I continue to be shocked at the prices of items that are now triple what I used to pay just a year or two ago (especially food and toiletries). Efforts to save money where we can are of even greater importance.

I rehemmed a pair of jeans that had come unstitched.

I gave a son a haircut.

I cut the buttons off of a pajama top that wore out and added them to my button jar to use on a future project.

I sowed seeds in my garden for larkspur, vesca strawberries, and hollyhocks.

I buried kitchen scraps in my garden. Simple things like banana peels (and the bad spots off your bananas), apple cores, carrot ends, etc. are great additions to your garden. Dig a hole and bury them; they’ll be gone within a month.

I traded nasturtium seeds from my garden, a bag of Epsom salt, and a garden consultation (I usually charge for this) for three blackberry bushes.

I have been looking for a small padded bench for my closet to sit on while I put on my shoes. I had found a few online, but they were more than I wanted to spend. At Home Goods, I found one for half the price of the one I was considering purchasing, so I bought it.

What did you do to save money last week?

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    1. I usually sow them in fall or in January. They tend to self-seed in fall. It’s still cold here, so I thought I would try sowing some old seeds anyway. I do have a few self-seeded plants that are already up.

      1. I’ve also been sowing old vegetable seeds, I also sorted my seed box so I know which are the oldest seeds. Have repotted self-seeded forget-me-nots, fox gloves and mexican flea bane. It’s been nice cutting chard and spinach from the greenhouse for stir fries.
        I’m experimenting with new recipes to use up every bit of food, it’s surprising what you can do with a few odd vegetables a bit of chicken and herbs. My food order came today, no salad items and the quality of some fresh items wasn’t very good. I did get quite a few items refunded.
        Repaired jeans, trousers and a coat. So glad I can do basic sewing. Making a new tablecloth from my stash I can then throw the old one away.

  1. I can almost smell the hyacinth from here. We have some starting to bloom here too. That sounds like a win-win trade for the blackberry bushes. Last week, there was a broccoli harvest, part of which was used in pad thai. The rest of it was frozen. A pot of sweet potatoes was put to simmer on the woodstove for the pups and chickens. I went through Swagbucks for 4% off an order, and used coupon codes for another 12% off the entire order, plus a few items that received 15% off. n the neighborhood an invite, and had them all for dinner over the weekend. I harvested lettuce to mix with store bought for our salads, and pasta sauce was made with our canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and summer squash, garlic, onions, and fresh rosemary. Brownies and GF cookies were made with items we had in the pantry. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/02/a-short-post.html

  2. Oh what lovely photos

    I have sown more broad and field beans also leeks , cucumber, lettuce ,spinach, brussels, carrots,parsley, basil, red cabbage, white cabbage, kale and clary , they are in the bedroom until the weather warms up a bit. I managed to mow lawn before weather broke although we only had 0.9 mm of rain so we are back in a drought . Did all laundry before it rained. The the temperature are back to our usual February weather.

    Our dead plum tree has been taken down and screening trees faced back The plum tree is 45 years old and badly diseased ,we use a person who lives down the road . I prefer to use and pay somebody local. I have already planted 2 more plum trees but it will take a couple of years before they fruit.

    Only bought a couple of groceries and all the cards needed for 2 months ( 8 birthdays ),a cheap week.

    Picked up library book. Made nut roast ,soft cheese and yoghurt . I need to make some baked beans as only one left on the shelf . Used veg and meat from freezer and pantry . Dropped and broke soap dish but found something In the cupboard that would hold the soap instead of buying a new one.

    Keep safe everyone

  3. I agree on the price shock and that every little bit you can save makes a difference!

    My grandmother passed away so it was a busy week with lots of sadness but so many good memories ❤️ We split the cost of a beautiful flower arrangement with my siblings. My parents sent us home from the funeral home with subs, fruit, chips, and cookies.
    *took advantage of birthday freebies
    *ordered a 7 pack of butter mashed potato bags from Amazon for under $6. Good pantry stock up price for a quick side dish.
    *found a new warehouse outlet with amazing deals: $1 each spray sunscreen, Sudafed sinus medication, acetaminophen, holiday baking kits. They also had free cases of hand sanitizer so we picked up 2.
    📍Grocery Store: $1.69 pineapple
    📍Buy Nothing Group: a grey lightweight hooded sweatshirt , 2 4-packs of duraflame campfire roasting logs; a bag of canned goods! I’m so grateful ☺️

    Have a great week ❤️

  4. I love your garden trade! And I agree, food prices never fail to shock these days.. I’ve had to increase my food budget several times this past half year, and we don’t eat extravagantly in the least.

    My frugal week:
    redeemed $10 in loyalty points towards pharmacy items
    – used the TooGoodToGo app to buy cupcakes as evening treats for ME, lol.
    – used the public library for lots of ebooks and kids books
    – put my stroller back together after it broke (a screw came off and several pieces fell off)
    – did inexpensive fun and/or educational things for my kids: a pouring station for my youngest along with a colour sorting station, a colour mixing station for my eldest, food colouring in bath water, ice cubes in special shapes in bath water, etc. The only cost was food colouring, as water is part of my condo fees.
    – made a lemon tahini yoghurt dip
    – I baked banana bread, and replaced one egg with a flax egg
    – I made Brandy’s tomato basil soup and served it with homemade cheese scones
    – I made French toast, but added a but more milk to stretch the egg.
    – cut two packages of chicken breasts length-wise, and froze individually. An actual chicken breast is way too large a serving!
    – took my daughters to a make-up music class. They ended up getting a private lesson for two, for the price of a group lesson for one, plus got to play with new to them toys in the waiting area. Then we went to the library where we ate a packed lunch from home, and picked up a free book tote bag, as my eldest just got her library card. A fun weekend outing!
    – hosted a playdate for my kids. Served homemade apple carrot muffins and used a mini pinata kit that I bought from the discount rack at Michael’s this past summer. An inexpensive but fun afternoon!
    – made chicken parm using homemade breadcrumbs
    – baked cheddar jalapeno mini bagels

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  5. Most of the week I’ve been sick so we’ve been grateful for our stocked pantry and freezer with ready to eat or quick to assemble or easy to comfort foods. Hubs has also slowed down due to some long bouts of A-fib. He has also had another health concern which involves a test that will be done in his urologist’s office that will decide what course of treatment is indicated. The good thing is that because the Dr has the specialized equipment right in his office, the results will be immediate.

    So, as a result, we’ve been blessed by our previous efforts which have kept us from spending but haven’t been as proactive as usual.

    This week, I did find a total of about 30 pounds of 80/20 ground beef on Flashfood in assorted packages for $1.45/pound so I bought it. I checked with daughter who works full-time and she was thrilled to get 15 pounds to put into her freezer and then I checked with my friend who has 6 children from teenagers down to preschooler and asked if they might want some also. She also was thrilled because the total of hers at “regular” marked price was around $28 but she paid only $6.75. I was happy to share the good sale with them to help their food budgets! Since our chickens are ramping up their egg production, I gifted both families a carton of 18 eggs. It is so gratifying to be in a position where we can share with others.

    On Saturday, I went online and ordered 35 yards (a full bolt) of Heat and Bond from JoAnn’s because it was 50% off. But then because I opted for curbside pickup at my local store, I was able to use a 25% off my total order which even included sale items! So instead of $3.29/yard, I paid $1.14/yard and I will have enough to make appliqué table runners, etc for gifts without running out. So my savings was $75.25!

    Our Meijers sent me an email yesterday (Sunday ) that this week (through Saturday, March 3) fresh strawberries are 99 cents/16 ounces. There is no limit and it is at all of the Meijers stores. I am definitely buying another flat or two to freeze whole and dehydrate slices (using that hard boiled egg slicer!)

    Our youngest son asked if he could come over after work today to cook up some of his frozen ground beef to use in 2 of his dinners that he chose for his meal plan for this week. They are new recipes that he’s trying from his pdf cookbooks I gave him! This mom is pleased to see him continuing to expand his cooking at home!

    Hubs has been remembering to use your Amazon link every time, Brandy, so I hope that has added a bit for your budget.

    Hope everyone is staying healthy and safe from the weather roller coasters that are seeming more typical these days! Can’t wait to get motivated by everyone’s ideas!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Thank you, Pat! I appreciate everyone who uses my links! It’s just a tiny percentage, but it adds up and sure helps!

      1. Mountain Mama Dawn- Thanks! I think once the weather decides whether it will be Spring or Winter, Cold or Hot, wet or dry, windy or quiet, that I will feel better! But, we have been fortunate compared to so many others as far as weather conditions, so I won’t complain too much!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Sabrina- Thank you! I appreciate that! Hubs seems to be responding well to a new med the urologist gave him and he will have one more test in 2 weeks to continue the evaluation. Fingers crossed.

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    2. Sending healing thoughts to you and your husband, Gardenpat. I’m glad the doctor has the equipment at hand and you’ll have information right away!

  6. What a nice batter!
    I’m noticing on the local buy nothing group people are just asking before buying an item. They seem to get good response.

    My “ah-ha” moment was a used plastic mailer destined for the trash become a small trash can liner.

    We compost food scraps, seafood shells, cat fur (from brushing)..we usually yield a nice wheel barrow full of rich dirt a year. It adds up thankfully.

    There is a cross stitch book I would like to save up for. Amazon had a look inside and it had a few patterns from the book. I printed one out to try before I buy. (This will be for my personal use).

    Hope everyone has a calm & productive week!

  7. I wondered how the 3 trees you transplanted were doing. If anyone can get them to grow & thrive it is you! Maybe the trees (if they do well) could be featured in your influencer job posts.
    My money saving activities for Jan. & Feb. of ’23:
    1. Have found 11$ in change during my walks. Yesterday I found a dollar bill stuck in the soft drink machine at the Restore shop but usually is is change that I find. It all adds up.
    2. Found one plastic coat hanger on my walk. I took it home & cleaned it. It’s now in the closet.
    3. I aim for 10000 steps a day for free exercise. However I can see flab since I stopped weight training. Looks like I have to go back to a gym for this. My quads also are now weak.
    4. Got 3 loaves of French bread free at the senior center. I gave 2 loaves to my neighbors.
    5. The neighbor who was supposed to drive me to the airport in March will be on vacation. I found
    someone else to drive me to the train station on that day. I will ride the train to the airport. I think it costs 3.00 $ with my senior pass. I’m surely glad I found out I needed an alternate plan ahead of departure day. I don’t even want to think of the cost using Uber or Lyft to go 36 miles.

    1. One is doing well, one is dying if not dead, and the third is in questionable health. So I am waiting to see and decide what to so. I am bummed about the situation but there isn’t much I can do.

  8. Oh, I bet that hyacinth smells heavenly! I noticed that several of my bulbs are emerging. I look forward to them blooming.
    Great deal on blackberry bushes. We have a UPICK blackberry farm up the road so I know they’ll probably do well if I plant them.

    My big accomplishments involved my organization project. I filled 2 boxes for the thrift store, another box of desk paper clutter for recycling, and it looks so much better!
    *I cut my husband’s hair.
    *I made bread.
    *Husband happily accepted a large bag of leftover biscuits from a church breakfast.
    *Husband’s co worker divided up an aloe vera plant and left several little pots on the lunch counter. One is now on my dining room table!

    Prices update- Gas was $2.87 gal. when we got to Sam’s on Saturday. It was $2.83 gal. when we left! Eggs were $2.79 at TJs.
    Milk was $1.29 per 1/2 gallon at Dillons. I saw several prices that left me agog! Decaf coffee, dog food, and peanut butter! Those are staples around here so that’s painful!

    Got the gas bill. Our use was down a little more than one third. However, the bill was about 30% higher.

    Reading- Same as last week. Ill be finishing up a couple soon so I’ll update next week.
    Good week to all.

  9. I’m so happy to see this post. I was worried about you!

    The trees and early flowers are blooming in my area, just as they are in Brandy’s yard. I saw my first violet on Monday (2/27) and that alone makes me happy and feel peaceful.

    My eye surgeries are completed and while I’m thrilled to wake up with clear vision, it feels very weird to not be taking out contact lenses every night. I threw out my opened wetting and cleaning solutions along with 5 empty cases and SEVEN pairs of contacts – the primary pair and backup plus the backup to the backup to the… I also bought 3 pairs of reading glasses to accomodate all my needs (1.5+ for the computer, 2.5+ for regular reading and 3.25+ for up close cross-stitching).

    I took my sister out for lunch to Perkins after my surgery, both to thank her and so I could get a couple slices of pie to take home. Priorities!!! My daughter picked up Chinese food for dinner for me on surgery day and I purposely overbought because I thought she and my son-in-law would get some and stay for dinner. They did not so I had a LOT of leftovers. I froze servings of steamed dumplings and General Tso’s Chicken with broccoli and steamed rice for the next time a craving hits. I went out to lunch twice to reconnect with friends and froze some ribs from one meal.

    The TPMS on one tire kept coming on. I took the car to Firestone where they were bought and they replaced the sensor for free under the roadside hazard policy because it didn’t fit properly and was causing a slow leak. I fully expected to be buying a new tire, so that was a pleasant surprise.

    I did a major grocery shopping trip for the first time since early January and like everyone else I was shocked at how much prices have gone up in less than 7 weeks, especially for grain products. I also broke the first rule of grocery shopping and went on an empty stomach. Oh well… I did pick up 4 discounted hyacinths and now the house smells like a florist’s shop. I stopped at Dollar Tree later in the week and did some price comparisons so I know what to buy there in the future.

    I used a $30 Chewy gift card reward from a previous purchase on an order that included Greenies dental health treats. Those are $22 for a large container and I bought three rather than the planned two to get a $20 gift card towards another future purchase.

    My lawn guy will be mowing my yard for the same price as last year; I was expecting and setting aside money for a $5-10 increase. Except for weekends, it’s been rather warm for the last few weeks so the first mowing of the year was today.

    Since I couldn’t garden for a week after surgery, I cleaned my house, reorganized my pantry and updated my budget and gardening journal. The yellow pollen from the pine trees has hit and is covering everything so it’s good to stay inside right now anyway. I will be starting in the garden later this week and will be spending many hours out there.

    Food prep included cooking a package of bacon for use in other dishes, a mini blackberry pie, a strawberry and cream cheese quiche and cutting up veggies for salad and quick stir fry meals. The quiche may strike you as odd unless you’ve had the Blintz Omelette at the Bayside Skillet in Ocean City, Maryland. It’s amazing.

