Last year, my mother started going to garage sales on Fridays and Saturdays almost every weekend (much more frequently than she had in the past). She found many items for herself and us this way, including birthday and Christmas gifts.

This week, she gifted me with a gathering basket that she found for $1, a vase that she found for $3, another vase that she found for $1, and some Gutermann thread.

We discussed the price of baskets at thrift stores, which are much higher than the prices at garage sales.

I harvested lemons, green onions, Swiss chard, mache, lettuce, oregano, mint, cilantro, and parsley from the garden.

I spent time pruning fruit trees in my garden, helping to keep my trees healthy and to keep the fruit where I can reach it to harvest it. If the fruit is too high, only the birds get to enjoy it.

I tried a new lentil recipe, masoor dal, and loved it! I knew the children wouldn’t try it, so I just made the amount in the recipe and enjoyed leftovers for myself for several days. This is a great way for me to use some of the twenty pounds of lentils I was given recently.

We had a couple of beautiful days, so I turned off the heat and opened the windows for a few hours to air out the house.

I forgot to turn the heat back on afterward for a day and a half. The house went down to 62 (I normally have it set to 65).

I asked everyone if they had been too cold at night, and they said no. I had been a bit chilly during the day. So, I reprogrammed the thermostats to 63 at night (when we are all under several blankets) and set them to 65 at 4:10 a.m. (three of us are up and about shortly after that time). So far, so good!

I gave two sons a haircut.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I love your new gathering basket! What a blessing to have your mom keeping her eyes open for you! Last week we were in severe cold here in Chattanooga. One night we had a low of 6 degrees Fahrenheit, which we normally do not see at all in a winter! Our house has a heat pump, which simply does not work well in temps that low. It will blow cold air that feels like an air conditioner, and flip onto emergency heat which is very expensive to operate. We choose to use our wood stove insert to heat the main living/dining and kitchen areas. My husband and I slept on the sofa sleeper in the living room, and if we woke up during the night we would throw another log on the fire. My teen daughter is very sensitive to light when she is sleeping, and doesn’t enjoy sleeping out with the wood stove because the light from the fire wakes her (the wood stove has a clear glass door). She choose to sleep in her bedroom, and we put an oil filled radiator type freestanding heater in her room on low. This kept her small bedroom nice and warm, and it is fairly inexpensive to operate. We only used it in there at night time. Other nights we had lows of 14 and 18 degrees, so still quite below freezing for about two weeks. I made sure to open the cupboards underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks at night time, to help keep the pipes from freezing. I closed curtains at night to help keep the warmth in the house.

    I have been making chili and other tummy warming foods. I stayed home off the icy roads, which saved gas as well as additional spending. By last weekend, the roads were ice free which was wonderful as my daughter was scheduled to play her viola at her college’s President’s Honors Concert. While it was still quite cold, I was happy the concert did not need to be canceled. She had to audition before a panel of judges from other colleges, and was one of the students chosen to play in this concert. She wore her full length black dress that I found several years ago for .75 cents at a local thrift store, and she looked just as nice as all the other students playing in the concert. Afterwards, the Chair of the Music Department gave all the students who played in the concert a gift certificate to the local grocery store in our town which the college owns and runs. It was a closed concert, open only to guests whom the college President invited (donors to the college). At first we did not think parents of students playing would be invited to the concert itself, as the plan was that we were invited to the dress rehearsal but not the concert itself, but several days before the concert plans were shifted to include parents in the concert invitations. After the concert, there was a nice reception and I greatly enjoyed the fresh strawberries and grapes, as those are fairly expensive right now in our area. After the reception was winding down, I was invited to take home some leftovers from the reception, and was able to bring carrot sticks, pita breads, grapes and strawberries. There were many other foods left, but I have food allergies so left those foods for others to enjoy. 😊

    At the reception following the concert, I was offered a part time summer job here at the college, helping out in the area of guest lodging. I decided to accept it! I will be helping to set up and then clean as the college has many guests that stay on campus for various events over the summer months. I live very close to the school, and the job is very flexible and I can pass on any jobs offered if I have other things going on or am gone that week. I am very happy to be able to help out in an area of real need, and my nature is that of a background person so it is a perfect fit for me. It will bless the guests who come, and also earn myself a little bit of extra $. I will save what I earn for future music lessons for myself.

    Hope all are well. Looking forward to learning from everyone!

    Susan M. in Chattanooga, TN

      1. We just got back from vacation. We bought a few shirts but no souvenirs. It was a family trip but I was able to do some business there, which helps. It is something we budget in to our yearly expenses and are frugal in other ways for our trips.
        Since getting home, I cooked a big pack of chicken in the instant pot. I bought a bunch of veggies on clearance as well as frozen wild salmon for about 1/4 of the original price. I brought a homemade dish to pass at a party. I gave some practical gifts and reused some gift bags. I’m also working on losing a bit more weight so meal prepping with extra veggies and no junk food. Ive been running, walking and going to the gym as usual. I made apple oatmeal bars from some wrinkly apples and pumpkin muffins from some frozen pumpkin as well as sourdough.
        My laptop died and while I thought I had to run out and get a new laptop, I’m actually waiting to see if I need one or if I can just use my iPad, my husbands computer and my work computer.
        I sold a few things on eBay and listed a few more items.

    1. I find that really interesting what you said about your heat pump not working in the very cold weather as our Canadian gov.t is trying to force everyone to use heat pumps in our homes instead of natural gas in most provinces or oil in the Maritime provinces.They don’t even want people to use wood burning stoves!They are also forcing everyone to eventually use ev cars which a lot of the people who do have them had a lot of trouble with during this recent polar vortex we had of -50 with the wind chill celsius last week.

      1. That is so interesting to me as well! I did a little online searching, and it appears that maybe there is a “Cold weather” type of heat pump? Ours here in the south definitely is NOT! I even remember techs who come out to maintain it and do yearly cleaning mentioning how it does not work well below certain temps, and my fuzzy memory wants to say they do not work real well below like 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Some one else on here may know more about it though, and might chime in.

        1. I live in Clinton TN, near Knoxville. We leave our heat at around 63 even during this recent snow storm. Our unit froze because we had the heat too low and the unit couldn’t defrost. So we wound up having to turn the heat up to 66-67 which is too warm for me. I like cold!!!

      2. Our heat pump in Florida couldn’t even keep up with the cold temps there and that was nothing compared to Canada cold!

        1. There MUST be two different types, because in my online search about it I ran across a site for New York State talking about how good a cold weather heat pump was to use in New York. Then a different site talked about how they don’t work under 40 degrees!

          1. New York heat pump here. Does *not* work below 40 degrees. We have two back up heat sources and they will pry my wood stove from my cold dead hands!

      3. We have a heat pump here in Maine. We have had it for at least a decade. It gets very cold in the winter months and quite humid and warm in the summer. It works well in both situations to keep us comfortable.

        1. Thank you Shelley!
          Maine is definitely a place that it gets cold, so you have just confirmed the idea of there being two types for me!

      4. Anonymous – I am curious about the rationale behind discouraging the use of woodstoves. Has that been explained to the citizens? Particularly in Canada where there is abundant forest (though I know there is a lot of timber harvesting, too) I would think it would be a viable option for those willing to do it (which not everyone is.) We are so grateful for our woodstove and the ability to provide all of our own heating needs, I wish more people could do the same.

        1. The rational behind not burning wood, is the co2 it adds to the atmosphere. Here in the UK you can only buy certain types of wood burner now and I think they all use wood pellets. In London my SIL is not allowed to use there existing wood burners.

          1. I had read that is a common reason but have also read that burning a piece of well-seasoned wood produces no more carbon than that same piece of wood does decomposing in the forest. Interesting. I can see an issue with burning green wood if only for the amount of creosote it creates in the chimney or stovepipe increasing the risk of fires. Not a good practice. And, no, old woodstoves (as much as I love old things and like to keep them going) are not nearly as efficient as new ones. Ours is only 5 years old and burns so cleanly there is no smoke visible outside and our ash is fine as sand (and we only use well-seasoned wood.) I still question the amount of pollution they would cause (considering only so many people are in a position to use them) compared to large industrial pollution. Perhaps, the powers that be question the average modern person’s ability to use wood stoves well since most modern people are far removed from that lifestyle. But, then, I am not a public official, either. 🙂 Just strikes me a bit like HOA rules that forbid growing food in gardens, keeping chickens or bees, having water barrels or gray water systems, etc. Doesn’t seem to me we should have policies that discourage people from taking care of themselves and, by extension, their neighbors and communities. Thanks for your thoughts!

          2. Just to add in the UK the law around coal and wood burning in urban areas mainly relates to smog (small particles of unburnt material). In cities especially if under certain weather conditions this leads to “peasoupers” as described by my FIL, who grew up in London before the UK clean air act. He remembers not being able to go outside to play on bad days of air quality and people getting lost in the middle of the day because the smog was so thick you couldn’t see where you were going. The small particles are also very dangerous to peoples lungs, especially the elderly, young children and asthmatics.

            We have laws about not burning certain types of fuel in areas of high density housing in the UK; but alot of people have forgotten these rules and the reason for them, and are turning to burning all types of things to keep warm in the cost living crisis; which unfortunately is affecting the health of the more vulnerable.

            1. My name is Effie too! You are only the sixth person I’ve ever met with that name… it’s so nice to meet you. 🙂

        2. They say wood stoves ,fireplaces and firepits produce too much carbon,just like the” experts” are trying to get us all to not eat meat as their farts produce too much also ! So far people are resisting this but a lot are being deceived.

          1. Anon, the “experts” are looking at the world not just each person’s backyard – globally so much land is used for feed for livestock and resources for irrigation for both feed and animals – and we have humans without food and clean water, as just an obvious starting point. It’s not that people are being deceived… It’s that there are many who resist changes and refute science. Until it affects their family with the polluted water and children are sick or elderly have breathing issues…kind of like the cigarette companies denying lung cancer.

            Yes, meat prices are high and will go higher until the next season’s “crop” of animals are slaughtered due to lack of feed/water or high cost of each… and then the price of certain meat will drop and some will rejoice until it goes up again after those are sold. Cyclical.

            We can be prudent with our finances, and try to do better for those around us and those who are raising the next generations. And sometimes one choice can do both.

        3. I can tell you that in Northern Alaska there is a big move to get folks to stop using wood because extreme cold causes an inversion that keeps all pollution close to the ground so the air becomes deadly for the elderly or ill. Sometimes it is so thick that the ice fog that forms makes it hard to see the vehicle in front of you (although that usually doesn’t happen until 45 below or colder). Also, too many people use green instead of properly seasoned wood, which adds even more pollution for less heat. Finally, many old wood stoves are not very efficient, which is more pollution for less heat, and don’t get me started on fire places which actually draw warm air out of your home.

