Almond blossoms in my garden

I took cuttings for 200 plants from the hedges in the front yard to start new hedges in the backyard, a savings of $2,200.

I moved a couple of roses in my garden. When I moved one, I accidentally broke off a cane that had a root attached. Once I finished digging out the rose, I found another piece with four canes and good roots attached that I had broken off while digging the rose. I planted both of these broken pieces; if they make it, I will have two new roses at no cost to me.

One of two hundred white hyacinths coming up in the garden

My son threw a party. He wanted everyone to dress up, so his friends wore dresses they had worn to school dances and suits they already owned. I wore a dress I bought in 1999. One of my daughters borrowed a formal skirt from me (that I had bought used). Another daughter borrowed a dress from a woman for whom she babysits, and the same woman did my daughter’s hair. My parents loaned us their food warmer that they use for parties. My son had wanted to rent a place to have his party, but after learning how much it cost, took us up on our offer for him to have it at home.

Apricot blossoms

My husband and I attended a free chamber music concert where they performed several songs from Bridgerton. I found out about the concert two days before from a Facebook ad, and it said it was free. It was performed at a local library. The concert was excellent. We picked up their brochure showing their upcoming concerts. It said that the particular concert we attended was supposedly $20 per person, but the ad had said free, and no one was there charging; we walked right in and sat down. The group has more concerts for the season coming up, and the ones at the same library still say $20 each, but I am wondering now if they will be free. I am going to see what I can find out; I don’t know why this one ended up being free, and I sure hope that they will have more free concerts in the future.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Brandy, I do wish I could send you and others experiencing drought some rain. We received 3 inches on Saturday and Sunday. My yard was flooded as were those of my neighbors. .

    I had an appointment with my eye surgeon for my cataract surgery, which is turning out to be not frugal at all. Medicare pays for cataract removal but not vision correction (no insurance does), which is normally a free side bonus. However, I have astigmatism in both eyes and to get my vision corrected to 20/20 requires special implant lenses. Neither they nor the laser surgery option that I selected are inexpensive. I still choose that route to avoid glasses and contacts because the Medicare paid option would correct me to only 20/60, possibly 20/40, which is still a lot better than my current 20/600. If I didn’t have the money, I would have done the free to me option with the regular implant lens. However, I have worn glasses since I was 5 and contacts for the past 55 years and have never had a day in my life where I remember waking up and seeing clearly. Since I need the cataract removal surgery and these implants will have the side benefit of 20/20 vision, I’m choosing to go this way. My first surgery is Tuesday, 2/14 and the second one on the 21st. It’s going to be an interesting week having one eye corrected and the other not. I feel very blessed that such surgeries exist and blown away by all the specialized equipment available to measure various aspects of the eye to get the best possible results.

    That said, I’ll probably be cutting back a couple days on a planned week long fall vacation, not taking my daughter and son-in-law to a fancy Easter brunch (it will be there next year) and spending a little less at all the spring festivals. On the bright side, I was just a few hundred dollars from hitting the threshold for getting double credit card points. Since I’m charging all of it, the double points for the surgery alone will allow me to get $125 in gift cards to Lowe’s for garden supplies and a restaurant or two.

    On the food front, I made potato soup and shared it with my daughter and son-in-law when they stopped by to bring me a cake the day after my birthday. I also finished peeling and slicing apples I bought in November to make a second batch of apple sauce. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I never got to them and just left them sitting in a basket in the kitchen. We don’t have cold storage or even basements in this area because the water table is too high (less than 90 feet above sea level and 20 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.) As a result, 6 apples in what remained of most of a half bushel basket had to be tossed but those left are now sliced and frozen awaiting their fate as apple pie or crisp filling. I used the peels and cores to make and can an apple drink with cranberry juice, freshly squeezed orange juice and spices. I made 2 mini pies (peach and blueberry) and orange marmalade cream cheese. I purposely made enough to have leftovers when I had ravioli with meat sauce (I love the convenience of having canned ground beef already cooked and ready to use) and pork chops with different quick side dishes each meal.

    I did not buy any groceries but took my sister out to lunch to thank her for taking me to the eye doctor and the 2 upcoming surgeries. We stopped at Nothing Bundt Cakes so I could get my birthday freebie and a birthday card for another sister. The receipt included a store survey. I completed it to get their BOGO bundtlet offer and we’ll stop to buy and split them after my eye surgery on the 14th.

    I used some 40 ounce (1.13 kg) peanut butter jars with lids and several 30 ounce (.85 kg) cat treat containers to plant seeds. I drilled holes in the bottom, added soil and compost and topped them off with a couple inches of seed starter before planting tomato and pepper seeds in them. With just a few seeds in each container, the plants will have room to grow and develop before being transplanted to the garden or a bigger pot. These smaller containers will also be much easier to bring inside for the next few weeks if we get freezing temperatures after they sprout and I put them on the deck to grow. They’ll eventually be planted in bigger pots or in the ground. I’ll plant sugar snap peas seeds once the ground dries out and start flowers and other veggies this week.

    I made a conscious decision to not feel guilt over the wasted apples or second guess myself on the eye surgery decisions. It really does relieve a lot of stress that way as does not seeing those apples!

    1. I have had bad vision also for most of my life. About 10 years ago I paid out of pocket for vision correction surgery similar to LASIK. Insurance covered glasses only. It has been worth every penny to be able to see clearly & be free of glasses or contact lens. I do use low power readers when needed but I don’t mind them. Sharp vision is a blessing that many take for granted. I hope you will have a big vision improvement also. If & when I get a cataract I plan to pay for the lens implant with an Rx.

      1. Thank you! I have a condition with the retina of my right eye and wasn’t considered a candidate for surgery until a couple years ago. The first eye was done yesterday and during this morning’s follow-up appointment I read 5 of 6 letters on the 20/20 line. That’s with still some residual dilation (so much dilation! You could barely see my blue iris.) and a little swelling so they expect more improvement to where I’ll easily read the entire line. I am so happy and can’t wait to get the left eye done next week. It’s worth every penny to me. I will still need reading glasses as well but that’s fine. Besides, when I’m not wearing them, they make a great headband. 😊😊

  2. Not a lot new this week. Hubs helped our youngest son find a new (to him) car as his current car (a 2005 Buick with 240K miles) is getting older and he has been saving for something with less miles. They found a lovely 2010 Honda Accord from a private seller with just 130K miles. The owner met them the next morning at our mechanic’s shop to have a once-over to make sure there wasn’t something unseen but mechanical that could be a problem. Came out clear so he bought it. No loan needed and he didn’t deplete his savings account completely either! Now his old car is at our house to sell so that calls won’t be interrupting his work days and people can see it at a more flexible schedule. We were shocked at what KBB and other sources said his old car could sell for. Mechanically, it is still running well and well maintained. He and his dad have decided to bless someone else by selling it for $1000. even though suggested price is much higher.
    I’ve been able to transfer $20 more in CC rewards cash into our savings account.
    I used the first of (2) $10 off $50 coupons at my Meijers store (given because they are remodeling) on things that were on sale plus things I had Mperks coupons for. The dry roasted peanuts that Hubs loves as a snack were on sale for $1.99/16 Oz jar if you bought 5 or more. I bought 13 because we had 4 jars left on the shelf. I bought a gallon of milk for $2 with coupon and a can of green beans for 29 cents with coupon. I added a few other things to bring my total up to $50 after coupons and then got the $10 off! So the peanuts were even cheaper! I noticed that this week their “sale” price at same store is $2.99/jar! Definitely a “sale” is not always a sale!

    We got 2 veggie boxes from Flashfood for $2.50 each. They had about a dozen bell peppers, a huge beefsteak tomato, 3 yellow squash , 2 zucchini, a head of lettuce and about 10 apples. We thought it was worth it.

    I watched some YouTube videos and decided to try fermenting some grains in a jar for our chickens and growing some wheat sprouts in another jar. In 3 days, they should be ready! They should enjoy this quite a bit and it’s making use of supplies I already have!

    Got gas at Costco today that was just a block away from Hubs Dr appointment this morning for $2.78/gallon rather than the average $3.29 around town!

    In decluttering I found a big plastic tote in my sewing room that was filled with blue jeans. Someone had given them to me and I had used a few pair in sewing projects. But there were 13 nice pairs of men’s jeans that fit no one in our family that we donated to the Free Store here locally . There were also 2 pairs of women’s size 0 jeans that were like new and are exactly the hard to find size of our 12 year old GD so those went to her! She wore one of the pairs to school today!
    I also have 3 gallon bags with 1-1/2” quilting strips that I will give to friends as I continue the declutter. Same with patterns and books! It’s a very free-ing activity!

    The weather is beautiful today. It’s going up to 57 F degrees with blue skies and sunshine, so outside we go to make the most of it as we get the yard/gardens ready for Spring! May even do a bit of winter sowing!
    And the local FB gardening group alerted me to a clearance at a nearby Home Depot of 1.5 CUFT of organic garden/container soil for just $2.20 a bag . They will be used for my winter sowing in hinged gallon jugs! Bought 10 bags to add to my garden beds instead of their regular $10.98/bag! and

    We pay a level pay each month to our gas company who base their amount on the previous year’s consumption. After I paid our February bill, we have a credit of almost $500!! Those new windows we put in through October last year have really made an impact because we have been keeping our thermostats set higher than in previous years and still our bills are much lower. The average temperatures each month from a year ago are about the same as this year too! To put it into perspective, this time of year, our level pay is usually leaving a deficit balance that we would hope to have paid off by early summer!

    Thanks to you, Brandy, and your commenters for all that you teach me each week!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  3. Your son’s party sounds charming! We keep on doing the same sort of things. Cooking at home with the occasional takeout or lunch out with a friend. Paid part of the cost of our pup’s neutering with our CA middle class tax rebate card as the rest had been spent on groceries. That card was $700 I didn’t know was going to show up. Accepted the offer of a free ticket to a local production of the Newsies musical and the cast did a great job. Enjoyed the time with my friend and ran into 3 others at the show. Took advantage of the discount on tax software by doing ours in time. Books from the library. Ordered some pre-loved clothes from ThredUp. We keep on enjoying life but making sure our spending is deliberate and that our larger purchases are well researched. We are retired, have to replace a computer soon and are also trying to purchase a home near our young grandchildren so savings all add up.

  4. Happy Monday.

    I packed for Italy. As I said before everything is going in an underseat bag.
    Here are the tips . (I refused to buy any new space saving devices)
    I emptied a free tiny spray bottle of lense cleaner I got free for my glasses. It is the smallest spray bottle I have seen. I put my spray hair curler in it. Put it in a snack size ziplock.
    alongside an old contact lense holder for my sticky hair goo.
    I have a “crystal” deodorant stone – all natural and has lasted me about ten years now. It is about an inch tall.
    Three tiny flosses from the dentist. Single serving toothpaste from a hotel when I forgot some. Throw both away when finished. A tiny box for the end of my toothbrush
    I lost my daily pill kit. It was kind of big. I used two, two by two by .5 inch plastic container that clothing pins came in. I packed doubles of all med. One for my purse, one for my suitcase. I taped the emergency closed. I rubber banded the one I keep in my purse. I took the labels off the med bottles and taped them to three business cards in case a Dr. needs to see them.
    I packed four thin sheets of dissolving detergent “leaves” to wash clothes and hang. Tkes no space at all.
    I brought Theraflu day and night for emergencies. These things are very expensive abroad or not even available. If you are sick, they are a lifesaver. I need sleep. Iodine pills for clean water in case. I also packed three tea bags of Triple Herbal laxative. A miracle worker and all natural.