    1. Your comment re: a strawberry cream cheese quiche sent me to the website of the Bayside Skillet. That combination sounds so good! Do you use a regular quiche recipe and then add the berries, cream cheese and sweeteners? I’m intrigued.

  10. Thank you, Brandy, for the beautiful pictures again this week, and for this forum.

    I’m still not well, although today isn’t too bad. I have been exhausted for 3 weeks. Haven’t gone anywhere or done anything. I have had only two other decent days in all this time.

    I read 3 library books last week. My favorite genres are cozy mysteries and WW2-era fiction. (My secret pleasure is David Baldacci crime thrillers). If anyone has been reading anything good lately, please post!

    All meals have been cooked and eaten at home, except my husband bought take-out last night. We are on the home stretch of the first part of his elimination diet. We have made it 5 weeks so far and lived to tell the tale! After an endoscopy in March, they will decide if he has allergies and either stop the diet or begin adding foods back in. His potassium level is down, which expands the fruits and vegetables he can eat (in moderation). This makes menu-planning a little easier.

    I bought a boneless pork loin for $1.88 lb. and cut it into a small roast, 2 one pound packages of cubes, 9 chops and a package of stir-fry meat. I used the Zwilling vacuum sealer to package them for the freezer. The bags are reusable. You can even open a bag and remove part of the contents and reseal it. (Which is why I pre-froze the pork chops, so they would be loose in the bag).

    We are having a snow day here today! Not a big deal for us because our kids are grown. We got around 4 inches overnight and the areas around us got more. Last week’s super cold weather is finished in this part of the country. I hope to start some seeds indoors this week, including some I saved from last year.

    I ordered a Chromebook using Brandy’s Amazon link. This doesn’t seem very frugal, but it was half the price of a new laptop. My current laptop seems to be at death’s door with 3 different things wrong with it. I play Words with Friends with several of you–this is why I’ve disappeared. Should be back on by next weekend or so. Colleen, if you see this, please tell your sis! Thank you!

  11. My weeks seem to run the same: try to use what is in the fridge, eat more from the pantry, read library books, knit with what I have on hand, bundle errands, etc.

    I did find a nice table on the curb outside my building. It is a mid-century style and smaller than the table that I use for my computer and crafts. I asked around and it wasn’t claimed, so I brought it in for myself. My old table I purchased about 10 years ago at a thrift store for $6.99. It didn’t have hardware to attach the legs, so that was an additional expense (about $10). Regardless, I have had my money’s worth out of the old table and was happy to find a smaller one free of charge that also fits my design aesthetic!

    Have a great week everyone!

  12. I didn’t have time to comment last week as along with being extra busy at the office, I also came down with a stomach bug for a couple of days! Still – it happened on the worst two storm days so I’ll count that as a win. I am able to work from home so still managed to keep up (but spaced it out as I felt able).
    Feb. 24th was both payday and the day my Govt. pensions came in so I do shopping from month to month on that date. I allocated money to both a grocery and a pantry restock envelope – a bit more than the past two months but still a lower amount than what is considered frugal on most Govt. lists. My friend who lives downstairs drove us to Costco and we renewed our membership for this year – I pay half so that it helps her get the cheaper gas (she is very generous with driving me about). I bought pumpkin seeds, butter (at $3 lower than my local grocery store per pound) and a large piece of my favourite Jarlsberg cheese at about half of what it would cost in my local store so I’ll definitely be buying these items from Costco going forward. I also picked up a rotisserie chicken – they are $7.99 here but the same would cost me $12 to $14 in most regular supermarkets so still a great deal. I got some extra salad items and a couple of odds and ends and it still cost me $82 in the end! Yikes!

    On the weekend I went to my regular grocery store twice – mostly to stock up – day to day groceries probably accounted for about a quarter of what I bought. But – there were a lot of good Loyalty Point offers on this week and I was able to combine a couple so I’ve ended up with $25 worth of points – so definitely worth it and I added a lot of canned, jarred and non-food items to my pantry.

    I also did a lot of cooking on the weekend. I made a pot of mushroom/barley soup – made a batch of tuna salad – cooked a lot of veggies, cooked two pork tenderloins that were taking up a lot of space in my small freezer compartment (I’ve sliced and packaged them up and the two of them, which I got on sale for $8 will give me 10 generous servings of meat) – and finally, I made two dozen oatmeal/pumpkin muffins. I substituted some cooked pumpkin that was in the freezer for the eggs and milk and they baked up wonderfully moist. Most of the pork and half of the soup and muffins are now in the freezer. I am eating supper at my friend’s tomorrow night so I will take her a serving of soup and a couple of muffins.

    I also managed to get 3 loads of laundry done on Saturday and all 3 loads were hung up on my clothing racks to dry so no dryer costs – that saved $7.50 for the 3 loads! Those folding dryer racks are so worth their initial costs!

    I loaded my transit pass on Friday and saved $25 compared to last month – guess I worked from home more and my guest pass had only two trips on it last month so no need to add anything there.

    I walked for exercise – met a friend for coffee at a Food Court rather than an expensive coffee shop and continued to enjoy my library books and Amazon Prime for entertainment.

    I hope that everyone is well and that various storms aren’t impacting you too badly – can’t believe that blizzard in California but perhaps it will help the drought situation. Have a wonderful week.

  13. A pleasant surprise was that my village utilities bill for January was $62 less than the month before. It includes natural gas, water, sewers, recycling and garbage pick-up. I had budgeted an extra $100 on top of last month’s bill, since January is typically the coldest month of the year, which triggers higher prices as well as higher use. We had consistently milder temperatures than usual, but I had assumed we would see very, very high rates, and an increasing carbon tax on top of that. We saw higher rates, but not very, very high rates.

    I needed to print out some receipts and the estimate for the new furnace, to attach to the application for government financing. I can’t keep a printer going because the ink cartridges dry out, so I go to the library or the village office to get things printed. Two-step ID means I need a cell-phone to receive a text when I am looking at my email on a computer that isn’t my own. I still don’t have a mobile phone. I called the librarian and asked her to print out what I needed if I emailed the documents to her. Then I took the local taxi to the library to pick the documents up. This was the day before pension funds were arriving, so I used $15 in bills left over from my November transportation budget and $5 in coins from the bottom of my purse for the taxi fare, and $1.50 in coins to pay for the printing. The coins have been in my purse since September, so I was glad to finally have a use for them.

    I completed the financing application at home, and took a taxi to the post office to mail it. While I was there, I picked up a package, and some mail, which included the last tax receipt I needed. I filed my taxes that afternoon, and got an instant notice of assessment. The tax program I use here in Canada allows me to name the price I will pay. Now that my taxes are simple, I pay $20 plus $1 tax. My income is at a level where I don’t pay any income tax, thanks to a large deduction for being 65 or older, and a pension deduction. The return needs to be filed though, in order for a couple of income supplements for seniors to be paid (one federal and one provincial), and for two quarterly tax credits to be issued. The tax return didn’t need to be in until the end of April, so I am pleased to have it in well in time. I rewarded myself for getting the financing application and my tax return in by buying a Kindle book (the latest Jonathan Kellerman book).

    I am planning my grocery shopping for the coming month. I think I will just be filling in the absolute gaps in my pantry, and getting meat and vegetables to eat through the month. There is starting to be a lot of space in the fridge and freezer now. Although there has been a case lot and big pack sale this week, I didn’t see anything that was a priority. I don’t want to let my food stocks to get as low as they did in March last year, and my grocery budget this year will allow me to keep up. I am also planning some indoor projects for the month. March is a real winter month here in northern Alberta, even though there is much more daylight, so it can be a bit of a fight with cabin fever. April can be wintery or it can have signs of spring, but we have to get through March first.

    1. Hi Elizabeth M.

      Does the government rebate on utilities explain your lower utilities bill? It is cold and snowy here, too but spring is on the way…!

      1. My natural gas consumption was 18.07 GJ in January versus 23.40 GJ in December. Both the GJ charge and the federal fuel charge (carbon tax) were much lower in this recent bill as a result.

        We’re not seeing the rebate on energy bills, I think because we receive our heating bill indirectly through the village utilities. I haven’t followed up with the village or the Alberta Utilities Commission to find out why. Dealing with the furnace has taken priority, I’m afraid.

    2. There are several companies that will print and mail or deliver to you. Just do a Google search on “print something and have it mailed to you”. If you only need a few pages, this would cost less than your taxi to the library.

      1. That’s a great suggestion. I take the taxi when I am in a hurry for the documents, as I was with getting money for a new furnace. When I have more time, I often get the originator of the document (like the furnace supplier) to print out the document and send it to me. When I need a government form, the provincial government reps will often print it out for me and mail it to me. I still need to get to the post office to pick it up (no home delivery in rural Alberta), but it is walking distance if it’s not too cold or icy.

  14. I am officially homeless for now. I have moved out of my house and in with my sister till my wedding in 10 days. I have moved lots of totes into a storage building at the new house. I have borrowed tablecloths and décor for my wedding. A friend gave me a hair certificate at my shower so I don’t have to pay for that. We have been eating strange meals trying to use up my food storage. When cleaning my house, I used up all those half empty bottles of cleaner. Why do we do that? I have donated clothes, books and kitchen items to several organizations to get rid of duplicates.

    1. You must be getting so excited! Congratulations on both the upcoming wedding and all your efforts to prepare for it. I’m wishing much happiness to you both.

  15. This week we booked a flight to visit my husbands relatives this summer. He had a new credit card which gave him a companion ticket( me) for $119 and also gave him a $300 bonus( which becomes $450) if we spend $5.000 in the first 3 months which should be easy with our house and car insurance coming due next month. It also includes two free lounge passes. So for $350 we have 2 tickets to Chicago which is 2500 km away-of course renting the car when we get there is more costly but I am pleased with the savings on airfare–and the old body sitting several days in the car there and back! It would requite hotels, gas and meals if we drove there.
    I did receive a few discount coupons this week-25% off bulk barn(dried goods), 10 cents per litre off gas, free loaf of bread if I bought cinnamon buns. I also got $10 off a $50 grocery purchase but as I had expected the prices were high at this store so not worth it to use. Brandy I am enjoying all your pics as it is still cold and snowy here-looking forward to March in hopes of spring weather.

  16. Another quiet week here, as hubby was travelling for work. I didn’t cook much while he was gone, just had some things I’d tucked away in the freezer. We had a huge snowstorm while he was gone and my sweet son shoveled and shoveled and shoveled. I treated him to some Cane’s chicken strips as a thank you. Way cheaper than paying someone to shovel, and he was doing out of the goodness of his heart, so it was a nice surprise for him. * Had a date with hubby when he got home, with a gift card we received for Christmas. He picked up the food and we ate at home while watching a show. * I don’t use a lot of eggs, just in baking. Used the last two for brownies so I finally had to order some this week. My Walmart had large eggs 18 count for 3.98. More than I used to spend, but so much less expensive than I know many are paying, so I’m just being thankful. These will last me a few months, since I only use one or two a week. * A box was delivered here addressed to me with the return address of Sam’s Club. I didn’t order anything so was confused. Opened it to find it was one of those gift baskets with cheese, sausage, crackers, fancy mustard, nuts and candy. For me! I had no idea who would have sent me something like that. In small type on the invoice I saw it’s from the Assisted Living Facility that I donated lap blankets, hats and scarves to last November! I couldn’t believe it! I certainly didn’t donate those things in order to get any thank you, not to mention a fancy gift like that. It was very kind and we have had fun sampling the yummy treats. * Frugal fail is I planned a sheet pan meal of roasted potatoes and kielbasa. I must have had the oven too high and cut the pieces too small, because when the timer went off….well, very very crispy. I managed to salvage about half of it. We rounded out that “dinner” with a bowl of cereal. Oh well, just an oops!* Finished and returned some library books and received some new ones. Kept knitting and crocheting for fun. I started knitting a baby sweater with some yarn I had already. This is a little tricky for me, but I’m excited to learn something new. * I hope everyone has a thrifty and safe week!

    1. Becky, If it’s consolation, I have had no luck with sheet pan dinners either. Things come out crunchy due to not being cooked enough or come out crispy when they should just be soft. I’ve adjusted times, temps, added time, raised temp, lowered time, lowered temp…Doesn’t matter. They just don’t come out for me at all! I ended up scrapping most of the last pan I’d tried and I said “Call it a lesson and forget this method of cookery!” lol

  17. These are challenging times, to be sure, but when I see photos of lovely flowers like yours, all seems right with the world. I love hearing about your recent bartering. The barter/trade economy is alive and well here and I am not sure what we would do if it were not. One neighbor recently traded some excavating work for a vehicle – an older vehicle, to be sure, but one great for him to haul firewood and such in.
    *We enjoyed a wonderful Shrove Tuesday pancake supper (I should say feast!) at our church. The men of the church do the cooking and they do it up – bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, 3 kinds of pancakes, all kinds of juice and King cake. My youngest was thrilled to be the one to find the Baby Jesus figure in the King cake. A fun and free evening. Our Ash Wednesday service was beautiful, as always, and we did an errand on the way to save gas.
    *Our homeschool co-op classes last week were on living foods so we all made yogurt, apple cider vinegar and kombucha – all things we have done and/or do regularly but were fun to do with others. We also came home with starter and SCOBY which is good to have for extra or to replenish what we have.
    *My boys had friends over one day. I am grateful my boys like to just be outside (in almost any weather) and exercise their imaginations which costs nothing.
    *Drum roll….I finished our bedroom curtains! It is SO nice to see that fabric, which I bought at a tag sale about 15 years ago, up in all its glory and no longer hidden away in a basket. Now, to start on altering curtains purchased at thrift stores for my boys’ bedrooms. Hopefully, these will go a bit faster. 🙂 While I had my sewing machine out, I did some mending that required more than hand sewing.
    *While in town on an errand, we went to Goodwill and had some luck. One boy needed a new lampshade for his room and we found a beautifully made one that is perfect for $4. I am always on the look-out for cotton/linen tablecloths and tea towels and found one each for $3 and $1 respectively. The most exciting find was a handmade Fair Isle-type cardigan sweater with the most beautiful buttons for $4.99. Handmade sweaters of this type are always on my “look-for” list so I was very happy to find this one.
    *I reorganized my pantry and put things that need to be used in front to be used soon. Anything to reduce food waste and to have a more pleasant experience when cooking. I find that an active pantry really needs to be reorganized regularly as things are moving around and amounts of certain categories change constantly. But, it is one of those things that looks so much better when done. I love the immediate gratification tasks like that. 🙂
    *Spent some of the unseasonably warm afternoons looking about the kitchen garden and planning some changes. I am going to move a couple of beds to allow for even more sun exposure and to create a more organized lay-out. I like the feeling of contentment I have with my home and property but it is also fun to think up creative solutions that make wonderful things even better.
    *Still reading “A Fatal Grace” by Louise Penny and “The Beekeeper’s Assistant” by Laurie King and enjoying them both.
    *Have a lovely week, all!

