot afford real art. Maybe this will help. It was about $12 for a signed, framed 2×3 or so print. It goes with my $20 couch:) I also found a couple of pieces of what I think is broadcloth fabric. It was $2.99 for each rolled up piece. I don’t know how much is there yet. I am looking for a few simple ideas/ projects that my granddaughter could sew. She wants to learn to sew her own clothes. I have only basic skills myself, but I thought I might learn with her. It sounds like it would be a good time to stock up on food before prices go up more. We have given away a lot of what we had on hand, which wasn’t very much to start with. I like to read everyone’s ideas; it is inspirational. Thank you.

    1. Elizabeth H., great deal on the art print! A signed framed print IS real art! You got it for a fantastic price!

    2. Hi Elizabeth,
      I’m not sure you will see this, but I am very intrigued to hear more about learning to make bread based on threes 🙂

  47. We have been on a mission since January to reduce our monthly grocery bill. From January thru April we have saved $600 per month.
    We needed a new vehicle. We purchased a used truck and paid cash although we qualified for a loan thru our credit union…..We saved interest and did not deplete our emergency fund/savings below our 6 month threshold.
    We made 14 pints strawberry jam (strawberry season in North Carolina) and gearing up for canning and freezing summers bounty. I’m having trouble finding jars and lids ugh!
    I made my Christmas list and working on sewing presents. We include homemade jams, salsa, chutney and pickles as gifts.
    Blessings to all.

  48. Happy birthday, Brandy. I’m late to the comments, but I wanted to wish you a good birthday week.

    I had to return an item to the store that was not the right size, and used the money back to get some other items we need (not just want). I still spent money, but I at least made my return to the store. I am always surprised at how many people don’t return things that they could, because they find it too much trouble even when the store is five minutes away and they still have the receipt.

    I made lemon custard ice cream with lemon juice from our tree’s lemons. Oh, so good.

    I discovered my contact solution on sale and bought two more bottles to add to the three others I bought on sale. I always check dates to make sure I can use them all in a timely manner.

    I went through a closet and re-organized and purged things. I used free sturdy cardboard boxes that I had saved to corral the smaller items and label them. They aren’t pretty, just brown cardboard, but they also aren’t seen, so I don’t worry about it. I find organizing to be frugal, as I can see what I have and don’t buy duplicates.

    I was given a butternut and made butternut squash soup. I am not a big fan of butternut in any form, but I am eating the soup. It’s not bad, it just isn’t my preferred taste.

    I cooked a crockpot full of chicken and turkey bones to make broth. I’ll make dumplings to go in the broth with the few bits of meat I was able to pull off the bones. Since I have to be gluten-free and nut-free now, I’ll make cassava flour dumplings. They are fairly close to my old favorite wheat-flour dumplings I used to make, but the flour is quite expensive.

    I saw the article about food prices. I know I have not been seeing sales like I used to, and prices are definitely higher on many things. When I do see a sale on something I know I’ll use, I buy it.

    I’ve had an unusually busy week this week, but I’m glad I dropped in, even though it was late. As always, the flowers are beautiful, Brandy.

    1. “I find organizing to be frugal as I can see what I have and not buy duplicates.” So true, Jo! I have wasted money purchasing things I already own and either forgot about them or couldn’t locate them. I am writing your words on a post-it to keep reminding myself of that link between organization and frugality. I hope a little prompt keeps me sorting and storing better!
      Thanks,
      Kat

  49. Happy Belated Birthday Brandy. Glad you got to spend the day working in your new garden. I am pleasantly surprised that our potatoes, onions, chives, parsley, celery and basil that were harvested last year lasted us until the newly planted ones will be ready to harvest. Last year I planted enough to share with our two adult children and my parents so I plan to do the same this year. My husband had an April birthday so I purchased a thornless blackberry bush for him along with a new sprayer attachment for the hose. He requested gardening items so I hope the blackberry does well for him. Grocery prices here are rising rapidly along with gasoline prices so I am changing the way I cook. I am also combining errands going shopping only 2x month to save on gas. The one expense I can’t seem to do away with is the grooming expense for my dog. He is excellent for the groomer but simply will not allow me to get close enough to do anything. It just isn’t worth the stress on the dog or me.
    I have a couple ideas for handmade Christmas gifts and have most of the supplies on hand so I will get busy on those in the next couple months.
    Thanks to everyone as always for all the great ideas.

