Desdemona Roses

I harvested Swiss chard, cilantro (coriander), lettuce, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and snow peas from the garden. One of my self-seeded heads of lettuce was so large that I shared some of it with 4 families (each receiving a normal grocery-store-sized amount of a head of lettuce) with enough leftover for one to two more heads’ worth of lettuce. I also shared Swiss chard with two families.

I sowed seeds for hollyhocks, lemon balm, Armenian cucumbers, Genovese basil, and vincas. Some of these were places where I had previously sown seeds and nothing came up. I am trying to be a better gardener and reseed once the germination time has passed if nothing has come up so that the space won’t be wasted.

I chose to plant more basil this year in place of flowers in one of my garden beds. It will be pretty and green all summer and fill the space nicely, and we can make lots of pesto.

I buried more kitchen scraps in the garden.

My husband took two daughters and some friends on a short hike one morning.

Desdemona rose

I gave haircuts to two sons and my husband.

I used shower warm-up water and water left in drinking glasses at the end of the day (we each use one glass for water for the day) to water potted plants in the garden. I also used water left from steaming vegetables to water pots in the garden.

I used a $5 off coupon code from the local nursery on a purchase. I bought several items, including herbs on sale. I decided I should have more of some slower-growing herbs so that I can use them more often in the meatless dishes that I make with them.

My husband picked up a free plastic bucket at Harbor Freight (it was free with a certain purchase amount, which he was already spending). I needed another bucket to store fertilizer; this one will be perfect to hold one of the kinds that I buy in bulk.

My husband and I went out for my birthday. We went to a matinee showing to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie. It was excellent.

I resisted buying something I wanted but did not need online.

What did you do to save money last week?

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162 Comments

  1. I saw a recipe that said “Easy”, “3 ingredient” and “Instant Pot” to make my own ricotta cheese. Since I always have lasagna noodles and all the other ingredients except ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese that I might use as a substitute) on my pantry shelves, I was intrigued! I had an unopened 1/2 gallon of milk in my basement fridge that I bought on sale for 88 cents a couple weeks ago, which is exactly what the recipe called for. It made about 24- 30 ounces of the most wonderful tasting ricotta! To buy it would have been between $3.49- $5.99 depending on brand. Even store brand cottage cheese wound have cost $2.99. And, best of all, after learning this new “skill”, I can have ricotta here at home whenever I want it without having to go to the store (spending time and gas on top of the purchase price!) I also got about 3 cups of whey! Here’s a link to recipe if anyone is interested- https://foreignfork.com/wprm_print/12868.

    My good friend who works at a Krogers texted me during her break to let me know that 16 Oz Barilla spaghetti noodles were clearanced to 25 cents each and Creamette pasta (several varieties) were marked down to 50 cents. They also had 4 pound bags of sugar marked down from $2.49 to 99 cents! I texted my daughters and another friend and picked some up for them as well! I thanked her that night and she told me that oatmeal was going to be priced on clearance. It was 99 cents for 42 Oz (2 pound,10 Oz)cartons of Quaker brand! That’s less than 38 cents a pound!! My daughters and I are thrilled to add it to our pantry! I actually prefer the old-fashioned rolled oats that these were because you have complete flexibility to convert them into quick or instant oats/oatmeal! Their regular price is $6.99 at my Krogers but $4.49 on sale this week. https://pin.it/7kLPhIy Don’t know why my friend’s Krogers clearanced a cart full! I bought 27 cartons to split between us and at first it rang up as $188.73 ($6.99)but I got there as someone was putting a sign out and I checked for price verification and made a note of his name. When I told cashier they were on clearance, I was able to give her that employee’s name (who was not my friend that alerted me) and cashier called and verified and it went through smoothly! So we saved $162 on something that we regularly use and store! We are thrilled and it reminds us that as we eat our food storage regularly and share it that opportunities will come to restock or use what we have more effectively!

    Hubs found a used trailer on Craigslist and it was wonderful ! https://pin.it/1sUCZcZ. As you can see, we loaded it with the rotted wood that we replaced from our raised bed garden and were able to take it to the dump ourselves. It cost us $16. At the dump, but it would have been over $200 to hire someone to load it up and haul it away for us! Think this is going to be a good equipment investment for us!
    Then on Saturday, our daughter came with us to an estate auction where I had seen a chest freezer in the preview photos. We took our trailer and she ended up getting the 23 cubic foot Kenmore freezer for $255!! https://pin.it/6Fualax. It is older but works perfectly and has a good gasket seal. We loaded it into our trailer and hauled it to their home. Her husband had cleared a spot in the garage along a side wall and it fit exactly! They are excited about getting some freezer sale things today to start filling it! Looks like the trailer will be getting some good use!

    I got two more client quilts quilted up on my longarm, Lenni. Quilts #244 – https://pin.it/67nP8sZ and https://pin.it/2SM5ekH (backing) and #245- https://pin.it/7fm8o7z (This was made from vintage Sunbonnet Sue blocks that her 96 year old gran made that had never been made into a quilt top. So she added sashing and I’ve quilted it for her. It’s 93” x 93”!!)

    My 6 month old grandson was admitted back into Childrens Hospital late Saturday night and I was able to take ham salad sandwich, granola bars, cheese crackers, grapes, cookies, bottled water and a mini beef pot pie to his mom on Sunday (she’s been staying with him at hospital) and the only time it took was for me to pack it into a bag to hand off to her! She has access to a fridge and a microwave by the nurses’ station across from his room.

    So that’s been my frugal week. A few different specifics, but mostly, nothing out of the normal routine here.

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. I may have to make some Mozzarella as we are having a hard time getting that. I hope to get pineapple to can the next time they are on sale. I didn’t know you could do it without adding sugar and that is what I would like. I should have realized it as I know vegetables don’t have to have salt added. I have never done that and the taste and texture have always been fine.

      1. Linda- You will love canning pineapple! It seriously tastes much more like fresh than commercially canned! And no sugar needed!! It’s a favorite to keep on our shelves!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. We bought a similar trailer many years ago. Family and Friends have used it over and over. I bought some cheap tire covers off Amazon to keep the sun from damaging them. Now one of our S-I-L has it in his barn. One of our best investments.

  2. Happy birthday! Could you let us know if you have up-dated the menus you have posted on your website? If you have changed them, could you re-post the new menus please?

    1. I have not made any updates to them.

      I don’t follow them exactly. I use them as a jumping off spot to use what food I have to make meals.

  3. Happy Birthday! That sounds like one impressive head of lettuce! Last week, two pots of veggie scraps were simmered on the woodstove for broth, then canned, again using mostly reused lids, and all sealed. I harvested parsley, oregano, thyme, lettuce, mizuna and asparagus. The annual NC Herb Society plant sale returned this year. It’s a tradition for a friend and I to go, so off we went. She’s an herbalist, and got many more plants than I, but I came home with Northern sea oats, stevia, black hollyhock, Mexican marigold, mullein, thyme and Victoria blue sage, one of everything, except for the sea oats. While perusing the tables, I looked up a number of the plants online. The sea oats were listed for $39.59 a container online, and I bought five starts for $4. If they all survive and thrive, that’s quite a savings. Laundry was dried on the line. I’m reading The Last Bookshop in London, from the library, and finished Ruby’s Hope, about the iconic Dust Bowl photo of a Mom and her children, by Dorothea Lange. Last year’s garlic was fading, so I dehydrated most of it, and made garlic powder.

    I wonder if you might have any strawberry suggestions for me. The plants appear to be thriving, are in good sun, and are spreading. There are many blooms, many plants, with a wide variety of pollinators on them, but I never get berries. It often looks like there is the beginning of a berry, but they never get any farther than that. I wondered first if it was birds or slugs, but I should still see some berries. I’ve tried fertilizing them, and not fertilizing them, with no difference. I’ve had them long enough that I don’t remember the variety, and they were moved where they are from another spot. I understand that a plant will only produce once, and then you encourage a runner. There are many runners, though I don’t detach them from the original plant. Is that the problem?
    http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/04/sweet-spring-days.html

    1. Hi Laurie
      I’m in the UK but the mechanics of strawberry production will be the same. You need to push the runners into a pot of compost and when they’ve rooted detach them from the main plant. You can also root them direct into the soil by making a little depression and pushing them in, then detach in the same way when they’ve rooted. In our experience plants produce berries for two years then they’re spent. We keep a rolling programme for best production, plants go on the compost heap after their second summer of berries, one year olds and newly rooted and planted out runners keep replacing them with more vigour and better berries. After the initial outlay for strawberry plants you never have to buy them again because the runners are so prolific. Good luck!

    2. I learned that I need to take the runners off the ‘mother’ plants in spring to early summer. If I don’t, the plant puts the energy into making more plants and not fruit. About July, here, I start letting the runners grow on a limited basis. I have everbearing strawberries. YMMV

      1. SJ, I read that again, and believe you’re saying the mother plant will fruit once the runners are taken off, so I will leave the mother plant to hopefully fruit. I think this may have been the problem. Thanks again!

        1. ==yes, once the runners are trimmed off, the ‘mother’ or original plant should flower and then fruit.

          ==My other trick, when the fruit is just turning pink is to put rocks that I have painted red throughout the strawberry bed. The birds will be attracted to the color and peck the rocks. By the time the strawberries are ripe and red, the birds will have lost interest and leave the fruit alone. It really works and is a fun project to do with kids.

          1. We painted rocks a few years ago after you mentioned it and it worked for us! I second all the strawberry advice. Our plants only last a couple of years, as well, 3 max. I usually take runners off and plant them in a whole new raised bed section and keep a new raised bed “in the works” every year or so and then I don’t have a gap in my strawberry production. Last fall, I dug up my old patch and threw the old bushes away. My 2 -year old plants should produce well and my new runners will bear sparsely this summer.

  4. Happy birthday, Brandy! So glad to hear the movie was good – looking forward to that coming out for home viewing in the future. Very excited to see it too.

    We went to one of the Smithsonian museums, the National Museum of the American Indian, which has free entry. Did have to pay for parking; this museum has been on my bucket list for decades so we also budgeted for some purchases and lunch there. Used the card that has reward cash back though, so a little back in our pockets later. (Maybe enough to cover DC parking? haha) And of course the free exercise of walking around and to/from parking.

    We are in the last few weeks here and finishing up packing, still reusing boxes where possible. Changed our route so we are cutting out some mileage/gas use on the U-Haul. I was able to get hotels on the military nightly rate for the new route, which saves a bit, which helps offset the dog fee each night.

    Needed a few perishables and spotted tuna packets on sale at the base grocer; stocked up on them for the move. The cashier kept saying “That’s a lot of tuna!” With a husband and a teenage boy to feed, I stock up on sale! We had a good laugh as my husband heard and said “OH, they were on sale? We should get more!” They are quick and easy and not the “cheapest” but far less than if we are all eating fast food multiple times a day.

    Otherwise continuing to eat up what’s in the freezers and pantry has helped keep the grocery bill low. We did get a pizza one night; husband used a coupon.

    Needed some sweat pants and was able to get some with a 15% off coupon code.

    Checked out several ebooks from the library on Overdrive.

    We gave the dog two deep brushings/Defurminator comb outs to help with her winter coat shedding, saving the costs of a groomer doing it.

    Working on my websites for the businesses – slow going as I learn a new system, but a shoestring budget means no room to hire someone. Signed up for several free webinars sponsored by our “once and future” home state small business division and the free summit from the national SBA for Small Business Week (first week of May – info at the SBA site if it would assist anyone: https://www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week ).

    Happy Monday, all – I hope everyone has a lovely week!

  5. Happy birthday to Brandy! You are early today!

    I had a busy week, mostly the same old, same old…but there’s this to report–
    * The walk-in closet in our bedroom has hanging space on 3 sides in a U shape. We only had the one shelf on top of the rods. We had a handyman install a top shelf over each one and I’m thrilled with the results. I am using wire shelf dividers to make my version of cubbies in exactly the right sizes. The problem with this house is that we don’t have a linen closet and the coat closet in the entry is VERY small. Thus we’ve had stuff stored here, there and everywhere. The shelves help a LOT with the added space and ability to organize kind with kind. The total cost for materials (including dividers) and labor was about $140. I painted the shelves before they went up. There was a time when my husband would have built them, but he can no longer do much of this kind of work, so we are thankful to know someone who can (and will!) do anything.

    * The handyman installed the new microwave for $75 (Lowe’s charges $140 and up).

    * I re-sewed one of the handles on my daughter’ lunch bag and hemmed curtains for a friend.

    * I “pricked out and potted on” tomato, bell pepper, lettuce and petunia seedlings. I have tons of lettuce and not very much windowsill space to grow it, so I planted half of the lettuce seedlings directly into the garden. I’m alternating them with purple pansies to edge a flower bed. It’s no big loss if they don’t make it because I have so many. I’m also going to plant a few lettuce seeds directly in the ground (we are in our last two weeks or so of frost and not having it every night). Only one parsley seed came up. TBH, I waited about a week long to pot on my seedlings, so the jury is still out on whether the plants will recover. The peppers look the best right now. Oh, and petunia seeds are tiny and it is hard NOT to plant too many. They all came up, too!

    * I bought a broken bag of garden soil for half-price at Lowe’s. I am going to hit both HD and Lowe’s this morning to see if I can find more. (Wish me luck). After lots of customers in the garden centers over the weekend, I think Mondays might be a good day to look for busted-up bags!

    * Frugal fail–The compost plant gave away free compost Saturday. The only caveat was that you had to load it yourself. When I arrived at 9 a.m., the line to get in was over 1/4 mile long. The vehicles were mostly pickups, cars with trailers and pickups with trailers. I left because I had a good idea of how long it was going to take to load all those vehicles by hand. I only need a little bit compared to those folks and I had other places to go. I wish I had gone earlier, but then I would have had to wait a long time for them to open. Good deal for the people who waited, though.