  18. Hi Brandy and everyone
    It must have been very satisfying to find a padded bench at half price, it’s lovely to find a good bargain for something you’ve been looking for.
    Prices are going up here (UK) by leaps and bounds too, I don’t think any products are static.
    I picked cabbage, leeks and parsnips from the garden and we are starting to eat our stored ‘Polar Bear’ pumpkins.
    We planted seeds for French marigolds and potted on delphinium seedlings grown in the autumn.
    I picked hellebores for the house, they don’t last long as a cut flower but searing the cut stems prolongs their vase life a little.
    Inexpensive meals were lambs liver and onions with mashed potatoes, the leftover mash became potato cakes served with cheese omelettes and veg, and jacket potatoes with cheesy leeks and roasted pumpkin.
    I bought a much needed pair of leggings from Lands End with 40% off.
    My husband cancelled two magazine subscriptions. It has taken him some time to accept that these are unaffordable but I am glad he came to the decision himself.
    For those readers who enjoy the TV programme Death in Paradise the BBC have made a spin off called Beyond Paradise set in England and featuring one of the previous hapless detectives. The trailers look like harmless fun. They are also showing trailers for a new adaptation of Great Expectations with Olivia Colman as Miss Haversham.
    I am reading a book written in the 1930s and it says that if we have a limited wardrobe every piece in it must be kept in good condition, cleaned promptly and ready for wear at all times. This should be obvious but it really resonated with me so I have handwashed three woollen jumpers this week and brought them back into circulation quickly. Next to tackle clothes that need mending.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Good to know about the new Paradise Series. We really enjoyed that program and I have missed watching it.
      Please tell me the name of the 1930’s book you were reading. I love LOVE those old books on Charm and Grooming and feel they have tips that we ‘forget’ all too easily these days, like the one you just mentioned. I realized last night that had I already mended the hem on the nightie I pulled from the closet, it’s likely the rest of the hem wouldn’t have fallen out…and ditto on the pair of capri pants I put on earlier this week only to realize that one whole leg needed hemming anew.

  19. My goals are to continue to try to learn new ways of saving money. These are my latest successes.

    * Instead of using my heating pad to germinate seeds, I put the solo cups on the floor heating vents below a window. I made sure they weren’t dripping wet or dropping dirt. The bottom of the cup would get warm but the top stayed cool to the touch; however, it was enough to make a difference. They were rotated back and forth from the vent to the window sill and it really sped up germination.

    *My youngest son moved last week from Charlotte, NC to a new job in Shelbyville, Indiana (by Indianapolis). Moving is expensive!!! He rented a Uhaul truck with a trailer carrying his car on the back. The charges plus gas were almost $2,000! He arrived at his destination late at night and needed to sign the apartment lease early the next morning. He parked down the street at a 24-hour truck stop and slept a few hours inside his car that was sitting on top of the trailer instead of wasting money on a hotel room! He has out frugalled me and done something I would never do!

    *Since he is moving from a rented bedroom to an apartment, the list of things he needs is long. I have been visiting thrift stores but have been disappointed with the high prices. I am shopping online estate sales and it has been successful. The pictures are posted online, then there is an onsite inspection, and afterward, bidding begins followed by a pickup day. You never know the price until the last two minutes – sometimes things are cheap other times expensive. After looking at these auctions, I have decided there is no reason to buy anything new ever again (well except for underwear-I do have standards).

    *Last year I spent $60 on seed potatoes for the garden. I think that was outrageous since they are just unsprayed rotten potatoes. I vowed never again! During the winter, I kept back some of my stored potatoes and encouraged them to sprout. One variety didn’t make it through the winter (we ate all of them) so I will treat myself to just a few of the buttery varieties. I’m hoping for a huge harvest since I now know how to can and dehydrate them successfully for later use. These were two skills I learned last year.

    I’m looking forward to getting new ideas from everyone.


    1. Jeannie you made me laugh exceptionally hard when you wrote about new under garments- you have standards I chuckled over that cute comment for awhile TY

  20. I love you got blackberry plants by bartering! I would love to this become a more common practice!
    * I was able to get 8 avacados for $2 and 9# bananas for $3 in the marked down section. I have made multiple batches of chocolate avocado pudding with both of those. I find it is very filling and helps with my sugar cravings, without the sugar. In the same trip I found high quality hot dogs for $2/# and got 4 of those and 24 cans of beans. I used a $10 off $50 coupon, this was the biggest trip I have done in a while. My sister came for an overnight visit and brought some nice apples and 4# of organic older apples that I baked and made applesauce with, and more apple cider vinegar.
    * My daughter gives me her compost and the bag this week had several dozen eggshells I will dry and put in a mix for my tomatoes when they get planted. I have been weeding a lot as they came in on my manure last fall, and are taking off. I put a few soaked beet seeds in the ground and planted some free micro green seeds in a planter.
    *It has been unusually warm and we have used the furnace hardly at all this month, just move the space heating from room to room if needed. I have been able to keep the thermostat at 61 all winter but for a few frigid days near Christmas.
    * A friend gave my son two matching chairs and a recliner, his duplex could only fit the recliner. The matching chairs are perfect for our old schoolroom which is sort of a hall to our bedrooms. It needs a coat of paint and a small bookshelf and it will be a lovely reading room that is easier to keep cool and warm.
    * We have been eating simple meals and not letting anything go to waste. It is going well and we are saving a lot. Tonight we are having stirfry with kale and dandelions from our yard with our spring onions grown from my daughter compost. I will throw in a few carrots and some broccoli I rescued from work. Simple fare but healthy and cheap!
    Hope you all have a wonderful week and I hope your garden job goes well, Brandy! You are a perfect match for the job!


  21. My husband and I just purchased a chair for our closet. When he first suggested it I wasn’t sure but it’s so helpful! We found a beautiful antique chair on marketplace. That was a couple of weeks ago. Last week I decided to get back to once a month grocery shopping and meal planning. It saves times and money both of which I could use saving. Planning takes longer upfront but then I am DONE for the month. Since the first falls during the week and my house was bare I went shopping for March this past weekend. I hit 3 stores spent $336 dollars and have $63 left for fresh produce during the month. One store we went to was the grocery outlet. I told my husband and kids they could get whatever they wanted there and then hoped it wasn’t a mistake! We only spent $44 there and left with a ton so it was good. One item we got was ice cream parlor ice cream in the 3 gallon bucket for $9! That’s cheaper than one trip to the ice cream parlor and the ice cream is amazing!

    We went to the library. I love our local library. So much entertainment for free!

    Have a great week everyone!

  22. I happily worked as a substitute at school yesterday. Always glad for the extra income!

    My husband built a TV stand for the super-awkward corner that is the only place for the TV. We already had the wood-either scavenged, gifted or re-used from another project. I asked for black paint for it on Buy Nothing, and gratefully picked it up today. I’ll paint the bottom of the stand since it’s a variety of woods, and stain the nice thick slab of wood that is the top.

    Picked up loss leader of $0.99 sour cream today, and will go to Lucky on Friday for avocados $1 each (not great but not terrible), butter $1.99/lb, and our favorite sausages on best price sale.

    My son told me his money saving endeavor this week and I wanted to share it. They just bought a house (ex-rental so it was pretty shabby plus there were a LOT of tenants in it most of the time) and they knew from the inspections that there were issues with the main sewer line. They had to have one repair already, and then they had another issue with a section that they thought was the city’s responsibility. The city guy came out and said that no, it was the homeowners section, but he told my son exactly what needed done ( a LOT of digging, and replacing a section of the main waste pipe) and where it needed to be done. The guy said it was a very easy job, technically speaking, but hard because of the digging. My son is 6 months out of the Marine Corps, and he doesn’t mind physical labor one bit, so he did the job himself. He was very satisfied! I am a proud mom!

  23. 1. Sister sent me a recent book I really liked, though it is not upbeat like other WWII books referenced among this group: “Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook” by Celia Rees. The first few chapters introduce many characters, (government workers, spies, journalists, soldiers, everyday workers, English, American, Russian, Jewish, German, Nazi, and lots of refugees), whose stories are interwoven. It is set in Hamburg just after WWII when the characters are trying to decide what is best to rebuild Germany and to position their countries for the future. Each chapter starts with a recipe eaten by the characters in that chapter. Very thought-provoking and well-written from a painful time I didn’t know much about.
    2. Had read once that sowing grass seed in winter on top of snow works well because as the snow melts, the seeds tip and go into the ground point down. Haven’t had enough snow to count but will throw some seed on some patchy areas as the ground softens and the rains continue.
    3. Trying to get small annoying things out of my house. Took unused medications to drug store return facility, (HOW many painkillers does one adult need after a surgery?). Planning new ways to sort recycling for curbside pickup that will be convenient to both me and the city.
    Good week to all!

  24. I love looking at the photos you post of your garden. I am in awe of everything you can grow in the desert. It inspires me to try and be a better gardener or at least take better care of my plants. This past week was our city’s bulk trash pickup. We got rid of two mattresses and a chair broken down beyond repair without having to haul them to the dump. I also picked up a pretty iron birdbath and several huge flower pots. I’ve been needing huge flower pots for dividing my three Augusta ferns and pots (especially large ones) are so expensive that it’s difficult to justify spending the money. I painted all of them with some leftover glossy black paint and now they look so chic for our front porch. I also received three brand new pairs of sandals from a Buy Nothing group. My daughter and I wear the same size, so we will divvy these up between us for summer. I cut my husband’s hair. I also made two altar cloths for my church using thrifted and recycled items. I look forward to reading about everyone else’s experiences this week.

  25. I continued to clean, repair and organize our home. Our place is on the smaller size, so continuous purging and tweaking of our environment keeps things fresh and tidy. When I ignore a “pile” of things for too long, I know it’s because I’m struggling to make decisions about what to do with the items. Or…that I haven’t completed a project that needs my attention. I’m trying to get through the inside of my house. As the weather improves, I’ll find myself outside in the garden in all of my available hours. It will be a little disheartening, at the beginning, as we tend to ignore our backyard during winter. But I’m looking forward to the hard work that awaits me (and the eventual beauty/bounty).
    Our health has been improving, as we’ve been taking the time rest, nourish, laugh and move. Very grateful for the increased living.
    Mended some clothing and upholstery.
    Had enough OTC meds for a family who needed it. Took dinner into them several times.
    Felt satisfied every time we ate from our food stores.
    Felt unsatisfied eating out. Excepting, we did take a late night walk with our children and dogs to a taco shack just to have some adventure. We didn’t spend much but we did laugh at our absurdity. It was probably less than a 2-mile walk, round-trip, but we had a good time. My husband was aching for some traveling and I obliged him. 😉
    Spent less at the store because of inflation/shrinkflation. My teenage son went with me and he was just as shocked as I was at the prices. I tried to give him a confidence boost that he’ll be able to navigate these things as he gets older. But his concern was valid.
    Bought some bday gifts secondhand and some on a good deal.
    Purchased gardening supplies. I didn’t get everything we need but I did get what was in my budget.
    I waited to get water filters for my Berkey. I usually buy them in the spring. Looks like that wasn’t the best idea this time, as I can’t get my hands on any now. Our local water supply is high in arsenic and mercury so this is important to me. Hoping for a resolution soon.
    Exercised at home. Entertained at home. Educated at home. Relaxed at home. I very much appreciate this continued theme. 🙂
    Here’s to another week of finding joy in the challenges!

  26. Returned a meat thermometer my husband purchased on clearance. He picked up a Bluetooth one, but when I went to set it up, the app was no longer available. I took it back for a refund.

    Paid off the medical bill from my physical therapy last summer. I work in a school, and starting in the fall, they are doing away with annualized pay. I’m trying to reduce everything I can now, because that means in summers I won’t have an income(we can work6 weeks of summer school, but there would still be a few weeks without pay).

    Also paid off our Home Depot card and another credit card in February.

    I found frozen 5 lb bags of chicken tenders marked down to $5 bag. Purchased 2. If I had freezer space, I would have bought more.

    I used lettuce leftover from making lettuce wraps as salad.

    The teen made peanut butter chocolate chip muffins this week. 😋

    The teen had an appointment for a filling but it turned into just reapplying sealant over a very tiny surface cavity. Way cheaper in price.

    Not cheap but should help my sore legs and feet in the long run, I purchased a pair of Hoka shoes for work. I usually hit 10,000 steps easy in the 6 hours I work a day, and my last shoes were killing me. Two days in wearing them and I can already tell a big difference.

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work

    Turned off the heat on warmer days. Our temperatures are still all over the place(75 today, back to the 40s by Friday)

    1. April ,
      Good for you one the Hoka’s I have arthritis in my feet My doctor wrote down the brand and model type-When I get a new pair of hokas I can walk much faster with less pain. I figure if I can increase my cardio and exercise We are saving in future medical bills and to be able to work more and enjoy life more! I am always so happy when someone treats themselves with a pair to prevent pain. I wonder if there is a knock off version or equivalent? I would love to save money on footwear.