    Three things I purchased years ago that are indispensable: a sturdy bath cap that fits in a snack ziplock. (Disposables never work.) An 8 inch round thin brush. It fits in my TSA 1 quart bag. So much easier than having my brush separate from everything. Finally, I bought years ago a “Grid It.” It stores all cables, universal chargers, and all things tech on one small flat board.

    OK the one big splurge is my “top of the line 7inch “umbrella. It fits in my small cross body bag which I want to wear for security. It is winter in Italy. i need an umbrella and I don’t want to be carrying it around separately

    I packed 18 paleo bars. They can double as a meal and are healthy with fiber, chia seeds, nuts and coconut. I will eat one a day reducing the number of meals I need each day. Also, it will be a weight saver as I fully intend to eat pizza and pasta.

    So that’s it. Getting very excited.

    1. Enjoy your trip to Italy! You will be so grateful that you are traveling light. I went in college and returned with my husband many years later. My biggest frustrations from my first trip centered around trouble with my large roller bag. When my husband and I returned, we each took a regular backpack and I brought my purse. It was so liberating to travel with so little to carry. We washed clothes in the sink every few nights and it worked out perfectly.

      1. Emily, I agree, too much luggage can ruin a trip. We booked an AirBnB with a washer and dryer for one night at the midpoint of our trip.

    2. Thank you for these very practical tips for traveling abroad. We plan to go “across the pond” this spring, so I will be using some of your good suggestions. When we went before, we only did a carryon, but this time will be gone a bit longer, so we’ll need to be creative to avoid having to check a bag. I’ll bet you are getting excited. Have fun!

  5. How lovely to be able to attend a free concert. Live music is one of life’s pleasures that I enjoy greatly. Your son’s party must have been a fun time. Last week, I planted peas. I tried a sweet potato hummus to help use up some of the sweet potatoes. It was basically the regular version, with sweet potatoes added, and was decent. A 20% coupon code was used for a business purchase, going through Rakuten for another 7% back. I went through Swagbucks for 1% back on another business purchase. At the grocery store, asparagus were $1.49, avocados 2/$1, our dogfood was $6 off, and organic lettuce & kale were $1 off. A $5 reward went towards my purchase. Soapmaking oils were melted on the woodstove. Not long ago, I learned of a food pantry in our little community. On Saturday, I dropped off a box of tomato products and pasta there. I recently used up the last of the homemade curry powder, and made a double batch. A nice cutting of broccoli was harvested from the garden. Months ago, I mentioned freezing pawpaw, so we could try making wine with it. We finally started it! We’ll have to be rather patient, as it was said that it’s disappointing at one year, very pleasing at two years, and fabulous at five. When I shared it on social media, a friend who is a distiller said one of the favorite things he’s made is a pawpaw brandy, so we’re hoping we’ll be just as happy with the wine. Wishing you all a lovely Valentine’s Day.

  6. We had the joy of putting together the greenhouse that I got for free on FB marketplace several months ago. My husband had looked at all the pieces and didn’t think that there were enough to build it. My aunt was visiting and the 3 of us laid out all the pieces and did a bit of improvising, and it is up! I am very excited.
    I used some credit on ThredUp, plus a 45% off coupon that they sent me today.
    We pruned the plum tree at the community garden and I brought home some of the smaller branches. They have flowered in a vase in the house and I’m enjoying them so much.
    I managed to feed my visitors (2 extra adults for 4 days) within my grocery budget, which felt very satisfying. I have planned simple meals this week while I recover from having guests most of last week. I am thankful that Trader Joe’s prices have stayed much steadier than many stores. Someone on Buy Nothing offered 2 unopened packages of powdered milk. Surprisingly no one else wanted them and I was the happy recipient.
    I signed up to be an advance reader and was selected to read a manuscript. I completed the questions on time and so will receive a $25 gift card this week. I appreciate all the little bits on income.
    We donated to aid in Turkey and Syria through Our daughter worked for them in disaster relief and so I know they are financially responsible.

    1. Kara – I would love more info on the advanced reader job if you don’t mind sharing. Being paid to read?! That sounds right up my alley. 🙂

  7. Wow, your garden savings are amazing! And I’m so glad you were able to enjoy a free concert!

    My frugal week:
    – made a batch of mini pizza muffin rolls for my daughters. Easy to pull out of the freezer and pack for on the go snack lunches for them. Same concept as this ( except baked in a silicone mini muffin pan.
    – I caught some double charges on a bill and made sure they were refunded.
    – I soaked some plastic bath toys in a bleach water solution overnight and got some stubborn stains out. Ready for more years of play now!
    – as always, borrowed books and ebooks from the public library and attended free programming.
    – accepted a couple of kids clothing items from a fellow mum on my daughter’s school bus group.
    – pulled out homemade homecanned soup for dinners and a lunch.
    – baked a large batch of carrot mini muffins, replacing half the oil with veggie puree, the sugar with blackstrap molasses, and the eggs with flax eggs. Very affordable and very healthy snacks for my kids.
    – redeemed loyalty points for $10 worth of groceries
    – turned some leftover tofu into soy ground round (crumble, add ingredients, mix and bake in oven until it looks like real cooked ground beef) and froze as a vegetarian option for me when I cook meat for my family. No waste!
    – zucchini was on sale this week, so I used some homemade breadcrumbs to make zucchini fries (
    – made some buttercream truffle bombs ( as a candy treat.
    – my parents and I have different grocery stores nearby. If there are loss leaders that week that the other uses, we’ll pick it up when we do our shopping. And I save paper flyers for my mum, even though I easily use online flyers. This week I went to Costco and was able to buy some items for my mum as she doesn’t use a membership, but there were a few items she wanted. It all helps!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  8. I hope all of your cuttings take, Brandy. I’ll bet you get at least one new rose, too! Nothing I like better than free plants!

    A friend invited me to visit her in Connecticut in April. I checked my frequent flyer accounts and discovered I was set to lose 126,000 American Airlines miles in only one week! If not for checking (which I rarely do), I would have lost them all! I discovered that I could reset my account and salvage the miles by donating 1,000 miles or more to one of American’s charities…so that’s what I did. I then used mileage to score the ticket to Connecticut. If you haven’t flown lately, you are in for a surprise, and not a good one. The cheapest ticket I could buy that would get me there on the same day was $990! And it cost me 100,000 miles!!

    I made two pots of homemade soup last weekend–chicken-rice and bean and ham. Both are soups that fit my husband’s two special diets. I made the bean soup with stock I’d made earlier with a hambone and chicken stock with the carcass and skin from a rotisserie chicken. Even the rice was leftover!

    I have been cooking double when possible to save on cooking fuel. I’m sorry so many of you have had to replace igniters. If the government succeeds in banning gas stoves, there’s going to be a run on igniters! We will keep our gas stoves going at least as long as the American cars in Havana!

    I burned up my vintage Corningware tea kettle. It was the cutest little thing! It occurred to me this would not have happened with a whistling kettle. I saved $2 by making an offer on ebay. I buy very little on ebay, but if the seller invites you to make an offer, they will take less. I have done this a few times and every offer (so far) has been accepted. I usually offer 20%-30% less.

    Best wishes to everyone here.

  9. Brandy, your son’s party sounds delightful and I’m so glad you got to go to the free concert! * I’ve been working on using bits and bobs of leftovers I’ve frozen to clear room in the freezer and to use up before freezer burn takes them. I made “totchos”…a bag of tater tots, baked in the oven, then I made them nachos by added a bit of leftover pulled pork from the freezer, a drizzle of bbq sauce and shredded cheese. They were yummy! I also thawed out some chicken noodle soup from the freezer. I bulked it up with some fresh spinach and a can of cream of chicken soup (my husband doesn’t enjoy brothy soup). *We had a little Super Bowl party for the three of us. We had snacks for dinner (chips and dip, etc). I reused decor I’ve made or collected in the past, like a football fabric flag banner, a thick plastic table cloth that I carefully clean, fold up and store each year and football team disposable plates and cups I bought years ago (when there are only three of us, a 12 pack lasts four years!). I printed off Super Bowl bingo from a free printable. We always have fun with that. My dad grew up in Kansas City, so we were happy with the results and used the time to share fond memories of him. He would have loved the game (and the food)! *I wanted to bring a little Valentine treat for my Sunday class. I bought pink fun size m&ms for $4 thenI cut a sheet of card stock in quarters, stapled the little bag of candy onto it and wrote I love you in red. Bam! Done for 40 cents per kid and they were excited.* For fun, I finished one knit hat from donation yarn and read another library book. I also enjoyed another week of All Creatures Great and Small on the free PBS app. Wonderful show!* My vision has really taken a turn for the worse so I finally managed to get to the eye doctor and needed new glasses in a big way because my prescription changed a lot. I was grateful for the HSA we faithfully pay into each check. * I’m really trying to stay positive, even though it’s easy to get discouraged sometimes. This weekly post helps me a lot, so thank you to Brandy and all of you, for keeping my spirits up.

  10. My son bought dinner one night for all of us

    I received my $11 from the state income tax. I plan to retire now, lol. Actually, I got myself some cookies and soda from McDonald’s (and used 20% off orders of $2 or more)

    Our one bathroom window is in the shower(small house problems, lol) Our current mini blind finally bit the dust. I decided to put frosted film on the window this time. Hopefully, it’ll hold up halfway decent. It’s definitely nice because a lot of light gets in now.

    My tea jar(gallon pickle jar) got broke when the teen dropped a bottle of hot sauce and cracked it. I rummaged around my jars and found one, although only slightly bigger than a quart. It makes a sufficient amount of tea for me(and it’s easier to put in the refrigerator). I was using 3 tea bags with the gallon jar, but one is just fine with this one, so that’ll stretch them further.

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work most of the week. Also came home with 2 cinnamon rolls from my supervisor and the school had chips/salsa/queso brought in for staff on Friday 😋

    1. We had the same problem when we purchased our home 13 years ago. We had a good size window in the master bathroom over the soaking tub. Also the shower had clear glass so we used the frosted film on the window. It has held up beautifully! It is nice being able to have the light and not have to use artificial light in there too. Good luck with yours!

  11. Wow! What a savings on the hedges! The party and concert sound like fun! I am cooking at home to save a lot of money. So far so good. I made moussaka today from some eggplant that my sister gave me. I love moussaka! It is rather involved, but so worth it! I will also be making baba ganoush tomorrow. I cooked all the eggplant at once. I made some asparagus soup that I had in the freezer. My husband made ribs with scalloped potatoes and coleslaw. We have had oatmeal lots of mornings. I like to put cocoa powder and peanut butter with raisins or bananas it it. No sugar. We made a chocolate chia seed pudding from a recipe from the Blood Sugar solution book. It also has no sugar. We considered getting some dessert one day, instead bought some cake at the grocery store. I don’t need the cake. But it was cheaper than going to the restaurant. Much cheaper! I made dal makhani. It is an Indian bean soup. We ate it several times this week and froze half for another time. We made quesadillas. We got deli roast beef for $3 dollars a package. We don’t usually buy deli meat, but it was such a treat for us and so much cheaper than it usually is. We opened up some flour that we had bought at a great discount because we bought it in bulk at Sam’s. I am happy that we are using it. We are using things that need used. We are using the few eggs we get from our chickens. It isn’t cheaper buying them, because of the cost of feed. But we are still happy to have them. The chickens are my husband’s babies! I think he likes the possum that comes around and eats the eggs sometimes too! He said it was a cute possum. So far it is only eating an egg once in awhile. I am actually happy that my husband is nice to animals. I think it is an endearing quality. We borrowed a movie from Redbox. Usually we borrow at the library. But we decided to stay borrow it and make popcorn. My husband made caramel corn. Yum! I know I don’t need it, but it was a definite treat! Somehow, I am still losing weight. Although, I don’t weigh myself everyday. We are careful electricity use and water. But definitely the best thing we are doing to save money is cook at home, including soups and using what we have.