  6. As always, I’m looking forward to reading what others are doing this week!
    Our city-wide yard sale is coming up this Saturday but the forecast is for rain. I am saving by not getting a sale set up and being rained out. I will wait for a forecast of several days of dry weather. My Mom would always have her sales at the first of the month, as people have new paychecks then.
    My state had a surplus last year and is providing a refund to last year’s tax payers. Although part of me wishes it would be spent on basic projects, like roads or libraries, state law dictates this sharing, which will be $125 per taxpayer.
    I saw an article about No Mow May, for towns who do not enforce lawn mowing ordinances in that month to allow pollinators to have more to pollinate. I could get behind that idea! Though fortunately, I have never been cited and do not know my town’s mowing policies.
    I made cheddar chive biscuits with some of the chives that have drifted all over my yard and gardens. I will cut and freeze more chives. We’re getting better at freezing more to save time or resources. For instance, when I make rice, I make extra and freeze it in one cup sizes for future use. I have a tiny container of leftover lemon zest, and tiny amounts are usually all that are needed of zest.
    My favorite 99 cent grocery produce clearance buys are either the big tubs of organic greens, which stay fresh several days beyond their sell-by dates, mixed salad kits, and mixed stew kits. The salad kits usually have a lot of cabbage and cruciferous chopped veggies, which I mix with plainer greens. The last stew kit I got had thirteen little red potatoes, a roughly sliced onion, about a pound of carrots, and about a pound of celery sticks. I find one of these very few months, and enjoy sorting the items out and thinking of ways to use them separately if we don’t want stew at that time.

    1. Cheddar chive biscuits sound very good. I will try to remember to make some this week!

    2. Surprisingly, we are getting a refund from both Federal & State when we did our taxes on TurboTax last week! My husband isn’t currently working outside the home so he can help his mother with caring for her brother & his father, who spent the better part of last month in the hospital after open heart surgery. He’s also the chief cook & housekeeper so this arrangement works for us. I know his parents appreciate the help their son is able to give at a moment’s notice when needed.

  7. I love hollyhocks and have some seed to sow, as soon as we can here in Michigan.
    We went trash picking or curbside shopping a couple of weeks ago. We found a Eden pure electric heater and sold it for $60.
    I planted green onions this past week in spots all over the yard (in the flower beds, around the birds house, and next to the hydrangeas.
    We went to a yard sale and I was able to buy a lot of silverware for $20…it came with a wide variety of spoons (salad spoons, cooking spoons, etc).
    Happy Birthday!

  8. My seeds are growing! The peas and lettuce took longer to germinate then I expected. The two baby cake raspberry bushes I purchased dormant and I thought died just needed more time. They have growth on them! The seedlings I have inside I transferred them from the tiny seed starters to Styrofoam cups (We have a large supply of these from our business so no out of pocket costs.) A friend divided a yarrow plant and I took her up on her offer for a free plant.

    I cut my 9 year old son’s hair with clippers and decided that is not my talent. A friend offered to cut my boys’ hair in the past, so I contacted her and took her up on her offer to have her cut my other two boys’ hair. I learned a lot watching her. I am making sure our left overs get eaten. Going to the grocery store, I am not use to seeing so many items priced so high.

    The weather is warm enough for park playdates with our homeschool group.

  9. My husband came home after spending 14 weeks in the hospital with Covid pneumonia. We are beyond grateful! We celebrated by having Easter dinner made from things we already had on hand. We had ham, Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and rolls. The only thing we bought was the pies.

    Last night we made a pound cake for dessert using what we had on hand instead of buying one.

    I made a menu for this week. I won’t be able to shop for groceries for awhile because of medical bills so it’s nice to know that we have food on hand. I’m trying to make the meals as balanced and nutritious as possible and use what we have.

    The heating element went out on our dryer so we put up a clothesline on the back patio using materials we already had. It works well in our strong Kansas winds.

    I hope everyone has a great week. Take care!

    1. Sandra,
      I’m so glad your husband is home from the hospital. Wishing him a smooth continued recovery.

    2. So glad your husband is home. Fourteen weeks is a long time. We just got our 4th shots (2nd booster) hoping to protect ourselves. I was barely under the weather at all from this shot – just headachy and tired for one day. That’s the best result I’ve had. Best wishes to both of you.

    3. Wow! That’s amazing that he’s home now!! I’m an RN who’s taken care of Covid patients. So happy your husband recovered!

    4. So happy your husband is home! Contact the hospital business office and ask if they have help with medical bills. They will often reduce it excuse what you owe if your finances are tight. Praying for a speedy recovery for your hubby!

  10. Basil also makes an excellent filler in bouquets, as long as you harvest it in the coolest part of the day and let it sit overnight in a dark and cool room before arranging with it. I especially love cinnamon, aromatto, and lemon basils for arranging because they’re so ornamental when they flower.

    I just got a huge load of compost for only $100 because my neighbor had an excellent connection he hooked us up with. Last year I paid over $1,200 for the same amount of compost, and I’d say the quality of what we got this year was even better. With it, we have been able to fill 7 new raised beds, as well as top dress the beds we had from last year. Most of the beds are for our flower farm expansion, but we also planted lettuce, onions, parsley, and kale this week, and I direct sowed carrots and snap peas. I’ll admit our vegetable garden tends to get neglected because of the flower farm, but I’m hoping we can at least harvest a few salads out of it, at any rate!

    1. I grow Thai basil for bouquets. I need to figure out where to plant some in the new design!

  11. Happy Birthday Brandy!

    I had a family visitor for the weekend and together we worked on my raised beds, adding composted manure and completing some structure work. I have trellises up for my cucumber plants now, and have planted the okra, now that weather is reliably warm. I used concrete block, trellis netting, PVC poles and zip ties I already owned.

    My homemade detergent bucket is getting low on detergent, and so far, I haven’t found washing soda at the places I usually shop. Since the laundry detergent gets more “lumpy” as it gets older, I added water to the detergent bucket, which accomplished two goals. The detergent has a smoother consistency, rather than having lumps that might not dissolve well, and of course, it will now go a little farther.

    My visitor happily ate leftovers with me for some of the meals. As you might be able to tell, we are both cut of frugal cloth.

    I tightened some wobbly joints on some old, but still good, wooden porch furniture.

    I froze the Easter ham bone for later use.

    I bought some bulk items during the 20% off bulk sale at my local food co-op.

    I redeemed Rakutan survey points for a small Paypal gift card. I can transfer the Paypal funds to my bank later.

    I remembered to go through Swagbucks to buy some office supplies for my workplace, making about $1.50 for me in Swagbucks.

    I’m finding my reorganization of my freezer using freezer baskets and the new list layout of the freezer contents on my blackboard has made a big difference both in knowing what I have and finding it. It helps me menu plan and shop more accurately.

    Have a good week, everyone.

  12. Happy Birthday! Brandy, I went on Instagram and looked at your photos, your backyard is really beautiful. I am trying to remember my frugal week…we are eating at home and I have gotten tired of the same meals…so I have been spending time finding instant pot recipes. My instant pot is probably two years old but I didn’t really learn to make interesting meals until recently. An older dog learning a new trick 🙂 Hope the weather is good for everyone this week!

  13. Happiest Birthday wishes to you Brandy 🎂🎉

    *My mom and I attended a library class where we planted potatoes 🥔

    *Signed up for free daily drinks at Panera through July 4th 🎉 I’ve been stopping in and only picking the free drink up when out

    *Did not purchase several things I really wanted but don’t need 👍

    Grocery store: clearance cans of beans! Since prices are rising so often, I’m switching from meal planning ahead of time to grocery shopping first then making a menu 🍎

    Buy Nothing Group: Easter candy, tomato plants and Lily of the valley shoots, new wallet, book, 2 coolers, garden stone kit 🪴

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  14. Happy Birthday for last week, Brandy!

    In a world of rising prices, I think we are all working harder to make ends meet! Sunflower oil has almost doubled in price here (and I’m down to my last in the pantry), and most other things have gone up too. We are going into winter so I’m working more soup into the menu using routinely cheeper ingredients and food from the garden, and working on changing up my bread baking to allow for more variety without buying store rolls or buns or fancy loaves. I’ve become militant about using up food before it goes bad even if it means meals are a bit strange (last night we had yogurt as a dessert after dinner). My oldest son had a serious aversion to rice but I’ve worked with him to the point where he will now eat it, sometimes even enjoy it. Fussy eaters are expensive!

    I have been keeping a garden journal and like you, Brandy, when a reasonable germinating time has past, I sow seed again. I also fill in gaps where there are patches in rows where seed doesn’t come up, either with more seed or with seedlings that I start myself from seed in a small plastic greenhouse. I’ve already noticed a difference to how much food is coming out of small spaces with this practice.

    My daughter is going into hospital again later this week – her 6th admission in 8 months. I’ve learnt to ask more questions about insurance structure and rates to reduce nasty surprise bills, and even work her trips to the COVID testing station with other errands or the childrens sports in the same area to save on gas. I have sewed all the extra pjs she needed using fabric from my stash and mended some of her tops. I darned my husbands socks and mended a shirt for him. I sewed smart pants for my 3 year old to wear to a wedding, and new pj pants for my older son for winter. My oldest daughter taught my youngest daughter to crochet and I taught her to knit and she has been busy making herself lots of scarves and bags and accessories and gifts for her friends using yarn we have. Basic sewing and yarn craft knowledge definitely saves money!

    A recent discussion on our neighbourhood social media group made me realise how low our water and electricity bills are compared to other households. Doing things like turning lights off and using bath water to flush toilet definitely makes a difference!

    1. I am so sorry to hear about your daughter returning to the hospital.

      Yesterday I discussed utility bill amounts with a neighbor across the street who has the same model house that I do (just facing the opposite direction, which affects electricity use somewhat). I use a lot less electricity than she does, partially due to the fact that she has an electric oven, but she also turns the lights on more. Her bill was $100 more than mine and they are just two people.

      Her gas bill was lower than mine (my oven being gas and the fact that I run more hot water and the dryer more than she does for 2 people) but it was only about $12 less than mine, so I stil came out ahead. It was an interesting conparison.

    2. Tracy and Brandy, I’m sure I’ve told the story before, but it’s along the same lines as neighbor utility comparisons. We moved here in the month of October. The following spring, my neighbor and I got to talking about utility bills. I mentioned that I had expected our bills to rise a little from our Cali house because our house size doubled, but I didn’t expect our electric bill to be 5 or 6 times more. She told me what her electric bill was with her 4 kids and I was completely deflated because ours was 5x higher! I went on a saving mission around the house, trying to figure out the problem. The next bill came and it had barely budged. I then decided to call the company to do those energy checks. The guy assured me that I was doing great. I actually whined to him about my neighbor’s much lower bill and family size! Now he was stumped and ordered a check of the meter. It was fine.
      The next month I got another horrid bill and it had a highlighted notation on it that I needed to unlock the back gate because the house had never had a meter read and it been 7 months!! And then, the following month I received a huge credit!!! I hadn’t realized they didn’t have a street reader and it turns out that when they can’t get in, they charge the neighborhood average!! I didn’t have to make another electric payment for almost 2 yrs.!! Our locals sure we’re electric hogs to have such crazy high averages!!!!

      1. Oh wow! That is huge!

        We have smart meters here so they no longer have to drive to check the meters.

        I can see how much electricity I use and what each day of use costs me.

        The only thing I haven’t figured out is why it says we use more energy on Sundays. It’s the one day a week I don’t wash any clothes, and so I am certain I use less electricity that day, but it always shows more.

          1. I can log into my account online and it shows me exactly what I’ve used. They also send me a weekly email with where my bill is currently at and how much they expect the monthly total to be. I always try to make it lower than they say.

  15. Happy Belated Birthday, Brandy!

    I can’t remember much of what I did this past week, but I know it was a good week. Just the regular kind. We had company on Saturday, so we hit all the local thrift stores, where I found someone’s stash of completed/nearly completed cross stitch projects. It made me kind of sad, so I bought them all and hope to finish them. They were 25 cents a piece, but all craft items were 75% off! I also picked up a couple books. We had dinner at home, then attended the free Spring Sing festivities at the college my daughter, her friend, and I all attended, cheering for our sorority (they took 3rd place!). On Sunday, we had the kids over for dinner, and we had a nice ham that my daughter and son-in-law had provided. After divvying up the leftover ham, I froze the ham bone and plan to make a ham and navy bean soup with it, which i have never done before. I am trying to read what I own, and I just finished the 13th book this year that came from my own collection. We have enjoyed the nice weather and have spent a lot of time outside.

    1. Spring sing! Wow! The University of Oregon had a fabulous All-Campus Sing when I was there in the ’60s. The co-op dorm where I lived won numerous times. It was canceled one year in the early ’70s due to Vietnam protests and never came back. I didn’t sing in it (that’s why they won, LOL) but most of my friends did. I listened to the practices several nights a week. A wonderful memory. Congratulations to your daughter’s sorority.

      1. Thank you, Maxine! West Virginia Wesleyan College has had a Spring Sing competition for decades! My sorority won for 10 straight years in the 1980s and 1990s. That is the same sorority my daughter was in, and they won all the competitions the last year she was in it. Currently, it is more of a skit than a singing contest, but it is still a lot of fun to watch. I remember all the work we put into it and the memories made. Best of all is sharing in this with my daughter now.

