It’s been another week at home, as it has been for many of you, too!

I cut a few roses from the garden to enjoy. I began pruning them back this past week to keep them healthy and productive for the year.

I made some cuttings from my Thompson’s seedless grape, to hopefully start new grapevines for my garden. I tried making these without rooting powder. I will try again with rooting powder as well this week and see what success I may have.

My husband and I had a date night at home. We watched a movie together on YouTube. We don’t pay for any streaming services nor do we have cable, but we still find plenty to watch.

Later in the week, we went to the hardware store to purchase some pipe for the backyard. On the way there, we talked about how nice it would be to get something to eat together, perhaps by stopping at a nearby drive-through. We resisted the temptation and went home to make dinner instead, using what we had on hand.

We continued to work on our landscaping project. With the months it has taken and will continue to take, it would have easily costs tens of thousands of dollars in labor to hire someone to do all of the work that we are doing ourselves.

My husband poured concrete for another lamp post and put in pipes and the electrical wiring to it.

We continued to pick up the free school meals, saving us on groceries. Our neighbor continues to give us whatever items from the meals that his children don’t want (he leaves a bag at our door each morning). This has meant we often have plenty for my husband and I as well. The meals are a great blessing to the budget.

I picked up some free empty plastic pots and empty small annual containers from someone who was getting rid of them. As we are not ready to plant in most of the garden currently, I am going to try planting in these (outside) with seeds that I have so that when we are ready to go in the garden, I will have plants ready to transplant into the garden. With the rising costs of produce, I really want to increase the amount of food that we grow in the garden this year. Our garden makeover is designed to do that as well as to save us money on water; I hope to reduce our water bill by over $1000 a year with the changes that we are making.

What did you do last week to save money?

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169 Comments

  1. I smiled as you talked about you and your Hubs working on garden project! Some of our sweetest memories are of late nights outside, when kiddos were in bed, having flood lights set up to light up the yard as we worked on a landscaping project! I remember one particular night, after midnight, when we noticed our new neighbors across the alley working on their deck! The 4 of us noticed each other about the same time and crossed into the middle of the alley and laughed over all of us working outside while the neighborhood slept!! It started a wonderful friendship!

    I bound my grandson’s quilt , https://pin.it/EysTr8K. I didn’t have enough of any of the fabrics I used in the quilt to make binding from, so I looked in my blue scrap drawer and found a 36” square solid blue table mat. I cut it into 2-1/2” strips, sewed them together and had my binding! If you look at the link above, I hope you’ll think it was a pretty close match in color to the blue print in the quilt top! It’s so nice when you can repurpose something you don’t use into something you do! At least, it makes me happy! Maybe I’m just weird! 🤪 So that quilt is boxed up and sent over to Korea!

    My 74 year old friend who just took up quilt making during COVID, brought over a quilt she made that, in her words, just kept growing! So I got that one done- https://pin.it/1mlLxS5. That was Quilt #110 on Lenni! I’ve quilted 6 quilts for her since she began and she let me know she’s got her next one started! She has given me motivation to try new things!
    Just as I finished that quilt, a beautiful table runner came in and I got that quilted and sent back. https://pin.it/DNKUXR8.

    Two more quilts came in the same day that I quilted the table runner so I am truly humbled by the opportunities that keep coming to do something I truly love while adding to our savings! What a blessing! Actually, I got the first of those- a Turtle quilt that had been made from vintage pieced blocks, quilted up now! https://pin.it/5msgcVA, https://pin.it/y3aHT5l. That is #112! I love being able to do the quilting for other people’s creations! Really inspiring!

    I made some butterscotch oatmeal cookies but was too lazy to go down to basement to refill my old fashioned rolled oats canister so I substituted 6 grain rolled cereal into the cookie dough instead! Hubs said he really liked this “new” recipe I made! (He didn’t know about the substitution!😉) I’ll take that as a win! Lol!Earlier this week, I made some no-bake Butterscotch Haystack cookies that used up a package of chow me in noodles that I’ve had sitting in my cupboard! They were also a hit!!

    Still major decluttering here! I gave away a footstool Hubs and I made years ago that we don’t use any more. Then I sold a flatware set that I got from my mom and just never use! It brought in a small bit and both the buyer and I were happy!
    I went through our bookcase in the parlour and culled 2 big bags of books. Rand McNalley Road Atlas from 1992, Car repair manuals from 28 year old cars we no longer own, etc! Why was I keeping all that?? Went upstairs to sewing room/office and shredded tax forms/bank statements from 15 years ago. Threw out manuals and warranties on appliances we haven’t had in years! Oh,my!! I don’t think we were quite at the “Hoarders” stage, but it certainly has been liberating to clear out things we don’t need, use!
    I happened to ask our kids on our family website if any of them were interested in a certain item I didn’t want to keep. I lightheartedly said in the message that I was doing this so after Hubs and I pass on, our 7 girls won’t be sorting through things in the house grumbling about all the junk Mom kept that they now had to deal with! I thought it was lighthearted but reading written words without hearing someone’s voice or seeing their face removes any visual or audible clues of their tone of voice/intent. One of my daughters called (voice call, not text)me within 5 minutes of my posting this message to find out how Hubs and I were doing and wondering if either of us had been to the doctor recently and had any “unexpected” news about our health! Lol! I had to explain that we were just enjoying the decluttering for itself! We all got a good laugh out of that!
    I was able to redeem cash rewards from my bank cc into my savings account for another $10. That makes $30 extra cash rewards into my savings account that way so far for January! That at least makes up for the minuscule interest rate on that savings account!

    It’s been 2 weeks so I need to pick up some milk from grocery today on my way back from UPS store. Roads have iced over so it’s definitely better to combine trips and they are on the same street!
    Hope everyone is safe and well! We are getting used to staying at home mostly and planning our trips carefully!

    As we are organizing/decluttering, we feel like we are becoming more prudent stewards over what we have.
    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. If you haven’t already recycled them, you might post the car repair manuals for sale either individually or together. Sometimes those sell really well on eBay, depending on the vehicle and condition of the manual, of course!

      1. Lizajane- The car repair manuals were for cars whose model years were in the early 1990’s! We have always driven old cars but 30+ years old is past where even we would still have the cars. I did get rid of them!

        1. Gardenpat — I hear you on the owner’s manuals! My husband is a car fanatic, and had all kinds of shop manuals for projects he did or was thinking about doing. He finally agreed to get rid of most of them, except the manuals for a 1973 Chevy 4WD pickup. Those he is adamant about keeping. Not for sentiment, but because he still has the truck, haha!

          1. Amy in Arizona- when we lived in Southern AZ years ago, we were astounded at the really old cars still on the road! Here in Ohio, the rust and corroding effects of road salt in the winter will eat away a car much sooner! It’s the reason many people have 2 cars- their regular one + a “beater” car to be used in the winter so that their regular car stays nice!

      2. lizajane, we have done this! My husband sold several owners manuals on ebay, and then ended up buying one for the new-to-us car that was missing the original. He was glad to find it.

      3. Just yesterday my husband was so excited to find an owner’s manual for the 1964 C10 truck we recently bought to restore.

    2. Yes, Gardenpat, I too have been downsizing and preparing for when my husband and I die. But, hopefully, not too soon! I bought a burial plot in the cemetery where my family has been buried for generations. I put together a notebook of important info. Being so ill, I had to let the children know all was OK, but I wanted to be prepared. (Side note: than I went critical, but am through that thankfully!)The Swedish call it “Swedish Death Cleaning.” My mother did the same for my siblings and I and I’m so thankful even though my parents are still with us and doing well in their mid 80’s. Way to go!

    3. I always love looking at all the quilts that you bind…lovely. I laughed about your daughter actually calling instead of texting. That has happened here too. Looking at the flag quilt you posted reminded me of a quilt given to my husband in a Marine pattern. I will get it out of the closet and start using it.

      1. Susan- We have most of our accounts- checking, savings with Fifth Third bank. Our mortgage was there also. Several years ago, they asked if I would like their M/C. Since they were offering one in MY name (not just as an authorized user) , I took them up on it. As a SAHM, I felt like it would be a good idea to get some credit established in my own name. I’ve been an authorized user on other cards that are in Hub’s name before and since as well.
        Fifth Third gives the option of redeeming their Rewards points for gift cards, etc, but I prefer cold hard cash ! Lol! You have the option to deposit it immediately into any of your 5/3 accounts or they will send you a check. I opt for instant deposit into my savings!

  2. We have not done any shopping in the past two weeks. We are just eating from our stockpile with a few additions I pick up from our buy nothing group. Folks are ordering their groceries to be delivered and often seem to get the wrong products which we are happy to take and use. I have also been blessed with housewares, books, puzzles and clothing, leaving us very little to buy. One of the programs we receive money from because our son is disabled has extended which items are eligible so we have been getting books and puzzles for our son which we will use as Easter and birthday gifts for him. I have also used various points to receive gift cards which will also be used as gifts for him. Our gifts are being taken care of at no cost to us. Because of all of this, we have been able to add to our savings which is a huge blessing considering the uncertain nature of my husband’s work.

    I hope everyone is having a lovely, frugal week!

  3. This is the second week of my “payday month”. It is usually the one where I spend very little money since the bills are all paid. The grandbabies have been sickly and we are going to the doctor again today. It is a $30.00 co-pay each time they go through the door. Ninety dollars this month. *sigh*
    My husband saw some large pots sitting at the edge of the road for the garbage. He brought them home. The people that put them out asked if we wanted more….we accepted his offer.
    I bought $168.66 worth of groceries for the 4 of us. No meat just the basics for the month. We will go back to buy milk, bread and such if we need to.
    My 13-year-old grandson took it upon himself to make pizza from scratch. He enjoyed it so much he wants me to keep the basics on hand for him to do it “often”. This will save us from buying the frozen ones.
    I got my first Covid-19 shot Friday. This is so nice.
    Not much else happening here.

    1. Wonderful you’re able to get the shot. 3 of my family are in the tier to get one now, but cannot find a place to get one.
      February is my “bills only” month. Thankfully it is a short month! 🙂

      1. Any VETERAN over 60 should contact their nearest VA facility. This does not apply to spouses or other family members–vets only. The Portland VA is giving shots now and making appointments. My high school Class of 1964 sent an e-mail about this. A huge percentage of guys who graduated in the mid-60s to mid-70s were drafted. My BFF’s husband got on the list after I forwarded the e-mail to him. I understand that pharmacies in Kroger stores, such as Smith’s, King Soopers and Fred Meyer, are also giving the vaccine to seniors.

        1. Yes and you do not have to be under any of their care/health programs either. I called when the news did a very short one time story on it and the VA called me back the very next day to set my appointment. I have to wait a bit but I am content because I have an appointment.!

        2. Thanks for noting that, Maxine! I will have to see if my parents know that my dad would be eligible for the vaccine.

  4. Hello Everyone!
    We have rain!! I’m so glad because it has been a very dry winter so far. That saves us watering costs.

    This weekend I attended a virtual personal training conference for CECs. It was ironic to be at a fitness conference, yet sitting and listening to lectures for 9 hours both Friday and Saturday. Great information though! I won a free book by entering a raffle by one of the presenters. Because the conference was virtual, no hotel or restaurant costs were necessary this year. In addition, I received a free, 3 unit course from my certification agency with a phone call. 💲Win!

    I switched a streaming app from Hallmark Now to Frndly TV. I’m really enjoying the variety! It still has 3 Hallmark Channels with more recent releases.

    I had a garden fail with the prior winter heat wave. My broccoli, fennel and lettuce bolted. I was distracted with the completion of my drapes. Live and learn. 🤦🏻‍♀️

    Instead of running to the store when low on produce, I opened home canned pears. Delicious! I also used some frozen veggies for lunches and dinners.

    This month we made our first principal mortgage payment. Baby step 6 here we come!

    Today I will start more indoor seeds. I was able to find leek seeds and add them to my Azure order, which arrives tomorrow.

    David Austin roses are gorgeous! Mine aren’t in bloom, but yours is beautiful! 🌹

      1. Marybeth- Thanks! Hopefully, you achieve that goal earlier than we did (just 6 weeks before our 50th anniversary) !! 😉 But, whatever your age, it’s still something that can give you great peace of mind!!

        1. I am 46. We have 8 years left on the mortgage if we don’t make any extra payments. We are also paying for our youngest in college and doing home repairs. I am hoping we can have it paid off by my 50th birthday. That would be the best birthday present ever.

          1. Marybeth, let me tell you how we paid off 10 years in 7. We asked the bank (I’m sure there are calculators online) how much extra we would have to pay per month to accomplish this. That’s how much we paid every month. We set up autopay on our mortgage so we didn’t even have to think about it. On my husband’s 60th birthday, we paid off the house and were 100% debt-free! Just a tip for anyone planning a party to burn their mortgage–it took 6 months for the bank to send us the papers!

      2. MaryBeth, It’s a great feeling to pay extra towards the principal! It’s great knowing others with similar goals and even Gardenpat who’s on Baby Step 7!!! 🥳

    1. Lizajane- The car repair manuals were for cars whose model years were in the early 1990’s! We have always driven old cars but 30+ years old is past where even we would still have the cars. So I did get rid of them!