  27. Your hyacinth is so pretty. I just love the smell. I also agree with you regarding prices. I feel lucky I don’t have to do a lot of shopping.
    I worked three days last week. That is the last of my three-day work weeks until the end of May. I brought breakfast and lunch all three days.
    My DH shelled some of our black beans while I was at work, and I shelled some on two days I didn’t work. Between us, we got around 12 cups of black beans. Still have more to go, but at least the end is in sight now.
    I made a large batch of brown rice in the rice cooker. Used it later to make fried rice for lunches this week. I put carrots, celery, onions, eggs, sweet peas and a little of whatever leftover meat I have. I just season with some soy sauce. Not authentic, but we really like it. I had cut some celery into celery sticks, so used the leafy parts of the celery, along with a couple more stalks in the rice.
    My DH has rediscovered celery with peanut butter as a snack he likes. Luckily, WinCo has celery for 98¢ a bunch, head or whatever you call it. I bought 2 of them.
    Winco also had clementines for $1.98 for a 2-pound bag. I got one, to see if they were any good. They were great. Also got medium avocados for 48¢ each and got 8 of them.
    Safeway had Tillamook cheese for $6.99 for the 2-pound brick. That’s more expensive than in the past, but I got two anyway. I had a $2.00 off anything coupon from my Safeway rewards, so that lowered my price to $5.99 each.
    I made a batch of pizza pockets, with sausage, red pepper, onions and olives. Also cheese and pizza sauce. Had everything in the pantry. Put those in the freezer.
    My eldest son, my DIL, and my darling granddaughter came to town. I met them to visit for an hour or so, and to pick up their income tax information. The best part was getting to hold my granddaughter 🙂 She is now 2 months old.
    Hope everyone has a productive week.

  28. Spring is In The air and I began pricing soil and amendments for the garden. My favorite soil which is a rich blend of ultra screened top soil and river sand I would cost us over $3k to have delivered to our home. We decided against that option and will go with ultra screened composted top soil and a bio solid mix from a local utility company. This along with black cow should do the trick and after having all three delivered we will invest less than $500. Soil is an investment in not only our garden this year but for years to come and I always choose to add quality soil and spend less for seed if I can.
    I paid off two credits cards this month which was a huge savings.
    I will be sowing seeds for peas and snow peas all along the back wall of our home this weekend. I am hoping that they will produce well and give us a large harvest.
    My husband built some shelving in the garage for his tools and a new tool bench from wood that he got for free off Facebook Marketplace. He also built a draw insert to organize baggies in the kitchen from scrap wood.
    I had meetings in the office this week and enjoyed lunch & dinner out with colleagues. Snacks were provided as well. I made and brought my coffee & breakfast for no out of packets costs other than gas.
    I made a quick stop to pick up sour cream for tacos last Friday in a smaller grocery store. Hey had fresh chicken leg quarters for $0.59/lb! I picked up a large package and will add this store to my rotation when I am stocking my freezer with meat. Dry grocery items were higher but the meat section offered several bargains as they employ a butcher on site. I cooked the chicken in My crockpot, pulled it from the bones and used the stock to make a pasta sauce that we enjoyed for several meals.
    I combined errands on Saturday and Sunday to lower the number of trips I had to make and save gas.
    I made an appointment to have an additional zone for our existing sprinkler system installed. This will allow us to water the garden without having to haul 100 ft hoses over the yard to do so. Yay.
    Researching tiller rentals in our area I discovered that renting a tiller will cost $114/day plus over $200 to deliver. We have decided to buy a tiller and have found a great option. We will spend $500 to purchase but given that we would have had to rent the machine for more than two days to get our work done, it will pay for itself the first year.
    I bought new tennis shoes for my son using a buy one get one half off sale at Rack Room.
    Meals cooked and eaten at home. I find we are eating more ground turkey rather than beef which cuts some cost when bought in bulk. Continuing to eat down the freezer in preparation for the summer harvests that we will be enjoying soon.
    Perennial flower seeds purchased using 5% discount.
    All the best for the week ahead!

  29. Your signs of spring look lovely and cheerful, especially since we’ve been deluged with snow here in Vancouver.
    *I share your shock at rising prices. And I am puzzled that the official govt food inflation figures are being reported as considerably less than what I— and most other people— are seeing “on the ground”. For example, my lowest (sale) price on pasta sauce was $2/jar 2 years ago. This rose to $2.50, then $3 by late last summer. This month it has risen to $4/jar. (Considerably higher at most stores, or when not on sale. That’s a 100% price increase over 2 years! Or, a 50% increase in 2022: plus a 25% increase already for 2023 with plenty of year left. Yikes. Pasta is similar. Once my food storage is depleted, I will be forced to pay these new higher prices, and I’m not happy about it.
    * We spent considerable time going to babysit grand-littles the past while. Frugal for our kids!
    Then we vacationed at the US city where our daughter was singing her big opera debut role. She sounded great! It was very touching for us to be there for this. Of course, efforts were made to be frugal where we could, and we’re not big spenders. We do try to get a Christmas tree ornament from the area of our travel, and that was our only purchase.
    * On our return, our usual frugalities were observed. Home cooking, bread and treat baking, hanging laundry to dry, etc. I did manage to mend a duvet cover which tore, as well as some clothing, thus extending their useable lives. I rearranged my living and family rooms so to have them look more updated.

    1. I am seeing price increases in the same amounts and I agree. I know it’s supposedly an average but I feel like everyone is saying the same thing here from every country and we’re all getting lied to.

          1. Brandy, we are closely watching the “planned” bank failures dominoing worldwide. We spent 1 1/2 hours at our bank Friday trying to get money moved around. It was slow and tedious. We realized how little control we have over our money. Our local bank appears to be stable, well, it’s stable on paper but you really never know.

        1. Most inflation figures do NOT take into account Food, Housing, Clothing, Utilities or Gasoline. So exactly what are they tracking? Air? COLA’s should include all of the above. After all it’s what we require first and foremost isn’t it? From what I can tell two months ago a Thrifty food plan based on USDA food costs was about $570 per month for a family comprised of the age groups we have in our home of 4. January’s cost for the same age groups came in at 903.40…So if you feel like you’re not keeping up and getting same groceries for food dollars you aren’t! Per this latest increase I’m doing very well indeed on my $550 food budget, but there are loads of things we don’t eat, I make at home or we have subbed in lesser quality items for.

  30. Our trip to Los Angeles was very expensive as predicted. We didn’t do shopping so that helped and we were able to get into two museums on their ‘free’ day. I loved the La Brea Tar Pits and would recommend it to anyone.
    I left feeling a bit sorry for people who live in Southern California as their gas and food prices are so high. Gas here is about $4.50 a gallon. There, it is about $5.50. This is simply my own opinion but I feel like much of the high gas prices are due to corporate greed. I read some articles about this and many of the big oil companies made their highest profits ever last year. One company made $54 billion in profits. This is rather disconcerting to me!

    This week we have been going out into the cold (fresh) air for exercise walking. I made a necklace for my sister for her upcoming birthday. I had the supplies lying around for a long time. My husband and I just finished watching a really terrific WWII spy movie on our free Netflix account. For our read aloud books at night we have chosen and are loving the Lady Darby mysteries.

    My son-in-law and I both enjoy painting for our hobbies. We decided to do a painting exchange. We are each doing a modern art painting (new for me) and are sending each other our results. New home decor with very little output of money!

    Other than that we are back to doing our usual, everyday things to save money. Oh, I did complete a survey for a $10 Amazon gift card.

    Have a nice week everyone:)

      1. The Netflix movie that we watched was called Operation Mincemeat. I thought it was well done and was about a true spy operation carried out by the English. My husband had read the book prior to our watching the movie and he said it was excellent.

        1. Oh yes! That’s a good film. Another movie that we enjoyed recently was The Outfit about a British Tailor. Never saw the ending coming and couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I don’t like a lot of modern day films so to say I liked these two is saying something.

  31. I paid off my car. Gas is $2.82 gallon in University town but $3.09 two hours south of University town, and $3.19 on the interstate South of Montgomery. Groceries are shockingly high. Youngest son near Montgomery made gumbo and sent some home with me. So delicious! I cut my own hair. I don’t feel like I saved on any groceries this week so not listing them. I did eat at home, or with son(s) in their home in different towns, and took my lunch to work. Two of my sons are great cooks so I enjoy eating their cooking. The middle son says everyone else cooks and he samples…. lol. Frugal fail: bought airline ticket to go see daughter, sil, and grandchildren this summer. I nearly fainted at the price. I feel like I am just treading water and that is about all I can do.

  32. Brandy, I agree, food prices are crazy and I rarely find clearance or discounts on food like others do. I am measuring everything instead of just throwing in what I think is an amount, when I make a recipe I cut back on some ingredients and so far everything has worked out, and I am substituting cheaper ingredients for more expensive, or leaving it out entirely. So glad I have a garden and can, freeze, and dehydrate what I produce.
    -I pulled 10 one gallon bags of tomatoes from the freezer. I canned 11 pints of tomato soup, 3 pints tomato sauce, 6 quarts of spaghetti sauce, and 6 quarts of what I call tomato broth. When I thaw the tomatoes this is the liquid that is shed from the cells freezing and then thawing. I add lemon juice and salt and can it. This is used mainly in soups, but I also use it as a liquid in a pot roast.
    -I used 9 jars of home canned food this week for a total of 41 jars this month.
    -I made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, cornmeal honey muffins, and cinnamon rolls from scratch for the week. I am so thankful for my Kitchen Aid mixer, I can make home made items in a snap and save money from buying already premade.
    -I made some ham corn chowder, we ate half and I dropped off half along with some corn muffins to a friend that had surgery. She was very grateful.
    -I just preordered a 1/2 bushel of small cucumbers to be received in August to make pickles. This is a local small farmer and the cost was very reasonable.
    -I am working on embroidering some flour sack dish towels for gifts. I had all the supplies to work on these so no out of pocket. I am working on number 4 of a set of seven.
    -I cut out a dress for my youngest grand daughter from a $3.00 piece (2 1/2 yards) of yellow (her favorite color) Swiss dotted lawn type fabric. I purchased the fabric from the thrift store, I already had the pattern. The fabric was pretty sheer so I cut a lining as well from a white fabric I already had. I will try and sew it this week. She wants to use it for Easter, she is so excited.
    -I printed pictures for the next scrapbook for the next grandchild. I got the prints on sale 1/2 off from Walgreens. I always wait for a sale. Now I will start her album that is due to her in May. I do have a scrapbooking weekend planned in March with my daughter so I will get a lot done that weekend.
    -We only got 6 inches of snow in the last storm. It went south of us and Minneapolis and St Paul got the bulk of the snow. I am so ready for the snow to be done and spring to be here, but it will be at least 6 weeks for the warmer temps and longer than that for all the snow to melt. I envy those of you that have flowers and are planting gardens. I can’t wait!!

    Have a great week!

  33. My dad(80) fell down the stairs during the night. He spent 3 days in the hospital. He has 7 breaks between 5 ribs, a fractured vertebrae and tons of scrapes and bruises. He made need surgery on his vertebrae. He currently is in a neck brace. They are waiting for the swelling to go down. If you pray, please do. If you don’t, please put good vibes out for him. My 3 sisters live close so they have been helping my mom with him. Hubby and I are going this weekend to give them a break and help. I have been cooking lots the last several days and freezing some of his favorite meals.
    Brandy, you are so correct about food prices. I go food shopping with my clients and they cannot believe the prices either. However my 87 year old client said at least we can get it. She remembers rations during WWII.
    Hubby and I went out to lunch for a date. We used a gift card that I was given. Panera is getting so expensive.
    A neighbor ordered a food delivery and the container of lettuce came not looking great. She got a refund on it and offered it to me for my compost. I was able to salvage 1/2 of it for salads.
    One of the ladies I help game me a Star Wars heart tin, mint Oreos that she didn’t like, and several small packages of salad toppers.
    I made chicken noodle soup with the carcass of a rotisserie chicken. It used up lots of stray vegetables. I made banana chip muffins with brown bananas. I ate the apple peels of 2 apples throughout the day. I made cinnamon apples to top pancakes. Being extra careful of all food.
    Heat is still between 62-65 depending on if Hubby is home. Still hanging laundry inside on the racks. Made an extra principal mortgage payment.

  34. Brandy

    What price range do you charge for a gardening consultation? I am considering starting to do this to help others, and dont want to overch. And does your rate include your mileage round trip?

    1. I was charging $30 an hour pre-Covid. I don’t charge for gas but with some people an hour away and getting only 8mpg on my van, I think I will be upping my rate to $40.

      1. Brandy just when I think you have amazed me with everything you do and accomplish- you out do yourself, sharing this information on garden consulting is INCREDIBLY helpful and so kind
        And just for the record your knowledge and guidance is priceless to all of us here BUT I agree that you should charge $40 between gas costs and your time plus expertise
        Just my 2 cents

  35. Hello Everyone!

    I agree that prices are shocking and up to triple what they were prior to Covid. I’ve been buying less and using everything up by eating leftovers and getting creative with recipes. I’ve read that 25-30% of food purchased in American households is wasted. Meal planning could save people a lot of money! I’ve also read that the UK is rationing fresh vegetable purchases due to shortages, which is concerning.

    This week we’ve used and harvested lemons, leek, turnips, cabbage, kale, and celery from the garden to make dishes and soups. Carrots are coming up and I’ve been thinning them. I outdoor sow the seeds and they come up over winter during the rainy season. My indoor starts have mostly germinated. I’ll reseed the ones that hadn’t. The hens have been laying again and receiving kitchen scraps, peels, cores, and tops.

    I baked a loaf of wheat sandwich bread, two pans of wheat dinner rolls, and a birthday cake from scratch. I cut my son’s hair. I wish I had the time and patience to grow flowers and perennials from seed. My light stand is compact and I only seem to have room for veggies each season. If I start things outdoors, they get forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind. LOL!

    We continue to experience a lot of rain. I recently drove by a nearby reservoir and it appeared full to me! There were no higher water lines. Hopefully, we also get enough snow pack this year. It has been a dreary winter, but the rainfall is a blessing.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week!

    1. Yes, they are rationing some fruits and vegetables in the U.K. A friend there let me know and then sent me a BBC article, which I shared on my FB page, for those who would like to read it.

  36. Once again, we are getting snow but there is a promise of milder weather in two days. I shovelled part of my driveway
    hoping that if I have to hire someone, it won’t be too costly or too heavy. I found the box my electric lawn mower came in. I am trying to acquire a key and the cord to charge it with. Both were thrown out with the great unforeseen “purge” of my things. Fingers crossed that I may be able to get replacements. Because the yard is so shady, it only needs mowing about two or three times during the season. The boulevard is sunny and needs it a bit more often. I have been contemplating making some new clothes with my fabric stash. I haven’t sewn for years
    but have been looking at patterns online. Some of the Butterick patterns online reg $20 (approx) are on sale for $4.95. US.

    I entered a draw for a £50 gift certificate from David Austin roses (England). not sure what will happen if I were to win.