        4. I believe it’s more to do with “carbon footprints” than anything else – our PM is a bit obsessed at the moment.

          1. We had our first ever wood burner installed last week(UK).
            The new generation of wood burners are designed to have a second burn so the gases are burnt before going up the chimney flue and are much less problematic. We can only burn kiln dried wood or wood which has been drying in our log shed for over nine months ( this is the option we chose). All wood should be from sustainable local sources. It may not be perfect but we are trying to reduce our impact in many different ways and my husband and I haven’t taken a flight for over a a decade for instance. It’s a work in progress.

      5. Demonizing and then planning to forbid of using wood stoves has definitely been ”in the air” at least 15 years over here.

    2. Hi Susan! I live close by SAU as well and smiled. I limit myself to once a week at the SamCenter, otherwise I’d have too many things. My favorite place for kid clothes! We were at the VM (college grocery store) today, they had dried papaya for 3.89/lb, less than half the cost of the dried pineapple and mango, so I bought that for a sweet treat. My 5 year old was at gymnastics class as well- I had enrolled her at a different gym, but we got a spot at the college and the lessons are 1/4 the price so we switched. Husband and I are doing personal training through the college fitness center, and it’s about half the cost of going to the YMCA training and a third the cost I was quoted from an independent personal trainer. I turn 40 this year and I have an airway disease that has no known cure, so I wanted to prioritize getting strong as I can to help my body fight inflammation. Hello from Apison!

      1. Hi Elizabeth!

        So nice to meet a neighbor!!!!! LOVE the Samaritan Center!!!! Both the mission they serve in helping our community as well as love shopping there! But yes—I also need to be careful about buying things I really don’t need or have space for. I call it the “Drop and Shop,” because I try to remember to take things to donate at the back before I head in the front door to shop! 😉

        And good for you using the college Wellness Center! I “should” start going again. I have in the past, but have gotten lazy and stopped going. I think I would benefit from a personal trainer, because I reall do not know what I am doing with all the weights in there!

        1. I can’t recommend the personal training program enough. They are such responsible and encouraging college students and they really passionate about what they do!
          Definitely makes me feel more confident and that enthusiasm and positivity is contagious.

          1. Oh this is so good to hear! I have really wondered, you know, like “are they old enough to actually know what they are doing?” LOL! I am thinking this more and more these days, however, because I am 58 and many people are starting to look younger than me! 😂

    3. So ,any exciting opportunities in your family’s life this week. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your success!

    4. The information for our heat pump (deeper South than Susan) is that it begins to struggle to keep up at around 32F. We do find it runs a lot more at 40 and it’s because of that and power outages if we get snow or ice, that we decide to install a ventless propane heater in our home as well as a gas stove. It was so cold for us here that the gas heater was on non-stop for about 72 hours. In all that time we never had it higher than two bars, never on full blast, and most of the time it was only on one bar. The heat pump still will come on but the overall temperature inside the house is what dictates how much the heat pump will run, not the outdoor temperature.

  2. I look forward to trying the masoor dal recipe. I picked up another couple of pounds of lentils at Aldi yesterday (.99/#) Your salad looks delicious. I have on my to do list to start mache. I’m continuing to pull from the freezer, which included mushroom gravy to go on leftover rice, and cashew gravy to go on the last of the cauliflower, which made for quick and easy lunches. All the vegetable seeds were gone through, to see what was needed, and a few were picked up at Dollar Tree for .25 ea. With lows of 14 in the forecast, I harvested the last of the lettuce, mixed winter greens and collards. A salad was made with the winter greens, and the lettuce has been used in salads and bean burritos. I’d heard that Amazon Prime video was laying off employees, and that they are beginning to charge for movies. As I had a number of saved free movies, I watched three… Tracks, Delicious and Catherine Called Birdy, all of which I enjoyed. On our coldest day, with a high of 32, I caught up on all the clothes ironing. With some apple slices I had canned, I made an apple pie, which helped warm the house some. There were lots of bean meals from the pantry last week, including bean burritos, pinto bean burgers, hummus, and I cooked up some of our dried black eyed peas. Vegetable soup was made with leftover peas, rice and limas from the freezer, home canned tomatoes, cabbage and squash, onions, garlic and vegetable broth. I used Brandy’s recipe for the burgers, but was out of black beans, so subbed pinto beans. They tasted good, but were definitely wetter. I froze enough for three more meals.

  3. Your photos leave me longing for spring , about another 8 weeks

    We had no damage from the storm 2 nights ago and we didn’t lose our power. This is the 9th storm since September, it is a very strange winter. This morning was very like spring but it won’t last, back to rain tomorrow and another storm over night.

    I have been into cleaning this week deep cleaned hall stairs landing, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge, just our bedroom to do but this is the room we also use for food storage so it is a long job.
    I have made yoghurt, saved vegetable water for stock. Made chicken stock from chicken bones in the freezer.

    We used library and borrowbox for books. I am reading books on UPFs and diet it is very interesting to see what it does for your gut.

    We went to our local town and bought a watch strap and went to EE about mobil phone using bus pass.

    Bought bread from local baker again using our bus pass.

    I steam our veggies but I hardly ever use a saucepan lid, I put the plates on the top to warm. I use the steaming water to make gravy or stock.

    We have a 12 year old caravan awning we no longer use so I am cleaning it up to sell. We sold the caravan on the day before the first lockdown. Hubby is no longer well enough to tow it.

    I have moved rainwater from one waterbutt to others to maximise water collection now all the leaves are down.

    Have a good week everyone

  4. Susan M., Congrats on your new position and new income! We finally got above the freezing mark yesterday after 2 weeks of a deep chill-so hopefully the heating bill will go down. We had my husbands relatives visit this weekend and we are thankful they missed the coldest temps in the mountains.
    I noticed our faucet in the bathroom was dripping so DH ordered the parts from Amazon which arrived the next day-sure beats driving to and hunting through the hardware store. In the meantime, inspired by Brandy, I caught the water in a small container and used it for handwashing. We are in drought conditions and expect to have watering restrictions in the summer.
    Meals we enjoyed were black bean and rice burritos, oatmeal pancakes, smoked sausage and waffles, roast beef with veggies and shepherds pie. The roast was a Sunday dinner treat rather than eating out-the first roast I picked up at the store was $92!! I put that one back in a hurry. I found a 1 kg roast for $14.80 which is about the cost of one meal out and has fed us for several meals. Currently I have a casserole in the oven with fish, potatoes, onions and cheese sauce which smells delicious.
    DH just got yet another credit card with 50,000 bonus miles. He may fly back down to Illinois in the summer to visit his relatives for free. On the not so frugal front DD just returned to school in a one year program as she has been unable to find work in her preferred field-so here is hoping. So Bank of Mum and Dad is back in business. We are happy to help out.
    We received a heartfelt thank you from our Ukrainian refugee the other day-she has received her permanent residence and can apply to become a citizen in 3 years tine. She is very grateful and has worked hard-even surviving a job layoff and finding similar work within a few days. She will be an asset to Canada and later in life if the war ever ends she can decide where she wishes to live.

    1. Thank you!!!
      Since it is only part time during the summer months, it will not add up to a lot but every little bit helps! And since I live here nearby, it is easy for me to do. This is the problem the college has— most students are gone home or to summer camp jobs during the summer months, and those that are around need regular more full time work. It would cost them more to stay in the dorm and eat meals in the cafe than this job would pay! So it is really a win-win situation. I live here anyway, and this does not need to be the job that supports me.
      I am super impressed with your ordering sink parts from Amazon! I never even thought of checking Amazon for something like that! Smart thinking!

      Susan M. in Chattanooga

  5. Hello, frugal friends from the cold and dreary Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia! We have also had the unusually cold temps lately. Woke up to several days of 6 degrees! I stayed home mostly except for a doctor’s appointment and church. I did no grocery shopping for over two weeks. Mr. Fix It went and picked up a few things yesterday as I have come down with some kind of belly bug. I gave him a very specific list of 6 items. I told him it should come to about $20 based on recent grocery receipts. It was 37% higher! Ouch!! He bought milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sale fruit, a package of tortillas and ginger ale (for my tummy). He bought store brand everything too. How discouraging the food prices are. I was gifted 5 dozen canning jars: 2 dozen quarts, 2 dozen jelly, 1 dozen pints. I cooked all meals at home. We, also, pruned our roses and apple trees. I told Mr. Fix It this is the last year we will prune the apple trees. For the last 10 years we have not gotten one single apple. Either the deer get them before we do (even with netting) or we get a bad frost and no apples. Quite frankly, I am tired of working so hard to feed the wildlife. Our water bill came in $3 under the previous month. Our electric bill was $20 under the previous month. I worked on a cross stitch project and sewed a skirt using material I already had to entertain myself. I did stop by Joann Fabrics on my way to church to pick up the elastic I needed plus a yard of fabric on sale to recover our kitchen stools. I used my military discount plus a 60% off coupon. Frugal fail: I forgot to use the gift card to pay for the purchase.
    Brandy, my favorite photo this week is the one of you and your son. So sweet!
    Wishing all my frugal friends a blessed week!

  6. One of my goals for 2024 is to buy less bread from the store. I have a crusty bread recipe that we really like. It takes 3 hours to rise and then its baked in a dutch oven in the oven. I am learning to use it for sandwiches. It makes the best toast! So, I am eating it more for breakfast. I even made toasted cheese sandwiches with it this past weekend and it was tasty. I think I’ve just gotten so used to the convenience of store bought bread that I’ve had to be very intentional about making fresh bread before we run out. I also made homemade english muffins, bagels and blueberry muffins from sourdough discard. My next goal is to conquer making loaves of sourdough bread. I’ve tried to stay away from the grocery stores this month to keep our grocery budget down. I have a goal to pay off a large chunk of principal on our mortgage this year, so cutting down on trips to the grocery store will help with that. I am blessed to have an abundant food storage with lots of jars of home canned food. Being very intentional in using that food in our meals. I don’t love the month of January because here in Idaho, it feels like the month is 78 days long but I do look forward to the time of year, as it allows me to make new goals and learn new things. Oh I wish I could be outside pruning my fruit trees…..

    1. Kristy, would you please share your recipe for the crusty bread and homemade English muffins. I would really like to try making bread and the muffins here at home. Bread prices have really gotten out of sight here. Thank you, Penny

  7. I was going to go to the shops to buy groceries (fresh vegetables, mainly) but decided to see what we could eat without doing that. I managed to plan for the rest of the month from our pantry and chest freezer, except for wanting to buy some particular meat for one lunch when we are having special out of town guests. I continued to use my “unshopping” list to write down things I want to buy. We did end up spending some money buying logs and hurricane lanterns with candles to prepare for a power cut that never happened, but they will keep for the next one! I resisted buying some things for our homeschool and continued to use things we have already and focus on non-consumable resources. I spent two hours working on a new idea I have for a homeschool workbook I can use for my own children and sell online. I’m only seeing consumable versions and I have figured out a smart way to make mine reusable – and to do maths without requiring writing! We hosted some people at our house instead of going out. I am always amazed at how I can cook for two whole families at home (including meat and alcohol) for the price of two adults going to a restaurant! And then the other family usually reciprocates!

