My big news is that I have started a new job! I will be an influencer for Star Nursery, the local nursery, for the next 3 months. I have shopped at this store for 20 years (they have several locations in Las Vegas) and have always loved their products and their prices (which are better than the box stores, and then they have sales on top of that!). I’ll be sharing posts on Instagram and Facebook and would love some love and support there! My hope is that they see enough success to work with me again in the future. I am their first influencer. I’m always telling people to shop there, so I’m excited about this partnership!

They will also be featuring my garden in the summer edition of their free in-store seasonal magazine!

I harvested lettuce, spinach, and a few snow peas from the garden.

I sowed seeds in the garden for zucchini, Armenian cucumbers, and roselle hibiscus.

I planted the rest of my tomato plants, which I hope will do well for us and provide many tomatoes this year.

I took more cuttings from the bushes in the front yard to dip in rooting powder to make hedges for the backyard.

I buried kitchen scraps in the garden to improve the soil.

I purchased a new purse for myself that was on clearance for 70% off. It was $9. It had a very long strap and I like short-handled purses, so we will change the strap to make it shorter this week.

I bought a hat and sewed some faux flowers to the hat that I purchased online the week before last. I had seen a similar-looking hat for sale for about $167 (plus shipping from Europe) on Instagram last year and have been wanting to make myself a hat like this and some others for less. The hat was $25 at Target and the flowers were $6.55 from (plus shipping on the flowers and tax on both). I am outside a lot and am trying to wear hats more ever since I had surgery for skin cancer six years ago. I bought more flowers on my order which I plan to use to decorate other hats in the future. I’m sharing a picture today on my Instagram account.

I combined errands to save time and gas.

Oregano coming back from dormancy

My husband and I had some at-home date nights watching a show and enjoying some treats after the children were in bed.

I passed some clothes down from my daughter to my great-niece. My brother and sister-in-law came by (her grandparents) so I sent the clothes with them, saving gas to take them to them. My sister-in-law brought me quite a few leeks from her neighbor’s garden that her neighbor had given her. I used them to make a leek and potato soup.

Other meatless meals we ate this week included quesadillas, salads from the garden, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (with homemade apricot jam from our apricot trees), bean burritos, and taco soup.

While I was on my trip to visit my two eldest a few weeks ago, YouTube suggested a video to me. It looked interesting, so I clicked on it. I found much of what the presenter, Matthew Hussey, was saying about how we start conversations (with anyone) was something that I had been thinking about just a few days previously and have been actively trying to improve in my conversations with meeting new people. I listened to some more of his videos while I was there getting ready and listened to several more once I got home. His videos are primarily about dating, but I found some gems within them that apply to conversations and long-term relationships. I decided to request his book from the library, called Get the Guy. The book is not just about meeting someone, but about understanding men (“getting” the guy) and building long-term relationships. It’s made me rethink conversations with my children as well. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it. You can find his YouTube channel here.

My sister-in-law recently bought a new house. My husband and older children have been helping them make some changes in the garage. The previous owners had left some old metal bed frames in the garage rafters. My sister-in-law didn’t need them, so my husband brought them home. He pointed out that they are angle iron, and he can use the metal. He cut the ends with the wheels off and then began using the angle iron to make a new table for one of his saws. He is rearranging the garage to make it more of a workspace, so this was a nice addition that he can make using scraps from our pergola and the angle iron from the bed frames.

Snow Pea Blossom

What did you to save money last week?

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  1. Brandy, congratulations on your job!! You will be perfect for it!! I’m so excited for you!!
    Another quilt came in- the second quilt ever made by a client’s 50 year old son. I had quilted his very first quilt before- a King size log cabin quilt ( and here is his second ever quilt all quilted up – Lenni’s #234- So that added a bit of income to the budget.

    On Friday and Saturday, Meijers had a two day sale on blueberries – 99 cents/pound. So I bought 12 pounds and have popped most of those into the freezer while reserving some in the fridge to enjoy! I’m going to be watching this week to see if these Friday/Saturday sales are going to be a regular thing! Today the same blueberries at Meijers are back to $3.19/pound.

    The best things we did to save money were from our garden! I finally, after 18 months got around to harvesting our horseradish that I had planted in a container. It had sent one big root through the bottom of the pot and into the ground below, making it harder to harvest until the ground was warmer. I peeled it first and then cut it into chunks and chopped/shredded in my food processor. It was fine until I opened the lid and WOW 😱😱, the aroma of the horseradish had me tearing up😭😭😭!! More pungent than onions! But, the end result was 2 flattened quart bags going into freezer so I can break off a bit as I need it and one small jar packed with a bit of white vinegar going into fridge for immediate use! I am over the moon about growing and harvesting this! I may try growing some ginger next!

    The weather finally cooperated and I started some spinach and lettuce seedlings followed by a few seeds to stagger my harvest. I still have Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli and onions to get in and I am having a hard time finding seed potatoes. They are available at the big box stores in a pack with 5 tiny potatoes for $4-$6, but the local nurseries are still waiting for their shipments to come in. They have delayed several times. They sell the potatoes in bulk and it’s always cheaper. The nursery told me that they have already paid for this shipment so their price will not be higher than normal.

    Our biggest project this week has been replacing/rebuilding two of our raised beds in the veg garden. The two long sides of 1 bed have rotting wood (it was about 20 years ago when we built them, so I feel like we got our money’s worth!) and Hubs planned out the reno using a spread sheet and graph paper and figured the materials + delivery would be over $400. ( which is a huge savings over hiring someone to do it for us!) But then, after researching and talking with the contractor pro desk at Lowes , the 2 of them were able to bring our total down to about $130 after we return the $10 pallet!! That represented a huge savings!
    We used cement blocks that will last longer than our lifetimes so it’s a one and done project! So we started digging out the old wood
    After trenching out the old wood, Hubs used rocks we had saved from last summer’s paver project to refill trench, then dirt, then a thick layer of sand- tamped down after each addition and leveled several times!
    The first (and longest) side is finished and we figure that it was probably about $60 in materials used! We work for about 5-6 hours and then call it a day! If only we were younger! 😉

    We are not gloom and doom people but we are mindful of conditions around us and are trying to steadily become less dependent on shops to provide us with all of our needs and trying to become more self reliant. It’s been such a good feeling as we have learned a new skill or had a successful outcome with something we have worked on! Last week I learned how to make pie crust from scratch (after only 50+ years! 🤪) and this week I harvested and preserve horseradish to add to my food storage! I am excited to think of what this coming week may bring to add to our self-reliance journey!

    The best of times, the worst of times. So,for me, I’m going to focus more on the positives that I can control. ❤️ Hope that we can all get through our challenges cheerfully!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. You are so right Gardenpat about not relying on stores for our every needs. I am considering growing a medicinal herbal patch in my lawn and learning about what our great grandmothers-grandmothers used for common ailments-instead of going to the urgent care.

      1. Nancy in Florida- It’s amazing how many things we can DIY without a huge expense that increase our self-reliance and, at least for me, are kind of fun to learn/try something new and see that I could actually DO it!!

        I haven’t tried medicinal herbs and have been a bit hesitant but we aren’t really fans of herbal teas. I may start looking into them though. Thanks for the idea!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    2. Gardenpat- My Dad used to grind our horseradish outside because it was so pungent. Back then he used a handgrinder though!

      1. Melissa- I will definitely know better the next time! Think it will be time to get out an old gas mask in the future! Lol!! Fortunately, I won’t need to harvest more for a year!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Gardenpat, you taught me something! I was cleaning out my herb container and found a HUGE parsley root from last summer. It didn’t look like it was going to grow back, so I dug it out and threw it in the compost. After reading your post, I realized that maybe the parsley root was edible. Sure enough, it is. I should have saved it! Lesson learned for next year.

      1. Dianna- I am constantly amazed at how much I never knew that I didn’t know!! 😉. A friend just gave me a recipe for Calendula Balm that she makes and uses for rashes, itching relief, etc and I priced out the ingredients I didn’t have already and found that it’s something I want to try this summer! Nancy in Florida commented above to me that she is thinking about growing a medicinal herb bed and all I could think of was herbal teas which we don’t care for. But a salve….now that’s something I would consider!! Another idea!! ❤️❤️ What fun!! 🎉🎉

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. I have always wanted to make my own salve. You can make it from dandelions as well. One year I had my son pick a whole box full of dandelions (paid him a nickel for each one…he ended up with a nice tenner!) and was drying them, but then we moved unexpectedly and I had to abandon the project.

    4. I got a case of those blueberries too! I made 4 pints of blueberry jam, muffins for breakfast and still have plenty for the boys to snack on!

  2. Congratulations on your new job! I know you will be perfect for the spot. That’s a great thing, to get the free angle iron to reuse. When I passed a patch of our leeks yesterday, I pondered making leek potato soup soon. This may be the week. Last week, pasta sauce was made with our tomatoes, tromboncino, garlic, basil and rosemary. I baked our sweet potatoes, and made extra to have enough for a pie and my lunch one day, harvested our last cabbage, and made southern fried cabbage. Laundry was dried on the line, except for a few minutes in the dryer for the second load, when the rain chance moved earlier in the day. A pan of egg shells was crushed, and added to the compost bin. At Walgreens, I got B1G1 cashews, and used a $5 reward towards my purchase. On St. Patrick’s Day, I made a sweet potato pie, and used our potatoes in colcannon. The onions planted a couple of weeks ago are looking good, and the first round of potatoes are coming up. My husband tilled a few spots, planted more potatoes, and I planted the lettuce plants. From two containers, I got 10 plants, which was a bargain at $1 a container. He also moved all the raised beds to along the fence edge of the garden, so he can more easily mow and till the middle as needed. I planted one bed with cabbage, and transplanted all the kale to another bed. The parsley that overwintered in a pot was planted with the kale. The peas are coming along nicely. I ran twine to support them as they grow. Trying to get all the potato eyes we need for planting, I made mashed potatoes, and mushroom gravy to go with them. Our garlic was used with sauteed spinach. I tried pre-sprouting tomato seeds, by wrapping them in a damp paper towel, and placing in a recycled clamshell next to the woodstove. I’ll be interested to see how quickly they germinate.

  3. How exciting to have the new job! I do not have an instagram account, (not even sure if that is the right way to say that?), but understand I can still look at posts there. I’m sure having more reason to go to the nursery and take photos will be a joy for you and your followers.

    The latest Maisie Dobbs book by Jacqueline Winspear comes out tomorrow, “A Sunlit Weapon.” Her mystery books do not have to be read in order, though it would help. Maisie was a WWI nurse who became a private investigator and psychologist. The series is now up to the start of WWII. Many books focus on workers during the war that one would not have otherwise heard of; this one is about women pilots who ferry planes to bases where they are needed. The author wrote the stand alone book, “The Care and Management of Lies”, WWI era, which might have some of the homemaking information some other readers wrote about last week.

    1. I recently finished the first 6 Maisie Dobbs books and found them to be very enjoyable. Someone gave them to me. I didn’t realize there were more. I’ll have to check my library. I’m glad you mentioned this. Thanks!

    2. Thanks for the “Maisie Dobbs” update, I love the books and didn’t know there was a new one coming out!

      1. Me too! And they are actually an interesting social history of the times. Maisie herself, who goes from impoverished, to fairly well off, never forgets the hard times and is frugal (especially when it comes to her food and clothing) – and since they take place from WW1 through WWII would fit in with what readers here are interested in.

  4. Congrats on the new job! Gas ranges from $3.86 in college town to $4.12 in the town two and a half hours south of there, where I work. $3.99 gallon seems to be the most common price. I got a dozen eggs at Target for $1.69. I made peanut butter and honey sandwiches for work lunch. I made spaghetti and sauteed spinach for my kid. I cooked dried beans and ate those for supper during the week. I continued to stock up a bit. I bought 7 jars of spaghetti sauce ( I cannot remember the price), 6 cans of tomato paste at Target for 49 cents each, and 11 more cans of tuna at Dollar General for 72 cents a can. So, I now have 41 cans of tuna in food storage. I also finished up the cabbage by making coleslaw. I baked leftover red potatoes I had. I walked for exercise. It is warm in the 70’s so the heat is off except at night. My plan is to stock up a bit more on spaghetti sauce, since I use so much of it. I am debating on buy chicken for 59 cents a lb. at Piggly Wiggly.

  5. Brandy Congrats on the new job it sounds perfect for you. And so great on the hat that was a huge savings and creative. And I’m always interested in hearing about Zero Waste so kudos to your husband for thinking outside the box and reusing something that might have been trashed. I have been watching Three Rivers Homestead on you tube you might like her Brandy she has I think 7 or 8 children?? and has a small homestead. Anyways she’s here in Ohio and she was showing how to make mini hothouses out of milk jugs to start your plants outside so I’ve been trying to get my friends to save their milk jugs for me since we don’t drink milk so far I have 3 given to me. I will plant some of my tomato seeds there and hopefully save not buying them in the store. I have a old patio table that I want to put my plants on it has a hole in the middle for a umbrella stand I have some old pvc pipes that I will put one in the center that way if we do get a frost ( sigh we usually do) I can throw a blanket over the top of the pvc pipe to protect them. I’ve been buying a lot of chicken at 69 cents a pound and cooking it deboning and canning it, in fact just did that this morning. Today it is to be in the 70’s here in Ohio.,I have laundry hanging on the clothesline outside. So happy to be able to do that again now that warm weather is here. I collect books to read ( fiction) but am saving them as I’ve been getting books from the library as well as DVD’s and not purchasing any new books ( new to me) I rarely buy a brand new book maybe once a year and those are always self reliant type books. My husband and I love Suddenly Salad and were buying it at Aldi’s for around 89 cents a box they have not had it for over 2 months here, Krogers has stopped selling their generic version of it and the name brand is $2.49 a box. I researched and found the spices needed to make it and made my own version. We like the kind that is Classic using oil to make it sort of Italian I guess.. we always use Mayonnaise anyways so now we are making our own version and it actually taste better and no weird added ingredients. My cost $1.33 for a box of Rainbow pasta at Kroger’s. I added some diced red bell peppers to it. I’m studying more on making my own which I should have been doing all along. I am making my own pancake syrup now just brown sugar, water and maple flavoring no more Aunt Jemima for us lol. I will soon be sowing my green bean seeds that I saved from the last 2 years last year we canned 22 quarts and I am now down to 7 quarts so this shows me I did it just about right in planting 54 plants. I will also be growing peas for the first time. I love Spring. Anna In Ohio

    1. We have high winds here all the time. I prefer to use glass jars; they don’t blow away like milk jugs. You can use pickle jars or canning jars. I have jars all over in my garden at the moment.

