My big savings this week was an unexpected surprise! I have been wanting to go see my granddaughter, whom I have only seen once when she was 3 weeks old. She is now 6 months old. Someone I know from church was going to the same city (a 637-mile drive one way) for the weekend and asked me if I wanted to come with her.

I spoke to my daughter and son (who is also attending the same university) to make sure they were up for a visit, and I was able to go!

I didn’t want to spend much while there, so I chose a real inexpensive motel for two nights that was a 9-minute walk from my daughter’s house and close to campus. I chose it because it meant I wouldn’t need a car while there (and it was cheaper and closer than the nearest Air B&B after fees).

It was a cold walk (high of 32 derees F/0 degrees C/ and a low of 5 degrees F/-15 degrees C) but I dressed warmly.

I was able to attend a choir concert at the school for $3.

I visited the thrift store with my daughter and son-in-law and purchased several sweaters and a dress for myself along with a jacket that I will use while gardening. The jacket is just the style and color that I wanted, though it is two sizes larger than what I wear. I figure I will wear it while pruning in the winter, so ease of movement is important and a larger size should be okay.

My husband cut my hair for me.

I mended a pair of pants for my daughter.

I dug paperwhites and iris from the white garden that needed to be divided (the plants in the lower planter). I gave some paperwhites away to others. I will replant them in new spots in the garden.

I planted low-growing polyantha roses in the white garden where the paperwhites had been. I had originally tried growing low-growing carpet roses in this spot nine years ago, but they didn’t make it. I have grown a combination of bulbs, seeds, annuals, and honeysuckle in this spot since. I would really like lots of flowers here and the cost of annuals has risen quite a bit, so having roses here should provide more flowers without the ongoing cost of buying vincas and snapdragons. (I left the daffodils at the back of the bed near the wall in place).

The honeysuckle that I had planted there (one store-bought plant and one cutting from a neighbor) had set down roots in some new places. I dug and divided some of it. I moved two plants to the backyard. I also potted another plant to give to my neighbor who gave me the cutting. She has said several times that she wished she had more honeysuckle, so I was able to give some back to her!

I used some old paint to paint part of the inside of the shed. We reorganized the shed and part of the garage.

My husband repaired a clogged sink and a toilet handle.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Oh, my goodness! What a smile! Your granddaughter is darling. And how amazing you were able to hitch a ride to visit them. It was meant to be.
    We were under quarantine this past week and, like others have mentioned, one upside is that we saved money on gas by not going anywhere by car. We don’t drive every day anyway so the savings may have been minimal but it all counts. Once again, I was so grateful for living on 30 acres where we could be outside and do the things we normally do other than see neighbors or family in person. My parents brought over a huge meal which fed us for 3 days as well as some magazines and books from the thrift store. A neighbor brought some baked goods which was such a treat. My husband and I took the time to get a little more done in my laundry room where we are building some much needed shelves. I also took some time to gather a few items to sell in my neighbor’s booth at the antique shop. My boys and I played lots of board games and it was nice to remember we have all we need to be cozy and entertained right here.
    I made a triple batch of laundry detergent.
    The chickens are laying close to spring time levels so we have some eggs to sell and barter with again. We can also afford to make dishes which take a lot of eggs like omelets, which we love. We dug up some overwintered carrots from the garden and made a delicious carrot snack cake. We are eating exclusively from our stored food for the rest of the month as part of our low grocery budget for the month. So far, so good and I enjoy the creative exercise of figuring out meals from what I have on hand.
    I re-read “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck – a classic I have read before but just felt drawn to it again. It was as good as ever. Currently reading P.D. James’ “Sleep No More.” Even though I love and have read all of Agatha Christie’s novels, I don’t usually read murder mysteries, for whatever reason. However, this one is great! Very reminiscent of Christie and the six little tales are just right for those times when I don’t have long to read. One story very much reminded me of the Clue board game – one of my favorites of all time.
    Next up is “A Square Meal” by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe. It was recommended by another reader here and the first few pages are great. Thank goodness for the library!
    Hope everyone is staying healthy and happy and looking forward to Spring!

      1. To Debbie and Mountain Mama – I won’t say enjoy “A Square Meal” – but I do hope that you both find it interesting and informative for how we deal with things now.

        1. I am halfway through it and am really enjoying it. I love the background starting prior to WWI and how our eating has evolved in response to regional, nationwide and international events. The fact that we all have to eat helps us see ourselves in others and I learn a lot by imagining myself in others’ situations. I am glad for your recommendation!

  2. Oh Brandy she’s beautiful! How wonderful you were able to visit ☺️

    My frugal accomplishments:
    Still not many deals at grocery store this week but did find some fun clearance ice cream (Twix bars, milkshakes) for a fun Valentine’s dessert ❤️

    Used a special promo (with MoneySavingMom through to get $25 back when purchasing $15 at Walmart. Ordered generic neosporin and feminine products which were on my list to get anyway.

    My girls and I went to the Goodwill Outlet and found many new items with tags still on them!

    Went on a trip to the college our youngest will be attending in fall (about 3 hours away). We were treated to lunch by my dad before we left (after Church) and we used a gift card to pick up subs for dinner. We paid for gas and a hotel room. We saved by making sure to take advantage of free breakfast and coffee/tea/hot cocoa and we were provided lunch for us all and a t shirt and tumbler for my daughter at the college event.

    Buy Nothing Group:
    *2 Nutcracker tea towels (to gift my nephew who collects nutcrackers)
    *hair scrunchies
    *light bulbs
    *hanging file folders (for hubby’s work)
    *won a drawing for an electric skillet

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

  3. I’m always so excited to see this post each week. Thanks so much to you, Brandy, and everyone who participates. *I’ve been working diligently at meal planning and sticking to the plan. One way that I’m able to do it is to freeze left overs and buy some ready-t0-eat meals for days that I’m having a fibromyalgia flare up. I come up with seven meals a week, but don’t plan an exact day for them. Then, when I’m feeling better, I make something more involved, and on bad days it’s leftovers from the freezer. It’s working pretty well. We’ve had roast and mashed potatoes, pasta, tacos, lasagna, and potpies. For the pasta I wanted garlic toast so I took two aging hamburger buns, buttered them and sprinkled on some garlic powder and browned them in a frying pan. It was yummy and I used up the buns before they went bad. *In the spirit of my decluttering, my husband got inspired and went through his books and sorted them. He has a huge pile for donation, but decided to take pics of them and send the pic to a friend of his to see if he wanted them first. The friend is so pleased and is taking them. He will pass them on when he is done. Feels good to share. *We have saved a lot of money by staying home, especially with gas going up so high. *Got another delivery from the library. I’m so so so grateful for this service. *Watched the conclusion of All Creatures Great and Small on PBS. * Some friends invited us over for dinner with another couple. It was wonderful! First time we’ve done anything like that in two years. So fun and frugal. *I didn’t buy pop this week. I usually buy a 12 pack but I didn’t this week, in the hopes of drinking more water. Pop isn’t great for me, nor is it inexpensive. Hope everyone has a great frugal week, and stays safe!

  4. What a terrific picture at the top of your post! $60 seems to be my lucky number this week, as I sold three different items on eBay, each for $60. I rarely sell on eBay, so this was a nice little boost. My husband was called by a former colleague who needed some help with a grant writing project, and even though it was going to be a boring three-day slog, my husband happily took it because it paid $1150. It ended up taking them only two days but he was still paid the full amount. We did splurge on Cold Stone cones, which we do very rarely, but the rest went into the emergency fund. Some weeks you save money by careful spending and some weeks you save money by small side gigs like eBay and grant writing, and this week it was the latter. Does not happen often but it sure is nice when it does! I did get some pots from a person down the street who is moving. She asked me if I wanted the dead rose bush so I could reuse the soil. The bush looked sad but there seemed to a bit of life in one of the tips, so I watered it well with warm water and cut it back pretty severely and put it near a large window so the lighting would not be too hard on it. Darn if I don’t have a rose bush now! There are little green branches growing all over it, so sitting in her basement and unwatered since September did not kill it. I don’t know how much a potted rose bush costs where you live but here they are $40 at the nursery, so I am thrilled to get this. Other than that, nothing special, just the small day to day things of turning off lights, no food waste, wearing sweaters indoors…Thank you for posting every week, as it helps to keep me motivated.

  5. How fun that you were able to go! I bet they were overjoyed to get the surprise visit, too <3

    We just had quite an expensive long weekend vacation, but we did do *some* things to save money — we went for a hotel option that included a hot breakfast, and we packed over half of our own meals and just ate them in our hotel room (which I made sure had a fridge and microwave). We paid the $30 to get into the national park for the week (our library doesn't offer the free ones!), but that was still a fairly low-cost activity as we went hiking nearly every day. We also made sure to fill up with the cheapest gas when we were passing through a certain town that always has lower gas prices. I'm sure people could have done it for cheaper, but all in all, the cost wasn't too bad — about $650 for the five of us over three nights and four days.

    I also needed more grow lights for the flower farm, so I decided to just try out the cheap shop lights since most people say they work just fine, and I purchased 8 of those. They ended up being on sale, so I actually got the 8 lights for just $160 — much cheaper than what I spent for the grow lights I got last year!

    1. Brandy, I’m thrilled you got to visit your children and granddaughter! What a cutie she is! Do you know where they will be living after Winter and Mr. Winter graduate?

      Torrie, I researched gro-lights some years ago and learned that standard shop lights are close enough to full-spectrum lights to do the job. I used to have a 2-level table with lights, and shop lights worked just fine! Maybe they aren’t THE way to do it, but they are A way, and I was very pleased with the results. I think you will be, too.

      Well, here we are again this week. I haven’t done much on the frugal front…TBH, I haven’t done much on any front. DH is still laid up, but the wound on his amputee stump is showing improvement. Most of my report this week revolves around my daughter.

      I cut her bangs.

      Colleen had a Starbuck’s GC and wanted a latte. I needed to buy a few groceries and we could do both at Fred Meyer (Kroger). When we went to pay for her coffee, I spotted a Freddy’s GC in her wallet that I assumed was used up. We could use it at this Starbuck’s, so I asked them to check the balance. It was a $35 GC, never used, that had been in her wallet for several years! (I have no idea where it came from). Very glad I checked before we just threw it away! People often give Colleen GCs, especially to coffee places, and I’m on a mission to use them all and throw away the empties (decluttering!).

      All of her nail polish was THAT old, so we threw it away and started over. I read a Good Housekeeping article online that said Essie was the overall highest rated brand, but Maybelline went an average of 6.5 days without chipping. I despise chipped nail polish. We would definitely have bought Maybelline–if Freddy carried it. Since they didn’t, we bought Essie, which was $3 bottle LESS than OPI (but still 9 bucks a bottle). Essie sells one product that is both base and topcoat, so we bought it along with two colors on B2G1F sale…so DD has new nail polish and about $10 left on her GC.

      Thursday was my birthday. I spent it in quarantine. Saved the cost of going out–but we did that Saturday night instead, LOL. I visited a friend Monday morning, not realizing that she was coming down with Covid. By that afternoon, she knew she was sick. She called me Wednesday night to let me know that she tested positive. We had gotten our free test kits in the mail that morning, so I used one and tested negative. Re-tested Thursday night and negative again! This has got to be a miracle…we were in close contact. I’m happy to report she is recovering well.

      Paul McCartney is going to perform in Spokane at the end of April. I would lovelovelove to see Sir Paul, but not for $428 and up per ticket. I have lived since 1964 (when I watched Ed Sullivan) without seeing him. I guess I can go the rest of my life without it, too. The thing about the tickets to see Paul…I can afford them, but they aren’t worth it to me! (That is what frugality has taught me). Paul gets $428-plus and poor old Ringo is playing the Indian casino circuit…. But Ringo isn’t “the cute one” and he can’t sing like Paul, LOL.

        1. Brandy what a gift it was to see your daughter and son-in-law and grandbaby. It’s hard when they are so far away.ALmost all of our grandkids are a full days drive away (14 hours) and the other is two days. We are always so blessed when we can see them in person.


      1. My mom uses nail polishes for drawing/painting. She uses them in gardening, like for writing on pots, labels etc. Also she makes cute little pictures with them on different items.

        1. if your nail polish gets a little thick, put nail polish remover in it and it will bring it back to the right consistency. Do it slowly so you don’t get it too thin. I’ve been doing this for many years.

    1. I bought them from Uncle Jim’s worm farm online. I bought red wrigglers. They are considered composting worms, but they have always done well in our soil.

      1. My friend’s and her husband and family own Uncle Jim’s worm farm. They are also homeschoolers with many children. You are supporting a wonderful family!

      2. I’ve been to Uncle Jim’s worm farm in person. They were the next town over in PA, so they let me save on shipping and pickup in person. They gave me a tour of their operation. It was really interesting. They had big boxes of dirt & worms with grow lights set up in a dark farm building. I was always happy with my purchases from them

      3. A big chunk of our business is producing vermicompost (compost made worms) and we always order from Uncle Jim’s when we need to seed a bin with worms. Uncle Jim’s has the best quality worms available online and red wrigglers are exactly what you want if you want them eating food scraps and decayed matter.

  6. How wonderful to have a surprise opportunity to visit with your granddaughter, daughter, son, and son-in-law. She’s a real sweetheart. I made an apple pie and pasta, which my husband requested, for Valentine’s Day. Our frozen pawpaw, figs and strawberries were used in oatmeal, and frozen peppers and lambs quarter were used in breakfast scrambles. As our potatoes are being used, I’m cutting the eye ends off, and putting them aside for planting. My order which included pea seeds arrived, and the peas were planted. At thrift stores, I found a king pillowcase I’ll alter to fit a queen pillow for .50, a cashmere sweater for myself for $2.99, and a cute long sleeved top for .50. I made a batch of snickerdoodle cookies. Our neighbors lost a son last week, and I made up a small plate of the cookies for my husband to take when he went by there. Our diet is so different from most people these days, that was the best I could come up with. My husband surprised me with a sweet, heart shaped trellis for our Seven Sisters rose.