    I have decided not be defeated by last year’s garden failure. I will be planting carrots, cabbage, peas, potatoes, beets. I will
    not grow tomatoes again (probably) (from last year’s seeds). I have sweet pea flowers seeds, mimula seeds, nasturtium seeds from last year that I’ll use up. I don’t think I’ll have to buy much, if any, seed.

  37. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I reused aluminum foil.
    I made some bread that didn’t completely rise into French toast.
    I got some diapers out of the car diaper bag so the baby could wear them before moving on to a larger size.
    I found out that one son qualifies for free math tutoring before school two days/week. It will be challenging to get all of the kids out the door 30 minutes earlier, but it will be worth it if it can help my son.
    My dad let us eat some Aldi frozen chicken patties when we were over at his house. They taste like Chickfila! Unfortunately there were only 6 patties in the bag, but most of the kids still got one, and I cut one in half.
    I called the store about some chicken that went bad before the date. They told me to bring it back to the store. No, I’m not storing rotten chicken until then. I took photos, emailed them, and will see what happens.
    I used the free vacuums to clean out my van.
    I gave 2 of the boys haircuts.
    I volunteered to bring meals to moms with new babies, planning to keep the menu simple (rotisserie chicken and sides).
    I took the kids to a school garage sale. It was tough, I’ll admit. It was either take them or stay home, so we went. Someday I’ll be able to garage sale on my own, or without a stroller, and actually pay attention. By then I won’t need as much, ha!
    I participated in a focus group.
    I cared for my mom to give my dad some respite care.
    I am so tired. I know I need to lose weight, so that’s probably part of the problem. The baby is cutting teeth, my 12 year old is going through typical middle school girl drama, and sometimes it feels like everything goes wrong at once. Still, I have so much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for the sleep that I do get, as well as the people God has given me to care for.
    I’m looking into fun things to do inexpensively over spring break. Luckily, the kids and I are off the same week.
    Hope everyone has a wonderful, restful week.

  38. I agree regarding the rising prices. I am ready for them to GO DOWN. Home Goods often has some very good deals. Glad you found a bench at a lower price.

    Pretty much stayed at home with no shops at the grocery store. Continue to fix meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from items we have at home. My husband wanted quesadillas for lunch. I had corn tortillas, but not the flour type he prefers. So, I made flour tortillas for the first time. They weren’t very round, but they were tasty. I told him they were artisan, rustic torts. I used a leftover pork chop from the freezer as the protein with mushrooms, onions, peppers and cheese for the filling. We topped them with avocado, sour cream, lettuce and salsa we had on hand. I used up a bag of cheese and finished off a bag of flour. Also made hummus from chickpeas cooked from dried and buttermilk biscuits from pantry ingredients. I had an e-coupon for a free pack of tricolor peppers that are typically 4.09. We ate pepper strips with the hummus. Also made pizza with a scratch crust and meat and veggies I had.

    A friend gave us some delicious sausage and my mother gave me some raisin bread she didn’t like. I dried some clothes on a rack instead of using the dryer.

    I can’t believe I’m picking lettuce like Brandy here in NC! My lettuce that braved 19-degree weather in December and January is thriving with our recent warm temps in the mid to high 70s. Such a surprise. I picked broccoli along with the lettuce and plan to make a small broccoli salad with the flowerets. I’m also going to try to use the leaves in a stir fry or as a side since I read that they were edible as well. Brandy’s comment on FB or IG about microclimates within even small gardens is illustrated in my small patch. The lettuce on one side of the sidewalk that gets more sun grows much faster than the plants on the other side of the sidewalk as it falls into the shade more quickly.

    I continue to do the usual, everyday frugal things. Hope everyone has a great, frugal week.

    1. It was on IG. So glad you are getting lettuce! Isn’t it wonderful! Keep sowing every two weeks to keep your harvest going.

      1. It IS wonderful. It was great not to have to pay 4.99 for Romaine that used to be 2.99. Since the lettuce was slow growing, I basically was picking “baby greens”, the more expensive type of lettuce. Fresh picked lettuce keeps so well also. That’s a great idea to go on and resow. I will be doing that! Thank you for the suggestion.

    2. I eat broccoli leaves as well, using them the same way I would use collards or kale. You get much more out of each broccoli plant when you include the leaves as food.

      Love that you made “artisan, rustic” tortillas.

      1. Carolyn, I like collards and kale, so figured I might like broccoli leaves as well. Plus, you are right-the leaves can add quite a bit of “yield” when figured in with the broccoli plants. My heads were tiny, so I figured might as well try the leaves!

        I think I need to work on my tortilla shaping technique! LOL.

    3. I agree about Home Goods. At our equivalent, Marshall’s, I’ve found good deals on food items in the past. One thing I bought lots of is raw honey the past year or so, but sadly haven’t found any the past few times I’ve been. I also support a couple of local beekeepers, but as it’s my main sweetener, I go through a lot, so the significant savings helps out. I’m also harvesting lettuce and broccoli, from our garden here in central NC, and I realized a couple of years ago I love using sweet peppers with hummus. It’s such a good combination!

  39. I love seeing photos of Brandy’s flowers. I don’t seem to have the green thumb. I have removed at least a dozen orchids from the dumpster at Trader Joes. My daughter has tenderly nurtured them and has a long window sill with them displayed. She’s growing them in water and constantly is babying them. They have the most brilliant blooms. My bird feeder has a lovely family moved into it. They are tiny birds. I’m trying to figure out what they are. Not sure why they picked the feeder . Sugar cookie and I are traveling in April. Another 7 day cruise bought for $400.00 . Each day I evaluate my head to determine how I’m doing. Thinking pretty well so April should be good. I have stalked the Hopper app for the cheapest air fares. I bought two roundtrip tickets for $50.00 a piece. My college child just bought a ticket on Delta for the same route that month and paid $400.00 for 1 ticket . I’m good with the basic fares. I stayed a couple nights at my daughters in the city. I love her new apartment is so close to all my favorite dumpsters. Trader Joes has lovely items I most likely would never buy for myself. I brought home a tiny orchid for my daughter. I accumulated a huge amount of beautiful fruits and vegetables. We eat so well .Sugar cookie has an A one C of 12. That’s horrible. Her 3 months with family these last few months was obviously a disaster. I’m handling all the meals now. I’ve donated my college daughters clothing to a thrift store and continue to pass along my items that never get used. I canceled my newspaper subscription. My lawnmower has water in the gas line. Hopefully a friend will show up to clean it out. I’ve canceled my lawn cutting service. Our yard is a quarter acre. No need to pay biweekly. Life is good and I’m doing as well as I can.

    1. A green thumb is a myth! Just keep trying and planting! Even farmers lose crops.

      1. My Hubby, FIL and Amish neighbors will back that statement of farmers losing crops as I am sure those in drought or flood areas can agree also. They all replant.

    2. Lillianna, I love your comment about your daughter’s new apartment being close to your favorite dumpsters. Keep up the good work and stay healthy!

  40. -Local liquidation store added some bins with mostly inventory from 🎯.
    Starts at $3, price decreases each day and 5 days later it’s a quarter. I went on quarter day and got some necklaces that retail for $43 (still current merchandise available in retail store, not past season leftovers) and paid only 25 cents. Will give to nieces. Also got several items for Easter baskets, most were at least 95% off.
    -Combined mom’s dr appointment 45 miles away with a couple of fun activities while we were in that town. My sister did the driving so I treated for lunch. Almost $30 for two of us for CFA, ouch but every bite was delicious. It’s probably a good thing nearest CFA is 45 miles away.
    -As always took advantage of all the wonderful offerings at public library, Books, magazines, Libby, dvds, great sale table (most things 25 cents) plus a new free table. I don’t cook but they had tons of cookbooks (looked like a collection some grandma had donated) so I picked up a few freebies for friend who loves cookbooks.
    – Also a local thrift store offers 5 free kids books with purchase. I only get ones in excellent shape. Between us my sister and I got 7 and then later I donated all to a little free library. My purchase at that thrift store was necklace for me. I paid $1, retails for $43.

  41. Brandy,

    With an option of a garden consultation on your website not only would you have a waitlist but a fantastic continual revenue stream. Your expertise with growing beauty along with essential nutrition within a limited space would benefit so many in these times. I know your time is limited but if this ever becomes an option, I know I’m getting in line. Thanks for all you do.

    1. I just do a few jobs on the side but I don’t want the expense of a business license again as it eats it all up. If you’re interested in something, please let me know, and we can make arrangements.

  42. I had a wonderful trip to Italy. Planning early and in low tourist season we had terrific bargains as well as access to extremely limited experiences like the Scavi Necropolis under St. Peter’s. There was a whole city of mausoleums found under the basilica. Only about 2 % of those who visit get to go. It was husband’s favorite bit.

    The dollar is so strong there. I did feel for the Italians. They depend on tourism and their money is worth so much less. It gives our problems a new perspective. Very interesting was the lack of expected tipping. There is no line on the restaurant tabs for tipping. I wonder if the service jobs do not have “tipping” built in as a promised income. That is a huge difference here right now when tips are being added automatically to so many services. I do want to support great service but I am very much against involuntary additions. This has happened several times to me in America in the last few months. In addition, the expectation has gone from 10 – 15 % to above 18% in some cases. I know during the pandemic people helped services workers out more to keep a restaurant in business. It is unfair business practices though to automatically add anything.

    Now that I am home again, I am going to work extra hard to rebuild my savings. I have usually 3 months of emergency fund and it is depleted by a good amount. It should only take me a few months to get it back to normal. I have also decided to work one more year to top off savings. The deadline to submit papers was today. It was tempting but I still am good at my job, my husband is still working, and I have found ways to maximize my enjoyment of the students and minimize the disheartening bureaucracy ( I am a teacher.) So I am in for another season. This is probably the biggest frugal step I can make – psotponing retirement.

    1. Tipping is extra in Europe and not required. Waiters are paid more and people from outside the U.S. find the U.S. system with tipping rather shocking. A ton of people from various countries have done YouTube videos about it.

    2. As a teacher, I would be curious about how you’re minimizing the bureaucracy effects on your job. With my master’s and National Board Certification, I’ve pretty much topped out our pay scale in NC, but am definitely the breadwinner in our family. I’ve still got about 10 years left, and the last few have been so trying, especially with the additional expectations to make up the COVID gaps for students. I can’t consider retiring early, unless I did something like moving to the university. I still love my work with students and would love to hear how you manage this.

      1. Allyson,
        It is very common to have the “10 years” left blues. In my journey (my 34th year) I have done several things to avoid burnout. I have several credentials. I have switched positions within the same school and in different school. I was an intervention teacher for awhile. I was 20% TOA in the district office with Social Studies adoption. I piloted an art program acorss schools for a year. I have always worked hard but different positions work different muscles. For instance, as a middle school teachers, grades never counted. Everything was relationship based to achieve. I hopped to high school and suddenly grades are accountable. What a difference. I was in many leadership positions. I dropped those. I work informally with the new teachers that come and see me instead to share my experience one on one.. The most important decision is that “I am the most important resource.” I must preserve me. So I plan my days so that I leave happy. Kids love projects, teambuilding games, debates, simulations, and the new game tech curriculum platforms. I do lots of those. Learning the new tech platforms have changed my practice completely. I donate time to mental health and leave some curriculum behind. The rigor remains for the most important critical thinking skills. Finally, a solution for me was to realize my experience was valuable and I make a few demands using my seniority. I get last period prep. This leaves times when I am exhausted to use a few hours of sick leave at the end of the day. The students don’t have a sub and I am refreshed. I asked for special duty – outside during school wide assemblies. I have developed panic attacks in crowds of 1500. I use sick days on professional development days. If it isn’t about MY CLASS it is left behind. Figure out what is depleting you and accomodate. You are not the person you were at 25. Don’t expect to be. Years in this profession as a caring teachers means you accumulate grief – saying goodbye to kids you invest in; Saying goodbye to collegues; I have personally had students commit suicide in the past two years. The better I come to peace and love within myself the better teacher I become. I have better relationships with the kids and they feel closer to me. A win, win.

    3. Sounds like a wonderful trip! I too prefer to travel in the shoulder or low season – makes such a difference, especially when it comes to crowds.

  43. We are being very, very careful with our spending. We are paying bills and that is about it right now. I am also shocked at prices of everything at this time. The lotion I usually use for my face was expensive to me so I bought baby lotion instead to use on my face. It is less than half the price of what I normally use. I considered just using coconut oil because I do have some. I will use bar soap when I run out of my soap. I am not driving anywhere that I don’t have to drive to. We are entertaining ourselves at home, mostly playing instruments and singing. We do have the internet and listen to music and read and watch videos on it. We got seeds from the library that we will plant this year. They are the only new seeds we have this year. I will use seeds that we bought a few years ago this year. The lettuce that we planted on our window sill have sprouted and are growing. I have green onions growing there as well. We went to the store to get planters for our seeds we are growing and honestly, I was happy they didn’t have them. They are usually in the store by now. Instead, I may plant them in egg cartons that we have saved and other containers we have saved. I am going to make goodies for my husband to take to work and make him coffee to put in a thermos to take to work. If he has these things he will be less likely to stop and buy them at the gas station. I didn’t tell him not to buy these things, although he knows our small budget right now.. I just told him I am making him some goodies. He seemed happy about that. Sometimes he likes masala chai in his thermos, so I could also do that. We did not eat out this week at all. I have my husband call me when he gets off so I can have dinner ready pretty quickly when he gets home. He takes his lunch to work. We probably won’t do much grocery shopping this month. We are eating what we have. I wonder if my husband will let me cut his hair this month. I know my son will. I made homemade enchiladas, spaghetti with sauce, oatmeal, homemade bread, peanut butter and jelly, chicken sandwiches, salad. We ate fruit and vegetables and homemade soups. I can’t seem to remember anything else we made. But we ate at home all week. I have three family birthdays this month. Two children and one adult. I am trying to decide what to give them that is nice, yet minimum cost. I have a few weeks to prepare. I had considered growing a plant for my mom. But, I don’t know if it would grow in time to make a nice present. I wish I had thought of it sooner. I might invite her and my dad over for a meal for her birthday! That would work. That could be enjoyable!

    1. My husband told me not to worry about cutting his hair. He says the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks, so I shouldn’t be afraid.

      I have cut his hair for all but 3 haircuts since we have been married.

      I hope your husband lets you try!

