This past week was really about saving money. Sometimes we feel like we have to make more money in order to meet our needs, but really, we just need to find a way to do it ourselves.

I sowed seeds in the garden for romaine and looseleaf lettuces, Swiss chard, green onions, and parsley. The green onion seeds and Swiss chard were ones that I had collected from my garden earlier this year. I’m glad there is still a spot to grow some things, as we decided just recently to redo one of the beds where I was going to plant things this fall.

I purchased eight used 15-gallon plastic pots from the nursery for $1.50 to temporarily pot my roses and other large plants that are being moved in the garden. I dug two roses so far, and I tried to keep as much of the soil around the roots as intact as possible when moving them. We also dug a lilac bush that is being moved.

Knowing I would need new bushes for the garden, I didn’t trim my boxleaf euyonomus the last time they needed a trim. This past week, I took cuttings from my boxleaf euyonomus plants to attempt to start new 492 plants. I counted and I will need 1244 plants! At $3.88 a plant, that would be $5231 (with tax) just in hedges! I have decided to just take cuttings; hopefully, I will have success with them, and in five to six years, I should have a hedge. While this is definitely a spend money to save money kind of project, we want to keep all of the expenses as low as possible. I’ll have to wait for my bushes in the front yard to continue to grow before I can take more cuttings, and it may take a year before I have enough cuttings to start all the bushes I need, but the savings is worth the wait. I don’t expect them all to take, but I’m hoping for at least a 75% success rate.

I needed to move three of my new blackberry bushes, as we will be relocating them. I dug them and put them in pots and then took cuttings from them to hopefully start new plants. I’ve had better success making new plants by tip layering these in the past than from cuttings (where I had next to no success), but vines were broken when I moved them from the trellis, so I decided to watch a couple of YouTube videos to see if there was a better spot from which to cut than I had been (yes) and a better length to cut them (also yes). I took 35 cuttings. I don’t need that many, but hopefully, I will get plenty for what I do need.

We dug more paperwhite bulbs from the garden to replant elsewhere. These ones were bulbs that had multiplied before in the garden. They reproduce rather well here outside.

I cut Swiss chard, basil, chives, and green onions from the garden.

I took my husband to the nursery with me on senior discount day to purchase four of the new trees that we will need. I had hoped for a sale, but instead used the 10% off senior discount. I had spoken previously with the manager and he told me that they will not be receiving any new trees until April, so I decided to buy trees now. Unfortunately, they did not have the other 5 trees that I still need.

When lockdown first started, our school district began offering food to all children at outside pickup stations. We decided not to go anywhere during lockdown and did not pick up the food, and then I forgot all about it. In late May, our next-door neighbor brought us the leftovers that his children hadn’t wanted from the food that week. It was very good (lots of milk, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, etc.) and we decided that we would pick up food as well then. It was offered for all children ages 2-18. It went through most of the summer and then ended.

When school started again, the district again received federal funding to continue the food program through the end of 2020. At the beginning, they only offered it to public school students and required a student id number. A few weeks later, they opened it to all children ages 2-18 again, no matter what school they attended (charter, private, homeschool, etc.). Three weeks ago, finding that not enough students had come, they decided to provide breakfasts and lunches for the weekends as well (handed out with meals on Friday). They also asked more families to come, because if they did not, they would have to lay off the employees who were distributing the meals. A week after that, they announced that the food would continue through June of 2021. The nice thing about fall pickup for us is that it went from a school fifteen minutes away to a school only five minutes away.

The food has been a great blessing to us and to many families. If your school area is offering this, I would advise looking into it! It’s not the same in every state or school district, but here, it has been generous.

My husband and I had a date night at home and watched an old movie that we had while enjoying some ice cream after the children were in bed.

My husband and I cut his hair.

The side sliding door on our van stopped opening. My husband took it apart and found the broken piece. He went to the dealership with the broken piece, bought a new piece for $6, and fixed it himself, saving us a repair bill that likely would have been around $300.

What did you do to save money last week?

Look for a post later this week where I’m sharing the details of my garden plans!

Would you like to support my site?

 As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through my links. This means that I earn a small percentage from ANY items you place in your cart and purchase within 24 hours after going to Amazon from one of my links (i.e., it doesn’t have to be an item I have linked here). 

If you’re going to be making a purchase from Amazon this week, I thank you for using my links to support this site!

Similar Posts


  1. At the store, I bought 3 free yogurts, a little over 3 pounds of walnut halves and pieces for $1.88 a pound after sale & rebates (those were vacuum sealed into 4 quart mason jars!) and then I found canned peaches- 29 of them on clearance! On my sales receipt it showed $1.09 each for regular price but on clearance they were 4/$1 (25 cents each)! So my pantry shelves are getting filled some more!

    I was able to pressure can 10 more pounds of chicken (this time it’s for us rather than our daughters!) it became 11 pints!

    I finished quilting this king size Amish inspired quilt for a client. Now I’m quilting another double bed one for her.
    I was sad to see that this was the final one in queue for when the previous client with the “lemon” quilt stopped over to borrow some quilt templates I had and get my help on a quilt she was starting. The thing I hadn’t expected was that she brought me a large lap size quilt to quilt up for her. So the business continues to trickle in a bit at a time. Also sent out an order for Soup Cozies out on Saturday.

    With the last bit of warm weather this past week, we got 116 blackberry bush cuttings rooted in sand and now their containers are set halfway into our raised beds to keep them insulated a bit through the winter. We did the same thing with our strawberries that were in our tiered bucket garden. Hubs did the same thing with his water celery in our pond.

    In with our cabbage starts this spring was a little volunteer plant. It’s huge now and I realized it was collard greens. We aren’t fans. 🥴Gave it to my over the fence neighbor and she was delighted!

    I was reading Dollar Stretcher newsletter article about finding quick cash and they mentioned unclaimed, missing money held by the States. I, of course, started checking. Nothing for Hubs and me (we hunt down every nickel when we have overpaid! 🤪Lol) . But I found a daughter’s name from a pediatrician bill 7 years previous when they had paid (the doctor’s office insisted on that or would refuse to see child until it was paid). The insurance then paid $80 and the doctor never notified them. So $80 is now coming their way!! Also found a bit under $100 for another daughter who is a schoolteacher, so she is appreciative as well! I used It was free. Apparently, not every state is listed. You can check directly with your state “unclaimed funds”. Definitely worth the time to check! 8 years ago, we found our name listed for a refund of $150 from the funeral home that we went to when my mom passed away. It was located 6 blocks from our house. We had been in the same house/address for over 20 years and our phone number had not changed. And yet, we had no notification. It’s worth a look, imo!
    We went to Costco to get our membership cards printed (bought Groupon Costco membership for $60, but got a $40 shop card this way). Came out having spent $65 (including 11 gifts for Christmas)but our total to pay was only $25!!! 3 pounds chicken nuggets, 3 pounds whole almonds, 3 pounds walnuts, 6 pack of chicken cordon bleu and 2 six-packs of Ghiradelli chocolate brownie mix (to put in gift baskets for our 11 kiddos, with 1 leftover for us!!)
    The week has been filled with just routine kinds of things, but trying to be wise stewards of our resources has been a regular part of it.
    Hope you are all staying safe and well!

    1. I have been checking Missing Money or our state’s unclaimed money for once or twice a year for many years. I have found money for my husband, my mother, both of my siblings, my niece, my first cousin (his was in the thousands!), and several other people. I still haven’t found any for me or my dad – we are the ones in the family who are always on top of things. LOL! I always encourage people to go look for it. The money can be leftover from old jobs, insurance policies, utility companies, etc. So glad you mentioned this. Many people don’t know about it! Off to do another check on it. 🙂

  2. Good luck with those cuttings! I looked up Mike Kincaid on youtube and he has so many great propagation videos! I was able to root about 20 new hydrangeas (can’t wait until next year), and I successfully rooted 3 new roses. I’m planning on implementing this next year, too, to make new plants. Even though I’ve been able to find some hydrangeas on clearance for $5-12, it still adds up.

    I can’t wait to see your garden plans–you are an inspiration!

  3. Not my frugal accomplishment, but rather one for my sister, who used my advice lol. She has a gas dryer. It stopped heating. I know nothing about gas dryers, but we have a friend that does, so I directed her to ask him about it. He told her it was probably a glow plug and walked her husband through how to change it. $17.00 and a couple of hours later, she has a working dryer. She had been looking at purchasing a new one, so she saved at least 300.00 dollars and probably more. If you don’t know or know anyone that does, ask around because someone you know is most likely going to know someone who does know. (If that made any sense at all!)

    1. Great save on the gas dryer!
      I found out during a repair that an electric dryer is connected to two fuses, one for the heat and one for the tumble. If you have electric dryer issues, make sure you check for two circuit breakers and make sure one didn’t go off.

  4. Saving money around here can be tricky these days, given my husband’s dementia/forgetfulness. I just have to try and keep on my toes and notice things right away. He bought a gallon of chowder from the Boy Scouts at the church across the street. They stay up all night making it in 3 huge cauldrons, and are usually sold out by 9AM. He brought it home and had a bowl for his (early) lunch, and left it on the dining room table. I rescued it and put it in the fridge. We ate it another night for dinner and had pie for dessert. Now I think I will put the rest into the freezer for later on. It’s very good and thick and filling!! Perfect for the weather on the weekend.
    He also leaves ice cream cartons either in the refrigerator or on the counter. I have rescued untold numbers of those, but also lost a few along the way. I’m making it a point to volunteer for making snacks, which used to be his job. Makes it easier to check on food being put back correctly.
    So just making sure food gets put away helps us in saving money.
    I did buy a gallon of paint because the porch steps badly need painting but the weather may not co-operate. We had one day that was gorgeous, but it was too nice to spend painting. Just an ordinary dry day would do! I plan to do the steps first and if there is time I will paint the decks too. DH is not able to do a job like that either. He will start something and then just drift away and forget what he was doing. Which explains why I found a packet of papers and a WWII pilot’s cap on my beside table last night! I keep my moisturizer and other lotions in a small basket and it was already full when I went to put my things away! He is trying to take up ALL the available real estate in this house, from surfaces to spots in the fridge that are reserved for certain things which I reach for automatically! My jug of cold water has moved a lot lately. The doctor suggested melatonin at bedtime for him and it has certainly cut down on his middle of the night excursions. He’s been using the bathroom and getting back in bed instead of wandering around. That is helping my sleep and my mood!
    Quarantining from being exposed to Covid-19 hasn’t done much for saving money, but I have taken the time to look up some things I might want to give as Christmas gifts and sent the orders in. At least some shopping has been started. I used to make a lot of my gifts but that is not possible, although I keep seeing ideas and telling myself “that wouldn’t take much time at all.” Not this year, anyhow. I have let my sisters know that I don’t feel like I can handle the usual party for that side of the family even though it is my turn this year. I’ll buy the food but I can’t move fast enough to handle dinner for 12 or more. We can all work together on it and manage to get it done. Anyone over 75 should get a break–and two of us are!!
    And anyone under 60 who hasn’t had heart surgery or chemo this year can help too!! (That also leaves at least 2 younger members out.) We are a family with lousy genes in the heart disease area! My 53 year old niece had a triple bypass and about a week later I was in the same hospital for my 5th heart stent. I’m honestly thinking about retiring. I had visions of a rocking chair and some knitting needles, or my sewing machine, but so far no time for that in the 18 years I’ve been retired from my outside job. (I’ve done a little sewing but not much.)

    1. Bless you Marcia R. for taking such good care of your dear hubby. You sound tired and in need, deservedly so, of a little break from care giving. Our County has a non-profit organization where fully screened and background checked volunteers visit a home for several hours on a weekly basis and look after the person who needs care. In this way the care giver gets a short respite. They also do food shopping and drive elderly people to doctor appointments. It is all free of charge to the recipient and anyone can ask for this service as it is not income based. Please check with your County Senior Services to see if this or other services may be available if you are interested. Best wishes to you.

