I harvested basil and Swiss chard from the garden.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside.

I prepared meals from what we had at home. Though I know there are some sales, I’m trying to spend as little as possible right now and use what we have for the next several months.

Several people asked me what sales I am going to look for this holiday season. I am planning to buy very little (milk, tortillas, sour cream, salsa, and margarine for certain) and use up what we have.

I said yes to an offer of several pounds of lentils, yellow split peas, and walnuts. I was offered these by a woman who works with the food bank outreach program; apparently, none of the families wanted these.

My mom gifted me with 10 pounds of potatoes bought on sale. She also gifted me a bracelet (that I love!) and some baskets that she bought at garage sales.

I found some language-learning audio books from the library via the Hoopla app that were word-for-word the lessons (from the same company) as an app that I was looking at a couple of weeks ago. I liked the app and was using it for a week for free, but when the free trial was up, I realized that I was really limited on what parts were free. The same company has videos on YouTube so I have been watching/listening to those. There are 5 audio books from the library on and so I think between this and the YouTube videos I can get all the lessons for no cost. This is a huge savings as a one-year subscription to the app is $200.

I have a hard time listening to audio books, as a child or six always needs to talk to me, but I have surprisingly been able to listen to several lessons already.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Brandy,
    I know you’re very busy, but would you be willing to share with us what meals you are making each week?
    I’m reminded of a post you shared last year when you had a friend visiting, you mentioned serving a pasta salad and feeding 13 people with one pound of pasta if I recall. Would love to know that recipe! Thanks!

    1. Look at my salad recipes. I have two pasta salads there. The secret is lots and lots of vegetables. I prefer this; it healthier and more filling than one that is mostly noodles.

      I don’t meal plan in the traditional way but I will try to share more of what we made in my posts each week.

  2. I found the same thing to be true of audiobooks during this season of my life — I find them almost impossible to listen to because I’m constantly getting interrupted. It’s okay, though — I’m a pretty old-fashioned, print-loving person anyway 🙂 I’m guessing the language you’re studying is still French, or have you moved on to another?

    Autumn has barely been clinging on here, but it looks like the weather finally might be turning after Thanksgiving. I’m never ready for winter, but we do need the moisture, so I guess I’ll be okay with it.

    Here are my frugal wins for last week:

  3. Earned $10.50 back from Ibotta. That includes the free Thanksgiving sides.

    We don’t eat canned cranberry sauce(got it free after rebateon Ibotta), so when my son went over to hang up my mom’s Christmas lights, he took it to her. She apparently ended up with a Thanksgiving basket and sent a bunch of stuff back with him(She’s incredibly picky). I ended up with a loaf of bread, a box of stuffing, brownie mix, saltine crackers, jello, cans of corn, green beans, and chicken soup, margarine, plus a dozen eggs.

    A family of one of our teachers provided a delicious lunch last week for staff…soup, sandwiches, brownies, and drinks, plus they gave us amazing smelling lotion(claimed by my teen, lol) and had drawings for gift cards. I won a $15 to Ross/TJ Max/Marshall’s which I’ll put towards something.

    We also had Krispy Kreme donuts on Friday.

    Found a pair of jeans for $5 at Walmart

    Had to wait a little long at Sonic and they gave me a free corn dog coupon

    Cashed in my rebate apps for $165 in Amazon Gift Cards

    Purchased a $50 Bath and Body works gift card for $40(for the teen for Christmas)

    I called hospital billing to set up payment arrangements for my husband’s ER visit and they offered $800 off if we paid in full (which we took advantage of)

    Made chicken stock with carcasses I had in the freezer. Ended up with 17 cups of golden goodness. Should last us until I get more saved up.

    Purchased 2 10 pound bags of potatoes for $2.67 each. Sadly, they won’t last long because we love potatoes around here.

    1. First time I have commented although I read and enjoy everyone’s stories every week, but I was compelled to comment by realising how incredibly lucky we are in my country of Australia, that there is free hospital treatment for everyone, regardless of income. Private Health insurance is encouraged, with tax benefits offered, but it is the right of everyone to be treated at the ER of any public hospital (which is how the vast majority are designated) for no cost. If you present at Emergency, you will be treated, including surgery, x-rays, scans etc, for free. There is no cost for this or any follow up visits, procedures or appointments. The downside is that if you are using the Public System there are frequently wait times, and you cannot choose your own surgeon or specialist. But if it’s a choice between enormous expense and possible debt, or the Public System, more and more are choosing to “go public”.
      This is a simplified description of the system, but it shows how very lucky we are to have this available to us 💕

  4. Beautiful photos as always, Brandy! And, I so enjoy your Instagram posts and stories/reels. The accompanying music is such a pleasure!

    So grateful for this community of likeminded frugal kindred spirits who are so willing to share great tried and true tips!

    Thank you to everyone who replied to my comment last week regarding stocking up on healthy lean proteins, fresh veggies and fruits, instead of the items that hubby and I really don’t eat much of (flour, pasta, rice, sugar, etc.).

    Miriam – My hubby would love the thought of sauerkraut (with him being Polish and it being a staple in his grandmother’s home). Thank you for the idea!

    Margie from Toronto – Pierogies are another item from my husband’s Polish family childhood that he would certainly enjoy!

    Ellie’s Friend – I so love the idea to freeze roasted tomatoes. Never thought of that! I do freeze sliced fresh tomatoes, but haven’t tried roasting them first. What a time saver. Many thanks for the tip!

    This year, I’ve vowed to focus on creating a frugal and calm approach to Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year. Have really enjoyed Beth Kempton’s free podcast – Calm Christmas – encouraging us to reevaluate why we celebrate the way we do in our homes – the traditions that we maintain and the influence commercialism has on the holiday. Her focus is on Christmas, but I will apply to all occasions throughout the year. Along with the great tips she shares, she has an incredibly lovely voice.


    She shares a very well balanced method for eliminating stress-inducing traditions that we mindlessly continue, and has great steps for creating a more calm holiday.

    It has me doing a deep dive and taking a serious look at our family’s traditions, especially relating to menus, gift giving and exchanging, and even eliminating some mindless purchases that create no real value to the person who receives them.