  7. Grandchildren are just the best!! Glad you got that visit!
    Thanks, Ellie in AR for the reminder last week!! I did get Kroger peanut butter for 97 cents (limit 5). Surprisingly, the next day on my Kroger app,it showed that I had redeemed that digital coupon price BUT could do it again, so tomorrow morning (the final day of the sale) I will get 5 more!! We regularly go through PB for sandwiches, baking, candy/snack making as well as some ethnic dinner sauces!!
    This week, my friend who works at a local Krogers texted me to let me know that their store had an overabundance of canned chicken and beef broth that was marked down to 10 cents a can! 14 Oz cans that were normally 69 cents a can. When I got there, I saw 3 shopping carts + 2 shelves filled with these cans. Her only request was that I pick up 24 cans of chicken broth and 12 cans of beef broth for her since she wouldn’t be able to buy any until after work. I also texted my daughters and took one of the full shopping carts to the checkout as my own, after picking up 5 individual yogurts which were 28 cents each after sale and ibotta. The clerk was so patient and friendly when she asked if I was stocking up! 🤪 I explained that I was but that I was also picking up some for 2 of my daughters who were working and a friend and that there were still 2 full shopping carts + the clearance shelf that were waiting for other customers! I honestly didn’t know how many cans I bought. Got them home and found I bought 196 cans!!
    After sorting out my friend’s 36 cans, my daughters’ 20 cans and my cans, I still had some left.
    I called another friend who had alerted me to a pork chop sale (I didn’t get any)and asked if she and her married daughter would like any. 50 cans between them + her daughter had a bowl scraper paddle that she bought new for her Kitchenaid, but was the wrong size. She didn’t want to pay the $8 to ship it back for a refund, so in exchange for their broth cans, I now have a bowl scraper paddle that fits MY Kitchenaid perfectly and is actually something I was wanting.
    The final extra cans went to someone attending the grocery shopping for deals class I taught this past week who was new to the area and said she would love to be one of my “speed dial texting buddies” that would get called when one of us found a bargain to share! Lol! I called her and she was ecstatic to come over and the final extra cans!! So our little shopping “network” expanded but that means that there are extra eyes and ears checking for great stock up prices! And it’s been a fun camaraderie!! Btw- the expiration date on these is May 2023! So they aren’t out of code, just excess that don’t fit on the shelves. I see that happening more and more.

    My upright freezer in the basement stopped working. I noticed it when I went to take something out. Fortunately, it is winter here and it was about 14 degrees here so we put the still frozen foods in coolers and took them outside to our side-yard while Hubs took a photo of the identification plate in the freezer that had model number, etc. He called an appliance parts place and found that they had 3 of the freezer fan motors in stock that were the right size. He raced over and bought it as I finished cleaning the inside of the freezer. The fan motor was $150 but after watching a YouTube video, he had it replaced and working great within 30 minutes!
    What a blessing to live in times where instructions to fix things are just a click away!! While he was getting part and working on the freezer, I put some of the beef roast into the crockpot and then shredded the beef and packaged it for freezer. Not knowing how long or if the freezer would be fixed, I also thawed and cut up chicken and cooked it into chunks and packaged into meal size portions for the freezer. It was quite the “food processing” day here! Lol!

    The next morning when I was getting ready for my morning treadmill walk, I turned the tv on to YouTube to watch a how-to video when I saw one about canning orange juice (not the oranges themselves) . I watched it because I had 2 half gallons of orange juice in my fridge that I bought on sale. Hubs likes OJ to drink, but I don’t. However, I do have recipes that I often pass by because one of the ingredients is orange juice and I don’t typically have any in the house! After watching 2 or 3 videos that were WB canning the juice, I consulted my Ball Blue book (because the caveat about YouTube videos is that sometimes they are not safe). But both the Extension Service and Ball Blue book agreed that they could be WB canned. So I did and got a dozen pint jars full of juice ready to use that are on my shelf!! And, as an extra bonus, out of the blue, a friend had just given back the dozen pint jars I loaned her for canning a couple years ago! So I had jars just waiting to be filled!! 🎉🎉

    On the sewing front, another quilt came in for us to quilt up- Lenni’s #230!! It was a two color quilt with some large “blank” spaces that were solid white. Here’s how it looked after we quilted it: A box of fabrics was mailed to us to design and make a memory quilt so that will be my sewing project this week.

    Hubs and I celebrated our 51st anniversary on Saturday, but since the week had been so busy with freezer and also with Hubs organizing and helping our friends who are in their 90’s Thursday night when their basement flooded from the torrential rains we had and their sump pump stopped working. All Thursday night 11 of the men from church helped bail out the water and Hubs called our daughter who works for a plumbing supply company and she was able to locate a new in stock sump pump at their warehouse that he was able to pick up on Friday. He and two other guys got the new one installed and on Saturday all morning he and 4 other guys got their furniture moved so that the big carpet fans we rented could dry everything out even more. So, by the time he was back Saturday afternoon, we both agreed that we were happy with a low key anniversary celebration. 🥴 We went out to dinner at Outback (We haven’t gone into a restaurant in over 2 years) and had a wonderful dinner! Of course, it was way more food than we could eat so we got takeout boxes and even drink cups for our soda!! It was SO nice and we finished up the evening at home watching a new episode of Agatha Raisin. On Sunday, we both had long, busy days with Church so it was so pleasant to have our leftovers from Outback for another satisfying dinner!

    We just took our next grandchild out for our traditional birthday lunch, birthday shopping and end the time with ice cream at our local UDF mini-mart/gas station. This mini-mart gas station is like a Circle K or AM/PM except they have an ice cream counter with over 30 flavors of ice creams!! They do cones, sundaes and milk shakes. Our grandkids love choosing their own ice cream flavor, type of cone (they have 7 different cones!). After you go there 4 times, you get 40 cents off/gallon of gas at their station. They are located all over central Ohio. I checked today and found we had a credit of 85 cents off per gallon and gas was $3.09/gallon! So Hubs was able to fill 11 gallons of gas needed for just $2.24/gallon!! Other places around town were as high as $3.19/gallon!!

    After paying the final bill for my dental work, there were enough rewards credits to transfer another $10 into our savings account! $10 may seem like a small amount but already, since January 4, we have added $75 to our savings account that way!

    Our chickens are still producing about 6 eggs each day (3-1/2 dozen a week) so we have plenty for our cooking/baking needs plus extra to share with family/friends/neighbors! They are a great addition to our food storage and we haven’t had to buy eggs in well over 4 years!!

    That’s about all we’ve been doing, other than those frugal things that are just part of our day to day routine!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Garden Pat- If you have any creative ways of using up eggs other than quiche, omlettes, egg salad, deviled eggs, bread pudding, fried egg sandwiches ( on egg bread!) and added to salads, please share! We are getting over 3 dozen eggs a week, and even between eating them regularly, the baking, and sharing with family I still keep getting more eggs!
      Also, which Kroger has all these amazing deals you find? Im familiar with the one on 665 and the ones further south, down to Waverly, but I’ve never seen some of the amazing deals you find.

      1. Bethany, you can make crepes! The number of eggs can be increased easily.

        One of our favorites is frittata. I plan to make one in the morning.

      2. Bethany- the Krogers that had the clearanced broth was in Gahanna – Hunter Ridge center near 270 & Hamilton Road.
        The “Are You Kidding” cake that I posted the recipe for that only uses 3 ingredients- cake mix, pie filling and 3 eggs!

        I also use them, scrambled, in breakfast burritos, fried in sausage or bacon, egg and cheese biscuits or McMuffins. Hard boil and slice them for salad topping. Potato salad, meat loaf. We also give or sell extra eggs. With the Avian flu that is spreading among some of the Midwest states, it may very well affect egg supply and prices in the stores soon!

        And I’m assuming that you know that if you don’t scrub the shells, you can keep the eggs in your fridge for about 6 months without any special processing.

        Hope this helps!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. I’ve made that “are you kidding me cake” three times since you posted it, it’s a big hit here. Chocolate-cherry; spice-apple with homemade filling; and strawberry-strawberry. I’m hoping to get enough blackberries this summer to can some homemade filling, which I think would go well with a lemon or yellow mix.

          I don’t wash the shells until I’m ready to use them, as I don’t have the fridge space for that many eggs. They live on a pantry shelf. I completely forgot about breakfast burritos and egg mcmuffins, I’ll need to make a batch of each. I used to make and freeze them regularly when all the kids were home and everybody was running on different schedules. Thanks for the reminder!

        1. Miriam, my mom did the hard boiled eggs in a bechamel sauce with canned salmon, served over toast – she added peas if she wanted to brighten it up a bit! I recall it as a real treat but for her it must have been a cheap and easy meal to serve all us kids.

      3. You might try egg drop soup! It’s very easy to make and very inexpensive, as the ingredients are broth or stock, eggs, and some seasoning.

        1. My son made this last week and it was good! He said it is eaten for breakfast in other countries. Not very filling for me but if you added some chicken and had rice on the side it might be more filling. I like it as it had a little ginger in it that added flavor.

      4. In addition to the other meals mentioned, you can make gnocchi and egg noodles as well as egg-rich breads. We have 28 hens and 2 roosters so we are gratefully swimming in eggs during the long days of the year.

      5. You can make homemade ice cream using the yolks and then meringues with the whites. Together they make a lovely dessert.

      6. It’s been several years since I have done this, but a friend told me to take eggs, coat them in warm mineral oil and store them in a cool place in a carton. Flip the carton over once a month. The eggs will keep for up to 12 months (probably should google to see if accurate!) I did it with a few dozen eggs and used them within about 10 months. The eggs lose their ability to whip up to a froth, but they still styed fresh enough. I lived to tell the story….

      7. I always fed the dogs a cooked egg each most days and even fed cooked eggs back to the chickens when I could not make use of any more or find enough neighbors/friends . I also froze some but not alot.

      8. You could try waterglassing your eggs to store for the non-laying season. Three Rivers Homestead on Instagram is a mom who goes over how to do this. (She also has a recipe for a baked pancake “Walls of Jericho”that uses 12 eggs!) My grandmother made homemade noodles/pasta when she had too many eggs and let it dry.

        1. Funny thing is they have layed all winter! Even during the snow and ice storms we had last month I was averaging 6-8 egg a day from 8 hens. The coop and run sit east-west, in an open area, which may have something to do with it, as it gets light for however long the sun is up each day.

          1. Bethany- That’s so funny because we also have 8 chickens and are getting 6 eggs a day through this much colder winter than we’ve had in the past 3!! And it gets dark so early and stays dark into the morning and still they lay!! 😱
            Maybe it is an extra blessing because food prices are going up and eggs are one thing less to worry about buying! ❤️ I know we love our urban chooks!! ❤️❤️

            Gardenpat in Ohio

            1. Many times the old heritage breeds will lay through the winter , also if they molt early enough. The daylight starts getting longer after Dec 21 also and they are very sensitive to the change. The alignment of the coop and run has much to do with allowing light to be available!
              Oh how I miss my farm!

      9. I usually mix hard-boiled eggs in with tuna to make sandwiches. Because we home-can our tuna, bought from the docks of the Pacific Ocean, it is actually more expensive than buying it at the store, so this stretches it out.

        I used to make Dutch Babies when we had both chickens and a lot of children still at home.

        For whatever reason, eggs have remained super inexpensive around here, so we eat them a lot!

    2. Pat, I’d like to know how home canned OJ tastes. I don’t care for commercially canned orange juice, but it is probably the metal in the can I don’t like. Does the home canned version have a “cooked” taste? Thanks in advance.

    3. Gardenpat, I just love to read all your happenings every week. I wish we were neighbors! I do live in Ohio but in Lorain County… Your quilts are always lovely and anyone can tell you that you have a good heart and loving personality. Enjoy the rest of your week!

      1. Cindy S- That’s sweet of you to say! If you ever come down to central Ohio, my door is always open and I’d love for you to stop over and say hi!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    4. Gardenpat, Thank you for sharing that about WB canning orange juice. I often see it on clearance but don’t have freezer space. However, I do have a WB canner and I had planned that this year I’d learn how to SAFELY can all I can in that canner. So this is a great thing to know about and I will watch for a clearance or good sale and do a bit of that!

      1. Terri C- It was a game changer for me when I decided to move my canners from the basement upstairs to an open shelf in my laundry room which is only a room away from my kitchen. It’s amazing how much more I can just because I’m not having to go down to the basement and carry it up each time I want to use it!! 🥴 Just a confirmation that I AM lazy and cheap!! Lol!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    5. So do you suppose I could mix up frozen orange juice concentrate and can that???? With the weather in Florida, orange juice may be hard to come by.

      1. Lynn Ames- I suppose you could but what would be the advantage? To free up freezer space? If you have enough freezer space for the concentrate, I would just save it in that form. If not, and you have canning jars available, then go ahead and can it, remembering to heat it up after mixing it because it needs to be poured hot into canning jars.

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    6. Gardenpat in Ohio, Our family is moving to Ohio in May or there about. We will be close to Sidney, Ohio which is about 30 miles from Dayton, Ohio. It will be quite the change as we have lived on the Mason-Dixon Line between Maryland and Pennsylvania all our lives. We are so use to the mountains. Covid has delayed the completion of our house by almost a year.

      1. Cassandra Donahue- you will love Ohio!! True, there are no mountains which we missed when we moved from CA to Ohio, but the people here are so friendly and welcoming that it will make up for the lack of mountains! 😉

        I believe that Juls Owings who often comments on this blog lives in or near Sidney, OH. That would be fun to have a new friend when you get there!
        Ohio is a beautiful state and I hope that you will find as much contentment here as we have!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  8. She’s a cutie!

    Used a code for a free 8×10 print from Walgreens on Valentines day

    My mom sent over bread, fries, snack cakes, and powdered milk

    Earned $2.42 from Get Upside

    Used $5 off coupon at Mcalister’s I received when I bought a gift card at Christmas

    My husband found a 20 pound ham for $1.98 a pound at a local store. Not the cheapest but we divided it up for 5 separate meals. He also purchased a steak filet that we cut up different ways for meals(fajitas, steak sandwiches, then 3 meals of small steaks.)

    Money Saving Mom posted a deal of a year of Get Healthy U TV for .99 for a year.

    Ate lunches at work.

    Listed some food items we wouldn’t use on a local buy nothing site.

    Found cake mix and frosting when organizing so made it for dessert.

  9. oh what a darling little girl, and such a smile!! Imagine, you are a grandma! I hope you get many opportunities to see each other. ann lee s

  10. Brandy, your granddaughter is lovely! She looks very much like Winter! I’m glad you were able to visit with your daughter’s family and your son.

  11. That beautiful girl looks so much like Winter. Grandbabies are the best.
    I haven’t done a lot this week. I injured my knee a few weeks back and I am still trying to heel.
    I have used a fan, for decades, 24 hours a day, as white noise to rest. I decided to stop using it and save money. So far I am sleeping just as well without the noise.

    1. Becky, we used to do this but now use a white noise “pod” – a rechargeable, tiny unit on which you can pick your sound! We use the fan setting and it sounds identical. Ebay and Amazon sell them.

    2. I still do this Becky – I find that I just can’t sleep without it. I’ve thought about a white noise machine – but I’ve already got a few fans so why bother?