  16. I planted the seedlings that I had purchased last week – petunias, impatiens, coleus, and vincas. I divided the plants and was able to fill all of my pots, three garden beds and I still have coleus left over for other beds. I am trying to plant a lot of flowers this year so that I can have color in my yard and cut flower arrangements in my home. I have a shady spot in my yard that I will plant hydrangeas in as they like partial sun and shade and make beautiful cut flowers. I will purchase a few bushes when I see a sale and then root branches to get more shrubs for less money. This has been successful for me in the past – I started with one bush at my previous home and left a dozen bushes flourishing when we moved. I will try to root gardenias in the same way. I resisted the urge to buy more flower seedlings and opted for seeds instead. I am hoping that the result will be a garden of Zinnias, Snapdragons, Stock, Marigolds and more before the end of summer.
    We ate leftovers from our Easter dinner almost all of last week. I put two bags of leftover ham into the freezer as well as two ham bones to use in future meals. I made a batch of tacos to use up some tortillas and added leftover beans to a rice dish to go along side it. I used pantry ingredients to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. A gallon of milk was nearing the expiration date so I used a portion to make a batch of chocolate pudding. Softening bananas went into banana bread.
    Last week we began work on our backyard and the installation of the garden. We cleared almost an acre of trees. I shopped around to get the best possible price for screened fill dirt and sod. I usually order several yards of ProMix for our garden. This is a topsoil that is blended with river sand and compost. When I called to order I discovered that prices had doubled so I will order another truckload or two of screened fill dirt instead and add in treated manure to ensure the dirt is ready for planting. I am hoping that we can have the remaining work completed in the backyard in the next week or two so that the garden can be planted. The space we are designing is much larger than we had previously so I am planning to try to grow corn, several kinds of squash, more herbs, and eggplant as well as our usual tomatoes, peppers, beans, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash.
    I saved a white cotton ribbon from a package to reuse on a bouquet later in the summer. I listened to free music on Spotify. We combined laundry loads, turned off the HVAC for 3 days last week, and definitely got lots of exercise working outside.
    Enjoy the week ahead everyone!

  17. It has been a quite week the only expenditure was on milk. I have been making fruit cake in the Remoska to avoid putting the oven on. I have cooked all meals from scratch using the cook once eat at least twice.

    I have dried all the washing on the line and am collecting up up ironing so as not to heat the iron too often.

    I have read books from the library website

    I have been sorting out jam and bottling jars, lids and seals. I still have some bottles which my grandmother used and I can still buy the sealing rings. I have all I need.

    I used a few days of warm weather to get the garden up to date, all that needs sowing now is the succession peas, french and runner beans also salad greens. We planted out a walnut tree grown from a walnut I picked in Beaune I also have 4 hazelnut bushes but the squirrels often get there before me.The rain has stopped and we will probably only have a little now until September. We are the driest part off the UK. I have already run out of water in the waterbutts. So we will have to pay for the water now,the plants are being mulched with lawn mowings when they are damp. My strawberries are flowering yum. Now for the lull until we start to harvest.
    Keep safe everyone

  18. Although I haven’t been driving my car for more than a year because of the repairs it needed, I hadn’t decided whether to sell it or get it repaired. Over the winter, I decided to sell it once the snowdrifts in my driveway melted. I have sold the car now, and will have some funds to put in my savings account to put towards a replacement.

    I am about to start my May grocery shopping, and my pantry and fridge’s freezer are looking much healthier than they did a month or two ago. I did get the baking supplies that were my goal for April. This coming month I plan to switch to lighter summer menus, and get some supplies before the people come to open their lakeside cabins at the end of May. Grocery prices, especially for meat, tend to be much higher once they come. That will leave me more money for buying produce to preserve in the summertime. This month, I hope to build a little more depth in my pantry in the things I use that are most likely to be in short supply.

    My grocery store chain has found an abundance of tropical fruits in Mexico to put on sale, including four varieties of mango. Although we can always get a couple of tropical fruits here in northern Alberta, this is a rare treat to have so many kinds to choose from all at once. It reminds me of the year I spent in Brazil when I was 17, or holidays in Hawaii. I plan to embrace our grocery retailers’ creativity when they substitute for what is normally on the shelves.

  19. Happy belated birthday!
    I am curious, do you make your own salad dressings and
    how do you get your children to eat salads daily?

    1. I do make my own dressings! You can see them under the recipe tab.

      I grew up eating salad as a first course for dinner every day. That’s one way. Another way is soup and salad for a meal, or a giant salad. I still remember coming home from school one day and having an early dinner with my parents. They made a huge salad and I loved that meal.

    2. Try giving them mini-bottles of oil and vinegar and whatever herbs and/or condiments you like and can afford and have them mix their own dressing. Mine loved it.
      Or serve salad-as-a-dip: Bowl of dipping sauce (Greek yoghurt and salt usually did for mine), cucumber and carrot sticks, kohlrabi sticks, little tender cauliflower florets … and separated little gem leaves. Yum!
      You may want to put all the veg into the hollows of a muffin tin to make them even more appealing.
      Good luck from Switzerland
      a

  20. -Hubby turned off the propane to the pump house even though we are to get down below freezing a couple morning this week.
    -Hubby took a load in the bed of his truck from us and two neighbors to the township clean up day for FREE. While there he saw a lady getting rid of hanging pots so he asked her if he could have them and she said yes. He took them down to one of the Amish that runs a greenhouse and grows a lot of flowers. They were thankful as getting plastic of anything in is getting harder.
    – I fixed most our meals in the air fryer or microwave. Hoping the wind goes down so we can use the grill or I’ll be moving it into the barn in a couple weeks.
    I fixed Big batch cookies using dried fruit I have plenty of and half the amount of the choc chips it called for.
    I fixed you are kidding cake… not sure if I saw that on here or one of the other blogs but Hubby is now going down and getting cake mixes (I used them for cookies in the past) and bring it up with what ever pie filling he wants mixed in.
    I had milk that was going to go bad, Hubby forgot to check the date on it when he bought it. I made sausage gravy for homemade biscuits , vanilla pudding and then choc. pudding. I should finish the rest in my coffee and him pouring it over the cake. He is the only person I know that pours milk over cake.
    I cashed in my points from Swagbucks and Pinecone Research to buy a nonelectric radio that is hand cranked and solar. It can take batteries if needed.
    I used my cash back at Amazon to buy 2 wind up pocket watches, a Big Ben windup alarm, wooden matches, a plunger (for washing clothes in a bucket). We are slowly getting things bought on the “if the grid goes down long term” list. We had a friend that went 2 wks before he could get fuel for his generator so lost everything in his freezer and frig when tornados hit the area. We both remember the blizzard when we were just out of high school, was almost a month before everything was back up and running.
    On the non-frugal side, we ordered a grandfather’s clock from an Amish, guess we can claim frugal as it was half the price we saw everywhere else, is being built to our desires’ not a prefab type and it’s a wind up so when the electric goes out (AGAIN) I won’t be wondering what time it is since the only other clock had a dead battery. Two of the kids gave us battery wall clocks.
    We went to Daughter4’s 1st grandbaby’s 1st birthday party. We took several bday cards for other family thinking if they weren’t there we would deliver them as they would be within 30 miles (we live 90 miles from the closest). Our one grandson stopped in (shocked his cousin LOL) and offered to deliver the rest of the cards as he would be either seeing them at the baby shower he was headed to or at work the next day as he works with two of them so wasn’t costing him anything to help. Saved us gas and at least 2 hrs of running as it would have been a drop off and go. He did text me a pick of each of them as he gave them their card.
    Prayers for Peace
    Blessed Be
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2022/04/on-not-frugal-side-but.html

    1. Sausage gravy and biscuits is always a favorite meal in my house. I cooked 4 lbs of sausage and mixed it with 2 lbs ground pork. A huge batch of gravy and biscuits will feed my kids , my dad and an elderly couple down the road. I think I spent about $2.50. I love inexpensive dinners.

      1. Does the $2.50 include all 6 pounds of meat? Sausage is closer to $4 a pound here.

  21. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Glad you enjoyed the film you saw for your birthday. More herbs sound like a great idea in the garden, they are so useful and also attractive as fillers.Looking forward to seeing some photos.
    We pulled our first rhubarb of the season and picked tulips, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and Swiss chard. The greens are coming to an end and we’re entering the hungry gap before the new veggies are ready. We’ve also eaten all the green veg I froze last year but it’s pretty good that we’ve lasted almost to the end of April. We still have some homegrown frozen fruit to eat up.
    I have been able to empty one freezer, switched it off and cleaned it. This will save on electricity until the garden starts producing excess again which I can freeze. I bottle some things too but find the freezers very useful.
    I checked our electricity usage for the last month and I’m happy that its lower than this month in the last three years. We are still on a fixed rate tariff until September so the increase in the price cap isn’t affecting us yet.
    My husband helped set up our local spring agricultural show and received breakfast and lunch and four free tickets. We had a nice day at the show.
    I needed to buy new sunscreen. I usually buy Nivea Factor 50 which was £6.50. I picked up the supermarkets own brand Factor 50 and compared the active ingredients on the back and they were identical so I bought that one for £3.50.
    We have been experimenting with a cheaper brand of tea, 80 bags for £1.55 instead of £3.50 for our usual brand. It’s perfectly acceptable and quite a saving. I have dusted off my tisane teapot and have been drinking mint tea, both hot and cold. We have spearmint, peppermint and chocolate mint in the garden.
    I have been searching for a small rug and over many months didn’t find anything I liked in the charity shops and thought they were quite expensive. So off to TKMaxx and bingo! A brand new rug I like at a price only two pounds dearer than the charity shop rugs.
    I also scoured the charity shops for packs of sheer knee high socks. I found several packs of natural tan and black, the packaging was damaged and one pack had one pair out of five missing but the prices were reduced from £3, £5 and £6 to 75 pence a packet. Bargain!
    Stay safe everyone.

  22. This is over the last little while ( been a while since I posted).

    Written few weeks ago ( forgot to post)

    Frugal savings have mainly been in the small things- which do add up.

    I sent both girls to school with lunch daily- saving on the younger having a ( very expensive) school lunch or the older going to a local shop to buy something. This really adds up. Most of the food they take are leftovers/ food we eat anyway. This really cuts costs.

    I managed to collect my youngest from school at the end of the school day or soon afterwards. This saves an enormous amount on after-school club ( £18 for more than 2 hours).

    I managed to hang washing up to dry outside.

    I did my taxes for the year- and submitted on time. May have helped motivate the frugality! I have become good at doing my own tax return over the years.

    Most food has been the yellow sticker items from the freezer. I buy yellow sticker items and freeze them. Will buy very little full price. I can’t imagine how much I have saved over the years.

    Did a lot of mending. Saves on buying new items.

    Son at university wants to share a house with others next year. We had a pragmatic conversation about how much it will cost. I think he will do this but suspect it is not going to be the saving he expects. On the other hand- he can rent year-round for the price of the 40 weeks residence so he won’t lose out. He is settling well and this is another independence step. There is a free bus service he can use to get to the university. In his residence it is about £5 to wash/ dry one load of clothes. He will save on this.

    Booked son a ticket to visit for his sister’s birthday for £42 return. Given he is 150 miles away this saves a lot on petrol. My car is also very elderly ( but still runs beautifully)- I tend to use car for work and not much else. It is cheaper for him to use the train than for me to drive. It saves my time and wear on my car as well.

    Bought a dress I really wanted ( it was from Hobbs and had been in my basket as a fantasy buy until I gave myself a strict talking- to). I got it from eBay new with tags still on for £23 ( eBay price plus using Nectar points). This was a fantastic saving. Frugal fairy rewarding me there!

    Having just said that- one thing I have realised is that we do not really need clothes as a family. Need to go into the loft to find hand me downs for youngest. I also recently found my dress from my final school dance ( I think Americans call it a prom). I washed it ( marked dry clean only but finest polyester). While it was drying eldest daughter pounced. She tried it on and it fit perfectly. Not sure where she will use it but it made me smile.

    I wanted to watch a film I enjoy. Not available on a streaming service unless I paid £7 but I bought the DVD for £2.27 on eBay. Not a bad saving.

    Have been using turkey and goose carcasses (frozen) from Christmas to make stock for rescue angel to have with food. Pretty certain that it was on here that I read that the carcasses could be cooked up more than once to make stock. Works like a dream. Could have been even more organised regarding this but was very tired over Christmas so dropped the ball. Probably should say that the reason I make a turkey and a goose AND a ham on Christmas Day is because it means I put my feet up for a long time afterwards – then freeze what is left. Rescue angel ( enormous dog) obviously has a much better sense of smell and taste than I have and slightly weaker stock from the third batch is still very much appreciated. Currently on dried food and he is not impressed. Need to haul out a chicken to cook ( we have the meat and some stock- he has stock left over).

    Bought a Poole pottery lamp on eBay for very little. It needs a shade. Found a shade for a third of retail price.

    Update before posting: went to Scotland with youngest to visit family during Easter holiday. Stayed with family. I took a leg of lamb (reduced from £34 to £9) as a meal. While I was hauling it out of the freezer on the morning of the trip I found frozen Camembert for baking so took that too ( also reduced). Arrived with my yellow stickers- my family know me well! We all had a lovely meal. My sister has frozen the lamb bone and will bring it down when she visits ( I will make stock). We used a Railcard to get 1/3 off prices. On both journeys we took food we had prepared. My sister collected us from a station 15 mins drive from her house. I was able to bring stuff from my mum’s house ( she has moved into sheltered accommodation) back instead of it being posted.

    Sister is going to dog and house sit when we go on holiday for a week in summer. Already planning how to save money on the self- catering.

    We had the hot water go out on the Thursday before Easter. Held on until the next week to have a plumber I know visit. I had already tried all options – it needed a plumber. Have decided that cold showers are not fun. Sure I saved money by not calling out a plumber over Easter weekend.

    Older daughter/ son ( both over 18) looked after younger sister when I had to go to work over the holidays. Holiday camp can be £40 a day here in London so this is a huge saving. Hoping my time of having to use these camps is over.

    Trying to stay out of shops except for milk/ eggs/ fruit / veg. Have planted some seeds so hope to have my own produce ( we shall see).

    I think that is all for now.

    1. Hi Sheena
      Great deal on the Hobbs dress! I love the thought of your daughter wearing your special dress from back in the day.

    2. Sheena, I love your hauling a bargain leg of lamb all the way to Scotland, and your sister planning to haul the bone all the way back to London.