  6. I was excited to receive my free garden seeds to test from Seed Savers Exchange’s ADAPT program. I will be testing three varieties each of mustard greens, bush beans, pimento peppers and cherry tomatoes. Gardeners report the results of the different varieties through the growing season and the complete results are available online. It’s a great way to find good varieties for your local conditions. Last year, I tested kale, lettuce and slicing tomatoes and some of them did much better than the ones I had grown previously. Anyone can participate, although I believe participation is now closed for 2022.

    We met our daughter at a park in between our houses and went hiking on her day off. We brought picnics and enjoyed the warmer weather. On the way home, we stopped at a farm stand to pick up a few things. When we got home, I had a message from a neighbor asking me to walk their dog and was paid $25 to do so. That covered gas expenses for the week. Otherwise, we’ve been limiting our driving like everyone else. The weather has been nice, so I’ve walked the 1.5 miles to the grocery a couple of times. No good sales this week, so I only bought fruit and dairy. Hopefully there will be a few deals this week, but if not, we’ll continue to eat our way through the freezer.

  7. Wonderful news Brandy!! Congrats on your influencer position and magazine feature. I hope it’s more successful than you anticipate for both you and the nursery. 🎉🎉🎉

    This week I saved by not grocery shopping and using what we have to make meals. I also made a potato leek soup in addition to chicken kale Caesar salad, curry cabbage and chickpeas, grilled chicken and fish with guacamole, bread, and hummus. I’ve been refilling bottles for lunch bag drinks, made several batches of iced tea, and grew sprouts for sandwiches to save.

    Garden fresh kale was used for the salad. We harvested delicious oranges from our tree. I used home canned lemon juice and dehydrated zest for recipes. The first jar using my new Tattler lids opened with a pop and I happily report that it worked perfectly! 🍋 Our hens are laying plenty and they receive kitchen scraps. They are a joy! 🐓

    I have cut back on driving and haven’t needed to fill up in awhile. However, advertised gas prices linger between $5.69-$5.99/gallon. Today I head to Costco to refill the pantry with staples. I’m curious to see where prices are.

    GE has approved sending me range #3. No delivery date yet. I’m trying to get a refund so that we’re able to get a properly working range from another manufacturer, but haven’t been successful yet. The technicians said to stay away from touch screen control panels (which is harder to find these days). I’d like to replace it with a simpler model. Please wish me luck, send up prayers, or tips to negotiate with them. 🙏🏼

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🌷

  8. Congratulations on your new opportunity, Brandy!

    I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Last week we took a trip for spring break. I took a lot of food in a cooler, so we only dined out a few times. I took a pasta dish, precooked hot dogs and hamburgers and homemade pizza that we warmed in the microwave, tuna salad, muffins, fruit, and miscellaneous snacks.

    —We will be hosting Easter this year, so I have started putting together my menu, hoping I can buy some ingredients ahead, and also come up with recipes using items I have on hand. My family members will bring something as well, so I will suggest to them to bring something I’m lacking.

    —I have several boxes of Chex cereals left over from Christmas, and I found a lemon Chex mix recipe that I will make for Easter. It is made with white chocolate and sounds delicious! I will make some for Easter baskets also.

    —I found a great new book at the library: “1001 Country Home Tips and Tricks, (household hints for Cleaning, Gardening, Cooking, Sewing, and more) by Mary Rose Quigg. I have read through it twice so far, and I will take notes. There are so MANY good tips in this one! The author herself is interesting…she grew up in Ireland and now runs a busy restaurant in France. One tip I have tried so far: I added a few drops of vinegar to some old glue bottles my kids have and they are now good as new! Another one I plan to try today: soak over ripe tomatoes in salted or cold water for an hour to firm them. I have a few tomatoes past their prime.

    —I have been charging our phones and iPads in the car when I have to drive somewhere.

    —I picked up some nice face cream samples at Walgreens and Fresh Thyme. I never buy things like this because I find many samples throughout the year.

    —I’ve received many free product vouchers in the past few weeks from Social Nature.

    —I added some powdered milk that was no longer good to my tomato fertilizer.

    —I added a bit of eye drops to some clumpy mascara. It goes on much smoother now.

    —Much to my dismay, lots of blackberry bushes were removed from our neighborhood common ground. Thankfully, there were a few remaining so I took some cuttings hoping they will grow in our yard.

    —It takes forever for me to earn $25 dollars on Fetch, so I have started cashing out at $10 to stay motivated to keep using the app.

    —I found a great clearance deal on some outdoor pillow covers at Hobby Lobby. This saved me a lot of money by not having to purchase new pillows.

    —I signed my kids up for free bowling this summer through There is a nice bowling alley in our area that is participating. They can bowl twice daily beginning in May through August, I believe. It isn’t clear if we have to pay for shoe rental or not, but if so, we will limit the amount of times we go.

    —I watched a YouTube video on professional window cleaning, which gave me some good tips. I need to get motivated to do this soon, as our windows need a good cleaning! My neighbor just paid around $300 to have hers cleaned—no thanks!

    Have a great week!

    1. In relation to bowling shoes, we always just wear our joggers/sneakers. Any enclosed shoe you have should be fine, but double check before you go.

  9. We were in Northwest FL visiting my daughter’s family until Tuesday. We got 15 lbs of Conecuh bacon on the way home and a quart of local honey.
    * I gathered all my large jars and vintage spring lock jars and washed them to store grains and beans. One had a dry rubber seal so I ordered a set of 15 new seals for the jars.
    * I cleaned my pantry and organized my can goods, writing the expiration date on the tops. I removed about 7 that expire in the next 6 months to use, and noted what I need to stock up on. I don’t want to think I have items and then when it comes time to use I find they are expired. I know they are good past expiration. but I want to make sure to have items that last for a year or more as we weather this time.
    * We got 2 more Covid tests free. I see people saying they got 4 more free tests, so I don’t know why some get 2 and some get 4.
    * I started 72 plants under a grow light. I planted the kale, turnips, and collards in my beds under a hoop, potted tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber into cups. They are under the grow light with spinach to grow a little more. I ordered 200 peat soil disc’s that fit my trays. I started another 72 of everything under the grow light. I have 8 red potatoes sprouting and started 3 sweet potatoes. I am going to use every place I can to grow all I can.
    * I have 4 Romaine lettuces from the grocery store and cut the end off and put them in a large container to grow more leaves.
    *Continued to eat precooked and frozen meals, then Friday hit a wall of being frugal and we ordered pizza and bread sticks. Then Sunday went to take out Chinese after church. I have frozen precooked items, canned soups, a lot of easy to prepare meals and just made a conscious decision to do it anyway. I think this is a big aspect of what we all have to condition ourselves against….boredom of our food, tired of cooking every day.
    *I gathered all my brushes and got the hair out and soaked then in a sink with shampoo as a cleaner. Then using two brushes rubbed them together to clean the bristles and plastic or wood at base of the bristles that were caked with hair product. I cleaned my curling iron and hairdryer.
    * I found a journal type book I had and am starting to journal. I follow gDonna and love reading about the women who went through WWII. I figure one day our ancestors will love to read about how we lived through these times.

  10. Congratulations on your new job! We have carefully recorded every penny spent. We have packed meals and snacks and water every time we go somewhere. After several weeks of cooking at home and packing meals we bought hamburgers last night. We enjoyed them very much! I think when we don’t eat out regularly when we do it is more enjoyable.We have bought very little. My husband even went back and looked at what we have spent our money on. I was happy that he is taking such an interest in our finances. I am hopeful that together that we will make it. I am looking forward to the nicer weather so my husband will get more work. I love being with him but I also love being able to pay the bills. We watched movies from the library. We made our own popcorn. My husband and I cooked every meal but one and then we bought some cheap hamburgers. At first I felt bad that I didn’t cook them, but then I realized that my husband was trying to do something nice for us so I just enjoyed it. We planted peas, that are sprouting already. We also planted more kale, Swiss chard, radishes and beets. Oh yes, and a pot of lettuce. We started some tomatoes and peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage in little planters for starts. We did order a heating pad for them. I am hopeful that they will grow and we will get them in the ground when it warms up around here. I am considering adding on another job for when I am not working for my son. Most likely, something I can do from home so I can help him when he needs me. I’ve lost more weight! Yeah! Not much. But it is slowly, very slowly coming off. Still trying to eat lots of vegetables and beans with some meat or fish once in awhile. Eating veggies definitely helps. We also want to plant potatoes and sweet potatoes. We haven’t done that yet. I’m working on cooking before we actually get hungry, so that we are not tempted to go buy something. My husband has helped by packing things when we have errands to run. We have seen deer, a fox, coyotes, rabbits, raccoon, possum and many birds this week. Yesterday was a beautiful day to be outside and plant. I checked out a couple books from the library. Maybe I will make time to read in the evenings.

    1. Congratulations on all of the frugal measures you are implementing into your daily life! Sometimes I feel that being frugal helps me to appreciate the world around me, and the “little things,” so much more! – Beth

  11. Congrats on the new job, Brandy! It’s so perfect for your skillset! And your garden is a showpiece — it will really show others what can be grown in the desert!

    My frugal week:
    – I made bought an organic oranges, sliced it and put it in a lasagna pan of water as a taste-safe citrus sensory bin for my baby. Then I turned it into orange marmalade (no food waste!) and used the marmalade as a filling in my healthy carrot muffins (
    – I baked and iced cupcakes for dessert for the week.
    – I redeemed $20 in loyalty points for groceries, and stocked up on sugar, oats, and cocoa as I found them at my lowest price points plus those prices will only increase.
    – I bought a large bag of frozen mixed veg, and used my dehydrator to dehydrate them. Then I packaged them up with oxygen absorbers. Definitely cheaper than buying freeze dried vegetables! And I learned the tip from a commenter on this site!
    – I shopped around online and ordered freeze-dried fruit from two different places ( and The first place had items on sale and for the latter I found a 50% off code. I now feel I have enough food to keep my family for a month, despite the lack of storage space in our little condo.
    – I added some water to our emergency stash (we already have water purifying pills and a water pump), and also made a go bag for the family, using Brandy’s tips, and pulled items mostly from my existing camping gear. I added in free radiation-blocking thyroid pills I had gotten from the city (if you live within a certain distance of a nuclear reactor, my city will send you free meds as part of an emergency preparedness program).
    – Using the FlashFood app, I bought two trays of lean ground beef, and 4 pieces of sirloin steak tip, for $15 total. I was pleased!
    – I went through our condo and set aside items for a garage sale in a month or so, and other items to sell at a baby consignment shop.
    – I planted lettuce and bean seeds, am sprouting mung beans, and am regrowing some green onions in water.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Thank you for the tip about the iodine pills Margaret – when I worked at York University I used to be more aware since we were an evacuation and gathering site in case of an accident at Darlington. I have now ordered my free supply as I am within the 50km range.

  12. Wow, congratulations on the job! Exciting times for you!
    Aside from saving shower warm-up water, washing in cold, cooking all dinners at home, my husband trimmed my hair. I returned the favor and helped him shave his head. We bought a half pig and requested the fat. I rendered that and got about six quart jars that i’ll use for soap making. The half pig was actually less expensive than the last time we bought one! I bought allergy meds, bandaids and acid reducer meds with my OTC card. This is my first year on Medicare but i’m loving it, so far! Gas got up to 4.29 but has since gone down to 3.99. We’ve been combining trips to save. I’ve watered down the lotion and dish soap. I also watered down the hand soap but my husband didn’t like it. I emptied that bottle into the dish soap and refilled with unwatered down hand soap. Happy husband! I ordered and received new canning lids from forJars using a code from three rivers homestead. After i got them, i saw on another channel that they were made in China. The made in China label is very faint and hard to see unless you’re looking for it. I have not used them but they look sturdy, to my eyes. I have only heard good things about them from other channels so i’ll kept them and use them. But, i probably won’t order them again. I placed an order from Target saving a two hour round trip. Once i turned 65 i signed up at our small local fitness center. (Two rooms in the elementary school) I was able to get in for half price. I’ve fallen too many times on the ice in winter. I can now walk on the treadmill. I still walk every day outside with friends but opt out if it’s too icy. Even ice cleats don’t work every time. Florida looks better and better!
    Stay well and frugal!

  13. We ordered while on sale electric mesh fencing that we can hook to solar power for the gardens to keep bunnies (who was starting to make a home in my thyme) and deer out of the gardens.

    We needed a food/plant safe sealant for the slab wood(free) potato crates Hubby is building to grow our potatoes in and I kept finding an expensive sealant($60-$100/gal). A friend told us linseed could be used, just make sure it was dry before we filled with dirt.

    We turned the furnace off or down when temps were warm or we were gone.

    We ate from the freezer and pantry. Amish neighbor gave us 3 dozen eggs (free).

    By focusing on the electric being used, even with grow lights on and using an electric water kettle daily, I lowered the electric by $25 and that was lower than last year when the electric was cheaper.

    I called about an out of network charge on some lab work done. My insurance agreed to change it as it’s a special lab work and only like 3 labs in the US does that, none are in net work. I then called the lab, and they also agreed to charge what would be “in network” costs. I ended up saving over $2,000 dollars for about 3 hrs. of my time.

    Going out now to check laundry on the clothes line then finish weeding the north flower garden

    Praying for peace. Be safe. Blessed Be

  14. Congratulations on the new job, I pray that it will be a blessing to both you and the nursery. I made taco soup yesterday to see me thru this week’s lunches. I did have to grocery shop this week, ouch. Everything has gone up more in the last few weeks. Also, I had to buy vitamins. Cleaning out my gardening beds and sticks out of the yard. I am trying to incorporate more steps in my day.

  15. There has been a lot of snow this year, after poor crops last year. A herd of deer has moved into town to get food. They came for the plants, but are hooked on the seed that has fallen from bird feeders. I suspect they won’t be leaving once they discover people’s gardens. Living the good life!

    All the snow will be a great start to the year for farmers, though. Mostly canola and pasture and feed for cattle and other livestock around here.

    I’m so happy to hear about your new job! A win-win for you and the nursery!