    It will no doubt take a few years’ worth of holidays to make lasting changes, but I’m enjoying the possibilities!

    This week’s frugal efforts:

    *Made Thanksgiving cards, rather than buying them. Super simple design but all supplies were on hand. Purchased greeting cards are pricey!

    *Polled family members in order to create our Thanksgiving menu rather than planning to serve what “we’ve always had.” Asked them for one food item that made Thanksgiving extra special for them – their choices surprised me. Will do the same for Christmas menu. This approach resulted in a nontraditional menu we all will enjoy, with less cost and less time in the kitchen for me, no turkey/ham baking. We’ve discovered that none of our family members, including hubby and I, are fond of turkey. … https://pin.it/2kn6Xa6

    *Gratefully accepted a gift of pears from a dear elderly neighbor.

    *Enjoyed a tasty dinner of lentil soft tacos using lentils I had cooked in bulk and froze in meal size portions.

    *We have several elderly neighbors and like to treat them during the holidays. Made from scratch goodies … pumpkin spice mini Bundt cakes with vanilla spice glaze. https://pin.it/3leaIIl

    *Made decision to use all the bits and pieces of rolls of leftover mismatched holiday paper that I’ve saved, instead of buying new wrapping paper this year. While on my walks, I’ve collected really tiny pinecones that would be suitable for decorating gift boxes and will add ribbon and twigs for free natural embellishments. In future, will buy solid white or kraft wrapping paper for all gifts year round.

    *For Christmas cards, each year it seems we have a small quantity leftover and I’ve saved them. This year we’ll use them all, even at the risk of being a bit embarrassing if anyone recognizes they’ve received the same card two years in a row. In future, I will attempt to make them.

    *Continuing to walk one continuous hour each day for exercise – eliminating need for gym membership.

    *Darned a pair of hubby’s socks, extending their life a bit longer.

    *Continuing to do all our typical frugal daily routine items … larger loads of laundry and line dried only weather permitting; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we aren’t spending time in; unplugging chargers and small appliances when not in use; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; bath water used to water areas of lawn; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; continuing to use small batch DIY laundry liquid.

    Wishing everyone a frugal and blessed week, and a Thanksgiving Day that is a joy and stress-free!

    1. Our Thanksgiving never looks traditional either…we are cooking ham(because we all love it) but the sides are macaroni salad, cesar salad, macaroni and cheese (mostly the teen who could live on it), and jalapeno poppers.

      We usually do chili or grill at Christmas

      1. April –

        That’s wonderful that you and your family have a menu that everyone truly loves! It’s so nice when everyone can equally enjoy the meal. Our nontraditional menu was a hit and it was a great feeling to have just a small amount of leftovers, without an overabundance or any waste. A win-win!

      1. Laura in Sydney –

        I so hope you find Beth’s podcast to be as interesting and informative as have I and our daughter. She will post new episodes each week. And, she leads up to an episode during what she calls “the hush” – that period of time between Christmas and New Year. I so love the thought of that – attempting to slow down in that time before the start of the new year. Enjoy!

    2. Carolyn, all your routine frugal routines are the same as mine! It is so lovely to hear others doing these things!
      I am rethinking holiday traditions and how I manage things with family and friends, also! Some of your ideas spurred me to think how to handle cards and gift wrapping that can take up a lot of head space!

      1. Jean –

        How interesting that our routine frugal routines are the same! I love that – having a kindred frugal spirit!

        Rethinking holiday traditions has been a real eye opener. I’ve done the same with Thanksgiving and it definitely did help to make meal prep so much more simple and less complicated. I’m looking forward to using all of our stockpile of holiday cards and not fretting about choosing just the right cards to send this year, as I have in years past. And, just today I found another partial roll of holiday gift wrap in my stash that I will use for gift wrapping this year. It will be such a feeling of satisfaction to know that it was all put to good use and not left languishing forever unused. I wish you well on your “rethinking” efforts as well! Please share any insights you glean!

  5. What a blessing to receive the lentils, peas and walnuts. It’s hard to comprehend that people would not want those things, if they were food insecure. All the flowers are beautiful, but the pink roses are especially lovely. Last week, I sewed a button on a shirt, and mended the embroidery on another. All laundry was dried on the line. I weeded the rest of the carrot bed, and brought another 5 gal. bucket of weeds to the chickens. Another day, I worked on the beet bed, and the chickens got another bucket of weeds. I hand washed a cashmere sweater with homemade soap gel. After an appointment, I stopped at a thrift store, and found a stainless Farberware sauce pot for $6 and a bag of blackout fabric for $5, both for the skoolie, and a canister for my shop. I harvested the first collards, and made dirty rice and collards, which we enjoyed with our sweet potatoes. Golden paste was made for the pups. I used $25.25 in rewards towards my CC bill, which was paid before accruing any interest. Kale was harvested for a salad. Hay was placed around the carrot bed, and on the portion of the beet bed I’ve weeded. J & I cleaned up the tromboncino and cucumber trellises, and will burn the remains. More calendula seeds were gathered. Our little game hen, who raised a brood this summer, began disappearing again. I found a nest under the coop with 15 eggs. Prayers that they’re not all roosters would be most welcome. We already have way more roosters than we need. I was able to pick up organic lemons last week on sale. As I used them, I grated and froze the lemon zest, for future recipes. I filled the dehydrator with celery, and powdered it when dry. Knowing Thursday would be my only day at home this week, due to working at a gallery, I decided to bake sweet potatoes for pie Sunday morning. We’re still working on finishing the ’22 sweet potatoes. All that are left are the huge football ones, which are perfect for pies. I baked the pie and froze it, so that piece of our Thanksgiving meal is done, except for reheating.

    1. I volunteer at our local food pantry; with some other volunteers we go through all the produce donated by grocery stores. Often there are foodstuffs that look great but are “expired” or have alcohol glazes, or are just candy. The protocols of the food pantry disallow these foods. It isn’t ridiculous, once one understands what’s going on. Almost every week I bring home slightly beat up produce, or packages that were opened (but that I am going to wash and cook). It might look as if people are being crazy-picky when in fact, it’s general safety rules of the organization.