      I think you get the Frugality Blue Ribbon this week.

  23. Hello!

    My free time is mostly being spent in my garden. Last fall, I heavily mulched my strawberry beds with leaves, and the soil underneath looks so good now! I raked out the leaves, and pulled out dead stems. I guess the leaves really fertilized the plants, they are full of blooms, and look very healthy. I’m going to have a bumper crop of strawberries it seems. I’m planning to get in a good habit of applying Sluggo Plus though, because their is nothing more frustrating than finding berries that have been nibbled by pill bugs!

    I tried a new economical meal from Budget Bytes, it was vegetables and gravy. I served it with homemade bread. I have found several wonderful recipes from that site.

    I picked up some work (from home) at a local university, working as a standardized patient/client.

    I found a box of gourmet coffee pods in a parking spot by my vehicle. They weren’t from a store in the plaza, so I assume they fell out of someone’s trunk. They were still there after I ran my errands, so I picked them up.

    I received another $15 off a $75 purchase at Target, so once again, I stocked up on food items (mostly) that we typically purchase there. I combined the coupon with cartwheel offers, and printed coupons. I saved significantly!

    All meals at home, line dried laundry, gave haircuts to family, and all the usual habits.

    Have a great week!

  24. Happiest Birthday to you! Just finished reading The Last Grand Duchess by Bryn Turnbull ( Olga Romanov) for entertainment this past week. Thrifty actions this week include harvesting lettuce for salad-lots of salad for meals this week too & composting all usable kitchen scraps.

  25. How nice when you can share with others! That is some amazing lettuce that you were able to grow! And Happy Birthday!

    I went to multiple stores for shopping this week. One store I got to has 4 shelves and a shopping cart filled with items that are 75% off. I got 8 packages of maxi pads for $1 which I put away in our storage. My bill for that store was $60, but I paid $20 oop for everything. I found canned ham and bought 4 which triggered a $5 off coupon with those items. I put the ham in food storage as well. Another local grocery store had grapes for 99c/lb and bacon for $3/lb. They also had chicken thighs for 99c/lb. All good stuff to eat or put in my freezer/food storage.

    I exercised at home and lost another pound. This is weight I have gained back. But I’ve lost 6 lbs already. I’m still overweight but feeling stronger again with less body aches. I use Walk at Home on YouTube, Yoga with Adrienne and vigorous house cleaning to work off calories. I use hand weights and do a good body stretch morning and night. The stretching really helps with tension.

    I checked out 15 books from the library. I enjoyed the new book by Anne Hillerman. I am reading Anne Perry – Three Debts Paid right now. I love to sit on my deck and read in the spring sunshine. Listening to the birds – starlings, robins and the owl in the evening is relaxing. I enjoy seeing the trees blossom and the spring bulbs. April skies are such a gorgeous blue hue. We’ve been BLESSED with several rain storms and I’m so grateful. We had one day of solid rain. I plugged in my twinkle lights and lit a candle. I opened the window a crack to listen to the rain.

    My husband and I went to dinner using a gift card and were able to order the nightly special using the gift card. Brought home leftovers enough for 4 lunches.

    My husband picked up an extra work shift. Every penny counts.

    Have a wonderful week!

      1. I loved the book! The history of the Navajo culture and the background of Lake Powell was fascinating. I hope you find it and enjoy it.

  26. I am soooo impressed with the size of your lettuce, Brandy! I’m having trouble growing lettuce starts indoors, but my green onions are finally starting to sprout on my balcony.

    My frugal week:
    – I made some of my Shake n Bake tofu (http://approachingfood.com/shake-n-bake-tofu/) Yummy! And way cheaper than chicken.
    – I cut open a lotion bottle and scraped out the inside, getting another weeks worth out of it.
    – I found a free online music class for my daughter when her usual class was canceled
    – took good care of the things we have: deep cleaned the washer and humidifier, and cleaned the nursery carpet.
    – went through my toolbox and found two hooks that I put up as coat hooks. They aren’t exact matches but that won’t show with the coats hanging on them, and now I’ll have time to keep an eye out for the perfect hooks at the right price.
    – repurposed the leftover Easter ham as the Japanese dish ‘ham katsu’ (essentially breaded ham steaks), using a milky egg mixture and panko crumbs. I also used the last of some mini peppers and the last of some cream cheese to make cheese-stuffed breaded pepper poppers (like jalapeño poppers, but just using what I had at home) for myself. I really dislike food waste so I mixed up the leftover egg mixture with the leftover panko crumbs and fried it up too. Turned out great! Like a cross between French toast and an omelette, and my daughters enjoyed it cut into strips for lunch the next day.
    – I made pizza and put some chopped Easter ham on it, and froze the rest of the ham chopped for future pizzas.
    – I’m slowly working my way through all the high end tea gifted to me by a friend several years ago. I’ve finished up the Cream Earl Grey (my favourite) and am now drinking BaronessGrey. A cup is a treat and I enjoy it even more knowing that I didn’t pay the retail cost.
    – took both my daughters to the local outdoor preschool. Quality, free programming — I’m thrilled every time we can attend!
    – baked strawberry muffins (minis for the kids, regular sizes for the adults), as well as sweet potato brownies, and chocolate chip cookies. I gave away a batch of the cookies to my old workplace, packaged in a pretty bag I traded for years ago. Networking always is made smoother with freshly baked goods!
    – bought an online art course as a gift for my sister, during an online sale (70%+ off). I googled for a discount code and saved an additional $1.50. I’ll pair it with a very nice sketchbook from my paper supplies. I paid for the course using monies in my paypal account earned from online surveys, so a very affordable gift!
    – got a free spring themed craft from the library for my daughter
    – made straw yoghurt by mixing yoghurt and powdered dehydrated strawberries. Soooo yummy!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  27. I made a double batch of Brandy’s laundry soap. I absolutely love knowing EXACTLY what’s in it and I use “Sunlight” soap which gives the washing an old-fashioned fragrance. I peg my washing on a rack, which I move outside or inside depending on the weather. I only use my dryer for finishing off in wet weather. I’m still cooking my recipe a week from my River Cottage Veg everday! cookbook to keep me inspired, which can be hard to do when there is only one to cook for – but good nutrition helps with good health and that is a prudent goal for sure! I visited a new museum on a local university campus, which was free and, as we are having a short fare-free period in Sydney (they are making it up to us after some terrible transport breakdowns), even getting there was free. I did have lunch there, on a beautiful terrace, overlooking a park and down to the city but hey, that’s why we are frugal – so when we wish, we can treat ourselves. After that, I walked to a nearby shopping centre and bought myself a very pretty Easter wreath that was marked down 70% to $10. It was lovely being out and about in the Autumn sunshine and being a tourist in my own city. There’s so much to see and do that is free or not very expensive on my doorstep, and which tourists travel half a world to see. But the same can be said for every one of us, so let’s bloom where we are planted.

  28. Hello everyone. Back again, but I am not sure it will be regular yet. I am working out some new cooking routines for another member of my family. It is going well, just another learning experience.

    We went back and got a good supply of the light bulbs from Goodwill. We tried one of the 40 watt equivalents before we went and found it was the equivalent of a 60 watt. We also found a few extra glasses, a casserole dish with high sides for the toaster oven (something I have been looking for), and a cannister set partially used to straighten up a bathroom cabinet. Hopefully, what is left will help in the other bathroom. Things are finally getting way closer to normal like a few years back. Cleaning is getting easier and more the old routine. I have started doing something I want to each day which makes me very happy.

    The last 6 months I am doing mostly a one month grocery shop. If there are good sales somewhere I will get the sale items I need, fresh vegetables and milk if its convenient and I have other errands. Other times, I just skip it if there are no other errands. I read some articles when it became apparent I was moving to that. One point that hit home was that if you were shopping for a month and getting fruit that is still ripening like bananas to get some green, mid ripe, and ripe so none will be overripe before using.

    I made plum sauce from frozen plums. A couple frozen tomatoes will be used the next available time. We are really enjoying the frozen blueberries and strawberries. I plan on thawing out some roasts to cut up and can making more space in the freezer. I also want to can more beans before the weather gets really hot. I have decided to buy powdered eggs to store. I would appreciate suggestions for storing flour. I am not freezing it, but I saw about 4 other ways to store it. I value your opinions.

    There are only 20 oz. frozen hash brown potatoes in the 30 oz. bag at our Walmart. I thought the bag felt light and roomy when making a breakfast casserole so I weighed it. I am glad I changed my mind about doubling it to freeze one that night. I haven’t bought them but the Aldi’s bag felt full.

    I goggled and found 1/2 cup baking soda can replace bleach or just brighten in a normal load of clothes. It really works and is so much cheaper without the strong smell. I tested it on tennis shoes the second load I and knew it was a winner for us. I plan to try the washer sheets when my detergent gets low, saving space and money. I read most everyone only uses only a half a sheet per load. Since some is made in Canada maybe some of you can share your experiences, if any.

    Have a great week!

  29. My hubby put a shelf up in bathroom and only needed to by the L brackets. It’s not fancy, but it’s functional.

    He also found a doorknob and dead bolt at habitat restore for $15

    I used onion leftover from pizza in chicken salad(made from a leftover baked whole chicken).

    The teen made 2 pizzas for dinner one night, extreme pepperoni and Supreme (pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms). She also made Buffalo chicken taquitos Friday night with Spanish rice. She also made 2 batches of brownies. (I like having another cook in the house)

    My mom sent over a frozen breakfast burrito, and a small frozen pizza

    I redeemed a Panera reward for a free pastry.

    I gave my husband a haircut.

    I purchased a new pack of underwear and wore a pair last Tuesday. Well, halfway through the day , the band started separating from the panty. When I got home I emailed the company and they had me send pictures and they are sending me a new pack. That was the only pair that looked damaged, so if they don’t want it back, I’ll just mend it myself.

  30. It was my birthday and my sister’s birthdays last week. Celebrated with dinner out using a coupon and the birthday person eating free. Went to the library and got books and dried my laundry on the clothes rack. I won a gift certificate to a local clothing store and got a new outfit for my birthday. Had a free lunch at work during a meeting. Meal prepped for the week out of my food storage. I am trying to drink less soda and more water. Walked three days last week for exercise. We had a good rain today on our garden.

  31. Happy last week of April everyone. It is also my last week of full-time work. I am going into semi-retirement beginning May 1. I will work on 3 projects this summer – instead of my usual – who knows how many – and then work next tax season. I will be spending about 10 days in Okanogan at the beginning of May, going through things in my Mother’s house. I am hoping to get it on the market this summer.
    Not too much frugal last week – just too tired. I brought breakfast and lunch all days last week. On Monday, also known as “Tax Day” in my world, the bosses took us all out to dinner to celebrate.
    I was able to use a $5 off $25 coupon at the local nursery, and got my seed potatoes, onion sets and lettuce seeds. Planted the first planting of lettuce on Sunday.
    We had leftover BBQ from Easter for most of the week.
    One night I made a quesadilla, and another, when I was tired, I had popcorn and fruit for dinner.
    Made split peas soup with leftover ham and a ham bone from the freezer.
    Made fried rice using brown rice, carrots, celery, peas, eggs and chives, the chives were from the garden.

  32. It is still so cool here, no outdoor gardening yet. *I’ve had a lot of success meal planning, cooking at home, freezing leftovers before I lose them, making a shopping list and doing grocery pick up. I feel like I’ve settled in to a pretty good routine. * For fun, I read library books and watched shows while knitting and crocheting. I finished another pair of mittens and a child’s afghan last week, using yarn I already had. *This is birthday season for us (four of our five were born in the spring). We give $40 to each of our children for their birthdays. They all prefer we venmo the money instead of sending a check or cash now. Less fun for me, but it saves a card and a stamp. I always call them on their birthday too. *I started a new semester of my college classes and bought the books I needed used. I also tore out pages of my notebooks from last term so I could use the blank pages for this term. This isn’t a huge monetary savings, but shows huge progress for me. In the old days part of the fun of school was buying all new supplies. I’m pleased with myself for using up partially used notebooks for my classes. *My husband and son love professional basketball and try to go to a game each season. Our team made the playoffs (which is rare, we don’t have a history of being very good…lol) which is so exciting. They looked online and saw that they could get tickets for Game 7 of this round of the playoffs for a really good price. The risk is the series is first to four wins, so it might not get to game 7. They took the risk and our team is tied 2-2 so it will go to game 7!! They are very excited. I’m so happy for them. It is a reminder to me that one reason to be thrifty and not waste money on things that don’t matter to us, is so that when something fun comes up like this, we have the money for it. I’ve mentioned before that our son (almost 20) has had some mental health troubles. One thing that has helped him and his dad bond is pro basketball, so I’m so glad they found cheap tickets and that the team came through so they can go! I hope everyone has a great and thrifty week!

    1. What is one team wins the next two games ? I know nothing about professional sports but don’t understand how 2-2 means there will be a for sure seventh game. If one team wins 4 out of 6 games why would there be a 7th?

      1. I must have explained it poorly or typo’d…It’s the best of seven series/first team to win four games wins and advances. When I wrote it, we had tied the series two games each. The next game, our opponents won, so it is now 3-2. Game six is coming here on Friday. (That’s what they have tickets to). If we win it’ll be tied up and they go back to the other team’s court for the final game. If the other team wins here on Friday, it’s over and we are out. Sorry I was confusing.

        1. I understand now. Maybe you just had a typo saying 2-2 meant a for sure game 7 that your guys got tickets to. What 2-2 really means is a for sure game 6 which they get to go to. The only thing that guarantees game 7 is 3-3. Is this by chance Memphis vs MN? I live near Memphis. I think I’ve only been to a single pro basketball game in my life in Houston and it was 30 years ago when I was hosting a college recruit and my employer was paying.

          1. Ha! Yes it is Minnesota verses Memphis! It has been quite a series with very well-matched teams. It’s been fun for us to be in the tournament. I’ve never been to a game, but my husband and son try to go to at least one a year.

