Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money the Third Week of February

The weather here was absolutely beautiful this past week.

I purchased tomato plants on sale at the nursery and planted them in the garden. I am trying a few new types this year in addition to my favorites.

Though tempting to buy herb plants, I held off, knowing I have plenty of seeds at home to plant when it gets warm enough for them to germinate outside.

I took a friend with me to the nursery who had been planning to get her own tomatoes, giving us both a chance to visit while combining our trip.

I sowed seeds in the garden for white larkspur, purple larkspur, violas, dwarf double white hollyhocks, snow peas, looseleaf lettuce, and Swiss chard. All were seeds purchased in previous years or collected from my garden.

It’s still a bit cool for warm-season vegetables to sprout, but I decided to take a chance and plant a few Armenian cucumber seeds *from one of the cucumbers I grew last year) in the garden and cover it with a jar to warm the soil. It is watered with drip irrigation, so it will still be watered despite being covered. If this grows, I’ll plant a few more soon. I want to increase the number of Armenian cucumbers that I grow this year.

We had rain on Saturday. Knowing it was coming, I set out buckets to catch the water. It rains so little here that houses are not built with rain gutters, but there are a few places where more water runs off the roof, so I collected water from these spots.

I mended a pair of pants.

I modified the neckline of three ballet neck sweaters to take them all in by an inch on each side. They were just a tad wide and I was tired of constantly pulling the neckline to make sure they looked right. I love these sweaters and now they are perfect.

Almond blossoms

We enjoyed lemons, green onions, almonds, and Swiss chard from the garden. My almond trees are still very young and there were just a few, but I look forward to larger future harvests. I replaced dead and unproductive fruit trees a few years back, and two of those trees are self-fertile almond trees that grow to 15 feet. Almonds are so expensive and are something that I currently purchase, so I’m excited to grow some.

My third daughter has outgrown her bicycle and needed an adult-height bicycle. I asked my parents to look for one for me to give her for her birthday at garage sales, as they go more often than I do. They found her one and decided that they are going to gift it to her for her birthday. They gave it to her a few weeks early. It’s a beautiful bicycle with a pretty basket. I’m sure I’ll take photos of garden flowers in the basket when they are growing in abundance!

What did you do to save money last week?

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78 Comments

    1. Masquerade Jade, I loved your throwback post. Tried to subscribe, even (and I subscribe to very few blogs) but not sure if it went through. If not I will try again. But your blog is so interesting. (As Brandy’s posts are–that goes without saying.)

  1. I made a large batch of stock from some of the poultry bones gifted to me, and then some turkey and pasta soup using some of the stock. I also used the stock to cook brown rice in, and made skillet dinners with leftover turkey, onions and greens. I baked oatmeal cookies using oil instead of butter, and some loaves of French bread, which I used to make egg salad sandwiches. I used powdered milk with my coffee when I ran out of half and half. I had run out of a few items I use often, but was able to use substitutes from my pantry and freezer.

    I lost five lb this month, watching portion sizes, having fewer snacks and replacing some items with lower calorie alternatives.

    On YouTube, I found some vlogs of mudlarking, where people in the UK search along river shores for artifacts. They are interested in the history, but also many make art from the found items. That lead me to some information about the town in Scotland that my mother was born in, and the estate where my grandfather worked. The little I had been told was very accurate, but I learned a lot more as I read. I also liked looking up the “clues” from the artifacts the mudlarkers are finding, and to find out how they would have ended up in the rivers. I especially like these outdoor exploration shows when it is cold and snowy here in northern Alberta. It makes me feel like I have spent some time outdoors.

    1. Elizabeth M: My husband watches YouTube videos of a mudlarker on the Thames, and another of an Australian who finds lost items with his metal detector on the beach and in the ocean. They are amazingly peaceful and even joyful, and if my son was a toddler, I think I would put them on for him to watch instead of most children’s programming I see. Have fun searching out your family background!

      1. I am enjoying the Thames mudlarker. She points the camera down at her feet, so you can see the toes of her rubber boots, and hear her splash along as she wades in the water, and finds all kinds of artifacts. Every now and then, she stops and watches some wildlife for a while. She even rescued a wasp that was stuck on a small rock in the tide, let it climb on her trowel, and carried it several hundred feet to safety on shore.

    2. It is funny that you mention ‘Mudlarking’ as I was just reading about it this week in a historical book on Victorian England.
      When my son was 14, quite a few years ago, he asked for a metal detector for Christmas. The day after, a snowy day I remembet, we walked down to the river to try it out. Within an hour we unearthed a silver coin, from 1873, in mint condition. You would have laughed to see the dance that we did! The man who sold us the detector was amazed and said it was beginner’s luck.

      1. That sounds like so much fun!

        A couple of weeks ago, I came across a British TV comedy show (fictional) about a club of detectorists. It was a new word to me, just as mudlarking was, but then on one of the videos with the real-life Thames mudlarker she introduced two friends of hers she was mudlarking with as mudlarkers and detectorists!

  2. Our breakfast to go space in the fridge was almost empty so I took out 2 of my quart jars with DIY Muffin mix and used a frozen banana in one and some bags of frozen zucchini in the other. Added chopped walnuts to both batches and raisins into the zucchini muffin batter. So now, I have 3-1/2 dozen muffins. I labeled them and packaged them into 3 one gallon ziploc freezer bags (recycled ones, of course) and put 2 in fridge and put 1 bag in the freezer for the next time our breakfast door is getting low! I’ve been gathering and testing mix recipes I’ve seen in books and online and found this one for making a breakfast “station” like hotels might have. Here’s the link: https://www.foodstorageorganizer.com/2020/02/oatmeal-breakfast-station-using-food.html#comment-form. I love this idea and am incorporating it in my kitchen!
    We are still eating from our pantry/freezers and only buying things like milk unless they are essentials and at rock-bottom prices! Because of this, we bought no groceries this week at all! We are still eating a varied menu and not feeling deprived in any way! In some ways, it’s been like a game to see what fun things we can make using just ingredients on hand!
    I also adapted and changed a couple Stovetop Stuffing Mix recipes to come up with my version and am over the moon with the results! I don’t think we’ll be buying Stovetop Stuffing Mix in the store any more! Here’s the link: https://pin.it/kNu1C8m
    One of my previous clients who bought 3 Christmas table runners ordered the same Hollow Stars Table Runner in maroons and dark blues so within 2 days, I cut out and sewed this from my fabric stash and then quilted and bound it! https://pin.it/7rvy6Jj. Small job to do but it brought in $20. So, who knows? Maybe HandmadeinOldeTowne.com may get more orders for these table runners in non-Christmas fabrics? ?
    I babysat 2 grandkiddos , ages 4 and 2 for a few hours one day and 3 grands, age 9,7 and 4 another day! It was fun and gave their moms a break! Sometimes that break can be priceless! It created fun memories for us that were also priceless!
    I made up 3 lasagnas and put them in the freezer for convenience later on.
    This winter has been so much milder than usual that my monthly level pay that I have with gas company (for water heater and furnaces) was already $12/month less than last year, but also is not carrying a balance on our bill beyond what our monthly amount is! By this time of the year, our $96/month would not have “caught up” to our actual remaining balance until June!! So by mid-Spring we may not have a gas bill for a couple months! WhooHoo!!
    Our chickens are back to producing more eggs now that they are done molting and the days are getting longer. I’ve been letting them forage in the yard (which includes the raised bed veggie gardens and around the fruit trees). This fertilizes my yard in small amounts while eating weeds, their seeds and bugs! I am hopeful that this will counteract our winter that wasn’t as cold as usual and keep down the weeds and bugs this Spring!

    1. We worked on house projects this weekend. My husband built a medicine cabinet from scrap wood we already had. He also built from scrap wood 2 peg rails for towels in the bathrooms.
      I planted the thornless raspberry canes that I’d received for free.
      I picked up a lovely purse from my Buy Nothing group.
      I painted a medicine cabinet that my sister was throwing out. I will try and sell it. It’s the wrong size for our bathroom.
      I got $30 from clothes I had taken to the consignment store. They were all hand-me-downs from my mother.
      I have a corner in the garage that is my ‘yard sale pile’. I’ve asked a few neighbors if they would like to put anything in, as I don’t have enough for a sale by myself. I’ve had one yes so far.
      I am altering pillowcases from Cal King to regular size for a friend-and she pays me to do it!
      I completed all the paperwork to substitute in local schools. I had also interviewed for an academic coach job. My husband is still looking for a job.

