I transplanted paperwhites that had multiplied in my white garden to four large pots in my garden. I have many more to transplant to new spots in the garden; I am looking for new places to plant these in the garden. The ones in the photo above, which are already blooming, are ones that had naturalized in my front yard and that I planted in a new spot in the backyard last year. This is the first time they have bloomed for me in this spot.

I harvested arugula (rocket), Meyer lemons, green onions, and Italian parsley from the garden. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see my harvest as I often share in my Instagram stories throughout the week.

I sowed previously purchased seeds in the garden for beets and johnny jump-ups. I went through my old seeds and though there are some colors of flowers I wish I had seeds to plant, I will not worry about that this year and just plant what I have. If they don’t come up, I will plant other seeds that I have.

I sowed seeds that I had collected from my own garden (so free seeds) for poppies and nasturtiums.

I took 150 cuttings from my hedges in the front yard to make new hedges in the backyard. The price of these bushes went way up (I paid $2.88 each for the ones in the front yard 10 years ago) to $11 each last summer. I need over 1300 of them. This past week’s cuttings are a savings of $1650 before sales tax. I will continue to take cuttings each week to get make all of the hedges in the garden. Not all of them took last year, but those that did are growing well. It will be many years before my garden beds are edged in low hedges, but the savings is huge by doing it this way.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water pots in my garden. Though all water that goes down the drain is collected and reused here, if I am paying for it, I want to be sure it is being used well, especially with our new increased water rates that start this month. Thankfully, we had rain the last few weeks, which saved me from needing to water much.

I read the four e-books from the library on my phone using the free Libby app; I can recommend three of the four: Here’s Looking at You, Just Last Night, and Eliza Starts a Rumor. A trigger warning for the last book; it deals with assault.

I reorganized two drawers: it cost nothing but my time yet gives me a great deal of satisfaction as I get dressed each day.

I gave my son a haircut.

One of my Meyer lemon trees

I made herbal tea using lemon verbena that I grew in my own garden and dried before the frost.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I bought stamps online before the price increase on Sunday, 1/22. Thank you to TCR who mentioned the increase in the comments a few weeks ago. Since I couldn’t decide which design to buy and already had some, I might have a lifetime supply now…

    I enjoyed the scent and appearance of my indoor paperwhites and planted the other 6 bulbs I have to enjoy in February. I’m going to plant the bulbs outside once they are done blooming. They might come up next year or might not but I’ll never know if I don’t try.

    I did a Saturday cooking session that will provide multiple meals this week. I baked chicken to use in chicken salad (chicken, dried cherries, toasted almonds, celery, grapes and Duke’s mayo) and a tortilla pizza with chicken, bacon, sweet onion and BBQ sauce, all topped with monterey jack cheese. I cooked a package of bacon on the Foreman grill for this as well as for spinach, pepper, bacon and cheese quesadillas and in BLT sandwiches using lettuce and tomatoes from my garden (the tomatoes are still ripening on the kitchen counter). I baked a pumpkin pie and made the Kraft veggie appetizer pizza (https://www.myfoodandfamily.com/recipe/051172/veggie-pizza-appetizer) using dill currently growing in my garden and topped with broccoli and tomatoes that I grew as well as celery. The pie, chicken and crescent roll crust were baked at the same time to save energy.

    I pulled my broccoli and snow pea plants and am trying to figure out what to do with my potted blueberries because they have many flowers on them. I’m afraid that if I pull them off they won’t rebloom but if I leave them, they might not survive the upcoming overnight lows around 30 degrees F/ -1 C. My plan right now is to bring them inside or cover them on those nights. Our temps were in the high 60ies/low 70ies (18-23 C) but are falling back 10 degrees this week so that could slow them down.

    I didn’t use the heat much at all this week and think the bill might be lower than the last bill of $88. I’m on a time of use meter and have saved $211 this past year over the cost of regular service. My high rates are very high and are in effect between 6 and 9 a.m. from Nov. 1 to March 31 and 3 to 7 p.m. from April 1 to October 31 seven days a week. The low rates are really low though and since I live alone and am retired I have a flexibility on when I do things that take a lot of energy. My goal this year is to get the savings up to $20 per month. My average bill is $71 so I know I’m really fortunate to have this option and my electric co-op as my service provider.

    I read “Racing the Light” by Robert Crais on the Libby app in 2 days since there was a waiting list and I didn’t want to hold anyone up. Any excuse to just sit and read! I listened to 3 books on Hoopla and Scribd and to football and hockey games on Tunein premium, which is free with my Scribd subscription. I watched the game on CBS on Paramount Plus. My daughter and I share the subscription and at $5.20 per month, it’s worth it to us.

    I spent far too long organizing all my cross-stitch thread because I couldn’t find one color needed to make my new project. I stitched it for my sister in 1994 and posted a picture at https://pin.it/2NlaN3D and now want my own. The pattern was a free one created in 1994 by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum and can be found at http://www.tiag.com/otherproducts/1994preview.html if you’re interested in making it. The good news is I found the missing color.

    1. I had no idea they would come back every year and multiply so well, but mine did, and now I just grow them outside!

    2. I bought $120 (we use about $$500 worth of postage each year) but was disappointed that they did have any of the new Love stamps suitable for Valentines Day. Went to two PO’s and non luck at either.

      1. I ordered online and got Arnold Palmer (I was raised near Latrove, PA and both my dad and my brother- in-law and his family golfed at the same local country club as Arnie so I HAD to get them!), marine sanctuary and some flower. It’s worth the $1.50 fee to not go running around. I’m sorry you couldn’t get the ones you wanted.

    3. Thank you for the link to Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum designs. I made the 1988 Christmas angel for a gift and have wanted to get back into cross-stitch. (I gave it up when my oldest was a toddler…too many needles for little hands to grab!)

  2. I finally figured out how to use the CVS rewards cash coupons I had before they expire!! Apparently they can each be used to take cash off a single item, not off the cumulative purchase total. So I bought a variety box of 200 assorted CVS Band-aids ($10.59 to use my $10 reward), a tube of Sensodyne toothpaste ($5.19 to use a $5 reward), a 3 pack of toothbrushes ($3.19 to use a $3 reward) and a single toothbrush ($1.89 to use a $2 reward). Finished it off with 20 cents off the remaining total! So I spent 77 cents to purchase $20.97 worth of health supplies that we regularly use!! In the past, I would buy bunches of things totaling the $20 in rewards coupons and then not understand why it only took a dollar or two off my bill!

    This week we finally finished the assembly and stocking our new shelves in the basement. https://pin.it/T2HMWpp and https://pin.it/74XkrE1. I’m going to enjoy filling those shelves! And now I can see and accurately inventory what I have.

    We continue eating from our freezer and pantry and have had beef chimichangas, chicken tortilla soup, shepherd’s pie, hamburgers and banana walnut bread. No shopping trips needed for them. I did buy 5 bottles of All laundry detergent priced at $5.49 but on sale for $3.49 with a $1. Off digital Kroger coupon that made them $2.49/ bottle. That still would not have enticed me to the store, BUT there was a $2 ibotta rebate on each bottle (up to 5). THAT got me to the store! I bought 5 bottles- original total $27.45 but after sale, digital store coupon and ibotta- cost $2.45 , saving $25! While I was there, I used a Kroger digital coupon to get a strawberry yogurt free! Since this Krogers is 5 minutes from my house, I stopped in while I was running other errands.

    This morning Hubs realized we were out of milk so he drive over to store to get some. He also remembered to look in clearance shelves. (He learned this well over the years! Lol!) He found (and sent me photos to verify if that it was a good clearance price) Nature Valley granola bars! An 18 pack for $3. (Regular right now is over $8.) So he got all 3 boxes and is quite delighted because they are his favorite! And for around 16 cents/bar, I am happy to indulge him! Lol!

    As he was on his way home, my DIL called to say she was at her Krogers and found Tyson chicken nuggets on clearance for $2/ 4 pound bag and wondered if we wanted any because there were dozens of bags! I called and texted our 2 daughters and youngest son to get their “orders” and then added mine to it. The regular price is over $8!! So for 50 cents a pound we have some very happy grandkids as well as some adults for a fast and inexpensive meal! So the networking absolutely is saving us a lot! And it’s just become the habit- when we see something on clearance or a good sale, we immediately text or call the others to see if they want some as well! Time and money saver!!

    On Saturday, our youngest son called from grocery store to find out what kind of onion he should buy for an enchilada recipe he was going to cook up this week from one of the cookbooks he downloaded from me!! I suggested he buy a 3 pound bag of yellow onions if the per pound price was less than buying a single onion. He did and brought the bag over and he learned how to use the food processor to chop them all up and then bag them in the freezer ziplocs he bought last week! I labeled each bag with: 1/2 cup= 1 medium onion so it will be there for easy reference as he goes to use some. But this is now 3 recipes that he’s cooking on his own!! He has to be saving a lot compared to his eating out twice a day!! 😱☺️ This mom is overjoyed!!

    I’m working on a king size quilt for our daughter who got married after Christmas. Using only stash and a free online pattern, it is moving right along! To make it that large, I have to make 144 blocks. I’m averaging 12-24 each day in spare bits of time. Here’s what it looks like so far: https://pin.it/7Gh1cbf. I also found some more free quilting pantographs to self-print for my longarm machine so we now have 87 quilt designs for clients to choose from!

    Our chickens have started doubled their winter production that had been 2 – 3 eggs per day!! We still have eggs ahead but this lets us gift more to others we know who are seniors or have big families! We are always grateful to have enough to share!

    Winter is back at least for the next two weeks so we are focused on inside things and planning for outside projects in the Spring! I’m going to try a new recipe from SixSisters today for dinner today, using just food storage I already have. Ingredients in my pantry and freezer really do give me options!

    We’ll find out on Wednesday if the $400+/month total increase in SS for Hubs and me is accurate. They did send us notices saying that’s what it would be. That will probably get socked directly into savings, while it waits to see how much our supplemental health insurance will go up in June.

    Through the challenges in the world around us, it seems that more and more people (not those seen on the news) are treating those they encounter with kindness. We are trying to continue that practice as we encounter others in hopes that it may become a trend!

    I hope you, Brandy, are getting rain and respite from the economic hardships around you and that your other readers are finding blessings (both large and small) and opportunities available to them!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. A tiny amount! But the real need is snowpack in Colorado.

          The problem is, states like California use more water than is being replenished each year. (Nevada uses less than their allotted amount). California didn’t have to make changes yet according to the agreement and they have not, while we have had huge cuts (for example, grass has been outlawed for any home built from April on of last year; people cannot have grass in their backyard at all on newer homes.)

          The new water restrictions are really strong here. The water district here is going to make a TON of money. They paid Arizona farmers $25 million last year to not grow crops and promised to do that again this year, so we are paying for that here in Las Vegas–while also watching the price of winter lettuce rise exponentially, as most of the nation’s winter-grown lettuce is grown in Arizona.

          Down the street, the nearby community is removing grass and trees. Grass in medians has been outlawed and has to be removed by 2026. This grass removal will save a ton of water.

          1. The part about California must be really aggravating because this state touts itself as being so environmentally conscious. Do you know if there are any plans for tighter restrictions in CA?

            1. It is annoying, and I grew up in California.

              They have to make changes soon. Everything gets redecided in 2026 but this year California has to make more cuts.

              Next year additional cuts will be required. That I cannot even fathom here.

              1. Do you mean additional cuts for Nevada, for your area? This situation is just amazing, amazing that it’s real. Could California use desalination plants?

              2. Yes. And can they? That would be wonderful, but they keep fighting them.

        2. Anne, you can follow the level of Lake Mead at https://mead.uslakes.info/Level/. I started checking it several years ago when Brandy mentioned their water issues. It’s not good…

          This website also has a map of the USA that is updated with the current drought conditions every Thursday if you want to see the status of your area or any other place.

          1. Mari, thank you for sharing that link. We’re in a pretty bad drought here in Kansas and I like to see how it’s going….not so good. Well, we got some snow last night so it’s better than nothing!

            1. Debby, my husband was out in Kansas last week hunting. He said it was so very dry and bird habitat decimated. He said he won’t be going out that way to hunt for a while as it could take years for it to come back and the birds to rebound. So sad! Here’s praying you get lots of snow and rain to turn the drought around. Wishi could send you our very many inches of snow in Minnesota.

              1. Prayers graciously received! Our backyard is pretty big and mostly lawn. We really haven’t been able to water enough to keep it green like it normally is. So, we’re looking at taking a good sized portion and start replacing it with native plants and wild flowers. We need to talk to one of the experts at our nursery.

    1. Pat.
      Depending on what your youngest son likes to eat, you might see if there are any cooking for college student books available to download. They have a lot of step by step recipes for kids who are away from home and ignored their parents who tried to teach them how to cook – aka my daughter.

      Your SS is likely correct. My net check went up $250 with the 8.7% increase.