  50. Happy belated birthday, Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – Made Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (http://approachingfood.com/apple-cinnamon-pancakes/) but used a wrinkled pear instead of an apple. Tasted lovely!
    – made iced tea using tea gifted to me and the leftover juice from a can of peaches. It makes a for a very lightly flavoured peach tea, and it’s lovely! #nowaste
    – did a STEM type experiment with my daughter, using food colouring, baking soda, vinegar, a baking pipette, and a muffin tray. My daughter loved it, even if she didn’t understand the chemical reaction.
    – Baked chocolate muffins for my daughter, and included a handful of freezer-burned kale in the batter (blended up). Extra nutrition, and no food waste!
    – Saved the bits of fruit that my daughter didn’t eat at lunch or dinner, and put them in a baggie in the freezer to use in a smoothie for her at a later date
    – Planted lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, and sunflowers. My 2 yo helped, so we’ll see what sort of a hodge-podge grows, but it’ll be fun!
    – I gave myself a haircut. I did it late at night and I got tired and impatient, so it’s ever so slightly lopsided, but I’ve decided to call it ‘charming’ and ‘quirky’ instead. 🙂
    – Made white bean enchilada soup. The recipe called for a tin of enchilada sauce, but I just made my own. Almost as easy as opening a tin, and way cheaper!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  51. I went book shopping online at Munro’s Bookstore. My second great niece has a birthday on Friday. I decided to buy her a paperback edition of E.B. White’s, Trumpet of the Swan. It was only $9.99. Since my nephew has a birthday on Saturday, I bought a book for him. There was no extra delivery charge since the books are going to the same address.

    After reading Margie from T.O.’s comment that the Port of Montreal is on strike, I decided to stock up. I bought 3 boxes of Post original shreddies (No Frills) and saved $7.50. Potatoes were $3.95 for ten pounds. I will buy cheese on sale from Safeway and put it in the freezer. It is $12.95 per kg and regular it is $17.95 so I’ll save $15.00. I bought chicken drumsticks at Co-op– it was the lowest price. And I bought a box of frozen burgers and a pound of ground sirloin (on sale). Safeway also has a 4 pound box of Canadian grown tomatoes for $8.95. I had a box of these tomatoes last year and they were very good. It is not a sales price but I am going to make my own soup to freeze. I got ultrafiltered milk for $1.50 off — it is really practical for me as it keeps for months unopened in the fridge. I have decided that each month I will buy one to restock my fridge. In total, I spent $100. and saved $50. I marvel at how cheap food is in the States — even yet. Everything is more expensive in Canada!

    I renegotiated my telephone/ internet contract. The rep gave me a $100 credit. I was very grateful and it would be undoable to match my rate.
    It is amazing how receptive people are if one stays calm and polite while dealing with a problem or a negotiation. These reps are dealing with very stressed out people so in spite of the fact that I felt stressed out, I was very nice to her. I said I thought there must be a lot of people suffering financially — she said sometimes when she gets off the phone she hugs her dog and then breaks into tears I also helps to take down notes about any previous deal that was offered to you — that saved me when there was a misunderstanding. I was given a book about wild birds on the prairie by its author/photographer and was acknowledged in the book — all I did was email him whenever I saw a bird of interest in my yard.

    I was thrilled when twenty tiny crocuses I planted last year bloomed today! I had forgotten about them so am glad I didn’t go cleaning up in that bed.