      1. My mom has cut my dad’s hair for over 50 years. I know they have saved a lot of money. I did cut my husbands hair in 2020. I might ask him if I can try again. I know my son would love for me to cut his hair and save money. The local barber doesn’t charge a lot and does a great job. But it adds up. I’d love to save the money if I could do a good enough job. Especially because everything has gone up.

    2. Tammy,
      I read an article about using toilet paper rolls for starting seedlings. Just an idea. It sounds like, in spite of tight times, that you are doing well.
      I gave myself my tenth haircut since covid – I tried to even it up from last time but somehow it’s just as one-sided! I’m sure your mother would love a birthday meal!

      1. Ann,
        Thank-you for the toilet paper roll suggestion. I just told my husband. He thought it was a good idea!

    3. A home cooked meal or baked treat is always a nice gift. I’ve been cutting my husband’s hair since we were dating. His mom taught me how and he’s never had a professional haircut in his life. Early in our relationship I used to threaten to take him to a barber shop and see if they would give him a lollypop for his first haircut. Now that I’m used to cutting it myself, I’m happy for the savings and convenience of just doing it at home.

      1. Emily,
        I would love the savings of doing hair at home. Of course I let my husband color my hair in 2020 and probably won’t do that again. He was very careful, but I used the cheapest color available and it wasn’t so good. So I kind of don’t blame him if he doesn’t want me to do his hair either. But I do admire people that have the ability to cut hair along with their spouses that let them. I used to always do my kid’s hair when they were little. But I practiced and I had watched a barber do hair before I cut my kids hair. I probably could cut my husband’s hair with some practice. My husband just told me I could give it a shot! He is a good sport!

  44. I love your hyacinth. I have a few daffodils that have buds that are tipping over, which means they will bloom very soon, so I’m excited for that. They slowed down, though, since it snowed twice in the past week, which is unusual for our area at all, and especially at the very end of February. We have had lots of free exercise and entertainment from it, as we took our grandson and nephew out in it to walk or play. There are a couple of pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    I am still working purposefully to use up bits of food that need using. It may be bottles that are mostly empty, jars of home-canned foods that have been around a couple of years, bits from the freezer–whatever I can find that needs using. I’m going to work even harder during March on using more of those kind of things. Yes, it will save money, but it’s also about freeing up space and jars for the upcoming garden crops. Also, I’m striving for a little more simplicity in my fridges, especially. We have the very worn, old kitchen fridge that came with the house, a very small, extremely old one on our porch, a tiny, tiny one in the shop that is smaller than a hotel fridge, and the camper fridge. The porch one freezes things if it’s too full and both that one and the one in the shop were given to us and are so old they could die at any time. The house one isn’t much better, but I’m grateful it works and want to keep it working as long as I can! I like to buy things in bulk, have room for extra garden produce and be able to buy sales and have things last for a couple of weeks, so I need to keep organized, and be ready in case any die. It helped that we finished processing all the apples from fall, at last, and freed up lots of space. It’s been nice to have fresh apples this long, though, but we can eat applesauce, canned apples or dried ones now.

  45. Brandy, a friend of mine used to date the garden editor of a VERY well-known magazine. When I lived in California and was having a hard time with a transplanted shrub, he advised me to leave the hose dripping very slowly at the trunk of the bush. I left it 8-10 hours. This used a fair amount of water, but not as much as you would think because it was a VERY slow drip. The root ball became saturated, a drop at a time, and the shrub survived. I know you don’t want to waste water, but it’s worth a try on one, and if it works, try it on the other.

    1. I have given it more water and checked to make sure it isn’t too wet.

      So it may just be struggling from being transplanted.

  46. Hi from central Victoria, Australia. It is the first day of autumn and certainly feels like autumn, very chilly this morning, usually it is warmer until the end of March.
    I have been picking wild blackberries and freezing them, also wild grown apples which I will bottle. My beans were a total failure this year so have not had any to can, I have however had zucchinis and cucumbers and an abundance of raspberries and strawberries leading me to be thankful for what has grown. Potatoes are growing well in my garden. Frozen potatoes in the form of fries, hash browns and gems are rationed to two packets per customer due to the floods earlier this year. Poultry food has become very expensive due to the fore mentioned floods.
    I have noticed several free range egg farms going out of business. We were fortunate to buy five hens for $5 each, nine months old and they have been laying prolifically, the farmers has diversified into another business where the overheads are not so high.
    We also keep bees on our quarter acre block, this year we have harvested honey for the first time in two years, hopefully enough for us and our children’s families needs for the next twelve months.
    We save, recycle and reuse where we can, life is still good.
    Good wishes to all.

  47. Gratefully received a lovely cedar chest. Picked up a bamboo shelf set and mirror for my 2nd bathroom. Repaired a doorknob. Refinance is approved, just waiting on a closing date. My workman is ready to return as well, so renovations will recommence this week.

    Put together an IKEA PAX cabinet to take the place of 2 ancient cabinets from Walmart that were falling apart. Reorganized some items and decluttered the spare bedroom and loft. Sent a carful of the decluttering to the Salvation Army. Found a harness that will fit the puppy from my stash. I put 6 chicks on order.

    I received my first paycheck that includes the extra classes I’ve taken on this term. I immediately sent an extra $1000 to pay down a credit card. The additional increase is going into savings.

    Eating from the freezer. Husband has agreed to do a sit-down budget review as he is shocked at our expenses and starting to panic about his retirement in 18 months. Puppies may have to do with fewer toys and fancy treats and some of our pampering items may have to go for a bit.

    1. I take old t-shirts and make them into pull toys for all of the dogs in our lives for Christmas. They are so easy to make. Just look it up. My dog also loves the empty toilet paper rolls. My family saves them for her.

  48. Your trade sounds like a good deal for all involved.
    I went through my recipe box and several cookbooks and made a list of meals we like that we haven’t had in a while. I tend to get into a rut of making the same things over and over and changing things up every once in a while gets me more enthusiastic about cooking. *I stopped into Jo-Ann’s and they were clearancing out a bunch of fabric. I bought dress quantities of two cotton prints and a couple of large remnants for future shirts. The dress fabric was around $5 a yard and the remnants were $2.75 and $3 respectively. I am really enjoying making my own clothes right now. I have already sewed two blouses from the remnants. * While organizing my linen closet, I found a flat flannel sheet I wasn’t using. I made a pair of flannel pajamas, using the same pattern I used for the summer pajamas I made last week. These are much nice looking than the thrifted knit pair I’ve been wearing. I only spent a few dollars to buy matching piping. *I made two loaves of sandwich bread.

  49. Happy March, everyone!

    I was looking at some Kindle books and was offered a 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited since it’s been a while since I had the paid version. I’m using it to read lots of books that looked interesting, but not that I was willing to buy (fun fiction things that I call “brain fluff” – quick reads that give a nice distraction from nonfiction research I’m doing).

    My husband trimmed my hair.

    My son wore through a pair of jeans, and thankfully before I ordered more, he decided to look in his backpack from our move last summer and found an almost new pair, and a t-shirt. Still unsure why he didn’t pull them out when we got settled in August, but I’m not arguing now. LOL

    Found two scholarships for my son to apply for, and also some that might help my oldest or some of her friends (she returned to college last fall). In case anyone else could use the info: https://homeschoolingforcollegecredit.com/2023/02/27/scholarships-to-apply-for-this-week/ An acquaintance found him on campus yesterday and told him about something called the Arizona Promise scholarship for Pell Grant recipients; we don’t qualify, but again, perhaps it will help someone here in our frugal community! It is for attending Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or the University of Arizona. The link is: https://azregents.edu/arizona-promise-program

    One of our rain cisterns was full to the brim, the other not far behind it. We were able to pick up and install two clean IBC tanks and pump water from both – good thing, as we received rain the following day and are due for rain and snow today/tomorrow. They may well end up full again from the sound of the possible snow accumulations in the winter storm warning! Not a small investment for the tanks, but they will pay for themselves very quickly when the weather dries back up, and especially in lower precipitation years (which is how things were when we were stationed in Arizona before). Plus the rain water is better for the garden. 🙂

    Also bought a lime tree – again, not a “cheap” purchase per se, but an investment in our home infrastructure for the future. We were also able to get the soil into our first garden bed, and the asparagus starts I had waiting to go in; now I know how much soil the beds will take to start, and how many asparagus crowns I can fit. Hopefully I can beat the storms today and at least pick up enough crowns to finish off bed #1 and take advantage of any precipitation we receive. If not, next sunny day!

    We went axe throwing with friends – we get together about once a month and tend to rotate through who pays for the group, I had claimed this one in our friendly “competition” of paying for lunches and such. The indoor axe facility is veteran-owned and offer a discount to fellow veterans, as well as teachers and students. When making the reservation I told them we had two veterans and a college student, but the owner gave our entire group the military discount, which was lovely of him.

    Did our federal and state tax returns – we are due refunds from both, so that will be planned out (savings, garden, etc). I was surprised the software we use didn’t bill us for preparation; I was getting my card out to pay, but apparently we still fell under the military program as my husband didn’t retire until fall. Another nice “windfall” of sorts.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week and all stay safe in this wild weather that seems to be everywhere this season.

  50. Greetings from warm Florida! Our temperatures are running about 10 degrees above normal, and the nights are sometimes 15 or more degrees over normal in our area. At least I don’t have to turn on anything – heat or a/c – right now, so that helps my electric bill.

    I shopped for a grandchild’s birthday present and found the requested gift in a store, cheaper than online.

    I washed the sheets I had used over my tender plants during cold snaps and hung them on the line before I left for work at 7 this morning. I started the washer at 5:30 a.m., but it means I don’t use the dryer nor do I have dirty sheets piled up till the weekend. No rain is predicted for today.

    I was gifted a lovely hydrangea plant for my birthday. I’ll plant that in my yard.

    My citrus trees survived the hard freeze, although not without damage. I lightly fertilized them this past weekend, as it is time for fertilizing them in this area.

    I purchased work shirts from Lands End for the entire office and went through Swagbucks to do it, earning over $14 in Swagbucks.

    My office paid for my lunch on my birthday.

    I am considering purchasing more blueberry plants. Since the old blueberry farm near me closed and the new owners just pulled up all the plants – ouch – our pollination levels are somewhat down. If prices aren’t terribly high, I’ll get some more plants.

    I share in the struggle at the stores. Here’s hoping we all get through this as well as possible.

  51. I seem to have accidentally not sent my post! If you received the first one, don’t publish this one.
    I, too, am shocked by the high food prices. Now on Wednesdays, I look at the flyers online, effective for the next week, starting on Thursdays.
    I have a coupon for Chapman’s ice cream. One simply emails to Chapman’s and requests the coupon. It takes 4-6 weeks to receive it.
    Limit one to receive per year. I have my coupon from last year for $4.00. This week, starting March 2, No Frills has Chapman’s on sale for $3.49. My coupon will cover it. But today No Frills has some flavors on sale (expires today, March 1) for $2.99. The best buys of the week seem to be at Safeway with buy one get one free (BOGO) deals on chicken thighs, BOGO royal gala apples, BOGO hip flank beef stir fry strips ($9.95 per pound, works out to $5 per pound each package). Safeway seems to be pricey generally. Even BOGO are sometimes no bargain if the price of one item is doubled to take into account the average price for two. That doesn’t happen often but one has to watch to male sure the twofer is actually a bargain.

    I have been buying sugar on sale and really stocking up in case I have a good harvest of sour cherries, chokecherries, plums and pears so I can make jam this summer. Also the hummingbirds go through a lot of sugar syrup! It has to happen sometime that I have a good harvest. My goal is to have a lot of jam, jelly for next fall. I don’t usually make it but in the past have loved doing so. I have lots of jars and lids. I hope also to start making my own bread.

    I have decided to give gardening another try after last summer’s total failure. I will use up the carrot, pea, beet, seeds I still have.
    I also still have the following flower seeds – mimula, nitella, sweet pea and nasturtium seeds. I won’t start them indoors but with any luck we’ll be able to plant in May outside with decent temperatures. For next winter, I also plan on germinating seeds like broccoli, beet, pea leaves for garnishes. That way if I can’t get to the store, I’ll have some greens! I may not grow tomatoes this year. I will have to think of something I can grow in the tomato pots. I just don’t have a lot of sunshine. The only flowers I will buy are petunias and fuschias.

    I have been watching a really interesting program on CBC gem about borscht. The commentator travels all over Ukraine and interviews people on regional variations on borscht recipes, history, geography, etc. I still have the large bag of beets that I bought in the fall in the basement. Time to use them.

    I shovelled some of the snow yesterday so hope to finish it today. Saves $50. My knee seems to have survived. Today I’ll put potatoes, squash, ground beef, beets in the oven to bake all at once. Saves electricity. Last month I spent $4.50 on water consumption and $20 on water administration charges. I am only doing full loads of dishes in the dishwasher and full loads of laundry in the washing machine. I have water saving toilets and showerhead.

    I was grateful for the utility rebate from the province. My total utility bill including natural gas, electricity, water, sewer, surcharge stormwater as $450. The house has two furnaces. (A good reason not to have a house with cathedral ceilings and a basement) so the natural gas bill
    is higher than if there were only one furnace.

    I am contemplating sewing a skirt or two. I went online and saw that Butterick has some of its patterns on sale for $4.95. Good deal! and tempting!

    I’m hoping to save some money. Of interest is I spoke to my bank about GICs. The interest rate was 4.75% for one year.
    but it is not offering as high a rate for longer terms because the bank thinks interest rates will fall. Of course it is just wishful thinking
    on my part to even have money to save, but I find it interesting the bank is not willing to do longer terms at the higher rate. It is predicted that
    the Canadian dollar will rise from its present low rate. If I were in the states and wanted a good cheap holiday in Canada, I’d reserve a hotel
    in today’s u.s. dollars, then buy some Canadian dollars to cover expenses. At the moment, one u.s. $ equals $1.36 Canadian. I read with interest
    Mary Ann’s comments about her lovely trip to Italy and the strong u.s. dollar compared to the Euro. If one can afford it at all, now is the time to travel.