  12. I always loved when our children wanted to entertain at the house. Made us feel like we weren’t too terribly embarrassing!! Sounded like fun!

    Husband smoked a pork butt and we had yeast rolls, slaw and rosemary potatoes. Made a Chicken pot pie and an Apple pie. Made a gallon of sweet tea.

    Went to Kroger and thought that I might need to call a mental health counselor before I left. Prices were so high! I have been sending my husband more and more as the stress of it really gets to me. He went to Walmart for some groceries and discovered at the checkout that he had been overcharged on 8 items! Not sure that I would have caught it!

    Cleaned out our dryer vent. Try to do it at least once a year. It really needed it. Watered and fertilized all the house plants. Washed all the bed linens. I so dislike that chore and the weekly necessity of it!

    Was feeling poorly, so I went to the Doctor. Was diagnosed with Strep. She said it was rampant here and in all age groups!

    Am finishing reading the last of Geraldine Brooks’ books. It is going to be hard for me to find another author that excites me like she does!

    My daughter went to Japan to see friends and was returning during the “continuing balloon nightmare”. Fortunately, it did not cause any delays for her. We were quite concerned.

    I see signs of Spring all around. No better medicine than sun and flowers! Hope everyone has a great week! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

    1. Eight items! Wow! I hope they adjusted it for you.

      I do not like shopping at Walmart for groceries, ever since I was overcharged on a loaf of bread many years ago. I pointed out the error, the manager was called, and then the manager went to check the price on the shelf. The manager then told me the price on the shelf was wrong, and that the higher computer price was right!

      That put me off shopping there for food.

      1. Many states have consumer protection laws outlining what you are entitled to in the event of being overcharged (I.e. refund, free product, the difference back, etc.). Know your rights beforw you shop!

      2. Walmart gave the same reply initially to him. He didn’t budge! He basically told them to fix their system—in a polite way, of course. Negotiating has always been a part of his skill set! They reluctantly gave him the shelf prices. The difference was considerable!

          1. I repeatedly have issues at my Meijer and often take photos of the price/shelf item. The cashiers will often price adjust but it’s a slow go. Going to a store farther away is time/gas that I need to decide its either worth it or not. My aggravation should tell me it is 😁. At times, it’s a quarter to a third of the different items are priced higher at register and good luck finding a full serve register.

            1. Bonnie, what a good reminder to snap a photo! Bless the new technology! (I know people who take a photo in an election, who they voted for) BUT your reminder reminded me of a strange story that happened here. I live in a small village, surrounded with farms and fields. One day homeowners saw to their horror that cows were attacking their car in the front yard. It was winter, so the cows had got loose and come from the other side of a small lake, on ice. All they could do was to film everything for the insurance company!

    2. Hello, CherylB in Tennessee,
      My reply to your comment last week must have been lost in cyber world. You asked me about the “Adventures with Danno” youtube channel and his location is around Cincinnati, Ohio. (He visits local grocery stores and compares prices.) His prices are not always the same as mine here in lower middle Tennessee. This week he showed a coupon for $.99 for a pork roast but it isn’t available in my area; however, I always glean one tidbit of news that helps. Today’s tidbit: there is no need to go to Kroger this week but instead try somewhere else.

  13. I normally find February to be a difficult month. Vitamin D stores are running low. This year I made a point to schedule some frugal February fun.

    We carpooled to book club. Our host’s home was decorated for Valentine’s Day and she served brownies and chocolate covered strawberries. It was a festive, frugal night with great discussion. Our next selection is Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.

    Attended my husband’s company holiday event at a local dinner theater. Fun people, drinks, dinner, dessert, and opening night of Prom-no out of pocket expense-very generous

    Canceled a subscription app before the auto renewal deadline.

    Used our rescheduled season tickets to our local theater’s matinee performance of Native Gardens. After the performance we stayed to listen to the director and cast discuss the play.

    Rather than grocery shop for fun foods for the Super Bowl, I made Rachel sandwiches in order to use up some sauerkraut and turkey lunchmeat. They were a hit, I never made them before so it felt like we had something special for the big game.

    Made valentine treats (Oreo truffles, peanut butter truffles and s’mores snack mix) using pantry items for teen and tween nieces and nephews. For younger nieces and nephews, I pulled small gifts from the “gift cupboard” and wrapped them in valentine themed bags. Both the gifts and bags were purchased last year on ultra-clearance. I printed Valentine gift tags on my home printer using pink card stock given to me when my mother quit scrapbooking.

    Our home owners premium went down nearly $400/year for installing a new roof which was paid for by the insurance company due to hail damage last spring. We are carefully snow raking to prevent ice dams and maintain the new roof.

    Visited my niece on her college campus. My sister, her mother, carpooled along with us. We toured her cute apartment, shared a pizza for lunch, window shopped, walked along the Mississippi River and through campus and enjoyed a low cost (free for students) women’s basketball game. My sister treated us to drinks and a shared appetizer after the game. I was able to deliver my niece’s birthday and Valentine’s Day gifts in person to avoid shipping costs.

    Received a rebate on a Visa gift card from Kohls. Small appliances were inexpensive (<$3?) after rebate over the holidays. I bought a toaster, beaters, mini crock pot and immersion blender for my youngest daughter’s first apartment which she will move into this fall.

    Finished two audiobooks on the Libby app while doing housework and making Valentines treats: A Study in Scarlett by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and On Cannon’s Side by Sebastian Berry.

  14. We have had a warm dry week 11C so I have spent time in the garden so I set up the other water butts and weeded 3 vegetable raised beds. I also sown Chard, Spinach, Lettuce Tomatoes, Cabbages, Cauliflowers, and Broccoli in the house. While I was digging I found a few carrots and parsnip, and picked some Brussels I also pruned the raspberries. I found an article about chitting carrots on the Allotment Gardener web site, I think I will try this as it would do away with thinning

    I made yogurt , started apple vinegar and cooked chicken. From the freezer we ate stew, Shepard’s pie, and nut roast . I made more nut roast as this was the end of the batch. I did some baking I cut down the number of eggs I used by replacing it with the end of a bottle of milk remembering to wash out the bottle to replace some of the milk as my grandma always did. I managed to get to an Aldi to buy some groceries. The veg man is cutting back on his deliveries ,but I have managed to get a slot, phew! I have had delivered veg since 1972!

    Read books by Val Mac Dermid. While I was at the library I used the small electrical recycling for a few odd bits. I dried the washing on the airer.

    Look after yourselves

    1. Chris, I am going to try carrot chitting as well! Thank you for sharing! When I thin carrots, I always end up pulling out more than I wanted to and it all goes to waste. I am reading A Green and Pleasant Land by Ursula Buchanan. It is about digging for victory in Britain during WWII. I read anyth8ng I can get my hands on about this, including fiction because it often has some interesting and useful bits on it. One of my all time favorite series is Wartime Farm. I love reading your comments; I am amazed at how resourceful you are and, of course, how well things grows in England! Keep calm and carry on!

  15. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The white hyacinths are going to look fabulous when they all flower. I chose white indoor flowering hyacinths to plant in the autumn and they’re beautiful at the moment. I hope your son enjoyed his party, it’s so nice to dress up sometimes.
    We sowed pea seeds in a gutter pipe full of soil and will slide them into place in the garden when the plants are big enough.
    I picked parsnips and leeks from the garden. We continue to eat through the stored veggies, freezer and bottled produce.
    Inexpensive meals were butternut squash soup, leek and potato soup, leftover mashed potato made salmon fishcakes with a small tin of salmon and I stretched a casserole to three meals with the addition of dumplings.
    White eggs are a few pence cheaper than brown so that’s what I’m buying.
    My husband found some roof bars for the car free on Facebook Marketplace.
    My husband chopped free kindling for the fire from old roof battens we saved after the roof was replaced.
    We pay an insurance premium to cover repairs which might be necessary on our domestic appliances. The dishwasher broke down and the service we received from the insurance company and their engineers was so bad we decided to cancel the insurance. The company tried to entice us to stay with a lower premium but I refused. It doesn’t matter how cheap it is if there’s no service! A local engineer did the job for us at a very reasonable cost and the money saved on premiums will cover the odd repair and go towards the cost of eventual replacements. I can recover the cost of the repair from the insurance company as they failed to help us.
    We reviewed our income and expenditure over the last five months and were pleased that our car fuel amount has dropped due to staying home more etc and I have reduced the grocery spending month on month ( apart from December). It makes the hours spent working in the garden, preserving the produce and cooking from scratch worthwhile. We identified some more savings we could make.
    Stay safe everyone.

  16. I think it’s so neat that your son not only went to the effort to organize a party but to have everyone get dressed up! I am sure it was a great memory for him and everyone who attended!

    My frugal win of the week was to attend a local seed fair. There is a non-profit in our city that supports community gardens, and every year they get donations of year-old seeds from businesses that can no longer sell them for the current year, most of which are still viable for a few years. Some years they just use them for their community gardens, but this year they had an abundance of seeds and held an event where the public could come and pick and choose from tables set up in a church. I texted a friend who gardens and met her there, and brought my daughter. We came home with two grocery sacks (over 300 later when I counted) of a variety of vegetable, fruit, and flower seeds, and there were still so many left over when we left. I was so excited, as my collection had been lost last year when one of my kids left most of my seeds out in the rain. It was also nice to see other people there gathering seeds for their gardens as well, and knowing that if I am careful to save seeds from heirloom varieties, I can have seeds for the future as well for myself and to give away if others need them. I know that having seeds is the easy part, of course – the planting, cultivation, and harvesting won’t be easy, but I was grateful.

    1. Wow! What a savings! And how glad you must have been after having lost those earlier seeds!

  17. Ate most meals at home, making use of the bounty of fresh vegetables in the fridge. Made an easy Kung Pao chicken that my husband added to the “keepers” folder.

    Kept the heat off in our little cold snap and the AC off during the one 80F (27 C) degree day. Bought an open box curtain rod off Wayfair to hang some old room darkening curtains behind the thin ones in the living room. This will improve the lighting for movie nights without ruining the look.

    Was offered a like-new cedar chest by a friend. It looks amazing in my guest room and will hold guest linens and towels nicely. New Ikea cabinet for my sewing room arrived last night. This will clean up the space nicely. Tightened all the cabinet knobs in the house. Replaced one damaged handle in the kitchen from my stash of kitchen extras and found 2 knobs in my stash that will look lovely on my new Ikea cabinet. Glued the wobbly dining room chairs.

    Did a little shopping when I went to Hilton Head with my mother. Replaced the 20+ year old silverware. We were down to 4 knives for some unknown reason. Disturbed that soup spoons are no longer included in flatware sets. My mother found some traditional ones online and ordered them for me. Splurged on some Easter décor and a Halloween pillow (on clearance).

    Picked up a new lockable dog food container as the puppy will shove his face in the bag and gorge. Picked up a clearance new slow feeder bowl for puppy. Puppy went to the vet for his rabies and final puppy shots. He is 38 lbs (17 kg) at 17 ½ weeks. He is going to be a very big boy. Since I had no health concerns for him, I only saw the vet tech saving me $50 on the visit. Ordered the old girls (dog) heart meds from Canada – saved got $100 for the month.