  16. -I bought a brand new $25 CamelBak insulated stainless steel bottle for only 25 cents at local liquidation store that sells 🎯 merchandise. I would not have know of this brand except for your blog.
    -I hate baby showers but my youngest nephew is having his first baby and somehow I unknowingly became one of the shower hosts. I went to my sister’s house for a cooking day where we made all sorts of treats for the shower. So this involved two things I hate: baby showers snd cooking. But I love my nephew so I participated in both with a smile on my face and hopefully minimal complaints. My mom and I went in together for a stroller baby seat combo but instead of taking this huge box the 120 mile round trip to the shower I printed a picture and wrapped it. My nephew only lives a few miles from us and he had carried the actual stroller home on same day as Amazon delivered a few weeks ago.
    -We live in the south where hair bows are a big thing so I had been collecting for a while now. Even found some with ribbon from the daddy’s college. Wound up with 58 bows (all new but most from thrift and discount stores). They exactly filled a cute little pink cardboard train case I had bought for 95% off a few years back.
    -They will be having a church shower next month but my sister says I don’t have to attend that. For my gift I’m sending a huge box of books I have also been collecting. One of my libraries has shelves of books for sale for only 25 cents. Someone recently donated tons of new children’s books and I bought one of each to give along with a book shelf. (Bought duplicates of same titles to donate to little free libraries.) I am a book lover. My sister is not but I’ve always given her kids and grands tons of books. I told her that they may not grow up as book lovers but it won’t be due to lack of availability. Once about 35 years ago when my niece was young she asked if I would help her buy books for some of her cousins “because they don’t have books in every room of their houses like we do”. Broke my heart. I was a grown woman and had never realized there were people who didn’t have books and magazines in their homes.

    1. One of the correlations for success in school is how many books are in a child’s home! More books, more school success.
      So you are certainly on the right track. And which children can and do read well and which do not becomes increasingly apparent once they start college.

    2. We did something similar when my daughter was having her first baby – her shower was here in California but she and her husband lived in Texas. We wrapped pictures of the car seat(s – we gave them one for each car), then had the actual items sent to them at their home. (I’m with you on showers by the way. But when it’s people we love, we put on a smile and do it anyway, right?)

      And, yes, the bows! My daughter once dressed the two-year-old in a beachy print dress and sandals, caught her hair up in a big bow and remarked drily, “California dress, Texas bow.” 😀 😀 (She looked adorable, of course.)

  17. Congrats on the new job! And your hat sounds lovely.

    Joining in from the Seattle area.

    A very busy life has kept me from commenting recently, but I have enjoyed reading of Brandy’s posts and reader comments when I am able.

    To chime in on the question from last week, I would love a posted list of WW2 books. I have read many of the ones suggested by Brandy and readers (almost all from the library, of course!).

    The least expensive gas here was at Costco, for 4.39 a gallon a few days ago. Elsewhere the lowest price I have seen is 4.69, up to 5.75.

    House prices are crazy in this area too. We live in a 40 year old condo building. It’s not fancy, but the location is great. The unit above ours (two bedrooms, about 950 square feet) recently sold for 87K over asking price, at almost 500K. Another neighbor just sold his one bedroom unit for well over asking price, in less than three days. I would love to move, but it’s not in the cards right now.

    Ways I saved money over the last couple of months:
    – Did our taxes on TurboTax with a discount from our credit union. We are getting a decent refund which will be nice because we are living partly from savings since my husband is taking some time off work.
    – I work a total four days a week, at two different jobs. Brought my lunch and snacks to work every day.
    – I also spend one day a week doing things for my mom who is in assisted living. A friend of my mom’s did her taxes for free, so we gave her a nice bunch of reasonably priced Trader Joe’s tulips as a thank you.
    – My mom had a small long term care benefit from years ago. After unsuccessfully spending hours waiting on hold with the company to open a claim, I delegated this task to my sister who was happy to help. She worked hard to get everything arranged, and we just found out the company will pay out the benefit. So thankful!
    – I recently rejoined the gym at $20 a month less than it used to cost me, thanks to a promotion they were having. It has been so nice to be back using the fitness equipment, but the best of all has been the pool, hot tub, and sauna. Feels like heaven.
    – Purchased a certain amount of items at a store I go to occasionally, and received a free insulated water bottle (worth over $30).
    – I have subscribed to a weekly news magazine for over 10 years. The subscription renewal price has gone up dramatically, to over $250 this year. This was not in my budget, so I called customer service and politely asked them if they had any promotions that would allow them to lower the rate. They offered me a price of $99 a year…wow! My husband was amazed. I figured it didn’t hurt to ask, and they probably did not want to lose a long time subscriber.
    – Have been pulling things I froze last summer out of the freezer and using them in meals: mainly rhubarb, zucchini, and peppers. I have many beets in my fridge from my CSA last summer (they last forever in the fridge, and while my husband likes beets, I am not a fan). So once every couple of weeks, I cook some beets, and make refrigerator pickled beets from the leftovers. These I can eat in salads, and they get used up this way.
    – Did a lot of batch cooking. Every week, I make and freeze pancakes for my breakfasts. Many gallons of soup were made and frozen for lunches (tomato, swiss chard, broccoli, and asparagus).
    – Stocked up when I could. Purchased a 25 pound bag of rolled oats from Azure Standard.

    I just want to say that this blog (along with everyone’s comments) has been a peaceful respite in these chaotic times. Thank you, Brandy, for everything you do.

    1. Hi Tina,
      Living in the Pacific Northwest like you (Fidalgo Island up north)
      I want to say that you are so right about the house prices! My nephew had a simple smallish ranch style house in Bothell that he fixed up and rented out. He put it on the market this last month for $950,000. It sold within 3 days for $175,000 over the asking price!! Sometimes I think that I would like to move back to the Seattle area but don’t think we could afford to.

      1. ElisaB, the house prices are truly mind blowing. I’m in Redmond. I have read your posts and figured you were up in the San Juans – it’s so beautiful up there.

        1. No, you were correct – it is considered part of the San Juan’s but is attached to the mainland with a bridge. It is near Deception Pass. I guessed from the places you go that you live in Redmond!

    2. I LOVE soup! Could eat it every day! With my Ninja Foodi, it’s so easy! There’s only two of us here but we share it with my father in law, who just got out of the hospital after 2 weeks post-op open heart surgery. We did take him some homemade chicken noodle & the tortilla soup I’d made. I find a lot of good recipes on Pinterest.

      1. Kelly, soup is the best. I eat it almost every day too! I use a hand blender for pureed soups – so easy.

  18. Congratulations on the new job! And what a creative use of the bedframes.
    I am stocking up on flour, sugar, and oats – and at a slower pace, different kinds of flour starting with corn flour.
    Fortunately spring wheat and all purpose flour is on sale this week. I am spending about $16.00 and saving $8.00
    Even though I expected it, the price of pasta has skyrocketed. My favourite brand is egg-less and comes from Turkey. In light of the price of gasoline, it is not unexpected that it has gone from 99 cents per 900 grams to $1.99. Fortunately, since I eat pasta often, I do have a reserve. I am allergic to rice so I cannot switch. I will give some to the foodbank.

    I was listening to a program about the civil war in Yemen. It is disturbing to learn that a third of its wheat comes from Russia.
    What is already a humanitarian crisis will be greatly compounded. In addition, now is the time for Ukraine and Russia to be planting wheat but I don’t think it is happening.

    Extreme heat and drought last year greatly reduced the wheat crop here so it’s a big worry. I have not been doing a lot of baking but I am going to start making my own bread. I am interested to use aquafaba (which I think ought to be spelled aquafava but isn’t).

    I received my book, Madame Foucade’s Secret War. As a remaindered book, it cost me $8.99 and was marked $27.99.

    A “friend” had stored some of my food purchases,, carefully separated in its own basket, in her big freezer. Unknown to me, when I tried to get them, including steaks and roasts I bought on sale, she had used the beef. Had she told me she was ill or was broke and could not go shopping, I would gladly have shared. Her comment that she didn’t have any was bluntly disproven when she gave a friend one of the roasts yesterday. He, (innocent of any knowledge of this situation) and a vegetarian, tried to refuse the gift but took it anyway. He happened to mention it to me the same day so I filled him in. Well, so much for that friendship. It isn’t even truly hard times here. Good to know who is a true friend. And one can only pity such a person.

    The bald eagles have returned and I hope to get a photo. I am still waiting to get my new glassses and will be glad if that helps the blurred and double vision.

    1. I should clarify that my window washer took the purloined roast because my “friend” insisted on giving it to him even though he told her that he was vegetarian. As he was picking up something for me, the chances of him telling me that she had given him the roast were 100%. I had my doubts about her sanity and whether she had refrigerated it after cooking it. And so, with regrets, I threw it in the garbage.

        1. Hi Maxine,

          No. It’s not the same person. I am trying to have a sense of humour about it — for example, like the ad said, “Where’s the beef?” Or, my only “beef” about this is her blatant lie. I am not sorry to have thrown the roast away. I think it may have been out, unrefrigrated, in her kitchen for ages. I am also trying to be charitable but all the same the friendship is over. The shock was sudden when I realized the duplicity and insanity of her actions but the recovery is speedy, unlike when all my stuff was thrown out. That resulted in long-term displacement and lingering shock as it involved prized family treasures like the beautiful mahogany bellows camera that a great uncle used in the Philippines in 1915. Gone. And I still go looking for something only to find it’s been ditched. I had a beautiful but small hand-carved wooden bowl in my kitchen but it’s gone and a beautiful but unique Frankhoma pottery canteen that was given to me by a wonderful friend. I have looked on ebay and could buy a replacement but since it was the sentimental value, I don’t think I will. And I am missing an 1825 land deed of genealogical and historical interest. Stuff can be replaced but things of sentimental value are difficult to lose. One benefit though is my residual cynicism makes it easier for me to spot a con job.

          Some may be wondering about the company I keep – it has always distressed me that I seem to attract people with such problems. A doctor once told me that it is because I am a very strong person but kind and try to help thos who need it and that attracts opposites.

  19. I meant to mention that I found a lovely, big crock in the basement which looks like it will be good for making sauerkraut. This will be a first for me.

  20. Brandy, congratulations on your new influencer job! You will be a natural…you’ve been influencing me for many years!! This week a couple we are good friends with us asked us for dinner and then insisted they pay for us, which was a total (and nice) surprise. I came in $10 under our grocery budget. I need new slippers because mine are starting to fall apart. I found a pair online with a sale. Got them today, and they didn’t work (boo) so I’ll be sending back. Sigh. I’m grateful for online shopping but when it doesn’t work out, it’s a hassle. I’ll look for another sale and try again. In the mean time, I have some duct table that should help. Thankfully, they are just slippers so if it takes awhile, so be it. Meals last week included homemade pizza, ham and potato hot dish, goulash, egg roll in a bowl, spaghetti and leftovers of all of the above. I made a big batch of taco soup yesterday, which was yummy. I brought about half over to our next door neighbors who are moving this week. They have been good neighbors and I wanted to do something to make this week easier. To the regular recipe, I added a small amount of leftover chili from my freezer, as well as a single black bean burger. I love it when I can use up odds and ends. There was also enough to freeze for a quick meal in the future for me and my husband. Still enjoying books and shows (yay Call the Midwife’s new season is finally airing on PBS in the US!) and putzing with my knitting and crocheting. I made a baby Yoda hat for a baby at church whose parents are die hard Star Wars/Mandalorian fans. It was a surprise for them and fun for me. I did buy the exact right color yarn for it (just had to…I only had Christmas green in my stash, and it just wouldn’t have been right..haha), but bought some on sale and with a coupon, so it was less than $2.00 for me. I hope everyone is well and safe. Have a great week, All!

  21. Truly I cannot think of anyone that would or could be a better influencer for a gardening store than you can Brandy – congratulations! I can’t wait to see all the lovely pictures!
    We continued to unpack and organize our new home this week. I imagine that the next several months will see us making progress on this goal. I unpacked over 15 boxes in our master bedroom and bathroom and took a carload of items to Goodwill to donate. We donated many items when we were packing to move but there was still more thinning to be done if you can believe it. As we are decluttering there are many items that we are setting aside for a Spring garage sale that we intend to have some time towards the end of March or early April. There are many items as we are completing projects in our home such as light fixtures, a kitchen sink, drapery rods and other odd and ends. Any funds from the garage sale will be used to fund our garden work.
    When we moved we were planning not to plant a garden this year and focus on house projects but with the state of current affairs we have decided to forego this plan and plant anyway. We have 1.6 acres but will need to clear some trees in order to get the space prepared. I know that many people are praying for rain in their area but I am praying for a bot of dry weather so that this clearing of trees can be done. The machines to clear the trees cannot be brought in unless we have had a week or so of dry weather. I have been researching prices of dirt for the garden as well as manure to amend and till the soil prior to planting. We have a small slope in our backyard so a part of the yard will be a terraced flower & herb garden which I am very excited about. We will have to build a small retaining wall as well so I am searching for materials for that project as well.
    I am working hard to cook meals for us at home even though the kitchen is under construction. You can do a lot with a crockpot, one pot, a microwave, a knife and a few wooden spoons. We enjoyed corned beef and cabbage this week, roasted chicken burrito bowls, pinto beans, boiled eggs, cheese, rice, toast, and guacamole. I purchased two Boston butt roasts this week as they were on sale at Kroger for $1.99/lb. I also purchased some peaches for $0.97/lb. I used a coupon that was mailed to us to save $7 off our grocery total purchase. I filled up my tank when I saw gas at Costco for $3.69/gallon. I texted friends and family when I drove by Costco later this week and saw gas for sale for $3.44/gallon. I am also staying home as much as I possibly can and combining all errands and trips to save on fuel costs.
    Clothing washed in cold water, bills paid on time to avoid late charges, lights turned off, HVAC turned off as much as we possibly can…all of the normal money savers.
    I hope that everyone enjoys a productive week ahead!