        1. Mountain Mama Dawn, thank you for sharing the link to the e-book. I think I remember it from before but had forgotten about it. I’ve got it bookmarked and downloaded now so I can share as needed. Very helpful information.

      1. Mari in SC- Great idea! Right now, I don’t want to overload him with too many choices. Between the 2 cookbooks I had him download, there are about 2000 recipes. They are simple and economical comfort food. He (on his own) has been picking out a couple different recipes each week to get ingredients for and make for the week. Each recipe will make 4- 6 servings and so he eats leftovers on some of the other days (and that is as he likes it! Remember this is the guy who was eating takeout pretty much every night many lunches!) I know from experience that “pushing” him to do something never ends well. He has to make choice himself. That’s why this change to cooking at home is such a milestone!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    2. Your quilting talent amazes me! Every one is so beautiful. I would love to learn how to do it…but sewing is not one of my talents.:)

      1. KristyB- Thank you for your kind comments!! There are so many other things I have no aptitude for but content myself by thinking that it would be so boring if we could all do everything!! I don’t think we would appreciate each other’s efforts as much! When I see any kind of art, crochet, knitting and SO many other creations, I am just thrilled because I know that it’s way beyond my abilities!

        And for me, quilting is relaxing!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. When I was in college, I bought Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two cookbook. My roommate and I depended on it and it’s what I used when I first got married 55 years ago. Although some of the recipes might not match today’s tastes, I still use some of them. They are simple, don’t require too many ingredients, and they make two servings–very good for newer cooks preparing meals for only one or two people. Taste of Home has a similar book, which might be helpful for your son. It’s hard enough to learn to cook without having to cut down the recipes and deal with a lot of leftovers.

    4. Sorry to bug you with another question about all the candy canes you crushed up, but how are you going to keep them from all sticking together in the jar.

    5. Pat,
      I always enjoy your informative comments. Just wanted to pass along a potential resource for your son that my teens, especially my sons, have enjoyed. It’s a show called “Struggle Meals”, and the guy goes through cooking 3 recipes, budget-friendly, step by step. I found it’s available for free on youtube, and the recipes are in the description. In case of any interest, here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/@strugglemeals

  3. Brandy, the lemons are eye candy. So bright and cheery, what I wouldn’t give for a tree like that! Plus I’m glad you utilize them. I grew up in California and many oranges and lemons went to waste there.

    -I spent $20 on groceries this week for eggs, 2 dozen for $6.50, romaine lettuce, milk, and cheddar cheese. Total for the month is $30.
    -I’ve used 15 jars of food this week. Total is now 40 jars toward my 40 goal. I’ve met that and I have a week to go!
    -I strained my vinegar that was working from apple peels and cores and I have 3 quarts. One I put orange peels in to use for cleaning.
    -I pulled some chicken breast from the freezer that was frozen last spring and canned it. I got 7 pints of chicken chunks. We tend to cook legs and thighs or a whole chicken. So moving forward if we get a deal on chicken breast I need to can it.
    -Bought a roll of 100 forever stamps before the postage increase.
    -I made horseradish pickles from a quart and 2 pints of dill pickles. Pour off the dill brine, remove the garlic cloves and dill. Add 1/4 cup of horseradish per quart and make a new brine of sugar, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil. Pour over pickles and into the refrigerator and allow to sit for a few days and they are ready to eat. I could eat a whole jar in one sitting!
    -I finished embroidering a chicken pattern on 3 dishtowels (2 windowpane type in red and blue and an off white cotton waffle weave) and added these to my gift cabinet. I just ironed on a canning design on 4 flour sack towels and now I will start embroidering these. I had all these towels in my stash, the iron on designs and the embroidery floss as well, so no out of pocket costs and I am making gifts.
    -Hubby was in Kansas pheasant hunting this week, so I mainly ate bits and bobs of frozen food for meals to clean some frozen leftovers out of the freezer. Still more to go but I made a huge dent and it is things hubby doesn’t particularly care for.

    Have a great week! For us in the snow belt, stay warm!

  4. I’m so impresses that you have flowers blooming this time of year — so lovely!

    My frugal week:

    – I made homemade white cheddar popcorn (aka copycat SmartFood) http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-white-cheddar-popcorn/. So yummy and definitely cheaper to make at home.
    – I made several batches of toaster pancakes (http://approachingfood.com/sour-milk-toaster-pancakes/) and froze them for quick breakfasts.
    – inspired by someone posting a couple of weeks ago, I canned cranberries from my freezer, to turn into juice. I also canned some more leftover soup. I make at least one dinner of soup every week, and am canning the leftovers. I’m slowly adding homemade canned soup to my pantry, for easy future meals, and I’m so pleased about it!
    – I baked some chocolate chip cookies. My daughter broke an egg and I was running low on them, so I just used the half of the egg that I could recover from the counter, instead of a full egg, and the recipe turned out just fine. I froze half the dough for easy future cookies.
    – I made homemade breadcrumbs and used them to stretch some ground beef when making meatballs. I also added in some grated frozen zucchini. I used my blender to blend it all together and it turned out very tender, and definitely stretched that meat! I froze some of the meatballs and used them later in the week to make meatball subs.
    – I also used homemade breadcrumbs to make eggplant parmesan. I made one casserole dish full, and froze enough for a second.
    – I spent $20 on the flashfood app, and got a box of produce (two mangos, two large other-tropical-fruit-whose-name-escapes-me-now, and three eggplants), a club pack of quick fry beef steaks, two large containers of fruit yoghurt, a 6-pack of chocolate chunk banana muffins, and a package of fresh cheese and spinach ravioli.
    – I made a batch of granola,
    – I baked a batch of mini carrot muffins for school snacks. I used veggie puree (from my freezer) for half the oil, and flaxseed eggs instead of actual eggs.
    – I made taste-safe slime for my kids using chia seeds.
    – I made bean and cheese burritos using a NYT Cooking recipe, but modified it to fit what I had: frozen peppers not fresh, canned salsa instead of pico de gallo, regular paprika instead of smoked paprika, etc. They were SO good!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Paperwhites can be forced indoors this time of year, as can amaryllis. Paperwhites are very fragrant and many people hate their fragrance, but there is a new type with colors and no fragrance. I have yet to see those for sale anywhere but I would love to get some, as my husband abhors fragrance. All of which is to say, you could grow them indoors this time of year too!

        1. Any container with those glass rocks or other rocks at the bottom works fine. A tall glass vase from the dollar store (and they carry rocks too) works well for tall plants but you could even just use a bowl.

          1. Ah! I didn’t realize that! I’m going to look into it. I have a glass vase, and can probably get a single tulip bulb or such from my mum, so the only outlet would be for the glass beads. My daughters would get a kick out if it. Thanks, Brandy!

      1. I was gifted a pot of paperwhites years ago and the scent was reminiscent of burning rubber. We looked all over trying to find what cord was smouldering. when we discovered the source they became patio flowers (in Florida). We had very few bulb flowers bc not cold enough and putting the bulbs in the crisper bin for weeks as directed never worked.

          1. I love the smell, though now I’ve developed issues with fragrance, but so far not to natural ones. I have fond memories of mom forcing paper whites in a shallow dish on the kitchen table, so nice in the drab time of dater Christmas winter. I’ve inherited that dish, but no luck finding the bulbs locally (honestly, I don’t know when to look and if they need refrigerated time…can you tell I’m intimidated by bulbs?)

  5. I do love to see your Meyer lemon tree. It amazes me how prolific it is. What a cheerful sight it is!

    This was a quiet week when it comes to spending, and saving. The next month’s pension payments start on Wednesday, so there are always a few days before where I focus on other things. I did buy groceries, since we are having a last stretch of relatively warm weather before we return to more seasonal cold. I wanted to get what food I could into the house before the weather turned. I got 10 lb of russet potatoes for one cent less that a 5 lb bag was priced at. Prices were all over the place, some good value, others stunningly expensive. The unpriced red pepper I got turned out to have cost me $3.50! Eggs were $3.99, which has been the same price since January 2022. I asked for the food to be delivered. The person helping me simply picked up the grocery bags and walked home with me. I tipped him what I saved on the potatoes, though these tips come from my transportation budget. I’ve spent a total of $17 on “transportation” in the last seven weeks.

    I’m getting quite a bit done, but overall it was a very sad week, since my 83-year-old sister-in-law, who has been in long-term care, passed away on Friday night, after a month of decline. My brother died in 1979. My family remained close to her in all the years since, since her own family was gone, but my parents and siblings who she was close to are gone now as well. She had gathered around her in the years since then a large network of close friends around British Columbia. They rallied together in an e-mail group and as many as possible in person during her final days. They traded stories and photos and her favorite music, which was played to her for several days this week. It is sad to lose her, but she was very depressed and unhappy as well as ill, so I would not wish that to have gone on longer.

    1. I’m sorry you have lost so many of your family members, including your sister-in-law. You are not alone as long as we are here.
      Prayers and blessings,
      Elizabeth H.

    2. It was very heartening to read that you had stayed in touch with your sister-in-law for all those years after your brother died. So often when the spouse dies, it is as if that side of the family died, too. I am sorry for your sad week.

    3. Elizabeth always difficult saying goodbye to a loved one, sounds like so many made her last days filled with love

    4. I’m sorry for your loss, Elizabeth – it sounds like her final days were full of love and sweet reminiscing.

    5. Elizabeth, like others, I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister-in-law. She was quite a young widow, having lost your brother so many years ago. Your family must have been of great comfort to her through all those decades. It sounds like she amassed a loving, kind group of friends that made her final days very special.

  6. I just love lemons and parsley! Ina Garden has a great Mediterranean vinaigrette that is basically 50% olive oil to 50% lemon juice plus some salt and cumin, and it makes a great dressing for a Mediterranean pasta salad with feta, cucumbers, and chopped herbs like dill (I am sure parsley would be good too!).

    My frugal win of the week was to use two $5 certificates from Michaels and combine them with a 40% off online sale. I got a set of 10 tubes of Windsor Newton Cotman watercolors (the 5 mL size) for $2.19. With those I can create two sets of watercolors using either empty half pans that I’ve gotten from Amazon in the past or leftover oval pans that I pop out of our other watercolor sets once the kids have used them up. If you keep the cases as well, you can create your own sets of watercolors.

    I am gearing up to start our seeds outside pretty soon in waves. I emptied out some of our clear plastic clothing bins and will be filling them with sets of milk jugs to create a double layer greenhouse on our front porch. I am also looking forward to sowing our own vinca seeds (I spent some time picking the pods off last year’s plants and have probably 200-300 seeds saved ). Usually I just buy pre-grown ones but they aren’t always easy to find or that affordable.

  7. I made chicken pot pie using the chicken I picked off the last batch of carcasses I boiled for stock.

    Hubby has finally got in on finding grocery deals. This week he found Tropicana juice for 1.50 each(he got 3), a box of 4 rack of ribs for $10(thankfully, he only purchased one box, they weren’t fabulous) and sandwich meat for $0.50 for an 8 ounce pack. He purchased 12 turkey and 12 ham, the majority went in the freezer.

    I switched to Members Mark paper towels. I’ve been a die hard Bounty user forever, but I’m trying to reign in the spending. They aren’t awful, definitely a step down, but I’ll live, lol.

    Our book club book was available on Kindle unlimited. (We try to keep our selections to one’s included, since we all have it)

    The teen kept the cost of her dress and shoes for an upcoming dance to under $100.

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work. A coworker made a loaf of zucchini bread for me to bring home 😋

    The teen made focaccia. It was delicious with soup.

    1. I broke down and got a really good set (several) of kitchen towels and ditched paper towels almost completely several years ago. I pretty much only use paper for draining bacon or some truly horrible mess. This way I save a lot and still keep my brawny towels for my must have moments. Environmentally friendly too.

      1. I have started using brown paper grocery sacks cut to the right size to drain bacon. It works reasonably well for this, and it saves a paper towel (and is a reuse). There are lots of uses for paper grocery sacks (and I do try to use my reusable ones when shopping), and I always seem to have a few around. We also use rags and kitchen towels for most everything. I sometimes pick up kitchen towels at yard sales for just this purpose. The large stacks of cheap wash cloths at Walmart are a good place to start if you don’t have any rags around.

        1. What a great idea! We no longer can get paper grocery bags without being charged for them. I, and mom before me, always used them for garbage bags under the kitchen sink. I still do, but now I reuse them several times before they go in the trash too. (I normally use reused bags for groceries, but keep a few paper on hand for trash.) This way I never buy plastic trash bags.

        2. I rarely buy paper towels. You can also use newspapers to drain bacon and other kitchen uses. Newspaper ink has been soy-based for at least 35 years. (I used to work for a newspaper and have been through OSHA training). Even colors. Tips that tell you not to use colored newspaper inks are either very, very old or ignorant that inks changed. I have an overabundance of rags and often drain bacon and suchp onpieces of old T-shirts, then just throw them in with the wash. If the grease stains don’t come out, who cares? If I use a rag for something disgusting, I throw it away. No worse than discarding a paper towel, and it was FREE.

          Brown paper grocery sacks (with the top edges turned down about an inch) exactly fit my flip-top kitchen garbage bin. I use plastic grocery sacks in smaller waste baskets. (I try to take my reusable shopping bags to the store, but something usually comes home in brown paper, and you can’t completely avoid plastic sacks). We use cloth napkins. We blow our noses on handkerchiefs, pieces of flannel or toilet paper.

  8. We have continued eating our meat from the freezer. We are using up quite a bit, which needed used. We haven’t bought any meat this month until today – my husband found a package of BLSL chicken thighs for only 94 cents and a cheap package of pork chops. We had the chops for dinner – my husband had cut up veggies and I had leftover soup beans with the chops. I had cooked the beans on Saturday with a ham bone from the freezer from a ham we had a few months ago.

    I paid extra to the mortgage and a tiny extra to the car payment.

    I’m still going through my books, gathering ones that I truly don’t think I’ll read to donate.

    My daughter and I went to Goodwill, and we found a few things that were the color of the week on Sunday, making them only 99 cents.

  9. Brandy,

    Great savings! Also, lemon verbena tea sounds delicious 🍋

    Went to a B&B with my husband for 2 nights. Ways we made it more frugal: booked for cheapest season, used gift cards for several meals; packed snacks, library books, and a deck of cards. Took advantage of k cups, snacks, toiletries, washer & dryer as well as games provided. We also used gift cards and went to $5 movie before checking in.

    We had our Christmas work lunch (late obviously). I stretched my meal into another 2 meals by eating more of shared food provided and taking my pasta home. (There was still plenty of shared food- I didn’t hoard it 😂). We played a game and picked gift cards as prizes so I picked a $10 Starbucks card for when I want a treat! Also was gifted cookies that I froze for later since I had just made some at home.

    Hope everyone has a great week ❤️

  10. Brandy, your garden is getting me excited for spring to come!

    * I assembled two new 4×8 garden beds in my front yard, since my backyard had become too shady with tree growth for most areas to qualify as full sun. I still need to prep the beds and fill them in, but I’d been saving for the frames and am glad they’re done. For each one I purchased 4 Oldcastle wall blocks for the corners ($3.38 each at Home Depot) and 2 12-foot lengths of untreated 2×6’s that I had them cut into an 8 ft piece and 4 ft piece each to form the sides. The wood just slides into the wall blocks, so the hardest part is just lining everything up the way you want!

    * Hanging as much laundry indoors as possible, which is maybe only a third of our laundry, but still helpful.

    * Stuff set aside for kids’ consignment sales in March. I usually just donate stuff we’ve outgrown, but tax laws have changed so much that I can’t really write off donations anymore, so I’m going to see if this is worthwhile.

    * Meals at home: tacos, banh mi, dal/rice, rotisserie chicken, salmon/green beans/roasted potatoes, goulash, chicken quinoa chili.

    * Using Fetch to upload receipts. Started doing this several months ago and I already have enough for a $10 gift card, but figured I’d wait until later to cash it out.

    * NOT frugal: our gas oven has decided to stop working! The stovetop works, and the light comes on inside the oven, so we’re thinking it’s the ignitor. Normally we call a repairman for anything because we’re not super handy, but after some internet research, we ordered the part ($20 including shipping). So praying it really is as easy to replace as it looks!

    1. I hope it works for you! We replaced the ignitor 3 times and it would burn out each time on the first use! It turns out it was a fault with our oven after running the cleaning cycle. To our surprise, the replacement cost was $10,000! 😳 (We have a 6-burner, 36″ wide oven. That was more than four times the original cost.

      So we went without using the oven for a year, and just used the stove. We researched and found another brand for much, much less.

      But it was a long time without the oven. Just getting one in stock was difficult.

      Best of luck!

      1. I wonder if ignitors are poorly made or something. Our oven is an older, gas one. We got it used and I love it. It’s a Jenn-Air. But I think my husband has replaced the ignitor 4 or so times in the past several years. He bought three this last time so we have two extras. I still like it better than any we’ve ever had so I guess we will keep limping along. (We paid $100 for it in the first place so even with all of the ignitors it’s still cheaper than a new one.)

  11. The paperwhites in your yard are so pretty! The only white in my yard is snow So. Much. Snow. Though, honestly, the frosted and flocked trees this winter are gorgeous!

    Frugal accomplishments:

    Brought lunch to work x2, routine for many of you, but a big win for me.

    Enjoyed applesauce, green beans, salsa, and green peppers preserved from last season’s garden.

    A stylist friend cut and colored my hair for much less than a typical salon would charge.

    Made a birthday cake and card for our oldest daughter rather than purchasing from a store.

    Packed food to send with the girls for their 14 hour drive back to college.

    Wrapped valentine gifts to send with the girls to avoid shipping costs. Our frugal life is often just the boring act of planning ahead.

    Now that the girls are back at college, I will be doing a pantry challenge of sorts. As much as possible, I plan to limit purchases to dairy, produce and loss leaders (if they even still exist) while focusing on planning meals around what I have in the pantry and freezers.

    Called my health insurance company to confirm the provider and facility were in-network for an upcoming preventative medical procedure.

    While doing housework, I listened to a podcast (The Beauty Brains) free on the Apple Podcasts app, an audiobook (An Immense World by Ed Yong) using my gifted Audible membership, and a free lecture series on You Tube from YaleCourses on The Sound and the Fury.

    HH and I went to our WI cabin for the weekend. We packed leftovers for meals, hiked at a WI state park using the pass I received for Christmas, and read books and knitted by the fire – the height of hygge!

    1. Julianne – “Our frugal life is often just the boring act of planning ahead.” I had to chuckle when I read that as it is so true. 🙂

    2. Julianne, I smiled when I read that you send Val gifts to your collegians. My mom sent me a care package every Monday and it was so much fun. It was super easy for her because she sent it from the family business. All supplies, UPS acct. and pick up, etc. It cost between $2-3 for about a 12 x 10 x 4. I’d get the local sports pages, snacks, any office supplies I needed, laundry quarters, some money, and whatever she thought of. It was so much fun! I returned the favor later, when she was struggling on social security. I’d send a flat rate box once a month. I’d fill it with any kind of food that would travel, treats for her cats, for her, some cash, etc. She told me she understood why I loved receiving those care packages so much!

  12. Those lemons! So beautiful! I have always loved lemons and will eat them whole (which many people find odd.) My youngest son does the same so it must be an inherited trait. It must be a real treat to have them in your backyard.
    *The Queen has arrived! 🙂 You all may remember my post last week about ordering a Speed Queen washer when we discovered ours was not repairable and never worked well anyway. I am thrilled to say all the positive reviews I have heard first-person and read (including here) are absolutely true. It is the best washer I have ever owned by far. Living on a farm, we get very dirty and I was just accustomed to washing a lot of our clothes by hand before they went into the washer or they just wouldn’t get clean. No more! This model is an old-school, no frills, commercial type and it gets everything clean no matter what. Well worth the money we saved for the purchase. I can also recommend the supplier, AJ Madison, very highly. They offer free shipping throughout the US (our local authorized dealer would have charged us up to $200 freight and priced this model $100 higher.) It came within 2 weeks of ordering (no supply chain issues at this point, at least) and the delivery went smoothly. Frugal lessons here are buying quality saves money in the long run, it is possible to save a little bit at a time for a useful purchase that makes a difference in your quality of life on a daily basis, and shopping around (local and on-line) yields the best value possible. Now, that we have a working washer I was also able to accurately test out the repair on our dryer we did week before last. Replacing the heating element, thermal fuse and 2 switches brought it back to working order again. I think it may even work better than it did new. $26 for a like-new dryer isn’t bad.
    *I taught my honey bee class to the younger (6-7 year-olds) at our homeschool co-op last week and it was just as much fun as when I taught it to the older kids. Using items I have on hand and sharing a great YouTube video with the families to review beforehand made it a free and fun class. I especially loved it when I saw some of the children running about outside afterward pretending to be bees foraging. Their enthusiasm is infectious!
    *We completed painting the walls and skirt board of our stair well and painted and re-installed the hand rail. The only purchase needed for this task was a $11 box of cabinet screws (used Lowe’s cc for 10% off). All other materials we already had on hand. I have been hanging some beloved art that I haven’t seen for 4 years as it has been stored away waiting for the walls to be painted. Such a joy to decorate with things I love and already own, to see these things in a new light and to pare down some things that I am not sentimentally attached to and can go on to serve someone else.
    *We mounted curtains rods in our bedroom. I purchased them a month or so ago using gift cards to Amazon from savings apps to lower the cost. I will be hanging curtains made from fabric I bought at a tag sale probably 15 years ago. Two panels were already made up and there is enough to make the two more I will need. I have a small stool in our room that I covered with this fabric years ago. I always thought I would make curtains out of the rest but just never got around to it in our former home. Now is the time and I am itching to get my sewing machine out. Shopping from home and using things I have been waiting to use “some day” is frugal and a good way to learn patience. 🙂
    *The only shopping this week was exciting things like dish soap and toilet paper. No great deals there but I did have the realization that price comparing toilet paper is a great math lesson for my boys. 🙂 It is so aggravating how stores will list the price of some brands as per sheet and others as price per foot with no rhyme or reason. I can see why some people just give up and buy whatever without realizing the true cost.
    *I cut my older son’s hair. He has very thick wavy hair which is a challenge to cut but YouTube videos have continued to help me do a good job (thankfully, he thinks so!)
    *Mended a jacket, some socks, and a shirt.
    *We had snow and enjoyed sledding around our property, making snow cats :), walking in the woods and making snow cream. I know not everyone enjoys snow but I love it. I can stand outside breathing the cold, fresh air and listen to the squeaky crunch of snow under my boots and feel like all is right with the world.
    *Since watching “Three Pines” on Prime and enjoying it so much, I checked out Still Life by Louise Penny from the library, the first book on which the series is based. It is so good! I look forward to reading the others.
    *Enjoy your week, all!

    1. I bought fabric 15 years ago for our bedroom curtains. Every year I hope to get them made. Perhaps this year will be it!

      1. Brandy,

        I am laughing (in harmony and sympathy). I’ve been thinking of finally sewing (or even having someone make up)
        the Irish tweed I’ve had in my stash for 30 years. Also I found some handwoven wool and matching yarn from St. Andrew’s New Brunswick which is even older but still as good as the day it was bought.

    2. I notice now grocery stores are listing meat per piece. Such as $1.49 per pork chop. They package 4 to a package and list price as $5.94. When I weighed the package in the store it weighed just over one pound. Pretty expensive pork chops! But I’m not sure people are paying attention!

      1. Julie – Interesting! I hadn’t noticed that but am not surprised. We have to be super vigilant and observant these days.

  13. A neighbor has a lemon tree that we take advantage of to have lemon for cooking but lemonade sounds great! This past week I had several frugal wins.
    1. I am using up bits of food frozen or otherwise so we have had green lentil and carrot soup with homemade vegetable broth, half a pack of frozen Canadian bacon and an omelet, pumpkin muffins, cornbread and so on. I’ve decluttering and rearranged the kitchen cupboards and am keeping up with what we have.
    2. Lots of books from the library to read. I cancelled my Kindle Unlimited subscription though..
    3. Figured out how to hem a long duster cardigan so it is more flattering and comfortable to wear.
    4. Looked at my clothing inventory and ordered two 3/4 sleeve tops from ThredUp to fill a gap for Spring. I also spent time figuring out the best winter combinations with the clothes I have.
    5. We were able to get a plumbing repair and the subsequent wall repair done at a reasonable price. My husband then painted the repaired wall using paying and supplies we had on hand. You can’t tell there was a hole there.

  14. Your paper whites and lemon tree are so beautiful! We are very snowy here which is it’s own type of beauty, that I also love. * We continue to use heated rice bags at our feet each night. We ended up with an extra small microwave after our kitchen remodel a couple years ago, so I actually put it upstairs in our bedroom for our rice packs…lol…the kids laugh and our “bedroom microwave.” Hey…it works! * We continue to cook and eat at home, using leftovers creatively in new meals or for lunch the next day. Found some seasoned chicken from chicken tacos deep in the freezer, so I thawed that and used it in chicken enchiladas. * Finished two library books this week. Ordinary Grace which was recommended here that I absolutely loved. And I also enjoyed the first in Ann Cleeve’s Vera series, The Crow Trap. * When I was a girl I loved the show “Laverne and Shirley” and discovered this week I could watch free episodes on YouTube and the free streaming service, Pluto. Watched a couple episodes. *We have some friends from the U.K., the husband being from Scotland. They have a yearly get-together celebrating Scottish poet Robert Burns. The serve authentic haggis and mash and have Scottish pop to drink, etc. For the faint of heart they also have chili and hot dogs. Anyway, we went there and had a lovely dinner and visit with friends. * I go to lunch quarterly with an elderly lady at Perkins. We go on Monday which is “free pie” day. Today, the bill came and was at least $5 more per meal than usual. I want to see her, it’s good for her to get out and she enjoys getting to eat out so much…I’m going to figure out how to get coupons and/or find something less expensive to eat. It was a surprise to me. I budget for this, so had the money, but it was a surprise. * Finished two more scarf/hat sets and one baby blanket. * I hope everyone has a safe, peaceful and frugal week!

    1. BeckyH from Mpls: My Dad LOVED Perkins. He traveled often from NW MN to the Twin Cities and had regular places to stop at. My sister and I lovingly joke about going there with him. She eats vegetarian when she can and would order tater tots to dip in tomato soup.
      That aside, they do have a VIP club, including a sign-up bonus, though no one in my family ever joined.

  15. Beautiful pictures as always, Brandy! I am curious about the boxwood cuttings you rooted last year. How much have they grown? Are they branching out yet? Good luck with this year’s crop! You are right–it is a huge saving.

    I am continuing to focus on eating all meals at home and eliminating as much food waste as possible. We ate leftovers and homemade soups for lunch. I didn’t throw out any food last week–we ate it everything!

    I made a few extra recipes this week that will last longer than one meal–a 4-ingredient frozen dessert with 16 servings, two kinds of salad dressing and beef/ barley soup made with stock from bones. I used leftover brown rice for fried rice.

    I bought 5 lbs. of 81% ground beef for $2.49 lb. and three bone-in NY steaks for $4.99 lb. The steaks will give us 6 servings and I made stock for the soup with the bones. I didn’t really need ground beef (but I can always use it) and the price was too good to pass up.

    Sunday afternoon, we saw A Man Called Otto at the discount cinema. It used to cost $3 for second-run films, but they have added first-run movies and the price has gone up to $6 before 6 pm, $8 after, and $5 all day Tuesday. Still a bargain compared to the other theater (Regal) in town. (I miss those $3 movies, though!). We enjoyed the movie very much–my husband didn’t fall asleep, LOL. It is an adaptation of the book A Man Called Ove, which I also enjoyed.

    Hope all of you had a great week!

    1. They are not boxwood but boxleaf euyonomus, which grows faster. (I do have some boxwood balls in my garden, however). Those that I topped made side branches. Those that I didn’t barely grew. I thought I had topped them all nut I missed some.

    2. Maxine, we stumbled across, “ A Man Called Ove.” It was on Hoopla and a really moving movie, we decided it was one of the best in a long time.

      1. I really enjoyed “A Man Called Ove” also. I saw it a few years ago through Netflix or Amazon. Now I want to see “A Man Called Otto” to see Tom Hanks in the main role.

  16. Your photos of plants and lemons bring spring like thoughts as we enjoy our snow globe with trees full of snow and monster icicles. The temperatures have been pretty moderate and we are tracking how many hours the furnace runs daily. We have been running a space heater to keep comfortable but lower the need for LP fuel.
    I am adjusting our spending had both major dental work and skin cancer removed from my face this month. Determined it was better to not submit to our high deductible insurance and get a major discount by paying for it upfront. This year has started out a little rocky but we have many blessings and just keep forging ahead.
    Using our stocked freezer and pantry. I am limiting grocery shopping to essentials and getting creative just as many of you are doing. I made 1/2 a banana cake with what we had and used less egg then recipe stated. (I only use eggs now for baking)
    I have sorted and organized cabinets and closets-put some things up for sale on Ebay. Resisted the temptation to buy some new make up; instead found several sample items I can use. Washed and cleaned my cosmetic bag and it looks like new.
    Hope each day brings comfort, creativity, and peace to others-

  17. I read the latest book (the 16th one) in The Bakeshop Mysteries series by Ellie Alexander. Now I have to wait until August for the 17th book to come out.

    I’ve read them all through the library and I really love this wholesome and fun series.

  18. I also love seeing those bright, cheery lemons. It’s something we can’t grow here and seems like a miracle to have all that fruit in the winter. I know our area has advantages, too, but it’s nice to see other places and what can be grown!

    Much of my week focused on my on-going project of really cleaning the garage and pantry out there. I made more significant progress, already shopped and filled the “low” areas, and used lots and lots of “targeted” items that needed using. It’s taking me so long because I work during the day, many days. We have spent our normal amount of grocery money stocking back up. I am not replacing the items we don’t eat regularly, just the basics we rotate through all the time. Part of my goal for that project is to use up odds and ends or things that are getting old and I did that. I also used lots of home-canned and frozen produce, such as beans, cauliflower, jam, fruit, etc. We have been using lots of odds and ends of sauces and mustards in marinades and have come up with some really good food that we will never be able to make again the same….such is a pantry clean-out:). I’ve also made some really great desserts from bits of this and that…..happily, I have a crowd to feed on Tuesday so we can enjoy a couple of the cookie bars from each batch and give the rest to them. I could eat the whole pan, so this is win-win!

    The peanut butter cookies I will make in the morning will be mostly for us. I regularly put them in the freezer and we get them out sparingly, a few at a time. One batch can last us a couple of months, easily. Except for last week. We had a lot of cookie-hungry people through on the same day I had brought the cookie container in from the shop freezer to get some out. They were good. They are gone. I’ll make more. I have plenty of peanut butter and it’s much less expensive than real butter. One thing I like about peanut butter cookies is that in my recipe, I use about 1/2 the butter as other cookies and the rest of the fat is replaced with peanut butter. I also keep the cost down by putting in less chocolate chips than are called for. I could also leave them out entirely if I needed to.

    I made some raspberry bars using rolled oats and jam from my pantry. Butter was the most expensive part, I think, but the recipe is pretty frugal overall and tasted great.

    My husband spent a lot of time in the greenhouse, getting it ready to plant seeds soon. I worked in the raspberry patch. Pictures of that are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com.

    We went to a free concert at the library, geared for toddlers. We took our nephew and grandson. Our nephew was a little old and our grandson a little young….but at least we got to hear most of it, get some books and take a long walk in the area of the library. We took the boys and my niece to the YMCA to swim one day. Busy days…..

  19. *I’ve been a full week with hearing aids, and so far mixed reviews. It’s nice hearing people speak easier! But OTOH, do I really need to hear DH crunch his apple two rooms over?? I’m hoping that all those extraneous sounds will become less noticeable with more time.
    *Sold some items that aren’t used anymore on Marketplace and Varagesale, making $60 so far. This has energized DH to his through his workshop to find more stuff to sell, lol.
    *Grocery prices are rising here again, plus shelves are looking sparse once more. I’ve stopped advance menu planning; I just head to the meat markdown section and see what’s available. This week, we have half-price chicken thighs and pork chops to work with. The rest will come from what I have in my canning and fridge-freezer.
    *My MIL offered us her small chest freezer as she prepares to downsize her living space. Right now we have only our fridge-freezer, so this will be helpful. We’re grateful.
    * I reread Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter”. *sigh* It’s like a horror novel for people-who-keep-pantries-and-live-in-cold-climates!

    1. It is! Such a scary thought. But also, had they know they could have soaked, sprouted, and then ground that wheat, hoe much further it would have gone!

      I plan meals based on what I have on hand but never a week at a time. Different things ripen at different times.

      1. That is such a good point, Brandy, about sprouting the wheat!! I never thought about that! They would have had fresh greens.

  20. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I hope most of your cuttings take, it’s such a big saving on buying plants. My indoor paperwhites have been lovely, time to put them out into the garden. We’ve had a proper cold snap this week which is good news for the garden.
    Inexpensive meals this week were cauliflower cheese, egg, chips( fries) and beans and one night my husband was out with a hobby group so I just had a sandwich, so nice not to cook.
    We pulled leeks from the garden. We are still eating through stored shallots, garlic, onions, potatoes and squash plus bottled and frozen produce. One of the upmarket supermarkets advertised a deal on leeks and trumpeted that this would bring them down to 59 pence each. EACH! We have a treasure chest buried in the garden but instead of gold it’s full of leeks.
    I stocked up on teabags and coffee on a deal and used a £2 voucher off my bill.
    I clutter busted and took items to donate to the charity shop.
    I applied supermarket loyalty points to my mobile phone monthly payment so I have one month free.
    I cancelled my subscription to a flower arranging magazine and a friend who still receives it lends me her copy and I give it back after I’ve read it. Another friend passed on Landscape magazine to me.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. What is this flower arranging magazine? It sounds interesting! I took a floral arranging class at university and I follow several florists (most of which are UK based) on Instagram. I am thinking this magazine must have an Instagram feed. One of the floral designers I follow is Philippa Craddock. She has free design classes through her emails (paid ones too but the free ones are excellent). I went looking for her, seeing her work first (Harry and Megan’s wedding) and now follow her on Instagram and get her emails. She is very kind.

      1. Hi Brandy
        I am a member of NAFAS, the National Association of Flower Arranging Societies. The magazine is published by them and is called The Flower Arranger ( available to the public too). NAFAS have Instagram, Facebook and a YouTube channel for watching demos. I don’t know if you have come across Jonathon Moseley, he has a website and his Instagram images are stunning.

    2. The first time I grew leeks, I was so thrilled that they could be left in the ground and pulled up as needed all winter. Unfortunately, I was so inexperienced as a gardener I did not realize the instructions would not apply to northern Alaska. In December I was out there with a pick-ax, trying to harvest one leek for dinner. The ground was so frozen, even that did not work and I had to leave the entire crop in the dirt. They did not survive weeks of 40 below zero and I had the pleasure of digging up mush the following spring.

  21. I mostly stayed out of the stores this week although I did buy a bag of barley using some money left on a gift card to make my chicken soup. Also bought a few other basics such as milk, baking powder etc. My biggest frugal accomplishment was taking on a new PT childcare position for 16 hrs per week which will earn me $352 per week. This cash will be used for any extras like travel etc. I consider it my paid exercise program as the house is large with lots of stairs to go up and down and also there is vacuuming etc to do once the children are on the school bus.

    1. Congratulations on your new position! It sounds like it could be interesting and fun.
      Best wishes,
      Elizabeth H.

  22. Oh Brandy the paperwhites are just beautiful! I love the simple elegance those flowers give the gardens.

    I haven’t posted in a long time so I thought I would contribute again. We recently moved which was not frugal but necessary. The road we lived on became quite busy and we were in an accident pulling into the driveway. Thankfully no one was hurt but the car was totaled and the other driver (who wasn’t paying attention) drove through our garden. That was the last straw for us. It felt too dangerous to continue living there. To keep costs down we did a lot of the moving ourselves except for the furniture I couldn’t help my husband lift. We hired moving helpers for that and it was worth it especially since we have a piano which was quite hard to move. We did move to a house down the street from my parents which is such a blessing!

    Our new house needed a fence which we were able to get installed before it got too cold. I put the cost on a credit card for the points and paid it off immediately. With the points I was able to get a gift card to use for our daughter’s birthday lunch which is coming up.

    We’ve been trying to eat mostly out of the pantry and freezer like many of you. My mother in law enjoys having dinner together once a week and since she doesn’t cook and likes to treat she has been taking us out. I really appreciate the night off from cooking and it’s a nice treat!

    Brandy I may have missed it but what field is your husband going into? If you want to share that is. My husband and I own a business and are looking to the next chapter of our lives as well. Whatever it is I hope it serves your family well.

    Thank you for this peaceful space on the internet.

  23. Hello! This past week I used earned grocery points to receive $5.00 off my bill. I found flavored coffee on clearance for $3.00/lb. Aldi’s had Butterball turkeys for $.49/lb, I purchased an 18 lb turkey for the freezer. I am focusing on no food waste and I am freezing bits & pieces of leftovers and unused ingredients every day. I plan meals by seeing what protein I have in the freezer and then what I have frozen I can use up and then adding in fresh vegetables. I am having fun with it as I get to be creative with recipes & I often turn to Pinterest for new ideas with what I have. I used CVS coupons for needed items and saved $10.37 and received another coupon to use. I sold an item on Mercari & shipped it out using packing materials I already had. My goal is to earn $100 and I am over halfway there. I am saving the money for the annual Fine Arts Fiesta held here every May as I want to purchase a piece of art for our dining room.

  24. I accidentally found out an interesting thing (for me, at least). My kids use erasable pens at school (like this https://1outlets.eu/pilot-frixion-clicker-pen-1-0mm-erasable-gel-pens-bold-point-6/pid/16456866298114/?gclid=CjwKCAiAoL6eBhA3EiwAXDom5lEnydeZ7gEEx-nBnEwAxsn0H99uvhR19tlYq8YKpo3eAS1J-S-0KxoCwdYQAvD_BwE) – not pencils. I found out that when you hold this written paper above fire/stove/heat one second, the writing starts to disappear and when you pull it away, it returns. But when you hold it 2 seconds, it disappears permanently. I found the last part out while trying to play magician to my daughter and losing her homework 🙁 But what a savings on paper, worksheets (you can use them again) and so on!

    I used a service of personal shopper/style advisor. 2 hours. When you are middle-aged and go shopping, there is a danger of spending lot of money, buying the stuff/style you always have bought and maybe still looking outdated. I considered it a good investment.

  25. Hello Everyone!
    Brandy, as usual your photos are so lovely! I have not commented for a long time, but wanted to make sure to comment this week as I hope it may also bless others. Our family homeschools, and our largest savings this past week was our high school daughter took and passed a CLEP exam. The exam she took will substitute for a four hour Calculus class, and tuition at the college she will be attending is $775 per credit hour for any credits that go over the full time range of 12-16 credits. Since she is planning on a double major, I am certain she would have had some semesters with a higher amount of credits, so I figure this saves us $775 x 4. We found a nonprofit website that has free CLEP exam study materials, and in addition to the free study course, when my daughter completed the study course the site gave her a code that she could use on the CLEP website to purchase her CLEP exam for free!!! Normally, her CLEP exam would have cost us $90! This is what I wanted to share with anyone else who may have a high school student who is interested in taking a CLEP exam. The website is http://www.modernstates.org They had a large number of subjects, not just Calculus, and advertise that a student could use their site to study for and CLEP their entire first year of college for free. We did have to pay a $20 test administration fee to the college where she took the exam, but that was it! In addition to a free CLEP study materials, free CLEP exam, and the four free credits of college credit, taking and passing this exam actually qualified our daughter for an additional academic merit state scholarship from our state (Tennessee) of $1,000 per school year and is renewable for up to four years as long as she maintains a “B” average. So the end result will be a $4,000 college scholarship for her, in addition to the other scholarships she has already earned from the college itself. I do not know if other countries use CLEP exams, but in the United States this is a fantastic opportunity to be able to take them for free. I hope this information blesses someone else!

    1. Thank you, Susan! I have a high school senior in FL that is interested in using CLEP to try and get a few college courses out of the way before the fall. I really appreciate the information you shared. We may just be able to get an additional class or two done by CLEP tests with these study resources you’ve shared 🙂

  26. How wonderful having fresh lemons. Unfortunately I don’t have any citrus fruits, but the garden produces lots of berries which are frozen or preserved, nothing goes to waste. I continue to make frugal healthy meals, any veg or meat left over is made into soups, which is very welcome as we are still having hard frosts. I did spend more than intended this week, 2 winter coats and 2 pair of trainers for my husband, all where 50% or above off the full price. He was in desperate need of both.
    As my husband is considering taking early retirement next year, I am trying to work out how much money we can live on without it being a hard struggle to survive. Stress is starting to affect his health so I really need to get the finances right, so he is able to leave full-time employment.
    Hope you and your readers have a good week and thank you all for your money saving tips.

    1. We have the opposite; most berries won’t produce here as it is too hot (and too alkaline! Even the water has a pH of 8.3)

    2. Hello DianeC
      I am in the UK too. We were concerned about the way stress was affecting my husband’s health and planned for two years before he took early retirement from a corporate job. We worked out our yearly costs and income carefully and were able to cut some items out. My husband now works as a gardener for several clients who have lovely walled gardens and although we have much less disposable income he is so much happier and healthier. We grow a productive garden and I work at home managing the domestic budget. I am a charity shop devotee! We have three years until our state pensions come in so we live off our occupational pensions, the gardening income and some investment income.
      I earn points from consumer research companies which I redeem for gift cards which are really helpful for birthdays etc. You might check out Consumer Pulse and Nielsen Panel to see if they need any more participants. Good luck with whatever you and your husband choose to do.

  27. Brandy, how I wish my lemon trees looked like yours! They are quite sad in comparison! But I do live in EastTennessee…😉

    Still cooking a great deal. Made chicken thighs with a cream bacon sauce served over rice with asparagus—enough for two meals. Made two large pans of chicken enchiladas that lasted for two days. Made a large pot of beef stew with flank steak that was on sale, which we ate for two days. I am enjoying making meals that can be eaten for more than one meal. It allows me much needed time to address chores and projects that need to be done. Also made a chocolate cream pie and a coconut cream pie, which convinced my husband to renew our marriage contract for at least another year! 😊

    Found a formal gown for my grandson’s wedding. No chiffon, taffeta, beads, slits or plunges. Very 1950’s with a brocade pocketed skirt and crepe top. Love it! And the best part was I found it on a mark down rack at a bridal store for $99.00!

    We live on a hill and are dealing with soil erosion and slides due to the enormous amount of rain that we have been having with more projected in the coming weeks. I am fearful that this will not be something we can handle and will be very costly if we have to outsource it!

    Our youngest son came home and spent the weekend with us. He is such a great guy! How I miss all of our children! 🥲

    Hoping everyone is soldiering through these difficult times. Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

      1. Yes! Would hate to have to go looking for another one! Need to keep him until I can cash out with full benefits! 🤣🤣

  28. I pulled my lemons early, due to a hard freeze. I am just praying that my lemon tree recovers, as I had no good way to protect it.

    Now that I have a larger freezer and it is organized, I am able to use it much more efficiently, because I can see what I have, and I don’t stand there with the door open digging around for food. I keep a list of contents on it just as I did on my smaller former freezer, but sometimes I would doubt my list with my old freezer, because I would have to dig and dig and still not find what I was looking for. I would buy more and then find out I already had it, tucked way back under things.

    I harvested more stevia and hung it to dry. In the winter, if it is cold and dry enough, I can dry herbs without using the dehydrator.

    I harvested some of an Asian type of spinach that I tried in the fall but it failed. (I forget its name.) I planted again this winter and it’s growing. The package says it can take some heat, but obviously not Florida heat, even in autumn. I also harvested some baby lettuce to help thin the patch a bit more.

    I mixed up a new batch of homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. I used buttermilk that I had frozen.

    I made a double batch of cassava flour tortillas. Cassava flour is expensive, but buying the premade cassava tortillas at the store is incredibly expensive. Since I avoid nut flours and other grains along with wheat, cassava is one of my very few options. The tortillas freeze well, so I like to make extra.

    I’m glad I discovered pineapple sage. I protect it during frosts and hard freezes, but I still was surprised to see the scarlet blooms on it in the midst of this weather with nights in the 30’s. Hummingbirds like it, and of course, it’s sage, so it’s edible. The pineapple flavor gives a nice touch to the sage flavor, and goes really well with chicken and pork. It blooms less in the summer, more in the fall, but the heat and humidity of Florida summers haven’t harmed it.

    I continue to avoid food waste and try to get creative with what I have instead of buying new. I pack my lunch faithfully and cook at home. I continue to come here for more inspiration, too!

    1. I have pineapple sage that renews each year in mid-Georgia. Mine didn’t bloom last year but I do love the scent. I didn’t know I could use it to cook with and will try that this year if it puts out again. Not sure since our winter has been much colder than in previous years.

    2. Jo – Was it Malabar spinach? We used to grow that when we lived off the mountain in Zone 8B and it did well. We now live in Zone 6 and can grow other varieties that would die down there. Just a thought. 🙂

      1. No, it wasn’t that. It had a Japanese name, and I just can’t remember it. I don’t have the seed packet to look it up. I wish I did – it’s growing nicely now. My dog grabbed the packet while I was planting and took off with it, so that was the end of the packet and the rest of the seeds!

  29. Thrifty actions this week: using lemons, oranges, arugula, bok choy, cilantro (producing very well right now) into meals, husband changed air filter in car, accepted two wicker chairs from daughter that she no longer uses, accepted free ,from a used furniture store, on top of desk organizers for grandchildren’s art supplies, watched All Creatures Great & Small, and invited friends over for dinner, instead of meeting them at a restaurant.

  30. I’ve also been enjoying tea from herbs that I grew. It’s really the first winter that I’m doing it consistently. Yesterday, while visiting with a friend who is originally from Estonia, I was served tea from both herbs she grew here, and others that she foraged in Estonia. It was delicious. My husband was offered the lower limbs of a massive white oak, by neighbors who know we heat with wood, as they’re unable to work around it with their tractor. We’re very thankful to get it. He’s already brought enough home to provide heat for a year, and has more to get. I’ve been using lots of our homegrown and home canned vegetables in meals… green beans and potatoes with garlic, colcannon with lima beans, fried sweet potatoes with lentil sloppy joes and salad. My sister and I had a thrift day on Wednesday. Favorite finds were a .49 handblown clear and cobalt glass tumbler, $2 Krups coffee grinder (ours was thrifted years ago & had recently died), $4 lovely hand hooked rug, $3 canister for my shop, $1 like new steel sink drainer (ours had begun rusting), and $8 huge wicker laundry basket. After an appointment, I stopped by Harris Teeter for groceries, getting 5% off the total for senior’s day, and picked up lentils 1#/$1.25 at Dollar Tree. Now that I’ve checked prices elsewhere, I’m sorry I didn’t pick up more than one bag. On Sunday afternoon, I put another 4 gallons of veggie scraps on the woodstove to simmer, to be turned into broth this week. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/01/january-blooms.html

  31. Our baby is starting daycare tomorrow, so I have been testing DIY labelling methods for everything going with him. All clothing, toys, bottles, dummies, everything is being labelled. If it has multiple pieces, they are all getting labelled individually, we can’t afford to replace these things, so even though it looks a little over the top, I am determined to get everything named. After many tests, I have found that fine tip permanent marker on electrical tape is proving the most durable label for baby bottles. So far they seem to survive the constant washing and sterilising. My husband works in early childhood education & is encouraging of my excessive labelling!

    I found 1 litter (1quart) UHT cream, from a catering supply company, on sale at our local clearance store for $10 for a carton of 12. That’s less than 85 cents a litre! It’s normally about $3 for a 300ml bottle were I live, so this is a huge saving. As it’s UHT packaged it is shelf stable and will last for a very long while. I’m quite pleased with this purchase.

    The father of a dear friend of mine was moving house & when I dropped in to say goodbye to the home (I spent much of my childhood in that house) she asked if I could use some laundry detergent. Of course, as per Brandy’s sage advice, I said yes. I went home with 5 large bottles of laundry detergent, even with a little baby it will take me some time to get through that.

    We have been having ongoing plumbing problems & I got a fee quote through my home insurer to fix the problem. We were quoted $1300 for a very small fix that I didn’t think would solve the problem. As I was not happy with the service & quote provided, I rang my regular plumber and asked him to have a look, telling him if the quote was right I’d at least prefer to give the job & money to him. After much investigation he has come up with a plan that should definitely solve the problem & fix some other issues as well, plus he quoted us $1000 for the job, saving us $300 plus further call out fees & extra work.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your advice & frugal adventures, I hope you all have a happy week.

    1. I have bought UHT milk but never cream! Interesting! It makes sense but I never bought cream in Europe, and UHT milk is rare and expensive in the U.S.

      1. Brandy, here in Australia UHT milk is cheaper than fresh milk, not much more expensive than powdered and available everywhere. UHT cream is less common, but you can buy it at most big supermarkets. A 250ml (1 cup) carton normally cost about $3.60. Australian fresh thickened cream /whipping cream is thickened with gelatine, which helps it hold its shape when whipped and gives it a better mouthfeel in cooking. However, UHT cream is thickened with another additive and must be chilled before whipping, so I keep a few unopened cartons in the fridge.

  32. My new upright freezer arrived last week and I did the transfer from the chest freezer. My fears that the cu ft wouldn’t translate was unfounded. I have room and to spare in the new freezer which makes me happy. I was amused when I moved a basket from the chest freezer to the upright and my husband said, “That’s too heavy!” I looked at the basket and said “If I took it all out of that little basket it would weigh just as much…” lol. I went out on Saturday and was pleased to take advantage of a few meat sales to add to my freezer stock. I did very well with buy one get one free items at this usually higher priced store (great meat for decent prices on sale but other items tend to be higher) and was able to add to our supplies in the pantry as well. I still have money left from my grocery budget which pleases me. It confirms I was right to increase my limits and I am hopeful that I shall be able to maintain well without going over. I have been using Stitch Fix to purchase new clothing. It limits my shopping impulsively and is convenient in saving me gas, etc. I got an order this week and will be sending two pieces back that I know I won’t wear. Overall I’m very happy with this service and find things last really well and I like that I can schedule it to come once every month or once every six months. I tend to go longer between subscription boxes. I am getting way more mileage from my closet these days and seldom have items that are mistakes. I too have been cleaning and organizing drawers, closets and cabinets. It’s allowed me to see what I have and to evaluate what we need for future purchases in line of toiletries and medicines etc.
    I cashed in Ibotta rewards for a gift card, but that is something I really want to work on this year, learning to match sales and Ibotta rewards better. I also cashed in fetch rewards for a gift card. And after a heads up from one of my readers a few weeks ago about a sale price on chopped walnuts on Amazon (2 pound bags for $8), I have been checking online pricing for items I might be out of. We don’t have stores where you can buy bulk near us so Amazon is the go to spot. This week I’m ordering Steak seasoning, clearance priced Augauson farms dry milk powder, and clearance priced Reese’s Pumpkins. All will go into our pantry.

  33. This week I challenged myself to start using the dried fava beans and yellow peas I bought in bulk a while ago. I have never cooked with any of them, but bought them as a locally produced and cheap protein source instead of white beans and chickpeas. It turned out really well – I’ve made hummus with yellow peas, and they taste so nice we’re also just eating them as snacks after soaking them overnight and boiling them for about 30 minutes. We really like that they have a more ‘green’ pea-like taste than chickpeas. I’m also going to fry some of them with spices – cumin and paprika for snacks and salads. The fava beans were made into a very nice ragout with spices and vegetables.
    I returned some expensive insoles that my physiotherapist had lend me as they didn’t fit. As it was within the trial period, I didn’t have to pay anything.
    A local woman and I took grafting sprigs from a whole range of old fruit trees in a nearby garden with historical interest. We are going to graft new trees to replace the old ones when they die. Some of the cultivars are rare and have great value as keeping apples, so I might also graft some of them on existing trees in my own garden.
    I’m usually the cook at home, but recently my husband has started baking sourdough rye-bread, which I have wanted to do for a long time! Very nice! It takes some practice, and it is not an easy bread go get right, as rye doen’t raise as well as wheat. It’s a steep learning curve, but we are helping each other and it’s getting better each time. This could save us several hundred $ a year if we get it right.
    The local food coop where we buy our vegetables in winter has just lowered the prices – very nice when everything else seems to go the other way.
    I gave my son a haircut and my husband cut his own hair.
    I’ve started saving advocado pits and peels in the freezer to dye our cloth napkins.
    My mother returned a phone charger she gave my son, that didn’t work with his phone. We bought a cheaper and better one online.
    Yesterday I went on a free guided tour on a mushroom farm. They grow oister mushrooms on old coffee grounds, something that you can also do at home, if you know how to! We were allowed to take a lot of used bags from the production – the bags are probably going to produce more mushrooms if left outside. Afterwards the leftovers can be used as a good compost. One of the women I’m in a garden network with had brought her trailer and took a lot of bags home for me and two other women from the network. I biked there, so a lovely experience, hopefully a lot of mushrooms and nice compost for the garden for no money OOP!
    I cut up the Christmas tree and used it to cover frost sensitive plants and put the needles on the blueberry bed to make it more acidic. I will use the stem as a pole to support plants in the garden or burn it in the firepit when dry.
    Hope you will all have a nice week, I look forward to all the comments as usual!

  34. I don’t usually envy your climate because it’s so hot and dry there, but all the beautiful green in your pictures is sure making me wish for something other than endless snow outside of my window! And plants are so amazing– last year was the first year I ever tried to take cuttings of something, and the process is mind-blowing. I even had several things that I’d cut for arrangements take root right in the vase! I always enjoy seeing the progression of your garden from year to year. Out of curiosity, what colors of flowers are you looking to plant?

    I’ve been inspired by your blog and The Frugal Girl to start my own weekly round-up of frugal wins. Even though I’ve long known that accountability is huge for me when it comes to going after goals, it’s still been fascinating to see how much more motivated I’ve been to look for even more ways to save. Here are this week’s frugal wins:


  35. Did some extra deep-cleaning to get a head start on my Spring cleaning. It was therapeutic and satisfying work. 😉 I was able to organize some areas too which makes for a lighter feeling in my brain. Additionally, I took inventory of the weeks food usage and spending. I’ll be making adjustments on this to fend off inflation costs.
    A few more haircuts were given this week. My family prefers my slow haircutting over paying someone even though I have zero professional experience. I think this is because I listen to the request of the person in my chair and I’m free. Ha! I’m not afraid to try a new request or figure out the angles. That probably sounds terrifying to anyone reading this but I like the challenge and am pretty adequate at it. That wasn’t the case all those years ago. We definitely had some “hat wearing” episodes. But time and facing my fears has turned into a lovely chance to help my family and visit with them through a cut.
    Likewise, I taught one daughter to make extra substitutions to a recipe and to try to just use food science to make a meal. At first, she was hesitant to try and to divert away from a recipe. I think everyone is so stuck on getting certain results or not making a mistake, we lack opportunities for growth and learning. I used to be a perfectionist, so this has been quite the adventure of letting things go. Admittedly, I was also a persistent nag leading my husband and kids to misery. I’ve repented of all that expectation and realize my job isn’t to show perfection but to show kindness, love and perseverance. And a whole lotta humor! My husband and children are much happier now. Doesn’t laughing make for better meals? In the end, my daughters adjustments were delicious and she learned to trust herself more.
    On that note, I had a really big shift in myself. I noticed that one of my deeply held beliefs was hurting someone I love. Took me a minute to acknowledge I had a hand in it, but I wanted that relationship to improve. So, I humbled myself (Who am I kidding? I was humbled. Not by my own doing.) and swallowed my pride and let this person know that they were valued and I was wrong for the way I had treated them (even if it was unintentionally done). But actions speak louder than words so it will take time to show that I mean what I say. But guess who’s been coming around more often? Said person! Best investment of my time. xoxo
    Shared my food storage and groceries with a daughter who can’t work another 6-8 weeks, due to an accident. We both chuckled at the real home shopping network. We only had to run to the store to buy her one item after claiming her goods from my pantry. And she was very grateful for the donations. But not as grateful as I was that we could do that for her. She’s a very capable woman and I don’t always get a chance to be needed by her.
    Played with my grandchildren. Smart little whips! 😀 It’s the best frugal exercise program I’ve got. hahaha.
    One night, ran into my warm home, after having to be elsewhere. It was nippy out and making the dash indoors was a welcomed event. Appreciated the sweater, socks and extra blankets.
    The very next day, took a chance to get some sunshine, fresh air and a walk to get the achiness out.
    Read some books, watched a free show online, made do with many things and tried to sleep better.
    Made some sketches and plans for this years garden which always puts a smile on my face even though it never turns out quite like I’d imagined. But just thinking about the possibilities makes me happy. Here’s to dreaming and trying!
    Have a great week, everyone.

  36. The photo of the lemon tree is beautiful! Such a bright and happy yellow.

    My husband and I volunteered to help cook a meal and serve it to 85 homeless people on Saturday night who were sheltering overnight in a church nearby. The food was donated and there were lots of leftovers, but a neighboring congregation was having a gathering after church on Sunday, and they took the remaining food for that event. We were able to snack on some garlic bread and bring home a few cookies. It’s sobering to realize how fragile life is and it makes me grateful to sleep in a warm bed each night.

    I am taking some art classes this summer and went to a thrift store to look for items to include in the project (it features wood, books, and found objects). While I didn’t find anything for my class, I found a beautiful 100% merino wool cardigan sweater from Ireland in great shape. When my husband and I were in Ireland a few years ago, I saw such sweaters but couldn’t justify spending the money. Well, this purple beauty was $5 and I couldn’t resist it. It is a size too big, but for a bulky sweater that’s perfect for layering things underneath. I wore it on Friday night to the gallery strolls in my area and got several compliments.

    I read “The Dictionary of Lost Words” by Pip Williams. Great book, but some strong language about words left out of the original Oxford English Dictionary.

    My husband and I have been invited to a 60th birthday dinner celebration. I am knitting a scarf for the birthday friend.

    My husband is on board to eliminate food waste in our home, so he is willing to help me eat leftovers a little more often. It also saves on cooking each night.

    Thanks for everyone’s contributions and for Brandy’s creation of this sharing community.

  37. It was so lovely to log on and see the spring-like photos from your garden. It is snowing here — which is welcome, as we are catching up on snow totals for the year.
    This was a very routine week –eating from the pantry and freezer, using up leftovers, hanging laundry to dry in front of the wood stove, reading library books ordered on the Libby ap. *The only groceries I purchased were a 5-lb bag of potatoes (we were out), 6 lbs of brown rice (saved $6 on sale) and a pound of frozen broccoli. *I baked sandwich bread. *I made apple pie bars, using a jar of the apple pie filling I canned last summer. *We got a lot of snow, which was very welcome, but also meant we mostly stayed home. Friday we went snow-shoeing with friends and packed snacks and water. A fun, free activity! * I organized my tea cabinet and discovered a couple of partial boxes I had forgotten about. I am making a point to use these up.

  38. No spend January hit a snag over the weekend, we ended up eating out twice and I felt horrible afterwards because we had worked so hard the first two weeks to not spend on nonessentials. However, we dusted ourselves off and got back on the wagon and committed to no spending except on essentials for the remainder of the month. Food prices are continuing to rise here, and my “regular” weekly list of items that I buy has almost doubled in price. My husband and I both follow a Keto diet due to blood sugar issues and most of the items that I buy for that diet are never on sale. I know there is a lot of argument about the keto diet, but it is the one that works for us. We are very diligent about keeping a check on our electric usage each day. We usually use more on the weekends, but that’s because we both work and no one is home during the day. We have been staying home a lot more in the evenings and on the weekends, watching movies on our Roku device for free. We watch a lot of movies with our Prime account that are free, Tubi, and Roku. I also signed up for a free trial of PureFlix for seven days and then .99 for the first month, so we are trying it out for a month. I have a reminder set to cancel the subscription at the end of February.

    My steam mop quit on me yesterday, which makes me sad. My husband thinks it is just clogged up, so he is going to take a look at it sometime this week. In the meantime, I’ll just use an old microfiber cloth on my Swiffer head and some spray cleaner to clean the floors.

    I know we can definitely do better in a lot of areas, so I am very thankful for places like this where I can get ideas.

  39. Your lemon tree is such a delightful sight. Is that a small lemon on the little tree next to it or are my eyes deceiving me? Do such small trees produce fruit yet?

    Thank you for sharing all the tips.

    1. It’s an Oro Blanco Grapefruit. I let it produce one fruit this year but I shouldn’t have. They really need to grow for about 5 years first. That one is about 3 years old. It needs to grow a ton more first.

  40. After the entire month of January with no snow, we now have a bit and are expecting a storm tomorrow. The gardens need the snow so I am glad we will be having some. With snow on the ground, it is lovely to see pictures of big lemons Brandy!

    We have had a very quiet week. I spent a bit more this month because we had quarterly federal benefits that gave us a bit of flexibility to buy a few more things. That is over now and we will be having no spend months in February and March. We have points for one grocery store, gift cards earned from points for another and some cash on hand these will buy the few necessities we need. There has been so little on sale that it will not be difficult to adhere to this. I did use $84 in Amazon codes that I got from doing surveys to do a big stock up on food basics so I organized my pantry shelves and have incorporated this into them.

    We continue to be blessed by our buy nothing group. We have received an almost full case of water, a bottle of shampoo, two packages of Cottonelle wipes, a new Toronto Raptors basketball team tshirt, a large gingerbread man to decorate, a full package of raisins, six cans of Zevia soda, a full bag of cat food, a wool vest for my son, a scarf that matches a coat I wear to church, two sachets of hot chocolate and an unopened five pound bag of flour.

    Our reading of books and magazines has come from the library. In the past week we have only been out in the car three times and all times were very local to us. It saves a lot on gas to stay home or walk when we can!

    I hope everyone has a safe and frugal week! I look forward to reading all the comments each week.

  41. I started snowing a couple of hours ago so make your preparations if you’re east of Kansas! Much isn’t sticking because we had quite a warm spell last week.
    * 3 days of high 50° temps allowed me to air out the whole house. And, I spent some time sitting on the patio and reading. Lovely! That won’t happen this week!!
    * I made 2 batches of laundry soap.
    * I made toilet bombs.
    *. I washed and stored all the Christmas linens.
    * I cleared all of 2022 from my desk files and started the big shred.
    * Made another bunch of kid’s birthday cards for our greeting card ministry.
    * Found a couple of good deals at the market. I stacked coupons with the big deals. 8# oranges for $3.99, 2 8 oz. blocks of cheese for $1.29 ea., and 2 bottles of All free and clear for $1.99 ea.

    Gas is up to $3.19 gal., 40¢ more than last week, eggs are $4.99 with a limit of 2, and milk is still 2/$6 from our dairy.

    My literary pursuits…
    On my nightstand – The Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner.
    In my craft room CD player – Black Echo by Michael Connelly.
    With my Bible study – I’m reading and studying some things I got at church, including a history of Matthew’s gospel.
    By my reading chair – The Panic Zone by Rick Mofina.
    Probably a whole new batch next week!

    Good week to all!

  42. Forgot to add… Brandy, I can’t decide which was prettier, the lemons or the paper whites! Your lemons overfloweth!!

  43. Hello Brandy:
    Your lemon trees are loaded! I bet the fragrance when they bloomed was wonderful. I will start with my gardening efforts. I had volunteer lavender plants that came up along my driveway. I dug a couple of them up and potted hoping to use as gifts but they did not survive. Thus, I decided to let the others grow right where they are- not the ideal spot but I will take it. Last season I bought about $3 worth of fushia starts and put the fushia basket in my greenhouse for about a month. I had a full, beautiful basket that if I purchased, it would have cost close to $50 here. I plan to use starts again this season. I took my banana peels and chopped them up and placed in a pitcher of water. I let it sit for a couple days and then used it to water my houseplants. I had enough water for one outdoor plant as well. I then took the banana peels and added to my compost.
    I have a very small pantry and have been very frustrated with my limited food storage. I could never tell exactly what I had. I found a storage cabinet at the Restore for $30 and I am amazed at how much it can hold and I can see clearly exactly what I have. It is a small thing, but a life changer for me. We had a nice dry day this weekend so my husband hand washed our car and used the left over water on the outdoor plants. I cut my husband’s hair. I went to a discount grocer yesterday and was able to purchase Kind candy bars for .25 each. My husband and grandson love them so this will be a welcome treat for them.
    Finally, I did hours of research and found a vacation resort that would allow our family (my husband and I and our adult children and their families) a 3 day vacation this summer. It has been at least 3 years since we have had any type of break so this will be very welcome and we are all really excited. Things are crazy expensive so it was a huge challenge to find something we could actually afford so I was well pleased.

  44. I decided to clean out the drain in my kids’ sink by taking it apart, instead of just pouring Drano down it.

    I forgot to buy something at the store, so we made do instead of buying that plus an inevitable $20 of impulse buys or sale items.

    I discovered that I can use Dawn dishwashing liquid with mostly water in a foaming hand soap bottle. It’s the first time I’ve refilled that bottle and not clogged it beyond belief. Apparently you also have to leave a fair amount of air at the top, or it won’t work for any kind of soap.

    I’ve been studying how to tune pianos, and found someone to apprentice me for free instead of having to pay thousands for a correspondence course. He even provides the tools! This is a huge blessing as my husband’s health does not seem to be robust enough for him to continue working full time, and I am considering the best way to provide for our family going forward.

    I’ve had success being more frugal with my time this week by ordering my and my family’s needs and working through things in order, helping me be more productive.

  45. I borrowed library books, my credit for electricity use increased meaning I have no bill to pay, I didn’t water the garden due to all the rain we had, we bicycled where we could, all washing was line dried as usual, food scraps were buried in the garden as usual, we caught fish for a few nights dinners, at the grocery store I only purchased milk and bread and we ate an abundance of fruit and vegetables from the garden and gave away plenty.

    I worked out the childrens and a family members gifts as their birthdays are in the next two weeks. All presents are from my linen cupboard gift stash. I wrapped them up, in wrapping paper I was gifted, so they are ready to go. The $150 annual gift budget is on track.

  46. Those flowers are so pretty! I wasn’t familiar with paperwhites, but I looked them up after reading your comment about their scent. It’s fascinating how they apparently smell so different to different people.

    I’ve been trying to avoid food waste and use everything I have. I made a snack cake using crumbs from the bottom of a bag of cereal. I replaced the egg the recipe called for with mashed banana, and it turned out very well. I’ve been cooking more than I used to, learning new recipes, to save money on food in general.

    I started going through my clothes and setting aside the ones I don’t want, and listing them on Ebay. I also sold an old Lego set that hadn’t been used in years.

    I read ebooks from the library and listened to free podcasts on Youtube and Stitcher. I also listened to music for free on Youtube.

  47. It was a great frugal week in Houston!
    We ate a lot of leftovers and meals at home. A crockpot of beans fed us several meals, once with cornbread, once with added beef and tomatoes for chili, and twice as bean burritos.
    I went to a garage sale, where clothes were fill a bag for $10. I got a lot of them into the paper grocery bag, although they were the wrong sizes for my kids, I dropped about $5 worth of the clothes I bought off at the children’s consignment store, where I made $26. I also bought a box of Magic Treehouse and Who Was books for $8. The kids have read many of them, but I can sell these off in smaller lots for profit.
    I did not buy stamps. I thought about it, but I still have many from before the last price increase, and I do almost everything online, so I decided not to.
    I did not run the air conditioner or heater, even though we could have enjoyed both over the last week.
    I didn’t buy the protein shakes I wanted, as they were out of the chocolate ones. I may still try to buy these at a lower price, to mix in morning coffee. I am trying to lose 20#, mainly by reducing carbs. Wish me luck! I’ve held onto a little weight after my last several pregnancies, and it adds up.
    I participated in a work meeting from home.
    I didn’t grocery shop much, but did pickup a couple of Sam’s rotisserie chickens, which are very meaty and a good deal for us. However, I did notice chicken is getting cheaper: one store had boneless skinless breasts for $1.27/#, which seemed cheaper than it has been lately.
    One of my uncles used his band saw to cut 4 kids’ pinewood derby cars. Very generous of him! Their race is this Saturday; I will have to send him a photo once they race their cars. Frugal fail: acrylic paint from painting said cars stained 2 kids’ clothes. Grrrrr…. at least I buy them all at Goodwill.
    New this year, our pack’s blue and gold banquet costs $15/person. I will probably still go and take the scouts, but leave my other children at home, with my oldest babysitting. I understand that they spend a lot of money to cater this meal, but am sad to see some families getting priced out of family activities.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

    1. Try rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on the acrylic paint. The nail polish remover might make a light spot on the clothes, but the rubbing alcohol shouldn’t.
      Good luck!

  48. We stopped by the store today because we were going to look if there was on-sale meat to make a special meal for my husband. Wow! Peanut butter was .49 for 18 ounces (oops now they are 16 ounces!) We bought six. Oreos were on sale for an itty bitty package for 99 cents. They are probably half the size of what normal package used to be and we can make cookies for less than that with our on sale ingredients but it is a fun, rare treat. Bacon from the butcher was on sale for $3.49 a pound and ground beef was $2.49/# as they are about to expire. (We had picked up ground beef on sale for $3 a pound but we put it back. Butter was all displayed like it was on sale for $4.99. Yikes!) I will cut the bacon into smaller portions and freeze them right away. The beef I will cook for sloppy joe’s and then freeze if for future meals. Oh and chicken was .99 a pound. I didn’t buy much of that because we have so much in the freezer and canned. My point is trying to be that it’s still possible to get good deals even if it’s more of a challenge.

    I pulled zucchini out of the freezer and made a huge batch of muffins. I like working through last year’s garden produce.

    I looked up when I bought seed potatoes last year. It was February 28th so I will be watching the store for them. (Last year I bought some and my husband bought some. It seemed like too much and we do have a lot to work through right now but still I’m glad we had so many when the price shot up.)

    I took the itty bitty sweet potatoes and I’m trying to grow shoots (sp?) from them. I bought the old fashioned kind of lightbulbs from the thrift store last year. I have one plant started so far. Last year all of our sweet potatoes came from a single one that I bought from the store for about 77 cents.

    We are limping along with our cars as my husband looks for a new one. His, especially, seems to be on it’s last leg but it’s been there for awhile now.

    I designated a new spot for my husband’s mail and we decided I would put all of it there. I mistook some tire coupons for junk mail and accidentally threw them out! We decided I would put his mail there so he can decide what is junk and what is not. (The problem is that most of the mail from that place IS junk and I didn’t expect that the coupons came the same way.)

    1. In the midwest I always started my sweet potatoes in late December since they take sooo long to start sprouting. If you water them too much the leaves will get what looks like tiny fuzzy bumps but they diminish if you hold back on watering a bit. I always grew mine in a 5 gallon bucket. I learned the hard way on my farm that the root tubers may spread and develop 15 feet from the plant! May they be bountiful for you this year!

  49. It was a very busy week at the office so that certainly kept me out of the stores aside from some milk and rolls. My friend who lives downstairs invited me for an impromptu supper on Tuesday night and then I had her and another friend up for a birthday lunch on Saturday. We had a lovely time, it was a nice relaxing afternoon for all of us and she really appreciated the effort. This one friend and I try to eat together now at least once a week – it gives one of us a night off, we’ve been trying new recipes and it’s nice to socialize.

    It cost me more than the bottle of Children’s Tylenol to mail it to my niece but it arrived overnight so it was worth it. The bottle of Infant’s Formula will be delivered to another friend next week.

    I did have to add $10 to my regular grocery fund and $20 to my pantry fund so will have to adjust things for February. But – since it was a 5 week month (since we are paid early in Dec.) I don’t think I did too badly – I still only spent about half of what I normally would. January had some unanticipated expenses but everything was covered and I’m hoping that February is a quieter month.

    I bought myself a couple of coffees using a Christmas GC, continued to eat from the freezer and pantry and cooked all meals at home. Still managed to avoid the laundry room for another week so that saved a few dollars. Watched Prime, picked up some new library books and managed a couple of good long walks. I plan to do some more batch cooking this week but haven’t decided exactly what as yet.

    Your paperwhites are lovely and that lemon tree is amazing! So much fruit! Your hard work certainly pays off Brandy!

  50. Your lemon tree looks wonderful. I think it so wonderful that you persevere with gardening, although you have to carry water from the shower and the air conditioner to water with. I hope the water shortage doesn’t become so severe that you cannot grow your backyard. About the only thing I can think of this week that was out-of-the-ordinary for me was eating a tailgate picnic in a parking lot with my daughter and granddaughters. It felt a little funny serving up our food with the hatch back up with people going to and from Target. We didn’t know the area at all, but we could have asked the phone to find us a park. We were too lazy to hunt one up; we just wanted to shop and didn’t want to spend money on a restaurant. I didn’t buy anything; just looked. The prices are too shocking for me. I did enjoy the sunshine there. That Arizona farmers are paid not to plant explains a lot. I noticed lettuce is really high-priced. We had two partly sunny days last week in the midst of days and days and nights and nights of round-the-clock nonstop rain. Too bad we can’t share some of it with you.

  51. The best buy for the upcoming week is a family pack of chicken thighs $2.99 per pound at Canada Safeway.At No Frills the same chicken thighs are $3.89 per pound. (these are chicken thighs skin on and bone in). At Calgary co-op, family pack of whole frying fresh frying chickens are also $2.99 per pound. Calgary Co-op also has cases of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup for $13.99. This seems expensive but unlike the old cases that had 9 cans, this has 12 cans so each can is about $1.16 so the savings is about $1 per can. I wasn’t going to buy many groceries at all this week but given that the price freeze at No Frills, Superstore, and Loblaws is coming off this coming week, I am stocking up on No Name Pasta and Classico Pasta Sauce ($3 minimum 3 – regularly priced at between $3.79-$3.99). I think No Frills is probably clearing out this Classico stock to make way for a new order of more expensive jars — just a guess. Also at No Frills, for members, PC frozen selected vegetables are on sale for $1.99 instead of $3.99. Well, that is what I’ll be focussing on. I’m not sure what combination of the above items the budget can afford but I’ll get some. I’m lucky because my grocery volunteer couldn’t bring my fresh groceries last week but she was able to stock up on lentils for me ($1.25 reduced from $1.79 per can). Needless to say I see a lot of lentils in my future!

    I have been trying to write poetry. And watching free YouTube movies. I asked for a complimentary copy of a history book about a law firm and they sent not one but two! So I’ll give one as a gift.

  52. Oh and the best thing – I had to have my eyeglasses remade. The new pair is a physician’s remake and will be free.
    Normally, one has to turn in the old pair but they had to use a different pair of frames as my old frames had been discontinued.
    Because of that they will let me keep the old glasses – although I can’t read using them, the distance is ok so it will be a back up pair.

  53. My money stewardship for the week:

    I shop almost exclusively from Grocery Outlet now ( Nor Cal) . I look for quality brand names and build our menus around them. I bought 2 case of San Marzano 28 ozs crushed tomatoes for .50 each. Unbelievable deal . I will have soup and casserole base for months since there are just two of us. .10 cent Sabra Hummus. I can’t buy dried lentils that cheaply There are some items I try and can’t use. The return policy is very generous. Once a month I go to Sam’s. It is on the way home and I get the rotisserie chicken plus some fruit.

    For my 60th birthday in Dec. I am taking the boys on a short cruise. The agent tried to sell us add on insurance. They do this when you buy a car as well. It almost never is the best price. I shopped around and found a better travel insurance policy that pays in cash not vouchers and covers missed connections for half the price. This is a $1500 dollar saving. I used my hotel card to stay the two nights before we leave. I have at least 15 free nights over the next two years anywhere I want to go.

    I need better socks. I used gift cards to buy high quality, cushioned merino wool at 75% discount. Socks are incredibly important when you make your living on your feet but I never want to buy them. There are so many other fun clothes.

    I canceled my AMEX card because of a misunderstanding that cost me $200. I made sure I get to keep the 80,000 Delta mile that came with the card. BTW, you cancel through the CHAT online. Otherwise you have to talk with someone who tries to keep you hooked

    I made the Anderson bean and lentil soup. I did not put in the extra broth at the end of cooking. It looked like cookie dough. I froze the lumps which don’t take much space. When we need soup I put it in the instapot, add the broth, and turn the slow cooker high. Voila soup for the family. I only have one small freeezer so space is premium

  54. You lemon tree is lovely! My Meyer looks more like a wide bush, but makes for easy picking. I need to get out and pick some. I like to freeze the juice in ice cube trays for lemonade, after zesting and freezing that, then steep the rinds in vinegar for cleaning. Would love other ideas on using them completely. * my Italian parsley I thought was dead came back with a vengeance. My friend gave me a simple sauce recipe to use it that’s so good: Olive oil for pan, 2 to 4 garlic cloves browned, whole Can of diced tomatoes, let simmer then turn down and throw in a handful of fresh Italian parsley. * Found a pair of garden gloves in garage I thought were lost, they don’t make them anymore and are wonderful for thorns. * This led me to my most frugal this week: tackling an old garden bed (the entire side of house) that was taken over with olallieberry vines a few yrs ago. The vines root wherever they touch the ground and it had been gone for well over 20 yrs when I put in the soil/etc for the new garden. After a fall the first yr, when I couldn’t get into the garden, they came back and took over plus, have the worst thorns. In winter they die back some and I’ve decided this is the year of taking back that space! So been doing a little each day. * I’m also not planning on new seeds this year, except for lettuce. I’ve never grown it, but those fields here in California flooded, so I’m hedging against possible shortages/high prices. * I am planting some california poppies this year. Normally, I don’t plant orange flowers, but realized how happy I am when I see them in spring, so decided to take the plunge and got seeds on sale last yr. * just got the long winter from the library app as someone mentioned it above. Haven read it since I was a kid, so time for a reread.

  55. I love your lemon tree Brandy! This week I made a pot of pinto beans and added a ham bone from a ham that I bought for 89 cents a lb. awhile back. I had frozen the ham in portions that we would eat as well as the ham bone. We made a pumpkin pie, popcorn, German pork burgers with sauerkraut and caraway seeds, tuna, salads, oatmeal, eggs on toast, chili and enchiladas and both fresh and canned fruit. We made baba ganoush and hummus to eat with fresh veggies and crackers.

    We watched YouTube and listened to music on Youtube. Used the internet for recipes and information. Turned off lights and used sweaters instead of turning up the heat. Although I did use a space heater a couple of times when I was particularly cold instead of turning up the central heat. I didn’t have to run it too long. But it was so cozy and made me feel so nice to be warm. I continue to use handkerchiefs and cloth napkins and towels instead of paper products. We run full loads of laundry and dishes. We are working on using what we have instead of buying more when we don’t need more. After too long of not doing my hair, I finally got my hair done a couple of weeks ago. I am happily a blond just like I was when we got married. I just wasn’t ready to go grey yet. The expenditure was so worth it to me. I will gladly cook at home every day and not buy other things just so I can keep it up. I think doing my hair is good for my mental health. I’m happy that my husband is happy about it as well. I am crocheting a scarf, very slowly. I’m not working on it everyday and when I do work on it it is just for a bit. But it is coming along. I get to teach piano lessons tomorrow and I look forward to it! My mom said my great nephews are looking forward to it as well. I am glad. They are doing such a good job learning. My son took us to the zoo with our grandkids. It was so nice to see them! I am going to look up some You tube videos to exercise. It is so cold and snowy and muddy out where I live. Exercise will have to be an indoor event for me. Not one I enjoy at this point, but necessary. I clean and that is exercise. I also occasionally dance in the kitchen or living room with my husband. But I need to work up to doing more. I want to be able to walk or dance for a longer period of time than I can now. I’d like to be able to keep up with my grandkids when we are at the zoo or anywhere else and not have to keep sitting to rest. I think next time I visit my grandkids I am going to bring an activity that we can do while sitting that they would enjoy. I am going to check the library. I have brought things from the library before and they really enjoy it. My grandson loves science projects and my granddaughter loves drawing and arts and crafts. I’ve brought bells before and they both enjoyed that. I thought about making play dough with them and then they can both play with it. I used to have a recipe that you could put good smelling spices in it. They loved that last time we did it. I might bring a ukulele. I just need to bring something that doesn’t include me doing a lot of walking until I build up my stamina. We could cook. We have made butter, ice cream, popcorn and other things. It is always a good time.
    It is snowy anyway. So indoors is good.

    I need to pack snacks when I go to town with my other son. We have been eating out because we didn’t plan ahead. It has been enjoyable if not frugal. A picnic can be enjoyable as well..even if it is in the car with the heater running. Mmmm, not sure with the price of gas if that is cheaper…probably is.

    1. My son got married. The dress that I ordered a couple months ago and fit two months ago was too big today. I was so happy I had a back up. I need to get on a scale and see how much weight I actually lost. I knew my pants were too big. It was a happy day. It is so nice to see my son so happy.

  56. Joining in from the Seattle area.
    I haven’t posted in a long time, but I have been reading the posts and responses when time allows. I continue to work my part time jobs Mon-Thurs and am doing my best to be frugal since my husband is not working at the moment and we are taking money from savings. This is not my preferred way of doing things but I am hopeful this will change in the future. In any case, I enjoy putting my frugal skills to good use!

    As many people have mentioned, good deals are hard to come by, but this week I have saved on a bunch of items at QFC (upscale Kroger) and Fred Meyer (also Kroger). I installed the QFC app on my phone and paid $3.99 for a pound of organic strawberries and $2.99 for my preferred brand of tortilla chips. Fred Meyer had organic cauliflower on sale for $1.49 a pound and organic broccoli for $1.79 a pound – organic was cheaper than the conventional variety of both of these vegetables. Plus I bought 24 oz of mushrooms for $6.99, which is cheaper than what I usually pay. I’ll saute these and put a bunch in the freezer since I’m the only one who eats mushrooms.
    Otherwise, we have been doing our shopping at Trader Joe’s, with occasional trips to the local co-op. The co-op sends out occasional high value coupons to members (like a free pound of pears, a free pound of satsumas, and $5 off a health/beauty item) and I have taken advantage of those as often as possible.
    Other ways I saved over the past few months:
    – Returned a Sonicare toothbrush that was still under warranty and they sent me a new one
    – Purchased NYDJ jeans (which are nice enough to wear to work) for $40 off per pair during a Macy’s sale
    – Bought underwear for 30% off on a once a year sale
    – Bought a bath oil item for 30% off (plus I got a free gift with purchase). I had waited almost a year for this sale!
    – Made good use of my gym membership on a weekly basis
    – Someone on NextDoor posted asking if anyone had an old sewing machine they didn’t need. My mom gave me her 50 year old Bernina sewing machine last year, so I was able to pass on an older machine to the woman on NextDoor. She was thrilled and brought me some chocolate to say thank you.
    – We celebrated Christmas eve at my mom’s assisted living facility. We reserved the activity room there and my sister and I both brought food. I brought silverware and plates and table linens. We had a wonderful time. I don’t know how long my mom will be around since her health is failing, so we are making memories while we can.
    – My old Kindle was dying so I got a new one at a great price on a pre-Black Friday sale. It came with three months of Kindle Unlimited and I read so many books! I decided to keep the $11 monthly subscription after the trial period since I am enjoying it so much. I will reevaluate again in a couple of months and may cancel then.
    – And I did all the things I always do: brought my lunch to work every day, batch cooked, cooked from scratch, ate from the freezer, etc.

    It has been wonderful to read everyone’s posts and see all the support and encouragement shared. This blog has been a bright spot for me through some difficult times over the past year, and I am very thankful for Brandy and everyone who posts. Thank you!

  57. It has snowed heavily here. I shovelled the driveway and hope that my neighbour shovels the city sidewalk (fingers crossed). It saved me about $50 in shovelling cost. I am doing it in two stages so will finish it tomorrow. Beeause of my damaged tendon I cannot lift the heavy shovel-loads of wet snow but I can push them off to one side. I was given two suet blocks for Christmas and my friend put the other block in yesterday before the snow. We have mighty happy birds!
    I am grateful for heat, for food, for lovely birds to watch, for good books to read! It is very beautiful outside – Christmas card perfect…

    We have been receiving comments from the First Nations about the chapter in our book about the First Nations history here – so far, very complimentary! Happiness is…!

  58. -Got home from vacation and made chicken from the freezer in the crockpot, served over rice and veggies. Found a few good grocery deals- clearance cauliflower, blueberries, oranges and grapes. Baked more sourdough and muffins. One of the guys that does work for us lost his dad, we dropped off some muffins and will have them over for dinner. We ate some spaghetti squash from our garden last fall along with frozen tomato sauce. I also made homemade yogurt for the first time in years. I was not in the mood to peel potatoes and bought some fingerling potatoes on sale. Still cheaper and healthier than takeout.
    -This week was a crazy busy week. I stuck to my workout schedule, diet and avoided unplanned meals out or coffee. We hosted (and paid) for a large event and brought home leftover appetizers. I’m drinking tons of water. I’ve been wearing my grandpas old hunting suit outdoors to keep warm when we play outside or when I go for daily walks. I spilled paint on my warmest winter coat so I’ve been wearing a jacket that doesn’t handle single digits well. Went sledding with kids in the driveway after the last snowstorm.
    -Sold 2 items on eBay, and bought a Halloween costume on dollar day at the pallet store to resell. Also bought ourselves cool Halloween shirts for next year as well.

  59. I perhaps should have waited until Monday but I have the time to write right now. I just used a $10 coupon from Instacart and saved $2 by being flexible with a three-hour delivery time. So the discounts covered the service fee and a 9% tip. (I later added $2 to the tip to get it back to 10%.) The delivery person accidentally left two bags from another person’s order on the porch. As soon as I saw the mistake, I left the bags outside and contacted Instacart by texting a message to the Instacarter because that number was still active But there was no response. Their AI chat was a dummy that did not understand I was reporting extra groceries along with successful delivery of my entire order. So I had to call them. I got an agent and told him the problem was getting my order plus two bags. For security reasons, the shopper no longer had our addresses (and I am not sure they redeliver misdirected orders because they lost control of the bags for a while). So the bonus groceries were mine. The other shopper received a refund for the groceries I was gifted: five giant apples, a quart of Greek yogurt, a half gallon of whole milk, a pint of blueberries, a garlic bulb, and red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, one each color. I was very happy with those items along with my order that included hamburger for less than $3 a pound (and not in a chub), and three dozen eggs for $5.39. The only thing my shopper could not find was the Kroger equivalent to Rice Krispies. I was not ready to pay twice as much per ounce for the name brand. It was an expensive order because 99-yr-old mom is mainly living on Boost VHC, Lindt chocolate truffles and mini high-quality ice cream bars. The order included nearly three pounds of Lindt truffles and 12 Magnum mini ice cream bars (the ice cream bars were the only things in my order that were neither on sale nor a cheap generic version (hot dog buns) nor a store brand (instant coffee). Instacart charges slightly higher prices for groceries than Kroger.com does with Boost. So I am only using Instacart for Kroger deliveries if I really haven’t planned ahead and am too tired to cook (Instacart groceries are cheaper than Doordash fast food) unless I have a big enough coupon to make it worthwhile. Today, I wanted to beat tomorrow’s snow for the delivery person. But the snow started an hour before the delivery window started instead of two hours after the three-hour delivery window ended. That probably means my corner of the county should have been included in the winter weather advisory of neighboring counties.

    I had hoped for just an inch or two of snow tonight. I spent $50 for the driveway to be plowed yesterday in anticipation of a UPS delivery today and mom’s nurse practioner coming Monday and her physical therapist coming Tuesday. The UPS driver delivered the package to our neighbor who was nice enough to trudge through the snow to deliver the big bulky box (we both live on almost an acre). So much for the $50 snowplowing to help that delivery driver. But since the driveway, walkway, and handicap ramp were clear, I decided it was a good day to get groceries delivered and Instacart does not charge extra for same-day delivery. I hope the snow won’t be too deep for the physical therapist’s little car or I’ll need to text the snowplower to see if he can fit in another plowing Sunday night or early Monday morning. (First visit by this NP so I have no idea what vehicle she drives.)

  60. Lovely lemons on your tree Brandy. It is great to read your updates. They are encouraging. We too look closely at the water bill. Where we live we get charged for what goes out of the tap, and then what goes down the drain. The water here is recycled too. However, if I can give it a second life I get twice the savings than just letting it go. And warm up water is an easy catch and reuse. In savings money, I dont know if I am anymore. But, I continue to be hopeful. I have a surgery coming up at the end of February. I’m trying to mentally prepare for it, and also plan for time off of work and care for my son. I’ve been a little stressed out by it. But, I’ll get through it.

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