    1. Yes, but aren’t wages higher? They used to be, but that might have changed. One thing people forget is that while the US, Canada and Australia both use the dollar for their monetary systems, the dollar is only the name of their currency and the different countries have entirely different economic systems. You can’t compare apples to apples just because the name of the currency is the same. The percentage of income spent on food in Canada might be higher because of its northern climate–more food is imported, and that gets into trade tariffs and all kinds of things I don’t fully understand! But it works both ways, too. Don’t know the price of forest products in Canada at the moment, but for decades US producers had a hard time competing because the Canadian government subsidized lumber exports. (My husband worked in the forest products industry for 38 years).

      1. You are right Maxine – it is difficult to compare since we aren’t really dealing with apples vs. apples. Wages here do tend to be higher – in general – and of course, Health care is subsidized and that makes a huge difference! While you might be shocked by what we pay for a litre of milk ($3.29 last week) – we are often shocked when we hear what you pay for health insurance and for medical costs even when you do have insurance.
        Another frugal blogger that I follow once asked what we would do if we fell and broke an ankle or perhaps needed surgery (she meant how would we pay – and how would we manage physiotherapy, meds that sort of thing) – Americans had a variety of answers – Canadians ALL said, we’d go to the doctor!

      2. Hi Maxine,

        Yes, for the people who have jobs, wages are higher but so are taxes and house prices. True, we do not have to pay for health care premiums directly but we pay for it through our federal taxes. Yet, I don’t think saying that food prices in the U.S. are cheaper than in Canada is comparing apples to oranges. Even taking into account the exchange rate between American and Canadian dollars, food is still cheaper in the States. For years, our food prices were about equivalent but then Canadian food prices really climbed. I never dreamt that living in a beef-producing province, I would be unable to afford a good steak or roast beef but that is how it is now. American prices are about to do the same. I was not comparing economic systems which is hard to do but simply food prices which is a relatively straight-forward comparison. Your comments about the lumber industry are interesting; I remember that under the Free Trade Agreement #1, when the U.S. was a net importer of oil, for every barrel of oil Canada exported we were obliged to export 2 barrels to the U.S. We greatly depleted our reserves in that way, much to our country’s detriment.

        1. I think there is a very good chance that that is exactly what is about to happen to the cost of food here. For those of us with lower incomes, the effect is going to be huge. I am especially glad to be turning more of my grass into produce at this time.

    2. I didn’t mean my post to sound critical of any country, only to point out that countries have different economic systems and you can’t really compare one to the other. And while Canadian lumber was a challenge for US producers, it was a big bonus to buyers…and we all live in houses and buy TP, right?

    3. Ellie’s Friend,
      How nice that the author/photographer gave you a book and acknowledged you. He obviously appreciated your e-mails. I love crocuses too!
      Tammy

  52. Happy birthday! Gardening was a perfect birthday activity, I would love to do the same when mine comes around.

    My husband grew many tomato plants in the greenhouse and spent some time sorting and delivering many of them to family and friends. We still have so many on our deck. It’s too early here for tomatoes to be planted out, but it’s an early, warmer spring so I gambled on a few plants. I did use Walls-o-Water that we’ve had for years and some Rob-made plastic-over-stick coverings to hopefully get an early start. Most of the garden has not been tilled. The main one is that our big tiller is broken beyond repair and the tiny one just doesn’t get down deep enough. Another tiller has been ordered and we are awaiting its arrival. In the meanwhile, I’ve been spending small bits of time with a shovel, digging out dandelions and stubborn grass clumps here and there and concentrating on the plants in the raised beds. There’s so much left to do–Springtime:)

    I am also a huge fan of zinnias. I had some old seeds in a quart-sized bag, purchased for 25c at a yard sale a few years ago, plus a couple of packets that had been around a while. I planted them in the new flower bed we are re-doing after cutting down the fig tree. Some are up. Some probably never will sprout, but I’ll be happy with any.