  33. Two more WWII books, both of these written for kids but interesting for adults. We Couldn’t Leave Dinah is a children’s novel by Mary Treadgold is an adventure story set on a fictional island in the English Channel during World War II and eventually during a German occupation. Treadgold won the 1941 Carnegie Medal recognizing the year’s outstanding children’s book.

    The War that Saved My Life and the sequel The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Geared toward 14 plus crowd, especially the first book in the series is superb. I have mentioned these before and have given many copies as gifts for children and grandchildren of friends. Excellent not only in how it depicts the war through the eyes of children, but also how it portrays how children who have been abused behave. We used to tell our foster kids who were afraid of becoming “too nice” and being taken advantage of, that they would never lose those self-protective skills that helped them get through abusive situations. We were only teaching them alternative behaviors, the way people learn a new language, and they could use these new skills but the others would always be there if they ended up back in an abusive situation. The War that Saved My Life vividly illustrates this concept, without ever being preachy.

    1. What a wonderful way to explain the importance and possibility of being nice to your foster children!

      If people have seen “nice”, or have seen families or groups or communities of people who act in the best and most supportive ways, it shows them that those communities are possible to create and live in.

  34. I’m always amazed at the amount of food you harvest! I’m trying to use your playbook and plant as much food as possible instead of mostly flowers and herbs. Since our soil is still cold from snow, i planted some garlic in a large pot that i had. I did buy two bags of composted manure to refresh all our large pots. I replanted some walking onions that didn’t sink into the ground last year. I’ve replanted some seeds that were too spindly to make it in this world. One day i was able to pressure can pork with shower water i had collected. I felt pretty accomplished that day! The pork was bought months ago. I rarely have to run water for dishes which is awesome. (Even as our water bill continues to rise with almost yearly price increases.) We’re buying my SIL’s used car. She’s in Ca., we’re in the U.P. of Mich. We’d thought about taking the train out there and making it a vacation which seems a bit indulgent to me. I decided not to go as i felt it was more important that my husband go. He’ll fly out and drive the car back, the cheapest option. He’ll take the scenic route and see his brother in Texas who is fighting cancer. He hasn’t seen this sister or brother in three years. We decided to pay upfront for the car and skip the interest payments on a loan. In the meantime, my 12 year old car is in the shop with thousands of dollars of needed repairs. So, all that to say, two steps forward, one step back. We have the money but it’s a significant blow. I just heard a speech this morning on being positive. So that is what i will be working on as we go through this period. Positivity is free. My husband has a birthday this week. He always gets a made from scratch chocolate cake and frosting. I’m making extra to share with a few friends. I make up the cake mixes ahead of time so i just need to add the wet. Easy peasy. I’m sure there’s more but i didn’t keep track. Stay well and stay positive!

  35. First, for Margaret in So. Louisiana, here is my potato based sour dough recipe: For the starter: 1/2 c. instant potato flakes, 2c very warm water, 1/2c sugar, 2tsp salt, 1 package of yeast. Mix all ingredients and keep at room temperature, uncovered for 24 hours. Make bread and store remaining started in jar in the refrigerator. To feed: Stir well then add 1 c. warm water, 1/2 c sugar, 3 T potato flakes. Mix well and let stand with closed lid for 24 hours at room temp. Cover and refrigerate. I make my bread after the 24 hour sitting time before putting in the frig. You are supposed to feed every 3-5 days but I have gone as long as 3 weeks without feeding. To bring it back to life I just feed every 3 days for a couple of feedings and it seems to work fine.For the bread: I make 3 loaves at a time and freeze. I will list the ingredients for 2 loaves and in () I will list the ingredients for 3 loaves. 6 c (9c) bread flour (I use half whole wheat flour and half bread flour), 1 (2)T sugar, 1 (1 1/2T) salt, 1 (1 1/2)c starter, 1/8 (1/4)c oil, 1 1/2 (2 1/2) c warm water. Mix all ingredients together. Place dough in large covered bowl or bowl covered with a damp cloth. Let stand 8-12 hours. Divide dough into 2 (3) parts and let rest 15 minutes. Knead each part on floured surface at least 10 times. Place in greased loaf pans and cover with damp cloth for 8-12 hours. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes. Turn out of pan while still hot. I find the rising in the pans takes less than 8 hours. Mixing it at night, shaping in the morning, then baking in the afternoon/evening works well. It is actually very simple to make.
    On the frugal front:
    I planted more seeds in the garden, lettuce, radishes, carrots and such. We ate our first radishes this week. I put them in the half vinegar, half water and really enjoyed them. I bought 2 pork loin roasts at 1.47/# which I will slice into chops and freeze. I also found a multi package of matzo crackers marked down to $4. There were 5 regular sized boxes inside the big box…so .80/box for crackers! I love matzo crackers, so I am happy. It was the high point of my shopping trip. Grocery shopping is making me unhappy and frustrated these days so I try not to go too often. We have stayed home mostly. I dried 2 loads of laundry on the line. We are using all leftovers. And I used the water from the rain barrel to water the garden. My DIL gave me a bunch of lilies for my yard. They bloom a really dark red…so pretty. That’s it from Southwest Virginia. Many blessings.

    1. Marley, thank you for the bread recipe. I have been given some instant potatoes and was looking for different ways to use them. I will give your recipe a try soon.
      Hope all is well in SW Va. I went to school in Roanoke and loved my time there. 🙂

      1. My apologies if this is a duplicate suggestion! Instant potatoes can be used to make gnocchi, which are dumplings made with potatoes and flour. Gnocchi can stand alone as a pasta entree or accompany dishes with gravy such as stroganoff. Taste of home has a good recipe for gnocchi with instant potatoes. The process is very easy, with surprisingly good results. I don’t generally use the suggested spices, and have found that it takes a bit longer than 60 seconds for the gnocchi to float. Hope the info helps!
        https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/instant-potato-gnocchi/

  36. It’s been a good, frugal week in Houston!
    We filled trash cans with leaves and pollen.
    Costco pizzas are still $10, which we bought for one son’s birthday party. We invited friends and family to a nearby park for pizza and homemade cookie cake. It was simple, but fun.
    I signed up to bring snacks to one son’s baseball game, and took chips (bought on sale) and HEB generic gatorade in the small bottles.
    I sold some shoes on Mercari.
    I bought two things I really didn’t need to upgrade: a newer $60 Kitchenaid stand mixer with the tilt beater (to replace mine with the bowl that snaps in), and a $100 excellent condition Vitamix blender, with lots of accessories and a larger pitcher than my Vitamix. I need to list both of the older appliances for sale, and hopefully I can recoup part of what I spent.
    I shopped from my grocery list, mostly.
    I bought gas at Sam’s, which is usually cheaper.
    I took the kids to pick berries in a vacant lot after church. We probably picked about a quart, but it’s really too soon for the berries.
    I bought a marked down box of croissants ($1) for our neighbors.
    I made arrangements for a 13 year old neighbor to babysit 2 or 3 of the kids at her house; her mom will be there, and she is willing to work for less than the $15/hr some of the older babysitters charge.
    Paid bills online to save a stamp.
    I found more marked-down diapers.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  37. Happy birthday, Brandy! Your day sounds like it was relaxed and enjoyable!
    It is a beautiful time of year here, with cherry trees, magnolia trees and tulips in full blossom. My husband and I have taken our walks in different neighborhoods to enjoy the different gardens.
    My daughter bought 60 lbs of end-of-winter apples for $18, so we had an applesauce canning marathon: 28 quarts of applesauce for her storage! Plus, we pressure canned 10 pints of chicken she had found on sale. She finds that her family’s grocery bill has gone up about 25-30% here in Canada. I try to read international news and unfortunately there continue to be worldwide forecasts of much worse to come this year, both food pricing and shortages.
    We’ve planted vegetables where we can in our yard. We abut an urban wildlife zone which is pleasant and private, but it does mean that there is plenty of opportunistic wildlife wanting to nibble plants!
    I found a lovely lace French-made bra in my size at under half price. Wow, I see why French lingerie has such a fine reputation for quality!

  38. Happy Birthday Brandy!

    I did not know cilantro was coriander!

    Our week has been good, harvesting more mandarins then we know what to do with. I have shared them with family and friends.

    We went fishing catching three meals worth of fish, in just over two hours, that we grilled and had with lemon wedges and sides of either vegetables or salad.

    I cooked lentil and beef bolognese sauce which I made different meals with for the remainder of the week. I put it inside pastry with a layer of mashed broccoli, served it with pasta and did a tray bake dish.

    No watering of the garden has been necessary due to the rain received.

    1. In the U.S., the leaves are called cilantro but the seeds are called coriander. I know the rest of the world calls it coriander in English so I try to put both.

  39. A very happy birthday to you Brandy! During the cold weather months I have been feverishly working on handmade bazaar items for this fall. I usually go to the after holidays to the sales and get my supplies for crafting for the next season and found some great bargains I can work with. Meanwhile to save money I have been working in the yard and in the house painting rather than paying for those services. My husband and I have been in California for his work for the last two years and the renters have not kept up the yard or house very well. He is scheduled to return in August want to get everything in shape before he gets home. He will have to do some of the repairs but it will be less of a mess. I was going through my pantry and found some dried orange slices and apples that were more than 3 years old. Rather than throwing them away I am going to make potpourri simmering pot kits to sell at the bazaar. I didn’t want to waste them. Do you have any other ideas I could use them for? I would be grateful. Hope you all have a great week 🙂 Gaila in the NW

  40. Hi Everyone!
    This is a super busy time of year for my family with getting our business up and running for the season, wrapping up homeschooling and all the other busyness of family life. In previous years we would do lots of convenience meals or takeout. I have been determined to do better this year and I have so far! Some nights it is very simple meals but the only time we have eaten out is when we go to one of our parent’s houses and once my mother in law brought us over lunch from our favorite place because she knew we were really busy.

    Other frugal tasks include–cutting my husband and my son’s hair, wearing clothes we already owned for Easter, and simply staying out of stores (which is easy to do when you are so busy!).

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  41. Well, tomorrow 4/26 is my only child’s 18th birthday. He’s a senior in high school. Graduation looms on the horizon. He’s got a plan though.

    We stay home most days save for travel to watch my son play his final year of high school baseball. This is it! Then my days as a sports mom are over. I’m sad about it. I’ve raised a good, kind, and smart young man. 3.9 GPA. He eventually wants to obtain his CDL & drive a snowplow for the state of Ohio & earn a pension. His uncle worked for ODOT & has a nice pension because of it.

    Since I had to work Saturday, I was able to watch my son pitch on YouTube as a local sports channel was broadcasting the game live! So that was cool. Sadly they lost after a 3-0 lead.

    We have been cooking from our limited stock of food. There’s just two of us here. Husband and myself.

    —Made chicken tortilla soup in my InstaPot which fed us for 2 days. Already had the chicken thighs in the freezer. Shopping at ALDIs for canned goods does save us money. Prices of eggs has really gone up! $2.28/doz at my local ALDIs.

    —Power went out last night for about 3 hours. Good thing I have a lot of candles which supplied us with some light until power was restored.

    —Watched Call the Midwife on PBS. As an RN myself, the show fascinates me. I’m a critical care/ICU RN at my local hospital here in NE Ohio & takes me less than 10 min to get to work daily.

    —Used a GC from my son that he gave me for Christmas to use to get a coffee drink at Starbucks.

    —Enjoyed Real Simple magazine that I get for free through RecycleBank, although their selection of free magazines has really dwindled the last year.

    —Using a $250 GC that I won in Dec 2020 in a giveaway for a local catering company to order food for my son’s upcoming Open House/graduation party in June. They told me I could save it for 2022 when I won it. He wanted the party. He’s been a wonderful young man so he deserves it. Costs are being split between myself, his father, and his uncle(who’s like his 2nd father). No charges for a hall rental as it’s being hosted at a private home along the shores of Lake Erie in NE Ohio where we live.

    —paid 1/2 the cost of his senior yearbook. He’s never had one before but wanted one this year. Which he won’t get until Sept 2022.
    —bring my own food to work for lunch. Also my own drinks even though bottled water is available to me at work.

    I know I could do better to be more frugal. Which is why I love Brandy & this blog & all the readers. I read the comments every week, even though I don’t always post.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  42. Happy Birthday, I was cutting my husband’s hair on Saturday and I always think of your blog when I do. I still haven’t gotten very good at cutting my own hair except my bangs and he’s not quite willing to take the leap yet. The nice thing is I can get a quality cut at the military Navy Exchange Salon for less than $20 and there is a $5 coupon on the back to be used in the store. I usually go twice a year to reshape my fast growing hair. I’m on the basil train right now two. I made and froze several 4oz jars of pesto last week. I still prefer pine nuts even though it’s more expensive than making it with walnuts. Here on Guam we’re in full dry season swing. 92 degrees by day 78 at night but dry! My Avocadoes are coming on fast they have been weighing in between 1.5-3pounds. We eat at least one a day. I also freeze the extra’s to be used in Poke out of season. Also the dreaded Mango is back. I don’t think a 6 month hiatus was enough. I’m already freezing, drying, and making jam. This year my neighbors trees are doing much better than the last 2 years. They all have so many they litter the sidewalks. I take a walk in the morning and pick up the bruised ones. I feed them to my chickens and it’s cut down on my chicken feed by a 1/3. The Mango season runs for about 5 months, so I hope to keep up this trend. We just got our first dragon fruit of the year on Monday. We share one for breakfast like a fruit cup split in half. Our chain link fence is about up so I’ve started looking for permanent shrubs to disguise it. The side yards and back yard is fruit and vegetables but the front will be flowers. We already have 2 established Bouganviella’s and a varigated red hibiscus. I’m adding a pink orange hibiscus, a thai gardenia, and I finally found a minature rose here on Guam! We can’t grow full size because of the heat but it’s a start. I’ve also got Cannas, and small herbs I’ll put in like Thyme, sage, and rosemary. I have vinca and zinnas started for the very front they both reseed well. The backside of the fence inside the yard will be lined with Barbados Cherry shrubs and Pineapples. Our starfruit tree is covered in blossoms so I’ll look forward to a 4th of July harvest once again. I have a new stalk of bananas flowering as well. Our solar panels were finally turned on this week. We also have battery backup. We’re producing about 80kilowatts on a sunny day. Yesterday it rained all day and we still produced 40 kilowatts. Our power company still does net metering so any excess will go against whatever we use overnight that the batteries can’t support. Right now our 24 hour usage is about 60kilowatts. Although now that we can see what we’re consuming we’ve gotten better about turning off our individual split a/c’s when we leave a room as well as lights and computers. Our power bill had been averaging $525 a month since Guam has very high power rates. We estimated we will pay ourselves back in less than 6 years for the whole system. We also have room to expand to 6 more batteries if net metering goes away and we’ll be completely off the grid at that point.