  22. Brandy, that is terrific news about the influencer job at the nursery – and how wonderful to have your garden featured! I’m sure that seeing all that you have been able to do will inspire others, and hopefully help the nursery to sell more! I don’t do Instagram but was able to take a look at your new hat – it is lovely – you are so creative!
    I am working on a list of books to recommend here but will email it to you separately and you can decide if they are appropriate of not – hope this saves you a bit of work.
    I had two frugal fails last week, some mushrooms and some green beans turned into a science experiment before I caught them so that was disappointing – but – I did have some good luck at a few different stores on food purchases. I bought $20 worth of ground beef , combined the purchase with a couple of Loyalty point offers and earned $4 off. I put most into the freezer but cooked up 2 pounds of meat – combined it with a pan full of onions that I’d sweated down, added two tins of lentils and then divided it up. Half had tomato paste and passata added and then it went into the freezer to be used with pasta or in a casserole in a few weeks time – it will make at least 6 servings. I had a lot to add to the second half so took out about a cup and a half first. Then I added two grated zucchinis, 8 ounces of cream cheese, some grated cheddar that was going a bit hard and some more Italian seasoning. About a third of this went into the freezer. When I use it I will add a cup or so of cooked rice and then use it to stuff 4 peppers. The other 2/3 will stuff 4 large peppers today. Then the leftovers were added to some frozen peas and corn, had the last bit of passata added and it made 3 small servings – 2 have already been eaten on a toasted English muffin for brunch on Sunday and today and the third has gone into my odds & end ziploc in the freezer that I keep for quick cooked breakfasts. That makes 17 servings from 2 pounds of ground beef and 2 cans of lentils so I call that a real win!
    Canned sockeye salmon has nearly doubled in price so I was pleased to find tins for $4.98 at one of the large drugstores last week – but – I didn’t notice until afterwards that it had rung through for $4 per tin. The clerk was chatty and trying to sell me on another loyalty card so I didn’t pay as close attention as I normally do. Not sure if the error was on their signage or if things had not been changed at the till! I also got a good deal on English muffins and added a couple of packages to the freezer. I also remembered to pick up more salt and more powdered milk – there was only a couple of bags left so I hope there is more when I next look for it. Using the half and half mix of powdered and regular milk is working out really well and does save money. I have also been using up bacon fat to cook with whenever appropriate in order to save the olive oil.
    Meals last week were a lot of salads, served with Spam, frozen fish and hard boiled eggs as protein sources. My friend who lives downstairs invited me for supper at her place on Friday as she had made a zucchini lasagna – it didn’t really work as a lasagna but we called it a casserole and it tasted great! I will have her up for supper later this week. It is inspiring us to try new recipes and is socializing without spending extra money.
    I do need to spend some money on items for the apt. in the next month or so but I’ve been making a list that I now carry with me at all times and I include proper measurements so that I don’t forget or have to guess if I spot what I need at a good price. I have also made a list of the clothing that I will need over the next year and will slowly restock as I can. I want to stick to these two lists and not get distracted!
    Entertainment was walking, library books & Brit Box – plus I enjoyed another wonderful classical concert on my church’s YouTube channel. We have an extensive music program that we sponsor and have put last Fall’s and this Spring’s Friday recitals online. They are each about 45 minutes long and can be found here if anyone else would enjoy them: It is a secure site so you don’t have to be afraid of clicking on the link. I thought some of you may enjoy them as a source of free entertainment. Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. Margie, I’m going to make the list of books that I have read and would recommend. Keep your list for the comments, as I’m sure people will have lots to add!

    2. Thank you so much for posting the link to the concerts! This is something I really miss from my days of city-living. The speakers series also looks very interesting. I will be scheduling them as a reward for the spring cleaning I am doing.

      1. I hope you enjoy them Elizabeth – I’ll be posting the latest one on Friday morning – just waiting for it to finish loading. It will feature a Ukrainian-Canadian soprano who will sing in both Ukrainian and English. The speakers series online have also proven to be popular so even when we move back to in person events we will continue to record and post them. – the one with Helena Moncrieff might be of special interest as she talks about gleaning in the city and not wasting all the food that is available. Her book is available in the library. I believe that “Margaret at Approaching Food” has joined some of the groups that go out each Summer to recover this wonderful produce.

  23. Hello everyone!  Congratulations Brandy on the new job!  It sounds like a perfect fit.  I don’t think they could find a better influencer than you! The beauty you create in the desert is amazing! I live in the desert too.
    I haven’t posted in a VERY long time.  I’ve recently retired from my job as a registered nurse (L&D).  My husband and I are both retired now.  I have more time now and really enjoy reading all the posts here. So many of you have such fantastic ideas! 
    The average price of gas here in So Cal is today is $5.98 per gallon.  It’s shocking how quickly it is climbing in price.  Like everyone else here, we are staying home more and combining errands when we need to go out.
    I’ve started my garden with multiple kinds of lettuce and herbs that are already coming up.  I also have seedlings coming up of ground cherries (a favorite of mine) sweet 100 cherry tomatoes along with several varieties of larger tomatoes (heritage, beefstake and paste). I’ve been dealing with some arthritis of the hips and spine along with nerve pain (too many 12 hour shifts on hard floors lol) so most of my plants are in pots this year. 
    I always check the markdown racks at one of my local grocery stores which is a Kroger affiliate. I can usually find a few great deals. This week I found T-bone steak for 60% off (I bought two packages so four steaks total) and 8 bread items which included a bag of 6 large bagels, several types focaccia & deli submarine rolls for $4.96
    I now cut and color my own hair and I have to admit I’m very happy with the results and it’s a huge money saver! 
    Now I’m off to read everyone’s posts!  

  24. Congratulations on the new job! It sounds right up your alley and I will be interested to hear how it goes in the coming months.
    We have been slowly adding to our stockpile by bringing home canned goods my neighbor has stored for us in her cellar (we barter eggs for those items) and purchasing a few dry and canned items. We are now happy with our stockpile again and are glad we have items put away against future price increases.
    I added compost and peat moss to my garden beds so they are ready for some planting. I moved some herbs to another location so I can dedicate this particular spot to other food items. I also moved some strawberry plants that were runners from last year.
    Our dog was prescribed some medication and supplements for arthritis. A bit of on-line price comparison revealed that 1-800 Pet Meds was going to be significantly less expensive for the supplement but the medication was $2 cheaper from the vet. I need to get both items from one source to earn free shipping. I knew 1-800 Pet Meds offers price matching so I called them and they not only matched the price on the medication but reminded me of a $5 loyalty credit I had on my account. That, matched with a savings code they offered, brought the entire price down significantly. I was reminded that even in the era of on-line shopping, it is still useful to talk to an actual human being now and then. I saved money and she was very friendly and helpful. So, good experience all around.
    Chicken feed prices had been holding steady in my area…until last week. They are up about 8%. I decided it was time to return to a practice I have done many times in the past – soaking the chickens’ feed. It doubles the volume and reduces waste. I have fermented their grain by soaking it for 3 days in the past and may return to that again but even soaking it overnight yields the savings benefit. I also have been allowing them to forage in a larger area for a few hours per day to reduce their reliance on grain. With the grass greening up and bugs appearing, they come back to the coop with full crops and don’t need as much grain. They are on pasture behind electric fence so they get grass daily anyway but a larger area gives them even more options. We just have to balance it with the always possible predator threat and encouraging them to poop somewhere other than my porch!
    I treated the bees for Varroa mite. Many may not know this but the mite itself does not kill the bees. They carry up to 25 viruses which is what is the real threat. In the 11 years I have been beekeeping, I have seen the need for increased mite treatment. Even though I live in a very rural area with as minimal pesticide exposure as I think is possible in our modern world and with plenty of food sources for them, I think the days of hands-off beekeeping are gone forever. I love hearing all the older folks around me talk about how their Daddys and Granddaddys kept bees and it really just amounted to capturing live swarms and recapturing them when they left the hive. They did no inspections and no treatments. But, they slowly started to lose their hives over the years and few of these folks keep bees anymore. It has been a slow process to learn how much to do with them to keep them healthy without interfering too much and I think I have it figured out….for now. Good thing I enjoy always learning new things. Bees are precious to all of us and the minimal costs of treating them for mites goes a long way to increasing their chances of survival. My youngest son, who is taking over his own hive this season, helped me so he learned a valuable skill, as well.
    House projects continue with materials we already had on hand. We put up shelves in my laundry room and I painted the trim in my boys’ bathroom. Little by little we are getting somewhere.
    I have also been more careful to measure the food I give to our cats and our dog. It is easy to accidentally give them more than they need (especially when they look at you with those big eyes!) but ensuring they get just what they need could save money and it certainly better for their health. Little things like that add up.
    Gas has actually reduced in price here in NC by about 5-10 cents and is down to $3.98/gallon in East TN (we live 2 miles from the TN border.) I am not sure why but I’ll take it! I continue to top off the tank when I go to town which is 1-2 times per week. It makes it less painful, anyway. 🙂
    Other than that, we stay committed to the things we have always done – limiting waste, carefully spending money where and when needed, and practicing contentment. These things have always worked and we find a lot of comfort in them.
    On the reading front, I am not quite finished with “Seeing” by Jose Saramago. Fascinating read and sequel to this Nobel Prize-winning “Blindness” which I read a month or so ago. Just when I think I have read every book there is on frugality, I learn of something new (to me, anyway.) I am waiting for a copy of “Old, Poor, Alone, and Happy: How to Live Nicely on Nearly Nothing” by Kathering Dissinger. I think it was published in the 1980s so some of the specifics might be dated but I love reading these books for the time-tested wisdom they contain. I will let you all know what I think when I get it from the library. Just the title alone made it sound like fun. 🙂
    Have a lovely week wherever you are!

    1. You might ask your vet if the prescription is available for humans. My dog had high blood pressure and my vet suggested pricing the prescription at the ‘people’ pharmacy. The cost was much lower then my vet could sell it for. The vet wrote the prescription for my dog and the ‘people’ pharmacy filled it.

      1. Thank you for this suggestion. I did ask that and it is not possible in this case but it was worth asking. 🙂

        1. If you need another prescription for your dog, along with checking on people meds, you might look into GoodRx. I used it for meds for my dog and saved ALOT of money.

  25. Congratulations on the new position, Brandy. I remember you raving about this nursery in the past and always wished I lived near you so I could patronize it. I saw the hat on Instagram and it is so smart. I might check my Target for something similar as the sun hat I have, while functional, is not exactly stylish.
    I was able to purchase 25 pounds of sugar this week for 52 cents a pound. I also picked up 2 large bottles of olive oil on sale. I made homemade sandwich bread. My husband is going to his parents’ tomorrow for one week to look after them while his sister and her husband have a much-needed vacation. I made up a bunch of freezer meals to send with him. He is flying Southwest, so can take two bags for free and one of them will be a cooler full of these meals. I also made banana bread and a large batch of cookies. He’ll give half the cookies to his sister to take on her vacation. I straightened up my closet and was going to buy shelf dividers. I had them in my cart on Amazon and decided to see if I could make some. I found a video showing one way to do so and was able to make the dividers in 15 minutes using things I already had. I commented on all the mud between the house and the greenhouse and my husband remembered a stack of old pavers behind the garage and moved them for me. While he is gone, I will lay out a path between the house and the greenhouse to make getting out there in spring easier. I am really trying to get better about looking for solutions like this here at home instead of always buying something. I sewed a new summer blouse. I have several other items of clothing cut out and hope to sew them in the next week.

  26. Way to go on becoming an influencer for your local nursery! It cost us 50.00 in gas ( not so frugal) to make a 2-1/2 hour trip to visit our son and family for his birthday weekend. Our present to him was watching their children, while he and his wife went on an overnight ( used points & 100.00 certificate from hotel for food). Their home is close to a strawberry farm, so we took the kids and picked strawberries for a BOGO per pound, since strawberry season is coming to a close. I got enough to freeze for future use and to presently enjoy.
    Cilantro is growing plentiful so using in salsa and black bean dishes. I accepted 2 lettuce plants from a friend , who is my gardening mentor. I also accepted lilies from a neighbor who is thinning them out in her yard.
    Love the Hat!!!

  27. Congratulations Brandy! What a wonderful opportunity 🎉

    My frugal accomplishments:
    Used saved gift cards for some fun treats and activities during Spring Break.

    Was grateful to be able to turn the heater off a few days since it was warm ☀️

    Picked lettuce and chives.

    Used Ibotta to get soil and potting mix for $3 off (total oop $3.47) and $10 off (total oop $1.48).

    Planted some seeds to put in my mini greenhouse. I’m so excited to be planning my container garden for the season 🪴

    Buy Nothing Group: deluxe milk bath (someone received in a subscription box), sunscreen

    A local produce stand had a special: 40lb banana boxes for $5. Bought one and brought to family party to share 🍌 and froze what was left

    Used a coupon for a free Bath and Body spray for my daughter.

    We were treated to dinner at my stepdad’s birthday party (my mom wouldn’t let us bring anything) and to bowling and pizza with my in-laws (Christmas gift). Free family fun!

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  28. So good to read your post this week, Brandy. If the nursery allows you to take your salary out in trade, you are going to cost them some serious money, LOL. I hope you negotiated a discount! Three cheers for your husband for recognizing the bed frames for what they are–angle iron in the rough. (Not everyone would have picked up on this).

    This was my week–
    * I received a coupon for a free full-service exterior car wash when I had the oil changed. If we were truly frugal, we would have changed the oil ourselves…but that ship has sailed.

    * I used .80 per gallon in fuel points when I filled the gas tank. Gas was $4.09 gallon and this was one of the cheapest stations in town. I saved about $13 with the fuel points, mostly gained due to moving all of our prescriptions to the Safeway pharmacy.

    * More markdown meat for 50% off, which brought it down to my target prices (Safeway is the most expensive meat market in town–but I’m not hitting my target prices any other way). I also got two dozen eggs for 50% off (.75 dozen). At Winco, I discovered $3.39 lb. bacon again in the self-service refrigerated case next to the deli. If you shop at Winco, this is worth looking for!

    * I bought three corned beef briskets for $2.99 lb. at another supermarket. They were supposed to be point cuts, but they looked flat to me! I cooked one for St. Patrick’s Day and it was excellent!

    * I used up bottles of shampoo and conditioner that someone had left behind here. Although this is mainly a decluttering goal, I also didn’t have to buy it. I’m now on the last bottle.

    * I started seeds for tomatoes, bell peppers, Buttercrunch lettuce, parsley and a few flowers. I have a tiny garden and raise the plants on sunny windowsills. This has become a fun springtime hobby. I will be able to plant them outside around Mother’s Day.

    Brandy, we want to see a picture of you in your new hat!

    1. They are paying me. It will go to the garden, I’m sure, to make it possible for us to grow more. We still have a pergola and an arbor to finish and we need to buy the materials for them.