  6. What good luck that you were able to get the language learning materials at no cost! And the leftovers from the food pantry outreach! (I’ve been looking at buying walnuts, and they’re no small treat.) A lot of meals this week came from beef given to me in September, and from a purchase of lentils and other supplies using a gift card from my loyalty points on my phone and internet bill, also from September.

    My only spending this week was $4.99 for a 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes, on sale for $2.00 off. Supplies of Russet potatoes have been plentiful this fall, and very good quality compared to other types of potatoes. I prefer red, but I’m completely happy to have a steady supply of Russets at a better price.

    Other than that, I have been getting the house ready for another season indoors, and my clothes ready for winter. I’m not moving very quickly on it, but at least I’m moving. A Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating this week.

    1. Walnuts are really expensive! I am thinking I should use some to bake gifts. I once was gifted a loaf of walnut bread years ago that was amazing; the giver considers the recipe a secret recipe and wouldn’t share, but I am thinkng to look for a similar recipe online and give that as gifts. I know walnuts have a short shelf life and I don’t want them to go to waste.

      1. I store my walnuts in the refrigerator for up to a year and they’re fine… if you have room in your refrigerator!

        Those are really some lovely pictures … especially the close up of the rose with rain drops!

        1. I want to put them in the freezer but I need room. I am planning to eat down the freezer and add them once there is room.

        1. I know, and I would like to, but my freezers are full! I am trying to eat them down. Once I make some room, I will put them in the freezer.

        1. That looks delicious! I haven’t had much time to keep a starter going, but I do think a walnut and cranberry loaf would be good; for simplicity’s sake, I could add both to my regular French bread recipe and see how I like that. Thank you!

      2. If you’re looking to use walnuts in baking, I have found that using them in baked oatmeal or banana bread is a good use. I keep bananas in the freezer for banana bread and muffins. They are also good in pumpkin baked goods (which I often sub pureed winter squash).

      3. Brandy, my mom made a delicious walnut bread (in tin cans, no less). When I return home, I will pull the recipe out and send it if you would like? She made it in the 70s.

  7. I had intended this to be a no spend November. I was only going to pay bills, groceries and fuel, nothing else. But have found myself buying stuff, but I either have a gift card or pay cash so I still think it’s a win!?

  8. Would you share what the language lessons are called on Hoopla/YouTube? They sound wonderful.

    We have lots of family coming to stay and I have tried to buy the right amount of food but I do like a little extra of some easy meals to save us taking a large group out to eat.

    I gave my neighbors their Christmas gift early-a nice bottle of wine that only costs us $5 because our daughter works at the winery and gets a good discount. I also gave the Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving cookie decorating kit for their children. The neighbor then offered me persimmons from their tree, which I gratefully accepted.

    I have used just over a 1/4 tank of gas this month, so that’s a big win.

    Have a peaceful and blessed week everyone, and a happy thanksgiving to those in the US

    1. Several readers mentioned finding language learning on Hoopla. I didn’t find the same programs but I found audio books. I just finished the first one today. Try typing “Learn (name of language)” and see what comes up. Use the same wording on YouTube for whatever language you want to learn. Instagram is another great resource; I follow for three languages there.

      I also know that my library has a way to sign up for Rosetta Stone for free. I am going to look and see if they have the language I want.

      I have been studying Urdu for 5 weeks now.

      1. How interesting!
        What made you pick Urdu? I actually have been thinking about attempting to learn a language to communicate better with recent immigrants I meet through my job because they do not speak English. We have been using an app on their phone.

        1. I have been debating what language to study next, and I was thinking Spanish (which I have studied some and also know a fair amount having grown up surrounded by Spanish-speaking children at school), Italian (which I was somewhat learning but not intensely), or Arabic.

          I have a few Urdu-speaking friends; they are also fluent English speakers so it’s not like I need it to communicate with them.

          Five weeks ago my husband said you love the culture and the people; you should learn Urdu. When he said that, it just felt right as the next language for me. I started the next morning.

          It’s challenging but also fun to have personal goals to accomplish each day in the midst of everything else that I have to do.

          Adding one more thing to my never-ending to do list seems crazy, but I am finding moments to listen to the audio books while driving alone or working in the garden, and I can take a few minutes here and there to do a lesson in the app.

          I learned just recently that Urdu and Hindi have around 75% of words in common (but are written in two different scripts). This opens up a whole world of music (which I love) and Bollywood movies. This is exciting to me.

      2. Many of my friends use Duo Lingo for language lessons and all of them are using the free version – not sure if you’ve ever checked out this option but might be worth a try.

        I can’t believe people would turn down lentils, split peas and WALNUTS! They cost a fortune! I too buy the organic walnuts at Costco and then freeze them so that they don’t go rancid. My mom used to make a date and walnut loaf and I have been searching for that recipe! I also do a mix of cream cheese, figs or dates and chopped walnuts with a bit of honey to soften and combine things and then I use it on toast or for fancy tea sandwiches and it is delicious!

        1. Duolingo doesn’t have Urdu as an option. I looked there first.

          I subscribed to Ling for 6 months.

          They have a Black Friday sale; I didn’t even think about that since I singed up months ago. I think, though, with some diligence, I could get through all of the lessons in 6 months. Then I am hoping to cancel my subscription and look for another resource. I found, when I was relearning French, that it was helpful to have multiple resources to learn, and I am seeing that now as I add a new language. Multiple sources means reinforcement of words and more than one way of learning the information. I feel like this is helping me to learn and retain words better.