    My daughter has taken over the Safeway Monopoly game and has won several items. We redeemed them this week. We hadn’t bought enough groceries to earn tokens for the $25 gift card until we were given extra tickets at the store, and suddenly, unexpectedly there were enough points when added with what we had before. Somehow, she won extra points by choosing the correctly colored question mark a few times, plus we had a good handful to work with. I’m going to make a good list of anything we are running low on and use it to stock up this coming week. I have a $10 off $50 to use as well, so I will get more than usual. Might as well:)

    When my husband delivered the tomatoes plants, his cousin gave him a huge box of food she had received from her Gleaners’ Group and could not use, plus fresh eggs from her chickens. Another friend made it possible for him to receive about 10 packages of Kielbasa-type sausage and some potatoes, plus 3 loaves of bread from another gleaning-type situation the friend had been working at all morning. They had extra. We picked up the school lunches several times. They finally have their systems back in place after school started up. For quite a while, it was kind of like a game called “can YOU find the lunch?” because they either were not there at all or kept moving the hand-out location. It didn’t hurt us to skip a few.

    I used up all the school lunch Granny Smith apples in a crisp, made peach crisp, meatloaf, mini-meatloaves, chocolate-chip cookies, and my daughter made brownies. I also made chicken-rice soup, lentil-potato soup, salads, sandwiches, white rice, and used lots of little bits of frozen food from the freezer above the fridge in the kitchen. I sent meals out to a couple of people and am collecting small, frozen meal items for a family member who is facing a surgery. Whenever I cook something that would freeze well, I save out a couple of portions and freeze them. We’ve delivered one batch and now have another ready to take up there in a few days.

    I watched my grandson a couple of times. It was fun to use the same baby stroller I used for our daughter years ago. We found several clothing items for him at the Union Gospel Thrift Store. Most were 50c-$2. We also got several skirts, and a Land’s End swim suit top in my size in the exact style I like to wear for only $4.

    I finished a sewing project. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    We got our daughter her first vaccination for Covid. She would like to volunteer at a day camp for one week this summer. So, we wanted her to have that protection. She will still wear a mask, as long as it’s required.

  53. April is a big celebration month in our family with several birthdays, Easter and my husband’s and my anniversary. We were pleased to be able to celebrate with our loved ones more this year than last. For my youngest son’s 9th birthday, some dear friends who live 3 1/2 hours away drove up just for the day. He was thrilled to see his friends whom we have not seen for a year and I enjoyed spending time with their mother, one of my dearest friends. The party was potluck, his gifts were very thoughtful and useful (lots of colored pencils, pens, and drawing paper as he draws constantly) and the weather was beautiful so they children could just run through the woods, play in the creek and pond and the grown-ups talked and talked. Reminds me that some of the most special things in life don’t cost money. It is the tradition in our family to celebrate birthdays for a week, not just one day. This allows us to do lots of different things and see all our loved ones without feeling pressure to do it all one day. Things like swimming at a new pool, hiking new-to-us places, eating special foods and little low-cost gifts spread out throughout the week makes for a special time and lowers stress for all.
    I have been the grateful recipient of many plant cuttings and divisions from a neighbor who has had to move a few garden beds to make way for a new garage. I have brought home forsythia, Sweet William, daffodils, day lilies, bearded iris, Jerusalem artichokes, vinca, and more. They are all doing well in their new homes and I look forward to seeing how they look next Spring.
    We have been helping a neighbor who fell and broke her ankle and had to have surgery. She is an artist and author and we have so enjoyed spending time with her and the wonderful conversations we have had. She is very generous to share her knowledge with my children and with me. Every visit to her home brings up lessons in local history, the arts, nature and more. My children have always been home educated and we love that our life allows for these impromptu and real-life learning opportunities. That’s something that living a frugal life allows – margin to let serendipitous things happen.
    The warmer weather helps a lot by allowing outside clothes drying, homeschool lessons outside, picnics and pond-playing, gardening and all the things we like to do. We heat our home with wood so have identified several downed trees in our woods that we will split in the coming months. This is one of our favorite activities as we all do it together and I don’t know of any boy who doesn’t like running a log splitter. 🙂 We continue to work on completing our home (which we built ourselves and moved into 2 years ago) and lumber prices have definitely encouraged even more creative thinking on our part but that’s OK.
    Hope everyone is enjoying their Spring in their corner of the world!

  54. Happy Birthday, Brandy!
    It seems like I haven’t commented in ages, but have been enjoying the posts and all the comments. I’m very busy with my eBay store. It seems that many people are taking comfort in their collections during the pandemic, so my sales are booming. I feel very blessed to be able to put money away in an emergency account and save for some classes I want to take towards a new career. (Never thought I would have the money for these classes!)

    *Just finished prepping my vegetable garden area and will start to plant today. I haven’t had a vegetable garden for many years, as our last house was in the woods with very little sun. I’m so excited!
    *Found some great frugal meal ideas in all the comments this week! Thanks everyone!
    *My mom is de-cluttering her house. She gifted me some potholders, desk file trays, notebooks and lots of fun vintage costume jewelry.
    *I’ve been really trying to fill the holes in my food storage, a little voice in my head is warning me to be ready for anything! It has been slow going. I’m
    still doing online grocery shopping, so the prices are higher and deals are hard to come by. Concentrating on the basic foods.
    *Looking for tips on how to best store oils long term. I’m worried about spoilage, as it takes us a long time to go through some oils.
    *Made Pizza with Homemade Crust and Homemade Sauce. Learned how to use my basic breadmaker pizza dough recipe to make an
    amazing focaccia bread that can be topped with anything. I just add spices, olive oil, parmesan. My family loves it, and it costs pennies to make.
    *Made homemade Rice A Roni (Really Pasta Roni, because I left the rice out) from Little House Living Blog Recipes. Family loved it, so cheap and
    easy! Now I will try to make different variations with other on hand items.
    *Had lots of milk this week, so I made homemade Parmesan Sauce over Pasta, yummy! It’s basically a white sauce from a rue, add parmesan.
    *Also made: Baked Potato Bar, Fried Potatoes with Polish Sausage, Homemade French Bread, Salad Bar, Snack Tray Night with all the bits and pieces of things from the fridge, Hard Boiled Eggs, Fajitas and Quesadillas. I will bake more potatoes, my husband takes them for lunch with toppings.
    *Thrilled to get Free Current Medical Coding Textbooks and Study Books from the local Buy Nothing Group. Its probably over $300 worth of text books! While they may not be the books I need for the classes I want to take, they will help me study ahead before I start classes!
    *Sadly, missed out on Lots of Free Blueberry Bushes in Pots on the Facebook Buy Nothing Group. I need to be checking the posts frequently, many people are listing plants, seeds, pots, potting soil right now. I highly recommend joining your local group! People also share lots of food in my group.
    Hope everyone has a great and healthy week!

  55. Does anyone have a particular recommendation for solar ovens? We’re in the Pacific Northwest and have a deck that gets loads of sun, so I’d like to try to harness more of that energy. Unfortunately, I find myself totally overwhelmed by online reviews…

    1. Julia, this is the one that I have. You do need a sunny day free of clouds. That’s most of our year here, but I know you have a lot more cloudy days there. It doesn’t get hot enough if it is overcast, so I would evaluate how many sunny days you get on whether or not you feel the expense is worth it to you.

      1. Thank you! I’m on the fence: I live in a bit of the PNW that gets plenty of summertime sun, but for that much money, I really want to make sure I would use it consistently. I appreciate your response!

      2. I have that one also and really enjoy it. Now that I am retired I ought to pull it out more often. Maybe when I don’t want to heat the house up this summer I’ll be more motivated.

  56. My daughter made the most frugal decision possible; she has decided to attend our local community college instead of one of the more expensive colleges where she was accepted. After 2 years of community college, she will transfer to one of our state colleges to complete her degree. Her decision will save her literally thousands and thousands of dollars. It was a very mature, responsible, frugal, practical decision, and I am very proud of
    her choice!

    1. I am a retired high school teacher and I have recommended this path to many students. Another plus to starting with a community college is often there is a greater availability of tutoring and other help available to students who need it.