  43. I was happy to be able to get into my garden briefly, in a small gap between all the rain we have been getting. I was able to plant some small cabbage starts, more English shelling peas and part of my onion starts along with a few more snow peas, lettuce, and cilantro. I did a garden update with pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. It won’t be long until I get some Boc Choi and some lettuce from the first planting I did a while back. As always, my garden is the biggest way to keep my grocery bill down once it gets going because not only do I not have to buy much produce, we eat that instead of other things I buy–more veggie-based meals.

    I finished a quilt top and turned it into the quilt shop to be machine quilted. It will be for my mother-in-law’s 90’s birthday in early July, and had to be turned in early as the shop is very busy. The picture of that is on my blog, along with the 2 I got back from the quilt shop.

    I cleaned up the house, washed tablecloths, etc. after Easter and we ate up the leftovers. I cooked chicken-curry-rice casserole using previously frozen broccoli from our garden, brown rice, and turkey chunks I had also frozen, dried onions from our garden and a can of gf cream-of-mushroom soup. I used some frozen bananas for muffins and made cookies, most of which were frozen for eating a few at a time.

    I made a large vegetable-hamburger soup using many things I had preserved. I’ve had that about 4 or 5 times this week. I actually like soup for breakfast at times, so was glad to have it on hand. My husband BBQ’d chicken drumsticks and I mashed potatoes and cooked home-canned green beans and we had that for several meals. We were pretty busy, so I didn’t mind cooking less and eating the same meal multiple times at all.

    We bought 2 packages of chicken thighs and drumsticks for 99c/lb and a few more groceries. The bill was about $30 and then we spent about $20 at the bread store where my husband got discounted bagels, loaves, and buns. One loaf was gluten-free for me, the rest for him and the kids. We froze most of that bread.

    My husband has been spending countless hours researching different phone services, internet, cable services, streaming options and so forth for weeks now. We chose some major changes and just went for it. It is still in process, but in the end, we cut the cable t.v. service, kept the internet, are buying our own router to avoid the $25/month charge for that, changed our phones to another less expensive company, paid off the balance on my husband’s phone so now we own it–hence no phone installment payments, (we already owned mine and our daughter’s), put our daughter on her own plan of her choosing since she has a job now and she will pay for her own cell service now (keeping the phone she has been using), and have purchased a Firestick that we will stream apps with on our t.v. One daughter has purchased Netflix for us for years, another daughter just started us on Disney +, and we have Prime through Amazon, and have had it for years due to the shipping options. We may get Hulu for local channels and Discovery + if we feel we need more. With all these changes, we will save about $250/month, even if we add apps later. Seriously. It’s been a lot of work, but after we pay ourselves back for the equipment we are buying, it will be significant. There may be a cheaper option than that, even, but this combination will meet our needs in the best way at this time, for so much less $. It’s hard to make major changes. We endlessly discussed how well the system we had was working for us, and what if this was worse (?), but we just decided to go for it. If we are disappointed, we can always make more changes later. That’s a lot of money for us, each month–it’s worth a try.

    1. Good luck with your new services!
      You might find you can “pause” some of the apps you pay for for yourself and save a few months off and on when you won’t be using them.

      1. I didn’t know you could pause apps, so thank you for that info. After a very tense morning, my husband finally got the remaining parts and pieces hooked up today. So many passwords to find and enter here and there….. But he prevailed and now the new router is on and works, all the phones, computers and devices are connected to the new router wifi, the tv has the Firestick and it works and, last but not least, our Alexa works.

    2. And if you don’t need/want Hulu now, we scored a $0.99 cents/month deal after Thanksgiving last year, with ads, but I like breaks so that’s good for me. Maybe a similar deal at another time…?

      1. We will watch for sales on apps. We decided to just keep the channels we have for now and supplement with library movies. Then, later, once we have an idea of how it’s working for us, and what we miss, then we will add…or not. Right now, because we bought some equipment to make this all work, we want to put the money we save each month back into our savings account until it’s paid for. Since our daughters are paying for most of the apps, we now pay very little for that part of the whole change-over.

        The good news is that our phones are working just as well with the new carrier and the internet speed is much, much faster than it was before we made these changes. So far, so good.

  44. Happy Birthday Brandy! I’m so glad you were able to enjoy a movie with your husband. I hope your birthday was a good one.
    And belated congratulations to Winter and her family on their graduations. I’m go glad you were able to attend (and see your son too).

    We have been spending money left and right, it seems. The garage door (the big one the cars go in and out of) broke – I did have the presence of mind to put the car in the driveway before the children (teens) and I wrestled the door almost down. We cobbled together a make-shift blockade to keep the mice and other varmints out using items already in the garage. We cannot do the repair ourselves and will have to hire it done. Now we’re saving for that. The other broken item this week was an old toilet seat that finally gave up the ghost. That one was easy to fix with a new (on sale!) seat from the hardware store. Hubby bought one that reminded him of his grandparents house – he was feeling nostalgic! It has a wave shape carved into the top of the seat – the children declared it “fancy”. Ha!

    In saving news:
    * I bought the limit in 59-cent canned goods at the grocery this week. I passed on the super expensive yogurt that I love and bought the much cheaper one that is just fine. The price of the former had gone up over $2. The later, 75-cent increase on a lower starting price. I have never been able to successfully make yogurt at home and with the cost of milk, we’d rather drink it than waste it on bad yogurt.
    * Froze for later the leftover ham and bean soup made with the last of the Easter ham. I will share some with my parents – their small freezer is full, so their portion is stored in ours.
    * Daughter (almost-17) is remaking my Mother-in-Law’s previously thrifted Mother-of-the-Bride dress for a Prom dress. She is more than halfway done and we will try our hand at dyeing lace this week. We found the “perfect” lace to trim the bodice but in the wrong color. I’m excited to see how it turns out. She has been working with Grandma, who is an excellent seamstress.
    * Started to clean out the garden for summer. We are cold here again today (32F, 0C). We were 70F (21C) on Saturday. Weather is sure weird! We do have several plants poking up out of the ground and progress was made at deadheading and other spring chores.
    * Started seeds for several items using a variety of containers – cardboard egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, and seed starting pods. We’ll see which works the best. I started a mix of flowers and vegetables. Hopefully I won’t have to purchase much!
    * Made several items at home food-wise last week: Angel Food cake (to use up part of the three dozen eggs we were given), bread, ham and bean soup, chicken noodle soup, and two types of stir fry, served with rice. We ate mostly oatmeal and bagels for breakfast and leftovers for lunch.
    * Mended two clothing items. Replaced the buttons on a spring jacket.
    * Donated three paper grocery sacks of unused clothing. Hopefully someone will think they’re wonderful!

    Thanks for all the great ideas everyone,
    Lea

  45. Hi Brandy, I hope you have had a nice week! Our frugal accomplishments include: We planted the root side of romaine lettuce and used the rest of it. What we planted already is growing so we will do it again. We are waiting for the seed we planted to grow. It is starting slowly. Asparagus has started to grow! Yeah! We borrowed a few movies from the library. We turned off lights when not in use. We were able to pay our land taxes! Yeah! We are going to comparison shop for glasses. I have a feeling zennioptical will be the best price. We will find out! We run full loads of laundry and full loads of dishes. We try and do more than one thing per car trip. We are driving much less than usual. My mom cut my son’s hair and I may have her trim mine this week. I have yet to buy hair cutting scissors for our house. We bought some nice summer clothes at a consignment shop. I’m pretty excited! I love the pretty dresses and I got a couple pair of jeans. All for a price less than one dress would have cost new. And they all look new! I will wash them, then wear them. We enjoyed watching wildlife many evenings. We have seen raccoons, deer, and lots of birds. We did lots of cooking at home. I look online and look at what we already have before we shop. We make an effort to use what we have in the fridge. We have paid all bills early so as not to have to pay extra fees. We don’t use our credit card so we don’t pay interest. Instead we are saving for the things we want. I’m waiting for a clear night. I want to look at the stars again. It is free, and enjoyable. I love seeing the stars on a clear night in the country away from city lights. City lights can be pretty too. But I do love the country. We listened to music on my husband’s phone and my son’s phone. I watched youtube videos and read blogs on the internet for entertainment.

  46. I always enjoy seeing your beautiful garden week after week. Lovely in every season.
    We continue to stock up food items against future cost increases little by little with sales and coupons. We want to have backups for our backups. We have always kept a well-stocked pantry but are making it even more so given the state of the world. I have reinstituted old habits which I had fallen off from doing. Things such as writing the dates on containers when I open something that takes a while to use (like mayonnaise or maple syrup) and keeping a log of items used from the pantry help us really know how much we need by telling us how quickly we use certain items. I have found this to change over time and a good thing to do periodically.
    Everyone in the family needed a few clothing items to replace things that were worn out. I went to two of my favorite local thrift shops. One was having a $5 bag sale. I found a jacket and 5 pairs of pants for various family members for that $5. 6 items of clothing for less than a dollar a piece. That’s my kind of shopping! The other thrift shop has clothing on sale for 1/2 price on the day I visited. There I found 5 shirts, a pair of shorts, a skirt, 2 bags of T-shirts they sell as rags and an ironstone tea saucer that is a lovely addition to my collection – all for $14. I got things we needed, spent a small amount of money and supported two local charities that do good work. Few consumer experiences make me feel that good. 🙂
    We filled our newest beds in the kitchen garden with litter from the chicken coop and twigs and logs. It reduces the amount of soil needed to fill them and the materials break down feeding the soil and retaining water. It is a version of a hugelkultur bed which has worked well for us over the years. There are a lot of resources on line about them if anyone is interested.
    A neighbor offered to help us procure material for our new chicken house by milling some wood. That will be a big savings and an enjoyable project.
    My oldest son has been catching some fish at a neighbor’s pond and putting them into ours. Her pond is overpopulated so this helps her out. It has been a good opportunity to talk to him about ecosystems and that everything needs to live in balance so there is a limit to how many fish our pond can handle well, too. When my husband told him some people pay to have their ponds stocked, my son said. “What? That would cost a lot and not be nearly as much fun.” Well said, my son. 🙂
    I priced some things to sell in my neighbor’s booth at a local antique shop. She kindly allows us to put things there and it helps us move out things we no longer need and provides a little extra cash for things we do. I make price tags out of scrap card stock (like cracker or tea boxes) and string from my chicken’s feed bags. The first time my husband saw me do this he said, “That’s a whole new level of frugal.” 🙂
    My youngest son’s birthday was today. My in-laws met us at a family-friendly billiards center which is known for its wonderful food. The grandparents treated us all to lunch and we brought home leftovers. I have amused waitstaff many times in the past when I ask for a people box and a chicken box. We rarely go out to eat but, when we do, we never leave anything on the table. We get the food that hasn’t been touched and the chickens get the scraps and crumbs. The proprietors only charged us half-price for the game of pool since it was my son’s birthday. So, all 6 of us played for $9. We came home and had carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (made from ingredients I had on hand. My son had earlier picked out his candles from a grocery outlet store for 35 cents. He neatly wiped them off after he blew them out since he knows we reuse candles. His gifts from extended family members were all money or gift cards. Very useful, encourages saving and it always fits and never goes out of style. 🙂
    Wishing everyone a lovely week in your corner of the world.

  47. Just a quick check in. Thanks for all the tips. I get at least one a week from reading here. Last week someone mention Yoga with Adrienne on youtube as a great free workout. I love it. This week someone talked about the free drink club at Panera. I can stop by for my morning coffee since it is right next to work. I have a question: Has anyone found a really good Instapot cookbook or reliable blog? I bought two and am not happy with either. I am always trying different recipes online but with only mixed success.

    1. Try Sidetrackedsarah.com for Instant Pot and Slow Cooker recipes. I have only tried slow cooker recipes, but she was converting some of them to Instant Pot when she bought one.

    2. This one is good: Healthy Instant Pot Mini Cookbook: 100 Recipes for One or Two with your 3-Quart Instant Pot Paperback by Nili Barrett

  48. Thanks for everyone’s comments. I always learn so much. I wanted to share something. Our water bill was really high this winter. We were caring for my very sick brother and we didn’t realize that the downstairs toilet was running where he was staying. Then one weekend we lost water completely. The guy on call for the city came. He replaced something on the city’s end but also felt like the pressure regulator valve had quit working. My husband repaired the toilet, but our water bill still continued to be higher than our neighbors. I called the city. The city uses the winter months of water usage to determine the sewer usage. So instead she looked at the last two months and took the higher of the months, but that reduced our bill $29/month which puts us more in line. She also is giving us a credit for the last few months of sewer and giving a “mercy credit” of the two months of our high water. I asked her if over the next few months if our water usage is lower if she would adjust the sewer again. She said that she would. That call gave us $140/credit plus reduced our sewer charge $29/month. It was worth the time it took. Also, the other charges are set charges like garbage pickup, emergency services that we can’t change. We also learned quite a bit. Because it was the weekend when our pressure regulator went out, we couldn’t get a plumber so we were about 4 days without water. We weren’t worried about it because we have some blue 5-gallon water containers for emergencies that really needed the water rotated. But when you are pouring every gallon that you use out it really struck home how much water we use. Thanks to all of you for your comments.