  9. Brandy, the floral pictures this week are especially beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing them! * My son got a new job at the high school near our home as a hall monitor. I bought some of the bread he likes so he can be more motivated to bring PB&J. He likes the cheapest white bread (my husband eats whole grain) so it’s saving us in bread money. haha I did buy some chips in the little bags. I’m trying to motivate him to take his lunches and so far it is working. Me spending a little money will help him save a lot of money in buying lunch at the school. * Same son’s favorite cross body/fanny pack is white (ugh) but he loves it. He got it at a NBA game so it has sentimental value. It got filthy so after he went to bed one night I soaked and scrubbed it and it looks like new. * We are going to our daughter’s home for Thanksgiving this week. I was able to get the ingredients for the dishes I’m bringing on sale. Love not having to host this year. *Spent a few hours and worked out what we are giving for Christmas to everyone. Met with my husband and went over the ideas. He said “pull the trigger” so I ordered everything. Many items were reduced for this week’s “Black Friday” sales. I have one gift card to get to a local restaurant, but other than that we are done shopping. * I finished two more knit hat and mitten sets for my grandchildren for Christmas. Only two more left (and one is for a baby so should go quickly). *Listened to and read books from the library. *Enjoyed NBA and NFL games on tv. I’m enjoying watching Thanksgiving episodes of old shows I love. * I hope everyone here in the U.S. has a lovely Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for this group. It is such an uplift and motivation for me. Thank you, Brandy, for providing this lovely forum.

  10. Busy week, went to a health fair Saturday and received lots of swag, even got a free bag of potatoes. I have been training on a different position at work. Thankful for a job. Have been continuously hanging our laundry, cooking at home, walking every day and eating out of our freezer. My husband got a deer and we made breakfast sausage and ground deer out of it. We had a Thanksgiving lunch at church. We cooked a turkey breast in the crackpot and made hashbrown casserole. We are most thankful for our family, church and this blog. Happy Thanksgiving to the ones who celebrate this week.

  11. -Our little rural MS town has only one small store. The week before Thanksgiving each year they treat entire town to traditional Thanksgiving meal. It is always delicious.
    -Went to Bingo at McDonald’s: won free fries plus grand prize consisting of 2 free meal combos, 12 oz bag of coffee I will give away as I have never even tasted coffee, polar fleece blanket, insulated mug and insulated mug cover.
    -The next day at service station I won 20 pound butterball Turkey plus 3 5 pound sides: cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole and pecan cobbler and 12 pack Hawaiian rolls. All of that is in freezer as I do not cook. We will have a Sunday afternoon meal using this as starting point as soon as my sister recovers from months of 7 days a week, 12-15 hour days of cotton ginning season. She is great cook.
    -Need to find the Christmas presents for my nieces that I put in a safe place. No memory of where but I’ve got a month for them to show up.
    -Headed to big city to pet sit for few days at Thanksgiving. Pet/home owners leave me snacks and tons of $ for meals and entertainment. Plus they have great internet and Netflix. And two adorable puppies.
    -Signed up to be a Salvation Army volunteer bell ringer for a couple of shifts. Did it last year for first time and it was tons of fun. And the organization is so grateful. They were able to help 300 families last year from bell ringing proceeds. That is a lot for small towns.
    -Flu shot and covid booster free with insurance. Ordered latest round of free covid tests.
    -Pretty much finished with Christmas shopping. Need to start wrapping and decide if I’m sending out cards this year.
    -Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with the people and foods that you love.

    1. My youngest son was in fifth grade when he made up a simple chart. One side said what I hid, the other where I hid it. I used to hide things they lost for grounding, etc., and never remembered where. I guess he got tired of permanent hiding😂😂😂

  12. I am surprised no one wanted the lentils and split peas from the food bank. They can be used so many ways to make delicious and nourishing meals. Maybe people don’t know how to cook them. Perhaps the food bank could provide some simple recipes to educate people.

      1. I am surprised about food items food insure people turn away from also. At the food bank I used to volunteer at no one wanted canned vegetables or dried beans. Maybe they had no way to cook beans. Who knows. Recently a homeless man outside a Walgreens wanted money to buy an orange juice to drink. I went inside & bought him a drink. Then he refused it because he said it contained high fructose corn syrup. It can be frustrating!
        I took a large load of short-dated Frito Lay chips to the senior center. The seniors flocked around those chips like crazy. One old fellow on a walker seized a bag of Flamin’ Hot Doritos & ate some on the spot. Not a nutritious snack but maybe they were in need of a treat. Did my heart good to see oldster munching on his hot chips.

        1. My mother was in a nursing home for over 11 years. Since so many patients have food restrictions, they were fed mostly very bland food. Maybe that’s what’s going on at the senior center. As for the food pantry, many people just don’t like beans. That seems to be the case here. Or, it takes too long to cook them. I prefer cans for that reason. (although, i have pounds of dried)

    1. I am surprised too that those items were not taken. My friend referred me to the vegan lentil stew recipe posted by Costco this month. I found it online. It uses red lentils, but I think you could substitute any lentil. I made it this week and it is delicious and rich tasting! It does require mushrooms, which can be expensive, but I think you could substitute something else or omit them.

      I was able to find walnuts in bulk at Sprouts a few weeks ago for $5.00 a pound, which I thought was a good price.

      1. That’s a fantastic price! The last time I priced them at Sam’s Club (several years ago) I think they were $12 a pound.

    2. I volunteer at a local food bank. Sometimes it’s not that folks aren’t grateful for the offer of food, but that their housing doesn’t allow them to make use of items that need to be cooked. Often they are limited to a microwave or toaster oven and don’t have a standard stove or oven.

  13. Hi Brandy,

    Thanks so much for the lovely flower photos! They certainly brighten up my day!!!

    I bought several packages of 200 grams each of cheese for $1.99 each — that’s $1 per 100 grams which is the best price for while.
    (No Frills) They are small packages which I will freeze either as blocks or I’ll shred the cheese. It’s an unbeatable price.
    I am going to eat less cheese but small ziplock baggies of frozen shredded cheese will come in handy for pasta.
    I also bought 3 more PC frozen lasagnas. (also No Frills) on sale for $6.49 each (reg $10.99). Now my friend has my stash of 7
    entrees so every couple of weeks I’ll get one from her. She also brought over the huge bag of blueberries she had kept in her freezer for me and that I bought previously on sale. I have quite a few butternut squash that I bought on sale gradually. I hope to make soup from them.
    No Frills also had Tim Horton’s soup on sale but my local store was all sold out.