      1. Brandy, until Lori Loughlin got in trouble on the college admissions deal, I had no idea what “influencers” were. I have since figured this out–and I think you will be splendid–but I don’t understand WHERE I will find your posts. Your Instagram page? Their Instagram page? Somewhere else? How do they determine how much your posts benefit them? Thanks in advance!

        1. My Instagram page and Facebook page. They get access to the stats through their Instagram account and of course can see if their website traffic increases.

          A lot of people in Las Vegas have moved here from somewhere else. They don’t know we have a local nursery with several locations in town. I see it all the time in the local online gardening groups.

    2. Forgot to mention, a friend soldered a broken wire in a microphone for us. Wouldn’t let us pay him. We couldn’t find anyplace to have it repaired and it would have cost at least $60 to replace.

      Also, my seeds sprouted in only 6 days and have been moved from the top of the fridge to west-facing windows.

  29. Such lovely photos as always. Congratulations on the job.
    This week we have seen both our daughters before we have to go into self inflicted lockdown as Covid cases go through the roof here. Hubby is on the extremely vulnerable list. The girls test before we see them to safe guard him. But free lateral tests are being withdrawn. I can’t even register to get free lateral flow tests because I have not got a mobile phone as they need to text me a code. The telephone line for ordering tests have run out of and I can’t go the the chemist. A mobile is an expense I don’t want. I can buy tests but they are £2 or more.
    This week in the greenhouse I have sown carrots,peas, broad beans, spinach,chard, leeks cosmos and clary sage. I have planted broad beans in the garden under glass. I have covered the potato patches and the dug grass paths with black plasticThe flower garden is to wet to weed,hopefully I can it done in a few days time as well as planting the potatoes in the raised bed .
    I have washed some curtains and the spare bed bedding to get ahead of the the raise of the gas and electric price cap which will double our bills on the 1st April. I will try and get all the washing done by then. At least the warmer weather is coming.
    I have cooked all meals from scratch this week as I do every week. I have only had 1 meal out in the last 2 years.
    I had deliveries of Veg and groceries. I ordered more flour for bread and cakes etc also cooking oil.I am looking at the the supermarket smart price range to try to keep the prices down. I fear shortages and price increases will only get worse. The UK is only about 60% food secure, this has been one of my worries for years.
    I bought some postage stamps for Christmas before they go up on the 4th April
    to 94p for a first class stamp Ugh!
    Hubby is mending the coffee machine as I type, it is over 30 years old and seems to have a loose connection somewhere . I have another I acquired some time if all else fails.
    I have cut hubby’s hair and beard. I need to get a pair of thinning scissors has anyone got any suggestions of what I need.
    Daughter has given me a jigsaw to do when I get bored. Free entertainment.

    1. 94p!!! Wow!

      Check a beauty supply store for haircutting scissors. They will know what you need.

  30. Congratulations on the job!

    If possible, I’d love to see the before and after of the purse handle shortening project!

  31. Brandy, if we don’t live in your area or garden what can we do to support your new influencer job? Will Insta and FB likes and shares help ?

    1. I think so! They definitely want traffic to their website and Instagram page. Their website has a ton of information about growing in the desert and every time I talk to people in town, no one knows it even exists! So that’s a big deal. Thanks!

      1. Looking to follow but I’m not sure which Star Nursery Las Vegas location is yours. Congratulations, you will be an excellent representative!

        1. Their website is here. On Instagram they are @starnurserylv. They have several locations in Las Vegas.

  32. Hello Everyone. I have noticed a couple of things here lately that I think it might be helpful to mention. One I mentioned before but I will say it again. Prices are going up so rapidly that sometimes the shelf prices don’t correspond with the scanner when checking out. I try to keep close tabs on things like this and even sometimes take pictures.

    Another thing is that I’ve notice the quality of food going downhill. We don’t buy frozen vegetables often but sometimes if peas are on sale I will buy some. They were 84 cents for 12 ounces at Walmart recently. I didn’t think it was amazing but sometimes I like having a few on hand. Ew. They are not good. Also, recently before Lent I bought the kids a very rare treat of a donut but then decided on the day old ones so I could get a better deal. We were all a little grossed out when the kids found mold on them. The same thing happened when I bought some chicken from a high end store, on sale. I’ve never had a problem with this before. I know to freeze it or cook it right away. Anyway, it smelled funny too. Since we live out of town a bit it’s hard to return these items. I have become leery of one store in particular and only buy the prepackaged sale items (like crackers) or produce that I can see and small. Honestly, I just don’t go there as much. Anyway, I wondered if anyone else has run across this issue.

    Three of my kids are signed up for soccer. The games and practices were all over the place. My husband really wanted them to play. So what we did was put the little one on a team where they practice and play at the same time and place only once a week. Then we asked if the girls could be on the same team. They are a year a part. I’m glad not just for the expensive gas but also for our time. It would have been really crazy.

    Like everyone else, I’m trying to be creative about it all. It’s good to remember some frugal things from our past which I have let slide in recent years.

    1. I know from what my son tells me here that the grocery store where he works is literally stocking items 24/7 and not just at night because they don’t have enough people to fill the shelves (they are short about 20 people). If they can’t even get things filled, I bet it’s even harder to get the bad stuff taken out.

      1. I have wondered about the shortage of help about the prices on the aisles. I imagine that it would be a huge undertaking to change it all and so frequently too. I do try to be extra nice to the cashiers (and other workers) knowing that people must be so stressed by the time they reach them so I bet you are right about the quality of the food. I remember during the early part of the lockdowns our friendly butcher told me that they once shipped a bunch of chickens unwrapped and so they had to do it themselves.

      2. My daughter was a cashier at a local grocery chain last summer. They were very short-handed and it made things very stressful for the workers. People were SO awful to my daughter about everything from the long waits (cashiers had to bag, too, because there were no baggers) and item availability. She is underage and therefore had to call/wait for a manager anytime someone wanted to buy alcohol, and several customers were very rude to her about that. I was glad when she was offered a different job. It’s less money, but so much less stress. I can only imagine what it would be like for her now, with prices going up so much. Working with the public can be terrible! I try to be extra kind and patient with store staff.

    2. So sorry to hear about the nasty food!
      I fortunately haven’t experienced that. I did notice that the plastic bags at the grocery deli are now just bags stuck shut with the label, not the ziplock closures they used to use, and that the paper bags don’t have handles on them. These are tiny things, but I think are cost cutting moves by the (regional chain) store, as they buy less expensive supplies. They are also carrying more “things”, rather than just food, with displays all over the store. The bedsheet sets near produce still kind of baffle me; must be a good profit margin for the floor space they get.

      1. I’ve noticed this too…even at our high end store the bags rip so easily. I guess now that you mention it Aldi *does* seem to have more of that stuff and less food. Hmmm. Interesting observation. I did buy eyeglasses there because they were on clearance for $2.50 so that was helpful but mostly I avoid nonfood items there.

    3. My husband and I had this very conversation about the sharp decline in the quality of food regardless of where you shop. We have had to return multiple items of late including meat, frozen food and packaged fresh vegetables. Very frustrating and very worrisome!

      1. Yes, it is worrisome and frustrating too. I agree! I find myself being more careful at least when I can tell. Some things are just like cheapy cardboard boxes which collapse when you try to move them but some are gross. I bought some pork roasts to make pulled pork for a party. (On sale for $1.99 when I used to see it on sale for $.79 a pound not that long ago.) What got me about it was how fatty it was. I don’t mind some fat. I save it but this was so fatty that it was kind of gross. I wish I had cut some of the fat off before cooking it.

    4. I’ve had a lot of quality issues at the stores lately, to the point that I’d written off going to certain stores. But then recently I was to the point where I had an issue with quality on an item from every single store I went to that week…so now I’m back to shopping all the stores I originally shopped at, just not as often and being more discerning. I don’t love shopping anyway, but the need to be so careful about checking every little item gets old really fast.

      1. It’s hard. Today I bought some chicken for 99 cents a pound that I would like to freeze but if there is something wrong with it I won’t know until I defrost it. It was from a store that used to always have good quality food but recently some chicken was definitely off in it’s smell. I agree with you. I’m much more careful when shopping which does kind of wear me out!

        1. Liz, I usually freeze whole chickens right in the plastic bag and then wash them after thawing. If you take them out of the bag first, wash and repackage for the freezer, you’ll know what they are like.

  33. Congratulations on your new venture Brandy. That is wonderful and well deserved.

    Harvest continues here at our place in NZ and we have been abundantly blessed with produce, especially peaches!

    We have an abundance in store for the winter and beyond and I’m now working on getting some more supplies into the pantries of some elderly people I know. The pandemic response here has been brutal and now food and fuel prices are escalating considerably plus there is always the spectre of war, shortages and other problems to consider so I feel if we can help some other vulnerable people get stocked up a bit it might help them fare better through coming months.

    I’m only buying a minimum of things from the stores for myself because we are in a good position, thanks be to God, but did get a great deal on coffee last week so topped that up.

    Best wishes to everyone.

  34. I think the nursery is so smart to hire you! Until you, I’d have never believed that such a yard was possible in the Southwest. My friends and relatives always had rocks and cactus gardens. Pretty enough, if done nicely, but not for a flower and garden lover!
    And your hat is a beauty! I wish I could show you my husband in his hat lol!! He likes a wide brimmed hat but the wind here is crazy and pulls them right off. We made a little leather bead tie but he said the wind pull made it cut into him. At a garage sale, he picked up a hat that looked like it had belonged to Scarlett O’Hara. Wide, full of lilacs and butterflies, and a wide lilac satin ribbon tie. He bought it for $1. He removed all the decor, but loves the softness of the ribbon. He looks adorable in his hat with a lilac bow under his chin!!! He said it’s the most comfortable hat he’s ever had!! He wouldn’t let me tie a big bow under his ear to the side. Oh, well!

    Husband was off last week so we mostly worked on spring cleaning. Not a lot of big savings to speak of.
    *Kroger pasta sauce for.99¢ ea. Bought limit of 5.
    *Found living room curtains I love for $30 per pair. So glad I was patient and kept looking.
    *Got a free tube of lotion from B&BW with a coupon.
    *Got some much needed rain! That saves a week of watering for about $17.
    Plus all the regular stuff.

    Good week to all!

    1. I’m probably going to add some ribbon to keep it on. The wind kept blowing it off the other day!

  35. Congratulations on your new job, Brandy! They picked the right person, to be sure!

    I’m continuing to save money in our usual ways-borrowing e books from the library, giving my husband haircuts at home, cooking mainly plant based dishes from scratch. I love meat and cheese, butter and ice cream, but those things do not love my heart so back on the plant based diet per the doctor. It is simpler eating and I am growing a lot of herbs in containers to add to the dishes I make and we’ve found a set of heart healthy meals we look forward to. And I’m finding that snow peas are very productive for a small space- most of the time they never make it into the house as I eat them off the vine!

    We are keeping our driving to a minimum and combining trips to save on gas.

    I hope everyone has a good week as we move into spring.

  36. Congratulations on your new job, Brandy! How wonderful, and I truly cannot think of a more fitting person for that opportunity than you. That’s the kind of influencer I like to see – a person who actually has experience with the products and believes in them. And, how thrilling for them to also feature your garden in their magazine.

    Work has been picking up for me – I have been promoted, and we are heading into one of our busiest seasons (Lent). Even though the promotion was mostly just a title change, it did come with a pay raise, which is always welcome. Of course this also means more responsibility and supervision of a department, so it will definitely keep me busy.

    At home we have tried to keep the windows open as much as possible to avoid running the heat or air conditioner. We did have to turn the air on for a few days here & there, but mostly we’ve been able to enjoy fresh air indoors while saving money. We have cooked and eaten most meals at home including sloppy joes, fish tacos, buttermilk blueberry pancakes, bbq pulled pork (left over from a pork butt I had cooked late last year), Swedish meatballs with egg noodles, cioppino, and of course corned beef with vegetables and Irish soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day. I baked a second loaf of my soda bread and brought to work to share along with some good Irish butter. It was very popular. Usual things: We drink coffee at home in the mornings, and I go home for lunch almost every day. My husband almost always takes his lunch to work. I received a free lunch at work twice due to leftovers from an event. I have been baking all of our bread at home. We restocked on groceries and supplies at Costco and a couple of other grocery stores. My husband found 3 pork loins marked down to $5 each, so those went into the deep freezer for future meals. We bought flour, sugar, and coffee to restock the pantry. We each found some good clothing deals while at Costco, so picked up a few needed items. My husband polished several pairs of our shoes & boots to keep them looking nice.

    I decided to pull my container garden (City Picker raised garden on wheels for the patio) out of storage and plant some tomatoes and peppers. Here’s hoping the birds don’t decimate my tomatoes! I also pulled out my AeroGarden and started a batch of romaine lettuce in the kitchen. I’ve had an AeroGarden for a few years – my first one eventually died and the company replaced it, but I never opened the new one as we were in the process of moving when it arrived. I finally opened it and set it up yesterday. I have several sets of seed pods already in stock – better to use them instead of just sitting on a shelf. I am looking forward to growing some of our own food again, no matter how small an amount. With the way inflation is going, everything helps. and I love having fresh tomatoes and lettuce.

    We filled up both of our vehicles with gas at Costco, the least expensive option in town. My commute is quite short (about 1.2 miles) and my husband’s is only around 7 miles each way. I set my car on eco mode, which helps conserve a bit of fuel. We combined errands to cut down on extra driving. My husband trimmed the back of my hair for me, so I can go longer between haircuts. I did my own manicure and colored my hair at home.

    At work, first aid kits were being cleaned out/restocked, and there ended up being a large amount of bandages, band-aids, and gauze pads that were still sealed, but technically expired. (Not sure how a dry gauze pad expires, but ok.) These items were set out in the employee breakroom as freebies rather than being thrown away. They sat out for a few days with no takers, so I ended up taking some home for our first aid kits (home, plus one in each vehicle). When talking with a coworker, I mentioned that I keep a first aid kit in my car. She expressed surprise and said she’d never thought of doing that. I can’t imagine traveling without one. Conversations like that do make me wonder how many people are unprepared for even a minor emergency.

