I live in a tract house. My parents have the same model as we do. They decided to purchase a different kind of blinds for their bedroom and asked if we wanted the old ones. These were custom blinds; the two windows in the room are oddly 1/2″ different in width. I have had blinds in these windows twice before, but they have been broken. I have fabric to make curtains for the room, but have never found a moment to make them, and have been hanging a blanket and a sheet in the windows since the last blinds broke (for years). The blinds are a welcome change!

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

Several readers asked if my transplanted trees have made it. Two of them, the Japanese blueberries, did not. The magnolia is still alive, and I hope that it makes it! This past week, I learned from two people that Japanese blueberry trees do not like to be transplanted and that they live about four to five years before dying (at least that was the experience of the gardener who stood next to me at the nursery looking for a replacement option for his while I looked for one for mine!) I have decided to replace them with Texas Privet, which was not frugal, but should provide evergreen interest at that end of the garden, which is the far central focal point for my garden.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants.

I made a valiant effort to take shorter showers and to turn off the water more while washing pots and pans by hand to conserve water.

Every 1000 gallons over the new limits incurs a fine of $9, in addition to being charged for the water at the highest tiered rate. A new bill proposed in Nevada could allow the state to turn off water to residents who use above a certain amount per household (regardless of lot size or household size) if the water reservoir levels fall too low. There has been talk of Lake Mead hitting deadpool status in two years, so every bit of water conservation is key. We knew new rules would be coming (hence part of the reason for my garden redesign) but as we have a larger lot for here than most, and a nine-person household, we do use more water than a household with a lot half the size and a family half the size. I have been diligent before but am seeking more small ways to use less water, which I hope will add up to larger savings. We are having cooler weather than usual now and a bit of rain as well, so I have programmed my drip irrigation to shorter times while it is still cool and the garden doesn’t need as much water.

I was gifted white and pink tulips that are at the end of blooming from a place that is throwing them out. I don’t know that they’ll come back (especially in my climate, as tulips like a cooler climate) but I went ahead and planted them to enjoy anyway, even if it just for a few days.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. This week I discovered something very interesting. I have been tracking prices since the beginning of the pandemic . I had to change supermarkets then to get deliveries as hubby was in the shielding category and I didn’t want to risk going to the shops. I used Asda. Recently I have gone back to shopping in person and gone back to Aldi. This week I have compared my bills. For most items in this Aldi shop were cheaper than Asdas was before the pandemic. Some meat was about £1 dearer. Bisto has gone from £1 to £3 though I now need to find an alternative if I can as I have food allergies. I also found yellow stickers on Strawberries, raspberries, pain aux raisin, hot x buns, croissants and Brussel sprouts . My total food and household was £90 for the 2 of us.

    Ever since the met. office told us we are in a drought it has rained every day. I have plants ready to plant out in the greenhouse but the ground is to wet. I covered some of the soil so if it stops I will be able to plant. I am catching water in all the containers I can find. Hopefully if I cam keep the waterbutts dark I can deter the insects if not I will buy a few goldfish.

    I have been doing a jigsaw , reading library books and listened to the radio as leisure. Cooking meals on the cook once eat twice or more principle . We have had 2 meatless meals and I am trying to add more beans and veg to stretch meals. We have a couple of hospital visits this week. We will go by bus to save fuel and the very expensive parking charges.

    Have a good week everyone

    1. Chris,

      Besides Aldi, I have at least 7 other grocery stores within 6 miles of me plus Target, WalMart and Dollar Tree (which is now priced at $1.25, not $1). These are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. There are at least 2 other chains 25 miles away. Aldi is the better priced store for me by far, except for a few items at Dollar Tree and possibly Lidl, which I just don’t like that much. I don’t have the desire to shop a bunch of store sales, get loyalty cards for each of them, etc., and I’m fortunately not in the position where I need to chase every penny so Aldi is my store of choice.

    2. Hi Chris, like you we have had so much rain my sloped garden is dangerous to work in, plants are staying in the greenhouse for now. I have tight lids on my waterbutts this deters flies laying eggs. A friend floats polystyrene balls on hers to stop insects being able to land on the water and lay eggs. I’ve also heard of people putting a thin layer of vegetable oil on the surface of the water as this stops the flies being able to brake the surface tension, I wonder if this one might get a bit smelly in hot weather? Enjoy your jigsaws, we swap ours with friends.

  2. The tulips are gorgeous! I was wondering how you got them to grow so thank you for explaining that. I have not seen one tulip growing outside where I live and only one garden with daffodils. My sister said she had one in her development as well. The tulips may not come back but they are gorgeous for now.

    I received a 15% discount on a plumbing service for being a returning customer that did a Google review, saving $42.75.

    I did a time versus cost analysis and paid $5 in quarters from my coin jar to wash all the yellow pine tree pollen from my car now that it’s no longer falling. Washing it be hand at home would have taken a LOT longer.

    I saved the 3% credit card fee ($35) by paying the vet with a check rather than the credit card for my 15.5 year old cat’s teeth cleaning and two extractions. The vet comes to our house for checkups and medical visits but we had to go to his surgery center over 35 miles and nearly an hour of driving time away for this. Rather than doing two round trips, I took advantage of my location and finally did the touristy thing of seeing the 400-500 year old Angel Oak Tree. Search for images if you’ve never seen it; it’s quite something and even more impressive in person. It looks like it should be in a Harry Potter film. If you get too many results, add Charleston or South Carolina to the search term. I also went to the beach for about 40 minutes just to watch and listen to the ocean and checked out Kiawah Island; I still have no idea why people would spend that much money to live there but the landscaping is very nice.

    I made lemon scones using lemon curd, which is a lot easier than juicing and zesting lemons (unless you grow the lemons and get them for “free”, of course). I also cut up vegetables for salads and stir fries, made strawberry smoothies and milkshakes and cooked a batch of chicken strips that were used to make chicken salad with grapes, dried cherries, celery, toasted almonds and Duke’s mayo as well as chicken bacon BBQ tortilla pizza.

    I also tried the strawberry and cream cheese quiche again but made it into more of a souffle and didn’t use a pie crust. The following directions are for Lynn from NC Outer Banks since she asked for more details a couple weeks ago. Whip 8 ounces (226 grams) of cream cheese in mixer. Add a cup (200 grams) of sliced strawberries and 1/8th cup (25 grams) of sugar and mix together at low speed. Put in a 1. 5 quart (1.4 liters) round casserole dish. Whip 6 eggs in the mixing bowl (no need to use a different one) and pour on top of the strawberry mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 C) until eggs are no longer runny and it’s (hopefully) puffed up. I did cover the top with foil for the last 15 minutes because I thought it was getting too brown. I think this is a lot closer to the Bayside Skillet omelet on which it is based but I don’t add the powdered sugar, extra berries or whipped cream on top when eating it so it’s not quite as sweet. I also hope my conversions are correct but I’m not promising anything.

    I picked violets for my bedroom and a bouquet of red roses, pink stalk and pink and orangeish snapdragons for the kitchen island. Looking at them reminds why I plant flowers. I switched out winter table linens and wall hangings for spring decorations and colors even though I think February was warmer than March has been. It’s still not bad and I know others would very much like to have a high temp of 60 degrees F (15.5 C) right now. We’re supposed to get back in the high 70ies/low 80ies (24-29 C) starting Wednesday so I can handle our “cold” until then.

    1. Oh Mari, thank you for your recipe for the quiche/souffle/omelet! Good to know that you made it without a crust as I’ve been making crustless (savory) quiche for a while now. With that minimal amount of sugar (and omitting the extra sugar on top) it sounds like a semi-healthy but delicious dessert! I will try to make it when I next need to take some food to a family gathering. Thanks again for the specifics, as I was very intrigued by your mention of it recently.

      My mother and her sister visited the Angel Oak recently themselves and thought it was amazing. The pictures alone are pretty spectacular. Thinking the next time I’m down that way I might want to make a stop there myself.

      Here on our island (Roanoke Island/Manteo) we have the Mother Vine, which is thought to be about 400 years old as well and may be the oldest grape vine in North America. It’s one of our county’s claims to fame, along with the most well-known, the Wright Brothers’ first flight. It’s large and impressive as well.

      Thanks again for the directions for the Bayside Skillet “omelet”. Can’t wait to try it!

      1. The Mother Vine looks like another candidate for the Hogwarts grounds! Thanks for mentioning it; I’m going to have to make a trip up there sometime. It’s “only” 6.5 hours!

  3. The tulips are spectacular!
    This week, we had one day that the temperature went up to 56 degrees (but it had a “real feel” of 61 degrees!) So even though it was windy, we were outside from 1:30 pm until about 5:30 pm extending the brick walkway in the opposite direction as before to replace and enlarge a previous plain brick walk that we put down many years ago. This is how far we got because there was a lot of digging, leveling and adjusting. https://pin.it/2TKc0Je and https://pin.it/fKqd8LP. Then it started raining and we gathered up our tools and headed inside. The next 2 days changed from wet to snowy and so it wasn’t possible to work any more on it. Our sore muscles were grateful for the respite! Lol!! But, it IS getting done even with just small bits of time. Kind of like Marivene’s weeding strategy! And this project/materials is totally free except for our time/labor!

    Our Bishop’s wife and I were asked to organize and oversee a Project Linus project involving our congregation’s youth (11-18 year olds). We found and printed 10 free quilt patterns. I am getting kits made up using scrap fabrics from my stash. They will cut and sew quilt tops. I will longarm quilt them and then they will have a second activity where they sew binding on. Great way to use up more fabric scraps I have!!

    So, why do I love the free Flashfood app? Here’s what I got this morning:
    Meijers boneless half ham. Regular $4.19/pound. At Flashfood it was 49 cents a pound! $2.40 total for 4.85 pounds!! 😳😳
    I also bought 4 three pound bags of organic yellow potatoes for $1 each (instead of $5.99 each) Why did I get those? To plant instead of seed potatoes that are well over $2/pound!! Because they are organic, I don’t have to pretreat to get growth inhibitors off them before planting! I’m chuffed!!! ❤️❤️

    These are the days to find as many creative strategies to build up our food security without breaking the bank! I’m keeping my eyes open much wider and ears more tuned in to notice any opportunities that might be available at a more affordable price!

    Hubs starts jury duty this morning and needed a sack lunch made (per written instructions to each juror). I realized that I hadn’t stopped at store to pick up anything to put in his lunch sack to make it special. Then I went to work on it. I made him a
    ham (Flashfood: 22 Oz package of slices for $1.29),
    cheese (Meijer clearance-Swiss slices- $1.14 for a 12 Oz package),
    leaf lettuce and fresh tomato from Krogers- (our grocery shopping this past week. $1.69 for head and 99 cents/pound tomatoes .)
    It was made on homemade wheat sandwich bread I made on Saturday.
    I put in a peach yogurt (Meijer clearance- 99 cents/4 pack),
    a Flashfood apple sliced into wedges,
    (2) 20 Oz bottles of water (Kroger sale a while back 30 bottles for $2.99)
    2 granola bars (Krogers on clearance sale- $1.49/10 pack
    Put it all into a recycled Kroger bag and told him that all packaging was disposable. He was pleased! It reminded me that sometimes my initial reaction is, “I better run to the store to get what I need for whatever event/activity” when, in reality, I can just as easily put together what is needed by shopping “my pantry”!!

    And that almost 5 pound boneless ham that I got on Flashfood this week??
    Once a week, Hubs and I pick up donations for our congregation from Panera bread. We bring it home, individually package everything and write down ban inventory. Then we send out the inventory to all the members of our congregation so they can call us to let us know what they would like and we box it up for them to pick up.
    A sweet mom with teens called and asked if she might have a couple loaves of bread and some bagels to use in lunches for her family and she said she was just in shock at the store because she, after only having been in a small part of the store, had already spent $240 and there was still so much left on her list!
    I boxed up things for her but then added the last of the oil, stuffing mix, green beans and spaghettios from the windfall a week ago. I added flour, brown sugar,chocolate chips, butter.
    And that almost 5 pound boneless ham that I got on Flashfood this week?? That went home with her too! And my heart was full.

    As these times get harder, I hope that I can find ways to share those blessings I’ve received with others. It lifts the soul. Take care and take heart, Brandy and readers .

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat, you are a sweetheart to do the Panera distribution. I’m certain your recipients are soooo grateful. Our local thrift shop used to offer free bread, but they don’t do so anymore. And Safeway marks up nearly all its baked goods to $1.99, instead of the usual 99 cents. I get mad — come home and make my own bread, instead.
      Egg prices are down some ($2.39 for a dozen), but the cases are still largely empty. A kind friend just gave us a dozen, courtesy of her chickens. (I gave her a fresh loaf of bread, as a thankyou.)
      It’s too cold to plant…but too warm not to think about it. I keep trying to hold myself back.
      A lot of report-writing (appraisals) these past few weeks. We are headed out of the country the end of the month, and I am desperately trying to finish up the work commitments before we go. Plus taxes… booooo.

      I was wondering how all those tulips suddenly appeared!

      1. Cindy Brick- When we first started doing the Panera bread pick up and distribution, we would save out a bear claw for Hubs and a blueberry scone for me. But after all these years (about 6 years), we are like the people who work in an ice cream shop who, in the beginning, are sampling every flavor but, after a short while, are no longer tempted by it! Lol!!
        I’m also “chomping at the bit” to get planting in my gardens outside, but our weather is not cooperating! This will be me: https://pin.it/3aricnR. Lol!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

      2. The church thrift store sometimes has food items from the food pantry that are not moving fast enough. This week I got 3 loaves of slightly stale Italian bread. They had cases of it. I made bread pudding, garlic bread and the rest became bread crumbs. The lady that gave them to me said people that receive food from the food pantry don’t know what to make with stale bread.

        1. Marybeth from NY- Well done on finding ways to “repurpose” that stale bread! Crazy, isn’t it! The art of “making do” has been lost or forgotten by many! Hopefully, that will be a positive that will be born out of these harder economic times- we will learn to become more creative in using things and find the joy that comes when you become a better steward.

          Gardenpat in Ohio

    2. When the pandemic first started, my congregation asked what members needed and then if anyone could fill that need. I was able to donate a pound of hamburger and a pack of toilet paper. I NEVER had to buy those things for the remainder of 2020. I did not have a large stash to begin with and it was a sacrifice to share, but I learned that by sharing what I can with others means I will be taken care of as well.
      I love hearing your stories of how you find deals and share them with others.

        1. Brandy & Heidi H- Being a stay at home mom of 11 kiddos meant that money was tight and we were always available for side jobs that anyone would offer. But, we always had enough and a bit extra to share with others. It always reminds us how much we’ve been blessed with.

          Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. I don’t have to pretreat to get growth inhibitors off them before planting! Can you tell me how you do this?

      1. Diann- on the YouTube channel, Home Grown Veg, the gardener shows how to soak the store bought non-organic potatoes for I think an hour . I don’t remember what they are soaking in. I just remember that it was a common ingredient that I had at home!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    4. Gardenpat, do you have a referral code that if I download the Flashfood app and try it out, you can get anything free?

      1. Bonnie in Midwest- I guess there is! I hadn’t noticed it before. The referral code is : PAT39NGR. It says that if you spend $10 on your first order, that I will get a $5 reward and you will also get a $5 reward.

        Thanks for asking. I learned something new! Lol!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

      2. Up here in Canada the referral code is under the rewards tab. If you spend over $10.00 in your first order you get a $5.00 credit and the referral gets a $5.00 credit.
        Can’t say enough about the awesome fruit, vegetables, meat and deli items we get.
        I told my husband how much we had spent and saved this month. When the butter chicken prepared meal for 4 generous servings goes half price I pick it up and freeze. The chicken I couldn’t purchase for that price.

        1. TEG- I think Flashfood may have actually started in Toronto, since French is one of the two languages (English is the other ) that their information is available!

          Our family and friends have certainly benefited from incredible savings using their app!

          Gardenpat in Ohio

    5. That is great what you are doing with Panera. My son worked for them for several years. Only 2 days a week did the leftovers get picked up. Otherwise they could bring it home. I miss those days. I shared with friend, family, neighbors and coworkers.

  4. What pretty tulips! I bet you are delighted to have the blinds up in your bedroom. Last week, I canned garbanzo beans and vegetable broth. The majority of canning lids were reused, including some that were on their third round, and all sealed. I’m not encouraging anyone to do this; only sharing my experience with it. I made golden paste for the pups and suet for the birds. For a dinner, I made our roasted green beans with baked potatoes and sauteed garlicky spinach. Another night, I roasted our first asparagus with roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potato fries. The first of our tomato seeds are starting to sprout, with 11 up, as of Sunday morning. I harvested lettuce and broccoli, some of which was used in a peanut noodle dish, and my husband harvested a cabbage. Laundry was dried on the clothesline. My husband requested beets from the grocery store. I’ll roast them another night, but first cut the greens and sauteed them with lambs quarter I had frozen, to have with your black bean burgers and home fries. On a grocery stop, I got avocados for .79 ea. Several books were requested from the library. Some of our frozen figs were added to oatmeal. We had a family gathering on Saturday. There were 16 of us, a mix of mine and Joseph’s families. Though it was chilly, the sun was shining, the little ones were excited by the chickens and gathering eggs, we gave tours of the various goings on here to whomever asked, and we ate well. I sent the littles home with a dozen eggs, and leftovers home with a couple of others. I cut a few redbud branches for my sister to try and root. It was a lovely day. Happy Spring to all in the northern hemisphere! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/03/late-spring-days-gathering.html

  5. I heard today that the low-interest financing for a new furnace has been approved. I’m looking forward to having a much more efficient furnace installed.