  52. I had a very decidedly not frugal February. Over the last two weeks, two of my four pets had serious, unrelated emergencies. One resulted in euthanasia, and the other resulted in emergency surgery. My husband and I have been truly devastated by this as we have no kids and our pets are our children. The emergency surgery returned a biopsy result of cancer, and we are now spoiling the dog senseless in the time we have left with him. We are very thankful that we have an emergency fund so that we did not have to worry about the expense in addition to worrying about the dog. Being frugal at other times really pays off when you need it.
    We did pretty well on groceries and eating out last month, though I will admit to wasting some food while in the thick of the animal issues. To be quite honest, I just didn’t feel like eating with how anxious I was. Our electric bill was lower than expected thanks to a mild February. They say we’ll get a snowstorm in my area in about 10 days, but we’ll see.
    Here’s a question for those of you with dishwashers- I hate these newer style low-flow dishwashers. I swear they make the wholes in the spinning arms on them so small that food is constantly clogged in them! Gross, in addition to not getting the dishes clean! Does anyone have recommendations on how to avoid this or get them really clean? It seems like even if I have the tiniest piece of corn left on my plate when I put it in the dishwasher, it is somehow going to get lodged in there. I wish I had one of those 1995 powerblasting dishwashers back!

    1. Ringer,
      I’m so sorry about this news of your pets. Sending many cyber hugs your way, and belly scritches to your guy as you spend this quality time together. <3

    2. Oh Ringer, I am so sorry to hear about your pets. We are in a similar situation (no children, and our pets are our children), so I understand how upsetting it is when they are ill or hurting.

    3. Ringer, I am so sad to hear about your pets. It sounds like they are blessed to be a part of your family and you are a good mother. We recently lost our beloved dog and it has broken our hearts.
      I understand your grief.

    4. Sending you much love. Losing a pet is never easy. We had to put our dog down last Easter, and while it was an easy decision with her suffering, it wasn’t an easy loss. Grateful you had the time with them, and they had such a loving family.

  53. First off, thank you for the kind, caring thoughts on the loss of my brother. I feel his passing and the huge hole in my life keenly.
    It was a busy week for me, task-wise, it seemed. Tallied up our February grocery spending and it was much, much higher than normal but that included cooking and baking for three birthday gatherings, including items like non-dairy ice cream and a few packages of Impossible Meatballs as we’re vegan and can go without but felt it may have been expected by the others. Regardless, we ate leftovers several times from those meals. I hope this month sees more of a reduction, but will buy a few economy size items this week – olive oil as well as the larger pure vanilla at Sam’s which is expensive but lasts me more than 18 months (it comes out to about a third of the price per ounce than buying at Meijer/Target. ($1.55/ounce vs $4.35/ounce).

    Homemade meals this week included trying a new lentil Bolognese recipe (https://www.feastingathome.com/lentil-bolognese/) which was delicious – with black lentils and hemp seed – and have plenty to make it again. I doubled the red pepper flakes, using some I brought back from Italy. I shared with a vegan friend as well, but forgot to mention I doubled the heat and she texted, asking if it was just the said amount. Oops! Nope. Also made tortilla soup with pico and guac, a veg stew, black bean soup and lime rice again this week, and homemade pizza with the trader joe garlic herb crust. Plenty of leftovers from each meal and finished up some more from last week. I’m still working through last week’s cabbage and learned my lesson to not make that back-to-back because I’m sick of it now.

    My younger stepdaughter (26) had reached out for some recipes because when she ate here last, it was the only time in her memory that her stomach wasn’t hurting. She texted the next day to say after she had dairy, it got bad again. Now her doctors have told her she must remove a lot of weight, and she knows we use a lot of beans, so I brought her a few samples of meals we had leftovers from to try and she has texted that she liked them. When we brought our granddaughter home to her, I brought recipes for her to look at and she photographed many of them. I bought her an immersion blender to easier make soups and smoothies as we love ours.

    I cut my husband’s hair and trimmed my bang. Mended a dishtowel that I have put off mending for ages. Made a dermatologist appt as he told me to keep an eye on a spot on my face and over the months it’s disappeared and reappeared so I went back in but now he’s not on my insurance. I wanted him to see it, though, because he had seen it before. Turns out by paying cash the cost was much less than I paid after insurance previous years. He also handled another issue on my hand. I was pleased as I’d been worrying before going in what the tally would be.

    We had grandkids spending the night (4-5 ages) a few times and so did extra laundry as I wanted fresh linens for each. They sweat so much in sleep!

    We’ve been enjoying warmer than normal temps here, helping the heating bills, though it is worrisome. On the sunny days, I’ve been taking time to just sit in the sunshine streaming in the windows to try to improve my mindset. I have an SAD light but haven’t used it enough this winter.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Prairie Tales by Melissa Gilbert, as well as Back to the Prairie, and just finished The Gospel of Wellness (basically about how wellness, a $4.4 trillion industry, is marketed as something you must spend money on – I found it extremely interesting and well-researched with documentation to various studies.) I had $14 in Amazon credit so have selected a number of e-books that my library doesn’t have. It took me way too long to pick the books because I kept cross-checking to see if they were in digital or print form at my library. Now I feel rich with a full kindle from both library (as I found other books through that process) and inexpensive options from Amazon.

  54. I’ve been fighting a stomach bug, but before I knew that I wouldn’t be feeling well, I cooked a large pumpkin. I have celiac and am gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free. Even though I’m not eating much, I made it into pumpkin porridge (that my husband likes also). I made homemade coconut milk (which costs 1/10 the cost of purchased coconut milk. I just finished freezing it into 24 one cup servings. It will make very easy breakfasts. I also made a ton of homemade broth before I got sick. I’m making that into frozen soups that are ready to go. One idea that I wanted to share that I’ve done for birthday gifts for the adults in our family is a total mending job. Most years for my husband’s birthday, I mend everything for him–hem pants, sew on buttons, fix pj pants, etc. When we visited our son’s family at Thanksgiving, I mended all his pants that had worn out in the crotch area. When our children were young, we had an extremely ill child for many years. Even though my Mom was in her 70s and 80s, she came frequently to help. She always did my pile of mending (which I would have never had time to do). Once when my husband put on his pjs and found that she had mended the ripped sleeve, he commented, “I love it when your mother comes.” I now try to pass that along to my daughter-in-law. When we visit, I tackle whatever mending they need. My grandchildren bring their things to me to mend. I don’t love to mend, but this really extends the life of our clothes (that I usually buy at the thrift store to start with). I’m really grateful that my Mom taught me to sew. This saves us tons of money. Overall I spend very little on clothes.

  55. Like much of the country last week, we had yet another storm. (Didn’t I type that same sentence last week?) Since we received 18 inches of snow, the company I work for closed for the day. It was my first snow day since high school!

    HH was out of town on business and I was snowed in, so it was a naturally frugal week. I used the unexpected time at home to deep clean and organize.

    I tried a free beginner yoga class on YouTube from Yoga by Adrienne. Thank goodness I was home alone. I am sure I looked absolutely ridiculous, but I actually really enjoyed it. Rather than be discouraged with my ineptitude, I gave myself permission to enjoy being a beginner.

    Fight the February Funk continued this weekend with a road trip to visit my aunt and niece. We kept the costs down by using hotel points and selecting fun and affordable restaurants and activities. We enjoyed a beautiful walking trail along the lake, a 80s cover band at a local festival, and $5 tickets to a Division I women’s basketball game.

    My mom and her husband and sister and her family came over for dinner last night. I made a simple, low-cost meal and dessert which everyone enjoyed (even though I am not known for my cooking). I intentionally made enough for lunch the next day and to freeze a portion for a future dinner.

    1. Julianne,

      I *love* your comment about “enjoying being a beginner”. I’m a certified yoga instructor and one of my favorite phrases during class is one I borrowed from a colleague: “The perfect pose is the one in which you are comfortable and can BREATHE.” So many folks will hesitate in classes until they hear that, because we’ve been conditioned by media to think we must look a certain way on the mat. (And Adrienne’s videos are awesome – enjoy!) <3

    2. I recently tried a free yoga 30 day program on Amazon Prime by Julia Marie. I am really enjoying it. She introduces poses slowly and repeats them so that you can remember them. I am confident I too look ridiculous at times!

    3. I do the Yoga by Adrienne and am hooked. It has greatly improved my flexibility and can do it in my basement.

  56. Brandy–I haven’t posted for months but faithfully read every entry. In May, my blood pressure dropped very low. I was medivacced to Anchorage with sepsis and spent 6 weeks in the hospital. The toes on my right foot were amputated due to diabetes. I’m still healing. It was worse than it needed to be because my doctor ignored my violent petroleum and prescribed the wrong form
    of antibiotic.7
    Then Nov. 7 I gushed blood when I stood up. In the ER. they suspected endometrial cancer. I had a robotic hysterectomy 2 weeks ago. I told the surgeon I have had worse hangnails. Praise God, it was stage 1, level one, so routine follow-ups only.
    I am mostly at home, so I really appreciate your blog and all who share! Mostly I only go out for medical appointments and my son and husband do our shopping. I’ve been reading a wonderful series by Jennifer Chiaverini loosely based on
    a group of quilters in generations of a family. I’m not a quilter, but have so enjoyed these books. I have not read any of her other historical books.
    My husband. a retired pastor, is currently serving our home church which has helped financially but also gives him an outlet for his energy. We are still in the middle of winter in Fairbanks but are looking forward to gardening!
    Blessings to all, Alaska Gram

    1. Oh wow! I know we haven’t heard from you in a long time.

      I hope you can enjoy some more reading while you continue to recover.

    2. Oh, Goodness, Alaska Gram!
      I’m so glad you’re on the mend finally – what a tough year you’ve had! I am so glad you’re back to posting.
      Prayers for continued healing,

    3. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Alaska Gram! Those are some scary events! If you want more historical fiction for your reading pile, you may like Nancy Turner’s series, beginning with These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine. They are set in frontier era-Arizona and are quite a good read.

    4. I’m so sorry for all your health trials, Alaska Gram! I hope you are fully recovered soon. I have read the Jennifer Chiavarini quilting books and enjoyed them also.

    5. Alaska Gram, what a hard time you have had. I’m glad to hear you are better!

    6. Alaska Gram, I’m sorry to read of your health problems, but am so glad that you are recovering. All of those medical issues are quite complex so it’s good that you are improving. I’m sending warm wishes and prayers for your continued, speedy recovery so you can return to gardening. Great to hear from you. Take good care.

    7. I wondered where you were! So sorry for your troubles but hope you are on the mend now, with family helping to care for you. I hope that the arrival of Spring (hopefully soon) will help to perk you up even more. Please take care.

  57. Made Chicken with peppers and onions over rice. Made 9 quarts of Beef Stew.

    Ate a take out meal from the local barbecue joint. 2 sandwiches with slaw: $20.00!! So today we smoked a pork butt and made slaw ourselves! Will last 2-3 days and cost less than $20.00!!!

    Replanted all my sprouted seeds in larger containers as we have a month plus before I can transfer them to the garden.

    Washed my pet Yaks on a sunny, dry day! They were awful! Even they knew they needed a bath!

    Found heels that match my dress for the GS wedding. 60% off!

    Made La Leche. Be still my heart!

    For Lent, I decided to agree with my husband on everything! Think I might go straight to Heaven if I survive this! 🙂

    Hope everyone is getting excited about Spring! Onward, y’all, by all means!

    1. “For Lent, I decided to agree with my husband on everything! Think I might go straight to Heaven if I survive this! 🙂”

      LOL, good thing I wasn’t drinking coffee! Thanks for the laugh.

  58. I thought I had posted yesterday, but had some good produce finds yesterday that I can add to the list. My big finds have been marked down produce, between the two weeks I have gotten about 20 pounds of bananas for $6, apples and oranges for .50/#, 8 avacados for $2, and lettuce for $1/#. I have made chocolate avocado pudding with the bananas ,this helps with my sugar cravings. I have also made dried apples and applesauce with the apples. My sister gave me#4 organic apples and I dried those and made ACV. I also made skinny monkey cookies and dried bananas with all of those bananas, and froze quite a few. There was a 8# bag of potatoes that I will cook and make mashed potatoes for the freezer.
    I have been adding compost to the garden, my daughter continues to pass her compost to me. They eat a lot of eggs from a friend’s chickens and I am drying those shells for a fertilizer for my tomato plants. I have been trying to weed for a few minutes everyday to get the beds ready for planting. My neighbor gives me manure but it has brought some weeds with it. I planted a few rows of beets and put in some broccoli micro green seeds in a mobile planter. We may get cold weather again next week, so I can bring the micro greens in. I got 6 packs of free seeds at our senior center. I continue to do free classes twice a week and am grateful for variety in my exercise routines.
    Thank you for this community Brandy, you bless us weekly!

  59. -We made sourdough bagels, dividing up the dough into smaller portions. The smaller size seems to be a much more manageable portion. Also made sourdough bread, zucchini muffins, unstuffed cabbage soup, and several rice and veggie bowls. Shared soup and bread with my sick parents. Using up mulberries from last summer to make smoothies. A patient gave me some of her honey, which I’m so thankful for.
    -I found salad mix on clearance, as well as grapes, strawberries and bananas on sale. Like many of you, the price of groceries continues to be shocking.
    -Found some new to me workout leggings and dry fit style shirts for my husband for free. Got rid of a few items that are too big for me. I’m continuing with the gym, outdoor running and walking and weight is continuing to come off.
    -I started lettuce, kale, beet and bok Choi seeds indoors. I’ll transfer them to my cold frame soon.
    -Got a Panera coffee subscription for 3.99/mo for 3 months. It’s on the way to work and I have meetings there a few times a month, so it pays for itself quickly. I will eventually cut back on coffee but for now..!!
    -Used a gift card from Christmas to buy myself new running shoes. Saves me money on health in the long term. It’s my favorite local running shop and the shoes are expensive but cheaper than physical therapy for ankle issues.

  60. I used plastic bags that came with packages for trash cans and to take things to the thrift shop. I used the dog food bag as a trash bag also.

    I passed plastic grocery bags to the Amish that use them in their business. I got pie, bread and cookies in return.

    I changed how I did the menu, listing only protein and then filling in the meal with what needed ate. We did 10 days out of 10 for the first time since we were married. I wasn’t feeling like eating at all one day and Hubby figured out what to fix using what was on the menu by making it more of a “snack” meal instead of a full size meal.

    Hubby got 1 lb. of peas for $1. from the local Amish green house. They were cleaning bins preparing for new seed when he dropped off some stuff to them. He told them I was doing dwarf peas in hanging flower pots this year to see how they did. The lady asked for us to let her know it that worked
    and if it did to bring her one to see it as she had never heard of that.