      1. Thank you Mari. I have talked to every agency around, I believe. I live in a rural area with no public transportation. I worked for the County Social Services department and I already knew about The Office for the Aging, which is what it’s called in our county. They sent me a list of agencies I might call for help. Most of them don’t have anyone for this particular area. I would like to hire an aide for nights, as I lose a lot of sleep when my noisy husband gets up to use the bathroom, turns on every light he can find, and stumbles back to bed. The doctor recently started him on melatonin, and it does seem to help him go back to bed and sleep. I think perhaps I should take some too–I have no trouble falling asleep but those interruptions do take up my time. I have trouble falling asleep again.
        Well, to make the story shorter–the patient has to be seen within the last 30 days, so we took him in. Then my husband’s best friend came and took him to lunch and two days later called to say his wife had come down with Covid and he probably had it too. Turned out he was right. So we had to quarantine for 14 days with no visitors. Now it’s been over 30 days since he’s seen the doctor but I already have the information from the clearing house agency, so it’s another list of agencies to call. And the doctor ordered a physical therapy evaluation. My husband walks 2 or 3 miles a day and doesn’t really need a therapy evaluation–I did talk to the therapist on the phone and she agreed. She was the most helpful person I talked to so far–she encouraged me and told me it’s not easy to find someone but don’t give up because there is someone out there. And she sent me HER list of agencies to call.
        So you are right, I am feeling tired this week, but at least now we can get out and go for a ride a bit more. We did some while quarantining, but that is a ride to no where, since we couldn’t get out of the car. I do have a cleaning lady half a day a week, and a friend of my grand-daughter’s cooks us 3 dinners a week which we pay for, and we have a man to mow our lawn now. My daughter will come and sit with her Dad when I need to go somewhere on my own (like the gyno!) but she and her husband are both disabled. They buy our groceries and some incidentals weekly to keep us out of stores, but are not able to do much more than they are doing now. Her husband fixes a lot of things–mine used to be very handy and I am not used to having to pay for little fix-it things! I’m getting better at it, though. The problem is just basically I’m 77 years old and have health problems also, and just can’t keep up with everything. And he is a TERRIBLE patient with anyone else. He wouldn’t endure the 5 seconds of a stinging swab in his nose to be tested for Covid. It was uncomfortable but only for 5 seconds!! The one night he spent in the hospital being observed because he fell, they finally had to assign a nurse to sit with him as he was so difficult, pulling the IV out, and trying to escape. He just didn’t know where he was or why. I would hate to have to put him into memory care as I’m sure it would make him very unhappy. We can afford to pay for help, we just need to spend more time looking for it. Which I will continue to do!!

        1. Marcia,
          When my father in law had dementia, we were encouraged to contact Hospice. He was no where near the end yet (lived 5 more years after). We did contact them, they did an evaluation and took him on as a patient. They were wonderful. They had volunteers lined up to help out. Also, they know how to get you what you need without all the paperwork and stress on you. Hospice is not always just for end of life. It was a life saver for us. Please do find some help, trust me you so need it. Best wishes for you and your husband. Cindy

          1. This is one avenue I have not explored! I will contact them soon and see if they offer any of the services I could use. Thanks for this suggestion.

        2. Hi Marcia – I do hope the melatonin will help! I’m so glad for you that you are getting some help from family and can also afford to get some paid help. As you know, it’s so important to your own health to get enough rest. A member of my Church, who cares for her mom who has dementia, has mentioned the book “Where The Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find her Again” by Kimberly Williams-Paisley a memoir about the author’s mom suffering with dementia, brought her some comfort, understanding, gave her some resources she was not aware of. Best wishes to you.

        3. Marcia, about melted ice cream, I saw a recipe using melted ice cream to make quick bread. I don’t remember where I read it but I googled and there are lots of recipes. For melted ice cream cake also. Maybe you can try one of those next time ice cream is left out too long

  5. -What an adventure you having with these changes to your garden, Brandy. And the food for the children is a wonderful thing, making such as difference to the companies and farmers the food is purchased from, the employees distributing it, as well as the children. I am glad that you are able to take advantage of this opportunity in such a difficult year. It is great that it covers weekends as well as weekdays.

    -I began my November grocery shopping early so that I could take advantage of a sale of lean ground pork at $2.49 a lb (Cdn), which is well below the normal lowest price of $2.99. I bought a little more than 3 kilos (6.6 lb) which will go a long way in a one-person household. I’ve packed it up in one-lb packages for the freezer, and I’m looking at what recipes I’ll make with it.

    -The repair bill for the furnace hadn’t come in, though it was nearly a month ago. I called and had the bill by e-mail in minutes. It was well below what I had estimated. I don’t know if they incorporated some discounts for me or lowered their prices, since parts, travel, and labor were all less than I expected.

    -I had a routine physical this week, which is covered by free provincial health insurance. I also had a free flu shot at the pharmacy, which is also paid for by the provincial government. I still have a few more items to complete this routine health care list, but I am making steady progress. As in so many places, there is a spike in the number of COVID cases in our province, but my village has no cases at the moment, so this is a chance to get a few things done locally. We are being very careful, though, so we can keep our numbers low. The doctor even had the window of his office open a few inches during my physical, for better ventilation, right beside me. That reminded me of fresh air therapy from sanitoriums years ago! Given that we had had snow on the ground for several days by that point, I felt he was committed to keeping us healthy. Fortunately my body adjusts well to whatever the room temperature is.

  6. That was a great fix on your van, the garden is sounding better all the time (can’t wait!) and hooray that you can collect food from the school. We had that here, but it was only for school kids and later their families as well, but now it is over. We have churches trying to fill the gaps as best they can.

    We had a truly hard rain that really beat up some of my fall vegetable seedlings, but I think some survived. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    I am happy to see that even though our nights are well above normal in temps, our lone Japanese eggplant is starting to put on fruits again now that the daytime temps have dropped below 90. It has seven eggplants in differing sizes growing on it. I was ready to remove the plant until I noticed the blooms. We should get at least this one picking from it before the weather cools off enough to discourage further fruits.

    I am looking on websites that sell autoparts for a new sun visor for my car. Both visors have broken into pieces and the manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t cover them. I replaced the first one to break with a new visor, but was horrified to find it was $146 for the part and labor, and $125 of that was just for the visor, which has no lights or electronics, no pull-out shade, nothing but a mirror and a simple single bolt to put it in. I will replace this one myself, as soon as I can locate a used one. I got two quotes on new ones — $122 and $159, no installation included. They are hard to find used — too many of them breaking apart, I suppose. I am very, very dissatisfied with my current car, as you can imagine.

    I ordered more office supplies for work at an office supply store by going through Swagbucks, and earned over just over 100 SB ($1.00) with this order. It doesn’t cost my employers anything extra for me to do it this way, so they don’t mind. They still get their member rewards discounts, too.

    I put a little more extra meat in the freezer this week.

    I am batch cooking, packing leftovers for lunch, wearing used clothes, and cooking from scratch. I try not to waste things and I try not to run errands singly. It all adds up.

    1. Jo,

      Have you tried scrap yards for the visors? My son needed a new bumper for his car at one time. We went to an auto scrap yard (located the part online). The took the bumper off the car for us and our mechanic installed it for free. We only paid $150 for the bumper. It would have been so much more through an auto supplier or dealer.

      1. There is a huge wrecking yard about 25 miles from me, and that’s where I got the windshield washer pump a few weeks ago. However, there are online services that put your request out to salvage yards all over the country, and businesses that have the part will contact you. The part will be shipped to you. One such service is junkyarddog dot com, but I know there are several others (just can’t think of their names right now). You should also try ebay.

        1. Thanks, Karen and Maxine,

          I have thought about going to a junkyard, if I work my schedule to get there while they are open. I had tried RockAuto, but had not tried junkyarddog – I will try that, too. Ebay, so far, has not had what I needed – it’s either the wrong side, the wrong color or the wrong year.

          Thanks for the suggestions!

          1. You might try putting an ad on Craigslist in the wanted section for your area listing the year, make, model & side that you’re looking for. We’ve occasionally put ads for hard to find items with about a 40-50% success rate.

  7. Better words could not be said for me this week, as once again my income is being affected.
    All of last week I was trying to find new ways to make what money that is guaranteed to work for me. It is starting to get a little tight.
    Opted for a $5/month cheaper cellular plan.
    Dug up bulbs and Irises that needed divided; broke apart and replanted in areas where the yard could use a little more color. This also made spots to plant rainbow chard and beets in the front beds “hiding in plain sight” for next Spring.
    Collected my warm-up water for my kettle. I’ve been collecting in quart jars and find the jars are empty at the end of the day. Water is decently cheap here, but if I saw a nickel on the ground, you bet I’d pick it up!
    Washed wool area rugs in the wash on gentle with generic wool wash. These rugs are 15+ years old and look great for their age. Thankfully, they handled the washer just fine.
    Hope everyone has a peaceful week!

  8. Winter is definitely here in Fairbanks! We have snow and it is snowing today. It is a beautiful time of year with many challenges. In preparation, we are donating many of the 672 pounds of potatoes from our gardens. It is getting colder here so otherwise they need to be moved to our basement. Some will go to a food shelf and some some to meals for Senior citizens. It is a good feeling that many people will benefit from our garden this winter. We had a lot of carrots also so some are stored in the refrigerator and some were frozen. It is nice to have carrots and celery ready to go for soup and stews. They become economical meals that taste so good in the winter.
    We have new windows coming in December. Some of our windows are original, single pane windows from 70 years ago. Our neighbors had a window fall out this summer, so it was definitely time, We heat our house to 64 but hope this purchase will increase the comfort this winter,
    Our covid numbers are up again, so we are staying home a lot. It is certainly better than getting sick. Like many people, we are tired but we are so blessed to have a good pantry, freezers full of food, and health! Most of all, this blog provides new ideas on economies and companionship with others who are also trying to live full lives with what they have. Thank you Brandy and friends!

  9. Not necessarily frugal, but slightly less annoyance: Someone suggested that I turn the elastics on my face mask over, into an “X” instead of just a loop, when I hook them over my ears. This pulled the sides of the mask down just a tiny bit, enough to slightly cut the amount of steam on my glasses. Not a complete save, yet any bit of less fog helps.

    1. is you take a bit of crumpled kleenex or paper towel and put it under your mask, close up to the top near your nose, where your mask sits, the kleenex will collect the moisture that usually fogs up your glasses.
      The mask will still be close enough to your face to work and you can see out your specs too.
      This was suggested by a doctor in my area so I tried it. It works great indoors but not as well outdoors in the cold.

  10. Brandy, I am impressed with the plans you have for growing your own hedge and transplanting the plants you already have. You are turning your garden oasis into an Eden.
    This week was quiet but I worked more hours than usual and will appreciate a sizable paycheck.
    I finished knitting the sweater for my husband and sewing it together. The sleeves are to long and I want to reknit the sleeves so they are shorter and the stripes match at the shoulder, so I am reworking it and think it will be better in the long run.
    I took my laptop in for servicing and when it was returned, the screen was black and didn’t show anything. Several trips to Best Buy resulted in my needing to get an adapter to attach from the laptop to use the TV as a screen. Not the best solutions, but at least my computer is serviceable for now. But once I plugged in the adapter, the screen now comes on and off. I will need to replace the laptop soon, but this gets me more time with the unit I already have.
    My husband I went to our local farmer’s market toward the end of the day after running errands. One vendor was packing up and didn’t want to pack up the remaining items he had. He sold it to me for $10–about a 1/4 bushel of tomatoes, pears, apples, peaches, and onion, and fresh mint.
    Since most of my things are still in storage while waiting for renovations to be completed, I worried that I would need a winter coat. I checked thrift stores and didn’t find anything, so bought one at TJMaxx. I hadn’t worn it yet. On Saturday my husband and I were at Sam’s Club getting gas and a few items. I found a nice coat that was half down-filled. It it warmer and almost half of what I paid for the coat at TJMaxx. So I bought the coat and Sam’s and returned the other coat today.
    I’ve enjoyed books from the library, organizing our current space, and getting rid of what we aren’t using. I’ve been cooking and trying to use what we have rather than shop. It makes me grateful and also more creative.