    On a funny note, my husband came home one evening with a huge smile on his face – “I got you a present!” He then brought in an industrial-size sealed case of toilet paper – individually wrapped rolls, like for a hotel or business. One of our neighbors had set the entire sealed case out with the trash! We wondered what the story was behind it – were they moving? Did they not like it? I mean, how can you not need TP? We still can’t figure out why anyone would throw away brand new toilet paper, but we were happy to take it off their hands! My husband was extremely proud of his find. LOL.

    1. Maybe try tying some reflective tape or mini pie pans in with your tomatoes to scare the birds away. I used to do that with a cherry tree and it worked quite well.

    2. I have a friend that is a Master Gardner and she said to hang red Christmas ornament balls on tomato plants before the tomatoes turn red. I need to remember to tdy it!

      1. D. and Bama Holly – thank you for the tips on the tomatoes! I will be sure to try both of those.

  37. Congratulations. Your skills are a perfect fit for that job and I am very happy for you!
    It has been a week filled with work for me, so I don’t feel I have many frugal things to say. Though working and not having time to shop are quite frugal! We went out for dinner (very rare these days) to celebrate my husband receiving tenure at his teaching job. We are deeply thankful.
    We had the neighbors over to play games and I had not food shopped in 2 weeks. I made English flapjacks again (oats, sugar, butter, honey) and melted a few chocolate chips to make chocolate drizzle for the top. The neighbors absolutely loved them and I was so pleased.
    I bought a couple of gifts ahead of time and sent them with someone who is visiting friends overseas. It saves SO much postage.

  38. So great about the new job! I know you’ll be a wonderful asset for their company. That sounds like just my kind of partnership — I keep hoping Johnny’s Seed will start taking on affiliates or influencers since I’m always pointing people to them anyway 🙂

    Gas prices are currently $4.29 here, so I’m cutting down even more on gas than normal. Anytime we’ve happened to be anywhere else where we see that the prices are cheaper, we make sure to stop and fill up, even if our tank is still half full. I’ve always combined trips — now I guess I’m just making even fewer of them.

    We’re currently trying to look for airfare for a family vacation we’ve been planning for years, but prices are definitely going up. I’ve been checking Google Flights daily, but I’m now kicking myself I didn’t order tickets back in February when I had the chance. Lesson learned the hard way, I guess!

    1. I’ve been asking them for years, but they got a new social media person and she saw my inquiry from before in the messages!

  39. My husband returned a pair of books that he ended up not liking the fit of and some work materials he did not need.

    I spent more than I intended at Sam’s, but used $27.59 in Sam’s cash and should be good on a few things for a while.

    My mom sent over bread, powdered milk, and snack cakes.

    Used a .50 off a rental at Redbox

    Filled out a satisfaction survey after our Papa John’s order(ordered a pizza and watched the new Matrix movie one evening)and received a code for a free papadilla that’s good for 90 days.

    I trimmed my hair. Curly hair is pretty forgiving, lol.

    My mother-in-law sent home popcorn, donuts, and peanut brittle when I picked up the teen.

    Read and returned 2 library books, picked up 2 more that were ready.

    Cleaned the house since I was off from one job last week. Was nice to get several items out the door.

    Called around looking for cheaper car insurance while I had time. Switching should save us $1,000+.

  40. Brandy, would love to know more about how you bury kitchen scraps in your garden! I compost but it takes so long to decompose and becomes useable. Thanks so much.

  41. I love this post! How wonderful for you, Brandy, congratulations!

    The leeks are such a wonderful gift, too. I hadn’t realized how good they were until I made a quiche with them. So good! I’ve tried growing them with limited success. But that was before I’d learned they needed to be trenched and ground added as they grew. So I may try them some day again.

    I’d like to list frugal accomplishments but it feels like one step forward and two back lately, ha ha.

  42. Congrats on the job!
    The steer went to the processer this week- while its an expense upfront, Im sure it will save us money on the long run, as the cost of meat just keeps going up up up. I ordered several 50# bags of flour, rice, and oats from honeyville, and some more mylar and 02 absorbers to package them. I’ve found that the gallons bags work better for me than the 5 gallon. Much easier to handle, and store better in the pantry. I put the sealed bags in totes. I’m hoping between the beef, the eggs from the chickens, the storage, and the garden this year we will be set for whatever comes our way.

    3 of the grandbabies- brothers- all had birthdays within 5 days. They came down on Saturday, I made cupcakes from supplies on hand, gifted them each a present I bought on sale after Christmas along with a book. They chased the chickens, fed apples to the horses, and generally wore themselves out.

  43. I had a good week in terms of mindful tasks and trying to be frugal. I made two loaves of sandwich bread. I purchased more flour and pasta for my pantry. Made soup with chicken and cream cheese and chilies that needed to be used. Roasted two chickens and made bone broth, the soups and froze small packages for ten meals for the two of us. Made a mixed berry pie with left pie crusts and canned pie filling my daughter bought last summer. Our postman brought us two dozen eggs the thank us for being his favorite people on his route! What a blessing. I was stocked on eggs so I boiled a dozen and froze two dozen. I planted my tomatoes in the greenhouse and garlic and leaf lettuce in a raised bed. I got 30 days free Kindle Unlimited so I am enjoying that along with my library ebooks.

  44. Good luck Brandy!! I don’t post often but I read these posts every week and appreciate everyone’s tips! Thank you!

    My week wasn’t all that frugal.

    However, here’s what I did
    ~made a pot of Chicken Tortilla soup in my 11:1 Ninja Foodi
    ~my mom cut mine & my husband’s hair & I had mine colored using a box of color she’d given me
    ~made chili in the Foodi
    ~took leftovers to work for lunch
    ~Hubby made spaghetti and meatballs in the Foodi
    ~drove 65 miles for my nephew’s birthday party, saw my son (he lives with his father), and that’s when we also got our haircuts. So combined 3 trips into 1.
    ~cashed a $50 refund check I’d received from the urgent care for a visit last June after my car accident, which was covered under my auto insurance
    ~cashed a $25 check from the trash company after I moved last year.
    ~stayed home most of the week save for driving to work. I live 3.8 miles from work.

    My niece is having her baby today or tomorrow! It’s a girl. I’m so excited to get to hold a newborn again! It’s a girl! Isla Mae(pronounced eye-la). We haven’t had a newborn in this family in 9 years!!

    Been trying to watch my spending as we all know prices are soaring. Think it’s time to stock a pantry.

    Hope everyone has a frugal & fruitful week!

  45. Brandy congratulations on your new job and what an exciting new opportunity it is for you along with having your beautiful garden displayed in their in store magazine 🙂 . Your husband is so handy to repurpose the metal leftovers from the pegola and bed frames to make a lovely saw table. Lovely you are passing on clothes that the children have grown out of to other family members and you have picked lots from your gardens and planted more.

    Our savings for last week added up to $91.78.

    In the kitchen-
    – Cooked 4 loaves of wholemeal/white bread in the bread making machines saving $13.96 over buying them locally.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.
    – Finally found 12 tins of smoked oysters at reasonable prices in the supermarkets to top the pantry back up with.

    Finances –
    – Paid an extra part payment off our mortgage and deposited more funds into our emergency fund.

    Purchases –
    – By putting in an online grocery order online and buying items on specials, using a promo code and using our 4% off e-gift card we were able to save $56.84 on usual prices.
    – From IGA we purchased 3kg beef sausages for $6kg and a 600ml of Norco thickened cream marked down to $1 saving $6.76 on prices elsewhere.
    – By using our 4% off gift card and buying san remo pasta and sauces on sale for $2 ea from Woolworths we were able to save $14.22 on usual prices.

    In the gardens –
    – Again I finally found some turnip seeds I have been chasing to buy for the gardens online and purchased a few packs.
    – DH dug out, weeded and amended one garden bed with vegetable scraps from the kitchen, dried leaves raked from the yard and shredded corn plant stalks.
    – I pruned a large lilac and a star jasmine hedges on the sides and front. Still another side on each to do and then pruning the tops of both.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead 🙂 .

  46. Congratulations Brandy! You have been influencing me at least for 10 years so far! I am happy more people are going to get to know you. The saga of our water consumption is still going on. Last week I did take advantage of the water in solid form outside 😉 It really made a difference in the water meter. I read about gardening using as less water as possible (permaculture) and I found out hugelkultur as well. I am definitely interested! I also learned about Pascal Poot who has developed an organic tomato seed business (somewhere in Southern France). His seeds are disease resistant and need little or no watering. Very interesting! I cut up 2 more t-shirts into rags to be used instead of paper products around the house. One night I saw the most amazing Northern Lights I have ever seen! More interestingly one big strand formed into ”a hand” kind of long arm streching out over this village and the other end spreading out in 5 smaller strands, like fingers, I found it very comforting and assuring in these uncertain times.

      1. I have considered, but nobody does it here as far as I know (except in greenhouses) so I think it is prone to freeze. One could of course build an insulated system or a movable one that could be taken inside for winter. I don’t know 🙂 We have had 2 hot (for us) summers in a row but usually there’s no lack of rain.

        1. Miriam,
          We live in Minnesota in the US and can get as cold as -30F(-34C) regularly in the winter and as hot as 100F(38F).
          We have drip irrigation for both our vegetables and flowers in the form of hoses that are rolled and stored as any other garden hoses for the winter. I’ve even made my own by poking holes a uniform distance apart in a regular hose that had sprung a leak! Worked fine, though store-purchased were more even with water distribution. We don’t need to use them often, but they do keep our water usage down if we do need to water.

    1. Miriam what a treat to see the Northern Lights! That is a dream of mine and it sounds amazing. A true blessing to be able to take in the beauty with everything going on in the world today.

  47. Thank you for the picture of the snow pea blossom! I am going to try growing those this year and now I know what the blossoms look like.
    Bama Mama thank you for the potato patties recipe. My kids love it!
    *In a community social media app many are saying their utility bill raised a lot last month and was surprised. Being aware of things, we were intentional about what level we kept our heat and our bill only slightly increased.
    *I am getting better at making sure we eat our left overs. The prices at the grocery store…. yikes! I have started meal planning again. My son made soup out of left over chicken and rice and added can veggies that were gifted to us. I really enjoy having another person in the household who can cook!
    *We are busy cleaning out our back yard and garden. We are blessed to have a back yard and this year we are going to maintain it and enjoy it. A few years ago my husband made a tiny fire pit. We are using the branches we cut off the weeds to burn in the fire pit.
    *Last week the county had free dump week. My husband took a couple of loads over to the dump.
    * With gas prices rising and our vehicle getting 12 miles per gallon I am shifting how I shop. Yard sales are currently not as economical. I went to Bargain Hunt (discount store) and purchased brand new items. 6 pants and 12 pairs of socks for my daughter for $30 and three summer dresses for myself for $30. Retail value was $135 and now the two of us are set for summer clothes.
    *I went to a vendors mall 1 mile from my house. I found a stack (8 magazines) of Rachel Ray Every Day (2017) for $3.50. I like reading these from time to time while sitting outside. I also picked up a vegan magazine for $1.oo and 4 food magazines for my son for $2.

    1. Wow on the summer clothes! What deals!

      You make a good point about garage sales and the cost of gas.

      1. That is a very valid point about yard sales. Here in Kentucky, we are so mountainous that gas mileage is even worse. That is very smart Renee!

  48. Wonderful news on your job! Wishing you lots of success.
    I made lunches when I have been heavily tempted to treat myself.
    Stretched leftovers are given to us like au gratin potatoes by adding 2 small sliced boiled potatoes. Use a cup of sauteed mushroom and onions and add that to pasta and spinach.
    Have things loaded in my Amazon cart, holding off one more week and a half to get another $5 GC from my Bing rewards to apply to it.
    Planted kale, chard, spinach, and salad greens in the garden. I usually plant sugar peas but haven’t had much success, so I dedicated that space to the above.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  49. Brandy you will be wonderful at this new job! After all, you are the gardening queen!!! Gas actually went down about 15 cents here and is now $4.09. Daughter is on spring break. We took a couple days and went on a little trip to Cleveland, OH to go to the rock and roll hall of fame. Stayed in a hotel one night that was downtown. You should have seen my husbands face when he saw it cost $32 per night to park! Yes, we are country folk and my husband has never ever been to a big city! It made me laugh. He didnt think it was safe to walk anywhere until I explained we would have to park again and pay more $$$. Let’s just say we were very glad to come home! This week I am working on getting my daughter’s room painted. Wow has paint really went up! The day we were leaving for Ohio my dryer belt broke. Seems like every few
    years we have washer/dryer issues. The dryer is only 2.5 years old. Before we left my son and husband figured out it was for sure the belt which was shredded and ordered the part. Supposed to be here today. Thankfully my mom let’s me use her dryer. It has been warmer here so the heat has mainly been off but probably going to have to turn it back on because its supposed to get cold and possibly snow again! Also just doing the normal every day frugal things like turning off lights, cutting down, using every last drop, staying home. I hope every one has a blessed week!

  50. Had an exciting day yesterday as I was able to purchase both a lemon and lime tree! I have not been able to find them since COVID began. My old ones were killed in a late freeze that we had. The shocking thing, however, was the price. $72 per tree! Was astounded! Bought them anyway as I had called everywhere and knew no other stores had them! I pray that they produce!

    Hoping to get seeds in the ground today. We are on the edge of the area in the South projected to have high winds and storms. Am praying for everyone!

    Have a wonderful day out there! Stay safe!

  51. Congratulations on the job Brandy. That is so exciting.
    The weather has been warmer than normal lately and I have been taking advantage of it. The lady I help and I drove to the beach near her and sat on a bench and watched the birds. She commented how she has not come down to the beach in years and really missed it. It will be something we do often this spring before it gets HOT. The little boy I watch and I went to the park 2 days. We also played baseball in my yard. I got chalk so we have been doing chalk drawings in the driveway. My youngest daughter taught him hopscotch too. We have been going on lots of walks with the dog also.
    My son turned 23. My YD decorated with items we already had. My oldest daughter took the train home to visit for a long weekend. She bought her ticket in January when I saw a special on Amtrak for $20. With gas prices what they currently are she saved a lot taking the train and she was able to work while she commuted. My parents came the day of his birthday too. Hubby and I made a huge pot of sauce with lots of different meat. I made 2 loaves of homemade bread which they devoured. I made a big salad too. My OD made a blueberry cobbler which the birthday boy asked for and we made GF chocolate cupcakes. My mom brought homemade cookies too. My mom brought jars, coupons, paper plates, GF Oreos and a book. I sent her home with a bag of items and enough food for another meal for her and my dad. We played cards too.
    My youngest daughter’s best friend was home for the week for spring break. She helped YD color her hair. They hung out all week and spent no money. They just went for walks, played games, popped popcorn, and watched movies.
    Very few good deals at the supermarket this week. I found 28 oz. cans of tomatoes for 54¢. I bought all 6. Mango jello was clearance for 64¢. I bought 10 more pounds of pasta at Aldi for 78¢ each. I am trying to use my money wisely and buy items that I am worried are going to be hard to find or get very expensive.
    We have been doing yard cleanup as the weather and time allow. I did get my peas planted outside so that made me very happy. My seeds indoors are coming along nicely. OD brought me some seeds and I gave her some to take home.
    Otherwise we have been doing our everyday frugal list: full loads in the washer and dryer, bulk cooking, eating leftovers, composting, batching errands, hang laundry to dry, keeping the heat low, playing board games we already own and the Wii instead of spending money on new items.