    1. could you please share the web site for the Canadian vet medications? I need ear solution for my boy and don’t want to have to pay for a vet visit when I know what’s needed. thanks

      1. SJ, we use a brand called Veterinary Formula (or similar) that we get from Tractor Supply for $9.99 ea. We have floppy Retriever ears that are prone to problems and this stuff did the trick! We do his ears every Sunday and have had no issues since. He’s been to the vet for exams, as well, and the doc said his ears look good.

        1. Debby in Kansas — I hear you. My girl is a golden retriever. Unless I keep up with her ears, she’ll need a vet visit.

      2. SJ – I won’t answer for Jennifer O but will recommend I purchase all my pets meds (arthritis meds for our older dog and flea/tick/intestinal parasite prevention for the cats) from them and their prices are lower than any other company I have found. You also don’t need a vet Rx. Be aware that, while the name of the company includes the word Canada, the products actually ship from the UK so give yourself enough time to get the things you need. they also award you bonus points with each order and have sales regularly so it is very affordable. Hope that helps!

  18. Lovely photos, as always. Of course, I am especially drawn to the one with the bee on the blossom. We have had some unusually mild days here in the NC mountains over the past week and the bees came out to stretch their wings and do a cleansing flight. It is always so good to see them after hard weather and to know they are ok. We had snow yesterday and today is supposed to be 55. One can never get bored here.
    *Much of the week was spent preparing for the homeschool science fair. Costs were kept minimal with creativity fueling the projects. The display boards were $3 each and one son required a few bottles of soda and Mentos mints which were purchased on sale. They were thrilled to each be awarded 3rd place in their respective age categories. It was a real boost to their confidence which is priceless to me. They also enjoyed the bounty of food provided by the host church. We are so grateful for our homeschool co-op and the supportive community. This event (and others we have attended) are run by a group of homeschool parents whose children are all grown but still want to provide opportunities for others and they do it all for free. Next up is a field day sometime this spring which should be great fun.
    *We took our foster kittens to the Humane Society for their second round of vaccines and worming – all provided from the HS. With a lot of love and cuddles, they are coming around to thinking people might just be ok. 🙂 The first time we hear a purr from any of our foster kittens is a great feeling of accomplishment.
    *We were treated to a visit to a trampoline park and lunch in honor of a friend’s birthday. Our friends drove and paid for everything though I insisted on paying for the lunch tip. It was a nice day spent together and the newly 9-year-old was thrilled with the book we gave him (bought in used-like new condition from Amazon saving us $6.)
    *We discovered the local ski resort where my sons go snowboarding on occasion has a 1/2 price sale on lift tickets for the evening session on the first Sunday of the month. Since they have all their own gear (bought used), this is our only cost so represented a big savings. We met up with friends and they had a great time. It was quite novel for them to be there at night under the lights and to get to stay up a little later than usual. These friends live about 45 minutes drive away so meeting at the ski resort (which is about 1/2 way between both families) helps to save everyone a little gas money, too.
    *No grocery shopping this week – just eating things we already have on hand to keep the rotation going.
    *Chickens are noticing the longer days and laying more accordingly so we have been able to share and sell a few dozen eggs while still having more than enough for ourselves. My youngest son collects all the eggs and helps with their care so he keep 1/2 of the money from sold eggs while the other 1/2 goes to their expenses.
    *While walking around our meadow, I noticed a few daffodil leaves poking their fingers out of the ground. It is too early for them to grow too much but it was nice to see this promise of spring. Every year, I am grateful for Brandy’s recommendation of Van Engelen. Everything I have bought from them has been so healthy and bulk-priced making it an affordable way to have a lot of beauty that comes back year after year.
    *I am still working on my bedroom curtains. I am slow but it will get done. Ordered curtain rods for my sons’ bedrooms using gift cards to lower the cost.
    *Finished “Still Life” and have the next Louise Penny book on hold at the library. Reading “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” and love it.
    *As a St. Valentine’s treat today, I am taking my boys to the movies. We discovered our local mainstream theater (the only one that shows new movies) has a 1/2 price day today for those signed up for their emails. They have only been to the movie theater twice in their lives so they are excited. We will have some homemade treats when we return which will be fun and frugal. We always read stories about St. Valentine and I found a good YouTube video to watch, as well. It’s always fun to learn the origins of holidays and customs.
    *Wishing everyone a bit of sunshine and happiness this week and always. 🙂

    1. The quality from them has been great, hasn’t it? I’m so excited to see so many bulbs coming up in my garden. I hope to add more from them this fall. I don’t know which ones yet, but I think there is room in the garden for more bulbs.

      1. There is ALWAYS room in the garden for more bulbs. I have already decided where this Fall’s installment will go. 🙂

    2. Hi Mountain Mama Dawn. Here at the far eastern part of NC, our daffodils are up and blooming-about a month earlier than usual. They always bring a smile to my face in the dreariness of February.

    3. Mountain Mama Dawn, I love Louise Penny’s books, too. Have your seen the series “Three Pines” on Amazon+ which is based on her books? Some of the characters and the village weren’t the way I picture them but that’s what usually happens when you read a book before you see a movie. “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” is a favorite book of mine, too.

      1. Yes, I have seen Three Pines and loved it though it is different from the first book, anyway. One of the few times I think the show and the book are equally good. Will be interested to see the next season. 🙂

  19. Hello, frugal friends! I just wanted to update you all. My quadruple bypass surgery went very well. I get to go home today ❤️. I want to thank everyone for the prayers. I can literally feel them. I’m told my recovery has been remarkable. All the prayers have to be the reason. I can’t thank this community enough, brandy, especially you for hosting.

    1. Marley,
      I’m so glad your surgery went well and that you’re being discharged. Praying for a quick and full recovery. 🙏🏼

    2. That’s wonderful! I have been praying for you, especially off and on all day Friday and Saturday. Thanks for letting us know how you are doing.

  20. I’m pretty sure I’m finishing up a second bout of COVID. It’s the extreme exhaustion and lingering cough that makes me think so. The home tests don’t work on me so I’m just guessing. Either way, I’m tired of it!! My house is a total disaster, but would probably border on condemnable if not for my husband lol! We had plenty to eat in the freezer, but we’ve about tapped out the easy stuff. The rest of this week will be slow going to get my energy back.

    I can’t even report finishing a book because I kept falling asleep! I did make a great YouTube find. Someone reading Harry Potter! So, for several days, I’ve just laid back and listened with my eyes closed. And dozing off with such a story makes for some hilarious dreams!! I woke myself up telling Hagrid to be quiet because I was trying to talk to my cousin!!

    Brandy, it’s so much fun to see your garden waking up with blooms. And what a fun party! Are you going to post some pictures? Aside from Halloween parties, the only dress up parties I’ve been to have been tea parties and those were quite fun with the hats and gloves!

      1. Our loss, but I understand. It’s actually a nice change to hear of teens NOT wanting to be all over the internet 😆.

    1. Well that’s not good. I hope you feel better soon. Are you going to share the Harry Potter Channel or make us go search for it? Hint, hint…

      As far as your house goes, it will be fine. I used to think I didn’t have time to clean but after I retired, I realize it’s really that I have no DESIRE to clean. As the saying goes, my housekeeping style is best described as “there appears to have been an incident.” Okay, not quite that bad, but sometimes…

      1. Mari – Your comment resonated with me. I’m not retired, but when I was busy with caretaking it felt like I had no time to clean. I’ve since told people that I used to think I didn’t clean because I didn’t have time, but nope, just turns out I’m lazy! LOL

  21. Hi everyone.
    My son has winter holiday from school this week: Like most holidays we stay in a summer cottage owned by family, who let us use it for free – we are very grateful. My son and I went by train, he has not turned 12 years yet, so he can still go for free. We go outside rush hours, which makes my ticket cheaper, only around 6 USD each way. My husband bike on our cargobike – around 35 miles! I don’t know how he does it, but he is VERY fond of biking 🙂
    We can then buy everything for the week at once in the discount supermarket. We bring bits and ends from the fridge at home to avoid food waste.
    We go for a lot of walks in the lovely area – by the sea and other places. We use the local library a lot – we all enjoy reading when on holiday.
    My mother stays with us, and we provide most of the food and I cook for all of us. I make the same dishes that I do at home, things that tastes nice, but are not expensive – homemade vegetarian pizza, lentil soup, pasta bolognese etc. My mother then buys some nice food, things we normally wouldn’t buy ourselves – chocolate, expensive fish spreads for lunch and the like. Everybody is happy with the arrangement, and my son is so happy with the extra treats!
    I’ve collected seashells, that I’m going to make into a powder to mix with beeswax for crayons – I don’t know how that turns out, but I look forward to trying it out. I made thorough price comparison online, and found out that beeswax is sooo much cheaper at a store selling items for beekepers than anywhere else. Like 88 g (3 ounces) was 40 kr. (5.78 USD) at the health food store but 1 kg (2.2 lbs) was 150 kr (21,67) at the beekeper store! That’s 1/4 of the price just by looking around! It seems both places have food grade wax, even though it doesn’t matter to my project. I’m going to use quite a lot of wax for crayons as I’m making them with a friend. But it is nice to be able to use it for something else, if I have some left-overs.
    When I come home I’m going to start the first plants for the garden indoors – chili and snack peber from seeds I collected last season. I’ve planned my garden for the year and ordered the seeds I didn’t have already. I’ve collected seeds from the garden for about half of what I’m going to sow this year.
    It’s a really good investment to make all these cuttings yourself, Brandy – huge savings!
    Have a nice week everyone!

    1. Cam – As beekeepers, we have made many things with the wax, including crayons, but have never heard of using ground seashells in them. I am so intrigued! I hope you will share how they turn out. In any case, a fun experiment. Enjoy!

      1. Mountain Mama Dawn – Thanks!
        I understand you’re intrigued – after I wrote the comment, I thought it needed a bit more explanation! I got a very interesting book for Christmas about how to make all sorts of art supplies from things found in nature. One of the projects is making colors from crushed charcoal and soft stones – and I thought the white seashells would be a good alternative, as they are hopefully easier to crush than stones – but I think it is still going to take a long time! The powder can be used with beeswax to make crayons or with some kind of binder to make paint.
        I’ve teamed up with my friend who teaches art to schoolchildren, and we both thought it would some nice projects to teach them if our experiments turn out well. If not, then we have had a nice time together – we meet and talk, and then the long processes suddenly seems less daunting!
        I will let you know how it goes!
        I’m very interested in other ways of using beeswax, if you feel like sharing!

        1. Ah, yes. I have a couple of books on using natural items as art supplies and making paint out of stones is one thing we have done. There is something here in our area of the Appalachian Mountains called paint rock which gives off some color when wet though I do not know its official name. We have made charcoal for drawing from sticks placed inside a clean paint can and put in a fire, too. Lots of interesting things to do. Thanks for sharing!