    1. Putchased a Battery Daddy for $10 on Amazon. I had been eyeballing one for a long time, but didn’t want to spend $20. In a deal group I seen it posted as selling for $10, so I jumped on it. I love it.

      My husband fixed a plug on the living room heater.

      Recieved 2 Dude wipe samples from the machine at Sam’s

      Found 93/7 organic hamburger for $4.48 a pound at Sam’s, after I just paid $4.72 lb for 80/20 at Walmart.

      I purchased 2 more large containers of Dunkin Donut coffee at Sam’s while it was on sale. Between the 4 containers of that, plus the couple bags of El Salvadorian coffee my boss brought back for my husband, he should be good for about 6 months on coffee.

      Purchased a dozen donuts and got a second for $1 at Krispy Kreme

      Filled up on cheaper gas a Sam’s while I was there.

      Made $20 on Marketplace selling some ribbon. I tucked that away to go towards a new dog cage for the frenchie.

      Teen made coffee cake and Mexican cornbread at school, bringing home plenty for all of us.

      My boss gave me coffee, jelly, and a lovely bag from her country of El Salvador.

      Ate breakfasts and lunches at work

      Received the difference in my pay versus the leads pay on my last check. Wasn’t much, but I’ll take it.

      My work paid for my Serve Safe class.

      We had Einstein Brothers bagels one morning at work. I brought mine home to hubby.

    2. Suzie – Keep us informed on the progress with your workbook idea. I am always inspired by the creativity of fellow homeschooling families. 🙂

    3. If you get high quality binder page protectors, you can put worksheets on them and use dry erase markers! We did that when I worked at the school. They clean off quite well! Wipe and reuse. (Lakeshore also makes reusable pouches specifically for this but they’re a bit more expensive although the quality is fantastic).

  8. Heat is sitting at 63, as is my usual for daytime. I have laundry hanging on racks over heat registers. I’ve eaten homemade GF pancakes for breakfast.
    Thus another frugal day begins!
    I received La Fermiere yogurt pots for free from FB marketplace. It seems they sell on Etsy and Ebay, so I will try. They are washed and ready to list.
    Pricing out new contacts as my eye prescription has changed. Does anyone have recommendations?
    Making leek and potato soup to share at a soup supper tomorrow. I love that so many in my area are vegetarian, it makes food so much cheaper!
    Using yarn given to me for free to make scarves to donate to homeless shelter. It’s a cozy evening activity that doesn’t cost anything.
    My mother asked me if I had a eye mask (for sleeping) that I liked, because she had read that sleeping in a dark room was healthier. I told her I used a piece cut from an old tshirt folded in half to lay over my eyes and I liked it better than anything else I’d tried. She tried it last night and was so pleased. It does fall off, but if I wake, I just put it back on. I’m sure it looks odd, but oh well.

    1. Hi Kara-
      I’ve been sleeping much better with a sleep mask. I plan to make a few more with some scrap satin or silk when I have a chance. I’ve tried other fabrics and woke up with very dry eyes. It was a bit scary! Haven’t tried t-shirt material though.

    2. Kara – I changed to Oasis daily disposable contact a few years ago as I found my eyes were getting a bit dry with my former contacts. Night and day difference! The frugal side of me actually struggled with the idea of wearing contacts once and throwing them away but the savings in cleaning solution and saline (I sue a little saline to rinse them when I first put them in but it is a tiny amount) is significant and the comfort can’t be beat. Something to consider if they would work for you. 🙂

      1. Hi MMD
        I started a few year ago with Oasis Dailies and they are great! I struggled going through my weekly contacts much quicker than a week, often ripping them. Also, my optometrist said I could use my daily contacts a few days each and they should be fine. So, I actually save money using the dailies and my eyes are so much happier and healthier!

  9. To eat from the pantry and freezer meals have been 1. Zuppa Tuscana using home canned potatoes. home grown collard greens, venison sausage from my husband’s harvest, and cream I needed to use. 2. I picked up my free monthly Chicken Salad Chick large container I get monthly from being first 100 at grand opening. 3. Scalloped potatoes and frozen diced ham. again using the cream 4. soft tacos

    I got out 9.5 lbs of beef bones that came from the quarter cow we bought in the summer. I roasted them and put in my electric roaster with 2 large onions. and a bag of baby carrots, a quarter jar of celery I had dried 2 years ago that I wanted to clear out. and a partial jar of home grown okra I dried last summer. I let this cook at 200⁰ 48 hours. I was going to can it, but have decided to can Rustic Tuscan Soup and Taco soup which use the beef broth. and will freeze any leftover to use to can Zuppa Tuscana later.

    During the week at home iced in I found I had 1.5 lbs of ground beef left. Our rancher is not selling beef this year so recommended another ranch near me. I looked on Facebook and she happened to post they had roasts, ribeyes, and ground beef and if you bought 20 # ground you got $5 off. They only had a little and wouldnt be processing and beef until March so when this was gone that was it. I got 20# and a chuck roast. It was good because I could try it before purchasing a half a cow. I made tacos and it was good. I will use the chuck roast to can beef stew for my son and daughter in law, that love my canned stew, chicken soup, and vegetable soup.

    The day before the storm, which came early, so it started sleeting and snowing about 400 PM, a day early, I went to BJs to use a $10 off $50 coupon. I loaded store coupons also and got toilet paper, dishwasher tablets, Tide, Excedrine, freezer Ziploc bags. I then went to Aldi for bread and two stores were completely wiped out of all bread. Social media was posting all Kroger, walmart and Publix wiped out, too in all surrounding towns. My husband was an hour away hunting so he stopped and said it was full of bread there. It is a very rural farming area and I guess those people are so much better prepared. I could make bread if I needed to, I was just busy cleaning and preparing as much as I could beforehand.

    We have a heat pump so when it got to below 20⁰ it was kicking heat strips on. My husband replaced filters early, then moved the sensor from the hall to near the fireplace so it didn’t read the cold hall air and stay on. We used the gas fireplace to heat the family room when we weren’t up working. It does a good job.

    I’ve sold a lamp $10, 2 antique chairs $120, and a setee $50. I want to find a cozy chair and maybe chair with ottoman for my sewing room. I am listing items or adjusting prices on listed items daily. We cleaned the garage during the ice storm and I have a pile of things I decided to sell. We moved a shelf to my canning jar area and organized them better.

    I have watched the latest season of The Crown, All Creatures Great and Small, and at night we’ve watched Netflix American Nightmare documentary- true story, and the Murdough documentary. We watched Jessie Stone series, too. I have worked on quilts and got all the orange peel shapes made ready to make a baby quilt and the back pieced with leftover from the orange peel blocks, and my daughter in law lost the baby. We are heartbroken. I haven’t gone up since Monday when she told us, so I have to go put it away. I am thinking about piecing a stuffed bunny or bear with the fabric, she picked it out, as a memory of Madison Gail. This is her 2nd loss, after 3 rounds infertility treatments.

    1. Holly – Hugs to you and your family. It’s something no one ever thinks can happen to them until it does. We had numerous losses and a stillborn son before our two miraculous boys were born. I will pray for your family’s strength to see this through and to not lose hope. There are brighter days ahead, I am sure. 🙂

    2. Bama Holly, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of the baby. Our daughter has a gynae problem and we know how very sad it is when things don’t work out. Thinking of you all.

    3. Holly, I am sure that whatever you do to comfort your daughter-in-law and son will be appreciated. Miscarriage is difficult to talk about but much more common than people realize, as my husband and I learned when people confided in us about their experiences after our loss. And of course, with any grieving, people respond in their own ways and in their own times. Giving yourself time to focus on the stuffed toy may help you as well!

  10. The flowers in the blue and white container are so pretty. My daughter gifted me with a blue and white bowl similar to that one, and I love it. I agree with others about the haircut photo!

    This past week I used saved up Swagbucks to purchase a steam canner. I frequently have just a few jars to water bath process, and even using my second-hand stockpot instead of the bigger canner, it takes so much water, which requires a long time to heat, and is heavy to lift off the stove. Now I can process 1-4 quarts or 1-7 pints with much less time, energy consumption and water.

    I’ve noticed it is harder to earn Swagbucks on surveys these days. I’m “aging out” of desired demographics, it seems, unless the survey is about Medicare. I try to really think about what I need before I use the bucks I get.

    I’m starting to harvest my biggest carrots and I’ve harvested and am drying more stevia. I will harvest parsley this weekend, to be chopped and frozen or dried. I’m going to plant lettuce this weekend from seeds I gathered last spring. I can dry herbs in the winter without a dehydrator.

    I am sewing some simple small gifts for a relative’s birthday from fabric I have.

    I continue to use my Wonder Washer and roller-wringer for small loads. We unfortunately lose power several times a year, including for a week this last September, and this washer/wringer combo saved me from running out of clean clothes, especially underthings. It saves on water and power usage, and is satisfying to me, knowing I’m able to get clean clothes with a gallon or two of water, no electricity and a little bit of time. This wouldn’t work well for entire families, of course.

    I take leftovers for lunch at work every day. I can’t remember the last time I had to buy something for lunch – it’s been years. I only go out for lunch on a special occasion with my office mates, and my bosses usually pay for those.

    Our weather was abnormally cold for weeks and then abruptly warmed up. I turned off my heat when it started warming.

    Have a good week, all.

    1. Jo, I always took my lunch during my work career. When I started estimating the money I saved over the decades, I figured that frugality helped pay for 2 weddings and some college expenses. Good for you!

  11. Beautiful flowers! The color pop is wonderful to look at right now as our snow melts (the roadside snow is turning black and isn’t so pretty to look at).

    I – $92 for a roast! Wozers.

    I bought nothing last week and continued to let go of items. It is a new chapter in my life, and I want it to be the start of a good one.
    Finished small projects that had been sitting for a bit and let go of the ones that had no meaning to me anymore.
    Dressed up a bit – it was nice taking a few extra minutes to look a little nicer – and wore an apron to keep my clothes safe as I moved about the day. It lifted my mood.
    Got wonderfully creative with leftovers – small bits and pieces turned into 4 servings.
    Found a FB group on winter sowing of seeds. I have 4 milk jugs – so I thought I would do this on a very small scale to see if it is something that will be useful for us in the future. Seeds are getting as pricey as starter plants (vegetables) so I will do this with flower seeds.
    Wishing everyone a calm and productive week!