  11. I am so glad that y’all were able to go pick up the food. It helps keep school employees working and helped y’all with food! that is a double win! I cooked a rutabaga with chicken in a cast iron skillet in the oven. It is still warm here with temps in the mid 80’s. My yard is overgrown with dandelion greens. I have mixed the dandelion greens with my mustard greens to make salads, soups, etc. Some kind of bug seems to be eating my collard greens and turnip green leaves (making holes in the leaves), but not touching the mustard greens. I am sort of baffled because the mustard greens are between the collards and the turnip greens. I never have that problem with the dandelion greens so I am thankful that I have so many dandelions. I remember reading in the Fox Fire Appalachia books about a lady whose family would take dandelion roots, put them in deep soil boxes, and put them in windows for sun. They would make wilted dandelion salads at Christmas from this using bacon grease. I also made another mulberry cobbler, trying to clear out the little bitty fridge top freezer for Thanksgiving. This weekend, I did an inventory in my storage bedroom (not the kitchen which has a separate supply) and I have 120 lbs of dried beans (these are actually in the living room), one 3 lb 3 oz of Gatorade powder, six cans of coconut milk, 18 cans of beets, 4 cans of pineapple, 12 cans of vienna sausage, 6 cans of sauerkraut, 1 sweet condensed milk, two cans apple sauce, two mustards, 12 bottles of Mayo, 3 jalapeno cans, two jars of Parm cheese, two cajun spices, two cans of sweet potatoes, one can of pickled okra, 12 cans greens beans, 6 cans chicken, 20 cans of tuna, 10 cans of cream soup, 9 cans of evap milk, 40 cans of various greens, 28 cans corn, 12 cans of green peas, 11 cans of rotel tomatoes, two cans of rutabagas, two cans of dried butter powder, two cans of 2 lb dried cheese powder (white cheese and cheddar cheese), one can of dried peanut butter powder, two boxes of dry milk, 5 jars of pickles, 6 cans of tomato soup, 5 cans of tomato paste, 3 jars bbq Big Bob Gibson White Sauce (popular in North Alabama), 7 bottles of soy sauce or teriyaki, 4 jars of minced garlic, five peanut butter jars, 2 jars of apple cider vinegar, 2 jars of 64 oz ketchup, one almond butter, 4 cans of asparagus, four cans of tamales, two jars of hot sauce. I also have in my very small kitchen, 60 lbs of rice, 10 lbs of cornmeal, 4 lbs of grits, 6 lbs of various pasta, 10 lbs of flour, four packages of Knorr spinach Dip, two containers of cocoa, 2 cans of water chestnut, generic bottle of V-8 juice, 8 cans of chili, a couple of cans of beans, four boxes of potato flakes, 10 lbs of sugar, salt, quart of blackstrap molasses, some Stevia, honey, salt and pepper, horseradish, cocoa powder, box of oatmeal, etc. I have lots of frozen figs and mulberries in my little fridge top freezer. I have a Walmart box filled with shredded paper with my potatoes in it (thanks to whomever suggested that in a previous post). I have four little volunteer pumpkins I will cook, that my son harvested. I found out this weekend that I did not have any eye drops and I bought two of those. I think I have plenty of tp, baking soda, baking powder, yeast, vinegar, tooth paste, washing powder, Ajax, hand dish washing soap, regular soap, generic Nyquil, generic ibuprofen, aspirin, rubbing alcohol, shampoo, condition and paper towels. Of course, all of my supplies can get rapidly depleted because I send some to my sons. I also walk for exercise. I think I have enough cat food and dog food in bags for a month. I have 14 gallons of water. I probably need more rice and grains (I am no where near the recommended 400 lbs for a year), but my little bitty house is just so full of food, I do not eat a lot of grains, I go through about 10 lbs of rice a month, and I am just replenishing now when I use something up.

    1. Cindy,
      It sounds like you have been very prudent and are very well prepared for whatever comes this winter. Great job! You inspire me!!

      1. I forgot that I have fig and mulberry refrigerator jelly /jam in the fridge, a good bit of it. I usually use the mulberries and figs for that, in addition to making a mulberry cobbler. I will be using the figs at Christmas to make Brandy’s fig sauce.

    2. I don’t think I listed I have two large cans of pumpkin, and three cans of carrots I found….lol

  12. I hope all of your cuttings take! I get a huge kick out of propagating plants, although I am not always successful. Forsythia is supposed to be the easiest. In 50 years, I had never gotten forsythia to root until last year. I planted 3 cuttings and two of them took! They are planted close together, so I’m just leaving them both to do their thing…eventually they will become one bigger bush, since forsythia (as well as snowballs and lilacs) increase by putting out multiple stems.

    Nothing going on here in the garden. It’s kaput. We got over 6 inches of snow Friday and daytime temps are in the 20s and overnight in the ‘teens. (Unusual here in October, but not unheard-of). This is what I did last week–
    * After a lot of research, I  changed my Medicare Advantage policy from an HMO to a PPO, to allow me to go anywhere in the US for care. (I am planning to go to the Mayo Clinic early next year about my back). I found a PPO that will cover me IN network at Mayo! I found this out when I called 3 of the 4 plans available to me and asked “what-if” questions. In the awful and hopefully unlikely event that I meet maximum out of pocket next year, this could save me $3,000.

    *I read a book given to me by a friend. Our libraries are really struggling with Covid restrictions, so I’m reading books that have either been given to me or taken from the Little Free Library (I have two more books to donate).

    *I bought a NorPro apple peeler/corer at a thrift store for $4! (Wish I’d had it when I was making applesauce).

    *Two years ago, when I didn’t really need any jeans, I bought several pairs on clearance for $4.99 each. I finally got around to shortening them last week and preserved the original hem. I took them up using the method described here: I have been doing this for 4 or 5 years and it is dead simple. I also unpicked the cuffs on a top with 3/4 length sleeves, cut off 2 inches, and sewed the cuffs back on. I think this catches me up on alterations (which, with my short little arms and legs, are a continuing necessity).

    * I mixed leftovers together to make enough for lunch for everybody. Pretty tasty! Usually I just put out the individual leftovers, but this worked really well…they like it better if it doesn’t SEEM to be left over.

  13. I love your propagation story! It reminds me of the blog “A Garden for the House” where they had to dig up a paved area and created a beautiful garden with boxwood borders using clippings that he grew into bushes (

    I saw that 2 inch fresh succulents in pots were marked down to 50 cents each. They used to be $2 each, and I have always wanted a few indoor succulent gardens. I went downstairs and found 3 pottery bowls that my husband and I had made and planted them up – I get birthday money and save it for fun projects like this. All in all, I only spent $6 on 12 succulents. When my kids saw the plants, they wanted some for their own garden, so they used some of their spending money to go and get some. Then I learned that propagating succulents is fairly easy, so my son and I are going to try to create some more from leaves.

    I purchased some navy blue duck fabric at 60% off at Joann’s to cover two wingback chairs. I got the chairs on a Facebook group some time ago for $20 total including covers, but the covers weren’t my style. The chairs, which are very comfortable and well constructed, are getting a little threadbare and I’ve been wanting to cover them for awhile, so this will be a good indoor project. The fabric came to about $44 plus tax, so I think that it’s a good deal for two good chairs that will hopefully last us for awhile.

    1. Very pretty! That’s very similar to what I’m doing, only I’m using boxleaf euyonomus, which is a different plant. Boxwood tends to burn here in the summer; I have a few plants and they struggle with burning in summer. They’re also slower-growing. I’m going to start with only cuttings. I bought plants for the front yard and let those grow together.I’m taking cuttings from those.

      Enjoy your succulents!

  14. I’m very excited to read your upcoming gardening post! How generous the school food service has been in your area. I’m sure that’s been a huge blessing to many!

    My husband brought home scrap building materials from a jobsite so we now have kindling for fire starting, plywood for the top of the kitchen island coming soon, and wood for the new shelf in the pantry. We opened checking and savings accounts for our teenage daughter and changed our savings account all to an online bank with no fees. I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card and added to the Christmas funds. I spent rest time each day reading blog posts and watching some favorite vlogs.

    More on my blog at

  15. Wow, that’s an ambitious garden project. But I have no doubt that the results will be gorgeous. We have still not had a frost, other than a very tiny one, so I’m harvesting tromboncino, eggplant, peppers, cherry tomatoes, figs, winter greens, kale, black eyed peas, basil and oregano. Laundry was hung on the line, and yogurt was made. It’s so routine, I forget to mention using homemade toothpaste, soap and deodorant daily. I foraged hen of the woods mushroom, and dried it. More dog fennel was gathered for the coop floor and nest boxes. The weather has been so beautiful, I’ve done quite a bit of outdoor chores, including vacuuming and organizing my car, bathing one of the dogs, washing the windows, and worked a bit on cleaning an area between two sheds. I created a fall decoration on a porch post using our cornstalks, dog fennel, cattail and rushes. Wishing all a good week.

  16. Brandy, That is wonderful news to hear of all the free food your children are entitled to receive-such a blessing. I have returned home from my frugal holiday to plenty of snow and below freezing temps. Fortunately it is now starting to warm up above freezing. While away I updated mine and DH’s wardrobe at a couple of thrift stores for some great prices. Today I made a homemade soup to use up some leftovers and veggies and legumes-it was very tasty. Back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks off. Hope everyone has a good week.

  17. What a doable way to have a hedge. It won’t be tomorrow, but will happen eventually. Kudos, Brandy, for going the frugal way! On the little piece of land my parents gave me (2000 miles away), I had transplanted all of the seedling evergreens a couple years ago to eventually make a living fence for privacy. I’m so glad I did that and didnt buy anything as I haven’t been able to get there and probably won’t until next summer – if all goes well. They were only a couple inches tall and I’ll be excited to see how much they’ve grown in a couple years. Gosh, life has just been one thing after another.

    I get an extra week of feeling better because my numbers were too low to go in for chemo. Instead I had a successful blood and platelet transfusion at my local hospital instead of having to drive the 4 hours to SLC. So thankful to save time, money and energy! I’m able to walk now everyday without getting winded and resting.

    Not sure if I mentioned that my mother gave me a bit of money that I used to catch us up on things. I’d been patching what I could and living without, but it was good to be able to replace clothing and such that were in need. I’d say it was a just-in-time gift. I bought everything on discount with free shipping that I could! In addition, I was able to finish off the rest of the Christmas presents. This year they are all practical. For my son, husband and I, I bought us each something to do with food preservation. Rather scary to spend so much at once, but I’m glad to be able to buy what we need and have it available. I’ll make more on these purchases with even the smallest inflation than keeping it in the bank! And I’ve filled in a couple years of needs from not buying at all. Made me really think what would happen if there is a world wide depression. Things wear out or break eventually. I think I’d like a larger fabric stash!

    I went ahead and bought extra open pollinated seeds from Seed Treasures in Minnesota (I think) as we are a cold climate as well. Except the onion seeds, they’ll keep for years. Seemed prudent.

    Wishing you all a blessed week.

    1. PJGT-my husband has leukemia (AML). He is recovering from stem cell transplant in June. I understand what you mean that you are grateful for an extra week of rest. We drive 2 hours one way EVERYDAY for weeks for chemo, tests, blood, platelets. Just one week makes a different in rest and recovery!
      Sending you strength!

  18. Hi Brandy and everyone
    What a good programme of food distribution for children and families, especially as it’s healthy items and available to homeschooling families too.
    Good news- the BBC have managed to film a Christmas special of Call the Midwife. Something to look forward to.
    We celebrated my husband’s birthday with a home cooked meal and I made him a Dundee cake which is his favourite. I had all the ingredients already in my larder.
    I sold one item on eBay.
    I decluttered some more and took several bags to fabric recycling and the tip. A daughter decluttered some craft items she didn’t think she would use and I gave them to a friend.
    I redeemed some consumer research points for book tokens and bought books for Christmas presents.
    I am making an effort to wear more of my clothes instead of wearing the same few things repeatedly.
    We picked/ pulled parsnips, kale, tomatoes, parsley and apples from the garden and I picked dahlias for the house.
    I used a chicken carcass to make stock for a soup.
    I am trying to get back into the habit of putting lids on saucepans to reduce energy costs.
    Grapefruit were 35p each in Lidl so I bought a dozen to keep in the fridge for the next few weeks. Usually they’re 47p in Lidl and 50p in other supermarkets.
    I combined errands on a trip to town and took a drink with me in my reusable water bottle.
    In common with lots of people I’ve been feeling the strain of the current situation and uncertainty about the economy etc. I’m trying to help myself by spending time outdoors, reading good books and connecting with friends and family. This blog and the connection with like minded people around the world is helpful and calming so thank you Brandy for all your effort in bringing us together.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Wow! What a sale on grapefruit! They are much more than that here. I hope my trees grow well.