  22. It was more music for us this week! The local university (where my daughter played her solo last week) hosted a music festival for high school students. They brought in two guest conductors, one for the strings and one for the band students. It was primarily schools that brought their students in, though the university allows homeschooled students to also participate. My daughter ended up being the only homeschooled student in the strings orchestra. They spend two and a half days rehearsing together, and then it culminates in a concert on the weekend. The normal charge is $75 per student, which includes meals in the university cafeteria. We choose to have our daughter eat at home since we live local (some schools are coming from some distance away and stay in area motels) and our charge was only $25 for her participation. The concert was free, and my family in other states were able to watch the concert on the Livestream. My daughter wore a long black dress for the concert, that I found several years ago for .75 cents at a thrift store. She looked just as nice as the students from the schools.
    Right before the music festival began, she was with me shopping and we stopped at a thrift store. I found her a Land’s End boiled wool jacket for $15 that fit her perfectly. It is black, and looks elegant either with dresses or with nice jeans. When we came home, I was curious if it was still being sold new and looked it up online. It is selling new for $149, and used online from $65-$115! We are both so very thankful we found it for her! We also found her an Old Navy black blouse with white embroidery on the sleeves that looks really cute on her, for $3.75. We are slowly building her wardrobe up for college, as we can find things at thrift stores. She will start college this summer, and I am thankful we started looking for clothes for her when we did a year ago! With time and patience, we have found her some nice things!
    She also had another concert, this time with the East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra. This area orchestra is entirely volunteer, and they play four or five times a year. My daughter has been a member for around three years or so. For this formal concert, she wore the same black dress that she wore for the high school music festival. It is growing a tiny bit tight in the shoulders—not good for playing the viola! So I am keeping my eyes open for a dress to replace it. I did look it up online, and the same dress is being sold still for $69 plus $20 shipping. I will instead keep looking at thrift shops. She does not have to have this exact same dress, just needs to wear black, though she loves this dress and it looks really nice on her so I am hoping to find either the same dress or something similar.
    Looking forward to learning from everyone! I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    1. Susan M. – Reading your comment reminds me of all the fun times I have had thrifting with my mom. All of my clothes growing up came from thrift stores (or my mom made them), I outfitted my first apartment in college from thrift stores and tag sales and we still thrift together today. Frugal activities can be the source of many beloved lifelong memories. And continued congratulations to your daughter on her musical accomplishments as well. Well done!

    2. On your daughter’s concert dress that is a little tight through the shoulder, I wonder if you could add an insert. In a very last minute, stressful time, I altered my friend’s daughter’s wedding dress just a couple of days before the wedding. I asked a friend who is an incredible seamstress what to do. She told me to do a diamond shape insert. (We didn’t have any fabric scraps so my friend bought something that would work.). The wide part of the diamond goes in the underarm seam with the pointy part of the diamond going down the side seam and the other pointy side going up the seam of the sleeve. (Sorry I can’t think how to describe it any better than that.). Our daughter’s friend and her husband were doing a extreme dance at the reception and they were afraid that it would rip out. It worked great. I would baste it in until you know that you’ve got it right. Then stitch it in. Worse case scenario, if it doesn’t work you can undo the basting and stitch the dress back up. My sewing friend told me that is how they do dancer’s costumes. I suspect that would give her quite a bit of space for playing her viola. I prayed a lot over that dress!!! That would give you a little space until you find something else that will work for her.

      1. That is fascinating! I have trouble with dresses not fitting in the sleeves; I like this idea very much.

      2. Judy, thank you for posting this. You did a really good job describing it and I’ve saved this in case I need it in the future.

      3. The official term is “diamond underarm gusset” – I pulled out my Mom’s OLD Vogue sewing book and, ta-da!, found it! I’m sure you could do an internet search to find instructions too. I’m definitely tucking this idea away for later.

      4. I had one more thought on inserting a diamond under the arm for your daughter’s black concert dress. You could use a black stretchy fabric for the diamond that would give more stretch and give there. I don’t think that using a black knit with a black dress would show at all. You could cut a few diamonds of varying widths and lengths, then hand baste one in and see if it works. On the wedding dress that I altered, I was so grateful because my first attempt worked beautifully.

      5. When I read this entry I immediately remembered some of my nursing uniforms from the late 70’s. The uniform had a little pleated area behind each shoulder seam. It was a pain to iron but allowed me to extend my arms without binding. I am broad shouldered anyway. My husband has a fishing shirt with a similar gusset. I have not seen these in recent times on any other type garments. I am not familiar with the diamond gusset but that is a good adaptation also. Bring back the gussets!
        Yes we had stretchy fabric in the 1970’s: the dreaded polyester double knit. That fabric was virtually indestructible. But it was thick & hot material. My broadcloth uniforms were cooler & light weight.

  23. Brandy a free concert! Music venues are expensive, you did good! In the summer here we have music in the park and they are free. 2 bands per evening every Wednesday June-mid August. We just bring a lawn chair and our supper in the cooler. Free date night!
    -I did spend $86 this week, I went to the Mennonite store and bought 50# bag of sugar, 50# bag of rolled oats, and regular canning lids (60 count package). I should have enough flats for canning this year. I will continue to buy them when I can find them at a reasonable price so I can store some ahead. I usually can 300 jars of food a year. The ones at the Mennonite store are American made and heavy duty. I never have a problem with them sealing down or buckling. I didn’t realize it but I was almost out of rolled oats so I needed those, while I was there I bought the sugar as it would be needed next month, and lids are bought every time I go there.
    -I cooked my 2 last butternut squash and made apple squash soup, we ate a meal, and I canned 7 pints.
    -I used 9 jars of home canned food this week. My monthly total is 19 jars.
    -I used a jar of apple butter from the freezer and made 2 loaves of apple bread. One for us and one as a thank you for some help moving out an old sofa and moving in a new reclining love seat. I also made a dozen blueberry cream muffins. I left 6 out for eating and froze 6 for later.
    -I bought some nice cotton fabric at JoAnnes at 60% off, I will be sewing a dress for Easter. I also bought a McCalls pattern for $1.99 (sale). Full price on the pattern was $20.95. Gulp! I haven’t bought a pattern in a while, wow who can afford them full price! I will have to keep looking at the thrift store.
    -I made 5 heart garland swags using scraps of fabric, scraps of quilt batting, and some cording I already had. I put 8 hearts on each one. These are Valentine gifts for my 5 grandchildren. Something for their rooms and not candy as I’m sure they will get enough at school parties.
    -I got the mending done!! I had a pile of things to fix.
    -We moved my MIL from her senior apartment to a memory care facility. When we cleaned her apartment, I gladly accepted a few items-small cast iron skillet, old fashioned crank egg beater, a small pampered chef stone casserole baking pan, some flour sack dish towels (I will use these to embroider a design on), some yarn and knitting supplies, some ziplock bags and aluminum foil, and a bunch of greeting cards with envelopes which I will donate to the church.

    Have a great week!

  24. I had a windfall of a few hundred dollars. I put $150 extra into my savings account, paid some credit card expenses earlier than usual, and ordered a top and a pair of pants (trousers) at 30% off on ThredUP that will be perfect for spring and summer here.

    I went to the pharmacy to get a three-month supply of my medications. The pharmacist refunded the full amount of my co-pay ($19) on the one-month supply I got last month. I really had just asked for the amount extra I had to pay last month because of the shorter prescription, rather than the full amount of the co-pay, but I am happy. While I was there this month, I got both a flu shot and a co-vid bivalent booster. I also picked up a couple of other things, so the pharmacy certainly didn’t lose anything from my visit.

    The taxi driver has returned to town after two months away, so I was able to get a ride to the pharmacy. The roads and sidewalks are very icy, so I was relieved that she had returned. She was impatient, though, because the wait at the pharmacy was long and I had several stops to make. She is normally very cheerful about these things, and I paid extra for her trouble. I’ll chalk it up to her adjusting to being back at work.

    I made chicken stock from two chicken carcasses, and a couple of loaves of bread from scratch. It was just as well, because I’ve been experiencing several overlapping physical ailments, and it has been good to have some easy meals on hand. I had a twisted ankle that made it very hard to walk, some extreme gas one night from overindulgence in bread, and a cold for several days so far. All the problems have either gone now or are getting better. I haven’t felt sick from the cold, just a runny nose and cough, so it could have been worse. The new-to-me cold and sinus medication I stocked up on last month has worked well, without any noticeable side effects. I am just taking the time to rest and recover. The cat has been sympathetic. She curls up with me when I lie down to rest. On-line services means there are lots of books and videos to keep me entertained while I am taking it easy.

    1. Judy, thank you for posting this. You did a really good job describing it and I’ve saved this in case I need it in the future.

  25. I made a resolution this year to take better care of my health and actually make and keep appointments that I neglected during COVID. I have been called back for a second mammogram and a second CT scan (with contrast) of my kidneys. Trying to stay positive and not fret over things that may not even be an issue when all is said and done.

    Five frugal things I did last week were:

    I cut my husband’s hair;
    I used a $15 can of oops paint from Lowe’s to paint our entry way (it looks amazing);
    I printed out 2 little cat silhouettes, traced them, and painted them on our interior front door frame with leftover black acrylic paint for a cute touch;
    I used accumulated credit and points to buy my daughter a Valentine’s gift from ThredUp;
    I moved a rug from the hallway into the living room and the placement looks so much better this way.

    1. Sarah,
      I hope those follow-ups go well. I’ve been working on catch-up health appointments too. I started with dental and the first two appointments weren’t “fun”, but things are on the mend now, thankfully. Will be thinking of you!

  26. How wonderful live music is. I know you both enjoyed the time together. Your son wanting everyone to dress up for a party is great; I don’t think we dress up enough. My work gave me a wedding shower last week and it was a surprise; I don’t know how they kept it quiet but they did. We were blessed with many items we needed. Great friends are awesome. The moving continues a little a long, I am hoping to have everything moved by the end of the month so I don’t have to pay rent and utilities for another month. Sunshine and buttercups give us hope in spring to come. I have enough seeds from last year for my flowers, I just have to figure out the new yard and where to put them. A new/old friend asked me if I still liked to read, and she gave me a monster box of books to read. I was so excited for new to me books to read, I will donate them when I am thru with them. My sisters are having us a family/friend shower this weekend and I am excited to see my family at a setting other than the funeral home. Since my mom and some of the older siblings have died, we don’t get together that much. The wedding is less than a month away and I think we have everything in order. I want to thank Brandy and the commenters for all the helpful ideas.

  27. Wow Brandy! What a fun, frugal week. The savings on your garden are amazing!

    My husband had a few interviews last week and accepted a job he’s excited about. His salary will be cut in half but we can get creative meeting our basic needs. He’s feeling much less stressed and optimistic about the future: priceless! Thanks again for all the sweet comments, well wishes, and encouragement ❤️

    *frugal entertainment: walking outside on a few nice days, free streaming tv, library books, playing games
    *rode with my dad from work to visit my Grandma. He treated me to lunch so I saved my packed lunch for the next day.
    *made a bunch of grilled cheese sandwiches for easy to grab lunches
    *used pancakes I had frozen for quick and easy breakfasts this week
    *husband bought 3 floor registers off FB Marketplace. He offered $5 (they were listed at $10) and they accepted!
    *Super Bowl party at my dad’s: brought $1 Cheez it’s and $1 chocolate heart tin from pantry plus smokies that were frozen from a New Year’s Eve sale
    *cut open 2 almost empty lotions and filled a small jar with what was left but unable to squeeze out
    📍Buy Nothing Group: 12 sample sized toothpastes

    Have a great week ❤️

    1. Congratulations to your family on the new job, Marissa!
      We had a similar situation a few years go and are so happy with our choices: lower income + way lower stress level = priceless! 10/10 would do it again.
      With the lower stress level, we have the creativity to work on making the budget work. It’s far better than the higher income, higher stress job from before. The children even said “We have Dad back!”

  28. I love that your son threw a party! How fun!

    For my daughter’s birthday I ordered a gift card using credit card points to her favorite restaurant, Chipolte. Prices have really gone up there. My family used to eat for less than $30 it was almost $50 this time. Using the gift card I ordered plus a couple with a few dollars on them my out of pocket was less than $12. I am pleased with that.

    She wanted to go to a movie but we decided to stream it at home for half the cost plus no temptation to buy snacks. Overall a much more frugal birthday than my husband and son’s. Now to survive mine and we can be done with birthdays for the year!

    Meijer (local grocery store) offered another good shop and scan coupon–$15 off $75. With the shop and scan coupon plus other coupons I had I got $93 worth of goods for $55. My husband did run into the store another time this week and spent $25 but $80 for the week is under budget so it’s all a win!