    Temperatures are a roller coaster here along with flash floods and tornados.
    Prayers for peace
    Blessed be

  61. Made venison chili, put a quart jar of canned peppers and onions in the blender with a pint of hot peppers and a quart of tomatoes, all from our garden in with about three pounds of venison (deer harvested on our farm) beans were canned, as was the liquid smoke and chili powder, but all the other herbs were from the garden. The house smelled so good as it slow cooked.
    Got our wood burning stove installed. We have a fireplace, but burning wood in it sends most of the heat up the chimney. The stove we got was a Vermont Castings Encore unit. It is rated for about 50% more space than our house, but the larger fire box lets us load it up at night and still have the house warm in the morning. There is a $2000 tax credit on it, so that offset the cost, plus we have plenty of wood on the farm, not paying for deliveries of firewood.
    Started 12 Burpee seed trays last month, and now I am seeing the tomatoes, peppers and herbs sprouting up. Much cheaper than buying plants at the nursery or big box stores.
    My two teen boys got their haircuts from my husband Tuesday night. Their hair grows so fast, he does their haircuts about every three weeks. Very convenient, it takes him roughly ten minutes to give each of my sons his haircut. Each son takes his turn with the shop vac cleaning up the clippings before they head to the shower. I would hate to have to deal with the hassle and expense of having to take them to the barbershop.
    My best friend came over for a visit to get her hair trimmed as my husband was going to be trimming mine. She asked in advance if her cousin could come along as well, she had not had her hair cut in over three years! I said that would be fine. I went first, my best friend was second, and then her cousin took a seat on the stool and got caped. Her hair was to the point that she was sitting on it and her ends looked rough. My husband held the measuring tape and I took a picture with her phone to show her how much he was going to be cutting off to take it to her elbows. It was close to 10”. She said that was what she wanted, and he did as she asked. My best friend and I both have long hair, and in our area they would ding us for a “long hair extra” charge, I can imagine that they would have charged her even more. She asked if she could come back again to get her hair trimmed, and I told her sure, it will be her turn to bring the wine. It is a social thing, we chat and sip wine as we each get our hair trimmed.
    My husband made the dough last night for it to cold ferment for pizza 🍕 on Sunday night. He bakes them on two plates of baking steel in the oven at a high temperature. The crust is so crispy, we prefer them over the take out and he makes five medium sized pizzas, for only a few dollars worth of ingredients. We canned the tomato sauce last fall, plus we dried oregano, basil and thyme. The sauce had those herbs plus garlic and onions from the garden. My boys help make them by putting on their favorite toppings. So it is a fun family activity, and a cheap way to entertain when family or friends come over.

    1. Carolyn- Do you have a recipe for your crust for a crispy pizza? I make dough and it’s good but getting a crispy crust hasn’t been successful for us. Last time we got a crispy crust, I had used the crusts from Dollar Tree ($1.25 each) which is a good crust but I would love to be able to make my own. The wine and hair trimming party sounds like lots of fun! Thank you!

      1. My husband uses a Red Mills artisan flour for the dough, Caputo dry yeast, adds garlic powder, freeze dried oregano and basil, from our garden. We have a Harvest Right freeze dryer and freeze dried herbs keep their flavor better, than regular drying. He will start the yeast in warm water with a teaspoon of barley malt for about an hour before he makes the dough. He uses 8 cups of flour, 3 cups of water, and a teaspoon of olive oil. He adds all of the ingredients in our stand mixer and uses the dough hook. Once it is well mixed, he sprays olive oil in the container and places the dough in it and leaves it on the counter for the afternoon, then puts it in the fridge to cold ferment for a few days.
        When he makes the pizzas, he takes the dough out a couple hours before, and he heats the oven to 500 degrees so both baking steel plates get hot. He stretches out the dough on a silicone baking mat, then puts semolina flour on the pizza peel so it will slide off easily, adds toppings, and launches the pizza onto the lower steel, no pan used. He has turned the oven from bake to broil, and after about four minutes, he moves the pizza to the upper steel to melt the cheese and brown the top. The secret to a great crust with leopard spotting on the bottom, is the high temperature of the steel that imparts the heat to the crust. Here is a video on the process. https://bakingsteel.com/blogs/recipes/perfect-pizza-using-baking-steel-broiler-method
        The hair trimming sessions are fun. I like having friends visit, we get together to chat and sip wine, while we each get our hair trimmed. My husband likes my hair long, it reaches to my elbows, so he only takes off about an inch every couple months or so. He is very meticulous in sectioning, pinning it up, and then letting it down in increments to trim each successive layer. He takes the time to do it right, never a bad haircut. My best friend will only trust him to cut her hair. One afternoon she mentioned that there is something wrong with this picture when she used to go to the salon, she would get her hair cut shorter than she asked, she paid too much, and the next day when she washed her hair, she saw the mistakes and had to touch it up herself. She gets her hair trimmed by my husband, asks for an inch off, she gets only an inch off, not several, and it is even, no finding mistakes the next day, plus it is free. My husband’s mother and aunt always did haircuts for the family. His grandmother did as well. So maybe it is a family thing. I do know that I am saving a lot of money and I like sharing with my friends and family. My mom has him trim her hair as well. We also share a lot of fruits and vegetables with family and friends. We grow more than we can eat, can, freeze or freeze dry. My husband is retired now, so it is his hobby you could say, a productive one at that. We get over 100 quarts of blueberries alone, plus the gooseberries, black currants, raspberries and strawberries.

  62. Last week I focused on making sure the food gets all eaten up. My husband has also been using the library to borrow DVDs of a tv series he wanted to watch that is not on the streaming services we get. I also checked in with each family member to see which of our streaming services they use. All that we choose to pay for are getting well used. I have not been making use of the online exercise program I pay for annually so I am starting to use that service again.

  63. I was just cleaning a clogged tub drain and wanted to share something a plumber told me quite a few years ago. First, you unscrew the stopper for the tub or bathroom sink. Then you use a tool called Zip-it that we bought from Home Depot for about $3. https://www.homedepot.com/p/BrassCraft-20-in-Plastic-Hair-Snake-BC00112/305468409
    It pulls out all the hair that gets clogged just under the stopper. Our daughter has long, thick hair. This was a tremendous help. I appreciate all the things that I learn from you and decided that I need to do a better job of sharing.

    1. Thank you for sharing about the zip it. I think I may try the long sealing thingee that I peel off when opening a new protein powder container.

    2. We have a zip-it too and it’s worth every single penny. I need to use it now that daughter is back at home with her long hair that sheds and sheds…

  64. Love the springtime flower photos!
    * We’ve been busy babysitting grand-littles, which while fun is exhausting. I guess it’s frugal for their parents to have us there!
    * Then we travelled to the USA where our daughter was doing her classical singing gig. It was a nice excuse to visit a place we hadn’t been to as well as hear her sing. We aren’t big spenders, so our expenses were kept to a reasonable minimum. Plus, of course, complimentary tickets to her event!
    * We came home our regular lifestyle. After a couple weeks out of our area grocery stores, the food price jumps were stark. I have no idea how our govt claims food inflation is “merely” +\- 10% over an entire year when I see price jumps of 20-25-50% on basic foods. Tomato sauce was $2 in 2021, and has moved up steadily holding at $3 attained last summer; it just went up to $4 a few days ago, so that’s a 100% increase in 2 years, 33% in the past year. Pasta and rice have had similar jumps. Dairy and egg prices in Canada are set by quasi-govt entities, and those have skyrocketed too. Yikes. When my pantry is depleted, I will be forced to pay these new prices to restock.
    * A reminder to those doing home canning this year to think about your canning lids early!

    1. I agree about the percentages. When I see an item jump so much, I know the percentages are wrong. I saw $2 and $3 jumps per item lately and it has been rather shocking.

  65. I popped out to the discount fruit and veg store today. Best buys were mangoes for $5 per case, limes 3 for $1.00 and small cauliflower for $1 each. I was able to buy oranges, cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes and plums for .99 per lb. I was able to pick up a couple of items for Ellie’s friend too.

  66. I went to a restaurant bulk foods store last week. I was able to get some snacks for my family in bulk sizes for very cheap. They also had lunchables for 20 cents each. I would never usually purchase lunchables, but I did grab some at that price! They are about 2 weeks from expiring, so we’ll have to use them quickly. But my husband and I both take lunch to work every day. I also got 48oz containers of salsa for 50 cents each. They are also nearing their expiration date, so I will divide them into smaller containers and freeze to use in some of my recipes – like cilantro lime chicken, salsa fresco chicken, taco soup, etc. I picked up some Lysol (50 cents) croutons ($4 for a 2.5 lb bag, and some potato gnocchi ($1/16 oz). None of those items were nearing expiration. But the best find may have been a pork loin for $1.79/lb! That’s the lowest I’ve seen it around here in awhile. Last time I bought it, I was happy to find a sale at $1.99/lb. It appears that their regular price may be $1.79/lb, so I will try to remember to stop when we are in that area.

    We thought our son had an ear infection, so we took him to the prompt care that is free with our insurance. It’s about 5 min farther away than the closest one, but no copay! Turns out his tube is just starting to work it’s way out of his ear and causing him some discomfort.

    I have been picking up enough extra hours recently to basically add another paycheck to every month. This has been helpful for saving up some money. But I’m ready to be able to spend more time with my son again.

    My husband painted my nails at home.

    We’ve been getting a lot of free entertainment and exercise with the weather being warmer than usual around here. Lots of walks, playing at the park, and hiking at a state park that’s about 15-20 min from our home (and has free admission!).

    Our rhubarb and salvia are starting to make their appearance!

  67. I also continue to be shocked at the prices of items, especially food. I have changed grocery stores and am going at a time of day when they seem to have clearance items out. I am being much more adaptable with what we eat, as continuing to eat the same foods is too expensive with all the prices rising. This week I bought packs of 6 multigrain bagels for 55c x 2, full cauliflowers for 33c x 3, 6 raspberry and white chocolate blondies for 70c, a large pack of mixed salad leaves for 33c, packs of 6 rissoles/patties for $1.30 each x 4, pouring cream for 35c x 3, 1kg (2.2 pounds) bags of carrots for $1 x 3 (these were on sale, not clearance) and a 1.5kg (3.3 pounds) apple pie for $3.57. I also received 3 free apples and my children were gifted 5 small packs of promtional Lego from another shopper who had qualified but did not want them.

    We continued to harvest and eat fruit and vegetables from the garden and bury the scraps, keep electricity use to a minimum (we average $40 usage a quarter), bike as much as we can, read library books and watch library DVD’s (we don’t have subsciption TV services) and make all meals at home.

    I made a large batch of carrot and cauliflower stew which we have eaten for the majority of the week either with boiled eggs, toast, salad leaves, rice or just on its own. We changed things up one night, having fish we caught locally with steamed vegetables. We also enjoyed bagels, blondies (that I cut in half) as well as lots of fruit smoothies and popsicles, using fruit from the garden.

    In their beauty section, Target had packs of four Christmas crackers that are filled with different, good sized (not mini), bath products. They were $1 per pack reduced from $15 so I grabbed three packs and will divide them up among six girls for Christmas gifts.

    We are attending a pool party this weekend for 2 children and the total present cost is $6. I have boxed Schleich Snoopy figurines and an A5 sized activity pad for one child and a pencil case and boxed pack of body scrub with loofah for the other.

    I am organising a bridal shower at my house and the bride would like “fancy”. I have the table centrepieces , 2 large bouquets of flowers that sit in a gold and cream box, tied with wide ribbon. However, the “flowers” are not actual flowers, they are edible with each “bloom” having a wrapped heart shaped chocolate on them. There are 48 “flowers” per bouquet. I received these 2 bouquets for free, delivered to my work. I just need to carry them home (1 at a time!). I like that they are mutli purpose – a centrepiece and sweet treat.

  68. To those of you who lost a loved one or loved pet, please accept my heartfelt condolences. For those who have been ill and are recovering or have loved ones who need same (thinking of the father and his fall here), I shall happily remember you in my prayers as well. I might not remember the name, but I remember the circumstance and am sure God will know just who is meant.

    I am just over my current budgeted grocery amount of $550 month for a family of four. My daughter pays a nominal rent to us for their stay and I do use those funds to supplement the budget if needed. I had increased my budget in December after taking into account family size changes (two moved in) and our last budget. At that point I felt I was more than reasonable increasing to this amount. Figures for January show the same foodcosts on a thrifty meal plan are now $904. I have always been well under the government’s figures but this is a HUGE difference and certainly testifies to why I feel we aren’t getting the same amount of food for more money!

    We have recently started eating pork once again, just to help manage budget. I am making my own breakfast sausage from sale priced ground meats. I finally figured out that the sausage needs a more prominent spice/seasoning ratio. I think I’ve finally got this figured out. Made our own pizza. I find that making the crust one day and letting it rise in fridge overnight makes for a lighter fluffier crust. We like a crust that is thin but has a bit of substance to the bite, but are not pan style pizza crusts.

    Since we are sole care givers for our 3-year-old grandson 5 days a week, we are now treating ourselves to a sanity saver day out of the house which usually involves a meal out. I have just written it into our budget for the time being. It’s so important we get this time alone on a weekend day to reconnect as a couple and give the family a bit of space of their own as well. I find it’s a huge ‘savings’ as far as not feeling resentful over the loss of our retirement days and having to set aside our personal plans. Sometimes we simply have to decide what’s best for ourselves.

    I am cooking all other meals at home, utilizing leftovers and food scraps, making many items from scratch rather than buying at current price, seeking out sales. Biggest savings this week was a super helpful pharmacy worker who told us of several alternatives to ordered forms of prescriptions (steroids for a bad allergy case, thyroid drug, and a new blood pressure medication) which saved us 100’s of dollars this week. I am so grateful to that young man who apparently took money as seriously as so many of us must. It was just a matter of skipping blister packs and doing bulk pills. Well we can dole out pills! We don’t need them packaged in doses.

    It is fully spring here. I’d really hoped I’d get to do some gardening this year but not sure I can manage any with grandson as well. I can’t turn him loose outdoors. We don’t have a contained area for him to play and I can’t keep up with him. I’ve tried but he wants to take off running into the woods or into the furthest driveway which goes into the road.

    1. My four-year-old wants to have a couple of little girls his age from church over to play, and they are runners, too. I am not sure about having them come play because I am so worried about this. One girl’s mom said even if I have the gate closed, she has to constantly watch at her house that the little girl doesn’t go under the gate. So I can see where this would be very difficult for you.

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