  19. It sounds like you are doing amazing work on your garden transformation!
    I just ordered a bare root apple tree, that will be delivered in late January. It’s the same price as the ones they sell at the store, but this way I can choose from a wider variety. And be guaranteed the one I want. I wonder if there are any nurseries doing that near you, Brandy? I found out about this place from the Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners here.
    We, too, have worked on our garden project, sheet mulching all of the dead grass/weeds, and underplanting the fruit trees with plants that will be beneficial to them. It looks so pretty. We spread a LOT of free mulch over the weekend! I’m also relocating some plants that I have, and planting cuttings that I had taken in the spring, which are big enough to go in and get established over the winter.
    I cooked all meals at home.
    I helped a neighbor with a houseplant problem. She gave me persimmons.
    I cut up a T-shirt for rags. I purchased another shirt at our locally owned hardware store. It is a sturdy ‘work’ shirt. And it’s pretty!
    I gifted 2 aloe plants to people in my Buy-Nothing group. These were ‘babies’ from my bigger aloe. I put one little one next to my bed, since they are supposed to help keep the air clean
    I made apple crumble with the last of the going-soft free apples that have been in my fridge from about 2 months ago. They kept quite well. And then this week I was offered the last of the apples from a friend’s tree! Just in time!
    I made some very cute fabric storage bins and my daughter-in-law asked me for a similar set for their new nursery. Speaking of which, she and our son have been finding amazing deals on used baby clothes and equipment. It makes me so happy to see them starting out with such good frugal habits!
    A happy week to you all

    1. The cooperative extension does sell some plants here, but most are desert plants. I got on their email list about 6 weeks ago.

  20. Your zinnias amidst the roses are beautiful; best wishes with all the blackberry and boxwood cuttings. The schools in our County have a similar program available to all children regardless of their parents’ income. Private Catholic schools are fully opened; public schools are on a blend of remote and in class days. Kudos to your hubby in the van door repair. My DH also keeps our SUVs, F-250 and jet skis in great shape – it truly is a great saving. Looking forward to your garden post. Enjoyed lovely warm weather in low 70s. DH and I went on a hike in a nearby state park that ends at the Atlantic Ocean saw many wild blackberry bushes, blueberry bushes and beach plums. This park holds an annual beach plum festival which we attend, but this year was cancelled due to covid. It also has an osprey nest and webcam – we hiked to the nest area but didn’t see them but we did see a bald American Eagle! There are all over NJ and are frequently seen. We enjoy outdoor activities and this was an inexpensive date – just the gas to get to the park and our 10 yr old F-250 to get to the remote trail we wanted to hike.

    Mostly done with Christmas shopping. Our grocery store has been featuring assorted gift cards each week for the past several months – buy a $50 card get $10 cash back to be used at the grocery store – limit 2 offers. I have purchased gift cards for Macys, Kohls, Home Depot, The Children’s place. I’ve also gone to Ollies (thanks to other posters reminding me of the store) and purchased lots of books for children and adults (and for me too!) and toys including board games -all at a deep discount. At Ollies also found lots of Caron yarns (including simply soft, simply baby and big cakes) at 1/2 the cost of Michaels or Joannes. Purchased lots – will be knitting/crocheting scarves and baby blankets to donate. Ollies also had the $79 dehydrators a poster mentioned; I called various friends/family but no one wanted one.

    DH and I have enjoyed watching the first 2 episodes of The Age of Nature on PBS. It airs on Wednesdays but we DVR all programs (except sports) and watch at our convenience. Incredible photography and the featured stories on how nature and ecosystems rebuild is truly fascinating. We also finished watching the series The 1900s Island (4 episodes that aired in July) the premise was 4 modern-day families move to a remote island off the coast of Wales and live like people did in 1900 and earn their living by fishing. Very interesting. So much hard work on the part of the women and men to survive day by day. One of the narrator’s comments was that 60% of a household’s budget went towards food! We are truly blessed. DH and I are nature/animal/science/sea lovers so this is great programming for us. I have also watched the new series The Trouble With Maggie Cole (on PBS airs on Sundays) about how gossip and its consequences affect a small town. I have enjoyed the work of the main actress, Dawn French, in previous shows, don’t yet know how I feel about this one – it’s kind of slow going. Have a great week.

    1. Mari: I was looking forward to seeing The Trouble with Maggie Cole, as I too, enjoy Dawn French works. Sadly, I only got through the first episode, and walked away. Let me know if it gets better.

    2. I love Dawn French—especially her role, Caroline, in Larkrise to Candleford. Did you know she was in Harry Potter, too? She was in one of the portraits in the dormitory. She’s fun!

      1. Hi Susan M – yes she portrayed the Fat Lady in H.P. and the Prisoner of Azkban – totally wacky. Lark Rise to Candleford was an excellent series.

        Hi Erin – you’re welcome. I’ve learned about many excellent tv shows and books here that I thought I would share what we’ve been watching.

        Hi Patricia – I nearly did the same – the 2nd episode is a little better – but not much better. I don’t think this role is suited to her and is not utilizing her full acting skills properly. But I will watch the next episode to give the show a fair assessment.

        1. Dawn French was with Jennifer Saunders in French and Saunders. She was in Vicar of Dibley as well. She’s amazing.

  21. It was a nice, frugal week.
    $5 or less meals included: chicken tortilla soup, bean burritos, chicken and rice, and bacon sandwiches with marked down bacon.
    I found a chest of drawers on facebook marketplace that I’d been looking for for a while.
    I took the kids to a trunk-or-treat at a nearby church.
    My aunt let the kids gather eggs, which she sent home with us. We took her some cookies made with ingredients we already had. Peanut butter cookies are so inexpensive to make.
    I sold some books to the used bookstore to get credit to buy a piano book for a birthday party we went to, so it cost almost nothing out-of-pocket.
    I sold a couple of items for my sister, who lets me keep half.
    There were a lot of good chicken sales this week. I passed on the boneless skinless breasts for .99/#, since the same store had leg quarters for .10/#, in a 10# bag for $1. We don’t like the leg quarters as much, but the breasts aren’t 10x better, even though they’re 10x the price.
    We got a bag of Halloween goodies from a neighbor, who “booed” us. We then took a plate of cookies to a different neighbor, to continue the fun.
    I used peroxide to remove some bloodstains from clothes and sheets after daughter had another nosebleed.
    I cut both my sons’ hair.
    I used coupons to have their pictures taken at the JCPenney portrait studio. They’re not as beautiful as the outdoor ones you take, Brandy, but are fine for a tight budget.
    We’ve been eating lots of apples, which are .39/# at a couple of stores.
    I received two free oak trees from our electric company.
    Have a nice week, everyone!

  22. I love your zinnias. They look so cheerful. I now also have a white garden. It snowed 7 inches on Friday! 🙂 This weekend our high was around 33 and our low around 12. It was nippy to say the least. We were lucky, as we did not lose any trees. this snowstorm was pretty early. The leaves are still on our maple trees. We went out at least twice to know the snow off the branches hoping they wouldn’t break. We were lucky. About 4,000 people lost power in our area, and we were lucky there too.
    Obviously our garden is now done. Whether we were ready for it or not, but we were.
    I stripped the rosemary and basil leaves that I had in the dehydrators. They are now in jars, ready for use.
    My DH picked the last of the parsley. It is waiting to be dried this week.
    I worked 4 days last week. Brought breakfast and lunch all 4 days.
    I cooked the last of the corn we picked from the garden. Cut it off the cob, and got 16 cups. It is in the freezer in 4 cup bags to use for soup this winter.
    One of our local churches was offering free apples and potatoes. We stopped and picked up a 10 pound bag of potatoes and 5 pounds of apples. Made baked potatoes and an apple crisp.
    Made gnocchi soup and potato corn chowder.
    Made up a batch of cornbread mix. Used some of it to make corndog muffins with leftover hot dogs.
    Made pepperoni and olive and sausage and olive pizza pockets.
    Got eggs for 59¢ a dozen and butter for $1.99 a pound.
    Had popcorn for a snack on Friday night while the DH and I watched a movie together.
    Visited with my Mom on Saturday. Helped put flannel sheets on her bed. Put flannel sheets on our bed too.
    Cleaned my refrigerator.
    Chopped bell peppers. Ended up with 14 bags of 1/2 cup each.
    Made cauliflower with cheese sauce. Cauliflower was from our garden via our freezer.
    DH chopped the corn stalks with the hedge trimmers. He also pulled the broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants, as well as the zucchini. I had a chard plant trying to go to seed, and had him leave it, but with the freezing temperatures, I think it is now toast.
    Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. Nancy, the weight of the snow broke the leader on my dwarf apple tree. I cut it off the best I could and I think it will be OK. A lot of trees over here in Coeur d’Alene broke from the weight of the snow AND the weight of the leaves still on the trees. In the future, I’ll be sure to remember remember to brush the snow off my little trees.

  23. We have been borrowing materials from the library – this week it was books, movies, instructional videos, and audio books. I also listened to podcasts for free when I went walking. (I walked 14 miles this week.)

    A lady offered a winter coat on our local free page in my daughter’s size, just after I’d learned that last year’s winter coat wasn’t all that warm. I picked it up, treated the edges of sleeves and pockets where it was a bit dirty, and washed it clean. It’s a down coat, and seems to be a lot warmer. I also got 2 shelf units from a different lady. I tightened the screws, glued and clamped one piece, and they are nice and sturdy again. One went in our mud room for the baskets where we keep keys/mask/etc., and the other holds some exercise equipment.

    My husband used coupons, sales and rebate sites to save on groceries and household items. He’s very good at it! We planned a menu to make sure we use what we have, and I was able to bring home some recently expired microwave popcorn packets (20+) from work that no one else wanted.

    I made progress on a drywall repair in our basement. I talked to a local plumber about some plumbing work we’d like to have done. He has lots of recommendations and is used by lots of people around here. It will be much more cost effective for us to buy the equipment (water filtration) and have him install it instead of going with one of the companies around here. We did some painting to brighten a room, and re-arranged some furniture to make better use of space and better utilize things we already own.

    We used our wood stove to heat our home as needed. We get our wood for the labor of hauling and cutting it. I put cold frames over the Swiss chard and spinach in hopes of extending the growing season.

    I mended some clothing and trimmed one of the dogs.

  24. Can’t wait to see your garden plans Brandy!!! You inspire me!!
    We have had a very busy week finishing home projects and just living in general.
    Our son turned 5 years old this week. We celebrated at home with a small party for him. Having shopped many sales and planned for several months I fed everyone for less than $1/person and we still have leftovers for the freezer. The kids had a blast and thankfully the rain held off until the party was over as we had everyone outdoors to minimize the risk.
    We enjoyed several homemade meals last week including baked beans, baked fish, rice, veggies, fresh oranges, Beef stroganoff, peas, corn, buttermilk pancakes, eggs, grits and local sausage. I am enjoying having such a well stocked food storage as it leads to easy meal planning and minimal grocery trips during the week. The savings on grocery expenses week over week is wonderful as well. I am focusing on stretching our food budget. Tonight I made a huge pot of chicken and noodles with fresh green beans and sautéed veggies. This will feed the four of us at least three dinners and a couple of lunches…total cost about $0.62 per serving.
    I plan on adding a pot of Brandy’s garlic chicken rice and some pinto beans to stretch things even further.
    I harvested mustard greens from our garden last week and will harvest another batch this week to cook for us. I am really looking forward to these because I love mustard greens and have never grown them before.
    I turned the AC off twice last week and am looking forward to lower temps at the end of this week so that I can turn it off again.
    We ran full laundry loads, full dishwasher loads and entertained ourselves at home with card games, puzzles and legos…our son’s newest hobby.
    I took my son for his annual wellness check today and he received a free flu shot. I combined errands and went to vote early after dropping him off at pre-k following the appointment. I purchased 4 pumpkins from a farm stand which I am using for autumn decor now but will roast and use for pies and breads once Thanksgiving arrives.
    My husband finished building our end tables for the living room And immediately listed our old tables for sale. They sold within 24 hours and we used some of the extra funds to have lunch together to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. We wanted to have coffee together after lunch but decided to purchase a small amount of a fresh ground gourmet coffee and brew a pot at home. This meant we spent $6 for about a dozen pots of this yummy coffee instead of $10 for two coffees at a coffee house.
    I’ll add bean burritos to the freezer for quick meals and bake a peach pie this week to use frozen fresh fruit and give us a treat.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week ahead!!