    Have a frugal week friends!

  29. What a fun party idea from your son! I bet everyone had a great time getting all dressed up!

    Prudent annoyance last week was realizing that the increased cost of my hydro bill was due to their increased charges for delivery etc. My bill was $67.81 and only $17 of that was actual use!

    I decided to cancel both Netflix and Acorn as I simply don’t have time to watch these days – I want to be outdoors a bit more – I have a ton of books to get through – and baseball season starts soon. I will pick up Netflix again at the end of October and I’ll do a flip back on forth with the streams that I get through Prime. Right now I have a few things to finish on Britbox and I went through all the additional channels and found that I can get 7 and 30 day free viewing on many so I will plan ahead and check out what I’d like to view and then watch for free. Cancelling the two services saves me about $27/month.

    I did need to buy some groceries last week but used $40 worth of Loyalty Points on a $53 bill so that really helped. I then invited the friend who lives downstairs for breakfast on Sunday morning – I had everything that I needed on hand so no extra cost. Afterwards we headed out for a long drive and a couple of walks. We managed 8,000 steps (not bad on my wonky knee) and I treated us to a shared slice of pizza after the walk – we just wanted a little something. On the way home we stopped at her favourite supermarket for bargains and sure enough there were a few – I bought Angus Beef burger patties 4 for $4.50 and 3 thick pork chops for less than $4 – and here those are great prices – 50% off both packs of meat. I’ll eat two of the burger patties this week and everything else went into the freezer. I also managed to get two servings of soup and two servings of a pasta bake into the freezer for future meals. I wanted some chicken thighs but I wasn’t going to pay $22 for a pack of 16!!! If my friend sees them on sale at this store at any point she will pick them up for me.

    I did treat a friend to coffee on Thursday after she used her pass to take me to the new exhibits at the Bata Shoe Museum – it is such an interesting place and great for social history – hadn’t been since pre-Covid so it was nice to be back. Otherwise it was an uneventful week – and sometimes that is a good thing!

    1. Margie, I hear you! I have shared this on another forum earlier but here we go. Last year my goal was to focus on our water usage. I was very pleased with it until we got a letter from the water company. The prices will go up from 1st of April on: 20 percent for clean water, 25 percent for used, 5 percent for other fees. All this because of LESS water used and the increased costs of everything. This tactic have been used with electricity in previous years (prices go up when more is used and when less is used, you can’t win) but now with water as well it seems. I hope it is an April Fools day joke.

  30. The concert and the party sound like so much fun! I’m glad you got to enjoy live music for free.

    I bought only groceries that were on sale for a good price last week. Some of the sale prices were still very high, I thought, but others were pretty good. I was able to get cheese and butter and yogurt and blueberries at better prices than I had seen in some time, plus a few snacks like chips and frozen mozzarella sticks. I don’t watch football, but I was happy to take advantage of Super Bowl sales on snacks. I won’t be buying any groceries this week.

    I used cash back from my credit card to help pay for my groceries. I also used gift cards from doing surveys to help pay for some things my cat needed.

    I researched the treatments my vet recommended for a health issue my cat has been dealing with. Based on what has worked for other cats, I decided to buy the supplements he needs and add them to his normal food, instead of buying the expensive prescription food. It’s only been a few days, but it seems to be helping so far.

    We have had a lot of rainy days here lately, but I have made an efort to spend as much time outside as possible when the sun does come out, as a free mood booster. February is always hard to get through, but this helps.

    I printed out a free Valentine’s Day coloring page and used free Google Play credit I had saved up to rent a movie I can watch tonight. I also bought myself a little $1 box of chocolates as a treat.

    I have made all meals at home as usual and read free ebooks.

  31. Last week we were kept busy with clean up from the ice storms in central TX. We were without power for 5 days in the previous week. Our fireplace kept the living room warm at night, but it certainly was not very restful with all of us camped out there! We put our little camp stove to good use for simple meals. On the bright side, we lost only a few medium limbs and no major damage. We had to discard food from the fridge but were able to keep the large garage freezer closed throughout the outage and it remained below freezing. That was a relief! My husband and children have been helping neighbors clear out fallen limbs and have been gifted with plenty of firewood for next winter.
    One tip I’ve noted for emergency supplies is a much larger stash of paper plates and disposable cutlery. We had water service but since the septic system uses an electric pump, we had to be careful to conserve. I’ve often heard to use parchment or foil over regular plates, for easier cleanup in these situations— but we never seem to remember this tip in the moment.
    I covered kale and greens during the freeze days and they came through just fine. (Temperatures didn’t drop much below 30 F.) The past week has been warmer and I’ve sown seeds for poppies, snap beans and more chard.

  32. Hello Everyone!

    The concert must’ve been lovely, Brandy! 🎶

    This week I baked two loaves of bread and 3 quarts of granola. I vacuum sealed 2 quarts of the granola in mason jars for later consumption. I started some sprouts a few days ago. I baked a double batch of lemon bars for a Super Bowl party we attended. I used lemons from our tree for this. They were a hit!

    We finally ate every single orange from our tree. They’re so good and it’s a blessing! Our grapefruit tree has 4 fruits for the very first time. They’re not quite ready, but we’re looking forward to trying them. The lemons are almost ready to zest, juice and can. Maybe next week.

    I made homemade vanilla about 2 years ago when prices were sky high. I finally started using one of my homemade bottles and it is the most aromatic vanilla I have ever used. I will definitely continue to make my own, especially now that I own the glass bottles. 😍

    I finally started 144 veggie seeds indoors. Better late than never! We still have mustard greens, bok choy, leeks, celery, kale and chard galore!

    I filled my gas tank at Costco yesterday at $4.31/gallon. It seems the prices increased again. I also went to Costco to purchase staples. Meat prices are astronomical! I bought sausages on sale since we ran out. We switched dog food to the Costco brand because it’s $20 less/bag for equivalent weight. So far, so good.

    A tree fell at my husband’s work during a storm. He filled up his trunk with free wood for the stove. He’s getting another load after work today. It’ll be nice to have next winter.

    We’re celebrating Valentines Day at home. No restaurants this year. I keep seeing large corporate layoffs announced on the news. Now is the time to be prudent.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! Happy V-Day! 💘

  33. Hello Brandy & fellow readers!

    Brandy, your photos are always great!

    My ‘frugal’ purchases over the last few weeks including using up the majority of my Starbucks Reward stars for free coffee as Starbucks changed the number of stars needed for a free coffee as of yesterday, so I used 50 of them to get a free large coffee with all the add-ins I could use. A $9 coffee cost me nothing.

    **made dinner on Friday using up ingredients already on hand. A chicken stuffing casserole from a recipe I found on Pinterest.
    **used my HSA card to pay for a visit to Urgent care for myself as my back has been bothering me, causing me to miss work, but have sick time to cover the missed working days.
    **Facetimed with my Mom to check in. We live about 100 miles apart.

    **stayed home most of the week.

    **used Gift cards we got for Christmas & bought some fast food meals with it when neither of us felt like cooking.

    **It’s been unusually warm in NE Ohio, which allows us to keep the heat in the house lower, saving on the gas bill.

    **need to go to the local library to figure out why my Libby app won’t allow me to check out e-books, when I signed up for an online membership card last fall.

    Wishing everyone a happy, frugal, and healthy week!

    1. $9. for a large coffee? Am I losing my mind? I can buy almost 2 pounds of decaff coffee for that price which lasts me over 2 months of daily 2 cup brewing. How much did you spend to get the 50 stars? I’m in Canada and President’s Choice or No Name coffee are both very good. This is not a criticism, Kelly; I’m in shock.

  34. I see those blossoms and realize what a different climate you live in. We had snow last night. Not much, but enough to remind us that it is still winter.
    I worked three days last week, and brought breakfast and lunch all three days.
    I made two loaves of herb bread. Also made garlic herb cheese spread, hard boiled eggs, a big green salad, potato salad and coleslaw. My DH BBQ’d ribs and hot dogs for Super bowl, so will be eating on those for lunch and dinner a few days.
    In the potato salad I used our home-grown potatoes and onions and homemade dill pickles. Only used six hard boiled eggs, but come them super small. For the coleslaw, I used the last of the 99¢ per package of coleslaw mix purchased earlier.
    My best deals were 2 pound of cheese for $4.99, with a limit of two, large avocados for 67¢ each and I had a 60¢ digital coupon to use if I bought four (I got the limit of 5), eggs for $2.87 a dozen, cauliflower and broccoli for 99¢ a pound, and ribs for $2.49 per pound.
    I cut and then tore a flannel sheet with holes in it to use for rags and/or handkerchiefs.
    Gave DH a haircut on a day that was sunny. I was still in the 40’s outside though.
    I mended a t-shirt that had two small holes in it. Doesn’t look especially good, but it will do.
    Did all the normal things – washed full loads of laundry, kept the house at 66 degrees during the day and at 60 degrees at night. Luckily, we both like to sleep in the cool. I listened to books on CDs from the library on my commute to and from work. I drive close to a half hour each way. Read books from the library for entertainment.
    Hope everyone has a fantastic week.

  35. Snow is falling outside and it was so lovely to see the pictures of your trees blossoming! Your free concert also sounds like a real treat — I hope you are able to attend more.
    I needed to buy groceries this week, so I hit three stores, shopping sales at each one. They are all close together and it was worth it to save money. At one store I only purchased eggs — $3.50 a dozen compared to $5.79 a dozen at the Kroger affiliate. I purchased sale pork chops, sausage and avocados at another, and stocked up on sale cheese and some produce at the third, as well as some staple items I needed.* I made two loaves of sandwich bread.*I had Mohs surgery to remove a skin cancer from my face. We had to drive 2 hours each way, so we packed a lunch. Fortunately, everything was finished by noon, so we ate in the car before we drove home. We stopped for gas on the way home and my husband had enough reward points for a free fountain drink, so I was treated to a large Diet Dr. Pepper, which was very good.*I stayed home the rest of the week, since my face was swollen and I had a black eye.* The surgeon’s office very kindly arranged for me to have the stitches removed locally so I don’t have to make that two-hour drive again. My follow-up is in two months, but the doctor said if everything is fine I can cancel the appointment, so I’m praying all will go well. I did appreciate them thinking of this, since I didn’t bring it up.* The bearings on my washing machine were going out (it started making a very loud noise) so my husband ordered the parts and spent a day replacing them. Cost $100 vs. $400 for a service call and $800 minimum for a new washer, so I’m thrilled.

  36. The flowers are looking lovely! We have azaleas blooming, but that makes me a bit sad – by spring, they’ll have no blooms left.

    I baked cookies for family for Valentine’s Day. I had most of the ingredients for them already.

    If all goes well, I have a family member bringing a nice, solid wood, vintage desk for me to use in my craft/office room. Free!

    I’ll have a Crock Pot of stew waiting on me when I get home. It will be 7:30 or 8 pm when I get home today, so the temptation to buy something to eat is strong. Knowing the stew will be ready keeps me from spending on take out.

    I thought I’d used all my powdered sugar for the Valentine cookie frosting, but found I had bought extra while it was on sale in November. I’m ready for the next holiday, then.

    A store was discontinuing their own brand of organic Colby cheese, so I bought two packs for 33% off, with a sell-by date of April. I’ll watch to see if the price continues to drop, but I doubt the cheese will stay on the shelf very long. It’s good cheese.

    To transport some of the cookies I made, I lined white shirt boxes left from Christmas with waxed paper, and put the cookies in them. One box was really flimsy, so I lined it’s bottom with an orphaned box top, then the waxed paper.