    I was sorting out my late friend’s papers (in bins on my driveway). I saw a large white rock across from me and realized it was a sleeping jackrabbit. It let me move a chair to within a few feet of it. I sat and watched it sleep, then wake and groom itself and I got lovely photos.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Happy Thanksgiving Brandy!
    I hope your family can all be together this week.
    I’m thankful for you and everyone that shares on your blog.

  15. This was a “spend to save” week. Although there weren’t a lot of Thanksgiving super sales, I stocked up, including 20 lbs. of potatoes (.79 x 2), cases of olives and canned milk, fish at Costco, shortening, a pork roast and a turkey breast for $1.48 lb. I did NOT buy a turkey–we are eating an extra one that I bought last year and I’m hoping to get a fresh turkey to freeze on clearance this Friday. (I will be disappointed if I can’t get one, but I’ll get over it, LOL). So far I have spent $303.88 on groceries in November. My budget is $300, but I don’t mind going over for good deals that allow me to restock my pantry and freezer.

    I found $5 in the laundry. Finders keepers. That’s all I have to report for my “in my pocket” savings challenge. I used a $50 Macy’s GC I received last spring toward a $69 Columbia Sportswear fleece jacket for my daughter for Christmas. I received this from my insurance company for completing wellness activities. I’m not sure how to count this “in my pocket” since I received it before my challenge, although spent it during.

    Pretty pictures as usual, Brandy! Somehow, when I pulled up your post, I ended up with the one from when your second son received his Eagle Scout badge. I was all set to congratulate you and remind everybody that my kid became an Eagle in 1996 (see, I’m doing it, LOL) until I realized that your son is 18 and the kid in the picture was a lot younger! Then I thought to check the date…. He did have a lot of badges, though. Very impressive!

  16. Your flowers are, as always, spectacular!! Hubs has been using Duolingo that is from a subscription that another friend and his wife have to learn Haitian Creole. He has also found some YouTube and other internet tutorials that are free! I know I need to start it to but I have finally after these two months “almost” mastered Google translate so my friend and I can pass my phone back and forth to communicate! Mostly , we just hug and smile! After the holidays, I will buckle down!

    Just cooked, deboned and packaged in meal portions the 21 pound Turkey I got last week for 47 cents a pound. I got 10 quart size ziplocs full- 5 had dark meat all cut into small chunks and 5 white meat for sandwiches, etc. Those will taste good in meals throughout the year. I put the drippings into an ice cream bucket and put it on my back step outside the laundry room door to gel so I can scrape off fat and use the rest to make gravy for Thanksgiving.

    Picked up 10 five pound bags of potatoes on sale for 99 cents each. 2 went to a daughter of mine. I will shred and dehydrate some for hash browns after this week. I also found 2 packages of 80/20 ground beef in 3 pound packs on Flashfood for $3.99 each ($1.33/pound) so I got those for my friends with the 6 kids. She was thrilled to pay me since $1.33/pound has not been a “normal” price in the stores for a couple years! Since my time is more flexible than hers, I’m happy to get bargains for her that she might not find in the stores when she can go!

    Another quilt finish went out to an online client in Indiana- https://pin.it/WI4fXHE and a close-up- https://pin.it/s3LQZNH. This had been paper pieced by hand by our client and had taken her 6 years to complete so we were honored to have her choose us to quilt it for her. We have 4 more client quilts to quilt up but they are not expected for Christmas. So the work (and income from it) is a real blessing.

    Hubs went over to Lowe’s to pick up something he needed. Even though online it said that store had several in stock, there were none as he looked. A clerk sent him to look in a different part of the store. No joy, but he caught sight of wide mouth pint canning jars on clearance! So his text to me was showing a photo with a case of jars and words “over 50% off” followed by a question mark. I responded YES! He then sent the number 6 with a question mark. I again texted YES. A couple minutes later, a text “Found another 17 !” Followed by a question mark. I did some mental math and replied YES with the emoji face with hearts coming from it! He got them, brought them home and about 30 minutes after unloading them into our parlour, our Bishop stopped over for some paperwork Hubs had for him. I remembered that this summer his wife had started pressure canning with some “phone a friend” assistance from me and was so excited! I sent him home with 2 cases as a present for her! Seems like we are put in places where we can find things that will not only help us save money but also bless others. That makes me especially grateful!

    A dear friend, 85, widowed about 6 months ago just called me last night to tell me she’s been diagnosed with an aggressive lymphoma and with start chemo and radiation next week. We cried, we laughed as I sent her photos of our son’s funny cancer/chemo t shirts that he was given. I told her she can call 24/7 and I will keep my phone by the bed if she needs a listening ear or a ride anywhere. Reminded me of the message behind this season- service and giving .

    Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week full of good memories.

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  17. I love your language learning resourcefulness and would love to read more about the line of books and the app.

    On the frugal front:
    I read the Undoing Project by Micheal Lewis, Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See, and Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister on the Everand (formerly Scribd) app.

    We prepared several meatless meals.

    I deleted an item from Amazon Subscribe and Save that we do not need at the moment.

    I sent digital cards to two BILs who share the same birthday rather than buying cards and postage.

    I saved $0.15/gallon on gas using the Upside app.

    We used a BOGO deal at Qdoba which was enough food for several meals.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats and thankful thoughts.

  18. Oh you flowers are lovely, unfortunately we won’t be seeing flowers in our garden for a few months

    I have been busy in the kitchen this week. I made and canned baked beans, I have to make my own as I am allergic to tomatoes. I made bread by a new method as I am having trouble getting it to rise, I don’t like the quick yeast but it is all I can buy in the supermarket at the moment. I made cauliflower soup from the glut of cauliflowers which I froze. I bought a new plain yoghurt to use as a starter culture and made yoghurt. I batched cooked shepherds pie. Also not really cooking I melted all the candle ends I have collected and those gifted to me by friends in a large can. Once melted I placed a household candle in the centre and let it set, this will heat the cold frame which has been moved into the greenhouse ,when a frost is forecast I will light the candle and cover the coldframe with an old duvet, this hopefully will keep my tender plants alive

    I am now harvesting brussels , a few carrots and kale from the garden and beetroot from the greenhouse . I shredded all the old paperwork and used it in the compost bin’s as insulation for the worms. We have had 5 storms already this month so everything is soggy outside.

    I did some more paperwork for next years tax.

    We did a small grocery shop this week and got 30% of rump steak in the reduced section. while we had the car out we popped into the library to pick up a reserved book and put 2 very old mobil phones owned by my daughter in the recycling, to save her a journey.

    Have a good thanksgiving,

  19. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The flower photos are really uplifting. What a great saving on the language lessons and it’s good that you are managing to listen to some audio lessons despite being a busy Mum.
    This week we took my husband’s car to have the tyres replaced as he thought the tread had worn down enough to need replacement. The garage inspected the tyres and very honestly said they didn’t need replacing yet and to come back in three months time. This takes us the other side of Christmas and eases cashflow so we were thankful.
    When I see friends in person I am giving them their Christmas cards saving on the crazy cost of postage.
    We took the dogs to the beach for a lovely walk and took a thermos of hot chocolate with us.
    I picked medlars last week, brought them inside to blet a little more( start to rot) then made a couple of jars of medlar jelly.
    We picked/ pulled parsnip, leeks, kale and cooking apples plus sunflowers and rudbeckia from the garden.
    I picked lots of parsley and have it drying ready to make a large quantity of parsley, lemon and thyme stuffing for the turkey at Christmas. I will put some of the dry mix in the freezer too.
    I found a tunic dress I had forgotten about and stored away. I am enjoying wearing it again.
    Since my husband retired from his career he changed course completely and gardens for people several mornings a week. Three of the gardens have walled kitchen gardens and ornate glasshouses. One of his clients lives abroad and visits infrequently but still wants the gardens to be productive on a small scale ( for visiting family) and beautiful and told my husband to
    take plenty of produce home and give it to other staff on the estate too. The point of this story is that my husband struggles to get people to accept free food and flowers! They shy away from butternut squash, figs etc because they are unfamiliar with them, say they prefer to cook frozen veg because it’s less prep, their children don’t like this, that and the other and just won’t make the most of the bounty that’s offered to them. My husband smiles inwardly but says nothing when they complain about the cost of living. So this week he brought home a melon and lots of figs he has grown in the glasshouse and we count our many blessings.
    Stay safe everyone.

      1. You put me to shame, my harvests from the garden has been very poor this year. We went to our daughters for 2 weeks , on our return all our onions, most of the peas, beans and leeks had been eaten by slugs, never had a year like it. We garden on a steep slope but even that is waterlogged now. Like the tip about insulating the compost for the worms, I will get that done tomorrow as we are expecting a cold snap.

        1. Hi Diane
          We have had a very difficult year in the garden too. We had about 5 plums on the tree, usually we pick many pounds. The pumpkins and squash and sweetcorn were very poor, so were the cauliflower. It has been slug and snail city, it has been so wet here.
          Every year is different in the garden isn’t it. Good luck for next year!

  20. I am thankful these past months I have been able to heal my nervous system. This year I am able to relax and enjoy the coming holiday season! We stocked up on butter from Aldi at $2.49 lb. I am so glad I found out you can freeze butter. Sam’s Club has the traditional Thanksgiving foods on sale so we stocked up on can green beans, corn, and cream of mushroom soup. We are continuing to deep clean the house. It is so nice to wake up to more space and less clutter.

  21. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Brandy, I’m so happy that your family is able to enjoy the holiday together.

    This week my some of my frugal accomplishments are courtesy of “past me”. I filled an Operation Christmas Child box with toys and school supplies purchased on deep discount and a toiletry bag bought @ the Crazy Deals store for $2. I could actually find everything as, this year,, I made an effort to store everything in one box. 🤣

    Shipped my sister’s birthday present in a timely manner. I hunt for little happys, for her, throughout the year.

    Pecan pie from pantry ingredients, bought on sale. I know it’s not unusual here, but I made my own crust.
    All meals were made at home. I packed snacks and beverages with me, so no fast food purchased.
    The biggest savings was that I completed the online questionnaires that make the cost of our health care go down.
    Autumn is my favorite season. Styled the mantle with harvest
    decor that I already had. Each year I look at clearance items to add one thing to my decor.
    This year, I purchased a pumpkin shaped wall hanging that says, ” Gratitude turns what you have into enough. ” I am so grateful for this wonderful community, and the love and care Brandy puts into her blog.

    Wishing everyone safe travels and a wonderful peaceful holiday with their friends and loved ones.

  22. Beautiful flowers, very few left in our garden, so I enjoy looking at yours. We have also been making meals out of left overs and what needs to be used up. I spent more than intended while Christmas shopping but it means I’ve got birthday presents for next year and I can leave them at my daughters at Christmas so I save a lot on postage. After a couple of weeks of some items being cheaper I now notice that fresh veg has risen in price to more than its original price. Some frozen veg is still reasonable but sweetcorn is getting very expensive.
    Good luck with learning Urdu, I was rubbish at it, an Urdu speaker said I didn’t have an ear for it but made up for it by being good at Maths and science.

    1. Thank you Diane! I am using multiple resources and am already excited to recognize words from people who I follow on IG. It’s just a few words so far that I can pick out, but the fact that I can pick out any is very exciting to me! My high school French teacher used to show us videos in French and all I could pick out was “bonjour” and that was after 3 years of studying! So I feel like I am already progressing faster, and that motivates me to study more.

      1. Keep learning, it’s so important to keep our brains active, you obviously are motivated to learn languages. I keep trying to learn Latin as it is so useful in the scientific and plant world, I get encouraged when I recognise a word and understand what it component parts mean.

  23. I’m so glad you were able to be together with family, Brandy. And I loooove your photos, as always!

    My frugal week:
    – I turned my daughter’s halloween pumpkin that she didn’t want to carve, into numerous batches of pumpkin and apple mini muffins , as well as roasted the seeds for several snacks for the kids, plus turned the rest of the pumpkin into puree for a future pumpkin loaf. No waste!
    – Redeemed $20 worth of loyalty points for groceries.
    – Did my usual sales plus coupon, points, and rebates stacking when shopping. One of my best deals was large cans of brand name mandarin segments for $1 (after sale, points, and coupon)
    – Oh, for those in Canada, if you’re on IG, I suggest following the coupon couple or coupon cutie Canada, as well as the site canadiansavingsgroup.ca. The coupon couple especially shows how to extreme coupon in Canada.
    – hosted a gingerbread decorating party for my kids and friends. The kids came home from school, and I served chocolate milk (on deep sale this week) plus the previously made pumpkin and apple mini muffins. I also served homemade pizza (the kids get to top their own, so it’s a fun activity for them too), along with a fruit and veggie platter made of fruits and veggies that were on sale/price-matched this week served on a cut glass platter purchased as a garage sale. The kids decided to make fruit pizzas as well, from the fruit and veggies on the tray. I made the presentation even nicer by using my mini cookie cutters to punch out veggie stars to decorate the platter. I made the gingerbread and icing from scratch, so much more affordable than buying kits, and I used the chocolate milk cartons (or at least the top halves) as underpinnings for the gingerbread houses (so that they don’t collapse when tiny hands are trying to get the walls to stand up). I also used items I had in the house to make adult drinks. I mixed some of the chocolate milk with some chocolate liquor I have had for eons and never opened, and made basic mudslides. I dipped my (dollar store from over 15 years ago) martini glasses in melted chocolate and crushed candy canes. Basically, it was a party on a budget. The kids loved it, the adults had a good time, and lots of memories were made, without spending a lot of money. I plan to do something similar next month, but making salt dough ornaments. Holiday entertaining, and rich memory making for my kids, but on a budget.
    – a friend gave my daughter a bag of clothes, including a lovely winter jacket. As a thank you, I baked some mini chocolate chip cookies and put them in a box (having a craft cupboard is soooo handy) nicely wrapped with waxed paper inside, and then used discounted ribbon and gifted labels to wrap it up especially nicely. I even put a little bell on top (saved from the Lindt chocolate bunny wrappings on Easter). The gifter was super touched by the cookies, and I felt happy to be able to express my appreciation.
    – I sold some no longer needed baby item on fb marketplace. Little bits add up!
    – I’ve lucked out by having some really wonderful repair technicians lately, and was able to have one find a bit of a MacGuyver solution to fixing my washer after it broke the replacement part was no longer manufactured. And my fan coil unit is breaking, but the technician showed me how to hack it (or rather, why my existing hack was working), and gave me the info I needed to make a good call about when to replace it, and it should limp along for another year, until I have had a chance to save the money to replace it. It seems like every possible appliance in my condo is breaking this year, which makes some sense, as they’re reaching the end of their lifespan, but it’s a lot of money at a time when I have less money and more expenses than ever. So I’ve very appreciative of everyone’s sharing their knowledge, and of all the knowledge I’ve gained here over the years, to be able to stretch my pennies further than ever before.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. What a fun party! I remember wanting to decorate a gingerbread house when I was little, and I think that your figuring out how to make it most likely to be successful, (propping up the insides with the carton), would be key to doing it right.
      You mentioned getting big cans of mandarins: I just figured out that fresh mandarins/cuties can be peeled and frozen in individual slices, which I did with some that wouldn’t have been eaten while they were still good. I wonder if you could do the same with the canned ones.

    2. Thank you so much Margaret for the Instagram recommendations. I immediately picked up the deal on salad dressing. It’s great to get some tips specifically for use in Canada. Thanks to Brandy and everyone for all the great weekly advice.

      1. That salad dressing was such a good deal, wasn’t it? The coupon couple is really good at coupon/deal stacking, and they also a community pantry regularly with some of their pantry surplus. It’s really heartwarming, plus it’s a good reminder to never turn down a deal; if I can’t use it, I can pass it on to someone else.

  24. I am so pleased for you and your family that your husband was able to come home. Thanksgiving, indeed.

    My DIL and GC were here on Mondays and left Tuesday morning. I was tired, so just pulled out some stuffed peppers that I made in September and froze for dinner on Monday night. Also pulled corn from the freezer. Everyone was satisfied.

    One day I made Taco chicken. This is just chicken breast in the crockpot, and salsa, taco seasoning, corn and black beans poured over, and then cook on low for 6-8 hours. Everything but the taco seasoning was pulled from the freezer. The black beans, corn and salsa were all from our garden. The taco seasoning was homemade. Made rice and had tortillas – and had a choice as to how we wanted to eat it.

    Made cauliflower soup with a cauliflower found very inexpensively. Made homemade pizza pockets. Used one recipe of pizza dough and some sausage, pepperoni, olives and peppers then mixed in some homemade sauce and some shredded mozzarella. The recipe made 18 pizza pockets at a cost of approximately 30¢ each.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Cut DH’s hair. Picked up all the leaves in the yard and spread in the garden to be tilled in next spring.

  25. Most of my money savings has been related to the holidays lately. I bought a turkey for 39¢/ lb and contributed it to our church thanksgiving meal. I also provided the gravy and potatoes. A friend grabbed two 50 lb bags of potatoes for only $15 each for me. Some of those potatoes, butter bought on sale, and buttermilk my mother in law left here made the mashed potatoes. I redeemed my grocery points for a free turkey. I plan on making it in January or February. I found some meat marked down at the store and bought it. For thanksgiving day, we will gather with extended family. I am making two cheesecakes. One is pumpkin walnut and the other is coffee flavored. I am using cream cheese I bought for 17¢ each at the discount store. The graham cracker crumbs were bought at the discount store too for $1.59. The walnuts were given to me along with the chocolate curls I will use to top the coffee cheesecake. Sour cream was bought on markdown. Butter bought on sale. Pumpkin was grown in my garden. I have maybe $8 in ingredients for both of the cheesecakes! My husband and I had one night away from the kids last week. We used coupons and points for a hotel room. And we used the money we budgeted for his birthday for a nice meal out. My mother in law stayed with the children. We’re finished with our Christmas shopping now. We are trying to spend very little on the holiday while still enjoying it and keeping our traditions. Our church gave us tickets to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter and we are trying to save money for gas and hotels/air b&b to be able to go. I made a couple of hot pads for a friend’s birthday from yarn that was given to me. I also added some coffee. A while ago, dollar tree had small packages of Harry and David coffee so I bought several to give as gifts. I am continuing to use Duolingo to learn dutch. It’s been wonderful to be able to read family records which hadn’t ever been translated.

  26. I saved money by not grocery shopping this week and eating what we had.
    I volunteer at a local food pantry and discovered the same about lentils, split yellow peas and walnuts. Our customers who are vegetarian and vegan love all beans and nuts. My theory is they cook from scratch and know how to use those ingredients.

  27. I’ve spent the past week, the full week, using various leftovers or freezer items to make into new meals. Most all of them were big hits with the family. I chopped 1.5 pork chops and a chili lime sauce to make a Carnita filling for taco shells/tortillas. Yummy! On Saturday we treated ourselves to a pizza after a morning of volunteer work for my husband, then Sunday we shopped for groceries and came home to make sandwiches for our lunch followed by another round of leftover pizza for dinner. On Monday I chopped cooked chicken and steamed broccoli to make Divan served with the leftover rice. Tuesday we were out for the day and had leftovers from our inexpensive lunch out. Today we had another leftover makeover, this time reusing some meatballs to make meatball heroes (using hot dog buns). For tonight’s supper I pulled out a jar of soup to thaw. It’s been the easiest week of meals ever, lol! And no one home to complain over what we’ve had, which has made it even better.

    I baked pies for the holiday, as well as some cheese wafers, and sausage balls. I’ve made cranberry relish and a special congealed salad that my daughter-in-law loves. We are having dinner with my mom, but I am cooking a pricey Turkey breast for our small family gathering later. We’ll have sandwiches. I bought a variety of breads, picked up a couple of cheese slice packets and will put out a spread of pickety sorts of foods (carrot and celery sticks, pickles both sweet and deal, a variety of fruits, chips, dip) and then we’ll have pies.

    I have been considering Christmas for a few weeks. I have formed a sort of plan I hope to work from for all the family. I’ve ordered my husband’s gifts which is always my hardest decision. I ordered a fruitcake for my mom. My kitchen renovation is meant to be started in a couple of weeks. I know I’ve been saying that for months now…

    I had enough credit card points to purchase a small gift card. I opted to buy a card to Lowe’s and will set that aside for next year when I want to buy plants. I put some money into my Christmas gift savings. When the website failed to work for my order of the fruitcake, I made sure when I called that I received the 15% discount I was going to use on the site.

  28. Getting ready for family to come in tomorrow. I’m running behind because we all got some cold bug. Thankfully not covid and we are on the mend but it put us behind.
    Made my grandma’s rolls today and homemade pizza with my son.. Tonight is simple, pasta with a package of peas and prosciutto (on sale at aldi right now!).
    Also making pie but decided at $2 for 2 crusts at aldi was too good a steal since I don’t really eat crust anyway.🙃
    Pulled out apples that we’d cut and frozen from our orchard trip. Sadly found some freezer burnt ones as well. It went to the compost. We need to clean our lower freezer out after company leaves.
    Tomorrow my husband is smoking the bird and we will have 4-5 simple sides plus dessert. We will make extra sides to go with dinner later.
    I’m not sure if you’re interested, but I did a podcast! I joined a caregiving podcast last week and this week to talk about holiday stress and caregiving. I talk fast but it was a great experience!! https://www.loveyourcaregivinglife.com/blog/episode-229-breaking-free-from-holiday-pressure-a-caregiver-s-guide-to-realistic-expectations-with-roberta-schneider
    Wishing you all the best this holiday week.

  29. How wonderful that you are learning Urdu. I think lifelong learning is important. And I’m glad your husband will be home for Thanksgiving.
    I cooked two large chicken frames in the instant pot (I had to do two separate batches) and ended up with 15 pints of chicken broth, which I canned.* I thawed all the summer tomatoes I had stashed in the freezer and canned 7 jars of tomato sauce.* (As you can tell, I’m making room in my freezer for Thanksgiving foods.) * We were out of pork sausage, but have lots of ground beef, so I experimented with making beef breakfast sausage. Not the same as pork, but a tasty substitute.*My husband split the last cord of firewood for this year. He also re-purposed some scrap wood to build a nice platform to position the log splitter on – much more even than having it sitting on bare ground, and it cost nothing, and got rid of most of a pile of old wood he had lying around.* We cut another cord and a half of firewood from our neighbor’s lot – that’s the last of it, and most of the wood we’ll need for next year. A lot of hard work, but it feels good to have it done.*At the end of the week I did a very big grocery shop and took advantage of sales to stock up on sausage and lunch meat. I also got a turkey for 59 cents a pound – at Safeway of all places (usually Safeway is our most expensive store. Kroger was 89 cents a pound.) * Our local Joann’s is closing. This was their last week. I have been three times over the last month. This last week, everything was 70 to 90% off. It was pretty picked over, but there were still good buys. I got buttons for 15 cents a card and thread for 25 cents a spool, as well as flannel for future pajamas — $8 for one bolt and $11 for another bolt. Lace for 30 cents a spool. Three patterns for $1.99 each.

  30. It pays to pursue things. I am always nice to agents on the phone. My insurance company said
    that I was entitled to $500 (both online and I confirmed it by phone) for orthotics. Then when I came to file a claim
    they said that I was only entitled to $200. this was a bit of a shock as I would not have proceeded until I’d saved more money
    for the orthotics and would have waited until spring. The mistake arose because my old company policy was left in force when it should have
    been cancelled when my personal policy started. I learned today that the insurance company as a matter of goodwill will reimburse me
    for the extra $300.

    Also, I have plumbing problems. One problem is that a Grohe shower hose and holder that I bought years ago broke. I noticed I had a limited lifetime warranty so I emailed them and sent photos. Without any further problems, they sent me an email saying replacement parts were being shipped. now that is customer service that I like! worth about $150. (Now Grohe makes a twist-free hose — probably the old design had a lot of problems)Once it arrives, I can proceed with the plumbing repairs…

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