  25. What an impressive savings! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were roast chicken in the crockpot with green beans, steak quesadillas, hot dogs, chicken-cheddar ricearoni bake with green beans, frozen pizza, meatloaf with tossed salad and baked potatoes.
    *Made homemade biscuits and put ham from the freezer in them along with mustard butter to take to a baby shower. Fixed a plate of leftovers from the shower and took it to a friend who missed it because she was recovering from an accident.
    *Drove to the mountains with another couple one day to see the leaves. Packed water and crackers to munch on. Stopped at a restaurant on the way back that we had a gift card for. It covered all of our meals and they left the tip, so no money spent on our part.
    *Used blank cards I already had for a thinking of you card and 2 pastor’s appreciation cards.
    *Used a $5 off $25 coupon at DG to purchase on-sale sodas, which was our contribution to the Pastor appreciation lunch at church. Also used coupons for tampons and razors.
    *Purchased ground beef for $2.49/lb and used some to make mini meatloaves to take to a friend who is going through cancer treatment.
    *Brought home two meals of pizza, salad and dessert that was leftover from the Pastor appreciation lunch.

  26. Brandy, I’m so glad you get to utilize the free food from the school district. I love that it is a blessing to you and many families plus a blessing to the people who get to work there.

    My husband and I had a good week away at a cabin last week, bringing all of our own food and just staying in. It was very peaceful.

    Back to normal this week. I had an extra big grocery pick up today. Finishing up some stocking up. Got a 10#chub of hamburger so I could get it for under $2 a pound. Also got a 7# tray of boneless skinless chicken breast for under $2 a pound. Got all the meat home and divided it into meal-sized portions for the freezer. Cooked some of the chicken breasts to freeze for quick meals. Still menu planning and cooking from home.

    Starting to think more of Christmas. We have five children and three sons-in-law, plus three (almost four) grandchildren. I sent a text to all of the kids and in-laws asking them to do a wish list. I know it’s less personal, but I don’t know what to get the in-laws and I don’t want to spend money on what is not needed or wanted. I asked them to put any book titles they are interested in and a few things in the $30-50 range. It won’t be as much of a surprise, but at least they will be things they are interested in and it won’t be a waste of money. I’m asking the mothers to let me now what they think the grand kids would like. It’s fun to start planning Christmas, even though we all won’t be together this year.

    Had our attic re-insulated today, which will save lots of money in the long run. In the near term, we get a rebate back from our utility company.

    Every year I make small gifts for my friends. Usually it’s a knit dishcloth or crocheted Christmas ornament. This year I’ve decided to make cloth masks out of Christmas fabric and little travel size hand sanitizer cozies with a ring to clip it to their purses. I ordered the hand sanitizer in bulk. I already have all of the fabric and elastics for the masks and the clips. I’ll try to give them to them the first week of December so they can use them during the holidays.
    Hope everyone has a great week. I so enjoy reading this every week.

    1. My brother asks my children to make a wish list and then he buys from that. The children are all happy to get the things they want.

      My husband is not big on holidays or birthdays. He says he remembers one childhood Christmas when he went to his room with his gifts, sat on his bed, and cried that he didn’t get a single thing that he wanted. Better to get what you want than to be surprised with things you don’t want!

      1. My parents never asked us what we wanted. Even though my brother still says to this day he asked for a BB gun and it broke his heart not to get it. I asked him what use it would have been since you can’t use it to put food on the table and unlike some of his buddys that got in trouble for shooting at our neighbor’s cat, he could never bring himself to shoot a living thing. Made him realize why he didn’t get it and why our parents never asked what we wanted.

      2. Thanks for saying this, Brandy. That helps me. When the kids were little I always knew exactly what would be perfect because we were all together all the time. Now that they have spread their wings, it is just harder to know. We have never been extravagant givers, but the kids were always so grateful and it was so fun. So, while it’s a little less fun for me, I feel better getting them something they want or need from a list now. As far as the grandchildren go….when ours were little the grandparents (one in particular) always spent so much more than we ever could. Which was very kind, but afterwards our gifts were sometimes a little meh. I eventually remedied that by having our gift opening first, on December 23. We live near all the family, so then my extended family was the 24th and my husband’s extended family the 25th. Doing our gift exchange first was so great because the children really appreciated everything, even the dollar store and homemade things they made each other (think carved soap or plastic fork taped to a ruler back scratcher). Doing that actually made our holiday even sweeter because they weren’t bombarded all at one time. I’ve decided to ask the mothers of the children what they would like us to give (I give a price range). Then the mamas can choose who gives the WOW gift. Trying to be thoughtful and thrifty.

        1. Since they retired, my parents have started purchasing most gifts for my children (and us) at garage sales. We don’t mind at all. They want to make their retirement go a long way, and that’s a good thing, considering how long their parents lived to be.

      3. It is sad when one’s experience of past holidays colours negatively one’s feelings about present ones. Christmas was almost always sad in our house because my father went away at 16 to university thousands of miles away and could not afford to come home for Christmas.

        I am almost always amazed to receive any gift. My favourite gift from childhood was a pair of downhill skis bought from a neighbour for $10 — they were awful skis as they were flat with no cambre but they were the best gift.

            1. Our adult son campaigned hard to have us not exchange any gifts at Christmas. The compromise that we came to as a family, is that between my husband, me, 3 adult children, one spouse and one grandbaby on the way, we will draw names and buy only for that one person. So each person gets one gift. My oldest daughter uses a website that randomly matches giver and recipient, so no one has to do the pairing. And it also allows you to set people that should NOT be paired (we choose not to pair spouses). The adult kids decided on a $ amount limit ($25). The website emails each person and tells them who they ‘got’ and also emails each person and asks them to make a wishlist, which it emails to the giver for that person.

              It has worked brilliantly so far. As a family we really enjoy the time we spend together, and since we are all spread over the country and spend money to travel to be together, it is really nice to have the gift giving reduced. We bake, play tons of games, go to the beach and out for a meal, and those are the real memories from the holidays.

    2. We always do wish lists in my family and have for decades. You still get the surprise of not know what you’re going to get off your list and you don’t get stuff you don’t want/need.
      We usually do a small gift or two unasked for as an extra surprise.
      There is one rule though to our lists (thank you FIL ;-)) once the gift is on the list, you cannot purchase that item for yourself if it’s after November 1st!
      Guess what happened the year before *that* rule. LOL

    3. This is why my side of the family prefers gift cards as gifts. I know that this sister shops at that store, and the other sister shops at the other store. A gift card will definitely be used. A gift that I think they might like, could go clutter up the house until they decide to garage sale it. My husband is horrified with the gift card idea as its not personalized.

  27. Hello everyone! As usual, our weeks are pretty quiet. We continue to accept seven days of breakfasts and lunches from my son’s school. A few weeks ago they also started providing a grocery box, one per family. The boxes we have been receiving have included 5 pounds of apples, 5 pounds of potatoes, 2 pounds of yogurt, 2 pounds of cottage cheese, two2 pounds of Monterey Jack cheese, a bunch of celery, two meat items. Last week the meat items were a 3-pound bag of chicken nuggets and a 2-pound bag of chicken taco meat. We also received an additional gallon of milk. We couldn’t use all the milk, so we gave the unopened milk to my secretary at work. She currently has eight people living in her house right now, so we know that it will go to good use and not be wasted. We also have been enjoying books from our local library. I did shopping last week for my parents again. So while we didn’t need much, I was able to pick up a few things for our household. Including a box of Q-tips, a 12 pack of seltzer water, and some organic grapes. We are continuing to go through our house and get rid of things that we no longer need; my husband made another trip to the Goodwill to drop off two bags of items. My son was invited to a birthday party for one of his friends who lives down the street from us. We would’ve loved for him to go, but did not feel comfortable sending him. Another boy that lives across the street from us was also invited, but his parents had the same conclusion and didn’t let him go either. I did have items in my gift closet so I was able to give a gift to this little boy with no out of Pocket cost. We are also continuing to use the food that we do have and make meals using what we have on hand with no waste. Hope everyone has a good week! I so look forward to reading everyone’s story and comments every week.

  28. It’s wonderful you could take advantage of the food program — sounds like a win for everyone.
    And isn’t it such a blessing to have a husband who can fix things?
    Our hot tub broke. Friends who had the same problem ended up getting a new one, but my husband worked very hard to diagnose the problem and ended up fixing it. We spent about $200 and it took him about a week to fix every problem (he rebuilt one pump, replaced another one, and had to replace a cracked connector.) This saved us so much money! We use our hot tub every day.
    It was an expensive week, as we also replaced my husband’s tires on his truck and purchased a new battery – getting ready for winter. But we had saved up the money so it didn’t feel like a burden.
    I sewed a new pair of winter pajamas from flannel I bought on sale a couple months ago.
    We took a date day and drove two hours west to a little town on the river. On the way we stopped to hike and explore. We ate a picnic lunch we packed. Our destination was the grocery in this little town, where we purchased 20 pounds of locally raised pinto beans, 25 pounds of locally ground flour (the best AP flour I’ve found), a pound of their homemade breakfast sausage, and a small homemade raspberry rhubarb pie (which we ate in the parking lot!)
    I hit on a new (for me) combination of dinners this week. One night I made baked potato soup ( I was careful scooping the potato from the skins and the next night we had loaded potato skins. Essentially the same ingredients two nights, but the soup is comfort food and the potato skins were like party food. Very good, and I’ll be doing this again.
    A friend invited us to pick apples from her tree ahead of a big cold front. There were so many apples on that tree, but the majority of them were not yet ripe. We did get a 5-gallon bucket full, which I plan to use for applesauce later this week.
    After an unseasonably warm October, we woke this morning to 4 degrees Fahrenheit and about 8 inches of snow. The moisture is very welcome and should help with the fires around the state.

  29. I loved your post! It all sounds so exciting 🙂

    *My husband and family went deer hunting and on the last day of their trip both my husband and son got a deer! 2 deer – and I don’t like deer meat! But my husband, 2 sons, 1 son-in-law and one daughter does like to eat it and I was thrilled for them. It’s been 10 years since they have been able to get even one. My husband was going to take it to a processing plant but no one would take him because they were all so busy. Our neighbor offered to help process if we could do it in our garage. My husband promised me that I wouldn’t have to see or smell anything so I agreed. It took them all day but they got both deers all down. My husband offered one of the deers to our neighbor to say thank you. Then the next day my son-in-law went out and got a deer! His family is helping him process that one. I think my husband was more excited for my son-in-law than he was.

    *Constantly trying to use up every little last bit of stuff into new meals. I had a bag of spinach that was not eaten. I decided to make a soup and opened a trusty Relief Society Ward Cookbook and found a recipe for Spinach Soup. It called for 2 onions and I had a 1/2 I needed to use and used 1 1/2. The recipe said stove top but I cooked it in my slow cooker. It was so easy and soooooo yummy! It called for cream to be swirled in which I didn’t have. I used sour cream instead but we loved it! I had a little bit of applesauce left and made my old family recipe of Applesauce Cake. It was a recipe sent to my mother by her aunt. The aunt mentioned she had made it and it was a war recipe that didn’t use an egg. I grew up on this cake and our family just loved it. It can have raisins and nuts in it. My mom would make half the cake with raisins and the other side without to try and keep us children happy. My mom mentioned to my aunt how much we had loved that old war recipe and said thank you for passing it to her. My aunt didn’t remember the recipe and asked my mom to send it back to her to try again. My daughter brought home food from her work – croissants and a chicken salad. I’ve been warming the croissants in the oven and putting a little butter and topping with homemade raspberry jam that has been in the fridge for a bit. I shredded the last bit of a block of cheddar to use in our Baked Bean and Cheese Tacos. The rest of the cheese will be used in scrambled eggs. I also used the cheese and last bit of cottage cheese to make Cottage Mac n Cheese. I made up spaghetti sauce and used of the last of some tomatoes, red pepper and celery (diced very fine).