  12. I am putting off grocery shopping until January 31, using what we have in the house. The refrigerator is looking pretty empty, but that will be a good time to give it a thorough cleaning.* My husband pulled a neighbor’s car from the snow and they passed on a big bag of chicken jerky treats for our dogs (their dog didn’t like them, but ours love them.) He shoveled out another neighbor, who gifted us with a box of expensive truffles.* I baked sandwich bread and made homemade granola and yogurt.* I’m repurposing some items I already own for more efficient storage options in closets and cabinets.* My husband and I are taking an online driver’s safety course from AARP. It’s $20 each but will save more than that on our car insurance bill.* We’re enjoying planning our camping trips for the rest of the year and finding lots of interesting free camping sites and hiking trails, as well as interesting entertainment options, which will make for some fun and frugal vacations.

  13. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I love the photo of Mum’s hairdressing salon! What a smart young man.
    Your own Mum found some great buys at garage sales for you. We are busy pruning roses and fruit trees too.
    A daughter and SIL bought a new king-size bed and asked us if we wanted their previous one ( there’s nothing wrong with it, not sure why they replaced it?) This enabled us to shuffle around several beds to better suit guest rooms and we got rid of an old single bed. I bought a king size fitted sheet and mattress protector in a sale and redeemed research panel points for a gift card to buy a king size
    duvet. A friend was getting rid of a wooden freestanding towel rail and offered it to me free and I was happy to put it in a guest bedroom.
    Lidl had a deal on tinned pineapple, usually the tins are £1.09 each but it was buy six for £3. I put 3 tins in the food bank donation box and the other 3 in our larder. I had a voucher for a free multi pack of sweets from Lidl too so that went in the food bank too. I wouldn’t normally give sweets but they were free and might be a treat.
    By happy chance the big bag of dog food we buy was 20 per cent off when I bought it this week.
    We used parsnips and leeks from the garden. I soaked and cooked a batch of home grown borlotti beans, we ate some and I froze portions for future meals. I made chicken broth from a carcass and turned it into soup with leftover chicken, leftover veg from a previous meal and home dried parsley.
    The grocery bill was lower this week because we are eating down the freezer and larder.
    Stay safe everyone.

  14. I am nervous about our coming fuel bill: we have had temperatures in the 20 below zero to 45 below and the furnace seems to be running all the time. You can feel the cold radiating through the windows, even though they are double or triple pane. At least we have had no real wind, or it would feel even colder. We have stayed home except for two days of appointments, and we made sure to run any errands those two days, so at least we are saving on gas and wear and tear on the vehicle. I have been baking bread and making soup, to stretch our supplies, and that also seems to help keep that area of the house warmer. We did not set out to spend no money on groceries this month, but so far we have purchased only milk. I guess we will spend our food budget on fuel this month-HA! Since we are not going out, we are wearing our clothes for more than one day and showering only every other day. I am getting ready to order seeds and am doing it with a friend to cut postage/handling costs, plus some packets are large enough that we can share the seeds. That’s about it for saving money—I feel like so much of what I do is not special enough to be mentioned, they are just things we do as part of living, like saving water from cooking for soups or to water plants.

  15. I just loved the haircut picture! Thank you for including it. That looks like a terrific cape. I also find baskets, and vases too, to be just too much at thrift stores but nearly give aways at garage sales. Baskets are just so handy. I hang my collection of baskets on hooks in our front porch, ready for carrying a pie, containing a gift, or organizing some blocks. Just about anything looks special in a basket. I love your blue and white vase too!

    I ate from the freezer, stocked up on chicken breast at 1.99, mended some slippers, bought some needed books used, and gave my birthday son a homemade book and stockpiled crayons plus his requested favorite Chinese take-out for his birthday.

    This year, I’m keeping an indoor garden to save money. It’s just geraniums and a few houseplants, but they bloom and keep me cheery during our blah months. That way, I’m less tempted to spend on other luxuries because I’m already enjoying the free ones at home. I’m also taking time to do art with the kids. Homemade luxuries are so important. And time for fun is one of the best!

    Wishing you all a good week

    1. I find I have to replace my baskets after a few years as the handles eventually break from heavy fruit. I would much rather replace them for $1 to $2 than $30!

      The cape is from Sally’s Beauty Supply. I have an adult one as well. I bought them years ago and they are so worth it!

  16. What beautiful flowers! They look very expensive. It sounds like you are keeping courageously on as usual. It is stormy and cold here. We had only one ice storm and 12-hour power outage last week. Where our son lives they had two ice storms with one day between. After five days without electricity, our son got a text message from his electric service provider saying that any customers still without power should plan for the electricity to be out for at least another week. He had already missed three days of work because of no internet, and he was low on wood and low on water. Fortunately, he had filled up his car with gas just before the first storm hit. After the first ice storm, when he realized how icy the road was, he tried to syphon gas from his car into his old 4-wheel drive SUV that was low on gas, but found he couldn’t because of a screen installed in the gas tanks of newer cars. During the five days of no power, he had slipped on icy roads through gaps someone had cut in the downed trees and limbs on the road into a nearby small town with the SUV to find no gas stations open and Bi-Mart the only store open. People were using phones as flashlights to see inside the store, and employees were bundled up in winter coats and hats and using flashlights, too. Bi-Mart was sold out of water, so he bought a few bottles of something like Gatorade. He had some water stored up at home in gallon jugs that he had originally purchased full of distilled water. Then when they were empty of distilled water, he had filled them with well water and stashed them in his grandmother’s old fruit room shelves. He was drinking distilled water and using the stored well water for flushing and washing, but now after five days he was almost out of water. He didn’t want to go down the road to the creek to dip water to flush toilets with because it is lined with trees. He said every few minutes he could hear ice-laden trees falling and branches crashing down. The day after the first storm he had tried to drive into the city to work, but found the freeway plugged with cars and semi-trucks barely moving in traffic lanes and stopped on the shoulders of the road, so he got off at the first exit and drove back home. I texted him a photo of a news article that said that that freeway was jammed for 17 hours. The traffic became completely stopped. People went to sleep stopped in traffic lanes on the freeway. Some cars ran out of gas. The police had to go down the lines of cars banging on windows to wake people up when the traffic started to move a little. Faced with a week of no electricity our son spent one more night sleeping in the recliner next to the woodstove waking periodically to stuff the stove. In the morning we all checked road conditions; a couple of roads were closed. I texted photos from our road map showing the freeway with its exit numbers in case he needed to know how far to an exit where he could get off if he needed to. I texted photos of the map showing two other alternative highway routes in case he needed to travel the back roads. He loaded up an ax and chainsaw in case he needed to cut debris out of the road, water, food, and blankets and headed for our house. He got here without much trouble. He did stop on an icy road shoulder coming over the mountain and couldn’t get going again, so he got out and busted up ice with his ax, so the tires could get some traction. He spent a week with us working over the internet. He checked the utility company’s map twice a day to see if he had electricity at home. He left as soon as he had power, so he could get back to in-person work. Today we drove into town for an appointment and bought a little fresh produce at the fruit stand, but we are saving money by mostly staying out of stores. I did buy a replacement chimney for our oil lamp at the thrift store for $1.79 with the senior discount. My husband, who doesn’t like thrift stores, was going to order one online for I think $13. He’s lucky he’s got me (L). I do envy your mother the garage sales; it sounds like she has found some nice things. But the ice storm troubles re-impressed us that it’s kind of a good idea to have alternatives for how we usually do things, and we are going to work on some little projects to make ourselves a little more independent of circumstances. We think natural disasters may increase in frequency and severity as time carries on. This time we enjoyed the extra company, but only one child showed up at our place of refuge here. The freeway to another child’s house was completely closed to all traffic because of road and weather conditions. Blessings to all this next week. I do enjoy reading your comments. E.

    1. Elizabeth – So glad your son was able to take care of himself and manage the effects of the ice storm and electricity outage. In our area (the Appalachian Mountains of Western NC), It is common practice to carry chainsaws in the back of vehicles, especially this time of year. We are a heavily forested area and many of our old mountain roads are so narrow there is nowhere to turn around should a tree fall across the road. You could find yourself backing up a LONG way! 🙂 My husband carries one and it has come in handy many times. I do not but have never had to wait more than 5 minutes before someone else comes along with one. You have reminded me that I want to get some more chainsaw lessons from my husband so I feel comfortable using one by myself should the need arise. Stay warm!

    2. Elizabeth H.

      Your son was wise not to go down to the creek for water. Your comments about his water problems have reinforced my
      plan to add drinking water to my emergency pantry. I have my supply of flashlights at the ready. I also have night lights plugged into
      my outlets and once unplugged they become flashlights. I am working on an emergency backpack that can be grabbed quickly. So far
      I’m working on some extra meds, some photocopied id, a basic first aid kit, toilet paper, a few zip ties, duct tape, a Swiss army knife (given to me by a friend), water, a blanket, and am contemplating what food to include. Has anyone ever heard of having one’s roof strapped down? I think that would be an interesting thing to do to protect against tornado force winds. I have only read brief references to it.

      1. And some cash in smaller bills. ATMs are electric, and paying with big bills might be a problem.
        Add some undies and a pair of socks, squished into a ziploc. Those could feel like luxury items!

        1. Thanks for the suggestions, Heidi Louise. I have not had any cash in the house for about 3 years but will obtain some for my backpack. Thanks Elizabeth H for comments about hurricane ties. I do have an iron beam that goes the length of the roof (inside).
          I will investigate the ties.our city is often very windy due to Chinooks. We do not live in an area where tornadoes are common (fingers crossed) but occasionally we do have one (usually out in the country with a few exceptions such as a massive very destructive tornado in Edmonton (about 200 miles north) in the 1990s.

      2. I don’t know about strapping down roofs; that sounds interesting, but there are metal fasteners called hurricane ties that fasten roof trusses to other structural members. They are required in new construction here, but they have been around a while. If you search hurricane ties there is a picture of what they look like and how they connect.

      3. Ellie’s friend – we both keep emergency backpacks in our vehicles. Our area is prone to tornadoes and some winter weather, but I also think about situations like 9/11 when people had to walk home out of the city. I keep a pair of sport shoes & socks in mine (since I usually wear dress shoes to work and don’t want to walk home in those if I had to). Space blankets (the foil ones that fold really small) are good, waterproof matches, flashlight, hand crank emergency radio, powerbank (charged up) for your phone or device. For food, I strongly suggest lifeboat rations. It is a compressed food bar with a 5-10 year shelf life. They are high in calories and packed in airtight packaging. We use those because they are the only thing that will hold up in our extreme summer heat in the trunks of our cars. It isn’t something you’d want to eat for multiple days, but they will keep you fed and alive in a short-term emergency.