    My grocery spending is $30 under budget for the month, with the new month starting a week from today. This is the third month in a row that it has come in under budget, so I will lower the budget for the coming month. I had just opened the last 2-lb bag of pasta I had, but pasta was on sale, so I was able to stock up again right away at $3 for each 2 lb bag. That lasts a long time for a one-person household.

    A friend dropped by to give me a tote bag with six spaghetti squash from her garden (from her basement storage, really). I still have a lot of cans of diced tomatoes, so I am seeing some recipes using squash and tomatoes in my future. This will help out with the spending on produce this spring, though I don’t plan to miss all the lovely spring vegetables we are beginning to see from Mexico. My friend loves to grow squash but not eat it, so I asked if she would grown a couple of kinds that are difficult for me to get a good supply of locally. She said that if I buy the seeds, she’ll try growing them.

    I’ve shoveled some snow and chopped ice on my steps and front sidewalk. The temperatures are often just above freezing in the day and then below freezing at night, so a lot of ice forms every night. Where the ice forms, and whether it is slippery, or rough and easy to walk on varies from day to day, but at least it is melting slowly. No flooding that way. There is a foot of snow in my yard, so it will be while yet. There is still snow in the forecast, though not too much at the moment.

    I’ve been doing some longer term planning, both for my finances and for making my house easier to manage. In April, I make the last payment on a small private mortgage. I’m figuring out what my priorities are from there.

    1. Elizabeth M.

      That’s wonderful – both that the furnace financing has been approved and that in April you’ll no longer have to pay on a private motgage.
      We are having similar problems with melt water from the snow. Ann

      1. Anne,
        Oh, yes, I think that would work very well. I’d like to try something different after a winter of using the same recipes. Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. I have been busy unpacking household items. I’ve built a garden bed, ordered dirt, ready to play in the dirt but it will be a little while as it was 19 degrees this morning. Your flowers ate beautiful as always. I have ordered the two flower arranging books you had suggested on a long ago post. Hopefully I will get enough flowers planted that i can cut some. Love being wife.

    1. Congratulations Donna! My youngest daughter was married on Saturday too! It was a wonderful day for weddings.

    2. Congratulations, Donna – may you make many happy memories together!

      And Dawn, congrats and best wishes to your daughter as well!

  7. I know some of you read the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. Winspear has a new book out tomorrow, “The White Lady.” 1947 Britain, a female spy, whose wartime past comes back to her.

  8. Wow! What a challenge with the water situation. Wishing you the best Brandy!

    Last week:
    *had a fun & frugal visit with my mom. We went grocery shopping at Aldi then played Yahtzee. She made us lunch and sent me home with goodies. She also gave me a $25 Cheesecake Factory gift card she wasn’t going to use. I received one for Christmas too so I can go sometime and pick up some free cheesecake for the whole family!
    *redeemed a free 8×10 photo from Walgreens
    *mixed up a few bottles of all purpose cleaner
    *knitted a dishcloth
    *made peanut butter cookies with past date peanut butter & added some Hershey kisses I had from after Christmas sales
    *paid an extra $50 toward mortgage principal
    *was sick (again) so stayed home more- gas money saved
    *didn’t buy things I didn’t need
    📍Grocery Store (my husband works at and is able to catch the good deals): chicken wings for 99 cents/lb, huge red grapes for 99 cents/lb
    📍Buy Nothing Group: husband received some new dress shoes

    Have a great week ❤️

  9. These days it doesn’t feel like we are saving money at all since household goods and groceries are so alarmingly expensive but I keep trying with all the usual cost cutting measures. We have had what I hope will be our last cool spell for this winter. I needed something to cover my hydrangeas and salvia that have already started to leaf out so I went to Goodwill and purchased random flat sheets specifically to use only in the yard. They were very inexpensive, just $3/sheet and I will use them for this purpose until they fall apart, hopefully several years. I took advantage of being near a Trader Joes to pick up a few items that I have been wanting to try in several recipes including a salad dressing and a vegetable hash. Both of these were super simple in their ingredients and I will be able to recreate them easily. When you are eating all your meals at home I think it is important to keep things interesting for your family and also simple for the cook. I pulled 8 bananas from the freezer and baked up 3 loaves of banana walnut bread – one with peanut butter swirled into the batter. I gave one loaf to a neighbor and the surprised me with a dozen eggs from their chickens in return! The eggs were like gold – so flavorful and rich in color. I used some past their prime potatoes in a batch of mashed potatoes and will be roasting another batch of spuds this evening to go with dinner. I pulled a whole turkey from the freezer that was purchased last November for $0.49/lb. Roasted turkey for dinner tonight, salads for lunch and turkey divan later in the week. Broth for the freezer.
    I used a $10 coupon to save on a few groceries that I bought from Walmart. I also used a 25% off coupon I randomly received from CVS to save on some makeup that I was out of along with some allergy medications that we needed. I received $7 Extra bucks back which don’t require any additional purchase so I will return when I have time and use that on some additional toiletry items that we need.
    We built the first section of the fence for the garden this week and will be working on the second in the week to come. I have drawn up plans for a raised bed to be installed at the back of the fence line in order to increase my growing space. Not only will this expand the space but it will allow me to grow things like potatoes and carrots that will perform better in a raised bed. The cost to build this will be very minimal as we will do the work ourselves.
    I was blessed to have met a young lady who wants to learn to can veggies and fruits which I am happy to help with and she is going to teach me to compost – I am so excited. I have found it difficult to nurture friendships with ladies in a similar stage of life…young children, work outside the home, caring for aging loved ones, similar interests. This is exciting for me 🙂
    I turned off the HVAC during the day and ran it very low only at night to save. We lit a fire one night to warm the house too. Laundry combined, Dishwasher ran with full loads, eating from our pantry and freezer as much as we possibly can. Free music on Spotify, Free movies on Prime. Rearranging furniture for a fresh Spring look without spending a dime. Washing linens, baseboards and cleaning windows to freshen spaces without expense. The list of yardwork is endless so I can always count on that to entertain when the weather cooperates. Cheers to a productive week ahead!

  10. After many years of searching I got a new job 1 week ago. This job doubled my salary and gave me a $5,000 sign on bonus no strings attached. I can not tell you how my new income is going to alter our lives. The first thing to do is to pay off all my debt which is small around$5,000. My house was paid off when I was 48. I am now 51. I will be able to max out my Roth IRA and my work retirement. I have little cash reserve so this will be my main priority as I feel I will be able to save half my income every year. My BIG goal is to retire at 62 and travel FT. I have been frugal all of my life so it is my greatest dream to get out and go.

  11. Brandy, about saving water, I have read of people who bought inexpensive memberships to a city’s recreation center for exercise, or to swim, and time it for later in the day to also take their showers there.

    1. That would actually be more money in the long run for us, but thank you for the suggestion.

      1. If you had to pay for it, it would be more money. The YMCA has “scholarships” that are based on income. I had seven children and for years we were able to use the facilities for free, including showers. The difficulty is carting everyone there and back.

  12. Brandy, your flowers are so beautiful! * We had more snow last week but today is sunny. Still cold, but sun does help even when cold. * I got to attend a bridal shower last week, the daughter of a friend. The daughter lives out of state, but came home for the shower. Since she lives out of state, I gave her a gift card, but added four of my hand knit cotton dishcloths that I always keep on hand. She seemed to like them. It was fun to be with a bunch of ladies at the shower, and the refreshments were delicious. * Meals have included pizza bread, french onion chicken bake, tacos, veggie soup and leftovers. *We were missing our granddaughters so I made a cake and called to see if we could drop in for dessert. It was a fun surprise. *My husband purchased a new-to-him truck last week. He brought his old truck in for a trade in (didn’t have the time or energy for private sale) and they offered him a pretty low trade in value for it. He held firm and said “never mind” and they came back and offered him a few thousand dollars more for it. He was happy, accepted that and drove off with a much nicer truck. Because he has been a thrifty man for years and years, he was able to pay cash for the new truck. I’m so happy for him. * My friend who works for Hobby Lobby and gave me bags and bags of clearance yarn two years ago, dropped by with two bags of nice yarn from the clearance this year! I’d almost gotten through the last donation, but not quite, but I definitely have room for this now, and am so happy to get it! I only use her yarn for donation items and I keep track and take pictures to share with her so she can see how many wonderful warm things her donation makes. She says she loves to do it. Waiting for rock bottom clearance, then adding her discount, makes it an affordable way for her to be charitable. And I’m more than happy to use it up! A win-win. * I finished another hat this week and am, as always, reading library books for fun. * I’m so excited for the new seasons of Call the Midwife and Sanditon on PBS that started this week, and will enjoy watching the episodes for free on the PBS app. * I wish everyone health, happiness and peace this week.

  13. Wow, those tulips are strikingly gorgeous in your garden! I’m glad that you get to enjoy their beauty now and hopefully next year too.

    My frugal week:
    – I canned homemade sundried tomato and gnocchi soup, ie leftovers from dinner one day. Will make for two more quick meals, and I have no freezer space.
    – I redeemed $10 in loyalty points for fresh fruit/veg, and combined it with 50% off stickers, and redeemed another $10 in points for baby shampoo.
    – I made dinner rolls to serve with soup one evening, and as hamburger buns the next evening. I make soup once week, and it really helps stretch the budget.
    – I combined printed coupons, cashback, sales, plus price-matching, when doing my weekly shopping. Really worth the small investment of my time. My best deal was free cereal with an overage. Sweet cereal, so it will be a fun snack, but free is definitely a good price for something I don’t normally buy!
    – put in some elbow grease maintaining our home. Keeping things clean and well-running is frugal in the long run.
    – met a friend for coffee, and used a gift card. I took advantage of a buy a drink today, get a free bakery product next week promo, so I’ll take a daughter out for a treat on the weekend.
    – took my kids to the mall to sight-see, and they happily played at the Lego store. No money spent!

    And that was basically it for the week. Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Margaret, I didn’t see your gnocchi soup recipe on your website. I’m always looking for a new soup recipe to can. If you happen to post it, I would be very interested in trying it. If it was just leftovers thrown together to can to save freezer space, well, that I understand!

      1. Hey Jeannie! I got it from IG, actually, and can’t seem to find it on the internet.

        Here it is, roughly: saute a chopped onion, carrot, 3 cloves garlic, and 1/2 c diced sundried tomatoes, in oil until soft. Add 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 1 tbsp dried parsley, and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast. Stir and cook another minute. Add 6 c. veggie broth, and 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 min. Dump in a package of gnocchi and cook until gnocchi are cooked and float to the top (or make your own. Easy and inexpensive!). Stir in a handful of greens (ex. kale) if you have. Stir in cream or milk, to make it as creamy as you like.

        Easy, quick, makes a big pot! Even better the next day.

  14. I am looking forward to reading about more about your water-saving efforts. Even though we are in the land of 10,000 lakes, the water rates in my small town are extremely high.

    Last week our youngest daughter was home from college for spring break. We looked into flying her home, but flights were more than $900. Instead, my husband was able to plan a one way business flight and was able to visit both daughters at college for a couple days after his meetings. Since the business trip was two days, and he would be away for five days, he parked for free at his former business office. He Ubered to the airport saving three days of personal parking expenses. While visiting the girls, he was able to stay at our older daughter’s apartment since her roommate had already left for spring break which saved hotel costs. The three of them were able to attend a college baseball game very inexpensively. He then drove home with the youngest.

    While I was home alone, I made a Minnesota favorite, tator tot hot dish, to avoid take-out temptation and daily cooking.

    While DD was home, we offered multiple times to take her out for dinner, but she choose to have dinner at home. I found fresh, marinaded salmon on clearance at the local grocery store that she was excited about (so good!). She also requested grilled brats (on an 8F day-brrrr), baked beans, and cantaloupe. She saved us a bundle with her meal choices.

    While home, DD went through her local gift cards and used a couple to get mani/pedis with her cousin and lunch with a high school girlfriend.

    I packed Easter baskets for the both daughters and sent them back with DD rather than shipping. Along with snacks and treats purchased in multipacks and divided, I included necessities like sunscreen and socks. I also packed baskets for their roommates using freebies like a candle, journal, earrings and lip gloss that I stock throughout the year in the “gift cupboard” for such occasions.

    DD drove the 14 hours back to school by herself. Since this was her first solo trip, we wanted her to break up the drive to stay more alert. We were able to use hotel points to book a safe, clean, inexpensive hotel for one night. Thankfully, she made it back safely.

    1. Julianne-That tator tot hot dish sounds wonderful. It is a family favorite from my relatives in MN….

  15. My weather is crazy. Hot , cold , sunny , dark , wet and or dry. Coats or shorts. I still haven’t turned on the heat or AC but by April the air will be needed. I should have 2 more reduced water bills covering the time period sugar cookie was gone. I’m hoping for about $75.00 in savings. I found joy in finding a busted case of Smuckers strawberry jam. Only one jar was busted. I kept 4 and gave away 3. Every now and then we have an incredible find that brings so much happiness. I brought in boxes of treats. All kinds and sizes. Next were the cold items. 90 eggs plus other items were taken to lil Henry’s house. I turned around and got cases of dollar tree meat items. Not my first choice if I needed to purchase meat but lil Henry’s grandmother has empty freezers and no funds. During her difficult times , she will be well fed. I brought my daughter enough Jimmy Dean breakfast microwave products to eat before school. Her freezer is packed. Henry and my son have lots of gogurts and are smiling. My biggest saving was realizing my daughter had let her car oil dangerously fall low. I walked to a gas station and purchased oil to put in the car. We then drove and immediately had the oil changed to make sure it was at the proper level. Although it’s possible to buy another car , how silly it would be. This one is perfect for driving in the city. I’ve ordered more makeup. When it arrives, I am returning everything. While shopping at a local dollar salvage store , I found makeup I had seen recommended in a YouTube video. For one dollar a piece , I bought a couple different foundation colors to try. With a few other items I have stocked my makeup bag and saved $140.00. I’ve tried the foundation and love it. I’m so happy I ran across this deal. I don’t wear full makeup often enough to warrant spending a lot of money. Have a great week friends.

  16. I qualified for my first 60 and over x country ski pass. Even though I am 59 I guess I will turn 60 soon enough. I save $150 dollars. By buying it this week I will be able to ski all this spring and all next year. With all the snow in Tahoe, I’ll be skiing into May. I have all my own equipment and it is such a joy. It is also wonderful for my health.

    As I look to retirement in the next few years, I want to balance hobbies that burn calories with those that don’t. For instance, I am getting a GG in Gemology from GIA within the next two years so I don’t know if I want to get back into sewing/quilting. I think I have to pick one or the other. Everyone out x-countrying is skinny. I need to keep it up even though I think I am the largest one out there. No kidding. With the GG, I will be able to certify Gems for insurance and tax purposes. This will help family and friends as the purchase, inherit, and donate jewelry. I can also work for charities. Plus it will be fun to be a jewelry “picker.” I don’t intend to make it a career. I am also getting into Chess.com ( no calories burned) so Hubby and I are learning pickleball! My definition of a successful retirement will be To laugh, to love and to be of service and to be healthy.

    Grocery shopping today at the outlet, I focused on the best bargains. My definition of a bargain is nutrition packed, inexpensive and simple to make. I continue to be willing to look beyond brand names and try new foods. I picked up shelf stabled flavored pouches of tuna for .99. That is 18 g. of protein plus omega fish oils. The only thing hubby will NOT eat is tuna casserole so in the spring I will have toasted tuna sandwiches and soup. He likes something hot for dinner. I also found pre cooked ham shanks for about 1.40 a pound. I will add them to the dried Anderson House Soup mixes I have been making in the Instapot. I bought .99 General Mills Cereals that were one offs: discontinued or holiday. I bought a packet of taco seasoning ( easy) to use up some turkey and an aging polenta roll. I will make e a quick tomale layered casserole.

    I went down a rabbit hole researching the Wool& company “100 Day Challenge.” If you buy one of their wool dresses and wear it for 100 days, they send you a $100 voucher. I am a capsule wardrobe fanatic and I would love to do this: sustainable, minimalism, decluttering, saving on washing/clothing, . I finally decided against it. I teach full time and have a wardrobe I absolutely love. I have been been purging, selling and donating for years. I am now at 100 hangers total. Everything I have fits. What a feeling. I am looking into donating a few pieces that take way too long too dry and are not critical to the wardrobe. I want to cut down on laundry. The challenge would certainly do it but maybe when I retire..

    For laundry water/ time saving , I do have a stand up steamer that I have had for years that I use instead of washing. I thought of this as a possible water saving technique for you, Brandy. Steaming kills bacterial that causes smelling. Spot cleaning etc. . . takes little water. I replaced my 20 year old “wedding towels” with new towels that are quick dry. A podcast I listened too said keep only two towels per person and two sheets per bed. I did this Sunday and it feels wonderful. I will donate the old things to the animal shelter. High end textile companies say we wash things too often. It damages clothing. It is the smell test for me (hee hee)

    1. I have only one set of sheets per person and one towel per person. When I wash them, they go back on the bed the same day. I like to have a couple of extra sets of sheets for the children when someone is ill, but every time I have gone to buy them, the stores have been empty for a year of the ones I want in the color I want. We have had some old sheets wear out, so I am hoping they get them in soon. I buy white sheets in 100% cotton and when one wears out, they are interchangeable. Target has a brand that has the nicest elastic on them that the children love, because they stay put on the beds. As the old sheets have worm out, I have been switching to these.

      1. Do you reuse towels or wash each day ? Either way I can’t imagine one towel per person. We are two person household and we have literally hundreds of towels, hand towels and wash clothes. My 86 yo mother has always loved buying bath linens and finds great deals. We never reuse anything except I might use a wash cloth I dried my hands with to later clean out the sink. Do you have special towels for house guests ?

        1. Yes, we use one bath towel per person for the week. I wash them all on Fridays and we hang them back up. We have next to no humidity here, so they dry fairly quickly (within a couple of hours). I don’t usually have house guests; I don’t have a place for them to stay other than the floor. I do use washcloths for cleaning and I wash a load of those 2 to 3 times a week.

      2. I love those sheets! I refuse to buy any other kind. I usually have to replace the fitted sheet before the top sheet so I made sure I had a neutral design and color and can just order the bottom sheet to coordinate. The design definitely keeps the sheet secure!

          1. I remember my mom telling me that when they were young, they’d have to cut their flat sheets (used for top and bottom, no fitted) in half and put the less frayed sides to the middle and sew them up to get more use out of them.

            1. In danish it has a word of it’s own: edge-turning! My mom did this when she was a girl, and I used to clean for an old lady who was still doing this…

          2. My mom marks her fitted sheets at the top and bottom. Every week, she switches them bottom end to top end, and vice versa. This way, the bottom part is used half the time, and the top part half the time, this extending the life of the sheet almost double!

      3. I am about to replace all our towels as well (renovating the bathrooms).
        Old towels in our house are recycled to cleaning rags and for dog accidents (elderly Great Dane, an untrainable pit bull, and a new puppy).

        We keep 2 towels per person (plus 2 complete sets for the guest room) and a bazillion washcloths because we each use new ones every day.

        It is so humid here towels don’t dry well and can start to smell musty in a single day.

        1. I have heard that is a problem in humid places. It is so dry here that musty towels are never an issue. I hang up a soaking wet washcloth from the shower and I can use that for several days. It is completely dry within the day.

  17. Brandy, those tulips are spectacular! I admire that you planted them even if you only have their beauty for a short time. And I hope you are able to manage you home and garden with those water restrictions!

    I finished knitting a sweater and with a cold spring, was able to wear it today to keep me warm. I have enough knitting skills that I am tutoring two neighbors who are learning to knit and helping them with their own projects. It’s very satisfying to give guidance! Next, I am going to start making hats out of remnant yarn. I am part of a group that will donate 1,000 hats for children in the Navajo Nation this fall.

    I made an apple cake for a potluck dinner, and a lemon meringue pie for a pie contest. I didn’t win the contest, but everyone there got to share in tastes of all the pies. I had small tastes of 6-7 different pies and it was fun to try so many kinds! I also made bread and granola.

    I worked about 16 hours last week. It’s irregular work but I was happy to have the work. And I volunteered for a local water conservancy organization for a couple of hours and was able to have some of their snacks. I also contributed a bag of groceries to my local food bank.

    We had a windfall from a property sale and I was able to put funds into a 12 month CD for 5.25%. I feel comfortable in my local credit union, where I have the money, and look forward to earning a decent interest rate!

    I am grocery shopping less and using more of what I have on hand when cooking.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  18. Beautiful flowers! I did not go grocery shopping this week. I cooked a turkey breast I have had frozen since before Thanksgiving and I am eating it. I have plenty of various canned greens, and canned green beans. I will be eating the canned green beans flavored with lemon juice and sea salt. I walked in the neighborhood.

  19. Those tulips are absolutely gorgeous. Even if they don’t come up next year, enjoy them this year. 🙂
    I worked 4 days this week and brought breakfast and lunch all four days. Made enough food over the weekend, that I didn’t have to cook.
    My DH used his free quarterly $50 benefit from his Medicare Advantage plan. He got vitamins, cough drops and toothpaste.
    I finished reading “Lessons in Chemistry” which I checked out from the library. It was okay, but I actually found it rather boring. I suppose because I am in a profession that when I entered it, there were very few women in this profession. There are many more now, but back in the 1970’s it was not unusual for there to be only 2 females in any of my accounting classes.
    I made a big batch of brown rice, and then made fried rice the next day with eggs, carrots, celery, peas, corn and onions. I had a little BBQ pork, so added that too. That is lunches for this week.
    Made another batch of blueberry muffins. I stretched 2 cups of blueberries into 3 dozen muffins over the last few weeks, by adding some jam at the end and swirling it through the batter. I am using the Tightwad Gazette master muffin recipe as the base for the muffins.
    My DH BBQ’d ribs we took out of the freezer. I made coleslaw and steamed asparagus to go with the ribs.
    Got a roasted chicken from Costco on Saturday while I was doing some running around. I picked all the meat off the bones, and put the bones with some onions, carrots, bay leaves and pepper in the crockpot overnight. I have a batch of fresh broth ready to make soup. I am thinking chicken vegetable noodle would be good.
    No gardening yet for us. After tonight, we are going to have temperatures below freezing for the next 10 nights.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  20. I hear you about the water situation. I, too, and trying to conserve with shorter showers. My garden so far has not needed supplemental water, for which I am thankful. We use the warm up shower water to flush the toilets, until the garden needs it and then it will be used there.

    I received 50 strawberry plants from my neighbor. I gave her lettuce seedlings. My husband brought home 5 meals worth of pulled pork from a teacher training day on Friday. That gave me a welcome weekend off cooking!

    We bought 2 more rain barrels between atmospheric rivers last week. That takes us just over 1,000 gallons of storage on our very small urban lot.

    I bought 2 shirts at the thrift store, both excellent quality brands. $4 each. They are $50+ new.

    I worked 5 days last week. Income is always good!

    Our local trash company offered a free car oil filter drainer, so I called and had that delivered.

    We have kept the heat down lower after our highest power bill ever. This means my husband wears a beanie in the house. But we don’t care, and something had to change!

  21. What beautiful, beautiful tulips! They were definitely worth the effort of planting! I hope they come back for you.

    We are starting to see temps in the 40s and low 50s…and I still have snow in my front yard! LOL I have had snow on the ground since the first week of November. Nobody raked leaves this year because the pickup is normally after the 15th and it was canceled due to snow. I didn’t do any fall cleanup at all. I am desperate to get a handle on this. I don’t have a lot of leaves because I live in a newer subdivision and the mature trees are all pines and firs. However, with the warmer weather, I’ve cleaned up the west side of my house, an hour at a time (I am 77 and have arthritis). This is where my raised beds are located. I’ve cleaned up the beds and raked the few leaves around them. It all looks a lot better, but not as good as I’d hoped! I can’t do much more because the soil is wet and I’ll damage it by walking on it.

    All of my seeds are up except for the echinacea. The pansies took their own sweet time.

    I can’t really report any frugal accomplishments. I just did the usual stuff. We ate all of the leftovers and I read 2 more library books. I decluttered a few things. I didn’t leave the house 3 out of 7 days and our CC was canceled because of a fraud alert…so I wasn’t ordering online, either!

  22. Brandy, did you have a chance to look into a hand washing lid for your toilets? Amazon had one that will replace the existing lid on a toilet so you don’t have to replace the entire toilet. Water used to wash hands goes into a reservoir to flush the toilet the next time.

    1. This is a wonderful option – we saw a lot of them while living in Japan and have actually considered adding them in our house here in AZ. Trying to decide between that or investing in composting toilets (considered incinerating style, but those need electric – both types are quite pricey though, and we would have to have something set up for ventilation due to the location of the 2nd bath). I’m thinking the tank-top sink is the better option to start and then see what I can save up for.

    2. This is so interesting. I looked it up, and also found several diy options, that were very cheap to make. Don’t know if it’s legal to install where I live, though. But interesting to look into.

  23. That’s too bad that there aren’t allowances made for household size. How’s your winter been as far as snowfall? I’m in Central Utah and we’ve had a landmark year for precipitation this winter, but I don’t know if Nevada has been lucky enough to have gotten the same.

    I’m welcoming the sight of your pink tulips, as our first day of spring here has been marked by more snow. I can’t complain because it will give our flower farm much-needed insulation against a few very cold nights later this week (around 10 degrees Fahrenheit or so), but I will admit I’m chomping at the bit to start getting flowers here already.

    I’ve been enjoying reading over your archives the past few days to reinvigorate my own motivation for frugality and sticking to our financial goals. It’s definitely been helping!

    Here are some of my latest frugal wins:

    1. We don’t really get snow here and we only get 4 inches of rain a year on a good year. It’s snowpack in Colorado that affects us.

      1. Ha ha, silly me — I didn’t realize I’d even put “snowfall” in my question! (I’d meant to put rainfall.) Guess I was just affected by what I was seeing outside my own window 🙂 Interesting though that it’s Colorado you’re dependent on; I wouldn’t have guessed that.

        1. The seven Colorado River basin states depend on the river as our main water source.

      2. I saw something today, stating that Colorado’s snowpack is currently 30-plus percent higher than normal. And the snow season isn’t over yet. Hoping that the article is accurate, and that the snowmelt occurs efficiently. A lot of us in the Southwest and West are hoping for that, as you have mentioned.

        1. That would be wonderful! I hear some places are higher. But how the runoff is we still don’t know. Even though we have had more rain here this year, it’s still not normal for here, and normal is 4 inches a year. I heard yesterday that we haven’t received that 4 inches for over a decade here

  24. Redeemed a free drink at Starbucks

    Had the new dog’s vaccines done just by a tech to save exam fee.

    Sam’s had Tazo Chai concentrate in a 3 pack just under $12 v $5 for 1 at Walmart. I purchased 3 of them. I really need to get a few more(keeps me out of Starbucks for my once a week chai latte)

    I topped up gas while at Sams, it was .20 cheaper than most stations I seen.

    My neighbor has an American Bulldog and she brought over some dog clothes her dog outgrew. Ahsoka has 4 shirts and a fleece jacket now(they are slightly big on her but that’s ok)

    I was off work the 10th through yesterday for Spring Break(and the kid off of school). I didn’t venture far from the house aside for needed errands. I did spend quite a bit, but I stocked up some stuff to get us through the end of the school year(both working at a school and my classes, lol).

  25. There’s a household limit of water use instead of a per-person limit?! Insane.

    I did my normal frugal stuff this week including a day trip driving up the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. My husband and I splurged on a nice lunch overlooking the river, but I chose a filling bowl of salmon chowder, which was much less than a normal menu item. Neither of us had alcohol, (despite it being a brewpub) so our lunch was nice and on budget.

    We stopped along the way to IKEA, where we filled our travel mugs with coffee for free and filled the gas tank at Costco.

  26. Oh, wow! Your water situation seems unfair because it doesn’t address disparities in household size or lot size. I wish you the best of luck reducing water usage and avoiding fines. Perhaps some letters written to your representatives might bring this to their attention?

    We were without power for the majority of a week. Again, I didn’t buy perishables requiring refrigeration to reduce loss. We used most of the free wood we had trying to keep warm as our uninsulated house dropped into the mid 50s. I’m grateful for our wood stove! With daylight savings, we were able to prepare meals on the gas cooktop. However, we had restored power for 1/2 day which caught me having to dry clothes on the line (which never fully dried) and transferring dinner from the slow cooker into a Dutch oven. I was able to bake a batch of muffins before the oven shut off.

    Now that we have power again, I made another batch of muffins for school mornings and 2 loaves of sourdough sandwich bread. I don’t know how much they cost to make, although I do know that it didn’t cost $14 at the store for comparable loaves. We made stuffed cabbage from our garden cabbage.

    I shopping around and invested in a well priced down comforter for our bed. It’s hard to sleep when you’re freezing and the heavy piles of blankets aren’t working. It may be awhile until my husband feels well enough to tackle reinsulating our attic. Recovering from Covid has zapped his energy.

    My teen daughter has been complaining of tiredness. I double checked her chewy adult multivitamins and I was surprised that they had 0 iron content! I switched her to a women’s vitamin and she perked up between that switch and some beef infused meals. I mention this because I was surprised by the lack of iron in the Kirkland chewy vitamin. We won’t waste them but won’t be purchasing them again for that reason.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week! I look forward to reading everyone’s tips. ☘️

    1. There are no exceptions. I am just grateful that we were able to change our garden design when we did, because we knew cuts were coming in 2021 per the agreements if the lake continued to fall. New rules came down then reducing the water days and times, and then this year, in January, these new increased rates and fines came. I have been diligent but I could be more so, and I am teaching the family to be more diligent about their usage, too.

      The very real possibility of Lake Mead reaching deadpool level in two years is quite serious. California would be in great trouble as no water or power would go to them.

      Nevada has been making cuts for 23 years, and when we started making them 23 years ago, the dam was full to the top.

      We only use 5% of the water from the lake each year. The rest goes to Arizona, California, and Mexico.

      All water that goes down the drain here is reclaimed and reused.

      Front yard grass was reduced to a tiny patch for new homes in 2000. In 2004 it was outlawed. Last year backyard grass was outlawed for new homes.

      Water days were implemented in 2004. Water fines were increased last year; watering outside your assigned days, or a water leak on your property, can incur a huge fine.

      I had a leaking toilet in 2021. Within 8 days (the time it took for my husband to fix it) I had received 2 letters from the water district about it. They can tell from their new technology. My bill was $100 higher from that. With the new rates it would likely be double that for that amount of time. If that ever happens again, I will be adamant about fixing it immediately.

      So it’s really a huge deal here with water.

      1. Your shorter shower comment brought back a memory for me. I lived part time with my aunt’s family (2 adults, 3-4 kids, plus me sometimes). Money was incredibly tight and water was expensive. Each person had to shower before a timer went off and it was a short time. If the teenagers went past the timer, the house water was turned off. Everyone got very good at short showers.

        1. Interesting!

          I know in France, turning off the water while washing is common. I’d prefer not to shower in cold water, though! Definitely some things to consider, though.

          1. As a kid, it was very common for mom to have us to share bathwater. Short baths, then the next kid got in. At my cousins house they had a big claw foot tub and all us kids got in that one!

      2. I’m sorry to hear about those hefty fines. California seriously needs to address the water storage issue. It has been an ongoing problem for decades. We’ve had ample rainfall this year and much of it is washing into the ocean. I don’t understand why it’s not a higher priority, especially with it being an agricultural state. ☹️

        1. It drives me crazy that it goes out to the ocean without being collected when the rainfall that does come would do so much good. I’d love to see more cisterns on houses like my Australian readers have. Even that would be a huge help.

        2. So true. The governor did do an executive directive of some kind to drop regulations so water can get to ground aquifers faster. Those are what’s still dry here. 😕

      3. I’m really curious about what you see other households doing with their yards. You are very interested in gardening, but not everyone is and in my experience in the UK, a lawn is the “no gardening” garden option. What is the default becoming where you are? Concrete? A patio? Decking? Bare dirt? (Presumably that’s not the issue it would be over here, where it would quickly become a bog.)

        Please keep writing about your water situation. I find it so interesting! I’m impressed by all the measures that are being taken by your local government. They seem to be taking it really seriously and to be happy to take big and possibly unpopular action.

        1. Most people here have rocks with a few plants watered on drip irrigation.This has been the default for decades, especially in the front yard, but behind the house is different. Yards are usually .10 to .15 acre lots, so they aren’t big. Mine is a .24 acre lot, so it’s larger than many, and one of the main reasons I wanted this house. Not every house in our tract has this size lot; some have much smaller yards.

          Because of the heat, most people don’t want to be outside and they want very low maintenance gardens. Hired landscapers are common here. Because the yards are rock, tree leaves cannot be raked up; they have to be blown with leaf blowers (I am not a fan of the sound but I understand the logistics).

          A lot of people have rocks in the backyard as well; perhaps a patio that is covered with concrete. Some people just have dirt, as landscaping is expensive. There is a house on the other side of the street from me with a large lot that has never been landscaped. I have seen that often. The ground here is so hard, and it rains so little, that weeds are not really much of an issue. The ground is white and hard, a lime/clay mix the color and hardness of concrete. I know people who own a couple of acres, and they have no landscaping at all–just a big custom house surrounded by dirt and no plants whatsoever.

          Some people put in pools, but they are not as common as you would think here. There is a pool size limit now, by law, on any new pools, but on most yards, it would still take up most of the backyard, surrounded by concrete decking with a few plants.

          So yes, my garden is much more unusual, in both size and the fact that I spend so much time in my garden. I belong to a few local Facebook gardening groups, so I can see what other local gardeners are doing, and most gardens are less intensive work than mine.

          I had a rather interesting discussion on Instagram a couple of days ago with a British landscape designer about fake grass. The RHS is completely opposed to plastic lawns. Here, though, they are being touted as an option from the authorities–a place fo children to play that doesn’t use any water. They can get hot, though, in summer, and they can wear out in the sun and heat. I’m not a fan. Good design is important and there is SO much more that can be done that what is being done that can be beautiful. The new home builders are improving their plant design in front yards and common areas of master-planned communities, but we need more examples of excellent backyard design for the common resident with a small yard. I’d really like to see that for people who just have no idea what to do with their yard.

          1. That is so interesting, thank you so much for taking the time to share it. I wasn’t aware of the RHS position on fake grass but have since looked it up. It makes complete sense over here. I would say the most tangible water issue we have is localised flooding due to poor absorption of rainwater during storms. I recall my parents specifically deciding to get a gravel rather than paved or concrete drive in order to provide a more permeable surface. I find reading about the different issues you face due to your local climate absolutely fascinating. Every so often I remind my husband that you had to buy in dirt for your garden redesign as we look at our middle daughter’s muddy hands from inexplicably digging up the lawn with her bare hands!

            1. This entire conversation going on in the comments this week really got me thinking. I take it for granted that we have a lot of water, looking out at the melting snow against the sea landscape. But last year we had a drought which lasted for weeks and suddenly we got water restrictions for watering gardens. The electricity prices reflected low water levels as well. As I went about my chores this week, all I could see is just how much water goes to waste. I decided to take some action. Besides the obvious, like having my kids stop the water as they brush teeth and so on, I also decided to use some of your tips like collect water from rinsing vegetables to use on my seedlings and plants, I looked into that drip irrigation which I couldn´t afford last year and decided to start saving for it now, kids have been bathing together since energy crisis started but now I am going to get a shower timer and help all of us take shorter showers. It was absolutely fascinating to see the toilet sink! I am so happy for all of the inspiration which I find here.

      4. Wow, Brandy. Your water situation is very sobering. I can’t imagine what that would be like. We’ve had a couple of really dry years that mostly just affected our garden but nothing like what you’ve had. (I don’t think anybody has experienced what you are experiencing!) I would like to waste less water but it’s hard to do when it’s so easy to come by. We’ve not really had water restrictions much where we are from. (Sometimes in town but not here on our acreage.)

  27. I started making my own sourdough bread and now my neighbors are buying. I bought beef as a BOGO. I cut it up and packaged as serving sizes. Threw it in a small freezer gifted to us. Didn’t go to Target or Hobby Lobby 😂. Recycling dirt from old garden to new.

  28. Brandy, the beautiful tulips are so lovely. Hopefully, they will come back but if not at least they’ve brought pleasure to your family and us!
    I spent about 6 hours on hold and talking to my telephone and cell phone server. The renegotiated plan order from two weeks ago did not get implemented. I was able to tell them who I spoke with and what the exact terms of the new deal were because I had taken comprehensive notes. My bill was automatically reduced by $60. I ended up going from $95 per month for my internet and landlines to $65 per month. Similarly the cellphone package cost came down from $95 to $65 so I save $60 per month, $720 per year. I actually never paid $95 per month for either but both my plans were due to expire and I would have done. My television plan is still under consideration (by me). It will be restarted in April for $20 per month. My tv is not working so I had it on holiday suspension for $2 per month but that could not be renewed. Now apparently they don’t put tv on holiday suspension, only internet. I haven’t watched tv in quite a while and don’t miss it as I watch programs on YouTube and CBC gem. Still, I think it would be nice to have it. If I give it up now and get it reinstated later, it will be at least $40 per month. Hmmmm…. One good upshot from the time consuming discussions is that the telephone company pointed out that I have been earning points and now have 100 points which translates into $100. I can get amazon.ca, Winners/Home Sense or a variety of other gift cards. Brandy, can you please remind me how I can give you points if I buy something on amazon.ca?

    I have about three feet of snow in the yard. I have been looking at it and wishing I could “harvest” it for spring or even summer watering. I have shovelled snow 4 times in the past 2 or so weeks and once I hired help. I saved about $200 by doing it myself. I cando the driveway in stages over a few days. The only problem is the city sidewalk which gets compacted by pedestrians within about an hour of the end of a snowstorm. I assiduously have made sure the sidewalk is bare (according to revised city standards) but all my best efforts were undone today. The street is so slushy that only one lane of traffic can get through so cars are driving so close to the curb and even on the sidewalk so that they have pushed the snow (mostly slushy ice) back onto the sidewalk where it has melted. I spread “ice melt” on it in case it turns to ice tonight. The slushy ice is so hard we cannot budge it to move it away from the curb. It is like a swimming pool…

    No Frills has peanut/egg-free chocolate Easter eggs for sale so I have been indulging. They were inexpensive. What a treat for me!
    I bought lean ground beef for $3.49 per pound at Safeway.

    I bought a new “mop” as I can no longer wash floors on my “hands and knees”. My grocery volunteer picked it up for me. Before I use it on the floors, I am going to try it out on the walls as it has a long rectangular pad annd a long handle which I suspect telescopes. I think it will be very useful.

    I was given a brand new scanner. This will greatly help me in reducing the amount of paperwork. I will be scanning my great aunt’s diary and another relative’s journal so I can send the paper copies to more direct descendants and a museum while keeping an electronic copy for myself. The same friend who gave me the scanner has invited me to visit her in Italy and stay at her Italian house. I don’t think it will happen as it is unlikely that I could get valid travel insurance due to pre-existing health conditions and for a few other reasons but it is fun to dream and “never say never”. I would really love to go. As part of the new scanner purchase, I can have three months free on certain streaming services. I need to look into that.

    I bought two sweaters for next winter from Mark’s Work Wearhouse for $12.99 each. Also I bought a pair of linen-mix pants that were on sale for half price. The pants are probably the only clothes I’ll buy for this spring and summer.

    I have greatly enjoyed taking bird photos during the past few weeks. Soon the birds that overwinter here will retreat to the woods to nest and will be hidden from view. Because of the snow, I am buying one final bag of sunflower seeds but after that the birds will have to catch their own bugs.

    My pharmacist delivered a prescription himself recently. He was on his way home, brought his camera (although it was too dark to use it), and appeared on my doorstep with a hiking stick. He explained by saying he had just seen a big coyote on my driveway so the stick was for his protection. I said that since the coyote had fled once it saw him it was a healthy coyote with a healthy fear of people. In the morning, I saw where the coyote had gone – it had made a hole through the plastic netting of the deer fence into the front flower bed then went around by the front porch. It is hunting a mouse and I wish it would catch it.

    It will be an expensive summer as I will need to replace my front porch as it is crumbling as I write this due to the salt in the sand and gravel I was forced to use. It is 60 years old. I am told but I don’t know if it is true that now concrete porches are not laid on site but prefabricated then moved on site. There is also a fence that needs rebuilding. In addition, there are some indoor jobs that need doing.

    I plan to offer my vegetable garden space to a Ukrainian refugee that I have heard of.

    1. Unfortunately, the Amazon Canada links never seemed to work for me, so even though readers tried, Amazon said they were never used, and canceled them. I can only make money from my U.S. readers.

    2. Just a thought but you might want to seriously consider other TV options. There are so many streaming options available (Paramount+, Pluto, Hulu, etc.) at either low or no cost. My TV was knocked down by the cats in 2019 or 2020 and I’ve never bothered replacing it (the cats deny it was them but they were the only two in the room at the time). I don’t watch much TV and I find that Paramount + ($5.44/month for me) and Pluto.tv (free and LOTS of old shows, movies, news, etc.) give me all I need. It sounds like you would need a VPN that is connected to the USA to watch all the Pluto content in Canada but if you already have one, that’s not a big deal.

      Again, just something to think about.

      1. Hi Mari,
        Your cats as culprits comment made me smile! That is one case where circumstantial evidence is definitely damning!
        I entered a contest for a free tv. If I win, I’ll keep the tv service.
        If not, I’ll pursue streaming options. I was thinking of subscribing to PBS. It’s about $5 per month. Not all the programs are accessible in Canada but some are. Thanks for your suggestions!

  29. 3/20
    Brandy, your mention of earnestly checking on friends was so timely. I had a friend, with whom I was very close for a long time. Then, life happened, and we drifted apart. I last spoke with her several years ago, though we send texts and notes on birthdays and other special days. She learned about our grandbaby through social media and reached out. I followed up with a phone call. I learned that her family had faced several severe medical crises and losses, of which I was unaware. We both had a good cry and vowed not to be out of touch again. And though it had been a long while, the years melted away.

    I was able to use fuel rewards that my mother wasn’t going to use to get .70 off per gallon of gas for 2.49 which was great. There was a problem with the rewards posting properly, so Customer Service combined 2 months to yield that amount. We got 26 gallons, so saved $18+ on gas and both cars are filled. We were preparing to go see the grandbaby, so the gas was quickly used. Cheaper gas makes the trip more frugal for sure. Also used a .20 off/gallon for the return trip mileage which was helpful though not as substantial a savings as .70 off/gallon!

    Purchased loss leaders as available. I was able to buy Springer lean chicken burgers with a promotion and a coupon for 1.50/# instead of $4-6 for the same package. There are 4 burgers in a package which provides us 2 meals, making the protein for the meal .75 which is pretty good these days. Also bought cabbage for .25/#. I continue to eat many things from the freezers, and I’m pleased to see increasing white space in there. My menus for the next few weeks continue to use proteins I have, along with some produce I purchased for variety.

    I bought items that many of you suggested to help my sweet DIL with her milk production, along with the recommendations for increased pumping, resting and persevering. We passed through their city en route to an out-of-town funeral both coming and going. It was only for a few hours each time, but that was better than nothing. The baby was adorable and my DIL’s color looked the best this time, that it has. I took some different beverages that I hope will encourage her to continue to stay hydrated. I know she’s been working on this, but I thought some variations might make drinking large amounts of liquids easier, as several of you wisely suggested. Thank you all for your concern and responses. It meant the world to me. I’m praying it will work out. Those stories of families struggling to find baby formula recently were heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how helpless that must have felt, and dangerous for their babies. If DIL’s milk can increase, at least she wouldn’t have to be searching for formula in the event of scarcity. I made baked oats as suggested, along with some meals I took to ease their burden a bit. I took 2 soups, a baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and chicken salad. I plan to make a few more of the recipes suggested here for future trips. In exchange for these items, we got lots and lots of baby cuddles 🙂

    We took sandwiches, snacks and water for lunch on the way. We researched the area for the best hotel prices where we were going, though none were cheap in the city. We had breakfast at the hotel, which helped with lunch expenses and provided snacks and beverages for us on our return. We tried to minimize expenses when eating dinner out by ordering water, picking a less expensive place to begin with and taking leftovers with us. Thankfully, our budget can accommodate the extra expenses.

    We have some needed repair work that is coming up this month along with some large bills, so I’m trying to remain diligent in cutting expenses wherever and whenever I can.

    It’s still chilly here, so I’ve put my seed planting on hold for a few days. It should be warm enough and past our last frost date at the end of the week. Like others of you, I’m going to plant the seeds I have and not purchase additional ones this year. We’ll see which seeds have remained viable-fingers crossed.

    I hope everyone will have a good week. Thank you again for all the helpful comments for my DIL.

  30. I’ve been frugal these past few weeks by counting my blessings. We survived Covid ( I was VERY sick in 2020 with a covid infection but am now ok.) My husband and son had Omicron about a year ago but mild, and are fine. And we were able to stockpile foods and household goods over this past few years,to weather this awful inflation (so far..anyway..!) In retirement, my husband and I have found we are much different than a lot of our friends.We don’t have a huge “wanderllust” to travel. No RV’s, no boats or big ticket items. We sold our second car, as the maintenance was something we didn’t want and we don’t NEED 2 cars! We traveled more before covid, but always on a budget.Now, we have decided getaways will stay mostly within the USA (and often within our state!) , and really,we’re mostly good here at home where we have hobbies, a great kitchen, (I love to cook..) a pool and hot tub, and I have good friends on my block,we play cards once a week at each others homes..easy entertainment and socialization… We have 3 good libraries nearby,incredible parks and mountains for hiking and kayaking.We ride our bikes, we go out for lunch at locally owned restaurants once a week for a “date” and we enjoy watching TED talks and youtubes and movies here at home. I attend an art group once a week..at each other’s homes.. we share fun, techniques and supplies. I attend a church I love and enjoy the friendships and spirit.I guess I am just in “GRATITUDE” mode this week.Our family has some health challenges right now, but overall, we are lucky to be safe and secure and know that we have been through ups and downs over our lives, and will survive these times too..

    1. What a positive note to read, Madeline! I think retirement is for just what you want it to be, regardless of others’ desires and it sounds like you’re both on the same, affordable, page! Gratitude is always a beneficial mode for sure – thank you for the reminder.

    2. Madeline it was so nice to read your lifestyle in gratitude, my husband has been retired 6 years I still work and I have no longing for travel, everything I love and enjoy is right here at home and if I decide to venture it will be in the USA
      Appreciate your sharing your thoughts

  31. As far as rainfall goes, we live in the So. Cal desert, but there has been a huge amount of rainfall this year….for us. Somewhere I read the drought here is over, although I don’t know if that is true. I’m surprised they are tightening your restrictions even more, with all the rainfall, or have you not experienced that in Las Vegas?

    Also, I would have loved a pic of your newly installed blinds.

    1. We don’t say the drought is over here. We have said we are in drought every year for 23 years here. I honestly wish (and I grew up in Southern California) that California was making more long-term plans to deal with the drought (which is now considered more than a drought, but permanent aridification). If we hit dead pool in 2 years at Lake Mead, NO water will go to Southern California. The DWP gets their power from the Hoover Dam. It doesn’t go to Vegas. If no water passes through, there is no power going to California either.

      Vegas uses less than 5% of the water used each year from Lake Mead. We recycle most of what we use here.

  32. Pretty flowers, my favorite color!
    Reading your water predicament brought to mind hearing of families of yesteryear that would bathe several children in one tub of water, starting with the cleanest child and working their way to the dirtiest last, lol.
    It’s good to hear y’all are enjoying cooler, wetter weather lately.

    1. I don’t know about yesteryear but I did that with my kids less than 10 years ago! 😀 I also only bathed my kids once a week or as needed until they got to the needing deodorant stage (about 4th grade for my boys).
      Just don’t share tub water if any of your kids have warts, fungal infections, etc.

      I’m trying to get back to navy showers (turning the water off while soaping and shampooing) but it’s so stupid cold in my house right now I’m hard pressed to do it. In the summer I shower after working out and use cold water and navy showers feel great, though!

      My big win was contacting Swagbucks over a $35 credit that didn’t appear. 10 minutes of work got me $35 worth of gift cards! It pays to pay attention everywhere.

      Kids wanted Olive Garden to celebrate spring break. We ordered 2 lunch specials, adding a cold $6 take-home entree to each, and a kids’ meal; we ordered online for pickup. We fed all 5 of us for $42 and had leftovers! I love looking for creative ways to have a full and happy life while conserving our resources.

      I needed to replace my church shoes about a year ago. I only own tennis shoes, church shoes, and organ shoes. I also “borrow” my kids’ house slippers/flip flops as needed. I’ve kept wearing these worn out boots, of course, but it’s gotten desperate. I found a beautiful pair of leather cowboy boots to replace them, but at $200 it was hard to justify. I tried a $100 pair on sale from the same manufacturer, but they didn’t fit my wide feet. I returned them for free, found the expensive boots at Kohl’s, and used a 15% off coupon during Kohl’s cash, signed up for the rewards program, and purchased through Swagbucks. For $180 I net a pair of boots, $11 in Swagbucks, and $37.50 in Kohl’s cash.

      I also needed some tools for my piano technician kit that I’m building; I shopped around and found much less expensive alternatives than what my mentor had proposed that will satisfy the needs.

      I taught my kids this week that everything costs either time or money. Do you need more time or more money? Use that question to decide how to spend both.

      1. Eva Marie if you are in the States contact me. My father was a Piano tuner and I have many of his tools still. I have not need of them and would like to pass them to someone who could use them. I can be reached at kswiley@att.net

    2. I remember my mother telling me that herself ,my aunt and my grandmother always had the same water. The water was heated on the range, bucketed into the tin bath and afterwards bucketed the bath water was bucketed out side to clean the drains and the outside loo. While I lived at my parents home we only had 1 bath a week, on a Monday as the boiler was lit to warm the water for the laundry. Thank goodness I don’t have to bucket water now.

  33. We made homemade bread this week again. We are being careful with spending. We bought bologna and had a picnic one day even though it was kind of cold. I loved it because I did not want to eat out. We used the library. Hoping to plant a nice garden this year. I have been looking at seeds. We planted lettuce on our windowsill and we have green onion growing there as well. I bought baby lotion for my face instead of what I usually use. It was less than half the price of what I usually use and is in a bigger bottle. We utilize the library. Use cloth instead of paper Kleenex and towels. Watch our electric usage. Batch cook when using the oven. We are enjoying music and nature. We love to look at the stars and watch wildlife. Home is a good place to be. But when we are out, we look for free things to do; such as going to the lake or library. We call around for quotes on things that need fixed. My husband tries to fix what he can. Sometimes it isn’t worth paying for a tool at the time if. he won’t use it again anytime soon or if it costs too much. We have enjoyed time with family. And rather than eat out, we eat at home together. Things are so expensive anymore and income has not increased. I’m sure that many of you see that too. It is getting difficult to save, but we are trying. I may look at new sources of income in addition to what we are doing now.

  34. Beautiful flowers!

    * My MIL and her husband are moving to assisted living. It’s a posh place but still small so they are getting rid of possessions. We were offered and accepted a small freezer, a slide projector with carousel trays, and a few odds and ends like a very large metal canister (which I can use for keeping some pantry items from tempting rodents).
    * I’m still enjoying the Libby app for library books. I was almost persuaded to get a Kindle, but researched myself out of it as it is not compatible with most Cdn libraries.
    *Some age 2-11 kids’ Tylenol was finally at my pharmacy, after a year of empty shelves. There was a handwritten paper taped next to them stating that these medications were part of a one time shipment to ease the shortage and please not overbuy. I bought one for my grandkids; my daughter has had to use expired Tylenol for the kids since last fall.
    *We had a lovely pancake and fruit brunch with a childhood friend of my husband’s who was in town. The friend’s 90 year old mom was also there, a warm vibrant lady. My husband’s family was, um, dysfunctional as he grew up and this lady, as a neighbour, was a safe space as well as offering a different vision of how a family could function. It was wonderful to be able to tell her what her influence meant.
    * Off to do grandlittle babysitting during spring break! Have a good week, ladies!

  35. Brandy, quick question on the water issues. How are hotels, casinos and other businesses, especially those aimed at tourists, affected?

    1. No new fountains are permitted.

      Businesses in general cannot have grass landscaping. It has to be torn out by December 2026. I found it interesting that it is being torn out on the north side of the valley, but the west side (Summerlin, a wealthy part of town) still has grass in their medians and business parking lots when I went there last month to visit someone in the hospital. They will have to take it out, and the sooner, the better, as grass uses so much more water than plants on drip irrigation.

      I know they passed a law several years ago that said that restaurants will not serve water unless it is requested. This saves not just the water in the glass but the water to wash it.

      I don’t stay at the hotels here, but last year when I was visiting my daughter in Idaho, which is also affected by drought, and when we went to California many years ago for my brother’s wedding, the hotels had signs in the room about not changing the sheets and towels each day unless requested due to the drought.

      Lake Mead and Lake Powell have issues with the boat ramps because the lakes have both fallen so much.

      1. In California they don’t give you water in restaurants unless ask anymore. Last year? The town of Mendocino, an artsy touristy place above San Francisco ran out of water completely. They had to close hotels at the height of tourist season because there was no water for showers or toilets. It was trucked in for folks who lived there, but w severe cutbacks.

  36. Lovely tulips! Mine never looked as nice. I don’t think I had enough sunlight. I’ve gone through a massive decluttering and use it up phase lately. There are things I’ve tried to sell or meant to give away and never got around to it for various reasons. In addition, my husband is moving to a much smaller work space. He tutors and as a result he’s got a overstock of house slippers and umbrellas. His students do not wear shoes indoors to keep the area clean. The umbrellas are long forgotten ones that need new owners. I’ve offered the slippers to co-workers and friends. I’ll do the same with the umbrellas. My son wanted to go to Burger King over the weekend. Instead I cooked what I had on hand and made beef tacos. He said they were delicious. My aeropod is producing lots of lettuce these days for the guinea pigs which saves me trips to the market. I found some books I’d forgotten about in the storage closet. I’ll have several months of reading material to go through. A friend also passed on some books to us. My son found several to add to his TBR pile. A friend gave me several N95 masks. I’ve passed them on to less fortunate coworkers. We are having dust storms at the moment which can cause irritation and coughs. The masks help.

  37. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m so sorry to hear of your water situation, you are being such a good citizen but it seems unfair when you have a large family and it isn’t taken into consideration. On a positive note the instant tulips look gorgeous.
    We have had a fortnight of blessings and spring is here!
    A farming friend allows deer on his land to be culled and kindly gave us some- a joint, four fillets, mince, stewing venison and a couple of steaks. Our daughter is his vet and she received the same.
    One of my husband’s gardening clients is often away and encouraged my husband to collect the eggs from his hens and bring them home. Last week we had 15 eggs.
    We picked leeks, parsnips and carrots from the garden.
    The garden centre was giving away 2023 calendars which were unsold. They were lovely glossy ones with photos so I picked up a couple. I like to have several calendars around the house but only bought one this year to economise, even though we’re now in March I was pleased to put these up. I also picked up the free National Garden Scheme Yellow Book. For non UK readers this is a nationwide scheme whereby people open their gardens to the public, maybe a couple of times a year ( not always summer, some people have amazing winter gardens etc) The modest entry fee goes to charity, tea and cake is usually available and plants propagated by the owners are for sale, often unusual plants and much cheaper than nursery prices. We really enjoy visiting these gardens and try a few different ones each year. It’s a cheap date!
    I cut my fringe( bangs).
    Tea was on a deal so I stocked up again.
    Our electricity bill for February was £34 less than last year and our monthly direct debit has been reduced by £25 a month to reflect our reduced usage. We had built up credit with our phone provider so we’re having two months with no payment and the monthly direct debit has been reduced by £20. However our Council tax bill has increased by £10 a month and we can’t reduce this, it pays for the police, fire service, education, libraries, refuse collection etc.
    We had a few days away on holiday in Cambridgeshire. ( This is why we save where we can).We hired a good value AirBnB and shared with friends. Each couple took a cooked meal ready to heat up for the first two nights and we took plenty of food for other meals. We made good use of our National Trust membership and visited Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Anglesey Abbey and Ickworth Park, lovely gardens and historic houses. We also went to Ely Cathedral and Cambridge Botanic Gardens, both wonderful. We took flasks of coffee and food with us for the journeys to and fro to reduce costs.
    Back to earth now, lots to do at home.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Thank you for mentioning the National Garden Scheme Yellow Book. I looked up its website and it is a very interesting and I think worthwhile charity! I don’t know of anything similar in the U.S.

  38. The photos of the tulips are beautiful. Even if they don’t return, how wonderful to enjoy them now. We are in Houston now, as my husband’s mother passed away last Friday. I packed all our food for the two day drive down and used credit card points for the hotel on the way. Now we are staying at an all suites hotel, so we have a kitchenette which allows us to make our meals. They have a breakfast buffet included plus a free guest laundry. We both got sick as soon as we left the house but we were able to arrange telehealth visits and get prescriptions which I am so thankful for.

  39. Brandy, your tulips are so lovely. We cleaned up our garden and extended it for this year. My DH started a composite pile for the first time. We purchased drip hoses to use in our garden. I hope this well help during the hot dry times this summer here in Oklahoma.
    I started Meatless Mondays two weeks ago and so far it has worked out well. I also, added leftover night every three days on the meal plan. I am trying to have zero wasted food with grocery prices so high.
    Have a blessed week everyone!

  40. What lovely tulips! I hope they feel at home in your garden and survive.
    *Much of last week, like the week before, was spent carrying on with tasks required by my husband’s role as executor of his uncle’s estate. Using the word “estate” sounds strange to my ears as it conjures up vast earthly wealth which is not the case here. He lived a simple life, was extremely generous with what he had, and was very organized. As we assimilate his belongings in to our lives and choose things to give to other family members, I am ever more grateful for his example. He was passionate about history and genealogy and we are now in possession of the family archives. We could really use a muniment room in our house! Having similar interests, we already knew quite a bit about my husband’s mother’s family history but we have gone on a deep dive into the past these last two weeks and it has been fascinating. We have information going back to a relative who was granted land in Hampshire in 1339. That just astounds me. We have already been told we will probably have people who are doing similar research contact us due to the wealth of information we now possess. It is an honor to be custodians of this information and we hope to do Uncle Pete’s work justice by caring for it and helping others as he did. We are also looking into historical societies in his county who might be interested in having access to some of the information, as well.
    *Another generous gift we were given is the stockpile of food he had (which was pretty extensive for a single person.) He was an Eagle Scout and that motto of “Be Prepared” never left him. Another good example he has given us. We have passed on some things to neighbors we thought they could use and are grateful to be able to be generous as he was.
    *The only grocery purchase last week was a 3lb. corned beef (on sale) which I cooked up in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. One part of my mother’s side of the family is Irish so we enjoy those festive traditions.
    *Other than that, we have been doing the usual, day-in-day-out frugal things that don’t seem too exciting to mention but are part of an overall way of life that works for us.
    *Have stolen a few moments here and there to read “Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook” which was recommended here. Very interesting!
    *Wishing all of you warming, sunny days as we welcome Spring!

    1. What a find about all your ancestors! My friend got all of that when her mother in law passed and now is transcribing all the letters. It’s like those folks are family now. I’m always wanting to hear the latest goings on in their family even if we are now only up to the 1860s! Listening to their daily goings on is fascinating. Enjoy!

  41. Brandy, I thought of three more potential water savers. First, composting toilets. Second, washing and rinsing dishes in a dish pan and then watering plants with the water. And last, washing hands in a dish pan and watering. You might already be doing some of these but I only remember you mentioning saving shower warm up water. Oh, that reminds me of a fourth, save all the shower water for plant watering.

  42. Brandy, your flowers are beautiful! You have created a masterpiece in your backyard! At the risk of sounding crazy, when the water limits kick in have you considered using a neighbor’s water limit? Here in the country, when powerlines fall due to weather, those with underground wells lose their water. It is quite common for people to share their showers (it isn’t a group activity or anything like that, of course!). If one house can’t get water, another family will offer the use of their bathroom to those without power. Since your Mother’s property touches yours, could you water for a few days from her garden hose and then pay her back for the usage? It would be a bother but it might save your investment in your trees until the limit is removed.

    *My youngest son who just moved to Indianapolis, Indiana was able to get four days off in a row because they were adjusting the new work schedule. He is now close enough to drive the 5 1/2 hours home to visit! I’m a happy Mom!!! (I am still needing advice from anyone who lives in the area to tell me of good places for him to shop). He was eager to pick up the things I had purchased for him at the online auction and garage sales. The new apartment doesn’t have overhead lights so he was carrying his one lamp from room to room. His brother lent him the portable washing machine that was stored in our basement (yea! one more thing out of my basement).

    *The portable washing machine has been a success, for what it is. It is not much bigger than a 5-gallon bucket and will hold one pair of men’s jeans and two shirts, or one bed sheet. Newly purchased washers are delivered by UPS to your front door and then later can be picked up and moved in a car. Bed comforters will not fit inside so they were brought home and washed when visiting. Older brother lent it to his younger brother because his new apartment has a washing machine provided. Older son said it would take around nine months of saved laundry mat fees to pay for the machine.
    Since my son was able to come home we threw together a quick family reunion, the first one in two years that wasn’t horrible where someone we loved wasn’t either dead, dying, or deathly sick in the hospital. We were so happy. I used the time to clean out my freezer and pantry, serve the food to them and send back large meals for the next week. I was concerned about not having enough canning jars for the summer but they brought back boxes full of my empty jars. Win-win!

    *Discovered a new online store that I would like to share. Temu.com is best described as an Amazon-type online store that sells cheap crap for very low prices. Don’t expect high quality; however, sometimes you only need something cheap. In my first order, one of the things I purchased was plastic holders to keep lamp cords moved safely out of the walkway. Amazon wanted $11 but Temu had the same thing for $3. After receiving the first order, I placed a second order but it was delayed due to shipping problems. Temu emailed me a $5 credit as an apology. So far I am pleased but my standards are low.


    1. The limits will never be removed. This isn’t California, haha–we don’t declare the drought “over” when it rains. We have just made tighter and tighter restrictions each year. These are permanent changes here, and it’s because of them that we use so little of the water from Lake Mead each year.

      And so, making permanent changes is important. This is one of the reasons we relandscaped the yard. We knew changes were coming and the children would need to get used to less grass.

      I also felt that grocery prices would rise, and wow, have they ever! They have far surpassed what I could have guessed. I wanted to grow more peaches and other foods, and the new design has really allowed me to do that, while at the same time, I’ve also had room for more flowers, which I have loved.

      Glad to hear your experience with Temu. I saw it compared to Ali Express. I keep getting ads from them and I have considered ordering a few things from them, but I haven’t ordered anything yet.

      1. Brandy, apparently TEMU has a referral program (when new users sign up). If you use it, I think it would be worth your while to share your referral code with us readers asap before many people have signed up, since I suspect a bunch of us on your site will.

        Jeannie, good to hear that you had a good experience with them!

  43. -I made apple scones from canned apple slices. They turned out great! New recipe that is a keeper. I also made pheasant pasties. We had them for supper and I froze 4 more.
    -Snowmen packed away for another year and Easter decor up. Nothing new bought. I am determined that spring is coming even though we have had snow three times this past week.
    -My husband had a hip replaced. He wanted to hire someone to do our snow removal. I said I can do it. He gave me a lesson before his surgery on the tractor. I have blown snow twice so far. It would have cost us $50 each time if I had not done it. It is not easy and time consuming but I am too frugal to pay someone else when I am capable. I just will be happy when he is able to do it again. The third time we had a foot of heavy wet snow. Our neighbor called and he graciously came and did the snow blowing. Grateful for the neighborhood community.
    -I am trying to sew 30 minutes each day. I have gotten caught up on the mending and I have started sewing a dress for my grand daughter from a $3 thrift store piece of yellow lawn type fabric ( yellow is her favorite color).
    -I went through my seeds and made a garden plan. I filled in the gaps with purchased seed from the garden store. I spent $20. I hope to harvest more seed this year. I ordered my starter plants of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant from someone that does these each year. Because they are not commercial ( a friend of a friend) I get large healthy plants for very little cost.
    -Only groceries bought was a gallon of milk and half and half. I am trying to use my jars of canned food and I still have a basket in the freezer of things that need to be used up. I am trying to be creative so it gets eaten. I should be able to unplug the small chest freezer soon. Which is good as I will need room for garden produce.

    Have a great week!

  44. I received 9 packs of vegetable seeds from the local seed library. Hubby and the kids signed up too so we should be getting more soon. I told several gardening friends about it too.
    Hubby and I went to Starbucks for a date. He had a gift card.
    A client gave Hubby a bottle of brandy for always going the extra mile. It went into the gift closest . We are not brandy drinkers.
    A friend made and gave us a loaf of Irish soda bread. I always share my garden goodies with her.
    The little boy I watch and I went to a homeschool St Patrick’s day party. The fed us lunch and we had a great time. When we were leaving the parents insisted that we take some snacks home. D’s mom told me to take them home with me.
    A family friend works at Chick fil a. She gets a free meal every shift and if she closes she can take leftovers. She brought us a few sandwiches over.
    Hubby was told to take the leftover bananas home on Friday from work. They went into the freezer.
    Stop n Shop clearance this week was loaded with diapers. I grabbed 2 packs of Huggies for $6 each. My daughter’s best friend is pregnant. When I got home, there was a $5 Ibotta rebate. And I got extra points of Fetch. I also picked up 2 Daiya pizza and 5 bags of Daiya cheese that were all on sale and had Ibotta rebates. They all went into the chest freezer. Ibotta total back was $17.50
    My sister came over for breakfast for my son’s birthday. We made biscuits with sausage gravy and eggs as per the birthday boys request. My sister brought grapes, strawberries, blackberries and bacon. She also gave us a beautiful Smithey iron bowl that will get lots of use as an anniversary present. She is going to see my parents this week so I sent her with several meals that I had put away for them. Dad is going to the doctor constantly.
    Doing our usually cost saving things: drying clothes on racks, eating leftovers, turning the heat down at night, only running the washing machine and dishwasher when it is full, etc.

  45. The Tulips are gorgeous! I planted Tulips many years ago. I have two little “soldiers” that return every year. I love them!

    Both my son and husband have suddenly developed serious health issues. I am praying both are manageable! I have always been “puny”, so to have these two, who are never ill, in such a state is very frightening.

    Made a large pot of Mexican Chicken Rice. Also made a pot of Spaghetti sauce. No real food shopping bargains this past week. Did get a half dozen Ball half gallon jars from Walmart online for $13 and change. Same jars were $64 on Amazon! Walmart occasionally does that, usually at night. Have gotten some great deals before.

    The weather here is still not cooperating for garden planting. Hopefully, it is going to warm up later this week. Now, if the rain would stop for a few days to allow the soil to dry out so that we can till!

    Saw an article that said Squatters were becoming a huge and challenging problem across the US. Seems they are moving into homes when owners are away for any length of time. It indicated that getting them out was extremely difficult! What next! This country has lost it’s collective mind!

    Hope everyone finds some peace and tranquillity this week. Onward, y’all, by all means!

  46. Thank everyone for the kind words last week about my still grieving over the loss of my mom. It encouraged me and reminded me that this is my grief, and I will deal with it as I can; I don’t have to worry about how others think I should or that I should “be over” it by now. I tend to try and stuff my feelings away so as not to bother people, and I appreciate the warm encouragement seen so much on this forum.

    I can’t remember if I mentioned it last week, but one thing my husband and I have been doing is going through the freezers and keeping track of what we have in there. This makes it much easier to meal plan and to not overbuy, but to buy to fill holes in our storage. Because of this, we cooked at home every weeknight last week (and I even cooked 3 nights!). We had a large roast beef one night and used the leftovers on Sunday to make a crockpot of soup that we shared with our kiddos.

    We paid extra on a credit card, trying to get it paid down.

    I have quite a collection of books, and I am considering selling “Blind Date with a Book” at our local Friday night festivals or the farmers market plus some other homemade “bookish” items. I have plans for any money I might make with this, but just need to see if I have the time to make it happen.

  47. I keep hearing that California could have saved up so much of their unprecedented rain, but didn’t ever build the infrastructure to do so. I’m on the other coast, so I don’t know the actual facts on the ground; this is just what I hear. It seems such a waste of water, if true. I hate to hear of stringent restrictions with no allowance for family size where you live, Brandy.

    The tulips are lovely, just breathtaking.

    We used to re-use bath water or else we kids took baths together when I was growing up, as we didn’t have a shower in our house. We all filled the tub only one third of the way up, per house rules. I was in junior high before I found out some people bathed in a tub filled almost to the top with water. We washed our hair and bathed once a week in cool and cold weather, more than that in hot weather, as needed. The rest of the time we washed up at the sink.

    These days I have a shower, but I take very quick ones.

    I batch cooked this weekend, getting three pans of food done in one go in the oven.

    With our recent cold spell, my lettuce got a little extra lifespan before it turns bitter and bolts. Since this is lettuce grown from seed I collected last year, I plan to leave enough to bolt again this year.

    I was going to refinish a little table, but I’ve decided to paint it instead. I have the paint already, but I would have to buy some of the supplies if I want to refinish it.

    I refilled my repurposed squirt bottles with my recipe for toilet bowl cleaner – water, some vinegar and a squirt of dish detergent. I take 30 seconds to brush the toilet bowl every day with a rubber toilet brush, and it stays clean without expensive cleaners.

    My husband had some outpatient tests run 3 years ago, and they gave him the square cotton sheet that covered him on the table. It won’t fit a bed, but it makes a great pressing cloth.

    Speaking of sheets, I keep more than one set of sheets for our bed – my husband would have severe sweating episodes if he had hypoglycemia in the night. There was no lying back down on those wet sheets, and I sure wasn’t washing and drying them in the middle of the night. He’s in a nursing home now but I still have the four sets. I had two mattress pads, too, but that is now down to one. However, I rotate the sheets and stitch them up when they need repair, even replacing the elastic on one fitted sheet, so I keep them for a lot of years. All were bought on sale, except one set that was bought new in package at Goodwill.

    I bought a couple of dresses and a white cardigan on ThredUp for church. Our church is often cool, so the dressy cardigan will get used a lot with the spring and summer pastels.

    Wishing everyone a good week!

    1. My children changed to bathing less often in cooler weather and I have not complained. It is saving on water and the gas to heat the water. I still prefer to shower daily or I am grouchy about it, haha, but I am not arguing with their choices.

  48. Hi Brandy.
    It sounds very serious about the water situation, hope you will manage. Have you ever considered using grey water in the garden? If done right, it should be safe at least for non-edibles and fruit trees above splash-level. But maybe it’s not legal where you live? There’s an exellent blog post on the laundry-to-landscape solution here: https://zerowastechef.com/2022/12/12/laundry-to-landscape-grey-water-system-conserves-water-and-money/ It should be possible to do a lot of the work yourself, if you are handy.
    With all the laundry in a big household, I imagine it must be quite a lot of water that could be reused this way..

    The tulips are very beautiful, what a nice splash of color!

    Some weeks ago we decided to clean out our utility room and get rid of some stuff. Some years ago I tried to make rosehip wine and the filled container was stored out there. I haven’t had the courage to open it, as I was afraid it hadn’t turned out well. But now we gave it a go and were pleasantly surprised – the fluid was clear and showed no sign of spoilage. It also tasted quite nice but we had no bottles for storage and had to put it in some canning jars. The next day the smell and taste had changed in an unpleasant direction! It hadn’t spoiled, the taste was just not very good 🙂 In stead of throwing it all out, I decided to do two things: As there was still a lot of sugar left in the wine I boiled about half of it down with vinegar to make a ‘gastrik’ (I don’t know the english word) for seasoning sauces. It turned out very delicious. The other half I left on the kitchen table and added some raw apple cider vinegar to make rosehip vinegar. I’m very excited to see how this turns out!

    My husband and I calculated the cost of our homemade rye bread, and the savings amount to $530 a year when compared to store bought bread! And it tastes so much better! I’ve made him write down the recipe, and will try to translate it soon 🙂

    At the moment our kitchen counter is filled with all sorts of fermenting stuff, doughs raising etc. I find that very comforting and cosy!

    Some time ago I wrote about a broken zipper in a raincoat and asked for advice on how to make it watertight. It turns out, that you can buy watertight zippers for raincoats and outdoor gear! Thought someone might find that information usefull! I bought one online and am going to try and replace the zipper this or the next week – I’m afraid that one day I will be out in heavy rain unable to close the jacket.

    Made a reservation at the library for some books to teach my son english at home. We have had so many problems with his school, and he has hardly learned anything over there for years. Teachers are absent all the time, or they don’t have a teacher at all, teachers don’t see the assignments the pupils are writing (for years) and that kind of stuff. My son might even be dyslexic, which does not make it any easier! It’s a big concern for us, and we try hard to make up for it here at home and try to make the head of school do something about the situation. Well, now I’ve found out that we can get all kinds of interesting school textbooks from the library, which makes it a lot easier than having to make it all up myself, and a lot cheaper than buying the books. They books also have a code printed on them to access audio and video online – very nice. So at least one thing less on the to-do-list.

    Hope you will all have a nice week!

    1. Grey water is illegal here. I have a front-loading washer, which use considerably less water than a top-loading washer. That helps.

    2. Cam,
      Our daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia by an examiner from a local university. Our school system set up the examination for us. Our nephew was diagnosed through testing set up by his doctor. Ask the school and his pediatrician about getting your son tested. If he is dyslexic, you can be taught ways to help him cope with it, and he can get special accommodations, right up through college, if needed. The testing was free. The sooner he’s checked, the better, and if he’s not dyslexic, it’s one less thing to worry about.

    3. Has your son been tested for dyslexia? I was diagnosed in the 80’s when I was in 2nd grade. It is easy to have it tested and there is so much help out there for him if he is. Good luck.

  49. Hi Brandy
    I don’t know whether you have a shower-and-bathtub combo. If so, you may want to do as I do and collect not only the warm-up water, but also the soapy water from showering – just plug the tub before you step into the shower. I scoop the water out into (cheap, large) watering cans and use it to flush the loo (nr. 1 only). Slightly gross, though I do try and use organic soap, I admit, but in times like these …
    Greetings from Switzerland

    1. My bathroom doesn’t; the children’s do. If things get even tighter, we are going to have to do this.

  50. Brandy,

    Does Las Vegas allow grey water systems from your kitchen and laundry? I recently learned that our town allows them, as long as the water only goes a certain distance and isn’t being stored at length (has to go directly into the landscaping). We have a plumber coming next month about some other things and I’ll be asking them for the measurements from our outflow to the city sewer hookup to see if it’s an option. I don’t know if it would be an option for you, but maybe?

    Our city doesn’t offer rebates on cisterns, but I’ve read Tucson does and that the state of Arizona used to offer a credit or something. Think I’ll be writing the city council and state legislators soon – many houses here have gutters just to keep the monsoon rains from damaging foundations, so it wouldn’t be as huge of a step for a lot of homeowners to put in barrels/cisterns. The more Arizonans we can get conserving, the better! The base we lived on has xeriscaping and we loved it, purposely looked for it when we moved back and were house shopping. I won’t water what we can’t eat – but even an edible/medicinal garden will need water and I’m being reminded of so many great tips from you and the community here as I get re-established. I am trying to get in the habit of pouring the rinse water from the dog’s bowl into the lime and fig trees. Every drop counts!

    There are so many utility saving things that I’m trying to look into, after so many years of moving and renting on bases – permanent options are “news to me”, as it were. I appreciate all the tips and ideas that circulate here, for each one that I knew, there’s always one I didn’t. WIN! 😀

    As for frugal things from the last week:
    My son’s college was on spring break, so that was a week of gas saved.

    My father-in-law (widowed years ago) is remarrying this spring. Husband and son are flying to the wedding, so I went through every travel site I could to find the best ticket rates. They are sharing a hotel room and rental car with my sister-in-law as it’s just a weekend. We receive cash rewards for purchases; as I’ve already paid it off, the “reward” will pay for something else.

    My husband brought home a bug & I developed symptoms near the end of the week. Using cough medicines on hand from when we had to “use or lose” the FSA funds for 2022. Just a cold, so normally I’d not bother taking anything, but the coughing keeps me up at night so I’m grateful to have had them on hand and not have to go get anything. I use handkerchiefs but husband doesn’t; he used up several boxes of facial tissues that I bought on a clearance months ago and stuck aside. Down to the last box, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for more deals. 😉

    As I decided not to continue with a business effort, I tried to shut off the Google Workspace plan that was created for email and such. Had to go through my website provider for that, so I contacted them and they’ve shut off the April renewal for me.

    Went to pick up library holds and found a big pile of new arrivals as well – enough to keep me busy while taking it easy from this cold.

    Made elderberry syrup and ginger syrup from herbal supplies I had on hand – the day before I started to feel yucky. Perfect timing, I suppose!

    My mom passed on magazines she was finished with; I am reading through a pile and will pass them her way. Then when we are both done, a friend will read the ones that interest her and pass on to another with similar interests. Each gets a good three-five people reading before they are recycled.

    My husband earned a $5 gift card in “points” at the feed store and used toward a purchase.

    1. Grey water collection is illegal here. The new law that is in the works (linked in the post) is trying to outlaw most septic tanks, too, so that all water that goes down the drain can be reused.

      Houses are not built with gutters here. We only get 4 inches of rain a year. I know parts of Arizona get 14 inches a year. The Mojave desert is so much drier than the Sonoroan desert, which is why Arizona has cactus and Nevada imports cactus from Arizona, haha! The Saguaro cactus at the airport here just make laugh. They don’t naturally grow here and they have to be watered on drip irrigation in order to survive.

      1. That’s too funny about the importing of the cactus! LOL We don’t have saguaros where we are, too high of elevation – but we have lots of others. If we have a “good” monsoon, like last year, we’re in the 14″ range; when we were stationed here before, though, we were well under. (The running joke with friends is that we brought some rain back with us last year, from the duty station in DC. haha I should “ship” you some!)

        It’s too bad they won’t allow the grey water there. 🙁 Amazing to learn about the septic tank legislation too – wow! I had missed the link last week, but will have to go read through it now. In our area, a big issue is shared wells. No matter how much one conserves, can’t control the neighbors. A friend has a private well, which is good; some of her neighbors have a share and between their three households, ended up pulling sand off a dry well. No word as to if they implemented conservation in those houses after that – one would hope. That would be a scary day, to turn on the tap and just get grit!

  51. Your tulips look wonderful, enjoy them while you can. I worry about your lack of rain and the state of Lake Mead, photos of it are unsettling. We have been warned of possible droughts later in the year but at the moment my garden is waterlogged and waterbutts are all full. I’m thankful to be harvesting lots of Chard and Perpetual Spinach for stir-fries, herbs are already re-growing and my peach tree is about to blossom. I continue to plant seeds for peas , beans and salad items.
    Spent a few hours stacking logs from our recently pruned sycamores, these will be split and dried in the greenhouse for use next winter. A friend sent me a very thoughtful birthday gift, a rechargeable hand warmer, much cheaper to use than turning the heating up.
    I repaired a pair of jeans and also a few other garment. Going to do a spring audit of fabrics and wool so I don’t buy anything unnecessary. Gifted a selection of craft supplies to a local young family, I am lucky to have had so many items bought me, I thought I would share them. Have a blessed week.

  52. Hello, frugal friends from the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia! It finally feels like spring! Of course, Mother Nature being what she is it will feel like summer on Friday. Here are our frugal accomplishments for the last week:
    *Used .70 off/gallon at Shell using our TMobile app.
    *Found a nickel in the parking lot
    *bought the 2 loaves of wheat sandwich bread marked down to .42 each
    *bought only a couple of loss leaders and milk at the grocery store
    *have eaten only meals using food from the pantries/freezers except the milk and bread
    *made 5 freezer sandwiches using the little bit of deli meat that was sitting in the frig
    *was given a “get well” pineapple which we ate some fresh and the rest I turned into pineapple banana sorbet using leftover frozen bananas
    *made Easter cookies to decorate on Easter Sunday instead of eggs. The dough came from the freezer. We have all the decorating items.
    *dried sheets on the bed
    *planted peas and spinach in the garden. This is the earliest I have ever planted but the seeds are last year’s and no loss if it doesn’t work.
    *was given a cute box with flower seeds from Monticello as a get well gift. These are seeds Thomas Jefferson had in his garden. I thought this was a great gift as I love to grow flowers and I love to have flowers in my house. I can also collect the seeds for future years. This was from my childhood friend who works at Monticello. She knows me well!
    *Mr. Fix It fixed our gas fireplace remote. We thought we were going to have to replace parts of the remote or fireplace but it turns out the remote just needed to be reprogrammed. Who knew??? Mr. Fix It went onto Google and found the answer. No money involved.
    *used military discount at Lowes and Joann Fabrics
    *cancelled garbage pickup as the company raised their rates by 8.2%…the exact amount Social Security went up. Coincidence??? We take our recyclables to the local dump every other week so we figured we can just take what little garbage we have at the same time. No cost but gas. The satelite dump is 1 mile down the road on our way into town.
    *As I am still recovering we have stayed home most of the time so not much has been spent on gas.
    *AEP (power company) is required to reimburse its customers for overcharging. This is supposed to be reflected in the next billing cycle. There will be no bill in March but once they figure out the reimbursement March bill will be included in April’s bill. No mention of how much we will be reimbursed. This comes after a state investigation of the power company’s ridiculous increases in the past couple of years.
    Brandy, after reading this week’s accomplishments I have been thinking about what we do to keep our water usage down. I have no doubt I got most of my ideas from you but I will list a couple of things we have done. We are not in your crisis situation but have been in drought conditions before. One thing I do is keep a plastic dishpan in the kitchen sink. I put about 2″ of water in it and use this to rinse dishes all day before putting them in the dishwasher. At the end of the day I use this water to water any plants or bushes. When I have to hand wash an item I wet my scrubby sponge, add a drop or two of dish soap and wash the items. I do not rinse until I am through washing all items. Then I can quickly run the items through the water. This water is caught in the dishpan which I use to water plants at the end of the day. The soap helps fight certain bugs on certain plants. If I have some weeds I add a little salt (about 1 T) and a little vinegar and can dump this soapy water mixture on the weeds to kill them. This will sterilize the soil so be sure you dump this mixture only in places you do not want to grow anything. It’s the combination of salt, soap and vinegar that kill weeds. Soap and water kills/deters bugs. We also have a glass/mug for the day. I have found a lot of the dishes we use throughout the day don’t really need to be washed, just rinsed, for example, a cut up apple on a dish. When it comes to brushing teeth we each have a cup which we put a small amount of water. We taught our kids to dip the toothbrush in the cup, add the toothpaste, brush, use the water to rinse. Very little water is needed and they don’t have to remember to turn the water off when brushing. I think the important thing was to teach the children to turn the water off when it is not really needed like when we brush our teeth, wash our face. The hardest thing for me is taking a shorter shower. When that hot water hits my tired old body it is hard to get out! But I am doing better. I think I am down to 10 minutes. Honestly, I could stand in the hot water on my neck and shoulders for an hour if I could. I have no doubt, Brandy, you already do all these things but just in case it helps someone I thought I would mention what we do. I would love to hear of other water saving ideas.
    Blessings, my frugal friends.

    1. Hi Marley, hope that you are getting a little stronger each day.
      Thanks for the water tips. I do love a hot shower, and I think that my husband uses the bathroom as his thoughtful spot as he can stay in there a long time. 😉 Checked our AEP bill online, and it looks like we may have a $1200 credit! Wow, the power company has really been overcharging all of us, but I’m sure they will try to claw the money back again soon.
      Hope you are enjoying the nice spring weather.

  53. I really only wanted to get on and exclaim with delight, “Those tulips are stunning!”

    But then I remembered that I had a few thoughts to add. 😉

    Still, those tulips are stunning! What a boon to my day, just looking at your photos. 😀

    Water: continuing the discussion. And power too. We just received word that our base power and kw per hour have both increased. We are also being placed into tiered rates for the power. The city did an assessment on March 2nd and have immediately made effective the new rates. They say it’s an inflation pass-through situation, which I believe, as our district buys some of our power. We didn’t have time to prepare for any usage changes, so I’m getting serious about it, pronto. We received a mailed notice on Saturday, because I still opt for paper billing but most opt for email notifications only, many of which never check them. Several of our family, friends and neighbors haven’t been paying attention to these changes and just have their bill automatically withdrawn without second thought. I’ve been trying to share info with my loved ones, so they don’t get caught with a huge billing. Interestingly enough, our water usage has also been turned into fines and penalties per household, over a certain amount. Why I find that interesting is that we didn’t receive a notice of the fines. It was just a line-item on billing, “go to the city website for more information.” These fines here, called an Excess Water Surcharge, will probably be unproblematic for some, as many people just started letting their yards die last year. I believe that causes additional problems with aridification but I understand the reasoning. Others will have a rude awakening. Our household will definitely be impacted, as we have a large family and usable garden space. We did take out most our grass in the backyard, knowing we needed to do our part, leaving just a bit for comfort and to cool things down. Removal of grass is being encouraged here but will become mandatory soon enough. We’re still transitioning some of the areas for additional growing of food and enjoyment space but have accomplished quite a bit already. We’ve hung hammocks (instead of only enjoying them while camping), made new pathways, added some garden interest, made play areas for the littles, built an outdoor shower (just to spray off to get into our small, above-ground pool), added park benches, increased the edible garden space, etc. It’s rustic and quaint and I love it (is desert cottage a thing?)! With the changes, using a lot of what we had on hand, we have successfully made a livable home but with much less water usage. We did have to make some investment into paving stones but bought some a little at a time all year, last year. The creativity has been good for my soul and become a place of rest for our family. I have just a 1/4 acre lot but we use every inch. I thought we were a few years behind the policies in Vegas, but we seem to be more in lock-step now. Though, our county hasn’t got every reclamation project underway, they are in planning and development. Just a few years ago, the local plan was to ask for pipeline approval from Powell. That’s a futile idea now. We are about an hour and a half North of Vegas, but border the Mojave & Great Basin. Having both tiered rates for water and power has made our personal choices very specific and intentional. Thankfully, we’ve had a lovely, wet spring. Our snow pack is great this year! But we’ll have terrible flooding and won’t get to keep most of the water when run-off arrives. Maybe it will flow down to Mead! 😉 I do hope that our aquifers are being recharged beacuse our small, local reservoirs are full. That’s something to be hopeful about. It’s just that I live in the fastest growing area, in the country, and our water options aren’t big enough for the growth impact. All of these factors are nuanced and intersting to talk about. I’m glad to stayed informed and to prepare what I can for my family.
    So, thanks for discussion Brandy and Co…and for the lovely inpsiration always.

    1. I don’t think that pipeline will go through but last I heard (quite recently) they are still trying. I’m happy to hear some changes are being made there. Water reclamation is essential and I hope they get that figured out quickly. That’s what makes such a huge difference here and I know water districts in California need to do the same. At least one district is in the works there, but there are so many, so it’s tricky.

  54. We don’t have water restrictions like Nevada, but we also have a larger than average household (there are 7 of us), so it’s a bit of a struggle keeping our water costs down. I find myself doing things like making an assessment of all the dirty handwash dishes before I turn water on to see if 1) are there any larger pots, mixing bowls, etc that I can use as a basin to wash some of the smaller items (thus helping to wash the bigger item at the same time), 2) cleaning least dirty stuff first to prevent too many water changes, 3) using clean rinse water from one item to begin rinsing the next, etc. I feel like none of this is too out of the ordinary, though, especially for people like those of us who read Brandy’s blog. 😉 It’s just nice to know I’m not the only one who does these things! Here are a few other notes from last week:

    * Handwashed my daughter’s prom dress (instead of dry cleaning). There’s a lot of material in the skirt, plus there were a lot of dirt stains around the bottom hem and the dress is a bright yellow satin (think: Belle from Beauty and the Beast), so I figured it might cost a lot to have someone else do it. We don’t ever use dry cleaning services, so I really don’t know what our savings were. But it was surprisingly easy to do myself and didn’t require any special products. I highly recommend the book Laundry Love by Patric Richardson (which I heard about from another commenter awhile ago) for advice on how to clean any fabric at home.

    * Also on the advice of another commenter (Mountain Mama Dawn — thank you!!), I ordered a year supply of my cat’s flea meds from Canada Pet Meds for less than half the cost of any other place I looked.

    * Not technically MY frugality here, but my oldest daughter has a job and buys all her own clothes. She loves thrift stores, but lately she’s gotten more into buying used clothes online through an app called Depop. A recent great deal she’s gotten is a pair of red hi-top Vans for $15 that were only worn once. I know this isn’t the only thing like this online, but she’s really enjoyed it the last 6 months or so and I thought I’d pass it along.

    Everything else is just more of the usual.

    1. That’s how I wash my pots and pans, too! I usually do a big wash all at once before dinner.

  55. I need advice from the cooks on here. I do not cook and have practically no cooking skills. I recently bought on clearance a whole rotisserie chicken with the intention of pulling meat off bone and freezing to use for soup and quesadillas. I ran out of time and froze the entire thing while. How do I go about thawing it out and heating it up? Crock pot, foil covered pan in oven , I simply have no idea. Intent is to use for quesadillas and maybe some chicken and noodles so I don’t really care what it looks like. Thanks in advance for your help.
    Had a horrible experience at local liquidation store. Bins of Target items were down to ten cents. Tons of composition books and packs of paper. None of which I am interested in. But there were a couple of bins with my kind of merchandise. Normally it’s me and two other shoppers. But apparently churches had asked their members to go on 10 cent day. There were about 20 couples there from various churches stocking up for those Christmas shoe boxes. Most of the shoppers were extremely rude; snatching and grabbing and being aggressive with their shopping carts. It was horrible. Spoiled what is normally a fun weekly outing. In addition some lady followed me throughout the entire store trying to convince me to come to her church. I was nice at first but I eventually had to tell her that if she touched me one more time (she kept patting my arms) I was calling the police. It was so bad store management apologized to me for not stopping her. I will never go back on days when I know there will be great deals on paper and shoppers who think it is ok to be rude because they are gonna use it for a shoe box. Went yesterday on 50 cent day and got great stuff and no one bothered me.

    1. I would say don’t make this too hard, though I rarely describe myself as a cook. The chicken is cooked, right? It sounds like you think you have to cook it again, before you cook it into the dishes you want. I don’t think you do, though I am not a trained food technician.
      Thaw the chicken in the refrigerator, maybe would take a day, then pull off and shred the meat to the size you want. Plan to use it in just a few days.
      Heat in microwave (might need a little moisture added) for something like quesadillas or tacos. Or if you bake the food, like burritos or pot pies, just put the meat in the shell with the cheese and sauces and put in the oven or crock pot.
      Add to broth and other items to make soup in kettle or crock pot.

    2. I put the frozen chicken in the crock pot with water. Once heated, I take it out and pull the meat off and put the carcass back in to make wonderfully flavored broth.

  56. The last few weeks feel fairly productive. I have been trying to get a good handle on the food we have in the house and not buy anything other than essentials. A freezer inventory revealed a lot of fruits and vegetables and two bags of whole wheat flour. Now that the freezer is tidied and sorted and the pantry shelves straightened I know I need to buy very little over the coming months. I have been doing very little shopping as it is so I will be doing even less now.

    We have eaten all meals at home with food we have on hand. Our books and magazines have come from the library. We have been driving very little and combining errands when we do go out.

    We continue to be blessed by our buy nothing group. We have received a tin of cookies, several kinds of flavoured teas, hot chocolate, an unopened box of cereal, a package of ice cream cones, two toothbrushes, a new deodorant, a cake of men’s soap, a new with tags sweater, a Christmas cookbook and several DVDs fir my husband. As things continue to increase in price, I don’t know what I would do without these gifts stretching our budget.

    I have received several beauty samples and coupons for two free products that I will use soon.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely week! Spring is definitely in the air here in southern Ontario!

  57. What beautiful tulips! I so hope they bloom next year. I never had luck with pushing tulips to bloom by keeping in cold fridge drawers (but that’s a LOT of them :>), but wishing you luck with that!

    We returned from a weeklong visit with my sister; main cost was our flights on sale and trying to pay our way with our groceries. I think it’d be easier if we could just buy our own food when there and she buys her own food when here, then I’m not concerned as much about requesting specifics for recipes I want to make for our dinners when there, etc. The issue will be that now I feel I “owe” her to pay for hers when she’s here next. Always seems to be a hard visit, personality-wise … feel judged and barbed comments but I feel that I “should” visit. She’s much older than me and is 70 now and who knows how long we all have. We packed carrots and celery and leftover hummus for the flight home as we had a layover and wouldn’t arrive to our airport until 2 a.m., completely forgetting that the hummus wouldn’t clear security! Very thankful for our frugal ways that have allowed my husband and I to both retire early and be able to choose the cheapest flight, and not have to do a quick turnaround after a trip and go to work. We ended up with more delays, getting home at 4 a.m. but our luggage arrived and no complaints!
    Our meals at home have included red beans and rice, chili, roasted veggies, black bean soup and cilantro lime rice, and a gardein spicy “chicken” (plant based) patty cooked and sliced up to go on two wraps for a lunch with roasted broccoli and finally homemade vegan pizza (yes, again – I’d thawed the dough before they came over!). I’ve prepped a hearty soup as our leftovers were nil before today.
    We received an add’l bill of $175 to our HOA due to so many in our community not paying their billed amount (empty? Rentals? I don’t know but we will call for more information). So now extra money is being spent by the association on legal fees to recoup that money but in the meantime they’re charging all who do pay more. And next month we get the annual bill. When I purchased this home 22 years ago, I made sure that the HOA fees were minimal and while they’ve increased regularly, they do a good job of ensuring that broken down cars are moved, etc. BUT they’re quick on the letter to tell me to mow if we go on vacation and take a day or two afterward to get caught up. One time I sent them photos of the common areas where grass was up to my knees – their reply was that their contractor wasn’t able to get there. I said then why send ME a letter when you can’t handle the common areas. Well… we just like it to look nice. My husband is super patient, but dealing with them drives him bonkers.
    I’ve been enjoying library books and one particularly enjoyable one was The Library by Bella Osborne – short and heartwarming. I’ve checked out two others by her now. Listening to The Dillinger Days true crime history in the car, and also reading The Prosperous Heart by Julia Cameron and just started Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes. I saw a wonderful show with her at her home Bramasole on PBS a few weeks ago and I didn’t know she’d written this book. I just purchased A Ration Book Victory (Jean Fullerton) from an online used bookstore as my library has only ever purchased the first book in this series … I wish I had someone near me who liked this type of book as I could loan the entire set (minus book one that the library had)! But no one seems to enjoy stories of rationing in England, how to cook then, etc.
    Good to read about one set of sheets per bed because I was thinking I should buy a spare set as we have just one set, but I typically just wash them and back on it goes. Our linen closet is very small and so towels and sheets are limited. I do have sheets for the toddler bed and the pack n play that will be in use for several more years. Those I bought in sets of two and it’s worked well because they’ve been sick or peed on them and we’ve had several nighttime remakes. Earlier I read that a mom put layers of sheets separated by waterproof sheet on the crib to make nighttime changes easier – strip the two wet layers off to the fresh sheet layer and back to sleep. I said to my husband I never thought of that!

    1. I have an HOA and I totally agree! We had several of the same types of issues lately and the costs ar much more than we used to pay, due to things that are their fault. Not good.

  58. Brandy, what beautiful flower photos. Thank you! Here in Phoenix we are getting even more rain, what a year…our reservoirs are filling up, finally. There is even water flowing in the salt river (usually just a dry river bed). Last I knew, the western states can’t come to a water use reduction plan so tossed it into the Federal governments hands. Yet here in Phoenix, we watch as one giant new subdivision after another gets built (and the state is issuing them guarantees of a 100 year water supply). How is that possible? Insanity has broken out everywhere. Oh well. On the frugal front, I have decided to sell my house and move. Lining up realtors and estate sales people last week. Should be an action packed few months.

    1. It is SO concerning. 100 years of water? Here, they cannot even guarantee 50 years of water, but they are building anyway.

      HOWEVER, we have doubled our population by over a million people while reducing water consumption greatly (I believe by 40%) so I know that the steps we have taken (and I know from reading Ariona news that our rules are much more strict here) have made a huge difference in what we use.

      I agree that more building is worrisome. Many people are concerned.

      The Feds can override all water rules and make them even tighter than they are now.

  59. Hi! The Privet is lovely to look at. I know it is not listed as a major allergen but here in MS it certainly is. If anyone in your family suffers from seasonal allergies you might wish to reconsider. Everything is beautiful as always!

    1. When it flowers it can be! The flowers last a week. I plan to keep it trimmed to sharp pyramids once it grows more, so it may never even get the chance to flower.

  60. It was a nice, frugal week in heavenly Houston!)
    Over spring break, I took the kids to stay in a time share. I had to listen to their sales pitch, but was able to get a 2 room suite for $100 for 4 days. It had a kitchenette, so we took food from home. The kids and I played ping pong, played putt putt golf, watched movies, ate “treat” food (junk food I don’t usually buy), and swam in the heated pool. There was no chance I was buying a time share, but it was still fun to do. We did eat out at Cici’s pizza when they had the “pie day” promotion, which was fairly reasonable for a buffet. I think it was the only meal we ate that day.
    I picked up a few things from the thrift store, which I’ve been working to sell. It’s slow going.
    I used free library passes to take the kids to the children’s museum. It would have been pricey to go, otherwise. We got there early enough to park for free on the street, instead of the garage, and the walk was only a few blocks.
    I took the kids to a free parks tour, where they served “light bites.” As it was raining and they had a poor turnout, there was leftover food I got to take home. I took home enough sandwiches, chips, and baby carrot packages for lunch the next day.
    We had problems with the AC. Fortunately, we were able to have a guy come out. It was an expensive repair, but the AC guy used to be our neighbor, and I trust that it’s an honest diagnosis.
    I stopped at Dirt Cheap on our trip. All of their Christmas food and candy were 10/$1. I bought a lot of Jelly Belly gingerbread houses. The jelly beans alone were worth .10. I was going to toss the gingerbread houses, but we fed them to the deer instead, which was fun. I did save the jelly beans for Easter and the icing for next Christmas.
    I found some marked down 90% off Valentine candy to go in Easter eggs. We don’t do presents on Easter, just candy in eggs that are hidden, but I did sign the kids up for a free church egg hunt. That will be fun.
    I made a frugal meal for another church friend who had a baby. I took a $5 Sam’s rotisserie chicken, $1 bag of frozen veggies, pan of cornbread, and a plate of brownies, all made from clearance ingredients. I had some milk that was turning sour, and used it in Hamburger Helper from the salvage grocery; it turned out fine. Other meals have been pretty simple.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  61. Brandy-The tulips are beautiful and can still be placed in vases to bring some beauty indoors. Here in WI the snowbanks are high and my tulips were potted in clay pots and cold stored over winter in the garage. I will bring them out soon in the sunshine, water, and enjoy when they bloom. I found this to be quicker then placing in the ground or it’s like the 4th of July before I get to enjoy them.

    My husband had unexpected knee surgery and is healing. It’s 180 miles round trip to visit the surgeon and pre/post appointments. We had prayers answered that the surgery got done within 14 days. We were 2000 miles from home when this happened and a so grateful for the help of our family and friends as I drove us home. Pack food and snacks for the medical appointments and are tracking expenses and trying to be as practical and researching as much as possible.

    I had to get the oil change on our car and saved $30.00 because the attendant said the service staff undercharged for the oil but they didn’t have time to change the bill. I thanked them.

    Have been doing some rock painting-made 3 ladybugs, little strawberries, a large daisy flower and some rock markers fro the lettuce garden.
    Facing forward and a counting our blessings.

  62. Wow, it seems really unfair to me that they don’t take occupancy into account when calculating your water allowance. We are all moving over to metering in the UK but previously your water charges were a flat rate every month determined by the number of bedrooms in your house (and therefore the number of assumed occupants). If it was under-occupied you could apply for a reduction. And if you had four children in every bedroom you were quids in!

  63. This week I found out my next to oldest sister has stage 2a breast cancer. She lives a little over two hours away, so I met my younger sister half way to visit and take her some meals I made and a bag of some comfort item. My sister treated me to lunch and we went for a walk at a local park. This is our routine when we meet at the half way town. I made double portions so my husband and I could eat what I had fixed. My older sister was very appreciative andI plan to do this in April again when my younger sister is coming for a stay.
    * The local rec/senior center has been giving away free seeds, so far I have 7 packs of radish and red clover. I planted some radishes in ground and lettuce in flats. I have also been planting and eating broccoli micro greens from previous weeks.
    * Free-food for the week are 4 large tubs of mixed greens, 2 quarts yogurt, a pack of mushrooms and a tub of cottage cheese. We are eating lots of salads,which is great as I am working hard to get 8 servings of fruit/veggies in a day.
    * I have been rereading several ww2 books by Jennifer Ryan, that I really enjoy.
    They are the Kitchen Front, The Spies of Shilling Lane and The Chillbury Ladies Choir. I am excited to order a new Maisie Dobbs thanks to a reader!
    * I continue to line dry laundry; eat simple cheap meals; exercise at home and free at the rec center; read library books, stay out of stores; consolidate work and errands and I am using online tools for my Lent Bible studies!
    * Brandy, those tulips are just gorgeous, candy for the eyes! Thank you for my favorite weekly reading for community, ideas and encouragement! You are a gift to whole community of folks!

      1. I don’t know if they make this any more but when I was growing up my parents had washing machine that suck up.the water out of sink. To use for there laundry. The first clean water was whites, towels and sheets our play clothes and then my fathers work clothes and garden clothes.
        The tulips are beautiful.

    1. I don’t know if they make this any more but when I was growing up my parents had washing machine that suck up.the water out of sink. To use for there laundry. The first clean water was whites, towels and sheets our play clothes and then my fathers work clothes and garden clothes.
      The tulips are beautiful.

  64. 3/20

    I’m not sure what happened to my post, so I’m trying again.

    Those tulips are absolutely stunning!

    Brandy, your mention of earnestly checking on friends was so timely. I had a friend, with whom I was very close for a long time. Then we drifted apart. I last spoke with her several years ago, though we send texts and notes on birthdays and other special days. She learned about our grandbaby through social media and reached out. I followed up with a phone call. I learned that her family had faced several severe medical crises and losses, of which I was unaware. We both had a good cry and vowed not to be out of touch again. And though it had been a long while, the years melted away.

    I was able to use fuel rewards that my mother wasn’t going to use to get .70 off per gallon of gas for 2.49 which was great. There was a problem with the rewards posting properly, so Customer Service combined 2 months to yield that amount. We got 26 gallons, so saved $18+ on gas and both cars are filled. We were going see the grandbaby, so the gas was quickly used. Cheaper gas makes the trip more frugal for sure. Also used a .20 off/gallon for the return trip mileage which was helpful though not as substantial a savings as .70 off/gallon!

    Purchased loss leaders as available. I bought Springer lean chicken burgers with a promotion and a coupon for 1.50/# instead of $4-6 for the same package. There are 4 burgers in a package which provides us 2 meals, making the protein for the meal .75 which is pretty good these days. Also bought cabbage for .25/#. I continue to eat many things from the freezers, and I’m pleased to see increasing white space in there. My menus for the next few weeks continue to use proteins I have, along with some produce I purchased for variety.

    I bought items that many of you suggested to help my sweet DIL with her milk production, along with the recommendations for increased pumping, resting and persevering. We passed through their city en route to an out-of-town funeral both coming and going. It was only for a few hours each time, but that was better than nothing. The baby was adorable and my DIL’s color looked the best this time, that it has. I took some different beverages that I hope will encourage her to continue to stay hydrated. I know she’s been working on this, but I thought some variations might make drinking large amounts of liquids easier, as several of you wisely suggested. Thank you all for your concern and responses. It meant the world to me. I’m praying it will work out. Those stories of families struggling to find baby formula recently were heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how helpless that must have felt, and dangerous for their babies. If DIL’s milk can increase, at least she wouldn’t have to be searching for formula in the event of scarcity. I made baked oats as suggested, along with some meals I took to ease their burden a bit. I took 2 soups, a baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and chicken salad. I plan to make a few more of the recipes suggested here for future trips. In exchange for these items, we got lots and lots of baby cuddles 🙂

    We took sandwiches, snacks and water for lunch on the way. We researched the area for the best hotel prices where we were going, though none were cheap in the city. We also had breakfast at the hotel where we stayed, which helped with lunch expenses and provided snacks and beverages for us on our return. We tried to minimize expenses when eating dinner out by ordering water, picking a less expensive place to begin with and taking leftovers with us. Thankfully, our budget can accommodate the extra expenses.

    We have some needed repair work that is coming up this month along with some large bills, so I’m trying to remain diligent in cutting expenses wherever and whenever I can.

    It’s still chilly here, so I’ve put my seed planting on hold for a few days. It should be warm enough and past our last frost date at the end of the week. Like others of you, I’m going to plant the seeds I have and not purchase additional ones this year. We’ll see which seeds have remained viable-fingers crossed.

    I hope everyone will have a good week. Thank you again for all the helpful comments for my DIL.

  65. I have so much water it has damaged the foundation and made the back acres begin to merge with e swamp!

    My husband had out-patient surgery this week. Thankfully, since he is active-duty Tricare pays everything. He has another surgery scheduled for April.

    Decent weather (temperature wise) means I’m 2 weeks behind in turning on the AC for the year. Also, with my mother going home my water usage will drop significantly. Getting a rebate from the electric company for something. Eaten out more than desired but less than before.

    Switched my winter and summer clothes. Made a substantial pile to donate and will not “need” anything for the season.

    Was able to stir up a quick dinner last night from a chicken I made in the crock pot, some broccoli I found in the back of the deep freeze and an open jar of pesto from the recesses of the fridge. If I pan meats, the rest seems to take care of itself. Stocked up on tea and sugar this week.

    Not super frugal, but Gunner ( https://gunner.com/ ) makes a bear and racoon proof container for dog food that holds a 50 lb bag and then some. It’s pricey, but as our 5 month old puppy ate a $50 one in a week, we figure this one should survive longer – making it frugal.

    As my refinance moves forward, I’ve been tweaking the renovation budget. I hope to stretch it to cover installing a bathroom, replacing 2 more and generally refreshing/ updating the rest of the house, but I don’t think it will make it even with my currently planned sweat equity. So, the priority and resale/salvage shopping lists are expanding, as will the sweat equity portions.

  66. I’m so impressed by your flowers Brandy! Thanks for always sharing your photos! I must ask with the water restrictions so strict for NV residents, what are they doing about all of the Vegas tourists in hotels? I can’t imagine the hotels are going to have their water turned off for violations.

    Frugal wins this week:
    Received a free vanilla cone from Dairy Queen for the first day of spring. That was a nice, sweet treat.
    Took my lunch and breakfast to work every day.
    Ate some leftovers for dinner a few times and cooked at home the other evenings.
    Over the weekend we received free tickets to the local rodeo and they included meal (fish, shrimp, coleslaw and dessert) and drink tickets. It was a fun free date night for us.

    I’ve been cleaning my home and just being content with what I have. I looked at purchasing some Easter decor, but decided what I used last year is just fine.
    Replaced a few holey basic tees when Target had their tanks and tees on sale this week for $5 each. I work in a super casual manufacturing office environment so most days I wear jeans and a solid tee to work.
    Cleaned out my closet and donated a few things that still had life left. Hopefully, someone can use them as they no longer fit well or just aren’t right for this stage of my life.
    I sold a pair of pants & book on eBay this week so that will go into my travel fund.

    1. All indoor water is reused, so any water used inside hotels is not an issue. It’s outdoor water usage that matters because it doesn’t go down the drain.

  67. I so enjoy looking at your gardening pictures, Brandy. The flowers are so beautiful.

    I continue to cut my husband’s hair for free. I remember that first haircut making me so nervous a few years ago. The YouTube tutorial was a good one though. I’m pretty picky about accuracy and it’s saved so much money.

    I’m reading The Chilbury Ladies Choir for free from the library.

    We are saving money by cooking meals at home. Most are meatless, whole grain, per doctor’s orders. But we’ve created a low cost, tasty rotation of meals.

    Living in Southern Arizona, I am concerned about the water situation as well. I know Las Vegas does a fantastic job of reusing water and household use is minor compared to the amounts used for alfalfa and cotton here and I don’t think residential use is the biggest concern, although I know you and I are being careful with what we have. I like how much you have produced as far as flowers and produce on carefully measured amounts of water. Like you, I detest the sound of the leaf blowers and I tell everyone with a new property to get the smallest sized gravel they can if they are using it in their yard. Gravel can be raked tidily, without the use of a leaf blower. I’ve been incorporating Mexican oregano and fairy duster plants for summer color, along with chocolate flower for its incredible scent- I feel like it’s not more popular because it looks like such a pathetic, puny plant at the nursery centers and I tell people it will look so much better when it fills out at home. I’m looking into water containment barrels- one neighbor reports she has been able to get 8 months of yard watering out of hers. I know they are illegal in CO, but are they legal in NV?

    Again, thank you for the lovely pictures. I look forward to reading more about what is growing for you.

    1. They are legal here but we don’t get the water that Arizona gets. Rain gutters are not installed on homes here as they are so rarely needed.

  68. Power/cellphone/internet has been out most of the week. I feel sorry for the power company, they are no match for these crazy winds. I’m itching to plant, but it’s a soggy mess out and storms aren’t over yet. I only lost one fridge of food as the power goes out again before I can get groceries. I picked up cat meds at Costco while power was out at home. Hard to find small items there, but I did get a package chicken sandwich with a salad I turned into three meals. The weather has been so bad I haven’t been able to put out large items for trash. I’m glad I didn’t, because realized I can convert the old soft water tank plumbers removed to store rain water. It even has a hose Bibb at the bottom. I’m very doubtful, but fingers crossed I might get a new roof out of this windstorm as I lost many shingles. If so, will look into a metal roof as it collects clean water. It’s true California doesn’t have a lot of dams, that’s because most of our water is stored underground in natural aquifers. Also, comes from yearly snow melt, though drought impacted that. Unfortunately, these are part of the ugly water history of the state. There is a famous us agriculture photo, from the 1940s? Of a man standing next to a sign showing how many feet the valley floor dropped due to taking of underground water (I think it was about 150 ft then). However, all they want to do in this state is build build build. The governor has a quota each city and town must meet and it’s not small. It’s crazy, because we don’t have enough water now. Locals everywhere are trying to fight it, but nobody will listen. We do have water rationing, but they take into account how many people live there, but each year you get less than the year before. I use ollas in my raised beds and never rinse dishes as we were told a dishwasher uses less water by far than hand washing. I even sometimes put pots in there to save water, though I prefer to hand wash. I got a Bosch dishwasher for $200 used off Craigslist instead of $1800 new. (I watched ads till I found the model I wanted.)YouTube learned to install it myself. I use the soap they recommend, finish (cheapest via Amazon and use Brandy’s links), then I scrape only. No rinsing. And it’s a miracle, because I don’t run mine everyday and it even gets off eggs dried on. The trick is not to rinse, which is counterintuitive to me. The soap works better if you don’t. Then I set the timer so it runs at night to use off peak electricity. Btw, plan ahead that strawberries might go up in price. That town, Pajaro, where the levee broke and is now underwater is famous for its strawberry fields. Other than that, I’ve been staying home due to weather and lack of power. Neighbors got together one night and played uno with the kids to pass the time. I’d stocked up on firewood, but thankfully wasn’t cold enough to need it. I turned down two free haas avocados trees today, which hurt because I love them, but read the trees get 45-60’ tall. If I put those in my small yard, I’d have no sunlight in the rest of my yard for other plants. They will go to someone that can put them to better use.

  69. Brandy, those tulips are stunning, did they by chance have a name on them? I don’t normally go for tulips because they come up and are gone so fast, but these are so gorgeous I would be swayed to plant some.

    1. Supposedly they are called Prestige, but I cannot find any info on them online. They are replacing them in their display with Foxtrot, and Van Engelen carries those for a decent price. They look quite similar.

  70. Brandy, I can’t imagine where you can cut more water as you are so careful to begin with! I don’t know if this would help you, but it has cut our water bill. Our kitchen faucet broke and I wanted to replace it with a touch sensitive one because I hate touching the faucet when I have meat juices on my hands, then using more water to clean the faucet. I didn’t realize how much water I would save! I set the handle out to the lowest functional pressure, and the temperature I usually use. I can adjust it before I wave my hand to start the water, if need be. Waving it off is easy and I find I don’t run the water near as much, nor does it run at higher pressure using more water. When I go into the bathroom, I sometimes wave and wave before I realize I have to turn the faucet on. 🤣🤣 As for the tulips, they are beautiful! If your hyacinths come up every year from bulb, like ours do, then the tulips should do the same, I would think. I don’t know if that is how hyacinths works out there for you….

    1. It’s a bit warm for tulips. I have grown them before and the early kinds rated to zone 8 might return for a year or two, but that’s usually it. If they are a zone 7 it doesn’t get cold enough for them. The hyacinths are a zone 8 and they bloom early when it is nice and cool.

  71. The tulips are stunning, Brandy!

    How many bulbs do you have and how large of an area are they in? I’d love to have a full border of tulips but have no idea how many it would take. My Dad is 91 and his favorite flower is tulips – he can see my front garden from his apartment window and the full border and a vase of fresh tulips in the spring would make him so happy. I love tulips too, so no hardship on my part plus redoing the front garden is on the agenda this summer.

    Thanks for any info you’d be willing to share,

    1. There are approximately 390 bulbs here in an 8-foot diameter circle. I had to space them out more than I expected. If I were to buy bulbs for this same space, I would want 550 in order to have them more closely packed.

  72. I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, but never comment. Your blog reminds me of a modern day “Tightwad Gazette.”

    We’re in CA, so used to droughts as well, but yours sounds especially tough. Our water bill, despite a large family, is generally very low though. Couple more “extreme” things that have helped – if it’s yellow let it mellow, high efficiency everything (especially washer and dishwasher), not rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, having 1 reusable water bottle per child using that all the time and storing in the fridge – saves on glasses to wash and also saves water from being wasted, a lot of our plants are succulents or bamboo and sparse rain is enough for them (they’re quite pretty!), measuring out the water for cooking so it’s nearly all absorbed or using the leftover cooking water for sauces or watering plants, low baths for the little kids and reusing the water for them. Lastly, we don’t currently have it, but we used to have a low flow shower head you could turn to mist while sudsing to save even more water with short showers.

    Curious to hear others’ water saving ideas as well!

  73. If mulching a garden hasn’t been mentioned, it is absolutely wonderful for conserving the moisture in the soil and also for improving the soil-if you use natural, uncolored wood chips for mulch. A family member just got an enormous pile of wood chips dropped for free by local tree trimmer. This family member just bought their house and the garden was neglected and completely unmulched. They are in a zone almost exactly like Brandy. This mulch will save them countless hours of weeding, thousands of dollars in water, and improve the neglected soil for absolutely free. A win all around!

    1. There are reasons to not use wood chips as mulch. Some people really like it. I don’t for several reasons. Also, the soil I purchased is half wood chips, half sand. I top the soil with composted sterile manure.

  74. Brandy, on your Instagram stories you mentioned a book you highly recommend. Could you tell me the name? I was unable to note it at the time and when I went back the story was gone.

  75. I was just at the grocery store. I don’t go much these days, and I admit to sputtering at the cost of things; however, I am encouraged that one can still find deals if one hunts for them. It just makes me realize that the same frugal principals apply even in these time…wait for the bargains and the marked-down items. I’m going to go brine my on sale chicken. I never remember to do that but somebody brought some to a party recently and it was clearly brined. Yum. Why don’t I do that?! p.s. I’m so grateful to my husband for making homemade bread. (I would if he didn’t.) But the cost of bread at the store is CRAZY or it can be. Yikes.

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