    *I was able to get another 2 free kindle books because of our shipping preferences. My daughter needed a new coat and I found a highly rated ski coat for her that was on sale and had a coupon code. My husband and I went out to dinner and used our gift card.

    *I sat outside and enjoyed the stars and moon at night. I like to find the big dipper and see if it’s in a different space than the last time I looked. The starlings have also started their swirling, swooping flights and are so fun to watch during the day. I called them Swoopy birds until my kids told me their actual name.

    *Exercised at home, read books, texted friends, wrote things down that I’m grateful for each day. Decorated my journal pages with my old scrapbook stickers. Picked up a fall leaf from one of our trees and just examined it and admired the colors. Visited my mother and brother and exchanged books with her. She gave my youngest daughter a small box of jewelry that she had bought brand new and never used. There were 10 pairs of earrings, 20 bracelets and 5 necklaces. She split the goodies with her sister. My mom also gave us 6 packs of gum. My daughter borrows movies from my brother and she picked out 6 to take him to watch. We’re the only ones he allows to borrow movies because we take care of them and return them quickly.

    *I was able to buy guacamole, vegetables & dip and bread for 50c each at the store.

    Hope everyone has a very Happy Halloween and a wonderful frugal week!

  30. My goodness – what a lot of work in your garden! I cannot even fathom the effort involved. That is wonderful news about the school food and that you can take advantage of this program, I know that you will make very good use of it!

    I lucked out with paper towels this past week! I hadn’t been able to get any for the past 3 weeks but last week I tried my luck at 3 different stores on 3 different days and got 1 package at each stop (the limit is 1 per customer) so I estimate that I have enough for at least the next 4 months.
    My NO FRILLS had ground pork on sale so bought some of that and also took advantage of their $1, $2 and $3 sale – picked up more canned veg, beans, cottage cheese, V-8 juice, trail mix, cake mixes and canned icing! I REALLY need to stop buying food!

    I worked 3 mornings last week, got caught up on a lot of laundry but also managed a few walks with friends. This past Sunday I went for a drive with a friend (wearing masks & windows open) – she was picking up some artwork in St. Catharines (about an hour and half drive from Toronto) – we took the back roads to see the Fall colours and they were spectacular! It was cold but we stopped a few times to walk and take some photos. Once we’d picked up the artwork we decided to continue on towards Niagara-on-the-Lake (a very picturesque little town that hosts a major theatre festival every year) – it was nice to see that tourists were still visiting as there were lineups outside many of the shops. Before getting there we stopped at an antique market (bought a few pieces of blue willow) and then at a fruit & veg stand. After NOTL we continued on towards Niagara Falls but ran out of steam along the way. We did stop at another farm stand where I got apple cider and apple butter (which I’ve been looking for) – and – since they were closing up for the season they sold us different types of squash at $1 per piece. They are all sitting on my dining table at the moment! It was a long day but a lot of fun. We took sandwiches and treats and only bought a coffee and later a hot apple cider and ate outdoors. I contributed some gas money but it was a lovely day out without costing much at all. We are quite enjoying picking different parts of southern Ontario to go to on these day trips – we have come across all sorts of interesting spots and some very talented people.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Your day trips sound like so much fun. They are something I miss from living in Ontario, especially in the fall, when the leaves and the countryside are so beautiful.

    2. Margie, I lived in Ontario (London) for 3 years (for my husband’s job). I’m back in Oregon now. It was lovely there in fall! I was completely shocked by the snow in the winter though, and equally stunned at the short spring (in Oregon, spring is VERY long and rainy!).

      1. You are so right about the short Spring – I’ve known years when we are in parkas and boots one week and t-shirts the next one! I miss Spring.

        In Toronto we don’t get as much snow as those around us as we are protected by Lake Ontario. We’ll get a few flurries but then the winds will pick up moisture as they move over the lake and dump a couple of feet of snow on poor Buffalo!

        Fall has been especially beautiful this year with spectacular colours – it’s been the nicest thing so far this crazy year!

  31. I’m wondering if you could share a weeks worth of food that the children get from school. Is it really enough to live on? I never want any one to go hungry. We have been putting our extra chicken and duck eggs at the end of our driveway way for neighbors to pick up if they are in need. Some of our elderly neighbors are especially at risk so they limit how often they go to the store.

    1. Hi Holly! The school district publishes menus and there are also photos as well as nutritional information on their website. We live in the fourth largest school district in the U.S., so it serves a lot of people. Here are the menus:

      It’s a lot of food. Sometimes the children don’t love the choices, but then they trade with one another. Sometimes I use things they didn’t eat in our dinners (for example, I’ve used carrots and celery sticks in soup for dinner). It’s a lot of milk; I know more than one parent says their children aren’t drinking it all, so they’re using it in different ways. I used several milks to make crepes the other day.

      There are some treats in there as well (once in a while they have chips or breakfast cereal). Those aren’t things I normally buy (nor is chocolate milk, but they get a chocolate milk and a regular milk every day) so those are fun. All of the breads/tortillas/muffins, rice (it’s brown rice), etc. are whole grain.

  32. I enjoy reading about your garden plans/work. Especially now since we have snow on the ground. 😎
    We really enjoyed the school lunches through the spring and summer. They aren’t allowing it now. They had a lot of cafeteria employees quit/retire, and are only doing it for the ps system.

    We received more free food.

    A local (Midwest only) grocery had buy 2, get 3 free on marinated pork tenderloin. We got 10 packages for $40.
    We also got nice beef for less than $2. a pound. We got the limit (8 packages)

    They also had baking chips for .90 cents each, and bags of potato & tortilla chips for the same. I stocked up on as much as I could on baking and fun foods.

    My daughter has mended several items lately. My favorite was our corn/heat bag. I’ve enjoyed using it.

    We winterized our camper just in time for the snow. My husband did it himself saving a bit of money.
    He was offered a new position at his job for a considerable raise. It will be a few weeks before he can start, but it’s a position he looks forward too.

    Bought a couple more Christmas gifts. I bought used and saved considerable money since my daughter doesn’t care.
    I’m done with 1 totally and most done with my daughter.
    It’s a nice feeling.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  33. I made a phone call today and am being refunded money that was going to be applied to a bill…The trouble was that at the amount of the bill it would take nearly 10 years to get a full refund! Now there’s a refund in process and will be mine in 10 days.
    We had an impromptu family dinner yesterday. My husband bought fried chicken and was going to buy side dishes as well, but when none of the ones he wanted were available, I said I’d make them at home. Goodness but that was a big savings!
    My zinnias are producing really well. I got three bouquets off the last cutting on Friday and when I looked out this morning, I think I could get that many more. I love zinnias and glad now that I planted mine so late this summer.
    I cut some basil the other day to keep in the kitchen. This morning I noted that it’s all rooted, so I may plant it and try to over winter it.
    I cooked chicken frames and got 2 cups of extra meat off it plus several pints of broth for the freezer.
    I used really ripe bananas in a Pumpkin Bread. So good!

  34. My child goes to public school and we are also getting free lunch and breakfast until the end of the school year. I pack most of the time anyway but it’s a nice bonus when I don’t feel like packing or they have something he particularly likes.
    Other frugal things : as my husband and I continue to work from home I reviewed our car insurance and adjusted the number of miles we drive in a year, which brought the rates down. Also continue to save on gas without the commute. Utilized the library for e-books. Ate leftovers for lunches all last week.

  35. What a wonderful week for savings, Brandy! I’m hoping that your cuttings take beautifully. What fun that would be. And short hedges can look lovely too, as they grow. John Adams’s house nearby has a wonderful formal garden with 8″ boxwood hedges surrounding the beds, high enough to keep feet out but low enough to still be able to admire short plants.

    This week, we ate arugula, baby kale, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, parsley, lovage, and nasturtiums from the garden. I sowed more lettuce and swiss chard. I forgot to label my flats of plants though, a frequent failing of mine, but it’s all delicious and headed to the same beds.

    I tried to think of some things that we just always do, as those are some of the most helpful things I find in the comments. We use baby washcloths to kids’ wipe hands and mouths, cloth napkins. We save old towels and dishcloths to wipe house messes and save paper towels for cleaning the bathroom. We use a lending library system for toys, so most of them are packed down in the basement – accessible to me but not the kids – so I get to choose how much mess we can handle, and so things feel new when they come out of hiding. I also gladly accept hand-me-down toys, but I hide them in a secret stash for the days when I need a diversion or a child’s gift. I use a fountain pen with a refillable ink bladder so that I don’t have to buy pens or cartridges. is a great source for inexpensive but great pens and affordable ink. They check all the nibs before shipping.

    We did home haircuts for the boys and my husband. My friend told me a trick where she uses her flat fingers between the clippers and the top of the head to make the length longer. I tried it, and it works really well for us! Our clippers have the virtue of having a cord but the downside of having few standard guards that fit, so this saved a lot of time and bald spots. Nothing like a good hack when you need one.

    I did a curbside pickup at Sams, the first time I’ve shopped there. It was so nice and easy. And a welcome chance to stock up on pantry supplies, as I realized that we go through 8lbs of flour a week between bread and other baked goods. Now I’m moving shelves around the house to better fit in the pantry, to get the flour up off the floor until I can get enough buckets and lids for it.

    Our local COVID numbers have gone up quite a bit, so we’re staying home more. I’m so grateful that home is feeling like such a comfortable, welcoming place to be. Thank you all for helping me make it so!

    Wishing you a wonderful week!

    1. My hedges in the front yard are both short and tall varieties. I love how the short ones look (the taller ones are fine, too, for what we’ve done to create a bit more privacy to keep within the HOA rules that don’t allow for a taller wall to be built) which is why the cuttings are all from these.

  36. I am watching your Instagram as you proceed with your conversion of space. Thank you for sharing for I am learning a lot from your posts and pictures. Thrifty action this week: no processed foods and making all meals from scratch. I have been concentrating on adding a few new dishes to my plant based, whole foods eating plan such as polenta Mexican pie and whole grain pizza crust.

  37. Hello Everyone!
    My husband would like to plant a boxwood hedge around the perimeter of our front yard. I love the look of it, but not the cost! Brandy, which YouTube video do you recommend for propagation?

    One of our hens has begun laying! 🥚🐓 We heard this terrible squawking and thought, perhaps, a predator was trying to enter their run. Nope! She had just laid her first egg. What a commotion! 😊

    We cooked from home, including an afternoon when my daughter went for a run with friends and brought them home hungry, requesting takeout. I made a Greek chickpea salad instead, which one mother later requested. I’m glad it was enjoyed and we saved $8 each!

    Someone suggested the LibraVox app. I have been immensely enjoyed listening to the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. What an interesting man! And in listening, I find fascinating the cultural differences from his day and ours, as well as the fact that scoundrels existed both then and now. So, thanks for the app suggestion!

    I began wrapping Christmas gifts. I have wrapping paper left from previous years. I purchase ribbon, bows, and tags during after Christmas sales. We reuse boxes and bags.

    I completed four drape panels. They’re ready to hang. I have so many sewing projects, I may not emerge until spring! 😆

    Have a beautiful and blessed week everyone!

    1. This is the video I liked for boxwood. I have found value in watching more than one video on several things, as not everyone propagate plants in the same way, and it is good to know several methods.

  38. Hello Brandy and all!
    This week I tried something new. I picked all the cherry tomatoes off the plant because we are expecting a heavier frost soon. I added the ripe ones to my salads for the week, but the green ones I pickled! I had never done it before but found a recipe on Pinterest. They are put in a quick refrigerator dill pickle brine and I need to wait 2 weeks before tasting them. We love dill pickles around here so I’m pretty sure we’ll like these too! If not, they were going to freeze soon anyway!

  39. Bart’s doggy surgery went well. Still waiting on the biopsy, but vet was pleased with the procedure and he didn’t bite or growl at anyone with the massive drugs they had me gave him prior. Success!

    I managed to skip the grocery store this week, but did an Amazon order of pantry items for my husband. Come November, Butcher Box and Nebraska Star Beef will arrive for him by mail. It is difficult for him to get to the store, so mail or curbside pick-up will be easier for him. Not the cheapest option, but cheaper and healthier than eating out every meal.