  49. Happy birthday!
    We started making more raised beds at my in laws. I have a garden at my house but I’m further limited by space. We will plant a lot more fruits and storage crops like winter squash. My overwintered peppers are perking back up and I even have a pepper growing, which is amazing. We should be getting asparagus soon. Looking forward to doing some morel hunting. They’re so delicious and we get to enjoy time outdoors too.
    I was given some very ripe fruit leftover from a food giveaway, so trying to use it up.
    I’m enjoying making sourdough regularly. I’ve used the discard in muffins, which makes them very fluffy. Made venison roast, steak on the grill, brats, salmon, leftover steak burrito bowls. My parents brought the steak and all the other meat was on sale or from deer hunting. My kitchen is still under construction so crockpot or grilling meals to avoid getting frustrated and eating out. I stocked up more on oil, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and nuts. Also got some dates on sale, which I use as a base for homemade granola bars. I stocked up on coffee a while back, and I went to restock and the selection at Aldi was abysmal.
    I’ve been walking and running a lot more outdoors, which is helping to lose the weight I’ve gained through pregnancies. As the weather gets warmer, I hope to start riding my bike to work more regularly, which is great exercise and saves on gas.
    I need a few pieces of furniture, like some counter bars stools and new kitchen chairs, so I will start looking on Marketplace more regularly. My chairs have been screwed back together so many times and they’re really falling apart.

  50. Happy Birthday, Brandy!
    I gave my husband a haircut. He has very short hair and I try to cut it every 2 to 3 weeks.
    I made split pea soup with a ham bone from Easter dinner. It was so good. We found bone-in chicken thighs for half off and made them in the air fryer. I made a double recipe of hummus about a month ago and froze half. We ate the frozen half this week with cut up carrots, celery, and cucumbers. I found it very interesting that the price for organic Romaine lettuce was the same as the conventionally grown Romaine lettuce at Aldi.
    We are eating more vegetarian/meatless meals these days.
    I planted more seeds: lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, radishes, beets, and chives.
    I am currently listening to The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim that I downloaded from the library on my work commute.

  51. I am better, but still have a cough after being really sick at Easter. I’ve not had a big appetite, so we have had a lot of eggs and grits and quick meals.
    ***My turnip greens have bolted. I am waiting to collect seed, but the beds are filled with the large plants and 3 foot flower stalks. I hope this speeds up a little 🙂 While sick I didn’t check my starts under my grow light so lost all the spinach, collards, and spring vegetables.I have about 20 tomatoes and 10 pepper plants that are ok. I have taken them out to harden off on the patio and will plant them soon.
    ***I’ve lost 8 lbs being sick. A long way to go to be where I need to be. We’ve been walking the dogs every evening.
    ***I’ve watched two episodes of Bridgerton, and Home Town. I saw a new season of Seaside Hotel is out. It is in Danish so you have to read the subtitles, but a really cute show.
    ***I used the jar attachment on my Food Saver and sealed my gluten free pasta, beans. chocolate chips, etc in canning jars. I sealed walnuts, sunflower seed, granola, and pecans in bags and froze. I also froze 4 more bags of 4 eggs in each bag. Then when I went to Aldi I was going to get eggs and they were $2.94 a dozen! So, I am watching for a better price this week.
    ***I only went to Aldi shopping. I got two spreadable butters, 3#sausage. some Brats. chicken thighs for $1.99#, canned chili, chicken, corned beef, blueberries, and on the sale aisle 6 boxes chicken soup mix for $.10 each. stove top stuffing $.49, gluten free hamburger helper $2.39, Easter pasta $.99, some berry gummies $.79.

  52. Hi from Victoria, Australia. Fuel and meat are the two items that have markedly risen in price here that is having an impact on our budget. My husband saved $7 yesterday by travelling to our next town to get fuel, it was 20 cents per litre cheaper than local prices.
    Lean mince beef is $18 per kg so I am using a third of what I would usually and padding out with pulses and vegetables. We have a substantial vegetable garden and that helps the budget. Our fruit trees are four years old and I canned 10 kilos of peaches and 6 kilos of apples.
    Today we had to go to Melbourne for a hospital appointment. On the way home we called at a chemist warehouse and I got arthritis rub for $10.99 normally $24.99 also a couple of health food items that saved us about $15.00.
    My husband has refurbished an old cupboard using timber we had on hand for me to keep my preserving bottles in, our house is quite small so the empty ones have to be stored in the garage.
    I was given quince so will be making quince paste and canning some for pies and crumbles. I quite enjoy the challenge involved in stretching our budget.
    I really enjoy reading everyone’s budgeting ideas.
    Sue

  53. I forgot to add that my son finished his BSBA finals yesterday and is finished with his Business Degree. I have 5 kids and all have completed or are completing their schooling debt free. This is my oldest son, he was in the Army for 7 years as a medic with his EMT certification. He came back here and got an intern job at one of the contractors on base and used his Army BAE for school/and his first house. His intern job turned into a full time job with a major contractor.
    *** My oldest lived at home. She got her CNA certificate in high school and worked at a nursing home as a nurse assistant as she went through nursing school. She now is an RN.
    ***My 3rd got a job with an orthodontist. He trainerld her and after 2 years the doctor can send assistants to hygiene school. She has her last weekend this month and takes her clinical and state boards next month. It was paid for by her boss.
    ***My 4th lived at home, worked at a restaurant and as a youth pastor intern, while paying his way through college and earned his Business degree in 2020. He is a youth pastor and the church is paying for seminary.
    ***My youngest is a helicopter mechanic in the Army. He can work outside the Army as an airplane or helicopter mechanic when he gets out of the Army.
    ***the two that went strictly to university earned scholarships that paid part of their college costs.
    ***My DIL was doing the same, living at home, but she transferred to a smaller university in 2020 when everything was online and it was less per credit hour. It was too far to drive if she had to attend in person, but worked out great when it was online. She also graduated debt free with a business degree. She worked at Chick fil A over the catering while in college and lived at home. They married in 2020 right after graduating.
    ***My son in law worked at the hospital in computer and then decided to go to radiology school, taking xrays. He worked and paid as he went through school.
    ***There are so many options to get training and 4 years is not the only way to go. What I love is to see the great work ethic and dedication in each of these young persons lives.

    1. Very Impressive – you have every right to be seriously proud!
      Glad to hear that you are also feeling a bit better.

  54. Happy belated birthday Brandy.
    I went to Stop N Shop with the little boy I watch to grab a few items for his mom. I always check the clearance section. There was a huge rack of hand soaps for 10¢ each. So I started piling them into the cart with the help of D. He thought it was the funniest thing. We got 100.There were several hundred more left. I gave 5 to his mom, 10 to a friend that her husband had been laid off and just got a new job making ½ of what he used to make. I gave 10 to another super frugal friend and 5 to my neighbor. That night I told Hubby and he said maybe we should go to our store to see if they have them and get more. So after dinner we went. They also had them so we got another 100. I gave 30 to the church outreach, 10 to my in laws and I will give 10 to my mom and each of my sisters. S&S also had huge bottles of hand sanitizer for 19¢ so we grabbed 10 of those. Hubby took one to work. 2 days later I was back at D’s house. His mom asked if we would go to S&S and see if they had more soap. She wanted 50 more to send to family oversees. They did have them so in total over 3 days I bought 250 bottles of hand soap for $25. The only other good sale price was grapes were 99¢ a pound so I bought the 5 pound limit.
    I saw a free garage sale ad and went to see what they had. They couple is moving and downsizing. They had done several garage sales and didn’t want to throw out what was left. I took all of the wrapping paper, a bag of bows and a box of gift bags. I also took golf balls, a football and 2 soccer balls 2 baskets, a hand sander(for my sil), a new candle, a case of new nail polish, lots of unopened makeup(she used to sell it), a tennis racket and lots of open bottles of cleaners from their garage. I was talking to the lady for a while and she asked if I would be interested in food. She hadn’t gone through her pantry or 3 freezers yet. She took my number. We will see if she calls.
    A friend that I haven’t seen in over a year and I went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. When it was time to pay, we both pulled out a gift card. I only had to tip in cash. I brought my leftovers home and my son had them for lunch the next day.
    My friend’s dad’s house is closing in May. I have been helping her clean it out. She is having a hard time but we are getting through it slowly. We were able to donate 8 large boxes to Breast cancer research. They pick it up so we saved gas. I dropped more bags of clothes to the church. I kept a painting that I have always liked, a set of queen sheets, and some books and CDs. I will try to sell the books and CDs. She knows this. I will pass on whatever doesn’t sell. My friend treated me to Italian for lunch while we worked.
    Hubby, my son and I got more pallets to make more garden beds. We also got another crate but we gave it to our friends that wanted to expand their garden this year but don’t have any money to do it. I reminded her that the town offers free compost; you just have to shovel it yourself. Hubby is hoping to make them a few garden beds too if time allows.
    On my son’s day off, he took Hubby’s car in and did a transmission service. We only had to pay for the fluids and filter. Hubby said it saved us $400. Hubby bought my son a tool he wanted as a Thank you.
    My sister dropped her dog off. We are watching him for the next week+. She gave me 12 bags of chocolate chips that she had gotten clearance for 50¢each with lots of other goodies. I gave her 10 soaps.
    Hubby returned items to Home Depot that he ended up not needing.
    The heat has been off and windows have been open during the day. Laundry has been hung outside. D and I have gone to the park almost every day. We have been in the garden as much as time allows getting everything ready. We have been very busy but good busy.

  55. Brandy: where did you buy your drip lines? What is a decent price?

    Made two pans of cheese biscuits today! Think my husband may hang around for another month or two!

    Spent the past several days brushing and washing the Newfies! What a job! Only about half finished. Cost approximately $200 per dog to have them groomed. So, I do my best!

    Most of my garden is coming up. Even the Okra! However, my Fordhook Lima Beans refuse to cooperate even after two plantings. Very strange!

    Local seed and gardening store says there will be no beans for sell in the Spring. Says the shortage will be universal.

    Trying to stay on top of coming shortages. Depressing task. Believe there is more afoot than we are being told.

    Hope everyone is staying healthy and enjoying each day. Onward, by all means!(Ryan)

  56. I’m glad your birthday week was a good one! We had a frugal week, with the expenses being the gas, driving 100 miles roundtrip several times to continue my in-laws’ house clear out. I prepped our lunches and brought large salads with marinated beans one day and sandwiches and oranges the next. Came home between 8-9 pm and had leftovers we could reheat quickly for dinner. My husband is still working, only few weeks left until retirement, so I go myself a time or two during the week to keep the project moving forward.

    Homemade meals included white bean soup, stir fry with tofu for husband (i don’t care for tofu so it stretches twice as far) with rice, breakfast for dinner again with plant-based waffles and sausage, burrito bowls and the next day i baked potatoes and we put the leftover seasoned black beans, sauteed peppers and onions, corn, and pico on the potatoes. I make a vegan nacho type sauce that went on it all – so good we said we’ll have that as a meal regularly. The nacho sauce is made separately and lasts for a number of meals, and is made mainly from potato/carrot, some white vinegar, nutritional yeast, oil, adobo sauce, etc., so very inexpensive.

    Planted Thai basil seeds and they’re just starting to germinate. I’ll plant more as well as lettuce tomorrow. Still too cold here to do much in the gardens. Was 80 on the weekend and 50s this week.

      1. Hi Kinga! I just drain and rinse a can of northern beans and let them sit in a light Italian dressing for several hours…sometimes I add extra balsamic to deepen flavor. I used to use cannellini beans but these seem to have fewer loose outer hulls.

  57. Today our Ukrainian visitor is done quarantine so we will celebrate with a day trip to the mountains-and getting her first Pfizer shot too. Only the Sputnik was available to her where she lived and that is not recognized here. Tomorrow she has career counselling and on Friday she meets with a friend of her aunts who would like to hire her. So hopefully she is well on her way to working and becoming independent as that is her goal at 18.
    On Saturday we are heading to the Ukrainian church to receive an apartment starter pack of sheets, towels, pots and pans, gift cards etc which have been donated and will be hugely frugal for her. There will also be an immigration consultant on hand to answer any questions.
    Yesterday a friend of mine who is also hosting evacuees from the war brought a box of food that had been donated as she had too much. The large box contained soups, pasta, sauce, cereal, crackers, pancake mix, granola bars, canned veggies, tuna etc. Anything that is not used before our guest moves on can go with her to stock her new pantry.
    I don’t think next week will be terribly frugal as our daughter, partner and his brother will be visiting-but we will enjoy having them. Wishing everyone a good week.

    1. Glad to hear that she is doing well and things sound very organized. I know that some refugees have arrived in Toronto but so far I believe most have gone to family or friends. You have shown her a great kindness.

  58. Hello Frugal Friends!

    This morning I woke up to 754% increase in the price of electricity where I live (Southern Norway) . So the energy crisis continues… I keep checking the price of the electricity on the market to estimate at what hour it will be the cheapest so that I can do my laundry, shower etc. in that window. The reason for this increase is a drought which we are currently experiencing . Usually at this time of the year the snow is melting but this year there was no “second snow”. The commune send out an sms to let us know that we are suppose to limit our water usage, no more watering grass… I have never imagined that water will be an issue where I live. So now I am using warm up shower water and water from the table at the end of the day to water seedlings. I have quite a lot seedlings going in the glasshouse! This week I planted asparagus (24plants) and many seeds which I brought from my trip to Poland. We got quite a few things there, including shoes for the whole family, which were much cheaper than it would be here. We got some earth on a super sale. I am looking into drip irrigation, to help water consumption. And I hope to buy a gas grill on spring sales. It is expensive to buy one, but that is the one way in which we can diversify our energy sources.