      1. Kara, I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but we faced a similar one in 1973, when we were in our late 20s and had no children. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what we did–

        We moved from California to New York for a job that didn’t work out. My husband looked for another job, and while he was offered two, we began to question whether we even wanted to stay in New York. (We had no friends or relatives there). We had sold a house in California and had a few thou$and in the bank. We ultimately decided to move back to Oregon, where we were from. We packed up a U-Haul and drove across country with our dog. We felt like we were going home with our tails between our legs. We lived with my in-laws for 6 weeks until my husband found a job in Portland. By this time, we were down to $200 in the bank! His job was difficult from the get-go, but eventually things got (a lot!) better and he stayed for 16 years, ending his tenure as vice president. Moving back was scary, but we had the advantage of him having contacts from the University of Oregon and having worked in Portland a few years before. Things really worked out for us and we never regretted our decision at all.

  3. Such lovely flower pictures!

    I had a great week on the frugal front!
    *Bought a part wool coat for under $30, normally $190
    *Bought freezer containers to freeze future meals for when we are too busy to cook.
    *Taught my daughter to make jam.
    *Helped my adult son figure his own taxes.
    *Bought several orchids on clearance after Valentine’s Day for just $3.00 each–they were even still in bloom!

    Pictures and more on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2020/02/frugal-friday-week-of-february-16-22.html

    Writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee!

  4. My husband it refreshing our greenhouse by building an additional bench on the other side. He also cleaned it out. Because he is physically limited right now, my daughter and I helped on occasion to move stubborn, heavy things, but it’s been good for him to get outside in the fresh air and get to do one of his favorite things–build. He’s not as fast as he used to be–so has broken the job up into several sessions. I’m so glad. It keeps his spirits up while waiting for his needed hip replacement. He’s using reclaimed wood, which saves a ton of money. Pictures on on my blog:http://beckyathome.com

    We continue to transplant baby seedlings.

    We received a thoughtful gift which allowed us to restock some basics from Costco.

    I was given 2 “Hello Fresh” meals that were not used by the one who purchased them because of a crisis. The recipe cards got lost in the shuffle. The green beans were bad by the time I got the bags, but I played “Iron Chef” and was able to use the rest of the ingredients up and made some tasty food.

    My husband did a lot of cooking from scratch.

    I spent a lot of time visiting the hospital this week–numerous trips, around 45+ miles one-way. A close family member had some complications from surgery a couple of weeks ago. They have addressed the issues, but it’s going to be a long road. I took lunch up there with me a couple of times, was treated with some amazing tacos from a nearby restaurant yesterday, and also was able to gather and take some needed items up there one day for the husband. This is not the most frugal time for us with all the extra trips, but we have been able to keep the cost as low as possible.

  5. Isn’t it great how such a little thing as taking in those tops makes them so much more enjoyable to wear?
    I am losing weight and am gradually acquiring a few things in smaller sizes. A friend and I visited a local thrift store and I was able to purchase a skirt, a tunic, a pair of capris and a pair of ski pants all for $8. The ski pants were only $1. They had a stain on the front, which came out with an application of Dawn, and the lining on one leg had come unstitched, which was a quick fix. They are hot pink, a color I have been wanting.
    I made a batch of Brandy’s apricot-vanilla jam, using apricots I froze this past summer.
    I started rooting cuttings from my geraniums, to use in potted arrangements on my front porch this summer.
    I dug down into the middle of my compost pile (which is frozen on the edges but still warm in the middle) and sifted a bucketful of compost to use when I start garden seeds next week.

  6. The weather here is beautiful too! The best time of year to be here in the Southwest!

    My accomplishments:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 7 times. I was out of town 3 of the nights and had my meals paid for, but Hubby ate in anyway. We had steak, baked potato, asparagus together, then he ate leftover steak mixed into a jar of home canned pintos and jalapenos; leftover steak in ramen with veggies; a home canned jar of bean and ham soup. The rest of the week we had steak, baked potatoes and broccoli; frozen pizza; and since it was a very rainy day, I made bean and ham soup with a hambone I had in the freezer on Saturday with homemade cornbread made with bacon grease I’ve been saving in the fridge. We continue to eat from the freezer and pantry as much as possible.
    • Froze the leftover bean and ham soup from Saturday into 3 meal size portions for lunches.
    • My husband insists we have steak once a week (twice this week – ack!) I got 18 bone in NY strips for $3.97/lb. which is the best price I’ve seen. 1 steak feeds both of us. I’ve vacuumed sealed them and put them in the freezer. They will last us a few months.
    • As mentioned, I was out of town. I was doing contract work at a conference. They pay well per day and it also includes all meals. I got some free things at the conference too, including 4 small packages of donettes, some chocolate covered raisins, a large bag of beef jerky, some Clif bars, a package of Pop Tart bites, and of course, my toiletries, coffee and tea from the hotel. The conference was in New Orleans and it is Mardi Gras time, so I also got about 8 strands of beads. I collect these and use them at Christmas by putting them in clear vases.
    • Hung out 2 loads of clothes.
    • Paid our house payment with enough extra principal to knock out an extra payment.
    • Got cash back on my GetUpside gas app.
    • Returned a pair of pants I decided I didn’t need after all.
    • Found a small makeup bag for my purse on clearance. I have been looking for one, so that was nice. Also got a pair of Valentine’s socks on clearance for $2. I like to have holiday socks and I didn’t have any for Valentine’s Day.
    • Got 2 – 2# bags of shredded cheddar cheese for $2.99/bag.
    • Have been diligent in updating my budget and freezer inventory spreadsheets.
    • I mended 3 pair of socks.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  7. I always enjoy your gardening photos so much!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I combined coupons and sales at Bulk Barn and was able to buy some pantry staples, as well as some ingredients for my Bakery-Style Skor Brownies (http://approachingfood.com/bakery-style-skor-brownies/) Yummy brownies topped with fudge, topped with Skor toffee bits, topped with Skor chocolate bar! Buying the items from a bulk store definitely saves me money.
    – I redeemed $70 worth of loyalty points to cover most of my grocery costs for the week
    – I spent $13 on the flash food app, and got a ready-made chicken parmigiana and pasta dish for my husband, a large container of hummus, and a large wheel of triple cream brie. The chicken and pasta dish was enough for a full meal for my husband one night plus a light meal for myself and my mum, and then as a side dish for my husband another night. With the inexpensive brie, I made creamy penne with brie and vegetables, enough for several meals. And the hummus covered most lunches for myself and my daughter.
    – I made a lemon tahini garlic salad dressing, which doubled as a dip. My daughter loved it, and as bagged salad was on deep sale this week, I served the dressing over salads with most meals.
    – I made black bean enchilada soup, using homemade enchilada sauce instead of store-bought. I didn’t actually have the tomato paste the enchilada sauce recipe called for, so I just subbed in some leftover tomato salsa and then omitted the apple cider vinegar called for. Soup turned out great, and I served it to my sister when she visited.
    – I made a bbq sweet potato mash, using sweet potatoes gotten cheaply through the flash food app previously, and some bbq seasoning my sister had given me a long time ago. I love using up odds and ends of things in my kitchen cupboards.
    – I reorganized my kitchen cupboards. I relined them using liner saved from when I initially lined them after buying my condo 8ish years ago, and made sure to display my antique canning jars. I also used recycled plastic containers from wild rice purchases that my mum made; they make perfect containers for grains. It makes me so happy to open my kitchen cupboards now, and I didn’t spend a penny OOP.
    – My daughter has a new favourite toy: my container of canning lids. I never get tired of seeing how much fun she can have with random household items.
    – In unfrugal news, we had a kitchen pipe leak. Luckily, I caught the leak relatively quickly, so it didn’t have a chance to flood the condo below us, or damage anything in our kitchen. But my gosh, plumbers are not cheap! We chatted with the plumber and had a nice connection going, and he ended up taking $20 off the final (still VERY high!) bill, which we appreciated.
    – I went shopping with my husband as he needed new glasses. I asked about discounts and got 20% off, and after our insurance pays us back, our OOP cost will be about $50. Thank goodness for good insurance! I deliberately chose the store brand of glasses as opposed to name brand ones (even though they were the same price), as the store brand came with a two-year warranty for no additional cost.
    – It’s been an expensive year for us so far, between medical and household maintenance costs, and I foresee a number of other costs coming up this year. All the more reason to be as diligent as I can in reducing day to day living expenses. Thanks to Brandy and all the commenters, as I learn so much from all of you!
    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

  8. What lovely pictures of your garden! It has been raining nonstop here and a lot of flooding from the rivers. My yard is a soggy mess. I have been wearing my $3.00 thrift store purchased weather boots with my skirts at work because of how it is almost impossible to get into work without stepping in a puddle. The water is just standing there, and well everywhere it seems. I just keep eating bean burritos, all these pumpkins I am trying to eat down, and trying to eat down the frozen mulberries and figs in my freezer. I don’t really have anything new that I am doing this week.

    1. Cindy,

      I can appreciate the soggy mess in your yard. Mine has drainage issues and I will be working on that this year. I just wish I had mowed the lawn before the heavy rain last week; since we are getting more rain tonight, it will need to wait until this weekend. It still beats snow!

  9. It has been ages since I commented. In the last week I managed to work a lot of freelance work which will be very helpful. It was my daughter’s 16th and we had a lovely breakfast. Her presents came from the present drawer- I buy things I see for a good price throughout the year. It makes birthdays for my children and their friends very easy (and frugal). My daughter loves baking. One of her gifts was a sprinkles ( chocolate and other) gift set bought in the after Christmas reductions. I think it cost £2. It came in a ‘van’ cardboard gift box. Another was the Primrose bakery cupcake book ( brand new) bought at a charity shop for £1.59. She made a red velvet cake- I know it sounds odd that she made her own cake but she absolutely loves baking and I was very pushed for time.

    In Britain I never see the sort of charity shop prices talked about in this blog but I don’t do badly. While I was in the charity shop I saw 2 badminton racquets for £3.59 each ( I checked and they were £19.99 and £10 on Amazon- they were 2 different makes). My daughter had been asked by schoolmates to step in and play badminton against another school recently so I know she enjoys it. She had to borrow a school racquet. I bought the racquets and then bought a net and shuttlecocks off amazon- I explained this was a present for us all to enjoy and she agreed ( she does need people to play against). The rest of her presents from us were clothes I bought on sale, boots ( from big brother which he had lost but luckily managed to find!) and as it was her 16th I gave her a ring which belonged to me. My sister sent her a bedding set and my mother gave her money. We had a lovely time.

    My present drawer is a godsend. I had pretty much cleared it out over Christmas but then visited a shop that was closing down ( I discovered this later). They had sterling silver jewellery sets ( earrings and necklace ) marked down from £24 to £7 and sterling silver earrings ( with Swarovski crystals) for £3. I bought some of the jewellery for my daughter to give to her friends as gifts or for cousins’ gifts. We have already given to 1 cousin and to 1 friend ( who took them all out to mini golf and a meal afterwards). This is a huge saving as the alternative around here is Amazon gift cards for much larger amounts. She is due to go to another party this Friday and we will give some more of this jewellery.

    My younger daughter ( aged 8) has been invited to an ice skating party. At Christmas she was given the same present by 2 aunts on different sides of the family. We put one aside ( I didn’t want to upset them by telling them) and she will give this as a present. We also bought multiple charades games presents ( reduced to £2) in the post Christmas sales that she will give to other friends ( they are at the age where the whole class is invited to parties- this can cost a lot).

    A friend moved away and gave my younger daughter ( much smaller build than her daughter) a blue coat that my daughter is able to use for school. This is great as the uniform changed and while we have a coat from my older daughter it is a bit big. I will give her too small coat as well as some tops to the secondhand clothes sale ( where I have bought my children’s uniform). My friend has also invited us to visit her on the Isle of Man. I love exploring new places.

    I have recently earned supermarket vouchers for 5p off 1L of petrol- using those all the time.

    I have also not really bought much meat as my chest freezer ( which I love) is full. Thanks to this freezer I can buy huge amounts if I see a really good sale. The freezer has more than paid for itself in the year I have had it. My teenage son thought this was very strange behaviour by me until he saw the pictures of empty shelves in Wuhan ( those poor people).

    Thanks to this freezer I can make my children pita bread sandwiches or meals for their flasks and freeze them for school lunches. As the lunches at school cost over £4 for 1 lunch ( so £12 a day as I have 3 children) this saves me a huge amount of money. I buy ham/ chicken/cheese and ( if I am lucky) pita bread all reduced and make huge batches at a time. In the morning I just pull them out and they defrost in the lunch bags. They all also have flasks so on very cold days go in with a hot meal or soup to eat. I guess I spend about £2-£3 a day for school lunches total. My children also prefer my food so a win all round. I also use Gardenpat’s trick and make breakfast burritos and freeze them. Thanks Gardenpat.

    I bought a box from Approved food last week. Most items were a third to half of their normal price ( Approved food sells items that are near/at their best before date). I went via TopCashback to maximise savings. I think I saved about £300 on usual prices ( I think they itemised it on receipt but as I am always a bit doubtful about this I also checked on Amazon and yes, they were right). The powdered milk still has over a year of BB date left.

    I found tomatoes 4 (400g) tins for £1 on an offer ( Tesco for anyone in the UK). I have bought loads. I also found basmati rice- 10kg for £10. Stocked up as well.

    Currently looking for dry dog food for a good price. We don’t buy tins as the vet told me they had very poor nutritional value. Instead I use stock ( always have too much) or water from poaching chicken or I buy a reduced turkey drumstick for £1.65 and give him the meat/stock ( not the bones) over 4/5 or more days. At his last yearly checkup he was noted to be in perfect health ( yippee good dog mummy me!). We have just had our 3 year ‘adoption anniversary’ ( he was rescue). It has been a wonderful experience.

    I’m sure I will remember more but that’s all for now.

  10. Beautiful pictures, Brandy!

    My BFF visited from Oregon last weekend and we used her pattern to each sew a cute top/jacket. We weren’t going for twinsies–I just wanted to use Mary’s $15 pattern, LOL. Different fabrics from our personal stashes.If you don’t count the cost of the material (which I bought 3 years ago for something that never got made and never will), my cost was $0. Mary even brought the thread!

    I went to two thrift stores this week. I don’t know why I bother, since there is nothing I need or want. However, I spotted a brand new needle discard container for DH (who is on insulin) for $2, so I bought it (and nothing else).

    A repair guy told me that a cash & carry grocery warehouse has good deals on meat. I didn’t know they carried meat!  I’ve never even been there, which is a possible frugal fail that I plan to remedy ASAP.

    I ordered $80 ($40×2) worth of OTC products through our Medicare Advantage plan at no additional cost to us. The quarterly benefit is $40 per insured, and we all have this insurance. All 3 of us have products that we regularly use and no longer have to buy, plus there’s usually a few bucks left at the end of the quarter for the oddball stuff we need from time to time.

    I did my own federal taxes with $25 software from H&R Block, including e-file. I was too cheap to buy the state software. I did my Idaho taxes by hand and filed by mail.The envelope weighed nearly 3 ounces…but I saved postage with two .15 “additional ounce” stamps I bought the last time I was at the post office.

    We saw Frozen 2 at the $3 cinema.

    Super One had a 5-hour sale with oranges for .39 lb. or $15 for 40 lb. box (I bought a box). I also got eggs for .69, limit 1.

    1. Maxine,
      When my daughter was doing her own injections for allergy shots I called the solid waste division of our city to find out about approved needle disposal. They suggested (and we used for several years) a two liter soda bottle. We capped the syringes and just dropped the whole thing into the soda bottle. When it was full we put the top back on the bottle and it went safely into the garbage. Just a thought.

      1. Here in Ontario, Canada, we get free needle disposal containers at our pharmacies. When the containers are full, we simply exchange them for empty ones. I’ve been told that the containers and their contents are incinerated as opposed to being thrown into the landfill.

    2. “I went to two thrift stores this week. I don’t know why I bother, since there is nothing I need or want. ” ? so funny!

  11. I’m wishing I could plant tomatoes where I live. But we don’t put ours in the garden until the end of May. I’ll be glad to have fresh tomatoes. I have only three jars left from last year’s canning. I will need to do more this year.
    We saved money this week by staying home. It seems we’ve been making lots of little money-spending trips to town It was nice to be home.
    I am still working hard on my menu planning and am happy with the amount of money I am saving by meal planning.
    I tried another store-brand product and saved a bit more on m groceries. (Store-brand canned spinach vs. Popeye brand canned spinach). Hubby likes canned spinach.
    I made four loaves of banana bread using bananas that have been hanging out in the freezer. We also had peach-banana smoothies using some peaches my husband brought home from work and some bananas that were a little ripe for eating.

  12. I think about the most frugal thing we are doing is keeping our behinds at home if no one has to work. Weather is keeping my husband from a full paycheck. I’ll be so glad when winter is over.

    My mom is having stomach issues, so she sent over some items she won’t be able to eat. 10 cans of chili beans, 5 cans of manwich, 2 packets of chili seasoning, 1/2 bag of chicken wings, and 1 bottle of chloroseptic throat spray.

    The 13yo spent the night at one friends house Saturday night, then went with another friend Sunday afternoon (at least she gets to do something fun)

    While she was gone, we rented a redbox movie using a. 75 off code

  13. I can imagine harvesting almonds would be a treat. The hazelnuts I’ve harvested have been pretty special. I’ve managed to kill every chestnut I’ve planted, and the pecan is still very small. But perhaps, some day. I found sweet pencil sets in Dollar General’s Valentine’s markdown, which made 8 pencils .30 a pack. I bought a few, with Operation Shoebox in mind. Bird suet, yogurt, and almond butter were made. Though we had snow last week, there’s already quite a bit blooming here. I saw the first grape hyacinths last week. I’m joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/02/a-little-snow-cashew-gravy-frugal.html

  14. Greetings!
    It’s hard to believe some of you are planting when we still have so much snow on the ground. Although, we’ve had a few beautiful days, lately!
    We haven’t done a lot this week. I sewed a split seam in a new-to-me thrifted long sleeved shirt I plan on wearing tomorrow.
    I saved shower water, smooshed soap pieces to make a ‘new’ bar, and heated leftovers in the toaster oven. We’ve been using the toaster oven quite a bit this year.
    I added more lotion to the bathroom pump and watered it down.
    My husband had business in the ‘big city’ so he bought the few items I needed from the grocery store which was a big help.
    I’m still walking with several friends six days a week and doing yoga stretches at home.
    That’s about it for me. Ordinary things that keep me accountable.
    Have a wonderful week!

  15. I hope your almond trees continue to increasingly produce. Almonds are expensive! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were cheeseburger wraps with homemade fries, fried eggs with ham and biscuits, grilled chicken salads, fried eggs with bacon and biscuits, ground turkey tacos, ham sandwiches and hot dogs with chips.
    *My boss paid for me to have lunch with a previous coworker. It just so happens she’s a good friend, too!
    *Sent a thank you card from my stash.
    *Stocked up on more blsl chicken breast for $1.59/lb, marked down steaks for $2-3/pack, shrimp for $5.50/lb, marked down cheese, tortillas and pretzels.
    *Paid our college son’s rent through online banking to save the cost of a check and a stamp. Also paid our electric bill online.
    *Used a gift card for a lunch out with my husband. We have enough left on it to get takeout another day.

  16. I love the flower pictures. Even though I still have flowers from last year blooming, it’s nice to see more spring flowers.

    I did not post last week so this will cover two weeks. I continued concentrating on food prep and building up the pantry. I have definitely made some room in the freezer, although it’s now pretty full again after buying a couple freezer items, including 4 pounds of organic ground beef, that are on sale at Aldi’s this week.

    I had to go to Walmart for one item and stocked up on various toiletries because they have the lowest prices on the brands I use. I now have 6 months or more of pretty much all toiletries. I store them on an over the door shoe hanger with 24 pockets because it’s a lot easier to see what I have and not lose track of items in the closet. I bought 4 types of eyebrow makeup (I attribute the need for that to my age); I returned the three products that I did not even try after finding that the first one suits me. I stock up because I think having several months’ supply on hand is worth it and also because I really do not like going to places like Walmart if I don’t need to do so.

    I stayed home most of the week except for my quilting class, which I really enjoy, running some errands, and visiting with my sister and her 96 year old mother-in-law at the M-i-l’s assisted living facility. It is a great place and they treated me to lunch in the dining facility. She recently moved there from the place where she and her late husband lived for many years and had many friends. This has been a huge adjustment for her and she is not making as many friends as my sister would like. Although she has some physical issues her mind is still really sharp. I definitely plan to visit her more often. I took tulips purchased at Lidl’s for both of them; my sister was really surprised that I bought them for her too. It’s always nice to bring joy to someone like that.

    Our weather has been changeable, going from 70 for several days to the mid-50ies for 3 or 4 days. When I have needed to use heat, I’ve been keeping the thermostat low, as always. A friend reminded me of something I once told her that I think was in the Tightwad Gazette and that was to make sure all closet and cabinet doors are closed because there is no reason to heat those areas. If you add them up, they basically amount to a small room in most houses. If you are trying to cut your bill, check that your doors are closed. I also extended the use of the dishwasher from every 2 days to every 3 by hand washing some pieces of silverware because knives, spoons, and forks are the thing that I run out of first. Those of you with large families probably find that funny but when you live alone, it can take some time to fill the dishwasher up. Anytime I used the oven, I made sure that I cooked several things at once.

    I used the 20% discount at the quilting store that is given to all the participants in my 9 week class to buy another piece of fabric I need to complete it and 2 spools of thread, one cotton and one silk (for doing an applique on one square). I did not buy the “quilt in a day” measuring square that the teacher likes because I have a similar one that is doing a fine job and there comes a point where you don’t need multiple items of the same type.

    I hope everyone has a blessed and frugal week.

    1. Hi Mari in SC,
      If you don’t mind, would you please share the eyebrow makeup you liked best? I’ve just recently started to use eyebrow makeup regularly and am wondering if there is a better product than the one I am using.
      Thanks so much!

  17. I accidentally erased my post. I wasn’t feeling well so I stayed home. I went outside and watched birds. I took photos of the winter birds
    (it is still very much winter here although it has been enjoyable with the frequent Chinooks). Imagine my surprise when
    two American Goldfinches in winter plumage came to the driveway to eat the salt. I managed to get one decent photo mostly for identification purposes. I read Tammy’s comment about how seeing bluebirds made her think of me and my photos. Tammy, my very best photo is of a Mountain Bluebird who was so mesmerized by watching a rival male that he did not see me. My second best photo is of two swans flying and my most recent best is of a snowy owl that jumped off a post in front of me. Due to my severed tendon, I cannot pan my camera for birds in flight (my personal favourite former thing to do) so I was lucky I didn’t have to pan the owl to get him in flight. All of the bird watching was free.

    To save money this month and to continue building a pantry, I’m going to No Frills — thanks “Margie from Toronto” for the prices on soups. 2 for $1 and a lot of other items at $1 each such as yogourt, foil, ketchup, baked beans, canned fruit, applesauce, chicken/turkey/beef frozen pies, and my egg free mayonnaise is reduced (yay vegans!). I can get 20 cans of Campbell’s soup for $10. I am not used to a lot of sodium which is one drawback of those soups; still in an emergency I would eat them. I’m hoping some of the reduced sodium soups are included in the sale.

    1. Well, I didn’t make it to No Frills. I could still go but it would cost me $30 round trip in taxi fares so the savings would be negligible if anything. Instead, I’m getting a ride to and from Co-op tomorrow where I will buy Del Monte canned veggies 8 for $10.00 ($1.25 per can compared to No Frills no name brand for $1/can; 2 bags of Green Giant frozen veggies for $5.00 (cheaper than Safeway’s price), flaxseed,
      4 bottles of Joyya milk (thanks for the previous suggestion of Ultra filtered milk for its shelf life) (I have a coupon) , 10 cans of Heinz beans for $10, oranges at 10 pounds for $10. If there is a disruption of food supplies, I will be eating a lot of beans. I still don’t have as many items for the pantry as I’d like. I am hoping No Frills repeats its specials on soup and a few other items in its next flyer. They sometimes do.

      We should not only stock up on food, but also medicines. And vitamins would be a good idea, too. In he event we are spared a major outbreak, the food etc in the pantry can always be used.

      1. Ann,
        I love reading about your bird photos. I used to love watching birds with my grandparents. My parents enjoy birds as well.

        1. Tammy,
          We are just about to have a storm here so the birds are feeding heavily. I thought I saw a goldfinch again but just fleetingly. If you’d like o see some of my photos, go to iNaturalist.ca, then sign in, (it’s free), then once signed in go to people and put in “manysprings”. That should get you to the photos. Since it’s mostly for recording what I’ve seen, I post my not-so good- photos there as well as some better ones.

          When I was a child, I was very ill and would lie on the sofa and watch the birds at the feeder outside the window. That’s when my love for birds started. I wish we had cardinals here but only rarely do we see one. They are found in Ontario, though, thousands of miles from here.
          It is really lovely watching them, isn’t it?

    2. Brandy,
      I love looking at your garden photos. Reading your blog is always a great break from the news around the world.

      This week I have been on the lookout for sales on food. Trying to get food ready if we are quarantined. I hope not. I’m realizing how unprepared we are for a crisis.
      Borrowed movies for my son at the library. Turned off lights. Opened windows for Fresh air. Enjoyed listening to relaxing music while cleaning in the house and driving in the car.
      Enjoying being with my family.

      1. Tammy,

        I’m so glad to hear you are trying to get supplies in for an emergency pantry. One thing I’d recommend also is always keep your gas tank full, in case supplies get low. Also your medicines. I thought my arm was going to fall off with all of the groceries I brought in today. I didn’t get as much as planned due to cost but it is adding up.

  18. hai everyone,
    Thought i’ll write a comment once again, its been a while.
    I’m jealous of your weather…., we are having lots of wind/storms and a lot of rain.
    I cannot work in my garden, I have a new laid out garden closer to home now.
    But the soil is heavy clay ground, if I put in a shovel al the wet clay sticks to it, its awful.
    Waiting for better days! They wil come …one day!!!
    I am thinking about stocking up or not with the corronavirus being in Italy now.
    Lots of people go skieing this time of the year, also in Italie.
    But on the other hand….my husband works at Aldi’s.
    Al we can do is wait and see….
    Greetings from Tanja from The Netherlands

    1. Tanja,

      It would be wise to stock up. Getting food is an issue for many people now in cities that are quarantined. If your city was, the food would stop coming to the store, and your husband might not be going to work. If you don’t have a month’s worth of food or even two months’ worth, I would definitely make those changes right away.

      I understand about the clay. Here, the ground is as hard as concrete. When I bought fruit trees, the cashier at the nursery asked me if I had jackhammered my holes yet! We soaked the ground for four days before it was soft enough to move with a backhoe! We brought in all new soil so that we could grow a garden.

      1. Brandy, you make an important point about stocking up in case of city-wide quarantine re the coronavirus, as food shipments might be disrupted and stores empty. I had stocked up on two weeks worth of balanced meals for my family, along with diapers, tissues, electrolyte solution, etc., as I had just been preparing for a two-week household quarantine, but will now stock up for a month.

      2. I agree with Brandy about stocking up. I have a pretty well-stocked pantry and freezer (although not as well-stocked as 2-3 months ago) but I would hate to have to live off it for two months. Since I can’t afford to load up on meat, and most fruits and veggies are out of season where I live, I’m going to add to my store of beans, rice, etc. I’m not going to add huge amounts, because I don’t want to buy things that won’t eventually be eaten. A few pounds each of the varieties of beans we eat, plus more rice, couscous and lentils, would probably stretch things out for a couple of weeks without going overboard. Might add more flour. I’m assuming we would have all utilities available to us.

        I am not overly worried, but I definitely believe in being prepared for what life throws at us. Here’s hoping this virus dies out in warmer weather, as our common flu viruses die out each year.

      3. Thank you Brandy! After I read your comment, I called my daughter (who lives 2000 miles from me) and asked her if I could pay for the items and send her family canned items from on line LDS food storage. She thanked me and I sent and paid from the online food storage, canned carrots, potato flakes, oats, pinto beans, and apple slices, which are all things the baby is starting to eat. I so agree with you! I live close enough to my other kids that I can take them food from my food storage, but not her! I feel so much better because I know she will use it all after this virus scare is over. So, it was not a waste of money!

        1. Most “unfrugal” week in ages. Car fund will have to wait a bit because this week we decided to plump up our food storage since the Corona virus has hit the United States. Three grocery store trips and a trip to Sam’s club, I won’t mention what it cost. )-: I am confident that I could feed our family and help others for at least a month but probably longer. Many of the money saving, food stretching practices I use have been gleaned from this site. Thank you, everyone!

  19. I am so looking forward to getting out in the garden this Spring, but right now we are getting ready for some snow. That’s okay, I will keep planning.

    I took out a Christmas ham bone from the freezer and took as much meat off as possible (there was still lots left) and made ham and beans with cornbread. With the rest of the ham I made ham salad and a large pan of crustless quiche. We took ham salad sandwiches in our lunches and froze half the quiche for a future meal. Of course, with only 2 of us, we have lots of bean soup left for the freezer. I also took out the last of our large bag of garden tomatoes and I made a delicious tomato soup that we ate with our sandwiches for lunch.

    I took a vacation day on Tuesday and hit a few of my favorite thrift and consignment stores. I was able to find 3 tops that were half price, some storage jars, and books. My biggest find was a complete set of white Pfaltzgraff dishes for $18 at the consignment shop. I have been looking for a set of dishes for about a year now and I was thrilled when I not only found these dishes but that they were half price.

    I also had Monday off for Presidents Day and did some deep cleaning. It felt so good to get that done!

  20. The almond trees are beautiful and exciting for them to be a feeder and money saver for your family! We had a lovely, quiet week with a bit more sunshine than previously although it was still cold. I spent most of the time in the house adding to the wood stove, although I did get out a bit to go to church, the library, and to get groceries.
    *Got another load of books through the inter-library loan system. I got some fiction ones this time to change up the nonfiction and also got a set of the old Murder, She Wrote movies on DVD. So fun and relaxing to watch those! My 14yo daughter also started using this service for her fictional reading. I’m excited this will save us $25 per year by not purchasing a membership at the larger library in the next town 🙂
    *My frugal fail for the week was going over in the grocery budget. I’m hopeful gardening season will help me with this.
    *I got some small rebates back from Ibotta and spent a few minutes getting Swagbucks points in hopes of getting a gift card in the near future.
    *More on my blog! https://www.cozyhomemaking.com/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-february-16-22-2020/

    1. I had to laugh about Murder She Wrote. I had never seen it but my older husband had. One of our local stations was having a marathon so we DVRd all 12 seasons and have been watching one almost every night as a way to relax before bedtime. They are fun and relaxing and not gory. That is hard to find—I loved the Bone Collector books, which were graphic enough but reading it is one thing while seeing it is horrible. I was thrilled when the turned it into a TV series but have stopped watching due to the violence so vividly portrayed.

      Speaking of which, if you like cozy mysteries, set in Victorian England, have you tried the Emily Brightwell series Mrs. Jeffries series. Best read by starting at the beginning so the character development through the next 17 books makes sense. These are not very complicated plots but the atmospheric elements are nice and relaxing, as are the relationships between the servants of the main character, a sort of clueless policeman. I find the books extremely relaxing.

      1. My mom loved Murder, She Wrote. I always told her I would never move to that town because I would probably end up dead!

  21. I title these savings “The Evolution of Pizza Night”
    In the beginning we went out for pizza every Friday night. Then, to save a bit, we would order pizza in, either picked up on the way home or delivery. Next, on a shopping trip I discovered take & bake pizza in the cold case at the store. We tried it and it was good-tasty pizza and savings! We are smart. But wait-on another trip I found frozen pizza dough in the bakery department for $1.00! So Friday night became make your own pizza night limited only by what is in the pantry and fridge & your creativity. Then we got to thinking, can’t we just make our own dough? Yes we can! So now, Friday night is still pizza night but we went from easily $30.00 or more to about 3 dollars worth of ingredients, maybe 5 if we get fancy.
    I know I’m being silly but it’s fun to relive our frugal journey and see how the little changes here & there add up and make a difference.

    1. We rarely order pizza in anymore either. When I have time, I make it from scratch using the Tightwad Gazette’s pizza dough recipe (easy and delicious!) or we have Red Baron frozen pizza. I stock up on that when it goes on sale for $1.99 each. Not the best, but great in a pinch.

  22. Not exactly a frugal week as DD and I were in Hawaii-however we did ride public transit there and breakfast and evening appetizers(i.e. we called it dinner) were included in the hotel rate. When I returned yesterday my DH was at work and I could not see paying an $80 cab fare home. So DH parked the car at the airport for me and rode public transit home($3.50). I paid $15.70 for parking and drove home for a total cost of $19.20 which was a very decent savings of $60.80.. This saved me a long ride on public transit with my luggage after a long flight.

  23. I got well enough after the 14 day flu to go be with Son 2 while he was down from his nose surgery. Septum was blocking 50% of his air ways.I drove his car and ate his food that he ordered through door dash. Figured he really didn’t want me cooking since I had just gotten over the flu. We split meals which he normally splits the meal in two for his dinner and lunch. We had soup for lunch.

    Hubby ate leftovers in the frig and eggs. Carried his thermos of coffee so he wasn’t buying anything either.

    When I got home we went to see Daddy and then to Menards to get another large humidifier like the one we got from Daddy when we cleared his house. It was on sale and takes tap water and the same filters like Daddy’s just a quieter one so it’s in the front room so we don’t have to blast the tv to hear over it. I also got 6 bottle of dishwasher soap as it was on sale . Good score during a 11 % rebate.

    Hubby is converting his hauling hobby to a business. We priced a couple lawyers around here for LLC and they wanted close to $2000. We went through Legal Zoom for less than $1000. They even filed for all the numbers he needs which the lawyers wasn’t willing to do.

    My dermatologist has been on me about my skin care and I have had total strangers ask me if I was being abused due to dark marks on my forehead and cheeks …dermatologist calls them wisdom spots I call them pain in the butt spots. Son 2 ex girlfriend used to sell makeup and skin care products. He let her know that I was in need . She gave me 3 routines that should take no longer than 15 mins, (every day in side, every day in the sun, going out ) best to by for my age and allergies (with a warning to not mix brands on face make up as is can cause allergic reaction) and what order to do them. NOT the brand she was selling. LOL I combined it with sales and coupons and got it for a reasonable price.

    I am doing this year’s pantry challenge for Good and Cheap eats .. March is fill the freezer… ours is eat from the freezers. As Son 2 gave us a almost 5 lb pork loin I barely had room for and the Amish neighbor had gave us 3 lbs ground beef, 1.5 lbs sausage and 16 lbs pork loin. all in the same week.

    OHIO weather is still on a roller coaster of mild to snow, sleet or freezing rain.

    Blessed be everyone
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/02/sigh-at-home-again-going-back-to.html

  24. I have enjoyed your blog for years and this is my first time to comment. Actually this comment is for EVERYONE who reads your blog.
    Brandy, would you be willing to list your husbands work address where he receives his mail (like a P.O. Box)?
    Last week I read where your daughter Winter will be married in April and you said it will be a small quite affair. My thought, we who follow you and your family through this journey of trying to save and be more “prudent” would also like to share in this celebration. I cannot be the only person who read this news last week and want to give the young couple something to help them on their new journey in life. If we your readers had an address we could mail them gift cards or a cashier check. You have such a great following and this could be one way in which we can show you and family how much we appreciate all that you do. After all small things add up and in this way we ALL could help your daughter and her husband to be.
    I can close with been there done that as a newlywed couple both in school. Tight times yes, good times YES. It was during those times that we learned to make a dollar stretch and live with less and live on less than we made. It’s been 41 years ago and we are blessed. Our rule, pay the Lord his 10%, pay ourselves 10% and then live on 70%. It is possible. Never spend what you make, live on less. This way of life will pay you forward time and time again.
    Please consider my request.
    Thank you.

    1. Laura, that is is very kind of you to offer.

      They want a small wedding. It is by their request that they are keeping things small. It’s practically an elopement as she doesn’t want much fuss at all.

      They have a registry at Amazon and one at Walmart. Walmart is the only grocery store in the area. They each have two more years of school left there (he has plans to get a PhD so they still have more years of school elsewhere), so they’ll be there for a few more years. They don’t need much, and their new place is very small (a kitchen, bedroom, and a bathroom–no living room) so they don’t have space for much. It’s furnished, so they just need a few basic things.

      My husband’s office only has a physical address, but you could purchase a gift card online that should get to them. It’s Winter Simper, and the wedding is taking place in Idaho.

      That was very kind of you to offer! And I hope you’ll join in the comments again with your money saving efforts for the week!

    2. Thank you for this suggestion, Laura! I have never commented, but read faithfully and am so grateful to Brandy and this community. I am thrilled to be able to send something to show my appreciation. I wish all the best for this young couple.

  25. The photos are so pretty and spring-like. Just lovely.

    We are having yet another warm mass of rain over us. In the county where I live, the soil is so sandy that it takes more than the rain we’ve had to start flooding yards, although I’ve seen it happen a couple of times over the years.

    I pruned my grapevines this weekend, until my pruners broke. I think I got them repaired with parts on hand, but I’ll have to finish the vines this coming weekend, if the weather clears.

    My husband is having more and more trouble with dexterity, and he has accidentally locked the bedroom door behind him four times recently, and he can’t use that tiny tool to push the lock button back out so he can get in. Last night I took a matching, but non-locking, door knob off of a closet door that goes to the a/c inside unit, and traded it with the bedroom door knob. For some reason, I had been thinking I would have to buy a new knob.

    I used the last of a cabbage and some rather wilted celery in a stir-fry for a meal. I’ll eat stir-fry with or without meat, so it can be a very cheap meal.

    Today is Shrove Tuesday, so our meal tonight will be cheap, pancakes along with bacon I will pull from the freezer. It’s the only time of the year that my husband will eat breakfast for supper, and with all those carbs, it’s a good thing we only do this once a year. I make my own pancakes out of gluten-free cassava and coconut flours.

    Their service is a little erratic in timing, but I found a business of teens (all from a family of nine children) who are doing yard work as a team, and they are doing so much trim work and removal for me, for much less than the “professionals” charge. I let them set the price and don’t even try to negotiate them down– they are still way cheaper and they are all very energetic. They are coming again on Friday to tackle another portion of the yard.

    My dog needs her six month heartworm prevention injection, but nothing else. I just see a tech instead of the vet, and get to pay less. Here in Florida, pay now for heartworm protection or pay soon for expensive, and sometimes unsuccessful, heartworm treatment. The treatment easily runs into the hundreds of dollars.

    I renewed my auto and utility trailer tags online. It costs $2 extra for a “convenience” fee (I hate those fees!) but I don’t work in my town of residence, and I would have to wait until 8:30 for the local DMV to open, then still drive an hour to my 8-5 job after I’m done. I think the $2 is worth not having to miss about 3 hours of work and use more of my precious paid time off. I am already working extra to make up for the many doctor visits with my husband’s problems.

    My birthday is finally coming up this weekend, on Saturday. Happy birthday to all of my fellow Leap Year babies!

  26. Brandy I am glad you were able to harvest lots of things from your gardens and plant beautiful flowers and some vegetables. It certainly pays to experiment with planting as you may just get earlier crops and more harvests. How lovely your daughter will get a new bike for her birthday thanks to your parents looking in garage sales 🙂 .

    Our savings added up to – $368.47 last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Home maintenance –
    – Had a contractor come in with a a trench digger and dig our storm water trench the length of the yard for just $100 saving a few weeks work hand digging it for us.
    – We laid about a quarter of the yard with pipework and drains which took us about 4 hours saving $308 in labour costs getting a plumber in to do the job for us.

    Gift card and rewards card savings –
    – Ordered a Wish Racq gift card for our fuel saving 5% or $7.50 on usual costs.
    – Purchased fuel using our Rewards card saving 4c per litre or $5.87 on usual costs.

    Finances and internet listings –
    – Paid an extra smaller payment of our home mortgage saving time and bank interest on our loan.
    – Listed 18 items on a free listing promotion saving $29.70 on usual listing fees.

    Earnings –
    – DH earned $40 from a gardening job he did.
    – I earned $15 from the sale of a bread bag I sold on the internet.

    Pantry building bargains –
    – On specials I purchased 6 x 6pk of hamburger, white and wholmeal buns, 3.87 kg of chicken drumsticks for $3 kg, 3 x 180g cadbury share packs for $2.30 ea, 1 x 6pk of cream buns for $2.75, 1 x 560g jar of vegemite for $7.50 saving in total $17.40 on usual prices.

    Have a wonderful frugal week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15.

  27. It was a good, frugal week.
    Right now, it’s sunny and 75, so the windows are open.
    I used the remaining pickle juice as a marinade for chicken before I coked it.
    I bought markdowns and loss leaders at the grocery store, as always. I had planned a low-spend grocery month, but ended up stocking up on some things like powdered Gatorade, canned soups, and regular household things we buy, just in case the coronavirus complicates everyday life.
    I sold a giant lot of Legos. I had planned to divvy them up to sell in smaller quantities, but I ended up just selling them through facebook marketplace to a man who will do the same thing. I made a little bit of money and he should make quite a bit, plus my kids got to keep some.
    I went to garage sales, where I bought and resold a few things I picked up, plus kept several things for the family.
    We went to the library and enjoyed some time at the park next door.
    I bought gas at Costco, one of the cheaper places near me.
    I used a coupon at Burger King a few weeks ago when we ate out.
    I made salad dressing from scratch.
    I took some homemade chocolate chip cookies to a swim team meeting to share.

  28. * purchased the store brand (not name brand) of bandages for cuts and scrapes
    * Canceled subscriptions to a news magazine, 3 children’s magazines and a podcast
    * Harvested tomatoes, oregano, lemons, jalapeños and chives from the garden
    * Started another batch of citrus vinegar cleaner
    * Attended a free “introduction to beekeeping” seminar at our local nature center; urban beekeeping is now legal in most of our county and it’s something we *might* try in the future.
    * Checked out three physical books from the library and one more ebook
    * The library didn’t have a 1970s paperback I wanted to read (it’s part of a series) but I was able to order a used copy for $8 including shipping which seems fine to me!
    * I visited a girlfriend and shared some tree collard and lemon verbena cuttings with her and she surprised me with some “walking onions” for my garden.
    * Line drying a couple of times–it was 72 degrees F here today!
    * Picked up a magnetic tool storage bar and a pair of earrings from our wonderful Buy Nothing Group
    * Used rewards points for a “free” cookie at a restaurant
    * Continued to do my regular “no carbon inputs” yard maintenance–we have a couple small patches of lawn left and I maintain them myself with a reel mower, a manual edger, and a push broom
    * I watched a 25-minute documentary about an eco-village community in Missouri; the filmmakers put it online for free

  29. We are back from five months of traveling. We spent the time in the Canary Islands and England. Owned by Spain, the Canary Islands, was an extremely inexpensive place to stay. I came back rather disturbed by how much medications cost here. A prescription I was taking here (not covered by my RX plan) is about $80. In Spain it was available over the counter for $1.40. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “what is wrong with this picture?”
    We wanted to keep traveling but because of issues with a herniated disc we needed to get back.
    Now we are looking for a house to purchase. The area where we had resided has gotten crazy expensive in the last couple of years. There is nothing under $500,000 and the houses that do go for that amount are not anything you would want to live in. So we are looking further away even though I wouldn’t be as close to my grandchildren:( We found a great realtor and she is committed to finding us a place on or near one of the San Juan islands in the Pacific Northwest.
    The whole process is a bit stressful.

    On the frugal front, we are cooking all our own meals. I made two large batches of granola the other day. I needed a couple long sleeved knit shirts and found two for $3.00 each at a thrift store. We have been doing jig saw puzzles and bought a really great one, again from a thrift store, for .75.
    We went to see the movie, Parasite, on a matinee/senior special. We thought it was clever and well acted but neither of us liked it. We find that the older we get the less we care for violence in films.
    Guess that’s it.

    1. Elisa B, I don’t suppose you have a blog? That trip to the Canary Islands sounds fascinating! What a great winter trip. And no kidding about housing prices. We’ve been looking at the Olympic Peninsula, and housing is very high for what you get. Good luck in your search.

      1. Yes, you are so right sbout the housing prices. I have seen some fairly decent prices in the Port Townsend/Sequim area. At least they seem decent compared to King County. Good luck on your search;
        I know that it can seem difficult with so many people out there looking for houses.

    2. We actually moved to Orcas, one of the San Juan islands and ended up having to leave when I got very ill. The ferry ride to get to decent medical care is now at $50 and during the summer getting to and from the mainland can take more than a day’s wait in Anacortes because of the number of tourists and ferry breakdowns. You can get a medivac in an emergency, but not all insurances will pay for that and the weather can be too rough to get on a plane. Many folks retire there only to have to move again at 80, due to medical needs (like if you need dialysis several times a week or months of several times a week chemo). It is a gorgeous place, but we had to move back to Alaska due to those issues. Anacortes, where the ferry leaves from, is on the mainland and is beautiful but does not have the issues the San Juans do.

      1. Hi. Thanks for your comment. Yes, the islands can definitely have some transportation issues ie. the whole ferry issue. I spent years taking a ferry, once a month, to help my elderly parents who lived on the Kitsap peninsula. Because of that very reason we have limited our search. We are looking st Fidalgo Island and, perhaps, Camano Island…both accessible by bridges. Also, I think that Whidby Island can be reached by a bridge from Fidalgo. We, also, are not eliminating Mt.Vernon or Laconner as possibilities. Some of these places have little available or are expensive but nothing like the Seattle area. Early on, I really wanted to move to Vashon because my sister lives there but, due to the whole ferry thing, rejected that idea. Your point is a really valid one. It is diificult to find a place that seems ideal and, yet, has all the services that a person needs.

  30. Hi Brandy,
    Your tree blossoms are beautiful!
    This week we did a good job in the kitchen. We made a pot of beef barley soup that was delicious. I also made beef gravy and noodles and a fresh veggie salad. This fed us for most of the week. I did purchase a wonderful loaf of bread to go with the soup.
    I was given a gift certificate to a very expensive yarn shop for Christmas. I wasn’t even sure where this shop was located but we found it and I purchased 4 skeins of yarn from their sale bin. This is good quality wool yarn which I am excited to use.
    My supply of toilet paper was getting low so I was happy to find a sale and managed to get restocked for $4.
    I read a good book from the library regarding growing more of our own food.
    I have had to have some expensive dental work done so I am really trying to tighten up the budget to cover that. I don’t want to use
    anything out of our savings so it should be a challenge.
    On a happier note, we have not gone on any sort of vacation for several years now but have been putting money into a special vacation account. A big vacation just doesn’t work for us- our work schedules never cooperate. We are taking 3 long weekend trips this year. One is to attend a wedding. Another is a work trip for my husband but I will go along. The last one is a special long weekend to celebrate both our birthdays and wedding anniversary. We are very excited and honestly, we could really use the rest and relaxation.

  31. Tuesday, Mom and I took the county dial-a-ride which includes wheelchair transportation from the skilled nursing facility to the hospital for her 3-week follow-up with the surgeon. It cost us $8 versus $113 via the medical transport the SNF had arranged and would have been less if I registered as mom’s carer in advance. I wish they served our county too but I did learn that while our local community’s Dial-a-Ride has cut back on its range and allowed trip purposes (local-ish medical and grocery only–no fun or work), it still will go into the neighboring county (all of 1/2 mile) for $6 to pick up my mom at the SNF and bring her home.
    Unfortunately, we learned from the surgeon that mom’s hip bone hadn’t been strong enough to hold the screw. He recommended a second surgery to get mom walking, a partial hip replacement. But it took a week for 96 1/2 years-old mom to make sense of her world after the last operation. Mom, my sister and I now agree that we shouldn’t risk another period of post-surgical delirium. As things are now, she can put as much weight on her left leg as she can tolerate using a walker.
    We were afraid she’d have to use a board to transfer to and from a wheelchair. But during her last two therapy sessions, she has been able to, using her walker, stand, pivot with little steps, and sit down with minimal assistance and tolerable pain with Tylenol as the pain medication. Her hip and leg rarely hurt at all except when she moves them.
    Be very careful what you ask a surgeon to tell your physical therapists if your stay at a skilled nursing facility is paid by Medicare! I asked the doctor to tell physical therapy to stop having the goal of mom walking. He wrote the order authorizing the use of a walker with weight bearing as tolerated and with a goal of transfer training. But he began the order with the words “No pt left hip.” I handed the note from the doctor’s visit to the new nurse on duty at the skilled nursing facility; she entered the order as “No pt” and mom’s therapy, all therapy both OT and PT, stopped immediately. A notice that Medicare was stopping coverage Thursday and if she wasn’t gone by Friday, we’d have to start paying $425-$475/day was given to me to sign too. A formal appeal had to be filed by noon Wednesday. Right away, I insisted that the paper copy of the order from the doctor be looked at by therapy–she was still to have therapy, just not with a goal of making her walk despite horrible pain. The head of therapy, the social worker, and I each called the doctor’s office. Verbal clarification was made to the head therapist folllwed up by a fax and mom had her therapy that afternoon. While I was in the therapy room with mom and on the phone with the Medicare intermediary starting to make my appeal that the termination of coverage was a horrible mistake, the woman who I thought was the social worker but who actually was the SNF’s top administrator, came in and said everything had been straightened out, mom was to have therapy, and she could stay as long as originally planned. I asked her to tell that to the customer service rep I was talking to. She did, and it appeared everything was fine except that the last paper I had received said I had to appeal by noon Wednesday or start paying the big bucks Friday. Wednesday morning, the zombie order rose up and caused physical therapy to be postponed again. Mom’s electronic medical record had been fixed in one place but not in another. I told the SNF’s office staff that I needed something on paper showing mom was back to the original date by 11:30 a.m. or I’d have to make the phone call to file an appeal by noon to preserve her rights. They came through with a new discontinuation of coverage notice with the original ending date. Mom didn’t miss any therapy sessions because of the confusion and did very well Wednesday afternoon–good timing on her part because it was a progress-report-to-the-insurance session.
    I had been in tears Tuesday afternoon, when it looked like all therapy had ended before mom and I had all the skills we needed to care for her at home and before we had a ramp installed to get her to the front porch–compounded by the doctor’s bad news and by my faraway sister’s first impulse, before she spoke with the doctor and had her questions answered, that we needed to convince mom to have the operation.
    We are getting a ramp installed next Tuesday by a company I first contacted in late fall of 2018. And we are getting it installed at the 2018 price, the same price a large building supply company and a mail-order ramp company currently charge for diy ramp kits. Aluminum ramps don’t require permits in our township, unlike wooden ones and they hold their resale value better than wooden ones.
    I also am getting rid of some furniture and moving other furniture to make it possible for mom to move around the house in a wheelchair. I’ve decided that my own retirement nest, whatever it turns out to be, will be as handicap accessible from the get-go as affordably possible. Accidents happen suddenly. I won’t have somebody at home to make the changes needed to get me home from a hospital.
    My nephew and his wife and darling little dog semi-unexpectedly showed up after a 10-hour drive Tuesday evening. They had tried to come the previous two weeks but medical appointments had delayed them. And, until they were halfway here, I had assumed the weather forecast was going to keep them away this week too. Their timing could not have been better. Because of their visit, my mom, after learning she is likely to never walk again without pain in the morning, viewed the day at the end of it as having been a good day because her grandson had visited her and was going to visit her again the next day.

  32. This month’s frugal successes include:
    -a lower electric bill due to watching lights and oven use, unseasonably warm weather throughout the month so heating was less, and hanging laundry on the line on warm, sunny days.
    -shopping specials and clearance items at the grocery stores. I got a fantastic deal on fresh mushrooms marked way down, so I bought the 2 extra large containers, cooked them up and froze them for future use.
    -reread Brandy’s post on “what to cut when you think you have nothing left to cut.” It reminded me of a few things I can do to cut back on electricity and water.
    -ate mostly from the pantry and freezer and used leftovers up before they went bad.
    -stayed home at least 3 days a week and grouped errands when I did go out.
    -My husband made me two decorative shelves for displaying a small collection of flamingos I have. He used 2 beautiful maple drawers the size of an old fashioned card catalogue drawer. He hung them on our screened in porch and look beautiful.
    -organized and decluttered…a constant activity around here. I did get rid of a LOT of old paperwork and knickknacks opening up a lot of space in storage and making the house look less busy.
    -With the unusually warm weather this winter I have been able to walk for exercise almost daily for exercise. We will have 4 or 5 days of 50 degree weather then 2 or 3 days of 20-30 degree weather. Crazy. My poor spring bulbs have already started to come up and yet I know we will most likely have a big cold snap when things are blossoming in April.
    -tracked spending to keep us accountable financially
    -used both our public and church libraries
    -found a penny and a dime. Added them to our money jar which we use for summer fun activities with the grandkids.
    -meal planned, cooked from scratch, packed meals for work.
    -I realized I can skip washing my hair daily now that I am retired. The main reason I washed my hair daily when I worked was to style my hair. It was not actually dirty. So now I shower and wash my hair every other day, saving water costs.
    -I have been working on incorporating more beans into our diet. I started by adding a small amount of mashed beans to various hamburger recipes like meatballs and hamburgers. I started by adding 2-3 Tablespoons of ground up black beans to a recipe. When my husband made no mention of noticing any difference I started adding more. Now It is about a 50-50 mix and he still has not complained. I add ground/mashed white beans to ground turkey recipes. It has stretched our meat and added important nutritional benefits as well. I have added grated zuccini to spaghetti sauce for decades and no one in the family ever noticed. And yet they all will tell you they don’t like zuccini:) By adding these beans to our diet we have lowered our cholesterol significantly.
    -I found a very helpful youtube channel called the frugal minimalist. Her videos are short and she gets to the point, no rambling. Her tips are practical which I like.
    -watched the minimal mom youtube channel to get tips on decluttering items from my house. Less stuff leads to a calmer mind and less to take care of freeing up time for more fun, worthwhile activities.
    That about does it for the month of February. I appreciate everyone’s comments and have learned so much. Brandy, I will often reread your older articles when I am feeling frustrated or discouraged financially. Your articles always lifts my spirits and give me hope.

  33. Haven’t posted in a while, but have faithfully read everyone else’s posts! Spent a week out of state in Hawaii for a vacation. While not inexpensive, it was worth it. We bought breakfast smoothies at the airport but packed our lunch to take on the plane. We were given beautiful leis at the hotel and we used them to decorate our room. Our room had a kitchenette. I went shopping several times. Everyday we ate breakfast in our room, would go enjoy the beach. Come back to our room for lunch and then would head to the hotel pool. A few nights we ate dinner out, but mostly got food to go or heated up left overs or made dinner in the microwave. Our room had a fancy coffee make, so the hubs and I enjoyed coffee on the lanai everyday. Two kind people gifted my son a raft and a pool floatie as they were leaving. We in turn gifted them to someone else when we were checking out. Instead of buying some beautiful art work prints on display at the hotel, we took pictures to print out when we got home. We combined trips on the public bus to get the most use out of our day passes and avoiding expensive cab fares. We enjoyed several free hula shows in the area as well as a fireworks show for free. I visited another hotel on my daily walk and was able to get a complimentary newspaper and elixer drink. We had paid extra coming and going of early boarding privileges. I had contacted the carrier and asked for a refund of $150.00 (the cost of the early boarding) because of seating issues with passengers that boarded late; refund was granted! We also have been enjoying some of the hotel toiletries that we did not use during the trip here at home. I participated in a focus group and was awarded at $100.00 Amazon gift card. My mom gifted me $100.00 worth of groceries that will last us several days. I went thrift store shopping. I found a new unopened lego set for my niece for Christmas, which retails for $80.00 but was marked to $20.00. At the same store a few days later I found a Christmas gift for my son, a hot wheels set, that retails for $80.00, that I got for $20.00. I also picked up a few card and board games new in packaging for our family game night. I also found a new in package lego set for our gift closet for $8.00. When we got back from vacation, I went through most of our drawers and closets. I was able to take an inventory things we have. This is a great help to me, as now we don’t need to buy several things. The biggest blessing by far was our refinancing our mortgage. It will be $150.00 less that what we are paying now. We were able to pull some money out. We will now be debt free!!!!!!!! This will save us an additional $1200.00 per month that we can put in our emergency fund. We have a goal of saving one year’s worth of mortgage payments plus an emergency fund. Praise God!

  34. I like your idea about incorporating beans where you can. I just read a tip somewhere that said to add white beans to smoothies to up the protein. I’ve yet to try it, but will soon.

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