  52. You are the perfect person for that job! What a win/win for you and the nursery.

    I took my DH to a doctor appointment that was at noon and an hour’s drive from his assisted living facility. Although I bought an inexpensive meal (under $5) for him on the road after we left (he missed lunch in his ALF), I didn’t buy one for myself, as I had brought my own lunch with me to work. I ate it once I returned to work.

    The stalk of lemongrass that I accidentally pulled up out of my plant last fall and then quickly planted is putting out green leaves now.

    I filled two slow cookers with bones from the freezer and made several quarts of bone broth. I quit separating the bones by meat type some time ago. The broth tastes good anyway.

    I emptied a tall shaker/pour-top plastic container of salt into my vintage kitchen salt pot, pried the container’s lid off, refilled the container with baking soda to use for cleaning, and popped the lid back on.

    I’m using up a shampoo that doesn’t thrill me, but doesn’t harm my hair, either. It’s better than wasting it.

    I made chicken and dumplings using the backs and neck of a chicken I had cut up earlier. There’s enough meat on the backs to add some back to the pot.

    I requested a write-off on a medical bill for which we had paid thousands for our portion, only to find out there was $16 left over to pay after insurance paid its own portion. I got the $16 written off. Always ask!

  53. Great news on the job! I am always in awe of your garden.

    Major money saver here this week.. of just not spending it.

    2 friends offered to come help me renovate the ridiculous large laundry room. It is being split into a bedroom with a pocket door, a laundry room, and an ammunition closet! The contractor’s estimated $12,000 – 14,000 for the project. We are cobbling together leftover lumber, hardware, electrical and plumbing supplies, and possibly flooring from our respective houses, so it should cost me less than $3,000 – even with some splurges in the form of a special-order light, custom wallpaper, and cabinets. So sweat equity plus $425 for the framing, pocket door, electrical, and plumbing so far. We expect to have the rooms finished before my husband comes home on leave in April.

    When he comes homes, we will staycation rather than going to a resort. This will provide me the money for stage 2 of the renovations (the upstairs bath).

    Made dinner for my friends and their wives Sunday as a thank you out of the pantry and freezer. My cherry oatmeal crisp went over quite well. Attended 2 dinner parties with friends. Only ate out once and brought home 2 meals of leftovers.
    Resisted buying new summer clothes. What I have is sufficient. I will probably send many of them that truthfully go unworn to Salvation Army this week if I honestly Kon Marie my summer clothes box.

    finally inventoried the freezer and things look good in there. Found several containers of soup which I will use in the next couple of weeks to make room. Made some extra room by making Brunswick Stew with some of the random leftovers and freezer burned meat. Shared it with my colleagues at work as there was too much for me.

    Weather is warming up here, so I will begin creeping up the thermostat to reduce the AC bill. I haven’t decided if I will open the above ground pool this year. I will not get new chicks this year as I don’t eat enough eggs to warrant it. We will get new birds when my husband returns from deployment.

  54. That is some exciting news Brandy!!!! I am so happy for you. You will do well with this, I am more than sure you will. What did we do to save money? hmmmm……well……2 weeks prior, we had an impulse buy and bought a smoker. We were getting bored with the same old things and flavors. This past Saturday my husband smoked a beef roast, 10lbs of chicken leg quarters and a boston butt shoulder roast. He then sliced the beef and boston butt in the meat slicer. I dont have to cook meat for dinner all week. On Sunday, after months and months of contemplating, I bought an immersion blender. I made some homemade mayo yesterday. Since a jar of hellman’s is $6+ here in Florida, I will recoup the cost in no time. My 20 year old food processor finally stopped working, so my only way to make mayo was in the ninja blender. It works fine, but as I’m slowly pouring the oil in, mayo is splattering back out the little hole and I have mayo splatters all the way up my cabinet…….so I save money not having to clean that off!!!! Did all the regular stuff to save money.

  55. I join in the chorus of congratulations on your new job!

    We saw about a $40 decrease in our monthly electricity bill from the same usage level the month before due to the change to time of use billing which we were careful to follow as much as possible. I also shopped quite a few grocery items on sale and was happy with the reduced prices. Having hurt my back I found a local chiropractor who takes Medicare and my PPO secondary insurance so it only costs me $25 per visit. Very hopeful after first session,

    1. Juhli, I hope the chiropractor helps you as much as it helped me! After I started going, I wondered why I waited so long. Now my whole family goes. Our chiro treats my kids for free, which is super nice.

  56. Brandy, I saw that lovely hat on Instagram. It is really pretty! And congratulations on the influencer job. I wish you great success!

    I meant to share this months ago and am only just now thinking of it. Brandy recommended some curtains she’d ordered for her home from Amazon that were silk, lined and well priced. I went to the site to order and noted that the ones I was looking at said I could save money buying them USED from Amazon. I assumed correctly they were just returns. I bought them for half the cost of the curtains I’d been looking at (which were also quite reasonable) and can’t say enough good things about them.

    My efforts to lower our grocery budget this month did not work out as planned. That is due to my husband and I both being unwell. When we made it to the grocery we went to the nearest to us, the one that fills our prescriptions. Unfortunately it is a higher end store. That’s where we did all of our shopping. It took every penny of our entire former budget but I’m not going to complain. We were both so exhausted (his was back pain, I was weak following a nasty virus) that I’m just grateful we were able to shop there PERIOD. Because we were shopping at this higher end store I made an accidental discovery. They had whole chickens for $1.01 a pound. I’d been purchasing them in a nearby town at a ‘discount’ grocery that adds 10% to prices which are supposed to be wholesale. I thought their 98c a pound chicken was a good buy but not so much if I can save money buying them at the higher end grocery.

    Despite prescriptions (added ones) and a doctor visit and such we’re hanging in there. Nearly all our meals have been cooked at home. Like an earlier commenter, my husband took us out for hamburgers one night while I was feeling weary and weak following that virus. Like her husband, I saw it as a kindness. It was admittedly terribly nice not to have to cook a meal from scratch when I was feeling so poorly. I’d had a few prepared things on hand that I’d made and tucked in the fridge when I thought I might be ill and a few more in the freezer but we went right thru them. My husband can pretty much make sandwiches, and cook eggs. I keep mostly ‘from scratch’ foods on hand and thats an issue when I do get sick.

    I spent time this week using what we had to make easy freezer meals. I put spaghetti sauce (I’m sure he can boil spaghetti!), shredded BBQ chicken, a Broccoli, Chicken, Rice casserole, Chili and Vegetable Beef Soup in the freezer so far. I have more chicken for chicken pot pie and perhaps another casserole, and a couple of meatless casseroles I plan to work on this week and freeze as well. That will give me a nice stash of prepared meals once more. These are just as handy on the days we are super busy with grandchildren or with heavy tasks about the house.

    Just before I was so sick, I removed everything from the upper cabinets on two walls of my kitchen. My husband and I have been talking about renovating the kitchen and his idea was to remove those cupboards. I’d agreed, but I wanted to see if I could make the things in them fit elsewhere in the room. Well I did! So this week, he’s begun taking down those cabinets. They are being reused in a closet in his music room and anything we can’t use there we will hang in my shed to use as storage there. I’m very excited to begin this work. We will be doing the renovation work in stages but it’s looking good for this first step and I am excited.

  57. Congratulations on your new position as influencer at the nursery! I have worked as a blog/brand ambassador for several online companies but haven’t worked with a local one. I think that would be so rewarding and exciting. Looking forward to seeing more of your Star Nursery posts. Their geraniums look so lush and full!!

    Last week was spring break so I got to work in the garden each morning. The weather was just beautiful. I was pleased to see that there were many earthworms in the raised beds. They were not there last year as the beds were new. We have landscape fabric under the soil, so I’m not sure how the worms even got in there! I was holding off on buying composting worms until I checked my indoor compost bin to see if I could revive the worms….unfortunately it’s dry as a bone, so I am going to have to order a new batch. I moved the bin out of the garage and inside to the basement landing so that it will be easier for me to check them regularly. I’ll take better care of them this time so I don’t repeat that frugal fail! I used to keep a back-up worm colony just in case of a catastrophe in the main one, but it was too busy this fall to take care of any of it. Transplanted the seedlings that started in the Aerogarden. The roots on them were unbelievable after just 2 weeks. I can’t wait to see how they do now that they’re in soil. I soaked some beet seeds and forgot about them…by the time I remembered 3 days later, they had already germinated. The little sprouts were floating around in the water. Oops! I planted them, hoping they make it.

    We didn’t travel over spring break. It was wonderful to stay home and relax, as well as being a money-saver. I used to be the kind of person who loved to be out and about all of the time. Surprising to me, Covid brought out my inner introvert — I definitely prefer to be a homebody these days. We cooked most meals at home and really enjoyed the times we went to restaurants. I went to The Fresh Market on Tuesday and purchased some on-sale ground chuck and chicken breast ($3.99/lb each). All of that went into the freezer for future meals. My husband spent a day & a half sealing the driveway. The materials cost around $400; he says it would have been twice that to have it professionally done.

    I have been trying to declutter a little at a time. I posted several things on Facebook Marketplace — mostly new skincare products, but also a couple of new toys and a NWT women’s shirt. I haven’t sold any of them yet, nor have received any messages or offers. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. The photos are good, and the prices are about 1/4 of retail. Any advice from those who sell there regularly? I might try them on Poshmark or Mercari before giving up.

    1. The ones I got are actually faux silk, but they look like silk, and I love them too!

  58. Wow, congrats on the new job! You are definitely a perfect fit for the position. I truly hope it blesses your family. I saw the hat on Instagram and I absolutely love it! I have two large hats that I wear in the garden and I would love to do something similar. Both need ribbon attached as I have to fight the wind to keep them on.
    I struggled to post last week so I will just combine the two.
    A friend that lives in the country with massive gardens invited us to come dig up blackberry and raspberry canes that volunteered outside his patches. He has many and all kinds of fruit trees, grape vines and massive gardens. He’s offered previously but we never had a place cleared in our yard. This year was different as we had 5 large trees cut last year and 3 more scheduled at the end of the week. My oldest and I traveled out to his place and when it was all said and done ended up with 15 raspberry canes, 57 blackberry canes and a ton of garlic to plant. We pre-dug some of the patch but had our work cut out as we didn’t plan on so many! The patch we cleared for them fit 51 blackberry canes and 15 raspberry canes. The others I soaked the roots overnight and offered them to my sister the next day. She didn’t want them so my old decided to find a home for them. He dug the holes along a fence line where we have a raspberry bush currently. Today I checked each one and so far 36 have new growth! I was thrilled as I figured maybe half would make it but it looks like many more will. They are established canes and many will produce this year. Blackberry/Raspberry canes are normally $8.99+ here so it was a huge savings! It cost us 2 gallons of gas and a soda as a treat for my son so about the cost of one plant if I had purchased locally.
    I planted out my Early Jersey Wakefield and New Brunswick Cabbages, Lolla Rossa and Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, Spinach, Tatsoi, Boltardy Beets and Ranunculus I started from seed and corms. I am determined to grow everything from seed this year, if at all possible. I have more seeds to plant this week and pot up my peppers, tomatoes and dahlias. I am going to try to root my pinched sweet pea flowers to see if I can get extra plants.
    We are expanding our vegetable garden and currently working on fencing it in. I dug two Lavendar plants I have had for a few years and was able to separate the two into 6 total plants.
    Although our arbor isn’t finished, I received my David Austin climbing roses and held them as long as I could before they really needed to go into the ground as one was already waking up. We plotted it out and planted both so they would not be harmed when the arbor goes in. One already has green leaves starting which makes me a little nervous as I hope it concentrates on the roots before the leaves.
    We were able to pickup the worm farm and tumbling composter from our friend whose father passed away. When we arrived his widow had a little basket made up and when we got home realized inside was cash to purchase the first set of worms for the composter. In return, she asked if we would send photos of the children setting it up and enjoying it.
    On the first day of spring, I used free shipping offered by Botanical Interests to redeem a free seed packet I had an offer for and added a packet of hybrid broccoli I am going to try. I usually try to always go with heirloom and open pollinated varieties so I can collect seed but I have such an issue with my brassicas bolting in the spring because of the huge weather swings we have. This is one I am going to try in the fall.
    We have worked diligently on our electricity usage. I looked at my Entergy app mid-way through the month and despite using less KW than last year they were predicting my monthly bill was going to be $107 more. This motivated me even more to talk to my husband and children. With our weather being warmer than normal, we have been able to turn off the heat and open the windows. Even though it has been really warm in the late afternoons several days, we just ran the fans. In the past my husband would have wanted the ac on, but he is on board with lowering our bill. We have worked hard on using natural light, unplugging everything and watching the time of the dryer so it doesn’t over dry. Now we are 2 days away from the end of the billing cycle and it shows we are only going to be about $20 over last year, so we brought it down about $87 from what it predicted. I am happy we were able to bring it down. We received a notice from the electric company telling us to expect another rate increase.
    This week I made stir-fry, chicken and rice soup, fried liver for my husband, baked chicken with potatoes and root veggies, homemade bread many times, muffins, eggs (from our chickens) with spinach and chopped ham…that is all I can think of at the moment. We did order out one night from a local Mexican Restuarant; we do this a few times a year. They have kid’s meal for $2.20 that my children enjoy that have a taco, beans and rice. It is enough that my children, except my 14 year old, can eat on it for two meals. Since my children have allergies, we don’t get the tortilla and they add extra chicken on top with the taco fillings. It is like a taco salad bowl basically. For eating out it is very inexpensive and a real treat to not have to cook.
    I cleaned out my cabinets and checked the dates on everything. Pulled things that needed to be used soon, made lists of what I had and what I am lacking so I can start watching for items to refill. I need to do the same to my freezers next week.
    I signed up for a free 7-day trial to watch a program and made sure to cancel after I watched as not to forget it. I am excited to have the time to watch the new episode of Call of the Midwife.
    I gave my husband a haircut.
    I hope that everyone has a productive week! This week (and all weeks going forward) I am going to make a concentrated effort to focus on things I can control and leave the rest that is beyond my hands with our creator.

  59. Brandy congrats, you are a natural pick for the influencer! I so appreciate everything I have learned from you and all the commenters on this blog. It is my sanity in this crazy world.

    -I went to Woods Farm, Seed, and Nursery and picked up 5 packets of seeds-radishes, Daikon watermelon radishes, Bibb lettuce, iceberg lettuce, and Burpless cucumbers. I have all other seeds needed for green beans, pea pods, peas, beets, kolarabi, kale, carrots, Swiss chard, and zucchini. I have ordered and paid for 12 tomato plants, 12 pepper plant, and 2 basil plants. I will only need to buy seed potatoes, onion sets, cabbage starts, and watermelon starts.

    -I made tamale pie hot dish (yes that is what we call it in Minnesota!) with 2 pints of canned ground beef.

    -I also made some hand pies using canned apple pie filling. I get 8 hand pies from a 2 crust pie crust recipe. I cut the pie crust in 4 pieces, put the filling down the center, fold over, and crimp down with a fork. Easier to eat and portable.

    -Last time I bought 5# of coffee I ordered beans by mistake instead of ground. My daughter had an electric coffee grinder she wasn’t using, so she gave it to me. I am liking grinding my own-seems much fresher and not as bitter.

    -No groceries bought this week, nothing needed and no deals, so no money spent.

    -It has finally gotten warmer and our 2 1/2 feet of snow is melting. I can now see my dwarf cherry trees. They were about 3/4 covered with snow. We had a lot of subzero weather this winter, I am concerned about the survival of the 2 new cherry and 2 new pear trees planted last spring. Time will tell if they survive. They are rated for our zone and I have the receipts and hang tags for them, if they don’t survive the nursery will refund us the cost and we will try again.

    -Meals this week were the tamale pie, and frozen single meals from the freezer. Hubby was gone goose hunting so I just had to heat up my meals and not actually cook. Plus it cleaned out a shelf in the freezer I reserve for leftovers I freeze. I used up several soups, some muffins, and a couple of hot dish type food.

    Have a great week!

  60. Thank you for the recommendation for Matthew Hussey’s works. I have just started his Get the Guy book and it exactly what this reader with a broken heart needs today.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that.

      Make sure to watch his videos! He talks a lot about understanding your value. Glad you like the book! Hugs!

  61. Hello from a very wet South Mississippi this morning. Our area did not get the weather as was anticipated, but areas all around us did so I am very thankful that we were kept safe and praying for those affected by the storms.
    Frugal accomplishments are as follows…..
    1. Cooked a ham, sliced up the leftovers, used my vacuum sealer and sealed up enough for seven more meals.
    2. We had planned an anniversary trip to Saint Louis the beginning of April. We were getting increasingly concerned because of the price of gas that we were not going to be able to afford to go when I got an email offer for a cruise that was the price of our estimated gas alone! I immediately booked it and canceled our reservations to our hotel in Saint Louis. We have cruised before, so we got an excellent deal. (Less than 400 for two people for four days).
    3. We have stayed home and did at home dates a good bit since gas prices are climbing. They seemed to have steadied at the moment, so hopefully they will stay where they are or go down.
    4. My husband and I have started carpooling. I drive a 2009 Jeep Patriot that is a standard so I get really good gas mileage compared to his V8 truck. It means I may have to sit and wait a little while for him to get off work a day or two, but for the most part it works just fine. He rides to work with our son in the mornings and they split the gas.
    5. I cleaned out my freezer and took stock of what I had and realized I had several packages of meat that I didn’t know I had. Those immediately got moved to the top so they can be used first.
    6. Froze leftovers. Normally I put them in the fridge for people to take for lunch, but they normally get thrown out since we don’t really eat leftovers very much. However, I normally cook way too much chicken or hamburgers and it’s very wasteful, so I started freezing the leftovers. Last night’s dinner was ten leftover hamburgers from the week before that I reheated and served with green beans and cauliflower rice. It made an easy and cheap meal. I cooked way too much chicken on Monday night so I shredded the leftover and froze it for another meal. I’ve just finally accepted we aren’t going to take the leftovers for lunch, so I’m going to find another way to use them.
    That’s all for now! Have a great week.

  62. My niece is moving and she blessed me with her very nice artificial Christmas tree and decorations. She also blessed me with some fall decorations. She is moving into an apartment until she can find another house. I offered to store these for her, and said I could just have them. It may be spring, but I will take them.

  63. When our last coffee machine died, we just switched to the pour over method. It is a plastic piece by Melitta that goes over your coffee cup and you just pour boiling water over your coffee.

  64. Brandy, what a wonderful opportunity for you and for the nursery. You have been so diligent and creative for so long in your garden, I think they will benefit from your contributions, greatly! How exciting to be featured in your magazine, I hope you will share pictures!

    I ordered the new Maisie Dobbs book and look forward to reading it! I love the recommendations on this site!

    I am looking into getting curtains for my living spaces after 20 years in this house. When we bought it there was only one close neighbor and I love plain windows. I am realizing that my electric bill is highest in the summer and not having curtains or blinds is the cause, we run our house at 79 and the bill is still high. Any recommendations for nice farmhouse style curtains that will help block light?

    I have been busy planting beets, and kale and transplanting spring onions, lettuce, dandelions and plantain. The critters ate the sugar peas and radish seedlings. I will try again with the radishes, I am starting more lettuce
    from seed. I used ashes and manure to amend the beds.

    I cooked two roasts, one a bbq and the other a pork carnitas. I also got a huge rotisserie chicken at Costco and I am set for meat for quite a while. I continue to make soups and salads for dinners and lunches, so easy and healthy.

    I am line drying all laundry, cutting up paper for to do lists, minimizing trips and watching electricity useage like a hawk!

    Hoping you all enjoy the change of seasons and the hope it brings!


    1. I love plain windows too but the family wanted curtains. I ordered mine through Amazon from a company called Half Price Drapes. Perhaps you can find something you like there!

  65. Congratulations on the influencer job, and your husband’s ability to find ways to use items creatively! I checked out the website link for the nursery and liked some of your Facebook posts ;). Hopefully you will learn a lot, help people and grow! As someone said earlier in the comments, this blog is such a nice spot….in a world of chaos and craziness, thank you again for your creation and maintenance of this little spot of kindness. I am sure there are days and weeks where the time spent on this blog is hard to find. On to our frugal activities….With all the news on inflation recently, I have kept reviewing our pantry and freezer and topped off what I could. I reviewed our 2022 budget for any large expenditures to see if we did them earlier, would the price be better. It appears we will postpone all our home improvement projects just so we have money for emergencies. Otherwise, our expenses are just the usual. I have noticed the sales at the grocery stores are really disappointing…well, on the plus side, less to spend ;). Overall, we are hunkered down and hoping for the best, keeping money in savings as we can. Congratulation on your new influencer job! They are lucky to have you on their team!

    1. Re: Postponing home improvement projects: Our annual home owners insurance, due in early May, increased by about ten percent. I presume it is because of increased costs of building materials.

  66. I am also having some sticker shock at the grocery store. I’m planning on putting in some cold frames this spring to extend our growing season. Still enjoying overwintered parsley, rosemary and mint inside. A few pepper plants are still alive indoors overwintered although it’ll be another 2 months before they can go outside.
    Made a corned beef for St Patrick’s Day. However, the weather was really warm so we ended up having a BBQ with family. We had the corned beef for 2 nights with Irish soda bread. I found some Aldi pizzas on clearance for a birthday party and made cupcakes. Used leftovers to make a stir fry. Also baked morning glory muffins. Used up a Starbucks reward for a free coffee on a tough day.
    Hot glued a cake plate back together, my sons shoes and a wobbly chair.
    I was able to get outside for a run, and ran a few times on the treadmill. I signed up for some summer races, not quite frugal but excited to get in better shape and most of them are fundraisers.

    1. I just want to cry every time I see the new, higher prices at the store. So many things went up $3 each a couple of weeks ago that it was shocking.

      1. I didn’t really notice higher prices until yesterday. A friend asked me to grab two canisters of coffee for her while shopping out of town. The sale price was 7.49 with regular price at over 12.00! I know sales cycles are about three months out. So, i’m thinking they had no clue how high the prices would go between writing up the ad and the actual date of sale. The ‘sale’ sticker read 9.39 but rang up at the advertised 7.49. I’ve also noticed that some price stickers have been removed. I’m assuming because the prices keep changing. France may implement food vouchers for those in need. And, of course, Russia is starting to feel the pinch with rationing starting. We may be in for a world of hurt in the coming months.
        Go ahead and delete if this is too off topic, Brandy.

        1. This is a worldwide issue and it’s very important. I hope we can all further discuss ideas on what to do as shortages occur.

      2. We use Tide pods which I usually buy from Sam’s Club — last order was in December, $26.98 for 168 pods. This week I was checking the price….it is up to $32.58 for 168 pods. I was shocked at the increase.

  67. Great to hear about your nursery influencer role. Their website is comprehensive.

    This week I shopped Easter treats, spending a total of $7. I pulled out our Easter supplies too. Bunting to hang, baskets for the egg hunt and Easter themed bags to put each childs large chocolate Easter bunny into. I also reused some faux feathers in soft Easter colours, straw like paper and clear bags to make up Easter gifts for friends and family. I will tie them up with used ribbon. In each bag, I will put a few of the treats I purchased. For the MIL and my mother I got them boot style slippers, on clearance for $2 each. It is coming into Winter around Easter time so will be appreciated. They each do not care for chocolate. I located two Easter themed gift bags that I will reuse for the slippers. I bought Hot Cross Buns (these were not included in my $7 Easter treat total), which I froze for Easter breakfast. I will toast them and put ice cream and maple syrup on top.

    We gratefully recieved a hot lunch when attending a birthday party.
    This week we have eaten lentil and ground beef spaghetti for five dinners, four times with a side of pumpkin. We have also had scrambled eggs and boiled eggs on toast with tomato and avocado (drizzled with lemon) for the remainder dinners. Other food included anything we could think of to use up our abundance of lemons, mangos, pumpkin and bananas. Our mandarin (tangerine?) tree has so much fruit on it, about to be ready for picking in the next few weeks.

    1. I hope my mandarins do well! I put in three different kinds. We could just eat and eat them so I hope the ones I planted are sweet and not horribly sour.

      1. Sending positive vibes to your mandarin trees Brandy. I hope they are very sweet for your family to enjoy. I love mandarin season.

  68. Brandy: The President was answering questions today in Poland and was reported to have said that the US would experience a severe food shortage as well as the rest of the world. Challenging times! I know I would appreciate those in the East Tennessee area sharing locations of products, sales, etc., so that I might take advantage of them and I would do so in kind—which we do now, but not as specific. Just a thought. I am so thankful for this group!

    1. I saw the quote.

      I’m fairly frustrated with it, to be honest.

      We only get 10% of our nitrogen fertilizer from Russia.

      There was already a worldwide fertilizer (ammonia and potash) shortage.

      We have other reasons for shortages. Parage Magazine used the quote, then gave tons of reasons for shortages (including packaging shortages, slaughterhouse employee shortages, etc.–all of which are solid reasons for shortages) but left out four really serious and important things:

      1. 61% of the U.S. is in drought. Many farmers won’t be getting any water at all for their crops this year.
      2. Last year’s wheat harvest was 30% of normal due to drought (and to a smaller amount, grasshoppers).
      3. Fertilizer shortages, which are going to be a major reason for reduced yields
      4. Avian flu is causing massive chicken culling in the U.S. (as well as the U.K.)

      NONE of these situations (save a tiny bit the fertilizer) have anything to do with Russia.

      We were going to have food shortages regardless of this war, and you can’t really blame Russia for all of these reasons, because they don’t have anything to do with Russia.

      I’ve been following the drought and food situation here in-depth for the last year and I’ve been concerned about it (and have mentioned it both her and on my Facebook page) and all of these were a concern before. They are a serious concern.

      Now, other countries, including Lebanon and Yemin, are in big trouble because of the war.

      But the U.S. grows our own wheat. Our wheat harvest has other problems, the major one being drought, but now fertilizer as well. I watched state after state turn off water to wheat farmers last year. Kansas seemed to be the one state getting rain–and the last article read (quite recently) said they hadn’t had any rain since October–and it is destroying their winter wheat crop.

      And while 61% of the country struggles with drought, the other part has been dealing with flooding.

      I’m going to talk about this more because I really, truly think a garden is very important right now.

      1. And the propane used to dry the wheat, the diesel for farm equipment, transportation to processing and distribution ….. nada to do with Russia.

        1. Yes. I think it’s a convenient scapegoat, but the truth is, the U.S. has many real issues going on right now with food production.

      2. I agree with you, Brandy. Perhaps, you should include this information in this weeks post, as many will miss it. I have been sharing information with family members for about 2-3 years concerning drought, fires etc, and it’s effects on our food supply. Because my opinions come from the perspective as an environmentalist many attribute them politically. It is not. While the war between Russia and Ukraine will make some of these issues worse, they were already here.
        Thank you for your insight, and your perspective. I have mentioned before, but will do so again.:You became a lifeline to me, as a new widow (2016) and gave me a community in some really lonely times. I grateful for you.

        1. I think it’s going to be a separate post. It’s a concerning issue, and it’s definitely hugely environmental.

      3. Brandy: Thank you for your broad analysis of this situation. My trust of politicians(of all persuasions)is at an all time low and I so hate trying to discern what kernel of truth might be found in their speeches/comments. I have been following the drought situation for the past few years and share your concern. Years ago, I read that the most valuable commodity of all in the future would be water for drinking and crops. It appears that it is coming to pass.

        I thank you for addressing all the issues you stated and am anxious to see what solutions this amazing group will put forward.

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