    I was treated to a nice lunch at work.

    I refilled my fountain pen and checked my supply of ink cartridges while I was at it.

    My application for patient assistance to pay for my uber-expensive medication was approved, but the assistance foundation has totally messed up my paperwork – they have all my doctor’s submitted information in one account, and all that I submitted in another account, then an attempt to merge the two accounts last week by a rep produced yet a third account. The (different) person I spoke with today said she is sending the accounts to her manager to get them merged correctly and hopefully get the medication on the way to me this week. I have been persistent in this over the last four months of trying to get my application in, approved, and a pharmacy notified. I take the medication every two months, it is time to take it, and I won’t give up.

  37. Brandy, as so many do, I also enjoy your photos! It amazes me that you can grow so much in your climate. Usually I don’t post because by the time I get around to it, it’s late in the week. So, today I decided to post before I read all the wonderful comments. My husband and I have been watching Murdoch Mysteries (typically two a night) on my cousin’s suggestion. We have been able to watch 13 of the 16 seasons on Hulu (which we have watched so many programs on). I had ordered season 14 from the library; it always takes so long to get these. Luckily, my husband suggested checking Roku and they have the final three seasons! I am delighted…we would have had Murdoch withdrawal. On the advice of several here, I read Rhys Bowen’s “Where the Sky Begins”. I would highly recommend it. I have gone on to read “The Tuscan Child” and “The Victory Garden” by her as well, and am starting “The Venice Sketchbook”. All from the library. I will eventually purchase the ones I would like on my shelf to read over and over. Best saving money tip…stay out of the grocery stores for me. We have been eating from the freezer and pantry, like so many of you. I ironed twelve of my husband’s dress shirts (I know, I know…I was way behind). We used to send these to the dry cleaner but at $1.65 per shirt😬, I bought a can of light starch and started doing them myself. The same with most of his pants. Hubby and I have been going through what we brought home from his parents, emptying boxes of binders, etc. Our local history museum is going to take many of the binders for their use. Hoping I can find someone to take all the sleeves my FIL put every single newspaper article in. Every time I sell something, the money goes towards a card I am paying down and the clutter goes out of my house. It is empowering😊 Hope all of you have a good week! This corner of the world brings me incentive and peace…thank you Brandy!

  38. The highlight of my frugal week was 8 pounds of free carrots. Seems there is a ‘free’ spot by the community mailboxes. A box of carrots was left this week. I processed these into four cups of of cubed carrots, 8 1/2 cups shredded and 3# cooked and pureed. I also made a small carrot salad using pantry items. The cubed and shredded carrot were bagged up for the freezer. The pureed filled 3 ice cube trays and were also frozen.

    I mostly stayed home. I purchased no gas for my car in January and only bought a 1/2 tank so far this month.

    I cooked all my meals at home and have carefully been using up items from my freezers. It’s made for some interesting meals but I’ve been fed and I’m happy to make sure every little bit of food is eaten and not wasted.

    Entertainment continues to be from my Amazon Prime account. I was sad to see my introductory rate of $14.95 go up to $16-something. I’m still very happy with my over the air antenae and this one and only streaming service. I’ve been reading books already in my collection.

    I had my first appointment with my new dentist. I’m very happy to learn my new dental insurance provides more coverage then my old plan. I have one outstanding procedure to complete from work started last year. Otherwise I had a great checkup and no new problems identified.

    I didn’t go into the grocery store last week. But a friend picked up a few items for me from Costco. She always checks in to see if I need anything. Although I do have a membership now, I appreciate her help and thoughtfulness. And I save both time and gas by not shopping myself.

  39. I found a half semi boneless ham for $1.99/pound. I’ve been eyeing those little quarter hams for weeks now but at nearly $7 per pound kept refusing to buy them. I eyed that half ham and decided I could cut it into quarters myself. So, I brought it home and did just that. I put three into the freezer, wrapped up really well. I cooked the other quarter. We had it for supper that night and I chopped up the remaining meat (about 1 cup) and the little piece of bone that was in that piece and put those in the freezer for a future meal.
    I chopped broccoli stem, mushrooms, onions, carrots and some bamboo shoots I’d apparently frozen in ’21(sometimes the labels shock me) and made a stir fry to go with our Chinese dumplings.
    I made most all of our meals at home though we did go out to eat on Saturday. We used a gift card we were given to pay for that meal. It was lovely.
    I bought flowers last week for my birthday. Today they have been trimmed and water refreshed and are lasting quite well.

  40. My friend delivered groceries to me today. I bought two packages of lean ground beef for $3.49 per pound. I will make meat loaf and hamburger patties from one package and I will put one package in the freezer. I spent $83.55 and saved $35.00. Between last week and this week, I’ve spent quite a bit on groceries but I did manage to get the Classico pasta sauce for $3 each (reg $4.50) and the Catelli pasta sauce for $1.50 each (reg $3 each). Except for soup, the pantry is almost restocked. I have been eating the peaches in my freezer from last summer. I have the box of blueberries from two years ago that I will use up quickly now.

    I have been mostly in bed for a week. A week ago today, I went very quickly over to a friend’s where I took House Finch photos. My knee started to hurt that day and I couldn’t walk for about 5 days. Now I can walk but it still hurts but not as much. I watched a lot of films on YouTube.
    And yesterday, I watched two Bald Eagles circling around high above escarpment.

    1. Sympathies on the knee pain – my right one has decided to start aching quite a bit but at least I am still mobile. Take care – at least you got some great deals on groceries.

      1. Hi Margie from T.O.

        Thanks for sympathies. No trauma or other apparent cause for the knee but it was excruciating. At least I can walk again.
        Fingers crossed!

  41. We have been reducing driving the car to the ultimate minimum. My husband drives only to work (10 min drive) and on most days he doesn’t come home for lunch. This means no shopping in bigger stores (30-50 min drive away) but relying on the small grocery store here in the village. The prices may be higher, and the selection limited, but we reasoned that now it’s time to support a local entrepreneur because if he goes out of business everyone living here is more or less in trouble.

    1. This makes a lot of sense Miriam – the more smaller stores we lose, the more we are at the mercy of the big conglomerates. You are balancing out the higher costs with not paying for more gas so hopefully it works out to be worth it.

  42. Lovely photos as always! What a fun party your son had, and it seems you are getting so many cuttings for the back hedges. I hope they are quick to root. I was just telling my sister tonight mom told me she basically landscaped our backyard growing up with cuttings. Mom had the greenest thumb I’ve known.

    My biggest frugal win, is still being sick. Just seemed like a cold at first, but 2 1/2 weeks later it’s still hanging on. It’s kept me home and not hungry so saved gas and groceries. Today is valentines day, which means last frost date for us, though there is a frost warning tonight. With wind chill they are predicting 26F by morning, exceptionally cold for here in the CA Bay Area, so used both mini incandescent lights and sheets to cover tender plants. Still hoping daily tomorrow will be the day I feel up to going to Costco. The cats meds are 1/4 the price there and I’m hoping lime trees are a decent price. If not, a friend said she planted two, but realized she only needs one, so next visit (she’s about 130 miles from me) might try digging one up to transplant. Rescheduled a dr appt this week due to illness, which saves gas, but also seems strange that now days we cancel appts due to sickness. Need to clean out a garden bed and will use a free to me electric weed whacker to clear weeds out of former back lawn. (Former due to drought.)

    1. I need 1344 bushes. I had about a 40% success rate last year, and then I didn’t do more because it was getting too hot for them. I’m hoping the cooler weather will help, and also that if they don’t all take, there will be time still to take more this spring before the heat in three months.

      I still have yet to get them put in all of the places where I want them. There are hundreds more to make. Hopefully I can do more this week; it is too windy today but once the wind dies down I will try again.

  43. -Made muffins from last summers zucchini, sourdough bread and yogurt with clearance milk. A sick kid one night cancelled our date night out. I had to scramble for dinner, made beans/corn/salsa over rice. Next night I unthawed some homemade spaghetti sauce that had been long forgotten in the freezer, only to realize it must have gone bad because it smelled funky. Thankful for some premade burger patties we threw on the grill. I used up wilty potatoes to make French fries a few times. Used up leftover chili and Buffalo chicken dip from the super bowl to make loaded fries on Monday. I don’t buy a ton of premade items but I’m always thankful to have quick meals to throw together when life goes awry, without resorting to ordering pizza.
    -My parents treated us all out Saturday night. We went to a chain restaurant and the wait was terrible, we were there almost 3 hours. Another reason to stay home.
    -Found some clearance veggies, lunch meat ham and milk. I was overcharged nearly $10- look at your receipts before you leave the store. I always get home and get mad at the errors but never do anything about it, and it’s pretty consistently around $10 per shopping trip. This time, I looked in the car, and I had to take the kids back out of car seats and go back inside.
    -Sold a few items on eBay, and listed a few more. Gifted friends some kids clothing. Bought my son some new Christmas pajamas for next year for $1 at the pallet store (think Amazon/target returns). I also bought some blank cards to send as sympathy/get better soon from the dollar store, plus play doh for kids valentines. I don’t want to send more candy so I was happy to find alternatives.
    -Used a Christmas gift card to get new running shoes from our local running store. Happy to support a local business and investing in good shoes is great preventative health care for me. I’m also continuing to lose weight and I’m fitting into more of my clothes again.

  44. Hubby had his birthday. I made him a carrot cake. I splurged and got him a steak. The rest of us had chicken. YD and I prefer chicken. There was extra steak so he had steak and eggs 2 days in a row. I made French toast with strawberries for his breakfast. He felt very spoiled. We went to my eldest’s daughter out of state for a long weekend to celebrate Hubby’s birthday and the Super Bowl. Hubby and ED are the 2 football people in the family. We only paid for gas and tolls. We brought lunch in the car. I did get ED bagels from home. M-F they have a special that you get 6 extra bagels for free so I got them Friday. We left Saturday morning. We ate all weekend at her house. Her in-laws visited. We played games, played with the puppies and watched the Super Bowl. It was a nice weekend. I brought her some items that I had got on clearance. She gave me a few books that I haven’t read and some clothes for her sister.
    I got a new pack of Hanes T-shirts at the thrift store for $5. I dropped a bag of stuff off that my son had cleaned out.
    My electric bill came in 17% less usage then the same time last year.
    I was able to put an extra $1200 to the mortgage in January.
    The lady I help treated me to lunch out. I brought home my leftovers. My son took them to work the next day.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  45. Thank you for the link re: chitting carrots. I have been frustrated when trying to grow them in the past. I think I’ll try this as well. Lots to be learned from times past.

  46. Hyacinth smell so lovely, you will have lots to enjoy visually and their scents.
    * We had a low key Valentine’s dinner at home. I pulled some smoked pork ( that our son gave us) out of the freezer, made a rice medley, steamed broccoli, and had some peanut butter / almond butter chocolate cups. The only item I paid for was the broccoli. Everything else was free stuff from my stash. The pb cups were yummy and made 10, so we have lots to enjoy over the next couple of weeks. They were very healthy and we both loved them!
    * I worked for a woman helping to sort through her boxes of food, I came home with a basket of food for us and to share. I took several boxes to the blessing box for folks to get for free. While I was there I combined a trip to the dump, which is very close by. I also helped sort food for a ministry and came home with some things to share with my younger adult kids, who are struggling, as well as share with the blessing box.
    * We had a joint birthday get together with several of my kids and had leftovers for several days.
    * I had pumpkin to use up and made pumpkin/ applesauce fruit leather and a pumpkin banana smoothie for my lunch.
    I hope you all have a frugal fun week!

  47. We also had a very inexpensive party last week, but ours was at the park. My middle son was turning 11, and we invited a bunch of his friends to a park near our house on a Friday after lunch (we’re all homeschoolers) for a “playdate with cake.” I didn’t want anyone to feel pressured into bringing gifts, so I emphasized that this was very low-key, but some gifts were brought anyway. The cake and frosting were made from scratch (and without eggs!), and I brought paper plates, napkins, and plastic forks. I also purchased two bags of chips and a case of water bottles. Still, it was less than $20, and everyone had a lot of fun!

    Some more frugal highlights from last week:

    * I finished our taxes, and we’re getting a very decent refund. We’ve wanted to purchase another vehicle for awhile, but back when we had a good bit saved we didn’t feel like we needed it yet (our oldest didn’t have her license yet). But then she got it, and that’s when all the car prices went insane. Prices are starting to cool, though, so we’re doing research and we’ll start looking as soon as the money comes in.

    * My Home Depot had some of the really nice stronger tomato cages marked down to $2, so I got 4. I would’ve liked to have gotten more, but I really only needed that many, although many of the ones I own are technically functional. They also had some pruning tools on clearance, so I was able to get a bypass pruner (which I’ve been needing for awhile).

    * Slowly working on filling in my new raised beds. I’m using the “hugelkultur” method to avoid purchasing as much soil. I used this in some raised beds I made last year, as well.

    * Stayed home more than usual and combined errands, so I got 10 days out of my tank of gas instead of just 7.

    * Avoided purchasing a pair of shoes for myself after realizing my teenage son had a pair he’d outgrown that I could use (black high-top Converse!).

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  48. I am really lucky because last week’s Safeway specials were good and the price is way up this week.
    In reviewing the flyers for the week starting tomorrow, I note the following best deals. At Safeway,
    a case of Campbell’s 12 cans of cream of mushroom soup for $11.00 (Each can separately is $2 at least, so 92 cents is a good price)
    per can). A five pound bag of potatoes is $5.99 and buy one get one free.

  49. Oops, I pressed send too quickly. Co-op has Campbell’s Chunky Soup at $1.88 each. The regular price is $3.50 per can. I am thrilled because the photos of the House Finches that I took in a hurry turned out well. I was wistful because I was told the flock took a bath in the bird bath – a rare occasion here in February when there is usually only ice in the bird bath and not any water.

  50. I forgot my most prudent deal of the week. My telephone/internet server plan was going to expire in another 2 weeks. I phoned to renew the deal.
    The first person said the rate for my internet would go up by $30 per month but he could give me a $10 credit but that was all. I asked to speak to the loyalty department. I ended up paying $5 less than I pay now for internet (which is and was a superb rate). So I saved $35 per month. It pays to ask.

  51. Reading through all of the comments, I just want to let the non-USA readers know that not everyone here has a Super Bowl party even if it seems like it. 🤣🤣

    1. Our fitness center had a “Super Bowl Party” fitness class. One of the instructors, halfway through the party class, said “Why are we doing all Rhianna songs??” Rhianna preformed the half-time show for the Super Bowl – I only knew that because of the fliers for the party class. I was really glad I wasn’t the only person that wasn’t paying much attention to the Super Bowl!

  52. I’m a long-time reader, but rarely comment on frugal accomplishments. I’m trying to do better for increased accountability. We continue to eat from the freezer & pantry. I did a “pantry challenge” last month. I’m continuing this month, though less rigidly. I’m buying loss leaders, when present. This week I bought asparagus at .99/lb, chicken thighs for .70/#, plus sale cheese and creamer.

    Our biggest news is that our first grandchild-a granddaughter-came 2 weeks early! We are over the moon! We arrived shortly after she was born. I took meals for my DS/DIL made with items I had, including a beef roast with mashed potatoes and a chicken/rice/broccoli casserole, along with homemade snacks while they were in the hospital. They should last for several meals and ease their transition home. Mother and baby are well, and the baby is a little doll! We are planning another trip this weekend. They live 3 hours away. Our new car gets great mileage, making the trip a bit more frugal. I bought steaks on sale (not something we usually eat at all) to celebrate. Not frugal, but the money saved from the pantry challenge easily paid for the steaks. I noticed a chuck roast at 2 stores this week is 5.99/# which is crazy. I got rib eyes for 6.99/lb for our celebration.

    I made Super Bowl snacks including Chex mix and chicken wings from the freezer. I buy whole chickens on sale (.99/#), cut the wings off and store them in the freezer. When I get a dozen, I fix them. I’ve done that twice recently. My husband wanted pizza. We bought one on sale from the store, and he ate it for breakfast lunch and dinner over a couple of days. It was good. I did manage to get 1 or 2 small slices!

    I continue to pick lettuce from our garden which is very unusual here in NC. I was late getting my fall garden in. I have harvested lettuce since Nov. We had VERY cold weather at Christmas, like other areas of the country. It got down to 19 degrees and stayed there. We recently had more temps in the 20s. I had canning jars and covered as many plants as I could with those, thanks to Brandy’s suggestion. The rest of the plants were on their own. I was shocked they all made it. The lettuce is growing slowly but has provided salads for the 2 of us. The broccoli plants now have flowerets. I’ve remembered Marivene as I weeded in Jan and Feb.

    As the readers here do, we keep the temps low in the house day/night, run the dishwasher when full, use cloth napkins, group errands to limit trips, batch cook and eat and repurpose leftovers while eating all meals at home. Thanks, Brandy, for hosting us all.

  53. Hello! I received a 30% off coupon for all regular priced items at CVS and used it on a few items we needed. Although CVS is higher priced than Walmart it is worth it to me due to the convenience of the location of CVS and the fact that I can’t stand Walmart & I will not shop there. With the coupons CVS sends I am still able to keep in budget and I know that I am fortunate in that I have many different choices on where to shop. We attended a Super Bowl party and brought a dish made from pantry & frozen items. There was way too much food and I was sent home with leftovers which fed us dinner 2 days. They also had door prizes at the party & we won Irish Spring body wash and a bottle of Tylenol. I turned my “empty” lotion bottle upside down over a plastic container and have been using what came out for about 2 weeks. Now I know it is finally empty! Vowed to not purchase books until I read what I already have, so going to the library doesn’t count! Picked up 3 books there. Hope everyone has a frugal, healthy & happy week!

  54. …we don’t plan to make the children grind stones for hours of course 🙂 But to make some of the good projects from the book to let them see how you can make all sorts of things from nature…

  55. It was a good, frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I took my kids to swim at the free indoor pool operated by our county.
    I made three meals from a rotisserie chicken: ate it plain once, into chicken quesadillas, then lastly into a chicken noodle soup.
    I gave two of my boys haircuts.
    I found some shorts at the thrift store for oldest daughter. I don’t like paying extra for Lululemon (these were $5), but I can probably resell them when she outgrows them or doesn’t wear them anymore.
    It was my turn to bring snacks to a cub scout meeting, so I made snickerdoodles using ingredients we had at home. Many of the boys had never had a snickerdoodle before.
    I sold more things on Facebook Marketplace and Mercari.
    I bought gas at Sam’s, where it was cheaper.
    We used clearance Valentine’s from last year for class Valentine’s parties.
    I didn’t cook a special Valentine’s dinner, as I was so exhausted, but I did buy heart-shaped chicken nuggets at Kroger, not on sale. The kids enjoyed that. We also ate ice cream (on sale) with red sprinkles.
    I made a pot of rice to stretch a meal. My oldest son will eat a plate of rice, buttered, after he eats a regular meal. He is active and growing, so I don’t worry about it.
    I found a package of diapers for the baby at Goodwill, which he will eventually grow into.
    I am creating a carefully compiled grocery list for the next time I go to Joe V’s, a discount HEB-type store. They’re about 5% cheaper than Aldi on what I buy, and I have more wiggle room in the February budget it seems. 10# bags of chicken drumsticks, .37/#, bananas 3#/$1, onions 3#/$1, and their huge bolillo rolls are still 8/$1.
    I had a stomach virus one day and couldn’t go to work, could hardly get the kids to and from school, but it passed quickly. I’m now feeling much better!
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  56. For about half a year, my two pairs of familiar pants have fallen down around my ankles if I’m not careful. This has led to some potentially embarrassing moments but fortunately no disasters have occurred. I ventured forth to pick up my new eyeglasses (a physician’s remake at no cost to me). While in the mall, I saw a store that carries clothes designed in Vancouver but made in Italy. The store was having an 80% off sale. I bought two pairs of pants made in very light weight denim-like fabric with a bit of stretch. Like tailored jeans… Because of my knee I was not able to try things on but the obliging saleslady brought tons of items over for me to look at. The pants were $170 Canadian each originally but on sale for $30. I took a chance and bought both. When I reached home I tried them on – one fits perfectly, the other is just a bit too small. (next summer, perhaps?) While there I saw some part-cashmere gloves originally $80 on sale for $10. I bought one for myself, one for a birthday gift and one for a Christmas gift. I also bought a heavy canvas tote bag similar to an LL Bean tote bag that sells for $99. I paid $7.00 Cdn – $5.21 US. I resisted temptation about sweaters and dresses. The quality was very good. It was the first time I’ve been in a store for three years. I don’t need many clothes but I did need pants for the summer. I now have 4 pairs (2 old, 2 new) that are good plus 2 that are too big but will be altered. All set for summer.

  57. For anyone interested in hearing more live music, I’ve played lots of chamber music concerts at libraries in various situations, and I can tell you for sure that the musicians are absolutely thrilled to have enthusiastic listeners. Usually we’re sitting in a practice room wondering if anyone’s going to like what we play!:) If the concert is not free and the library constrains them with a particular ticket price, if they’re like my group, we always LOVED to have someone offer to pass out programs or greet guests in exchange for a ticket. We always were given complimentary tickets from the place we performed, and it was a huge compliment to the group, we felt, to have someone want to participate in any way for one of them. We all loved to barter for giving tickets and music lessons, etc., and most of the young musicians I know feel the same way.

  58. I have initiated a new motto when it comes to my dollars which is ” every little bit counts”.
    1.) I stretched my store bought salad dressing by adding equal amounts of pureed white beans and a tomato and onion. Tomatoes were on sale. It tasted terrific!!! And more than doubled the quantity.
    2.) I made banana bread out of well washed and pureed banana peels.
    3.) I striped the beds and washed linens as well as hung them out to dry on our one warm and sunny day this week.
    4.) I signed up for a cheaper cell phone plan.
    5.) I used only one tablespoon of my generic powder clothes detergent in my laundry and it was enough to clean my clothes well.
    6.) I made DIY lip balm.

    1. Doris,
      I have never heard of using the banana peels for eating. How is the taste? That seems so foreign to me but i’m intrigued.

  59. Hi Brandy. Wonderful photos again this week! My husband passed away at the end of December so my world has been upside down the past almost two months. Normally I cooked most of our meals at home, but now I find I am not cooking much, so my food spending is down (I am eating lunch out with friends and usually can bring half home due to the crazy large size portions now). I expect my spending and habits will get into synch but it is too soon. Overall I am doing okay but finding a new rhythm after 41 years is very very difficult. I have found a wonderful new series on tv, you tube specifically, about WWII…the unauthorized history of the Pacific war…it doesn’t assume you are a history buff, which is exactly what I need. Anyway, for anyone looking for something educational ;). Love your blog and the community where a hundred new ideas show up each week!

    1. Hilogene – you may not see this since it is a late post, but I am so sorry that you are having to learn how to live without your husband after 41 years. It is difficult. Give yourself grace when it comes to not “doing things like you normally do”. You will find your new normal, but until that time do whatever you need to to cope right now.

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