  12. Brandy, looks like you have a new subject for your photography. She is adorable!

    Trying to spend as little as possible and eat from our pantry and freezer. A bit nervous with all that is going on in the world-not sure what to buy for extra supplies. Guess I’ll stick with the basics.

    My husband is still looking for a company car. Car prices have now become like home prices. People are paying thousands over the MSRP to get a vehicle. It is outrageous and obscene! Not sure how any of this will end.

    Getting ready to till the garden and fertilize. Feeling some stress as this year’s garden may be the most important one that I have ever planted.

    Finding very little food products on sale in Costco and Sam’s. Not faring much better in the grocery stores. Any suggestions of stores to shop?

    I am looking forward to Lent this year. Need to focus on prayer and meditation to find the faith and resolve to get through the times ahead. Feels like an alternate universe at times!

    Take care out there! Onward, by all means!(Tom Ryan)

  13. Your granddaughter is a real cutie! 😍 What a blessing to be offered a ride with a friend.

    The oven repairman came and took my range completely apart only to discover that the wrong part was sent. Unfortunately, the part is back ordered until April. Now neither oven works. 😭 I’ve never had so much trouble with a range!! I’m back to cooking only stovetop meals and baking in my bread machine.

    I made a pot of chili, a large pot of turkey-kale soup, paella, and a frittata this week. Our hens are beginning to lay more and I don’t need to supplement with store eggs anymore.

    I’m trying to use all the veggies from the garden into meals and sides. I also made sautéed kale, more raw cauliflower salad, and will make a cabbage salad tomorrow. Oranges from our tree are delicious, and I will need to can lemon juice and dehydrate the zest. My seeds are beginning to germinate. 🌱

    I’m considering canning dry beans instead of buying them. Prices for Great Value canned beans are up $0.18/can (36% inflation if I calculated it right). I’m not convinced it’s less expensive to can with the cost of the hard-to-find lids, dry beans, and energy for longer processing time. Anyone have insight with this?

    We’ve been using free wood in our wood stove to supplement heat. It got chilly again after the gloriously sunny and warm week.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🌷

    1. I find it better to make a large crockpot of beans and then freeze them instead of canning them. It’s faster and saves cooking gas, too.

      1. I freeze beans too. It is so easy to take some out to use. Or, I make a large pot of soup and freeze part of it for a later date. I’m warming up soup now for us that I cooked and froze earlier.

    2. Julie on the CA Coast- For years I kept dry beans in 5 gallon buckets but never used them. When I did need some for a recipe, I omitted them or made a trip to the store to buy some that were in cans, ready to use.

      When I started pressure canning in my 23 Quart Presto Pressure Canner, I learned that for about $7 I could buy a second shelf on Amazon. By using that, I am able to process 16 pints of beans for the 75 minutes it takes! After it reaches the 11 pounds pressure, I can cut my burner temperature down to about 2.2 which is just above a simmer. We are in Ohio. I use an electric LG glass top stove. I always have a supply of empty jars because we are eating from our pantry every day so jars get washed in dishwasher and are ready to be used again. I have a supply of lids that I bought a couple years ago, but I replenish that with an extra 3 boxes (12 lids/box) from with store pickup. I’ve bought Ball lids 3 times this past year – $2.18/box for regular mouth and $3/box for wide mouth. After I open a jar, I wash and save the used lid to reuse with empty jars with my Foodsaver vacuum sealer- rice, dehydrated fruits or veg, baking chips, etc. Those lids can be reused over and over again for the vacuum sealing so their ROI is much better!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. I like your idea of reusing lids, Gardenpat! I do have a shelf for my pressure canner. Like you, I have dried beans I rarely use. It would help me rotate through them to can them. Have you used Tattler lids?

        1. I use Tattlers on everything I can except jars I know I will be giving away. They take only a little bit of getting used to and I have found that if you tighten the band down on the lid and then back it off just slightly..about 1/8 of a jar turn or slightly ends up being the correct tension. On their website they offer this help-place your finger on top of the lid while screwing down the band and when the jar starts to turn with you, stop-that should be the correct tension.

        2. Julie on the CA Coast- No, I’ve never tried the Tattler lids. In 2018, Menards had a clearance sale on jar lids- Empire brand- for 50 cents a box, regular or wide mouth. Although I hadn’t heard of this brand, I took a chance and bought about 100 boxes of each of the 2 sizes. (2400 lids total). Since then, I have used them for WB canning as well as pressure canning without a problem! So when the lid shortage came along, I just kept using what I had already stocked in my pantry! I’m still using them! So, I’ve really had no need to buy any other’s.
          For pressure canning my dry beans, I just rinse them in a colander and then measure 1/2 cup dry beans into each pint jar. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each jar and fill with boiling hot water, using a plastic spoon handle to get air bubbles out. Pressure can at 11 pounds pressure for 75 minutes and voila!! 16 pints of beans that are neither mushy or crunchy when we open the jar to use them!! I fill these jars quickly like an assembly line, so the prep time is minimal!

          Gardenpat in Ohio

          1. Thank you for the directions on how to can beans. I have been wanting to try canning them one of these days, especially with some beans that have been around quite a while. I usually do as Brandy does–cook a bunch, then freeze them for quick use. I will likely still do that, but love to have the shelf-stable canning. I’ve had freezers die more than once, and the power goes out occasionally. I have both frozen and home-canned broth for that reason, and I almost always use frozen first if I have any in the freezer, and canned when I don’t. I will say if I could get it for 10c/can at the store, I would buy that!

            1. Becky- You’re welcome! These days my freezer “real estate” is maximized in value by keeping sale meats, some veg that we prefer frozen over canned, berries and freezer meals. Plus I’m lazy and cheap and LOVE the convenience of having beans ready to open and eat without even any thaw time!
              But our situation may be totally different from anyone else’s!
              I love that I can look on my pantry shelf at any given time and notice I’m running low on more than one variety of canned beans and fill my canner with 16 pints that may include 4 black beans, 6 pinto beans and 6 kidney beans in the same batch!!

              Gardenpat in Ohio

          2. Thanks Gardenpat! I appreciate your experience with pressure canning and explaining it to us newbies, as well as your weekly wisdom. Much appreciated!❤️ I was able to order some Ball lids from Walmart this week (limit 6) at $0.25 each lid. I may investigate and experiment with Tattler.

    3. Thanks for all the replies about freezing crockpot beans! I used to do this, but forgot about it. I think this is the easiest solution except for our lack of freezer space at the moment. I appreciate all the input!! ☺️

    4. Julie on the CA Cost, I can a large variety of dried beans in my electric Nesco canner and keep them in the cabinet ready to grab. One of my goals, since prices are skyrocketing, is to try and eat beans every day. It is easier if there is a good choice waiting to grab in the cabinet. I’m also experimenting with different recipes – split pea soup, lentil soup, chickpeas in a wide mouth canning jar (pour off some of the liquid then stick a hand blender down in the jar to make hummus) or do the same with pintos and make refried beans.
      If I had to pay $.25 for a lid every time I used a jar it would get pricey well, pricey for me. I use the reusable lids so all I am out is the electricity to run the canner and the price of the beans. In the past, I used Tattler lids but this previous year bought a few Harvest Guard lids. They are exactly like Tattler and their price was much less at the time I got them. They have performed just as well. This week I received an email from Harvest Guard. They are offering a 20% discount on all their products and asked to pass it along to friends. They didn’t mention an expiration date in the letter.
      Harvest Guard discount code: LOYALTY21.

      1. Thanks Jeannie. I have been unable to find Tattler lids lately. I have some, but not enough.

      2. Jeannie,
        Thanks for sharing your experience and the discount code. I’ve never heard of Harvest Guard and didn’t know Tattler had a competitor. I already ordered some Tattler lids, but will check this company out since I ordered some, but not all I might need. 😊

  14. Brandy,
    I’m so glad you got to visit your family and see your granddaughter. How nice that a friend could take you on their trip!
    I’ve been finding it frustrating to go shopping and see how the prices have risen. But then I found an ethnic store and I was happier with the prices. I’m not finding the sales I once did at grocery stores. I’ve been trying to eat veggies and beans, but honestly I did get off track. It is amazing the difference in the way I feel. I just need to plan better and stick with it so I can continue to feel good. Oatmeal has been a good choice for breakfast with chia seeds and a bit of fruit and maybe peanut butter and unsweetened cocoa or a salad with fruit. Then lentil soup or a dal for lunch. Veggies and beans for dinner. fruit and veggies for a snack. I’ve made my own curries, waiting until I got home instead of eating out. When I eat out I don’t feel good. It is a double whammy with the price and the food itself not being as healthy as at home. There is a lot of planning involved. I hope eventually I get used to this type of healthy cooking and it gets easier. I think once I truly stick with the healthy cooking we will save money not buying so much junk and convenience food. I was happy we didn’t eat out at our favorite Italian restaurant this week and instead cooked at home. I was especially happy that I didn’t after I ate pasta and with Alfredo sauce and spaghetti sauce at home. I felt terrible! I saved money, but that is all. It was such a drastic difference in the way I feel when eating veggies and beans from pasta and sauce. I’m just glad to get back on track again and that I know what I need to do. Stick with veggies and beans and lentils. We have been turning off lights. We pay bills early or on time. We entertained ourselves at home.

    1. We are finally getting eggs again from our chickens. It is bittersweet. Our favorite Hen, we named her Antsy Nancy used to get out of the pen all the time and come visit us. She must of got out and something must of ate her or she is at our neighbors, we don’t know which. But now that she is gone, eggs are appearing in the laying boxes. We think she used to eat the eggs. We miss Her though. She was a really neat hen.

  15. Your Granddaughter is beautiful. Glad you were able to visit.
    My husband has needed some expensive things for the farm. Tractor Supply had them, so I bought $600 worth of gift cards at Kroger’s for 4x the fuel points. That made 2400 points. The town he works in just opened a Kroger fuel station and gas is only 2.94. We’ve been saving alot on gas for he drives 65 miles a day. Anytime we need to buy something, I check to see if Kroger’s has a gift card.
    When I make beans, chili, or rice dishes, I make extra so my husband can take some to work. They have a microwave to use.
    Every one have a great week.

  16. What a beautiful granddaughter! Our grandson (first grandbaby) is 10 months and just starting to walk while pushing his wagon. So fun to see.
    Last week was a frugal fail as I took a bad fall on our driveway and had to go to Emergency. I am thankful for good health insurance. I haven’t been able to do as much around the house since falling, but I have been getting some paperwork done.
    Today we rigged up covers over 2 of our fruit trees that are in bud, because we have overnight lows of 25 predicted several nights this week.
    I’m picking arugula, kale, radishes and collards from the garden. I have some seeds coming up for swiss chard, turnips, arugula, radishes (all outside) and lettuce, melons, kale, zucchini (inside or in my covered shelves outside). I find that adding fresh vegetables from the garden can make even the plainest leftovers seem very nice.
    We got to travel 4 hours south to visit our daughters. We sold our daughter’s car for her, and my husband helped her file her taxes (she’s 22). It was also a lovely time together. We got takeout one night in honor of 2 birthdays, and we balanced that with rice and beans the second night. I mended a sweatshirt for one daughter. We took camp beds and stayed at our friend’s house which was empty.
    Due to some foot issues I’ve had to order new slippers and new tennis shoes (though my old ones were each over 5 years old, so I’d had good use from them). I remind myself that maintaining health IS a good use of money.
    I finished reading a finances book and started another. I’ve worked consistently the past few years to educate myself on our own financial affairs and also investing/money management. I don’t want to blindly follow a financial advisor so I figured I’d better get reading!

  17. Brandy,
    Congratulations and Mazel Tov on your precious first grandchild, who is a spitting image of her mama!
    I saved money after my second cataract surgery last week. I was really blessed to have meals provided by two friends, and my husband also helped out.
    On the way home from the hospital we had to stop at Target to get OTC eye drops. We looked at the Starbucks kiosk – then looked away 😀
    Although I wanted a special lunch for a treat, we bypassed temptations and ate lunch at home.

  18. I love this blog! I have been reading it for years, and it has been so helpful to my family- I love telling my husband what I read on “my frugal blog”!
    I have to say thank you especially from my husband to the lady who said that she turns their venison into breakfast sausage. My husband went hunting this year with my step-dad and he likes to turn the meat into hamburger by mixing it with ham. (Not what my family did with deer meat growing up but totally fine.) but my family couldn’t stand to eat it as hamburger. I didn’t want to waste it so when I read here about turning it into breakfast sausage I googled a recipe and tried and it passes my whole families approval! So thank you!
    I also started cutting up old jeans my mom had to make a Jean quilt for my son’s bed.
    I cooked meals at home, stayed home as much as possible, pulled out the next size clothes for baby girl that were saved from her two older sisters wearing. I also “shopped” my house for a table to put in my laundry room/sewing room to see if I really want/need a table in there.

    Thank you again for all the years of advice and tips! What a blessing you have been to my family!

  19. Beautiful photo of your granddaughter and how wonderful you got to visit. I’ve been using up small amounts of meat from the freezer, I froze left over meat from roast dinner to use in soups but now there is just myself, hubby and dog at home there is enough meat in these little parcels to make a proper meal. I harvested Swiss chard from the cold greenhouse, took some cuttings of herbs I hope to make new plants to give to my daughters.
    I repaired 2 pairs of trousers, a jumper and a coat, I’m so thankful that I was taught frugal ways from my Mum. Next project is to make a pattern from a favourite top and use some Jersey fabric I bought on sale last year. I noticed that the same fabric is now costing 50% more than a year ago.
    Re reading old books then giving them away, so saving on purchasing new books and also getting ready for downsizing in a couple of years, hope to be able to use a small removal van rather than a large one as I expect costs to keep rising for a few years.
    Also made two grab bags with items I already had in, one for us humans and one for my assistance dog, we are being battered by storm after storm so thought it was time I did this, after the damage I’ve seen recently being prepared is a real peace of mind.

  20. 1. Got my taxes finished on Turbotax. You get a discount from them if you get them completed by Feb. 28 so that was my incentive. I have a headache now😟 from staring at the computer. I will get a nice refund so the headache is well earned.
    2. Went to a cookout & my hamburger was over cooked & dry. I ate it as this was my lunch/dinner. Not too tasty though.
    3. Mended a pinhole in a tee shirt using a small piece of a dryer sheet as a patch on the underside. It worked nicely & is mostly invisible.
    4. Used Gas Buddy to find cheap good quality gas to fill up the car.
    5. I have been eating leftovers out of the freezer since I have been vacationing in FL. When my husband arrives I’ll do some cooking. I’ll go back home in March to teach a class & earn some extra $.

  21. Oh Brandy, your granddaughter has Winters eyes! She is adorable, I’m so glad you got to visit.

    I have been keeping a close eye of our grocery budget this year, which means we have been eating mostly out of our storage/freezer. Supply issues have meant empty shelves, few sales and very little at my price point. As with everywhere prices have been rising sharply in Australia too. However, our grocery store has been better stocked lately, so I tried my luck late night shopping yesterday and found whole chickens on sale for $3 per kg, further marked down as 10% off. This brought the price down to $2.70 per kg. I have not seen any meat priced this low for a very long time. I brought an extra large bird and cut into quarters to freeze. I’m not very good at butchering, but I try not to let that stop me!
    I also brought a 1kg tub of margarine for $2.25 to have a go at making butter-less shortcrust pastry. Butter is expensive here ($10 per kg), so I have always brought pre made pastry as it was cheaper. However with food prices on the rise I thought it was time I gave making my own a go.

    Years ago I learned the frugality of “saying yes” from this website and it is a habit I have embraced. This week we said yes to being treated to dinner twice by my husbands visiting family. We were offered leftovers from one of the dinners, which we gratefully accepted, and had them for lunch today saving my husband buying his lunch from the university cafeteria.
    We said yes to a free cot, as we are expecting our first baby in June. We are saying yes to all donations of baby things & plan to buy anything we need second hand. We also happily accepted free eggs and figs from my friends backyard.
    We said yes to picking plums from my neighbours house and will thank her with a jar of plum jam, made with sugar I have in storage and recycled jars.
    I also organised a repair person to fix our fridge under warranty. Warranty jobs can be time consuming to organise, but it means all repairs will be free. For me, this makes it time well spent.

    I hope everyone has a happy and frugal week.

    1. Emerald – Your comment about “saying yes” resonated with me. I think we can be independent to a fault sometimes, those of us who like to do for ourselves and put a lot of effort into solving problems and improving our situations. However, I have seen people miss wonderful opportunities to help and be helped and to enjoy the companionship and resulting comradery of “we are all in this together.” I know our lives are as good as they are in great part to our little rural community and how everyone takes care of each other. There is no score-keeping. It’s just a natural flow of helpfulness that all works out. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in such a community where this is already in place but it can be created. It just takes that first step. Sounds like you are a part of something great! Thanks for sharing your successes.

      1. Mountain Mama Dawn – you are so right about community! That first step can be as simple as saying hello to your neighbours or sharing some excess produce. Moving from the country to the city many years ago, I found taking that first step intimidating, but worth it. We have been friends with our neighbours in all our city homes (which I’m told is quite unusual) & I’m so grateful.

  22. What a beautiful baby and so like your daughter. This has been a strange week as what I thought to be a cold turned out to be Covid so I have been isolating. Fortunately I have had mild symptoms and so far DH is fine. It turns out that 2 out of 3 toddler triplets I care for tested positive after me so now I know where I got it-but who knows where they did.

    I had one frugal success and then a fail-I was first able to reschedule our returning PCR tests next month for rapid antigen due to changing govt requirements and save $150. But yesterday I had to spend an extra $100 for a PCR test to verify my Covid as it was no longer available to me in the free public system. If my next test in 2 weeks for an upcoming trip also comes back positive I need proof of a prior infection, 10 days recovery and a doctors letter which I might need to pay for before I can travel. If after all this I do not receive approval to travel I did purchase travel insurance-fortunately. So I guess I saved $150 to potentially spend $150.

    I do feel fortunate though to be recovering quickly. My husband just heard from a dear friend in the US who became very sick with Covid and spent several weeks in hospital and rehab and still off work.

    DH will do a Costco run this morning and fill up the car in these frigid temps as I am still on house arrest. So he will be in charge of the shopping-which I presume will be frugal!

    1. Glad to see your DH is going to Costco for groceries. It’s a good time to stay inside.
      Almost all of my friends have been exposed to covid in the past week.

  23. What a blessing to see your grandaughter , I have not seen my grand kids since the beginning of December We had 3 named storms this week the wind reached 95 mph on the seafront, some idiots were trying to swim it until the coastguard sent them packing. I charged all the batteries and appliances we have.I cooked cakes and goodies to keep us going. I retrieved sausages steak and minced beef from the freezer ,all that could be cooked on the gas hob if we lost power,which we thankfully didn’t. We did loose 4 fence panels which we will have to replace but have got off quite lightly compared to some. The rain is now pouring down with about 45 mph winds which are going to be with us until next week.
    I finished knitting a pair of socks
    Read ebooks from the library and done crosswords from an old book I found
    I have cooked all meals from scratch. Used a chicken carcass to make stock. I used the Remorska and instant pot where I could.
    Brussels, carrots and parsnips have now finished so now we will eat canned, frozen and dried veg from the garden and fresh veg from the vegetable delivery.
    Sown more Pepper, Broad Bean, Field Bean, and Tomatoes from seeds I saved last year. Filled pots with compost left over from last year. The veg beds have been dug and weeded then covered to increase the soil temperature ready to plant in a few weeks..
    Closed all curtains as it gets dusk, tucking them behind radiators to keep the warmth.
    Made a list of clothes etc needed for next winter to search for in the charity shops. The list is now in my handbag.

  24. I’m so happy you got to visit the grandbaby. I do so hope to be blessed with one. She is so lovely. I brought home my usual load of meat ,dairy , fruits ,and vegetables. I attempted chicken and dumplins again. It ended up being a pot of paste. From now on I will stick with Ina Gartens chicken and biscuits that’s baked. Sometimes its best to realize your limitations. I’ve decided to cut out one store in my regular dumpster dive. We are over run with food. This comes with a whole host of problems. I will only bring home what we need and what we take to baby Henry’s grandmother. No more donations to other places. Gasoline continues to rise and these new actions will drop my gas budget by half to $100.00 a month. I’ve yet to convince sugar cookie that we don’t need 50 of any one item. My favorite scavaged items this week were a Rubbermaid wrapping paper container and a 3 in 1 booster seat new in sealed box. Much thanks to Michaels and Marshalls. Baby Henry is a hunk. At 3 he must be about 50 lbs .I need to see when he can move into the booster seat . My water bill is creeping up. I’ve put a new door knob w key lock on the laundry room door. I’m limiting showers to one a day. These are regular struggles with a special needs daughter. I’m thinking I’m going to set a timer for her shower. It seems like she spends an hour in there several times a day. We have accumulated way to many clothes. Between Christmas and a February birthday she receives many shirts and sweaters. Time to downsize. I cashed in swagbucks for an Amazon card. I bought stackable bins for the refrigerator. This idea never occurred to me. I’m hoping this will help with my cold items. I’m wanting a couple more larger bins and checking on Ikea ,I’m seeing they are much cheaper. I want two slim storage carts to put next to my washer and dryer. Ikeas are 66% cheaper than Amazon. I’m thinking a combined trip into Atlanta will cover it all. I can take freezer meals to my daughter. ( who claims she is starving . seems daughter no. 2 raided her freezer meals ). Pick up Ikea items and stop at several thrift stores along the way. Daughter has a Sprouts and Lidl by her house. I want to pop in and see if they have any bin items. I’ve spent an entire week researching vacations for this year. I booked 2 (6) day cruises for sugar cookie and myself. Seems like this is about my only option w her. She hates the heat , and doesn’t like to do much walking. She doesn’t care for crowds. Amusement parks are straight out of the question. On the ship , she watches shows, indulges in food ( often room service) and enjoys the view. She will get off the ship to shop. She loves the Mexico Wal-Mart. This years vacation fund comes to $86.00 per month. Any excess from monthly bills will easily cover this. Especially if I can get that water bill down from its $123.00 a month. And speaking of which, she’s in there again !!!!!! Hope everyone finds great savings this week.

    1. They do make shower heads that have built in timers. They turn the (hot) water off automatically after a set time. They also make timers for your hot water heater which can turn it off and on at certain times of the day. Might be worth looking into?

  25. Brandy: What a delight to visit your children, and see your granddaughter.
    Thank you for providing this space to share and learn.

  26. Brandy I am so glad you were able to go and see your daughter and granddaughter and it was lovely that your church friend was going to the exact same town 🙂 . How lovely you were able to get some sweaters, a coat and new dress for yourself and find low cost accommodation nearby. Your granddaughter is a real cutie and looks so happy. So lovely you were able to share honeysuckle with your neighbour who was kind enough to give you the cutting originally. Seems we were both repairing and using what we had in our homes.

    Our savings last week added up to $ 262.36 🙂 .

    Finances –
    – We paid an extra part payment on our mortgage and deposited more into our 3 month emergency fund. Our fund had gone down a bit as we increased our grocery stockpile with some of the money so we are building it back up again.
    – DH rang up and got the bank to reduce our mortgage interest rate by another .55 % so between us in the last 6 months we have managed to reduce it by .68%. This should save us quite a bit of time and interest on our home loan.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $13.96 over buying it locally.

    In the gardens –
    – Fixed an outside broken tap in the yard where the riser had broken off and bought the riser and t-piece from the hardware store. We figure we saved around $140 by doing this ourselves rather than calling a plumber.
    – We spot sprayed paspalum in the lawns around the home and managed to find a specific spray for paspalum, summer grass and crab grass from Norco for $129 for 10 litres saving $71 over buying it elsewhere.
    – I planted some more dwarf bean seeds in the gardens.
    – DH sharpened the secateurs and garden shears and adjusted them so they cut better and are much sharper now and saved $37.40 over getting them sharpened professionally. I bought some sharpening stones that go on the drill from eBay that also sharpen lawn mower blades so these will come in handy for multiple things.
    – We changed the blades on the ride on lawn mower so they cut so much better than the blunt ones. We will work on sharpening up 3 sets of our blunt blades with our drill sharpening stone so we have multiple sets to cycle through so they last longer before we have to buy new ones.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).

  27. I have never done it but have watched videos about freezing eggs. Some in ice cube trays, some 2 or whatever amount you want, put in ziplock sandwich bags and frozen. As I said I have not done it myself.

  28. —Aw, your grand baby is precious. So sweet you could visit.

    —I made up some breakfasts to use some of the Kroger eggs. I made blueberry muffins, egg and sausage muffins, pancakes, and breakfast burritos to freeze. Then froze two bags, each containing 4 eggs to use for omelets later. I still have 2 cartons of 18. I will get some more sausage or a ham to make more burritos and muffins, and just freeze more packages of 4 eggs per package. I used 1# sausage to pre cook sausage patties and freeze.

    — My inside freezer is finally a little less stuffed. I am still eating from the freezers and have many precooked meats left. I made chicken salad sandwiches with precooked chicken. The rest of our meals have been pieced together or make a sandwich yourself. I haven’t felt like cooking this week, with headaches and tummy aches.

    —I have basted a Trip Around the World quilt. I bought the hand pieced top off M@rketplace for $20 and am adding the back and binding it and quilting on my machine. I ordered a 90 foot bolt of quilting batting on sale so I can do a quilt a month. This is a huge savings over buying precut to quilt size batting when I need it.

    —I had an MRI a week ago and my doctor is sending me to Vanderbuilt for further testing and biopsy. I am so grateful for insurance and doctors with such advanced knowledge.

    —We went to Nashville on Saturday to get out and enjoy alone time and talk. We ate at a Mexican restaurant. I ordered 2 tacos ala carte and it was very cheap. I drove up into Tennessee to Fayetteville and Lynchburg on Sunday so my husband could talk to his mom. I really enjoyed the rolling hills and cows and horses we have in North Alabama and Tennessee. MIL has decided to move back to where she lived her whole life 4.5 hours away.

    —I cut my husband’s hair.
    —I ordered grow lights and my husband got them mounted on two garage shelves. I haven’t started seed yet. I have seed and soil, but need some more cups and flat trays.

    —I cleaned my bath cabinets. I have two Chi hair products I don’t use because they are so smelly it gives me a headache. One I bought at TJ Maxx for $11. I set them aside for daughter. I found a handful of mini Aveda conditioners my stylist gave me and put them in the shower to use. I consolidated travel size toothpastes and lotions and am using them up. I like to use make up remover wipes, but I tear them in half to make them last longer. I don’t use them every day, but I am not a night person so like to have them available when I am too tired to do anything but quick. I found I have 3 26 Oz bottles of shampoo, but one conditioner. I will get one conditioner to add to my stock.

    —We will need to purchase a bed and nightstands for the room downstairs when my MIL moves. We will buy the mattress new, but I will look for a headboard or have husband cut a board I can upholstered if I can’t find something. Garage sale season is coming up so I will look for accessories, a chest or dresser, nightstands, lamps, and a chair.

    —I sold a Paw Patrol toy for $30. It was an old toy from my niece’s kids I was given for my grandson. He has now outgrown it.

  29. Greetings from NY.
    What a beautiful photo of a happy, smiling granddaughter! I am glad to read about your impromptu visit!
    I am doing the usual things—washing laundry in cold water and hanging to dry, cooking at home, eating and repurposing leftovers.
    Con Edison (our gas and electric bill) increased.
    The city lowered the value of our home for real estate tax but increased the tax rate so we will pay more again this year.
    Gasoline was $4.17/gallon when my husband filled the car a couple days ago.
    I jot down the book recommendations here and look for them on the library app. I have Square Meal on hold.
    I am celebrating my 67th birthday quietly today; DH and I both have work although we were off yesterday for Presidents’ Day which I took advantage of to go to the dentist.
    My sister and I went to a concert at a theater last week. We had a little car picnic (instead of going out). It was wonderful to hear live music again!
    Thank you Brandy and everyone for sharing ideas!

    1. “Car picnic” sounds much for fun than saying “we ate in the car”. The right attitude makes all the difference!

  30. How precious she is! Happy for you that you got to visit!
    My big savings this week was to design a gallery wall (for a large wall in our dining room, where we have weekly family dinners with the kids and grandkids) using all old frames we had on hand. The frames (18 total) are all different designs, but I painted them all white or off white, so they look cohesive but interesting. I did have to buy just one small frame, to fill in a spot, but otherwise the wall will be free. (I’ll print the pictures myself and had the paint on hand.)
    It’s much too cold to garden here in Iowa, but I’m daydreaming (and planning on paper, too)!

  31. How wonderful that you were able to visit and your beautiful granddaughter – what a cutie!
    It was an odd week for me – busy with office work, but very lethargic otherwise. I think the February “blues” have hit and everything for the past couple of years has caught up with me. I’m always the one checking on friends and family but because I’m “the strong one” – everyone just assumes I’m fine. I tend to just tune out and keep to myself for a few days to try and reboot so this long weekend was a lot of reading and watching fun TV shows like “Sister Boniface” and “Agatha Raisin” – needed some cheering up. I only went into the office twice as my office mate wanted the place to herself on Friday for a lot of printing so that saved me on transit fares. I combined the trips out to pick up some milk and some brioche buns and that was the grocery shopping for the week! The downtown drugstores seem to be well stocked with the free Rapid Tests (and the office towers are still not even at half capacity) so I’ve picked up two tests over the past couple of weeks and that will do me. I might try and pick up one more box this week for a friend who has had no luck getting one in her neighbourhood. She is getting her hair cut next week and we plan to meet for coffee afterwards (haven’t seen each other since before Christmas) so I can bring her a box.

    With not going shopping I checked the pantry and brought a few cans that were getting to the BB dates to use up first. I also had a pkg. of tortillas so had those for quite a few meals with shredded chicken & Spanish rice, and canned chilli that I’d added to with canned peas and mushrooms. It might sound a bit odd but it tasted not bad. There was a lot of “gravy” and veg left over so I have frozen all of that and then added it to the Zip-lock bag that currently holds about a cup and a half of cooked ground beef and 2 cups of mixed black & kidney beans and in a couple of weeks I’ll add them all together for a few more meals.

    I did mange to do a bit of tidying up in my apt. and I did inventory all the meat, chicken and fish that I have in my small freezer compartment – I was shocked! There are approximately 70 servings of proteins in there! And that’s before I even use up any of the canned items (tuna, salmon, Spam etc. etc.) or the pasta or the vegetarian meals that I make from beans/chickpeas! I have to remember that it is only me! The only thing on my shopping list to add in March is a bag of frozen shrimp – and that will have to wait until I manage to make a bit of space!

    I will make a trip to the library today as I have some books to return plus some new holds have arrived. It will get me out for a walk and I might stop in to my local “No Frills” and see if there are any in-store specials. The only thing I need is some milk (I do have shelf stable & long life & powdered) but I might treat myself to some grapes if they look nice (and aren’t insanely priced) as I need a boost and some fresh fruit might do the trick.

    Take care everyone – I do find you all very inspiring and even though I don’t have a large family and will never have a garden, I do find all that you do so very interesting.

    1. I enjoy reading your comments. Saving money is different depending on so many factors. Different stages of our lives require different things. Nevertheless, I learn from all my readers and continue to find ways to save money from everyone. So glad to have you contribute each week.

    2. Hi Margie from T.O.
      Well it must feel good to find you have lots of food! No Frills here has ten pounds of beets on sale. Starting tomorrow, they have maple leaf (small) cans of chicken, ham for 99 cents per can. Theoretically they have boxes of frozen chicken legs withs backs attached for $1 per pound but says not available. I don’t know about your No Frills but definitely worth a look. I really look forward to your posts — they are very interesting.

      1. Thank you Ann and Brandy. No Frills did have some chicken legs on sale but can’t say they are my favourite – and truthfully, I couldn’t get them into my freezer at the moment! 🙂
        I do want some more teabags but I have to go to Loblaws for the brand that I like so may pop in there on Friday after work – just for somewhere a bit different than my local shop – but honestly, I need to use up more of what I have!
        We are in the middle of a February thaw at the moment – the river next to me had ice jams build up under the bridge and flood the park and parking lots and the Credit river just west of here did the same and flooded a few streets of historical homes! It poured today but we drop to well below freezing again by tomorrow so it will probably be a skating rink out there! Hope things are starting to ease up out west Ann.

    3. I just started watching Sister Boniface too! I subscribe to Britbox when new Father Brown episodes come out and decided to get another month when I saw this new series. Take care ☺️

  32. 637 miles one way for a weekend is pretty impressive. No gas wasted. Walk from motel. Shop thrift. You just ticked all the boxes in my how to be a devoted grandma and save the planet plan. I salute you!

      1. There is also the fun of coming home to the other children and seeing them slightly differently after you were away for a few days, especially if they took on some extra responsibilities while you were gone.

  33. How wonderful that you were able to visit Winter and her husband and see your granddaughter.
    This week I canned six half pints of enchilada sauce.
    I had a skirt someone gave me several years ago that I never wore. I saved it because I loved the fabric. I was able to turn the skirt into a summer top. I also picked up some fabric for $2 at the thrift store and used it to sew a simple shift dress with short sleeves. The fabric is a nice rayon, turquoise with white polka dots. I copied a dress I already owned for the pattern. I unraveled an old sweater and saved the yarn to make something new.
    Most of the seeds I planted last week are popping up, which is always exciting.

  34. Hi Everyone! Oh Brandy what a blessing to see your family especially your sweet granddaughter.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    -Passed on a visit with a friend. I have a group of friends that gets together once a week but we all live pretty far apart. With current gas prices it costs about $15 round trip. It is just getting to be too much besides the weather isn’t great for driving. I am hosting today which will save on gas money.

    -Eating out of the freezer and pantry mostly. Last week was my birthday so my family was treated to dinner at my parent’s house and takeout with my mother in law as well as too much cake!

    -Celebrated Valentine’s day with homemade heart shaped pizzas.

    -Since we had to scrap adding a second bath due to a huge unexpected bill (boo!!) we decided to freshen up our current bath. My goal is no money comes out of the household budget. I am using money gifted to me for my birthday, a Menard’s rebate check I was holding onto for the new bath which is too far off now, a $50 Amazon gift card I earned doing a survey, and $8 in swag bucks. So far I am on track and work begins tomorrow!

    -Reading lots of great library books! While I am not currently reading great literature I am enjoying many books from the Love Inspired Suspense series at my library. I also used inter-library loan to get a book recommended from a friend. If you are not familiar with inter-library loan and have books you want to read but your library doesn’t own them then you can request them via a state system and they will be sent to your library. In Michigan it’s called Melcat and you have to go to a separate site to request them but you can always ask your librarian for help!

    -Took the kids to a free ice skating rink near us. The rink wasn’t great but it was a nice day to be outside and we enjoyed being with some friends.

    -Combined errands to save on gas.

    -Visited a local dollar store that is going out of business. For $10 I purchased festive plates and napkins for Easter, St. Patrick’s day, and Halloween as well as items for Easter baskets. Many items were half off. This was a great store so I will miss the deals for sure!

    Have a great week everyone!

  35. It was a surprise of the best kind to open this blog and see that happy face looking at me. She is a sweetheart.

    I received a refund on car insurance since I got rid of a vehicle, going from two to one, and that went straight to a debt.

    I have spent hours and hours working on paperwork to help cover my husband’s care. It’s worth it, but very, very frustrating.

    I am trying to find some sales for stocking up, but they are hard to find. I did find some ground pork at a decent, if not great, sale, and bought a couple packages. The price wasn’t low enough to make me want to buy more than that.

    I used my 15% off owner coupon at the local food co-op.

    I’m getting prices on material to determine the best and cheapest one to use for raised beds. Even pressure treated lumber rots quickly here, and cedar and cypress are very high, so I’m looking at concrete block, metal, even composite wood, assuming I could get cast off pieces.

    After a couple of weekends with miserable weather, we had a sunny weekend that let me dry all of my laundry outside, except for undergarments, which I hang inside for privacy.

    I continue to cook at home, batch cook as much as I can, pack lunches, wear used, re-purpose things and buy as little as possible.

    1. Jo, I use large animal watering troughs for my raised beds. You can sometimes find used ones on Craigslist. They last forever and all I have had to do is drill a few more holes into them so excess water can escape.

      1. A trough is a good idea and I actually have one trough in use as a raised bed already, but I want something bigger and deeper than most troughs without being too wide as well. I’m looking for something about 8 feet long and 2 feet wide and about waist high. I think I’ve decided on concrete block.

        I see I’m not alone in hanging my undergarments inside :). I have an umbrella type clothesline in my backyard and I live in the country, but it’s pretty visible to my closest neighbor whose property wraps ours, and visible from the road now that some trees have come down, so it feels better to hang all our underclothes inside.

        1. We had an umbrella-type clothesline. I hung the underclothes on the inner lines, then surrounded them with towels on the outside. We left the clothesline behind when we moved, and I would love to get another one.

    2. I did the same thing regarding hanging undergarments inside for privacy. Then I had a friend say to me, “They know you wear them, they may as well know you wash them.” 🙂
      I still rarely hang them outside, but I did get a kick out of her saying that.

      1. I hide mine behind other clothes. No-one can tell from a difference what’s hanging. Bras go on doorknobs. (In the spare bedroom where no-one goes.)

    3. I always remember my grandmother teaching me to hang the underclothes in the center of the clothesline with the sheets on the outside. She said there was a definite order and method to hanging clothes for privacy as well as to reduce wrinkles. I thought of that after reading your comment and realize that’s exactly what I do. Of course, I don’t have anyone around me to see but wildlife so I probably don’t need to bother but those early lessons stay with you. 🙂

  36. We ate at home most of last week. I’m trying to improve my diet, so we spent more at the store on fruits, but I’m drinking way less Pepsi, so hopefully that will meet in the middle. I’ve received $45 from rebates that I’ve sent off, and that all goes directly into my Christmas Club. We went on a drive yesterday for the holiday, and, although we did eat breakfast out, we just bought some cheese and crackers for lunch and had apples that we packed with us. We went to the thrift store with my niece on Saturday, and it was a surprise 50% off everything – I got hardback books for 50 cents! I also purged forty books from my collection for my niece to take her to sister who sells them at a farmer’s market – wrapped in brown paper with a description of the book, but no title, as a Blind Date with a Book. It felt good to help her make some money and move books that were not getting the love they deserve out of my house. I also posted 11 books on to pass along to new owners, then I use the credits I earn to get books that my family wants. While on our trip, we stopped at an outlet store that had pajamas on clearance for $5! I got my daughter’s Christmas pajamas already – woohoo!

  37. What a precious baby – such smiling eyes! Glad you were able to make that trip with your friend.

    Still reusing boxes when possible for packing and working our way through the freezer and pantry.

    Forgot to mention we did our taxes several weeks ago; used a software that offers returns free for active duty military. Refunds is delayed because we are in the batch with the child tax credit, but they say it should be paid out 1 March. We’ll be paying off my car with the refund – woohoo!

    Purchased a skin care item at our base store, where we save on tax – it’s a hefty investment but works well for me, so every bit helps. It was a bit less than retail as well, regularly $80 a bottle (gasp!) and we paid $68 something. Thankfully it lasts quite a while too, yeesh!

  38. It’s been a great, frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I don’t usually buy much cold cereal, but one store had them on sale for $1/box. My kids love to eat it dry as a snack, so I stocked up.
    I planned leftovers or crockpot meals for when we were gone in the evening with sports.
    I went to my cousin’s wedding, and was able to buy them a gift off their registry using an ancient Bed, Bath and Beyond giftcard.
    Some of the items I found at Goodwill Outlet were: American Girl doll (which I resold), an unopened 80 count box of gallon ziploc bags, tape, some Tieks flats in my size, a few hand tools, but mostly a lot of exercise clothes that are lightweight to purchase by the pound, that I drop off at the consignment store. It’s nothing glamorous, but I can make some extra pocket money, with the kids with me, and it’s not too time consuming. The consignment store is only about 5 minutes away, and they pay in cash that same day.
    I got more free small buckets from the Kroger bakery. It’s no big deal to wash them out myself, and I like that they have lids. These will be used for food storage. A local church was having free pizza and showing the movie Encanto on Monday, so I took the kids who were off for President’s Day, and we enjoyed it.
    I filled up with gas at Sam’s. I think that $8 membership deal will pay for itself quickly, as Sam’s is usually .10-.15/gallon cheaper than other nearby gas stations.
    My sister gave me a purse that she no longer wanted. It’s in great shape and fun to get something “new to me.”
    I’m trying to order a bunch of supplies that I’m going to need over the next few months as I fix up a house I bought. The garage door has already gone up 8% in cost, and now says delivery will be in July. It’s not an urgent need, but I want to go ahead and buy it before prices go up even more. This is a small, run-down house on a couple of acres that isn’t currently inhabitable, but that I would like to eventually move to.
    We are lucky that home prices here are still (somewhat) affordable. I don’t think you could get a house on a couple of acres for $225k in a lot of the country, unfortunately, but I know there is a lot of out-of-state money coming in, driving up prices. Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  39. Beautiful baby! Gas prices are $3.25 gallon in college town to $3.50 gallon two hours south. Sigh. I made peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch and also regular roast beef and cheese sandwiches. I made potato salad. I was out of onions, so I instead used water chestnuts flavored with salt and onion powder. They were a reasonable alternative and added crunch to the potato salad. Also, with the mayo, spicy pickles, sliced boiled eggs and mustard, you couldn’t really tell that they were water chestnuts instead of onion. I just didn’t want to run to the store. I made hamburger rice with cheese and onions (which is why I ran out of onions for the potato salad) and baked chicken. I cooked sliced mushrooms also. Most of my savings involve not going out to eat.
    I get invited all the time at work but I nearly always decline. I cut my own hair. I also hand washed delicate clothing in my tub and hung them up to dry. I sometimes do this with my work blouses also. I did a stock up on toilet paper and paper towels from Dollar General.

  40. Your Granddaughter is adorable! So much fun!

    *Last week we had a frugal Valentine’s Day. From February 1st to the 14th, I make my son and husband a paper heart each day telling them something I love about them. My teenage son loves it, he saves his and puts them on the wall in his closet. I love that he can walk in his closet every morning so positive encouragement! I bought my son some dollar store candy. We made homemade pizza on Valentine’s Day. That made it seem special because we usually only make that on Saturday Nights. My husband and I don’t usually do gifts, but I found Chocolate Poker Set for $6.00 on the after Christmas Clearance. He is learning to play poker for fun (not with real money), so it was perfect!

    *Instead of buying expensive pill pockets for my dog’s medication, I made my own with hotdog buns I already had and some peanut butter.

    *I’ve been saving up Macy’s gift cards that I receive as gifts. I went shopping and was able to really stretch my gift cards. They had so much clearance, much of it was priced at $4.96 each, I even found a few summer shirts from last year for $2.96. Those are better than thrift store prices in my area. I’m so excited, I almost have a whole new wardrobe. I have money left on a card, so I think I will go back and look again.

    *I made homemade bread, pork chops with au gratin potatoes, pork stir fry with leftover pork chops and vegetables, I meal prepped and made snacks ahead so that I wouldn’t waste so much food. I made fried rice with leftover rice and froze it into individual portions for my lunch.

    *Two of our doors wouldn’t shut properly, my husband was able to fix them after watching a you tube video.

    *We have huge medical bills looming, so I’m so thankful for this blog to help me stay on track!

  41. What a precious baby. My week has been better. We got a free meal and shirt from work. Went to a free dinner and show with my work friends because our office sponsored a table. Meal prepped meals. Borrowed books from the library. I am using inter-library loan to get the book “A Square Meal” hopefully it will be here soon. Gas here in West Tennessee is $3.19, so trying to combine trips and staying home more. My sister is helping me clean out some closets to donate items to the Veterans Home. I got a sour dough starter, going to be making bread next week. The weather here is rainy and stormy, but the buttercups are starting to bloom. Hope everyone has a blessed week.

  42. *I love seeing my granddaughter and I’m happy to hear that you were able to visit your daughter and family. Also you commented about the milk bottles from families. I don’t know how I would ship them to you but if you have any ideas, please email me. We can talk about price – I’m sure I can arrange a good one for you 🙂

    *I bought several new to me DVDs of a TV series that I have loved since the 90s. I have a few and bought a few more. These will be my birthday and Easter presents. I used used DVD sites. I also found a portable DVD screen/player that I can use in my craft room and also take on trips. The box it came also included a very heavy duty plastic cover that I can use to protect it and put it into a bag to carry instead of purchasing a carrier bag. We have a trip coming up and I will take the DVD player for my daughter to use in the car and that I can use when there’s down time on the trip.

    *I needed 2 dresses altered for an upcoming wedding. I paid $30 for both. The alteration store at our local mall would have cost $200. My friend told me about a local woman with extensive experience who works out of her home. She charges $25/hour but the alterations aren’t very time intensive. When I met with her – I was so impressed. She’s even going to help me have my bra fit better. Win-win.

    *I drove down to visit my daughters and we went to a used book store in town. I hadn’t been there before. It was wonderful to wander around, sit in comfy chairs and discover some new treasures. Our granddaughter came too and that was fun to watch her toddle around. My daughter, who is very good with makeup application, gave me a tutorial to help me make some needed changes and gives me a boost of confidence.

    *I ordered a produce box from a local grower. It included 3 fresh beets. I’ve never prepared them. I’ve purchased canned beets for my husband before. A quick google search showed an easy boil/blanch method. My husband has been happily munching on them with his meals. I used the apples and oranges from the box for a small family dinner and then in my daughter’s lunch. She even squeezed some of the orange juice into her smoothie to improve the flavor. I boiled the new red potatoes and made a tuna potato salad that included green beans, radishes (from the produce box) and red peppers that I bought at Kroger for 67c. It’s low fodmap, dairy free and gluten free. Perfect for my daughter to use for dinner and lunches as needed. I bought a used low fodmap cookbook to help my daughter with other ideas. The produce box also contained the most yummy strawberries and blackberries, 2 zucchini and 4 fresh eggs. I bought eggs on sale at Kroger. I hardboiled some of them for easy snacks.

    *I downloaded free books for my Kindle and used credits for 2 books. I read the new Laura Childs book and 2 books on my Kindle. I exercised by cleaning, exercise bike and Walk at Home. We kept the heat at 68 and opened windows when the temps were at 60. The temps are down in the 30s again this week. I added vinegar to my towels for washing – it really keeps them smelling better. We also tried very hard to eat up leftovers.

    *Have a wonderful week!

  43. Brandy, what a little beauty your granddaughter is. I’m sure you enjoyed your time visiting. She’s just at the stage to start blooming personality wise

    I spent last week puttering about my home. I painted our master bath with a gallon of mis-tinted paint my daughter had given me. The very upper wall and cutting in about the ceiling still needs to be done but I can’t reach those areas, so husband will attend to that when his hip is no longer painful (sciatic). He was all ready to attend to it yesterday but was in pain and I refused to allow it. Anyway, the paint has primer in it and although the master bath is a good size, I’ll have more than a half gallon left. I’m going to pour off a half pint for touching up later and give the rest back to my daughter. Her 2 yr old boys room is about the size of my master bath and I think it will cover well for his room.

    I did a complete pantry/freezer inventory. Now I am working on making a list of shopping needs in areas where I see I need to up my supplies or have outages.
    Last week after reviewing our spending in groceries and current pricing (slowly eeking down here) I decided to lower my food budget by 1/4. I’ll use that money to cover gas (soaring! $.3.59 in our town and 20 miles away at interstate about $3.39/gal). I told my husband we have spent our entire winter budget for gasoline and we’ve mostly been at home! So in anticipation that warm weather is coming, indicated by 80F days for three days this week, and mowing season will soon commence I want a little extra cash in that area.

    We removed a broken glider/rocker from the kitchen sitting area and replaced it with a chair that was unused in our bedroom.

    I’ve been cleaning and organizing and rearranging and doing light decluttering. That always inspires me as I see we have more than we really need.

    My food waste this past week was two half apples that had been pushed into the basket of fruit in the fridge and gotten lost. It’s the first waste I’ve had in ages.

    Now I’m going to go read what everyone else has been up to…

  44. Hi Brandy,

    I think “beautiful”‘ just doesn’t do justice to your granddaughter. Stunningly or exquisitely beautiful is better.
    How unusual for la petite to have a dark outer ring, a “limbal ring”, around her irises but it’s striking and I wonder if her blue eyes will turn brown? I also hope she retains the limbal ring for all her life — it draws our gaze in towards her. I may have fallen in love! How lucky and nice she is such a happy baby! thanks for sharing her photo!

    As for me, I’ve been working trying to find the missing footnotes. I have found all but four. We are really pushing to finish the book…

    Meanwhile although I am restocking my pantry with canned goods,, I am saving some of my grocery money by using my meat and also that I have in my friend’s freezer.

      1. As I have long ago forgotten my high school biology I was just reading up on this fascinating topic. Although rare apparently it is possible for 2 blue eyed parents to have a brown eyed child.

        1. Interesting.

          That was my favorite thing in that class. I was wondering what it would take for me to have a child with blue eyes and I was very interested, so I paid close attention. We had to do all kinds of problems to see what the possibilities would be for each of us.

          1. I remember those lessons well. Another trait that is genetically determined is which way your hair whirls at the top back of your head, to the left or to the right. My lab partner couldn’t figure mine out, and when the teacher looked he said, “Heidi, your hair seems to go both ways!” I always had trouble with cow licks at that spot.
            Regarding the circle around your grandbaby’s iris, one scheme I once read about for determining the best colors for a person to wear was to look for that ring and match it in clothing colors. She is a charming baby!

          2. Seems like marrying a guy with blue eyes helped you a lot, LOL! Your granddaughter really does have beautiful eyes. (Not to mention a smile to die for).

            1. LOL. My husband has hazel eyes. But I paid attention in biology because I had a crush on a boy with blue eyes!

        2. My sister and her husband both had blue eyes and fair hair. They were shocked when their first child was born with brown eyes and brown hair – he greatly resembles his paternal grandmother who had brown eyes and brown hair. All of their subsequent children had blue eyes and fair hair.

          1. No-one should be shocked by that. When I was in high school, I too learned that blue-eyed parents would only have blue-eyed parents. That was based on a theory that it was controlled by a single allele. Nowadays, genetic theory is different. It is more complex than a single allele controlling eye colour. Like Brandy, I paid close attention to genetics in high school as I wanted to have brown-eyed babies — babies who had the exquisite large brown eyes of my parents (both of whom had blue-eyed parents). Well that didn’t happen. It is only the second generation down (great nieces) that have the brown eyes of my parents. I myself look like a blue-eyed great great grandmother.
            Also no-one should be shocked when blue-eyed babes turn to brown-eyed ones as they age. Almost all Caucasian babies are born
            with blue eyes not brown even if they change later. Genetics is a fascinating science!

            1. Interesting!

              All my blue-eyed children (4) had blue eyes at birth. All the brown and hazel-eyed children also had those colors at birth. None of the nine ever changed, though I had read that was possible.

            2. I dated a guy in college who had one blue eye and one brown! I later worked with someone who also had one blue and one brown.

              Brandy, green eyes and hazel eyes are different shades of the same thing. I don’t remember much about this from biology, but doesn’t this indicate a blue recessive gene that could result in blue-eyed children? What I remember from biology was something about red and white snapdragons and what happened several generations of flowers later.

              1. Yes, we talked about that! Layers of brown and blue to create hazel and green eyes. My husband and I both have recessive blue genes, which is why we have some blue-eyed children.

  45. Brandy, I am so glad that you were able to have a chance to see your family and share that sweet picture!

    My week was uneventful–making bread, soup from a ham bone in the freezer, cookie with less from the grocery store.

    I’m still working on a knitting project–a shawl–with yarn on hand and will start a sweater next.

    Reading “The Little Paris Bookshop” from the library.

    I got a $21 overpayment from the dentist’s office.

    I looked after my neighbor’s cat for a few days and enjoyed some feline time.

    I watched the season finale of “All Creatures Great and Small” and the last episode of “Around the World in 80 Day.” Also the skating segments of the Olympics while knitting.

    I’ve seen the shoots of daffodils coming out of the ground, which gives me hope for spring, although I pray for more rain/snow because of our drought.

    Have a lovely week, you lovely readers!

    Surprised to see my local dollar store is now selling items for $1.25.

  46. Just finished reading “A Square Meal” yesterday from the library. Thank you to whomever mentioned it first. A powerful and sobering read! Laura

  47. What a positively beautiful granddaughter you have been blessed with! How wonderful it all worked out for you to visit her and her loving parents! You are such an inspiration to me with your gardening and how you maximize each day. Thank you.

  48. Hello, frugal friends! Here in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains it feels like spring. Unfortunately, this will not last. Winter temps are to return this weekend. I noticed some early bulbs starting to peek out. I just need to hang on another few weeks before I can start playing in the garden. I have planned my vegetable garden as we redid the layout and beds in the fall. I am hoping the worms I collected a few weeks ago have done their job in the compost pile. We shall see.
    In money saving the past couple of weeks we have:
    *used our .70/gallon rewards off a tank fill up on my car. I earned this reward when I purchased a few gift cards this month for Valentine’s Day and a birthday gift. Like someone else said here, I, too, check to see if a gift card purchase at Kroger will help me earn double or more points towards gas.
    *I was able to get a few soups in Kroger’s clearance aisle for .50/can to add to our pantry for emergencies. They also had wheat bread marked down to .29/loaf. I bought 4 loaves. I do not eat much bread and my husband eats mostly my homemade sourdough wheat bread so these loaves should last us a few month.
    *I cashed in some Fetch rewards for 2 $10 Kroger gift cards which I used towards this month’s big monthly shop. With the gift cards, sales, clearance and coupons I spent $26.
    *I crushed the last of some whole wheat tortilla chip crumbs and added them to my cornflake crumbs for future coating on chicken, pork chops, etc.
    *I have turned down the heat during the day to 66 as it has not been wicked cold lately during the day, usually around the mid 40’s. This week it has been in the low 60’s! Night time it is below freezing though, but our heavy wool blanket and well insulated house keeps us warm at night.
    *I have been feeding us mostly out of the freezer and pantry and using a meal plan as well as using up leftovers.
    *I am finishing a baby quilt for a friend’s daughter.
    *I have hung out 4 loads of laundry to dry using the dryer for only 1 load of laundry per week.
    *Received a coupon for a free large oat milk at Kroger. I figured if we do not like the taste I can always use it in cooking/baking.
    *My friend gave me a large box of fabric for quilting. plus some batting and pillow stuffing. She is moving and is not going to take it with her. I do not need more fabric or projects but took it anyway. Once I finish all the other quilts I am working on I will use the fabric to make pillowcases for the Women’s Resource Center. Sewing/quilting is my recreation and entertainment during the day.
    *My friend also gave me some deer repellent spray and 2 unused citronella candles.
    *My husband retires from his current career this Friday. His boss took us out to a very nice dinner last week. The office staff is treating us to dinner this week. My husband is retired from the Navy and worked several other jobs before settling on becoming a radiographer 15 years ago. He has always been one to work so I am wondering how he will manage being fully retired. He is a handy man to have around so I have made a list of projects here at the house for him to work on as the weather permits.
    * We did the usual things as well. Every little bit counts, right? Here is wishing everyone a happy, healthy, frugal week.

  49. What an adorable baby! So glad you were able to visit with your daughter and family. Grocery deals for the week: eggs for 57 cents a dozen, bread for 59 cents, cans of corn for 37 cents and fresh baby carrots for 65 cents a bag. I got 5 bags and will can up most of them later this week. Treated myself to dinner out one night with a gift card. Had a family in need at a church that needed toddler clothes. I had a gift card from Christmas that I used to pick up a few items on sale/clearance. A friend gave me a shirt to wear for the 2/22/22 “Twosday” party at school today. Had a warm weekend so I started rearranging my garden containers for my container garden expansion. Small steps but every penny saved is something.

  50. Your granddaughter is just adorable. Love the smile. So glad you were able to visit, and probably was nice for your friend to have company on the long drive.
    I had a mixed week. Worked 6 days. Took breakfast and lunch all days, except Saturday, when our office provides lunch for all those working.
    I purchased the rest of our seeds we will need for the garden this summer. Our garden store had a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase. The other seeds I got at Wal-Mart. Our Dollar store does not have any seeds left. At least, none that I want.
    We had leftovers from our February 13th BBQ a coupe of times. Ribs, macaroni salad, beans and veggies. Made chili for the DH to have to make chili dogs. I don’t care for chili (other than white chicken chili) so I made quesadillas for dinner once and warmed up taco meat for dinners for me.
    Made potato corn chowder, focaccia bread, fried rice, BBQ pork chops, and mixed vegetables. Everything came from the freezer or pantry. The potatoes, onions, corn, mixed vegetables, and all herbs came from our garden.
    Was able to get 18 packs of eggs for $1.27. Got four. Got 12 more avocados for 47¢ each.
    We are gradually getting our energy back from our bout with covid. Also getting rid of the covid brain fog. Didn’t even realize I had it until I started thinking more clearly, and was more productive at work.
    Hope everyone has a productive and frugal week.
    Stay warm.

  51. My comment should have read I’m also using the big box of blueberries I had stashed in my friend’s freezer.

    I asked our printer about the paper shortage. She said it’s because of the stock is being used for cardboard boxes and other packaging.

    Bot my parents had brown eyes but the majority of the children had blue eyes. One can’t go by the parents’ eyes but one has to take into consideration recessive genes from earlier generations. Any colour is beautiful, just saying…
    It’ll be interesting to see if her eyes stay that wonderful blue…! And may she always have that happy sparkle!

    1. If both parents have blue eyes then the child will have blue eyes, according to the lesson I had in my high school biology class. Blue eyes are recessive.

      I have four children with blue eyes myself; mine are green, which means I have one blue and one brown gene.

  52. Such a beautiful grandbaby, Brandy! I was wondering if you had been able to see her recently. I hope her parents and your son are doing well at University too. Too bad that your daughter and son-in-law are moving farther away for Graduate school. Maybe you’ll get to travel a little bit? When my children were little (they’re teens now), Grammie and PopPop (my husband’s parents) were still working and couldn’t visit often from out of state. So the children got to spend at least a week with them every summer! Perhaps you can do something similar with your granddaughter?

    A few frugal things here:

    We have been working to use up the food in the house, rather than buying much at the store each week. The children are in the season for their school Musical, so they have long days at school (4-9pm after school each day) and performances on Fridays and Saturdays. They are fed dinner each night but we have been sending snacks too. They get breakfast and lunch through the school cafeteria each day, which is good because sports practice starts at 730am before school starts at 9am!

    I emptied the last of clothes boxes we packed a year ago when we packed up the house to do our remodel. I washed the clothes, put some aside for donation and put away the rest. It’s like getting a whole new wardrobe with no money spent! I even found things I had completely forgotten about. Fun!

    Trimmed the still-good flowers and discarded the bad from the bouquet my husband bought me for Valentine’s day. I rearranged them with fresh water and should get another week out of them!

    I found a flapper style dress for my daughter at a second-hand store. It cost $4.99 ($US) and looks so cute on her! She is enjoying 20’s style dancing right now with a group of friends, so it’s perfect! The dress is complete with gold sequins and black fringe.

    We received about 7 inches of snow today where I live. I’ll sort my seeds saved from last year, and plan the veggies for this summer! A taste of spring, even if there’s snow right now.

    Enjoy the week everyone!

  53. I’m wondering if spring will ever come! We got 13 inches of snow the last 2 days. Snow is over our basement windows. Now the cold comes below zero even during the day rest of the week. I am worried about the new cherry and pear trees planted last spring. Hopefully they survive.

    -$3.38 was spent in groceries this week for chicken breasts and sour cream. 32 jars of food used so far this month

    -I made beef barley soup from leftover prime rib brought home from dinner out with our daughters famiLy to celebrate a grand daughter’s Bday. We were invited out and it was paid for. The prime rib was the special, it was very good, very reasonable compared to other restaurants, and I could only eat 1/2 of it. It made good soup.

    -Taxes are done. I always dread doing them and I’m glad when they are done.

    -I always check the clearance meat, dairy, and veggie section at the local grocers. I went in to put a bank deposit in the night depository and mail a couple of letters. I ringed the store to check these 3 clearance areas. I bought a package of 2 large organic chicken breasts for $1.50. It made 3 meals (50 cents per meal) for the two of us! I took one breast, pounded it thin, cut it in half creating 2 pieces, dredged them in flour, then beaten egg, and then panko crumbs and browned in a skillet and finished cooking in the oven. With a jar of home canned spaghetti sauce we had Chicken Parmigiana. The second breast, I used half to make Pad Thai, the other half made chicken noodle soup with some home canned broth. I love getting a bargain.

    Have a great week!

  54. What an angelic baby! I love your flower photos, but your granddaughter is much more beautiful!
    I rarely comment because I feel like a mere grasshopper compared to everyone here. But—- I live in Vancouver, Canada and food prices here are rising rapidly, 20-30% on basic food items. In addition, sales on basics like flour, oatmeal, etc seem to have disappeared. Of course that means the “price to me” is even higher. I am grateful for a good pantry, but eventually it will need to be restocked!
    Canning lids turned up locally. First time I’ve seen wide mouth lids in two years! BUT the price was $6 a box!!! I didn’t get any. But I did decide it was time to start buying reusable lids. It’ll save money after two or three years and I will no longer be dependent on expensive disposable lids.
    Other than that, just the usual things: bread baking, all meals at home, library, hanging more laundry to dry, daughter trimmed my hair.
    So grateful to you, Brandy, for hosting this site so faithfully. And for the rest of you ladies too for being such inspirations!

    1. The food prices are rising in the same way here. I agree that the lack of sales, and then a larger increase on top of that. means I am paying a whole lot more than I used to for food.

    2. Elle, I know what you mean. I found regular lids today for the first time in 3 years. They worked out to .29 each! I bought 3 dozen and expect them to last for the rest of my life. First, I’m old. Second, I don’t can as much as I used to. Third, I reuse the disposable lids. As long as they are not damaged, they will reseal. When you check for damage, lay them flat and make sure they really are flat–sometimes they get bent a little. A tiny dimple in the top from a church key opener is not a problem if the lid isn’t punctured. My faves, however, are the twist-off, pop up tops that come on pickle jars, jam jars, etc. They can be reused indefinitely. When they seal, you know it–they pop as they cool and the lid pulls down. I buy Nalley’s baby dills at Costco and the jars are the equivalent of widemouth quart canning jars, except they have pop-up lids and the glass is much heavier. In dozens of jars, I have never had a pop-up lid fail to seal and only one failure of a reused disposable lid. The USDA told Americans that it was unsafe to reuse lids, but it is actually very common in other countries.

  55. Brandy
    Your granddaughter is absolutely darling-I’m so glad you got to see her! We took Valentine gifts to my son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and grandson last week but they live just 15 minutes from us. My granddaughter is 16 months old and my grandson is a month old.
    Things we did to save money last week:
    Cooked most of our meals last week and stuck to our meal plan.
    Writing down all expenditures in order to stay accountable.
    Continued decluttering and cleaning house which inspires me to not give in to shopping urges.
    Reading books checked out from library.
    Took our dog to nearby schoolyard for an outing.

    I hope everyone is having a great week!

  56. Brandy, that’s lovely to hear about your trip to visit your daughter and her family. Great finds at the thrift store too.

    I purchased a pie maker machine for $5 and a sausage roll machine for $5, both on clearance to make way for new models. Normal price was $39 each. No tax added to purchases here (already included in the ticket price). They have been allocated as needed gifts for adults at Christmas. I remain on track for a total yearly present spend of $150 (this includes birthdays, Christmas etc).

    My family and I were grateful to receive dinner at another families house which was comprised of honey and soy Korean chicken, potato wedges and cabbage and pickled reddish salad. Dessert was chocolate mud cake and lemon meringue pie. Extra large slices of each dessert were bought home.

    We don’t do a lot for Valentine’s Day but my husband picked me some beautiful roses which I arranged in a vase in a prominent position in our house. We enjoyed some chocolate that evening (Lindt).

    I used basil, lemons, rosemary and mandarins from my garden.

    I purchased lots of tinned lentils, using some in spaghetti (mixed in with the beef, thanks to a comment from last week). I also used some to add to a dinner of steamed vegetables with bolognese sauce over the top, which was delicious. I used them in a salad with goats cheese, tomato, red onion, balsamic and olive oil.

    Other meals included scrambled eggs with tomatoes on toast, basic salad with lemon, lemon tea, lemon cake, avocado (drizzled with lemon) tomato and goats cheese on toast, sandwiches, fruits, raw carrot and cherry tomatoes with hummus, fruit smoothies, yoghurt and fruit ice blocks (popsicles). Everything, as per usual, was home made.

    I finished reading five books from a historical series, which I really enjoyed. I will return them to the library this week and look for other books to borrow.

    I refrained from going to two thrift shops. I have been wanting to go since December 2021 but there is nothing I urgently need. I am waiting to go with my daughter in mid March.

    We took neighbourhood bicycle rides, going to the park for four hours to get a change of scenery. Whilst there, we enjoyed a picnic lunch. My children played with the neighbourhood children. I line dried all washing, kept gas/fuel usage to a minimum as well as electricity and natural gas, paid all bills on time, made use of what we had, recycled and reused, kept grocery shopping to a bare minimum and reduced car driving as much as possible.

    I shopped my wardrobe, bringing three nice blouses and a pair of jeans to the front that I haven’t worn for some time.

    I watched a DVD I borrowed from the library, which made for an enjoyable and relaxing evening once the children were in bed.

    I did a stocktake of my pantry and freezer.

    Have a great week.

  57. I love the picture of the baby and I’m so glad you got to go see her.

    Our 19-month-old grandson has been with us since Sunday. We picked him up to take him to church, as we have been doing when his mama works all night Saturdays, and took him home after church, as usual. As the day progressed, daughter became ill, with a high fever. It was all she could do to care for the 7-month-old, and we wanted to isolate the older one from her, in case it was Covid. It’s been a wild ride! The only other time he’s ever spent the night was when his brother was born in July, so this has been a learning curve for all of us. Thankfully, daughter got help from a couple of people, including our other daughter, and doesn’t have Covid, so he’s going home today. It’s been such a precious time for us. There’s nothing like dancing around the living room to the tune of “You’ve Got A Friend in My.” That being said, I’m ready to rest up a bit!

    We were able to do some money-saving activities, though, especially last week. I was able to buy diapers with a $2/off coupon. I waited 2 weeks to grocery shop, since I had no time to do so, and it just encouraged us to use the food we had even more. When I did go, I used a gift card and Bottle Drop money for part of my payment, so that helped. I didn’t have enough for the entire cost, as I had recently spent most of the Bottle Drop money, but I had some since the relatives keep bringing their cans over, we found more cans on our walks, and of course, our empties were all returned. Every little bit helps.

    The lady who commented that “sooner or later the stockpile has to be filled back up” is correct. With prices going up I’m having to be more creative when I do that. I noticed price increases even in the 2 weeks I skipped shopping on many things. I also did get a few good bargains, such as 18 eggs for $1.27, so I bought 5 cartons—6-1/2 doz eggs. We don’t mind eating whatever does come on sale, and that’s really inexpensive protein! I put them in the camper fridge, and they will last a long time. I found a bag of boneless-skinless thighs in the chest freezer, buried, that needed to be used, so I’ve basically served them in different forms all week this week. They are almost gone now and not wasted.

    I pulled many, many items from the freezer, pantry and canning shelves. We ate peaches, pears, beans, frozen corn, etc. I used lots of frozen chicken/turkey broth and made a huge turkey/chicken rice soup, which I’ve eaten for breakfast and lunch the past few days, because I’ve been busy! I made a peach crisp, banana muffins twice, and a huge pot of white rice. We browned turkey burger into taco meat and ate taco salad/burritos for a couple of days, using frozen refried beans from another cooking session.

    Last week, I was able to spend a day with my sisters, Mom and Aunt, celebrating one sister’s birthday. It was nice to have a day of relaxing and visiting. I was super busy after that, so it was good to rest up. I was able to orchestrate a play-date for my nephew, Jake. Those of you with special needs loved ones can appreciate how special this was to him, to be able to have friends to play with. You can also appreciate how much I needed to be present, available, and involved. We all had fun, so it was a triumph! After that, (before she got sick), daughter got called into work unexpectedly, so we ended up with both babies for 8 hours. Since there was overlap, at one point, I was surrounded by 5 boys, and in the end, babysat for about 12 hours that day. It was a fun, exciting day.

    In truth, a lot of the money I saved this week wasn’t my money–it was helping out others, thereby saving them money on childcare. I love being at a place where I can do that. As most of you have likely gleaned, over the years, my husband and I adopted 8 children from the foster care system. After seeing the devastation of lives and families that can happen, it is more than worth anything I can do to help young families build happy lives for their children. Sometimes the stable ones, the ones that look like it’s all ok, need a little help, too! Ok–off my soapbox now….:)

    I got a tiny bit of gardening done in-between things. I didn’t take many pictures but the few I did are on my blog:

    1. Becky – God Bless you for creating your family in such a special way. The love you have for them just jumps off the screen in your post. And what a blessing you are to them. I’m sure they know it, too. 🙂

  58. Brandy, your granddaughter is so darling. Makes me miss that baby stage. The first year always goes way too fast! I am so glad you had to opportunity to give grandma snuggles!!
    It has been an interesting week here in Michigan. We have had weather from 45 degrees one day to 10 the next. I purachased 10 gallons of gasoline for our generator before the ice storm hit. Thankfully the electricity stayed on and now I can use that gas for next week’s gasoline allotment. I read about everyone’s gardening adventures wistfully; it feels a long way from spring to me right now!! I am not seeing many sales in our area. I am buying fresh fruits and veggies and milk. By eating down our freezers and pantry I am able to maintain my small food budget for the present. Our truck had a U joint break and the drive shaft was damaged. We were so grateful that the mechanic was able to source parts. We had to wait two weeks for the parts to come in. I drove my husband 30 miles twice a day to work and back. I was at the library yesterday ahead of the storm, and they had a seed exchange. I picked up several new to me varieties of vegetables. 4 were from Thomas Jefferson’s garden at Monticello. I am excited to start seeds, but it is too soon yet. I am going to get some kind of container to sort and store my seeds in a better way. Last year I bought a gas range that has a small single oven about a regular two rack oven. I have been using the smaller single oven to cook our meals to save on natural gas costs. I am experiementing with making baked goods with half the sugar. I made chocolate chip bars and added walnuts to them. I noticed my 5 year old picked them all out, but everyone else ate them. Taking small steps to get a healthier treat in my children. We also made homemade ice cream. We have an electric ice cream maker that I bought at a yard sale for $3. I also purchased organic cream on clearance for .99 a quart. This was a fun, frugal dessert. (Store ice cream is now above my price point.) I am interesed to see what our gas and electric bill will be for the month. It has been bitter cold for so long. I feel like cooking and baking are taking the bulk of my free time, but I am squeezing in some reading as I can. I really appreciate everyone’s comments. They give me ideas to further enhance the frugal steps I am already taking.

  59. *Made a creative, portable snack for our daughter. We were going from after school to a tennis match across town and I knew she’d want to stop at Sonic. She loved the snack.
    *Created a daily log for exercise, eating plan and “chores”; When I inventoried my wardrobe in December, I set aside several items that I’d like to wear again and am hoping some physical exercise and discipline will help me to achieve that goal.
    *One thing that keeps our costs down is using cloth rags, napkins and kitchen towels. We keep a roll of paper towels in a separate room and it takes us months to use a roll.
    *Made a breakfast casserole for the week, made afternoon smoothies each day from frozen fruit hoarded in our freezer(used up a lot of almost “done” veggies and fruits this way), took leftovers to work for lunches, cooked meals at home
    *Returned an item to Target for a merch credit and walked right back out of the store. The credit was small and I didn’t want to be tempted to spend money in Target on things that I don’t need
    *Cleaned out and inventoried the fridge foods. Helps us to minimize waste and be creative with our meals
    *Accepted 4 free women’s basketball game tickets as a reward for teaching student athletes. I love my job!
    *I was asked to emcee a ticketed dinner event for work. As I was adding the event to my calendar, the requestor took my silence as hesitation and added a free dinner ticket for my spouse as well. Ha!
    *Taught my daughter how to cut the end off a face wash tube to use the last of the product
    *Sold a pair of shoes that did not fit
    *Made 8 cups of white beans. I love Brandy’s white bean dip! And we always seem to use them in soups.
    *Mended a torn sheet.
    *Made all meals at home except for two. Brought leftovers to work. Was given free lunch twice at work.
    *Sold a few items on my insta stories
    *Joined our local buy nothing group
    *Reserved a book at the library
    *I am a sponsor for a student group and they had a catered brunch on Saturday. The caterer sent gravy in 12 ball jars. The students sent all of the empty jars, rings and lids home with me. They also sent home a jar of fig jam that had not been opened.
    *My husband brought home soup from a dinner at work

  60. What a wonderful opportunity to see your kids and grand daughter, phone calls are nice but not quite the same as face to face.

    *focused on the promos at Kroger for the week, purchased three 18 count eggs for $1.27 each and a couple boxes of granola bars for $1.99 each. Noted the new sales for this week, I’m interested in the Jennie-O ground turkey and the asparagus ($2.97/package and $.87/pound).

    *forgot to mention last week that I ended up getting back close to $30 from Ibotta, between promotions that I was able to double dip on at Kroger and a bonus that I wasn’t expecting. I don’t often get a lot back from Ibotta so I was pleasantly pleased.

    *my dog needs his nails trimmed and I will be taking him to the vet to have it done, we have a credit (it covers the exact cost of the nail trim) for a cone they forgot to send home with us after his neutering, as they are a ½ hour away I requested a credit. He did not even bother himself after the surgery. Nail trimmings are one splurge I do now. Our original two dogs were beasts when it came time for nail trims (I started when they were puppies), after we got our rescued English Bull Dog, I opted to pamper her a bit. The puppy we have now, he is just too wiggly (he is 8 months old).

    *extra exercise, took said puppy for a few walks as the weather had broken a bit. He is high energy and I know he appreciated it.

    *when my son moved out, he left behind a set of 5# weights and a medicine ball, I have been using those in my work outs. I would like to get some resistance bands, waiting to get enough points through either Fetch or Mypoints before I order so that they will be free.

    *continued to give myself a weekly manicure and pedicure, I am not one to pamper myself, it is typically others and I really need to focus on me a little bit more.
    *took back a pile of books to the library and picked up a new stack

    *froze up all the leftovers that were not being eaten (my primary leftover eater moved out), they will come in handy at some point.

    *continued to utilize workout videos. Over the last couple of years (starting the summer before Covid), I have gained close to 20 pounds. I am not tall so less space for it to distribute. Between too many graduation parties, injuring my knee and too large of portion sizes (this is probably the primary issue), it just crept up and up and up. I have lost 7 pounds in the last two weeks.

    *snagged a $5 off coupon code (good on an overall purchase of $5 or more) that someone left at the Catalina machine at Meijer. So many people just leave them.

    *I use to sell women’s clothing on Ebay and really enjoyed it. I am not prepared to get back into but we do have a salvation army that does the price by the pound, since I sold for myself, it never occurred to me make a drop off at a consignment shop. The one item that always sold phenomenal, I have no issues just buying it in the regular section, women’s golf or tennis skirts/skorts. Always avaible for $.50, I would get $25-$40 for each! I will be making a visit hopefully this week.

    I hope at everyone has a wonderful week 🙂

    1. Mara,
      I found unused exercise bands on CraigsList for a good price. They come in sets of 3 apparently, and the owner only wanted the heaviest one.
      I think that exercise equipment is usually on sale because people’s aspirations don’t always translate into action.
      Good uck & congratulations on losing the weight. I know you’ll be proud as it continues.

  61. So glad you were able to see your grandchild! And she definitely looks like Winter!

    My frugal week:
    – I made Shortcut Spanokopita Hand Pies ( using frozen spinach (cheapest spinach I can find).
    – I used a gc to buy a beauty product online, used a free shipping code, and went through Swagbucks to get something back for it too.
    – I made and froze baby food in ice cubes, so I can defrost a single meal as needed. My baby also likes to chew on dried rusks (essentially super dried out toasted bread/buns) and carrot sticks. Way cheaper than purchasing baby good and not that time-consuming either.
    – I saved leftover oatmeal and reheated it the next day for my toddler, who happily ate it. I know leftover oatmeal can be used in muffins or breads too.
    – I made my weekly chocolate snack cake, and gave some away.
    – borrowed paper books and ebooks from the library.
    – I redeemed $10 in loyalty rewards
    – I made a double batch of my pizza dough (my base for most bread or buns and even for things like Nutella beignets), and it must have been super fresh yeast, because the dough wouldn’t stop growing. I made a loaf of bread, a dozen pretzel buns, and two pizzas. I used half the loaf to make French toast and the other half for sandwiches. The pretzel buns were for my mum, and I froze one of the pizzas. Quite the savings compared to it I had purchased all those baked goods!
    – I had a leftover veggie burger, so I just crumbled it and used it as a pizza topping
    – I redeemed some loyalty points for a free ice cream cone for my daughter

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  62. Does anyone have suggestions on what to stock up on with all the price increases and possible gas price increases? Would you go more for can items and frozen veggies or flour and baking ingredients?

      1. I agree with Brandy to stock up on what you need. However, generally speaking, the best sales on flour, sugar and other baking needs are in November and December. (The harvest is over and there is lots of demand for Thanksgiving and Christmas baking). You will find the best sale prices during that period, so I wouldn’t buy too much until then. Sugar also typically goes on sale during canning season (late summer/early fall). Canned and frozen veggies seem to go on sale at many times of the year, meaning there is no one best time for a big stock up. At the moment, Winco has a lot of store brand canned vegetables for under .50 can and canned beans for under .60.

        It’s good to follow holiday sales, too…that’s when I would stock up at the best prices. Corned beef is always pricey, but if you buy it, the lowest price is always during St. Patrick’s week. Hams, sometimes lamb, eggs and asparagus go on sale for Easter. Barbecue and picnic items, especially ground beef, sometimes steaks and condiments go on sale at Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Memorial Day. (I buy a year’s worth of condiments at Memorial Day). Everything is on sale at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but especially baking items. Turkeys are usually cheaper at Thanksgiving, but you will also find hams and big beef roasts (prime rib, etc.) during this period. Hams and big beef roasts at Christmas. Incidentally, if I wanted prime rib and couldn’t afford it, I’d use a chuck roast (preferably bone-in) for pot roast and enjoy it just as much!

        1. Maxine, while those times are usually the best sales–prices are going higher regularly. The sales price, come December, might be higher than the regular price now.

          I find that when I buy in bulk, the price is better than the sales prices for the holidays.

          There are sugar shortages happening, and there are wheat shortages as well (due to drought). Prices are up every time I go to the store, and not by a small amount.

          1. That’s an excellent point, Brandy…one I hadn’t thought of. However, let’s say prices are up 15% in the fall. The 5 lbs. of flour I got this year (and many years before) for .99 would be $1.14. So I wouldn’t want to pay too much more than that now. I’d buy enough to get me by until fall, and I know I would be taking my chances after that. I guess it would depend on the price of the product now. If you eat enough of something to buy bulk amounts–and have the ability to store it without incurring more costs–I agree that would be cheaper.

              1. I just found the same with bulk oats. I used to purchase a 50 pound bag for around $31. This month, the very same bag is now costing $61. It has made my current oat price at Aldis cheaper than purchasing in bulk. Of course, the price at Aldis may very well raise as well.

    1. With the situation in the Ukraine and what is produced there – flour, barley, corn, and sunflower oil would be the best things I believe. We’re all going to feel the pinch at the gas pumps as well I’m afraid.

  63. Thank you, Brandy, for maintaining this site and its tone. I wanted to spend some time in computer and avoid news/politics and I knew this is the safe place I can come.

    1. You’re welcome. You should know, though:

      I do read a lot of news daily from a variety of sources around the world.

      Economically, this war is going to have worldwide repercussions.

      Also, drought is going to play an issue on food. I just shared an article about that on my Facebook page. As I live in an area heavily affected by a 22-year drought that is now being called a megadrought and also aridification, these are important issues to me.

      So where this affects the cost of food, gas, etc. that will still be a topic of conversation here.

      And I will always encourage people to plant gardens. The rising cost of food worldwide is a very good reason to do so, and it will continue to increase for many reasons (such as the shortage of both nitrogen and potash fertilizers).

      I think that being prepared as best we can will bring peace to us in as much as that is possible.

    1. Bulk purchases of rice, beans (multiple kinds), flour, oats, oil, and sugar (for canning as well as baking). Also have salt and yeast, along with some baking powder and baking soda.

      Then added canned vegetables, spices, powdered bullion (to make soups; a little goes a long way), meat for your freezer.

      And if you can garden, do so. If you can grow more than you currently do, do so. Add fruit trees, grapes vines, berry bushes, nut trees, etc.

      The news is discussing both the possibilities of stagflation and a recession. These are usually long-term issues. Being prepared to weather them helps.

      So if you can spend a little more at the store, buy some extra each time. But a few bags of beans, or if you have a bulk source, go buy a 25-pound bag of beans.

      1. Remember when the shelves of beans were cleared two years ago? Wonder how much is languishing in kitchens across America?

  64. along with food I make sure to stock cleaning products, toiletries, and medicine, and I went ahead and got new seal rings for my Instant Pot and canner and Tattler lids a couple of months ago. I figured if I needed them they may be hard to get later. We also got cash in smaller bills and put in our safe.

  65. Stagflation and a recession are what happened in the 1980s. It was gruesome. Good advice to buy a little more than usual. Watch the flyers for specials and spend your “extra” money on the specials.
    If you have a big freezer, I would stock frozen veggies and fruit with back-up canned veggies for emergency backup.
    I will try to grow things in my garden — specifically, potatoes. A friend is giving me delicata squash plants she is growing but my yard lacks sun.
    I would like to grow winter squash as they keep a long time.

    1. We lived on very little during that time. I was a child, but my parents have told me how hard it was for them. My dad had to work for 3 weeks just to pay the mortgage.

  66. I meant to mention, I would still look into getting a fixed rate for natural gas and electricity.
    If you are on a floating rate still, phone your utilities company and ask what the floating rates
    compared to the fixed rates. Then be aware that today’s fixed rates are going up soon at least
    in Alberta. And probably elsewhere…

  67. Brandy, Your granddaughter is just beautiful. (I, too, can see a lot of her mommy in her.). So glad you were able to go visit her–and the “big kids” too.

  68. Brandy and Everyone,

    I purchased a vertical planter because of limited planting space. It calls for potting soil. Which type do y’all recommend for vegetables and herbs?

    Thank you!

    1. I typically use Miracle Gro moisture control potting mix for my vertical planters. I have a Garden Tower and a Greenstalk. The moisture control type helps keep the soil from drying out. If you don’t like to use Miracle Gro, just make sure you look for something suitable for container growing. You could also use a ProMix formulated for containers. If it doesn’t contain plant food, you might need to blend in some Gardentone or something similar.

  69. I was speaking with my brother yesterday – he and many members of my family are involved in the grocery trade – he said the next big thing that will be in short supply is cold cereal – at least here in Canada and I would assume the US. The problem is a strike at Kellogs – supermarkets had their warehouses well stocked but now these supplies are running down. If you or your children are big eaters of this then you may want to stock up a bit.

    Here in Canada – our largest grocery chain – the Loblaw’s one that owns many different named stores – has decided not to pay the amount that Frito-Lay is now looking to charge for their various potato chips – instead of spreading out all the other brands a couple of their stores that I’ve visited in the past week have chosen to leave a very prominent gap in the middle of that aisle – I presume they are making a point. It will be interesting to see who blinks first!

  70. Repotted peppers today and are starting the tomatoes and more herbs when DH gets back from an errand. Our friends came and got the layers we had raised for them and some feed, and probably overpaid us, but they say it’s what they want. Got a few more canning jars cleaned – some of the ones I bought last fall were in pretty bad shape with all kinds of nasty stuff in them, so I’ve been soaking in vinegar/dawn/CLR then washing well.

    I can feel spring in the air, and I need to get things straightened up and going – what I can. Starting about mid-april to mid-may gets very busy at the ranch.

  71. Thank you! We eat a lot of oats! I will prioritize those, flour and baking items first and then move along the list. Our gas went up almost 10 cents/litre because of a new green-tax that had been added and that is hurting a lot. We’ve noticed many items going up in price!

  72. What fun to visit your granddaughter — she is a doll! My mother lives 6 hours away but she does not drive more than 20 minutes from her house, so she rarely visits (only when my stepdad will drive her down). It always means so much when they come.
    –There is a children’s consignment sale coming up so I’ve been pulling items from our basement to sell. We still have boxes from when we moved 7 years ago, and again 2 years ago, that haven’t been dealt with. There are a lot of my daughter and son’s clothes/shoes in there. Hopefully I can unload some boxes and make some money at the same time.
    –My husband has been wanting a truck for a while now, a “junk truck” that can haul stuff for the house and garden. He was looking at some that were at least 20 years old, and they are still around $5K. Outrageous. We decided to buy a utility pull-behind trailer instead. That way, we can utilize the van we already have (it has a hitch) and won’t have to pay for insurance & upkeep of another vehicle. It’s also much cheaper than buying a truck, and we can get 24 months no interest instead of a car loan. I think it is a good compromise. Then I will also be able to get some scoops of compost and manure instead of buying bags that stink up & dirty up my van! We haven’t bought it yet, but plan to go this week because the Home Depot coupon expires soon.
    –I used CVS rewards to buy some needed items, paying about $1 instead of $12.
    –Colored my hair at home.
    –Ordered seeds from a new-to-me company called Pinetree ( The prices were very affordable. I almost always order from Baker Creek because they have free shipping, but these seeds were cheaper overall even with shipping cost. They also had some varieties that I was excited to find.
    –Took a lot of books to the used bookstore. Got trade credit, which my daughter promptly used. LOL At least she stayed within the credit amount, so I paid nothing.
    –My son went down a size, so he needed some new clothes. I traded some items at Plato’s Closet and found a few items for him as well, using my trade credit for some of the purchase.
    –At an auction house we visited a few weeks ago, they were going to throw out a box of brand new books for middle-school kids. Yikes! Luckily I spotted them by the door and asked how much they were. The man told me they were throwing them in the trash as soon as it stopped raining, and I could take all of them for free (around 20 or so). This week we played Bingo in my class; I gave the books as bonus prizes.
    –All of my herb pods germinated in the Aerogarden. I transplanted them into a small planter I won in a giveaway last year. I started new seeds — broccoli, ground cherry, variety of peppers — and a few have already germinated. I am loving this thing! Brandy, have you tried indoor hydroponics? It might be a way for you to grow some crops that don’t do well in your climate.
    –I sowed old seeds outdoors under row cover: radishes, snow peas, turnips, and parsnips. I figured it was not a huge loss if it was too cold for them, since they were old and might not germinate anyway. The radishes already germinated, the snow peas look like they’re about to sprout.

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