      1. I must admit that I don’t even know where to start learning about this. Nobody I know on my half island has something like that( I learned about it’s existence from this blog). For example: how long should it be on daily? Can you dig the extension pipes under the ground to avoid lines all over garden? Is it better with drip lines which are dug in or placed on top of the soil? Do trees need watering in case of drought? I am getting overwhelmed at the thought of this drip irrigation planning, but I feel that this may be necessary. I will appreciate any input!

        1. And yes, your trees will still need water if it never rains.

          Even cactus have to be watered here on drip irrigation.

    1. What an incredible rise in cost Kinga!I never would have thought of Scandinavia as being in a drought! Glad to hear that your trip to Poland went well and that you got some good bargains. Best of luck with the garden.

    2. Kings: I read your post to my husband today. We are utterly stunned! How is anyone, unless you’re independently wealthy, suppose to deal with that! So hope things improve soon. Take care.

      1. @ CherylB I think that we all have such trust in our government here, that we all hope this will stabilise soon. The government steps in and supports those most affected. Only half of the country is in trouble so hopefully we will improve our infrastructure to be able to move the energy around as needed. Here is a map which shows how this looks like, article is in Norwegian but the map is self explanatory https://www.vg.no/spesial/2022/stromprisene/
        We all try to stay calm and hope for the best as we try to be prudent about our energy usage. Having said that: the crisis started in late autumn(due to European markets), so our patience is being tested.
        @Margie from Toronto You are right to be surprised at drought in Norway. Especially at this time of year. There was even an uncontrolled forest fire near Bergen a couple days ago! This is a bit worrying given that we are mainly wild forest all around. I never, ever thought about facing water shortages and I must say that I come unprepared. I don’t even have a rainwater barrel and we didn’t bother digging up the well on our property(which was on to-do list for years). I mention it to urge anyone to think about their preparedness at the moment.

        1. Digging a well sounds like a prudent addition now, especially if you could also have a hand-pump option for emergencies (not just an electric pump, which would be really expensive!)

    3. Kinga,
      Your gardening project sounds wonderful. The electricity price increases are amazing–and not in a good way. Is there any way you can use gray water for your garden. When I was a child my father hooked up a system where water from the washing machine went to his garden. I still remember the day he came bursting into the house to ask what my mother was using for laundry detergent that had killed most of his plants. I think she had switched detergents, probably because it was less expensive; she was a real penny-pincher. More recently though my husband and I stayed at a camp that had a three-minute shower limit because of a water shortage, so we got our soap and shampoo all set up, turned on the shower and got wet, turned off the shower, shampooed and scrubbed ourselves with soap, and then turned the shower back on to rinse off. I had a hard time getting my hair rinsed in that amount of time, but I managed and used less shampoo. It was summer then, and so the shower room was warm. I don’t think I could have done it if it was cold in the room, and maybe one could take a chill and catch cold in a cold room, also. I hope the drought ends for you soon.
      Best wishes

    4. I’m planning a trip to Poland next week, could you please tell where you found inexpensive shoes or other bargains? Thanks

  59. A belated happy birthday, Brandy. Not much new here to report.
    My prediction that Superstore would soon increase the price of 600 gram blocks of Saputo
    mozzarella cheese from $6.99 to $9.99 came true. I bought 3 blocks at the lower price and put them in the freezer for future
    casserole use. I am now going to step back from buying groceries every week even if they are on sale. I have plenty of baking supplies (flour, sugar, oil) in the pantry so soon will start making my own rolls, bread etc.

    I had an emergency visit from a paramedic yesterday. I had heart and breathing problems all day but by the time I called the paramedics, I was beginning to recover. She said it was probably a virus, maybe but not necessarily covid. It was a rough roller coaster ride for the day but today I’m much better. Everyone in the city seems to have covid. The hospitals are jammed.

    Much of my time last week was devoted to phone calls, temporarily rehoming a friend’s lovely dog while its owner is in hospital. Fortunately, a mutual friend offered but the night she took him home, she got covid and went to the hospital –– her daughter assumed care and loving of the dog.

    I’m looking forward to enjoying spring. My first crocuses (domesticated) are blooming…

    1. No; she posted about it before and said it now costs her $1 a minute to take a shower.

  60. It’s been a long week. Lots of doctor visits and getting fitted for my radiation mask. The hospital is very aware of the distance we drive, and has been great about bundling appointments so we save on time and gas. I have been allowed to work from home, which is such a blessing.

    good news today, in that the head oncologist feels I shouldn’t need chemo, so no port or feeding tube! It has to be cleared by my medical oncologist on Monday, so I would appreciate prayers. I stocked up on some frozen meals (which I feel a little bad about, as I do know how to cook from scratch, but I”m not sure I’ll have the energy) for just in case if DH needs them. Potatoes are starting to come up in the garden and DH is working on camp sites to use with hipcamp.com.

    1. Moldy,
      I wondered how you are doing. I have been praying for you. I hope things go well for you.
      Best wishes,
      Elizabeth H.

  61. A very happy belated birthday to you Brandy! I love your beautiful garden pictures. It is cold here and we even saw a bit of snow today so we are far away from beautiful gardens at the moment. I did get my vegetable seeds started this week and the rhubarb is starting to pop up so those things make me hopeful that good weather will get here!

    Gas and groceries have increased in price dramatically here so I am being very careful and driving very little and shopping only for groceries when they are on sale if possible. We do not eat meat during the week and cutting that out has definitely made a difference to our budget and our health. Along with brisk walking, it has helped my husband lose 60 pounds.

    We continue to be blessed greatly by our local buy nothing group. In the past few weeks my husband, son and I have all received clothing, we have received lots of food including a can of beets, two unopened bags of frozen fruit, and a bag of marshmallows. We have also received a puzzle, blanket, body wash, fabric softener and a pair of rubber gloves. This group is such a huge blessing to us.

    I gave my son’s hair a trim and helped my husband get his hair trimmed as well. I have also got our laundry for the past two weeks dried outside.

    I so enjoy reading the comments here. I always find a new way to save!

  62. Lovely garden pictures here and on instagram. In Minnesota winter is refusing to let go, so seeds were planted indoors.
    Oh my gosh groceries are getting expensive! I did manage to find chicken leg quarters for $.59 lb in a 10 lb bag. It’s not our favorite but the price was right. It will work well for casseroles or on salads.
    Even prices at thrift stores have increased significantly. We were able to find a couple of new items . Even with the increased prices we still found bargains.
    Have a good week

  63. We received our state tax refund and used it to take care of a couple bills and picked up the elecrical items we need to get power to the garage. Thankfully, we did have some parts and wire because it was a huge sticker shock!!
    Make sure to check prices – Menards was 1/2 the price of Lowes on the chainlink posts and hardware we needed to complete the gate – thankfully, I brought every chainlink panel with us when we moved so we didn’t have to purchase the gate itself.
    I need to make new hutches for my quail colonies. We spotted a free ad for 12 round table tops that we were thinking to use for the flooring (very easy to clean) but when we were there, there was also a pile of 2 six foot long formica table tops and several platforms so we cleared it with them and brought that all home. Then we spotted an ad for rough sawn cutoffs and we hit the jack pot! 4 foot 4×6 hardwood I can use for the legs which already have huge bolts in them, cross braces, 2x4ish x 8-9 foot boards and a heavy box with a lid that I plan to use for a raised bed + 4ft square plywood pieces I can also use on the quail hutches.
    We picked up several metal storage items for the garage for free
    We picked up a supposedly 1957 vintage travel trailer for next to nothing – frame is solid and exterior aluminum is in almost perfect condition. Interior is a total gut job but I am so excited as this one is small enough for me to feel comfortable pulling as well as not needing a big ladder to work on the roof.
    My baby crabapple trees have taken off and my very tiny sprouted shrubs (Siberian pea tree) made it thru the winter (these were from seeds I saved off the bushes at our previous home).
    We dug up and brought home four 5-7 year old blueberry bushes from a local farm – they are building a house in the field they are in. $3 each + 4 more small bushes that are probably around 2 years old for free. I am still recovering from that workout as the dirt they were in was very wet black muck so they weigh somewhere around 75-100 pounds each! BUT I will probably get berries this year 🙂
    We harvested our first lettuce out of the hydroponic tower. I think I will move it outside next week and reseed more then.
    I took in a shirt for my Mom, made new curtains for my “girl cave” and repaired a couple pairs of jeans.
    I started painting a TV cabinet with leftover paint and fixed the window trim in the same room with wood I already had.
    We sold a couple more items we didn’t need which freed up more work space in the basement.
    My husband was able to repair my heat gun I’ve been using to remove paint from a dresser and the cabinets.
    Frugal fail was a couple fast food meals grabbed when we were out picking up all the free things (so in the end, they did cost a bit) but we made sure we at least brought drinks with us.

  64. I’m coming in super late this week, but wanted to share anyway.

    Our current frugal focus is on reducing our electric bill. We are in a condo and everything is electric, and we are paying almost $200/month for electricity. We are on the top floor and probably gaining heat from residents below us, as well as solar gain from the roof. I have mentioned before that we almost never have to turn the heat on, and sometimes have windows open even when it is in the 20s or 30s outside. However, we live in a hot climate (DFW area of Texas), so the a/c is more of an issue. Lately the weather has been somewhat cooler so we’ve had the windows open, but had to close them and the turn the central air back on today. We probably will not be able to open the windows again until October or November. Often when it is 60 outside, we can have all the windows open and fans going, and it will still be in the upper 70s indoors. Rising costs are another part of the issue – in March 2020 we were paying around .07 cents/kwh and now we are paying double and sometimes triple that amount (and we are on one of the cheapest plans offered by any provider in the area). We are keeping the air turned up higher to 78, all bulbs swapped to LEDs, turning off lights, keep blinds/drapes closed, use fans, and also trying to use the oven less. I am trying to make more meals in the Instant Pot, air fryer, and crock pot to avoid turning the oven on, which heats up the kitchen significantly.

    We cooked and ate most meals at home including sloppy joes, chicken bacon ranch pasta, homemade pizzas, and salmon filets with wild rice pilaf. I harvested romaine lettuce from my Aerogarden and we have enjoyed several salads with it. My tomatoes are coming along and I have several green ones growing, but nothing ready to harvest. I’m anxious to see if they actually make it, or if the birds will find them. On local grocery sales, I picked up butter for .99 cents/lb, a large package of boneless pork chops for around $3 on clearance, and 93% lean angus ground beef for under $4/lb on clearance. We bought all they had – around 7 packs – and put them in our deep freezer. Picked up groceries using a Target pickup order to avoid wandering around aimlessly (and overspending on impulse buys) in the store.

    Randoms: I did my own manicure/pedicure at home and colored my own hair. We had an unexpected expense with a vet bill for one of our cats, but we were able to cover it, and she is feeling better and recovering very well. I traded my vehicle in on something more fuel efficient and newer. I was able to negotiate my next 3 scheduled vehicle services into the sale price, so that is a significant savings going forward. I don’t put many miles on a vehicle, so those 3 services will likely last me 10 years of ownership! I had a terrible stomach virus over Easter weekend, and was sick the entire weekend (late Friday night through Monday), so we cancelled plans and did not even cook an Easter meal or attend church. I had Monday off work, so was able to recover and rest and do a few things around the house. I had purchased a couple of sale items from Sephora, but 2 of the items arrived broken and 1 was the wrong shade. I returned all 3 to the local store and received a refund (I did not repurchase).

    We enjoyed seeing a woodpecker on our patio feeder last night. Typically we see doves, barn swallows, blue jays, and occasionally crows and mockingbirds.

    1. Replying to myself to add one more thing I forgot: Tom Thumb had a $30 off $75 offer available on the app for first-time drive up orders. We needed a few items, but not $75 worth – however, I figured the savings were worth it. Combined it with several sale items (beef brisket $2.77/lb!) and ended up with over $106 worth of groceries, including 4 lbs of ground beef and a 5 lb beef brisket, for $49.

      I live in an urban (downtown metro) area of the US so this may not apply to everyone, but if possible I suggest downloading your grocery store apps and signing up for loyalty programs. I often get offers for free items and heavily discounted deals (such as this one) that really help you stretch the budget with the way prices are increasing.

  65. Brandy, I’m catching up on several of your posts. This is really related to the previous post, but I wasn’t sure you’d see it there. I know you weren’t asking for suggestions, but I’ve had great success with all of the following: RE meatless dolmas: You can definitely make delicious ones without any meat. In fact, sometimes I make the rice filling, and just serve it that way, rather than taking the time to fill the grape leaves, though I think the grape leaves impart a particular flavor. If you ever feel like eating some, but do not want to make them from scratch, Trader Joe’s sells some tasty meatless ones in tins. I believe there are 10 in a tin, and they’re not too expensive. RE homemade hummus: You can easily make hummus without the tahini. The texture won’t be quite as thick as with tahini, but it will still taste really close. We have sesame allergies in our family, so I always make mine without tahini. And finally, if you run out of sumac or don’t want to buy a whole container, I had good success googling substitutes. Most call for including lemon juice + zest (something you’re sure to have on hand!) and/or za’atar spice or lemon pepper.

  66. At the beginning of April, I posted that Walmart had 12 cans of 12.5 ounces of chicken breast online for $19.94. I tried to order last week and they said they were out of stock. Now, it is back in stock for $35.30! I am speechless!

  67. SPINACH BISQUE —The following link is one of my favorite soups. It uses spinach but swiss chard (or other greens) could be substituted. The vegetable broth is so frugal made with peelings, ends etc. of vegetables. Substitutions could be made with some of the other ingredients — like using dried milk etc. One teaspoon of nutmeg adds a lot of flavor to the soup. It is a thicker more substantial soup and is very filling and delicious. This morning I was reading some of the seed catalogs for fall and this soup came to mind. Several restaurants in SW Louisiana serve this soup all year.

    https://naturallyella.com/spinach-bisque/

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