        I grew up in Florida and roof ties are now a building standard there because of hurricanes. I’m sure you could retrofit those

  17. We have been enjoying having our windows open for at least a couple of months now, but had some extremely cold temperatures last week with highs below freezing for several days. We did turn our heat on, but fortunately our condo is well-insulated and on the southern-facing top floor, so it stays quite warm. Our heat only ran a few times (we kept it on 67), and of course with cooking etc the rooms warmed up above 70. We enjoyed 2 “snow days” at home from work and spent a lot of time cooking, organizing, watching movies, and doing small projects.

    We have made it a real goal this year to hunker down and spend significantly less. We want to save more and pay some things off. We also want to accumulate less “stuff” that we do not actually need. (As an antique-shopper, this is a tough one!) We are going “no buy” or “replacement buy only” on many things. It is encouraging to read the comments and conversations here of like-minded folks, whether by necessity or choice.

    We have been eating almost all meals at home – we have limited ourselves to eating out once or twice per month. We did eat out at a local annual event, but I was proud of us for skipping the takeout food on the way home from an afternoon of grocery shopping. Instead we reheated leftovers at home and saved the money! I make most of our bread, and my husband has found a new hobby in biscuit-making. He is typically in charge of weekend breakfasts and his biscuit attempts so far have turned out wonderfully. So much better than canned or frozen. We’ve been cooking chili with cornbread, roast chicken (bought on sale) with potatoes and green beans, gumbo with sausage and shrimp from our freezer stock that needed to be used, chicken soft tacos, chili mac, and a few other things I cannot remember at the moment. We take our own drinks and snacks to work, and I go home to eat lunch most days. In my new office, I have a mini fridge and my own espresso machine and keurig, so it is quite easy for me to make a beverage here instead of the temptation of spending money out for a treat.

    We did most of our grocery shopping at HEB and Aldi, but we did also stop at Costco to restock some household items such as laundry products, mouthwash, deodorant, etc. The day before our cold weather arrived, I was waiting for an appointment and so I stopped in a nearby grocery store where I don’t usually shop. They had trimmed beef briskets marked down unbelievably cheap, around $1.99/lb I believe. I bought 2 and was able to divide them up and freeze. Those will be several good meals for us, and with the price of beef, I was happy to find them. On a short day roadtrip we stopped into a small butcher shop in a rural area and found they had American Wagyu ground beef on sale cheaper than our regular ground beef here in the city. We did not need any, but bought a few pounds for the freezer stock. We also bought sausage there as it is the best around, and reasonably priced. I like supporting small, local businesses like that. At our regular grocery store here in town, I bought 5 lb bags of russet potatoes for .99 cents each.

    Random other things: I did my own manicure and colored my own hair at home. We run our vehicles in eco mode for our commutes and driving. We did have an unexpected expense when the battery in my husband’s car started failing during the extreme cold weather, but we were able to cover it and he did not get stranded, so for those things I am grateful.

    I hope everyone here has a lovely week!

  18. Brandy, as usual, your gorgeous photos are a breath of fresh air. It’s been cold and gloomy and taking me a bit of extra effort to feel perky. Seeing this week post up is helpful! * I hemmed a pair of my pants. I’ve been rolling up my jeans for a few years (I’m short!) and feel like it’s time to finally hem them. I have two more pair to do, and I’ll get to that soon. Unexpected benefit is it looks like I have new pants! My daughter, who is a much more skilled seamstress than I, is hemming my husband’s new dress slacks and a skirt with two layers for me. I’m very appreciative. I could do it, but it would take much longer and probably not look as professional. I’m so thankful for my children’s skills and their willingness to help us. * My effort to eat down the freezer is going pretty well. I used up nine quart size freezer bags of leftover meals and ingredients last week. This is helping lower the grocery bill as well. * A friend asked to go to lunch with me. I steered her to meet at 10:30 so we got to choose from the breakfast specials (7-11am). I was able to get a nice and hearty breakfast for $6.99. After 11:00, the same meal would have been $9.99. *The breakfast was nice, but made me realize I save a lot of money by staying at home and cooking our meals. My son wanted to order pizza. It would have been over $40. I made some for us for $8 in ingredients and the pizza was delicious. I was sure to tell him how much it cost. He is doing really well at saving money lately. He is working hard at his job and is finally understanding that spending on random junk wastes the fruit of his hard work. *Continue to enjoy watching All Creatures Great and Small’s new weekly episode free on PBS, reading library books and sending/receiving postcards. I’m so thankful for our warm, comfortable home and our peaceful life. I hope everyone has a safe, thrifty and peace filled week!

  19. The picture of you cutting your son’s hair is so cute! What a blessing to get all those free lentils,a good source of protein for your family when money is so tight for you right now ! My family likes lentil soup and it’s easy to make,just 6 c. veg. or chicken broth,canned tomatoes,celery,onion,carrots,salt,pepper & Italian seasoning.If you have ham or sausage you can add that too but it’s good without.Shepherdess pie is good also,just replace cooked lentils for the ground beef or for half of the ground beef.Lentil patties are good also.soak 1 c. of lentils in 4 c. of water for 4 hours or overnight and drain the next morning .Place the lentils in a blender and blend until smooth .Grate 1 potato,1 onion,1 carrot or zucchini and saute’ then add to the lentil mush and add salt,pepper,cumin & chili powder to taste.Form into patties and fry in oil until browned on both sides.You can eat these in tortillas with any kind of sauce that you like with lettuce & tomato or as a meat alternative with rice ,noodles or potatoes.

    1. I like to use lentils to make a Mediterranean salad that is very healthy and low in fat. Mix cooked lentils with a simple tomato basilc bruschetta and feta cheese (I use fat free). Jarred bruschetta sauce works for a quick shortcut. It is delicious over greens or served with pita chips or flatbread. It is also delicious with some added chopped cucumber or diced red onions and fresh mint.

  20. Brandy,

    That is a fantastic bargain on the gathering basket (which we might call a trug). The lentils that my volunteer was going to pick up on sale ($1 per can from $1.79) were all sold out. They are brown lentils and I think would do well in your recipe. So I’m going to try it.
    Over the past 4 years or so, I have become addicted to lentils.

    As I mentioned, we finally made it out of the deep freeze. Incredibly plus 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) is predicted for next week. It is just a temporary aberration as we are sure to get more snow and cold (but hopefully not the extreme cold).

    The cheese I was buying at No Frills for $4.47 for 400 grams is now $7.99 (the normal price). I am freezing a couple of bars of it.I have been using all of the PC lasagnas that my friend kept for me in her freezer (bought at $6.88, reduced from $10.99). Having used them all up, I am going to buy several as they are on sale again. They seem to go on sale every 6-8 weeks or so). (No Frills). And I have used up my emergency supply of canned soup so am replenishing it with Campbell’s Chunky soups on sale (starting tomorrow) for $1.88 per can (reduced from $3.60)

    I don’t have any. tips about saving money. I again am enjoying the free entertainment of watching the birds in the yard. My needs are few; my wants are fewer. I don’t travel but I’ve been watching free travel documentaries on YouTube. I watched David Attenborough’s w0nderful documentary about hummingbirds. Great photography!

    We have finished a long article where we used research left over from the book. Now it’s on to decluttering chores.

  21. My favorite frugal thing is when we can have entertainment and friendship with people we enjoy, in our own homes. This week I hosted the bi weekly card game with 3 friends (Hand and Foot.) I made a quiche with homemade crust and eggs, milk I had frozen — ( we don’t use a lot of milk so I always end up freezing some of the half gallon, in 1 cup containers, for future cooking.) and some cheese purchased on sale for 99 cents a package! I had an almost ready to be done tomato so I sliced it thin and put in a circular pattern on the quiche and sprinkled with pretty green dill to make a frugal nutritious lunch. Served with grapes and some sliced canned peaches from the covid stash,I am trying to use some of our canned goods from the 2020 stock up!

    NEXT week we will enjoy another good friendship time, frugal entertainment, a couple we’ve been friends with for a long time are having us to dinner at their home and we will have a few games of Mexican Train. Our friend loves to cook and sent us a choice of menues!! We chose to have simple baked chicken homemade potato salad and peas.She will be making a pineapple upside down cake, my husband’s favorite. I will reciprocate next month.

    A neighbor 2 doors down from me is a friend I have known for over 35 years, she is like a sister to me.Her daughter moved in with her about 3 years ago and the 3 of us have a happy hour once a week, at her house. She has 2 dogs I love and I get to visit with my friends AND their fur babies. A $6 bottle of trader joe wine is all it costs me! Usually, my friend puts out some snacks or even a light supper.

    Went to see Boys in the Boat at local theater that has a $5 Tuesday every week.Used a gift card I had received.

    Life is good.

  22. Your mom did really well with all her purchases – I’ve only ever gone to a few garage sales and never really seem to find good deals but some people are just really good at searching out the treasures that are to be found!

    I am also using more lentils these days so that recipe is going into the rotation. I use both canned and dried ones. This past week I added red lentils to a pot of soup to bulk it out. I had roasted tomatoes and onions in the freezer and I added a lot of odds and ends of veg to clean out the fridge, plus some passata from the pantry. I used the stik blender to puree it but left some chunky bits – it is delicious and I’ve been eating it for lunch most days.

    It was a friend’s birthday on Saturday and I ended up making a lovely lunch for a few of us to celebrate her day. I had about half of it in the pantry but did purchase a few additions (mostly salad fixings, other veg and crusty bread). I fed four people for what a nice lunch out for one would have cost and I had lots of leftovers to use this week.

    I had a lazy few days – staying in even though the weather has been fairly mild – but it was grey and wet so not nice for walking. I saved money by not being tempted to shop or buy coffee or use extra transit fares and I caught up on some streaming shows and spent more time reading. I did get Crave TV but I am cancelling Brit Box so it balances out. I like doing this via my computer because there is no long term commitment. There are certain programs that I will watch and then cancel it in a month or two.

    There has been an update to Loblaw (Canada’s largest grocery conglomerate) decision to do away with 50% reductions – down to only 30%. There was a huge outcry – even made it into Parliament – and CARP – the Cdn. Association of Retired Persons exerted some real pressure and they have now backed down and will go back to 50% reductions on items close to expiry dates! Most stores it’s same day dates but I live close to one of their “clearance” centres and we can often get big reductions on items that are a week until expiry and they have lots – not just a few like most stores. But the freezer is full so I won’t go searching for a few weeks yet. Stay warm everyone.

  23. Hello Everyone! 😊

    We’ve been blessed with quite a bit of rain lately. Because of that I haven’t done much gardening. However, I’ve done a few smaller sewing projects instead. I’ve had this gel bead wrist rest for my computer keyboard for so many years I can’t even remember how long. The fabric finally was beyond repair with holes. I sewed a new tube of fabric (scrap ) cut the old tube open and reused the gel beads. It was a quick 15 minute project. Today I made a new tote bag using repurposed fabric and scraps. I’ll use it for Bible study materials.

    In the kitchen, I’ve baked biscuits, bread, and cookies. We’ve been making lots of soups using ingredients on hand. Tonight I made minestrone.

    I’m still listening to free audio books on Hoopla. I’ve been saving our free weekly community newspapers for starting fires in the wood stove. Our heater is set for 58 degrees at night and 65 for the day. I use an electric throw on my lap while I’m working on the computer. I’m trying to figure out if that costs less than a space heater. My guess is yes.

    Beautiful gathering basket and gorgeous blue skies!

    Have a blessed and beautiful week. 🧣

  24. An Amish gentleman while here to use the phone (we have extension in the barn and tell people we have a party line with the Amish)saw my gathering basket had no handles (broke years ago) He asked if he could fix it for use of the phone. He ran demin material that he sewed (yes the men can sew) into 2 strapes to go UNDER the basket so the weight was spread out and not just on the handles. I used it for 3 yrs before the basket it’s self fell apart. Wished I had taken a picture of it before tossing.
    It’s not been a frugal week. Daughter 4’s house burned to the ground. Had hot water on in to keep pipes from freezing and the water heater didn’t cycle correctly and just stayed on. They are not sure how long it was stuck on before it torched the house. Grandson woke up and got out through window with one of the dogs and banged on Daughter’s bedroom window to get her out They lost 5 other dogs including her support dog. She is very thankful her son saved her life(he saw her bedroom wall starting to burn when he got her out) and they are thankful they got one of the dogs out (he thinks the dog woke him up). They lost everything after two weeks ago her car engine blew. Red Cross offered a couple nights in a motel but had nothing for the dog. Family and friends have stepped up. Daughter2 with the help of co workers set up a gofund me page. Son2 had several military familys donating stuff for the house when she gets one. Her old landlord(no longer has places) found another landlord that can rent to her AFTER she gets fire report to go to lisence bureau to get paper copy of her lisence because she needs birth certifacate to replace it and then to Social security to get a statement with her social on it while waiting for the actual card. According to the new landlord, doing it this way she will have what he needs to have to legally rent to her AND she won’t be waiting the normal 3 months or more to get everything to get a place. Told her to make copies when she does get everything, put in a freezer bag and put it in the freezer and give someone else she trust a copy also. Freezers don’t burn BUT if the house goes like this one did, she won’t be able to get to the freezer. A friend had a fire proof lock box…the box did not burn but what was inside was ashes. Thankful she had gave her ins agent copies. Someone hacked Son 2’s friend Facebook and was “selling” items due to her dad going in nursing home (he actually had and she put it on Facebook). Son2 Norton caught it followed by when he called another friend about it, found out she was out of town and had not listed anything like that. SO does that count as frugal??? Daughter 4’s son quit running when he was taking her to get paperwork dealt with… she was like really!!! …Her dad told her that was normal, hardships come back to back. Son2 called mechanic, fuel gauge broke so grandson didn’t know he was out of gas. BIL went and got the gas and then filled the tank for them as they are staying with that family.
    Daughter 1 got diagonized with MS. She’s had problems with bone issues for years. I have repeatedly told her to start either looking for wheelchair accessible home or remodel her own. She remodeled… but not to make it wheelchair accessible SIGH.I had her sit in her computer chair and told her to turn on her new stove. Controls are on back of stove. She was able to get it changed back out since it was just installed. I told her to tell them she is going to be in a wheelchair. SO now she’s struggling because her husband can not carry her out the door and down 12 steps. Daughter 3 is finding someone who can build a ramp out the other door enough though it’s on the other side of the house there is a sidewalk wide enough for a wheelchair that will most likely be within weeks. Son1 donated money for both sisters.
    If we hadn’t been frugal we wouldn’t have been able to help. I was trying to pay the mortgage off, might now be able to do extra payments for awhile until we can get the family settled again. But on a frugal side…. my cook stove is the only thing I would have to replace if I was in a wheelchair plus add a lower sink in the kitchen with a small island. We already did the rest when we bought the house.
    Prayers for peace
    Stay safe. Don’t let the water run 24/7 and check your water heaters.
    Blessed Be

    1. Wow!

      So many lessons there. I appreciate what you said. Lots to do.

      Sorry for everything. I am glad your daughter and grandson made it out of the house!

    2. Juls, how dreadful! I hope everyone can continue to pull together and help.
      Um– I looked it up, and the dripping water to keep pipes from freezing does not have to be hot. Can be hot or cold or both.

      1. Hot water freezes first, probably because there is less hot water in the pipes due to always flushing toilet and such. So if the hot water freezes and you don’t know it, that pipe can bust and drain the water heater and cause it to over heat.

        1. Thank you for that explanation, Juls.
          I remember my parents leaving the water dripping when I was little, which confused me because they were so frugal about pretty much everything!

    3. OMG – what a time your family has had! Thank God your grandson and daughter got out of the house in time! A good lesson to everyone to check these sorts of things, especially in the Winter. I hope the next few weeks are much calmer for everyone!

    4. Oh my goodness your family has been through so much this past year and now this!Thank God your daughter and grandson are alright but sad for the loss of the pets.It’s wonderful that because of your frugal lifestyle you were able to help them out financially,you brought your kids up right because you all pull together when anyone needs help.

    5. Juls – I am so sorry for these struggles your family is dealing with. Glad you can support one another and that your frugality has made it possible for you to help. God bless!

  25. *Oh, baskets! I have a great fondness for them and they are one of the items I search for first when shopping at thrift stores. Fortunately, the stores I frequent still have low prices on baskets so I can find some real gems. I recently found a signed Longaberger basket for $2. It is a very useful shape for carrying food to church and that sort of thing so I will use it often. The one type of basket I especially look for are affectionately called “butt baskets” because, well, that’s what they look like. They are a traditional shape basket for collecting eggs and that is what I use them for. I have about 5 of them all displayed in my mudroom so we can grab them as we go out to the chickens. They seem to be a common shape that people make in basketry classes (traditional skills are still alive and well here) so I find them from time to time. However, I have seen ones like mine in antique stores for $30+. Another thing I have on my list to learn how to make. 🙂
    *My mother is my personal thrift/yard sale shopper, too, and I hers. It is so much fun to have things to look for for others. She even looks for things she thinks I can sell in our neighbor’s antique booth which really helps. We each carry a list of things the other is looking for and usually we find it.
    *Like many others, we had cold weather and snow every day for about 10 days. About 14″ total and nighttime temperatures in the single digits. On day the high was only 10 degrees. That is not unheard of here but unusual to last for so many days in a row. The main roads get plowed and many people here have plows on their trucks or 4wheelers but it was hard to keep up with the rate of the snow and the lack of melting. Plus, unless you live in town, most folks live 1/2 mile down a gravel (or even dirt) road with twists and turns and steep inclines and creeks running on either side so navigating that is tricky. Fortunately, as a homeschooling family and my husband working from home, we don’t have to go out so we didn’t. That was the main money saver this past week, not going anywhere the 3 days we would have otherwise. Choir rehearsal and church services were even cancelled which hasn’t happened in a long time. But, we had plenty to do making sure the animals were warm, well-fed and watered, keeping the woodstove going, cooking, playing games, working on our mudroom project (now have a railing made from hand-sawn oak we were given by my husband’s uncle years ago), organizing the pantry and kitchen drawers, etc. With any significant snow, we can sled right from our front porch, across our field, down the driveway and out onto the road. It’s so much fun! Hiking back up warms you, too. 🙂
    *We are continuing to eat from stored food and are making a good dent in canned items from as far back as 3 years ago. When we got on Monday, I did have to replace some basic items like flour, sugar, cheese and dog and cat food. Few deals anymore but I am always on the lookout. Like others, I am just trying out new ways to use stored items which is fun and frugal. I made a peach kuchen for breakfast one day with frozen peaches a friend brought us last summer and it was delicious. I will try the lentil recipe, too!
    *Hope everyone is staying warm and cozy! Thanks for the regular doses of inspiration!

    1. I weave baskets as a hobby! And agree with you on that type of basket being traditionally for collecting eggs—and I am sure many other things! I used to be quite active in basket weaving, and even taught a class at a college when we lived in California. I do not make as many now a days, because I already have ones for my needs and they do not store flat like quilts do! I still have some supplies, though, and every now and then make one. I have a daughter in law now, and once they move to a bigger place I should make her a basket.

      1. Susan – I am sure your DIL would LOVE a handmade basket. I have ones my grandmother made in the 1980s and cherish them. Basketry is on my long list of skills I want to accomplish. Have you seen baskets made out of kudzu and other invasive species? Google it if you’re interested. We don’t really have it here in the mountains but imagine you might in your part of TN. 🙂

  26. I love the flower pictures. It warms my heart to see such beauty. Your son is growing up. Your Mom’s garage sales finds are wonderful. It will be a few months before garage sale season starts here. I am hosting my women’s FCE group tonight, I am making chili and everyone is bringing sides and desserts. We all take turns hosting and it does not cost anyone much money. I have been reading library books and dreaming of gardening.

  27. I was reading the other day about low water levels in the Panama Canal so they have reduced shipping by 20%. That combined with the attacks on ships in the Red Sea, causing ships to take a long detour around Africa, will I believe increase prices on goods that are shipped to us.

    1. I read a couple of articles this month about how prices have already been affected because of these things.

      And while all goods are rising like crazy, it is the price of food that concerns me the most. A food blogger I know in Egypt told me that most people now can only afford flour, rice, and beans. She said her money is only worth 1/3 of what it was just a little while ago.

      When people around the world struggle to have the basic necessities of life . . .

  28. Brandy, your roses are simply gorgeous, and I love the vase as well! You make your life so beautiful and ours by extension!
    One of my sisters and I meet every couple of months halfway between us for a meal and a walk in the park, she treated me and I had leftovers for dinner.
    Another sister and BIL were nearby to see their son play in a chest tournament, we ate out and my meal had points for my husband, he got a free bagel out of it.
    My word for the year is Haven, I want my home and heart to be welcoming and safe for everyone. So, I have been painting our bathroom, hall and am finishing up the guest bathroom off our hall. I used paint we had but had to get paint for trim and ceilings, as ours was all gone. I scrubbed the bathroom floor tiles thoroughly using my homemade spray. The shower doors are a mess, we have hard well water and nothing has taken off the soap scum, any ideas out there?
    I moved an existing tray to our kitchen island and put a candle and Carolina Jasmine from our yard in a vase. I will swap out as camellias come into bloom in February. I bought a basket at Habitat and put my Bible, study guides and calendar in it for our schoolroom table, which tidies up that spot. My dad bought us that table 42 years ago at antique store, and with some homemade polish it is beautiful again.
    My husband appreciated the little touches!
    We missed the bitter cold so many got, the low was 10 here but no snow. I have run the thermostat at 62 when home alone, 63 when my husband is here and 58 when I am gone for several hours. Our bill was lower than last year by far.
    Brandy, I am following your daily garden picking and trying to do the same, even if it is just spring onions! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Blessings to all y’all and Brandy for this lovely spot!

    1. I spray CLR (calcium, lime and rust) remover on my glass shower screens and chrome fittings, followed up a couple of hours later with a good scrub with a non-scratch scouring pad. I get the spray at Aldi, who have it every now and then, or at our big hardware shop Bunnings.

    2. Jean,
      Do you have a woodstove or fireplace? Noemi at ScandishHome (on Youtube) was cleaning her fireplace doors and someone suggested she use the ashes – it cleaned the doors right up, so she tried it on the shower door and worked like a charm! Maybe that would work for you.

      We have very hard water here and I use vinegar to get mineral deposits off things, but the shower door is hard; I find it works best on things where the vinegar can sit (like inside the kettle). I don’t get as good of results just spraying it on.

      1. Melonie – I clean my wood stove glass doors with ashes every day. Works like a charm! I imagine it could work for shower doors. If I had some, I’d try it. 🙂 Creative idea!

        1. Mountain Mama Dawn,

          We now have a fire pit – I’m seriously considering trying the ashes from it once we start using it! Those shower doors are so hard to clean!

      2. Melonie, thank you, yes we have a fireplace and outdoor burn pit and so we have tons of ashes. I will give this a try for sure!

    3. The information for our heat pump (deeper South than Susan) is that it begins to struggle to keep up at around 32F. We do find it runs a lot more at 40 and it’s because of that and power outages if we get snow or ice, that we decide to install a ventless propane heater in our home as well as a gas stove. It was so cold for us here that the gas heater was on non-stop for about 72 hours. In all that time we never had it higher than two bars, never on full blast, and most of the time it was only on one bar. The heat pump still will come on but the overall temperature inside the house is what dictates how much the heat pump will run, not the outdoor temperature.

    4. Jean, I don’t have hard water here but I find that toilet bowl cleaner, the sort that you squirt into the toilet bowl works especially well on soap scum in the shower. I don’t know for a fact that it would work for you but worth a try. Hopefully others will chime in with better ideas than mine.

  29. I am loving your garden photos. It is grey, sloppy, and foggy here at the moment so the colour is lovely! We have had a very quiet time in our no spend January. I did very little grocery shopping last Friday but did pick up a few things. That will be my last shopping for the month.

    We have continued to be blessed by our local free groups. We received four boxes of scalloped potatoes, two cans of soup, a can of pineapple, a small jar of honey, a small jar of mango jelly and a new knitted dishcloth. I have also given away many unused items as we continue to purge and clean. I do have a load to take to Goodwill and will also return alcohol bottles and cans that I have collected to have some extra grocery money in February. I still have some cash and gift certificates from two grocery stores so I will not be using any income again in February for food.

    Since the weather has been so nasty, we have not be out in the car this week except for one small trip to return an item and pick up books from the library. We have been using the library extensively recently for both books and videos.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week and the weather perks up for all.

  30. My 24 days of no social media are over and I have done more browsing than before – but significantly less purchasing! Considering this a win and rethinking how I engage with the time suck that is Instagram!

    My husbands car has been acting strange and finally, would not start. He called for a tow but the tow driver was able to get it started so that saved us nearly $100 ($65 for the jump instead of $160 for the tow) and we took it to our favorite local shop. They could not figure out what the issue was and recommended we take it to the dealership since they can do different diagnostics. They did not charge us! It has been at the dealership for a nearly a week as they try to reproduce the issue/find the source and have said it is only the diagnostic fee unless they find something to fix. We need to running cars in our Midwestern city but so grateful for good people in the world!

    I have over 60 jars of jams and jellys in the pantry and while we are trying to eat them down, it is a good reminder to not just can something up before I enjoy it but also because we need it. I did not can *any* vegetables last summer and we are feeling that now. I will do better this summer!

  31. We got our electric bill for December, and it was about $50 higher than expected. I checked dates to make sure and it was for the time frame we were getting the reno work done. Between extra cold weather and the back door being open more often than not during the days and the added power tools and such, as well as additional water run to clean tools…There’s my added money. I’ll be curious to see how it looks for January as we had some deep cold (16F for us which is mighty cold at night). We did use the propane heater a lot this month to offset the heat pump running non-stop. This week our weather has soared to low 70’s for days and staying in the 60F range for nights.
    I have a small amount of grocery money left for this month. Any purchases I’ve made for eating this month have been strictly for fresh eggs, milk, chips and produce and yes, the chips are ‘necessary’. My husband has been fasting sugar all month long and chips are the only thing standing between him and being an unbearable grump, lol. We ran out of k-cups last week, so I brought out some ground coffee I’d been keeping in the freezer and refillable k-cups. That saw us through the week until our Subscribe and Save order arrived from Amazon. I don’t mind filling my own k-cups, but my husband absolutely loathes it and makes a huge mess both filling and emptying. For the most part we are relying on the pantry and freezer and many items that were lost have been found and eaten. Some I noted we didn’t like at all, and I won’t be buying those anymore. I made bread several times over the last four weeks. Typically, we go through two loaves per week. I harvested all my carrots of any size before the deep freezes we had here and saved the green tops. I dried those this week and stripped the leaves to use as parsley in my kitchen. For some reason I go through lots of parsley, and I like the carrot ‘parsley’ as well as I do actual parsley. I planted the butts of romaine and root end of celery along with several shoots of rosemary that I rooted. The celery is putting out new growth in just three days’ time. The rosemary is to pot up and give to the man who did our contract work. He told me he just loved rosemary and had none at home. I made a big pot of soup last week and had enough leftovers to put 2 quarts into the freezer. I got creative and stretched 2 pork chops into 6 Tacos, making my own version of tacos al pastor. It was really good!
    I continue to stumble in shock when I look at meat prices and at how much things continue to go up. Like everyone else I am looking for sales/clearance prices and making some hard judgements. There’s one store that used to have great markdowns…the markdowns are there still but the meats especially are just ever so slightly off tasting. I’d rather pay full price than get sub-par quality foods.

  32. I love seeing all of your beautiful flowers this time of year. It is just grey here.
    We went wedding dress shopping for my youngest while my oldest daughter visited for a long weekend. She fell in love with one so we bought it. It was under budget too. Plus her friend had won a GC/Coupon for $500 off a dress purchased this year. Her friend isn’t seeing anyone so she happily gave it to my daughter. We are trying to figure out something nice for the friend.
    I made a chick pea salad while my oldest visited. I saved the aquafaba and used some when I made muffins. No one noticed a difference. I froze the rest for future muffins.
    We got 2 good 2 go 2 times while OD was here, once for bagels and once for pizza. She was happy and we didn’t break the bank($12). I sent OD home with the leftover bagels. Stop N Shop had a 80 oz. bottle of whole pickles on clearance for $1.99. I bought it. It was too big to fit on any shelf in my fridge so I sliced and divided. I now have a container of whole pickles, spears and ovals. I also returned bottles and cans to get my deposits back.
    My OD had given me napkins 4 or 5 years ago for Christmas that she had dyed. Stains were showing so I asked her to bring the dye. They came out great, no more stains.
    I oiled several wood tables. I need to do it more often.

  33. Hello All.

    I feel a little guilty here in Central Valley California. We haven’t dipped below mid 30s. Sunny today. I am going to head to the gym, hit the pool ( it is now a large cold plunge) and then go into the sauna. I have had the first ever sinus/headache/ ear ache/ migraine thing. Never really knew what it was. Ears are ringing so I have asked to see an ear nose and throat doctor.

    * Frugal awakening: a friend suggested a personal steamer. I was in pain and it is so easy to touch the buy button on Amazon. $40. The next day, I realized my miracle instapot is a great steam inhaling machine. I put a homemade saline solution in and soaked it up for 6 mins. I received the Amazon delivery the next day determined to return. They won’t accept a return on home/health but they gave me my money back and told me to keep the machine. I was actually a little down because Amazon has so much pork fat on items it can let you keep them. This can’t be a sustainable busness model that is good for our country.

    * I bought a rotisserie chicken at Sam’s club for 4.49. Again the instapot to the rescue. I bought it at 2:00 and it is safely warming until dinner. it will be multiple meals for we empty nesters.

    * I am on a reddit frugal stream. It keeps discussing the same issue: someone asks what to do with a $100 to eat until the end of the month. The first response everyone has is Get on Food Stamps and Go to a food pantry. I am all for both strategies especially for our food insecure children. But self sufficiency is such an important aspect of self esteem, mental health and resiliency. I thought about $100 for one person. A rotisserie chicken: a bag of potatoes: a pound of kale: homemade yoghurt (3.49 for a gallon of milk): a lb of rice, a lb of beans; homemade bread and cookies ( baking powder, flour, sugar and butter); 2 dozen eggs and some frozen fruit would stand me in pretty good stead for the month and would cost a little less than $50. ( I just added what I bought it all for. Now it is true that I have a breadmaker, an instapot and spices. I also have a frig with a freezer and fruit trees. I was interested in what other readers here thought about the subject. I think the other thing I have for which I am so grateful is experience of years of trying to be frugal. I made a heck of lot of bad meals and mistakes over the years. I wish our society supported teaching frugality as strongly as it supports other endeavors.

    1. Your $100 question is a good one. One suggestion that I have is to look at some of YouTubes of Frugal Fit Mom. She has some very interesting things that she does. We’re in an extreme crunch here. We had a major issue with our house. When it was reroofed quite a few years ago, the roofer didn’t properly seal around the pipes that go through the roof. It’s been leaking between the two walls that are on either sides of the pipes–plus the basement. We’ve had mold remediators here. We’re probably at $40K now and still have to put it back together. Unfortunately it was the main floor bathroom plus one wall of the kitchen and the downstairs bathroom and the furnace room and part of the downstairs bedroom. Our insurance has $10K mold coverage, but they have denied the claim. I also am a very experienced cook, but I have celiac–so I’m gluten-free. I’m also severely allergic to dairy. Also, for quite a few years, I had extreme gut pain. I was scoped several times and they didn’t know what was causing it. I listened to a doc lecture that said the glyphosate from RoundUp destroys the tight junctions of the gut. That was like a “bingo” in my head. So I make every effort to eat organic and it’s made a huge difference. I have a large garden. I take all leftover produce from my sisters’ and neighbors’ gardens. I bottle, freeze, dehydrate and freeze dry constantly. I’m so grateful that I have that. I am emptying between 12 and 24 jars a week. It’s been tricky because my stove is sitting in the middle of my kitchen. (It was on one of the walls that had to be gutted.). Even with that, I’m using small appliances–crockpot, InstaPot, electric fry pan and our son and daughter-in-law bought us a Ninja airfryer/toaster oven. We never eat out or buy packaged food. I just don’t tolerate it. I’m so grateful for all the things that I’ve learned on Brandy’s website over the years. I’m trying every possible way to cut expenses. We had been trying to save quite a bit of money because we knew that my husband’s contract work would be ending. (We have two more years until he takes social security.). But the money that we had set aside to try and limp through this period has been spent on our house. We just took out a huge amount of money from our IRA. With the staggering expenses on the house, we had no other option. I am so grateful for what I’ve learned here and my extreme preservation of summer produce.

      1. Wow Judy, you are in the middle of a courageous story. I have never faced such extreme circumstances. If I ever do I hope I face it with the attitude that you and your husband have. I am a history teacher. I have read so many stories that are heroic. I teach them to the kids to let them know external circumstances do no have to defeat us if our internal fortitudeis strong.

      2. Judy I am so grateful for your sharing this about your house/ life/ family
        We may be in a similar situation soon- roof maybe compromised, could be leaking and we had it replaced in 2001 so cost will be steep and if mold well we will be in similar situation….
        So thank you for sharing your thoughts and things your doing to get thru

    2. Mary Ann – “self sufficiency is such an important aspect of self esteem, mental health and resiliency.” I agree whole-heartedly. I imagine the responses you are seeing have a lot to do with the commenters frame of reference – if they are someone who buys a lot of convenience foods, then $100 is not going to go far compared to someone who purchases the items you suggest and is comfortable with cooking and experimentation and with making mistakes. As a culture, we eat out so much more than our predecessors did, which has to have changed people’s perceptions of eating. I think some people expect every meal to be “restaurant quality” (and I say that tongue in cheek because I think home cooked meals are far superior to most restaurants these days) or are used to eating whatever they want (like choosing from a menu where everyone is eating something different.) That can make homecooked food seem “boring.” I also think it has to do with the person’s available cooking tools. Some government housing situations allow only microwaves, I have read. I imagine there is still a lot you can cook from scratch with a microwave (there were lots of microwave cooking books out in the 1980s, after all) but I have never owned a microwave and most people I have seen use it for warming up leftovers or heating pre-made meals, not cooking. Perhaps that is a skill that can be expanded on for those in that situation? An interesting topic and one to ponder on, for sure. I think your solution is a solid one both for health and finances. On a similar note, many years ago, I won a $50 gift card from a financial blogger based on my responses to his post. I thanked him in the comments and mentioned that the $50 would buy my family’s groceries that week. There were so many follow-up comments saying “you’ll be paying for it with doctor bills in the future when your health suffers from eating crappy food” and “there’s no way I can buy a week’s worth of groceries for $50!” I followed up with pertinent information those people didn’t have including – I live on a farm and produce a lot of our food (it was summer, at the time, when our grocery bills are lowest), I live in a less expensive part of the US than many of the commenters, I don’t buy alcohol or expensive items, etc. All those factors make a HUGE difference in what I could do with “only” $50. At that time of year and in those days, I actually used it to stock up on some things. 🙂 I’d be interested to hear what other comments you read in that frugal group. Sounds like an interesting conversation.

    3. I also think the $100 question is a good one. I have been watching some frugal you tube videos as well. I decided to write a list of what I would buy for $20 to feed us both for a week if I ever had to(luckily I don’t). I ended up with 1 kg oats($3), 1 tin beans in tomato sauce($1), 1 lb flour ($1) 2 cups rice, 2 cups lentils and 2 cups black beans($1.50), dozen eggs $3.79, 2 litres milk($3.00), 1/2 lb butter($3.00-hubby hates margarine) and 5 lbs potatoes($3.99) for a total of $20.03. We also have some frozen apples from our tree which are free. Certainly no meat or fresh fruits and veggies at that price. Meals would be boring but we would not starve. I took my elderly Mum to buy her groceries at Walmart yesterday and we were both surprised how few items came to $60.00-thankfully she has the funds. I definitely feel for all the people buying food on a very limited budget and definitely see the value in a garden.

    4. hi MaryAnn,

      I agree on your perspective about self sustainability and mental health. Your suggestions on how to spend the money are very good. It makes me think about the book. Wildly Affordable Organic. I bought it years ago when I thought organic food was the most important thing. What I found was really a book about cooking from scratch and using ingredients. All of the recipes are meatless which of courses of money saver but the book gives a lot of good meal plans. I’m sure it’s not for everybody, but it goes along with what you are saying. Basic healthy eating is self sustainable and affordable. You are right about our society not Emphasizing frugality. I think more people would be self sufficient if we did.

      1. Laurie – – Thank you for suggesting the book, Wildly Affordable Organics. I downloaded it from my online library and perused the contents. It does contain a lot of useful healthy and frugal information that will help me plan meatless meals for my family. I will purchase a used copy of the book to have on hand.

  34. We are cooking at home. I made a plan for week with what we have in the house, for the most part. I will try to do this for the next month. Because we have a lot of bills and little income, although my husband’s hours will pickup with the warmer weather, we are being very careful. We hope it will pick up.
    We are entertaining ourselves at home and visiting family once in awhile. If my son wants to get out, we may visit the library. We also like going to church. I am truly grateful that we have a warm home and food to eat. I’m grateful for so many things. I know that there are people around the world that are having a much more difficult time. I continue to use handkerchiefs and cloth napkins. I know that has saved us money. Because I do not know where my haircutting scissors are, I am going to ask my mom to cut my son’s hair. My dad did it last time. He did a great job! They both do a great job. Once we have more income and bills are paid, I plan on buying another pair of haircutting scissors and putting them away where family won’t get to them except to cut hair.

  35. We had a horrible week of 12 degree weather. I turned my household heat on to keep our pipes from freezing. I anticipate those 7 days of heat will double my next bill. Over the years ,Brandy’s recipes have inspired me. I tend to be black and white and being creative goes against my grain. Its a horrible trait to have. A while back I realized that bags of coleslaw could be fried up and used in an egg roll in a bowl recipe. This week I decided I could use bags of Asian salad kits to make soup. We removed the dressing and nuts and saved them for later. The bags are cabbage, kale ,shaved Brussels sprouts and shaved broccoli. I was concerned it might taste off , but was very good. I added tomatoes and onions and garlic. I froze some and enjoyed two days of meals. I delivered various items to a neighbor. Lots of vegetables ,and dog food. My freezer is getting empty. I refilled it with a load of frozen foods that my kids have consumed quickly. I turned around and filled it tonight with Freshetta pizzas and hot pockets. A case of each. My sons friends will likely claim them by the weekend. I bought an I Pad and transferred my internet over to my cell phone carrier. The monthly charge for the two is actually less than what my current internet is. We have purchased many tablets from Amazon over many years. I find the quality to be poor . I won’t invest money in them any longer. My sound is going out , there’s a notification my charger is wet and it randomly beeps. Its never been near water. I’m too old to be annoyed. I found me a vacation for next Christmas. I will pay it off $50.00 a month. I’d like to catch up on my yard work but the weather will not cooperate. I’ve lost a good month in time working on my to do list. Here’s hoping for sunny days.

  36. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I also received lentils recently, but have never cooked with them before. Why does the lowly lentil feel intimidating to me?

    On the frugal front:
    We celebrated DD1’s golden birthday with dinner, homemade cake, and gifts at home.

    I saved $0.14/gallon off gas using Upside app.

    Over the years we collected quite the assortment of used school supplies. I contacted my SIL to see if she wanted them. She homeschools four children and was happy to take them. While sorting, I found 3 new packages of art supplies which I will keep for Easter baskets.

    I attended a post holiday dinner generously hosted by my employer at a restaurant near my lab.

    I had several succulents that were leggy. I am attempting to correct the problem and propagate several new succulents in the process. I also took leaf cuttings from my pathos to root in water.

    HH moved his aunt into a senior care facility. She sent him home with some food and household items.

    HH helped DD2 transfer funds to her HYSA and Roth IRA.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats!

    1. I find lentils are very forgiving! Dried lentils cook relatively quickly, and don’t need the soaking that dried beans do. My favorite things to do with them are slip them into soup, with a broth or tomato base, or cook them together with rice, adding my favorite spices. They are also good for stretching ground beef in hamburgers, chili or meatloaf. I used to top the lentils and rice with caramelized onions too. There are many, many recipes for them, but those are the easiest for me.

  37. I love what you did with the thermostat. We’re on propane. I worry about running out come March and then getting a late cold weather spell. I need to be better about adjusting it when I can. Temperatures have been in the single digits this week. Local schools cancelled due to weather and icy roads. This made it easy to stay home 3 days this week. I was able to work from home one day. Im able to skip filling my gas tank this week since we mostly stayed home.

    This past week we ate ham sandwiches, a breakfast casserole, orange chicken with rice, cabbage rolls, pizza, and bbq chicken sandwiches. We will continue to use up what we have in the pantry and freezer. We ordered out at work one day. I ordered only an appetizer. This actually cut my cost to a third of what I would normally spend.

    I spent my free time planning the Spring garden. I watched Little Women for free on YouTube. I took the Christmas tree and decorations down. I talked with my sister on the phone. She lives out of state. It’s nothing for us to talk for a couple of hours to catch up.

  38. Brandy thank you for sharing your life, family and talents with us. I think you are wonderful! I only can add some small suggestions. When I use my crockpot, it has a glass lid. I turn it upside down and cook potatoes,w inter squash, sweet potatoes, etc. They lay in the lid covered with several layers of much used tin foil. saved to use again, then a pie pan or some same shaped pans and stacked on top with my mothers aluminum dish a teepee. Pinto beans,etc take a long time to cook and all gets done. Potato cakes make lovely veggie burgers with lettuce,tomato and cheese on a ww bun. I love pics of your gardens. Dee in NC.

    1. Potatoes on top and beans underneath? And it doesn’t melt the plastic handle on the lid? I am very intrigued!

      1. Brandy I found a lid at our local thrift store that is all glass that fits the top of my crockpot when the plastic handle cracked and broke.

  39. Mujadara is a great lentil dish too. Or Smitten Kitchen’s lentils and farro, but you can use rice or wheat berries.

  40. This is Dee in NC. I wrote earlier about my glass crockpot lid. It is all glass. Older, of course, like me, but still working in the kitchen. I would not try this with a plastic knob..It is fun to stack up the teepee and I can see a bread dough rising on the very top with the heat rising. Thanks for all you do for us.

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