  5. After a long day of sharp winds, I found a section of exhaust venting from the furnace had fallen after wind blew down the chimney and knocked one end out of place. I adjusted the end of the vent in the basement that had been moved by the wind, and reattached the section of pipe. I found duct tape after a little search, to make sure the venting duct was well attached. This was a huge safety issue, and just a matter of luck that I visited the basement in good time after the wind storm.

    Using the ham bone from Christmas dinner that I had popped into the firdge freezer, I made a large pot of broth. I’ll use this as a soup base for lunches this week, and to flavor rice to go with supper. Enough meat came off the bone to do with a couple of meals as well.

    I didn’t leave the house this week, but focused on cleaning and tidying, and watching the inauguration and a jewelery auction on my computer. I’ve washed clothes by hand and hung them up all over the house. The furnace-heated air is very dry, and hand-washing and having the clothes drying in the house really improves the comfort level.

    The weather turned cold, to -27 C (-16 F) each morning, though it is to get a little better this week. These temps are within normal range for the time of year. We just have to get used to managing in it after many weeks of mild weather. The winter won’t seem very long this year, since we have skipped so many weeks of it being like this. I do love to see your roses, Brandy. It makes me believe warm weather will be with us not that long from now.

    1. Elizabeth, may I ask where you live that it is that cold? I am in upstate NY and it’s single digits overnight this weekend – that is low enough!

      1. I’m in Northern Alberta. It is pleasant enough here in summer, but the winters are a bit of a challenge. It is the running joke, though, “But it’s a dry cold,” because having relatively low humidity makes it slightly less uncomfortable, both when it is very hot and very cold.

        1. Elizabeth,
          So glad you were able to fix the problem. I assume you have CO monitors?
          That must have been quite the wind.
          It’s getting colder here too YYC but not terrible yet. Ann

  6. I made red beans and rice in the crockpot, from dried red beans, turkey sausage, and of course, rice. I like to eat it with a splash of apple cider vinegar and horseradish. I also made curry/ginger/coconut milk/ mandarin oranges/turkey and noodles from spices and combining all the above. I used ramen noodles and canned mandarin oranges. I plan to take a container of this for my lunch this week. I made crockpot meatballs with honey bb sauce and refrigerator mulberry jam. I know that the recipe call for grape jelly, but mulberry jam is what I had. It tasted fine. I also made more refrigerator mulberry jam from frozen mulberries, to replace the jam I had used in the meatballs. I made cake mix cookies from a white cake mix I had that needed to be used. I got new tires and an oil change. I travel over 80 miles a day, round trip, for work, so good tires are important. Other than that, I just walked for exercise. I did not go grocery shopping.

  7. Your roses are beautiful, Brandy. We are in wintry weather here, and it’s nice to see some living outdoor plants. I understand that idea of wanting to get something at a drive-thru. We get that way sometimes too, but we have been resisting because it’s a risk we really do not need to take. One thing the pandemic has done is it has made us pizza pros! We have gotten really good at homemade pizza, and have tried some toppings you can’t really even get from a pizza place. It’s been fun and tasty.

    My husband went grocery shopping one evening, close to closing. That’s when the stores are the most empty. He uses Ibotta and some other rebate sites and got quite a few free/very low cost items. He also stocked us up on produce that was on sale – navel oranges for 50 cents a pound, hearts of romaine that were $1.99 for 3 (and he also had a coupon for another $1 off) and grapes for 69 cents a pound. I requested cauliflower if it was nice and a decent price, and it was both, so he got that for me, along with a pound of fresh mushrooms on markdown for $2.29. We also have carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, celery, onions, etc. on hand from the last time he went to the store, so we are well stocked on produce. He signed up for some of the survey/sample sites in January and is doing well with that,too. The money he gets from the surveys will go into the grocery budget.

    We have been watching a tv series as our date nights at home. We borrow books and other materials from the library and we’ve been using some language learning materials to learn Japanese. I read my first cozy mystery this week, and enjoyed it. I was happy to learn that the author has several in a series, so I put the next one on hold for myself. I’m also using online video tutorials from YouTube to learn watercolor painting, and I’m making some progress on a painting I want to do for our bathroom.

    I sold an item on Facebook Marketplace, but have not had luck with the other items I listed, so I will likely donate them this week. I’m trying to get some things we no longer use or need out of the house, to make more open space/declutter.

    I have our menu plan up on my blog, and I’ve started garden planning there as well. Visitors welcome! Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful week.

  8. I love how your already planning your garden and picked some roses. We are expecting our first winter storm. That will be good for this years grass and garden.
    We were able to get many rebates from the store last year so built an extra bedroom and then opened up more space for others.
    The groceries are higher but purchasing staples and cooking meals at home seems to keep the budget.
    Continuing to rid out of unnecessary things and give to thrift helps me to help others.
    A card a prayer a stamp seems to help others even though we can’t be in hospitals or make food for others.
    A little elbow grease and cleaner cost nothing to clean floors..bathrooms or walls and it feels like brand new.
    Sometimes I’ll take the time to iron my top sheet…my pillowcases.. even underclothes to have that fresh like new garments. ( I know that’s extra but it makes things feel so polished)
    Pretty music on and a candle lit can be soothing . ( I don’t have to have an expensive candle)

    1. Nancy, I like to iron my sheets to treat myself to a little extra luxury. I don’t do it all the time, but sometimes make the extra effort.

  9. The last two weeks have been busy with office work (here at home) so that has kept me occupied and distracted. A volunteer program that I work with has started up again via Zoom so that is fun – although we still have some kinks to work out with people logging in from all around the world. I also attended my first Zoom coffee hour with members of the congregation yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed chatting with some folks that I haven’t seen in nearly a year. I have some more historical articles to research so that will keep me busy this week.
    Meals are from the freezer and pantry – I have only been to the shops twice in the last 3 weeks and really just for milk, eggs and salad greens. Technically the month is up as tomorrow will be payday but I’m not sure if I’ll go out this week or just wait until next. I’m not desperate for anything so I will wait and see if I need to go into my office later this week and if I do then I will add a trip to the grocery store at the same time – if not – I’ll wait until next week. I have been very careful about using up leftovers and bits & pieces from the freezer so it’s quite surprising how much is still in both! I think I’ll try with half my usual grocery budget again this month and see how it goes.
    I have enjoyed many wonderful walks – some up to 2.5hrs in length! I usually go with the one friend in my bubble so there is someone to chat to and we seem to find new paths along the lake almost every time we head out. It was a special birthday for her last week and I was able to get a card, a GC to a shop that I know she likes and then I gifted her with a bottle of “bubbly” that I’d bought before Christmas and a promise that I will treat her, and two other friends who celebrate special birthdays this year to a lovely patio for lunch – once it warms up and they reopen – probably looking at May or June. It is the best we can do at the moment. I added in a fancy coffee and a treat that she likes at Star Bucks after our walk (using a GC that I had received for Christmas) so she said it had actually been a much nicer birthday than she had anticipated.
    I have a trial of Amazon Prime at the moment so I am checking out a few of their series. But must say that I am really enjoying Nerflix at the moment. I watched the “Pretend it’s a City” interviews between Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorcese”, I’m half way through “Unorthodox”, which is quite riveting; I’ve started “Call My Agent” which is from France; and of course, I binge watched “Bridgerton” on the weekend – have to admit that I loved it! It was a bit more raunchy than I was expecting but the pacing, the costumes, the different story lines, really kept me amused. I just hate that it might be a full year before we get season 2!
    Well, I’ve done a couple of hours worth of office work this morning so I’m going to take a break and do some tidying up in my apt. The laundry is all up to date (did 4 large loads last week) so the apt. will get a bit of attention this week. I need to take breaks from my computer as I’m working at my dining room table – and since the set up is not ergonomically correct, I alternate a couple of hours of office work with an hour of chores – followed by an hour of reading – and repeat. I work 25 hours per week and set my own schedule so I can do this sort of thing with a clear conscience.
    Have a safe and happy week everyone.

    1. I’d love to see Pretend It’s a City. There have been hilarious interviews with Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorcese on You Tube, and I spent many happy weeks in New York when I was in my twenties and thirties, and was in book publishing. When I had almost no money, I would go there each year for as many days as I could afford, and spent my days walking and observing, so this is just my cup of tea. Maybe it is time to rejoin Netflix. I do from time to time for some months and catch up on what I have missed, and then cancel it again.

  10. My library was offering “Binge Box” movie sets with themes. I checked out one of Indie Love Stories, Holiday movies, and Best Pictures from the 1930s-50. Each Binge Box has 5-7 movies. My husband and I had a date night and watched two movies together.
    I got two refunds from my health share organization for out of pocket expenses last year. I deposited them back into my HSA for future expenses.
    I’ve spent the week helping with family health care. I drove my aunt twice to the doctor, then to the hospital for hernia surgery. She is still in the hospital and I have visited her 1-3 times a day for short visits (I live about 2 miles away from the hospital). Now I am looking for a place she can stay for a few days to get more care. She is currently living with my mother, who needs a lot of care and my aunt has been helping my mother out. But now my aunt needs to get her health back before returning to my mother’s house. I’ve also been helping with dinner at my mother’s and taking turns with siblings spending the night with her. I am grateful that I have the time and the means to help out.
    I spray painted a chandelier that I purchased from a local classified ad. My husband rewired it. It will look amazing in our new home. And the cabinets got reinstalled in our kitchen, so progress on our new home is moving along.
    Other than that, I have been reading library books, knitting from my stash, and taking a watercolor class on zoom.
    We also got snow, for which I was very grateful, as it has been a very dry winter for us.
    Have a beautiful week everyone!

  11. Snowy weather is keeping us home.
    How we saved:
    -I planned all our meals from the freezer and pantry again. It is going great! We are enjoying a variety of foods, and I’m making some things I haven’t made in a while. It seems I’ve hardly made a dent in the freezer and pantry, so I will be continuing this through February.
    -Since my lettuce and greens winter growing experiment failed, I picked up a package of microgreens and I’m going to try growing those in the kitchen under my grow light. I just want to grow something! 🙂
    -We have a solid plan for what we are going to grow in our spring/summer gardens. It will be much smaller this season, as I canned so many tomatoes last year, we just won’t need to grow tomatoes for canning, and my husband has lots of green chile left as well. I will need to grow green beans to can. I have the seeds I will need and most of the soil, so gardening expenses will be minimal.
    -I am making very slow progress on redoing my laundry area. I am having a hard time finding cabinet knobs I like that are not super-expensive! I will be happy to have the laundry area finished and then I’ll move on to the kitchen. That is going to be a big project, but I’m looking forward to it.
    Details of our week are on my blog at http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-30/

  12. I got carried away a few weeks ago when I got on the David Austin roses website. I needed one rose bush to replace one we removed. By the time I had my wits back I had ordered four of them. I don’t know where they all will go as we have a small, already full yard. I hang my head in shame.

    Do you think your yard will be ready for a spring planting this year?

    1. I really don’t know if we will be ready. Right now is the time to grow cool-season vegetables like lettuce and spinach–spring crops. Tomato plants can be set out after Valentine’s Day through about mid-March, but then it’s too late to have much of a chance of harvesting anything before the heat sets in. I’m hoping I can plant by the beginning of March, but it is taking a long time to dig it all out (much, much longer than I had hoped), and we’ve only dug half of it! Still, I can start filling some of the soil in for part of the garden.

      I do know that the arbor for the grapes and blackberries is going to have to be built sometime in April or later. That’s a huge project in and of itself.

      1. Brandy, I got out last night and finished shoveling the manure out of the trailer that was given to me by the horse trainer that uses our land. It keeps multiplying when I turn my back. It was almost dark and started raining but I continued working. It needs to be out so it can decompose before we plant this spring. Bill and Dustin were horrified when I walked in the door, cold, wet, and quite smelly. They couldn’t help because they were involved in other things.
        I understand how big projects just seem to get bigger the more you work. It will be worth it when you are finished. Just tackling a job that big is impressive.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

        1. It’s definitely turned out bigger than we planned! In all truth, we’ve added some details that make for more work, too, but the general scope of the project is more than we thought to start (at least me; my husband had a better sense of the scope of our undertaking!) In the end, it will be almost a completely different backyard. I think that in some ways, it will be more practical as I get older, but in others, it will be more work!

  13. It’s a spendy few weeks here. We replaced our toilet and a window. Several of us needed clothing all at once. We re-did our girls’ room. So much money going out, even if it was thoughtfully. We’ve been doing a pantry challenge (spending just $20/week for our family of 10) and I’ve used the savings to buy an aerogarden and more seeds for our garden. We had lots of seeds already, but there were some specific varieties I wanted to try. Since my husband is laid off, he has more time. So, we’re working on a plan to build some raised beds in addition to our regular garden beds. We have 5 acres, so no excuses for not growing lots of food! We’ve enjoyed pulling out lots of the food we preserved last year for our meals. It’s been wonderful and educational to see how much we really need to get through a year. Our hens are still laying really well. It’s not necessarily cheaper than store-bought eggs, but we know the eggs are very nutritious and it’s nice having a dependable supply of protein in the yard! Our school computer died and we had to replace it. There’s a local place that sells refurbished computers, so we went there. I hope we got a good deal, even if it still felt like a lot of money! I’m looking forward to spring and being able to get outside more. They’re calling for significant amounts of ice over the next couple of days here in western Maryland.

  14. Brandy, I can’t even imagine the amount of work you have done to get to where your garden is now (Instagram link). I understand why your neighbors thought you were digging a pool!

    I posted last week that I was getting my first Covid shot that afternoon. Except for a little soreness in my upper arm–like after a flu shot–I have had no ill effects. Neither have any of my friends. It’s been a real upper for my spirits!

    These were my frugal accomplishments of the week–
    * I bought a book on bookfinder dot com for $3.61 including postage. Any used book you can find on Amazon is on Bookfinder. Bookfinder has the same vendors and is always at least .50 cheaper due to lower postage.
    * I unsubscribed to a bunch of junk mail. Didn’t save me anything except a bunch of aggravation, and that is worth something!
    * A branch broke off of my Christmas cactus. I watched a You Tube and they are supposed to be easy to start from cuttings. I am a sucker for free plants! So, I took some cuttings and I’m giving it a shot, even though the last thing I need is half a dozen more Christmas cacti. (They probably won’t all take, anyway).
    * I made two potholders out of fabric scraps for $0. I sent them to my son and daughter-in-law. I am too cheap to buy filler–I use a piece of an old bath towel–and it’s hard to sew. Any ideas?
    * We’re getting out of Dodge next month! I cashed in 45,000 frequent flyer miles for tickets to Phoenix and my daughter’s ticket (which she paid for) was $283, meaning our award tickets are worth $566! We will be staying with my husband’s cousin, who (like us) will have received the second dose of the Covid vaccine. I ordered some clear face shields to wear on the plane. I wore one when I worked the election in November, and you don’t even realize you’re wearing it.

    Best wishes to all!

    1. I use pieces from an old cotton mattress pad for the filling on my potholders. My mother did it that way for years.

      1. Thanks to both of you! The old mattress pad is a great idea, and I think I have one. (Gotta look). Quilt batting is a good idea, but I’m not a quilter and don’t have any batting.

        1. Maxine, I’ve used old ironing board cover with good results. But have found any recycled fabric works well, like T-shirt, curtains, cotton pants. Though the last time I made pot holders from old jeans I didn’t use anything between the fabric. It was easy to sew and as thick as cheap store bought ones. They work fine for me and since they are a bit oversized I can fold them over if needed.

        2. To all who shared ideas about oven mitts — thank you! My favorite pair are pretty worn out, and I haven’t seen anything in the stores that I like. BUT, we have wayyyy too many pool towels, and I really like the patterns on some of them. Using your suggestions, I will repurpose a couple of them into new mitts and squares. It will be a fun (tiny) project for me, and will also help me refresh my quilting skills. They will be cute!

    2. I have used any leftover material for filler in pot holders (kitchen towels, ironing board cover, cotton jersey cardigan etc) I have also re-newed my old pot holders by covering them with something ”new” 🙂

  15. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your roses are beautiful, looking forward to seeing your garden as it progresses.
    I found Seville oranges for sale, 3kgs for the price of 2 and we made 14 jars of marmalade. A friend kindly left a jar of her marmalade on our doorstop too.
    I used 2 overripe bananas in banana, pecan and chocolate chip muffins.
    I stretched an ox cheek casserole for 2 days by adding beans and more stock.
    We are eating down our freezers and pantry and picked cabbage and kale from the garden. I also picked snowdrops for the house.
    I ordered more heating oil to be delivered, by ordering well in advance we keep the delivery cost as low as possible. We have a gadget in the kitchen that shows the oil level in the tank so we don’t run low and need to order in a panic.
    I redeemed points from a consumer research panel for £100 Amazon credit and bought enough natural firelighters to last a year. I try to keep the credit for needs.
    I finished an embroidery. I cut up a towel that had holes in it and hemmed the squares to make cleaning cloths for the kitchen.
    My husband bought 3 small plugplants of campanula and received 3 plants free.
    It is my birthday today and my husband is going to construct something I would like in the garden when he is fully recovered. Our daughters sent an afternoon tea hamper and an orchid plant. This has cheered up lockdown tremendously! There are enough goodies in the hamper for a week of teas.
    Stay safe everyone.

      1. Thank you Brandy and Trudee for your birthday wishes. In a twist of fate my Mum passed away last night, on my birthday. 61 years ago she brought me into the world and 61 years later, to the day, she left this world. I am profoundly relieved that her ordeal with dementia is at an end. Rest in peace Mum.

        1. Penny P.
          So sorry about your Mum — both about her passing and that she had dementia at such a young age. Ann

    1. The snowdrops are blooming here in my part of Oregon, USA, right now, too. I noticed some on my recent walk. My mother always had them, and it is the first sign of spring to me. That, and pussywillows, although I haven’t seen any of those on my walks.

  16. I am always so impressed with Brandy’s gardening. And I also think of your arid climate and water shortages when I look out my window at the 8 or so inches of snow covering my yard, which will go into the 10,000+ lakes in Minnesota. (There really are over 10,000; they did an official count a few years ago.) I’m sure someone is working on ways to share resources like water from geographical areas that have plenty to those that need more.
    Here’s what I did this past week:
    — My daughter got Amazon gift cards from extended family for Christmas. I set her up with a “teen” account, which means she can pay for things with her gift cards, but benefit from my Prime benefits, like free shipping and the free Prime videos. She’s been using it to watch episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, because I have a retro 14-year-old.
    — Bought groceries through Fare for All (https://fareforall.thefoodgroupmn.org/). This was a planned expenditure for the month, and I got everything on offer this month: about 17 pounds of meat and about 8 pounds of produce, for $60 total. In “normal” times, there is a distribution site very near me in my own community; during COVID, the distribution sites change every month and they are never in my actual suburb anymore, so it takes more driving and planning, but it’s worth it.
    — We had half-and-half left over from Christmas time that is good until the end of January. Daughter used the recipe on the package to make herself some strawberry-banana smoothies, which also used some of the free orange juice we’ve been getting from the school food pickups and strawberries from our freezer (we picked and froze them in a previous summer).
    — I used the rest of the half-and-half to make creamy chicken and wild rice soup, which also used some canned chicken from last summer’school food pickups, and carrots and celery from this school year’s school food bags.
    — I had ordered Christmas cards from Shutterfly very early in December. They didn’t arrive until well into January. As an apology, Shutterfly issued a $25 credit, no expiration date, to my account, without being asked. The cards are not dated, so I can use them next Christmas.

  17. I need to get started on my pruning. Your roses are always so lovely. I’d read about tepary beans recently, and thought of you, as they thrive with extremely low water. I commented on one of your fb posts, with a link. Maybe it will be of some use, or maybe it’s something you already know won’t work for you, but I wanted to share. My husband got his 5% veteran’s discount at the hardware store, for insulation, sheetrock and paint for our workshop project. I received $5 back for a $13 Hallmark purchase through Swagbucks, which included a birthday card, 6 Valentine’s cards, and marked down Christmas gift tags. I’m keeping the buttermilk going, as well as yogurt. Suet was made for the birds. I pulled our winter squash, lima beans and blueberries from the freezer for meals, made vinaigrette with our berry syrup, and used our sweet potatoes and sweet onions from storage.

  18. I washed the covers for the chair cushions on my dining table. The cushions were getting a little flat, so I wrapped them in some quilt batting (given to me by a friend) before I put the covers back on. They look much better now. This inspired me to wrap the seat cushions on my sofa with batting, and to re-stuff the back cushions with poly-fil. I purchased a 10-lb box of poly-fil at Joann’s for $32. The result is my couch looks much better. I also cleaned and conditioned the leather with coconut oil.
    I last bought groceries on December 19. On January 21st I did a big grocery run – I picked up orders from Walmart and City Market (Kroger) and got a few specials from Safeway. That was almost 5 weeks, which allowed us to use up a bunch of stuff. I spent about $170, but that should last us another 3 weeks at least. Of course we’re still staying home, cooking all meals here, utilizing the library for books and ebooks, and watching free shows online, including All Creatures Great and Small.

  19. My mom sent over bread, donuts, vitamin c, tongue cleaners, oatmeal, can soup, and a tomato she didn’t want.

    Refilled Mr Clean power spray (that my mom sent over previously)with diluted Mr Clean instead of buying a refill bottle.

    Completed a reading challenge through our library and received a mug.

    Hubby cleaned out his truck and there’s enough bottle water in there that I don’t have to buy any this week. I might make most of the week not buying any soda.

    The 14yo is into doing diamond paintings and we framed up one of her recent ones of a dahlia and gave it to my mother in law for her birthday.

    We grilled 2 whole chickens and acorn squash for my mother in laws birthday dinner and also took a cake. I brought home the chicken carcasses to use for broth.

    I didn’t buy any groceries for this week aside from lunch items. I really need to use what’s in the freezers.

    I deep cleaned the kitchen, tossing stuff like lids that no longer have a bowl, expired meds and condiments, a lot of empty containers, pickles(3 jars!) that were opened way too long. I also listed several items on a buy nothing group, items mom sent over and we just won’t use, sealed OTC medications I won’t get to before they expire, yogurt and cottage cheese bowls and lids I really dont use but have a hard time tossing. I also discovered I have 3 big bottles of hand soap refills so I won’t need any for awhile, lol.

    My daughter’s school had a drive through thing on Saturday…we got donuts, juice, and a bag of snacks.

    1. April, my 14-year-old is into the diamond painting kits, too. I’m glad you have someone you can gift the completed item to who will appreciate it.

  20. Ah yes another week at home. I admit, although I love to be at home and typically stay home even before the pandemic, the stress of not being able to go out without risk is sometimes overwhelming.
    To add to that my husband was exposed to COVid at work last week and we will all be getting tested this week. I know how blessed we are to have made it to this point without having the virus and I pray that continues to be the case.
    We ate all meals at home this week as we continue to eat down the freezer to prepare for great sales and to avoid losing the food that we have stored. I made chicken & noodles, pink eyed peas, lima beans, Swedish meatballs & egg noodles, broccoli& wild rice casserole, cherry cobbler, & pinto beans. All of these dishes came from our freezer and pantry and used items that we have purchased at deep discounts or grew in our own backyard.
    I am making a large pot of black beans today – we will eat some fresh with rice and I will use the remainder to make up a batch of bean burritos for the freezer. I am defrosting half a ham and a small pork loin roast and I will cook both this week for easy meals in the event that some or all of us may not feel well in the days ahead. If we are spared we will still eat great meals very inexpensively.

    We sold some shelves that we no longer needed on FB Marketplace and will use that money towards the dirt/manure required to amend the garden and flower beds in preparation for spring planting.

    I used digital coupons to purchase 5 lbs of pasta @ $0.49/lb. There was a limit or I would have bought more.

    I watched a few free movies through Amazon Prime.

    We have been discussing the purchase of a tiller to use in our garden and flower beds. We typically rent a tiller once a year but the cost we incur versus what we would spend to buy a machine of our own seems like a smart move as it will pay for itself over time. We have some gift cards we might use towards this purchase and we are still shopping for the best deals, new vs. used etc. We have spent well over $200 in the past 2 years which would have almost paid for a machine by this point.

    I hope everyone has a great week! Stay safe!

    1. Angie, I hired people at first to do our tilling but then my husband bought one. He does the work maintaining it – sharpening the blades, changing the oil, and so forth. That has been more work for him but it has paid for itself many times over. We now do more tilling, use it more often, but do smaller areas at a time. It has been easier tilling a small section instead of doing the whole garden all at once.
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  21. My husband changed the cord on our free dryer and it is running right now! I only use it to shrink fabric for my sewing business. I have the sheets hanging out on the line.
    Today I made pillowcases with a red tie-dye sheet (it came this way). This sheet was our son’s college dorm sheet and it is so LOUD, I can’t even bear to see it. But I also can’t bear to throw it away. So I made some pillowcases and have put them in the Goodwill bag. At least they can be of use to someone. I cut up quite a bit of fabric into 3/4 inch strips. This was all small pieces of fabric that I had been given that was not to my taste. I’m twisting it into twine and making fabric twine baskets. It’s so fun and satisfying to use the ‘waste’ to make something new and beautiful.
    I had a good sort out and gifted several things to others in my Buy Nothing group. I also pruned my collard trees and potted 16 cuttings. I gave some to Buy Nothing people and some I am growing myself.
    Another batch of lemon marmalade was made yesterday, it’s like sunshine in a jar-which reminded me of Anne of Green Gables when she first had pumpkin preserves and thought it was like ‘preserved sunshine’ (until she got so sick of it!).
    I have free kiwis ripening in brown bags, and the ripe ones on the counter to be eaten. They are locally grown and are the best flavor I’ve ever had.
    A happy week to you all!

    1. I just went down a rabbit hole of looking into fabric twine and items made from them…thank you! Looks like fun.

  22. Joining in from the Seattle area,

    I spent time this week helping my mom clean out her condo in preparation for her move to a retirement home in a month. My local sister was there too, and we were able to go through almost everything in her kitchen cupboards. We took what we could use, and then shared the rest with a cousin who lives in the area. I dropped off a large box of donations at a thrift store as well (it took me two tries because the first time there was at least a 30 minute wait to donate). My mom was pleased because we got a lot done. Will continue with this project this week.

    My mom shared extra eggs and avocados. Took home some spices and canning jars she did not want. Made a large batch of pancakes, and froze some for future use. Cooked a big pot of bean and bacon soup, which was delicious. Put enough for two more meals in the freezer. Saved the fat from cooking the bacon. Froze some almond milk that was expiring. Bought supplements on sale for 25% off. Got a coupon for a free B12 shot.

    Tightened my frugal belt in preparation for a period of unemployment in my household. Thank goodness I stocked up on food early in the pandemic. Will be rereading a bunch of posts on here for inspiration. 🙂

    I am so thankful for the community here. Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. I just shared with my son that you can freeze almond milk. Thank you for posting that! I don’t drink it but he does, and I know it’s pricey.

  23. Hello long time since I posted. As with everyone 2020 was one of the rougher years. I don’t know if you remember but I had won $5000 grocery gc from Albertsons monopoly game. It has been a blessing as I’ve used those cards for groceries, gas, gifts, and anything else I needed this year. I have enough tp and laundry soap to last well into this year. And still have a few gc’s left.
    Sadly the year otherwise has been terrible. My father had a stroke but got better and could still get around. Then he fell breaking his hip. The dr didn’t want to do surgery so he now needs 24 hr care. My brother who lived with him and was his full time caregiver was killed in an accident. I’ve been staying with him ever since trying to get him to move in with me. My house is a mess with clearing out my spare room. There is stuff everywhere and I just want to trash it all because I have no time to deal with finding some place to take it. I was thinking of doing a estate sale as my father’s house is full also. And even though the money would be welcomed I’m just to tired to even think of doing it. So I’m working on one thing at a time.
    No internet here so I’m using a hot spot that doesn’t always work. I’ve been reading the last few blog post you posted and they have been inspiring. Even though I don’t feel frugal at this time my past savings activities are helping me get through these times.
    A few things I’ve done are listening to audiobooks with the hoopla and Libby app from my library, what a bargain that is. I’m not shopping for anything and making use of what I have. I’m decluttering in a big way, I inherited lots of things and stuck them around my house. These are things I have trouble getting rid of. I decided if its not something I like and would have bought there is no need to keep it around. I’m probably going to donate most of it as I feel I bought lots of items I still use because someone was kind enough to donate. Though I’m resisting renting a dumpster.lol

    1. I remember about the gift card! What a blessing that has been for you!

      I am so sorry to read about your brother’s passing. I wish you patience and energy as you go through all the stuff.

      1. Thank you, I believe the prayers and positive energy we have received from family and friends are working. As I said I’m doing one step at a time and if it’s beyond my control at the moment, I’m trying to let it go. I’m someone who doesn’t like to ask for help. But there has been so much to do I did ask. And what a blessing it has been to receive, though still a bit hard to ask for. Which is a good lesson for me to remember.

        1. Anne,
          I envy you! David Austin himself said that one should plant roses in groups of 3 because that makes for the appearance
          of a much more impressive rose display. So maybe that will make you lift your head once more.
          P.S. remember that t is better to grow roses than grass.

          Ann

        2. cc, I hope you don’t mind that I copied and posted your message on “the other board.” I knew you wouldn’t just leave unless something awful happened…and it did, times two. I am so sorry. I wish I could help! You are in my prayers.

          1. Thanks Maxine, when I remember my password I’ll try to post over there. A few times I worked the frugal muscle and thought of all of you all. Mostly I just do the best I can at the moment.

        3. Dear cc

          I am so sorry to hear about your brother.

          I don’t like to ask for help but during covid I have learned
          it is okay to ask for help. And I am amazed at and am grateful for
          how responsive and kind everyone has been. When we had our big snowfall and my driveway was blocked by a huge snowbank,
          one friend decided to walk over (half a mile) with her son and cart the 20 pounds of potatoI’d asked for. I told her just to keep them until I got the entrance to the driveway cleared but no, they lugged them over. (I wouldn’t have asked for 20 pounds had I known about the snow coming). A second friend also ploughed through the snow on the sidewalks and delivered groceries. More in my post below.

          Again, I am so sorry about your brother. Ann

          1. Thank you, yes I found it very hard. And my first instinct when offered help was to decline but I took them up on it. Which has been a relief to share the burden, plus cut my stress levels.

    2. S0 very sorry for your loss!! Keeping him and your family in prayers. Hoping your dad improves and that you are able to get some help

    3. I’m sorry things are hard and overwhelming. When I’ve faced difficult situations, I just remind myself I don’t have to get through tomorrow, next week, or even next year. Just today. And maybe just this minute. And the next one. And the next……

      Hang in there. I’m glad you got that gift card. It can’t fix things, but it sounds like it is taking off some of the stress of all the extra expenses these situations always cause. I’m glad you are asking for help. I’ve been there in my own life, so I know it’s hard, but I reached a place where I could not handle things without help, so I received it and I was blessed. Interestingly enough, the people helping me were blessed, too. So, now I try to look at it as an opportunity to let them receive their blessings, too, when they reach out and help me. I know how much I like to help people, and how good it makes me feel, so I don’t want to rob them of that joy. Still……it seems easier to be the one who helps than needs help…but I think you are on the right track by accepting help.

      1. Thank you. Yes the gift card has been a big help. When I received it I thought I could make it last for a very long time. The blessing was not the everyday shopping I was used to. It was all the stuff I don’t usually buy that was either needed or made life a little easier, either by not having to shop around for the best prices or convenience. I also just gave gift cards as gifts taking away the need to shop for birthday and Christmas.

    4. if you can … read Silver Tsunami by Sharon McRill… it helped me shrug off some of the stress of dealing with “full houses” as I still have some of my late husbands (almost 40 yrs later) Mother’s (9 yrs later) and Daddy’s (less than a year) stored in my barn.

        1. cc
          So sorry about what you;re experiencing.
          My partner’s father recently died and they had to move his mother into another living situation. They hired a local company to do a sale. They priced everything, held the sale and cleaned up after for 40%. The family thought it was one of the best decisions they made!

  24. Hello Everyone! It was a quiet week for us, which is fine. We are still staying home and only going out if absolutely needed. The weather has changed and we are expecting rain this week. My husband was issued a laptop from work. His goal is to work at least two days per week from home. This will save the 70 miles a day round trip mileage on our car as well as gas. I have been going to my office two days per week still. It costs me $6.35 per day to park next to my office building (the early bird rate is $7.00, but if you use pay by app you save 65 cents). My husband and I discussed it. I was considering going back to using public transit, which costs me nothing. However, there was a recent news story in our area about the drivers who work for our transit system who are contracting Covid19 at alarming rates, even with deep cleaning. So because of this, we decided it was worth it to keep having me drive, even though not frugal. My son broke his glasses, so we needed to order him new ones. We went to Costco where they were having a deal of $30.00 off the second pair of glasses. So we ordered two pairs at the cost of $124.00 total; our insurance covered a small portion. We also picked up a few hot dogs for a frugal treat dinner. My son only ate half, so he had the other half the next day. Over the weekend, I was tempted to order pizza for dinner. Instead, I took a look through our pantry and freezer. I made pizza using leftover pasta sauce, turkey pepperoni and shredded cheese on bread we had in the freezer. It was quite the hit, so this will be our go to pizza from now on. Our church gifted us grocery boxes, which included eggs, milk, pasta, pasta sauce, fruit, cucumbers, chicken legs, tuna, tuna salad, canned goods and bread. We also received a box of toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, sunscreen, make up and face wash. I will donate the make up. They also included books and toys for the children (which will go to our gift closet). This was quite the blessing as I am only working two days per week right now. We detailed and washed our cars ourselves instead of paying for the drive through wash at the gas station. My husband and I had another budget meeting and have set a savings goal for the year. We are very excited about this and looking forward to it. We also decided that February will be a no spend month, except for gas and essential food…of which we should need none; our pantry and freezer are so full. After taking a break, we accepted two weeks worth of school lunches for our son. My son only likes half of them, so I checked with two other families whose kids go to school with my son to see if they would like them; no takers 🙁 Still trying to decide what to do with them. We have no room in our freezer for any of it and besides, if no one is going to eat them, I do not want to dedicate the space. We had a sidewalk picnic with my parents. I brought them groceries that I had gotten for them (they also paid for some things for us as well). They treated to subway sandwiches, which was a nice change. My mom has been ordering takeout every week for her and my dad, which she stretches over a few meals. She washed and save the containers and gave them to us. I reuse them for work lunches for my husband and I. I am still going through the house cleaning and purging and donated several bags of items. With all the cleaning and organizing I have been doing, it is a wonder that we have anything left, yet nothing looks any different…..hahaha. While going through stuff, I found that I have enough for Galentine’s Day (a take on Valentine’s Day) gifts for four very close girlfriends. These women have been such a blessing to me during this pandemic/stay at home time. I also have a Valentine’s Day gift for my son (bought last year on deep clearance) as well as Easter Basket items (also bought last year on deep clearance). We enjoyed several free magazine subscriptions. I save all the magazines for my parents, who after reading them, give them to their neighbors. In turn, my parents subscribe to the Sunday paper (we gave up our subscription years ago). They give it to their neighbors when they are done. I asked my mom, if it isn’t too much trouble, to have the neighbors give it back to them to save and give to us. The news will be a little dated, but both my husband and I enjoy reading an actual newspaper; if I were to buy it every Sunday, it would be almost $5. The best news of all was that my mom had a doctor’s appointment and blood work for her lymphoma. Her numbers are still low and have not changed since the last blood test. They will check her every six weeks. So she does not need to start treatment right now. Much needed good news!

        1. Several places in the U.S. received federal funding to provide meals for children free of charge to the children living in their area during the pandemic. In my area, breakfasts and lunches are provided for ages 2-18. These are much nicer meals than the children would have received at school and than what the district provided at schools before. There are cold and hot items, with the intention that the hot items can be warmed in the microwave. Here, the meals have included all whole grains for any breads or baked goods of any kind, whole fruits and vegetables, Greek yogurts, milk (every day), and when there has been fruit juice, it is always 100% juice.

          Here, we can simply drive to a school that is five minutes away and pick up meals for that day for the children. The pickup is outside, and they put the items on a cart and roll the cart to your car so that you have space between you and the lunch person. They wear masks and ask that parents do as well. If you don’t have a car, you can walk to the pickup; I saw a father come with his children on foot before.

          The school district here, which is one of the largest in the U.S., requested publicly that people come and get the food as it will also keep lunch workers employed.

    1. Peggy G.,
      I’ve been repurposing a bunch of the school lunch food. I can tell by comments here that the items are vastly different for many of us, and I don’t know what you get, compared to me. I also don’t know how many kids you have. We get one bag of lunch most days, and 2 bags on the days I have my nephew with us. Right now, they’ve changed things a bit and we get items for a breakfast, lunch and dinner in the bag. I empty the bags and lay everything out and let the kids pick whatever they want to eat for lunch, and my 24 year old autistic niece also takes her choice even though she’s too old to get her own bag. But, there’s plenty for all of them. My daughter, niece when she’s here, and nephew when he spends the night, are welcome to eat whatever they want for breakfasts or dinners. But, they are all 3 picky eaters and there is a lot left over.

      I love the idea of giving it to an elderly neighbor or anyone else who wants it. I’m not above feeding my husband some of it for lunch, but there is a lot of it I cannot eat, and he shouldn’t eat, so we don’t eat much of it.

      So, this is what I do with the rest after everyone has taken what they want right then. I freeze the chicken nuggets by dumping them into a ziplock, also the corndogs, breakfast pizzas, English muffin sandwiches, and other things like that and re-thaw and bake or toast at a later time. I save sandwiches and things that don’t freeze well in the fridge for the next day or weekend. Chips, crackers, raisins, applesauce in little cartons, and cereal in little cartons are all set aside for either camping this spring/summer and/or picnics. The little plastic containers of peaches and pears (I’m sure dipped out from large gallon cans and re-packaged), I lay out flat and freeze, then make into smoothies with milk, vanilla and a little sugar. We’ve occasionally gotten frozen strawberries and blueberries and I’ve re-frozen them, too. I don’t save those for long, but instead made a smoothie very soon after I freeze them. I save the little cartons and re-use them, as well, especially when I want to take something in a picnic and then can throw the carton away. I made an apple crisp out of the little apples we get almost daily. I left the peels on, since they are so small and it worked great. I can get my niece to eat Red Delicious apples, only, with peanut butter, so I cut one of those up for her when she’s in the mood for it. If we get baby carrots or celery I either bring it out at other meals for my daughter and us to eat raw, or make soup, stir-fry with added onion and soy sauce or cut into salads. On the rare occasions we get little cartons of peas, beans or pinto beans, I throw them in a soup. We got so much corn, I refroze it and bring it out to cook for dinner, in a pan. I cook carrots with a little apple juice, brown sugar or honey to make a cooked vegetable, at times. We get a lot of milk and chocolate milk. My niece and daughter drink that, for the most part.

      I’m finding these lunches help a lot, but I’m like you…I don’t want to waste food, so I just keep being creative. But, those bright orange spicy chicken sandwiches…..I can’t get a soul to eat them anymore…:(. Can’t win them all!

      1. It sounds like we get some similar things but also some different things. All the bread, tortillas, pancakes, buns, muffins, cookies, etc. are whole wheat. Fruit juice is 100% juice. The fruit cups have no added sugar and are packaged in fruit juice instead of sugar syrup. The chocolate milk does not have corn syrup like the storebought ones and is only 10 more calories than the 1% milk. We also get whole apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, tomatoes, dried cranberries, raisins, baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, pepper strips, celery sticks, and Greek yogurt. I usually steam the broccoli and cauliflower for dinners. The cranberries get put on salads. The baby carrots are sometimes steamed with butter and a bit of brown sugar, put in soups with the celery, or I make dip for them. The peppers go in eggs or soups. If I make granola, they will eat the yogurt.

        1. Thank you all for the suggestions! I will check with some other neighbors. For the most part, we get pizza, mini cheese burgers, bean burritos, chicken sandwiches, fruit cups, mini carrots, fresh apples and oranges, pop tarts, the occasional breakfast sandwich, mini power bars, bagels and cream cheese, raisins and dried cranberries, juice boxes and milk. The dried fruit I use in baking and I steam the carrots for dinners. We have definitely gotten creative! We received 2% milk in the half gallon containers. In the beginning, they gave us non fat milk in individual cartons, which I preferred. Sometimes with the milk we get now, we can’t always finish it and end up with an unopened one. I have been able to pass that along to another needy family! I’m sure when Spring comes and the weather gets better, they will give out berries and some other vegetables; they did that last year. During girl scout cookie season, they also gave us a box of girl scout cookies which was a nice treat. We are very appreciative of the meal service. We like the limited interaction with the school staff, as well as being able to go to the school in general. The school district sent out an email blast a few weeks ago asking that all families utilize the meal service, saying that it will help their budget in the future. We also like that it is keeping people employed 🙂

  25. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions about what to check when my son took me to Costco for the first time. I can’t use anything processed so that eliminates most of what stores sell. My shopping choices in my small town are Kroger, Dollar General Market, and an Aldi which is 40 minutes away. I have a Wal-mart but it has disappointed me so many times that I cease to even check their prices. Costco was much too large for me to price compare everything so it will take multiple shopping trips before I can know if it will be worth the driving time, gas expense, and cost savings. My son put me on his membership for which I paid him half. This is what I learned.

    Dollar General won on canned vegetables. I can or freeze most of my vegetables but still buy some from the store in case I run out. At Costco green beans, peas, carrots, corn (didn’t see mixed vegs) were $.53. About twice a year Dollar General has 3 cans for $1.00 plus a $5 off $25 coupon which also applies.

    I buy dried beans white, pinto, black, garbanzo, red, blackeyed peas and grow many others in the garden. I can them myself using reusable Tattler lids to save the price of a lid. Lima beans from the garden are frozen so they can keep the fresh flavor. No store can beat that price.

    I grow and dehydrate herbs: parsley, oregano, basil, thyme, dill, sage, poppy seed, lemongrass, cilantro, onion powder, garlic, chili powder, paprika, tomato powder, celery leaf, and rosemary. Not all annuals are gown every year, just those whose supplies are running low because they store a long time if sealed properly. The worst thing that can happen to a dehydrated herb is that it loses potency for which I just use more. However, Costco had 12 oz of turmeric for $3.29 which is less than the postage I pay to have it shipped! That was an awesome deal! Hubby puts turmeric and other herbs in pills and takes them for his health. This is a link to how he does that.
    Feverfew, Plants to Pills http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/01/feverfew-plants-to-pills.html

    Another great Costco find was bread flour. It is only sold at Kroger and their King Arthur’s organic unbleached bread flour is a whopping $8.69 for 5 pounds! No exaggeration. Aldi sells 5 pounds of all-purpose for $1.19 so that is what I buy. Wholewheat, buckwheat, and rye are sold at my favorite feed store so I grind those myself. Yes, it is for livestock but it must list if it has been treated (which they can’t do) and then I winnow it on the front porch to remove any sticks. I don’t remember the prices but it seems to be about $10 or $12 per 50-pound bag. Costco had 50 pounds of bread flour for $14.49. I was thrilled! So I bought a bag and then made Reese heft it into the shopping cart, out to the car, up the 13 basement steps, and onto the kitchen counter. In return, I sent 20 pounds back with him and made him a loaf of bread.

    Another great Costco find was bread yeast. Kroger sells a 2 oz jar for $2.99. Costco sold 32 oz for $4.59. I grabbed one.

    I didn’t write down the prices on produce because that changes by season but I was able to compare the bulk packages to what I pick from my winter garden. I was surprised to discover I am saving way over $20 every week from the greens I pick from the winter garden.

    Maxine, I looked at the liquid laundry detergent as you suggested, however, Dollar General won on price. I buy their cheapest when it is on sale if there is an online coupon, plus use the coupon for $5 off $25 of the total order. I use the automatic detergent dispenser on my machine (to keep hubby and son from dumping in half of a bottle) and also pour in water to thin it down. I choose the two-hour automatic soak option and so even the cheapest detergent will clean well. If it is a disgustingly dirty load of garden clothes, I add some of the expensive, name-brand detergents like Gain or Tide. However, I don’t think the cheap Dollar General Detergent could compare to the name brands at Costco in side by side comparisons. So when I am running low, I will take your suggestion Maxine, and give the Kirkland brand a try.

    Elizabeth, I checked out the tomato products and purchased a #10 (which is 105 oz) of sugar-free tomato sauce for $3.39. I had to pay $2.49 for one 18 oz jar last week at Kroger. More tomato plants are definitely on my garden to-do list.

    J, I looked at their roasted chickens, which smelled divine but was afraid they wouldn’t keep because of the errands left to do and the long drive home. Next time, I will take the ice chest. Scooter didn’t suffer. He got a bite of the leftovers from my restaurant meal. No cooking by me after a long day of shopping!

    Angie, I didn’t find the tortillas as you suggested but I will look again next time.

    Becky, you were right about the price changes. Reese pointed out price differences from his location in Charlotte, North Carolina. He only has a Walmart close to him and Costo beat them on almost everything. His problem is that he is single and most things will perish before he can use them. He shares the refrigerator freezer with two other roommates.

    Sabrina, I think I will try the Costco located in Alabama because prices are usually a little cheaper there than here. It may be worth driving a few extra miles.

    Judy Ball, I noticed they had a good selection of organic items but I will need to check the prices of what I can get locally. It might be time for another master price list of products and for me to stop relying on my memory. Prices are changing rapidly.

    Leigh Ann, I forgot to notice the gas prices because I was too busy looking at the tire prices.

    Lisa in Utah, I didn’t check the clothes because they were on the other side of the store and I was exhausted. That is saved for another time when my feet aren’t tired.

    The only disappointment at Costco was the organic roasted chestnuts in the snack aisle for $6.69. Ugh. Tasted like raw bread dough. Other than that, I will be returning to see what other deals I can find.

    Thanks again to everyone for helping me.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    PS: Even though it is late, here is my highly anticipated yearly awards for the most exciting mailboxes I have driven past that year
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2021/01/happy-new-year-2021.html

    1. I had so much fun looking at all 3 years of mailboxes. I can’t wait to start this with my family as we drive around!

      1. Susan, you would think I had seen all of them in my area by now but no, I keep noticing more. I would never, in a million years have thought to build a wild-looking mailbox for myself.
        Jeannie

  26. If it were safe and I did not live on the other side of the country, I would offer to help with your yard project simply to have the warm sun on my back. It has been very cold and dreary here of late. Grateful Spring is right around the corner.
    My friend has been cleaning out her house and stops over for a distanced driveway visit to let me have the first pick before she heads to the donation centers. She has supplied me with inventory for my eBay store – which is great. We will split the earnings. I also was able to replace our hand veggie chopper with a brand new one from her. She gave me smaller terra cotta pots (brand new) that I intend on painting the outsides. I will add one with a small house plant to the small gift I am planning for Mother’s Day for my mom and MIL.
    Thankfully, my car – it was the gas cap causing the check engine light to come on. The garage did not charge me for that readout.
    I salvaged zippers and buttons from clothing that has worn out.
    I kept and achieved a workout plan (for the week) goal simply by marking on a calendar (my new daily planner) what I completed. I wrote it with a highlighter.
    Made a big pot of French Onion soup, some homemade bread, and plenty of cheese – my husband thought he was eating like a king. That was a nice end to the week.
    Hoping everyone has a calm and peaceful week.

  27. -Meals this week- beef stroganoff with noodles and green beans twice; Reuben soup and salad; pheasant wild rice soup (from freezer) and grilled cheese; grilled steak, salad, and baked potatoes; popcorn; and pheasant egg rolls and pork fried rice.
    -All 3 sets of our sheets have had the fitted sheet rip in the last month. I was able to replace just the bottom sheet at Target. Bought 2 bottom fitted sheets in a cream to go with the brown top sheets. Best part, sheets were $14.50 online Target sale so the store price matched.
    -From the wings we had last week, I cut the wings into 3 portions, used the two meaty sections for our wings. Saved the ends in the freezer. Just cooked in the crockpot for a quart of broth. Will make soup this next week.
    -Did some mending, not my favorite thing to do. Built it saves money in the long run keeping clothing in tip top shape.
    -Had to take empty jars out to the shed again. Third time since fall. We have probably used 150 jars of food. My box for empties hold about 50 jars.
    -Need to start looking for butter again, we are down to 5#. I had bought a lot this summer at $1.99#. Now it is $3.99 here. I know Costco has it for the best price around $9 for 4#. Will need a stock up as prices are beginning to rise and I fear inflation is going to start to rear its ugly head.
    -I was able to purchase all my seeds last Friday at the farm and seed store, except for my green beans. I do have enough seed for this last year from leftover part of a packet and what I harvested at the end of the year. They said at the store they have had many people in already looking for seed. They also said they are not getting all that they ordered. If you need seed I suggest you start looking at buying it soon.
    -Otherwise we are staying home, eating from scratch, cleaning and organizing, and working on some home projects. Plus hubby has been out bringing in wood for next winter so it can dry and cure.
    Have a great week!!

  28. I’ve been spending time reading and watching money saving things to keep my motivation higher. There isn’t much to post from here this week since we are business as usual. Made meals at home including tacos, fried kielbasa and potatoes, pizza, chicken pot pie, orange chicken, soup and crackers and chicken ceasar salad. I haven’t been feeling well, so it’s been harder to keep cooking, but I have so I’m pleased about that. Hope everyone has a great week!

  29. I packed items from my embroidery business in totes before we moved and closed my shop. I got out the Valentine box and have 2 shirts with appliqued hearts and appliqued LOVE I can wear. I had two in medium I put aside for when I lose weight for next year. I had 2 size smalls I have listed to sell on Marketplace. I also had 2 tea towels to sell.. This is what the shirts look like. https://www.instagram.com/p/B7lYUjgJc79/?
    igshid=j8ab65vta2ox. I am using the fall and Christmas shirts to sleep in.
    * I did a stock up of basics like oil, cornmeal, rice, sugar, dish detergent, chicken, and ground beef. I made some freezer crock pot meals as I put up the chicken. I made Maple Dijon Chicken, Pineapple burrito chicken, Honey Sesame Chicken, Thai Peanut Chicken, and Hawaiian BBQ Chicken to freeze. I then just froze the rest of the chicken and ground beef in option sizes. I never eat sugar so had let it deplete. I will use it to can so I am starting to get a 10 lb bag when I go to the store.
    * I watched the 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility on Amazon Prime. We watch Cobra Kai at night. Who knew you could like Johnny Lawrence? It is funny this season. And I am watching All Creatures Great and Small.
    *I went to the feed store and got a bunch of seeds. I went though what I had and still bought what I had, haha. So, some things I have a lot of. I got a call when I got to my car that my mother in law passed out and hit face and was being taken by ambulance to the ER. Luckily the ER was almost empty, so hopefully being in the worst possible place did not expose us. My husband was an hour away in a tree stand so he came back, but they had let me back and only allowed one person at all while he was there. She had a cut and scrapes and bruising around her eye and nose and cheek, but thankfully nothing worse. All tests did not find cause for her to have passed out. Her head started bleeding so I went and asked them if they would bandage it, then they put a bandage on her knee. When they left I joked she would probably be charged $300 for the bandages. They only required bandaid that I could have put on if I had one. When they were dismissing her the nurse asked where they bandage her and noted it in the form, to bill for two bandages. She doesn’t have to pay anything, but if you are having to pay, those things are very expensive. I try to keep basic 1st aid in my car.
    *We have the heavy duty wire shelving unit from Lowes in the garage. My husband doesn’t like it for his stuff so I am making a grow shelf. I want to order an LED grow light. Any suggestions? I have had very bad success with starting seed in the past, so I want to invest in a grow light. I can also use it for my overwintered plants. We do not have a window with light coming in since we have front and back covered porches.

    1. I have no place for grow lights, but I hope you get some great suggestions from my readers!

    2. Hi, Holly!
      MIGardener has a few excellent YouTube videos regarding grow lights that are worth watching! I did a lot of research before ordering one recently from Ferry Morse, which was recommended in one of his videos as well. It’s about 2 feet long and has a stand. They had a coupon on their website. GE also makes some bulbs that you can use in virtually any lamp that you can position over the seeds. Those are available on Amazon. I used those last year and they definitely helped, but they aren’t as broad spectrum as others.

    3. I used to start seeds with gr0-lights, only I used regular (cheap) fluorescent tubes. I read several articles that said the regular tubes worked nearly as well as broad spectrum, and they were a LOT cheaper. I found this to be true–I grew fabulous seedlings. The important thing is to keep the lights close to the plants and to be able to adjust them upward as the plant grows. My fixtures were on chains and I just raised them as necessary.

      1. I am not sure that fluroescent lights are as readily available everywhere anymore, now that LED lights have such a savings on power for other uses (but not the same heat for plants). The current fluorescent lights also are more efficient and don’t give off the same heat as the old ones used to, though presumably enough for growing. I would also want to check how low grow lights last, because there may be savings there as well as the benefits of a larger spectrum of light.

  30. What beautiful roses, Brandy! It’s so encouraging to see that there are roses blooming where you are. The ground is frozen solid here, but I’m doing some winter sowing of perennials and some inside sowing of lettuce for the unheated greenhouse. I took a break from picking salad in there, as things just weren’t regrowing in the short days, but I’ve heard that early February might have enough light to make winter crops grow a little. I’ll try spinach, a winter lettuce blend, and some claytonia and mâche.

    I gave my husband a haircut.

    We had my second son’s fourth birthday at home with our moms visiting. He had a couple of presents, some bookmarks we made, a picture from his brother, and balloons and ribbons in his favorite color. My mom made a cake in the shape of a bunny for him. What a nice relaxed time!

    I visited with some moms from our church on Zoom. It’s a nice way to keep in touch in the absence of meeting in person.

    We had meals from the pantry with a few fresh things from the store. We stocked up a couple of weeks ago on flour, etc, from Sam’s, in case there’s another COVID spike with the new strain, and it’s been wonderful to reorganize the pantry a bit.

    My mom borrowed some of the Bobs book sets from the library for our sons to practice reading. What a lovely thing to be able to borrow teaching materials like that from the library! Our local library doesn’t have them, but hers does. And hers still has interlibrary loan going, so she got all she could find. Such a nice thing to have plenty of books!

    We’re getting things ready for boy #4 arriving in March. It was lovely to see how little we need. I did indulge in a NuRoo baby carrier used on Poshmark – they definitely help me sleep better when baby ends up sleeping on me. Other than that, we just need a package of newborn diapers.

    We restocked the art supply cabinet with markers and pencils bought in August on sale. For watercolor paper, we’re using 130lb cardstock bought by the ream. It’s working very well, is tons cheaper than actual watercolor paper and sturdier than copy paper.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas.

  31. One of my big resolutions this year is to be more environmental which seems to go hand in hand with frugality. I guess this will mean buying products with less packaging, washing out plastic bags so they can be recycled, trying to be creative with bits of things (material, food, paper…), buying used and using products up. It used to be typical for me to buy shampo, for instance, only to see a different type I wanted to try only a few months later. A year ago I embarked on an experiment. I bought one bottled of shampoo at Grocery Outlet for $2.99. I was lucky to find a rather high end environmental brand. I told myself that I could not buy another bottle until this one was entirely gone. It has been a good year since and the bottle has at least another month’s worth in it (and I often shampoo everyday). So this was rather eye opening for me.
    Last night I made a large pot of Julia Child’s Pistou Soup, which is a Provencal peasant sort of soup. Original recipe is easy to find online. When I was very young and newly married I visited my brother on his college campus. He took me out to lunch at a student owned cafe. I had a bowl of what I thought was the best soup ever. The cafe worker got out The Art of French Cooking and let me copy down the recipe. My husband and I were living in a 100 year old farmhouse we purchased from his parents. Seriously we were living at, or just above, the poverty line. Well, we did have food, shelter and some clothes so I guess we were okay. But I could afford to make this soup and I would
    dance around the kitchen feeling just like French chef.
    Never stopped making it on occasion.

    1. I make soup au pistou too! I really like it! It’s been a while; I should make it again!

  32. You are saving thousands of dollars by doing the work and you are able to have it exactly as you want it too. We are still working on the living room renovations also. The sheetrock went up on the ceiling and most of the walls. The new baseboards are in. Hubby’s dad came over for a few hours to help. We opened the windows and all wore masks. He came on Saturday when my son was at work. The extra hands are always helpful.

    I went to Aldi this week. I found 2 carts and a dime so 60¢ into the change jar. I got a gallon of milk ($2.69), 3 dozen eggs (53¢ each) soymilk ($1.95) and some GF items for my daughter. GF foods are more expensive but Aldi is by far one of the cheapest places to get them.

    After Aldi I went into Petco (same parking lot). They had a coupon on their website for a free 7pound bag of dogfood. No purchase. You need to have their card. I got one with my card and one with my mom’s. She doesn’t go out much. She no longer has a dog so I kept the food. I let my daughter, sisters and friends with dogs know about the coupon. My daughter passed it on to all of the people in her foster dog network. She does dog fostering and social media for a rescue.

    Hubby asked me to stop in at Lowes after P’s one day. He lives near one. I got the few things Hubby needed. He was able to do more work on the living room instead of running to the store.

    We got a partial stimulus check. I put it right towards the mortgage. Hubby’s job offered to let everyone cash out a week of vacation if they wanted to because of the pandemic. We received that check too. It also went to the mortgage. The sooner the mortgage is paid off the better.

    I used a dog food bag as a kitchen bag for the week. I used a paper towel wrapper as a bathroom can liner. I hung up 4 loads of laundry. I have been doing them in or near my son’s room. He gets nose bleeds from the dry air. He hasn’t gotten one this week.
    P and I went to the dinner one day last week. We go around 2:30. It is very empty at that time. The staff is very good and keeps us away from other customers. P has been going to this diner since it opened 21 years ago. I brought home most of my fries. My daughter turned them in cheese fries and had them with dinner.

    I always fill my gas tank up on Tuesdays or Wednesday. The station bye me has 6¢ off those days. I figured out that if I do ½ a tank every week that I save $150 a year. The little things add up.

    Have a safe and healthy week everyone.

  33. The Instagram, photo of your yard excavation is impressive! Wow, it is amazing how horrible that caliche is! Yikes, it looks like you almost need a jackhammer to break it up. When I read you would work on the trellises in April I thought that it can get pretty hot in April, hope you can get good temps then when you need it…or work later in the day.

    I have been struggling this month on grocery spending….I set a low number for January but have spend that already before the month is done. However, this week I read a new Laine’s letter (bluebirds are nesting on the farm blog) and she indicated her monthly grocery budget ($600) and how she enjoys the grocery spending with her husband. I thought about her comments and realized that I also enjoy shopping with my husband and the meals we make together. So I decided that since we are retired, grocery spending falls into the lifestyle/hobby area as well. We have been spending $600 and I know we can move that down to $450-500 with some concentration. But I now feel better about what we are doing.

    1. Actually, you do need a jackhammer. An excavator can do it but the tractor we tried couldn’t even scratch the surface. The pneumonic tool scraper we are using (because we have it, though we had to purchase a longer air hose) is similar to using a jackhammer. We’re using that for all the edges of the beds.

  34. We had an end of the year money management meeting. My husband and I found we spent more on groceries than any year in a while, but we’ve expanded our stockpiles of pantry, freezer, and toiletries, like never before. We invested out stimulus money in a small freezer. Our washer broke and so there went the rest of it! I am cooking at home exclusively. We rarely get a take out sandwich, with a coupon. Due to Covid, No more impromptu lunches out.No money spent on theater or movies. So over all we came out ahead. I am now paying more attention to getting our grocery budget back to where I like it.Though we splurge on some special ingredients here and there as our “entertainment” theses days. I make sure to set a nice table each evening,This saves us money on mental health! We’re staying physically and mentally healthy by paying attention to exercise and diet, and socializing on Zoom and making calls to keep our relationships up.No doctor copays! We went down to one car last year— a big savings. And no travel at all in 2020 except for one two night airbnb trip to Sedona where we could drive. 2021 looking frugal also!

  35. Brandy, I have read that you can also use cinnamon as a rooting compound. Have you tried that with anything?
    My frugal week…We cleared out a LOT of paperwork that I decided to stop saving and start shredding. Financial documents that might easily be found online, etc. I realized when we’d sorted it all out that I would not need to buy a second file box. I even have a smaller file box emptied.

    I’ve done my best imitation of Rubber Chicken. I made a Roast chicken dinner this weekend. We had sandwiches. I made a favorite casserole dish which always makes two casseroles for us. I will make a chicken pot pie. I have one cup of chicken meat I haven’t yet decided how to use. Then I took the frame and skin and cooked it with onion tops and root ends, scraps of celery and carrot bits I’d saved in the freezer. When this was cooked, I picked meat enough from the frame to add to two jars of soup base mix. I added broth to the jars, some cooked onion and carrots, all the seasonings I typically use to make soup. I’m going to freeze this and then we need only thaw and add water and adjust seasonings to our taste. I have a third container of nothing but broth. Since my daughter often calls asking for chicken soup when she’s sick, I’ll be ready prepared.

    I gratefully accepted a lot of border pieces from a home that is redoing their landscape. I don’t love the pieces but will use them in less visible parts of my garden beds and use those I do like around the places we see most often.

    Last, I mentioned on my own blog that I suspected my dishwasher of having a slow leak. My husband was not as sure. A reader was kind enough to contact me and tell me that her dishwasher had also had a minor leak and it had ruined their floors over time because they’d assumed it would flood the floor if it broke down. So yesterday when I decided to do a load of dishes, I put a towel down in front of the machine. Sure enough, right after it released water and was filling again, the towel began to get damp. We pulled it out of the space and found the floor wet. Not flooded and not moldy or rotted thank goodness. We priced out parts to fix various parts of the machine none of which we’re sure is the problem area. It would run about $125. I have had my dishwasher for 24 years. After thinking it over, I told my husband we can buy a new one for about $275 and I’d rather not repair what we’re not sure is wrong only to find in 6 months we have to turn around and fix something else on it. I won’t be replacing it right away. It’s just not the time for it but I’ll probably replace it in the next couple of months.

    1. I have rooting compound but had misplaced it when I made the cuttings, so I will try again this week to see. They may root just fine without rooting powder. Rooting powder is less expensive than cinnamon.

  36. *Hubby & I went out for my birthday. We used a gift card I got for donating a unit of blood. My blood money I called it. I also got a free desert for my birthday which we split. Restaurant servings are huge so we had leftovers to take home for another meal.
    *Agreed to take a COVID test for a research study. (I traveled in Dec. & wanted to be tested anyway.) I will receive a 20$ Amazon gift card.
    *My sister fed my cat while we were out of town. That saved a lot of $ instead of boarding my pet. I got my sister some items on Xmas clearance for a thank you gift. She seemed happy with her gifts & kitty was happy not to be confined to a cage.
    *My house shoes had soles that disintegrated. I saw no way to fix them. Got a new pair for 6$ at Walgreens after Xmas clearance.
    *Made a nice stew with cubed pork. Beef is so expensive these days I rarely buy it. I had some wrinkled potatoes & leftover frozen veggies that went in the pot. It was tasty.
    *My best friend gave me clothes from a closet clean out. I took a few things but gave a large bag to the housekeeper at work. I know she is not paid much. She looked to be the right size for the clothes & seemed happy to get them.
    *I need a laptop computer. I have a loaner from my employer. A woman I work with says she has an extra she does not use & will give it to me. I offered to pay her but she declined. I will think of something to do for her to repay her is some way.

  37. My week was quiet, as was yours. My husband had his carpal tunnel surgery, and his nerve surgery on his elbow. It was great they could do both surgeries at once, and that he didn’t have to go back for a second round. He’s doing great, and we had a quiet weekend with him icing and elevating it. So, I’ve just been cooking and cleaning and being thankful for all the chores he usually does….

    Rob got groceries for us on Wednesday, as his surgery was Friday. I forgot to ask for corn tortillas, so I made some. They looked kind of ugly, but tasted great. Since it was my first attempt for those, I was pleased. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. They are very inexpensive, I just didn’t want to go to the store, and it’s good to know I can make them if the need arises again. I’m easily staying within my grocery budget this month. We are eating so much home-preserved food. I love it! That’s why we went to all that work last summer:). I’m planning to use the extra grocery money for a bulk order from Azure Standard, with a lot of herbs and spices in it to replenish my supply. I save a lot of money by refilling my jars with spices from the large packages I buy, and re-filled about 8 things today. I also grow and dry some, but there are several I like to buy. We also seem to be pepper maniacs. I can’t believe how much pepper we go through, so this time, I’m ordering a pound. That should hold Mr. Rob over for a while. At least I hope so!

    1. Becky – I really enjoy your blog and all the things that you and your family accomplish. Hope your hubs heals quickly.

  38. We bought a house! As we settled here in a rural village a year ago it begun to feel pretty soon this is the place we want to live. After eyeing a several houses we came back to this one over and over again, and even though it took some time I think waiting was worth it as the price dropped eventually 40%. And it has a garden…

    1. Congratulations! I know you’ll be happy to have a garden! How exciting and how wonderful about the price drop!

  39. Hello Everyone! Grocery spending was low again as we only needed a few items. This past week I was the lucky recipient of quite a few free items: a desk calendar from my office which I gave to my husband to use on his desk at school, a pharmaceutical rep had pizza delivered to one of the practices I manage on a day I was there so free lunch, at another office an employee gave me a “baby” from a spider plant that I brought home and planted using a pot I had in the shed. A different office asked me to dispose of a tall skinny book shelf that the back had broken off. I brought it home, removed the back and repurposed it into pantry storage in our basement. It fits perfectly in the spot and it frees up the tote I had been using. I took an online survey earning points that will eventually be turned into an Amazon gift card. I decorated for Valentine’s Day with items I’ve had for years. I strung red and white lights along my mantle in the front window and it really cheers up the house at night.
    Wishing everyone a healthy, happy frugal week!

  40. I took back some Christmas gifts I knew I wouldn’t use and exchanged them for household products that we use often.

    I found 2 free classes I could take that would count towards the continuing education hours I have to get for my license.

    I set a goal this year to read more books related to my profession. So far, I have borrowed 2 from coworkers and found 1 at work that I can read without costing me a dime.

    I have been filling out life insurance quotes on the Acorns app to get free investments. So far, I’ve made $27 doing that. I have a referral link if you want to try it: 7CRSZD https://www.acorns.com/invite/7CRSZD I think you get $5 free for signing up.

    I’ve been meal planning more, which has been good for the budget.

    I will work from home tomorrow, saving on gas.

    We accepted 1/2 pack of diapers from a friend whose child had outgrown them.

    I sold a few things on Facebook – so far I’ve made $115 doing that!

    I needed a new lunch box. Mine was in bad shape. I found one on clearance at Walmart for $2.50.

    My husband was able to fix the window switch on his car, so it just cost us the price of the part.

    I had a code for a free pizza from a local gas station because I signed up for their fuel rewards. We used it to get a pizza Sunday. I also use the app every time I buy gas to get fuel discounts later. I have to buy the gas anyway and that gas station is typically the cheapest around anyway.

    I brought home some labels from work. They changed their printer and these labels no longer work with the new ones. I can use them to label Rubbermaid containers that have my son’s outgrown clothes in them.

    I got a new cabinet at work – which was much needed. But it didn’t have anything to organize the stuff that would be going in it. I was able to “shop my home” to get what I needed.

  41. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts. I love the flower picture – we are covered in snow and no flowers to be seen outside. It’s a beautiful picture.

    *My beautiful granddaughter was born last Tuesday! They named her Scoti (pronounced Scottie) and she is 20 in, 8 lbs 8 oz. Lots of dark brown hair and rolls of chubbiness. We are all in complete love with her and can’t get enough of holding her, feeding her, burping her and giving her a bath. The smell of Johnson’s baby lotion is strong. She is healthy and quite strong. Holding that baby is pure heaven. I cleaned their apartment, did laundry, held that sweet baby as much as possible, helped my daughter and son-in-law by running errands for them or just letting them sleep while I watched the baby. For my entertainment, I would read books or watch shows.

    *To help with the baby I took down several freezer meals and homemade bread. I also went to the store and stocked up on a few things for the new parents. Not frugal but definitely affordable because of all the saving I’ve been doing. My husband and daughter came down to help as well. We were able to find a very affordable hotel that included breakfast, free parking and close to the new parents. We brought our own snacks and drinks, but used B1G1F coupons for any other meals we needed. I was able to meet my son for dinner one night and we had a great time talking. We went to a mexican restaurant I hadn’t been to since college 32 years ago. It was fun and I treated him – again not the most frugal but so fun to spend some time together.

    *I was able to find Vanilla, Almond and Lemon Extract on clearance at my local Kroger store for $1/bottle. Expiration date was 2023. I bought all the vanilla I could find and just a few bottles of Almond and 1 of Lemon. I was able to buy some bread for 50c, a birthday cake for my daughter on clearance, canned corn for 25c, and a few other items in their clearance section. My daughter gave me more reusable fabric gift bags from baby gifts she’d received. I used those to wrap my youngest daughter’s birthday gifts. I got yogurt for 25c because of a sale and ibotta. I found 80/20 ground beef on clearance for 2.99/lb. That is the lowest price I can find. I was able to fill 14 quart size bags for my freezer.

    *I checked out so many new books from the library. I do the curbside pickup. I’ve been enjoying spending time reading during our snow storms and quiet time. I didn’t exercise as much last week because of baby. But I’m still doing the Walk at Home series on Youtube.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

      1. Thank you Penny! And happy birthday to you.

        I’m so sorry about your mother. May you have peace and comfort. Hugs

  42. I have been working on transplanting and thinning some of my houseplants. I did have to buy soil (ground is frozen here) but have been able to get some free pots from family who didnt need them. Once this is complete I will be able to put plants in additional rooms in the house. Seeing more green around will bring me joy.
    I have been walking, hiking and ice skating for free outdoor exercise.
    I received my first dose of covid vaccine. I had a sore arm but that was about it.
    Have a great week everyone !

  43. Hi Brandy & fellow commenters,
    I’m returning to work after being a SAHM and I recognize I won’t have the time to do everything from scratch anymore. I would really appreciate advice from on your best time saving hacks.

    1. Hi E,

      I think the best time saver is to cook once for eating twice. I used my freezer a ton when I had kids at home. If cooking hamburger, cook a bunch and freeze meal starters. Baked muffins and cookies freeze well. Freeze batches of sloppy joes, chili or soups. Meal prepping in general saves time all week and my crockpot really saves me to this day. I used a system called http://www.flylady.net. She has great tips and some I still use like the launch pad. Mornings are hectic so do as much the night before as you can. Congrats on the new job! Co-workers can be great as work family and I am so thankful for mine.

    2. A slow cooker was my best friend when I was working. Prep the night before and make enough for more than one meal. Freeze some for another day if you don’t want the same meal two days running.

    3. HI E!
      We both work outside the home and have teenagers who do a lot of activities (church, school, sports, music, theater, etc.). I use my crockpot (slow cooker) to have dinner ready when we come home 2-3 times per week. I love it! My SIL uses her instapot (pressure cooker) the same way. I love that I don’t have to think about dinner when I get home – I can set the table, put out bread or a salad or quickly make a pot of noodles and we can sit down and eat within 15-20 minutes of getting home (time for everyone to change, put their things away etc.). I only do laundry once per week on either Friday night or Saturday – we have uniform wearers in our family and it means we never have to scramble for uniforms during the week. Both of these tips help keep me sane!

      Enjoy your new job,
      Lea

    4. My biggest tip is to do all cooking for the week on your off days, including breakfast (I usually make a sandwich for lunch but you could also take leftovers if there is a microwave.) I live where it is really warm, relatively speaking, so I usually turn off my heat or air during the day. At least turn it down as low as possible without your pipes freezing. I do all my errands in batches to save on gas, or on the way to work or from work. I change immediately upon arriving home so that I don’t ruin my work clothes with food spots from dinner. I never eat out on weekdays (and seldom on weekends). I keep almonds and dried mango slices at work and in my car, along with crackers, so if I get hungry, I don’t have to stop. I take a thermos for water with me to work. I also keep lunch tuna packets at work in case I am not able to grab my lunch that day at home for some reason. I keep at work a jar of peanut butter also for emergencies. I make simple, one pot meals on weekends. Usually, a vegetable with rice or noodles and a protein. No complicated recipes. Just stuff you can throw in crockpot. I soak dried red beans on Friday night. throw in crockpot on Saturday with spices, about a couple of hours into it, I put turkey sausages in it, and then add rice the last thirty minutes to an hour, with a good salting then.

    5. Hi E. My biggest hack back when I was working was with food and food prep. It was just too easy to order delivery or pick up take out on the way home. I enjoy cooking but making a meal after a 9 hour day and at least an hour commuting (sometimes 2!) didn’t seem feasible. Being tired, hangry, stressed aren’t conducive to wanting to cook or a general good mood when coming home. I learned from my mother (who was a nurse) that it was important to de-stress when coming home. Her ritual was to change out of her uniform, drink a cup of coffee, read through the mail. We all knew that she needed a half hour at least before we five kids descended on her. My father came home later but had the same routine – change out of his work clothes, go outside in good weather to water or look after the garden, in bad weather to have a cup of coffee and talk with our mom. In later years, after it was just my younger brothers, they would have a glass of wine and watch the news together – mom called it ‘the civilized hour’. Then they had dinner and we always, always sat at the table.

      1. I spent Sunday afternoons making a pot of soup, prepping vegetables and fruits to eat and cook during the week, cooked some form of meat (chicken, ground meat). Most of the time there was a cafeteria where I worked but after while the expense and the general ‘yuckiness’ of the food served moved me to start packing a lunch and snacks as well. I also kept a few things at work – cup of soup, snack crackers, etc. in case I had to work late and needed something to eat before I could get home.

      2. Kept a few frozen meals – some bought (back then I had access to a great Costco so could pick up some higher end frozen meals) and some home prepped. One food that was just too easy to order delivered was pizza. So I bought good quality frozen cheese pizzas at Costco and then would top them with what we wanted. $3.00 or so for a frozen pizza and a dollar or so with our own toppings sure beat a $15.00 pizza order (and we added tip).

      3. I had developed the habit of stopping for an iced coffee in the a.m. to ‘treat myself’. I started making a pot of coffee (eventually went to cold brew) and bought vanilla flavored creamer. I then had my own iced coffee! Saved almost $20.0o a week that way.

      4. We started to keep eating out or ordering in to a minimum. Went mid-afternoon on Saturdays when doing errands and stopping at our favorite Mexican or Asian places.

      A non food hack was that after years of wearing corporate attire I settled into what is now called a capsule wardrobe. For me it was black for the basics (jackets, tops, pants and skirts) and then I accented with jewelry, scarves, etc. I learned to make sure that I had enough underwear, pantyhose, trouser socks, etc. for the week and that everything was in good order. Running around in the morning trying to figure out what to wear, decide on something and then realizing that it was stained or missing a button was just too stressful. I bought good quality basics like Talbots (their pants and jackets fit me well) on sale and then keeping them in good condition. I still have some that are almost 20 years old!!! Now I thrift almost all clothing that I do buy and still follow the same principles.

      Congrats on your job and good luck!

    6. Hi, E.
      I second the motion to try out Flylady. I also suggest, if possible, taking a couple of hours on the weekend to prep food for the week. Peeled carrots, chopped onions, cleaned and sliced greens, things like that, can all be kept in the refrigerator, ready for use, once you’ve planned your menu and know what you’ll be using. I use both a pressure cooker and a crock pot, and it’s not uncommon for me to pressure cook a stew, bake a meatloaf, and roast a number of vegetables, all at the same time on a weekend, so I just reheat and eat on week nights. Plan leftovers — extra soup or stew, meats and veggies can be packaged in serving sizes for quick lunches to take with you. And try making “breakfast casserole,” a baked dish you can portion out and heat in the mornings. I personally bake veggies and meat together in a big casserole dish and eat it for breakfast every morning, but other dishes work just as well. Making freezer meals ahead is another time saver, especially for those nights when you realize you forgot to set the chicken out to thaw.
      It takes organization, but it can be done. Good luck!

    7. Meal prep! I gather recipes, shop the lowest cost store (in my case, it’s Aldi) and then spend part of every other Sunday meal prepping for my daughter and SIL who are both working full-time and finishing college. I focus on things that make a generous quantity and that way they can grab and go and still have a hot meal. If you’re doing this weekly you may not even have to freeze what you’re making, just pull it together and keep it in the fridge. I bought meal prep containers (that we just reuse) but mason jars are great for soups/salads/snacks. These save tons of time and dish doing 🙂 and I aim to spend between $1 and $2 a meal max. Good luck!

    8. When I returned to FT work after my first baby I would prepare a roast dinner every Sunday with enough for leftovers on Tuesday. A casserole dinner on Monday with leftovers for Wed. Thursday I would go to my sisters for dinner and then just wing it on Friday. I also found the crock pot a big help.

    9. Congratulations on the job! One of my profs used to have his teenage kids take turns once a week to cook dinner.
      I’m not sure how many kids or how old they are but I’ve always really liked this approach to family organization.
      In order to invite someone home for dinner, the person doing the inviting had to first check with the person doing the cooking to make
      sure there was enough food for a guest and that it was ok. I remember the prof’s thirteen year old daughter serving a delicious quiche
      and salad.

      Ann

  44. I’m so impressed that you are able to pick roses from your garden! In Canada we’re still covered in snow, and growing flowers and produce is still a season away.

    My frugal week:
    – I made my favourite meatballs (http://approachingfood.com/german-meatballs/) using my grandmother’s recipe. I used soy ground round (cheaper than meat, plus I’m vegetarian), but my mother and grandmother always made it with real meat. I always like to make extras so that I can make meatball sandwiches the next day. I didn’t have breadcrumbs in my pantry so I just made fresh breadcrumbs by blending some fresh bread in my blender.
    – I bought a couple of items from wish.com, using the $5USD that I earned from SB last week. I bought a pair of ‘I love dad’ baby socks, to give to him on Valentine’s day from his daughter, as well as a giant bouncy water/air balloon for my daughter to play with. I love using money earned from SB for little extras that I normally wouldn’t budget for, and that $5 covered the cost of both items including shipping.
    – I had a zoom get-together with some friends one evening. We all made fancy drinks (a healthy chocolate-banana smoothie for me) and chatted and caught up for two hours. Free entertainment!
    – I made pop-up Valentine cards with my daughter using inexpensive construction paper that I bought during the summer. I expect that one pack of paper to last several years. For the cost of postage, we’ll be sending Valentine’s to friends; an relatively inexpensive way to bring a smile to faces during the quarantine.
    – I borrowed and read at least 15 more e-books from the library this week.
    – Went sledding with my daughter in our neighbourhood. Lots of laughter, great photos to share with family, and no $ OOP!
    – I grew, cut, and used some green onions re-grown in water.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  45. We also get the free lunches for the grandkids. Part of it stays here for their lunches and the rest to my daughters house. We get it once a week at the school. It really helps…a lot.
    I took a ham out of the freezer and used it many recipes last week. I probably should get a turkey out next week. I love the easy days of cooking when I do that.
    I bet you had a blast sledding! It’s a lot of fun. It finally came a big snow here so if it’s not too cold, they’ll be sledding for us too tomorrow (after their school work).
    Although I don’t feel like I’m frugal as much these days I think staying home is saving us a lot of money.

    1. We didn’t go sledding, though it did snow here today. There was a tiny sprinkle like powdered sugar outside. Some places in town received a few inches but that was closer to the mountains. I don’t own sleds.

      1. Cardboard makes a good sled for an afternoon on a hillside, if the chance comes along where there are a few inches. With the amount on online shopping people do now, there seems to be a bigger and bigger supply of cardboard available.

  46. I went to Aldi for mostly fresh fruits and vegetables and found broccoli with two large bunches to a pack for $1.47. I bought four to freeze and will get more if they have any left after I freeze them and the other things I bought. I went to CVS for a free item which they didn’t have. While there I stocked up on hairspray with another coupon as they never run it on sale. Chicken thighs and Progresso soup was bought at Kroger. We exchanged non working items at the Dollar Tree for candles.

    I decluttered some more items including some solid color ornaments from my childhood which were scratched or smudged with pine resin long ago. I guess we never noticed as we have plenty. I also straightened the linen closet. I went through plastic hangers from my MILs house and pulled out the bad ones, cleaned the rest, and gave them to our son.

    I made meals with soup and other frozen things with salads and vegetables for quick meals. Our son requested Chicken Pot Pie one day which I gladly made. We had Stromboli made with ham from the freezer for Saturday dinner and a movie and leftovers on Sunday. Our son was going to make the Stromboli and was requesting other filling suggestions earlier in the week. I don’t remember my husband’s suggestion but mine was to add some diced dill pickles we made. He told us he was being serious and we were giving him funny answers. I cannot say we aren’t silly with him at times, but this wasn’t one of them. He reopened a cut finger from the weekend before so I cut up the other fillings and added some pickle on Saturday. We all liked it. He later told me that was a good suggestion. Enjoy your week!

  47. We’ve been sticking with our usual routines – taking our breakfast, coffee & lunches to work, and eating almost all meals at home. This past week we enjoyed slow cooker pot roast with mashed potatoes & carrots, beef & veggie pot pie (with the roast beef leftovers) and caesar salad, beef & egg breakfast tacos (also with roast beef leftovers), lasagna and caesar salad, sandwiches and chips, and slow cooker sweet pork tacos with rice & beans. I am still working from home 3 days per week, which saves on gas, plus wear & tear on my vehicle (even though my commute is only about 1.3 miles). Weather here has been fairly mild, and I’ve been able to have the windows open many days (including today). We enjoy the fresh air, and also the savings from not running the central heat or air.

    On Saturday morning, I discovered that our kitchen sink was leaking into the cabinet below – the drain ring in the sink had somehow come loose and water was seeping underneath it every time we used the sink. I just happened to look under the sink and saw a reflection in the back of the cabinet – there was a lake of standing water. Ugh! I thoroughly cleaned everything up, wiped down with bleach, and got the area completely dried out, and my husband re-caulked the drain and stopped the leak. Cost us less than $20 and just a little bit of time on Saturday. I am grateful that he was able to fix it so easily before it became a larger, more expensive problem.

    We had a no-spend stay-at-home weekend and used the time to work on small projects at home. We worked on reorganizing our pantry, as it had gotten jumbled and messy over the last few months. We splurged on a new organizer rack for the back of our pantry/laundry room door, and used it to organize all of our spices and seasonings. They were previously on a pantry shelf, but it was difficult to see everything, and so things would get pushed to the back and not used. This not only gives us more space, but also lets us see everything, so we know exactly what we have, and nothing goes to waste. We watched the entire Ken Burns “Country Music” series for entertainment – we had purchased it as a gift for ourselves early last year, but had never watched the entire series start to finish. Very enjoyable.

    1. And, I forgot to add (this always happens!) that we rolled another $12.50 in coins from our coin jar and deposited it into the bank. Probably 90% of those coins are picked up from parking lots. My husband has an eagle eye for change on the ground. Last week he came home with a pocket full of probably 48 pennies that he’d found at the car wash near his office. LOL.

  48. What a huge undertaking you are plugging away at, Brandy! It will be worth it but what hard work it is!

    This week we bit the bullet and got a new water heater, one died in October and the second was dying. The hot water lasted about 4 minutes. They left the huge cardboard box behind and I am using it in my garden paths as they need to be replenished every other year. I have free mulch to lay on it.

    Last weekend I made three batches of soup and a large batch of banana bread. I have had good luck getting nice marked down bananas and also have been drying some. I got marked down mandarins, apples,grapes and cherries. I made egg casserole with stale bread which was a hit. I also made some more dry mix of ranch dressing. We continue to eat from home only and have a ways to go to eat down frozen fruit before strawberry picking starts. I got free dishwashing liquid and 2 free cards with extra bucks.

    Each of you ladies bring encouragement into my home every week!

  49. It has been another nice week.
    I opened the windows to enjoy the beautiful weather and air out the house.
    On Facebook Marketplace, I found a dresser and nightstand to match the set that my boys have in their room. It was a little more than I would usually pay for secondhand furniture, but I’m excited that I have more pieces to match. Some of them I bought from my brother-in-law several years ago, so this is nice.
    I bought loss leaders and clearance at the grocery store, as usual. Mixed nuts (in shell), 2#/$1, packs of tortellini for .50, bagged salad, $1. I returned some milk to Aldi that went bad before the date, and they exchanged it and gave me my money back.
    I flipped a wagon and some other things purchased at Goodwill when I ran in.
    I bought a new-in-package sheet set at Goodwill Outlet, and some Clinique moisturizing face lotion. I don’t usually buy this brand, but will at $1/#.
    I packed a picnic dinner when we were going to be out in the evening for my oldest’s talent show rehearsal.
    Our $5 or less meals included: chicken noodle soup, sandwiches, tortellini with meat sauce, stuffed bell peppers, macaroni and cheese with ham, and breakfast for dinner.
    I made cookies with some M&Ms taken from the kids’ candy buckets, instead of chocolate chips.
    The next day, my frugal friend found marked down bags of chocolate chips for .79, and bought me 12. I will freeze them and use them eventually.
    I bought marked down Christmas boxes of Russell Stover chocolates 70% off at Kroger, as well as some red and silver curling ribbon (90% off) to give to the kids’ teachers for Valentine’s Day.
    I bought gas at the cheapest gas station.
    Have a nice, frugal week!

  50. Wow, Brandy, you’re really going to town on the back yard! I don’t envy you all the back breaking work you’re doing but it’ll be gorgeous, no doubt!
    We spent money the past weeks. Our dryer kept acting up. It took weeks to get someone out. We were told that the installer botched the job which meant the warranty was voided. Then, months to get parts and get it fixed. Sears is awesome , i will say that! Our small town shop, not so much. We were at risk of a dryer fire which changes everything. We dried at the laundry mat until the dryer was fixed. Sometimes you have to spend money to save money.
    We decided to get a second dog. She’s a very small, wiggly chihuahua that came from the shelter. They gifted us dog food, a collar and leash, potty pads because she is not trained at one year old, and we got a 50$ break in the cost. She is already following a few commands and allllmoost hits the pad when she goes potty. We get a lot of joy and love from these two shelter dogs and they get along already.
    In recent weeks, i’ve made five layer seven layer bars, banana chocolate chip muffins, apple crisp and granola from scratch.
    I made up several batches of pie crust and froze for later.
    All meals were eaten at home or in the car, our new normal. Meals were taken to work, as well.
    We’ve been working on eating out of the freezer. Some items were dated from July but were fine. We still have too much food waste, though.
    I exercise at home and walk with friends six days a week. The seventh day i’m alone with the dog and take a different route. Growing up, i always wanted to live out in the middle of nowhere with no-one around. But, having community has become very important to me especially with covid. It’s wonderful to have someone to complain to! 😎
    I continue to save water where i can, keep the heat low and the heated blanket high!
    Have a fabulous week, out there!

  51. Beautiful rose photos!
    It’s cold here in NY City, below freezing and we had a dusting of snow for a couple of days.
    I ordered seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Company (open-pollinated and heirloom). I am getting some for my sister’s birthday present as they have some seed packets designed by artists and they’re beautiful.
    My brother in law got his Covid vaccine today after last week’s postponement when the Bronx ran out of vials. So thankful that it’s available again. I have family members who are sick now with Covid and it’s a constant worry.
    I continue to cook all meals at home and have expanded my repertoire to include bread-baking. I have been reading this blog for 10 months. Last March I searched frugal blogs when, in the frightening unknown, I wondered if we would be able to go on financially as we were. Most of the blogs have fallen by the wayside but I haven’t missed one entry here. I have learned so much and have felt encouragement in all the generous sharing of ideas, successes and failures. I wish I could show everyone what my pantry looked like in the past. It was a museum of unwanted foodstuffs where opened boxes of stale crackers went to die in the company of expired cans of deviled chicken and unlabeled leaf tea of dubious freshness. Now my shelves hold forward-facing cans of tomatoes and tuna, containers of pasta, rice, flours, cornmeal and products that, when they meet in a pot, actually turn into meals. I can’t believe the difference! I meal-plan. I have a recipe file with frugal favorites (a file which previously only held things I cut off the back of food packages and, inexplicably, 3 sets of directions for baking soda volcanoes). I am getting a sense of what our meals cost and what we value. I even laugh when I see convenience foods on sale and my first thought is that I can make it cheaper from scratch and then marvel that I actually have the ingredients. All of this is a long way to say an earnest thank you to Brandy for this marvelous space. I appreciate your posts and all the messages I have read here from other readers!

  52. Brandy I really love the photo of your rose in a jar, it’s beautiful ❤️.

    Our week has been steady and we are celebrating my youngest son’s birthday today. We got him five gifts – Lego police set, classic book, dinosaur shaped bubble bath X 4 in a boxed set, steel small truck with steel aeroplane on the trailer and a small car with a key (when you pull the key out the car moves forward). I spent $43 total and all gifts were brand new in box. The Lego was $60 and I got it for $30! Right now he is having fun assembling the Lego.

    Tonight we have all the family coming over to celebrate. I’m serving my son’s favourite foods. Spaghetti (which I just finished making and will let simmer all day) and garlic bread. A bowl of parmesan to sprinkle over the top. Then we have ice-cream cake. As he loves Lego I made a Lego shaped number 5 from his existing Lego blocks and will put it on top of the cake (and wash afterwards and return to his Lego box). We will also play pin the tail on the donkey for fun. I blew up five balloons too and the children have been having fun playing with them throughout the morning.

    Now my daughter’s birthday next weekend 🎊!

    Have a wonderful week.

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