    On that same measure, I took a trip to Savannah to pick up spices for him (ok me too and a Christmas present) at the Tea and Spice Exchange. Savannah was doing Wag-o-ween – so people were walking their costumed dogs throughout downtown. I got to see the dogs on my walk and was given dog biscuits at several shops to take home to my pack. Picked up a pork and apple pie I popped in the freezer to eat next week. I thoroughly enjoyed my walk and treated myself to lunch (with leftovers).

    On the level of leftovers, I was told about a promotion Door Dash was doing so I made an order of Chinese food and had it delivered. With the promotion, my bill was $20, but I will get 8 meals out of it (with the addition of a little chicken broth and a frozen bag of stir-fry vegetables). Combined with a charity wine dinner tonight (I expect leftovers) I won’t have to cook at all this week! It is frugal for me because I never spend less than $20 at the grocery store for a week.

    Full loads of laundry, hung most of it. Full runs of the dishwasher. Kept lights off. Cleaned out the fridge – very little waste this week. It is something I’ve been working on. Continued cleaning out and decluttering the office. It is taking me forever, but it is getting done – 2 more filing cabinet drawers to go. Then I’ll do one more run through everything to be brutal.

    My couch is a dismal embarrassment, but I threw a blanket over it and will wait for my husband to return from deployment before getting a new one – no matter how many comments my mother makes when she comes for her 3 month “visit” in January.

  40. We got our flu shot for free thanks to our insurance. I got 50 % of the total of over the counter meds and a magazine on clean eating and CVS. I got a $3 extra bucks and Hubby used it when he went back to buy another copy of the magazine for Daughter 4.

    I still have green tomatoes and now have enough sliced green tomatoes in the freezer to have fried green ones each week so started canning shredded green tomatoes and canning green tomato apple pie filling (tastes like apples). I hope to finish them this week. I am taking the apple peels to make apple butter and apple syrup another waste not, want not.

    We have started soup once a week. Hubby does not like soup at all but I made chili last week, he was good with that and I canned what was left. I made beef stew yesterday and served it in bread bowls. Not sure he isn’t going to finish it but he doesn’t that will be canned also. I am now trying to figure out the soup for next week with hopes he will like it.

    We made a list of what projects we already have the stuff for and what we plan to do this month of those projects. Hubby’s business is way down but he did make enough in Oct to pay for Nov so he is working on Dec, so not as much as a panic, worse will be he will use his SS he gets starting Nov to cover his business so it’s not taking $$ out of our household budget.

    We set not only our budget but our Daughter’s that is going through cancer that we are supporting her home also and add our health ins is costing a lot more (double the co pays and add 1/3 to out of pocket) and we didn’t take any more from our IRAs. She talked to her 3 (that don’t live at home) about what she can do and can’t do…like them eating all the food when they all come spend the night with her while she is in treatment. She then realized that we just cut our own budget to cover her and not pull any more $$. Then she went through both budgets and cut BOTH of them. Yes she is our most frugal child. She’s the one that eats in season even when she doesn’t grow any garden. It was an eye opener to realize what we could still cut that we take for granted because it’s been there for years. She also pointed out our doctor needed to run any and all testing we would need to have the first 6 months of next year NOW since it would be covered. One phone call and that has been ordered, Doc said that saved us close to $14,000 almost covers what we are paying to keep her in her own home. AND we would have had to pay for all of it under the new insurance plan.

    I planted 4 varieties of garlic and transplanted walking onions.

    Looking forward to garden plans, Hubby insisted we wait instead of finishing our own changes to see what you were doing, Brandy
    Blessed be

  41. Brandy I so appreciate your hard work in the garden! I love seeing your photos and your progress. We have snow on the ground that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon – your lovely flowers and greenery make me smile.
    The weather here turned suddenly and we had to turn the heat on. I was able to bring in a few pots of herbs to try to grow inside for the winter. I have been closing blinds and curtains when temperatures drop and closing off unused rooms.
    I have been working diligently on making Christmas gifts for my family and I am almost finished. I used my Swagbucks to order treats for everyone to go with their homemade gifts and I have been stocking up with some sale priced baking supplies for Christmas as well as the long winter ahead!
    I have been able to pick up many free candles from my buy nothing group, it helps my space to feel more cozy and I can turn the lights on at the last possible moment.
    I made a delicious cheesecake for my Mum for her birthday.
    Thank you for this wonderful website, it is always a wonderful place to visit. Thanks to all who comment, I love to read everyone’s accomplishments. Have a great week ahead and stay safe.

    1. Last Monday it was 92 degrees and we were running the air conditioner all week.

      Sunday a wind came in (30 piles and hour with 50 miles per hour gusts) and brought the temperatures way down (Monday morning it was 41 degrees when I went outside!) It feels like we skipped from summer to winter with no fall all at once. Normally we get two weeks where we don’t have to run the air conditioner before this, but not this year! I know it will be a bit warmer at the end of the year, but right now, I am cold!

      Even in the winter, though, we do have green. I am just hoping we can work quickly enough that we can get things planted in time. Spring comes quickly here and I know we need to work quickly to get things done before it is hot again.

  42. The weather got very cold here in Idaho this past week. I didn’t get to finish my projects outside that I wanted. It may warm back up enough to do some of the things I wanted. I want to move my oregano plant from the garden to the flower bed in front of my house and then plant some other herbs next spring. I am hoping for more basil as I have not had luck getting that to thrive in my garden. I canned 13 quarts of spaghetti sauce using the tomatoes from my garden and tomatoes given to us, along with onions from my garden. My onion harvest was plentiful. I chopped up all the onions using my food processor and put them in snack size bags in 1 cup and 1/2 cup amounts and then double bagged them in a gallon size bag and froze them. Shouldn’t have to buy onions for several months. Found some good buys on oreos and ice cream at Albertsons so we bought some for our food storage. I continued to dry apples and applesauce for snacks. I continue to sell things on FB marketplace and by being frugal this month, we were able to get our $1000 emergency fund completed. We will now tackle the loan on the one car we owe on. Reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover (again) has inspired and kept me focused. My hubby and I are working on getting our essential documents in order, ie…living trust and will. Suze Orman has a great deal on her app to do those papers without going to a lawyer. So we decided to spend the money and get things in order. This will bring us peace of mind in case something happens to us. My sweet mom gave my sister and I some baking supplies for the upcoming holidays. I made my own dry onion soup mix instead of buying it from the store. Continually tweeking our budget and staying on top of it. I think this month will be the first time that money going out will equal money coming in down to the penny. I told my money where to go this month, instead of it going where ever it wants and we will be able to put some money in savings. Staying focused and determined is hard sometimes when everyone else around you seems to be buying whatever they want…but we will keep going and reach our goals!

    1. Congratulations Kristy on saving your $1000 emergency fund! I have read all of Dave Ramsey’s and Suze Orman’s books so I am familiar with their work (my parents raised us children the “dave ramsey” way even though they had never heard of him until I as an adult brought him to their attention). I do want to offer a word of caution regarding not using a local attorney when creating a living trust and a will – these essential documents – need to follow not only federal but also state specific laws. If not drawn properly, they will be invalid. Best wishes on your journey with the Baby Steps.

    2. I agree w/ Kristy that other people seem to be spending w/ abandon. I am a senior adult & my friends should know better. It’s not my business so I keep my mouth shut. Money is a sensitive topic. Most people are offended if you comment on their spending. I am happy to be around like-minded persons on this blog as they are hard to find. I am concerned about an economic downturn worse than we have already experienced. I save instead of spend. I was raised in modest circumstances by a widowed mother. That probably effects my habits. This is not the time to buy a “want” IMO. My husband had both his knees replaced last month. I suspect we will get some medical bills. The surgery was a “need” not a “want”. I remind my husband that our “needs” are met. I’m grateful to be debt free.

      1. I just wanted to say thank you for your comments and suggestions the other week about my person who works at WalMart. It was comforting to me to realize you cared enough to write.

      2. Texasilver, I hope you like this story and it isn’t my intention to label or offend anyone. I was shopping at Winco yesterday. A couple was shopping together. They were working people who looked like they live hard. (That’s not a put-down…my parents looked like they lived hard, and they did). The husband picked up something in the cold case and his wife told him “I’m sorry, but we can’t afford that as long as you are off work.” He mumbled something and she said, “Well, after you’re back to work, we can talk about it.” How about that…somebody with half a brain. Actually, two somebodies, because he agreed with her. I love it when people see that little things do make a difference.

  43. We had below freezing temps a couple nights ago (even though it’ll be in the mid 70s the rest of the week) so we harvested all the green cherry tomatoes to ripen inside. I roasted some (about 100) to make green tomato salsa. It didn’t turn out great, but I ended up putting some in white chicken chili and it blended in okay. I’ll probably have to get creative on how to use the rest of it. I still have about 200 green cherry tomatoes ripening in my pantry. We need to plant our garden a couple months earlier next year so they end up ripening on the vine instead of inside! I also had to pick a couple butternut squash a little early. They are small, but I think they are ripe.

    I rotated some kid clothes and pulled out the 4T boys clothes for my almost 4-year-old. He was excited to get “new” clothes. With cooler fall weather, we’ll wear sweatshirts and socks in the house instead of turning on the heater (at least for a month or so).

    We were able to use some of our grocery budget in October to restock the pantry and our food storage. We have an extra large closet in our bathroom that was an add-on, so we use that for our longer-term food storage. It’s kind of funny to think about, but it works great and a great use of extra room. I have a list of some items I still want to stock up on so every shopping trip, I’ll pick up an extra can or item.

    We are still trudging along with paying off debt. (I’m going to share some numbers because I’m a numbers person, so if talking numbers makes you uncomfortable, probably best to skip this…)(Backstory: my husband finished vet school in 2017 with $205,000 in debt. I finished grad school with $65,000 in debt. And we had a $15,000 car loan. We have to date paid off my loans, our car, and about $20,000 of my husband’s loans, plus 2 cross-country moves paid with cash.) We’ll be able to pay another $40,000 at the end of the year. With all of his federal loans in forbearance with no interest, instead of continuing to pay them, we’ve been “paying” them to our savings account and getting interest payments from the bank. Then we’ll make a lump-sum payment at the end of the year. It’s very exciting. If we stay this trajectory, we’ll be able to have them ALL paid in 3 years. 3 YEARS! THAT’S IT! Our nightly chant has been “Debt-free 2023!” haha I can do anything for 3 years!

    Brandy, I’ve been following your website and blog for many many years and it’s been my go-to for tips, encouragement, recipes, gift ideas, etc. I’m so so thankful for you and your many hours to work to help all of us!

      1. Thank you! It’s always a little scary to see the numbers in black and white. But it’s fun to see them get smaller!

    1. Hi Lisa – I’m a numbers person too 🙂 Congratulations on paying off $140,000 of debt by the end of this year. At the rate that you and your hubby have attacked your debt and are attacking his remaining student loans you should definitely meet your goal by 2023 if not sooner. Kudos to you both for sacrificing now to enjoy a financially secure future.

      1. Thank you Mari! I personally think we will be able to pay it off towards the beginning or middle of 2023 since the numbers were not including any gifts, tax refunds, or overtime pay. It’s a little nerve wracking to see everything in black and white, but exciting to see the progress. It’s taken us 3 years so far and has been a lot of sacrifices, but looking back, it hasn’t been toooo hard. Just have to stay motivated for a few more years!

  44. Hello from Australia! Thank you all for sharing your inspiration and ideas. Hearing about your gardening exploits has kept me trying. I’ve been trying to turn around my black thumb for some time, it just seems so hard to keep things alive in the summer heat sometimes. We have minimal space, so I need to think about no dig methods and pots, which means watching water levels like a hawk. I had a good crop of very chaotic looking mini tomatoes last year so am optimistic. One blessing for me this year is, I have had more time to spend on gardening. My tomato plants are alive, which has inspired me to add some more veg ideas like, beans, snow peas, capsicum, mini cucumbers and even mini eggplant. So, hopefully I will be harvesting one day! I watched some videos by Epic Gardening, in California and discovered I’m doing a lot of things wrong (of course). But, his ideas look good and I have done a little late pruning and can see the couple of French carrots I put in the understory again. My dogs want to enjoy the garden too, so I put in some pet grass, which has kept a lot of their attention so far. They like veg, so we’ll see what happens. Hopefully there’ll be something for everyone in the whole extended family. Blessings to you all and stay safe.