      1. I realize this is so late no one will see it, but another advantage of community colleges is that the classes are usually much, much smaller. I took Western Civ at the University of Oregon with over 500 students. When they all showed up for exams, some students had to sit on the steps of the auditorium. Small classes make a huge difference!

  57. This last week I switched our household to a largely vegetarian diet in an effort to get my cholesterol down. I’m in my 30’s, but it’s genetic and my eating habits haven’t helped. Surprisingly, my husband was on board “as long as it tastes good.” So far 6/7 dinners have been healthy and winners, and no complaints! I was also thrilled to realize that my grocery budget will stay the same cutting out meat. I was certain that buying special ingredients might increase it, which was a price we were willing to pay, but so far it seems to actually be cheaper.
    The garden will go in mother’s day weekend. I plan to go big this year and also hope to focus more on succession plantings of greens and beans to keep us in fresh salads as much as possible. I really am getting so sick of all the plastic waste from the clamshells of salad at the stores. We have to haul our garbage out, and it seems like I have a full sack every other day.
    I accepted a new, much higher paying job that will start in June. Typically I get to be home with the children in the summer time, but no longer. I’m sad about this, but it will give us the ability to invest in their hobbies more- swim team, martial arts, etc. Plus they are getting to the age where hanging out with mom all summer isn’t as cool as it once was. 😜 To celebrate, we used a free night and a coupon for a reduced second night at Great Wolf Lodge the first weekend of june. We haven’t told the kids, but plan to surprise them. We have never taken a family vacation beyond a camping trip, so I think they will be very surprised!
    I have been keeping an eye out for sales to pick up a few new clothing items for everyone in the household as we transition to warmer weather.
    Have a great weekend all!

  58. Picked up 25 junipers and a few things at Safeway. I spent this morning cleaning up and carpeting more of the yard. Yes, you read that correctly. I live out in the country – I’ll do what I want, dang it!! No HOAs here for me! Seriously, carpeting keeps down weeds, doesn’t look all that bad (I use green and neutral colors that I get from dumpsters), it lets the rain thru, I have to occasionally (like maybe a couple times a year) sweep or rake it), and I can remove it easily if I want to put in a different raised bed. Just the savings on chemicals alone (along with the fact I don’t really like using them) is huge.

  59. Not trying to be in anyone’s personal business but if you have health insurance through the marketplace (aka Obamacare) please update your data. Based on increased credits due to a recent federal covid act most people Ive helped have had their premiums reduced by at least $25 a month. One person I helped was able to upgrade to a much better plan and still lower premiums by $20. It takes almost no time. I think deadline for changing plans is May 15 but deadline for increased credits/reduced premiums is in August but the sooner the better.
    Also if you have health insurance via Cobra this same act will pay 100% of your premiums through September.

  60. Last night the neighbour brought over her excess homegrown tomato plants which saved me buying seeds or plants. I can plant them later this month after the danger of frost has passed. Our daughter was doing a walk through of her old apt last night so I am hoping she received most/all of our damage deposit back. My husband is replacing the seal at the bottom of the attached garage door which should save on heating costs and drafts. It is 20 years old so definitely high time.

  61. Happy birthday, Brandy!

    This week is off to a frugal start. I picked up a free book from a stoop containing lots of simple patterns for doll clothes—that may be a fun activity to share with my niece. Her baby brother is due soon and I’m thinking about things we can do together to help her feel special.

    Colored my hair at home with Lush henna bars. The price recently went up to $28 per bar, which isn’t cheap, but I get 3 applications out of one bar and organic hair color for under $10 per application is a pretty great deal.

    Hubby successfully rooted a cutting and now we’re getting new growth on our free plant.

    Downloaded a free pedometer app for my phone.

    I made these lemon ricotta pancakes, which were the best I’ve ever tasted:
    https://www.cookingclassy.com/lemon-ricotta-pancakes/

    Hope everyone has a great week!

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