  45. My absolute favorite frugal thing this week was cleaning my shower with powdered Tide. I simply cannot believe how WELL it worked. I used a scrub brush, hot water, and some powdered tide. It shined up my floor ( and cleaned the grout/tile walls) better than anything I’ve used. Apparently this does not work with the liquid- just powdered. The rest of my grocery notes are on my blog

  46. Brandy,
    So good that your children are getting the school food. I know a family that walks their two young children to the distribution point every day to get their food. This family is really struggling so this food makes the difference between these kids having food or going hungry. I’m so thankful for this program.
    This week our wonderful neighbor brought us a freshly caught salmon. My husband is going to smoke half of it which will make it last longer and we will grill the other half. This is the second time he has gifted us with fresh salmon- we are so blessed and so grateful.
    I went to a local hardware store to purchase a can of spray paint and noticed their ornamental cabbage plants were marked down to .75 cents each. I bought two and will put them in the pot that is next to our backdoor. I will remove the geranium and try to winter that over and replace it with the ornamental cabbage plants along with the dusty miller that is already in there and that should stay looking nice all fall and winter- for $1.50, not bad.
    I cut my son and husband’s hair. I bathed and trimmed our dog.
    Last night our power went out for a couple hours so we had a fire in our fire place and lit a candle and enjoyed the peace and quiet and lack of political ads on television. It was very relaxing.
    Thank you Brandy for making this blog community possible. As others have said, it is so vitally important to my sanity right now.

    1. I’m glad it’s helping! Keeping our spirits up right now and taking care of our mental health is so important.

  47. It’s cold here now and gets dark really early. Since I am new to the country it’s all a bit of shock for me. India never did get this cold this early!
    My rose catalogue came though without any coupons/codes. I am in a flat but I wanted to gift these to our parents on both sides. Well I need to see how that can be done.
    This was another good week, we filled in the gaps with trash nothing and Olio. Mr. S picked up 5 warm caps/hats from one person and a microwave from another. The flat came with most white goods but we missed the comfort of a microwave.
    If you have not tried Olio I highly recommend it. We have been blessed with enough artisanal bread and a lot of missing pieces in the household.
    I will cash out about £70 from surveys and other cashback this week. We ate at home and walked or used the bus as always.

  48. It is feeling more and more like fall in southern Ontario and we are busy getting the garden cleaned up for the year. We got our flu shots at our local pharmacy and I am glad that we are all now protected. I think I am finally done my canning after I used the last of the green tomatoes and made green tomato relish. I now need to organize my canning storage cupboard so I can find things easily! We also took our final big load of items to the thrift store for resale. There is still a lot of sorting to do so we will continue to take boxes as we fill them. We’re working on setting a workable routine as we move into winter. We have lots of puzzles and books so I hope we can fill our time productively.

    Hope everyone is having a wonderful week.

  49. My heart goes out to you, Marcia. Now what I am going to suggest sounds stupid, but I bet you get up every time he comes back to bed and TURN OFF THE LIGHTS. This is frugal default. Don’t do this! If you can stay in bed, assuming the light is off in the bedroom, see if you can turn over and go back to sleep. If not getting up can give you even a tiny bit more sleep, it’s worth the cost of the electricity to leave the lights on!

    I have been having trouble posting, and those postings always go to the end, and not below the thread I’m discussing. This was also the case about calling junkyards first before going. I hope the intended people see my posts.

  50. Many years ago, I bought 2 baskets with four boxwood plants each for $12.00. At that time no-one was growing boxwood in Calgary. It has survived but grows very slowly. Inspired by you, Brandy, next spring I am going to take cuttings.

    I spent most of my time thinking up ways to raise funds for the printing of the book. I had a friend in stitches but
    when I tried it the first time, I got a pledge of $200. So we will see where this route takes us.

    Like Margie from Toronto, I am going to stop buying food for my pantry. I have accumulated a small fortune doing it.
    There are still things I could get but am going to stop.

    I hope to just be able to buy a few things for my monthly groceries. This week I bought chicken legs and backs on sale for $2.00 per pound. They are huge. I got yogourt on sale (I’m about to start making my own yogourt).

    I am very happy that we are having a Chinook and almost all of the snow has melted. I spent a lot of time shovelling snow for 5 or 6 straight days. I had to do it very gradually in stages. I then would sit and watch birds. I got one Blue Jay photo — I’ve never had Blue Jays at my feeder before. I hope to get a better photo.

    One of our scholarship applicants received a scholarship so that was good news. It’s a reward for all of the time and hard work we spent on the process.

    1. My parents used to put unshelled peanuts out for the blue jays at the window each morning. They came every day.

      1. I had a pair today again. I can’t put out peanuts as I’m deathly allergic to them.
        Calgary never used to have them but gradually over the past 30 years or so they’ve established a population here.

        1. Fingers crossed they get in the habit of coming to your place, then. They are lovely. I see a jay every now and then here as well. I have a large caragana shrub outside the front window that the smaller birds like to feed and socialize in, and the occasional jay or woodpecker finds its way there too.

  51. My week has been flying past, and I realize it’s Thursday evening already! I’ve sat down at least 3 times to read all the comments, and then, comment myself, but have never had time to finish. I finally, just now, made it to the bottom of the list. It was very interesting reading, with lots of great ideas, as normal.

    I have been focusing on homeschool with my daughter and nephew. When I was canning heavily during the summer and early fall, I let her have a lighter load of school she could do independently. Now that the canning is done, I wanted to spend a large chunk of time going over things, making sure she was getting the concepts, and doing what I call “together school” so I’ve been doing that for the past 3 weeks.

    My nephew is doing distance learning, plus additional homeschool activities and I worked with him several hours. His mama does school most of the time, but works long hours a few days a week. It’s nice to have a job during these times where I can stay home and be safe (both families are staying very distanced from almost everyone else and going out minimally). She and my brother-in-law work from home, now, but need peace and quite as they are on the computer talking to people. My brother-in-law teaches college. He says it is taking much, much longer to teach a class than every before with the distance learning, and we’ve heard from another friend that she is working every evening until late, weekends, and hours each day to get it all done. I feel for them!

    My husband is still chopping wood in the forest every day he possible can. I believe he has brought home over 2 cords of wood so far, one van-full at a time. We don’t have a working pickup anymore. So, the back seat is gone from the van and it takes the place of one. It costs some gas and lots of time and energy, but we heat with wood exclusively. I am still amazed and blessed that he can do this extremely physical job, and it’s mostly beautiful fir that’s available where he’s favorite. He’s trying to get a year ahead on wood. I’ve got my pantry…he’s got his wood pile….

    Our garden frosted. Now, the fall/winter veggies are what’s left out there. I’ve got several cabbages, some broccoli, blooms on the snow peas (who knows if I’ll get pea pods), kale and some winter lettuce and spinach. Some is very small. I will see what I get, and what may overwinter.

    I’ve focused on cooking more varied meals. When I’m canning a lot, I tend to make a huge pot of soup or whatever, and serve it multiple times. It’s nice to have a little more time to cook. My husband cleaned out the little freezer over the fridge in the kitchen and we pulled out several odds and ends and I’ve incorporated them into meals this past week. I’m being more diligent to use the leftovers or freeze them in a timely manner.

    I grocery shopped a little, getting the sales. My favorite was mandarins for $1.49/3 lb. bag, limit 1. But, what a treat!

    I’ve been sewing for my daughter whenever I have an extra 1/2 hour. I can’t seem to get much done in less time than that by the time I figure out where I left off, and figure out the next step. The top I’m working on is much easier than the one I finished last, so I hope to finish tomorrow. She needs several things. We just can’t put the time into the thrift stores right now to hope to find what she needs, instead I’m putting the time in on the sewing machine. I bought a small amount of fabric, and a handful of patterns, and am using up some fabric I’ve had for some time. I didn’t have many in her size, so was delighted to catch pattern sales. I posted 2 things I’ve finished on my blog: and hope to have the third up soon, when I finish.

    1. I listed items from my closed embroidery business for under $10 each and made $146 this week. Plus I am clearing out space.

      I found a house that had leaves piled at the road. I called a friend and we went and scooped multiple bags for our gardens. Then I went to her house and she dug multiple Althea /Rose of Sharon bushes, zinnia seed, sunflower seed, Redbud tree, we dug her iris’ and she shared with me, tulip tree cuttings, hydrangea cuttings, plus many other cuttings and seeds. We are in a new home and I am also working to plant fruit trees, and flower beds. We had patios put in.Here are photos I have plans for my vegetable beds to be terraced on our hill.

      My son was able to come home for the weekend. His birthday was the 14th so his brother and sister came over and I made taco soup and a brownie Butterfinger trifle. I made jalapeño poppers with jalapeño from a friend garden. I mixed cream cheese, cheddar, garlic powder, crumbled bacon, and then tipped with gluten free panko with melted butter and baked. They were good.

      I did a Walmart pick up yesterday. I forgot a couple of items so I went inside. The self checkout line extended all the way down the adjacent aisle. It was that way on both ends of the self check out section and then the register lines were all full.. Then I got in the pick up line outside. It was 5 lanes with 5 cars in each lane and took an hour for pick up. I don’t know why they were so busy. I wonder if people are preparing for the election Tuesday. We had remnants of the hurricane come through the last couple of days, so that may be part of it, too.

      I am working to build my pantry after moving in 6 weeks ago. I got a large bag of cheese and pepperoni that I sectioned into smaller bags to freeze. I bought vmcanned beans and corn, which we don’t eat a lot of due to eating low carb. I plan to do some stocking up at Sams this coming week and try to get more meat as it goes on sale.

      1. There have been numerous articles about stocking up again for a resurgence in Covid cases, but there are also people worried (on both sides) about post-election violence.

        Shortages have started already, and some were still short. I’ve had a hard time getting the dishsoap I use before Covid; now, it’s almost impossible.

  52. Most of my savings are same old, same old, but this week I discovered two new things. will give you money off your first automatic shipment order. In my case it was $20, too good to pass up. So I got my discount, then a few days later I cancelled further automatic shipments. I order all pet food from them, but I want to order whenever I’m ready.

    Secondly, the digital light bulb went off in my brain regarding Amazon Prime shipments. They constantly offer tiny digital credits ($1 – $2) if you will not insist on next day delivery, but are willing to wait an extra day or three. I thought they meant it was for downloaded music which is something I never do. But this ancient brain finally realized it could be used on e-books. Today I got three books that I really wanted, that were on sale and with my credits I only owed a few pennies.

    Good on me for occasionally stumbling, if only by accident, into the 21st century.

  53. I love hearing about your garden re-development. What a fantastic ongoing project.

    I don’t feel like I need to earn more money, however, when opportunity presents I am happy take it. As a working Mum by choice not need, I strive to maximise my income as well as save in as many areas as possible. Why earn $25 an hour if I can easily earn $45 an hour? I meet our families needs no matter what our income is. This is through living on a minimal amount per week (no matter what our paycheck is), having a buffer and emergency stash, a paid off house and investments. This gives us freedom of choice, as that’s what it’s all about. I am frugal and always optimising our weekly needs, trying to reduce expenses where appropriate. I love to be inspired and this blog is one of my many invaluable resources.

    I don’t think there is any right or wrong way in this wonderful journey of life. We do what’s right for us and what brings us joy and meaning. If it’s no longer bringing joy, we re-evaluate.

    This week’s accomplishments:
    -butternut pumpkins from my garden meant an abundance of baked pumpkin and pumpkin soup (lots frozen as well)
    -$150 to be earnt tomorrow after completing 1.5 hours of market research virtually
    -17.5% pay increase extended until June 2021
    -library book and DVD borrowing
    -stayed in over the weekend
    -the children baked and decorated Halloween cupcakes and did a Halloween themed scavenger hunt throughout the yard and house. I reused Halloween items I bought on clearance many years ago and purchased deeply discounted sweets x 2
    -electricity bill was $140 for the quarter
    -line dried all washing as per usual

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *